Saturday, 14 December 2019

Sandy Powell.

I've just found this video (below).

I worked with Sandy Powell when I was a student. I took a holiday job as an ASM with an 'End-of-the-Pier' show in Worthing. Sandy was the star of the show.

He wasn't an easy man to work with. He was grumpy, often sozzled, and he did whatever he wanted to. Getting him on stage in time was often a nightmare.

On one occasion he was watching some Football game on TV in his dressing room, and simply refused to go on stage. I had to rearrange the running order within seconds; no easy task.

Anyway, here's the old buffer doing some of his classic 'Magic'. His lovely wife Kaye was behind the curtain.

Friday, 13 December 2019


I don't usually buy tresses of Garlic, they seem touristy and expensive.

Normally I go for the loose, purple skinned variety that a nice lady sells at our small Saturday market.

However, this time I threw caution to the winds and plumped for the above. Bizarrely, it was kilo for kilo cheaper than the loose bulbs, and the cloves themselves looked beautifully plump.

I recently separated the cloves from an entire bulb, left the outer skins on, and roasted them with a Chicken and some spuds. Nothing special about that.

They were spectacular; the outer skins came away easily, and the big fat interior Garlic cloves popped out perfectly, and were absolutely delicious. I don't know what variety they are, but they are quite different to my usual ones.

Not a lot gets cooked around here without Garlic, so we use quite a lot. I shall definitely be buying these again.

They also keep Witches and Socialism away!

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Happy Birthday Billy.


December 12th, and Billy is ONE year old today.

He arrived as a tiny bundle of fun, and has grown into a bigger bundle of fun. His fur is now thick and luscious, and he has all the attributes of a pukka Border Collie. All he lacks are the Sheep.

It's been a busy first year for him. He's eaten Lady M's cakes, slippers, and his own bedding; he's been kicked and had stones thrown at him. He's made a great new girlfriend 'Amie'. He's also punctured several balls, lost even more, and chewed a huge hole in a carpet...... A normal pup.

Recently he came across a very young Deer who was eating apples behind our pool's Pump House. They looked each other in the eyes, then went off to play together in the large field beyond. It was quite a sight. I imagined that like in some Disney film, the Deer would return daily and they would eventually become great friends, but no such luck. I was expecting too much, but their temporary antics will remain one of my best memories of his first year.

The children adore him, and little Mischa orders him around with great authority. They get on so well. He's a very typical Border Collie, and enjoys being told what to do!

Also during the last 12 months, he's had the 'snip', and been declared 100% fit.

So, it looks as if he's here to stay. There'll be some Beef for lunch today, followed by a long walk this afternoon. I hope he's happy with us; at least it's better than being with some of the nasty people around here.

Here he is playing with little Mischa yesterday.


Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Chef Boo Boo.

They'd told me they were making this year's Christmas Cake, but they changed their minds.

Instead they made a Chocolate Cake, which Boo Boo thought was a much better idea, as he could have some with his Tea.

He's no fool our Boo Boo.

As all good chefs know, tasting is an important part of the process.

And when it was ready, the cake disappeared; Boo Boo took it home, and only left one tiny slice for me!

I shall be having words with him. (I believe The Christmas Cake will be made later today)

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

'Our Lowest Ever Prices'

I've noticed recently that several UK supermarkets are trying to attract Christmas shoppers by advertising 'Lowest ever prices'. I heard one (I think it was the Co-op) offering 1 lb of Sausages and a bag of frozen chips for £2.50.

To me this spells cheap food, rubbish food, food you really wouldn't want to eat. This is not celebratory fare. A tube of 'mechanically recovered meat' mixed with powdered skin and breadcrumbs, plus plenty of E numbers, isn't my idea of a sausage; and Potatoes cost nothing..

Am I alone in wanting quality over price? If they were offering the finest quality, at the correct price, I might be tempted (actually I wouldn't), but simply trying to attract the poorest in society by offering everything 'cheap' seems thoroughly wrong.

My own supermarket occasionally offers fruit and vegetables at 'Cost Price', but even then I only buy if it's already on my list; I'm never tempted by price alone.

Christmas should not be about spending lots of money, nor should it be about buying cheap rubbish. In my opinion it should be about families, and enjoying being together. The exchanging of small gifts and the enjoyment of special foods should not be at the expense of either quality or debt.

Have nothing to do with 'Lowest ever prices', they mean that farmers are probably being swindled, and the public are being fed trash.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Freemasonry? No thanks!

I've never had any desire to become a Rotarian or a Freemason, but I have unwittingly mixed in both circles.

During my brief stay in Shropshire in the early 80's, I was invited to Rotary Club, and Masonic, events on quite a regular basis. I was even asked to speak at a Rotary Club dinner.

I was once told by a senior Mason that people are never invited to become members; they have to 'make approaches' to an existing member. I have no idea if this is still correct, but I definitely felt as if I was being 'head-hunted'. 

'Quasi-secret-societies' such as the Masons, Buffaloes, Rotarians, Druids, etc, have been around since time began. At my old school we had 'The Confessors Club' a Masonic style secret society named after old-boy Edward (I was not a member), and centuries later, alumni at 'Windsor Grammer' created their own version called 'Pop'; personified by the wearing of garish waistcoats (above). Such societies are not uncommon. In the USA I believe they all have various Greek letters as names, and indulge in bizarre initiation ceremonies.

These clubs are invariably male; women being far too sensible for such nonsense.

I wrote recently about being a member of the ICA, but I was also once a member of a political club; mostly for their cheap beer and the use of a very good Snooker room. Otherwise such focused clubs have never interested me. I suppose I'm simply not a club person. 

p.s. Please tell me I'm wrong, but isn't that 'Pop' member above (on left) wearing patched trousers? Surely not!  

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Rat's Teeth.

Lady Magnon managed to find these whilst out walking with Billy yesterday. She said they were half-hidden beneath moss.

They are Hedgehog Mushrooms; known here in France as Dents de Rat, Pied de Mouton, or Langue de Chat/Vache, and here in PĂ©rigord as Barbissou.

They are very distinctive with the underside having tiny teeth-like 'stalactites' instead of gills or pores.

Fried with butter garlic and parsley, they go with almost anything. If cooked with Chicken they take on its flavour giving the impression of having twice the amount of Chicken. They're a good 'all-purpose' mushroom.

They are one of Lady M's favourites... I still haven't found any myself this year, and, of course, she keeps reminding me of the fact!

We ate the above last night with some Pork chops and baked potatoes; delicious.

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