Friday, 5 February 2016

Plan and Action.


This was my original plan for the barn kitchen....

.... and this is how it ended up.

The washing-up machine is now by the fridge, and the washing machine is out in the barn, otherwise it's much as I planned.

Still a few minor things to do, but generally a good serviceable and spacious kitchen. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Cecil Rhodes 1853-1902.

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Cecil Rhodes has been in the news again recently. His benefaction of Oxford's Oriel College has caused upset amongst the student PC brigade; they don't like his statue, and want it removed.

There is no question that Rhodes was not only a brilliant businessman, but was also what we would today call a White Supremacist. His extensive mining ambitions were never thwarted by clearing indigenous populations.

I remember learning about Rhodes at school, where he was always represented as a great Empire builder, who took wealth health and education to darkest Africa. What was never mentioned, however, was that he saw the world as one huge British colony. The following was written in his will, which I find rather shocking.
To and for the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire Continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the Valley of the Euphrates, the Islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial representation in the Imperial Parliament which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire and, finally, the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible, and promote the best interests of humanity.[49][50]

Rhodes was the world's richest man of his day, he was also extremely proud of his English nationality. He said "To be born English is to win first prize in the lottery of life".

His statue sits in a niche at Oriel, and personally I think it should stay where it is. Attempting to change history should not be tolerated, especially in one of the world's greatest centres of learning.

As controversial as Rhodes certainly is, one has to wonder how many Africans (or even Brits) would really want things to return to how they were before he brought so much change to their continent.

Rhodes-ia may no longer be called Rhodes-ia, but the wealth-creating mining and infrastructure is still in place, even if a small group of Oxford students refuse to appreciate as much.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

It's Finally Open.

This is our brand new small-town Lidl supermarket. I visited yesterday just to see what's on offer.

Frankly I wasn't impressed. Quality didn't look particularly good, and some prices were even above my 'far superior' usual supermarket. Fruit and veg' looked OK, but so what!

I came out empty handed, and shall not be returning. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Dear Oh Dear.


You can always tell what sort of a mood I'm in when I drag out the above picture again; and it usually has something to do with depression and politics (or politicians).

TRUMPALIN: need one say more! What a dreadful prospect for the poor US of A, and what an even worse prospect for his cheer-leaders, who will eventually come to realise what bloody fools they were for having supported him (much like those who supported Blair in the UK; but would now never admit to it). I notice they've also got some disgraced ex-president's dodgy wife in the running.

Over in the UK it's just as sad. Thank goodness they have a good common-sense party in control, and things are going very well for Britain PLC. But on the opposition benches they have a small unintelligent little boy, parading in the body of a scruffy old age pensioner, who is fast dragging his party down into a political nowhereland.

Like most people (excluding certain N Koreans), I happen to think that a healthy democracy requires strong leaders from varying parties who see things from different points of view; however juvenile they may be. This encourages good debate, and hopefully wise decisions. But with a lower-forth-form Commie leading the Socialists in the UK, this just doesn't happen. I think the UK deserves a competent Labour leadership on the opposition benches, not some bunch of misguided PC fanatics.

On most Wednesdays at mid-day I watch Prime Ministers Questions, live on TV, and I'm appalled by Jeremy Corbyn's childish banter. You can say what you like about Dave's education, but when you've battled through debating societies both at school and at university, it doesn't take much skill to make Corbyn look like the rank, misguided, amateur that he surely is.

Dear oh dear; do wake up Labour, and get rid of that plonker tout de suite..... pronto!

It's embarrassing.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Nursery Food.

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I think Lady M has fallen in love.

First it was his Prune and Frangipane Tart, now it's his Fruity Steamed Sponge Pudding. Where will it end?

Chef James Martin (above) can do no wrong. If he demonstrated a recipe for Newt's Gall Bladders in Mustard Custard, she'd be off to the kitchen to make it at once.

I don't normally eat nursery food, but I was forced to admit that this was 'acceptably pleasant'. I just hope he doesn't start advocating Grey Beluga Caviare on toast; I'd be broke.

Below is Lady M's Steamed Sponge Pud'. Mr Martin's recipe used Blueberries for his topping; Lady M's used Tayberries.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Outdoor Pursuits.


If I was to take up camping (don't be ridiculous), I'd simply HAVE to buy one of these!

In fact, I might even buy one, just to say that I own one.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

An Interloper; the pros and cons.


My life in the UK was spent between Sussex/Surrey (where I was born), Shropshire/Welsh border, and London. I really know very little about other parts of Britain, other than where I was at school and my knowledge of that area is pretty limited too.

I spent almost four years living in the West Midlands (in my people's house above), and had very mixed feelings about the place.

There is no question that the people of the Home Counties, and the people of the Midlands have a very different attitude towards hospitality. I'm not talking about those who were fortunate enough to have been educated away, or attended country-wide universities, but those who remained glued to their particular corner of the country.

I loved the countryside up there, and especially just over the border into Wales, but I never felt at home there. The locals had an uncanny way of making you feel like an unwelcome stranger, and they seemed to delight in as much.

I did all the usual things that one does to try to make oneself accepted into village life. I became a regular at the pub', I ran the local Youth Club for a year, I reintroduced the annual Horticultural Show (which had been allowed to lapse), I raised money to send a group of 8 village children on a fabulous free adventure holiday to Bavaria (my high point), and I organised fund-raising to buy an electric wheelchair for a local girl who'd had an accident abroad; amongst other things. I like to think that I did my bit to integrate.

However, none of these things really helped me to become properly accepted, and when I eventually left the area I was extremely happy to return to a much more sociable Sussex, and France.

I had a friend in the village who came from Liverpool. He once asked the village garage owner how long it would take for him to be accepted into village life. The garage man replied "Oh, at least TEN years". My friend replied "Remind me to leave in NINE".

p.s. I don't wish to sound anti my old temporary home area, because I'm not. It's actually one of the places where I'd still like to live. But being friendlier would have cost them nothing; I can't see the appeal of being inhospitable!

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