Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Without Question, The Very Best Pub In The World.


If you take the A26 from Crowborough towards Tunbridge Wells (in god's own county of Sussex), after about a couple of miles, on the right, you'll come across a classic old Pub set back from the road called The Boars Head.

From the outside you can see at once that this is no ordinary boozer. It's low doors, tile hung facade, and huge chimney stack, tells you that you are about to enter a beer drinker's Jerusalem.

At this time of year, there is always a fire slowly burning in the huge 17th century inglenook; no enclosed wood-burner here, just flames and a wisp of smoke.

The beer is courtesy of the wonderful Harvey's in Lewes, and your pork pie, ploughman's, or pack of pork scratchings will be served to you by a beautiful Sussex wench with a welcoming smile. What could be better?

OK, I've lived less than half my life in England (and about 14 of those years were pre-beer), but I've still managed to assess the standards of many a Pub, and I can assure you that this is THE VERY BEST.

(Don't believe anything anyone might mention to the contrary)

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Preacher Man.

We had the bloody Jehovah's Witnesses around again recently. No matter how rude I am to them, they always come back for more.

I'm pleased to say that this time one of them recognised me, and he immediately apologised for their visit.

This video made me laugh; sorry, but the sound quality is awful.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Hand it over!

I was recently going through an old photo album, and came across some amusing letters.

One of my late father-in-law's postings was to Nepal. Much of his work involved 'pressing the flesh', partying, getting naughty Brits out of prison, holding banquets for visiting dignitaries, etc. All typical diplomatic stuff.

He also received invitations to most major events; one of which was the above. The marriage of his friend the Maharaja's son to the eldest Princess daughter of His Majesty the King of Nepal in 1948.

Sadly not all invitations were what they seemed, and attending weddings was out of the question. It was accepted that having a person 'outside the faith' attend a Nepalese wedding was (in those days) totally verboten, and in recompense a 'bag of money' was sent to those who were unable to witness the ceremony in person.

Of course the FO has rules, and any gifts given to diplomats over a certain value become the property of The Crown, and have to be handed over.

I wonder what the FO does with all its 'gifts'? Maybe there's some big basement somewhere in Whitehall, filled with bags of money, fancy clocks, and ceremonial swords, etc.

Even a simple old invitation from the late 40's has a story.

Sunday, 14 January 2018


I've just finished reading my good friend John Masouri's fabulous book 'Simmer Down' The Early Wailers' Story.

I lived in London between 64 and 69, just when Jamaican Ska, Rocksteady, and Reggae music was first making its presence known in the UK. I was saying to John recently that the very first graffiti I remember seeing was in the underground, somewhere around West Ken or Barons Court, and it consisted of the single word TOOTS. After that first viewing, the word TOOTS started to appear everywhere; graffiti has 'advanced' a lot since then.

Anyway, this is what all that fuss was about (many years later).

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Foreign Cheese.


I have mentioned before that this cheese, above, is just about the only representative of the British dairy industry that one is likely to find in any French supermarket.

I have only recently discovered why!

Back in 2005 The enormous French 'Lactalis Group' bought A McLelland & Son, the Scottish makers of 'Seriously Strong'. So, in effect it's now a French cheese, but made in Scotland (I presume).

The French are so protective of their cheeses, that it was almost obvious that some jiggery-pokery had taken place over 'Seriously Strong'.

                           R├ęsultat de recherche d'images pour "President cheeses"

The Lactalis group make all your favourite 'President' Camembert and Brie cheeses; in fact they make almost every French cheese that you are likely to find in any normal (non-deli) shop.

That picture on your cheese wrapper of an attractive 'dairy maid' making cheese in her cosy farm cottage, should in fact show a huge factory. Such is life.

Friday, 12 January 2018


I wasn't too keen on this new Kale variety called 'Fizz'; in fact I fed all the larger leaves to the horses. I found it a wee bit tough!

However, as with all my Winter Greens plants, I left them in the ground to sprout, and they are now doing just that.

Usually the new year's sproutings of Winter greens are more tender than the earlier growth. The only others I have left to sprout are the Italian Cavolo Nero, which produces really delicious young shoots

Haddock's is a bit sparse at the moment; just the remains of the Perpetual Spinach was keeping our scurvy at bay, so these are suddenly very welcome.

So, how were my 'Fizz' sproutings? They were delicious. I cooked them for longer than I will again, as I was still worried about them being tough, but they were perfect.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Bad Season.

Between now and the end of April there is little to do other than stay comfortable, keep the place reasonably tidy, and do some painting.

Haddock's is lying fallow, it's too cold to swim, and all we can do is wait for spring.

The pool cover is filled with water after all the rian, and there are plenty of leaves that still need to be removed. It won't be too long before the Toads arrive, and start laying their long chains of eggs. I tend not to go too near the pool at this season.

In the afternoons we sometimes go 'upstairs' to the barn, make sure it's warm, and have a cup of tea. We occasionally light the woodburner, and play table tennis. The barn is always comfortable, its big open space is so different to the 'downstairs' cottage; we feel as if we're on holiday. 

It's still early in the year, and the weather has plenty of time to turn nasty; we are certainly not complacent.

So, we keep the home fires burning, eat comforting stews and roasts, and make sure that the Husqvarna is kept busy.

Our fingers are crossed that the wretched Aussie Flu doesn't hit us, and that we emerge into spring in good form.

Nothing is certain in the bad season.

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