Tuesday, 19 March 2019

'Four eyes'.



I was hoping I'd get through life without having to wear glasses.

For some reason, I cannot part with all my old bits of broken specs. I have boxes filled with assorted lenses, frames, and arms (are they called arms?).

Most have been broken by dogs; our dogs. Because I keep my specs on strings, they hang down in front of me, and are perfect for snagging themselves in dogs' paws.

Many have met their maker in the woods. Whilst mushrooming, and staring at the ground, I get myself caught on branches, and suddenly find I'm 'glassesless'.

Some have just been lost, and never found; but this is rare.

I only wear the wretched things for reading writing or drawing, so they dangle, unused, in front of me for most of my waking hours. I'm slightly annoyed that I need to wear them at all. I don't like them, and see them mostly as unnecessary accidents, waiting to happen.

The most recent accident was at the paws of young Billy. I think he bit them, pulled them off, and sadly I walked on them (outdoors in the dark). They have now joined the huge assortment of broken bits and pieces in my collection. 

However, I've replaced them with the above. My oldest said he thought they looked OK; I'm sure I'll get used to them, I was always more comfortable with half-moons! 

Monday, 18 March 2019

Are you sitting comfortably... A re-posting from December 2010.


The brain is the strangest of computers.

I'm currently feeding some friends' cat whilst they're away galavanting in Blighty. And, this morning on my way home (as I 'trudged' through half a centimeter of snow), I was reminded of two of my absolute favourite childhood books. I wonder WHY?

Above is Pookie; the rabbit with wings. I used to cry every time my mother read this one to me, and no doubt I still would if I had to read it to my grandchildren.

And this is Ameliaranne who fought off bullies, organised concerts, and was an all-round good egg (a junior Judy Garland of her literary day).

I still have the books, but I'm afraid they're both in a pretty poor state from far too much use. I'm sure that much of my enjoyment of them was on account of their beautiful illustrations.


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Sunday, 17 March 2019

MAMA CASS easy come, easy go


The rather tragic Mama Cass with a nice song for Sunday.

A classic example of the 'voice' being far superior to its 'backing music'; not always the case. At 15 secs it totally comes alive!



Saturday, 16 March 2019

Disconcerting.



I returned to my laptop yesterday afternoon, to find a small black screw on the table, just to the right of my machine. Where the hell could it have come from?

Even after serious interrogation (thumbscrews, waterboarding, etc), Lady Magnon denied all knowledge of the offending object. I searched everywhere to see if anything lacked a small black screw; nothing. I looked up at the ceiling; nothing was up there from which it could have fallen.

So, I'm baffled. It's worrying thinking that something is lacking an essential part; a bit like having pieces left over after having dismantled and rebuilt some simple machine. 

I've checked everything that has stood on the table for the past month or so. The laptop itself, my camera, my binoculars, even my sticky-tape dispenser; nothing lacks a small black screw.

It's enough to drive a chap mental.


Friday, 15 March 2019

Note the address. Retsina Greek Restaurant, Belsize Park, N London.


When choosing a restaurant back in the UK (or elsewhere), I would regularly plump for Greek.

The cooking is usually simple but beautifully prepared. Oregano, Lemon, and Olive Oil are regularly employed to enhance meat dishes, and fish is prepared with a minimum of fuss. Very few (French style) fancy sauces are used, and fresh produce is allowed to speak for itself.

Personally I think the Greeks have it right, they are people who love to prepare and consume; and they make it known. Anyone who has eaten in a Greek beach-side taverna will know exactly what I mean.



Above is what you can expect at most good Greek family-run restaurants. Mr Ramsay seems to agree with me.

Just look at that Greek Mama in the kitchen; what a lovely woman!

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Souvenir Plate.



I'm not big on Royal souvenirs, but I'd rather like one of these.

I believe that these beautiful commemorative souvenirs come from Brazil, and were made to celebrate 'Hary and Megan's' wedding, which I believe was held on the same day as Harry and Meghan's.

Those portraits are uncanny; doppelgangers at their best. I really want one.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Les Cannelés.



These delicious little, sticky, spongey, 'cake-lets' (Cannelés or Canelés), are flavoured with Rum and Vanilla, and are a speciality of Bordeaux.

They are not difficult to make, but you do need special moulds for them. Along with Madeleine moulds, I would suggest their moulds are indispensable in the well-equipped kitchen.

These particular Cannelés are probably the best I've ever tasted. They were a gift from a friend/neighbour, and came direct from Bordeaux itself.

If you see some on your next visit to France, I recommend. You can see they're good, just by looking at the picture.




Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Pre-foliage & Post-foliage.



Had enough of this!


Can't wait for this!



Monday, 11 March 2019

Solex.


                               Résultat de recherche d'images pour "velo solex"

Mobility is the dream of every adolescent; it has also been the saviour of the human race.

No more do cousins marry cousins. Since the invention of the bicycle they can spread their nets further afield, and find a mate at the next village and beyond.

In France this mobility came by way of the Solex. A simple motorised bike, that could take its youthful rider away from home, and into foreign parts.

These days the Moped/Scooter has replaced the Solex, but I know which I prefer.

I did own a Solex years ago, and I also owned a Peugeot 103 Moped, both were great little bikes. Very economical to run, and a speed that gave you time to appreciate all around you. I'd quite like to buy another one.

For those who are new to the Solex. You start by peddling, then engage the tiny front-mounted motor by pushing forwards on the lever at the front. This allows you to travel up to about 30 kph; unless you are going uphill, when some extra peddling will be required.

They aren't built for speed, but are extremely economical. I think I'm right in saying that there was a minimum age of 14 for their use. What a wonderful invention.


Sunday, 10 March 2019

Tea Time.



When, at 3.30pm sharp, one's 'man' declares that 'Tea is served', every Englishman on the planet will drop whatever he is doing, and devote half an hour to drinking his preferred 'cuppa', accompanied by a couple of McVities dark Chocolate Digestives, or a slice of Battenberg. 

Loin-cloth wearing 'bearers', on the slippery slopes of the Himalayas, carry boxes of biscuits so that the Sahib can take Tea at that prescribed moment. If the snow is not too deep they might also fight their way through to deliver his Cucumber sandwiches.

Especially trained Sherpas can even be employed to ensure delivery of Lemon Drizzle Cake; but these men are rare (and expensive). Only the privileged can guarantee such delicacies.

Luckily my hearing is 20/20, and from Haddock's I can always hear Lady M's distant voice declaring that it's Tea Time (we don't have a 'man'), and without any disastrous obstacle to inhibit her, there is often that famous Lemon Drizzle Cake to accompany my two afternoon cups of Lapsang. 

Lucky is he, or she, to be English at 3.30pm, whether they be in an Igloo in Manhattan, or a Teepee in Barnsley. A subject of Her Majesty should never be denied his or her daily cup of Tea.



Saturday, 9 March 2019

Magnon junior demonstrates.



It is traditional in Thailand to eat whilst sitting on the floor, with no need for knives and forks.

I have no idea what he's eating, but he seems to be enjoying it; and I've been assured that it makes your hair curl too.

Go Mischa!

Friday, 8 March 2019

Gourmet's Delight.



It's 'sprouting season' at Haddock's. All those Winter greens are now beginning to sprout, and it's those 'sproutings' that are probably the best bits.

Of course, the PSB (above) is grown expressly for its sproutings, but Cavolo Nero (below) and Kale, if left in the ground, will throw up leafy 'bonus' sproutings for several weeks.


Of all these 'unexpected' sproutings, the Cavolo Nero is probably the tastiest. It is almost the next best thing to Spring Asparagus. Delicious.

This lot was consumed last night.


Thursday, 7 March 2019

Whatever next!


Brits are used to seeing that just about everything they thought was British to the core, is now owned by foreign companies; but this is going a step too far!

                         Résultat de recherche d'images pour "morgan"

Yes, Malvern based sports car manufacturer Morgan, that quintessential English company, has been flogged-off to Italy's 'Investindustrial'.

Investindustrial already own 31% of Aston Martin (what? you thought they were still British owned?); amongst a swathe of other companies.

I've driven an old Morgan 3 wheeler, and I'd love to drive a Plus 8. The Plus 8 above has been on Lady Magnon's Christmas wish-list for as long as I've known her (Santa ignored her). I'm not sure what she'll think now, knowing that it's bloody Italian.

It won't be long before we'll hear that The Queen has been sold to N Korea!



Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Keef's gone.




Sleep well Keef; you woz a goodun!


Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Talk of the Devil!


Lady Magnon was watching the beginning of  last week's 'The Great British Sewing Bee', when they announced that the project was to make Bell Bottom trousers.

I've always disliked Bell Bottoms, and even though they were at the height of fashion during my London days; I managed to resist in favour of (what later became) the 'New Romantic' style.

Anyway, I was just explaining to Lady Magnon that in around 1966, a friend of mine in Chelsea called Adrian, bought millions of pairs of white US Navy Bell Bottoms, died them pink, yellow, blue, green, etc, and made a fortune on the back of the unpleasant hippyish trend.

Then, blow me down, just as I was telling Lady M all about him, on comes Adrian's face on the TV, with the presenter saying exactly what I'd just been saying myself.

Adrian's face appears very briefly at around 10.25secs, only die-hards would wish to watch any more.

Spooky, or what!





Monday, 4 March 2019

Billy 'pink nose'.



My hands are shredded and my slippers are threadbare, there are indelible stains on the carpet, and we keep finding strange things in strange places. Yes, we have a puppy in the house.

I obtained my first puppy just before I left college. He was a scruffy black-n-tan terrier named Hamlet. The amazing thing about puppies is the instant change they have on your life. Not only are they huge fun to have at home, but they also attract the attention of almost every passer-by when you're out-n-about. Anyone who wishes to meet people and make new friends should acquire one without delay.

We were living in North Wales, at the time, and would go into our nearby town once a week on Market Day. With both a cute puppy, and a cute baby, in tow, moving from A to B became almost impossible. Every few paces someone would bend down to say 'goo goo' to the baby, or pamper the puppy. Of course, lengthy conversations would then take place about every aspect of both; how old, what's his name, and in the pup's case, what breed is he?

It was very pleasant having all the attention, but it slowed us down hugely. We only ever had two ports of call in town; one particular vegetable stall, where we bought our week's supply, and a 'health food' shop where we bought wholemeal bread, rice, pulses, pasta, etc (all rare commodities in Wales at that time). Even so, our once a week trip took all morning on account of the admiring passers-by.

I should add that these days I'm as guilty as anyone of greeting small (or even big) dogs in the street.

If you're looking to meet people.... buy yourself a puppy!


p.s. I was walking through the garden yesterday, wondering what the strange noise was. It was swarms of Bees in the Plum tree (below).


Sunday, 3 March 2019

Stranger than fiction.


                                            Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Radio Malt"

Today's world is very strange, but in many ways mine was much stranger. Here are just a few examples.

When I was small, you could enter a shoe shop and look at X Ray images of your own feet through bizarre Dalek-like machines. Certain children had their fingers painted with foul-tasting liquids, to stop them biting their nails. But strangest of all was that many were given giant spoons-full of Radio Malt to give them energy (I think).

Radio Malt was a bizarre product. On reading about it recently, it seems to have been primarily found in post-war boarding schools where is was issued to make children Rounder Stronger and Bulkier. Parents supplied their own giant jars of this horrible vitaminised Gloop. It was sickly sweet, with a taste somewhere between Molasses and Treacle. It's consumption was overseen by the school Matron (or similar).

I am pleased to say that I was NOT a partaker of Radio Malt, but many of my fellow school friends were. I wonder if they still have any teeth?


Saturday, 2 March 2019

La Sinfónica Nacional Infantil de Venezuela.


This will gladden the heart of any music lover. A thousand (if not more) Venezuelan children under the enthusiastic batton of Sir Simon Rattle. I hope you have good speakers connected to your laptop!




Friday, 1 March 2019

Ecclesiastical climbers?


                                       

I happen to think that most old buildings look better with a few climbing roses, et al, wending their verdant ways between windows, and around doorways.

The juxtaposition of hard stone/brick and soft foliage has an appeal unto itself.

With this in mind, I have always wondered why England's ancient village churches are not swathed in Roses, Wisteria, or Clematis; surely they could only enhance the beauty of such buildings.

Maybe the killjoy church hierarchy have issued an edict about such things. Perhaps they have declared that the only focus of adornment should be the fragrant vicar, and his highly embroidered 'frocks'!



Thursday, 28 February 2019

How I see it.



Some clever UK education chief recently suggested that children should not be allowed to take their mobile 'phones into class. Well, fancy that!

The question of consulting 'phones in the classroom seems to me yet another way of dividing the nation. Rather than dragging schools up to higher standards, they have been surreptitiously keeping their pupils down by allowing them to consult 'facebook', 'Skype', or 'Instagram' in class. 

I must say, if schoolchildren find their 'phones more interesting or important than whatever their teacher is attempting to teach them; then I see problems ahead. Frankly I'm amazed that strict rules were not laid down when mobile 'phones first became widespread amongst children.

In my own teaching days, had a pupil started texting, or sending selfies, during one of my classes, I would have put the device straight into the dustbin.

There are many insidious ways to encourage social divide at an early age, which may not seem obvious at first, but they do the intended job. Children using mobile 'phones during lessons is one such, and is frankly ridiculous. 

Call me old fashioned, but the idea of children playing with their 'phones during lessons, at table, or whilst they are supposed to be sleeping; is completely crazy!



Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Comparing chalk with chalk.






Exact same age.

Exact same spot.

Exact same pose.... (just 9 years apart)

Anyone believe in reincarnation?


Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Courageux.


                           Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Pigs chickens and ducks in  farmyard"

The word Courageux of course means Courageous, but it also means Hard Working, and I've only ever heard it used in this latter sense.

Courageux was a word of praise. To be seen as Hard Working was a compliment, and was as good as any young working man could expect. In certain sections of society, brawn over brain was seen as a virtue, and possibly still is. Over here the word tended to be used for those who were involved with agriculture.

These days it's something that one hardly ever hears, and I wondered why.

I suspect that bureaucracy is to blame, and the EU in particular. In the days when a young lad was up with the Alouette to do milking before school, then on returning home he cleaned out the Pigs before supper, he was expected to work hard, and did so; it was all part of being born into a farming family.

These days, there are very few milking herds, hardly any Pigs, and even farmyard Ducks and Chickens have become rare. EU regulations have made Hard Work uneconomical and pointless. Why bother getting up before daylight to milk a dozen Cows, if you are only going to lose money by doing so? The small scale  'peasant farmer' is no more.

If you let a person work hard, and benefit from his/her work, everyone wins. If you restrict them to doing only what 'The State' wants them to do, for little (or no) return, they will soon become forcibly unproductive.

That is what has happened here in France. Some of my neighbours hardly know what to do with their land any more. Some grow Sunflowers or Maize, others let holiday homes to Summer visitors, and some just scratch their heads; but they probably all need to be subsidised by Brussels.

What a terrible mess the EU has made of its agricultural policy; and this is only the beginning. It wouldn't surprise me if before long there's a massive Hay (silage) Mountain, as it's the only crop that still appears uncontrolled, and you don't even have to move from your sofa. Twice a year you call-in the contractor and he does everything for you.

At about €60 per 'wrapped' round bale (almost what you pay the contractor); they'll be very hard-pushed to pay off the debt on that Japanese 4 by 4, or the huge new green American tractor that they were encouraged to buy a few years back.

Meanwhile, the long line of retired EU Agricultural Ministers are all living the high life, on huge pensions; doing what so many farmers are now doing.... NOTHING.

p.s. There are rumours afoot that the Brits will all starve after Brexit. Of course they won't, but the rumours abound simply because Brussels has made such a mess of British agriculture and fishing.

Dairy farmers would love to provide milk again, arable farmers would love to grow crops again, and fishermen would love to catch fish. And without the destructive EU rules, they will.


Monday, 25 February 2019

The Schoolgirl Bride of Isis.


The story that simply won't go away!

Katie Hopkins' inimitable view of the Shamima Begum affair.



19 year old Ms Begum was either born in Bangladesh or England; no-one seems to know.

At age 15 she stole some money, and her sister's passport, and secretly flew off to Syria to become a willing 'comfort girl' for some Dutch ISIS terrorist that she'd never met.

Now that defeat is in the air for ISIS, and her killer 'husband' is in prison, the dream is over and she wishes to return to the comforts of her home in E London. Since her time in Syria she has given birth to three babies; the latest of which is the sole survivor.

The UK Home Secretary has said 'NO' to her return, so she is now stateless.

Personally I would like to see her prosecuted, but not cosseted at the expense of the British taxpayer. Maybe she should go through the courts in Syria, as it would have been there that any serious crimes would have been committed.

In the UK, her minor peccadillos would hardly warrant a slap on the wrist. Now read on.....


Sunday, 24 February 2019

Cro meets Stravinsky (re-posted from April 2012).


I was privileged to attend a school where the study of music was taken extremely seriously. In about my second year I was introduced to the works of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, and since those days, their work has remained amongst my favourites (although I must admit, I haven't listened to either for quite some while).

In 1966 I was managing an art gallery in London's Devonshire Street, when I received a phone call from my distinguished friend Dr Camille Honig saying 'Don't leave the gallery on any account; I'll be round in about an hour'. I was intrigued.... Dr Honig was the Secretary of The International Martin Buber Society

Knowing Camille well, I imagined he was about to turn-up with some gorgeous model, well known actress, or famous pop star. So, you can imagine my surprise when an hour or so later he walked through the door with Igor Stravinsky.

I was shocked. Camille introduced me, and I genuflected, bowed, and shook his hand (that same hand that wrote The Rite of Spring); I then spent about 10 minutes in his company. I remember very little of our conversation, other than about halfway through he changed from speaking English to French; and the fact that I was able to continue without any fuss seemed to impress him..... Thank goodness he didn't break out into Russian!

Stravinsky had been in London to attend the premier of one of his works (I think at The Albert Hall), and was also, at the time, the Honorary President of The International Martin Buber Society (hence his connection with Camille).


My boss at the gallery, Miklos Vilag, had been away for most of the day, and was FURIOUS that he'd not been present to meet with Stravinsky. He later took his anger out on poor Camille by banning him from the gallery (on some silly trumped-up charge of having stolen a bottle of gin).

Camille later dedicated the above flyer to me, using the words 'with un-homosexual love'. I somehow think he wished it was otherwise, but as my Italian girlfriend at the time was one of natures' most exquisite creations; I think he understood.

I am eternally grateful to my dear old friend, Camille. He was kind enough to engineer one of the most memorable days of my life! I continue to thank him.


Saturday, 23 February 2019

Friday, 22 February 2019

One man's rubbish...


                                   Image result for artists easel

The day I left my Art College Foundation Course, I came across the Caretaker throwing away all sorts of (what he considered) 'rubbish'.

He was pushing a cart-full of broken easels (like the one above) towards a giant bonfire; ready to chuck them on.

I asked him if I could take a few of them, and piled about 7 or 8 onto the roof-rack of my VW Beetle.

Whilst talking to this discerning cleaner, I asked him if he was chucking out anything else that might be of interest to me. "Only those old plaster casts" he replied, nodding his head towards a pile of old and broken plaster Greek and Roman torsos, heads, feet, etc. I grabbed a large torso, a corinthian capital, and a head. I still have the head (below).


Back at home, I managed to assemble two complete easels from the pile of bits-n-pieces. The assembly work took about ten minutes, and I was left with a nice pile of rejected wood which went on the fire.

I still have one easel; the other one I lent to a friend. When I eventually went to collect it from her, she told me she'd thrown it away. Charming!

I don't wish to moan about the UK's Education budget, but multiply that carefree Caretaker's attitude towards equipment by tens of thousands schools and colleges, and you begin to see just a tiny fraction of the unnecessary waste.

Not that I'm complaining, of course!


Thursday, 21 February 2019

The Tudor Monastery Farm.


                          Image result for tudor monastery farm

I don't know how I missed this series when it first came to TV; I must have been busy. We had a cold rainy period a few weeks back, and rather than watch dreary TV, I reverted to YouTube.

I've always been interested in medieval times; the architecture, the farming practices, and daily life. It was an era of hardship for most peasant farmers, but it had its moments.

The first thing one learns in Episode 3 of TTMF, is that the average peasant ate 2 lbs of bread a day, and drank 3 pints of ale. To provide for this, one person's diet required about 6 acres of wheat/barley per annum. If the crop was to fail (which was likely every few years), starvation followed. Life was tentative.

If you are interested in such things, I have given the YouTube link below. Personally I found this particular episode fascinating. Milling, brewing, baking, candle-making, pig-breeding, bee-keeping; all is there. It's about an hour's worth, but filled with interest.

If you have the time; enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLyw6w-UH6U



Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Haddock's 2019.



I try not to change my selection of vegetables too much, as I seem to have found the right balance of quantities and varieties for my annual needs.

However, I have had two particular recommendations for this year. The variety of haricot vert called 'Crockett' is said to be a really excellent new variety. It is highly productive, very tasty, and quite dark in colour. My friend Margaret Barwick gives them 10/10, so how can I refuse. The second change is my Beetroot; I shall sow a new variety (to me) called betterave d'Egypte, which again comes highly recommended.


Not much happening down at Haddock's as yet. I'm digging and spreading compost, and trying to ensure that the whole plot is relatively weed free.

Elsewhere there are a few signs of life. The Daffs are just in flower, and both of our varieties of Clematis are sprouting leaves. However, we mustn't be fooled into thinking that Spring has arrived, I expect there's plenty of cold weather to come.



Tuesday, 19 February 2019

The Return of Homing Pigs?



One farce that has been successfully stamped-out from the Irish border, is that of its infamous 'homing Pigs'.

Before both sides of the Irish border became members of the same club, there was a subsidy from Brussels on all 'Swine' that crossed from the South to the North, and as you might imagine there were suddenly lots of them.

What happened was that the Pigs would cross the border in huge cattle trucks. At the customs post the driver would be given a certificate stating how many Pigs had crossed the border, so that the subsidies could be claimed from Brussels. The Pigs would then be offloaded a few miles down the road, and driven 'loose' through a hole in the fence, and loaded onto another waiting cattle truck back in the South, for the process to be repeated. The empty truck would then also return and await another load of escapees.

Each Pig could make several crossings a day, and never actually be sold.

They were known as 'homing Pigs', and people became rich on their to and fro travels.

Inventive, yes; but not really in the spirit of the Brussels' dream state. I'm not certain, but we may see them again if they can't find some new border solution.


Monday, 18 February 2019

Open or closed?




I did like it when our fire was just an open fire. We burned metre length logs that sat on ancient dogs, the rather battered fire-back did its best to reflect heat, and (of course) most of the heat went straight up the huge chimney!

Our cast iron fire-back was (I'm assured) made for a newly married couple; P and B (Pierre and Berthe?). The Pine tree and cones were a symbol of fertility. 


Having an enclosed woodburner is both safer and more efficient. No sparks fly out onto the carpet, and one can simply close its door and leave the house, knowing that all will be safe; something one couldn't do with an open fire. 

This means we can also burn cheaper Chestnut wood (which 'spits') rather than the more expensive Oak which doesn't. As I have also temporarily blocked off the huge chimney opening, we also benefit from far more heat staying in the room itself.


However, I do miss the old fire, with all its build-up of ashes, the smoke, and the waste of heat. So few houses now have big open fires, it's rather a shame not seeing these huge Inglenook fireplaces being used as they were intended.

It can always be undone.


Sunday, 17 February 2019

New school.



Boo Boo is now at school in Thailand.

Yesterday's lesson; 'How to make your own Guitar'.

The boy done good. 10/10

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Meet Billy!



Kimbo had organised the whole affair in secret.

Having landed at Toulouse airport, he drove to the breeders home, then presented me with the above on arrival here yesterday afternoon.

Was I surprised? I should say I was!

Billy was born on December 19th (I think), and, as you can see, is that greatest breed of dog; a Border Collie. I've had more dealings with Border Collies than any other breed, and I adore them.

I've already tried him with "Away" and "Come by", but he still has a little to learn.

There's time.


Friday, 15 February 2019

Winter Mushrooms.



Surprisingly, there are actually some Mushrooms growing at the moment. Just yesterday I was crossing a field that was covered with small white Mushrooms.

Then today I was picking some Kale at Haddock's, when I noticed the above growing beneath their stalks.

I've not seen these before. They were black, very small (less than 1 cm in diameter), and seemed to contain 'seeds'; which is very strange. You can even see where some of the 'seeds' have separated from their 'cups, and are lying on the ground nearby.

It didn't take me long to find them on Wiki. They are called Cyathus; also known as Bird's Nest Fungi (for obvious reasons).  

It you are interested, here is the Wiki link....  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyathus

Ain't nature wunderbar.


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Thank you guys!



The riots over here continue, and although there was original legitimacy to their protests, it has now become more wanton destruction, and opportunity for looting, than political angst.

Above are some charming people kicking-in the window of my bank (not my own branch, luckily).

I have never liked left wing gratuitous violence and destruction, but I do understand that without coherent voice, many of them have little other option. 

Burn, destroy, and loot are the tools of today's dissent. I suppose they always have been, and probably always will be, but it doesn't make it acceptable.



Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Courtesy.



Our local small roads are not only very quiet, but they are also in remarkably good shape.

The average width of a rural road is 3 metres, or less. My own small car (The Compact Royce) measures 1 Metre 60 cms wide. It doesn't take much calculation to see that two passing cars (a reasonably rare occurrence) would each need to head for the grassy verge in order to avoid contact. Something I always do.

However, there's one breed of car owner who never does. You've guessed it; 4 by 4 owners!

The very cars that have no problem driving across fields, are the very ones who always refuse to budge.

They're usually either big Japanese or German 'todger replacements', owned by 5 ft 2 inch local farmers. These are not used as farm work-horses, but as ordinary everyday cars; not replacements for the Land Rover Defender as seen on every UK farm, but as shopping cars for Madame.

For some reason it's always these that refuse to move onto the verge when required, and it drives me bloody nuts. 

And, yes, I do shout at them.



Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Cleaning the Augean stables.



The labour Party has been having a public clear-out of a few anti-Semitic members. Of the 673 reported cases of anti-Semitism, there have been just 12 expulsions.

Above is Labour Leader Jezza Corbyn (in white shirt), in Tunisia in 2014, laying a wreath at the tomb of Palestinian Black-September terrorists, some of whom were involved in the 1972 Munich Games massacre.

He can writhe, squirm, and make as many excuses as he wants, but I'm amazed that the 12 hasn't been increased to 13, with Corbyn being the 13th.


With more time on his hands, he might then like to lay a wreath at the memorial (above) to those innocent un-armed Israeli Olympic athletes who were so callously gunned-down by Palestinians (just to balance things up a bit; you understand).


Hell on Earth.


                         

Some wee scamp at the Hornsea School & Language College recently altered the name of his East Yorkshire school on Google Maps, to read 'Hornsea Prison & Hell on Earth'.

What a very wicked thing to do, he deserves at least five minutes on the naughty step!

If ever any of my children were to 'personalise' the names of local roads on Google Maps; I might actually be quite annoyed amused (you might need a magnifying glass).

Actually, I do have to thank my oldest (Kimbo) for having baptised our little 'chemin' about 15 years ago; I'm pleased to see that its name is still there. Merci mon petit!

p.s. He assures me it's on all the world's sat-navs too.



Monday, 11 February 2019

Jam tomorrow, jam yesterday, but never jam today!



Well I have to disagree with The White Queen, because very occasionally I do have jam today (as in yesterday).

I'm not a big jam maker, or even a jam eater, but last Summer I had a real glut of Tayberries (big Raspberries), so decided to preserve some, other than in the freezer; and that meant JAM.

I don't know if Tayberries are particularly high in pectin, but every jar I made set perfectly, and was child's-play to make.

If I remember correctly it was 1 Kg Tayberries to 600 gms jam sugar, and the juice of half a Lemon. Boil and process.

Some mornings it just has to be bacon and eggs, on others only muesli will do; but yesterday morning I definitely had jam-urge.

Let me bang my own drum for a bit, and say that this was probably the most delicious Tayberry/Raspberry jam I've ever tasted. It was simply fantastic; a real intensity of flavour. This won't herald a new era of jam eating, because eating overly sweet things makes me feel a bit strange (probably my diabetes). But every so often to experience such jam is a real pleasure.

I shall leave the rest of the jar to Lady M. She doesn't know how lucky she is!


Sunday, 10 February 2019

Canine Love.


                          

                           

                           

                           

                           

Oh how I miss my lovely boys.


Saturday, 9 February 2019

Pesky Asian Hornets (Frelons Asiatiques)



It's almost time to set your traps for the wretched Asian Hornets. It's between Mid February and March/April when the Queens leave their winter underground quarters, and the traps are most effective. I believe these particular Hornets are already in the UK, so this applies to Brits also.

I read recently that traps set in Spring can reduce Hornet numbers by anywhere up to 90%.

Traps are simple to make. I use large glass jars, with a good Hornet-sized hole in the lids. I quarter fill the jar with a mix of beer, jam, sugar, and anything else sweet that's hanging around at the back of the fridge. Ours are hung in Fig and Apple trees.

These simple traps are extremely efficient; last year I must have caught hundreds, if not thousands.

I am reliably (I think) informed that in Germany one can be fined €50,000 for killing Hornets. Well, if the German Hornet Police come round here threatening to fine me, they'll feel the sharp end of my pitch fork pretty damn quick. They can pamper their own bloody pests if they wish; here we are not so keen.

I live in a major Chestnut growing area, and Bees are brought in every year to help pollinate the trees. Asian Hornets, and maybe the native ones too, kill thousands of Honey Bees annually, so the less Hornets the better; not to mention the danger they are to humans.

We want Honey Bees, not Hornets! Get setting those traps!



Friday, 8 February 2019

Northern Ireland.


                                    Résultat de recherche d'images pour "map of ireland"

N Ireland, it's probably true to say, has been a thorn in the UK's side for quite some while; and with all the backstop business, continues to be so.

Not only do the six counties cost the UK more per capita annually than any other of Britain's member countries, but they also try to kill us.

Between the Fenian attacks, which began in 1867, and recent times, the Republicans have launched hundreds of bombing raids on British soil, killing countless civilians.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald stated recently that if there are any changes to the Eire/N Ireland border as a result of Brexit, they will certainly campaign to reunite the two countries.

I know that this goes against everything that The Government (and The Crown) adheres to, but frankly I think it's by far the best solution to the myriad problems that Ulster presents. They would even be able to officially rename Londonderry as just plain 'Derry'.

Personally I cannot see a single problem to an united Ireland (other than for the Unionists). They could still fight amongst themselves if they wished, but at least they would have no more reason to bomb hotels in Brighton, or slaughter horses in London's Hyde Park.

Just looking at the map above, it does seem perfectly logical that Ireland should be a single entity.

I wish them well.


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