Tuesday, 25 June 2019

We are harvesting...



We have plenty of Broad Beans, Mangetout Peas, Globe Artichokes, Courgettes, Beetroot, Spinach, Tayberries, Strawberries, Blackcurrants, and Yellow Cherries.

It's time to start making my Tayberry Jam. I shall buy new lids for my jars, then I'm ready. I really enjoy the process, it's all so quick and easy, and only involves 3 ingredients; Tayberries, Sugar, and Lemon juice. 


Just look at those beauties! 5 mins boiling time, and viola! I made just 2 jars from the above. I'll need to do more almost every day. These berries grow like crazy!



Monday, 24 June 2019

Languages.



Anyone who can speak more than two languages fluently has my admiration. Certain currently newsworthy political folk are impressively multi-lingual.

Boris Johnson is known for speaking Latin fluently, and he also speaks French and Italian. I also believe he SHOUTS in English.

Rory Stewart is probably the most talented. He speaks Dari (a form of Farsi), plus nine other non-specified languages.

Jeremy Hunt speaks Japanese, even though his wife is Chinese.

Corbyn speaks Spanish. Two of his three wives were Spanish speakers; one from Mexico, and one from Chili, so I suppose it was essential. His first one spoke English.

Trump, of course, struggles with just English.

The only language, other than French (and Latin) which I've attempted to learn, was Italian. I would spend hours trying to learn useful phrases, but after about ten minutes they'd evaporate. It was as if my brain refused to absorb them. However, when I learn new words in French; they usually stick without any problem.

I shan't be attempting to learn any other languages.


Sunday, 23 June 2019

Human melting point?



It looks as if next week we will all die of heatstroke. Next Wednesday Thursday and Friday we are promised temperatures of up to 39 C; far too hot for humans.

We shall, of course, spend our days in the pool holding parasols, drinking copious amounts of cold beer, and filling our hats pockets and shoes with ice cubes. Otherwise we'll stay indoors during daylight (sunlight) hours, and only venture outdoors at night.

If you don't hear from me next weekend, please don't send flowers. Generous donations to the Impoverished Artists Widow's Association (made payable to Lady Magnon) would be very welcome.



Saturday, 22 June 2019

The Garden in June.



The Jasmine is in full flower, and when walking up onto our covered terrace, the aroma is intoxicating; almost overpowering.


This Abutilon is very good value; it flowers throughout the year. Never fails.


Lady Magnon's choice of Pot Plants for 2019; I don't know what they're called, but they look very good.


Not quite sure what to think about Daylilies. They perform every year, then leave a bit of a mess. Nice whilst in flower though.


Lavatera always performs well; this one is at the entry gate to Haddock's.


And, finally, Summer wouldn't be Summer without Oleanders. Lovely.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Florist's Bucket.



Every time I see this bucket (it holds our Badminton rackets etc) I have to chuckle.

I was in Brighton, taking a few boxes of rubbish to a nearby municipal dump. Arriving at the dump, I found a youngish rather 'well-to-do' looking man THROWING stuff from the back of his car, with angry delight. He was obviously in a very bad mood.

His ejectiles included brand new Hockey sticks, women's clothes and shoes, pictures, kitchen kit, radios, ornaments, suit cases, and the above Florist's bucket; amongst a whole lot of other brand new looking possessions.

I casually asked "Are you chucking all this stuff away?"

"Yes I fucking am" he replied, heatedly.

"Would you mind if I took the bucket?" I asked.

"Take whatever you fucking like" he replied, going ever redder by the minute.

I took the bucket, and left without saying any more.

What happened when his poor wife/girlfriend returned home; I can't imagine, but I quite expect a court case followed soon after. It didn't give me any pleasure in her misery, but the bucket has served me well for over 40 years; and she's not having it back!


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Worth a look.



From July 20th to October 27th, the RA is showing over 60 painting (mostly portraits) by the little known Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck.

The exhibition will be based in the Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, on the first floor.

Ms Schjerfbeck (1862-1946) has a very light tough, and much of her thin 'scumbling' technique reminds me of Ron Kitaj. 

Very much a feminine painter, she works with a beautiful sensitivity of touch.

If you're in Piccadilly whilst she's showing, it would be well worth a detour.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Tousle Haired Cherub.



I haven't posted a picture of my youngest grandson for quite some while; so here he is, the young Mischa.

Almost since he was born, the poor chap suffered with eczema, but it's now pretty well cleared up. 

He and his big brother recently found three kittens in their garden, and (of course) they've adopted them. They create havoc, have their tails pulled, and are treated by Boo Boo to daily rides in the pushchair. I have a feeling they'll make Billy's life HELL too, when they visit here.


We can't wait to see them. I haven't met little Mischa yet.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Andrew Marr, Rory, and the fragrant Boris.


                               

The UK's Andrew Marr Show is essential Sunday morning viewing, and on last Sunday's edition he interviewed Tory PM hopeful, Rory Stewart. Many of you may have seen it.

At one point during the interview Marr 'accused' both Rory and Boris of having been at Eton and Balliol; as if this was something to be ashamed of.

Marr (Loretto and Trinity), who once described himself as a 'raving leftie', seems, like so many Socialists, to have a problem with high achievers, and success; i.e. people like himself.

I find this attitude most odd. If he would really prefer to take any Tom Dick or Harry off a dustcart, and place him in No 10; then say so. Personally I want my Prime Ministers to be as well educated as possible. I want the highest of high achievers.

Boris managed to win a scholarship to Eton, and a scholarship to Balliol; no mean feats! He was also President of the Oxford Union, and later became Mayor of London. In between time he managed to write about a dozen books.

I really do find it bizarre that there are people who would quite happily see a known Marxist and his cronies in No 10, whilst criticising someone of true intellect; but I suppose that's the state of the crazy UK these days. OK, Boris might have made a few 'interesting' observations about Burka wearers and Watermelons, but that's nothing compared to the appalling language that I hear about him, on a daily basis.

N.B.When, in September 2017, I predicted that Rory would one day become Prime Minister, he was still unknown to most people, and even I didn't think things could advance as fast as they have. I don't think his time will come this year; but give him a couple of years.....


Monday, 17 June 2019

My luck has changed!



I've just received exciting news that I am 'eligible to receive a Tax refund' of £445.21

Not being one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, I was very flattered that such a sum should be returned to me.

I am frankly stunned that they have 'recalculate' my payments, and that they have 'determinate' that I'm worthy of a refund.

All I have to do now is send them all my personal banking details, my inside leg measurement, and my house keys, and I shall be rich!

Thank you Esnath Makuvaza Nago (of Nigeria); you are most kind.



Sunday, 16 June 2019

Boo Boo's future?



Boo Boo's father (my youngest) has decided not to stay in Thailand whilst his villa is being built, and has taken a flat in London's Ladbroke Square, neighbouring Holland Park and Notting Hill.

His reasoning being that he needs to be living in an area where there are good, safe, quality, schools for his two boys. Boo Boo's school in Thailand turned out to be pretty hopeless.

I asked if he knew about the 'infamous' Holland Park School. He didn't.

There are plenty of good schools in central London. St Pauls, Westminster, King's College, etc; but these will cost you about £30,000 pa.

But, there is one excellent school within his catchment area that is very well known for other reasons, and it is literally just down the road from his flat.

Holland Park School (above) is known as the 'Socialist's Eton'. The next best thing to Eton in State education for aspiring Champagne Socialists. Trendy left wing parents throughout London fight for places there.

However, it isn't a foregone conclusion that little Keir, Clement, or Aneurin (or even Boo Boo) who may live next door to the school, will be offered a place. For the 240 places in each years' intake, there are about 1,900 applications.

Provided that my son stays in Ladbroke Square, Boo Boo will certainly be a priority case. But it maybe wise for BB to start reading Das Kapital, so that he can quote Marx at an interview in a few year's time; it could only improve his chances!

It'll be nice to have them all back in Europe again.



Saturday, 15 June 2019

WARNING.....WARNING. !!!!!


There may be some truth in this message; there may not.

I have just been sent this short video, and knowing the French Trade Unions, I am taking it 'reasonably' seriously.

If you are travelling to France on (or after) the 22nd, it may be worth checking that we're still open for business!




Friday, 14 June 2019

Local Remembrance Days.



As many in the world have recently been remembering the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings, over here we have been remembering other events.

The tiny village of Frayssinet-le-Gelat is where I buy my wonderful bread.

Today it's a very quiet spot, known only for being the birthplace of the man who invented the Jubilee Clip, and the barbaric German wartime slaughter of civilians; to whom we recently paid homage .

The Germans had suspected that the village was the hideout of several resistance fighters, and rather than search for them, decided simply to make an example of the villagers themselves. It was easier, and demonstrated their vile attitude towards basic humanity.

At 5 pm on the 21st May 1944 two divisions of the SS Das Reich, en route for Oradour-sur-Glane (see Wiki), arrived in the village from nearby Villefranche du Périgord. At 6.30 pm they were joined by another division arriving from Fumel.

They assembled everyone in the center of the village, where they proceeded to hang three women, and shoot 11 men. One imagines that they enjoyed watching the women suffer.

So as to not upset the Germans, the monument in memory of those who were murdered was recently changed to say 'Barbarie Nazie' instead of 'Barbarie Allemande', but I prefer to show it as it was originally intended.

The same German troops then moved on to Oradour-sur-Glane, where on the 10th June 1944 they slaughtered 642 villagers. amongst which were 350 women and children; again, all innocent civilians.

The men were all shot in the legs, to make them immobile, then doused with petrol and set alight. One witness discovered a baby that had been 'crucified'.

The Village of Oradour has been left exactly as it was after the atrocities were committed; totally burned-out and ruined.

As it says on the base of the monument 'Souvenez vous';.... we do; and have!

p.s. Today is also the 2nd anniversary of the Grenfell fire, where 72 people died. RIP all.


Thursday, 13 June 2019

Prezzie.


                                   

She's back.

I do like it when Lady Magnon goes shopping in London; not because she's absent, but because she always brings me back something special.

And what could be more special than a fabulous Melton Mowbray Pork Pie from The Queen's own grocer in Piccadilly.

I shall be in Heaven for the next few days!


Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The power of Vitamins.



The pool has been open for less than two weeks, and I noticed that the sides had become dull and discoloured over winter. Just below the water line it had become slightly beige-ish and dirty looking.

I tried scrubbing, but nothing happened. Then I remembered our little trick from last year; Vitamin C.

I emptied a Kilo pack of Ascorbic Acid powder into the flow of the water jets, and within an hour the pale blue liner was as clean as the day it was installed.

You might see from the photo that everything is now sparkling clear (on reflection I should have taken a 'before' photo).

If you, or your friends, have the same problem with grubby looking pools, remember Vitamin C.

On top of which, we probably won't catch a cold for the next ten years!!!



Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Hashish.


                                   

Mr Stephenson has somewhat preempted this posting, but seeing as we both wrote at similar times, I'm posting my version anyway.

I am not a drug user (other than red wine), but it was almost impossible to have gone through living in London in the mid to late 60's, then having spent five years at various Art Colleges, without having tried a few of the illicit products on offer. This must have been much the same for certain politicians.

In those days, the most common, and popular, 'naughtiness' was Hashish; a compressed Cannabis resin (above) that was smoked having been crumbled into Tobacco. Unfortunately I found Hashish far too soporific, and stopped smoking it almost at once; I was missing-out on too much fun.

I wonder what happened to Hashish; its name is hardly ever mentioned these days. Even in Morocco, where it used to be sold openly in the form of government stamped slabs, it is no longer offered either in cafés or on street corners.

Other products around at the time were Acid (LSD), and very occasionally Opium. Purple Hearts were the pills of choice for 'Mod' clubbers.

Drug culture has become the norm these days, with the most unlikely of people regularly consuming a few lines of Cocaine at the weekend (Gove?). Everyone from wealthy City traders to sink-estate no-hopers enjoy (if that is the right word) their regular snorts. Convicted Drug-Drivers have now overtaken the number of Drink-Drivers. Synthetic drugs are everywhere, and they become more inventive and numerous by the day.

There are those who wish to legalise the whole drug arena; they suggest it would rid the country of dealers. Others wish to take a much harder line, and throw both dealers and users into prison indefinitely. In either case the use of drugs has become an openly everyday occurrence, and is having a profound effect on the world's criminality, mental health, and economy.

Much of our present day drug/crime/sex/corruption parallels can be compared to the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and one can but wonder what modern day Odoacer will replace a latter day Romulus when Gibbon's opus is rewritten.

Personally I think the decline is already well advanced. Everything seems to be going wrong, and the strict morals of yesterday have become the new liberalism of today. Much of that is OK (desired even), but there are too many unwelcome side issues that will probably bring us all down; drugs being one!


Monday, 10 June 2019

Pissed Off.


                                  Résultat de recherche d'images pour "closed"

Monday is my shopping day.

During my 20 Km drive into the town where I shop, I hardly saw a single car. In fact I was thinking how wonderful it is to live somewhere with so little traffic.

When I arrived at the shops, it was DEAD. Not a single car in the huge parking area.

On returning home I see that it is Lundi de Pentecôte. A Catholic day off; everything is closed.

The worst thing is; I'm sure I made exactly the same mistake last year.



Sunday, 9 June 2019

Another Jezza shot to the foot.



As Jezza goes from crazy to crazier, it has recently been revealed that he was very much in awe of an earlier Labour leader (1932-1935) with similarly dubious 'pacifist' aspirations.

Dear George Lansbury was a man of close political ideals to our Jezza. Just before the second German war, he went around Europe, meeting and greeting the likes of Hitler and Mussolini (not unlike Jezza meeting Hamas and Hezbollah), then suggesting that the UK would be better off unilaterally disarming; and explained as much to the sitting Conservative government. 

Capitulation is an interesting idea, as is holding aloft a white flag just as serious hostilities are about to begin. What he would have made of the resulting indiscriminate German slaughter of certain sections of the UK's society (I'm sure you know what I mean), he didn't say.

Jezza does have some very bizarre heros.

p.s. George Lansbury's daughter 'Angela' became an actress of some note.

Our Dave.



So, what's our Dave been up to since he quit politics after his disastrous Brexit referendum? Well it looks as if he's found himself yet another 'nice little earner'. An advisory seat around a table of chums.

He has been offered the position of Chairman of the advisory board of Afiniti, a US AI company based in Washington DC.

The advisory board of Afiniti is extremely interesting to say the least. As well as ex-UK-Prime Minister Dave, it also contains my old school friend Lord (John) Browne the ex (disgraced) CEO of BP, Francois Fillon the ineffective ex-Prime Minister of France, Elisabeth Murdoch child of Rupert, and the fragrant Princess Beatrice granddaughter of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

A fascinating company board, crowded with so many heavyweight upper-crust celebs. I wonder what the point is? As if one needed to ask!

I have no idea what qualities either Ms Murdock or Beatrice possess, but their presence would certainly be impressive. The only top business brain amongst the lot of them belongs to my old chum Browne; although Dave himself is no lightweight intellectually.

Anyone dealing with this Afiniti bunch wouldn't stand a chance. The big guns are out, and there'd be no way to escape with either your money or your custom.




Saturday, 8 June 2019

Birthday Girl.


                                                  Image result for Annigoni The Queen's

I've always liked Annigoni's 1955 portrait of The Queen; reproductions of which are still to be seen in British Embassies, and Consulates throughout the world. It shows her as a powerful, yet caring young woman, who, as an accident of birth, was unwittingly thrown into one of the most demanding jobs on earth. I believe The Queen herself particularly likes it too.

She has always taken her position extremely seriously, she has never interfered in the workings of government, and she has never put a foot wrong when it came to international affairs of state. In fact (unlike her husband's) her career has been amazingly without incident, and her presence is always welcome wherever she goes. She is loved by millions, if not billions, the world over.

A 'figurehead' should be looked-up-to, admired, and respected. Elizabeth II has achieved all that. She never demeaned herself by appearing in 'common' TV games, or by giving scandalous interviews to presenters of documentary shows. For her entire reign she has kept an air of kindliness, grace, and decorum.

Of course she has her rather pathetic detractors; usually left-wingers, whose attitudes say far more about themselves, than about The Queen. These are people who would have the likes of Corbyn as head of state, which tells you even more about them.

Today is not The Queen's actual birthday (21st April); it's her 'Official Birthday'. The day when countries throughout the world (especially The Commonwealth) celebrate her reign.

Her Majesty has been on the throne since I was about 6 years old. She is 20 years older than me (that's a tad indiscreet Cro!), so we've grown-up together. Her oldest son, Prince Charles, is a good natural successor, who I've always viewed as our King in Waiting.

I'm not one of those crazy obsessed royalists who have her portrait around the house, and commemorative mugs on the mantelpiece. No, I simply see the royal family as constant figureheads on whom one can always depend. The Queen is our collective mouthpiece in times of disaster, and always leads by example. Her recent greeting of Trump can be viewed as a good example of her wise command of diplomacy; I hope he will have learned from it.

So, Ma'am, I wish you a very happy 'official' birthday, and may you celebrate many more. Time to put your feet up a bit more methinks; I'm certain that Charles, when he takes over, will prove to be a safe pair of hands.


Friday, 7 June 2019

Global warming?



This last winter I didn't once light our kitchen wood-fired cooker (George). In late Autumn last year, I gave him his serious pre-winter cleaning, but his services were never required. I only light him either if it's very cold, or if I'm making bread or long slow-cooked casseroles.

Our sitting room wood-burning stove also had less use than usual this last winter. Not once did I light-up in the morning and keep him going all day. In fact I only lit him a couple of times in early afternoons, preferring to wait until about 4 or 5 pm before lighting. The house managed to retain much of its heat, so just a few hours fire in the early evenings was adequate. Even so, I've managed to burn over 3 cubic metres of Chestnut wood, which will need replacing. I hardly touched our Oak pile.

In general I would say that this past winter was 'bearable'; we had no snow, and very few hard frosts. Not once did I feel really cold, I suffered no illness, and my wood sawing tasks never seemed tedious. It was what I would call a 'good winter'.

Now we are well into spring, and everything is looking good. The fruit trees are already heavy with apples, pears, plums, and peaches, and at Haddock's we're already harvesting a few early vegs. In the woods the Girolles are appearing in droves.


The above two photos made up part of our yesterday's simple lunch.


Thursday, 6 June 2019

Cabbages?



In 'artistic' terms, I much prefer winter trees to summer trees. All that greenery gets in the way of the structure.

I have a friend who always describes summer landscapes as being like fields of Cabbages; which is rather how I see them too.

Much more fun to draw the 'scaffolding' rather than whatever is being held-up. 

I love to walk in a leafy landscape, but not to draw, or paint it.



Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Broad Beans.



I've always heard that Broad (Fava) Beans were edible whole, when young, but I'd never thought to actually try them.

My Broad Beans are at the perfect size to experiment with (they need to be no longer than your index finger), so I fried just a few in Olive oil, butter, and garlic; as one would.


We found them quite DULL, with a DARKISH slightly BITTER flavour, and I certainly won't bother doing them like this again. I only have a few plants, so I need to make the most of them, we'll have the rest as pukka 'beans'.

My Mangetout Peas are now in flower, so I shall soon be following exactly the same process with them too. I believe that they'll be a lot tastier. More classic. I'll let you know.

Some you win; some you lose.


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

It must be Summer.



When the weather starts to heat-up, the BBQ comes out, shorts come out, and we begin to think of cool refreshing drinks.

So, time to make the annual supply of Elderflower Champagne. Here (yet again) are the ingredients....

About 6 heads of dry, sunkissed, Elderflowers.
650 gms sugar.
Zest and juice of one Lemon.
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar.
6 litres water.

Stir, cover, leave 24 hrs, filter through muslin into strong flip-top bottles. Wait a few weeks, then drink chilled. 


Open bottles outdoors; they can be fiery.


Monday, 3 June 2019

Extinction Rebellion.



One could easily be forgiven for viewing Britain's Climate Change activists (Extinction Rebellion) as a bunch of middle class, white, snowflake, self-righteous, polluting, dungaree-wearing, vegan, anti-capitalists, who all live off benefits. Some of this is certainly true from what I've observed, but other than 'hypocrisy' they also have other fine qualities.

They are also capable of putting innocent lives at risk, in order to promote their particular form of eco-terrorism. I am not against peaceful protest; but threatening the very lives of innocent air-passengers is irresponsible to say the least.

There is not a single person in the world who would not like cleaner air, and increased longevity for our planet and our descendents, but there are much more efficient ways to achieve this than flying drones over Heathrow.

The UK has one of the best possible records in reducing pollution, with The USA and China amongst the worst. If closing down Heathrow for 11 days has any advantage whatsoever, it will be to stop the unpleasant Emma Thompson flying in from Los Angeles to preach to us. Maybe if her flight is cancelled, she can stay at home and have a chat with Trump (unless, of course, he's having afternoon tea with Elizabeth II).


Sunday, 2 June 2019

Another Billy update.



So, how's Billy's training coming along Cro?

Well he's doing very well, thank you. Now when he jumps up and bites me, he only takes small lumps of flesh from my hands, and he only rips the lining out of his bed in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. His baby teeth have now mostly been replaced (naturally) thank goodness.

Otherwise we've taught him to eat and drink, to run, to leave muddy paw-prints half way up our glazed doors, and to sleep; all of which he's learnt very quickly. We've also taught him to swim (ahem).


His first portrait!

Yes, he's coming along very nicely.


Saturday, 1 June 2019

BBC Cuts.



Things are getting bad at Aunty's.

They're using old curtains again for their (fem) news presenters; this time even utilising the draw-string as a collar.

Come off it Beeb.... send the gal to Primark. Let her buy a decent frock for a change!

Friday, 31 May 2019

Pool opening.



Tomorrow it will be June; so, time we opened the pool.

Meanwhile, there was a Boot Sale at our neighbouring village yesterday morning, and I just couldn't resist buying the above.

My collection of poolside kitsch grows greater and greater.


All went according to plan. The pump didn't start when I first turned on, but a sharp kick to the motor did the trick. 

Guess who was the first to have a swim (accidentally)? Of course, it was Billy; well at least we now know he can swim! 

Summer (chez Cro) has officially begun. Water temperature 17 C. No thanks!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

The first harvests.



The Cherries have been a bit dodgy so far this year. Many of the early ones have split and lack sweetness, but we're hoping that the later varieties will fare somewhat better.

And here are our very first yellow Courgettes. It seems like just yesterday when I planted them out at Haddock's, and already we have a harvest. I know they're tiny, but the first ones never grow much bigger. It's a question of picking and eating them, or losing them. There are more already.

Next crops, Tayberries and Broad Beans.


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Zedbed? No, Bedzed.



I've heard of Bedford vans, and I've heard of Bedlington dogs; but I had never heard of Bedzed.

Bedzed, stands for Beddington Zero Energy Development; a decidedly catchy monica.

Not only had I not heard of Bedzed, I hadn't heard of the London Borough of Beddington either.

But back to Bedzed. There was I, thumbing through an old Marie Claire Maison magazine (above) when I came across this picture of a large, 100 home, Eco building development. On reading the article I discovered that it was to be found in my own native county of Surrey (part of which is now Greater London). I could hardly believe that such an interesting development had previously escaped my attention.

Eco homes are becoming increasingly popular; no doubt one day they'll be obligatory. The idea of living with no heating bills, and an almost pollution-free foot-print, is flavour of the year; and should be encouraged. But I would find life very uncomfortable inside a modern box-shaped triple-glazed glasshouse; such as Bedzed.

If there were ways of improving the heat saving qualities of my own non-Eco cottage, I would do it; but such houses were not designed for insulated walls etc.

Bedzed looks an interesting project, and I love those chimney cowls, but I fear it's not for me! If you wish to discover more; details are (of course) to be found on Wiki.

Well done architect Bill Dunster. Nice job.



Tuesday, 28 May 2019

1960's style curry.



My late father was NOT a cook. However, once a year he would 'rustle-up' a curry, which, when I was very small, seemed surprisingly exotic. He had possibly learned the process from his older brother who'd been out in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

There were usually four main ingredients; Onion, Chicken, Banana, and Sultanas; as well as all the spices.

Quite recently I made a Chicken curry, which we later decided would have benefitted hugely from the addition of some Banana, so last night, when I made the same Chicken curry again, I decided to do just that.

I haven't eaten a Banana enhanced/enriched curry since the 1960's, when such things were still popular, so this was more a 'memory lane' meal than gastronomy. The above is a dreadful photo, but I think you can just about make out the slices of Banana.

I must say, it was really good; we both loved it. My memory was correct.


Monday, 27 May 2019

Life at Haddock's.


Haddock's itself contains a huge array of fruit and vegs. Amongst the fruit trees are Figs, Apples, Plums, Peaches, and Cherries.


In the vegetable growing beds there are Courgettes, Tomatoes, Peppers, Aubergines, Peas, Broad Beans, Spinach, Maize, and Beetroot. Later there will be Swiss Chard, Cavolo Nero, and PSB.




There are also Artichokes; both Globe and Jerusalem,


and a couple of rows of Red Onions.


Elsewhere there are Grapes, more Apples, Pears, more Peaches, more Figs, and even Quinces.

It looks like our 2019 harvest will be good. It'll make-up for the past two years when things were a tad hit-n-miss.



Sunday, 26 May 2019

Why so hot?



In general, French offices, shops, and supermarkets are far too hot. I constantly find myself wanting to get out of them a.s.a.p.

I have no idea where this desire to be HOT comes from. It obviously costs a lot of money, it can't be good for you, and one presumes that environmentally it is slowly killing our lovely planet, via the back door.

Personally I prefer to be slightly cool, with a constant supply of refreshingly clean air. I don't particularly like the idea of breathing warm air that has already been exhaled by countless others (of unknown health).

You may find my attitude slightly obsessive, although I myself see it far removed from anything related to OCD. It's just that when one is used to natural temperatures, and breathing pure, 1st hand, air, anything that doesn't meet those strict standards is just not good enough.


Saturday, 25 May 2019

Cottage Life.



What makes living in a 'cottage' so different to living elsewhere?

Well, a cottage is usually quite small and cramped; like ours.

It's also usually quite old; like ours (250-300 years?).

It usually has a few old fruit trees dotted around, and a small area where vegetables are grown; like ours.

It probably has a few Hens scratching about; like ours (used to have).

A cottage will be dusty on account of its open fires; like ours.

It will have dog footprints and hairs everywhere; like ours.

It will be cluttered on account of the lack of space; like ours.

The cottage itself will probably have lumps, bumps, and cracks; like ours.

There's bound to be a Cat or two wandering around; ours once did.

It will have ancient low beams holding up the floor and roof; like ours.

The flagstone floors, or quarry tiles, will be freezing cold; like ours.

And if you are lucky enough to live in a cottage which is anything like the above, it will have been offering a wonderfully cosy place for families to live for centuries; just like ours.



Friday, 24 May 2019

Child Poverty in Britain.



With all the child poverty we hear about, I find this Chelsea Flower Show garden, with child's house, rather worrying.

With 4 Million children 'apparently' living in abject poverty, how on earth could they afford this charming wee 'Wendy House'.

For just £30,000 this playhouse could belong to little Piers or Penelope. It is loosely based on a weekend holiday house one might own in Hampshire. It has a roof made from 300 year old reclaimed tiles (very eco), a mini-Aga inside, floral wallpaper, brass fittings on the doors, a mini Fortnum's hamper, and lead-lighted windows. All perfectly normal; I hear you say.

Well yes, but had it been priced at a more realistic £28,500, we would now be seeing them popping up in gardens from Glasgow to Glastonbury, but they are overpriced; and unless the little dears go without their gold-leafed designer trainers or ski trips to Klosters, they'll have to wait another month (or even more) in order to afford one! I know; that might be asking too much.

In these difficult times of 'Austerity', maybe a government grant could be offered to those families who cannot quite afford this simple garden addition for their offspring. In today's world; every child should have one (the Beehive is extra).


In comparison, this small house (above) can be yours for £12,500. It's in Peterlee, Co Durham.



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