Tuesday 31 March 2020

The best of times, the worst of times.

This wretched virus has certainly made us think more about our priorities.

It has also made most of us think how very lucky we are to have lived so long and so well in very liberal societies. Those of us who live in 'first world' countries are extremely fortunate.

Yes, we've had knife crime, a drug epidemic, terrorism, and now COVID-19, but water continues to flow from our taps, electricity still issues forth from our plugs, our loos flush, and most of us have plenty of food in the store-cupboard. One only has to look at the favelas, shanty towns, and refugee villages around the world to know that we are extremely blessed, and that our systems of government are the best there are.

I'm no believer in gods and devils, but the bible does contain plenty of common sense. One short phrase that often comes to mind is Christ's Mandatum novum do vobis. Having washed the feet of his disciples, he commands them to 'love one another, as I have loved you'. With all our woes, we are seeing a return to this spirit of amitié. Neighbour is once again helping neighbour, people are making sure that those who are alone have everything they need, and people are applauding the selfless workers who look after us when we suffer.

Will good come from this appalling pandemic? I feel certain that it will.  When all is over, we will be more appreciative, more aware, and more cautious. For many, their financial circumstances will take a long time to recover, so any previous 'spend now, pay later' attitude will need serious review; which can only be a good thing.

Of course there have also been plenty of examples of profiteering from the epidemic. There will always be 'spivs' who leech off the unfortunate, who buy-up every bog roll in order to 'blackmail' the needy, or who fight in supermarkets over the last tin of beans. But these people are usually soon dealt with.

In general, I am hearing of kindness, of families communicating, and of benefaction. I do hope it will last, and that much of the previous selfishness will slowly disappear. My fingers are crossed.

Look after yourselves, and others.

Monday 30 March 2020

What Virus?

Forget the bloody virus, here are some cutsie-wootsie Lab' puppies to brighten your day.

Our Monty was one of six puppies, and this reminds me of the day we went to bring him home from Miss Tadpole's rescue centre.

Sunday 29 March 2020

When times are hard.

When Boo Boo searches for the path to omniscience and enlightened consciousness (so he tells me), he always turns to Yoga. 

Well, what would YOU do?

Saturday 28 March 2020


If it should ever come to my using a Mobility Scooter; I shall want one of these.

Not quite as above, but with a Bugatti grill, pale blue paintwork, and a wooden rimmed steering wheel.

It would, of course, need to have a wickerwork rear pannier for shopping or picnic materials, and full leather upholstery. It would probably also have a handy container for either a brolly or shotgun.

Ideally it would be capable of around 50 Kph, and have a range of about 500 Kms.

With the Spanish border being only 450 Kms away, I could be in San Sebastian to dine on Oysters and Red Mullet before bedtime.

Friday 27 March 2020

Send in the Clowns - Glynis Johns

What prompted yesterday's posting was hearing Stephen Sondheim talking about this song, and Ms Johns.

He knew that Glynis's 'singing voice' wasn't her greatest strength. As we can all hear, she does have great difficulty holding a note, so part of his work was restricting the lyrics to single words with single notes.

She is definitely out of her comfort zone, and she somewhat labours at the song; even though it has 'charm'. Personally I prefer her version to all the hundreds of others; but that's probably because we once spent a delightful half hour in each others company. Here she is.

Thursday 26 March 2020

Rubbing Shoulders.

There was a time, when I was about 14/15, that I was left pretty much to myself during the school holidays. Both my parents were busy, and I had to find my own amusement during the daytime.

We were living on the South Coast at the time, so there was always the sea, the pier, and a few cinemas to amuse me.

For my lunch my mother booked me into a funny little restaurant called 'The Spinning Wheel'. It was one of those cottagey places with dark old fashioned tables and wheelback chairs. The decor was mostly brass and copper ornaments. The owner, Michael, was a very pleasant man.

The menu was old fashioned too, but always of a reasonable standard. Brown windsor or Mulligatawny soup, meat with two plain boiled veg' and thick brown gravy, and some stodgy dessert with custard; it was always of this ilk, and all very home-cooked. I seem to remember that the menu cost 4/6d.

But the most interesting thing about The Spinning Wheel was its clientele. The local theatre, The Connaught, often had well known visiting actors, and they would invariably eat there at lunchtime. With my being a regular, and always by myself, Michael would place me at a two-seat table with one of these 'stars'.

I dined with several, some more famous than others, often we ate in silence. But the two I remember the most were Glynis Johns, and Sarah Miles. Ms Johns was a lovely person and very chatty, and Ms Miles was simply beautiful, polite, and wore knee length leather boots; I don't remember much conversation with Sarah.

These names may not mean much to people these days, but both were big stars at the time. The junior-Cro was totally star-struck.

I heard the name Glynis Johns on the radio last night, and it brought it all back. What a lovely bubbly person she was.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Edmund Hillary? No, just Cro.

Some time last Autumn we had a nasty gale that ripped-off one of my uppermost 'tower' ridge tiles, and in doing so also broke a couple of the other flat tiles as it made its way down. 

Yesterday morning I felt that I could no longer wait for my roofer, and decided to do the job myself with the assistance of my apprentice Wills. It wasn't a big job, and we were easily capable of the task. Most building work requires no special talent, just a certain amount of effort, enthusiasm, and in this case bravery. It also needed just a few tiles, and a bucket of mortar.

We rigged-up a system that involved a three piece extending ladder, a plastic Cat transporter, and the cushion from an outdoor chair; this was to avoid breaking any more tiles. (If you enlarge the photo, you might just see the Cat box and cushion)

So here I am, a gentleman of a certain age, right at the top of our bloody tower, cementing a tile in place, and praying that I won't fall. It wasn't a pleasant experience, nor was it an unpleasant one, the roof simply had to be fixed.

Job done!

Tuesday 24 March 2020

No Panic.

I went shopping yesterday to my nearest quality supermarket; Leclerc in Fumel. I got there early, and as you can see, there were just three people ahead of me, waiting for the 8.30 am opening time. A temporary pathway had been erected to cope with the non-existent huge crowds. We kept the regulation distance from one another.

Once inside, it was extremely quiet. A couple of people were wearing face masks, but the shelves were FULLY stocked. I took the above as I left.

You'd hardly have known there was anything going on in the outside world; although I did see a sign asking that people limit themselves to three packs of pasta, flour, sugar, and butter.

We are not totally immune to the virus here; in fact there was one case in Agen to the south, and a few in Perigueux to the north. We are following the 'crossed fingers' method of prevention. Plenty of four leafed clovers, a rabbit's foot, and a mop and bucket.

I hear that my local Garden/Pet store is open, so I shall have to go back to buy all this year's vegetable seeds. Best wishes to all.

Monday 23 March 2020

Europe is spared!

It's official, this year's Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled.

So, here for your delectation is the song that would have come last. Yet another bizarre song, accompanied by a bizarre video.

Give it about a minute, then you won't feel too guilty about turning it off.

"If you control the life force, the force of life is with you; and there is nothing that can stop you" (other than cancelling the contest, of course)!

Sunday 22 March 2020


Not only was Mischa THREE today, but he also climbed his very first tree.

The beginning of many an adventure, I'm sure.

Happy Birthday my little Cherub. Cake later!


I've never been a fan of snuff, but it did have interesting spin-offs (spins-off?).

Taking snuff is as pointless and unhealthy as smoking tobacco itself. The fact that it's been ground into a fine powder, to be stuck up one's nose, is no redeeming feature. The very act of introducing an alien product into the body (other than red wine) is not to be recommended.

However, the fact that 'snorting' snuff made one sneeze, meant that the 'snorters' required their own specific handkerchiefs; and why make snuff handkerchiefs dull, when one can make them uber-decorative, such as the above.

I used to buy these at a shop called 'The Tie Rack' in Brighton; more known for their ties than hankies, but they always stocked a few for the discerning buyer. That particular branch of The Tie Rack is now long gone, however, if they were still there I would have continued to buy their hankies.

The above is the only example I could find for the moment. I have several, including plenty of the bog-standard red spotted ones (the ones you wrap your sandwiches in, when you're leaving home).

So much nicer than plain white hankies; a classier sneeze altogether.

Saturday 21 March 2020


This small drawing of Stonehenge was painted on a really foul Summer's day, back in 1983; I remember the day well. It was one of just a few watercolours that my agent had amongst his 'illustrations' of my work, and I'm very happy to hear that it's now just been sold.

It won't make me rich, and his commission will hardly keep his lovely wife in nail polish, but it's always good to sell something.

In these uncertain times, good news is rare. Thank you Charles.

One Man (Boy) Show.

The insides of fridges usually contain milk, cheese, eggs, etc; and the outsides invariably display children's' drawings.

This has become almost obligatory in most households, and our particular resident artist automatically places his finished works there as soon as he's discarded the last coloured pen.

The fridge has become a child's gallery. His/her very first exhibition space; no questions asked, but highly admired!

Friday 20 March 2020

Mustard, mustard, mustard.

One of the products that we all knew as children was called 'French Mustard'. Unlike English Mustard it was dark brown, quite mild, and tasted of vinegar. In some ways I quite liked it.

However, having lived south of La Manche for nearly 50 years, I have yet to encounter any such product here in France; which we were led to believe was its country of origin. It simply didn't, or doesn't, exist.

We keep just four basic Mustards in the house. Colman's powder, simple cheap Dijon, Maille Mustard with Honey (for Lady M), and (since quite recently) some Heinz Yellow Mustard, which is used exclusively with certain German style Hot Dog sausages that we eat with Sauerkraut. I don't particularly like grain Mustard, nor most fancy varieties that come in fancy jars at a fancy price.

When growing-up, we always had one of three roasts on Sundays; Chicken, Beef, or Lamb. It soon became my duty to make the Mint Sauce for the Lamb, or mix the Mustard for the Beef; the Chicken came with its own delicious gravy. I don't remember any Pork roasts.

You have to be wealthy these days to afford the type of large Beef rib joints that were normal when I was young, so I imagine that sales of Colman's Mustard powder are now considerably smaller than before; and as such, children are probably no longer taught how to mix it.

I didn't mention above, but Colman's style dry Mustard powder is unavailable here; unless I've missed it.

Thursday 19 March 2020

A Pot-pourri.

Someone has recently been 'pooping' in the woods; not deep in the woods where no-one would notice, but right beside a nearby path where I take my early morning walks with Billy. Yuk!

I imagine the people involved are working on a nearby house that has no water, electricity, or bathroom, but this is no excuse for behaving in such an oikish manner. I'm sure they could easily take a trowel or spade with them and leave no trace; but this would involve some amount of  'decency', where obviously none exists.

Otherwise our tiny hamlet is a tad calmer than in times past, with no more screaming fish-wives, or dog kickers; both noticeably absent due to their self-imposed isolation. Yes, we still find escaped horses in the garden, our neighbour does continue to make an unbelievable racket and issue forth huge clouds of acrid smoke from his wonderful eco-furnace, and work does half-heartedly continue on the delightful holiday village; but with COVID-19 on most people's minds, we tend to ignore all these other tedious details.

The Quince is in flower as are the Peach and Plum trees, there are flower buds swelling on both the Clematis and Wisteria and on the vines, there is a very vague green haze over the non-Chestnut woods, and grass is suddenly growing much faster than just a week ago. I have even planted a couple of rows of Red Onion sets. Amazingly, we still haven't had any really nasty winter weather, but give it time.

Each year I write myself a 'do-able' list of unpleasant tasks to undertake over winter, and I have finally completed all; I will now be able to relax until digging, mowing, and planting starts in earnest in about a month's time. Having said that, I'm just off to mow the estate! Fabulous weather here.

The circle is almost complete.

Wednesday 18 March 2020



It's strange the random things you remember from your distant childhood.

We were probably about 12 years old. My friend Michael and I had gone up to 'the dorm' where we came across another 'dorm' member, Coulson, seriously blubbing his eyes out.

Such things were taken very seriously at Prep' school, and our immediate concern was that maybe one of his parents, or even a well-loved pet, had died; so we approached him with considerable sensitivity.

'What's up, Coulson; you pathetic fart?' we asked.

'They've cut down my tree' he replied; now blubbing even more than before.

'What stupid bloody tree?' we asked, whilst dunking his head in the bog.

'My favourite climbing tree' he spluttered.

My recollection fails at this point, but I quite expect that we de-bagged him, then gave him a kindly good kicking and told him not to be such an obnoxious little cry-baby. We did our best to show our sympathy and understanding, as 12 years olds do.

I've never shed tears at the felling of a tree, but there are certain ones around that would sadden me to see cut down.

Our own huge 'Royal Oak' will hopefully live out its days and eventually die a respectable oak death. There are also a few enormous pines around, as well as some truly ancient chestnuts, that I would genuinely miss.

I'm not a 'tree hugger', in the Prince Charles sense, but I do give a passing slap on the bottom to certain trees as I pass by. And, yes, I do occasionally wish them a 'good morning' too.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

How I really feel about COVID-19.

You may think that I've been a bit flippant about COVID-19 of late, but that's simply the way I am; I prefer to see the 'amusing' in even the most grim of circumstances.

However, things are now beginning to get serious, and I suppose I shall have to follow suit.

Yesterday morning I went shopping, not to strip the supermarket of everything edible or antiseptic, but to buy basic needs. There was no shortage anywhere (other than hand gel again), and I did a normal shop for one week. I didn't buy that much; above was my (our) meagre list.

At the same time I also filled the Compact Royce with petrol, and bought a bottle of Gas.

It was then that my only problem made itself known. Most non-food shops have now been closed, and I needed some special Chainsaw petrol. My last container is almost empty, and I had to replace it; we heat ourselves with wood, and as it comes in one metre lengths it has to be sawn. It's not a problem mixing my own petrol/oil, but I would have preferred to buy (the very expensive) ready made stuff. A minor inconvenience.

We are now beginning our period of self-isolation. As we are both over-70, we are advised to stay home as much as possible for the next FOUR MONTHS. Obviously this is impossible, but we shall try to oblige. We will still need to visit the baker, the pharmacy, and the plant/seed shop (if indeed they're open). We will also need to walk the dog, cut lawns, and hang out washing, etc. Staying indoors is not an option, in fact it's actually impossible.

Imagining that all non-food shops will now be closed indefinitely, what will we find when (or if) they should ever open their doors again? Could stores/shops really survive being closed for months on end?

The Périgord region of France relies heavily on Summer tourism, and no doubt this too will suffer. How many Gite owners will now find any June/July/August tenants, knowing that all the shops, cafés, and restaurants will be closed; and movement restricted. I feel very sorry for those who rely on an income from holiday cottages, but not so much for those who may go bankrupt before even opening the doors of their rusting empty shipping containers.

I am not over pessimistic about the future; I do believe that there has been a lot of exaggeration about. I don't wish to detract from the seriousness of the situation, but all we can do is to take it day by day. The Great Flu Epidemic of 1918 killed over 20 million people worldwide; I don't see anything on that scale happening in 2020.

Today is Tuesday 17th March.... I wonder how the world will look in a week's time?

Monday 16 March 2020

The Japanese Sisters.

I was recently sent this photo of one of my paintings (thank you), which I haven't seen for yonks.

It is entitled 'The Japanese Sisters', and was painted circa 1985.

I don't think there's much more to say about it, other than it measures 4 ft by 4 ft.

Sunday 15 March 2020

The lure of junk.

I suspect we are all guilty (at times) of eating some pretty trashy rubbish; behind closed doors of course.

Whether it be fish-finger sandwiches, spoons-full of nut-flavoured chocolate spread, or even buckets of McScotch eggs.

I'm probably guilty of numerous gastronomic faux pas, one of which was certainly buying this jar of Heinz Sandwich Spread; a bizarre pot of cheap Mayo mixed with small red and green 'bits'.

The label is in Dutch, so I can only go by the illustration which suggests that the 'bits' are finely chopped red pepper, celery, onion, and gherkin. The taste would go along with that.

I am perfectly aware that this is rubbish food, but it takes me back to summery Cricket Teas when I was still at Prep' school; aged about 12/13. At about 4pm, the kitchen staff would appear from the pavilion with mountains of Sandwich Spread sandwiches, and huge jugs of Orange 'coloured' drink, that I think was made from powder. It was all so wonderfully refreshing and comforting, and not a single small boy failed to tuck-in.

I'd been looking for Lady M's favourite Peanut Butter on the 'foreign foods' aisle, when I spotted the above, and I simply had to have it. It's a bit more yellow than I remember, but the flavour is still the same. It won't last long. Lady M herself even tasted it, and declared it to be OK; praise indeed. 

There still wasn't any of her favourite Peanut Butter; it having been replaced by a horrible new very oily French version. Yuk.

Saturday 14 March 2020

The new greeting.

As you might imagine, no longer being able to either kiss or shake hands with friends and neighbours in France is almost akin to being banned from eating Snails.

I'm pleased to see that Prince Charles is leading the way in this respect, and has adopted a rather Indian looking greeting, with hands together and the hint of a bow.

I think this could catch on. The rather silly elbow touching, or fist bumping, should be universally banned, and exchanged for the new 'Carolean Greeting'. It comes naturally to most people, it shows respect, and is already in use by millions of people around the world. We might even all end-up becoming Buddhists.... not such a bad thing.

So, well done Charles, I shall follow your example, and Ronnie Wood seems to agree too!

Friday 13 March 2020

Local elections.

Instructions have been issued on how to vote 'safely' in our upcoming local elections.

1. Wash your hands.

2. Bring your own pen.

3. Avoid all physical contact.

4. Stay a reasonable distance from fellow voters.

and 5. Don't loiter in the voting office.

It also states that all surfaces will be disinfected every 30 mins.

No advice was given as to where to place your X. Happy voting.

Thursday 12 March 2020

What's all the fuss about?

I never particularly liked my burgundy coloured EU member passport, which was forced upon us by Brussels, so I kept mine looking as it always was, and will be once again. People seem to be making a big fuss about its return to dark blue.

Of course mine (and Lady Magnon's) are only for decorative purposes, and inside lies the official EU red job.

Mine hasn't had a lot of use, but it's been often abused. In Germany I had the interior passport 'ripped' out in a very aggressive manner, and the leather cover cast to one side. The Germans really do like to think they are in charge of Europe these days; I can hardly describe how we were treated as 'non-Schengen members'. But at least my UK passport ensures that I can still travel to the USA (not that I wish to), unlike those Schengen members.

I expect my passport will be getting more use in the years to come. In future when entering mainland Europe we'll be strip-searched, shackled, waterboarded, and beaten with sticks.

But at least my passport will be dark blue.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

A Pleasant Day Out.

Here we all are, wearing basic protective wear, out shopping. 

From the right; Lady Magnon, Kellogg, me, and Boo Boo; off to get a few everyday supplies.

We bought 100 industrial packs of bog paper (doesn't everyone?), 400 tins of baked beans, everything we found that contained anything disinfectant, lots of pasta, lots of rice, tonnes of potatoes, 100 tins of sardines, all the bottled water we could fit into four trolleys, a new loo brush and plunger, and some shotgun cartridges.

I'll go again in a couple of days time, just in case I forgot anything; we may need more bog paper. 

Tuesday 10 March 2020

A rainy afternoon.

We've been having some really foul weather recently (yesterday excepted); and it's forecast to continue. It's 'staying indoors by the fire' weather.

So, Boo Boo has been coming round, looking for something interesting to do. He's not so keen on Snakes-n-Ladders these days, preferring to watch Rocket launches on YouTube (he wants to be a shuttle pilot).

We watched Top Gear launching a Reliant Robin, then Clarkson rolling a Robin, then all sorts of rocket powered vehicles, then home made 'planes, homemade jet cars, helicopters, etc, etc; you get the idea. He also filled-in a few pages from his 'Easy home learning' books.

It isn't long before he gets sleepy, and he settles down on Lady M's sofa beside the stove. He sleeps for about an hour, then after a glass of milk and some chocolate biscuits, he heads home for supper.

Life is very relaxed. See you tomorrow Boo Boo.

Monday 9 March 2020

The Sad Tale of Puffin.

We used to have a friend called 'Puffin'. He was a rather solitary person; not particularly forthcoming or gregarious. He worked in 'the arts' as an illustrator or maybe photographer, I'm not sure which.

Puffin lived at the top of our road in Brighton, overlooking the old church. He had a pleasant home, a pleasant wife, and pleasant kids. In fact his life seemed very 'pleasant' in all respects.

One day it all fell apart; we knew nothing of the reason; nor did we wish to. Then came divorce, loss of his home, alcohol, even begging on the street. He once even asked me for a pound, which I was happy to provide.

I don't quite know what happened to him after that, but I would often see him wandering aimlessly around town, as his then ex-wife remained in the family home, and took a job in a well-known high street store.

Puffin took to travelling on busses. Finally, one day on a No 7 bus, he died. People simply thought he was asleep, as the bus went round and round its daily circuit.

Yes; he died on a No 7 bus, and no-one noticed! Not waving but drowning? No, not sleeping but dead.... Poor old Puffin. RIP.

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Sunday 8 March 2020

Duffy - Warwick Avenue

If you head North from Hyde Park, crossing over the Bayswater Road, then up through Paddington; after about a mile you might come across Warwick Avenue tube station. Most of us who have lived in London (usually in nasty bed-sits) know this area well. It's filled with young people all eager to make their way in life.

School leavers, college leavers, and university leavers, usually head for London. It's what we do to demonstrate our new found independence.

It's also where we usually have our first job, our first flat, and our first romantic adventures and disappointments.

I'm sure this must have been the case with Duffy. A Welsh lass with a broken heart. It all looks too genuine not to be so. A nice song, and a powerful voice.

Saturday 7 March 2020

Siege mentality?

I keep quite a well stocked cupboard (this is only a part of it). As well as plenty of meat in the freezer, and my bigger bulk buys out in the 'tower', I also have a big bag of spuds, and plenty of onions. I think we could last for about a month without depriving ourselves. This has nothing to do with Chinese Flu; I simply like to have plenty of supplies, and choices. 

Yesterday was my weekend shopping day, and we were pleased to see that no idiots were wearing face masks, or that there was any panic buying. 

In fact the only thing on my list that was out of stock was (wait for it).... hand sanitiser. We always keep a small bottle in the car, and it needed replacing. I quite expect the next time I go, there will be plenty.

Otherwise, everything as usual. No panic. All is well. No funeral pyres in the streets.

Friday 6 March 2020

The New Brolly.

Although we've had plenty of rain, up until recently I've not had to venture out with more than just my Barbour, wellies, and beret.

Yesterday morning, however, it was 'pissing down', and with Billy demanding his early morning walk, I was obliged to face the onslaught.

For Christmas my youngest (Wills) bought me a very welcomed new umbrella. It may look like any ordinary brolly, but it's slightly bigger than most (it's not one of those big horrid Golfing brollies), and much heavier. I could feel at once that this was no £5 brolly from Primark; it was a pukka job.


The last such umbrella of this quality I owned, was bought when I worked in The City. I was working as a 'Blue Button' (dogsbody trainee broker) for a highly respected firm of Stockbrokers; in fact the oldest in The City.

In those days all we young Blue Buttons were like a gang of strutting dandies, and we needed to look the part. There was a very strict 'uniform' to adhere to.

One's suit needed to be of a heavy pinstripe, and cut in 'Guards Officer' style. One's bowler had to be slightly hairy and jaunty; and HAD to come from Lock & Co of St James. We all wore stiff collars; I had mine specially made in Jermyn Street (I can't remember the maker). Our ties were dark navy with white spots, and were always silk. And lastly our brollies had to be of noticeably good quality, and invariably came from Swaine Adeney Brigg of Piccadilly.

Any inferior quality clothing, or kit, was immediately frowned upon, so it paid to go for the classics right from the start.

My new brolly is of that same Swaine Adeney Brigg standard, and I shall carry it with pride. It was the perfect present, and exactly what I needed. Just look at that spring-loaded opening system; it could have been designed by Aston Martin.

It keeps the rain off too.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Miracles by the dozen, but no mention of building a wall.

You have to love this guy.

Apart from all his proposed miracles for the US economy, he's promised to find cures for some of the world's most serious illnesses.

"We're gonna invest billions of dollars to find, and I promise you, cures for Cancer, Alzheimer's, and Diabetes"; said Biden.

You missed a trick there Joe; why didn't you include Coronavirus, for goodness sake? You'd have had them eating out of the palm of your hands.

I heard his speech live on radio, and was a tad surprised that he didn't also promise a free brand new 5 bedroom home for every university leaver, free holidays in Hawaii for all pensioners, and a free daily Big Mac for all school children. (have I missed anyone?)

I think he and Corbyn must have been exchanging electioneering strategy; dangle an impossible worm, and wait to see if anyone bites!

Good luck Joe, and do let me know when you find that Diabetes cure. 

Wednesday 4 March 2020

Chef Clarkson.

Jeremy Clarkson is an unlikely wizard in the kitchen, but he does have some notable recipes.

The above, for example; you can't really say much against it. McVitie's dark choco bix, and a cuppa. Even his recipe and method is easy to follow.

I can also recommend his Pheasant Breast, which begins with having to shoot a Pheasant in the face, or his Aga cooked Lamb Chops with New Potatoes (recipe obvious), or even his Shepherd's Pie where he suggests murdering a Sheep and mincing its innards before frying.

His recipe for Radishes contains washed Radishes; now't else.

These and other Jeremy Clarkson recipes can be found in last week's Sunday Times 'Culture' section (March 1st 2020). 

Just pray that he doesn't write a whole cookbook. 

N.B. Clarkson is a UK Motoring Journalist.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Be Prepared. Dyb dyb dyb.

With skiing being such a popular winter sport here in France, is it not impossible that skiers might lose their way, and end-up on the pistes of Italy; and we all know what that means!

You dare not breathe in Italy for fear of catching something nasty; as many are presently experiencing.

Generally I wouldn't expect any Chinese born virus to reach our sleepy hamlet, but arriving at  the market, the bakers', or chez M Leclerc is another matter; and as I don't own a 'Hazmat suit', I am as vulnerable as the next person to breathing in evil viruses.

I was never a Boy Scout, but I do always like to 'be prepared', and I have now given instructions that if I do become infected I will do the decent thing and stay away from everyone else; and either cure myself, or perish in isolation.

I wouldn't wish to risk infecting anyone else who might otherwise come to my aid. Our house would, in effect, become another Eyam; the village that in 1665 closed itself off to avoid spreading the Bubonic plague.

If I do become infected, I will place a black cross on the kitchen door, warning that no-one must enter. Later they could pour petrol down the chimney, throw in a lighted match, and destroy all remaining germs (including my wasted skeleton).

It's best to have a plan, even if it may never be used.

Did I ever tell you about my dastardly plan during the Cuba Crisis? No? Maybe I'll leave that for another day; or, if you really can't wait, you could type Cuba Crisis or The Lamb Hotel into the little white search strip on this page.

p.s. I'm not anticipating any illness, but.......

Monday 2 March 2020

Loony Leunig.

Where DO they find them?

Tim Leunig (above) is described as a 'Powerful Treasury Advisor'.

His latest 'advice' is that 'Agriculture and Fishing are not critically important to the UK's economy', and that the UK could be like Singapore and import all its requirements.

I don't know how much Leunig is being paid for such words of wisdom, but allow me to give some alternative advice for nothing.

He is wrong!

People in the UK are very food conscious. They like to know exactly where their food comes from, and they like it to be as unpolluted as possible. If organic foods cost exactly the same as chemically-encouraged foods, there would be no question which the public would choose.

Already there are fears across the UK that Chlorinated Chicken from the USA will soon be on our supermarket shelves; and they don't like it.

So we must ignore the advice of Loony Leunig, and insist that the UK remains a strong, government supported, farming and fishing nation.

At a time when the UK is becoming increasingly aware of organic growing methods, and more people are becoming either Veggie or Vegan, people want to know exactly where their food comes from, how it was grown, and be assured that our food standards are kept higher than those of most other countries. It is highly irresponsible of Leunig to suggest anything else.

If a senior civil servant suggested anything similar here in France, farmers would take to the streets instantly. Barricades would be erected, shotguns loaded, and the guillotine sharpened.

Rise up Britain; make your feelings known. Muck Spreaders at dawn!

Sunday 1 March 2020

Things we took for granted.

We are all brought-up with everyday objects that become as much a part of our daily lives as our own parents.

That dented tin that your mother kept her Tea in, the pudding bowl she used to cut your hair, or the old vacuum cleaner than began to smoke after a few minutes use. These things can often suddenly become important again, years after they've disappeared.

Having seen an Antiques programme recently on TV, I suddenly missed the old wooden tray that my family used for decades. It was very similar to the one above, with slightly different handles, and no circular stain. I wonder what happened to it? I expect it went to the saleroom along with all their other 'stuff'; I can't remember. I wish I'd kept it.

Some of the things I now miss the most were for use outdoors. The heavy garden roller, the big old water tank on heavy metal wheels, all those gardening tools for very specific jobs; all are now things from the past. Who, these days, buys a garden roller?

I do have a wooden tray, but it's a cheap modern thing on which I painted a Blackbird, in order to try to make it look nicer. I don't like it, and have now decided to look-out for a replacement; hopefully like the one above.

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