Thursday, 22 April 2021
Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Happy Birthday to Her Majesty The Queen.
With this image (above) so fresh in our minds, today will not be a day of celebration for Her Majesty. Her thoughts will no doubt be focused exclusively on the recent loss of her husband, Prince Philip.
However, I, like so many, wish her 'Many happy returns' for her birthday, and I send her my very best wishes.
Tuesday, 20 April 2021
I wonder if our bush will ever have berries; maybe those flowers are male flowers.
Monday, 19 April 2021
Sunday, 18 April 2021
I still occasionally (very rarely) come across someone who claims to use Vegemite for some purpose other than repairing broken water pipes.
Well let me explain something to you.
Take a look at a jar of Vege-ma-thingy, and compare it to the delightful one of MARMITE.
You will instantly notice one thing on the MARMITE jar; that Royal Coat of Arms on the yellow strip connecting the top with the jar. The Coat of Arms is that of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and it symbolises her approval (and use daily of) an exceptional product.
One must remember here that Her Majesty is Queen of the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland, as well as fifteen other Sovereign states; known as the 'Commonwealth Kingdoms'. She is also head of all fifty three Commonwealth States; including Australia.
Marmite is sold throughout her Kingdom, and her Coat of Arms gives confidence and pleasure to all her subjects. The other imitation product might be available in a few foreign hardware stores, and, of course, has no such approval.
I believe that some Aussies rub the brown paste (Vegemite) on their arms in order to fend off attack by 'Drop Beasts'; creatures not unlike Leprechauns.
I do hope that settles the dispute once and for all. If it's good enough for The Queen, it's good enough for me (and millions of others).
p.s. I am not showing a photo of the Aussie product as it has no endorsements, it's an ugly jar, and it is of no interest whatsoever.
Saturday, 17 April 2021
Friday, 16 April 2021
Thursday, 15 April 2021
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
I want you to keep this to yourselves; if too many people hear about it, not only could there be stampedes, but the value of the Pound, Dollar, and Euro, could suffer irreversibly.
Yes, I've found a way to get a regular supply of free money.
Some years ago I was given some secret numbers, and a piece of plastic, that allows me to get money from machines that one finds outside banks, inside supermarkets, and on the high street.
There's a small, well-hidden, slot on the front of these machines (you may have to ask someone to show you where it is). Into this you put the small flat piece of plastic (roughly 5 by 8 cms), which gets sucked into the machine itself. Don't panic; you'll get it back later.
Now you need a secret number. You type this in, and tell the machine how much money you need (don't be too greedy, or it may suspect something). Then you wait a while, whilst it makes strange whirring noises, and flashes lights; then out come the bank notes from a type of letter box at the front, along with the small piece of plastic you used to trick the machine (try not to dance, laugh, or scream at this point).
This is when you need to be careful. I always walk away from the machine, trying to look as innocent as possible; not to bring any attention to myself. Preferably try to look as if you haven't actually touched the machine at all.
It really is incredible. I've been using this method for years, and no-one has yet discovered my scam. These machines have paid for all my living expenses for yonks, and I've encountered no problems at all.
I'm not promising that this method will work everywhere, but if you can find the right sized piece of plastic, and find someone willing to give you a secret number (no, you can't have mine), you could find yourself with a never-ending supply of free money.... just like me!
As I said above; please keep this to yourself.
N.B. The above photo shows a machine giving me more money yesterday; PROOF if needed. I apologise for the quality of the picture, but I was trying to be as discreet as possible.
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Tuesday is my shopping day. For the past year I've only gone out once a week, occasionally every two weeks, and that is to my favourite supermarket about 20 Kms away. Leclerc is a quality store, not unlike Waitrose back in the UK.
I'm usually pretty good at getting all we need for the week, but this last week we almost came to a standstill.
By yesterday we were completely out of fruit, out of salads, our bread supply was down to a bare minimum, and (shame on me) I had no onions or garlic. So, my yesterday's breakfast consisted of left over roast Lamb from Sunday night, for lunch I had to revert to soup, and luckily I had what I needed for a Cottage Pie in the evening.
I mention all this because it's the first time I've miscalculated supplies. Even my stock of canned food is becoming low, my fresh green vegetables from Haddock's are finished, and have finally been grubbed up. I shall leave for my shopping trip, in about 3 hrs, with a very long list!
I may be some while.
Monday, 12 April 2021
Sunday, 11 April 2021
Saturday, 10 April 2021
Friday, 9 April 2021
I almost feel like a traitor. For so many years I've sung the praises of good quality artisan French bread (especially sourdough), and here I am now buying packaged, ready-sliced, wholemeal bread, from some unknown industrial source. I had a sudden urge, and let me assure you that this stuff is wonderful. A classic wholemeal 'Wonderloaf'.
Breakfast for me is always a complex meal. There are so many choices on offer; I need to think long and hard before coming to that daily decision. The fridge is filled with options, and as I take my breakfast alone, the choice is entirely mine.
As for many people, the easiest choice is 'toast', accompanied by whatever preference one has on the day. Recently I have had a penchant for Green Pesto. Lightly toasted wholemeal with plenty of thickly spread unsalted butter, and a really good dollop of Pesto, is just delicious.
I don't like to eat anything sweet, so Marmite, or Peanut butter, or Anchovy paste, are usually arranged on the table awaiting that last minute decision, but they are now joined by a jar of good quality, coarsely ground, Italian Pesto.
p.s. When I next go shopping, I intend to buy some sliced smoked bacon... this bread will be perfect for a classic BLT. I can hardly wait.
Thursday, 8 April 2021
Wednesday, 7 April 2021
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
I originally posted this informative piece back in the Summer of 2019, but I have now seen fit to add to it slightly.
Adam and Eve Sussex (their correct family names are unknown, but are thought to have been Starkadder and Fuller respectively) chose their home wisely. Not only was there a good Apple orchard, but the serpents thereabouts were of the friendly variety.
However, eventually their landlord (a Mr Good) wished to evict them, and made-up some silly story about them being members of some nudist club, and he wanted nothing more to do with them.
But he was not all bad. Mr Good took pity on them, and before closing Eden's gate behind them, he loaded onto their Ford Transit Van the minimum with which they could survive, before they could find themselves another suitable home.
He gave them a tool box, a cock and six hens, paint brushes and a tube of sepia, six pencils from 2B to 4H, tobacco in a tin, a Latin primer, a selection of verse and prose by good Sussex writers, a small printing press, the basic elements of jurisprudence, a compact medicine chest, a collection of seeds, two pigs, and a large ball of twine.
This story is true because Mr Hilaire Belloc told me so. The rest is history.
Monday, 5 April 2021
I don't want you to think that I'm some old skinflint, but these were so bloody expensive that I almost needed smelling salts.
Still, it was Easter Day, and we wanted to spoil ourselves a bit; and what better way to do so than with a few Scallops for lunch.
They're exacting things to cook; one needs to pay attention. Too much and they lose their sweetness, too little and they don't develop any. They should be slightly browned on the outside, but remain transparent on the inside; not unlike cooking fresh Salmon steaks. About 3 mins on either side, + or -.
With these being worth their weight in gold, I really watched over them. They were fabulous, I would almost claim them to have been perfect.
Tomorrow I shall start saving for some more!
For supper, a simple roasted Chicken.
Sunday, 4 April 2021
The crews will be racing from the tiny hamlet of Queen Adelaide (the new Putney) to the village of Littleport (the new Chiswick), one of the best rowing stretches on the river, and perfect for racing 8's.
I personally know this water like the proverbial back of my hand, having rowed there countless times; never particularly well. We loaned part of our boathouse to Cambridge's second crew 'Goldie', and often practiced our starts against them. We struggled as they invariably pulled away from us, after the very first stroke.
In more recent times, in 2016 Cambridge moved into a brand new boathouse in Ely, not far from our headquarters. Ely is about 20 miles from Cambridge.
I do think it's a shame that no spectators will be allowed to watch from the river bank to see Cambridge win later this afternoon, but that's life with Covid-19. We shall all have to watch from the safety of our sitting rooms; unless, of course, you just happen to be dog-walking along the tow-path!!
Kick-off is around 4pm UK time, April 4th (Easter Afternoon).
Saturday, 3 April 2021
Friday, 2 April 2021
Thursday, 1 April 2021
At this time of year, all food production is looking good. It's the period of hope and anticipation.
All the fruit trees are filled with flowers, what vegetables are already in the ground are looking healthy, and there's not a single thing that doesn't suggest a bumper harvest for later on in the year.
However, between now and harvest time, all manner of things can go wrong. The weather, bugs, viruses, animals both wild and domestic, and goodness knows what else. Things can go haywire and we end-up with far less than we'd anticipated; or even with nothing. By then our only option is to start thinking of 2022.
For the past few years my essential Tomato harvest was ruined by Blight/Mildew. As this is a disease that can live in the ground for several years, my crop has been moved to large pots, up at the barn. Everything else remains at Haddock's.
As we intend to migrate this autumn, there is little point in my growing Squashes or Pumpkins so there will be a lot of free space. Anything left in the ground when we depart will be donated to a very nice neighbour, who, I'm sure, will appreciate them.
In the meantime, all is well.
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Weekly shopping in the morning. Very quiet roads. Very quiet supermarket. Filled car with petrol, €40. Perfect.
I sowed a few seeds in a seed-bed; Cavolo Nero, Flat Leafed Parsley, and Swiss Chard.
23 C all afternoon. Shorts, tee-shirt, no socks.
BBQ in the evening. Cumin flavoured Breast of Lamb (my favourite cut), with simple salads. Max Marino accordion music in the background. Red wine.
What could be better than that?
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Monday, 29 March 2021
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Days have been quite monotonous recently. We keep the same hours, do roughly the same jobs, and stick to our usual meal times, etc.
However, occasionally along comes a day that is totally different; yesterday was one such.
Planting out seedlings at Haddock's at this time of year is always hazardous, but I invariably find myself doing so; much earlier than is wise. Yesterday I planted my Tomatoes, Aubergines and Peppers.
The Tomatoes are all in large pots, against a south facing wall up at the barn; they are in excellent soil and 'goodness', and the Aubergines and Peppers are planted-out at Haddock's.
The Toms need to be planted away from Haddock's because of wretched Tomato Blight/Mildew in the soil.
Toms are Marmande 'Hymar F1', Aubergines are 'Baluroi F1', and the Peppers are 'Lamuyo F1'. Varieties that are all new to me.
We can have frosts here until 'The Ice Saints' (11th, 12th, 13th May), so one needs to be cautious. I have placed plastic pots near each of the plants, to place over them in case any frost is forecast.
Then just before lunch, a lazy delivery driver phoned to say he'd left a parcel for me at the tobacconist's at my nearby town; 7 kms away. He couldn't be bothered to deliver it to my front door, as was expected of him. First thing in the afternoon, I hot-tyred it into town to collect.
I had ordered this 'fire pit' (above) online. It's a good size (almost a metre in diameter), reasonably attractive, portable, and very solid. It will be ideal for summer evenings spent outdoors, when the warmth of the day begins to fade. If anyone is looking for something similar I will give details; so many fire pits are over-fancy and ugly; this one is 'simple'.
Of course it had to be assembled, but in this case with just a few screws that fixed the three folding legs.
A busy and productive day all round.
Saturday, 27 March 2021
Friday, 26 March 2021
Thursday, 25 March 2021
Clock Tower, Brighton - Wikipedia
Wednesday, 24 March 2021
Tuesday, 23 March 2021
Monday, 22 March 2021
Sunday, 21 March 2021
Saturday, 20 March 2021
Friday, 19 March 2021
Thursday, 18 March 2021
Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Tuesday, 16 March 2021
Monday, 15 March 2021
I've been watching this small farmhouse slowly disintegrate over the past 45 years. When I first knew it, it was just an abandoned isolated ruined house with attached barn, pigsties, and other small outbuildings. Then the roof gave-in. Today there is very little left.
I recently noticed another newly collapsed wall, and saw that it was the perfect illustration for how these houses were originally built.
The stones came either from the fields, or from a nearby communal village quarry. The 'mortar' was no more than earth, and the trees for the roof structure, etc, came from the surrounding woods. The roof tiles must have been the main expense, as they needed to be purchased.
All that was then needed was a piece of string with an attached pebble (plumb-line), a few tools, and a level.
They may sound flimsy, but as long as the walls were kept dry (a good roof), they remained solid for centuries. Just stones, earth, and wood. Our house is built like this, and it's lasted 300 years so far.
Sunday, 14 March 2021
H M The Queen is under attack, not only from within, but from an ever increasing group of left-wing 'woke' activists elsewhere; not least of which is the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. She is often spoken of as an unnecessary appendage to the British economy and taxpayer; which of course is rubbish.
I am posting this simply for the benefit of some 'foreigners' who may have been fed (or are being fed) a totally false picture of Her Majesty.
Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne since the age of 25; nearly 70 years, and has never put a foot wrong. She has been an exemplary monarch, and a perfect example of 'regal behaviour'.
Last year she performed 296 official engagements, and welcomed 139,000 guests to Royal residences for banquets, etc. As Head of the Commonwealth she also spent an inordinate amount of time on foreign affairs. She's one busy gal.
Anti-Royalists often claim that she lives a life of luxury on the backs of British taxpayers; the truth is quite different. In fact, many of the usual Moaning-Minnie anti-royals are more than likely actually living off the back of The Queen.
The Queen's private income is known as The Crown Estate; ALL of which is handed over to the government, in the form of an 'exchange'. In recent times this has amounted to around £300 Million. In return she is awarded a living allowance, known as The Sovereign Grant; roughly 25% of her estate. Recently this has been around £80 Million.
The Sovereign Grant is managed by the Keeper (and Deputy Keeper) of the Privy Purse, and goes to pay for everything from her stamp collection, her clothing, running her private properties, her page boys, Royal Ascot, and just about everything else that Her Majesty owns, buys, employs, or controls. She may be asked to approve of the spending, but she does not administer it.
The UK's coffers benefit to the tune of about £220 Million annually. Hardly a drain on the anti-royal taxpayers, as some would have you believe!
I must admit that I haven't seen one minute of 'The Crown' TV soap, but I've heard that it presents a very twisted view of the Royal Family. I was 7 years old at the time of Elizabeth II's coronation, so she has been My Queen for most of my life. It saddens me hugely that a young naïve 'foreigner' now sees fit to criticise her, and insult the historic institution she represents.
She should just be grateful that Henry VIII isn't still around.
I don't wish to see a President Corbyn replacing the monarchy. The present system has worked extremely well, so let's celebrate the fact that the UK has one of the most admired Royal houses in the world, and repel those republicans who wish to bring it down. The world is in enough turmoil as it is, let's not add to it.
And, although one may not believe it after Charlie Hebdo's current edition; Her Majesty is much loved here in France too.