Friday 30 April 2021
Thursday 29 April 2021
Wednesday 28 April 2021
I only heard of this word recently, and, frankly, I think it deserves an award.... what for; I'm not sure.
The story is thus; when bookshops eventually re-opened for browsing, Covid-19 was on everyone's minds, and its potential for fast-spreading was causing fear everywhere.
We were told not to touch our post or shopping for 24 hrs, so that any attached virus had time to die. We were also told to sing 'Happy Birthday' to time ourselves whilst frantically scrubbing our hands. And in the bookshop world, we were told to place any books we'd handled onto a...
QUARANTROLLY: n. mobile receptacle for 24 hr quarantining of books that may have been contaminated by virus-carrying person; esp Covid-19.
There you are! Quarantrolly.
Can you think of a worse word?
Tuesday 27 April 2021
Monday 26 April 2021
We are in 'lovie-season' again, with the world's greatest back-slapping event happening over in the USA. Yes it's the Oscars time of year.
I opened my online paper this morning to the usual pictures of Hollywood Hopefuls all wearing strange expensive dresses, and pouting at the photographers. I am pleased to say that I didn't recognise a single one of them.
Sunday 25 April 2021
Saturday 24 April 2021
It used to be that 50 was the age at which you were officially 'old', then it was changed to 60.
Now, I'm pleased to see that the W.H.O. (whose employees presumably have nothing better to do) have revised how we refer to our ages, and have issued the following (rather strange) new classifications.
18-65 Youth, or Young people
66-79 Middle aged
80-99 Elderly or Senior
100+ Long-lived Elderly
I've been feeling Middle aged for quite some while, and I'm pleased to see that my feelings were correct. For a while I'd worried that I was just plain 'decrepit'.
Friday 23 April 2021
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.