Saturday 30 April 2022

Road signs, rules, and regulations.


I wonder if any UK council has ever considered removing every road sign, abandoning parking restrictions, and painting over all the yellow lines? 

For a month or two, just let the motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, etc, look after themselves and use their own common sense.

Of course there would be arguments when Mr Jones parks in front of Mrs Smith's garage, but these things can be sorted-out quite quickly.

However, as in certain parts of Italy where traffic regulations are seen as being 'advisory' only, things would probably continue quite happily. It would be fun to see.

Friday 29 April 2022

The Propaganda Race.

In the propaganda race, there is no question that Labour are winning! For some bizarre reason the Tories don't seem to have an equivalent propaganda department in order to have a poke at the left.

Take the recent bit of nonsense in the UK. Starmer (the leader of the Left) has been going on and on about Boris and his garden meeting with cabinet colleagues (below), for weeks if not months. It was as if it was the only thing that mattered in the UK. Bugger Covid, Ukraine, or the nation's Employment figures, it was Boris's outdoor meeting that's got his goat. I suppose he imagined that as the leader of one of the world's most powerful nations, he should simply have gone to ground, and done nothing until the Covid panic was over.

No, Sir Keir, you fail to understand that the wheels continue to turn and the country needs to be under constant control and guidance. That isn't done by isolating yourself; even if you'd advised others to do so. Sadly you will never really get to understand that as you have little chance of ever becoming PM. 

But of course, as we all know, Starmer himself was no stranger to parties during the period of lockdown, and rather than holding well distanced meetings outdoors in the fresh air (as did Boris), he held them in tiny enclosed rooms in Durham. He here is (below) swigging beer from a bottle with his chums.

Why the Tories did not press for him to be fined (as was Boris), I have no idea. We can only imagine that the Tories have better, and more urgent, things to do, than fussing about such trivialities. However, I don't think that Starmer is out of the woods quite yet! A similar fine for him and his chums would at least make the whole affair a bit more balanced.

Why there should be one rule for Labour, and another for The Tories; Starmer has yet to explain. 


Thursday 28 April 2022

Just a thought.

Putin has always claimed that his reason for invading Ukraine was to 'De-Militarise, and De-Nazify'.

Can anyone explain to me (especially if you are a Russian Putin supporter) how slaughtering women, children, and non-combatants, is supposed to achieve this?

To 'De-Militarise' you would need to exclusively attack military targets. And to 'De-Nazify' you would need to seek-out those Nazis. In which case attempting to totally destroy all buildings, infrastructure, and essential services, has nothing to do with either of Putin's aims, and becomes just pointless destruction. 

So, how's he getting on? Well, the world is pouring new hard-core military kit into Ukraine; which is being used very successfully against him, and as far as the de-Nazifying is going; I'm not too sure if there were any Nazis there in the first place. Such childish claims do Putin no favours whatsoever.

If his is simply an expansionist policy, then why not say so. Why not also tell the Russian people how many of their sons have lost their lives. Why not also let the world's press/media tell the truth about what's going on in Ukraine?

If he has something to hide, or if he is ashamed of his invasion; then he should stop it AT ONCE.

And, oh dear oh dear..... now we see that the effing idiot is threatening to bomb the UK. Maybe we need de-Militarising and de-Nazifying as well. What a plonker!

Wednesday 27 April 2022

More 'Seen in Brighton'.

Yesterday was another beautiful day, so we took Billy for a pre-lunch walk down to the beach.

The old West Pier, now no more than a skeleton. An upcoming talk at our nearby church. A novelty Dustman. The Bandstand. And finally an upside-down house on the prom'.

We had a coffee at a beach Café. I asked a swimmer what the water temperature was. He said it was 11 C, and lovely; he also said the water was beautifully clear. Hmm!

Always something to photograph.

Tuesday 26 April 2022


I noticed some time back that a fellow blogger said that she had been accused of being 'Arrogant'. I have never known her to be so; opinionated maybe, but I presume we all are. That is why we write; to express our opinions.

Before I continue, let me give you what I think is the best description of the word 'Arrogant'. i.e. 'Exaggerating, or disposed to exaggerate, one's own worth or importance, often by an overbearing manner'.

When I 'Googled' the word, and read this description, I immediately thought of 'Parisians', who perfect arrogance from an early age. Their Mother's milk is diluted with arrogance; they thrive on it, and take it to new heights. Those who go on to study Arrogance at college usually end-up as bureaucrats, Doctor's receptionists, or bank clerks, where their attained skills lead to regular promotion and riches. They are admired for their arrogance. Now go back to Google's description, and you will see what I mean. It fits them perfectly.

The humble Parisian waiter is a perfectionist in the art. If you can leave a Parisian eatery without feeling humbled and worthless, you have found somewhere to treasure. Why anyone who brings a coffee to your table should feel so bloody full of themselves, and dismissive of all others, I really don't know; but they do! Even the French Government recently tried to change them, but failed.

Some of the arrogance I have encountered is hard to believe; almost as if it was devised by some comedy script writer. So outrageous was it, that one almost laughed.

I shan't give multiple examples here, because they needed to be witnessed first hand in order to appreciate the full impact. No, I will give just one. 

Someone once openly stole the copyright to one of my drawings, and when I mentioned it, his son told me that I'd insulted him. Yes, I'D insulted HIM because HE'D shamelessly stolen MY copyright. A small example, but focussed enough to show how crazy these people can become without feeling at all embarrassed. Whatever you've done, always blame others.

Arrogance, pomposity, and insolence, are possibly my three most disliked human traits. Being kind, humble, and well-mannered, costs nothing and are endearing qualities that we (but mostly the French) should embrace. Do I see it happening? Of course not! 

Limbo Jazz - Wynton Marsalis Quintet with the Sachal Jazz Ensemble

When New Orleans meets Pakistan. A wonderful rendition by Wynton Marsalis, of Duke Ellington's 'Limbo Jazz'. Accompanied by the Sacha Jazz Ensemble; a group of traditional Pakistani musicians. It has a hint of Ska about it.

Monday 25 April 2022

Champignonnière & bons vivants 🍄🔥🍷 - Gueuleton

For one heart-stopping moment, I thought Vincent and Arthur had gone Veggie; then all was well.

The giant Cotes de Boeuf soon appeared. Phew! 

Sunday 24 April 2022

A Sunday Special. The villagers sing "Myfanwy".

Taken from the film 'How Green was my Valley', the villagers sing Myfanwy; the unofficial National Anthem of Wales. To make things better, there are even a couple of glimpses of the gorgeous Maureen O'Hara.

Quite possibly filmed in Trelawnyd; where I'm sure they used John's cottage as the family's residence.

Saturday 23 April 2022

The Ages of Man.

None of us has any way of knowing how many years are left for us, but, personally, I'm hoping for a few more. It was once proposed that everyone had only so many breaths, and so many heartbeats; but I think that theory has now been debunked.

Getting old is no fun. One spends most of one's life thinking 'That'll never happen to me'; then suddenly it does.

Those niggling pains no longer go away, one's legs will no longer allow one to run, and (perhaps most annoyingly) one can no longer eat drink and make merry as one once did. One's whole life changes, and slows to an annoyingly different pace, even when your brain tries to convince you otherwise.

Possibly my greatest enduring pleasure in life has been my time spent in France; firstly in a large farmhouse, then a huge village house, then in a much smaller 300 year old cottage. Nothing was more pleasurable than growing my own food, sawing and chopping my own wood for the fire, and walking or mushrooming with one or more of our dogs in the beautiful surrounding woods and countryside. 

I knew old age was approaching when I adopted an old and tattered Wing-Back Chair (above). No young person would be seen dead sitting in one; they are designed for the aged. Billy loves it too, but dogs have different reasons.

I suppose the most telling sign of approaching old age is when one starts to PLAN for it. The Aston gets traded for a Mini, the four story house is swapped for a bungalow, and one begins to appreciate level surfaces. That essential Winter heat now conveniently arrives at the touch of a button.  

Amongst all the negatives, I'm lucky to have one major positive; I was very fortunate to have been born HAPPY. I wake happy, I spend the day happy, and I go to bed happy. It's a natural trait that has treated me extremely well over the decades. When I look at those who wake angry, spend their days looking for conflict, or are ruled by jealousy and envy, I thank god my genetic make-up is as it is.

I may groan every time I get-up from a chair or sofa and my first few steps are always a bit unsteady, but I cope. I know the aches and pains are never going to go away, but at least I can try to laugh about it.


Friday 22 April 2022

Your (My) Mum's cooking.


Some will have bad memories of their mother's cooking; for others it would have been a pure delight. My own experience was somewhere in the middle, but certainly edging towards delight.

My mother's arsenal of recipes was very much post-war-frugal. We still had rationing when I was small (even though there were ways around such things), but as we had a very good sized garden there was plenty of room for Chickens, Bantams, and occasionally Ducks or Geese. We had a good selection of fruit trees, nut bushes, and vegetables. And we also had 'Fuller' who did all the hard work.

I can't really remember much of my mother's early cooking, other than a bacon, onion, and sage roly-poly (also known as 'Clanger', above) which I loved. It was stodgy, filling, and delicious. It was a steamed savoury suet pudding, that really filled the belly, and was always accompanied by a good dollop of freshly made Colman's Mustard. I once tried to imitate it; and failed.

When I was about 7 or 8 my mother discovered Elizabeth David, her Mediterranean Food book was a revelation to post-war Britain, where she taught English cooks how to use a few herbs or spices to jazz-up otherwise plain meals. It was a different way of thinking about food, and my mother tried her best to put into practice what she had learned.

We ate a lot of Beef joints in those days; I think they must have been cheaper, and more available, than Pork, Lamb, or Chicken. Big pots of pukka 'dripping' were always available in the larder.

One of her favourites from the Elizabeth David book was a Chicken Casserole which was cooked with Chopped Tomatoes, mushrooms, black olives, and cider. It always had Bay leaves in it, but I'm not sure what else. Every time she made it, it became better and better. I still make it today.

My mother also made a stonking good Chocolate Cake. My task was to do the squiggly lines in the icing with the back of a fork. I'm still an expert.

She was a plain-ish cook, but with pretentions. Whenever she travelled abroad, she always returned with strange exotic ingredients in her suitcase; some were good, others just looked good. I do remember a small tin of 'Thrushes in Sauce' which (as one might expect) came from Spain. We all came to the conclusion that the poor Thrushes would have been better left alone!

I only remember my father ever making two things. Firstly he very occasionally made Curries which contained banana, and secondly he once produced a large batch of Piccalilli. Both were very good.

I was trying to think of some recipe that I would ask my mother for, if she was still here; but I couldn't think of anything. Maybe like most children, I probably view my mother's cooking through rose tinted glasses.

Thursday 21 April 2022

Liquid Amlodipine.

Having done some research, and having been advised by Rachel, I've thrown caution to the winds and bought myself about two weeks worth of magical Blood Pressure lowering liquid.

I am assured that by drinking about 250 mls per day, my BP should reduce to a level that equates to taking that ghastly Amlodipine. I am also assured that my legs and feet will no longer swell.

I eat Beetroot on a regular basis, but I had never thought about drinking Beetroot Juice. I can't say that eating or drinking it give the same pleasure; they don't. The Juice loses something during the process, but it's still not unpleasant.

I'm also hoping that this elixir will give me the looks of Adonis, the stamina of Usain Bolt, and the sexual allure of Errol Flynn. One can but dream. 

It is 90% Beetroot Juice, and 10% Apple Juice.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Public Housing.

I am writing this out of sadness; not as criticism.

I thoroughly approved of Mrs Thatcher's programme of selling Council Houses to long term residents. It brought people into the property market who otherwise would never have found it possible.

What I couldn't understand, however, was why she then refused to allow councils to reinvest the proceeds in new public housing. It didn't make sense, but I presume there was some logic behind it.

This short row of five nearby houses (above) is typical of local affordable council housing, but the one at the far end has been totally trashed, and is no longer habitable; I cannot tell you how much this saddens me. I walk past them very often.

Back in about 1980 I watched a TV documentary about a similar build of social housing in Liverpool. They were not built in a terrace like the above, but arranged in what the architect described as 'Resembling a Cornish Fishing Village'. It was a beautiful development, and rightly won prizes for the designer. I would have been very happy to have lived there myself.

Sadly it didn't take long for the new residents to completely destroy the 'village'. At the time of the TV documentary, the houses were boarded-up, old cars and mattresses were dumped in the gardens, and everywhere was sprayed with graffiti. About 90% of the homes had been treated with the same contempt as the one illustrated above; some had been burned down. It was a depressing sight.

Three of the above are still in a good state, one is a bit tatty, and one is now boarded-up. Brighton Council says it would be too expensive to restore it to its former state. What a shame.

Public housing is an essential part of any caring society, and it's shocking that so often it's the very people who need them most, who end-up wrecking them. I guarantee that those who bought their homes under Mrs Thatcher's scheme didn't trash theirs. 

I don't want this to sound too much like criticism, but I do find this lack of respect EXTREMELY SAD. Of course, the vast majority of people in public housing are perfectly respectful of their homes, but, as we all know, it only takes a few to give the others a bad name.

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Legs and Pills.

I've been having 'leg problems'. I'm sure you're not really interested in my aches and pains, but I've recently had swollen legs/feet and after a few hundred yards, walking had become quite uncomfortable.

I spoke to my Doc' about it, and asked him if I could have some diuretics. In typical fashion, he didn't have a clue, and suggested I buy some long socks!!! I didn't.

So, doing what we all do these days, I consulted reliable Dr Google and found that one of the tablets I've been taking was probably responsible for the swelling. It seems that Amlodipine is well known for causing leg problems, so I've self-non-medicated, and stopped taking them. Frankly I would rather be able to walk around comfortably than take pills for my blood pressure (which is roughly OK anyway).

I am now into my second week of not taking the wretched things, and I think my body is slowly ridding itself of the side effects of this horrible medicine. My legs are no longer swollen, and I can already walk much further distances without too much discomfort. I still have hip problems, and a bad lower back, but the worrying swelling has gone. Hooray!

I shall need to wait another week or more before I can be sure of any real change, but I'm really hoping this is the answer to my problem, and if my Doc' wishes, he can prescribe me something else that won't make my feet and lower legs swell-up. There must be an alternative.

Maybe he didn't read his 'Boys Book of Medicine' as far as S for 'Swollen Feet'; but had he done so, long socks certainly wouldn't have been the answer! 

Monday 18 April 2022

An early Easter Morning visit to the Beach.

When the sun shines, and the temperature rises to around 20 C, Londoners will swarm to the beach by the tens of thousands.

Unfortunately they leave all their rubbish behind. The remnants of late night revelling were everywhere. I didn't photograph the worst of it; just some on the actual beach.

 Mucky buggers!

Saturday 16 April 2022


Cheap, bland, tasteless, shop-bought Tomatoes. Totally inedible!!

Same Tomatoes sliced in half, fried in Olive Oil, slightly seasoned, absolutely delicious. A revelation. 

We are all aware of how tasteless and unpleasant shop-bought Tomatoes can be at this time of year, but lightly seasoned and fried in olive oil they become delicious. 

If that ain't alchemy, I don't know what is!

Friday 15 April 2022

Alphonse (again).

We watch the BBC's 'Repair Shop' TV programme when we can, and Lady Magnon is constantly suggesting that I should take Alphonse along. I, of course, reply with an emphatic "No". I like him just the way he is! 

Alphonse and I have been together for all of 75 years. My mother won him in a raffle, at a rather posh Red Cross Ball in Park Lane towards the end of the war.

He is supposed to represent a Japanese Prisoner of War, for whom I imagine they were raising funds. He wears a straw hat, and has straw shoes. Otherwise he wears very simple (home-made by someone) Khaki Army Fatigues. The Poppy was an addition for last year's Remembrance Day.

Poor Alphonse (like me) is showing signs of age. His body is cracked and scarred, his uniform certainly wouldn't pass an inspection parade, and his eyes no longer see as once they did (cataracts maybe?).

Goodness knows what will happen to him when I'm no longer here. I don't wish to burden my children with loads of 'heirlooms' which I'm sure they wouldn't want. Maybe he should be buried, or cremated, with me; although it would be rather a shame.

To most people he's just a doll in uniform; a forerunner of Action Man. But to me he's almost a family member, a sort of brother or cousin who doesn't argue, and not only agrees with my every word but also does what he's told. 

He's not cuddly or cute. I never took him with me during my rare hospital stays; but I would hate to think that he wasn't somewhere at hand. We don't really speak to each other; just knowing that we're in easy reach of each other is enough.

I've brought him downstairs to share my sofa. I just hope that Billy doesn't take Umbrage.


Thursday 14 April 2022


This letter/enquiry from last weekend's Sunday Times amused me.

I recently bought a couple of pairs of Summer shorts, and as I always do, I put them directly into the washing machine.  I always wash new clothes before I would dream of wearing them.

I took off the price tag, etc, and threw them in the machine as they were. And just as the writer of the letter observed, they emerged 'inside out'; both pairs!

I'm not the type to write Mr Angry, or even Mr Pleasant letters to The Times, but in this case I did offer some pretty obvious advice. 

Of course you turn your pants inside out before washing, then if the theory is correct, they should emerge the right way round. Simple.

However, the 'why' question is still something of a mystery.

Things seen in Brighton yesterday.

Yesterday we took Billy on a long walk down to the sea, and around town.  These were just a few of the things I spotted. Firstly some good advice.

Lucas, Brighton's Green MP.... not too popular it seems.

Seagulls relaxing on top of someone's Mini.

Maybe a beach 'proposal' that went wrong? Billy was suspicious!

I see a dancing man; do you?

No tour of Brighton is complete without a snap of The Pavilion. Still as wonderful as ever.

Wednesday 13 April 2022


This is only the second time I've put any petrol in 'The Compact Royce' since returning to England last October. I only take her out once a week, on Mondays, to do my main shopping trip of the week, the rest of the time she stays in the garage.

Having read reports of 'no petrol' at various outlets, I was prepared to be turned away. I've been allowing the tank to run down to a minimum, because I wanted to change from 95 Octane to 98, and was trying to get the higher Octane fuel as pure as possible in the tank (if that makes sense). I was on my last drop of 95, and if they didn't have fuel I'd have been in the poo. Luckily all was well.

Back in France I was putting-in about €50 of Petrol every two weeks. Here I've put-in about £60 after more than six months. A huge saving thanks to living in town.

I would love to live without a car, but for the moment it's impossible.

I got to the Supermarket filling station right on the dot of 7am (opening time), and instantly a queue started to form behind me. This is all due to a bunch of self-centred Eco-Zealots who have been chaining themselves to supply pipes at refineries, and causing trouble.

If they wish to chain themselves, or glue themselves, to pipes; leave the buggers where they are. The authorities shouldn't be pampering to their idiotic behaviour. Either that, or move them elsewhere and chain them to a pipe where they can't disrupt normal petrol deliveries. Let their mates feed them, and cut them free!

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Stanley Tucci cooks spaghetti aglio e olio

This was the first authentic Pasta dish I'd ever eaten. It was cooked for me by a lovely Italian (Roman) beauty, at my flat in London's Fulham around 1966. It was the first time I'd eaten Spaghetti that wasn't SMOTHERED in overbearing tomato sauce. I had only visited Italy once, and, bizarrely had almost exclusively eaten VEAL; but that was in the North.

I seem to remember that the lovely Natacha added a small amount of Chicken Stock Cube to the slowly simmering Garlic/Oil, as well as some chopped Parsley and a tiny pinch of hot dried chilli flakes. She also DID serve it with grated Parmesan. It is said that every Italian cook will omit one important ingredient when they give you their 'secret recipe'. So who knows!

I was reliably informed that after a night out drinking with friends, they would always return to someone's house and prepare this dish before heading for their own homes, and bed.

Try it (if you haven't already). When made correctly it's hauntingly delicious, simple, and cheap. You need to like Garlic, and you will also need plenty of red wine! Here is Tucci showing you how it's done.

Monday 11 April 2022


What a beautiful weekend.

We have no Chestnut trees here which we're used to seeing turn green, but the Oaks are just starting to sprout. At this time of year I can hardly wait to see a fresh green haze over the treetops.

Above is our nearby church with a slowly greening Oak by the porch. Blue skies and sunshine add to our perfect early April weather. Apparently it was Palm Sunday yesterday, and a couple of Donkeys turned up as pageant 'extras'. Billy was happy to see them.

We had one good spell of rain last week (Wednesday?), but I didn't go out in it, thus still not testing my new Barbour.

Our beautiful weather continues.

Sunday 10 April 2022

An open letter to Vlad' Putin.

Dear Vlad.

Why don't you make the best of a bad job, recall your troops, and admit that you've fucked-up big time.

We in the West never liked you, and now everyone detests you. You are doing you and your country no favours.

Time to admit defeat, hand yourself over to The Hague, and accept that you are responsible for the most atrocious war crimes. Your troops are either out of control, deserting, or being abandoned by their commanding officers. Thousands of your young untrained conscripts have already been killed.

The West has had enough. After the dreadful recent war crimes committed at Bucha, several NATO members will now be joining forces to supply the Ukrainian military with some very serious kit, not only to destroy your military hardware, but also to sink ships. You no longer stand a bloody chance.

Quit now! You know it makes sense. Cro.

Pêche aux goujons - Gueuleton

Here, Arthur and Vincent go fishing for tiddlers in some murky looking river.

Of course, they can't resist a few bottles of wine, and the biggest Rib of Beef I've ever seen thrown onto the BBQ. 

When I was very young I visited a Restaurant (somewhere in Normandy) where such tiny fish were scooped from a stream that ran through the middle of the al fresco dining area, and were instantly floured and deep fried. It must have been my first real gastronomic experience. It was wonderful.

A good day messin' about on the river. 

Saturday 9 April 2022

Where's the help when you need it?

Ours is a quiet street; very little happens. So it was unusual the day before yesterday to find a distressed young man sitting on the steps that lead up to our house; right beside the sign that boldly says 'Private'.

Lady Magnon was the first to find him. She asked if he was OK, and received very little response. Some while later we noticed that he was still there, looking very confused.

That's him in the middle of the photo being 'helped' by Lady M and our neighbour Max (and watched by 'Pigeon' the cat). They couldn't get anything out of him; he seemed to be in a Zombie state, and didn't reply to questions. He looked 'normal' enough, but something was definitely wrong. I imagine he has 'Mental Problems'.

We really didn't know what to do. It wasn't a 999 case, and we didn't wish to make too big an issue of it. He wasn't violent or noisy; just mentally and physically 'lost'. Quite possibly as a result of something he'd 'taken'.

Eventually I phoned a police 'non urgent' number, and spoke to a nice lady who was sympathetic but not too helpful. She suggested I phone the Ambulance service if he looked in need of medical help. I followed her advice, but was told that if it wasn't an emergency, they could do nothing. It seemed as if cases such as his are low priority, and of no concern to any of the main services.

As night fell (along with the temperature) Lady M took him a mug of Tea and a Bacon sandwich; he seemed grateful. I believe others from the street have also spoken to him without response; although someone did discover that he's called Nick. Another resident loaned him a blanket and scarf. Our street's WhatsApp group soon rallied round.

This is not your regular 'rough sleeper' with a dog on a string. He is well dressed, clean, coiffed, etc; he just seemed totally lost and sad. I hope he feels that at least someone cared enough about him to help a bit. It's such a shame there there are no agencies who are willing to help someone like him.

P.S. He was still there the following morning (above), wrapped in the blanket that some kind person had loaned him. I spoke to him and asked if there was anyone I could contact on his behalf, or if there might be someone who's worried about him. He replied 'no' to both questions. The poor man looked frozen.

Not knowing what more we could do, I phoned the local 'Homelessness' people, and left the matter in their hands. A very sad state of affairs. At 9am an Ambulance came and took him away.

Someone in Government once had the bright idea that all 'Mental Homes' should be closed, and that 'Care in the Community' would replace them. This is the result.

I just hope he's now getting the help that he so obviously needs.

Friday 8 April 2022

Where are they now?

I don't know why, but we no longer seem to have any of Lady Magnon's paintings or sculptures. We have quite a few watercolours, and a screen-print or two, but even some of those are now missing (or we can't find them).

However, we have recently found some slides of her work, one of which is below (dreadful photo). A large colourful painting that I wish was still here.

As I have said before, I've had more paintings stolen than I've sold, and I think that applies to Lady M as well.

I wonder where all those paintings are? When I look at Interiors' photos, I always find myself scouring the walls for something I recognise.

They must be somewhere! I do hope someone is treasuring them (Lady M's anyway).

Thursday 7 April 2022

Cro; Master Potter?


I have only ever made one successful Pot; and this is it. I made it in my final year at school.

Lady Magnon had told me that she'd thrown it away, and I wasn't happy about it. But we have now found it stuffed away in a corner of the loft.

I'm not going to pretend that it's a masterpiece; it isn't. But it's symmetrical, solid, it has a pleasant glaze, and it doesn't leak.

I'm very pleased to see that it's still around. Now all she has to do is find my Prep' School Cricket colours cap that she also claims to have thrown away.

How could she!!!

Wednesday 6 April 2022

There is HOPE!

If this tiny bouquet of Daisies can thrive in the crack of a Brighton pavement, then there is hope in all situations.

It made me think of those poor Ukrainians who have had their lives totally destroyed at the hands of an expansionist maniac. I just wonder if a few Daisies are finding the will to thrive in the pavements of Mariupol or Bucha.

In the face of adversity, there is often a glimmer of hope. In the case of Ukraine, it looks as if their men are giving the Russians a seriously bloody nose. I hope that continues.

Tuesday 5 April 2022

Anne Murray - Snowbird (with lyrics)

Anne Murray's beautiful voice brings out the real emotion in this lovely song. Tune and lyrics by Canadian song writer Gene MacLellan.

'Spread your tiny wings and fly away'. A sad song, but strangely uplifting. I'm posting a version with the lyrics, so we can all sing along; but you might have to watch in YouTube to see all the words.

Monday 4 April 2022

Japanese Sweets

Sweets are a good gauge of any country's soul. They tell you a lot about the people and their tastes.

When my son was working in Singapore recently, he wisely returned with a selection of Japanese sweets and snacks that were 'very interesting'. The three large packs are Strawberry, Melon, and Mixed 'fruit gums'. Very nice (even though I don't really eat sweets).

But the most interesting however were the two small packs at the bottom of the picture. One was a strange Peach-flavoured jelly that one squeezes out into your mouth like clear pale-pink Silicone from a tube. The other was a tiny pack of rather sweet preserved Pork (below). Both were quite a revelation. Wonderful things to have in your pocket at all times.

Knowing the Japanese penchant for hard work, I quite expect they were designed to keep Japanese office workers happily at their desks well into the night.


Sunday 3 April 2022

Stanley tucci: searching for italy (2021)

As you may already have realised, I am an unashamed 'foodie'. I love eating, I love cooking, and most of all I love discovering new flavours and recipes.

I do have a few favourite 'TV Chefs', as well as food writers. Rick Stein's programmes around Europe combine travel with gastronomy, and become a history lesson in the process. They are worth watching time and time again.

I also rather liked the Two Greedy Italians, Carluccio and Contaldo, who's humour combined with good food and wine, made compelling viewing. 

Writers such as Elizabeth David can be read like a good novel. Always good.

But I've recently found another TV food explorer, whose programmes make wonderful watching.

Stanley Tucci, is an American of Italian parents who lives in London. I believe he is an actor, not a chef, but I only know of him through his TV series 'Searching for Italy' (see short trailer above).  He obviously has a passion for everything Italian, and especially its cuisine.

I am a huge fan of Italian cooking, the simpler the better; and Tucci shows us some classics. He avoids the high-end eateries, and concentrates on that which is available to us all; region by region. His Spaghetti with Zuccini being a classic example, and is a revelation.

When I have the time, I am watching some of his programmes on the BBC's iPlayer on my laptop, but I expect they are available elsewhere too. If you're a foodie like me; take a look. He's very good with few pretentions, which makes relaxed viewing. Keep your pen and pad handy!

Saturday 2 April 2022

Could you repeat that please..... slowly!

This short letter (below) recently appeared in last Sunday's paper TV section, amongst the readers' comments.

I think the writer either has a huge chip on his shoulder, or is simply missing an obvious point. Why they printed his letter I really don't know!

Personally I love regional accents, my favourites being Welsh, West country, and Norfolk. Some others, it's true, I'm not so keen on. However, certain accents are less suitable for Radio or TV than others.

The whole point of language is 'communication', and if an accent is so strong that one can't understand what is being said, then it is of no use on TV. Some Newcastle, Liverpool, or Glasgow accents (there are others) are almost impossible to understand, and their speakers take pride in making them so; treating them almost like a regional Patois; purposefully unintelligible to outsiders. Also, certain ethnic groups have developed a coded version of our language that is intended to exclude outsiders. This too would be hopeless on a News programme.

Mr Sutton should not be trying to make this a question of North/South divide.  It is a question of clarity and diction, rather than of 'class'. Speak your own version of English amongst your family and friends, but don't expect the whole country to understand you if you're reading The News on the BBC. The Northerner who cannot understand a thick Cockney accent would never be accused of 'coming from the home counties'.

Halfway through writing this, I received a phone call from an Indian woman who was trying to scam me about my Internet connection. I could hardly understand a word of what she was saying, and after my traditional greeting for such people, I put the phone down. In the same way, someone with a very broad equally incomprehensible Geordie accent on a National News programme would receive the same treatment, and be turned off. This is not some snobbish North/South action; it is a natural reaction to something we literally cannot understand.

However, Mr Sutton is right about one thing; I suspect we might need subtitles to understand HIM (from the North).

And here are the following day's comments about Mr Sutton's complaint. I think they all have it absolutely right! It's all about CLARITY Sir, not North and South.

Bravo Charles Foster indeed (I hope he reads this; whoever he is!).

Friday 1 April 2022

Global Warming?


We returned to the UK in mid-October, and since then it really hasn't been cold; I think the lowest temperature has been 1 or 2 C. Not even enough for a decent covering of frost. If anything our memory of Winter 2021/2022 will be that of sunshine; as above.

It hasn't even rained properly.  We've had some light drizzle, a few minutes of rainette, and maybe one night when it did actually rain properly for a very short while. However; it really hasn't 'rained' as such, and my new Barbour, and rain hat, have still not been fully tested.

I'm not saying that I haven't worn my hat-gloves-n-scarf on chilly mornings, because I have on several occasions, but that can be the case at almost any time of year. Back in France I know that it's been quite cold, and has rained a lot, but not here.

I always say that the difference between our French and English climates is that in France it's colder in Winter and hotter in Summer. So far this has certainly been so, and I'm definitely hoping for a good hot Summer.

Just for a change, yesterday morning about 10 tiny snowflakes fell accompanied by a stiff breeze, then sunshine again (see above photo; we even had our upper front window open). We're promised some sub-zero temperatures over the next two days; but we'll see.

My new Barbour remains untested. 

Long live Global warming!

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