Saturday 31 December 2022

Cro's Review of 2022.


A very short review this year.

2022 started very quietly for the Magnons. Winter was mild, Spring was mild, then at the end of May we headed south for our home in France. 

Summer was as all Summers should be; hot, dry, and with plenty of BBQ's, swimming, etc. With our only being allowed three post-Brexit months in France each year (which is plenty) at the end of August, after a lovely Summer, we returned to Blighty. 

However, a true nightmare was about to happen.

It seemed as if everything that could possibly have gone wrong on our return journey; did. We broke down in the middle of Rouen, and the car was eventually scrapped. We were saved by the totally selfless actions of oldest son Kimbo, who booked us a hotel, drove and sailed through the night, and returned us (and a car-full of belongings and Billy) to Brighton the following day. 

I cannot tell you the relief we felt when looking out of our Dieppe hotel window the following morning, and seeing his car there. Without him I don't know what we would have done. He was a total hero!

We quickly settled back into life in Brighton. Putin's horrible invasion of Ukraine occupied most of the news, and anti-oil 'Wokery' became rampant with the silliest of protests receiving headline status. People glued themselves to everything imaginable, threw tomato soup at well-known paintings, and blocked motorways. In fact they made a right bloody nuisance of themselves anywhere and everywhere. Someone soon has to say "Enough is enough".

We seemed to have a sudden flurry of Prime Ministers. First Boris quit over having held meetings during his own enforced Covid lockdown, then over-hyped Liz Truss made an awful mess of her mini-Budget and was booted out, then finally Rishi came along and things settled. I had championed Rishi back in June, but my advice was ignored. It's good to see him now having his chance, he's a very bright boy.

How Sir Keir Starmer managed to avoid prosecution over his beer-swilling knees-up in Durham during lockdown is anyone's guess, but I suppose as he was recently head of The Crown Prosecution Service, he might have had some influence. Ahem!

In amongst all this mess, our beloved Queen died, and King Charles took the reins. The change-over has been reasonably seamless, I wonder if Charles feels like a 'King' yet? He will!

However, the most momentous event of 2022 for me personally was the purchase and use of a walking cane. With Sciatica, dodgy hips, and an even more troublesome right knee, I now feel steadier on my feet with a stick. It seems like a rite of passage, but not a good one. This (below) is what the future holds.

All in all it's been another reasonably quiet year for the Magnons. We are less centrally-heated than usual, but are still solvent, still Covid-free, Flu-free, and still enjoying life.

Labour and their Union Boss paymasters have done their best to ruin Christmas. We've had the postal workers on strike, the train drivers, the nurses, barristers, university lecturers, school teachers, firefighters, London bus drivers, ambulance drivers, and civil servants (I may have missed some). Even the driving test examiners joined-in. All supported by Labour of course. If lots of these strikers lose their jobs over all this political nonsense, I shall not be shedding tears.

So how does 2022 end for UK Plc? I will leave you with this one picture which explains all.

May I wish you all an extremely happy, and hopefully strike-free 2023. Cro xx 

Friday 30 December 2022

Jeremy Clarkson's Biggest Mishaps | Clarkson's Farm

I mentioned yesterday that I'd been given Jeremy Clarkson's book for Christmas.

For anyone who doesn't understand how badly amateur farmers can mess-up, this short video will give you some idea. 

I should mention that my own farming career only lasted for two years. I borrowed a tractor from my very patient neighbour José, and ploughed, harrowed, and sowed. The first year I grew Wheat (which was full of wild seeds, so useless for bread-flour), the second year I grew a much safer cop of Maize which was OK. I can't actually remember what I did with my crop; there was a lot of it. Year three I decided to leave it to the pro's.  

Anyway, here is Jeremy and his side-kick, the long-suffering Kaleb. This is worth watching to the end. It's hilarious.

Expect some colourful language!

The Rich or Famous.

Brighton & Hove's celebrity spotting usually takes place along the prom' towards Hove on warm, or sunny, Sunday afternoons (Winter and Summer). One always recognises a few famous faces, but putting names to them is another matter. 

When I lived in central London, celebs were everywhere, no-one rushed over with autograph books, they were left alone. It was accepted that they were simply local residents just like everyone else.

These days, of course, everyone has a phone in their hands, and 'selfies' with celebs are regarded as a 'human right'. It must be infuriating to be stopped every few metres for some geek to take a snap.

I'm not aware of any 'famous people' living nearby us these days, but Sir Roy Strong used to live just down the road, as did Dame Flora Robson; in fact they must have been neighbours. Both, I believe were regular attendees at our nearby church, where this plaque (above) is situated.

Otherwise some current famous Brighton residents include Captain Sensible, Cate Blanchett, Chris Eubank & Son, David Gilmour, David Walliams, Fat Boy Slim, Heather Mills, Julian Clary, Ken Livingston, Nick Cave, Ray Brooks, Peter André, and Robin Cousins, to name but few. 

I've never met any of them, but they've never met me either!

Thursday 29 December 2022


Dear Lady M always gives me some 'light reading' for Christmas, this year she gave me Jeremy Clarkson's book called 'Diddly Squat, a year on the farm', which is all about his agricultural venture.

Clarkson is a UK TV presenter who fronted a very amusing, and much loved, motoring programme (Top Gear). He is also a motoring correspondent and feature writer for The Sunday Times. I expect he also has other jobs.

Quite recently he decided to take up farming, and bought a £6Million, 1,000 acre farm, in The Cotswolds. Anyone who knows anything about Clarkson will know that disasters were bound to happen; and they do!

Clarkson is a controversial character. Very outspoken, and with quite radical opinions. He is also very intelligent and funny, and his 'common sense' view of life often prompts outrage amongst the Dungaree wearing Woke lovies of Islington (and other People's Republics); which is a sign that he's generally right about things. He does, I must admit, occasionally let himself get slightly out of hand with his personal attacks and comments.

The book is great fun. He does over-do his amusing similies (trying to herd Pigs is like trying to sweep air), and they can become tiresome, otherwise it is well written. The book itself is also filled with blank pages, making it seem much bigger than it is.

This is not a newly written book, it is taken from his weekly writings in The Sunday Times, so much of it I had already read.

It's a quick read. Perfect maybe for a weekend away, or a lazy day on the beach.

Verdict: Not for the Woke Brigade. Funny, 8/10.

And it just HAD to happen. One of my other presents was a Harry and Meghan souvenir tin of Teabags. Thank you Susie; I shall treasure it!

Wednesday 28 December 2022

One final moan of 2022.

I'm just back from having collected rubbish in the streets and local park. I see lots of discarded rubbish every day, and try to do my best (not always) to clear it up. 

It depresses me that 'young people' don't seem to give a damn about leaving rubbish behind them wherever they go. At Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight, or even (below) in Sydney Oz on Christmas Day 2022, kids seem to be oblivious of how disgusting they are. Here in Brighton they leave it in the Churchyard, in the Twitten behind our house, and all over the beach. 

This is NOT the elderly leaving litter, it is those little darlings who want all 6 year olds to be able to decide their gender as often as they like, and dismiss the achievements of some of our greatest heroes!

In the photo I can see a few rubbish bins, but not many. Maybe the authorities should also play their part by suppling A LOT more.

Forget Covid, Global warming, and Putin; lets get people to STOP throwing their bloody litter all over our green and pleasant lands. It's achievable.

I wonder if 'U know who' will support litter-bugs? She does support some very bizarre things.

Tuesday 27 December 2022

The Festivities

Went the day well?

It certainly did. All was as usual; just as it has been since I was born. A smallish 4 kg roasted Turkey, roast potatoes, sprouts, and stuffing, served with a delicious sauce. Later (of course) we all had a small portion of plum pudding with brandy butter and cream. 

Boxing Day supper was a Turkey casserole; possibly even more delicious.

It's how my mother did things, it's also how most English households do things, and it's how I have always continued the tradition.

Two bottles of Champagne, two of Pécharmant, and plenty of Smoked Salmon and 'Caviar', completed the picture. A simple and surprisingly inexpensive feast. Pre-Christmas there were tales of Turkeys costing over £120 in the shops; my whole meal came nowhere near that.

Alexa has now entered our lives, thanks to my son Kimbo. She manages to answer my every question, she turns on my lights, and even changes their colour at my demand. How she does all this is a total mystery to me, but she does so willingly.

Billy too had presents, and really enjoyed 'unwrapping' them.

A very good Christmas was had by all. Now all that remains is a lovely cold salad lunch with grandsons, and tonight's curry. 

Those traditions continue!


Monday 26 December 2022

Foxes, pro v con. A Boxing Day Special.

There was a very interesting article in a recent Sunday Times magazine, all about urban Foxes.

The article revolved around a certain Mr Bruce Lindsay-Smith (below), who it seems is a professional urban Fox slayer.

Mr Lindsay-Smith, and his .22 silenced rifle, can be hired for about £450, and he claims to be able to kill up to 13 Foxes in one evening.

In the days when Foxes still lived in the countryside, the local hunt would occasionally kill an old or ailing Fox, driving the anti-hunt protesters crazy. 

These days, now that mounted Fox hunting has been banned, there are people all over the country either shooting, trapping, or gassing unknown numbers of Foxes to their heart's content, and the anti-hunt brigade stay silent. Could it be that these dungaree-wearing lovies were actually ANTI-TOFFS, and had no interest in Foxes whatsoever? I hardly dare suggest such a thing, but their actions do suggest as much.

Riding to hounds still exists, but they no longer hunt Foxes, choosing to follow a laid trail of 'chum' instead. It's bizarre, but the anti-hunt brigade still make nuisances of themselves, frightening the horses, and feeding the hounds with nasty poisoned 'sweets'. Could it be that these dungaree-wearing lovies remain ANTI-TOFF? Surely not!

Boxing Day was always the traditional day on which one would ride-out to hounds. I was always a supporter of Fox hunting. They served an essential service for farmers and landowners. Having been invited by local farmers to solve their Fox problems, they enjoyed a day out riding with their friends, and hopefully found a troublesome Fox or two. They were Eco-Hunters. I, myself, lost a whole run-full of Hens to a Fox overnight, so I know first hand what hooligans Foxes can be. 

There's not much 'eco' about gassing, trapping, or shooting.

The current trend to slaughter every urban Fox frightens me. I like Foxes. I see one in my street almost every night. A beautiful fluffy pale ginger (female?) with a gorgeous tail, who seems to be in tip-top condition. I would be very upset if I heard that Mr Lindsay-Smith had shot her. 

But what upsets me most of all is that the anti-hunt lovies say nothing about the current slaughter of Foxes, and continue to concentrate their perverted anger on people who simply enjoy riding horses. One should remember that in a hunt there used to be only two people concerned with the actual hunting of a Fox; the Master of the Hunt, and the Whipper-in, all the others were simply out for a communal ride. 

One anti-hunt lovie recently whacked an 83 year old hunt (non-riding) follower over the head with a hefty camera lens, causing a nasty injury.

Have the anti-hunt people been banging on Lindsay-Smith's door; of course not. When being hunted by hounds, at least the Fox had a very good hope of escape. When at the end of Mr Lindsay-Smith's telescopic sight, they don't stand a chance. 

Sunday 25 December 2022

Cro's Christmas Greeting (again).

Have a really Happy Christmas everyone! Cro xx

Saturday 24 December 2022

Christmas Tidings

A few handy tips to make your Christmas even more enjoyable. I apologise for the 'non-PC' references.

Best wishes to all. Cro xx 

Friday 23 December 2022

Santa letter 2022.

Dear Santa,

I must admit to having used a lot of 'bad words' this year; but I think they were mostly warranted. What with my car breaking down and dying in Rouen, my legs becoming uncooperative, all these wretched irresponsible strikes we're having, Boris quitting his post far too early, Putin behaving like Hitler on a bad day, H M The Queen leaving us, my friend Sue dying, those two spoilt brats in California being a total pain, and various other disasters or annoyances, it really hasn't been the best of years.

However, I have tried to be good. I've picked-up other people's rubbish, I've found lost property and managed to find the owners, and I've befriended some who otherwise had no friends. I know I could have done a lot more, but I'm getting old.

So what would I like you to do for me for Christmas (if anything)?

Could you please do something about Putin? This would not only be the best present imaginable for me personally, but for people the world over. Could you also do something about the Woke lovies re-writing of history, and the horrible accusations of 'racism and misogyny' that are being bandied about by those two white spoilt brats (you-know-who) in California. 

Could you also please re-program those who've been brainwashed into gluing themselves to roads, paintings, and floors. And finally could you bring a halt to all the extreme Religions and Political Regimes that bring so much pain and misery to the world. No-one would miss Putin, The Taliban, Xi Jinping, or Kim Jong-un, or even a few other 'firebrands' closer to home. Thank you.

For me personally, I would love some more responsive legs. Having my walking distances limited is becoming tiresome. A wave of your leg-wand would be much appreciated.

I shall leave you the usual Mince Pie and glass of Single Malt (by the tree) on Christmas Eve, and I hope that you and Mrs Claus will have a wonderful BIG DAY.

Your friend, Cro xx


Thursday 22 December 2022

RIP Terry Hall, aged 63

Ska and Two-Tone were the musical mouthpieces of racial integration. Their anti-racist stance was one of the things that originally attracted me to Ska. Terry Hall and The Specials did their utmost to promote a type of natural invisible acceptance of one another. He was a pioneer.

Hall invented the idea of 'Political Pop', and those with a heart supported him; if not his style of music. Sadly there are plenty of exceptions out there who didn't; including those who use 'racism' for nefarious reasons; and we all know of some California based moaners who specialise in this.

"We're wondering now, what to do, now we know this is the end". You did your best Terry, but many still didn't listen. Now rest in peace. You were one of my real musical heroes.

Note how he didn't turn a hair when his stage became invaded. His fans were his life.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Cro's Christmas Office Party.


I decided to hold my this year's Office Party in a Middle-Eastern restaurant here in Brighton, called Lavash.

Many, many, years ago I went to a party in Paris hosted by three female Lebanese students. They'd prepared a plethora of small dishes from their native land, and the flavours were haunting. Since then, I've been to just one Lebanese restaurant, and have always hankered for more.

The photo below comes from their web page; I forgot my phone!  Mine looked exactly the same.                        

Lavash have two branches in Brighton, and are genuinely Middle-Eastern. This is the real McCoy. I opted for the carnivore option, but veggies are also very well catered for; in fact the next time I go I might well have a veggie meal.

Good food, sensibly priced, but the cost of drinks was excessive, and the décor questionable. I asked for water! They even had a wonderful wood-fired BBQ in the open kitchen.

I can imagine them opening more branches elsewhere. If you find one near you in the future, I recommend. Take plenty of paper serviettes.

No-one misbehaved.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Eenie, meenie, miney, mo.

Charities are vying for our financial help all over the place at this time of year.

Over the past week or so I have been bombarded with 'begging letters'. I've been asked to give to Oxfam, Battersea Dogs Home, Cancer charities, The Salvation Army, Donkey charities, Syrian children, Yemeni children, Water supplies for Africa, Dog charities, Cat charities, Adopt a Tiger, Sight-savers, RSPCA, The Red Cross, UNICEF, Centre Point, Warmth for Horses, Medecins sans Frontières, Anti Human Trafficking, Ukrainian Christians, and saving Pangolins. I quite expect I've missed a few.

Like everyone I can't give to all of them, I simply don't have the funds. I could, of course, give a small amount to each of them, but I think it's preferable to give a decent amount to just one or two that appeal more than the others, but how does one choose? 

I've always supported Medecins sans Frontières, and will continue to do so, Lady M is a supporter of The Red Cross. Both charities do much the same work and will always go wherever they're needed.

It's not that I don't support the other charities, I will always pop a pound or two into a collection box for causes I believe in, but my major annual donation still goes to MSF. 

Monday 19 December 2022

A great night out.

Last night we went to see The Beatles; not the real Beatles but the Bootleg ones.

Below are not-George, not-Paul, not-Ringo, and not-John, recreating the famous Zebra-crossing picture.

I wasn't sure what to expect from a tribute band such as this, but I needn't have worried; they were fantastic, and put-on a really superb show. They even look like the originals, and changed their hair length and clothes throughout the show to reflect the era of the songs as they went from the early to the later ones.

If they come your way, and you like The Beatles music, I really recommend you go. A great night out. Thank you Kimbo.

I have only met one of the original bunch; Paul McCartney. He was 'walking-out' with Jane Asher at the time, and she lived in Harley St, just up the road from the Art Gallery I was managing. Paul used to pop in to 'browse' on his way to see her. 

My boss, Miklos, took photos of me and Paul, then discovered he had no film in the camera. What a bloody plonker. I would have treasured them.


Sunday 18 December 2022

Strikes; Labour v Tory.

When it comes to striking, it has to be said that The Socialists and The Tories have very different attitudes. The Socialists use strikes to blame the Tories for mismanagement. They use the picket line as a political soap box.

The Tories are not so keen on strikes. They understand that strikes only create unemployment, and harm the country's financial well-being. It is never in the interest of one's company to withhold labour. Tories prefer to get on with the job, and tackle any problems from the inside.

Most of us can probably remember 'Red Robbo'. After he'd organised several hundred walkouts over a period of 2 years in 1975/76, the poor British Leyland car plant at Longbridge went bankrupt.

We all certainly remember Arthur Scargill who almost single handedly closed the British Coal mines. After the Coal Board asked for government for permission to close 20 uneconomic worked-out pits, Mrs Thatcher gave permission to close just 13. Scargill took ALL his men out on strike and closed the remaining 147. Mrs Thatcher still receives hatred from the ex-mining community, whereas it should have been focused on multi-millionaire Scargill. When Socialist P M Harold Wilson had previously closed over 200 pits, he'd received no condemnation from the Unions. An uneconomic pit is an uneconomic pit, whoever is in power!

Dave Ward of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is bringing all his postal workers out on strike. With the huge reduction in 'snail mail', and parcel delivery, his 200,000 members should all be in genuine fear of losing their jobs, they are only hastening this by not working. Email and Amazon will be the inevitable winners!

As for Mick Lynch, leader of the Railway Workers Union, he is a total disgrace. He is not only depriving workers from reaching their offices, but also preventing shoppers or diners reaching city centres. Many businesses depend on Christmas trade to survive, and many risk closing down for good! It must be remembered that Train Drivers earn a minimum of £65,000 p.a. The harm that Lynch is causing will be widespread.

Striking in the UK (which is rampant at the moment) has nothing to do with wages, working conditions, or 'government austerity', it is to do with politics. Strikes are an easy way to build-up hatred against a government by putting the blame on 'lack of negotiation'. If you can build a serious 'Winter of Discontent', you might well benefit at the following General Election; at least that is what they hope.

The most powerful UK Trades unions fund the Labour Party to the tune of £Millions, making it impossible for them to speak-out against strikes (even if they wanted to). Striking is a Socialist ploy designed to influence people politically. And, yes, sadly it does work.

And finally; The Unions are demanding anywhere between 15% and 17% wage increases for various different trades, but when The Socialists were asked if they themselves would offer that 17%, they of course dodge the question. Of course they wouldn't; the economy is the economy for whoever is in power; and has to be managed correctly.

p.s. I know there will be one or two who agree with striking, but don't expect me to agree with you!

Saturday 17 December 2022

Dogs past and present.

I don't think one ever gets over losing a dog. It seems like only yesterday that we lost our Lab' Monty, and our Black Lab' cross Border Collie Bok. Not a day goes by when I don't think of them and miss them.

Billy was 4 years old just a few days ago, and normally he would have plenty of years ahead of him; but that's what we thought about both Monty and Bok.

In fact Monty died aged 4, Bok aged 8, and Freddie our Cat at 14; Fred outlived the lot of them. I'm not expecting Billy to suddenly leave us, he is extremely healthy, but these things cross one's mind. It didn't help that the dogs had had death threats from a nasty neighbour. It was never established how they'd died.

Billy should live to about 13 to 16, so he has plenty of fun-years ahead of him. I often gloomily think of who I would like to go first; Billy or me. If Billy were to suddenly die, I would cope. Of course I would be devastated but humans have the ability to get-over such things. If I was to go before Billy, I don't know what would happen. I think he might be more confused than sad. When Bok's very best friend Monty died I was expecting him to be distraught, but he showed no emotion whatsoever. One never knows how dogs will react.

I meet and greet many dogs every day, and I find them all fascinating. There are only two types that I avoid; Pit Bulls (or anything that resembles one) and Chihuahuas.

Friday 16 December 2022

10 mins wasted.


Lady M: "Some 'charming young gentleman' (she actually used another word) has thrown his rubbish onto the top of the garage, can you get it down?"

Cro: "I'll do it first thing tomorrow morning. Are you sure it's rubbish?"

Lady M: "Looks like it from here, I can see empty beer cans"

Cro: "It's just that if it looks like 'swag', I might do it now!"

Lady M: "Leave it till tomorrow"

So, after having returned from my early walk with Billy, I removed the frost from my step ladder and climbed onto the garage roof. There it was, a bag spilling cans all over the newly repaired surface.

It didn't take long to realise what it was. These weren't beer cans. Some little scumbag had presumably been caught spraying squiggles over walls, or some other flat surface, and had ditched his stash of spray cans so as not to be caught 'red handed' (yes, it was mostly red paint).

There were about 4 large rubbish bins only a few yards away, but he rather stupidly chose our garage roof instead.

I didn't look to see if there was any incriminating evidence in his bag, and placed it where he should have; IN THE BIN.

10 minutes of my life wasted; but maybe a few walls saved as well!

Thursday 15 December 2022

International gastronomy tourism.

Part of travel is the enjoyment of discovering and eating new foods and flavours.

That first Paella in Spain or Bouillabaisse in France, are memorable events. We often return home and attempt (miserably) to reproduce them in our own kitchens.

Further afield we might encounter more exotic dishes, made from more exotic ingredients. 

But travel as far as the globe will allow, and we come to Australia where possibly the most exotic dishes can be discovered. One such is Chips-n-fish, or is it Fish-n-chips; a dish comprising of long pieces of potato deep friend in oil, accompanied by filets of fish dipped in batter and again deep fried. The dish often arrives wrapped in paper and can be served with tartare sauce.

Here is an illustration of such a dish being enjoyed in Gold Coast Australia by my grandson Boo Boo. His discovery of this (possibly Aboriginal delicacy) obviously meets his approval.


Wednesday 14 December 2022

The Swingle Singers, J S Bach Fugue in D Major

When I was at school it was stated in no uncertain terms that much of our education would concentrate on Classics, Cricket, and Christianity; known as the three C's. I think this says more about our blinkered Headmaster than our actual education.

The other important subject was Music. The playing of, singing of, and studying of which occupied much of our time. I am still eternally grateful that I was introduced to the works of Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Dvorjak, and of course J S Bach.

I suppose as a young whipper-snapper I was bound to like The Swingle Singers, and their interpretations of Bach. I even bought their album. The group was formed in 1962 in Paris, and I believe has continued in one form or another ever since.

Here they are with Bach's Fugue in D. Every time I listen to it I become 15 years old again.

Tuesday 13 December 2022


Yesterday it rained and snowed. Not a huge amount, but enough to be annoying. Here is the front of our bijou home after some confused person had left their wandering tracks.

What could be better on a cold evening than a cosy blazing fire on the TV. Amazingly it did actually warm us up; or maybe that was the central heating.

It was Billy's birthday yesterday; he is now 4. He had a good run with his chums in what remained of the snow, then some treats for lunch. He's a happy boy.

I am not a fan of snow, or of rain, and the combination of the two is a nightmare. No more thank you!

Monday 12 December 2022

Dr Brighton

Of all the notables resting in our nearby churchyard, one stands out above the others.

Sake (Sheikh) Dean Mahomed (a.k.a. Dr Brighton) was an Anglo-Indian surgeon and entrepreneur. He was one of the most famous early non-European immigrants to the western world, and was responsible for introducing the west to Indian cuisine, at The Hindoostane Coffee House which he opened in 1810 at 34 George St W1; a road in which I actually lived for a while.

He also introduced England to steam baths and massage (Mahomed's Baths) at his establishment on Brighton's seafront.

Mahomed was born in 1759 in Patna India, and died in Brighton in 1851.

There are several pictures of Mahomed, but I particularly like this very primitive attempt (below), which refers to him as an 'East Indian'.

His gravestone is in a fenced area of the churchyard, otherwise I would have taken a photo.

Most of the information above comes from Wiki, and if you should wish to know more about him it's all there.

Sunday 11 December 2022

Two weeks to go....


I've already bought a really nice frozen (not too big) Turkey, the Cranberry Sauce, those bacon wrapped sausage things, some vacuum packed Chestnuts, a jar of nice Piccalilli, a tiny tin of Caviar, several bottles of Prosecco, Port, Sherry, and red wine, and the Plum Pud'.

Lady M has supplied the usual 'Luxury' Christmas crackers, put-up the tree, and has bought some new table decorations.

When the time comes, we shall go down the road to the Christmas Eve Carol Service at St Nicholas Church, we went last year, and really enjoyed it. Sometime, either before or after, we shall go for Christmas Eve dinner with Kimbo.

It's the buying of presents that is always the biggest problem at Christmas. I've never been good at buying presents for people. This year I've been buying for just three people and a dog, all others will receive cash and can choose something for themselves.

Lady M has been giving me clues over the past month or two, and all those clues have been noted and respected (dutiful husband). My oldest, Kimbo, has almost everything he really wants or needs, so it's a matter of finding something suitable that he won't hate and put directly in the dustbin; I think I've succeeded. His wife, Susie, is more difficult, but again I think I've done OK. Billy is easier, I've bought him a packet of his favourite treats. I was going to buy him a flashing collar, but decided that they look more amusing on other people's dogs.

We're now twiddling fingers as we await the arrival of the big day, and our two nice guests. It'll be a quieter Christmas this year, I can hardly wait.

Note to self: Dec 24th, sprouts, spuds, smoked salmon, large game or pork pie, and plenty of thick Cream for the Pud'.

Saturday 10 December 2022

Blood pressure

I take my blood pressure readings most mornings, just to make sure I'm not off the scale.

Yes I do have high blood pressure and it usually circulates around the 135 over 78 ish. As you can see it was a tad higher this morning with 145 over 80; still nothing to worry about.

I use a very simply wrist monitor, which I'm told are not very accurate, but as it offers much the same readings most of the time I would have thought it was good enough. 

I was taking a drug called Amlodipine, but it made my legs and feet swell so I quit. At some time I might ask if there's a non-swelling alternative. Otherwise I'm told that I need to loose some weight, reduce my red wine intake, eat less salt, and exercise more. All the usual killjoy remedies.

My only blood pressure remedy at present is a glass of Beetroot juice every morning, which was recommended by a witch doctor in far-away Norfolk. No more swollen legs!

Friday 9 December 2022

Public Declaration.

I am more Sussex than the Sussexes ever could be. I was born on the cusp of Surrey, overlooking Sussex, and have spent more time in Sussex than any other English County. My late Father was 100% Sussex, and I presently live in East Sussex (and elsewhere).

Therefore I think I am in a good position to speak on behalf of Sussex; the UK's finest County.

I hereby declare that Harry and Meghan should no longer have the right to call themselves Duke and Duchess of my county. In future they must be referred to as plain Mr and Mrs Mountbatten-Windsor.

They have brought shame upon themselves, and attempted to shame our Royal Family, but I will not have them bringing any further shame on the name of Sussex. They must now go away, live as commoners, and keep their potty-mouths as tightly shut as possible.

Harry may be an old-Etonian, a graduate of Sandhurst, and an ex-Army Officer; but he's certainly no gentleman. I'm surprised that an equerry hasn't left a loaded revolver on his desk and told him to do the decent thing!

The current load of nonsense from his-n-her 'docu-series' is a total and utter disgrace. I see that MM's former aides are asking the palace to scrap their 'non-disclosure arrangements' so that they can at last tell the truth concerning her dreadful arrogant bullying. About bloody time too!

I think we all know what prima-donna MM's agenda is, but why Harry should be her willing puppet we may never know.

N.B. Back in 2018 I generously offered the pair a guided tour of Sussex (as a wedding present).

That offer has now been withdrawn.


Thursday 8 December 2022


The central heating has been turned on, silly hats, scarves, and gloves, are being worn, and those trusty thermal vests have emerged from their hibernation. Yup, Winter is definitely with us.

With temperatures around -4 C forecast for the rest of this week, we are hunkering down and concentrating on keeping warm. Hot cockle-warming soups for lunch.  A toasted crumpet or mince pie with our afternoon cup of Lapsang. And Lady M has even placed the electric blanket under the bed. We are suddenly warmer than we need to be, but we're not complaining.

As Alexander Pope assured us 'Hope springs eternal in the human breast', and here is a photo that I took yesterday morning of Daffs in the Churchyard. I think the plants have more foolish aspirations than are warranted, but it's lovely to see them even if it is a tad rash on their behalf!

It looks as if we even have a light (-2 C) frost this morning. I shall go prepared.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Tube steaks, snags, and bangers.

My quest for Britain's best Pork Pie and Sausages continues. I am talking here of easily available, supermarket shelf foods; not from specialist delis.  

I have definitely found the best Pork Pies at Waitrose deli counter. They are called Walkers and cost £3.50. Well worth the trip to Waitrose.

The best sausage search has taken much longer, but I have finally plumped for Sainsbury's own 'Taste the Difference' range of snags that come in various flavours. They all have different names in a 'The xxx one' categories. There are The Peppery one, The Herby one, the Appley one, The Smooth one, The Spicy one, and the Oniony one.

However, let's get down to basics and ignore all of the above. The best one by far is 'The Meaty one'.

It still has a few additives but as a traditional English Banger I haven't found better. The two packs above are in the freezer. I always keep some handy.

Of course they will never match the ordinary pure pork sausages we buy in France, and I still cannot understand why such things are not available in every store here. They are so simple, and so good. Just lightly seasoned minced Pork in natural casings.

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Tis the season...

I always do my Pickled Onions about a week into December, then the Pickled Red Cabbage one week before the 25th.

I couldn't find any pukka pickling Onions so used Shallots instead.

After peeling they are covered in Water with a reasonable sprinkling of Salt. They stay in this solution for 24 hrs, then are washed, packed into jars, and covered in Malt Vinegar with some Sugar and a few dried Chilli flakes. If you don't like them too 'vinegary', add about 20% Water.

I do buy ready-made Pickled Onions, but they are never as good as home-made, and of course they are more expensive too.

They need to be left for at least a couple of weeks before sampling. I shall do one lot per week until the Turkey's finished. Christmas ain't Christmas without pickled Onions and Red Cabbage.


Monday 5 December 2022

Deliveries; the future.

I don't know what you think about our streets being filled with 'delivery robots', but I find the idea quite horrific.

Not only, in future, will we have to avoid drunks, beggars, and pickpockets, on our streets, but we'll need to weave in and out of the thousands of delivery robots, scurrying around like swarms of rats.

At the moment I have to look very carefully before I cross the road, to avoid the plethora of silent delivery 'persons' on bikes, scooters, and motorbikes, all rushing around delivering food to those who eat nothing but take-aways.

No doubt these robotic monsters will be equipped with flashing lights, sirens, and a near-collision-activated loud-speaker that shouts "GET OUT OF THE EFFING WAY".

Inevitably they will smell of Chicken Masala, Chinese No's 7, 13, and 18, Burgers, and Pizzas. They will cause old ladies to trip, old men to burst blood vessels, and hoodie-wearing yoofs to practice their penalty kicks.

I cannot see them being any advantage to city life.


Sunday 4 December 2022

Imagine my feeling of violation! A Sunday Special.


Picture the scene. I was in Marrakech Morocco, looking to buy a camel skin bag in a rather smart shop.

The shopkeeper was pleasant enough, then asked "Where do you come from?".

"I'm English" I replied (speaking in French) "but I live in France".

"You don't sound very English" he said.

"If I was speaking to you in English I probably would" I said firmly.

"You don't even look very English" he continued; etc, etc.

I thought no more about it.

Recently a guest at Buckingham Palace was asked the same question. The woman herself had very dark skin, she wore her hair in an African native dreadlocks style, she wore a faux Leopard skin print dress, and also wore a very African looking shell necklace. She looked every inch an African diplomat or maybe politician.

"What part of Africa do you come from?" had asked the lady.

All hell let loose. Accusations of RACISM have been screamed from the highest woke mountains, the newspapers have gone crazy, and the poor accused elderly lady has had to resign her minor position at the palace. Ms Ngozi Fulani (above) was outraged, and apparently felt racially 'violated'.

What I would like to ask is, why one person should feel so 'violated', yet asking the same question to someone else (me) seemed perfectly acceptable.

I do know the answer, as do you. But of course we're not allowed to say it.

If I had been shown the above photo (how she was dressed at the palace), and asked to GUESS where Ms Ngozi Fulani came from, I might well have suggested an African country. In fact she comes from Willesden, and her real name is Marlene Headley, which changes the whole event into the most appalling case of Cultural Appropriation and topsy-turvy racism I've yet encountered. Ms Ngozi (Marlene) should be ashamed of herself. Drumming up 'racism' where none exists has become all too common.

N.B. Ms Ngozi Fulani (Marlene) runs a domestic abuse charity called 'Sistah Space', exclusively for women/girls of African heritage. 

If anyone is now going to accuse ME of racism, would you please use words of more than four letters.

Saturday 3 December 2022


I have never stolen anything in my life (well, maybe a pencil or two at school), and I have a particular hatred of thieves. Anyone who is capable of stealing can never be trusted. Thieving Leopards never change their spots.

So you can imagine my disgust when I passed by the church a couple of days ago and saw this (below).

Some nasty little scumbag had forced open the grill covering the window, and smashed the lead-lighted window inside. Billy and I noticed the damage at about 7.30 am and it looked as if I may have been the first on the scene. I Emailed the priest at once (Father Dominic) and sent the above photo.

Luckily, I think the opening was too small to allow entrance, and nothing was stolen. I may be a staunch atheist, but I still find the idea of stealing from a church totally unacceptable (as I do all theft). The thief will never be caught (even if they looked) so he will receive no punishment, although I can think of a few good ways to teach him a lesson! 

The hole has now been temporarily closed by the Stained Glass Window repairer.


Friday 2 December 2022

Soapy soap.

Over the years I've managed to buy some extremely un-soapy soaps. Such things often appear at Christmas time with fancy makers names, fancy labels, and in fancy bottles. The unwary pay top prices for such things and hand them out to all and sundry as 'extra special presents'. I suspect we all have some of those at the back of the bathroom cupboard.

Personally I don't like BARS of soap, although I have a friend who always asks me to buy her several bars of 'Lifeboy Soap' before returning to France. She claims that the smell reminds her of small boys being washed! (I didn't ask)

Soap, as we all know, performs its magic by reducing the surface tension of water, making both the water and the soap perform as desired. 

I have been known to re-fill old soap dispensers with good quality, lemon scented, Fairy Liquid washing-up liquid, but Lady M calls me an old skinflint. She, herself, would never buy anything but the best; by which she probably means the most expensive. But, whatever floats your boat! (N.B. I should mention here that Jean Shrimpton once told me that she used Fairy Liquid to wash her hair)

So, which soap is the soapiest? Without question it is the pukka liquid Savon de Marseille. Not those cheap imitations, but the real thing. I have three different liquid soaps on the go at present in our bathroom, and there is no question that the one above is by far the best. It is actually a PLEASURE to use.

Marseille soaps are traditionally made by combining Olive Oil with Mediterranean Sea water and a plant-based alkaline ash. The resulting soap was traditionally formed into large (attractive looking) 4 inch cubes, stamped with the makers names. Personally, I find these big solid lumps of soap unwieldy and annoying, so I stick to the liquid.

Life is too short to buy 'Macron et de Gaulle' savvon du Marsay (made in Taiwan); always go for the best, 'Made in Marseille'.

Thursday 1 December 2022


Looking at photos of all those modern tower bocks in Doha made me realise that I've never been up a building higher than around the third floor. 

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