Tuesday 28 February 2023


Jeeeze, I really hate heavy traffic.

Yesterday I went shopping at about 7.30 am. I went early to avoid angry crowds fighting over the unavailability of fruit and vegs, but when I was done, and on my way home, it just happened to be rush-hour on the roads, and they were packed. My supermarket is only a short drive away, but yesterday it took me about 10 mins getting there and about 60 mins getting back.

One of the things I really love about France is doing much the same type of weekly shopping trip, but over the 20-ish kms each way drive I hardly ever encounter another vehicle; one or two at the most.

Of course it's my own fault going out when everyone is office-bound, but as a busy person, if I waited until 10 am to avoid them, it would have eaten too much into my day.

The traffic in GB is dreadful. It's always the first thing we notice when disembarking at Newhaven. Over the channel at Dieppe things are reasonably calm, then on this side it's a bloody nightmare.

I'm a kindly driver. I always let people into the flow of traffic from side roads, and I'm never in a rush. But others behave like Pigs, and are always wanting to shave a few seconds off their daily trips. In fact those attempts to save a few seconds often cause accidents, and definitely cause blood pressures to rise. Most 'road rage' is caused by bad behaviour from a small number of impatient drivers; and I expect they come as a result of our over-crowded roads.

p.s. Whilst at Sainsbury's, I did notice a few empty shelves. There were no Eggs, and no Beetroot juice. I shall pop down to Waitrose later this morning to see if it's the same there.

Monday 27 February 2023

I have a genuine problem.

I was watching the Wales/England match on Saturday, and really didn't know who I should have been  supporting.

Luckily it was a superb game, so it was good to watch whoever won.

I think of myself as English, but having recently learned through (my sister's) DNA that we're 44% Welsh, it rather changes things. I've always felt a bit Welsh, and (if it's at all possible) I think I look a bit Welsh too.

On top of all that I'm only 27% English; the other bits I'd rather not talk about.

To make matters worse, I've spent more than half my life living in France (I don't feel French).

In case you missed the match, England won by 20 points to 10. I was very happy with the outcome, but I would have been just as happy if Wales had won.


Sunday 26 February 2023

Jamie Oliver In Aquitaine.

Save this for a cold wet afternoon (which might be where you are today!). It's 48 mins long but is very watchable to the end. Put it on full screen too.

Jamie is Chez Moi in France, and is either cooking or showing many of my favourite things that have kept me living there for the past 50 years.

He starts his trip at Cahors market, and as far as I can see, he stays in the region throughout the show. Why it's called 'In the Pyrenees' I'm not quite sure; it's basically in Aquitaine, and most of the places are known to me personally.

He talks of Confit, Tarte Tatin (Lady M will be having words with him about his version of a Tatin), Truffles, Roquefort, Wild Boar, good country Bread, and several other local delights.

It is here in this very region where I've lived since 1973, and I've loved every minute of it. Everything Jamie says is true, it really is a wonderful area with superb gastronomy based on poverty, home grown produce, and attention to detail.

If you have the time do watch the whole programme, and if the area delights you as much as it does me, you might even find yourself driving down for a quick holiday. It's only 700 Kms due South from Dieppe.

After the Wild Boar hunt, during the gathering, you might notice a man (at 36.09) with a big moustache wearing a beret. He is the man who has given my car its biannual MOT test (controle technique) for the past 40 or so years. A lovely man who oozes Gallic charm.

Saturday 25 February 2023

Change of Plan.


My quest to shed a stone before Easter has, frankly, not been going too well. I've already given-up fried breakfasts, Pork pies, and most charcuterie, but it doesn't seem to have worked.

So, I'm resorting to Muesli; that sawdust-like food so loved by 1960's hippies.

I don't like nuts in my muesli, so I buy one bag of 'fruity' muesli and another of plain rolled oats which I mix together 50/50. Dr Bircher-Benner may not approve, but it's not him who's eating it.

I must say that I DO like muesli. Not only should it help with my weight loss aim, but oats are one of the more serious 'super-foods'; they promise to give you a good hug in the mornings, and keep you away from the quack.

Amongst their benefits other than helping with weight loss are that they promise to lower blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of heart attacks, so, I'm relying on them to sort me out. Although I must say that if you look-up the health benefits of almost any natural foods, it always says the same things.

I shall continue to eat muesli until either I reach my weight loss goal, or I can't resist bacon any longer. Somehow I suspect the latter might win.

Friday 24 February 2023


For me a car is a comfortable chair inside a waterproof box, with wheels and an engine. It's principal activity is to get me from A to B reliably, safely, and as economically as possible. 

But for many people a car is an altogether different beast. It is above all a status symbol.

Living, as I do, in a reasonably wealthy small city, big fat cars are everywhere. Not only of the Range Rover 4 by 4 variety, but also big noisy supercars. If you can't actually see them, you can certainly hear them. Occasionally it's like being outside Harrods in August.

Possibly the most noticeable are the big white Mercedes cars, driven by bottle-blonde women of around 35-40 years old. For me the other most noticeable cars are Teslas; again they seem to be everywhere. I imagine there must be a major dealership in town.

Back in the good-ole Thatcher years when 'Loads of Money' was flashing his dosh, young tradesmen all drove Porsches. These days those same type of people drive big 4 by 4s, etc. Why they need them, I really don't know. I imagine they would be ashamed to be seen in anything that looks like my own 'Compact Royce Mk 2'.

Choosing a car for it's kerb-appeal is totally alien to me. All my cars have been basic workhorses (other than one Triumph sports job), and all have been bought second-hand (probably 6th hand). I have never bought a new car; nor would I.

I'm hoping that the one above will be my last. It has done very few miles, and should have a few more years service under her timing belt. As she's still in good condition, I'm considering having her regularly serviced. Something I've never done before! 


Thursday 23 February 2023

They've had enough!

I recently read an article in The Guardian about people in Liverpool who were demonstrating against the behaviour of a gang of migrants who were housed in the commandeered Suites Hotel, in Knowsley.

The demonstrators were immediately branded as being 'Far Right' (The Guardian is a little-read Far Left newspaper), and I immediately wondered how they had come to this conclusion.

It's never easy knowing what leads to a mass outpouring of anger, but it certainly had nothing to do with these people being 'migrants', or the demonstrators being xenophobes. Liverpool is filled with migrants; they were the very foundation of the city. 

No, as far as I understand, it had more to do with some of these men's unacceptable behaviour towards young women (not an excuse for rioting), which has nothing to do with being 'Far Right'.

The UK is a very tolerant and welcoming country, and has always proved to be a safe haven for oppressed people coming from war-torn, or religiously intolerant, countries. It is also generous in as much as it makes sure that newcomers have a decent standard of living. What we are not tolerant of is people abusing that generosity; which is what seems to have been the case in Liverpool. People rightly become angry.

Of course after the so-called 'Far Right' demonstration came the opposing 'Woke Liberal Socialist' backlash, where Corbyn spoke of how welcome all these people were; regardless of their crime or crimes. When one hears that Corbyn is supporting some cause, one's suspicion becomes instantly aroused.

I, myself, live in a multicultural city; diversity is a major part of our make-up. We simply don't think of 'foreigners' as any different to natives. But the UK is going through a major crisis with boat loads of illegal immigrants arriving almost daily along the South Coast. Initially these people were held at the Manston compound near Dover, from where they were being processed, but the process was slow and it had become over-crowded.

As a result of opposition parliamentary pressure, the centre was forced to distribute the immigrants en masse without the processing being completed, and hotels were commandeered (just like the Suites Hotel in Knowsley), to house them. One such was here in Brighton where I believe over 200 unaccompanied children have been sent. 

Many of these children have now gone missing (they haven't given details of how many), and it is suspected that they have been abducted and shipped around as slave labour. Many of the older immigrants run drug-dealing, shop-lifting, and people-trafficking gangs. The missing children will probably end-up as domestic servants, organ-harvesting victims, workers in sweat-shops, or of course as sex workers. 

What a disgrace that they weren't all processed correctly, and sent to safe homes. OK, it might have taken slightly longer than hoped, but this knee jerk reaction has proved disastrous. Arriving in the land of milk-n-honey, then having to wait a few days to be processed was no big deal. I hope the 'let them all loose' do-gooders are happy with their bleating. 

These children came to this country for safety, and they have been thoroughly let down. The others who came simply to take advantage of our generosity and our liberal legal system should have been sent home. It is quite possible than most of these children will now never be found.

All this is no excuse for rioting, it should be handled by the proper authorities

Wednesday 22 February 2023

The Stork has visited!


We have a new baby girl next door.

Our little street was created in the 1960's. There are 17 bijou houses built in a faux Regency/Georgian style, that are probably more suited to middle-aged, or retired, people than younger newly-weds.

From what I have heard, and observed, this is possibly the first baby ever to have been born in the street. I have no way of confirming this, but it does seem likely.

Little 'Rae' was born on Sunday 12th February, and I met her just a couple of days ago when I delivered a 'welcome home' Teddy Bear. She is a real cutie, and, I'm told, behaves herself impeccably.

On the subject of Teddy Bears, I had real difficulty finding one. Many of the shops that sell soft toys sell Japanese 'dolls'. They are really not nice, almost horrific; with crazed eyes and vicious teeth in open mouths. Not at all suitable for a small baby. Eventually I did find one that was almost what I was looking for, but it wasn't perfect. Anyway, I just hope she likes it when she's older. At least it is an actual Bear, it's soft and fluffy, and has a pleasant face.

So, welcome to our street Little Rae. I'm sure Lady M won't be able to resist offering her baby-sitting services, and the ooh-ing and coo-ing, when she begins to go for her 'pram' walks, will be stentorian.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Thank goodness.


Yes, she's gone.

Nicola Sturgeon, that scourge of the English, has finally decided to quit. Proof, if anything, that politicians do occasionally 'do the decent thing'.

During her term in office as Scotland's First Minister, she has been totally obsessed by Scottish Independence. She wished to leave the horrid UK and especially those foul English, apply to join the EU, adopt the €uro, and forego all the generous financial assistance that comes from Westminster. 

Whether or not Scotland's financial criteria would have met that required for membership of the EU is still a matter of conjecture. I know the EU are very exacting. Scotland might well have found herself out on a limb if membership had been refused. The England/Scotland border would have been closed, and they would really have been in the poo.

It is little known that her party (the SNP) recently raised £600,000, exclusively to meet the costs of a future second Independence Referendum. It seems that now, just two years later, that only £100,000 remains. Where (asks an enquiry) has the other £500,000 gone? Peter Murrell, the chief executive, and controller, of the SNP's purse strings, will need to provide answers. In case you didn't know, Mr Murrell is married to Ms Sturgeon. How embarrassing; one can but wonder if this had anything to do with her resignation!

Not only was she totally wrong about independence (her 2014 referendum told her as much), but she has also joined with her Woke Liberal chums in wanting men to go to women's prisons if they'd been naughty; especially if they'd committed multiple rapes. Common sense should have told her that this was not a good idea.

People will remember when Adam Graham was found guilty of two rapes, after his sentencing he suddenly became Isla Bryson and (as a full-bodied male) demanded to be sent to a female prison; which Sturgeon supported. He was later returned to an all male prison where he should have been in the first place. It doesn't take much to pull the wool over the blinkered eyes of these woke-folk.

Sturgeon, not unlike Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, has always found it tricky to describe what is a 'woman'; even though she is one. Come on; it's really not that difficult! Do you want me to draw a picture?

Oh Nicola, you really have been a misguided wee lassie. You have allowed Scotland's hatred of the English to bypass your political wisdom. You will now have time to reflect on your feelings about we English, and your outdated policies, and hopefully allow someone more politically liberal to take your place.

I'm quite pleased to see the back of wee Jimmy Sturgeon. She was a Political Rottweiler, who allowed her misguided ideology to come before the welfare of her fellow Scots. 

Scotland deserves someone more 'people focussed'. 

May I suggest Rory Stewart as the next First Minister. Please, please, not Ian Blackford!!!

Monday 20 February 2023

A Sunday morning walk by the sea.

I really look forward to a Sunday morning walks by the sea with Billy. What I don't look forward to is seeing all the detritus left by the young party-goers who spill out of the sea-side pubs and clubs the night before.

I always take a bag with me when I go to the beach. I know there will be rubbish to collect.

The young assure us that they are all eco-aware, but in fact they are worst culprits for leaving rubbish. They simply couldn't care less, and leave it people like me to clear-up after them. In fact yesterday the beach area wasn't too bad, just some broken glass to dodge with Billy. It was on returning home through the churchyard where it really started. It was everywhere.

Well, thank you. Yet again I've cleared-up your broken beer bottles, gas canisters, fag packets, and half-eaten burgers. I don't object to doing it, and I ask for no reward. I simply don't like my town to look like an effing emptied litter bin.


Sunday 19 February 2023

Pig killing in Slovakia.

Just as it used to be in France, in Slovakia the annual Pig Killing and preparation of by-products is a family affair. Everyone mucks-in.

Here is No 1 son, Kimbo, preparing meat for sausages, pâté, etc, at the family home of his wife Suzie.

I haven't studied the photo too closely, but I'm impressed with his chef's whites, and his delicate touch with the 'poking knife'.

I remember well doing much the same in France when our neighbours killed their Pig. It was a day of 'celebration' (not for the Pig), and by the end of the day everything would have been either bottled, salted, frozen, made into sausages, and/or eaten at the big evening banquet. There would have been enough preserved meat for the whole year.

These days (in France) farmers no longer have a domestic Pig, and I have a feeling that Pig Killing on the farm is no longer allowed either. I also suspect that housewives have mostly forgotten the art of home charcuterie. However, I'm pleased to see that the tradition continues in Slovakia.

I wonder if he'll bring back some home-made Pâté?


Saturday 18 February 2023

Killing each other.


I have just read that worldwide we spend an annual $1,960 Billion on killing, preparing to kill, trying not to be killed, and all that that involves. Humans killing each other is a very expensive business.

A Russian T-14 tank, such as the one above, costs about $4 Million; with added extras up, to $7 Million. These can easily be destroyed by a small drone-released bomb. I would have thought it was better to keep them at home, rather than waste all that cash so willingly, and in such quantities by attacking Ukraine. So far, about 2,000 of these tanks have been destroyed in Ukraine, along with 270,000 Russian soldiers.

But as a race we blindly continue. Putin seems to want more destruction and more deaths; he sees no limit to his evil. Just imagine what could be done with all those nearly 2,000 Billion military dollars. We might even be able to make our Earth a better place to live. We could certainly house people better than we do presently, and world health programmes could be really well funded. 

Humans are a strange bunch. I myself have been trained to use a variety of military weapons, trained as a soldier, and have always thought of our militia as a normal part of society. 

I wish to establish 'The Magnon Forum' where leaders of all nations would put their hands in the air, and promise not to kill their neighbours, to scrap all their weapons, and to be 'NICE'. Some bloody hope!

Friday 17 February 2023

A question of Colour.

When I returned to Blighty last September, I realised that I needed to buy myself a new scarf. Travelling between countries in a smallish car with both a passenger and a dog didn't leave much space for my extensive selection of scarves. We 'travel light' so no room for frippery.

It was quite cool pre-Christmas, so I bought this one below. A bog standard black scarf with tassels, which soon began to bore me. I looked around for a red one, but couldn't find one anywhere. 

I went to Amazon.

Amazon was very prompt. I have now furnished myself with the required red one, and I'm very happy with it. I find it surprising the difference it makes to the spring in my step. I feel altogether more sprightly and cheerful.

To acclimatise myself to a future colourful scarf, I recently wore my wife's oversized pink scarf when taking Billy for his early walk. An unknown woman smiled as she saw me walking towards her and said "Oooh, I love your scarf".  I immediately knew it would attract the wrong sort of attention.

I'm hoping the red one doesn't have the same effect.

Maybe they'll just think I'm an antique dealer!!!!

Thursday 16 February 2023

Billy's universe.

I don't know if you can see, but under our dining table is where Billy lives. You might just see his face.

Lady M does put a 'dog-duvet' on her sofa at nights for him, so that he can feel like a human, and most mornings I do find him there.

Otherwise he lives under the table in his XL Cosy-Canine (professional) Super bed.

If for some reason we need to move his bed, he won't lie in it in any other place. He waits for its return to its proper spot before he'll lie down in it again. I think in many ways I agree with him, if my bed was moved around I wouldn't be very happy about it either.

Our two previous dogs, Monty and Bok, used to squeeze themselves together into a similar size bed, regardless of the discomfort. They loved each other so much.

As you can see, they were also both bigger boys than Billy. I used to love seeing them like this, it was so good to know that they were really happy together.

I would hate to be without a dog. I was speaking with a woman yesterday who'd been living in Brighton for four years. She said it was only after recently getting her rescue dog that she started meeting people; it got her out of the house, and other dog owners were always chatty. There's no escaping the fact; dog owners are friendly folk, and her life changed completely.

Wednesday 15 February 2023


I'm not keen on Scaffolding.

I do know that it's essential for many jobs, and I'm not complaining about it's use. It's just that it tends to go up a month or so before the builder or painter arrives, then, when the work is finished, it stays there for another few months before the Scaffolding Co can be bothered to take it down again.

For a job that might take two days, the poles will possibly be there for several months.
When I lived in London back in the 60's, it seemed as if the whole city was permanently covered in Scaffolding. It was everywhere. The strangest part was that 99% of the builder's advertising signs were from 'out of town'. They seemed to come from Devon, Shropshire, or Norfolk, rather than Bayswater or Balham; and were hardly ever there. Are there no London based builders?

This picture above is from opposite the church, about 100 yards away, and there's another lot just to the left of it. It wasn't so long ago that a long ladder and rope (to haul everything skywards) was normal. The present day eyesores are, I presume, a result of 'elf-n-safety'.

From where I am typing, I can see another lot of Scaffolding (below), just outside my window.

It's already been there for several weeks, and they only started work yesterday. I'm now waiting to see when the builders will return. I expect the edifice to remain in situ for months to come.

Having said all this, if I had a tall house that needed painting, I would hire the scaffolding myself, then paint it myself. I think I would enjoy wielding a paintbrush from on high, and feeling safe. Of course, I'd hire it on the strict condition that they removed the scaffolding pronto afterwards!

N.B. I would like to suggest that Government passes a law that the UK is Scaffold-free for the months of June, July, and August. During the months when folk are more 'out-n-about', at least then we could be free of these dreadful eyesores. Lobby your MP!

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Spring is not far off.


We have Snowdrops in the churchyard, Daffs have been up for a while, and our Camelia buds are just about to open. The Primulas, above, have been in flower for a week or so.

I have been filling cracks in the front portico in readiness for a lick of Spring paint, and have been weeding our tiny garden. I have also sown a small packet of Cavolo Nero seeds which I'm hoping will flourish over Summer, to give us some greenery to eat next Autumn/Winter.

Although we are still having Soup for lunch every day, we are beginning to change our diet with Spring/Summer in mind. I've even been unwittingly buying salads again. Below is now more common than Pork Pie and mustard.

A stick of Celery, some Taramasalata or Humus, and a few Chillies, has now replaced the more rib-sticking dishes that we were eating only a few weeks ago.

If that's not a good sign, I don't know what is. Spring is definitely in the air; or at least in my imagination, which is just as good! 

And this lovely sunny weather helps too.

Monday 13 February 2023

Boiled eggs.

I like boiled eggs. Their cooking timing is important, and (as I've mentioned previously) there are many ways of getting it right.

Delia Smith's Aunt would time hers by singing three verses of 'Onward Christian Soldiers', Woodrow Wyatt would boil his for exactly four and a quarter minutes, and it is claimed that King Charles would always instruct his valet to boil seven eggs all timed slightly differently, then work his way through them until he came to the one that was 'perfect'.

Me; I boil for three minutes then leave in the boiled water until my marmite soldiers are ready.

Two of my great boiled egg memories are from holidays. Firstly the breakfast bar at the Gare de Lyons in Paris where there were always piles of small 'very white' hard boiled eggs on a conical wire frame. You took however many you wanted, cracked them on a plate, then informed the waiter how many you'd consumed. So Parisian.

Secondly the hotel where we stay in Marrakech always has piles of (again) 'very white' eggs on their breakfast bar. As with all such bars you eat as many as you like.

Both here and in France I always find myself buying the darkest brown eggs. I imagine that they will somehow taste better than white shelled ones. Of course they don't.

These one's below, however, were bought (some years ago) at my local tiny village market. They were small and very white, and were some of the best tasting eggs I've ever eaten. I actually remember them.


It is said that Einstein used to boil his eggs in with his soup, as it saved with the washing-up. I do hope his eggs were cleaner than the ones our hens laid.

That Invitation.



                                                                                                                                       Beautiful Sussex.

Charlie my old pal,

Thanks for the stiffy, we shall certainly be at the crowning if at all possible; I'll have to confirm nearer the date.

In principle, we won't be leaving for Gaul until the end of May. The old Jalopy (Compact Royce Mk 2) needs her tyres kicking, along with the issuing of certificates round-about the end of the month, so we'll certainly be here for the 6th.

I wonder will 'Ginger and Whinger' be present? They really have both shot themselves in the foot, so I wouldn't be surprised if their invites are on hold. You must despair, and I don't envy you having to deal with them. Personally I would suggest you don't invite them, their presence would change the whole joyous atmosphere.

If we are able to come, we would love to stay at yours. Would we have the same room as before? It had a beautiful view of The Mall. Would you like us to bring anything?

All the best to Cammy; Lady M has Emailed her the Tatin recipe, complete with photos.

Your good friend, Cro xx

Sunday 12 February 2023

Have you had your Invitation yet?

                                                               Buckingham Palace.

Dearest Cro,

It's been a while.

I wonder if you will be available to attend my coronation on May 6th? I do hope you won't be away in France.

It would be lovely to have you here; lots of your old chums are coming, and they're dying to see you again. There'll be quite a knees-up afterwards at my place, with music, dancing, and plenty of your favourites red wines.    

Camilla is also very much looking forward to seeing Lady M again as she is in desperate need of her Tarte Tatin recipe. Perhaps you could ask her to contact C beforehand as she'd like to make some for the shindig.

Looking forward to seeing you both. Your old chum Charles (King) xx

p.s. It'll be quite a big do, and most of the good hotels will be fully booked, so why not stay here at Buck House; we have plenty of room.


Saturday 11 February 2023

Cro, a fashion icon?

I have never been afraid of unflattering photos. This, below, is a good example. My nose certainly doesn't usually look like a baby's bum, but somehow it does in this picture. I don't know who took this picture but I imagine they were using a 'nose filter'

I know I'm a scruff-bag, I always have been, it's how I am, I was born that way, but not usually as much so as appears in the picture. I really look as if someone's just saved me from sleeping in a doorway.

Normally I'm a cross between 'Wurzel Gummidge', and 'a sack of spuds', and that's being flattering. I've never really cared about what I look like (other than when I worked in The City).

I've told this story before, but it's possibly worth telling again. Whilst at school we would all line-up in front of the mirror each morning, combs in hands, trying to make ourselves look like Elvis. One morning I had a serious lightbulb moment, and realised how totally stupid all this was. I was 14. I've never bothered about my looks ever since, and don't intend to start now. 

It has never held me back, just look at that happy, scruffy, icon of an old man!


Friday 10 February 2023

Squid in Ink

I was very surprised recently, to find tins of Squid in Ink on the shelves of UK supermarket Waitrose.

I am used to buying these in France under the commercial name of Pay Pay, so I had to buy some just to see how they compared to my usual brand. I am a regular breakfast consumer of the Pay Pay variety.

They tasted much the same, but in the Waitrose version there was far too much 'ink sauce', and not enough Squid. In fact it was almost ALL sauce. Very disappointing.

Anyway, I enjoyed my breakfast. I still have one tin of the Pay Pay left; next year I'll bring more back with me! I'm already making a list of things to bring.

The fact that they are black seems to put many people off, but they are delicious.


Thursday 9 February 2023

Another World.

Am I alone in wondering, and worrying, about what has happened to young women's idea of 'femininity', and or 'attractiveness'?

These days, very few young women seem to be satisfied with their natural good looks. They (not all) wish to look like some bimbo 'influencer' who has found fame by showing her tits, having a huge bum, and injecting her lips with lard.

Who the hell decided that this is what 'beauty' should look like, and why the hell did anyone believe them, or take notice (be influenced by)?

This young lady (above) is a classic example. In the 'before' picture (left) she looks like an acceptably attractive person (apart from the silly photo pout), then after her no doubt expensive 'improvement' she looks like a nightmare. Who, I wonder, is the 'influencer' by whom she's being 'influenced'? I cannot understand the appeal. Why would someone do that to themselves?

Do these people think that they will be more attractive to men/women if they look like a Grouper? 

May I suggest that instead of looking at Thick Tok influencers, they look at pictures of beautiful women who have had no surgery. Bardot, O'Hara, Hepburn, Grace Kelly, etc. OK, they might have enhanced their features with impeccable make-up, but they would never have had their faces cut-up or injected in order to make themselves look ugly.

I have no idea who the poor woman above is, but if she's hoping that I'll invite her to Burt's Fish-n-chip Parlour for a Friday night nosh, I'm afraid the answer will be 'NO'.

I don't wish to be too harsh on the Bimbo Brigade (actually I do), but isn't it time someone told them how awful they look. The Kardashians (who made all this nonsense fashionable) should be ashamed of themselves.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Rocca Imperiale.

There are some pretty amazing villages around the world, but this must be one of the most intriguing.

I wouldn't want to walk (or drive) all the way up to the top, or walk all the way down to the nearest shop, but otherwise it does look like a really beautiful place to live.

If you wish to visit, the village is called 'Rocca Imperiale' and can be found in Calabria, Southern Italy.

The photo is slightly deceptive as it's taken from above. In fact the village is not as steeply conical as it appears.

However, it does represent the standard layout of superiority, with the Lord in his Castle at the top of the pile, and the minions at the bottom. T'was always thus.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

French riot police attack protesters with batons.

Those little dungaree darlings who glue themselves to motorways for entertainment, and throw soup at famous paintings in the UK, should be very grateful that they don't live in France.

In the UK the Cops simply stand-by in large groups and watch, but South of La Manche they have a very different way of dealing with people who disrupt the smooth running of society.

Any slight hint of anarchy and out come the CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité) to give them a good walloping. The CRS are not the ordinary Gendarmes, they are a more sinister group who are often seen in groups, sitting inside dark military vehicles by the road side in the larger French cities. They are fully kitted, and ready to pounce! 

As I live in a quiet corner of little-known France, we have no CRS presence, so I have never personally seen them in action, but I've seen plenty of reports and film. 

It isn't surprising that experienced French demonstrators/rioters often wear motorbike crash-helmets. They need them!

Monday 6 February 2023

Ms Mop.

We recently engaged a new cleaner; the previous one has told me that her back hurts, and that in future she will require tea in bed, plumped-up cushions, and her feet massaged with coconut oil whilst she watches 'Strictly'.

The new Ms Mop is from Portugal, and is about 25. She's still in the 'getting to know us' stage, or more correctly 'getting to know the house' stage. 

However, she seems very thorough, and isn't afraid of reasonably hard graft.

My last Mrs Mop in Shropshire (Pam) would come to the house, father would ask her to make tea, then they would sit chatting together over a few hobnobs until it was time to go. As she was leaving she would nonchalantly flick a duster towards the kitchen dresser, and that was that. Anyway, it made father happy, and that was what mattered.

I will now be spared the indignation of hoovering-up Billy's copious amounts of hair, mopping the food-stained kitchen floor, and chiselling the limescale off the bathroom taps. 

"Bem-vindo à nossa casa Jess".


Sunday 5 February 2023

H.E. The Ambassador for Little Known Foods.

So enamoured was I by my first multi-pack of cans from Amazon, that I have now bought a second.

I still find it bizarre that I didn't previously know of the existence of 'canned' Pease Pudding; especially as it's a Sussex speciality.

Who in Wales doesn't know of Laverbread, or in Scotland of Haggis. But mention 'Pease Pudding' to folk here in Sussex and at best you'd get a response of "I think I might have heard of it".

So, what is this Pease Pudding? It is basically cooked Split Yellow Peas that have turned into a 'mush'. In the can it becomes a solid block of yellow 'substance', that has to be scooped-out with a spoon. It is then broken-up, and heated to make a softer, gloopier, 'substance'. I add some butter and white wine to make the melting process easier.

I tend to serve it with Pork Chops, but I'm told it is traditionally served with Ham/Gammon. In fact I have just bought a couple of nice looking slices of Gammon from M & S. But however it is served, it is delicious.

The other British speciality that I have only recently discovered is its Northern cousin 'Mushy Peas', which I now eat almost in preference to canned or frozen Garden Peas. 

How many other regional delights are there, I wonder, that are hiding in plain open sight? If you know of any, do let me know.


Saturday 4 February 2023

What were they thinking!

When I was still up at my senior school, I worked (when I had the time) with Sir Harry Legge-Bourke who was our local MP.

Sir Harry was a good tried-n-tested politician who worked tirelessly for his constituents, but was ousted when a 'CELEBRITY' candidate stood against him. Clement Freud (a radio personality) defeated him in 1973. The incoming Liberal Democrat MP (Freud) did little for his constituents or for his country. He soon faded into obscurity (politically), and his constituents were left without proper representation.

What were those voters thinking!

In more recent times, the one-time-leader of the Lib-Dems, Nick Clegg (left above), who was MP for Sheffield Hallam, was ousted by loud-mouth Labour candidate, 41 year old Corbyn supporter, Jared O'Mara (right above).

O'Mara hardly showed-up at Westminster (he quit after 2 years), but managed to claim a very healthy sum in 'expenses' whilst there. He was caught, and is now up before the Judge on 8 counts of fraud; the money allegedly went to pay for his copious Cocaine habit. Strange that the BBC has failed to highlight this in the same way that they harp-on about far less interesting Tory stories. The short-term Labour MP created a fictitious charity called 'Confident about Autism SY', through which he claimed about £30,000 to fund his well-known drug habit. In court the prosecutor said......

"O’Mara had used fraudulently claimed money to enable friends to hang around his flat, getting drunk and snorting lines of coke, all paid for by you, ladies and gentlemen, the hardworking and honest taxpaying public”. 

The above comes from The Guardian, and not The Daily Mail, as some might suggest. 

I was never a supporter of the Lib-Dems, but I think Nick Clegg was a well-meaning (if slightly ineffective) politician, but why he should have been replaced by someone of O'Mara's ilk is a total mystery. Given the choice; who would YOU have voted for? 

Many will remember that Clegg's major 'flagship' policy was to put a limit on University fees. As soon as he became Deputy Prime Minister under David Cameron's coalition government, he immediately abandoned the policy. A massive U-Turn which made him very unpopular with younger voters. 

But even with that in mind, what on earth were the voters of Sheffield thinking! O'Mara's atrocious behaviour makes Boris's al fresco No 10 meeting seem almost innocent.

Be warned, these things could happen again.

Friday 3 February 2023

Hot X Buns.

We have been eating Hot X Buns since we returned last September. Like so many things, they have lost their seasonal exclusivity, and are now sold all year round. I'm not complaining!

To me they go along with Crumpets as something to enjoy with a cup of Lapsang through the cooler afternoons.

Until this year, Hot X Buns have always been quite plain, but these below are quite different.

They are part of Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' range of foods, and in this particular case, you really can.

As you can see by the label (I'm afraid we'd eaten all the buns) they contain Cranberries, Blueberries, and Lingonberries. They have a beautiful fruity perfume about them.

These are SO MUCH BETTER than the usual Hot X Buns we are used to. I can recommend them without hesitation. They are a total delight for anyone who both visits Sainsbury's, and loves these wonderful Easter treats.

N.B. I'm not on commission, but I should be!


Thursday 2 February 2023

Royal Dogs.

The photo below shows Princess Anne with two of her Bull Terriers; all teeth and muscle.

Not all 'doggies' are sweet natured, some are bred to be aggressive. Pitbulls, Bull Terriers, and various cross breeds are to be approached with great caution.

Princess Anne has three Bull Terriers. One of them (Dotty) savaged one of The Queen's Corgis (Pharos) so severely that it needed to be put down. They have also bitten innocent children, in fact I believe that Anne was the first 'Royal' to be prosecuted after such an attack, and was fined £500. I also believe that she paid hefty compensation to the child.

On Boxing Day last year, another of her dogs attacked a Gun dog during a Pheasant Shoot at Sandringham. It was said at the time that there was 'a lot of blood and screaming'.

Anne's Housemaid, Ruby Brooker, was also bitten on her knee at Anne's own home.

There are only four banned breeds of dogs in the UK; the Pitbull, and three other breeds named after Japan, Argentina, and Brazil. Sadly this doesn't mean that if you cross a Pitbull with a Bull Terrier that it too will be banned; even though it would probably end-up being just as aggressive.

The old adage of 'He wouldn't hurt a fly' doesn't apply to certain breeds of dogs. They can be all sweetness and light for many years, then for no apparent reason they can suddenly turn into a savage killer. Their natural inbuilt aggressive nature can be perfectly hidden. We do seem to be hearing more often of dog attack fatalities, I have heard of two more just this week, which I suppose is proof that too many of these breeds are still around.

It's not my business to tell Princess Anne what dogs she should or shouldn't own, but her three Bull Terriers have proved themselves to be extremely dangerous and troublesome. Maybe it would take one of them to bite HER before she thinks again.

I'm sure she loves them dearly, and they her, but I do think she should lead by example. Keep them at home in a secure area.

Any dog can become vicious if provoked, but most are less likely to than Anne's dogs. I don't think it's a good idea either, having all three on one lead. It makes them act as a pack.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Counting Sheep.


This is more for the amusement of people outside of the UK, for whom it might prove a revelation.

In parts of Britain they use totally different words for the numbers 1 to 20. Not for when buying Bananas, but for when counting Sheep. This ancient Brythonic Celtic language is apparently also used in Knitting.

The examples below come from six different parts of Yorkshire. As a boy I can remember learning Yan Tam Eddera Teddera Pit, which was probably something I'd gleaned from the radio. I'm sure we didn't use the words in Surrey.

Now get learning those numbers, I shall be asking questions later!

11Yain-a-dixAena dugsYaindixYanadickYan-a-dick
12Tain-a-dixTaena dugsTaindixTanadickTean-a-dick
13Eddera-a-dixTethera dugsEdderodixTetheradickTether-dick
14Peddera-a-dixFethera dugsPedderodixMetheradickMether-dick
16Yain-a-bumfitAena buonYain-o-BumfitYanabumYan-a-bum
17Tain-a-bumfitTaena buonTain-o-BumfitTanabumTean-a-bum
18Eddera-bumfitTethera buonEddero-BumfitTetherabumTethera-bum
19Peddera-a-bumfitFethera buonPeddero-BumfitMetherabumMethera-bum
20JiggitGun a gunJiggitJiggetJiggit
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