Friday 31 March 2023



If you are lucky enough to have Covid, or some other horrible illness, you might have made time to watch a late afternoon repeat programme on BBC2 called 'The World's Most Extraordinary Homes'.

The programme is presented by the dream team of Comedienne Caroline Quentin and Architect Piers Taylor, and introduces us to some of the world's most amazing modern homes. Mostly they really ARE 'amazing'.

Watching the programme reminded me of a very short conversation I once had.

I have a very good friend who used to design such things. He worked in Dubai, and was responsible for some of their most iconic buildings; I'm sure you've seen pictures of them. This is Tony with me below when we were still both art students. I'm the good-looking one on the left!

I asked him.....

"How many of your designs end-up looking exactly how you'd first imagined them, before you put pencil to back of envelope?"

"All of them"! he replied.

I'd been expecting him to say "None". How wrong I was!

Thursday 30 March 2023

UDI for England.


With a new SNP First Minister, Humza Yousaf, replacing Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland, the horny old question of Independence continues to raise its very ugly head North of the border. Scottish Labour Party leader Anas Sarwar isn't happy with Yousaf and his 'breakaway' credentials, and wants a pukka general election. They're never happy up there. 

In Northern Ireland the security alert level has recently been raised to 'severe', as the Catholic terrorists plan more attacks to further their aim of quitting the Union.

So that just leaves the Welsh, whose 'second-home burning' has been on hold for a while. But we should probably expect more soon.

It has always been said in England that the other members of the Union hate us in proportion to how much the English donate to their economies. We give most per capita to the Irish, so they hate us the most, and try to kill us. Second comes Scotland, who hate us just a little less; and show that mostly by just throwing insults. And finally the least per capita (still a huge amount) goes to the Welsh, who just hate us 'a bit'.

N Ireland, Scotland, and Wales all have their own national parliaments. England doesn't, so lets put things right.

To solve all these feelings of unpleasantness, I suggest that England now declares UDI (Universal Declaration of Independence), and leaves the other three members of the Union to go it alone as a triad. They obviously think they know how to do things better than the English, so let's give them the opportunity to prove themselves right!

They could control their own finances with their own central banks, money, etc. They could raise their own taxes. Run their own health, education, and social security systems. And devise their own systems for law and order. All English owned businesses would return home, and each country could start again from scratch to suit their needs.

Of course, without the financial help from Westminster they would probably fall-flat on their faces at the first hurdle, but if that's what they want, they should not be deprived.

England, on the other hand would return Westminster to being an ENGLISH parliament, and without the huge expense of the troublesome trio, could only go from strength to strength.

Mister Chairman; I PROPOSE THE MOTION!

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Mrs Pins, three ways.

I'm sure you've noticed that restaurants are now serving everything 'three ways'. Pork three ways, Lamb three ways, Chicken three ways. There's no stopping them.

So, here's Mrs Pins three ways. Mrs P is my daughter, Tenpin's, bear. She was a present from my mother. This below is her in original form, with her two offspring; looking slightly tattered these days. As is traditional with most Teddy Bears, she seems always to have had just one eye.

Mrs Pins has appeared in several of my paintings; this one (below) being with Tenpin for her first ever portrait. The painting contained three of her favourite things, the background material, her jumper with the stripes on the shoulders, and of course Mrs Pins herself.

She has also appeared in several still-life paintings. I've used her when teaching; using her to demonstrate certain techniques to students. This one below was painted whilst lecturing out in The Caribbean, and stayed out there for several decades, until it was brought back to France and returned to me. How nice was that!

I'm not certain, but I think Mrs Pins has appeared in more of my paintings than any other static object. She must be more 'painterly' than all other bears, etc.


Tuesday 28 March 2023

Claude François - Comme D'habitude

Mention the popular song 'My Way' and people immediately think of Frank Sinatra and Paul Anka.

In fact the song is French and was written by Jacques Revaux, with lyrics by Gilles Thibaut and Claude Francois. Claude Francois was a huge star in France.

This is the original 1967 version sung by Claude Francois himself. The original title was 'Comme d'habitude' (as usual). It was a huge hit, and in this video it has subtitles in Spanish.

Poor 'Cloclo' died whilst standing in his bath and trying to level a wonky wall mounted light fitting. He was electrocuted.

Monday 27 March 2023

Surprise surprise.


When God chose Chanctonbury Ring in Sussex to be the epicentre of The Garden of Eden; He/She knew a thing or two about a perfect location. 

Yesterday's Sunday Times (the country's most trusted newspaper) has just revealed the very best place to live in the UK. Of course it came as no surprise to those of who live here that this was in East Sussex

East Sussex is one of those places that rarely rings its own praises. We don't have many things named after the county, because there is no need to claim that our things are the best; we leave that to others. 

OK, we might have a very unpopular Prince and his pushy wife, who continue to use the 'Sussex' name, but otherwise we sit back in the knowledge that we live in a place that is 'happy in its own skin'.

Only places that are 'frankly' a bit iffy need to tell you how wonderful they are. We don't have a famous pudding, a hot pot, jacket, or cream teas; we just have contented residents, the best climate in the UK, and a pleasant coastline. London is just 60 mins away, and France about the same.

So, is there a 'down-side' to living in East Sussex? Well sadly, yes, there is. As it's well known for being civilised relaxed and enjoyable, it does attract people who come from places that are far less so. Combine the warmth of the sun with a free weekend, and half of London descends on us.

In case you're wondering where The Sunday Times perfect place to live can be found, it's called Wadhurst. That's it in the illustration (above). A very pleasant village.

In their survey of The South-East, Brighton only came 2nd (after Chichester). We don't mind that too much; we don't want the place to become totally over-run.

Sunday 26 March 2023

Tree Planting.

I am quite well known for being a keen amateur Tree Planter. Give me a square metre or two of un-used land and I'll have a fruit tree on it as fast as you can say Orange Pippin.

So, I was very pleased to see, yesterday, that the church elders have been Tree Planting. There is one new tree in the Peace Garden, and another five or six in the Churchyard itself. It's not easy to tell what type of trees they are at this time of year; and sadly they have no labels.

However, I suspect that they are mostly Elms. The Churchyard is known for it's survival Elms, and maybe a few more 'treated' ones will ensure their continuation.

On the other side of the church, down by Wykeham Terrace, is this Yew tree; a very classic tree for ancient graveyards. At first I thought it was a Christmas Tree (which would have been nice), but it's too far from the church to be used as such.

Had there been a poll amongst us locals as to what trees should be planted, I would have gone for a Victoria Plum. Wouldn't it be nice in early Autumn to pop down to the graveyard, pick a few Plums, and enjoy a lovely Plum Tatin for supper. 

Sadly they don't see things as I do.


Saturday 25 March 2023

A Reminder.

A timely reminder to respect our wildlife.

Don't trim your hedges between mid March and the end of July. Birds, small Mammals, and other wild creatures are busy making nests and raising families. Your tidiness can wait until they're done. The world needs their input.


Thursday 23 March 2023

Covid confinement.

What to do when you have Covid?

Most importantly, regardless of how ill one feels, things have to carry-on much as usual. Billy needs his three walks each day, we need to eat, and as difficult as it might seem we need to fight-off the boredom of enforced isolation.  

Thanks to enlightening daytime TV, we will soon become antiques experts, DIY experts, and experts in the price of country property in Devon and Somerset.

Only when one has time to kill does one really understand the dire state of daytime TV. Luckily I have my crosswords to keep me busy, and I still try to write a bit each day, but these things still creep past my blinkers, and pollute.

My greatest saviour is, of course, Billy. If he spies me doing nothing, he leaps on me, and tries to gnaw my hands whilst growling and attempting to sound vicious. He's never happier than when he has one of my hands between his sharpened teeth. I always let him win!

I'm now almost able to 'think' clearly again. I'm making plenty of mistakes whilst typing, which means more time spent correcting. I'm also very weak and listless, and my taste-buds have gone on strike. Going for short isolated dog-walks can also be very tiring.

We're getting there.


Wednesday 22 March 2023

A death in the family. The end of an era.


I was notified recently of the death of an elderly aunt. She was the widow of my late uncle, who was my mother's younger brother. My aunt died aged 97.

My sister reminded me that this is the end of a generation. We no longer have any uncles or aunts; just cousins. We ourselves have now become 'the older generation', and will be the next lot to appear amongst The Obits.

After a traumatic war experience, my uncle settled down to farming; he later went into pharmaceuticals. My aunt had been a nurse. I remember being sent to their lovely old-fashioned stone-built Welsh farm when I was about 5 or 6. For a small boy it was heaven, there was a stream to fish in, barns full of hay to climb on, and plenty of old machinery to clamber over. I had wonderful adventures, all in the company of my favourite Uncle and Aunt.

All this has now gone and I only have a few small box-Brownie photos to remind me of those wonderful times.

My uncle's farm had a delightful name. It was either Pandy at the Candy, or Candy at the Pandy; I can't remember which. Whatever it was, it was perfect; just how an old Welsh farm should be.

So, RIP my Aunty Alice. 

Tuesday 21 March 2023


I'm not really a Football fan. I've never played the game, and have only once been to a professional match; which just happened to be Brighton and Hove Albion, back in the 60's.

However our local team are doing quite well, and have become a serious force in the top division. They also have a fabulous new out-of-town stadium. They play in the top echelons of the game, and have beaten many of the English teams that are known world-wide, including Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, and West Ham.

I was in the park with Billy recently when I saw this double-decker bus going past. I don't know if it's been around for a while, but it was new to me. With a big game on Sunday afternoon, I imagine it was being used for publicity reasons.

Sunday's game was against Grimsby (a team not in the same league). We won by 5-0. Grimsby have a 'fish' as their mascot. Brighton, of course, have a 'seagull'. As everyone knows, seagulls eat fish for breakfast!!!

This, below, was goal No 4.

Brighton will now play against Manchester Utd or Fulham in the semi-finals (I think). Not quite the same push-over as with Grimsby.

Good luck boys.

Monday 20 March 2023


At last I have confirmation. I definitely have COVID.

I'd begun to feel a bit better and was coming around to the idea that is was Flu, but my oldest brought us a new test kit, and there they were; the two red lines. Positive!

In some ways it was quite reassuring, I now know exactly what we have. Having had all the vaccines possible I don't think it'll affect us for too long. One week, maybe two at the most.

I'm still very lethargic, and my appetite is lacking. But all will be well, and we'll soon be fine. We simply have to stay away from people for a couple of weeks.

As soon as my son saw the two red lines; he fled! He's off to Florence (Italy) tomorrow, and didn't want to be contaminated He's already had it twice.

Friday 17 March 2023


Still alive. Thank you for kind, helpful, and occasionally amusing comments yesterday. I hope to be back soon.


Thursday 16 March 2023

Oh no!!!


What we've been dreading for the past few years looks to have arrived. 

After having felt a bit under the weather for the past few days, Lady Magnon was about to do a Covid test but found bits of the kit missing, so no definitive prognosis. 

I am also showing symptoms, but not as bad as Lady M's.

We have both been coughing, and have painful chests. I have a thumping headache, a hot pain behind my eyes, and terrible lethargy. I have also lost my appetite, I have a temperature, and have been shivering. It really is most unpleasant. Whether or not it is Covid we don't know, but I suspect as much. Last night I didn't sleep a wink; I was restless all night long, and am really tired this morning.

I found writing the above quite taxing, so please excuse me if I don't reply to comments. After I've taken Billy for his morning walk, I will probably return to my bed!

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Riders and runners.

Billy definitely has his dislikes, not unlike the dog above.

He doesn't care for cyclists, and he dislikes joggers. But most of all he doesn't like people who suddenly appear from behind him.

He's much better now with the cyclists and joggers, and he simply gives them a withering look, but if someone suddenly comes running-up from behind us, he'll probably try to snap at his or her heels. I keep him on a very short lead in such situations to avoid being sued.

All this only happens when he's on his lead. When running free he is much more tolerant. There is something about a lead that spells 'territory'. When he meets other dogs in the park they play together, no questions asked. But if he meets one on a lead, and he's on his lead too, then they always growl at each other. Again I imagine it's territorial, or maybe he's simply defending his owner.

Generally he's very well behaved, but there are certain behaviours that seem to be built-in to the canine mind, and there's little point trying to remove them. One simply needs to be aware.


Tuesday 14 March 2023

The big trek.

I always used to drive non-stop down from Dieppe (or Calais) to our cottage, but I was younger then, and a 700 km trip was no big deal.

These days I do what I'm told and we stop about half way down in a reasonably-priced, dog-friendly, hotel that we've now got to know quite well. It's the Ibis at Nord Saran.

It's a well-known chain hotel on the outskirts of Orléans which suits us fine. It's not easy to reach, but I'm getting to know the route thanks to Google Maps; I don't have Sat Nav. It isn't conveniently situated by the side of a main road like most large hotels; but hidden away down complicated side roads. As you can see by the photo, it's not the prettiest of buildings.

The rooms are comfortable, Billy settles down happily in his bed, and the staff are always pleasant. But it does have one major fault.

The so-called 'Restaurant' is absolutely dreadful. The meals are bought-in from some awful factory, re-heated, and served in red-hot dishes. I had one 'roast chicken with new potatoes' dish that was edible, but I've had others that I wouldn't give to the dog. The last meal I had there was 'fish with fresh season's vegs'; it was almost inedible. At the same time Lady M had a pizza which was totally bizarre.

However, their breakfasts are very good. Plenty of choice, and you can eat as much as you like to set you up for the day's drive ahead.

For this year's trip I've taken note of a few local eateries that we might visit, but I have a feeling that we will simply relax with some sandwiches and a bottle of wine, and dine al fresco (al hotel-roomo).

I only have a few strict criteria for hotels in which I stay. The bed must be comfortable, have an ensuite bathroom/loo, be reasonably priced, and have a well-stocked breakfast bar. This one does all of that, and is dog-friendly too. It's just such a shame that their evening meals are so dreadful. I'm not interested in the interior or exterior aesthetics of such over-night stopping places, I just want a bed, a drink, and something in my belly to start the next day.

Strangely I have begun to look forward to our visits to Orléans. It's become a part of the whole travel experience, and I now no longer bother to look for more suitable alternatives.

Monday 13 March 2023

Alphonse's origins.


Alphonse sits right in front of me, leaning against the wall behind my laptop. I often find myself looking at him, and thinking of his origins.

The annual Red Cross Ball, which is held in some swanky Park Lane hotel, has been taking place for decades. As far as I know my mother only went once which was when she found/bought Alphonse.

These events are mostly for fund-raising, and the guests are chosen from amongst the rich and famous; who have plenty of 'funds' available. How, or why, my parents ended-up attending one I have no idea. My mother was a Red Cross Nurse during the war, but I have no idea if there was any connection, I somehow presume there must have been. My people were 'comfortable', but they certainly weren't amongst the glitzy rich.

Money is raised for the Red Cross from the sale of tickets and an auction of donated items. Alphonse was amongst the auction lots when my mother was there. She made a bid, and was successful.

All I know about him is that he is supposedly dressed as a British Prisoner of War under the Japanese, with a straw hat and straw shoes. I imagine money was being raised to send-out food parcels to our men there.

Alphonse must have been purchased in about 1943 or 4. I was born in 1946 and he was given to me. This makes Alphonse almost 80 years old. The Poppy was my own addition.

I do hope someone looks after him when I'm gone.

Sunday 12 March 2023

What I'm dreaming of.

The UK has been suffering some awful Winter weather.  

It was wet-n-windy here for a couple of days, horrible, and I believe there were even a few millimetres of snow on the other side of The South Downs (i.e. what we call 'Up North'), so I began day-dreaming again; it's what I do best. Photo from 3 days ago.

In less than three months time, we shall decamp to France for the Summer. We shall stay there for June, July, and August, and do all those things we've been missing over Winter; like constantly mowing all the acres of bloody grass up at the barn and around the cottage, and generally trying to keep the place from becoming totally overgrown.

We shall swim several times a day, spend far too much time trying (in vain) to keep the pool clean, and curse at any sign of developing algae. Such is the life of a pool-owner; it ain't all fun and frolics. Below is how I would like it to be; permanently.

I shall go mushrooming. I'm almost certain to find Girolles, but whether or not we'll have a crop of Cèpes (below) is never guaranteed. They are without doubt the world's best mushrooms, so my fingers are crossed. August can be a very good Cèpe month; it depends on the amount of rain.

But, I suppose what we're looking forward to most is that wonderful peace and quiet of open countryside that our home offers. I wake every morning to this scene, and never tire of it. We may not have Sunflowers this year, but the open landscape is always spectacular.

We are currently re-considering our future residency in France. My youngest has put his newly converted barn on the market (top; he's in no rush to sell) and we are toying with the idea of doing the same within the next few years. Property abroad needs to be lived-in, looked-after, and up-kept. Nothing has yet been decided, but sadly Brexit has rather mucked-up our long-term future there. However, it also has to be said that our tiny hamlet is not what it was, so we won't be too heartbroken to say 'goodbye', if or when we sell. We've had 50 great years there. In future we shall travel to other more exotic destinations, but for the moment we'll be very happy to spend time there again.

Anyone who's thinking of moving to France, and buying a beautiful home (with the financially advantageous letting potential of an additional small cottage and pool) needs look no further. All of the above could be yours for the price of a bed-sit in S Ken; and you'd never need to go out to work again.

I might even divulge my best mushroom locations.


Saturday 11 March 2023

Happy Birthday.

Today is my eldest son's (Kimbo) birthday; March 11th.

This is a photo of him with Lady Magnon. I expect he was about 1 year old.

It's one of my better photos, when I still processed and printed my own B & W photos.


Sunak, Macron, and those boats.


PM Rishi Sunak has promised that (this time) he really WILL do something about the illegal immigrant problem, and stop those small rubber boats arriving in droves on our shores.

We have already paid the French £63Million to help with their side of the problem (which of course they pocketed and ignored). It's not in their interest to keep 'undesirables' in France, they would much prefer to help them get to England; not prevent them from getting there.  

Rishi has again spoken with Macron, and this time has offered a staggering £500Million. However, Macron has said that in no way could the UK be able to return the so called 'refugees' to France, and he ain't having none of it. But I expect he'll accept the £500Million anyway. He'd be fou not to.

The answer to this is obvious.... they must never reach our shores!

The problem is easily resolved if the UK had the 'gumption'. The UK Border Control boats, which are out in The Channel permanently, could simply catch them mid-Channel, perform a few confusing circles, then tow them back to France. They could even assure them that where they were heading for England, and they'd all rush ashore with smiles on their faces; claiming asylum.

There are procedures in place for arriving in the UK legally, and generally they are cheaper than buying a place on an illegal boat. But many won't go through the correct procedures on account of their criminal past (or present). Their only chance of arriving at Eldorado is a place on a boat, and as much as I want to believe Rishi, I can't see a reduction in arrivals happening. Let's wait and see what the figures are like this time next year!!!

And Pur-leeeeze; let's not be sending these people all around the world at huge expense to us the taxpayers. They must go back from whence they came; not to Rwanda.

Friday 10 March 2023


I was never much good at Chess, in fact I was probably better at Snakes and Ladders.

However, I did teach my children to play, and I once ran a Chess Club at a local Primary School. I introduced them to the basics, and showed them a few tricks of the trade.

I don't think I have the right type of brain for Chess. I can think a few moves ahead, but no more than 'a few', when I should be thinking in terms of much more.

Anyway, we keep a nice set in the house, and I'm pleased to see that my oldest has taught his boys to play. 

I'm just waiting for them to start beating their father. Ha ha.


Thursday 9 March 2023

Nothing really.

If I'm short of a blog subject (not too often the case) I usually revert to pictures of my locality.

Seeing as I pass through this churchyard at least twice a day, it's a handy subject for a snap.

Amazingly we've had Daffs since well before Christmas, but at the moment they're at their best.

The red door is the entrance to The Bell Tower. The ringers practice on three Monday evenings each month, and play at least two peels on Sunday mornings starting at about 9.45 am. There is a flat tombstone right opposite the door, where Billy and I often sit and listen to the bells. Nothing could be more 'English'.

On the far side of the church is a large grassy 2 acre 'field', where dog walkers exercise their pooches. Much like the 'Peace Garden' where I take Billy for his first walk of the day, the churchyard is filled with friendly folk who greet us warmly. As I was taking the above photo, two very attractive young ladies shouted "Good Morning" at me. They were both dressed in Gym kit, so we had an amusing short Gym-related conversation before they continued on their way 'giggling'.

This is why I love Brighton so much. There is a genuine sense of community here. I don't know if it exists throughout the city, but in our little 'village' area it's palpable.  

Tuesday 7 March 2023


The problem with many UK doors is that the trees are felled in the morning, sawn into planks by lunchtime, then made into doors before teatime. 

The still-dripping-wet wood itself is probably some cheap knotty Pine, and the actual door-making process industrialised and shoddy.

Almost everyone I know who still has old fashioned wooden doors, has problems with them. With the UK's dampish climate they shrink or swell, and split or stick (depending on the season). They can be a right pain in the neck. We have already had to have a carpenter to see to two of our outside doors this winter.

So, up the road, my son Kimbo has decided to do something about the problem, and has installed a new 'state of the art' non-wood door. This isn't the standard composite door, but a new very solid 21st C version. 

He has now also installed the black and gold house number on the borrowed-light above, and it looks very 'chic'.

I went by yesterday morning to inspect the work, and it looks superb. The door doesn't look that different to the last one, but it's really solid, and will remain un-swelled for decades to come; if not centuries. Well done Kimbo!

p.s. Looking at the photo, I'm wondering if those wires up the wall are actually doing anything. They look to me like the old GPO wiring, where they took whatever was the most direct route, regardless of aesthetics. Horrible; I shall make enquiries.


Monday 6 March 2023

Sunday Fun.

I only buy one newspaper per week; The Sunday Times.

On Page 3 of the 'Home' section, there is a half page of houses for sale. Mostly nice homes from around the country, at a various selection of prices.

Every week we look through the houses, assess which one we would buy (as if we were in the market), and see if everyone else thinks alike.

I'm very pleased to be able to tell you that 99.9% of the time, we all choose the same house.

This week's was a relatively cheap house in Kent. At under £900,000 (the cheapest on offer) it was an old farmhouse with an Oast-house, and outbuildings. In the photo it is the second one up from the bottom on the right. I'm pleased to say that all four of us (with Kimbo and Susie) chose the same one.

We don't go for the most impressive or exclusive, we always think in terms of where we'd like to live.

If you take The Sunday Times, and you are more than one in the house, then I recommend that you play this wonderfully intellectual and rewarding game; and, like us, get huge enjoyment from knowing that one's impeccable taste is shared by all.


Sunday 5 March 2023

My boys.

Boo Boo and The Cherub are now well installed into Aussie life.

They love their school, and they have begun to play Tennis, and are learning Judo. 

This, below, shows them celebrating their mother's (Kellogg) birthday. I believe they had chosen a seafood restaurant where they ate a never-ending supply of giant Lobsters, etc; they loved it.

The boys live in Gold Coast on the East coast of Australia, to the South of Brisbane. It's an extremely pleasant place to live, with a fabulous beach, and just about every amenity you could wish for. A place where one could very easily become a part-time beach-bum, eat BBQ'd Prawns all day, and surf forever on perfect waves.  

We miss our boys terribly. Lady M especially loved cooking for, and with, them; which they adored. Her 'Cheesy Pasta' was, and remains, an absolute favourite. I wouldn't be surprised if she jets-off to see them sometime soon, with cheese and pasta in hand.

I'm not sure when I'll see them again, but we speak via WhatsApp quite regularly.

They seem to be growing-up quite well without me. I wonder what they will become?

Saturday 4 March 2023

Constance Marten and Mark Gordon charged with manslaughter of baby

The only people to have been grabbing more news space than Harry and Meghan recently, have been the bizarre couple Constance Marten and Mark Gordon.

People outside of the UK will probably not have heard about them. Ms Marten comes from an aristocratic family. Her home (below) came with several thousand acres, and a privileged lifestyle second to none.

Then she met convicted rapist, and jailbird, Mark Gordon, and 'ran away' with him. He had previously served 20 years in a US prison for the rape and assault of a Florida woman when he was 14 years old. 

They slept in tents, moved around constantly, and lived the lives of clandestine escapees. During this time, Ms Marten had a baby, which was said to have been born in a car, and later died. The circumstances of the death are being investigated.

I suppose the only real question would have to be 'why on earth did she chose this type of life above any other?' 

They could have taken a flat together in London, moved to Paris, or travelled around N Africa on a camel; her choices were endless. Even tough Ms Marten was a wealthy young woman, she preferred to live the life of a tramp. They had committed no crime (that I know of), so there was no reason to hide. No doubt all will be revealed in time, but for the moment they were arrested here in Brighton, and are to face a magistrates court, in Crawley, over the alleged 'manslaughter' of their child.

Here, below, is how Sky News saw the affair.

Friday 3 March 2023


Thomas was an enigma. He would turn-up in the mornings, settle down on his preferred sofa, and snooze the day away in the comfort of our home.

Where he came from, we had no idea. If he was someone's beloved pet, we also had no idea. Maybe he was a homeless alley cat; we really didn't know. All we knew was that he had discovered our cat flap (we had no cat at the time), and used our house as a free daytime hotel.

We called him Thomas, rather predictably, because he was ginger and male. He was quite friendly (when awake), and presumably preferred us to his actual owners (if indeed he had any).

As he was a good sitter (sleeper) he was fun to draw and paint, and he appeared in several paintings and drawings. Here he is (below) in my painting 'Après la Fête', whilst it was still being worked on in my studio.


I have always liked cats, and was brought-up with them rather than dogs. We always had a cat around. They looked after the mouse and rat population that lived around our chicken, bantam, and duck runs at the far end of the garden.

We only ever had two types of cat; black and tabby. The black ones were always called 'blackie' (whilst such names were still allowed), and the tabbies were always called 'tiddles'. Not unlike my aunt who lived nearby, who's dogs were all called 'rover'. Not bothering with new names seemed to run in the family.

We haven't had a cat since Freddie died back in 2018, and I can't see us having another one. I miss having one around. I like their haughty 'holier than thou' attitude towards humans. Another one like Thomas would be good. He'd come to see us, then go home again at night. Perfect. 

Thursday 2 March 2023

Three Brighton Boozers.

There are, apparently, 900 pubs in Brighton, but sadly I don't have the time to tell you about all of them. Anyway, I'll start with my own local boozer The Caxton; it's a very cosy and friendly pub. 

It's not old. It was built in 1862, then reconstructed in 1928. The interior is book-lined with plenty of photos of things of local interest. It is also a dog-friendly pub, where Billy is well known. This is my pub of choice, especially as it's only about 200 yards away. They also do wonderful Sunday lunches.

The Cricketers, in The Lanes, is Brighton's oldest pub. It dates from 1547, and is a very lively boozer. Its position in the centre of the old town means that it is always very busy and noisy. A lovely old pub, but not my cup of tea these days. I want somewhere quieter, Billy would hate it.

Adjacent to The Cricketers is The Black Lion. A 500 year old boozer that looks like an old Sail Loft. Again a lovely pub, but far too busy for me and Billy to enjoy a quiet evening pint together. It is part built of flint, with the upper part tile-hung. The road in which it sits is called Black Lion Street; I'm not surprised.

I frequent the Caxton, the other two I pass-by and admire. I may write about the other 897 pubs at a later date!

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Those Shortages.


On my recent weekly shopping trip to the nearby Sainsbury's Superstore, I noticed that the Eggs section was empty; apart from a few broken Eggs in one tray, and a half dozen White Eggs in another. 

I very nearly bought the White eggs until I saw the price of them. They were Organic, Free range, Eton and Oxford educated, and no doubt had come from the gold-plated Chicken run at Buck House. They were about £3.50 for the 6.

I'm not paying that.

So, yesterday morning I popped down to Waitrose (bus pass), which seemed to be very well stocked with everything, and I bought a half dozen Free range White Eggs for £1.25. On returning home I showed them to Lady M, and she made a face similar to mine when anyone mentions Bread and Butter Pudding.

I don't know why people have such an aversion to White Eggs. We all know that they're exactly the same as Brown ones, but as Lady M said "they look less wholesome". 

One day soon, I shall make her an omelette and ask if it tastes 'less wholesome'.

On the question of 'shortages', I was able to buy everything I needed at Waitrose. I saw no empty shelves, and I even managed to find my essential packs of Beetroot Juice. I bought two just in case.

I was very pleased to see that Fruit and vegs were all in abundance, and looking of excellent quality.

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