Sunday, 30 April 2023

bonzo dog doo dah band - jollity farm


I saw the Bonzos at a Pub' in Catford (S E London) in about 1966, I think the Pub' was called 'The Black Cat'.

I'd never seen anything like them before, or since (I don't think anyone had). They were a bunch of Art College lads who all happened to be good musicians, and enjoyed having fun.

During their performance they let-off one huge explosion. I was holding a pint mug of beer at the time, and (in good cartoon fashion) my beer rose from my glass and about 50% landed back in it again.

This is one of their better known songs, along with the The Urban Spaceman. Viv Stanshall died a few years ago, but Neil Innes is still going strong; as is Roger Ruskin Spear. Not sure about other members of the band.


Saturday, 29 April 2023

Dog tricks.


I don't really like the idea of dogs performing tricks; even if they do enjoy it. I suppose I have to admit to being amused by dogs at Crufts who perform extraordinary feats, but otherwise I'm not keen.

Billy has taught himself to 'beg'. No-one taught him, and he even puts on a dewy-eyed pleading expression to accompany his standing on two hind legs. He only does it when he really wants something; to play ball, or give him a treat, etc. 

He does have one other trick that I think Lady M must have taught him. On the command 'Roly-Poly' he immediately rolls onto his back with his legs in the air.

If only she would train him to come when I call his name, that might be a tad more useful.


 

Friday, 28 April 2023

Mr Hamilton.


Following a recent picture posting, I want to show you another painting from my collection, and one I particularly like. It's this small 'impressionistic' sketch by the wonderfully named Vereker Monteith Hamilton.

Hamilton was a Scottish artist, and lived from 1856 to 1931. He was more noted for his grand historic battlefield paintings than for landscapes.

The painting measures about 6 by 4.5 inches, and is now under glass. It was bought at Sotheby's along with a load of his brushes, pallets, and other studio clearance stuff. Amongst all the ephemera was an outdoor carrying-box filled with his oil sketches. There were about 10 sketches in the box, all were on small wooden panels; I bought three from the man who'd bought the lot. They are very quick sketches, presumably for later reference. Only one contains his monogram, the other two are named on the back. 

He seems to have been from a very distinguished family, and his major works fetch high prices. Unfortunately mine wouldn't, it's too 'flighty'.

Lady M doesn't like it, but I insist that it stays on the wall.

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Names that shall not be Spoken.

 

I did promise not to talk about certain people for a while, but their continuing bad behaviour makes it almost impossible for me (and most of the serious media) to keep quiet. With an upcoming coronation, they are in the news even more than ever. Will they; won't they? 

Most of us find it totally disgusting that some unimportant bit-part actress should target an extremely eligible (and apparently she thought 'hugely wealthy') young European Prince, to forward her social and financial ambitions, only to throw it all back in his family's face before returning home and continuing to trash them at every possible opportunity. 

So, what was that young man thinking? We all know that he isn't the brightest penny, but how could he have been so blinded that he couldn't (and still can't?) see what was happening? He'd been perfectly happy with his family before he married!

I think what we're seeing at the moment is the beginning of the end. Through their individual actions they have become a totally disliked laughing-stock couple, and they are starting to look at each other to cast blame. He could never have imagined that she could 'destroy him' like this. It won't end well.

What I really fail to understand is why they both attempt to blame everyone else for HER shameless ambitions, and THEIR collective crass stupidity, when they so obviously only have themselves to blame. Their combined selfishness is beyond comprehension.

Has there been a more determined 'gold-digger' in recent times? You will possibly soon experience at first hand the venom she had previously been aiming at your father, step-mother, brother, and sister-in-law (amongst others).

Then what'll happen? You won't be able to run back to daddy or your big brother, asking for forgiveness and a shoulder to cry on. Your father might be sympathetic, but don't count on your brother; he'll tell you where you can shove yourself! Once loyalty has gone, it's gone forever.

These people really must be wondering how they've dug such a huge hole for themselves. They imagined that the criticisms of their respective families would bring them sympathy; it has only brought them derision. They have made themselves into figures of mockery, whereas they'd hoped to be pitied and admired; and all this after their escape for 'privacy'.

The big bucks will also soon run-out. The media will only pay $Millions if it makes them $Billions, and if no-one's interested, then the contracts will fail to appear. They HAVE to continue to trash the British Royal Family if they want the bucks to continue.

We now hear that HE might attend the Coronation, but SHE won't (can you hear the cheering?). As long as he doesn't appear on the balcony at Buck House I suppose it's a reasonable solution. He can expect a lot of boo-ing. I think we may be seeing more of them apart, doing separate things, in the near future.

The poor boy really has made a mess of things! I now read that he has said that his wife "May not be the one"; which has been left to us to translate! It's taken him a long time to realise it. Maybe he should have listened to his family (or me) some time ago.

My recommendation for them both is to 'Keep Your Mouths Firmly Shut'. Every time they open them they make themselves look even more stupid. We've all had enough!


Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Black Lab' at the Vet's.


I shall be showing this video to Billy. I hope he learns a lesson from it.

I adore Black Labs. This, I think, shows why.


Tuesday, 25 April 2023

Crops for '23.


Once a country boy, always a country boy!

I may no longer have Haddock's, but I now have Haddock's 2, here in Brighton, which is the size of a postage stamp (if such things still exist).

Last year I grew 'Tumbler' Tomatoes in two wall-mounted planters. The crop was a reasonable success, but would have benefitted from more watering during our absence.


This year we will again plant a few 'Tumbler' Tomato plants, as well as some Cavolo Nero plants. 

As you can probably see, this year we also have a very healthy looking Globe Artichoke plant, a 'Black Hamburg' Vine under the bay window (which you can hardly see), and a few essential herbs. The Cavolo Nero plants are those tiny seedlings in the five pots, and will be planted-out in a tiny strip opposite the front door. I'm sure they'll grow!

I find it difficult NOT to grow edible plants. It's something I've been doing almost all my life, and I can't stop now. As long as I get something to eat from them I'll be happy. I'm not expecting a bumper harvest, but a few leafy greens next winter will be very welcome, and Cavolo Nero is a real favourite. 

I'm hoping that Kimbo will eat the Artichokes; unless, of course, they flower before we leave.

 

Monday, 24 April 2023

Eco Gardens




I think this picture, above, illustrates my attitude to gardening and nature conservation better that I ever could.

As long as you own enough of it, our gardens should be managed to provide a pleasant place to relax, as well as a safe place for wildlife to flourish.

I have always promoted the golf course style of gardening where one has 'Rough, Fairway, and Green'. Rough should make-up the majority of your land and should be left to nature, Fairway is the next part which should be tidied 'to an extent', and last is your lawn which is the Green. This not only limits your time spent mowing, but it also gives wildlife plenty of scope to exist without being over-disturbed.

The tidier your garden, the less it will provide safe homes for all our wild friends. If we don't take care of nature, we are not taking care of our world.

 

Sunday, 23 April 2023

Piers Corbyn crashes Extinction Rebellion church service in London


Siblings often share the same character, and here is Piers Corbyn (brother of Jeremy) doing what he does best. I would hate for you to miss this splendid piece of 'protest'.

I think both brothers would have been better employed as 'Hatters'.


Found!

 

Yesterday morning I found this bike. I presume it had been stolen and dumped. There was no-one around so I wheeled it home, and tried to contact the police to report it as 'Lost Property', or 'Stolen Property'.

I should have known! The police are not in the slightest bit interested in small crimes such as this; they don't even prosecute shoplifters these days. It really makes me wonder what they do all day in their huge new headquarters; other than hand-out speeding fines to motorists.

It's quite a nice bike. It's not an expensive model and on the front it simply says 'PROFESSIONAL CYCLES'. 

On the police web site is says to try to find the owner (are they joking?), contact the people on who's property it was found (the church!), or take it down to the police station (about three miles away). 

No, what I expect is for them to take details, and wait to see if someone reports it missing. Is that too much to ask? That's how such things were always done! If I had had a bike stolen, I would contact the police, but if they won't even take its details how would you ever expect someone to find it again.

We already have two very good quality bikes in the garage, so I really don't want another one.

So, if anyone wants a simple men's red bike, in good nick, just call Cro! Otherwise, I shall simply wheel it somewhere nearby and attach a label saying 'FREE to a good home'.


Saturday, 22 April 2023

More Spring.


You know it's Spring when the birds take mouthfuls of dried grasses up into the trees.

But an even better sign is when you see Lambs or Fox cubs cavorting in the fields.

This photo was taken this afternoon behind the church. I think there are 3 cubs in the photo, but I did see 4; as well as their mum.


What cuties; I could have watched them all afternoon.

Whilst there I beckoned over to a woman with two small girls who were walking past. She probably thought I was some kind of pervert, but when they all saw the cubs, they were thrilled. I don't make a habit of such things, but it was such an opportunity for the girls to see nature in the raw.

Not much of a photo I'm afraid, but my kit is very basic!

 

Seasonal Changes.


I suppose there are just two major changes that we all make at this time of year; and these involve food and clothing.

The Thermal Vests go back into the wardrobe, the thick overcoats get put away, and salads appear on the dining table.


Or even,


Salads are inherently 'healthy', so I allow myself the occasional luxury of a Hard Boiled Egg, Mini Pork Pie, or half a Scotch Egg to accompany them.

In France we base our Summer salads around Tomatoes. The best Tomatoes in England seem to be the smaller ones; in France it's the bigger the better. I no longer grow my own, but my good friend and neighbour JosĂ© grows lots and usually tells me to help myself. Nothing can beat an outdoor-grown, sunshine-bathed, Marmande style, Tomato.  

On the clothing front, Shorts are now seen everywhere, and T Shirts are being worn without any high-tog Polar-Fleece overcoats. In a few weeks time my shorts will be worn daily for several months.


There is a very pleasant seasonal feeling in the air. The weather is still 'changeable', but leaves are sprouting and the flowering Cherries are in full bloom (above). Can't be bad!

Friday, 21 April 2023

Growing old is sh*t.


I never really thought I'd grow old. I'd imagined that (if I made it past my 50's) I'd become a type of Ian Carmichael character, wearing shaggy three-piece tweed suits, and sporting a monocle. I would drive an Armstrong Sidley, and live in a small, but pretty, mews house in S Ken.

But life has a way of slapping you in the face and saying "Stop daydreaming you fool", and in fact you become a doddery old codger who walks with a cane, forgets where he puts things, and becomes even more reclusive than his most reclusive earlier reclusiveness.


My pleasures are now few. I still love eating and drinking; who doesn't. I do actually enjoy popping off in the car to spend 30 mins wandering the Deli dep't of a distant Waitrose. I love heading off for France. And, I'm not quite sure why, but I still enjoy writing this daily blog.

However, the things I really DON'T enjoy far outweigh the one's I do. I really hate having to take pills every day. I hate it when my doctor tells me I have to go in for a blood test and have my feet pricked with pins (yesterday). I hate feeling tired when I haven't done enough to warrant it. And I hate the constant cultural assassination of my native country by those who are still wet behind the ears. 

I have become 'Belligerent of Brighton' or 'Furious of France'. My numerous un-published letters to The Times are mostly critical of  people like Corbyn, or puerile-thinking young woke adolescents who think they know more than their wiser and betters.

This morning I shall make my way (slowly) down to M & S where I shall join forces with other 'wrinklies', dreaming of buying a huge joint of Sirloin Beef for the weekend, then leave with a small pack of 'on special offer' smoked Bacon, a bag of Oranges, and possibly a couple of soft bread rolls. It's a 15 min walk there and back, that will hopefully oil my rusting hips, and appease my ravenous appetite for a few days. 

Growing old is not to be advised. Mostly it reminds you of all those things you didn't do when you were younger, all the places you'd put-off visiting, and all the things you wish you'd said to people who are no longer around. 

These days when I look in the mirror I see someone I hardly recognise, and I don't particularly like him. I expect to see a middle-aged Adonis, but all I see is a grey-haired doddery confused old codger.

Thursday, 20 April 2023

That Turkey


We always bought two Turkeys at Christmas; one for Christmas day, and another to put in the freezer to await Easter.

This last Christmas, I bought the Christmas one, and my son Kimbo bought the Easter one, which he deposited in our freezer (his was full).

The Turkey weighed 8 kilos. It was huge, and I suggested we saw it in half lengthways, so that it could be used for two different occasions, but he didn't like the idea.


We were six at table for Easter making 1.3 kilos of Turkey for each of us. Frankly, even the .3 of a kilo would have been more than enough.

It took nearly 5 hours to roast, it was delicious, but there was far too much of it. We hardly made inroads into half of it on the day.

Usually the remains of a Turkey get transformed into all sorts of different dishes, but this time after the compulsory Curry, we became disillusioned. Kimbo took a huge lump, and I made a nice Moroccan Tagine, but after that it was sandwiches and loads of Turkey Stock.

I think this was the first time in my life that I haven't picked the carcass clean. It was simply too overpowering, and the flavour of the bird soon became tiresome.

Normally we would buy a 5-ish kilo bird. 8 kilos was too big. Having said that, I do remember my mother buying a 27 lb bird (12 kilos) that we needed to shorten to fit into our small Welsh cottage oven; but I know it fed a lot more than just 6 people.

 

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

I got my comeuppance.


I have always been not only a painter of pictures, but also a collector of pictures.

When I was managing The Fine Art Gallery in Devonshire St back in the late 60's, I was in the perfect position to buy small, reasonably priced works, from my boss. I was never a big spender, I should think the most I ever paid for a painting was around £20.

Amongst my purchases from that era was this small, slightly damaged, and frankly rather scruffy 'piece' of a painting by Italian Fra Fillipo Lippi (1406-1469). I had no idea who he was at that time.


I was selling a few pictures at Sotheby's and at the last minute decided to take the Lippi along as well to see if it was worth £millions.

When I showed it to the lady on the pictures desk, she said loudly 'We don't sell Fragments'. 

I replied, 'but it's a Lippi'.

'We don't sell Fragments' she repeated in an even louder voice. 


I felt so small. Everyone around me looked to see who the time-waster was. I continued with the other pictures I'd taken to sell, and all calmed.

I still have the 'Fragment', and I do now understand that it is worthless. It sits by my head behind my sofa, and every time I look at it, it reminds me of that nasty woman. Being forthright is OK, but being polite with clients is more important.

I wish I could remember what I paid for it (without the frame), I think it was £2; but at least I can say that I own a bit of a Lippi. It might be worth £3 these days.

 

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

You couldn't make it up!!!


If you are a 'Brit'; prepare to be shocked!

Anyone living in the UK will know that our free health system (The NHS) is under huge pressure, with a lack of doctors (many are on strike), a lack of nurses (many are on strike), and a lack of money; even though they are given a record £180 Billion p.a.

But now I learn that the BMA itself (The British Medical Association, who govern all things medical), actually voted AGAINST more doctors and more medical schools. I quote.....

'Delegates at the annual BMA conference voted by a narrow majority to restrict the number of places at Medical Schools to avoid 'overproduction of doctors with limited career opportunities'. They also agreed on a complete ban on opening new medical schools'.

Prof David Sochart (Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon), from Manchester and Salford, warned delegates that in the current job climate allowing too many new doctors into the market would risk devaluing the profession and make newly qualified doctors prey to 'unscrupulous profiteers'. A glut of doctors would undermine competition and would therefore lower standards and ensure mediocrity, he claimed'.

Can you believe that? No wonder the bloody NHS is in such a bloody mess.

People talk of our 'broken NHS', but it's broken to, and from, its very core. 

And people have the cheek to blame 'The Government';...... I despair!


Peppermills.


How many Peppermills have you owned?

I must have had dozens; most of which didn't really work. I've probably spent more time taking them apart to try to make them work properly, than I ever did getting pepper out of them. There are some terrible peppermills out there, mostly, I suspect, at boot sales.

However, at last I have found one that (fingers crossed) works very well. It is not only a Pepper grinder, but it's also a Salt cellar. The top transparent bit contains the salt, and the lower transparent part, the pepper. Turn upside down for salt, screw for pepper. It's very good.


I used to have a friend called 'Lanzarote'. He was fanatical about Pepper, and Peppermills. So much so that he never went anywhere without his small, almost antique, wooden Peppermill that had a hand-cranked metal handle on the top to do the grinding work. As soon as the soup was served, out came his little mill, he'd work its magic, then it would go back inside his pocket. This would happen each time some pepper was required. No-one never talked about it.

A bad Peppermill is a pain. A good one is a delight. I wish I could tell you the maker's name of this one above, and where it came from, but I can't. But if you see one that looks like it, and you're in the market for a new one, then it's probably worth paying a few quid.

 

Monday, 17 April 2023

The Black Car Club.


I've never really thought too much about car colours. My mother had a penchant for pale Blue, but I've never really had a preference myself.

I do know that I hate Orange cars, and have managed to own TWO; one of which I had re-sprayed.

Otherwise I have tended to buy Silver, simply because it reflects the heat of Summer; which in France can be quite severe. 


However, since having to buy a new car last September, I've noticed that most cars around here are Black. My son has a big Black car, and I now have a small Black car. Most of the cars in my road seem to be Black (above). Down in front of our house there is a big Black Tesla, and another Black one which I think may be Japanese.

Black absorbs heat, so maybe this is a conscious decision to attract warmth. Otherwise Black is the colour of depression, funerals, and evil; not qualities one would normally wish to associate with travel

I'm very happy with my new Black car. I may not be quite so happy through the summer, but that remains to be seen.

What I do know is that they look very smart when washed and polished.

 

Sunday, 16 April 2023

Talking to Egypt; Lord, what a palaver!

 

Lady Magnon has been living with an iPad and an old Nokia phone. They suited her OK, but she felt that they were a bit 'old fashioned'.

So, she plumped for a new iPhone 12, and young Kimbo came to her assistance (he knows all about buying and setting-up such things).

The phone was ordered, and arrived the following day. 

THEN, oh my gawd; it all began. New numbers, codes, passwords, identity numbers, photo ID, you name it; they wanted it. The poor Kimbo was nearly tearing his hear out before he'd fixed it all; and all via a very long conversation with a nice girl in Egypt.

I can't tell you the ins and outs of why it was so complicated, but it involved the billing and change of number. 

Things are not designed to be easy these days; just make sure you have a cyber-wise son or daughter around.

By late afternoon all was fixed, but oh my goodness!


Saturday, 15 April 2023

All Change


With our barn conversion possibly sold, we're having to think about where we will put everything that we currently store up there.

We have two ride-on mowers, ladders, children's toys, a BBQ, and goodness knows what else, and all needs to find new homes.

When I get out to France in 6 weeks time, the first thing I shall do is to buy a poly-tunnel big enough to take Rory (below), and the ordinary mower. We have 50 years worth of stuff spread about that's going to need dry storage. Having got used to the vast storage space up at the barn, we're going to find it tricky.


Most of the 'stuff' of course we don't really need, but it's knowing what to do with it all.

Everything to do with mowing is essential, so finding a home for that is a priority. Other things like ladders, wheelbarrows, piles of paving slabs, etc, can all stay outside.

Last year when we returned, I turned Rory's starter key, and he leapt into life at once, the other brand new red one didn't, and will probably require a new battery. I shall cross my fingers that Rory starts again uncomplainingly, but I quite expect he'll need a new battery too. Such things are to be expected after 9 months inactivity.



 

Friday, 14 April 2023

Freddie & The Dreamers


Here are those cheeky Mancunians appearing on Blue Peter; an essential venue in 1964.

The singer, Freddie Garrity died back in 2006. RIP. Every time (decade after decade) they performed the song, the band did the same prancing 'dance', it was probably that that hastened poor Freddie's demise.

Here they are with 'You were made for me'. This'll bring back memories!

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Truth will always out.


People in the UK will have both seen and heard about some really disgusting recent advertising from The Labour Party (above). 

The adverts attempt to slur the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, by suggesting that he doesn't want paedophiles to go to prison. Nothing could be further from the truth, and a huge backlash has already begun against Sir Keir Starmer and the nastier Socialists. You simply cannot go around telling blatant lies.

The truth of the matter is that back in 2018 The Sentencing Council, of which Sir Keir Starmer was a member, suggested that not all child sex abusers should go to prison. Sir Keir Starmer, who had also been Director of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), was a senior member of this illustrious institution when it established the new guidelines. 

Most of their own supporters have had enough of this blatant misinformation; including shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, who was said to be furious. No-one is happy about puerile slur campaigns; even Gary Lineker described the poster as 'awful'!

However, Emily Thornberry MP, as one of Starmer's most loyal and devoted supporters, has defended the poster campaign (and Starmer himself), but possibly, not having a good memory, she forgot that she'd chastised him back in 2012, when she asked him to 'reconsider' his new 'weakened' guidelines about sexual crime; and rape in particular. Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions at the time.


However, Starmer is sticking by his poster, and digging an even bigger hole for himself in the process. 

This man could well become our next Prime Minister. We expect 'slurs' from the Left, but one of this magnitude is unforgiveable. 


I'll leave you with this one extra thought. Just over a year ago, The Labour Party voted AGAINST the whole 'Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill' (see above). This Tory bill concerned increasing sentencing for rapists, sex offenders, child killers, etc. Who was opposition leader at the time? Yes, Sir Keir Starmer. Luckily the Tories got the bill through, regardless of Labour's lack of support.

His poster needs to be re-written, and replace Rishi's name with Starmer's. Nasty man, and nasty campaign!

Bob.


Since Billy first started holidaying in England a couple of years ago, he has made some really good friends.

Some are real characters; as characterful as many of Brighton's human residents. I won't try to describe the others because without a photo it would mean nothing.

However, Billy's oldest friend is Bob. We have always called him 'Two Balls Bob' (no sniggering), on account of his permanently having two tennis balls in his mouth. He will go nowhere without them.

I was talking to his owner yesterday (we talk almost daily), and she told me that Bob is a Londoner. He was abandoned, and Mrs Bob thinks that he might have been used as a fighting dog; or certainly as a guard dog, and probably badly abused.


Anyway, here is Bob with his mouth stuffed with Tennis Balls. Like Billy he is a well loved character in our little corner of the world. Everyone says hello to him, the school children from the local Primary School call out to him when he goes by, and everyone in the park stops to stroke him. 

It'll be a very sorry day when Bob's no longer with us. The world won't be the same.

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Steak Pie


When I go shopping I take a list and stick to it 99%. Of course I see plenty of things I'd love to buy but I simply look-on enviously, and pass by.

Lady Magnon, however, never makes lists. She checks her phone to see what deals are being offered at her favourite M & S, and if something appeals, she heads for town.


This (above) was a case in point. This delicious M & S 'Best Ever Steak Pie' was on offer to loyalty-card-holders and even though it was still quite expensive, she managed to shave a couple of quid of the original price.

So, how was it? Firstly I should say that it was quite big (500gms); more than enough for two. The filling was generously 'meaty', and the pastry was delicious. My only criticism (and it's hardly a criticism) was that it had a very slight sweetness about it that was unnecessary. 

Otherwise I will give it 9/10. Very nice. I might even buy the next one myself. 

 

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

Guess who!


This man's name is known to everyone, but his youthful face probably less so.

He was born in Zundert in Holland in 1853, and died in Southern France in 1890. He died as the result of a gun-shot wound.

The reason for his fame was not acknowledged during his lifetime, but since his death he has become one of the most admired proponents of his profession.

So, who is this fresh-faced, red-haired, boy?


It is no less than a 19 year old Vincent Van Gogh. If you didn't know that such a photo of him existed, then join the club. Nor did I, and I predict we are not alone.

 

Monday, 10 April 2023

It's been a Month


It is now exactly one month since I became infected with Covid.

My initial fears about the virus, which date back to when the world was first infested, have now been reduced to 'slight' rather than 'intense'. In fact, possibly due to all the vaccines and boosters we've had, my malaise felt like no more than a nasty dose of 'Flu'.

However, it did last for almost a full month, and tiny signs still linger; even though we've not been contagious for over two weeks. I still have a tickly dry 'spasmodic' cough, my energy levels are not quite back to normal, and my chest feels slightly compressed.

What it would have been like had I not had all my jabs is impossible to say.

On reflection the initial lockdown panic certainly saved lives, but many (pre-vaccine) people had less resilience than others, and sadly succumbed.

Government figures suggest that 221,000 people have died from the virus in the UK.

So, I would like to thank Boris and his team of boffins for 'pulling out fingers' as quickly as they did. Not only did they save lives in the UK, but in many other countries too. I was in France when all the panic began, and the French looked after us quite well, we even had the British Astra Zeneca jabs, although by the time we were forced to spend more post-Brexit time back here, the French and the Brits were refusing to co-operate with each other, and confusion reigned concerning our vaccinations.

My advice to anyone catching the virus is much the same as everyone gave to me a month ago. Take it easy, get others to help with shopping, etc, rest as much as possible, and wait. Time heals better than pills and potions.

Sunday, 9 April 2023

Happy Easter.


Easter is not just about Chocolate Eggs. Have a lovely day!

Saturday, 8 April 2023

The wisdom of age.



Granny No 1. My grandchildren are very unappreciative. I always send them a nice card for Easter, and I always enclose a generous cheque. But they never write back, or visit, to thank me. They really are very ill-mannered.

Granny No 2. I do exactly the same with my grandchildren. I send nice cards, a large Easter Egg, a healthy cheque, and some kind words. But as opposed to your experience, mine always come round to see me the very next day.

Granny No 1. Well, you're very fortunate. How do you manage that?

Granny No 2. I don't sign the cheques.

 

Friday, 7 April 2023

Haddock's


I really miss my old Veg' Garden; Haddock's.

It was my 'pride and joy', and it produced huge amounts of vegs for decades. In fact it was amazing how much we ate fresh, put into the freezer, and bottled. There wasn't any time of the year that we were without something or other that came from there.

Haddock's is still home to an Apple tree, a Plum tree, a Cherry tree, a Fig tree, various Peach trees, and loads of Vines and Raspberries. It was a veritable production-line, that still continues.


I don't know how it happened, but suddenly, about 5 years ago, Haddock's began to suffer from diseases; the most virulent attacking my Tomatoes. I did everything I could to treat it, but to no avail.

Eventually I abandoned it, and tried growing things elsewhere around the garden; never very successfully. It was as if nature had ganged-up on me, and my great passion was denied me. 

However, as we're there for three months in Summer, on arrival I shall plant a few Courgette plants, and maybe some Broccoli. Both are fast growers/producers, and I should get a crop from them. Watch this space.

 

Thursday, 6 April 2023

Slightly disappointing.


Since the beginning of January I have restricted my intake of Bacon, Pork Pies, and other general Charcuterie, to almost nothing. OK, very occasionally I have erred.

For breakfast I now eat Muesli, accompanied by a mug of Nescafé and a glass of Beetroot Juice. No more fried Eggs and Bacon, or Haggis, or Black Pudding. I don't miss my meaty breakfasts too much but would happily begin to eat them again.


The aim in this change of diet was to lose a kilo before Easter. I started at 16 Stone, and I wanted to celebrate Easter as a lithe 15 Stone Adonis.

Sadly this does not look to be happening, and when I weighed myself this morning (unless the scales are either joking or broken) I still weigh exactly 16 Stone.

I'm now wondering if my body is naturally designed to be 16 Stone, and is telling me so. I'm 6ft 1inch tall, and not fat; presumably if my morphology wasn't happy, the diet would have kicked-in and I would now be a stone lighter.

I shall continue with the Muesli diet until (at least) the weekend, and look at the situation anew. I have a feeling that Bacon Sandwiches will be back on the menu, and that a slice of Pork Pie for lunch will once again brighten my life!

 

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Lockdown capers.

 

Poor Boris has had to face a bunch of very aggressive wrist-slapping interrogators at an enquiry over his working at No 10 during lockdown. His enemies will not let go.

This prompts the obvious question 'Will Sir Kier and Angela Rayner now face the same inquisition over their (non-work related) partying in Durham, during that same period?'

Whilst Boris was in Downing Street meetings, looking after affairs of state, Sir Keir was partying in Durham; swigging beer in the company of people eating take-away curry from cheap paper plates (see above).  The event, which was held in the office of local MP Mary Foy, was filmed by two students from the town.

On the surface one would have to say that Sir Keir's infringement of lockdown rules was far more serious than Boris's. But of course one has to remember that Sir Keir had previously been Director of Public Prosecutions, and the two MP's for Durham are both female Labour Party members; making Starmer almost immune. 

Personally I'd also like to know how he and Rayner travelled up to Durham. Was it by public transport? Were they both alone in private cars? Was their presence there essential?

Of course this will never happen. What's good for a Tory Goose, certainly ain't good for a Labour one.

Both Starmer and Rayner acted wrongly and stupidly and should face the same type of enquiry. Otherwise it makes a transparently biased mockery of the whole process.

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

Flint


Building with Flint is common in several areas of the UK. It's a very attractive material, and extremely hard-wearing.

Our church is built entirely of Flint, with the addition of stone openings, corner stones, etc.

The style of building with Flint varies according to taste, and possibly cost. Some styles are certainly more attractive than others.


For a high-status building such as this, and probably with cost not a problem (ahem), they have chosen 'Knapped Flint', which takes longer to work, and looks wonderful.

The builders take Potato sized Flints stones, whack them in the middle to create two halved flat surfaces, and build with the flat surfaces pointing outwards.  Hidden from view is the rounded sides of the Flints. They are pieced together like a veritable Jig-Saw puzzle.


Any fool can build with whole, and randomly sized, Flints; but to build like the above takes a real craftsman. 

Every time I walk past I admire their work. It's beautiful.

 

Monday, 3 April 2023

I'm extremely depressed.


After just having posted some pictures of the flowers in 'The Peace Garden', this morning I found this.


Some idiot has taken an axe to this tree. Pure vandalism.

There really are some complete fu*king idiots around. There is no excuse for this type of hooliganism. These people need to be caught and taught a bloody good lesson!


What probably worries me most of all is that some nut-case is wandering around town with an AXE.

A Walk in the Park.


On my way to the park, I walk along this 'twitten' behind our garages. One of my neighbours has planted-up loads of plastic pots along the low brick wall, which flower throughout the year. What a nice man. As yet they remain un-vandalised.


In the 'Peace Garden' itself, there has been a sudden flurry of Tulips.


Lots of Grape Hyacinths


And other flowers that I can't name.


Amongst all that are plenty of Euphorbias, which I love.


All very spring-like.



 

Sunday, 2 April 2023

Palm Sunday.


I can't tell you what 'Palm Sunday' is all about, but I can show a photo of the small procession through the churchyard this morning.

The man in the habit is Brother Sam from The Society of St Francis (a monk), followed by Father Dominic our church priest, followed by a couple of Donkeys and singing parishioners.

Quite fun.


 

Sacrilege.


I never thought I'd see the day when a Hot X Bun had anything inside other than dried fruit; but that day has arrived.

Someone recommended to me recently that I try M&S's CHEESE flavoured buns. My first impression was a very firm 'NO'. Cheese in a Hot X Bun; surely not!


However, I'm not one to refuse a challenge, so I bought some. I looked all over the pack to see if these (like ordinary buns) should be halved and toasted, but it didn't say. I presumed they should.

The only thing is; when is one supposed to eat them? With afternoon Tea, like an ordinary Hot X Bun? Or for breakfast maybe? I suppose we must experiment.


Mine was eaten as a light lunch, filled with a couple of rashers of bacon, as recommended by my friend.

Very nice. Yes, not bad at all.

 

Boys and their dogs


All boys should have a dog. It probably teaches them more about life than any parent or mentor.

It teaches how to care, how to love, and how to help in times of crisis. It also, sadly, teaches them how to grieve when the inevitable happens.

This, below, is my grandson Finn in Oz with one of his two dogs 'Missy'. I would rather see a photo of him like this than one with his nose pressed against a Latin primer.


A boy who has a dog has enforced exercise. He is more likely to be 'sporty' than one whose only exercise is twiddling thumbs on a mobile phone. He is also more inclined to be aware of the world around him, and his fellow man. And most importantly he will be conscious of the fact that another living, breathing, sentient, creature relies on him for just about everything.

Of course not everyone can house a dog, but most can. Don't believe all the hype about them costing a fortune to feed, etc; they don't.

Let the boy choose his own dog (hopefully a rescue dog), and make sure he knows what his responsibilities will be. He will be a better, and more rounded person as a result. 

I'm not sure if all this applies to young girls, but possibly so. Generally girls are instinctively more nurturing anyway. 

Having been one, I can only speak for boys.

 

Saturday, 1 April 2023

Pasta with Garlic & Broccoli.


Lady Magnon recently made this for me when, sadly, I really wasn't feeling too well, and had lost both my appetite and sense of taste. So, now, a week or so later, I decided to re-make it for her instead.

It's such a simple recipe, but for pasta/garlic/broccoli lovers, it's a MUST.


Ingredients: Pasta (Fusilli or Spag), half a head of Broccoli in florets, 3 fat cloves of garlic (crushed), about two/three rashers of bacon thinly sliced and fried in plenty of olive oil, grated cheese (cheddar).

Method: Cook pasta as usual, but adding the Broccoli florets half way through cooking time. When cooked, drain the pasta and add the fried bacon bits, the crushed garlic, and the grated cheese. Toss well and add some of the pasta water if too dry. Serve with added Parmesan (if desired).


I have now also made it with Spaghetti (above), and it is equally good. Sadly I can't find a make of Spaghetti that I like as much as the lovely Panzani No 12 that I buy in France, so next September I will return with a very good supply, and this recipe will then always be made with my favourite Spag, and will be even better!

N.B. Don't breathe too close to strangers for a while after eating!!!

 

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