Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Bonnie Tyler - Lost in France 1977


I'm on the road, and hoping NOT to get lost. I'll catch-up with you later.


Monday, 29 May 2023

My local.


This is the bar at my local; The Caxton. You can just see the landlord on the left, fiddling with something.

A good local is very important in the UK. It's usually the hub of any community. Very different to a bar in France.

The posters hanging like bunting above the bar are advertising shows in the tiny downstairs events room. It probably holds a maximum of 50. The events are part of the Brighton Festival Fringe, and are mostly outrageously rude comedy shows; not really my cup of tea. 


The beer is good, the clientele interesting, it's dog friendly, and the whole ambiance very welcoming. It's a small pub, and does excellent Sunday Lunches. It's really nothing special, but we've been clients for about 40 years (on and off), so it's to be treasured.

Before going off on our travels we popped in for a couple of pints; sadly it'll be cold fizzy lager for a while, so it was good to have some real beer before being deprived.

There are so many pubs in my immediate area, but none of the others has the appeal of The Caxton. When I return to Blighty in September, the first place I visit will be here!

 

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Relaxing.

 

We are really looking forward to this.

A couple of comfy chairs underneath the Quince tree, a good book and a glass of something cold, and we'll be very happy. Away from the hussle-bussle of city life for a short while.

Billy will rediscover his old haunts and friends, and we'll be working outdoors on all those essential bucolic tasks that we've missed so much over Winter. 

I shall be out in the woods looking for mushrooms, and both the mower and chainsaw will be working overtime. I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to visiting my favourite French supermarket again (Leclerc), and reacquainting myself with all those gourmet delights that are unavailable over here. I'm sure when family visit at some stage over Summer, we'll also visit a few favourite restaurants as well.

Hard work can be very 'relaxing', and 'relaxing' can be very hard work.

Saturday, 27 May 2023

What could be more perfect?


Take a sunny spring morning in Sussex, add a lovely ancient flint-built church, sit for a while on a bench under a huge spreading Elm tree, and listen to the bell ringers as they practice their rounds.

Birds are singing, there are the remnants of spring flowers, and people are out tending to their patios and window boxes. A few acquaintances say a cheery 'good morning' as they pass by. 

The beach is just a 10 minute leisurely walk away, M & S food hall is just 5 minutes away (very important), and the peace and quiet of the fabulous South Downs is a 15 minute drive inland.

On a different subject, my car has just been to the garage for a service and MOT. I'm pleased to say that everything was perfect, other than one small bulb that needed replacing. This was the first time I'd had to go through the procedure for decades. Hooray.

We're leaving for France next week. I hope the weather's as good there as it is here.


Friday, 26 May 2023

Climate activists turn Rome's Trevi Fountain black


I am posting this simply to show that childish behaviour is not restricted to English speaking countries.

Completed around 1760, Rome's Trevi Fountain is one of the world's finest, and most visited, monuments, and has remained unsullied until this bunch of 'lovies' turned-up recently. I was very pleased to see that the Italian police did what they should, and dragged these silly children away. UK police; please note how it's done!!!

I later read that 300,000 litres of blackened water had to be drained from the fountain. I hope that makes them happy. If I had my way I would have made them all clean every inch inside the fountain, and then charged them for the water to refill it.


Thursday, 25 May 2023

Haddock's of old.

 

I used to grow just about everything imaginable at Haddock's.

As well as all the usual vegetables there were vines, artichokes (both globe and Jerusalem), strawberries, figs, tayberries, blackcurrants, plums, apples, and cherries.

Then, about 5 years ago, something happened, and my crops started dying for no apparent reason. I tried treating the plants, but the problem seemed to be more deep-seated.


My next door neighbour (to the right of the photo) had invited all his builder friends to dump their waste products on his land so that he could eventually build a car parking area on more level land. I used to be horrified seeing large seeping canisters and strange packages, in amongst the hard-core, being dumped from the back of lorries. This happened on a regular basis for about two years. It wasn't long afterwards that Haddock's began having problems.

Of course I cannot be sure that this rubbish tipping had any bearing on my problems, but somehow I would be surprised if it hadn't. His land is about 4ft higher than the level of my garden, and if any poisonous products were to seep-out, there was only one way to go. One of his own Oak trees was the first to die.

So, I had to abandon Haddock's, and now just mow the long grass to keep it looking reasonable tidy. I shall attempt to grow some Courgettes and Broccoli there this Summer, but it remains to be seen what happens.

The fruit trees, that have much deeper roots, are mostly unaffected; although two have died.

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Man in Spider-Man mask scales BBC HQ to attack controversial statue


The title to this piece is wrong. It's not the 'statue' that is controversial, it was the sculptor; Eric Gill.

My first sculpture tutor, Hilary Stratton, worked for Gill, but never talked about his boss's bizarre nature.

It is well known that Gill had unusual relationships with his two daughters, his sisters, and even his dog, but his work should stand apart. It does nobody any good to attack possibly his best known work at the BBC headquarters. What did the attacker hope to achieve; other than either a prison sentence or a hefty fine?


Ever since the removal of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, certain people seem to think that all statues are 'fair game'; even if their reasoning is not altogether clear.

The Pen has always been mightier than the Sword, so maybe these folk would do better to write articles, or create documentaries, rather than taking the easy way out, and destroy monuments.

If a statue really is seriously offensive, then the local authority should have it removed to a warehouse or cellar where it would no longer be 'admired'. Otherwise just ignore it.

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

The Summery South.


Sunday and yesterday were the first days of the year when several bare-chested people (the blokes) appeared sunning themselves in the Rest Garden. Shorts were de rigeur for the men, and the girls had dusted down their Summer frocks and straw hats, and were looking wonderful. All this and it was only 17 C.


Brighton really comes alive when the sun shines. The amount of different languages one hears in the street is extraordinary, out come the most extremely eccentric outfits, and people seem even friendlier than usual. There is a different atmosphere in the air. 
 

Everything is in flower. This tree (above), also in the Rest Garden, is totally covered in flowers. I have no idea what it is but it's fabulous. I did also notice a wonderful pink flowering Horse Chestnut.

Just after I took the above photo, the entire garden was mowed. It now looks pristine again.


Back at home it's the Roses that are stealing the show. All our bushes are now in flower, this one (above) I (unwisely) photographed through our front bay window. It's much more dramatic than it looks in the photo.

Monday, 22 May 2023

South West Annual Scythe Festival - June 2010


I'm showing this video because it reminds me of a wonderful experience.

Prior to buying our first farmhouse in France, we viewed about 2 or 3 others. One came with an enormous labyrinth of caves, where the stone had been extracted to build the nearby Chateau, another was an actual Chateau where we had miscalculated the price (I think we had a decimal point in the wrong place), and the third was a beautiful hilltop farm with several hectares of vines.  

It was this last one of which I was thinking when I saw this video (below). The farm consisted of a large stone farmhouse with two rows of barns and other outbuildings coming out at right-angles at each end of the house forming a U shape, with a large central grassed courtyard. As we arrived to view the house we were met by an elderly gentleman who was 'mowing' the lawn with a Scythe. He worked very slowly, and re-sharpened his Scythe every few minutes. The lawn was like the putting green on a Golf course; it was perfection. I had never seen such skill. 


The house itself was beautiful, but I didn't feel competent enough to deal with the whole business of wine making; I knew nothing of the process. It would have been a disaster to see the vineyard go to pot at the hands of a young English family. We moved on to the farm next viewing, and I bought it without hardly having stepped out of the car. 

I have a Scythe which I sharpen on occasions. I do manage to cut long grass, but by 'slashing' rather than anything more refined. I would love to do it properly.

Sunday, 21 May 2023

Dinosaurs


Between 230 and 66 million years ago (roughly), Dinosaurs ruled the earth. We know this thanks to the discovery of fossils in places such as Lyme Regis.

Some of these creatures were quite small, others were the size of two London busses.

Why they died-out about 66 million years ago is subject to pick-n-mix conjecture, but they did, and other creatures came to the fore; eventually including us humans who appeared between 8 and 4 million years ago.


Life on earth is cyclical. Ice ages come and go, Dinosaurs came and went, and whatever the future holds will also come and go.

The only thing we know for sure is that a handful of dungaree wearing, middle class lovies making a bloody nuisance of themselves by blocking London's roads, gluing themselves to motorways, or suspending themselves under Aussie bridges, will not halt the natural cycle of things. We humans will eventually disappear too; just like those Dinosaurs!

In this house we haven't used our Central Heating since mid-February, so please don't glue yourselves to roads, or suspend yourselves from bridges, in my name. I do my bit; probably more so than most 'lovies'. However, my tiny effort won't halt the earth's natural cycle, it may slow its development by a few fractions of a milli-second, but otherwise these 'virtue signallers' are probably adding more to the problem with all their travelling, and whatever measures are needed to cope with the inconvenience they cause.

Yes, Dinosaurs do still exist, only these days they go by the names of Chardonnay, Persephone, or Firenze, and they shop at Harrods for their frightfully, frightfully expensive tubes of Superglue. 

Saturday, 20 May 2023

The Folly of Youth.


This is the view I face every morning when I consume my solitary breakfast. This takes place usually just after 5 am. 

It is there to remind me of my youthful folly, rushing off to France to live a life of primitive hedonism. The painting's title of 'Man with his head in the clouds and his feet amongst Lizards' says it all.

My thinking was to buy a nice big old stone farmhouse with plenty of land, where my children (and me) could grow-up in as natural an environment as possible (on a reasonable budget), in a pleasant climate, and where gastronomy was all important.


All of that did in fact happen, and my 3 children all had idyllic childhoods. They also learned a second language, which is never a bad thing.

My business ambitions sadly did not go as planned, but that was mostly the fault of my clients rather than me; but I expect everyone says that. I had of course made allowances, so it didn't prove a problem.

In 1973 we had not anticipated the Common Market, and certainly not the EU, but in fact they made life much simpler for us. 

In 2020 we didn't anticipate the implications of Brexit, which brought our self-indulgent lifestyles to an end, meaning that we now only spend three months of the year at what has been our home for 50 years, and the other nine months back in the UK. Luckily we had made provision for such an eventuality.

I look at that painting every morning and wonder if I made the right decision. Would it have been wiser to have spent my entire life in England? Should I have gone further afield and settled in Canada or Australia or The Caribbean?

In fact, I've loved having my head in the clouds, and I love having Lizards scampering amongst my toes. The only thing I might have done differently would have been to buy a much bigger and more ancient house, away from others. The only thing I can honestly complain about is that over the past few years some newcomers have totally changed the atmosphere of our tiny hamlet. But I suppose I should have foreseen that as well.

 

Friday, 19 May 2023

Green Eggs.


The picture on the Egg Box shows the real colour of these eggs; looking very similar to the colour of our tablecloth. Why the egg itself looks less green; I have no idea.

These, as no doubt you can see, are Longstock Gold eggs (from Waitrose). Lady M had no intention of buying fancy expensive sage green eggs, but she was desperate and they were all they had. I think she was making her Quiche!


I must say, these eggs had the deepest yellow coloured yolks that I've ever seen. In fact, they were the most all round colourful eggs I've ever encountered.

I don't know if I'd recommend them, as they probably cost a fortune (she didn't say), but if you're feeling in the mood for luxury eggs, then these should fit the bill.

You get quite a shock when you open the box!

 

Thursday, 18 May 2023

Eat your Greens.


I suspect that I may be one of very few who get excited at the arrival of 'Spring Greens' in the shops.

It's usually the first properly outdoor grown veg' of the year, and it has that real taste of Spring about it. I spotted a large 500g pack at M & S recently for the silly price of 65p.


I eat it by itself as a lunchtime treat; almost like a salad. I strip the leaves from most of the stems, and steam for about 10 mins, then let it cool until required. I eat it as my own version of the Greek 'Horta', very simply dressed with Lemon juice and good unrefined Olive oil.

Horta is usually a mixture of wild and cultivated greens, but I only had a few Spinach leaves and some Rocket to add to my mix. I can't imagine this being to everyone's taste, but I love it. You can almost feel it doing you good!

Here it is (below) accompanied by a piece of Cheddar and a solitary Gherkin. Lovely.


 

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Fred.


I've lived with cats for most of my life. Freddie was the last of my cats; he died back in 2018.

Personally I think that cats are more therapeutic than dogs. A friendly cat purring on your lap whilst you stroke him/her, is about as calming as it gets.


Fred was never the type of cat to jump on your lap asking for cuddles; he was much more aloof and independent. However, I would often find him curled-up under my chin whilst in bed, so he must have had some affection for me other than just for warmth.

He was a beautiful looking cat, more like his picture on my side-bar than in the picture above.

Fred lived to be 14 years old, and died peacefully at home. I knew he wasn't well one night before I went to bed, so I sat with him for about 30 mins to say 'goodbye'. When I went to see him in the morning he was lying in the exact same position, but was as stiff as a board. I buried him at Haddock's along-side his friend Monty.  

In good ancient Egyptian style, I buried him with some of his favourite possessions, some food, and a wind-up clockwork mouse.

I still miss him.

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Croatia Eurovision 2023


Those who live outside the Eurovision zone may not have heard of our strange annual Song Contest. A maximum of 44 countries take part each year, with around 55 countries having taken part at least once.

The Eurovision Song Contest is possibly the world's most bizarre showcase for all that is bad, ridiculous, and unworthy in contemporary music.

I wasn't going to mention this year's farce (held last weekend), as it looked to be the worst ever. I lasted for just 4 songs (performances), by which time I'd had enough, and went to bed! It was abysmal. 


The competition is more about costumes, flashing lights, and outrageous choreography, that actual music. Music is the one thing the competitors seem to forget; or ignore.

The above is a good example (it also happens to have been my most/least favourite of 2023). It is a perfect example of the standard of singing/songs. 

The UK's dreadful entry finished next to last, as expected. 

Sweden won, so Lady M (who watched more of it than I did) was happy.

Monday, 15 May 2023

Butter


I'd never really thought too much about the quality of butter. I always buy 'proper' butter, not stuff out of plastic tubs that claim that you wouldn't know the difference between goo and a pukka Cow product.

When I was small our butter came from New Zealand, it always had a Fernleaf on the pack, and was the standard of butter by which I have since always compared all other products. I haven't seen those packs for years.

These days I simply grab a few packs of Sainsbury's unsalted butter as I pass the aisle.

However, my oldest, Kimbo, is not so nonchalant. In true Kimbo fashion, he always looks for a better product; in fact he demands a better butter.


He was very keen that I try his latest discovery; Guernsey Butter, made from the milk of Guernsey Cows. Personally I'm no butter connoisseur, but I do like butter; and plenty of it. I never skimp, so I was very keen to broach this new pack.

The first thing I noticed was the colour, this is really yellow. I should say here that some of the best butter in France (from Isigny, in Normandy) is very pale; almost white.

Before tasting, I did as all gourmets do, and had a sniff; it had the vaguest whiff of vanilla. Otherwise it didn't really have any pronounced odour.



Taste-wise, it is very pleasant. It's not easy describing the taste of butter, but this is very buttery. A taste that had you been brought-up on a West County farm, you would probably recognise at once. I remember churning milk to make butter on my Uncle's farm in Wales when I was very young, I like to think that the butter I made tasted like this. 

Verdict. Excellent. 10/10. Kimbo is off to Venice.

 

Sunday, 14 May 2023

Greenery


Forget the heat of Summer and the cold of Winter, there are no better seasons than Spring and Autumn.

All around us there is new life, whether it be birds nesting in the trees, or Fox cubs playing in the long grass. 


The Daffs and Tulips are now over and we have Lilac and Bluebells instead. Most trees are greening-up, and temperatures are rising by the day. At lunchtimes, office workers lie on the grass to eat their McLunches.

I have now planted my six Cavolo Nero plants, and my two Tomato plants (Tumbler); and I've noticed that my vine (Black Hamburg) has lots of flower. My fingers are crossed for a bumper harvest this Autumn!!


Weather-wise, we continue to be threatened with heavy rain, but all we get is sunshine and warnings of hosepipe bans.

In front of the house we have two Apple trees. One (below) is covered with flowers, the other has nothing. I think our gardener was a tad over-enthusiastic with his pruning last September.


 

Saturday, 13 May 2023

Would you stay in an all black hotel room? Interior Design Masters - BBC


I don't watch interior design shows on TV, although I have to admit to having occasionally watched (with horror) as Llewelyn-Bowen ruined peoples interiors in 'Changing Rooms' back in the late 90's. Almost as embarrassing as Alan Titchmarsh's 'surprise' make-over of Nelson Mandela's garden in S Africa.

The current TV show of a similar ilk is 'Interior Design Matters' with Alan Carr and one of my close neighbours, the lovely Michelle Ogundelin, who is a Judge on the show (and has more Sparrows in her garden than anyone I know). I have never actually watched her show!

Michelle comes in at around 2.20 mins.



TV is pretty dire at the moment. There are far too many shows about how to buy things, do them up, and flog them (hopefully) for a profit.

This involves everything from homes bought at auction, trinkets bought at Boot Sales, junk bought from farmyard barns, and even old cars imported from the US (where apparently they have less rust). 

We are living through an age of 'reality TV'. We have sewing competitions, jewellery making competitions, cooking competitions, drag-queen-make-up competitions, survival competitions, interior design competitions, singing competitions, and even 'dating' competitions. Sadly no-one has yet taken-up my idea of a 'Celebrity Bomb Disposal' competition. 

p.s. I rather liked the all black hotel room, although I would have preferred to see an open fire, ready laid with dark polished logs!

Friday, 12 May 2023

5,000 Glorious Postings.



                                                              Buckers.

My dear old Cro.

I was delighted to see that you have reached your 5,000th blog posting today. As you know I read it every morning at breakfast. Well done you old devil.

I'm sorry that Mummy isn't here to witness this great occasion; she always said how much she enjoyed reading your daily ramblings. She would often quote passages at me as we tucked into our 'Royal Appointment Breakfast Cereal'; btw, I found a plastic smurf this morning.

It's been pretty hectic here recently, what with my crowning, coping with Harry's visit, et al. It was good to see you at The Abbey, if only briefly. Why didn't you come to the shin-dig afterwards? Did you have a prior engagement?

You really must come up to Buckers some time soon, and meet the new 'Queen'. She loves her new title, and tells the dogs to curtsey when she gives them their treats every morning. They're still getting used to the idea.

Life hasn't changed too much since they placed that frightfully heavy crown on my head. I did notice a few Moaning Minnies hanging around the road-sides with placards, but I expect they'll soon forget what they were moaning about; providing they knew in the first place. Ha ha.

On a more serious note, how would you like some sort of gong for all your blogging efforts? I could do you a Knighthood, or would you prefer to be a Lord or something? Do think about it, and let me know.

Well old chap. Again I send you our congratulations (The Queen has just shouted to include her in my best wishes). We must catch-up very soon. Come and look at my crown; you'd like it. I might even let you try it on.

All the best to both you and Lady M (The Queen says to include Billy).

Your good friend King Charlie xx.

 

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Archibald Ormsby-Gore.


When John Betjeman went up to Magdalen College Oxford, he took with him his bear; Archibald Ormsby-Gore. A pleasant enough, well worn, bear, but with a name that was never given an explanation.

Ormsby-Gore is the family name of Lord Harlech, who's home 'Woodhill' was just down the road from my people's Welsh hilltop cottage. Lord H himself was a very straight-laced diplomat, unlike his children who were an interesting bunch of wealthy hippies. Whilst we temporarily lived at the cottage before finalising the purchase of our own nearby home, we would often encounter his daughter Alice, as she rode past wearing long flowing robes, etc; as one did in those days. She was not a 'friend', just someone we would say 'hi' to occasionally.

Alice became the girlfriend of Eric Clapton, who, allegedly, introduced her to the heroin which later killed her.


So why Betjeman's bear should have borne their family name I have no idea. He doesn't seem to have been related to them, or even knew them. 

Perhaps he simply found the name appealing.

Betjeman was thrown out of Oxford, but his bear remained faithful; and, it is said, he was holding on to Archibald O-G when he died in 1984.

p.s. A O-G was also the inspiration for Waugh's Brideshead bear 'Aloysius'. 

 

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Dr Stephen Francis Lester Lowe M.B. CH.B. M.R.C.P. (uk). F.R.C.P. (c). etc, etc.


I think of my dear cousin every day of the year (the photo below lives in a prominent position in my sitting room), but especially on this day May 10th; the day on which he was murdered, in 1977.



My cousin Stephen was not just a 'doctor'; he was an exceptional one. His diagnostic abilities for 'internal medicine' were second to none. 

As a young 'houseman' at Liverpool's Royal University Hospital, he was head-hunted by the Australian Health Service as a 'Flying Doctor'. His possession of a pilot's licence made him highly sought-after.

Regardless, he decided to go to Canada, and it was there where his life sadly came to a sudden end at the hands of some young scumbag next-door neighbour who was looking for drugs (I believe). 

He'd been an advisor to the Canadian Government, as well as having his services often sought by the Canadian Mounties. He was a lovely man, and had been a huge asset to society.

He died aged 35, leaving a wife and three young daughters; one of whom witnessed his murder.

He should have had at least another 30 years to offer to the world of medicine. What a terrible waste of a precious life.

RIP Stephen. It pains me, knowing that he's no longer here. xx


Tuesday, 9 May 2023

The Dog Show.


It was the Church Dog Show yesterday. Luckily the weather was fine, and no dogs started fighting. Billy knew most of the other dogs present. 


This was the view up to the church, in fact we approach from the other side.


The youthful brass band played as all the dogs assembled outside the ring.


These are some of Billy's pals, the big chap in the foreground, Bruno, won first prize in the 'Best Senior' category. He's a very big St Bernard-ish dog; lovely boy. On the left is Billy's friend 'Haggis'.


And here is Billy in the ring, in the 'Silly Round' (tricks etc). He performed his 'Roly Poly' perfectly, but the judges obviously couldn't see his genius. He didn't win a prize.


It was all good fun, very amateurish, and we met lots of our friends, some who we hadn't seen for about 40 years. It was like a pukka village fĂȘte of old. 

Billy really enjoyed seeing all his friends, and wasn't in the slightest bit upset at not having been amongst the winners. 

We left before the dog blessing; all too much like 'Travels with my Aunt' for our liking.

Next year, eh Billy!

 

Monday, 8 May 2023

'Mate'



Someone called me 'Mate' recently, and I must say, it rather took me by surprise It's probably because I've lived away for so long, that I don't remember anyone addressing me thus previously.

I think his expression was "Or white mate?" (Are you all right mate). I mumbled some reply that I was in fine fettle, thank you so much.

Over the pond people refer to each other as either 'Bro' or 'Dude' or 'Man'. These  alternative names for 'mate' are used incessantly and are all as equally unpleasant as each other.

Are these titles really necessary? The man who addressed me as his 'Mate' could easily have asked "Or white" (Are you all right?) without the addition of the 'Mate'. Just the two words (as unnecessary as they were anyway) would have sufficed.

Personally I greet people with a simple "Good morning" or "Good afternoon" or even a more intimate "Hello, how are you?". I find no good reason to add any further wording. I cannot imagine myself going to the Doctor's (for example) and asking "How are you Mate?". It wouldn't seem right.

As a schoolboy I addressed my teachers as 'Sir', and they in return addressed me as 'Sir'. This always seemed correct, but I wonder if that still happens these days? Would they now call each other 'Mate'?

Oh, hang on; I see that the Postman has just left me some mail. I'll open the window and shout down to thank him...."Y'or white; cheers Mate".

Postie "Yer, or white; see ya".

There's nothing to beat good conversation.

Sunday, 7 May 2023

The Coronation.


What a wonderful day it was. 

Typical. They took my photo just as I happened to be looking up at the photographer.

Still, it gives an idea of where I was sitting, with H behind me to my left, and Kate in front to my right. I couldn't have asked for a better seat.


Personally I found the service a tad long, but the music and pageantry were fantastic. I didn't wear my ermine as I thought it would have been too warm.

What were my favourite bits? Well, the page boys all behaved impeccably, and the invitees all followed their instructions to the letter. Bryn Terfel and Rod Williams both sang beautifully. There was just one glaringly flat note from someone amongst the choir's sopranos, but that we forgive. 

A grand day out!

 

Meghan Markle blasted by Donald Trump over treatment of Queen Elizabeth ...


Regardless of what you think of either Trump or Farage, I think they both speak a lot of common sense here.


And poor old Harry. He was ignored by almost everyone at The Coronation except for his cousin's husband, who unfortunately was seated next to him.


As for Biden not being here, he was happier with his chum Gerry Adams over in Ireland, than he would have been in more law-abiding society here in England. He wasn't missed.

Saturday, 6 May 2023

Food for the big Day.


With the UK being obsessed with all things culinary, there simply had to be an official dish for King Charles's Coronation; and this was it.

Lady Magnon made her version for the big day. This will be consumed (part of) as a light Lunch whilst we watch the ceremony. We shall celebrate more seriously later on with a Dickensian feast (with guests) for Supper.


The 'Coronation Quiche' (as it is called) is a veggie dish. It's a standard quiche made with Broad Beans, Spinach, Tarragon, and Cheddar cheese.

I don't think Charles had any say in choosing this dish as such, but I have a feeling that he thoroughly approves of its choice. The Quiche was developed by Royal Chef Mark Flanagan who says that cheese and eggs are very much amongst Charles's favourites. Charles isn't a Veggie, but I know he likes Vegetarian food. It's all part of his 'eco' persona.

So, well done Lady M. She's now promising to make another one for next week. Yay!

Did anyone else out there make one?

 

Friday, 5 May 2023

Dame Edna in the royal box


The inimitable Barry Humphries. Greatly missed.


Thursday, 4 May 2023

Lost and then Found.


I'd been looking everywhere. In the teapot, under my laptop, and in Billy's bed; I couldn't find my wretched invitation anywhere.

I knew I'd put it in a safe place, but old-age forgetfulness had deprived me of exactly where.

Eventually I had an idea; perhaps I'd put it in some object with a 'Royal' connection. I checked the 'Corgi Teacup' from the late Queen's Jubilee, my musical Charles and Camilla cake tin, and my old Prince Charles mug with the large protruding ear for a handle. But still no luck!


I gave-up hunting, then whilst making myself a cup of coffee, I suddenly remembered where it was. I  recalled that, rather than putting it in the open for all to see (very non-U), I'd folded it up, and placed it inside my treasured Harry and Thingy commemorative tin Tea Caddy.

I'm not sure if they'll want me to show it in order to get to our Westminster Abbey seats on Saturday, but I'd better take it with me anyway.

Thank goodness I found it. I might have missed the season's big bash!

 

 

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

Local Elections. Who shall we Vote For.

 

Our local elections will be held on May 4th; tomorrow. So who will we vote for?

The only local window-posters I've seen so far have been for The Green Party; which seems more like 'virtue signalling' than political adherence. Our City Council is Green Party run, albeit with a minority administration. I don't know what they do for us other than allow weeds to grow everywhere. They hate cars, and do their best to deter anyone from owning one. We now hear that they wish to imitate London's Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and introduce an 'Ultra Low Emission Zone' (ULEZ) here in central Brighton. This would mean having to pay about £15 a day to use my car. People imagine they are being 'do-gooders' by voting Green; they're not; they're just living in some non-existent fantasy Beatrix Potter world. The Greens have JUST ONE MP at Westminster (unfortunately ours; Ms Lucas); is anyone surprised?

The only political 'flyers' we've received have been from The Green Party.

The Liberal Democrats (Lib-Dems) are something of an enigma. No-one really knows what they stand for, or even why they exist. They are the 'I Don't Know Who To Vote For' party of the UK. They know no-one will vote for them so they can promise the earth, which we all take cum grano salis.

Labour usually spends far too much of other people's money on 'political' policies. But no-one really cares, they simply put our 'rates' up.

So, that just leaves The Conservatives. They like to balance the books whilst maintaining a reasonable standard of service, but this isn't always the case. They're bound to lose lots of seats tomorrow; they always do in mid-term local elections.

I expect there are a few 'loony' party candidates who will be standing for election, but the two serious parties above (Lab and Con) are the main contenders.

I know who I shall be voting for, as they command about 51% of my trust. I reckon that's about as good as it gets. 

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

Restoration.


This is my son's house. He is mid restoration. 

It's a lovely classic Victorian house on four floors with a very pretty terrace garden behind. The road is very centrally situated. The beach is a 10 min leisurely walk away, and the trains to Victoria just 5 mins away. 

It's one of the few roads around where most houses are still lived-in as 'family homes'. It's not too small, making it only fit for a couple (like our house), nor is it too big making it more suitable to be split into flats, as are so many of the bigger houses in the area. It's a four bedroom, four floor house, making it perfect for the average 2.2 children families.


Kimbo has been working on the house for several years, and has installed some truly wonderful features. The new main bathroom is spectacular, and the bespoke fittings he's installed are all top notch.

BUT (and if I had a bigger font, it would be an even bigger BUT), the house has had one enduring problem; a water leak. I cannot tell you how many tradesmen have tried to find, and fix, the leak. He recently had a highly trusted local roofer to do some extensive work. There was scaffolding to reach to the top, and he'd imagined all was now water-tight.

BUT yesterday he told me that there is still some water coming-in from somewhere, and he'll have to have the workers back again, although now there is no longer any scaffolding in place they'll have to scramble through that small window in the roof. Finding the exact spot is a nightmare. 

Water is funny stuff. It'll find its way into your home through the tiniest hidden crack. 

Finding that crack is akin to needles in haystacks.

 

Monday, 1 May 2023

Cars, cars, cars.


My street comprises of four separate groups of either four or five houses, with 17 houses in all.  Some have 'out front' parking, and others (like us) have a single separate garage.

The two groups of houses that have 'out front' parking all have spaces for two cars; one even has three spaces, and all did originally have integral garages that have now been converted into additional rooms.


Three of the houses to the front of ours, other than the nearest one with the white car, have two cars each, and they are literally stuffed into their parking spaces. These are small houses, originally designed for one car plus maybe a space for a visitor or tradesman.

The rest of the access space is very small, and a tradesman's van or delivery van soon blocks any residual space. If anyone wants to leave whilst a builders' vehicle is there, then a whole lengthy procedure has to take place. It may seem quite comical watching from up here, but for those involved it isn't!

Houses No's 1 to 5 all have double parking spaces in front, and as they all have just one car each they often let their free space for a very healthy sum to day visitors. We also have one private 'communal' space that is used on a 'first come first served' basis for friends or visitors.

Basically there are too many cars in our tiny street. Of course I can't really complain because we do need a car ourselves. But at least we only have one. We've had a recent influx of 'newcomers' who all seem to have several cars, and have visitors who all arrive in their own cars. Occasionally it's like one huge car park. 

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