Tuesday 31 October 2023


I don't really do Halloween. We used to do quite spectacularly spooky events in France, but that's when there was still a gaggle of small children living nearby; and they expected it of us.

Here in England we don't bother. I bought a Pumpkin simply because I want to make Pumpkin Soup; but even that I'm not very keen on.

So, I'll ignore all the over-hyped decorations in the shops, I won't be buying Halloween crumpets, and I certainly won't answer the door if I get 'Trick-or-Treaters' tonight. Like everyone else around these parts, I'm rather looking forward to Bonfire Night which is a much more serious event here in Sussex.

My meagre contribution is above. A Spider Pumpkin, and a Spider Plant.

Monday 30 October 2023

Sunday 29 October 2023

Living in Brighton.

Photo by Michael Brittain.

Most English people will know the name 'Brighton'. The town (city) is famous for 'Mods-n-Rockers', dirty weekends, lots of celebs, The Royal Pavilion, kiss-me-quick hats, and the pier.

What they might not know about is the wonderful Regency and Georgian architecture we have here. This (above) is a classic run of Georgian homes that look out over the sea. Luxury living at it's best. Eaton Square but with sea views.

Behind such buildings are the 'mews' properties, where coaches, horses, and grooms lived. When I first moved to Brighton I wrote to several Estate Agents asking for details of any reasonably sized mews houses for sale. None was suitable for a family with three children so I opted for a four story Victorian house instead. Below are the type of mews houses I'd been hoping to buy.

If I was to win the lottery, my dream would be to buy a mews house in London's South Kensington. I've always had a hankering for such a property, but I'm hardly likely now to have the wherewithal.

The greatest problem with Brighton living is PARKING. We're lucky because we have a garage, but most people don't. The one thing I've always liked about mews houses is that they either have a garage or a dedicated parking space. Having the luxury of a regular private parking space extends one's longevity by about 10 years.

N.B. Kimbo's big fat German muscle car is at the body shop. Without a garage he is at the whim of every careless lorry driver or scaffolder. His current scratches, bumps, and dents, are all over his car. It's taking a whole week to fix and re-spray.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Other people's pleasures!


I'm currently reading a book entitled 'Landlines', by Raynor Winn. She and her sick husband Moth (Moth has something called Corticobasal Degeneration...CBD) decide to go 'extreme trekking' in the highlands of Scotland. This is something they did throughout their marriage, and they wished to do it one final time, before the inevitable.

For someone such as myself who dreams of Mediterranean skies, quiet shady bistros, and warm lazy days by the pool, the idea of punishing oneself to the extent of being permanently freezing cold and wet, having seriously blistered feet, and to be (Moth) at death's door whilst scrambling over rocky snow-tipped mountains, and through raging freezing rivers, seems like the worst type of punishment I could imagine. But this book is proof that there are people out there for whom such extreme suffering is their idea of pleasure. I would call it masochism.

In my own family my Mother loved sunshine and beaches on the Med', whilst Father preferred mountains, glaciers, and long exhausting walks. My sister and I sided with our Mother.

The book itself is 'a good read', and beautifully written, but I can't get past the blistered feet, the permanently wet clothing, and the wind and rain that freeze you to the bone. 

Anyway, it hasn't stopped me reading about it.

I've just noticed on the cover that the book is another Sunday Times No 1 Bestseller. I seem to be making a habit of reading such things; but not on purpose.

Friday 27 October 2023

The Font.

This is the font in our nearby church. I'm afraid the church was very dark when I took the photos yesterday, but you'll get the idea.

The font is French, and was probably plundered after some skirmish or other. It comes from the Norman period, and is thought to have been carved in 1170. It is made of Caen Stone. One scene represents the life of St Nicholas; to whom the church is dedicated.

Amongst the other scenes, is this, above; The Last Supper, complete with bowls and food.

This one, above, I think is the Baptism of Christ.

And this final one features a boat with a 'fisherman' holding some large round egg-shaped object in the air. I have no idea what's going on here. (an Easter Egg hunt in St Malo perhaps?)

Originally the font was placed in the middle of the church where people would sit and lean back on it. It suffered some damage so it was moved to a more dedicated spot by the bell tower, where sitting on it is discouraged.

It's a beautiful font, and I believe is the oldest object in the church.


Thursday 26 October 2023

Breakfast around Europe

Having just consumed a Bacon Sandwich, here are three more styles of breakfast.

Top: English.
Middle: French.
Bottom: Slovakian.

I very occasionally partake of PARTS OF the English one, quite often the French one, but never the Slovakian one.


Wednesday 25 October 2023

Learning by Heart.

I imagine we all had to learn some poetry by heart at some stage of our early schooldays. It was demanded of us more as 'educational discipline' than for the love of poetry itself.

The first poem that I remember learning was Thomas Hood's 'I remember, I remember'.

As a smallish boy, I rather liked the poem, and managed to remember it quite easily, although I think I only managed to learn three verses (as below). I ignored the final verse.

The other one I remember learning was Lewis Carroll's 'Some Hallucinations', but again I don't think I learned all of it.

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The vi'lets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,—
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I think I could still just about recite it today.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Only Fools and Horses | BBC Comedy...

In its day, this was one of the funniest sketches around. It still makes me laugh.

Wait for it.....

Monday 23 October 2023

Those I would like to thank.


Usually when I sit down to write my daily blog, I have a pretty good idea of what I will write about, but just sometimes I sit and ponder about 'life' in general.  

So, I'm now sitting here in front of my laptop thinking of the few really good things that have happened to me throughout my life. Of course there have been lots of less important things, but the really good ones are quite rare; these are some of the people and events that have made my life special.

I recently read a biography of Agatha Christie, and at one point she writes to her editor, Philip Ziegler, concerning her own autobiography "I've been rather enjoying jotting down silly little things that happened". So, here I go too.

Firstly I would like to thank my late parents. They offered me so much, and I like to think that they knew I appreciated it, and took full advantage. My life has probably taken a slightly different path to what they expected of me, but I have always continued to maintain their standards, which I know was very important to them.

Many of my teachers from an early age are worthy of thanks (as I suspect are most people's), but I would specifically like to thank the classics teacher at my Prep' School; who was also happened to be the headmaster. He made Latin really interesting, and I amazed everyone (including myself) by becoming the classics scholar of my intake year at my upper school (I scored 90% in my Common Entrance Latin paper). I suppose this was the first time in my life that I felt I'd really achieved something; so thank you Mr F.

At my upper school I would like to thank my Art Master, the wonderfully eccentric Norman Wadey, who really took me under his wing; and I ended-up winning the senior school art prize.

And at college I would like to thank whoever it was who awarded me my 'First'. It was one of very few times in my life when I felt really 'flattered'. Since those college days I also have to thank Lady Magnon for putting-up with me for so long.

It does sound as if I'm banging my own drum more than should be allowed, but no-one else will, and, anyway, it's simply the way I feel. Lives are peppered with ups and downs, and I just want to acknowledge those who provided me with the few ups; and why. I quite expect many others feel the same.

There have been many people who made my life in France more enjoyable through their friendship. Three New Zealanders in particular, and my two immediate farming neighbours. What would we have done without them; they were/are like family!

I would also like to thank a few old school chums, and all our friends in Brighton. They know who they are!

On a lighter note I would like to thank Mr Walker of Melton Mowbray for his wonderful Pork Pies (as sold at Waitrose). It is amazing how something as simple as a Pork Pie can make one's life so much 'happier'.

Most of all, however, I want to say thank you to my three children simply for being who they are. I have been blessed with three free-thinking and intelligent children who have all done well in life, and made our lives so exciting. My oldest son especially (who lives the closest to us) has been a huge help in recent times, and deserves a medal. The other two live 6,000 and 12,000 miles away.

This list would not be complete without mentioning all my friends in Blogland. I know I ramble on, and occasionally get things wrong. I'm very grateful that many keep coming back for more, so thank you all.

Sunday 22 October 2023

Gōchin - Japanese Submarine Song

I want you all to sing along with this catchy tune, and try to learn all the words.

It's cheerful music to accompany the firing of torpedoes. I shall be testing you later.

Sunday Lunch (or Supper)

We always eat at table, for breakfast, lunch, and supper. We also insist on a pukka roast on Sundays; preferably with family. These usually involve a Leg of Lamb, a Chicken, or (once a year) a Turkey.

Other than eating something (hopefully) pleasant, it is also a time to discuss family matters, world events, or even personal problems. We get to know each other's preferences and dislikes.

After that first of bottle of Rouge tongues are loosened, and those present speak more openly. It's a great moment to solve the world's, and our own, problems. We have not yet come to blows!

I really do believe that families that eat at table together are fulfilling an important role; especially if there are children in the household. The modern trend to buy a takeaway, and eat it from your knees (whilst watching Eastenders) must be partly responsible for a general decline in good manners and behaviour. 

Tomorrow (today) we have been invited to Kimbo's for Sunday Lunch. We're promised roast Shoulder of Lamb, and lots of Champagne. I can hardly wait.


Saturday 21 October 2023

That Chair.

We all know the painting, but Van Gogh's actual chair will also be familiar to anyone who has lived in, or stayed in, France for any length of time. It is of a style as familiar here as the 'Wheelback' is in the UK.

These chairs were made throughout France by itinerant workers. Whereas the travelling community in England sold clothes pegs and white heather, here in France they made chairs. However, they were never as chunky as VG painted his.

The 'Gypsies' would turn-up at a house, ask if they needed any chairs, then if the answer was 'yes' they would go to the woods and chop down a few coppiced trees. Usually they were made from Chestnut wood. If there were reeds handy, the chair would have rush seating, as with Van Gogh's chair. If not they would have a seat woven from thin strips of Chestnut (as below). 

We had a few of these old chairs hanging around in outbuildings, etc; most of which needed re-seating. The roughly hewn pieces of wood still show signs of being entirely hand made.

We took them to a riverside spot where we knew there was a 'Gypsy' encampment, and they did what we wanted for a very reasonable price. That was probably 40 years ago, and they're still serviceable.

I don't suppose many people care for these old chairs any more. They are rustic, poorly made, and old fashioned. An Ikea chair would be much more acceptable these days. However, the one above lives in my bedroom, and is still in constant use. 

I suppose it would have been nicer with a rush seat, like Vincent's.

Friday 20 October 2023


I don't know what ailments I envisaged for myself as I became older, but they certainly weren't legs/feet related.

Up until about two years ago I had no legs/feet problems at all. Now my walking range is limited to about one mile.

I have a bad back that sends shooting pains down my legs, I have slightly arthritic hips, and a circulation problem that makes my feet tingly and almost unresponsive after a short while. Usually after that mile of walking I sometimes struggle to move.

I have been self-medicating with Olive Oil, Green Tea, and Chocolate, but to no avail. I think I may have to revert to proper medicine (if there is one).

Mobility is fundamental to existence; I equate it to sight and hearing. Lose any one of these three, and life would become extremely tiresome.

Luckily I can drive, so I'm not totally limited to a small area, but I can no longer go for long walks along the seafront or in the woods. There are things I would love to do; but can't.

I suppose I'll have to ask my Doc' if there's anything I can take for it. I would love to reduce the effects, and walk again as I did just a few years ago. I have recently bought myself some 'Compression Socks' which are said to help. I started wearing them yesterday; they made no difference.


Thursday 19 October 2023

I came, I saw, I concreted.

They came about a month ago, and sprayed a blue line around our exterior water stopcock cover.

Since then a number of high-viz-jacket-wearing-workers have come to inspect. Some held clip-boards, some measured, and others just looked and took photographs. 

Then yesterday I heard some banging outdoors, so I went to talk to the man who was digging a hole.

There was a leak in the stopcock he told me, and it had to be replaced.

I asked if the water would be turned off. He said maybe for a couple of minutes, but no more. I filled the kettle just in case.

When done he knocked on the door, and proudly showed me the replaced flagstone, as well as some tarmac around the surface of the new cast-iron inspection cover. He assured me that another man would come the next day and replace the tarmac with concrete, which is what the above photo now shows.

The finish is perfect, and a very aesthetic looking mend has been left for us to admire. No cat or dog has walked though the fresh concrete, nor did I scratch 'Cro' into the wet surface. I almost wish I had.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Housebuilding in the UK.

At the recent Labour Party conference, the fragrant Angela Rayner berated the Tories for not building enough homes.

Of course, 'Tory Party Builders Ltd' do not build houses, they facilitate private builders to do so, and instruct local councils to follow certain planning regulations in order to fill the demand. Councils do not always want construction, but that is their prerogative. Mostly this works well, but there are always Co's who sit on land portfolios, wating for prices to rise. Whatever colour of government is around, that will always be the case. 

I just happened to notice recently that here in Brighton/Hove there is a huge amount of building going on. The photo above shows SIX huge new blocks of flats in just one small area alone. I don't know what more Ms Rayner wants Rishi, or our local council to do; or even what she would do if elected next year. Would she FORCE builders to build?

The thing to remember about house building is that builders will only build where houses/flats are in demand, and where their profits are the greatest.

House building is up this year by around 2%; just over 70% of which are 'affordable homes'. Construction is reasonably well distributed between North and South.

With salaries now rising above the rate of inflation, people will soon start to invest in property again, and hopefully builders will supply that demand.

I just hope they remember that all new housing developments require water, electricity, gas, drains, roads, shops, parking, schools, doctors, and hospitals.


Tuesday 17 October 2023

The subject that refuses to go away.

Attitudes to illegal immigration differ from country to country. We now even hear that the EU 'Schengen' countries are beginning to have disagreements, with certain countries refusing to comply.

In the UK we send 'Border Control' boats out into The English Channel to pick-up illegals by the thousands and bring them over to our shores. We feed, house, and fund them; other countries are not so generous.

Sweden was once the world's most generous country for giving asylum to refugees. They actively welcomed them with open arms. Sadly now that their country's crime rate has soared, and most of it being linked to those very same immigrants, their attitude has totally changed. Swedes have literally quit certain towns and cities en masse, in order to escape the lawless immigrants who have taken-over. Their lovely, peaceful, and welcoming country will now NEVER be the same again, thanks to their own generosity.

Poland (above) is trying to resist. They send their army to patrol their borders to keep people out. Poland continues to give sanctuary to citizens from neighbouring Ukraine, but this is probably temporary, and I expect they will wish to return home once the Russians have retreated. What they don't want are the economic migrants from elsewhere who often have criminal intentions. Their collective behaviour in the video does not suggest that they would make ideal citizens.

We have always needed immigration; it has been essential to the running of the UK. But there are certain aspects to immigration that we really don't need. Sadly countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Spain are now reaping the rewards of their previous kindness and liberalism, and are not only saying 'NO MORE', but are also trying to expel them. 

Whether one is for unlimited immigration or for much stricter controls, both sides are riddled with insurmountable problems. Meanwhile the UK continues to send boats out into The channel to bring them in, whilst Rishi says he wants to keep them out. 

They also continue to threaten them with removal to Rwanda; ridiculous! It's about time they made their minds up! 

The UK has a record to be proud of, but we mustn't be complacent. Many of our immigrants come to further their careers, but many come for other purposes in the knowledge that our legal system is very lax. We do need to be able to sort one lot from the other, and deal with them as necessary.

Monday 16 October 2023

Rugby ups and downs.

When you're a senior boy at the age of 13 (before becoming a junior boy at the age of 14), you feel like a King. You possibly played Rugby for the school's 1st XV, and all the younger boys admired and looked-up to you. If you were fortunate to earn your Rugby 'colours', you really were at the top of the sporting tree.

Then you have to change schools and at your new Upper School you are the lowest of the low, fagging for all and sundry, cooking toast for people you don't know, and probably playing Rugby for the school's most junior rubbish team. Life suddenly becomes very hard, you no longer have any free time, and you know it will take another three to four years before you have any kudos again. Your Prep' School 'colours' now seem very distant and unimportant.

Who can this fresh-faced junior Rugby player be?

Of course, in time, I did get to play in my Upper School 1st XV, but I don't remember being awarded any 'colours'. In other sports, yes; but not for Rugby. Standards were higher than I could achieve.

Anyway, I've kept my Prep' School cap (the one I'm wearing in the photo), and I rather treasure it. It reminds me of having once been quite good at something. I did also have a Cricket 'colours' cap, but Lady M threw it away; I think the moths had got at it.

So, here it is, a treasured possession, and a reminder of when I was for a very short while an elite sportsman, even though I was only 13; but at 13 life is VERY serious.

I did go on to play Club Rugby, which was another game altogether. I played against such renowned teams as London Welsh and London Irish, and used to come off the pitch very much worse for wear. It was way beyond my league and I soon quit all sport, other than swimming and cycling, for ever.

Sunday 15 October 2023

Clarkson, May, Hammond Hidden Word Splits Full Compilation

OK, it might be cheap Lower IVth form schoolboy humour, but it still makes me laugh.

Saturday 14 October 2023


I'm not a King Charles type of tree-hugger in the physical sense, but I am in spirit.

On my morning walks with Billy my dog, my favourite bit without question is simply looking at, and enjoying, trees.

I don't know all the names of the trees, my knowledge is sorely lacking, but I love them all. 

We're lucky here that we still have some wonderful Elms nearby, most were devastated by Dutch Elm Disease, but our local churchyard contains a small pocket of survivors. The one above is superb with its low hanging branches and beautiful form. It sits beside the narrow brick path that leads to the church entrance. There is also a convenient bench underneath that you can just see bottom left. Perfect for resting a while with heavy shopping bags.

We are also lucky that the 'Great Storm' of October 1987 didn't destroy all our churchyard trees. Several were knocked over and taken away, but quite a few of the bigger ones survived.

They have been planting more trees since we've been back from France. I think about 14 new trees have been planted, making both the Rest Garden and the Churchyard feel quite wooded.

I also love the trees back in France. Our woods consist mostly of Chestnut, Oak, and Pine, with a sprinkling of wild Cherry, Walnuts, and Apples. The combination of these trees makes the area perfect for producing some of the world's very best wild mushrooms. 

Friday 13 October 2023

It had to happen.

It has now rained. Last night (Wed/Thur) we had an hour or so of light rain. I had just planted out some Lavender cuttings, so it saved me the task of watering them.

As usual, at 7.30 am I took Billy for his morning walk, and did actually need my wet-weather gear. Wellies, Barbour, and silly hat, all saw service for the first time in many months; albeit very little.

I know that many parts of Britain have been over-rained-upon, and have even experienced flooding; but not down here, nor for our few months spent in France this Summer.

It does look as if we'll have more rain today (Fri), then back to dry again.

I don't mind a bit of rain, as long as I can get out with Billy; it's more for him than for me. I suppose the worst bit is wearing my Barbour which is heavy and hot. OK in cold weather, but not whilst still warm. I would also prefer proper rain to drizzle.

It's really rather nice to have that bit of variety.


Thursday 12 October 2023


I'm currently reading Lucy Worsley's biography of Agatha Christie. I believe it's No 1 in the Sunday Times best seller list. A well deserved spot.

I also recently read Antonia Fraser's 1972 biography 'The Life and Times of Queen Anne'. 

I mention these two books specifically as they contain so much detail. I also remember previously mentioning my friend John Masouri's biography of 'Bob Marley's Wailers' for the same reason.

I am often amazed by the amount of minute detail in biographies. Often the more ancient the subject, the more detailed are the descriptions. It's as if the older an event, the clearer the details. How can this be the case?

In Fraser's book, she quotes dialogue almost as if she was there. With Worsley, at least Agatha Christie, who died in 1976, had lived within living memory and there are still people around to consult. Even so, some of her details must surely be speculation.

At the back of Worsley's book are 57 pages of Sources, Acknowledgements, Notes, plus the Index. A lot of research has obviously gone into her subject.

So, how much of a biography is allowed to be supposition? Do the editors check every single 'fact'? Personally I don't really care, as I'm more interested in a good read than 100% accuracy, but it would be interesting to know!


Wednesday 11 October 2023

The Assault on Motorists.

I believe that 40 of the UK's biggest urban authorities have now introduced 20 mph zones, and that 28 Million people now live in areas where 20 mph is the norm.

Motorists are really being attacked at the moment. Our trusty old petrol cars will soon no longer be manufactured, and we will eventually be forced to drive electric vehicles instead (which seem very prone to exploding for no apparent reason). No thanks.

The price of petrol seems to rise regularly. Cars are now so complicated that only very expensive computer-aided servicing is possible. And taxes, MOT's, and insurance costs, are making motoring extremely expensive. I suppose they want us all to ride bikes or horses.

With train drivers often on strike, and the rail system very inefficient and expensive, we are almost obliged to use cars for long journeys; especially if our destination is nowhere near a railway station. It no longer surprises me that so many people drive without tax and insurance; not that I approve!

If we walk or ride bikes our 'Carbon Footprint' will certainly benefit, but the economy is bound to suffer. If workers can no longer move freely from place to place without being 'fined', they will simply stay at home.

In areas where they have ULEZ restrictions, all non-compliant vehicles have to pay £12.50 per day; that's £87.50 per week. That money has to be earned or added to bills; we will all pay one way or another in the long term.

'Supercars' are now a common sight. These expensive fast cars are becoming more expensive and faster by the day. Top speeds well over 200 mph are common, and acceleration from 0 to 60 is registered in nano-seconds. With speeds limited to 20 mph, there doesn't seem much point in owning one, unless one is prepared to pay endless fines.

At least I can say that I have a non-polluting compliant car, and I also have a garage; so no ULEZ fines, and no parking fines. I have absolutely no control over the rest; I'm putty in their hands.

Tuesday 10 October 2023


When I heard that Hamas had launched thousands of rockets against Israel (above), I simply despaired.

The leaders of Hamas show no regard for the safety of their own citizens; they must have known that Israel would retaliate with considerable force. You cannot continually attack a neighbouring country without some response.

Hamas are fighting a one-sided war that they know they cannot win. Thousands of Palestinians will die as will Israelis. I really wish that Hamas would spend their money and efforts on making life better for the population of Gaza, and not permanently trying to kill their neighbours. I am sure that the majority of Palestinians have no argument with Israel; all they want is a quiet life. 

I hear that Israel has now cut-off Gaza's electricity and water supply. They depend on Israel for so much.

I feel very sorry for the people of Gaza. They are led by an idiotic terrorist gang who bring death and destruction upon their own people. It would be good to be able to target their leaders specifically, but as we all know, they tend to hide in hospitals and schools. Instead, it's the ordinary citizens of Gaza who will be suffering; and they already are.

If I was Netanyahu I would insist that the Hamas leaders return the 'hostages' within 24 hours, any failure to do so would result in serious mass destruction. This nonsense cannot go on. They have to be taught a lesson. 

Whilst the Israelis are sending a few retaliatory rockets into Gaza, maybe they could also send a consignment of brooms, dustpans and brushes. I notice that Gaza's streets are filthy and littered as one would expect of such people, only when they begin to respect themselves will they learn to respect others!   

I used to know a few twisted people who openly supported Hamas (Corbyn calls them 'his friends'), some of them even painted Stars of David on our nearby Marks and Spencer store windows, imitating the Nazis; totally disgusting. Yesterday I listened to Starmer condemning unequivocally the actions of Hamas, and he was joined by all European leaders (both Left and Right) in his condemnation. Maybe those who previously supported these terrorists will now be too ashamed to do so again.  

Our thoughts are with our blog-friend Yael in Israel, who seems to have been under attack from these thugs for many years.

Putin, of course, blames the USA. But he would!

Monday 9 October 2023

Another knife crime.

As usual yesterday morning, at just after 8 am, I went the two hundred yards to buy my Sunday Times newspaper. I buy it from a small Sainsbury's just down the road. A little further up the road towards the Station I noticed the flowers.

A 17 year old boy was murdered there a few days ago. He was stabbed by a 16 your old boy, and died almost at once. The 16 year old is now in custody, and will no doubt spend the rest of his life in prison (some hope!).

Mustafa Momand was knifed in broad daylight at 4 pm on Thursday the 5th of October. A totally senseless killing that has shocked everyone; especially in our immediate area. RIP.


Sunday 8 October 2023

Jamie Proposes to Aurelia

Call me an old romantic softie, but my Christmases are never complete without a showing of 'Love Actually'.

I suppose this must be the most popular scene in the film. Something to enjoy on a Sunday morning.

Saturday 7 October 2023

Kitchen Cupboard, Fridge, and Spices.

Beans, confit, pearl barley, packet noodles, vermicelli, sauerkraut, pickled mustard greens, balti paste, brinjal pickle, mango pickle, dried cepes, tins squid octopus anchovies, rice, lentils, orzo, penne, spaghetti, couscous, herbs, spices.

Just one kitchen cupboard which represents some of the things I like to eat. Nothing too exotic or expensive, probably not dissimilar to most people's cupboards.

Foie gras, pickled onions. pork pie, gherkins, fray bentos steak-n-kidney pudding (not pie), pesto, branston, yogs, milk, preserved lemons, curry paste, lady m's plum jam, hoi sin, horseradish, butter, bacon, cheddar, st agur, more cheddar, prunes, tub of coleslaw, peppered mackerel, more prunes, eggs, champagne, strudel and sausage rolls (both made by my daughter in law). 

Again, I suspect not unlike most people's fridges.

So what does this tell me about myself? Probably that I like Indian, Italian, and Moroccan foods, and that I like variety.

Oats, muesli, chick stock cubes, garam masala, dried mint, gunpowder spice blend, ground cumin, dried parsley, five spice powder, aleppo chilli flakes, and others that I can't see.

An average selection of herbs and spices.

I'm exhausted.

Friday 6 October 2023


Above: The late James Devenney of Brighton in Kensington Gardens, wearing one of his more sober outfits.

I'm sure most villages, towns, and cities have their fair share of eccentrics. Some are naturally that way; others possibly use eccentricity as a prop. 

Here in Brighton, I suspect that we have more than the 'national average'; if there is such a thing.

Just recently I have noticed a young man who stands static in the churchyard, staring up into the sky. He is always in the same spot, always at the same hour, and always looking up at what seems to be a 45 degree angle. What he is doing, or looking for/at, I have no idea.

Clothing is the most obvious expression of individuality, and walking around town on a Saturday morning (or on any other day at any other time) one really does see some wonderful examples. I would love to take my camera around with me, but I have to respect the privacy of those involved. James Devenney (above) was a well loved character around the North Laine area of Brighton, and enjoyed being photographed.

A bit of eccentricity makes life more interesting. What would we do without a few oddballs in our lives; they light-up my life on a daily basis.

Thursday 5 October 2023


Football managers are notorious characters in the UK. Mostly they are foreigners (like the team's members), but just occasionally an English or Scottish one will appear.

Anyway, here is the inimitable Paul Whitehouse demonstrating how to be the perfect Football Manager!

Wednesday 4 October 2023

A Bargain.

I usually do my main shopping trip for the week on Saturdays. Last Saturday I went with this coupon (below) anticipating a reduction of £13.50 from my bill. However, instead of spending just over £90 to qualify, I ended-up spending just £89. You can imagine how infuriated I was with myself. I should have totted-up as I went. I haven't been able to forget it since then.

So, not to be outdone, I returned yesterday (Tuesday) to make sure I did get my reduction before it expired. It was the final day and if I didn't go I would lose it.

I ended-up buying far more than I'd intended just to make sure I spent over the £90. In fact I spent about £130.

I bought lots of wine, several bottles of Champagne, all sorts of meats, a frozen Leg of Lamb, and a variety of things that I would never normally buy. In fact I treated ourselves to some very nice things that will keep us going for at least two weeks.

Having felt a bit cheated since Saturday, I am now happy again and feel that I have shopped wisely. £13.50 is not to be sniffed at. Not by me anyway!

I shall NOT be going shopping this Saturday. We are overloaded!


Tuesday 3 October 2023

Maya Angelou, DID's.


For those who may not know, Desert Island Discs (DID's) is an iconic BBC radio show where guests are invited to select 8 records to take to a fictitious desert island. It's been running for decades.

I have just been listening to a 1988 edition which featured Maya Angelou. Maya was a soft spoken and intelligent woman who chronicled institutional racism throughout the programme, it was eye-opening.

Her choice of music was mostly by black artists; other than one Sinatra song. She spoke eloquently, and without malice, about the horrific racism amongst which she was raised.

For someone like myself who was brought-up in England, that type of institutional racism is totally alien. I was quite surprised, therefore, to learn that she had married a white Welshman, Paul du Feu.

Of course racism exists here too but it has never been institutionalised, in fact racism is deemed a criminal offence. Racism in the UK is generally between individuals, gangs, or between those of different ethnic groups. 

Racism is nasty in all its forms, and is not helped by certain so-called 'anti-racist' groups who perpetuate ill feeling.

Ms Angelou was an example to all who experience or spread racism. Her quiet and logical attitude should be studied by everyone. I didn't previously know a lot about her, but now I wish I had.


Monday 2 October 2023


I noticed recently that these two glass windows in our front door had become a bit grubby, so I gave them a quick clean. 

They are known as 'Bullseye' panes, and they originally date from medieval times.

It reminded me that recently one of our neighbours posted something on our street's WhatsApp page that was quite worrying.

He said that on a hot sunny day the sun had come through the glass just like through a magnifying glass, and had begun to scorch his stair carpet. He suggested we all put a curtain behind the glass to prevent all our houses catching fire.

Well I didn't put a curtain up, and am relying on the fact that for the past 60 odd years, since the house was built, that not one house in the street has caught fire, and I pray this will continue. 


Sunday 1 October 2023

Tea, Choc and Oil.

I've been having some leg problems and having consulted Dr Google, I think it's to do with poor circulation.

So, what to do? Again I consulted Dr Google about how to treat it, and he came-up with a few suggestions. Firstly Olive oil, I must drink a large spoonful of good quality unfiltered oil every day. Secondly I must consume 80% cocoa solids dark Chocolate daily. And thirdly I have to drink Green tea.

Hardly a punishment in all three cases, so I am happy to follow his advice.

I've always consumed different oils; usually Walnut oil. I have also always liked good quality dark Chocolate. And as for the Green Tea, I've drunk it on and off for years; I like it.

The particular Tea I drink is called Black Dragon Pearls Tea (top picture). Small 'pearls' of green leaf tea that unfurl when combined with boiled water. Only a few 'pearls' are used and I strain the leaves away before drinking. It's a very pleasantly flavoured tea, and if it's doing me some good at the same time as tasting good, then I am very happy.

I'll give it a month to see if I notice any benefits, then if not I 'might' consult a different doctor. However, I have great confidence in Dr Google; he's become my doctor of choice, and no need to visit his surgery!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...