Wednesday 31 January 2024

Dog Gastronomy.

As a dog owner myself, I can confirm that dog nutrition is always uppermost in our minds.

Sir Woofchester's is a specialist dog luxury food purveyor. Based in Barrow-in-Furness (up north), they prepare and sell dog meals for special occasions, such as Christmas, Sunday lunches, and even Friday's Fish-n-Chips.

I do hope you can read the menu.

I don't think we'll be deserting our home-delivered Royal Canin in exchange for Sir Woofchester just yet, as it all looks a tad expensive. But it's good to know that they're there for a special occasion.

In fact next Friday I might even order the Sprats, chips, and peas for myself. It sounds excellent.


Tuesday 30 January 2024

Idiotic idiots and their idiocy (don't mince your words Cro).

Occasionally I am lost for words.

These two charming oaky-wokey snowflake French loonies seem to have completely lost their marbles.

The idiot on the right is wearing a T Shirt which says Riposte Alimentaire, which roughly translates as 'food response'. Their wish is to promote 'healthy and sustainable food'; well, we all want that! 

Let me tell you something about France. France is a country with huge un-worked reserves of arable land, and woodland. When you fly over France in a Hot Air Balloon (as I have) you would be forgiven for thinking that the whole of the country is either abandoned or wooded; mostly wooded.

In the past 20/25 years there has been a second great 'hippy' movement back to the countryside. Lovely old farms are cheap, and eco-minded people move there to grow bio-foods, keep Goats, and be closer to nature. All very commendable.

Often they attempt to sell some of their crops, and at most weekly markets you will find several 'hippies' selling a few dirty carrots, or potatoes. Their wares are sadly always unappealing, and as much as I'd like to buy from them, their vegs simply don't come up to scratch.

I'm not quite sure what these soup-throwing lovies are protesting about, but if it really does have anything to do with growing 'healthy and sustainable food', then maybe they should either do it themselves, or have a word with those who already do.

I have lived by producing much of my own food for decades, and have never felt the desire to throw soup at a well known painting.

Telling other people what they should or shouldn't be doing, and presumably be more like the soup-throwing eco-morons, is not going to make themselves popular. 

Lead by example! Grow your own, and explain how much better it is (even if it isn't). And mostly, don't throw Pumpkin Soup over The Mona Lisa. 

Luckily the painting is behind a glass screen, so no damage was done. I hope they were made to clear it up!

What a pair of IDIOTS.


Monday 29 January 2024

Down the pub!

It was Saturday evening, and Lady M was hosting a girl's 'Gin Party', so I decided to meet Kimbo at his local 'The Eddy' for a few pints, and a pack of Pork scratchings.

Whilst there this nice young lady came in with her dog; a beautiful German Shepherd. The dog came directly to me for a few tickles, then to the bar to order his/her drink. I'm not sure if that glass of rouge was his/hers, but maybe.

The dog stayed there like any other patron, and was perfectly well behaved. You might just see between the lady and her dog, an open book filled with dog photos. The pub' keeps a photographic record on the bar of all the dog visitors; maybe I should take Billy there.


Sunday 28 January 2024

27 January. UK Holocaust Memorial Day.

Yesterday was the UK's annual Holocaust Memorial Day. The reasons for which are obvious, with the event being even more pertinent this year. 

Along with many others I lit a candle at 8 pm, and placed it in our front window. 

On TV yesterday afternoon they showed the 1959 B & W version of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' (which I was unable to watch). The film reminded me of an amusing story. 

When the original Anne Frank play opened at The Cort Theatre on Broadway in 1955, they didn't imagine that it would see over 700 performances. Naturally, the part of Anne Frank was played by various young girls; some of whom were much better actors than others.

 One girl was a particularly poor actress, and when the German soldiers raided her home and shouted 'Where is she, where is she?', the audience apparently all shouted back 'SHE'S IN THE ATTIC'. 

It's a bitter-sweet story, but the idea still makes me laugh today. I hope it's a true account; I've never seen the incident corroborated anywhere.

Saturday 27 January 2024

One minute UP, next minute DOWN.

Having been 100% certain that France's 90 day rule was about to be scrapped, we now hear that it will remain.

We had been making plans to spend more time in France; anything up to about five months, but we are now back to a max of 90 days.

What on earth is the advantage to France of keeping people out? When people wish to come to your country to spend money, why on earth would you say 'NO'? It simply doesn't make sense. I am perfectly aware that I can apply for a six months visa, but knowing the French bureaucratic system, and all the hassle involved; I'm afraid that for me it's a non-starter.

But there's worse. It is also proposed by France that we will in future need to register our fingerprints, and have a photograph taken before being allowed to board the ferry, as well as presenting all the usual passports, etc. It is estimated that this could lead to a FOURTEEN HOUR DELAY at the exit port. With a dog in the car I should imagine that we could add another TWO HOURS at least. 

I wonder what the Ferry Co's will say about having each sailing delayed for so long? With the same regulations at each end, plus four hours at sea each way, they will end-up with just one sailing a day; or even every other day. This could mean the end of nearby Newhaven as a ferry port.

There are a few well chosen expletives that I would like to use here, but let me just say that I doubt if any of the French Deputies had mothers who were married. 


Friday 26 January 2024

"purple burglar alarm"

Last night was 'Burns Night', so a wee dram of single malt was sampled, and a Scottish blog theme considered.

I remember when Jacob Rees-Mogg went electioneering in Bonnie Scotland, the constituents said they couldn't understand a word he said. I have always found that UK citizens with strong local accents could understand me, but I, occasionally, had great difficulty understanding them.

Even those same Bonnie Scotts have difficulty with their own accent, which seems to prevent them from pronouncing a few basic English words. 

I should add that I have no difficulty saying 'purple burglar alarm', even with my Surrey/Sussex accent.

Thursday 25 January 2024

Nothing's changed.

My sister recently sent me this photo; she's on the left, with me on the right. I must have been 4 or 5.

I think that the photo proves that scruffiness can be a congenital condition. It is inbuilt in some people (me) and difficult to treat. There is no panacea, no inoculation, no magic pill.

We were both at schools in East Grinstead when the photo was taken; mine was the Highfield pre-Prep run by a Mr Gordon-Walker, the brother of Patrick G-W MP. I don't think there's any doubt, I was the scruffiest pupil there.

There is a touch of Richmal Crompton's 'Just William' in my demeanor; not that I would have heard of him at the time.

I have no idea why I should have been so naturally scruffy, I think my mother must have despaired. I'm not so bad these days, but most of my life has be spent unconsciously worshiping at the altar of scruff.

I still never comb my hair; what there is of it.


Wednesday 24 January 2024

I blame Raymond Briggs.

Rarely do I get-up in the morning in a less-than-good-mood, but yesterday was an exception. I even got-up 15 mins earlier than usual (4.45 am).

I'd been listening to illustrator Raymond Briggs on an old Desert Island Discs programme, and his bizarre life, and selection of music, really annoyed me. I don't usually get annoyed by such things.

So, once downstairs breakfast faced me and I simply couldn't focus on what I wanted to eat.

I toasted a couple of slices a good wholemeal bread, then searched through the fridge for something to accompany them. I found preserved Aubergines, half a jar of Lumpfish Caviar, and some Octopus pieces in oil. I tried each one in turn on toast without too much enjoyment, then ended-up having some Coopers Oxford Marmalade on my final half-slice.

I really didn't enjoy my breakfast, and I blame Raymond Briggs. He died here in Brighton in the Summer of 2022.

Just in case the name means nothing to you, it was Briggs who illustrated 'The Snowman'. He also taught at the Art College here when Lady M was in attendance.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Poor Billy.

Poor Billy hasn't been well. Almost two weeks ago he had a whole day of 'nausea', then seemed really unwell. He didn't eat, and lost weight rapidly. He went to the Vet, but nothing was determined. He received a handful of medicines, but still refused to eat.

After about a week he regained some appetite, and was eating tiny amounts. That has now improved and he is eating much more, and some of his usual energy has returned. He is enjoying life again, albeit still at a slower pace.

It's been cold here, so Lady M bought him a coat. He's definitely on the mend, but I expect it'll be another few days before he's back to his previous energetic self.

There were a few days when we feared for his life! I'm sure he was poisoned; whether this was accidental or not is another question. We recently had a cat-killer here in Brighton. Luckily he was caught and imprisoned, but there are some genuine nutters about. We suspect that two of our previous dogs were poisoned; they certainly received death threats. We had some bizarre neighbours in France, luckily they've now moved away.

News of his malaise spread quickly, and he's been receiving a lot of fuss and attention from fellow dog walkers. He's making the most of it.


Monday 22 January 2024

Where will we be safe?

It now almost seems certain; those in-the-know are suggesting that WW3 is on its way. Some even say it has already begun!

A particular bunch of world leaders can no longer hold back, they simply MUST have WAR. Why, no-one seems to know, but old stocks of weapons need to be used-up, and new versions tested.

So where do we need to go to avoid being blown to pieces? Below is a map suggesting some destinations; few of which really appeal, other than Switzerland or NZ; but even Switzerland wouldn't escape European nuclear fallout.

Personally I think NZ is probably the best bet, even though it's a long way away. Their government is non-aggressive, they speak the language in which I'm writing, and the country itself is pleasantly green and agriculturally productive. The only problem may be that too many people will wish to settle there, and a strict immigration system will be put in place of who to accept, and who to reject.

Certain professions may be given priority, and wealth may possibly buy favours, but for most of us it would probably be based on a strict 'points system'. Don't try going there if you are long-term unemployed, an ex-con, or elderly. Best to get your application in as soon as possible; the rush might even have started.

Personally I take a somewhat jaundiced view of WW3, as I shall probably not be around to witness the worst. But I do have grandsons who will be of exactly the wrong age if any serious conflict does break out in the next few years.

I have absolutely no desire to kill people, but it seems that some world leaders think of nothing else; and they need to be stopped. Sadly jaw-jaw doesn't work, and, as we've recently seen, war-war takes over. 

Is there any alternative? A few timely assassinations maybe? We'd only need to get rid of a handful of these maniacs; is that beyond our capabilities?

Sunday 21 January 2024

I remember, I remember, the house where......

I wasn't actually born in this house, but it's the first real family home that I remember. I do remember living in one house before this one, but my memories are scanty. I can actually remember this one being built.

The house is a bit bigger now than when Father built it. The new owners have added bits here and there.

It was built in the early 50's, when post-war austerity was still an influence on the way people lived. We were still growing our own vegs, raising fowl, and planting fruit trees. Houses that had enough land became mini-farms, as did we at 'Lane End'. It was a way of life that had a great influence on me.

The house was in the village of Lingfield, Surrey, just south of London. A very friendly village where everyone knew everyone else, and you were greeted by name in the street.

I had a small red bike and would freely cycle all over the place. Down to the Cricket pitch to watch the village team, to the Wheelwright's yard to watch him at work, or to go fishing in Farmer Bell's pond. I had the run of the village, and feared nothing. In many ways it was the perfect childhood.

I sang in the church choir, I played cornet (v briefly) in the village Silver Band, and contributed to the village Horticultural Show. As children we participated in as much as possible, and loved it.

Sadly these days the village is a very different place. Due to its proximity to Gatwick there is now an almost constant noise of aircraft; the last time I visited it became a permanent annoyance. It has also become a 'dormitory village' for wealthy city workers, and there are now Italian, Indian, and Thai restaurants around every corner.

I spent the first 14 years of my life in Lingfield (school holidays only), and loved every moment. With all the changes over the past 63 years, I really wouldn't want to live there now. Sad!


Saturday 20 January 2024

Short-Lived, but wonderful.

On the road between Frayssinet le Gelat and Cahors in SW France, there was an ancient, and very beautiful stone-built water mill that had lain empty for decades.

Then one day along came a chef and his wife who decided to buy the old place and create a very up-market restaurant. During its first week of trading I was invited by my friend, architect Bob Dixon, to sample their wares.

I should explain that Bob had dedicated his life to gastronomy, and had probably wined and dined in many of the world's most prestigious restaurants.

Both the wine list and the menu were impressive. We ordered our meals, and Bob ordered Champagne and a Pomerol. The restaurant's interior was spectacular, and was filled with eagerly expectant, wealthy looking, diners.

First to arrive at our table was a surprise selection of amuse bouches; dainty little tit-bits that were bursting with exotic flavours. They were totally delicious, and accompanied the Champagne perfectly.

I can't remember what we then ate (this was about 40 years ago), but we were halfway through our main courses when the shouting began from within the kitchen. Firstly just small outbursts, then becoming fully fledged continuous screaming.

The waitress (Mrs Chef) seemed totally unphased by the outbursts, and continued as if nothing was happening. Most of the clients treated the rumpus as somewhat amusing; if slightly noisy. It continued at full-pelt until we left a couple of hours later.

Sadly the restaurant didn't last. I imagine the chef had a breakdown, or was taken away, and the place closed its doors after just a few weeks.

One hears about such places, but to experience one first-hand was quite something. I've never experienced anything like it since!

Friday 19 January 2024




Who on earth dreamt-up the idea of sending the UK's illegal immigrants to Rwanda? What WERE they thinking?

I am always willing to give credit to any government, of whatever political colour, when they get things right, but when they are so obviously wrong I will always be a critic. This Rwanda policy is one such case.

As far as I understand, we have already handed-over £140 Million to the Rwandan Government, in order to accommodate something like 5000 future refugees at their 'Hope House' hostel.

In the deal, the illegals would stay at the above cosy hotel for up to three months whilst they are being 'processed', after which they will receive training or be given employment. Why can this not be done here in the UK? Anyone not meeting our immigration credentials would simply be flown home. Anyone trying to enter the UK with no papers (or faked papers) would also be instantly sent home.

What's so difficult about that? One simply has to be strict. At present we send a boat to pick them up mid-Channel, house them in hotels, provide them with money, and then possibly send them off to sunnier climes in Africa if we can't find anything else to do with them. All at the TAXPAYERS expense.

After being debated in parliament, the current plan seems to have been given the go-ahead. Are they all totally bonkers?

Thursday 18 January 2024

Those Christmas presents.

We usually go Christmas Present spotting on Boxing Day. Children are often taken out for a walk wearing their oversized jumpers, their ill-fitting new trainers, and their Disney scarves designed for someone half (or twice) their age. They always look awkward, and slightly embarrassed.

Our cold weather has only just arrived, and we're now having mornings around Zero C. Time to bring out those wintery Christmas presents that were put away 'for later'.

My new heavy-knit, 100% Wool, M & S, navy sweater is perfect. I almost feel as if I could climb Mt Everest in it; it's that warm. Thank you Lady M.

Not much of me suffers from cold other than all my head bits (ears, nose, bald-pate, etc), and my feet. The rest of me seems to tolerate sub-zero temperatures reasonably well.

So, when I unpacked my new Christmas prezzie Uggs, I was extremely happy. I have Spring shoes, Summer shoes, and Autumn shoes, but I'd never got round to buying myself furry Winter shoes/boots. These are extremely cosy. Thank you Tenpin.

I think I'm quite well equipped now. It's just a matter of selecting the right clothes for the right weather; I'm not quite so good at that! It's been cold; -5 C this morning.


Wednesday 17 January 2024


Sentimentality in painting is usually pretty dire, but some examples are unapologetically designed to lift the spirits.

This example below is one such. No doubt it was intended to be reproduced by the thousands and hung on the walls of humble cottages and crofts everywhere. It's sentimentality is obvious. A man weeping over the grave of (I presume) his late wife, or a child, at Christmas. The snow and candle-lit Christmas tree complete the picture.

I also see it as a warning. Treasure what you have NOW, because it all may be lost when you least expect it. Life is short, and we all take everything for granted until it suddenly stops.

It may be a child under that snowy pile, it may have been a parent, a spouse, or even a well loved dog. When it's gone, it's gone, and all that remains is a void where our love was once focused. That trapped love then becomes grief, and it's that grief that we see in the picture.

When I first saw this painting it had the instant effect that it was designed to have. A view of bitter cold, darkness, and sorrow, that we could all imagine ourselves experiencing.


Tuesday 16 January 2024

A slice of magic.

I just happened to spot this strange shadow this morning by chance. It was caused by early morning sunshine being reflected from a nearby window, onto our rose bush, creating this delightful image on our tiny patio wall. This is exactly how it was; no photoshop. Pure magic!!!


We are living in dangerous times.


You really know that things are getting bad when Sweden tells its citizens to 'prepare for war'. After having been a fiercely neutral state for decades, Sweden is now so worried that she is set to join NATO.

On the home front, the UK is soon to send 20,000 troops to join NATO's biggest ever European military exercise since the cold war. The UK's Defense Secretary Grant Shapps recently said "The foundations of the world order are being shaken to the core". He added "We are at a crossroads".

The UK is sending 2 aircraft carriers, 8 warships, several F-35 fighter planes, and reconnaissance aircraft, to join with 31 other NATO nations, in order to practice joint response to an attack on any European country.

But who is the greatest enemy in all this? Will Sweden end-up fighting against its own Muslim population, who will side with Hamas and the Houthis, as well as Russia? Will the UK also need to fight against its infamous 'Enemy within'? 

As Rod Liddle reminded us in this past weekend's Sunday Times, 'Magic Grandpa (and his supporters) can always be relied upon to support any cause that furthers Russia, China, and Iran; he will side with whoever is our enemy'. And we all know who Mr Liddle is talking about. 

Until now I haven't really taken threats from our aggressors particularly seriously, but I'm beginning to change my mind. There are simply too many angry and unstable dictators about, and sadly far too many of those who foolishly support them! 

Monday 15 January 2024

More tree planting.

Our municipal tree planters have been at it again. They have planted another six trees in the Rest Garden, where I walk with Billy.

I spoke to the two gardeners yesterday as they were digging holes. I asked them what trees they were planting, but they didn't seem to know. They thought that two might be Cherries, and I suggested they were probably Flowering Cherries; as I couldn't see our charming Council offering free actual Cherries to their electorate.

However, they did say that they were going to plant a Fig Tree; pointing to a spot up by the old flint wall.

And here it is (above). Nicely planted, fenced, and secured. Hopefully the local 'youf' will leave it alone and in a couple of years we'll have fresh Figs for Tea.

Thank you Council.

p.s. Billy has not been well.



Sunday 14 January 2024

Times are hard.

Times must be hard for the fragrant Tatiana Soroka (right in photo). In her divorce from Billionaire Farkhad Akhmedev she received just £453 Million; which is obviously not enough.

I hear that she is now suing her lawyer, the infamous Fiona Shakleton (left), for £600 Million because she failed to secure ownership of her ex-husband's superyacht the 377ft MV Luna.

I know nothing of Ms Soroka but she reminds me of John Cleese when he divorced his wife Alyce. She took almost all of his money (also ably assisted by Fiona Shakleton), which prompted Cleese to say 'I can't imagine what she would have been awarded had she contributed anything to our marriage'. Her two children by a previous marriage will now inherit Cleese's fortune, whereas there's nothing left for his own children.

I wish I could remember who said "One thing I will say about my ex-wife is that she was a very good housekeeper; she kept all my houses!". Maybe that was Cleese!

I'm sure Ms Soroka can get-by on her £453 Million, but I do think that if she'd contributed 50% to the cost of the yacht, then she should have that returned. However, I'm sure she would have remembered that at the time of her wind-fall divorce.


Good News.

I would like to congratulate The Labour Party; and Starmer in particular.

Since Sir Keir Starmer took over Labour's leadership from the delightful Jeremy Corbyn, there haven't been very many concrete policies; just plenty of poisoned arrows fired at the ruling Tories. However, their supporters have been eagerly waiting to hear what they'll be voting for when the next general election comes along later this year.

But all that has now changed, and at last Sir Keir has come-up with a manifesto policy that I think all parties will support; maybe even the Greens.

He wants to pass a law that will make children brush their teeth twice a day.

Now, the political advantage of this new policy is obvious. Cleaner teeth, less halitosis, and no bits of Spinach staring at you every time they scowl. As far as international politics are concerned, a population of children with clean teeth should certainly improve relationships with the Middle East; and might even help cope with the post-Covid economy .

However, some of the more radical members of The National Union of Teachers are already criticising Sir Keir. "Teachers are not there to teach children to brush their teeth" said one disgruntled teacher "that is their parents' job". Maybe they'll go on strike again!

Starmer rightly accuses the Tories of 14 years of non-child-tooth-brushing, and has made it a serious policy to introduce children's Breakfast Clubs where tooth-brushing will be taught and monitored. How on earth did the Tories think they could get away with not promoting their own tooth-brushing policy? They've had 14 years for goodness sake!

Well done Labour!

Saturday 13 January 2024

So, who are the Houthis?


I suppose the obvious answer to this question must be that they're a rag-bag bunch of AK47 toting unruly Islamist tribal rebels, who are funded by Iran to go around causing trouble!

Yes, it's almost inevitable to say that the Houthis are a group of Shia Islamist Militants, who hate everyone except themselves and their Iranian paymasters. They openly promote 'Death to all Americans' and 'Death to all Jews'. Not folk you'd want as neighbours!

Their recent exploits of controlling, and attacking shipping through The Red Sea has had a hugely negative effect on world trade, and they were warned by the USA and the UK that their actions would not be tolerated.... Allow shipping to pass; or else. They chose 'else'.

Houthi strongholds throughout Western Yemen have now been bombed, and serious warnings of more bombings have been given. No doubt the pro-Iran, pro-Hamas, and pro-Hezbollah apologists will be up in arms against The West for having made such reprisals.

Islam is giving itself a very bad reputation through all the bizarre causes it champions, but they really don't care. As long as their word is spread throughout the world, they are happy. And if they have a few high-profile supporters (useful idiots) in The West, such as Corbyn, they are even happier.

It surprises no-one that their major funding comes direct from Tehran, where the fatwah-issuing Mullahs seem to enjoy paying others do their dirty work.

Friday 12 January 2024

Old Codger

As I wander around, I often think that I must be a rarity; I've managed to reach the age of 77 without having worn a not-for-camping rucksack, carried a plastic coffee cup around with me, be dependent on a portable water supply, and without relying on a hand-held GPS device to find my way to the shops and home again. I have also never had the desire to talk to invisible people on an invisible phone whilst going for a walk with the dog. And I've certainly never been tempted to permanently hide beneath a hoodie.

But for those who have not experienced my deprived old codger way of life, I wonder how they would cope if forced to live like me for a couple of days. Could they survive? Would their men'al-elf be affected? Would they simply become lost souls?

What is it that folk carry in their bulky rucksacks? Why can they not simply have a coffee at home before leaving. Why suddenly does everyone feel the need to carry bottled water around with them? And (for goodness sake) why on earth do people feel the need to talk into the air, at high volume, whilst taking their rucksack to wherever their going (following their GPS)?

Of course, I will never know. I don't suppose they know either. They do these things because everyone else does it, and they don't want to feel different; just as they do by wearing headphones around their necks, and covering themselves with tattoos.

I suppose it all comes down to demonstrating their 'individuality'. 

Thursday 11 January 2024

That 90 day rule.


It now looks as if the 90 day rule has been relaxed by the French authorities, and that we British home owners will soon have the right to stay in our own homes for up to 180 days without a visa. The new 180 day rule should be rubber-stamped some time this Spring.

This will make a huge difference to our stays in the village that we've called 'home' for the past 50 years.

Three months was already relaxing, but up to six months will give us the opportunity to grow crops, gather autumnal mushrooms, and preserve the results for winter. We should in future be able to preserve plenty of Tomatoes, etc, all of which will return with us to Blighty in the Autumn. We also need to carry out some building work this Summer, so the extra time will help with that too.

Frankly I think it was a bloody cheek restricting our residency to just three months. We have to pay all our bills for the whole twelve months, but weren't allowed to live there. It almost amounts to legalised theft. We even have to pay for rubbish clearance, even though we don't produce any.

No firm details have yet been given as to exactly when the 180 day rule will begin, but I understand that IT WILL. I'm presuming that 2024 will find Cro in France for between 4 and 5 months at least; maybe even 6. We can now but wait!

Macron will let me know..... Yippee!

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Another Facebook scam.

Yesterday I was very surprised to hear from my old friend Robert on facebook. It all began with a friendship request. I instantly clicked to accept!

I hadn't heard from Robert for ages, so I immediately thought he must be delivering bad news.

He started by mentioning 'dhhs'; I had no idea what this was, so asked. My words are in BLUE.

He mentioned a Dep't of Health and Human Services; I don't even know if there is such a Dep't.

My suspicions were instantly aroused.

Then his answer confirmed what I'd imagined, and I stopped the conversation. Amazingly the scammer also stopped!

Be aware. These scams are everywhere, and come in all shapes and sizes. This one was new to me, and claimed to be from an old friend, but it contained many grammatical faults that my friend would never have made. It wasn't that difficult to see that it was phony.


Tuesday 9 January 2024

TODD RUNDGREN I Saw The Light 1972

I recently heard this song in the background of a Bingo advert on TV. It immediately brought back memories from just before I moved to France. It took me a while to find-out exactly what is was, and by whom; but here it is. You may remember it from all those years ago too.

Monday 8 January 2024

Why do MEN drive WOMEN mad?


Below is taken from The Daily Mail, and is a list of things that women say drive them mad about men. I've been through the list and can admit to 8; maybe even 9. No wonder Lady M despairs! 

As you will see, it's a very long list. If you would like to add more foibles in a comment; please feel free to do so!

Which male foibles are on your 'ick list'?  

Our office straw poll came up with a list... 

Men who... 

  • Know their exact weight 
  • Whistle 
  • Take pictures with their car 
  • Take selfies 
  • Order a steak in a restaurant and then struggle to cut it 
  • Shave their underarms 
  • Drink white wine 
  • Walk too slowly 
  • Wear leather jackets 
  • Like milky coffee 
  • Mention astrology 
  • Order diet versions of a drink 
  • Split the bill 
  • Use the menu on the chocolate box to pick a chocolate to eat 
  • Order a dessert 
  • Only wear baseball caps backwards 
  • Read books about getting rich 
  • Mansplain everything 
  • Have short fingers 
  • Have long nails 
  • Always holiday in Spain 
  • Make a noise when getting off a chair 
  • Talk about their ex 
  • Are overly touchy 
  • Are addicted to porn 
  • Have a weird laugh 
  • Hold cutlery with an overhand grip 
  • Trip when walking 
  • Can't clap to a beat 
  • Are sunburnt 
  • Have feet that dangle out of the end of the bed 
  • Push a pull door 
  • Say 'can't wait' when you arrange something 
  • Have a short neck 
  • Eat breakfast Take baths 
  • Don't read 
  • Are picky eaters 
  • Take off their necklace/chain before getting intimate 
  • Run for the bus 
  • Order cocktails 
  • Have lone grey hairs in their beard 
  • Wear Lycra 
  • Press their legs together on public transport
    • Buy mints rather than chewing gum 
    • Set more than two alarms for the morning 
    • Drive at exactly the speed limit 
    • Dance out of time to music 
    • Smile with food in their teeth 
    • Open food with the label upside down 
    • Study religion at A-level 
    • Don't have ice in the house 
    • Buy a body wash that isn't Radox or Original Source
    • Use a straw 
    • Play badminton/tennis 
    • Have a navy blue bath mat 
    • Have brown sheets 
    • Don't have a minimum of two sets of sheets or towels 
    • Don't swim 
    • Use something as a fake microphone and sing 
    • Have a reusable bag for groceries
    • Have fewer than four pillows 
    • Have more than four pillows 
    • Use 'x' or too many emojis 
    • Have posters 
    • Put a biro behind their ear 
    • Take ages to get served at the bar 
    • Say 'perfecto' 
    • Apply Vaseline with their baby finger 
    • Say 'lil' instead of 'little' 
    • Can't find parking spots 
    • Are rude to restaurant staff 
    • Chew loudly with their mouth open 
    • Are overly obsessed with video games 
    • Don't wear socks with shoes 
    • Talk about family wealth 
    • Play the air guitar 
    • Struggle to unhook a bra 
    • Use excessive punctuation in texts 
    • Leave a laundry pile in the bedroom 
    • Don't tip 
    • Run with a backpack on (or even worse if it's the kind with a water bottle built-in with a long plastic straw) 
    • Coo over cats 
    • Are oblivious to their bad breath 
    • Over-style their hair 
    • Order oatmeal/coconut/almond milk with coffee

    List compiled by Molly Clayton

List compiled by Molly Clayton 

Sunday 7 January 2024

My discovery of Gastronomy.

After I left school I commuted by train to The City for 6 months from the south coast. It took its toll, and I seemed to be permanently travelling. Getting up at all hours, and returning home not long before catching the train back to London again. It really was a nightmare.

So, I then took a bed-sit in Bayswater. I never bothered with breakfast, I ate lunch thanks to a 4/6d daily Luncheon Voucher, and in the evenings I would regularly visit a 'restaurant' in Queensway called 'The Golden Egg'; egg-n-chips cost almost nothing. I NEVER cooked at home.

When I later became the manager of a West End gallery, I took a flat just north of Marble Arch, and again never cooked at home. I had my breakfast at Selfridge's, my lunch often at Odin's in Devonshire St (next door to the gallery), and an evening snack was usually supplied by a Pub' somewhere.

Then I moved to Lillie Rd Fulham, and on to Bramerton St Chelsea. Never did I cook, or even make coffee, at home. My flats were simply a place to sleep and store clothes. I moved around a lot in those days so ate wherever I found myself; although the restaurant 235 on the King's Rd was always a favourite.

During my college years we had a decent Cafeteria for lunch, and in the evenings I mostly ate greasy Chicken and Chips from a newspaper package. 

Once graduated I bought an ancient granite house on the Shropshire/Wales border, and it was here where I first started to take an interest in cooking. We would visit the nearby town once a week on Market Day, and buy vast amounts of vegetables for £1. They lasted us a week. We'd already had our oldest son by this time and we tried to follow Dr Bircher-Benner's 'Children's Diet' book, which was mostly veggie.

Then, when I bought our first big farmhouse in France I became totally fascinated by 'food'. Everything was so different to back home, and I found it all totally delicious. I was suddenly eating things I'd never eaten before, and I was hooked. I grew as much as possible, I had hens, ducks, and guinea fowl, and we suddenly became 'foodies'. I grew a field of Wheat, and another of Maize; I became a mini-farmer.

Since then I have preserved large amounts of my own vegetables, paté, and jams. I made hams, bacon, and various forms of charcuterie. I never looked back; until Brexit came, and now no longer have the luxury of a full growing season in S France.

During my 50 year absence, the gastronomy of the UK has changed hugely, and there is no question that we have overtaken most of mainland Europe. I am now very happy to have the huge choice of wonderful foods on offer here. France now seems very 'stuck in its ways'.

Saturday 6 January 2024

RIP Glynis Johns.


During certain of my school-days holidays, both my parents were very busy, and I ate my daily lunches alone at a small family run, very English, restaurant called 'The Spinning Wheel'; even the name itself tells you the type of restaurant it was.

The owner was a youngish man named Michael, and I believe my mother had asked him to put me on a table with any well known actors, working at the nearby Connaught Theatre. I suppose I must have been about 16.

The two I do remember lunching with every day (for a week) were Sarah Miles, and Glynis Johns.

Ms Miles was very beautiful, and I remember that she wore knee-length soft leather boots. She chatted a bit, but was not the ideal luncheon companion. We got-on OK, but that's about it.

Ms Johns, however, was an absolute treasure. She had a wonderfully evocative voice and was a perfect conversationalist. She was a total pleasure to spend an hour with over lunch. I really treasured those days. When our week of lunches together was over she even told me that she'd miss me; how about that!!!

I was really saddened to see that she has just died aged 100. She will be remembered mostly for her role as Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins. However, I shall remember her sitting opposite me at The Spinning Wheel restaurant. Her father was the equally well-known actor Mervyn Johns.

So, goodbye Glynis; our paths crossed all too briefly, but I shall never forget you. xx

Friday 5 January 2024

Wrongly accused.

Could there be anything worse than firstly being accused of something you didn't do, and then being found guilty.

The very worst case of such miscarriage of justice recently took place in the UK, and involved over 700 Post Office managers/workers.

Back in 1999, a new and faulty Japanese computer system found that 736 sub-postmasters were guilty of having committed theft, false accounting, or fraud. They all declared their innocence, but were found guilty. Up until today just 83 have had their convictions overturned.

I do have experience of such appalling injustice myself. In my final weeks of school a friend had given my name, having been caught doing something that was definitely against school rules. I was called to the headmaster's study; and, without any questions, instantly sacked. When the truth was known I was recalled to see the headmaster and he apologised. My friend was quite naturally sacked in my stead.

In my particular case I took no notice of my punishment as I knew there had been some silly mistake, and I simply ignored both it and the headmaster. But these sub-postmasters were not so lucky; they have suffered years of prison sentences, bankruptcy,  and there's even been one case of suicide. As you can see by my illustration, 33 people have since died without having had their names cleared.

It may be that amongst the 736 accusations of fraud, one or two may have been guilty, but there is no question that the huge majority were 100% innocent of any malpractice.

A really dreadful case of the law being an complete ass! I hope that they all receive extremely generous compensation; they deserve it.

The matter has recently been the subject of an ITV drama 'Mr Bates v The Post Office'.

Thursday 4 January 2024

National Service (NS).

We've all seen them; they are everywhere. They hang around public places in small groups, wearing hoodies and masks, hoping (I presume) to intimidate passers-by. Worst of all, they do nothing other than maybe a bit of shoplifting, stabbing, and/or petty drug dealing. At night they spray squiggles on our walls, and piss on the streets.

They are basically anti-social lost souls. They try to look like hardened gangsters, but in fact they are mostly children who simply have no real direction in life.

The cry to 'Bring back National Service' is always in the background, but maybe at the moment that cry should be listened-to. Not as punishment, but to give these children what they've obviously missed from their school days (if, indeed, they ever went). Discipline and direction!

I personally missed NS by just a couple of years, but I did do CCF and participated in a short Officer Training course. I remained on a call-up list for proper officer training for several years. I'm quite happy to say that the call never came.

We live in extremely dangerous times. Several of the world's most evil tyrants are threatening The West, and they need to be taken seriously. What we mustn't do is smile at them and pat them on their heads. The West needs tough no-nonsense leaders, and we need to be well prepared.

A new style NS could be a good solution. These (mostly) young men could serve up to two years in a military/educational environment which would not only produce a stand-by trained armed force, but also offer them a future career.

When I was very young our gardener's son went off to do his NS. He'd been a bit wayward, but returned as a very solid young man. His two year training had given him all he needed to get his life in order. I'm sure that the same could be done for the likes of the youths above. They seem to enjoy the safety of 'a gang', so NS could suit them well.

The words 'National Service' still have unpleasant connotations, so I might suggest that we need another name. What we don't want is a 'National let me wrap you in cotton wool Service'. I would be pleased to have your thoughts on the idea.

I am definitely 'for'. There are probably hundreds of thousands of such children hanging about on our streets, and they deserve better. I feel that society is letting them down, and not vice versa.


Wednesday 3 January 2024


The last time I ate Jellied Eels was when I lived in London. There was a tiny 'Eels and Pie' bar in The City near to where I worked, and occasionally I would treat myself.

I was very surprised yesterday to find this tub in Sainsbury's. I just had to have them.

They're not everyone's cup of tea, especially those who assess with their eyes rather than their taste buds. They don't look that appealing; but then nor do Oysters or Spiney Crabs.

I suppose the only bit most people would complain about are the bones that run through the middle, but once the technique of removing them is mastered, it is no longer a problem.

The flavour of the Eels themselves is very pleasant, as is the Jelly that surrounds them. Would I buy them again? I'm thinking about it; maybe in a few weeks time.

Verdict: 8/10


Tuesday 2 January 2024

Britannia Coco-Nutters Bacup Market

At this time of year, and at Easter, we expect to see Morris dancers in our villages, outside our Pubs, and generally in town squares. They have become a part of English culture, dating back possibly to around 1450.

I've always rather liked the Britannia side, who have the strange habit of beginning their dance by cupping their ears to unheard voices, then wagging their fingers at each other. I believe the 'blackface' refers to their coming from a mining community.

I've not seen any live Morris dancing for many years, but when I was young we saw them often. There's nothing 'refined' about their dances, but I think that's what makes them such fun.

So, here are the Bacup Coco-Nutters strutting their stuff. If you know nothing of Morris Dancing, these lads are a fine example.

Monday 1 January 2024

RIP's of 2023

I'll start with a non-human RIP, and that is the Sycamore Gap Tree that some idiot sawed down. Several people will appear in court this year, and if found guilty I hope they'll have the book thrown at them. Vandalism of the worst sort, pure and simple!

Amongst notable deaths in 2023 have been Lady M's old IOW school friend Jane Birkin, and England's favourite Footballer Bobby Charlton. 

Artist Joe Tilson (who I once spent some time chatting with at the ICA), all-round genius Barry Humphries, and dog-lover Lily Savage (Paul O'Grady) also succumbed.

And finally, I would also like to remember each and every one of the 1,139 innocent Israelis who were so brutally tortured and slaughtered on October 7th by Palestinian Hamas terrorists.

May they all rest in peace.

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