Archive for December, 2019

The tea is mine

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

The tea is mine. There is no room for unfounded spurious claims of ownership. Time darkens, purposeful brew. The fire flickers, roars, shouting at the hand that feeds. My attention is grabbed, enlightened. Background noises comfort. There is peace.

Shopping lists 2020

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

31st dec




Mar ma lade

More bread?


Maybs a few breakfastey items

Castor sugar (for welsh cakes)

24th dec

Birthday cake


Spray on carpet cleaner

Icing sugar



Hannah starter xmas day

1 bag ice

Every day mature cheddar 

Lettuce (check fridge)


Vegetable spring rolls with mint leaves and sweet chilli dipping sauce

15th dec


2 x packs butter (to make shortbread biscuits)

Flowers for iris (£5 max)


Frozen peas

1 fresh green veg (eg beans or broccoli)


Potatoes for chips


Xmas mkt party (partial)

Diet lemonade 2 bots

Pink wine

Coke x 2

Diet coke x 2

Diet tonic x 4

Summat vegetarean

6th oct

Cranberry juice (or raspberry juice or both)



Lunch stuff for tref

17th sept



Spuds for frites

Anything I see that will go with white fish

14the sept


Bread rolls

Bbq meeet




Smoked paprika


Petrol for mower



5th sept


Ad blue


Coffee for Anne

Anything else I fancy

Anne toothbrush

1st September


Fresh pasta

CIF cleaning stuff

Normal sized bin bags


Fresh basil

21st August



17th Aug – Keralan vegetable istoo

Baby new pots



Green beans


Cinnamon stick

Black peppercorns

Fresh curry leaves




Green finger chillies

Tin coconut milk

Ground turmeric


Mango paneer skewers

Chickpea flour

Hard paneer



Chilli powder

Mango chutney?


Tomato puree

Fresh coriander

Tamarind and caramelized red onion rice

Basmati rice

Sesame seeds

Curry leaves

Red onions

Cumin seeds

Tamarind paste

chilli powder

7th Aug 

Pick up fosters meat

Brown bread


Multi packs crisps



Chicken pieces


Castlegate order 4th aug

4 popadoms


2 x Plain naan

Pilau rice

Lamb dopiaza

Festival run


Ice bricks


Cheap oj & aj


Sliced bread – 5 loaves at least


19th july

Brown rice

Double cream


Butter x2

Joint for Sunday  

Frozen peas

Clothes washing tablets 

Orange juice & any other breakfast items NOT beans or sausages 


Toe may toes


6th July 

Baking powder

15th june

Apple juice


Frozen peas



13th june



Bacon medallions



30th may

Baked beans


Tin plum toms

Jack Daniels bbq marinade

1 pint Milk

Tonights tea for tref – lamb neck fillet


Jersey royals

Bacon medallions


Frute – strawbs and nectarines

Something else

Sat 25th may


Bacon medallions


Small spuds


Grean beens 

Small wholemeal

Natch yog 

Big bags compost


Tuesday 23rd – waitrose



Green beans


Any bargs but not pork cos we already have a load

Good Friday 2019

Boneless shoulder or leg of lamb

New potatoes

Tonight’s tea

Salmon or simlar 

Bbq stuff


More of same


Low fat mayo 

Thursday 18th April


Mixed veg

Gas cylinder refills

Dust pan and brush



Voltarol gel

Find out Tesco Easter opening hours

Sat 13th April





Tins Tom’s

Tuesday 26th March

Smoked paprika

Tomayto ketchup




Stuff for pylons at the weekend

Fruit (peaches?)

snack a jacks Salt n vinegar rice cakes


Thursday 21st March







Cottage fromage 


Shopping list sunday 17th march 2019


Wickes Pine Parting Bead Moulding – 20mm X 8mm X 2.4m

Passport photo

Small screw lightbulb

Cleat hook

Shopping list wednesday 13th march 2019

Frozen peas

Tandoori powder

Cumin powder


the 3 guitars

Monday, December 16th, 2019

In this room there are three guitars. One of them, my Takamine, stands proudly and comfortably on a guitar stand. It was a 40th birthday present from my sisters and is loved. One of them has a broken tuning key and is little used. I bought this guitar in Cadiz whilst on holiday. I keep meaning to fix it as it is a useful enough Spanish guitar and complements the steel string Takamine. It will probably need new strings as does the Takamine, so I’m told. The third guitar is of unknown provenance and has in fact just been noticed. What is its story? Tucked away in the corner behind some other instruments. From the perspective of the sofa it doesn’t look full sized. Perhaps I should dispose of it. I will take advice when everyone is home for the Christmas holiday.

Christmas 2019

Sunday, December 15th, 2019

It’s Sunday morning. I’ve cooked breakfast and am now sitting in the front room with a cup of black coffee. Espresso actually. Probably more coffee than is sensible. The choir of King’s College Cambridge is providing relaxing background music with their extensive repertoire of Christmas carols. Still ten days to go but hey…

Anne has gone to church leaving me with the sole job of putting up the outside lights. I’m not a big fan of outside lights at Christmas but Anne likes them and these are reasonably discrete. The other job on the list is one I don’t consider to be a job and that is shopping at Waitrose. I like shopping at Waitrose. I find it relaxing. I will have all this done by lunchtime, by the time Anne comes home.

The run up to Christmas is very hectic. We are extremely fortunate in having lots of nice friends with who we have a routine leading up to the big day. Our own Christmas Market Party, trefbash in London, the Wards and the Brittain’s parties and then with the kids home the countdown to the 25th December: the big shop, picking up the meat, the Morning Star Carol session, Christmas Eve spent quietly prepping the food for the next day and maybe a couple of beers early doors in the Morning Star or Strugglers before dinner. 

This year the vote for dinner on Christmas Eve has been takeaway Chinese and Indian. People get to choose one or the other or indeed a mix of both – crispy duck starter and lamb balti main for example. It works. Anne will go to midnight mass and I will probably be in bed by the time she gets back.

Christmas Day itself is far more civilised than in the years where the kids were small and woke up ridiculously early to see if Santa had been. Present unwrapping would have been a frenzy of flying paper with us parents trying to keep track of which child had been given which present from which relative. Now we have to get them out of bed. The present opening still has an element of flying paper but it is far more controlled.

Breakfast is traditional with every individual choice catered for. I especially like tinned grapefruit segments on Christmas Day because I remember having them when I was small.

I will probably delegate the job of lighting the fire to a responsible adult whilst I take charge of the kitchen and the preparation of Christmas lunch. We usually have a rack of beef with trimmings by request. 

Before lunch we usually have people round for drinks. After lunch we are fortunate enough to have a sufficient quantity of settees for everyone to be able to crash. This year we have the Queen (as in Freddie Mercury) DVD to watch as a family. Games tend not to be on the menu much to Anne’s disappointment. When she was a girl at home the Websters always played games. We Davieses never have the energy left to do this. It is one of my (few) regrets in our marriage that I fall short at this benchmark of husbandly qualities.

This year on Boxing Day we are again off to Holt to see the rest of the family: the Cooksons and Dad and Sue and then Aunty Pat and Uncle Ted. Good times.

2019 has been another action packed and eventful year, perhaps more than most. It seems to have been peak year for globe trotting. Anne and I flew to Hong Kong for New Year’s Even followed by ten days or so in Thailand. Hong Kong was fun but bitterly cold. This is something we hadn’t planned for. Our suitcases were full mostly of shorts and tshirts ready for the tropics. We survived.

The rest of the year trips to Reykjavik, Toulouse, Rotterdam and Amsterdam (one long series of conferences), Moscow, Barcelona, the Isle of Man, Washington DC, Antwerp and Brussels in no particular order. There have also been many trips around the UK. It’s been a hectic but memorable year.

Particularly to the fore of our collective memory was the cancellation of the Beyond The Woods festival due to high winds that could have proved dangerous to the public. Many other events were cancelled that weekend and the weather didn’t let us down, so to speak. The decision to cancel was the toughest business decision I/we had ever had to make. It was outside both our experience and comfort zones. It wasn’t taken lightly. We sounded out many sources of authority and advice before pressing the button.

The irony was that on theThursday, where the number of volunteers on site helping with the build was at its peak, the weather was idyllic. At lunchtime we assembled everyone in a marquee and Tom gave everyone the news. The mood was very subdued. People had worked on this project for a year and the excitement levels were at a peak.

I have to say I was very proud of the way the whole team handled the situation. I won’t name them but they know who they are. After a break for lunch everyone got on with the job of undoing all the work they had been doing and the core team continued the process of informing artists, vendors and other contractors and suppliers that the gig was off.

By 5pm everyone was emotionally exhausted.  We all downed tools and began to party. That night ranked as one of the best parties we have ever had. Everyone released their pent up emotions and danced. 

The festival has moved on and planning is well under way for 2020 when we expect put on a bigger and better than ever show.

Our year as a Davies family has been highly successful. Our children are all giving us reasons to be proud of them. I won’t embarrass them individually.

The year has not been great for everyone. Friends have experienced personal tragedy that has affected the whole community. Sometimes things happen in life that are difficult to understand end even harder to cope with. Our thoughts go out to them. 

It is sometimes difficult to reconcile your own good fortune with the bad luck of others. It reinforces my own philosophy of getting as much out of life as possible whilst we still can.

So as we approach the holidays I’d like to everyone best wishes from the whole Davies family. May Santa bring your heart’s desire and may 2020 be a wonderful year for you.

Staring down the gunbarrel of 58

Monday, December 9th, 2019

58 is here. Thus far it has been represented by a couple of cups of tea in bed, the opening of two cards (kids and Mrs D), the unveiling of my new guitar stand (v useful and good quality) and cooking myself a full Lincolnshire. I won’t need anything else to eat until tonight’s takeaway curry.

My Out of Office Message is on stating the facts. 

Thus far 58 has revealed little other than a determination that with the passing of mid fifties and the entrance into late fifties it’s about time I started to get a little fitter. A lot fitter actually.

This is not as simple as it seems, if it ever appeared thus. Christmas is coming hard on the rails and the festivities are in full swing. Tomorrow is the Wright Vigar Christmas Drinks do. We will be in London from Wednesday until Saturday immersing ourselves in the festive spirit. Ie gin, brandy etc. Upon our return we have the Brittain’s Christmas Party, an annual gastronomic delight.  Next week we have a quiet start building up to the annual Capacity Yorkshire conference in York on Friday, the Shed 7 gig in Manchester on Saturday and culminating with the Morning Star Christmas Carols session on Sunday.

After that it’s Christmas proper. You know the form.