Archive for July, 2023

moving home

Monday, July 31st, 2023

Hannah and George moved into their new home in Chelmsford over the weekend. It’s a major milestone in life. It felt exactly the same as when I moved into my first house on Waldeck Street thirty nine years ago!!

The major difference is that when I moved it all I had was my “stuff” and a double bed and a fridge that had been left in place. H&G had two full transit van loads and two Land Rover Defender with the seats down loads.

Team ‘family’ kicked into action and we got them in. Knackering though especially the two nights on an airbed and the lengthy periods of driving. We went for the airbed option rather than a hotel because we wanted to be in the middle of the action. Was the right thing to do. 

We left them late yesterday afternoon to get on with their lives. V exciting.

This morning, after a good night’s sleep in our own bed, the discomfort of the spare room floor has been forgotten. Coincidentally I will be spending some of next week in a tent in similar conditions. Somehow being in a tent makes all the difference. The main issue tent-wise is the late night/early morning trip to the facilities, especially if it is raining. We are talking North Wales here. I’m hoping my pitch will be next to a hedge but not totes confident. It’s a roll of the dice.

We are due some heat. July has been a washout, mostly. Pretty much normal British summer weather. There is no sign of change. This is far preferable to the forty odd degree temperatures they have been seeing in southern Europe. Why would you go there on holiday? This is where we are bound in September but I’m very sure things will have improved by then. Probs. Praps. Maybs 🙂

Got an email from the Apple dealer whilst we were away. They have ordered parts for my non-charging Macbook Pro. Didn’t say what but unlikely to be cheap. Hooray for my foresight in taking out AppleCare. Will renew it when the cover is up, if they do that sort of thing.

The garden is very green. Hardly a surprise considering my comments on the month of July. Tomato crop, though bountiful, still not ripe. The shallots and onions however might well be lifted this week. I have time at the back end. Looks like a reasonable crop of eating apples. They do still need to grow a bit more which is something out of our control. ‘Cookers’ not as plentiful this season.

The kale crop has been very successful this year. This is all well and good. Whilst I don’t mind greens with my dinner the kale has been very prevalent, entering the menu both at lunchtimes and for evening meals. Reminded me of the second world war where at certain times of the year there would be a glut of particular vegetables. Carrots for example. Different era.

Meanwhile I have to drop the car off at the garage. See ya later.

Having not been able to pay the Dartford Crossing toll over the weekend as their website was down for maintenance (for four days!) I am now in a queue to get onto their site as four days worth of motorists try to pay. The experience has not been great with either the tunnel (massive congestion) and now the website (massive congestion!).

pictures, poetry and plays

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

Up early, before six am, having had a good night’s sleep. The rain has moved on for now after leaving its mark. The front room is still a jumble of odds and ends waiting to be packed into the car for tomorrow’s journey to Hannah and George’s new place. A canteen of cutlery, lampshade, soft furnishings, a wallpaper steamer. Odds and ends.

The conservatory sits still like a painting or photograph. The piano, table and chairs and rocking chair, picture on the wall, plants. Must be the light. Raindrops adorn the glazing. The doors are more than slightly ajar.

I have two bookcases in this room. The one next to the door which we had custom built to fit the space is made of walnut. It holds perhaps four hundred and fifty books on seven shelves. Quite a wide bookcase that is secured to the wall at the top. Would not be good if it toppled over.

The other bookcase is smaller and is built of some African wood perhaps. Don’t recall where we picked it up. It contains mostly poetry and plays.

Six men in a boat

Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

The rain has gone. The gutter on the store room/potting shed needs fixing but that is another story.

There is something quite special about a garden after the rains have gone and the sun begins to shine. I was going to say romantic but I don’t think that’s quite the word. The shed doors are open and a slight breeze moves the seed heads on the grasses near the deck.

In the greenhouse we will today be trimming back the foliage around the tomato plants to encourage growing and ripening of the fruits. Looks like being a good crop after what seemed like a slow start.

Today is a day for getting stuff done as tomorrow is somewhat of a wipeout being the lads boating trip from Burton Waters. Jezzer bought the trip in a charity auction a year ago so we thought we should get it in before the next Burton Club hog roast and the next auction.

The trip starts at 10am and will involve the trading of much nautical banter and the consumption of grog. Suspect they don’t sell grog in Waitrose so we may have to improvise. The biggest issue I foresee is the absence of a refrigerator on the boat. Even if there was one I doubt it would be big enough to hold all the supplies we are likely to be bringing along. 

The last thing you want on a lads boat trip is to run out of supplies. Look out for the movie: six men in a boat. No Montmorency though. Apart from me they are all dog owners and it would be a recipe for disaster if it were six men and five dogs in a boat. I doubt there would still be eleven passengers by the end of the voyage.

There is limited scope for exploring distant horizons on a boat from Burton Waters. Turn right and you get as far as Torksey Lock. I think there might be one pub, maybe two in that direction.

Turning left, sorry to the port side, takes you past Carholme Golf Club and into the City of Lincoln’s great harbour that is the Brayford Wharf. Here you will find a multitude of hostelries eager to sell you refreshment and sustenance that will keep you going for your return journey.

We need to book a cab out but THG has said she can provide transportation back. It is unlikely that the day will finish there. When sailors hit port they like to let their hair down after a long voyage in cramped conditions.

I suspect that, apart from the decision on which pubs to visit, the hardest bit will be to find a volunteer to drive. Personally, despite being the holder of an RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Certificate, I would prefer to sit back and enjoy the journey rather than have to navigate the perils of the Fossdyke Navigation, at 5mph!

I daresay you will hear more of the jaunt at least when you go to see the film and in the meantime I have a Macbook to take to the menders. Ciao…

The rain hath returned. Not quite in biblical proportions but heavy enough to render my trainers, left drying on the conservatory step, unusable for tomorrow. I am sitting in the front room avoiding the television. THG and I could not agree on a mutually acceptable programme.

Instead I am listening to some jazz classics, currently playing Summertime with Ella Fitzgerald and Satchmo.

I am ready for tomorrow’s voyage into the unknown. Suitable clothing laid out: shorts and t shirt and all relevant food and beverage items cooling in the refrigerator. Taxi is booked for oh nine thirty. Prior to departure I have an eight thirty conference call to discuss changes to the website and I need to cook and eat a sausage sandwich. You can’t go on a long sea journey without suitable fortification.

We cast off at ten o’clock shortly after which the sun will officially be over the yardarm. This is a later start than when we are off to the cricket or the rugby. We are clearly approaching the trip with suitable deference to to health and safety, it being a waterborne adventure.

Nobody has any real notion of what lies ahead, none of us having previously been further than the horizon. Will we encounter seaborne Leviathans? Scylla and Charybdis? Dark haired sirens with the body of a fish and hypnotic screams designed to draw us onto the rocks? We must remain strong, resolute, hiding our personal fears and drawing deep on the false confidence induced by navy rum.

Shipmates one and all. Jolly Jack tars. A lifelong bond of friendship that can only be created out of hardship, common experience and being cooped up for six hours on a small pleasure boat on the Fossdyke Navigation. We are prepared for anything that Neptune can throw at us.

I recall earlier this year when walking along a beach on the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean seeing a coconut washed ashore and thinking to myself such is the way that desert islands become a lush green paradise. There was plenty of evidence of palm trees seeded in this way.

This feels very similar to the anticipation now being felt in advance of tomorrow’s great voyage. I will shortly repair early to my hammock for hopefully a good night’s sleep to prepare myself for the journey.

Goodnight to all adventurers out there.

shred of evidence

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

This morning I’ve been shredding the evidence. Well, just loads of old receipts and snailmail. Also been for a swim, had two conference calls and popped to GoOutdoors to buy some new sandals. Had to order them in as they didn’t have my size. Snorraproblem.

After lunch I will mow the lawn.

The onions are doing very well. I’d say potentially harvestable in the next week or so and certainly before the end of August. Also the blackberry picking season has just got going. THG is a dab hand at blackberry and apple crumble, yum.

Hannah and George have just moved into their new home.

V exciting. I remember the day I took possession of my first house. All it had in it was a double bed and a fridge. It’s all a 22 year old bloke needed really. Somewhere to keep the champagne and somewhere to drink it.

Macbook is booked in for some TLC

Was a bit of a result really. I was pondering whether being two years old it was still under warranty. Upon investigation I discovered that I had the foresight to take out Apple Care at the time of purchase. Were my middle name not Trefor it might be Foresight. 

I realise that many of you will now say there is no such name but I would like to bet that somewhere in the US of A there has in the last few decades been someone born whose parents named him or her Foresight.

Didn’t have my size in stock.

The sandals that is. This will be my third pair of Merrells. They don’t last forever but they are very comfortable and good for walking in. The idea is not to have to use socks all summer. I also need some new flip flops but GoOutdoors stopped selling them. 

Popping into town tomorrow.

When I pop into town tomorrow with my Macbook I’ll swing by Sketchers. My old pair were Sketchers and v good. Bought em in the Sketchers store in San Francisco during Nanog before the world closed down for business for two years.

Didn’t know we had a branch of Sketchers in Lincoln.

This shows you how often I go into town. Hardly ever. I often pick a family member up from down there. There’s a handy spot near the Cheese Society which is a great shop but one I only visit at Christmas whereupon a small fortune is laid out. Difficult to know when to stop when it comes to cheese innit.

Eirias Stadium

Monday, July 24th, 2023

What a week that was. Royal Albert Hall, Ronnie Scotts and the grand finale at the Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay to watch out lad John play with Josh Barry in front of a sell out crowd, in the rain. Torrential rain. A penetrating, soaking wetness that followed us around in puddle filled trails even when we made it to the sanctuary of the Marine pub after we left the stadium.

The gig was a triumphant success. A hugely responsive crowd reacted well at all the right times. Must have been a real buzz playing on that stage. I took 202 pics and vids, all characterised by a curtain of water in front of the lens.

We met John by the sound desk afterwards for a family hug and some proud congratulatory noises. After staying for a couple of songs by the headliner Rag n Bone man we headed to the hostelry and some warming tots of whisky.

Most of us will never get to play music in front of five thousand cheering fans. As parents we are glad to be able to live again though our sons and daughters and boy did we do that last night.

The band were staying locally last night and stopping off at Home Farm on the way home today for some rest and relaxation. Living the rock and roll dream 🙂

Working out of the iPad right now. MacBook looking a bit dodge. Battery needs a service. Not sure what that’s all about. It ain’t that old.

We are sitting quietly together. One finishing a jumper and the other jotting down some thoughts. Notes. Musings. The tapping of the keyboard has replaced the scratching of quill on paper.

The guitar stands quietly in the corner of the room. Motionless. Doesn’t feel quite right. A guitar should live an active life. Not necessarily frenetic although it could be. Certainly upbeat. Sometimes melancholic.

Photographs look down upon me from the walls and books sit silently, waiting, knowledgeably. I can hear my breathing.

The golden hour is in full flow in marked contrast with the grey deluge of yesterday. A battleship could have hidden itself in plain sight. Bump! My god what was that? Oh it was a battleship!

Good companions.

Featured image courtesy of Josh Barry.

philosopherontap posts up to date

Sunday, July 23rd, 2023

Whilst enjoying a bit of downtime I’ve been bringing my philosopherontap posts up to date. I stick most of what I write on Facebook on, often a superset. It started as my creative writing site but nowadays as often as not I just update the diary bit. I typically upload them in batches every couple of weeks or so.

Websites are not very permanent records of things as no doubt one day for whatever reason it will no longer be maintained. Folk will have to rely on the wayback machine or whatever it is called, assuming that keeps going. I do periodically back it up and someday will print the lot. That will take muchas ink and paper!

In the meantime the news is my macbook pro doesn’t seem to want to charge. This is not good. It’s stuck on 28% battery. The charging light comes on as does the battery charging symbol but something ain’t right.

After our walk this morning we stopped by Gray Thomas’ caff for a cuppa. One the way back to the Black Boy I popped in to Ty Becws to but some bara brith and Welsh cakes. Unfortunately they’d sold out of the latter so will nip back after breakfast to get some to take back to Lincoln. The siop opens at oh eight thirty.

train strikes today

Thursday, July 20th, 2023

Well, train strikes today. I’m on the late running 09.43 out of Euston which was delayed to 10.33. My train is the now delayed 10.47 so just jumped on the earlier one. Train is rammed and I am sitting, nay squashed in standard class so even more rammed. Didn’t think it was worth the extra seventy quid to sit in first with no catering. I know, I know, yes I am feeling ok 🙂

I have with me a bottle of water but will need no other sustenance having eaten well at the hotel. The seats are quite cramped. Headed north to visit the Tatton Park Flower Show. Never been. Strangely looking forward to the day out with THG. It will be greatly enhanced by her subject matter expertise. Not sure I’ve ever been to a flower show before. In fact I definitely haven’t. Never too late to start innit. 

Listening to the cricket on BBC Sounds. Connectivity is a bit iffy but better than nothing. Big day ahead. Wicket taken with the first ball of the day, yay. Good start.

Twas a splendid night out in town last night courtesy of my pal Simon Burckhardt. Ronnie Scotts followed by dinner at Hoppers and finishing off with the cabaret at the Phoenix Arts Club. Actually no, we finished off at the Cambridge pub after that. A good time was had by all.

The four of us on this table, after initial pleasantries and banter about train delays, are buried in our own space. Three of us on laptops and the woman opposite started on her book but has put that down and is using her phone.

Most people in the carriage are using their phones. I’m amazed there is any signal whatsoever. The cell sites up and down this line must have a lot of channel capacity. Unusual for a site in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by farmland.

The girl across the aisle from me has bright cobalt blue hair and is wearing puffy silver trousers and heavy black boots. She must be very warm in them. I’m just in shorts and tshirt. Guy sat next to me has eaten his sandwich but left the crusts. Strange. Also has his coat on!


Not particularly comfortable seats these. They don’t recline. We are slowly meandering through Birmingham. If there is one place you don’t want to really slowly meander through it is Birmingham.

Wearing my INEX hoodie

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

On the train south and just realised that the flippin cricket is on. Now listening in my phones. Wearing my INEX hoodie just because outside the cocoon of the train carriage is typical British summer weather. Hoodies ain’t just for kids.

Couple sat opposite headed for Hong Kong. Said it was business as usual unless you were a political activist. Not sure when I’ll be going back though. Probably never. Can’t just keep going places.

Travel and getting to see different parts of the world is fine, all well and good, but it is not the be all and end all. There is more to life. 

For example our tomato crop is coming along nicely. The solar powered irrigation however is not totally working and we have been watering with the hose. I think some of the nozzles are blocked. This is eminently fixable but it does need me to allocate bandwidth to the cause. Right now I’m heading into town for an evening at Ronnie Scotts. Ronnie Scotts = not fixing the irrigation system.

We have a fairly diverse few days ahead of us. Night out with Barbara and George in Chester tomorrow, Tatton Park Flower Show on Friday, boating in Beaumaris with the Jameses on Saturday and off with Rhys and Eirian to see Josh Barry and Rag n Bone man on Sunday, featuring John Davies on alto sax. None of which gets the irrigation system sorted but hey…

PS Phoenix Arts Club later tonight if anyone wants to tag along

Just past an old looking geezer in train. Interesting how some people look old. I’m sixty one. When I were a lad I thought that was old and that people that age wore cardigans and ties and just looked the part. Now I see people like that and wonder how old they could possibly be. Even if they were seventy one that’s not much of an age gap really these days.

When I die don’t want no coffin, thought about it all too often, just strap me in behind the wheel and bury me in my automobile.

The week ahead is sponsored by yoyo

Monday, July 17th, 2023

The week ahead is sponsored by yoyo as I will be up and down to London twice. Even Thursday’s train strike is not going to affect proceedings fingers crossed. Meanwhile I am consuming a cup of tea in the conservatory. My taxi is two and a half hours distant.

It is a Monday morning and the road in front of the house sounds very busy. The noise is exacerbated by the wetness of the road. Last week before schools break up here, unless you are rich and privately educate your children in which case they will already be on holiday.

The concept of a long summer holiday is a good one and has much to be recommended. Work is highly overrated anyway. I realise that someone’s got to do it. Who would otherwise attend to the estate. That ornamental lake doesn’t look after itself you know and the stone temple that stands on the island in the middle would soon lapse into a state of disrepair. It needs regular clearance of the jungle around it.

I wonder what chef has prepared for dinner tonight? Ah no, we are dining out. 🙂

The train has left the station, southbound for some metropolitan culture action. Urban sophisticates r us. The carriage is moderately full and has an excited group of what could be RAF types (clean cut etc) headed somewhere on holiday. They are loud but not intrusive. It’s a great feeling going off on holiday, especially with a gang of pals.

I have a table of four to myself. The couple that was due to join me at Grantham spotted a preferable place in the pod behind me. Result. These tables for four in first class are really only designed to take two people at most and ideally just me.

Hurtling we are, hurtling through the ripe fields of pre harvest England. Not a soul in sight. The end game for the agricultural revolution. Everyone has moved to the city and is now rushing around in the satanic factories of Empire in the grim shadows of smoke filled stacks. Either that or home working at their job in IT/accounts/marketing etc etc. etc.

In my phones I am listening to Perlman play Bruch’s Violin Concerto No1. One of my faves and the reason I am headed to the Royal Albert Hall tonight. Not Perlman playing. Not sure he is even still alive. Some Korean or thereabouts superstar violinist. Suretwillbegood.

Our kids were all educated in a state school. With four of them that probably saved me a seven figure sum of money, start to finish, assuming they went to Eton or simlar. Just think of what I’d have had to sacrifice in order to get them through school…

A lazy start to the day

Sunday, July 16th, 2023

A lazy start to the day. No breakfast as John and I are dining out this morning. A rare treat. The lad has been home for a few days and heads back to the bright lights this evening. Will be seeing him again tomorrow when we head to the Royal Albert Hall for the proms. Bruch’s violin concerto amongst others.

Looks windy out there this morning. The wagging tail of hurricane Evangeline. Not really. Just thought it sounded good. I toyed with calling it hurricane Methuselah but decided against that. Not completely satisfied with Evangeline but there is no mileage in wasting any more time on it.

We appear to be missing the extremes of weather being seen by the rest of the world. Forty six degrees Centigrade in parts of southern Europe. Floods elsewhere. Just typical British summer weather here. I’m not too unhappy with that. As long as it doesn’t get too wet when I go camping at the Eisteddfod in August. Now that I’ve said that it will of course chuck it down. We are talking Pwllheli!

Uphill Lincoln seems quiet this morning. I guess it isn’t nine o’clock yet. Sunday and all that. Folk will be easing themselves into the day. Reading the paper. We used to get the Sunday Times but stopped that perhaps a quarter of a century ago. Certainly before we moved to this house. A different era. Trying to think what else I’ve stopped doing in that time but nothing immediately springs to mind. Certainly nothing relating to the changing times. 

Bought a Financial Times a few weekends ago. The Saturday issue is a good read. It was four quid if I remember right. Thought about an online subscription but I wouldn’t use it enough to justify the three hundred and something pounds.

I have stopped going to the pub on a regular basis. Early doors on a Friday night used to be a thing. Now it’s only an occasional visit. Covid put an end to that routine. That and a low carb diet.

Sometimes if I was travelling back from somewhere I’d stop off at the Morning Star for a couple and call Anne to say I was just passing Newark. That gave me half an hour. It was a lot easier to do after they banned smoking in pubs. I suspect Anne was never fooled anyway 🙂…

Looking at the heatwave hitting Europe and remembering the hot summer we had last year I pondered getting an aircon unit in. We had one but it fell out of use and eventually took it to the tip. Part of me says now is the right time to buy when it is not hot in the UK. However part of me says if it gets too hot the only sensible thing to do is to down tools and sit in the shade with a cold drink. Right now I’m not buying aircon 🙂

Had an excellent lunch prepared by THG. Noodle soup. Didn’t make breakfast at Waitrose and instead had yo gurt, berries and gra nola. Then cracked on with the jobslist. Getting to the point where all the low hanging fruit has been picked, so to speak and now facing gargantuan tasks such as  tidying the garage. Tidying the garage is a minimum one day effort where the all the contents have to be emptied into the front drive and replaced far more efficiently and orderly. I anticipate finding a few things that I’ve noticed are lost. It will have to wait until the week after next.

In the meantime I’ve put up some shelves, fixed a trellis, marinated the pork blown the leaves away from the front, prepped some courgettes for the barbecue as well as getting some stuffed mushrooms with roquefort, onion and sun dried tomato filling ready. Also got the deets for the Halfords roof box and three lots of roof bars that we are selling on Facebook Marketplace. More clutter gone from the garage.

As well as tidying the garage I need to affix a bike rack mount on the wall. Bought last year but not used the damn thing yet and it gets in the way in front of my bench.

Forty one minutes past twelve

Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Forty one minutes past twelve. Saturday. Afternoon. The wind is getting up. Storm brewing.

The main news of the day is that the gravel I bought yesterday to ‘top up’ the drive doesn’t look as if it is the right stuff. This is a slight problem as the previous lot I bought earlier in the week wasn’t right either. The gravel in the drive has been down for maybe fifteen to twenty years so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that this latest lot doesn’t match. The original quarry was probs used up, so to speak. The right stuff is probably a mix of the two lots tried this week. In actual fact we can probably just rake the new stuff in with the old and nobody will notice. See how it goes innit.

It is good that the main news concerns gravel. It could have been much graver. Pestilence, floods, the ravages of war. You could visit websites that would tell you that pestilence, floods and war are indeed the main issue of concern and which never mention gravel. 

The choice is yours: gravel or pestilence. I know which one I would go for. Pestilence can bloody pee off. Estilence. No ‘p’.

As I mentioned there is a storm a brewing. A thunderstorm. We will be shut away in the shed watching the Ladies Final at Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis Club or simlar. Safe from floods. A gentle rain has started and the first claps of thunder rent the air. Now the rain is coming down heavier and a frisson runs down my spine. Vertical heavy rain beating on the shed roof. No drummer could match this intensity.

The shed doors are wide open to the garden. The lights are on. I need to go in for lunch. Umbrella have I. An old Timico branded job kept in the shed for this very purpose.

video video

Friday, July 14th, 2023

Sat in a room waiting for a video call to start. Video is my preferred means of communication these days especially as everyone has access to all means of video calling. I like being able to jump into the ‘room’ and just sit there doing other things whilst waiting for the other party/ies to rock up. On this occasion the guy at the other end has messaged me saying he is going to be another five mins. Sokay.

It is a Friday. The height of the British summer. Mens semi finals on at Wimbledon, the Ashes in full flow, golf last night, and it is raining.

We had the video call btw. Also had my very first sports massage. In the shed. Wow worra difference. Had v tight muscles in my legs. Now they are a lot less tight. I am almost bounding up the stairs. Amazing. Already booked the next massage. Tuesday afternoon when I get back from London.

I had a dream

Thursday, July 13th, 2023

I had a dream. Problem is I can’t remember it. How many great ideas have been lost like this. If you don’t wake up and write it down immediately it is gone. Gone I tell you, gone.

Then I awoke, pondering the great question of the day. Do I stay in bed and try and get a bit more kip or shall I just get up? I headed downstairs. Now I’m sat quietly in the TV room. The light is different here in the early morning compared with the conservatory. North facing. Quite a nice diffused light.

The road outside is quiet, helped by the double glazing we had installed last year. The whoops of the pesky wood pigeons, often quite intrusive when sat at the back of the house, are barely audible here at the front.

For some reason the TV room does not inspire the flow of words in the way the conservatory does. Perhaps it is because here I am sat in front of a wall as opposed to surrounded by the greenery of the back garden. Verdure. Verdant, verdamus. A new Latin declension? Dunno what it means. I’m a rookie here. Green.

Blue sky up there. I’m looking for two or three degrees warmer than it has been. Not complaining but just that little bit more makes all the difference. Shed doors wide open versus slightly ajar.

In the shed the noise of the birds in the garden is loud.

In the shed, they don’t remember your name

worshipful company of wheeltappers

Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

With sleep filled eyes I walk slowly down the stairs.

The grass needs cutting and it is observed that the lemon tree in the pot in the conservatory has shed most of its leaves. We’ve never managed to grow a lemon. Google tells me we need to feed it regularly and change the top two inches of compost every spring. This we have not been doing, I’m sure. I need to head out this morning so will purchayse some citrus feed. Too late for this season but a lesson learnt. Perhaps.

The day grows brighter.

Today the shed is due a tidy. Gotta shift some stuff to the attic, a task made easier by the fact that John is home for a few days. He has to get back to London for a rehearsal on Monday. He is supporting Rag n Bone man at his Colwyn Bay gig the following weekend. Biggest gig so far. Exciting. Honk that saxophone.

I’ll be in London meself on Monday.

Got tickets for the 5th Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Quite excited. Bruch’s violin concerto. I have it on vinyl. Dinner beforehand. Italian. Never been to a prom concert. The “last night” puts me off. I can’t cope with that jingoistic stuff. Should be good. We were at the RAH last October for a Pink Martini gig. Very different to Bruch but very fantastic.

There is a pigeon on the conservatory roof.

When you have a cup of tea is it accompanied by a drop of milk or a splash of milk? This thought came to mind this morning over breakfast as I accurately splashed a drop of milk into my cup. This is a skill developed over fifty years or so of drinking tea. I wasn’t an early starter on the tea front. 

It isn’t a science although some nerdy boff or other might have a different view: ‘the ratio of milk to tea needs to be exactly x% for the perfect cup’. Rubbish of course. I mostly drink English breakfast tea but do occasionally stray to a milkless variety such as mint, green or camomile. Something different to add variety to life. We all like variety. A break in our otherwise humdrum existence. Bring back the Wheel Tappers and Shunters Social Club 🙂

Presumably they still have wheeltappers to this day. In the days of cost savings I imagine that drivers have to do their own shunting. Another lost profession. Skill. Wheel tapping is, however, all about health and safety innit. Can’t afford to cut corners there. 

Takes years to properly train a wheeltapper. It’s all about training the ear. Not everyone can do it. You have to be born a wheeltapper. A job handed down through the generations. Wouldn’t surprise me to find that  there is a Worshipful Company of Wheeltappers. They deserve that kind of recognition. Let me know if you come across it. Couldn’t be bothered to look meself 🙂

fresh old morning

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

Tis a fresh old morning out there. Not entirely true as the day is still relatively young. Fresh it is though. The garden would appear to have had a good soaking overnight. This is as it should be. The correct order of things.

It remains cloudy. Good job there is now a break between test matches. We need some sustained good weather, at least during the day. The next match is in Manchester. Doubly challenging when it comes to weather.

Enough of this meteorological drizzle, I mean drivel. I am expecting a new bag today. A Dr Duffel 70litre in mustard yellow. Seem to have lost my North Face duffel. This will no doubt turn up immediately after the delivery of the new bag. No matter. You can’t have too many duffel bags.

I used to spell duffel duffle. I still do really. It’s just that they market the Dr Duffel job as written so that’s what it is. The beauty of a duffle bag on expedition is its squashiness. Whilst hardshell suitcases are good for aircraft holds and for the battering they receive by the baggage handling system. 

All well and good if your ultimate travel destination requires sitting in airport lounges sipping champagne whilst en route but not so much when loading all your gear for an extended trip in a Land Rover.

Much planning has gone into this forthcoming jaunt to the point where we are taking a bag just for laundry. Ordinarily we use a hotel’s plastic laundry bag and just shove that in one of our bags. The filled laundry bag replaces the space of the clean clothes, ish.

However this trip we will be on the road for over a month. Makes sense to take a laundry bag. Despite the fact that we will be stopping at many a roadside inn, so to speak, these gaffs don’t generally provide a laundry service. Not that we would be daft enough to use a hotel laundry service.

Time was I’d be doing so much international travel that I’d often take dirty laundry with me and get it cleaned as soon as I reached the first destination of my next trip. I wasn’t paying then 🙂 On the second half of this trip we will be stopping at self catering accommodation with washing machines. I’m sure I’ll have enough pairs of pants to make it through the first two and a half weeks 🙂

It’s going to be a shorts and t shirts trip with a jumper thrown in for good measure and a waterproof top because our first destination is Donegal. Socks will not form part of the uniform.

Meanwhile back in Lincoln the wind has got up and it looks as if we are in for a typical British summer’s day. Time to make the tea.

Just harvested a couple of leek seed heads. The green ‘envelope’ had split open and they are now in a paper envelope in the shed. Didn’t want to risk waiting until the seeds had dried out on the stem in case they just fell on the ground or were scoffed by pesky birds.

It has been noted that the shed is in need  of a bit of a tidy. This is so. Need to figure out where to put the gazebo canopies. Loft probs. Johnny boy arrives home for a few days later and he can help me.