Archive for December, 2023

New Year’s Eve

Sunday, December 31st, 2023

The tea rota resets on New Year’s Day – first name alphabetical order, ie Anne then Tref. THG made the tea this morning. We take it in turns. It was observed that tomorrow it would be my turn. Unless we reset the rota. Not sure that will work 🙂.

We are in Port Sunlight, the model village built by Lord Leverhume of Sunlight Soap fame to accommodate his employees. Fair play. It is actually sunny out there although it very much wasn’t when we got here last night. THG has gone for a run. I just saw her striding past the war memorial on the green in front of the house.

Off visiting THG rellies this ey em followed by a bit of a food shop. There is an M&S food hall in Bromborough, apaz. It’s our best bet for steaks. I looked up a review of steaks purchased from the nearest supermarkets – Aldi/Lidl/Tesco/Asda and they were all rubbish, except M&S which was v good. So that’s where we are going.

New Year’s Eve is steak and chips night in the Davies household. It is the law. Before that we will saunter to Liverpool to the Library after which THG will hit the shops and I a museum or two. The plan is to rendezvous in a public house, or two (or three – wild partying ou quoi?) prior to returning to PS for the evening meal.  Merseyside has an excellent train service.

Tomorrow is, by definition, New Year’s Day where by tradition everywhere you might want to visit is shut so no idea what we have in mind as entertainment. Liverpool are playing in the evening so that takes care of eight pee em onwards. I think the museums are open although we tend to do them to death.

Not sure we ever used to do anything on New Year’s Day. It was always one of those days you accepted there was bugger all on and it therefore made sense to stay indoors and get bored. Anyway New Year’s Day is another day. M&S Food Hall here we come. #livingthedream. Must remember to buy some milk as our milkman doesn’t serve the Wirral and he doesn’t come on a Sunday anyway.

Sat in The Bridewell. THG and I have “hit the shops”. We separated at Liverpool Central as we are totes incompatible when it comes to this activity. 

I headed towards John Lewis but the nearer I got the more I realised this was a mistake. JL is a shop that sells things most people want to buy or at least would like to buy if they had enough readies. I am not one of these people. It isn’t that time of the decade. Century.

THG and I had arranged to meet at this pub after the shops shut at four pee em. I’ve just arrived early to make sure we got seats. It is crowded but I have secured a single seat at a table I am sharing with a couple who are not from these parts. I know this because she towks loike vis.

I tried a couple of interesting pubs en route. The Empire and McCartneys. The former was cosy enough but pumping bland pop muzak and had the very boring standard brewery set of beers. Ditto McCartneys where the interest was in being able to watch Fulham v The Arsenal, cough, but there were no good seats from where I could watch the game so I blew. Both had the same beers. 

The Bridewell is a proper pub. I am working my away along the pumps from right to left. I won’t manage them all, before you start to worry. Just the IPAs. I like IPAs.

There was a time when I wouldn’t mind going to the shops. It does feel as if this was at least twenty years ago. I hung on to the habit for a while by only visiting retail outlets where there were notionally good bargains to be had. I’ve stopped this. A bargain is only a bargain if you need the particular item anyway.

Port Sunlight

Saturday, December 30th, 2023

We arrived in Port Sunlight to classic west of the country weather ie chucking it down. The cottage is v comfortable. One of the Leverhulme model village jobs. Made a schoolboy error by not checking the gin level before we set off so popped out to the Lyceum Social Club for a lager before dinner.

The Rose and Crown is notionally an eleven minute walk away but this is not a night for roaming abroad. A haiku I wrote a few years ago describes the sitch:

wild night of fearful darkness
leaves chased freely by the wind
a tree falls

A warming turkey curry is on the menu, having no doubt improved its flavour from an already high bar when cooked a day or two ago. Curries and stews always improve with age and refrigeration.

We have a three bedroom cottage for the two of us. This means space. I was somewhat wary of places that were billed as for two. They will be tiny. It’s about quality of life not cost. 

We did have a slight issue when THG started on warming up the dinner. The gas wouldn’t switch on and no obvious means of doing so. Hmm. I called the support line and someone with an Indian or Filipino accent answered. Didn’t bode well. The housekeeper was on another job and thirty minutes away.

I went out to the garage in the village and purchaysed a cigarette lighter. This did the job. Then the customer support person rang back and said that according to the manager there was a lighter in the drawer. We looked again in the drawers that we had already searched twice and lo and behold there it was, a black lighter in the dark cutlery tray. Ok. We move on but these little incidents are annoying.

Tonight we have a quiet night in front the telly in prospect. Anne and Tref. Nice.

Driving across to the Wirral made me think of the people who are no longer with us. Our mams and dads and others. My grandmother. This low light cold winter’s day seemed to fit the subject of death. A miserable day. Joyless. One for a cuddle in front of the fire and an early night.

There is a fire in the front room but not sure it works. Upon investigation there is a gas ignition mechanism that doesn’t seem to work. Perhaps we use the same lighter as the hob! Dunno. I have a (the) gin in my hand and am not shifting. This cottage needs a manual. An Userguide.

TV chromecast working. Now playing the darts. Result.

Commemoration of St. Thomas Becket

Friday, December 29th, 2023

Today, as part of the Twelve Days of Christmas festivities, we commemorate St. Thomas Becket. This is worth a moment or two of reflection.

Right, that’s over for another year. Up and at it by around eight ey em. Some of you will say eight? Eight? Tref, that is the middle of the morning. Others will rub their bleary eyes, look at the clock and say it’s only eight, turn over and go back to sleep.

Got some breakfast items to cook. One last remaining sausage from the Christmas stash, a bit of mashed potato to fry. Bit of bacon. Stuff like that. Figured I’d sit at the table for a while before embarking on the project. Another cup of tea is in the making.

Busyish morning ahead. Got to check THG’s car before our John drives it to London for a few days and then have to nick it to nip to Waitrose for a few basic supplies before he goes. Beer, crisps, stuff like that. All in aid of the aforementioned commemoration.

My own wheels are unusable at the moment since the man from the AA diagnosed an air pressure fault. It is drivable in restricted power mode. I’m taking it in first thing tomorrow in advance of picking up a courtesy car from Enterprise Rent a Car to head to the Wirral.

The milkman, btw, came at three twenty ey em with a double delivery as Monday is a bank holiday.

Our decs are mostly coming down today. The tree can stay as it is until the new year.

Ambitions for 2024.

The birth of a new year. It’s a couple of days away yet, 2024. It is unlikely that I will be awake at the birth. Will be there, I assume. Just asleep.

2024 already has a lot going for it. Hannah and I are off to South Africa for a couple of weeks at the end of January on a dad and daughter trip and THG and I are off to France in the summer. A few days in Paris for the Olympics and then a few days in Normandy. Nothing planned beyond that although I have been thinking about an Antipodean adventure the following year. 

I’d like to think I’ll be cutting down on the travel although I’ll believe it when I see it. Part of me wants to go off on long adventures, three months maybs, but these extended trips really do take their toll on the body. At least if the six weeks in France for the Rugby World Cup are anything to go by. Also we live in a nice place and there is no urgent need to go away.

Oh, I forgot there is The Hay Literary Festival to look forward to and we have tix for Nile Rodgers and Sting sometime in the summer in Sherwood Pines. Taking one of our campervans. And we are going to see Pink Martini in Southend. No doubt I’ve forgotten some stuff. I will have written it down.

Then there’s the cricket at Trent Bridge. Windies. I joined Notts CCC for the 2024 season. If anyone fancies going along for a county game lemme know. All my test tix are taken soz.

I stopped making new year’s resolutions yonks ago. The same things appeared every year: lose weight, get fit, give up the booze and the one night stands etc etc. 

It feels as if the shed could do with a bit of a tidying up. Maps need to come down and put in my map box for easy access and reference. The map box is an ELEY small arms ammunition box I picked up at an antique warehouse in Stamford. I have quite a few posters ready to replace the maps on the wall. Need to be careful with the maps. They are stuck on with blu tack and although they weren’t expensive, I think I paid two pounds fifty each in a vintage shop in Southport,  maybe a bit more, they are nineteen forties National Geographic maps and deserve looking after, a bit of respect.

In particular the shed is littered with old laptops the Davies men retrieve from the attic when they are all home for use in playing games. Pain in the neck really. It’s the only time they are used. I suspect they are mostly perfectly good machines but they are all windows based and I am not. Don’t play games meself. Dunno where people find the time. 

I guess I like to do other things with my own time. Ritin n stuff. Hence all the posting. I’m just trying it out on y’all before it hits the West End stage, whatever ‘it’ is. 

Other than the aforementioned I think I’m just going to take 2024 as it comes.

The Feast of the Holy Innocents

Thursday, December 28th, 2023

The Feast of the Holy Innocents is once again upon us. V poignant. I mentioned this to THG. She already knew. Outside, a streak of pink emblazoned across the sky points towards a stormy day ahead. The oh nine thirty five to Leicester calling at Nottingham appears to be on time. Two sausages sizzle on the griddle.

THG and I are down at breakfast. Noises were heard earlier on the landing but none of our house guests have, as yet, made it as far as the kitchen. All is well.

Two of our guests check out today at various times. The house is beginning the process of restoration to normality. There is no button to press. It is a gradual process that culminates in the realisation that all is quiet, again.

I quite like the idea of being able to reboot and start the house back in “normal mode”. A near instantaneous event. The downside is that there would be no lingering goodbyes or fond farewells. “Looking forward to seeing you in January” etc. Kisses, cuddles, fluttering handkerchiefs. A certain moistness in the corner of the eye. That kind of stuff.

You should know that I flutter no handkerchief. It would need to be a clean one if I did, obvs. Handkerchiefs really play no role in modern living, at least in the mainstream. 

There will be pockets of resistance. Tributary valleys of rivers that serve the dark satanic mills of the industrial north where news from the outside world rarely penetrates and the relief of Mafeking is still celebrated on the nearest Monday to the seventeenth of May. This is a very localised and quietly celebrated public holiday that the locals prefer not to broadcast too widely in case someone in authority notices and changes the local byelaw that has provisions for such events. 

Time moves slowly in these parts of the country. They still only have BBC1, BBC2 and ITV on the telly and the light programme on the wireless. Who needs more. It is mostly rubbish anyway.

Anyway gotta go. Have to drop a guest off to catch the oh nine thirty five and in order to do that I need to be dressed and ready to rock and roll.

In other news my car has gone into “restricted performance” mode. This is not convenient. I love my Land Rover Defender but if it starts having problems I may change my views. It’s already had a new turbo, under warranty. Had I had to pay that would have been four and a half grand’s worth. Then I had rodents chew through the fuel pipe resulting in a not cheap repair job and not covered by warranty. That couldn’t be blamed on Land Rover. Now this. Will see how it goes.

My biggest issue is if I didn’t have a Defender I have no idea what car I would want instead. I spend years deciding on a car and I can’t see me wanting any other make/model. Maybe I’d do without and see how that goes. Fuel, insurance and tax costs over four grand a year. You can get a lot of taxis and hire cars for that kind of money. I don’t think electric cars are ready for me yet.

The AA man came ahead of time. Took a while to diagnose the fault but it turned out to be a low air pressure issue which may well be just a sensor. Taking the car in on Saturday morning.

Carholme Golf Course was a lake this morning as I drove past. Lake Carholme, a new leisure facility for Lincoln residents. Better get used to it.

The news this pm is that having cooked a turkey curry for consumption on Saturday evening there is no availability until seven thirty tonight at the snooker club. Lots of bored folk looking for something to do. It would have been a lamb to the slaughter job as our John is better than me. We are now watching the darts.

Feast of St John the Evangelist

Wednesday, December 27th, 2023

Sat in the front room with a cup of tea listening to the sound of the rain on the conservatory roof. Chucking it down outside. I quite like seeing the raindrops splash on the granite worktop around the bbq. The water doesn’t flow off showing how level it is – well done @Nick Rossington, perfect job.

THG and I are off swimming this morning. The last lane swim slot is at eleven. Am hoping the whole world won’t be thinking of exercise until after the year is out. It will be what it will be. It is a gloomy morning and hopefully the rain will keep potential swimmers indoors.

The time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is somewhat anticlimactic. Truth be told we aren’t big New Year’s Eve partygoers in our house so it isn’t even as if we have one last fling to celebrate the old year’s passing. 

I have occasionally been tempted to mark the twelve days of Christmas in accordance with historical tradition which would take the partying into January. However the fact that we started “feasting” at the beginning of December makes a “twelve dayer” at this stage of the game physically challenging.

In the interest of historical accuracy I just googled the twelve days of Christmas but it initially kept coming up with the song. A tweak to the search term did the job. Today is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. I’ve stuck it in my calendar as an annually repeating event. Makes a lorra sense to me. Good ole St John.

There do appear to be a few gaps in the feasting so not every day is going to involve over eating and drinking. Makes sense to me. Just had breakfast and I’m already feeling full. Won’t need any lunch. There won’t be enough leftovers to last every day until Twelfth Night anyway. We are already talking about freezing some of the cheese which happens every year. I guess we could buy less cheese…

One feature of having a full house at Christmas is the self filling dishwasher. Well it feels like that. Every time I try putting something in it it is always full. Either that or already running a wash cycle. THG tells me the same applies to the wash basket. As soon as it is emptied it fills up again. I’m assuming the tumble drier is also taking some hammer cos as you know it is raining outside.

It is noted that the milkman delivered two pints of semi skimmed at three twenty nine am this morning.

Ah the mundane aspects of life that hide behind the glamour of the Christmas holiday. Hope yours is going well for you.

Ciao bebes.


Tuesday, December 26th, 2023

The kitchen is bathed in bright, dazzling sunlight. So much so I’ve moved into the living room to drink my tea. Upstairs the bagpipes have started up. I must say this has brought a smile to my face. Tom, the owner of this new set, is clearly up and now the others will soon follow.

Today is Tom’s birthday and I guess he can get away with it, for the moment 🙂What is clear to me is that the bagpipes are not an instrument you can just pick up and play intuitively. Some lessons are going to be required. Currently we are at the drone stage. No tune yet.

We do have a plan for the day ahead. Well actually no we don’t. Some years we set off for my sister Ann’s in Holt which is a four hour trek and therefore quite disruptive on Tom’s birthday. We like visiting the fam obvs but this year the lad gets to chill out and has a day of football watching in store. That’s soccer for the colonials amongst us.

The house is remarkably tidy. This is down to the endeavours of THG whilst the rest of us slumbered in front of the fire. On the coffee table the lid on the customary large tin of Quality Street sits loosely on top obscuring the fact that there won’t be many chocs left. Next to it are two large Monty Don gardening books. THG has already made inroads into their contents.

The bagpipes have done their work and all the occupants of the bedrooms are now in the kitchen. The smell of bacon accompanies the sound of sizzling and the occasional refrain of Christmas carol lingers.

Christmas climaxed yesterday. Over for another eleven months before the build up starts again. Boxing Day onwards is all about surviving the remainder of the holidays before the self imposed austerity of January kicks in.

I don’t really like the months of January and February and can see why those who can move to sunnier climes for the period. There is a BA sale on. I clicked on an ad for a holiday in the Caribbean but the term sale proved to be relative. A cursory glance showed a saving of £250 on an £8,500 holiday to Trinidad and Tobago with business class flights. Didn’t bother looking up First but don’t think they fly that class of cabin to da Caribbean, mon.

Anyway I am already off to the Southern Hemisphere in January. It is summer down there. Good job I haven’t packed away my summer clothes. I say “down there” but there is no real reason why the Northern Hemisphere should be depicted on the top half of the globe. It is fairly arbitrary.

In the meantime my biggest decision of the day is what to eat for dinner. The choice is left over lamb balti or leftover beef and turkey in a fajita. Having just consumed some toast and marmalade prior to moving into the living room I don’t feel inclined to think about food right now. The decision is being deferred.

Christmas Day 2023

Monday, December 25th, 2023

The milkman normally comes on Mondays but not this one obvs. Probs wants to give the horse a break. All is quiet upstairs in the Davies house except for the occasional sound coming from a bathroom.

Downstairs is a hive of activity, at least in the kitchen, as THG gets on with some of the veg prep and I prepare myself for the breakfast short order chef role. The ingredients are out of the fridge but there is noone yet to cook for.

Tbh we are all still full after last night’s chindian. It may be a restrained Christmas breakfast although I’ll believe it when I see it.

In the meantime please show restraint when opening the presents. I have visions of wrapping paper flying around in a frenzy, cries of delight or feigned “this is my favourite colour slightly too small jumper” delight and “don’t forget who gave you what so that you can write thank you letters. Now what did aunty Flo give the youngest?

Happy Christmas all

The king’s Christmas message

Sunday, December 24th, 2023

The king’s Christmas message was just mentioned on the wireless set on my bedside table. Didn’t hear the context. I have a built in filter that switches these things off. Used to do the same with the old queen. They are not relevant to me.

Tis the Eve of Christmas. Morning. THG and I are up and at it but there is no sign of life coming from any of the guest bedrooms. The bottom of the refrigerator is being emptied to assess the vegetable sitch. See whether we need to add owt to the list for a last minute dash to the shops. 

I made a fab beef stock yesterday so that is sorted and this morning first thing, before breakfast, I’ll crack on with the pigs in blankets so that we know how much leeway we have with sausages and bacon. Be assured we have plenty.

The emptying of the fridge revealed a supply chain issue in that we would appear to have multiple bags of different foodstuffs. This situation arises when you have seven independent minded people in the house who indulge in multiple ad hoc trips to the shops.

Rewind. I took a break from writing and after tomorrow’s pigs in blankets we only have three bangers left. These will not survive this morning and therefore sausages have been added to the last minute shopping list. The Waitrose sausages won’t be as good as Fosters spicy Lincolnshire farmhouse but needs must. Can’t see Fosters opening today.

It is amazing how much food we get through with seven large adults in the house. The sitch is exacerbated by the fact that most of them seem to go to the gym or off for runs to Nettleham and back thus increasing their appetites. When you add midnight/one ey em visits to the fridge upon return from the pub you can understand how we really need to stay on top of the food inventory.

I daresay I will add to this post when I have some leisure time later today but for now I am off to cook breakfast.

Ciao amigos.


The shopping list is slowly being compiled:

Grean beens

Aunt bessies yorkshires


Sore sedges

Bread and croissants

unsalted butter


I struck off tinned grapefruit as THG had, with great presence of mind, already procured some from Lidl. This is the only time of year I have tinned grapefruit for breakfast because that is what we did when I was a kid. It is the law.

Slightly bemused by my miscalculation as to the quantity of sausages required for Christmas. I bought sixteen which turned out to be way off the mark. Dunno what I was thinking! This lot are gannets. I’ll probably need to check the wine stocks as well. They also drink like fish. No idea where they got that from. 

Waitrose running low on lots of things. The time to go is between two and three pee em when they will be selling stuff off cheap. Only issue is we are seriously low on freezer and fridge space. As it is THG is going to have to squeeze the yorkies in somewhere. Off course I could make fresh yorkshires tomorrow but there is so much going on you need to make life easier for yourself where possible. 

I will make the stuffing today. Get that out of the way. And the brandy butter. Food at Christmas is a lot of faff and I know some people prefer to go out to eat but it is never the same as having it at home and then crashing out on a settee in front of the fire, arm dangling into the tin of Quality Street and a glass of brandy next to it on the floor.

This year I have not made provision for trifle. I love trifle. Mam always used to make trifle, for consumption in the evening on Christmas Day. This year I am going without. There is enough to eat anyway.

stock making

Saturday, December 23rd, 2023

Saturday morning and the house has been a hive of activity since quite early on. The noise levels have started to drop as homecoming offspring gradually head out for some last minute Christmas shopping. These Londoners are so busy forging their careers/partying that they don’t have time in the normal run of their lives. This is what the internet was designed for.

Actually I’m not sure that Vint et al had Christmas shopping specifically in mind when inventing tinternet. They almost certainly thought it would be cool to be able to send each other messages saying “Hi there, what is the weather like in Berkley?” and stuff like that. Or more likely “incoming missile coordinates”.

It takes a few moments of adjustment when they all come home. “Where did that loaf I bought go” – “they’ve eaten it already”. “How many pints of milk?” Hey, we wouldn’t have it any other way. There is plenty of time when it is just the two of us. We are ok.

I do have some duties to perform this morning. Our Joe is cooking us a gourmet lunch and I have to strip three ducks of their breasts and make some stock. Mallard. In my mind this is a day to avoid shops although tomorrow it will be unavoidable. Fruit, bread, milk etc. The milkman won’t come now until Wednesday.

Preparation has already started for Christmas Day. I’ve roasted some beef bones and will be making a nice stock. Looks like this morning is going to be spent in the kitchen. Better go.

If your name is Eve how do you feel about being called Christmas Eve? If your surname is Day I guess it isn’t out of the question that your parents could have called you Christmas. It wouldn’t be the first time someone was known by that name. Christmas Evans for example.

If you don’t know who he was just Google it. He was a contemporary of my great (x4) grandfather The Rev Daniel Davies who founded the Baptist Church in Llandysul. I visited his grave ten years or so ago. It was in the oldest part of the cemetery and only recognisable because a member of the church happened to be around doing some job or other. The original church is still there but now used as a vestry or similar.

Daniel was a tenant farmer. He was around at the time of the great religious revival in Wales. Prior to building the church locals would gather in people’s homes to worship together and in Llandysul I believe they used the corner of a field.

Having a name like Davies did pose a problem when researching the family tree. A quarter of the inhabitants were called Davies. Dewi ap Dewi – David son of David after the patron saint of Wales. This evolved into Davids or Davies. Fortunately our lot were leaders of the religious community which helped as the census entries had them down as Ministers or Preachers.

I need to check the work I did ten years ago and expand on it. I found it hard to get back beyond Daniel without spending hours and hours on the ground. Church records were a bit patchy and “David son of David” doesn’t help the cause. Both Daniel’s brothers were also Ministers of Religion, one of them being with the established Church in Wales. There must be some written record of his parentage somewhere.

My family history is interesting. No royal lineage or someone who became famous for inventing the left handed widget extractor or similar.

However the history of the Davies family does reflect what was going on in the world around. We were tenant farmers, took part in the religious revival and then became woollen mill owners during the industrial revolution. When that began to wane we were miners and my dad was the first in the family to get a University degree.

I guess this participation in waves of change continues with my involvement with internet technology and in the subsequent generation being part of the world of social media.

I’ll let you know when the book is ready. In the meantime don’t hold your breath 🙂

Friday, Friday

Friday, December 22nd, 2023

Friday, Friday, looks good to me. All days should look good. It’s going to be a short one but  growing hereon longer, by the day. Silly that we should even think about yearning for long summer days when we are in deepest midwinter. We should love the dark days with low light and miserable weather. Shouldn’t we? 🙂 Let us enjoy the moment.

This is the last working day before Christmas and, believe it or not, I have some work to do. Goodness me wtf gor blimey etc. Well folks, the unremitting grinding of gears is an ever present feature in the engine room of commerce. Constant lubrication is a must. Attention cannot be allowed to drift and focus must be maintained. At all times.

In the meantime Simon the plumber is in the garage servicing the boiler. Don’t want any sudden interruptions to the normally smooth operation of the central heating over the festive season do we? Eh? Better safe than sorry. We also have the open fire as a backup. 

It’s no different to having two different broadband connections entering your property from different directions and using totally different technologies is it? One assumes every one of you has this sensible infrastructure architecture in place. No UPS mind you. Maybs I should have asked for one for Christmas.

This morning I have a ten ey em call after which I’m going to give all the staff, ie me, the rest of the day off. This is a tradition in most workplaces on Christmas Eve. I realise today is not Christmas Eve but it almost feels like it and if I want to give myself the rest of the day off I will. Carols banging out in the shed. Everything is at peace in the Davies world.

After my call @hannah and I are off to Fosters to buy protein and thence to Waitrose to buy whatever we feel like taking off a shelf. It’s the rebel team. Dad and daughter. So long and thanks for all the money off vouchers 🙂

The milkman came at four oh five this morning and left us four pints of semi skimmed.

The shortest day

Thursday, December 21st, 2023

Every year the Davies family converges on the mothership to attend the Annual Morning Star Carol Session, heralding the official start of Christmas. Last night’s singsong was another great success and we look forward to Hannah and George’s arrival tonight to complete the team.

Today is the eve of the Winter Solstice, the most important feast day in the calendar for the pagans amongst us. In recognition of this, a long lunch has been planned at Ole Ole, an excellent purveyor of very fine Spanish fare in uphill Lincoln.

I daresay that the conversation at the table will be about bygone feasts where the slaughter of wild boar preceded a raucous night of eating and drinking. It is unlikely that any of us will stay the pace to be around for the official solstice which will be something like three thirty ey em.

Wannabe pagans are however set to gather in the Strugglers at early doors for the annual Independent Traders Official Christmas Party. Bring your membership card 🙂

No milk today.

get there early

Wednesday, December 20th, 2023

The milkman came at four nineteen ey em this morning. Only one more delivery until Christmas which is on Friday. Because we only get milk on Monday,  Wednesday and Friday it seems likely that the next delivery will be a double sized job. That means four pints which will only last us one day over the holiday period as we will have a full house.

Looking out of the kitchen window I see pink clouds. The back garden is largely still and when I rang the meteorological office to ask about the weather for the day ahead I was told not to expect any inclemency. The pinkness in the sky should not therefore represent any sort of shepherd’s warning. A meteorological anomaly perhaps. Didn’t really ring em btw. I have their application on my mobile telephone.

Busy day ahead culminating in the Morning Star carol singsong tonight. Before that I have other seasonal duties to perform and also a two hour conference call at noon. Wot wot wot wossgoinon Tref I hear you say. A conference call in the week before Christmas?!?!?! Well yes I say, a conference call. Be assured, however, that I mostly only do stuff that I like doing and I am looking forward to this call. I shan’t trouble you with its purpose.

There is also work to be done on the morrow. This “work” involves a canal boat journey with @Wayne and @charles followed by a leisurely lunch at a fine local Spanish restaurant by the name of Ole Ole. Later that afternoon there is the annual Independent Traders Christmas party at the Strugglers. I suspect I won’t be staying out as long as some of my fellow Independent Traders having already had the earlier luncheon.

Got to get to grips with meself. Morrow and luncheon are distinctly Victorian words and I am a forward thinking individual. Victoriana does not seem out of place at Christmas though. Many of our favourite Carols date back to this bygone era and we will be singing them tonight at the Morning Star.

If I were you I’d get there as early as you can to secure a seat.

York day out

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

A day out in York in prospect. Pub crawl. Catching the 10.02 out of Lincoln Central. Want to get there early in order to spend an hour or so in the railway museum first. One of life’s joys. Last time I was there I sat in one of the seats on the Japanese bullet train only to notice the sign afterwards “PLEASE DO NOT SIT ON THE SEATS”. Didn’t see it until I was on the way out of the carriage. Oops.

The railway museum is somewhere you can just hang out. Feeling the presence of the engines. Historical greats. Quite in contrast to the pub crawl although in fairness many of the pubs in York are quite historical themselves. This is my only pub “crawl” per se of the year. Apart from last week’s Gamma job in town. I think.

The only thing I need to make sure of is catching the train back. We usually end up a fair distance from the stayshun and it is then a walk or ride decision. The ride buys me more time with the lads but introduces a variable in respect of how quickly I can grab an uber. This in turn adds uncertainty to the time of arrival at the station and therefore whether I catch the train or not.

The journey home used to involve changing in Doncaster or simlar but nowadays there is a connection in Newark where I join the 19.06 out of Kings Cross. There is rarely anyone in 1st class between Newark and Lincoln so quite comfy really. THG has volunteered to pick me up from the sayshun. I could have been a travel agent in another life.

Et voila. A good day out in prospect. In York.

arrers at Ally Pally

Sunday, December 17th, 2023

Pretty sure I was the oldest bloke at the darts last night. You struggle to believe that such an event can happen, in real life. Most people were there in fancy dress and we picked up some Paddypower green santa hats in an attempt to blend in. Most people were totally bladdered by the end of the first game. In fact they were mostly bladdered before the start of the first game.

The darts on the stage pretty soon became incidental with the crowd being more preoccupied with goading others around them to down pints in one. I got away without having to do so, largely because I imagine I was old enough to be at least their father.

A few observations stuck in my mind. One guy was wearing a Christmas jumper with the words Feliz Navi Darts. Then another bloke in a very fetching top and skirt remarked that security had “confiscated my tits” and one of the Germans sat near to me on the back row must have had an upset tummy because he was unwell over the back railings. 

There was a queue for the cubicles in the gents, which surprised me and I assumed it was because they needed to remove their fancy dress in order to use the loo. Then someone who knows these things told me it was for other nefarious reasons and out of sight of the security guard who was permanently stationed inside the gents loos. I have never been anywhere before where there was a security guard in the toilets. I live a very sheltered existence.

On a more mundane sporting level I was quite surprised that it took almost an hour before we saw our first one hundred and eighty and I noted that they replaced the dart board with a new one after every game.

We got through quite a number of jugs of Neck Oil and just before the nine pee em cutoff for selling jugs our John went to the bar and came back with two more. By the time I left, before the end of the second game we still had unconsumed beer which presumably Johnny boy dispatched. There was no way the darts were going to finish before the notional closing time of eleven pee em.

Carnage it might have been but what a great night out. I feel as if I don’t need to go to another darts evening but am glad I went to this one. I shall resign my membership of the Professional Darts Corporation happy in the knowledge that I took full advantage of my year following the ocky.

Today, Sunday, I have some time to kill before meeting my heir apparent, Tom, to watch the Liverpeul v Man u game later this afternoon. I could almost envisage spending the day relaxing in the hotel were it not for the fact that this hotel is not particularly conducive to this. I might pop down to the lounge to check out the vibes.

The hotel is full of tourists, fair play. There are nicer times of the year to come to visit London but I guess people go for winter breaks. Wrap up well 🙂 I suppose I am a tourist this weekend meself.

Ally Pally, we are on the way

Saturday, December 16th, 2023

The day dawns. The big day. Car is picking me up at ten fifty five. Whisking me to Lincoln Central, the railway gateway to the world. From Lincoln Central you can get to any destination. Ok there might be a few changes involved but that’s going to be the case wherever you start. 

If you stand on one platform you can go as far as Grimsby, or Peterborough even. Another gets you to Newark and beyond as far as London, Nottingham, York and the Highlands of Scotland – Aberdeen. Everywhere. There is even a train to Sheffield and Leeds. Exotic ou quoi?

I might drop the train company a line offering the marketing strapline. LINCOLN CENTRAL, GATEWAY TO THE WORLD. Totes free of charge obvs. They can choose the font to fit their corporate style manual.

There we go. Inspiration over for the day. Back to the mundane. What am I going to wear? We are off to the darts this evening. Ally Pally. Quite excited. Been thinking of going to the darts for years and earlier in 2023 I joined the PDC in order to secure early access to tickets. The tickets went very quickly. I doubt there is anyone who bought one that isn’t a member of the PDC.

Watched the darts last night. Raucous atmosphere. Didn’t know any of the players involved but it didn’t matter. Will be the same tonight. Might have a little flutter, to make it interesting. Five quid on the bloke in the red shirt please. It’s as good a way as any to choose.

So I have a relaxing enough start to the day with plenty of time to get ready. Kitchen has been tidied, ish. THG will want to redo it anyway. I also need to clear the shed and then pack for the expedition. Two nights in Islington.

The sporting party is gathering at Tom’s flat in Highbury Corner at four pee em. A (very) late lunch or early dinner, call it what you like, then train to the Pally. I’m sure photos will be posted. 

Back on Monday. That will be it for the year as far as London is concerned. I’m not tired of London, yet, although London can be very tiring. You have to take the right, unhurried, approach. There is a bus from Stope E at the front of Kings Cross Station that drops me off a few yards from the hotel. V convenient. Several numbers to choose from and they are fairly frequent. Absolutely no point taking a taxi especially as I will only have a small bag.

It’s a short bus ride. Three stops. I don’t even bother going upstairs to see if there is a seat available on the front row. It is walkable if it comes to the crunch but the bus is cheap and easy and I like going on the bus.

Sunday am thinking of taking in a Tate and then there’s the Liverpool v Man U game to watch at four thirty. Cousin @Enda will be v excited. He is a big Man U fan 🙂

Milkman doesn’t come on a Saturday but we have plenty in.