Archive for February, 2024

same bloke

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

Wednesday, stardate twenty eighth of February twenty twenty four, year sixty two month three. Actually it is year sixty three, month three. I will be sixty three in December.

That’s a lot of years innit? A lot of numbers. How did that happen? I don’t really do the age thing although when joints creak during both the standing up and sitting down process it isn’t something you can totally ignore. No beaming up yet though Scotty. Hey…

Just switched the heating on in the shed. I have a process. I put the pot of tea down, switch on the heating and then fire the mac into life. I’m sure y’all have something similar unless you have to go into an actual office in which case the heating and lights are probs already on and you switch on your laptop before heading to the kitchen to make a cuppa. One of the kids has a barista in his workplace. Posh ou quoi? Addictive. Music industry.

Londoners also tend to get into their office later, what with their longish commute an all. But today it was gone nine thirty ey em for me – I did a chunk of stuff on the sofa in the snug whilst finishing off cuppa number three. 

I have two ways of approaching work. Three if you include delegating everything. One is to do it straight away and the other is to ease into it as the day evolves. Maybe even leave it until the last minute. I know it will get done. 

Last night we had a Scouts committee meeting. As I am the chairman I usually delegate everything but on this occasion found myself agreeing to an action. I did most of it on my phone whilst the conversation went on around me and finished it off when I got home.

At that stage I spotted an email from “Head Office”, as Jones the Steam would say. Reacting to it would have distracted me from the football on the telly so this morning I spent twenty minutes on the sofa putting an answer together. That’s quite a long time for me, twenty minutes. Now, in the shed and having poured the tea, I am waiting for the ball to get rolling. The muse to kick in. Something will trigger it and off I’ll go. Not yet though.

Everything is about time, and our use of it. Use it wisely, grasshopper 🙂This morning the milk was delivered at four eighteen ey em. Same bloke.

Hiya all

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

Hiya all. How are things this fine February morn. Well it isn’t that fine but February it is. Indeed. Still. Goodness me. Luvaduck. Blimey. Gosh. Innit. However there is no point in wishing time away, fast forwarding to spring proper. In fact there really is no point in having two least favourite months. January and February. That’s one sixth of the year, of your life, of time. 

How do we get to like the first two months of the year. Our forbears slept through them, probs. Conservation of energy and food supplies. We have a freezer and a Waitrose to supply us with such essentials as fresh kumquat, extra virgin olive oil and perfectly ripe avocados so we don’t need the conservation of energy bit so much.

Ok ok I know that the kumquat was picked on a north facing slope or grove somewhere in the southern hemisphere and flown overnight to a warehouse in the disunited kingdom but it comes with the Waitrose freshness guarantee, as does the avocado. They don’t really sell good olive oil in Waitrose plus it has a shelf life but let us not nitpick.

So enjoy February whilst you can, miserable as it may be. 

In other news I can’t find my passport. Fortunately I have two but the British one, the one with all the interesting vistas and stamps, has been put somewhere safe in the house and I can’t for the life of me remember where. OK this is not the end of the world. It expires next year and I have a perfectly good Irish passport that I can use but the stamps are worth having and it is also the passport associated with US Global Entry. Now I may never go to the USA again, who knows, but I still want to find the passport.

It will of course turn up somewhere and I will either say “ah of course I remember now, that’s where I put it” or “blimmin eck how did it get there”. Years ago I mislaid my wallet. I returned home after a very enjoyable school sausage sizzle in the Bull and Chain beer garden and put it down somewhere safe. Somewhere that burglars would not find. 

Took me a few weeks to find it and only after all the cards were cancelled and a new driving licence applied for. I only found it because I put my new wallet down in the same safe place on top of the old one. Doh!

before I make the tea

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

Five minutes, 
before I make the tea.
Short minutes snatched,
no time wasted
My blurry eyes struggle
to make out words
spoken noiselessly without
applied thought.

homemade granola for breakfast

Monday, February 26th, 2024

A fine bowl of THG’s delicious homemade granola for breakfast with some berries and yo, gurt. A good start to the day. We leave in fifteen minutes, for the body shop, to get the scrape repaired, again. More or less the same place as the last time. I clearly have a blind spot for that part of the car.

Tis a lovely start to the day in the shire. Perfect for a weekend except the weekend it is not. Not that it matters, much. I do have a day of toil ahead. The pick and shovel await in the shed. A shed is a suitable place to keep a pick and shovel. In my case it is a keyboard and mouse, a touchpad and two monitors.

Back from the body shop and it sounds as if it has started to rain. Just made it to the shed in time. Dropped THG off at the gym en route and need to pick her up at eleven fifty. She is an active girl.

The milk arrived this morning at five oh one. I checked and am pretty sure it was the same guy who made it at 03:17 on Friday. There was a four fifty nine delivery on a Monday a few weeks ago so the lateness is not unprecedented 🙂 We don’t have enough data yet to see if a pattern is emerging but watch this space. As of today I’m also checking to see if it is the same milkman every day. Screenshots. Big brother is watching.

There is a north wind a blowing. Winter hasn’t finished with us yet. I may light the fire tonight. My mother used to lie in front of the fire when we lived in Waunfawr. When we moved to the Isle of Man our house only had radiators, and initially very poor electric ones at that. She used then lie in front to the radiator but it was never the same 🙂

Leaves dance a random jig around the garden. The lawn, which I did clear of leaves in the autumn but which was soon liberally covered with them again, is now almost leaf free. A shipment of peas is on its way for planting in the raised beds when the time is right.

We just need to hold on now. Hold our nerves until spring arrives in its fullness of glory. The cacophony of newly born chicks. The increase in insect activity in the garden. The planting of my wildflower meadow. A time when I can move operations to the deck in front of the shed. Not quite there yet. May probably. April maybe.

Watching the great sheep gather again. Wonderful programme. Fantastic concept. The convergence of beautiful landscape poetry and sheep. Who would have thought there was beauty in sheep. It’s about the farming way of life. The gentle language that accompanies the distant bleating sends a shiver down my back.

Darkness has descended upon the back garden of Tref and THG and thus the shed. In contrast, inside the shed is brightly lit and I am playing some tunes. Feeling somewhat relaxed and mellow. Currently playing Psycho Killer. Perhaps not the mellowest of tunes but enjoying it I am. Life is short. Play Psycho Killer. Qu’est que c’est.

How does it feel? Don’t think you have to feel. I do though. I breathe in deeply and let my mind escape. I am currently on the LAst TRain to CLarksville. Capitals deliberately accidentally left in. 

I see no lights on in the house. She is in there though. Probs around the front. Doing stuff. THG had some pals over for lunch today. They left at around four pee em. A good lunch. Finest kind. I think of her often, THG. Smile. My girl.

People don’t let their emotions be seen. When I think of THG I smile. She might not like that I speak about her like this in public but it is unlikely people will read it here. 

She. Often when we pass each other we sneak a kiss. I say “quick kiss nobody looking”. Sometimes I pat her on the backside. It’s just me and her. We have known each other for thirty eight years.

all is calm

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

It is cold in Lincoln this morning, or so the Meteorological Office would have us believe. The house is warm, benefitting as it does from a modern central heating system and our relatively recently installed double glazing. There will also be a lingering effect from the log fire we had blazing away last night. Somewhere to collapse in front of with pals after an afternoon of rugby watching followed by a very fine lasagna prepared by THG herself.

The schedule for today is already mapped out. I need to chop some dead wood out of one of the apple trees, find some suitable bases for THG’s forthcoming collection of candlesticks and get some Netaxis work done. After lunch we have a test drive followed by the main event which is the League Cup Final between Chelski and the Pool. Cmon the reds. 

The thorny question of ivy remains. Thorny because the remaining bit of ivy to be cleared from the back fence is protected by a deep bramble patch. I may just have to chop out the brambles to get at the pesky ivy. Can’t have it wrecking the fence. 

I might have been able to do some of the ivy removal from the garden side of the fence but my path is obstructed by a substantial log pile. Not complaining, really. I like logs. Logs are good. A log pile gives you a sense of security. The bigger the pile, the better the feeling.

Of course nowadays we don’t need a log pile to see us through the winter. Not like the ‘olden times’. The days of yore, my friend. My grandmother had an old fashioned range that would have taken logs and latterly coal although this was before I arrived on the scene. You could still see the outline of the range around the hearth. There was also a pantry under the stairs. The cwtch dan star. Different times.

She was born as I recall in nineteen oh seven so my own links, my vestigial memory, extend back to that time. Mostly through pictures and a few books but also from old conversations. The family bible is somewhere on my bookshelves. I never met my grandfather.

Back to the present the cricket, on the face of it, is not going well for England. It‘s not over yet and the fourth innings could prove interesting with the pitch cracking up. I’m watching the game with the sound switched off as it is otherwise a distraction and you can see the camera zooming in on the cracks. Who knows eh? Will find out soon enough.

Elsewhere in the house I hear sounds of the other occupant preparing to go to church. This is our Sunday  morning routine. One of us does jobs and the other observes the Sabbath. It works for us.

All is calm.

India v England test match

Saturday, February 24th, 2024

The relaxing tones of the India v England test match gently massage the kitchen airwaves this Saturday morning. This will not last long as the frying pan will shortly be put to work on breakfast. I have three pieces of naked bacon available together with some mushrooms, egg and baked beans. No sausage. I repeat, no sausage.

The naked bacon is meant to have no nitrites but you still get a bit of white stuff coming out of it during the cooking process. The bacon from my regular supplier has started emitting a lot of water and white crap so trying the alternative. I will give the butcher another chance but they are on notice. 

I may move the cricketing action to the iPad which will be more conducive to watching the game whilst cooking. Unfortunately the battery is flat so it is currently charging. Won’t take long. The iPad only occasionally gets used for this sort of thing. I gave up on trying to use it as an alternative to the laptop when travelling. Waste of dosh really. At least the ads on the Discovery Plus channel make a refreshing change from those on Sky which were getting a bit repetitive and boring. My pal Ravi Shastri is commentating. Rav to his mates. Met him in a pub in Mayfair last summer innit.

Can’t hang around too long chatting this morning. Lot’s to do before the big match kicks off at two fifteen pee em. Then we have a crowd of people around to watch what really is the secondary fixture of the day in the Calcutta Cup at four forty five. I expect they will want feeding 🙂

In other news I see that US daytime talk show legend Wendy Williams Hunter was diagnosed last year with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Now I’ve never heard of Wendy. Not sure I could even tell you the name of a UK daytime talk show host. If I knew one I probably wouldn’t let on anyway. 

I guess my point is I’m sure this is very sad for Wendy and her family but it isn’t particularly relevant to me. I’d quite like to be able to just select the subjects of news items I want to see. I don’t see why this cannot be. After all google et al choose ads they think I would like based on my browsing history (not to mention my encrypted whatsapp messaging history and anything I might have mentioned in voice or video calls).

I want to hear news of any spurious bank holiday announcements, the timing of the various Liverpool victory parades we should be seeing this year and any other nice feelgood items. The finishing line of transatlantic swims (well done you), stuff like that. Perhaps I could go through the Beeb and Grauniad websites and tick items I like and would like to see more of and delete the ones I don’t like. I would pay for it. I already pay the two aforementioned platforms for their content. This is not an issue I’d go on strike for though. The simple answer is to not bother looking.

I am already supposed to be seeing more Welsh news on the Beeb but can’t say I’ve noticed a preponderance of articles about the twenty mile an hour speed limit and jokey items where roadsigns have used incorrect Welsh language translations.

It’s been a good day for England and Wales cricket fans. Good news. It isn’t always thus and I sometimes have to hide behind the sofa/switch off the cricket when it isn’t going well. 

I’ve also glued on the base of THG’s candlestick which should please her. She has added making candlesticks to her vast array of skills, fair play. She makes things and gives them to family and friends. You are lucky if you get one 🙂. Still not knitted me a cardigan though. I know where I stand in the hierarchy of beneficiaries. Happy enough that she made the tea this morning.

Letter from the Hilton London Bankside

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

My dear THG,

I sit here in my suite at the Hilton Hotel at Bankside, a short hop from The Tate Modern, contemplating whether to drop in to the gallery for an hour or so. I have a reservation on the express train to Lincoln departing Kings Cross Station at twelve oh six.

You can picture the lively station scene. A bustling platform with porters wheeling handcarts full of luggage, the noise coming from the steam engines, whooshes of steam and the warning of whistles, passengers hugging their relatives before boarding, fond farewells. Do come back and see us. Remember you need to change at Edinburgh for the Inverness train. Don’t forget your packed lunch. Send us a postcard when you get to Scarborough. 

The hotel is comfortable. There is a lounge provided for the use of busy executives looking for a quiet place away from the throng in the lobby. A cup of tea sir? Don’t mind if I do. Could I have a biscuit? Yes of course. Dunk away bebe.

I have checked out and decamped to the lounge. There is more going on here. Latte not tea. No biscuits. Only four of us execs in here. One bloke on a conference call, another playing with his phone and a woman doing stuff on her laptop. High flyers one and all, I assume. International business people driving the global economy. Fair play.

My entry to the lounge is based on diamond status within the Hilton Honors programme. This is likely to be my last year at diamond. This year I will also drop off the radar on the BA Exec Club. No status anywhere. All things come to pass. I don’t pick up my pension for another five years. 

There will be a four year gap/rapid decline between the end of me being a diamond geezer and queuing outside the Post Office to pick up the pension. The Carlton Estate Post office is conveniently situated next to the Coop so I will be able to pop in there to buy a few bits and bobs for supper. There is also a cafe there so I will be able to get together with other like minded individuals for a cup of tea before walking home. 

Not sure I’m ready for the concept of pushing my shopping along in one of those trolley type bags you see people using. Maybe I’ll just get it delivered from Waitrose. They have a caff in Waitrose that seems to always be full of pensioners. Don’t think I’m ready for that.

The taxi driver from Bankside was called Simon. Nice enough chap apart from being an Arsenal fan 🙂 Just back from watching them lose in Portugal. Slife.

Now back in seat E2 on the 12.06. They must have just announced the platform as the train is quickly filling up. My fave seat is E5 but someone had reserved E6 next to it so I thought sod that for a game of soldiers and didn’t book it. 

Some knob is allowing sounds to emanate from their device so the headphones are going on toute suite. It’s a kid. The knob is the parent. I understand the need to keep kids entertained on a journey but now I’m a curmudgeonly old fart with grown up kids my attitude has changed.

The tosser in E6 has put his bag and coat on the seats opposite to stop anyone from sitting there. He is on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook. That’s just one of the differences between us.

If you had diamonds on the soles of your shoes you would need to be careful where you walked. Wouldn’t want to scratch the tiles after all and it could be quite slippery walking there. Depends on how many diamonds I suppose.

Hello Friday, goodbye London. The coming weekend is another sporting job. Two games of rugby on Saturday then Chelski v the Pool in the League Cup Final on Sunday. Saturday will as you know be boozy but the football will be just me and you in the shed.

I’m thinking I might prune the apple tree behind the shed on Saturday morning. Wasn’t able to get to it last year due to the pile of logs randomly scattered around the base but since I’ve tidied it up the tree is more accessible.

The train has just pulled into Grantham. I also need a haircut. These two statements are not linked. One just followed the other as it came to mind. The train actually did pull into Grantham. It will shortly be pulling out of Grantham which is a better state of affairs. I don’t know when I’ll get my hair cut. Soonish.

As I write Bob Dylan is sitting in the corner entertaining me with his geetar. Strumnming away at Mr Tambourine Man. I’m in two minds about our Bob. His early stuff is truly the work of genius. Genius poetry. His autobiography is equally good reading. On the other hand, my own personal experience of him is nothing to write home about. Worse than that actuellement. Let us just remember him for his talent.

The woman sat in D4 has been reading The Harvard Business Review – The Leadership Mindset. Gosh. I’ve never been interested.

The milkman came at three seventeen this morning.

Anyway THG. I’m looking forward to seeing you when I get home. Lotsalurve and kisses.


Just noticed it’s a leap year

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

Just noticed it’s a leap year, gosh. Was looking at dates next week and saw that Thursday is the 29th. I guess unless your birthday is on the 29th February it isn’t something you pay particular attention to until it happens and then everyone notices and makes comments about how so and so is now eight years old etc.

The only real effect is if you get paid on the last Thursday of the month, in which case this year you have to wait another week. Had February ended on Wednesday 28th then payday would have been today. Bet the boffs never thought about such real world practical implications when coming up with the idea. They were more focused on bigger, higher level and infinitely more philosophical issues such as time itself. Quite liked using the term boffs there – not heard it for a while 🙂

Absolutely bucketing it down here and have determined to wear my Tilley hat when travelling to London later this morning. It’s not quite as bad as if someone was holding a bucket of water overhead and tipping it all over you but might just as well be.

Been sat in a virtual meeting room for the last fifteen minutes wondering where on earth the other guys was. Turned out I’d forgotten to invite him! Doh!! Mind you he isn’t responding to whatsapp messages so no idea where he is. Probably nipped outside for a smoke and left his phone in the office.

do sparrows really fart

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

The question on everyone’s lips this morning is do sparrows really fart? It may not hitherto have been on your lips but it is now. Also what time do sparrows fart? I was up at a relatively sedate six thirty which feels as if it is well after the hour.

I’m in the shed for eight thirty having relied on my trusty Tilley hat to keep the rain off my specs. Useful on safari as well as walking to the shed of a wet morning. It is quite peaceful in the shed. Raindrops falling off the trees onto the roof. The barely audible hum of the fridge and occasionally the heater. Distant and unfortunately persistent sound of a wood pigeon. Do they serve any purpose other than food for the local peregrine falcons?

There is a fresh cup of tea on the desk, recently tidied. I wouldn’t want the desk totally tidy. Would diminish its character. The clock on the desk still needs a new battery. It’s been like that a few months but it is a non standard battery size so I have none “in stock”. I don’t really need a clock there anyway as I have a Gudbye to Jane vinyl clock on the wall, one on the monitor in front of me and one on the phone. I only keep it because it is posh and it belonged to my mum.

I’ve just noticed I also have last year’s INEX calendar featuring one of my pics @eileen. Should really put that away somewhere. There, it’s gone. The desk also sports numerous beer mats including the trefbash one and a Laphroaig leaflet offering me a free square foot of Islay. I must sort that out.

Yesterday I took time out of my busy schedule to sort the posters out. I have a load waiting to be put up but there are too many vintage Isle of Man holidays ones. These have been whittled down to just the one. There is an Isle of Man railways one already on display on a different wall.

My biggest challenge is to get the heavier posters up. The signed and framed Pink Martini tour poster for example. I don’t want to put any holes in the pristine plasterwork. Command strips are the way forward. It just needs the application of time and a little lurve. The PM poster has been waiting for more than a year. It’ll get there 🙂

The neon beer sign also needs hanging up. It was replaced by the Lagunitas sign but is still worth displaying. Somewhere the lighting can be appreciated. Might work on that today. 

It is Wednesday and the milkman came at four oh five ey em. Now you know. 

Well it’s been a busy enough day. I’ve been out and about and I’ve also done some work. I’m also now the proud owner of a square foot of land on Islay. I must make the effort to visit it. 🙂

Bit of a multimedia evening. Listening to Liverpool currently losing to Luton whilst half watching Porto v Arsenal on mute. Still plenty of time but like I say they are currently losing. What a fast paced game. Just two minutes after that last sentence we are two one up.

A new day

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

A new day. Refreshed and in the shed by eight thirty ey em. Lots to do. To help me get into the swing I’ve stuck a calming classical playlist on’t stereo.

It’s a bit of a non day outside. Cloudy, not particularly warm so the heating is on in’t shed. One has to be sensible about this sort of thing. Health and safety in the workplace etc. I’ve also switched on the Lagunitas bar sign just to help brighten the place up a bit although the shed is pretty well lit. TBH I can’t see the bar sign from my desk as it is hidden behind a monitor but it’s the thought that counts. Knowing that it is switched on.

Been sat here for half an hour already but not quite got going. Perhaps the music is too calming 🙂 Finished my cup of tea and there is more in the pot except I’d have to go into the house for milk.

I’ve been reasonably good at not looking at the news although it is impossible to completely ignore it. There are more important things in life. I pay others to sort out the crap.

Tis almost five o’clock and very much still light. This is encouraging isn’t it? The conversation amongst our dispersed family has today centred around what seeds should they be planting. THG has advised sweet peas, tomatoes and nasturtiums. I’m sure the greater Facebook community would chip in with more.

I sense that this year I will leave all gardening decisions to THG. My responsibilities in recent years have lain with the planting and supervision of the onion crop. I’m just not sure whether it is worth bothering with onions. The ones you can get in the shops seem to be bigger and better quality and I can’t detect any difference in taste especially as they are typically fried and absorbed into a dish with other more dominant flavours.

The one crop where a difference would certainly be detectable would be peas but you have to plant a lot of peas to make it worthwhile. Peas fresh from the garden are hard to beat.

Do you have any favourite home grown crops? We have in the past had some good tomato yields. Peppers and chillies have not fared so well. Cukes do well in the greenhouse. Apples have good and not so good years. Our pear tree is a write off.

Listening to a bit of Jacques Brell…

0 degrees longitude

Monday, February 19th, 2024

0 degrees longitude. I quite like that, being on the prime meridian. It is of course somewhat artificial, dating as it does, back to the day when the sun never set on the British Empire. I’d far rather have country code +1, itself also artificial. Life is interesting isn’t it.

It took us eleven hours to fly from Johannesburg to London, converging as we were on the prime meridian.. The flight time is a feature of our frenetic lifestyle. It’s really quite ridiculous that we can travel so far in such a short time. We try to cram so much in. 

You can get a container ship from London to South Africa with a 26 day travel time. Stops at six ports en route. I quite like that idea. Most of the stops are in Europe, presumably picking up cargo. Hamburg is one, Antwerp another. I like Antwerp. Then it stops somewhere near Tenerife before hitting the high seas and down the West African coast.

Can’t quite see how you do it as a passenger as opposed to cargo. Needs some investigation. Not sure it is worth the effort as I can’t see THG wanting to make the trip. That trip is something you would have to do on your own and make productive use of the spare time. It would be the opportunity to write the hit west end stage musical I’ve had in mind. ‘snotgonnahappen.

Connectivity to the internet would be a no go. It is only without access to the internet that you truly recover time. When we recently spent time big game hunting in the low veldt the only reason I needed connectivity was to backup the huge number of photos and videos of big game. Even then the backup could have waited but if you can you do it.

On a twenty six day journey on the high seas the photo opportunities would be quite limited. The occasional passing whale or albatross. Before you know it, it disappeared far to stern. Lost in the wake. 

The purpose of the trip would be to isolate the mind from external distractions and free up the creative juices. The discipline of the onboard routine would help. Fixed mealtimes in the mess. A regular promenade on deck. It is almost certainly only a small deck. We are talking container ship after all. Not some romantic steamer with first class passenger lounge and restaurant. Maybe I am wrong!

There are plenty of cruises to SA but that is not what I am after. What I’d really like is to call in some exotic port and go ashore with the crew, visiting bars and places of ill repute on the quayside before being carried back onboard by the least intoxicated sailor and dumped unceremoniously in my cabin. When I awoke the ship would be once more at sea and said port a mere distant memory. Why not? Unlikely innit.

As life progresses I increasingly appreciate the finer things. Time spent with THG, just basking in each other’s company. Tonight we will watch University Challenge. It is something we do together. She gets loads of questions right and I may sneak in one or two. It is the way of things. The one thing to note about our relationship is that we laugh at each other’s jokes. What’s not to like? 

One day, many moons ago, our daughter Hannah came home from school and told me she was really worried that she had picked up my sense of humour. She would crack a joke and half of her friends would laugh and the other half would look at her quizzingly. You either get it or you don’t. If you don’t get it that is fine. We are not here to pass judgement.

It is now dark out and I await the call to table. Risotto. THG makes a good risotto. It is a Monday evening and although it is dark it feels as if spring is a coming. It was a fresh afternoon and buds are to be seen emerging in the hedgerows. Life is about to start again.

we wake up in Chelmsford

Monday, February 19th, 2024

This morning we wake up in Chelmsford having delivered a bed and a few bits and bobs to our fave dort Hannah. Also met Martin John and his lovely wife for a couple of sherberts and in the process delivered a scratch on the defender’s wheel arch.  This is a bit annoying as I was thinking of selling it this week. Now I’ll have to get it sorted first. Stopping by the garage on the way home.

Before that can happen we have to take some paint back to Wickes and drop some stuff off at the Chelmsford Recycling Centre. Never a dull moment innit. 

Meanwhile back in Lincoln the milkman dropped his load at three forty three ey em.

Un sandwich de bacon est consumee

Sunday, February 18th, 2024

Un sandwich de bacon est consumee, or words to that effect. And a bit of toast. The most important meal of the day especially as this morning we are pointing the chariot south to deliver a bed to Hannah & George’s and will need sustenance for the journey.  Basically if we are to stay at theirs we have to have a bed so we have to take one with us 🙂 It’s a three hour trip. Now you know.

Outside it is a classic wet British day. I don’t mind this. I have a raincoat although the glasses are a bit of a hindrance. Not too bad if I wear my Tilley hat. Handy come rain or shine, a Tilley hat. The instructions tell you to wash it periodically but I’ve never washed mine. It’s not a fashion accessory, it’s a useful bit of clothing when on an adventure.

In other news our DAB wireless set appears to be on its last legs. It’s a posh Richards job but dates from the early days of DAB services in the UK so we must have had it a while. The FM bit still works. I still have the Ferguson radio I got for my sixteenth birthday. The aerial is broken but it still picks up radio Lincolnshire especially if I attach a coat hanger. Not that I listen to it v often. I might move it into the shed.

Now listening to Radio Cymru on BBC Sounds. Bore Sul with Bethan Rhys Roberts. This is a v rare occurrence. I should listen to it more often. Quite relaxing although I’m not really listening to what they are saying. It’s mostly bad news. Just like most news type programmes.

Upstairs THG is moving around doing a few final bits and bobs before the trip. I too need to pack. It’s just for one night so not much to stick in. They have a kitchen sink.

This is an interesting one. Would you go and stay with someone who didn’t have a kitchen sink? It would be a real faff. Presumably they still have a dishwasher otherwise how on earth would they get the dishes clean? Honestly! There’s the disposable plates option but this is not very environmentally friendly, unless they were compostable. Still not ideal. 

I don’t know the answer other than to buy them a kitchen sink. Christmas present maybs. You’d probs have to throw in the installation unless you bought them that for their birthday which is not ideal as there would be a gap between receiving the sink and being able to use it. Unless you bought the installation first but that would spoil the surprise. They would know there must be a sink to follow. Be easier to buy both at the same time and call one of them an advanced birthday present. Would be a bit over the top to give both sink and installation as a Christmas present. Let’s keep it sensible.

Some people would give their eye teeth for a kitchen sink for Christmas, especially if it came with a kitchen. I know I would. Actually no I wouldn’t. I already have a kitchen sink, and a kitchen, with all the gadgets I could possibly ever need. Anyway who brought up the subject of Christmas? It’s only February, for goodness sake.

pommes de terre sarladaises

Sunday, February 18th, 2024

Woke up early this morning at around five fifteen. My first thoughts were that instead of steak, I would have pork escalopes with blue cheese sauce and pommes de terre sarladaises for tonight’s tea. Note my natural writing style would have said pommes sarladaises but that would have been misleading so I changed it. Only realised when I checked on the sbelin of sarladaises. Obvious really!

I know those were my first thoughts because I made a point of remembering them in order to write them down. I hardly ever remember dreams themselves, as opposed to first thoughts which I also hardly ever remember 🙂

I picked up my liking for pommes de terre sarladaises when on holiday in Montaigu de Quercy last autumn where they regularly featured on local menus. V tasty I thought to meself. The first time I had them was at a cafe in some small hilltop town or village whose name escapes me but where I also bought a case of malbec. 

My other recollection from that occasion was the observation that most of the other diners at lunch were British expats. Probs mentioned this before but turned out that 60% of the homes thereabouts were owned by such people. I did wonder what the attraction was. OK it was a beautiful area with relatively cheap housing, compared with the UK anyway, and cheapish wine, but there was bugger all to do and most of the inhabitants were old. You go there to die and the process is probably accelerated by boredom. And loneliness.

Anyway let’s move on. Today, according to my macbook, is a Saturday. Le laitier ne vient pas aujourd’hui as they would say in Montaigu de Quercy although I doubt they have such an individual there. We have a day of log moving and football watching ahead of us. THG will also start the day with her usual Park Run and I will not. 

Feels as if I’ve already fast forwarded to night time. Liverpool will have comfortably beaten Brentford and Man City held to a stale one all draw at home to Chelski who finally start to find some form. Well you never know. Lincoln City will also have beaten Exeter at home in a mid table clash. Could even pop down to see them though probs won’t. As I think of it, I have a few jobs to do.

As you might know I have been away, in the Southern Hemisphere, and am now home. The trip is still fresh in the memory, partly because I’m not sure the body is totally recovered from it, yet.

I have a few observations. Firstly the weather here is not the same as in South Africa. Ok this is stating the bleedin obvious but it is what it is. Although we often complain about the weather here in the disunited kingdom I couldn’t live somewhere where it was nice and sunny all or most of the time. One can always pop over for a sunshine fix if that is your bag.

I like the fact that on some days we “have” to light a fire and sit in front of it reading, or knitting, whatever does it for you. Not sure I’d buy a house without an open fire, not that we have any plans to move.

The second observation is that our very excellent safari guide was called Jeremy and the tracker, Hendry. Today the team will be out in their truck with a new set of punters who will gaze in astonishment at the rich diversity of wildlife to be seen in the Kruger low veldt. The point is life goes on wherever you are in the world. I find this to be quite surreal. It is somehow like the light inside the fridge. Only on when you open the door. The safari in South Africa is only on when I am there otherwise it doesn’t exist. Same for everywhere else in the world.

As a person my whole life revolves around me and those close to me. This is something I came to realise a long time ago. We are all so insignificant and our time on this planet is so fleetingly short that you have to stay focused on what matters. Yes we can worry about global warming, do our bit even and some may have observations about conflicts around the world, famine and strife. I pay politicians to handle this sort of thing. It’s what floats their boat, regardless of what you might personally think about that/them.

My final observation, for now, is that I hear movement upstairs. It is time to make a brew 🙂

“Thought for the day” is on the wireless. Time to get up.

I quite like putting pen to paper, metaphorically speaking. If I used a real pen and paper I’d need my hand amputating within days. I am painfully slow and pretty illegible with it. If I have a hobby, writing stuff is it.

I also like travelling but I feel as if I could throttle back on that a bit. Even doing it in comfort and style, travel takes it out of you. Also I’ve seen a lot of the world already. Doesn’t feel as exciting as it might have done at one time. The recent trip to the Kruger is an exception.

We do have biggish trip lined up this year, to the Paris Olympics and then Normandy. Me and THG, plus a few pals for the Paris bit. We also have a littleish trip to the Isle of Man for Easter. All good stuff.

What I’d really like to do is stop working completely and focus on writing a few books I have in mind. Trouble is I like doing what I do and don’t want to completely stop, at least not for the moment and so I can’t dedicate time to the books.

sourdough toast

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Three rounds of sourdough toast (they aren’t very big around) and half a grapefruit is all you need to set you up for a Friday. I think I’m just about recovered from the trip. Wasn’t jet lag. More like a few days of four thirty ey em starts followed by a long journey and kipping on a plane.

The skies above the shed are a lot clearer than they were this time yesterday. Our neighbour had Tom the Tree Man and his team around to cut back a holm oak. It’s already had several large branches/trunks go in the wind and is hopefully now a lot safer, considering a lot of it was directly above the shed.

Much of yesterday involved things falling on the roof of the shed but at least I get all the logs out of the project. Many logs. Last time I got Hannah’s boyfriend George to shift them all 🙂. Good lad he is. Might have to do it meself this time. No rain forecast for today so will don my old pair of jeans.

Fast forward. Did start carting the logs into the garden. Little by little. One log at a time (they are heavy) and before you know it the job will be done. Winter heat secured for some time to come. Not that we rely on logs for heat. They are just an occasional treat. In fact the heating is now off. It isn’t cold enough to have it on although we all know the vagaries of the British weather eh?

My two pee em conference call has been cancelled and I therefore consider the weekend to have arrivééd. More logs to shift. I probs do need to do a bit of work n all.