Archive for April, 2024


Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

Another bright start to the day. Thought I heard some movement in the porch early on but it isn’t a day the milkman comes and nothing appeared on the cameras. Could have been a poltergeist I guess. Did see a cat in the wee small hours. Set off the light in the front. We often get a cat roaming the garden and sometimes a fox. 

It is early but THG has already been out for an inspection. Checking the progress of the stock. Plants don’t grow on their own yanow 🙂 Now chillaxing after breakfast pending the commencement of today’s proceedings. 

Am watching Great Coastal Journeys with former Tory MP Michael Portillo on the telly. It is on mute because I find his programmes so superficial they aren’t worth watching. So I’m not really watching it but it is the programme before the snooker is on and watching the snooker is something that THG and I do together 🙂 Having it on mute is my way of noticing when the sport starts.

It feels a bit strange having the snooker on TV when it is very much light out. As a game played in darkened halls, snooker should really be a winter activity. I’m rubbish at snooker meself. My youth wasn’t misspent enough.

I typically have the snooker on as wallpaper as opposed to something I focus on although if it starts to get exciting I’ll put my book down. Yes it can be exciting.

homeward bound

Sunday, April 28th, 2024

THG is at the controls of the Silver Bullet and we are homeward bound. Driving through the rain in the hope of clearer skies ahead.

Yesterday before setting off on our Sutton Hoo adventure I partook of a “full Suffolk”. Someone must franchise the cooked breakfast concept. Full English, full Welsh, full Lincolnshire etc. Probs makes good licensing dollar 🙂. This morning the family celebrations of last night weighed heavily and I stuck with a simple bacon sandwich. Really the king of breakfasts.

On the way down to Woodbridge we took the scenic route. Today it is A roads all the way. Around thirty miles longer but thirty minutes quicker. In our busy twenty first century lives it is all about time. At least dual carriageways make for better typing conditions. Fewer roundabouts around which to fling the car, fewer gear changes to knock the typing elbow.

I can recommend Seckford Hall. It was Hannah’s actual birthday last night and the staff really looked after us. Particularly the restaurant manager Mike contributed greatly to the success of the evening. Each time Hannah blew out the cake candles Mike relit them and we went through the process again singing Happy Birthday three times in all including a jazzy version for the last go.

Hugs hugged and goodbyes kissed we are now negotiating the spray on the northbound A14. Flooded fields. Riverbanks broken.

The Great North Road. Totally unrecognisable from the time when it was being called that. There is no romance in the name A1, great arterial highway that it is. Sterile. No room for the imagination to run wild.

Another new vicar starting at THG’s church this morning. Dearly beloved bretheren… I say ‘another’ new vicar but don’t get the wrong idea. They don’t have that high a turnover, I think. That would be a worry indeed. I did ask THG whether vicar’s wives were vetted for tea and cake making skills before being offered the job but she didn’t give me a straight answer. Dismissive even! 

I am in any case too far removed from the operational practices of the church to be up to date with its recruitment policies. There must be more to it than finding out which candidate can say how’s your father. Not for me to comment and I move on…

Passing RAF Wittering and its iconic Harrier jump jet we saw a dead red deer. A stag. Fifty metres further on a woman had stopped her car and was examining the front for damage.The action had just happened. Bit of a shock for both parties. More so for the deer. Another snapshot in life on planet earth. Life goes on.

We leave the deer and the woman behind and the Silver Bullet continues its journey north, still searching for those clearer skies.

Stopped at Pennells Garden Centre on the way home to buy a rose. THG nipped in and I sat in the car watching the rain on the windscreen. V relaxing. Could almost feel meself nodding off. Then popped to the Carlton Centre to get my postal vote off. They have three collections a day from the Post Office there.

one and a half bacon sandwiches

Friday, April 26th, 2024

Bliss. Had one and a half bacon sandwiches for breakfast. No photos. Why one and a half I hear you say? Well there were three bits of bacon left. In this sitch I’d typically have one sarnie with three bits of bacon but on this occasion the loaf was a smallish one and it made sense to stick with two. Three slices of bread. There ya go 🙂

Not warm this morning so a good breakfast does the job. I sense that “we” haven’t turned the heating on. Sokay. A thick pullover will suffice. It’s supposed to be warmer than this. Fortunately I have a hot cup of tea beside me which warms my hand, albeit momentarily, when I drink it.

Off to Suffolk for the weekend. Family bash. Will be great fair play. Excited. It isn’t that often we get together with the wider Davies clan although my beautiful nieces can’t make it. Work, exams, that kind of stuff. Gets in the way. Ah yes I remember it well. Vaguely.

Gonna take my swimming trunks. Still got a terrible cough but I’m sure the others in the leisure spa won’t mind. It’s doing the rounds. They are bound to catch it sometime. Nice to have a weekend away. I know we do a lot of nights away but this one is going to be mostly about relaxing. May pop to Sutton Hoo tomorrow morning as we are staying fairly near to it. Got to be back for twelve thirty for the imps game.

Suffolk, specifically Ipswich used to be a regular trip as we bought an ISP there. I remember one visit I stopped with @Terry Mackown en route and we went on a pub crawl around Cambridge. Cambridge has some great pubs. 

On that occasion we were just walking past the Corn Exchange and saw a big poster promoting a 10CC gig and it so happened they were playing Cambridge that evening. Bear in mind it must have been at least nine thirty pee em by then.

In we went and asked if it was the real 10CC as opposed to a tribute band. Yes. They let us in for free. If you don’t ask you don’t get. Must have been only half an hour left of the gig because as soon as we sat down they started playing all their hits. Wow. Result. I am a fan. I had to call THG to let her know. I hadn’t actually mentioned that I was stopping with Terry for the night. Unlikely we will be stopping off in Cambridge this weekend as we will probs take the scenic route through Lincolnshire and over Sutton Bridge.

Ciao amigos

Oh and he came at three sixteen this morning. Over an hour earlier than last week.

Dawn arrived before five in Lincoln

Thursday, April 25th, 2024

Dawn arrived before five in Lincoln. Or at least the process of enlightenment began. By five thirty it is pretty light. The unattractive whooping of a pesky woodpigeon is drowning out most other avian vocals. A crow now chips in.

When I got up this morning I sat in the front room as opposed to the snug. In here the doors to the conservatory are open letting in noise from the back garden as well as from the front. My usual winter early morning perch in the snug only has a bay window onto the front drive. As the mornings warm up a little I move into the conservatory itself. Usually for an hour or so before making the tea.

Just heard a noise coming from the chimney. Am hoping it isn’t a trapped bird but it might be which will be a nuisance. We’ve had a pigeon up/down there in the past. Managed to get it out but this time I can’t actually see anything and we are going away for the weekend so it might well be a dead pigeon by the time we get back.

I’m the only person who uses the front room, unless we have a full house like over Christmas. It has a large walnut bookcase which we had made to fit a space, a smaller bookcase that holds my collection of poetry books and plays and three very comfortable sofas.

The walls are adorned with portraits of my grandparents and great grandparents. One of them is an original and dates back to the early twentieth century. Took some restoring as it was on board which had curved quite a bit. Didn’t do it myself.

Over the fireplace there is a painting of Maesdulais, the wool factory, complete with water wheel, where my dad was born. My mother was born in a two room cottage near Mohil in County Leitrim in Ireland. She was one of seven children. Older kids would be shipped off to live with relatives as new ones arrived. They had an acre of land at the back where they kept a cow. They met in London in the nineteen fifties. He was a teacher and she a nurse.

Many kids still migrate to London for their first employment. All ours did/have. It is a trap although nowadays in the post covid world it is a lot easier to live elsewhere and work from home.

It is looking like another cold day ahead. Yesterday was bloody freezing. Fortunately my daytime living space, the shed, is nice and warm. The view from where I am sat in the front room is of the shed at the bottom of the garden plus a bit of the greenhouse. The French doors to the conservatory represent quite a narrow aperture onto the garden from my seated perspective.

Definitely a bird in the chimney. Hmm. I’ve moved into the kitchen to avoid the distraction. The kitchen is surprisingly warm. We had the roof insulated when it was retiled last year and that has made a huge difference. Used to be quite cold in here.

Sort of busyish day ahead potentially culminating in a game of golf with the boys. We will see nearer the time. Cold and wet! When I was a kid I’d play golf with my dad in all weathers. The only thing that would stop us would be if the course was closed. Nowadays we are all far more fair weather golfers.

Anyway, time to make the tea. It is almost six thirty. Ciao amigos.

Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024

Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday. There ya go a month’s worth of Tuesdays in one go. What’s not to like? A bit like London double decker busses all coming along at the same time but different. Makes sense to me that we could choose to arrange our month like this. If there was one day you didn’t particularly like you could get them all out of the way early in the month. Now some will say it would be better to stick with the current system and take more bad days in smaller doses. However it’s all about choice.

If it was your birthday you might elect to have four Saturdays on the trot although in my mind it would be silly to use up all the Saturdays in one go. Your birthday might not even be on a Saturday. Probs not.

Not that I’m saying I don’t like Tuesdays. In fact I really don’t mind them, at all. I wouldn’t want every day to be a Tuesday but I’ve nothing against it per se.

Sbeen quite a busy morning in the shed. Hitherto. Thus far. Up until now. As we approach high noon I’m still hard at it, goodness me. Mind you I have been multitasking (I know, I know). Had a call from sister @sue who was in the Axminster Tools shop in Caerdydd buying me a wood carving starter set so that I can get going on that. Important interrupt.

That’s the way, I like it, ahah ahah. It’s what’s playing on my music centre at the mo. How long is it since these things got called music centres?!?! Stereo? Doesn’t cover it either. I have six speakers. Decided to go uptempo and turn up the volume. Liven up the shed a bit. Papa was a rolling stone.

Watched Arse, enal v Chelski on the phone in the bath and now downstairs wearing ma Bose. It is someone called Alan Carr on the box. Can’t stand im. Unfortunately it is now a choice between inane ads and inane crap on the TV. If I turn the sound off the phone I can hear the telly. Cue Spotify. I’ll switch the important footy game back on in a bit. Funny how one finds oneself supporting Chelsea as the lesser of two evils. It isn’t that big a deal really. It’s only football. THG gets excited about it although she is currently responsible for having the Al Carr programme on. Anyway it is one nil to the reds at the halfway mark.

Had a good bath. Took a book but only managed a couple of pages as I was mostly dicing with device death. Gawd knows what I was reading. The football was on a small separate screen during that time whilst Pink Floyd on the Sonos simultaneously competed with the commentary.

Love Is The Drug.

Monday in April

Monday, April 22nd, 2024

A light rain steadies itself on the garden. Random drops drum the shed roof. I hear traffic noise on the wet road in front of the house. April.

I am once more early to the shed. Made a cameo appearance at the Monday morning conference call and then left. Now easing into the day. THG’s very excellent granola with yo’ gurt and berries consumed at my desk with a slowly sipped cup of tea.

It pleases me to say we are in Lincoln all week. No gallivanting off to London for lunch or dinner. A busy week ahead actually. Sort of. My weeks are never really busy in the way they used to be. No back to back meetings or burning the midnight oil etc. Still stuff to be getting on with.

For some reason today doesn’t feel like a Monday. What should Mondays feel like? I don’t mind them.

The milkman btw came seconds before three thirty this morning.

This evening the rain has moved on but we are now well and truly “in”. Operations have moved to the snug for the snooker.  The “Worlds”. A highlight of the sporting year.

It is not warm outside. Good job we had double glazing put in the other year. People tend to take such things for granted but our house was built in 1939. It had a coal hole, a pantry and a downstairs privy but not double glazing.

Writing The Air War conference

Sunday, April 21st, 2024

Early to the shed. Beeootiful morning out there but with a spring edge to it so the heating is on. For the moment. Still in my dressing gown. Tis early enough. Sunday morning is normally set aside for the performance of jobs but, and I’ve just checked this, most of ’em are done. We were going to be away in Leeds but synchronised bouts of coughing led to the cancellation of that trip.

I have the Spotify Calming Classical playlist on the go. The hookup between Mac and amp seems to be playing up so the music is coming from my monitor speakers which in all fairness are top notch. Cavalleria rusticana: Intermezzo. Now fixed.

A line full of washing is blowing nicely in the breeze. Won’t be long before that lot is dry. Domestic bliss eh? Who wants glamorous international travel, posh hotels, bars and restaurants when you can sit in the shed listening to classical music and watching the washing shoot the breeze.

London marathon is on today. I’ve given it a miss this year as we are off out to the Thorold Arms for Sunday lunch. Saved me the effort of all that training. Plus I’ve still got that cough so that would have been no good. Would have infected tens of thousands of fellow runners and spectators.

We very rarely go out for Sunday lunch so I’m quite excited. Rosbif. Trimmings. Perhaps a glass of claret. Then home to watch Liverpool v Fulham. Then the snooker combined with falling asleep on the settee. Living the dream…

Out in the garden the tulips are starting to lose their petals. Won’t be long before THG dead heads them. They will be back next year. In the greenhouse the beans and tomato seedlings are doing very well thank you very much and the peas are just pushing their way through. I am told to expect no more than a bowl full of the latter which I knew really. They need planting in industrial quantities to get much of a crop. I still haven’t got around to scarifying the lawn but that will happen in the next few days. 

Pondering wearing a tie to lunch. I only wear bow ties, not the dangly down jobs that people used to put on for work. I still have dozens of the latter but they mostly have something wrong with them. Gravy stains, snagged silk. Stuff like that. Can’t remember when I last wore a tie. Would have been a wedding or simlar. I do have some shirts that would take a tie but again it is a long time since any of them were worn. Dunno why I even keep them in the wardrobe.

In other news I’ve bought a ticket to go to the Writing The Air War conference at the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincoln on May 11th and 12th. I like a bit of history. Anyone else I know going apart from @Dan Ellin? Not everyone’s cup of tea perhaps. As Dan put it it is better than binge watching World War 2 documentaries.

Right thassitfornowgottago.

Woken by the dawn chorus

Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Woken by the dawn chorus at quarter past five this morning. Well I must have already been awake and just heard it. Strange to think it was quarter past four GMT. v early.

Some time later I was forced out of bed by “thought for the day” on Radio 4. Who listens to this rubbish? I can almost picture the horror of people who are invited to present that slot. “Omg am I that boring that they’ve invited me on?” Up now and at it. Sort of. Sitting in the kitch’ awaiting my third cup of tea.

Looks nice out. Still cawd I imagine. I contacted the Meteorological office and they told me it was currently six degrees centigrade in Lincoln at the mo. I didn’t actually ring them per se. They publish this info online. It is very handy. Think of the number of people they would need to employ to answer the phone if they relied on telephony to distribute the information. “Where are you? OK let me have a look”.

When I was a kid there was such a thing as “the speaking clock”. In fact I just checked and it is still there. Can’t believe many people dial it. Your mobile phone has an accurate time. 

Our bedside alarm clock doesn’t. It gains a couple of minutes every six months and I periodically have to adjust the time in my mind when looking at it. Usually I reset it when the clocks change back or forwards but didn’t this spring. I’ll get it done sometime, probs, otherwise before we know it I’ll be having to subtract five or ten mins from the time displayed.

I’d have got rid of it years ago were it not a relic from THG’s past. My own alarm clock went very early on in our relationship as hierarchies were established. It was an old fashioned clockwork job with two bells on top. It was probably just as poor at timekeeping as the one we still have but it was very easy to manually adjust when required. You just moved the big hand. The problem with it was that it ticked. I found the ticking quite soothing. It helped you (me) nod off at night. The ticking very definitely didn’t tick THG’s box and it disappeared from our lives.

She wasn’t known as THG in those days. We didn’t have a garden and it took many years for her to attain that status. Once there though you become a Titan in the gardening world. People (me) ask you when is the best time to plant peas n stuff like that. Peas fresh from the garden are probably the finest vegetable side dish known to man.

Out with THG in her voiture this morning running a few errands. Included returning a keyboard we borrowed for last weekend and picking up my new “office” specs. She also needed to purchayse some yo’ gurt and I needed something for tea tonight so we stopped off at Waitrose. No way I would walk around the shop with her as our shopping habits are totally incompatible but we did meet for a cawfee in the caff which was nice. Some Tref & THG time 🙂

Finally figured out how to get the cast button back on Chrome. Was easy enough once I’d googled it but until it’s fixed it’s not fixed yanow.

Got the imps on the wireless in the shed. Winning two one away at Cheltenham. A must win game. Currently we are in a playoff position care of a better goal difference than Oxford. The last game of the season next week will be crucial and difficult as we are at home to top of the table Portsmouth. Cheltenham also need a win to stand a chance of staying up. All good stuff.

Also have the snooker on screen three. Start of the “Worlds”. THG will be incommunicado for the next fortnight 🙂Judd Trump currently beating Hossein Vafaei in the first round but a long way to go in this match. As you know the momentum in snooker can easily swing the other way. A very mental game.

Afterwards THG wants to watch the FA Cup semi final so a sport filled afternoon ahead.

Oyster card didn’t work

Friday, April 19th, 2024

Sat quietly in my hotel room. I’m catching the ten oh six north but don’t need to go yet. The choice is sit in the busy lounge at Kings Cross or here in an armchair. Feels as if it will be cold out though I may be wrong. Not stuck my head outside yet.

There is an easy bus ride from the Doubletree Angel to the railway station. It’s also an easy walk but I’ll take the bus. Three stops. Lots of bus options as they all stop at the railway stayshun.

All is quiet. I can hear a gentle humm from the air conditioning but that seems to be it.

My Oyster card didn’t work on the bus. Neither did my phone. Strange. These busses do have think plastic covering the terminal so perhaps it is no surprise.

Boarded the train early. My carriage was full of LNER staff but they were just going and the platform hadn’t yet been announced so they weren’t expecting punters. Train looks pretty full. At least in first class. I’ve bagsied the first two seats right at the end. They never book these seats as there is no window but I’m ok with that. Plus I figured with a cough like mine it was the least antisocial place for me to plonk myself. Bloke just got on train and was about to sit in the seat opposite me across the aisle. He then did an about turn and got off. Strange.

Busy weekend ahead if all goes to plan.

Home sweet home now and back in the shed. Shed sweet shed. THG walked through the door moments after me having just been to the hairdressers. She looks lovely obvs 🙂I don’t really need lunch after breakfast at the hotel followed by a toasted teacake and a banana en train.

When I was waiting for my taxi outside the stayshun and old boy walked past pushing his shopping cart. One of those rectangular jobs with wheels. He didn’t appear to have his teeth in and his face was very much grizzled. Still, he pushed his trolley to the bus station. Fair play I thought. I wondered what his story was. Did he live on his own? I could picture him getting home and unpacking his shopping onto the kitchen table and then into cupboards and fridge. Not sure about the “living on my own” bit though. I get very lonely if THG has been away for any length of time. It’s what you are used to. I guess you don’t tend to have a choice in this old world.

I’d put the old man at late seventies. I guess I’d be happy if I was still catching the bus into town to go shopping at that age. Mind you Waitrose is only a mile away and Tesco less than that. Don’t like going to Tesco. It’s too big man and they don’t sell my kind of stuff.  As it is, I very rarely “go into town”. All it is is shops and caffs. Usually I just to go to the stayshun.

It is cold out. The birds seem to be ok with it. I guess I don’t need it to be warm all the time but a little warmer than this would be quite acceptable. Just switched on the heater. 

This afternoon I have one call, although it does have a habit of being cancelled at the last minute. Otherwise I’ll be easing into the weekend. Eeeeeaassinngggg. Dunno yet what this entails but after an exhausting lunch and two dinners in London I should wind down appropriately. 

Might watch a bit of Masters of the Air. This is not as good as Band of Brothers but Joe persuaded me to give it a try. I realise this is “daytime” but I’ve never been one to follow a specific daily pattern. Not someone who regularly turns left at a certain corner at the same time every day. This is to avoid being ambushed. If you don’t have a regular routine they can’t plan around it. Makesalorrasensetome.

You shouldn’t get the wrong idea here. I don’t spend my life avoiding a regular routine in order not to be ambushed or kidnapped. As far as I am aware nobody has tried to do this, yet. You can picture the scene. A gang of baddies, masks on their faces, hangs out just around the corner waiting to pounce but I don’t show up. Drat, they say to each other and slouch on, hands shoved into pockets, hoodies up.

The Bayswater Road

Thursday, April 18th, 2024

The Bayswater Road trundles steadily by. A red open top doubledecker stops to pick up punters. Purposeful walker gets in her morning steps. It is a sunny morning in London Town.

Unhurried start to the day. A few phone calls to make. I say phone calls but only one of these involves the cellular voice network. All the others are data calls in one form or another. Mostly international.

Interesting how people covet expensive cars. Staying in central London there are a lot of them on show. Status symbols. I suppose if money is not an not an issue why not?

I guess if people had the choice between a spacious penthouse flat with rooftop terrace or a dingy basement then that’s an easy call.

One week at a time

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

One week at a time, as they say. This week it’s a couple of nights in London. Arrived early at Lincoln Central stayshun and the train was conveniently already at the platform waiting for me. It was probably waiting for other passengers as well but that’s not my lookout. In fact I’m not looking out, as I’ve just said.

Lincoln used to have two railway stayshuns, the other being St Marks. St Marks, which is where I first arrived in Lincoln, is now a shopping centre so not much use to anyone. I guess people must shop there otherwise the shops wouldn’t be there although Debenhams went ages ago and has not, to my knowledge, been replaced. I’d need to go there to find out but that would be an unnecessary journey, as the poster used to say.

My journey to London Town is necessary. At least I choose to label it thus. I have four meetings to attend. Well a lunch, a few beers, a dinner and a meeting to be precise. Not in that order. Reverse the last two. Tomorrow morning will be spent at leisure. 

If the weather is fine, I’ll be spending my time, just walking in the park. Hyde Park. Tomorrow doesn’t start until four pee em. Couldn’t shift the lunch to tomorrow which would have made sense but hey…

Sounds as if the train is gradually filling. Most of the train is behind me so I am relying on a not very acute sense of hearing. Boarded at the front as it will be nearer where I need to be for the connection at Newark Northgate. Not that it is a biggie as I think I have at least half an hour to wait in Newark. Maybe more.

Lots of my posts involve being on a train. I guess that is one way of filling the time on an otherwise dull journey.  I could stare out of the window. No matter how often you’ve done the journey there is always something new to see. Sometimes, when seeing something new, I wonder weather the train has been repathed, as I believe they say, but reality is that I don’t often stare out of the window so it is quite easy to come across something new when you do. Mostly it is just fields anyway.

On the Azuma train the last two seats in first class do not have a window. I quite often sit there as it is quite cosy. Private. You are the first to get served with teas and coffees when the trolley comes out.

At precisely nine eleven the train pulled out of the station. Another on time departure by East Midlands Railways.

I sometimes get John Betjeman moments where I describe what I see as the train whizzes by. Obvs I don’t have the same poetic pedigree as him. The turn of phrase and the tone. We all have to aspire to something 🙂.

Thies train is very much not high speed although the bloke carrying the flag at the front does seem to be working very hard, perspiration rolling down his cheeks. Fair play.

The fields between Lincoln and Newark are a harrowed brown, green and one or two in between where new growth is just emerging. Still water on the ground. It is officially springtime. The best time of year.

A pickup truck races along behind a hedge on a path that will intercept the train. He is on to a losing battle and will have to stop at the railway crossing. Slow down boy, don’t go too fast.

Have big dreams, you will grow into them. Begin on the train. <Poster in the carriage. This is interesting. I’ve never dreamt big but I’ve always assumed big. Assumed success rather than set it as a goal. 

I guess the question is what is success? I know people who are multimillionaires but who had to spend most of the time their kids were growing up working all the hours under the sun.

of trains and breakfasts

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

A luxurious Tuesday ahead. Nothing in the calendar other than a trip to the tip with THG this afternoon. Did a sort out of CDs and DVDs for disposal yesterday and came across a few keepers including a Harry Potter boxed set and Dad’s Army series 4. I feel a Captain Mainwaring session in the offing though I would like to get hold of the complete oeuvre. Might invest in that. Would be a worthwhile use of cash.

Just booked my train to town tomorrow. Having to change at Newark which isn’t the end of the world. The connection at Newark is rammed but comes with the “Dine” menu which contains a full English and must mean the origin was likely Edinburgh. Normally the Lincoln train only gives you a poxy bacon roll, no butter. Mind you the full English comes on a very small plate so don’t get too excited. Also I’m going down for lunch at one pee em so unlikely I’ll want it anyway.

I remember once years ago catching a similar connection and asked for a full English. It was in the days when this dish was served by the attendant from a large oval platter and you could get reasonably generous portions. The answer on that occasion was they had sold out of full English and could only offer toast. Grudgingly, because breakfast is part of the deal on LNER 1st  Class I accepted the offer only to find that they had even run out of toast.

My other dining experience when catching a train to London from Newark was when I was on my way to Israel for a meeting. I had a taxi booked from the Castle Hill Club around six thirty and had a few pints with the boys before setting off. The plan was to eat on the train, get to London and hit the hay.

I arrived at the station with thirty minutes to spare to find that the train was already stood at the platform. Turned out it wasn’t my train. All trains were stopped whilst the Emergency Services dealt with a “jumper” further down the line. In fact the train was rammed and the only reason I was able to get on was because I was in First Class.

I went straight to the dining car only to be told that they had practically sold out of everything. It was the night before the Calcutta Cup in Twickenham and the southbound rugby crowd had almost drunk the train dry. All they had left was a bottle of muscadet and a bacon sandwich. I promptly ordered that before the bloody rugby p!55heads could snaffle it. When I got to Kings Cross they didn’t charge me for the “meal”.

I remember on that trip the outbound flight from LGW was showing The Full Monty movie. It was a lunchtime flight and the whole plane laughed, everyone having had wine with lunch. The early morning return flight to LHR a couple of days later also showed the same film. Not a single person laughed. At six thirty ey em most people tried to finish off their kip.


announcement – the last trefbash

Monday, April 15th, 2024

Well it’s back to being cold and wet in the shire and the cough has added “a bit of a throat” to its army of symptoms. The Strepsils do ease said symptoms but to spoil the fun the packet says you can only take one every two hours. 

Outside the shed I see magpie looking for nest building materials. It toyed with the idea of using a small twig but decided upon reflection it wasn’t what it needed. Wrong shape I’d say 🙂

The garden feels strangely quiet. As if the sound insulation in the shed has suddenly improved. Not that it is bad insulation anyway. I can mostly just see the effects of the wind. It is quite windy out and I can hear the wind. Perhaps that drowns out all other noises. The occasional bird tweet penetrates.

The milkman came at four thirty four this morning. We still have a lot of milk leftover from the weekend.

Bit of advanced notice but I’ve decided to make this year’s trefbash the last one. For the past few years I’ve approached each bash as if it is going to be the last as I didn’t want to presume that a) people would still want to keep coming and b) the sponsors would want to keep supporting it. 

Every year I’ve been wrong. The sponsors have typically told me on the night that they’d like to do the same again next year and the partygoers themselves stick it in their diaries as soon as they find out the date.

Every bash has turned out to be at least as good as the previous one. It is a winning recipe: great food, music, people and booze.

The one thing I’ve always been concerned about is not wanting the bash to peak and start to go downhill. Whilst there is no evidence of this happening I’ve decided that the 2024 trefbash, tropical trefbash, is a good time to finish. Finish on a high.

I’m going to go the extra mile with tropical trefbash. Not sure how yet as it is difficult to top the current formula but I’ll think of something. If you want to support the bash by chucking in some sponsorship towards the bar tab/food/band etc then please feel free to get in touch. 

The date is Thursday 12th December, 2024 and the venue is the same as always – the Phoenix Arts Club on Charing Cross Road in London.

Quite a few of my friends from outside the UK have made the effort to come over the years but the time of year can make it difficult to travel. Hopefully the incentive of this being the last bash will be enough to attract those who have not been able to make it in the past. The advanced notice should also help.

In the meantime there is nothing for you to do other than stick it in your calendars and start thinking about your fancy dress. 

of wardrobes, lawns and bbqs

Friday, April 12th, 2024

The milkman came at two fifty nine this morning. He has only been earlier than this once since records began which was at two fifty four on Friday 15th March. Records didn’t begin on 15th March. That was the date of the earliest delivery 🙂

Tbh as long as the milk is there before six thirty ey em I don’t care what time he delivers. Six thirty is tea making time. We don’t normally let the milk supply run out anyway so if he is v late it mostly doesn’t matter. His latest delivery time was five twenty on the eleventh of March. Well inside the SLA. Not that there is an SLA. Afaik.

Now that I mention it I’ll have to give some thought as to how much milk we will need to last the weekend. Peak people density in the house is nine on Saturday night. Sunday morning. Correction we will have some more punters around for brunch on Sunday so the number will be higher. Not sure how many of those are milk drinkers but will give it some thought. THG herself doesn’t drink milk, other than in tea and cawfee. I typically have black coffee but am not a regular consumer of the bean.

I think I could see if I could get a part time job working for the Milk Marketing Board if it still exists. Just half a day a week would do me. Knowworramean? Might even get the milk delivered free of charge. Would make sense. I bet all the staff of the MMB get free milk. In little ⅓ pint bottles just like the old days. The very old days. I remember them.

Slooking like another balmy shorts and tee shirt day ahead. Yesterday the shed doors were flung open for the first time this year. Sgood. Not got a huge amount on today so might see if I can get the grass cut. This is highly contingent on being able to start the mower so we will have to see. Might take a while. I also need to plant my sunflower seeds.


The shed doors are, again, open. The birds continue to tweet. I know not the make, brand or model of bird but the likelihood is that a blackbird is amongst them. Red tulips nod their heads in unison. A feather floats to the ground.

Wow – house sparrow, common chiffchaff, eurasian blackbird and great tit. My sister @Sue suggested I download the Merlin bird app and these were the birds identified singing in and around our back garden. It is a wonderful app. I’m quite pleased about the chiffchaff as I didn’t know we had these. This is going to be a regular thing outside the shed. Wow wow wow wow wow.

I can’t get the lawnmower to start. Yet.

Lawn mowed and bbq fired up – easiest way to clean it is to run it hot for a while. The ignition didn’t work so I used one of those plastic wands. Hopefully after the initial flush through the bbq’s own ignition will start to work. I can see it smoking away from my vantage point in the shed.

Then rustled up some scallops with bacon for lunch, as you do. I had nine scallops. That’s about fifty quids worth or more in a restaurant. I rarely order scallops when eating out as you only get three. 

My 2pm meet just got cancelled so that’s me done for the day. Don’t like to do much in the way of work work on Friday anyway. The afternoon is so pleasant it feels as if anything too onerous in the way of jobs would be inappropriate. 

I just dismantled a wardrobe that THG had deemed surplus to requirements and was on the list of things to take to the tip.  During the process I realised it was good quality pine from Anne’s mum and dad’s gaff so rather than chucking it it is now in a place of safety in the potting shed. Of course the shed needs a huge tidy up so that is not the final resting place of the wood. Can’t chuck good wood like that. I daresay the wood will turn into something useful but gawd knows when 🙂 

Too late to go to the tip now anyway. Shuts at 4pm. I’ll do it Monday.

Garage also needs a tidy. Everywhere needs a tidy. I can squeeze in some time the week after next, as long as it stays fine.

snake oil salesmen

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

Interesting. Having publicly decried my cough I’ve now started seeing patent cough remedy adverts pushed to me by snake oil salesmen. I assume that’s what they are. They mix their evil and ineffective concoctions in their dingy kitchens in run down concrete highrises or graffiti strewn backstreet lockups and operate anonymously by mail order, or the modern tinterweb equivalent. Begone, snake oil salesmen. Cough still there though and now I’ve written this I’ll be getting more ads 😉 cough cough  cough cough cough cough cough cough. Cough cough.

In line with a mantra fine tuned over decades, it now being British Summer Time, I have decided to stick with the shorts despite the unreliability of the weather, and the presence of the cough.

In the shed for eight this morning. Granola at my desk. THG makes a top notch granola. Add berries and yo ‘gurt and you are set up for the day. THG also delivered a pot of tea. Wonderful girl that she is.

Funny how you instinctively know how much milk to pour into a cup before adding the tea. Ok you occasionally get it wrong but by and large that slurp followed by a drop does the job. If the tea is particularly stewed you might add more. That is likely to be the second cup and this morning I poured the tea first knowing that there wasn’t a full cup left in the pot and needed to know the level before adding the milk.

An everyday story of shed living. Put my new poster up in the shed yesterday. The Manx Motor Racing Club poster of the Manx Classic 1989 to 1999, patron John Surtees MBE. £3. It’s the one I bought from the Transport Heritage Museum in Peel. 

I’m always on the lookout for good posters. The shed is a continuously evolving space. I have yet to put up my African painting, bought at the craft warehouse or similar in Cape Town’s Waterfront. I have a plan to create a frame out of bamboo and stretch the painting inside that frame. The bamboo is there waiting as is the painting. Just needs executing. Maybs this week.

The milkman came at oh three twenty five. Back into the swing of regular deliveries.