snooker of the moment

A bright daily commute this morning as the low November sun dazzled through the apple tree at the bottom of the garden. Not many branches left on the leaves.

The shed heater is now on and I am sporting the thick woolly Himalayan jumper procured from the Black Yak stall at last year’s Lincoln Christmas Market.  When next will Black Yak grace these parts!

A pre-pour pot of tea sits to my left on the desk. There is no urgency. Let it brew, let it brew, let it brew.

The year in business is approaching its climax. This morning I have already booked two LNER train journeys with several more to be arranged. Executed by app from the comfort of the bed. Seems to be far more reliable than the desktop site. 


Today I await news of the test embroidery run from the local printer. Customising a garment. More in due course. Also the last accessory for this year’s trefbash arrives today. I ordered a hundred Hawaiian garlands. This is to ensure that anyone rocking up in business attire has the means to blend in with those who have gone to the effort of coming in costume.

Also in other news the kids have reminded the family whatsapp group that Glasto tickets sales open (and close) this weekend. I am going to see if we can get some for this year only.

Now watching the snooker in the shed. Zhang v Ding! On in the background really. The beauty of not working in an office. I will never again work in an office, other than the shed. Aside from a (the) shed work is best done in bars and restaurants. I specialise in this kind of working environment.

Noticed that google keeps suggesting alternative grammar in sentences. Getting slightly annoying. For example when I typed “watching the snooker” google wanted me to change it to “watching snooker”. This demonstrates a lack of understanding of the use of language. It isn’t any old snooker, it is the snooker. The snooker of the moment.


sock it to em

My sock choice this morning was determined by which pair fell out of the wardrobe when I opened the door. Lyle and Scott bamboo in olive green I believe. Funny how the path you take in life is dictated by random events such as this. How might today’s choice of socks affect the course of the rest of my life?

Having donned said socks and completed the rest of the dressing process the phone then rang. It was one of the Belgians. This particular Belgian never remembers there is an hour’s time difference. I don’t mind innit. Reinforces my belief that everyone should operate on GMT. It will happen. It’s only a matter of time 🙂

Relatively early to the shed, certainly compared with recent days. The lawn is once more liberally dotted with leaves after the success of last weekend’s raking exercise. I will now wait until they are all down. May just blow ‘em into the borders this time. Be a lot less faff. It’s a valid gardening tactic.

It is observed that the grasses that grow tall next to my deck have been cut right back. THG at work and a sure sign that winter is on its way. Feel quite sad about that. They made an attractive contribution to the garden vista as seen from my desk. Feels as if there is a finality to it even though I know they will regrow in the spring.

No point in wishing spring was here. Let us enjoy each season as it is presented. The run up to Christmas has a lot going for it. Lots of mellow and fruitful things. Such as Christmas parties and long lunches in town. If anyone wants to invite me along to a long lunch in town feel free to drop me a line. I’ll give some thought as to my choice of socks.

Couple of pigeons pecking their way around the garden. Pesky pigeons. They presumably have a role in the ecosystem. I’m trying to psych meself up to going out on a couple of errands. I’ve finished my cup of tea. Third or fourth of the day. Not so much wind out as yesterday. You can see I’m starting to ramble. I could tidy the shed.

In fact I have just tidied the shed. Quick eh? Done some shredding, taken the rubbish out, that sort of thing. The shredding goes in the compost bin. I’d like to see any foreign spies or crooks try reconstructing that after a few weeks!

I have an hour or so to kill before the sewing shop I want to visit is open. Yes yes a sewing shop. Sewing studio and dressmakers to be more precise. I have a job it would not be fair to ask THG to do. V time consuming. You will see the output soon enough. Assuming she can do the job. Fingers crossed. It involves sewing badges/patches onto a leather garment. After that I have to drop by the printers to see if they can embroider said leather garment.

It is the first garment of its kind I have owned, nearly sixty two years into the journey. Perhaps not the last 🙂

Seems to be a clothing thread in today’s post. The same printer is doing the staff tshirts for trefbash. All about the brand innit.


I like weather

Somewhat exciting news this morning as my outfit for trefbash is out for delivery. I was initially suspicious of the UPS email as it said my delivery from North Pole was on its way. However looks like North Pole are the shipping handlers/forwarders. I’m hoping it will turn out ok. Wasn’t totes sure re the sizing. I was going to jump in the shower but that can wait. The UPS van is just down the road on Bunkers Hill.

This morning storm Debbie is gracing us with a visit. Not in all her splendour as she makes landfall in the North West I think. I’ve said Debbie but the BBC weather site says Strom Debi. I suppose the BBC could have made two typos. It’s probs Debi but definitely not Strom. I mean Debi? Wots wrong with Debbie? I know three Debbies. Two are still Debbie but one moved to the USA of A and is now a Deb. 

I like weather. When you grew up in North Wales and the Isle of Man, weather was normal. Wet and windy weather I mean. I do prefer to enjoy the weather from a nice and dry place with a vista, preferably floor to ceiling windows, onto a wild place. In my case the wild place is the back garden and the windows are provided by the shed.

As I write the bloomin delivery is getting further away. The van stopped at a couple of places on Wolsey Way and is now in that new estate off Nettleham Road, just past Waitrose. Dunno what it’s called. In fairness the ETA is between 07.40 and 09.40. Having dived into the showerI am now parked in the front room in a state of high excitement and alert. The things that keep us happy.

THG has already left for the gym and I will shortly wander to the shed. The package arrived:) great fit. You will have to wait for the trefbash pics to see what it is.

Fair bit done today. Fixed the Anne’s Vans shop. Not pushed any merch over the last year but a customer wanted top order a tee shirt so needed to upgrade a few plugins which in turn needed a php upgrade. Sorted now.

When we set up the shop I had big ideas about a separate line of business but tbh couldn’t be arsed to put any effort into it. Might reconsider this next year.


c’mon baby light my fire

Sunday. Woke up this morning to a cup of char delivered by THG and an announcement that the central heating wasn’t working. Hmm. Outside there is frost on the kitchen roof. I opted to stay under the covers a little while longer.

When I eventually hauled myself out of bed I had another go at switching the heating on and this time it worked. No idea what happened there. Central heating eh?

Tis a misty day out. ‘orrible even. Autumn. Today I will attempt to bag leaves. You may be wondering about the choice of phrasing there: “attempt”. The fact is THG is out all day and trying to rake leaves into a bin liner on your own is a bit of a faff.

However I do have a plan. I will insert a bin liner into one of the recycling bins to hold it in place. Some of you will say that’s bleedin obvious Tref but it wasn’t to me. Just thought of it. This morning. After I discovered that THG is off out to lunch after church. A retired school teachers’ shindig. Having left the profession at the earliest opportunity she brings the average age down by about ten years. “Pass the salt please Margaret”. “WHAT?”

The kitchen is at present a scene of married bliss. I am sitting at the table typing away whilst my chosen life partner is doing something that involves a cardigan, a clothes hanger and some sellotape. It is our most used room. Where we spend much of our day. There and the shed obvs.

I may light the fire. Part of the plan is to tidy the bottom of the garden and make access to the pile of fence panels easier for the generation of kindling. Assuming I can get the chainsaw up and running. It’s been a couple of years. I have all the gear.

The great thing about Sunday mornings and not being a church goer is that one can ease into the day. Yesterday I bought a copy of the Financial Times Weekend edition. Impulse buy but I do like reading it from time to time. Four pounds eighty!! It has a good magazine telling me where I can spend my money. Rolex watches, Sunseeker speed boats, that kind of thing. Posh suits.V handy. At least there will be lots of paper to help with lighting the fire for the next few weeks.

We don’t light the fire that often. Just as a bit of a treat from time to time and when we have visitors. Wouldn’t want them to think we normally sat around in thick woollen jumpers, gloves and overcoats. What sort of impression would that give 😆

There is no wind out. Unusual.

Four 240l bin liners filled with leaves. Heavier than you think. That should be a load of good compost for next spring. They now reside around the back of the greenhouse, next to the compost bin, fwiw.

Also got the chainsaw out but tbh I’m going to leave it to the pros. Chain went loose very quickly. Took the opportunity to tidy the log pile up a bit. Cleared some space to provide easier access to the wood store for kindling. The oak logs will have to wait. They are fairly substantial and weigh a ton. Still a reasonable morning at the jobs list.

Now settling into an afternoon of sport. Liverpool on the wireless followed by Chelski v Man City on Sky later. It will take decades for people to stop calling them Chelski. Will have to wait for people to die off. I expect the Chelski fans have always called their side Chelsea. They know noothing 🙂In our house Liverpool are known as the Peul. You have to get the accent right.

Watching/listening to football nowadays is an interesting exercise in names. When I were a lad, in 1978 the squad looked thus:

Ray Clemence, Steve Ogrizovic, Alan Kennedy, Phil Thompson, Phil Neal, Joey Jones, Brian Kettle, Emlyn Hughes, Alan Hansen, Colin Irwin, Ian Callaghan, Jimmy Case, Steve Heighway, Ray Kennedy, Sammy Lee, Terry McDermott, Kevin Sheedy, Graeme Souness, David Johnson, Kenny Dalglish, Howard Gayle, David Fairclough.

Any observations? Steve Ogrizovic btw was a good cricketer and was described on Wikipedia as the best English keeper never to have played for his country. One of my claims to fame is that when Liverpool FC visited Peel Golf Club in the Isle of Man I ran over Ray Clemence’s wife’s foot with my golf trolley. She said “lucky I’m tough isn’t it” 🙂

I don’t remember all those names but some of them were major household names and some still very much around in the media today.


A familiar dilemma

Ten to six. AM. I’m lying in bed wide awake. I feel I should get up but the bed is warm and cosy. I’ve already been debating this for a good ten minutes. Decisively, in the end, I launch myself. 

Downstairs it is indeed cold but I have the benefit of the very warm hand quilted blanket that THG threw together at some point and which I’ve only recently noticed in the TV room. It very much does the job although my hands are taking time to warm up.

We had the front of the house double glazed a year or two ago. The back had already been done in dribs and drabs as we extended, adding bedrooms to accommodate our growing family. Makes a huge difference.

Our house was built in nineteen thirty nine. Storm clouds gathering over Europe and all that and no thought being given to insulation. Light the fire! Fires! Our previous abode, in Greetwell Gate even had fireplaces in each bedroom. You can imagine the dirty smoke above Victorian Lincoln in winter with multiple fireplaces burning away. Expensive I’d imagine. 

So today there is a plan. The leaf blower is about to emerge from its place of summer hibernation and thrown into action to clear the back lawn. I may also get the chainsaw out and see if I can make a start on some of the wood at the bottom of the garden. I’ve been saying that for a long time, mind you, about the wood not the leaves. See how it goze.

I am, tonight, cooking a curry. Last night I had a curry, Charlie Bigham’s chicken jalfrezi. The night before I had a curry, at Dishoom in Manchester and the night before that it was a Chinese. Nothing wrong with curry. THG did consider this to be a tad excessive but the great thing about our marriage is the differences 😉 Would be no use if we were both keen gardeners would it?

You may well be aware that today is a Saturday. Traditionally a day of sport, or shopping depending on what you do for kicks.  My thing used to be rugby. Never used to shave on a match day. Still don’t. 

I eventually stopped playing, when I got to the point that my recovery time increased to two weeks. There came a time when I would have to fall out of bed on my hands and knees and gradually stretch to the point where I could stand up. The other issue was that Saturday night after a game was always a wipe out. Eighty minutes of running around a pitch, a few pints in the clubhouse then home for dinner, after which I would fall asleep on the settee.

There was a time when our friends George and Barbara came to visit. George had, in his time, played first class rugby for Bath and Sale and he brought his boots along in case there was a game on. That day we played for Lincoln fifths versus Scunthorpe sixths. Our pack was full of old fogeys and the backs were all youngsters just emerging from the colts.

Ordinarily Scunthorpe would have expected to win but on this occasion all we needed to do was get the ball to George at fly half. George would side step past his opposite number and pass the ball to the inside centre who would take off towards the try line. We walloped them:)

The rest of the day followed my usual pattern and we both ended up asleep on settees in our front room. Good times 🙂

It has been decided that tonight’s curry is lamb rogan josh as instructed by Al’s Kitchen on YouTube. Our lad Joe swears by it and we have some of his pre prepared gravy base in the freezer. I’ve checked and all I need to get is:

Dried Methi

Tandoori Powder


Fresh Coriander to Garnish

I thought to myself where do you get methi leaves from? A quick look on the Waitrose website says they don’t stock em. Ahah. Turned out it’s fenugreek. This we have. Phew. Going to have it with cauliflower bhaji instead of cauliflower rice. Will let you know how it goes obvs 🙂

Not sure if it is a particularly sensible move going to Waitrose on a Saturday morning. At least the average age should be under seventy five. I don’t like to feel as if I’m the youngest person there.

Everything is under control currywise. Lamb is marinating, all ingreds chopped and ready to chuck in the pan at the appropriate juncture. It’s all about the preparation. Leaf blower deployed and most of the lawn is now free of brown except for a long strip near the border that awaits bagging.


Homeward bound

Imaginary music fills my head. “Homeward bound, I wish I was.” In fact I am indeed homeward bound, on the slightly delayed 10.13 out of Manchester Piccadilly heading for Cleethorpes via Sheffield. To fall asleep and discover I was in Cleethorpes would be a mistake and an unlikely event. I change trains at Sheffield.

For some reason I like changing trains at Sheffield. Dunno why. Makes no sense whatsoever. It would be much better if this train did not have Cleethorpes as its final destination but was heading straight to Lincoln.

This morning I made several observations. A lorry turned up at the building site opposite with a load of gravel. The driver climbed down from his cab and opened the white metal gates inward, then returned to the truck to reverse in. Then he realised that one of the gates needed to be opened in the other direction, ie outwards. Down he got again, sorted it out and then reversed in. He had to wait for one of the builders to rock up before tipping his load.

Down at breakfast I passed a large man tucking in to a full English. Looking up he smiled happily whereupon I noticed he had some of his fried egg stuck to his face. I chuckled to myself, said nothing and proceeded to fetch my OJ.

Bloke in the lift’s shoelaces were too long and were trailing on the floor. I noticed later that he had a broad brummy accent.

Later the holding area for platform thirteen at Manchester Piccadilly was a tableau of people waiting for their train to be announced and others moving past them.

The Uber driver’s name was Amanuel. He worked in a bank Monday to Thursday and drove an Uber on Fridays. Possible also at the weekend. Amanuel is an Arsenal fan and had Talk Sport on his car wireless set.

These are things I noticed this morning. There are many other observations I could make but it’s a question of how much time do I want to invest in the activity.

Looking out of the train windows I see dry stone wall patterned scenic hills on one side and rows of stone cottages lining the main road on the other. Some of these valleys were trashed during the industrial revolution. Dark satanic mills.

This land has no mobile connectivity. It was ever thus, since time began. Sheep have no need of mobile phones. All they need is grass, and mint sauce.

Bloke opposite has cheap earphones. I can hear the tv programme he is watching on his phone. Marseterchef.


life starts at seven thirty

Up at seven thirty this morning. “What on earth is going on Tref” I hear you say. I know, I know. I’m off to see Wayne in Manchester. Got a stash of trefbash beermats for his office. After all it was his marketing person Jodie wot did the design. Seem fair.

The upshot of all this is I had to be ready to leave the hoose at eight forty five and had a few bits and bobs to sort in the kitchen before going. Breakfast for example. A more normal day sees me at my desk in the shed for eight thirty but that only involves a thirty second commute as opposed to more like three and a half hours.

Still, the journey between Sheffield and Manchester is very picturesque. Can’t say the same for Lincoln to Sheffield. Hey…

Sat writing this on the train whilst listening to my fave tunes on shuffle. The train manager (guard of old as opposed to old guard) has just been to check my ticket. Seems a bit pointless considering I already had to scan the barcode to get through the turnstile. I suppose people can bypass the turnstiles, somehow. Anyway I am legal. Legit. I have the appropriate ticket to ride. There’s a tune in there.

Currently at Saxilby. I have a table for four to myself at the moment but will see how it goes. Maybe if I look very antisocial nobody will want to come and sit here. Not sure I know how to do that though. Couple got on and are buying a ticket from the guard (neo train manager). Maybs there aren’t turnstiles at every stayshun.

The large dirty brown striped flatlands of Lincolnshire look very wet as we race on by. A fallen tree in a disused bit of spare land between the track and the fields. Large bales of straw. New recently planted greenery emerging. The whirling criss cross patterns of tractor tyres. Blurry hedgerows.

In Manchester for two nights. I quite like a trip to Manchester every now and again. I am wearing a raincoat, natch. With wollen beanie. YThey never used to be called beanies. It’s a bobble hat without the bobble. Why did bobbles go out of fashion? Did they go out of fashion?

Gainsbororough Lea Road. Famous for the Gainsborough Model Railway Society. There is no other reason to come to Gainsborough. The Ping Golf Course maybe. I am only passing through. Dingy looking caravan parks try to hide behind steel fences. Next up, council houses with a caravan parked on every other drive. We move on. Small pond surrounded by reeds and with a solitary paddling swan.

I have removed my Bose phones. Quite a hubbub in the carriage that I couldn’t hear when listening to music. Good headphones. A large power coalfired power station provides an industrial backdrop.

This journey is very boring. I am reminded once when THG and I went to Leeds on this same train. A hen party got on at some point. Boy were they loud. I was fortunate in having my Bose with me. Made a huge difference. Unfortunately Anne had to suffer until the journey’s end. Hooray for Bose. And yes of course I offered them to Anne, probs 😉

There is pub in Sheffield Station called The Sheffield Tap. Quite good. I have occasionally broken my journey there althoug none of the Sheffield lads seem to be availabe this Friday. Will do me no harm to stay clear. Likely to be a bit on the early side anyway. WIll be a Friday mind you. Well into the weekend.

Worksop has long back gardens behind terraced houses abbutting the railway line. Traffic wait at the crossing, barriers down. Empty sidings. Bits of track strewn all over the place. Actually an interesting station with lots of train machinery lying around. Waiting.



what have the Romans done for us

Ze kettle is boiling. With a German pronunciation. This is almost certainly because I am re reading Spike Milligan’s seven volume war trilogy. Totally politically incorrect and full of language with which Dominic Cummings would be comfortably familiar. V funny though. I suspect you need to have a particular sense of humour.

Later, the kitchen is buzzing. Kettle on again, breakfast consumed, about to consume cup three. I like that. Cup three, not cup number three. You didn’t need me to explain, did you. That was a statement not a question. You will have observed.

Today is Tuesday. Again! They keep coming around. Boring some might say but imagine if we had a different name for every day of the year. Or every day even. We would constantly be running competitions to decide what a day should be called. Just like storms and hurricanes, or Antarctic exploration ships.

No we can’t have Dave. Dave happened three thousand years ago. Still plenty of words left in the Oxford English Dictionary. The main one, not the shorter or the concise OED obvs. I do perceive a problem with this naming system. We would eventually run out of words, even if we went through every language in the book. Either we would need to start again or keep inventing new ones. 

This is fine up to a point. I doubt the pace of word naming would keep up with demand, sensibly. Even Shakespeare, who would sometimes stick a couple of hundred new words in a play, might struggle.

The other issue is people would struggle to remember the name of the day. For example I just randomly opened The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary Volume 1 A – Markworthy. Page seven hundred and ninety six has the Word Foudroyant at the bottom. First heard in 1840 Foudroyant has two meanings. The first is  thundering, stunning; also dazzling. Won’t bother you with the second meaning.

Now I can see you leaping instantly to the problem here. People are going to confuse Foudroyant with Fotmal and Fougasse, both of which lie very close to either side of our word. Fougasse is actually on the next page but visible, albeit one is at the bottom of seven nine six and the other is at the top of seven nine seven.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why we stick to only seven words to describe days of the week. Notwithstanding the fact that most of the words in the OED weren’t invented when people started naming the days. The Greeks or the Romans probs. At least in the Indo-European world.

I’m not sure, to choose a random alternative culture, that the Awa Guaja tribe of the Amazonian rainforest has evolved its language and naming conventions in a similar manner but I will desist from geographical distractions here. There are already too many variables in this thread.

Bought the dictionary when I first moved to Lincoln as a fresh faced engineering graduate. Figured it had its place on the shelf but it is rarely referenced. I moved here on Sunday, January seventh 1984 having had a few months off and the book was probably bought that summer. It is interesting to note that January first 1983 is considered to be the official birthday of the internet, or so a quick Googling tells me. Most of you will recognise this as the date that ARPANET and the Defense Data Network officially changed to the TCP/IP standard. Nuff said.

All that remains for me to do here is to restate that today is indeed a Tuesday and not Cyesiology, Fantee or Gnathostegite. You will never again need to ask the question “what have the Romans done for us?”

I left the shed to do a bit of packing for tomorrow. Ten minutes max. By the time I got back it was getting dark. Only the Lagunitas IPA sign illuminated the inside. The mood lighting is now all on. The Lagunitas sign being lit up is an indication that the shed is, mostly, open for business. Whatever the nature of the business.


It is now totally dark out, light pollution aside. The brown leaves on the deck in front of the shed are lit up by the outside lights and I see the reflection of the Lagunitas sign in the French doors. Inside all is calm. 

I’ve brought my book with me but not yet felt inclined to delve. My screens distract. The curse of the screen, of the world wide web. Technology hangs around our necks like a leaden weight. The book is a well thumbed paperback. 

I’ve been monitoring progress with ticket sales for trefbash and we are pretty much where we were at this time last year. Notionally just twenty two tickets left now. Unless you want to actually pay for a ticket in which case I’d make one available especially 🙂That’s how I roll. Generous to a fault.

There is news. This afternoon has seen a busy Tref with a number of items struck off the jobs list. To whit the broken lightbulb in the bathroom has been replaced, the fridge magnets awaiting repair have been repaired, ish, and the bike rack has finally been hung on the garage wall using the special hanging hooks purchaysed from B&Q yesterday. This did involve a trip to Wickes to buy the right sized rawplugs. All now sorted and the space in front of my bench has been regained.

Bench space regained. Sounds like the sequel to the first bench space novel in which said worktop was initially tidied but then became cluttered once more.


cooker repair man

Just tuned in to the weekly sales call. Muted with no camera. Just listening in. Like to stay in touch with what’s going on. Stayed there less than five minutes. Boring.

This morning the big news is that we are anticipating a visit from the cooker repair man, whoever he is. The old repair man isn’t in the game anymore apaz and this one has taken ages to nail down. If he is the only cooker repair man in town he must be quite busy. The left hand oven clicks constantly as if it is trying to light the gas flame even though it is already lit and the right hand oven doesn’t come up to temperature. Needs sorting obvs.

The everyday story of life in Lincoln in 2023. You share the highs, the lows and the visit from the cooker repair man. Can’t say that is either a high or a low but there will almost certainly be a brief period of elation if he fixes the problem(s). We also have Tom the Tree man coming in December for the usual annual hedge trim. You heard it first.

Quite a busy week ahead actually. Off to Manchester for a couple of nights on Wednesday. I quite like going to Manchester, for a couple of nights. Not staying in the Hiton this time as Wayne says it has gone downhill a lot. Normally my only reason for staying there (points apart) is its proximity to the convention centre but I’m not going there anyway this trip.

The leaves on the lawn are becoming noticeable. This weekend might see us getting the blower out. See how it goes. The deck in front of the shed certainly needs sorting. My feet keep bringing leaves in. Untidy or what?

The cooker repair man’s name was Chris. Annoyingly the clicking sound on the left hand oven had gone away. The other problems persist and we need to send details of the cooker model when we can find the booklet. Hmm. It wasn’t in the box identified by THG over the phone. Leave it with me 🙂

THG has some mates around for lunch so I’m in da shed with a bowl of soup heated up before any of them arrive. V nice soup fair play. Some sort of spicy chicken with spinach and a variety of veg. Home made obvs.

Listening to some tunes. Roxy Music, The Police. In a good frame of mind. Positive. Why not? Sat in the TV room with ma phones on so I don’t have to hear the programme THG is watching. Some “find out who I am” documentary/reality tv thing. I’m a real snob when it comes to TV. Ain’t many programmes that cut it for me. Got a book. No worries. Crazy little thing called love. THG 🙂My head is bobbing around. Nodding. I’m glad I can’t hear the telly.

Sitting with ma gurl is nice. I’ve known her for thirty seven years. Wow. Thirty seven years!

Ancient empty streets too dead for dreaming. Bob Dylan’s poetry. Pure genius. Not sure about Bob himself.


Remember remember

Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. Heard on the wireless just now, not for the first time obvs, but the words resonated. Roll nicely off the tongue. I like words that roll nicely off the tongue. That’s how I roll 🙂

Won’t be heading to the Lindum fireworks display even though it is just down the road. Was fine when the kids were at home but reality is long queues for the bar and these days far fewer people we know. All our contemporaries are in the same boat. Kids have left the fold and far easier to stay in front of the fire with a warming glass of 1996 single variety cognac or words to that effect. That kind of thing. Must put mine in the fridge.

The beef casserole carefully prepared on Friday is now being warmed up on the top of the stove prior to sticking back in the oven on gas mark one for another three hours or so. It must be said it tastes great. A result. Quite good at casseroles, me. Spuds peeled and green beans trimmed.

One of the guests is bringing a fruit crumble although THG is a dab hand at such delicacies. Fair play. I need to set the fire. Nowt like a log fire in the autumn and obvs totes appropriate on the fifth of November.

Tis a beautiful day out. A nice morning to get things done in the garden, I’d imagine, not that I particularly indulge in such activities. When one has a head gardener, highly proficient in the management and control of nature on the estate it would seem pointless. Disrespectful even. Who am I to suggest that such and such a bush needs pruning? 

Responsibility for management of the grapevine has been delegated down but according to the RHS guidance that doesn’t need doing until next month. This is something I have been reading up on and indeed did a lot of on location research during our time in France in September. Never seen so many vineyards. The main takeaway from that effort was the vines seemed a lot tidier than ours and this is down to active pruning during the growing season. Grapevines grow very quickly innit.

Research into this important subject area will continue in 2024 and I daresay you will be kept abreast of my latest thinking.

Everything is in place for lunch. Fire blazing away in the grate. Primordial.  Bought a new hand axe yesterday that made light work of a piece of fence for kindling. No idea where the felling axe is but that’s a bit overkill for fence and somewhat on the heavy side. 

A fence is a very recent thing. I guess we have to have them, at least if you live in close proximity to other people. The place we stayed at in Cahors had a wall with a gate at the front but was open to the fields at the back. I doubt anyone ever came anywhere near the place. It  wasn’t the kind of joint that would attract casual passers by.

The noise of a fire is on its own soothing enough even if you couldn’t stare mesmerised into the dancing flames. It’s a bit like listening to test match cricket. You nod off a bit and when you wake up nothing much has changed. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be. Doesn’t always work out like that, especially with our lot. Ah well. I’ll stick with the fire for the time being.


The casual toss

Bacon and egg with a few button mushrooms casually tossed into the pan and washed down with a cup of tea makes for a good start to the day. Got a few things to do d’aujourd hui. Nothing too onerous. I make a point of not booking anything in the diary for Friday afternoon though it doesn’t always work.

A quiet weekend lies ahead which is good. We do have some friends coming round for Sunday lunch but that too is good. Making a habit of this 🙂

Friday afternoon. Tools mostly downed. Work email still open in a small corner on the far right of my desktop arrangement. I have a 5k Apple display and a second 4k screen so can fit a lot of stuff on. In fact a word doc is best suited to being worked on in half a screen as otherwise there’s a huge amount of white space in front of you.

I quite fancy opening a bottle of wine tonight to go with the pork stroganoff but this is not consistent with my keto diet and fair play to me I’ve stuck to it very well this week. Might treat meself to a slimline tonique with a splash (wave) of gin. See how it goze. It is Friday after all.

The pork stroganoff was originally beef in the plan but we couldn’t really tell what the meat was when it came out of the freezer. Twillbefoine. Lovely I’m sure. Beef casserole is in the oven on gas mark one or two. This is for Sunday. It‘ll sit there until maybe eight or nine o’clock and once cooled can go in the fridge in the garage until Sunday morning. Flavour should develop nicely. I’ve done a double sized batch again so we ‘should’ have some left over.


A glass of water

A glass of water has been poured. Four trees have been removed from next door’s garden. The not insubstantial trunks are now under the conifers in our front garden in the guise of large logs. They need turning into small logs, spitting and stacking at the button of the garden. The huge pile of oak logs  at the bottom of the garden also needs the same treatment. 

This is no longer a Tref putting some time and effort into it. It needs industrial strength tools and expertise. The woodpile needs a good tidy anyway. I’m tempted to get my Norwegian Wood book out ready to discuss stacking techniques but in reality any stack will do. Any stack in a storm, as they say. I think.

There’s a load of old fence stacked in the woodstore that could do with turning into kindling. Will make everything much tidier than the higgledy piggledy pile it is now. Also you can hardly get near it at the mo. A morning with a chainsaw and a log splitter will do the job. I’m already excited.

Of course the glass of water has nothing to do with the logs. I just wrote that expecting that some related and highly relevant words would follow. This is not what happened as you can see.

The pouring of a glass of water, as a stand alone act, has in itself plenty of merit. If it was done by Banksy as a piece of performance art it would sell for millions at auction. The buyer would have to decide whether to drink said glass of water and be part of the work or to keep as is. Whole H2O.

The former is much more in keeping with the genre. Just imagine going down in history as being the person who paid a million bucks for a drink of water and then proceeded to knock it back. Makes lighting a cigarette with a fifty pound note pathetic in comparison. Bad for your health an all.

You don’t see that many fifty pound notes in circulation. It isn’t a thing that regularly inhabits my wallet. That would be mostly receipts.


the purchase of socks

Today I intend to purchase some socks. This is not a regular occurrence but I am also in need of some other items of clothing so I thought a trip to Boundary Mills near Grantham would do the job.

I’m not a massive fan of Boundary Mills as it appears mostly to be an old man’s shop and obvs I am not yet in that category. They do however sell denim jackets and I need one of these because one of the kids told me that is what people wear to music festivals. This is the same kid to whom I gave my old Timberland denim jacket. The one with the leather collars.

Tbf I never used to wear it and may well only wear this one to trefbash, who knows. It will have lots of appropriate badges and embroidery. Could become a thing 🙂

Years ago I bought a load of cub scout badges when visiting Tom at the World Scouts Jamboree. Ten pence each. There were also brownie badges in there. I have badges for sewing, knot tying, all that sort of thing. Ironing! Oh how times have changed. They ain’t going on my denim jacket though. It all has to be love and peace, man kind of stuff. Pass me the spliff.

One of the things Boundary Mills is good for is socks. They sell a wide range. Last time I went, quite a few years ago now I bought what I thought was far too many pairs (were too many pairs?) but now they are mostly worn out, darn it. Nobody darns socks any more mind you. If you want a lift to Boundary Mills now is the time to stick your hand up. I’ll be going in fifteen minutes.

They do have a Lee Jeans outlet in St Pancras but I’m not going to town for a while and I think I prefer Wrangler. Not for any particular reason other than it feels tougher. I often wrastle steers yanow. BM has both. I was thinking Levis but they don’t sell em anywhere near Lincoln and they are probs trendier which isn’t something I naturally go for.



Milkman came at five thirty

Milkman came at around five thirty. Five twenty eight to be precise. We hold on to this precious service even though ever since the demise of the Coop dairy in Boultham Park he comes all the way from Newark. I was awake. Prompted me to get up. 

The milk is still on the doorstep. Inside the porch. No particular rush to bring it in. It’s spinach, mushrooms and poached egg for breakfast. When I was a kid in Waunfawr near Caernarfon the milkman would leave a slate over the tops of the milk bottles to stop the blackbirds pecking at the cream. Don’t have that problem now. Even the full fat doesn’t have cream on top. I still turn the bottle upside down though before opening. Just to mix the cream in a bit. Like the old days 🙂

We used to get four or five pints a day when there were six of us living at home. Six! Sounds like an awful lot. A full house. Then as they moved out we gradually reduced the amount until now it is two pints three times a week. Sometimes top it up from the local milk shop, ie Waitrose. I am a drinker of milk. At university I used to get through three pints a day.

Only thirty seven days until this year’s trefbash. Registrations are ahead of last year which is good innit. I’ve started buying bits and bobs to make the party rock. You will have to wait until the night to see what they are. Usual kind of thing really. This year’s theme is music festival. Plenty of scope for creativity there. You are invited.

Had my annual flu jab yesterday. Went early to Newland Coop pharmacy in Anne’s car to make sure I got a parking space and to make sure I wasn’t late for the nine thirty slot. There were two or three available which is unusual. I was in at nine twenty and out almost immediately having been sorted by the pharmacist Tony who remembered my name. That is a talent. All the parking spaces had been filled up by the time I got back to the car. Result.

I took Anne’s car because mine was at the menders. A rodent had chewed through one of my fuel pipes causing a leak. Not good. Effin rodents. Expensivo as it is not covered by the warranty. Ah well. Down at Coops’ garage later they said this was a fairly regular occurrence there. Mostly chewing through wiring. Will pick the car up today. Ryan from Marshalls called as I was pulling in to the pharmacy car park to let me know it was sorted.

Productive day in prospect.

The shed is a calming place. I have made a pot of tea and am waiting for it to brew. I have a conference call in my diary for ten minutes’ time and should be in possession of a nice cuppa by then.


Listening to a spot of Miles Davies

Listening to a spot of Miles Davies in the TV room. It is there mainly to drown out the sound of the cheeky chappie Jamie Oliver as he tries to convince home cooks that his recipe for beans on toast is the one to follow. I already know how to cook beans on toast so don’t need to watch. It might not be beans on toast but you get my gist.

Just biding my time until University Challenge comes on. I am happy to admit that I am not the UC ace in the Davies household but I like to think I can learn something off the other occupant. 

Trouble is we tend not to like the same programmes. I like most sports and WW2 documentaries. My chosen life partner is an avid follower of Association Football and of Snooker and I am happy to watch those and UC in her company. When it comes to other genres of television I have to switch on my headphones. Happy to remain in the room though.

I can either watch something different on a device or, as I am about to do, read a book. In this case it is Vol 1 of Spike Milligan’s War Diaries trilogy. The trilogy had in total six volumes.

Old JO has aged since I last watched one of his programmes. Happens to us all. Not a grey hair in sight which makes me somewhat suspicious if you knowworramean. Maybs I’m just not looking properly.