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diary early one morning

twirly

Knackered this morning. Had to get up at 4.50 to take John and his mates to East Midlands Airport. I’m often naturally awake at 5.30 but knowing I had an alarm kept me awake for much of the night which made for bad kip.

Yesterday evening I firmed up on the itinerary of our East Coast USA trip in September/October. The problem is there is too much to see. We start off with five nights in the Big Apple, a couple of nights in Rockport, Cape Ann, then two nights in Provincetown, Cape Cod followed by four in Boston before heading back to NYC for the last night before flying home. Couldn’t get decent flight times for flying back from Boston. Can’t remember now. We had to change the schedule recently.

The last time I flew back from New York I had the day to kill so went for a stroll around Central Park. Ended up in the Boathouse for a couple of beers where I met a chap called Les Haber who is now a pal on Facebook. It was his regular lunchtime spot. Some time ago now.

These flights back from the USA are always a bit of a dilemma especially from the East Coast where the flight time is quite short really. Part of me wants to enjoy (enjoy?) the hospitality and dinner service and the other part wants to just go to sleep.

We also have tix to see Pink Martini at the Albert Hall on the night we get back so will be spending a further night in a hotel in town before getting home. We will, I’m sure, be knackered.

It is unlikely that we will be able to check into the London hotel when we get there so we may have breakfast and a shower in the T5 arrivals lounge before heading into town. Will be better than eating breakfast on the plane which is normally pretty pants whichever class of travel you are in.

Still, life is short. Ya gotta do this stuff. Notice I slipped into the American vernacular there? Just practising.

Specifically what we do whilst in the US of A is still in the mix. One event we are working on is the Yankees versus Orioles baseball game (rounders) on Sunday 1st October. This should add something quintessentially Americun to the mix even though the sport is fundamentally boring. This is somewhat at odds with the view of most of the area’s (latterly) indigenous peoples but there again they think cricket is boring so they know noothing.

Lunchtime I picked up a couple who had arrived from Canada to hire one of our vans. I don’t normally pick folk up from the station but there again they normally drive and leave their car with us. That’s two of the vans out at the mo. 

We are taking Bertie on a photoshoot to Woodhall Spa tomorrow. Content is king. If you’ve never been to Woodhall Spa it is like winding the clock back seventy years. Bertie, who is a slip of a 44 year old, will fit in well there. We have booked outdoor swimming at Jubilee Park and have a picnic to consume. The weather looks like warming up as we go through the week so a nice picnic sat outside the van will be just right.

We are planning to go back and stay in Woodhall in a campervan the weekend before we head off to the States. A regular camping destination for us at that time of year.

Have moved operations to the deck in front of the shed leaving the doors wide open for cricket watching. Living the dream. The lovely Anne has delivered a pot of tea. All is well. 

Lunch was misu soup. Part of the keto dfast 800 diet I have been periodically observing. I say periodically as I had a good stretch at it after Christmas but May and June were interrupted by numerous trips that made the regime impractical. Am off to London on Wednesday, back Saturday. However July and August are more not going somewhere than going and I am confident that progress will be continued.

For some unexplainable reason I woke up this morning at the same time as yesterday. Fortunately after some cajoling my body went back to sleep until nearly 7am whereupon it was woken by Anne expressing surprise at the time! Tea making was avoided. It is rare.

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early one morning

The gentility of drizzle.

Stillness in the valley. Last night’s torrential rain has eased to a gentle drizzle. Really just a few drops on my glasses. Latecomers after the river filling storm of the night when we sat looking through the doors of the cottage at the flashes of lightning illuminating the flood plain below. 

This morning nothing moves. The occasional brave bird, perhaps, out looking for breakfast. Gotta feed the kids.

I’ve been out to check the campervan. Started first time. A deeply satisfying experience. Today we are off on the next leg of our adventure. The Isle of Man TT races beckon. 

On the boat we have a cabin. We are experienced travellers to the Isle of Man and this particular boat is going to be rammed full of bikers all looking for somewhere to sit. The sailing is at 3.15pm but we plan to get there early. Better safe than sorry.

This is the launch trip of our “new” campervan Jade. We are using the opportunity to find out what needs doing. Where do we put curtains? What bit needs fixing? That kind of thing. It’s a cool thing to do and I’m hoping for some great photos for the website. Jade surrounded by bikes. Hundreds of bikes.

Turned up early for check in and sat in the queue for over two hours. They loaded the bikes on first, all 450 of them and when we got on the passenger decks were rammed as forecast with people wandering around looking for somewhere to sit and staff actively managing the sitch. At the Passenger Information Desk we picked up our cabin key and fell into it with an air that combined relief with superiority. 

The free sandwiches in the cabin have been scoffed and we are sipping at a brew. All is well.

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early one morning

plane truth?

Thought I heard a plane fly by. Listened to it for a moment then figured maybe it was someone pulling a suitcase with wheels. Happened again a couple of minutes later. Bit odd I thought. Rich tapestry and all that. Could have been someone nicking a wheelie bin or simlar. I will never know. Might have been cars I guess. It was 05.24 am.

Learned something whilst all that was happening. When I look at the time on the clock radio I instinctively do it by opening my left eye. Never thought about it before but this time it occurred to me to check. I do it naturally. When I tried my right eye or both eyes it didn’t feel right. There you go.

I’m downstairs now and upon reflection the noise might have been wind whistling through trees outside. Or the combination of car and wind noise. We have a storm on its way today. Heavy rainfall. 40 – 60mm expected in some parts of the country I read. Must have been Wales, or Scotland. Don’t mind a bit of heavy rain. Snormal. Quitelikeit. 

Today is the sabbath, in Christianity. I choose which day is the sabbath depending on my desired outcome. Clearly it would be inappropriate to do any jobs on the sabbath and the day is nominated accordingly depending on my readiness for such tasks. No jobs today. 

I don’t count packing for our jaunt to Belgium tomorrow a job. Needs doing this morning as we are off to the Dambusters Inn with John for Sunday lunch. It’s his birthday and Anne has volunteered to drive. The point is there is not much packing going to get done after lunch and we are off at the crack of sparrow fart tomorrow.

This will be our first foreign trip since before the pandemic. Two years ago on this day we were in San Francisco. On that trip we felt as if we were just keeping ahead of the covid wave. After we got back the world put up the fences and went into lockdown. 

This trip feels as if we are being one of the first explorers into a place after the pandemic has ended. Belgium, and later in the week, The Netherlands are just going through the slow process of coming out of (yet another) lockdown.

Funny how we have jumped at the opportunity to go on this jaunt. After all, everyone has got used to staycations. Shows perhaps that there will be a pent up demand for foreign holidays as we gradually come out of hibernation.

It’s very rare for us to go out for Sunday Lunch. In fact I can’t remember when we last did it. Must be decades ago if ever. That’s the effect of having 4 kids. Also, to make most use of the day, we prefer to eat in the evening and although I might have to cook it myself I find I can do at least as good a job, likely better, than a pub or restaurant.  The one difference today will be the availability of beer on tap. Seehowegetoninnit.

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early one morning

heartbeat

Lay in bed awake last night. 02.41 on the clock. I was lying on my side and could hear my heartbeat. 

I wondered to myself what would happen if you were in that situation and you suddenly stopped hearing your heart. Is that it? Would you be a silent witness to your demise. Your last few minutes with life slowly ebbing away. What would be going on in your mind?

Would you have the gumption to sit up and bang your chest?

Mine kept on beating and I stopped hearing the pulse when my head shifted position. I can picture seeing me and hearing the heartbeat and then the silence once I’d moved.

Was a busy morning putting the curtain rails back up in the front room. All sorted now although some improvisation was needed. Won’t bore you with the minutiae. Suffice to say I came up with the goods. Blows on finger nails and rubs on shirt.

Now sat in the shed watching Wales v Scotland. We are playing much better than last week. Scores are level half way through the second half. Wales won after an exciting last few minutes innit.

The decorating of the front room has occasioned a rethink of the choice of pictures on the wall. We have some new pics to put up from dad’s flat. Pride of place above the mantelpiece goes to the watercolour of his birthplace, the woollen mill at Maesdulais.

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early one morning

cardboard boxes abound

Went out early this morning to tidy up a couple of cardboard boxes that had blown across the drive from their place next to the pile of stuff that needs taking to the tip. I might have been in Alaska it were that cold. It’s good though, that it were cold. It is as it should be on the 7th February, 2021.

Alaska is a place I’ve never been but feels worth a visit. No idea when. I’ll stick it on my non-existent list of buckets. We are currently booking into 2024 although plans for 2023 are still very much in draft. The intent is there but it lacks the detail. 

The Berghaus fleece thrown over a t-shirt this morning did not adequately fend off the sense of cold. It seems likely that any visit to Alaska would only be made in the summer but even so I’d probs need another layer or two. This is in marked contrast with September 2023 where the order of the day is very much shorts and t-shirt as we head south for St Tropez, Nice and the delights of the French Riviera.

Later after much toing and froing to the garage for miscellaneous tools the curtain rail is back up in the TV room. It turned out to be a two man job when I discovered that the curtain rings kept sliding off one end. Putting up curtain rails is really something that should always be left to a professional. Just like decorating. Pete the decorator has sorted out the new wallpaper much more quickly and efficiently than I could have done. Pete earns a wage out of it and I don’t get stressed.

I used to do all this sort of DIY but nowadays it’s a lot easier to pay someone.

Later did a trip to the tip. The cardboard boxes are no more.

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early one morning

weather and trip planning

Another day. The temperature should reach 12℃ and bobbles just below that for the next week. Google tells me the average high in Lincoln in February is 7℃ rising from 6℃ in January. It is warmer than the norm.

The wind direction over next week is mostly westerly which may explain it although I have no idea what the February average wind direction is. Looking at the snowstorms that they have been experiencing at this latitude across the pond I’d suggest we need to look elsewhere for the cause.

I have been working on an itinerary for our East Coast trip in October. Starts off with the Pink Martini gig at the Royal Albert Hall then off to NYC for a week. It’s the bit after that I’m working on. We finish up in Boston. That’s it then from the long haul flight perspective although I have enough Avios for another big trip and am giving some consideration to an African safari. Never been on safari proper.

The serious big trip is Ireland and South of France in September 2023 in one of our campervans. This is a real adventure and we will be away for the whole month. An unusual itinerary but it starts with a proposed family get together in Killybegs before heading for some rugby world cup action in Nice. I’ll be blogging every day on annesvans.com subject to being compos mentis.

I nearly wrote compost mentis there. What would that mean? 🙂 A rotting brain I suspect which will probably be the by-product of a month on the pop on holiday with family and rugby friends. Both trips demand a fair bit of planning. 

We will probably be offering our campervans out on a month long hire that September as we won’t be around to manage any maintenance or handovers in Lincoln. Promises to be one helluva trip. We expect to stop in hotels every now and again to recover from campsite living. Nice sees an average of 25℃ in that month. No jumpers in sight. I’m getting excited already.

Nice is our ultimate destination as I have tickets for two games in the city. The experience of trying to buy tickets off the Rugby World Cup website was not good. An unholy free for all involving long queues and a poor system that left everyone with a bad experience. At least I got something in the end. I’m content with watching most games in a bar with the others.

There are in theory six or seven vans and motorhomes heading down there in our group. Not everyone will be there for the whole month I imagine but most of us will be. At least that’s the talk. The beauty of throttling back from full time work. In my game it is possible to work from anywhere in any case. Have 5G will travel. I’ll probably I may have a 5G enabled phone by then. Who knows?

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early one morning

snow use

The hour is early and darkness prevails. I slept well and have repaired downstairs in readiness to take up the tea. 

It is Sunday 30th January in the year 2022 of the Common Era. The first winter month of the new year is behind us and we begin to look forward to the coming of the growing season. The first onions are in the raised beds and we will very soon need to plant the chilli peppers in the house.

Although the snows have stayed away there is time yet for nature’s wand to cast an icy blanket over the land. Storm Malik has been wreaking his vengeance in the North of the country and Storm Corrie is on her way. I thought they named storms in alphabetical order but clearly not. 

I am excited at the prospect that 2022 brings. It feels as if we will have a general reawakening from the long covid induced hibernation. Certainly this is everyone’s hope although our approach here in the UK seems to be very different to mainland Europe where they were daft enough to follow scientific advice. Here in the UK they only do this when it suits them politically and find behind such advice a convenient place to hide.

Our February trip to Belgium and the Netherlands hangs in the balance due to the fierce travel entry regulations laid down by both Belgian and Dutch governments. Ironically as it stands I will still be able to go to Brussels for a couple of days as the rules there say that I don’t need to test or quarantine if staying for less than 48 hours which could be the case.

Our extended trip taking in Antwerpen and Amsterdam would mean testing and quarantining in both Belgium and The Netherlands which is too much of a ball ache. The bars and restaurants in Amsterdam are just reopening which is one of the prerequisites for staying the night. If they don’t open then we would be confined to our hotel restaurant which is a Michelin 2 star job which believe it or not is too fancy for my liking. 

Otherwise, and because the Dutch allow you a 12 hour transit without test and quarantine, we would stay an additional night in Antwerp and head directly for Schipol and home. Will find out soon enough. The trip is planned for the week of 14th February and the schedule can be changed at the last minute.

The day in prospect is itself full of constructive promise. The curtain rail in our bedroom needs putting back, nay will be put back and the door furniture on one of the kitchen doors has been removed to allow completion of the paint job. Up goes one thing and off comes another. As the actress said to the bishop.

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early one morning

lie in or what?

Feeling very refreshed this morning. Woke up at 07.30ish. Not totes sure as our clock gains a minute a month and I not only have to make the mental adjustment every time I look at it but also have to occasionally recalibrate the discrepancy. We often take the faster time as read. No harm in it.

Anyway I lay in bed thinking was it really 07.30 or was it 01.30 – another issue with this clock is a fault with the LEDs that make the 1 sometimes look like a 7. I’ve mentioned all this before. Just not got around to sorting it. It felt like 07.30. There was traffic noise outside.

I went to the bathroom and checked the clock on the central heating controller. Blow me down. 07.30 it was! Dawn had crept in to the back garden and was waving her magic wand with diffused light accessory over our world.

I went back to bed only to be told it was my turn to make the tea. Sorted in the boil of an unwatched kettle.

Now I’m in the shed, invigorated by half an avocado on sourdough toast with walnuts, chopped red chilli, cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of Belazu aged balsamic vinegar. If you’ve never tried the Belazu you don’t know what you are missing. Expensive but worth every penny.

That spelling of the word invigorated doesn’t look right btw. Looks Americun. Feels as if it should read invigourated but it is clearly right.

Started sorting some Anne’s Vans stuff yesterday. Bookings are coming along nicely. This year I will have time to put some order into the business, not that it was hugely disordered previously especially since we put the new booking system in. Used to do it via spreadsheet. I still use the spreadsheet but it is more an at a glance management tool as opposed to critical ecommerce infrastructure, if you get my drift.

As we take on more vans, we will have four for the 2022 season, it is important to have order. We have even curtailed the number of holidays we are taking over the summer although there is vacation creep involved here. 

In June we have the TT Week campervan trip to the IoM that has been delayed two years running. This Is likely to be followed by a few days in Finland. Not in a campervan. It would be impractical plus we need to be hiring them out at that time of year not using them ourselves.

Also this is a big year for birthdays with many of our peers hitting the oh no six oh. Mine was last year as you may recall. The point is that people organise parties when hitting sixty and we already have some hotel bookings in the diary. The temptation is to add a few days here and there. I think we will let the situation on the campervan ground drive this nearer the time.

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early one morning

the kettle

It is not yet time to boil the kettle. Funny to think that this ritual goes on all around the world in a certain time window, in my case around 6.30am but anything between this time and 8am ish. You can imagine plotting the rise in energy consumption moving around the globe as the world wakes up and sticks the kettle on.

I was careful to use the word energy there instead of electricity as some people may use gas and potentially even wood fire. Those of a wood fire bent will likely take a lot longer. Having the embers hot from last night will help, obvs.

That’s something I quite like doing, lighting the fire from the previous day’s embers without resorting to the use of a match. Doesn’t happen very often as we rarely have a fire going. It is the weekend. I might treat us. I have to nip out today to deposit a cheque in the bank as it is too large to do using the app and could use the opportunity to buy some fuel. 

We have got a massive pile of wood at the bottom of the garden but it needs cutting up. Old bits of fence, chairs, stuff like that. Really best suited to kindling and the intermediate sized wood stage rather than the main log burning activity of the fire. When I say throw another chair leg on the fire I really do mean it 🙂

Might get the chainsaw out later, if I can get anywhere near it past all the gardening bits – bamboo canes, piled up plant pots etc. Don’t worry I’ve got all the gear although it is a bit of a rigmarole putting it all on. Needs must. No steel toe cap boots though.

In other news I was just checking the rules for entering Belgium. We are notionally off there on February 14th. They still need you to do a PCR test and quarantine until you get the result. As far as I can see. You need a degree in covid travel to work it out. All I want is for someone to say “do this Tref”. There is a scenario where we don’t bother going but there are three weeks yet. Hotels are all cancellable and return flights from Schipol. Not sure about the Eurostar. I’m not particularly impressed with Eurostar as an entity.

Gotta go. The watched kettle never boils but it has absolutely no hope of doing so if you don’t fill it up and switch it on…

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early one morning

false alarm, clock

That moment when you realise that you need a new alarm clock radio: when you wake up in the night and glance at the clock to see it saying 7.10 and think to yourself what a great nights kip. Then when glancing at your phone it says 1.10am and you realise an LED is starting to go on the radio!

Like many of you I’m sure we listen to the news in bed. I mostly switch off my hearing at this point as it is mostly bad news or tedious stuff but this morning I couldn’t help noticing the repetition on multiple bulletins of the news of the Prince Andrew lawsuit and separately of some female silicon valley entrepreneur who had been done for fraud. 

The thing that came to mind regarding Andy was the frequent repetition of the words sex offences on prime time news. Made me wonder how many parents would be explaining to their kids over the breakfast table what this term meant.

The fraudster stuff just got a bit repetitive especially as I’d never heard of her. Probably never will again once the cell keys have been thrown away. She got multiple 20 year sentences. Had she “just” gone and murdered someone she would probably have got off more lightly.

Walked to Waitrose with John for a few bits. It’s around a mile each way. Cold out but warmed up with the brisk walk. Passed a retirement flat with a faded name sign “Ren and Dave, Dunromin” or similar. I got the spellin rite. Was definitely Dave. Dave in fact was just stretching his legs at the door as we walked past. Important years when there are still two of you around.

Got home and stuck a new trellis near the potting shed door. The flimsy old one wasn’t up to supporting the rose which was being held up by bits of string tied to nails. There wasn’t much enthusiasm to stay out in the cold to help so it took me more than one attempt to get it level but the end result is fine. I now know the correct trellis hanging technique. 

Noted also that the garlic I planted in the autumn is poking through in two rows. The first sign of renewal. New life. Enough garden jobs for one day. Don’t want to do them all in one go. Tomorrow I plan on hammering in some new fence posts to hold the plum tree.

Now sat in the shed listening to a spot of Rachnmaninoff whilst charging my fitbit. I note the date on it is Lay sometime. Shows how long it is since I used it. Was on 0% charge. Problem is I don’t wear a watch but I have decided to start using it when exercising which I want to do more of. 

Before Christmas I always had a psychological block against downing tools and going for a walk/to the gym/pool. The problem was, as with many jobs, I had more work I could be doing than time available so I didn’t do the exercise. Now with a vastly curtailed working week the mental blockage has been removed.

Off to the pool at 3pm. Hoping it won’t be as busy as yesterday.

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early one morning

06.09

06:09. There is something arty about that time. It isn’t symmetrical but feels as if it is. 60:90 isn’t quite the same. Personal preference.

Mayne you are a 60:90 kind of person. Doesn’t sound like I am. It would be funny if the whole world was divided into 06:09 and 60:90 types. Maybe it is. Maybe I’ve just stumbled across a hitherto undiscovered law of nature or similar.

Astounding!  Academics will devote entire careers to the exploration of the deep meaning of this. Whole new industries will be formed around the twin concepts. Is it good versus evil? Doesn’t feel as if it is. It isn’t as black and white as that.

I will be selling 06:09 t-shirts to kickstart the whole activity. Not 60:90 t-shirts obvs. I can’t do everything yanow and philosophically it wouldn’t feel right.

Today is a Bank Holiday btw. Feels like another Sunday for some reason. Bank Holidays should feel uplifting. A bonus extra day in your life. Not in January. Went for a swim. I’ve never seen the pool so rammed. After a while I hit the sauna and another occupant pointed out that most people go back to work tomorrow so might keep the 11am booking to see how it goes. 

Lots of people decide they need to shift a bit of timber after Christmas but I reckon a couple of weeks should see it all go back to normal. The new normal? What is the new normal? What was the old normal? I can’t remember that far back.

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early one morning

steady rain

Steady rain. Refilling any water collecting containers left in place for that purpose. Not that any of them will already be less than full to the brim. I need to empty the water buts around the greenhouse as I didn’t clean them out last year and at one stage a blockage stopped my self levelling system from working. The sound of the rain is very relaxing. This is nothing new but significant enough to be restated. 

I hear some noises from the kitchen and the occasional sound upstairs. A radio programme comes in and out of hearshot as the listener moves around.

The beech hedge, not copper beech, is very rusty brown. I didn’t notice the change. Not much will be moving in the garden in this weather. No avian activity. I’ve certainly not been sent any flight plans. They don’t normally bother anyway 🙂

A red and a blue balloon lie motionless on the conservatory floor. Leftovers from a Boxing Day birthday.

This morning at 6.30 when I took up the tea the gleaming wet path stood out as the only visible thing in the back garden. Next door’s fir tree stood silhouetted against the pre dawn sky.

The new tarpaulin, carefully tied around the patio furniture, has already come adrift. Sigh. Gotta go. Just William on four.

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early one morning

milkman delivers

Nudged gently awake by the milkman at 5am this morning. The bastard. Not really. I was already awake and heard the gentle opening of the front porch door and a barely discernible clunk as four full bottles of semi skimmed were deposited carefully in the half empty crate in the corner. Not a chink chink to be heard.

When I said “not really” I was addressing two potential sources of misinformation. Firstly the milkman did not physically nudge me. That would have been a bit odd. You can picture the note on the front door: 

“Dear milkman, I need to get up early today. The front door is open. Would you mind popping upstairs and giving me a nudge. Please be as quiet as you can as I don’t want to wake the wife. She would be cross. Cheers, Tref”

Secondly, and in all fairness to the milkman, I have no idea whether he is a bastard or not. It is irrelevant. As far as I am concerned he provides our household with a valued service that we are keen to continue supporting. Of course I’d rather he wasn’t a complete tosser but I suspect that he is not otherwise he wouldn’t get up as early as he does to deliver his goods.

The morning has flown by. It is a well known fact that time does this when you get older and crossing the threshold of sixty presumably nudges it into an extra gear. The biggest surprise is that Einstein did not incorporate this into his General Theory of Relativity. It must form a part of it somehow. You heard it first from me (possibly).

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early one morning

6:00

The bedside clock showed 6:00. Six am. It entered my head that this was a fairly pure number. It seemed whole, had beauty. It was nothing to do with the time of day. Just the numbers 6:00 in green right there next to my head on the pillow.

As these thoughts assembled the clock changed to 6:01. I felt robbed, mildly. I didn’t get the whole minute. Must have caught it some way through the sixty seconds. The incident was strong enough to stick in my mind for me to record it downstairs a short time later. 

The 6:01 prompted me to get up. Things to do. Busy day ahead with our Annual Christmas Market Party. We gather around the fire in our front room and sing carols. It’s a fantastic evening. I don’t do the religious thing but I do  do the carol singing. I love singing carols. 

The ingredients for the beef stew for tomorrow’s lunch have now been assembled on the chopping block in the middle of the kitchen. These include some of my home grown onions and garlic. Deeply satisfying. The beef isn’t home grown. That wouldn’t be practical but the other ingredients could be. Even the Timothy Taylors Landlord could be a home brew although the taste would not be the same. 

The streaky bacon would have been doable. Our old house in Greetwell Gate used to have a pigsty out the back. The deeds had a clause allowing us to keep a pig. Never did. My grandmother used to keep a pig but they changed the law saying it had to be slaughtered in an abattoir and that killed off the home grown pig industry, so to speak.

Our front room is in dire need of a tidy. It has been a dumping ground for things that need to be packed away somewhere. Some of my dad’s stuff. Four boxes of glasses we bought for general purpose party use. The supermarkets have stopped lending out glasses. I bought 96 wine glasses and 96 tumblers. They will need a home after tonight.

Anyway the tea is made. I’m off back upstairs.

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early one morning

Arise…

I lay in bed this morning debating whether to just stay there or get up and go downstairs. Bed was warm and cosy and last night there had been frost on the ground so downstairs, before the heating had kicked in, didn’t necessarily feel quite as attractive. 

It’s one of those situations where your mind feels somehow trapped in its surroundings. It was dark except for the clock radio and the little light filtering in around the edges of our heavy bedroom curtains and my eyes were closed anyway.

I put my specs on. This brings the darkness into focus, strangely, even if I close my eyes. Putting my specs on is a precursor to getting up. I took them off again and laid them quietly back on the bedside table. Sod it, I put them back on and up I got.

Had a quick look around the media. Doesn’t take long. Some chubby jowled fat cat won the Bexley by election for the Tories. Man U scraped a win against Arsenal. Nothing of any consequence. No knighthood for Trefor Davies “Boy will he be surprised when he finds out,” says Queen. No surprise there then 🙂

A Lordship would be more useful. It would get my expenses paid on trips to London. Just have to pop my head round the door of the House of Lords, wave at some of my peers, sign the register and head out for some Christmas shopping and a spot of lunch. Sorted.

Would probs do without the Christmas shopping bit. That’s not my department. I did buy my own birthday present (might have been the Christmas present) last time I was in London. Some shaving kit from Sweyn Forkbeard’s in Camden Market. Badger hair shaving brush, soap and stand. This was donated by me to Anne to give to me as a present yesterday when she declared she had no idea what to get me.

All I really want for Christmas is a couple of pairs of nice warm cotton pyjamas. My stock request from the kids is for them to write me a letter. I don’t need anything bought, but everyone likes to give something tangible don’t they? Except when it’s a feelgood “goat for African villager” type of present.

I think we may have given a goat one year. Not sure. I did plant 500 trees last week. Check it out here. I have to go and make the tea.