don’t be blue

It was long since ordained that Sunday mornings should be a time of rest. Relaxation. With that in mind I tuned the sonos in the living room to Classic FM only to discover I had arrived in the middle of an ad break. For KFC! Did I hear that right? Fortunately calm has now been restored and I am listening to a bit of Dvorak. Aahhh.

There is a small espresso at my side, fresh off the stovetop and I have time ahead of me to indulge in the required restorative inactivity.

My use of the “Living Room” Sonos speaker was not straightforward this morning. Not compatible with the relaxation it was meant to facilitate. Turns out the Sonos S1 Controller on my macbook needs upgrading to S2. However the upgrade button doesn’t appear to work. I had to resort to using my phone which is fine but it isn’t really acceptable that the laptop version doesn’t work. 

Further investigation has revealed that Sonos don’t have a Mac version of the S2. Hmm.

All appears to be well in the Davies world. I’m not taking into consideration any “external to the bubble” factors here: global warming, a corrupt/inept political elite, food shortages etc. Two of us are up and at it with the third still sleeping off last night’s rum tasting evening at the cricket club. sfine.

In the news this morning is the death at the age of 64 of UB 40 singer Astro. People come and people go and after the flurry of interest has faded away he will fade from our memories but for the moment we think of him, and his family. The issue for me is that he was only 64. Time was, admittedly when I was so much younger than today, 64 was a long way off and not an unusual age at which to die. Now with only a month to go to the big one (oh no six oh!) it is quite a sobering thought.

It makes sorting out your life plan all the more urgent. Mine includes focussing on just doing stuff I enjoy. This means no stressful work and a concentration on creative projects. Easy really. This Christmas will be a watershed.

I’m quite looking forward to my 60th birthday. I really enjoyed my 50th which felt more like what 40 was supposed to be. I have a couple of big parties planned, one, trefbash60,  in London at the usual venue and the other at home in Lincoln. If you are coming to either I really look forward to seeing you. 

It’s the first time the date for trefbash has coincided with my actual birthday. It’s a terrific gig and I typically only remember who was there because we have a photographer which this year is going to be Paul Clarke again. The theme is Pirates of the Caribbean. Better start thinking about your outfit.

Outside, a colour laden washing line sways gently in the breeze. Important to have colour in your life. Don’t be blue or grey. The exception to this is my friend Martin Levy who carries grey very well. Only wearing grey makes choosing his wardrobe easy and his outlook is far from grey.

I am pondering a change in direction with my shirts and jackets. This isn’t one to rush into but I feel a simpler style might be in the offing. We shall see. It may be that the shirts and jackets I seek may not be available in the shops which is not that much different to half the ones I already have so maybe that doesn’t matter. You will find out when I find out.

In the meantime there are pictures to put up and garlic to be planted. It is Sunday morning after all. A time to get the jobs done 🙂

early one morning fusion


Big end of season golf tournament today. I sat “big” but there are only seven of us. It is a big day out. These midweek days out are the best, when you would normally be chained to your desk, or tools. We are a mixed bunch: a plumber, water consultant (who knows?), NHS manager, mechanic, educational sector business development, a gentleman of leisure and me.

Our common denominator is that we are mostly ex rugby players. I say “ex” rugby players but reality is you can never be an ex rugby player. A rugby player never hangs up his boots. It’s just that the gap between games gets longer. I’m currently at 12 years, a mere pause.

The weather today is going to be dry but cold. 9 degrees celsius with a North North Westerly. A good wind if your destination is the Azores but a cold one if you are playing golf. I’m sure it won’t be as bad as I make out but it is the first cold snap of the season and a reminder of the winter ahead.

You know when winter is a coming when you have started making arrangements for the festive season. The parties that were put on hold are being restarted and there has even been talk of Christmas presents in the Davies household. Still plenty of time but all I can say is don’t leave it until Christmas Eve like I did one year with disastrous consequences. Also when you both agree that you won’t buy each other a present this year just ignore it and go ahead and buy her one anyway because she will definitely be buying you one.

It is ridiculous that deciding what we want for Christmas should ever be a problem which it always is because we don’t really need anything. In fact we are not wanting for anything either which I accept is a very lucky situation to be in. The electric bike I’ve just splashed out on is in theory a joint 60th birthday and Christmas present to myself but in reality I’ll want something to open on Christmas Day and it ain’t going to be a bicycle pump.

I will be content with everyone having a relaxed and happy time. Last year we all got together against government guidelines and had our usual family Christmas albeit without the traditional carols at the Morning Star and our Christmas Market Party which had hitherto gone uninterrupted for over thirty years. I’m sorry Boris but there was no way the kids were staying in their pokey flats in London for Christmas and you had anyway by then lost all vestiges of credibility when it came to covid rules and example setting.

Last year was important because it was our last Christmas with Dad who passed away during the summer. I kind of sensed it at the time as he was getting increasingly frail with lots of needs. We had a good time with him and had lots of cuddles and I’m sure he enjoyed being with us. This will be our first Christmas without both sets of parents which I am sure Anne and I will dwell on for a while. 

It reminds me that we have a fairly huge task ahead of us in the need to sort out some of mam and dad’s effects. I’m talking photos, letters and other important family mementoes such as mam’s nursing qualification certificate. My idea is to scan all these in and keep them online in a family archive. The nice surprise was in the number of letters we have to work through. People don’t write letters like they used to and fortunately mam kept them all. 

I have a plan to write letters myself but it hasn’t got very far yet, entirely due to the speed at which I can put pen to paper compared with the “lightning” flow of my fingers across a keyboard.

This Christmas should represent a watershed in that I have determined to stop full time work and to focus on doing things that I like. This will still involve some work but only doing stuff that I enjoy. Anne’s Vans is also going to take up more of my time which is really cool. It’s such a lovely business to have. When returning customers thank you for the fantastic time they have had that is really uplifting. Lots happening in the Anne’s Vans world which I’m sure you will find out about soon enough.

One of the side effects of the growing success of the business is the need to move our holidays from the summer to either side of the season. This isn’t a hard and fast rule as we fortunately have Coops our mechanic and business partner to fill in any gaps when we aren’t around but it does mean we are less likely to spend long times away during the summer period.

That said we are off to the IoM TT Races this year and the Euro-IX get together in Tempere follows on directly after that. I’m really pleased to have been invited to Euro-IX. We will also miss the start of the season because of our big trip across the pond. 3 ½ weeks or so taking in tobago, Miami, the Big Apple and Boston. A great itinerary but one that will test our constitution with all those hotel nights and dining out. I dare say you will see lots of pics from the trip.

The other big trip already in motion is to do a month following the rugby in the South of France in September of 2023. We are planning to go in one of the vans with occasional breaks in hotels to recover. Already have some match tickets for Nice. Cmon Wales, and Italy for those are the two games I have tickets for and I have already invited an Italian friend. We haven’t figured out what to do about the vans for that month yet but there is a scenario where we only hire to people wanting to take them for the whole month that we are away. We shall see.

Time to make the tea and to upgrade to Monterey 12.0.1…


The written word

Upon my soul

When did you last see your father?

Wallop is a word with multiple meanings

In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty.

We certainly live in uncertain times but has it not ever been thus? 

Some people pray before hitting the hay. Pray before hay!  In my mind we should perhaps give thanks whenever we wake up as opposed to before we go to sleep although I guess there is no particular rule on what people pray for at any time of day. It’s either thanks for making it through the day or thanks for making it through the night.

The exception to this is if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep in which the phrase “thank you very much” may not be considered a genuine expression of gratitude.

I’ve never prayed for anything. It’s a personal thang. If praying is your thang then that’s fine. I do religiously listen to the wireless in bed, both at night and in the morning. Actually I don’t really listen to it. At night it’s there for soporific effect. In the morning it’s more about habit than listening.

Have you ever considered how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle has affected your life? If you are uncertain as to the answer that is probably part of it.



Interesting that the “country needs an opportunity to let its hair down”. Note so does the opposition.

Interesting that politicians come out of the woodwork as football fans, make speeches about it in the House of Commons and wear England football tops newly sourced for the occasion. Don’t they realise the contempt this engenders.

Interesting to see the unleashing of a drunken nationalistic fervour.

Interesting to watch the periodic build up of hopes and expectations – beware they are mostly dashed in the final analysis.

Interesting to observe the lack of understanding when English people find that Scots, Welsh and Irish are ambivalent to the outcome of the final.

Interesting that cheating seems to be accepted as part of the modern game (they should introduce the sin bin).


the bus pass

Raoul Castro has finally taken his bus pass. I have visions of him travelling around on the front seat of a rickety old 1950s bus taking in the sights of Cuba. And why not? After a long career in public service people need to be able to finally put their feet up before they pop their clogs 🙂 I wouldn’t have thought they play much golf in Cuba so he will probably have to find other things to keep him busy. Writing in to the Havana Times and similar.

That’s the sort of thing I could envisage doing. After my breakfast of boiled egg and soldiers washed down with locally grown coffee, sat outside on the patio, I’d get my writing pad out and pen letters on subjects close to my heart. Complaints about the bus service. Stuff like that.

I’d probably stroll into town, maybe catch a bus, and meet my pals in Cafe Arcangel. It is one of the city’s best coffee shops. The sort of place you can while away the hours, glancing occasionally over the top of your newspaper at people going about their business in the street outside. The owner Joao always has a cheery smile.


soup du jour

soup du jour

I quite like this phrase. Just came into my mind now. No idea why. One of those inspirations that pop up from nowhere. Soup du jour. There, I said it again. The soup itself repeated.

Toujours Tref. 

That’s another one. There will be many others. Too many for them all to happen at once. How would anyone cope? An explosion of creativity. Of thoughts. The staccato sound of an idea machine in action like fifty out of sync woodpeckers in a forest of inventions.

Quit while you are ahead. Or just quit.



In 1803 Britain declared war on France. This is not a concept we can get our brain around these days. Not declaring war on france specifically. Just declaring war. We have had wars in recent times but they tend not to involve a declaration. We just pick on someone smaller than us and send in the tanks. Or drones.

An unusual opening sentence that. I think I overheard it on the TV and wrote it down. I no longer recall the context. This is of no consequence. I haven’t even gone to the effort of finding out why war was declared. Some French shenanigans somewhere no doubt. Or English. Nowt to do with the Welsh or Irish. The Scots would have been on the side of the French.

We have declared war at least three times in my lifetime. The Falklands and the First and Second Gulf Wars. These are all events that were played out in the media to a greater or lesser degree. Nowadays we all sit back and watch battles happen on our screens.


beyond your wildest dreams

What will you find beyond your wildest dreams? Dreams already so wild will anybody take them seriously? Shake loose the bonds of convention. Unshackle your imagination. 

I’m not talking posh house and a fancy set of wheels here, or a villa in the sun. That’s not your dream. That’s a dream created for you and needs no imagination.

I’m not even talking about the dream itself here. I want you to go further. Much further. To the edge.

Lockdown 2 the art gallery

the closing zip

Anne just called me on WhatsApp. Answered but it was clearly a misdial. She had just sent me a message. All I heard was the sound of a zip closing – obviously put her phone into her bag.

This is an everyday occurrence somewhere. We have all experienced it. It doesn’t feel like something that might appear in a history book. Even her trip to the shops wouldn’t make the historical record although that to some extent depends on how long google/mobile phone company/the government keeps the data. It wouldn’t be something you could easily access anyway.

Life is full of so many interesting things. Most folk would probably think you were crazy thinking that hearing someone’s bag being zipped up from the inside was interesting. In a thousand year people might look at it differently. “Oo they used to use bags”, or “what’s a zip or a phone?”

It’s a work of art in its own right. You may not think it is but it is. 

“Handbag zip being closed heard from the inside”

There is more. I was the only one who heard this happening. It is a work of art that I have described to you that you need to picture in your own mind.  It’s a virtual work of art. 

I present it to you with no thought of remuneration. Your enjoyment is my reward. Please accept it in the spirit with which it was offered.

Thank you.


weird dream

Weird dream about anne at LHR

A fair bit of my grey cell usage recently has been devoted to travel arrangements for next year’s East Coast and Caribbean (maan) trip. The main issue is how to use the BA companion voucher to best effect. The ideal solution would be a direct flight to Tobago from LHR T5 with a first class cabin. This would give us max value for the Avios, a night before in the Sofitel plus use of the Concorde lounge before the flight.

Unfortunately not only do BA now not do a direct flight (did they ever?) as it goes via Antigua but also they don’t operate a First Class cabin. This is a covid casualty I’m sure. The same is true for Trinidad (via Saint Lucia) which is a short 20 mins hop from Tobago and therefore an acceptable alternative. Moreover both flights originate from Gatwick which is very much a poor cousin without the quality of overnight accommodation for the night before.

A BA 4 cabin flight to Barbados out of LHR is an alternative as could be Miami although the latter is less desirable as we are routing through there to the Big Apple and thence Boston on the way home. The other issue is the dearth of reward flight availability. This is likely because there will be a lot of folk like me working from home sat on a load of Avios and desperate to book a trip somewhere.

My strategy is to have an order of flight option preference and begin the process of midnight vigils nearer the time the bookings need to be done which is 355 days before the date of travel. The reward flights are there. They just get snapped up quickly. The late bird gets the reward flight, as the saying goes (yes it does). Truly first world problems.

Now all this is just the preamble to the dream I had last night. I rarely remember dreams but this one was persistent so I did. Anne and I were for some reason at the airport with the kids off to I know not where. Could have been Tobago I guess. The point was we got separated early on and in looking for her I kept finding myself on some obscure high street somewhere having to go back and find the somewhat obscure entrance to the terminal. I did at some point find myself at the door of the 1st class check in and weirdly they handed me a dressing gown on a coat hanger even before check in telling me I’d have to wait. There was no point in staying there without Anne so I went back out to look for her. At some stage I decided to call her but found that I had her phone. Der! The dream ended without conclusion other than when I looked at the departures board to check the gate number (she might have gone to the gate) I saw that the flight was departing two hours earlier than I had thought which could well be a problem. 

No idea.

Caveman hair

It may have been noticed that I have been growing a moustache and beard. Other than a previous attempt during the first lockdown I have never had facial hair. It’s a bit of an art experiment. I quite like the image. Long hair with hippylike stuff on the face. Totally suitable for someone who runs a vintage vw campervan rental business and a festival. The only thing missing is a garland of flowers. I have all the necessary shirts and jackets.

Now facial hair does bring with it practical considerations. First or all some schools of thought consider that you need to occasionally trim it and keep it tidy. This I have never had to do and am unskilled in the art. On this basis it hasn’t been done. The alternative is to just not bother trimming it. However it starts to have an impact when, for example, taking a drink of water. I find that the moustache gets in the way of things entering my mouth. It is not yet long enough to train to the sides.

It made me think about cavemen. They presumably didn’t cut their hair? Did they tie it back in a bun or ponytail? Quite fetching I’d imagine and also practical. What about the moustache though?

Everything is blurred without my glasses

When I got up this morning I sat on the edge of the bed and looked around. I saw a jumbled blurr of shapes. I knew what every shape was but it lacked definition. Think of going through life like this. I was around 10 years old when I got my first pair of specs. Brown plastic HNS jobs. They were a revelation. When I walked out of the shop I saw things I never knew existed. Like signs above the shops! I remember the day as clearly as my vision was improved.

Before the glasses were invented people used to have to live without. Maybe they died young, killed off by the ferocious wild animal they didn’t spot hiding behind the bush or being run over by a horse and cart when crossing the road. 

It’s a good job old Salvino D’Armate and Allesandro della Spina rocked up. What a team. Inventor Sal came up with the idea for specs and monk Al spread the word. Probably helped a lot with bible reading back in the day. Those books were far too heavy to lift closer to your face so that you could read them even though the font was a bit bigger than today’s standard. Latin dingbats script is really difficult to read at the best of times.

Nowadays had the glasses have only recently been invented they would be marketed heavily in embedded Google widgets placed strategically in the wide margins of said Bibles (or Koran etc depending on your brand preference). “Consign Latin dingbats script into history. Free up your inner Arial 10”.

This post was typed unseen using google dictation without wearing eye glasses.

Do you really want to know the direction of your life?

I was listening to the Archbishop of Wales this morning, as one does. He mentioned that before entering the clergy he was a solicitor with his life notionally mapped out in front of him. He made the break. 

It’s probably a lot easier to do this if you have a calling such as the church. I suspect it isn’t quite the same when society pressurises you in a certain direction. Career, progression, ladder, money, more money, mortgage. Notionally it is about long term security.

You can’t really criticise this. You can dislike it. In fact for a lot of people it isn’t about any of the above. It’s about keeping a roof over their head, feeding the kids and having enough money for a TV with sky and netflix.

Life is one big surf party. Waves come along. You have to be able to catch them. Catch the excitement. The thrill of the game. Adrenaline. Difficult I know but you got to do it.

Leisurely sunday brunch

Added some small banana pancakes with maple syrup to breakfast this morning. It’s a winning combo. Chopped chillies with my fried egg, smoked bacon and sausage on the side.

fusion Lockdown 2

noisy birds

Noisy birds even though at 06.12 it is still dark out.

Just before 9am in the shed I hear the sounds of silence. A creaking heater, a refrigerator and cars on the road at the front. I am waiting for a conference to start.
Slightly annoying that they don’t let you into the room before the start. I’m sat here, waiting, listening to the silence.
The doors have opened. The presenters are really excited. The introducer is German and adds Mr before everyone’s name. He is also reading his talk. Seems to be the standard form for American corporates.
It is Wednesday morning. The midpoint. Halfway. As much of the week behind us as ahead. A finely balanced day. The clock nears the tipping point and the race for the weekend. We tumble headlong towards the rest of our lives. Do not look back.
The new presenter speaks monotone. It is difficult to get excited about cloud containers and hypervisors. In an attempt to liven up the morning I have put on my Alice Band. Even with having to make a slight adjustment it didn’t take up much time. That is good. Time is valuable.
The nuts and bolts of business are quite tedious. How can anyone get excited about nuts and bolts? Or screws. I totally get the corporate days out at the rugby or cricket and the posh dinners in exotic restaurants. The dull grind ensuring the nuts don’t work loose from the bolts?

the art gallery

the curry

KEY INGREDS – no need to delete if we already have

Boneless mutton or lamb

Ginger paste

Garlic paste

Ground turmeric

Cinamon stick

Coriander seeds

Black peppercorns

Fennel seeds


Curry leaves

Mustard seeds

Red onions

Deggi mirch chilli powder

Long pepper powder ?

Tinned toms

Coriander leaves

Gunpowder potatoes

As above but also


Cumin  seeds

Spring onions

Green chillies

Lime juice

Kabab massala (see page 358 🙂

Masala prawns starter

King prawns

Chickpea (gram) flour

Small tomato

Atta chapati flour


alphabetically speaking

a eh b be bee c see sea d dee e ee F g gee ghee H i aye eye j jay k kay l el elle m em n en o oh owe p pea pee q cue queue r arr are S t tea tee u you ewe V W x ex y why Wye Z

a eh

b be bee

c see sea 

d dee

e ee 


g gee ghee 


i aye eye 

j jay 

k kay 

l el elle 

m em 

n en

o oh owe

p pea pee

q cue queue

r arr are


t tea tee

u you ewe

x ex

y why Wye


The Lawn



A time of change. Turning over an old leaf.