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diary

new year 2022

I think I understand why the 1st of January is when it is but it would make more sense for a new year to start at the winter solstice. I’d like to bet that in pre history this was far more the marking of the end of the annual cycle than the day we now use. Afaik they didn’t number the years. Probably used the number of years that king Og had been in power. Stuff like that.

Can’t see why we wouldn’t want to change it. This has been done several times over the centuries. Look it up. I don’t need to explain here. Under the new rule we would already be ten days in to 2022 and already on dry January and eating sensibly.

At the same time we could get rid of time zones and the very arbitrary move to daylight saving in the spring. Would feel a lot more natural.

The need for dates is clear. Without a calendar and clocks our society would disintegrate. “Let’s do lunch”. “Lovely when?”. “Day 233 when the sun is at its zenith”. Would be somewhat a relaxed affair when the sun doesn’t get very high and is often hidden behind clouds. One person is bound to get there a lot earlier than the other. Be on their second cup of tea.

Even in summer it would be difficult to be particularly precise. Every lunch would be a long one as you would need to factor in waiting time. Might as well open that second bottle straight away to let it breathe…

My suggestions are unlikely to be adopted. A prophet is never recognised in his own country. I am right though.

Who would you tell anyway. Not much point telling the government as there is nothing in it for them. Unless there were spinoff business opportunities as yet unrevealed. Could be I suppose. We would need to brainstorm it.

The new calendar would also need a name. I am not for one minute suggesting the Treforian calendar which would be narcissistic in the extreme. That suggestion would in any case need to come from someone else and I would not actively support it. Obvs.

Those are my thoughts at the beginning of the new year. A year that for all of us comes with high expectations, or at least high hopes. A new dawn. 

It’s funny that I can say this even at a time when the latest covid infection rates are skyrocketing. 190k people yesterday. If, as scientists were originally saying, the rates of infection double every two days then in ten days time six million people will test positive. Twelve million in twelve days! 24 million people being infected in less than a fortnight. Now that is “going viral”

The pandemic will be over by the end of January. One way or another. The world’s infrastructure will either have collapsed or be well on its way to recovery.

As we are taking an optimistic approach to 2022 I am saying the latter. Hope your 2022 is good. Big hugs…

Now sat in the car in a car park whilst a household member does the park run. I’d need to build up to the park run. On the one occasion I did it I managed two laps in the same time as her three. I was nursing an injury though! Will see if I can build up to it in 2022. That’s not a resolution. I don’t believe in such things.

I am parked next to a church with a yew tree in the graveyard. This feels right. I don’t know who is buried there. Most of the graves will be long forgotten although I do see one or two with fresh flowers.

I have occasionally give some thought to the concept of burial. I quite like the idea of my bones being in the ground. Cremation seems too final to me. I realise that death is a very final act whether you choose cremation or bones in ground but the latter feels more traditional. I’m not a Hindu. I’m not a Christian either so whether a church would accept me into its graveyard is another thing. 

Mam and dad were both cremated and are buried in a wonderful spot next to the golf club in Peel in the Isle of Man. The views are great. It is a fitting place for them to be put to rest as much of their social lives revolved around golf. There is nowhere quite like it in Lincoln. Their grave will not have flowers today but we are going over in June on a pilgrimage. For the TT races.

Runner just turned up. 25 mins late. Bounded towards the park carrying a large bottle of water which seems a bit over the top but who am I to say. He was a tall guy if that makes any difference. At the same time the pack leaders have finished and are just starting to walk back to their cars.

Woman just walked past with a large dog called Mabel which was clearly being subjected to obedience training. Looked as if Mabel was only about half way through the course. Both dog and trainer will need to persist. 

More runners now coming through and cars starting to leave the car park. I am parked on the grass. It’s a rare off road treat for the Defender. It’s interesting to just sit here watching people. The runners look to have far more vitality than those who are just off out for a stroll in the park. We should all aspire to such vitality. The strollers have uninteresting faces. Part of life’s rich tapestry but only the beige bits. Try not to be beige.

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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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diary

27th december 2021

The lawn is at its lowest ebb in the flow of the seasons. Appearance unloved, forlorn. Staring at it engenders the shutdown of the brain as any real thoughts are smothered by the seemingly hopeless disposition of the grass. Were it frozen there would be some mitigation, justification of the sitch.

In the house Handel’s Messiah is playing quietly. Neville Marriner. A few jobs have been ticked off and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity for a quiet sit down in front of the fire. The fire is set but not yet lit. I’m hoping it will light naturally from the embers. Save a match 🙂 Normally catches light eventually.

It is the day after Boxing Day. The feasting has been in full fling for a few days and a slight toning down is called for, especially as I was asleep by 9pm last night. Again. There is plenty to keep us entertained and I have a swim booked for 1pm. I’m in two minds about this. It will undoubtedly do me good but is certainly a great contrast with what has gone before it for the past few days. There is time yet to decide.

This is the first Christmas with none of our parents around. Last year we had dad here and I sensed it might be his last. He was getting very weak and awash with the problems of old age. It was really fantastic that we were able to have him here. A great contrast with the subsequent “covid” isolation that ultimately did for him.

The passing of parents should send out a strong signal to get on with life. Just having turned 60 I am fortunate to be able to make fundamental directional changes to my own path. In 2022 I shall only be a part timer in the world of telecommunications and internet and have time to devote to side projects, some of which are already becoming mainstream.

Anne’s Vans is such an entity. Having started with one van 5 of 6 years ago we will be going into the 2022 season with four. This will merit me spending more time on that business. It is a very rewarding activity. Customers bring vans back and tell us what a fantastic time they have had. What’s not to like?

I also want to spend more time writing. I have one or two projects in mind that will soak up the days. See how I get on. The other activity is getting out and about more, exercising. I have the pool, the bike and want to do more walking.

Telecoms will still very much be there but I’ve decided to focus more on the bits that I like doing. Hence part time. 6 days a month is the notional plan. It’s all about taking the stress out of life and maximising the fulfilment. I like the people at Netaxis which is a company on a nice trajectory so it will be good to maintain links in there.

That’s it for the mo. I could probably fit something else in if the right offer came along but it isn’t something I’m particularly chasing.

The nice thing about this plan is that it leaves room for ad hoc activities. For example we are eyeing up a trip to see My Fair Lady in May or June sometime. Nice little mid week trip to town. There is here an element of risk. To make sure of seats you have to book early but at this stage the hotels are expensive. They will come down in price, presumably. 

The other curveball is that I am organising a conference in Antwerp (as you do) sometime in the spring. Not nailed the dates yet. Feels as if this is something I need to get on with during the first week in January. It’s an incentive innit.

Nothing feels guaranteed or straightforward these days, certainly from a planning travel perspective. In February Anne and I are looking at a nice little trip to Brussels (work), Antwerp (work and play) and Amsterdam (total self indulgence at the Waldorf Astoria) but this is entirely contingent on these countries being amenable to our turning up without having to isolate in our hotel rooms for the whole trip.

When I booked the Waldorf I was immediately asked for our travel plans and arrival time. I told them this was a little ambitious at this early stage. Amsterdam is handy though as it is a short hop home from there via Humberside, particularly in comparison to the 8 or so hours elapsed time when travelling to Brussels. My gut tells me we won’t be going but the next two or three weeks will give us more of a feel.

Time for a swim. Anne tells me there were only four people in the pool when she went…

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diary

winter solstice

I am reliably informed that as well as wild boar, cheese was one of the staple banqueting items of our forefathers when gathering for the winter solstice festival at Stonehenge.

This being the case and today being the winter solstice I have been out and purchased some fromage. Three different types of cheddar. I wanted a bigger Dambusters than they had so we opted for a second. Joe liked the second but I was only ok with it so we threw in one more for good measure.

Also got three different goats cheeses as the pack of two was a bit on the small size. Threw in a wodge of Old Amsterdam, some Epoisses, a nice brie de meaux and some smelly blue Spanish stuff that was very similar to Roquefort but I can’t remember its name. I think that was it. We beat a hasty retreat with two bags of the stuff, now in the fridge in the garage.

I made the bit about cheese and Stonehenge up btw but I understand that archeological evidence supports the wild boar hypothesis. You can actually picture prehistoric man gathered around the fire eating bacon and brie sandwiches. Special occasion after all. Couldhave/wouldhave/shouldhave happened. Tomorrow I’ll nip to Fosters for the meat. Will include a bit of descendent of wild boar.

Now back in the shed waiting for it to get dark so that we can get on with lighting fires and roasting game. I do have a brace of pheasant and partridge hanging in the garage courtesy of @Simon Forshaw but they won’t be ready for this evening and I am anyway planning a game pie for sometime over the festive break. I’ll take the rabbits as well thanks Si and I might chuck in some venison for good measure.

Feels a smidge early to be breaking out the mead it only being a Tuesday and despite it being the final run in to Christmas. Tomorrow we have the carol singing at the Morning Star where plenty of mead will be consumed. Not really mead. Just metaphorical mead. More likely to be Guinness with maybe the occasional dram thrown in for good measure seeing as it is Christmas.  

There will be a nice firepit on the go, reminiscent of the winter solstice at Stonehenge. Hope to see you there. All are welcome.

I’ve held the carol Singing at the Star for a few years. Some time before that there was an old guy called Norman who used to tinkle the ivories in accompaniment to us all singing. The intro for each carol was identical so you couldn’t really tell which one was coming up, other than the fact that it would have been the next one on the page. Tomorrow night the singing will be acapella.

Notwithstanding all this I have the Crusaders on in the shed playing Street Life. One of my faves and just feels right at the moment. As night begins to fall it is almost as if the Crusaders are on stage in the corner of a club banging out their stuff. Soon the lights will come on. I feel an irresistible primordial urge to celebrate the solstice…

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diary

mop

Don’t know about you but I had a great night’s kip last night. Went to bed around nineish and slept through until 6am, afaik. Unless I did a bit of sleepwalking. I dreamt no dreams. Twas indeed the classic dreamless sleep above which the silent stars go by.

This morning I breakfasted well on two slices of brown toast and half a grapefruit and am now in the shed addressing the issues of the day. The greatest issue is the pressing need to mop the floor inside the shed door. 

This relatively straightforward job is made slightly less straightforward in that my mop has only a half length handle. It was purchased in order to facilitate the cleaning of the greenhouse glass for which a shorter handle makes more sense. The shed floor however needs a full length mop if I am to avoid having to crouch down to clean the floor.

I know the cynics amongst you will challenge this with “what’s wrong with crouching down, I do it all the time when searching for my dropped contact lens” but I live in a world where life has been made easy for me. It is akin to the days of the Roman empire where the ruling classes would be seen to lie on chaise longues and be fed bunches of grapes.

Reality is that on a Monday morning I like to get my brain around anything that needs doing workwise before the day gets going. The first item on my works list says “butcher”. This is not a work item but I stuck it in my work calendar so that no rash individual would book a meeting with me thereby scuppering said planned retail expedition. We do need a trip to the butch but the Christmas meat shop can wait until tomorrow where my whole day is blocked out for a “work” pub crawl in York which ain’t now going to happen.

The winner is the shed floor. I’ve decided I need a big mat for the entrance but the mopping has been accomplished. Need to let it dry now before reentering.

Just returned from a successful Christmas shopping trip. Just 3 people to buy for and nailed it. Can’t say any more just in case they are reading this, knowworramean…

It is Monday of Christmas week. Christmas Day, being Saturday, is still a fair way off yet but we are in the final run in. I assume most of you have your plans sorted. Ours are very much phased:

  1. The Sainsburys shop to use up all the Nectar points (£155) was completed last weekend. I don’t collect Nectar points and there are few places to spend them.
  2. The Waitrose delivery is due tomorrow between 1pm and 2pm. I have just under two hours to add anything but it isn’t a biggie as I’ll be doing a Waitrose run first thing on Friday morning
  3. Carol singing in the Morning Star Wednesday evening – 7am start if you fancy coming along. Will be in the heated marquee so plenty warm.
  4. The meat run to Fosters will take place Thursday. I expect to have to queue.
  5. That last minute trip to Waitrose as you know happens on Friday. This is to buy fresh fruit and veg and bread plus anything else I think I might have missed or just feel like buying anyway cos it’s Waitrose and it’s Christmas. Probs go early. Waitrose opens at 7am on Christmas Eve. If I can get there for 7am I will although it will to some extent depend on what pre Christmas festivities happen on Thursday night. Lbefine.
  6. Friday afternoon is listening to the wireless whilst I get myself sorted for the big day. Maybs rope in a few veg preparers. Do the brandy butter. That kind of stuff.
  7. Friday evening will involve picking up takeaways. Chinese from Tang on Newland Street West and Indian from Castle View, Two of the best. I’ll do the Castle View run and have a beer there with the owners. We give people the choice – mix and match Indian and Chinese or just one of them for starter and main.

Historically we used to go to the Morning Star for early doors on Christmas Eve but latterly the crowd there has been unfamiliar to us so we may not go this year, especially with the looming spectre that is covid. See how it goes.

Thassitfernowseeyalater

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diary

last posting date

This morning I offered to cook the Davies lads breakfast. They are all home, for the moment. However I am the only Davies lad up and at it and am happy to dedicate a few moments of reflection on a settee in the front room. The settee is surrounded by bags of Christmas decorations.

The coffee table in front of me has six bags of chocolate tree decorations. Make that 5 bags. I scoffed one last night. There seems to be a dearth of these items in the supermarkets (singular actually) I frequent so I ordered some online and this particular order was a pack of six. Must have been a good deal. The problem is the chocs are a bit on the small side. Good job there are 72 of them. 60 I mean.

Whilst waiting for some company at brekkie I have busied myself replacing broken light bulbs, one in Hannah’s room and another in the kitchen. There is a third, in the kitchen, that needs doing but I can’t get at it until another pile of empty Christmas decorations boxes is moved back to its place of storage in the garage. Another job to be getting on with. It’s a 2 person job because someone needs to hand the boxes up to me on the ladder.

Alan Titchmarsh is on the wireless – Classic FM. This is very cushy gig for Al. He just sits there reading out some links between the music thinking of the chink chink of the till after the show when someone counts out some gold sovereigns into his outstretched palm. 

The other seasonal media item that immediately springs to mind is the Coca Cola advert. It’s a full length movie designed to make us feel good about Christmas ending with a communal Christmas Dinner where the only drinks to be seen are bottles of full fat coke. Doesn’t sound like a very representative lunch if most people I know are anything to go by. I won’t need reminding not to buy any full fat coke.

One final observation is that today is the last date for posting a letter if you want it to get there before Christmas and only have second class stamps. That of course will be no use to you if the letter is the one to Santa. Your only recourse here will be to opt for Parcelforce Worldwide express24, AM, 9 & 10 which you can leave until Thursday.

The only thing I’d say is what on earth are you up to leaving it this late to get the letter off to Santa. For one, regardless of any perceived SLA on offer, it is a bit risky. 

The second thing is that it is all very well getting the letter there but if it doesn’t arrive until Christmas Eve that doesn’t give the Elves much time to get everything processed and onto the sleigh. Especially with the staff shortages being created by the Omicron variant.

Moreover one assumes that each letter has to be properly scrutinised by the “has this boy or girl been good” committee. How do we know that this esteemed body of worthies don’t down tools themselves after lunchtime on the 24th and head to the pub or get the last minute grocery shopping done.

Your problem not mine.

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diary

a robin sang

A robin sang to me this morning as I trod the well worn path to the shed. It reminded me of the Thomas Hardy poem, The Darkling Thrush and was quite inspiring. We live in tumultuous times not dissimilar to the fervourless world of the poet. Unfortunately Hardy got there first. The robin remains unrecorded in rhyme, historically unheralded.

Interesting to consider Thomas Hardy’s powers of observation. He must have heard that thrush and leant there listening for a while. The moment stuck in his memory enough for him to sit down and write when he got home. Did he carry a pencil and paper with him to note ideas as they happened in case he later forgot? Makes sense to me.

It should be added here that the path wasn’t really well worn as it is formed of york stone. I said that to indicate that my journey to the shed was a regular one. The path hasn’t been there long enough to show any wear from the relatively few footsteps it would have seen. 

Were I to have crossed the lawn every morning in the same direction there would definitely have been some wear specially at this time of year. As it is, I spotted some signs of wear early during the summer and started to avoid walking across the grass, or at least taking different routes to get to the shed. This also has the benefit of making an ambush less likely as any wrongdoers would have to guess which particular route I would choose on any given occasion.

I still have a tendency to cross the lawn on my way back to the house, at least when it is dark. Hey…

Now I am sat in a regular conference call on mute, camera off and the volume turned right down so the proceedings are just audible. It is quite distracting and I find myself coming off mute to chip in occasionally. In all fairness this meeting is probably the most useful of the week 🙂

Today is filled with meetings until 3.30 at which point I decamp to the Morning Star for the annual sole traders Christmas bash. In which the self-employed in my circle of friends, most of my friends actually, get together to celebrate the end of the year and reflect on the 12 months that have just gone by.

In reality there is little reflection involved other than whose turn it is to buy the next round. This year the numbers will probably be down for obvious reasons. Last time we held this party was two year ago. I was just getting over a horrendous cold and when we met in the snug of the Strugglers I passed it on to the boys. Ah well.

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diary

mushy banana

Had a mushy banana with my cereal for breakfast. Only a bit of it was mushy and I cut most of that off. However when I picked up the skin to remove from the table I caught the mushy bit underneath. Yuk. Nothing really. A little snapshot of a day in the life of Trefor Davies.

As I was leaving the kitchen Jamie Oliver was on the iPad offering some Christmas cookery tips. His programme doesn’t interest me. I heard him mention that after not being able to get together with anyone last Christmas he had prepared some recipes for this year’s round of parties. Recorded in the summer obvs. I’m sure he could have wangled an invite to last year’s Number 10 Christmas bash had he wanted to go! Neither being of a political persuasion nor a celebrity chef I wouldn’t have been invited.

Today I have a meeting at 09.30 then we are off to Sainsburys to spend the £116.97 worth of Nectar points accumulated on trips with LNER before they changed the rewards scheme again. I’ve had the points for a couple of years but we don’t use Sainsburys as it is at the wrong end of town. Figured we should get rid before they change the scheme themselves. 

Tinned grapefruit is in prospect. We only ever buy it at Christmas. I wonder if everyone else is the same. Do shops have to stockpile tins of grapefruit in anticipation of the seasonal rush? Dunno. Maybe it’s just me. When I were a lad tinned grapefruit was always on offer for breakfast on Christmas Day. In the shoebox. Luxury living.

Cavalleria rusticana is playing gently in the shed. Tres relaxing. There may be bits to the music that are not relaxing but this bit certainly is. Now the Lark is Ascending.

It’s a quiet morning in the run up to Christmas. Two kids are here and a third is due today albeit temporarily. Neither is up. I saw the lights on at 3am and suspect that a late night/early morning cricket watching session was in prospect. I didn’t want to look at the score when I woke up but I have now. Although the colonials have started well at least England aren’t all out for 93 or some similarly inadequate number.

I must go now. I must away. There is a cup of tea to prepare before 09.30.

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diary

the varied day

A varied day. Began with a conference call with “South Africa” followed by a photoshoot down at the Anne’s Vans depot on Great Northern Terrace. We are documenting progress on our new van on YouTube and today was all about what it looks like before we have done anything to it. Vid probs won’t be posted until after Christmas.

Ended up at the Italian caff in the Carlton Centre for a sandwich with our photographer John. Quite a nice ham and mustard mayo with rocket on the side sandwich on focaccia fair play. Turned down the offer of chips! 

This is partly because chips are likely to be on offer at the Friendship Inn tonight where our little golf society is holding its end of year booze up. Not everyone can make it but we will have a quorum. The usual choice of meal is pie and chips. It’s not a bad pie and chips although it tends to be a little light on the chips. 

Pie was off – you have to order them. Had medium rare steak. Came out medium to well done. Won’t do that again…

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diary

dank december

Another dank winter’s morn here in Lincolnshire. Winter has mostly been a con in my lifetime. Ok we do get some freezing cold days in January and February (and June) with the accompanying Christmas card scenes but mostly they are wet and miserable.

Christmas is certainly never white. Considering how far North we are in the geographic scheme of things this is disappointing. I know we have the gulf stream to thank for this and there ain’t much I can do about the gulf stream but it would be very nice to have snowy winters. At least they would feel real.

I can’t imagine living at the equator and getting the same weather all year round. Sipping banana daiquiris from coconut shells whilst slung in a hammock between palm trees sounds idyllic but there does come a time where you want to replace the exotica with home comforts. Log fire. Snuggly warm blankets. Hot mug of cocoa instead of coconut cup.

This is the last proper week of work for many of us before the holidays. Absolutely nothing happens anywhere next week and then it’s the Big Day. We all look forward to Christmas. The annual festival of excess. Wouldn’t do us any harm one year to make it the festival of reasonable indulgence, or near abstinence. Not everyone can celebrate it in the same way, not that that is a reason for not celebrating.

Christmas means different things to different people. For me it is a nostalgia trip and the fact that all the kids come home to their mother (and me obvs). For others it is the symbolic mid winter feast celebrated from the early neolithic period, the heyday of Stonehenge.  I’m sure all of you will have different reasons for celebrating.

It isn’t about the struggle to decide what present to get someone. Well it is partly. Don’t do as I did one year and leave it until Christmas Eve afternoon only to find that the one thing the person you love most in the world had asked for was sold out, in ten different shops. Ahem. Then there was the year we said we wouldn’t buy anything for each other. Don’t risk that one!

We do need to somehow strike a balance at this time of year. By this I mean that tomorrow afternoon we are off around the corner for tea and cake. Then I’m taxiing to meet the golfing crowd for the end of season sherbert (again). Friday it’s the Sole Traders Christmas party, starting early afternoon in the Strugglers. Next week it’s the annual Capacity Yorkshire pub crawl and the Morning Star Carols. Then it’s Christmas.

In the words of the immortal Winnie the Pooh,  backson.

It is dark again. A flicker of light dances in the hearth. The fire is not lit. It is a battery operated candle. Doesn’t feel totes authentic but it is what it is and represents the age in which we live.

The thing that is wrong about a battery operated candle is the absence of the primordial. That feeling you get when gazing into a fire. Dancing flames take you back to the days outside the cave, huddling closer in for protection from the noises in the night.

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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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diary

trefbash 60

Relaxing in the comfort of our hotel room in the heart of Empire. I seem to recall from some remote little used part of my memory banks that Trafalgar Square was considered to be such. I may be wrong. It matters not.

Outside the window two maple leaf flags flutter above the entrance to Canada House. Quite cold out there. I sense. I brought my down lined parka for this trip. Comfort over style.

We are warm and cosy inside and are planning on meeting some pals for a drink at around 5pm. Heading to The Victoria in Dalston later for the Pylons gig. Will be a goodun if you are in town.

Ciao amigos. Hasta la vista (or something like that)

The hotel room is triple glazed and seemingly very effective. Winter coats, visible on the street below, stride purposefully by. Tourists remain but difficult to determine their point of origin. Few foreign visitors I expect.

I feel that this afternoon might be the opportunity for me to indulge in a cream cake. Lunch is not on the cards as we breakfasted late.  As for tonight I have ordered 150 Caribbean meals. Washed down by gallons of grog and rum drunk out of tankards and coconut shells. Not going to eat 150 meals myself obvs. There is enough to go around. After much deliberation we arrived at Trinidad curried chicken, especially for Shannon, jerk chicken, jerk pork shoulder, jerk sweet potato and black bean curry all served with rice and peas and roti flatbreads. Followed by that ole favourite pudin de pan with coconut sugar caramelized plantains. Standard pirate fare. And birthday cake if anyone still has room. Sa nice cake.

So got to keep some space for all that. Can always fit in a cream cake though. It is a law of nature.

Another successful trefbash. The thunder of the confetti cannons has faded and the last of the streamers have been swept away. Partygoers have left the city for the provinces that most of them call home – the peace of the shires and a slower, more survivable pace of life.

Our train is quite full and someone is sitting in my seat. No seat reservations have been displayed. She was very disgruntled when I suggested to her she might want to move to the window seat so that I could occupy my booked place. We found an unoccupied table further down the compartment and left her to bathe in her own grumpiness. 

We have another party to attend tonight and that is then that until Thursday’s sold out Rills Engine Shed gig. This coming week will be one for getting things done before the holiday season proper. Trefbash is the starting gun for the party season but the return of the tribe to the mothership is the real start of Christmas.

Amongst the many highlights of trefbash60 was the consumption of 152 pornstar martinis. Not sure I’ve ever had a pornstar martini but one assumes that they must have been quite acceptable for the pirate community to have downed that many. The modern pirate equivalent of grog or rum.

It is a warm and cosy Sunday morning. I am back in the shed to avoid the sound of the vacuum cleaner that is disturbing the peace of the Sabbath. My great great great great grandfather the Reverend Daniel Davies was excommunicated from his church the Penybont Baptist Chapel in Llandysul for allowing one of his farm workers to work in the fields on a Sunday. The church relented after a few years and let him back in but had they found out that Mrs Davies was also hoovering that morning it might have been a step too far.

It is a bright and sunny morning out there and despite having taken temporary sanctuary in the shed, not being of a religious persuasion I am free to tick one or two jobs off the list. One of them is to get the pork casserole ready for this evening. A long slow cook is the order of the day and it gives me the opportunity to use up a can of the cider we have in the garage.

The second job is to get the Christmas decorations down from the high up shelves in the garage. This is not one man job but as Anne is operating the aforementioned random noise generator she is unavailable to stand at the bottom of the ladder to receive the boxes.

My other job today is all the thank yous that are the fall out from my birthday celebrations. The card givers, the sponsors who make trefbash possible every year. The revellers should consider this as a thank you for coming along and helping me celebrate.

I do find it surreal that trefbash exists. I was going to make trefbash60 the last but the positive sentiment for the party has been so great that I feel it would be letting people down if I stopped now. Considering the covid headwinds it was amazing that we could collectively pull the event off. 

For a brief moment life will fall back into a semblance of normality. I do have to ask what is normal? A cup of tea and toast for breakfast? Gazing out of the window wondering when I will get around to clearing the rest of the leaves off the lawn. That’s an easy one. Green Thumb are coming tomorrow and before they apply any treatment they will have to blow the leaves away. That’s sorted then.

Christmas is coming hard on the rails and tomorrow our first offspring returns from London for the duration. 

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diary

dawns the day

Dawns the day of trefbash60. Preparations are complete. The cake is being delivered this pm. 

Phone has been pinging quite a bit. “I’ve caught covid”, “can I bring a +1 who has arrived on a surprise visit”, “I’ve broken my arm”. Etc. Can’t use that one too often. It’s a bit like taking an sneaky day off to “go to your grandmother’s funeral”.

Relaxing breakfast. Until 10ish.

Off to the barbers this morning. He used to cut my cousin Ken’s hair so must be good. Haircut and shave. The Works. Hopefully ears and eyebrows too. I’m of an age yanow.

…..

The hotel room is triple glazed and seemingly very effective. Winter coats, visible on the street below, stride purposefully by. Tourists remain but difficult to determine their point of origin. Few foreign visitors I expect.

I feel that this afternoon might be the opportunity for me to indulge in a cream cake. Lunch is not on the cards as we breakfasted late.  As for tonight I have ordered 150 Caribbean meals. Washed down by gallons of grog and rum drunk out of tankards and coconut shells. Not going to eat 150 meals myself obvs. There is enough to go around.

After much deliberation we arrived at Trinidad curried chicken, especially for Shannon, jerk chicken, jerk pork shoulder, jerk sweet potato and black bean curry all served with rice and peas and roti flatbreads. Followed by that ole favourite pudin de pan with coconut sugar caramelized plantains. Standard pirate fare. And birthday cake if anyone still has room. Sa nice cake.

So got to keep some space for all that. Can always fit in a cream cake though. It is a law of nature.

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diary

3 sleeps to trefbash60

A quiet start to the day. Up early for the usual start the week meeting. Can’t see me doing it after next week. Also booked swimming for today and tomorrow.

After Tuesday the world goes into trefbash60 mode. The gig is on Thursday – just 3 more sleeps. It feels a little surreal. Obviously I’ve known it’s been coming for almost 60 years. 

When you are a toddler watching the Magic Roundabout on the telly your 60th birthday party plays no part in your thought process. It is an unimaginable timespan away. 3 days is a lot easier to get your brain around. Most things are already sorted. Everything really. Just need to rock up and party.

Outside the shed the leaves continue to fall. Can’t be many left now. The cycle is nearly over. Hibernation starts. Interesting that the world goes into a different mode at this time of year. Except for the stalwarts of our small golf society who have planned a number of rounds of golf over the festive period. Will need to get out for some fresh air.

In the meantime if you haven’t got your outfit sorted for trefbash60 now is the time. #piratesofthecaribbean

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diary

after noon

It is after noon. Makes more sense to me to make that into two words rather than afternoon. I’ve done the shopping and not bought anything that wasn’t on my list although I did buy two of some of the items on the basis that I wasn’t sure how much was required.

I’ve made it through another Christmas Market without visiting the Christmas Market. The nearest I got was the Morning Star which was rammed with people taking shelter from the cold and rain. 

Terry did even better. He was staying at the White Hart which for those of you unacquainted with our fair city is right in the heart of the Christmas Market. It is however possible to get to the White Hart along Eastgate which avoids the market completely and this is what Terry did. 

In the Morning Star, where we were fortunate enough to find a table, the foursome sat next to us kept putting off the moment of leaving the pub by buying another round. Several times. In the end it was the guilt of having come all the way (from somewhere else) that forced them out into the weather.

Today the weather is sunny with the occasional drifting cloud coming into view. Perfect weather to walk around the Christmas Market. I am disinclined to do this. It will wait until next year…