Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The end of the year at No 36

Tom Smith invented the Christmas Cracker. Yep a Smith as I know some who have a thorn
in there side about the Smith name. He was adventurous and forward thinking, often travelling abroad to search for new ideas, it was on a trip to Paris in 1840 that he first discovered the 'bon bon', a sugared almond wrapped in a twist of tissue paper. It was a simple idea which, over the next 7 years, would eventually evolved into the Cracker. His original factory still supply crackers to this day and is one of the biggest Christmas Cracker manufacturers in the world.

One other interesting fact I found out this Christmas, was that 3 lemons can produce 2.7 volts of electricity and will light a small LED bulb, like those on small Christmas trees. If you want to impress your friends let me know and I will send you the instructions. Great experiment to play with the children of all ages. Also works with potatoes, tomatoes and bananas. Before you ask Gary, it will not power a laptop or iPhone unless you used about a million potatoes, don't even go there!

Humility is the mother of giants: one sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak. (GK CHESTERTON)

Just seen that Perth is the place to be this New Year, sunny and warm while Pretoria will be see heavy thunderstorms and rain, both around 27 deg C. We will be a balmy 10 deg C and patchy rain but the 24 mph wind will do the damage.
It seems strange that yet again we are far from our loved ones, Angela is 8 hours ahead of us and it is New Year long before us. When it is 6 pm here it is 8pm in SA and New Year in Perth. Not sure what time zone Russell is on but you can rest assured it will be wine time.
It is just a date, a time, a different place but on all this the same time, the same place. I miss you all. We will be better in the New Year and all the New Years to come. We will return those calls, answer those texts and acknowledge those emails, we will, we will.

Dan and Travis are now motor cross riders, breaking their own records time after time. This is breaking news and will be reported on, when the satellite feed come in from South Africa.

Opened an interesting bottle of red wine we received as a present from a colleague of Susan who took us to London for a 'piss up'. Actually sent us a case of reds and whites from South Africa. This is the 2014 Malbec. It says on the label 'An elegantly structured wine with deliciously intense flavours of ripe plum, blackberry and a hint of spice.' Well Glenn and Geraldine, what it says on the bottle comes through to the glass. Stumble Vineyards, produced by Flagstone Winery. I would recommend this as a easy drinking red that lives up to its promise.

Now on a more sobering note, this is the time I wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope it will be happy, sometimes, “happy” may seem very far away. Just about everyone has a minute or a day or a year when they have had great sadness and think they will never be happy again. It doesn’t stop the happiness from existing. Locking it inside a tower doesn’t mean it disappears, just that it is harder to get to, for a while. Being unhappy can hide the tower inside a cloud, but the tower is still there and the safe is still protecting the “happy”.
So all the best and comment when you want or do not want, be happy and be yourselves.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The page that aches

The page that aches for a word which speaks on a theme that is timeless. Niel Diamond from the song "Be". I do believe one of the best song writers to come out of my youth, well 1970's really. Have you heard the album Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Here is a few words from this iconic album.

As a page that aches for a word.
Which speaks on a theme that is timeless.
While the Sun God will make for your day.
As a song in search of a voice that is silent.

Really worth a listen and when you are feeling like a bit soul therapy, it will make you think. Maybe even lift you to try the impossible, it is all about having faith in yourself and not giving up if you believe in something enough.
Michael bought me a turntable for Christmas and I have ordered this LP to celebrate the resurgence of vinyl records. 
Comments seem to be a problem, Susan and Michael say they can never get it posted. I feel much better now as I know you all are trying to comment but seem to have the same problem. Word of advise, make sure you are signed in to be able to comment, I am looking into why it is such a hassle and will revert soonest.
Christmas has come and gone through a haze of flu. I had the flu, crept up on me when my guard was down and  struck on Christmas day, holding me in its grip until the 27th, then letting go as if I was not worthy. So because of the flu and not the fault of the flu I recall very little of this festive time, only to say we did manage to unwrap gifts, eat too much and get spoilt by everyone we know. 
Sorry Russell, did not manage to catchup over Christmas but did get your message and we all rose a glass to wee Russell from George, Merry Christmas and as new year is so close have a great and happy one. I will catchup on Skype when you online.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Autumnal is what it is

The dark, damp clouds lie heavy over us as we look forward, defining our view to a few meters. Just after 2 and all the lights laminate the road as we drive to the beach. The sea a sound except the immediate shore, boats engine lost in the mist. I look to the beach flag and only see a smudge of colour obscured by the low clouds that surrounds us. The dark, damp days of winter fast approaching, we feel the onset as we walk, cold and wet to the end of the beach.
That was the day that was and will come again over the next couple of months. So different to what the weather is like in Australia and South Africa. 
Mark has had an amazing wedding by all accounts and our extended family collected together to share  a meal and memories. Highlights we have heard are Mark's wedding but some others have come out. Lunch with the Canosa's, real top of the list. I have been fortunate enough to have had a meal with them and two finer people you will not find. Michael and Dani enjoyed the same, lucky them. Taking Dan to cricket practise was another time Michael found really enjoyable. It seems from the photographs we have seen, all did enjoy the time together. From the photographs Claudia is looking totally gorgeous, happy days are soon to be upon them, those lazy nights without sleep, gazing at your new born baby as he entertains you all with his way of growing up. Bless this happy couple, just in time for Christmas.
We went to Sculptures by the Lake over the weekend and found a calm, quiet, oasis buried deep in the Dorset country side. I have attached one of the sculptures called Inspiration.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Take Off and Landing of Everything.

I am taken with the title from Elbows latest album 'The Take Off and Landing of Everything'
People can be The Take Off and Landing of Everything, sometimes. It does contain so many things, everything in fact but not for all and not all the time.
We might think we are The Take Off and Landing of Everything all the time, to those who we love, but alas, we can not be and never will be all the time. As a family we are sometime that special person, not only to those closest to us but to all who know us. It is no shame to not be The Take Off and Landing of Everything, sometimes or even all the time.
Michael and Danni are in South Africa, visiting Pretoria first and now are in Capetown, they are getting about, but that is what Michael does, he makes it happen. I did say that the Cape is very windy and from the latest text it seems to be living up to its reputation. 
Robert is loving uni, changed his course but the details are rather sketchy, I would probably not know how to spell the new one let alone pronounce it.
Mark is getting married next week and I would like to leave him with these words.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. 
I hope they have the wedding of their dreams and it is a start, let it be a long and happy partnership. 
Hopefully have some photos to share for the next blog.
Spoken about the boys but what about Angela, Lily, Captian Ben and David, I am sure they are all growing up proper, even allowing for Captian Ben's unruly hair. 
Do you know I have not spoken about Alexander, Gary and Claudia have named their new addition Alexander. The most incredible thing is they already know he will be a good pianist, yes it all came from the scan, those scans are just so amazing. The doctor could tell just by looking at the scan. Angela knows the marvels of the scan prediction, the doctor told her that her boy would be an adventurer and so they called him David, all in honour of the greatest explorer of all time, Davy Crocket, king of the wild frontier. Marvellous what scanners can do today.
Susan and I went to the supermarket and bought sweets and chocolates for trick or treat (Hallowean) as well as the normal food, we will be cooking for dinner. Much to our amazement it is only next Friday. Is it not great to be so far ahead of what will be coming we are ready a week in advance. Talking of advance, our clocks go back 1 hour tonight, pain as we have to adjust all the old time pieces but essentially tomorrow morning we will wake at our normal 6:30 only to discover it is 5:30. We live in such exciting times. What to do with the extra hour? For those in South Africa, please allow for the 2 hours time difference as when you are all excited and eager to speak to us first thing in the morning, we will be asleep, calm and steady approach is what is called for.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Fishermen escape with their lives.

Four fishermen almost drowned when the boat they fish in sunk. Shortly before 5am on Friday Gary Grunter, Michael Salmon, Mark Marlin and Robert Ragfish set out to board their fishing boat only to discover it had sunk. Well sunk up to the bow line. Coastguard and Fire and Rescue are giving emotional support to the families. The Coastguard spokesman Mark Sardine, Cookie to his friends, praised the Fire and Rescue Service for their quick response and Robert Ragfish, who is studying Fish Social Science at the University of Fissex, for alerting the others before they tried to board. His wife Helen Sardine, Lady Helen to her friends, in turn praised Mark for his professional response.
‘If Mr Ragfish had not alerted the other who knows what would have happen, just think if they climbed aboard the sunken vessel and tried to set out to sea.’
On closer investigation your reporter has discovered the boat sunk in November last year after breaking free of its moorings. Just shows how close death is to those who are not alert to where there boat is and how much water covers it. 
The local authority are launching an investigation to this “near miss’.
I spoke to the officer from Health and Safety, Sally Mender, who confirmed that they have a regulation in place the warns people not to board a sunken vessel. Sally Mender is also launching and investigation on this near miss.
Russell Lodge has kindly offered to take the survivors in at his hotel until suitable accommodation can be found.
Local MP Angela Angelfish is going to bring up the matter in parliament and also has instructed her colleagues to file a motion to tighten up the regulations of boarding a vessel that has already sunk. Ms Angelfish stated. ‘This costs the NHS millions of pounds treating those effected by this near miss’.
Finally Susan Tuna, Mother Dearest Darling to Robert Ragfish, praised the University and tutors, but has forbidden him from boarding a sunken vessel in the future. 

Well to sum up, mother do know best.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

We are consumed by our phones.

We’re so consumed by our phones and social networks, that sometimes we forget to live. True and a sad reflection on us, but, there are places you can go to where there is no signal and that is hilarious. People walking around with their phone held up to the heavens willing 1 bar to show itself. Desperate, not in touch with the rest of the world, no control in a otherwise controlled network society. Mark Zuckerberg, I have a message, 'Social Networking' is in fact 'Anti Social Networking'. People with more than 250 'friends' on Facebook have no real friends, they too caught up with answering their virtual friends they forget to live.
Enough Social media bashing, the people have spoken and I have listened. I sound like a politician, come elections time and they promise the world, come governing time the put up the taxes.
Susan is away catching some sun in Spain and Robert has settled in to his university with one big moan, washing his clothes.
"Clothes washing I feel will be the bane of my existence at uni as it's is horribly complicated, 1 wash has cost me £10 which is insane!"

Now he understands that you need to hung your clothes up and not use the house as your wardrobe, expensive lesson but had to be learnt.
Michael is still working hard and then when he has some time off it is up to Bristol, Why Bristol you may very well ask, what is wrong with Poole?
Gary had his birthday last week and I did wish him well, as I know you all would. Happy Birthday Gary Pants, welcome to an era of being someone who is in his middle ages.
It is definitely autumn here, as you can see from the photo of a clear blue sky, and today marks the first day of taking Sam to the beach with the temperature dropping below 10 deg C, that with the light breeze did bring home the fact that Christmas is only 2 months away and with it those gloriously crisp cold winter days.
All for now. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Perhaps it will be Christmas, not yet

Those songs of Christmas will be back all to soon, but we must enjoy that time as it is a milestone to enjoy. How many songs will we hear, how many will we sing? In the back ground is Friends, yes I know they are meant to have grown up and  left home but no, they are  still here. The house is a wardrobe and the kitchen is a battle zone, the concept of washing up and clearing up seems to be one of those lessons of life that take longer then I would ever of imagined.
Enough of the idle banter and useless chitchat, we move on and learn from our mistakes. Read well my children, with children, less not the sins of the father are visited on the children.
Well it is finally raining here, this muddy island has woken up to its reputation and delivered the rain. I must admit the surrounding fields and valleys were looking dry and lifeless.
Perhaps I will hear your voice again, singing the songs of Christmas, if you falter I will sing those songs to you. One day, when I am away, I know you will sing for me.
We have just celebrated the Great War, which ironically was meant to be the war to end all war. I do remember Bobby, my Grandfathers brother, who fought in the war and was damaged. That is all we were told as children. I first saw him playing in the band of the Salvation army one sunday afternoon. He seemed to be so happy and then he came over and chatted to us and he was childlike and unaware of life really, as though he had shut himself up into another place of music and smiles. How he got 'damaged' I do not know but he lived his life out in his own world far from those muddy, bloody trenches and shell fire. I wonder if he still hears the bagpipes and the lament they play in honour of those who were affected by that horrendous war. Spare a thought for Uncle Bobby when you hear the Bagpipes Lament, I heard the Band of the Royal Fusileers playing, and could not help but think what ever happened to him in the war, he had found a better place to live in.
Well Robert is off to Uni on the 28th, Essex, Colchester Campus. Yes, yes the girls from Essex are going to be a distraction but then those girls from Essex have some reputation, lucky him.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Boy or Girl?

The eternal question asked by expectant mothers, well some as others just wait to be surprised. Gary says that if the mother to be is pretty during her pregnancy then it will be a girl as she does not have to drain her body of testerostone as it is a girl. No need for testerostone, boys need loads. Well my theory is if the mother is pretty during her time then it will be a boy, no need for her to loose her looks as it is a boy. Gary and I have decided to publish a scientific paper on this common question. Just to bring you up to speed, Claudia is blossoming in this pregnancy so I predicted a boy and I am seldom wrong, a boy it is. Questions will be asked in the House of Lords. Baron van Pregnacy is already complaining of this being some sexist ploy by men, well the fact do speck for themselves.
Michael has just got home from a week in Cornwall and looking very good. Also brought his girlfriend for a few days. Oh the excitement and pleasure of youth. 
One week later.
I know time flys, but it has been a very busy time. 
Dinner on the oven and waiting for Susan and the boys, Michael finishes at 5:30 this evening from the RNLI and Robert at 6. As they get older we expected to fetch and carry less but alas that has proved not to be the case, I really do not mind as the few minutes we spend in the car together is catchup time and well worth it.
Angel phoned to tell us about her move to a new home they have bought, 3 + 1 she called it so I would imagine 3 bedrooms and one bathroom. Hope they are settled now and Matt can weave his magic and create a 5 + 3 soon to compliment their families needs. Captain Ben would expect no less.
Well we are now at the end of a very relaxing weekend, Susan has topped up her tan, Michael has done another day of fund raising for the RNLI and Robert has slaved away at Staples keeping this fragile economy a float. We are about to have over priced pizza, delivered to our door, and I have a roast  chicken and roast vegetables in the oven, but that will keep, unlike the pizza, which, once cold, will forever be cold and dry. It is Sunday so I will just go with the flow. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

To life I surrender myself

To life I surrender myself in complete trust and you give me back myself, I am your servant in love and devotion. Such thought, such belief in nature. I was really moved by this lady who decided to go back to nature and have her baby in a stream in the middle of a forest in Canada. You can google her on YouTube or Facebook, not sure now. We are still infants when it comes to what the power of how nature can inspire. The awesome power of nature will surprise all for eternity. When we see Michael on those exotic islands, unspoilt, well in a western world perspective, so much virgin beach, clear water and humble people, not realising the treasure world they are living in.

I believe in love, without true love we just exist. Until you find the love you've missed
you're nothing. When you walk, let your heart lead the way and you'll find love. My feeling of inspiration on this 63rd birthday. I must concede it was an exceptional occasion, Warwick Castle and the Night at the Proms in the Castle grounds. Meeting very good friends of mine at the hotel and then the divine Susie Pie sorting out VIP tickets for them as well. A night of all the universally favourite classics, finishing with those great national anthems, inspiring stuff. Mark and Helen also gave me a t-shirt with the slogan saying 'Old Guys Rule' and under that 'A real standup guy', also a bottle of red wine from SE Australia, which topped it all. Thank you to all those who sent me greeting one way or another, really appreciate the thoughts.

David Gary Dickens took on his vows in Australia, a christening said to have been full of joy and happiness. I say this as I received an invitation to this christening but was unable to make it and would have loved to have been there. I have attached a great photo sent with the invite which I am sure you will all agree is just beautiful. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Life after the Le Mans 24 hours

With the end of the Le Mans and Roberts finally finishing his A levels we are in the lumber of post real racing and another body around the house with very little direction. That was an amazing race, Audi 1 and 2 but the Toyotas did well. I really enjoyed the other classes of racing. The sleep deprivation and adrenanlil pumping through the drivers to keep going for 24 hours makes for good viewing. As for Robert and his long holiday ahead, well we can only see where that leads, maybe a drivers licence and student card then the cherry on the top, results to go to Uni?
Susan is at Yoga and Sam is asleep, I take the oppurunity to catchup on the last few weeks. Mark's and Granny Junes birthday tomorrow, always been one to remember and I hope we will never forget Granny June but we are here celebrate the living and I hope Mark you have a wonderful day. I know work will get in the way but I am sure between your Mum and Travis you will be spoilt. I think I can take the liberty of wishing you a happy birthday from all of us and I will try and get hold of you.
Michael is getting over his stomach bug and has flown to Ho Chi Ming and then on to a very exotic looking island for a few day surfing. From his photo he sent it is easy to see why this island hold so much attraction. Hard life these students live but they do make their own adventures, that is what we would expect from young men at the top of their profession. It is hard to believe that he has been there for 4 weeks already and has his last week to surf and chill.

Monday, 2 June 2014

News updates

Hawthorn, why Hawthorn? Actually I do not know. Must have some relevance or I would not have written it done. Move on, it will come to me later or never.
I must admit to be a little lazy today as we only got out of bed at 9 this morning to go for our Saturday run. A pleasant and warm day greeted us and the added bonus was the absence of wind. Susan forgot to take her asthma inhaler so battled a little as her lungs were reluctant to accept the increase in her air intake. I ran like to wind but then I usually do. 
Normal weekend ahead of us, Susan a little perturbed as she feels she must go and see her mother. Yes the renowned Mags. I really feel for Susan as it is not easy to have a pleasant visit at the best of times. Talking of Mags, I am sure the military could use her, Mags ( Military Atomic Granny Syndrome ) give her 5 minutes in Afghanistan and the Taliban will be running for the hills. Anyway we must remember that old age will come to all of us, just with varying degrees of dementia.
Robert is doing his application for student finance with Susan ever watchful, peering over his shoulder. Hopefully will not take too long as I would really like to go out to a coffee shop and have a wee scone and cream or a panini.
Lily Florence is 5 today and we wish her a really exciting birthday, full of presents and good cheer. Some photos on iPhoto stream for those interested,I especially liked the rainbow outfit, very cute. Michael is having a great time in Vietnam and staying in some really nice hotels for as little as £ 6 per night, see photo attached.
Well thats all for now.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Bank Holiday

Well it has been and gone, I have not heard from Tamacgor S Bald for a while so I would imagine he is enjoying the wines of Margaret River. 
Michael is in Vietnam and has left Saigon and is on his way to Mui Ne by coach. Actually he is probably there already as they are 6 hours ahead of us. These time zones can get one a little confused. 
Over the weekend we found a very interesting Coffee shop and garden centre in Lychett Matravis called The Barn. We had afternoon cream teas and then wandered around the French Antique shop and the garden center.  Firstly the coffee was good and full of flavour, I actually had a Bacon and Brie panini and it was Susan who had the Scone, clotted cream and jam, all very tasty. I have included a shot of a novel way of using an old wardrobe, using old pots etc can make quite an interesting eclectic mix in a crowded garden.Easy to do, just visit a tip and pick up some old pots etc and you are away. 
Not heard from anyone lately so I am assured they are all well and getting on with their lives.
Oh our sweet peas are starting and we will be eating lovely fresh peas soon, will also be great in a salad. Our garden has not changed much, plants are starting to fill out and new shoots and flowers everywhere. I will leave it for another month then send you an up to date photo, just for your records.
Took Sam to the beach for a walk today and the attached image shows a big storm approaching, the quiet before the storm added an interesting feel of stolen time before the rain, but it never arrived. 
Comments as usual are welcome.
All for now, speak soon.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Second leg of Australian Adventure

Pamagor has confirmed he will be known as Tamacgor S Bald from this day on. He has just sent me his latest news on his adventures in Australia and included this notice from The Sydney Morning Herald. Tamacgor? I suspect he has been on the wine again, he does love a bottle of Merlot and has been known to have another. Did anyone notice the typo in the Notice?

Extract from the Second Leg:

I started this morning early with a boat ride over the Horizontal falls, they do say it is southern hemisphere's biggest tides surge. I was ill so it was a relief to put my feet back on dry soil, must of been those oysters. You know how much I wanted to see the maritime war grave, well it was a very pleasant walk, just a bunch of old wrecked planes really. Davey, my tour guide had some seriously laced coffee, which we sat and sipped while watching the sea slowly come in with the tide. That is when we decided to change our travel plans and head to Margaret River, wine growing region of repute, Broome can wait for another time. Planes leaves in 30 minutes so will catch up soon...Tamacgor S Bald.
I have left all the rambling as he does go on a bit, all about what he was wearing, not really relevant.
Michael leaves for Vietnam today, 5 weeks with a bunch of other students from the Uni and I wish him Bon Voyage and hope he has a good time. Lord knows what he will do in the jungle for 5 weeks but then students will be students and someone has to visit Vietnam, if only to say it is still there.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Australia Travels

After almost a year exploring the coastline of Britain and South Africa, historian and archaeologist Pamagor is traveling Australia's spectacular coastline - its people, their history, and its many natural wonders that has drawn him to this beautiful continent.
Pamagor is dressed by fashion designer Mark Russell, he is showcasing all the latest that this inspiring designer has to offer as he explores the coast of Australia.
Pamagor is also going to be changing his name by deed poll in Australia, it is just cheaper there and he can add a nick name, all the rage in OZ. Davey, Benji to name just a few.
While there he hopes to catch up with his old friend Geoff, professional traveler and avid mobile home enthusiast. Pamagor is a little worried he is getting too close to the natives in the outback.

First Leg of the Journey.

Flying from Brisbane to Derby, courtesy of Bald Travel, a small travel agency in Perth, run by Ben, Ang, Lily and David. He stopped over just long enough to see the Prison Baob Tree then on by helicopter to the pristine Kimberley of Western Australia. He was able to buy a ‘CHLODEN Merlot Tote’ Lovebag for $164.95. 

Fully equipped he walked in primeval tracks along the legendary Dinosaur Coast. I must mention that he has a cleverly fashioned hat with French Beaujolais wine bottle corks attached with ultra thin nylon to keep the flies away. No wine was wasted in the making of this extraordinary hat.

Exhausted he is now recovering in his hotel and preparing for his next leg of his journey.
‘There is so much sand between places it is like a desert.’ Wise words indeed.

I leave him pondering his change of name and will catch up with him on the next leg of his adventure to Broome.