Monday, 31 December 2018

New Years Songs

Just put together a selection of You Tube videos that the family has sent, enjoy.

https://spark.adobe.com/page/1qMdrJBxqXW7v/

Happy New Year everyone.


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Boxing Day


Where does the name Boxing Day come from, any idea? The name comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants, and the day when they received a special Christmas box from their masters. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give Christmas boxes to their families. Well that is the BBC news version and I quite like it.
Ethical wrapping

As the dust settles I have to look back at yesterday and the abundance of presents I received. Amazon Echo, you know the one, ‘Alexa, play my Christmas Playlist’, cheese and salami, big hit this year and in all honesty, every year. A very smart shirt, and a book on economics, given to me by Robert. Robert is about to go off and study Economics this coming year and was generous enough to give me this book to help me understand what he is going to read at Nottingham University. A writing magazine, always helpful and a selection of olive oils infused with chilli, garlic and spices. Then there is the huge panettone, thanks to Olivia. Olivia reminds me of the definition of a gentle woman, ‘a civilised, educated, sensitive and well-mannered woman.’ Always a pleasure to have her company. 

Jenson was having nothing to do with Christmas and nagged us for a walk on the beach. Actually this fitted in well with our plans as we always have a early walk on the beach, sort of a Christmas tradition. Some of the Middles Smiths joined us and we were pleasantly surprised at the mild weather and lack of that cold, biting wind that is normally associated with our walks. 

Big, glorious Italian Christmas feast at the Middle Smiths this year. The table was covered with all manner of Festive decorations, some self made and others, those favourites we all expect at a Christmas dinner, Christmas crackers and silly hats. The Middle Smiths did a fine job of preparing and serving the traditional turkey, gammon and leg of lamb, superbly cooked by Claudia and Gary. The vegetables a perfect compliment and puddings to suit all. Wine was in abundance, adding to the good cheer. Finishing off with cheese and excellent coffee from Gary’s new coffee machine. Three hours of feasting and drinking took its toll and we made our way home to sleep off the excesses of a glorious day

Christmas Beach Photo 2018


Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas, angels and ghosts


It is at this time of the year that we miss all those we take for granted all year long. Those far away, those who we have not spoken to, for too long. 
The days are cold, when the nights are long. I wandered about you, those days that I thought, out the corner of my eye, I had seen you standing near. I feel you here but my blindness is confusing and shows that you're not. I feel I'm growing older and the songs that I have sung are now an echo in the breeze. Like the sound of a non existent windmill rattling in the storm. 
No one truly dies until everyone on earth forgets them. It is at this time of the year we remember those who are not with us. Merry Christmas Granny June, Samuel, Baxter and Jess. You are not forgotten. 

Last Sunday at a carol service in Canford Magna, we sang along happily to all those well known carols which we hear faintly in the background all day. Makes them real and we take a little ownership of the words and the spirit of Christmas.

Susan wrapped all the presents in brown paper, challenging, no cello tape, not in expensive, non recyclables Christmas paper. Jenson looked on with that understanding that only a dog can have when someone pushes the boat and it does take two days to do the wrapping. In all fairness the Middle Smiths are here, so the volume of presents has trebled. Our biggest problem was what to give Alex. We had already bought eight presents but felt two was enough, definitely one of the most difficult decision since the Brexit vote.

Tomorrow we go to the Middle Smiths and extended family from Claudia’s side. Christmas roasts of such splendour and Christmas pudding to take your breath away. Merry Christmas to all those 532 people who have read my blog over the year. Thank you for all those comments and although some are not published, you know the reason why. 


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Time

Primark T-shirt £ 2.00

Time is one commodity we are now short of, that is time to do all our Christmas shopping. I am in the Dolphin Centre and it is definitely busier than normal. Primark, a cheap clothing store, seems to be attracting all the younger people, while opposite Primark is Marks & Spencer. Let’s just say they are customers that have been around for a while. Experienced and most will have a prepared list of gifts to buy. 

As I sit here drinking my coffee,  I see a sea of faces, mostly have that vacant look of despair. Their minds overwhelmed with what to buy, where to buy it and also feeling that urge to run home and have tea and chocolate cake, hoping all will be right on the night. I feel for them, we have all been there. 

I am of the opinion that we make time for what we want to make time for. Susan and I will make the time to buy the gifts, when? Not sure but we will get there when we want to. Saturday seems like the obvious chose, this Saturday actually, no good putting it off.

Mark & Spencers T-shirt £ 6.00
Talking about messy and life, I do believe life is messy, but sometimes when we get through the mess we find out who we are. Someone asked me the other day if I would go back to South Africa? Probably not, I feel there's no more going back, the path is overgrown and strewn with thorns. They've torn the life-blood from Africa, all through ignorance and greed. The country seems to be going backwards, the basics are slowly been eroded. Electricity is now limited and water is severely restricted. Tarred roads are reverting to dust, as no repairs and maintenance is being done and the politicians get richer. 
Does seem strange that, in the 21st century, a rich country like South Africa is slowly deteriorating into a 3rd world economy.

Mars


One of my clients, let’s call him Mark, that is not his real name and his voice is portrayed by a well chosen actor. Anyway one evening, after a fine bottle of wine, he phoned me and asked if I could setup access for a surveyor on Mars. Mars! Well, I was about to say no but realised he does not take no for an answer. 

I told him I would look into it and get back to him. I did warn him it could take a while as the Mars rover was not accepting signals from BCOS as yet. He then explained that there is no one there and he thought that Mars was under the Borough in Cornwall. In his own style he did go on to explain how important it was that it worked smoothly. 
I was not really listening, as I was trying to figure out what to say to NASA. Maybe something on the lines of; 

Dear Sir.

If by any chance you are planning to do any building on Mars, maybe a garage for the Rover or a garden shed. Please allow us to quote, we have a very good reputation in the Poole and Bournemouth area and are a fast growing company with a wealth of experience and we will send you a balloon and a cup of coffee.

Well something along those lines, will polish it up a little. 

We do have some very stranger requests but none as strange as this one, not sure how to tell Derek. He is nearing his 50th year on Mother Earth and can be quite grumpy. His birthday is on the 21st December, poor child, would have got one present to cover his birthday and Christmas. Maybe that explains his bubbling personality and infinite understanding of all things internet.

It turns out it is St Mawes, not Mars, that he wanted for his surveyor. Must get one of those phones with a boost button, no need to shout.

Maybe that children’s writer was right when she said ‘A blog is just a bunch of mundane observations’. If that is true then a book of fiction is just a bunch of pages filled with someone’s over active thoughts. The best part is they both entertain.

Merry Everything and Happy Always.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

The World


“Did you know that childhood is the only time in our lives when insanity is not only permitted, but expected of us?” Louis de Bernières.

University life is wild and varied. Robert was telling us about the dealers that are found on most street corners at the moment. Not dealers in the drug sense but book dealers. The process is all done through social media. You are told you need the following books for your studies. Books are expensive so you turn to social media to see if you can buy a book from someone who no longer needs it. Once found, you draw the cash from an ATM and meet the dealer at some prearranged location, hand over the money and get a small parcel in return. If you did not know any better, it would look just like a drug deal!
In all fairness, he did buy some books on Behavioural Economics in the Cold War or something along those lines. He is looking into the possibilities of doing a Masters degree or a PHD. Feels like the eternal student taking shape.

The Middle Smiths have moved into an apartment with all the space they need.
They have been in Ancrum Lodge for about 3 months and we did a fair amount of trips moving all their things. Very little furniture had to be moved as it is a furnished apartment. If they decide to move again, I will make myself scarce.

I am a little disappointed as I feel a cold or flu is trying to take hold. Not sure if I want to be incapacitated with the festive season fast approaching. Talking of celebrations, Angela, my favourite daughter, is celebrating her birthday today and I must say happy birthday Angela, hope you have a happy day. On this subject, we might be seeing her quite soon. Actually if all goes to plan we will see Michael as well, everything seems to be coming together for an almighty party.

Christmas, they say this is the best time of the year. For most of us that's probably how it feels, but what about the ones left alone and all the people looking for a glimpse of home. To me our Christmas lights are a beacon for those who have still not arrived and hopefully put a message out there, we are home..

This flu has now spread its infected cells, the Middle Smith are all down with the exception of Mika. We will fight on, on the beaches, when I take JB for his walk, in the coffee shops, where I am at the moment getting stronger with the help of a double espresso and a slice of fruit cake. 

Consideration


That is something most people have. Some do not and this is a big disappointment to me. Young drivers who hoot and get very angry at someone for no real reason. It is often their ignorance of the rules of the road that start these idiots off. The most inconsiderate are those who swear in front of women and children. I do not swear and still find it strange that someone would want to be so lacking in a proper vocabulary that they need to swear. Swearing in front of children, specially young children, is not excusable. Sadly the world is full of fools like that, more is the pity. 

Changing the subject, Susan has been keeping in touch during the day to find out how I am and have I managed to have a sleep, my flu, we talking about. The fact that she also has flu and is probably feeling just as rotten as I do, totally escapes her. All I can say is that I do love her, her prefect imperfections, her edges and curves, her optimism and her strength, in looking after me and still coping with lady flu.

Spoke to my little brother today and he is expecting to be a grandfather sometime soon, how soon I do not know but I wish him all the best and hope all goes well at the end. He is looking exceptionally well and now has interests in numerous game lodges through-out Africa. I say he is looking well, the photo he sent did seem to have some editing done. Tamacgor S Bald is going to visit him soon, they do a Cape Town Christmas present trip every year. Mostly they just buy trendy cloths for themselves and drink too much wine. Tamacgor has promised me an up to date photo. 

There is a wool shop in Dorchester and they have a advert on the window.
‘We knit coats for dogs’ and I remembered the story when Lady Mally of Musmead Manor decided to get a coat made for Dudley, her dog. Small little thing with short grey hair. 
‘I see from you advert in the window you knit coats for dogs?’ More of a question really.
They confirmed it and then they wanted to know what breed of dog was it. Well when it comes to Dudley, anything is possible. Failing that they wanted to know what shape he was and how big? After numerous failed attempts they asked her just to bring the dog in and they will measure him.

‘I can not do that, it is a surprise.’ Mally!


Reminds me of the policeman who asked an elderly man.
‘Sir? Now what is your name? Any idea?’

Monday, 19 November 2018

Definition of a Writer


Writer / “ruiter”
noun
  1. a particular species that can convert caffeine into a blog.

Folding phones that become tablets and a robot news announcer? These two headlines caught my eye. 

Firstly a folding smart phone, why would you want to fold your same phone? Well it has been noted that the phones are getting bigger and bigger and our tailors are doggedly making our pockets the same as they always have. Solution seems to be having a phone that unfolds into a small tablet. Phones are now 6 x 4", so unfolded, your phone is now a 6 x 8" tablet, brilliant, almost as good as Christmas mince pies in November. 

Now mentioning Christmas brings me swiftly on to the fact that summer is officially over. Whilst that means long days in the sunshine may be behind us, much to Susan's displeasure, another spectacle of the season is making its presence felt. It’s autumn, and that means the leaves on the trees are turning beautiful shades of yellow and red, before falling off entirely.

For those who do not know why this happens. it’s a way of protecting the trees, and making sure they survive the winter and beyond. Leaves die during the winter months. If those dead leaves stayed on the trees, and new, working ones didn’t grow in their place, the trees would have no way of processing food for themselves.

Why the extraordinary colours? When leaves are green they are working as organs for the tree. The green colour comes from a part of the cell called chlorophyll, which processes sunlight into sugars that the tree can ‘eat’. As the weather gets colder, the days get shorter, and there is less sunlight for them to munch on, the rest of the tree starts to absorb these useful parts of the leaves. It then stores them for winter in its roots. As the tree does this, the green chlorophyll is removed, which reveals hidden colours in the leaves.
The first colour to appear is yellow, the cells clear, revealing the vibrant reds and browns that dominate most of the woods and forests during autumn. 

Lesson over, interesting and well worth the research. I am happy in the knowledge I have helped you all to understand the basics of why trees behave as they do in Autumn. Carmine from Canada, sent me a photo of her dog running through a carpet of red leaves. I have attached the photo and just wonder if anyone can see the dog? Reminds me of Robert's photo the red car?

The second headline about the robot television announcer in Japan. From what Susan says, the Japanese are a nation of semi robots anyway, why not just convert to proper robots. Sorry, I mean they are very punctual and correct, in a nice way. The fact that the robot will always pronounce 'Toyota' the very same, every time, will be a comfort to them.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

What is Terroir?


I saw this word on an advert at Caffe Nero and wondered what it meant. Doing a little research I began to understand why the wine farmers always want their vineyards planted in a certain type of soil, altitude, rainfall, humidity and temperature. Collectively, these elements are called terroir (pronounced ‘ter-war’); a term that’s applied to all crops. These elements effect the taste of the wine, coffee and tea. But it is not as simple as that, as any number of other factors also effect the terroirs, or microclimates of these crops. Nearby flora and fauna have an effect on the ecosystem in which the varietals or cultivars are grown. Terroir is a word that encapsulates all environmental factors that could influence the final product. 

Susan asked me if I knew what time the England vs South Africa rugby game started today. Did not know what she was talking about but it transpired that it has something to do with her friend and being dumped? I only watch the start of the games, actually the national anthems and then move on to more important aspects of my busy life. 

Now on the subject of rugby, Lady Vivienne was quite determined to see the England - South Africa game.  Much to her disappointment, her latest boyfriend decided he had other plans. Well, they are now no longer an item, moral of the story, do what the Lady wants or you are yesterday’s news.

Claudia and Gary are trying to rent a house. All I can say it is so boring and everyone involved is awful. They want to know everything and if you do not disclose all your details, your application will be rejected. So much red tape, all to justify their very high costs. One of the agents has the unfortunate name of Snell, nothing fast about them.

Changing this boring subject, we were having dinner with friends the other night and it transpires that everyone loves peeing in the shower with the exception of Susan. I thought everyone peed in the shower, lovely experience and it is all washed away in the blink of an eye. Does have a little narcissism, me thinks.

Talking of narcissism, I read an article on a study by Swansea University claiming people who repeatedly post photos and videos of themselves online showed a 25% increase in narcissistic traits. I must point out, I do not take to selfies willingly and feel they should be only taken on a special occasion. We always take a photo at Christmas, on the beach, and on New Year’s Day. This is not really a selfie but more of a family photo to share with all those other family members who cannot be with us for reasons of their own.

Talking of photos, I took this photo at 4:20pm while having coffee. The days are getting shorter. 





Monday, 5 November 2018

The Joys of Christmas in the Smith/Fay House


At last Susan has bought me an Echo 2 speaker system answering to none other than Alexa. Makes sense as I have unlimited music from Amazon and the Echo 2 is an Amazon product. Being able to tell Alexa to play my favourite music seems a little excessive but we are not getting any younger, the CD players is always on the other side of the room. Well I say bought it, it is a Christmas present so the next 7 long weeks, I will have to be faced with resolve and fortitude.

Michael passed a comment about the Christmas 24 Marathon? Now what was that all about? I know we tend to watch a few movies on the Movies 24 channel but nothing too excessive. As for Christmas 24, well we do enjoy watching a festive film on the odd occasion. Marathon, really? That child has been away far too long.

Getting back to my Echo 2. Seems Susan forgot and she has decided we are not buying presents for each other this year, rather we are buying a combined present. It turns out there is a sofa she has been admiring for some time and this will be our Christmas present. What about the Echo 2 you ask? Well it was on the desk this morning and it is there no longer. I suspect Susan has already sent it back. I wonder what Susan wrote down as the reason it is being sent back. After all it has never been used, definitely not an unwanted present, cannot be the wrong size, only has one colour, not damaged. Wait, it was still in its original packaging so maybe it could have been faulty. Susan has many strong qualities, sending items back is one of those.

Have you seen this new addition of the Poppy. You know the red poppy has been with us for as far back as I can remember. Well they have a white poppy now, this is a poppy like no other, symbolises peace and to remember all this who lost their lives in any war, foe or friend. This goes back some, remember Robert the Bruce, many died then, so is remembered with this white poppy. I am finding it difficult to get my head around this new white poppy. Does that mean all those who gave their lives for England are now popped into a huge basket, populated by Germans, Vikings etc? Maybe you have some thoughts, I am at a loss for words.

It is Guy Fawkes tonight, we celebrate this near blowing up of parliament by having a fireworks display.  Some are breath taking, others are Asda specials, designed to give you the maximum bang for your pound. I do remember following the fireworks displays in our little Vauxhall Astra in the days when the boys were small and I was younger. Susan would find out where all the displays were and we would go from one to another, sometimes missing the start but that was OK. The finale was the best bit. On our way home the boys would want to fall asleep and we would sing naughty songs, so we would not have to carry them to bed, heavy blighters.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Robert the Bruce


Robert the Bruce, the man who defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn was born in Essex. A historian believes Robert the Bruce was from a village near Chelmsford, called Writtle. As part of his self-published work, he said there was no evidence that he was born at his mother's castle at Turnberry, in Ayrshire. He outlines a ruthlessly ambitious man who would stop at nothing to become King of Scotland.
He told BBC Scotland: "There is no direct evidence he was born in Turnberry. More recently, it was presumed Bruce would have been born at Turnberry, but the evidence points to Writtle." 
Well reading that makes me wonder what Robert is getting up to in Colchester, I know he is working at the university, but does that involve rewriting a little bit of history?

Winter has definitely arrived, no, not just a slight chill but the real thing. Last night when we went to bed it was a balmy -1.5 degC. I suppose the time is right with November a day away and Halloween in full swing. Did you see the photo of the girls in Susan's office, all dressed up for this scary time of the year?  Susan is the evil looking one with the witches hat, would recognise her anywhere. Makes one wonder how much work goes on there.

With Christmas only 8 Monday's away, this year is calling last rounds alarmingly fast. Time, lost on the youth, accelerated for the old. There is no presence like time, making that presence count is always a challenge. I wake and promise myself I will get everything done that I have been putting off for ages, only to retire wondering where the day has gone. I did walk JB on the beach in the rain, somehow I feel those jobs I have not done today will be waiting for me tomorrow.

All for now, need to do some shopping for dinner. I think grilled chicken breasts, new potatoes, butternut and asparagus. Served with generous portions of red wine.

Skógafoss

Ideas

“We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.” Louis de Bernières

Wise words from the man who wrote Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I am very fond of the music and have just pulled out my CD, and finally worked out how the CD player works, we now have the beautiful sound of the mandolin filling our living space. 

Talking of sound and those familiar to us. I took Jenson for a walk on the beach early this morning, well just after 8, thick mist, so thick I could not see the next groyne. The sea was calm and the waves from the incoming tide, collected the shells, rattling and tumbling, before receding, only to start the whole process over again. The mist and the shells, strangely peaceful, as if the world is getting on with its cycle of life. My walks on the beach always bring a new perspective on my day.

Putting together a half page advert and some editorial for a client of mine and have decided to do a full length article on the subject. I always have too much content that I have to cut down to 200 words, this time I have writers license to include all that is relevant. 

I wrote a very good blog the other day and asked Susan just to proof read it for me. She liked it but pointed out that it should not be published. The subject was too obvious and if the wrong people read it they would know who I was alluding too. I agreed but it had a strange effect, I almost went through a writers block for a passage of time.

Clocks have gone back an hour so we are GMT time now, this is for all those out there that love to phone me early in the morning, now I will be ready for you. Talking of time, Robert is in Iceland at the moment and as you all know Michael is in Australia. Top of the world and the bottom, that is why they call it down under. Robert went to the Skógafoss.  Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters, and you can walk right up to, but be prepared to be drenched.

All for now.



Monday, 15 October 2018

Life

Onwards and to infinite and somewhat further, would be were I am now. So much is going on and then there is work getting in the way.  Must admit work is rewarding at the moment. We have some large projects to start and one to finish. I do miss the small jobs, those clients who have a desire for a world award winning design on a small budget. Once they are happy and we launch the website, we hear very little from them again. They are a challenge. 

Derek has had some praise for his summing up of work to be done on a really exciting website. I for one, gave him some encouragement and it has gone to his head. His reply was, 'They are, as we speak, preparing an alter...' Just shows, one must have the foresight when to praise and when not to.

Best selling SUV in Europe
The Middle Smiths will hopefully collect their new car today - Renault Captur!  I know, but it is the European in them. Our preference in cars is wide and varied. Some will like VW, others like Ford, Citroen and yes, Renault. We will wait and see how this Captur lives up to expectations. Talking of cars, Susan has taken a fancy to the Volvo XC40, quite expensive. It is the same price as an Audi Q3 but seems quite small inside. I do feel the VW T-Roc or the Seat Alteca are good value for money cars. 

I have learnt over the years that it is best to go with what they like, keeping your opinions to yourself.  This does save an incredible amount of discussion. Her needs are simple, it must be a premier brand and it must be easy to get in and out. The Polo is amazing but for one wee fault, you need to pull yourself out the car and after a long trip, this is proving to be an irritation. 

It is rumoured that a very good friend of mine, is quite critical of this bohemia style of writing, that is all my own. As I say, it is only a rumour and I would like to remind her of my considerable range of camera lenses. Also, there is a facility to comment, all comments are welcome and depending on my mood, might be read. 

T's and C's - All blogs are now being proof read by a person of qualification. All comments are moderated by the writer. No animals were harmed in the making of these T's and C's. Please do not print this article as it might be changed, making you copy out of date. Also consider the trees. 

If life is the flower then love is the honey. (Unknown).

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

This day someone has a birthday.


Gary is coming up to a momentous age, an age when you realise you do not know everything and your children think they know far more than you do. Youth has its advantages but it is wasted on the young. Interestingly in 1978 Lego launched its first castle and gave us the icon is Lego mini figure. The first superman movie came out and the Sex Pistols ripped through an American tour and broke up. Gary was quite oblivious to all this, as his main aim in life was to eat, sleep and poo. 

He only truly got out that habit when I bought him his first Psion handheld computer. Life moved on at a pace for him after that, he saw the first CD's and then the DVD. Laptops emerged and mobile phone can out and over the years have become mini computers, replacing in some cases, the need for a computer. Rumour has it that he now has 2 mobile phones and has been seen using them simultaneously. He also makes his bed in the morning!

He is what one would call a modern man. Married with the standard 1.78 children, actually has 3, but has vowed that is enough. Before his midlife crisis he owned a house, complete with mortgage and 2 cars. Top paying job with shares in the company and rides a bicycle very quickly. Now he has a new adventure, complete with teenagers and dreams, I quite envy him and his journey.

Talking of times when one is born, Susan was born in 1962. The time between the banning of the book, Lady Chatterley's Lover and the Beatles. I was born in 1951, really the start of the Cold War. Others born then were Robin Williams, the great actor. Sting, part of the band the Police and least we forget, Luciano Pavarotti was becoming one of the best tenors the world has ever heard. 


Happy Birthday to all those born on the 9th October 1978

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Responsibility


 Robert has a theory that seat belts cause deaths. Since the introduction of seat belts the death toll from road accidents have increased year on year. Can not really argue that, as it is true Airbags are another example of more deaths. The figure show an alarming number of people lost their lives wearing seat belts and having airbags in their cars. Makes one think, maybe the safer we think our cars are the faster we drive. I, for one, would definitely not drive fast in a car that is not safe. Let's just say, on this occasion I think the boy is right.

With Robert working at the university, brings to mind a story I read about freshers week. One of the stalls at a university was there to support sex workers. The Sex Workers' Outreach Project (Swop) was included in the event for new students at the University of Brighton last week. The university has insisted it is not promoting prostitution after a sex workers' support group was given a stall at its freshers' fair. That is stretching it a little, freshers week is about events for new students. Well they do say university makes one think laterally, seems quite obvious to have a stall in a lateral sense that is. 

Artemis said that Michael is a warrior and a leader! I find that hard to believe, leader maybe but warrior? I know the boy and he has not got an aggressive cell in his body. Artemis, you might know her, she was a Goddess of the hunt, daughter of Zeus, and twin sister of Apollo. I am sure you know the family. Artemis supported the RNLI in its campaign to raise funds for those in peril on the sea. It seems her beloved Achilles Archibald Homer was going over on the ferry to Greece at the time. She so wanted him to go to Italy. 

Sons, they are the opposite to daughters. I have one, Angela, so have in depth knowledge of this special child and the species as a whole. We find we love them so much it is quite scary. They will tell you they know most things and have a far better understanding about everything, even you. 

The Middle Smiths are slowing taking to their new life in the UK and I do admire Gary and Claudia for the strength and determination to overcome all the silly obstacles the British authorities throw in their way. Looking at their responsibilities, I know they will not give up under the weight of them, they will be strengthened by them. Their current task is looking for a house and a car, big decisions and I am sure much discussion.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

For Starters


Read something in the news and it started with 'For starters' then went on to explain an observation someone had on Brexit. Brexit is all in the news now but why start with 'For starters'? I immediately wanted to know what they were eating. My favourite starter is Halloumi stuffed Peppers, just thought you would want to know
Halloumi stuffed Peppers


The editor of a well known newspaper once commented that he always asked his reporters and freelance reporters to send in articles of 800 words, he actually only wanted 600 words. He and his sub editors would then sharpen the article up, as he explained. That is so true, every time I write a blog I tend to ramble, far too much and when I proof it before publishing, I always find things to shorten, cutout or reword. 

Why is it at the beginning of spring and autumn we have this, almost epidemic, run of colds and flu? The change of season seems to bring in all the nasties. I am taking echinacea twice a day at the moment, hopefully will help to me from getting ill. Everywhere I go, someone has a cold or flu, almost getting to the stage that I am loath to go out. I know you cannot live your life thinking something might happen and it probably will not. The way I have abused my body over the years, even a simple bout of flu could finish me off. I think I will start with First Defence if I have the slightest feeling of a cold coming on, meant to work wonders, as it stops the cold taking hold and let's your body build up its defences before the virus spreads. Still I have not answered the question, why colds and flu seem to be everywhere at the change of the seasons. Any suggestions?

Changing the subject completely. It's something we do every day, close the car door. When the Duchess of Sussex closed her car door on Tuesday, the press was watching and now it is front page news. Arriving at the Royal Academy of Arts to attend her first solo event since marrying into the royal family, Meghan stepped out of a car - having had the door opened for her. She then closed it. I know, hard to believe but the photo clearly shows that offending car door being closed. I think it was an automatic action but it did get the press in rather a tither.  According to the Royal Advisor, there is no protocol and Royals are free to close their doors if they so wish. Now I find closing the door for Susan, is a bit of a control thing and I prefer to leave that to her, also gives her something to do and reinforces her independence.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Travels


You all know that Susan and I do quite a lot of travelling, take today for an example, we drove to Ferndown and had breakfast at a Garden centre and then we are off to the Middle Smiths in Westbourne this afternoon. This is all very well but when Michael talks about travel, he tends to speak about countries not towns. 
‘What are your plans for the next few months?’ Susan asked Michael last time we chatted.
‘Hoping to go to New Zealand soon and then maybe Sri Lanka.’ Sounds better then Ferndown and Westbourne but then he still needs to see Europe when he gets back. Copenhagen, Brussels, Paris, the list goes on, I wonder if he will ever settle down.

I am in Caffe Nero just enjoying a coffee before shopping for dinner. Must admit the coffee has a definite superiority over the run of the mill coffee shops. Sandbanks used to have a good coffee as well, but through budget restraints and a greedy owner they are steadily going backwards. Pity as they pay a nominal rent to the council and should be offering a good service.


Did you see the story of the teenager who survived for just under two months on a floating fishing hut? It really s a floating hut, no engines or anything. Story goes he looks after this floating fishing hut out at sea, off Indonesian coast. Rough seas and the hut's anchor broke and he ended up near Guam. That is a long way, took him 49 days and then he was spotted by a cargo vessel and taken to Japan. They flew him home and he seems to be fine. The floating hut is actually called a Rompong, described as a floating fish trap without paddles or engine.

Now the classic expression we have in the UK is: do not try this at home, not even with adult supervision. Be like the blind leading the blind. I can just see some idiot taking his garden shed and securing it to a couple of drums and heading to France for cheap fags.

All for now.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Rumours

Rumour has it that Susan can get very angry, hard to believe but where there's smoke there's fire. It is also said that Robert enjoying watching Movies 24 and Movies 24+. I know, who would of thought it but then he has had to watch what we watch and has obviously taken a liken to the happily ever after films, that are currently on our viewing list.

Russell


Where has the summer gone, Storm Ali is set to reach the top of Scotland by late tonight and we are expecting rain and high winds in Dorset. Reality will be very different. Weather forecasting is one of those hit and miss sciences that quite frankly could do with some research. I still think the farmers of yesteryear did better. It is said they felt it in their bones, I would imagine they were better in tune with nature and knew the patterns of weather.



The one thing I have learnt living in the UK, no matter the weather, get out and have a walk. We think that because it is raining we can put it off but your couch will be there when you get back and it will feel more comfortable. Jenson takes me out in all weathers and I am better for it, I get soaked, wind blown and have bad hair days. All worth it and he is totally unaware of the sometimes trying conditions.


The wind is strong at the moment and it reminds me of Russell, my brother. We took him for a walk with Sam on Branksome beach many years ago. It was about 6 deg C but the wind factor created a feeling of it being much colder. He moaned the whole way, in a good natured way but maybe in hindsight we should have stayed in the comfort of our lounge. Must find out when he is coming this way again, it is time to enjoy a pint or two together. I did send him a card on his birthday but the mail is so unreliable in Africa, that I am sure it ended in landfill, once the person who opened it realised there was no money in it.

Just to fill full my promise to let you know how the Jewellery Course went. As can be seen from the bracelets and certificate it was a huge success. Susan passed with a 1st Class Honours (mentioned on the Dean's list), sadly one of her friends Lady Viv was not so well rewarded, rumour has it she is asking for a remark.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Almost a Couch too far

Yesterday saw us helping Claudia Canosa collect a lounge suite for her flat. All looked very simple until we arrived and I tried to lift the one end to move the couch. Talk about heavy, weighed a ton. After much debate and attempts to get it through the first door, Dan showed his genius and we had it in the hallway. All attempts to get it around the corner and through the front door seemed to elude us, as there were ladies and children present, cursing was done under ones breath.
With some persuasion we finally achieved what seemed like the impossible and lifted the couch into the trusty Zafira. The chair we managed to fit in the Golf. Interesting evening and one that I do suggest we do not do too often. Praise must go to Daniel and Claudia, we were mere bystanders and they really have a gift for the seemingly impossible. Maybe a car washing business in not the answer, furniture removals with Claudia at the helm might be a logical alternative.

Today I find myself people watching from Nero's. Just before 5pm and after the very interesting day I have had, a small coffee is a fitting end to the daylight part of the day. The weather is being kind and we are in for a few warm days before the autumnal  season starts. 

My day started off with a quick trip to drop Claudia at the hospital for a checkup. Something like a service for a car, just our health service seeing what they are in for in the years to come. Took Alex home with me while Claudia was otherwise engaged. After giving him toast and butter, grapes and chocolate, I settled down to get some rather urgent work done. In the background the familiar sounds and voices of Thomas the Tank Engine reminded me of Robert's youth and all those wonderful times I read them the books and they fell asleep wondering if Thomas or Bunny Rabbit would come through.  

Alex soon found the box full of Lego and that kept him busy for quite a while. Gary arrives soon and I am sure they are all looking forward to that special occasion, Mika maybe more so as her and her mother are at odds at the moment. In my experience, mothers and growing up daughters are always a trying time. The normal problems happen.
"My mother does not understand me."
"My daughter does not listen to me." 
All very true but also part of the growing up process, if it did not happen, I would be worried. The same goes for father and sons. As with all things, it will pass, just do not burn too many bridges in the process.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Now that is Television


To start off. A fart is like a child, does not seem to bother the owner as much as the rest of us. Now that is television.

I am very pleased with myself. Why? I had a spam caller from Mumbai. Went like this, I know we have all had them but then this mentally retarded government we have, has introduced GDPR. Only works if you are living in the UK. 
I digress, polite Indian asks if I am the bill payer for my electricity? I asked what company he was calling from and got a very Indian mumble. His name was David, really, how many David's live in Indian?

Moving on, I hung up without describing his mother profession. He rang back and asked why I hung up on him. For a fraction of a second I was speechless. Duly composing myself I told him and I quote.
'You are a spam caller now go away, you silly little man.' Never heard from him again. Maybe berating their origin is not the best way to handle these irritating spam caller from Indian. In future I will be more considerate.

The start, this is a blog of exceptional proportions, let us see where it will take us. The quick brown fox, now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party. This could become a habit and that is all right. 

Susan say it is ridiculous to imagine that a coach would take 2 hours but then that is moderns life and life is not a television program. I learnt something new today, the coach takes 3 hours and the train takes a mere 2 hours, Susan told me that, along with some other things, I will think about and maybe pass on to you. Fountain of wisdom, is our Susan.

Actually Susan is on a jewellery making course today. As she was away from home from 8am to 3pm, a little panic set in and snacks were prepared. Quite a feast I thought, 2 salmon, cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, 2 avocado and tomato sandwiches, 2 gammon and tomato sandwiches, 4 chicken and cucumber skewers and some grapes. 
Anyway, that is all for now. Will let you know how it went, that is once Susan is back from the workshop and subsequent feast.

Friday, 14 September 2018

The Winds of Change


Gary will be here within a few days, new chapter in his life will start with a school run I suspect. Better to hit the ground running I always say. Robert has started his internship and we can only hope he enjoys life in the real world, well almost, he is working at the university.

The other big news is the Dickens are planning a trip to the UK next year. Must be the attraction of the middle smiths that brings them hot footed over at such short notice. Seriously it will be the most amazing experience to meet all those little dickens, who I know only through photos. Names spring to mind, like Benjamin, Lilly, David, will be wonderful to be calling them to keep up, walking around Corfe Castle. Must admit, just to hug my favourite daughter, is the icing on the cake.
Daniel starts his first day at his new school today, hopefully that went well. Always difficult being a new boy in the class. We walked around Kingston Lacy yesterday and I did manage to get a few good photos, this being one of Alex, yep the same Alex who claims to have not broken Corfe Castle.

Susan gave her first presentation to the board today and from all accounts has survived to tell the tale. So much talent in one person does rather leave me in awe. I did fall asleep last night listening to her business voice, practising and admonishing herself when not pitch perfect.

The only thing that has changed for me is I received double points today at Caffe Nero, quite handy, 10 points gives me a free coffee. Just in case you are wondering, I have an Americano in a double expresso cup, hint of sugar and a touch of skim milk.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Start of a New Career

Robert starts work at the University of Essex on Monday and I am already imagining the hole he will be leaving behind. Susan will take a day or two and then bemoan the fact that her boys are away. When they here, they sometimes drive her mad, dirty cloths, unwashed dishes and the whole house used as their exclusive wardrobe. When they away, they are remembered for only their darling points, as all mummies little darlings are.

Susan and Robert are getting a little retail therapy in before he leaves, long flannels and a shirt of two. Why are all the styles slimline? How many slimline people do you see walking around now days, incredible few in Poole as I have eluded to in my previous blog or two. I have documented our chubby population and where may I ask, do they get their flannels from? There are no big and tall shops here. I think it is time I followed one of the numerous chubby couples to see where they shop. Will have to be discreet, cannot very well ask a chubby couple, where do you get clothes for fat people from. They might just take exception to what is a perfectly honest question. Just to keep you up to-date, Susan and Robert are back, subdued but I can happily say, successful. 

This time we are lucky in that the Middle Smiths are relatively close and she can pop around and take them for a walk on the beach with JB. With both boys away I have no doubt that some of the Middle Smiths will be fitter and wiser, going for walks and other fun things that Susan does when she has ants in her pants. Joking apart, there are some lovely places to see and she will take them often. We have not really seen them growing up and now is an ideal opportunity to really get to know them and they us. 

On a lighter note. I must warn some of these young ladies, who wear flared, short dresses or skirts. Be careful when you bend over your pram. I just witness a very near accident as a quite attractive young lady bent down to do something with her baby and gave everyone a perfect view of her bum, complete with pink g string panties and a rather pretty flower at the top. No cellulite and quite pleasing on the eye. Cab driver nearly ran into a Wilts and Dorset bus. Fashionable wear can have its inherit dangers. Thankfully my glasses bring the subject into sharp focus when one is given a fleeting chance. 

Friday, 7 September 2018

Usernames


What world is this that we need to know our username and passwords for everything we do. Stopped at Nero's for a quick coffee and suddenly I had to login to my Nero app to get my free cup of coffee. Updated my iPhone and now all my apps want me to login again. Do I know my username, yes but which one did I use for Nero? I have about 10 usernames and all have their own passwords. Back to good old cash and I now sit and lament the taste of free coffee, as opposed to the one I just had to pay for.

While on the subject of our smart phones, I suggest a new feature for the iPhone, when someone is talking it automatically switches off, that way we listen to each other and if we really need to engage with our iPhone, we take ourselves off somewhere quiet and get enthralled by the magic of our iPhone, away from the madding crowd and not annoying everyone around us. Just seen three girls walk in, all talking and as soon as they sat down, silence, except the tapping of thumbs on the small screen.

Bournemouth Airshow on this weekend and I must confess, I was invited, but made an excuse that I would be away, not untrue, away from the Airshow that is. One can only take so many noisy planes flying over with coloured smoke trailing behind. Also, the waiting, 5 minute display and a 25 minute wait for the next 5 minute display, all a little tiresome.
Hopefully the Middle Smiths will see some of the display, they were going to walk down to Branksome beach, nice view from there.

Talking about usernames again, the Middle Smiths have now been connected to broadband and Sky Television. The mighty Alex has already insisted that Sky Kids gets added to his long list of programs to watch. Such a confident child and has a great friend in Jenson, who follows him around everywhere.

The talk is that Gary will be here on the 19th, really please all the Middle Smiths Clan. We are aiming to have our traditional Friday evening meal, burgers and chips. It is a celebration really, Mika having survived her first 3 days at Corfe Hills school, Alex going to play school today and Daniel going to school on Monday. But the most exciting celebration is Claudia filled the car with fuel, now you might not think that is something to celebrate but in all her numerous years of driving, in the UK you have to do it yourself, awesome achievement.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Corfe Castle



On our short journey on a steam train to Corfe Castle, Gary was explaining to Alex where we were going and what we were going to see.
‘We are visiting a castle that someone broke.’ 
‘I didn’t break it.’ Alex immediately piped up. 
That set the tone for the adventure visit to the old castle. Mika happy to take photos of anything that interested her and quite a few of herself. Gary, Robert and Dan hunted down a secret trail of discovery and Susan befriended a couple and proceeded to give them a very detailed explanation of the why, where and how of Dorset. I took a few photos and motivated everyone on. Just your typical visit to Corfe Castle and the quaint village that surrounds it. 
Interesting fact is that the castle was built in 938 AD and only now, some 1200 odd years later, is it in need of some renovations. Master builders!

On another note, some people just stink. Yep, they have a strong body odour. All is not lost, as there is some amazing body sprays out there and they offer a 12 hour protection. .
Picture this story, man meets the most beautiful girl and as with all young love, signs get ignored and then they get married. Problems being one of them still stinks, as time goes by and fresh lust gives way to reflection, the smell becomes more prominent. 
The moral of this story is that you can trust your nose better than your eyes. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but your nose hold the answers. If someone stinks, how can you live with them? Remember the time you stood in dog poo, you know you can’t think about anything until you get rid of the smell. You can trust your nose more than your eyes, as eyes don’t focus on the right things. The number of times my eyes are busy looking at the computer and forget to check on the the stove, it’s my nose that says 'Something is burning'. My nose never gets tired either. After fourteen or fifteen hours my eyes need to rest, yet the nose keeps going.

Corfe and all its intrigue, there you have it.

Monday, 20 August 2018

To be or not

Susan was not happy with the state of play at the Western Road flat, for the soon to be UK Smiths. Having bought one double bed she has her doubts and after some research has bought another. How do you decided which is best? She who must be obeyed has decided a night in each bed, to decide which is the better.

I fear this is one battle I must ponder. Do I have, 2 deciding nights in strange beds with Susan or just be brave and stay with JB in my own bed? JB sleeps downstairs. My head says sleep in decider bed, my heart say sleep in my bed. A dilemma , something like my head say yoga, my heart says sofa. Let's acknowledge the fact that previous expression was aimed at clubby people, well fat girls but then that is there cross to bear.

I have just been notified by Primark and Tesco that they are expecting Claudia and Mika in a few days, or weeks or years, that is their dream. Anyway I would like to point out that Primark is just the right place Mika, but for Claudia, I do recommend Marks and Spencer. Sensible cloths and shoes for the mother of Alexander Smith and the boy genius Daniel Smith.

Susan and Robert are doing the finishing touches to the children's bedroom, trip to the Range today saw us coming away with all manner of bedding and covers. I must confess, Susan has been deprived of her weekend fix on retail therapy, the painting and cleaning has taken its toll, well the Range stopped all the shakes and we had the old Susan back. Duvet cover, duvets, picture frames, to name just a few. Such a show and it had all the classic hits from the seventies.

My knees just managed to do the shirting boards in a lovely grey, while Susan finished off the airing cupboard in a deep black. The contrast are alluring to that gothic theme that Claudia loves so much. What do those children get up too? They did insist that the pictures were on the floor, well we have done a cracking job and this is their new bedroom.

The trouble with the joints seem to progressively degrade, I do understand what those old people meant when they said, while you down there do as much as you can, it is a long way down. Life and the years have a way of catching up and when you undertake the task of painting a 2 bedroom flat, never forget they have ceiling as well and shirting so.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Black Bags

These are things that Gary and his extended family are going to get use to. 
The passion fruit has 7 flowers on it, might be that Susan is home or that rain is forecast. These are just opening statements to get your attention.
Susan and Robert set off this morning to Lyme Reges and their intention was to obtain a double bed, two single beds and what ever was there to be able to make the Smith Family from South Africa comfortable. In the back of her mind was the fact that these particular Smith were quite posh. With that in mind, they set off to investigate a holiday home with furniture, they were giving away. Susan did have inside information on the owner of the holiday home and taking on the challenge of the Zafira, she set off to the house. 
They came back triumphant, beds, tables, cupboards and all other manner of things.
What was that, they not posh? Well I am no expert but I think they are posh.
Susan is out shopping, retail therapy does wonders for the girl. Actually we are trying to make a reasonable place for the Posh people I have spoken about, to stay in until they get a home of their own. Big step in moving to the UK, I do wonder weather the UK is up to the challenge.
On another note, our Angela has just taken delivery of a new Toyota Kluger GTX. I know, you never heard of them, well they are native to Australia
On another note, I did give my views on names, grandparents names to be perfectly honest. I am still of the mind that these should be bestowed with regard to the person who will be addressed by this name. A name of substance is always respected, a frivolous name does nothing for the person who is so frivolously name or the offended party. In saying all that, if I have to live with Sprinkle Pops, then so be it, I do have years of experience on the naming conventions and might just come up with a name or two myself.
Heavy rain clouds coming from the east, I think it is time to call the end of play to this very cricketing blog and beat a hasty retreat to the warmth of the lounge. Till anon, he will be with me shortly.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Fetching and other problems

Jenson behaved himself quite exemplary today on the beach, so I told him I am going to lift the ban on farting. We still have to overcome his continual reluctance to fetching. The word fetch, still does not resonate with him, maybe retrieve, will stimulate a more responsive note.

There are only two passion fruit flowers out tonight, maybe my eyes are tired after a long day in front of the computer. Two is all I see and they say if the Passion Fruit stops flowering, lean times are ahead. Just so I am not going mad, see for yourself. I know Angela, your Australian flowers are bigger and there is more of them but then that is all I ask for you to admire.

Hacking and cyber crime is on the increase, good for my business but bad for our world of the Internet. Why do we create such a wonderful tool and allow it to be corrupted by explorers. This is something we can stop, every hackers has a family, if that family just stopped there sons or, God forbid daughters, from getting involved with these people who cast a shadow lower then the common snail. We can collectively beat them. Rise up, rise up, fight for your freedom. In saying that, I would be very weary of your government and their so called big daddy approach. Most politicians are very inept to making the most basic of decisions. Most civil servants are mentally retarded. It is all up to us.

On a lighter note, I am having meat balls in a tomatoes and pepper sauce with tagliatelle and a small salad on the side. Michael and Angela this is a game changers when it come to getting good food into your tummy. If you are interested email me and I will send you the recipe. Liberty, I have sent you the recipe already. Thank you for the lovely photo of you and your daughter, you both look so happy. I showed Tamacgor you photo and Tamacgor has decided it is time for a visit to Alaska. 

Susan is coming home tomorrow, I have missed her over the last few days. It does make me think. Though all my years and my failings, she believed in me, if truth be told, I had lost my believe many times but she never gave up and always listened to me, even when I started the story over again. It will be good to see her again and be with her. Oh, and the bonus is that Robert is coming with her, happy days. Now I wonder if I should tell Liberty that Robert is wanting to go to Canada, that is so, very close to Alaska.

In passing, there are a few comments not in keeping with the spirit of this blog of mine. I ask you to look at this final photo and tell me what you see? I notice you said nothing. That is the difference between you and me.