Sunday, 29 July 2018

Photo Journalist

I am thinking of adding a new dimension to my business, yes you guessed, photo journalist. I am enjoying our short excursions into rural England and Wales. Take the Church Knowles blog, that was a mid morning visit and I was asked by a editor of a country life magazine to expand a little and send him the photos and article and he will publish. Seems my blog has some benefits after all. 

Moving swiftly on, we did breakfast today at Sandbanks Cafe, not a huge fan anymore but seemed like the right place to go. Must admit we did get quite a warm welcome and it was nice seeing all those familiar faces again. Pity the management and owner are a bunch of idiots. The staff did say they are not that busy anymore, a pity, as it is a lovely location but when you are paying good money for your food and drinks, you would expect table service. 

Helen gave me a barometer for my birthday. You know I have a weather station on the conservatory roof, so I follow the weather. Actually this is not a new phenomena, I have since my farming days. Anyway the barometer forecast fair weather for the next few days. 

Life is messy, the summer is proving to be unreasonable hot. This is not why I live in England, but I sit and watch my sprinkler watering the garden. I know it is a small garden and does get done with one watering and it is my garden. Well to be honest it is Susan and my garden. Does the sprinkler get to every part of the garden evenly, no, as I said life is messy and the light breeze does play its part. 

I know of a family who are coming to settle in England shortly, very shortly. If they think I am going to tolerate this heat, dream on. I predict storms and floods by the middle of September. Actually I welcome a turn in the weather, where have the days gone when I get soaked taking JB for a walk, the only soaking I get now is a good swim, well wet is wet. A little like nuts, nut's, nuts.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Sprinkle Pops

My grandchildren have been taught to call me Sprinkle Pops, does remind me of a cupcake or something less trivial. We are fond of giving our family nicknames, Robert has become known as Roobobs, something to do with rhyming with Robert, but I am only hazarding a guess. Michael is Moochildor Macca, Angela is Ang but I call her Angela, well I did give her, her name. I can go on and on but Sprinkle Pops defeats me. Almost a description of decorations on a cupcake. 
My name is Glen, I have answered to that name for many years and have grown fond of it. Fond is maybe not the right word, attached is probably a better word,  understandable after 67 years, goodness has it been that long? Grandad or Grandfather would be a natural progression and I will adapt to that under duress. A little old fashion I know, but somethings must be endured. 

Granny June was a title my mother cherished, no one thought of referring to her as pastry or desert and I must confess, I would be very pleased if I became know as Glen, strange but it is my name.
Not sure where Sprinkle Pops originated and I apologies in advance if I have offended anyone by not being over excited about the nickname. I do fear my protestations will fall on deaf ears, the unfamiliar, with time becomes the familiar. 

Changing the subject, has anyone heard from Angela lately, seems very quiet down under. Maybe it is something I said? Anyway if you see her, tell her I love her.

Walking at the beach at noon and I sighted several beached whales, all white and huge, they just lay there. Could not understand why the RNLI or Sealife was not trying to float them again. I walked on having my own problems, namely JB and his over enthusiasm for the water and then finding someone tanning and shaking himself next to them. Cold shower comes to mind although I must say that dog is like a formula one car's wet tyres dispersing the water at an alarming rate. Funny thing, when I was walking back, one had stood up, I realised it was not a beached whale after all, just a chubby lady lying on the beach, must get my eyes checked.

Thomas Hardy

'The business of the poet and the novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things.' Thomas Hardy explaining why writers write. Now, I am not comparing myself with master writer, but the principle is the same. 
Moving on. Claudia will be pleased to know that Caffe Nero is a Italian coffee company. Well that is what it says on the saucer and who am I to doubt anything written on a saucer. Actually, we cannot be too careful when it comes to the Italians. Gary has waxed very poetically on the ways of the Italians in the smaller villages. With Italian family, he found paying for a meal or a coffee proved to be close to impossible. Sounds perfect, but with the mafia there is always a price to pay. I hope he checked his luggage before boarding the plane home. 

A good friend of mine has bought a house in Tuscony, close to the sea and also, not to far from the ski resort. It seems when you buy a house there you meet up and pay the money and get given the keys. Simple and effective with only an estate agent present. Also the estate agent helps you get you utilities connected and will give you support for a year. Obviously the normal Italian does not consider his humble house a castle, not like the average Brit. Now there is a nightmare, make an offer, wait to see if it is accepted. You do not know what the other offers are and from then on it is a guessing game. 

Susan is looking into schools again, my thoughts wonder to dark places, is there something she is not telling me? I hope in the fullness of time she will confided in me and we can move on from there. I do expect it has something to do with grandchildren, too old to have anymore children myself but the thought of doing the daily school run again does get me a little excited. The joys of braving young mothers in there quest for little Johnny to be the best and is always on time, does fill me with the challenge of a good contest. I have many years experience and all their naivety gives me a definite advantage. My record speaks for itself, I did get Robert to school on time, he was partially dress and grumpy but the battle was won. 

Let us surmise that it is Lilly, lost in that small country, where the pre request for getting into university is being able to surf? Let her be part of the masters, the classic and become a well educated superstar. Ballet, music and the masters will take her to Cambridge or Oxford, fill filling her mothers dream of becoming a world renowned star. I must point out that she is still quite young and I do not expect to be around when that happens but knowing I had a small part to play, drives me on, passport or not. Bring it on, let the challenge begin. Remember Angela, you are and always will be my most loved daughter.

Church Knowles

Sunday afternoon and the heat forced us to the beach early morning and just after noon, really just to cool off. I am in the garden enjoying a refreshing craft beer. Old Golden Hen, for those in the know. Gary, Robert and Michael will appreciate this fine ale. After an early morning swim at the beach with Jenson, we took ourselves off to Church Knowles Food Fair. Church Knowles is about 3 miles from Corfe Castle and they hold and annual food fair in a farmers field, just before you actually get to Church Knowles. 
The normal stalls were there, Dorset Cider, Hog Roast and a few more we have seen before. All worth a visit, but there were some others we have not seen before. Susan found a lady selling small tarts. No sugar, gluten free and vegetarian. After a small taster she was hooked and we dutifully paid £ 3 for one to snack on, as we walked around the fair. One thing that did bother me, I did not say so at the time, lovely lady selling them. But she did say she only uses natural products, such as dates, raisins and maple syrup. Yep, you spotted it as well, maple syrup, does it not contain sugar?
Moving on to the next interesting stall and low and behold it was James, the cheese man. All his cheeses were wrapped in his own paper and beautifully labelled 'James Cheese'. 
After quite a few tasters I settled on a Little Colonel, soft, mild cheese reminisce of a Camembert. Susan did point to the smoked cheddar, but I ignored all her suggestions and made my purchase, in the knowledge that it was pure cheese and if I wanted too I could add a smoky note with some smoked BBQ sauce. By now Susan was threatening to spend a fortune and had left her hand bag in the car. Moving on rapidly we bought ourselves a breakfast wrap and then an excellent coffee from Liberty Love's deli stall. I must commend her on her choice of coffee beans, really good balanced, strong coffee, just like I like it. Not really interested in the deli side as it was mainly muffins with a variety of ingredients. Watercress, pistachio and cheese to name just one. Do not get me wrong, if you into muffins, then there was a muffins for every occasion. 
While waiting for our coffee, I was alarmed to see Susan deep in conversation with a man in the next stall selling chilli chutney, chilli oils, chilli chocolate, chilli biscotti and chilli coffee. Thankfully the coffee arrived and thrusting her Cappucino into her hand I enticed her onwards and upwards. Suddenly the amount of stalls left was becoming a minefield of financial ruin. 
Thankfully the goats meat stall held little interest to her and it was only the natural sea salt stall, harvested from Lulworth bay, that briefly caught her attention before we decided it was a good idea to head home, pickup JB and head for the beach. I did manage to pickup a Dorset Sausage roll on my way out, bargain at £2.25. Will have it with my dinner.
Talking of dinner, we are having a traditional home dinner, left overs, hot buns and a fresh salad. I also need to make some inroads to the big jar of Branksome pickle Susan bought for Gary, child only had a tea spoonful and has now left the rest for me to finish. Oh well, should go nicely with the Little Colonel and the sausage roll.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Winds of Change

We have had very hot, dry weather over the last three weeks. Not very British and make can one feel uncomfortable. The air is still and the heat seems to come from the ground and from above, you can not get away from it. 

Friday: I am in an empty Caffe Nero, I would imagine most people are on the beach. I would be but the beach car parks are all full and the nearest is a walk of about 10 minutes up a steep hill, defeats the object of cooling down in the sea and then having to do a serious walk back to your car.

I was talking to my neighbour today and he has just got back from Poland. Something I did find interesting was that the Polish people in general do not like foreigners, and hate any foreigner getting a job in Poland. When he asked them about all the Poles in England they just shrug their shoulders and say we are stupid.

Interesting and I can see why we are having this strong objection to all EU foreigners coming to our country. I do believe the whole ethos of the EU is being questioned and they are doing it through the ballot box. England is leaving the EU on just this issue, others wanting change are Italy, Greece, France, Germany and Spain. The winds of change are blowing strongly, where will it lead?

Those who dream of a global society are in for a rude awakening, public sentiment is swinging away and I fear the swing will go a long way back. We see it in the results of all the elections, if a politician want votes, he or she, campaigns for tough immigration laws and invariable wins.

I digress. Actually it is Saturday and I am writing this blog on my computer, in the garden. Susan has decided it is time to fix the garden. Just to explain, We did have an amazing garden but then we acquired Jenson. suffice to say we do not have a garden anymore and he has managed to destroy the old rose bush, with all its long thorns as well.
Four bags of top soil and one massive bag of compost are being thrown at the garden at the moment, I do feel this is a time when my advise would not be appreciated as I sit and write, enjoying a very good red wine. I have cooked the dinner, and it is quite a culinary master piece.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Purbeck Art Week

Not knowing what to do on a Saturday afternoon, we decided to go to the Purbeck Art Week display at Rollington Barn. We invited the lovely Lady Vivenne from Hadrians Way, to join us. You know the lady, floral matching outfit, we reported on her in the article about the Pamphill Blue Bells walk, yes the one and the same.

That was the trip were we met up with Anna and her husband, I can not for the life remember what his name was but I can say he was very fond of Hong Kong. He did have some amazing tales to tell and spoke at length on his visit of a few weeks ago.  
Once Lady Vivienne was on board and comfortable, we made our way to Rollington barn, somewhere between Corfe Castle and Studland. 

They have an overview of what is on display at the various venues, saves you the trouble of not bothering to go to those rubbish painters or artists. To tell the truth, it was all about the cake they serve in the make shift tearoom. Susan and Vivienne's eyes lite up when they saw the cakes and they did spend more time deciding which cake to order then actually looking at the art on display. I went for the chocolate and caramel cake and really will not go into what the two girls had, but suffice to say they were in cake heaven while eating it.

It never fails to amaze me, how a group of girls who go to a weight watching club can be so enthralled at a few delicious cakes. I strongly believe it sharpens there minds. I think Weight Watches has an algorithm that watches their weigh in and then they throw out the tempting phrase, 

'You can have the occasional treat but not every day.'

This would be a good marketing tool, if the weight watches loose too much weight then they are, potentially, not going to need weight watches and that source of revenue will stop. A good business model would want to keep existing member, so throwing out that expression would ensure the weight watches loyalty. I also think some people go to weight watches for the companionship. Good business model and well done to who ever dreamed of tapping into the vuninerablities of women of an age, when they feel their youthful looks are fading.

Getting back to the art and how we progressed. I did not see anything I would have bought and from looking at Derek and Vivienne's work, feel slightly cheated at what was on offer, my friends are better. But then they are not on display, the amateurs are, and they are selling art to a gullible public. 
We did see Sue and Ted, breakfast buddies at Sandbanks Cafe, alas, owing to recent changes there, we will be looking else where for our weekly breakfast. 

Friday, 6 July 2018


What’s so fascinating about memories is how certain ones are saved and others are not; some vanish for good, and some can come back. Gary coming over here renewed many memories from days gone bye. 
Dan was over with his school 'Cornwall Hill College' on a cricket tour and we went to watch all his games, well the games he played, after we picked Gary up. Chichester was the first game we saw and it was a really exciting game. Playing Westbourne School, Cornwall won on the last ball. I must say the catering was excellent and the flow of beers never ending. Only regret was we did not take Jenson with us, he would have had such fun. 

Well that was Chichester ticked off the list, never been their before and only just over an hour away. Elliot was saying what a beautiful town it was, we will visit again and take in the sights.
The next days we found ourselves in Southampton, playing King Edward VI school on one of the best school pitches I have ever seen. The lawn was immaculate and a good   wicket. Gary and I did a pitch inspection and he predicted it to turn later in the innings. Wise man and when it comes to cricket, there is little he does not know. Again a cracker of a game, Cornwall scored 151 all out with Dan making a useful 20. We took ourselves off to the local Hall and Woodhouse Pub for lunch which lasted longer than we anticipated. Getting back we found King Edward in a commanding position 102 for 1. They lost their first wicket as we arrived.

All seemed lost but then Titus 'the warrior coach from Cornwall Hill’ introduced spin and King Edward had a massive collapse, all out for 128. We made our way home feeling quite elated by the standard of cricket. 
Susan was a true darling and went out and bought a Nandos chicken and chips, which we complimented with a healthy salad, filled with Feta and avocado. I do fear a few pints were consumed and battle was done to a bottle of red wine, seemed to empty rather quickly.

Next morning we set off with Jenson to Newbury, last match of the tour and again, the school was so like how we would imagine a old private English school. Norris Hill School just our side of Newbury. This school has really good sports grounds and a 9 hole golf course, what more would a child want. All the children are borders and as it is a elite school, there are about 10 per class. 

Jenson took to this game of cricket with enthusiasm, you could see he just wanted to go and chase that little red ball with all those boys. The game took a different format, 3 hours each. Cornwall opened the batting and Dan again scored some useful runs with Cornwall finishing on 315. We decided it was time to find a pub and get some lunch.

The Swan was spotted by Gary's sharp eye, he did have a good sense of direction when it came to finding the odd pub. Again a few pints enjoyed and we headed back to find Horris Hill School struggling against a very determined bowling attack from Cornwall. Cornwall  went on to win their last match and a fitting end to a successful tour. Won 9 lost 2.

We headed home following Google maps as there was an accident on the direct route, again, Gary directed us with quiet confidence and we were home in no time at all. Staying with tradition, we enjoyed dinner with the odd pint or two consumed in celebration of the game well played. 

Yesterday we said goodbye to Gary and we both missed him as soon as we left the airport. Missing someone doesn’t have anything to do with how long it’s been since you last saw them, or the number of hours that have passed since you last spoke. It’s about specific moments when you wish they were there by your side. We had a quiet drive home and an early night.
I did dream of sitting at a pub, just listening to the sound of his voice and the lilt of his laugh.