Monday, 31 December 2018

New Years Songs

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

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


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.


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. 


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?’