Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Sunday in October


Today saw the first sighting of the lessor spotted house cleaner. Such a beautiful sight with such a lovely call. Being a male version of the human race I could ignore the call from this rare creature. 
‘Glen, please help me take the curtain rail off.’
Oh, that joy of autumn when the female of the species starts cleaning up. I do not expect it to last as there is much living to do without the grind of an autumnal clean. 
We have never been terribly serious about cleaning, hence our house is perpetually in an untidy, slightly dusty mood, quite the avant-garde.

Wine, wine, fruit of the vine, when you going to let me get sober, leave me alone, let me go home. Words from a song of a long time ago, catching my sentiment exactly.

We dined with Kate and Michael just the other day - an Italian restaurant in Winton. 

At Bellaggio we are so proud of the quality of food we serve, our friendly servicemen and our vibrant atmosphere.

I mention it as the food was very good and service, typically Italian. Down to an old Italian gent, dressed in a white shirt and black longs with shiny black shoes. The place attracts university students, as the area is known for all the student's houses, so the prices cater for the hungry student with meagre available cash. I do feel Michael will take a while to throw off his university lifestyle, definitely worth a visit and we will go back sometime.
House hunting goes on with not much luck. We are getting bored with this whole process and just want to find a house that does not need major refurbishing and is sensibly priced. I do have a feeling most houses are overpriced by 10 to 12%. We do have three houses that might be of interest and will view them later this week. 

We have few birthdays coming up soon, Angela, Alex, David and Mika. Not sure what Matthew has arranged for Angela but knowing my daughter, it will have to be something special. Claudia wanted a bouncy castle for Alex and to have all his school friends over. A little ambitious but sense did prevail and I suspect it will be the traditional party with cupcakes and balloons. Mika wants a trip to Disneyland Paris or some other exotic destination. She also wants to hire the village hall and invite her school friends. That girls goes big or not at all. That is just for starters and my blog does not have enough room to cater for this bucket list. Being her mothers' daughter, one would expect this and more. In all fairness, dream high and you might just get what you want.

All this is very close to Christmas and as we are all saving to buy Christmas presents, I do believe the gifts will reflect the time of the year.

I would like to say happy birthday to you all and I hope you get the birthday you deserve. I will end on Alex’s take on his party.

‘Some of my friends can come and we can play on the beach.’


Storms


I woke this morning to torrential rain and high winds. It is the noise of the storm that always stirs the soul. The leaves protest and the trees sway in anger, the house creeks and the dog curls up and sleeps.

The circle road around the harbour to Sandbanks was a river. The storm winds and high tide coincided, pushing the waves over the wall and flooding the sidewalk and road. We drove slowly through the torrent of water, passed floating wheelie bins and debris from the harbour. 

The tide was pushing up to the promenade, the highest I have seen it. We had a great view from Sandbanks Cafe and enjoyed watching the storm slowly abate as we had breakfast. No doubt the cost of which will be counted tomorrow.

November for me marks the point in the year when the cold begins to set in. The clock has gone back and it is dark by 5pm. November is to me the quiet celebration of a happy festive time ahead. Now starts the hunt for gifts, bouncing ideas off each other, planning and dreaming. Enjoy this gentle time before things gather pace to the mayhem of last-minute Christmas shopping begins. When it arrives, it does pass in a blink of an eye. We rarely get that special gift but a gift can bring pleasure to the giver, when given with thought.

My feeling is do not try to give too much, give something you know they like. I, for example, really enjoy a selection of anti-pasta. I love putting all these tasty nibbles on the table and watching everyone dig in. Cheese, salami, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, craft bread and a soft red wine to celebrate the joy of sharing and eating.

I am not ashamed to say, I love food, but it tastes better with friends and family. Food is the most a basic form of comfort but the real joy emerges when you have someone to share it with. Someone to cook it for is also a passion I enjoy. I find myself enjoying just watching others eat the simple or complex dishes I have prepared. Good food brings out good company.

Christmas is all about children. Dylan Thomas wrote in the book ‘A Child's Christmas In Wales.’

‘All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. ‘

For me, that sums up what Christmas is all about. Full of dreams, wishes and imagination that runs wild through their young heads. I must get that book out again and read it, if only to remember the times I read it to the boys when they were young and full of fantastic ideas about Christmas and what Father Christmas would be bringing them. The times when they were so young believed.



November


How has this come about, just the other day it was summer. With November comes the rain and it is not disappointing us this year. The very unreliable weatherman has forecast high wind and rain for most of the month. Today being no exception, rain and wind accompanied our walk this morning. To be fair, Jenson does not mind the rain but is a little cautious of the wind, sand in his eyes as he is closer to the sand than we are.

Talking of Jenson, last Sunday a dog came out of the blue while we were walking on the beach and had a go at Jenson. Bit me in the process, not too bad but enough. We are unfortunate to have weekend or holiday dog walkers who bring their unsociable, untrained dogs to the beach. It always happens in the holidays or over a weekend when the weather is warm and sunny. At these times you cannot be too careful. 

Must admit this week walking on the beach has been a cautious affair, my confidence was blown a little, every dog I did not recognise put me back a bit. Happily, all those we encountered were socialised and friendly. Funny how we see the dark side when for 18 years I have walked that beach and it has never been a threat, more of an anchor. One nasty moment and you do see every day, a little different.

It did teach me one valuable lesson, be more dog. As soon as we walked away from the fight, he found another dog to play with and the whole episode was forgotten in a matter of seconds. I am still working out ways in my head to get revenge. I must be more dog.

I am off this coming week, we must find and buy a house before the week is over, this is taking too much brain time. Constantly looking at houses on the internet, driving around with an eye on any for sale sign. Estate agents phoning, viewing and making more appointments to view, takes up too much time.

Less than two months to Christmas, what to buy Susan? She will have her new car by then, maybe a car cleaning kit? No, the car wash is cheap and we have a quiet coffee while waiting. Cloths are not an option, perfume, I would not know where to start, maybe a cleaning lady to come in once a week and give the house the once over? Thinking about it, it would be great if they could do the ironing as well as the house. Worth looking into, and as we might be in a new house, their job would be easier.



Saturday, 19 October 2019

Dogs and other things


Dogs are for life. I have a cold, well the tail end, and after the session of coughing, Jenson came and lay at my feet. Looking at him, I would like to promise I will be there for his life and mine. At 68 it might be a big ask but I do hope this is a promise I can fulfill. 


Illness brings a reflection on a life lived. Susan and I have had a good life together. I have taken risks and she's been there by my side, I just hope I've been there for her risks. I've tried to push her to be better than she thought you she could be. I will continue doing that for her, somehow with Susan, life is just effortless.

Strange thing getting old - because I never thought it would happen to me. Well, it has, and quite suddenly too. Life these days is punctuated with little reminders. A certain reluctance, that I never had when I was young when it comes to looking in the mirror. Full body or face. Neither merits a second glance. Mirrors are in fact a perfect nuisance. In lifts, with mirrors all round, sometimes you catch a glimpse of the back of your head revealing your now strange shaped ears, too big for your head.
And a casual glance at a shop window as you pass by catches you by surprise, is that what you actually look like. Two choices. One, play the part. An elderly writer mulling over the present while constantly changing the past. Or you straighten up and walk younger, more youthfully, a sprightly step, just in case anyone else had noticed the elderly slouch. No-one has of course because no-one is looking. But I noticed. I do the elderly writer walk into the wind, still changing the past and oblivious to the here and now.

Things are changing, yes they are. Michael and Susan have bought Susan’s mother's flat and are decorating and bashing a hole through the wall to link the kitchen to the lounge. Gary has just moved to another flat in the same block, but this is on the ground floor and is not as expensive. 
Now that was a stressful day. Between Gary, Claudia, Susan and I, we moved the entire contents of their flat to their new flat in about 5 hours. Most of their furniture was new, there were more flat pack boxes in their garage than in IKEA. Dan skipped rugby and did a great job of building cupboards, chest of draws and beds. Is there no end to that boy's talent or enthusiasm? Mika's absence was a disappointment.

By sunset, I had reached the limits to what I could build, move, carry or unpack and decided to leave Claudia directing operations with the hoover tucked under her arm. The true hero was Gary, everything had to be moved at least twice on the day and then again, I would imagine, over the next few weeks until it was in that exact spot the lady of the house wanted it. One thing with our Claudia, she knows what she wants and when we are all exhausted, the flat will be the best it could be.
Moving on, actually, I do wonder if all those flat packs will ever be built.

This brings me nicely into the second topic I wanted to put down on paper. Writing is one of those tools we use to do almost anything. Normally we just fabricate the truth in our own way. Take the journalist, writes the most sensational headlines that do not have much meaning but are there to grab our attention. The true masters of deception are the estate agents. Did I say we are in the throws of trying to buy a home? Yep, hopefully, we will find that dream house we want to make a home. Getting back onto the subject of estate agents and their descriptions of a house. They are the true masters of deception. 
“Beautifully presented, detached house in a quiet area, just waiting for your tender loving care to make it home.”
Translate - a run-down house that needs a lot of work.
My favourite is when you ask them what the asking price is and they quickly say.
“£349950.00 and this one will go quickly.”
Actually worth more like £320 and that will be a hard sell. 
Am I enjoying the process, no, but then I suspect, neither is the estate agent?
In all fairness, we have seen some properties we could move into but that elusive must-have house still hides from our searching. Onwards and upwards, it is there.

Monday, 30 September 2019

House Hunting

Every time I sit in the garage enjoying a wee pipe, I am greeted with the sight of two bicycles, not ridden in a while, covered with passion fruit vines, leaning against a neglected conservatory. A dry out Christmas tree, lies discarded on the path, hanging on to Christmas past. The dry tree offers hope, there is Hope, it is just hiding. When I say hiding, it is on the right of the photo. Our Christmas tree from last year, still alive and with Christmas just around the corner of the conservatory, we are all much encouraged.

This is the first growing tree that has survived the year. The insane amount of tree just cut and used for Christmas does worry me, so that is why we always buy a growing tree.

A search for a new house, this time to buy and with our limited budget, Athelhampton House was a step too far. Yep, Athelhampton House has been sold for a mere £ 7.4m. A grade I listed building, the interior and exterior would need permission to alter. Not insurmountable but I would let someone else do the paper work.

We have spent many an hour walking around the gardens and the house. Very close to Puddletown and Dorchester.

Back to house hunting, we have seen many, have been disappointed many times and amazed at what people think their house is worth. We will find that house that has that wow factor, I have a feeling it could take a while.

There are certain features we are looking for, a feeling of space, good kitchen, at least 3 bedrooms, a reasonable garden and enough space to park 3 cars. Most importantly, we have been warned not to have a window from the hallway that might look into the bedroom. It is an Australian thing.

Australian are different, they do not have a window into their bedrooms from the hall way. Australians are always naked in the bedroom and if someone comes to visit they will be naked in the bedroom and the visitors will see them, naked.
Someone suggested a window from the hallway looking into the bedroom for more light.
‘No ways, what happens if you naked in the bedroom?’ Was the cry from an Australian expert in this field of Windows from the hall to a bedroom.
I think it was a question, but then Angela could probably enlighten me on the significant of why the Australians are always naked in the bedroom.
Now I am not averse to being naked in the bedroom, such fun but seriously you have to dress somewhere and your bedroom seems to me to be the sensible place to do that. One does many things naked in the bedroom and dressing is one of them, others are more about undressing than dressing.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Day one of the Cotswold


Day started in Bibury. Quiant, crowded, real cotswold stone buildings. Typical summers day, a little rain and several coach loads of Japanese tourists, filled the beautifully maintained village. Part of the village is owned by the National Trust. Yes, they buying villages now and in this case, conserving the original Cotswold style houses. Built with Cotswolds stone and unique to the world. 

The village was once described by William Morris as the most beautiful village in England. Everyone is allowed their opinion, it is very old, dating back to the Doomsday Book, 1086. That my fellow travellers is just under 950 years ago. We walked along the Arlington Row of cottages and then the village. I must admit I did enjoy walking around and although small, we never felt crowded. We had our solution to this, we had Jenson with us and most of those tourist are terrified of dogs, making our walk along the sidewalks very easy. The tourists parted, to allow us through, some even climbed up onto the low walls for fear of Jenson. We finished with a coffee at the Swan Hotel.


Made our way to the hotel in Shipton Oliffe, The Frogmill Hotel. Their website describes the hotel as “Renovated in 2018, the 16th-century inn boasts 28 boutique bedrooms, quality dining, country pub classics, and an event space worthy of any celebration.”
Good hotel and well chosen by Susan, also very dog friendly. Jenson, unlike Sam, thrived on all the attention and buzz the hotel held. The rooms were pleasant and far enough away from the hotel, for us not to worry about Jenson, if he barked.

We had just sat down to order our evening meal when the heavens opened and as you can see from the images, a real summer storm, fill of life and colour. Really loved the effect of the sun on the raindrops. A short down pour and the sun shone again on a washed hotel terrace, giving us time to take these photos. Robert arrived at about 9 and we enjoyed a good meal in the dog friendly pub, that was once we had settled JB down after the big excitement of seeing him again. That dog does have an affinity with the boy.

Robert joined us for a walk around the neighbouring Golf Course and then breakfast and we were off to Bourton-on-the-Water, a short drive from the hotel. Moderner then Bibury and much fewer tourists but we were there quite early. Took an amazing photo of Susan and Robert next to an Austin Mini made from a hedge. 

Being Roberts birthday, we strolled around like tourists and browsed the touristy shops and then decided to see what Lower Slaughter was all about. No parking so drove slowly through, 2 minutes and we were on our way to Upper Slaughter. Not  sure what happened there but we seem to have missed it completely. Anyway onwards we traveled, this time to Stow on Water, visited an interesting little grocery store and we were able to buy some much needed provisions. My brother would have enjoyed the experience as he is a big fan of Tesco.

Next was Sherbourne Lodge, sort of an old fashion corporate entertainment house of gambling. The card players also had the daily dog race. The dog chased a deer which would always outrun them but it was 1 mile and at the end there was a trench which the dogs could not jump but the deers could and this let the deer escape back into the estate and the dogs could be caught. The first dog to reach the trench was the winner.
Interestingly the lodge was built in 1632, South Africa was first colonised in 1652. 
Lodge Park is England’s only surviving and probably most opulent 17th-century grandstand. Created in 1634 by John ‘Crump’ Dutton, Lodge Park indulged his passion for gambling, banqueting and entertaining. That is according to the National Trust. 

Walking into the lodge and you could imagine the cheer of the crowds, smell the stale air of the gambling tables and hear the occasional shout from a winner. Only the top storey has been furnished and looked after. As can be seen from the photos I have inserted, still holds that air of the idle rich, entertaining themselves and someone getting rich in the process. Life has not changed, the stakes have got bigger and it is easier to gamble but we still want to  take the chances, bet on our hope of good fortune and pray that Lady Luck is with us. 

Made our final stop at the National Trusts Roman Villa. 
Cradled in a beautiful Cotswold valley rest the remains of one of the grandest Roman villas in Britain. National Trust's view.
We have two National trust cards and our merry bunch was three and a dog. Well you cannot take a dog in, so that took care of someone to keep the dog company. Susan was not too enthralled at the prospect of seeing a Roman Villa and kindly stayed with said hound. 

Robert and I ventured into this journey back in time. Robert was Mrs Susan Fay, well that is what his National Trust card said, tricky to explain but then we just walked in as though we owned the place. Quite remarkable to see the mosaic tiles and baths from the Roman era. They did have underfloor heating in 43 AD, quite clever those Roman fellows. Not to be confused with the Romany travellers that frequent the south of England in the summer.



Friday, 30 August 2019

Journey to the Cotswolds


Day before we go.

We will be joining Robert in the Cotswolds for his birthday. A 2 nights away, sort of annual leave for me and a short break for Susan and Robert. 
Now the Cotswolds is a place I have not been to so a new experience awaits. 


The name Cotswold is popularly attributed the meaning "sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides", incorporating the term, wold, meaning hills.

During the Middle Ages, thanks to the breed of sheep known as the Cotswold Lion, the Cotswolds became prosperous from the wool trade with the continent, with much of the money made from wool directed towards the building of churches. The most successful era for the wool trade was 1250–1350; much of the wool at that time was sold to Italian merchants. The area still preserves numerous large, handsome Cotswold Stone "wool churches". The affluent area in the 21st century has attracted wealthy Londoners and others who own second homes or have chosen to retire to the Cotswolds.

Susan remarked while wrapping Roberts present. “I should have done it on the dining room.” I knew what she meant but there is so many things wrong with that statement.
“I should have done it on the dining room table.”
“I should have done it in the dining room.”
Hey, ho, let’s not get picky, when you have live and loved together for a few decades, the odd grammatical error is not that important. Lady Vivienne excluded, that would be a step too far for this very important lady. Talking of Lady Vivienne, I do believe she is in Anglesey, angling? The word on the street is she has a cuddly companion. Yep, a real live, snuggle up to at night, partner. Go for it girl. Put those toys aside and let life take you for a ride.

Getting back to Robert and this wee break we are having to the Cotswolds. Famed now for the quaint little villages and wool churches, we are going to explore.  We have bought that wee boy a new pair of walking shoes, hiking boots, comfy trainers. Call them what you will, that will look great on him when he walks up Snowdon Mountain. Michaels is with him and he knows the right gear to have when one walks up a mountain. That boy has been most places and seen most hills, so is wise in the way of travel. 

Susan did buy me a pair of Cotswolds walking shoes, fine shoes and water proof as well. I look forward to my Cotswold walking trousers and North Face t-shirt, all water proof and breathable. My one concern, what socks do I wear? I take it philosophically. But I must warn you, I am not very stoical. Talking of stoical, Stoics believed that being open minded allows you to understand, which in turn allowed you to overcome negative feelings. I always thought stoical was another word for stubborn, shows how wrong even the learned amongst us are.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Ever Changing World


With ever-increasing numbers of consumers doing almost all of their browsing, comparing and buying online, every industry has an exponentially increasing amount of data to draw on. In comes big brother, GDPR and all its conditions. It will be interesting to know how many people will be prosecuted or will it just be a storm in a tea cup. 


If you send a marketing email, by law you need to have an unsubscribe button on the bottom of the page. Most people cannot add a signature to their emails, how on earth will they be able to work out how to put an unsubscribe link that will actually go somewhere on their email. Can you?

Quick walk around Kingston Lacy and some interesting images. The main object was a quick walk with JB around the house and then too get Susan the cappuccino I promised her from the National Trust Coffee shop. 

First photo of a side of the house, not seldom seen as the main route takes one passed the back of the house. Second is just an unusual fence line I quite liked, third is a well composed garden setting, begging for someone to sit down and have a cup of tea and finally Susan and JB.








Sunday, 4 August 2019

The Lack of Blogs

I know the feeling, no blogs from the master and we, as mere mortals, are lost. Jokes aside, thank you, to all those who have made me honest. Everyday life gets in the way but hopefully things will get better.

Russell, my most favourite brother, did send some prompts, thank you for that. What is life without a good blog. Catherine from Oregon, is that really a place. I do believe I have come across that in one of the William Shakespeare's plays.
Henry V111 did say of Catherine. "or her womanhood, wisdom, nobility, and gentleness, never prince had such another wife, and therefore if I would willingly change her, I were not wise,"
Anyway, your comments about my computer not being up to the American standards was quite harsh. The computer as we know it was invented in England and shared with the world, quite innocently. Keep the comments coming and I know you love Donald Trump, we just have a problem with him and our clown, Boris Johnson.


The ways of the world can not be sorted out by offering to build a golf course. Trump should stick to his strengths, hotels, golf courses and money. Politicians are another breed of the human race. Boris is a career politician, wise in the ways of parliament, totally ignorant in how life is lived.
My suggestion for those two clowns. Donald, give that telly tubby from North Korea a free pass to Disneyland and job done. Boris, time will write your history. Turn on your hearing aid and listen to what the majority of this country want. Not what they wanted 4 years ago, today, the opinion polls tell the story.

Let's get back to all those amazing people who have commented on the lack of my blog. The time has come, as you have already seen, there are 3 blogs and more to come.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Heat Wave


It has been one of those days when the relentless sun shines and the temperature goes up to baking point, that I have found myself sitting in the garden just after 6:30pm and enjoying a well earned glass of wine. 

Susan is off to do the shopping, I know this is weird but then she is on a different diet. No gluten, that takes care of the olives, no sugar, that excludes the gin, no caffeine, that sorts out the good pasta. To top it all there is this little caveat, no fat, probably excludes all the other food know to man kind. Now you understand why I have asked her to go shopping.
Jenson is beginning to understand me, I was watching New Zealand play Australia in the one day World Cup and yet another Australian wicket fell, I was mildly excited as Australia have decided to play the two cheaters, as Kate from Australia, now residing in Poole, Dorset, puts it. Not really cricket, they are cheats but then most Australians come from someone stealing something. Yep the English deported them to Australia. Now look what has happened. 

England was beaten by Australia, what were those Victorians thinking at the time, sending all those good cricketers to Australia, when we need them now in England. This all started with someone catching rabbits to feed his staving family, the mind boggles at the stupidity and the desperation to keep the classes separate. To be fair, Australia is not my favourite country after this defeat. Angela I feel your joy, Michael I feel your pain, I am just grumpy.

Anyway, let’s look forward, India, maybe not. I did say it would all end in tears except for one team, my eyes are welling up as I write this. Afghanistan you are the true hero’s, with one eye on the ball and another on the Taliban, must take enormous concentration. 

Susan is coming down with something, flu, a cold, who knows but it is a little disconcerting, as she has been to Iceland and maybe they have something catchy we do not know about. In saying that, she did spend a good few hours with the Lady Vivienne yesterday and her immune system was still on Iceland time?

Milton Abbas Street Fair


Well, that is how it was advertised. Last went there with Granny June when Michael and Robert were very young. That is where we started our day out. Well, to be perfectly honest we started where we always start, the Sandbanks Cafe for breakfast. Michael and Kate joined us and that is where we laid our plans for a trip to Milton Abbas Street Fair and then on to watching Gary and Dan play Cerne Abbas Saturday cricket match. 

Milton Abbas Street Fair was one of those Street Fairs where you would find all the locals, displaying their skills. Not anymore, now filled with all those normal street market traders. Dorset Chutney, Dorset Ice cream, Dorset dog tags, you name it there was a stall selling you something. My point, they were not from the Milton Abbas area, anyone who wanted a stall was there and that was a disappointment. Even the ales and ciders were from far a field. Let us not forget the blouses and shirts from Thailand, dog tags from China and knife sharpeners from South Korea. 

On arrival we were directed to a parking area well before the town and it was free. Michael commented that it was rather refreshing not have to pay to park your car, hopefully more areas will do the same. That sentiment was short lived, we arrived, after a reasonable walks from the free car park, to the start of the Street Fair and were unwelcome by a sign saying adults £ 6 , a donation, but without you paying the donation you were not going to get in. Susan somehow paid £ 20 for 4 of us and we were allowed in. Jenson was not impressed by the loud music and had dragged Michael and Kate passed the ticket/donation control and were heading up the street. Michael, always the opportunist was on the hunt for a local ale, sadly we had to settle for an ale from Bath. I enjoyed mine and Michael rounded his off with 4 cinnamon doughnuts. Good healthy food on any given day. Susan tasted all the samples and bought some chutneys from a chutney maker, Bramble Foods, just outside Birmingham. My point!
The stalls were as described above, all over priced and not really worth the ticket/donation we had to pay. A pity as this is a town of history. 

Milton Abbas dates back to 934 AD. In 1773, Joseph Damer, Earl of Dorchester, decided that he did not want the town so close to his new mansion. He moved the town away from his mansion. The famous Capability Brown was commissioned and together they created the village of Milton Abbas. Who lives there now, I do not know but it is just another street fair, selling cheap products and labelling them as local, any street market has them and they are free. Give this one a miss, definitely not worth the effort.

We ended with a picnic at Cerne Abbas Village cricket match and Michael was talked into fielding as they were a man short. Fitting ending to what was rather a very cluttered street of foreign market traders, plying their products, today Milton Abbas, Street Fair, tomorrow Wimborne Market and the next Christchurch Town Market. 

When you Move House


Moving home is not the easiest of tasks. The time and effort involved is mind boggling, then the hidden expenses, always a killer. We have just moved a clients whole business system to a new server and for the last week and a half that has consumed my every waking minute. Make no mistake, a very valuable client and we have watched him grow over the last 6 years. 
Because of that we have put in many hours of work, late into the night and early in the morning. His comment was a universal classic.
“Well if this is what happens when you move me to a new server, I am a little worried about your ability to keep my business going.”
He pays the bills so it is prudent just to ignore. ‘My Captain’

Moving on. Gary and Dan have gone to Manchester to see SA play Oz in the One Day World Cup. Actually a bit of a rubber, as SA can not get into the semi final but Australia are in. De Koch batted well, Dassie van der Russen looks promising, the thing with Dassie is he can score quickly, he has got those eyes. Looks to be a fascinating game. 

Derek is away, getting married in Greece. He calls it the Big Fat Crete Wedding and from the sounds of it there are quite a few people going over for this celebration of two star struck lovers, tying the knot on a Crete island. Susan wanted to go but unfortunately my passport has still not arrived. Maybe next time.

Summer is here and with it the sun. Never a big fan of summer and this hot spell we are having does make life uncomfortable. We have the international sand polo event on Sandbanks beach this weekend. International? Really, maybe there is a Spanish rider taking part, probably lives in Bournemouth. Any way there will be horses chasing a little ball thing on the beach and many, many people will pay many pounds to sit and watch while sipping champagne and nibbling savoury pastries. We alway seem to be walking JB when they are galloping here, there and everywhere. Doesn’t seem to bother him and as I have never been a horsey person, leaves me wondering what all the fuss is about. I wonder what size poo bags they have, must ask the next person I see on a horse. The beach wardens are very strict about picking up your dogs poo and rightly so, some of those super over protective children will think it is a sausage and wolf it down before mummy brings out the carrots and celery lunch boxes.

I am sitting in Sandbanks Cafe, actually on the terrace, admiring the view of the sea and those playing on the beach. It is that time of the season when the school have not broken up and the beach goers are slightly more conventional in their swimming attire. There is one exception I can see, looks like a beached whale, but is in fact a rather large lady lying on her back, mouth open, probably snoring and one of her ample beasts has escaped the confines of her tight swimsuit. Gravity is a cruel master, a beach warden walks past and is taking great pains to not see her but also check if she is still alive, do not envy his job.



Saturday, 29 June 2019

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth was a fishing village and also staff houses for those who worked at the Castle, that is long gone in the past and now it is a fairly well to do area with houses on the higher priced side. The cove is beautiful and the views from the hill quite brilliant. 

We all piled into the Zafira at about 12:30, Michael and Kate had gone on ahead. 
Destination, Lulworth Cove. Michael phoned us from the Castle Inn, on of the oldest pubs in Dorset. This pub was already serving pints in the early 16th century. Today nothing had changed, quite full and also were very precious about their car park. Even though we had eaten there we were told we cannot park there. We drove down to the village carpark and walked into the village.

Lulworth has quite an interesting history. 


From the late seventeenth to the mid nineteenth century smugglers used Lulworth Cove and other bays and beaches nearby. The building of coastguard cottages, which housed the customs officers still stand above the cove. Lulworth at one point had a mill, powered by water from a nearby spring. It was burnt down during the 19th century and all that remains of its existence is the millpond.

With Alex and Claudia in tow we made our way to the ice cream shop after walking around the cove, rolling down the hill and looking over the death defying cliff to the sea below. Michael did roll over Kate's head and Jenson joined in the fun, he never lets a good game go to waste. It was busy and a Bank holiday weekend but we had fun. 

I did leave a bad review on the Castle Inn website and Facebook, Trip Advisor, Booking.com and Visitapub.com. No use wasting a good grumble when it is available.



Monday’s


It has been a funny old day, clients that tell you, you are wrong and you not. The delicate balance of diplomacy is required, the client is never wrong, just forgetful. All is well that ends well and the client gave us more work and in thinking about the client, I do believe the client realised the error of his ways and compensated by the offer of more work.

Onwards and to Dar res alarm, that is where my brother is off to tomorrow. In his new position of CEO for the European Travel Fund he will see Africa and as he says, be left holding the can. Make hay while the sunshine’s, he wanted to retire when he was 50, now he realises the joy of a good days work doing what you want and at the pace you want. Long may that continue. Anyway retirement is for old people, once retired it is a slippery slope to that old age home where you are waiting to die. It is a fact that most people going into those homes, only last on average, 3 years. Beds are scares, pop your clogs and make room for the next sad person waiting to die.

Russell, think on this, when you fly over Dar res alarm, gives thanks for being alive and also rejoice in the fact that the Zimmer frame must be put off until absolutely the last minute. 

We are contemplating the possibility of buying a big house, at least 8 bedrooms and converting it into a family house with our own apartments but also a communal area to have those famous burger nights. Also a central area to let the young children get attention when the adults are doing what adults do. Susan and I have decided we will have the back area with our own little private garden so I can tan topless. Not a pretty sight at my age but does make me feel young again, if only for a while.

We are thinking of inviting the Middle Smiths, Michael and Kate, Robert and his gym equipment and Jenson. Susan has thrown the suggestion of inviting Lady Vivienne, now that Michael is growing up and has a girl friend. Could be a possibility. 
Talking of children, I am not sure if Alex, the tiger, Smith or Jenson are the most untidy children around. Robert, we are not talking about, the house is his wardrobe. Seriously, Jenson leave his toys everywhere and Alex does the same. Having a young dog is somewhat akin to having another child, except with JB you cannot give him back at the end of the day. In all honesty, I would have it no other way.
This week we embark on water untested when it comes to IT and what we want it to do. Gary and Derek will have their moments but I am confident we will win through and deliver a new technology, quick and clean to rival the likes of Apple. I will endeavour to keep you posted but Gary has a bad dose of flu and Derek is preparing for his wedding. Interesting times await.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Summer and Sandbanks


Let it never be said that I am opposed to change, I went to Sandbanks today for breakfast. Sunday’s are always at Merryspoons, but I willingly went along with the general consensus to have breakfast at Sandbanks. Kate Danelle had the customary plain scone with jam and we had the cafe favourite, full English. Does the full English breakfast have beans with it. There are those that are saying this is a truckers breakfast. With beans I mean. Please enlighten me on this very vexing dilemma.
Talking of a dilemma, Susan has been in Iceland for a week and found the climate somewhat like we have here. Surely this can not be right, they are so close to the Arctic it seems strange. Well as strange as the sun does not really go down at this time of the year.
23:33 Iceland Time
For those in Australia and South Africa, the Arctic is a huge expense of ice, very cold and in the Arctic summer the sun does not set. Yep, she was there, in Iceland not the Arctic. As opposed to the Antarctic, that is were you guys are. Keep up this could get confusing.

Today was a balmy day, overcast but quite warm. That is the weather forecast for this Sunday in June.
We, that is Susan and I, yes the same Susan who has just come back from the Arctic, went to a field of Poppies in Wimborne. To be fair, it was more toward the other side of Badbury Rings than Wimborne. Is it Banbury or Badbury? Never quite sure and there are those that have commented, quite harshly I would say, about my spelling and grammar. Silly twisted people I dare to say but then so is Donald Trump and look where that got him. 

Next week sees the days shorten by a few minutes every day until we have 8 hours of day light and 16 hours of darkness, lovely. Sensible people can sleep, knowing that horrible sun will not wake you at 5:35am and it will set at 4:00pm. Bliss. Now that is good grammar.

Latest news report is that the Middle Smiths with Michael and Kate, of Facebook fame under her screen name of Kate Danelle, were seen in the vicinity of Hengistbury Head today, the coast guard was called out, but this proved to be a false alarm.
Mika has just had her Prom. Well not really a Prom, that is after you have passed your A levels. This was a GCSE prom, sort of a beginners course for what could be, once you old enough to have a proper Prom. Gary did say she phoned after about an hour saying she was bored. Well real life can be boring, such a sad lesson for someone in the early stages of being in the prime of their lives. My experience is that happens around 32, sorry Mika but you do have a way to go, just remember we still love you. What are you going to do for the next 10 weeks? The world is your oyster, a blank canvas and you can paint the picture. 

Let me end on some observation, Susan is exhausted and Jenson is asleep, the combination of burning the candle at both ends in Iceland and running through the poppies at Badbury/Banbury rings.

Eating locusts and other things


Susan is just back from a trip. Went to Bear Grills in Birmingham and among other things, ate a few locusts and other multiple leg insects, need a toothpick after all that. Bear Grills is actually an action, adventure type park and not as some would believe, a restaurant. ‘Grills’ stands for the guy who loves eating locusts and crawling through mud, an action man like in the comics. I do wonder if they grill the locusts or fry them, whatever, I say leave the little beasties for the birds to eat. 

Anyway, onwards and upwards they sped to Alton Towers aboard a new Audi Q7. All very excited at the prospect of sitting in meeting for 2 days, presentation were presented in gay abandonment. PowerPoint slides the order of the day and numbers of things discussed, admired, scorned and manipulated to give just the right message. This is the giddy world of big business, such brilliant minds, focused on achieving every little drop of efficiency from historical events, one can only marvel at the sear tenacity and drive from these masters of economics.

The World Cup is here, yes cricket one day internationals have started and England did prove to be the superior team on the day against South Africa. Amila took a blow to the head and retired hurt. Stokes took an amazing catch and that about summed it up. South Africa looked stunned and defeated, must be the lovely weather we have on this muddy island, as my favourite brother calls it. West Indies bullied Pakistan into submission and the weekend looks fair for Australia against Sri Lanka.

Onwards and upwards I say. I must point out, it will all end in tears for all the teams, bar one. This is a brutal sport, some even play with sandpaper in their pockets.

On another topic completely, Fathers Day.

This is a day that a whole bunch of fathers, families and Tesco love. This day, for me has been good. Michael and Kate took  me for breakfast, really enjoyed the meal and hearing about their trip to Portugal. Mark sent me a text, good to hear from him again. Robert phoned me on his way to the supermarket and Susan phoned on the road to Gatwick, both wishing me a great fathers day. 

I then went to the Middle Smiths and had the most amazing meal of potatoes pasta and stilton. They did go over the top a little but and gave me two really thoughtful gifts, but then they gave me a card from the family. Words are so powerful and maybe it was just me but sometimes, someone says thanks, for just being me and that is quite special. 

You all in your own way said that today and you know what, Father's day was not that bad. Thank you all for remembering me.

Colour run


Susan is on a colour run, a run where they throw coloured powder at you, creating a kaleidoscope of colour, but that is not the right word, maybe a dappled of light colour shades. 

Official description. “The Color Run, also known as "the happiest 5,000 meters on the planet", is an event series and five kilometer paint race.”

Well I am sure she will come back with a smile and a dash of paint colouring her hair.
Talking about happiness and the world in general. I came across this comment by an unknown author and thought it appropriate in the light of the colour run.

I have not lost hope, because true hope never dies, that one day, be it tomorrow, or a thousand years after, mankind around the planet, will one day hold hands together, and stop killing each other.

Michael and Kate are off to Portugal, yes I know, it is another holiday. Poor darlings are exhausted, Michael and Kate have not had anytime off for at least 8 weeks. Let’s all hope they relax and re-energise before taking on the next few weeks of work. 

Talking of holidays, Susan is off to Iceland again, all work this time and important work, vital, I might go on and say. It does look promising for those two captive whales. This time the waves will be small and the weather mild, clear skies and the journey, should be a breeze.

We have had all our bank holiday weekends for the foreseeable future. The plus side for the children, they go on summer holidays in about a months time. I did say a plus for the children, for the parents it could be a long 8 weeks. Talking of a long time, Mika finishes her GCSE examinations this week and is off until the beginning of September. 

Now that I think about it, Kate will be off for the summer holidays, being a supply teacher does have its perks. Mika and Kate could organise something to fill all those boring weeks, without school to  stimulate them. A step too far? You probably right, cannot see Kate spending days practicing makeup and looking through women’s clothing shops.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Beluga Whale Sanctuary


Official Press Release from the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary.




I have included the full press release but for those who want a short summary, read on.

About two months again I wrote about this remarkable journey two beluga whales were going to make. This was postponed due to a number of factors, mainly bad weather. The good news is they are leaving on Wednesday 19th June. The journey will take around 30 hours from Ocean World in Shanghai to Heimaey Island in Iceland. Air, land and sea, they get it all.

They will be put in special tanks and loaded onto two lorries that will take them to the airport where they will be loaded into a cargo plane for the flight to Iceland. Back into two lorries and down to the port to board the ferry, once on the island it is a short drive to their new home, Klettsvik Bay. Sounds relatively simple but we are talking about two whales. 

Wednesday I will know more...

They have arrived, fit and well and are now in their new home. I have included a link to the Official News Page and the site is full of very interesting information.


Heimaey Island
Care Pool