Sunday, 27 January 2019


How do you know what’s possible if you don’t even try. 

Wise words and the action is what we tend to be wary of. There are many out there that could be making a difference but are afraid to try. 
I am at Sandbanks cafe enjoying a gammon panini and coffee, to be fair I did check the fridge and there was only cold paella from Monday. That is just one paella, too far gone for my liking. So it’s panini, chips and coffee to give me a lift to tackle the rest of the day. They are not that generous with the filling so I put some chips in, gives it that lift and everything is in one hand.

Susan is trying to sort out her mother’s affairs. She passed away early this morning and I really feel for Susan. She is being brave and getting on with it, but I am sure she is a mess inside. I did not really like her mother and I am sure the feeling was mutual, but I do feel so sorry for Susan, it is a pity I cannot take the deep sense of loss she is feeling now, away from her. Dementia is a cruel cross to bear, not knowing anything, anymore and not even knowing you cannot remember. The only positive for Susan is that, that is all behind her mother now. 

The grim reaper comes for us all at some stage and we can only hope it is not too an unpleasant experience. Be strong my darling.

The weather has turned quite cold, the wind has come up and it is one of those days the sea tells the story. I was walking JB on the beach earlier and on this rare occasion, even he stayed well clear of the water. Would take a very brave person to swim on a day like today. Strangely, even with the otherwise weather, it was good to be walking on the beach, good to feel the cold wind and look out at the seemingly endless ocean, yes, good to be alive.

Saturday, 19 January 2019


French Children Don't Throw Food

Sitting in Nero’s Caffe and noticed a french couple with their two young children. All well dressed and from the outside, a happy, loving family. While pondering their virtues, the quiet was shattered by a mother shouting at her child, who screamed back with something about wanting chocolate and then proceeded to throw her sandwich and cool drink onto the floor. 
I looked back at the first couple and the children who were all eating their food quietly and they looked happy doing it. I asked myself the question, why do these french children seem so well behaved and the normal English child a nightmare. A nightmare, not only for their parents, but the rest of those, unfortunate enough to be in the same coffee shop.

After all the screaming and tantrums, I decided that Nero’s had lost its appeal and went home. I did some research and found this book which describes almost the exact situation I have just described. This is a short extract from the book called ‘French Children do not throw Food’. 

This extract starts with this couple on holiday in Paris, they had been through a few nightmare meals with their eighteen month old daughter, Bean, who would not eat her food, would not sit in her high chair, shouted and cried and pushed her food off the table.

After a few more restaurant meals, I notice that the French families all around us don't look like they're in hell. Weirdly, they look like they're on holiday. French children the same age as Bean are sitting contentedly in their high chairs, waiting for their food or eating fish and even vegetables. There's no shrieking or whining. Everyone is having one course at a time. And there's no debris around their tables. 
Though I've lived in France for a few years, I can't explain this. In Paris, kids don't eat in restaurants much. Anyway, I haven't been watching them. Before I had a child, I never paid attention to anyone else's. In our current misery, however, I can't help but notice that there seems to be another way. But what exactly is it? Are French kids just genetically calmer than ours? Have they been bribed (or threatened) into submission? Are they on the receiving end of an old-fashioned seen-but-not-heard parenting philosophy? 
It doesn't seem like it. The French children all around us don't look cowed. They're cheerful, chatty and curious. Their parents are affectionate and attentive. There just seems to be an invisible, civilising force at their tables - and, I'm starting to suspect, in their lives - that's absent from ours. 
Once I start thinking about French parenting, I realise it's not just mealtimes that are different. I suddenly have lots of questions. Why is it, for example, that in the hundreds of hours I've clocked at French playgrounds, I've never seen a child ( except my own) throw a temper tantrum? Why don't my French friends need to end a phone call hurriedly because their kids are demanding something? Why haven't their living rooms been taken over by teepees and toy kitchens, the way ours has? 
No one is making a fuss about all this. But quietly and en masse, French parents are achieving outcomes that create a whole different atmosphere for family life. When British or American families visit our home, the parents usually spend much of the visit refereeing their kids' spats, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build Lego villages. There are always a few rounds of crying and consoling. When French friends visit, however, we grown-ups have coffee, and the children play happily by themselves. 

Maybe I am getting too old to have a reasonable opinion on how to bring up children but someone once wrote.

The pleasures of the table belong to all ages, all conditions and all countries, and to each and every day. 

So Parents, you are in charge of your children’s education, that includes food and behaviour. 

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Chronicle

Gary has managed to save some of my old Chronicles. I look forward to reading them, echos from the past, glimpses of life in St Michaels. That was really the second part of our journey which began in Swaziland. A factory born out of a dream to manufacture and sell a product that was truly ours. We embraced the sea, a short walk from our house and ran with the wind most days. We finally left for the UK, leaving what seemed like an ideal life to start again.
Reality was quite different and under the surface lies a darkness to this beautiful part of the world we tend to forget.

I have decided to create an online book of all the issues of The Chronicle. Also print a few as a physical presents, making the whole journey something of a tangible nature. Also a reminder of my mother, who always enjoyed them so much. Sadly her life was ended by the savageness and brutality of the countrymen she loved so much. 

Just started reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, read this book many years ago and as I start it again it holds the same magic. Brilliant book and worth a read. Talking of books, I started reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Now this is not one of those books I would want to read any further. Being a classic does not diminish the darkness and violence of this novel and I advise caution, as this is a very disturbing work of fiction. I almost think it has to be based on something nasty the author experienced in his life time.

Just to keep you in the loop with the weather, it is now moving in keeping with the time of the year. We start the day with clear skies but the temperature never really wanted to go higher than 2°. Michael will find it very cold coming from the Australian summer. Gary and Dan have been seen less and less out on the road with their push bikes.

First chapter on the oldest Chronicle I have, 31.08 1993. Printed on the first Dot Matrix printer we bought. Thanks Gary for bringing them over.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

New Year 2019

Traditions can sometimes be the worst of all follies. This year saw the traditional swim at the beach, not one of those follies but more of a coming together of adventurous, slightly insane people braving the cold water, to have what can only be termed a very quick dip. Lady Vivienne came prepared with Prosecco served in fluted glasses, to bring good cheer and a little courage. Full sunshine belied the cool, light breeze and everyone charged into the water with squeals coming from the boys and laughter from the girls. One way to kick off the New Year.

In all fairness, we all got to bed at a reasonable hour and sober. This does explain our bright and early start. Some will be feeling quite under the weather this morning, those poor souls who went to bed, after too much to drink, in the early hours of the morning. Thank goodness those days are gone, when I go to bed at 3am and then wear it as a badge of honour.

Michael is preparing to fly back to the UK to start work at the end of the month. Life will be very different for him after travelling the world for two and a half years. Hopefully when he gets back he will feel that this is home again. Sometimes it takes travelling to appreciates where you need to stay.

This coming year, remember the sunrise, that promise of a new day. Value your well earned time relaxing as the sunset gives way to night. Take time to enjoy and cherish the plants, trees and animal life. Listen to the wind, as in her travels she sees much, maybe her howls are her pain.

2019, none of us have ever truly walked this way before. But if there is no map, no route, no road to follow, there is sometimes a dream and we will make our way with those we love and some friends. As the year unfolds, we travel alone and together, sharing the shift from darkness into light. This is the birth of a new year, birth is the shortest journey we will ever make, it begins in darkness and ends, we hope, in light. But welcome and safe we will stroll on the shore for what amounts to moments before we begin the greatest voyage of them all. There's no map, no route, not road to follow, for none of us has ever walked this way before.

I hope the promise of a happy 2019 delivers for all.