Tuesday, 13 April 2021

'That'll eat well...'


About forty years ago, the Scrobs Family moved to their first house in our village. It wasn't a huge place, but was semi-detached, had a decent garden, and, because it had been 'unattended' for several years, needed some desperate TLC.

Of course, it was a labour of love; the girls were still quite small; I would be up in London most days, and we worked our socks off each evening to decorate, mend, build and tincturise as we've always done before and afterwards!

When we'd moved here, Senora O'Blene knew more of the village than I did, as she'd worked as a teacher here for some time, and had lived in various 'digs' locally. We just loved the place. It was in a quiet lane, the car was safe outside, and we could just afford the mortgage, so all was well.

After a few days, we started to venture forth to visit the various local shops, as we were in need of such items as bread, ham, beer etc. The first place we went to, was rather quaint. It was the local butcher, and being somewhat suspicious of 'country' shops, I wasn't over-happy about going there, but as they were near neighbours, I entered the shop with nerves a-tingling...

How wrong could I have been! The family there were an absolute delight! We got to know them all personally, and whenever I went in for the Sunday joint, David (the butcher), would wink and suggest a beef cut, which he 'knew', would meet our money, and the one I best remember, was a 'Leg of mutton', joint. It is as the pic above, and while it definitely isn't 'yer actual' sirloin or fillet, it was a fabulous joint to roast and carve!

One abiding memory of David was his habit slapping his huge knife down on the joint while he called to his wife, Margaret, who sat in a glass cupboard nearby and took the money, 'That'll eat well'! We knew he always gave us a discount, as the price list above the chopping blocks was totally incoherent!

We miss him dreadfully...

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Is that sacred music?...

Scrobs is interested to read that Vaughan Williams' 'The Lark Ascending', has been voted by Classic FM, as the most popular piece of music played here.

I'm not surprised, as it is indeed a beautiful masterpiece, and such a lovely way to use a few spare minutes to hear the joy of aliveness and country.

Ralph Vaughan Williams has for most of my life, been a favourite composer because one day, I was in the car with my dad, and a bit of 'The Sea Symphony' came on, and we were both lost for words! We talked about the music for ages afterwards, and I bought him the record at the following Christmas. I just love the whole lot of it, from start to finish, and because the record he had was this version, I always preferred the soloists' ways of putting the music across!

In the Classic FM list, are several other pieces which are favourites, and quite rightly played regularly because people like them. A sure way to get interest is to pop in a few 'In Paradisums', and of course, everyone knows and loves the Gabriel Faure version, and so do I. My dad was actually listening to this one November night and it was some sort of premonition for him as he had a heart attack a few minutes afterwards, and was very poorly for a few weeks, but recovered to get a good Christmas party going a bit later!

I don't really rate some of the very modern versions of 'In Paradisum', some of which are mentioned by Classic FM, as anyone can knock out few notes on Garage Band and get a result, but as it's twenty-eight years today since we finally said goodbye to the old chap, I'd like to copy my absolute favourite composition of 'In Paradisum'. It is by Maurice Durufle, and to me, is the most thoughtful, meaningful, hopeful composition I think I've ever heard, with a final few notes which are as exquisite as you'll ever hear!

(I'm in several comments on the post too, but don't let that put you off)!

And to enlighten you on the title of the post, some (many years) time ago, at school, a friend was learning to play the organ. He was pretty good, and as I've always loved keyboards in some shape or form, but been pretty useless at making them work well, I used to sit with him and turn the pages. On one occasion, the chapel was empty, and WDW was banging away at his practice pieces, and then drifted off into 'Hearts of Oak', which received an immediate ticking-off from the Chaplain, who poked his head round the door and enquired in his lovely, stern, Welsh ring 'Is that sacred music'? which reduced my friend to all sorts of emotions - mainly laughter, but much later on!

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Ha ha ha - funny...

Man gets sent to prison, come the first meal break some one says "142" and everybody laughs.  Soon after, another bloke says "19" and everybody laughs again. 

This goes on for a while and the new inmate turns to the man beside him and says "What's going on?  Why is everybody laughing at numbers?"

His fellow inmate says "Oh that?  They're jokes.  It's just that we've all been her so long that we numbered them instead of telling the whole thing to save time."

"Oh, right.  Would anybody mind if I joined in?"

"No not all.  Go right ahead".

So our friend takes a deep breath and says "259".  To his great surprise, the whole table falls about laughing harder than ever. 

So he says "Well, that went down well".

"Yes" came the reply.  "We hadn't heard that one before..."


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Paint your wagon...

Over the recent years, Scrobs has hankered after a three-wheel car!

The interest started in the 1990s when I went to an OB's event and a chum had renovated a Morgan 3 wheeler to immaculate condition. I'd often researched the mechanical attributes of a chain-driven rear wheel, which was an appreciation of all the power from the for'ard engine going straight to one source of traction on the road surface, and making such a direct and forceful connection for a relatively small engine.

Some years ago, The Daily Telegraph ran an article on a gentleman by the name of Bob Curl. Bob had been a 'driving force' in car design and manufacture in his earlier years. and if you have a subscription, it's here!

One small line jumped out, as I realised I knew exactly where he was making these cars, as it was my home village a few miles from here! After little thought, I sent off an email to the DT, expecting very little, but a short while after, the phone rang, and there was the great man chatting away to a very bewildered Scrobs!The car was still in its early stages, and a recent fall-out with Piaggio meant that he wouldn't be able to acquire the 200cc engines he wanted for his design! Of course, I didn't have the wherewithal to help fund anything like this, as... 

  1. I didn't have any spare cash, and 
  2. An old friend had told me a story of a chap who'd sold a lucrative estate agency business for squillions and wasted the lot on a failed Formula Three ownership disaster.
We had a lovely long chat and Bob even offered me a drive, but I was still in two minds, but because it didn't seem right that I should swanee all over the county while we were nearly penniless, due to the disastrous Gordon Brown policies of ruining our country, I sadly had to pass up the offer.

I read recently that he is seeking ways to make the Dolphin concept car an electric machine, and THAT  would be a huge boost to a great-looking car! And then I WILL take him up on his offer, as I can just get there and back on my electric bike...

More info below by 'Maxmatic' ...

Dolphin, 2000

Andrew G. of Newcastle Upon Tyne sent me notice of this interesting trike, along with the text of an article from the February 2000 edition of CAR Magazine introducing it. (See below.) Google doesn't find anything on it anymore. Woe.

Title: STUDLY DUCKING [Nope, I don't understand that either]

Sub-title: You'll raise smiles rather than scowls with the Dolphin, a
105mpg car that won't hold up traffic.

>From the front it looks like something you'd find chocolate buttons inside
on Easter Sunday (that eye-searing yellow, incidentally, is the same paint
code used for Ferraris and TVRs). But take a look at that profile. It's
streamlined, like a Spitfire canopy grafted onto a Fiat Barchetta, or even
a Porsche that someone left on an element.

It's the Dolphin and it does 105mpg and 65mpg. Okay, it's often hard to
know how seriously to take these enviro-hero cars. Usually it's quite safe
to deposit them in the wicker rare-groove file. Aside from its quite sporty
looks, however, the Dolphin has a real design pedigree. It's the work of
Bob Curl, who - together with McLaren F1 mastermind and CAR columnist
Gordon Murray - was responsible for the 1992 Rocket (150mph and 35mpg).
Curl has also designed F3 and Le Mans cars - the 1982 Dome car and 1978 I
Bec entrant - and all Lord Hesketh's Formula One cars between 1973 and

Nine years ago, Curl started thinking about what advantages the streamlined
technology used for racing cars could bring to a fuel-efficient personal
transport vehicle, and how to pitch it so it would sell. 'The secret of
these sorts of cars is that you have to want to get into them to have a
go,' Curl says. 'And, once you're in and driving it, you shouldn't feel
like you're holding people up.'

The former was the reason behind the striking blue interior. It actually
seats two, with the rear passenger's legs going either side of the driver's
seat. It IS attractive and, weighing 215kg, quite quick enough with its
200cc two-stroke Piaggio scooter engine. The steering is pin-sharp and even
the four-speed manual gearbox is enjoyable slotty. There's no reverse, but
Curl says that would be corrected for production versions.

It's a lot of fun to drive, and the one-wheeled rear end is surprisingly
stable, although it'll entertain with a bit of speed up and some lock on.

Ready for the road, Curl says it would sell for between GBP 3000 and 5000
[USD 4800 and 8000] and cost about GBP 1000 [USD 1600] per year to run.


(For more information, call Bob Curl on +44 1424 882 358)


(Copied with thanks to Maxmatic https://www.maxmatic.com/threes/rtw_index.htm).

(...and apologies for the formatting, there's only so much an ageing Scrobs can do to get the colours right - it's bad enough working in the dark in black and white...)!

Thursday, 18 March 2021

D-d-d-don't p-p-p-panic...

As chums here know, Senora O'Blene and I very rarely watch any live television, especially the awful BBC, and we haven't been 'swayed' by any adverts on the other channels either!

Comedy seems just about dead nowadays, with reliance on government-bashing, 'wet' ideas, weak, unfunny, rude delivery and general acceptance of bad manners and needless violence, so our shelves of DVDs have doubled in the last year!

The latest collection is the whole set of 'Dad's Army', with the original cast of course, and we started at the beginning, which is in black and white! The humour is still as fresh today as it was all those years ago! Last evening's showing was 'The armoured might of Lance Corporal Jones', and the scene of Jonesy with Private Walker, in the butcher's freezer discussing petrol coupons, caused total loss of vision and aching sides from absolute joy at the hugely funny excerpt, which is at around 10.50 on this clip!


Most citizens here will have watched this at some stage, but the short piece is still as hilarious now as it always was!

(Many thanks to Daily Motion for this clip  - may more people subscribe)!

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Lazy river...


It's almost exactly sixty years since this song was so popular!

A young Scrobs was heading west to a new school, already homesick, and this song kept coming on the wireless about now...

I found myself whistling the tune the other day, and didn't put two and two together for a while so I suppose it's the combination of a little more daylight, daffodils, fresher air and the possibility of all this covid stuff nearing its end, which reminds me of back then!

I didn't know that Bobby Darin was only thirty-seven when he died; he was a fabulous singer, and seeing his notes, a superb instrumentalist as well! One of his backing band was Roger McGuinn, who founded The Byrds, who are another band I doted on in later years!

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

'Woof'; 'sod off', 'WOOF'; ouch...

I am barkless...!

...and here's another I was sent earlier!