Monday 31 May 2010


Quite a few years ago, (at least 20), when we first arrived at The Turrets, there was a mass of old foliage, dying trees, hedges like Hampton Court Maze, and a load of old rotting stuff which just had to go.

Back then, we'd shove it all on the churchyard bonfire and alienate the rest of the parish with wreaths of smoke which could be seen from Bill's Mother's, but it became clear that we also needed a bit of goodness to plough back in the soil.

So we invested in a garden luxury; a Black and Decker shredder. Now this seems a very ordinary thing to do now, but back then, it was the cutting edge (ha ha - my little joke...), of gardening prowess, and it wasn't that cheap at about £125.00. After all, money doesn't grow on trees, especially if you're planning to shred them at some stage!

But this dear machine gets lugged out after every discussion which goes something like this...

Mrs S. "Are we (you) going to do something about the Berberis this weekend"?

Scrobs. "Er yes, good idea...".

Mrs S. "Well, I reckon we should cut it right down this time, and give it a chance to get some new growth further down".

Scrobs. "Er yes, I think you're right, it is making the hall a bit gloomy...".

Mrs S. "Very gloomy in fact, and it's smothering the rest of the shrubs out there, so can we give it a severe haircut"?

Scrobs. "Er, yes, fine. I'll do it, and I'm going to burn the stuff in the churchyard, it's far too much to chuck in the bin..."!

(several minutes later)...

Mrs S. "There's quite a lot of it isn't there, why don't we 'munch' it"?

Scrobs. "Good idea, I was just thinking the same thing...".

Now this is the crux of the situation. I was really thinking the same thing, and, every single time we chop anything down, the discussion goes the same way!

And I always end up scrabbling around on my hands and knees in the shed to hoik out 'The Muncher'!

When Black and Decker designed the thing, they just didn't finish the job properly, although, it actually does much more than it seems - once you realise that it isn't all plain sailing. It has three unscrewable legs, which are a bit devilish to do up each time. If you leave them in place, you need about half an acre of floor space as they can always trip people up in the next village.

And when there's a bit too much in the barrel, it begins to moan a bit, and then suddenly stop, which means a quick yank on the plug stops the eight million volts being expended on either the machine, or me, or anyone else nearby... I nearly ruined it the first day we had it, when I tried to shred some old newspaper, and it just didn't work, so it does really have a mind of its own.

When it does clog up, you have to undo a piddling little screw the size of a fingernail, and then watch in wonderment as all the detritus just tumbles out, and smells hot and sappy. Later editions had a proper turnbuckle, but not ours...

But, after all the sodding about, the intricate cable connection, the blade sharpening, (great fun that - sparks all over the place), the collection of barrowloads of small chips, it really does do the job, and while it is old, a bit slow, grunts several times with the effort, I commend the dear thing to everyone who wants to get several loads of damn good free mulch for just about any garden use you can think of. Over the years, it's paid for itself time and time again!

Thursday 27 May 2010

Bigger and better boat story...

Today is a big day for thinking about this particular place.

Scrobs Senior was brought back with all the others; he rarely talked about it afterwards - except that I can always remember him telling me that they all got fed at Headcorn Station, just a few miles from here, and that he'd come back on one of the larger boats, and had to take his boots off, in case he had to swim for it!

We gave him a commemorative book on the evacuation in 1991, and he recognised several places and mentioned a few terse comments about what he'd done there, which was poignant, but we never really got the whole story!

In 1958, they made the film 'Dunkirk', and I was still at primary school in Rye, where the film makers took over 'The Strand', and several farms close by. The bridge (blown up in the film), was built specially, and we were all allowed to go down and watch some of the shooting. Many of the scenes are easily recognisable in the reconstructed harbour, (Rye Harbour is a village just a mile or so away, and wasn't included). The refugee shots were taken on farms near Camber, where the whole beach was commandeered for the sand shots! It is after all, just over The Channel from Dunkirk, and looks identical. I think the cafe building used as a hospital, is still there on the dunes and hasn't changed much either!

Us sprogs in our school macs, were so close to people like John Mills, we could hear them talking and joking, and one chum even tried to get his autograph, but didn't have a piece of paper!

The scene in the farm, where one of the escapees gets wounded, was shot on a farm in Udimore. We used to see them working from the school bus on the way in and then home in the afternoon! The buildings are exactly as they were then, and I can never look at them without rememembering the chaps hiding in the gap between two oasts, and shooting their way out of trouble. The bit where they left a wounded chum groaning in the orchard still haunts me!

The whole Scrobs family went to one the first showings in 'The Regent' cinema in Rye, and the place was packed for weeks!

May have to contact Lovefilm and change the order around...

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Boat story...

Meccano Sagtrouser's brother Lego, bought a new boat and decided to take her for the maiden voyage with the love of his life, Toniiattelinaramarama (aged 16). This was his first boat and he wasn't quite sure of the exact Standard Operating Procedures for launching it off a ramp, but figured it couldn't be too hard.

He consulted his local boat dealer for advice, but they just said "don't let the trailer get too deep when you are trying to launch the boat."

Well, he didn't know what they meant by that as he could barely get the trailer in the water at all...

Elias has since brought a rope and given him a clip round the ear.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

White duck...

David had been caught by cerebral palsy since birth, and we always saw him being wheeled around our village by his mum, and very often his grandfather - occasionally accompanied by his grandmother as well. The poor lad was a sorry sight; he couldn't speak, had beautiful brown eyes which maybe shone with comprehension, but who knows; and he was totally dependent on his doting family.

Years went on, and as David grew older, the local children all knew him, and talked to him, never expecting a response, but that's the way they were asked to be - and they did it...

Grandma died, then so did grandfather Bill, who was one of the gentlest men I've ever met. We'd usually see him sitting on the bench by the church, holding David close to his body on his lap, and he was a charming man, full of praise for life, and an expert gardener as well. He had a huge heart.

David died a couple of years ago, and we all felt some sort of loss. His dad had also gone several years before, and it had been left to his mum to do all the work to keep him going, and he was nearing forty!

During David's earlier years, someone had given him a duck as a pet. You'd have thought this was a stupid thing to do, but somehow, David showed some eveidence of feeling for this bird, and it was his own friend. It is a local legend how he doted on this duck, and many people believe that it was the one chance he ever had to communicate with the outer world.

The poor bird died tragically, and David was heartbroken. He was about twenty something then, and still in the old wheelchair, and the sadness was obvious for all to see. But he kept on going bless him!

When he died, we'd heard that he was going to be cremated and buried in the churchyard behind us. In fact there's only an ancient brick wall to separate the Turrets from about 60 cremated remains, but they're residents, and never complain... And neither do we of course!

But an extraordinary thing happened when he died.

The local pond is close by, and is usually inhabited by four ducks. We'd noticed, while walking JRT, that the white duck had taken to wandering off, sitting in the road, or around the church and one morning, we found it sitting on our wall, overlooking the spot where David was going to be buried. It stayed there for several days, and many local people noticed this and we commented to everyone that it was the first time it had come anywhere near the wall.

After the funeral, the duck stayed for just a few hours, and then got up and returned to the pond just a few yards awyay, and is still there (well it was this morning anyway...)!

This is absolutely true, and we can still see David's mum walking around with a whippet on a lead, very lost, and needing company. We can always say a big hello, but how can you beat a yarn like that!

Monday 17 May 2010

Sjt Pattinson...

Just recently, I was handed a large file of papers which were family records kept by my Uncle Jack, who died in 1989.

As most of you know, he was a builder, and ran projects all over the south, in places like Rochester, Reading, Park Royal and, Leighton Buzzard.

The papers are a gold mine of information about our family, and most of the notes have never been seen by anyone from my generation. I'm putting them in some sort of order so we can all see them, but some bits have no connection to the Scrobs name, so I'll share them with you.

This old piece of paper fell out of a pile of notes, and is a genuine certificate signed by Winston Churchill, conferring a decoration on Sjt. H. Pattinson of the Royal Engineers.

Perhaps someone with a military interest may know who he was or what he did, because I haven't a clue. All I know is I have evidence of a very brave man, signed by another brave man, and that's worth hanging on to.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Thanks folks...

Kate Bush is just stunning on this.

Scrobs is back to watching and listening to lovely people after a big week watching and listening to not so lovely people.

Joan of Arc didn't have the chances we all have these days.

And just as an aside, this theme probably permeates Scrobs' nerve endings at least once every day. The clip is utterly captivating.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Body language...

As most friends here know, I am probably classified as an old fart.

I have no problem with this, because, by being old, (62...), I can really say what I mean, and I don't care much if others disagree - except if I've inadvertantly upset someone, which is not why I'm here.

But did you notice the body language of Brown, when he arrived at Buck House to say he's pissing off?

He charged off on arrival, leaving 'the wife' behind, shaking hands with soldiers, 'important' flunkies etc, and eventually made his wife follow him into the place where he was going to self-destruct!

What incredibly bad manners!

So; Good, Gordon Drown - you're history.

Now just flash back a few minutes later, to Cameron, arriving at the same house in Whitehall. Deference clear in his manners, and, spot the difference - they were evident in that moment he arrived in Downing street, when he stopped short and immediately helped Sam from the car, and they both walked up towards the front door of Number Ten.

Good live action this - I've waited long and hard for this moment.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Karmageddon and other new words...

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Brown's gravy train in characteristic pose...

Tomorrow, I'm out with Mrs S bright and early, with JRT leaping around like a Dervish.

Our walk takes us right past the Polling Station, so while I take the dog, Mrs S will go in and nail that bloody bastard's coffin just once. Then we'll change places, and I'll do the same.

JRT doesn't have a vote, but she's a clever dog, and will skip and jump in anticipation all the way home. We'll probably chuck a few Coachies in her direction as well, just because tomorrow is the day we've waited for - the day all those corrupt, cheating, arrogant, Nulab sods get their come-uppance.

Then I'm off to London to meet a crowd of the sort of people who have suffered so much under the dreadful administration we've endured for all these years.

I will celebrate in advance, and when I return, the evening will be as long as it takes to see off the charlatans who have taken nearly ten years out of my career and my life.

And the icing on the cake will be seeing Ed Balls' face drop, but we'll have to wait and see how the astonishing number of undecideds deal with that.

Monday 3 May 2010

Hooves with a twist...

It seems that some of the girls who call by are having a bit of a tough time of late, and I'm very sorry about that.

So, here is a little clip to show what it'll be like when normal service is resumed.

Just wait until about a minute in for an incredible bit of action!