Saturday 27 November 2010

Stone the crows, an' starve the lizards...

Our favourite walking place is having a face lift, mainly thanks to the stroppy Tunbridge Wells BC.

The Forestry Commission guys and gals have to rearrange all their parking for visitors, because they are actually too popular, and any overflow parking is now frowned upon by the burghers of this man's town for some obscure reason.

We don't mind too much, because we always get there pretty early and give JRT the run off the place, or as far as her long lead will allow her, as if we ever let her off, she'd vanish in the direction of the nearest rabbit, and never be seen again. But she's a good walker, and we usually stay mates all the way round the place.

Recently, the Forestry bods had to fence in some areas of the car park, because of the proposed works there. They put up plastic fencing around several areas, and we found out that it was there to retain all the lizards for relocation, which is rather sweet! They saved 69, and presumably, the reptile population will flourish to be eaten by other reptiles or whatever. But a couple of weeks ago, the powers-that-be had some sort of night time experience, where they lit up the trees and charged everyone about £16.00 to walk round and admire the scenery in the dark. Somehow we couldn't see the point of all this, but the offshoot is that when they did all their cabling and preparation, the wild life seemed to hide and shrink away.

As you know, there are several large fish in Marshal's Lake (nuclear scientists etc), and they've vanished. The ducks all fiddled and farted around for days afterwards, and seemed fed up with the whole blasted issue, the two resident shags (ha ha ha), don't know whether they want a shit or a haircut, and we're making friends with several crows which seems somewhat odd!

We're gradually getting the ducks back, the fish are taking much longer, but the crows are becoming proper characters. Mrs S carries a few crusts for various wildlife, and one morning, left some pieces for three crows, which were lurking in the trees nearby. We've become rather attached to Charlie, Chris and Crusty, because they immediately squawk, and dip down to feed as soon as we're away, and seem to be very happy birds.

But, this morning, Mrs S forgot to bring the comestibles, and we were followed round, spied upon from the trees, 'cawed' at, and on several occasions swooped on with a 'whoahhhgh whoahhhgh whoahhhgh' straight out of Hitchcock's movie! They're gorgeous, and they seem to telegraph their mates on the next reservation, that one old fart and his wife are back, flinging cheer and Hovis in all directions.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Sharp intake of tinctures...

This year's business network/company bash/generous hospitality season has started early.

So early, that Scrobs has been caught unawares, and has already attended two massive events which have resulted in an incredibly short memory for names, and a very long pain in the forehead, parts of the neck, most of the body and all of the psyche...

The previous week was bad enough, with Private Eye's favourite company providing the comestibles. The guys I work with there are all very professional, and have spent numerous hours working for nothing on our potential schemes, because someone has to these days. The banks and the politicians still get fees and expenses for getting out of bed, while working companies continually get the crap thrown at them from all angles, but hey, it's the best depression they've had to 'handle', so stop whinging...!

But last Thursday's evening was a real killer! It was fabulous!

We were kindly invited to a grand evening by a firm of Lawyers who always let me know when something's happening, and who always do it right. Their hospitality is second to none, and one of these days, when the depression created by the 'Three Bs' (Blair, Brown and Balls) is finally kicked into touch, and their legacy is buried in painful concrete far below the surface of the biggest dump in the world, I'll have the greatest pleasure in calling this firm's property partner and asking him 'How much to do this and when can you start...'!

But until then, we do the circuit seeking business leads, tweaking yields, machining Excel calcs, and this last event finished in an alcoholic haze sometime after 9.00pm, somewhere in Wardour Street.

By God, it was fantastic! Your correspondent, together with Business Partner and also accompanied by highly esteemed and serious property man from major co, arrived at 6.45 pm, slightly damp from a long hike across St. James' Park, and from there on in, the stunningly beautiful ladies who were proffering sustenance in the form of Frozen Margaritas were at every turn. The property dinosauriad were out in force, released temporarily from the depths of Jurassic Park, the hosts were as ever charming, friendly, and the stock of business cards which Scrobs hands out to interested parties was diminishing fast.

I've never spent such an evening in such salubrious company, and even now, 72 hours later, the scars on the headache are still lingering. I put it all down to drinking out of a wet glass, and having to negotiate those crackly white chips round the edge, near the salady bits!

There was an incredibly attractive dark eyed lady offering shots from a holster and cartridge case belt strung about three centimetres above stunning legs; the Margaritas were installed in an overhead liquid carriageway which tipped gallons of the stuff down a throat at the touch of a guest list, at last a proper Chardonnay was on offer, (sorry BP, had to say it...) I nearly lost my laptop case (and possibly my lap if I could have found it...) to a lady from Viet Nam, there were unassailable stairs nearly three miles long to encounter on the way out, I had to stand on a box to speak with two of the tallest people I've ever met, and one of them didn't mind (at all as it happens) my nose being within three inches of a fabulous cleavage, my liver's risk assessment now includes the terms 'Paaaah, disaster impending, consider not buying green bananas, and forget putting long playing records on the gramophone', and somehow I've got to mend a small tear in my trousers.

I stayed with my long suffering ED, who kindly guided me home via mobile phone and coaxing sat-nav from somewhere near Dulwich (I think), and she had the hot water bottle, cocoa and understanding nods ready when I eventually poured myself though their keyhole between - oooh, say 9.00pm and midnight!

And the next morning? Wow, toast, coffee, friendly banter, promises not to tell Mrs S, and a trip home in style!

Who could wish for such a grand time, and the collection of cards and notes from the evening (it was work after all), already seems to have started to create some real business prospects for next year, so it was all worthwhile!

Of course, I cannot mention the firm who provided such a grand evening for legal reasons, but they really do know how to get business marching on despite all the efforts of politicians, banks, quangos, civil servants etc., to stifle ways to make money.

I've got one more to do in three weeks, after which I'll revert to tea and comfort until we open our Christmas half-bottle of Wincarnis and really live it up...

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Henryk Gorecki R.I.P...

I've only just learned that Henryk Gorecki died last week.

His 'Symphony of Sorrowful Songs' (which floors me each time I hear it) is already pencilled in for a serious blog post one day, because a story goes with it. But now's not the time.

In his obituary in The Daily Telegraph, there was mention of Arvo Part. Now, although I reckon myself reasonably well tuned in to composers, I've just missed all this music, and have never knowingly heard any of it.

Just try listening to this, and I hope you'll be as dumbstruck as I was!

Sunday 14 November 2010

Hymn to remember...

In the church behind the Turrets, they always sing this at about 11.20 am, just after reading the names of the fallen. I always try to stand in the garden and hear the brass band belt it all out, and today was no exception.

I've always found it an incredibly moving hymn, and today, after getting absolutely soaking wet trying to do some work in the garden in all the mud and rain, it was even more humbling to remember just what the words are all about, while the cornets, trumpets and bandsmen gave it their all.

Monday 8 November 2010

Rupert Bear - 90 years old today...

I was delighted to hear that my first hero was 90 years old today! His creator, Mary Tourtel has a delightful sign up in Canterbury, and this is fondly recognised locally.

I used to have nearly all the Rupert Bear annuals, and still have three or four, all lovingly decrepit from being read constantly in the days when animals could talk, and I'd always agree with them!

Only last week, we were strolling through the woods, and I saw what reminded me vividly of a story I'd read (and been frightened by on a few ocasions). It was this picture below: -

...and I have to confess that it immediately reminded me of this story below: -

Who says men never grow up...

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Don Partridge R.I.P...

Don Partridge made a huge difference to the pop scene in the 1960s.

'Rosie' was - and still is, a great song, and was sung by anyone who had a guitar as well as many who didn't!

This song was always in the Scrobs repertoire, and the only reason why I didn't do the kazoo bit at the end, was because a) I didn't have a kazoo, and b) If I had got one, it was impossible to keep it steady on my wire coat hanger harmonica holder...

'Bye Don, and many, many thanks...