Saturday 30 December 2017

Foyle's War revisited...

As most good people know here, we just don't bother with the tripe served up by the BBC any more, and prefer to watch our own DVDs as and when we want to/are awake/feel like a laugh etc...

The latest addition to the library is the complete series, and as the progs were made for ITV, commercially produced, not funded by telly taxes to give 'work' to failing 'actors' and thick presenters, it is indeed an eye-opener as to how damned good the three main characters are protrayed here.

Hastings is really my home town, and while much of it isn't shown (just as well - Ed.), I didn't really know the Old Town very well (except for 'The Pump House' in George Street, but that's another story), the drab wartime scenes are still as vibrant and evocative as when the first series came out.

Last night's showing (The White Feather), was the second programme in the whole series, and as the adverts are now cut out, the plot continued unabated for a good ninety minutes, and was worthy of much acclaim.

Well worth the few folding plastic notes too...

Saturday 23 December 2017

The jewel in the crown...

Off to Waitrose soon to collect one of these...

YD and SIL had one last year, and judging by the size of it, this chap will last us until about April...

The good grocers started by Mr Wait and Mr Rose all those years ago have been doing some pretty good deals this Christmas. There has been a constant stream of 20% off vouchers popping up, and these make the Christmas cheer shelf of various tinctures all the merrier, with some decent single malt appearing, where in the past it's been the every-day tipple!

Which reminds me, Happy Christmas to everyone who calls by here, - we're with all the family on the big day, and it'll be a riot...


Tuesday 19 December 2017

Here's to a lovely lady chum..

This is for you, Ro.

We worked together, laughed together, smoked and drank in 'The Bell' together, and while you and I were never ever going to be intimate friends, I thought the world of you. I'm so sorry we lost touch and that I found out far too late that you were so ill.

Sleep well.

Whatever happened to Munster...

Many years ago, when Scrobs was at school, this great schoolmaster called Patrick Evans had been at Cambridge University, and often quoted the various colloquialisms and once revealed how a 'sconce' was performed if an undergraduate mucked up the long Latin grace before meals.

One of these 'sayings' was this: -

'Will you lend me your Ulster?

'Connaught, I will never be a Leinster'!

(trans: 'Will you lend me your ..., 'Can't, I don't ever lend anyone anything...') Hilarious in the extreme...

Now, everybody knows that these are Irish Provinces, and only this week, I was reading a lovely book, 'Sorrell and Son', by Warwick Deeping (with a triple-Kleenex ending), but during the yarn, written in the early 1920s, Stephen Sorrell is wrapped up in an old 'Ulster' while working in the garden of 'The Pelican' Hotel.

I always thought an Ulster was a big long scarf, much favoured by students back then, but it turns out to be a big coarse-thread overcoat, with a belt at the back.

Obviously, those bright sparks at university back then, came up with the sort of statements as described, but I've never been able to trace the origin of this particular one and of course, still wonder why Munster wasn't included!

Is there no end to this interminable search for our history...?

Monday 11 December 2017

'Bye Cheggers...

I was saddened to read that Keith Chegwin has popped off just now.

Years ago, he was a shining light on pretty dire television for budding children, and our two daughts loved his programmes. He was so much better than the bland, squeaky, gender-neutral stuff they squirt out these days, and he made everyone laugh - including me, because I could easily sit with them before they went to bed, and laugh and enjoy the antics with them.

I didn't know he had a problem with the bottle; it makes no difference to me, most people do, especially when they spill it, and anyway, I always go to sleep well before I have a problem, which is a fail-safe as far as I'm concerned.

Just yesterday, I was playing a tape (remember them) in the shed while doing some carpentry. It was this here below, so here's to you, Cheggers old chap, you were part of my kids' childhood, and you were damned good at what you did! Sleep well.

Thursday 7 December 2017

What goes around, comes around...

Further on from the previous post, I thought it would be self-satisfying to create a seminal post which will be on the internet forever, and therefore make a couple of points available for everyone to see forever.

Here's a pic of a certain Miss Sutton. She's the one with glasses. The other teacher was Miss Austin, and apart from having a hairy bum, because, when we were naughty, we had to sit in front of her desk, and of course, the view wasn't that magnificent... But she wasn't a bad lady, and we all thought she was OK.

Not Miss Sutton. She had a reputation.

She thought the world of her two favourite boys (three of us - except me) in her classs, but only two got the attention.

I'd been in hospital for six weeks with a leg re-structure. It was an infantile problem, and while it was not pleasant, I still managed to play rugby a few years afterwards, so thank you Mr Bintkin (Royal East Sussex Hospital, Hastings)  - you were a grand surgeon back then! (Why did that third stitch go so wonky...;0)

When I eventually got back to my school, there were just the three chaps in my class with many more lovely girls, but Miss Sutton just left me alone, ignored me and concentrated on her two favourites. Derek and Richard - both good friends of mine back then. At one of her evil lessons, I easily remember her taking them both to one side and giving them some plaster of Paris to make plates out of. I'd spent six weeks in the bloody white, hard stuff, and knew what hell it was with the itching, the unease, and the pain when it all came off, so that bitch could have at least acknowledged the fact, but no, she chose to ignore my cry.

What an absolute bitch! I hope she died in hell like many other enemies, but why on earth should a nine-year-old have to put up with that sort of shit?

'Bye MISS sutton. You hated me for some god-for-saken reason, and so here's your legacy; Scrobs still remembers how unkind you were, and its written down forever, here, in Michael's very own blog!

Saturday 2 December 2017

Bat and balls...

Yesterday, I was asked - with many others - to go to our GC's school, and answer questions on what it was like for us to be children.

It was a good craic, and we all enjoyed talking about no mains water, toys and freezing cold bedrooms etc.

One of the teachers in our three girls' fabulous little country school mentioned that when they were cleaning out the staff room, they found a cane! She asked the assembled GPs if they had ever had a session with one and all the hands shot up, including the ladies!

The other lady on my table said that she'd been beaten with a strap every day for being left-handed! She was Scottish, so that may have been the reason, but what bastards these teachers were back in the forties and fifties!

I got to thinking on how many ways we were all corporally punished back then...

Dap (plimsoll)
Piece of wood a foot long
Larger piece of wood
House shoe (prefects' weapon of choice)
Five iron

One master used to make a fist and hit you on the back of the head. It was known as 'Joe's bonks'. A chum had fallen down the stairs and had his head wrapped in bandages, so Joe just twisted his arm up behind his back! Absolute bastard. Luckily, I did get my own back when by chance, I met him again a few years after I left school. We were all sitting in the late summer sun on one of the first rugby days of the season, in the old stand at Brighton RFC. He was playing for Old Alleynians.

We had a sort of embarrassed chat, and when I took my leave, he asked me to remember him to all the others. My 'mild' response was 'Er, I don't think so...' and he showed the first remorse I'd ever seen.

Great feeling that.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

A woof from Bulgaria...

Around the village, near The Turrets, there are about twenty dog-walkers, and of course, we meet up at various points, depending on where the various dogs want to go!

JRT tends to go less far these days, as she's getting on a bit, but each walk has to be different, so we meet different owners as well. Banter ranges from a single hearty 'Good Morning', to a prolonged road-side discussion on the failures of the BBC/politicians/KCC etc etc, and we all enjoy the craic!

One good chum has a big dog of indeterminate breeding. His name is Cody, and he was rescued by a charity from war-torn Bulgaria a few years ago. He's a gorgeous boy, we all love him and even JRT scampers around his legs and feet, while Cody just takes not a blind bit of notice. I always stroke his head and he usually lets out a quiet whimper and enjoys the company.

The other day, Cody's dad took him up to see some new houses being built on a large estate, as my chum is thinking of downsizing, and wanted to look around. Cody went into the office with him. After a few enquiries, one of the girls behind the sales desk noticed Cody, and said what a lovely boy he was. My chum told her the story, and another girl in the office piped up, saying that she was from Bulgaria too!

She came over to talk to the dog in his 'native' language, which Cody seemed to acknowledge. They all went their separate ways after that, and returned home.

That evening Cody's mum arrived home from the train down from London. For the first time in many a year, Cody was off his food, and didn't wag his tail or show any recognition of both mum and dad. He stayed in another part of the room, and kept himself to himself all evening, staring into space.

He's back to normal now, perhaps waking up again in a secure home did the trick, but we're all convinced that by hearing the 'native' accent, dear Cody had an awful immediate recall of the dreadful pain and fear he experienced when he and many more dogs were just used as target practice.

Monday 13 November 2017

A surfeit of lamps...

Just this evening, we suddenly discovered that we were somewhat lacking in the tincture department, and that a visit to our local Tesco was in order, to make up the deficit.

Now I'm never one to complain as everyone knows, I mean, we even watched three seconds of the BBC 'News' before I threw a bottle at the screen while they spouted their usual leftie bile, but a reduction of levels of tincture is not for the squeamish!

So any'ow, a visit to the fifth aisle was becoming a dead cert, and so it was! Several bottles were gently laid in order in a trolley, and a bank card was checked at least eighteen times before I ventured to the till. Now, at this time of night, there are no girls we recognise at all, they're all at home, but a vague recollection of a pretty cashier resolved me to unload the collection and think of England. Nice lass, firm b...

All was fine, and your friendly Scrobs meandered back to the relatively new car to prepare for the short journey home.

Bugger me, every single light in the car started to blaze away, and I thought that Blackpool had arrived, which is pretty stupid really, but there was so much light everywhere, I needed sunglasses - but they were at home!

And I didn't have a clue how to turn everything off! The interior lights stayed on and shone in my eyes, the dashboard was flashing like every lighthouse in Christendom at the same time, and above all, I had a warning light as well! It was dark, so I couldn't find the manual, which is written in forty-eight languages, and has so many warnings that I'm really scared of it, and after pressing all the switches in a flurry of panic at the traffic lights I realised that I'd left the boot open...

Blimey! What an escapade! I don't really want to go out after dark these days, Mrs Scroblene is just the finest company I could wish for, but even a foray out at such an hour as six-thirty after the clocks change is now somewhat aligned to Scott of the Antarctic meeting David Livingstone in a pub near Droitwich, and discussing the relative merits of tomatoes in aspic...

I'm staying in for the next four months, (except for a boozy 'do' I've been invited to just before Christmas), and that's the way it'll be! (I'm walking this year, last year I went on my electric bike, got my foot caught on the chain in the dark and fell off)!

And they haven't even turned the lights on in Regent Street yet!

Saturday 4 November 2017

Uncanny return to old post, revealing the same headlines as postulated today...

Back in 2012, there was some proposed development put forward to take over Dartford, cover it with concrete and shopping malls. I was working then, and knew the site well, and as a chortle, wanted to bring in a few old chums to make fun of the issues...

So, unashamedly, I'm reproducing the whole post in its entirety, and ask readers the question, 'How many issues mentioned here are relevant today'?

I reckon at least six, and counting Edwina (who doesn't), eight...

Scroblodanus or what...

There was uproar at the Inaugural Meeting of Sodden Prickney's Liaison Committee, for the 'Kent Themerama', on Thursday.

What should have been a gathering of great celebration, was turned into a major unpleasant incident, so reports Mrs Edwina Baggage, Bicycling Correspondent on The Sodden Prickney Bugle.

With the failure of the local broadcasting company to curb the affections of some of their staff, the recent 'inspiration', of Miss Cynthia Molestrangler was enhanced when at some stage in the evening, Mr Norman Wibble, a Veteran of several world wars, and also the village fete's disastrous production of 'Ben Hur', was asked to put some music on the record player, to create a jubilant atmosphere.

Miss Molestrangler was sitting next to the box of records, and Mr Wibble accidently brushed against her nylon encrusted knee, with the result, that she began shrieking hysterically, and claimed to be a victim of abuse by this rampant lothario!

Of course, Mr Wibble was astounded by this accusement, and became hypothetical, to which Miss Molestrangler advanced her posture to 'Aggressive', thereby thrusting her rather large accoutrements towards the explainant, which tended to excite some of the younger members of the community.

This became untenable to a bachelor such as Mr Wibble, and while Miss Molestrangler was no stranger to various interference in intimate terms with anyone who might wish to avail themselves, it was a serious position in which Mr Wibble became incarcerated.

It appears that Mrs Edwina Baggage, who has long espoused the term 'bicyclism', and which has shady connotations not unconnected with similar versions of compatibility with energetic discussions about Uganda, decided to nail Miss Molestrangler once and for all, and egged Mr Wibble to start a gropefest in (or on), her honour.

Mr Wibble now has to take copious amounts of beta blockers after suffering from the effects of such an occasion, and as Mrs Baggage points out in her column, (she likes that word), there's nothing wrong with espousing 'bicyclism', as long as it only happens in private, and not in places like the Sodden Prickney Village Hall. There was once a case of a record playing gentleman noticing a small piece of purple lace on the fragrant knee of Mrs Baggage, and while she protested that the elastic on her favourite Janet Reger had broken, the matter was not by silenced by the gentleman, (to be named one day by Mrs Baggage when she has little to write about), who exclaimed in a loud whisper 'Charlie's Dead', and received a few clops around his ears for the privilege!

Mr Sagtrouser was unavailable for comment, and Senor O'Blene declined to say anything other than a terse 'Sod off, it wasn't me'.

Meanwhile, the 'Kent Themerama' saga continues to struggle forward, despite opposition from just about everybody.

Thursday 2 November 2017

Last letter today - 'all clear'...phew...

Bummer for a time really, but looks OK now, so back to normality!

So Reevers and Goosey, please continue your mutual didactism, and I'll pop in a few well-chosen terms as I see fit!

Monday 23 October 2017

Shit week, last week...

Lump scan...

So far so good, but who could think your chum Scrobs had a breast problem?

Fabulous girls and boys in Pembury Hospital - I was the last to leave well after 7:00pm...

Monday 16 October 2017


One of the loveliest ladies I have never met is Goosegirl!

She writes gorgeously funny posts on another site here, and we converse in a non-tactile way, but by Jimminy, she's a real chum and that's a fact!

Goosey and I would have an enormous meet-up if we ever did,  but there's a lot of miles between Lancaster and Kent, so we just chat as normal people do, and have a lot of fun doodling on whatever subject comes up.

I was so pleased when we started messageing, and while Mrs O'Blene is in on the act, it's a different world out there, and so much the better for having this little electric computer thing to make life a more interesting place.

Saturday 7 October 2017

Pound coin deadline...

Sodden Prickney Parish Council

Minutes of Emergency Meeting held on 4th October, 2017.

"To discuss the withdrawal of the old pound coins from the parking meter close to 'The Newt Foundation'  carpark"

Present: -

Ms Cynthia Molestrangler (Chairman)
Count Basil Kalashnikov
PC Lumbersnatch
The Hon Sidney Trumpet, OBE and Bar
Miss Amelia Newt
Alderman Ron Groat
Mistress Edwina Baggage

The decision has been made for Mr Kalashnikov, accompanied by Mr Groat, to visit the premises of Mr Elias Sagtrouser, Purveyor of large lumps of concrete, knobs and ferret cages, to purchase a large hammer.

The said hammer, at a cost of no more than ten shillings, including SET, will be transported back to the carpark, where, under the supervision of  PC Lumbersnatch, the said parking meter will be dealt a crushing blow to try and open it to extract the old pound coins within.

Once these coins have eventually been counted and purveyed to the bank, a receipt will be issued to the council accountant, and the money credited to the Ways and Means Committee. 

Sodden Prickney Parish Council

Emergency Meeting to be held on 10th October, 2017.

'To discuss why absolutely no money was found in the parking meter, and why three buttons, a Belgian franc, two washers and a token from an old fruit machine were the only contents of the machine'.

All Members are requested to attend, with the possible exception of Alderman Groat, who will soon be out of hospital with a broken thumb.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Reasons to be cheerful...

Aided and abetted by the fabulous Ian Dury, there's a good feeling in 'The Turrets'!

It's all to do with going at least a month, probably longer, without watching anything on the BBC!

Last evening was the first foray into the living room for months, and a warm log fire and a DVD was the true way to welcome Autumn, but the TV button hasn't strayed to any biased 'news'. or any 'sleb' trashy stuff for ages! We both feel just great for the easy life without the awful groaning biased leftie rubbish churned out from W1A!

I have to admit, that if I just can't sleep, I'll don the earphones and try a few stations, and Radio 5 Live still does the same dreary old rubbish, and I get to sleep soon afterwards, as - except for Dotun Adebayo - the others are just dull, uninteresting and plain boring, especially Rhod Sharpe!

I know I shouldn't pay for all this, but being an upstanding citizen, (and the television can easily be seen from a window), I'll grin and bear it...

Sunday 24 September 2017

Sad uni story...

Lovely lady chum in our village was chatting with Scrobs a few days ago.

As she is a super chum, we can talk about anything, but her latest words made me fill up just a little bit...

Her Daught has just started at University, and is in Plymouth for the next three years or so. We've chatted on numerous occasions on how she would get there, etc, and now the deed is done. Presumably, my lovely lady chum is feeling several bits down, and so would I, having done that a couple of times myself, luckily with Mrs O'Blene by my side.

The door bell  rang at Chum's abode last week, and there, standing bereft, was daught's boyfriend, in tears.

Lovely lady chum had to walk him round the village to calm him down, and explain that Plymouth is only four hours away, and that she may well write and, email, and, and, and...

Thursday 21 September 2017

What's in a gnome...

Apparently the most important survey of kids' names has just been published at great expense.

Top of the list is Olivia and Oliver.

So that's settled then...

I'd like to suggest some more enlightened names: -

  1. Helium Balloon
  2. Moisture
  3. Garment
  4. Venezuela (for chavs)
  5. De Frag
  6. Plunger
  7. Pisspot
  8. Dimbleby
  9. Belfast-Cinq
  10. Molestrangler
So there you have it folks; please add your preferred names to the list, but no too many rock-ape, chav names please, they're all different/stupid anyway...

Wednesday 13 September 2017


Just collected about four dozen while walking JRT through the churchyard...

Spiders beware!

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Lansdown(e) what's in a name...

Mrs O'Blene and I were chatting over a tincture recently, and discovered that the name 'Lansdowne' appears so many times in our short lives, we wondered why!

As well as the original park in Canada, (above) there's a hotel in Brecon, a road in both Bedford and Bury St Edmunds, both in which Mrs O'Blene in her tender years, melted the younger male establishment, and the list goes on...

We have a myriad of Lansdownes in the UK, and undoubtedly abroad as well, but it makes me wonder, if the original old boy just might have had a bicycle to get around...

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Cherokee Trail of Tears...

A chum sent me some seeds of ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ beans. She’s a great gardener, with lots of skill and clearly the right temperament for a shared passion. Looking up the origin of the name, I uncovered a large piece of American history attached to the Cherokee Nation, and it makes for uncomfortable reading.

In a nutshell, the Cherokee Indians were hounded around on their settlements, and eventually kicked out of their promised land when gold was found on their new territories. They were transported from their homes by boats in the summer of 1838, and about 4,000 souls died from disease, exposure and famine. The journey has long been chronicled as ‘The Trail of Tears’.

President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat no less, authorised The Indian Removal Act, not long after a force of 500 Cherokee fighters had saved his life, and what remained of his army at The Battle of Horseshoe Bend, in 1814. Nice guys these Democrats.

Back to the beans.

They were just a small part of the allowance for the Indians’ enforced travel, and some of the original black beans were taken by the refugees and planted as soon as they had enough ground to make a sowing.

They are a fabulous crop, the green early growth is a sweet, tender version of a runner bean, and has a texture unlike any other vegetable. When the beans mature on the pole, they turn black, and can then be harvested for use later on. Like all pulses, they are a rich source of protein and fibre, so are really a superveg in their own right, with a long useful growing season, and a great addition to any further menus in the winter.

We’ve grown enough to use during the summer, and also just finished podding about two pounds of the little black beans which will go in the various soups and casseroles which Mrs O’Blene creates at every opportunity! And all this from just fourteen plants!

I suppose I’ll never stop learning about growing things, and this little piece of history makes for much research and interest, with perhaps more than a little bitterness at why after all these years, a tiny black bean builds into a big and rather unpleasant record of bad times for some great people.

Friday 25 August 2017

04:15 puttering lights...

The other day, Scrobs needed to go out and get some bread for lunch, as Mrs O'Blene was planning kippers, and that elegant, delicious comestible requires the stuff of life straight out of the oven!

Now Waitrose here don't have on-site ovens, but the bread they pop out on the shelves - at least at our branch, is pretty damn good, and while we would love to remain loyal to a local bakery, there are times when even a small loaf from there doesn't get used up, sometimes goes hard quite quickly and we just hate waste.

So Scrobs enters the door to be greeted by an immediate 'Cooeeee' from a super-elegant Gloriette, who has just arrived in a fragrant cloud, as well as her white Audi TT and is studying a shopping list about three pages long!

Now as many people know, Gloriette is one of the most gorgeous visions one can ever dream of, and indeed, her ever-loving spouse, Elias Sagtrouser insists that it is only a dream. He makes exceptions to old mates like Scrobs, who is allowed one more grasp and a few pecks, but no more, and who am I to try and overstep the mark!

'Gloriette, love of my life, you look stunning'!

'Oh same old, same old, how are you Sweetheart', she murmured after the first obligatory squeeze and peck. Eyes by the carrots turned to the skin-tight jeans, casual top and perfect turnout.

'Oh fine thank you - er - Is Elias with you'? Scrobs muttered more in hope than enquiry.

'No it's a BBB day, so he's out and about. Meccano and Toniatteline are here somewhere, but I'm having a few hours off to have my hair done'!

There was a lot in that statement.

'First, Light of my Life', Scrobs started, 'you need go no further with the hair business, as you're already looking stunning, second, why is the shop at Sagtrouser and co, Suppliers of bricks, paint and electric angle grinders, left unattended then, and what, finally, on earth is a BBB day'!

(This was going to be a long shopping escapade, and a quick check on the Fitbit watch confirmed that there was ninety minutes only, which would probably be enough.)

'Ha ha ha, but thanks for the comment about the 'Barnet', Scrobs (Gloriette never forgets her London upbringing), secondly, we always leave Jeremiah on the tills when we're out. He sells more Rawlplugs and screws than anything when he's on duty'!

This was indeed a trading experience which I'd never heard of before, so enquired further.

'Rawlplugs and screws - why those'?

'Well every builder always wants a stock for that odd job, and Jeremiah always assumes that they'll need some more each time the customer comes in the shop and adds them to the account, so we get through cases of the things! It's a great money spinner' The customers love it, especially as Jeremiah is six foot seven inches tall!

Scrobs peered absentmindedly at the heaving shelf of French cheese and wondered whether he was in the right business after all...

'OK, but what does Elias mean by a BBB day then'?

We cruised past the chicken portions and sliced ham.

'Simples! It's the end of the month, and a time when in the old days, he'd have to go out and collect overdue payments, cheques and cash! The baseball bat was always left on the dashboard as a 'persuader', and never failed! That's why he now drives a Range Rover, I have my Audi TT and that's all because somehow the money arrived when we needed it, not when customers decided to pay it'!

'Our thick politicians could learn a thing or two there', I absently said, allowing a slight brush against a tanned bejewelled forearm and adding yet another expensive piece of smoked salmon to the trolley, which was filling up at an alarming rate.

I noticed Gloriette peering at me more than somewhat  in the reflection of the frozen fish, and she suddenly turned and enquired, 'You're looking a bit peaky Scrobs, If you don't mind me saying so'!

Twelve fish fingers and a lemon cheesecake tipped into the trolley.

'Oh I'm absolutely fine you lovely lady, it's - er - just the '4:15 puttering lights' have started again!

'WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU MEAN'? She yelped, grabbing my arm, and several heads turned in our direction, so I reopened a freezer door for some more French fries to avert the gathering interest.

'Well, the nights are drawing in aren't they. It's still twilight at 4:14 am, and cars need lights to get around'!

'That's true I suppose, but why does it cause you grief then'?

We spotted Toniatteline staring at a lurid row of magazines which all seemed to display hugely developed girls and boys in various stages of undress, while Meccano was rummaging around in a shelf of pictures of shiny cars and lorries with fat wheels, and they both were lost to the world.

'Oh it's not grief really, my love, it's just that every morning, my elderly friend next door has a newspaper delivered. Years ago, I'd occasionally hear a car coming out of the lane opposite, and stop, with its engine running. If I was awake, I'd wonder why this happened at the same time every day of the week, and always thought it might be someone rolling a fag, or checking a mobile'.

'After a few years of this, one early morning, I was up letting JRT out as she'd heard something in the garden, and the car arrived as normal. JRT started to bark, which annoys Mrs O'Blene, so I rushed out to get her back in, and saw a shape trotting from the car to my neighbour's house. The engine was left on and ticking over, but he didn't make a sound either'! It had never occurred to me that this was the newspaper delivery man, doing what he does best...'!

'Hmm, so it's JRT's fault then is it'?

'Aw no, but during the summer, the van doesn't need lights, and they don't shine in our bedroom window and wake me up! They're just starting to do that again now, as I'll never get back to sleep after that'!

'Scrobs, you are impossible'! Purred my perfumed chum with a huge smile, and we headed off for the tills.

Scrobs stared down at the basket, now full of bags.

'That will be £112.45 please Mr O'Blene! Would you like a coffee? Have a nice day'!

And I only wanted a small bag of mixed bread rolls...

Friday 18 August 2017


My dear neighbours went up to town to see 42nd St recently.

He's getting on a bit, and has trouble hearing lines in plays, but this one didn't present any problems!

Marvellous stuff...

Monday 14 August 2017

That catch...

Many years ago, your old idiot chum, Scrobs, played a few games of cricket with two clubs - one was the village, and the other was the Summer version of the Rugby Club, as they had a lot of serious drinkers, and at five-bob a head, the kitty wasn't that onerous!

To be fair, I was never actually going to get beyond Number Eleven in the batting (some suggested perhaps twelve, or even thirteen), but my fielding (apart from dropping a doddle at mid-off once) wasn't that bad, and when I was allowed to come closer to the bat than about four miles away, I'd shine like a beacon in a dull Sussex sky!

In the RFC Cricket section, we had a superb chap, who knew everything about the game, and was one of the best bowlers I'd ever seen. If I say his name (David Vale), someone might sue me, but who cares, I was only number eleven, so that's enough!

David always poked fun at me in a friendly way, and I usually told him to sod off, so that was that. In one particular game, however, he went all serious.

'Scrobs', he shouted, 'Get close to the bat at silly mid off'!

Bugger this, I thought! It was their number three at the crease, and he'd been clonking fours and sixes everywhere on the park!

David re-made the order.


'Over by the far canal'! I was within about three inches of the batsman's glove and still being told to get even closer! A mild repost to David was met with disdain, a smirk, and complete bollocks.

So, down came the first ball.

Tap.  Wimp.

Vale sneered.

Next ball, a tentative prod to leg.

Vale snorted.

Next ball; a superb off-spin which turned almost ninety degrees, and left the batsman in a real mess, so he tried to belt it, missed the meat of the bat, popped up an edge which went about three feet away from his pads, then turned away.

Scrobs did the unfathomable. Being right-footed, and still in diarrheic fear of a smack right in the chops from either bat or ball, (or perhaps both), the ball hovered about a yard above the batting crease like a full moon does on - er - a batting crease..

Scrobs' full length of five foot seven and three-quarters leapt straight out and left-handedly grasped the ball an inch above the grass. It was the catch of a lifetime, and while I sit here, thinking about how great life is an' all that, I'll still remember the look on the bowler's face as he notched another wicket...

Bloody man, that David...

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Is that all there is...

Last week, I was tinkering about here, reading something on the PC, when Mrs Scrobs called through to say that she'd just read that Robert Hardy had died. We're great fans of his TV stuff, and although I knew he was getting on, it was still a saddening event to record.

Just a few seconds later, she added that ''someone" Bennett had also died. I didn't hear who, and I thought she'd said 'Jill Bennett', so I Googled the lady, only to find that she died by her own hand ages ago.

So, reading the Wiki entry even further, it mentioned that Alan Price (a favourite musician here), sang a special song 'Is that all there is', while the assembled friends cast her ashes on The River Thames, together with those of Rachel Roberts, another lovely lady from the same time. Lindsay Anderson made his last film here.

The video is here. (it may need a rewind to the beginning).

It's a poignant piece, and so very thoughtful.  The slow brass piece at just over half-way (3:14) with the flowers floating on the water is heart-breaking and I fill up everytime I see it.

Bessie Smith recorded the first version, and of course, she was 'The Mistress' of such fabulous music. Her rendition is here. She was just magnificent!

A few weeks ago, I met an old friend whom I hadn't seen for forty or so years. We swapped all the old yarns, laughed a lot, had several beers, and agreed that we'd do the same again soon. I had been saddened though, to learn of one particular lovely friend from the seventies, who was losing a battle against a terminal condition. We'd been good friends, and she'd been to our wedding, and we went to hers years ago.

Just more recently, there was a big funeral for a famous old local chap, whom everyone knew and admired, because he'd overcome all sorts of physical indignities all his life, and had beaten them all. It was a huge wake, with several hundred people in a marquee the size of a small village. The drinks flowed like water, and the chat was outstanding. I'd only heard about the funeral that morning, and was determined to go - even making a collar-button extension for the only shirt that fits me at the moment...

My friend was too ill to attend, but I learned that her battle was getting harder and that made me feel a bit mortal to be honest. Her husband - another old chum from the past - was there, and must have been feeling pretty rotten too.

Getting back to the Jill Bennett story, Mrs Scrobs explained that it was indeed 'Hywel' Bennett who'd joined the 'Virgin Soldiers' on high, and that was also a sobering thought, as 'The Family Way' came out at the same time as I was wondering what to do if or when I eventually got a girlfriend...

So, as the title says, 'Is that all there is'?

Thursday 3 August 2017


Image result for fitbit charge 2

No, not a new bird, just a postage stamp sized gadget given to me by Daught and Sil for my birthday!

Even my doctor was impressed, especially as my blood pressure is normal for the first time in ages!

And I reached the target once last week, so all those onions and spuds will just fly out of the ground!

Thursday 27 July 2017


After a celebratory week of forensic bottle-interior investigation, Scrobs has uncovered a serious mistake in the 'requirement' to publish how many alcoholic units does it take to get noticed by some sort of watchdog...

F'rinstance, our local Tesco was flogging Southern Comfort for £15.00 a bottle, which we thought was a billy-bargain, as a 'Soco and lemonade' on a hot day is a welcome tincture, and we availed ourselves of this generous offer on several occasions, as the cheap deal seemed to go on forever!

On the posher end of the scale, the very same grocers was knocking out Glenmorangie (bog standard single malt) at around £20.00 a pop, and as our birthdays are close together, we said to each other, 'Well, why not'?

While idly peering at the labels during a lull in the conversation recently, I noticed an unusual anomaly in the gibberish these suppliers have to print all over the back of their bottles these days.

Southern Comfort - 70cl - ABV 35% - UK units per bottle: 24.5
Glenmorangie - 70cl - ABV 40% - UK units per bottle: 28.0

Now I've never claimed to be a mathematician, but isn't there something wrong here?

Shurely the malt should have fewer units than the Soco, as it has a higher ABV!

This called for further investigation and resulted in another exercise in comparison, all conducted under laboratory conditions: -

Anno Gin - 70cl - ABV 43% - UK units per bottle: 30.0

Gordons Gin - 100cl - ABV 37.5% - UK units per bottle: 37.5
(this is from a litre bottle, therefore redushed to 70cl, it becomesh 7/10 which equalsh 26.25 units).

Bells Scloostch - 100gals - ABoVe the cloudds 400% - UK Brexit units per bottle: 40.00009.76 messures
(thish is f0rm a metre bottler, therefore redacted to 70 pints it becomesh 7 bastards of something or other which equalsh 280 million of the sodss.0 units).

Finoished allllll the Sherrry now an' theres not alot lefft on the shelfd....


Wednesday 19 July 2017

A silver sixpence...

Brian May from 'Queen' is one of my favourite guitarists.

I always liked the solo from 'Killer Queen', back in the seventies, and indeed, since then, he has made some astonishing riffs, including one standing on the parapet of Buckingham Palace!

It's common knowledge that his guitar of choice is one he and his dad made some years ago - the 'Red Devil'. It is a unique instrument, and his plectrum of choice is an old sixpence. I know there are many good guitarists who grace these columns, Thud, Elecs to name but seven of them, and they will probably know what I mean when a guitar string is plucked, and the thumb or forefinger just touches the string at the same time, an amazing sound can be produced. It's almost impossible to do it twice, which may mean that a slightly different version happens if the technique is tried a second or third time, but these repeat notes create a huge vocabulary of rich guitar sounds.

So Brian, today is your seventieth birthday, and by coincidence, it is also mine, so Happy Birthday!

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Only in America...

DUI Texas style:

          Only a person in Texas could think of this...
          From the county where drunk driving is considered a sport, comes this true story.

          Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a bar in Austin, Texas. After last call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so apparently intoxicated that he could barely walk.

          The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing.

          After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles, the man managed to find his car and fall into it.

          He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off.

          Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off; (it was a fine, dry summer night), flicked the blinkers on and off a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights.

          He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons' vehicles left.

          At last, when his was the only car left in the parking lot, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road.

          The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and administered a breathalyzer test.

          To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all!

          Dumbfounded, the officer said, I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This breathalyzer equipment must be broken.
         "I doubt it", said the truly proud Redneck.  'Tonight I'm the designated decoy.'

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Whooping cough...

Apparently, when I was a tiny little chap, I had whooping cough, and my pram and my cot took a bit of a battering...

A lovely chum told me yesterday that there seems to be an underlying increase in cases of whooping cough. She had an awful time with it a year or so ago. She's much younger than me - at least a generation, and as we're a group of mates meeting regularly, we'd noticed how 'down' she was for much of the time, but being a real fighter, she dealt with the problem in her own way.

Several other pals are now showing similar symptoms, and it's been recognised as a local 'Hack', but an implicit discussion is emerging which may prove that the immunisation we kids got some years ago, is wearing off, and symptoms are returning in a few other ways.

My chum eventually got over it, but claimed that a couple of teachers at her children's' school had been coughing for weeks, and one went to get checked out properly. She was diagnosed as having the whole damn lot, and put up for a cure a.s.a.p.

While 'conspiracy theories' will always be around for just about everything, this issue is a bit worrying, because once the politicians get hold of it, the NHS will get bashed even further, and undoubtedly another layer of expensive management will be created, just to deal with the condition.

On a happier note, my chum was cured by the technique of altitude conditioning. Her dad had a PPL, and hired a plane to take her up 10,000 ft for a spell, and from then on she recovered! I'd never heard of this before, and checking it all out, back in the seventies, there were regular forays into the phenomenon, and they had a lot of success!

Monday 26 June 2017

Plain Australian speak - what else...

The importance of accuracy in your tax return:
The Australian Tax Office has returned the Tax Return to a man in Townsville after he apparently answered one of the questions.
In response to the question, “Do you have anyone dependent on you?”
The man wrote:
2.1 million illegal immigrants,
1.1 million crackheads,
4.4 million unemployable scroungers,
80,000 criminals in over 85 prisons,
450 idiots in Parliament,
thousands of ‘retired politicians’
and an entire group that call themselves ‘Senators’!
The ATO stated that the response he gave was “unacceptable”.
The man’s response back to ATO was, “Who did I leave out?”
Aussie rules - yup!

Monday 19 June 2017

Tower of Babel...

I can't think of any commercial enterprise more regulated than the building industry. There are so many hurdles to jump with just about every item of a contract, so why on earth is it so difficult to point the finger at the sequence of events which eventually lets a builder on site to do the work.

The Client briefs the design team, they follow the rules, and the builder tenders for the work.

Eventually, it's job done, so it's not beyond the wit of man to realise that probably the architect and maybe the engineer needs good talking to.

Forget silly old berks like Corbyn and that idiot Lammy, trying to blame it all on someone in government and poke political fingers at all and sundry, it's the 'professionals' who are at fault.

I hope there are building inspectors and council officials having uncontrolled bowel movements everywhere, especially up in London.

Friday 9 June 2017

On feeling let down by politicians...

Not good for me, nearing seventy.

No recognition of the terrorist upsurge, no relief from taxes paid to foreign despots, no chance of getting away from Kinnock inspired Brussels.

Crap time really, and I need intensive gardening to lift my soul.

Maybe I'll fel better in a few days time, but until then, sod everything.

Monday 5 June 2017

London Bridge...

My little girl travels to London Bridge every day, and I'll be thinking of her all the time.

Thank you for nothing Blair. You let all these bastards fester among true Brits with your smarmy welcome and handouts and ignorance of the future of our beloved country.

Thankfully, Corbyn won't be allowed to do any more of the damage after Thursday, and with Brexit firing on all cylinders, we'll get some revenge against more Blair/Brown failures as well.

And you can fuck off too Campbell, you toxic poisonous little shit.

Monday 29 May 2017

Useful arrogant lefty Yank...

Why cannot real people try to better themselves?

Friday 26 May 2017

Second Lieutenant Election...

I know I couldn't give a flying feck for our pathetic politicians these days, they'll all thick, manipulative liars, so just as this 'election' is looming, I'll stick in my two-pennorth for good time's sake.

Just for the record, I'll put my cross against Greg Clark, as I have actually met him, and although Tunbridge Wells will turn Labour when hell freezes over, he does seem a nice enough bloke. The others don't seem to be anywhere, so I'll conveniently forget them.

I've got so many more important things to do! The leeks need re-potting, and a chum down the road needs some tomato plants. I need some more exercise on my electric bike, and we need some more wine soon (that's my day  job)!

I'm glad we don't live in Manchester, or Oldham. I've been there on occasions, but it's a different world, so I'll stay safely here thanks.

Friday 19 May 2017

I know what I like...

I know what I like...


As just a few chums here know, I'm still a big fan of  Genesis, and when I can't be arsed to read a book, or anything, I grab the Ipad, clunk in a few digits, and revel in a few of my favourite songs!

This song was regularly on the radio in the early seventies, and we were living in Hastings at the time. There was, back then, a super record shop called 'The Disc Jockey Plus Two', near The Memorial (older inhabitants will remember that), and as I'd heard this fabulous song on the wireless, I went to enquire as to whether I could afford to purchase the said song...

Too late, it was on an album 'Selling England by the pound', and £3.40 was way above what Mrs Scroblene would have allowed, so I didn't buy it and left.

A few years later, I saw a forty-five version in a cheapo sale and snapped it up (more money in those days), and it's still a favourite!

Elder Daught and I have watched Phil Collins cavorting around the stage live on several occasions, and this version still reverberates...

Thursday 11 May 2017

Drains: and floats and rains...

Hot water tank seriously on the blink - new one coming tomorrow...

Septic tank outlet pump on the blink - next week for a repair sometime...

Shower started to leak into the kitchen again two days ago...

And we're short of rain???