Monday 15 July 2024

I'm the luckiest man in the world...


My darling wife died last Friday.

For all our married life, she'd had to deal with Type 1 diabetes, and never even murmered about the task of keeping herself balanced and active!

When I first plucked up the courage to ask her out to a party - in fact, it was just a piss-up, a get-together a week after my rugby club had returmed from a tour in Holland, and the others thought we ought to compare notes and find out who made the worst mistakes, who'd 'scored' - that sort of thing...), We immediately bonded in a gorgeous way. We'd been on friendly terms for some years, and in fact, we first met on my birthday at another party in Winchelsea, and she was with an old chum from school back then! We often met up in the pub where her mum and dad worked their socks off to make their place the best pub in Rye, 'The Bell', and when she was at home during college holidays, we'd always sit and chat.

So times went on. There we were, a couple, living and loving, and we were an 'item' from then on! I was going to marry the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen and spoken to, and she said that was fine by her! God, I was so lucky being there at a time written in the heavens...!

We raised two beautiful daughters, found our haven in our village, and after retirememt, realised we had so much more time together, and that was just fabulous.

But her diabetic issues surfaced with a vengeance some time ago. On top of all that, she'd only recently been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and she began a decline which she fought daily, sadly having to admit defeat last Friday. 

I'm heartbroken, but know now, that she has no more issues and pain, and that the above picture, taken on the 21st October, 1972, shows how fortunate I was in marrying the most beautiful girl in the world!

Saturday 6 July 2024

Laurie tells the story...

Some time ago, I mentioned that a piece of music had so much inside the words, that it was more than ...




The piece by Laurie Anderson was to me, a true definition of why and how people view art, and to be honest, I'm not really into that sort of thing, although I can stare at a Canaletto for ages, or hear some perfect music by Vaughan Williams or Butterworth until I'm a dribbling wreck!





But the other night, I was working on a quandary which was a simple miscaculation in the Scrobs Spreadsheet of The Turrets Accounts...

These accounts go back over ten years, and I built the programme for the simple reason, that I always want to know where our dosh is at any particular time, and even after 7,500 lines of numbers, it still works!

But I did a rash thing. 

I'd found a discrepancy of just over 80 quid between income and outgoings, and it was driving me mad! So I set in motion all sorts of checks and balances, which entailed trawling through each month since 2013. As the mouse finger was getting a bit tired, I started a downward scroll using my left hand, across the computer keys.

This all went well until absolute hell let loose, and the figures started dancing around all over the place, and were unstoppable! The dreaded word of 'Ref' appeared on 90% of everything, and I realised that the cuff of my jersey had caught up on the Ctrl key, and with some other key-strokes, the whole programme began to self destruct - including all my thousands of accounting lines!

Luckily, a few glasses of red had relaxed the frame more than somewhat, so I had to think more logically. It wasn't easy to find the antidote to the issue, but I kept remembering the words, 'And the voice said', from Laurie Anderson's piece above...

I just managed to restore a previous copy of the accounts, even though persevering with Chrome took several minutes, almost enough time to open another bottle before I completed the task of getting back to the present day's input.

The voice said - 'Leave it Scrobs, you'll muck it up again in your relaxed state, so LEAVE IT'!

And she was right!

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Brie addiction...



For some reason, we seem to have accumulated a huge stock of this delicacy, and by generous coincidence, we  also received two separate pieces of this gorgeous cheese!

We're currently addicted to both the French variety, and also the English one, usually from Somerset - where the cider apples Grooooooow...(hang on, that's the Coates cider advert Scrobs - Ed), and even last evening, a pleasurable brace of wraps with English tomatoes from Thanet Earth became a banquet beyond compare!

Many years ago, Don McKenzie, the publican of a favourite watering hole, 'The New Inn', in Winchelsea, wrote to the Daily Telegraph, and they published his letter, in which he expressed concern that the French were soon to be producing cheddar cheese! Of course, outrage ensued, and several apolectic missives were in abundance! 

I have a tender memory of the man, because it was purely down to him that I met with the future Senora, and the rest is history, so he really was right!

But back then, who'd have thought that this lovely comestible would become a future prority on the regular visits to Tesco, and half of it would not have to come across The Channel...

..............................

Of course, there's always this...



Sunday 23 June 2024

Pie in the sky...

A.K.Haart has posted a piece that explains much of what is wrong with these people, using their wealth to scream around the world, yelling at others about their peculiar belief in 'the science' which only exists in the bank accounts of those who get involved in the scam and milk the money from the system!

A chum sent me this the other day, which makes sense...



Wednesday 19 June 2024

Grandad...

Scrobs is a normal bloke.

Being the latest exulted member of the cultural experts of Martin Scriblerus, I'm enabled to see the writings of many posters, who are far more interesting than me, but I wish to bring the attention to everyone who knows this ol' grey head, to Grandad's site.

He's having a crap time. Herself is in need of care, in a bed, far away from her home, his dear dog Penny ended her days last week, and now he's got some serious decisions to make about how he's going to deal with the next several weeks.

Throughout today, I've felt really miserable about our friend's predicament - it could suddenly occur with any of us, but about now, at an age when things can sometimes start to go wrong, I want to be with the guy, chat with him, have a glass of whiskey with him,  and generally do what old Scrobs do under the circumstances.

I've cried for you today, Grandad, you have to beat the shit out of all this...

Friday 14 June 2024

Painted green...



Around 1973, soon after Scrobs and Senora O'Blene plighted their various troths, the rugby club was becoming second, or even ninth in our lifestyles, and pretty soon I would be giving up the game...

But around then, as the club still had a thriving singing culture after each match, we decided to prepare a 'cabaret' for the Annual Ball. I had several friends who wanted to contribute, so around seven of us collected a script of some sort which included a few songs as well!

One chum was a Welsh teacher, and as he was a big fan of Max Boyce, he knew all the words to his songs! We incorporated several of these songs in the programme, and one particular song has always stuck out in this ol' grey head, as I've never heard it sung live - still haven't in fact...

But I've only just found the actual words we used!

Thanks to Will Garood, he has reproduced the whole song HERE and I can now remember the lines in all their glory, with my 12 string guitar belting out the chords, and a bunch of drunken hooligans my fellow troubadours singing their hearts out!

My chum Paul, tactfully avoided explaining why, as the comments show on Will's piece, that one of the lines wasn't as printed at the end of the first verse, they were supposed to be as Maldwyn said in the comments!

So you can see why I never understood that line, and now I know!

(Actually, I still have the original script, all crossed out and altered, and without the words to the songs sadly, together with a reel-to-reel tape copy of the dress rehearsal, all wrapped up in the roof...)

.......................................

Thank you Will, I hope you don't mind me crediting you with this gem!

Friday 7 June 2024

The stuff of life...

 

I don't really know why, but of late, I've been buying bread, and instead of just using it until it gets a bit stale, I've been freezing it in four-slice bags and taking them out as we need them.

A loaf of Hovis costs around £1.40, and that works out at around 7p a slice. If anyone had told me when I was a kid, that each sandwich with the butter and a bit of cheese I devoured would be costing around seven bob in old money in the future, I'd never have believed them!

So probably, I do know why I freeze those crumbs...

Monday 27 May 2024

Nature in aspic...


Scrobs was wandering about his local churchyard with Little Big Dog the other day.

The small walk, (the afternoon one, after the prandials and a couple of tilts at the Elderberry), often takes me through this delightful area of tranquility, reverence and death...

But this year, the Vicar has lost his mowing man, who'd do the whole lot in a day, and moan, grumble  and curse all the time he was doing it, and also the lady who deals with the newer graves for burnt people has retired, so the whole shebang is a riot of beautiful wild flowers and grasses!

The picture above shows the proliference of the Virgin's Daisies - a common flower from Victorian times - and maybe not so prevalent now!

One can spot - with some difficulty no less, the Nargwort, which protudes from the cracks in the several grave chests, and creates a rather unpleasant, musty smell when touched, or weed on by said dog, which causes a long leg-cocking and a small woof.

If one looks closely, the casual observer can spot a rare specimen of the Bishop's Fingernail, an insignificant purple flower, prone to decay within minutes of a BBC 'naturewatch' broadcast, and nearby, there will certainly be a Shepherdess Cornwallage - which was a flower associated with the  girls in the fields during the mating season, and is a pretty sight, as long as one doesn't look at the teeth of the iridescent blooms!

One must, however, avoid the spectacle of the Blackened Scumblinge! This hovers around the shady areas of the plague-pit in the corner of the churchyard. It's recognised that anyone who even touches these leaves will contract the bubonics, and die before reaching the Ford Kuga parked outside!

Once one has negotiated the slippery brick paths, and avoided the lawyers gasping for compensation on account of your fall, you'll emerge from the churchyard, refreshed, but seemingly afloat from the smell coming from the compost heap, where everyone chucks the poo bags from previous doggy elements of canine bodily extraction...

Other than that, the walk is exquisite, and on meeting other visitors, one can easily discuss the weather, Leeds United, The Common Market and why the Daily Mail publishes eighty-seven articles about two lost and rather boring ex-royals in every edition of their rag!




 

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Big bangers and a large pint...

Continuing the musical 'bent' of the last post, another track from the past keeps filtering into the ol' grey matter...


Back in the sixties, Scrobs was working in Old Queen Street, just off Birdcage Walk, in Westminster. It was a strange place to have an office, and it was rumoured that the Fabian Society began their shenanigans in the top floor, and the actual room was listed!

But further down the stairs, we all worked quite hard, and several friends were made in the process. One of the schemes we had on was surveying 'The Feathers' pub in Westminster.


Many an undisturbed and friendly pint and several of those long sausages were taken in this place, and a good time was had by all on many occasions! It was also one of the first pubs to have a new innovation, a 'plasma screen' on the wall, which seemed to vibrate and fizz in time with the music! The song above figured on every occasion, and the psychedelic colours bightened up the big bar with quite some intensity!

The whole experience was marvellous, and we didn't even know that half of Scotland Yard's finest, from just a few yards away, would also be sitting among us, with ears and eyes a-kimbo...





Wednesday 15 May 2024

Rim shots...

 


Just recently, this track has been featuring on my Spotify account, as I still think it is one of the best drum solos I've ever heard!

Tony Meehan opened up all sorts of new drum rhythms, and I well remember the bass line, by Jet Harris, (and not all that complicated), thundering through the floorboards of the rooms downstairs at school!

One of my school chums was a pretty good drummer, and he explained to me how rim-shots were made. In basic terms, the stick is allowed to hit both the rim of the drum, and the drum-skin at the same time, giving a sharp staccato sound which adds variability to the general output of the operation.

It seems to me, that Meehan was doing an awful lot of these here, and I just love it all!

Some years ago, I was working in the garage with the radio on, listening to Invicta Radio, and the presenter had a competition going about identifying short sections of records. This piece came on and I half-hearted ly muttered the title I knew so well. He kept on playing it as nobody was ringing in with the answer, so in desperation, I ran indoors and rang him up!

The upshot was, that I immediately went on air with the answer, and had a few seconds friendly discussion with the chap, who promised me a prize and a request next time he was on!

Now wasn't that a nice little story! The prize was a decent LP of the Three Tenors, and lots of publicity stuff for the station! My request was 'All around my hat' by Steeleye Span, as back then it was on daily, and I just thought it was the right track which I liked too!




Friday 3 May 2024

Goosnargh, Guernsey and High Offley...


Some time ago, Scrobs wrote a short piece about this hilarious book.

I still read bits when I spot it on the shelves, and only recently bought an updated copy with some new entries!

The three place names in the title here, relate to food left in the fridge...
  • Goosnargh - Something left over from preparing or eating a meal, which you store in the fridge despite the fact that you know full well that you will never use it.
  • Guernsey - Queasy but unbowed. The kind of feeling one gets when discovering a plastic compartment in a fridge in which things are growing, usually fertilized by copious quantities of goosnargh.
  • High Offley - Goosnargh three weeks later.
Just recently, I bought an air fryer, as my daughter showed me her machine, and I was immediately hooked on all the possibilities! The opportunities for speedy cooking and fabulous chips etc., are outstanding, and I've been experimenting daily with all sorts of recipes!

The trouble is, that Senora O'Blene eats like a bird these days, so the leftover food piles up in the fridge, and I have to take a serious inventory of the flans, sausages etc., which are crowding the shelves!

The three place names above are beginning to make sense, but of course, I have absolutely no wish to denigrate their presence in our Sainted Isles...

But the whole volume is utterly hilarious, and well worth a place on any book shelf!





 

Sunday 28 April 2024

Memories of Idle...

 


Many years ago, these sparse pages were graced by a true friend and colleague, known to everyone as 'Idle'!

He commented regularly here, as well as on other more worthy sites, and in fact, we sometimes conversed in a private capacity, and I liked his company, and enjoyed the banter!

For no reason other than that I wish to remain sane and well away from the realms of dementia, or worse, I suddenly recalled an immortal saying that he printed here somewhere, which related to the subject of a gentleman breaking wind...

"Keep on shouting Colonel, we'll be sending a rope down shortly..."!

I still giggle uncontrollably at that magnificent statement!

Saturday 20 April 2024

The 'old April'...


One of life's mysteries was solved this week!

In 'Only fools and horses', there's a scene where Delboy mentions 'The old April was pouting like a goodun'! 

There were many queries from TV watchers, puzzled looks from national figures, questions in the house, and a NATO operation to investigate the issue!

Scrobs had to diligently search for - oooh - several seconds to get the answer!

  • Arse
  • Bottle and glass
  • Bottle
  • Aristotle
  • Aris
  • April in Paris
  • April!
So all those mis-spent seconds have revealed yet another fact to embellish these columns by another glorious result!


Monday 15 April 2024

The ashtray...





One of my all time cricketing heroes, Derek Underwood has died.

Being here, in Kent, it wasn't difficult to support and watch the great man spinning his way to victory in so many matches, and I was always bewitched by his sessions with open-mouthed awe, seeing him on TV so often with my dad, and much later at the county ground with a pint in my hand!

When I worked for a great company in Canterbury, he had been offered his Benefit Year, and, as we had a sponsorship deal with KCCC, it meant we had a board up at the boundary, so we got quite a lot of publicity from it all as well! That Summer, we took a box in the Members' Stand, and invited several guests along, to celebrate Derek's Benefit occasion.

He made sure that he visited every sponsor and benefactor, and personally chatted with as many guests as he could! I had a lovely handwritten letter from him, thanking us all for our contributions, and for me to shake his hand on that big day, was a triumph which I will never forget.

And why the title?

One of the ground staff at Canterbury once told me that his corner of the dressing room had that name as he liked the odd smoke now and then...

He's still a hero!

R.I.P. Derek - St Paul hasn't a chance outside the off stump!








Friday 12 April 2024

Lighting up time...

 


I know I vowed to keep the dear old Golf forever, in fact I even mentioned it here only late last year, but one or two MOT niggles appeared unannounced, and both of us also discovered that we were finding it more difficult to get in and out, the old chap being so low to the ground, so we went for something a bit higher!

The other day, I had to drive during dusk, and while idly waiting in traffic, I sat and stared at all the lights and function attributes in new Tiguan car...

After a bit of disbelief, I counted over seventy small lights, and that was including the speedometer and rev counter as only one light each!

Having recovered, I fondly remembered out old Fiat 500 c1965 - CDY 538C - which had three interior lights including the speedometer, and four if you were lucky at night...



Friday 5 April 2024

The taxman coughing...

Exactly fifty years ago today, our elder daughter was born!

She appeared at around 2.00am, and was a healthy, quite large little lady, and her mother was understandably exhausted - and very sore! I'd been sent home as the birth was going to be difficult.

I had also been requested not to visit until later in the day, and as I had to go to work anyway, the whole visiting issue became a requirement for a little work in the morning, a huge visit to the pub at lunchtime, and then, later on, a long, long time with both the Senora, and brand new daught!

The pub visit that day produced a fabulous result - almost as good as the event itself! My boss, and some senior staff used a pub across the road for their lunchtime sessions, and they were occasionally joined by several local worthies in the same business, like architects, surveyors, and also, a local accountant. I very occasionally joined them, but really preferred to avoid too much time there, and anyway, couldn't afford the scotches and pints of JC back then, but, this time was, of course, different!

While accepting a large drink from our accountant friend, he asked me again, exactly what time our daughter was born! When I told him the time - 2.00am that day - he gave me a huge grin, guffawed immensely and exclaimed in Anglo-Saxon terms that I was the luckiest 'bugger' he'd met for ages, as I could now claim a whole year's Child Benefit, complete up to just 22 hours before the deadline! He even drafted the letter I should write on a paper serviette perched at the bar, and of course, joined me in much jollification!

Now, that refund was worth three weeks' taxed salary, and paid for an awful lot - including the big drink I bought him of course, with grateful thanks!

Wednesday 3 April 2024

April evening...

 


Still stirs the soul...



Wednesday 27 March 2024

An engineer told me before he died, aaarrrrumditty...

Understanding Engineers #1
Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"
The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."
The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice. The clothes probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."

Understanding Engineers #2
To the optimist, the glass is half-full. To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers #3
A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, "What's with those guys? We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!"
The priest said, "Here comes the green-keeper. Let's have a word with him."
He said, "Hello George, What's wrong with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The green-keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind firemen. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."
The group fell silent for a moment.
The priest said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if there's anything she can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"
 
Understanding Engineers #4
What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers? Mechanical engineers build weapons. Civil engineers build targets.

Understanding Engineers #5
The graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?" The graduate with an engineering degree asks, "How does it work?" The graduate with an accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?" The graduate with an arts degree asks,
"Do you want fries with that?"

 
Understanding Engineers #6
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

 
Understanding Engineers #7
An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."
He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn back into a beautiful princess and stay with you for one week."
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want."
Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog - now that's cool."
Understanding two engineers #8 Two engineers were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking at its top.
A woman walked by and asked what they were doing.
"We're supposed to find the height of this flagpole," said Steven, "but we don't have a ladder."
The woman took a wrench from her purse, loosened a couple of bolts, and laid the pole down on the ground. Then she took a tape measure from her pocketbook, took a measurement, announced, "Twenty-one feet, six inches," and walked away.
One engineer shook his head and laughed. "A lot of good that does us. We ask for the height and she gives us the length!"
Both engineers have since quit their engineering jobs and are currently serving in Parliament.
 

Saturday 23 March 2024

The smoothing of the boards...


Quite a few years ago, a rookie surveyor Scrobs was working on a sceme for a client, who turned out to be Andrew Timothy, better known as the Producer of The Goon Shows, but that's not the story. His builder was knocking two cottages into one, and we were there just to make sure he wasn't being ripped off!

Just the other day, I was flicking rough some local adverts, and noticed a company which operates a sanding device to clean up old wooden floors, and then reseal them! This work sure makes a better effect than the laminates and fake plastic stuff around these days, and I pondered on why I was remembering the detail from these two cottages - for some considerable time, I might say!

It turned out to be the flooring from a Nissen Hut that was being used! 

Now this seems a bit mundane, but thinking back, when these huts were originally built as temporary accomodation, storage buildings etc, they came in all shapes and sizes, and also with flooring varying from concrete to timber! The materials would have been pretty robust, despite their Spartan appearance!

It turned out that the flooring being used here was indeed beech planking from an old hut, which had been lifted and stored for reuse at some stage. The bulder had lovingly relaid the boards, and then applied a sander to the whole area, and, because there were imperfections, dents, holes, etc., the effect was absolutely stunning, as there was still some sign of the original usage, while the 'raised' areas were taken back to a new state! I wish I'd taken a picture of the result, but didn't even have a camera, so that was never going to happen!

Even these days, whenever old timber becomes available, I keep some back - like some beech pieces from a couple of pallets I rescued a couple of months ago, and have even started to try out the Black and Decker sander...


Wednesday 13 March 2024

Scrobs doesn't pull it off...



The other day, Scrobs attended a memorial service for the husband of an old friend. In fact, my friend had been a flat-mate of my dear sister's, and whenever I stayed in London for exams, interviews etc., I would kip down in their place and use my lady-chum's bed during the night, as she was a nurse on nights at the hospital! She would arrive home about the time I left and sleep through the day, but sadly, never the twain would meet...

The church was packed to the rafters! My departed chum had been a local farmer with a family history going back centuries, so it wasn't unreasonable to expect the two-hundred-plus members of the local community to turn up and see him off!

Now, I knew parking would be a problem, so I arranged with a daughter, who lives in the village, to drop off the car in her drive, and walk to the church, which was about half a mile away. It was a lovely afternoon with brilliant sunshine and the walk was certainly the right thing to do as there were still cars circling and looking for spaces up to a few minutes before the service!

I found the last seat in the pew right at the back, so could see nothing, and it was a rousing service with several laughs and a few sad moments, but on the whole the crowd behaved themselves and eventually got ready to leave the church, which took half an hour, as the family, quite rightly, wanted to meet everyone! I walked back to the car and had an extended chat with my daughter and eventually got away to the reception which was going on a couple of miles away!

The car park was solid! I was in fact the last visitor to get there and managed to park some way away and walked into room absolutely bulging with friends and relatives, all chatting at high volume. There was an international loose scrum of about twenty people at the bar, so a drink was going to be a challenge too!

So Scrobs decided to walk away...

Back in my working days, I would relish the thought of arriving at a function where hundreds of friends, acquaintances, strangers, in fact anyone, were in a similar situation, as networking was in its infancy, and I would be making damned sure that I met as many people as possible, because that was part of my job! But here, after many years of retirement, I just couldn't hack it! I would only have known my friend and her two sons whom I'd met a couple of times, and for the first time in many years, Scrobs was overwhelmed and daunted!

Can't remember ever feeling like that before...


Wednesday 6 March 2024

1812 revisited...

 


I don't think I can ever remember my dad laughing as loud as when this piece was broadcast in 1967! He just had hysterics and exploded in great guffaws at every part of each scene!

Even now, I can still laugh at some of the parts, but remembering the mirth we all experienced nearly sixty years ago brings a huge grin to this ol' face!



Thursday 29 February 2024

Slide rule...


Scrobs has now read everything that Nevil Shute wrote, from his very first story, to his autobiography, 'Slide rule', which I finished yesterday...

Now there was one man I really would have wanted to meet! 

'Slide rule' describes all his working life in the airship and aeroplane business, from an unpaid job with de Havilland to Managing Director of Airspeed Ltd. When he was at Vickers, his close involvement with the design and development of the R100 was the commercial version of the sister ship, the R101. Both were commisioned by the Air Ministry, and Nevil Shute Norway's company was the privately organised concern, operating out of Howden, Yorkshire, while the other airship was being designed and built by government contractors at Cardington, Bedfordshire.

I need not go into the detail, because it is obvious almost from day one, that Shute's company's design was going to be superior, mainly because of interference and even ignorance from the ministry at most stages, and he pulls no punches when he descibes the pomposity and arrogance of the officials who were administering the whole project. In fact, his narrative almost spills out in anger when he describes later dealings with the powers that be in Whitehall - rather like we experience nowadays, but without the drawing board...

My mum, who was born in a village near Cardington, remembered going down and watching the work on the airship, and I wish I'd asked her more about it all!

The whole story is riveting, and, like his novels, there's a fabulous, heart-warming twist in the end!

Thursday 22 February 2024

They don't want your name, they want your number...

The Mail has this short article, which enlightens the soul...

Some years ago, a friend entered our room at the office laughing his head off!

He'd seen a car with the number PHA 111C...

I always wanted a 'normal number plate' which would reflect my yearning for an earlier time of life, when we all took number plates seriously, and indeed, often camped out on the roadside, making lists of all the numbers of vehicles which passed by! Well, it beat watching videos on YouTube back then!

I once saw a number on a police car in Eastbourne which was my dad's old number - RAP 138! I waited for ages to tell the cop, but he never appeared!

Car, van and lorry numbers these days don't have the character of the older ones, like anything the government touches! Tradition gets shoved away to make things easier for the computers which were made to make things easier for the increased numbers of people employed to flick over the keys on them and help plod to identify the culprits and then report them, via computer to - oh sod it - who knows...


Monday 19 February 2024

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Guess who's coming to dinner...



The other night, Ian Payne, who handles the 4.00am - 7.00am slot for LBC, covered a phone-in subject which seemed very interesting.

If slumbering isn't on the cards, I'll switch on the AirPods, and listen to a few sessions when he's on, because he's a pleasant sort of chap on air, knows his sport backwards, and is probably someone I'd like to chat with in a pub if he lived down the road!

The subject he mentioned was, 'If you could ask a few people to dinner - either present or past, who would you invite to your home"? It's not a new concept, but always interesting as there'll be the usual names like Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth, Jimmy Page etc., and he treats all his callers and texters equally, giving them a chance, (if on the phone), to explain why!

As I still couldn't sleep, I set myself to thinking whom I'd like to meet on such an occasion, and suddenly had a lightbulb moment - I'd like to see my dad and uncles again, and also my grandfather, whom I'd never met, as he died in 1940. It seemed a signal sort of revelation, and I've begun to think it through in some detail, as we all had something in common, which is/was building, construction and development!

My dad knew most of what I was doing when he popped off, and my uncles knew some sort of work I was up to, although it was different at the time they died. We could always chat about various aspects of the business when I was much younger. But I'd love to hear how my grandfather managed his business back in the nineteen-twenties. He was very successful then, with a thriving company, many of his own properties and employing over fifty people in Letchworth, Herts.

And more to the point, how would my grandfather talk to his three sons? Would he tell them where they could have done this or that, and would they answer back? And also, would they ask him how he fared after he lost simply everything during the depression in the 1920s, and had to start all over again! His three sons knew all about that of course, but I only have memories of discussions and some notes left by one of my uncles!

It's an absorbing conundrum, and I still haven't got very many questions I'd like to ask. I'd also like to tell them that I also made a few quid, not perhaps as much as they did, but I married successfully, provided for the family, am still living a pretty varied and happy life and could assure them that they didn't go too far wrong in begetting their next generations - I think...


Thursday 8 February 2024

Best Divorce Letter Ever...



Dear Wife,

I am writing this letter to let you know that I am leaving you forever. In our seven years of marriage, the truth is that I have been a good husband to you and I have absolutely nothing from that.

These last couple of weeks have been really hard for me. Your boss told me that you left your job just today and that, well that was the final straw.

Two weeks ago, when you came home after work, you did not even notice that I had cooked your favorite dish, I had a brand new haircut or a new pair of boxers.

You just ate for a couple of minutes, you watched all of your soaps and went straight to bed. The truth is that you don’t care about me, you don’t tell me you love me anymore, and you don’t touch me or anything.

Either you do not love me anymore, or you’re cheating on me, no matter in which case, I have to say it’s over and I’m leaving.

Your Ex-husband

P.S. Please, do not try to find me. Your sister Carla and I are moving to West Yorkshire together! Wish you the best and I hope you have a great life!

................

Dear Ex-Husband,

Believe me one thing. Getting your letter really made my day perfect. Yes, we have been married for seven years, but a good husband is completely different from what you have been.

Yes, I watch TV shows, but I do it because the soaps drown out your nonstop griping and whining, but this doesn’t seem to work.

And yes, I noticed your brand new haircut, but the first thing I thought was that you look like a girl. And you know I was raised not to say anything in case I cannot say something nice.

That’s why I decided not to speak about it or comment on your haircut. When you made my favourite dish, you must have gotten me mixed with my lovely sister, since I stopped consuming pork seven years ago.

When it comes to your new boxers, I didn’t comment since you still had the £49.80 price tag on them and I hoped that it was a coincidence that my lovely sister Carla had borrowed £50 from me the same day.

But even after all, I still cared about you and I loved you, and I believed that we might make this work. So, when I got lucky on the Lottery for 15 million pounds, what I did was quit my job and bought us two tickets to Hawaii.

But, by the time I got home you were already gone. I guess there is a reason for everything. I genuinely hope that you will have the life you always desired.

Moreover, according to my lawyer, the letter you sent me ensures that you won’t get a penny from what I've got now. So, there is nothing more to say but take care.

Your Ex-Wife – Free, and Rich

P.S. I believe I haven’t told you this, but my lovely sister Carla was actually born as Carl. I hope that is no issue for you.


Wednesday 31 January 2024

Time table...



This song cropped up in the car the other day, and while it is still a favourite album of mine, I've never really wondered about the lyrics, which now seem to come alive a bit more!

When our parents eventually popped off, we inherited several pieces of furniture, and to this day, we still use the dining table and chairs from my mum and dad's house. I can remember sitting on the chairs when they were at my grandfather's house - The 'White Hart' pub in Campton, near Shefford, and as for the table, my paternal grandfather made it in the nineteen-twenties as his desk for the family firm!

But what amazes me, is that nowadays, I need a cushion to get up to eating level! 

So, back when I was six or seven, I was possibly looking at the table from nearly a foot lower, so would have been eating my egg which would have been on a level with my nose! At Christmas, the whole extended family would sit around it to play 'Brag' - for half-pennies too! I'll have to ask my dear sister if I was ever allowed to have a cushion back then...



Sunday 21 January 2024

Required reading cock-up...


I'm trying to update the recent posts list, and Blogger won't let me change the names! I type in the names, and the URLs, then it won't let me save them - or delete them!

Does anyone know why this is please - I use Blogger of course!

Any ideas anyone...?

Saturday 13 January 2024

Log on, then log on again...


Since October last year - in fact also during the winter of 2022/3, Scrobs has been amassing a huge woodpile for the open fire at The Turrets! These logs are essential to counteract the ridiculous scare-scam about global grilling, as it gets quite cold in the living room at this time of year!

Over several years, logs have cost up to £100.00 a load, which is about nine or ten barrow loads. We've usually had them from a friend, who is a tree surgeon, and also a trader in these barn-stored pieces around this time of year, and they are a joy to burn! The norm has been two or three loads each season.

But for the last two winters, The Turrets has had the benefit of the generosity of another chum, who lives not far from here. He has been steadily upgrading his (already) large home, and clearing a sizeable estate of failing yew and beech trees, which were in a parlous condition. The trees have been cut to suit an open fire, and have been stored in those big square bags under tarpaulins. There must have been an original pile of about thirty of these bags - and he'd just decided to get rid of his log-burner!

So, even after my friend had placed an advert in the local rag for 'Free Firewood', amazingly, only one man noticed it, and called round! He was duly rewarded with as much as he could carry in his new BMW, and for some reason, he also decided to drive into a telegraph pole, but that wasn't planned at all!

So these piles of wood remained untouched for two or three years!

Scrobs was walking Lily the hound one morning, and bumped into our arboreal philanthropist, who realised that Scrobs did indeed have an open fire, and would I like to avail myself of a few loads! Well, the answer could be nothing but a hasty 'Yes Please'!

So, there have been twenty-odd journeys in the Golf, (duly protected with a huge dust sheet), and a resulting load during each visit of around a dozen to fifteen, full plastic bags for the woodshed! It is a labour of love, as each bag would have cost a few quid in Tesco, and probably a bit less from our normal supplier, but Hellfire, what is two hours of hard labour when there's a saving of about £70.00 a pop!

So it's a public 'Thank you', Darren! I hope our return gifts each Christmas have maintained the time-honoured matter of some sort of alcoholic recognition of such generosity, and we're very grateful to see such a huge saving on our heating bills!

 

Friday 5 January 2024

Jam today...

 


Scrobs is in the middle of a new craze...

While gardening takes a bit of a back seat around now, the inventive juices look for alternatives, and bread-making has surfaced as a likely contender. It's rather pleasant knowing that one's daily bread has none of the chemical additives with long scientific names, and the scent is overpowering! It also makes fabulous toast!

But, an alternative use is making marmalade, and that really is a challenge which is well worth exploring! I spotted a tray of Seville oranges in Waitrose the other day, and the old brain cells sort of clicked into place, with a recollection that I had a programme on the machine that made jam, and sure enough, it does the business!

The first batch looked as though it hadn't set, so on advice from the 'net' I gave it another hour, which turned a pleasant orange mess into a solid black mess! The spoon bounced off the top, and although I had to loosen it all and dilute it, I finished up with a very strong, dark brown concoction, which actually tastes quite nice!

So, back to the original recipe, and paying more attention to advice, the second and third batches have proved to be pretty damn good, although I say it myself!

Today's the last day of manufacture. I'll finish up with about eight or nine jars of the orange nectar, which should last until around 2026...