Sunday, 30 August 2009


Number two son, Thomas is home this weekend. That is, he is sleeping in the house (well, he didn't last night, but I'm assured he will tonight), but hasn't taken any meals with us yet.

However, his washing has been done and he is currently out with his friends and having met them yesterday, they seem like a jolly nice bunch, so I assume life is good for him.

Today we enjoyed a surprise visit from two of our longest standing friends and I'd forgotten what a delight old friends can be. They are grappling with the same issues as we are and it is comforting to note that people I have the greatest respect for tackle the issues in the same way that we have. There is much common sense in the world, even if it does not get much media coverage.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Getting my head round these things

It has been a busy week. This weekend looks like it will be busy too. Now I like having plenty to keep me occupied, but somehow it has all got a bit much lately, and I'm not sure why I feel this way. I think it is because I have a number of things I want to do or get done and no schedule of when they will get done. Hence I am feeling stressed.

The remedy for this is simple, of course - to sit down with a diary and write down when I want to get the things done. I've just decided when the Land Rover will be submitted for its MOT test and somehow, that issue has gone away. I can see I need to spend more time with my diary, and of course it won't be long now before we head off to buy next years diary!

Thursday, 27 August 2009


For the last two days I have been helping a widowed friend move some furniture. My role was confined to hiring and driving a van, and a little light lifting.
The van was a jumbo Transit with a long wheelbase and a high roof. It was very commodious and drove just like a car - in fact it managed to achieve 70 mph with apparently very little effort, although the fuel consumption went up after that. A very different beast from the old van I last hired. It just goes to show the progress vehicles have made.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Wow, I'm bushed

The first day at the allotment has been spent working and talking. Five people introduced themselves and were full of good advice. I've strimmed just about all of it - I've left the beans and the raspberries, and I've tried to get the weeds away from them. People have given me runner beans, rhubarb and raspberries and one nice guy (Thanks Andy) lent me his mower which cut and mulched most of the weeds. I now have to deal with the pernicious Mares Tail, but I have a plan. A cunning plan.

Now to implement it.

Watch this space.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Relax, you've retired....

With the car laden, the roof box on top and full, and the dinghy on the back, we cruised back home this morning. The grass had grown (and has now been cut), the new shower in our en-suite has been commissioned and best of all, Stuart Broad routed the Australians.

A key to the allotment has been made available and I shall go and make a start tomorrow morning.

It is now clear that there will have to be two trips from Cornwall to bring all the stuff that is currently there. We also need to go to Spalding. Gosh, life is busy.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

I don't like the look of this...

The size of the van we will need to clear my mother's house is getting bigger.......


We shall need to make more than one trip......

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Clearing out

The sale of what was my mothers bungalow is underway. We are here in Cornwall trying to work out what we want, what we can Freecycle, what can go to a charity shop, and what is only good for the tip.

What we want will have to go in a van, and the size of that van will be an outcome of this weeks travails. I have reserved a van for next week to move furniture for Jan, my son-in-law's mother so recently and sadly widowed. The list of stuff to be moved started out at three items, but seems to have grown steadily.... So I have upped the size of the vehicle.

Freecycle (see is an absolute boon. The five items I put on late yesterday evening have all been requested.

If I'm honest, I just want it over and done with.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Jaguars (again!)

Thinking I had nearly all the day to myself on Thursday, I sloped off to the Jaguar dealership in Coventry where a delightful young man took me for a test drive of a Jaguar XJ.

i.e. like the one in the picture on the left.

I have to say that this vehicle just floated along. talk about waft... this wafted in the finest style. It is a large car, but it doesn't feel like it. You barely have to do more than think about changing direction and you have. I drove it for about 15 miles on mainly country lanes and it managed 35 mpg. I guess at a steady 70 it would do rather more. I shall now count my pennies and see if I can afford not to have one, but before I do, I need to test drive and XF.

Lucky me!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Dozy old sod....

There have been a number of occasions recently where I have got a completely different understanding of something than the person trying to tell me about it. Somewhere between my ears and my brain is a duff connection the effect of which is to scramble the message that someone is trying to give me. I wonder if I give off any visual clues that this is happening?

Otherwise all I can say to you poor people who have to deal with me is that you are going to have to treat me like i am a child of 5, and really spell things out in words of half a syllable. I really must be very difficult to deal with.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Bad Back and Bad Selections...

Another weekend has gone by. I'm sitting here waiting for the chiropractors to phone back as I have put my back out and the sooner I can get it sorted, the better. The shower in our en-suite is leaking, and now I'm told that the rail in the shower in the bathroom is coming off the wall. - Ah, the joys of property ownership.

As I hurt my back on Saturday, I have spent a few hours listening to Test Match Special describing the dire performance of the England Cricket Team. The inability of a group of professional sportsmen to perform at such a dismal level makes me think there is something wrong with the way that they are selected. How have Ravi Bopara, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood been selected in front of Rob Keys and Mark Ramprakash? Have James Anderson and Steve Harmison lost the ability to learn from what they are doing? Frankly, only Stuart Broad and Graham Swann emerge from the wreckage with any credit.

The Aussies must be giggling wildly as we move towards the final Test at the Oval.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

More Jaguar thoughts

Right. I have decided that I will have a Jaguar. I now need to decide which one (see previous post). I have resolved to try and drive both in the next two weeks, and to review my investments to see if I can decide how much I want to spend.

This is going to be difficult. and I don't need any more egging on from my family (Chris!)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

XJ or XF...?

At some point in my life, I would like a Jaguar. (the car that is, not a big cat). I have started to think that this aspiration should be realised sooner rather than later, so today I went with Chris to look at a Jaguar XJ, which has been the object of my desire. Chris has a good friend whose father has an XF and insisted that we look at one. I didn't want to. I didn't want to like it. But I did and I do. It is gorgeous. Now I want one. Trouble is, I cannot justify spending that much money... Oh woe is me.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Thinning out the population....

I've got two longish posts out of my system. I can now go back to my more normal ravings. First up, I am completely mystified as to why a significant proportion of the population cannot find a numbered seat in an aeroplane or train. Next time you get on a train or plane, just watch.

The answer is simple. At the age of 18, everyone should be given a boarding card, put in an aeroplane and given between 40 and 60 seconds (dependent on the size of the plane) to find their alloted seat. Anyone who fails this simple test should be liquidated with prejudice. There is no place on the planet for people who cannot.

A Week in Jersey

After a week sailing, my lovely lady joined me in Jersey for a weeks R&R. I had booked a Bed and Breakfast in St Aubin, so once we had collected the hire car, we set out to find it. The hire car was a new Ford Ka and I was glad we had chosen the smallest car available. It took us a while to find the place (we had to ask a local man) and it was tucked well away from the main road round two very tight right angled bends.

The first task, after unpacking was to take my dirty washing off to the laundromat. While the washing was going round, we had a chance to reconnoitre the local restaurants. We chose one and after a brief drive to see some sights I remembered from my childhood, we settled on one and enjoyed a decent dinner.

Monday started, as did every other day, with a good breakfast and then a drive round to the eastern side of the island for a walk in St Catherine's woods. The first few yards of the walk passed a small dam along which we could walk. My lovely lady suffered vertigo in the middle of the dam wall and had to sit on the wall for a while. I managed not to laugh, but only just.

The whole week was spent doing very little – we just did what we wanted and then sat on park benches and read the paper or a book. We ate out most evenings, had fish and chips dispensed by the dumbest person on the planet (a young woman , as it turned out), bought some clothes and some pearls, looked at sights, went to a Michelin starred restaurant, ate ice creams – in general all the things that normal tourists do.

We discussed going to St Malo for the day, but somehow decided that a decent meal in a Michelin starred restaurant would be a better option. The restaurant in question was Bohemia, whose chef is Sean Rankin. Mr. Rankin appeared in the BBC series “A Great British Menu” and we were quite impressed by his offerings. Jini had the featured menu from that show while I chose other things. Boy, was it good. I really didn't need any food the following day.

Among the things we went to see was St Matthews Church near St Helier. This is a small parish Church adjacent to a fine old house. One of the previous house owners commissioned Rene Lalique to fit out the church with many glass fittings. You can get an idea from the website here. It is astonishingly beautiful. If you are ever in Jersey, do take the time to visit. There are some photos above of the screens and the glass font.

here is a picture of me on board a novelty 2 seater bike that we hired. For some reason on Thursday, I felt in need of some exercise and this certainly provided it.


On Friday I managed to get in a session of Blokarting. This is what most people would call land yachting and excellent fun it was too. I managed to only turn my kart over once and spent quite a while on 2 wheels, the windward wheel being well off the ground.

A picture of my Blokarting efforts is on the left

Saturday was spent largely at the Jersey Fish Festival which is a celebration of all things seafood. As you can see from the photos, there was a good crowd in attendance and some real fun and games in the harbour.

All too soon, it was time to come home. It was a most enjoyable and relaxing holiday.