Sunday, 25 September 2016

Just discovered!

While doing some housework on my computer (deleting old files that will never be used again) I came across a short 'video' I made back in the dawn of our French adventures.  We went to visit a house that I originally described thus:

It stood foursquare and forlorn with drooping shutters and with just about sufficient fragments of paint clinging to the door and window frames for a forensic scientist to work out what colour it had once been. Devising a way of opening the gate without causing it to collapse in a heap of worm-eaten wood almost needed the intelligence of Einstein and would have made a first class project for that old TV programme, The Krypton Factor. The garden was so overgrown that Dr Livingstone would have been quite at home in it. It would probably have taken Stanley just as long to find him here as it had in central Africa. When we had fought our way into the house and entered the kitchen, the first thing we noticed was a tidemark about fifteen inches up the wall. This, apparently, marked the highest level of the last flood.

"Not to worry," advised Monsieur D [the estate agent], jauntily. He went on to explain that the local authority had spent vast sums of money on flood defence measures which he would be delighted to show us.

The rest of the house was in much the same condition. The roof needed replacing, as did the windows and door. The wiring would have to be ripped out, and one room would need to be converted to a bathroom. Mrs S would never put up with the tumbledown brick shed beside the front gate, even if I had cleared away the jungle. There really was far too much work required although, as Monsieur D cheerfully said, it was "a small price for much work".
While I was glumly considering the wash basin on the landing with its mottled green and brown stains, Mrs S was pulling up the tattered carpets, which lay two deep, to expose the original terra-cotta floor tiles. I have to admit they were in remarkably good condition. But that was it, as far as Mrs S was concerned. The walls might have been falling down and the wiring more lethal than Alabama's electric chair, but as long as there remained perfectly good, old, terra-cotta floor tiles, she would be happy.

Monsieur D was astounded. "Madame prefers this?" he asked in a faint voice. "Definitely," replied madame firmly.

And this what I have discovered:


Saturday, 24 September 2016

In the news this week

If you have spent the week in Antarctica or on the moon, you might not have heard that Mary Berry will not be going to Channel 4.

There is, of course, a back story.

"The Great British Bake Off, often referred to as Bake Off or GBBO, is a BAFTA award-winning British television baking competition which selects from amongst its contestants the best amateur baker. The series is presented by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and judged by cookery writer Mary Berry and professional baker Paul Hollywood." (Wiki)

Paul, Sue, Mel & Mary
Since its inception, the show, now (I believe) in its seventh series, has been shown on BBC although it has been produced by an independent production company.  Recently, the production company accepted an offer of £25 million from Channel 4 for a future series, the BBC not being prepared to pay more than £12.5 million - although I am fairly certain I have also seen the figure of £15 million.

Be that as it may, the two presenters - Mel and Sue - stated immediately that they would not be going to Channel 4 with the show. Paul Hollywood subsequently announced that he would. But only a day or two ago, Mary Berry declared that she would remain with the Beeb out of loyalty to the broadcaster that had given the show its start.

(Loyalty: now there's an old-fashioned notion!)

I reckon that I, with the OB, must be one of only a very small minority of people in this country that has never watched:
  • The Great British Bake Off;
  • Strictly Come Dancing;
  • The X Factor;
  • Britain's Got Talent;
  • The Voice.
Nor do we watch:

  • Coronation Street;
  • Emmerdale;
  • Eastenders;
  • Holby City
  • Casualty.
Maybe there's something wrong with us - or maybe it's all the others who are out of step!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Just like buses

Most days I  manage to find enough to keep me from twiddling my thumbs - which is no bad thing. Boredom is never o be welcomed. Of course, it may well be simply a  matter of 'work' expanding o fill the time available. Most days. Then there are days like today, days when, just like buses, jobs come in fleets, days when I wish time could be stretched to fit the work to be done. It's gone eleven at night and I'm only just getting round to the blog!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Pub grub

Those were the days: brown ale served in nearly clean glasses, your change too sticky to put in your pocket, the bar almost completely fogged with cigarette smoke. And if you wanted food - well, a packet of crisps (with a choice of two or maybe even three flavours if you were very lucky) or pork scratchings or a dismally small packet of peanuts. The peasants drank in the public bar, the toffs in the saloon, which probably sported a bit of cheap carpet and a few armchairs. The dart board would have been in the public bar - no pool table in those days, nor one-arm bandits either!

But gone are those days! Well, almost. There are still a few pubs that have not bought into the late-20th century revolution or at least, not fully. Most pubs will offer a choice of ales or bitters (the one I was in today offered five) as well as stout and a choice of lagers - and often three different red wines and a couple of whites. Some, known as gastro-pubs, even offer a distinctly up-market menu.

The Swan Inn was the lunch venue today. A homely pub in a village just outside Brighton, with three bars with no difference between them except their size. The lunchtime menu is distinctly "pub grub": scampi and chips, cod and chips, baked potatoes with various fillings, gammon, egg and chips, sausage, bacon, egg and chips and so on. No beef and ale pie or lasagna as served in many pubs - just cheerful and (relatively) cheap "pub grub".

And I enjoyed my meal!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

It's Tuesday

It's not raining but the sky is 10/10 cloud. It's not cold, but nor is it hot.

That's about all there is to say.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Another old one

Q: Why do elephants paint their toenails red?

A: So they can hide in cherry trees.

Q: Have you ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree?

A: No - so it must work!

Now I'll take me off to the barber's.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Fruit picking

I missed the few blackcurrants that ripened this year - and there were very few - and we have had no raspberries, chiefly because the man we have come in to do the heavy work in the garden strimmed the canes before they got going! there were, as usual, plenty of plums on the two trees but, again as usual, they rotted on the branch before they were ripe. We appeared to have a goodly number of pears, but when I looked this morning they were down to about a dozen. I have seen the jackdaws eating them only once, and a squirrel was dining on them one time, but quite a number dropped and I presume the jackdaws and squirrels between them have seen off the rest.

The summer has been too dry (now there's a novelty!) for the blackberries to swell to their usual size. Those I have picked have been only half the size of those we still have in the freezer from last year. But at least we are getting some.

The big success this year is the crop of crab apples. there was a time when I scooped them off the verge, having learned where there are two or three planted in local roads, but for several years those trees have had no fruit. Last year I discovered a new tree. New to me, that is. And I was able to collect a satisfactory quantity for the Old Bat to make crab apple jelly. This year the tree is smothered in fruit. I brought home a couple of pounds this afternoon and no one would know that I had picked any, such is the enormous crop.

As they say, you win some, you lose some. Or perhaps that should be you lose most but might win one - if you're lucky!