Friday, 25 October 2013


I do miss some great photo opportunities.

Yesterday morning stopped outside our local pub was the biggest articulated truck I have ever seen.  It wasn't stopped in a straight line, it looked jack-knifed with its cab folded back almost onto the trailer.  Also parked was a police car.  Inside one police woman was writing notes.  The other policeman was wandering around outside.  There was no sign of the lorry driver.

One thing I know for certain was that the truck had not been speeding and had not had to brake sharply to end up in this position.  The reason I know this is that the only way to get to the pub is up a long, very narrow lane.  You have to drive very slowly even in a small car to navigate your way.  At best there is room for traffic in one direction as there are cars parked all along one side, and you take your life in your hands if you drive anything much bigger than a Ford Cortina.  My suspicion is that the driver had blindly followed his sat nav and taken a wrong turn.  There is nowhere to turn.  It will have to reverse down.  That may take all day, or perhaps longer as the lane is quite winding.  And steep (I know. - it nearly kills me when I cycle up it).

In truth he had done every well to get it up there at all.  But I do feel sorry for the owner of the Mini Convertible which was parked down the lane.  One side had been removed, leaving a jagged wreck and two wheels were spread liberally across the road.

It's always hard to engage brain when following a sat nav.

Last night I briefly attended the World Architecture House of the Year Awards.  Not surprisingly, it was won by a Swedish house which looked as though it had a concrete pyramid for a roof.  The room was full of achingly beautiful young things all claiming to be architects.  Some of them may even have been.  After a quick couple of glasses of champagne I hot-footed it back to our neck of the woods to see the second half of the amateur production of 'Playboy of the western world'.  It's certainly a good deal better now than when I studied it for 'O' level...I wonder how I would have felt then if I'd actually seen it performed.

Tonight I'll be dining at the National Theatre.  The Cat's Mother, sister and brother, and bessie will be there listening to an interview with the loveable Simon Russell-Beale, but I'll be missing that and arriving just in time for the food.  Once we've dined, The Cat's Mother will return home.  I will return to my office, climb into my halloween glow-in-the-dark skeleton outfit and then set off for a 100km fright night ride round the streets of London, hopefully returning by dawn.  I hope it isn't raining.  As I haven't cycled since I was knocked off, it may prove to be more than quite a challenge.

When I do get home, I hope I can have a sleep, as Saturday evening we're off to see The's a Wonderful Life

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Taking a bite

The Boy may be contemplating whether his trip to Brecon Beacon was a wise decision.  I received a text this morning which said "Sideways rain, gale force winds, endless foggy skies and a landslide blocking the main road.  We left at 6.30 to go 5 miles by 7.00.  Had to spend an hour and a half going round."

I say it's all character building.  but I'm glad it's him, not me.

Some people think The Cat's Mother and I go to theatre, cinema and events too much.  "It can't be very special can it?" They say.  It's a fair point really.  But we like doing's a hobby in just the same way writing a blog is.  We are quite picky about what we see, but that doesn't mean we don't get it wrong sometimes.  There have been some real clunkers this year, and an awful lot of mediocrity.  But in the same way you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince (or Princess), it all seems worthwhile when you finally get to see something that's really worth it.  And last night was absolutely worth it.

We went to see Dracula, a dance production at the Wiltons Music Hall.  It's an old building (of course) and pretty tumble down, even with some restoration work having been done, and some more to come next year.  In a sense the building was ideal for a dark, fore boding horror story. The creator, Mark Bruce, had excelled in every respect.  It was dark with mist enveloping stage and audience, the staging was creepy and the music was perfect...spooky and scary and it filled the auditorium.  Some of the costumes were remarkable...the devil hounds and the horses pulling the carriage up to Dracula's castle were beautifully conceived.  All the dancers were phenomenal, with Jonathan Goddard as Dracula the stand out performer. If you live Oxford it will be there for a couple of nights in November and in the south-west, you can still catch it in Frome I think...highly, highly recommended

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The pupil becomes a teacher

I'm more than a little sad to see that the Co-Op bank has fallen into the hands of villainous American Hedge Funds.  I've had a bank account for many years as I'm a firm supporter of the Co-Op's ethics. It was one place where I thought the banking community could prove you didn't need to be a bastard to make money.  The Bank's failure really stems from all the problems in the financial world caused by greedy, unethical bankers.  Although the Co-Op will continue to have a sizeable share of the bank, the presence of voracious, immoral American bankers cannot be a good thing, and I don't doubt a change in attitudes and ethics as well as investments being made in immoral, exploitative businesses.

On the up side, The Boy passed his BASI 1 course, so is qualified.  I suspect he will want to go on and through the system...that will be his choice entirely, as I have encouraged him thus far.  I'm delighted, he's always enjoyed his skiing, he has a natural bent for teaching so all is good.  In a couple of weeks he's off to Austria to do their equivalent...I hope he gets through that's all in German, so good job he got that A Level then!

Last weekend was one of blissful domestic routine for The Cat's Mother and I.  We headed down to Brighton on Friday in time to enjoy our favourite meal of artisan cheeses, charcuterie and a couple of glasses of red wine at the French cheese shop round the corner from the flat.  It's simple and the most delicious meal we ever eat...a real treat for us.

We got a fabulous sculpture this sounds ever so grand if I say we commissioned it, but the truth is the amazingly talented artist James Freddy Fenner under charges by a quite ridiculous amount and won't take any more so this didn't cost a lot.  Anyway, our Brighton angel gives out a fabulous calming feeling and we're delighted with him.

Brighton is stuffed to the gills with fabulously talented, creative folk so we think of ourselves as very lucky to be able to see so many beautiful pieces, especially during the artists openhouse month of May.  It's a shame they don't get more exposure elsewhere as they deserve much greater recognition than they get.

The Boy has headed off to the Brecon Beacons today, via Ludlow.  In Ludlow he's meeting up with Grandma in Wales and his Uncle for a spot of lunch.  The purpose of his journey is to help the School out for the Gold DofE expedition. So instead of yomping round in the wet, wind and cold, he'll be making sure that the precious darlings are all safe and not lost on the mountainside.  I think it's fantastic that he was asked, and that he wanted to do it.   He loves the outside, he loves helping organise and run events.  I wonder what he will end up doing after University..somehow I don't see him at a desk in the City.