Saturday 2 February 2013

It's a voracious sump inhabited by an eternal and mutating Driberg

This is either the best spoof ever...or will make you wretch for hours.  I fall into the latter group.

For no sensible reason, I 'upgraded' my lap top from Windows 7 to Windows 8.  It may have been because I live in terror of getting left behind by anything it could be bought for just £24.  It was a complete success, other than the touch-screen is now no longer touch sensitive, and I had to leave it on overnight because I couldn't work out how to turn it off.  This morning I went to 'help' to discover that Microsoft recommends you just shut the lid.  There's progress for you.

When I was a young lad we lived in a typical English village...Hatfield Heath (no where near Hatfield) village green, village church (several of them in fact), village hall, village baker, village pub (several of them in fact), village butcher, village cobbler, drapers, general store, newsagent et al.  There was an annual village fate,cricket matches throughout the summer and generally it was a lovely place.  Even at a tender age though, I knew that it was a good thing our address was Hertfordshire (because that was the location of the nearest town - Bishops Stortford) and not Essex which is actually the county the village is located in.  I don't think Essex had taken on the image that it developed in the eighties, but it was well on the way.

I stayed away from Essex for decades living in either Brighton or London.  But with The Boy growing up and in need of a decent education, we moved from urban Borough High Street to Buckhurst Hill.  It was really the first time I'd been there for a very long time.  And what I discovered was that everything that was ridiculed about Essex was true.  We lived on one corner of the WAGS triangle (Buckhurst Hill, Loughton and Chigwell).  Everyone had a Range Rover or a Porsche or both.  Everyone was perma-tanned.  Everyone had so much bling that you knew where The Bank of England had sold off its gold too.  "Alright babe?" was the native greeting.  The best restaurant in town was Kentucky Fried Chicken.  It made me smile.  It was like living in a cartoon.  I thought they should make a film of it.  They didn't, but they did make 'TOWIE' - the only way is Essex.  Virjazal became common parlance.  Nobody around could recognise themselves in it, and addictive as it was, they rubbished it.  But I cannot tell a was and indeed is a fair reflection of a large group of the local population.  I can't bare to watch it, so the clip below is just randomly selected from You Tube

But, there's a different Essex.  In fact 95% of Essex is different.  It's really a rather lovely place.  And it has been left to Jonathan Meades to tell us all about it.  Now, I have to confess that I've have always been a bit of a Jonathan Meades Groupy...I find him fascinating and fabulous.  I suspect he's a bit of a Marmite him or hate him.  So I was glad he turned his gaze on Essex.  You can and should watch it on the BBC's a gem.  Here's the link.

In the meantime here's a clip from one of his previous outings...there are so many to choose from, and I suspect if you watch one clip, you'll either become a complete addict or thow your computer out of the window.

Friday 1 February 2013

Up to the highest height

Here's a picture I took this week.  I know I've photographed The Shard from many angles, but this one I rather like...not to say I haven't liked all the others.

OK, so we're not actually going to fly a kite...but this is a clue to our nocturnal activities this evening (sort of)

Thursday 31 January 2013

Picture post 142

We bought a rather wonderful spherical lamp made up of sea shells which when you look from across the room look like roses

Wednesday 30 January 2013


This is a rather pretty sculpture? installation? just by Borough Market

Tuesday 29 January 2013


Yesterday's post was originally called change, but I decided that it needed change before being put up.  Today is about change.

We woke up Sunday morning to find that our lovely six foot snowman, which had survived remarkably well, albeit shrunken to about five foot, had disappeared totally in the torrential overnight rain.  Nothing but a pile of oranges, pine cones, hat and scarf to show for our short-lived friend.

As we left our Edwardian breakfast we heard news of a friend of a friend's 24 year-old son.  He had been out with friends in Romford on Saturday night, and because he was feeling a little the worse for wear at the end of the evening he stuck his head out of the car window.  Unfortunately, there was another passing car.  We don't yet know the final out come, but at best it will being lasting brain damage we understand.  So there in a moment lives are changed forever in an apparently random moment.

The same was true some nine years ago with The Boy's mother.  Her brain haemorrhage whilst away on business was sudden and unexpected and brought about changes to so very many people.  So today we say a little prayer for her and remember someone who knew better than anyone else I know how to burn the candle at both ends and in the middle.

Monday 28 January 2013

Food glorious food

It's a rare treat when two interests collide, especially when it's in such a positive way.

As you know I'm a great lover of street art.  You won't know that I'm also a lover of  short films.  Recently I was sent a whole box of goodies by Shorts TV for doing nothing other than signing up to their newsletter.  The Boy has been enjoying the T-shirt and mints.

I accidently stumbled across this short film.  It starts off with a ROA, and kept me entertained all the way through.  Very clever.

This weekend we managed to burn the candle at both ends and in the middle too.  Friday night we held a Burns Night Supper evening...just us, two friends and their lad who is also at school with The Cat and The Boy.  We started with a Drambuie and Champaign cocktail, beginning the meal with mushroom soup (not Scottish, but delicious and homemade) before getting to the haggis an neaps which was washed down with red wine and whisky.  The meal finished with a selection of Scottish cheeses...some of them delicious.  We piped the haggis in (with a video on YouTube) and the Kenneth McKellar and Andy Stewart videos continued late into the night in between topping up our whisky glasses and puffing on a celebratory cigar.  We eventually crawled into bed at 3.00 am, with the room swirling around us.

Saturday we went to a packed out showing of 'Les Mis'.  I was dragged there kicking and screaming.  By the end I felt I had the moral high ground as I we all agreed it was a miserable experience.  Whilst the setting was spectacular, I'm at a loss to understand why anyone would want to listen to the music...I realise there are some 60 million people out there who will much would have been better without the songs.

And Sunday we went to a friend's for their annual 'Edwardian Breakfast'  There was just 35 of their closest friends there.  The host is a baker...but not just any baker...he baked a cake for The Queen for her jubilee and it was carried down the Thames on the royal barge during the flotilla.  Anyway, our breakfast consisted of grapefruit with port, porridge with whisky, kedgeree with white wine, bacon, egg, sausage, black pudding, mushrooms and baked beans with red wine finished off with pastries and brandy.  Phew.

Our meals may not have been entirely authentic, and what on earth we were doing toasting the Scots, I've no idea...but it was a glorious weekend