Friday 10 May 2013

By the time you read this....

....I should be well on my way to Cambridge.  Tonight I'm due to be cycling the 100km from London starting at 10.00pm...and finishing as the sun comes up.

There are only three issues:

1.  We've been invited to a dinner party with a few of our favourite friends.  It's tempting.
2.  It's really rather windy, and whilst I can cope with cold and rain, wind is something that is altogether more uncomfortable (OK...cut with the fart jokes)
3.  Due to one cold after another, I've done no training.  So I have something in common with Jade Goody, apart from the fact that she was buried in the church yard next to us when we lived in Buckhurst Hill

So either wish me luck or condemn my fecklessness

Thursday 9 May 2013

A long hot summer

Are we the only ones to see and enjoy the ultra miserable 'The Village' on BBC 1?

I think it's a total gem, avoiding all the normal TV cliches, and "telling it like it was", except a bit more drab and gloomy.  It tells the story of a Derbyshire village through the 20th century, and the first series has focused on the period during the first world war.  Boy oh boy was life hard then.  I'm really looking forward to the second series which will be set in the twenties.  I doubt (and hope) it will be much cheerier, as they were pretty bleak days too.  The Village was something that the BBC does best when it tries.  Remarkable screenplay that actually made you pay attention, think and use your imagination.

Sorry about the ad at the beginning

Many have compared it to Heimat, the German programme that followed a family through the challenges of the twentieth century.  Equally brilliant, less gloomy, and just as fascinating....but you need many, many hours to watch the trilogy from beginning to end

We had an interesting bank holiday - I mentioned our trip down to Brighton, but we returned to host The Boy's 18th birthday bbq with all his friends.  It was an afternoon thing to avoid the drunkeness that often clouds these foolish of us.  Sobriety was generally maintained during the daylight hours, but as the sun set, the teens headed off to the pub.  The Boy was summoned back some time later.  He arrived in a bit of a state, and worse still had lost the Ray Bans his girlfriend had bought him as a present.  He was distraught.  She's still not talking to him.  And me?  I was furious, but equally distraught because I could feel his wretchedness at having got himself into a pickle.  At the moment he got home I could still see the little baby of eighteen years ago...helpless and confused.  Painful, really painful.

And there was I stupidly thinking that once they hit 18, you could retire from real parenting duties.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Art for arts sake

May's a good month to visit Brighton.

It's funny how the internet age has changed the amount of things we know about.  I grew up in a small village on the Herts/Essex borders called Hatfield Heath.  It was everything that a village should be.  A large green on which cricket was played every year and the site of the annual summer fete.  There was a butcher, a baker, a haberdashery, a general store, a garage, a news agent and plenty of pubs.  I don't think any of them exist any more, although I suspect cricket is still played on the green.  I remember once my practically hysterical mother screaming blue murder at me as I sauntered across, not realising that a few hours earlier adders had been found in the grass.

What I didn't know, but I suspect I would now if I was growing up there was that just down the road lived and worked Britain's greatest sculptor, Henry Moore.  It seems extraordinary to me that within spitting distance was someone with such talent and fame and we didn't even know.  These days, his home, studios and grounds are open to the public.  We went the weekend before last with a couple of friends.  He used to deliver the newspapers every morning.  As well as many of Moore's works, there is currently a Rodin exhibition as well, so well worth the trip down the country lanes.

I particularly liked this's in a field of sheep, and the reason it changes colour is because the sheep rub up against it...I guess it's worth a fortune, and the sheep have no idea at all!

But back to Brighton.

May is festival month in Brighton, so whatever your taste in arts, there's something to see or do.  It's odd then that in all the years I've lived there I've not managed to see more than a handful of things.  But the last couple of years we've discovered the Artists Open Houses event...essentially it's an opportunity to see all the creative stuff that comes out of Brighton, as well as having a nose round people's houses...who could resist.

We really like Frances Bloomfield who creates these

And Sophie Woodrow who creates these

Just down the road from us, Studio 323 is doing a project of photographing everyone who comes in.  We had our portrait taken, so I expect it will pop up here some time.  See if you can spot us!

Sunday 5 May 2013

Knowing his liking for Scotch eggs, I thought John would be pleased about this

And talking of things Scottish, grrr...the Scots really annoy me.  Sorry, but it's true.  And it's not just because I've had more than one Scottish girlfriend.

Take this, for example.

Why does it make Scotland better than England, any more than it makes Scotland better than any other country in the world?  There's something seriously wrong with the Scottish psyche that they can only measure their own success in comparison to England.  If they were a person, Freud would have something to say.  the therapist bills would be enough to bankrupt the country.

Anyway, I will probably keep my thoughts to myself when we travel north to Edinburgh again this summer when The Cat and The Boy perform again at The Fringe.

I suspect they are like the child of a very famous and successful rock star or actor...always trying to prove their own worth, but really not having a fraction of the talent of their parent.  My apologies to  Peaches Geldoff.  And to my Scottish friends and relatives.  But really, the next time I hear the chant 'Anyone other than England'....

I will probably keep my thoughts to myself when we travel north to Edinburgh again this summer when The Cat and The Boy perform again at The Fringe.

How mad is this...another one of those PC nonsenses.  You can't tell children whether or not they have a Best Friend...we all like other people to a greater or lesser extent, and frankly it's distorting nature if we try and interfere at this emotional level.  Anyone want to be my BFF?

You can imagine how mad this made me feel.  If the bank is sold off, taxpayers will be facing a £20 billion loss.  So whilst the bankers who got the damn thing into the mess have got off largely Scott Free, we will have to pay for their greed, folly, selfishness.  Worse still, the bank has continued to pay outrageous salaries and eye-watering bonuses whilst most people have had to pull in the reigns...that is even if they have a job.  I'm sure the Tories would like to off load it, but common sense says that if it's back in profit, we should keep a hold of it until we the people who bailed it out get our money back....and some.