Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Anyone want a hat?

I have come to a realisation, albeit about 20 years too late. You know how I said that I thought I had reached the age when I thought I could get away with wearing a wide-brimmed hat? Well I was wrong. In England, the only people who think they can get away with wearing wide-brimmed hats are all my age, and they are all wrong as well.

It is women's hats for me from now on.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Half Llama

It is the sort of cold, wet weekend when all you want to do after you have forced yourself to get out of bed is eat something, then go back to bed again.

After we had eaten half of the 'massive' stew last night, we watch Fellini's last film, 'Voice of the Moon'. Like the stew, it had all the right ingredients but was a little disappointing.

The last thing I did before going to bed was to order some candles from Charles Farris of London. This old chandler supplies most of the churches and cathedrals of Britain, and make wonderful candles. The best sort are the beeswax blend, which burn bright and steady with no drips or runs unless you are in an extreme draught.

Buying candles is a cosy thing to do on a cold, wet, Winter night. Burning them is cosier, but I will have to wait for the 3/8ths, 6 inch ones to arrive before I can. The postage was almost as much as the candles. They are for a pair of sticks that I recently bought, but I have decided to not show you a photo of them. No. I will not!

I spoke to a 28 year-old last night, and she referred to a 53 year-old friend as an 'old man'. I reminded her that I was 13 years older than him, and she said, "Yes, but you're ancient." I don't count any more in situations like this.

I love this girl. (If she can call me ancient, then I can call her a 'girl' - it works both ways, you know). She is half Argentinian and swings from violently bad-tempered to hysterically amused in under a second. Something will go very slightly wrong with a drink she is serving to a customer, and she will slam the glass or cup down onto the bar with truly shocking violence and shout 'FUCK!' at the top of her voice. Somehow she gets away with it, even amongst elderly strangers.

She showed me a video of a group of Llamas in a paddock, one of which was wearing a handful of grass as a wig. I mentioned that she was half Llama and she accepted this as true without protest.

I cannot believe that Bath is still packed with coach-loads of foreign tourists, all milling around in the freezing rain.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

No twerking

We were only just talking about the regular clientele of good British pubs. This is one of ours last night.

I had spent all morning in there, making my first - and probably last - music video. This is the one which also involves the drone arial photography which I did last year.

I say 'I did' but in fact all of it just involves me standing behind the camera operators, telling them what to do. Since I will only be making one film of this kind, there is no point in me learning how to fly a drone or operate a camera over a period of weeks. I am not even editing it - I am just telling the professional editor what to do. Thinking about it, I suppose that this is what real directors do all the time.

The band itself are three highly professional musicians, so I didn't have to tell them what to do. They told me what they were going to do, which was about 8 takes of one tune which will be released as a single around March this year. I will alert you all to it when it comes out, and I will alert you to my video when it comes out too. If everything goes to plan, you will not be able to miss it.

I have a feeling you will like this band. They are very gentle, melodic and acoustic. Charming is the word for it. Just the thing for you old folk. There will be no large-arsed women twerking in front of the lens in the video, so some of you may be a little disappointed. No names here.

My plan for today is cook a massive stew involving dumplings, then go to the pub - again. That's it.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Bridge building

In a fit of forced Francophilia, Boris Johnson has announced his ambition to build a bridge between Britain and France. This is not a metaphor, he wants to build an actual 25 mile-long, concrete and steel bridge between England and continental Europe - across the busiest shipping lane in the world.

Can we afford it? Perhaps we can get Mexico to pay for it.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Not catching worms

I am finding it very difficult to apply myself to anything right now. I am glad that I don't have a dog which needs walking every morning at 7.00am this Winter in particular, but that could snap me out of it.

I went to bed last night, listening to the wind threatening to tear down the unlit Christmas decorations outside, which were swinging horizontally during the gale. My window always rattles, which I like - I find it cosy - but it was hammering away so noisily last night that I had to wedge it with paper.

I have a strange character trait which would probably make me unfit for service in the military if I was young enough for call-up. When the going gets tough, I give up. Maybe National Service would have made a man of me.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Men who love (pubs) too much

Cro has got me dreaming about the perfect pub again, and I just mentioned George Orwell's perfect pub.

The perfect pub has all the ingredients to be one, all under the one roof. The building should be old and interesting, and situated a little way away from the main routes to avoid rowdy drunks frequenting it.

It should have a crackling log fire in the Winter and shady nooks for the hot Summers. It should have a pretty garden at the back with plentiful seating spread generously apart for personal privacy - definitely no bouncy castles or play areas.

It should have a small selection of delicious, well-kept beers which are quickly served by friendly and helpful bar staff. (Am I allowed to say, preferably a buxom serving wench? No, I didn't think so).

The landlord should be discreet but talkative if required to be so, providing you with other people's gossip and not providing yours to other people.

The the regular clientele  should be as intelligent and entertaining as you are, if not more so. After all, you never improve your game of tennis by playing with people worse at the game than you. Boring drunks would not be tolerated - unless they are you.

Music - if played at all - would be of the kind which you would like to listen to, played at the volume you prefer. There would be no live bands, even on a Saturday night.

Any food would be simple - a choice of two types of roll: Cheese and onion in a crusty white roll and cheese without onion in a crusty white roll.

I am still looking for this pub.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin. SETTLE DOWN YOU THERE AT THE BACK!

I am hoping to have at least one egg taken out of a huge basket by becoming involved in the construction of the last Duke of Beaufort's tomb. You remember I built the Old Master's one all those years ago? No? THEN PAY ATTENTION!

The ex-boyfriend of the ex-husband of the original sculptor who carved the one about 30 years ago had a vague recollection that I had been involved, and because I have had the same mobile number for about 30 years, she gave me a call. Boring consistency as opposed to over-reliance on iCloud and change sometimes pays off. Especially at my age.

Of course it could all come to nothing, but it is carrots like these which get me out of bed in the morning. Not very early, I grant you, but before midday. To be absolutely honest, it is the desire for coffee and toast which gets me out of bed these days.

Now, where is Rachel, I hear you all wonder? The same place she always is when not on a Grand Tour. Relax.

I'll say one thing for these online spats between perfidious trolls who switch sides according to the wind direction and bona fide sworn enemies - they make for entertaining posts, so long as you ignore the advice given by people who have less idea about what is being discussed then they do about their own farts.