Monday, 23 September 2019

Shepherd Chic for Pelé

Regarding the shepherd's hut we stayed in Friday and Saturday nights - I forgot to mention that I never knew shepherds lived is such luxury. High Speed Wi-Fi, hot and cold running water, a shower and WC, a huge double bed with Marks and Spencer bedding and a nicely furnished kitchen area. They're obviously not as impoverished as we're led to believe.

I've done a bit of research into these shepherd's huts and they are magnificent abodes while lambing.

On the basis of these, I want to be a shepherd and I no longer feel sorry for Gabriel Oak in Far From the Madding Crowd...

Looking forward to the arrival of my unicyle today.

Here's a conundrum. I was watching the closing credits of the film Escape to Victory yesterday afternoon and spotted Pelé as being credited with the football plays, as well as playing a part in the film, Now why does Pelé have an accent on the last e? The two 'e's are pronounced identically and thus the accent is superfluous. Perhaps a native Portuguese speaker can enlighten me?

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Cider With Rosie

Overheard in the pub in Much Marcle, Herefordshire:

Chairman: "Do you have cider?"

Anyone who has ever visited Much Marcle will understand the faux pas.

The cider festival was great!

There were two main BBQs - one for the carnivores and another for the veggies. I made the cardinal mistake of placing our beefburgers on the veggie BBQ and got some very nasty looks from one woman, who proceeded to decontaminate said BBQ. However, my conscience was cleared when a diner who was BBQing some haloumi had a moth land on his burnt offering (it had miraculously not gone up in a puff of smoke) - he pinched it between his fingers, threw it on the floor and stamped on it, which immediately blew his Green credentials.

Got talking to an elderly chap in his 90s who was a devoted tractor buff and was dressed in all manner of tractor memorabilia garb. He'd driven 70 miles to come to the event - one hopes not in a tractor. He rather unwisely steered the conversation toward Brexit, the upshot of which was that he couldn't care less about what happened after Brexit, providing there was a coherent tractor policy...

Saturday, 21 September 2019

One Wheel on My Wagon

My latest eBay purchase. Delivery is Monday.

Looking at YouTube videos, you can apparently become reasonably proficient within a couple of hours. We'll see...

We're staying in an AirBnB shepherd's hut in Much Marcle in Herefordshire and gearing up for a local cider festival this evening at a friend's parents' far, nearby.

Very bijou, but very comfortable.

Depending on the quality of the cider and the state of my head, there may not be a blog post tomorrow.

Friday, 20 September 2019


I read a news story about a bloke who bought what was called a Caraboat for £600 and rebuilt it. Apparently only 50 were build in the late 60s due to a mishap at the marketing launch. I presume it sank.

There is an updated version on the market now.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Options and Choices

I heard an interesting take on Brexit the radio yesterday. A chap phoned into an LBC radio show and said he'd voted Leave because the EU was negotiating TTIP at the time, and the last thing he wanted was for the NHS to become a bargaining chip with the Americans. However, once TTIP had been cancelled by the EU, he switched to Remain, precisely because of the danger of post-Brexit Tories, under the influence of Tory MPs with links to American health providers, using the NHS as a bargaining chip for an FTA. That's an angle I hadn't considered.

Corbyn seems to have stolen a march on both the Tories and the LibDems with his proposal - to negotiate a new deal that safeguards jobs and then put that to a referendum alongside Remain. The other parties risk pissing off a lot of people a lot, whereas Corbyn will piss everyone off a little, which may be the best way of negotiating the current impasse. I could certainly vote for that - in fact I'd be more comfortable voting for that than a complete shredding of Article 50, no matter how much of a Remainer and LibDem I am. It seems a more democratic alternative.

One benefit of this approach is that Corbyn would be so consumed negotiating a new deal and arranging a 2nd referendum that he wouldn't really have time to do too much damage to the country before yet another election was upon him..

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The Judiciary

So Boris has warned the Judiciary not to get involved in politics. In the UK the system is that Parliament makes the laws and the Judiciary interprets them when they're not clear. Parliament then amends the laws to make them clearer - not that they necessarily become any clearer.

How many times have we heard news stories about government being taken to court and found to be implementing some policy illegally? The instances are legion - and never a murmur. However, this time the stakes are very high, as Boris' billionaire backers have much to lose in their strategy to make billions from selling Britain short and buying up cheap companies post-Brexit. The harder the Brexit, the more to be made by disaster capitalists.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019


So the LibDems will be entering into any General Election campaign on a ticket of revoking Article 50.

The Remainer in me welcomes this, as it will attract votes for a cause I'm in favour of, yet the democrat in me believes it's wrong to conflate Brexit with a General Election, as a whole raft of policies will be ignored by many. The LibDems could feasibly sneak the reintroduction of child labour into the manifesto, but a lot of people wouldn't even bother to read it, focusing solely on the Brexit argument instead.

The same would go for any party standing on a ticket of Hard Brexit - it shouldn't cloud the issue of governing the country in a professional manner, not that Hard Brexit has one iota to do with professional governance and everything to do with disaster capitalism.

Brexit should be resolved, one way or the other, before any General Election, or the governance of the country will suffer.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Wicker Man

Overheard in the car when passing the Wicker Man on the M5:

Hay: "The Wicker Man was burned by vandals a some years ago."

Chairman: "Whoever would want to burn a wicker man? Second thoughts, don't answer that."

He's actually called The Willow Man.

Well, yesterday's planned day of kayaking at Bossington didn't go quite as planned. A certain person, who will remain nameless, assured me she'd (that's a give-away) looked up the times of high water and we should put in at 14:00. 14:00 was in fact low tide, which would have necessitated a walk over mudflats. My fault for not checking, obviously. Not only that, but the nearest access was half a mile from the beach. 

Play was abandoned and instead we visited Porlock Weir (not as bad, but it would have meant clambering over large pebbles for a couple of hundred yards) and Blue Anchor Bay (mudflats again).

Not sure if I've given my readers this bit of advice before, but if you ever buy a paddleboard, don't be persuaded to buy one of those expensive electric pumps for a couple of hundred quid. I found an adaptor for an ordinary, electric tyre pump that cost me no more than £12, which fits SUPs perfectly.

It transpires that my brother-in-law, Perry, used to windsurf in his younger days and has assured me he'll give me some lessons before too long. Apparently he was very good at it, but he tells me he'll be very rusty now. Not as rusty though as someone who has never done it before.

Sunday, 15 September 2019


Well, No.2 Son is now ensconced in his digs in Winchester and is set for a week of Fresher Weej parties before the serious work starts, if it starts at all...

Collected the windsurfer from Poole and headed to Sandbanks to give it its first sea trials. There were so many bits that it was impossible to fully build it (plus there wasn't a breath of wind) and we settled for trying to use it as a paddleboard, but it proved impossible to stand upright on it without it tipping over. Whether this is to do with the stance for paddleboarding being incompatible with a windsurfing board (which I suspect) is moot - on a windsurfer one stands on the centreline, whereas on a paddleboard one stands planted athwartships.

We settled instead for using it like a kayak, for which it is not well suited in such shallow water due to the length of the leeboard, the necessary absence of which rendered it very directionally unstable. At keast it does take my entire weight without sinking,

The whole contraption needs laying on the lawn, various bits carefully renovating and being put together methodically to see what needs replacing, which doesn't seem to be much. That will have to wait, however, as we're off kayaking somewhere today - not sure where yet.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

A New Chapter

Big day for No.2 Son - off to Winchester University to start his 3 year stint doing History and Politics. Pertinent subjects in these days of political chaos.

What the hell is a lar? Just looked it up and it's 'Wisdom and Knowledge', from Old English.

I should be starting to suffer empty nest syndrome, but I'm not. What I am is excited for him to be starting a new chapter in his life - partying furiously...

Once he's ensconced, we swing by Poole to collect the windsurfer I bought and then to Sandbanks for an afternoon of falling off it. Photos to follow tomorrow.