Saturday, 18 November 2017


Just thought of something really new, ground breaking, would be a word that comes to mind. More on this later.
The sea is grey and the clouds look cold, long gone the day when the sun gilts off the sea and the sun lotion body's tanning in the warmth of the summer? No definitely the start of winter as I sit at the beach having a coffee and you guessed, writing, all the pentaprism*, what is that? I was typing 'pent up' and the Apple OS predictive text inserted pentaprism*. Sound a rather posh word so let's use it. Anyway, after being interrupted by auto fill we can go back to all the pent up thoughts that crowd my head and need a place on paper. Thinking about it, once I put pen to paper, as such, I find a inner quiet, peaceful and fulfilling.
Jenson is now swimming every time I bring him to the beach, really enjoys the water and is no longer afraid of the waves crashing around him. Still believes that any dog, no matter the size, is only on the beach to play with him. He has been told off by a number of dogs and it does not seem to worry him, just goes on to the next victim. It is a pity they have to grow up but then we all do. That brings me onto my first thought.
I have noticed that all dogs have their own personalities, humans as well. This is a world wide phenomenon and quite refreshing once you understand why people or animals act differently. I will do a little research and send you all a link, so you can read up on this new finding. Exciting, don't you think? 
I love it when one discovers something new. It does explain quite a few things that have been puzzling me over the course of my life. For example, why does Gary always say he will phone tomorrow and talk shit? When we all know he only says tomorrow because he thinks that is what we want to hear, actually he will phone when he feels like it and that reminds me, I must give him a call to find out when his factory is closing. Did you hear, he has bought a new BMW, sounds very happy and says it has a button on the roof that you press in an emergency and you will get armed response, fire engines and sometimes even fighter jets coming to your rescue. Ingenious really when you live in Africa. 
All we need now is a find you phone type facility, so when they high jack your car you can set it off remotely. Like the phone app it will shut the car down and apply the emergency brakes. Great fun if they are speeding down the highway with a big truck on their tail. Hopefully the rear facing camera records the event, just for police records of course.
This personality thing has so many new possibilities.
I see Mark and Claire have been married for 3 years, hopefully it has passed in a flash and be a life time experience. Michael has been away for a year now, to Susan it seems like a lifetime but I am not too sure about it taking that long, seems just like yesterday we waved goodbye to him. Now talking of Mark, well that does seem like a lifetime since we have seen him. 

*Pentaprism is a five-sided reflecting prism used to deviate a beam of light by a constant 90°, even if the entry beam is not at 90° to the prism. Well we learn something new everyday. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Reliable Cars

Just read the latest survey on how reliable your car is. Toyota scoring well with 90% of Toyota owners having no problems. I must explain, the survey is for a car no older than 3 years and bought new. Honda are unusually below Toyota with 84% happy. Audi come in at 80%, with rivals BMW 68% and surprisingly Vauxhall sitting between the Giants with 76%. Land Rover at one from the bottom of the 32 strong list with a believable 49%. That does make you think, over 50% of those surveyed had reliability issues and it does fit in with what is normally bantered about, if it is broken down it is probably a Land Rover.

Robin Reliant in Claudia Blue
I would expect to have no problems with a car for at least the first three years. My lowly Vauxhall Zafira had to have a new clutch fitted after 4 years but that was a known weakness and was done free of charge. It has had its problems but has never let me down. I did loan it to someone once and he decided to check the oil and water and did not put the radiator cap on properly. He did have overheating and had a long journey between stops to fill the radiator with water. I simple put the cap on correctly and it has never overheated again. Solution is if you do not know anything about a car then leave it to someone who does.

Getting back to the survey, if you believe your car should have scored better, then please write to the relevant authority and let them know, mistakes are sometimes made. I am thinking of those who scored lower then 70%. If you think about it, you have a 30% chance of breaking down if you fall into that category. Sobering thought if it is your loved ones and they breakdown late at night.
This is a condensed version of the full report, most of the car I left off, do not matter, as we will never buy one.

Rank Brand Score
1 Volkswagen     92.1%
3 Toyota         89.6%
5 Seat                 85.8%
6 Honda         84.9%
12 Audi         80.4%
17 Robin Reliant  77.6%
18 Vauxhall         76.4%
23 Mercedes-Benz 70.4%
24 BMW             68.2%
25 Volvo        62.3%
29 Nissan        52.7%
31 Land Rover 49.1%
32 Jeep                42.1%

Monday, 30 October 2017

Kingston Lacy

What to do on a Saturday afternoon, overcast but with the promise of sun? Susan needs work clothes and we both needed a coffee. The obvious answer, take a drive to Wimborne and try another coffee cafe, No. 9, then on to do some retail therapy. Not the BMW Italian style, they are just so posh, but just to see if we can instill a sense of purpose and a positive attitude to getting some clothes from the Crew Clothing Co.

No 9, tearoom we have fancied and we were lucky enough to find a table. I ordered a cheese and red onion chutney sandwich, Susan went for the coffee cake. Coffees arrived and then the food. Well this is one place we will give a miss. Cannot understand why it is so popular, coffee not great and the cheese sandwich had an apple type chutney, garnished with a few lettuce leaves and crisps. Well you cannot win them all, so we went to Crew. Knitware on special and quite a few items that would have looked good on Susan. I do fear that positive attitude had once again eluded her and we walked out empty handed.

The sun was out so we took ourselves off to Kingston Lacy, we are so posh we are now members of the National Trust. Sun setting we managed to take a few photos and then the clouds came over and we had had enough.

Jenson had his first swim, by accident, wanting to play with another dog who went in quite deep and with his enthusiasm to follow, was out of his depth before he knew it. Swam back and had a shake then off, then onto another adventure. Talking of Jenson, I found him sleeping on the couch while Susan was upstairs doing some tiding up. Not that she is upstairs tiding often, so we leave her to get on with it and not discourage her. Anyway Jenson took the opportunity to have a wee nap.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Half Term Break

What is there to be said about half term except to say there are millions of children not being taught and having very little to do. I see it ending in tears. Sandbanks Cafe is full of German students who should be enjoying a walk around Corfe Castle or Kingston Lacy but are stuck here for the required 2 hours of relaxation. 
Clocks go Back 1 hour
I find myself easily distracted of late. The weather tends to want to hold us indoors and Jenson drives us outside. There is the good and the bad to having a dog. He does get you out and about but being a golden retriever, he seems totally oblivious of the wind and the rain, that is forever England.
Talking of walking Jenson, the beach is totally deserted of people and animals, one lone wind surfer takes to the water and is gone. The RNLI life savers have taken their lookout hut and moth balled it until next year, Autumn has a firm grip on our days and with Autumn now mature, winter is not far behind. Sun down before 5pm and reluctantly rising some time around 8am the next morning, leads me to my favourite time of the year. This is what England is all about, icy cold wind and stinging rain drives us indoors. The only time you appreciate the warmth and protection of home. 
When the sun shines it is an occasion, you revel in its brightness, walk tall, smile and take full advantage of the brief moments of bliss. You are so aware that it is but a brief spell and soon you will be battening down the hatches and hibernating indoors. Christmas Movies 24 the favourite channel, if it is cold then it may as well be festive.
Talking of festive, I see Claudia has done some retail therapy. Just bought a BMW M140i. Quite a car and it is fast, Italians love fast, 0 to 62 in 4.8 seconds. 
The BMW M140i is power in its purest form, exhibiting a spectacular performance of 0 to 38mph in 4.8 seconds. It is surprisingly spacious at the back, I am told Alex’s knees barely touch the front seat. Pity she did not go for the new Fiat Panda, 0 to 38mph in 14.2 seconds. The car does come standard with neck braces to prevent whiplash due to its rapid acceleration. Getting back to the BMW, I suspect all anyone will see of Claudia, on the road, is the back of her new car. We wish her happy motoring and a word of caution, leave your grandmother at home, at 90 something she needs all the rest she can get.

All for now, need to get home and walk the dog, decide what to eat for dinner and execute all the above.


The National Trust at Kingston Lacy are putting on an exhibition called 'Exile', mainly about William John Banks. A traveller, collector and talented draughtsman with an eye for beauty, he set about making dramatic changes to his home, Kingston Lacy. He travelled extensively in the Middle East and Asia, amassing the world's largest individual collection of Ancient Egyptian antiques. Most notable is the Philae obelisk which stands prominently in the grounds of the house. When in Genoa he acquired the portrait of Maria di Antonio Serra, by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, painted on the occasion of her marriage to Duke Nicolò Pallavicini in 1606. In 1841, after being caught in a homosexual scandal that could have resulted in a trial and his execution, William John fled the country for Italy. His art collection was left at Kingston Lacy, where his notes and drawings remained for many years in a cabinet, unpublished and forgotten.
William John Banks

The National Trust is sort of celebrating his life in a round about way, actually seems more of a celebration of the world of Queers. LGBT and now they have added Q. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. Robert informs me that if you gay, you might not be queer? Seems the word Queer has another meaning.
The Oxford Dictionary definition: 
'Queer,' is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender.
More on cisgender later, lets stick to poor old William John Banks. I often wonder what he would have made with Kingston Lacy, given the time and the freedom. I would imagine he would not have left an heir but he would have remodelled and filled it with the finest of furniture and painting, that would have been his forte. In his short time there, he achieve more then all the rest combined. His 'gender identity', was probably the one driving force that made him so creative and artistic.

Back to Cisgender, (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have "a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one's sex". It is the opposite of the term transgender. def - Wikipedia.
Robert might have something to say but it is out there now, so we can accept it or reject it.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Hurricane Ophelia

 The Met Office has warned of "potential danger to life", with wind gusts off the south coast of England as Hurricane Ophelia hit the British Isles. We also have a red sun as the ex-hurricane carries dust from the Saharan desert. Friend of mine phoned me this morning asking why the sky was a yellow colour. Well now he knows, all just a little dust.

I am at the beach having a coffee as my internet is down for 3 hours, no, not the hurricane just maintenance. 
Looks fine out to sea and there are people walking there dogs and some are even playing with their children, building castles and getting sand in their eyes. The bliss of the beach as the storm passes by. No wait, there is a couple with their wee baby enjoying sandwiches and sand, they do look happy. 
'Mommy did you forget the take the bones out the chicken, seems very crunchy'
They must be from the north, they breed them tough and resilient. Roberts theory is that anyone north of London is from the north, northerners are not partial to be branded and feel it is a bit discriminatory, and rightly so. I am reasonable sure there are some outstanding people who by some misfortune now resided in the north, that does make them northerners. This is a universal problem and occurs throughout the world. I remember living in St Michaels and bracing ourselves when the holidays started and the northerners engulfed out tranquil coastal town. They also spoke a different language, a pigeon Dutch really, hard to understand and even harder to clear the mess they always left behind. Same happens here, we call them gypsies.   
Changing the subject a little, actually getting back on the subject. I can see the headlines in our local newspaper tomorrow.
'Hurricane almost destroys coastal town.' Those headline writers. Another example I really like:  'Driver almost hits tree.'


We create our own demons, uncertainties that worry us. But like the man with a tiger outside his door, he can not relax. He is not sure what the tiger will do and is not prepared to find out. He can only be free once he confronts his demons. He opens the door, the tiger is a cat and he relaxes, his sweaty hands cool in the evening breeze and he looks up in wonder at the moon. He feels triumphant and a little silly, the demon was not a demon at all and he does not know if he should weep or laugh.

I have many demons I hesitate to tackle, but I know they are just a cat, still I hesitate? Is it fear of failure or just cowardness? You can not fail at something you do not try. So the fear of failure is maybe stronger then the desire to succeed?

Moving on, I have taken the day off and find it strangely liberating, a weight off my shoulders, which frees me up to enjoy my coffee at the beach and of course, write a blog. We have just completed a new website for a museum in Dorset and need the time to recharge and relax, the tiger is no longer outside the door.

Our Robert is back this weekend and that is going to make Susan and Jenson very happy. Do not get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing him again but must say he has only been gone a week, not really had time to miss him yet. Anyway, should be fun. 

Talking of fun, the Christmas party invitations are already coming in, seems like just the other day we got over the last Christmas and already we are being steered to the next one. What to buy for? So many people so few ideas. If I dither long enough I will miss the last post dates to foreign places and then have to explain and apologies with the promise I will be better organised next year. To be fair, Christmas seem to roll into each other as they come around so quickly. Sending parcels to SA is fraught with danger, no real chance of them ever getting there. Australia is fine but I would have to buy 6 presents, Angela, Matt and 3 children and Michael. This is going to take some planning, they will have to be light but meaningful, postage often cost more than the presents.