Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas 2012


I started writing this blog in my head while taking Samuel for a walk on the beach. I was early today as I wanted to be there before the heavens open up again, very unsettled weather but not really that cold.
On Christmas Eve we had a few old friends around, as one is inclined to do, mulled wine and minced pies was the idea but the wine flowed and the cider talked and we never got around to mulled wine, I did have a minced pie with my coffee. As it was the night before Christmas we said our good nights at just after 11 and I was sound asleep before 12.
I woke early and made the customary tea and coffee and went back to sleep until 10, there are advantages to having grown up children. Michael got us going at 10 for our traditional walk (see attached photo) along the beach. The weather was kind to us (also attached) and we only got a little wind swept. 
Present time, what a pile with Michael and Robert working and Susan spoiling us all, it was quite a jolly event which lasted for a good hour, as Michael was Santa and only gave one present at a time.
Just to reassure you, we all got more than we deserved and rightly so, I hope your presents and the opening of, was as happy as ours.
The rest of the day developed into a blur of wine, roast turkey, roast beef and far too much dessert. On reflection, the only unfortunate part was the inability to get hold of the Smiths and Dickens in OZ, the time difference plays a muck with communications. From the comment left they seemed to have had an early start, around 6 am I do believe. I for one was happy to see my bed by 10 pm.
Boxing day, a day of reflection and wonder, did I really get such wonderful gifts? We walked the dog before the rain came and then decided to indulge in a pub brunch. Weatherspoons make an ideal full English breakfast which we all enjoyed. Such a civilised way to start Boxing Day, quite right.
To finish off, Christmas was as unique as any other, for every year the mystery unfolds itself a new. In later life I have come to see that Christmas, like hope, is a rope to anchor in a shifting world. Christmas cannot be questioned but only lived and if I could not grasp it, I felt its heartbeat, which was love.


Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve


All the anticipation and the joy of giving, concentrated into one day, the day before Christmas. The tree is surrounded by presents of all shapes and sizes, some look very familiar but other unleash your imagination. We are all still children and wonder who that well wrapped, special looking present is for. I still dream and I have seen more then three score years. 
Susan went to a fancy dress Christmas evening as Daphne Blake from Scooby Doo, great fun dressing up, make up done by Charlotta. Pic attached. 
As I write it is 5 minutes to midnight in Australia, Christmas coming at a gallop, hopefully you all get a good nights rest to recharge your adult batteries for the onslaught of Christmas day and all the challenges of high powered children doing what children do best on Christmas. 
Susan had a delivery from her office today and her presents from her friends at work filled the boot of Sarah's car, oh to be so popular. I did a bit of a feel and there is some wine there so I will have to help her test the quality. Loads of smelly things I think and the rest we will see tomorrow. See pic attached of our humble tree.
Robert is still doing his paper round and his tips this year came to just under £100, I think that is his motivation as he only earns £22 per week.
I do think I have exhausted the presents and the anticipation. It is probably a good thing that Christmas almost here, it is Christmas in Oz as it is now 6 minutes past midnight and the countdown to the first child to wake is running, good luck. Merry Christmas.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Durlston Castle through Time


Last Sunday saw Susan, Sam and I set off to Swanage with the aim of finding Durlston Castle. The Castle and great Globe are just part of the curious legacy of George Burt, a Victorian entrepreneur also known as the 'King of Swanage'. In Durlston bay, the remains of tiny prehistoric mammals found within the layers of Purbeck Limestone reveal the story of life 135 million years ago. This region is now know as the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Admission is free but you have to pay for parking, £3.00 per day, so worth a visit. We walked through the time trail which takes you from the car park to the castle. For every step you take it is meant to represent 1 million years in time, with modern man located in this time line just 5 mm before the last post which is the present.

We walked through the castle and down to the globe and then along the cliff path, the view is breath taking as you look over the English Channel. This is a good walk to see Dolphins and  sea birds and ends at the Anvil lighthouse. Coming back through the nature reserve takes you higher up and through some natural forest to the entrance of the castle. We deserved a cuppa and I was able to photograph a fish eagle flying over the bay. Great place to bring children and dogs, also sells good food and chilled wine.

What of the last week you might ask. Not much as the clement weather kept all but the hardy amount us indoors, I took Sam for his daily walk, in wind and rain it was walkies time. What happened? Gary did another business takeover, not a hostile one I might add, good move from the sounds of it.

Ben from Oz is growing an inch a day and is just too cute, Lily spoke to Granny Susie Pie on Skype and made her day. Susan also saw Benji and that crown it all off.

Christmas will be great as we will be able to talk to the Dickens and the Middlesmiths at once, Ho Ho Ho. We will watch them opens presents and toast the spirit of Christmas together. Robert is very keen on not messing with Christmas, quiet one at home, just us, he is happy to have Margaret but I get the feeling that is it. We will see.
Back to presents, I need socks, blue, brown and red if possible, you can never have enough socks. A bottle of wine and loads of cheese, salami and olives. I will get the rolls. Now that is me settled, what about YOU?
Till anon.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Life is sometimes...


Life is sometimes a benediction, but it is more often than not a journey. Our enchanted moment help us to change course and sometimes sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to struggle, we will fall and we will experience many disappointments – but all of this is momentary, it leaves no permanent scar. One day we will look back with satisfaction, at the journey we have taken.
There is only one thing greater than being alive and that is love. I’m going to fight for love. There are some things in life that are worth fighting for to the end.
As the day grow shorter and the nights colder, I feel more at one with my writing and have neglected my blogs. I am happy to say my book is progressing well, it has been a long journey of waking in the night and writing the next section in my head before I sleep again. Funny thing, as I get older I forget something’s but where I left off I never forget.
Now for the news, I have started a story of my life when I started farming. It starts in those heady days at a farm in the Orange Free State near Bethlehem. The plan is to finish a section and then blog it and await your proof reading/critic. To set you in the mood, think of Russell with shoulder length hair ploughing through the night, dust coated and red eyed, he ploughed for a straight 19 hours. As I said heady days.
This journey will take you through violent thunder storms only the Free State can bring, the humidity of Natal and rain. Life changing drought and Violet, a awarding winning cow who followed me around.
Enjoy your weekend and if you remember anything from your past and want to remind me, please do.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Bugs are Banished


Well it is time to stop all this nonsense about Bugs. Really not in keeping with this esteemed publication. Judging by the comments I tend to agree with all that was said. So, as of now, I will stop bugging you with bugs! How you got me started I do not know.
Susan and I took a walk around Compton Acres on Saturday, well remembering the walk we had with Claudia and Gary many years ago. The autumn leaves coming through as the coming winter starts to affect our temperatures. Compton Acres is 10 acres of themed garden in the heart of Lilliput, a stones throw away from Sandbanks. Created in 1920, it now has over 3000 different plants from all over the world. Must say that it was Granny Junes heaven when ever we took her there.
Stunning water feature and the Italian gardens, Claudia wanting photographs of all the male statures and Gary exploring his new camera with close ups of all the ladies. Worth another visit if only for the traditional Cream teas.
Sunday saw us off to Brownsea Island. We have not been there for years. Angela and Matt got engaged there, what seems like yesterday but a few years have passed since then. Lily and Ben can well testify to that.
I managed to get some interesting photographs of some of the wildlife on the island. You all know me to be a well-known Writer, Raconteur and now I have added Wildlife Photography to my impressive list of accomplishments.
I took an award winning photograph of a fish swimming in the clear waters of Poole Harbour while trying to catch a glimpse of those elusive Sika Deer. Also took an outstanding long distance shot of my beloved Susie Pie and Roobarb playing outdoor Checkers.  

BREAKING NEWS!!The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week. The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.
This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years. 

Lastly, after all that excitment I have a photograph of a rare flowery thing, could not resist sharing it with you.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Bed Bugs/ Bed Lice


Out of confusion, as the way is, And the wonder, that man knows, Out of the chaos would come bliss. 
That, then, is loveliness, we said, Children in wonder watching the stars, Is the aim and the end. 
Being but men, we walked into the trees. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Insects


We all have seen them but there are a few that are very difficult to see. Bed bugs, head louse and Body louse. 
Starting with bed lice, 4mm long and they feed on our blood! 
NO we do not want to go there, enough I say, let us leave the bugs to those who enjoy them and talk about better nothings.
Mark is in the process of taken over as general manager of a up market distribution company, selling fancy deli type products. Well if any thing his ingredients will be of a better quality and more adventurous cooking will be on the cards. Good luck with your new direction in life and enjoy the challenge.
Michael seems to have settled into university, rearranged his Monday so now only has lectures on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Hard work for three days a week, but then someone has to do it and he is willing. I do envy him, if I was 10 years younger I think I would go to university. 
Sybil Ward - music sounds good.
I know I say it every year but autumn is showing its hand and the mornings are chilly, 7 deg C chilly and in free fall by the day. The vegetation is at its best, autumn colours evolve and fill with a deep, rich body, that last a few weeks and then are gone. Great time to walk the dog and that is exactly what I did on Thursday. Wareham forest, as can be seen from the photograph I have inserted. The one disturbing fact was no birds, I saw a black bird around the litter bin and a robin near the car park but nothing in the forest? No bird song, no chatter or calling, all very quiet. I must admit it did seem as if they were there but something else was also there. Sam and I walked on oblivious to any threat, real or imaginary.
Gary Joseph Smith is 34 years old on Tuesday and we all wish him a Jolly, Happy Birthday. I normally send a funny video but as he is now approaching his more mature years, so I sent him a Lotto ticket with the chance of winning millions. Till anon, yours in blogging.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ah these long nights


Autumn is fast approaching. I sit here waiting for Robert to finish his golf lesson and I can already feel the breeze has a touch of the chill that is to come this winter. 11 deg C this morning on the beach with a fresh morning wind, the tail end of the Siberian winds that grow in volume and strength as the winter takes a grip this year.
Michael is coming to terms with living away from home and looking after himself at university. They do have it easy, 1 lecture on Monday , 2 lectures on Tuesday and so it goes, Wednesday is sports day so no lectures at all. That is right up his street, anyway he is looking forward to formal lectures starting on Monday. 
I promised him a recipe or two to help him cook good solid meals, so will share them online. Hopefully any variations will be commented on and we can then all try them.
Gammon or Bacon and Mushroom Pasta.
What goes in:
1 small onion chopped fine
5 or 6 Chestnuts mushrooms, sliced
2 Cloves of garlic, squashed and chopped.
Cup of frozen peas
300g gammon or bacon chopped.
300ml Creme Fresh or double cream
50g grated parmesan cheese 
250g Pasta
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
How to cook it, this is the fun bit.
Dash of olive oil into a pan, empty onions and garlic into the pan and cook until you smell the garlic coming through. Add the mushroom and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper and add a teaspoon of butter if you have, not important. Add the gammon/bacon and  brown the whole lot off (browning means it starts to stick and smells really good). Add the frozen peas if you want or put them back in the freezer.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the pasta, cook for about 8 minutes.
Add the Creme fresh/double cream to the pan and simmer while the pasta is cooking. 
Drain the pasta when soft, put it back in the pot and add the sauce, stir in the parmasan cheese and serve. 
The editor welcomes any comments, good or bad, the bad ones will be posted in bold red type.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Sweet Fanny Adam


What a run I had this morning, up early and after two cups of Espresso I was ready for my run. I must admit I was battling a bit at the beginning until this woman passed me as though I was walking.  What an outfit, just about holding all that was her together and leaving very little to the imagination. That put a bit of energy into my run and I passed her with no problem.
They have great exercise areas and I had stopped at one to do some rowing and she was back. Out the corner of my eye I saw her doing stretching with her back to me, then she decided to touch her toes!!
“Then I saw her face, now I am a believer, not a trace of cellulite on her bum”
Talking of fanny, I have just downloaded the book, Sweet Fanny Adam. What a melancholy of murder and grief.
Few people who use the expression 'Sweet Fanny Adams' know of its origin. However there was a time when it would have been recognized instantly. When the name Fanny Adams made sensational headlines, creating a wave of horror, revulsion and pity. Little Fanny Adams was brutally murdered on Saturday 24 August 1867.
Well that says it all.
The rest of my run was exhilarating to say the least, every time I stopped to do my exercises she caught up, nothing like a ‘bit on the run’ to cheer a man up in this world of super fit people. Talking of super fit. The Olympics are now over and all the roads are back to normal, no more Olympic lanes and closed routes.
I am nearing the end of a very busy week and the end of my first App journey. Apple does make one jump through hoops to get anything to work on their precious iPad. There come a time when you need to walk away from all the drama and people who create it. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and focus on on feeling good. Time to love the people who treat you right, life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life, getting up is the living. Monday I will get up again but for now the computer will stay silent, email left unanswered and Skype offline.
Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Michael finishes 2nd in his Standard


What a week we have had, Michael getting very touchy when anyone mentioned University as he still did not know his A level results, he was actually doubting if he would get the results he needed to go to University.
Thursday was results day and Michael got a text from the university just after 8 confirming his acceptance to Bristol. Man was beside himself as he now knew he had enough points from his results and was accepted. The A levels results come out at 9 am but you have to go to school to get them.
At 10 I asked him when he was going and he said he would go pick his mate up and go round, it was not that important now as he had been accepted.
Well what a surprise he was in for, second in the school and for Business Studies he was one of the highest in the country. 2 A* and a B. Well done lad, I never doubted you would not do well.  The next day saw the mention in our local paper, see attached scan.
Now I do not know how long I can type for as my battery is running low but will continue until it dies.
What a good week it has been and now with Roberts GCSE results coming out this Thursday it could be another week of celebration, me celebrating his 3 A’s and a B, then I do not have to buy him an iMac, please little B show yourself I know you want to. Alternatively he might be celebrating, not worth thinking about.
Susan has 13 sleeps until she flies off to Lily Florence and the rest of the Dickens family. She is also going to go a day earlier and see the Merlin attractions in Sydney and then flying to Perth. Lucky girl and maybe will fly back via Malaysia to see the Attractions there, what a globe trotter she is turning out to be.  Watch out Gary she might be overtaking you in air miles soon.
I have finally decided to turn to the dark side, bought a MacBook Pro and it is beautiful, fast and sleek. Gone will be the PC shortcuts and in with the Apple Apps. I must admit my old MacBook – 5 years old still works well but the need for speed has forced my arm. Welcome to the world of Fruit, it is a bold move but never let technology get the better of you.
Just a catch up on the App I am developing for a mining company, I have finally received all the content and will be beavering away this coming week putting it all together and then the interesting bit, trying to make it work, hold thumbs fellow bloggers this is going to be a bumpy ride. If I am not that receptive to your emails, calls or texts, have patience I will have to be there by the end of the month. Not sure if I should use the music from ‘Hymn to the Fallen’ or ‘Saving Private Ryan’ as a background, both seem quite appropriate for underground mining.
Just to end, today is meant to be the hottest day this year but the clouds have put pay to that, so enjoy your weekend and lets speak soon.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The week that was


What has your week been like, a challenge, boring, full of optimise or just another week? Well I hope it brought some new adventure, opera unity or fun. 
I know you want to know what my week was like. Where do I start, weather wise it started damp and windy but with the promise of sunshine later in the week. I did spend the week waiting for content for websites I am doing, but that is not unusual, just a little frustrating. You will be pleased to know the App is coming along fine and will be finished by the end of the month, I will do a website conversion and blog you the URL (web address) when complete. Unfortunately it is an in house app so will not be available to download on your bright new iPhone or iPads. 
The end of the week brought sunshine, pack the towels, sub board, kayak and we all hit the beach , the sun changing our pale skins in a matter of hours to a pink hue. Had my first swim of the year and looking at the skies today, it maybe my last. 
Talking of weather, did you hear it snowed in Pretoria and surrounding areas on Tuesday, amazing, frightened all those wee black children with those big brown eyes, looking in wonder at what was falling from the heavens. Muttering of witchcraft were heard in the corridors of power, parliament reconvened to see what could be done and it was decided the problem would have to go to committee. 
That brings me on to great men and the fact that some really great people have made extraordinary speeches through out time, these resulting in people doing  extraordinary  deeds, thus changing the course of history. 
Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg speech promising that America would always be governed by the people, for the people. 
Churchill speech aimed at the Germans and promising " We will never surrender".
 Mandela in his rainbow speech.
"The time for the healing of the wounds has come. 
The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.
The time to build is upon us."
He also started that famous speech with.
 'Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.'  
This stopped South Africa from major unrest and civil war. Granny June always said he was a great man and history bears that out.
We are going to Swanage today in an open top bus for a later lunch, so enjoy your weekend and we will speak soon.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympic Fever


The Olympics are here and from all accounts seem to be going off very smoothly, London business is dead but hey ho the Olympics are going along gaily. I personally think the Olympics are all about Politicians and has been Olympic athletes trying to be one better than the last country to have them. Waste of money and all for 2 weeks of obscure sports we never watch and some do not even get a mention on television.
Talking of sport, those South African cricketers are not that bad as the feeder team to the English international team, I can see some of them being poached for the next World Cup. Last I looked SA had 419 all out and the English team were 81 for 1, day three, if we have a result is doubtful but then SA could get us out cheaply, put on a few more runs and then we collapse, game over.
The summer is still a way off for us, overcast and windy seems to be the prevailing weather and set for the next month, gloom and doom for those who enjoy the sun. We always tend to talk about the weather, why the fascination? I suppose it is something we can all feel and experience at the moment so is something to share.
Susan and I are still running and doing the circuit exercises every 2nd day, feeling really good, hope I have the will power to persist when the sun gets lower in the sky and the temperature drops for winter. We tend to hibernate come the autumn and running on an icy surface is a challenge.
It is Robert’s birthday this coming Saturday and we are at a loss to know what to get him, his expectations are very high, higher then we want to go. He wants an Apple iPhone 4 S, £499.00, almost the price of a small, 2nd handcar!! I did promise him a iMac if he gets 4 A’s and an A* for his GCSE’s, so might have to cough up for that at the end of the month.
Children are very expensive and my advise to anyone wanting to take the leap and have one or two, go for it they worth every penny. I have five and all have been a test but have grownup to be great. I have always admired them and loved the differences and similarities they have shown throughout their lives. In my latter years I do find I am calling Michael, Mark and Robert, Gary but that is just age and not the fact that they are so alike. Michael does also take after Angela in a lot of ways, never suffers fools gladly and has strong views that do not get changed easily. Where I fit in is anyone’s guess.
 I ramble so enjoy your weekend and speak soon.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Our Comfort Zones


We all quite happy working within our capabilities, our comfort zone but it is a good thing for all of us to every now and then push the boundaries and move out our comfort zone. I find myself doing this more often then not lately, it is an OMG type of experience but very rewarding. My latest is to put together an Application for the iPad, an App as you know it. I have created web friendly applications for a number of events but to create an App that is downloaded onto an iPad is way out my comfort zone. 
This is for a company called JoyGlobal and I was lucky enough to get the job from Gary via Joburgsetco, that boy must have some faith in me or just love me enough to stick his head out and say I can do it. Well the next two to three weeks will either estrange our relationship or surprise even me. I sincerely hope it is the latter, so hold thumbs fellow blog readers and if you know something about Apps please pass it on I have a feeling I might need it.
Enough begging, I have started running again and feel so much better for it. I had a little flu which I have moaned about in a previous blog and that has finally gone but it left me lazy, full of aches and pains and just not my normal self, solution excursus. I must admit I am really enjoying it. Poole park has excercise areas evenly spaces around the park, a good jog between stations and then 12 reps on the different machine and then jog to the next. A total of almost 3 kms and 6 excsercise areas (each has 4 or 5 machines) taking about 35 minutes. 
We are finally getting some sunshine and I intend buying a new lawnmower and doing some gardening this weekend, fresh air, manual labour and finally a tidy garden for the summer will be alright, thank you.
Angela should be sort of settled in her new home in Perth, that’s where the Great White Sharks live, and can now spend some time at the beach with Lily and Beno, hope it went well Angela.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Olympic Torch Relay

Yes I can be seen in the BBC video of the Torch Relay, 8000 miles, 8000 Torch Relay Runners and I watched one of the hand overs in Poole. I am the tall athletic looking gentleman on the left, blue shirt and chinos, can not miss me. I have always said that the olympics is the biggest waste of money this world ever invented but they really are putting on a show that has no budget limit. Just at a rough guess I would say there was 10 police on motorbikes, out riders, 9 police cars, mainly X5 BMW, 3 buses and loads of support vehicles. If the torch relay gets any change from £8 m, I will be surprised.

13072012263BMW are the official partners, one of them, they had the new 3 series following the torch bearers so BBC coverage for 8000 miles every inch of the way you see this 3 series from the front, great advertising.

Changing the subject, as you know it has been raining here for the last two months and is set to be very wet until september, something to do with the Gulf stream bringing wet weather from Mexico over the Atlantic to this muddy isle. Today is no exception, flood warning and heavy rain again but Merlin did point out the the clouds seem to be hanging around lately, so perceptive .that girl, I do agree the clouds are hanging in the sky, that is what clouds do when they not racing by in a storm.

Michael and Charlotta are off to the Grand Canaria islands for a weeks holiday, all the drama of the passport not arriving in time, then the visa would definitely not get processed in time. All has come together at the last minute, Michael picked his visa up yesterday and now is packing for the evening flight out of Gatwick - have fun kids and relax, you have a whole week there.

Finally I must thank all those who sang, sent cards, SMS, jibjab and came around for my birthday. I have loads of booze, cheese, a very good fruit cake which is part of my 5 a day and a coffee grinder. The only present missing is a good salami but with Gary now an Italian it could be on its way.

Just to let you know Gary is now known as Lancia, Italian for Gary, Lancia al Portatore is the full version. So Lancia al portatore will be having his name change ceremony in December. Farewell Gary, hello Lancia. Bruno Canosa is setting it all up with the help of Claudosa and the rest of the mafia family.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

This Muddy Island


They have forecast rain until September, this weekend floods challenge the South West and Northern Scotland, putting a damper on the ODI against Australia and the Grand Prix at Silverstone. I am now sitting at golf with the rain pouring down and some strangely fanatical golfers manly fighting through the weather to hit that little white ball as far as they can. Do they really enjoy it? Robert is under cover for his lesson so he should be dry.
I read a thought provoking story ‘A good friend’ recently and still wonder why when two people coming from the same environment and background turn out so different. Is it the adding of a partner or is it just different roads they take? Maybe we should let them have their space and hopefully life will have its own way of sorting it out. It is very hard to watch someone you love dancing to a different tune.
Russell has been staying at his game reserve over the last few weeks and loving it, long time in coming, makes the success so much sweeter. I have seen an out of focus shot of buffalo and cannot wait for some in focus photographs of the Lodge and Reserve.
We have found a new breakfast venue, Weatherspoon Pubs, serve an amazing breakfast at a reasonable price and we can all catch up. It is the one time when we all get together without telly or computers and just chat. There is the added beauty in that you can substitute your coffee for a pint, now that is what I call a good start to the day. Full English for £2.99, bargain. When you here again we will spoil you to breakfast at ‘Spoons’. Maybe we stay for lunch while gradually working our way through the vast selection of guest ale’s on offer.
Well the hour is over and Robert is dashing through the rain to the car, enjoy your weekend in Durban, hope your move goes well Angela, moving from Townsville to Perth this weekend. Happy birthday Matthew Charles Dickens, hopefully we will catch up over the weekend.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Reverse Xenophobia

Angela has a condition called reverse xenophobia, comes from moving to another country and then being intolerant of people from your home country, staying or visiting your adopted country. Where has all the time gone and why with such  haste, it was only yesterday that Angela berated me for not being totally loyal to South Africa and now events have come full circle, nasty illness that reverse xenophobia. Hope you are going to cope in Perth.
Michael and Charlotta had their first trip to London together yesterday, both finished school and now with 3 months holiday ahead of them before Uni, they have decided to take themselves off to the Grande Canary islands for a two week holiday. Michael picked up his new passport and Charlotta some essential clothes for the beach and night life on the Grande Canaries. Again I must point out 'where has all the time gone and why with such haste? Robert is also finished his GCSE exams and will be returning to school to do his A levels in September, what are they going to do for the next 3 months except cost me a fortune?
Susan is on the go again, no not up the corporate ladder but more literally traveling to the midlands and then back to London in her iPanda with retina display and Italian passion engine. First long trip for her in the new iPanda and what fun it will be, I imagine will be over in a wink of an eye, fun things always pass too quickly. Talking of Susan, we had our British wedding anniversary last week, 10 years we have been married in the eyes of HM Government.
Again I must point out 'where has all the time gone and why with such haste?
Have not heard anymore about Russell's game reserve but will give him a ring when I have a moment next week and get all the gossip.
I am thinking of putting another Chronicle together again, time fly's, I know I have rabbited on a bit about time and the haste of it but we are all older and wiser so let's as a group, friends and family, get some photos and stories in a folder and send them to me, I will do the magic. Come on, your know you want to, think of your children and what memories you can leave them.

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Olympics are just 40 days away


I can understand the huge and expensive opening ceremony, welcome all the countries and their athletes. Alway very popular and a chance to show off but the closing ceremony beats me, why put on a huge party after they have come here, beaten us at everything, no I say, tell them to shod off and find their own way home.
Men are spending almost as much money on fashion wear and cosmetics as women. Who uses cologne? Firming cream? Body spray and shower gel? Maybe, more than I think. Hair gel seems quite popular and watching my two boys here, it seems that they have more colognes, body sprays and shower gels then I thought existed. Soon they will be powdering their face as they did in the Victorian era, history does repeat itself.
Did you know that the Ford Ka has only one airbag, I know, only one you say, yes one, when it explodes, in the unlikely event of an accident, it fills the whole car, they are rather small.
We are expecting a windy weekend, 30 mph winds and hard rain forecast for the next 24 hours and then a brief lull before the back of the storm comes back to give us a second hit. Well that is the forecast and we will probably have none of it but a little wind and some drizzle. It is meant to be a small hurricane, we do not do cyclone, health and safety.

The Poppy Fire


Natures fire brought out by the Poppy glowing in the late afternoon sun. Such a short lived flower that promises so much and has to do with what little sunshine it gets. ‘It’ is a harsh term for a Poppy, ‘she’ would be more appropriate. Year after year these wonderful flowers grace our garden and demand our attention. A rose does the same but not with such a limited time frame, we all know the rose will flower again and again even until death. The Poppy gives all for such a short time, we must wonder why, but then, why not. Nature gifts us many wonders but the simple flowering of a Poppy must be one of her greatest achievements.
I took these photos of the Poppy as I saw her and that elusive sun disappeared as I was photographing. It is all in the photos. Enjoy them, for like life, it is a rare occasion when all comes together for a moment to lift us and help us get through the long days that is an English summer.
I did good today, not as much as I would have want but enough to let me realise that somethings do take time and giving that time has its own rewards.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Queens Diamond Jubilee and Lily Florence.


Bank holiday weekend with an extra day, never happens in England except for the Queens 60th year on the throne, Prince Charles will still have a long wait to be king, the Queen Mother lived to 103. I do not think he really wants to be King, he does live a good life at the minute. Does a great deal of good work as well as running his numerous estates and we must not forget the Duchy range of organic foods he sells nationally. I had some Duchy Cheddar a little while ago and it was good, pricy but full of flavour.
Anyway back to the extra bank holiday on Tuesday, we intend having a Jubilee BBQ with some friends and family. In true English tradition we will burn the pork sausages and under cook the chicken, well after all the celebration wine no one will notice. Talking of under cooking, I did a whole pork fillet very quickly after marinating it by splashing on olive oil, loads of garlic granules and then seasoned with some salt and fresh ground pepper. Leave it for at least an two hours so it is at room temperature once you throw it on the grill. This makes a good alternative to chicken breasts, try it.
Russell has bought a Game Reserve, yes finally, lions, hippos, elephants and buck for the lions to eat. Comes complete with a game lodge and game drives. Who will be the first to visit and give me some feedback.
Finally let us all wish Lily Florence - artist for Middle earth and Princess to her Mum and Dad, a very happy birthday. I did a Jibjab video for her and hopefully that has put a smile on her face. She does look stunning while dancing. See Video here http://www.jibjab.com/view/m15OLiQD7bxRlwac

The humble Poppy hiding beside the Maple tree


Such humility in the poppy, just a little hint of orange giving support to that noble Maple. We planted that tree a week after Granny June left us and it is thriving in her memory.

You are forever taken from our sight, though nothing can bring you back;
To see the splendour of the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy which having been must forever be;

Susan was going to cut it back and then saw a mature tree in the Canford cliffs area and realised it has the inclination to put out way ward shoots as it grows. Full of promise and the eternal optimism of all young tree, really the optimism of youth, all our youth bound into the tree of the Matriarch. 
What's is life without dreams, we would not have the will to carry on without this simple gift. 

The quirks of the kitchen


The quirks of the kitchen
To the sounds of Waterloo by Abba on the Graham Norton show I contemplate those oddities of the kitchen. Normally I just cook without really reading the instructions but recently I glanced at the cooking instructions on a packet of pasta. Place in boiling water with a pinch of salt, cook for 10 to 12 minutes, shorter cooking time will give an Al Denta (Firm to the mouth) pasta. Interesting, definitely give a 'Firm to the mouth' feel if that is rump steak. Pasta the longer you cook it the softer it gets, streak the shorter the time cooked the softer it is. This is a good basic rule to follow for younger cooks, like Michael going to Uni soon. All meats and fish the shorter it is cooked the softer and more flavour it has and those carbohydrates need to be cooked longer for that 'Soft to the mouth' feel. 
Gary of Middlesmiths has just bought a BMW 5 series and Robert has been watching out for them on the road. Today he revealed his findings. 
' I have never seen anyone under the age of 70 driving one yet, don't get me wrong, I think they are amazing cars.' well Robert I suppose it is the price of a 5 series that puts the younger generation off. Not to get too down hearted Gary, he wants to be the first young person to drive one.
Summer time and the sun is shining, Merlin is at the beach hut and I will be cleaning out the Weber in anticipation of the first BBQ of the year. That smell of Hotties bubbling on the coals, sizzle of sausage and burger patties and the slow rolling of a rolled beef, well done on the outside and very pink in the middle. All accompanied by a cold Chardonnay and hopefully no wind. Tonight's the night.
Do you follow the Eurovisions song contest? Yes, no. Well this year the favourite song is by the Singing Grannies From Russia. Our entry is by Engeburg  Humperdinck, singing a love song, not too sure of the title but being from the UK we will come last. 
Other news is that the Greeks do not want to pay their debts so will be thrown out of the EU. Go for it I say, it is all the fault of the banks who are still making millions and want us to pay their debts off while giving eye watering bonus's to the Directors. Bob Diamond, Barclays, £16m last year!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

No blog since the 4th


Irate email fill my inbox berating me for not blogging, fame has its downside.
Birthday coming up for our resident artist, Lily Florence Dickens, with my erratic blogging I take the liberty of wishing her a jolly day and I will try and remember to send her a small gift today. Come to think of it I might as well send one for Mika, Daniel and Travis, that way everyone is taken care of until Christmas. Expect the postman!!
It is the Queen's birthday soon, no its  not, it is her 60 years reign that we will be celebrating in two weeks time and Elizabeth has been touring around England visiting her subjects and generally being very social. On one such visit with her husband and Prince Charles, both men came up with some classic gaffs. 
Prince Charles saw a women dressed in a red dress with a zip all the way down the front and commented to the policeman next to him.
"If I pulled that zip down I would probably be arrested." and then turned to wave at the happy people around as the policeman tried in vain to stop laughing. 
Prince Phillp saw a lady wrapped in a foil blanket, the kind you use when camping to keep you warm in the winter, and asked her if they were going to put her in the oven later? When a journalist asked her if she was offended she said no it had made her day. What does the Queen have to put up with.
Last night I started to feel my age, frightening. Susan and the boys decided to go to Frankie and Bennys for dinner. Well where do I start, music so loud I could not hear Michael sitting next to me let alone Susan and Robert sitting opposite me. Place full of young families, screaming, exhausted children and over priced, badly cooked Italian food. I was very hungry by the time we finally left, normally would have cooked and eaten long before we actually left. One look at the menu and prices, £18 for a pizza, I opted for a salad which was a waste of chewing time. Enough of that, just to say the last two times I have eaten out I have been extremely disappointed. It is an age thing I suppose!
For the 50 odd pounds it cost l could have bought a whole beef fillet and roasted it with all the trimmings, wine and dessert. My last on the subject is I will stick to pubs from now on, so if you visit expect a few pub meals or home cooked.
Thank you all those that have 'Liked' the Facebook page of Joburgsetco. Need the likes as when you get over 35 you can see your statistics on who has visited your page and if they have gone on to browsing your website. 
Modern technology now allows me to post my blog and then it updates my Facebook and Twitter page as well, so no excuse, you can find it now in three places.
Enjoy your weekend, Robert has finished trying to destroy that little white golf ball and we off home.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Tour de Argos

gary cyclingGary of the Middlesmith’s decided to enter the Tour De France this year.
Gary eased into the sport of cycling when he was taken on as a delivery cyclist for a florist. That did not last long as the guy from the florist kept giving him big bouquets of flowers and he did not really like the guy that much. But his love of cycling was born.
Many hours to and from work on his foldup bicycle honed his lean frame just enough to get into one of those close fitting cycling suits and he was ready to take on the best in the world at the Tour De France. After buying some funny shoes to cycle in he set off for France. Being a true professional he took his three bikes, two racing and his foldup bike.

The big day arrived clear and cold. Which bike to ride, the foldup or the racing bike that hurts his bum, looking around he sees everyone has a racing bike so putting on a extra pair of boxers he takes the racing bike.
After a false start when his coach shouted ‘Focus’ and he jumped into a Ford Focus they started the race again. At the starter gun he decided to set off imagining an angry group of bicycle riders chasing him, they were, he had stolen their saddles. Gary won and quite comfortable as well. Having won the yellow jersey he was a little dismayed, it had come from Edgars? Next year the Argos Tour with the really short pencils.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mother Natures holding her grip on Winter


March saw a Indian summer for most of the UK with our day temp being in the higher teens but along came April and the cold, windy weather systems engulfed us. Wind, snow and single figure temp figures made April honest again. This could be an interesting summer!
Saturday's, alas always sees Susan and I setting off for our weekly run on Branksome promenade. Today was no different, but with the weather being damp to put it mildly, we put on sensible running gear. You know the thing about running in the rain is not the wet puddles or your legs getting colder, rain stinging your face, it is that continual drips of rain that runs down the back of your neck that seem to invite the devil dancing on your grave, real shivers. I do not wear expensive running clothes, Tracky longs, cross trainers and a t shirt with a long sleeves jumper in odd weather, mostly all the time. In the middle of summer I might change the tracky longs for running shorts but other than that I look like a homeless tramp type of runner, funny that. Anyway Susan ran to day and I looked after Samuel, Merlin Entertainment Golfing umbrella kept me dry and I can quite honestly say I enjoy the leisurely pace.
I spoke to Russell yesterday and he was having cold, rainy and windy weather as well, he was home alone for the long weekend as his extended family were all away, shame he did sound a little down. Maybe someone should give him a call and cheer him up. Out forecast predicts more of the same for the next week or so, when will it stop? The wettest drought we have ever had. Enough I say, I am sounding like a true Brit, always talking about the weather!!
Gary,s company set up a replica of the Paris North station (Gard Du Nord) in Johannesburg. I have put a few images on the Joburgsetco Facebook page. I was really amazed at the attention to detail, down to a train dining carriage with a full dining room inside, Paris styled cafe and all the signage and clock looking very authentic. Type in www.facebook.com/Joburgsetco and all will be revealed.
Merlin is loving her Panda, full of Italian passion and zeal. Mighty acceleration and frugale fuel consumption bringing a smile to anyone driving or being honoured enough to drive, will appreciate. Her only complaint is that it is forever telling her when to change gears, little Panda do not mess with this lady, changing gears is her decision. I must say this little Italian masterpiece coloured in white with black trim lives up to the name Panda. Top speed of 112 mph and average fuel consumption of 54 mpg, it brings back the joys of motoring and the open road. That is about 5lt/100 Kms. A trip to Durban from Johannesburg using about 30 ltrs. 
Must go , all for now, enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Story of my Writing

Michael and Susan have both asked me if I wanted them to take Robert to golf and give me a break. I told them that it is my time to blog, write, it heals the stress and strains of life for me, not that life is that bad, pretty good actually but in saying that I thought I would try and describe why I need to write.

The heart and soul of the story is the heart and soul every writer puts in to the story. Spend a little time writing a story and you will know something you might not have known.

Writing lifts me and I suppose the best way to describe it is that for all my truest hopes and desires for my writing is that, what I find, I never knew. It always comes as a shock, a surprise. It is new.

We could never know what we are going to do before we have done it and in that sense we discover what we did not know.

There are things in my life I will see, there are stories I will hear. If I do not write them down, not paint that pictures, it will not be seen, not be told.

Tell me your stories, I will learn something new, not only the story but more about you. If you never tell the stories, no one will know you and more importantly your children will not have that piece of you they can always go back too. Facebook it, blog it, email it but write it.

Create characters for your friends, family, and other people who appear in your life, someone will emerge as a hero and lift us when we think of them.

Granny June sent us a letter at least once a month, hand written, it told so much more than just the written word, I maybe replied to every second one and she always thanked me, pity the letters have stopped now but I promised her I would always write from my heart and this is one promise I will keep.

I hope this goes some way to explain why I sometimes bore you, lift you or make you laugh, they all do the same to me.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Weekend


A quiet weekend for us, the weather not that great but did manage to clear the garage out, 4 trips to the tip took all the junk and not so junk, but in the way rubbish and now we have a huge garage to fill in the near future.

Merlin took us off to a garage to buy a car. Photo attached. Some say the car was designed by Merlin herself and others have heard the Stig is getting one before her, I say that this concept car has the added attraction of being sophisticated, dynamic and exciting. All this is cloaked in a stylish yet friendly new design and one of the most Turbo powered economical engines available today. German developed with Italian designing enhances the overall appeal. Due to be released in a weeks time, Merlin will take delivery a week after that.

It is now Monday and we have eaten our body weight in Easter Eggs and Hot Cross buns, it is time to take Sam for a walk and Susan to the shoe shop to buy some motoring shoes which will double as work shoes as well.

Claudia ran 10km in 1 hr. and 15 min, no doubt also to work off the melted chocolates left in the South African sun for children who are not impressed. Susan and I ran to the blue house and back along the promenade yesterday and that took us 45 min. Another great sporting weekend behind us. Happy Easter.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Big Freeze blows down from the North


Snow returns to Scotland dispelling any idea that the spring is with us. Last week saw temperatures soaring to 23 deg C and Britain starting to believe that there is such a thing called Global Warming. Mother Natures has the laugh and we wait for the Easter freeze that looks likely to blow in tomorrow and stay for Easter.

On a warmer note:
The Home Office says new laws to allow the monitoring of all emails, texts and web use in the UK will be brought in "as soon as parliamentary time allows".
I do believe the Big Brother State that George Orwell predicted is looking to becoming a reality. My gut feeling is that it will not happen in the near future but will slowly worm it way into the statue books almost like a computer virus, one day we will wake up to the fact that everything we do is being monitored, maybe Google does that already?

Must do some work but will end on this interesting note. My grandson Benjamin was asked if he would like to start Golf lesson? His joy can be seen in the photograph.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Golf - How young do you start?


Watching the junior class getting instruction on how to hold the golf club and I can see the impatient's to get to the fun part, whacking that little white ball. One little guy watches on, probably not 3 yet or only just, has a very little club in his hand and while the others go off to see how the coach does his swing he takes to the practise tee. Still a little unsteady on his feet he finally manages to get the ball to stay on the tee, the smile tells it all, this is the big time. Quick look to see if anyone is watching he steadies himself, looks to the 150 m board and takes an almighty swing, you can just imagine that ball sailing past the board into infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear.

Reality, he misses completely and the momentum keeps him going, all the way around and then down he goes, onto his bum. Now to this budding golfer that means naught, up he gets and the process starts again. On the forth attempt he manages to just nick it and the ball rolls two or three feet away. Triumph, his face tells the story as he looks around to see if anyone saw and then in true form, he has watched the older men, he takes a huge drink from his 2 litre bottle of juice. From where I am the bottle almost takes him to his hips and I very much doubt if he could have picked it up if it was full. Oh the rigours of a young mans golf practise. Enough of this fickle game, must move on to important matter.

Have you seen the new Facebook page for Joburgsetco web page, if not check it out on www.facebook.com/joburgsetco should get you there. Remember to become a friend or write a short comment, really is a great site we already have 5 likes and three friends. Latest news letter is featured as well which you can read the full version on the Joburgsetco news page with photos of the launch of the New BMW 3 Series and also features the amazing wall of screens at Suncity for the Standard Bank managers conference. Give it a try you know you want to.

I am enjoying a coke and a aero chocolate while writing, Susan and I had our first serious run this morning and I am topping up my carbs, that's my story anyway. The simple pleasure of a sweet chocolate and the fizzy cool coke makes perfect partners. Easter is around the corner, Susan and the boys are on holiday for the next week or so and this is the last time Michael will be a school boy on holiday, later this year he is on to university leaving Robert to fill the house for the next two years. Life moves on and we will win the lottery and retire when he leaves the house. Travel the world in a mobile home, drink fine wine and write a little, heaven.

Susan took the photograph of Sam trying his fierce stance. Enjoy your weekend and the coming Easter weekend.