Thursday, 28 March 2013

Charities, big business

Latest figures from the Department of Trade and Industry has confirmed that only 10% to 12% of the monies collected by charities actually gets to the people they are collection for. This is big business, without the need to pay any tax, billions collected every year and if one looks at the size of the head offices and well paid staff you can understand why we have so many. We have at least 5 requests for donations a week. Be it your old cloths, jeweller or a monthly cash donation they all want something for nothing. Take a charity that raises £234m, their gross profit, tax free, £211m. As I said 'Big Business'. Now to get on to something more beneficial to me and my family, Charity begins at home.
'You have spoken and we have listened', no more taking the charity bosses to pieces. Yes I do listen.
Easter weekend and Robert away in Paris and Michael down from Uni for the weekend has flown bye. The weather did not really give us hope for a warm weekend but we have to stay positive.
Good Friday, early run on the beach, cut the lawn and vacuumed the house, all by 11am. What to do next? Upton House, Woodlands walk and then we realised how little a borough council planner plans. They have cut out all the undergrowth, I suppose to allow light to reach the woodlands floor. It has opened up the forest but seems to have lost all the character which the overgrown forest offered. The good thing is, due to the lack of common sense in the council, no thought would have gone into future maintenance and nature will reclaim its own.
Easter has come and gone, Susan will be back at work tomorrow, the sun will come out and the first quarter of this new year is history. Spring is officially here, our clock went forward an hour so we are technically now an hour ahead of the rest of the world, those who do not tamper with their clocks that is. All seems like a lot of work but a little quark that we will always treasure, most clocks change by themselves but there is the odd clock, like the microwave oven, that will run an hour behind for the next 6 months.
Today we are having the traditional pork pie. Chopped juicy tomatoes, mature cheddar cheese and Gruyere cheese baked with eggs and cream, layered over a tomato sauce in a crisp pastry.
"You have gone mad, a Pork Pie is the result of a 200 odd years tradition in making pies. The uncured meat of a Melton pie is grey in colour when cooked; the meat is chopped, rather than minced. The pie is made with a hand-formed crust – this style of production gives the pie a slightly irregular shape after baking. As the pies are baked free-standing, the sides bow out, they are not vertical like mould-baked pies." I hear you say and I must bow too your knowledge, of course you are right, you may not know it, my thanks for correcting my obvious oversight.
Pamagor will be here in the next week. Believed to have been in South Africa looking after Madiba and also seen in North Korea evaluating the sanity of Um, slightly retarded leader of that country. We live in strange times, interesting but not as serious the important fact that there is a drop in the number of bees in the world and that figure is decreasing year on year. This is important.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Empire strikes back

Those colonials have been at it again, stealing babies! Twenty years of government approved baby snatching. You might think this is a story from those Arabic State but no, the British Empire, actually it is Australia.
'Prime Minister Julia Gillard has issued an apology to people affected by Australia's forced adoption policy between the 1950s and 1970s.'
Julia said, 'Tens of thousands of babies of unmarried, mostly teenage mothers, were thought to have been taken by the state and given to childless married couples.'
This is an era of apologies, David Cameron did it in Ireland, many South Africans have been down that route but it does bring it home when we consider what we did in service of the British Empire and those not qualified to govern did just that.
This is still going on, much more subtlety but going on none the less. BBC interviewer Kate Hummable asking women of the nomadic tribes in the desert, what there home life is all about and what the sex is about. Why? Just for a story, a petty gain for the interviewer but if the men hear about it the woman will be beaten, even ostracised, in some cases killed. One day the MP for the BBC will probably apologies. What the cost?
Saying that there are too many people on this world of ours and as my mum always said, 'Man will devour all, even himself in the end'. Maybe those in the desert with their ancient family ways and practises will survive us all.
Spoke to Mark and he is doing well, good to hear from him and also know he is slowly getting to grips with modern technology, Skype and Samsung Galaxy Tablet, it is like magic.
Had dinner with the Fay's last night and was pleased to see Jessica with her boyfriend. He is taller than her, good breeding there! Peter is now working for that favourite of all companies, Tesco.
Great photograph Angela sent of Matt trying to fly.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Not quite Spring

The greatest gift in life is to see life as the greatest gift, heard it on the way to the beach. Sometimes it is good to walk the dog in the rain and wind. Would not have heard the radio, let alone the quote.
It has rained for 40 days and not too sure how many nights but now it is time to cease. Let that sun shine, wind drop and temperature double. Cabin fever is starting to get to me, Sam is the same, todays walk was a chore, even for him.
Weekend does not hold out much hope of any of the above happening but there is a Grand Prix and the cricket is on in New Zealand so we must be thankful for that.
I have just ordered this very practical case for my iPad, £11.50, as you can see it almost takes the need for a laptop away. I predict that in the next 5 years the tablet with a case including keyboard will take over from the much loved Laptops. Microsoft make a really good looking tablet called the Surface and its case has a a very thin keyboard built in. Do not rush out to buy one as yet, wait for the Professional model , it will have a better operating system. Although a bit pricy at £429.00 it will still be worth it.
Has anyone eaten at Sugo Rosso yet, we need a food review and some photos to bring my readers up to date. Angela what about getting your friend in SA to sneak around and have a meal, incognito as such. You can then pick up the tab, all in the name of public news and we can all relax or worry as the case may be. While your friend is about it maybe a trip with Russell's new business, 'Wet and Wild.' I know but I am not saying anything.
All for now, will write over the weekend. Thanks for all those comments of delight, keep them coming.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Lulworth Castle

I have always wanted to visit Lulworth Castle, Susan took Granny June there many years ago before they finished restoring the castle. The exterior of the Castle changed little over the years but the interior evolved in line with changing fashions until it was gutted by a fire in 1929. Restoration work began on the ruin by the Department of the Environment and was followed through to completion in 2008 by English Heritage. As can be seen from the photograph, the Castle is magnificent, huge and imposing on the surrounding landscape. The estate cover 20 sq miles and has re-established the de Newburgh deer. Originally built as a hunting lodge to host hunting parties for the King.
What can I say about this Castle, not much. That is the rub, you pay to walk around a shell, their idea of restoration was to clean it up, make it safe to walk in and put a roof on. You look up from the ground floor to the 4th floor ceiling, nothing in between just a huge space of air. I would have been very disappointed had it not been for the cellar, kitchen and servants rooms below the ground floor. I realise that this was not burnt in the fire so did not need a huge amount of restoration. The present owner, The Weld family, are sitting on a gold mine, it must make quite a lot of money in the summer with very little up keep. My view, poor show.
In saying all this it will be a good place to take Samuel for a walk when the weather improves and also when we have visitors from far flung countries and need a place to go for a gentle walk and maybe a pub lunch.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Thinking tights

This new brand of tights has just hit the shop shelves, or maybe I have just seen them for the first time. Micro sensors that tell the tights it is cold so will warm you, know when it is hot and cool you. Can this be true? Pretty amazing tights I would say. Scanned image attached.
I spoke to Russell and he is a happy man, Jared is going to work at an Italian restaurant, Steven is going to work for a new company called Wet and Wild. I know it sounds a bit like a condom advert, it is actually all about travel and the sea. Irene is talking Russell for his 55th birthday for a holiday cruise to the Med. Matthew is studying on, so seems to be left out of all the fun. Talking of birthdays, does anyone know when my father was born? I am sure it was in March.

Read this by Shelley;
And the sunlight clasps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissing worth, if thou kiss not me.

Such sadness in this poem of love, longing and want, dreaming of his only love.
Beware the Ides of March. I think it was Julius Ceaser that that said those famous line or was it Brutus? Maybe the teacher in our family can enlighten us. Well I came through the Ides of March and hope you all did as well. David Livingston, the great explorer did not, he died on the 15th March (Ides of March) some where in the middle of Africa. The story goes that they sent his body to the closest British garrison without his heart. Some African chief said, 'You can have his body but Africa gets his heart.' Not sure if it is true but make for a good story.

Whole gambit of weather this weekend and it is only Saturday. Started with steady drizzle and then glorious sun and mild breeze. Then the dark clouds descended and we have had hail with strong wind. Now weather forecaster man explain that one.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mothers Day

Somehow it makes me think of Home. Home, the place your mother lives. Home is not just a mark on a map anymore than a river is just water. It is the place at the center of you from which every journey radiates and where the heart is fixed. It is a force that forever draws us back and lures us on. Where there is home, there lies hope, the future waits and everything is possible.
Susan was given flowers and a pen for mothers day, Robert and Michael pushing the boat out, but then they are just boys. Bit strange having mothers day on different dates throughout the world. My mother is in my thoughts this day and most others, it is sad I am not able to pickup the phone and wish her happy mothers day but then she would of laughed and told me it is not mothers day in south africa. She would have gone on to tell me all about the beach and the dolphins, her garden and the politics of the day. How happy she is in St Michaels and that she will need to paint the windows soon. How she had the energy I always marvelled.
Happy Mothers Day if you a Mum.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Frantic Weekend

Michael home for the weekend, he has applied for a job at the RNLI - Royal Navy Lifeboat Institute - for a summer job patrolling the beach and generally doing what young guys do when you surf and paddle a lot. Oh to have the freedom of youth, makes one want to craboon.
Susan off to Manchester and Alton Tower. It is the general managers annual conference, should be ok as all the resorts seem to be doing well from what I read in the papers. Interestingly there are over 100 resorts throughout the world, so the GM's will be limited on their presentations.
I sit here on Poole High street in a coffee shop while Susan gets her hairdcut, all the preparation for the big week ahead makes me weary. Sun is shinning but the wind is cold, we may get to 7 deg today but I will not hold my breath. Everyone wrapped up in thick coats and then you see a northerner come past in a t shirt and jeans, they do breed them hardy but almost all the elderly are a little crimpy.
Gary and Claudia have bought a restaurant chain called Sugo Rosso. When Gary first told me he did not say what kind of restaurants they were, so I wondered if they were German, silly silly me, Italian they are and for ever will be , what was I thinking, him being married to the mafia and all. 'And all' what you might ask, I say 'and all' the loving family that go with such a marriage made in heaven and Italy. I do envy him and Angela in that their in laws are such lovely people, well chosen, that's my children for you. I do not have that luxury, my mother in law walks past Michael in the street and does not know him!
I have finished the Chronicle iBook and will send the iPad, iPhone version out shortly. Once I have finished the e Book version I will send that out as well. The iBook version can only be read on an iPad/iPhone, nothing else.
Thinking back on Sugo Rosso, as I know it, how will it effect their lives, their children's lives and will they be richer in mind for it? I am a little jealous at their dare to change, their innocence of youth tempered by their business experience. I wish them well and I am sure it will be. I hope someday to enjoy a cup of good coffee with those two brave adventurers. I also salute their will to never stand still.
Enjoy your weekend and if you happen to be near a Sugo, have a coffee.


Spring, and!


Tomorrow is the start of spring, every gardeners dream. I know Granny June would be very happy but I have a nagging feeling she would be just a little worried about the weather. I hazard a guess we are at lest a month away from spring, as nature intended. Stop I hear you say, no more doom and gloom with regards to the weather, but it is what we do best.
Angela and Matt celebrate another anniversary, 7th I think, the years pass so alarming fast. Mika also celebrated this week with her 11th birthday on the 25th, so all happiness there as well. Feb has been quite a month for celebration, the two mentioned above and then Michael and Daniel also had birthdays. I hope I am right as it is Angela's calendar I am quoting.
Well the Pope has left the Vatican and now it is for those few cardinals to pick another. In normal times, popes make their final exit from the Vatican in a coffin and after a period of mourning, are laid to rest in the crypt of St Peter's Basilica as the great bells of the first church of Christendom boom out. But not Benedict XVI. I feel he has decided to write his memoirs. I am sure he has put a little away for his retirement so will not be a burden on the State, as it is.
I wish they would pick someone a little younger so that we can keep up with them. Maybe Russell should apply for the job. He has a big heart and loads of love to give. He is also partial to red shoes and long flowing gowns, the mitre might have to be lengthened slightly but will be around a good 30 odd years or so. On second thoughts, no that will not be a good idea. He will want to convert the Vatican into a holiday destination and it would be a shame to lose those old buildings to concrete and glass.
I would apply but I have not got a passport at the moment. I am having trouble finding someone who is pure of heart, full of humility and has the time to be the Pope for about 30 years, if you think of anyone please let me know and I will pass it on to the Holy fathers at the Vatican. Enjoy your weekend.