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.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Gender Neutral

Had a good comment from my blog on books.
'This blog of your, says nothing, twice.' This from John67 from Canada, man of few words.
Great comment, for someone to actually take the time to comment on nothing, is extraordinary. Reading it again I am not sure what part is being questioned. Oh, it's probably nothing.

Brings me on to another topic which has made me wonder. Many people have aliases and usernames which do not actually tell you if they are male or female. This leads to the Internet promoting a gender neutral society. I have a few that I cannot fathom what gender they are, but as they comment privately, I will keep their names unpublished, irrespective of their gender.

In the real world, there are those that want a gender neutral society. I think they a little perverted, they just want to go into the boys or girls loos. Nature somehow throws a spanner into this gender thing by making boys and girls, easy to check. Keep it simple and you will rarely go wrong.
Marks and Spenser are introducing a gender neutral section of cloths for school children. Well, that will work? The boys will not wear dresses, so it will be up to the girls to dress like boys. I do not know an awful lot about girls, nobody does, but I do know that most girls want to look like girls. Anyone have any thoughts on this, please let me know. I promise to be neutral in all my replies.

I am half way through a photography course and it is amazing what you can do with a camera. We all think we can fix most problems with adobe photoshop, but it is all about the quality of the image, before you start. The course is by a National Geographic photographer. As he says, a good photo of someone you love is timeless, they always happy in the photo and they never age.

Sunday, just Sunday

I miss led you, Sunday's is a favourite day for me, tomorrow is Monday, start of a new week and today we get to reflect what we can do tomorrow. I have told my children that they'll must enjoy their work. If you enjoy your work it becomes a pleasure and then you will never work a day in your life again.

I am at Sandbanks, I know but in all fairness they do serve a good Victoria sponge with my Americano and the views are amazing. Susan is at work so I am enjoying cake and an Americano. I did ask Robert if he was interested but he said he is OK. He looks healthy enough, I was just enquiring about coffee and cake.

On the beach they are having a fizz-by tournament, well it seems to be inter university. The be all and end all of this event is a bunch of young students running around after a fizz-by. Give Jenson another few months and they will have no chance.

It is quite cool with a nippy breeze so most of those not playing are in the Cafe holding onto their coffee cups. The sun is dancing its reflectIon off the small waves, giving it a twinkle lighting effect. 

Went for a walk to Old Harry's rock on Saturday with Robert and Susan. Quite a long way but worth the walk. Walking passed the pub at the start of our journey, I did see a man having a ploughmans and a pint, the promise of coming back to that, kept me going over the hills and dales. Alas that was not to be, Robert was OK and Susan is watching her figure. Did not really want to be the only one eating and drinking. I can still taste that pint, must be my imagination. 

We did contemplate taking Jenson but as he is only 4 months it would be pushing it a bit for those little legs. Actually the rule of thumb is when you take a puppy for a walk, puppy meaning under 9 months for a retriever, is 1 minute for every week old. As will all dogs, they will keep going if you do until they collapse, be careful, when they young rather take them on shorter walks, more frequently. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Scottish National Anthem

My blog is gaining followers from all around the world, I even get a mention by name in this Youtube Video by Amy MacDonald.

O Flower of Scotland, when will we see your like again, that fought and died for, your wee bit hill and Glen, and stood against him, proud Edward's Army, 
and sent him homeward, tae think again. The Hills are bare now, and Autumn leaves Lie thick and still, O'er land that is lost now, which those so dearly held. Those days are past now, and in the past they must remain, but we can still rise now, and be the nation again.

Makes me think of South Africa. Security vs Freedom? 

Wanted to talk about security vs freedom. How much security you have is directly associated with how much freedom you have. In England you have much less freedom then South Africa. But we do have security. Freedom in SA comes at a price, security in SA is on the low side because the criminals have the freedom to rob, murder and steal. They have this freedom simple because they will probably get away with it. 

Take an example I often quote. You approach traffic lights late at night and there is not another car in sight. In England you would stop and wait for the lights to change, your freedom is curbed by your respect for the law. In SA, you would not wait because you do not have that respect for the law, mainly because the upholders of the law are mostly corrupt. There is also the danger of being hijacked or robbed.

Freedom is actually a perceived notion and no one has total freedom. The human race cannot have complete freedom because we would then live in a totally lawless society.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Dog walkers and their stories

Walking Jenson has become one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. Away from the computer screen, emails and clients with, dare I say, different views on what they want, some just plain sad. It is of no matter, if, what they want, is in keeping with what they are trying to achieve. 
'I saw this on another website and I really think it will be look good on mine.’ My favourite.

On a more somber note. I passed a family on the beach today, all quiet and looking very dejected, raw grief etched on their faces, as they tried not to breakdown and cry. Then the young boy could hold back the tears no longer and collapsed into his fathers arms. Sobs racking his little body, while everyone else looked on helpless. One can not help wondering if it was a family member or a pet they were grieving for?
I walked on, thankful Jenson had decided not to run over and jump up. I walked that beach feeling much the same when Sam died and I could only hope they remember the good times, they will feel the lose and, in time, that gets manageable.

Jenson quickly brought me back to the present, mad dash to an old couple sitting on beach chairs with a very old little dog, as he decided they were worth a visit and a play with. Apologised and dragged him off, but they both had big smiles and he had in his own way, brought joy to their day. Puppies do that and I am sure he is milking it to the utmost. He does believe everyone loves him and wants to say hello, problem is he is now almost 20kg of jumping joy.
This Autumn period we are in, a transition between summer and winter, with summer loosing its grip to the colder time. Akin to a crack in a dam wall, no matter how hard you try, the water seems to still get through. So the cooler air seams gently in and the sun takes longer to warm your back.
The sun is setting earlier and this is not a bad thing, in the summer the sun does come up at an ungodly hour, just after 4am and does not set until after 10pm. Makes sleeping a challenge, even the blackout curtains allow light through. Now the sun is making its  way south, leaving us with longer nights.

Actually having breakfast, alone on this occasion, as Susan is working. Does worry me a little as she is burning the candle at both ends. Her mother can not look after herself anymore and work is becoming a challenge. Neither is something I can anything about. 
I over heard a couple in the line ahead of me saying this was their first experience of Internet dating. They both seem quite engaged and ordered a full breakfast each. Later sitting near them I realised he was blowing it. She was trying to concentrate on what he was talking about, but gearboxes were obviously beyond her. Almost want to step in and tell the guy to stop talking and listen.

Thanks for all the kind comments on my Old Books blog, i have read them and have replied where appropriate. I am thinking of publishing some of the comments sent in by those who are not part of the family. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Books, old and new

I recently read that physical books are making a comeback, sales are 6% up on last year while digital books have lost a little ground, -1.2% on last year. When I have finished my book I want to see it in print, glossy cover and when you hold it, it will hopefully convey through its weight, the many hours spent writing and rewriting. It will be something to touch and carry with me, being a mass of ink, paper and glue, its physical presence will be something. I hope most people buy it through the internet in ebook form, let's save those trees. For those few who want to own something more physical, who, like me, read the spine and remember what is inside. I would suggest they buy the book and like all books, it comes with that lovely book smell. Now I just have to finish it.                                                                                       
Recently read about how the Indians look after their books. Books are a symbol of prosperity and learning. If they drop a book they will pick it up and touch the book to their heads. Newspaper and books are still the main source of news and knowledge. Most of rural indian only heard about their independence from the British rule, by newspaper. Books are still highly valued in India and many household have a library that they are very proud of.
On January 1, 2017, Nikhil Mehta, a well known writer in India said.
‘Books plays an important role in in our life. It is said that books are our best companions. Books are our friends in a real sense. They demand nothing from us. They give us plenty of joy. We also learn a lot from them. They take us into a different world of imagination.’

I will go one step further and advocate the reading of the classics, if you have not done so already. One of the objects of reading the classic writer, is to be able to appreciate whatever is good and wherever it is found. The study of classics forms one’s taste and judgment. I believe once you have read a few of these books, you will appreciate good writing and will go on to read well written books.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Electric Mountain Bikes

Yep the new electric mountain bikes (e-MB) are here. They are a little expensive but if you can afford one then they are the way to go. By a little expensive, I am lead to believe they range from £ 500 to around £ 8000, I could be wrong but looking at a few website you can buy a relatively good e-MB for just over £ 1000.

Lady Vivienne from Canford Magna fame has a top of the range e-MB and claims that it only takes 5 minutes longer to get to work on her e-MB then her car, although this has not been officially confirmed. That is not bad really, the wind in your hair and the sun on your back, cycling the quaint English country lanes to work. The bonus is you do get electrical assisted exercise and you will feel very self righteous. In fact I would say this is going to be the mode of transport for the future and the future is now. 

Lady V told me that her model comes with a heated seat, which vibrates. Now that could bring some pleasure in the otherwise boring process of pedalling and I can understand why that put such a smile on her face, as can be seen from the photo I have uploaded. I am a little surprised at how lovingly she is holding that saddle. Such luxury and all on a bicycle.

The only problem, that I can see, is the English weather. It is not called the muddy island for nothing, cold and rain are the norm for most of the year. I only see them being used for about 3 months of the year and then on sunny days but if it brings pleasure then all I can say is go out and try before you buy, you might get to like them.

We must wish Lady V a very happy birthday, not a day over 50 and still up for a bottle of red wine and a huge, rare steak. I think I mentioned it in a previous blog, Lady V is in Susan's weight watchers team. This is one sport that if you lose you win, strange but true. Lady V picks her matches and after the nights celebration and the huge steak, she wisely decided to pull out of the game the next day. Susan was there and did lose, so the team is still strong after that win. Well done Susan, - 4 is no mean feat to have won by.

Monday, 4 September 2017


Optimism, great thing to have but I fear the Brits seem to think it is an eye problem. 

I was at the AirShow in Bournemouth yesterday and after a rather long lunch in a very cramped restaurant, we went out to see the Air display. Everyone was quite upbeat for the first hour, we saw a helicopter out at sea and a display by a Mig 15 jet. The helicopter flew around and then landed on the naval frigate. The Mig 15 flew passed and then did the same about 10 times and that all happened in the first hour. By now we were all a little bored, lets get another drink, great idea and everyone went back inside and missed the Red Arrows. 

One optimised was heard to say, “They will be back.” Not to burst his bubble but that was it for today. The food was rather good and the weather was perfect for an Air Display, so 2 out of 3 is good, isn’t it?

Enough grumbling, I have just read an extract from Winnie the Pooh. This to me is true optimism.
Piglet and Pooh decide to take Eeyore presents for his birthday, he is stuffed donkey with a deeply cynical and pessimistic view of life. Happy to share a negative view of things. 

“EEYORE, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water. 
“Pathetic,” he said. s' That's what it is. Pathetic.” 
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again. 
“As I thought,” he said. “No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is.” Extract from the book.

In all fairness he is rather philosophical and can give great wisdom at times.

What to take to a donkey who has nothing. Piglet decided to take a balloon he was given by Christopher Robin and Pooh decided a jar of honey was just the thing Eeyore would enjoy. 
You see where recycling presents started, goes back along way really.

On the way to Eeyore, Piglet tripped and broke his balloon, Pooh ate all the honey and rather then go back and get him something else, they took him a broken balloon and an empty jar of honey. Eeyore was over the moon, for once he was feeling very positive and loved the presents. I suppose when you are a stuffed, cynical donkey with a ribbon on your tail, named Eeyore and live in a 100 acres wood, the smallest distraction would be a bonus.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Things to come.

Now for that 2nd event I was leading you on with. Robert not only turned 21 but has now passed his driving test and is legally allowed to drive. Just a word of caution, he is normally on the road at about 10am and 12 noon, might be better if you delay your journey until he has navigated his way to gym and back.

In all fairness to Robert, he has this thing about getting full marks in what ever he does and his driving test was no exception. The examiner could not find any faults and gave him a clean sheet. Something like his first exams in America, where he was marked 120 out of 100, only in America can that happen. As if this is not enough, he has a car, as can be seen from the attached image, and is extremely happy. We can only wish him happy travels and loads of fun.
On turning 21, I feel I need to say a few words to a young man who is at the start of his life's journey. Practise tolerance, listen before you speak and only offer advise or opinion when you need to. Follow your dreams and never be afraid to try something new. It is only through trying and sometimes failing that we can succeed. Remember dreams can only be reality if you really believe in them. The fool thinks he knows everything but a wise man knows he has so much still to learn. 

Mark Cook turns 50 and my advise to him is enjoy it. You might feel 18 but remember you have 32 years experience as well. In all fairness, it is not the police who are telling him to slow down, it is his doctor. Happy Birthday Mark Cook, Lords of Holtwood and surrounding areas. 

Warning: This article is not to be read by those of a sensitive nature.

I often get asked why I drink proper coffee and not instant. Life is short, my seven score years and ten, allotted on an average basis to all of us, is nearing its time span. For that reason alone, I prefer not to drink instant, plastic, coffee.  Drinking freshly ground coffee is liken to a good wine, you saviour it gently. 
Expresso is pure coffee and with the proper coffee machines, the best but if you prefer your coffee a little lighter, then the Americano would be my choice. Americano is really hot water infused with an shot of expresso. Most coffees are expresso based, but use milk in various forms. If you wanted to make this drink at work, you will need a coffee machine, quite simply it is the only way to drink coffee, with only the expresso topping the bill.
I has a very straightforward instruction for preparation:
  1. Warm a coffee cup, not a mug, they for instant drinkers, must be avoided.
  2. Place cup in coffee machine, select one cup setting and watch the magic happen.
Voila! And your Americano is now ready.

For those without a coffee machine, get a coffee machine and get a life.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

An Educated Vote

Smart people tend to under estimate their intelligence and ability while below average people seem to think they are above average, with even the lowest performing groups thinking they are  above average. Now you understand why I advocate a brief test before you can cast your vote. If you pass it will count as 10 votes and those that fail will get one vote. Simple really, I wonder why no one else has thought of it?

The one other thing we have to do is making sure your local politician does what he promises. Maybe a local inquiry, so he or she can explain why they have not fulfilled their promises, if the excuses are accepted they can put themselves forward again, if not then they are banned for 10 years. A type of promises tribunal.

Being an officially lovely day, Susan has a habit of grading the days. We decided to visited another country fair. Canford School Arts and Crafts fair, I know very posh. Much like other fairs, except the junk they sell, is posh junk. I bought a new belt, shoes for Susan, sourdough bread and a huge cinnamon bun. Being a posh affair, there was no music, only the song of birds and a genteel, suppressed laugh, every now and again. Vivienne, Susan friend works at Canford School and you all know how posh she is.

Enough of the showing off, lets turn our attention to something else. I was going to let you into the second big event, I alluded to in one of my previous blogs, but I think it would be best to wait for the correct time and place. Far too early in the day for such big announcements.

Helen bought Susan a Insect House, you know the ones I am talking about, they meant to encourage insects into your garden. Well we have had ours up for a while and like the bird box I bought 3 years ago, they are still not being used. No birds and no insects, maybe I should let the relevant letting agents know that they are there and free. Has anyone else come across this problem? I have put a sign up to let them know they unoccupied, but to no avail.

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Avant-Garde has died?

I find myself, once again, sipping a coffee at Sandbanks cafe. I heard that, yes it is a local coffee shop for me. Life is full of strange happenings but for me sitting here, helps me find the other side of life which is worth thinking about and then putting down my thoughts. Most will be scrapped and a few make it through.

It's a century since Marcel Duchamp submitted his artwork called Fountain to an exhibition staged by the Society of Independent Artists in New York. Fountain was a urinal, signed R.Mutt. I touched on this in my blog 'Art, when it is Art' in May this year. Now we see this urinal as Avant-Garde. Spirit of experimentation and confrontation. In the intervening years, art, has lost its ability to deliver that shock factor, we seem to have seen it all before.

Like buying War and Peace, with every intention of reading it, but in all those years it has sat there, we have only read the spine. Maybe the world is so full of exciting new surprises, Avant-Garde is another concept that just did not keep up. I think the avant-garde is still in all of us but like the spine we only read, we have become creatures of our time and we have let technology rob us of creation.  

Some say my writing is too avant-garde for my readers: I hope it is innovative, advanced, innovatory, original, experimental, inventive, ahead of the times. Long live the avant-garde.

I am watching the British Offshore rowing championship, these are sea going rowing boats, not sure what that is all about. It is pouring with rain here with a brisk breeze. Anyway, they are valiantly surging through the choppy water and rounding the buoys to complete the course. From what I can gather they come from far and wide, even Wales. I suppose most come from seaside towns as I would not expect to see those from the valleys, taking up rowing as a sport. 
This championship is to decide who goes to the world championship later this year, great boost for Sandbanks and Poole. 

Except for those that have to be on the beach the rest are in the cafe trying to stay dry and warm, must admit they do all look a little miserable and wet. This looks like a sport for the young and energetic, far too much effort for me.

 Age moves steadily on and it is something like pushing the ocean back with a broom. Briefly you hold a little at bay then it returns.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Jenson finds his feet

It has been a different week, filled with discovery and a solution to democracy.

Robert has the answer to our ever growing problem, of running a country. We have politicians that we do not trust, they lied to get your vote and will carry on lying to stay in parliament. The solution is to have voters who are educated and can make an informed decision. Maybe a test before they can vote, just to see if they actually know what they are voting about and what the candidates are promising. Should knock about 60% of the population out. Either that or we go back to having the monarch take over e running of the country. Nothing is perfect but the one redeeming factor with the Royals ruling, they are not in any danger of losing their seat, so will hopefully do the best they can for the country.

Jenson has this game he plays with the pigeons. They come to eat from the feeder and he bolts down the garden, frightening them off, job done he thinks, but the pigeons are wise to this 12 week old and simple comeback for more food. He bolts down again and those stupid pigeons take off in fright, you see where this is going, endless fun is had by the 12 week old bundle of fluff.

Did I tell you the Cooks of Holt Wood fame, are coming around on Sunday. Mark being a building control inspector, knows the overall size of all the houses in Holt Wood and is determined to build a bigger house. Helen and I have a very substantial bet, she is swore to secrecy and will not tell Mark Cook, but if he builds the biggest house I get the pot, if not, then I am ruined but that will never happen. Mark is a man of vision, Lady Helen is the stabilising and calming influence, hope it is not too calming when it comes to building their dream house.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Just to let you know

This is the first of the big events that I spoke about. Jenson Baxter of Dorset the 2nd has arrived. 10 and half weeks to the day and we have been taken over by this bundle of fluff. Regal and fearless, this warrior of the 21st century has already taken over this house. The house is littered with newspaper as he come to term with where he does his ablutions.

Jenson Baxter of Dorset 1
Susan is weighing out his 70 grams of food and unlimited water. He does like it outside and will be a little confused as to where he will be sleeping. I am sure that he will find some comfy place and curl up after a long day and sleep like a puppy. Actually he fancies the carpet that Sam like so much.
Buy a pup and your money will buy love unflinching, that cannot lie. Perfect passion and worship fed, a pat on the head and he will be a friend for life. Nevertheless it is totally fair to risk your heart for a dog.

He will have his own Facebook page shortly, watch this spot.

Saturday, 29 July 2017


Capitalism, not really doing the job. The rich might get richer and there will be crashes which affect everyone to different degrees. We will fix it and it will crash again but why fix something that will breakdown? What is the alternative, I wish I knew, but I do know what we have is corrupt and flawed.
In this socialistic state we live in, we have over 40% of the work force employed by the government in various shape and form. We, the tax payer, pay for all this and it will rise as the years go by, leading to complete corruption and another crash. The civil servant is so out of touch with the real world, it is almost criminal. They believe the world owes them a good living, minimal work and a generous pension. 

Take for example two people I know, have the same accident, neither are work related. They hurt their shoulders quite badly. One works for himself and the other works for the council. The one working in the private sector is back at work after 3 weeks. They both have pins and screws in their shoulders. The council worker, in a clerical role, knows the system and will be off for about 9 months. 

Then they will play the stress card,  going to work after such a long time will be stressful, so they will gradually get back into work, two days a week to start with and if they find after a month they can cope, they will be asked to do three days, you get the picture. Twelve months after the accident they might be at work. This is not entirely their fault, we have allowed the councils develop a system that is open to abused, quite legally, by those that know the full extent of what they can get away with. We paid for this and will continue to pay, they know the system and will milk every drop they can, to get out of not doing a days work. That is 40% of our labour force, my advise, get rid of half of them and inform the others that it is not the duty of the government to give them a living, that is their responsibility.

Someone once said, 'Ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for the country.'

Enough gloom and doom, life does strive forward. This blog is really a rant as the Borough of Poole have put our rates up again.

Michael has bought himself a Jeep, a Grand Cherokee in fact. 4 x 4 and big enough to sleep in on his numerous trips to quiet beaches and other places of wonder. I have a feeling he has done about 20 countries in approximately 240 days and now finds himself in Australia. Happy travels and please remember to send the odd photographs of your adventures.

It happens again, Susan has bought me a small gift, that is one of my favourites. A gift voucher for Coffee, Panini and Chocolate cake at Druckers Patisserie. Will definitely be using that shortly.
All for now, big things in the pipeline over the next 2 weeks but more about that later.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Royal Mail, Parcel Force and Kangaroo Post

Just to update you all on the status of the parcel with Michaels laptop, that I sent to Australia. Sorry, I know this is news you have been waiting for but, not to get your expectations up too soon, I decided to wait until I had some answers that I could authenticate. I sent it off last Monday, you will recall. I used the ‘Guaranteed not less than 4 days’ option. Tuesday saw it arrive at the international depot and it was prepared for export. This is a 2 day training course for the parcel, to prepare it to fly that long distance. 

Thursday it boarded the plane successfully and after many long hours of total boredom it arrived on Friday in Sydney Australia. There it seemed to have a problem, Australian border control delayed it for 2 days and then let it through. Bit touch and go but we are now 7 days into this journey and must compliment Parcel Force on not delivering this parcel in under 4 days. On Sunday the 23rd it was again prepared for delivery. As it had already done the export training this was a breeze to our clever parcel. At this stage, all is going reasonable well and we are quietly optimistic it will arrive in the next few days. 

Yesterday it seems to have disappeared off our radar. Checking the Parcel force Tracker system, Michael discovered it was not delivered due to an address problem. After some frantic text messages between Michael and I, last night for me and this morning for Michael, we discovered that you can not pickup a missed delivery in Australia. Something to do with it having to be delivered to the correct address. Health and Safety dictates that no unauthorised person or persons may enter the depot. Are they going to send it back?

20 minutes later Michael texted me to say it had been delivered and was in good health. 8 days from Poole to the Gold Coast of Australia, fraught with the danger of bureaucracy, our determined parcel was in Australia, ready for the sun and the famous Gold Coast beaches, we wish our parcel a happy holiday in Oz and to watch out for the Kangaroos.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Susan and the Canadian Trip

Well it did seem like they had some fun, did some work but I do believe they achieved that work / life balance. Yoga on a pier, kayaking and a trek (walk in England) to the top of Whistler, taking in the 3 lakes along the way. The initial reports are quite sketchy but it seems that John J ran up. John Usher did the guided tour experience for the rest of the group. 11 kilometres there and back but I do believe it was well worth the walk.
Susan arrived home very travel wary but did have some gifts for us. I know you are going to be thinking. 'Susan went to Canada and all I got was a T-shirt' Well you are so wrong, Robert got the t shirt and I got a bottle of Canadian Maple Whisky. As you can see from the photo, Robert is modelling his new t shirt and his Canadian biscuits as well as holding the whisky, he does seem to be holding it quite firmly, will have to persuade him to let it go, some time. I do not like that look of triumph on his face, now thinking about it, this might have to wait until he is asleep.

I have just sent Michael his Apple Mac to Australia, did the normal research as to how to get it there for the best price possible in a reasonable time period. Also needed to be insured. £ 115.58 for a service with Royal Mail, actually Parceforce but it is the same thing. They guarantee not less then 4 days, yes, you did read it correctly, not less than 4 days. Rest assure Michael it will not get to you in 4 days, relax, go for a surf, they have given you 4 days to enjoy Australia. I should of taken the 10 day service, he would have had more time to enjoy himself. Hopefully he gets it before he comes home as they do not guarantee deliver time. Bit odd that, I would have expected them to say something on the lines of guaranteed delivery in 5 days or something, maybe I am just not seeing the full picture.

Lastly, two hundred years ago, Cornishman Lewis Tregonwell and his wife moved into their new Bournemouth home, The Mansion. The first house built in Bournemouth was completed in April 1812. This house still stands and is a hotel now. Building work had taken two years from June 1810, when Tregonwell brought his wife Henrietta to see the sandy chine carrying the River Bourne down from Canford Heath to the sea. Now the Bournemouth Lower Gardens.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Great Big Butterfly Count

Good news for all those birdwatchers, Michael and Angela have just confirmed that the blue tit have been sighted in Australia. I do believe once the blue tits arrive the lessor spotted red tits will be on their way. I am delighted to say I can see at last a dozen pairs here on Sandbanks beach. The weather is warm and they are enjoying the sunshine. The other good news is the abundance of pink bumtings basking in the sun. A joy to behold. Also seen in pairs and mostly from behind. The adults can become quite big, roundish birds. They can be found on most coastal beaches, as they like to dry off on the warm sand.

Susan has left for Canada and hopefully we will get some positive sightings of all manner of Canadian birds. Keep your camera at hand and I am sure we will be blessed with the most amazing photographs.

Robert is out the front trimming the hedge, a new experience and we can only wish him well in his first endeavour to trim the hedge. I offered to do it but he insisted, so I have let him get on with it. 

Well another week has just flown by, birthdays, trips and poor Angela has had a tummy bug. Hopefully she is feeling better and ready to take on what Australia throws at her. 

Friday saw the start of the butterfly count in the UK. You find a quiet place and just sit and count the butterflies you see in a 15 minute period. They give you a chart to identify them, helpful, as I would never be able to identify them, butterflies never been high on my list of things to remember. I counted 18 in total. The theory is, that they can measure the health of the environment. I will let you know when the full count is done, the more the better. 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Birthdays and Christmas

These days come only twice a year and my birthday was amazingly good. Calls and messages from all over the world, wishing me an amazing day, from all those I love. Gary phoned the day before my birthday to say happy birthday, in case he forgot, the next day. Thanks to all, remember I love you all. 

We ended the day with a meal at Shell Bay Restaurant. Took the ferry and we had a table looking over Brownsea Island and the harbour entrance, food was excellent, Susan had a whole crab and Robert had a lobster. I had a bread and olive board to start and then a Goats cheese salad and chips as a main. Came home to Chocolate Mousse and double cream. Great day.

I woke this morning to just another day, but it was not just another day, it was the day after my birthday. We all get on with our lives after a special time, but just sometimes, the melancholy creeps in when we least expect it. In this darkness we have an old friend, memories, wishing we were still in the past, catching us off guard. Making us wonder when will we see a day like that again. It is good to stop and reflect on a day like the one I have just had.

Onwards and upwards, Susan has left for a week in Canada and Michael has left for the Gold Coast. David seems to have made a new friend and Mark is enjoying a wee dram in my honour. 

Last weekend we had some memorable sport. Bottas wins the GP in Austria, which is a good thing and Vettel gets second place. That Australian is doing well, must be pleasing to all those patriotic Australians. I must admit, if Hamilton is out of the points or off the podium, it can only be good for F1, he is not the best advert for anything, let alone F1. England bet South Africa by 211 runs, not sure about the reaction in SA to that but it is just a game, rather important one, but just a game.

This weekend we can look forward to another cricket test and another GP. Enjoy.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Cake and Still Images

I find myself in the unusual place of Sandbanks Cafe, most extraordinary turn of events. Had a meeting and thought I would call to confirm I have the right day. Turns out he is at the Beach Polo, my previous blog explains all. That is how I find myself enjoying an Americano at the Cafe.

Just watching a lady tucking into a huge slice of Victoria Sponge cake and has covered it in clotted cream, very clever lady. Not sure about you but for me the only way to eat Victoria Sponge is covered in double thick cream. The boys will remember the days when Susan baked a very acceptable Victoria Sponge. Talking of cake reminds me that Susan has a weight watches league match tomorrow, how time flies. We wish her all the best and hope she loses, that is how the game is played, either she loses or I will have to amend the menu to a lighter note next week.

Warning, adult content. These two images are from the BBC archives. The photos are from a third party and the BBC neither agrees or disagrees with the content.

It has come to my attention through the news, that quite a few celebrities are pregnant and are doing photo shoots for magazines. I can understand them being proud and feeling amazing, but to do nude photos? The latest is Venus Wiliams, the tennis player. This is one photo she will look back on in the years ahead and wonder what made her do something like that. In all fairness, you do get all shapes and sizes and hers is distinctly unique. The other photo shows a softer side to nude photograph. Oh well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Talking of all shapes and sizes, the Great British Summer is here and I had my first and second swim at the beach yesterday, refreshing and revitalising are two words that come to mind. I am thinking of loaning Michael's SUP board and taking to the water for a gentle paddle. Could be fun and there is the bonus of Susan having a paddle too. I will take the camera, do not want you to miss that moment in time.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Ice and a slippery slope

Can anyone explain to me why the concept of ice making is so difficult for younger people to understand. I have a son in his 4th year at university and he still can not understand that an ice tray left out of the freezer will not fill itself and place itself back in the freezer. He will, with loads of optimism, open the freezer to take ice out when the trays, he has left on the side board, are still there. This is a vexing problem and I think we should ask the government to open a very wide ranging enquirer, possible headed up by a younger professor from some acknowledge learning institution, to study this strange behaviour. Absolutely baffles me.

Going to the other extreme. I listened to a radio program on the elderly and how they seem to lose their sexual drive. Most upsetting, I am on a slippery slope to becoming elderly and this is what I can look forward too. This is a simple pleasure that costs nothing, well you can pay for it, that might add some spice but if you in a loving relationship, it comes naturally. As children, we only discover our sexuality when we are about 13, if this radio program is to be believed, we lose it at about 70. My advise is, enjoy it while you can, life is short.

International Beach Polo comes to Sandbanks, another week of frantic marquee erecting and 2 days of polo, parties and just showing off. This is one of those events that many people want to be seen at, sort of street creed for some, better than your photo in Dorset Society Magazine. I did just see a guy get his Q7 stuck in the sand. I would imagine it would take a vast amount of stupidity to get a vehicle like that stuck. 

To add insult to injury, he was pulled out by a old Ford Ranger. Are they permanently in 4 wheel drive or do you have to turn it on? Maybe Russell or Gary could enlighten us, does put me off buying one for Robert, without much experience of driving, he could get it stuck on a tarred road! Susan has just pointed out that they are awful expensive, so the issue of 4 wheel drive or not, is now irrelevant. Any one have a cheap little run around that is reliable, cheap to run and has blue tooth connectivity? 

Thursday, 6 July 2017


I am writing to you from my local coffee shop and as there is a rather strong breeze the red Tits are taking shelter in their nests. Pity, but I read that the weather will be improving this coming weekend, so hopefully, they will be back. 

Talking of birds, we were lucky enough to see the women's volleyball championships on Sandbanks beach this last weekend. Interesting game of jumping, running and tumbling in the sand. Newtons Law does not apply as they all have sports fitting kit on.  Susan says there are men as well, must of missed them, volleyball is really beautiful, the game as well, takes a high level of concentration to watch such a lively sport.

Lets turn our attention to PDP or otherwise known as ‘Personal development planning’. Actually a business tool to gauge how their staff are doing. What their motivation is and are they happy. Also to try and get their staff to get out of their comfort zone. An example is if someone is reasonable expert with Excel but falls down when trying to analysis the data they have. Encourage them to go on a Excel course with the emphasis on reports. That's the theory but I would say it is a good tool in the first 2 to 3 years, after that, I think it could be a negative and just might be making the individuals feels they are not really up for the job. Did they accomplish anything from the previous PDP? If not, then they will feel guilty. Just a thought, any comments or opinions welcome.

Man stares at fire!
First BBQ of the summer. Robert has been camping in the United States of America and he feels confident to take on a BBQ. I have baked a cheese and onion loaf, pre cooked the sausages and seasoned the steak, not to mention tossing a salad. It is up to him now, the charcoal briquets do seem a little old but then again I do not think they have a use by date. We live in interesting times and I am sure we will have the most delicious meal. Actually it is the perfect evening, no wind and a balmy 18deg C.
Morning after the first BBQ, all is well and the food was cooked to perfection.