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

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.
video
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

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

PDP and BBQ

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. 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Castle Hotel

What can I say, new hotel in Windsor and we are the tester. Perks of the job as Susan was invited to a free night in the new hotel. Yes there was some issues but you can see why Susan loves the company she works for. They stick to their objective and entertain the children, all the time, children's theme music blasted from Bose speakers. Lego models and figures adorn the park, even while we were enjoying dinner, they entertained the children with magicians and balloon twisters.

Room was very themed, as you can see from the photo I have so kindly shared with you. Legoland looked new and clean and the rides took Robert's and Susan's fancy, I decided that the better part of valour was just to watch, can not be too careful these day. One irritating point, I am sure has now been rectified, was that there was no room instructions, you know the ones I am talking about. How to operate the TV, fridge and getting hold of reception. Having no idea how to set the air conditioner, was a bit of a nightmare, 20deg C, we were essentially in a sauna. That said, we are seasoned travellers and just soaked up the discomfort, rising with a longing for fresh air and the great outdoors. Great place for children, but the more mature among us, this is one hotel that is best avoided.


Talking of Susan and her work, her team is off to Canada for a week. As she has never been to Canada, it is something she is really looking forward too. One point that does puzzle me, there are no Merlin Entertainment Attractions in Canada. I do believe her desire to visit Canada has added to the motivation of this team trip. Casual mention of kayaking, yoga, trekking and banquet BBQ has been overheard, we wish her and her merry bunch of travellers, a productive and fruitful trip. 
To infinite and beyond, going were Merlin has never gone before.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Birds

Interesting month of June that has just passed. Weight Watchers, the less said the better, Folk Festivals that had nothing to do with folk music and of course the much spoken about, Newtons Law vs The Bikini. Well this is a new month and a new theme. 

I find myself at my favourite cafe, enjoying a rather pleasant Americano and looking out at the beach and quite calm sea. Susan and I went to Brownsea island a while ago and took some interesting photos of birds. Today I am admiring the birds on the beach and note, with some excitement, that the lessor spotted Red Tit is making a comeback. It is a pity I did not bring my camera along, as the bird world would be overjoyed with this observation and sighting. 
There is quite a few about. This is good news as they have been quite rare of late. In the winter months we do see an abundance of Blue Tits but this lessor spotted Red Tit, is showing signs of a comeback. Looking closely, they vary in colour from a light pink to a flaming red. They are not shy and tend to go around in pairs, I must research where they go to in the winter. Also, of some encouragement is the return of the Big Tit, or is it the Great Tit, no sure, but they can be seen in pairs with the Red Tits. Anyway, big, red or great, they are a joy to watch.

It's been a funny old day, not quite getting anything finished due to so many little interruptions. We are in the process of finishing off 3 website and then we can tackle our big project we are doing for a museum. I have discovered that the people that visit museums often are more inclined to talk to others in the museum. I was walking through the museum the other day and a very polite Japanese couple asked me where they could find a Sushi restaurant. Must have been the fossil of the prehistoric fish that set them off. 

Have you noticed how smug men look in their convertibles, women are natural but I am afraid to say, men, all look like gay hairdressers. They have that smug look, look at me, I have a convertible and the sun is shining. All a bit of a swagger. No, leave soft tops to the fairer sex, men just look silly. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Folk Festivals

Morris dancers, stalls with all kinds of knick knacks and food in abundance. That is what these festivals are all about. Last week we went to the Weymouth Folk Festive. Small festival, with the stalls and stages dotted around the harbour. We met up with Derek, he was fishing for crabs, helped by his side kick Mark North of Dorset County Museum fame.



Back to the Morris dancers, in South Africa we have the Zulu Dancers, raw and aggressive. Well the Morris dancers display the same raw aggression, just in a contained style, as not to frighten the children and elderly. Yes, there is the bashing of sticks, stomping of feet, even war paint on their faces. I must say they are very tastefully painted, in the cat like themes, reminiscent of a face painting party. 

Not much else really, when you have seen one line of festival stalls, you have seen them all. We had a crab sandwich and a coffee before saying goodbye to Derek and his family, before taking a leisurely drive home. 
This week we went to the Wimborne Folk Festival. We started out with the live music, this is where things started to go wrong and all I can say is, if there is a god, please be merciful and spare me from having to go to pop festivals. Thinking it was a folk festival we were astonished to find a tribute band playing someone called madness, really was madness, drunk, half dresses young people everywhere. All drinking cider and beer out of 2 litre milk cartoons, really! The amount of tattoos on display was also quite disgusting. Not even my liberal mind could take much of that, so we left to see the rest of the festival. You may have noticed, I am not calling it a folk festival, as there was no folk music or anything to do with a folk festival. The town was filled with food and festival stalls, but all closed. We ended up having an Italian meal and walked back to the car through a horde of drunken, loud revellers. A night best left forgotten. 
Susan did point out, if we had gone earlier and into the town for a drink and something to eat, we would probably been wise enough not to go anywhere near the loud music.



The Eagle Has Landed

Robert is home tomorrow. Susan has been missing her boys, no I say, she has pinned for her sons, that lady of Shalott. Or should I say Suelott. This is one blog she will not proof read, I can hear her now.
‘You can't say that, there might be children reading this blog. The naked lady on a horse, takeout it out.’
The lady will have spoken but alas I have the power to take you to the magical place of the Lady of Shalott.

A day later!

Actually she just send me a text ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ when Robert landed at Heathrow. That is some stretch of the imagination, to compare Robert to an eagle but she is his mother. As you might have gathered, Robert is back, tanned and looking good. 

Another two days later!

We actually having some of the hottest days for 20 odd years, if the weather people are to believed. 30.5 deg C, with little or no wind makes it quite uncomfortable. So much sunshine is not something we are accustomed to and does make sleeping difficult. Our houses are not built for hot weather. I am at the beach and find the locals have discarded most of there modesty and are down to only the bare essential to cover themselves, most succeed but a few of the younger women are a sight to behold, in a pleasant way most of the time. My mind does go back to my previous blog Newtons Law vs the Bikini. Well to add to the experience of people watching I have noticed some of these very small bikinis are actually see through when wet.

Back to Robert, he started his first driving lesson today and came home in one piece and his lady instructor has agreed to give him another lesson. That should be a positive indication for the start of his motoring career. I do hope he spaces the lessons out a little, give me time to find a suitable car for him. There is always the Zafira, 10 years old, it is reliable, just worry it might be a little too big. What will be, will be, the futures not ours to see.


Just noticed a quite nicely built young lady playing volley ball with her friends and got a little over zealous with the return, oh dear, it is that Newtons Law again, major embarrassment and she fell, so everything is covered in sand. Don't ask, I am not going into anymore detail. This is turning out to be quite fun. Time for a swim, till later.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

History tells its own story

The beauty of history, is that it tells its own story, we need to remember that, in our day to day lives. Every now and again, let's reflect, what we post on Facebook, tweet or email, one day someone might write your history and the careless tweet might put a very different slant on you and your life. Take for example the Afrikaner and his hatred towards the black. His guilt fuelled that hatred. Let's take it from the beginning.

Portuguese navigator Bartholomeu Dias is the first European to travel round the southern tip of Africa in 1820. But, Jan van Riebeeck, representing the Dutch East India Company, founds the Cape Colony at Table Bay in 1652. Mostly uninhabited except for the indigenous San and Khoikhoi people, who we now know, had been there since the 4th century.

The San and Khoikhoi are in actual fact descendants of the Middle Paleolithic populations, which makes them the true indigenous people of South Africa. The San were hunter-gathers and the Khoikhoi were headers, much like the Basuto, but they moved down much later. 

The Dutch East India Company had no intention of colonising the Cape, instead just a secure base camp where passing ships could shelter and stock up. As the Khoikhoi were not agricultural farmers, Dutch farmers were brought to establish farms. The small initial group of burghers, as these farmers were known, steadily increased in number and began to expand their farms further north and east. The free burghers were ex-VOC soldiers and gardeners, who were unable to return to Holland when their contracts were completed with the VOC.

Van Riebeeck did not enslave the local Khoi and San aboriginals, so the VOC began to import large numbers of slaves primarily from Dutch colonies in the Far East. The Afrikaner was born, mainly made up of unions between the burgers and slaves and to some extent, the indigenous Khoi and San people. Simon van der Stel, the first Governor of the Dutch settlement, famous for his development of the lucrative South African wine industry, was himself of mixed race-origin.

That is the start of the quilt ridden nation we now know as the Afrikaners. Their nations fathers, loved and brought up mixed race families, when did it all go wrong, what made them hate their origin so much that they took it out on the blacks? It certainly has comeback to haunt them.

So I go back to my original statement, be aware of what you do and say, history will be the judge.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Doctor in court over attack

I have just read about this man taking a doctor to court, because he had a heart attack. The man that is, actually his heart attacked him quite badly, left with a weaken body and can no longer do an strenuous sports. He claimed the doctor should of warned him that his heart could attack him at anytime. Looking for substantial damages. Nasty incident. 

Something like the notice I saw pinned to a fence. Life is short, death is sure, sin is the cause, Christ is the cure. I know, they having a laugh but in all seriousness, is it the wine, it that my sin. The odd bottle of red so loving sipped. Yes I hear you say, that is a sin but I say no, did Christ not turn water to wine? I can see it now, all his buddies around him and there is no wine. You all know what young people are like on a rave, they need alcohol.
'Come on mate, have a word with Pops and turn the water to a pleasant little Shiraz and while you at it a Chardonnay for the wee lasses.'

Susan is a great weight watchers supporter and goes to the game every Saturday. Her team is made up of Anna, Vivienne and the Captain Susan. It is a little hit and miss as to the outcome of the game, they weight in on a independent scale and then it is the winners that eat well for the rest of the week. The losers tend to train harder, eat less in other words, to be able to show commitment and some progress for the match the following Saturday. There is a downside, if you gain, in this case it is gain, not loose, then you the loser, but I'd you loose then you the winner, I know it is a difficult game to follow but believe me it is being done through out the world and has a silent fans base, much larger then all those cricket fans. Rugby does not even get a look in. Roughly 50 % of the world follow this game in some form or other. Hang on, give me a minute, the buzzer has just gone off in the kitchen and as I am cooking, it is my duty to make sure the totally fat free casserole is not burning. 
Panic over, honour restores and the Mexican mixed beans are quite happily cooked and ready to eat with fat free rice from India, have you seen a fat Indian from rural India? Thought not. They mastered weight watcher, many years ago. Clever Indians, not the North American variety, they will eat a bison in one sitting. You know what I mean, me chief, you squaw. 

Anyway from the dish I am cooking you would be able to gather where we are in the league and how the rest of the week is planned out, menu wise.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Life, your way

You will meet a lot of people in your life, some good, others. Always remember, don’t stay with those that you bring you down, it is fine to leave and find new people. Very few have a life just full of success. Failure is part of life, you cannot escape some sort of failure, unless of course you never take the chance to succeed. Learn those life lessons from failure, don’t be afraid to fail you might just find success.Many people will help other people, just because, well, there are other people. That’s just how it goes. Terry Pratchett said this in his last Discworld books. Worth a read.

Have you notice how heavy the sun shine can be. On a clear night you lookup and see the stars, the air is free and light, the eye sees forever. As the day breaks the sun shine slowly weighs down your distance and the sky is almost touchable. A barrier covers those bright stars and we look down until dusk. Must say the weather is horrid here today, gale force winds and persistent rain, has put any notion of a stroll along the beach furthest from my mind.

We have a beach permit for the Zafira, our beach car. This brings a freedom to visit whenever we want, for as long as we want. It is funny but that £ 2.08 we have to pay for an hour of parking, is a restraint. Firstly you have to pay it and secondly you constantly aware that you only have an hour. Parking fees always leave a bitter taste, almost like the council, want that last drop of blood. All a little corrupt, firstly we as rate payers, pay the salary of the parking attendant, so he can fine us if we do not pay to park. We have to pay to park in a parking area, we as rate payers, pay the up keep for. In a nutshell, we pay someone, to fine us in our own car park. Our society is burden by corruption and tax, no society is right if you have 40% employed by the governing bodies, who exist through our taxes. The popular belief is that for every £ 100 you pay in tax, £ 37 will be of benefit to the community. Actually that is the same conversion used for Fahrenheit to Centigrade. Multiple centigrade by 1.8 and add 32 will give you roughly Fahrenheit.

I sometimes wonder why the simply task of putting food on a fork and lifting it to your mouth is a problem, never seems to stay on long enough to get into your mouth. I have found, of late, that the forks have a mind of their own. I do believe they are making shaky forks, those that drop food onto your clean t-shirt. It is an interesting theory but I do believe the fork manufacturers are working with the laundry cleaners. Has anyone else found the same problem?

Friday, 2 June 2017

Newtons law vs Bikini

Had a catchup with my brother today. It went something like this.'How you all, well?' Russell asked.'Yep, we all well, hot hear today and we are looking forward to a sunny weekend once Susan gets back from London. You all well?' I answer.'Yes all well.' Russell answers. That was the end of our catchup, I am looking forward to the next one. Very thought provoking, we all love him dearly.

Down at my local having a coffee in the sun and looking at the swimwear on display and I can happily put it in two categories, functional and decorative. The functional costumes, you can swim in, while the decorative are made to cover just enough, these are not recommended for swimming.
Caution: size and shape may be different


I must confess to preferring the limited addition of the decorative type, they really struggle to contain or cover what they meant to. Very interesting study. The bottom of the swimsuit leaves ample space for the sun to maximise its shine to the whole of the bottom. Quite ingenious and pleasing on the eye, beware, all bottoms do not suit this type of swimwear. 

Those of ample shape should go for the more conventional cut thereby saving us the embarrassment of having to avert our eyes when they walk, bend or swim. Sometimes too much is just that. Isaac Newton explored the theory of gravity and it has remained the same, gravity will prevail. 'Newton's law of universal gravitation states that a particle attracts every other particle in the universe using a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.'

The makers of these decorative swimsuits should research this theory before designing and selling them to the unsuspecting public. Take for example, a well built wearer of one of these swimsuit and then mix them together with a small wave, that which was so elegantly covered is now on public display. Newtons law comes in again, the top of the bikini will naturally be attracted down by the weight of the water, while the contents will be buoyed up by the natural process of wanting to float. Result, topless. 

This is complex problem and I must confess I do not have all the answers.