Saturday, 30 December 2017

Unexpected gift

This is our third Christmas in this house in Acle and we started speculating in early December about whether we would receive a gift from one of our neighbours.

The first Christmas we were mystified by this gentleman neighbour – and I mean “gentleman” as he was wearing twill trousers, crisp white shirt, tie and waistcoat and a smart flat cap- who rang our front doorbell.  Our family and friends all know to come to the back door so we knew it would be someone new.  He presented us with a bag, containing a panettone and a Christmas card and when we expressed surprise, he said that he loved our Christmas lights and would be trying to outdo us the following year!

We thanked him and, although confused, were quite touched by what appeared to be a gesture welcoming us to the road.  When I popped over in the New Year so thank him, he appeared to be a bit embarrassed so we did wonder if he had delivered it to the wrong house!

However, the next Christmas he again appeared with a gift of a panettone, giving no reason for it and not stopping long enough to be questioned about his reasons. 

We began to speculate that maybe he had been given it as a present but didn’t like panettone and was just passing it on.  As we love panettone it was no hardship for us to help him out but we decided to avoid reciprocating as it would then become a chore.

We did hope that maybe this Christmas he might have decided that enough was enough but lo and behold he turned up on the doorstep again just before Christmas, sadly not with a panettone (luckily I had already bought one!) but with a poinsettia!
Again, it was thrust at us and he turned and made off rapidly, not staying for pleasantries, discussion or questions!

Unfortunately, I have found from experience, that poinsettias and I do not get on – I only have to look at them for the lovely red leaves to fall off.  We have put it in the correct place in the house and have watered according to the instructions in a hope of its survival but I noticed this morning that some of the leaves are shrivelling and falling.

I should say that we have made a number of attempts to talk to him but there has been no reply to my knock since the first attempt and he only ever leaves the house to walk to his car.  I don’t want to appear to be a stalker by trying to catch him on this short walk so will have to suffice with a traditional “thank you” note through the letterbox.

5 February - I feel so sad about this but I tried to do all the right things, even though I knew in my heart this would happen!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Cinderella - the original pantomime!

Sorting through some old papers I found a brown envelope headed up "On His Majesty's Service" and, in my mother's handwriting, the word "Cinderella".

Memories stirred, must be over 60 years ago at 37 Watcombe Road, Southbourne a play written by me and my brothers to perform for parents and (maybe, I can't remember) close neighbours.

The play was typed on a manual typewriter with handwritten edits on paper which had obviously come home with my father from his work as the back has technical stuff printed, probably on a Gestetner duplicator and a date of 1946!

Our parents obviously treasured our work enough to keep it and reading the pantomime after all these years, it wasn't too bad!

I wonder if my brothers remember and would like a copy .....

Friday, 17 June 2016

Boat snobbery

I have noticed recently that on the forums and Facebook, there is an unsavoury element of “boat snobbery” creeping in at times!
We all know that wood is good, traditional and warm but carries constant maintenance costs with it and some owners of wooden boats have been stung by boatyards when having repairs carried out. Not everyone has the financial means to be involved in the sometimes large charges involved in maintaining a wooden boat.

A number of wooden boat owners carry out maintenance / repair work themselves and those who have the facilities and capabilities to replace planks and rub down and re-varnish are indeed lucky.

However, for a large number of people who want to get on the water, the only option is a “plastic” boat.  There is no reason why a grp boat cannot be kept clean and well maintained but I don’t agree that they should be sneered at because they are not wooden. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

To stay or go!

I have just spent 10 minutes reading the government leaflet on why I should vote to remain in the EU.  Probably a selfish view to take but I looked at the arguments from my personal point of view and the future of my grandchildren.

I honestly don’t believe that whether the UK joins the euro or not will have a huge impact on us, as ordinary people, nor would the government’s commitment to reduce EU red tape.

I think one of the worrying things about staying is that EU law overrules UK law in a conflict between national law and EU law.  Scary!

I assume that we are still able to trade with the EU, even if we are not a member but how it would affect the many UK companies which are already owned by France, Germany etc, I don’t know.

The government say that by leaving the EU there would be a risk of higher prices of some household goods and would damage living standards.  In a country where there is supposedly “child poverty” already and food banks, how much worse can it get?

The government predicts 10 years of uncertainty if we leave the EU.  Again, it can’t be much worse than the uncertainty we have lived through over the last 10 years and surely there would be some “job creation” for people who would have to “unpick” the relationship with the EU and renegotiate with countries around the world.

On immigration, which seems to be a big issue particularly on the question of benefits, the government say that new migrants “will not have full access to certain benefits until they have worked here for up to four years.”  I think “full” is the operative word here.  I am confused as I understood that child benefit is paid to anyone, migrant or otherwise, if he or she has a child.  A good incentive to come over to the UK to have a child? – I don’t know. 

With more countries, such as Turkey, Serbia, Albania under consideration for membership, I fear that this island will sink!

We as a country pay around £350M a week to the EU budget!  The government says that what this country gets back in “opportunities, job creation and economic security” far outweighs this cost!  I would like to see some statistics on that!

I was in favour of joining the Common Market back in the early 1970’s.  However, the Common Market has evolved into something which controls our decisions more and more and restricts trade with countries such as Australia and the USA.

I need to see some more arguments for/against before I decide but I just hope everyone will vote in this referendum for the sake of their future and that of future generations.

Monday, 4 January 2016

2015 Christmas card analysis

I have defined the categories more strictly this year so a direct comparison with 2014 might not be possible.  Please let me know if you would like more information on any of the categories! 











WORDS (e.g. “NOEL”) 





Friday, 11 December 2015

Tim's new book

Whilst reading my brother’s new book “Dave Anthony’s Moods: This Obscure Group”, on page 27 I read a paragraph which triggered a memory from my days of still living “at home”, back in the late 1950’s in Bournemouth.  I was probably about 19 years old.

I recall going to a party on the other side of Bournemouth – a group of us used to meet in the bar of a Bournemouth hotel (whose name escapes me) most Saturdays after watching the local rugby matches, and an impromptu party would be established, dependent on whose parents were out I suspect.  I normally declined and got the bus home but this one Saturday decided to go.  I must have rung my parents and I’m sure my father offered to pick me up around 11 pm but whatever had happened I was offered a lift home by one of the boys in our group. This was kind of him as he then had to drive back across the town to get home.

I think it was probably around 2am when we reached my house and I felt it only polite to ask if he would like a coffee before setting off back across Bournemouth.  He accepted and we went into the lounge.  There was no romantic attachment or attraction in the slightest between us and I was genuinely being polite!  Also, bear in mind that the lounge was directly beneath my parents’ bedroom so there would be no hanky panky, even if we were that way inclined.

However, within about 5 minutes of being in the house, my father appeared at the lounge door and ordered the poor young man out of the house. I have a picture in my mind of my father standing there, arm outstretched to the front door, finger pointing as he hustled the poor boy out.  I also have a mental picture of my mother, halfway down the stairs in her dressing gown and hair net, making sure he was gone before berating me for inviting someone of the opposite sex in to the house at that time of night.  I suppose it was their Victorian upbringing but it was very embarrassing at the time. 

I think the young man, whose name was Nigel I recall, avoided me at all costs after that.

PS Tim’s book is available on Amazon 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Hoveton Great Broad restoration project

I know I haven't blogged for a long time but I've been so busy having fun that I really haven't had time.  However, I have recently been very involved with a project which has caused outrage in Norfolk and that I and many others feel strongly about!  Please read on ....

The Norfolk & Suffolk Broads are part of the National Parks family and National Parks are for people.

Nearly £2M has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to Natural England, on behalf of the owners of Hoveton Great Broad to pay for restoring the Broad's water quality.

The Broad has been illegally closed for over 100 years and totally neglected, causing it to silt up and it needs the sediment pumping out to restore the water quality.  When this work is done, there will still be no full public access although a concession of commercial access by canoe to surrounding marshes is to be allowed, which hardly counts as worthwhile public access given the sums of money involved.

A group of us have got together to set up a petition to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport - the Rt Hon John Wittingdale MP (the government department responsible for the Heritage Lottery Fund - did you know it is a 'quango'?) to insist that full public access is reinstated to this Broad once work has been completed.  It's public money, spent on Lottery tickets, and should not be used for private gain.

If you feel able to, please, please sign the petition and pass it on to as many people as you can. Even if you don't know the Broads, it's the principle of giving public money to a project without public access.

The Petition 

These photos were taken in 2008 from a limited 'wild life' walk around the edge of the Broad.

Thanks for reading this far and please, please read the petition and sign if you feel able.