Well I think today’s the first day in at least a fortnight that it hasn’t rained. We’ve had a lot of weather recently – mostly of the very changeable kind. Morning’s have started bright and sunny but by mid-day big clouds come scudding over and by mid-afternoon it’s been blowing hard with torrential rain to follow. We’ve had great branches breaking from our trees, huge hailstone showers, the grounds been sodden and of course the bloody grass and weeds have been growing like topsy although it’s been too wet to cut the stuff. Have a look at these scenes from the window recently: Continue reading

me, myself and Iamwhatiam

I was just listening to the BBC’s Radio 5 channel this evening on the computer and learned that the band Coldplay had performed an amazing gig outside the BBC’s Wood Lane HQ building tonight. A few thoughts:

– well they would say it was amazing wouldn’t they

– but why did Coldplay do it when Chris Martin had a major fall-out/storm-out in an interview with the broadcaster’s radio 4 channel just the other day (world-wide publicity, stupid!)

– whatever, don’t you wish you had the talent to be able to perform like this?

I have no musical talent whatsoever. I once played the glockenspiel at a primary school carol concert and because I improvised some notes, which in my view improved Mozart’s original work, was banned from ever performing musically again. I was 9 at the time. Since then I have never even picked up an instrument. Continue reading

another interview

Well the Mike Parry-Sir Bobby Robson interview seemed to go down OK so I thought I’d follow up on a couple of the suggestions for further guests. This time a spoof BBC interview conducted by the master of the convoluted question Garth Crooks and the ever available Graham Taylor whose penchant for stating the bleeding obvious is obvious to everyone except the BBC it seems…

‘Good morning everyone this is Garth Crooks here and my guest today is Graham Taylor, ex Watford (twice), Aston Villa and England manager of course. Good morning Graham – indeed is it acceptable to say that at a time approaching noon or would a simple welcome Graham be more appropriate to the time (which as I speak has just turned midday I notice) Graham? Er what was the question Garth? Actually I haven’t asked one yet Graham – well I did in so far as enquiring about the most apt way to introduce you, though it was slightly rhetorical in its phrasing. Ah, right Garth…an awkward silence ensues. Continue reading

dinner party

Well the other night we broke our record for entertaining the most people in our Italian home. Our English neighbours J and C who own the place down the road from us were coming over to have a couple of weeks here. J still works in the UK and the home here is something to look forward to when they fully retire. We thought it might be a nice idea to invite them for dinner as after a long drive down we figured they’d appreciate not having to prepare a meal etc. In addition we invited our other English neighbour P and her two house-guests James and Mary Lou, who are over from America, and P’s friend Debbie who had arrived the night before. With the 3 of us that was 9 for dinner. Good job we have a large dining table.

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honours II

Nah it’s not the degree level I achieved (I wish) but a follow up to a very early posting I did back on 8 May ’07. In that I argued that they should be honouring Dario Gradi for his outstanding contribution to developing young football talent in this country. I also argued for posthumous knighthoods for people like Paisley, Clough and Ball, to which I would add Bobby Moore unhesitatingly, because of their inestimable contribution to the sport of football in England. I’ve gone all reflective because I’ve just been reading about the Queen’s birthday honours in the UK. And I ask myself how many of these awards are truly deserved?

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sporting toughness

Who’s the hardest sportsman you can think of? Uncompromising Roy Keane… nah a pussy cat. Lance Armstong winning 7 Tours de France having overcome testicular cancer? Yep that’s staggeringly brave and tough. But I was reading one of my trivia books and came across some interesting stuff (more in a sec) but I reckon the guy Manuel Dominguez takes the biscuit for incomparable sporting toughness. What did he do? He was a matador in the 19th century (maybe that’s why you don’t remember him) who was gored in the eye during a bullfight at Puerto de Santa Maria in 1857. Painful, and possibly crazy, but what’s so hard about it? Well he only went and tore the wounded eye out, threw it to the ground and continued the corrida. He lived on to 70. Now that’s hard! Continue reading


Occasional readers of this blog may be aware of my phobia about snakes. I may have mentioned it a couple of times. So you may be interested to know I’ve had a close encounter of the dreaded slither kind, well almost. I forgot to mention in the last posting that as we were preparing to empty the pool I noticed what looked suspiciously like a snake lying on our slope bank down to the pool. Gulp. It was very still and I walked up gingerly to have a closer look, with a deadly garden hoe in hand… Continue reading

the pool

One of the things that really attracted us to this house was the lovely swimming pool and the first year we were here at least one of us would have used it every day the weather was good. And they mostly were. It was great when family and friends came to stay and it was just so good to jump into at the end of a hot day working in the garden. Although it isn’t heated we were still using the pool up until C went back to the UK to undertake a work opportunity at Harrods in late October. We had it covered in November (by our good looking pool guy Andrea – see posting 7 May 2007) and shortly after that I returned back to the UK with R for her knee operation. But virtually everyday since it had been originally cleaned by Andrea back in April, I’d enjoyed spending an hour or so each morning doing basic pool cleaning and maintenance, all that is apart from fishing out the usually drowned wildlife from the filters. The mice, lizards and beetles had stopped bothering me early on but the hedgehogs and bullfrogs were always pretty shocking to behold upon lifting that filter cover each morning. It was the sense of not knowing what you were going to find in there that was unsettling plus the thought that dead or not I still had to fish out a 2lb bullfrog from the filter and dispose of it. Continue reading