like a grove

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Take a look at that; it’s my new olive tree courtesy of my lovely daughters and son-in-laws for Father’s Day. I love it. We are true olive geeks now having lived with our own grove in Italy. As mad as it may sound it drives me nuts not being there to tend to them, work on the pruning and so on. It won’t be long before we need to head off out there for the olive picking again. Good job too because for the first time in over 6 years we are running out of our oil. Arggh. Still to make me feel better I can pop out onto our balcony here and feed my nurturing need by removing any yellow leaves from not just the latest tree but also from the one got for me by Simon and Jayne for my 60th. So we now have a beautiful two-tree olive grove here in Teddington to complement the Italy ‘estate’. Ha! Here’s a shot of the ulivi twins:

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And that chair is where I’ll be sat with a glass of wine in my hand once British summer time eventually starts.

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Another one bites the dust

I may be getting a bit obsessional about this topic but indulge me by seeing how quickly you can identify this brand:

–  formed the year I was born, 1952, in Newcastle upon Tyne

–  the company employs 20,000 people and generated revenues of nearly £750M in 2012

–  it’s marketing face is the luckiest man on TV Paddy McGuinness

–  their strapline is ‘the home of fresh baking’ and they sell sandwiches, sausage rolls and doughnuts. Millions of them and, if truth be told, the occasional Cornish pastie to me.

Yes of course its Greggs and at the last count they had 1671 outlets throughout the UK. Well one fewer than that actually because last week this was the scene we faced on Teddington’s Broad St:

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ugly duckling buildings

Now regular readers will be aware of my interest in architecture and a passion I have for great buildings.  I’m particularly fond of skyscrapers and bridges, especially ones built in the last century. One of my greatest joys is visiting one from my ‘must see’ list for the first time. The day C and I cycled (yes it’s true) up to the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco and stood at its mid-point taking in the beauty of the engineering and the stunning views was one of the most glorious days of my life. Sad I know. But as well as grand structures I also like beautifully designed smaller buildings especially family homes, offices and public facilities. But the flip side of admiring lovely architecture is that I can’t help but notice and complain about really ugly buildings or incongruous planning allowing buildings to sit uncomfortably in a particular setting and I especially hate to see public buildings fall into disrepair. So having moaned in the past about some particularly horrible examples of these in the Teddington area I thought it was time for an update.

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farewell to brrr

You might have seen a strange bright object in the sky this last week accompanied by a weird warm feeling. Yes it was a bit of spring with temps rising to double figures at long last. Hurrah! Jeez it feels like we’ve had a very long and cold winter doesn’t it? And we haven’t had it quite as bad as some places. I wouldn’t say the shorts and pale white legs are out yet but the coats have definitely been packed away again and it’s hats in the air to some sunshine!  Continue reading

ITV crap and local update

Well it’s been a few weeks without a posting. I felt compelled to write something…anything having spent the last 15 minutes watching ITV’s latest Sunday night concept programme ‘Off Their Rockers’. Apparently some fu**wit in the commissioning department was convinced that getting OAPs to do Candid Camera type stuff would have us rolling off our sofas with hysterical laughter. I’ve seen more comedy on the World at War.

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broken windows and promises

OK so my last posting was a bit self-indulgent but I am proud of my roots. So I’m a Lanc, from Manc, get over it. I know I have. I thought I’d get back to some less personalised stuff but fact is everything on here is my opinion so…. I thought I’d do another in the occasional series on really crap and incronguous buildings/architecture  in my local, leafy, lovely area of SW London, which is at least 300 miles from Old Trafford cricket ground. I can mix it with the rugger bugger yummy mummies when I need to.

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ugly buildings

Regular readers may be coming to the conclusion that I’m a frustrated wannabe architect masquerading as a marketing guy. Damn you’re good. Anyway here’s the latest in an occasional series of postings inspired by my irresistible desire to write about buildings that I come across. You may remember in a recent posting I was going on about how I found nearby Twickenhan to be a pleasant few lanes down by the river spoiled by a scruffy High St that would shame Slough and a hideously ugly office block slap bang in the centre of the town. I scoffed, as I tend to do, because the High St here in Teddington is chock full of interesting shops, restaurants and bars and 20 times more attractive in my view.  However, as is also my want, I was talking the truth but not the whole truth. You see Teddington has a slab ugly building sister itself…in fact two.

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