A taste of Italy in Tedders

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Well here’s the thing, a dear friend and regular reader of the blog told me recently that as wonderful as my biting wit and ranting criticism are, she’d like me to write something uplifting and complimentary for once. A piece that praises rather than protests. OK M, but Mr Curmudgeonly will be back next week! Continue reading

Bottom Marks

Now what’s this headline all about? The results of some naughty spanking session? Grimy lines on your undies? Well as tempting as it is to write about both those things, it’s something entirely different and, I have to admit, a lot less thrilling. But it’s something that regular readers will know drives me mad, the tendency for Marks & Spencer’s to completely make a hash of presenting themselves engagingly in-store.

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So here it is Merry Xmas

Well it’s 1 December and it’s starting to feel a lot like Xmas don’t you think? I hate cynical marketing but I admit to being a bit of a fan of good old-fashioned festive celebrations. A couple of days ago they switched on the lights in Teddington and we had a quick peek down there. It was great; not so much because the lights were spectacular (being a Blackpool boy I can justifiably say they’ve got a long way to go before they can call 12 trees lit up illuminations!) but because the townsfolk were out in force supporting our local High Street businesses, a theme very close to my heart. And the atmosphere was just great.

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Chill Bill: Volume 1

I used to think I had the best of jobs when I headed up the marketing team at Cellnet and then topped it when I became Head of Sponsorship at BT. Both roles had their difficult moments: at Cellnet I worked for some really twatty bosses (exceptions BMc and SA) whereas at BT I had a great boss but the bureaucracy was numbing. But that apart I had a ball, working with some great guys and doing some of the most cutting edge, award-winning and, let’s be honest, enjoyable marketing stuff you could imagine. And they paid me. Bliss. But here’s the thing, I think I’ve found the law enforcement equivalent of the very best job in the world. Well in the Met Police. Here’s a clue:

police deer

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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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