Sunday, 25 September 2016


Overheard in the bathroom - the Chairman is about to swill his mouth with fluoride mouthwash, as advised by his dentist in a forlorn attempt to retain the last few rotting tombstones in his mouth:

Chairman: "These bloody childproof tops are the bane of my life."

Hay: "Mmmmm..."

Chairman: "It's not what you think - I don't have my glasses on and can't see where to press on the cap to release it."

Hay: "A likely story..."

Hay was given the wedding present of a book book by (surprisingly) her book club. It's called The Good Housewife Encyclopedia, last published 1963. Here's an excerpt (click to enlarge):

It's little wonder there were so few divorces in the 50s and 60s...

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Carbon Fibre & Bamboo Bike

Olly, one of the engineers who rent the first  cabin, has been doing an inordinate amount of overtime, even coming round at weekends to work, or so I thought. He's a keen cyclist, travelling on his bilke to our place on a daily basis from his home in Bristol. 

It transpired he was building himself a lightweight racing bike from bamboo and carbon fibre, and very nice it is too. It's called Ruby.

I still think he should have attempted a seat and wheels from bamboo too...

Friday, 23 September 2016



Hay: "Having been married 3 times, who is your favourite wife?"

Chairman: "Always the next  one."

When I first started shopping for food in the early 70s, rump was more expensive than, and preferable to, sirloin.  At some point chefs started promoting sirloin, saying the fat content produced a better taste, despite the thick layer of gristly fat that's paid for and yet left on every plate of sirloin steak eaten. As a consequence of promotion, sirloin rose in cost and is now more expensive than rump.

If the fat on a sirloin makes it so tasty, why is fillet steak or tenderloin considered the best, and most expensive  cut, and yet its fat content is almost zero?

Nothing to do with taste and everything to do with the law of supply and demand, as evidenced by the price of skirt steak (aka butcher's steak, hangar steak or onglet) starting to rise now that people are becoming more aware of its potential as a much more tasty and cheaper alternative to either rump or sirloin.

Whenever we have steak I always buy skirt (£9 or £10 per kilo), frying it for about 4 minutes each side (depending on thickness) and then cutting it into slices across the grain due to it being slightly tougher than standard steak. Due to it coming from nearer the guts, it has a much more meaty (almost gamey) taste which is far superior to that of rump or sirloin - in my opinion.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Speedy Boarding Cabin Update

A quick update on the 2nd cabin:

I wish we could connect it to our house for electricity, but it would put too much load on the house and so a separate supply has been ordered. The exterior should be finished very shortly and then work will begin on the interior. Hopeful for an end of October or early November finish.

Was in Glasgow yesterday for a business meeting - went Easyjet. Speedy Boarding - you get on the bus first and get told to sit at the back, but when you get to the plane they open the front doors first!

Green tea - what's the point? Might as well pour hot water on some privet hedge clippings.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Book Club Rock God

Oveheard in the living room:

Hay (from upstairs): "What's the name of the book on the screen of my phone?"

Chairman (frying the chips for dinner): "Just a minute...... 'Narrative Of A Child Analysis: The Conduct of the Psycho-Analysis of Children as Seen in the Treatment of a Ten Year Old Boy'."

Chairman goes back to frying his chips.

Hay, 2 minutes later: "What was it again?"

Chairman: "Oh, for God's sake........ 'Narrative Of A Child Analysis: The Conduct of the Psycho-Analysis of Children as Seen in the Treatment of a Ten Year Old Boy'."

Chairman goes back to frying his chips - again.

Hay, a minute later: "Who's the author?"

Chairman: Expletive.....

Was reading about Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. How many women do you think marry a rock god and think it'll be all roses, a cottage in the country and 2.5 kids from then on? Marrying a rock god isn't exactly a recipe for domestic bliss, although a select few have managed to pull through.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Alf Tupper

GB's success at the Olympics and Paralympics has been put down to funding. What happened to the spirit of Alf Tupper? He didn't need loads of money being thrown at him, just a good fish and chip supper....

If Olympic success is all down to money, what chance do poorer nations have?

Monday, 19 September 2016

Cheyenne Crocosmia

In a moment of ennui I was watching the 1971 film, Yuma, starring Clint Walker, who made his name in the 1960s cowboy series Cheyenne, which I watched avidly on the TV as a kid. I was rather surprised to find out he's still alive aged 89.

I just love the riotous display of crocosmia flowers in the late summer and early autumn. I have some 200 corms planted around the house and wanted to increase the number of plants by using the seeds.

Read up about it and you're told to plant them in some expensive soil mixture that costs an arm and a leg in a greenhouse and carefully prick them out, etc. Yet simultaneously you're told that they can quickly become a pest in the countryside because they readily self-seed. So if they are so prolific in the wild, why do you need to buy all manner of composts and tend the seeds with loving care in a garden? Just doesn't make sense.

I collected the seed pods from my crop, put them in the warm engine room and left them to dry out for a couple of weeks. This has given me several handfuls of seeds which I will sow around the perimeter of the garden this week. Let's see what happens next year.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lidl Army Maneuvers

Alerting all men - next Thursday is Lidl pneumatic tool day!

Now there has to be something for every man in this little cornucopia...

You couldn't make it up! The EU announces a plan to create a European Army and Brexiteers immediately get on their high horses saying we could never place out troops under the command of 28 nations and should stand alone - the Dunkirk spirit, and all that (Dunkirk was one of those uniquely British quirks of treating a resounding defeat as a victory). The very next day  a senior general declares the British Army unfit for purpose

The American Army is a federal army, the Soviet Army was a federal army, NATO is a federal army - any military alliance (which is usually a necessity in war, if not the very cause of it in the first place) is a federal alliance. Virtually every international war we've ever fought in since the Middle Ages has been fought with an army comprising allied forces. Isolationist Brixiteers just can't get their heads around alliances.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Eye Test

Overheard while driving up the M5:

Chairman: "Are they sheep or seagulls in that field?"

Hay: "Are you sure you're actually capable of driving?"

Baby On Board signs in the back of cars - what are they all about? Professional tailgaters won't take a blind bit of notice and the rest of us already keep a safe distance from cars ahead anyway, as we don't want to be involved in an accident.

That said, we were once again delayed by 30 minutes by an accident on the northbound M5 out of Devon. Every journey north we've done northbound this year on the M5 has meant a long wait in traffic due to an accident somewhere between Exeter and Bridgewater.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Horsefly Strike in Salcombe

Returning home today - can't say I'm sorry as I'm all South Devoned out. If push came to shove I'd rather live in North Devon. Never even got to unpack the kayaks. That said, the place we've been staying at has been perfect; we needn't have brought anything other than the clothes we stood up in, yet I'm sure that if we'd radioed our sizes ahead we'd have been presented with a complete wardrobe of clothes too.

I don't seem to be able to go away for a few days' holiday without getting bitten by a horsefly - the damned things never touch Hay. Got a fly strike on Wednesday while doing the Bantham slog. I seem to have a worse reaction to horsefly venom than most people and end up with limbs like Popeye's where I'm stung.

Did Salcombe yesterday. I'm convinced ladies can walk into a hairdresser's there and just say; "I want a Salcombe," receiving in return a cut giving you that sun-kissed, wind-tousled look you'd have if you'd just stepped off a yacht in the harbour. On top of that they'd get a free, striped Breton top and a Cath Kidston bag. Salcombe must be the spiritual home of the striped, Breton top.

Hay's convinced the ladies all change from their daytime striped, Breton tops to their evening striped, Breton tops after 6pm when they all start congregating in the local bistros and restaurants.