45 days ago
Of course folks in Bristol should not have rioted last night however odious the new Bill to make Britain even more of a Police state is. I hope that those who damaged property and attacked and injured the Fuzz are arrested and get stiff custodial sentences. I doubt they will. But, in some ways, the Avon & Somerset Police asked for it.
63 days ago
This small set of photos were in a set of papers relating to the affairs of my father’s late nephew John Stafford who was another family member gripped by the mystery of Edith Maude Winnifrith (EMW): who was she? Yesterday I posted a photo of a baby which came from EMW and which I can now date pretty accurately. The dress worn by the woman holding the baby is, according to the leading expert on Victorian dresses, from 1868-70 but it looks tight and ill fitting so may be a few years old. The photographer, Thomas Prothero started business in Bristol in 1875 or maybe a bit earlier. I have a submission he posted from his Wine Street Bristol address for a Royal Photographic Society exhibition in September 1875. EMW said she was born in 1875 though her birth certificate is a forgery so I assume the photo of the baby she kept was of herself, why else keep it? So who is the lady below?
64 days ago
I described the other day my researches into, inter alia, the big mystery in my family – who was Edith Maude Winnifrith, my great grandmother? She was certainly illegitimate but who were are parents? Is her mother really Edith Wingfield Digby? I continue to go through the papers of her son, Sir John Winnifrith, and stumble across this photo marked up on the back, in Sir John’s writing, “my mother?”
113 days ago
Britain’s Police forces are increasingly drunk on the new lockdown powers they have been given by our airhead, but authoritarian, Home Secretary Priti Patel. My family and I managed to break five of her daft laws today with acts that have seen fines handed out by cops from various forces in recent days, such as sitting on a bench or drinking a cup of coffee, without the Rozzers catching us. But some poor sap from Bristol was not so lucky. His crime is shocking.
134 days ago
Gosh, the tree and its oak barrel container are heavy but a friend and I somehow got it inside for its 16 days of warmth. Then it will be back to the garden where it has lived for the past year, gaining about two and a half inches. I reckon it is now just under five foot nine tall.
202 days ago
The last time I saw Brislington Ladies was in a home game in Bristol in the FA Cup against West Ham ladies. About half of the crowd of 80 or so were emigre “cockneys” such as myself delighted to be able to support our side in the South West. The mighty Irons won 6 nil. I see that Brislington Ladies are again in FA Cup action this weekend, this time against Cheltenham Town. And what is more, certain folks can pay to watch the game live.
234 days ago
One of the striking things about how taxpayer cash is doled out via Innovate UK is how many of the Marxist Madrassas we used to call Universities are on the gravy train. Among those really tucking in is the University of West of England, UWE the place where hard line socialists wanting to live in Bristol but too dim to get a job at Bristol University end up working. So here is where £83,341 of your cash went.
740 days ago
Since the sad demise of my once morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley late last summer, my two year old son Joshua has not stopped talking about his friend who used to sleep by his cot, keeping watch every night. Our old house in Bristol is “Oakley’s House” and while you and I know that the old boy lies at rest next to the body of Kitosh and across the yard from that of his long time companion Tara who is under the rhubarb, Joshua and his mother and I have agreed that the three legged one has “gone to the jungle” where he is happy. But there is a gap in all of our lives anmd so yesterday we told Joshua we had a treat.
794 days ago
Thanks to a little confusion on my part, which resulted in me wandering around the area close to Temple Meads for an extra half mile, the half way point on my second training walk for the 33 mile rogue bloggers for Woodlarks trek in May, was what I know as Lucian's breakfast joint.
825 days ago
I was woken up at 6 AM by the Mrs snoring and peeked out of the window. It was still snowing. Snowballs with Joshua thought I and my heart leapt. This was the scene last night outside our front door here in Bristol with the global warming falling fast. A weekend trip to my father is, I suspect, on hold.
837 days ago
My two year old son Joshua has a tendency, these days, to say that everything belongs to him. So it is "my house", "my car" and pictured below is "my goat." Of course it is not.
847 days ago
The house is now on the market as we prepare for a move up to the Grim North. We already have five viewings lined up for Saturday so keep your fingers crossed. Ahead of that day I have been working hard at clearing out six years of accumulated junk in the garage. There have been one or two rather good finds. There was a package marked fragile.
871 days ago
I have never seen our local church in this unfashionable bit of Bristol look this way. That is to say full. But it was packed with more than a hundred souls last night for carols by candlelight. It was all rather touching. As I belted out some of the old favourites in my own tone deaf way and as Joshua ran around misbehaving it felt like Christmas had actually begun. The story almost came to life. I did feel a sort of bond with my fellow worshippers – ordinary folk, shepherds not kings.
874 days ago
I visited my local Estate Agent yesterday about selling the house of the Mrs here in Bristol. He is a clever, honest and experienced chap who has done TV work and who I've known for a a while. I relay his numerous tales of woe which, I think, are symptomatic of the wider market, whatever headline data we are fed. If I am right how do you play the dire times ahead on the short tack? I discuss house builders in general, Barratt (BDEV) - if I said Bovis in the bearcast I meant Barratt -, Purplebricks (PURP) and BCA Marketplace (BCA) in this bonus podcast.
877 days ago
I had far too much to drink last night. But it really was not my fault. Thus as I travel across Greece today and back to Bristol I feel a bit worse for wear. In this podcast I comment on Hollywood Bowl (BOWL) in light of yesterday's corrupt journalism bearcast. I look at Andalas (ADL) forced to make a belated statement by this website's expose on Saturday HERE. I cover Big Sofa (BST) and LB Shell (LBP) another AIM Casino dog whose sole purpose was to support the lifestyles of crony capitalists.
880 days ago
In a couple of days time I head back to the Mrs, in Bristol, and so I thought it prudent to start washing my clothes and that it might earn me major brownie points if I washed the bed linen as well. And we now have a washing machine up at the hovel. Prudently I handwashed a pair of underpants and a pair of jeans and put them outside to dry. But all of my socks and much else besides was put into the washing machine with some detergent in the right place. Problemo.
908 days ago
After a good lunch of fish and chips Joshua and I started to make our way back from snooty Clifton, where we had been Christmas shopping, to our unfashionable Edwardian suburb at the edge of Bristol. The theory was that it would be a good walk for me and that we might find some more Christmas presents on the way back.
914 days ago
My father’s sister L was visiting him in Shipston today and I mentioned that Joshua and I were going shopping ahead of making Christmas Puddings. Is it Stir Up Sunday she asked. To be honest I had not given it that much thought but unlike, I suspect, most younger readers I do understand the reference.
962 days ago
George the Architect has been in touch and has sent more photos of the progress being made in turning the Greek Hovel into an eco palace. Boy I wish I was there rather than in Bristol. I bet Joshua does too. All we need is for Priti Patel to sweep to power, shut down the "university" where the Mrs teaches and another 50 odd joke left wing madrassas for future Tesco shelf stackers, and we could all move right away. Pro tem I can just dream.
969 days ago
Penned at Gatwick airport on Saturday as I waited for a train. Some bald Northern prick was blocking the escalator on the walking side. I said “excuse me.” He said “It’s not bloody London.” I suggested that rules about standing/walking up were national. “What’s your hurry you will only get stuck at passport control.” I pointed out it was my choice and rules were rules and as he moved aside I concluded my sentence “and you can fuck off” as I stormed on ahead to passport control where there was almost no queue.
970 days ago
By chance I found myself sitting in the quiet coach heading back to Bristol. Natch a few folks were on their phones and no-one kicked up a fuss. I was in the back sat and in the seat in front of me was a man, I guess in his thirties, unshaven drinking and playing, utterly crap, rap music, very loudly, on his tablet.
975 days ago
As if the Mrs has not suffered enough during the past five years, today she has the unenviable task of explaining to our, almost, two year old son Joshua why, when they arrive back in Bristol there will be no Oakley to greet them. For yesterday afternoon, Oakley went to a better place.
997 days ago
I started today at 4.30 AM GMT in Bristol. I did not have the rub of the green with logistics in Athens and thus I did not arrive at my posh Kalamata hotel until 6 PM GMT, 8 PM local time. I have checked my emails , enjoyed a Greek salad and am just about to order an ouzo. But the really good news comes from George the Architect…the Bat Room at the Greek Hovel is wildlife diversity secure, the power and water is still working and so tomorrow I move in….
1002 days ago
My business at the Greek Consulate in Birmingham was done with all the efficiency you expect of Greece - that is to say with long delays, over-runs and numerous stamps impressed on my piece of paper. I then hurried back to the civilised south of England as fast as I could.
1003 days ago
It is not a complicated journey from Bristol to Birmingham but it is ffing expensive. Had I got up before 6 AM I would have saved £8 but for the sake of a bit of a lie in I caught the 8.30 and my return ticket cost a whopping £117.80. adding insult to injury Cross Country trains is making me pay an extra £2 for an hour’s internet access. To put this in perspective, I can get to London and back from £75 which is about the same distance and the wifi is free.
1018 days ago
On Saturday myself, Brokerman Dan and Lucian Miers, aka the rogue bloggers, will walk 32 miles from the infamous Horse Hill “Gatwick Gusher” oil well to Woodlarks, aiming to raise £20,000 for that amazing charity. Reminder – Woodlarks needs that cash to up its income from just £126,500 last year, to close its deficit and keep doing its amazing work providing holidays for handicapped folks who would otherwise get none. Yesterday was my last long training walk…
1020 days ago
I travel Easyjet (EZY) often. In the winter it is Bristol to Athens and back, in the summer it is Gatwick to Kalamata and back. Usually it is no worse and no better than any other budget airline. Not that I really care but I just want to point out a quite obvious scam it inflicts on its passengers.
1022 days ago
I explained a couple of days ago how a sweating, lying, wretched Bulgarian xxxx was too much of a pooftah to do as he was paid to do and bring a van load of goods from Bristol right to my front door at the Greek Hovel But we made it thanks to my heroic Greek workmen as you can see below.
1024 days ago
When I visit my dad, he urges me to take away one or two of the zillions of books in his house. Naturally I want to please him and do as requested but I am equally conscious that the Mrs reckons that our house in Bristol has too many books and that my suggestion that she bin her sociology books to make way for more of mine is not a runner. And now Joshua is collecting book after book as well...
1025 days ago
Today was the day that my books, a few pieces of furniture and wall hangings as well as four Belfast sinks were meant to arrive at the Greek Hovel after a van journey from Bristol, via Bulgaria. Much to my surprise the Bulgarian chap in London called yesterday and said to expect delivery this afternoon.
1047 days ago
In the build up to my 32 mile charity walk for Woodlarks on July 28, I planned to build on last week’s 15 miler stroll with 19 miles and it all started so well. My pal Lucian Miers drove over from Winchester first thing and at 8 AM we started walking from just near Bristol Temple Meads. According to my calculations the Bath Bristol Railway path was 13 miles and Bath to the Hop Pole Inn on the other side was 6 miles largely along the Kennet & Avon Canal.
1051 days ago
Though he is an on-off smoker and a man not averse to a bottle or three of wine at lunchtime, my friend the bear raider Lucian Miers, the Bard of the Boleyn, is becoming a bit of a health freak these days. “I can’t file Friday as I am on a three day walk across the downs”. That is his catchphrase these days. And to think that it used to be “get another bottle in, I’m just nipping outside for a fag.”
1053 days ago
It started well. I had planned a route from the Conham River Car Park on the outskirts of Bristol, along the Avon to Bath. The signs said it was 14 miles. What could be more pleasant?
1059 days ago
I see that Brokerman Dan, who will be walking 32 miles for Woodlarks with me on July 28, has tweeted about completing a 15 mile training walk. In the smug looking selfie that accompanied the tweet the old bastard looks fresh as a daisy, as if he had just strolled to and from the local corner store. If only it were that way for me.
1076 days ago
Hooray. After this week's doorstepping and podcast special and the work back in Bristol this is a great day. I suspect it is game over and discuss the probable demise of Folli Follie. Never buy a stock on a PE of 1. Elsewhere I look at rumours concerning Nomad Northland, at Echo Energy (ECHO), the fraud MySquar (MYSQ), my letter to Julie Meyer HERE, Sound Energy (SOU), Westminster Group (WSG) - with its revolting chairman ex Tory MP Tony Baldry - and Frontera (FRR) and its latest pre placing ramp. Now come on chaps, if you enjoy bearcast - and I know 1000 of you do every day - please donate £10 NOW to the Woodlarks charity walk - HERE
1092 days ago
I start with a discussion on regulation, estate agents and a doomed UK prompted by the excellent Sunday Times Column yesterday by #LukeJohnsonforPM. Then it is onto Folli Follie. The British may be idling their way through another bank holiday but hard working Greeks are back at work. So we have a weak denial statement from Folli Follie but its Athens based shares which were off 30% are now off only 18% and are bouncing fast. I think this is still a zero and ask you if you can examine this manifest of claimed stores and assist. FWIW I explain why the manifest just does not wash. I am off right now with my camera to the House of Fraser in Bristol. I have made a call already and this will be a "win" for the Bears. Watch this space... - if anyone can do other HoF stores, Selfridges or the Irish ones on this list and get me photos plus what the stores say J'd be grateful.
1094 days ago
George the Architect sends more photos. You can see that the bat room now has a polished concrete floor and the dividing walls for the eco-loo and the shower are up with a stand waiting for a sink to arrive from Bristol. The door into the rat room is bricked up pro tem to allow me to sleep there in a wildlife free zone when I head over in a few weeks time. Elsewhere progress is rapid with the rat room now appearing to be semi roofed and progress on the upper floor rapid.
1101 days ago
A colleague of Chris Eadie's came to see me in Bristol a few months ago arriving by motorbike. But Mr Eadie also explains the new Rose Petroleum (ROSE) case well.
1143 days ago
George the Architect has been in touch with an update on progress at the Greek Hovel and, as you can below, see there really has been progress. The rat room extension walls are underway and the new wing of the house which will double the floor space is now also starting to take shape. George says the door to the bat room is on its way and it will be habitable within two weeks. The rest of the hovel is still on track to be finished by September, after just 51 months!
1144 days ago
My mother used to bake all of our bread back in those hippy dippy days of self sufficiency in Byfield in the 1970s. As a diabetic it is not perhaps top of the skill set I seek to acquire as I consider my own future after the world of shares but none the less the Little Kitchen is a small local cooking school about 500 yards from where I live and I was delighted when daughter Olaf said she had enrolled me on a course there as a birthday present. I headed off through the snow yesterday to join four other souls who had braved the weather, and our teachers.
1150 days ago
You may remember that in a podcast (HERE) on 4th March I recalled a horrific 22 hour trip from Kalamata, via Athens Airport, to Bristol made hellish not just by snow but by the behaviour of EasyJet (EZJ) staff who repeatedly lied to me and fellow passengers. last night I sent that podcast to EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren with a note:
1160 days ago
I leave Kalamata shortly but when I get to Athens will there be a flight to take me home to Bristol or will I be dossing down at the Sofitel until the next flight on Monday? As I ponder that matter I consider the great news for we shareholders from Big Sofa (BST) and the real import of today's shocking news that Beaufort Securities has gone tits up. Postscript from Kalamata bus station: Bristol flights have been cancelled. With frightening efficiency I have transferred to a Gatwick flight. I am now working out how to get from Gatwick to Bristol in the middle of the night.
1243 days ago
I popped up to see my father in Shipston on Stour in south Warwickshire last night with a view to heading on to Oxford early this morning for other family business. At 2.30 AM I awoke and looked out of my window and there was nothing to see. By 6.30 AM the global warming was deep, crisp and even and it was still snowing. It is now 9.15 and it is still snowing and the Oxford event has been cancelled. The snow is now at least three inches deep on the roof of my car and the forecast is for snow all day. The best bet, methinks, is to head for the motorway now and go back to Bristol in time to catch West Ham ladies in action at 2PM against Brislington Ladies ( my local team) in the FA Women's Vase 2nd round. Come on You Irons!
1320 days ago
The politically correct BBC here in the South West creamed itself as Parson Green Primary here in Bristol picked up an award for its work to promote LGBT equality. Kids at the school are allowed to wear trousers or skirts whatever their gender, toilets are unisex and the school prides itself on teaching the kids from the start that gay is normal.
1392 days ago
Sing & Sign is not to be confused with politically correct poetry. The latter is on a Wednesday at our local library or will be until, that place is shut down. As the Po faced poetry dominatrix explained this week, Bristol City Council is being forced to make big cuts. Well of course there is no cut in its donation to the Pride festival, the City council can afford a fully staffed press office, to fund Chess Tournaments and to make donations to very rich charities such as the Terence Higgins Trust as well as Womankind Bristol Women's Therapy Centre Ltd, Independent Sex Workers against Violence, the Hype Dance Company, the Bristol Zimbabwe Association and a whole raft of other valuable causes. But it must close down our library here in the white working class district of Brislington because of the wicked Tories. Whatever.
1396 days ago
It is the sort of conversation I only really have with my father. We sit here tonight in Shipston. With the Mrs having taken Joshua back to Bristol, I am with the old man for a couple of days. We are killing time ahead of the BBC news. I write the odd article, he reviews old family papers, something that is the focus of his life these days. Have I discussed the Ightham murder of 1908 on these pages? No? Well, maybe another time.
1397 days ago
As I noted yesterday, the BBC believes that if it repeats myths often enough in its drama we come to accept those myths as facts. In the end we will accept that everyone in the Countryside is right behind gay pride and they all oppose fox-hunting. The mindset of Arcadia has become that of Islington because the BBC told us so often that the Arcadians/Ambridgians had Upper Street values all along. This attempt to bully into accepting liberal values by distorting the truth is how the left wages its cultural war today.
1398 days ago
For a couple of weeks, the Mrs and I were wondering why the widely advertised event in this part of Bristol was called SPRINGfest. After all it is July. Perhaps it is that unfashionable old Brislington is just a bit behind the times? It turns out that this is the festival of the For a couple of weeks, the Mrs and I were wondering why the widely advertised event in this part of Bristol was called SPRINGfest. After all it is July. Perhaps it is that unfashionable old Brislington is just a bit behind the times? It turns out that this is the festival of the Sandy Park Road Improvement Neighbourhood Group. It is a bit out a mouthful but the main thoroughfare in this part of the world sure does need improving.. It is a bit out a mouthful but the main thoroughfare in this part of the world sure does need improving.
1437 days ago
I have two great fears when travelling. The first is that I will miss my train or plane. This is hereditary. My grandmother Lesbia Winnifrith never missed a train in her life apart from once when she arrived so early that she caught the previous one in error. I like to travel with plenty of room for error.
1488 days ago
I loathe flying. The truth is that it frightens me a bit. And so I usually have a drink or two in the hope that it knocks me out on the plane. But taking this type 2 diabetes seriously, there was no alcohol for me at Bristol airport on Friday. The place was crammed, largely with fat people flying Easyjet for stag and hen parties across Europe. The rotund stags and porcine hens were already drinking heavily by noon when the Mrs and I arrived and they were also stuffing their fat faces with processed junk food, aka sugar filled suicide sandwiches. I had a coffee.
1527 days ago
The pizza Hard man Darren Atwater says that my pancakes look all wrong. That is because he is from Canada so wants big fat fluffy pancakes drowning in maple syrup which is how the folks of North America aim to take obesity rates all the way up to 100%. Back in the old world we prefer thin crepes which can be tossed in the pan.
1531 days ago
One of the main, if not the main, ramper of shares in the worthless fraud Cloudtag (CTAG) is a Bristol based fellow called Liam Nicholas, the author of this ramptastic blog. Liam works for a company in the white van hire rental business and his ludicrously partisan commentary is one reason so many folks are nursing huge losses on this AIM fraud. I have spoken to the Mrs and she has agreed to hold the camera if I visit Liam this weekend as we too live in Bristol.
1552 days ago
The Mrs says that my coat makes me look like a Big Issue seller. Christ these lefties are snobs. But on reflection she has a point and ahead of a trip to Northern Greece where it is minus 7 at night and barely above zero in the day I headed to town on Saturday to find a replacement. Luckily I had my camera to hand as I encountered several hundred poorly dressed folks, most of whom seemed like the sort of under-washed workshy bums who will pitch up to protest against anything. The smell of weed was thick in the air as I wandered along trying to find the most idiotic placard in Bristol's latest Donald Trump hatefest.
1557 days ago
I have noted before how the Guardianista cinema of choice for Bristol's pious liberal middle classes is the Watershed which encourages its devotees to comment on the films being watched by pinning post-its to a board. This brings out the worst in me.
1559 days ago
So what if Cloudtag (CTAG) is a fraud which lies to investors, has no revenues (other than bogus made up ones in RNS statements) and is running out of cash? So what if its shares are now just 4.75p to sell ( down from 25p a couple of months ago) and are heading to nil. The ramper in chief Liam Nicholas is undeterred. His lie packed website about the fraud may not be getting much traffic these days but the man who works for a white van rental company and lives, like me, here in Bristol has a message of hope for the deluded. Forget fundamental analysis or impending news....
1561 days ago
My father told each of his children and step children that, as he had far too much money, he was gifting us a sum of, I think, £2,000. I was the odd one out in that I was given £1,000 and my father's old motor to sell, an old banger worth, he reckoned, less than a thousand pounds. But at least I could drive it until I sold it although the process of selling was bound to be a pain and was something I dreaded.
1574 days ago
If you are preparing for a five hour journey to work along snow covered roads or your pipes have just burst you may think that I am talking utter rubbish. But the lack of snow here in Bristol is really starting to annoy me.
Over in Greece there is lots of the white stuff on the mountains above the Greek Hovel and in fact far lower down as well. The Express tells us on a daily basis that Britain is braced for a deluge of global warming. Channel 4 News
1585 days ago
My wife is younger than I am and her social set here in Bristol is younger than she is and thus on New Year's Eve I found myself with a group of folks in their mid thirties. I shall be 49 in ten days time. There were a stack of babies and young children there and one adult opined "it is just as if everyone is having babies, is it a Bristol thing?" No, dippy snowflake, it is a function of how old you are.
1597 days ago
Yesterday was Christmas day number one as my daughter came down to Bristol for a Christmas meal. I am rather worried that having scored a perfect ten on this one it will be hard to up my game for Christmas Day itself.
1639 days ago
Hell's teeth there are some pathetic folks out there who really do not understand this democracy thing at all. Tonight in my home City we are being urged to head along to a Candlelit vigil to protest against Donald Trump. It is being organised by an American ex-pat, who said she wanted to bring Americans living in Bristol – and indeed the whole community – together... this woman sounds truly appalling.
1650 days ago
Bristol is the sort of left leaning City where the patronising middle classes agree with Matt Frei that ALL Trump supporterrs are racists. They agree with Hillary Clinton that anyone voting for the GOP is a "deplorable". Naturally we Brexit voters were also termed ignorant racists by the bien pensants of the South West. Put it this way: I really don't feel as if I am in my ideologocal home here.
1683 days ago
Okay Nimo is not exactly a neighbour. She lives in Easton a district of Bristol that is a bit more expensive than our own and full of edgy Guardian reading lefties. The Mrs and I both work but don't get to live in such a big house as Nimo because...she's on housing benefits. I pay my taxes so she gets a nicer house than me. Or maybe not as the lazy lardbucket has now, finally, been evicted after two years despite left wing action group Acorn and her sanctimonious neighbours trying to foil bailiffs with a human chain around chez Nimo.
Lets start twelve years ago
1685 days ago
Having had the run around from my Barclays team in Douglas, Isle of Man as I described on bearcast yesterday, I was advised to go to a Barclays branch in Bristol with two forms of ID to change its records of whom I worked for. As I had a dental appointment in town I walked to the main Barclays branch in central Bristol, at Broadmead, where the bastards then wasted another forty five minutes of my life with sheer incompetence.
1740 days ago
I have on a number of occasions pointed out that the red trousered, car hating lunatic George Ferguson was a quite appalling mayor of my home City of Bristol. I feel, however, that I owe Mr Ferguson an apology.
1743 days ago
Dad and I are now into a good routine here in Shipston. He does not say much about my late step mum but he is getting a task done each day, sorting out his papers, her papers, probate, making a few plans, writing stern memos in his semi legible drunken spider handwriting. On Saturday I head back to the Mrs - who is now at 34 weeks - for a Bristol break and he will have his first time trying to cope alone without his cook and companion. We have a few folks popping in to see him during the six days before I return and we shall see how it all goes.
Plans have been made
1747 days ago
Gosh, the Conservative Club in Brislington is efficient. It was only on Wednesday that my father and I trouped in to complete his application. On Thursday another visit as Dad thinks the Cider is cheap and enjoys a place where the only newspaper is the Sun and with cricket on the TV.
By Saturday an email arrives
1750 days ago
Oh joy of joys. In what is becoming something of an annual treat, global warming nutters travelling to the poles to show a lack of ice are being trapped by...ice. And I am delighted that the latest ship of fools set sail from my home City of Bristol which prides itself on being the "Green Capital" of Britain. So there maybe a few red faces in green City today. Let's hope no-one suggests using lots of fossil fuels sending in a rescue plane? Maybe they could borrow St Bono's private jet?
1750 days ago
The Mrs is now 32 weeks pregnant and looks the part. She looks magnificent and I am very excited about September. So yesterday we found ourselves at an antenatal clinic with eight other mothers. Being, as you know, a progressive and feminist sort of chap I attended too as did four other "partners". I came away feeling rather old and as if this world was somehow not the one that I feel entirely comfortable with. Why can't it be 1978 all over again?
1761 days ago
As I mentioned at some stage last week my step mother is keen that fruit from the garden in Shipston does not go to waste. And so I returned home for an all too brief weekend in Bristol with a punnet of gooseberries that I had picked. Oakley's friend Tara was buried beneath the rhubarb earlier this year and, I apologise if you regard this as tasteless but it had come up amazingly.
1768 days ago
Back in the UK I sit at my desk looking out on a quiet surburban road. It is all very different to the view from the rough table at which I write at the Greek Hovel. I see people, cars and neat brick walls rather than olive trees, sheep, the abandoned monastery and the wild of the Mani countryside. Here in Bristol, I also spot in a magazine rack next to my desk a copy of Grazia magazine.
1785 days ago
British Airways staff were again brilliant today. On Saturday I arrived at Kalamata airport with a barely mobile father and weak step mother. Within minutes a cute airline lady had helped me get a wheelchair for my father and i was told my job was over. The lady put them at the front of the line and I had nothing more to do. Today it was the turn of the Mrs. We arrived and the small departure lounge was again heaving with lobster pink Northern Europeans forming long lines to check in for flights to London and Paris.
I found a different cute airline lady and said that my wife was heavily pregnant, as she is, and within minutes she was again at the head of the queue leaving dozens of the lobster pink Brits and froggies fuming behind her. Then she was through passport control and was off and I headed back to town to face another three to four weeks at the Greek Hovel with just the snakes and rats for company.
When the Mrs is here I am on holiday so I only work 3-4 hours a day at my PC and I do no manual labour at all. I enjoy three meals a day and more than the odd drink. "After all we are on holiday" say I as I order another ouzo. I get to sleep on clean sheet in an air conditioned hotel and enjoy swims in luxury pools. The Mrs is paying and it is a treat. I enjoy my hols with the Mrs. We talk, we plan, we discuss. Life without the Mrs is very different.
1873 days ago
Sadly in late June I shall not be in Bristol but will instead be working hard to rebuild the Greek Hovel. Even if planning consent is not quite in by then, I am free to start preparatory work such as digging out the stone floor of the bat room and demolishing the illegal construct on top of the rat room, the area known as the snake veranda.
The Mrs was set to join me but is now altering her travel plans. Tom Winnifrith just cannot compete with Deacon Claybourne, Gunner, Scarlett and Will Lexington. Nashville fans will know exactly what I mean. If you are not a fan of this must-watch TV series you do not know what you are missing.
We caught Gunner in action at a Country show last year in London. Rather suprisingly the actor who plays Texan born Gunner is in fact a Brit and is an accomplished singer songwriter as well as an actor. Gunner used to date Scarlett who is the neice of recovering alcoholic Deacon, now back with his sweetheart the star of the show Rayna. Deacon may or may not be dead, that is the cliffhanger at the end of series three. Well actually there was no way that Deacon who is the star of the show could be killed off, and as American viewers who are already well into Series 4 know, Deacon is alive but his ghastly sister Beverley is not doing so well.
At least for British viewers, Will is back as Gunner's housemate following the collapse of his faux marriage because he is in fact a closet homosexual. It
1882 days ago
My father and step mother spent most of yesterday afternoon at a Midlands Hospital for a routine chat with a consultant and pick up of medication. Late in the day he and my step mother retrned home, drained after a session with the world's third largest employer which left both fuming. I had a similar experience the other week here in Bristol. Say what you like about Harold Shipman but he does appear to have been ruthlessly efficient...he clearly did not fit in well in today's NHS.
My father and step mother who are both seriously ill arrived on time for a noon appointment. The consultant granted them an audience at 12.45. The consultant who was meant to be there was not and the stand in did not have any notes relating to the previous consultation
1905 days ago
It was unfortuanate for my local Chinese takeaway that I discovered that it had been scamming me with bogus delivery charges at a point where I was 52 hours without nicotine. Right. I have now abandoned New Easton Express of Stapleton Road Bristol and am at war as I explain in this short podcast.
1919 days ago
The assault on the freedoms and the pockets of the poor by the fascist lefties who run my home City of Bristiol continues. First it was our mad Mayor George Ferguson with his war on cars. Now the Labour run City council that wants to fine me for picking blackberries or mushrooms. Why? And who will be hurt most? the poor once again.
1947 days ago
I have just had a half sober lunch and explain what that means. I then move onto our champagne socialist, Guardian reading tosser of a Mayor here in Bristol, George Ferguson, and a pre lunch incident. Then onto Mobile Streams (MOS), Poundland (PLND) and LGO Energy (TOAST).
2038 days ago
Okay not full time. In fact not even part time. But I am going to give a lecture to the young folks at the University where the Mrs teaches on 21st October. Normally these impressionable young people have their minds filled with left wing nonsense. But they are in for a bit of a change and a bit of a shock
The lecture is titled “Why capitalism is good for all” with the subtitle “Greed is good”. When I told this to a mad lefty friend of my wife at a Birthday party on Sunday – without mentioning the subtitle - he said “presumably with a question mark at the end”.
This was the fellow that went on to state that sociology lecturers across the South West subsidised the City. That is to say the private sector. Whatever. Naturally
2044 days ago
Interupted by fckwit PR men and a host of other things this is not a good day. But at least in 48 hours Pizza hardman Darren Atwater has the FSAL headache and I shall be away from acursed London and back in Bristol. On the podcast today: Outsourcery (OUT), Wandicso (WAND), Paragon Diamonds (PRG), Sefton Resources (SER), Fitbug (FITB), Koovs (KOOV), Boohoo.com (BOO), Daniel Stewart (DAN), Golden Saint Resources (GSR) and Blur (BLUR).
2049 days ago
It I all very well sitting in my garage in Bristol or in the Greek Hovel writing about companies but it would be fascinating to actually go visit a few of them on the ground with a video camera in hand to report from the coalface. Right now that is not an option for personal reasons you know too well but next year I’ll need to clear my head and already two road trips are sort of planned.
I shall have family reasons to visit the Pindus Mountains of Northern Greece at some point. It would be great to pop in to see The Baker of Zitsa and have a glass of sparkling red wine and read some Byron while I am there. But from Zitsa it was just a horse ride for Byron and Hobhouse to Albania and would be a short drive for me to Kosovo and Macedonia (the ex-Yugoslav Republic).
2052 days ago
I have invited Getafix Stacey and his charming wife over for lunch. But have received three stern warnings from the druid.
First up he lives in remote West Wales, drinking at the Punter’s Return, seeking out the Money Tree and looking after “my precious” – his stash of Advanced Oncotherapy share certificates. Malcolm says that he and his Mrs sometimes go to Cardiff but he cannot bare to be away from his precious for too long so rarely heads further east. But he promises that he will make the trek over to Bristol soon.
Second I am warned that Malcolm’s Mrs is even more of a mad lefty than he is. I am used
2054 days ago
I cannot remember exactly when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I think it was around six or seven years ago. It was not a surprise. I had eaten and drink too much and the great West Ham supporting Tory blogger Iain Dale had described his symptoms and diagnosis a few months earlier. I knew what was coming.
There have been times since when I have managed it with medication and sometimes just by clean living and taking stacks of exercise. There have been times when I just let myself go. Four years ago I was a 19 stone 6 pounds blob and really all over the shop. But relationship breakdowns, work crises, near bankruptcy and a nervous breakdown did wonders for my (physical) health sending me off to walk around the mountains of Greece and Albania. I may have been a bit of a fruitcake but I sure knocked my body into shape.
Of course marriage and owning a restaurant are not good for the figure but I think I sort of have things in some sort pf check but perhaps I was a tad complacent. I know that Iain has also gone through such phases. However, the Mrs forced me to register with a doctor and last week an eye test showed the first – albeit minimal at this stage – signs of an issue in my right eye. I knew what was coming next.
This afternoon I strolled down to the doctors,
2067 days ago
A wide ranging podcast today from my rather cold garage in Bristol. Why oh why cant I be in Greece? In today's issue I sart with the disgraceful antics of the directors of AIM casino shocker The Hotel Corp (HCP) and Shore Capital. Pledge your support to Marcus Yeoman [email protected] now! Then I turn to Oxford Instruments (OXIG), SQS Software (SQS) which gets a major doing over, Fitbug (FITB), Tern (TERN) and M Winkworth (WINK) where my thoughts are more about UK house prices than about the company itself.
2067 days ago
Okay my motives for handing over £3 to join Labour might not have been the purest. I have done the decent thing and voted for Comrade Corbyn but today I actually felt a real pride as Labour – notably Harriet Harman – took on this Government on the issue of immigrants and state sponsored executions.
Please do not think that I admire much of what Harman stands for and has stood for in the past. But today she spoke for the conscience that this nation seems to have forgotten it had, as a smug David Cameron announced that a British drone had executed two British born ISIL jihadists in Syria.
The House of Commons voted two years ago not to intervene militarily in Syria. I am sure that the two men killed were plotting bad acts and the world is no worse place for their demise. But the State cannot go around without any mandate simply executing its own citizens. Harman
2126 days ago
I arrived at Athens airport at 7 PM on the dot and sober as a judge with plenty of time for a 9 PM flight to Gatwick, given that I had already checked in and only have hand luggage. Er..oh. My flight is delayed by 3 hours and 20 minutes.
That means that I am likely to arrive at Gatwick at c2.30-3PM GMT and will then have 150 minutes to kill before the first bus to Bristol departs. A nightmare journey awaits.
I head to the special needs easyjet desk and say that I have a special need, I am thick. What does this all mean? An officious lady says shows me a pack of vouchers which I guess get me a sandwich and a drink and offers me the chance to get behind 140 other sweaty Brits and escaping Greeks to queue to get the voucher of which she has a stack of in her hand. Put another way "fuck off and line up with all the other peasants, I am not even going to use the word sorry since you are only a customer and I view you with complete contempt."
I say ta but no ta and head off to get a frozen yoghurt and to wander to the terribly expensive Sofitel opposite the airport. It has a great internet connection.
As it happens my Euro to ouzo conversion programme of the past eight days has not gone according to plan and I appear to have around 1200 Euro burning a hole in my pocket. I now have four and a half hours to kill. I have no choice. The PC is plugged in. I am writing and a large ouzo with ice has just arrived. This could be a long night and I fear that my only company will be my best friend ouzo. I have eight days of relative sobriety to make amends for.
2139 days ago
At 10 AM today I let a debating group into Free Speech & Liberty to start our trading day two hours earlier than normal. At 12.15 I realised our cook (due to start at 11.45) was not here. By 12.20 I’d established he’d crashed his motorbike but I pushed him and he promised me that he’d be with me in half an hour. I switched on his oven and prayed he’d turn up by 12.45 as the debaters wanted food at 1.
He did not, but I played for time and at 1.15 he arrived, we served, they loved the food and had a great day. I took on a pretty young lefty on the subject of aid for the kleptocrats of Africa (she supported it, I said African need capitalism not handouts) but it killed the time while we waited for the cook.
But that period 12.45-1.15 was stressful. It is times like that that I loathe.
It is now 6.30 and we have had folks in all day. We have a big table
2161 days ago
In between treavelling back from the Greek Hovel to Bristol there is always tiime to launch a new free monthly magazine - Uk Investor Show. Issue one leads on Greece and I have a centre spread on why it is kebabbed whatever. There are share tips and bear calls from myself and share tips from Steve Moore and Zak Mir. Columns by Chris Bailey and Thierry Laduguie and comment on why UK house prices must fall and on the election. You can download it for free with no registration needed HERE
2163 days ago
The Mrs wants me back in Bristol by tomorrow afternoon and it is nice to be wanted. And so I embark on the journey back from the Greek hovel with a cunning plan given that there are only intermittent flights from Kalamata at this time of year.
2198 days ago
I finally struggled back home to Bristol at 11 PM last night – 38 hours after leaving for London. I was greeted by two wailing cats, Tata and Oakley who guided me to where there food should have been. Cripes – the auto cat feeder had not worked.
Tara is think as a rake but eats like a horse. Oakley has three legs, is morbidly obese but is less greedy than his companion. He is just lazy. But both clearly felt aggrieved. I
2303 days ago
Again I am a little late with today's podcast. Back to normal in Bristol on Friday but I have an excuse. On the agenda today, Touchstone Gold and crony capitalist Steve Berry, equity valuations, Alecto, Northern Petroleum, oil prices, IGAS ( happy anniversary to Andrew "Piggy Austin" ahead of tomorrow), Optimal Payments, LGO Energy, Enteq Upstream and Paul Scott.
2335 days ago
The Mrs and I have put up our Christmas tree. It is a bit small but it is part of some environmentally friendly scheme here in Bristol which I cannot quite get my head around. But to humour the little woman I have played along with the green nonsense.
Anyhow here is the prize competition. To win a bottle of olive oil, made by my own fair hand, from the Greek Hovel all youhave to do is look at the decorations and name which countries they come from. For the avoidance of doubt I count England and Wales as seperate and the angel at the top was made by my daughter many years ago and she counts herself as Welsh. Your clues include that contributions come from four continents and I have bought all the decorations personally.
Post your guesses below with a deadline of Friday
2372 days ago
The leaves are now turning yellow on the fig tree that dominates our garden in Bristol. We have a fig tree in Greece too at the Greek Hovel and it was yielding fruit in the summer that was ripe and wonderful. The UK offering has been a little bit less ripe but I was determined not to get it go to waste and so as a family treat we harvested some of the figs and …hey presto we have a perfect fig chutney.
Three smaller pots have already been handed out as presents and the Mrs and I are working our way through a large pot at home. I reckon it might just last until Christmas.
My only regret is that I did not start this earlier and make more chutney on an industrial scale. The figs start dropping in early September and a good number now lie squashed on the paving. As the leaves fall from the tree I can see another batch of fruit that was hitherto hidden and looks pretty perfect for use.
As ever I shall resolve to be more organised next year and make twice as much. Sadly, with such small volumes produced this year, this product is not available at Real Man Pizza Company although it would be fantastic with our Yarg led cheese board. Maybe in 2015.
When I was kid, autumn was a time for boiling and preserving on an industrial scale. The aspiration of my parents – mainly my mother
2372 days ago
One of the attractions of the house the Mrs bought in a Bristol suburb last Christmas is its almost Mediterranean – if small – garden. It sits wedged between the house and my office, aka a large abandoned garage which is now starting to get a bit nippy. On that matter, I remind my rentier landlord (aka the Mrs) that she has yet to provide her exploited tenant (me) with the heating she promised. Truly, the deluded lefty has become a wicked capitalist exploiter. I digress.
The garden came with a lovely rhubarb plant, a fig tree but its main produce is grapes from the vines that snakes around the edge and onto anything it can find to climb along. And so the grapes were, some weeks, ago harvested by myself the Mrs and some of her deluded lefty mates.
How many deluded lefties does it take to harvest a vine? Five (plus myself who was let off grape picking as I was chief cook for the evening.). Of the five, that would be one to play the guitar, two to complain about Thatcher and austerity and the other two to pick the grapes.
The grapes were crushed (not with bare feet it is too bloody cold for that) and left to ferment ad then strained and now sit in two demi-johns. You will note that they are marginally different colours. I cannot remember which is which but one is the top liquid, the second was liquid plus a lot of strained grape material. It matters little. The initial tasting was “interesting”. Bottling takes place shortly and Chateau Brislington should – in theory – be drinkable by next spring. In practise…I have my doubts.
2388 days ago
I am a man of habit on the travel front. At 4.20 AM on every other morning V cars of Bristol picks me up and I arrive at Temple Meads by 4.30 despite the routine warning from the cab firm that if I miss my 4.47 AM train it is my own fault if I book a cab any time after 4.02 AM. I could walk to the station in 45 minutes, at this time of morning the drive is a breeze.
2407 days ago
The Bristol vine harvest was completed last weekend. About enough liquid for ten to fifteen bottles now sits fermenting in a bucket. We have added sugar and yeast and must just wait for a week before straining and decanting into a demi-john. I may try to make grappa with what’s left as an experiment.
Our Bristol grapes were red but small and of varying degrees of sweetness. They were not the lush bunches of grapes you’d expect at a Roman orgy. Nor the lush bunches of sweet grapes that hang around the Greek Hovel.
My guest this summer gave me firm instructions as to how I must assist the vine for next year by pissing against it. As a woman she was not able to assist but urine is a great source of nitrogen and so I followed her instructions every day. I am not sure that I saw any immediate response from the gnarled trunk. But I guess we will find out next summer.
It is the end of my first working week back in the UK. Right now my friends in Kambos are gathering at lovely Eleni’s Kourounis taverna. It is starting to get dark. I would at this point be tapping away for another couple of hours before Vangelis – the man in the pink polo shirt – said in Greek, it is not if you are drinking but what are you drinking. And we’d be off. Back in Bristol I prepare to cook supper for the Mrs instead and to learn more about life in the Grim North by catching up on this week’s episodes of Coronation Street. It is a life of contrasts.
2412 days ago
I write this on the train from Reading to Bristol. A journey of bike, car, plane, train, train is almost over. I am back in the UK. I am back in a land of folks with horrible tattoos, of fat people swilling beer in concreted pub gardens, of nasty, smelly and expensive takeaway food. I am back in a land of surveillance cameras where there are far too many people jostling each other to get ahead. I am back in a Country that is just emerging on another illegal war, where jingoism and English or Scottish patriotism combine for a poisonous mix.
On the other hand I cannot wait to see the Mrs who will pick me up at Temple Meads, to give the cats an enormous hug and to catch up on last week’s Downton Abbey. I am really looking forward to a mug of tea, to sitting in my back garden looking at the grapes which we will harvest tomorrow to turn into wine. The Mrs has videod the start of the new season of Dallas and the episode of Corrie when Ken returned to the Street. I am sure the Mrs will cook me a wonderful supper. But I can’t but help think about my friends in Kambos who will be gathering right now at the Korounis taverna, run by lovely Eleni, to chat, watch the football and look out on the stars in a clear sky.
As I rode into Kambos on Friday night it was one of those splendid Greek evenings. The sun was going down but it was warm and as I headed down snake hill the valley opened up before me. The – I think – deserted monastery or convent stood solid in front of me, up the hill above the spring. Further along the valley is a small house where the village baker lives. Why would anyone leave?
To Eleni’s to load videos and upload articles and to enjoy one last portion of her meatballs. Knowing that it was my last night Vangelis (the man in the pink short, not the man from the frigana chopper/snake repellent shop or the Vangelis who will win an Olympic gold in frigana chopping) bought me an ouzo. Naturally I reciprocated and I was soon sitting there with both George’s, Nikos (the football man) and a new pal Dimitris.
2549 days ago
I left England in April with a well behaved herb garden. I returned to Bristol in May to find that all my plants had prospered but that the parsley was completely out of control. What had been a pleasant little plant was now more than 1 yard long and 1 yard wide. The true horror of its expansionism could only be appreciated from above. The poor lavender bush had almost been swamped.
Part one of my solution was to transfer the lavender bush to a patch vacated by a failed attempt to grow a raspberry bush. It had started to sprout but in my absence someone had snapped off its small branches and I feared the game was up. The lavender bush appreciated its move and is now thriving.
But still the parsley grew. By my calculations at current rates of growth it would have covered the entire garden by late August and by 2017 it would have headed off down the A4 and be approaching the outskirts of Bath. And so yesterday afternoon the Mrs was demanding a romantic supper and so I took the scissors to the parsley and put a quarter of it in the pot.
2549 days ago
I shall miss this country when I finally leave. That is something that I am sure that I will do and I think you all know where I shall head. But as I look out of the train window this morning I am struck by the beauty of the English Countryside.
It is 5.15 AM and I am somewhere between Bristol and Swindon. There is a mist rising gently from the fields which are a lush green. It is just at the point where morning has broken but it it is still dark enough for cars on the roads to be shining their lights.
The temptation to stare at the fields and hedgerows, the little villages with a Chruch spire poking up through the mist is almost irresistible. Luckily train manager Caroline demands my ticket, the spell is broken and it is back to work.
2561 days ago
It is that time when I have to hope that I have not lost my passport, boarding pass and other documents. And by a stroke of luck I rummage away in my computer bag and they are all there. I have even been efficient enough to book a ticket for a bus back from Gatwick and all being well I shall be in my bed in Bristol by 3.30 AM on Sunday Morning. But it will not be a long stay in England.
All being well I shall be back in Greece on July 1st preparing to spend three months working both online with my writing (tough luck Bulletin Board Morons if you thought I was retiring) but also on a building site. That is to say, the Mrs appears to have bought a property in the Mani which er..needs a bit of work. In fact it needs a total overhaul.
Taking advice from an Irish pal, working on a building site in the summer heat is a great way to lose weight. And I need a new challenge and learning how to rebuild a house seems like a good one. Greece being Greece nothing is done until it is done but, fingers crossed, the retirement home in the olive groves half way up a mountain has been located. There is a good amount of land with the hovel and a local worker (Albanian natch) and I have done a deal on the numerous olives it produces: He picks and the Mrs gets enough of a cut to pay Greek property taxes and for a few flights.
Anyhow that is all for the future. For now I can think of installing eco-loos ( more on that later) and on grand redesigns, the hard work – I hope – starts in July.
2591 days ago
A little bit of a misunderstanding with the Mrs and the alarm clock saw me still soundly asleep as the 4.47 AM pulled out of Bristol today. In the end I had a pleasant lie-in, worked in the morning and just after lunch (an apple) kissed goodbye to the cats and the Mrs and headed off. Now in London I will not see Bristol, or the cats, again for more than a month.
The Mrs is heading up later in the week for her Birthday and the UK Investor Show on Saturday where she will be personfully ( you see dearest, I can be PC if I try) looking after speakers in one of the breakout rooms and then wandering around with her parents who are also attending. Tes, the mother-in-law is coming to the show. Be very afraid. I am. I guess I won’t be swearing all day just in case she hears and gives me a scary and dirty look.
And then a few farewells and it is off to Greece on my own at first as I try to find the grave of my great uncle David. Thereafter the Mrs joins me as we spend a couple of weeks in the Mani where – I warn you – the internet connection can be patchy. It will be early May before I get back to Bristol, the cats, a new kitchen sort of designed by me with a lovely new Range Cooker. It seems like a long time away but I am sure that time will fly.
Anyhow my battered and well-travelled rucksack is packed and with me as we prepare to go hill walking in Greece once again. I really cannot wait.
2620 days ago
When I was a child my mother’s wider family used to meet up at a restaurant in Marlborough in December for a meal and to exchange Christmas presents. I remember the hotel served an amazing brown breadcrumb ice cream. My grandparents would travel up from Dorset and my mother’s brother and little sister would drive up separately from London while Dad would drive us down from Northamptonshire.
My father takes after his mother and so we would arrive on the dot at 12.30 as agreed. We would then spend the next two hours enjoying the sweepstake organised by my father on which member of the Booker clan would be the last to arrive. Bookers do not do punctuality and it is correctly said that the only occasion at which they are ever on time is their funeral.
My father’s mother only once ever missed a train in her life. That was when she arrived so early that she caught the one before instead. My father operates on a similar basis and so when dropping me off at Moreton-in-Marsh he always allows plenty of time. Even though he observes a strict 20 mile an hour speed limit on all roads, more or less up to and including Motorways, I inevitably spend a good twenty minutes waiting on the platform at Moreton.
But I am as guilty of this obsession with not missing my train as is he. Regular readers will know that I catch the 4.47 AM from Bristol when travelling up to London as I am doing today. It is empty
2633 days ago
I look out of my window and next to my newly built herb garden there is a frog or is it a toad? How on earth did it get there? The garden has five foot high walls and we are a good 100 yards above and half a mile away from the nearest wetlands. And what to do?
I have locked the cats away so they cannot get into the garden. I know that Tara would enjoy “playing” with the poor creature. I am worried that my garden is now drying out at a rate of knots as the sun is shining. And I’d rather that the poor little thing did not perish. So call the RSPCA in Bristol?
That I do and am sent on a maze of key #1 or key #2 options none of which seem to complete and leave me none the wiser. I really do not have all day for this and the useless not fit for purpose RSPCA is probably too busy prosecuting a fox hunter or campaigning against global warming to actually care about a poor animal.
Reluctantly I think I must try to scoop the poor fellow up and put him on the grassy lane at the back of the garage and let him take his chances. If he perishes, I blame the RSPCA. But that he has managed to make it this far shows he is a bit of a fighter.
2639 days ago
Kitosh came to me as a kitten and had a varied life in Islington, Shoreditch, France and finally in the Isle of Man. I remember well the Paris to Douglas train, taxi, train, train, ferry and taxi journey we made together. His sudden death in Douglas a few years ago was a real blow. His ashes have travelled with me since then but have remained for almost two years in a wooden urn hidden at Real Man Pizza in Clerkenwell. Now his final journey begins.
Born on a council estate in Walthamstow he would not have imagined that he would have been so well travelled. But the travelling is now over.
Now that I have a sense of permanence, the Mrs and I have agreed that Kitosh’s urn can be buried in our garden underneath the fig tree. We are not sentimental enough to contemplate some grand ceremony. It will just be the Mrs watching as I dig a deep hole and in goes the urn. The tree marks the spot.
During some years of upheaval for me Kitosh was the one constant in my life and a portrait of him already hangs in the new house as a reminder of that. I am not sure the Mrs is that impressed but she has let it go. So this weekend it is the final farewell, RIP Kitosh my good friend.
2671 days ago
An early birthday present from Carlton Cole and Mark Noble sees West Ham out of the relegation zone but that will not change the fact that I am today 46, closer to 50 than 40.
I did not expect to be spending this Birthday living in Bristol, married to a Guardian reading Sociology Senior Lecturer or less than 18 months into running a new business. Life is full of surprises.
I have now been working for 25 years and in the old days would now be just 19 years from retirement. For the Mrs – who did a Post Grad - the figures are 16 and 26. So Maybe I shall call it a day at 58 and live off the State (via the Mrs). I suspect not, work is too much fun.
My father’s generation expected to retire at 65. My generation? It might be 58 it might be never. The one thing we do know is that it is not an automatic gold watch at 65.
For me a picnic at Chew lake looms followed by a walk with the Mrs and Uncle Chris Booker.. and then back to subbing Zak Mir’s new book. Happy Birthday indeed.
2675 days ago
The man on the other side of the aisle on the 4.47 AM from Bristol is drinking a cup of coffee. I lie, he is not drinking, but slurping it down very loudly and in excruciatingly painful small slurps. This torture has lasted from a few minutes before Didcot almost through to Reading. I imagine that an ill-mannered warthog drinking a Great First Western latte would sound similar. I find it very annoying.
We have special “quiet carriages” on this train and there is also an entertainment carriage. Could First Great Western perhaps introduce a couple of “No slurping your drinks like a warthog” carriages? I would be truly grateful.
2677 days ago
The cab from V-cars was early and the streets were empty and so I found myself outside Bristol Temple Meads at 4.25 this morning with 22 minutes to kill before the departure of my train. As the other passengers scuttled in I delayed. Once on the train I have no excuse not to sub Zak Mir’s book and so standing awkwardly in the cold seemed a rather attractive idea.
The only chap not to scuttle in slumped and snored on one of those ice cold, terribly uncomfortable metals benches, with lots of little holes designed to leave bumps on your bottom, that Network rail is so keen on. He looked a tad rough and was taller than me and rather muscular but he was wearing a suit of sorts.
On that basis I though he was more likely to be a passenger than a drunk old tramp and so wondered if I should wake him. If I do nothing he might miss his train. He can’t blame me but I know it will piss him off. If there is one thing worse than getting up at 4 AM to catch a train, it is getting up at 4 AM to catch a train and then missing it. But what if he turned out to be a violent drunk who lashed out? The British way is, I suspect, to show polite indifference and walk on.
Hmm, I could always walk on and sub Zak’s book. If he did beat me up and hospitalise me that would be a three day excuse for not subbing Zak’s book. That thought swung it for me. It was a win win.
And so I shook him gently. He snored on. And then a bit more aggressively stating “first train mate”. He awoke. He was indeed thoroughly pissed but seemed grateful as he wheeled in circles, tottering towards the Station.
A good deed to start the day…and now to Zak’s book. Aaaaaaagh
2690 days ago
I am bashed by a reader for standing up to the bitch with the baby on the Bristol Train in Sunday in refusing to give up my seat for her top of the range fucking buggy. Apparently I am picking on someone who is “vulnerable.” Bollocks.
Someone who lives in a big house in Bristol who can afford not only to have a baby but to buy a top of the range fucking buggy is not vulnerable. Someone who can afford to take baby & buggy up to London for a spot of Christmas shopping is not vulnerable. Yes this woman has a baby but that is her choice. It is not my choice but my obligation to pay taxes to give this pampered cow child benefit but I just have to do it.
The point is that this woman and her partner have wealth and income (as she told the whole damn train). She has choices in life. So just because he has opted to pass her bossy and selfish genes onto the next generation that does not make her vulnerable.
Those who are vulnerable are folks who cannot afford housing at all. Those, such as immigrants, made ever less welcome and more marginalised in British Society. Those who are diseased or dying. Those who have just lost their jobs and are seeking new work not welfare dependency. Those who work long hours for low wages and yet have the taxman claw too much of that back to subside women like the bitch with the baby via child benefit.
Those who are vulnerable include
2691 days ago
The trains to Bristol is jam packed. I am perched on one of those pop up seats nominally for disabled folks but in fact designed for anorexic eight year olds. I am surrounded by folks standing in the aisles and with luggage all around me. Some bitch with a baby has just got on, forcing her way through. Can you move please as I have a baby? She demanded of me. She is a bitch who is used to getting her way.
Some chap gave her a seat and perched his charming little daughter on his knee. But the bitch persisted. This space (i.e. where I am sitting) is for wheelchairs and buggies she insisted. Actually the sign says it is for wheelchairs, there is no mention of buggies. But heck the bitch has a baby so let’s not bother with the finer details.
I say that I will move some other folk’s luggage. “I don’t want you doing that she insisted – I want YOU to move”. So I must give up my seat for her fucking buggy (empty). I refused. After a 120 hour week I am confident that I feel more tired that her fucking top of the range fucking buggy.
I move some folk’s luggage and am now crammed in surrounded by a top of the range fucking buggy and everyone’s luggage. The bitch with a baby persisted:
2699 days ago
I am devoid of ideas and must rush home to feed the cats as I complete my domestic odessey vfrom Rivington Street to Bristol. As such I offer up a simple picture for you this week and ask for your captions by 9 AM next Friday. Simply post then in the comments secti9on below.
For what it is worth my entry is:
“New management calling the 15% of our passengers who have not already abandoned ship…anyone fancy coming to an investment show in late April?”
Last week I asked you for a caption to this picture in the robber capitalist issue.
2705 days ago
Heading home in a taxi the other night, the driver had to touch his breaks as a quite enormous foxes sprinted, in the same way that Simon Cawkwell might sprint, across the road. This fox was not the sort of beast I remember from my youth in the boonies.
Back then country fox had to live by his wits. Food was either wild game which had to be stalked or our chickens where entry to their housing required some ingenuity and cunning. And so the creatures we encountered were vicious, nervous of humans as we hated the vile killers with a passion and thin. They were lean mean killing machines.
City fox of 2013 is rather different. For a start, all the townies who think that chickens come from Tesco and that foxy woxy is a cuddly endangered species, would not think of harming this “national treasure.” Mr Fox is wily
2706 days ago
I think it was my ex-wife saying that the tash looked trendy that forced my hand. It is not that her judgement is in any way poor it is just that I do not do trendy. Besides which it was itching like hell.
And so, as you can see, as soon as I arrived back in Bristol at 1 AM Sunday morning I scuttled into the bathroom and blunted a razor removing it. Stroking my now silky smooth upper lip as I lay in bed it felt a bit as if something was missing but on balance I was glad to be shot of it.
Thank you to all who sponsored me for Movember. It is much appreciated.
2706 days ago
Just like clockwork the exchange happened at midday on Friday. The little men had cleared out the flat in the poshest bit of Bristol which the Mrs had lived in since her postgraduate days and we set off to a rather less fashionable neighbourhood, where the sale proceeds have been re-invested in a lovely Edwardian house.
Okay, we are living out of packing boxes right now. But the space is enormous. The kitchen here is almost the size of the old flat. We have a garden with a vine which produces grapes which make wine – the former owners have left us one bottle from the 2012 harvest warning that it tastes appalling.
I managed to find the place alright driving back by car on my own at 1 AM this morning bringing with me the first six boxes of my books. The rest of my stuff will arrive in ten days time and then two households will be formally merged.
There are frustrations like having no Internet and thus also no TV for another ten days. And so I missed the X-factor last night and also Foyle. And I shall be forced to head off to “Grounded” later to spend the day working on-line drinking lattes (er... Rioja).
2719 days ago
An email just in from the Ewok (the Mrs) conforms she has exchanged on the sale of her flat and purchase of a grown up house in the fairly respectable Bristol district of Brislington.
On Friday the buyers of the flat tried to pull out having discovered a clause in the leasehold agreement (supplied two months ago) which spooked them. Good work by the Ewok and her lawyer dealt with that but one working day before exchange was due it was an unpleasant moment.
Now we are all set to complete and move well before Christmas. Hooray.
PS In case any companies thinking of suing me for libel are reading this, the house is 100% owned by the Ewok, I am merely a tenant with no assets at all.
2721 days ago
Ever since the new Star Wars film held auditions for extras here in Bristol the suggestion that my (not very tall) Mrs should have applied to play an Ewok has gathered momentum. The Deluded lefty has been rechristened Ewok.
And at 3.55 PM today ITV finishes the six weeks of gripping Saturday afternoon showing of the Star Wars movies with The Return of the Jedi. As a Star wars/ Princess Leia obsessive I shall naturally be watching. And – for those that remember the plot – the Mrs will also be watching as her people go into battle.
2727 days ago
I arrived back in Bristol at 2 AM Saturday morning and very deliberately had a last cigarette of the day. Then I scrunched up the packet and threw it and my lighter away. That is the sort of gesture I have made many times before.
I think my longest without a fag was five years. But then the mother of my daughter Olivia then ran off with her graduate trainee ( naturally not mentioning this when filing for divorce, that was down to my unreasonable behaviour, blah, blah, blah), and just to show the old health Nazi I took up smoking again. Sensible move. That really showed her.
Anyhow I am trying to quit again. I have been smoking far too much. It inhibits my ability to run up stairs and is making my cold last longer than it should. It is an expensive habit and makes me smell.
No doubt I shall fail to quit again. Christmas brings with it many temptations. But I do want to quit. This is not the Mrs bullying me, she never does although she’d like me to stop. And right now, although I feel terrible as I write, I really do want to quit.
2731 days ago
The Mrs hates me catching this train as she is woken up by my alarm clock at 4 am. I understand her point and so only take it now and again as a treat, when I have to be in London early. But it is a treat. It is the last train before 9.30 which does not cost a second mortgage to catch, but it is the best train of the day.
The cab speeds through a deserted City in minutes. There is no traffic, no jams which serve simply to annoy. A quick fag and I climb aboard a deserted train. There is just one other person in coach D
2755 days ago
Up in London I will be celebrating Hop-tu-Naa on October 30th and 31st at Real Man Pizza. I am working on the exact pizza to celebrate the Celtic New Year – that is a job for next week. More details of the menu here.
But back in Bristol it is a weekend to brush off my two pumpkin recipes. I cannot remember when this became part of my annual ritual but it now is. All went well. Normally this is a kid’s thing but the Mrs. Has never cooked pumpkin before and so, having done it ever year for longer than I can remember, she got to be the kid this time. Take two medium sized pumpkins…
Take the “hat off” and remove all the pips and the stringy orange stuff and throw it away. This being Bristol I made sure they were thrown away in the correct bin (brown – organic matter) to avoid a Halloween fine from the eco-fascist City Council. Then scrape out as much of the “flesh” as you can with a spoon. Make sure that you do not pierce the outer skin but try to get enough flesh out so that you can see your fingers move through the wall. And you get a pumpkin ready to be a lantern…hey presto.
You will now have a mound of flesh. Separate into two halves.
Half One – a Creamy pumpkin soup.
Chop two onions finely and stock in a pan with a large knob of butter and cook until soft but not brown (say 5 minutes). Add in the pumpkin flesh
2926 days ago
My partner is a lifelong deluded lefty. She has always voted for the People’s Party. But I can report a mini triumph of a shift away from the loons here in the Clifton Ward of Bristol.
Naturally my partner would rather drink her own urine than vote for the wicked Tories. The Lib Dem’s murdered a forest of trees in an attempt to win support for their ageing hippy of a candidate. But however many new park benches this old fool has managed to get set up around here my partner cannot forgive the Lib Dems for being in coalition with the wicked Tories so that was a non-starter.
And that left the People’s Party (no leaflet) and a nice young man with a Polish name standing for UKIP. He promised to end political correctness on the Council which I though sounded like a good idea although my partner was not so sure. And he also promised to end immigration from Eastern Europe. I guess he doesn’t like his relatives much.
3073 days ago
Before he gets paranoid and I get a snotty letter from Kerman’s this is not a story about the life of Dick Gill. Nor is it about life on this blog where we seem to have more and more readers. Unlike certain places I could mention. But it is a true story from the world of academia and Bristol University.
I spent a happy Sunday afternoon in a Bristol pub last week celebrating West Ham’s triumph over Chelski and met two academics who had been encouraged by the University to write a joint blog article for an in-house blog. That they had done and seemed to have enjoyed the exercise. So, er how many folks will read the piece I asked?
Easy, they replied. We can track it. Our article has been read by one person.