7 days ago
As with all three year olds everything has to be pink for my youngest daughter Jaya. Expect many presents to be that colour this Christmas. But only, of course, if she is a good girl. Ottherwise she knows that Father Christmas will be bringing her a lump of coal and the term dates for a boarding school. That is what happens to naughty girls.
11 days ago
Chef Vijay made the food for my wedding ten years ago and the Christening of Jaya last year. Though not present himself he sent a charming young lady and everyone tucked in from the youngest ( Jaya and Joshua) to er….Peter Hambro there were no complaints.
15 days ago
A couple of weeks ago we had that rare occurrence, the Mrs. joining me at the school gates to pick up Joshua and Jaya. Honestly, there are folks in this village who must think I am a single mum so rarely does the Mrs take part in the school run. But on this day, Joshua was clutching a red dragon and also had a Welsh flag badge pinned to his chest next to the School Council badge and an owl badge which is, I think, a club for clever cloggses. Joahua and his pal R are clever cloggses now doing reading lessons with kids 2 years older than they are.
20 days ago
We didn’t buy Big Bear, pictured below. He was given to us by someone looking after the hiuse one summer. We just came home to find him sitting at the kitchen table with some pots of porridge in front of him. These days he sleeps in the same room as Joshua and Jaya but the Mrs and myself have been quite keen to give him to a charity shop. But now he has been saved.
23 days ago
I did not used to be much of a baker but in the past couple of years I have got fairly good at making cakes. So I am kicking myself for slightly overdoing what is known as a Grandpa cake which you can see below. The top is a little well done but inside it is pretty moist as you’d expect of a fruitcake soaked in Guniness. that is not to say that my father was mad, just a bit eccentric, or soaked in Guinness, he preferred cider. It is just that the recipe is Irish and my father always referred to Ireland as the Old Country.
37 days ago
I have these strong childhood memories of life at Butterwell Farm in Byfield of heading out into very cold and dark Autumn nights to help my mum harvest the vegetables for winter storage. There was a sense of urgency, it had to be done. We did not have a freezer so we used sand boxes for root vegetable storage and she also stored things in jars to sit in the cold room, the larder.
58 days ago
Jaya never met Dad. She was born five weeks after he died. But she knows about the Grandpa who is in heaven not least because of a battered green arm chair in the corner of our kitchen where I slump between articles. It was and is Grandpa’s chair. Joshua used to visit my father with me as Grandpa lay bed-ridden in Shipston. My Dad always had chocolates by his bed so Joshua enjoyed those visits and could not remember Grandpa as anything other than a bed ridden old man being, oh so slowly, eaten away by cancer.
102 days ago
As it is holiday time bedtime is later here in Greece. We try to get the kids to have an afternoon nap, as is the custom, but usually fail. So, at about 9.30 in pitch dark we returned to the hovel where, as a precaution, I have always kept a light on above both main outside doors.
110 days ago
Normally Joshua and I pick blackberries for ice cream, flavoured vodka and crumbles (with homegrown apples) after we get back from Greece. But this year they started early. One of our favourite haunts is the village churchyard where there is an enormous bush in the middle and a few smaller ones either side of the fence between the graves and our upper field.
117 days ago
Will this be enough to tempt daughter Olaf to visit her old father this Christmas. Home produced apple vodka is mixed with home grown plums and sugar. Actually one smaller jar contains blackberries picked yesterday by Joshua and me. By bonfire night what was clear liquid will be dark purple and slightly syrupy. The jars are turned now and again to ensure all the sugar – the white stuff at the bottom – is dissolved. So this should be around seven litres of fruit vodka, enough for at least a few breakfasts for Olaf.
156 days ago
I was walking across the school yard having just dropped Joshua off early so that he could take his turn today as the class helpwr heddiw. Coming the other way was a dad with two boys, one in Joshua’s form and one who goes to the school nursery with my two year old daughter Jaya. The younger lad stared at me then shouted “It’s Jaya’s grandpa!”
172 days ago
You can, of course ,just eat them and this attraction has prompted that rare spectacle, the Mrs and Joshua heading into the garden of their own volition. But faced with a glut, even that is not enough. I pushed a few through the blender to make the first strawberry ice cream of the year on Sunday and it is generally agreed that it was utterly amazing. If I sound conceited, anyone who has tasted my home made ice cream knows that I have every reason to be conceited. What you see below was picked in just 20 minutes by myself with Joshua and Jaya supervising ( i.e. picking to eat).
218 days ago
I am pretty sure that I will not be watching the coronation. That is partly because I am a lifelong Republican but largely because I am in charge of my two year old daughter Jaya this weekend and she would describe it as a “boring daddy programme” and demand loudly and repeatedly that we switch over to Peppa Pig. So as my neighbours are glued to the goggle box, Jaya and I shall be planting rhubarb, broad beans and carrots in the garden which she greatly enjoys.
240 days ago
Normally little Jaya is rather frightened of dogs but the stray now spending most of her time up at the Greek Hovel has won over even my young daughter and her, normally hard hearted, mother as you can see below. “Drat”, I said as we returned home today after lunch, “I forgot to buy more dog food.” “Fear not” said the Mrs, “give her more ham.” I have.
244 days ago
You may have worried, after my earlier piece, on a Welsh Easter in Greece, that I had starved the family of chocolate. As you can see below, I caved into consumerism and unhealthy living in a big way. The Mrs is hiding her chocolate Easter Bunny, Jaya was more excited about the pink wrapping than the actual egg.
277 days ago
I had hoped that Darren would have added all the photos I sent him from the top of Moel Famau, a large hill the other side of Mold. But, he is not a Good German and I shall sack him later. Instead you can see me below with my chunky two year old daughter Jaya on my back and try to imagine views, stretching miles and miles, out into the Irish sea.
278 days ago
On this St David’s Day myself and little Jaya went to Wrexham and I describe just how grim it is. Do not believe the hype. Then it is onto Cellular Goods (CBX), Guild ESports (GILD), Anglesey Mining (AYM), Versarien (VRS), Canadian Overseas Petroleum (COPL) and Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) where events have overtaken me requiring a follow up podcast which I shall do now.
387 days ago
My son Joshua has now spent well over half of his life in Wales. And, though he was born in England to parents who support Northern Ireland and England respectively, he considers himself a proud Welshman. He leads us as we say grace in Welsh each night and there are more and more Welsh phrases exchanged between him and me as I also start to grapple with the language from hell. Today his school is celebrating the fact that Wales has made it through to the World Cup finals, by everyone wearing red tops.
404 days ago
The thing with dog’s arse fruit, or the Nottingham Medlar, is that you must wait till the fruit are rotting to harvest. That they now are and so as a half term treat, Joshua, myself and Jaya went to harvest the one tree we planted a couple of years ago in the new orchard. It is only about five foot tall so even Jaya could pick the fruit from the lower branches.
435 days ago
As it happens, four week days out of five I look after young Jaya until nursery starts at 1 PM and on the fifth day I prepare her for nusery starting at nine so the answer is likely to be me. Moreover, at the weekend when her mum dresses her she does not wear odd socks. My late dad taught me that it was a bit lower middle class to worry about matching socks and, at this point, Jaya agrees with him and with me on this matter.
463 days ago
I am not denying that the fuel crisis will hit a lot of folks hard this winter. If our entire political and media class had not driven this nation down the path prescribed by the uneducated doom goblin Greta Thunberg and had we not prolonged the bloodshed in Ukraine we would not be in this mess. But that is for another day. The GroupThink will – on both counts – be shown to be in the wrong just as they were on masks and lockdown. But will thousands die in unheated homes as we are told by the media and the Labour Party each day? I remember my childhood in the 1970s.
482 days ago
I shall post photos in the next day or so showing me climbing a rocky and overgrown hill to a castle in the burning midday sun with my daughter Jaya on my back. I did the same three years ago with Joshua but managed better today. There is still life in this old dog. Then onto GSK (GSK) and Haleon (HLN). I ditched my Haleon shares today and explain why. Then I look at Revolution Beauty (REVB), ProCook (PROC), the fraud Supply@ME Capital (SYME), Cellular Goods (CBX) and in detail at Purplebricks (PURP).
490 days ago
I should say that, the other day, an old man in the square in Kambos looked at my daughter Jaya and then congratulated me on how beautiful my grand-daughter was. That is the first time someone has actually said that I was her grandpa although I am sure some others have thought it. Our mad lefty friends L&G, when they stopped laughing, explained how Jaya was actually my daughter and the old chap looked rather impressed. And here is the proof that the old dog (me) has life in him yet.
497 days ago
The Mrs decided that we should take our guests (Joshua’s pal T and her parents) to Kardamili. As you may recall I hate Kardamili with a passion. At this time of year there are far too many ghastly Islingtonians packing its streets, browsing its shops selling hugely overpriced clothes, jewellery and other items which are about as authentically Greek as a Big Mac and fries. The restaurants serve nice food but at London prices. It is Islington on the Med. I loathe it. Its only redeeming feature is the one sandy beach, which is out of town by Paddy Leigh Fermor’s old house, which having no toilet or bar is relatively deserted and quiet.
503 days ago
I passed my covid test, enjoyed a wonderful christening for Jaya (photos another day), and am off to Greece at Noon. God willing, I arrive at the hovel about midday on Thursday GMT. So, my output may be limited until then. Today, I discuss the read across from Cellular Goods (CBX), and why news from Hydrogen Utopia (HUI) reinforces what a monumental slam-dunk sell Powerhouse Energy (PHE) is.
509 days ago
The day before Joshua and I started the drive to Greece was the Christening of my daughter Jaya in the small Methodist chapel where the Mrs and Joshua worship every Sunday. With my cousin Alex Booker among the three Godparents, alongside my wife’s oldest friend and local earth mum C, it was a splendid day as 40 folks packed into the chapel. Afterwards we headed back to the hovel for Indian main courses prepared by “chef Vijay” who also catered for our wedding nine years ago. And thereafter a selection of my ice creams which received rave reviews.
525 days ago
I wore an Irish rugby shirt, in case they thought I was English. Their xenophobia was matched only by their economic illiteracy, as we were graced with a video message from blood-soaked IRA Sinn Fein. Those at the March have passion on their side, but few fact-based arguments – however much they pretend otherwise. The march, and my two Welsh kids, are pictured below. (For the record, I still want Welsh independence).
527 days ago
Much to my surprise, all 12 tomato seeds have taken. Thus, I worked late into the night on a small patch of the jungle, bringing it into life as a tomato bed. In addition to the ten plants I was given by a friend, I hope to be drowning in tomatoes by autumn. We shall see. It was about nine when I finished. I leant on my rake, pondering the last roped-off patc
601 days ago
This is the first cuddly toy that Jaya has become attached to – a sloth. Given this newfound obsession, her clever mum has found some Sloth wrapping paper for her next Birthday presents. In our household, having a lie-in is known as public sectoring, and is something Joshua is prone to on school days. Anyhow, Sloth lies in bed with Jaya in the morning, so Joshua has decided that it is a public sector worker. I am not quite so sure.
614 days ago
Joshua and I drove in my battered old Belingo to pick up Jaya from her nursery among the infidels in England yesterday as it was bitterly cold, far too cold to walk. As we arrived the skies seemed to visibly darken and I felt even colder. I remarked on this to a mother waiting for her little darling and almost at once the skies opened spitting out big lumps of snow. Joshua got out of the van in excitement and left his door open so within three minutes his seat was covered in global warming. But by the time we had reached the bridge back to Wales the storm was over.
619 days ago
Suffice to say, as the doctor outlined exactly what the problem was this afternoon and then what the solution would be I felt really very uncomfortable indeed. Luckily…
622 days ago
That is to say allowing folks to swap pictures of cats. In this case it is Sian who has taken to sleeping in the cot with baby Jaya. The baby is now far larger than the cat who shows real maternal concern when Jaya starts to cry. I know, I await emails with alarming warnings about “elf ‘n ‘safety issues”
636 days ago
My pal Matt is over from New Zealand and suggested a gentle seven mile Saturday stroll along the Sandstone Trail in Cheshire followed by lunch at the Pheasant. I thought that sounded easy enough and so said “why not” and that I would carry Jaya, a chunky sixteen month old, on my back. I had never encountered the Sandstone Trail before.
655 days ago
Later on I have a few snaps of the River Dee at the Hovel itself but first a few from last night and this morning from the 1300s bridge about 1000 yards downstream over to the infidels in England. First a couple from yesterday looking downstream on the Welsh side.
676 days ago
I have abandoned the young mums group on Tuesday’s as I just seemed unable to make any small talk with alll the other primary carers. It’s partly down to my own lack of social skills and partly down to the fact that I was the only person in the room not to have certain shared experiences as a young mother. Instead I am starting my training for Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks with a weekly walk with Jaya on my back. To date I have been doing two and a half miles every day and that will continue. But now, Tuesdays and one weekend day will see a longer bonus walk.
677 days ago
It is one of those landmark moments, when your child starts to walk. It also causes numerous panics and additional worries but is still a cause for celebration. Anyhow, here is Jaya – now known as Perchyll or Perchyll Drug (piglet or naughty piglet) marching forward.
678 days ago
As I am on the Lucian Miers diet I cannot drink anything from the two bottles of damson vodka I decanted the other day. But I had a brief break in the diet, as I plan to step up the excercise part of it next week, as you can see below.
706 days ago
Most of the furthest of our fields is under water for about half the year. A good quarter of the second and largest of our fields is in a similar way. But we were just about able to walk along the edges of both fields between the marsh and the river itself today. The Dee is high, right at the top of the bank on this,the Welsh, side. Over among the infidels on the English side, it has already spread into the fields.
713 days ago
A brief walk was planned with my kids and the Mrs and her sister, brother in law and 17 year old niece before they headed back to South Eastern England. The destination, the Telford built aqueduct that takes the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee.
713 days ago
It is all about the children is it not? The day started for me with some writing and vegetable preparation at 5 AM but three hours later Johsua, Jaya and the Mrs were opening bulging stockings, the cats a modest one and myself discovering three pairs of socks in mine.I guess I have been anaughty boy this year, something about heading off to the Greek olive harvest I guess.
722 days ago
My Christmas presents for those outside the immediate family, friends, relatives and neighbours are a combination of Yarg cheeses, dried chillies and Greek Hovel olive oil. There may be the odd jar of home made jam chucked in to the mix. 17 Cheeses arrived on Wednesday. Four are for personal use as the whole family of the Mrs. will bless us with their presence. The rest, sometimes as halves, are to be dished out.
740 days ago
Yes I have been with Jaya at the Church and the young mum’s group as is my wont every Thursday morning. In the podcast I apologise to the Earl of Shaftesbury (if he exists), it is – of course — the Earl of Shrewsbury who has been taking cash for questions. Then I look at Mercantile Ports (MPL), DX Group (DX.), where i am tempted to have a flutter, and at Omega Diagnostics (ODX) where I am not.
743 days ago
Some years ago I lamented how,in every store and on Amazaon, all Advent calendars seemed to involve masturbating snowmen or daft faux Victorian scenes and, inevitably, came backed by chocolates, alcohol or different flavoured condoms. I just wanted a normal calendar showing a nativity scene. Advent is, after all,a celebration of the coming (hence the name) of Christ.
753 days ago
My daughter Jayarani is already one. Her birthday was yesterday, not that she really noticed. So I took biscuits to the young mum’s group but, not being allowed sugar, she had none. In the evening her brother went to somebody else’s birthday party but after that, supper and presents. As you can see below she is modelling one, a Welsh Rugby top
759 days ago
I am in many ways abandining tradition with this year’s Christmas pudding making. I did, as usual, make three. One for the big day with my in-laws. One for a second meal when Olaf joins us. And a third just in case, or maybe as a present for someone. But I also abandoned older traditions.
786 days ago
I ponder yesterday’s news which is terrible for Britain and which I find terribly disappointing at a personal level regarding the fraudster Rob Terry. I have a suggestion for the woke dullards at the FCA. I comment on the arrests of Umuthi fraudsters in Zim South and who in the UK now has massive questions to answer. I consider the Domino’s (DOM) trading statement and the issue Rishi Sunak faces on VAT. This was a short working day for Jaya reasons, I’ll be back with a longer podcast on what should be a full day on Friday.
788 days ago
Actually, I had not given it much thought which I feel rather ashamed about. I was aware that today was the day but the last 48 hours of childcare have been rather manic and I just want to get to the end of this day without another crisis. My baby daughter Jaya is still not well enough to go to nursery but I was meant to be relieved at one O’Clock today. However..
792 days ago
And I fear that this will continue all week. I am pretty pissed off with Jaya’s nursery and thinking that I am in the wrong business. It looks an even better calling than cabbage picking. I cover two companies today: Ben’s Creek and the explicit challenge to and communication with the Oxymorons at AIM Regulation and Falanx (FLX) where I am sure good news will be pissed away.
839 days ago
I try to encourage Joshua to get involved with bringing vegetables and fruit in from the garden and storing them up for the winter with tales of how I used to do the same with my father and mother at Butterwell Farm when I was his age. It is a battle to get him involved and ton drag him away from moronic cartoons on the goggle box. Today, so far, I have won. He assisted with the weeding of the part of the vegetable garden where winters and Christmas vegetables are being planted today and where strawberry plants will be transferred shortly. Yesterday he was less help as I brought in an enormous spinach plant which has started sprouting and must have been three foot tall.