8 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.
14 days ago
I start with the trials of ordering portable loos for ShareStock which I have now done. More than 40% of the seats are now taken so with 7 weeks to go please book yours HERE. Then onto how Barclays (BARC) may strand me in Greece and why the Mrs reckons I am wrong on how gay is your stockbroker. Then it is onto Skinbiotherapeutics (SBTX), Optibiotix (OPTI), Ben’s Creek (BEN) and Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO).
15 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.
15 days ago
Don’t get me wrong but this is a glorious day. The Mrs, the kids, Joshual’s pal T and her parents who are visiting us have all been packed off to the seaside. It is expensive and crowded so they are welcome to it and, better still, they cannot get back until late tonight. So I have a day of solitude, of writing and of swimming and it is heavenly. It is what this place was built for!
22 days ago
Almost the first thing Joshua and I did as we approached Kambos nine day ago was to check out a fig tree as my son just loves figs. Sadly none were ripe but, much to the annoyance of the Mrs , as we drive around the area, anytime we spot a fig tree somewhere where it is not too dangerous to pull over, I stop and check out its fruit.
27 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.
44 days ago
Those attending ShareStock will enjoy a full range of homemade jams, alongside breakfast croissants and tea-time scones. First up is the gooseberry jam, made with dessert gooseberries. There may be another pot to come, but for now, that is it. Next up, blackcurrant and strawberry jams.
45 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
47 days ago
I haven’t enjoyed a gooseberry fool since my mother made them, almost fifty years ago. But the dessert gooseberries are now ready, red – not green – and sweeter than ordinary gooseberries. So, I thought I might tempt Joshua, with a bit less sugar than the traditional recipe.
62 days ago
I have happy memories of childhood visits to my father’s parents in Appledore on Romney Marsh. One of thosee was in “helping” grandpa, Sir John Winnifrith, with his garden of which he was immensely proud. Big nets kept the birds away from an incredibly ordered and productive fruit and vegetable patch which he tended carefully keeping the weeds and slugs at bay.
65 days ago
In order to be fecking green and recycle them for use again, I always keep empty plastic bottles. The Mrs thinks she is green by throwing them away, so Wrexham Council can use vast amounts of fuel recycling them. Today, she might understand the method in my madness.
73 days ago
The Mrs is surviving without me and Joshua, and, this morning, encountered the creature below – just a few feet outside the main door. According to her, it was 3-4 inches long. She slid a spade underneath, and flung it away. I might have used the spade to smash it on the head. So, what is it?
85 days ago
On June 11, myself and seven other rogue bloggers will walk the 34 miles from Winchester Cathedral to Woodlarks. I can now say that I will complete the walk after yesterday’s training effort of 23 miles. But that is three weeks away so now is a great time to sponsor me HERE. To encourage you to donate, let me tell you about the pain of yesterday and show you the reason: the cows, or bulls as they were advertised.
100 days ago
The Mrs is threatening to take me on a hot date to see Downton Abbey at our local Cineworld (CINE). With a seventeen month old baby, any date will do. Even that one. But will even our custom be enough to save Cineworld’s shareholders from losing almost everything? Er…no. There is more bad news today, signs that Cineworld really is scrabbling round at the back of the sofa for any loose change.
101 days ago
We are almost there. As of today, the Greek Hovel is now finished after eight years. We have lived at the Welsh hovel for three years and here too we are getting there as you can see below.
114 days ago
N restores old furniture and right now is assisting with the mending of an African table belonging to the Mrs. In return I shall be bringing him olive wood from the Greek hovel which has a distinctive and stunning core. The good news is that, thanks to my new Albanian tree pruner, I have plenty of fine samples to bring back to the rain sodden second world. N, enjoy…
119 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.
140 days ago
Anyone dissenting from the GroupThink frenzy – one whipped up by our leaders and the mainstream media – is dismissed as a Putin asset, a Russian poodle and an apologist for fascism. Thus, one must believe that Ukraine is the epitome of angelicity, and that Putin is indeed committing war crimes against civilians, the likes of which we have not seen since World War Two.
153 days ago
As ever I am indebted to the admirable @BurnsideNotTosh for this photo which some may find tasteless but which raised a, grudging, smirk even from the Mrs. Enjoy
171 days ago
I start with a few thoughts on flooded fields then on where next for Julie “Lingerie on Expenses” Meyer after yesterday’s six months in jail (suspended pro tem) bombshell.I fear that things are very soon going to ge much worse for her. Then onto Ukraine and panic, oil and gold. Then onto Hargreaves Lansdowne (HL) and finally as to why I am so proud of the Mrs which is,in a way, linked to Hargreaves.
177 days ago
Nobody gives a fuck about the problems working parents face when school is shut. Half term for my son Joshua was already going to be extended by the teachers having one of their seven INSET days, a week on Monday. Now it is extended at this end as, yesterday, Wrexham ordained that all schools here will be teaching online today.
193 days ago
The Mrs reckons that having to do four hours of commuting a week for about 30 weeks a year is a fundamental breach of her human rights. How lucky she is never to have experienced the joys of 960 minutes twice a day on the London Underground as so many of us have done. The photo below is a remider of City life pre WFH. Do folks really want to go back to this?
196 days ago
As we used lime mortar, the pink stuff between the Sandstone will eventually, it being Wales, dry and turn almost white. What I could really do with is a week long dry spell so that the last puddle disappears from the lawn and we can then level it off, filling in the slight dips that allowed two puddles to form, And then we can level out the barn side bank at the front of this picture with earth lapping round the edge of the steps so that they are invisible from either end and grass over the remain bit of the construction. There are some weeds to remove with poison, a bit of reseeding on the river side of the lawn and we are there. Next up…
196 days ago
Last week, we finished the last jar of 2021 radishes preserved South East Asian style. They were a big hit with the Mrs and myself although Joshua, an increasingly fussy eater, was not so impressed. But it is now almost February so it is time for the first planting of 2022. I am conscious that there may still be a stack of frosts to come, so the one line of radishes is covered with plastic cloches, wide enough for me to add a second protected line in a month’s time, the idea being to harvest throughout the year so we have enough both to eat fresh and to pickle.
197 days ago
The former owners and the ones before that did some crazy things here at the Welsh Hovel. And that included covering two of the entrance walls with thick white paint. Almost three years since we got here it is all gone and has exposed some interesting brickwork.
199 days ago
I am rather taken with the new cleaning lady the Mrs has hired. She scrubs up well, works hard and her views on a range of issues including masks, vaccines, inflation and the role of the state are thoroughly admirable. And hearing myself and Lucian discuss how mining companies claim to be ESG friendly by hiring loads of lesbians, she thought that a good joke and remarked that my work seemed interesting. That would not be how the Mrs would react, both to the joke and the description of my work. I mention all of this only because Agnieszka has been arguing with her 12 year old son who wants her to invest her wages in bitcoin.
204 days ago
All bar three of the c250 olive trees at the Greek Hovel produce the tiny pea, or two pea, sized fruit used only for crushing and turning into oil. Three of the trees produce larger, edible fruit.
216 days ago
The Mrs has left the radio on and I find myself listening to, the unimaginably bad, Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. Even the Mrs admits it is utter piffle and has now demanded that it be switched it off lest it make me even more angry with its utterly fake news. The show is all over a story today that the ONS has suggested that 1.3 million Brits have long covid. This, it concludes, is a great reason to go and have the booster jab although there is no evidence at all that it will stop anyone catching long covid from the very mild Omicron variant since it has been around for only a few weeks. The ONS survey has a key takeaway which the BBC loves as it allows it to indulge in praising the usual victims. Which professions suffer the highest rates of long covid?
217 days ago
After the Dee silted up near Chester the main port moved down river to Parkgate. Eventually it silted up too and Liverpool became the departure point for Ireland. Had this all happened today the BBC and others would shriek on about man made climate change but 200 years ago folks just knew that God played his little jokes on nature.
224 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.
229 days ago
The family of the Mrs are a sober bunch, worryingly so in my view, so made a very limited dent in the hoard of booze we had accumulated ahead of their Christmas visit. Indeed it has,net net, grown thanks to the donations below.
231 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.
231 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.
233 days ago
The Mrs has managed to get the lights working, the tree is topped with Olaf’s angel from 17 years ago, the in-laws have arrived and we’ve had our first covid scare.What more could one want for Christmas? To all readers of this, my personal website, even those neighbours here in the last village in Wales, who tried to snitch to the Council on the new English folks in the village or who berated me as Emmanuel Goldstein in a two minute hate, myself and my family wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope that we can all enjoy a less miserable, end of Mark Drakeford, 2022.
240 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.
254 days ago
Back in the 1970s my late father would make a point of crossing the picket line when his colleagues were on strike. He, and his friend Bill Whitehead, would march past the other liberal arts teachers with pride. After the event, my father would note how unusual it was to see so many of his co-workers in the Warwick University English department actualy turning up on campus. Dad would have been proud to see the Mrs breaking the strike this week although as she was working from home that day it only meant answering emails. According to the bright young thing of socialism, Zarah Sultana MP, it is as University staff have suffered a 20% pay cut so she backs the strike. As so often Zarah makes things up. My father was the sort of lefty who believed that Government should look after the deserving poor and that folks should speak the truth. He would not have been a big fan of Ms Sultana on either count.
262 days ago
The man from the place where I buy all my trees, fruit bushes and seeds for the garden greeted me as Tom today as I walked in with Jayarani, after the young mums group run by my wife’s church, to buy some more blueberry bushes. This is a big advance from knowing me as the chap who lives at a place he still referred to by the name of the old, asbestos dumping,owners. Progress. Yesterday he dropped round a new Christmas tree.
263 days ago
The Mrs and I both signed a sober and stern contract with Joshgua’s Ysgol in which, inter alia, we promised to drop him off at between 8.45 and 8.55 every morning except, of course, when the teachers were lying in bed ahead of yet another INSET day. I regret to say that in dropping himoff, one of my delights, I so often break the contract. We really have no excuse living just 500 yards from the school.
266 days ago
As you may have gathered, I have become a bit of a bore on the subject of nature warning us of cold weather ahead and in that vein, I am bracing myself for frost and worse next week. I was working outside for most of the day in preparation for this and while the sky was a clear blue there was a real nip in the air.
267 days ago
As I make preparations to travel to Greece once again for the olive harvest up at the Greek Hovel, my mind drifts back to the last weekend of our summer vacation. My trip in a couple of weeks will be a solitary one, my annual chance to be part of a community that is tied by its DNA to the olives, but also to detach myself from the insanity of life back in Airstrip One. It is a chance to consider what I want to do with the rest of my life and other matters and, obviously,to drink a lot of ouzo and Metaxa. But back to last summer.
267 days ago
In the run up to my next Greek trip, once every few days, I am now decanting various of the fruit gins and vodkas made in late summer. The Mrs and i are still working our way through the plum vodka. Yesterday I decanted the rhubarb and ginger gin.
268 days ago
The rule here in North Wales is that you need to call our local surgery over in England at 8 AM to get an appointment.The Mrs has had a chesty cough for three weeks so – according to in the interweb – needs some antibiotics and thus a scrip. So she started calling at 8 AM. The line was engaged.
270 days ago
As I have noted previously, as we observe extreme cold in Russia and China, in “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, an admrable libertarian but now like most dead white authors now officially a racist, nature warns the Ingalls family that the “extreme weather” occurring without man made carbon emmisions will be brutal. So what is in store for the UK this year?
273 days ago
The Mrs will be crossing the picket lines at her University and breaking the planned strike by the University Lecturers Union for this strike is utterly unjustifiable. Somehow, I think that the country will not grind to a halt as the massed ranks of liberal arts lecturers withdraw their valuable labour. But I am proud that my wife will not be joining her grostequely well paid colleagues on the picket line, but will be breaking the line and going into work to continue to fill impressionable young folk’s head with valuable insights into a Marxist analysis of the exploitation of labour.
275 days ago
No this was not the teenage mutant snitcher queen Abi Lancelotte or one of the Holt village mask jihadists for I was wandering back from the school drop off which, though in the open air, sees most parents mask up as they enter the playground. Natch, I do not.
276 days ago
At last the minute the Mrs had been waiting for. Two kilner jars of plums drowning in vodka were emptied. The vodka was poured into bottles and the Mrs and I each had a glass, with tonic, last night and the taste was superb. Meanwhile I de-pitted the plums and prepared a crumble which was amazing. You could taste the vodka in the plums and I am now using the recipe the Mrs suggests for a crumble, that is to say including some oats. Seriously…I should turn pro… Next week it will be the turn of the rhubarb and ginger vodka to be decanted and for the fruit to be crumbled..
277 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.
278 days ago
Before any of those backers of frauds who troll me report me to the Hedgehog or grass snake protection leagues, I did a thorough inspection of our bonfire to ensure no wildlife was resident in it during the afternoon of November 5th. Loose branches have been accumulating for ages but last week I added some junk from the barns and on Friday all the packaging from the stream of Amazon orders made by the Mrs finally came into use.
284 days ago
It turned out that the bottom of the pumpkin that Joshua and I had bought had, within four days started to rot. I thought of buying another but, being a green sort of chap, I sliced off the offending section and improvised.
284 days ago
Spurred on by the shock admission from the Mrs and Joshua that they really like crabapple jelly with meat, despite streneous protestations to the contrary before they had actually tasted it, I now have a second batch made up. You may remember that I bought two more young trees for the new orchard I have created, a couple of weeks ago.
285 days ago
He’s a dark horse is my boy Joshua!. He left this certificate below at school before half term but we picked it up today. Yes he was the Welsh Speaker of the week. The Mrs is not playing this game but Joshua and I both now drop words of Welsh into conversation with Jayarani who is now starting to understand a few ( cat, sit, etc). Joshua learns his Welsh at school, I am teaching myself a bit on the internet and so we exchange a few words every day. But he is better than me. He pronounces correctly, can say his school prayer in Welsh and much more besides. I am considering getting formallessons myself.
290 days ago
It being half term, Joshua and I killed time at the local garden scentre buying more gooseberry bushes for reasons I shall explain later and also a pumpkin. He, the Mrs and Jayarani are away with the mother-in-law this weekend but when he returns on Halloween I shall have it carved and a pumpkin soup ready for him. The light is deceptive. It is bright orange. Pumpkin cuisine can wait. Last night was another cooking night, as the family snored and slumbered I stayed up late, turning the last of the windfall cooking apples into jam.
296 days ago
My son is a 5 year old kid just like all the other kids in his form at Primary school. He plays, he learns, he obeys the teacher. He gets on well with his peers and with older kids in a school where there are, I think, three children of colour. Joshua is the only one in his form. Boy must he have stood out today.
299 days ago
There are some folks out there who suggest that to make amends for Britain’s role in slavery we white folks here in Britain should ALL have to pay reparations to ALL people of colour on the basis that their ancestors were slaves. Heck, I know we did not enslave the Indians but I am sure we must have committed multiple Imperial sins in India, becuase in the new narrative of 2021 Empire is always bad, so surely my Mrs gets a look in as well? No. Okay well let’s talk about Alex Scott, the former footballer and TV presenter who is a person of colour and about me.
302 days ago
Joshua and I are now almost at the end of On the Shores of Silver Lake the fourth of the books by the great libertarian author Laura Ingalls Wilder. My old babysitter, DD, is also re-reading the series, just for her own pleasure, and is now a book ahead of us in The Long Winter. She says I must store up well at the Welsh Hovel as tough and cold times lie ahead. However, on that front, today saw a gut-wrenching setback.
305 days ago
Having spotted some blackberries in the churchyard yesterday morning, when the Mrs arrived home to take charge of Jayarani, I headed back through the drizzle with young Joshua to harvest. We discussed the weather in Welsh as walked up the hill. We both know all the key phrases and also “it is sunny” not that we get to use that very often.
309 days ago
The small chilli pepper bushes are still going gangbusters, each a small cloud of flame as the little mites turn a bright red. I am now harvesting about 30 a day,and stringing them up to dry next to the Aga. Just one added to a soup really gives it enough of a kick to have the Mrs laughing at her weedy Britisher of a husband. But we have also had a bumper crop of peppers both the normal type you buy in Tesco and finger peppers.
314 days ago
Describing neighbour C as an earth mother is, of course, a compliment. The Mrs knows that I view the idea that food comes from Tesco with true disdain. However, the husband of earth mother C, another C, wandered in the other day and saw four onions on a string in the kitchen and quipped “that’s not much of a decoration.” He touched on a sore nerve as he, generously, dropped off two bottles of his home produced, but pressing outsourced, apple juice. I am the first to admit that not only have I dreaded stringing my onions and my first stab, which C spotted, was no great success. However…
316 days ago
I flagged up the other day that the apple harvest from the old orchard by the River Dee had been piss poor. But still what juice might it produce. As you can see below the press I bought last year was wheeled into action.
317 days ago
I have since added a couple more red hot chillis to these jars of vodka which I have prepared ahead of a promised Christmas visit from thirsty daughter Olaf. The Mrs and I tasted a drop yesterday and they already have an almighty kick. “Good for clearing your sinuses” remarked the Mrs, before adding “Presumably you do add tonic?” I think we will be doing so. as for Olaf, I assume she will be drinking it neat.
319 days ago
They may be small but they are now turning red and fiery hot. I am advised that if they are strung up to dry for two weeks they can then be stored in a kilner jar so we have use of them right throughout the winter. And thus the first chillies were strung on a line using needle and thread yesterday and now hang in the kitchen in the old fireplace between the old bread oven and where the aga now sits, the place that the Mrs stores her booze. I will thread another line today and if I have time go pick another batch for threading. God willing we should have several hundred chillies drying within the next two weeks.
321 days ago
I explain why there was no bearcast yesterday. Then I look at the part this household is playing in the fuel crisis. It is all about psychology. Then a look at Real Good Food (RGF) and companies delisting before a look at the pathetic punishments for the enablers of fraud at Patisserie Holdings (CAKE) I also look at what Australian regulators are doing to tackle pump and dump twitter gangs while the FCA jerks off on more ESG porn doing nothing about tackling real crime. I flag up Aura Energy (AURA) in this regard.
322 days ago
I discuss the Mrs and I both taking tests this morning as we both feel a bit under the weather. Then I look in detail at Chill Brands (CHLL) where the risk-reward of holding until next Thursday is surely terribly unattractive and at Tern (TERN) accounting for Geeks, what is being hidden and why that makes this such a sell and also at Argo Blockchain (ARB).
329 days ago
We have a gherkin with almost every main meal these days. And about half the crop lie unpicked in the vegetable patch. From just a few plants we are drowning in gherkins. I am not the greatest fan of pickled gherkins but the Mrs lived in Sweden so I guess she must have been forced to eat a few. And so tomorrow’s jobs include, naturally, picking and freezing more beans but also picking another stack of gherkins and some serious pickling. Is there no alternative to pickling I wonder?
331 days ago
On Sunday at his formal 5th birthday party, the Mrs is making the cake. But for this one it was me and it was a superbly soft one layer chocolate cake with milk chocolate butter icing. As you can see the Pest loved it. We all had another slice tday with the cake having spent 24 hours in the fridge and, dare I say it, it was even more amazing. Maybe I should apply to Bake Off as my cakes are even more exceedingly good than those of Mr Kipling.
334 days ago
My father brought me up to call them yellow peas but the very English Mrs says that is just a mock Irish affectation and thus I bring you the first sweetcorn from the Welsh Hovel. Grown in the bit of the former jungle designated as Joshua’s garden we will not have a big crop this year, maybe 12 ears, but it is a proof of concept and we will go for a bigger crop in 2022.
336 days ago
The cooking apples from the tree on the lane down to the Welsh Hovel have been dropping for weeks. But now those edible apples in both the old and new orchards are also ripening fast and thus every few days I find myself making another jar of stewed apples and cinnamon to store in the fridge.
337 days ago
My colleague Darren uploaded these photos and reckons what he saw was cherries. Poltroon! Sadly my nine cherry trees are yet to yield much, I have hopes for next year. What you see is from the two crabapple trees in the new orchard I planted in early 2020 and which Joshua and I harvested last week.
337 days ago
I was up at 5 AM working on another series of articles busting the Umuthi fraud and as a distraction I made some damson gin and also used 300 heads that Joshua and I picked yesterday and brewed up another 1.5 litres of lavender cordial which now sits in the fridge. It is great in prosecco or in water for Joshua and it is what i used to make lavender ice cream.
338 days ago
There is an opinion poll out today showing Labour leading the Tories whose support is collapsing. Why vote Labour Light when you can vote for the real thing? Or if you are a Thatcherite, as I am, how can you bring yourself to vote for a Tory party that would disgust and repel every bone in the body of the blessed Margaret. The Tory party of the serial liar Boris is corrupt with party donors paying for his home furnishings and picking up soft sinecures and lucrative PPE contracts but, as bad, it has abandoned so much of what Thatcher believed in, including basic common sense. My day job is exposing fraud. How can I vote for such obvious frauds? The article below first appeared in my free weekly Tomograph newsletter which you can sign up to receive HERE.
340 days ago
It is hoped that daughter Olaf, currently spending a term at the Sorbonne in Paris, will honour us with a visit at Christmas and, as you might have gathered, she is a thirsty young lady. As such, I have today been adding to the plum and damson vodka, gently becoming even more fruit flavoured on the larder shelf.
342 days ago
So far I have done the easy bit, the hard yards come in about ten days time. But this is a big harvest. For cultural reasons – the Mrs being of Indian descent – we use quite a bit of garlic and onion in the cooking here and if I have got this right we will not be heading to the shops for supplies all winter.
342 days ago
The one hundred lavender bushes that line the approach to the Welsh Hovel are largely decorative. Next year they should be almost three foot tall and I hope even bushier than this year making a real “wall” of colour and smell. But already the smell as you wander past them on the way up to the rhubarb at the top of the garden is strong and wonderful. But the plants have uses too.
352 days ago
Half of the smaller of the two ginormous marrows from the garden now sits in the fridge. I hope to make marrow and ginger jam later which should be ready to eat in late November either with bread and butter in the morning or with cheese or to use as a glaze on pork. The other half we ate last night as you can see below.
359 days ago
The Mrs had taken the kids to Liverpool for the afternoon and thus I was not, as I would normally be, pushed from working at the breakfast table to work in my study. Thus the cats also stayed in the kitchen. At about 3 PM I heard a loud bang from the study.
362 days ago
The Mrs and I needed to pass a covid test within 72 hours of a flight back from the Hellenic Republic in order to be readmitted to Britain. And that meant finding a test centre open on a Saturday and a trip to Kalamata. A day ahead of the Great religious celebration what better way to spend the day.
362 days ago
Maybe I have got my Franglais a bit wrong but I do my best as I explain why Jean Marc just does not get it with Braveheart (BRH) and the spiv Trevor Brown. I start with a few more words on why I hate the Greek seaside which the Mrs forces me to go to and which has put me in a foul mood as a result. It always does as I noted a few weeks ago. I then look at the ramptastic disaster that is Helium One (HE1) and then, mentioning today’s Pello expose, I go onto a detailed analysis of the position at the fraud Zoetic and why the shares, now down to 39.25p, are heading to between 0p and 5p.
362 days ago
It was as we were doing our final clear up, he just appeared in the upper living space as if from nowhere.
364 days ago
This was last evening as the setting sun really does make the mountains above the tree line look pink. It is the view as you set off down the track from the Greek Hovel, something we will do early this afternoon for the last time this summer. The Mrs and I rose early to store crockery, start packing and to start closing up the shutters. I must console myself with the thought of a reunion with the cats for this is always a depressing day.
365 days ago
Here in the little mountain village of Kambos, the closest settlement to the Greek Hovel, we shake hands, few wear masks, there is no social distancing and all the other pointless measures our leaders ignore themselves but insist we sheeple follow are largely ignored. But as you head into towns there is a more deferential approach to the diktats from those who know better. Hence, I borrowed a mask from the Mrs as we headed into Kardamili to post three cards and a letter.
367 days ago
There is a back road to the Greek Hovel. It is the one where I killed a snake with a motorbike a few years ago. It starts just behind the church at the highest point in Kambos and goes past one other small church before starting a very steep decline to the bottom of the valley below the abandoned convent at which point you rejoin the normal rote to the hovel climbing snake hill up our side of the valley. It is a narrow road and in terrible condition so I only use it in extremis such as when it is impossible to turn my car around the church as there is some important service going on and there is no turning circle.
367 days ago
Few, other than the locals, ever venture beyond the restaurant lined square beside the main road that winds through Kambos. Perhaps it is the damning words of Paddy Leigh Fermor in “The Mani” dismissing this as an ugly and boring place that spurs them on, rushing to the tourist infest hell hole that is Stoupa or Islington-on-Sea, aka Kardamili. They miss out for doing so.
367 days ago
After Charon the next visitor due at the Greek Hovel was my friend and business partner Nicho the Communist. With Nicho is it always wise to assume that he will not turn up but on this occasion he arrived bang on time at 7 PM and we wandered through the olive groves.
370 days ago
Like most folks in Kambos my neighbour is actually called Nicho but his lugubrious manner and habit of appearing unannounced and tapping you on the back as you wield a strimmer earned him the nickname, on this website, of Charon some years ago. When I say neighbour, his house is about 600 yards as the crow flies away, one fold upwards heading towards the mountains: the walk up a winding track is about a mile.
372 days ago
You will, no doubt, have seen the reports of huge forest fires hitting southern and central Greece and might just have wondered if the hovel has yet been affected. Yes and No.It is okay, its occupants are a bit jittery.
379 days ago
The 15th century castle of Zarnata sits on the hill overlooking Kambos and as you loll in our pool, its ruins can be seen clearly on the skyline. But look closely at the view from the hovel down our land and in the far distance you can see another structure on the skyline, Kapetanakis, and yesterday Joshua and Jayarani accompanied me on a visit while the Mrs did some of her very important work in lovely Eleni’s Kourounis taverna.
380 days ago
I do not like Kardamili. A few hours detention in its Police station thanks to a bent cop and an even more bent hotelier did not cause my dislike but it did not help the cause. Though a pretty town, Kardamili is very expensive and, worse still, it attracts the biggest tossers in Europe, swarms of them. The Mrs, however, quite likes it.
382 days ago
If you want to get from the top floor to the three bedrooms on the bottom floor here at the Greek Hovel, you normally just go out of the front door and down the stairs to enter via either the bat room or the rat room, Joshua’s bedroom, which leads onto the main master bedroom. But there is a plan B.
384 days ago
Is the sound okay? The arrival of the Mrs and Jayarani means a change of recording location. I start with Peter Brailey’s Predator Oil & Gas (PRD) expose. If the FCA does not come down on director Ron Pilbeam like a ton of bricks we might as well all give up. Then I look at Vast Resources (VAST) – a total bargepole stock where I sniff a deeply discounted placing – then challenge you on two counts regarding Online Blockchain (OBC) before considering Argo Blockchain (ARB) its strangely worded RNS today and whether it will still be solvent on St Ledger’s day.
384 days ago
A frantic morning of tidying sees Joshua and I ready to face the Mrs, we head to Athens shortly. Ahead of that I suggest a new gender test for the Olympics. In the main podcast I look at bitcoin, Argo Blockchain (ARB), Fevertree (FEVR), coping on a meltdown day, Nightcap (NGHT) and St James House (SJH).
385 days ago
I noted, the other day, the joys of teaching Joshua to read. A is for Apple, B is for Bear etc. Reader R has an alternative alphabet though, I suspect, the Mrs would not approve of either of his suggested C’s.
387 days ago
I am not sure that the Mrs is not being a little over sun-sensitive when baby Jayarani makes brief forays into the pool. Anyhow, Jaya’s costume is a full burkini and she rather enjoys being swooshed around by her parents. At other times, as you can see, she just sits in a large plastic ring chillaxing as her elder brother splashes anyone else he can find. Even yesterday as the skies again darkened and a wind blew through the olive trees, the temperature was just perfect.
389 days ago
This was the scene as Joshua and I left the Greek Hovel yesterday afternoon. Dark clouds gathered among the high Taygetos mountains. Would there be a break in the hot weather that has held sway for so many months here in the Mani? Or was this just a portent of the arrival of the Mrs?
390 days ago
The Mrs arrives tonight. So last night was the last one of the boys’ holiday with Joshua, the longest time he has ever been parted from his mum, three and a half weeks. There have, surprisingly, been no tears although it is clear that he cannot wait to see her again. And we have had a good time on our road trip and here at the hovel. To celebrate the end of part one of our break, I took him to Kitries for supper.
391 days ago
Joshua and I have been counting down the days to the arrival of the Mrs and Jayarani. All was planned to enable us to pick her up at Athens tonight. Joshua had even organised a pool party with the mad Guardian-reading lefties L&G for Wednesday to celebrate the reunion. We had tidied the Greek Hovel with the energy and drive of a swarm of bees and were preparing to erect the baby cot this morning. Then…
392 days ago
That is to say the Mrs. Today she is at a family wedding. Tomorrow night she will be at the hovel and after three weeks of creating mess as only men can do, Joshua and I are now hard at work sorting that out, as you can see below. Joshua rightly recognises that if the house is a mess, I, not he, will be in trouble but showing a touching loyalty is now mucking in and is a keen user of our newly acquired hoover.
398 days ago
I refer not to the photo but to another matter. The photo is included because it is amazingly sweet. Even a hard-hearted old chap like me can be sentimental.
405 days ago
From Zitsa, Joshua and I headed down the old road to Arta. There was no time to visit the trout farm or the entrance to the underworld or even a museum to the war of 1912-3 which I will be writing about later, for we were already running late and Delphi, even by motorway, was many hours away. But Joshua was fascinated by the story of this bridge which kept on falling down until its builder was told to enmure his daughter in it and did so. It has stood for many hundreds of years since.
412 days ago
I still have planning permission to build another house here in Greece on the site of the old ruin halfway along our land. If I have a windfall from something I might just do it although the Mrs thinks I should prioritise works at the Welsh Hovel. She may be right. Meanwhile, the carpenter who has cursed his mother to so many appointments with St Peter has put the final touches to the Greek Hovel. It really is finished.
415 days ago
Fresh strawberry ice cream! Yum, yum. A treat for Joshua’s last night in Wales ahead of our trip to the Greek Hovel and for the Mrs to make up for our absence. With strawberry slices melted into the ice cream, it is awesome, possibly even better than the elderflower cordial ice cream. On the subject of elderflowers, the champagne is now really starting to fizz and woe betide the Mrs if she fails to burp it over the next few days.
417 days ago
The photo is from the weekend. The backpack used to hold Joshua - here he is in it as we climbed up to Zarnata castle overlooking Kambos in Greece. In the heat, that is some climb. Anyhow, now I have eight-month-old Jayarani on my back and as you can see she is gorgeous. Before you say it, she must take after her mum.
419 days ago
I start with a morning spent cleaning up Joshua’s attic a picture of which and of the Mrs looking stunning as she claims the credit is HERE. Then it is onto the fraud [email protected] Capital (SYME), Bidstack (BIDS) and Optibiotix (OPTI)
422 days ago
Fingers crossed I am off to Greece with Joshua, but not the Mrs, a week tomorrow. And so do I have time to make some elderflower champagne? With a quick recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I am giving it my best shot.
422 days ago
This time it is rhubarb ice cream using the same amount of cooked rhubarb as the recipe I am given for strawberries and using rhubarb juice for half the suggested amount of milk. So far Joshua has not had a taste, his penultimate Friday ever at his nursery beckoned so no breakfast here. But the Mrs agrees it is fairly magnificent. Ideal for those who want something a bit less sweet than yesterday’s elderflower ice cream.
423 days ago
It is not an attic at all. It is a small room built into the oldest part of the house whose door faces you as you enter the utility room. So it is a larder. The brickwork you see in the second photo is one of the reasons the Welsh Hovel is listed. It is the old brick and oak beam exterior. Sadly this brickwork was repointed with concrete so when one of my ships comes in, at some stage, I shall get that repointed with lime mortar to restore it to its original beauty in full. Anyhow, back to what Joshua calls his attic.
425 days ago
It seems that on the other side of the river from the Welsh hovel, the plague – now with a 99.9% survival rate – is again raging among the English infidels. Cheshire East and West, I cannot remember which is which, are now designated zones for surge testing. It is not that they are awash with cases. Whole parishes, including the one on the other side of the Dee where Joshua attends nursery, are deemed white zones, that is to say almost no or no current cases. Incidentally, is that not a bit racist in suggesting white is good and er….
431 days ago
Jayarani does not yet get a vote so this was a 2-1 split: should we get an ice-cream maker? But the Mrs was so vehement in her opposition that her vote almost counted twice. I say almost..
435 days ago
The couple who run the Greek/South African restaurant here had another present for me today but there was so much of it I was told that Joshua and I would need to collect it in a wheelbarrow.
436 days ago
Despite Joshua claiming to be an enthusiastic assistant, there were no volunteers to join me on this job, both my son and the Mrs citing a fear of being stung. I was not stung. There is no shortage of nettles here at the hovel and, wearing gloves, I cut the tops few inches from a swathe of them by the riverbank, collecting a basket full and then washing them.
439 days ago
Joshua and I were discussing elderflower cordial and champagne and so decided to wander to the elderflower bush at the top end of the upper field here at the Welsh Hovel, next to the graveyard. Gosh, the recent rains have seen everything sprouting ahead. I shall take some pictures of the gardens here tonight as I water them as they are starting to look mighty impressive.
456 days ago
The Mrs and I live in the rain-sodden, post-industrial, second world country that is Wales by just thirty yards. At the end of our garden and fields flows the river which separates us from the infidels in England. Here in Wales we pay less, on average, in tax than the accursed English but we get more spent on us on average by our preposterous Government of all the, lack of, talents. And now we are all, each and every one of us, going to get loads of bonus free money and guess where it is coming from?
460 days ago
Though most folks were not masked and though Kambos is not a tourist village and there had not been any covid cases for miles bar one German about ten miles away, and we all know what my neighbours think about the Hun, the Covid crises had somewhat dulled the spirits of all. And thus what could be better than a party in the village square organised by my good friends Vangelis and Nicho the Communist to raise funds for their new youth club and to cheer everyone up. Being British we arrived early on that Friday evening. well, we thought eight o’clock was quite late but almost nobody was there so it was early.
461 days ago
The last hours of day 14, the feast of Nicho the Communist get wrapped into day 15. That was one reason why I love Greece. The rest of the day is what can infuriate me.
480 days ago
I was siting there with two middle class, university & public school educated affluent lefties discussing why the working class was abandoning Labour. One, that being the Mrs, opined that it was because they liked voting for Toffs, that is to say Boris. This was a theory of one of her colleagues in the world of sociology. The other, daughter Olaf, did not dissent. Such is the state of denial among the British left.
481 days ago
The concrete bases, where asbestos clad sheds once stood in the area formerly known as the jungle, have now been ripped up with the concrete lying at the bottom of what will be the Ha Ha. And with big planks salvaged from inside the big green barn, the snake barn, which – pro tem – stops one seeing the house from the garden, two small vegetable patches have been created. Yesterday, being a non nursery day for Joshua, we went gardening.
486 days ago
Since everything is racist it was only a matter of time before conifers joined cheese, sacking a librarian for burning library books, women’s hockey, fancying Priti Patel or Rishi Sunak, coffee, sand, pants, fried chicken, not dating a person of colour, dating a person of colour and so much else besides as being guilty of the worst of cardinal sins. The shocking revelation that your Christmas Tree might as well be a burning cross from the KKK comes from Portland Oregon in the United States of lunacy.
491 days ago
Joshua’s dinosaur Easter Egg arrived c/o Amazon the Wednesday before Easter and within 48 hours of order. But the one for the Mrs arrived late in the afternoon of Easter Sunday. I opened the box when I returned home from Woodlarks training walk number 3, 16 miles of pain, and I was already in a foul mood thanks to the purple window when I discovered an egg that had more than half melted, as you can see below. It was too late to find a replacement but the Mrs was surprisingly understanding as I had prepared three amazing suppers for what was also her Birthday weekend and some spectacular brunches. So notwithstanding one stand up row with a mad lefty pal of hers who was staying for the weekend, I was in the good books of the boss and she empathised on the egg. But it got worse from there as far as Amazon is concerned.
492 days ago
This is the horror that awaited me as I returned to the Welsh Hovel from a 16 mile training walk for Woodlarks last Sunday. The Mrs had ordered that the window be pained Tollar Royal which is a blue with a purple tinge. Rather than order the paint requested, the painter went to a shop selling that paint and mixed his own which is, as you can see, not blue at all. And apparently when he asked the Mrs how it looked she just said okay, not daring to say, as I would have done, “fucking ghastly”. So now this listed building has the sort of window you’d see on a Shoreditch gay bar. Suffice to say, I was not best pleased as I explained the situation to the painter’s boss.
497 days ago
The Mrs abandoned our church in Wales, as it voluntarily shut its doors completely during lockdown, heading to a small Methodist, mask-free chapel in England where they have sung throughout. She was raised a Methodist so it is perhaps going home, not an outright defection. The place has an active Sunday school which Joshua loves and so she is making a permanent switch. On Friday, I went there for a treasure hunt for the kids. Thirty adults and their kids mixed freely, without masks, in a field and also inside the chapel. We shook hands. We stood together. It was life as part of a Christian community, or indeed a community of humans, as it really should be. But what of me and worship?
498 days ago
What sort of Birthday cake does mummy want? I asked Joshua. “Chocolate” he answered. He assumes that is what everyone wants. And thus as the Mrs went out for the afternoon with her pal J, who is staying for the weekend, Joshua and I created this two layer chocolate sponge cake below. Everyone agreed it tasted excellent but I concede that the presentation leaves something to be desired.
511 days ago
Last night, I discovered two more boxes still unopened since our move to the Welsh Hovel two years ago. Within them, there is an old photo of the rev David Cochrane, my great great grandfather, looking very dour and stern as one would expect of a respectable cleric from Donegal. There was also a copy of The History of the Royal Military Canal by my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, signed and addressed with love to me. I tried to say how interesting that is as subject but the Mrs was not entirely convinced. I shall try again tonight, it is bound to put her into a good mood before bedtime.
520 days ago
I thought that Robert and his team, who do the big jobs on the land here at the Welsh Hovel, would laugh at my idea of creating a huge lawn and Ha Ha. But I had been kept awake at night working out in my head how it could be done. And to my surprise they did not laugh. It was viewed as creative. Objection after objection of logistic issues were raised but each one was dealt with so we will go ahead. You may ask what is a Ha Ha? The Mrs did.
534 days ago
I have had Covid so everything tells me that I am already as immune as someone who has had the jab. I believe that jabbing me is therefore utterly pointless. But I can see that if I want to make it to Greece this summer, I will almost certainly need a Covid passport so on that basis I jumped at the chance to get the jab. The NHS showed its usual efficiency by contacting me five times by mail, text (twice) and email about the whole matter.
539 days ago
I start the Mrs and George Orwell then with the podcast that went live today with me as the guest, not of Cheryl Cole or Princess Anne as was suggested, but of James Delingpole and it is – I think – very entertaining. Then to the final vindication of 2 big exposes from October 2019 HERE and HERE. these both show the failings of the FCA and I compare and contrast whistleblowing to the floor shitters with whistleblowing to the SEC which I did today re the fraud Zoetic International (ZOE)
540 days ago
When the plague swept through this part of the world, the doors of the Church in this village stayed open at all times. Folks sought comfort and the pews were packed. Three vicars died of that plague, for it was one where the survival rate was not anywhere near 99%, but the Church stood by its flock. Wind forward to 2021.
542 days ago
My pal Dominic, with whom I recorded a pretty funny but informative video interview just a couple of weeks ago (episode 17 HERE), has a new libertarian song out at 7.30 tonight. The link to where to watch it is below as are a few stills from the video. I cannot wait. Make sure you turn up the volume and have a Guardian-reading lefty, like the Mrs, with you at 7.30.
549 days ago
We moved to the Welsh Hovel 21 months ago and still we have some things in cardboard packing boxes. Not a lot but enough. But as rooms are renovated, one by one, and furniture is added, gradually those boxes can be unpacked. In a month or so I shall also be picking up more furniture from my late father’s house in Shipston including two more Victorian bookcases and so this week I have been going through those cardboard boxes.
553 days ago
This patch is the far end of the area formerly known as the jungle. Behind the wall is the lane down to the hovel and on the opposite side of it is the only other chap in the village who is cursing the defeat of Ireland by Wales today. Eight rhubarb plants went in last year and eight have emerged this year. They are now all covered with pots which, I am told, gets them shooting ahead faster. Round the edge are the surplus lavender plants from the lavender hedge we are creating, and in the middle one of the cherry trees planted 14 months ago along the edge of the garden and which is coming along very well indeed. So I hope for another bumper rhubarb harvest to make rhubarb gin for the Mrs, rhubarb crumble for Joshua and er…what else do you make with rhubarb?
560 days ago
While the Mrs enjoyed a late morning snooze, something that as a public sector worker she is well accustomed to, Joshua and I went walking along the River Dee where, as you can see below, the waters are rising again. The walk we did a week ago on the English side is now impossible due to flooding.
561 days ago
I start with the annual horror that is doing a tax return for the Mrs. It was a pleasant shock. Then onto Left and Gamestop. Then I look at MyHealthChecked (MHC), Novacyt (NCYT), Jubilee Metals (JLP), another man with a posh wife who might struggle with her tax return, Mr David Beckham and E-Guild (GILD) and the real issue at [email protected] Capital (SYME)
562 days ago
This part of the lands here is at the edge of the new orchard on the inner upper field. When we arrived just under two years ago, this field was under six foot high in grass, nettles and ferns. You could not see the gate and fence at the end of it, nor a chicken shed and small asbestos shed all of which have now been removed.
565 days ago
As you know, the Mrs, the woman formerly known as The Deluded Lefty, is, like 99.9% of sociology lecturers, not an enlightened forward-thinking person like her husband. But even she laughed at this parody tweet below poking fun at three of the favourite targets of we enlightened souls.
566 days ago
Behind a hut made largely of asbestos, which when we arrived was almost invisible as it was surrounded by the jungle, is my new pride and joy. Yes, it is my very own compost heap! Exciting or what? I can’t wait to tell daughter Olaf, I bet she will be thrilled. The Mrs, a townie who does not know anything about gardens, now understands about separating waste and I only have to remove the odd bit of plastic from what she dumps there. When the weather improves, there are a stack of rotten apples and some leaves from the formal lawn to go in.
567 days ago
It snowed overnight and well into the morning here at the Hovel and thus even the public sector worker, the Mrs, was stirred to get out of bed reasonably early for, as you can see below, a game of snowballs. Yes she is carrying a baby while pelting Joshua. Then, for Joshua, it was sledging on the top meadow. Though not deep, the snow was good enough to allow the pest a good few long slides but not to go as far as the floods which still cover the near part of the bottom fields as well as the fields on the other side of the river in England.
570 days ago
The first call was mid-morning. On that occasion it was two young WPCs. If one was a filthy old man with a thing about uniforms it would have been a bit of a treat but my initial concern was that someone had read my writings about my crime family flouting daft lockdown laws on my birthday and snitched. Oh no. It was about the floods – the two young ladies just asked if there was anything they could do for me. Well since you mention it officers…
570 days ago
As he sits fishing through a hole cut into the ice covering the river in front of his house in Canada, my colleague Darren Atwater describes what you see below as just “weather”. He forgets the thrill that we folks in the Old Country feel when we get the slightest sign of snow falling. So it was as I was putting Joshua to bed…
572 days ago
We have now lived at the Welsh Hovel for almost 21 months and as we renovate it, still there are packing boxes either unopened or only partly opened all over the shop. Some of those boxes include items I had kept in storage since 2012 and had quite forgotten that I ever owned.
578 days ago
The title is self-explanatory. Even the Mrs does not have the heart to move him as he sleeps next to the kitchen table where I am working today.
583 days ago
Someone asked what the big box under the Christmas tree was. It was a sledge for 4-year-old Joshua and so I had hoped for a morning like today when we woke up to snow. It was not thick, perhaps half an inch, but that was enough for the boy to comment on his own footprints as he walked across the farmyard and for a quick exchange of snowballs. Then for sledging which, on your own land, is still not illegal in Wales although that may change.
583 days ago
Following on from the Life Imitates arts series at Christmas, the Mrs has tidied away all cardboard boxes, plastic bags and workers’ dust sheets, leaving sleeping spaces for our Northern cats, Sian and Quincey, severely restricted. But these Scousers are a resourceful lot…
584 days ago
It was January 5 and a notice came up on Facebook. And so I remembered. It would have been the 20th Birthday of my morbidly obese three-legged cat Oakley. His Facebook page where devotees could watch him in action is still live even if he is not.
585 days ago
I got a bit of grief about an article I wrote about the village in which I live on the basis that it covered what I felt had happened to me and what would happen to me here. But surely that is what writing is all about? If it is to be genuine and from the heart it is about what you actually experience. This brings me to Arwa Mahdawi writing the the Guardian about what a ghastly and hostile place Britain has become over the past year since Brexit. She is utterly entitled to that opinion though it is not one that, for instance, my wife, like Arwa, a British born person of colour (and fellow deluded lefty) would recognise. But there is something which differentiates the Mrs from Arwa…my wife actually lives here. Arwa lives in New York and admits to having not been back in old Blighty for more than a year.
589 days ago
The smaller Peppa Pig wellies contain the feet of four-year-old Joshua. The larger wellies were a late Christmas present to myself and meant that we were able to go on a decent New Year’s Day walk together up the River Dee on the Welsh side heading towards Chester. Walking with your son does not spread Covid in the way that sledging might in the world of mad Mark Drakeford, our dear leader here in Wales.
590 days ago
We are good Europeans, the Mrs and I. We live in Greece as much as we can and love the place. The Mrs is a fluent Swedish speaker and she would, I suspect, live there again. We speak to each other in French when we do not want Joshua to understand and we happily toasted our freedom at 11 PM on December 31 with Metaxa, greek brandy. We love Europe, we detest the EU. The toast was to three great Eurosceptics not there to witness this great day: Ronald Bell, father of my friend
despite the day’s earlier humiliation Andrew*, my uncle Christopher Booker and my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith.
591 days ago
We burned a home-made EU flag on a bonfire here at the Welsh Hovel on January 31 to celebrate the first stage of Brexit. Tonight at 11 PM we fully and finally leave the Evil Empire and after 45 years of family pain it would be wrong not to celebrate again.
594 days ago
Heck, Sian starred on Panorama so I know my two scouser rescue cats have a big fan club. So one last treat for the fans, following my Life Imitates art series this Christmas. The Mrs bought another duck for our second Christmas which will be shared with the younger generation today.
594 days ago
The day is looming when I must consider my New Year’s Resolutions. It is no great shock in that my top few are all to do with being a little bit, no a lot more, healthy. Spending those last couple of weeks with Dad and his death, covid, the second big lockdown here in Wales, the new baby and now Christmas have not been good for my health. The large Christmas jumper given to me by my mother in law is a little tight. I am all too aware of what needs doing. I am 53 in two weeks time and I have a one month old baby so I need to up my game in the healthy living department. It is all very well me considering plans for wind down and retirement but you have to live long enough to get to spend more time with your children and goats.
595 days ago
So the Mrs thought about getting the cats a basket but I insisted that that was for soft Southerners and that our Northern cats, the scousers Quincey and Sian, needed and wanted only a cardboard box each as they said, in true Monty Python fashion: “when we were young we were poor but we were happy”. So she took away a cardboard box.
596 days ago
It is amazing. The Mrs and I tried it for the first time last night, aware that thirsty daughter Olaf is on her way soon and that all thinks liquid are thus in peril. I cannot quite describe how it tastes other than to say it is superb. Next year I shall make this in industrial quantities.
596 days ago
I have not read the full 1500 pages of the Trade treaty between the UK and the Evil Empire. I am sure that buried in the detail are a few dastardly measures from inserted by stormtroopers from the Death Star. I don’t need to fall asleep reading it; I just look at the reactions of those who have.
597 days ago
Santa really is a jolly good fellow, spending a good bit of time at the West Ham shop. Hammers Socks for Joshua. Hammers Socks for the Mrs with “The World’s Best Mum” written on the side and a mug for me. In fact, as you can see, one of two mugs he brought me.
597 days ago
So the Mrs thought about getting the cats a basket but I insisted that that was for soft Southerners and that our Northern cats, the scousers Quincey and Sian, needed and wanted only a cardboard box each as they said “when we were young we were poor but we were happy”. So she took away a cardboard box.
599 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.
599 days ago
The kitchen should have been ready by November 8. It is not yet finished. But, as of a couple of days ago, it became usable and last night we cooked a meal on and in the Aga for the first time and then The work unit with the Belfast sink should be completed January 20 by when a few other remedial works should be done. But we are now, as you can see below, settled in for Christmas. I start with the newly exposed arch which was once the front door looking into the room from the main house. On the wall opposite is the Mrs, the Aga and the old bread oven from the 1600s.
600 days ago
Cripes. There was I thinking that in drinking my Kenyan roast coffee this morning, I was helping to create proper sustainable jobs in Africa and allowing folks to put food on the table of their family, pay taxes to support healthcare, education and other good things. How foolish was I?
601 days ago
We started this tale with my wife suggesting that we buy a cat basket for Sian & Quincey our rescue cats from the grim North, that is to say Liverpool. “Oh no” I objected on their behalf, “cat baskets are for soft southerners, when we were young we lived in cardboard boxes”. I put two out and the cats dreamed of sleeping in cardboard boxes. “In the old days in the North we were poor but we were happy” they said, as in the Monty Python sketch.
602 days ago
Before I start, I must confess that I stand guilty of gross hypocrisy. My preference, as long-term readers know, is for Christmas cards to be somehow related to why we are all having a holiday on December 25 even if we are not celebrating Christmas. That is to say the birth of Jesus. But this year the card I sent out was of a snowman. My excuse was that it was designed by Joshua at his nursery. Last year, I failed almost as badly with the card being of a tree. It too was designed by Joshua but at his playgroup in Wales so the message was very much Nadolig Llawen. Okay, so I am a hypocrite. Next up: a confession of very minor sexism.
602 days ago
I discovered last week that the one Christmas Pudding I had saved for two years and was planning to use this year had been got at. I am not sure when or where given that our two killer cats have made this a mouse-free zone. I suspect the damage was not caused by mice but by something else. Anyhow it is panic stations as, if various folks are happy to break the insane laws we live under, we will have two Christmases here: one with the in-laws and one with the younger generation later.
603 days ago
Yesterday I explained to you the battle of the cardboard boxes here at the Welsh Hovel. I had put two out in the living room for the cats to sleep in. The Mrs insisted that the cats deserved a proper cat basket. I insisted that as fully fledged Northerners (from Liverpool), they thought cat baskets were for soft southern cats and, as per the famous Monty Python sketch, they were lucky if they had a cardboard box.
604 days ago
The Mrs thinks that when boxes are emptied of Christmas presents, they should be thrown away or just plausibly used for lighting the woodburning stove. Not that she has done that once. But the cats and I know what boxes are really for.
606 days ago
Thanks to the certifiably insane First Minister here in Wales, Mr Mark Drakeford, boozers shut at 6 PM and can’t serve booze anyway. I can’t remember whether it is illegal to cross the border with England yet or whether the North Wales Police start arresting folks for this heinous crime on the 24th, 25th or 28th. Anyhow, we set off from the Welsh Hovel last night, four of us in the car, dashing the few hundred yards to the bridge to free England and what we found was heartbreaking.
608 days ago
Other than for my father’s funeral, I have not been to church since the start of the ludicrous lockdowns in March. For a while our Church here in the last village in Wales was closed but in September it sort of re-opened, though this family did not go.
609 days ago
I do not wear Christmas jumpers. But young Joshua sees it as part of the Yuletide ritual and is encouraged in this absurd habit by my mother-in-law who sends him an offering each year. It makes him and the Mrs happy so should probably be encouraged.
610 days ago
It would not be Christmas without the Guardian newspaper filling its pages with angry and unseasonal comments about how beastly and miserable life is. Anything that can provide joy to a man or woman must be dragged down. Today’s winner is a long article by James Wong “Other arts are political, why not gardening? -Gardens make strong statements even when they don’t!.”
615 days ago
Back in November 2017, I gave a guest lecture at Bath Spa University where my wife then worked. What then followed was truly Orwellian and paints this wretched and failing institution in the worst possible light. Why mention this now, three years later?
617 days ago
The big event of the day was the return visit of Guardian reading L&G to the Greek Hovel. Joshua is a big fan of L in particular and his excitement at the prospect of splashing him in the pool mounted all morning. Aware that our friends like a drink or two, I headed into Kambos for supplies.
625 days ago
Do not get misunderstand me. Christmas at the Welsh Hovel will not be a dry celebration of the birth of Christ. We too, will tuck into a bird (duck), will enjoy Christmas Pudding and brandy butter. Santa will be left with a glass of Metaxa and a mince pie and will reward good boys, girls, adults and cats with a full stocking. There will be presents for all under our tree which is currently sitting in the garden where it lives for 49 weeks a year as I am a bit of a closet greenie. Indeed, in an unusual burst of efficiency, the main presents for the Mrs and Joshua are already here. However in this household we know what we are celebrating.
647 days ago
Notwithstanding the fact that we had the same conversation a year ago, I asked the Mrs this morning to name the year of the Gunpowder Plot. She ummed a bit so I said “how about to the nearest 10 years”. She countered with “how about to the nearest hundred?” Okay said I and she answered 1776.
649 days ago
The Mrs is set to give birth in nine days and has insisted that we give our daughter, we think it is a girl, an Indian first name. Fair’s fair – Joshua has a Western first name. We do actually have a set of names decided but the shorthand name for Joshua’s little sister has, until now, been Priti, if only to trigger the lefty friends and relatives of the Mrs who seem to dislike the Home Secretary with a passion. But not now …
649 days ago
Last year, unable to find a pumpkin to buy at the last minute, we used turnips and celeberated Hop-tu-naa This year I snapped up a pumpkin and watched by Sian the cat hollowed it out. I am not a great pumpkin carver so by my standards this was an adequate result. Then came the pumpkin soup.
658 days ago
As per the email from my local GP just over the border among the accursed, plague-ridden infidels in England, I opted to break the house arrest, under which we in Wales now live, and cross over the river for my annual flu jab. The Mrs (pregnant), me (diabetic), and the pest ( a 4 year old) are all recommended to get jabs so we all got in the car…
681 days ago
Well I cannot say this was a major success. The kit says 12 litres of apples should have produced 6 litres of juice. I ended up with about a litre to which I added a bit of sugar and a bit of water. Maybe I should have peeled the pears but the ones our pear tree produced are so damn small! Anyhow, the Mrs, Joshua and I drank what came out and it was okay. Not brilliant but okay. Next up I shall have a go with some, peeled, apples from the hovel and I shall report back on that later.
681 days ago
Lockdown in our part of Wales starts in just under two hours. The Mrs has already escaped to England with Joshua. I am staying here but need some supplies so must rush to get them from a store where they don’t make you wear a face nappy before the North Wales fuzz sets up roadblocks on the bridges over the River Dee. Before my Dukes of Hazard style contraband run, I discuss various conspiracy theories over Rolls Royce (RR.) and IAG (IAG). I look at the massive issues now hanging over Verditek (VDTK) as I expose its latest desperate ramping and another past lie. Finally, Dev Clever (DEV), what is going on with Asimilar (ASLR) and Mark Horrocks as its share price slides again.
681 days ago
From this corner of North Wales my prayers are with President Trump as he battles not only creepy Joe Biden but also, now, Covid. And thus a new bumper sticker for my battered old van has arrived and is, as you can now see, on display to trigger both Olaf and the Mrs as well as any other godless liberals in these parts.
682 days ago
The countdown to Christmas for Joshua starts on September 16, his Birthday. That means it is exactly 100 days to Christmas and, almost immediately, we start discussing stockings. Who will get presents and who will be left a lump of coal by Santa? Critically, it has already been agreed that Santa likes to be left a glass of Metaxa and so I guess I need to stock up on a bottle of Greek brandy. Shucks.
684 days ago
I do not consent to the liberty and economy destroying policies of this Government given that they are based on no science at all. With a hat tip to the person from Hertford College with whom I communicate most often these days, the wonderful Elaine, I have downloaded the two A4 posters below from this HERE. Natch’ the Mrs will not allow me to put them up in the house but they can and will go in my battered old car.
685 days ago
There is an enormous pear tree in the middle of the area once known as the jungle but now preparing to be a vegetable patch and which is half the size of a football pitch. The ground around it is littered with small pears that have dropped and there are still some in the tree. Too many are sadly rotten but there are still hundreds fit for use, each about two inches long. So, after using two pears for pear gin, it is on to pear jam, something where there are just three ingredients.
688 days ago
I warn you that my Mahmud Kamani impression when he meets the new ESG director forced upon him contains strong language. It had to, to be accurate. I discuss, in this podcast, the liars at [email protected] Capital (SYME), William Hill (WMH), Restaurant Group (RBG), Hammerson (HMSO) and Boohoo (BOO) plus my act of mask rebellion in Wrexham yesterday as I stocked up on loo rolls. You – and the Mrs – mocked me last time but it is better to be the first lunatic over-reacting then the first sane person forced to pay £5 and limited to 1 roll each!
693 days ago
I felt that I deserved a small present so ordered myself a new flag which is about 5 foot wide.. I have a T-shirt and some bumper stickers on the way which of a similar nature and have also ordered a special T-shirt for my father’s carer E who is a most enlightened individual. Anyhow, can you work out why the Mrs – a woman formerly known as the deluded lefty – who like all lefties claims to believe in free speech, won’t let me fly it?
698 days ago
And so Uncle Johnny was set to fly back to Covid Britain. His departure was uneventful; we waved goodbye to him as he donned his face nappy outside Kalamata’s small airport and our thoughts turned to our own return a week later.
718 days ago
This podcast is dedicated to my friend and a man who for more than 30 years has been a key figure in my life and for whom my admiration and love knows no bounds. That man is William Long, who lies gravely ill in a New York hospital. We might disagree on much, but on the need to call out a lie and on the imperative of original historic research and putting matters within that context we will always agree on. I thus discuss the BBC, Last Night of the Proms, what Rule Britannia actually means and refers to, its historic context, some of its critics and what motivates them and allows them to smell out racism and imperialism without reference to actual fact. I refer also to my article on Thomas Guy, another man facing erasure as we do not teach anyone our nation’s history nor care about the actual facts of it. Mentioned in this podcast are The Mrs, the great Neil Masuda, Laurence Fox, Tony Hall, Matthew Hopkins, and his true heir today Kehinde Andrews.
720 days ago
After his rather minor contribution to the damson depitting, Joshua bowed out of the jam making process at this point. But we were left with two bowls: pips, to which I added 20 ml of water, and, on the right, flesh, to which I added 450 ml, putting both on a low heat and stirring for 20 minutes. As you can see below, the flesh started to turn an increasingly joyful purple.
720 days ago
Long term readers and classical scholars will know that while Constantinople fell to the infidel in 1453, a few outposts of the Byzantine empire held out a bit longer. Among them was Mistras in southern Greece, the Despotate of the Morea which held out until 1460. Its citadel is Mistras: a collection of old churches and abandoned houses on the slopes of a hill near Sparta with a ruined castle on its peak. Lower down, but within the old outer walls, there are monasteries.
722 days ago
I have used most fruit known to man in my cooking over the years but never, until now, damsons. I just viewed them as small, not very pleasant to eat, and altogether rather pointless. We have a tree in the area formerly known as the jungle but which is slowly becoming a large vegetable garden and which runs alongside the lane down to the hovel so I had pondered what to do with its fruit. I stumbled across a recipe for jam which refers to windfall damsons but, in this case, my fruit arrived thanks to lightning.
723 days ago
Thanks to Google search engines this website will have a few new readers. Sorry you dirty bastards, I fear you may be disappointed by what follows. For starters the pussy below is English.
724 days ago
Regular readers will know that in August, Kardamili, the town where my hero, Paddy Leigh Fermor, made his home, becomes Islington on Sea. I dislike its new visitors as a breed and go there under sufferance. But as Uncle Johnny aspires to be a member of the metropolitan liberal elite and, as a now qualified Shipman, can afford to buy into the lifestyle we took him for a visit.
725 days ago
As we neared the end of our first week, we thought we’d take our guest, Uncle Johnny who is in fact nobody’s Uncle, to Kitries as a treat. This tiny harbour is the closest to Kambos, about half an hour’s drive down a winding road, and has two restaurants at either end of the cove. A week later would have been the busiest weekend of a Greek August but this Friday would, in a normal year, have seen the seafront packed with well-oiled and, usually, overweight bodies. It was shocking.
728 days ago
I start by explaining what an awful day I have had and why. Can’t I just sit in the pool at the Greek Hovel with Joshua and relax? Then it is onto two companies run by Tory Grandees: Verditek (VDTK) and Westminster (WSG). Then a third bunch of scumbags, Novum Securities. Finally a warning about Reach4Entertainment (R4E). That is it from me… now the pool and the start of a weekend celebrating the assumption of the Virgin Mary.
733 days ago
He is not in fact anyone’s Uncle. In India, an older man is always termed an uncle so Joshua has lots of uncles including both his godfathers, Johnny and Lucian Miers, Uncle Brokerman Dan and the list of unsuitable and disreputable “uncles” goes on and on. However, this uncle is in fact a relation. He is something like the third cousin of the Mrs but for historic reasons, these distant families were quite close.
738 days ago
After a meal at what was Miranda’s (19.5 Euro for a salad and two meat dishes plus half a litre of rosé), we headed to Eleni’s Kourounis taverna for Joshua’s treat of some ice cream. It has become a daily treat and is one of the reasons he loves being in Greece. But he also loves watermelon and so to try and wean him off the ice cream we bought the smallest one on sale at Eleni’s which is, as you can see below, enormous.
740 days ago
No this is not, as a former Indian girlfriend would have said, the Mrs announcing that she bats for Pakistan. This is about generating a photo for her Facebook page which shows that she is pregnant. Well there you go… 25 weeks now. Apparently some folks did not know! I digress. Rather than head up to the hovel, our first stop in Greece – after the snake repellant store in Kalamata – was at the Kourounis taverna run by lovely Eleni. There is bad news in that there is another new restaurant in town to tempt away trade already impacted by Coronavirus but that story can wait for another day.
741 days ago
No not a reference to the former vocation of my Mancunian pal Dan. Instead the start of our trip to the Greek Hovel. The Mrs had booked a 7.45 AM flight which meant a 4.30 AM departure from the Welsh Hovel. The Mrs had an early night, I decided to stay up accompanied by Bradley Walsh, Suzanne Jones, John Thaw and David Suchet and to try and do a bit of work. I reckoned I’d catch up on my sleep on the flight. No-one had told me I was sitting next to Joshua.
753 days ago
Yeah whatever… in this era of competing to scramble up the pyramid of victimhood, Covid 19 has been a Godsend to many of those who do not actually do anything useful for society. So what if more than 60% of Covid deaths are men, let’s flag up a study on how women have suffered. Have you spotted a similar study for men? Me neither.
774 days ago
The Mrs has just phoned in from an eighteen-week scan in Chester that I cannot attend because of the lockdown fanatics who run this country. All looks to be fine and young Joshua should, fingers crossed, have a sibling in early November. I can sense that sniggering at the back is starting in some quarters…
778 days ago
I awoke this morning to strange sounds from the formal lawn behind the housse. I wandered downstairs and opened the door. Having entered single file through a small gate from the farmyard, the lawn was full of 10-15 bulls. The photo below was taken by my neighbour as a few of them wandered up the lane to his drive.
791 days ago
With gift aid we are now just a few hundred quid shy of raising the £48,000 needed to ensure that amazing Woodlarks can survive the Covid lockdown and continue its work next year. So if you have donated I thank you and if not please do so HERE. It would be great to end the weekend with the job done. The Mrs and Darren combined to put up a few photos of yesterday’s 33.3 mile walk so here is the full story.
792 days ago
By 9am this morning I had completed 17 laps, having set off at 4.40am. The Mrs provided coffee and a bacon sandwich. Only 28 laps to go.
793 days ago
Yesterday my Mrs attended an online union meeting at her University. Natch the statues were on the agenda. She, a person of colour, suggested that they should not all be pulled down but the middle class, white, Guardian reading, classes know what black folks really want to fight racism. Thus the Mrs was in a small minority and the Union at her left wing Madrassa now has a clear policy. Why, I wonder, are folks so angry about so many figures from the past?
There are many reasons but one is, I am afraid, ignorance. I went into some detail HERE yesterday, explaining why Thomas Guy was not really tainted by slavery at all. However, facts do not matter and his statue, at the Hospital founded with nearly all of his cash, is for the melting pot.
794 days ago
To think that poltroons in London pay vast sums for commercially produced elderflower drinks. As you can see below, here at the Welsh Hovel, the production line is in full swing.
798 days ago
When we arrived at the Welsh Hovel, what you see below, the area at the edge of the nearest upper field was a sea of ferns and nettles, almost six foot high in places. You could not see the small shed at one end of my strawberry patch, which I am now knocking down, and the larger chicken hut at the other end, whose days are also numbered, was barely visible. In fact I did not know of the existence of the smaller shed which is, I fear, largely made of asbestos so not that easy to eradicate. The area between the two sheds had once also been a building and you can see the base of its wall still exists.
802 days ago
The sunshine was glorious and my teenage daughter was here at the Welsh Hovel to help drag her aged father around the track we have cut in the grass around three of our fields. Quickly I established some good news.
817 days ago
As it happens, strawberry cultivation used to be big business here in the last village in Wales. And myself, Joshua and the Mrs have been working hard to create a patch here at the Welsh Hovel.
823 days ago
There are folks in a certain rain sodden second world nation objecting to an article on my own site HERE. The Mrs. Natch. It is all to do with mother-in-law jokes. At least one AIM CEO objecting to this article. And finally a chap who asribes evil motives to the timing of my investment in San Leon (SLE), without actually knowing a couple of key facts. I discuss the point he raises. In the main podcast I look at Tern (TERN), where I think Nigel S is wrong but that the boss is a rogue director as I explained at the weekend HERE, 88 Energy (88E), and Land Securities (LAND) and the entire commercial property sector.
823 days ago
Yes, the Mrs and Joshua broke lockdown to go see the mother-in-law. Naturally I was keen to join them but gave two reasons why I could not. On that matter the Government has no strategy that works for ending the chaos it created. It is a shambles. I explain what all the fuss is about at Fox Marble (FOX) - you can see for yourself HERE. Then look at San Leon (SLE), Kefi (KEFI), Mosman (MSMN) and Bidstack (BIDS). The moral of the tale, swot up on your show videos tonight HERE.
844 days ago
Daughter Olaf sent me on a bread making course a couple of Birthday’s ago. Of course, I have forgotten everything I learned but as I was up late last night I thought I’d make some dough and this morning I baked a loaf. Okay it may not score that highly for artistic impression but it tastes so much better than the crap from the supermarket and its so cheap. The Mrs, I kid you not, said “you are amazing” as she enjoyed her first slice.
863 days ago
It will be a strange birthday for the Mrs here in Wales. At least she has my cooking to look forward to. Most of this bearcast looks at bailout madness. Where do we stop? Soccer clubs, Rugger clubs? The charities. In, almost, all cases I argue we shiould not be bailing them out. Indeed if Covid 19 alters the face of pro sport and the Charity sector I think that is a good thing. Then there is the deadwood press. I also look at Bagir (BAGR) and Tullow Oil (TLW).
880 days ago
I report back on my second round of shopping online at Tesco as we prepare for the Coronavirus here in Wrexham. This is a week after my first panic shop which the Mrs branded as insane and grounds for divorce. But she misjudged our fellow citizens and I did not and so thank heavens I prepared as I did.
892 days ago
It being World Book day you are meant to go to school or nursery as your literary idol.I suggested Joshua go as Howard Roark. He looked confused. the Mrs, the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty, looked unimpressed. And thus he has gone to nursey as….The gruffalo
922 days ago
It is always the same. For weeks and weeks I tell the Mrs that Joshua’s hair looks too long. Nonsense! She cries, before whittering on about his flowing locks. That only encourages the lad to say that he “will not” have his hair cut. Then eventually the Mrs looks at him and concedes that he is starting to look like a girl. Or worse still some well meaning old lady says “what a sweet little girl you have.” At that point Joshua and I head off for a father and son hair cut. Tuesday being my day as a full time father, it was young mothers at playgroup day then haircut day. The change from the latter, as you can see below, is dramatic.
923 days ago
This is a rarity, getting the Mrs to assist in the garden, but the lure of a strawberry patch got her on board and also Joshua who was given a new gardening kit for Christmas by “aunty” K.
925 days ago
The 12 EU flags I had bought to burn on Brexit day seem to have disappeared. I have my suspicions. The Mrs may have voted the right way but has still not dared to admit as much to her lefty pals who, being public sector workers, have nothing better to do than post comments on facebook about how 17.4 million of us are stupid, ill educated racists and how they are considering a permanent move to Tuscany. She does not wear her beliefs, on this one, on her sleeve. That is probably wise as it cannot be long before University lecturers who are found to have voted for Brexit are no platformed and accused of being members of the alt right. But I am not a man to give up easily as you can see below.
946 days ago
On June 13, myself, Lucian Miers and Brokerman Dan will do our third rogue bloggers for Woodlarks walk. This year the route is different and longer, the 34 miles from Winchester to the camp. If you want to join us (last year there were 14 rogue bloggers in all) email me at [email protected] and we can chat. Meanwhile we hope to raise more than last year’s £55,000, knowing that Woodlarks gets by on just £115,000 a year) so please start to donate HERE. Feeling a bit fat after Christmas, I have started training already. Yesterday Joshua, myself and the Mrs headed to the biggest hill around here, Moel Famau as you can see below.
950 days ago
I asked you in yesterday’s bearcast, which operation was blessed with a site visit from myself, the Mrs & Joshua, hint its shares are worth 0p.
958 days ago
Some of you have suffered only three years of being branded thick, ignorant, xenophobic, narrow minded and racist since you voted to leave the EU. For my family there is 45 years of hurt. But on January 31 it is all over and so I have today invested a few quid for my own personal celebration, which I will – of course – record though it will probably be classed as a hate crime.
974 days ago
I start with me voting and the Mrs not being able to vote here in Wrexham earlier today. Then there are two reports I have had that the Vox markets IPO has been pulled, I wonder if Justin the Clown will mention this in his podcast or will he be too busy blowing off Neill Ricketts of Versarien (VRS) whose abject results I discuss. I look at IP Group (IPO), Purplebricks (PURP), Premier African Minerals (PREM) and Bidstack (BIDS) wondering if it will serve up its overdue warning after hours tonight? Finally there is a plea on behalf of my cats.
976 days ago
As you can see below, the Mrs, Joshua and I headed to the polling station to cast our vote in this Labour Tory marginal seat of Wrexham. I handed in my polling card and got a ballot paper, intending to ask Joshua to join me in the booth to show him how one does the right thing. But behind me was a commotion involving the Mrs…
983 days ago
The drama is all over now. The final harvester to depart, heroic K, is on his bus to Athens and I am sitting in the Kourounis taverna back in Kambos waiting for an omlette and preparing to catch up on a work backlog in my last full day here in Greece. But an hour and a half ago it all felt so very different.
996 days ago
The Mrs will almost certainly vote Labour as she always does, happy in the knowledge that a victory for Jeremy Corbyn will mean an immediate 5% pay rise for here and all other underpaid and overworked sociology lecturers. I have pointed out that after five years of following Venezuala style economic policies she will be eating our cats but that is one good reason not to vote Labour. Quincy and Sian are, out of pure self interest, rooting for Boris. There are numerous freasons not to vote Labour contained in its extremist and economically illiterate manifesto, but the over-riding reason why no-one with any conscience can risk Labour winning is anti-semitism.
1000 days ago
The scene below is from the front hall at the Welsh Hovel. The paints and other materials belong to the decorators who are hard at work on the final touches to the restoration of what will be a magnificent living room from the mid 1600s. But the half barrel? That is me being just so goddamn green.
1000 days ago
I thought I had one saved from last year. But I guess it either got lost in the move or my memory is playing tricks on me. And thus, yesterday, the Mrs, Joshua and I all made a wish as we stirred as I created two puddings for various family gatherings.
1015 days ago
It is only a few days ago that I was bemoaning how the true meaning and heritage of All Soul’s Night or Hop-tu-Naa had been lost into another alcohol fuelled consumer-fest that is Halloween. Now the Mrs thinks that I am turning into Peter Hitchens as we approach Guy Fawkes Night, or as it is known these day Bonfire Night. My thoughts turn to my childhood, forty five or more years ago and a different world.
1097 days ago
This was Monday morning. Just two steps to go and the swimming pool fills at a step a day. By Monday evening when the Mrs and I went for a swim with Joshua, the little fellow was still able to walk in the shallow end but the water was neck high, the Mrs – who is very short – was out of her depth at the deep end and I was up to my neck at the same place. I am just set to go for an afternoon dip shortly and see that the pool is now just one small step from being full.
1101 days ago
The pool filled up a bit more overnight although the water pressure in the pipes coming up the mountain is still low. But the water which does come out has been heated in metal pipes for three miles and is lovely and warm. My lodger here back in 2014 when we had just one habitable room and used to shower under a hosepipe rigged up on a trellis, used to say that the experience of that water was “better than sex”.
1104 days ago
Poor Olaf, for whom the swimming pool at the Greek Hovel was built. Tonight we start to add water on the advice of the head of construction. This morning Olaf flew back to Britain. And there is another disappointment of timing. For the whole week she was hear there were frequent conversations “do we want to see a snake?” The conclusion was that we did but from the safety of the car. No snake was seen…
1107 days ago
In today’s bearcast i shut the windows at the Greek Hovel to cut out the noise of the cricket circus. I really could stay here for good and not come back to the UK. The Mrs is not so sure but she is warming to the idea. In the podcast I look at St James House (SJH) a POS handing me a bit of a triumph as accounts restated, Big Dish (DISH)
which I expose for lying and mugging poor old Malcolm Stacey HERE have some folks no shame? I also look at Kier (KIE) and Thomas Cook (TCG).
1120 days ago
In today;s podcast I discuss how the Mrs has fallen victim to the fascists of the North Wales Police, Karelian Diamonds (KDR), ASOS (ASC), Eve Sleep (EVE) and Sosandar (SOS).
1126 days ago
For some reason, my wife’s family seem to be the only Indians on this planet who do not give two hoots about cricket. After seven years with the Mrs, I still found myself yesterday trying to explain what is a four, a six and an overthrow. None the less, as yesterday afternoon went on we had two TVs going at my mother-in-law’s house: one for tennis and one for cricket. Gradually even the Tennis goggle box became a cricket one as my mother and father in law became engrossed by the World Cup Final, without doubt the most exciting ODI ever.
1132 days ago
The deal here in Wales, as it was in Bristol, is that the Mrs works full time filling the heads of impressionable young folk with left wing nonsense, Joshua goes to nursery two and a half days a week and I look after him the rest of the time. But until today I had somehow managed to avoid going to the young mums play group in our village. Today I made my debut.
1139 days ago
Listeners can you decide who is right on this massive issuew: the Mrs or myself? Then it is onto Sosandar (SOS) where cowardly Nigel Somerville today fails to answer my question and where I discuss what would make me buy. Finally onto Neill Ricketts and Versarien (VRS) after yesterday’s bombshell. But Neill is an honourable man, right?
1150 days ago
My son Joshua is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and the other engines from Sodor and Santa Claus, being an inspired fellow, knew this and last year gave the lad, inter alia, pairs of Thomas (blue), Percy (green) and James (red) socks. He loved them all.
1156 days ago
The room next to where I sit right now is not part of the original house. It was added on in the 18th century and together with the room above was once, I believe, the servants accomodation. For the past sixty years – or more – it has been termed the annexe and treated as a seperate property, boarded apart from the main house. That boarding was removed and so the annexe has been reunited with the main house. It is where my mother in law may one day reside. With that in mind I am cracking on with its restoration and what I have discovered in the past 24 hours is shocking.
1163 days ago
Whoever is driving the car gets to choose the radio station. Thus, when I was at the wheel, I refused to listen to Radio 2’s utterly gormless Sarah Cox who earns a telephone number salary doing drivetime as part the station’s campaign to show that it does not pay mega salaries only to men. The local radio station in Cannock Chase, I kid you not, was far more interesting. But as we headed towards Bristol the Mrs switched to Radio 4 for the 6.30 Comedy show…
1168 days ago
9 AM Wrexham, vets, booster jabs for cats Sian & Quincey. 7.45 AM Welsh Hovel, the Mrs lets Quincey escape from the confinement I had arranged prior to our trip to the cat doctor. Cue a few cross words from me and frantic searching for an errant cat.
1184 days ago
As I am often abroad at election time I organise a permanent postal vote. Thus from Bristol in the South west region my ballot paper arrives and has been filled in ( and posted0 as you can see below. It is a treble pleasure.
1189 days ago
I came home to the Welsh Hovel late last night to see cat Quincey sitting outside in the yard. In my absence the Mrs had, for a second time, let him escape his new home. after driving almost 400 miles in a day I let rip with a few choice words and then wasted an hour of my life coaxing the wretched cat back inside where I pounced and recaptured him. He has just rewarded me with another shit on the kitchen floor.
1189 days ago
Sorry, I know you thought Joshua was better than i was yesterday but it is just me today. Good news arrives in the post here at the Welsh Hovel. I shall be able to vote for Mr Farage in the European Elections and, better still, the Mrs won’t be able to vote for the commies. In the podcast I discuss IQE (IQE) where Malcolm Stacey has it all wrong, Purplebricks (PURP), Eqtec (EQT), Argo Blockchain (ARB), Bushveld Minerals (BMN) and Dev Clever (DEV). And to the 75% of bearcast listeners yet to do the decent thing: we have now raised almost £19,000 for Woodlarks ( and have another £5,500 pledged) so please help us get towards our £40,000 target with a donation today HERE
1206 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.
1230 days ago
And so to the end point of the trip down Booker family memory lane with the Mrs and Joshua - a vist to the gardens at Stourhead just over the Dorset border in Wiltshire. Do you want to save £17 on an adult ticket by joining the National Trust said the lady? Er...
1231 days ago
Continuing my trip down Booker family memory lane with the Mrs and Joshua in Dorset on Saturday, we headed away from Knighton and towards the edge of the Bryanston Estate, for it was there that the ghost of the grey lady is in residence.
1232 days ago
Having shown the Mrs, and a rather disinterested Joshua, the family gravestones I wandered around the Churchyard looking at other stones and saying hello/goodbye to a few other folks: Marjorie Portman, Mr & Mrs Fudge, etc - the great and the good and the ordinary folks from a small village. The reason my family came to Durweston (pronounced Durreston) was that in 1950 my grandparents bought a big old house, Knighton, and turned it into a girl's prep school. It still runs today and we sneaked in as you can see below.
1259 days ago
I was chatting to the guys at my local Italian greasy spoon the other day and they 'fessed up that they buy ready made pancake mix. Just how pathetic is that? It takes ten minutes to whip up some batter, just how lazy have we all become?
1259 days ago
There is a bit of a cycle here. Joshua's hair gets longer and longer. I say "he looks like a girl I thought we had agreed not to raise him in a gender fluid way." The Mrs says "oh but look at his sweet curly locks." I say "you cannot be serious" and in the end I prevail and I take the little lad off to the barbers where we both have a hair cut, he gets a bit of chocolate as a bribe to behave well and we go home. At that point the Mrs coos, says how sweet he looks and admits that I was right which, as you can see below, I was.
1268 days ago
On May 25 I shall again join the rogue bloggers (now a band of 8) walking 33 miles from Horse Hill to Woodlarks to raise money for this amazing charity. Serious training started today with a 12 mile walk from my front door to the Swan at Swineford with a slight detour to the cashpoint machine in my local high street. Evidence of the second half of that trek is below.
1268 days ago
You know what fun I have with training walks. Getting wet. Getting lost. Scrambling up nettle infested steep hills as a result of getting lost. It is all part of the build up to May 25 and the 33 mile Rogue Bloggers for Woodlarks Charity walk. Today is the first serious training walk: 12 miles from my front door to a pub in Swineford. I shall carry a camera, my laptop and a phone so will post photos along the way…
1275 days ago
I report to you from the Grim North, a phrase Joshua has learned, much to the annoyance of the Mrs who is, herself, from the great post industrial welfare safari. In this podcast I cover Argo Blockchain (ARB), Optibiotiox (OPTI), Plus 500 (PLUS) and Angus Energy (ANGS).
1290 days ago
Having started last night, as I showed here, the snow carried on till well after noon so we woke up to, perhaps, ten inches of global warming in some parts of the garden. The cat belonging to the Chav family next door went for a brief walk, as you can see below but thought better of it and is now back in our kitchen sleeping on the sofa. the little creature almost lives here now, my catnapping has worked. Joshua also enjoyed the snow.
1290 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.
1294 days ago
As I reflected in my weekend Tomograph newsletter, our time in the South West is drawing to a close. God willing and with fingers crossed, by mid April, the Mrs, Joshua and I will be in the Grim North. And there is thus a determination to enjoy our last couple of months here revisiting places we know well and going to see a few things which we have never seen before.
1298 days ago
I have noted before, how the cat belong to my next door neighbours, the Chav family, has been sitting in the flower bed next to our back door, fleeing her own house where there is now a very bouncy young dog. With the Mrs away, Joshua and I have now re-opened the cat flap used by the late Oakley and are providing food.. our cunning plan is now working well.
1302 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.
1312 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.
1329 days ago
This article is for my public sector employed, Guardian reading, wider family. It is for the oh so middle class lefty sociologist pals of the Mrs and for my business partner Darren Atwater who, being Canadian, is on the wrong side of history on everything and is by definition a deluded lefty. When it comes to Brexit, which sort of remoaner are you?
1336 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.
1339 days ago
Today, Joshua and I opened the 14th window on his Advent calendar (the shepherds and a quote from Luke 2 v 15): the countdown continues. Don't tell most folks but there is no Christmas tree in the Gospels but it is now part lof Christmas and this morning my son and I picked up the seven footer below for £35.
1339 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.
1344 days ago
The Mrs has been to see her new colleagues in the Grim North and has been given her lecture schedule for next term. And on it is a talk called “Greed is Good”. Of course it damn well is.
1345 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.
1345 days ago
When the Mrs and I first came to see the Greek hovel in 2014 ( or was it 2013) it had been abandoned for many many years. And those who remember my early photos will remember why. You just could not live up here. So today we have a groundbreaking first as you can see below.
1373 days ago
The main item on the shopping list yesterday as Joshua and I headed into Clifton was a new Jeremy Corbyn, Strong & Stable, mug for the Mrs to replace the one Joshua had smashed, in an early sign of his sound gut political instinct. That mission was accomplished. Jeremy Corbyn is already making me poorer and the Sinn Fein/IRA loving old bastard is not even in power yet.
1373 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.
1379 days ago
This is a demonstration of the great political divide in our household. The Mrs drinks her Fair Trade organic ethically sourced tea from her Jeremy Corbyn Strong and Stable mug, I drink my mass produced capitalist coffee from my Iron Lady/Iron Duke mug celebrating two great Prime Ministers. And as you can see below Joshua has today smashed one mug.
1384 days ago
And so on the final afternoon at the Greek Hovel we invited over the elderly lefties from the village up in the mountains. They were rather scared of the track so I had to go fetch them from Kambos and drive them up.
1384 days ago
On our last day in Greece, The Mrs, Joshua and I showed the Greek Hovel to an elderly British couple, diehard lefties from a village up in the mountains above Kambos. The highlight of their visit was ornithological of which more later but what I really picked up on was a throw-away comment that the area around the hovel might be one of the “seven Cities.” My father and I discussed this in Shipston on Sunday and have been chatting by phone ever since.
1387 days ago
It was more than four years ago when the Mrs bought the Greek Hovel, an abandoned farmhouse with one (barely) habitable and certainly not wildlife proof room set in 16,000 square metres of olive trees in the foothills of the Taygetos Mountains. Today the hovel is almost complete as an eco palace, the video below shows you all, inside and out.
1388 days ago
As we headed to Kardamili on Thursday we got a call saying that workmen were arriving with bunk beds for the Rat room and would assemble them. I gave instructions. The Mrs insisted they needed no supervision. My heart sank. Natch I was right as you can see below.
1388 days ago
You may remember my joy this summer when my old friend the black and white cat, to whom I had given milk as a kitten, wandered by with her two kittens. Brace yourself this is not a happy tale.
1390 days ago
A quiet day in Kambos and at the Greek Hovel for both the Mrs and I have deadlines and important work to do. Right now Joshua is watching some moronic rubbish on his mother's smart phone up at the hovel while the Mrs and I tap away like dervishes. This morning the Mrs, whose deadline is more pressing than mine, got to work in lovely Eleni's Kourounis taverna, while Joshua and i went on a tough walk which he deemed to be "exciting" largely as I kept falling down.
1395 days ago
The carpenter and his assistant were hard at it again today. This time, as you can see below, building steps from the second floor kitchen up to the living area. They asked what I thought. Cala said I, lying.
1396 days ago
I left here six weeks ago and was promised that the workmen would remain on the case. Guess what?
1399 days ago
The Mrs and I come from opposite ends of the political spectrum but were both in stitches as we watched the latest video from my pal Dominic Frisby. Watch to the end..this is genius
1407 days ago
As I note elsewhere, I celebrate Brett Kavanaugh joining the Supreme Court but I’d rather that Donald Trump had nominated someone who is far more conservative. Naturally the BBC, the state funded British broadcaster and purveyor of fake news, which serves as a media hub for elitist metropolitan liberal group-think, took a rather different tone.
1412 days ago
I am beginning to think that God is not pleased with my restoration work at the Greek Hovel and is punishing me with an annual plague of my poor olives. Last year it was the hail storm ten days before harvest that destroyed the crop almost entirely, leaving my field carpeted with rotting berries and my neighbours crying into their ouzo and facing economic misery.
1418 days ago
Come home to a real fire...buy a second home in Wales. You remember the sketch. Anyhow, the Mrs and i are looking and pondering because, as you know, she wants to pursue her career and I want to rear goats. The exercise, however, throws up very real questions about house prices. Moving on I look at Bushveld Minerals (BMN), Optibiotix (OPTI), Avanti Communications (AVN), Imaginatik (IMTK), Redhall (RHL) and Mitie (MTO) another company whose former boss helps to make Jeremy Corbyn's quite insane policies seem almost desirable.
1424 days ago
Cripes how time flies. Joshua turned two on Sunday. His sister came down opn Saturday and as you can see in the first photo Joshua likes wearing women's clothes, well shoes anyway.
1425 days ago
The lady at the vet called during last week and in a very sweet and sympathetic manner said that the ashes of the King of cats, the late Oakley, were ready for collection. And so on Saturday morning I drove to the cat hospital and said who I was and why I was there. "Would you like to settle your account before collecting?" said a mean faced old shrew. It was not a question.
1427 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.
1432 days ago
Amid a flurry of calls on various matters including an invitation to meet the new Headmaster at Warwick School tomorrow to discuss Geoffrey Eve and another abuser from the "good old days" - a matter on which I have received shocking new information overnight- I have received a call from the vets. The ashes of the King of Cats, Oakley, are in an urn and ready for collection.
1434 days ago
Lovely Eleni was the first person the Mrs and I met in Kambos, the village closest, bit not close, to the Greek Hovel. We had landed at Athens at 4 AM and were driving to the Mani before we had even seen the Greek Hovel or thought of the idea. We stopped off at this taverna in a village whose name we did not know and asked if there was anything they could create for breakfast.
1437 days ago
As I pack my last things at the Greek Hovel, prepare to empty the eco loo, one last time and head to the airport the Mrs sends me a few photos of me walking here in Greece this summer with Joshua on my back, wearing either his hat or hers. Happy, if rather tiring at the time, memories....
1437 days ago
Following on from the photos accompanying the obituary earlier this week, the Mrs offers up three more examples of classic Oakley, the King of cats. In the first he is still playful in his final year, in the second he shows his, rightful, contempt for Peppa Pig which engrosses Joshua and Paddington and finally he is simply majestic is he not?
1438 days ago
So on Sunday as the Mrs sought a few hours to catch up on her important work, Joshua and I set off exploring with my young son on my back. Part two, the climb to Zarnata castle, I have already recorded HERE. part one was to head off around the back streets of Kambos and the pictures pain a mixed picture as you can see below.
1438 days ago
This article may cause a bit of upset and I have no solutions to what is a problem for Greece and an unresolved human tragedy for an ancient people, the Roma. I merely observe and report. I remember the Mrs and I giving a lift to two elderly and rather smelly Greeks in the deep countryside a couple of years ago. Their English was more or less non existent but they pointed at her dark skin and said "Roma". They thought she was a gypsy and it is clear they were not big fans. I was glad to drop them off after a few miles.
1439 days ago
The easy way to go to Zarnata castle which overlooks Kambos is to head to the next village, Stavropiglio, drive up past the church and clamber the last 400 yards up a very rough track, almost a non track. I did that the other day with the Mrs, daughter Olaf and Joshua on my back as you can see here - the views from the top are amazing, you can almost see the Greek Hovel. But there is a tougher way.
1440 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.
1445 days ago
Right now I am in a luxury hotel organised by the Mrs for daughter Olaf's last night in Greece and for me to recover in after a ten hour road trip to drop Miss W off at Athens airport."Baywatch" has a great view, a lovely pool, ouzo is on tap, the internet works allowing Joshua to sit like a moron watching Thomas the Tank Engine without interruption and the Mrs is lolling happily. And there is no wildlife diversity to report. Not so back at the Greek Hovel. Let us start with the scorpion.
1449 days ago
As I am not poisoning frigana I leave the big iron gates at the end of the Greek Hovel open to all. It saves time for me, the builders and for any shepherd who wishes to use my land. Not that many do right now so brown is the grass.
1449 days ago
Shall we start with the good news, the bad news or more good news? Well let’s start with Oakley, my once morbidly obese but now painfully think three legged cat who is back in Bristol. While we are away we have a professional cat minder Tim , a bearded young man who sends us photos of him and Oakley nuzzling up together and looking happy, hence his name, the “cat molester.”
1452 days ago
And as a bonus, daughter Olaf and the Mrs will be able to get hot water for their showers. Those of us who remember the, post rugby, freezing showers we were forced to take at Warwick School with some old master perving at us all in the pretence that he had to ensure that we went home clean for our parents, do not need hot water. By the time the stuff has arrived up at the hovel in largely metal pipes it is already a lot warmer than those Warwick showers of old.
1453 days ago
As you know, young Joshua, is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends. The highlight of his year was meeting Thomas on the Watercress Line with godfather Lucian Miers. The Bard of the Boleyn gave him a plastic Percy which makes real noises and that goes everywhere. But for some reason his favourite train is bossy Gordon. He is also very fond of my Mother-in-law.
1458 days ago
It really is the 17th, I may have said it was the 16th at the start of this bearcast as I have spent a frantic day trying to make the Bat Room at the Greek hovel a bit less untidy ahead of the arrival of the Mrs and Joshua tomorrow. In the podcast I discuss BlueJay Mining (JAY), red flags, SP Angel and MySquar (MYSQ)
1458 days ago
For the past few days I have been sitting at the Greek Hovel on a large box of books as I tap away at my laptop in the Bat Room. What's wrong with that? Why can't everyone make do thus? It seems as if the Mrs and daughter Olaf have different ideas and have demanded chairs and as you can see...
1460 days ago
George the Architect says he is proud of his work at the hovel. And so he should be. For four years we have worked on plans, tweaked, re-tweaked, waded through layers of Greek bureaucracy and now we are almost there as the photos below show. I am proud too. I know I am not an easy client and so I have had walls pulled down and rebuilt and made big changes as we went along but they have worked.
1460 days ago
My memories of sleeping at the Greek Hovel are of bedding down in the room above the Bat Room, terrified about what form of wildlife diversity would creep in, twitching at every noise outside and sweating in insufferable heat. as such I approached my first night in the bat Room with some trepidation leaving the light on before I headed into Kambos to guide me back in in case my torch failed.
1461 days ago
Like a true imbecile I left the cable i use to connect my camera to my PC back in England so I head back from Kambos into Kalamata in a few minutes to buy a replacement. For I have spent a wonderful hour up at the hovel with George the Architect and it looks magnificent. That is not to say that it actually has any doors and windows bar those in the Bat Room where I shall sleep tonight but...
1462 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….
1467 days ago
Last week I reported on how the, once morbidly obese, three legged cat Oakley had lost 1 kg since April and was in a bad way. It got worse on Friday when the vet suggested that it might be cancer of the stomach but the only way to find out was to do a biopsy which would require an anaesthetic which may well polish him off. Oakley was only nibbling at titbits of smoked salmon, honey glazed ham and other treats and we had a long discussion about quality of life and er..you know what.
1467 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.
1474 days ago
It was not that long ago that my three legged cat Oakley tipped the scales at over 6 kg and was, rightly, described as morbidly obese. The vet warned us that he must diet. It is so very different now.
1488 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.
1489 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...
1492 days ago
My 32 mile walk for Woodlarks with my fellow rogue blogger, Brokerman Dan, is now just two weeks away and I am conscious that most of my training has been on the flat. What better way to prepare for the Surrey hills than to walk up a Greek mountain in the burning summer heat? And so at 8.30 AM off I set....
1500 days ago
By noon London time on Tuesday I shall be up at the Greek Hovel to survey progress. I gather that the polished concrete floors, a very smooth white surface, in the rat room and the new wing have been laid and expect to post photos before I go. Next week the roof really does start to go up, something the Mrs and daughter Olaf - who arrive in 40 days view as important. Pedants.
1509 days ago
This weekend in Folkestone there was set to be a charity showing of the film Zulu to help raise cash for the arms forces charity SSAFA. Members of the charity voted to show the 1964 classic portrayal of the battle of Rorke’s Drift but, like cycling, they are clearly just racist. 28 virtue signalling busy bodies have written to the Council demanding that the showing be scrapped stating that:
1510 days ago
ITV is a commercial network and covers the World Cup well enough. So why does the BBC need to bid for matches and cover it at all? Its remit should be high quality public service broadcasting not competing against commercial networks – using taxpayers cash – to show commercial propositions? But okay, we do not live in a low tax libertarian paradise, so there has to be BBC sport. However…
1514 days ago
Stranded in the car with the Mrs, I found myself forced to listen to the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2 as it discussed Donald Trump with the author, the Guardian writing metropolitan liberal elitist Christina Patterson. Listeners who liked Trump were invited to call in so that Christina could brand them as racists because she thinks all Trumpsters are racist. Keep it up liberal moron! Every such statement makes #Trump2020 even more of a shoo in.
1518 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?
1520 days ago
Not even mentioning Father’s Day, which she will no doubt forget tomorrow, my Islington based daughter Olaf honoured us with a visit to the boonies and Bristol yesterday. She was checking out the University in an open day and has decided that if things don’t go the right way at a proper seat of learning on the M40 she will, like all the other Oxbridge rejects, come here. Having checked out the University and come away really impressed she met up with myself, the Mrs and Joshua for lunch.
1524 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.
1533 days ago
I have just enjoyed a cracking lunch of beef in tomato sauce and peas at Miranda's in Kambos. Actually it is not called Miranda's any more as it has a new owner but I stick with the old name. The prices have not changed. That will be 5 Euro.
1534 days ago
My father, like his father and brother an Oxford man, despairs at the way Oxford has become a term of abuse. Seemingly a week goes by without it being attacked for being elitist, a place where only the children of the 1% attend and for being out of touch, or for it being shown to be home to very silly people. Former graduates like Robert Peston, most of the BBC and the Guardian editorial team line up to say how ghastly it is. And the spineless craven fools who run the place do not bother fighting lie with fact but just cower and grovel.
1535 days ago
I write from the Kouronis taverna in Kambos where, in the middle of a violent thunderstorm, worthy of Byron at Zitsa, it is sheeting it down. I recorded 90 minutes ago in what seemed like a sauna. All is explained in the podcast which covers Air Partner (AIR), Premaitha (NIPT), a fraud on the Mrs, Akers Biosciences (AKR) and Transense Technologies (TRT). Myself and Brokerman Dan have now raised more than £5,000, including gift aid, for our charity walk on July 28. But 96% of Bearcast listeners are yet to chip in, I am sure you can all spare a tenner so please donate NOW HERE. To those who have donated already, thank you.
1539 days ago
A kind reader in the land of the free emails with praise about my article on the Irish murder referendum HERE and makes a couple of suggestions. The first is that i should move to Texas and run for office.
1541 days ago
As you may have gathered, both the Mrs and daughter Olaf have suggested that lavatories are a bit of an issue at the Greek Hovel. Both are unconvinced about my solution of eco-loos. Well girls, prepare to be shocked. The first eco-loo, made by the same chap who crafts the doors and the Bat Room Bed which has also arrived, has landed as you can see below.
1564 days ago
The new words are being learned thick and fast now. I cannot remember from days gone by how much a 19 month old should be speaking but the Mrs and I agree that Joshua is very clever. We disagree from which side he gets the "very clever gene" but you, dear reader, know that it is mine. Not all words sound quite right. Joshua's fave character in his favourite TV show and book, is Gorguan, or as you might say Gordon in Thomas the Tank Engine.
1564 days ago
Once again no fish were in the slightest effected by my fishing. That is no shock but the Mrs, myself and Joshua enjoyed our week by a lake in sub 10 degree Sweden, about 20 miles from Gothenburg, where the Mrs used to work and knows a lot of folks.
1582 days ago
Ok this is embarassing but I will admit on tape what we were up to. It is our guilty pleasure and involves Deacon, Scarlett, Gunner, Avery and Will Lexington. Then I look at WPP (WPP) and the deeply unsatisfactory and unfair way Sir Martin Sorrell has "resigned" - this smells all wrong. Finally I look at why Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) and Frontera (FRR) are not answering or evading questions - it is because they are both bad companies. If you like bearcasts then remember that at UK Investor on April 21 one of many highlights will be a live bearcast with myself and Paul Scott. Make sure you book a free ticket HERE using the promotional code WINNIFRITH.
1590 days ago
This was not intentional but I just happened to be walking by and I thought the two photos below would annoy the Mrs, Godless liberal daughter Olaf and others so here goes.
1594 days ago
Only kidding! Death Wish, which is not, as you might think, hapless Mayor Khan's new tourist promo video for London, is not out until Friday. So I gave the Mrs a far more suitable present for her birthday but what to give my Labour party loyalist sister Comrade N?. Back to the Mrs: I sense that I shall be watching the new Bruce Willis movie alone. I digress. In today's bearcast I look at Weatherley International (WTI), the fraud MySquar (MYSQ), Pathfinder Minerals (PFP), Air Partner (AIR), Sosandar (SOS), IFG Group (IFP), IQE (IQE) - where I try not to be tasteless as I flag a difficult issue but apologise in advance if I offend anyone - and Purplebricks (PURP). If you like bearcasts then remember that at UK Investor on April 21 one of many highlights will be a live bearcast with myself and Paul Scott. Make sure you book a free ticket HERE using the promotional code WINNIFRITH
1595 days ago
Tomorrow is the birthday of the Mrs so there may not be a bearcast. If not I shall be back on Wednesday morning ahead of a flight to New York on Global Shorting Conspiracy business. In today's podcast I look at why gold like my Wisdens is an investment. Then I discuss two shares in AIM stocks which, for very different reasons, I am considering buying next week and I'd like to thank one of my colleagues for - perhaps - giving me a chance to do so very cheaply. If you like bearcasts then remember that at UK Investor on April 21 one of many highlights will be a live bearcast with myself and Paul Scott. Make sure you book a free ticket HERE using the promotional code WINNIFRITH
1595 days ago
I shall not name the Parish as that would be unfair on a female vicar who was enthusiastic and welcoming and on a large congregation of good folk but the service we attended on Easter Sunday morning was not one for the traditionalists, that is to say me. Dr Johnson would, no doubt, have viewed it as evidence that his famous bon mot on a women preaching was bang on the money.
1602 days ago
The Mrs thinks her dad was born in Chennai. I explain the relevance of this as I discuss Mercantile Ports & Logistics (MPL) and more evidence that has fallen into my hands suggesting that it is doomed. Elsewhere I look at Purplebricks (PURP), Angle (AGL) and the corruption of Fleet Street, Brokerman Dan again showing that he did not train as a journalist but as er..something else as he looks at Big Dish a stock where I have no knowledge or financial interest I also look at the disgraceful news today from Nick "not for the many but the" Trew at Pathfinder Minerals (PFP) and at ITM Power (ITM). If you like bearcasts then remember that at UK Investor on April 21 one of many highlights will be a live bearcast with myself and Paul Scott. Make sure you book a free ticket HERE using the promotional code WINNIFRITH
1629 days ago
Until now my young son has had a rather eccentric hairstyle with plenty of curls and no great pattern - he takes after his paternal grandfather. After some resistance, the Mrs relented at the weekend and took him to the hairdresser. The expression on poor Joshua's face suggests that it was not a total treat but he's now smart enough for a job interview.
1634 days ago
You know that I am a feminist. Child care, nappy changing, shopping, washing, cooking, I dxo more than my fair share. But there are some things that only women can do. Breast feeding for example. And there are some things we men do: snake killing, ouzo drinking and.. lighting fires. My repeated failure to burn off the olive branches and frigana I cut down last year at the Greek Hovel has thus been somewhat emasculating. And it got far worse yesterday before it got better.
1637 days ago
I am still a bit confused as to why it was Carnival day all on Sunday but all over Greece folks were celebrating. I watched on TV as in Naxos they paraded through the streets dressed, I think, as ghouls. Somewhere else, a name containing absolutely all those Greek letters I can't pronounce and just give up on - they were dressed as sheep or was it goats, but they had bells on. With the carnival over Lent has now begun which means that the devout will eat no meat although it will still be served everwhere for Godless souls such as me and the Albanians.
1674 days ago
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And beauty is not skin deep - or should not be. I fancy the Mrs not only because she is physically attractive but for a range of reasons including her brains, sense of humour and her past experiences which I can understand. But now apparently that is not acceptable. If a woman's past experiences include being a man and going through surgery and hormone treatment that may be something that one may not find so attractive. In fact it is something that would deter me from trying it on.
1705 days ago
There is no doubt that my angelic one year old son Joshua will be blessed with a visit from Santa Claus on the night before Christmas for he has been a good boy. The Mrs will be equally blessed for she has been a good girl. Notwithstanding the fact that he has just vomited in the kitchen, my three legged cat Oakley will also be rewarded with a stocking. Indeed, Santa will be a busy fellow. The mother-in-law is joining us to brighten up my Christmas and I gather that Santa will also be visiting her. to reward her for her good deeds in 2017, The only question is will daughter Olaf, be so lucky? She is a godless creature delighting in liberal delusions who thinks that Christmas is just one great consumerfest and nothing to do with Jesus. Should Santa really reward such heathens? But back to Joshua...
1710 days ago
Uk Oil & Gas (UKOG) today provides a case study in death spiral share price destruction. The only question wis whether the provider converted another tranche a few days ago and UK has not bothered to tell us or whether it converted today and is already selling hard. Elsewhere I look at the Tony Baldry car- crash on the way at Wesztminster Group (WSG) and try to put director share purchases at Condor (CNR) and Concepta (CPT) - which we own - into perspective. I look at Yolo (YOLO) which does not impress me much and blockchain madness at Vela (VELA). I ask what I should get the Mrs for Christmas, I am out of ideas.
1713 days ago
Before she leaves in the morning, to fill the empty heads of impressionable snowflakes with left wing nonsense, the Mrs always switches on Radio 4. As I wander into the Kitchen to make morning coffees I am treated to some real gems and insight into the mad mindset of the state funded fake news outlet and the mindset of an utterly out of touch metropolitan elite.
1713 days ago
Why turn your olives into oil? Why not eat them? A reader asks. Let me explain with some photos. Of the c160 trees at the Greek hovel all bar about six yield small olives which we crush for oil. You can see some that I harvested below.The fruit average about 1 cm cubed.
1715 days ago
I have not reported back on the Greek Hovel olive harvest as after each day's labours I have been just too dog tired to do anything. What can I say other than on many of the trees it was hunt the olives so bad had been the storm and it was very hard, boring work. But by Saturday noon I had three sacks filled to a greater or lesser extent with tens of thousands of tiny olives all harvested by myself. Enough is enough thought I, surely this is 80 kg and the 15 litres of oil I'd like to take back to the Mrs.
1715 days ago
George the architect is a modernist. I am a traditionalist. And thus at every stage of the design and reconstruction of the Greek Hovel he has an idea, my heart sinks, we discuss it and we reach my conclusion. And so last week we took a trip to a windows, shutters and door factory in the neighbouring village. I say factory, it was a big shed with - as far as I could see - the boss and just one employee.
1723 days ago
I carry some photos of Joshua with me and, having met him in the summer, folks here in Kambos always ask after him. I show the photos from the christening and they agree that he is incredibly handsome and has a lovely smile. Natch he takes after his mother. Anyhow, I miss him terribly and, to console me, the Mrs has sent over three photos. As you can see in the third he is already very keen on books although happy, for now , to read like an Australian, that is to say upside down.
1734 days ago
I am sorry that bearcast is late. I am just back from lecturing the snowflake sociology students of the Mrs. I think I may have intruded on their safe space with some challenging thoughts in my talk "Lies, damned lies, public sector underpay and other myths." I hope to have a recording and the slides up here later this week. Pro tem I offer up some thoughts on Cogenpower (CGP) - to become Monreal PLC - Paternoster Resources (PRS) - now co run by Amanda Van Dyke, formerly of this Parish but now on the dark side, Falanx (FLX), Interquest (ITQ) and Conroy Gold & Natural Resources (CGNR)
1741 days ago
My one year old son Joshua delights with playing with mobile phones and TV controls. Thus poor Sam Antar got a 3 AM call from me in New York when my son managed to press a few buttons in the right order. Just a few minutes ago I got a phone reminder of something important. I do not actually know how to set such a reminder but Joshua has managed it. At least it was not at 2.58 AM like last time.
1747 days ago
I was just looking at a memory stick the Mrs was playing with and up came numerous glorious photos of the Christening of my son Joshua this summer. I know many of you sent us best wishes for that day so I share just three of them
1754 days ago
Tory MP Christopher Heaton-Harris seems to be in a spot of bother in certain circles for writing to university vice chancellors asking for a list of those lecturers who were running course material on Brexit and asking to see that course material. That is what actually happened but the BBC's senior reporter John Simpson tweeted out something rather different. This is fake news surely?
1762 days ago
It has only taken three and a bit years but the final planning consent has now arrived. We can now start putting a roof on the Greek Hovel and extending it to more than double its original size. George the architect has been in touch and it is all systems go. However, there are, Greece being Greece, a few minor issues.
1772 days ago
Given how crazy and one sided Britain's divorce laws are only a complete and utter idiot of a man who is worth anything at all would ever get married. When I married my Mrs I was worth minus money so it was my mother in law who insisted on a pre-nup. Whatever. Anything for a quiet life. But are we seeing peak insanity in the divorce courts?
1783 days ago
This is a bit sensitive as the Mrs is a senior lecturer at Bath Spa. This morning I wished her well as she headed off to campus to fill the empty heads of impressionable millennials full of left wing nonsense and told her that I hoped she enjoyed the book burning or whatever else was planned by her cowardly employer today. For Bath Spa is in the news.
1792 days ago
Once he twigged that playing with the wrapping paper was not the real present, Joshua started to get the hang of having a Birthday. This gift is not from me but from the Mrs. For imposing a lifetime of misery on the lad it is she who must be reported to social services.
1795 days ago
This has to be one of the sillier ideas of the Mrs. Instead of politically correct nursery rhymes or sing and sign, which is even more PC, my son and heir and I are off to French lessons for babies.
1804 days ago
With a day to kill before flying back from Greece to what the Mrs calls home but I call Britain, there was time for one last lunch in my "home village" of Kambos. First a brief stop off at Joshua's inheritance, the Greek hovel, where a bulldozer had arrived and great progress has been made. I have photos of that, of my olives and also of my prickley pears but they can wait. For the main event, in a village whose great attraction is that nothing ever happens, was lunch in the main square.
1805 days ago
As you may know, I hit the keys on my computer so hard that after a while the figures on them wear off. Then they become so damaged that they stop working altogether or only if you hit them repeatedly very hard. At that point hipster Marxist, the pizza hardman Darren Atwater, says "why don't you get a new Mac costing loads of moolah from the money tree?" and I go buy a new keyboard, which looks like what I have been using all my adult life, and plug it in. Joshua types like his Dad as you can see in the video below...
1808 days ago
A meeting with George the Architect at the Greek Hovel went well. Joshua inspected his inheritance. The Mrs fretted about where to put the washing machine. For a house that is half built with no doors windows, roof and, in the case of two and a half rooms, walls, I reckon she may be getting ahead of herself.
1809 days ago
Natch, the same as last year: grief. Of course I jest. The Mrs says that she has a treat lined up for me when we return to the UK. I am more organised and on our fourth anniversary have arranged a real treat for her in Kalamata. It involves olive oil but there is no need to furnish you with the full details. In a way, our bigger celebration, is 15 days later - the first birthday of young Joshua Patrick.
1812 days ago
One day the Mrs will learn that me and the seaside really don't mix. She has booked us into a pleasant hotel, the Baywatch, which to her annoyance, is nowhere near the sea. It does, however, have a wonderful view of the bay of Kalamata, a pool which Joshua, the Mrs and I like and is relatively quiet. The guests are nearly all young couples so I am the oldest there and find the music at the bar mildly irritating. That is to say it is all post 1995 and thus, by definition, utterly crap. But the internet works so I can relax by tapping away while Joshua crawls around the floor, licks windows, pulls books apart and does all the other things that make him happy. The Mrs is reading a book on the philosophy of marriage and occasionally draws my attention to a passage which highlights one of my rare failings as a husband.
1815 days ago
It is the 50th birthday party of the sister of the Mrs today. The sister in law is married to a bubble and we are staying in their house in his family village about 90 minutes the other side of Kalamata from the Mani. The party is on a boat so Joshua is not invited and I am showing solidarity with my 11 month old son and we are going on a road trip together.
1821 days ago
Work continues on remodelling the existing structures at the Greek Hovel as we await final planning permission for adding new structures, including a roof. And so I bring you the new main doorway which is now almost complete as the photos below show.
1828 days ago
11 month old Joshua and i greatly enjoy doing a Sainsbury's shop together. we discuss what we need to get from the shopping list in my head. Or rather I talk as i wheel him around in the trolley and he sits there gurgling and smiling sweetly at anyone whose eye he can catch. At the checkout, as I tried to fish out my credit card, the lady caught his eye, he smiled and giggled and she said " what a gorgeous little girl".
1835 days ago
I tried to look on the bright side all week. Most folks with an enlarged testicle do not have cancer. After his fondling session, my Doctor had said it was almost certainly a result of a dibetes induced condition. And anyhow the five year survival rate for testicular cancer is now 90%. And my advanced age puts me at low risk anyway. None the less, Friday's appointment at the Bristol Royal Infirmary was something I dreaded. My father and my wife shared that dread and so on Friday the Mrs and Joshua came along too for moral support.
1836 days ago
The Mrs is of the view that while she and her fellow public sector workers slave away with inhumanly long hours, myself and the rest of the productive sector, the private sector, the wicked bastards who earn less and have less job security than the State employed saints and who risk their capital to fund the Government payroll, sit around all day watching cats on the internet. Just to reinforce the view from underneath the great Money Tree, below is a quite awesome video of a cat from the internet. Cats are just the coolest creatures on this planet are they not?
1838 days ago
In her Guardian column today arch remoaner Polly Toynbee took time out from tending to her Tuscan castle to bash Brexit because it will hit British farmers so badly as they lose subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy. Natch, the BBC took time out from the month long LGBT-fest to make way to report this breaking news from its sister publication and thus Toynbee opined on Radio 4's Today Programme. It was classic Toynbee and I am so glad my late grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, a true socialist and friend of Tony Benn and a campaigner for No! in 1975 was not around to hear it. He would be incandescent as he really did believe in "for the many not the few."
1840 days ago
It was off to the cinema today with Joshua for a mother and baby screening at the Watershed cinema in Bristol. This is the uber PC movie theatre which is oft praised by the Guardian and likes to show the sort of utterly shite films that the Guardian loves but which would make any right minded person either puke or fall asleep or both. Remember The Lobster - the worst film of 2015? Watershed audiences loved it.
1856 days ago
As i explained earlier, it is my duty to pick fruit in the Shipston garden created by my father and late step-mother. And thus I cleansed most of the dessert goosberry bush.
1858 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.
1862 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.
1865 days ago
The Mrs goes back to work tomorrow after her maternity leave. So as of Friday i am dealing with nappy shit not AIM shit as my primary job. But Bearcast will return every day in September. Today the Mrs is out with Joshua so I am bored and have a lot to say. I start with MichaelMouse an ADVFN Bulletin Board moron committing market abuse as he shows he understands nothing - he really is a Mickey Mouse figure.. I have harsh words about Telit (TCM) and TrakM8 (TRAK) in that section. Then it is onto what "Strategic Review" means in plain English, ref Entu (ENTU). Finally to the meat of the podcast covering Mercantile Ports & Logistics (MPL), its fellow FRAUD Redcentric (RCN) and the worthless crap Magnolia (MAGP) and what it says about AIM and the failed Nomad system that Messrs Gandhi, Fisher and not so lovely Rita have not been fired. Warning: this bearcast contains some strong language and phrases of a sexual nature.
1869 days ago
Until ten minutes ago the the Mrs clearly thought that I am a wimp and that man flu is a made up disease by those trying to evade nappie changing. Au contraire.
1871 days ago
I never thought that I'd be revelling in changing nappies, watching a baby throw his food everywhere and all the other joys of motherhood n the months leading up to my 50th birthday but I am loving it. The Mrs is away for a few days "working" and returns to full time work in ten days, in as much as that is not a contradiction in terms in the public sector and especially on liberal arts campuses. And so, right now I am the sole carer for nine months old Joshua and in ten days time I will become the primary carer. I am such a fucking feminist - I am almost tempted to chuck in work altogether and then go for a divorce taking the Mrs to the cleaners saying that I had to quit my job to look after Joshua. Only kidding.
1875 days ago
There will be a couple more photos later in the week but for now just one from what has been a great day. I have been hard at work all weekend cooking for folks last night, baking a birthday cake (more on that later in the week) and preparing for what was a lovely and special day for myself, the Mrs and Joshua - his Christening. Hence there has been little in the way of writing.
1880 days ago
I am pretty much finished here in Greece as I explain in the podcast. And as such I start the journey home tomorrow to spend time in sun-drenched England with the Mrs, Joshua and - of course - Oakley, my utterly pampered three legged cat who is, I gather, now being given iced water to cope with the heat. In this podcast I look at Barclays (BARC), the SFO and the nature of fraud. I look at Thor Mining (THR) where events disgust me and at Ariana Resources (AAU) where I am dissapointed and less accepting than Nigel Somerville is.
1884 days ago
I think the last dripping in sweat, post frigana chopping selfie photo was not very flattering. Apparently some of you think that i have multiple chins. Au contraire. That was just the angle. I have not commented on my trouser size for a while but since we are on the subject...
1899 days ago
I suggested to the Mrs, a Guardian reading sociology lecturing paid up member of the Labour party, that she should start looking at Irish websites to see where we will flee in the event of a Labour victory on June 8th. She seems unconvinced. Worse still, our household is a democracy and eight month old Joshua will get the casting vote.
1904 days ago
The plants the Mrs and I have planted in our back garden have almost all suffered death by cat defecation. That is to say my fat, though no longer morbidly obese, three legged cat Oakley hads shat them into oblivion. And so during my brief UK visit I have led a drive to re-plant. To complete that task the Mrs, Joshua and I headed to a garden centre here in Bristol today. Before stopping to pick up a few herbs (me0 and some flowers (the Mrs) we sat enjoying an expensive coffee and watched the masses head by.
1907 days ago
I am back in Bristol for a few days and was wandering back from lunch with Joshua when we happened to pass the Conservative Club. The door was open and i was conscious that I needed to renew my father's membership. Though not a Tory, or indeed a Bristol resident, he likes the idea of being able to access cheep beer at a place not far from our house.
1911 days ago
It has been agreed with the Mrs that Joshua is to inherit the Greek Hovel on condition that any other family member can use it at no cost. And so the lad was taken to see his inheritance. Unlike his mother, also in the picture, he made no complaints about eco-loos, the lack of a shower, rats or snakes. I feel the place will be in good hands.
1913 days ago
Okay you come to Greece to star at the sea. There is no sea up in Kambos, the village closest to the Greek Hovel where I live. As you sit in Miranda's you stare up at the castle, you see cars, lorries or flocks of sheep wind their way along the road, and you see like in Kambos progress at its slow place.
1916 days ago
I am now, once again, doing regular resting of my blood sugar levels. And after a break of a few days I am again taking my medication. Being by myself since Sunday lunchtime has assisted in a no alcohol diet and a meal schedule which is regular and healthy. I wonder could I spin out a diet based on two Greek Salads a day plus raw oats into a 30,000 word diet best-seller? Probably not.
1919 days ago
I have not even bothered to test my blood sugar levels for the past few days. I know they are up. I can feel a couple of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes making a minor comeback. Last night, for instance, I felt the need to piss several times. Net result: no sleep. And it is all so predictable. I could kick myself. Or certain others.
1923 days ago
There was I sitting in the Kourounis Taverna in Kambos having taken the Mrs and Joshua up to see his inheritance, that is to say the Greek Hovel. The Mrs and I were enjoying a Greek salad prepared by Nicho the Magician, that is to say Eleni's other half and Joshua was enjoying a few bits of bread and smiling at all passers by. A lady came up and introduced herself.
1924 days ago
The Mrs, myself, Joshua and my parents in law are staying about 15 miles South of the Greek Hovel in a nice hotel by the sea. As I mention here, I have very mixed feelings about Kardamili and would really rather be back in Kambos. But this break is not about me. Today, we escaped the in-laws and took Joshua to see his inheritance, that is to say the Greek Hovel. The Mrs has not visited for almost a year and was keen to see how the building was going. I was just delighted to be out of Kardamili and able to do some manual labour.
1926 days ago
I did not want to hex my beloved West Ham so not only did I not seek out somewhere to watch the game but I switched off my PC so I could see nothing on twitter. In fact I made sure that I did not know the result until this morning. Here in a Greek Hotel as the bubbles tucked into their breakfast a loud YEEEES went up.
1927 days ago
I left Heathrow at midnight Greek time. Having picked up a stomach bug in London the flight and the bus journey from Athens that followed were less than comfortable. Wearing a jacket and winter coat from London I was feeling pretty awful by the time I arrived in 29 degree Kalamata at 10 AM.Thank heavens my hotel had a room ready for me to wash and dump my coat in. I headed straight to the Greek Hovel feeling extremely tired.
1928 days ago
Of course these two good folks have a lot in common. They are both part of the metropolitan elite who think that the real downside of Brexit is that there might be a shortage of folks to serve them organic semi-skinned macchiatos at £6 a pop in ponsey London cafes. They both know who I am and say that I swear too much in podcasts. But they have a deeper bond. And it is once that marks them out as total freaks. Today is May 4th. you know the 4th of May. May the 4th be with you! Still Paul Scott does not get it, nor will Olaf who I am seeing later. Today is Star Wars Day.
1933 days ago
A reader asks how do I ensure that, when the land around the Greek Hovel has been poisoned, the various herds of goats and flocks of sheep that wander the foothills of the Taygetos do not roll on by for a fatal meal. The land will be pretty bad for their health for at least a week. Its a fair question with a three part answer.
1938 days ago
Fourth time lucky. At the agreed time, Nicho the Communist wandered into the Kourounis taverna in Kambos for our trip to inspect the olives at the Greek Hovel. I had left him the previous day five hours into his binge with George, George and anyone else he could find as he celebrated St George's Day. He confessed that he had continued celebrating until late at night on a taverna crawl round Kambos - there are four places to drink in our village of 536 souls.He had that look, that I remember from my own days of heavy drinking, that says "I am never going to touch alcohol again." But of course you always do. Having not touched the demon drink for almost ten days I am feeling a little smug. Excuse my smugness.
1938 days ago
Given that my new Greek blood sugar testing machine is all over the shop (I have had readings of both 236 and 125 today) perhaps I should revert to trouser size as I await new strips to arrive for my British blood sugar testing machine. There is dramatic news on the trouser front after my revelation earlier that my 36 inch trousers are falling down.
1938 days ago
This is all great news if a tad embarrassing. Very healthy eating, lots of exercise and no booze is definitely helping me shed the pounds. As i wandered back into the hotel elevator yesterday evening I looked and with my trousers slipping down my boxers were clearly visible. However much I hitch up my 36 inch trousers they keep on falling down. What good news.
1940 days ago
It has taken the older generation a few days to get our respective accounts working but tonight the Mrs and I finally managed a skype call, for the rest of the family are not joining me here in Greece for another couple of weeks. And by "rest of the family" I mean it: the mother in law is coming too. But that treat is for another day.
1952 days ago
The main purpose of this holiday is for the Mrs to meet up with a series of her friends from her time when she worked as a sociologist here in Gothenburg. Not a lot of people know it, but the Mrs is a fluent speaker of Swedish and is thus, as I write, yakking away in a wine bar in town about the evils of capitalism, Trump, patriarchy etc etc etc. Meanwhile, myself and, almost seven month old, Joshua are in a small rented house on a small, very windy and bloody cold, island somewhere out to sea.
1965 days ago
Driving through the Warwickshire villages where I spent my teens, as I have gone to and from the hospital, it is hard not to feel some nostalgia for the old place. The same music blares from my car as it did 30 and a bit years ago and at least I am starting to formulate the play list for my 50th birthday early next year.. The Mrs is not going to like it. She is far more George Michael than Jon Bon Jovi.
1970 days ago
Those of us who are hip trendsetters and thus watch Midsomer Murders (think Graham Norton, Mr & Mrs Adam Reynolds and myself) will remember the battle that the second Inspector Barnaby has with his Mrs as to what will be the first word that their baby says. "Mummy" she repeats often as she states at her daughter."Daddy" says the Inspector again and again. Natch, her first word is Dog, for we all know that - until his retirement - the star of the show was Sykes.
1989 days ago
I find myself reading a book called Tales of the Farmyard to my, almost, six month old son Joshua. The lad probably is not following the stories clearly, at this stage he just about knows that a sheep is big, white, fluffy , has four legs and goes baaaa while a cat is like Oakley so is black and white, less big, has only three legs and goes miaow. As I read "The Tale of the naughty sheep" by author Heather Amery, I felt the need to explain a few things to Joshua.
1992 days ago
The bell in this podcast is not Aidan Earley's libel suit arriving but the workmen returning after lunch. I explain why they are here - blame the Mrs. In terms of stocks I cover Prairie Minerals (PDZ), IGAS (IGAS), Milestone (MSG), Xtract Resources (XTR), Amur (AMC), Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO), NCC Group (NCC), Northern Petroleum (NOP) and Saffron Energy (SRON), Redcentric (RCN), MXC Capital (MXCP) and a few other matters. Smiley face.
1992 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.
1999 days ago
As a momento of the trip that the Mrs and I paid to the Welsh mine turned museum at Blaenavon I bought a nice new mug for her morning tea which you can see below. She is after all the woman known as the deluded lefty until she married me. My own coffee mug celebrates two great British PMs, the Iron Duke and the, greatest of them all, The Iron Lady. We are, as you know, a divided household.
2002 days ago
Just over a third of the way between the Hovel and the far end of the land lies an old ruin. I think it was a house once and in a sense it still is. For inside the ruins there lived a snake all of last summer and the summers before. I heard it many times as I rushed on by. When foolish enough to prune the olive tree at its edge last summer I saw a snake shape disappearing into the grass. This is Mr snake's house. But not for much longer.
2007 days ago
You may remember that, some three years ago, one of my fellow residents of the Greek village of Kambos hooked up with a pal in Kalamata to murder two drug dealing body builders. I have viewed it as rather indelicate to enquire as to what has happened since but it was a clear cut case. The bodies were dumped from an old bridge that crosses the deep gorge on the road back towards Kalamata.
2010 days ago
I had this really cunning plan. And the Mrs thought it was cunning too. What could possibly go wrong? God punished me for my conceit.
2011 days ago
My father's oldest Greek friend Mike the Vlach was due back at three. This being Greece he was bound to be late and so his wife Alega insisted I hang on as the day dragged on. Heck I had travelled by bus for nine hours to get to Metsovo and then walked for an hour and a half to get to Anelion to see Mike, I was not leaving. I could not explain this but I sat there drinking coffee and enjoying a lunch of lamb, rice and a lump of feta, I was going nowhere.
2035 days ago
At home with Joshua, the Mrs and i regale our son with the nursery rhymes we knew as children. I guess we both grew up in households that were, in many ways, small c conservative, whatever my mother's views on self sufficiency and other throw offs from the hippy world of the late sixties. To these rhymes we add my own creations. The first verse of yesterday's was:
2038 days ago
I must take the blame for turning my daughter into a diehard West Ham supporter and as I inflict a lifetime of relegation battles and cup humiliations on her I accept that I may well be reported to social services for torturing her thus. But I want everyone to know that I am not responsible for young Joshua's new T-shirt which he is wearing below. Oh no...
2041 days ago
The Mrs has a new best friend, the Greek consul in Birmingham. Once again she is trekking her way up to the frozen grim Northern post industrial wastelands in order to get more official forms stamped. Such is life in Greece. There are rules governing everything and always forms to fill in. Native bubbles rarely bother with many of them but some, such as this latest one which allows us to submit a building permit for the Greek Hovel cannot be avoided. Hence the trip to Birmingham.
2043 days ago
It was Oakley's birthday last week. Thank you to those who left messages for him on his facebook page. He is now fifteen. But I need to record that he is now starting to behave very badly indeed.
2049 days ago
I admit that i am too lazy when it comes to reading report and accounts. I should be more of a geek like Steve Moore. In today's podcast I explain why my sloth is a sin and why we should all read from the back to the front. I also look at investment versus trading, Sirius (SXX) vs Cloudtag (CTAG). Other companies mentioned include African Potash (AFPO), Inspirit (INSP) and Strat Aero (AERO). I am now offline as I tidy up the mess created by Oakley and the different mess created by me before the Mrs and Joshua return home.
2051 days ago
I did okay in 2016. The notable win being quitting smoking although that was not something I started until February 15. So I guess I don't need to start my 2017 resolutions right away. that is jolly useful as we still have a bit of Christmas cake and an excellent cheddar cheese from Uncle Chris to finish off. That brings me to resolution one.
2057 days ago
"His family and fans are devastated, a tweet from Elton John, the world Genius is used too often but, an icon of a generation, RIP ( insert name of celebrity here) yadda, yadda, yadda." I never liked the music of George Michael.
2057 days ago
I have begged for a pass but it seems that I am committed to spend New Year's Eve with the deluded lefty friends of the Mrs, public sector workers the lot of them. The venue is, I think the house where the Mrs attended the 2015 General Election "victory party" which included that classic line "This can't be happening, I don't know anyone who votes Tory". I was almost sorry I missed that one.
2062 days ago
This is my signature dish. Whenever the Mrs has friends around this is what I prepare. Everyone loves it. Where do we start? With two large onions which are finely chopped and sweated with olive oil in a large pan.
2065 days ago
I thought it was a good name. Unusual and reminiscent of an era when Britain made things, was a truly prosperous nation and before we all demanded shelter from cradle to grave in the safe space underneath the great Money Tree. But the Mrs disagreed. And so our son is called Joshua not Ebenezer.
I saw a production of the Christmas Carol last week and poor old Scrooge got a really hard time. In the first party of the tale he is a hero, a wealth creator, a provider of employment, the sort of man we can all admire. Then those pesky ghosts arrive and in the space of a night they turn him into a Guardian reading liberal with a spine made of Jelly. The play ends with him giving Bob Cratchit a huge pay rise.
2066 days ago
Today is the annual Christmas party held by the Mrs for her mad lefty friends, a Godless bunch who regard Christmas as having nothing to do with Christ. The normal score is that I do the cooking then, to avoid being emboldened by a few glasses of wine into pointing out that whatever they are saying is patent nonsense, I feign illness and go to bed. Let them believe
2073 days ago
It was in the summer of 2015, I think, that I made the acquaintance of a feral kitten at the Greek Hovel. The timid little thing was terrified of humans but I managed to persuade it to take a few saucers of milk. I did so because I love cats and who cannot love a sweet little kitten? I also thought how much it looked like Kitosh, pictured, the cat I owned before Oakley. And there was self interest at play as well.
2073 days ago
For the past week I have been getting up at 5 AM Greek time ( 3 AM GMT) to do a couple of hours writing before heading off to the olive harvest at the Greek Hovel for an 8 AM start. Yesterday's harvest finished at 5 PM and I was shattered. I arrived back at my hotel at eight and after one glass of milk went straight to bed. I was vaguely aware that someone called (it was the Mrs) but I was oblivious to it. I dreamed of little olives of all colours falling through my seperating machine.
2075 days ago
Adam Reynolds and the Mrs are in my good books for returning phone calls and thus giving me phone breaks today. Peter Greensmith of Peterhouse did not and so ensured more toil and torture for me. Bad man Peter. Anyhow the sun shone all day and we toiled away as ever.
2082 days ago
As you may remember, the Mrs forced me to go to a chavtastic shop called The Range to purchase a Christmas hat for our morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley. It appears to be part of a cunning plan for home made Christmas cards. How very spiritual.
2090 days ago
I start with behaviour by the Mrs which is surely grounds for divorce or at least enough to see her lead off in chains by the RSPCA. Then it is back to the seven stages of grief and how it relates to shares. Then I look at the most shorted stocks on AIM as per Steve's article earlier - but also those that should be most shorted but why they are not, i.e. Cloudtag (CTAG), African Potash (AFPO) and the slam dunk zero IGAS.
2091 days ago
Not only does the Mrs insist that I need to buy a Christmas hat for our morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley but she then tasked me with making the purchase. And thus I found myself in a store called The Range which is a consumerist paradise for poor people with no taste whatsoever. You want a masturbating Christmas gnome for your garden? This is the place to get it. Ghastly Christmas decorations utterly unrelated to the nativity in 15 shades of gold and silver for your council flat are what you crave. Come along to The Range and you will be spoiled for choice.
2097 days ago
It is not quite as grim as it sounds but I am indeed writing to you from a Premier Inn at a Motorway Service Station which is my new home. well for one night only. It is all the fault of the Mrs.
2100 days ago
You are meant to make your Christmas puddings six weeks before Christmas to allow them to age and mature and so, leaving it to the last possible moment I have now just done that. The recipe is from a cookbook from the Queen of Irish cooking the amazing Darina Allen although she says that it is from her mother in law Myrtle, the founder of Ballymaloe. I think that Myrtle is still with us though she must be 92 by now and I am lucky enough to have visited the famed cooking school near Cork several times.
2113 days ago
This was the strap on an article posted on LinkedIn. aka facebook for really boring adults. It is a great headline which arouses interest but I really doubt that "I'm an emergency surgeon" was quite the answer you were thinking of as you hit the link. I am sure you could do better. For instance, when with the mad public sector working bunch of lefties who are the friends of my Mrs, I could come up with:
2117 days ago
Would we try to find somewhere to watch the game? As we wandered back from kicking a football around at the park this was what my daughter and I discussed. Chelsea at home in what used to be the League Cup, I was convinced we would lose 6 nil and admitted as much.
2128 days ago
As you may know, my daughter is a diehard West Ham supporter. She is also, incidentally, a total goal machine for her top of the table side. Her membership of Slaven Bilic's claret and blue army is good for me as it is someone to talk to after a game: The mrs is not interested and has never been to a game with me. I am ticked off by my daughter when I start talking about relegation but we can share the joy after the mighty Irons get a result as we did yesterday.
2136 days ago
I am the main shopper in this household, spinning down to the local Sainsbury once a week to provide for myself, the Mrs, Joshua and, most importantly of all, my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley. I work with a mental shopping list and wander around in track suit bottoms to blend in with my fellow shoppers. I plod slowly trying to take in the full horror of life in modern Britain. It is addictive but each week I return to then emerge in ever greater despair.
2137 days ago
I managed to tolerate her reading inane women's magazines but this really is a step too far. There was I, having done the weekly shop and cooked a full supper after a hard day's work , happily watching Newsnight. The BBC's finest metropolitan liberals had just explained to me how Brexit had ruined the economy anf how Russia was trying to help Donald Trump win the election by cheating, when the Mrs switched channel to the Graham Norton Show.
2146 days ago
According to Labour Health Secretary and rentaquote lardbucket Diane Abbott the 17 million folks who voted for Brexit did so because "they wanted to see fewer foreign looking people on the streets". Brexit voter = racist. Interesting.
2149 days ago
The presents for baby with no name continue to flood in. Last week saw a box arrive from the colleagues of the Mrs who had taken time off from filling the empty minds of impressionable millennials with left wing nonsense, to send us some gifts. There were flowers and chocolates for the Mrs but nothing for me as I am a patriarchal white man who exposed himself as an evil capitalist in a lecture given to the students of the Mrs. For the baby with no name there was a balloon and a small teddy.
2157 days ago
Given that the pizza Hard Man Darren Atwater is Canadian, thus by definition a deluded lefty, you have to give him credit for the idea. We now have only 41 days to find a name for my son and there is still no resolution to the dispute between myself and the Mrs. Maybe I should tell the Mrs that my best man gets the casting vote in the event of a deadlock and that he is going for Thatcher as a first name?
2160 days ago
Like Labour front bencher Emily Thornberry, our morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley is terrified of actually meeting a member of the working classes. Thus when a man fixing the bathroom wanders in or the cleaners arrive, as soon as they start speaking Polish he bolts and hides. Maybe Oakley is a racist and does not like Poles? Actually It is not that they are speaking Polish as on the odd occassion we have found Brits who will eschew welfare to work for £12 an hour, he also runs, especially when he hears a hoover revving up.
It is not that he is scared of people.
2162 days ago
Once again the Mrs and I tried to assemble the cot yesterday afternoon. It ended with me swearing and she insisting that I was not celebrating the impending birth and bursting into tears. I am really excited by what is happening but not by trying to make this ffing cot. We agreed to try again later.
At about 4 AM today
2167 days ago
Facing her first, unexpected night at the Hospital the Mrs found herself without a book or laptop. As such she needed to buy a general interest Women's magazine. We stared at the selection in the Co-Op before we wandered back towards the ward.
One publication was focusing on a new interview with Catherine Zeta Jones as she pumped her latest movie. This is a woman who has revealed her secrets to magazines and the TV so many times that the whole world already knows everything about her right down to the size of her cervix. In another magazine Claire Balding was promising to reveal all. What? You are a lesbian Claire? FFS I never knew that. You've been keeping that as a well guarded secret have you not? Has
2168 days ago
The baby has again turned around and so the Mrs is back in hospital. as we are now only five days short of due date I guess this is the final stint. I am finding it very hard to bite my lip as I experience the NHS first hand.
2171 days ago
Given that she is due to give birth to our son in nine days time I might just forgive her but the Mrs is pushing her luck.
Among the very few possessions of mine that are allowed in the house as opposed to the garage are a signed and framed Mark Cavendish shirt which, given what team it is from, is actually quite rare and a framed and signed Geoff Hurst 1966
2173 days ago
The first time I met my parents in law it did not go terribly well. I understood fully that a man who was at that stage worth minus £200,000 was, at 44, materially older than a darling daughter and who had been married before was not exactly an ideal potential son in law. Indian families want their daughters to marry up not to marry a bankrupt bum who is a proven marital failure. I understood.
My mother in law had been trying to arrange for the Mrs to get hooked up with a nice Indian dentist from Plymouth.
2192 days ago
It has arrived. My Hillary (Clinton) for Prison 2016 T-shirt is here. I think it looks great. But the Mrs is not sure that she wants to be seen with me if I am wearing it. The intolerance of the liberal left is frightening. As you can see below it is magnificent.
2202 days ago
Jeepers!. Folks must have thought I was a deluded lefty as the Mrs sent me off to Sainsbury's with a rafia bag emblazoned with the name and logo of her "new" university on it, so as not to use any plastic bags. It could have been worse, the Mrs does have one from a recent conference she attended. It boasts the emblem of "The British Sociology Association." It might as well say "mad middle class Guardian reading lunatic."
2219 days ago
Nottinghamshire Police Force ,led by the admirable Sue Fish, and working with the Nottingham Women's Centre has become the first UK police force to classify sexual harassment as a "hate crime" but what the Nottingham Rozzers define as harassment is terrifying. As the Mother-in-Law lives in Nottingham I must now steer well clear of her because I am - in that County - now guilty, on a regular basis, of acts which can constitute hate crime.
2223 days ago
Having recently noted the failure of my step brother T and the Mrs, collectively the younger generation, to know what a potato plant looks like, I suggest to my father that I might include broad beans in his supper tonight. "All gone" he says. "Really?" I responded "who said so?" er...it was your step brother T.
2226 days ago
Before every big election there are always a few luvvies who threaten to emigrate if the reactionary forces of nationalism and eveil capitalism (which have made them so stinking rich) are seen to triumph. That is to say we the plebs are told vote Labour/Remain or the luvvies are off. Paul O'Grady, aka drag Queen Lily Savage. notably said he'd flee the UK and his luxury London apartment and Kent farmhouse if the wicked Tories won in 2015.
O'Grady has, of course, refused to leave. What is his problem?
2233 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.
2236 days ago
After yesterday's encounter with an adder I was not exactly gagging to go frigana cutting today. The only real patches left are thick bushes whrere the shoots can be up to six foot tall and where, one imagines, snakes regard it as an ideal place to sit around waiting for prey. Or me. So I procastinated, swapping emails with David Lenigas, and writing a long piece on Tony Baldry, a loathsome scumbag former Tory MP who makes your avereage adder seem like a nice piece of work.
But I was conscious that I had enjoyed a few ouzos the night before and so needed to spend some time toiling in the heat to burn off those calories and so, in the end, plucked up courage and headed off to the fields.
Full of petrol
2238 days ago
You want photos of Mistras? You really should for it is truly an amazing place but patience dear friends, let me first tell you about our journey there. The Mrs was in charge of logistics....yes, I know, but I am a feminist so I did not kick up a fuss.
And so it was decided
2238 days ago
Who would believe that the fine cat below is the same species as my morbidly obese three legged moggie Oakley. The latter, for some reason, has a deep aversion to the working classes and so when middle class folk arrive he is uber-friendly. When tradesman arrive it is rather different. Right now plumbers are installing a new bathroom for the Mrs and Oakley is spending his entire working day cowering under the duvet in the top bedroom.
Back here in the Greek mountains
2244 days ago
And so our party finally made it through the large blue door which marks the entrance to the house that Paddy built in Kardamili. Turning right along a terrace open on one side we found ourselves with the rest of the group in the library. This was all rather different from the Greek Hovel.
2247 days ago
It was towards the end of the visit by the Mrs to Greece that we drove up to Mistra, a place that I had never visited before. I shall do a three part photo series on the trip shortly - as i while away my evenings at the Greek Hovel - but on the off chance you are planning a trip to Greece soon ensure that you visit this incredible place. Meanwhile here is the Mrs offering a side profile which now reminds me of East Anglia. She looks amazing don't you think?
2248 days ago
Well fingers crossed anyway - I cannot claim to be hiding my views! The Mrs flies back to the UK today so normal full work service resumes tonight. Pro tem I have comments on Vast Resources (VAST), Highlands Natural Resources (HNR), PHSC (PHSC), XCite Energy (XEL), Gulf Keystone (GKP), Totally (TLY) and Skil Ports & Logistics (SPL).
2249 days ago
Struggling to think what to say, the Mrs suggests that I tell you how wonderful she is. That is surely self evident. I then move onto Carolyn Fairbairn the head of the CBI who is not wonderful. She is in fact truly ghastly as I explain. Then it is onto the grim warnings from George Soros, amazing poll data from France and how we should reposition our portfolios accordingly.
2250 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.
2254 days ago
This is, I think, my shortest bearcast ever as I flag up that Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) is "in sights". Sorry Malcolm but it is acceptable to be bearish on a cancer stock. But the real message is that the Mrs is now looking very big and its time to put her first.
2254 days ago
I see from numerous congratulations messages from folks who I I do not know, sent via LinkedIn, that I am celebrating another anniversary. Having checked it out it appears that www.TomWinnifrith.com is four years old. It was a very strange birth indeed.
2258 days ago
I gather that back in the UK you have all had a spot of bother with thunderstorms and tornados. Has David Cameron managed to blame a surge in support for Brexit yet? Just watch out little people, if you back Boris and Priti you are all going to drown and here are a list of 100 experts who support that claim. Okay 98 of them are on the EU payroll in some way, shape or form but they are frigging experts and you are little people who cant be trusted to make your own minds up. So either start building an ark or vote the right way!
As it happens the mountains above Kardamili are also covered in dark clouds
2260 days ago
When the Mrs bought the Greek Hovel we were told that there were around 120-150 olive trees here. A few are wild so bear no fruit but still we had a lot of trees. I am now convinced that the number is far greater as I navigate the far reaches of the land. I do so more conscious than ever, after yesterday, that I am not alone as I work.
2260 days ago
For some reason I awoke early this morning. It is probably the knowledge that the Mrs lands at 11.30 Greek Time and so I have a fair bit of scribbling to do to ensure that you get your daily dose of golden prose and poisonous malice. As is my wont I threw open the front door ahead of doing to an olive tree what only a man can do. With a speed my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley could not even contemplate a small cat shot past me.
2260 days ago
There may not be a bearcast tomorrow. It is all down to the arrival of the Mrs as I explain. Meanwhile I look at Gulf Keystone (GKP) and XCite (XEL). The best time to kick a man is when he is down. So says Evil Knievil. And that applies to these two oilers where events are moving fast and the shares are near enough certs to be toast already. CIC Gold (CICG) is in an even worse state and today's RNS is a shambles. The curse of boy scout mugger Stuart Bromley strikes again. It is doomed. Then I discuss what, if anything, is wrong at TrakM8 (TRAK). Then a question raised by the share price move on Friday at ADVFN (AFN).
2273 days ago
I was on the phone to the Mrs who had some good news to relay when I heard the unmistakable voice of my neighbour Charon outside. Then he banged on the door saying "Tom, Tom." I had no choice. He knew I was there. I could not hide. I opened the door.
When I say neighbour it is not as if he is just round the corner. As the crow flies his place is about another mile up the mountain. By road it is a two mile trek and Charon had walked over and was there on my doorstep topless and sweating.
It is not that I dont like him, it is just that he insists on speaking English to me. His English is better than my Greek but not a lot better. And so we have long exchanges of words which really cant be described as conversations. Sometimes I get out my Greek English dictionary and try speaking Greek words. However we go about it it is painful.
The one bond we used to have was the common language of cigarettes.
2285 days ago
I am not actually living the hovel yet. I move in tomorrow for reasons I shall explain later. But I am driving out there each day to work on pruning the olive trees and cutting the frigana. After the mice yesterday today's wildlife diversity included a couple of lizards and...a snake. And how brave am I? I felt nervous as I approached but, just for you dear readers, I have a photo.
2289 days ago
The first time I encountered the woman who is now known as the Mrs but was formerly "The Deluded lefty" she made her views known by passing me her copy of The Guardian saying there was an article in it that I might find interesting. Since I fancied her big time, and still do, I did not respond "you must be kidding you daft lefty" but dutifully read the complete and utter piffle and feigned interest. On our second date I did not hold back as we had a big row over affirmative action.
But our relationship has survived. Her pals who are even more deluded than the Mrs quickly branded me as "the fascist boyfriend" for thought crimes like going to Lady Thatcher's funeral rather than having a party, for voting Tory and for believing in capitalism, Israel, freedom etc, etc.
The Mrs is this morning cheered by her news that the University Lecturers - greedy and lazy bastards - are going on strike to get even more money for doing sod all work. They better hurry up as pretty soon their 10 week summer vacation starts and they might actually have to cut into their Tuscany break to head back to Britain to man ( sorry, person) a picket line.
As a sociology lecturer, the Mrs has mad left views hard-coded into her DNA. She has never voted anything other than Labour. Until today.
2295 days ago
On the train back from London I did my best to sleep. The Mrs, on the other hand, pulled out a copy of Marie Claire which she now insists that she did not buy but had just "found." I glanced over. There was an article on how women could be more successful in their careers.
Point 8 -Smile. Apparently
2299 days ago
Hypnobirthing is apparently a way to make pregnancy less painful and stressful and so the Mrs and I went on a "taster" session with a private company charging an arm and a leg for full courses. I would rather have spent an hour watching paint dry as it was from beinnning to end both excruciatingly awful and also a really unpleasant sales pitch for old rope.
We were one of five couples. I was the only person in the room who has been through this birth process business before and the naivete of the other members of the Bristol middle classes present was jaw dropping. We started in a session where we split into three groups and had to say how many weeks we were, what our names were and what we brought us to the session. Honestly, I relayed that I thought the whole thing was a total con and I was there becuase my Mrs wanted me to be there. Our group spokesperson had to summarise what the 4 folks in our group thought but for some reason omitted my remarks.
This was a session about beng "nice" to everyone. A woman who was 28 weeks and had a face like a horse
2308 days ago
The Mrs has got it into her head that we need a new bathroom. And as such she has become an almost obsessional reader of tap and sink porn mags. I wander up to bed at night and there she is lying there with a mag full of different shaped taps. This sordid publication is hidden under the duvet being read by bedside light. She knows that I disapprove. Now it seems that mags are now not enough and so I was told that on Saturday I had to go to not one but two bathroom showrooms with her. It was live tap porn. I had a cunning riposte.
2309 days ago
It was 3PM and no articles had appeared on either site. last week I think I was averaging eight or nine a day and, so having filed only a handful yesterday, the complete lack of material was startting to ring alarm bells back in Clerkenwell. But Darren's texts went unanswered.
I truly feel rotten.
2323 days ago
Life is full of surprises. I was not expecting to be unemployed and worth minus £200,000 at 44. But that was just a challenge and one that has been overcome. TW 1 - Offshore asset strippers Minus a hell of a lot! And I was not expecting to be becoming a father again aged 48. But there we go.
2325 days ago
It is the birthday of the Mrs tomorrow and so tonight we entertain 20 of her mad lefty friends and no prizes for guessing who is doing all the cooking. It is her birthday but to have to cook then be nice to her mad friends as well is surely a cruel and unusual punishment for me. In this podcast I discuss a raft of tax issues including the Corbett question. Then it is a preview of "how not to be a bulletin board moron"
2330 days ago
When you are away for a short break what is the priority of the Mrs? It goes without saying that it is worrying about how our morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley is doing.
Is he alright? Is he
2338 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
2350 days ago
It is International Women's Day and I ponder how to celebrate now that the Mrs has cooked my breakfast and been made aware that my West Ham shirt needs cleaning. Then to the markets. Solgold (SOLG ) announced its placing last night - as I flagged it would at the weekend HERE - next up is Rose Petroleum (ROSE) where I flagged up the timing of the placing it must surely announce soon 90 days ago HERE. It is just about doing the bloody maths. I have a detailed look at Audioboom (BOOM) and then have a new message for the disgraced failed CEO pig that is [email protected] My other podcast to which I refer on why the sordid deal with Turkey MUST make you vote for Brexit is HERE
2355 days ago
For some reason my daughter is a soccer nut and has followed her father over land and sea (okay I exaggerate) as a diehard hammer. When she trains with her club it is in her West Ham shirt and shorts (Christmas present) and after big games we always have a chat. I have just received a delivery at the front door from the West Ham store.
You see it had a special offer a few days ago - a replica Cup Winners Cup shirt from 1965 for £19.65. So natch I bought two, one for me which I am now wearing - having taken off my Pride of E13 T-shirt which the Mrs had suggested was a tad in need of a wash - and one for the daughter. I shall post it later today and know that she will share the thrill I enjoyed whe her shirt arrives.
There have been times when I wondered if Social Services would be concerned about how I had introduced the daughter to The Irons.
2356 days ago
I shall not curse West Ham by going to watch the match tonight at The Conservative Club but for Striebs and others I am aware what is happening. Instead I shall be watching the new series of Grantchester with the Mrs and Oakley and I recommend it to one and all. I look at the latest Horse Shite ramp from David "I am incapable of telling the truth" Lenigas and flag up a placing rumour at UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) and also Regency Mines (REG). I look at the Pathfinder (PFP) disaster in detail and at Driver (DRV) where the curse of Steve "shagger" Norris strikes again. Madgascar Oil (MOIL) confirms that minority shareholders will be buggered and I look at the farce at Edenville (EDL). So that is three companies operating in Bongo Bongo land where PIs have been screwed today. Then there is a detailed look at games developer Frontier (FDEV) where the valuation is a rum and coke even after today's profits warning.
2390 days ago
The Mrs got a little confused and as a result she is in the doghouse and I am still in Bristol. I hope to arrive in Warwickshire to see my father this evening. Back on the markets Mellon-madness has broken out. I examine the joke that is the Condor Gold (CNR) ramp and also FastForward (FFWD). My pal Jim Mellon is clever..but not that clever. It is then onto worthless POS Arian Silver (AGQ), Asian Citrus (ACHL), Ten Alps (TAL) and the wider issue of earnings visibility discussed here. My Avanti Communications (AVN) reference is HERE and that is it for today.
2403 days ago
My father and I are both great fans of Midsomer Murders. Okay the plots are ludicrous but both Inspector Barnaby's have been interesting characters and the new Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) has a terribly funny dog. Ok I know it is fairly sad to admit this and so perhaps I should out Adam Reynolds as being another closet Midsomer fan just for the sake of solidarity.
My Mrs and my step mother regard Midsomer as terrible. I am not sure what Mrs Reynolds thinks but the Mrs/Step mum point out that the plots are ludicrous and all too predictable and frankly not very interesting. I suppose they do have a point but there is a comfort in the familiarity of it all.
The Mrs/step mum have also criticised Midsomer
2410 days ago
I forgot: belated many happy returns to my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley
It is only now that I logon to facebook for the first time in a week that an alert comes up. How could I forget? Oakley turned 15 on Tuesday. It is on his facebook page.
At least he has had a great week. The Mrs
2429 days ago
My sleep patterns disrupted by a late night screening of Star Wars and ealy morning writing to accomodate the travel arrangements of pizza Hardman Darren Atwater, I have only just woken up. The Mrs is out at a party with some Krauts and so I engage in a few reflections on a changing world and how that affects work and investment decisions. Malcolm Stacey is the cue...
2430 days ago
Today I was posting bottles of olive oil brought back from the Greek hovel to a few lucky folks like PR bird foxy Bex.It was a poor harves - 179 litres of oil this year - last year it was 574 litres. You always have a bad year followed by a good year and so on. You can mitigate that greatly if you are around in the summer to water the trees.
Indeed I "water" the four trees closest to the house personally several times a day
2430 days ago
I am still on the prescription pain killers as you may be able to guess. And I am still pondering what to get the Mrs for Christmas - any ideas please post away in the comments section. I end with a question for Jabba The Hutt and Afriag (AFRI): tell me David Lenigas what is happening on January 20 2016? In the podcast I cover Infrastrata (INFA), disappointing news from Armadale Capital (ACP), Inspirit (INSP), Octagonal (OCT) - two John Gunn /Lenigas creations - Asian Citrus (ACHL), eServGlobal (ESG), Impact Holdings (IHUK) and ask the question could WH Ireland (WHI) - full dossier on its sins HERE - run out of free cash soon? The answer after today is that the pensioner muggers could well do so. Karma.
2431 days ago
If you do not speak Greek you might just struggle with this. It would be all Greek to you. But this card is for the folks in the small village of Kambos in the Mani, Greece, the nearest settlement to where the Mrs has a property needing, er, one or two repairs. And so from both Tom Winnifrith's here is a few words for Christmas.
2433 days ago
This podcast ends with an apology to Doc Holiday. I am happy to set the record straight on which shit Patrick Cheetham stock he tipped and which was a Malcolm Stacey blunder. We start with another request for ideas on what I should get the Mrs for Christmas and thanks Mike from Scotland but it is not going to be a boob job. Then it is onto the disgrace that is African Potash (AFPO), Bonmarche (BON), retail generally, nasty remarks about Americans, Work Group (WORK) and today's Jabba The Hutt comment concerns LGO Energy (LGO)
2434 days ago
The Mrs listened to me recording Bearcast today and said that I seemed very happy. Maybe it is the thought of the next Afriag (AFRI) article I am working on or perhaps it was the second painkiller of the day kicking in? Or maybe a truly moronic Bulletin Board Moron posting? In this upbeat mood I discuss who should feature in this year's three part Christmas Carol? Fat Aussie share ramper David Lenigas or market abuser Chris Oil? Or should I run two series? Then a discussion on when Fitbug (FITB) goes bust. After that - in a bad language section - I discuss Arian Silver (AQG) and its fucktard PR man Dominic Baretto. I move onto Plethora (PLE), Aveva (AVV), Concha (CHA), 88 Energy (88E) and Caza Oil & Gas (CAZ) before rattling off the names of a few other small oilers that really are zeros.
On reflection: Warning bad language throughout
2439 days ago
This is ShareProphets writer and head honcho of the Steam Oil Company, Steve Brown presenting at Gold & Bears. Steve is currently doing an EIS fund-raising for his company and my Mrs is in. To read more about Steam Oil and details of the fundraise go HERE. Meanwhile enjoy the video.
2440 days ago
Even without my, pretty pathetic, assistance, George and his team completed the olive harvest today as I sat in the hospital. Last year it took us 5-6 days, this year it was just three. The sacks now lie at the village press whose boss greeted me like an old friend, forgetting that my Greek is somewhat weak but gabbling away happily. Tomorrow afternoon we press.
I shall take 16 litres in a can back to England for Christmas presents (Foxy Bex I have not forgotten) and personal use for the next 12 months. The rest I shall sell and that will cover George's wages, a bus fare back to Athens and maybe my flights. That is not really the point. Unless
2445 days ago
After a whole day spent at the Kourounis taverna in Kambos I have finally met up with George, the sprightly 60+ Albanian who leads our olive harvest. I called lovely Eleni at the hospital to see if she had any idea how to track him down. She gave birth to a baby girl yesterday and admitted to being a bit tired but knows she will be back in the kitchen by Sunday and so is gearing herself up. She offered up an idea of where to find George's number.
Lovely Eleni's younger sister, who is really very, very lovely too, called and at about seven tonight in wandered George. In great relief I hugged the man for I was starting to panic. As ever, I bought him a Tsipero and myself an ouzo. And we sat in silence as he speaks not a word of English and my Greek is er...rather weak. But lovely Eleni's very, very lovely younger sister
2460 days ago
No it is not my Mrs but a comrade of hers who wishes to go to volunteer to help the migrants landing up in Greece from Syria and other places made hell holes as a result of misguided Western meddling. I know being nice to migrants is not popular in all quarters. I don’t expect Nigel Farage to donate. But we are in this household and if you have some compassion I ask you to consider a small donation.
2481 days ago
The Mrs was heading off to town for important business. I was sitting in the front room tapping away but as she unlocked the door I hear a loud shriek. Before I could react she was scuttling back into the kitchen, grabbing an unsuspecting cat and the next thing I heard was “Tara go for it!”
Tara was not interested in the cause of the great terror, a frog which just sat there blinking stupidly. Tara retreated to her food. The Mrs was persuaded to leap across the poor little frog.
To use a cat as a shield. Not the way to celebrate National Cat Day. I am shocked.
2485 days ago
The Mrs saw a trailer for a film she thought was a comedy, The Lobster. Amid some grumbling from myself about watching Suffragettes, she offered this as an alternative. Whatever.
It turns out to be a film about a dystopian word where marriage is compulsory and if you can’t find a partner they turn you into an animal. It was as ludicrous as it was utterly pointless. A few hipsters behind us laughed sporadically but that just confirmed my view that all hipsters are dickheads. The film contained cringe making faux sexual arousal scenes and gruesome and gratuitous nastiness.
Colin Farrell did his best as the lead, but The Lobster is without doubt
2490 days ago
Globo (GBO) is now the No 1 short on AIM and I explain why. Then I take a listener request - this is one off favour - and look at Messaging International (MES). Then onto LGO Energy (LGO) where I explain why the Bulletin Board morons are wrong and my target price is either 0p or 0.2p. UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) is heading down to 0.75p and I explain why. Rurelec (RUR) could well be a zero but is certainly a slam dunk sell. And then it is back to preparing my lecture for the lefty sociology students of the Mrs tomorrow "Capitalism makes the world a better place for all (Greed is Good)"
2495 days ago
My uber foxy legal team is on standby. I trust that I will not get flamed in the way that whining tedious feminist Charlotte Proudman flamed her LinkedIn admirer, for saying that my barrister/lawyer legal team are very foxy. well they are. That is fact. And they are on standby for when our latest opponent can get round to serving me properly. I discuss that plus panic for myself and the cats as the Mrs returns then Vmoto (VMT), Carclo (CAR), PeerTV (PTV), Afriag (AFRI), Iofina (IOF) and Fitbug (FITB). CEB Resources (CEB) is coming up later.
2503 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
2519 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,
2527 days ago
The Mrs has finally relented, realising that if I give a lecture to her students then it is one less for her, an overworked public sector employee, to have to prepare for. And so her students in sociology will have their “capitalism module” lecture from me. This will be a bit of a shock since, as you might imagine, the gist of this module is normally “Capitalism is evil”. My lecture will be titled “Capitalism Makes the World a Better Place for all” with the subtext – Greed is Good.
I cannot wait. For too long these impressionable young folk have had their minds filled with failed Marxist theories by folks with no private sector experience. Now they get to learn how the world really works and why the answer to all its problems is more capitalism and more freedom not more intervention and oppression by the dead hand of the State.
The Mrs, the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty, has imposed two conditions.
2559 days ago
The Mrs popped along during visiting hours to see Tara on her overnight stay in hospital. She seems to be perking up and when I have taken out a second mortgage to pay the vets bill I shall go pick her up later today. She seems content and is eating like a horse which is good.
2559 days ago
And so Monday dragged on with Tara the cat refusing to eat or drink more than a few sips of water despite the £300 invested the prior day in seeking emergency treatment from the vet. By the evening we took matters into our own hands. The Mrs held poor Tara tight and I forced her mouth open and with a syringe (no needle) forced her (Tara not the Mrs) to drink some cat milk. She seemed to perk up a bit and was again allowed to sleep with us.
I was keen to slumber after a hard day in the private sector but the Mrs is now on her prolonged public sector funded summer vacation and so was keen to read a book on how capitalism causes global poverty or some such nonsense and so kept the light on. And that attracted a moth.
Oakley, our morbidly obese three legged cat, followed the little moth closely but was too lazy to do anything about it. But all of a sudden Tara was once again her old self,
2561 days ago
Thanks for all the enquiries about my cat Tara, who I snapped as she slept earlier today as you san see below. Last night we took her to the vets for emergency blood tests as she was refusing to eat or drink and barely moving. She had lost 600g in bodyweight in six weeks (going down to just 2.7kg) and we feared the worst.
2569 days ago
No doubt some (the Mrs) will accuse me of sexism as I discuss in this week's postcard what the unimpressive Women's FA Cup Final says about the BBC. The case for privitization grows stronger by the day.
2570 days ago
I’m on my way to Warwickshire, the Mrs has a meeting in London and so – until Didcot at least – we are on the same train. She has bought The Independent, a truly dreadful publication, which on every issue (lazy doctors, murderous Jew-hating Palestinians, economic migrants, the works) is on the wrong side. But I find myself reading it anyway. How I suffer. And then on page 53…it is me.
The City coverage of the Indy is dire. The paper hates capitalists and so its line is drearily predictable. But today it runs a full page feature “Take AIM, Fire! The former armed robber unmasked as oil firm’s boss.” How very behind the news curve.
2575 days ago
The Mrs hails from the Grim Northern post industrial wastelands and so to keep in touch with life in the welfare safari is an avid viewer of Coronation Street. I admit that I was watching two episodes last night as a refresher course on what life is like in the slums of Manchester. And that brings me to a few comments on today's other Manc Soap, the strange tale of Brokerman Dan. Then it is onto Gate Ventures an ex AIM Casino fraud which has put out the most amazing announcement this morning and that is the main point of this podcast. Roland "fatty" Cornish I hope you are listening.
2577 days ago
The Mrs and I are separated by two great divides. The first is that she is a deluded lefty who belies in the State rather than the individual and that capitalism is the root of all evil rather than the engine of mankind’s progression whereas I am a libertarian. The second is that she is a townie who has never lived where I grew up, the country.
So though an enthusiastic meat eater she recoils at the idea of killing anything. I find it easy. And I sometimes think that she thinks that raspberries and potatoes grow in punnets at Tesco. So just for her a couple of pictures…
My father’s garden in Shipston is full of life. And so there are raspberries a plenty to pick, the last of the potatoes and strawberries, red currants, black currants and still to come gooseberries and yet more raspberries.
Note to the Mrs & other townies:
2587 days ago
In Free Speech & Liberty Pizza House every table is topped with a little card explaining why we are called what we are called and a bit about the work we do on ShareProphets. Folks read them and the feedback is great, after all who doesn’t believe in free speech?
2591 days ago
A brief podcast as I prepare to spend a morning on the beach with the Mrs. Then it is off to Athens. She thinks she is seeing a la dee da play. I am heading there for riot porn as the Greece Grexit crisis hots up again. Is Tsipras planning to betray the Hellenic Republic? Will he get away with it? Will Greece be booted out of the Euro anyway by the Krauts? Then a few words on the farce at Sefton as Jimmyliar Ellerton tries to make it go bankrupt via legal means. And then to the con Worthington.
And fear not Champagne Charlie Gibson fans, I had not forgotten about you. Just a reminder of why the Edison analyst is a convicted felon HERE and as a bonus a reminder of how it is not only the poor he screws HERE - and a reminder of why I feel the urge to remind you all HERE
2595 days ago
It came as rather a shock earlier this year: I owed the electricity company 975 Euro for the Greek hovel she owns in the Mani region. In May the Mrs and I headed into Kalamata with our friend George the architect and established that in fact we owed 20 Euro. The former owner of the hovel, a witch called Athena, had not paid for three years and owed 955 Euro.
The electricity company should, of course, have cut her off but this is Greece and it did not. She had also not been cut off by the water despite not paying for two years but we had already forced her to pay that tab.
We paid our twenty Euro and the electricity company contacted Athena. She lied, cast some spell over the electricity folk and so we were told we would get cut off. Dam it. It is only 955 Euro, I do not wish to get cut off and I just never want to have to deal with Athena again.
My hero, Paddy Leigh Fermor famously noted in his book “The Mani” that nearly every Greek is generous, honest and hospitable in a way unmatched anywhere else. But just now and again you meet a total bastard who just serves as a reminder as to how wonderful his or her compatriots are. Athena is just such a bastard.
2598 days ago
The Mrs is to join me in Greece on Monday morning but made a bit of a boo boo when booking her outward flight. That is to say she booked it for the day after we return rather than for late Sunday night. Belatedly she realised the error and called the airline having already coughed up £380.
Luckily she had booked with the charming Greek airline Aegean who – for a small admin fee – switched the flight and wished her well.
Just imagine that she had flown with Ryanair:
Ryanair: “Hellow this is Europe’s top low cost airline how can we help you?
2601 days ago
The Mrs has given me the green light and in fact is almost certain to join me as I head off to Greece ahead of Sunday’s referendum for a touch of riot porn and poverty porn blogging from Syntagma Square in Athens.
2605 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
2617 days ago
All world something days are a joke dreamed up by fools in the non-productive sector to waste our time. Okay, not all. #WorldGinDay was a serious occassion which the Mrs and I duly celebrated. But today is a joke of the highest order.
2618 days ago
The Mrs took me along to the Bristol Refugee fair today. The stalls were almost all manned by "fake charities". Before you explode listen to the podcast to see how a fake charity is defined. I choose my words carefully. There were also two stalls urging me to boycott Israel. Those manning them may not be actual Jew haters but the way that they totally ignore a series of hard facts to make ludicrous claims makes them sound like Jew haters. The whole affair disgusted me. I am sympathetic to genuine refugees and would like to see reforms to make it easier for them to seek refuge in the UK. But the actions and lies of those present today make it impossible for me to make common cause with them. To those who make common cause with the Jew haters never study history?
2618 days ago
Next week it is a party organised by the maddest lefty among the mad lefties who the Mrs counts as her friends. The last time I met this woman she was celebrating the application of an academic colleague to obtain taxpayer funding on a project "how black women have suffered under austerity". You really do not know where to start with such nonsense but I am booked in for another dose of it a week today.
But as a bit of a warm up, the Mrs has arranged a treat for this afternoon, visting the Bristol refugee fair. I somehow think that I may be the ideological fish out of water. I brace myself.
I should note that though my Mrs may be a deluded lefty she has numerous plus points among which is her amazing tolerance of my views. Free speech denier she is not. Although, to avoid getting duffed up this afternoon, I suspect that I may be biting my lip on a number of occassions.
2619 days ago
Tara was due a vets visit two weeks ago but cunningly broke out of the house, found some food and thus got a repreieve. The Mrs was not to be foiled again and so, on Thursday night, the thinner of our two cats was treated to a wet-food treat of a supper and then put on a strict regime. She and the morbidly obese three legged Oakley were locked up away from all food.
Friday morning came and the cats were in full cry. Sometimes in unison and sometimes in rotation they mewled and demanded food. But there was no relenting and at 8.30 Tara was put in her carrying box - which she hates - and bustled off to the vets. We need to discover why a cat that eats like a horse is so terribly thin. The results arrive on Tuesday.
Suffice to say that after her ordeal and Oakley's fasting, which he regarded as a breach of his basic human rights, both creatures have been spolied rotten by both of us.
2626 days ago
It is just Dad and myself here in Shipston right now. My father wishes to watch the news and Dad's Army. Sadly my stepmother has, in the name of progress, bought a new TV. It has two remote controls. My Mrs bought us one with three. And as with her boxes of torture my father and I have now been struggling to get the screen to show anything other than "no signal" for half an hour.
Bring back the good old days
2628 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.
2633 days ago
I sit with my back to the door at the Kourounis taverna typing away, writing almost anything to avoid the torture of completing the subbing of Zak Mir's book. Is it too early for an ouzo to stiffen my resolve to face the torture that awaits?
The cop at the Kardamili police station, who lives in my home village of Kambos, has just wandered in and pats me on the back "yas Tom" says he and wanders to the bar. This reminds me that I visited the police station at Kardamili once again last week. You may remember that last summer I spent a couple of hours detained at the Kadamili nick thanks to a bent cop and bent hotelier and so my memories of the place were, shall we say, mixed.
But I am trying to get Greek residency so that I can buy a car, a motorbike and a gun for the Greek Hovel. And that means that I had to go to Kardamili police station to present my papers. I took my Greek speaking wife with me for protection. Would I meet the bent cop who incarcerated me last year? Would I meet his goon of an assistant who looks like the nasty gay character in Coronation Street? I was rather nervous.
2635 days ago
Kardamili has no sandy beaches and so is not a family resort. It has no bars and cafes serving fish and chips, burgers and cheap lager. Folks seeking sun, sea, sand and burgers and a pint of Fosters head to Stoupa down the road. Kardamili is an oasis of gentility which the Mrs rather prefers - for reasons I cannot understand - to The Greek Hovel and life in Kambos. And so last week I swapped the hovel for six days in a luxury hotel. It's a hard life.
A fortnight ago Kardamili hosted a Norwegian jazz festival.
2636 days ago
Ok rabble, it is the last day in Greece with the Mrs. She flies home to her true love (Oakley, the morbidly obese three legged cat) later and so this is just a short message on a day when the stockmarket is showing signs of true madness. Should we all give up being value investors and buy any old rubbish and go with the flow? No. It will end in tears. Inter alia I refer to Coms, Daniel Stewart, Scotgold, Kea Petroleum and the China bubble.
2639 days ago
A morning at the Greek Hovel working on frigana poisoning, lunch by the sea at Kitries and then a leisurely drive over the mountain roads back to Kardamili. That was the order of the day for the Mrs and myself. I write from the bar of the wonderful Meletsina Village hotel - my top tip for staying in Karadmili - with a Gin & Tonic looking out over the sea in the late afternoon sun. But I am frustrated.
As we drove over the mountains, the Mrs cried "there's a snake". Sure enough there was indeed a snake slithering towards safety on the other side of the road. These days I think Greek so without hesitating I swerved sharply, not thinking of what might be heading the other way around the next bend, and drove over the middle of the snake. Kill! Thought I.
But much to my dismay
2643 days ago
Sorry is this is a bit personal and short but the Mrs arrived at 3 AM and I have better things to do than natter to you lot all day. However I do have a good few words on Plus500 but also on the nature of the material on this website.
2644 days ago
I was meant to pick the Mrs up at Kalamata airport in about thirty minutes but it appears that she is back at Gatwick. Her plane was struck by lightening and so had to turn back. Now her phone battery is dead so what to do? Sit in Kalamata and have an ouzo or two? Sounds like a plan.
Meanwhile it has been a two snake day.
2646 days ago
On the way back through the olive groves at the top of snake hill tonight I found myself tracking a fox. It did not seem too scared and eventually trotted off into the bushes. But that was not the real wildlife diversity news today - I met a snake.
I was travelling into the village in the early evening for a salad. Roadworks yesterday on abandoned monastery hill meant that I have been forced to discover a new way to get from the bottom of the valley into the village. It is a side track, not in that bad a condition, which winds its way all the way up to the top of the village past a little abandoned church coming out above our new big church. So from the top of that track you actually go downhill again to the Kourounis taverna. One day I shall draw a map for you all.
I was biking along thinking about nothing in particular when I heard a crunch under the wheels. I pulled up and looked back and about five yards behind me was a small snake. It is the small snakes that are the dangerous ones, the nine poisonous types of adder here in Greece.
There were three scenarios.
2651 days ago
I thought that I had driven the live rat from the Greek Hovel but as I returned tonight I heard a distinct scuttling noise. A year ago I would have panicked but these days I am just not scared of the little critters any more. And so I picked uo the mini spade I use to clear ash from the fireplace and headed towards the noise.
I saw the rat dart under a pile of rugs. I lifted them ine by one and at rug five there stood the rat - a small thing about three inches long excluding tail - blinking in the light.
Thwack. I missed.
2655 days ago
At 7 AM it is clear that the Tories are going to be able to govern alone for five more years. As someone who runs a small business, who would like the economy to prosper, to see jobs created and the deficit cut and who wants us all to have a say on Europe I rejoice. My only regret is that I was not with her wife and her lefty pals at their election night party as they tried to work out how to but the corks back in the champagne bottle.
I noted in a podcast a couple of days ago that there could be a Dewey moment,
2659 days ago
The Mrs wrote me a stern list of the jobs I must do before I leave for Greece. It does not matter that it is raining cats and dogs, today was my deadline. As such I now sit drenched from head to toe having done as ordered. I trust that she is reading this and feeling guilty.
The patch between our house and the garage, where I have now been sent to work, is the garden. It is where I smoke and where the cats do “their business”
2662 days ago
I had a routine doctor’s appointment at 11 and was dreading it. “How much do you drink? Do you know smoking is bad for you?” “No doc, when I said a bottle I meant a day not a week and no is it? When did they find that out?” But I was spared this little treat by Oakley, my morbidly obese three legged cat who started screaming at 10.40 and then showed himself unable to walk. His sole back leg was just being dragged along the floor.
I thought back to the demise of poor Kitosh, my old cat who behaved in this way as
2663 days ago
The Mrs is finally back from India tonight but her delay is clearly a breach of my human rights. Will any political party remedy this? The podcast refers back to yesterday's bonus China fraud Bearcast on Gate & Naibu (see HERE) before moving into the farce of today's two China Norfolks in the news, JQW and Sorbic. Then there are the lessons we learn from Arria, the Kenmare tale, Optare, Mosman and Ubisense which seems like a POS.
2663 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
2666 days ago
Theodora seems like a pleasant enough young lady and – for a politician - actually not bad looking either but the poor girl made the dreadful mistake of knocking on my door personally as she fights the Tory cause here in the safe Labour seat of Bristol East.
I opened the door and she said “Hi I am Theo Clarke” and I said “I Know who you are and I have written about you, you are not a proper Tory, you say Government should do more to create jobs. It should do less and butt out and let entrepreneurs create jobs but I’m voting for you anyway.”
I suspect poor Theo was rather taken aback.
2669 days ago
Oakley and Tara are terrified of her hoover but the cats know that even more frightening would be the wrath of the Mrs were she to arrive back next week and see the State of the house. Thank God the cleaning lady has arrived and like the German army sweeping through France in 1940 she has cleared away all evidence of our various transgressions. Only one challenge now remains.
2670 days ago
The Mrs. is still in India on work. Today she is visiting the house once inhabited by my great great grandfather Sir Courtney Ilbert in Shimla. It is now a luxury hotel. How nouveau. The result is that I am in residence with the cats who are in utter disgrace having caused me another day of living without trousers.
The house is perhaps not as tidy as it might be in normal times. With the Mrs. away it is back to a student routine of washing a plate before you eat rather than afterwards. I sense that before the Mrs. gets back I may be paying the cleaning lady to do a double shift to hide evidence of what myself and the cats have been up to in terms of housework. Or rather lack of it.
The cats are in disgrace.
2681 days ago
The Mrs touches down in Delhi tomorrow morning and that and a film we watched last night set me thinking about all those family links to India strteching back to 1856: Knatchbull-Hugeson, Eleanor Booker, the Ilbert Bill and my grandmother Margaret Booker. A personal family tour through history podcast.
2681 days ago
I hope that I am not too late but yesterday I posted, first class, my postal vote application for the General Election. The Mrs had offered to post it but given her track record of Labour dirty tricks (not including me on the electoral register) I declined that offer. And so, assuming I have applied in time, I am off.
Meanwhile the Mrs, the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty, received a card in an envelope with a stamp showing the face of Britain’s Greatest ever Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher. I told the Mrs to throw away the card but to treasure the envelope. She was not amused.
2685 days ago
Thanks to bloody Doc Holiday and the Mrs and her damned organic vegetable box this is my third take on this Bearcast and I have thus wasted 40 minutes of prime time working and am not pleased. In the podcast I look at Wildhorse Energy and insider dealing ( no apologies for crude racial sterotypes about Australians and how they got there), Daniel Stewart, Good Energy and Malcolm Stacey's other weekend share tips, Mosman Oil & Gas and have a detailed look at Condor Gold.
2688 days ago
After yesterday's podcast, it was put to me by a Euro loving loon (but good man) on twitter that Greece defaulting on its debts and leaving the Euro would be bad news for me, as my wife owns a small property in Greece – the Greek Hovel. He is correct: anyone with Greek assets would take an immediate hit after Grexit. But here is why I support the move anyway.
The hit the Mrs will take is twofold. Firstly the Hovel will now be valued in drachmas which will be a weak currency compared even to the failing Euro. As such the Sterling value of the property will plunge. She has probably lost 10% already and she’d lose another 25% overnight.
Secondly when the Greek banks are nationalised they
2696 days ago
I wrote yesterday that I was considering voting Labour because it is only the People’s Party and its local standard bearer Ms Kerry McCarthy that understand the critical important of tackling the seagull menace here in Bristol East and have pledged to put it top of their agenda. My good friend Amanda is cross with me and has sent me a stern email.
Whilst I accept her point that the economy, Europe, crime and other matters are important I am still in two minds. Perhaps her reaction is symptomatic of how out of touch folk in London are with life in the rest of the country? What with their underwater yoga classes and other funny ways I cannot expect them to appreciate the true Seagull peril we face here in the boonies. And only Kerry and the People’s party seem to appreciate this.
On the other hand the smile on the face of the deluded middle class lefty that is the Mrs when I announced that I was thinking of back Ed Miliband thanks to the sterling efforts of Kerry McCathy has made me think again. I cannot give her that pleasure. Okay, fear not Amanda I have stopped floating and am back with the Tories. But I would like them to stop blathering on about things like the economy and to let us know how they plan to tackle the big issue we face down here. What about the Seagulls Mr Cameron? What are you going to do about it?
2699 days ago
Jeepers, I am meant to be preparing a romantic meal for two tonight and I have not even started. The Mrs will not be pleased but it is a busy day. On this podcast I cover China frauds -and invite you to vote on which will be the next AIM Casino China Norfolk to see its shares suspended (HERE), Monitise, Eclectic Bars, Coms and more.
2702 days ago
Capitalists are the heroes of society not public sector workers. We pay for everything. We risk our capital to create jobs to create wealth and to pay for the lazy, overpaid, smug and pampered public sector. And capitalism drives social mobility, the public sector crystallises poverty whatever its hectoring cheerleaders say abiut affirmative action and equal opportunity. Yes I was at a party of with pals of the Mrs last night and this is the "blowback"
2703 days ago
A younger wife means that I have to attend parties, something a man of my age should be dodging. Cocoa, slippers and a quiet night watching Midsomer Murders with Oakley, that is what I want on a Saturday evening, not a trip up to London for a party.
At least it will be recognised that I am an older man so I will be offered a seat in the corner where I can fall asleep as the young folk stand, chat and do whatever young folk do. Texting? Drugs? I just don’t know.
The hosts are among the least mad of the friends of the Mrs.
2705 days ago
The Mrs and I were away for the weekend and so were not able to file a couple of UKIP flyers that came through the door in an appropriate place. However my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley made his own political statement on top of them as you can see below.
Normally, when he opts to use the space where we once had a front doormat before he soiled it repeatedly as his inside lavatory, the Mrs – the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty - responds with an ASBO, that is to say locking him in the kitchen. But on this occasion she expressed a degree of pride and rewarded the old boy rather than punishing him.
Now let’s wait for the Labour flyers. I have had words with my capitalist cat Tara on how to deal with them
2722 days ago
The man at the hardware store in Kambos said there was no need to buy snake repellent canisters as they will not wake up till June and I’m back in May. I am not so sure about that as I distinctly remember meeting a snake on what is known as the snake veranda on my first visit to the hovel in April. But I did not argue, I said efharisto and shook his hand warmly.
2739 days ago
In five days time I shall be landing in mighty Hellas. Within six days I should be back among my friends in the little village of Kambos. The weather forecast says that it will be minus 7 tonight at the Greek Hovel. I imagine that the Taygetus mountains that stetch out behind the Hovel are capped with snow.
On the bright side, I spoke to lovely Eleni from the Kourounis taverna yesterday. I called and said in my best Greek "kale-nichta" at which point she laughed and said "oh, hello Tom." I guess there are not many folks who call who speak Greek as badly as I do. Anyhow plans are underway for frigana burning with George the olive picker.
Also on the bright side, at minus seven the snakes are still going to be very much asleep.
On the minus side I sense that the hovel might be a little on the nippy side. We shall brush over the matter of my Greek lessons, I have promised the Mrs I will do some revision before she returns from the Grim North tomorrow. So don't call me in the morning even if you are Quindell whistleblower. Meanwhile I am doing a spot of revision with Despina.
2740 days ago
Once again apologies to any pervs who are disappointed having found this page via SEO. For the first time Tara ( the sleek but greedy cat) and the morbidly obese three legged Oakley are in action (or lack of it) together. As you can see Benefits Street when fully sprawled out takes up half a double bed. He thinks it is his bed. The Mrs and I used to think that it was ours.
2744 days ago
Tara, who makes her video debut below, may not be related to Oakley but the two have lived together for all of their 13 years. She may be sleek and slim but she is the capitalist cat. Oakley does nothing all day and is thus sometimes referred to as Benefits Street. Tara believes that Greed is Good and thus eats far more than Oakley either from her food bowl or by snacking on human food whenever she can grab it. I guess she has a higher metabolic rate than Oakley and she also takes plenty of exercise patrolling the garden.
I first met the two of them in the Isle of Man after the sudden death of my previous cat Kitosh. His ashes travelled with me in the years that followed and are now buried in a wooden cat shaped urn underneath a newly planted thyme bush at the bottom of our Garden in Brislington.
At the MSPCA sanctuary as I wandered along seeking a replacement for Kitosh the sweet young kittens grabbed all the attention. But in one cage there were two much older cats Tara and Oakley. Well I was told there were two. Oakley
2745 days ago
The local Tory candidate for the Bristol East Seat, Theo Clarke has just stuffed a flyer through our letterbox. The Mrs, being a deluded lefty, saw the flyer from Theo – who seems like a nice young lady – and noting the party said “it’s for you.”
Hmmm. I was hoping to see that Ms Clarke wants to slash welfare spending, introduce huge tax cuts for lower paid workers, and tackle the grotesque waste in the NHS and other branches of Government as she reduced the size of our bloated - and totally unaffordable – state. Maybe she might believe in other Tory policies like law and order or lifting the red tape and regulatory burden on small businesses? Er no….
Her priorities are:
2745 days ago
It strikes me that videos of my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley are now getting more views than some of the writers on ShareProphets. Perhaps I should fire a few of the scribes and just go into business with my cat? Maybe not. As Oakley is a 14 year old obese cancer survivor the actuaries would not rate this long term business model.
Oakley regards our marital bed as his own and gives me a dirty look when I intrude on him and the Mrs. Normally fishy breath snuggles up to the deluded lefty and gazes adoringly into her eyes. And she reciprocates and they talk about Coronation Street and other matters that concern folks from the Grim North. But if he hears my footsteps he heads off to the other end of the bed and plays all innocent.
And so as the public sector worker
2748 days ago
My morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley now tips the scales at 9 llbs and so is meant to be on a strict diet. I suspect that the Mrs has been helping him snack when I am away and they lie on the sofa watching Coonation Street together. Since the Mrs works in the public sector she is not an early riser and so I hand out breakfast to Oakley and the ultra slim Tara at c 8 AM. It is now 11.30 and Oakley reckons that he is starving and begs for more
2751 days ago
In response to popular demand (The Mrs, Mu, Darren, Martha and Brokerman Dan) I bring you a short video of my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley taking his morning exercise and negotiating the (extra large) cat flap.
2752 days ago
As part of the dirty tricks campaign waged by the Labour party, the Mrs left me off the electoral register thereby denying me the opportunity to vote. I am sure that Ed Miliband is profoundly grateful to his one loyal supporter in this household for this act of electoral sabotage.
As luck would have it, the Mrs is away, and a letter from Bristol City Council has landed on the doormat. It stresses that “Your vote matters, make sure you’re in.” Keen to ensure that the sanctimonius eco-Nazis at Bristol City Council do not target me for disobeying them I have done as they urged and registered online to vote and applied for a postal vote at the same time. I have now filed the letter and envelope in the correct recycling bin.
But can Bristol prove that my vote matters? As far as I can see none of the main parties, and I include UKIP and the Greens to humour any fruitcakes or eco-smellies who are reading, are prepared to be honest with the electorate about the deficit and debt. None are prepared to fess up that with an ageing population we just have to extend the retirement and pension age by a decade and a half, to slash welfare spending and to accept that we cannot any more afford an NHS giving free healthcare on demand.
But no politician is honest about this. They all tinker
2752 days ago
I really cannot be bothered to walk down to the cashpoint machine at the bottom of the hill. It is too close to drive to but a bit of a schlepp to walk to. And so with the Mrs and her purse away how will I fund the essentials of this weekend: 40 Marlboro lights, a pint of milk and a cab fare to Bristol Temple Meads?
As another reminder of my student days it was a matter of rummaging in the pockets of my trousers and coat. What a lot of junk: a letter (unread) from my Aunt Lucy, my passport which carry at all times in case I need to flee the country to escape the jihadists of the QPPSAG, used train tickets, an entry pass to Beaufort Securities, a good weighting of Euros but there was more…
2753 days ago
The Mrs is away visiting her folks in the grim frozen Northern post-industrial wastelands and so it is just myself and the cats living a chaotic life here in Bristol. I am not sure the house is terribly tidy and my routine is shot to pieces and so at 6 PM I went up to bed for a nap with the cats but awoke with a start two hours later thanks to a shocking nightmare.
This rather startled the cats who were somewhat perturbed at the intrusion of a stranger in what they regard as their bed although it is in fact that in which the Mrs and I sleep.
As it happens I had two interviews at Oxford, one not quite as successful as the other. Like Evelyn Waugh I was rejected by Christchurch, The House, the college of the establishment and the thick aristocracy and also the college attended by most of my family. And like Evelyn Waugh, I ended up at Hertford, a modest and impoverished establishment rather looked down upon by House types for admitting women, Northerners and grammar school boys. I was thinking about those two interviews as I lay awake pondering my nightmare but the actual history is for another day.
Suffice to say that there is a tradition of great writers being rejected by the House only to end up at Herford.
Back to the nightmare. For some reason it appeared that my second Oxford interview has been unsuccessful as my first but somehow I had been offered a third bite at the cherry
2754 days ago
I was chatting to a chap in the grim North today. Snow was falling and he said that at 7 AM this morning with less than an inch of global warming on the ground the kids had been texted: School is closed. We reflected how life had changed.
Even during the winter of 1979, I cannot remember Warwick School for Boys shutting down. When we are at the junior school snow meant that Headmaster Jack Marshall would allow us to wear long trousers rather than our normal shorts. It could have been minus 5 but if there was no snow, it was shorts as normal for the younger boys.
If the rugby pitches were covered in snow we played anyway. Snow is soft. When snow turned to ice it was a freezing cross country run instead. Boy did I hate that.
The point is that the school never closed. And snow meant snowballs which is not quite the harmless game it sounds. The sixth form would amass on the centre of a rugby pitch and the rest of the school would advance from a car park to throw snow balls. And then in snatch parties, as in the army, the brutes would rush out and try to catch an advancing “nipper” who would promptly find himself having snow shoved up
2754 days ago
Up and at it quite early I switched the kettle on and… boom… all power on the house was lost. Normally I am pretty good at dealing with the fuse box under the stairs but today I was defeated. Leaving the Mrs (still in bed with Oakley the three legged cat) to call an electrician I sped off in the car in desperate search of a place to work.
The Arnos Manor hotel in Brislington is a building I pass most days but have never visited. It offers an excellent Wedding service and the staff here have been delightful. I have sat happily in its bar mainlining lattes and tapping away since just before eight. Situated next to the stunning Arnos Vale Victorian cemetery – one of the major attractions of Brislington – I cannot thank the staff too much here for their courtesy and friendliness.
The Mrs has just wandered in. A little man
2757 days ago
The box set was my Christmas present to the Mrs. As she is a deluded lefty you would expect her to empathise with a hopelessly liberal White House. As you might have gathered I have no time for the Jed Bartlett administration. They want to spend so much of other folks cash on daft projects, I want to tear my hair out.
Ainsley Hayes – now she is my sort of woman. I can’t wait for the appearance of Arnie Vinnick. For now I have to tolerate Jed and his team. But I cannot help it, I come away from an episode and am inspired by them. Tonight Leo and Toby agree that the battle for re-election has begun (we are on series 2). Jeepers I hope they lose and lose badly. Yet I don’t. I know it is not good for America or a free world but.. heck I want them to win (and know they do anyway). They inspire me.
Is this because the Mrs is leading me astray? No. Or perhaps other conservatives feel the same way? It is all rather confusing.
2757 days ago
Oakley is somewhat in the doghouse after yet again leaving a deposit on the doormat and so today both he and his friend Tara are confined to the kitchen with myself. No run of house is allowed for either. But Oakley, who now weighs a disgraceful 9 llbs, has just three legs and is also known as Benefits Street becuase he dos nothing all day other than eat, sleep and watch trash TV with the Mrs, is the hero of the day.
For Oakley spotted another cat - almost as large as him wander into our garden. The normally fearless Tara did nothing. And so the old boy hopped off the sofa, hopped
2760 days ago
As you know I have guided West Ham to the brink of Champions League football by studiously paying no attention to every game played and avoiding going anywhere near a match or even watching on TV. When I have weakened and thought about attending a game, suddenly The Irons stop playing like Brazil and start playing like a Hackney Marshes side. I must warn you that with the Hammers travelling to my home City of Bristol this Sunday for an FA Cup game, my resolve weakened.
My daughter is in town and I tried to buy a pair of tickets off an online site. Luckily www.ticketbis.net offers the most useless service on this planet and treats potential customers like shite. I was promised calls back, I harried, a bloke called me asking for my business and said right now go buy tickets online only to find there were none. This company is run by a bunch of total wankers from Liverpool. The sooner the welfare safari that is scouseland is towed off into the Irish Sea and sunk the better. I heartily advise that you never use this company ever, not even to buy a stolen hub cap.
So no tickets. That prevents an almost certain cup upset. However I should warn you
2763 days ago
The Mrs finds page three women offensive and is today celebrating the fact that The Sun has dropped this feature. Most of its readers wanted it to stay and most of the population did not care but a small group of the liberal elite campaigned hard, applying commercial pressures on News Corp and Page three est mort. There you go, the liberal left find something offensive and they may be a minority but it must be banned. Hmmm a cup of Charlie Hebdo anybody?
Page three has allowed a good few Essex girls to get a career outside of Tesco’s and earn decent wonga. It was their choice to get their kit off and they grabbed it. I guess it is back to Tesco’s for the next generation of Melinda’s and Sam’s.
The liberal left do not care about giving opportunity to the poor, to their client state. They care
2766 days ago
After spending a total of four months at the Greek Hovel and holidaying in mighty Hellas perhaps twenty times in my life I still speak almost no Greek. It is shameful. But that ends tomorrow.
For my birthday the Mrs, who speaks good Greek and fluent Swedish as well as Northern English, has bought me five lessons. The teacher is recommended by none other than the ex wife of Red Trousers, the buffoonish money treee worshipping Mayor of Bristol. Lesson one is on skype and starts at 10.30 AM.
To the folks in Kambos...I am going to shock you all on my return on 18 Febuary.
2766 days ago
Back in Bristol and the cats are in disgrace for weeing on the doormat and the temperature is minus something. The Mrs is not sympathetic and I am back in the garage at my desk wearing a thick coat, hugging my heater and still freezing. I suggested to the Mrs that the cats be forced to join me as punishment but she said that would be cruel. And so I suffer alone.
At the tobacconists the Daily Express warns of snowfall across the country and of freezing conditions. I point this out to the Mrs on my return but she thinks this is just right wing propaganda and I must continue to work in the garage.
The Daily Telegraph warns its readers
2772 days ago
As you may know the Mrs has decreed that I cannot work in the house because I make it untidy, stop her having freedom to canoodle three legged cat Oakley, watch Coronation Street and “work” on Facebook, etc. And so I was consigned to the garage as my new study. As October turned to November I flagged up that the garage was a little on the nippy side.
And so for Christmas by biggest present was a radiator. I have until now managed to avoid using it and have happily worked away in the kitchen. The Mrs has this morning put her little feet down and so I am now in the garage. The radiator is blasting away against my left leg which is toasting nicely. My right leg is about surviving. But above the desk my fingers are freezing as I tap away. I suppose it keeps me awake. The Mrs is however almost quoting the blessed Margaret – of whom she strongly disapproves: “The lady is not for turning.”
Meanwhile as a birthday present I am to be allowed to give a lecture to the sociology students currently taught by the Mrs. These impressionable young people currently have their minds filled with all sorts of nonsense
2780 days ago
Christmas was a kids heavy zone for the Mrs and I, mine, nephews, god-children, the works. From 26th December to January 2nd there were the various noises children make everywhere in our lives. In a house which normally contains two quiet adults and two quiet cats it came as a bit of a shock. And then suddenly it was all over. The last children departed and the house was just still. It seemed almost surreal.
And now the only noises we hear are keyboards tapping away, West Wing DVDs in the evening and a vomiting cat. It is not Oakley the three legged creature known as Benefits Street. Having hidden under beds and duvets for almost a week to avoid being smothered with infantile embraces he is now back to his normal routine of sleeping for nearly all of the day in what was once known as the marital bed but what he now regards as his bed. Occasionally he makes an appearance downstairs for food or to watch the West Wing with us.
It is Tara who is making the noise. Thin as a rake and very feminine Tara is the capitalist cat. That is to say she thinks that “greed is good”. Which of course it is. But when she cannot rouse myself or the Mrs to provide here with more food plus some of her Christmas treats (cat nip biscuits or 2 calorie morsels known as Dreamies) she has taken to eating bits of the Christmas tree. And then being sick in a most demonstrative and noisy manner.
It breaks the silence.
2783 days ago
One of my highlights of Christmas was a gathering of the friends of the woman I once referred to as the deluded lefty, that is to say the Mrs. I was ill so, having cooked for them, I retreated to bed with the cats, but coming down for a cup of tea I heard the most deluded of the lot of them (they are nearly all sociology lecturers) opine that she had “applied for research funding to study how black women are suffering in the recession.” Where does one start?
Firstly, she will get that funding and it is YOUR taxes that will fund this vital work. Secondly, you might point out that we are not in a recession so the whole thesis is fundamentally flawed but that will not stop this utter loon from securing funding from the grateful taxpayer which will produce a report concluding that the wicked Tory inspired recession has especially disadvantaged women of colour (you see I know the PC lingo off pat now) and that the taxpayer needs to invest (i.e. piss away more cash) to rectify this. We live in a mad world.
My point is that the UK is not in a recession. One of my ten macro themes for 2015 (HERE) is that UK GDP growth will be the strongest in Europe and among the strongest in the G8 and thus Steve Moore and I when tipping stocks as buys are looking for UK GDP plays. That brings me to recruitment business InterQuest (ITQ) at
2783 days ago
For some reason I dozed off between the end of Skyfall and the tome to go to midnight mass. As such when waking up on Christmas day the stockings of myself, the Mrs and the cats were opened in something of a rush. Santa clearly thought that we had all behaved well in 2014. Clearly he does not know about how Oakley, the three legged cat, likes weeing on the inside doormat. And thus we were all well rewarded and after a splendid breakfast cooked by yours truly we wandered off to St Cuthbert’s Brislington.
Built in 1933 this church could easily hold 350. As it was with the Mrs and I in attendance there were 15 in the congregation plus vicar and organist. It is not as if midnight mass at Brislington is packed – there cannot have been more than 35 in attendance in 2013. One fears that a couple of cold winters could see just the mrs, the Vicar and I attending Christmas day 2018. We were the youngest in the congregation by a long chalk: what is happening to the C of E?
It is just that Christmas has become one great big godless consumerfest celebrated across the world by folks of whatever background. My 13 year old daughter Olivia – deprived of the alternate Christmases promised by her mother Big Nose 10 years ago, has never once attended Church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. That I rather regret.
The Mrs and I do not take communion as I am very much lapsed in my faith and the Mrs has grave doubts. But we try to think of what Christmas is about and it is not as the Radio DJs insist on saying “all about family and friends”. However much the PC brigade insist otherwise Christmas is about Jesus. The fact we celebrate this festival and the traditions involved are down to Jesus. We give each other presents because we are celebrating God giving us his only son, whether we regard that as fact, belief or fantasy. To deny the involvement of Jesus in Christmas seems fatuous to me.
The sermon was bland enough but at least this C of E vicar managed to resist the urge to pray for peace in Palestine, the C of E codewords for “all power to Hamas”. And with that
2790 days ago
Yesterday I posted my Christmas message in Greek to readers in Kambos. Today in English a message from myself, The Mrs and our two cats Tara and the three legged Oakley pictured below.
We all celebrate Christmas in different ways. For the Mrs and I it is a traditional day. Midnight Mass here in Bristol, perhaps with a swift sherry at the Conservative Club beforehand. It is on the way to Church after all!
And then stockings in the morning. Well I know she is getting one as she has been well behaved all year. I cook the duck and trimmings, presents, calls around the world to family and friends and then a collapse as we await Downton Abbey. It is on Boxing Day that the travel nightmare of family days starts with a Greek Christmas with the wife’s sister and Greek Husband in Hertfordshire. Goat followed by Christmas pudding.
For Oakley & Tara it is just even more food than usual and, yes, they have both been fairly well behaved and so get a stocking too.
Whatever you do, we all send you are best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
2799 days ago
I am not thinking of divorcing the Mrs but if I were I might start with X-Factor. In my single days the cats and I used to watch DVDs of Inspector Morse or, as a real treat, The Sweeney or Foyle. These days the Mrs is the only one smart enough to work out how to use the three remote controls needed to work her ultra-modern TV. As such she has power and that means that the cats have to watch the X-Factor.
To show solidarity with the suffering felines I have occasionally wandered in and, I confess, have become quite hooked as a range of chavs strut their stuff on stage. Of course the real stars of this lack of talent show are the judges, uber-camp Louis Walsh who is nice to everyone, Britain’s leading chanteuse and intellectual heavyweight Ms Cheryl Cole, or whatever she is called these days, an old spice hag and the waspish plutocrat and brains behind this money making machine Simon Cowell.
Watching is, I admit, pretty embarrassing but as we sat glued to Saturday’s final part one the Mrs grabbed her phone. Who are you texting? I asked. “I’m not – I’m voting for Fleur East.” The Mrs had listened to host Dermot and knew that her vote (cost £1.50) really mattered. Ching Ching. More money from Mr Cowell. It got worse…
2800 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
2806 days ago
I am in a good mood today. I shall be seeing the Mrs soon and almost as good I get three kills: Quindell, Maple Energy and Cupid. All three are covered as are the next raft of kills: Naibu, Pressfit, China Chaintek and Camkids. Also on the agenda are Enegi Oil and Petropavlovsk
2806 days ago
I posted videos earlier showing the dreadful weather here in Kambos. That delayed the completion of the olive harvest as did the very Greek way we settle up accounts and so my return from the Greek hovel to England has been postponed. I should now be flying first thing Wednesday which means leaving Kambos tomorrow. Taking a bus from Kalamata to Athens and sleeping at a hotel by the airport for a crack of dawn flight.
I will leave Kambos with a cheque for 1779 Euro in my pocket thanks to the olive harvest. Obtaining the cheque was a bit of a kerfuffle. I fished out my Greek tax number – I am a loyal supporter of the Greek state in its hour of need – and wandered into the olive factory. Easy…
2810 days ago
The river bed, at the bottom of the valley between the deserted monastery/convent and the start of the climb up snake hill to the Greek Hovel, sits dry all summer. It is parched and it is hard to think that it ever sees water. Even as I arrived in Kambos two weeks ago it was dry as a bone. Puddles formed on the track but the river bed was like dust. That all changed with the storm.
The ford is a ford for a good reason. The ground had been raised with concrete and across it the water was perhaps only an inch deep. Pas de problem for my magnificent motorbike.
But looking upstream the water was rather deeper,
2813 days ago
And so we are off. At 8 AM on the button George and his team arrived to start the Olive harvest at the Greek hovel. They took half an hour off for lunch and worked solidly until the sun started to set at 4 PM. I am full of admiration for harvesting olives is not easy. I chipped in but admit that I am not fit enough and am put to shame by these folks. So let me try to explain what happens. We start with a tree full of olives.
2814 days ago
You may remember that my shower arrangements at the Greek Hovel are somewhat rudimentary. I attach a picture of the shower, aka a hose pipe dropping down from the vine on the "snake terrace."
2819 days ago
It was Nikko who was celebrating his Birthday in lovely Eleni's Kourounis taverna in Kambos on Saturday. That led to an interesting ride back to the Greek Hovel. My harvest may not have started but my friend is already well progressed and what you see if some of the first oil off the press. It will be heading back to Bristol for the Mrs along with rather larger volumes of my own oil after we start harvesting later this week.
2830 days ago
Are you a member of the QPPSAG and worrying about how to explain to the Mrs that Christmas is going to be cancelled until 2021? Are you employed by a well known Fraudulent company based in Fareham and worried that you are about to lose your job? Or are you a board member at Quindell facing an enforced career change within the next few days? I am here to help, The Sheriff can reveal that one Hampshire based business is hiring aggressively. Yes it is the Country Club!
2838 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
2838 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.
2856 days ago
I went to Nadine’s Birthday party yesterday. She was also celebrating 10 years in the UK with a British party. Since she is a friend of the Mrs and so it goes without saying that the place was packed with deluded lefties.
I therefore discuss the politics of food in relation to Britain’s poor but also the idea of taking responsibility for one’s own actions. I then move on to reclaiming the flag, the idea of Britishness and the whole immigration debate based as it is on lies and a fail to tackle the real issue of welfare abuse.
2866 days ago
The warning signs in Sainsbury are clear – if you are under 25 you will have to show ID to buy booze. The Mrs was wandering around the aisles earlier this week picking up a bit of this and that and stuck a bottle of plonk in the trolley and guess what? She got carded!
The man at the checkout asked for proof that she was 25. Now I know that my wife is younger than me and that she is a total stunner but this is ridiculous. I have revealed here in prior articles that we celebrated her 40th Birthday earlier this year. To say that she felt a tad smug about this as she relayed news of this incident to me in an excited tone would be something of an understatement.
2872 days ago
A couple of folks asked about the unusual chicken recipe that I shall be preparing for the Mrs shortly. I think I have written about it before but it comes from Real Man regular Colourful James.
The side servings are roasted spuds and parsnips and there is also some kale boiled then quickly fried in garlic butter. The centrepiece is a normal roast chicken except that it is stuffed with a mixture of boursin and peanut butter. It sounds crackers but it tastes amazing! It’s the only way to eat chicken, I promise you.
2872 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.
2874 days ago
As ever, I arrived at Paddington at 10.31 PM. It does not matter what time I leave Real Man in Clerkenwell my taxi always arrives just as the penultimate train of the day pulls out for Bristol Temple Meads. Then there is the dilemma.
I can hang around until 11.30 and catch the last train to Temple Meads. It will be full of English drunks and will stink of fast food. Gradually drunks get off the train but – especially on a Friday – drunks also pile on at Swindon and Bath heading to the bright lights of Bristol to get even more drunk. Does everyone born in Swindon have the intelligence of a 12 year old Orang Utan? The taxi fare from Temple Meads home is less than a tenner. But Paddington is a ghastly place to spend 45 minutes and the Mrs is not that impressed if I pitch up at 1.45 AM.
And so there is the 10.45 to Bristol Parkway. I get home just before 1 AM, the taxi fare at the other end is c£20 but there is less time to kill at Paddington. The real downside risk is that I fall asleep and this train carries on all the way to Swansea. I have more than once woken up to find myself heading into Newport, a truly dreadful place, and facing a £45 cab ride home. On this train there is also the stench of fast food but most of the drunks are Welsh. As such, while buying a coffee at the bar, I have just listened to three sheep shaggers discussing in a most animated fashion how to say “The toilet is broken” in Welsh.
I guess you learn something new every day.
2877 days ago
I preface this all with some comments of Paddy Leigh Fermor in his book the Mani. Paddy has just been ripped off by a mule owner who had acted like a total bastard. Paddy reflects that this happens just now and again in Greece but is made all the more memorable because 99% of the time the hospitality of the people of Greece, their honesty and generosity is unmatched. Paddy puts it rather more eloquently but is correct. And with that preface…
The Mrs decided that during her stay with me this summer we should take some time out from the Greek hovel and enjoy a bit of luxury in Kardamili. We could not leave my guest alone at the hovel with the snakes and so she was booked into one hotel in the centre of town while the Mrs and I stayed at a wonderful place the Meletsina Village at the far end of the beach road which leads away north from the town
I cannot speak too highly of the Canadian Greek family who ran our place. It was there that Julie Despy and Ethan Hawke had stayed while filming “Before Midnight” in the town and it gets a thumbs up on all counts.
My guest was not so lucky. On the first night in town she took her laptop out to work in a restaurant and was promptly followed back to where she was staying, the Papanestoras Apartments run by the loathsome Valia Papanestoros.
After waiting for her to start snoring (which she does), those who had followed her entered her room – she had unwisely not locked her door – and stole her computer and wallet (later retrieved minus 70 euro in cash).
By 5 AM my guest was reporting this to Kardamili police who at once pointed the finger at their usual suspects…Albanians. Whilst this might seem a bit unfair I am afraid that 99% of burglaries in the Mani happen in the tourist towns and are indeed perpetrated by Albanian criminal gangs. In the non-tourist villages, burglaries are less common as the Maniots have less to steal and will have guns with which they will shoot you.
In the days that followed my guest, understandably felt angry – having lost much of the book she was writing – and violated. I wish I could say that the Old Bill bust a gut for her but I cannot.
At first the owner of the hotel was sympathetic and said that my guest could leave early and pay only for the days she had stayed. My guest took her up on that and flew back to London but because the hotel had no working credit card machine had to assure her that I would pay her in cash.
And so just a few hours after my guest left, I heard a loud knock and opened the door of my hotel room. The Mrs was sunning herself on the beach. Standing in front of me was the hotelier and an enormous and menacing looking man.
2877 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.
2879 days ago
It was my last afternoon and so, having done my washing and tidied up the Greek Hovel (I do hope the Mrs is reading) it was time for a bit of sightseeing in the cultural quarter of Kambos. Quarter…I exaggerate a bit. However.
As one drives out of Kambos on the looping toad up the hill towards Stavropoula ( home to the lovely Susan Shimmin of Real Mani) on your right there are two monuments of note, one visible, the other hidden in olive groves.
From the road you can see a ruined Tower House. In the Mani of old the local gentry would build these constructions as they prepared for blood feuds, war, with other families of a similar status. Those in the lower orders were roped in to serve their local gentry. In some villages there are numerous Tower Houses as they were blessed with several families vying for power in that village.
There was always a race to build higher and higher towers so that you could dominate and shoot down on your enemies. Blood feuding was only halted when the Maniots joined together to fight the common enemy, i.e. the evil Turks.
In Kambos there is just one tower house and it is ruined. I am not sure when or why it was destroyed. The statue at the front is clearly of a Maniot with the traditional village people style bushy moustache. His dates are given as 1813-1877
2879 days ago
The Mrs no doubt expects me to arrive back in Bristol with a rucksack full of dirty washing. Au contraire…here at the Greek Hovel I maintain high standards and my full range of shorts, T-shirts and socks enjoyed a though hand wash today. So there! And here is the evidence. NB I have also swept the floor and will dump the rubbish down in Kambos at the tip shortly. Brownie points for the Sheriff!
2881 days ago
Back in the 1960s my uncle visited the Mani on his first honeymoon. Oddly he and his wife were joined by another couple and within months his wife had run off with the other man. That is an aside. It took my uncle more than two days to get from Athens to the Mani so remote and cut off was the region.
Here in Kambos the dirt track to Kardamili became a road back in 1965 (two years after that fateful honeymoon), roads south from there were built later. The man who brought this peninsular to the attention of the wider world was Paddy Leigh Fermor, a truly amazing man once described as a mixture of Indiana Jones, James Bond and Gerald Durrell.
Though incredibly clever, Paddy was no academic and so after being expelled from school (issues with a young lady) in 1933 he walked through Europe to Greece. Along the way he noticed that something was not quite right in Germany. When war broken out he signed up immediately and was sent into Greece since he spoke the language fluently. His most heroic exploit was in Crete where – with the partisans – he captured a German general on the North of the island and transported him across Crete to the South where he was lifted off by British Destroyer. The film, based on the episode, has Leigh Fermor played by Dirk Bogarde
In the war Paddy’s code name was Michalis. After the war he stayed on in Greece fighting with the Royalists in the Civil war. He refers to this in his two classic books on Greece
2899 days ago
For the past few nights I have heard this very strange animal noise outside The Greek Hovel at night. At first I thought it was some sort of bird but it would have been a very strange bird. Tonight the noise sounder closer than ever and so I bravely opened the door and shone my torch…it is a gorgeous little black and white cat. It cannot be much out of kittendhood.
I tried to tempt it in but the creature is obviously feral. It has no interest in getting close to humans. And so it just sat there on the entrance to the snake veranda blinking in my torchlight. I rather hope it hangs around inside the snake exclusion zone happily attacking any other members of the wildlife diversity community that dare to approach. It could start with the bats, two of whom have returned to the bat room below where I sleep.
2900 days ago
For the past four weeks the Mosquitos at the Greek Hovel have left me alone. Offered the choice of nicotine tasting blood from an older man or sweet younger blood from either my guest or the Mrs (or on two nights both) they have shown impeccable taste and left me along completely. The women complained and I said “what’s the problem? Nothing bit me!”
I now accept there is a bit of a problem. Faced with a choice of just me I have been bitten with a vengeance by these vile bugs. From above my right nipple, over my shoulder and down the right part of my back there is now a row of itchy bumps each the size of a medium sized marble, if a bit flatter. Just as the Greek islands appear as outcrops in a flat sea in a God created chain, so the mosquito bites have appeared on my body.
Luckily the women invested heavily in anti Mozzie devices during their stays and as such I have rummaged around and found electric deterrents and coils aplenty. Tonight I fight back.
2901 days ago
The Mrs is back in Bristol already sending me photos of our cats Oakley (three legs) and Tara (four) who she is no doubt hugging to death and spoiling quite outrageously. I am sure that I shall do the same when I head back in a few weeks’ time.
I was delighted when the Mrs was here but it had two drawbacks. Without her I have slipped once again into my no alcohol and one or two Greek salads a day diet. With her I was drinking and eating rather more. And so my weight loss was arrested, in fact reversed a bit. Now I am in overdrive as I have just over three weeks to finish the frigana cutting and so am upping my manual labour rate accordingly.
The other drawback is that whilst my commercial writings (shares) continued almost every day, with the Mrs here I have no time for my personal writings. I enjoy my musings on life at The Greek Hovel far more than financial writing but know that those articles don’t pay the bills. And so I have an awful lot to catch up including two murders in our village of Kambos and my own detention at Kardimili police station. And
2901 days ago
I am a nervous traveller at the best of times. But right now the thought of flying into London really scares me. The Mrs left today. I had to drive her half way across the Peloponnese so that she could catch a ferry to Zakynthos to get a direct flight to Bristol. But it was cheaper than a flight from Kalamata, my local airport here in the Mani, and her plane did not land at Gatwick.
Bristol gets mostly domestic, Western European and holiday flights. The Mrs can pick me up from the airport and the passport line is not three hours long.
Gatwick is a schlepp of a bus/train trek away from Bristol and I am convinced that my flight will land just between one directly in from Sierra Leone and another from Turkey packed with British born men with beards who have just spent a few months in Syria and Northern Iraq. I thus face being stuck in the passport queue with a mixture of returning Jihadists - just looking for a chap with an Israeli army T-shirt on to behead - and highly contagious Ebola virus carriers.
It is s 35 minute cab ride from The Greek Hovel to Kalamata. It is an additional five hour bus, taxi, ferry, taxi ride to Zakynthos. But the idea is growing on me.
PS The Mrs suggests that just in case there are any Quindell Moron type jihadists reading this I should not publicise my final travel plans until I have landed. As ever she is a wise woman.
2904 days ago
A year ago today at a house owned by the family of the great Hellenophile Lord Byron the woman formerly known as The Deluded Lefty became The Mrs. Right now she is outside tapping away at a paper for her sociology work on why capitalism causes cancer, global warming and is a construct for patriarchal hegemony for white men. Okay I think I might have got the subject a bit wrong but I am probably not far off.
I’m off to chop down some more frigana at The Greek Hovel where we are staying and then it’s switch off time. Unless there is a Quinnovation Group emergency this is a day off. Thank you to the Mrs for 365 wonderful days, it is time to down tools.
2906 days ago
As one leaves the small Mani town of Kardamili the road starts to climb steeply. On the edge of town there are a couple of fish restaurants, some slightly newer housing including the house that Paddy Leigh Fermor built for himself. My family stayed there once as my father knew Paddy – it just happened that this was the one family break to Greece that I did not go on.
Paddy left his house to the Greek State to turn into some sort of writing school. You would have thought that after a lifetime here he would have known better. It is slowly decaying, neglected by a State that, although bankrupt, can still afford to give anyone with a couple of olive trees an annual grant of 500 Euro.
The first of the fish restaurants as one heads up the hill is the favourite of the Mrs and I. The food is great, the wine flows, the waiters are friendly and efficient and the view over the cove below is magnificent.
On one side of the cove is a small working harbour used by fisherman. At night you can see the lights on the boats as they chug slowly home. A jetty provides a breakwater for the waves although nothing much happens o it other than bridal parties posing for photos. At the far end of the cove is a concrete jetty which is totally empty. If you have seen the film Before Midnight the final scene was filmed there as it became a seaside bar for just one night.
And so the other day we wandered down to the cove along a small road with not a human in sight.
2912 days ago
There were three pieces of good news for Tom this week. The arrival in Greece of his Mrs, continuing weight loss and Quindell (QPP) threatening legal action. Tom discusses the third at length in his weekly video postcard.
2933 days ago
I am very proud of myself. Not only have I constructed an eco-loo but I have been uber- environmentally friendly in using 80% recycled materials. For a man who came 127 out of 127 with 27% in the U4 Warwick School woodwork exam I think I have done well.
The box case is an old trunk. I took off the top with my early Christmas present to myself (an electric screwdriver) and cut a piece of hardboard (not recycled into shape). That was then reattached to the hinges and thus to the chest.
The bucket is kept in place
2937 days ago
There are different forms of guilt that I feel as I sit in the Greek Hovel. The worst is as I peer outside and see the sun shining on a glorious day. Yet I will be heading back inside soon to finish another article on shares, on Quindell or whatever.
In side of me something associate sun and the smell of a Greek hillside with holidays. What on earth am I doing spending holiday time hammering away at my PC? The Mrs makes that point every time we go on holiday and it is a fair one.
I have not fully made the mental leap that this is not a holiday. The Mrs has bought a house which is one of our two homes. The nature of my work means that sometimes I will live in Bristol and sometimes I live here in the Mani, Greece. This is my home and just as in Bristol I am working from home. And so gradually the feelings of guilt about now being down at the beach or just lazing around doing nothing are going.
As it happens
2942 days ago
When I record my videos each week you are meant to email me to say “Tom you have lost weight – well done!” I should not have to prompt anyone (especially the Mrs). But I have lost weight. Well I can’t measure it since, as I noted two years ago, there are virtually no scales in the whole of Greece but I can do the trouser test!
At my shameful 19 stone 6 pounds peak my waist was a disgraceful 44 inches. At my fighting weight (hooker for London Irish Wild Geese) I was a 32 inch waist. Two years ago in Greece I almost got down to 32 inches. I was within spitting distance.
Back in the UK – and blaming the Mrs for leading me astray - my waist expanded again. On leaving I was in 36 inch jeans and they felt tight. Within a few days my Ireland rugby shorts (from a post London Irish age) were so obviously falling down that they had to be retired. But they do not really count – they come from a plump (Clontarf veterans) era.
However, as their replacement – red swimming shorts - went from tight to comfortably loose I tried the trouser test.
2947 days ago
I am not sure that the Mrs will approve of this but sending a message to the wildlife diversity outside the hovel about what I have laid down for them the song of choice right now is Poison by Alice Cooper. I have navigated the OTE page and am back on line. What a great old rocker Alice is serving up not only a classic anthem but an overtly sexist video. 1989…I am showing my age.
My apologies to the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty but blocking out the noises from the dark outside the redoubt needs a song like this. Next up Guns ‘n Roses and November Rain.
2949 days ago
Darren you would be proud of me. I have tonight managed to get the Mi-Fi system working. That means that at any one time I can now run four computers at The Greek Hovel. Not only that but I have signed up to Skype and am now waiting for the Mrs to awake from her early evening slumber after a hard way watching her students graduate so that we can chat.
As I wait I hear a noise at the door and per through the glass and grill to see that it is a small lizard seeking entry to the wildlife diversity free redoubt. Piss off critter in here wildlife gets killed. As two (no make that three) bugs have found out to their cost in the past twenty minutes.
The arrival of the World Wide Web at The Hovel will be a body blow to Eleni's lovely Kouronis Taverna in Kambos
2952 days ago
Oh dear, I thought that I was making progress on eradicating wildlife diversity at The Greek Hovel but it just got worse. I am sure that it is just a temporary blip.
My new best friend, and business partner in the olive business, Foti and a friend of his were clearing out the two first floor rooms again this evening. Another truck load of rubbish has now gone and still we are not finished.
However in the room under the snake veranda we discovered not one but two rats. This time I did not run, my fear of these creatures is diminishing. But Foti was more proactive, grabbing a broom and thrashing wildly.
2954 days ago
For once the Mrs was not on strike with the rest of the public sector last week. The University Lecturers have already staged several walk outs this year and why on earth would they interrupt a three month break in the sun to turn up for a protest. But the rest of the comrades walked out. Did you notice the Country crumbling?
Public sector workers now earn more on average than those in the private sector. It is almost impossible for them to get fired – job security is 100%. They get guaranteed final salary pensions. They get more holiday – and throw more sickies than those in the private sector and what do they want? More!
They are an innumerate bunch.
2955 days ago
By now you might have wondered quite what possessed the Mrs to snap up falling down our Greek hovel in the middle of nowhere and which is teaming with rats and snakes. Hmmm. Good question. And I have not even started on the works I need to do on the grounds or of the sanitation, er…..issue. But let me show you the view.
2955 days ago
I spare you photos of the Rat Room, aka my bedroom for the next three months. I would not wish to scare the Mrs so will tidy it up a bit first. But it is by far and away the smartest room at the hovel. In fact it is the only one not completely littered with junk and totally unfit for human habitation. It is on the top floor next to the snake veranda. Here are both from the outside.
2955 days ago
And so we arrive at the Greek hovel that the Mrs has snapped up. Before I can contemplate the enormity of the task at hand there is the little matter of the rats and snakes to deal with. We have visited the village hardware store where – rather worryingly – about 40% of the product lines seem to be associated with dealing with, er…rats and snakes. Susan Shimmin and I are now armed.
2955 days ago
One of the attractions of the house that the Mrs bought in Bristol last December was a vine that is now threatening to take over the back garden. We have hacked it back a bit but it is unstoppable and bunches of what are very clearly grapes are now clearly visible everywhere.
I have no idea how to nurture this plant but it seems to do very well by itself. I also have no idea of how to turn grapes into wine but it cannot be that hard surely?
Rooting around in the garage, aka my office, the other day I stumbled across a bottle of rose wine left by the former owners from the 2013 vintage. It was marked clearly “drink in the summer of 2014.” The Mrs and I are dutiful folks so obeyed the instructions and much to our surprise it was quite drinkable. A bit on the strong side but who are we to complain.
The 2014 harvest takes place on my return to the UK in the first week of October. Apparently our vine can produce up to 16 bottles a year of Chateau Brislington. That then is the Christmas presents sorted…
2955 days ago
As you know I am this summer starting the reconstruction of a Greek hovel snapped up by the Mrs. Please do not regard this as an investment. There is more chance of making money from Quindell (QPP) shares than from buying hovels in Greece. Actually that’s a lie. There is zero chance on both counts.
I shall post updates all summer of my progress but I start with the news I received two days before arrival. That is to say that our lovely estate agent Susan from The Real Mani ( who - as her name suggests comes fro an Isle of Man family) reported back on Tuesday that when visiting the hovel she had encounter a rat in the only room that is (vaguely) habitable – the room henceforth known as my bedroom for the summer.
Hmmmmm. I try to look on the bright side. If there are live rats in my bedroom at least it means that the snakes have not managed to penetrate that part of the building. Things can only get better from here.
2961 days ago
This may be my last video postcard for a while. The Mrs has bought a hovel in Greece and I am off late on Thursday night to start its renovation. It really is a hovel and right now has no internet and is a 15 minute drive from the nearest habitation. But I will work hard on getting connected ASAP.
And then I shall keep you updated on gripping matters such as the construction of an eco-loo and a humanure system and on bush clearance and digging out an earth floor or tow. Oh.. and on the snake situation.
From humanure I turn to the Westminster paedophile cover-up. It is a cover up and everyone on Fleet Street knows who is being protected and why the ripples could spread far and wide. The age of those directly involved is no defence as I explain.
My weekly financial video postcard starts with a discussion of those bears who have attacked Quindell (QPP) and blinkx (BLNX) inter alia. Tom explains why they need to be more transparent. Having said that, I also explain why bears play such a key role in protecting investors on AIM. This video can be watched HERE
2973 days ago
I have a terribly guilty confession. It really is shameful. But I am open with you and so confess that …I have started watching Coronation Street. It is really quite gripping to discover what life is really like in the Grim North.
The Mrs – hailing from the entrepreneur free, economic wastelands of the welfare addicted Grim North, that is to say Nottingham – is a lifelong Corrie fan. Until recently we have agreed that when I am there she records and when I am away she gorges and catches up. But then I started watching. It really is fascinating.
I had no idea that life in the North was so interesting. Apparently there is a murder on the Street about once every six months. Folks disappear for unexplained reasons (because the actor who plays them is on trial accused of being a nonce, a rapist or both) and no-one lives with their actual parents. In the North it is apparently compulsory for kids to live with a step parent and their new partner while their actual parents both live with new partners and the children of other folk.
It is all very confusing but since The Mrs is a sociologist she is able to explain it all to me. Right now someone called Tina who seems to have had sex with every man in the street (apart from the large numbers of homosexuals camped out in Corrie) has been murdered. The main suspect is a white man whose son by his first marriage appears to be black and lives with his white ex-wife. Go figure. The main suspect lives with the wife of his father (currently a “disparu”) who is not his mother. The other suspect is the main suspect’s wife (not yet divorced). In fact the killer is the brother of the main suspect’s wife whose girlfriend is the sister of the main suspect. Or is it half-sister? Whatever. As you might gather it is all gripping stuff.
My wife says hat Corrie is set in the traditional small c conservative part of Manchester
2973 days ago
I have a routine when I go up to London. Stay up until late. Go to bed. Set the alarm for 3.46 AM and that gives me 40 minutes to shower, shave, dress, pack and download from the web all that I need to write offline on the 4.47 AM from Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington. With a bit of luck I will have four or five articles to load when I reach Real Man at 6.45 AM.
2975 days ago
The Mrs and I were wondering back from lunch by the Avon and came upon a car park at the edge of the woods where three boys cried out “help there is an escaped parrot, can you help us?” To misquote my father (a Greats Man) “A PPE man can turn his hand to anything” although catching rather confused and slightly injured escaped parrots in Bristol car parks is not my normal line of expertise.
As I got down on my front and peered under whichever car the parrot opted to hide under the Mrs called the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB). “Sorry madam that is not the sort of thing we deal with.” Hmmm, I guess the RSPB is too busy campaigning against global warning to do anything like actually protect a bird in need.
So what about the RSPCA I suggested? Again no luck. They said that we should try the Old Bill. FS we know that the Filth will be far too busy arresting folk for calling a Police Horse gay or for tweeting out comments t folks in Liverpool about how all scousers are sympathy milking, workshy, welfare addicts ( which they are) to assist.
And so as I scrabbled underneath another car and the parrot eluded me again, the Mrs tried another RSPCA number. Eventually she was told “it will probably find its way home but if you do catch it we will come and collect but we are massively under-resourced”
The first comment is a lie.
2983 days ago
So Ireland did not make it to Brazil. That leaves me with a dilemma – who to support? If this was Rugby and Ireland were not playing it would be simple: anyone playing England. The swagger, pomposity and arrogance of English rugby drives me to supporting anyone up against the Old Enemy. But I just don’t feel that way about soccer.
The selection of Neanderthal half-wits who wear the England shirt and whichever hapless sap is in charge do not rile me in the slightest. I feel a general sense of contempt for all the Premiership prima donnas but there is no great hostility towards England as a national side. And so on balance I wish England well and will naturally cheer them on for their entire campaign. All three matches.
But I’d rather like to be rooting for a side with a good chance of making it through to the second phases. And also I really find it hard to root for any team that has as its talisman Wayne Rooney. And every time I see Joe hart on TV earning yet more money promoting shampoo I find myself wishing the mercenary pig nothing but ill. As such my mind had wandered to Greece. I was told that the Greek team – who collectively earn less than Mr Rooney does on his own – are not that bad. Having now seen them play I accept that they are quite bad.
Having completed a fiendishly complex sweepstake created on an Excel spreadsheet by a friend of the Mrs which forced the Mrs and I to predict every result and how many goals Messi scores, I now reckon that the last four will be Holland, Portugal, Brazil and the Argies. And I’d go for an all South American final with the hosts winning.
So I cheer for Greece and England. And as neither will make it past the group stages there is unlikely to be a time when I have to choose between the two. After that – how about Holland. As they play in Orange the Ulsterman in me sees the links and they were superb against Spain.
2996 days ago
Not a reference to CEOs and FDs on the AIM Cesspit but to the killing field that my back garden has become. It is all the fault of the mother-in-law, a good Christian woman who visited last weekend but left me strict instructions as to my husbandly duties.
I shall not be offering up a full list but the mother-in-law was, rightly concerned that the back garden was somewhat blighted by an invasion of slugs and snails. They are, I am ordered, to be sent off to meet their maker without delay.
And so once a day I now go out on patrol. Early evening is best I find. But something is wrong. I have no problem in hitting a slug across its back with my trowel. It is an instantaneous death and I have no sympathy for an unattractive creature that wishes to feat on my herbs, flowers and the grape laden vine that dominates the garden. But snails?
For some reason I regard them differently. I know that they eat the same things as slugs and are generally bad news for the garden but while slugs look loathsome, snails are one of God’s more attractive creations. Moreover I feel differently about something I know I can eat. I have tried to persuade the Mrs that we should nurture some larger snails and that she should let me prepare them as l’escargots but she seems a tad unconvinced.
The bottom line is that I cannot kill the snails. But equally I cannot disobey the mother-in-law either. And so
2996 days ago
It was something about being untidy. Oh and loud conversations with Lucian Miers about the same “boring stuff.” Anyhow the Mrs has issued a diktat. My office is now in the garage rather than the kitchen or living room.
It is not so bad out here. The garage is effectively a storage room as it backs onto a grassy path which no-one uses. It is light and spacious although a good part of it is taken up housing possessions deemed surplus when combining the households of two folks who only hooked up twenty years into adult life. I think it might get a little cold in the winter and I might beg for a Yuletide transfer back into the house as the snow starts to fall.
But pro tem I am now banished to the garage. Oakley, my three legged cat may be next. He has again disgraced himself in the matter of his lavatorial habits and is currently suffering an ASBO, allowed only in the kitchen. I sense that any more transgressions could see him joining me in the garage.
3005 days ago
And so the Mrs and I trouped back to where we used to live to vote. Had she played a Labour dirty trick and not registered me or not? We walked into the polling station and I was told that I was not on the electoral roll but neither was she. Aha the Labour dirty trick backfires!
We were at the wrong polling station. And so off we trouped in the rain to another Church Hall and there we found that we were both eligible to vote. We grabbed our voting papers and like a salmon swimming back its home waters the Mrs put her tribal cross for the labour party without hesitation.
I dithered as I pondered the wide selection of parties of the right. Conservative, Official fruitcake (UKIP), Unofficial fruitcake (UK Independence in Europe) two crackpot fascist groupings etc. In the end as I said I would do I held my nose and voted Tory. As a lifelong West Ham supporter I cannot side with a winning team.
And then off to the old boozer we used to frequent for a bottle of plonk, a tasty burger and a fiercely fought contest of Trivial Pursuit. Modesty prevents me from recording who – as usual – emerged victorious in that battle but it was the player who selected the blue pie not the pinkish red one.
3006 days ago
Actually I may not be voting Tory. There is mounting evidence that I shall be deprived of the vote completely thanks to Labour Dirty tricks – that is my wife (who explains the Labour case here) neglecting to put me on the electoral roll. If I do vote, choosing a party is like deciding which sort of shit you want smeared in your face for the next five years. But forced to choose there is only one sane choice and that is to vote Tory.
3010 days ago
I gather that on twitter there are a few folks who thing that I am writing a bit too much and should take up gardening or tai-chi and “chill” Hmmmm. Have I got news for you…
As it happens the Mrs is away for the weekend so I am catching up on a few things. One of which is the paperwork on a new house the Mrs is purchasing in Greece. The deposit is paid tomorrow. It is not a lot as it is a total train wreck.
When we visited it last the only sign of life there was a snake we met sitting on a terrace. The house is not really fit for human habitation but comes with vast amounts of olive groves so can be expanded and renovated over time. The nearest neighbour is a ten minute walk away and is the one old monk left in a vast monastery. Ten minutes drive along a very rough track gets you to a village.
And so I shall be working like a dervish in the UK until June 30th when, all being well I head off to Greece to start work renovating the place. I do not mind that the shower (pro tem) is a hosepipe or that the outside lavatory does not work. I shall install an eco-loo (more on that later) in my first week. I will work alongside the Greek builders as their Albanian (i.e. unskilled labourer) for three months so that by the time the Mrs arrives in August to inspect her new property it is just about habitable and by the end of September, phase one will be complete.
I am ensuring that the fridge contains antidote in case I meet any other snakes and that I can somehow connect to the Internet so that I can write when not building. If three months on a building site in 39 degree heat does not knock me into shape nothing will.
So twitter friends, how’s that for relaxing?
3010 days ago
It is entirely likely that thanks to Labour dirty tricks, that is to say the Mrs neglecting to put me on the electoral roll, I shall not be able to vote at all this week. We will troop over to the polling station near her old flat on Thursday and find out.
If I can vote what should I do? As a dyed in the wool Eurosceptic and someone who believes that the entire political class should be strung up with piano wire my natural inclination is to vote UKIP. After all the European elections do not really matter do they? My guess is that enough folks will view it this way to ensure that Mr Farage and his supporters will be celebrating triumphs in both the local and European elections as I explained HERE earlier.
I do not care if UKIP contains more than a smattering of prize loons that does not deter me.
However, I find that when Mr Farage moves away from Europe, where I agree with him 100%, to other matters I get rather agitated. He is clearly now trying to appeal to traditional Labour voters and so he supports a minimum wage (a tax on jobs) and there is talk in UKIP circles of backing the living wage. This is not a pro-business agenda but it will also not assist the poor since it will destroy jobs.
I remember wincing when I heard him at UK Investor Show 2013
3014 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.
3018 days ago
A treat last night: two episodes of Nashville to catch up on. That, and a delicious thyme chicken and grilled vegetables prepared by the Mrs – what more could a man ask for? Normally on such a TV fest I would nip out during the commercials for a fag but as of last night I am on the e-cigarettes and, as such, there was no need to move for my commercial e-fag break.
After all, an e-cig is odourless and all it emits is water vapour. There is no question of passive smoking. And so as Viking River Cruises tries to persuade us to book into a cruise down the Rhine for some wife-swapping with 90 year olds, I take a drag on the e-cigarette.
“Why can’t you go outside for that?” said the Mrs. I despair. So reviled is anything to do with smoking in the UK today that I expect this is a common reaction. It is enough to make me take up smoking Marlboro Lights again.
Fear not. I have not. Tonight’s Eurovision Party (heaven help me, it is friends of the Mrs) may be a tester but my resolve is strong.
3019 days ago
The procrastination has to stop. I promised myself that I would quit smoking by 40. It has been a new year’s resolution ever since. But as if 40 minutes ago when I finished my last Marlboro Light, I have started with an e-cigarette. Inhaling water vapour with a touch of nicotine has to be better news than the toxic mix I have been taking in for most of my adult life so here goes.
I am not exactly sure how many drags you are meant to take each time you pick it up but let’s see how it goes. At least I can now “smoke” inside without getting dirty looks from the cats and worse from the Mrs.
(twitchy) fingers crossed.
3024 days ago
Before leaving for Greece I asked the Mrs to do just one thing and to swear that she had done it: set the TV to record Endeavour and Nashville. She swore that she had.
I arrived home at 3.45 AM and by mid-morning she had finally fessed up. I ask you: is this not a breach of my human rights? Can I not seek compensation from someone?
We have been working hard on ITV Player and C4 Catch Up and are now only 1 episode of Endeavour (the young Inspector Morse) and two Nashville’s awry. She is forgiven but only just.
3026 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.
3027 days ago
The Mrs has been to the Peloponnese many times to visit her in-laws but, as far as I can see, has never visited a single site of antiquity. That all changed this holiday and so on her final day we stopped off at Epidavros on the way back to Athens.
As I am sure you are aware Epidavros is an ancient Greek theatre capable of holding thousands of folk which is remarkable because wherever you sit you can hear almost a whisper on stage. The Greeks built this amazing structure when back in the UK we were still living in caves and swinging from trees. It is amazing.
To show her how it worked, the Mrs climbed up high into the upper tiers and I stood centre stage and – in what have must confused a party of Korean tourists – launched into song.
In Dublin’s fair City,
where the Girls are so Pretty
3028 days ago
It was one of the good ideas of the Mrs. She searched the internet and found the second most highly rated restaurant in Napfio (the first capital of modern Greece). And so off we marched. It was a little off the beaten track but she was sure that it was worth it.
In due course we arrived in the sort of residential neighbourhood that has yet to benefit from gentrification and oddly enough we were the only customers of this fine establishment with rave reviews on the internet. Inside was woman who must have been 85 and in due course her son (60) arrived on his motorbike. And then there was us.
Outside two large dogs barked loudly. But sitting on a chair beneath a table was a large black cat with flecks of grey on his fur and with one eye and half an ear missing. He yawned and the dogs fled nervously. We decided to sit outside with the cat.
The menu was extensive but as is the way in Greece nearly everything was unavailable. The Mrs opted for Souvlaki – a safe but dull call – but my eye was drawn at once to “grilled intestines.” The waiter noted that my choice was “brave” and scuttled off.
As our food
3029 days ago
In the end the Mrs could bear it no longer and left a day early to secure the release from cat prison of her two “puddings” Tara and Oakley. For the last five days of the holiday it was “only four days to the puddings” and only “three days and 16 hours” to go.
Every time we ate in a restaurant and were inevitably surrounded by a bunch of scrawny Greek cats we would both throw them bits of food to ease the guilt of confining Tata and Oakley to cat prison. “Should we order an extra portion of whitebait just for the cats” we asked ourselves.
And so at ten am the doors will open at the cat prison. The Mrs will, having arrived back in Bristol at 1.30 AM, having been waiting impatiently outside for quite some time. The reunion will be joyful. I am expecting – and am happy to pay – a huge roaming phone bill – as text images of Tara and Oakley are sent over this morning. By 10.30 the cats will be back home, being pampered with treats and sitting with the Mrs as she catches up on two weeks of Coronation Street.
Did I mention that the Mrs is hooked on The Street? I really do not understand it at all. I guess it is something for those from the Grim North only.
3036 days ago
One of my ambitions in life is to get the hang of milking a goat. Okay, it is not quite playing for West Ham or changing the world bit it is achievable but a lot harder than you may think. A year ago I had lesson one which was captured on video HERE and was not exactly a triumph.
However I was back with the in-laws of the Mrs during Easter and the wonderful Stavroula (pictured below) consented to let me try my hand again.
3036 days ago
Easter Sunday was spent with the in-laws of the Mrs who live in a tiny village south of Kalamata and naturally for lunch (for 16 of us) it was goat. With vegetables aplenty and an amazing lentil and feta salad it was a true feast. But at the centre of it all was goat.
So here is a before shot….all say aaaaaaagh.
3039 days ago
Greece takes Easter a lot more seriously than we do. In many ways it is more important than Christmas. Since Thursday the night air has be split by the sound of home-made fire crackers going off. No bothering with elf n safey here. In fact it has just turned midnight and suddenly the crackers are sounding off with a new intensity and I can hear bells from Churches all around us. Happy Easter, Christ is risen.
On the evening of Good Friday we drove down to the local village to see a candlelight procession. At the front a young man laboured to carry a huge cross. Behind him the local priest bossed a gaggle of young kids carrying smaller crosses. Behind the priest several strapping men carried a shrine and incense was swung. And behind them virtually the whole village trouped along carrying candles on their way to the Church a mile away.
In my wife’s brother in law’s village about seventy miles away instead of a shrine they carry a coffin.
After the service, having forsaken many things for lent the eating begins. It is for this weekend that lambs were born.
Tomorrow we will no doubt be dining on young goat over with the in-laws. At breakfast in that household as in this hotel room we will play some game with dyed eggs seeing whose egg is most resilient to being cracked. The Mrs has tried explaining it to me but I am not sure I get it. Anyhow, we have been presented with our own coloured eggs for the morning.
And then it is off to the wi-fi free zone of the in-laws. Chocolate for the kids, goat for the adults and large amounts of alcohol. With a hangover, I shall then stumble out of bed on Monday for my second lesson in how to milk a goat.
From the Mrs & from me, we wish you all a Happy Easter
3039 days ago
The Mrs booked our two cats, Tara and Oakley, into what seemed like a nice cat hostel before we left. We were told about how they would share a chalet and be well looked after and it would cost £15 a day. I shall not name the hostelry but suffice to say that they neglected to mention that it was VAT on top and then compulsory insurance (60p per day per cat) and then VAT on that. Oh and they charge for the day of drop off and the day of collection as well.
For providing a basic cell and 2 bowls of food a day per cat this is money for old rope. Okay the concentration camp has now had to take two calls in six days from the Mrs worrying if her “puddings” are alright. The Gauleiter says that they are and braces herself for another call next week.
But this makes me think that there is a great business opportunity out there. The most shared images on twitter and facebook are …cats. So how about this as a business plan?
I set up a cat hotel which offers not the thin prison blankets that poor Tara and Oakley were provided with before the Mrs intervened (the darlings are used to a duvet after all) but luxury rugs. We offer twice the space of a conventional hotel and all day heating not just at night-time. And we also fix a webcam in each luxury en-suite facility. And then we stream the pictures
3046 days ago
In a couple of days I shall be on the road again, picking up the Mrs at Athens airport and heading off to the Mani. It is three hours to Athens, an hour to get lost in the City and then five more to the Mani. The Mrs will, no doubt bring CDs so for the last five hours it will be a mix of Nashville with the odd George Michael track (her choice not mine). But until we meet up I will listen to the radio as I love Greek pop.
The beat and some of the strains clearly have a Turkish influence (I hope no-one here is reading this) but there are also very European themes and so I am a big fan. Perhaps that is in part because I do not understand very much of what is being sung.
With English pop I know that 99% of the lyrics are inane piffle. With Greek pop I am sure that the same is true but I can kid myself that the pained lyrics are about the struggles of the War of Independence, the misery of 58% youth unemployment or the tragedy that has been joining the Euro. I know I kid myself but it makes for great listening. Sadly as I start to learn Greek the cost will be that I can no longer kid myself.
The track below from the High Queen of Greek pop Despina Vandi was one that the Mrs and I had on our wedding play list last year.
3050 days ago
For various reasons it will be my wife not me making an EIS investment for this year and we will be going for a private company which offers the usual tax breaks, a credible possibility of a tax free capital gain and also a bit of fun. My record of backing wine companies to date is 100% (Chapel Down) and here’s hoping it stays that way with Chateau Civrac.
3057 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.
3059 days ago
Is it criminal to say that of Endeavour, Morse and Lewis I am perhaps the biggest fan of the young Morse? Perhaps it is because I have all the Morse and Lewis episodes on DVD and also torture the Mrs by watching them whenever I can on ITV 3 so Endeavour is just that bit fresher?
Perhaps it is because the relationship between Endeavour and Fred Thursday is just so different to the Morse/Lewis and the Lewis/Hathaway pairings? That is no to say that they were not wonderful contrasts and watching the last ever Morse (again) the other week was still very moving. Maybe it is the setting in the early sixties, a period I do not know that is so appealing?
Whatever the reason, the highlight of the weekend looms. For two hours I shall be away from my PC, not thinking about the UK Investor Show next Saturday or the holiday to Greece that follows. Today is Endeavour day as the new series begins.
3059 days ago
I am useless at this present thing. The Mrs has a round number birthday on Thursday and one small gift (a book) has already been ordered but I sense that I need to do a bit more. I have a few ideas but would rather not balls this up completely. As such, all sensible suggestions much appreciated.
Jewellery? So far in our life together this has been my stock in trade at Christmas and I have guessed well – she actually wears what I have given her. But I think I will be trying my luck if I go down this path again. The complete works of Ayn Rand to help move her to a more enlightened plane? A good idea but sadly they are already resident on our bookshelves.
In fact we have more than enough books to last a lifetime. Clothes? Men always get that wrong and I am too much a Real Man and not enough of a meterosexual to even contemplate that idea. All in all, I am pretty stumped.
3060 days ago
Last Thursday Matt Lofgran, the non drinking CEO of Nostra Terra Oil & Gas (NTOG) and Gary his thoroughly decent PR man, who drinks for both of them, hosted a pizza and beer evening at Real Man Pizza in Clerkenwell. It was fun and being a strictly salad and mineral water man I have a clear memory of what happened. As I left, Matt & Gary were plying a party of pretty young female students with wine and having a great old time. So we are all happy. But what to make of Nostra Terra?
I should say that – to declare all interests – Matt handed to the private investors present and to me a copy of a new book called “The Frackers.” The Mrs says that I have too many books and is always trying to persuade me to send a few off to Oxfam. Given that her default position on most matters is that of The Guardian I imagine that a history of fracking may well go to top of the Oxfam list. Pro tem, I battle to keep it and all of my other thousands of books.
At a macro level I rather think that the wave on which the cork that is Nostra floats is not heading
3063 days ago
I was starting to panic. My journey to Greece starts next Wednesday when I leave Bristol and until this morning the passport I ordered a few weeks ago had not arrived. Worse still, when I used the Passport Office auto-tracking forms it appeared that our friends in Cardiff had no record of me at all. But the panic is over, a brand new passport has arrived, with no record of my visits to Israel or the USA and so I could now go to Kurdistan to meet Gulf Keystone (GKP) if I wanted to. I don’t.
And so in a week’s time I must kiss goodbye to the cats and head to London. The Mrs joins me on the 3rd for her birthday. Naturally I shall not reveal which birthday it is. But your clues are that it is a round number, she is younger than me and although I thought she was in her late twenties when she first chatted me up by showing me an interesting article in the Guardian, she appears younger than she is.
Then it is UK Investor Show on the 5th, a hangover on the 6th (and a day with the in-laws who are coming to London for the show), supper with Matt Suttcliffe on the 7th, a hangover on the 8th and on the 9th it is off to my beloved Hellas for three and a half weeks of walking, writing and searching for the grave of Great Uncle David Cochrane. And if it is goat milking season I shall naturally be having another go at that too.
I cannot wait. Does anyone know if it is goat milking season or not?
3070 days ago
Long time readers will know that I face a perennial battle with my weight. My scales are broken and so I am reduced to monitoring the great fight by trouser size. At my fat bastard peak I was a 44 inch waist (19 stone six). Awful. My fighting weight sees me in 32 inch waist trousers and at just over 14 stone – that is easily a normal Body Mass Index.
Being a real man I loathe shopping for clothes but reluctantly agreed with the Mrs that a new pair of black jeans was needed last week. I ventured into Top Man and nervously wondered what size to try on. 32 inches was not an option, I am aware that I have put on a few pounds. Rather timidly I tried on a 36. And they seemed to fit so I quickly invested £30 and scuttled out as fast as I could.
Five days into my Spartan, in sympathy with my obese three legged cat Oakley, diet and off the sauce it strikes me that the situation is not as bad as first feared. My trousers are falling down. That is the first bit of good news. The second is that I am rather enjoying being off the sauce, I am more productive and feel less tired. I am also avoiding my other great weakness, cheese. Carrots are not that bad really.
The bad news is that I must again trot along to Top Man and splash out another £30 as I am clearly a 34. At this rate a 32 beckons by the time I have completed some April walking in Greece.
As for Oakley…do not ask. He is really not taking this seriously at all.
3072 days ago
On Saturday I wore my London Irish shirt from my playing days, I suffered for 95 minutes which seemed like an eternity and I thanked God for agreeing to my suggestion that West Ham lose but Ireland triumph. Today I am asked to celebrate St Patrick’s Day but I will not do so.
For this day is a day when the whole world becomes Irish, hundreds of thousands don ghastly fake leprechaun hats and everyone gets drunk. By midnight the streets of Britain will be littered with discarded fake leprechaun hats, piles of vomit and folks collapsed on the street singing Swing Low Sweet Chariots as they remember who they really are. St Patrick would no doubt be truly honoured.
Party of my Irish ancestry comes from the Mathew family who were great temperance campaigners. The last of the line (named after its founder) died of an alcohol related illness some years ago. I cannot say that I am a man of temperance, quite the opposite.
But as it happens I have made an agreement with my three legged cat Oakley. The vet suggests that, especially has he only has three legs with which to support his body mass, he is a little plump. In fact I think the word she used was obese. So Oakley is on the low fat Iams and is being forced to take some exercise. In sympathy I have been off the sauce since Friday and am also on a Spartan diet. The Mrs reckons, not unfairly, that I could do with losing a few pounds and so Oakley and I are suffering together. As such I have enjoyed three days of complete sobriety which is all rather a shock to the system.
I digress. The wholly commercial exercise that is St Patrick’s Day is not something I shall take part in. On any other day of the year I’ll happily sink a pint of Guinness at the drop of a hat. But today, I will as I now do every year, give the whole thing a complete miss.
3080 days ago
Rather a personal as opposed to a political postcard this week. For the next four weeks my life is almost 100% centred on preparing for the UK Investor Show on April 5. If you have NOT booked a ticket yet, shame on you – book now HERE.
But what to do afterwards? I shall be absolutely exhausted. I am already but slog on. And so it will be off to Greece with my rucksack for a month’s walking. Partly with the Mrs, partly alone as I search out the graves of two Great Uncles, the only brothers of my father’s mother who are meant to be buried there. I recount their deaths (1931 and WW2) and their stories in this postcard.
My weekly financial video postcard “Why do I do it?” sees me discussing why I “go after” companies on the AIM Cesspit. It can be viewed HERE
3081 days ago
My poor cats, they must be getting culturally confused. Tara & Oakley were born in the Isle of Man although like 99% of Manx Cats they have full tails. Rescued by me from the MSPCA they then came over to England with me but having to watch me heaping abuse on England whenever the rugby is on. So are we Irish daddy?
Of course on Sunday they will suffer extra confusion as this household stands shoulder to shoulder with our Celtic brothers in Wales. Come on the sheep shaggers please put the old enemy to the sword. Humiliate them!
But the confusion gets worse for in taking them to a new vet for their booster jabs the Mrs made the appointment. Being a deluded lefty, the Mrs is not Mrs Winnifrith but has retained her own (Indian) surname. What say you? Political correctness gone mad?
As such the cats have come back with a form showing that they too now have an Indian surname. Born Manx, naturalised English, adopted Anglo Irish and now finally Indian. Such is the melting pot that is Britain today but it is understandable if Tara and Oakley are this morning feeling a little culturally confused.
Incidentally the vet said both cats were in great nick although Oakley (the one with three legs) was a little on the plump side and could do with a bit more exercise. Plus ca change on that front.
3084 days ago
The Mrs, Personal Best on Word Mole c2,000, reckons that I waste away my life playing this word game on my blackberry. I like to think that having a command of the English language assists in some way although I must confess that I should have spent the train time between Didcot Parkway and Chippenham penning a piece on a company meeting ( Leyshon Energy) from today.
Instead using my normal banker words “stranglers – 88 points” “stringers – 73 points” and “stranded – 73 points” I battled through to level 37 and a new PB of 11,601. If you do not know this game this will all be gibberish to you. In fact it is all gibberish and the Mrs is spot on with her analysis. But I mark my achievement in wasting my life with a new Word Mole PB none the less.
3090 days ago
Having told the local Conservative Club that St Valentine’s Day at 8 PM was not such a good time for an interview, I am now set to meet the committee tomorrow night for my interview. The Mrs, the woman formerly known as the deluded lefty, has been warned that I shall be popping out and may be some time.
With snow looming I sense that the idea of gaining access to a hostelry where (I gather) the internet now works, where booze is cheap and which is not a long trek down a big hill, is growing on her. If I pass she will be able to pop in as my guest, seven times a quarter without having to join and sully her ideological principles. The snow is looming.
And so tonight I must find suitable attire (a shirt with a collar of sorts) and brush up on why I believe in Conservative Principles….I guess if I read Call Me Dave’s recent speeches and then say the opposite I should be a shoe in.
3104 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.
3118 days ago
Cripes I have been dreading this. Not because I owe money. I reckon I am actually owed a few quid. The Mrs reckons the same. So this morning we are both sitting at computers and off we go.
The Mrs asks how to spell my middle name? Z –A-C-C-H-A-E-U-S – easy? She thinks she can claim a married couples allowance but I point out that we got married in September and this refers to the year ended April 5. To think that her father is an accountant. As it happens Zacchaeus was himself a tax collector from Jerichi. It was also the name of the first of my ancestors to move over to Ireland in the 1600s.
Sadly I fare no better having lost my Unique Tax Reference number. So I call and after navigating a voice recognition system I get through to a lovely lady from the HMRC who says that someone has already submitted a paper return for me. Who? Who cares? I am off the hook. But she will send me a copy so I can check the sums and hopefully claim back a few quid.
What a result. A task dreaded is done thanks to my mystery guardian angel.
3119 days ago
Of course Oakley will always be Oakley and later this week we look forward to the installation of a dog flap which allow the obese but adorable creature to venture outside without us opening a door. Currently he can get no more than his head through the cat flap.
The Mrs has fallen in love with Oakley and has started calling him “Darling”. That used to be my name! As an alternative she is calling him “Pudding” which given that she is from the Grim North must be a reference to something that comes in a large portion and is very thick.
My own recently coined nickname is “Benefits Street” on the basis that Oakley spends the whole day in bed, will occasionally do a mess on the carpet because he thinks he has rights without responsibilities, while now and again popping downstairs to demand an extra-large hand-out from the Food Bank.
3127 days ago
The weekly video postcard this week looks at food banks where Edwina Currie is getting it in the neck for making a perfectly valid observation. Indeed the mammoth growth of food banks is based on a lie and spawns more lies – this goes to the heart of the austerity & welfare debate.
Colleagues of the Mrs don’t get it but this video explains why food banks are an unnecessary evil.
3130 days ago
Playing Mad Lefty Bingo as the Mrs Launches her Book
The launch of Globalisation & Work, the fantastic new book co-written by the Mrs was a one day event attracted sociologists from across the UK. At the suggestion of the Mrs I turned up for the last hour only and wandered in and the third word I heard was “patriarchy.”
At once I cursed myself for not bringing an official Mad Lefty Bingo scorecard for the assembled sociologists were on fire. Within a few minutes I would also have been able to cross off
Thatcher! (as in to blame for everything)
Racist ( UKIP, The Tory Party, The Daily Mail)
Fascist ( UKIP)
Racism ( what white folks do)
The Daily Mail (whipping up racism, to blame for everything that was not Thatcher’s fault)
Carers (folks who need to be paid more)
Public Sector workers (folks who need to be paid more)
3131 days ago
I stumble out of bed at 5.30 determined to sub more of Zak Mir’s book before the markets opened. But I have an excuse, the back door is open and whilst one cat (Tara) is sitting there waiting for breakfast, my aged three legged cat Oakley is nowhere to be seen. Aha…hunt for Oakley and I can defer the torture of subbing Zak’s book – great news.
I stroll out into the garden and hear wailing from next door. Peering over the wall I see that, somehow, a hugely overweight cat with three legs has managed to make it over. But he appears unable to attempt the return journey and is just wailing. But it is 5.35 and our neighbours do not strike me as early risers. Indeed by 7.15 when the Mrs emerges to cook my breakfast there is still no light on at Number 58.
But then there is a wailing from outside the back door. It is Oakley. After God knows how many hours he has managed to remember how he got over the wall in the first place and has returned. Since he is far too obese to fit through the cat flap (we are buying a dog flap this weekend) he now demands to be let in. The Mrs, who loves Oakley more than she loves me, enjoys a tearful reunion with possibly the stupidest cat in South West England.
Drama over. Now to Zak’s book.
3136 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.
3141 days ago
“Do you want to come to my book launch?” Said the Mrs yesterday – “It is a week on Friday.” “Wow, of course I do” said I, aware that a book she had co-authored had been published but unaware that there was a full launch with free booze and food on offer. But naturally I am very proud of her for being published.
The Mrs insists that partners are invited but has suggested that I take a laptop in case it all gets a bit too much for me and I have to head off to a quiet room. She is, of course, absolutely right. The title of the book (an impressive tome) is Globalization and Work. I looked inside and spotted an early chapter on “Racism experienced by Indian call centre workers”. Hmmm, get the R word in early. I note that one of her co-authors is a Professor of “Women’s Employment.” I think I get the picture.
I rather sense that I will be the only libertarian capitalist present at this launch and that the correct strategy is to say hello as a supportive partner (partner, not husband since I appreciate that is a term associated with patriarchal exploitation) and then make my excuses and head off to tap out a few words of anarcho-capitalism. It is wiser to leave, undisturbed, the other guests to discuss the exciting leader article on how it was all Thatcher’s fault penned by Polly Toynbee in that day’s edition of The Guardian.
3144 days ago
Yes, I am sub-editing a book by Zak Mir. My good friend is a top technical analyst but his Harrovian education has left him not quite semi-literate for that would be an insult to the semi-literate, but with what one might term a unique style.
Zak does to the English language on a daily basis what Call Me Dave has done to the Idea of governing with basic Tory principles. He twists, distorts, invents and produces something with only a fleeting resemblance to the original.
However I have enjoyed ten years of translating, ooops I meant editing, Zak’s prose. I know that trying to sub a whole Zak book did drive my friend Contra Coffee Man Stephen Eckett to the brink of insanity a couple of years ago, but if anyone can do it, it is me. A fine book is on the way.
Naturally I am procrastinating like hell. So I am writing this piece. The Mrs has offered me the opportunity to do some tidying and to cook supper and do all the washing up as well as empty the cats’ litter tray. “No problems my dearest.” I know the alternative.
3147 days ago
The last time we drove out to the reservoir at Chew Magna it was a placid little puddle nestling in the Somerset hills – barely a ripple on its surface. So it was an idea place for a bracing New Year’s Day walk we thought. Okay there is a bit of wind and rain but we are hardy folk.
I think that the rain beating down on the windshield so that you could see barely twenty yards ahead should have been a clue. As we arrived all the ducks and seagulls were huddling looking rather cold behind a wall well off the water. That should have been another hint for the Mrs and I.
The wind was so strong that this small reservoir suddenly looked like the North Sea.
3150 days ago
Santa (aka the Mrs, formerly known as the Deluded Lefty) included in my stocking a book called “Chavs” by Owen Jones. The Mrs was not fully aware of quite how loathsome Mr Jones is but surely the fact that at the top of the back cover is a quote from Guardian Harridan Polly Toynbee about how wonderful this book is must have been a giveaway.
And so the book is dreadful. Mr Jones seems to think that quoting the opinion of some frightful lefty establishes what that frightful lefty believes as a matter of fact. That is even when it has been shown that the factual evidence shows that the views of the frightful lefty in question are just not borne out by hard reality.
I can understand when the students of the Mrs (studying sociology at a former Poly) cite the author of the Spirit Level to demonstrate the “fact” that inequality of wealth causes unhappiness all round. They are just 19 and are not a self-proclaimed one-person think tank for the Left. But when Owen Jones makes the same sort of claim you wonder what fuckwit offered to publish his book? Surely it would have been cheaper to have bought a few essays from her students off the Mrs and republished them?
Jones purports to show how the Middle Classes demonise all working class folks as chavs.
3157 days ago
I am yet to enjoy my formal interview at the local Conservative Club or indeed to find out whether they have fixed the Wi-Fi yet. But with snow forecast the Mrs may well have to grit her teeth again and visit the only boozer which is not down at the bottom of a slippery big hill.
The Mrs are convinced that the blue lights now in the windows of the Club (pictured below) are some sort of political statement. As a BBC watching Guardian reader she might have forgotten that Christmas was on its way. If course she has not! Only kidding.
My father (a deluded lefty) has already decided that faced with cheap beer and a short walk or expensive beer and a long walk he is quite willing to throw principle to the wind when visiting. But then if you have spent the past few years drinking at the White Bear in Shipston-on-Stour with David Mills (Silvio Berlusconi’s friend and once again Tessa Jowell’s husband now that the old bag is quitting front line politics) you will drink with anybody.
Anyhow, are there any suitable captions for the picture of “my club” below
My effort is:
3164 days ago
As I tap away in a local hostelry, the Mrs is sitting opposite me reading the Independent on Sunday. This really is a minority taste but I suppose someone has to. I know that I would struggle to manage more than five minutes of imbibing the Indescribablyboring’s diet of anti-capitalist, Israel hating, politically correct bilge. But…
The Mrs has just piped up that she thinks that it is too right wing…I am trying to contain my sense of disbelief. She might as well have said that Elvis Presley was sitting on the table behind me. Be calm... after lunch we head to the Conservative Club where I suspect the Indy is not on offer behind the bar.
3165 days ago
I have yet to have my formal interview with the local Conservative Club which I joined last weekend while the Mrs (the woman formerly known as the Deluded Lefty) was away. But I remain confident that, unlike Call Me Dave, I can say honestly that I believe in low taxes, law and order, individual responsibility, a Small state, fiscal responsibility, etc. and will walk the quiz. And so as I strolled in tonight I was welcomed with open arms. Clearly word has spread.
As you, dear readers, know, my primary motivation for joining is cheap booze and free Wi-Fi. And so as I started on a £4 very large glass of red I tied to log on. Er…oh. It failed to work.
Asking for assistance
3170 days ago
Still with no internet at the new house of the Mrs, I spent the whole of Sunday working in what I thought was the local hostelry in our new Neighbourhood. At ten o’clock I started wandering home and as I reached the top of the quite steep hill and about two thirds of the way back I started wondering how I will cope with this trek in the snow. But then I saw a bright light burning across the road. It called me towards it….
In a rather tired looking Victorian building there it was. The Conservative Club. With the Mrs away I thought “why not?” and buzzed my way inside. This place is less than 250 yards from my front door with no hills involved. It has Wi-Fi (although the barman did not seem to know what Wi-Fi was all about), snooker and pool tables and very, very cheap booze indeed.
It was just £5 to join and £16 a year to be a member (an extra fiver in the unlikely event of the Mrs, the woman formerly known as the Deluded Lefty, deciding to join as well). I rapidly worked out that at £2a pint/glass of wine I will get my money back very quickly indeed. All I needed was a proposer and seconder who had known me for 5 years and an understanding that I supported the principles of the Conservative party.
3171 days ago
The Mrs is away on a taxpayer funded jolly (I meant to say important work trip to Asia) and so I am not being berated for wasting time on my blackberry game, Word Mole. I mentioned this before when I discovered that PC word mole would not allow the word Zionist.
And so as I kill time before heading off to the pub and an internet connection I have just recorded my new all-time high score (10,608 if you are an aficionado) on this appalling game. I am not sure where that leaves me in the UK’s top Word Mole players but it has been hard work getting to such a level – the Mrs has a best score of just over 1,000 but she has not submitted herself to a dedicated training regime as I have done.
I am not sure what it says about me but my banker word is “stranglers” to start many rounds – that is 80 points. Strippers appears quite often (70 points). When I am bored on the easy rounds there is a tendency to slip in a quick “randy” (35 points) or “sluts” (35 points) or to try to push the boundaries of what this pretty PC game will allow in terms of smutty (48 points) vocab.
I am not sure that the prudes at Google will approve of this article either. Probably yet another black mark for this site. It is 11.34 and as Malcolm Stacey would say “The Punter’s Return is open but will not be serving any stranglers, randy strippers or smutty sluts today.”
3171 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).