12 days ago
For St. David’s Day, the Pest, aka my son Joshua, has a choice of three Welsh tasks for a school contest. No sheep jokes, he is only seven. And fear not, any English person owning a second home in the village won’t be “coming home to a real fire” though Joshua is a fierce nationalist. That reminds me, it is Ireland vs Wales on Saturday which we will be watching with an Irish family though the Mrs says she will join the kids in rooting for Wales. Traitor. Back to the contest: the task we have chosen is making Bara Brith, a Welsh sort of fruit cake.
1085 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.
1233 days ago
I am back here at last and allow a bit of time for personal matters. Then it is on to Optibiotix (OPTI), Skinbiotherapeutics (SBTX), Verditek (VDTK) and G3 Exploration (G3E).
2014 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.
2202 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.
2204 days ago
Driving down snake hill as I headed back from the Greek Hovel towards the village of Kambos all was quiet. I could hear nothing at all. Bliss! Can God please have words with the Mrs about retiring and us living here all year round.
2292 days ago
It is, perhaps, my favourite "office." Sitting in the Kourounis taverna in Kambos I tap away happily. Lovely Eleni keeps the coffee coming and every now and again I look up to watch the world go by, oh so slowly, on the main street in Kambos,, the village closest to the Greek Hovel.
2478 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.
2485 days ago
An hours olive pruning each day is good for the olives and good for me. For starters it is some exercise to keep the type 2 diabetes at bay. Reach up, saw, reach down, axe, reach up axe, look around to check for snakes, hear a noise, panic, discover its not a snake, stop panicking, walk over the rocks and bushes to the next tree, check there are no snakes. Repeat. Repeat again. If I could do this every day the pounds would roll off.
2498 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.
2573 days ago
As I drove up the mountain road to Kambos and the Greek Hovel I could see smoke rising all around me. It is the season when you burn the branches you chopped down in the olive harvest, start pruning your trees and give them a bit of fertilizer. I bought a lighter in Kalamata and, having been trained by George the Albanian on how to start a fire with a few bits of dried grass I was determined to match my neighbours.
2807 days ago
There was I having a late afternoon doze in the Greek Hovel when I awoke to a sound which seemed right outside my window, the sound of sheep. For those living the other side of Offa's Dyke this might sound like the climax of a wet dream but for me it was reality as I went onto my balcony on the Monastery facing side of the hovel and, you can see what I saw right beneath me.
2825 days ago
It is now 30 degrees or more day in and day out at the Greek Hovel. And I am up in the mountains, down by the sea it is warmer still. But that constant sunshine now leaves the fields and hills looking ever browner as you can see below.
2922 days ago
In today's St David's Day podcast I wish my Welsh listeners a happy national day and - especially for you - discuss why sheep porn matters. I then move onto Horse Hill and today's news and why Ben Turney and the other silly rampers are talking shit. To make it simple, I use the analogy of Ms Cheryl Cole and Mr Wayne Rooney. I discuss African Potash (AFPO), letters of credit and thus Environmental Recycling (ENRT) and its fellow FRAUD Eden Research (EDEN). Its PR man Queenie McManus is - I assume - still smearing me as he chats to his pals the Bulletin Board Morons - but the company refuses to meet for an interview. What - other than fraud - is it hiding? I discuss Greka Drilling (GDL) as it heads down the pan and - after today's results from Barclays (BARC) - banks in general and why Old Getafix is wrong to be such a bull.
3198 days ago
I invested in another big can of frigana poison this morning but also in a new boy toy, a 12 Euro olive axe. It is about 18 inches long and used for pruning becuase I must prune all 150 trees before I leave. Cripes it is hard work.
On days like today, when dark clouds hover on the Taegessus mountains above the Greek hovel it is an olive pruning day. The last thing you want is the rain washing the poison off the frigana plants and so your choice is made. In one hand I carry my hand saw in the other my sharp new axe (the blunt old one I found on the property broke yesterday).
Like most of you reading, I am not used to manual labour, still less work that involves you cutting and hacking with your arms above head height. I managed about twenty trees this afternoon and my arms ache. Vangelis - the man in the pink shirt - thinks I should get a power saw and that it is ather funny that I do it the old way.
Though I was taught how to prune by Foti the Albanian last summer, I sense that my work is not quite up to scratch. The axe does not always hit its target. The villagers in Kambos regard their trees as like beautiful women, to be cherished and treasured. They prune with a skill that I shall only learn with time. I rather hope that my handiwork is not inspected as it may be viewed as the olive tree equivalent of wife beating. Anyhow
3515 days ago
As I was leaving the Greek Hovel this morning at around 9.30 the gardeners arrived. Before Dan Levi tweets out abuse from the Manchester slums about how I am outsourcing hard work, let me explain.
3517 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.
3576 days ago
Woof, woof, woof! How many times have I warned (correctly) that AIM & TSX listed silver company Arian (AGQ) is a total and utter dog? I have lost count. Those who ignored me have lost 90% in three years but at 34.5p the shares are still hugely overvalued. The quarterlies were slipped out at 6.59 AM today just a minute before the 7 AM rush so that folks might not notice just how dismal they are. I noticed…
Woof – where do you start? Arian is building a new processing plant in Mexico and the uber-Welsh management team finds that prospect almost as exciting as the idea of being stranded alone on a desert island with a flock of pert young sheep. I am rather less excited about Arian’s prospects.
3593 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
3876 days ago
To be honest I am a bit starved of ideas and the bird wants to head off for a romantic meal so the best that I can do on the caption front is to offer up a picture from earlier. Please post your wittiest captions in the comments section below.
3891 days ago
Larissa is the birthplace of Achilles and the provincial capital of Thessaly. It is a fairly sleepy town of 162,000 people which is nor rich, or certainly shouldn’t be, since the mainstay of the regional economy is small scale farming. How odd then that ownership of Porsche Cayenne’s per head of population in this town was twice the OECD average. Hmmmmm.
Welcome to the 100 sheep trick from the good old days. Each Greek farmer got a large EU grant per sheep. The EU did have to inspect the sheep but had to pre-arrange its visits with the local Mayor. There are ten farmers each owning 20 sheep. The inspector arrives and finds that farmer A has 100 sheep. The mayor takes him to a farm on the other side of town owned by farmer B where there are also 100 sheep. Back to farmer C where there are also 100 sheep and so on. The inspector is not Welsh so fails to twig that by the end of his visit he has seen the same 200 sheep five times each.
The grants are duly handed out to all ten farmers. They then employ one Albanian on peanuts to look after 200 sheep and head off in their Porsche Cayenne’s to the village square to drink coffee.
Everyone in Greece knew this was going on but no-one complained. The EU was spending other people’s money (er yours and mine) and so did not care. It was great that Greece had joined the Evil Empire which now reached from the Shetlands to within a couple of miles of Asia. Party on…
Yes I feel sorry for the Greek people and for poor Hellas. But it is worth remembering that in the good times more than a few Greeks trousered it big time and we paid for that.
3911 days ago
An early father's day treat saw me take my delightful daughter Olivia out for breakfast in Islington. Olivia's mother (Big Nose) is a Welsh speaker and Olivia seems to be growing up as a die-hard cottage burner - she is now taking Welsh lessons herself. It will come in handly when she visits the family of Big Nose in West Wales.
And so we wander into this restaurant and Olivia sits down with her back against the wall. I sit opposite and we prepare to discuss how her recent exams went, her plans for her 12th birthday, etc, etc.
But I could not help look at the wall behind where Olivia chose to sit. For one it was the image below. I made some comment about the girlfriends of Big Nose's little brother Andrew and got a dirty look.
4019 days ago
On March 1st my daughter Olivia ( whose mother is a Welsh speaker) tends to dress up in her National costume. And I wish her, her mother ( Big Nose) and all Welshies everywhere a very happy St David’s Day. I do not know whether it is a Bank Holiday in the land where they really can take a joke and never molest sheep. But since about 75% of Welshies live off the State it probably does not make much difference anyway.
Anyhow it is probably an excuse for you all to get pissed and utter increasingly dark words about how your coal mines and industry were all closed down by the evil Thatcher! And that the 30 years of high unemployment seen since, despite wholesale subsidies from the accursed English, is all the fault of Thatcher, the English, the Tories and not you.
Happy St David’s Day to Welshies everywhere, notably weather girl Sian Lloyd, those fine singers Shakin’ Stevens and Charlotte Church, cultural ambassador Mr Craig Bellamy and, of course Ruth Madoc from Hi de Hi.
4020 days ago
There was no free share tip today oneonefreesharetip.com today as instead I felt the need to apolgise to an entire nation. In case you are not registered ( why not?) the piece runs.
I make a public apology to the entire people of Wales. It is indeed a heart-felt apology to you all ( my daughter Olivia included and even to her mother “big nose”). For you see it seems that I have been insensitive to the great people of the nation that brought you Max Boyce, badger fancying MP Ron Davies, weekend cottage burning and the entire Kinnock family and I want to apologise for that.
Clem Chambers and I have received an email from a sensitive and humourless Welshie called Gareth Davies He states:
“In your “One Free Share Tip” report of 17th February tipped Welsh technology hardware company I.Q.E., you referred to them as “sheep shaggers”. We Welsh have a good sense of humour and accept light –hearted “digs”, but the above phrase is not in that category and in fact is downright insulting and completely out of order. I trust that you will apologise for your remark and that such insults will not be repeated. Should I not receive a satisfactory reply, I may well take the matter further.
To Clem: I tried to get your e-mail address , but after several long, unanswered calls to 0207 0700 961, I have had to send your copy of the above e-mail by post (recorded delivery). Remarks such as the one above are often made in the media , mainly by S.E.England/London “establishment” figures. Having worked/travelled throughout Britain , I know that such hereditary, systemic, arrogant, publically- stated insolence is viewed by others outside the S.E. region with annoyance and contempt. Attitudes are hardening and in future, such insolence will not be tolerated.”
Ooooh er missus. I am threatened by Gareth, who clearly has time on his hands, that he may take the matter further and Clem now knows that this “insolence will not be tolerated.”
Clem and I are sensitive souls. I hate to think of Gareth staring up the valley looking at deserted coal mines and suffering because an Ireland supporting writer made such a comment about his fellow Celts. Poor Gareth. I am almost in tears as I write this apology for I want his soul to become less tormented. For you Gareth but also to all your wonderful countrymen and countrywomen, including family man Ryan Giggs and Ruth Madoc from Hi-de-Hi, I would like to state publicly:
I apologise for the comment. I fully accept that no-one in Wales has ever considered shagging a sheep and that nothing of the sort ever happens in the Principality. I think I got Wales confused with the Scottish borders and apologise for my basic error of geography which I shall not repeat.
I hope that Gareth will accept this apology in full and will promise not to burn down the cottage that my Aunt Lucy owns in his great land.
I trust that this puts an end to the matter as I would rather spend an eternity listening to Aled Jones records in a room full of grumbling Welshies bleating on about how the wicked Thatcher closed down all the mines, than continue this pointless correspondence any further.
4081 days ago
Will Reading get relegated this season? Is paedophilia a national sport in Belgium? Do sheep get nervous when they cross the border into Wales? Is the Guardian a paper fit only for lighting fires with and using in the cat’s litter tray? Is the Pope a Catholic? Of course Reading (and QPR) are going down.
4101 days ago
I am spending more time these days in Shipston-on-Stour in southern Warwickshire where my father lives with my (not wicked but just deluded lefty) step mother. I could not live there full time. The average age is about 97 and everyone seems to know who everyone else is. I just want to be left alone. But walking along with my father between the White Bear (his “office”) and home about once a minute there is a greeting of “Morning Professor”. Dad was not actually a professor just a senior lecturer but he looks the part.
Friday evening saw the Victorian street fair. Some folks dressed up in 19th century garb. There were clowns on stilts and a brass band blasted out all those Christmas carols you remember from childhood. Truly it was freezing and felt like it was very much the Bleak Midwinter. All the local societies had stalls. Naturally the Cats Protection League was my fave but