Sunday May 19, 2019
Photo Article - a Woodlarks training walk up the River Dee
Photo Article from the Welsh Hovel - this is what I do when not writing or walking
Photo Article update from the Welsh Hovel - a sight to delight daughter Olaf

PERSONAL, UNDILUTED VIEWS FROM TOM WINNIFRITH

Carer E returns from “meeting “ Donald Trump – my father a changed man

75 days ago

My father has been in a bad mood for almost three weeks as his lead carer, the saintly E, headed off for a holiday in Vietnam. E is a right thinking soul who backs all the causes that you, I and 99% of the population outside of London, Bristol and Oxford think perfectly sensible but which would get you tarred and feathered were you to mention on a University campus. For some reason she and my father, a faux progressive, get on like a house on fire.

And so for three weeks my father has complained bitterly about the stand in carers. I sense that had the late Mother Theresa and Princess Diana been tending to his needs he would still have been bitterly complaining as they are not E.

The highlight of the trip to Vietnam for a woman, who received, from me, a MAGA cap for her birthday last year? The cavalcade of Donald Trump rushing by just feet away. Almost in the presence of the Great Man himself... what more could you want?

This morning a call came in from Shipston as the two had a joyful reunion. All is well again. Not only is E back to tend to his needs but this means a resumption of supplies of the contraband which my rather PC sisters rather disapprove of, his secret delight, that is to say a copy of the previous day's Daily Mail.

Tom Winnifrith

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Photo Article – is it stir up Sunday? It is here

196 days ago

My father’s sister L was visiting him in Shipston today and I mentioned that Joshua and I were going shopping ahead of making Christmas Puddings.  Is it Stir Up Sunday she asked. To be honest I had not given it that much thought but unlike, I suspect, most younger readers I do understand the reference.

As it happens today is not Stir Up Sunday.  That is the last Sunday before Advent (November 25 this year) and the origin of the day is in the book of common prayer when the collect for the that Sabbath is: "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.” But since Victorian  times it has been the day when folks make their Christmas Puddings and each family member stirs the mixture at least once and makes a private wish.

How many folks actually make their own puddings these days rather than buying them in the shops? I suspect not that many. But it was something my mother did and something I do e very year.  We still have one 2017 pudding left so I made two today, one for the parents of the Mrs who will be hosting my wife’s sister and her family, the “bubbles” on December 25 and one for my second Christmas when Olaf comes to join us.

The older pudding is for our own Christmas day here in Bristol. As you can see Joshua stirred the mixture but I am not sure he made a wish so I made two.  That bottle of brandy was full before today so it should be a fairly “robust” pudding when it is served with brandy butter on the big day.

The puddings are now steaming away, the windows of the kitchen are misted up and I shall be keeping the waters topped up for another five hours. The rituals of another Christmas have started.

Admin

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Discussing the Iliad, the seven cities and the Greek Hovel with my father

201 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.

The reference is from the Iliad book nine. Achilles is sulking and refusing to fight in the siege of Troy. Agamemnon, the King of Mycenae, sends an emissary to attempt to persuade him to rejoin the battle and offers him numerous bribes including, from a rough precis “Seven well-populated cities he shall have: Cardamyle, Enope, and grassy Hire; holy Pherae and Antheia with its deep meadows; lovely Aepeia, and vine-rich Pedasus. They are all near the sea, on our far border with sandy Pylos, and the men there own great flocks and herds”

There is evidence of Mycenaean civilization in Kambos. There is a Tholos or tomb which you can see HERE on the outskirts of the village and a gold cup was found at some stage. Between the modern village and the Hovel, at the bottom of the valley by the deserted convent, is a natural spring which would have been a pre-requisite for the establishment of any City – think a large village not London or Athens. It is, of course, all rather sketchy.

But my father’s carer Emma has fetched Iliad ix from his study and some old primers and this will keep him busy for the next day or so, seeing if the original offers up any more clues.

Tom Winnifrith

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Surely even my father will not fall for Oxfam's lottery scam - an appeal to the stupid

339 days ago

One of the joy's of being in Shipston with my father is getting to answer the phone for him. "Is that Tom Winnifrith?" says someone from the numerous virtue signalling charities run by legions of grossly overpaid Guardian readers, who he supports with his cash. Truthfully I answer "yes." I am then treated to a long spiel about all the valuable work they are doing out in bongo bongo land followed by an appeal for an increased monthly donation.

My father, a closet reactionary, actually rather despises Guardian readers although, to appease my public sector working and rather bossy sisters, he still has a Guardian delivered every day and reads it dutifully before calling me to say how angry he is about whatever piffle has been published in that edition.

He is also fully aware that while capitalism has been lifting hundreds of milions out of poverty, his cash which is not wasted on a bloated bureaucracy in Blighty is usually stolen out in the field, wasted or used to employ the legions of child molesters who work for the NGOs. 

As such he does not mind when I make it clear that if Tom Winnifrith is ever called again by this charity he will cancel his direct debit altogether. If there is any objection I start to ask questions about how many paedophile scandals they have covered up this week and they soon piss off.

With this in mind I see that Oxfam now has a lottery. Whereas foreign aid should be defined as "a transfer of wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries", lotteries are a simply "a tax on the stupid." Does Oxfam really think that my Dad is enticed by the thought that by handing over more of his cash he "can win prizes every week." Does it think its donors are that stupid?

Then to say that the cash which is not used for prizes will "beat poverty." when we know that 11 Oxfam staffers earned more than £100,000 last year with the then CEO picking up pay and expenses of c£140,000, is just a lie. Part of the cash that Oxfam lottery players - very few of whom earn telephone number salaries - hand over will be to support a stack of grossly overpaid staff at headquarters. They are not suffering poverty.  But not all of the cash Oxfam extracts is used on overpaid staffers at HQ or on "campaigning" against capitalism. There will be some left over to help pay the wages of peadophiles "hard at it", in the field.

Admin

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Happy 80th Birthday Dad

409 days ago

My father knows why I am in New York rather than Shipston and approves so he has had to make do with a card (which has arrived) and a present (which has not). But he is aware of what it is, something that combines two of his great loves in life: Kent and cider. Fingers crossed it will arrive tomorrow.

I have been sent photos from his carer E, of him grinning into a camera with cards on the shelf as he celebrates this great landmark. I'm sure that each of what he terms the nest of vipers, that is to say his six children and step children, will be in touch as well as many of the 17 grandchildren ranging from the eldest (just started at a minor university in the Fens) down to Joshua. 

I would imagine that otherwise it is business as usual. Digest the Guardian and, as one of its most loyal if also most reactionary readers, splutter to carer E ( a sound Trump and Brexit loving right winger) about how it is all lies and "fashionable left wing filth." Then there will be a trip to the office ( aka the White Bear) which may allow him to buy yet another copy of the Big Issue from the fat Bulgarian who is picked up every day in a silver Merc and who often flies home for holidays. This will give him pleasure as he knows how much this annoys both myself and E so he may even buy two copies from the far scrounger as a Birthday treat.

Then there will be some ITV 3 detective re-runs and perhaps a good book. By his living room chair there are a selection of books he deems good and worthy of a re-read, a good number of which are by his favourite author, Dr TJ Winnifrith. Modesty is a family trait.

Maybe a resolution for Dad's 81st year to help with the blood pressure: cancel the Guardian subscription and release your inner reactionary: treat yourself to the forbidden pleasure of the Daily Mail each day and perhaps the Telegraph as well. Good for the blood pressure and it would annoy my lefty sisters to boot. What's not to like?

My father brought me up, largely, as a single parent so I owe him an enormous amount. I'm sorry not to be at the White Bear today with him but happy birthday anyway to a great father and grandfather.

Tom Winnifrith

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For my father and I it was a great day as both our rugby teams won but its a history fail for the BBC

449 days ago

My father has been watching the rugby like a hawk. Here in Greece I have been unable to watch but have kept in touch via the internet and calling my father after each game. Now this may not go down well with England supporters but in an Irish supporting family it was a perfect team as both our favourite teams won.

The "Old Country" defeated Wales. That has been a bad fixture for us for a while and in recent years my father and I have found ourselves exchanging the comment "at least that will make Olaf happy" after the final whistle. My daughter has a Welsh speaking mother, Big Nose, and is a strong nationalist. But this year we had no need for that consoling thought.
Incidentally I loved this tweet from BBC Sport

Get Involved - There seems to be glowing sunshine in every part of the United Kingdom today, apart from Dublin. So where are you watching from? Send me your pictures on #bbcsixnations

You don't need to be a lifelong supporter of Irish Republicanism to see the flaw in that tweet but perhaps some basic history lessons might be helpful at the State funded fake news channel.

As for the other team whose victory we cheer? Our second team is, of course, anyone playing the Old Enemy. So there were cheers in both Shipston and Kalamata as Scotland put England to the sword. The win is all the more pleasant becuase of the pre-match swagger and arraogance olf the England team, manager and supporters. Pride, as they say,...

Next up for the men in Green it is Scotland in Dublin. Win that and the championship is almost in sight...

Tom Winnifrith

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Falling out with my father over his loathsome cat Obe

482 days ago

We have not really fallen out but I have had to rebuke the old man sternly. I am staying with him in Shipston to start recording his memoirs which are actually really very interesting, not so much the later life but the years 1938 to 1956. I am not sure what I will do with the recordings but they are part of my family history but also an interesting insight into the war years in so many ways. We have hanged British Nazis, my grandfather, Sir John Winnifrith, in Churchill's bunker, evacuation with the nanny, Mrs No Cow and much more to preserve for posterity.

Amid this jolity Dad wishes to discuss his will. As we run over various matters I ask what is to become of his cat Obe, a fat black and white creature who hates all of humanity bar my father whom she adores. Obe, named after the worst President since Jimmy Carter, is a loathsome creature but I find myself leaping to her defence for my father says that he will have her put down after he dies.

I compare this to the Indian practice of suttee and continue to use words such as extermination and murder throughout the evening. My father suggests that I might want Obe. I do not. I have my three legged feline Oakley and that is enough. But Oakley makes my point - he and his late soulmate Tara came from the cat rescue of the MSPCA after their former owner passed away. And since then Oakley has enjoyed more than six happy years with me.

Okay Oakley is a lovely creature, notwithstanding his lavatorial failings, whereas Obe is a monster but that is not the point. My father says that he has not told anyone else of his intentions towards poor Obe as she looks up at him adoringly. I suggest to him that he keeps it that way. As executor of his will I will not be authorising any cat executions, even if that cat is the frightful Obe.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith photo bearcast - the best of British, the worst of British this Christmastime

525 days ago

https://www.shareprophets.com/views/33189/tpm-winnifrith-photo-bearcast-the-best-of-british-the-worst-of-british-this-christmastime

Tom Winnifrith

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My father: the best customer of the Bulgarian Big Issue seller in a silver Mercedes

615 days ago

My father attempts to hide his inner reactionary by ostentatiously being the best customer of the fat Bulgarian lady who, rather aggressively, sells the Big Issue outside the Co-Op in Shipston on Stour. Sometimes, in order to either annoy me or to demonstrate his PC credentials to my virtue signalling public sector (part time) working sisters he will buy two or three issues a month.This is not Alzheimer's he has always done it. He is the favourite "customer" of the great Bulgarian lardbucket.

You and I might think that the Big Issue is there as a stop gap measure to stop folks having to beg and to get them back "into the system" but clearly for, at least one, Bulgarian it is worth taking an Easyjet flight to Stanstead in order to pursue it as a vocation.

The Fat Bulgarian plies her trade two days a week in Shipston and three days a week outside M&S in Stratford. Myself and my father's prime carer, the delightfully right wing E, can already see why this whole process is ridiculous. We suspect, but cannot prove, the Bulgar lardbucket is also helping herself to the largesse offered by the Welfare State but this morning came the bombshell.

E reveals that after putting in her shift of hard selling in Shipston the Bulgar does not return home by bus like other poor folks. Instead she is picked up in a silver Mercedes. E and I put it to my father that his generosity is now, beyond any doubt being abused and that this shows the reality of free movement within the EU and the moral degeneracy that mainlining welfare brings.

He was having none of it. Sister T, a part time Shipman, and the most pious of all the virtue signallers in our family ( quite an achievement in itself) was on her way. There was just enough time for the old fool to buy yet another edition of this month's Big Issue, featuring a lengthy interview with the loathsome Russell Brand, before T arrived.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: No wonder the British civil service was crawling with Russian Spies

616 days ago

https://www.shareprophets.com/views/31453/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-no-wonder-the-british-civil-service-was-crawling-with-russian-spies

Tom Winnifrith

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Photo Article - Dessert Gooseberry Crumble, not so good for the diabetes but...

673 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.

The resultant crumble is perhaps not ideal for tackling my type 2 diabetes but it prompted the Mrs to say, without any need for encouragement "you are a good cook.". She enjoyed it, as did Joshua and as did I. I shall be good again from tomorrow. Life without the odd treat is just so terribly dull.

Admin

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Photo: Picking gooseberries in the glorious English Rain at Shipston - how I would miss our summer rains

673 days ago

In Greece the summer rains are violent. Dark clouds gather above the Taygetos Mountains above the Greek hovel or sometimes out to see in the bay of Kalamata. The wind starts to pick up and you can hear it unsettling the trees, after a while the rustling of the leaves is so loud it sends a clear warning of what is to come. Thunder booms loudly, you start to see lightning and before you know it the rain is pouring down. You can be drenched, a dripping rat, within a minute or so as the skies empty.

And then it is over. vast puddles lie across the mud track that leads up to the hovel. The mud is slippy and your car or motorbike slides its way up and down the hill but the sun is beating. Soon the land is steaming and within a day or so the puddles are gone.

If you are lucky the thunderstorm whips up at night, breaking the oppressive summer heat and allowing you one night of contented sleep. But whenever the rains break it is a violent affair. If you doubt me, listen six minutes into this podcast when - as I recorded - the hovel was struck by lightning.

By contrast, in England the heat is less intense. The rain arrives more often and is not the warm rain of Greece but a colder if less violent downpour. Such were my thoughts as I picked dessert gooseberries in my father's garden at Shipston.

Almost thirty years ago when my father and late stepmother, who died a year ago yesterday, moved to Shipston their four hundred year old house was in an awful state and the garden was just a total mess. They worked hard to create a wonderful central lawn, sprawling flower beds and a fruit and vegetable patch which year in year out has yielded potatoes, lettuces, broad beans, tomatoes, raspberries,m strawberries, red currants, black currants and both dessert and normal gooseberries.

Gardeners still pop in once a fortnight to keep the place in order. But my father rarely ventures into the garden and the soul has gone from the place this last year. The six of us (my two sisters and three steps) all visit and do our best to harvest what is there. It is a duty to my step mother and father not to let it go to waste. And so I sent the last of the raspberries back with the Mrs and Joshua on Sunday and as I waited for a lift to the station I picked half of the dessert gooseberries. Normal green gooseberries are just too bitter for my palate. I can't see why everyone does not use the purple dessert variety.

If I end up spending more and more time in Greece I shall miss the English summer rains, thought I, as I slowly got wetter and wetter, dutifully cleaning the bush.

Admin

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: there are too many Ethiopians in Sound Oil's Moroccan fuel store

677 days ago

https://www.shareprophets.com/views/30278/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-there-are-too-many-ethiopians-in-sound-oil-s-moroccan-fuel-store

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifritb Bearcast: lessons from Carillion, 88 Energy, MySQUAR and the faux political correctness of my father exposed

678 days ago

https://www.shareprophets.com/views/30251/tom-winnifritb-bearcast-lessons-from-carillion-88-energy-mysquar-and-the-faux-political-correctness-of-my-father-exposed

Tom Winnifrith

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Diary of a Diabetic day 6 - a very up and down 48 hours, here and in Shipston

770 days ago

I loathe flying. The truth is that it frightens me a bit. And so I usually have a drink or two in the hope that it knocks me out on the plane. But taking this type 2 diabetes seriously, there was no alcohol for me at Bristol airport on Friday. The place was crammed, largely with fat people flying Easyjet for stag and hen parties across Europe. The rotund stags and porcine hens were already drinking heavily by noon when the Mrs and I arrived and they were also stuffing their fat faces with processed junk food, aka sugar filled suicide sandwiches. I had a coffee.

A couple of hours later we were flying into Copenhagen looking down at "The Bridge". By around five I was feeling pretty feint having only enjoyed a breakfast of raw oats. And thus I enjoyed a warm goats cheese salad and we all headed to bed. Travelling with a baby is tiring and as a diabetic it is especially hard to dodge the temptations of booze and the ever present processed food. But at the end of the day my blood sugar was just 10.3.

10.3 is nowhere near my target of 5 but given that I started Monday evening at 15.3 it is good going. I don't kid myself. This is largely down to my sugar-busting Gliclazide pills but I am also doing all the right things including switching off my computer. I write to you on Sunday morning having not turned on the wretched machine for almost 48 hours.

In a way that makes life so much better - I really am much calmer. In a way it makes it worse. Last night I tried to call my father. There was no answer. And so I called my little sister N. Again no answer but then a text message. Apparently I had missed a few emails. My father came home from hospital on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning he was discovered in a pool of blood having had another "complication" post the operation. Back to hospital in an ambulance he went.

Missing out on all the emails I had no idea that there was talk of surgery, of another blood transfusion and of much else. But so far neither has happened and the Shipmans are apparently considering sending him home today. Little step sister F and I chatted at length and we are not so sure that this is wise. But who are we to argue?

This all came as something of a late evening bombshell just before supper. So shocked was I that I let my guard slip and had a glass of wine, a piece of bread and a tiny bit of red meat. This morning my bloods came in at 12.3 which is the worst since the morning of the 5th ( after that bad day in London). I am kicking myself. But this is a minor blip. Today we head to an isolated Swedish island. Limited wifi, no booze, even more walking and relaxing fishing.

The word from little sister N this morning is that my father is in better shape.That is good. I have not yet booked my flight out of Copenhagen next Friday. Greece or back to Shipston? I am not sure. Pro tem a healthy breakfast of oats and now it is off to "The Bridge"

Tom Winnifrith

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Diary of a diabetic day 4 - I think I am getting better and so is my father

773 days ago

Day 2 of my battle to tackle type 2 diabetes showed just exactly why there was no way I could do so without shoving my keyboard in a cupboard and changing every aspect of my life. I had to go to London to do some expert witness business for a friend. So it was all on board the 4.47 AM having done a very early morning blood test which came out at 11.7 down from 15.3 the night before. I know that post fasting measures will be lower but even so: I was told those new zappo pills would work fast!

Though I had only porridge on the train that was where the good news sort of stopped. I resisted biscuits in the meeting but by the time I walked out ( after four and a half hours) I was almost fainting and a bowl of pasta at Wedge Issue was much needed. Meeting, meeting, writing a bit for Steve Moore, some garlic bread, stress, it was all bad. I drank only water and coffee but I really felt tired and stressed and by the time I took my bloods very late that evening back in Bristol they were up at 14. The next morning they were still 13.7.

The bad news is that I discovered on Wednesday night that I was out of testing strips and have only just managed to wade through NHS bureaucracy to get some more. So I shall resume testing tonight - day 4. The good news is that two stress free days make me feel relatively confident.

Yesterday I drove up to see my father who remains in hospital and turned 79 on the first day of the new tax year. I showed him the present he will get on his return to Shipston but did so covertly, I sensed the NHS would not like bottles of ouzo being brandished about freely in Warwick Hospital. He was in cracking form and has suffered no further complications. God willing he will be at home within days. Despite having too much driving it was a semi-relaxing day for me. At least it started with me waking up when I feel like it. For the first time in 26 years there is no alarm set to ensure that I am staring at a screen by 7 AM.

While driving I listened to a most excellent programme on Radio 4 about sugar. We Brits eat an average of 30 bags a year - that is one every 12 days. It is horrifying. We eat it neat in our warm drinks, in cakes, soft drinks and puddings and in a way few of us notice in so many processed foods. Sugar consumption has soared and so too has the incidence of type 2 diabetes. The two things are linked.

In Greece I eat no processed foods at all. I, now and agai,n allow myself a pudding but not this year. And so I'd hope to be eating more or less no sugar at all. Here in Britain it is harder but I am cutting out the processed foods, puddings and alcohol so I really hope that I am well below the national average. Not that beating such a shocking score should be hard.

Today there was once again no alarm call. I have eaten very sensibly and I have taken three walks. They may be short walks but they are the sort of walks that I might well have done by car in the past. Now I consciously opted to walk even when carrying Oakley to the vets for his annual check up. My three legged cat is no longer morbidly obese. It is hard to tell beneath his masses of fur but he has lost a good amount of weight. Perhaps too much, expensive blood tests are called for.

But I digress. Let's talk about me.I know my bloods will keep getting better. I am not kidding myself. I know I have a very long way to go but I am heading the right way. And I feel it already! My father would say that this is not the sort of matter a gentleman discusses but I am less tired in the afternoon and, more noticeably, I am pissing far less often. I am now almost excited abut what news tonight's blood test will bring.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast - not a day I want to repeat

773 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/28176/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-not-a-day-i-want-to-repeat

Tom Winnifrith

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Saying Goodbye to my father...but, thank God, that was only a dress rehearsal: Good News from Warwick Hospital

782 days ago

The operation was set to start at noon so I headed in to see my father for quarter past eleven. In he wandered on his crutches wearing the most ridiculous surgical stockings and dressing gown. His garb invited ridicule but given the gravity of what was to happen I held back.

The "day room" in which we met was communal and so there was also an elderly couple where the wife was set for an op and a middle aged man who broke the elephant in the room by saying that we are all in for the same op are we not? They were. And there then followed a detailed discussion of their symptoms, diagnosis of this particular form of cancer and other matters. My father and I exchanged knowing looks - these are not matters a gentleman discusses in public.

By half twelve it was pretty clear that the Shipmans were running well behind schedule and so it was agreed that I should go back to Shipston to wait. I can tell my kids that I love them and even my wife and of course I tell my cat Oakley every day. But that is not the sort of thing my father's generation say and he is not a touchie feelie sort of guy. But I volunteered the words, "just in case please know you have been a great father" It is true. He brought up me and my two sisters on his own from when I was eight and little N just five.

Rio Ferdinand is on TV tonight talking about how he has to be mum and dad and I feel for the guy. But it is a bit harder when you are not a millionaire - may father would get up at 4 AM to mark exam papers to pay the bills. He has always been supportive and there for me. So he is a great father loved by his children and grandchildren. My father denied that he was a good father, showing an unusual modesty, and then told me I was a good son which I denied more vehemently. We agreed that we hoped that we would have the same conversation another day.

The Shipmans really were on go slow. I called at 4 PM and was told no news, try at 5. At 5 I called again and got the same response, try at 5.30. Finally at 6 I was told that he was awake and being wheeled out into Intensive care. By the time I got there at 7.30 he was cracking jokes with the nurses and laughing away with them. He is on painkillers but happy and will, fingers crossed, go to a normal ward tomorrow. The posh Shipman who Dad had bonded with earlier warned me there could still be complications but so far so good.

Thank you to all who have sent best wishes and to those who prayed for my father. So far, God is listening.

Tom Winnifrith

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A night at Shipston with just loathsome Obe for company

782 days ago

My father spent the night in hospital awaiting his operation later today. I head to Warwick later this morning to have a chat before he goes into surgery. Last night he kept himself amused reading a biography of Ted Heath that he had discovered on the ward. Poor Dad: has he not suffered enough? That left me alone in his house here in Shipston with only his cat Obe for company.

I have noted before that Obe (named after President Hopey Change, before Dad twigged that the cat was female) hates all of humanity bar my father and so she avoids me other than when demanding food. She saw my father's suitcase and saw him leave and has, ever since, been wandering the house clearly worried that he is not here.

This four hundred year old  house was a bit of a wreck when my father and late step mother moved here twenty odd years ago. Now from every wall hang pictures of six children ( my step mother added three to the party) and countless grandchildren. Books are everywhere. They have stamped their mark on the whole house as they renovated it.

The garden was a bombsite but has been lovingly transformed and is bursting with colour from all sorts of flowers. Will the vegetable patch be planted again this spring? I somehow doubt it. I am staying alone in a house where every room or bit of garden tells the tale of a loving couple enjoying an active retirement.

Whatever happens today that era is drawing to a close. As I sat in the garden on a warm spring evening that was all that I could think about. That, and a bird that the wretched Obe had murdered and which she has left as a present by the door for dad when he returns.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast - sitting in Shipston it is Cloudtag day! Where is the ouzo Dad?

783 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/28077/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-sitting-in-shipston-it-is-cloudtag-day-where-is-the-ouzo-dad

Tom Winnifrith

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Wales vs Ireland - at least Olaf is happy, I watched Miss Marple

799 days ago

My father was bracing himself all day and watched the rugby to the bitter end. Today he will be with the rest of Shipston's small Irish community in the Horseshoe drowning their sorrows and wishing Scotland the best of luck against the Old Enemy. I could not watch after half time such was my sense of foreboding and - to the delight of the Mrs - switched to watch a Miss Marple I had seen many times before. The Alzheimer's is still at bay, I knew the killer at once and even why he did it.

The only consolation is that my almost 16 year old daughter, known as Olaf, will be happy. She will have been watching with her Welsh speaking mother Big Nose in their Islington townhouse screaming obscenities for the whole match. That will by my conversation with Dad later on today: "At least Olaf will be happy, let's move on."

In years gone by I would have taken this defeat and a really mixed Six Nations really badly. After the Autumn Internationals I had quite high hopes for the Old Country this time. But as ever they have been dashed. But I am actually caring less and less.

The old 5 Nations and then the Six Nations was once a joyous tournament of marvellous simplicity. Pert of the joy was that quirk that Grand Slams and Triple Crowns mattered more than a Championship table which was somehow ignored. But professionalism and political correctness have changed all that. What is it with bonus points and the constant reminders from the BBC that the Women's six nations is equally important? I gather Ireland are the reigning Women's champions and the England match will decide that title for 2017 but the women are so much less good than the men, whatever the BBC might say, and I really don't care. But the BBC rams it down my throat: I must care.

The cynical cheating that runs throughout professional sport is now part of Rugby too. The constant rule changes left me struggling to keep up as a player but the pace of change now leaves me utterly confused. I just can't be bothered to care about the Six Nations that much these days. I no longer set my calendar around it and think of trips to Rome, Dublin or Cardiff.

Of course if Ireland were on track for a Grand Slam I would be happy. But would I really really care like I used to? Would I seek out other folks wearing Green shirts with whom to share the joy? It is, I fear, a hypothetical question for another year but the answer is, without doubt, No.

Tom Winnifrith

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My father's reading material - we are a modest family

805 days ago

I arrive at Shipston where my father spends most of his time sitting in a big chair in the main room watching quality TV such as Midsommer Murders, where he is still able to spot the killer well before Inspector Barnaby. This is good. My father has watched most Midsommer's at least five times so when he cannot beat the fuzz to calling out the killer it will be a sign that Alzheimer's really is kicking in.

With I being his Sunday minder, there are three newspapers brought in for him: The Times, Telegraph and Mail. "Oh I do like the Mail" he says. My PC sisters will only bring him the Times and even that, they make clear, is not reading material they approve of.

Naturally, I would buy him the left wing rag the Observer. I - being on the right - believe in free speech and liberty. But my father anjd I are agreed that the Guardian on Sunday is just plan boring and annoying in its virtue signalling.

But one can see the main reading matter are his books. Right now, by a half finished bottle of red, I see a copy of "The Vlachs" by TJ Winnifrith. He says that it is a jolly good read and, unlike so many other books, devoid of factual errors. We Winnifriths, modest men but - to misquote Churchill - with so little to be modest about.

PS. My father says that The Vlach's is not the best book he is reading right now. That would be "Badlands Borderlands" by er...TJ Winnifrith

Tom Winnifrith

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Photo Article: The Snow in Greece falls not only in the North

827 days ago

I gather from my father, Darren and the Mrs that it snowed a bit in Shipston, London and Bristol today. It was snowing in Metsovo this morning and the fields on the Anelion side of the vallet were all white. But in case you think that the snow falls only in the Northern Pindus mountains, have a butchers at this photo taken from the Northern side of the Gulf of Corinth at Patras. The bridge across the gulf is pretty spectacular but look on the other side. That is the Pelopponese.

I am now at the southern tip of the Pelopponese (and thus of mainland Greece) but it is too dark to see the Taygetos Mountains that loom over the Greek hovel. But they too will be covered in snow. More on that tomorrow.

Admin

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Tom Winnifrith Delayed Bearcast from Saturday - I really have got to sack Nigel Somerville

832 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/26976/i-really-hate-bill-gates-microsoft-with-a-fucking-passion-36-hours-offline-thanks-to-an-upgrade

Tom Winnifrith

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Why can't the peasants eat pheasant (like me)? The lie that poor people are forced to eat junk food

858 days ago

The left would tell you that the lower life expectancy of poor folks is down to poverty forcing them into unhealthy lifestyle choices. I will gloss over the fact that more poorer folks smoke or drink heavily than the affluent although no-one forces them to do so and just focus on food. Junk food is expensive. Healthy food can be far cheaper.

When in Shipston, staying with my father, I bought two pheasants from the butcher, pre plucked at £5.99. I saw many folks in the local Co-Op who were happily loading their baskets with more expensive pre-prepared junk meals.

For the past two nights the Mrs and I have dined on the pheasant. On Monday I roasted both and we ate one together with the last of the Christmas vegetables: sprouts in a garlic butter and honey glazed carrots. Last night I used up the last two large potatoes from Yuletide, making roast spuds. The other pheasant was reheated on a base of chopped onion on butter with a pint of stock added later with a dash of port.

That last bit of port was an extravegance but the total cost of two meals for two adults was, by my calculation, just under £7.50. That works out at £1.875 per person per meal. And what we had was healthy, balanced, filling, tasted fantastic and was far cheaper than junk food.

I realise pheasant is seasonal and probably only available for rural folks but equally I am pretty sure that if I went direct to someone in Shipston and was prepared to pluck a bird I could get those birds even more cheaply. Let the peasants eat pheasants.

If folks eat themselves to death it is not because they are poor it is because they make that lifestyle choice irrespective of what nanny state tells them or how much of, other people's, cash Guardian reading employees of the nanny state chucks at them

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: Insider Dealer fund manager Mark Lyttleton - the whole thing is a joke

867 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/26171/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-insider-dealer-fund-manager-mark-lyttleton-the-whole-thing-is-a-joke

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast - Fund managers are not superhuman but dead cats can bounce

904 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/25492/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-fund-managers-are-not-superhuman-but-dead-cats-can-bounce

Tom Winnifrith

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Photo Article: Four Christmas Puddings almost ready - thank you Darina & Myrtle Allen

917 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.

I say that I used Myrtle's recipe but I am sure that she and Darina would agree that you are allowed to play around with recipes a bit. Thus while I stayed true to the baked apples and most of the fruit I felt compelled to add in some nutmeg, mixed spice and cinnamon. And instead of Irish whiskey it was the remnant of some old Scotch but also some rum which was lying around and which no-one here drinks in any great quantities.

I think that I may have overdone the rum a touch but as of now I have steamed for 6 hours each of four two pint puddings. As a divorced Dad I get two Christmas meals to prepare and the remains from the second ( the Mrs and myself) will head up to Shipston for my father on boxing day.

Then there is one for the sister of the Mrs and her crazy Greek husband and finally one for Susan Shimmin of the Real Mani which I shall drop off in a couple of weeks when I head off to the Greek Hovel for the olive harvest. I can't see Susan compalianing that there is too much alcohol in her pudding.

Admin

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: Crooked Hillary Clinton, Crooked Mosman and er ...MXC Capital

922 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/25113/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-crooked-hillary-clinton-crooked-mosman-and-er-mxc-capital

Tom Winnifrith

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Buy a poppy - but what about elf n'safey?

924 days ago

I am a reluctant poppy purchaser for reasons that i have discussed here but wandering into the Co-Op in my father's village of Shipston a little old lady stood outside offering me the chance to buy. As you would expect, here in the Warwickshire countryside, she was silent and dignified and with her tray looking rather too full I popped a quid in the tin and picked up a poppy.

"Do you want a pin?" she said and I mumbled yes and went to select one. " I must warn you that the pins are sharp" she added. Thinking that the Pope is a Catholic I looked at her rather blankly and she explained that it was all about Health & Safety and that she was now obliged by law to warn me.

I do wonder how we managed to fight two world wars without such an all encompassing Health & Safety culture to keep us all safe? It is a miracle.

Tom Winnifrith

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The Guardian Front page fisked on Brexit mob - it is just a lie

925 days ago

I am with my father in Shipston and the old fool is still delighting in ordering the awful Guardian newspaper. Indeed it gives the deluded lefty real pleasure in torturing me by reading out articles which even he accepts are complete and utter nonsense. Let's start with today's front page splash: "May told to act to calm Brexit "mob" anger. Hmmm.

The only problem with the headline is that Mrs May was not told that at all. One former Tory (just about) minister Dominic Grieve is quoted as saying "I think there is a danger of a sort of mob psyche developing". Well that is not what the headline says at all. Grieve then goes on to lose all credibility by saying that reading the Brexit coverage in the Mail and Telegraph "started to make one think that one was living in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe."

Mr Grieve I know journalists who live in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. In that land politicians do not merely express their view about what a free press should or should not say - as you and the Guardian do - but they beat up and imprison jounalists for what they write. Your analogy is a silly one that demeans your argument and when politcians start telling the press what they should or should not write it is time to replace those politicians.

As for the Guardian with its made up headlines....nothing surprises me.

 

Tom Winnifrith

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Labour scoundrel Tessa Jowell blames Brexit for future Olympic failure - what a silly woman

1001 days ago

Tessa Jowell was the woman who publicly ditched her husband David Mills as he became embroiled in a Silvio Berlusconi corruption scandal. Mills was exiled to my father's village of Shipston where the socialist millionaires kept a country farm as a compliment to their North London mansion. Jowell got to stay with the urban sophisticates. Out here in the boonies folks did not buy the seperation story as la Jowell kept on making appearances up here and, lo and behold, after Tessa's political career came to an end there was a miraculous reconciliation with Mills. The political elite actuallythink that we are so stupid that we buy this sort of horseshit don't they? Now Tessa makes the most bonkers of claims regarding TeamGB and its Olympics success.

With a record medal haul in Rio it is going to be hard for TeamGB to do better in Toyko in four years time. But if we do see a slip back, Tessa knows why. Brexit. Natch. The following passage appears in today's Independent.

Privately, UK Sport, the body that chooses where to spend the roughly £450m per four-year cycle that is available for elite sport, are (sic) fearful of the consequences of a general economic downturn or even recession even before the next games.

According to Labour’s former Olympics Minister Dame Tessa Jowell: “If, in 2020, we’re looking back at a team GB that has not performed at the level that it did in Rio or in London then it will be fair to say that Brexit was one of the reasons.

While spending on elite sport has been maintained in the wake of the UK’s hugely successful home Olympics four years ago, with the consequences clear to see in Rio 2016, local facilities have faced severe cuts ever since 2008, a course of action that eventually, inevitably affects the top end.

Ends.

Starting at the bottom. Local and school sporting facilities have seen cuts since 2008. But even in 2008 there were far fewer playing fields and school fields than in, say, the 1970s. And of course that was in the middle of the 1960-1996 medals drought era. There is no evidence that worse local facilities and TeamGB's medals haul is in any way linked.

Indeed as I noted earlier when comparing TeamGB 2016 with East Germany in 1974, what determines medals success is the amount chucked at elite sport by the State.

So for Tessa to be correct she would need a) there to be a recession and b) the Government to respond to weaker finances by cutting spending on elite sport and c) Brexit to be to blame for that recession There is at this stage absolutely no evidence that Brexit has slowed the economy. In fact the weaker pound has seen the economy race ahead since Brexit while other countries see greater slowdown. Moreover the Government has not said that it will cut the amount it chucks at the "circuses" and for reasons explained in that podcast, I bet socialist Tessa a glass of champagne at the White Bear, that this is the last sort of spending that the Wicked Tories will slash.

The logic of EU remainer Tessa Jowell is truly pitiful. That the Independent prints this piffle without challenge perhaps explains the problems that it has in retaining any readers at all.

Tom Winnifrith

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12.15 at the White Bear - a big day for my father

1001 days ago

After his fall and hip operation my father returned home to Shipston nine days ago. I pitched up six days ago and we started a daily routine of two "walks" a day then with the carrot being an ability to get to the white bear. Dad is now walking on crutches and gradually the walks have got longer.

Yesterday his two walks, with his twice a day carer Emma in tow, were to the Co-Op in the main square and back. On the other side of that square sits the White Bear. So, as in some some fable, of Aesop he could almost see Jan the landlord pulling a pint of the rather rough organic and cloudy cider that the White Bear serves but, the fox - my father - was unable to reach over and enjoy a drink.

But he has made good progress and so I popped in to the White Bear yesterday to book a table for lunchtime today for the two of us. Somehow the pub has avoided bankruptcy without my father's patronage although I fear Jan must have suffered a grim couple of weeks. But as of today the lunchtime ritual of reading the Telegraph at the White Bear is restored.

Tom Winnifrith

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My father takes his first outside walk since his fall ...the carrot approach

1005 days ago

The physios are due later today and my father must report to them on his progress since his return from Warwick hospital. E, the delightfully right wing lady who comes twice a day to care for him and I told him firmly that he needed to truthfully demonstrate that he was on the mend. That was the stick. The carrot is the idea that he could walk to the White Bear again...that would be about 400 yards down Sheet Street and across the main square in Shipston.

And so he is in training. Off he went using his new walking frame which may be upgraded to crutches next week. It was not exactly Usain Bolt but he managed ten yards out and ten yards back at a reasonable pace. This afternoon we go again with a target of twenty yards each way. At this rate the White Bear may be do-able before the end of the month. The carror is working better than the stick.

Tom Winnifrith

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Talk about filial devotion: I have to go buy a Guardian in public again

1005 days ago

For the third day, despite receiving clear instructions to deliver the loathsome Guardian Newspaper to my father here in Shipston and despite promising to do so, the Newsagent has failed. And that means that I must again head down to the shop in a few minutes to pick up the rag.

I shall explain loudly that it is not for me but for my deluded lefty of a father lest anyone in the store recognise me. And naturally I shall be wearing my Hillary for Prison T-shirt. But it is still really embarrassing and also makes me feel just dirty having to pick up the awful publication and carry it home along Sheep Street.

My father has always said that he heads to the White Bear only to read the Telegraph "for balance" Since he is - pro tem - unable to walk to the boozer, I have suggested that he achieve that balance by ordering that the Torygraph or Mail be delivered here (or not as the case may be) along with the Guardian. He appears to think that an unnecessary expenditure.

Thus his "balanced" media commentary is now the BBC, its sister publication The Guardian and for added militancy ghastly Channel 4 news - we watch at least five news programmes a day. Thank heavens he has me here to counter such a barrage of lies but think of me today, humiliated again at the Newsagent and then subjected to a 24 hour assault by the dreadful liberal media elite. This is true filial devotion.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast, Great News from Shipston so over to Steve

1007 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/22960/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-great-news-from-shipston-so-over-to-steve

Tom Winnifrith

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Photo Article - summer pudding improvisation with a hat tip to Darina Allen

1009 days ago

I noted in my culinary bible that is a Darina Allen tome a recipe for summer pudding without raspberries. Darina uses cake as her padding I stick with the traditional white bread. Armed with the last of the blackcurrants from Shipston as well as the last of the dessert gooseberries I started to improvise. Having cooked both fruit until they popped in sugar water the overwhelming taste was blackcurrant. The juice was like concentrated ribena. But cripes there was not enough mixture for both bowls.

Improvisation two: rhubarb cooked until it was utterly soft in the remaining concentrated blackcurrant juice. Perfect. The result is below and with lashings of cream it was just awesome.You could taste both rhubarb and blackcurrant, the gooseberry had been overwhelmed but blackcurrant was dominant. A new dish and a great one.

Tom Winnifrith

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It was 30 years ago today: names and images pop up on my mental google map of Warwickshire

1013 days ago

And thus I have found myself in Warwickshire again. As I headed up to Warwick hospital on Friday my route to my father's was not the normal Cotswold spin but a more Westerley trek. New road signs, new memories. It was thirty years ago today...

It was a warm summer the year I left school. a summer of drinking, girls, parties, smoking and behaving as if there was no tomorrow. A university place already secured with a 2E offer, it was just a time to have fun. We were a privileged lot in that most of us had cars and so heading out anywhere from the villages in the Birmingham suburbs right down to those on the Oxfordshire borders was not an issue - but living in the heart of Leamington, it was just a short stagger to the fleshspots that were the Birch, the Bakers or that poncey wine bar on the parade whose name I forget. When heading to the villages we drove with the recklessness of youth - fast and not always completely under the alcohol limit

As I have driven around the area in recent days and weeks I see a sign and, like one of those little flags on a google map, a name pops up. Dorridge - that would be Ian Murphy and Mike Gillies. Balsall Common - Rich Postins. Radford Semele - Claire Willington. Gosh she was stunning. I remember the non Toga party with Mark Hobbs and burst out laughing. Tysoe - Very cute Sam, as in Samantha, Jones, Kineton - Lizzie and her posh pal Toria from Leamington. I think back to happily carefree times in Tysoe one evening: Vicki Whale and her stunning friend Noddy . Why was she called Noddy? I really cant remember - was her real name Helen? Brian Schwieger - now a heavy hitter at the Stock Exchange and very respectable. It was not always that way. Solihull - that would be Stu Piper. The names keep popping up.

I know that Ian might be reading this and I spoke to Rich by email a few months ago. He is still working in Warwick as an evil PR man and, as I drive through the town, remembering lunch breaks in St Nicholas' Park with girls from King's High and ten packs of Bensons, I wonder where he works?

The truth is that Ive lost contact with nearly everyone. If we met again we would not be thin. Our hair would be greying or disappearing. Well not that of Rick Postins, his was mostly disappeared 30 years ago, he must be bald as a coot by now. We must all have our burdens, there could be no recapturing of that carefree joy.

Back then we laughed at Mr P, sitting on the stairs of his house with a shotgun, to separate girls and boys after a party got out of hand. If he thought he was protecting his daughter's innocence he was sadly mistaken. These days I worry about my daughter getting a boyfriend and can see exactly where Mr P was coming from. He was just a responsible and sensible parent, even if that gun was in fact loaded. Back then we all smoked as if there was no tomorrow with Mark Hobbs rasping for England. Rich tells me that the old hypocrite now berates his 13 year old for having an illicit Marlboro light. How times have changed.

I think of those day and those people very little for, until recently, I have not spent that much time in Warwickshire. But the memory is now well and truly jogged. But there's no real time to look back. It is pointless and the present is far too time consuming.

Tom Winnifrith

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Getting old, my father falls, back to Shipston

1013 days ago

I came back from Greece on July 2nd and then spent barely five days away from Shipston in that month. My step mother died on the 14th and was buried nine days later. My father, in his old world way, did not "emote" as all around him wept. He said almost nothing. I have no idea what he was thinking or is thinking. One big question was how, when he was finally left alone, would he cope? I worried.

On the first day after I headed back to Bristol, friends visiting from New York popped in to buy him lunch at the Horseshoe, his Sunday lunching pub. My sister T swooped on day two. On day three I got a call. My father had fallen and was in agony as he waited for the ambulance. He could not move.

His replacement hip had popped out. The folks at Warwick Hospital operated within two days and he now sits there recovering and reading some left of centre books dropped off by sister N.. My step sister F and both sisters saw him in the early days. I headed up Friday and saw him Saturday and Sunday. On Monday he was alone but I'm back for a swift visit today. My main purpose in heading North is to assemble a special bed which arrived yesterday so that my father can get a discharge with the NHS happy that he can live downstairs. He won't be climbing stairs for a while.I shall also be dropping off some more suitable reading material: The Reagan Diaries, Paxman on the English and, to please my smug liberal sisters both of whom are married to half Germans, a good tome on how the Krauts were all in on it with Adolf "Hitler's Willing Executioners."

In a pleasant symmetry my father's loathsome cat will also be hospitalised today after coming second in a fight with a larger moggy. Kind neighbours look after the wretched Obie, a cat who hates all humans other than my father whom she adores. Fingers crossed both Dad and Obie will be home and on the mend by later this week. All siblings and step siblings will then be on holiday so I shall be in Shipston once the intensive 72 hour NHS home care period is over. We will bodge along. We will make a few changes to the routines in Shipston and see how things go.

There are six of us. My step siblings hav insisted they want to do all they can for a man who was married to their mother for 28 years. They are all wonderful. There are tensions elsewhere. I have let rip by email a couple of times, feeling that sister T is sledging me or has sledged my father. T emailed my wife two weeks before our wedding day urging her to call things off. To say that we have a close relationship would be an untruth. We disagree about the way forward. That is all for the future. Meanwhile we muddle on by.

My fathers friend M was meant to visit Dad in hospital yesterday but had an "off" day so my father had no visits. M explains his "ageing issues" when I drive him from Leamington to Shipston to see my father or by phone. Getting older has its advantages. Getting old seems pretty grim. I cant say I relish the prospect.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: Nightmares arrive in threes: The Mother in law at 5 PM, Avanti and African Potash

1017 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/22758/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-nightmares-arrive-in-threes-the-mother-in-law-at-5-pm-avanti-and-african-potash

Tom Winnifrith

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My father books a cruise - profits warning alert for Fred Olsen lines after drinks offer

1026 days ago

Dad and I are now into a good routine here in Shipston. He does not say much about my late step mum but he is getting a task done each day, sorting out his papers, her papers, probate, making a few plans, writing stern memos in his semi legible drunken spider handwriting. On Saturday I head back to the Mrs - who is now at 34 weeks - for a Bristol break and he will have his first time trying to cope alone without his cook and companion. We have a few folks popping in to see him during the six days before I return and we shall see how it all goes.

Plans have been made for carers and visitors right up until September but then - as you know - I shall be in Bristol for the birth of my son, something that I am incredibily excited about. Luckily Dad has now booked a cruise for some of that month. We spent ages on various websites and discussing where he wanted to go. New places so he might get an extra country in his six decade battle with his brother C involving who has been to the most sovereign states? Nope it was going to an area he loves. So he will be travelling to Venice and Back. No new countries but places that make him happy.

The lady from Fred Olsen lines said "For £10 a day extra he can get as much drink as he wants." Bloody hell, I think I might book in to go with him. I asked the lady if she was sure? Can Fred Olsen's bank balance handle this offer to my father? She clearly does not know of his reputation and seemed sure so it has all been booked.

Naturally we all worry about how Dad will cope alone on the ship given that he is pretty immobile but my father seems absolutely sure he will be fine and that he will have fun. And so all siblings and step siblings are happy that he heads off to blow a healthy slice of the inheritance with Fred Olsen.

But will Fred Olsen see its balance sheet holed beneath the waterline by that drinks offer for my dad? If so, I can help Fred out. In the old days Dad used to get to go on free cruises lecturing on Hellenic matters. And he'd love to do it again. So much so that if Fred offers a surcharge for the right to give lectures at, say, £500 a pop by the time he is back from Venice, Fred's balance sheet will be greatly strengthened and the inheritance will have taken another beating.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: Mad Bull Malcolm Stacey just so wrong about the stockmarket (again!)

1030 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/22436/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-mad-bull-malcolm-stacey-just-so-wrong-about-the-stockmarket-again

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast - looking back to 2001 and forward to 5PM today

1031 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/22417/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-looking-back-to-2001-and-forward-to-5pm-today

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: Avanti Communications bull vs bear

1037 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/22253/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-avanti-communications-bull-vs-bear

Tom Winnifrith

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It was 40 years ago today, well not quite: back at Warwick School via Myton hospice

1037 days ago

The route from Shipston to the hospice in Myton takes you past Warwick School which I attended between eight and eighteen. As I headed back to my father yesterday, having picked up the effects of my step mother and a death certificate, curiosity got the better of me and I swung left into the Car Park of the Junior School which cares for you between 7 and 11.

The place has changed beyond all recognition. It is far smarter and more developed than in my day when three of the classrooms (those of Miss Jagger, Mr Wilkins and Mrs Birt) were portacabins. Some things remain. There are wickets painted in white on the wall of what was "the New Gym" but is now the Sports Centre which faces on the junior school playground. Or what is now the playground, we used to have two. The second, where the violent game of British Bulldog, now I am sure banned, was played is now a car park.

As I looked at the video display on the wall of another new building, I saw pictures of boys on ski trips and school trips to Russia and India. In my day it was Telford Gorge or the Museums in London or maybe just a short walk up to Warwick Castle.

The old outdoor pool has gone, replaced by an indoor facility. Political correctness gone mad! Why should kids today not have to freeze their nuts off as we did? Next thing you know they will be abolishing National Service. Bah humbug. It was in that old pool that i twisted an ankle aged nine catching it between the inner rail and the edge. I screamed with pain then and it has always been a weak ankle since. It was the same ankle that twisted to end my rugby "career" at 32 and it is the same ankle that clicks at night now.

The biggest change at Warwick has been the admission of girls in the sixth form. I know, I know, that political correctness gone mad again. You and I know that girls are the species that went to Kings High up in Warwick Town and who you you might meet in the park by the river at lunchtime for a coffee and a Marlboro Light or too and even a snog, if you got lucky. You might even go for an underage drink in the "boys pub" the Crown in Warwick. But now girsl share class rooms in the sixth form. Well I never, the next thing you know Warwick will be saying that it does not employ the odd sadistic old bastard like Mr Eve who beats up little boys? Well apparently that does not happen any more either. What is the world coming to? Mr Eve throwing my head against the wall aged 10 did not do me much harm, it made the man I am today. Kids in 2016 miss out on so much.

Actually the school, t its credit has acknowledged to me at least, and only after a bit of a nudge, that it failed with old Eve. I raised the matter when I attended an Old Warwickians event day a few years ago and the old bastard was there. I did not dare confront him as I should have done, not just for me but for all the other boys who he assaulted over the years. But I turned my back in a way that he must have noticed and raised the matter with the school afterwards. I was assured that the point was noted and that the old bastard would not be invited to future events. Good. It is a disgrace that staff and others turned a blind eye to him for so long and that, in the end, he was "retired" not fired and reported to the Rozzers.

It was in the junior school at Warwick that I was told of my mother's death just a few weeks after I joined, aged eight, forty years ago this September. I cannot remember who broke the news but I think it was my form teacher Mrs Hobday. As I walked through a school which seems so much smaller than it did when I was a little boy, I think of her, Mrs Fawcett and two headmasters from the lower school, Jack Marshall and Keith Winterbottom, with great fondness.

They were good people as was Mr Robinson, a man in whose classroom was dominated by a cricket bat with a large sign next to it "It is better to give than to receive". Robbo liked folks to think he was hard and occasionally he - and Marshall - did apply corporal punishment with a cricket bat, but he was a really nice guy too. Most of the staff at that school were kind to me at all times and some, notably Mrs Fawcett, Mrs Hobday and Mr Winterbottom, really went the extra mile given my somewhat strange family life.

All the teachers were good. As I speak to the younger generation I note that they are all too often unaware of facts and skills I learned back then especially in maths and history. Back then history was based on how the world was once largely coloured pink as opposed to now when history starts in 1933. Thanks to the Warwick Junior School numbers come easily to me and know why I am British, in the sense of all the Britsih Isles, and what shaped the country I live in or the country of my father's mothers family. It was a good school with, usually, talented staff. Even Mr Eve was a great teacher when he was not being a sadistic old bastard.

Tom Winnifrith

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Writing about death and family then it happens for real

1039 days ago

I was just writing about the subject of writing about death when the call came. My father and I had said goodbye to my step mother twice yesterday but by the afternoon he was not sure if she took it in. By 11 PM she was unconscious and so today my father, sister N and I just sat in Shipston joking and laughing about times gone by and the political pantomime and not mentioning what was going on fifteen miles away in Myton.

There my heroic step siblings sat with their mother as they had done since Monday. And then I got a call from step brother T. He was audibly in tears. I walked to my father who said something about "that was the call". It was. The Wine Society chose today of all days to drop off a case. By four, it was agreed that it was an exceptional occasion and we opened the first bottle. Good news: sister N is off the booze - more for Dad and I. We made a few calls to family friends and relatives.

In a small town like Shipston everyone knows everything. I was making one call in front of the house when a lady walked by. She seemed to know who I was and asked about my step mum. I told her the news and got a big hug. I asked her to let the neighbours know and as I walked to the Co-Op just now I was greeted many times by folks expressing sympathy. The woman who had kept my father going for 28 years, for which I shall always be grateful, was well loved here.

My step mother is my father's second cousin. As a post graduate at Oxford my father made her welcome when she went up as an undergraduate by taking her to the opera. Twenty years later my father was a widower, my step mother divorced and both attended the wedding of our cousin Penelope. My father always used to run an unofficial book at family weddings on who would be next to get hitched and boy how I wish I had put £100 on the 1,000-1 shot that was my father himself. For within a few months after a hot date at the opera the two were engaged.

As we killed time at the hospice this week my step siblings recounted the first time my father stayed over with their mother. None of us knew how happy they would make each other, how lucky my father was to have met my step mother. She has kept him going for 28 years in a way no-one else could have.

I am pretty sure that should my own death be anything other than instantaneous I shall not take the opportunity to write about it. I will not even allow the young blond Swedish nurses that I plan to hire to look after me in the last stretch to write about it. Not even a tweet. I know that in the modern world there is a fashion for describing one's encounter with a terminal illness in every detail but I think the horror of such an encounter is best kept to yourself and those who have to know. It is partly for that reason that I have mentioned only en passant the illnesses of my step mother ( four and a half years) and my father ( 16 months). It is also because though I write about my life and mention their odd views on a range of matters they have as much right to privacy as anyone else.

I did notice that my step sister T had mentioned their condition on her blog some months ago quite explicitly and I suppose it is not in that sense anything that can be described as a secret.

For now my father and I watch Endeavour, then it will be the news and then bed for him and some therapeutic writing for me. I think we have the next couple of weeks planned -Dad and I are not great ones for hugging, downloading and opening up. It is simpler for now to stick to Endeavour and the Labour pantomime and not to talk about what has just happened. And in terms of writing that is also a policy that I shall be following.

Tom Winnifrith

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What is it with the younger generation? Now they can't find a row of beans?

1040 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.

My mental inventory of the last time I picked broad beans in my father's garden here in Shipston makes me suspicious. And it seems that young T thinks that broad beans also grow in plastic bags at Tesco. I return after just a few minutes with twenty pods which means that there must be at least fifty beans - easily enough for supper.

Moreover, admittedly hidden among the raspberry bushes to further confuse young City dwelling Guardian reading professionals, there are another three untapped plants.

Next up is the issue of a surfeit of raspberries and strawberries. Quite simply we have too many for my father and I to deal with. Another crumble now beckons as we are now enjoying the red fruit with almost every meal and we need a bit of variety.

Tom Winnifrith

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The dreaded call has arrived - everything clicks into autopilot as I rush to Shipston

1042 days ago

"How are you?". it was my little step sister Flea. Rather fearing the reason for the call I cannot remember what I said other than to ask why the call at noon on a Monday. It was her mother, my step mother, and the call I was rather dreading. Things had got worse overnight, dramatically so, and my step siblings were all rushing to the hospice. My father had his own hospital appointments today with my stern and sober sister the Doctor very much in charge. For all sorts of reasons he will need a drink or two tonight.

As if by clockwork all sorts of things just went into motion. I sent a couple of emails and all my work matters are now in the hands of others. The Mrs came back from the restaurant where she was having a latte, or in university terms, she hurried back from work.

I packed in minutes throwing clean shirts, mustard so I could do proper salad dressings for Dad and the remains of the crumble plus a couple of bottles of wine into a rucksack and I was off.

Right now having changed trains three times I am on the final leg from Oxford to Moreton. For once I might actually arrive on time at Shipston. Fingers crossed. I have no idea on timescales at the hospice but I am keen to get to Shipston as soon as possible.

After four and a half years, these final few days have arrived far later than any of us had dared dream. But they are here now. It is not a surprise but still its a shock.

Tom Winnifrith

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Photo Article: here you go its gooseberry and rhubarb crumble

1043 days ago

As I mentioned at some stage last week my step mother is keen that fruit from the garden in Shipston does not go to waste. And so I returned home for an all too brief weekend in Bristol with a punnet of gooseberries that I had picked. Oakley's friend Tara was buried beneath the rhubarb earlier this year and, I apologise if you regard this as tasteless but it had come up amazingly.

Hence below are the gooseberries having been par boiled, followed by the rhubarb with plenty of demerara sugar then photo three is the dish with crumble. Photo four is the finished product and photo five a serving with lashings of cream. Photo six a roast chicken stuffed with lemon and parsley with side helpings of roast potato, sweet potato and chorizo. There was also some garlic buttered spinach but that I forgot to photo. The Mrs conceded that I have my purposes. Not a bad effort all round.  

 

 

Tom Winnifrith

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My father and the Bulgarian big issue seller in Shipston

1044 days ago

It was Friday at noon and for some reason logistics had become muddled and my father and I were at a loose end. There was only one solution: the White Bear and two pints of cider. As we headed down Sheep Street with my father leaning on his strollator being overtaken by tortoises and little old ladies on their strollators, the old boy piped up with "Its Big Issue day, I can buy a copy off the Bulgarian lady."

About ten minutes later as we turned the corner into the main Square my father looked down to outside the Co-Op where the Bulgarian hassles passers by with a mildly intimidating sales pitch but the lady was nowhere to be seen. As a devoted son I offered a useful suggestion: "Don't worry Dad there is a drain over there just chuck three quid down it and you will be fine."

My father insisted that the Big Issue has a Sudoku which he finds a bit more challenging than that in the Guardian and it is this as well as his view that he is helping the poor and oppressed that prompts him to buy at ;least three issues a month. Not surprisingly the Bulgarian lady greets him warmly for he is her best patsy, ooops I meant customer.

The idea of the Big Issue is that folks without work sell it for a while so that they do not need to beg so they can feed themselves and get accommodation until they have a proper job. In that it is really laudable. But the Bulgarian lady has made a career of selling Big Issues to deluded lefties in South Warwickshire. For many years she has come to Shipston one day week and then spends at least a couple of days in Stratford - for I have seen her there outside M&S. I would assume she pursues her vocation in Alcester or somewhere else another day. She is good at it.

Selling the Big Issue earns this lady more than she could hope to earn even as a professional back home in Bulgaria. I do not blame her for making the carer change. But is this what the Big Issue was set up to achieve? And is this free movement of labour what those who opposed Brexit regard as a real benefit of our membership of the EU?

I tried to put those points to my father as we headed off to the White Bear and he mumbled something more about Sudoku and speculated that the poor woman had fled the country fearing the mass pogroms of Europeans, that the Guardian insinuates are planned by UKIP and Andrea Leadsom.

I left the pub earlier than my father as step brother T arrived for a pint. But I had to rush back quickly with good news from outside the Co-Op. The Bulgarian was back in action, she has yet to be burned out by vile racist Brexiteers as those on MarchforEurope threaten will happen. Good news Dad, you can show your solidarity with the Europeans: perhaps you might buy two Big Issues this week?

Tom Winnifrith

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Back in Warwickshire, Almost Everything changes in three weeks

1048 days ago

The first big shock was when our car pulled up outside my father's house in Shipston. Up ambled by step brother T who greeted us warmly and then up strode a rather sexy looking woman who I did not recognise at all. Had T found a new wife and not told us? The old rogue. These teachers: we know what they get up to in all their vast amounts of spare time and holidays. Reading weeks my arse. So who was this stranger?

It was only when she started speaking that I realised it was my step sister L. Shockingly she has not only cut her long hair but also stopped dying it brown and is now - like her mother and brother completely grey. It is odd how that change of hair colour and style acts as a total disguise. I must remember that, the next time the FCA tries to stitch me up and forces me to go on the run.

The was not the real shock though. It was just over three weeks ago that my father and step mother were with me in Greece. He is pretty immobile and so my step mother was the driver and his carer. But during that trip her illness worsened and she was barely able to keep any food down. Things have now deteriorated to the extent that last week she moved into a hospice just down the road from my old school in Warwick.

We visited yesterday with my father and a woman who'd been walking, swimming, drivimng and chatting three weeks ago was thin, quiet and visibly tired huddled under a blanket staring out onto a communal lawn. Everything has changed.

Today she is coming back to Shipston for a few hours to, in her words, say goodbye to friends, the garden and the vile cat Obie who hates everyone in the world bar my father and step mother. Pro tem I will stay up here with my father and the miserable Obie until the weekend. Though siblings and step siblings communicate constsantly by email it is rather hard to plan more than a few days ahead.

The Guardian has just dropped through the front door. My father makes a point of taking the loathsome rag in for my step mother to read. I ask is she not suffering enough? My father, of course, needs to get a balanced view so - as has been the case for years - will have to go to the pub just to read the Telegraph in the interests of balance.

It is not as if he wants to go to the pub you understand, it is all about balance. That daily ritual is not something that changes although with his stroller it takes an eternity for him to walk to and from the White Bear.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast 30 Jan - recorded with Shipston's Buffett

1204 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/18378/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-30-jan-recorded-with-shipston-s-buffett

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast 17 December - Concha another day of shame for AIM

1248 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/17331/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-17-december-concha-another-day-of-shame-for-aim

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast 16 November: David Lenigas is not the only one in my sights

1279 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/16575/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-16-november-david-lenigas-is-not-the-only-one-in-my-sights

Tom Winnifrith

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Back with my Dad – here have the Amnesty Christmas Catalogue he says

1281 days ago

And so I am back in Shipston with the deluded lefties, my father and step mother. On Syria, Jihadi John, supermarket waste we, rather alarmingly, find ourselves in agreement. But then they produce the Amnesty Christmas catalogue. My heart sinks.

Amnesty thinks the US is evil for executing its own citizens. The Saudis can do no wrong even though on a per capita basis they are top of the execution pops. Amnesty loves the Palestinians and loathes the Israelis. I ask where is the tea towel celebrating Gaza gay pride? My step mother is not impressed.

My father has marked me down for a book called something like “Why Capitalism is the root of all evil”. It is a number of titles on offer all promoting utter piffle. There is a set of earrings from the mythical country that has never existed, Palestine. And Palestinian gift boxes: olive oil, face cream and a suicide vest for the kids. Ok I was kidding about the last bit. Silly me. All the vests are for export only to one country, Israel.

There is a range of hugely expensive coffees produced on utterly inefficient fair trade co-operatives with a vast mark up to support the swarms of overpaid Guardian readers at Amnesty HQ.

I have already put out the 4 different recycling boxes made of plastic that must be collected by separate diesel consuming vans tomorrow to save the planet. I have an addition but which box? Put the Amnesty catalogue in the wrong box and the eco-fascist gauleiters from Stratford Councill will be levying a stiff fine on the Old Man.

Such is life here in Shipston with the deluded lefties.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast 12 October: jokes, jokes, jokes

1315 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/15685/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-13-october-jokes-jokes-jokes

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast 10 September - falling down the stairs

1347 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/14882/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-10-september-falling-down-the-stairs

Tom Winnifrith

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Photos from Shipston: Note to the Mrs, Raspberries don't grow in Tesco's punnets

1394 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: potatoes ( dug up hence the earth) are the white things, raspberries (picked from bushes hence no earth) are red.

My step mother makes fools, ice cream sorbets and summer puddings. The latter brings back memories. When I was a kid my mother made almost everything at home including our own (brown) bread. As a birthday treat we were allowed white bread from the shop.

But white bread also entered the house for summer pudding: red currants, raspberries slow cooked together then put into the sort of bowl you use for Christmas pudding which is lined with white bread (crusts removed). That is then put into the fridge to set and chill and served when turned out onto a plate. The juices soak into the bread which comes out a bright pinky-red. Add lashings of cream.  Amazing.

If I was my father this would be a cue for a joke about how the Women’s colleges at Oxford (both my mother and step mother attended St Anne’s, albeit about ten years apart), must have taught the girls something useful in the kitchens.

But that would be sexist and as you know it is my father who has the odd reactionary thought, not I.

Tom Winnifrith

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Tom Winnifrith Bearcast - 17 June, going down memory lane

1432 days ago

http://www.shareprophets.com/views/12911/tom-winnifrith-bearcast-17-june-going-down-memory-lane

Tom Winnifrith

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Back in the garage and a message to my father about the cold weather & global warming

1583 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 who are elderly (i.e. nearly all of them) to wrap up warm. Up in Shipston in Warwickshire my deluded lefty step mother does not allow the Telegraph in the house and so my father must enjoy it only as a secret pleasure at the White Bear. The paper of choice for my step mother is, needless to say, the Guardian and so she is still preparing for global warming.

In case my father has not made it to the pub yet I have called him urging him to switch the heating on. The normal pattern is that it is not switched on – in order to fight global warming – with my parents trousering the non means tested winter fuel allowance to pay for another luxury cruise which of course does not cause global warming as a dose of warm air in Sheep Street Shipston would.

Not being utterly convinced about this global warming business and noting that there is already snow on the hills, the old man agrees that it might be prudent to turn up the heating a bit. As I tap away in the garage, while the urinating cats are rewarded for bad behaviour by being allowed to lie on the bed with the Mrs in a nice warm house, I think that I am somehow getting a bit of a raw deal.

Tom Winnifrith

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The New Media Thought Police March once again in Margate, Kent.

1910 days ago

Once again the fascist bully boys of the Kent Police are stamping out on new media thought crime. This force has “form” when it comes to Orwellian oppression of thought crime but in Margate this week they have surpassed themselves. 

In the sleepy seaside town there is a plan to build a new Tesco. As ever in such matters, opinion is divided. The plebs want cheap turkey twizzlers and jobs and so are in favour. The middle classes fear that the small stores where they pay over the odds for their sundried Tuscan tomatoes may be shut down and so are against. Such was the debate in my parents’ home town of Shipston last year where my deluded lefty father and step-mother were naturally wanting to screw the poor along with their fellow Guardian readers who, for once, stood firm alongside Nimby Tory Toffs. Sadly this unholy alliance prevailed and so the shops where they buy their quail has been saved while the folks on the Council Estates are deprived of both consumer choice and jobs. Chianti’s all round.

Over in Margate battle lines are similar and both sides have set up Facebook pages to sway opinion. Leading the antis is a Ms Louise Oldfield, the owner of a local B&B.  Local Tory councillor Mick Tomlinson had the temerity so suggest on the “pro” Facebook page that Oldfield was exaggerating the size of the proposed store. A fellow Tory councillor “liked” that comment and a third commented favourably on it on his own blog.

Natch, Ms Oldfield referred the matter to the Police since this was clearly “harassment” and pursued this matter aggressively until all three councillors were interviewed by the Kent Old Bill under caution.

So in Kent today, and in North Korea one suspects, liking a comment on Facebook can earn you a Police interview under caution if you come up against a fascist like Ms Oldfield ( oh please go on and report me to you ghastly creature) who will persuade an all too willing Thought Police to clamp down on free speech. 

How truly appalling. Such is life in Airstrip One today.

 

Tom Winnifrith

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The Chinese signs at Moreton-in-Marsh Train Station

1931 days ago

Saturday night in Shipston with my father and step mother entails a trip to Moreton-in-Marsh train station. It is a non-descript station in a pretty little Cotswold town. I have happy memories of arriving there around this time last year with snow so deep that there was no way to get to Shipston. Thankfully there was room at the (Bell) Inn and a landlord prepared to wait up for my delayed train.

This time there were no such snags but, since he could not be late for Church, my father dropped me off thirty minutes before the departure of the 10.11 to Oxford. All rooms at the station were locked so it was a chilly half an hour. The only thing of note at this station is that the signs for taxis, buses, toilets etc are in both English and a language which is, I think, Chinese but may be Japanese.

This seems harmless enough but I wonder of any local person might explain to me why there is such a pressing need for signs in Chinese or Japanese or whatever it is? Is there a big hidden demographic I have missed or something about the local economy of which I am utterly ignorant? I see the signs as a harmless eccentric and am just curious to know the reasoning behind them. 

Tom Winnifrith

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Friday Caption Contest on a Sunday – the Church of England on Finance Issue

2037 days ago

My father has done more than his fair share of work as Treasurer of the Shipston Parish. Its finances are okay – thanks in good part to my father handing over far too much of his dosh – but the finances of the wider C of E are a shambolic disaster. The reason is that it is a failing organisation – it keeps on losing customers to the grim reaper, other faiths and sects or to apathy and it is not replacing them.

One reason for this may be that the Church, like other once respected bodies such as the National Trust and the RSPCA seems intent on straying off its core patch. All three of these bodies have made themselves look ridiculous with their pronouncements on matters such as global warming and hunting of animals. But they just cannot help themselves.

And thus the Archbishop of Canterbury has today waded into the energy price debate telling companies that they should sacrifice profits by cutting prices ( prices agreed with the regulator) so folks are less badly off. Why not instead cut this Government’s ludicrous energy taxes imposed to help reduce our carbon footprint? Er…. Because the Church still thinks the planet is getting warmer (even though we are now in year 16 of cooling).

This is not a moral point the Church and the Archbishop is making but a political one. He wants wealth taken from shareholders in private companies and given to the British population. Of course lower prices might mean we use more fuel which will cause global warming won’t it?  Archbishop Justin Welby is like his predecessor set to be another misguided, failing CEO of an organisation in what appears to be terminal decline.

As an aside I would note that a large number of the other contributors to Shipston Church are little old ladies living by themselves on a fixed income derived from bonds and safe high yield shares like…er….the utilities. Cut their dividend stream and a) they cut back on fuel usage and b) they give less to the Church.

As such I offer you a suggestion for the next Archbishop of Canterbury Mr Gordon Gekko. He knows as much about religion as the CofE knows about economics so what would Gordon say? Post your captions in the comments section below by Friday at 9 AM



For what it is worth my comment is:

Having been appointed as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Gekko states:

Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms: greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only create those with enough private wealth who will donate funds to mend the roof of Shipston Parish Church, but through the same process will save that malfunctioning corporation called the Church of England. Thank you very much.

Last week I asked you for comments on this picture in our Polly Toynbee Grim North edition

Congratulations to the winner, Revidiver for this:

 

Here's a shilling Polly towards your villa in Tuscany.

 

Tom Winnifrith

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Boycott Oxfam & The Independent – they are official global warning loons

2064 days ago

I do not normally read The Independent as it is a dire newspaper pandering to deluded lefties like my entire family (bar step sister Flea and Chris Booker) by printing utter bilge. But, for your sake dear readers, I prepared the sick bag to read one stormer of an article today. It defies belief.

The headline reads: Aid groups warn of growing hunger and disease as planet warms

Fantastic, maybe those Scottish moors I bought to grow vines on will prove a stunning investment after all?

Greatly encouraged I read on as the Indescribablyboring newspaper continued:

The potentially devastating effects of climate change on future generations are revealed today by two British aid groups, before a crucial UN report due out this week. On Friday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is set to unveil its latest report on global warming. It is expected to show researchers’ increasing confidence that humans are the main cause of climate change, largely through use of fossil fuels.


In a report on food security published today, Oxfam claims that climate change could leave one in five people worldwide at risk of hunger by 2050. This will increase child malnutrition by 20 per cent, it says. The charity also states that global yields of maize and wheat are down 3.8 and 5.5 per cent respectively, compared with what they would be without climate change, and that crop yields could fall by between 10 and 20 per cent by 2050.


The increase in extreme weather patterns due to global warming could also cause more crop failures, Oxfam says. Research commissioned by the group shows that the average price of staple foods could double in the next two decades.


Hmmmmmmm.

So according to Oxfam the global warming we have already seen has caused wheat and maize yields to fall and things are going to get worse, blah, blah, blah.


But before you all get your chequebooks out for Oxfam there is one small inconvenient truth: the world has not got warmer. Here I quote from one of my two family members who is not a deluded lefty, Christopher Booker, in his Torygraph column of yesterday:


The air is already thick with familiar claims and counterclaims, President Obama quotes yet another laughably silly paper trying to make out that “97 per cent of scientists” support the IPCC “consensus”. Sceptics point out yet again that the lack of global warming over the past 17 years makes a nonsense of all those computer-model projections on which the IPCC has been basing its case for 23 years.


This very weekend of September 2013, we were being told back in 2007, would be the moment when the Arctic was “ice-free”. Yet this summer’s ice-melt has been the smallest in seven years, and the global extent of polar sea ice is currently equal to its average over the past 34 years. Tuvalu and the Maldives are not vanishing beneath the waves. Far from hurricanes and tornadoes becoming more frequent and intense, their incidence is lower than it has been for decades. The Himalayan glaciers are not on course to have melted by 2035, as the IPCC’s last report predicted in 2007.

Nothing has changed except that the IPCC itself, as the main driver of the scare, has been more comprehensively discredited than ever as no more than a one-sided pressure group, essentially run by a clique of scientific activists committed to their belief that rising CO2 levels threaten the world with an overheating which is not taking place.
 

Ends.

Spot on Uncle Chris.  So if the world has not actually got warmer why have crop yields fallen? Perhaps Oxfam would look less ridiculous if it examined that rather than arriving at a conclusion which fits its biased world view but cannot be justified by the facts.

The inconvenient truth is that as the world belches out ever more carbon all the computer models used to support the bogus science of global warming have been 100% wrong – the world is not getting warmer. It is still colder than it was in the medieval warm period when vines grew in Greenland (with minimal carbon emissions). Those poor frigging polar bears are now applying for a winter fuel allowance as the ice cap has grown steadily in the past five years and will by Christmas be greater in size than the long run average size.

Oxfam is a bureaucratic nightmare which swallows up a terribly high percentage of donations on admin costs employing the sort of deluded lefty who thinks that global warming is still happening. As it (again) strays beyond its stated remit of transferring cash from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor ones, by engaging in ridiculous political posturing the case for boycotting it altogether becomes unanswerable. Heck, even the deluded lefties of Sheep Street Shipston (well my Dad at least) might give it a miss this Christmas after this effort.

As for the Indy…it has become the sort of publication which if you bought a copy you would also buy a hard core gay porn mag to wrap it up in, to prevent folks knowing about your disgusting reading habits as you wandered back from the newsagents. What a rag. 

Tom Winnifrith

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My busiest day ever on TomWinnifrith.com & the Downing Street Affair – asking Sir George

2176 days ago

It seems as if Sunday 2nd June 2013 was the busiest day in the history of this blog – a happy first anniversary. More than 42,000 page impressions in one day is about the same as I enjoyed in the whole of the first eight weeks of this site.  Of course I know that it is nothing to do with this being my first anniversary and all to do with those magic words #DowningStreetAffair.

Right now I sit onboard the 21.42 from Paddington heading for a few days with my father and step mother, the arch deluded lefties of Shipston on Stour. I appeared to be in everyone’s good books for volunteering to baby sit for step sister Flea on Wednesday.  As an added benefit, by the time I had volunteered she already had another offer and so I am off the hook.

However I now appear to have regained evil son status by suggesting that my Step Mother phones her brother Sir George Young asking him for his take on the Downing Street affair. Apparently this was not considered funny – I was only kidding.

Apparently I am still suspected of selling some story about “wicked Uncle George” (being a Tory he is naturally considered wicked in my family) to Private Eye about 20 years ago. On that occasion I was blameless. But I suspect folks are right not to bank on my discretion were Sir George to spill the beans. Not that most of us won’t already know all by the morning as twitter and the foreign press force Call Me Dave to come clean.

Tom Winnifrith

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Paddington Bears & Foxy Rebecca S-H

2200 days ago

And so it is off to see the deluded lefties of Sheep Street, my family in Shipston, Warwickshire. It should be an easy enough trip from Paddington to Moreton in the Marsh on the 7.22. But that assumes that First Great Western are remotely competent. Oh no.

At 7.15 we were warned of 20 minutes delays due to “a failure of railside equipment” at Hayes. At 8 PM it was 35 minutes. And so on. It is now 9.24 PM and at least I am now on the train but I doubt, if my taxi driver is still awake at Moreton that I will make it to Sheep Street before midnight. First Great Western I detest you.

And so how to kill almost three hours at Paddington? I have written a couple of pieces which, like this, I shall load on Friday. But by chance I bumped into a well-known bear (who else would you meet at Paddington) and so we enjoyed a drink and a discussion about Quindell (QPP) and Cupid (CUP). I sense things are moving apace on both stocks, both of which – as it happens are represented by foxy PR bird Rebecca S-H. She does know how to pick ‘em.

More on both of those fine upstanding members of the AIM cesspit community to follow.

Tom Winnifrith

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Friday Caption Contest - I cannot remember when I forgot to remember about the sex pest Edition

2270 days ago

There is only one story this week: when did Nick Clegg know that his leading party official not only looked like Jabba The Hut but, allegedly, shared his views on career advancement for women.

My caption for this one is: So Princess Leia how would you like to be a Lib Dem MP?

And so in honour of this episode and to win a Chris Huhne Liar! Criminal! T-shirt I ask you for captions to the picture below.

Remember that you can also buy the Chris Huhne special T-shirt as well as a “Justice 4 the Sefton 2” T-shirt, mug or hoodie exclusively at our online store.

For what it is worth my caption is

Salesman: Sir, If you want to fit in the entire Parliamentary Lib Dem party after 2015 you will need to buy the 4 seat model

Or alternatively:

Chris wanted you to look after his car whilst he is off the road and says do not worry about speed cameras he knows a sure fire way to get around the system””

If you can do better post your entries in the comments section below.

Last week I asked you for captions for this picture of the Horse belonging to queen welfare scrounger Heather Frost .

The impartial judge was not impressed by your entries and was gutted that there was no Jon Pickles Prince Harry entry and so has awarded the prize to the evil son of deluded Shipston lefties for:

“It’s not just Dobbin who is being taken for a ride every day of the week by Heather Frost”

The impartial judge hopes for a better standard of entries this week. Post away.

Tom Winnifrith

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Friday Caption Contest – How Heather Frost spends your taxes edition. Giddy Up

2277 days ago

I sense that Heather Frost, the welfare scrounger who breeds like a rabbit and says that a new free £400,000 eco mansion may not be good enough for her has made one or two of us want to vent a bit. I am sure that you have not forgotten the story here.

As such while I was tempted to run a photo of Call Me Dave in his new Indian headgear instead I bring you a picture of what Ms Frost spends £200 a month of YOUR money on. No it is not a juror in the Chris Huhne trial (far too bright for that) it is her horse.

The prize for the wittiest caption posted in the comments section below is am Its Time to Leave T-shirt. You can, of course, buy your very own It’s Time to Leave T-shirt here.

For what it is worth my entry is:

“It’s not just Dobbin who is being taken for a ride every day of the week by Heather Frost”

Alternatively

“ Local council caves in at once and agrees when Heather Frost says that her new home breaches the Human Rights Act as it has inadequate accommodation for her family pet.”

Last week I asked you for a caption for this picture.

A poor crop of entries sees the Independent judge award the price of a Liar! Criminal! Chris Huhne T-shirt to this entry:

The man on the right (Blair): “When I was Prime Minister I ran up record deficits, got screwed by the EU, nailed the hard working middle classes, allowed the welfare state to mushroom, uncontrolled immigration and destroyed the armed forces.”

The man of the left (Call Me Dave): Me too but I didn’t need two terms to do it.

The winner is the Evil son of Sheep Street Shipston.

I am sure you can do better with the Heather Frost contest this week. Post away. Go-one vent your anger. Download.

Tom Winnifrith

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Global warming now falling thick and fast in Shipston – am I travel cursed?

2289 days ago

Every time I come here it seems to snow. My deluded lefty step mother, who ticked me off earlier today for referring to global warming as opposed to climate change, is now safely in bed. The cat & I have thus switched the heating on full blast as an inch of global warming, oops, sorry 2.54 centimetres of climate change has now fallen. Needless to say I am travelling back to London tomorrow and so expect wholesale travel chaos. I feel cursed.

Tom Winnifrith

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Ireland vs. England – God vs. Pub

2289 days ago

Lo and behold a resurgent Wales beat the Froggies (who are now 0 from 2 but were pre tournament favourites), Scotland thrash Italy in what was meant to be the wooden spoon game and today’s match in Dublin could be the Championship decider. Although I would not rule the sheep shaggers (Welsh department) out yet.

England are, of course, the old enemy and when they arrive in Dublin full of swagger and arrogance as they do now, the desire for victory is greater than ever. And there is also the romance: in Brian O’Driscoll’s last season of six nations rugby might the men in green pull off a famous victory? If they play as they did in the first half against Wales they might win. Play as they did in the second half and there will be misery in Sheep Street, Shipston.

For I am back with my deluded lefty father and step mother. It is the former who brought me up to support “the Old Country.” For me tomorrow afternoon is a simple matter. Lunch. Then the White Bear to watch West Ham away at Villa. And shortly before 3 my father will arrive. I shall remove my West Ham hoodie to reveal an Irish shirt, we will switch bars and off we go.

My father has a dilemma. At 4 PM my step mum is preaching in Shipston Church. If Ireland are behind he will not want to watch and will head off to Church to pray for a BOD inspired comeback. If it is even Stevens he has assured my step mum that he will go to Church where he will pray earnestly for an Irish victory. So, I asked him: what if Ireland are 50 points ahead with 30 minutes to go: God vs. Pub, a chance to watch a famous victory with your son, the landlord ( also wearing green) and a bunch of miserable England supporters, or your second church service of the day? Hmmm. He admitted that would be a tough call. But it is – sadly – also an unlikely scenario.

Tom Winnifrith

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Friday Caption Contest (on Sunday) – Conservative 2015 Election Triumph Strategy Edition

2296 days ago

Apologies for the delay in the Friday caption contest – it is all Zak Mir’s fault.

I really cannot think of anything particularly important to prompt tasteless caption entries this week and so fall back on the issue which George Osborne says will be at the heart of the next Tory manifesto and which is guaranteed to bring the faithful back to the Conservative fold.

As you know, I would allow gay marriage. But I cannot say that it is the number one issue on my mind right now. The way that the Tory party is tearing itself apart with half its MPs revealing themselves as knuckleheaded bigots while the other half show themselves as being even more out of touch by making this such a number one priority is almost comical. If the Tories are to tear themselves apart at least they could do it over something that matters like the EU or the fact that Britain is going bankrupt.

Anyhow, to win an “It’s time to leave” T-shirt please post your captions in the comments box below (Jon Pickles, this has to be an easy Prince Harry one for you)

You can, of course, buy your own It’s Time to Leave T-shirt, hoodie, mug or thermos flask here.

For what it is worth my entry is:

Following the success of imposing Louise Mensch on Corby, Call Me Dave introduces his three new A-List candidates for winnable marginal rural seats, claiming from his Notting Hill mansion that the Conservative Party really does understand village people

Last week I asked you for entries to this picture in our Shipston on Stour special. No entries sadly from Labour Councillor Comrade Kenner as his humour would no doubt have dazzled us all. I was minded to award the prize to Donalgarth for:

Big interest shown as queue forms for viewing, after house in sheep street is put on the market by owners evil son!

However, the independent judge has awarded the prize to a late entry from the same evil son for:

News spreads quickly in Sofia that Ryanair is now taking bookings for its January flights…

I am sorry, we cannot argue with the independent judge. Try and impress him this time and post your entries for this week’s entries below.

Tom Winnifrith

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Delight in Sheep Street Shipston – should I flog my father’s house without telling him?

2302 days ago

The Sunday Times has a feature this week on the top ten towns in Britain to live in because that they still have a thriving Town Centre having battled off the wicked supermarkets. Put another way: the top ten twee towns for the Middle Classes to live in nice houses and who cares about the jobless plebs who can’t get cheap food anyway. Naturally, following last week, Shipston in Warwickshire is in there. And as a bonus…

Perhaps as a reward for the leading role played by my step mother in the screw the plebs and Tesco campaign, Sheep Street where my father and step mother own a house is the most desirable street in Shipston. Naturally as a wicked right winger, I note the looming property bubble, I have put my father’s house up for sale without telling him. I will break the good news to him later.

NB. If comrade Kenner, Shipston labour councillor or any other dumb leftie is reading this, that last line was a joke. Following Brother Kenner’s last contribution here, I feel the need to point that out, patronising though it may seem.

Tom Winnifrith

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Friday caption contest - Shipston on Stour Edition

2305 days ago

I am not sure if this story is sponsored by the Shipston Middle classes who wish to deprive the Shipston plebs of affordable housing, cheap Turkey twizzlers and above all jobs, or by the coalition as we enter a triple dip recession.

On balance, having put Shipston on the map this one is in honour of the unholy alliance of deluded middle class lefties and Tory Toffs in Warwickshire who stopped Tesco from opening a store in the town where my father and step mother (deluded lefties) live.

I write about this here about 24 hours ago.

To win a “It’s Time to Leave” T-shirt which in this period of intense global warming will be extremely useful, simply post your entries to the picture below.

You can, of course, buy your own It’s Time to Leave T-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, mug or thermos flask in my online store here.

My entry is: “Someone spreads a vicous rumour on the Council Estates that the Shipston venison and pheasant shop is selling turkey twizzlers at half price in the name of diversity and choice”

Last week I asked you for your captions to this picture.

And the winner for the second ( or is it third) time is Happy Trucker with:

“David Blunkets new role as a Quality Assurance prime beef expert with Tesco started off badly.”

Like a Tesco burger. Cheap and utterly tastless. Just what we like on this blog.

Best of luck in this week’s contest. Post your entries in the comments section below.

Admin

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Breaking News: Deluded Middle Class Lefties and Tory Toffs screw the plebs and Tesco in Shipston

2305 days ago

An excited email arrives from my deluded lefty step mother Helen (sister of Tory Toff Sir George Young) – Stratford Council in Warwickshire has tonight thrown out plans for a big Tesco on the edge of Shipston-on-Stour. The unholy alliance of deluded Middle class lefties and the Tory Toffs has won.

And so there will no new jobs created for the plebs on the council estates. The residents of Shipston will continue to be served by two Co-ops that are not that cheap and have a limited choice as well as by the two butchers where the Tory Toffs and my dad can buy pheasant, quail, expensive lamb and pork and not care about paying over the odds because they can afford it. The plebs who were hoping for a place to get a wide choice of cheap Turkey twizzlers will be disappointed.

So no jobs and no choice of cheap turkey twizzlers for the plebs. No planning gain which would have created some affordable and rented housing for the plebs. The articulate middle class lefties and Tory Toffs have won the debate and can still choose which butcher to buy their quail from and life goes on. The Tory Toffs are naturally wicked and hate the poor. We all know that. The deluded Middle class lefties are tonight celebrating preserving the “community” and “diversity” of this small market town. But it is a community that many folks are financially excluded from. It is a diversity the plebs cannot afford to enjoy.

It has made my step mother very happy. That makes me happy. But it was the wrong result for those at the bottom of the heap. Capitalism could have assisted them. When capitalism is blocked to preserve the vested interests of those who are affluent it always makes the poor poorer.

As a non Guardian reader I am not meant to care about the plebs. That is meant to be the preserve of deluded middle class lefties. But in reality….

Tom Winnifrith

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The 8.04 from Temple Meade – more fun in the global warming

2310 days ago

It was meant to be the 8 PM. But it was late. I am on my way to Warwickshire on family business. The main line up to Didcot seems problem free. After that it gets worse as it is snowing again. I think I can make it though by train to Moreton-in-Marsh but that is where my problems begin. My father is the world’s worst driver in perfect conditions. After dark? In the snow? Forget it. And so how to get to Shipston-on-Stour? This is an Agatha Christie murder in the Cotswolds vicarage in the bleak midwinter – sort of Roger Ackroyd but in Warwickshire.

Perhaps I might already have hidden my cross country skis behind the railings at Moreton and just speed over the hills to Shipston? There is more chance of that than of getting a taxi. Nine firms tried, four answered and that was only to say that “it is snowing, good night.” Maybe I might hitch a lift if there is anyone else mad enough to travel on a train into rural white-out tonight?

Let’s be realistic. I have booked into the Bell Inn for the night. A roaring fire. A stiff whiskey from the landlord who keeps looking out over the wintry fields with a worried eye. The mystery blonde woman of a certain age in the corner with her plain, but attractive, hen pecked daughter. And there is a report that David Mills has escaped from Tessa Jowell’s farmouse retreat near Shipston and is on the loose. Who is that Italian gentleman in the corner who keeps on mumbling about Rubies?

All credit to the Bell Inn, had I arrived a bit earlier its owner (Chris) said he would have dropped me at Shipston free of charge. Chris dares to do what the professional tax drivers fear: i.e. drive a car. If you are ever tempted to spend a weekend in Moreton (a lovely small town) I heartily recommend a stay at the Bell Inn on the high street (for just £45).

You can check out the Bell HERE:

Tom Winnifrith

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My Family of deluded Lefties Shipston Update

2348 days ago

I am again engaged on family matters and so sitting in Shipston with my father. He is aware that i am about to report back on today’s deluded lefty activities from my family. They are (with the glorious exception of little step sister Flea) utterly deluded.

We will shortly light the fire here. It is freezing. My Dad trousers his pensioner’s winter fuel allowance but amid a heated debate about global warming the actual heating is never switched on. I have tweaked the dial without telling him. It is still freezing. And so yesterday’s Guardian will once again start its useful life in a few minutes with Toynbee’s gibberish and the rest going up in smoke.

But there is, I am proud to reveal, another useful purpose for the BBC’s sister publication. My step mother posts a few sheets of it on her windscreen at night and so has frost free vision in the morning. I knew that the Guardian could do some good. Sadly a frost bitten rag is no good on the fire so those sheets are placed carefully in whichever bin is the organic non food recycling depository.

Sister Naomi popped over to see my father and me today – step mother Helen being elsewhere. Whilst I slaved away at my PC and carried their organic live Christmas tree outside (apparently, and unbelievably, the tree finds it too hot here and so is being given a breather outside until next week) Dad and Naomi went off to the pub where they read the Sun and the Daily Telegraph respectively. This is clearly a guilty pleasure for such folk. Returning home my sister revealed the romantic Christmas present she has lined up for her husband this Christmas…..

A year’s membership of the Labour Party. Saints preserve me. Can I really be from the same gene pool?

Tom Winnifrith

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Fraccing Gets Green Light, More gas so bills go up? Blame the EU and UK Global Warming Nutters

2348 days ago

Hooray, the UK is once again to allow fraccing. This is a process that allows gas to be released from shale rocks. And we are sitting on vast reserves. We could quite plausibly have discovered a new resource equivalent to 25% of our North Sea gas reserves. Perhaps there is even more as exploration to date has been limited. So I guess that means that gas bills ( $10 mmBTu) will fall to US levels ($3mmBtu) – in the US fraccing means that the country has massive supplies of gas. Er…no. If we exploit this gas fully gas prices will go up. Such insanity can only come from global warming nutters and the EU. Of course it does.

David Kennedy of the “Climate Change Committee” a Quango which spouts hot air on climate change to validate the coalitions’ crackpot wind farm policies explained it all on radio 4 this morning. If we exploit no gas then fuel bills will increase by £100 by 2010 because we are being forced to pay to subsidise wind and solar power projects. These projects are far less efficient producers of power than natural gas power stations.

If however we use that gas then bills go up by £600 per family as not only do we have to pay for the useless wind turbines and solar panels but we get stuffed with a vast fine for producing more carbon. This fine will be passed on to the consumer.
Kennedy first tried to say that fraccing would not release much gas as it might only ever count for 10% of “European gas production.”Er…smell the rat? I do not give a monkey’s arse about how the Froggies or Spaniards or Greeks or Poles or Latvians generate power. Sitting in freezing minus 2 Shipston I care only about UK demand and supply and our fracced gas can give the UK a very healthy gas supply for many years. Easily enough to scrap our solar and wind programmes which, at a great cost, generate very little power.

So we could just tell the Evil Empire to stick its carbon taxes where the sun don’t shine ( that is normally above solar panels in an increasingly cold Britain) and scrap our solar and wind programmes and use gas instead. Fuel bills would actually fall.

The only argument against such a policy is that gas emits carbon. Yup. With global carbon emissions increasing steadily for 200 years we have had cold runs and warm runs. Right now we have had 16 years of a cold run. There is no link between ever higher carbon emissions and the planet getting hotter or colder. Data shows that. Global warming is a religion and an increasingly costly one for all of us whether we are believers or not as the fraccing farce shows in spades.

Tom Winnifrith

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Victorian Christmas Street Fair Shipston

2352 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 the Church (mainstay my step-mum) was handing out free mince pies and mulled wine. It is better to give than to receive so I helped my step mum’s colleagues on their pathway to righteousness by receiving my mince pie. My father took the same view.

London has street fairs. They are more glitzy. I suspect that they would view the Shipston event as a bit clumsy and parochial. But the sense of community in a place like Shipston is far stronger than in the Capital. For once even the issue that has riven the town ( should they have a big supermarket) was put to one side. That is the great attraction of the boonies ( where I grew up).

The next Victorian fair is in the spring – the Sheep Fair. Even without mince pies I could be persuaded to attend.

Incidentally there was no sign of Shipston’s biggest celeb, Mr David Mills, friend of Berlusconi and recently reconciled husband of frightful leftie harpie Tessa Jowell. It seems that since the great reconciliation ( which coincided neatly with her retirement from front line politics) he is spending less time in their ( oops I meant his) mansion in Shipston and more timer in their ( oops I meant her) mansion in North London.

Tom Winnifrith

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Why cannot my Deluded Lefty Dad say no!

2361 days ago

I have spent the day with my father at Shipston in Warwickshire. A landslide somewhere near Worcester meant that my route was a the “scenic” one but we have enjoyed a happy afternoon chatting about various family matters. Our conversation was, however, interrupted by a series of phone calls and knocks on the door – my father is a victim of his inability to say no.

First up was some bird trying to persuade him to fit new plastic windows and plastic doors. Given that his house was built in 1692 this was clearly a pointless call. Of course if Dad had told her that last time she called rather than just listening patiently and saying eventually “ this is not a good time” she would not have bothered with this call. Next up was Christian Aid to whom my Dad already gives a fortune by Standing Order. Christian Aid called to say it needs more to help starving people in Africa, blah, blah, blah. Unluckily for it, when it asked for Mr T Winnifrith it got me. Sorry no extra cash from this household this week for those in Africa kept poor by their kleptocrat leaders. Tough luck.

Just as I was trying to explain to Dad why Nigeria does not actually need his money since it has the 8th biggest oil reserves in the world there was a knock at the door. Some smelly old man greeted my Dad as an old friend and within two minutes my father had bought for its RRP £9.99 ( he told the bloke to keep the 1p change) a smear free Eurochamois cloth ( Cost on Amazon £5.34). Amazingly the my father resisted the offer of some Christmas wrapping paper of the sort that has masturbating Santas on it. I have a feeling that when my father passes away I will discover a vast pile of things bought from the smelly old man who, I am told, his a former convict. You don’t say.

My step-mother has just got back from a day at a Monastery ( don’t ask) and confirms that the household now owns four such cloths despite having given a number away to my sisters.

My father also tells me that he is the biggest customer of the Bulgarian gypsy who sells the Big Issue outside the Co-Op. And then there is the cleaning lady. She is a hopeless Pole who is so inept that Dad and my step mum have to clean the house before she arrives. After the cleaning lady has cleaned, step-sister Flea comes to clean up after her. But since she has been fired by the rest of the village ( I just cannot think for the life of me why) the deluded lefties that are the Winnifrith family continue to give her gainful employment.

And now to light the fire using Polly Toynbee’s column.

Tom Winnifrith

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