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Saturday 18th November 2017

 

Bit of a grey old November day today so I thought I would lighten the mood.

 

It seems that the Brexit negotiations are going pear-shaped.  I blame David Cameron for calling the referendum in the first place, he didn't need to call it and now where is he? .  If you look at it from the EU side they can't let it be seen that the UK is getting any advantage by leaving otherwise most of the other EU members would also want to leave.   So what's the point of any 'negotiations'?  Even if we settle the financial, trade, law and all the other issues, which I can't see happening, there is still the sticky problem of the Irish border to be solved.   So, I propose persuading the Irish to leave the EU or persuading the Northern Irish to agree to a United Ireland, problem solved.  My Great Grandfather John Conway was from Belfast and my Great Grandmother Annie Byrne was from Dublin, result me, so, QED!  

 

PS. John Conway is from my mother’s side and Annie Byrne is from my father’s side, Annie married a John Jones, get it?  Obviously not but I bet you do Sam.

 

Tuesday 21st November 2017

 

A month today it will be Winter Solstice when the days will be getting longer so lots of party’s to look forward to?  But who the hell invites a 79 year old to a party????  I promise not to bring my guitar – honest.

 

Friday 24th November 2017 (Black Friday or the day after Grey Thursday)

 

I’ve now proved that nobody is reading this or that anybody who is reading this has not spotted my deliberate mistake at the top of this page.  The two photographs at the top of the page were taken 12 hours apart, sunset and sunrise, and I suggested that Oz was where I was or I was where Oz was.  Now all you clever dicks out there should have reminded me that the Earth rotates about the North and South poles which means that Oz could never be where I was and I could never be where Oz was.  Also if you and I are in Cobham then we have both travelled about 4,680 miles and not 12,000 miles from sundown to sunup, hope you enjoyed the ride!  You'll have to work that one out for yourself as I'm off for a beer.  (It’s 39% of 12,000 if you really want to know, that is if you are on 51 degrees latitude, jeepers do I have to work out everything?).  

 

Saturday 25th November 2017  (Only a month left to get your Christmas cards and pressies)

 

It was the Cobham Extravaganza again last evening, doesn't time fly?  High Street closed for marching bands, police motorcycles,  parades of children, dogs, lanterns, crowds of people, fairground rides, Santa in his Grotto, loud music, choirs, dancing display, sparkly stalls, sparkly moments, burger stalls, nibbles and wine and the Christmas Lights switching on ceremony.  Magnificent effort by all involved.  

 

Monday 27th November 2017

 

Dear Bob,

 

Just to say that I think that your blog is riveting.  Full of interesting stories, some hilarious, inciteful comments, crazy schemes, crazy ideas, ideas for the future, great pictures of Oxshott Woods and your old cars etc etc. Take your idea about building villages in the sky for instance, only this morning I read that they have taken up your idea in Singapore.   I'm surprised that your blog hasn't been made into an International best seller but like any true artist, Leonardo for instance, you will probably have to wait 500 years before you are recognised.  One criticism I would make is that you keep banging on about this getting old thing.  Well I am a touch older than you and while I agree that some bastard (sorry I don’t usually use bad language) disease or affliction will get you in the end I don't wish to be reminded so often.  

 

Anyway, thanks again for a good read and look forward to more of the same.

 

Anonymous.

 

Dear Anonymous,

 

Thank you for your kind comments, much appreciated.

 

Bob.

 

Now all my regular switched on readers, including you Sam, will instantly know that ‘Anonymous’ is me trying to overcome a touch of writer’s block so let’s see if it works.

 

Tuesday 28th November 2017

 

Just finished tiling a kitchen, actually all I did was cut the tiles with my mini circular saw diamond cutter so if you want any tiles cut you know where to come – one bottle of Jameson’s!

 

About this time last year I met a guy called Mark Gibbons, he was at his easel on the beach at Constantine Bay down in Cornwall.  He specialises in watercolours of his local scenery.  I like his style, not only of his work but he has on his website some very useful tips and lessons for the beginner but also for the more advanced.  I’m only mentioning this again as I, once again, plan to buy a brush and some paints and if you fancy doing the same click HERE.  If you click on his blog you will find 7 easy to follow lessons on how to get started.  Mark's work is stunning, bloody expensive but still stunning.

 

 

Thursday 5th October 2017

 

Don’t forget to check if you have any round one pound coins in your pocket because at midnight on Sunday 15th October they will no longer be legal tender and while you are at it check to see if you have any rare ones – there are plenty out there and all those anoraks out there on Ebay might give you a fortune for them.  I’ve just checked mine and I have a round Forth Bridge £1 and a round Egyptian Arch £1 also a Judo 2011 50p so any offers Sam?  Mind you they have been kicking about in my pocket for a while so could be worth a bit more?

 

Sunday 8th October 2017

 

If you didn’t know today, out there in Oz, it is the start of another 3000km (1864 miles) solar powered car race from Darwin to Adelaide.  Students from around the globe design and build incredible creations designed to run in the sun.  During a practice run the British entry careered out of control and was written off before the start.  Sounds to me like it was going too bloody fast.  Better luck next time lads and lasses, try and slow it down next time?  Give the others a chance.  Or maybe try Moon Power?

 

Meanwhile here is last night’s sunset and this morning’s sunrise over Cobham.  Which proves something or other.

logo original spitfire sunset 2 sunrise 2

When I took this I was where Oz was.

And when I took this Oz was where I was.

Or is it I was where Oz is?

 

Either way between pictures you, me and Oz have travelled 12,000 miles and rotated 180 degrees without lifting a finger, so, where did the energy for that come from?  Answer me that then.  Sorry?  Couldn’t quite catch that.  OK you don’t know – does anybody?  If you do it could solve all our energy problems, might slow the planet down a bit but wouldn’t that mean we could all live a bit longer?

 

Monday 9th October 2017

 

What I think is funny and what other people think is funny is never the same but I think this might bring on a chuckle?

 

For those of you who do not, and cannot, comprehend the purpose of Facebook or even why it exists at all, I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles.

Therefore, every day I now walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later and with whom.

I give them pictures of my family, my dog, of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day.

I also listen-in to their conversations, give them the 'thumbs up' and tell them I like them.  

It works just like Facebook.  I already have four people following me:  two police officers, a private investigator and a psychiatrist.

 

Thursday 12th October 2017

 

Today, our youngest granddaughter Lottie turned up for the day,  she is now 3 and likes to wash the fish, dry the fish, flour the fish, cook the fish and eat the fish (her words). And she is very good at it.   While she was flouring the fish Granddad decided to put on a few old LP records on his old HMV record player.  Mostly loud dance music and big band music.  He then, slowly at first, started to dance with himself gradually winding himself up with the quickstep, foxtrot, waltz, tango, samba, rumba, cha cha cha, etc etc . He then wound the volume and himself up even further with the twist, skip jive, conga and shake it all about music, and it was embarrassing to say the least.  The look on Lottie’s face was a picture, she will no doubt remember potty granddad for a long time to come.  Granddad of course was imagining himself back on the dance floor at The Orchid Purley, Wimbledon Palais or The Castle at Richmond back in 1963 when he used to, well we won't go there.  Yet!  

 

By the way, only last Saturday he was congratulated on his gyrations while dancing to a live swing band at an 80th birthday party, more than once, so who knows where this is going.

 

Friday 13th October 2017

 

To venture out on Friday 13th is always a bit of a challenge don’t you think?  Well today it was a blast down the A3 to The Sun Inn on Dunsfold Common for another hike amongst the flora and fauna (only Ron and I this time).  The Sun Inn, even at 11am opening time had a very welcome cosy log fire roaring away and a bench outside in memory of Sam, you’ll have to go there to find out who Sam was but hopefully it’s not you Sam.  The task today was to scale the lofty heights of Hascombe Hill from The White Horse Hascombe.   The route takes you past a very convenient log on which to perch and devour your sandwiches at the same time admiring the view across to Dunsfold Airfield where you can spot a 747 if you are lucky.  Not really worth blogging about but we were lucky, even though it was Friday 13th.    

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COSY BENCH IN MEMORY OF SAM  

COSY LOG FIRE

COSY LOG  

Saturday 14th October 2017    

 

Mixing it with a crowd of Saturday morning commuters from Cobham to Clapham Junction was an exhilarating! experience and memories of Monday to Friday commuting came flooding back although they didn’t last long.  The journey to Clapham Common was to witness Faye’s Team run/walk/crawl/slide/squelch The Mud Run in aid of Cancer Research.  The team included our granddaughter Hannah along with her trainee (nearly qualified) midwife colleagues.  Faye, if you remember from my July 1st blog, was also a trainee midwife but sadly, very sadly, was unable to continue because she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Faye, bravely, was there to cheer everybody on and deserves a huge amount of praise for that.  She also deserves to be in our thoughts along with many, many others out there who have to cope with all sorts of challenges.  It is impossible to know all of them but we know Faye.  

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BEFORE MUD

AFTER MUD

FAYE WITH HANNAH

Saturday 21st October 2017

 

Faye's Team raised a fantastic £2440 for Cancer Research and overall on the day in excess of £80,000 was raised.  Just shows what can be done with a few buckets of mud and some willing participants.  Well done girls.  And well done Faye, she’s quite a girl.

 

Meanwhile here in the UK storm Brian is threatening to blow all our garden furniture over the hedge and into next door's garden.  Where they get these names from buggered if I know. Should have been storm Bob or maybe Brexit?  No doubt storm Cedric, storm Donald and storm Ethel are waiting in the wings.  My cockerel weather vane with his Javelin tail is already quite giddy.  You can probably guess that I’ve nothing to blog about today except that despite spending the whole £10 budget this month on advertising vacancies on walktowork, hits and users have steadily declined according to Google Analytics.  But I’m confident that Google Analytics have got it wrong and success after 22 years is around the corner, or my name’s not Brian.

 

Wednesday 25th October 2017

 

Today I received my new driving licence telling me that I am OK to drive until the age of 82.  I find that difficult to comprehend.  After all I'm only 40 next birthday!  What was that Sam? 14? OK I'll settle for that.  Up to now I have thought that anyone still driving at the age of 82 should be put out to grass.  

 

However, it seems that those of us who learnt to drive without power steering or hydraulic brakes, indicated your intentions by waving your right arm about out the window and still have 20/20 vision, lightening reactions, can hear a pin drop and can see over the steering wheel can mix it with the other maniacs on the M25 - if we so choose.  

 

Of course, I'm nowhere near 82 at the moment but coming to terms with this age thing is in one sense an achievement and in another, frankly, a bit of a bastard.  How you deal with it is, in my mind, critical.  You can lose yourself in the past or equally lose yourself in the future.  Writing your own blog is one way of losing yourself in the past.  Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt.  Dreaming - is losing yourself in the future.  Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt.  So where now, dear reader?   Losing yourself in the now sounds quite a good idea.  The problem is knowing exactly when the now is, is it now? Or is it now?  Or maybe now?  Or now?  I've decided that losing yourself in the now is futile because there isn't such a thing, think about it. I've recently bought myself a hipflask in case of confusion and indecision, but don't tell anyone.  

henry 2

Thursday 26th October 2017

 

Yesterday, following a lovely walk in the sunshine around Polesden Lacey with Henry, wife, daughter and granddaughter we stopped for lunch at the Plough at Effingham.  Needless to say, I bought a pint of Youngs Bitter.  My 20-year-old granddaughter offered to buy me another half pint; she went up to the bar but couldn't remember which beer, the barman said 'is it for your dad? He had the ordinary bitter last time'  she said 'yes but he's not my dad, he's my granddad'.  End of story.

Henry contemplating.

Saturday 28th October 2017

 

Yesterday a succession of 'now' moments added up to yet another visit to West Wittering Beach in the sunshine.  It never fails to make your 'now' moments worth the effort and if you've never been there drop me a line and I'll take you there.  It's best at low tide which it was yesterday.  I can't guarantee a Spitfire doing aerobatics overhead but there's always a good chance as one is based at Goodwood nearby.  Yesterday she performed beautifully.  The Spitfire I mean.  Equally as mesmerising was the flocks of birds wheeling overhead trying to out-do the Spitfire, wings glinting in the sunshine.  There were many others with their dogs and children enjoying their 'now' moments.  

 

The picnic blanket was spread out and produced a few more 'now' moments under the warm October sun but sadly no picnic.  Lunch was to be at The Beach House but it was closed.  Next option was The Boat House Restaurant at Chichester Marina but it was crowded, next option was The Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay but it was even more crowded, next option was The Royal Oak at East Lavant which is next door to Goodwood Airfield.   Bob and Marcia had celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary here just 10 years ago so another 'now' moment together with the Thai Duck was enjoyed on the sun drenched terrace which I would thoroughly recommend.  Overhead a steady stream of two seat single engine aircraft lifting off from Goodwood produced yet more 'now and then' moments for Bob.  Losing oneself in the 'now' may be possible after all?

 

I note that Professor Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis on Expanding Universes published in 1966 has received two million hits when it was first made available recently.  Bob's Blog had 30 hits last month!  Now there's a surprise.

witters

Taken at East Head from the top of the sand dunes amongst the tussock grass looking North up towards Itchenor.  Kayakers and yachties enjoying their 'now' moment.

Friday 3rd November 2017 - Happy Birthday Hannah.

 

£42 for room and breakfast for two at the Lansdowne Hotel on Eastbourne Front seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so, bags packed, petrol check, pill check and a weather check Bob and Marcia set off on another pilgrimage to Eastbourne.   First stop was the coffee shop at Birling Gap.  Birling Gap if you don't know it is an area of cliffs that are constantly being eroded by a relentless sea.  The coffee shop on the cliff is still open but at the moment is surrounded by heavy machinery repositioning the platform and access to the beach below.  Apparently all the gear and personnel have to be craned down onto the beach after every high tide.  They plan to have it finished in a month or so.  Who knows how long it will be before the coffee shop inevitably ends up in the drink.

 

A mile or so further east on top of an even higher cliff is Belle Tout, an old Lighthouse that has been turned into a B and B.  The owner some years ago had the whole bloody lot put on skids and moved it back from the edge.  To me it still looks in a highly precarious position and the current rate is around £200 a night for B and B and P, that's Bed and Breakfast and Parachute!

 

Moving on a bit further east is Beachy Head and we all have our own thoughts of what Beachy Head means don't we?  Well I didn't drive over the edge, but ...... don't even think about it.

 

A bit further east fish and chips at Eastbourne beckoned which duly arrived between the knife and fork and was duly dealt with.  Sorry.  The next task was to stroll the length of the promenade inspecting (again) the thousands of benches in memory of many  poor departed souls.  Plenty of Bob's but not me, yet.  Phew!

 

An evening stroll along to the pier in the moonlight led to a Sparkly Moment.  A really, really, really old couple strolling just in front of us stopped, looked at each other and kissed, he then said to her 'We will be together forever'  not once but twice.   Beat that for a sparkly moment.

 

The Lansdowne didn't disappoint so give it a try but if it's less than  £42 I'll eat my hat.  Just before leaving we inspected a small property with the idea of moving to Eastbourne (again) but fortunately the Agent couldn't find the key and common sense kicked in before I could find the cheque book.  Phew!

 

The old Corsa behaved herself.  Back in the late 50's I used to cycle to Eastbourne, there and back in a day, 150 miles without stopping but what that has to do with the price of fish I haven't a clue.    

fish and chips sparkly moment

And yes, it's a bowl of mushy peas just out of shot.

A sparkly moment but guess which one is the Moon.

Sunday 5th November 2017

 

Remember, remember the fifth of November.  The bonfire in amongst the trees at Holmebury St Mary was huge and the fireworks whizzed, banged, danced and phutted.  The children screamed, the parents whooped, the leek and potato soup was great but the mulled cider was 'different'.  The finalé must have shattered the slumbers of all the wildlife for miles around.  Not a place for young children, Nannie's and Granddad's.  Lottie was lucky she had Daddie's ear defenders clamped tight.  She didn’t like it but she will remember.  Do I detect a note of cynisism here?

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Friday 10th November 2017

 

Apart from Mac (Allan, sorry Mac!) and Judy in Ottawa, Brian and Mary in Toronto, Carl and Debby in Coota’, Naomi in San Francisco, Chic and Lyn in Detroit and maybe the odd visitor from Epsom, Putney, Chiswick, Long Ditton and Abinger.  Not a lot of people reading this.  Maybe the odd one from Cobham, apart from me that is.  So, today’s news is that I have challenged Booking.com to refund the ‘city tax’ charged to my hotel bill when staying down in Studland – and won.  Without boring you with the detail this is what I told them when asked to fill in a survey – I hate surveys.

 

My initial experience with booking.com was very good, no problems and good deals.  However when challenging the imposition of a 'city tax' on hotel bills in the UK my experience was incredulity.  It was like receiving messages from another planet.   When finally you got the message resulting in a phone call from Sylvia and accepting the fact that a 'city tax' should not be charged in the UK, the refund was promptly dealt with.  I have friends that also stayed at the same hotel and didn't query the 'city tax'.   I will, of course, be telling them of my experience and no doubt there will be thousands of others.   If I were booking.com, had a highly intelligent website and wanted to increase charges by 10% then I wouldn't call it a 'city tax' and leave myself wide open to challenges.

 

So, if you have been charged a ‘city tax’ by booking .com mention my name and you will get it refunded.  I don’t charge a commission but a bottle of Jamesons would be appreciated – cheeky?

war memorial

Monday 13th November 2017

 

Oxshott War Memorial

 

I’ve been going here since I was one and yesterday being Remembrance Sunday we joined many others and their dogs for a very moving short service on the Heath.  The weather was cold but kind.  ‘Gentlemen, remove head dress’ was the order from our Regimental Sergeant Major (retired).  We sang Hymns.  Colours from the Scouts, Cubs, Guides, Brownies and Beavers were lowered.  A lone trumpeter played the last post, wreaths were laid, we sang The National Anthem, received a blessing and we remembered.   ‘Gentlemen, replace head dress’.   I always wanted to be in uniform!

Thursday 16th November 2017

 

It’s pretty depressing this blogging business especially when you know that nobody has the slightest interest in what you have to say, even when you come up with ground breaking ideas.  Well here’s another one.

 

Pressure to build houses in our area has prompted our Local Council to seek suggestions from all of us to identity possible building sites, such as derelict, vacant, run down and underused plots etc.   They call it The Urban Capacity Study.  There are a number of gardens in our street which fit the bill, including mine, so what I am proposing is to pile drive a column on all these plots, construct a desirable residence on high and bingo.  You could link them all up with an overhead walkway providing easy access to Waitrose and the Pub.  So, what's the problem?

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if that doesn’t fire your imagination you could have joined me today on a stroll around Bushy Park to watch the wildlife.  This deer having a bath with a heron, to me, was yet another sparkly moment.  I considered committing the scene to canvas but I haven’t a clue as to how to go about it, any offers?  The bracken and reflections are mesmerising don't you think?

Pole-house bushey park arty1

Thursday 30th November 2017

 

I found myself babysitting the cat today and lo and behold there was a box of paints, pencils and crayons sitting on the side so I dashed off a scene which was inspired by the view out of the window, without Dasher the Deer that is.  You will see Dasher in the picture above.  So what do you think G?  

 

It's mostly a 4B pencil and crayons.  I know you could do better but remind yourself (if you need reminding) that 'creativity is not a competitive act and although we were all brought up with gold stars and prizes we can’t create and compete at the same time'.  This came from Mark Gibbons in his painting lessons but it seems to me that it is worth reflecting upon in any creative endeavour, including blogging.  Apart from that not a lot except that North Korea has loosed off another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile and President Trump has tweeted himself into oblivion so nothing new there!

 

Just to get things into perspective tomorrow it's another hike with the old codgers so just might be another story?

 

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