Thursday 22nd October 2020
I promised you a picture and to me, this is the most atmospheric picture that I have ever seen. Why? Because it is the inside of a bomb shelter that existed outside The Royal Kent School Oxshott during the war.
The school, all of us, were herded into here everytime the siren went from 1939 to 1945. We sat on benches, sang songs, stared at the girls opposite and waited for the ALL CLEAR siren to sound. We then trooped back into the classroom and with any luck we missed out on the school dinners! Bliss. I was 5 years old.
Last night on a ZOOM meeting with the school Jodie from Elmbridge Museum came up with the most incredible history of the school celebrating its 200th birthday, thanks Jodie.
Saturday 31st October 2020
I think I've fallen in love again. I was watching a BBC programme called 'Powering Britain'. Since 1969 the North Sea has been disgorging oil and gas, polluting the planet and for a large part of that 50 years I was in it - the industry, not the sea!
Now, the massive effort going in to turning it into wind farms is beautiful to behold. Keeley Donovan clambers all over the squeaky clean off shore facilities and introduces you to a ring of nuts and bolts securing the generator casing to the top of the support tower. Being a long-time admirer of nuts and bolts I have fallen in love with that gorgeous ring of nuts and bolts, sorry Keeley.
Don't you think that this is a most heart-warming story in the middle of a bleak landscape? It's on iPlayer.
Thursday 5th November 2020
Not much to say today except that I found some recovery discs for my old laptop, wiped it clean, reloaded Windows 7 instead of Windows 10 and bingo. Not only that it's the start of another lockup today, sorry down. Don't move, don't touch, don't talk, don't breathe, don't ................. and don't wake me up to tell me it's Trump or Biden. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Saturday 7th November 2020
Happy 110th birthday Dad. This was taken by your eldest granddaughter on her way from Chiswick to Chelsea yesterday.
Socially distanced pigeons is one comment but there must be plenty of other smart**** comments but can't think of any.
PS The Bramley apple tree you planted in our garden 45 years ago has produced buckets and buckets and buckets of apples this year and it's not finished yet. Maybe apple and pigeon pie?
Wednesday 2nd December 2020
Now at first glance this might seem pretty normal but it was all laid out beautifully in somebody's front garden in Tilt Road Cobham. The temperature is 4 degrees Centigrade so either it's for a bunch of eskimo's or they think they are in Australia!
Or maybe it's global warming next week.
Saturday 5th December 2020
I hope the class of children in The Royal Kent School studying what it was like growing up in the war managed to understand the old codger on Zoom yesterday. He apologises for not being able to find the volume control on his new laptop, he had a problem hearing their questions about bananas, ration books and school dinners but he managed to tell them about his puppy called Judy he used to take around Oxshott Woods in 1945 dodging the bombs.
Sunday 6th December 2020
I've been feeling a bit guilty about my gas boiler heating up a tank full of water, having a nice hot bath and then pulling the plug. But now my neighbours got a ground source heat pump do you think I could charge him for using heat from my hot water?
Monday 7th December 2020
LIFTING THE SPIRITS
Yesterday to celebrate Sadie's homecoming after weeks in hospital, Nick and Sarah entertained us in a Covid Secure environment in the car park somewhere near Surbiton. It was a bit chilly but the warmth soon returned reminding us that life can be lovely again.
Thanks to Nick and Sarah.
Wednesday 9th December 2020
Overwhelmed, goes some way to describe how I'm feeling. Why? Because I received a personal letter from all the children in year 6 at The Royal Kent School thanking me for joining them on Zoom to talk about WW2 in Oxshott. Not only a letter but a lovely drawing as well. What can I say? Except thank you to all of you and I'll try to answer all your interesting questions like, what is a dog fight in the sky? I had to think. It's a dog's breakfast! What's a dog's breakfast? It's a squiggle of white condensation trails written in the sky by the RAF and Luftwaffe fighter pilots trying to shoot each other down. Not only condensation produced by the engine exhausts but also puffs of smoke from the guns and tracer bullets which are special shells to tell the pilot where his bullets are going. And then the occasional explosion as one of them gets hit and plummets earthwards leaving a trail of what looks like falling leaves as pieces of aircraft come fluttering down. And then, maybe, a parachute. Just like a pack of dogs on Oxshott Heath who decide they don't like each other.
Friday 11th December 2020
I'd like to introduce you to our new grandson, he's called Mustard, why Mustard? Because Lottie likes it and he's Lottie's puppy so there!
We call him Musty for short and Coleman's for long!
Monday 14th December 2020
I’d like to pause just for a moment here to remember Pete who sadly passed away last Friday. Pete, you may remember was the same Pete who jumped on the back of my scooter back in 1958 when we went to see Duke Ellington at The Kilburn Gaumont State. It was Pete who introduced me to The Oxshott Men’s Club and it was Pete who could tell you more stories about Oxshott than I could. And probably anybody else in Oxshott as well. Pete spent most of his life at the top of his ladder wielding his paint brush and saw more sights than George Formby’s window cleaner! And it was Pete who reminded me of a bunch of Oxshott characters who I wrote about for The Oxshott Magazine. Pete also kept reminding me of many other adventures we had which I was trying to forget. So, farewell Pete and to his family, we all share your loss. Bob.
Monday 21st December 2020
Christmas cancelled, UK ports at a standstill, major disruption to everything that moves except the Solar System. Winter Solstice has arrived so everything will be sunnier from now on? Except of course if you are in Waitara, Wagga Wagga or Cootamundra. Brexit?
Christmas Eve Thursday 24th December 2020
A Happy Christmas to anybody who happens to be reading this and if you feel like having (and are capable of) a knees up there's a party going on TONITE somewhere but it's against the law - it seems.
Maybe next year?
But in the mean time -
A Christmas hug from Mustard.
For more years than I care to remember I worked on the drawing board at Air Products PLC at New Malden and Hersham. If you've no idea what they do I'll tell you. They use gallons of electricity to drive giant compressors to suck in roomfulls of air and compress it into such a small space it can only exist as a liquid at minus 196 degrees C. They then extract liquid Oxygen and liquid Nitrogen to sell at exhorbitant prices.
Now, some smart arse back yard inventor has come up with the idea to drive the compressors at night using gallons of electricity from windfarms and then using the stored liquid air to drive generators to turn it back into gallons of electricity and feed it back into the grid during the day.
Now why didn't I think of that? If you want to check it out click HERE.
Monday 9th November 2020
There you are Sam what did I tell you on Page 23? It'll all soon be over. Apart from that only one more eye injection today, Sophia was very gentle.
Wednesday 11th November 2020
We WILL remember them.
Friday 13th November 2020
If it's your 83rd birthday (+ or - a few weeks) Lady Mary, Good Luck and # Happy Birthday. Did you recognise my impression of Stevie Wonder?
Saturday 14th November 2020
It seems to me that coffee shops and care homes are the only way of earning a crust in this area. Having said that the queue for coffee at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park yesterday was twice around the car park and those without a coffee cup strolling around The Ponds were few and far between. How does it keep warm I wonder?
Monday 16th November 2020
I wish I had something interesting to blog about today. What was that Sam? Don't what? Just thought of something interesting ..... no, it's gone again. Yes, I remember. Can you tell me if you have to wear your face mask on your face?
Wednesday 18th November 2020
To whom it may concern,
Love to sit down and have a chat about your technique and how you manage to keep creating so prolifically even after so many years. Not likely to happen but you never know. By the way if you could put a price on your Chianti Bottle, Book and Candle I could be interested.
Love and socially distant hugs,
Thursday 19th November 2020
Today is my lucky day. I have been presented with a new all singing, all dancing laptop which is faster than twice the speed of light and almost as fast as my remaining brain cell. So watch this space if you've got nothing better to do.
Sunday 22nd November 2020
If you still have nothing better to do you could do worse than read about my Lambretta, riveting! HERE.
Tuesday 24th November 2020
Despite trying every therapy known to man in order to keep sane including writing letters that nobody answers, drawing pictures that nobody looks at, writing stories that nobody reads, self-administered hypnotherapy that sends you to Nirvana, sweeping leaves and listening to the thermostat click on and off I decided to watch The Vicar of Dibley. Surprising what you can achieve if you are calm, confident, relaxed and in control Sam, by the way I've found a job for you click HERE.
Wednesday 25th November 2020
Another visit to Epsom and Ewell Art Club today, sorry, Epsom and Ewell Hospital went without a hitch. Impressed with all those doing their best to cope with all us old codgers with a million problems in a nightmare situation. I award you all 5 stars plus but only one star to the car park machine. Too greedy. You realise that a month today Christmas will be history?
Thursday 26th November 2020
Had our first Christmas Card today and the whole of the UK is now in tears! Sorry tiers.
Saturday 28th November 2020
I've been told to quit banging on about Village Sign's Sam, not healthy, so just before I do I'd like to make it quite clear that I haven't sold any Tee Shirts yet so perhaps you'd like to buy one for Christmas. All in aid of The Children's Society, you can find them if you click on Old Bob's Creation's above.
Sunday 29th November 2020
I would like to pass on a few words of wisdom. Listen to others, learn from others, discuss the problem, be objective, compromise if necessary, think before print, try not to be on the defensive and move The Oxshott Village Sign to the top of the village.
And when you've done that click HERE and buy a Tee-shirt in aid of The Children's Society.
Thank you, and lots of waves,
If you liked the story about my Lambretta back in 1958, then here's another one. One Saturday night Pete jumped on the back and we went all the way from Oxshott to the Kilburn State to see Duke Ellington and his orchestra. I bought his album entitled 'The Cosmic Scene' and it's playing now on my HMV record player at 33 1/3 rpm, with the all valve amp'. Sometimes a young lady would jump on the back! The Scooter not the record player! There I told you I get a touch nostalgic on Sunday evenings.
Tuesday 1st December 2020
Love to chat but I've got better thing to do. Hope you have better things to do as well. Better than read this rubbish I mean. Action is better than words, somebody said. So ............
Thursday 24th September 2020
If you are wondering why a few images have been removed from this blog - please read on.
On page 4 of this blog for Friday 21st August 2015 I wrote a short account of my trip around the M25 to visit a 100-year-old Aunt in a care home and ailing relations in Romford. I was reading Jane Eyre at the time.
In order to illustrate my thoughts I included an image of The QE2 Bridge which was/is on the RAC website giving information about the Dart Crossing.
Wrong decision. Last week I was charged a substantial amount of money by PicRights dot com for using the image.
I can understand an artist or originator of a piece of work wanting to protect their work from being used for commercial gain but when innocent 80-year-old bloggers get hounded by outfits like PicRights dot com for extortionate amounts of money you begin to wonder what the world has become.
It saddens me to think that when in times of National and International Crisis there are people out there who can find nothing better to do than terrorise innocent old (and young) bloggers.
In order to pay this extortionate amount, amongst other things, I have cut back on contributions to our favourite charities so I hope that PicRights dot com are pleased with their weeks work.
And if you think there is any defence against demands for extortionate amounts of money from PicRights dot com - there isn't. So beware.
Have a nice day.
And while I'm feeling sad it saddens me to think that The Oxshott Village Sign brass plaques are still barely readable, are oversized and lack detail of what is depicted on the sign. Oxshott deserves something better in my view. As you will know I am the sign designer and I have had new plaques made which address all the problems and won't cost Oxshott a penny. You can see them on PAGE 23 if you scroll down to Saturday May 23rd 2020.
I know Sam, there are some people out there who have nothing better to do in times of National and International Crisis than worry about Village Sign Plaques.
Sunday 4th October 2020
Not sure about you but Sunday evenings for me, especially wet and cold ones, are times for Karen Carpenter, reflection, nostalgia, half a pint of cider and if you haven't succeeded try, try, try again. So, if you check back for February last year you will find I started a new career, which for various reasons didn't work out, didn't even earn me enough for a new laptop so I will be shortly starting on yet another career which has elements of everything I've been trained for and everything I've always wanted to do so watch this space. Seems like a familiar story? I expect you are thinking how the **** is a crochety old codger going to earn himself enough to buy two bottles of Phyllosan let alone a new laptop, especially in this Covid stricken world,
And if you can't remember what Phyllosan was it was advertised to FORTIFY THE OVER FORTIES in the early fifties so I reckon that two bottles should do it.
Thursday 8th October 2020
And just before I go and while I'm feeling sad it saddens me to think that there are people out there who design forward facing pushchairs. And it saddens me to think that there are people out there who actually buy them.
Who in their right mind would ever want to be in a forward facing pushchair? For expletives sake. Especially this time of year.
If you were a toddler would you choose to be in a forward facing pushchair? No. Ask any toddler next time you see one in a forward facing pushchair. And while you're at it ask him/her why he/she hasn't got a cozy hat and coat on, just like his/her pushchair pusher.
So, I would urge the designers of ever more clever, complicated and pointless forward facing pushchairs to turn their mind to The Earthshot Prize. And if you've never heard of The Earthshot Prize click HERE.
I will of course be submitting www.walktowork.co.uk for The Earthshot Prize along with the Anti Gravity Machine Chic.
Later the same day.
Somebody's cleaned the OVS brass plaques and believe it or not they are almost readable. Shame they are still over sized and lack the detail but hey ho! There you go. Not only that but flag stones have been laid at the base - impressed.
Not sure if it'll be me or my old laptop that dies first but today we both had a moment. Hence the confusion Lady Mary - sorry - again.
Saturday 10th October 2020
Dear Lady Mary,
It was very inconsiderate of me to go and get myself wiped out in a road traffic accident. I would like to assure you that I shall forever look back on our time together as being very special.
Cordially and respectfully yours,
Sunday 18th October 2020
Now, this is really, REALLY boring. 25 years ago I was walking to work when I had an idea. 25 years later it became a reality in postcode district KT11, how amazing is that? It might help you find a local job and at the same time help stop the spread of nasty viruses and maybe even save the planet. Only another 2,299 postcode districts to go! Let's hope in another 25 years it's still going.
Wednesday 18th October 2045
What an amazing idea walktowork was. What it must have been like to live with exhaust fumes and noise from cars, motorbikes, trucks, buses, trains, ships, planes and petrol driven leaf blowers doesn't bear thinking about.
Bit of a shame that the North Sea has frozen over already this year but at least the polar bears seem to be enjoying the crabs at Cromer.
Tuesday 20th October 2020
I never can be sure who or how many read the drivel but not a lot it seems. Sorry about the lack of pictures on this page but I'll try to remedy that later.
In case my lights go out I'd like to spell out how I see walktowork.co.uk developing. Firstly, there's nothing more satisfying than finding somebody else a job. Back in the late 80's I used to get paid a lot of money for finding jobs for others, I even wrote a book about it which you can find HERE.
Anyway, right now there are no charges or fees for advertisers or applicants.
The key to expanding the idea is to find a person in each postcode area who knows the area well and has lived there for more than 80 years. They will then make a list of vacancies and post them on the site.
Rewards would come from job satisfaction and a bit of inexpensive advertising for the locals.
My reward would be to franchise out the postcode areas on an eBay auction. There are 2,300 postcode areas in the UK which would mean a lot of money for my favourite charity but that might be another dream.
A stroll around Richmond Park without masks yesterday listening to crunchy leaves and deer bellowing in the distance was very uplifting, recommended.
Wednesday 21st October 2020
My old laptop is terminally ill so if you don't hear from me again .............. What was that Sam? Good what?
Saturday Boxing Day 26th December 2020
If you were trying on your new gin clear, see through Face Shield you had for Christmas and forgot it was there, you might be forgiven for splattering a spoonful of porridge all over it - wouldn't you think?
Thursday 31st December 2020
A stunning drawing of my favourite bird has been added to my Art Gallery - don't get too excited!
Friday 1st January 2021
Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
For what it's worth I have absolutely no doubt that in a few short years Covid, Global Warming, Population Growth, Deforestation and The Oxshott Village Sign Designer will be history and once again Polar Bears will be enjoying the crabs at Cromer.
Tuesday 5th January 2021,
Well it's all a bit depressing out there at the moment GJ but surprisingly I feel calm, confident, relaxed and in control. Either that or confused, bewildered, befuddled and out of control because I've been at the Laphraoig again! I should have listened to you.
PAGE 26 has arrived.