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You are reading Page 35 of Bob's Blog (or journey).

He is 84 years old and counting!


Saturday 4th March 2023


Yesterday,  while waiting to hear if my 'ingenious idea' has been accepted for publication by The Royal Society I asked the Spirits to send me a sign, perhaps in the way of a Heron parachuting in and landing on a neighbours tree.  Yes is west, East is no.


Tuesday 7th March 2023

'The submission is essentially a proposal for a new engineering design to harness tidal energy.  Unfortunately Proceedings A (The Royal Society) does not publish this type of submissions.'  

The author's conclusion is that this is obviously way ahead of its time, and their grammar needs some work.

chicken and heron.jpg

Thursday 9th March 2023

Changing the subject about 33 years ago, back in 1990 I decided to take Dan my 16 year old son on a fly-drive to California.

If you are really interested the story can be found HERE.



Sunday 19th March 2023

Hope you enjoyed the trip around California but if not you may find this even more exciting.

Last year we had a privet hedge 7 feet high and 7 feet wide, which I reduced to 7 feet high and 1 foot wide, the sparrows weren't too happy.  My neighbour and I decided to buy some 'twigs' and regrow it to 7 feet high and 2 feet wide rather than put up an ugly fence.

Instead of watching the grass grow we will now be able to watch the hedge grow and the sparrows will be happy - result!

Thursday 23rd March 2023

And if you are wondering what happened to my 'ingenious' idea for generating power from the tidal stream I have re-written it so that all can understand.

So click HERE and wonder no more.

Thursday 27th April 2023

If, by any chance, you are getting a bit bored with this blog I suggest you head over to Spitalfields Life which is a daily blog of guess what?  Spitalfields Life by The Gentle Author.

Much more interesting.

Sunday 30th April 2023.

You will be pleased to learn that readership for this blog has steadily declined and is now heading into negative territory.  This is because (possibly) the writer doesn't have a lot to say except that he paid a visit to Spitalfields yesterday and witnessed what it was like to be modern and young again.  That is to say that all passengers on the train from Cobham to Clapham Junction and Clapham Junction to Shoreditch High Street were playing with, watching, listening to, talking to, shouting at, laughing at and showing others their mobile phones.  They were also stylish, unlike some spotted in reflections.   The view from amongst the old chimney pots of Hanbury Street both down on to the street below and looking up to the mesmerising city skyscrapers was very uplifting especially through the lumps of ice in the bottom of a whiskey glass.  The odours and perfumes emanating from all the eating and baking houses, not to mention the bodies rushing in all directions was doubly intoxicating.  It is no wonder that the poor old planet is struggling to provide all that is needed and wanted by human kind.  We are all guilty but at the same time innocent which may sound a touch paradoxical but nevertheless a valid point of view.  

You may wonder what has prompted the above outpouring of literary prose.  It is the sudden realisation that there may be a slight possibility of bumping into Mary Hartley Smith, which, to most will mean nothing, but to those who are reading 'The Sea, The Sea' by Iris Murdoch might mean something. 

How is it that those who are 84 plus can be so creative, inspiring and desirable?

Monday 1st May 2023.

If you get a 'Like' from Lucky Bob, that'll be me.  I've signed up as an Experienced Voice on 'Experienced Voices'.  It is a clever marketing ploy by Saga to extract everything about you in order to sell you something.  They want to know your age, income, where you live, who you live with, where you've been, where you're going, what you think, what you look like and what you sound like.  I 'liked' a comment from Laelia telling us that (in an answer to a question about your carbon foot print) she suggested that 'If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem' a thought to carry with you every time you do anything?  My feeble attempts at 'being part of the solution' has been 'Walktowork' and 'Energy from the tidal stream' which has failed miserably to convince anyone - yet.  The dream of somebody actually taking any notice is, I suppose, is as much of a dream as a chat with Hartley.  The dream of walking amongst the bluebells at Polesden Lacey yesterday came true.

Did you know that the way Google gets 'traffic' density is by counting the number of mobile phones waiting at the traffic lights?  The number of mobile phones on the trains and busses must burn a hole in your screen - surely.  

Tuesday 2nd May 2023.

At this time of year watching leaves, twigs, grass, blooms, blossom and potatoes emerge has to be inspiring don't you think?  That is if you lucky enough to be able to see, smell, taste, touch and hear new life happening.  But if you have poured the milk into the teapot it could be a bit of a worry.  Writing about the little things, I learned yesterday, was history in the making so, the sight of two pigeons making love on a carpet of apple blossom petals surely deserves a mention.  As is negotiating the twists, turns, cyclists and potholes of local roads. Also the lady in her Chelsea tractor up your exhaust pipe mouthing rude words.  However, being presented with a touch screen to order a couple of senior cod and chips at your local chippy has to be the ultimate test of endurance.  If you get it right and touch 'Apply' you get 10% off.  After three attempts I failed but I did spot a pound coin on the floor which I surreptitiously scooped up while tying my shoe lace on my velcro trainers.  I need to find out how Charles is getting on with Hartley and Mr Fitch, I reckon Charles is going to regret visiting Nibletts.  I'll let you know.

Wednesday 3rd May 2023.

The dilemma of writing about the little things of life is how little do they have to be?  My attempts at growing 2,000 Lobelia seeds, twice, have resulted in 3,999 mini plants approximately 2 millimetres high.  They never get any bigger, having said that one out of the 4,000 has managed to reach 20 millimetres high.  The dilemma of choosing breakfast tea or pine needle tea in the morning is not a small thing, you have to take into account your carbon footprint, emissions, health and avoiding milk in the teapot.  So, no dilemma there.  Today, I have to decide whether or not to present myself for more head surgery, fortunately external and not internal, another effect of driving around in my soft top Morris Minor with the roof down in 1964.  I hope Hartley doesn't suffer the same thing.  I wouldn't like to be in her shoes with Charles creeping around amongst the gravestones.

And, another little thing, I haven't forgotten today is someone's birthday so a really happy birthday to Emma. 

Thursday 4th May 2023.

Walking three dogs round Claygate common for an hour at £13 a pop (or a pooch) can't be bad, no wonder there are a million doggie vans clogging up the streets in this area.  I was only a helper and have no plans to start a business.

Being trapped for an hour in a waiting room with a bunch of blobbies and fellow wrinklies is not the greatest experience.  How the hell the NHS deal with it who knows.  However, the jolly Fiona managed to slice another piece out of my scalp, also a similar size piece from my neck, apply plenty of rooting powder, stick the piece from my neck on to my scalp and sew up the hole in my neck.  I walked home feeling a bit vulnerable but it soon wore off as the thought of another encounter with Hartley filled the hole in my head.  I have to spend 5 days without bending, stretching, digging, jogging and many other ings except reading.  Typing, fortunately is allowed, as is I believe eating and drinking.  Possibly spending and thinking as well?  Watching anything except TV is encouraged.

Friday 5th May 2023.

Around 50 years ago I was putting the finishing touches to a 'grand design' for a kitchen/diner extension which is now a kitchen/diner/lounge extension.  I, single handedly, drew the plans, dug the footings, mixed the concrete and cement (with a shovel), built the walls, fitted a timber suspended floor, roof, lintels, windows, doors, plumbing, electrics and decor.  I did get old Bert in to do the plastering and someone to felt the roof and all in evenings and weekends while commuting to the day job in Holborn.  It took around 6 months. I then built the brick built garage. You can see it all on Google maps if you know where to look.

Why do I mention this now?  Because it was once a dream and I'm now lounging in the dream dreaming about todays dream which is
HERE and of course having a chat with Hartley.

Charles seems to be going about it the wrong way, he's already nearly come to blows with Mr Fitch which is potty in my view.  'True love knows no bounds' and 'all the world's a stage' somebody said.  I popped out to get some seed and fatballs to keep the birds happy while lounging and dreaming.  I expect one day somebody will come along with a skip and bucket my dreams, but hopefully not you Hartley.

I did manage to put the flags out yesterday for the upcoming coronation of King Charles III on Saturday, all the right way up of course your majesty.  'The making of a King' on iPlayer is worth a watch.  Perhaps the most exciting thing about yesterday was discovering which will open up a world of free travel to all with a bus pass Tim.

Saturday 6th May 2023.  'Coronation Day'.

The results of the local elections yesterday produced great gloom and great joy in equal measure.  I trust that those who are gloomy find peace and those who are joyful find humility.  The Coronation today will, no doubt, dominate the headlines, politics, strikes, war, unrest, crime, earthquakes, climate change and famine will have to wait for another day.  Despite my temporary afflictions I returned from Oxshott Woods yesterday with a pocket full of pine needles which will cure all my afflictions. You have to be positive otherwise what's the point?  As an 'Experienced Voice' I was asked to complete a survey about what makes you laugh.  Most are bloody ridiculous questions but when asked 'what's your favourite TV comedians?'  Bob and Terry are top in my book with Jack Benny a close second.  I was also asked to tell them a joke, I did but it's unrepeatable here, they say they will include it in their Saga July Magazine but we'll have to wait and see.  Charles is obviously a lovesick, self centered, arrogant womaniser and Hartley will be well advised to steer clear.  I hasten to add that this is nothing to do with our new King who I wish the very best in all his endeavours.  The last time I sang 'God save our gracious King' was in 1952, I was wearing a Cassock and Surplus and was, and still am, very angelic!

Sunday 7th May 2023.

I didn't expect to be very moved by the Coronation ceremony but I was.  Despite a grey and damp day, the colour, the pageantry, the costumes, the uniforms, the precision, the history, the horses and especially the music and voices were breath-taking and to those who can't or don't appreciate the monarchy I would say you are without soul and understanding of what they bring to the country.  It's sad that their family problems, relationships, difficulties and tragedies are aired in public but at least it shows they're human - and accountable.  I've decided to dust down my bus pass and check out Westminster Abbey one fine day.  Let me know if you want to join me Hartley, that is if you're not too busy with your brushes.  I might be too busy with my birthday cards as I've discovered a new artform, it's called Collage.  You'll have to wait until next week to be blown away with my creations - breath-taking.  Also breath-taking is THIS but the academic community have not yet grasped the majesty of the idea. Unlike my ideas, my 'twigs' (see above) are growing like weeds but all the best books and blogs don't have pictures.  The hedge is now a haven for wildlife where the badgers, bats, bears and biodiversities can be left in peace.

Monday 8th May 2023.

Another Bank Holiday to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles lll and Queen Camilla who, I would think, are somewhat overdosed with spectacle, not least with last night's Coronation Concert at Windsor.  For me, the drones were the highlight, the talent awe inspiring and the weather was kind.  A portent of beautiful things to come don't you think?  A bit like this blog really.


If, a big if!  There were any regular readers over the past eight years, they might pick up on a developing theme that involves Jane, Lady Mary and now Hartley.  Where it's going heaven only knows but a cup of tea at Nyman's might help to thicken the plot.  Hartley, bless her, is understandably confused and deserves a bit of peace.  A street party is probably not on her list unless it contains Babycham and Joe Loss who, I've just discovered, is Sir Joe Loss.  His music can be heard at a street party somewhere near you this afternoon.  Pine needle tea available, from Oxshott Woods, of course.

I added one of my poems to 'Experienced Voices' if you are interested.  Scroll to May 8th.

Tuesday 9th May 2023.

There's something satisfying about being first in the queue (or P1) at roadworks traffic lights.  Yesterday I came upon four sets all within half a mile  (mending potholes probably).  I now know what it feels like to be Max Verstappen.  All are waiting for my brake lights to go out and if you balls it up by waiting for the green, blinking on the amber or worse stalling there's all hell to pay.  Roger, immediately behind, will be up your exhaust pipe before you can say Jack Robinson, Liza will pull out to stop Lewis overtaking, Ray will be on his horn regardless, Joe will take out a row of cones trying to get up the inside, Sarah has gone to sleep causing fury and chaos to Fernando and all the others following.  After four red flags and four restarts I made it to turn one in front every time. Eighty four year olds should not be engaging in such pursuits.  The reason for such excitement was a chance to see Finley Arthur at Peaslake who is 4 weeks old and brought out great waves of broodiness in some, he is quite sweet.  On the way back I got four greens.  Unfortunately the street party was disappointing, mainly because of the weather and Joe Loss didn't turn up.  Who cares? It's springtime Hartley.

Wednesday 10th May 2023.

Nobody cares about the gunshot wounds to my head and neck I received last week.  Well, they look like gunshot wounds but actuality they are skin grafts as explained earlier.  Anyway, the nurse checked them yesterday and all is well but she advised taking it easy for another week.  Which, is a bit frustrating as my energy levels at the moment are unusually high (must be the pine needle tea!).  So, another rewrite and a beautifully drawn sketch of my energy idea which you can see HERE is all I achieved yesterday.  Except of course to check on Hartley.  She's been kidnapped by Charles, Gilbert and Titus to keep her away from Ben but I can see her triumphant in the end.  Don't forget I'm only recording the 'little things' of life.  I also discovered 'Unsolicited Ideas' yesterday which can turn little things into big things, so they tell me.  So watch this space. Your 'Café Scene' is stunning Hartley.

Thursday 11th May 2023.

Yesterday, I signed up as a 'Trusted House Sitter' as it seems to me that it might be a good way to get a free holiday.  That is if you are prepared to look after somebody's pooch or pussy as well. How they can work out that I can be trusted I haven't a clue.  Anyway, there are plenty of opportunities for adventures.  Also, I decided to sign up as a double glazing salesman (maybe).  Well not a actually selling the stuff but getting leads.  You would have to knock on doors, but that's something I did in 1970 and can't get out of my system.  On the face of it, it sounds a doddle, especially if you can offer extensions, conservatories, garage doors, fascia boards and gutters as well.  Don't get bogged down with any technical stuff, just get interest, a name, address and contact details and pass it on. I wouldn't advise joining 'the team' as you'll quickly get brain washed and bossed about.  All you do is fill in their 'recommend a friend' form and Bob's your uncle.  You'd have to wait a bit for the cash to roll in but surely it will.  There are plenty of companies that will give substantial amounts of cash for leads, I can recommend Anglian as an OK company, although only 'sort of OK' on Trust Pilot.  Develop your RMA (right mental attitude) and Fanny's your Aunt.  You'd have the mortgage paid off in no time. 

You may wish to graduate to actually selling the stuff but for that you will need product knowledge, a mathematical brain for quotes and a diary.  More rewards but more stress.  Better to work where you want and when you want would be my choice.  You do realise that all the above is highly classified information, so keep it to yourself Hartley. You may need it when you rid yourself from all the plonkers around you.  Including me!

Friday 12th May 2023.

Listening to private, intimate and distressing details of others talking to staff through the flimsy curtain of Bay No 2 at Epsom A and E yesterday is not the greatest place to spend four hours.  The reason we were there is private, intimate and distressing.  There was standing room only in the waiting room. Was it a dream?  No.  How the hell they keep a record of all that's going on, let alone deal with all that's going on is nothing short of miraculous. The feeling of vulnerability was overwhelming.  More so when you are old, wrinkly, deaf, blind, doddery and forgotten. Thunder and lightening on the way home seemed only to add to our vulnerability.  But.  The Oxshott Village Sign stood tall, invulnerable and defiant. I was happy to pay £8 for the car park, happy I had wheels and happy I can still do a Max Verstappen. I'll be even happier when somebody recognises the son of the Oxshott Village Sign Hartley.

Saturday 13th May 2023.

Energy, not from 'dynamic drag', but from pine needle tea must have been the reason I achieved so much yesterday but I can't remember what it was. 

Sunday 14th May 2023.

Being informed by Microsoft that your email account is being compromised by some bastard 'please change your password' leads to a nightmare of issues that old farts find difficult to deal with so apologies for any interruption to service.


Some say that a picture is worth a thousand words but I disagree.  I could write a thousand words about Wally, Molly and Dolly celebrating Isaac's birthday which would be a passionate and Booker prize winning story.  I could also show you a picture which is HERE.  (You'll have to scroll down to the bottom but it's probably a long time since you've visited Bob's Art Gallery, that is if you ever knew of its existence).  Let me know if you want to read the story.

I planted a few runner beans yesterday but not sure how I'm going to support them as 8 foot bamboo canes cost an arm and a leg so maybe it will be a string wigwam.  I might describe it or show you a picture, you'll have to wait and see.  A bit like Ben waiting to see what Charles is going to do after Ben tried to kill him.  The excitement is growing, a bit like my beans really.

Monday 15th May 2023.

I wish they were broad beans.

Tuesday 16th May 2023.

I'm now getting to the end of ‘The Sea, The Sea' by Iris Murdoch, which, if nothing else proves that I can still see!  Will Charles be able to rescue Hartley?  Will Ben kill Charles? Will Charles kill Ben?  Will Hartley kill them both?  I won't spoil it for you.  It's been a long time since I read a book, should have got into literature a bit more at school, maybe the arts as well.  Perhaps I'll join The Open University and study something.  I only just failed the 11 plus in 1950 which could have changed everything but thinking about could have, would have, might have and should have saps whatever energy you might have left.  So, dreaming is the only course of 'action'?   Talking about energy, somebody actually took my idea for renewable energy seriously yesterday, so another dream might, maybe, possibly, could come true Hartley.  Did you see the Eurovision Song contest?  I didn't.  I reckon songs disappeared around 1955 when Bill Hartley, sorry, Haley introduced noise.  Perhaps I could be song a writer, perhaps you might like to record my songs, could, should, might be a hit.

Before I get carried away with dreams I haven't forgotten that it's somebody's birthday today, somebody who actually has a 1st Class Honours Degree in The Arts so Happy Birthday Julia and enjoy the sunshine.  If you want to know how my 'gunshot' wounds are, yesterday the nurse took off the bandages and declared me the 'perfect patient'.  Your birthday card is

Wednesday 17th May 2023.

It has occurred to me that in order to detect early or late onset Alzheimers, dementia, Parkinson's or any other brain malfunction the NHS should get the patient to write a story, letter or poem and submit it for diagnosis, dissection and discussion by experts don't you think?

Dear Hartley,

No need to apologise for any feedback, it is usually helpful in driving a project forward.  As you point out there are many questions that any investor would require answered.  Also, I admit that my approach so far has been perhaps ‘a scattergun and maybe an amateur approach’ but I am hopeful that eventually I can find a way forward. 


Even with my out of date engineering theory I could prove that this proposal has far greater potential than any current tidal stream generating device.  The many millions spent on the Orbital Marine O2 for instance is, in my estimate, obscene.  The projected output of the O2 is only 2Mw also there are very few places where it can be used.  This applies to all other tidal stream turbine generating systems currently in use.  They need great amounts of depth and installation and maintenance is an obvious problem.


This proposal could generate an estimated 5Mw from one cross channel ferry (or preferably a semi-submerged pontoon of the same length and draught) in a controlled drift.  The fact that everything is on the surface and for the most part already existing and accessible has to be great advantage over any subsea turbine.  I disagree that this proposal is small scale, on the contrary, this proposal could easily be scaled up to Gigawatt potential especially around the UK where we are lucky to have 24/7 tides around the country.  The area required for offshore windfarms and their visual impact, in my view, is also obscene and of course you can’t guarantee wind, no matter how efficient they are.


I see the development of this proposal as inevitable but perhaps not by me.


Best wishes




I completed a long winded survey for The National Lottery yesterday, they asked me if there was anything they could do to improve things,  I replied 'sell me a winning ticket'.

Thursday 18th May 2023.

Yesterday I wrote, probably the most effective letter I've ever written, to a Professor of Fluid Dynamics at Warwick University.  There is a picture of him on his profile and he seems exactly the sort of guy that I could get along with.  We'll have to wait and see whether or not he also thinks my letter is effective.  My writing career began in 1956 when I was 17.  I entered 50 words on the back of a postcard about 'The Future of Aviation'.  It was a competition organised by The Daily Mail.  The prize was a trip around the UK in a Bristol Britannia which was BOAC's newest addition to the fleet.  I was one of the lucky winners.  The prize included train and taxi fare to Fleet Street, bus to Heathrow and lunch on board over Edinburgh served by the chairmans wife.  If you dig out the Daily Mail archives for the following day you will find a picture of me with the wife of the Chairman of BOAC - serving lunch. My recognised writing career ended there.

Today,  I'd like to say a Happy Birthday to Tim who can now join the ranks of the bouncy bus pass holders, sorry Tim.  Yet another fine achievement!  Your birthday card can be found
HERE.  Another fine achievement!

Friday 119th May 2023.  (Sorry the 19th).

'Jack of all trades, master of none' is a phrase that comes to mind when reading this blog.  Although 'Master of our own destiny' has to be something to do with it don't you think?  I'm not sure who said 'Master of our own destiny', perhaps it was me.  If you are not master of your own destiny then who is?  Fate, chance, luck would seem to be something to do with it.  I reckon that fate, chance and luck are probably the controlling factors except that ability should be part of the mix surely don't you think?  If you, alone, are master of your own destiny and you cock it up then you can blame fate, chance or luck so that's alright then.

I'm not sure if it was fate, chance, luck or ability that got me over to Peaslake in the Duster to see a lovely garden yesterday, probably a mixture of all four, but whatever it was it is now part of history.  I've now got to get to grips with 'history in the making'' which is yet another birthday card Hartley.  Very therapeutic.  Thanks for the inspiration - or was it the Tamnavulin?

Saturday 20th May 2023.

This is 'history in the making' for those who, in a hundred years time, are researching the origins of 'Dynamic Drag'.  The idea that solved our energy problem.  Well, yesterday the idea got a boost from not one but two Professor's working, separately, on Ocean Processes and Hydrodynamics.   One from Plymouth University (who had previously unmercifully criticised me and the idea but now changed his mind), and one from Warwick University who sent me a long, supportive and considered reply with a link to 'Google Scholar' which will prove to be game changing.

I don't suppose you remember my prophetic poem from somewhere previously in this blog


If you were an alien approaching the Earth

You would notice the Moon pumping water

If the natives can't see the power of the sea

Then they surely should blinkin well oughta


Back in 1955 at the age of 16 when I, reluctantly, started my engineering apprenticeship, reluctantly because my first love, Hartley, was the RAF, sorry.  Anyway on my first day in the workshop I was issued with a few tools and a 6 inch steel rule.   The tools I still have and treasure but I lost the steel rule about 30 years ago.  Yesterday Marcia was given a brand new 6 inch steel rule by her dentist in order to measure the gap between her teeth.  I'll spare you the detail but a steel rule to measure the gap between your teeth?  Far better a feeler gauge made up of tongue depressors don't you think?  What happened to common sense?  At least I can now measure my Collage Creations with great accuracy!

If you want to contribute to the fight against global warming you can turn your electric kettle off before the steam does it for you.  Common sense?


Sunday 21st May 2023.


Yesterday I created another birthday card for an 18 year old, I decided that the first one was ridiculous for an 18 your old, bloody ridiculous.  You can see them both HERE.  I then thought about what I was up to when I was 18.  I was in the middle of my apprenticeship drawing lines and circles with a tee square, set square, compass, collet pencil and slide rule.  It was in a drawing office in a company called Cottage Laboratories located on the site where Cobham Free School is now.  I was drawing bits of tin, well aluminium really, for ship borne underwater communication equipment.  Highly secret.  I had a Lambretta LD 150 scooter and a black and white chequered cheese cutter cloth cap.  It was 1957.  Bill Hartley, sorry Haley, had just hit the scene with Rock Around the Clock. I already had had a few failed relationships which prompted me to jump on the old scooter and drive up the old A1 to Darlington. There are pictures dotted around on this blog but you'll have to find them.  I also had been introduced to Oxshott Mens Club and learnt to play snooker and the guitar.  My scooter and me (I) went to many places at 36 mph, 39 mph down hill.  One of those places was The Castle Ballroom at Richmond where I met Hartley and all without a mobile phone or Google Maps.  I should have ...........

At the moment there is a Conference going on in Vienna.  It is called The Austrian World Summit to tackle climate change, it was founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Yesterday my
MOON page had a hit from Vienna.

Monday 22nd May 2023.

Dear Dr Berridge,


cc. Robert Jones.

Thank you for referring this delightful gentleman to us, also a link to his writings.  I, and my team have now completed our report on his condition.

He is showing classic signs of late onset delusion for which, sadly, there is no treatment.   His eloquent writings reveal that he believes that he had a relationship back in the early 60's with Hartley.  We conclude this is a figment of his colourful imagination.  We can confirm this from studying CCTV footage from the period.

His claim that he is the designer of
The Oxshott Village Sign also indicates advanced stages of delusion.  A counter claim has been received from Miss Felicity Graham who claims she was the designer of the oak tree.

Also, we have had contact with all those who he claims to have contact with regarding his inventions.  An intricate fabrication of untruths is our kindest conclusion.

Yours etc

Dr Bathsheba Sanctuary,
The Cauldron
Witch Way
Merlins Mound
London E4.

Tuesday 23rd May 2023.

So, what do you believe?  Is everything an illusion, delusion, a figment, fact, fiction, a fabrication, unreal, a mystery?

Today, I make no apologies for remembering my mother, it's her birthday.  She was born in 1906 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.  At the age of 6 the family moved to 21, Harrison Terrace, Darlington which was the classic two up, two down terraced house with an outside toilet. She was one of eight.  With minimal education but an adventurous spirit she, in her twenties, somehow found her way to Oxshott.  She had one child, has three grandchildren and six great grandchildren. She died two days short of her 62nd birthday in 1968.  Her ashes are scattered in Leatherhead Crematorium.  There are few alive who will remember her but she is remembered HERE.  Happy birthday Mum. 

Thursday 25th May 2023.

Sorry to miss a day but I spent the day thinking about my mother, bless her.

When I was studying for my GCE (in those days it used to be GCE and not GCSE but I'm buggered if I know why it's now 'Secondary Education') in Physics in 1955 I learnt 'Newton's Third Law of Motion', which is 'For Every Action there is an Equal and Opposite Reaction'.  Unfortunately I forgot it and yesterday I was reminded of it.  The result is that it's blown my tidal energy project out of the water, so to speak.  Back to the drawing board. 

So, 'Dynamic Drag' joins the 'APO', the 'Easyreader', the 'Handy Sander' and a million other crackpot ideas in the recycle bin of history.  But, at least it's 'History in the Making' and it's great not to be pressured by 'A Project'.  Too much like hard work.

Having read 'The Sea, The Sea' by Iris Murdoch I passed it on to Poppy who expressed an interest, she is a yellow Labrador.  I popped in to the Library hoping to find another Iris Murdoch but all they had was 'The Sea, The Sea' so I took it out and started re-reading it hoping that this time Charles and Hartley will finally get together.  There is always hope.


Friday 26th May 2023.

PS I failed my GCE in Physics.

Avid readers of this blog will no doubt be aware that I have spent 48 tortuous years in an engineering drawing office, which was tortuous.  I lost count of the number of drawing offices I worked in when I reached 55 (drawing offices that is).  On reflection I now realise that the characters you are forced to spend time with, who, at the time are mostly a pain in the arse; are in fact still (or moving) life and 'history in the making'.

There are those who appear to be dead, those who are arrogant, bossy, stupid, crazy, quiet, friendly, unfriendly, noisy, smelly, disgusting, knowledgeable, thick, pompous, gushing, creepy, weird, wonderful, inspiring (and in the sixties) on the periphery, the miniskirts.  I think they call it the rich panoply of life.  I could concoct a story about any one of those characters but it would probably turn out to be fiction.  Fact is much more interesting.  The fact that you are reading this, for instance, is mind bogglingly inspiring and interesting but I bet you will have forgotten it in a millisecond.

Every Thursday Jimmy the Fish turns up from Lowestoft with his van load of fish.  The characters in the queue are usually responsive and jovial and are also part of the rich panoply of life.  Including me!  I only mention this because some of you need to forget about global warming and your carbon footprint, at least for an hour or two, and get out a bit more and experience the rich panoply of life, preferably at 5.30 in the morning and especially at this time of year.  I know some of you, also like me, spend all day in slippers, exist on a rich concoction of pills, put your pullover on backwards and pour milk in the teapot but you were once the rich panoply of life.  So tell me about it before it's too late.  Hartley, to me you are still the rich panoply of life.

I’ve often wondered which cloud holds all this crap, sorry information, we all spew out endlessly, I think they call it an iCloud and whether or not your ‘information’ gets blended or contaminated with my ‘information’.

Best not to think about it.

Saturday 27th May 2023.

I wish I had words to describe the delicate greens, yellows, purples, blues, pinks, shadows, fragrances, rustics, fungi, flora, fauna, views, clouds, dogs, horses, sounds, silences, characters, hats, company, music and lunch yesterday at Polesden Lacey; but I don't.

Also yesterday I was informed that Poppy the yellow Labrador who borrowed my copy of 'The Sea, The Sea' by Iris Murdoch, who, incidentally is also an avid reader of this blog has yet to finish 'Noddy and Big Ears' but is looking forward to meeting Hartley.  Talking about avid readers I understand they now include Bonny and Georgie from Deal, so welcome to them and if you have any complaints, comments or woofs you know what to do.

Sunday 28th May 2023.

Like Charles, who is a retired actor, I'm not sure if this is a diary, an autobiography, a story, fact, fiction or a blog.  I dislike the term blog so I am going to call it a journey.  I do have an idea of the destination but I can't be sure exactly where that mysterious place might be.  I never had any desire to be on the stage so where our grandson gets it from I haven't a clue, must be the other side of the family.  He is, as I write, in Los Angeles seeking his goal which could be on the stage or in the back of the net.  Good luck Ivan anyway.  Your Duster is performing well.

My journey may well involve my 'Sholley', which, for those who haven't a clue what I'm talking about is a shopping trolley which made its debut on this journey back on
Page 26, it used to belong to mother in law and it's been in the shed for 20 years but after a touch of TLC she's looking like a Formula 1 car, the Sholley that is not mother in law.

Worryingly, there wasn't much to put in shopping trolleys at Waitrose yesterday, empty shelves and frantic shoppers are not a happy mixture.  Another Bank Holiday is probably the cause.  I think it was a Bank Holiday back in '64 when I took Hartley to Butlins Ocean Hotel in Saltdean near Brighton, my behaviour was something I'd like to apologise for.  Could that be the destination?  It is necessary to peer through the wrinkles in the mirror, or in Waitrose to see the past. 
  I'm thinking of getting my DNA checked.  I'm willing to bet there is at least 51% Irish.

Monday 29th May 2023.

Why do I think that?  Because my Grandfather on my mothers side was from Belfast and my Great Grandmother on my father's side was from Dublin, he was William Conway and she was Annie Byrne so a rich mix of blarney don't you think?   Family history can be all consuming which, if you've nothing else to do can be fascinating, but if you've got to work out whether or not to buy a new car because the new expanding ULEZ zone has cut you off from Waitrose family history will have to wait. 

My ‘eureka’ moment yesterday was connecting my laptop
to my cheap but modern music centre via Bluetooth.  I can now listen to Angel Radio which transports you back to
Butlins Ocean Hotel at Saltdean in the 50's and 60's in an instant.  Hartley would you like a last waltz?  I hope that my great grandchildren Bonny and Georgie will forgive me for dreaming about something that could have changed everything.  You can blame Angel Radio.

Most of what I'm banging on about now has already been banged on about before in this blog but I'll try to give you a link if I can find it.  Lottie, our youngest granddaughter has made many appearances on this stage, she's now 9 and is very clever.  She's popping in later today to see the old wrinklies.  She looks a bit l
ike your 
Evie Hartley.

I'd like to bang on a bit more about growing up in a drawing office. Looking back it was a bit of challenge for
 my wandering mind but the ‘crack’ or even the ‘craic’ was great.  It is something that seems not to exist much now with everybody with their heads buried in screens.  I did spend a few years not knowing if it was Wednesday or Christmas, a symptom of excessive screen time, but hopefully not terminal and I don't mean an airport terminal, perish the thought.  Have a great trip to Stateside Hannah and Mike remember me to Graceland.

My first trip to Stateside is HERE if you have a mo', it was to another drawing office!  While you are reading that I'm going to 'catch up' with the Monaco Grand Prix.

Tuesday 30th May 2023.

Last evening, I was invited aboard the largest, longest and most luxurious yacht moored in Monaco Harbour.  It was for an evening trip to Bergen op Zoom and back.  A place I'd been before in my old Hillman Husky van.   I had converted it into an estate car with a pair of tin snips and fitted windows, that was back in 1968.  Anyway, half way across the channel doing around 200 knots (it must have been a hydrofoil) I found myself in a dark corner of one of the luxurious lounges with the organiser of the trip.  She was pale, slight, wiry and wearing what seemed to be a loose, white lace dress, frizzy dark, bouffant style hair and a mysterious fragrance.  We found ourselves quite close together looking out one of the portholes.  My cheek brushed her hair.  I said ‘do I need my passport for this trip’?  She replied in a breathy voice, ‘no, we won't be stopping, we'll be back in the Thames estuary before midnight’.  I asked her if there was any alcohol aboard, she whispered ‘my perfume is alcoholic’.  I didn't know what to say.  I looked out of the porthole at the sunset.  When I turned back to look at her she had poured me a mini glass of her perfume.  Unfortunately, I woke up.  I think it might have been Hartley.

Wednesday 31st May 2023.

It's been a long time since I wrote about a 'steamy scene'.  It was on one of my sailing trips back in 1995, you can check it HERE if you wish.  It wasn't a dream but I can't remember if it was fact or fiction!

Some years ago I was 'dowsed' by Rosemary, she told me I would write seven books before I die.  I haven't started the first one yet so what does that tell you Hartley?  You will be aware that my current influence in writing comes from 'The Sea, The Sea' by Iris Murdoch, I think my first book will be called 'The C, The C'.  'Confidence and Conviction' something that still needs a bit of work.

There are many descriptions and pictures of sunsets to read about and marvel at but last night the view from my loft window is worth a mention.  In the foreground was a couple of TV aerials about 50 metres away. In the middle distance, about a mile away was a large oak tree silhouetted against a bright orange ball. In the far distance about 15 miles away was the Surrey Hills.  A splattering of shining cirrus about 30 miles away and then a fiery orange ball about 93 million miles away.  All framed by a few contrails of Dreamliners at 35,000ft.  Nothing much out of the ordinary there wouldn't you say?  But it's something that nobody has seen before and nobody will see ever again, so, definitely extra ordinary.  I'm tempted to paint it but I would need you to give me a few lessons first Hartley, what do you say?  Nobody would know.

Continued on Page 36.

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