24 April 2016

Good morning. We’ve had a fairly decent spell of weather this week but it’s been a little of the “Good cop, bad cop” variety. We had some bright sunshine and even tolerably warm days at the beginning of the week; the tail end has brought colder temperatures and cloudier skies as we welcome a spell of freezing winds from the Arctic. Even the good days, though, have been somewhat schizophrenic at times – we are often on the cusp of competing weather fronts. So, when we watch the weather on the evening news we can get quite excited about the spell of splendidly warm and sunny weather they predict only to find that we’ve ended up on the wrong side of the line. Again. Oh well.

Sunday the weather was splendidly sunny and, even though it was still markedly “fresh” Ms Playchute suggested we embark on the first bike ride of the new season, a proposal with which I was happy to concur. We dug out the forty-seven layers of lycra required and dragged the bikes out of their hiding places in the garage. Tyres were pumped and the accumulated bird droppings removed before we set off up the road towards Canons Ashby on a simple ten mile loop around the undulating Northamptonshire countryside. Very pleasant it was too even if some of the undulations required a bit more effort than we had perhaps anticipated.


On Monday we had a bit of an adventure. We were out in the morning and when we returned our telephone kindly informed us that we had missed a call. When I looked at the number it was one I didn’t recognise and, after a brief consultation with the wonder that is the internet, it appeared, judging by what I perceived to be the area code, as if the call had originated in Tonga. Having decided I wouldn’t be ringing back, a bit later in the day I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from Greg the Younger, my nephew who has been studying in Sweden.

He was on a bus travelling from Stansted Airport to Luton Airport and it was he who had phoned earlier. The code I had mistaken as Tonga was actually his friend Hanna’s German mobile phone. It turns out that they had flown into Stansted to spend the weekend in London having spent a few days in Dublin. Not surprisingly, Greg assumed his return flight to Copenhagen would also be from Stansted so, without checking sufficiently carefully, they boarded a train from London to Stansted on Monday morning ready to catch their flight back.

Oops! When they arrived they were told (very politely, no doubt): “You f***ing morons – your flight to Copenhagen departs in about an hour from Luton Airport!” Hence the reason why he and Hanna were on the bus from Stansted to Luton facing the prospect of camping in the airport lounge overnight until their newly-booked flight the following morning. And hence the reason why he was, quite sensibly, phoning us to enquire whether there was any room in the increasingly famous and ever-popular Guest Wing. It was a delight to jump in the car and scoot down to Luton to retrieve them and provide them with somewhat more comfortable overnight accommodation than they would have endured at the airport. It was a pleasure to meet Hanna and, apart from the very early departure the following morning to get them back to the airport, it was fun to see them.

As most of you will no doubt be aware, yesterday was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the country has been going mad with a variety of celebrations. Someone shared the following on Facebook – a simple to follow flow chart helping you to decide which Shakespeare play you ought to see depending on your mood and personality. You’ll probably need to click the graphic to see it large enough to read the text.


Someone has spent a lot of time on this! I’ve never seen nor indeed have I even heard of some of these.

As part of the Shakespeare celebrations I saw on the News that the classroom in which Shakespeare studied at what is now King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford is to opened to the public. A select and privileged few of us had the opportunity many, many years ago to visit the classroom on an occasion when Dad and Mom visited the UK. We had learned through the genealogy work that my paternal grandmother carried out that we are descended from one Thomas Jolyffe (which morphed over the years into Jelliffe). Thomas Jolyffe was a very successful Stratford business man (there is a primary school in the town named after him) who provided the endowment to establish the secondary school way, way, way back when. Armed with this information we contacted the headteacher and persuaded him that we should have a personal guided tour of the old classroom to which he, surprisingly, agreed. It’s had a £1.8m makeover so presumably is in somewhat better shape than when we saw it back in about 1976.


As well as the celebrations surrounding Shakespeare’s death, we’ve also had the Queen’s 90th birthday last Thursday – great pomp and pageantry.


The photo of the Queen with her younger Royal grandchildren and great-grandchildren reminded me of another photo of a Queen with some of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.


The similarity is striking!

Penelope and I were really sorry to hear the news that Victoria Wood had died this week. Our British readers will know her instantly but for those of you who may be unfamiliar with her work, she was a very funny stand-up comedian, as well as a successful actress, singer and songwriter, screenwriter and director. She wrote and starred in sketches, plays, films and sitcoms, and her live comedy act was interspersed with her own compositions, which she performed on piano. Of all the shows and plays we’ve seen in London over the years, one of my all-time favourites was her stage adaptation of Acorn Antiques which she wrote and directed and which starred many of the original television actors – side-splittingly funny. The following clip from one of her many television performances is also one of my favourites:

If it’s too fast for you to catch everything, you’ll find the lyrics here and, if you would like to see some more of her stuff you’ll find dozens of examples on YouTube.

We’re off to the States for a few weeks on Tuesday so there may be no Picayune posts during our absence. Who knows? Who cares?

Love to you all,



4 thoughts on “24 April 2016”

  1. Ok, now we need to add taxi service to our forthcoming ‘bill’ apparently! But more importantly, who is that baby in Grandma’s lap?! Someone snuck one in! Looking forward to seeing you both soon!

    1. Yes, with the early morning anti-social hours tariff, the fare from Moreton Pinkney to Luton Airport is the equivalent of the GDP of many smaller countries.

  2. Loved the ‘Royal’ families comparison – the latter perhaps just a tad less formal.

    Was first introduced to Victoria Wood when she presented a TV documentary series called, ‘Victoria’s Empire’ – the other Victoria, of course – and was very taken with her – smart and funny.

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