19 February 2017

Oh my goodness! Too many things to do and not nearly enough time. This week’s engagements: a splendid lunch with Nick & Annabelle, another NT Live outing to the Banbury fleapit and lunch with a swarm of former colleagues. Whew!

The doorbell rang last Saturday morning and I was delighted to find Annabelle and Nick waiting to be admitted. I knew they were hoping to have time to pop in over the weekend but I wasn’t sure which day it might be. And, although Nick and Penny had “discussed” the arrangements via e-mail, Pen couldn’t remember what had been arranged so it was a delightful surprise when Bubble rang the doorbell about noon on Saturday.

After the usual hugs, kisses and the standard exclamations of joy and pleasure at their arrival, Nick voiced a slight concern that there were no delicious smells emanating from the kitchen and that the oven was not on – apparently, Pen had invited them to come for lunch but had completely forgotten that part of the arrangement! A quick phone call to the Crown at Weston elicited the information that they could squeeze the four of us in for Saturday lunch so we made our way there and had a delicious meal in the very welcoming and convivial atmosphere. That’s twice we’ve been there now and it’s been excellent on both occasions. We were lucky to get in, I reckon – the place was packed!

Thursday evening we had another NT Live outing, this time it was St Joan by George Bernard Shaw streamed live from the Donmar Theatre in London. And, once again it was outstanding. Perhaps not quite on a par with the Amadeus we saw a couple of weeks ago but still very good indeed. It was set in the “present” with all of the action taking place in the setting of a modern corporate board room. How do these directors come up with these wacky ideas! I have to confess, it was a bit disconcerting when the play opened to see, on a very simple stage, a large screen television broadcasting the business news but the whole thing worked very well.

Friday we were off out again! This time, to lunch with a plethora of former colleagues and their better halves from the Oxfordshire Computer Education Factory. These are good people and we don’t see enough of some them so it was a real treat to meet and catch up.

More bad Brexit news – wine, champagne and prosecco are set to be more expensive as a result of the UK leaving the EU. Never mind that the UK voted to implement a thoroughly racist agenda regardless of the consequences to the economy but this is simply going too far! And, so sadly predictable – the pound plummets so imports are more expensive and where does our good wine, champagne and prosecco come from? Europe! The sinking pound is only one reason for the inevitable price rises however – not surprisingly, more expensive imports fuel inflation and then there is the prospect of higher duties. I’ll have to ensure that the cellar is full before things go completely south.

One simply has to marvel at the explanation given by Mike Flynn in his resignation letter, i.e., that he:

. . . inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding [his] phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.

In other words, he lied. I love the use of the word “inadvertent” which, of course, makes it all OK.

Private Eye had an amusing article in their latest/current edition:

I am surprised that Private Eye haven’t yet done one of their “Number Crunching” panels comparing the numbers of people killed by terrorists from the seven countries on his banned list and the number killed by Americans. According to the BBC site, there were 13,286 people killed and 26,819 injured by firearms in the US in 2015 [those figures exclude suicides]. The number killed by terrorists from the countries on his banned list – 0.

And finally, I ran across something online which I found both interesting and amusing. I had spoken with my mother earlier in the week and we talked about her grandfather who had been involved in the early days of the Union 76 oil company in California. I was looking to see if I could find any further details online and, although I failed in that regard, I did come across a fascinating document concerning his father, my great-great-grandfather Charles Hulbert Toll. He was a member of the Iowa State Legislature for a time and served as Postmaster for the township of Clinton, Iowa in the 1870s. The document was something called the Standard Form for Members of the Legislature and it includes some factual background information including the following:

Here’s the transcription:

12 – Other Applicable Information    Republican

  • At age 18 he left home and went to work as a clerk in a grocery store in Syracuse, New York. He later worked at a more desirable establishment in the same vicinity.
  • In 1837 he formed a partnership with another person and established himself in the mercantile business. This did not last and was dissolved after 3 years.
  • He met with many obstacles in business over the years.
  • He decided to go west, arriving in Chicago in 1853 and after working as a bookkeeper he decided to move to Lyons, Iowa in 1854 working to assist in superintending the building of a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Missouri River at Council Bluffs.
  • He moved to Clinton, Iowa and was appointed superintendent of the ferry boat owned by the Iowa Land Company
  • Military service – Civil War – 1862 appointed United States Commissary for the Union Army until Jan 1866.
  • He built buildings in Clinton which turned into unprofitable business and fire.
  • There were some defaults in the Clinton post office and he was in 1875, made postmaster.

I love that he worked as a clerk in a grocery store but, thankfully, later worked at a “more desirable establishment” and also that he erected some buildings in Clinton which turned into “unprofitable business[es] and fire.” I guess it’s true – “he met with many obstacles in business over the years.”

Love to you all,






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