Greg's Occasional News & Views

20 August 2017

Another good week – what are the chances of that? We had our third consecutive Annabubble Double Header Sleep-over and survived largely intact. So, fortunately, did she. We also enjoyed an outing to the big city to join up with some friends for the Royal Academy Summer Show. Good fun all round.

For this week’s Bubble Watch the weather gods co-operated and we had excellent weather – dry and mainly sunny with a pleasantly pleasant temperature and a light breeze. We had put off our planned outing from week two owing to the incessant downpours so it was a relief to be able to get to the Cotswold Wildlife Park on Tuesday. Of all the outings on which one might take a five and three-quarter year old granddaughter, I reckon the Cotswold Wildlife Park provided pretty good value. It’s an interesting contrast to the “problem” of what to do with a stately estate which one can no longer afford to keep and maintain. Opening the gardens and/or the house to the public is one approach; here they went a step further and assembled a collection of animals for the entertainment of the paying public.

I’ve always been somewhat uneasy about the practice of keeping wild animals in enclosures for the amusement of the general public but one also has to consider the conservation and educational features of the park. At least the “big” animals do have room to roam in the large open fields but it would undoubtedly be better if they had the opportunity to roam in their native habitat.

Still, there was a lot to see and we certainly made the most of our visit. The highlights, for Bubble at any rate, were the opportunity to pet and feed a collection of goats (one of which nibbled her fingers she was proud to relate), the magnificent adventure playground with a multitude of towers and slides and climbing paraphernalia and the train ride around the grounds. In between all that we walked about seventy-three miles and spotted and watched all sorts of familiar and funky animals and wildlife. A great day out.

Then, on Thursday, we were off to London to meet up with friends and visit the Royal Academy Summer Show which was, as always, very interesting. It’s been held every year since 1769 and in the early days was an opportunity for established artists of the likes of Gainsborough and Reynolds, Turner and Constable to demonstrate their talent and skills in juxtaposition with one another. Nowadays it’s open to anyone who wishes to exhibit, subject to a rigorous selection process. They take something in the region of 12,000 digital entries and weed these down to about 4,000 entries which are then physically delivered to the Royal Academy for a second round of judging. In the end about 1200 exhibits are selected and displayed.

It’s always an eclectic display and this year was no exception. As always in an exhibition of this size and scale there are bound to be some things which don’t appeal as well as a number of paintings/sculptures/objects with which one is very struck. I’m not so struck by some of the price tags on some of these objets d’art but judging by the number of red dots on display, there clearly are a lot of people for whom the price tag is not an obstacle. Interestingly, we each thought that last year’s show was “better” in that there was more that we each liked, but it was still a great show and a lovely afternoon out.

Even better, of course, is the lunch which follows outings such as this. We wandered around the exhibition for about two hours and then made our way to Le Caprice which was wonderful – great food, great service, great company and all in all a splendid day out.

Another week, another bundle of Brexit laughs! The following shared by a Facebook friend as a new definition in the New Oxford Dictionary was sadly amusing and very accurate.

This week also finally brought the release of some of the UK’s position papers on what they want to achieve from Brexit. I.e., more than a year after the referendum result the government has finally tried to specify what it hopes to achieve. Honestly, it is difficult to imagine anyone being this ill-prepared for such crucial negotiations. And yet, the position papers continue to promote the fantasy that the UK can leave the EU yet still have “frictionless” access to the largest free-trade block in the world while, at the same time, refusing to allow any of those smelly foreigners into the country.

This from an Irish spokesperson:

The reality is that it is beginning to dawn on the British government that Brexit means Brexit. You cannot have a shower and not get wet and that’s what the British are trying to pretend – that you can be inside and outside [the EU].

We missed the Perseid showers again. Thank goodness other folks share their photos so that we can see what we missed!

Yours, in the shower but not planning to get wet,




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