Greg's Occasional News & Views

22 July 2018

Another lovely week – this is getting ridiculous. No rain in our neighbourhood for at least seven weeks now. The Upper Green might more accurately be referred to as the Upper Savannah with dead brown grass and dust. The weather folks are saying some parts of the country may get some torrential downpours in the next few days – it never rains, but it pours! Bring it on, please.

Stop Press! We actually had some rain on Friday evening – about ten minutes of a light drizzle. Just about enough to engender some excitement followed very soon thereafter with disappointment. I never imagined we would be praying for rain in the UK!

The week started in fabulous form with Nick, Lucy and Annabelle coming for a bit of lunch and a play on Sunday. Annabelle and Jessica immediately became best friends and Bubble was very sweet, taking Jessie’s hand as they explored the garden together. They popped bubbles, played a bit of football (i.e., soccer), had a paddle in the paddling pool, sunbathed on the lawn, played on every piece of equipment in the park (several times), explored Penny’s woodland paths, played hide and seek and discovered that they were ideally suited to become pizza buddies – Bubble is not keen on the crust while Jessica loves it. Win, win. It was, in short, exactly what we had imagined. Only Max was missing but Pen made sure he was with us in spirit.

Tuesday was Adam’s birthday and for the first time in many, many years we were able to celebrate it with him. He was delighted with his new underpants and socks carefully selected by his mother from Marks and Spencer, no less. Well, who wouldn’t be excited by new underpants and socks? In the evening we made our way down the road to Weston for a celebratory birthday meal at the Crown Inn – very nice as usual.

When we were in LA earlier this year, Ben and I shared a bonding moment as we constructed a magnificent trellis for their back garden. Towards the end of last week Adam and I shared a similar bonding moment as we constructed a magnificent compost bin for Ms Playchute. Pen has been “nagging” me to put one up for her just about ever since we moved into Framington House. There was an ideal location just next to the vegetable garden and it was always one of those jobs I was just about to get to. Naturally, she waited patiently for three years until Adam came home and we set him the design brief. He and Penny went off to the local timber merchant and a few hours later, hey presto, a splendid composting area magically appeared.

Brexit continues to blow up – it seems that no one likes the plan the cabinet came up with at their Chequers summit even though everyone in the cabinet thought it was a splendid plan at the time. And, although the EU has not yet formally responded to the proposals, it’s pretty clear that they don’t like them either. The UK continues to pursue the fantasy that they can maintain some parts of the current arrangement with the EU (i.e., free trade in goods) but ditch all the others such as free movement. The EU has said from the outset that they will not allow the UK to “cherry pick” the bits that they like yet the UK government continues to propose variations of the same theme. Nearly two years on in the negotiations and the UK government still doesn’t have a clue. Looks like the “No Deal” scenario where the UK falls off a cliff is becoming increasingly likely. I, for one, am very much looking forward to the UK losing its status as one of the top-flight nations on the world stage and falling to a third or fourth-rate non-entity as our currency and economy tanks. That will show those smelly Europeans!

The Guardian had a great article on Friday – The A to Z of Brexit – which is good for a laugh if you’re feeling as depressed about the whole clusterfuck as we are. Or even if you’re not! I particularly liked the definition of the so-called Brexit Dividend:

The famous “Brexit dividend” is a made-up pile of money that Theresa May announced would be spent on the NHS, in order to appease the people within the cabinet who had so energetically lied about a £350m-a-week bonanza for health. Such an increase, May explained in her response to Boris Johnson’s resignation letter, would be possible once “vast sums of taxpayers’ money” were no longer sent to the EU. Those “vast sums” amount to just over 1% of the total government budget. But don’t get too excited, as the vast 1% saving is very likely to be wiped out by a larger fall in tax revenues post-Brexit. Most probably, then, the Brexit dividend will be one of those strange beasts termed a negative dividend, sometimes also called a loss.

I know I say this regularly but honestly, you could not make this stuff up!

Finally, we’ve been carefully watching a mother wood pigeon who made her nest almost immediately above our utility door. In the early stages every time we came out into the back garden she would explode in a flurry of flapping and leave the nest. Gradually she became increasingly used to our interruptions and stayed put while the babies hatched and grew. Last Wednesday I took this photo of the two monster babies almost falling out of the nest and by Thursday they had fledged and were on their way. Good luck!

Love to you all,




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