Greg's Occasional News & Views

10 February 2019

Now that I have become an old man, I increasingly value routines, especially those which require no thought and can always be done in the same order as if by rote, preferably half asleep, like brushing one’s teeth.

Penny will testify to my compulsive adherence to my regular routines, and it sometimes drives her mad. My morning routine – brush my teeth, shave and then shower. Always in the same order – the routine cannot be done any other way!

My morning routine then continues to fall into place – coffee and a piece of “award winning” sourdough toast and on to the computer to devour the morning’s news and sports.

Now that I have become an old man I no longer watch the Superbowl live – way too late for me. So, I plan my Monday so that I can watch the game “as live” which means that I have to exist in a news-free bubble until I can sit down and watch it. I can’t even glance at the Guardian as it has started reporting the American football news.

As well as the Superbowl, Monday morning brought the arrival of our builders to start work on our new kitchen extension. They’ve knocked down the little conservatory and have moved on to the ground works.

And, also on Monday morning Penelope and I visited another kitchen place for ideas and advice – very exciting. Who knew kitchens could be such fun? How much more fun would it be if I actually used the kitchen more than occasionally?

So, with my Monday morning routine blown wide apart, it was good to finally be able to sit down at about 3.00 pm, having studiously avoided all sources of potential contamination, to watch the Superbowl. Isn’t technology wonderful? Too bad about the result.

We had another of our Moreton Pinkney Film Nights on Thursday evening. The film this time was Viceroy’s House starring Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson as Lord and Lady Mountbatten, the last Viceroy, when India is granted independence. Although it was pretty favourably reviewed when it came out, I thought it was fairly ordinary. Probably I couldn’t get past Hugh Bonneville playing Lord Mountbatten – there was no physical resemblance and his “Royal” accent was mediocre. Actually, I think Hugh Bonneville plays himself most of the time and this was rather like a reprise of his role as Lord Downton of Downton Abbey fame. Gillian Anderson, on the other hand, was very capable of putting on quite a convincing performance.

I need to do a bit of research. The film seems to suggest that Mountbatten was given a task – to work out how best to grant India its independence – without any hope of achieving that objective in a peaceful manner. If the film is to be believed, the partition of India had already been agreed between Churchill and the Muslim leaders beforehand and, allegedly, Mountbatten knew none of this as he was trying to negotiate independence for a single sovereign state. If accurate, no wonder the Muslim leadership was so unwilling to negotiate – they had already been promised their independent state.

Still, Film Nights are always great fun and the fish and chips dinner makes even the most average of films a great night out.

As mentioned, the builders have started on our new kitchen extension. The two we’ve had this week are clearly the demolition experts – they took the old conservatory down, removed the floor tiles and then the concrete floor and have lifted the flag stones from the existing patio ready to be re-laid in a new patio after the build is complete.

They also uncovered the well in the patio. We had suspected there might be a well – this was, after all, a pub and brew house in its early history and wells in back gardens were very common at the time. Also, there is an old hand pump just outside the door to the snug. Hmm, do you think there might have been a water source close to hand? As the builders dug down they found it, not surprisingly just adjacent to the pump – what are the chances of that? It’s about four foot in diameter and fifteen feet deep with about two feet of water in the bottom. Unfortunately, it’s right next to where some of the footings for the new kitchen are to go so in all likelihood it will need to be filled. Too bad, as it could have been a handy water source as climate change and Brexit kick in.

John Crace had another splendid column in the Guardian in which he highlighted the stellar qualities some Tories bring to the Brexit discussion. He covered an event recently at which Nick Timothy was speaking. He served as Mrs May’s chief of staff and was largely responsible for the catastrophic advice to call a snap General Election in which the Tories lost their overall majority. He left his post soon after the election.

Timothy also steered clear of Brexit. Just as well, as his last contribution to the debate had been to suggest in the Daily Telegraph that one way to avoid a Northern Ireland backstop would be for Ireland to become part of the UK. Can’t think why no one had thought of that before.

Hmm, perhaps centuries of violence and oppression might be a reason no one sane would make such a suggestion? As I say, you can’t make this stuff up.

There are lots of great metaphors for the shambles that is Brexit. Penny shared the following on Facebook.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the chap who went to court to try and have his age altered; have you read about the guy in Mumbai who is suing his parents for giving birth to him?

Finally, I hope you all had a marvellous Chinese New Year. I cannot imagine why I was not born in a Year of the Pig. It would suit me so well. The banners were drawn for us in beautiful calligraphy by Ava’s father wishing us all much happiness and good fortune in the New Year.

And finally, finally, I thought these photos of rare snow rollers were pretty amazing.

Love to you all,




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