Greg's Occasional News & Views

1 September 2019

Scorcio! We’ve had some great weather this week, the building works have progressed (reasonably) nicely and we had a splendid fun-filled weekend away on the south coast with like-minded friends.

We had an absolutely lovely weekend in Sussex with our friends Sue & Stuart and Sue & Dave. We went out on the Saturday to visit Rudyard Kipling’s house in East Sussex. The house itself is Jacobean, built in the 17th century, and is fairly ordinary when compared with many National Trust properties. However, the location is stunning, surrounded by the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald. In Kipling’s time it would have been in the middle of nowhere which provided the kind of sanctuary he was looking for. He did not like visitors except at his invitation and his wife had a “hiding place” with a window overlooking the front door. When the maid would answer the door the wife would give a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate whether the visitor should be granted admission or not. (As is immediately obvious, not all the following photos are mine!)

After a lovely day at Bateman’s we trotted along to the Devonshire Theatre in Eastbourne for a production of The Night Watch. This was adapted from a novel by Sarah Waters and this was the first ever stage production.

They probably shouldn’t have bothered.

Neither Penelope nor I had read this particular novel although we have read some others of hers and quite enjoyed them. I suspect we would have quite enjoyed this one as well but, reading the synopsis of the book on the drive to the theatre, I did think it might prove somewhat difficult to adapt. The novel is written in reverse chronology – the narrative runs backwards. I can see that this would be an interesting device in a novel but in the play it created a first half of indecipherable confusion. The play got off to a “bad” start with one of the leads delivering a long-winded monologue to the audience. Hmm, I thought – this is not a good sign when there seems to be a need to fill the audience in on what’s going on before anything has happened. Even this, however, was somewhat confusing since you didn’t know enough to make any sense of it.

The second half, naturally, pulled all the disparate threads together and everything (finally) made sense. The actors did their best with what they’d been given, of course, but all in all it was a considerable disappointment. I guess it didn’t help that there were probably about thirty folks in the audience in a theatre designed to hold about four or five hundred. Reminded me of the time when Sallie and Rod were visiting and we took them to one of a season of Spanish plays at the Swan in Stratford. Awful.

This wasn’t quite awful but it was disappointingly poor.

And, I do feel sorry for the cast – they’ve got to give this performance over and over and over again, touring all over the country. How difficult must it be to know that the audience is going to think what you’re performing is rubbish?

One of the highlights of visiting with Sue & Stuart and Dave & Sue is spending time with like-minded people who sympathise with our perception of the idiocy of our current political situation – hurtling towards a no-deal Brexit being “led” by a serial liar whose only interest is his own. The media narrative, not surprisingly, is all about how the EU is being intransigent. Astonishing arrogance – it’s the UK that is leaving the EU, not the other way round.

A few weeks back I wrote that the next few weeks would be fascinating to watch and so it is proving. Boris, the Twat, has asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament for five weeks to prevent MPs from thwarting a No Deal Brexit. Democracy at its finest! A Prime Minister “elected” by less than 1% of the electorate (i.e., the members of the Conservative Party) has now dismissed Parliament. So, the looney Brexiteers, who campaigned on the theme of the British Parliament “Taking Back Control” from an undemocratic EU, are happy to dismiss Parliament in order to bring about an act of unmitigated social and economic vandalism. Who could have imagined that it would come to this?

You cannot make this stuff up.

The builders have made good, steady progress this week. At the end of last week they installed the underfloor heating and two chaps spent most of Tuesday sweating profusely as they laid and levelled the screed for the kitchen floor. This is a big area and they had to mix, barrow and level a profuse quantity of sand and cement during one of the hotter days of the summer so far. Oh my goodness – hard work but it’s looking good now! And on Thursday the glass panel arrived for the large oak frame window which serves as the demarcation between the old house and the new extension.

Recently it seems to be the case that for every step forward there seems to be a step or two backwards as well. This week’s retreat was the discovery that the builders had neglected to order the floor tiles, the details of the ones Penny wanted we gave to them about six weeks ago. Now, it seems, that particular supplier is out of stock! Penny has found some more online but they are about twice the price – I can see we shall have to have a discussion about who bears the brunt of the difference in price.

It wasn’t one of my best loaves but we still managed to bring home the certificate for the best Sourdough bread at the annual village horticultural show yesterday. That’s three years in a row now – this will start going to my head. The trick, though, is to enter a category where no one else takes part – that’s my recipe for success.

Today is my mother’s 94th birthday so “Happy, Happy Birthday” to my wonderful mother.

My younger brother Steph is the benign cherub at the left of the photo whose birthday was yesterday so “Happy Birthday” to him too. It was always fun having a double helping of birthdays to celebrate.

Also, last Monday would have been my father’s 96th birthday so “Happy Birthday” to him too.

Lots of love to you all,

Greg

 

 

One Response to 1 September 2019

  • How gratifying to see Brits our in their thousands to protest the latest insult visited upon them. A previous prime minister of ours prorogued parliament in order to avoid awkward questions about what we were doing in Afghanistan – a few huffs and puffs from ‘activists’ and members of opposition parties, but no mass outbursts of dissention from the general populace. However, just whisper the possibility of raised taxes……………..!

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