Greg's Occasional News & Views

10 November 2019

Another fine week made finer, I guess, by our jet-lag gradually disappearing in the rear-view mirror. Having said that, the weather has not been great – a months’ worth of rain in 24 hours up north, with associated flooding. We’ve not had any flooding in our area but it has been getting increasingly colder and the trees and hedges are rapidly throwing their leaves to the ground.

We had an outing to Oxford on Tuesday. Penny wanted to visit Blackwells, the bookshop, to find a garden book for a neighbour who is leaving Moreton Pinkney. She and her husband are moving closer to one of their daughters in, I think, Somerset. Penny found a beautiful book about artists and gardens which will be well received, I’ve no doubt.

The visit to Oxford also gave us an opportunity to see the Last Supper in Pompei exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. I’d had an e-mail a few weeks back and had tentatively suggested to myself that it might be fun to go. So, two birds with one stone and all that.

The exhibition was good but not outstanding and I have to confess to being a little bit disappointed. There were some lovely artefacts all along the theme of eating and drinking in Pompei. However, having visited Herculaneum and the Naples Museum just a couple of years ago and seen so many outstanding objects, these left us somewhat underwhelmed. As it happens, we both bought the audio guide which contained additional information and insights delivered by the curator of the exhibition Dr Paul Roberts. As we toured the exhibition the very same Dr Roberts was shepherding a group of about 20 souls around the crowded show. Sometimes the “lecture” to his assembled throngs intruded on the same “lecture” we were listening to on our audio device. We even had some of the same jokes and anecdotes.

Despite the underwhelming nature of the Pompei exhibition, the lunch in the Ashmolean Taverna Café was lovely (and filling – we did not need a piece of carrot cake each).

Thursday evening brought the next instalment of the monthly Moreton Pinkney Film Night. This time the film on offer was A Most Wanted Man starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams. The film is based on a book of the same name by John le Carré and it’s about an anti-terrorist officer, a social worker and a Chechen immigrant of unknown qualities in Hamburg just after 9/11.

Le Carré’s book was based on the real-life story of Murat Kurnaz, a Muslim Turkish citizen and legal resident of Germany who was arrested in Pakistan in late 2001 and, with the German government’s awareness, incarcerated by extraordinary rendition at a US military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan and in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba for five years.

This was certainly different from most of the Moreton Pinkney Film Night showings we’ve had hitherto. No sex and relatively little violence but there were multiple instance of the “F” word littered throughout which is sure to have caused offense to some of the more genteel members of the audience.

Not the greatest film of all times but a pleasant enough diversion on a dreary drizzly Thursday night. As always, the social conviviality and a heaping plateful of fish and chips can make up for most mediocre entertainments.

The builders continue to make progress albeit slow progress on the new kitchen extension but we’re on the home stretch – we can see the daylight at the end of the tunnel. The units and appliances have been extracted from the old kitchen and the floor there is now ready for tiling. We may be held up a bit at this stage – Fernando, the Portuguese tiler, lost his mother in the last few days and was having to return home. There’s no word on how long he may be out of commission.

Work on converting the Utility Room, the final piece in the puzzle, has also commenced. The old downstairs toilet is being relocated from the end of the entrance corridor into a new cubicle in the utility room. Shaun, our very patient carpenter, has been erecting partition walls ready for the plumber and electrician to do their stuff and the electricians arrived on Friday to do their first fix in the old kitchen and utility room. Allegedly, it will all be finished in four weeks’ time. Hmmm. I guess the bulk of the messy stuff should be done by then but the snagging will take weeks and months, I’ll bet.

Two strips from Calvin and Hobbes caught my fancy this week:


Lots of love to you all,




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November 2019
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