Greg's Occasional News & Views

8 March 2020

Another great week of rain, rain, wind and rain apart from the odd and very occasional bit of sunshine when the wind blows hard enough to blow the clouds away. A lovely reminder of how nice it can, occasionally, be.

We had Bertie the spaniel with us for a few days over the weekend – his owners went for a short city break in Copenhagen. It’s always fun to have Bertie – he is a bundle of energy with a very sweet disposition. Naturally, he tends to ignore me while following Penny around with an adoringly longing and affectionate look in his eyes.

Like many dogs he is utterly obsessed with his ball or whichever squeaky toy he has at any given moment. Monday was one of those brief occasions when the rain stopped for a moment and the sun made a surprise appearance. So, we wrapped up and took him for a walk around the Edgecote estate. We decided to take his ball-wanger and spent the entire walk throwing his ball for him to race after, retrieve and drop at our feet. Again, and again, and again. I guess he must have easily sprinted ten or fifteen miles while we sauntered slowly around the mile-long circuit. I wish I could say that we succeeded in tiring him out but not a bit of it. I was exhausted from just watching him.

The brief spell of sunshine on Monday also allowed me to carry out the first mow of the season. Not that I was especially keen to do so but the mild winter has merely slowed the growing of the grass and others in the village have already carried out two or three mows! It is ridiculous that we are having to mow lawns this early in the year but the winter has been so mild – only one or two days when the temperature has dipped below freezing.

Thursday, we had one of our favourite village activities, the monthly Moreton Pinkney Film Night. This time we had the pleasure of Official Secrets with Keira Knightley and Matt Smith. Good fun if a somewhat dispiriting confirmation of the manner in which governments and politicians lie and engage in illegal activities.

The film tells the true story of British Intelligence whistle-blower Katharine Gun who, during the immediate run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, leaked a top-secret NSA memo exposing a joint US-UK illegal spying operation against members of the UN Security Council. The memo proposed blackmailing smaller, undecided member states into voting for war in Iraq. At great personal and professional risk, journalist Martin Bright published the leaked document in The Observer newspaper in London, and the story made headlines around the world. Members of the Security Council were outraged and any chance of a UN resolution in favour of war collapsed. But within days, Bush declared he no longer needed UN backing and invaded anyway. As Iraq descended into chaos, Katharine was arrested and charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act. 


It’s not often in our quiet village that we get unwanted visitors knocking on our door. Most often we are delighted when someone rings the bell and drops in for a moment or three. Wednesday, for example, Nick dropped by and brought all the fixings for a lovely lunch – tuna steak on a homemade sourdough ciabatta with chipotle mayonnaise and baby spinach leaves. Delicious!

I did get some unwelcome visitors on Wednesday afternoon though. After Penny had gone to bridge and Nick had left, my slumber was disturbed by a knocking on our door. Imagine my delight to discover a pair of Jehovah Witnesses on my doorstep who, apart from admiring our door knocker, were conducting a survey – did I think there should be more peace in the world? I thought, “Yes! Please leave me in peace.” But I thanked them for calling and wished them well as they went next door to engage with our even less hospitable neighbour.

And, speaking of homemade sourdough, my efforts continue to improve using Nick’s “new” method. This week’s loaf was one of the best yet and just about all I need to do now is to be able to replicate the process time and time again.

I haven’t shared any Brexit news for a while but I was amused to run across the following in the Huffington Post this week:

The government has estimated a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States would boost the UK economy by 0.16% over the next 15 years. That’s compared to a hit to the economy of between 5 and 7.5% from new ‘friction’ with the EU from ending the current trade and regulatory framework.

The loony Brexiteers, of course, still reckon that this is a good deal for the country. Clearly, maths is not their strong point. I keep telling you they are not very smart.

Two cartoons caught my eye this week – I can empathise with both.


Lots of love to you all,



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