5 November 2023

Well, if it’s not Storm Babet, it must be Storm Ciarán – I suppose we did have a day or two in between. Lots of rain, strong winds and very, very wet but once again we escaped the brunt of the storm. There is an awful lot of water though – for those of you who know the little stream at the bottom of Brook Street, it is usually a trickle but on Thursday morning it was up over the footbridge, I am informed by Ms Playchute. So, while we are fine apart from the wet and muddy dog who stinks up the house, you have to pity those poor folks who just about dried out from Babet and then now have been clobbered by Ciarán.

I should have mentioned this last time but forgot. Apparently, the storm damage from Storm Babet was so severe because, according to Thérèse Coffey, the idiot currently pretending to be the Environment Minister, the rain came from the east when most of the UK’s weather comes from the west. Nothing whatever to do with climate change and thirteen years of a Conservative government slashing funding for the Environment Agency and flood defence programs.

This is a new low for an environment secretary that cannot help but say or do the wrong thing.
Thérèse Coffey blaming the wind for the government’s failure to protect homes from flooding would almost be comical if so many had not suffered so deeply at the hands of her incompetence.

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats Environment Spokesperson

As I mentioned last time, we trotted out on Sunday to the cinema in Banbury to watch Killers of the Flower Moon which was outstanding – really enjoyable, or at least we thought so. It is long – nearly three and a half hours – but it fairly romps by. A really gripping story, excellent photography and great acting and all based on true incidents. Thoroughly recommended.

Also as I wrote last time, we had an excellent lunch gathering of folks I used to work with. We ate at the Fox at Great Barrington, a lovely pub in a lovely village in the heart of the Cotswolds. The food was very good and it was great to catch up with so many lovely people.

In other news: Penny has started her voluntary work reading with children at a primary school in Banbury twice a week. So far, she’s finding it highly enjoyable. And, best of all, it gives her another opportunity (along with Bridge, Croquet, etc.) to get away from me! Twice a week!

The annual Witches Coven took place again on Halloween on the green at the other end of the village. This all started about four years ago, I guess. Originally the Garden Club decided to lay something on for the children of the village who would not be able to go trick or treating due to the pandemic. So, they gathered in the bus shelter opposite us serving mulled wine to the adults and distributing sweets and candy to the children. The whole thing was so successful and appreciated by the youngsters that it’s now become an annual event which gets better and better each year. Penelope had devised a multitude of games and activities with a Halloween theme – apple bobbing, eating donuts on a string, pinning the cat on the witches’ broom, rummaging through a bowl full of slimy “worms” (spaghetti) to retrieve some plastic spiders and loose eyeballs. Lots of fun for the kids and lots of mulled wine and Yorkshire parkin for me. Win, win.

Thursday evening was the second instalment of the Moreton Pinkney Film night this season, Top Gun: Maverick being the film on offer. We probably wouldn’t have bothered with this one but it’s difficult to turn down the opportunity for a fish and chips supper and a get-together with neighbours. The dinner was good, as always. The film was perhaps the worst we’ve had so far. I am genuinely surprised by how successful this film has been and how many positive reviews it has gathered. The film has no real plot, it is tediously predictable with a laughably awful script, no character development and stilted acting. Not so much a movie as a montage of moving images showing how cool Tom Cruise wishes he could be. Yawn.

Still, the fish and chips are always good.

And, speaking of eating, we had our two postponed meals with friends & neighbours – Wednesday we had a group of our lovely neighbours for dinner and on Friday we went across to Bedford to take another dear friend out to lunch. It’s a tough job eating for England but someone has to do it.

I received a random text message the other day which boosted my self-esteem. It was from a 26-year-old woman named Alice (she tells me) who enjoys the company of “well-mannered men.” To hook up I just need to contact her on WhatsApp. Clearly, she must have a clear idea of who I am as obviously I am a very well-mannered man but (sadly?) I don’t know her so she’ll not have a reply from me. Proving, I guess, that I am not as well-mannered as I thought I was.

The Covid enquiry has been taking evidence from some of the “big hitters” this week and it’s all pretty embarrassing for those who were supposed to be in charge. Boris, the lying Prime Minister, was utterly disengaged and indecisive when the pandemic struck and Matt Hancock, the Health Minister at the time, was generally reckoned to be completely unfit for the job. Quelle surprise!

Boris’ position was that older people should just take it on the chin to save the economy and also so that younger folks could get on with their lives. It’s a good thing that the former lying Prime Minister’s current wife (at least at the time of writing) doesn’t mind that Boris is twenty-four years older than she is. We could have saved ourselves a lot of turmoil if he had only agreed to “take it on the chin” when he caught Covid instead of spending a week in intensive care. Selfish bastard.

Nothing sums up the stupidity at the heart of Downing Street than this. Boris got it into his head that if you turned a hairdryer up to max and aimed it up your nostrils you could blow the coronavirus out of your metabolism. Really. Tory MPs and voters. You voted for this. This one’s on you.

John Crace, the Guardian

Yep, you really could not have made this stuff up.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, be good, be careful, and keep safe. And be gentle to wasps and bees.

Lots of love to you all,


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