Sunday, August 23, 2009


From Drop Box

We have a small walled garden which borders the street. It's a little green sanctuary and I'm thankful for it, and feel fortunate we've got it, particularly when I don't have to mow the lawn. The kids who play outside frequently throw things over the high wall, usually old toys they don't want anymore, mainly small things, but once an entire scooter. They rarely come to ask for things back (although they did for the scooter).

I've decided to start cataloguing these things, stuff fallen to earth from Planet Childhood. This week's offering, a scary plastic dinosaur witha revolving head arrangement that allows you to choose between cheery and scary.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Sometimes, at the gym, I say to Adam, please leave me a little bit of strength and endurance because I have the rest of the day to get through. His response is always the same, that there is no point in training unless you push the envelope. I can do another fifteen bench reps now, he then adds, just for good measure.

But today, fully two days after a session I find just getting my jacket on and off a real problem; and together with my back which is still randomly painful, everything in the top half of my body seems to ache. The weight isn't really coming off although I look and feel quite a bit better. I also feel a lot stronger in the pool, where I can cheerfully knock off a kilometre before breakfast.

But I have to face the fact that the drinking will have to go if there's going to be any move on that front, and so next week I'm going back on the wagon AGAIN. The other problem is I have bet Ms T's dad Roger that I can do a triathlon by next summer. At this point, dear reader, I don't even own a bicycle.

Monday, August 17, 2009


In Lincolnshire this weekend which must surely be one of England's most overlooked and most beautiful counties, especially at this time of year. We combined seeing Ms T's parents with attendance at the Wedding of the Year, that of Charlotte and Alastair Tatam. It took place at Alastair's parents house which is surrounded by fields and lovely gardens.

Some cows came over to examine us as we parked cars and put up tents for those staying late. They stood in a huddle, swaying silently.

'Are they frightened?' asked a small boy of his dad

'Sort of frightened and curious at the same time'

Later there were fireworks which caused a fresian stampede.

Friday, August 14, 2009


People have been tagging me on Facebook with requests to name my fifteen books. I had real problems doing this, which surprised me. Just getting to fifteen was a massive effort which shows that either I'm in mental decline or the whole exercise is worthless even for people who like books.

Catch 22
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch
Adrian's Panda
Barchester Towers
Bright Shining Lie
Master and Commander
Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain (see pic)
Midnight's Children
In Cold Blood
Brideshead Revisited
Carter Beats the Devil
The Macpherson Report into the Murder of Stephen Lawrence
Biggles in The Cruise of the Condor
The Odessa File

See Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain? A heady percentage of the fifteen I'd take to the desert island are from my childhood, and took root in my heart as my mum taught me to read. Later I was on an adventure with Biggles (I love flying to this day), and then there's the Odessa File, my first grown up thriller which helped inspire me to be a journalist. Brideshead has to be there, Orwell had to get in somewhere and iI found I wanted Rushdie's Midnight's Children - for my money his best work. The Macpherson Report opened my eyes to what it was like to be black in our country and is a drily effective piece of writing into the bargain, but ultimately I love fun in my literature and what can surpass Carter beats the Devil for that? I have omitted other much adored friends like Raymond Chandler, but I think that's my drop dead essential fifteen.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Dawn Glory

I'm in the West Country at the moment and yesterday I went over to the funeral of our last Great War veteran, Harry Patch. At six in the morning driving on the roads here is a real pleasure and I was forced to pull over by the lovely view of mist in the Somerset valleys.
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