Monthly Archives: December 2017

Out with the Old and In with the New

Unless I suddenly discover a previously unknown reserve of ambition and energy this is going to be my last post of 2017. I may squeeze another one in, but I probably won’t as I intend to make soup and sandwiches in a few minutes and spend the rest of the evening  making a serious dent in the Christmas food mountain.

As usual, I bought too much, because you don’t want to run out of food when you have guests over.

I also bought too much beer. I’m not going to be depleting the beer stocks as I’m not much of a drinker these days. I bought a selection pack of Adnams beer to test over the holiday but only tested three of them.

I can report that they tasted like beer, with a distinct beery aftertaste. The Lighthouse and Easy Up were easy to drink, as I like IPA-style beers. The Ghost Ship was a trifle heavier and sent me to sleep.

As reviews go, it’s going to win no prizes. You need vocabulary like citrus, hoppy and fruitcake aroma if you’re a beer reviewer and, quite honestly, I couldn’t say fruitcake aroma with a straight face.

In future I’m going to work to my strengths and stick to book reviews. Or I could build up my knowledge and vocabulary and train to be a chocolate reviewer too, but I fear it’s an unattainable dream. Losing weight is a priority, beer and chocolate are not.

However, on to my latest hobby horse. I nearly wrote a post entitled “Knee-deep in Bovine Excrement” after reading about a new career I’d never heard of before.

I’ve previously written about professional cuddling. I’m not going to knock it, if you can make $60 an hour cuddling someone, and can find people who will pay it, then good luck to you. I can see how it could help people, and can’t do much harm (unlike drugs) but is it really a career?

Now I’ve found and even more insubstantial “career”. It’s very tempting to study for it, but, as with beer reviewing I might find it a bit hard to keep a straight face. Check out the International Federation of Biblio-Poetry Therapy for details of what I consider a flimsy career.

Again, it may we do good, and it can’t do much harm. Compared to the cuddling there’s also less room for awkward misunderstanding. However, if you want to know more about becoming qualified you will have to pay $20 for the information pack. Not only that but if you want to convince one of the mentors you are serious about it you have to take a creative writing course. That will cost you around £400. It’s a good course – you can tell that because one of the course directors is a mentor for the International Federation of Biblio-Poetry Therapy. Er… hang on a minute…

Let’s just say that I wish I’d known about this twenty years ago.

According to one internet entry (which may or may not be true) you can charge $160 for prescribing a therapeutic reading list.

Sorry, have to go now, can’t type more as tears of laughter are obstructing my view of the keyboard…

Happy New Year to you all, see you next year.

A Quick Trip Out

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Old shop at Thorpeness, Suffolk

We covered quite a lot in one day – seeing Thorpeness and Aldeburgh as well as Snape. This was just as well, considering that events were to overtake us and prevent me doing much more photography.

Aldeburgh is a pleasant old town, though we didn’t actually stop, just got general impression by driving through. It’s quite clearly been a well-established holiday destination for years and a busy fishing town before that. There’s plenty to see, but it will have to keep for another day.

Thorpeness is a strange place, which looks a bit like it’s trapped in the 1930s and a bit like it was designed by a child. It’s very interesting, and was in fact privately owned from 1910 onwards. Even after death duties and selling bits off, it still hasn’t moved into modern times.

The shop is in Thorpeness and the boat and coastguard station are in Aldeburgh. I should have done better, but didn’t realise I wasn’t going to be able to get back. That’s a lesson for life really – get it done first time round – there might not be a second chance.

Snape Maltings

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Sailing barge “Cygnet” at Snape Maltings

On the first day of the trip (which was also Christmas Eve) we went to Saxmundham for a few last minute supplies and enjoyed a hectic half-hour of being bashed by shopping trollies and delayed by senior citizens before joining a queue to get out of the car park.

That is the Magic of Christmas.

As an aside, although the town fought off TESCO for years they seem to be quite enthusiastic about it now they have one. They also have a Waitrose just across the road, but there was no fight about that. The leader of the original anti-TESCO campaign was Lady Caroline Cranbrook, which could probably form the basis of a PhD on class bias in modern supermarket shopping. Things have never been the same since posh people ran out of money and could no longer afford butlers to do their shopping.

It’s interesting what they say about local food in the article, but I’m fairly sure that families with jobs and kids find supermarket shopping faster and easier than visiting individual shops. The quality might not be the same but I’d rather spend time with the family than trekking round shops. That’s not the fault of the shops, it’s the fault of modern life and my priorities.

I didn’t take any pictures in Saxmundham.

I did take some at Snape Maltings, a large complex of concert hall, antiques centre, shops and tea rooms. There is also a sailing barge and various other things to have a look at, though it was getting on a bit and we didn’t have time to look at everything. Even if we had wanted to stay we were made to feel unwelcome in the antiques centre where the man on the front counter put a barrier across the stairs and announced loudly to his assistant that he was going to close as soon as the place was empty.

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One of the plaques with Newson Garrett’s name on.

There were some nice things in the antique centre cabinets, but many of the prices were concealed, which always annoys me. If you want to sell stuff, show me the price. If you want to annoy me, turn the price ticket the wrong way round.

We looked round a craft shop and a fancy goods shop, which were both nice, with some interesting things. Sadly, a lot of stuff in the craft shop was made abroad, and cheap, which makes it cheap giftware rather than crafts. The stock in the fancy goods shop was also often made abroad, but wasn’t cheap.

We also had tea and carrot cake in a tea room. It was upstairs and access was difficult because the tables were close together and inconsiderate people were sitting so that the gangways became impassable.

It’s times like that when I seriously consider becoming registered as disabled so I can plough through blockages like that making loud comments. Julia, as you would expect, is against this idea. She points out that it’s taken her 30 years to stop me making loud, rude, comments about people and doesn’t want to let me slip back. Slightly more reasonably she also points out that being lazy and irritable with a limp and a bad finger isn’t actually being disabled.

I suppose she has a point.

The other notable event of the visit was nearly falling off the wharf into the river whilst taking photographs. There were some interesting bits and pieces along the top of the wharf (well, I find ferns and rusty bits of metal interesting), but I got a bit too close and I’ve always had a bit of trouble when looking down. I also seem to have a balance problem when looking up to take pictures of towers. The difference is that there’s nothing to fall into when you are looking up at a tower.

I stumbled slightly and dropped my stick. This was awkward as it got under my feet. For an instant I teetered. Then I recovered my balance and pretended nothing had happened when Julia arrived to pick up my stick.

 

 

A Few Odd Photos

The moon was looking good last night so I thought I might as well take a few shots.

I’d tried earlier in the day but the shot wasn’t quite right. A bigger moon, a gibbet and a crow would have been a great gothic horror image. A small moon, a rook and a lamp post didn’t produce quite the picture I was imagining.

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Almost a gothic horror photo

I managed a couple of selfies over the holiday, because I was bored and the weather wasn’t much good for photography and myleg wasn’t much good for walking.

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Selfie in a teapot

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And a closer view

We were having tea and cake at Snape Maltings when I noticed I’d caught my reflection in the teapot. So I took some more, specifically trying to catch the reflection. The selfie isn’t much good but the triangles are interesting – they were the supports for the glass roof of the tearoom.

Finally there are a couple of selfies taken in the bathroom window. It was much more difficult getting the angle right than I had imagined. I still haven’t quite worked the angles out, even now. I just took plenty. Some didn’t even catch a reflection. I tried some without the small mirror but they weren’t as interesting.

Give a man a camera and there is no way of guessing what he will do when bored.

Christmas in Suffolk

We have just spent Christmas in Suffolk, though I didn’t say so at the time in case there are any burglars who follow the blog. I have a lifetime accumulation of tat in the house and you can’t be too careful. It would be virtually impossible to replicate the collection these days, particularly the shelves of 1970s paperbacks that fall apart when you open them up.

It started badly when my leg started playing up in the week before we left. Then I started sneezing. And coughing. By the time we got down to Suffolk I was ready to convalesce.

At that point my arthritic finger came into play. At first it just ached, then I caught it in a cupboard door on Christmas Day. That made my eyes water. It also rendered me fairly useless, and one-handed, for Boxing Day. Fortunately everything is recovering now and the leg and finger are back to imperfect normality.

The cottage itself was wonderful and the owners had put up Christmas decorations and left gifts (a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates). Despite my various trials we had and excellent dinner and a fun visit from Julia’s brother and his wife. We also had time for jigsaws, chess and dominoes (all provided). The jigsaw had all its pieces but the chess set and dominoes didn’t, which can be a bit tricky.

The unusual name comes from the name of a shipwreck which provided the timbers for the building in the seventeenth century. Unfortunately I can’t find further details, though there are some interesting wrecks of this name, including three around Australia  and one in the North Sea (when a U-Boat sank over a dozen trawlers).

After the first day the weather was wet and wintry until it was time to come home.

Looks like we’ll have to go back when the weather is better.

 

 

And a Third Limerick

I came close to using a Clerihew for Tootlepedal’s Festive Limerick but as I wrote Limericks about Derrick J Knight and the ladies I thought it was only fair to produce a third Limerick.

Originally I tried to force “Tootlepedal” into a line but I couldn’t. I’ve never been good at the metrical part of poetry but even I can tell it’s not a good word for a Limerick.

There was a Scots cyclist called Tootlepedal

(If you get this to scan, take a medal)

If only I dare shorten it to Tootle I could get him to pootle, but it’s probably safer not to do that. So that was how I left it.

I looked at several sites for help with scansion, and it wasn’t time wasted as it revealed that the Ancient Greeks believed a metrical foot should have an arsis and a thesis. (Plural arses and theses, honestly!) It’s not complicated humour, but let’s face it, I’m a simple man and I’m grinning as I type.

A little inventiveness and adaptation later I came up with this version.

A keen Scots cyclist called Tom,

cycles around with aplomb.

If he was Tommy,

it would rhyme with bonhomie,

which would be funny. But wrong.

I think this probably signals the end of my Limerick Season for this year. It’s a lot harder than writing Clerihews.

Another Limerick

Another Limerick? I’m spoiling you with all this culture aren’t I?

This one is devoted to the people behind two of our most prolific bloggers – Jackie and Mrs Tootlepedal.

The juicy jalfrezi of Jackie,

The toffee pudding of Mrs TP,

are both justly famous

and you cannot blame us

for wanting an invite to tea.

I’m still struggling to fit Tootlepedal into a poem. I can get the rhyme but I can’t get it to scan. I may have to resort to crafty manipulation.