Tuesday, December 18, 2012

About a beard

The beard.
It's been growing since December 1st.
I'm really not sure.
I am way outside my comfort zone.
I can really only think of two people I know who can do a decent beard.
Officially I only need to grow it until the 24th. The thing is, on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd I have three quite major social outings to attend. The beard is going to get quite a bit of publicity.

It's scruffy, itchy and I have yet to reap the benefit of the extra 3 and a half minutes each day that I could have spent shaving.

Then I get to thinking, LBJ never had a beard.
Nor did Richard Nixon.
Not one of the Watergate conspirators had facial hair.

What am I to do?

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Just went for the dream job.
Didn't get it.
Compensating by listening to lots of Billy Bragg.
Also growing a beard for charity.

Looks like an Al Gore moment to me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This is not a food blog...

... but this is worth a mention!

Buttered dish.
French bread, sliced.
100g of Gruyerre.
300ml of milk.
4 eggs.
Two or three first class sausages, I used Gloucester old spot for this one.
Salt n' pepper.

In a baking oven for half an hour.

Breakfast of champions!

Bloody marvellous!!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

La mia vigna incredible

A misty autumn morning. Observe the vines at the back of our garden. These provide delicious shade during the warm weather. And yes, sometimes we spot tiny green grapes in amongst the foliage.

 Look, can they be grapes? Real grapes? Big , red , juicy ones?
 Large? Good enough to eat?
Surely not?

Absolutely! This year, out of nothing, we have a bumper crop of sweet and tender decent sized grapes!
They are good to eat and as yet we have experienced no ill effects.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


You want to funk up your beans-on-toast? You want to add some jazz to your pauper meals? You want to revibe after yet another bloody day of all being in it together?

I think this may be what you have been looking for.

Heinz beans, simmered over a hob, with a good pinch of chilli powder for some extra soul.

White sliced is preferable, toasted, lashings of butter  and, this is the key, cut lengthways.
Then stacked, like a game of Jenga.
Pour the beans into the hole at the top.
Allow the beans to drain south for a moment or two. The hole in this stack was smaller than usual, See the second picture. This meant that the beans did not sink down as normal.

All being said, it brightens up those dull Tuesday evenings.

Monday, September 10, 2012


It's been about 22 years since I last bought a pair of DMs. Probably about 18 years since I last wore them into the ground.
To some, the shoe (boot really) might look like a comfy midlife crisis version of the classic DM boot but to me, delivered today with it's matching twin and tried on, and walked about in, it was just marvellous.
I should be careful, soon I might be buying retro 'Wedding Present' T shirts and flopping about to 'Meat is Murder'*
Wearing them I feel prouder, stronger and ready to take whatever the man (or the weather) decides to throw at me.

*That happens anyway.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chestnut cottage

Sometimes, you don't need to go far for the holiday of a lifetime.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sports emotion

Living in a transatlantic household is always interesting.
Never more so than during the great international sporting challenges.
Last night Frau Random Doubt shed a tear for Jessica Ennis.
I asked her "Did you actually just feel a pang of British pride?"


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Coming soon...

...Brooklyn, the lost notes.

Gore Vidal

The search is on for his successor. Greatest living man of letters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Torch II

The good thing about there being 8000 Olympic torches running around the country is that almost everyone who wishes to, can pose with a genuine 'as used on the Haverhill leg of the torch relay' Olympic Torch. Needless to say, the nation's primary schools are flooded with them. 
Having said all that, it was great to hold and pose.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Torch

The Olympic torch passed through our area this week.

We were unable to get into Norwich last night to join the thousands thronging the streets in the sunshine to see the relay.

This morning Hen and I sneaked out of the house at 5.30am to go to Hethersett to join in their very special Olympic torch moment.

Hethersett has a population of 5000 and had organised more Olympic themed events during the past  three years than any other town, city or village in the United Kingdom. Along with that they have a most excellent fellow called Shane Hull who suite simply pestered the Olympic organising committee with reports of all the the events the village had organised.

He also pestered them, quite simply to bring the torch to Hethersett.

Early this morning the village got it's moment. I'm no cynic but I am a grown up.
Even so, this morning I shed a tear of pride.
I'm sure it was pride for the villagers of Hethersett, Mr Hull and his like. I'm sure part of that tear was being there with my son to witness a very special moment of ordinary people power or maybe just because I love the fact that we had all got our of bed to support and cherish this moment.

The Olympics means quite a bit more to me now.

(Look closely at the photos from the local press. In the top one, on the extreme top right? Hen on top of my shoulders.  In the bottom one still atop my aching but happy shoulders? Hen!)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Faux pas

Me, at a science thingy.
Oddly enough, the moment I started talking the whole room seemed to go quiet. 

Woman approaches me and says "hello! Alex, How are you? It's great to see you!"

(at this point the room quietens)

"Oh hello! Wow! Hello! great to see you too. (I turn to my boss)
Carole, this is Linda, we were both on the same headship interview, the one were neither of us were appointed Grrrrrr! (I ACTUALLY SAID GRRRRRR!). Wow, Linda and I spent  alot of time locked in rooms together and being all strung out and interview crazy. How are you Linda? Who are you here with?"

"I'm not Linda"

"Yes you are"

"No I'm not"

"Oh god I am so sorry. You look a lot like LInda"

"I am not Linda"

"OK Who are you?"

Fortunately the answer to my last question turned out to be along the lines of "A really nice person with a forgiving nature" although she did not actually say that.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dad's 70th

The sun shone, the kids danced, the band played.

 Uncle John held his traditional family get together drumming masterclass.

 Eating, drinking, chatting.

 Smuggling biscuits into the tree house.

Dad's mates talking football.

                                                   The kitchen, heart of any decent party.

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Hometown threw a half decent Jubilee. A good crowd and plenty of flags.

There were a few odd moments.

The 'antique' (Junk?) stalls dotted along the Market street?

But the sun shone (about the only time during the long weekend) and the crowds gathered.

Enough already!

June? Really? 

Jubilee? Of course. Although the 'song' was supremely uninspiring. I could think of twenty or thirty other songs more inspiring or emotionally charged. Indeed, Elton John popped up and sang three of them right away. 

Weather? Please?! 2012 has completely underperformed in this key area. I think I may have actually had enough. 


 And don't even get me started on the government. 


Britain. I think I want my money back.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Gawd Bless 'er.

I'm no monarchist.


I will be celebrating the Diamond Jubilee this weekend.


Frau Random Doubt has booked us into some cool community events.

The boys are really excited.

The telly is pretty impressive.

The Duke of Edinburgh is cool.

I love the coin stamp (see above).

She is an icon, I have been looking at images of her from the 1950s and 60s. She was a cool lady. 

George Orwell would have enjoyed it.

I am proud to be English, in my own quiet way.

We will be heading to the coast for a few days to hang out with friends and eat a lot of BBQ and picnic food.

It's half term and by god I'm tired and will do pretty much anything for a BBQ, some cold beer and a few days at the beach.

Republicanism will resume on Wednesday at around lunchtime.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

North Norfolk

The weekend was all about retreating to the North Norfolk coast, walking, eating and a little bit of drinking. Some of us arrived on Friday night, some others turned up during the Saturday.

Holkham Woods.

The main idea was to catch up, hang out, do some walking and relaxing. We stuck pretty close to these guiding principles, we also drank a few beers.

Holkham beach, looking east.
We hit the beach at Holkham.

Following the walking (Holkham estate, Holkham beach, wells Beach and into Wells) we messed about in Wells.
After a flurry of text messages and gabbled calls, we found ourselves a Cumpstey.
Wells next the Sea.
We ate ice cream and watched birds. Good times.

Cley beach.
Photo call on Cley beach.
Cumpstey with essential supplies in Holt.

Later that night we returned to Holt to show the locals how it's done. We ate some daunting but delicious ribs and closed down the roughest pub in town. A great weekend full of beer and food.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Simple pleasures

A cold beer on a Thursday night, an evening on the cusp of early spring.
Indulging in that most particularly British passion, listening to one's favourite radio station.
A delightful sense of getting away with it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Last night

Went out for dinner with some others last night. Thought I'd list some of the topics of conversation.
Successful local campaigns!
The big game.
Latest pop lusts.
Favourite bands.
Favourite beaches.
Good pols.
Bad pols.