Friday, 9 August 2019

Hello everybody.
Been fairly busy. So what's been happening since last I blogged?
Lavender fields. Pam and I went to a Lavender farm at Hitchin. Wonderful. Well worth a visit but wear trousers if you're picking lavender-there's some nasty bugs out there.

========================= As you will know-and if you don't you haven't been reading the blog or the emails-my Book has been published and is selling like cold cakes. I suspect the reason for minimal sales is that I've exhausted my list of family and friends and nobody else knows about it. I'm not too bothered -I've covered my expenses and never expected it to be a best seller BUT if you've bought/stolen/read the damn thing pleeeeeze leave a review on Amazon-it's the only way my effort will get pushed up the front so pleeeeeze try and find ten minutes to do a review.-even if you didn't like it. If you can't do that give it a mention on FaceBook or  GoodReads or the sodding Dandy. Thank you.
========================================= We've had an online Auction of old boaters' junk/valuables and raised 218 quid for the Hospice(s)-some to Ian Rennie in memory of June late of our mooring and some to the Hospice of St Francis. As always I'm amazed at the generosity of the participants, they really are a grand crowd.

I'm grateful to Jim H for putting me onto the following wonderful pictures of Cow Roast Lock from the 60s
There's certainly been a few changes since then. 

The Cow Roast Inn remains closed and although there's been some work done to  a chimney the rumour that it would be open by Christmas looks as likely as Brexit on good terms. 

The Lamb in Berko also remains closed and shuttered for no good reason and again I don't think my Christmas Day tonic water will be imbibed there. So silly-it was trading comfortably enough up to a few weeks back and then closed allegedly for refurbishment. It now looks like a scene from some depressing shanty town  as does the Cow Roast Inn.
Messrs Heineken don't seem much better at looking after tenants, customers or property than the awful Punch Taverns, the previous owners. Very sad. It all looks soooooo ugly. Shame on them.
Pre-party Pizza with Ollie and Joe
Pam had a cracking birthday party last Saturday and it all went very well with grown-ups and ankle-biters all having a jolly time.It was a joint celebration with Mathilda who was two on Tuesday!--------------------------------------------------------

Chef Olly
under scrutiny

On Monday I drove Caz, Florence and Mathilda back to Kent and decided to stop overnight at The Woolpack, Chilham. It was v pleasant although the cost of the room, which was only 65 quid and very nice was overtaken at speed by the dinner and bar bill (£4.75 for a pint of bitter!). It was a pleasant break and the Kent Countryside is looking absolutely gorgeous....which is more than I did on Tuesday morn.

The second test against Australia at Lords starts next Wednesday and I have more or less managed to cope with the debacle that was our second innings. Fortunately I missed most of it because the girls were in the car and I knew cricket commentary would not be their favoured choice. I shall be indebted to them for that for some time.
The current readership includes four in Vietnam and once again the USA are first. Wish they'd all buy a book!

United States
United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates




Wednesday, 17 July 2019


A short edition of the Chronicle today  but the last 48 hours have been v exciting for me as you will see below. (Of no interest to anyone else however)

We've been having a little online auction amongst the boaters on our mooring-mainly as a result of my shed clearance which revealed a reasonable collection of stuff donated to previous auctions which remained either unsold or, more probably uncollected. I'm very pleased with the outcome so far. After only 2 weeks and 9 Lots we are fast approaching £100 which we'll be sending to the Ian Rennie Hospice in memory of June Pearce, whose funeral was on Tuesday. It was a simple service as June would have wanted-no fuss-but after the Committal a large mainly black butterfly flew round the Chapel-no significance? I like to think not.

It was good to see Bill and Sue at the Crem, I do miss them on the moorings but life goes on, and Bill very kindly presented me with a cheque for £25 for the hospice. He, for some inexplicable reason, didn't want any of our valuables but did request that the electric car seat cover** which was unsold, should be given to his nominee. So Roy will be comfy driving round the M25 next Winter. And I had a nice hug from Sue, always one of my favourites; why she married a Brentford supporter God knows. (I wore my Fulham tie which is black with a small motif. Bill wasn't over-impressed.) Mike and Judith (another star in my Firmament) and Daphne and Chris off Frobisher also represented the boating fraternity. Daphne, whose birthday is today, told us she had had her bottom looked at and it "would see her out". Always a comfort to a boater. Happy Birthday Daphne.

** This means an electric cover for a seat of a car, electric or otherwise (Pedant's Revolt)

The garden continues to give pleasure as does the empty shed which is very handy on warm sunny days and evenings.

Another boat crew is moving on. Peter and Christine are giving up their mooring at Cow Roast and moving onto the Leicester section of the Grand Union. So much change and none of it pleases me. I do hope they come and see us whenever we have a gathering...or even when we're not!...maybe in August when The Griffin crew are down? Just a thought....

My book is released. Very pleased. Even if nobody reads it at least I've had the satisfaction of finishing it and getting it into print.

"My Life and Other Jokes"

After countless hours of scratching various bits of my anatomy interspersed with a bit of two finger typing the worst book ever written has been published, albeit by me because nobody else could be bothered.
If you're looking for a short, pithy read to change your life, improve your cooking skills, enhance your wellbeing and broaden your horizons then I'm sorry.
This book is none of the above except it is short. It rambles through some of the more boring bits of my life (there are no other kind) and includes a litany of jokes most of which you have heard and gratefully forgotten.

 The main value inherent in this book is you can read it on a car ride from Bristol to Luton (unless you're the driver), a flight to Malaga (unless you're the pilot), an afternoon sat on the beach (unless you're the Lifeguard) or sitting in an airport lounge waiting for your cancelled flight home to be replaced.(Unless you were diverted to Perpignan on the trip out). 

On second thoughts don't bother with the book but get yourself a treat at Duty Free.

AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON (Kindle £2.50 or Paperback £5.50)

Have you heard the one about?  You don’t hear people tell jokes anymore (unless they’re short phone texts) and this book reminds us of what a good joke is about. All interwoven with the life of a shaggy dogger. No, it’s not an illegal practice-it’s a man who misses the days when you’d hear the words “Have you heard the one about?”

I am very grateful to friend, Philip, who applied his considerable editing skills to my final draft. He's due a very large fish supper (other meals are available) and to Natalie who contributed an item of her artwork which I have always admired. Not having an artistic cell in my body I was very pleased to include it.

If anyone actually gets round to reading this gibberish-the book I mean-please find time to review it on Amazon. Unless you hate it of course in which case shut up.

That's it for now. Told you it was short.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

COWROAST                   CHRONIC(le)

Hi Everybody-It's been a while. I wouldn't say I'd been particularly busy. Busy isn't really a concept I've ever grasped;but let's at least try and convey the message that lots has been going on. Some good. Some not so good.

First-something very good.

The month of June has seen the gathering of chums from all over the place to celebrate an anniversary.
Fifty years ago Pam and her contemporaries commenced their nurse training at Hillingdon Hospital and as they have done on other decades they gathered for a reunion initiated by friend Lynn.

Daphne and Duane flew in from Canada (by plane of course)  and stayed at the Greyhound in Aldbury where they were joined on Wednesday by Ann and Graham from Guernsey.
We dined with whoever would have us at the Greyhound twice; once on Monday with Daphne and Duane and and once on Wednesday with all four. Excellent food and service on both occasions.
Welcome to Berkhamsted! Ann and Graham arrive

A lunchtime tincture in the sunshine....with chocolates 

On Thursday the main event. A lunch at Per Tutti in Berko with eight of the Hillingdonians plus six partners

An opportunity for an anniversary portrait but first some order had to be imposed. No chance on this lot! Like herding cats.

At Last. All in a row,
Ann, Linda, Graham, Daphne,Lynn, Maggie, Eileen, Pam, Diane, Trevor, Duane,Tom and Mark. All lovely people and good company.

Time for another photo if they can stop jabbering


Photos from the past are shared. Such lovely memories.

The Cake! Complete with the correct uniform and badge

Back to Pam's for the Cutting of the Cake and the odd libation including ceremonial bubbles.
A cracking week  celebrating eight wonderful women who trained together and played together and used their skills over the next 50 years to provide care in abundance as they pursued their careers.

We salute you and look forward to another Reunion in 2029!

An old picture of the G & D I came across the other day
The following Saturday Pam, Nat, Joseph, Lauren and I went for a celebratory dinner at Per Tutti's which is very much our favourite restaurant in Berko.
What were we celebrating?
Three reasons. Nat's birthday, Joseph has finished his Exams and The Cowroastafarians won the George and Dragon Quiz, a feat of which we (Ady, Geoff H., Kev and myself) were inordinately proud.

In honour of our Quiz Victory, Pam, in cahoots with Ollie, had prepared a fine certificate which I will frame and take to the Quiz next time the four winners are together.

Joseph off to his Prom. How's that for a suit!

I'm attempting to publish a wee book and have sought help from people more expert than I in such matters. One asked who would play my role in the film version (being silly of course) and someone suggested James Robertson Justice. Apart from the fact he is dead, Natalie told me she'd never heard of him which is understandable so I dug out this photo. There is a resemblance I suppose.....except he seems to have had hair.

And then to 
Faversham for a Sunday dinner at Posillipos, a great restaurant (Italian what else?) and the Conneller Clan in great form.


Back at Cow Roast and work on turning my overloaded shed into a place of prayer and contemplation, serving drinks and cold snacks during times of stress.

This is about half the junk that came out of the shed!

Getting better
Nearly there

with a glorious garden to enjoy

A table for one
Roy thought Crazy Golf might be an additional attraction

Meet Melville the Bird Scarer
Future plans include a beer and wine cellar, jacuzzi, unisex toilet, small gymnasium and refuge for battered fish. The pub will be called either the Remainers' Arms or the Staying Inn or nothing at all.

We often have an auction to recycle various bits and pieces in aid of some charity or other. As the opportunity for such an event does not present itself in the foreseeable I decided on an online auction to shift the crap items that no longer warranted shedroom. If you'd like to receive further details please let me know having first sought the permission of a responsible adult.

Pam's former workmate Chris on a working visit from Australia joined us for lunch've guessed it- Per Tutti but first Pam, who is off to Wimbledon this week, needed to visit the Highwayman where by the simple act of purchasing a couple of glasses of champagne she got herself these stylish sunglasses and a sun visor!! It was good to meet up with Chris again, he's an interesting and much travelled man (aren't all Aussies?) and he returns in August with his mother for a trip down her Memory Lane near Stevenage where she was born.


Two sad losses that I've heard about in the last 24 hours. A former workmate and friend, Brian Stratton who worked at Harrow, mainly in Public Relations and as you'll appreciate anyone in PR for a local council would have needed a sense of humour and Brian had it in spades. One example. Brian and I were both attending the same "Pre-Retirement" course. It was, in fact, a "Pre-Redundancy" course but we didn't want to be picky. We, along with a good few over 50s had been selected for deselection so to speak and the course was to prepare us for life after the chop. It lasted a week and was great fun because whilst knowing our fate we all had a sense of relief that the threat of redundancy no longer hung over us. One part was run by the Occupational Health Team-though in our case it should have been the No-Occupational Health Team. Anyway we sat listening to the advice that would help maintain our fitness into ripe old age and were advised that one in ten of us would suffer from osteo-arthritis. Brian let out an audible (and somewhat theatrical) gasp. "Oh no" he wailed" I know nine people that haven't got it. It must be me!"
We worked closely on Civic Ceremonial stuff like Civic Funerals, Remembrance Sunday, VE/VJ Commemoration that sort of stuff. He was always cheerful, resourceful and alert to visitations by Mr Cock-Up. He suffered from ill health soon after he finished work but kept his humour. Sad Loss. Lovely Bloke.
On Wednesday I heard that June Pearce who used to live on our moorings on narrowboat June Rose had died that morning. She was 87. She was a true heroine. Her husband Sid died a few years back but despite having a supportive and loving family June knew where her duty lay and insisted on remaining on the cut.Her son David who suffered with a number of disabilities from birth loved the boat life and June's role for many years, despite her age and health steadfastly was to see  to Davids' needs whilst coping with life aboard. Never complaining, always cheerful and philosophical about her lot; there are people strutting this earth with honours and rewards galore. Very few of them are in the same league as June Pearce.
Cheers M'love. RIP.
(June's funeral is at Amersham Crem on 16th July at 2.45.
Family flowers only and the suggestion is donations to the Ian Rennie Hospice.
Apart from individual contributions we shall send the proceeds from the current online auction (see above).

Cards may be sent to June's daughter, Sheila Hazel, c/o 19, Barratt Place, Easton Street, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP11 1XS)
Bear with me whilst I report two more not quite so sad bits of news.
Bob and Jennifer have sold Cyprus and are giving up their mooring. Always supportive of the events we held and two very different but likeable characters, I shall miss them both. However,they are only living in Shropshire near the Shroppie canal so hopefully we'll meet up now and then. Similarly John and Bridget off River Dance are selling up. They don't moor at Cow Roast but visited us often and donated lots of stuff to our auctions. Best wishes to all four and we'll be sure to keep them in the Cowroastian Loop.

Hello everybody. Been fairly busy. So what's been happening since last I blogged? Lavender fields. Pam and I went to a Lavender farm a...