Monday, 9 April 2018

My  blog viewing figures for last week whilst down in  total are more disappointing in that the Russians have plummeted from 3rd place to 6th and more inexplicably the Germans have come in first! Ahead of the UK.
United Kingdom
United States
New Zealand

Is this the Salisbury factor or because I haven't discussed Mr Putin (or his father Ras) for some time?
I'm inclined to  wobble a little on the Russian side especially if it's a matter of which  to believe-Boris or Vladimir.
Now I'm not silly enough to believe that anyone who made a career out of the KGB and then became President of Russia isn't going to be able to bend the facts somewhat but given that Boris has never managed to tell the truth-remember the bus- why should I start believing him now.

What happened in Salisbury becomes even more terrifying if it wasn't sanctioned by the Russian Government because it means some other fruitcake is out there with access to some nasty stuff. The Russian Ambassador who obviously denied it was them wot dunnit did, I think, raise a couple of points worthy of reflection. One was how did our medical men know how to treat the victims if nobody apparently knew what the toxin was and and it can't be denied that Porton Down aint that far away. Silly I know but remember this is the country where a man could sit on the end of the Queen's bed and smoke a cigarette so I'm never over-impressed when told of the existence of impermeable security.
If it was the Russians then it's probably a cynical attempt to dissuade us from attending the World Cup but as Iceland are going as well the Russians have nothing to fear anyway. And if it wasn't the Russians we'll never know who it was because we've shut off that line of enquiry for fear of being guilty of jumping to the wrong conclusion. I won't side with Corbyn cos he will adopt a position opposed to the Government no matter what but I do think a little reflection on the facts would not go amiss and the vilification JC had from the right wing press was beyond rational thought.
Remember that's what we didn't do when we went into Iraq and that was a total success(pit) wasn't it?

Enuff doom and gloom!

To Kent for the week before Easter where we'd rented a cottage behind a hotel on the outskirts of Faversham, ideal for visiting Caz, Philip and the girls. Lovely gardens and grounds with a play area clearly signposted as for over 14s so off went Pam to play on the slide wire and the swings.

A responsible adult
It's Monday and I am allocated responsibility  of collecting Mathilda from Caz's office  and wheeling her round Faversham for an hour.  Such responsibility wears heavy on a 71 year old childless male untutored in the behaviour of prambound infants whose cries  allegedly often mean nothing but might, just might, indicate unhappiness, unnappyness, some illness identifiable only by nannies and grannies. All designed to turn a stroll round a Kentish town into a nightmare both for the pramee and the pramperer neither of whom have much experience in dealing with such matters.  The requirement to try and look like you know what you're doing on such occasions requires a level of self-confidence which this sorry soul lost years back-I did my best but I could sense the anxiety in the mother's eyes as she handed the charge, still awake, over to me.
The "still awake" is important in that Cow Roast's answer to Mary Poppins had hoped Mathilda would be fast akip throughout proceedings and our stroll would be serene and polished drawing admiring glances from the various nosey old bags who like to peer into a pram asking stupid questions like "and what's your name?" as though addressing the pub parrot but with less likelihood of a helpful response.
Mathilda has for the while not responded positively to being taken from her mother and handed over to Hairy Poppins especially if she is then wheeled away from the anxious parent and main provider of nutrition in a pram pushed by an obvious incompetent whose brain is full of useless thoughts as :-
What if I need a loo? An increasing requirement as the bladder ages at the same rate as the aforesaid brain and gets as full of useless matter
 Even worse-What if she needs a loo?
Does she like whistling or is that totally alien to her. As her sobbing increases I purse out the first few bars of "Silent Night"; the nearest I can come to a lullaby or soothing Negro Spiritual.
The result is a change from the sobbing (which was breaking my heart and drawing the attention of passing Faverham matriarchs) to a more red faced, full volley choking and wailing noise that I was sure would soon mean the arrival of Faversham's Finest, blue lights aflashing and questioning deep into the night as to which Pound Shop or Wetherspoons had I snatched the child from. By now my brain was dealing with that question and the shame prison would bring on my family when suddenly Mathilda's hat fell over her eyes. I reached to lift it and realised that the sobbing was abating as sleep became another option. The two options worked against one another for the next ten minutes as we negotiated our way towards the Faversham Market square trying to avoid kerbs and cobbles which might remove the sleep option.
By the time I reached the entrance to the square she was away with the fairies. This is easy I thought drawing myself up to look like a man who knew what he was doing.
Then the cretinous halfwit with the bagpipes began. I don't like the bagpipes. I would ban them from anywhere south of Berwick. But this was south of Canterbury for God's sake. No delicate Kentish baby cradled in the bosom of her loving family would have ever been exposed to such a tinnitus -inducing caterwauling, doubly alarming if on being so rudely awoken you find yourself back in your worst nightmare where your buggy, fixings shook loose by Faversham cobbles, is in the hands of the bearded, whistling eejit who'd pulled your hat over your eyes and shunted off into the pedestrianised, bagpiped area to avoid the  passing police cars.

The Gods were with me so fear not. I turned myself, buggy and Mathilda on a sixpence and headed for the Post Office and away from Hamish MacNoisyScreech. A welcome bench, a few approving nods from the great and good and sadly my hour was done. I pushed my still sleeping charge back to where Caz was waiting. She had been joined by Philip and I couldn't help but think-and the relief in his expression confirmed it-that he had probably been concerned that his wife had been so irresponsible. But then he didn't know how close we had come to kilted disaster and probably hasn't learnt yet that looking after kids is easy. You just pull the wool over their eyes.  Goodnight Mathilda.

Wednesday morning and off to church.
Well, that was the plan-an Easter Service cum play enacted by the children from Florence's Primary school to which Caz, Mathilda and I were going. The weather, of course was appalling continuing to chuck it down as it did most of the week. Caz rang to say the whole thing had been transferred to the school so off I went. Again the challenge of a wet, bearded 71 year old entering a Primary School where he'd never been before whilst trying not to look like a photofit picture. The  whole thing was beautiful and the different classes managed to convey the true meaning of the Passion of Christ's Crucifixion and the Resurrection much better than I'd heard for a long while. 
 I suspect much better than the kids at my primary school ever managed. May I indulge myself and quote a passage from my magnum opus  currently only half finished which demonstrates our thespian qualities.

My Primary School class was to have its annual visit from the Parish Priest. My form teacher was an elderly-or so she seemed to me - nun from the nearby convent whose occupants were all teachers at either my Primary School or the adjacent Girls’ Grammar School.  We had been on red alert for weeks before the visit with cramming sessions on the Catechism, Prayers we were meant to know by heart and how to behave when “Father” was in the classroom. It was also usual to enact a scene from the New Testament and for some reason I can’t imagine I was selected to play the lead ,The Man Himself. The Messiah. I could understand it now but I didn’t have a beard then.
The chosen passage was where the disciples are fishing in the Sea of Galilee when a terrific storm blows up and and they all get in a panic. In order to give the impression of a storm those kids who had not been given starring roles formed the shape of a boat and they and the occupants all swayed about enthusiastically going “whooooa” to imitate the swell of the sea and the ferocity of  the wind. Except for one. I, for some reason best known by St Matthew, start the scene asleep in the back of the boat and had to be woken by the alarmed crew.
After criticising them for their lack of faith ( a tad harsh in my opinion but then nobody is at their best when woken suddenly) Christ commands the sea to calm down a bit, which of course it does and the crew are mightily impressed.
As I did my sea-calming  they ceased swaying and whooooaing and regained their equilibrium
It was all going so well up to that point.
St Peter, played by a ginger haired Irish kid with a Cork accent intoned “What manner of man is this that the wind and the sea obey him?” By this time I was walking backwards, arms raised, to the stern of the boat presumably to continue my nap. I had not noticed that St Peter had left his leg stickinout and arse over tit I went falling out of the boat and landing at the feet of the Parish priest who was watching the whole pantomime with a bemused expression.
Even then my acting career might not have been summarily  terminated if, (in a failed attempt to introduce a little humour into this Biblical nightmare), on hitting the classroom floor, I hadn’t shouted “SPLASH!”
Whilst in no way helping Sister Concertina or whatever her name was to find anything funny in the scene the rest of the crew lost it completely and the boat fell apart to the sound of childish giggling as they swam enthusiastically round the classroom, the non-swimmers grasping hold of the nearest radiator and screeching for help.
The wrath of that nun, once “Father” had left -trying to look annoyed but I suspect wetting himself,- soon convinced myself, Ginger from Cork, half a dozen disciples and the crew of the “Galilee Lass”  that our now non existent acting careers were of little concern compared to the fact that our miserable Souls were stained for Eternity, we would all roast in Hell and the only comfort was that Hell would be marginally more enjoyable than the rest of that term under her vengeful steward(ess)ship. I know she was right and at the time of writing I haven’t even experienced hell- yet!

Maybe there's an egg under this baby????

Back to Faversham in the present day and my next responsibility was an Easter Egg Hunt which went rather well despite the fact that I had planned for eggs to be hidden throughout the garden at our cottage but as it was a Bank Holiday weekend we had to do it indoors. Yep. Still raining.When I say we it was really Florence who seemed to have an uncanny knack of finding eggs no matter how clever I'd been. Great fun and all the girls got eggs....and Philip though he probably never found out.
Good egg

I'm not going round Faversham with that bloke again

I'll stay here and help Grandma crochet
 Saturday and France beckons, crossing by ferry to Calais and driving down to Boulogne sur Mer for an excellent fruit de mer lunch which Pam attempted as well though there was a lot of it; all accompanied by a Muscadet which I only assisted in demolishing in small part as the wheels awaited. There's a lot going on in Boulogne with much redevelopment though the nature of the fishing harbour remains with every boat smelling of something I'd just eaten. Divine. Back for the evening ferry calling in at Calais wines for Grandma's tonic and home to Judd's Folly hotel in Faversham where the third wedding of the Easter weekend was underway. A few quiet drinks away from the melee and an earlyish night.


Back to Berko and lots to do. The two main items on my agenda are the forthcoming Safety Certificate inspection on the boat due next week requiring work to be done and asap. Plus St George's looms on 21st (the party that is- Feast is 23rd) I'm hobbling on a duff leg and it won't stop pissing down but no excuses.
I'd love to take time to tell you about two small victories;-one over a car park company and one over a mobile phone scam but they will keep for next time so forgive me if I write no more-tempus fugit. 

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