A winter walk #cuckfield

My birthday rarely passes without the Vet proposing a family get together. This year we found ourselves in the heart of the Sussex countryside, in Cuckfield. This place is what gives the word ‘quaint’ it’s reason to exist. Every buildings appears to have been built in the tortured twist style with a kind of ingrained architectural arthritis that in humans needs a Baltic of back rub but hereabouts generates cosy images of winter hearths and scalp-scrapes from the low beams. It’s gorgeous.

Our hotel, the grandly named Ockendon Manor meets all these expectations which, coupled with good food and a warm welcome made us very welcome.

Naturally all this was splendid but what we really wanted was a winter walk.

The leaflet from reception promised much: an ancient church,

ponds,

ancient woods and views over the rolling Sussex downs. It even included that most ubiquitous example of the urbanising of remote villages: the sewage works. What could be better?

This autumn hasn’t been too wet, nor too cold but the family pack wrapped up warm as we gathered in the churchyard. We tried a family picture but there is a generational difference when it comes to enthusiasm in front of the camera.

Mind you, later in the day at a local art gallery and after a glass of complimentary prosecco the pervious inhibitions seemed to have diminished somewhat.

At this time of year, of course, with the trees pretty leafless, the joy is in the moss and lichen.

Oh and the company, of course.

For those of your concerned at the absence of Dog, he was staying with the Gardener and Wife and having a splendid time.

Cue gratuitous picture of Dog

before settling in for the evening…

 

Posted in countryside, family, humour, miscellany, nature, walking | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Bloggers Bash: Ticket Announcement

THE BLOGGERS BASH IS BACK!

Now in its fourth year, the Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever. The venue is booked (link to venue post https://wp.me/p885Ux-1Qi ), and the committee is busy working behind the scenes to ensure the day is full of fun, learning opportunities, networking, and, of course, the blogtastic award ceremony.

Over the next few months, we will be sharing various posts about the award nominations, the attendees, our writing competition, and the other opportunities that will be available for those bloggers who attend.

To enjoy this day out in London surrounded by fellow bloggers, we suggest you sign up for the early bird tickets TODAY, so you don’t miss out.

TICKETS:

  • Early Bird Bash Ticket (available until 11th January) £20 pp
  • Standard Tickets (available until 3rd May) £25 pp
  • Late Entry Tickets (available between 4th – 18th May) £30 pp

Please take note of the small print:

  • Tickets are non-refundable
  • Tickets are non-transferable
  • Tickets are limited on a first come first served basis
  • Cost of a ticket is for entry to the event only (not for food or anything else)
  • Those buying a ticket agree to comply with any health & safety rules set by the venue and to behave in a way that will not impact upon the enjoyment of other people
  • The Committee reserves the right to change the venue and/or agenda of the event
  • Payment for tickets via PayPal only.

WHAT IS THE BASH?

If you’ve never attended a Blogger Bash event before then you’re in for a treat. Created by Sacha Black and aided by her intrepid committee of eight bloggers, the Bash is open to any blogger, regardless of age or niche. Previous events have included speakers, competitions, a panel, and attendees from all over the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada.

There will be an opportunity to network, eat cake, and meet some amazing online friends in person! The event takes place in a single day, and you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic time and a sore face from all of the smiling that you’ll do!

Timings and the exact breakdown of the day will be available closer to the event, but it will start mid-morning and end in the evening. We announce the winners of the Bloggers Bash Awards, which you, the blogging public, vote for. You can see last year’s winners here.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Join Sacha and the committee on our Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/991165987611263/

You can also join us for our weekly Twitter Hour every Sunday 7pm-8pm using the hashtag #BlogBashChat or join in the conversation on Twitter by using the #BloggersBash hashtag.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO NOW?

  1. BUY your ticket! https://wp.me/p885Ux-1Qc

 

  1. Send us your blog name and link to annualbloggersbash@yahoo.co.uk so you can be added to our attendee’s post. (NB: if you don’t send this information you won’t be added).

 

  1. Pop the date in the diary and tell the world you’re attending a fabulous blogger soiree.

 

  1. Sort out your travel and accommodation (see here for some travel info).

 

  1. Pack your bag, remember to bring business cards, throw in a notebook, and join us for a fantastic day of blogging fun.

 

NEW Bloggers Bash Website COMING SOON!

 

 

Posted in #bloggersbash, miscellany | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

That God-Fridge Moment #writephoto

Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt this week 

There was speculation it was another mini Ice Age. Or that the climate change was no longer over-heating the planet but now rapidly cooling it. Some thought it may be a despotic madman who had learnt how to control the weather and soon his demented demands would bring an end to years of relative peace. And yet others said that it was the gods, displeased with the dissolute and destructive behaviours of the human occupants who were expressing their ire in age old ways.

 *

Atlas looked at his wrist sundial and sighed; he needed one of those new -fangled smart chronographs that told the time across seventeen underworlds, created mini catastrophes to amuse while awaiting upon an audience with Zeus and played Siren songs to help him sleep after a long day bewailing and bewitching some moth-eaten civilization.

“Athena, where’s my lunch bag?”

Pallas Athena pulled her head out of the oven and appraised her husband. “Not much though you could do with a bit of time in the gym.”

“What? I asked about my lunch bag?”

“Sorry. I thought you said does your front sag. Try the fridge.”

“Why would I ask about my front? It’s still a classic.”

“Perhaps ‘vintage’ might be closer to the mark.”

“Why is there a planet in the fridge?”

“A plan… Oh goodness. Here, let me.”

The two gods stared at the chilled earth. Athena lit a fire and slowly spun the globe in the flames. “Horace has been working on creating weather effects. He wanted to fix a cold snap for tomorrow and I didn’t have the time, what with Dionysus coming for dinner, to help so I told him to put it in there for thirty minutes. Then the oven went out and I completely forgot”.

Atlas turned the planet round. “They don’t look happy. Still ‘appeasing the populace’ will be a good lesson for him. Makes a change from them trying to appease him.

 

Posted in #writephoto | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Naturalised Londoner: part. 2: finding a home

In part one, here, of this series we hear how I came to be London bound. Now reality has bitten.

Somehow, in the late summer of 1978 I secured a position as an articled clerk. The firm of solicitors where I was to work was Corbould Rigby & Co, a three and a half partner firm in the West End of London. How I secured it is a mix of mystery, luck and who you know.

The mystery: that for a considerable amount of time I had failed to appreciate the spelling of the profession I aspired to join. Letters of application that began,

Dear Sir, 

I am enquiring about the position of Articled Clerk in your firm with a view to qualifying as a Solictor…,

got me nowhere until a friend pointed out the missing ‘i’.

The luck came in the form of the Firm needing a clerk unexpectedly. It was never explained, this  need, and I was not the sort to inquire too deeply in case I was told. My ego back then was of the ormolu sort.

The who you know appeared in the guise of my pleasant, rather distracted tutor at University, Hugh Beale who found my struggles to secure a place (unaware as he was of my spelling problems) disconcerting. He passed on several openings that he heard about, this one occurring shortly after my epiphany.

I met two partners, smiled, managed at least three complete sentences and didn’t fart. The job was mine.

I did what passed for 2 week’s work experience that summer – a terrifying introduction to the tyranny of the telephone and the senior secretaries – and began to contemplate my new life that would begin immediately after my 6 months soujourn at the College of Law in Guildford that ended with my professional exams.

If you’ve not experienced law college then don’t. If you can avoid Guildford then do. At least the late 1970s versions of those twin evils. Suffice it to say they drain hope like a vampire drains blood.

Perforce, I had no time to consider one rather crucial aspect of this next step into adulthood: finding a place to live.

In the past accommodation had been secured by, variously, my parents, the university and my best friend at the time. In future years my girlfriend, now wife, took a primary role. But for the two and a bit years of my articles and initial period on qualification I was solely in charge of procuring shelter.

My new job began in the last week of March 1979. My part 2 law exams finished in the first week of February. I had what seemed like an age to get myself sorted.

What did I know about London and how to source a place to live?

Bugger all, frankly. It was only after living there for 6 months that I discovered the Capital list. This was a service organised by Capital Radio that produced a typed sheet of possible room shares that were available. You collected it from their studio in Leicester Square once a week -Thursday from memory – and began a frantic phoning around. Or maybe you might scour the classifieds in the News and the Standard, London’s two evening papers. Or peer in grubby windows at postcards, trying hard to avoid the adverts for ‘health rubs’ and ‘personal grooming’.

I had one friend, ensconced in Shepherd’s Bush where I could bed down but no spare room. He and his flat mates made some suggestions but since they’d shared this flat for three years by then weren’t ‘au courant’ when it came to flat share hunting.

My problems were compounded by the distinct deficit on the readies front. My salary was a grand £2350 per annum which translated, after tax, to £36 per week. There was very little, at least in Shepherd’s Bush where I began my search, with a one at the front of the weekly rent and that was before bills.

And then as is often the case in my life a fortuitous life line appeared. My former flat mate was living in Ipswich. He was contacted by a mutual friend wondering if he knew of anyone who needed a place to live. He rang me and passed on the details with something along the lines of, ‘if you’re really desperate…’

Yep that captured my situation perfectly. The rent was a toppy £18.50 a week, the situation (at the World’s End) worryingly biblical – it is at the end of the King’s Road where trendy Chelsea segues into what was then grotty Fulham – and my potential new flat mates vaguely known to me from university. Two blokes and one girl. That was going to be fine, wasn’t it?

Chris, a law student also doing his articles, and I hadn’t been close. He had awesome hair and something of a chin compensator of a beard. It was his hair rather than his personality I remembered. It was hair that I thought I could live with as long as it didn’t flounce too much in front of my weedy locks. He was jocular, aspiringly debonair and lacking in any self confidence when it came to the law.

His girlfriend, Sonia, was the non-lawyer; she was a different character entirely. It was her mother’s flat and she was well brought up, clear-eyed and firmly opinionated. In other words scary and lovely in equal parts but never letting anyone of us really know which category she fell into at any particular time. She was in advertising and seemed impossibly glamorous and well paid. What she was doing with Chris was a mystery.

The last inmate, Andrew, was also from our law course but he’d gone into banking. Honkers and Shankers aka what is HSBC today. He came from money, was intensely ambitious, vain to the point of obsession, appeared to live on digestive biscuits and milk and ran miles.

A perfect combo. really.

All I had to do was get my few belongings moved from home in Hampshire and I was away.

 

 

 

 

Posted in family, humour, law, London, memories, miscellany | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Bloggers Bash 2018: Venue Announcement (the official one)

Looking forward to next year’s Blogger’s Bash? In case you haven’t already seen the post (link to Geoff’s post), we have a date (May 19th), and we have a venue: The George IV in Chiswick, London!

Licenced since the 1770s, this charming pub is known for its excellent menu and comfortable surrounds, which make it the perfect venue for our upcoming Bash. Located close to transport links in leafy Chiswick, there is also plenty of accommodation nearby for anyone planning to make a weekend of it.

Address: 185 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London W4 2DR

Closest Tube Station: Turnham Green Tube station

Closest Overground: Kew Bridge

Nearby accommodation:

  • Best Western Chiswick Palace and Suites, 71-73 Chiswick High Road
  • Premier Inn Chiswick, Hogarth roundabout, Axis House, Chiswick
  • Clayton Hotel Chiswick, 626 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick

WHAT IS THE BASH?

If you’ve never attended a Blogger Bash event before then you’re in for a treat. Created by Sacha Black and aided by her intrepid committee of eight bloggers, the Bash is open to any blogger, regardless of age or niche. Previous events have included speakers, competitions, a panel, and attendees from all over the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada.

There will be an opportunity to network, eat cake, and meet some amazing online friends in person! The event takes place in a single day, and you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic time and a sore face from all of the smiling that you’ll do!

Timings and the exact breakdown of the day will be available closer to the event, but it will start mid-morning and end in the evening. We announce the winners of the Bloggers Bash Awards, which you, the blogging public, vote for. You can see last year’s winners here.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Join Sacha and the committee on the website https://sachablack.co.uk/annual-bloggers- bash/or our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/991165987611263/ You can also join us for our weekly Twitter Hour every Sunday 7pm-8pm using the hashtag #BlogBashChat or join in the conversation on Twitter by using the #BloggersBash hashtag.

 

Posted in #bloggersbash | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Food Inflation: When Five is the New Two:carrotranch

Penny eyed the menu with a frown. ‘Can’t I have some peas?’
Mary leant across. ‘Come on love. There are some lovely sides.’
Paul laughed. ‘When I was Penny’s age I’d have been the same. Spinach with cream and nutmeg. Stuffed savoy leaves with ricotta and walnuts. Grated sprouts with bacon. Puréed parsnips Madras. Braised celery in a pistachio jus. That’s just tarted up rubbish veg, masquerading as five a day.’
Mary nodded. ‘Just meat and two veg, eh.’
Penny looked from one parent to the other, bemused. ‘I’ll have the fish and chips.’

This story is in response to the prompt from the Carrot Ranch

November 23, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Five a Day. It does not have to be five servings of fruits and vegetables. What is needed five times a day? Have fun with what pops to mind for the prompt.

 

Posted in miscellany | 13 Comments

On The Edge Of A Raindrop

I don’t promote many books but this is by the consummate writer of flash fiction, Sarah Brentyn. If you don’t know Sarah’s work but enjoy quality flash and micro fiction, go buy it, or rather get it as it’s free for a short window.

 

You are in for a treat.

 

On the Edge of a Raindrop ~ Published #NewRelease

Posted in flash fiction, microfiction, miscellany, short story | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment