Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Like it says on the tin - nostalgia may be a thing of the past but just recently a couple of examples have turned up to remind me just how comforting it can be to look back on `the happiness of a former place or time.`

Just a few days ago I happened to find `Cornish Walking Trails` which is full of glorious walks around that magical county.  And over many years now, we have enjoyed walking most of the Cornish coast path and so seeing the enchanting videos on Cornish Walking Trails YouTube Channel has brought back some very happy memories and I cannot disguise the `sentimental yearning` I have to get back down there and do some more.  

Now, I don`t watch a lot of television - too much of it is either boring or banal - but I do find some refuge with BBC Four and its engaging documentaries.  And just the other evening I watched a repeat of Joanna Trollope`s episode in the series `The Secret Life of Books,` which introduced me not only to Laurie Lee`s `Cider with Rosie,` which I really must read for myself,  but also to some hidden parts of Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds, which I have not had the pleasure of visiting yet.  Something else for my aspiring bucket list, I think. 

Laurie Lee`s book is, of course, full of nostalgia for his childhood in the Slad Valley and it reminded me of my own childhood, in the 1940s and early `50s which was largely spent in a village sandwiched between Southampton Water and the New Forest.  Despite the wartime and the austerity that followed, the surroundings made it an idyllic place to be growing up.   And I still hark back to my teenage years spent here in deepest Kent, when the county was still the Garden of England and when I played my cricket on the local village greens and the sun always seemed to shine, God was in Her heaven and a whole lifetime stretched out before me.

Those were the days, those were the places and my sentimental yearning remains undimmed, as does my longing for the return of summer and my own Cornish walking trails.  

Sunday, February 18, 2018


I`ve lost count of the number if times we have stayed in various parts of Cornwall and walked various bits of the south west coast path.   And in about two months from now we will be going back to Padstow to resume our love affair with that glorious area in and around the Camel Estuary and the north Cornwall coastline.

In advance of all that, I have ordered this book which promises to include walks that we can still do as we approach our 80s.  I guess I`ll have to wait and see.

But in the meantime, I have come across a quite captivating YouTube channel that sees a couple, sometimes with their dogs and family, setting out on `Cornish Walking Trails` in most parts of the Duchy coastline.  One of the walking guide books they use is the one I have sent for so it should include some walks we can manage.

Here`s a taste of the walks they do - one we have enjoyed doing ourselves over the years - around St. Anthony Head on the Roseland Peninsula.  And, as you will see from this video, there are plenty more where that one came from.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.......

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

.....but I`m not sure what it is.   It might be that, for the very first time, I find myself at least partly in agreement with Ann Widdecombe with whom, over the years, I have taken issue over such items as her MPs` expenses and her cringe inducing appearances in those bastions of civilised culture that are Strictly Come Dancing, Celebrity Big Brother and assorted pantomimes.

However, during a recent interview, she said she was `worried` about Meghan Markle, suggesting that the foreign, mixed race, divorced catholic who is allegedly brightening up our lives with her impending marriage to Prince Harry, is `trouble`due to her `background and attitude.`  Moreover, La Widdecombe has now questioned the wisdom of fast tracking Ms. Markle from Catholicism into the Church of England in order to overcome a matrimonial obstacle.

Ms. Widdecombe goes on, saying "Hang on a second, Archbishop of Canterbury - was Ms. Markle already planning to avail herself of these sacraments because she had been converted to such beliefs, or is this just a matter of form now that she is marrying a royal?  Surely that is a question that matters."   Writing in the Catholic Herald, she continues, "Had the Church taken into account the previous marriage and divorce?  But that just pales into insignificance beside the question of baptism and confirmation, both of which sacraments require commitment and belief.  Where is the evidence Miss Markle would have adopted such procedures had she not been about to marry a prince of the realm....a wedding is holy matrimony, not just a gigantic fancy dress parade."

So there we have it.  Now, it seems reasonable to ask the question as to why and how the sudden change from the Brothers Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson has occurred so quickly, so nice one Ann Widdecombe.   But today I see there is more Markle news.   She is reported to have secretly been `comforting` the survivors of the Grenfell fire disaster, which I am sure is indeed a great comfort to them.  But I wonder if, once again, yet another delicious irony has been overlooked as she dispenses her comfort dressed in a £1995 coat over a pair of £290 trousers.

Something is not quite right somewhere in all of this.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I suppose I am blessed with a very wide taste in music, much of it classical but I enjoy most forms of music.  And it might be a touch naff but I have always been a bit of a fan of ABBA.  One of the fondest memories I have is one which goes back 20 years to when my granddaughters cajoled me in to taking them on a tour of the nearby playgrounds, so they could enjoy the swings, roundabouts and all that.  

It turned out to be something of an adventure as we toured around several villages and all the while as I was driving them around I had an ABBA tape (pre-cds of course) belting it out in the car with all three of us singing along.

So, happy memories of ABBA from all those years ago but just recently I have been following the post-ABBA career of Agnetha.  Nowadays, she is - how can I say ? - a mature woman and as I approach the last of my septuagenarian years, my appreciation of `the mature woman` increases exponentially.   So, I have greatly enjoyed this more recent performance by Agnetha, which seems to confirm that a lot of things, especially people, become more attractive as time goes by.   Here it is:-

Thursday, February 08, 2018


As a man of quality myself, I have been touched by the celebration of women`s right to vote being achieved 100 years ago.  Of course, that initial right was limited to women over the age of 30 and who owned property, but it was a start along the long and winding road to a much needed improvement in the search for equality between the sexes.

There is still a long way to go, of course, before true equality is achieved but I detect a seeming willingness on the part of society in general to eradicate any lingering gender inequality, as witnessed by the recent concentration on pay equality at the BBC and the testing of the water at Tesco`s concerning equal rewards for differing jobs.

And so, perhaps as a timely reminder of how things used to be, here is `an important public improvement film` showing just how far we have come in the intervening period.  Of course, it goes without saying that men of quality like myself would not dream of condoning the attitudes which were displayed in those times.   Here it is:-

Sunday, February 04, 2018


Yesterday was a good day for my eclectic football watching.   Forest Green Rovers crawled themselves out of the relegation zone in League Two with a hard fought 2-1 win over Coventry City.   Yeovil Town also took all three points from a 2-0 home win against Cambridge United.   Truro City made their weekly heroic journey, this time all the way to Bognor Regis, where they came away with another 2-0 win in front of 251 paying customers.   

But pride of place must surely go to my beloved Saints who notched up their first Premier League win since November.   On an emotional day at the Hawthorns which marked the passing of West Brom legend Cyrille Regis, the Saints secured a 3-2 victory to lift themselves out of the bottom three and propel themselves all the way up to 14th in the table.

Now, my illustration above shows the entire population of Southampton surrounding the open top bus as it paraded through the city following the 1976 Cup Final victory over Manchester United.   There have been many occasions since, when an open top bus tour of Southampton might have seemed appropriate for the Saints - losing cup finalists, successive promotions, even the Johnstones Paint trophy win - but the temptation to do so has always been resisted.  One of our more colourful managers, Gordon Strachan, was quoted after the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal in the cup final of 2003 as suggesting that, "Open top bus tours are for winners, not losers."

But I do wonder, given the huge sense of relief amongst fans like me, whether yesterday`s pulsating victory at West Bromwich should not be celebrated in the traditional manner.  After all, it might be a while before the excuse to do so comes around again.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


I suppose by now, dear reader, that you may have read yesterday`s post about my time with the 10th Royal Hussars.   I feel I may owe you an apology as it contained much of what I have written before in these pages and to that extent may have appeared a little self-indulgent as my annual missive on the anniversary of my call-up looms yet again.

But it was written with the encouragement of the editor of the Shiners Club annual Newsletter, rather than for `general consumption` - `Shiners` being the name given to the 10th Hussars on account of them being so very smartly turned out.   The Shiners Club is an exclusive outfit, designed for those remaining ex-servicemen who served with the regiment.  I am one myself, of course, although the sad fact of life is that, as the years go relentlessly by, so the membership steadily diminishes.

So, my apologies for yesterday, if they are due, but hopefully my post will provide at least a start of the contributions towards the next edition of the Newsletter.   I will try to get back to my `normal` rants very soon.