Monday, December 11, 2017

I was sorry to learn that Chris Rea had suffered yet another heart attack whilst performing in Oxford the other evening - the 35th gig of his current tour.   He was rushed to hospital and his condition was described as `stable,` which was better news than might have been expected.   He has naturally had to cancel a couple of shows, although there might be an outside chance that he could fulfil the last engagement of the current tour at Bournemouth tomorrow evening.  Let`s hope that signifies a full recovery might be possible but something tells me he would be better off putting his feet up and getting a decent rest.  After all, he`s 66 now.

He is perhaps best known for a whole string of hit records including Driving Home for Christmas and The Road to Hell.   But for me, his most memorable compositions and performances came when he wrote and sang about his birthplace of Middlesbrough.  I know little about Middlesbrough - David Armstrong, the former Saints midfield dynamo was signed from Middlesbrough FC and, more recently, a very good friend from my National Service days hailed from there before he left us a year or so ago.

But you get a real flavour of the town in some of Chris Rea`s songs about the place - Stainsby Girls, Steel River and especially Windy Town, probably my favourite from all of his large and impressive collection.  So, leave the Road to Hell behind and get on the Road to Recovery, Chris.  Here`s `Windy Town`:-

Saturday, December 09, 2017


Well, it`s the deep midwinter - the shortest day just 12 days away - but even at this time of the year there are things worth looking out for.   Here`s a picture I took a few days ago when the late afternoon sun was lighting up the rushes alongside our local lake and even the hedgerow still had some colour to brighten the day.......

(Give it a click for a larger pic)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

We had a week in Padstow a couple of months ago - seems like ages ago - and on our first evening there we wandered down to the harbour.  I took this photo showing the glorious sunset.  Trouble is, we`ve got to wait until next April before we`ll be there again.......

Monday, December 04, 2017

Seems to me that despite every reason to count my considerable blessings,  there are just so many things to worry about, complain about, get annoyed and frustrated by, that it`s not always possible to decide what subject to have a good rant about - the choice these days is just too much.  

So I`ve turned instead to another `interest` of mine, which is photography, albeit not to anything approaching a professional standard but nevertheless I have taken some photos over the years of which I`m a bit smug.   So I thought I would share some of them here, kicking off with one I took just a couple of days ago as Barney and I took our walkies around a local lake.   Here it is......well, at least it`s peaceful.  Click on it for a larger image.....

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


I just wonder what the English roses have done to be overlooked in favour of a foreign, catholic, feminist, divorced commoner of mixed race.  Just asking, that`s all.

Monday, November 27, 2017


Yes, I know.  For some years now I have suffered from the condition known as seasonal affective disorder, aka SAD, which just about sums up my state of mind at this time of the year.  And as well as the winter blues brought on by short days, long nights and cold, wet inclement weather, it seems to me that there is an increasing number of other reasons not to be cheerful, all brought about by human activity.

Here`s a list of `events` which seem to kick off once the last vestiges of summer have gone. 

First we had Bonfire Night - 5th November - when the country seems to celebrate an unsuccessful gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament, with all its attendant crash, bangs and wallops that do little more than frighten the life out of our faithful canine companions.

Then the first of a succession of imports from across the pond in the shape of Halloween. Well, perhaps not strictly accurate.  Originally, All Hallows Eve heralded the beginning of three days of observing Allhallows tide, the time in the liturgical year devoted to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows,) martyrs and all those who have departed.  So much for history then.  Today`s reality has seen Halloween transformed into yet another transatlantic import devoted more to rampant materialism than anything else.   

Which brings us to Thanksgiving - the traditional American celebration of harvest.  It is rightly observed in the USA but I have noticed a tendency for it to sneak in to our consciousness here in the good ol` UK.  But if that incursion comes to not very much in years to come, the retail insurance has well and truly cemented itself the day after Thanksgiving in the shape of Black Friday, yet another import from our former colonials  

I`m more than a bit concerned about Black Friday. It sounds a bit `racist` - maybe it should be Beige Friday to coincide with the growing fad for fluidity and neutrality in all things - and it`s not just the Friday but this latest commercial razzmatazz  seems to go on for the best part of a week, judging by the daily e-mails and adverts I get.

And to complete the SAD picture, we now have not only the celebration of Santa`s birthday at Christmas and then the New Year to look forward to but now also the prospect of yet another royal birth and yet another royal wedding (presumably not necessarily in that order.)  Joy unconfined.

So all in all another winter of discontent even though the shortest day is only a little over three weeks away.   Bring it on.