Tuesday, October 03, 2017


Tom - thank you so much for all the music and the charm.  The Wilburys have now lost George, Roy and Tom and this must leave Jeff and Bob devastated not only at the loss of yet another fine fellow musician but also of a friend who spoke the same language and loved the music of life.  (Tom Petty 1950-2017.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Our Golf Correspondent reports...

I wondered why Snopper had been absent from the golf courses of mid-Kent recently, so I caught up with him the other day to find out what was going on.  It seems that, following his intensive course of lessons, he has decided to `hone his game` at the driving range before venturing back on to the fairways.

I watched as he went through his routine at the range and I can understand his desire to make sure his game is at least presentable before re-entering the competitive environment.   I watched his remodelled stance, his remodelled grip, his remodelled swing and his newfound attitude which is designed to come to terms with the challenges of the royal and ancient game.   Snopper quoted the advice given by Jack Nicklaus all those years ago - "The more I practice, the luckier I get."

So how was our anti-hero getting along, I wondered.  Well, I have to report that his session on the range produced some really quite respectable results - a few genuinely decent shots, some `OK` ones, perhaps a few more in the `adequate` category and some that were reminiscent of the old Snopper we have come to know so well over all these years.

But the finale to this particular visit must surely have been the very last of the 50 balls he hit from the driving range bay.  You see, he always likes to finish well and so he addressed the last ball as it peered up at him from the green baize practice mat:  his determination to leave on a high shone through clearly as he took up his new stance, checked his new grip and swung through the ball as he has been encouraged to do.

Sadly, the result was not the climax he had in mind as the ball squirted off the toe end of the club, smashed against the side panel of the driving bay, ricocheted with an almighty bang and was never seen again.   At which point, Snopper collected his clubs and ran away.   Seemed the sensible thing to do at the time and, so far at least, there are no reports of claims for damages being reported.   

For some, it seems, the more they practice the more things remain the same.......

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Like most people, I was sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Bruce Forsyth.  In fact, I`m always sorry to hear of anyone`s passing but it seems that when someone of Brucie`s standing leaves us, there is an outbreak of national mourning which at times reaches the point of being almost self defeating.  It`s almost as if there is a need to turn  sad events such as this into yet another theatrical production.

So, despite the pull out supplements, the tribute specials on TV, the knighthood, the multimillionaire legacy for his former Miss World widow, the bust already in place at the London Palladium and the mansion alongside Wentworth Golf Club, there are now calls for a public memorial service at Westminster Abbey no less, a permanent memorial in his home town of Edmonton and the BBC is considering erecting a statue outside the BBC Television Centre.  I`m no longer a TV licence payer, which is just as well as I would genuinely hope that the statue might not be funded from the licence fee but from public donations from those who think it appropriate.

Of course, Brucie was a much loved part of the lives of so many people for so many years and the last thing I want to say is to enter anything other than my thanks for his 75 years of entertainment but I think we are in danger, yet again, of turning this sad moment into an event of which I`m not sure even Sir Brucie would approve.  I might be wrong, of course.

We seem these days to be turning into a nation which almost thrives on tragic events - I suspect `social media` might not help, where too many people feel the need to be associated with this kind of event - a bit more of the `look at me` obsession - and leave `RIP` messages for people they don`t even know.

No matter, I`m sorry Brucie has left us but I will content myself in my own mind by allowing his passing to be restful and peaceful.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The last time and place I expected to see yet another example of the double standards so prevalent in modern day living was at the start of the second day`s play in the first Test Match between England and the Windies at Edgbaston.

Now of course there is, quite properly, worldwide condemnation for yesterday`s appalling events in Barcelona and so one can understand why today`s play began with a minute`s silence in memory of those who perished and were injured in Barcelona.  I`ve absolutely no problem with that, in fact it is to be applauded. 

But what puzzles me is why there was not either another minute`s silence or even a two minute one so as to also remember the victims of the dreadful loss of life earlier in the week in Sierra Leone.  Just saying, that`s all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Well, that might be a slight exaggeration but I have had enquiries from about half a dozen aficionados asking when I might return to clog up the internet still further.

Pleased to report that with the help of an offspring who is well into his 50s and thus fully up to date with computer stuff, my new computer is up and running.

The curious thing is that whilst I have been away from these pages, very little has grabbed my attention to the point where I felt compelled to rant about much.  The problem is that there is so much grief, uncertainty, hype and downright bad news that it`s impossible to go on about it all.   So I`ve fallen back on that old subject of football, which is indeed the gift that just keeps giving.

The Premier League has just kicked off and my heroes of the south coast have had an interesting time of it. The new manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, has brought a new, more positive, management style to the squad who have apparently `bought into it` - that is with the exception of the captain, Virgil van Dijk, who has put in a transfer request following interest (and no doubt another shed-load of cash) from Liverpool.

The season`s first game ended in a 0-0 draw at home to Swansea but despite having 29 shots on goal only two of them were on target meaning that it is now nine hours of football at St. Mary`s without the Saints managing to score.  But football can always produce moments of unintentional irony.  This time it was Dusan Tadic who, having blazed a gilt-edged scoring chance wide of the upright from all of two yards out, suggested in a post match interview that "We need to be more clinical in front of goal."   

Oh well, I suppose there might be some comfort in self-awareness.  If only it were true.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017


It`s high Summer here in deepest Kent and there are occasions when Barney`s walkies need to be in the shade rather than subject his paws to hot pavements.   So, this afternoon we paid another visit to Holly Hill which is a public open space hidden away on the crest of the North Downs above the Medway Valley.

In 1943 the area was left to the then Malling Rural District Council in the will of Mr. FH Cripps Day and has remained in the ownership of successive local councils since then.  It comprises some 31 acres of mainly broadleaf woodland and at 196 metres it is one of the highest points on the North Downs.   In 1946 the Ordnance Survey constructed one of its 6,500 trigonometric points which were used in the mapping of the country and it`s from the Holly Hill `trig point` that you get expansive views across north Kent and, on a clear day, towards London.   

The photo at the top is one I took today looking out from the wood towards a neighbouring field which is a riot of colour thanks to the rosebay willowherb.   Quite a contrast between the deep shade of the wood and the sunlit field beyond. 

I also took this other photo on the right from the trig point and you can just about make out the towers of Canary Wharf, some 30 miles away - and yet another contrast, this time between the mayhem of London and the utter peace and tranquility of today`s walk in the shade.........

(I am experiencing some serious computer issues which I fear may mean that I will have to invest in a new one and which might mean that I will be absent from these pages for a while.  I hope to resume `normal` service - whatever that might be - before too long.)

Friday, July 28, 2017


I`ve long been fascinated by numbers.  Don`t really know why as I was pretty duff at sums when I was at school.  I guess it may be that, as you get older, you become more interested in more things.  Just a quick example.  The number 26.

What is so very special about 26 is this - it is the only number in the whole panoply of numbers from one to infinity and beyond which is sandwiched between a squared number and a cubed number (25 = 5 x 5; 27 = 3 x 3 x 3) and it was our old friend Pierre de Fermat - he of the famous last theorem - who not only discovered this fact but also a proof for it, which turned out to be infinitely more difficult than the fact itself.

I recall too that when our three sons were little and we went on long car journeys to holiday destinations, we played a numbers game to ease the boredom of the journey for them.  This consisted of finding which of the three of them could spot the pub name with the most numbers in it - Three Squirrels, Five Bells and so on - until one of them claimed to have spotted a pub named The Ten Thousand Pilgrims.  He was, of course, banned from the game and made to sit in the middle of the back seat for the rest of the journey.

In more recent years I have become interested in place names in the UK.  My favourite county for names is the county of my birth, Dorset.  Who can fail to be charmed or puzzled by places such as Ryme Intrinseca, Whitchurch Canonicorum, Melbury Osmond and Melbury Bubb, Minterne Magna or Piddletrenthide.   And it was whilst trawling through the place names of Dorset that I came across Sixpenny Handley and it got me wondering how many other place names there might be in this country which have numbers in them....and how long before you run out of numbers.


Onehouse, Suffolk
Two Mills, Cheshire
Three Bridges, Sussex
Four Marks, Hampshire
Five Oak Green, Kent
Sixpenny Handley, Dorset
Sevenoaks, Kent
Eight Ash Green, Essex
Nine Elms, London
Tenterden, Kent
Ruyton - X1- Towns, Shropshire
Twelveheads, Cornwall

..............................................I wonder if anyone can go any higher.