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Archive for October, 2009

Still Here

Tuesday 27 October 2009

You’ll never guess what I’ve been doing for the past week!  Cleaning!  Yes, me, shirker of general housework.  The house is now pretty clean and a stack of stuff has been listed on Freecycle in yet another (probably doomed) attempt to declutter.  It could be more aggravation than it’s worth and easier to take the whole lot to the nearest charity shop, but you’ve got to try, haven’t you?

Our news is in the local paper this week.  My friend rang me to say she’d save me the paper as we don’t get them.  I’m interested to read it although it’ll probably be along similar lines to the article on the webpage.  The MP for Bridgwater has declared his intention of fighting it tooth and claw, but Somerset is way under its quota for renewable energy so his opinion may not count for a great deal.  Let’s hope not.

Last week we went for a stroll along the prom in Burnham-on-Sea and photographed the seafront church of St Andrew’s, well-known for its ‘leaning tower’.  You can see why in this photograph!

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And yes, I was holding the camera straight!

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Tuesday 20 October 2009

Check out this link:  Exciting! (Well, it will be if the link works properly!)

That’s us.  We’ve finally come out!  Now all we have to do is sit back and wait for the shit to hit the fan (if you’ll pardon the pun).  Gordon has already spoken to the press, as you can see in the article although oddly they didn’t publish the rant about how “if the general public bought British ALL the time farmers would be in a much better position financially” or the bit where he pointed out that actually, no-one will see them as they’re tucked away in our back fields.  OK, they’ll be visible from the village that lives on the hill behind us, mostly occupied by former city dwellers who’ve come to the countryside to live the rural dream and then objected to how noisy/smelly/dark it really is and bemoaning the fact that they can’t sleep without earplugs due to the noise of owls, foxes, cows or sheep!  No doubt they’ll object to the fact that it’s in their view, but in fact they don’t own that particular bit of view – we do, and ‘scenic’ it isn’t!  I have to admit, I’m not knowledgeable enough about turbines to say whether they’re effective or not, but I do think they look nice and surely renewable energy has to be a good thing?  Besides which, no-one apart from EDF has offered us chunks of rent money and god knows, we really do need the money or we’ll have to consider selling the farm, but I’m sure that won’t stop the objectors!

Gordon’s cleaning his shotgun, putting up the barbed wire and practicing his call of ‘Get Off My Land’ as we speak!

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Sunday 18 October 2009

Whilst browsing about this morning I came across this on the ‘Phrase Finder‘.  It made me laugh and hopefully will do the same for you!

Here’s an example from Brendan Behan (the self-confessed “drinker with writing problems”) who, when asked to define the difference between prose and poetry, is reported as saying:

“There was a young fellah named Rollocks
Who worked for Ferrier Pollocks.
As he walked on the Strand
With his girl by the hand
The tide came up to his knees.

Now that’s prose. If the tide had been in, it would have been poetry.”

That incident is part of Irish literary folklore and if you take one of Dublin’s enjoyable literary pub-crawls you are sure to hear it repeated. There’s precious little evidence to prove that Behan ever said it though and it doesn’t appear anywhere in his published work or autobiography – so perhaps best taken with a pinch of salt (or maybe a Guinness or two).

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Wedmore

Tuesday 13 October 2009

I went to Wedmore yesterday with my friend Mandy.  She grew up around there and although it isn’t far away I’m ashamed to say I’ve never stopped there.  I’ve driven through it on the way to other places and have often thought how pretty it looks, but never stopped.  The weather was glorious, a crisp and sunny autumn day and we walked up and down the main street dipping in and out of the many gift shops.  We walked around the church on the outside (you may recall I love old churchyards!) and were surprised to find the doors open, something that seems rarer nowadays due to vandalism and theft.  Some people have no respect!  We walked around the inside too taking discreet photographs.  It was warm enough for butterflies although they were huddling close to the white walls of houses on the sunny side of the street!  We stopped at The Packhorse Inn in Mark for lunch on the way back.

Wedmore Church

Wedmore Church

A gruesome reminder on one of the tombs

A gruesome reminder on one of the tombs

The weathered church clock - it's stopped, by the way!

The weathered church clock - it's stopped, by the way!

A red admiral butterfly clinging to warm paintwork

A red admiral butterfly clinging to warm paintwork

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Been Away

Monday 12 October 2009

I’ve been away.  You might have noticed.  I’ve been to Portugal and various other places, but have been home long enough to have written a post about it.  Unfortunately, when I got home I was so swamped with e-mails (over 1000) and letters/invoices/statements/bills relating to the business.  Far too many.  I set about reducing the number in the pile and am still working on it, but I won’t bore you too much with that.  Suffice it to say that dealing with them has left me feeling less fond of my computer than I normally am and although I’m spending time on it every day, it’s mostly business-related and therefore not that interesting.

Instead: Portugal.  Wow!  I’m one of these people who’ve always looked down on the Algarve in the same way that you might look down on somewhere like the Costa del Sol.  I’m sure they have their merits, but I’ve never really seen why you’d want to go to the same place as thousands of other Brits.  The British on holiday are, as a rule rude, demanding and generally embarrassing in their attitude to local customs, people and food.  I expected it to be similar during this holiday.

To begin with, our hotel was lovely.  Large but quiet since we’d chosen to go off-season.  This meant that some things normally available to the holiday-maker were closed for the winter, but on the whole it made for a peaceful break away.

View from our hotel balcony

View from our hotel balcony

Since there were eight of us on the trip (all female) we decided on an excursion at the beginning of the week and opted for an all-day Jeep Safari into the ‘interior’, a trip that promised in the brochure to introduce us to the ‘real’ Algarve.  Our driver, Rogerio, picked us up from the hotel and we all clambered into one jeep.  We drove away from Vilamoura and were gradually joined by other jeeps from the same company before heading to a small craft room for our first briefing and to meet a local basket-maker.  He was pretty old and was plaiting palm-leaves into long strips ready to sew together to make baskets.  According to our guide his age is relevant as it seems he and others like him will be the last generation to do this.  Younger people see how little money is to be made in this way and have headed off into the towns, where the main industry is tourism and pays much better.

We were then driven into the mountains where Rogerio (who’d obviously got our measure fairly early on) drove up and down the sides of the hills along dirt tracks at about sixty miles an hour.  Thank goodness we’d all heeded his warning and put our seatbelts on or I’m sure at least two of us would have been bounced out the back.  He stopped every-so-often to explain something of interest: pomegranate, almond, fig, orange, date, carob and olive trees, wild lavender, thyme and rosemary, and the tradition of the cork trees which can only be harvested for their cork every nine years.  The whole morning was fascinating.  We stopped in a small town for coffee and carob cake, then again at lunch time in a little restaurant.  During the afternoon we were driven through small villages, waving at the locals and replying to ‘bom dia’ with the same.  If you ever go to the Algarve, I can thoroughly recommend one of these trips.

Pomegranate Tree

Pomegranate Tree

Stripped (harvested) cork tree

Stripped (harvested) cork tree

Along the dirt tracks

Along the dirt tracks

A jeep-load of dusty girls plus one happy driver!

A jeep-load of dusty girls plus one happy driver!

On the following Monday we discovered that one of our group had chartered a cruiser as a special surprise for Debbie because it was her birthday.  It was an incredibly generous gift which we all got to share.

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It came complete with a crew of two who took us out along the coastline on a two-hour trip, whilst plying us with wine and nibbles!  We decided we could definitely get used to this way of life.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Leaving Albefeira Marina

Leaving Albufeira Marina

Portugeuse coastline

Portuguese coastline

Our 'captain' impressing us with his rock diving skills!

Our 'captain' impressing us with his rock diving skills!

We came home on Thursday morning and were back in chilly England before lunchtime.  All in all we had a wonderful break away and if you ever get the chance to go to Portugal, I can thoroughly recommend it.

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