It is a blessing that old rockers are still having fun.
Mark Knopfler is a few years older than me, but is evidently still in reasonable shape. Hopefully, my daughter Annabel will rustle up his latest album as a Christmas present.
Meanwhile, I am playing in my local band here Robbies’ Road. The requirements for membership of the band are living on Sampson Road, Myponga Beach, and being called Robert. Or Rob. Or Bob. Sometimes we play covers. Sometimes my songs. And sometimes songs by our vocalist, Rob Weedon (no known relation to Bert). We have fun, too. But it would be hard to pretend that Continue reading
I sometimes attempt The Times crossword puzzle. Sometimes I finish it; more often I do not. So I was quite pleased to finish each of the last three days’ puzzles.
Some people think they are a waste of time. On one analysis, of course, they are. But there are so many divergent problems in the world: it does seem to be soothing to solve a convergent problem from time to time.
27181 was moderate. I had to look in the dictionary to see that HERDWICK is a sort of sheep. 27182 was not too bad. 27183 was really quite hard, I thought. If I ever knew, I had forgotten that BASEBAND is a technical term for a radio frequency. I had to check an atlas to see that ORAN is a North African city. And I needed the dictionary again to see that to TORREFY something is to dry it.
It is possible to do these puzzles on line. But I print them out, partly because Continue reading
The animals have been playing a new game: “What Shall We Do with a Champagne Cork?”
I throw the cork. If Perdita gets it, she dances around the lawn, throwing the cork up in the air in delight like a killer whale does with a seal. Only rather less dramatic. Obviously. After a while, she gives it back, so that we can do it again.
If Merlin gets it (he is remarkably nimble on his feet), he lies on it, and pretends to have nothing to do with the game at all. “Cork? What cork? I haven’t seen it”.
It is a much better game than “Eat the Spoon”. For that, they operate as a tag team. Merlin jumps up onto the kitchen benchtop, finds a wooden spoon and pushes it off down onto the floor. Perdita then eats it.
For a while, when I was practising in London, I had to put up with the bit of teasing from my professional colleagues on the Peter Pan front. I looked far too young, they said.
The criticism was unfair, I thought. The thing was, I really was far too young: it was no illusion. I started my law firm when I had only just turned 28 years old, and before very long, I and that law firm was doing some serious business. In those days, I was, generally speaking, much younger than my peers.
At no very obvious moment, all this changed. I am now much older than my peers in the law. I know this because I’ve started to feel a real sense of gratification about eating vegetables that I have grown myself in my vegetable garden. This must be a sign of age, even if Continue reading
I tried the first time making chapati to go with my curry the other day. Not a great success for that purpose, although they turn out to be surprisingly nice for breakfast instead of toast with baked beans and egg.
More successful was the green tomato chutney, which I made from my vegetable garden produce at the combined urging of my PA and my housekeeper.
Some people say “chuckney”, with a “ck” rather than a “t”. How did that happen? It may well be by route of the glottal stop: people saying “chu’ney”.
Does that mean that the origins of the stuff are rather working class? I wouldn’t Continue reading
There is good news and bad news on the subject of pine cones.
I am not a huge fan of Christmas festivities generally, but when the children are around at Christmas, they like a Christmas tree, and hence there is usually a trip to one of the local Christmas tree farms. When the farm sells you of these trees, it does not kill the tree. Instead, it lops off the top bit of the tree, leaving the roots and the base, and that part of the tree then regrows. It has occurred to me that if I had, say, half a dozen of these trees growing in my upper paddock, I could do the same thing. Not that I particularly mind the trip to the Christmas tree farm. But unlike my old Jeep, my new Jeep does not have a roof rack, and so getting a decent sized Christmas tree home starts to be a problem.
So, earlier this week, I was taking Perdita for a run in one of the local forests and noticed freshly fallen pine cones. I stuffed my pockets with half a dozen of these, thinking that I could plant them, and hopefully end up with half a dozen pine trees.
It turns out that it doesn’t work like this. It is no good planting entire pine cones. Instead, if you want to grow pine trees from pine cones there is a routine, which works something like Continue reading
Dammit, I really LIKE Christmas pudding. Nothing much to do with Christmas, of course, although something to do with Christianity – it is a Crusader thing, brought back from the Levant. According to Elizabeth David anyway. She would have known about this stuff.
I have a Christmas pudding. It says “best before” March 2017. I have dropped hints to my family when they have been around. I have said, “Do you fancy some Christmas pudding?”. No bites. Nothing. Not a flicker of the needle. Niete. It is now June 2018.
You can microwave these boys, apparently, but that does not seem quite right, somehow. And so I have decided to stick it on my combustion Continue reading
I have been suffering from a cold this week, almost certainly gathered from one of those intensive infection tubes known as an aeroplane at the end of last week. Happily, none of my instructing solicitors have asked me to do anything very difficult this week: my head has been spinning. Instead, I have been drinking hot toddies, taking the medicine which doesn’t get rid of the cold, but does at least somewhat stem the dripping nose, and passing the time doing The Times crossword.
Somewhat to my surprise, I was able to finish the puzzles both on Monday and yesterday. There were solution words which I found challenging. On Monday, I had to look up polysaccharide. Perhaps I should have recalled it from my education when I did chemistry, but if I ever knew it, it had gone.
Yesterday was even worse. I had to look in the dictionary to check that celesta is an acceptable variation of celeste. Pietistic is not a word which has ever fallen from my lips. I have no idea what a stot is, but I presume that it is some sort of bovine.
Nor had I ever heard of a Sanbenito, which is apparently a garment which the Catholics required their victims to wear during the Spanish Inquisition. I looked it up. It is apparently named for St Benedict, a Negro born to slave parents in Sicily in 1526. It had never occurred to me that the Italians kept slaves in this way in the 16th century. It seems that young Benedict would also have been kept as a slave, but his freedom was granted Continue reading
Most visitors are welcome here at The Phenelry.
Percival is a cutie – I have always liked hares. They seem to do no damage, and Pervical is a friendly chap. They are surprisingly large animals – on the move he looks not much smaller than a small deer.
The ducks, William and Kate, are equally harmless. I do have in mind to get them a duckhouse for the dam, but that is still Continue reading
A dishwasher is a good thing. It washes dishes much more efficiently and effectively that we could do by hand.
So why do we feel a mild resentment about the task of emptying it?