Category Archives: News from at home

What is happening at home


Peter PanFor 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


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Chutneyed Green Tomatoes

chutneyI 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

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Pointless News #24196

pine conesThere 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

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Pointless News # 24189

cpDammit, 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.

Carpe diem.

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

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Cold Serendipity

doc023450I 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.

doc023451Yesterday 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.[1]

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

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Animal Kingdom

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

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Frau Bosch

WP_20180308_001A 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?

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Merlin Aurelius Maximus

I do think mice are quite cute, clever and athletic. But they do not belong in a house.

Merlin Day 1Hence The Phenlry’s new addition, Merlin Aurelius Maximus, who arrived today and is already making himself very much at home. Hopefully, he will prove even cuter, cleverer and more athletic than the mice. He is just a kitten, but Continue reading

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Soaring High

flying kneesWe grow older, but a part of us never grows up. I had a brilliant time yesterday gliding with a friend above the Barossa Valley.

It is many years since I last went up in a glider. That was a very brief flight in Oxfordshire, and I just sat there. This time, we were up for an hour and a half, and could easily have passed the regulation-imposed 10,000 feet limit imposed in Australia (it is 14,00 feet elsewhere, apparently. The air starts to get a bit thin up there).

prepI flew the plane for about half the time, but not of course when we did the loop-the-loop or the stall-and-dive aerobatic stuff – that was my very competent pilot Simon Holding. It is however a source a continuing and burning pride that I was able without Simon’s intervention to gain about 1,000 feet in a single thermal. It might not seem that hard – you just flight around and around in tight circles while the rising air takes you up, but it trickier than you might think. You have to keep the airspeed at around 50 knots, maintaining a constant bank using stick and rudder. Continue reading

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A Petition for Freedom

petitionI delivered the Freedom for Fleurieu Dogs petition to the District Council of Yankalilla today; in the end it attracted over 1,000 signatures, not only from locals, but from people all over the world.

Will the Council take any notice? The track record for the short term is not good. It ignored another, traditional, petition to the same effect last month, which was signed by over 1,000 locals.  And when a proposal to ease the restrictions was moved at the last Council meeting, it was voted down. And, demonstrating the sort of mean-mindedness that is prevalent among dog-haters, they also voted down an acknowledgement of the efforts of those who had consulted with the community on the issue.

A number of locals have come to the view that the way to fix this is to get the errant Councillors voted out of office in the elections due later in the year. A new Council will simply be able to repeal the offending by-law. These locals may well be right.  The Councillors get elected with tiny numbers of votes cast, and this issue seems to be by far the most important in the minds of the local electorate. The total numbers of petitions in the two petitions is some 40% of the electorate (although of course there are bound to be a few duplicates, and some petitioners live outside the area), and so one would have thought that the prospects for getting a dog-friendly Council elected would be quite good.  It is quite extraordinary that the present Council should be insisting on these dog restrictions when they know full well that they run counter to the strong feelings of the great majority of ratepayers, particularly since the restrictions are causing real damage to the health of residents, our dogs and to the local economy.

The petition went in with a covering letter which read:

Please find herewith a hard copy of the on-line petition Freedom For Fleurieu Dogs.

As you will see, this has been signed by over 1,000 people, both locals and those from further afield, who seek a rolling back of the recent laws restricting the exercise of dogs.

As such, this on-line petition compliments last month’s petition of locals, which also attracted over 1,000 signatures.

It is a regrettable reflection of these new laws that they are offensive, not only to locals, but also to friends from all around the world.

There is a long way to go in this saga…


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