Ice Cream Treat

Lovely ride social distanced ride today ending up with a Winstone ice cream on Rodborough Common. A real treat!

Longer blog tomorrow!

Yesterday’s answers on woods and trees

a) quinine comes from bark   b) Orangutan   c) Macaw is largest parrot  d) Epiphytes live on other plants but don’t damage them   e) Gabriel Oak is the Thomas Hardy character

Today’s Quiz thought it should be on food as I mentioned ice-cream

a) Which herb is in pesto?  b) What food is a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry?    c) What are the two main ingredients of a Hollandaise sauce?  d) In which country do red onions originate?  e) How does paella get its name?

Wild Wood

A Paul Weller song for today in acknowledgement of our delightful walk this morning in the woods up by Selsey Common. It was good to be out of the sun while doing a decent walk. There are some wonderful Beech Trees up there. (one picture of the wood below) I recalled that in  my first job we took the whole school on a nature walk through those same woods. In those days there was much more freedom to do things like that in education and it was great fun! I know from speaking to past pupils I meet these days  they always remember fondly events like these.

I was surprised to hear that my football team have just reappointed our ex-manager today. Although in the current situation it is difficult to think about sport it doesn’t really seem that important. Having said that, I do miss it as I do pubs and mixing with friends and family.

Quiz answers  from yesterday.

a) Charlie’s grand parent’s are Grandpa Joe, Grandma Josephine, Grandma Georgina and Grandpa George,   b) The clock would sometimes strike 13 in Tom’s Midnight Garden  c) Smaug is the dragon in the Hobbit    d) Captain Ahab from Moby Dick    e) Captain Smollett captained the Hispaniola

Today’s Quiz following my walk is on woods and forests!

a) 20% of all drugs contain extracts of rainforest plants. From what does the malaria drug quinine derive?   b)  Which is the largest of the tree dwelling apes, whose name means “forest man”?   c) What is the largest parrot in a rainforest?   d) What type of plants are epiphytes?  e) What main Thomas Hardy character is named after a tree?



Eye Test Blog

Decided to make this a public health information service. Please don’t drive if you are unsure about your eye sight!!!!!!!

Enough of that! Seriously I hope everyone is well and enjoying this wonderful weather (not so wonderful for the garden). I got up at the crack of dawn  to go for a long bike ride, when I looked out of the kitchen window I looked at the fence and look what was there (two pictures below)! Although picture quality isn’t great because it was taken through the window. Clare took a much better one a few years ago after a woodpigeon was killed by another female! At the moment we are also getting good views of a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders-I suspect young are nearby.

My new story is now with my number 1 critic to give me her thoughts (fingers crossed).

Yesterday’s answers

a) Postman Pat’s surname was Clifton    b) The three tunnels in the Great Escape were Tom, Dick and Harry    c) The Daleks were created by Davros in Doctor Who -or you could have Terry Nation  who was the writer.

Today’s Quiz all from famous stories

a) Name the Grandparents in Charlie and Chocolate Factory   b) What was unusual about the Grandfather Clock in Tom’s Midnight Garden?   c) what is the name of the dragon in the Hobbit?   d)  Who is the sea captain in Moby Dick?    e) What is the name of the Captain of the Hispaniola in Treasure Island? 

Summertime Blues

Apologies but this is a rant tonight! Everyone  I know have adhered to the lock down rules over the last 8 weeks often at great cost. But after hearing a succession of appeasers over the last three days for Mr Cummings my blood is boiling! It certainly is one law for one! How do they expect anyone to play by the rules now! Even the Daily Mail is angry about it!

Lovely letter I read in today’s paper probably sums up  “Asking Boris Johnson to sack Cummings is like asking Emu to sack Rod Hull!”

That’s it on that front!


Quiz answers on baby animals

a) bat-pup  b) pigeon-squab  c) kangaroo-Joey d) rabbit –kitten  e) peacock-peachick  f) owl-owlet  g) hare-leveret  h) Llama-Cria   I) Platypus-Puggle (that is my favourite)  j) eagle-eaglet

Today’s quiz on film and TV  only three questions tonight because it is late!

a) What was Postman Pat’s surname?  b)  What were the names of the three tunnels in the Great Escape?   c) Who created the Daleks?  

Dead Skunk

How about that title for today. It is a Loudon Wainwright the third song (I wanted an animal song for today) and remembered this one from my misspent youth! I saw him perform a couple of times at Hitchin Folk Club.

I decided on an animal theme because today we found a young Blue Tit that had fallen out of a nest box. Have seen plenty of young birds this Spring in the garden we already have had young Starlings, Blackbirds, Jackdaws, Greenfinches and Robins being fed. Around the village they have been many goslings, ducklings and cygnets on the canal and lakes. So guess what the theme for the quiz will be today!

My time is taken up  working my way through my story before someone else can read it!

Today’s quiz is all on the names of young animals. Can you name the young animals of the following.(there are a couple of hard ones!)

a) Bat  b) Pigeon  c) Kangaroo  d)  Rabbit  e)  Peacock   f) Owl  g) Hare  h)  Llama         I) Platypus    J) Eagle

River Man

Don’t think I’ve had a Nick Drake song for the blog title before! We had a lovely walk by the River Severn today (we had to cycle there first). It was the area near Hock Cliff which holds fond memories of us taking our boys there when they were little to look for fossils. We met a family and they asked where to look for fossils-we pointed the way but I did warn the children there was a Tyrannosaurus around-the young boy looked worried so I had to let him know he ate a boy earlier and actually I was just being daft!  I had hoped for some birds but the tide was right up-so there was mainly a vast expanse of water and hardly a bird in sight!

I have managed to get some more done on my story-hopefully I will be able to let my critic read it later this week! I also heard some snippets of the Two Severn Bores podcast today-Dan has enhanced my stories with music in the background.

Yesterday’s Quiz answers on sporting comebacks  (no quiz today it is a Sunday!)

a) Dennis Taylor lost the first eight frames in that classic final before going on to win   b) Laxman 281 and Dravid 180 shared a stand of 376 to turn the Test Match around in 2001     c) Charlton won 7-6 after being 5-1 down against Huddersfield in 1957    d) Stephen Roche came back from looking being well beaten on the climb to only loose 5 seconds on the stage-he was in a state afterwards.      e) Leicester City gave all football fans hope by winning the title in 2016

Teeth Story Part 3 (24-4-1988)

Where has he been I hear you ask! Yesterday is only the second day since lockdown when I haven’t blogged not because I didn’t know what to write actually the opposite I have been writing my story regularly through the last week. I incorporated the new idea that came to me one night, it meant a few extra chapters (they are not that long) interspersed throughout the story. My next job is to read it through to see how it flows and then I shall pass it on to my resident critic before I start redrafting. I did get thoroughly immersed in the writing process, it helps the lack of sporting distractions and of course no Story Telling. I am going to investigate doing some virtual performances over the next fortnight.

Today I managed a social-distanced cycle ride with a couple of friends and despite the wind and getting caught in two heavy showers it felt really good for our well being to be out with friends (keeping our distance of course).

I was going to write quite a bit for the third part of the teeth saga but will try and condense it! I will take you back to that dentist waiting room a few years back and the magazine article about Fever Pitch. Well the pain of that assault was finally put to bed on a magical  April day at Wembley Stadium (old version) that Mr Hornby mentions in his book. He says it was one of the worst days of his life for some of us it was the best sporting moment.

I could wax lyrically about one of the most entertaining footballing finals at Wembley as the Hatters defeated a powerful Arsenal team but I won’t. Instead some of the bits around that day – I had called in a favour in the scramble to get tickets-I had done much work with the English Schools FA running a Stroud representative team for a few years and so i got two tickets from them for my Dad and brother right by the half way line. My friend Colin got me a ticket in the Arsenal end for a teaching mate and we had some tickets scattered at the Luton end. I had driven three of us up in my Fiesta to meet my Dad and two fellow Hatters in a pub in Acton. Everyone in the pub apart from our little group were Arsenal fans who were condescendingly polite to us along the lines about us having a wasted journey etc.etc. Six of us squeezed into the car and miraculously we found a parking slot near the stadium. We all scattered into the ground for the match. At the end of a dramatic game we had triumphed! As I stood on the terrace hoarse and emotional I smiled as the ghost and pain of 74 was finally laid.

So Nick Hornby “Your boys took a hell of a beating……..”  (Picture of winning goal below and picture of some unruly Luton supporters you might recognise one in the mid 70s!)

Today’s Quiz is all about sporting underdogs and comebacks  to continue the blog theme.

a) (snooker) How many opening frames did Dennis Taylor lose to Steve Davis before going on to win the World Championship in 1985?    b) (cricket) India were 274 behind Australia in 2001 but went on to win by 171 runs because of two great hundreds by Indian batsmen who were they?   c) (football you can guess the final score) Charlton were losing 5-1 to Huddersfield in 1957 with ten men and thirty minutes to go and they won what was the final score?****   d) (Cycling) Which cyclist won the Tour de France in1987 having had to have oxygen on a final climb when he amazingly pulled back a minute and 26 seconds on his rival?   e) (football) What unlikely  team surprised everybody by winning the Premier League  in 2016 ?

*****I once played in a game for Brimscombe in late 70s and we were losing a cup tie 5-1 with twenty minutes to go and the opposition had a penalty-they missed we ended drawing 5-5 and winning on penalties!

Fantastic Morning and Teeth Story (part2)

I have just had a marvellous Thursday morning We were resuming our monthly bird survey out by the river (we missed last month because of lock down etc.) The weather was perfect and eleven Little Egrets got us warmed up. The explosive sound of a Cetti’s Warbler drew our attention to the reeds and we saw him darting in and out. Two cuckoos were spotted (sadly not in our patch to record) but easily visible. Four Avocets were flushed by the rising tide. Then magically a Bittern flew over and circled above our heads-a real rarity! This was followed by two Marsh Harriers! I don’t think you can get better than that (well maybe a flamingo!)

The second part of the morning Clare and I had a super walk on Rodborough Common finished with a legendary Winston Ice Cream!

The Teeth (part2)  (Part 1 was in yesterday’s blog)

I am now in a North London hospital looking a mess (what’s different I hear you say). The doctor tells me I will need to see a dentist there is nothing they can do. Two policeman were waiting for me and asked me what I recalled about the incident. I wasn’t helpful because I didn’t know what had happened! I was then driven round North London in a police car looking to see if I could spot anyone (there had been a crowd of more than 30,000!!!!!), one policeman then actually made a derogatory racial comment about one young man walking past and suggesting it must of been him! It was 1974 but I was shocked to hear that from a policeman. Eventually they dropped me off near Finsbury Park Station. At that time my sister Liz was living in student accommodation near there so I went to her place. In her house were a couple of Australian lads who when they saw what happened to me said “That’s not on, come on we will get our cricket bats and go find these Arsenal guys and give them what for!”  it took some time for Liz and I to persuade them it wasn’t a good idea! I had to go back to college on the following Monday with my teeth still in a state (the emergency dentist at home thought they would have to come out).

I got a phone call from the divisional police commander a couple of days later asking me if I recalled anything about the incident! I couldn’t he was really sympathetic. I think in later years I suspect this sympathy and follow up might not of been there possibly your own fault going to football.

My teeth were later saved by a dentist who painfully straightened them (I’ll spare you the gory details!) But all those years later they were needing attention hence me being at my dentist with the magazine (see part 1)  (part 3 tomorrow)

Quiz answers

a) Danube flows into the Black Sea   b) Vladivostok is on the Sea of Japan (you can have Pacific)  c) The Tasman Sea is between Australia and New Zealand   d) The smallest and shallowest ocean is the Arctic   e) The Straits of Hormuz is the passage out of the Persian Gulf.

No quiz tonight -promise I will do one tomorrow!

A Dentist Moment Revisited (part 1)

Today I am recalling a painful experience from a few years ago. I was having my two upper front teeth significantly repaired because they had never recovered from an unfortunate incident that happened in my youth when the world was certainly a very different place. As I was waiting for treatment I started to flick through a magazine. I found an article on Fever Pitch the film. You might or might not know the film was based on Nick Hornby’s book of the same title about supporting Arsenal FC.

It seemed that that my teeth had come full circle following the “incident” of  September 1974! I was at Arsenal watching my beloved Hatters and in those days there was no segregation at grounds. Throughout the first half the Arsenal “hard man” Peter Storey was consistently battering our “fancy Dan” Australian forward all over the pitch! I think I may of been a little loud in voicing my opinion that Mr Storey was really a gorilla! At half time with the Hatters a goal down I left my mate Paul to get our half time refreshment  “hot dogs” while I visited the Gents. To this day I don’t know what happened but I found myself on the floor with blood pouring out of my mouth. I sought help from a policeman whose comment was “Good grief did you meet Mohammed Ali?”and I was dispatched in an ambulance with flashing blue lights I was with an unfortunate victim who had been hit by a brick! Paul meanwhile was back standing on the terrace with two hot dogs (remember no mobile phones) He ate one and then as the second half progressed he ate the second one! At the end of the game he caught the train home without me! He thought I had possibly met a friend  from college! I was having my bloody mouth examined-my two middle upper front teeth had been knocked back and was now at a horrible 45 degree angle. and I was in agony! (This story will be continued tomorrow and Friday-wait till you hear some of the responses!)

Yesterday’s answers

a) Spitfire was powered by a Merlin engine  b) Concorde first flew in 1969 and the final flight was 2003   c) Charles Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St Louis  d) A Vickers Vimy was the plane Alcock and Brown flew over the Atlantic.

Today’s Quiz – On Seas

a) The River Danube empties into which sea?    b) Vladivostok stands on which sea?   c) Which sea is between Australia and New Zealand?  d) What is the smallest and shallowest Ocean?   e)  Which straight provides the only sea route out of the Persian Gulf? 


To everything Tern, Tern Tern again!!!!!!

I changed the spelling of this well known song by the Byrds because we have had screeching Common Terns flying over the last few days. They are wonderful birds to watch twisting and diving over the lake near our home. I keep hoping that we might get Black Terns flying through they occasionally turn up at this time of year.

Short blog today as I have done a considerable amount of  writing today.

Yesterday’s answer to the quotes on leadership (if you want to check the actual quotes look at the previous blog)

a) Martin Luther King   b) Abraham Lincoln (although there is some doubt about this)  c) Napoleon Bonaparte   (I couldn’t really give you a clue without giving it away!)   d) Mark Twain (that was his pen name!)   e) Dalai Lama

Today’s Quiz is all on planes as I had to do some research on a particular plane earlier.

a) What type of engine powered the Spitfire (the famous engine not the one on later planes)?   b) (two parts) What year was the first flight of Concorde and what year was the last?   c)  Who famously flew the Spirit of St.Louis?  d) What type of plane did Alcock and Brown fly across the Atlantic?