Week 218

18th February, 2013

An absolutely wonderful day with clear, blue skies and birds singing all around. It makes one glad to be alive. I must admit, I didn’t use it well. I read the newspaper and watched Huddersfield lose. I had been entertaining hopes of an Oldham v Huddersfield Cup Final after Saturday’s wonderful 94th minute escape but it wasn’t to be. At least I got to speak to Ruth.

19th February, 2013

I’m always happier when Bob is the same age as me and for a few weeks now he is.


On April 22nd, 1950, Mum & Dad were married at Ss Mary and Modwen Catholic Church in Guild Street in Burton-on-Trent. Ten weeks later, I was conceived. I was born on 6th April, 1951 and,  seven weeks later, Bob was conceived. I don’t know what was in the Repton water.

An early start today. Shopping trip to France. Tunnel crossing just before 9.00 am. The car will be full of fruit and vegetables, lots of lovely cuts of meat, a small amount of cheese and wine for future drinking.

At 6.30 am, the frost was heavy and the temperature was 3C/37F with a light mist. As we drove towards the tunnel, the sun rose – a huge, orange disc rebounding from the sky line. It gave way to the most beautiful, sunny day with clear blue skies – not hot at 12C/54F but it felt like Summer. Quick trip to our favourite wine suppliers on Rue Marcel Doret to buy 160 litres of wine and then on to Auchan. We have a fridge for the boot of the car and it took the meat – duck breasts, corn fed chicken, beef steaks, beef medallions, joint of pork, pork loins, a large, jointed rabbit. The coolbox took the fish and cooked meat – two sides of fresh salmon, two large loins of cabillaud (cod), some smoked salmon, smoked pork, smoked sausage and a couple of boxes of Brie. Bags took packs of puntarelle and radicchio endives, garlics, onions plus a few, large jars of Dijon mustard.


Got home in time to watch Arsenal being humiliated.

20th February, 2013

The day has taken some time to find the sun but, as I write around 11.00 am, it is starting to shine through the trees. The Pound Sterling is definitely in the shade this morning having fallen from what was a steady £1.00 = €1.20 to about £1.00 = €1.14 this morning.

Pheasant & Celery with Tarragon soup for Lunch. Pauline knocked it up in half an hour and it was delicious. Our Dinner was Endive drizzled with Walnut oil, thin slices of smoked pork loin that we bought in France.


A General Strike across Greece today. The old dragon continues to flail its tail and yet economic data is genuinely showing signs of recovery. Kathimerini reports that Greece’s current account deficit narrowed last year to its lowest level since the country joined the euro, adding to evidence that the economy is slowly responding to harsh austerity measures.


21st February, 2013

My Grandmother came from Gloucestershire. My Grandfather was rooted in the heart of the Midlands – in  Repton. She was living in her family home with her parents and siblings on Station Road, Wickwar in 1911. The road, as it suggests, was in parallel with the railway line which bounded and fed industrial expansion. Particularly, it brought materials to Yate Airfield where aircraft were, initially, repaired but, eventually, built by Parnall Aircraft Company, amongst others. Now, my Grandfather, a journeyman joiner in Repton, Derbyshire met this girl from Station Road and married her in 1914 – the outset of the war. My Mother had always told me that Granddad had been a pilot in WW1 and there are photos of him in uniform which suggests that.

However, cousin David found that Granddad was RNAS and brought up his war record. He found that he didn’t join up until 1916 by which time he had met Mabel and married her, brought her back to Repton and my Dad had been born. So the question still remains – Why did a stable young man from an established Repton family and with a half completed skill set suddenly up sticks and travel over 100 miles down to Bristol area? I’m looking at websites about Yate Airfield. It was on Station Road. Mabel lived on Station Road. Aircraft were repaired there. Granddad was a carpenter. Suddenly, I read “Demands of wartime aircraft production meant that many woodworking companies were contracted to build aircraft.” The penny dropped.

22nd February, 2013

Snowing here. Seriously wet in Greece. The new ‘Athens News’ replacement, EnetEnglish, is reporting massive flooding across Attica; there has been torrential rain over Skiathos over night and Symi Dream reports heavy rain also. This photo is posted by Reuters and shows a woman rescued from flood waters by a resident standing on top of her car during heavy rain in Halandri, northern Athens.


Turkey & Vegetable soup for lunch and Dinner was Rabbit Stifado with Broccoli. Lovely.

23rd February, 2013

Light snow flurries this morning. Bitterly cold – My Weather app on my iPad says -1C (feels like -6C). We stay tucked up. It’s a weekend of getting fit watching sport. Looking forward to England beating France at Twickenham and Bradford beating Swansea at Wembley.

France have already taken a battering this weekend as Germany’s President yesterday called for English to become the common language of the European Union. The Times report this morning says:

Joachim Gauck braved the wrath of the French to appeal to all EU nations to put more effort into teaching English so that everyone in Europe could better understand each other. The head of the German state, a popular former Lutheran pastor, said that better communication in English would lead to greater integration and the united Europe of his dreams. He also wanted a common European TV channel in English to cover the concerns of all the member countries in order to break down suspicions and misunderstandings.

I can only say, Absolutely old chap!

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