Friday, 30 November 2012

A man goes to change a light bulb...

It used to be so simple. The light bulb would go, although where to I have no idea, and you’d go to the cupboard, fetch out another and put it in. The only thing that you had to worry about was if it were a screw or bayonet fitting and as all of the fittings in our house were bayonet that wasn’t a concern at all.

These days though… well, there are so many fittings and so many different type of bulbs to have to manage - low energy, LED, strip, halogen, screw, push, toggle, clip. The list just goes on and on. Add to this that I’m quite lazy when it comes to replacing a dead bulb and some sort of minor catastrophe (of the gloomy, dark, kind) is bound to happen in our house at some point.

Let’s start with the hall and landings. Now, we have a lot of hall and landings, and they are lit by a series of double wall-light fittings that require very small bayonet type bulbs. The candle ones won’t do because they are too tall. So, round, dumpy ones, about the same size as an alligator egg, are required. There are so many of them needed to get all the wall lights fully functional that each time a count I come up with a different number, and if they were all on at once it would be far too bright. So I usually run with about one-in-three functioning. Of course these means that at times, when a bulb blows, one of our landings is plunged into darkness with all the mumbling swearing that goes with this particular inconvenience.

Then there’s the kitchen. We have no ‘main’ light in our kitchen, relying instead on over and under cupboard lighting which is more than adequate when they are all fully functional. Of course this in itself is a problem, and a few years back we had to replace all of the lighting units at great expense because we found that the strips that we needed couldn’t be replaced. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but the long, thin, strip lights that were fitted were intentionally non-standard by a couple of millimetres and when the company that sold us our kitchen closed, never to be heard of again, we found that we were progressively moving towards the dark ages as each non-standard strip died. We were down to two of sixteen before we took action.

Even the replacements, which are a standard size, are hard to get hold of; and as I write this particular rambling two strips are out under the wall cupboards and all of the in-display-cupboard lighting is dead. It’s almost like living in a Victorian kitchen, but without the lard and rabbits. In fact, gas and candlelight would probably be brighter.

Then the other day, the final remaining light in the bathroom went with a pop and the tripping of the breaker switch on the fuse box. Our bathroom lighting is recessed halogen, and there are far too many of them. It makes the dazzling, stark, whiteness of the bathroom unbearable when all the fittings are working. Consequently we only have one of the six recessed lights working at any one time and of course when this decides to die, as it did the other day, there are all sorts of consequences which involve… well, I will leave that to your imaginations.

Just how we came to have so many light fittings is a mystery, but at any one time if we were to turn them all on, they’d be at least a hundred bulbs of various shapes and sizes burning merrily away in our house – even more at Christmastime. Let there be light? Yes, let there; but I long for the days when all bulbs were standard and lighting was about seeing rather than ambiance. Mind you that did mean the ‘big light’ wouldn’t it and I shudder at the memory of that.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Cracks in the pavement...

So here I am with a little time on my hands, an opportunity to blog a few words, and guess what? I find that I don’t really have that much to say. Maybe I should forget this whole blogging thing and concentrate on something else. After all, maybe I’ve said pretty much everything I had to say; or maybe I’m just looking hard enough?

There was a time when I saw potential everywhere. It was in every pile of washed up detritus on the beach, the rain falling down a windowpane, the clouds in the sky, even in the cracks of the pavement. These days I seem not to be able to see it as easily and for some reason I’m tuned out to all that potential at the moment. Maybe I’m just tired, because I have to tell you I am feeling a little tired these days, or maybe I’ve just lost the knack.

I sometimes walk along the street, taking care not to step on the cracks between the paving slabs, and a gust of wind will grab me or a leaf flutter by and for a second or two I think that I might have something; but then the wind fluffs out and the leaf just blows away leaving me wondering what it was I was beginning to think. I spend a lot of time beginning to think only to find that maybe my ideas have fallen down between the pavement cracks and disappeared into that place we all knew as children but can’t quite remember any more.

That could be it; maybe I’ve got lost between the cracks in the pavement, taken my eyes of the path for a moment and tripped myself up, slipping down to whatever lies beneath.

Or maybe I’m just growing up.

I hope not. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Pen pals….

I haven't posted for a while. I could say that I've been busy, had a lot to do, or that I've not had anything much to say; and whilst these excuses reasons are true, it's mainly because I haven't had the heart. If you leave a comment on my blog you'll notice that it will require approval. I've never felt the need to do this before, but the world wide web is a big web and it crawls with spiders. There are some very self- obsessed people out there. Self obsessed and angry.

I had a pen pal once, back in those dark and distant days when you actually did use a pen and write on paper. I remember my pen was full of turquoise Stephenson’s ink and the pen had a rubber pump thing inside so that the ink could be drawn from the bottle.

How innocent the past was. I applied to an ad reading ‘Pen Pals Wanted’ that I found in the back of a comic. Think about letting your kids do that today. It wouldn’t happen for fear of who they might pen to - my God they could get anyone! Anyway, my pen pal wasn’t a forty-six year old man living with his mother and his collection of specialist magazines. No, my pen pal was nine, named Clive, and he lived in Clacton.

It soon became apparent that I had little in common with Clive. He was a great football fan and avid collector of football cards He would insist on going on about both, in letter after letter, asking me if I had any ‘swopsies’ despite me explaining that I didn’t do football in any shape or form. The more he wrote about football the more he insisted that I should follow it, get myself a team, even support his beloved Tottenham Hotspur.

I just kept writing about the books I was reading, my stamp collection and Dr. Who and as the weeks went on he got more and more irate, demanding that I get myself a team and write about football. He made all sorts of threats; he’d write to my school and tell them I was ‘one of them’; he’d tell the police I was a loony; he even threatened to stop writing to me. I only wished he would stop, but instead he wrote more frequently, two or three letters a week; goodness knows where he got the thruppences for the stamps.

Eventually his letters became really abusive, calling me all sorts of names and threatening me with violence from his dad/brother/pals/gang and after a while I stopped writing. But Clive kept up writing his no longer football-full, thrice-weekly, abusive letters until eventually I stopped reading them and threw them away as soon as they arrived. He was beginning to scare me; not the threats he made, but the rage with which he made them, simply because he couldn’t get his own way and control me.

Eventually the letters stopped, he probably moved on to abuse another pen pal. I’m sure that he went on to be one of those seventies teenage football hooligans that destroyed spectator football for a while, going to the game for the violence rather than the sport. Anyway, from what I knew of him from his letters he was totally unpleasant.

I suppose that these days that you might call him a Troll. I should have learnt my lesson that first time.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Up early this morning, brrrrr… to the first real frost of the winter season. I had to scrape my car windscreen and windows to remove the ice and it  really was ice, pretty hard, and not just a sprinkling of frost. Out in the back yard, in what I call cold corner, that place that never catches the sun, a few fallen leaves had acquired a sugar coating of fine icy crystals. Such a clear blue sky and the air like pins in my nostrils. More to come I guess; I think that it might be another cold one this year.

you better...

You better watch out. You better not cry. Better not pout. I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town. He's making a list and checking it twice; gonna find out who's naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! Oh, You better watch out! You better not cry. Better not pout. I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas in November...

Well it seems like Christmas has arrived in its unannounced and not-quite-sure-if-I-should-be-here yet kind of way. The ads have been on the TV for ages, and the trees and decorations are gathering dust in the shops already. Mince pies seem to be a year around thing these days, but shelf after shelf of Christmas puddings have suddenly appeared in the supermarkets.

Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and we’re only halfway through November. Perhaps at this point I should say “Christmas gets earlier every year,” or “I’ve hardly had time to put my bonfire out.” But I won’t. After all, we are all so busy these days that if Christmas didn't start early we'd never get everything done on time - and there is so much to do that there didn't used to be.

All over the country small towns are making big deals about the switching on of lights. The fact that an ancient Santa on a half-lit sleigh and a decidedly dodgy Frosty with a crack across his face can hardly be described as a lighting spectacular seeming not to bother them at all. Well, it is Christmas – almost.

Back in the town of my birth it looks like their Christmas lights are already on and the tall fir tree firmly in place. A small market town in Oxfordshire is what I remember; it’s grown somewhat since then, and all the fields I used to wander are now housing estates – yes, it may be a cliché but it’s true. They still have the tree and the outdoor carol service to go with it though, so not everything has changed.

Every year we went to the carol service around the tree – all weathers, nothing stopped us, wrapped in old overcoats and scarves, wearing gloves and balaclavas knitted by my Gran. Sometimes the paths were so icy we had to hold hands to keep us from falling. Well, Christmas started later then. They were good times, singing all those old familiar songs about stables and angels and holly and ivy. There were always a few merry gentlemen around to join in with the singing, not least the local vicar.

I’m glad to see they still keep it up, particularly as there’s so little of any type of spirit around these days. When you find a drop or two you need to keep it going.

Anyway, Merry Christmas in November and only 36 sleeps till Christmas.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The money bag...

The Chinese call it the Money bag.

Well listen up you flippin’ Chinese.

There are messages circulating claiming that December 2012 will feature 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays, a combination of days that occurs only once every 823 years. The message claims that sending on the information will bring good luck to the sender. 

It’s perfectly true that December 2012 has 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays. But, such a combination occurs far more often than every 823 years. The last time it happened was in December 2007 and the next time it happens will be in December 2018. In fact, any month that has 31 days will have three consecutive days that occur five times in the month. Such combinations are commonplace and occur each and every year.

Just goes to show that you can’t trust a Chinaman when it comes to numbers and probably explains why, when I order a take-away from Fu-Manchu’s down the road, I never get my prawn crackers.

Inscrutable? I should flippin’ coco.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

£6.6 million...

Sorry, I’ve tried leave it alone, but I can’t, so… that John Lewis Christmas ad.

Yes, the one with the two snow people, the one that tells the heartrending story of a snowman who goes in search of a perfect present for his snow person partner, the one with a little girl wistfully looking out of the window, the one that I have heard described on Facebook and other places as cute, and awesome, and lovely, and sweet.

Yes, the one that cost £6.6 million to make.

£6.6 million?

Yes, £6.6 million.

£6.6 million… how?

Well, firstly it was shot in New Zealand where, despite there being no John Lewis, there is snow around at the time they made the ad, not quite enough, but it was easy (if costly) to ship in a few snow machines then tickle it up by computer. Then of course there were the helicopters to transport the Styrofoam snowman, one of many that they used in the ad, to the top of a snowy mountain. That CGI robin probably cost a few quid, and the cost of shipping British road signs and a telephone box (which can hardly be found these days in Britain) to Auckland to make it look authentically British, can’t have come cheap

And, and, and… well, that’s just about it – over six and a half million quid well spent.

Well, I for one don’t think a few sugar-wrapped, twee, shamelessly sentimental, and (dare I say it?) slushy, ooo’s and arrr’s is in any way worth all that money. Besides, the ad is dull and predictable. Better that the snowman had found his love melted into a pool of water on his return. Better still if John Lewis had given the money to charity and then advertised the fact simply and as cheaply as possible on our screens for thirty seconds. That would have grabbed viewer and media attention just as well, and it would have been totally unexpected.

£6.6 million would have given every homeless person in Britain a place to sleep, a decent Christmas dinner, and even a pair of shoes this Christmas. It would have bought an awful lot of toys and treats for thousands of parentless kids. It could have done something for people in various states of ill health in hospitals all over the country, maybe even paid for a few operations. It might have heated quite a few pensioners’ homes for the Christmas holidays, maybe saved a few dying from hypothermia. The money would have bought an awful lot of schoolbooks, even kept a few more libraries open for a while. Need I go on?

Listen, I’m no Bob Geldolf, but John Lewis should hang their fucking heads in shame; they claim to be corporately socially responsible and then spend this huge sum of money to advertise a stupid beret, a pair of gloves and a scarf.

So stop billing and cooing at this silly seasonal nonsense. I hope that when you next see that ad you think about what all that money might have achieved. It isn’t cute, or awesome, or lovely, or sweet – it’s a criminal waste.

My advice – other department stores and shops are available, use them instead.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The thinker...

When I logged in to Google today it told me that it was Auguste Rodin’s 172nd birthday.

I once lived not too far from Philly and at weekends I used to drive into the city and go to the Museum of Art. It was free on Sunday mornings, and I’d wander around taking in the Monets and Manets, the Picassos and Dalis – they even had a Breugel.

Not from the Museum of Art is the largest collection of Rodin’s work outside of Paris. I avoided the Rodin Museum for ages, not being a fan of sculpture, but one wet day I wandered in and couldn’t believe that bronze and marble could be brought to life in quite the way Rodin had managed.

It wasn't the thinkers, or kisses, or Venus - it was the hands that got me most.

I spent a happy afternoon studying what appeared to be men and women frozen in time, some locked, others emerging from the stone and bronze itself.

How did they get there I wondered?

It made me think…

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The boy with a fish...

I almost missed it this morning, caught up as I was in my own thoughts and shopping for some ingredients to make flat breads. For a moment I thought that I had missed it, but checking my watch (which isn’t entirely reliable) against my phone, I realised that I had two minutes to go. I wasn’t keen on spending my two minutes, their two minutes, in a supermarket clinging onto a shopping trolley; so instead, I left my trolley empty and went outside to sit on the bench that was just around the corner.

The supermarket somehow seemed so disrespectful. But sat on my bench alone, cold and clear with light blue skies, a perfect eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it seemed okay.

I have no idea why I remember. Perhaps it was the poetry I was forced to read at school – the Sassoon and Owen, the Rupert Brook… “and is there honey still for tea?” Or maybe it’s the two boys I knew at school who went off to become soldiers; one never to return. It could be Frank. It might even be those endless portrayals of the First World War on all those period dramas we all love to watch. Maybe, it’s just the building of the war memorials – in every village and every town across the land.

I seek them out sometimes, always surprised, occasionally amazed by the variety of their form; the boy with the fish in my old home town, the foreshortened Unknown Soldier on the harbour in Pwllheli.

It always seems to be about the First World War for me. The rest (I’m sorry to say) doesn’t really come in to it. The Second World War is close, but it seems far too jolly with all the beer and air raids and fighter pilots – of course I know that it wasn’t, but it’s those black and white films you see; David Niven and Dickie Attenborough, Mrs. Miniver, even ‘Allo ‘Allo. Oh, I know it's wrong, don't worry.

And all these new conflicts - we don't call them wars any more - brave... without doubt, heroes... many. But they are almost there through choice, particularly these days all these years in. They must know what they are getting into... they still give their lives though.

Yes, it's all those far too young men of The Great War - pulled from fields and schools with promises, fear, patriotism, then shoved into trenches and made to charge... that’s what I think of when I remember.

As I said - I don’t know why I remember, but whatever the reason, I’m glad that I do.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Following the arrows...

Deep in the land of dreams last night I watched Bryan Ferry perform a Stockhausen piece using only a line of paperback books as an instrument. The way he made each dog-eared penguin sing had to be heard to be believed. Later I was complimented by a girl I went to college with. I hardly spoke to her at the time, tongue-tied youth that I was back then, but she said nice things as we drank our coffee. A helicopter ride was meant to happen, but at the last minute the flight got cancelled and instead I was given a new pair of shoes and found myself walking home following the arrows instead.

Following the arrows; it was a game we played at school. Someone, usually anonymous, would chalk out a trail and when you came across one... well, honour and curiosity would mean that you were duty-bound to follow.

I’ve no idea how many trails I followed as a boy. Sometimes they would just fizzle out leaving you searching for the next arrow on grimy walls and dusty pavements, other times they were so long and protracted that you’d have to give up in order to be home for tea in the fading evening light – or the bogeyman (or Nappy) might get you. It was a great game to a ten year old boy and his friends. On Saturday mornings, before the matinee at the pictures, we’d often go in search of a trail.

One half-term holiday I came across a clearly chalked trail; none of my friends were around that day and I was left to kicking heels in the sunshine on my own. I was bored, so for something to do I decided to follow the trail. It was a long one, taking me through Gas Alley (quick in case the vampires are out early), past the Two Brewers and through to the park. Whoever had made the trail had taken a lot of trouble, the arrows were well spaced so that you could, with ease, see the next one not too far in the distance. A huge arrow pointed forwards at the ornate park gates, quickly followed by another indicating that the trail went into the woodland walk - which was really just a narrow litter-strewn stand of scrubby trees which at one time may have provided Victorian trysters with a little privacy.

I followed the arrow into the trees. The ground was a shamble of last year’s leaves and strewn waxed-paper Kia-Ora cartons; the arrows continued, not on the ground, chalked on the trunks of the trees instead. At the end of the walk the trees filled out into a small coppice containing a few larger trees and one huge beech at its centre. The arrows led me to the beech tree and carefully drawn on its grey-green trunk was an arrow pointing skywards.

Well, long story short. I climbed the tree, following the arrows higher and higher. It was a dizzying climb and when I reached the uppermost branches I found them decorated with old, broken dolls. Written on a thick branch was this question: “Did you bring me a present? Love Nappy”

I scrambled down and ran home. Even now I still don’t like dolls.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Old man in the woods…

The old man stepped into the trees, he wasn’t really old at all, he’d just lived a long time and when you live a long time you realise that whilst there is reality, it doesn’t mean much at all.

The trees were as real to him as anything else, as real as the stick in his hand and the cap upon his head. It was a comforting feeling wandering through the trees, reality seeming to matter less and less the further into the trees he shuffled. He counted the trees as he walked - one, two, three, four, five - it reminded him of past times, a walk in the woods on a sunny day, climbing trees as a boy, chopping trees as a man.

Sapling to oak and inevitable decline. Just too many winters, but just as many summers too; he reminded himself.

Confusion? Well, why not? The world was a confusing place; red, green, black, white, boy, man, girl, woman… what a lot to take in, to process through dimming eyes and softening brain.

“Take the trees every time.” He thought.

The love was there, although sometimes hard to grasp and often too easy to misinterpret; but as he walked through the trees, he could feel the love that had long ago planted the acorn in this shady wood. One, two, three, four, five - it reminded him of past times and her laugh.

From tiny acorns, oak trees grow. And with that recognition he smiled.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Firework night has been and gone, the silence outside the night before last almost deafening - not a whiz or a bang, a crackle or a boom. Strange I’d almost got used to living with the soundtrack to a war film - and then all went quiet like a ceasefire.

Quiet - my turn now.

Going outside, in the not-quite-damp, we lit our sparklers, making shapes in the dark evening air. It was fun. Just a few cheap fireworks, enough to celebrate something I’d almost forgotten. Funny how those bits of wire, bending with the heat of the phosphorous, can bring a smile to your face.

We used to light Lucifer matches, one after another and straight from the box; different coloured flashes of light, hand-held till they burnt the end of our fingers. Rockets in pop bottles, penny bangers in bottles too (dangerous but spectacularly noisy), Catherine wheels, volcanoes, thrup'enny Roman candles .

Not this year though.

This year it was lanterns; four for three pounds, holding the thin paper carcase high in the air, lighting the burner and waiting for the hot air to fill the paper balloon. Wait and wait, a slight rise, then the gradual float up into the sky and away. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Our own totally silent paper star floating high above as we three watched until it was gone, out of sight.

Up, up and away, all with our own thoughts and hopes floating in our heads.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Another Guy Fawkes night...

Another mask, another Guy Fawkes night tomorrow.

The fireworks have been going off for days and as I write this yet more bangs and screeches shatter the peace outside. Now don’t get me wrong, I love fireworks and always have; but I still believe that Bonfire Night should be celebrated on just that – Bonfire Night, November the 5th.

Tonight I wasn’t going to blog about how now would be a good time for a new Guido Fawkes to appear on the scene, what with this mess of a bunch of political idiots of all parties we have at the minute. Of course if a new G.F. were to appear the Special Forces would get him before he’d even chance to even order his gunpowder or semtex or whatever; they have intelligence you see.

Yes, he’d be branded a terrorist and locked away forever. I doubt that they’d hang, draw and quarter him though – just why do we burn poor Guy on the bonfire, shouldn’t we dangle him from a rope, drag out his stuffing, and pull him to pieces instead? And just how would he get in? It isn’t as if the cellars under the Houses of Parliament are accessible these days, not like back then when you could rent them as storage or warehousing.

When I was a child the story of Guy Fawkes was shown on Blue Peter every year it seemed; nice black and white drawings of men in big hats and John Noakes telling the tale. I think GF came across as a hero; at least he did to me. I wonder if he was meant to, I wonder if today they’d tell the tale of an anti-government terrorist intent on bring down the government, a murderer with no conscience. I rather think that they would.

No, I wasn’t going to blog about Guido tonight but the fireworks outside meant that I couldn’t stop myself - filling my head with Blue Peter drawings and Guy Fawkes masks cut from comics and pasted to card.  How I enjoyed stuffing dad’s old clothes full of newspapers and balancing the Guy, resplendent in comic mask, on top of a far too big bonfire in a far too small back garden.

Does anyone still do that I wonder?

Anyway, I’ll be celebrating tomorrow, November 5th. I have some sparklers and a nice hot punch to toast old Guido. I won’t be burning him though, or hanging, drawing and quartering him; to me he will always be a hero.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The country of the past...

Every story ever told.

Ah, the country of the past. It's where we all live isn't it? It’s a good place to visit but not the kind of place to get trapped in; well, at least it isn’t for me.

Of course, the size of that country depends on how much past you’ve had, whether it was good or bad, if you want to visit there and tarry for a while. For some it’s a long difficult journey to get back. For others it’s no journey at all; it’s like slipping from one room into another through a door that always remains open.

I’ve taken you here before haven’t I?

A long time ago I was driving a road at night. I’d been driving for a long time, crossing east to west across the country, coast to coast, cold sea to cold sea. I’d nearly reached my destination when at once I realised I’d have to stop and rest for a few minutes, despite the handful of miles that remained.

We’ve probably all had that feeling that our minds are wandering into sleep while we are at the wheel, the fraction of a second when, warmed into comfort by the hum of the wheels on the road, the snugness of the car interior like a comfy cocoon around us, we know that we have lost the road for a moment and dropped into the darkness of a brief unconsciousness.

I’d done the usual things: turned off the heating, opened the window, raised the volume of the radio and switched the music to something raucous and banal instead of the soothing voice of a Radio 4 presenter. If I’d had a coffee then I’d have drunk it, a cigarette and I would have smoked it. Best to stop and rest, just for a few minutes; the lanes were coming up and they were dark and narrow and I might not have the same fortune I’d had coming down the winding mountain road.

I knew a place to stop - the familiar lay-by set back from the road overlooking the invisible night time sea. Just a few minutes; some time to rest my eyes and lose the feeling of imminent dizziness which phased in and out of my head

Pulling in I turned off the engine and cut the lights. It was dark and peaceful. Just a few minutes to rest my eyes… and I was gone.

I awoke hours later, the sun rising over a flat grey sea. Disorientation hit me and I scrambled for the door and stepped out into the cold, grey dawn. My car was surrounded by birds. Gulls and rooks, starlings, even the odd thrush or two; and up in small tree, more than a bush but not quite a oak, sat a large brown owl.

We stared at each other for a while, some strange intelligence passing between us. It was as if he knew something about me and where I’d been. His eyes blinked twice, then he opened his wings and glided, swooping low and away, sending up the other birds in a scatter of the early morning light until I was quite alone.

I got back in the car, drove those last few miles and as I travelled a certainty settled on me. I knew that as I’d slept I’d travelled to the country of the past, slipped through that door which for me is not often open and the owl had come back with me to remind me of something - just what though I can’t quite remember - and this single thought:

“The country of the past; I’ve taken you there before haven’t I?”

Friday, 2 November 2012

Old Speckled Hen...

No blogging for me tonight. Instead I'm drinking what has become my favourite beer. You have no idea how excited I become when I happen across a pub that serves it on draft. There used to be one in Wales, high above the sea on the cliffs at Morfa Nefyn, but alas they no longer sell it.

Old Speckled Hen was first brewed in 1979 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, not too far from where I used to live, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory that used to be there. 

For a while back then I drank it in the Six Bells, my occasional local at the time. These days I buy it in bottles or cans, enjoying every last mouthful of the rich, brown nectar.

Old Speckled Hen took its name from an MG car which was used as a runaround for workers in the MG factory. Over the years of service, the car somehow became covered in flecks of paint, gaining it acclaim in the town and earning it the nickname "Owld Speckled 'Un", translated into Old Speckled Hen for the magnificent brown ale first brewed by Morland.

I love it, and with that I'm off to drink some more of it from my favourite glass. 

Yes, you and this blogging disease of mine are keeping me from my beer.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Happy birthday L.S...

An even shorter post tonight as I'm hoping not to draw too much attention to myself.



See, it wasn't all matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs.