Meandering into the Northgate branch of Gloucester’s Sainsbury some years ago, this friendly supermarket unlike it’s big faceless brother on the other side of town, catered for the city centre folk. Not exactly ‘trolley full big spenders’ but loyal nevertheless.
It was obvious from the quaver in her voice that this was Tracie’s first ‘go’ on the tannoy to announce the deal of the day. She was approaching it with all the trepidation of an ‘x’ factor finalist. Speaking to her mum that morning she said she was a little nervous, more accurately she said ” Oooer Mam am bricking it!” “Oh you’ll be alright our Trace “, her Mum said back reassuring the poor thing by saying ” no one listens to that stuff anyway”.
You could hear her breathing before her first big lines, supplied no doubt by the manager with a sly wink at his colleagues he handed the script to Trace and said, as if the script was perfectly normal: Don’t forget the bit about “Thank you for shopping at Sainsbury”
Going for it big time the announcement commenced, Trace’s voice was perfectly modulated until the last three words of the main script:
“Today’s special offer is Leg of Salmon”
and then, with some off mike sounds in the background and barely a whisper ” Thank you for shopping at Sainsbriz”
Leg of Salmon was delivered with just a little lack of confidence. I noticed it and burst out laughing. No one else really took it in, some of Gloucester’s population may well be under the misapprehension that leg of salmon exists, but the manager and script writer were perfectly aware of what they’d done to the script. As he passed me with a broad grin on his face I asked him if he could direct me to the salmon in question. ” It’ll make a change from browsing through the adult cereal ” I told him. ” Did you find anything ‘special’?” he asked me still sniggering.
“Well nothing as special as leg of salmon” I replied.
This is a true story, just some names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Before you skip to the end you need to read this handy guide to book revolution above, reblogged from an earlier blog, so like a biscuit it’s been cooked at least twice.
Here’s the revolution taking place.
It’s a harmless sort of protest, so when you see an unworthy book. Join the revolution.I’m sure Mr Vardy is a delightful human being.
Here’s another picture from this week which speaks for itself. It takes a really good cartoon idea for a member of the public to go to the trouble of doing this, and in common with a lot of cartoons it tends to say what we all seem to think. All credit to the cartoonist Royston for this one. Royston the cartoonist
A trip to the Mason’s yard at Gloucester Cathedral. I have a friend at the Cathedral who said she would help me out getting a small sculpture repaired for me. I wanted to match the stone and make the repair myself and asked if I could have a little stone dust to match the colour when I make the repair. She was happy to oblige and off I went with the wingtip in my bag. The sculpture was of a bird and it’s wing the victim of the gust of wind.
I’ve been to this place before and it fascinates me. There’s something very calm about the place and the masons themselves exude this calm too. Perhaps it’s a result of working to reasonable deadlines, after all you can’t re-craft the pinnacle of a Cathedral in a weekend. Ollie, the guy giving me the advice there on how to repair my modest piece went through everything in details about the glue and the hardener, then paused, looked me straight in the eye and detected that I would not be approaching this repair with the calm and expertise that he has, and offered to do it for me. Brilliant chap. They also let me take a few photographs in the place, and here I came across these bits and bobs.
Everything, but everything is covered in stone dust, mason’s included.If you ever get the chance , they do have ‘Open Days” every now and again, don’t miss it. I’m in awe of the skills that these guys possess in bucket loads.
This chap is a clay model of a gargoyle at Gloucester Cathedral which is now in situ on the edge of the roof. Go and take a look at it, but take a pair of binoculars as it is up very high.
Don’t look up in the rain as you’ll get an eyeful from his mouth
In the background it looks like a photo of previous masons and their apprentices, they seem to be working in a tin shed! They don’t now.
Another quite small plaster model which was attached to the wall, I think these guys have a bit of a sense of humour.
Here are a few things that you should know about British Gas. If, like me you lose someone and then become responsible for their energy bills the transition can be quite simple. But if you still are responsible for the property after 18 months then they have to change the account. Don’t ask me why but they do. This happened to me and the confusion this engineered put me at odds with British Gas. I’ve sorted it out now, it was partly my fault, and partly theirs to be fair, but as they say after a fight, they started it!
That was until this morning when this came. Only last week they told me on the phone that both accounts were finalised and settled. So I owe them 1p. I suppose I could pay it, or as they said last week I can assume that the account is settled and wait for them to chase this 1p. It might have cost them a little more than 1p to send this bill.
If I phone them I can get through to either India, South Africa or South Yorkshire, and it will certainly cost me more than 1p in my time to do it.I’ve found in the past that you get different information from each location, so I am wary. So let’s see if they can sort it out themselves.
Some days of Autumn the light catches just right and yesterday was such a day. Not my plot but one that I cross on a favourite walk. This one caught my eye. If you look a little closer you’ll see a fine crop of tommies in that greenhouse and the greens have done ok too.
Anyone familiar with my site will know my liking for sheds. This plot with it’s amazing collection of slightly raised wooden beds for the veg must have taken hours of work to get right. I think I know what they are trying to achieve and that’s to eliminate the dreaded couch grass. I won’t work, but it will help. That stuff could tunnel into a bank vault, which some of you might remember over here is another pastime that us pensioners get up to. Pensioner pastimes
On my own plot I have the other dreaded weed: horse’s tail. Someone asked me what it looks like the other day. I asked if they’d ever seen a horse’s tail. What I could do with is what comes out from below the horses tail.
Sunflowers are a favourite with artists and they are with me. If I get some of that stuff that comes out from below the horses tail I might give them a go next year on my own plot. These two are somewhat degraded from their full yellow glory but magnificent still.
Have a good Monday, and if you’re a pensioner, stick to the plot.
I’m re-blogging this from some time ago as we are in the season of celebrity books and here in Nam ( Cheltenham ) we’ve just had the what people call the ‘lit fest’. It’s a great boost to the town bringing in loads of worthy media folk and writers looking for an extra sale of a recent tome.
Here’s something that I am wont to do now and again.
I’m sure that many people like me, take against certain celebrities. One of my own dislikes is that chap who swears a lot whilst cooking. I do a bit of that myself when cooking but not at other people, and if I did would expect more than a mouthful back. There are others but for the time being we’ll limit it to the one. In general I don’t dislike people but it’s what they do that at times finds my disapproval.
So what to do about it? I suppose I should take direct action and write to this chap and ask him to moderate his language whilst in the kitchen, but it’s hardy likely to succeed. After all his success is based upon his base language and the reaction to it.
Celebs such as he generally write books. It funds their lifestyle and they do need to make a living.
So here’s a plan learnt from my father, who apparently did this on a regular basis with anyone who wrote a book and who he thought did not deserve to sell it. When next in the bookshop the book of the celeb will be prominently displayed with aforementioned celeb photographed in action on the cover.
Turn the books. Put them back on the shelf but back to front.
That’s it! Not earth shattering but a gesture of disapproval that hurts no one. The back of the celebrity book is likely to be deeply uninteresting but if it has the celebrity on the back too, then turn it upside down too. They look quite ridiculous upside down. Come to think of it, it’s only people who are quite ridiculous that deserve this sort of revolution.
Turn the books!
I’ll be looking in my local bookstore to see if this catches on.
If you thought this was going to be spiteful then think again. I’m talking about lino cutting and before you reach for the mouse to click off take a look at this. It’s result of lino cutting.
It’s a print by my chum Rosalind Forster who is not only a talented printmaker but a talented artist all round. It’s beyond me how she gets results like these from cutting out bits of lino. Illustrated here are the bare necessities before you even add ink and colour.
It’s the merging of the skills with the cutter and the printing and still getting it right that is so bloody clever. Added to that is composition and drawing.
It’s not often you get a pancake tosser on the front of a magazine, but this one made it. I quite like the art director’s note in the top right not to lose the pancakes at the top when placing. I’m assuming I did this for pancake day.
I was always inspired by the wonderful invention and drawing of William Heath Robinson, where he imagined machines that could do all sorts of wonderful tasks. I think this drawing would benefit from some simple animation.Flying pancakes, lovely.
This blog covers a multitude of recent popular subjects. Baking being one of them. The drawing (it’s not a sketch for crying out loud ) is a first idea put down on paper very quickly and I just hope that I can get the same feeling onto the final as happened in this. It’s part of a series on the British which was somewhat interrupted by the Brexit shenanigans, and has caused me to think a little more about the project. We are not quite what I thought we were before the vote. Anyhow, politics aside, and that’s where they are best left for the time being, this is a drawing of a typical Summer fete day somewhere in the British Isles.
The word fete is almost guaranteed a day of dark clouds and some teeming rain.Ladies of a certain age will have spent some time baking the obligatory Victoria Sponges for the teas which of course is the highlight of a local fete. The sweet peas will have been through the judging at the plant and produce table, and at least one of the gardeners entering the competition will grumble about the size of someone else’s onions.
Some of the ladies there will be wearing what we used to call pacamacs, which were basically plastic bags pretending to be coats, and will also have smaller plastic bags on their heads to prevent dampness getting to the ‘blue rinse’.
Dogs will be in evidence as will be the odd harrumphing retired colonel who, no doubt will be chewing on a pipe.Inevitably fetes happen only in villages, it’s rare to find them in towns ( they are then referred to as “street parties” and only happen when HRH reaches a significant milestone ). These days villages are mainly populated by incomers and people who can afford the massive prices for peasant cottages that are the norm these days.
So there you have it, Summer’s gone now and the village will be gathering large amounts of wood to burn an effigy on November the 5th to celebrate someone who tried to burn down the Houses of Parliament. Oh crikey! Back to politics.
My new best friends in London are the bakers at the Pavilion bread shop in Hackney and the Sainsbury mini store on Mare Street. First of all the bread, here’s what it looks like. Now we are talking pricey bread here but it really is worth it.
They do coffee too and if the bread’s anything to go by then that will be good too. There are also a range of eyewateringly priced cakes that make the bread seem cheap by comparison. I’ve yet to try them, I’ll need a win on the horses before I can afford them. You can find them on Broadway Market. Take a look at them ever though their website is still in the oven being baked…The cafe bit where they do the baking is here
Seek it out and try it for yourself.
I was there to help look after my twin grandchildren, and have persuaded my daughter to write about it on her own blog. Take a look sometime, it’s worth reading. She’s a witty one! daughterblog She manages to keep her sense of humour despite spending many hours awake and very few asleep.
Take a look at this too, this is close to her place and is an area that many years ago was just falling to bits. The street was populated by artists and these days it’s coming up in the world, but it seems to have kept it’s character.That’s a busy overground railway on the bridge. The area buzzes with life and activity.
One place that really is never quiet is the little Sainsbury store on Mare Street. It stocks the usual stuff that Sainsbury’s do, but the difference is the staff. They make you feel like an old friend and nothing seems to dull their day. Always smiling and helpful. Give them a big star, they must be the friendliest mini store I’ve ever been into. I don’t often give a link to a corporate being but in this case the Mare Street Store deserve recognition, they show how a shop should run. #Sainsbury Find them here
Back to drawings for the next blog and please don’t call them sketches, it’s like talking to a Chinese athlete and calling table tennis ping pong. Just not done.
It’s not the words you want to hear when climbing into the rear of a two seater aircraft. The pilot, a large bloke with a big ‘wooly pully’ as he might call it was heaving his not inconsiderable frame into the front behind the array of instruments and the all important joy stick. I was hoping he’s be able to see it among all the litter in the plane which consisted of many sweet wrappers and discarded fag packets. For those readers in the US we call cigarettes fags, amongst other things.
” I’ll drive” he joked and then said “strap yourself in then”, and then muttered something about “health and safety” as if strapping yourself into an aeroplane was ever not an option.
I’d gone along to this local gliding centre to take photos of gliders and people learning to fly them, and here I was with Wing Commander Sidney ” Sweetie” Pie ( Not his real name ) about to take to the air in a small but noisy German aeroplane in the hunt for the photos in question. “I thought I was going to just be on the ground” I chatted to him nervously as the plane bowled down the field that they took for a runway in these parts. ” No bloody good getting pictures of the things on the ground, let’s go and find some up here”, he answered cheerfully. As we took off with a glider attached I squeaked a barely audible “OK”
What followed put considerable strain on my undercarriage as well as the plane’s. Once we’d got to what he called a decent height and I called near space, he pulled a large lever and let the glider we were towing off to find some thermals. By this time the camera I had taken with me was higher than my face in the cockpit as I sank down as close to the seat as I could crush myself.
For the next terrifying fifteen minuets that felt like an hour, he chased around the sky like a demented Spitfire pilot chasing after a Focke Wolfe, the first of these words was akin to something that I muttered each time he dipped his wing and zoomed into another target.
He landed perfectly after the excursion and helped my gingerly out of the back, offering me one of his collection of sweet assortments. I can’t say the photographs came out that well, though I did get a good close up of the closing mechanism of a plane’s cockpit hood. More by accident than design.
Ok, this is the first time I’ve posted a film. This is called British Camp, it’s an outdoorsy type of epic starring Malvern Hills and has far reaching views. Production values are not up to much, it was done on a phone after all, so you’ll be pleased that it is very short.
An October walk on the Malvern Hills is the main story line. The story ends with Tiffin the hero of the outing which can be found at the end of the walk and is not to be missed. No saccharin here this is real chocolate with a chocolate topping, absolutely topping with a cup of tea.
This is one of the opening scenes
Way out West you can see for miles over to the Shropshire Hills and Wales beyond.
Back down on the home run there is the cafe, perched on the hillside. Ring both bells and you will be well served. Tiffin and tea, what better way to end the adventure.
Tiffin was served by Ruffz Refreshment Kiosk
Midsummer Hill, Malvern and made by the proprietor
Miss Toni Leigh Hollings
who sounds like a star too!
Find them on Facebook:Ruffz
Then seek out after a healthy walk. Well worth it.