Barbeques and garden machinery, the Germans have it right.

I’m forever being told that I should like barbeques, and I don’t. I certainly don’t much care for ‘having a go’ at doing one myself. This from bitter experience of lighting said fire and then waiting for hours before it got to the right temperature to grill a sausage. Said fire was still glowing at 2.00 in the morning with enough heat to cook a large beast. To say it was a fire risk is only a small understatement. And it’s the sun that brings them out. Any nearly warm sunny day brings out the charcoal and the flames, or the portable gas behemoth that’s been breeding germs in the garage where it was dumped last year when the sun hid for months.

Of course before the barbeque you must pressure wash the patio so that the grease stains will have somewhere to land and guests can mingle around in their best casual stuff that will smell of carbon forever after this day. The sound of this washer is enough to wake anyone in the district wanting a nice Sunday lie in, as if a fire engine was doing a practice quirt in the garden.

Best cut the grass while your at it. Fire up the motor mower and lets get some stripes into those lawns: the British Obsession. It’s all to do with those public schools surrounded by acres of manicured grass so the fee payers can be seen to be getting their money’s worth. For those of you not in the UK reading this, public schools in the UK are private and have to be paid for by the parents. They are not normally called private schools. Grammar schools are state schools where you have to pass an exam to get in and the rest go to secondary schools that are sometimes branded as academies. Some secondary schools were called secondary modern schools, but this title became a little tainted as if they were failures and not very modern at all. Most schools have manicured playing fields but the public ( private ) schools have the huge ones with no weeds at all, and some of the secondaries have sold their fields for cash. Where once lay playing fields now sport “Executive Homes” in roads with country names like “Field Court View”, though there is no view.

I digress.

Barbeques and the operation of garden machinery are as we all know are banned on a Sunday in Germany. If this is fake news then it shouldn’t be and the Germans have it right. OK sausage?

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My love of barbeques is illustrated here from one of the pieces that will be in my exhibition here in Cheltenham at the Gardens Gallery from August 16th to the 22nd.

The problems in America? It’s got to be the food.

It’s enough to turn anybody crazy. The things they eat over there get more and more extreme. I follow this site where the delightful Betty reviews food that she seems to buy from someone called Trader Joe.

Whatever next?

I have this vision of Joe in a large shed somewhere ( I’m keen on sheds as a place to be creative ) thinking “What can I put out there that will tickle their taste buds and send me laughing all the way to the bank?”.

Here are some recent gems from Joe:
Turkey Bacon. Great idea, lets get all the grim bits of that old turkey and press it until it looks like bacon and then get the road roller to flatten it so it resembles strips of bacon. No Joe! Bacon is bacon.

Organic Roasted Teriyaki Seaweed snack, what’s not to like? Well everything really Joe.

Shredded Cheese Blend. ” What if they think of buying cheese in a block, say three types, and then mixing it together Joe?” They’ll never think of that will they?

Coffee Flour. Made from dried and ground coffee cherry husks and husk skins. I kid you not, this is for real as they say. You know when you go to a coffee shop and the barista person knocks all those old coffee grounds out of the filter thingummy into a bin. Well Joe has been in there and knows how to monetise this stuff. Put it in flour. You’ll be delighted to know that it has limited production.

I was begining to think that we’d reached the nadir of foolishness when Betty posted something about Butter Lettuce. I’m pleased to report that they don’t put butter on the lettuce. It’s tempting to think that they do but it’s a type.

All these things might just be the tip of the iceberg.

Last on my list is Joe’s Beefless Ground Beef. If it’s beefless it’s not beef, so how come thay can call it beef if it’s not. This is not fake news, rumours to the contrary are groundless.

Eating any of this stuff is likely to make you trump. Hopefully they’ll find an antacid that will solve the problem.

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It’s a sort of revolution.

turnthebook135.jpgI’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.

The view from the Victoria sponge

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.

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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.