EDitorial ± 24-Sep-2002

The Needles

With kiddies un, deux et trois on Saturday to "Britain's oldest recorded town" (so says the sign off the A12), namely Colchester. Known as Camulodunum many, many years ago, it was burned by Boudica in AD60 after she'd tried and failed to master its pronunciation. Narf!

Spent most of afternoon in Castle Park engaging in customary activities for small children, such as:

  • nervously watching two-year-old climb tall spiral steps of slide
  • practicing keepy-uppy with our sadly deflated football
  • buying Twister ice-creams, last of the summer stock
  • wiping noses, changing a nappy, and worrying squirrels

As any fule kno, tho, you need to balance the fun & games with a smidgen of edukashun & culture. Which we did by popping into the Minories Art Gallery, opposite the castle, pre-playground.

Knitted map showing directions to Minories gallery, by an outfit named Cast Off who promote knitting as fun and funky

Cue that lovable Keith Allen and that wacky Damien Hirst:

Knit one, pearl one
Drop one, curl one
— Fat Les, Vindaloo

At the Minories, we found ourselves in a jolly exhibition named Cosy, the work of one Freddie Robins. Bit of a first for all of us, since every item in the show is knitted. Works ranged from a hanging jumper with six-foot long legs, to a figure pierced by knitting needles (one for the kids), to a series of woolen buildings. Only later did I find out that these knitted houses were the scenes for "high profile crimes committed by women". Nice.

Awful lot of arts and crafts going on in the sizeable garden too. Very pleasant atmosphere outside, aided I'm sure by the in-house cafe. And there, at the bottom of the garden, a fab folly, number 69 in Rick O'Brien's book of East Anglian Curiosities. Apparently this is around 250 years old, and was built as a summerhouse or "umbrello". Says the leaflet, it's "one of the earliest surviving buildings of the Gothic Revival", doncha know. Recent restoration has done it a power of good, by the look of it.

So, if you're in the area, drop by for a bit of art, a cuppa and an eyeful of the folly.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 17-Sep-2002

Instant Fix

Not that my trusty two-wheeled mode of transport is remotely worth nicking, but I do like to leave it locked. Daft not to. Annoyingly, of late, it's been more & more tricky to fully insert (split infinitive alert) the key into the mechanism, one of those minor irritations that slowly gnaws away at you.

Then, this past weekend, I applied Wonder Product (TM) to the lock, and now that key simply glides right on in, yes sirree. If only a few more things in life were like Wonder Product (TM), better known as WD-40. Squeaky hinge? Squirt-squirt, job's a good un. Rusty chain? Ditto, bish bosh sorted.

Does the job and smells great too

It could be that this luscious lubricating liquid is the nearest we have these days to a panacea, a universal remedy. Back in the middle ages, when men were men and dirt was dirty, alchemists went in search of these cure-alls. There was talk of one such substance called Promethean unguent, which gave the body protection against fire, weaponry, etc. All well and good, but would it help you start a wet engine?

Talk of instant fixes reminds me of this totally irrelevant Stephen Wright one-liner:

I put instant coffee in my microwave oven and almost went back in time

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Lesser known uses for WD-40:

  1. loosens stones in horses' hooves
  2. freshens breath
  3. enlivens a simple vinaigrette
  4. soothes nappy rash
  5. prevents the seven signs of aging

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 12-Sep-2002

Pas De Frites, Pas De Ketchup

Been on our summer hols, as you may have twigged, in Brit'ny, growers of asparagus spears. Returned to Blighty after a l-o-n-g drive the weekend before last. Fully intended to post an EDitorial last week, best of intentions and all that. Have been going soft and getting used to going to bed at a reasonable time, the lure of a Douglas Coupland novel proving strong. Nearly missed this week too, but I was strong. Grrr. Now I am returned.

Bendy bridge ahead   Stained glass colours on the wall of Treguier cathedral

Some random good points about life in France:

  • the bread: they sure know how to make a French stick
  • the roads: you pays your peage and drive at 130kph
  • the parking: plenty of it and nearly always free
  • the cafes: un cafe equals one zingy hit of espresso, and take as long as you like
  • the civility: bonjour and au revoir every time
  • the ice-cream: full-on fruity flavours, and pistachio too
  • the opening hours: ideal for picking up a baguette on the way home from work

Shake the bottle, wake the drink   So-called Tour Eiffel acting as the tourist office in Pontrieux   Two wheels good

Some random not-so-good points about life in France:

  • the doggy-dirt: tread carefully through city streets
  • the post: took an epoch for cards to arrive back in UK
  • the road signs, or lack of: can be a lottery
  • the opening hours: not too clever at lunchtimes

This way to the Mont   Life with two big sisters

Off to a poor start, admittedly, when we discovered that the hotel had only one room for our overnight stop, leaving seven of us jostling for beds in a single chambre. And I can't recommend spending hours on the road with three young children slugging it out in the back of the car: I want a drink; she hit me; I need the toilet; are we there yet?!

But cottage was fab with lots of local highlights:

  • local towns Lannion and Treguier both appealing
  • chapel at Kermaria-an-Isquit (if you can find it): Dance of Death!
  • swimming at the Begard Armoripark: don't know why, but got free admission
  • Perros-Guirec generally: top Trestrignel (sp?) beach, miniature ferry boats and mini-golf too

A bientot!