EDitorial ± 30-Oct-2006

Endorse It

You know my problem? I keep it all in. You know my problem. I keep it all i-in, i-in.

Back from another half-term week in sunny but mostly rainy Dorset, it having been a full seven weeks since our last family holiday. Those little ones do get awf'ly tired at school, you know?

Charming cottage outside Bridport, aka Fearnley-Whittingstall-ville. No Channel 5, no surprise there, though crammed with quality reading material. Learned stacks of Norman history from (the late) Jasper Ridley's History Of England, and can still remember that William II, aka Rufus, a son of the conqueror, was killed by friendly fire in the New Forest. They say that his body was simply left there -- his younger brother Henry raced off to Winchester to grab the royal treasury -- then dumped into a cart by the local charcoal burner. When you're regal, you need someone reliant.

Chanced across a handy paperback entitled Family Walks In Dorset: heck, we're one of those and that's where we are. Dry day so directed our feet to the sunny side of The Fleet for a simple three mile stroll. Everything la-la, passing the odd "proper" walkers with their "proper" boots and sticks, feeling like a family unit. Directions said to expect a wooden bridge -- voila -- and NOT to cross it but to head inland, then you'll see the old church (whence you started) in some trees. Did as instructed, tramping up a long sloped field: wot no place of worship. Fairly warm by this time and not even a bottle of water on our persons. Doubled back, one child who shall remain nameless having an Elluva moan. Lo and behold, 800m further on there's a second woodbridge. How we laughed. Not.

Day or so earlier was v. overcast and found us Dorchester bound. Took the Abbotsbury road in search of "the tallest folly in West Dorset", the Hardy Monument. That'll be Thomas Hardy, of course. Not the Python novelist, dur, but Kiss Me Hardy. Up climbed the car to one of the highest local points, me preparing to admire the splendid views. Nearer and nearer, still couldn't see the darn thing. Fact was we could see very little and found ourselves in low level fog, barely able to pick out the 72-foot high tower from 72 feet away. On a clear day you can see forever, ha.

Quicky mentions:

  • Olivers coffee house, Sherborne: love those communal long tables, the cute lamplit alcoves, and the quality coffee & cake
  • Poundbury garden centre restaurant: looked great, lousy service
  • beach cafe, Lyme Regis: looked lousy, great service

Also a big thumbs-up for the King Tut exhibition at Dorchester -- replicas to be seen to be believed -- and the related Egyptian obelisk at Kingston Lacy. And the iron age fort at Maiden Castle. And the floodlit tropical gardens at Abbotsbury: expensive but super atmospheric.

(That's enough recommendations: Ed)

EDitorial ± 19-Oct-2006

TT0607, Week 6

Things not to leave in your rucksack overnight:

  1. a banana: really not good if squashed beneath a bottle of water
  2. individual Starburst sweets
  3. spoon used for yoghurt & cereal desk breakfast several days before

Meantime only me and G for TT: the enigmatically initialled "K" was due to play but suffered one of his heads, poor lamb. Your grain, his grain, etc. Medically dubious decision for G to play, given his extremely low blood pressure, back pain and tunnel vision, all of which were cited during tonight's game. Luckily our home night is on a Thursday, and G has dialysis on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Be true if it wasn't funny, and vice versa.

Soundly whooped by the mighty St Margaret's, a BBC mens' team comprising Bob, Brian and Chris, as canny as Holger Czukay holding aloft the Palme d'Or in a high-kicking chorus line.

Cheered up by the rare presence of the make-a-milkshake barman at the Tiles. Shake du jour turned out to be a sweet concoction of sponge, pineapple and honey. Yum, liquid trifle.

EDitorial ± 9-Oct-2006

TT0607, Week 5

Left the kids in their newly acquired Asda's best Hallowe'en costumes, The Boy modelling his snazzy Batman mask and cape, to head out to right some wrongs and ping some pongs. Andy, tonight's designated driver, was aiming for mine at 7:15: all credit to him for being no more than 20 minutes late.

Out to Baylham village hall, which is found by heading to the middle of nowhere, then turning left. Us (Us, Us, Us) And Them both one player short, meaning just four singles games instead of the usual nine. Strictly speaking, meant to have a minimum of five players, but we're already both behind with the fixtures, so needs must.

Touch of the Scooby Doos with the rain hammering down, a storm doing its worst, and a creaking door. Plus plenty of bats, covered with expensive red and black rubber pimples. Arf!

To settle the up-for-grabs point between the absent players, we'd agreed to double up on the doubles. We won an end, they won an end, and so on, so it came down to the fifth and final game. Matchpoint to us, their guy put it short and high, and I put it away with a glorious backhand smash! Well, that's what happened in my imagination, 'cos actually I did a Weaky McWeak shot straight out of National Weak Week, the ball plopped into the net, then we lost on the deuce. Some you lose.

EDitorial ± 5-Oct-2006

TT0607, Week 4

Return of the classic BT Defiants line-up from around 1990: me, Ger-Ger-Grenvyle and Kevin. And we did about as well as we used to back in the day, scraping a 5-5 draw against two guys (including this fella).

Another (higher division) game was happening on the other side, leaving us, Team Muggins, with the table underneath the leaky roof. And it was raining tonight. Moved the table a bit but still had to mop up one of the drips every couple of minutes, pros that we are. Bet that doesn't happen in the Olympics.

Saved my best shot of the night for matchpoint, struggling to get back a fast serve down my backhand line. I dollied the ball several feet into the air, and watched as it landed plum on the net before dropping on to my opponent's side: he was not impressed. Meantime Kev got lots of 9s and a couple of 10s; just a shame that the game is up to 11. And most of Grenvyle was hurting, though perhaps that's the price of being outplayed.

Hugely pleased to once again have complete mastery of the car's central locking, and all it took was a new battery in the thingy. It knows I'm near, unlocks at a touch, and closes when I prod the handle. Three cheers for the humble CR2025.

EDitorial ± 4-Oct-2006

Comes Down To The Conkers

To commemorate how it all started, some rhyming language:

Comes Down To The Conkers
Find a tree, throw a stick, grab some stonkers
Rub on hand cream 'til they're tough as Tonkas
May your chestnuts be horse
Thread a lace, use the force
Yet it all comes down to the conkers

Lost the plot, lost in France, lost in Yonkers
Resolved William to drive Harold bonkers
Those Normans decreed
More Hastings, less speed
Yet it all comes down to the conquerors

Your workmates, those yes-men, the plonkers
Mindless munchkins from straight out of Wonka's
Don't go with the flow
Take a stand, just say no
Yet it all comes down to the concurs

Taking snaps of your aunty's japonicas
Use your own SLR, not Veronica's
Keep your composure
Avoid over-exposure
Yet it all comes down to the Konicas

Tomorrow, 5-Oct-2006, is National Poetry Day.

EDitorial ± 2-Oct-2006

Dolmio, September 2006

Important to carry out one's chores (what's yours?) in a timely fashion, don't you agree? Not wanting to get quite so behind again, it is, once again, time for another end-of-month Dolmio (Doings Of Last Month Innoparticular Order).

That is to say, an attempt to capture past(a) events before they slip... my... mind. September 2006 was spent:

  • getting to the end of Safe and wondering what that was all about
  • rapidly turning the pages of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down: top read
  • munching through the mighty tasty Dorset Cereal
  • being slightly unnerved by the situations in Spooks: nothing like real life, I'm sure
  • humming along to Mr Blue Sky thanks to Dr Who and the Magic Roundabout film
  • laughing more and cringing less at Extras, esp. Bowie's impromptu song
  • savouring the choccy biscuit goodness of the Pick Up, from your local Tesco
  • enjoying the characters and dirt in GP Taylor's Wormwood
  • noodling along to Hot Chip performing Over And Over on the Mercury awards: I'll give you laid back
  • reading endless Biff & Chip books with The Boy
  • lapping up the story of Stiff records on BBC4

And that was September 2006.