Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just call me Farmer Rich

This morning was one of those colds bright Autumn mornings. After a huge absence all summer I now have an abundance of assorted butterflies. Mostly enjoying the sedum. So I spent a happy hour failing to photograph them. This one was the only one I got.

Then, when I returned from work, my worm farm had arrived. Excitement. Or at least as close as I get these days. So now I can turn my kitchen waste into compost to my hearts content. OK, it cost a few quid. But if I can get it turning over I shouldn't need to buy compst next year, so it will actually pay for itself. It also provedes a supply of worm pee which (allegedly) makes a fine liquid fertilizer.

Friday, September 21, 2007


The red kite was extinct in England & Scotland. And reduced to just a couple of breeding pairs in Wales. But protection & the reintroduction of birds from Europe mean there doing all right. And driving back from Camberley along the M40 somewhere south of oxford I saw five, yup, five of these babies. And nearly rear ended a lorry. But what the hell. Five red kites. Gotta be pleased with that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hair today

I am six foot two inches tall. On a good morning. Your taller in the mornings. Did you know that? Apparently true. But I digress. I’m talking about my ever growing bald patch. Its getting to the point where I can no longer call it a double crown. Quite a tonsure I’m developing. Not I hasten to add because of my age. Certainly not through excess testosterone. No its my height. And the fact that I own the money pit that is Chez Rich. Not that the hair loss is stress related. No, it’s the fact that most of the doors are not six foot two inches tall. Most of the time these days I walk with a stoop. Always an attractive look. Stand up straight people tell me. Huh! all right for dwarves, or people who’s houses aren’t actively trying to kill them. But, despite having lived here for two interminable years now, occasionally I still clock myself a good un. And the other day, as I lay on the landing clutching my head I looked up and saw a clump of my hair stuck to the top of the bloodied door frame.

Its not enough that the place is trying to bankrupt me and maim me. Now its stealing my hair!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

rah, rah, Rasputin

The Russians are going to send gerbils into space. Brilliant!
So, Tsovarich, our research grant is up for review. Any new ideas?
Swigs vodka.
Hey, how about we stick a load of gerbils up in space & film them bobbing about in zero gravity. That’s got to be funny. We’ll make a fortune on U-tube.
Brilliant, Ivan. We’ll say its research into zero G salt retention.
Swigs vodka.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Watching Andy Farrel play reminds me of a story I read as a child. A man buys a racehorse for a milion pounds. When it arrives its a donkey. Furious at being tricked the man sends the donkey to the knackers yard. (or, possibly not, since it was a childrens book. But he got rid of it somehow). Turns out it was the fastest donkey ever & the man was a fool. Unfortunately, the million pound Andy Farrel is not the fastest donkey ever. He is a very ordinary donkey. Trip to the knackers yard must be iminent.
The rest of the England team were a lesson in mediocrity. Ok, Robinson, for the first time in recent history, had a half decent game at fullback. And there were one or two nice moves from Saki. But on the whole you got the impression that most of the team simply didn't want to be there. Scored nothing. Never looked like scoring. Didn't much seem to want to score. I have seen more passion from a collection of white goods.

Contrast that with Argentina's incredible defending in their suprise turn over of France. Or Wales verses Australia. OK. Wales completely out classed by an Australian side that bordered at times on brilliant. But boy they fought. And showed some magic hands and real Welsh grit. And little amature Portugal scored a try against the mighty all-blacks. Ok, lost by a hundred points. But could walk off the pitch with pride. Then Georgia took on a lackluster Ireland and against all odds damn near beat them. Deserved to beat them.
There has been some magic rugby out there. Rugby of skill, rugby of passion. Men digging deep and exceeding all expectations. Sadly, none of it has been played by the English.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Last weekend several assorted Steves, Walter & myself went on a day trip to Ludlow. For, at Ludlow castle, it was the Ludlow food and drink fair. Suffice to say it was neither pretty or clever. An exercise in bachanalian excess. Being drunk before noon is always a bad sign. Being the only people over six in the circus tent was also a little worrying. None of us can ride a unicycle. The boy Fulla can however spin plates. And we all thought he was useless. How wrong we were. I also got sold a very camp hat. Not good.

We returned to the Crown in time for the England V USA world cup rugby match. Well, we won. Yes. A team of highly paid profesionals squeezed a win over a largly amature side. Only one team could walk away from that with their head held high and that wasn't the English. Nothing for it but to drink more beer. Lots more. Oh my.

feed me Seymore, FEED ME

Last night I came home from the pub and ate eleven sausages.
Diet be damned.

Monday, September 03, 2007

thunder rise, early in the morning...

I’m taking down the ceiling in the downstairs bedroom. You know, the horrible one over the cellar and, more importantly, under the bathroom. And I forgot that, in order to get the drain from the shower to have a steady gradient, my lovely builder used piles of old ceramic tiles to keep the pipe level. And when I rip down the ceiling these also come down. On me. There is a little blood, a lot of pain & some language that, to be honest even shocked me. Granny will be spinning in her grave like a rotisserie chicken on speed. Sorry Gran.
Anyway. The pipe now bows. And leaks at one of the joints. And there is a surprising amount of wiring hanging down. I suspect putting a new ceiling in is not going to be as easy as I hoped. Or as cheap.

Unfortunately, this month all my spare cash has been consumed buy my car. The MOT meant a new exhaust & the replacing of some hoses. Also a promise to get the front breaks done before Christmas. The car is a lot quieter, and I don’t seem to get the headaches whilst driving it anymore. Goodbye carbon monoxide poisoning. Hooray. Goodbye two hundred odd quid. Boo. So, today I must fork out £180 on road tax. This could severely limit my beer intake for the month. I wonder if the crown has a loyalty card.

So. Its Monday. I have spent much of the weekend watching series two of house and eating cheesecake. And I’m all ready for an intensive week of solitaire in the office. But on glancing out of the kitchen window it appears something has happened in my greenhouse. I have those windows that open and close automatically. I suspect a pigeon has got trapped. As I approach and realise the extent of the devastation I upgrade to buzzard. The greenhouse is trashed. The tomato plants are shredded. The bubble-wrap insulation has been torn down. The prized cacti are, well, its just too upsetting. And sitting there amidst the wreckage is that most evil of vermin – a cat. I can’t remember when I last had the door open. I’m guessing Saturday. So its been trapped a while and is not happy. But then neither am I. I open the door & it just sits there meowing pathetically. I make ‘here kitty, kitty noises’ but it doesn’t move. I lean in & get the whole arched back and hissing thing before it retreats to the back of the greenhouse. I don’t have time for this. I don my gardening gauntlets. No more Mr nice guy.

At this point I should point out that I am in my attractive green towelling dressing gown and my poundland slippers. These are pale blue, have a smiley face on the front and are made of … sponge foam. Squelch. Have you any idea of the sheer volume of poo a scared cat can generate in forty-eight hours? Again I must apologise to my late grandmother. The cat chooses this point to rake its claws across my leg & exit stage left.

Its going to be a long month.