Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I thought I'd break with tradition and make an observation on a current affair.

What is our obssession with free speech and "the public has a right to know / it's in the public interest" lobby? A lobby incidently that's almost certainly motivated by money. Whether or not a footballer had an affair is not my business nor anyone else's other than all those private individuals who are actually directly involved in some way and most of those will already be suffering and in pain without the salt of public humiliation being poured liberally into their wounds. It certainly doesn't come under the heading of being in the public interest in the genuine sense for which that term was intended. It comes under the heading of 'gossip'; the lurid fascination with the intimate details of other peoples' lives.

It's in the interests of newspapers and magazines and other forms of communicative media, all of which are financially driven. I wonder just who the individuals were who tweeted in defiance of a law designed to help protect someone's private life; I wonder how many of them had connections with the media? "A rose by any other name?" And what are 'Lords' playing at and what is motivating them? Exposure of someone else's weaknesses for public delectation is just one more sad indictment on the increasing decline of once valued traits of a truly civilized society: honour, respect, discretion and an identification with our common human frailty which should lead us to cover 'Noah's' nakedness, not expose it and laugh at it.

Don't get me wrong, I value free speech very highly, but in a world where the media 'governs' (in a very real sense; think it through people) we have to be extremely careful that we fiercely defend the other equally valuable rights; like the right to a private life, even if you're a 'celebrity.'

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Girl in the Red Jumper...Episode 3

Pink blossom, the deliciously sweet smell of the poplars and the early evening calls of roosting birds - the end of a sun snoozing Saturday and the story calls me back. If you remember, we had just entered the bistro-bar, packed with an eclectic mix of Totnes's finest and lo and behold, she was there and... 'Zack and I gave each other a clandestine look and a cheeky smile of recognition as we took our seats at a table in the corner.'

By this time he had named her, convinced that if he were to address her with the said epithet she would instantly respond; she was 'Shia' (could she have been anything else?)

An extremely pleasant evening of food and wine and fine conversation interspersed with the searching looks from Zack and by the time we were leaving, she was nowhere to be seen and we walked the empty streets back to his 'buddy's place, where they disappeared off to enjoy their... 'benefits!' Meanwhile, I clambered over boxes and black sacks to ascend the bed in the spare room, likewise filled with boxes and black sacks brimming with clothes and sundry household items, magazines and shoes.

A fitful night, an early morning walk to the train station and I was on my way back to Looe!

A week later, early on a Saturday morning, (certainly before the seagulls were up) after numerous pints of soul-searching angst with the smitten man; his voice on the phone, urgent, desperate, pleading..."Dude; we've got to go back to Totnes and find her!"

Only episodes 4 and 5 to go.
As the delightfully dulcet tones of Roy Ebden would utter at the end of his radio show: “If you have been, thanks for listening.”

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

'A Grovelling Griffin'

Well, that was a bit of a long gap wasn't it? I hope you've not been waiting by your computer for the last 4 or 5 weeks waiting for the next installment (What? I can dream can't I?)

I am so sorry loyal fans for taking so long to write again! Work, having been deadly quiet and threatening to push me over the precipice of financial ruin, suddenly went berserk and, coincidentally, we got a buyer for our house who loves 'quirky and adores red!' Those of you who know our little 1750s cottage know that's significant because we have lots of both! So, hopefully the fat lady will sing in the not too distant future and we will be heading along the coast to Brighton; for the sea, the roller blading, the cafe culture, the arts, the buzz of eclectic groupings of people and the pursuit of all things pleasurable. This is probably the first time I will have moved strictly by my own choice since I set off from Leicester to become a Hurdle Maker several decades ago! Interesting...

Anyway, this was just a short greeting to let you know I'm still here and will continue one saga or another within the week.

As the dulcet tones of Roy Ebden would utter at the end of his radio programme: "If you have been, thanks for listening."

(Just in case in case you don't know what a hurdle maker is...check this out. His name was 'Lit', a son of a son of a son of a hurdle maker and the man who taught me!)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

"I wonder where the iceberg is?"

I suppose it's not really a good thing to blog when you've had a drink, but I've actually only had a couple of glasses of white wine, (although there was the pint at the Crown and Sceptre earlier as I sat by the open log fire, pen in hand and wrote more of my latest short story ). Here I am in my study, glass of wine to hand and the film score to Titanic (woah!! credibility out the window there!) playing and a multitude of thoughts of what to write vying for supremecy. Paris? Rome? Red jumpers? Journeys for Jesus? Hemingway? There's a list as long as your arm of themes, subjects and titles, all waiting for the nod to leap onto the etherial page and become something more than they were and so much less than they truly are. Ha! Confucisous eat your heart out! So, maybe I'll just toy with the idea of writing anything of significance and simply leave it at the vague meaningless ramblings of a spur of the moment nine o'clock in the evening fancy. But you know, despite the sentimentality and schmultz, (is that how you spell it?) the whole Titanic thing is moving. Seeing the original footage of people waving goodbye, the ticker tape and hype, the hopes and expectations, class and position and the grand gesture and solid belief in the supremecy of technology and the 'modern age'; well, it makes you wonder. And as the middle east burns and  the West waits, I wonder where the iceberg is? (Oh no; too serious?)

As the dulcet tones of Roy Ebden would utter at the end of his radio show: "If you have been, thanks for listeneing."

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Girl in the Red Jumper: episode two: ‘The Beginning’

Travelling back from Cheltenham Spa on a delayed Cross Country train reminds me that I promised part two of the girl in the red jumper sooner than this, so I apologize at the outset for the delay; I distracted myself (not an unusual occurrence I’m afraid). Alas, I fear that for the tale to be told fully there will need to be a third and a fourth and maybe even a fifth episode so as not to burden you with lengthy tomes. Oh dear, even as I write that I wonder if the story warrants it, especially since I began at the ending, although the main thrust of the story isn’t actually the girl in the red jumper. Well; there it is. I feel that having begun, it would be churlish of me to stop at this point; I wouldn’t want to disappoint my avid reader now would I? So, on I go, trusting I’ll take you with me.

I travelled from East Looe to Totnes by train with, (let’s call him…Zack) to go and spend a Saturday with a friend of his, a girl, who I later discovered was an ex-girlfriend who had become one of those euphemistically entitled ‘Buddies with benefits’.

We spent the afternoon wandering the streets of Totnes and walking by the river, then passed an extremely pleasant time in the Barrel House where we ate organic food washed down with copious amounts of assorted glasses of liquid refreshment. Whilst there the aforementioned ‘Zack’ had a ‘moment’ with a woman; well, several moments actually, though they never spoke, he feeling, (quite rightly) that it wouldn’t be quite the thing to openly flirt whilst he was there visiting his ‘special’ friend.

The woman was, differently beautiful, with dark complexion and hair. Both in aspect and demeanour she had an air of sophistication and style as she sat reading the weekend supplements and sipping coffee. Meanwhile, I had had a ’moment’ or two of my own with the girl in the red jumper who I later saw in the park the following morning. Good grief this is becoming a book! All the advice (well, a couple of people anyway) points to short blogs and not too much text! Maybe I’d better stop there and start gain later; that’s a thought; I could do this in daily episodes and go back to the twice a week goal afterwards. Or, I could post an episode every other one; what do you think reader? Anyway, I’m sure that if you have any opinion on the matter you’ll duly let me know. So…

Later that night, as we jostled our way through a crowded bistro-bar, there she was, though I don’t know if she saw us. She was talking animatedly to a group of people at the bar and Zack and I gave each other a clandestine look and a cheeky smile of recognition as we took our seats at a table in the corner. And...there I'm afraid we have to leave it.

To be continued…(No that's not the girl in the red jumper, it's a woman buying bread in a Paris bakery-lovely window panel!)

As the delightfully dulcet tones of Roy Ebden would utter at the end of his radio show: “If you have been, thanks for listening.”

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

"The House that wasn't there!" (Part one)

There are sometimes days which stand out; special days; very satisfying days. Saturday was one such day; a day to remember and call to mind on dismal grey days in the future.

We lunched at the Victoria and Albert Museum, sitting in the circular, high ceilinged, colour tiled, column strewn, stained glass windowed restaurant, resident pianist at the baby grand, manically evening out the melodies of popular songs and quasi classical pieces.

I'd seen them only once since they'd left for the dizzying delights of Aylesbury and within seconds we were talking freely, animated, laughing. We found some space at a table and the present occupants shuffled round to let us in. A lunch of assorted baguettes and a cute little 250ml carafe of white wine later and we were wandering through South East Asia, China and Japan peering into glass display cabinets at centuries of artefacts. After a while we decided to get some air and walked through a gallery of stone sculptures and out into the cold grey dampness. We were in search of a set of gates that came from the Great Exhibition at The Crystal Palace which Neil, having become fascinated through reading an interestingly alternative guide book to London, given him as a Christmas present by his parents, had said were in Kensington Gardens (or was it Hyde Park?). Having found them, impressively barring the roadway to the practising women on roller blades, we wandered on to the Italian Fountains and stared at the ducks, trying to predict where they would surface and decided we needed a libation and a sit down in a typical London pub, which we found and took delight in as we sat surrounded by caramel coloured walls of deeply embossed wallpaper. But the quest was not over and Neil asked Ivonne and I if we knew about the fake houses that were just a few streets away and so, ever the intrepid urban explorers, we set off in search of the prize,; looking for 'the house that wasn't there.'

To be continued...

As the delightfully dulcet tones of Roy Ebden would utter at the end of his radio show: “If you have been, thanks for listening.”

Thursday, 20 January 2011

"Time for the Moon"

There it was; (still is as I write this); resting momentarily on the back of a distant field as it made its slow, shimmering ascent into the blueblack night. It had to be seen close up, well as close as it could be given where it is. So... a scarf, a coat and gloves later, I walked out into the frost gathering night and down the lane to the gap in the hedge, arched with overhanging trees. As I climbed the hill to the screech of the owls, out into the open sky, a silver light came on and the world was all shadows and the silhouetted gnarling of branches. Then turning, I stood and 'wondered' at the sight of it; its heavy shape floating in a sea of nothingness, perfectly round, the smile of its contours grey against it.

As I closed the garden gate I looked across at grey smoke leaving the warmth of the log fires from the tops of the 'stacks as the cold night air caught it, bent it slightly and wafted it away.

Here was a perfect moment; here was wealth without price and all I had to do was make time for the moon.

Next time; episode two of, 'The Girl in the Red Jumper'

As the dulcet tones of Roy Ebden would utter at the end of his radio show..."If you have been, thanks for listening"