Sunday, 25 August 2019

Saturday 24th August 2019

You may have noticed that on Friday I published the 668th post of the year, which means this year has produced more posts than any other year since the start of the blog in 2008.

And it is still August.

So, will there be a thousand posts this year?

We might come close.

Or not.

Depends how batshit Brexit gets, of course. But don't say you weren't warned.

It is a bank holiday weekend, but the banks are actually open. Saying that, the sun is shining from a clear blue sky, and will do for all of the weekend, with only on Monday will temperatures begin to tail off.

So, what better way to spend the day than sitting in the car driving to West Kent to snap some churches? Not as bad as it might sound, but given that I am already planning the route for the Heritage Weekend in September, where I have 33 churches lined up to visit. But not today, I had six churches, and depending on how warm it gets, might do less.

Two hundred and thirty six Jools was not feeling up to coming out in the car, so I go on me todd, and with the bank holiday not bringing a surge in port traffic, it was easy enough to get through town and up the A20 the other side to Folkestone and onto the motorway.

From Ashford, still a complete building site, I took the road over the marshed to Ham Street, then west towards Tenterden. And once off the main road, traffic was light, so I open the windows, turn up Huey on the radio, and just cruise along just above 40, enjoying the feeling of a fine day to be out, churchcrawling.

First stop was to be Ebony.

Yes, Ebony.

St Mary the Virgin, Ebony, Reading Street, Kent Ebony is a real place, and was once an island in the marsh that used to exist in west Kent before the storms that silted up the harbour at Winchelsea. The church used to stand on an island, but by the turn of the 19th century was in a ruinous state. So, the church was taken down, and moved to Reading Street and reassembled into a slighly different shaped church.

St Mary the Virgin, Ebony, Reading Street, Kent But nice enough.

St Mary the Virgin, Ebony, Reading Street, Kent I arrived just as the vicar was locking the door after showing a handyman out; seems like the roof is in a poor way and work needs doing.

St Mary the Virgin, Ebony, Reading Street, Kent "Can I look round and take some pictures"? I ask. The vicar smiles and says yes, though I am sure she would rather not, but being a small church, it wasn't going to take long.

St Mary the Virgin, Ebony, Reading Street, Kent So, I nip round, camera whirring away.

St Mary the Virgin, Ebony, Reading Street, Kent I say thanks and she is hustling me up the path out of the churchyard, not really wanting me to stop to take a shot of the outside. So I make do with one from the low wall on the main road.

St Mary the Virgin, Ebony, Reading Street, Kent One down.

My main target was Smallhythe.

Smallhythe is a tiny village, best known for having been home to famous 19th century singer, Ellen Terry, her house is now under the care of the National Trust.

Next to it is a fine Tudor brick built church. On our four previous visits, it was locked, but on a day in the summer when the house is open, the church should be too.

And it was.

Another smallish church and done in ten minutes.

Next call was Benenden.

St George, Benenden, Kent I had no idea what the church or village was like, just I had never been.

St George, Benenden, Kent So, I set the sat nav and off I went, music blaring away.

I drive into the village and find it a fabulous place, the main street lines with fine half timber houses and mansions. The church itself sits on a rise at the top of a huge village green, large enough to have a cricket pitch on it.

St George, Benenden, Kent The church as a good half dozen cars parked outside it, boding well for it to be open.

St George, Benenden, Kent And it was.

St George, Benenden, Kent As I finished the half our photo-session, a warden asked me what I thought, and should the church be re-ordered?

St George, Benenden, Kent I siad that may task is to record what is there, if the parish decides to change the fabric, it is up to them with the oversight of English Hritage. Should they replace the old oak door with a glass one?

St George, Benenden, Kent I said other that have done that, like Wye, have created more light and is a welcoming sign. Its easy on a hot summer's day with the door open to see inside.

St George, Benenden, Kent I did point out that some who look at my shots marvel that in some cases church doors and fittings can be several centuries older than their countries, like the US. Its they who have to live with the church, they must decide.

St George, Benenden, Kent Seems they have a progressive new vicar who has already moved out several rows of wooden pews. Now, I like a good pew, but does create space.

Anyway, I leave the wardens to their churchyard clearances, and take to the car.

It was half eleven, mighty hot, and I was churched out.

And with Norwich on TV at half twelve, I decide to get home to watch it, if I could, and anyway, visiting the other three churches could be done in a couple of weeks when we could tie that in with a visit to Sissinghurst Castle.

Yes, that sounded a good idea.

I drive back to Ashford, through the urban sprawl of the new town, and onto the motorway and then back to Dover.

I am back at just gone half twelve, but checking on the TV, the game is not on my package, so have to listen to it on the radio.

And City were already 1-0 down.

But soon level.

And lose another goal.

And Pukki scores again.

In the second half, Chelsea dominate and score a third. Oh well.

That we are a little disappointed not to have got at least a point, shows how far the club have come in two years.

With it so hot outside, it was easy to sit inside and listen to the three o'clock kick-offs, and with no pressure as we had already played.

At six, we go to Whitfield for our usual night of cards, though we were going to have a Chinese meal delivered this time, and I took a huge bottle of tripel with me to wash it all down with.

Pre-big day beer The food cam just after seven, all in a huge bag, more than enough four us to have two platefulls and have much for leftovers later in the week.

And the beer was smooth, with a capital smooth.

Banquet And Jools and I won heavy too. So, we ended up the evening in good spirits with full belies, even if Jools' pain in her side flared up, to the point she was almost in tears.

Back home she could hardly bend to get into bed, so went to sleep having taken painkillers.

In the morning we might have to go to the hospital......

My bullshit detector has gone off the scale.

Some brief headlines in the world of weekend Brexit.

Brexiteers now openly stating that the UK becoming the 51 State of the US is somehow compatible with claiming that being in the is a vassal state, whereas being in the US wouldn't!

Johnson calls on Trump to help UK firms. Hello, earth calling Johnson. Protectionism???

THe Express claims a US-UK trade deal "is done", but I am willing to be a large sum of money that the Express neither knows or cares what a real FTA is. An agreement on something icluding parts of trade might be being discssed, doesn't mean this is good news for the UK, its people or businesses.

But, hey, headlines.

The Sunday Mail claims that the UK will try to withhold £30 billion of the financial settlement. This will not be legal or a good idea, but hey, headlines.

The Observer claims that Johnson is looking into the legality of suspending Parliament for five weeks through October to allow the A50 clock to tick down.

This will also not end well.

The batshit stuff gets crazier as the clock ticks down.

We start the Brexit emergency foodstore again next week.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Friday 23rd August 2019

The end of the week, and the start of a three day weekend.


And my last, unofficial, day as a Project Quality Manager.

I say unofficial, as the official date is September 1st, but next week I am going on an audit in Scotland, so I will be off the project at least for two weeks, as the week after I will be going to sunny Denmark for some induction training.

So, the last day for a while where I will be working from home, relaxing with the cats and butterflies.

These past four weeks have been a joy, my batteries are recharged, and the routine has meant I have been getting on with exercise and looking at what I eat.

All good stuff.

Anyway, it was anther endless sunny day, one to look at from the shade of the house with a cold beer in your hand.

Maybe later.

But first, have a coffee, and then, gird my loins for a session on the cross trainer, my third such session this week. I am feeling better for it.

I tell myself.

So, having reached the end of the playlist on the i pod, I just start it again.

Two hundred and thirty five 20 minutes later, and with Scully watching on I am done.


So, go down to sit on the patio to cool down enough to have a shower.

And then onto work.

A walk to the post office I deal with the e mails, long my working hours, call a couple of people.

A walk to the post office And I am all caught up again.

At midday, I walk to the post office in the village to drop off a couple of letters, one requesting access to a church, and the other a bundle of Norwich programs to a collector.

The rest of the programs will be sent to a charity in Norwich next week, three huge boxes full.

I never read them, so why keep them?

A walk to the post office Why indeed.

The big field, on the other side of Station Road, was being harvested of wheat. The chaff fills the air and is carpeting the road and pavement down the street.

I grab a few shots before walking down the hill, and then stride up the hill, not breaking stride walking up the steep hill into the village. First time I have done that for years.

After buying stamps for the letters, I call in the shop for an ice cream, then amble back down the hill towards home.

After lunch I wrap up for the week, pack the work laptop away, and begin to do some gardening.

Nature finds a way I am still doing this when Jools comes home, in tears.

She is in pain from her side, so after she calmed down I drive us into town to Buckland Hospital where there is a walk in centre.

We wait for an hour. Of course, your mind runs in circles as to what the problem might be, but turns out nothing to be concerned, might be a little dehydrated.

Stone the Cat Go home, drink and take pain killers.

We go home to have pints of iced squash sitting in the garden before I prepare chorizo hash for dinner.

Jools is pooped, so she goes to bed very early, and I watch the Friday game, Aston Villa v Everton, which Villa win 2-0, rather easily. Football, eh?

What have we learned this week?

Well, that at a very basic level, nothing has changed.

Changing the Prime Minister hasn't changed anything, as predicted, the same three choices remain.

And to avoid the backstop it is up to the UK to come up with a solution.

Any solution would take at least a decade to develop.

Most of the press are just repeating the Government line without questioning, meaning that the Government are not being held to account.

This weekend it is the G7 meeting, and with Trump having declared himself to be a reincarnation of King David and the Second Coming. That this wasn't hos craziest outburst this week says all you need to know about Trump.

Trump is stepping up a trade war with China, which due to the actual nature of tariffs, the US Government has to help out American importers to cope with the Trump imposed tariffs. Trump last night, decreed that all US companies must source from anywhere but China. Whether this is actually legal, or sane are other matters.

The point is, that the Brexiteers want the UK to put all of our trading eggs in a Trump basket.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Thursday 22nd August 2019

Getting near the weekend.

And those of us in Blighty, that means a three day weekend.

Which is nice.

Very nice.

And at the end of the week, I kinda switch jobs.

Which is good.

*I break off this at this point to creat a life event on FB*

And yet, there is time to do some other stuff.

Walk from Kingsdown to home I work out if Jools drops me off on the way to work, I will just have enough time to walk from the Dover Patrol, down the cliffs to Kingsdown, then over the fields to the village, calling in at the surgery for some drugs, before returning home in time to start work.

Walk from Kingsdown to home This did not take into account the time I would spend ambling.

Leathercoat Point Of course.

We woke up at half five. It is that pre-dawn calm before the sun rises and the birds wake up.

Leathercoat Point I lay in bed and listen as Scully eats a mouse, crunching through its bones.


I get up, feed the cats and make coffee.

Jools gets up too, has a shower and gets dressed.

OK? Let's go.

Jools takes me to the Monument, dropping me off among the caravans and mobile homes parked there.

Walk from Kingsdown to home Surrounding the monument, the first spikes of the Autumn lady's Tresses are beginning to show. None are in bloom though.

Walk from Kingsdown to home From there, I walk to the cliff edge, look down at the rocks far down below.

Walk from Kingsdown to home It's good to be alive.

Walk from Kingsdown to home It is a good mile walk down the gently sloping path towards Kngsdown.

I looked for Autumn Gentitians, but little did I know they only open in bright sunshine, and the sun had barely risen.

Over the border into Kingsdown, I see the first butterflies, the azure blue of basking male Adonis. A sight to take your breath away, there is no colour close to it in UK nature.

Adonis Blue Polyommatus bellargus Further on, I look for the Long Tailed Blues, but see none. A few yards further on, I begin to see the spikes of orchids. Autumn Lady's Tresses.

There is a house on the Leas that has a sizeable proportion of the UK population. I tell people 25%, which sounds outrageous. But when you see thousands and thousands of spikes just coming into flower, you believe it.

I take shots of those that were growing freely on the public area outside the garden, though the owner does mow this too.

Growing like weeds But hundreds of spikes just growing like weeds.

Not many in flower, but so close.

Autumn Lady's Tresses I take shots, then turn for home.

Autumn Lady's Tresses Back along the crumbing cliff path, back to St Maggies, then via the path over the fields, passing under huge slow bushes, almost ready for harvest.

Walk from Kingsdown to home I am surveying for gin making, clearly.

I call in at the surgery for some pills, then back down the Dip and up the other side, arriving home just before nine.

Walk from Kingsdown to home Just in time for a meeting.

And back into the swing of a normal working day.

Walk from Kingsdown to home Inbetween speaking, I have breakfast and make coffee.

The world is fine.

Walk from Kingsdown to home Lunch is the last bagel and cream cheese, eaten about one.

Where has the day gone?

Outside the day urns into a long and hot afternoon. I work away, but having walked nearly two hours, I feel I have done my phys for the day.

Walk from Kingsdown to home Jools is off the fasting, so I prepare dinner for us, nachos and salsa, and after finding a recipe on line, I make salsa.

One drop of chilli sauce? No, drop, drop, drop.

That has a kick.

And before Jools comes home, I put the chips in the oven, smothered in grated cheese.

Jools calls in to her sister's, Cath, to drop her birthday card off and for a chat.

Meanwhile, the house is filled with the smell of finished dinner.

I open a beer.

Jools comes home, and I divide up the cheese covered chips. The salsa is hot and spicy, which is splendid.

We eat our fill, and have enough salsa for another meal and maybe my lunch the next day?


The day fades into night, we have the radio on, and we get tired.

Where does all the energy go?

We go to bed to find out.....

Johnson loses European tie 2-0 on agregate

So, the spinners are spinning, and for the most part papers are repeating the spin. Especially the Torygraph which just happens to have the Prime Minister as a paid contributor.

How strange.

Johnson and the UK have until 31st Ocotber to come up with an acceptable (to the EU) and workable solution to the backstop. This has always been the case.


Last night it was leaked that senior Brexiteer Conservatives repeated they would vote down the WA even if the backstop was removed.

So, there is no incentive for the EU to remove it if it still means that the WA cannot get ratified in the UK Parliament.

Brexiteers have learned that they do not need to compromise, as the PM of the day moves to their point of view to keep them onside. That this is against the national interest is another matter.

This is the reality of the situation facing Johnson, the Government, Parliament and the country.

Neither the EU or the hardline headbanging Brexiteers will compromise. And until this is addressed one way or another, no deal is almost inevitable.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

France 1 Johnson 0

In a surprise to no one, the message from Paris is pretty much the same as from Berlin.

Sure, the backstop can be ditched, just come up with an alternative that's acceptable.

The message is, you have had three years to come up with a solution, a solution can be found in 30 days.

The 30 day phrase was trumpted again, but as yesterday, nothing has changed.

At all.

And hasn't for 3 years.

Still, not though the clock's ticking....

Macron stated that the backstop is "indispensable."

So there.