7 November 2010

Good morning.

After a fairly non-descript sort of week, the weather yesterday started off quite promising so Ms Playchute and I headed off to Harcourt Arboretum near Oxford to see if we could catch some of this autumn’s fabulous colour (fabulous in the sense that we are in the UK, not New England and our colours are (a) considerably more muted and (b) substantially less widespread. Nevertheless, this year’s colour, as I have mentioned a couple of times in passing, is very good).

We had hoped to go a bit earlier in the week but the weather was dreary, rainy and/or miserable so we kept putting it off. Then, on Thursday and Friday it turned quite breezy and we were afraid we would end up getting an opportunity to look at several naked trees while admiring lots of lovely colourful leaves on the ground. (Certainly, that’s all that our trees are showing – their bare arms – and our lawns are covered with leaves which are crying out to be collected and transferred to the compost. Why can’t they just arrange to fall there in the first place?)

It would have been even better had we been able to get to the arboretum a week or so ago, I guess but there was still plenty of tolerably bright and colourful foliage and, while it was decidedly overcast and cloudy, it was still a lovely day out, as you can see.


Tonight is our village bonfire and fireworks exhibition in celebration of the discovery of Guy Fawkes sitting amongst kegs of dynamite whilst smoking a cheroot in the basement of the Houses of Parliament. You will remember, I guess, that there is a chap in the village who owns a fireworks factory and who always produces a magnificent display. We have front row seats from the patio in the back garden and Ms Playchute has, in recent years, taken to providing some hot and wholesome sustenance to those who are fortunate enough to receive an invitation. This year’s invitees are Nick and Lucy and a handful of their friends. Interestingly, they are the same ones who came last year – I guess they know a good thing when they see it.

We’re looking forward to a day out in the big city this coming week – on Thursday we are heading up to town to have a bit of a play before meeting up with our favourite diplomat for dinner. Jordy is in town for two days at the end of his latest globe hopping trying to resolve (or at least help to begin to resolve) the world’s disputes and disagreements. It’s always a great treat to catch up with him.

As usual, a couple of “interesting” articles caught my eye in recent days. Firstly, I was delighted to see that couples in Hong Kong now have the option of getting married at McDonald’s. What a delightful illustration of the spread of Western values when getting married at a drive-thru is the height of sophistication. Think of what you could save on the catering. So, whoever in our clan is next on the marriage conveyer, give it some serious thought. And, “yes”, I’ll have fries with that.

Although no one believed it when I told them about it, it seems that Glastonbury, perhaps the premiere British summer music festival, will not be held in 2012. The reason? A shortage of portable loos (toilets) because of the demand from the London Olympics. The organisers reckon that the demand from the Olympics will push the price through the roof and so they decided to take the year off.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of facilities here.

Love to you all,