13 February 2011

Snow DropsWell, I guess Spring must indeed be just around the corner to judge by the snowdrops showing themselves. These were on our walk at Chipping Warden yesterday but they are all over our area; the clump in our front garden has also emerged from its winter slumbers. What I would like to know: how do they decide when it’s time to get up? I am guessing it is temperature related and the brief bit of research I’ve done would seem to bear this out. Last year there were several reports about their delayed arrival because of the very cold temperatures and deep, penetrating frosts in January. Having said that, the weather this winter was every bit as cold although, I guess, perhaps it’s been a bit more pleasant (temperature wise) over the past couple of weeks and the ground is certainly no longer frozen. But how do they tell the difference between conditions now and conditions back in November, say? Answers on the back of a postcard (or, indeed, using the Comment feature).

We had a lovely evening out last Tuesday. We were invited to join some friends for dinner and a visit to the theatre to assist in the celebration of our friend Ellen Pagliaro’s fiftieth birthday (I know, what a baby). Ellen was a friend of Penny’s from their days at Warwick University when they were both training to become teachers – they had some English classes together and we’ve remained in touch. Ellen’s husband Julian made all the arrangements unbeknownst to Ellen which involved us driving to Milton Keynes and presenting ourselves at the local Red Hot World Buffet for dinner prior to a stroll to the Milton Keynes Theatre to see a wonderfully energetic and enjoyable production of “Footloose.”

Several things in that paragraph need expansion, I’m afraid. First of all, Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes is perhaps the most famous (or infamous, if you prefer) of the English “new towns” which were developed in the 1960s and 70s to help alleviate the housing shortage in London. Nowadays, people would go ballistic if the government suggested swamping four or five quaint English country villages with a massive urban sprawl but, I guess, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And, I’m sure the residents of Milton Keynes think it is brilliant. In our view, on the other hand, it’s a concrete monstrosity with very little to recommend it. It is built on a grid pattern which sounds like a good idea until you try and find some place; every road and every intersection looks exactly the same and the confusion caused to outsiders is compounded by having virtually no directional or road signage. (Beautiful, downtown Bracknell was also a “New Town” but it was designed a bit later and does not suffer from the impenetrable grid pattern. Instead, it has thousands of roundabouts which, again, all look the same). Fortunately, we had left plenty of time and, after several misdirection’s and false turns, finally arrived at the Red Hot World Buffet just in time to join everyone else for dinner.

Then there is the Red Hot World Buffet which those of you who have been following the Befouled Weakly News will perhaps remember our mentioning previously.

To remind you, this is an “all you can eat” establishment with a variety of cuisines from which to choose. Our first visit (to the Northampton branch) left us decidedly underwhelmed as much of the food was lukewarm. The Milton Keynes branch, however, clearly gets a much greater through-put and the food this time was mostly hot and moderately pleasant, I have to confess. We’re still not sufficiently practiced in the “all you can eat” sweepstakes and clearly weren’t dressed for the evening. The appropriate attire seems to be loose-fitting sweatpants and a tent-like shirt or top, to judge by those who were clearly experts at getting their money’s worth.

Then, on to the theatre for “Footloose” which was a lot of fun. I guess many of you will be familiar with the film which was released in 1984 and starred Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer and John Lithgow. (Apparently, there is a remake due out sometime this year). In short, a city boy moves to a small rural community where rock and roll music and dancing have been banned. With the senior prom on the horizon, the youngsters try to persuade the town council to repeal their ordinance. Good music, a wonderfully energetic performance by the actors and a good, fun evening out.

Love to you all,

Greg

3 thoughts on “13 February 2011”

  1. How do they know?
    Ours are just about ready to open and I was thinking it was kind of early – especially since we’ve had some cold weather lately as well (not as cold of those of you who actually have had snow this year!) . We also have some trees with pink blossoms… seems way too early for that! Perhaps these are the “trend setters” the “early adopters” the “mavens” of the plant world?

  2. So sorry to hear about the pink showing in Oregon, I believe that the crocus represent a sort of ground hogs day in my industry, in my area, if the crocus’ come up and see their shadow, there will not be six more weeks of Winter, if they don’t see their shadow, or aren’t up to see their shadow, bundle up buy more oil, cause it’s going to be a long winter, we’ll be lucky if we only have snow until Hope’s Birthday.

  3. It is warm in Phoenix. Everyone is welcome if you want to thaw out. I have plenty of room.

    Ellen

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