28 August 2011

It’s been a bitter-sweet week; we had a couple of decent days early in the week, an exceptionally grand family picnic, a round of golf and a very nice meal out (with voucher, of course). However, I also had the misfortune to tweak my back on Wednesday and then, on Thursday afternoon, Adam had to depart on his journey home, the bitterest blow of the week and a sad reminder that the summer is winding to its conclusion.

It’s been absolutely splendid having him here for these extra few weeks. He was the driving force behind the successful completion of a couple of mini-projects which I have been effectively procrastinating over for years. As mentioned in despatches, the Klargester now is concealed from public view and the enhanced wireless network serves the whole neighbourhood, including, most importantly, the hammock in the back garden.

Indeed, it was glorious to enjoy all the boys’ company for some part of the summer. I’m not sure where we went wrong but all three were/have been a great delight and enjoyment, quite unlike, I’m sure, the feeling my parents experience whenever I visit. They are kind, thoughtful, generous and helpful, qualities which I clearly lack but ones which Penelope possesses in abundance. It’s obvious where those genes came from.

Last Sunday was a gloriously warm and sunny day and, as fore mentioned in last week’s Weakly News, we took ourselves off to the Fawsley Estate just up the road for an outstanding picnic. As I mentioned last time, preparations had been several days in the making and, as is common on such occurrences, there was no danger of our picnic being under-catered. Pen’s folks joined Penny, Adam and Pen’s sister J along with Nick and Lucy and Pen’s brother Jeremy and his youngest, Jacob. Molly and I made up the final components of the party. We found an excellent location just by the lake and in the shadows of both the church and the home, Fawsley Hall. The grounds of the estate were designed by Capability Brown, the quintessential landscape gardener of the 18th century whose approach seemed generally to consist of three parts:

(A) Dig a large hole in the ground and dam a small brook or stream to form a lake

(B) Plant some saplings which will develop into large and stately trees in a hundred years or so and

(C) Expel all the peasants from the immediate vicinity so that their hovels do not spoil the view from the stately home.

Not only was the venue excellent, so too was the abundance of food stuffs provided by the various parties. Everyone brought several items (apart from me, of course – I was only required to provide the wine) and Ms Playchute on her own could easily have fed the party twenty-seven times over, not to mention the dozen or so other strollers and walkers who shared the estate with us. An excellent, excellent afternoon.

On Tuesday Adam, Penny, Nick, Lucy and I went for dinner at the Holly Bush in Priors Marston just down the road. Naturally, such occasions are only warranted if I have acquired a voucher of some description; this one fell through the letter box a week or so ago – 25% off meals during August; how could we not take advantage of such a splendid opportunity coming so conveniently just before Adam’s departure? Several of you have been there with us in the past although it has changed hands (and chefs) several times over the past couple of years. It was very nice even if the menu was somewhat limited – three of us ended up with fish and chips and Lucy and Adam opted for the buffalo burger and chips. Perfectly tasty and very pleasant but not a great deal of choice. Still, with 25% off we all had to have desserts!

And, speaking of vouchers, we watched “The Ghost Writer” on Friday evening, kindly provided free of charge by our mobile phone operator. They have a scheme where one can download a free film from iTunes every Thursday. You have to watch it within thirty days and, once you start watching, you have to finish in 48 hours or it expires or disappears or blows up your laptop or something. The film is based on the novel Ghost by Robert Harris which I read on the recommendation of a friend. As I think I wrote on Goodreads at the time, Robert Harris has written some great novels; this isn’t one of them. The film was similarly underwhelming.

I picked up the following on the International Movie Database:

Writer Robert Harris is a former BBC TV reporter and political columnist who actively supported Tony Blair until the Iraq War, which Harris felt was a mistake. Blair resigned June 26, 2007, spurring Harris to drop his other work to write The Ghost, which was published Sept. 26. Similarities between Blair and Adam Lang, Cherie Blair and Ruth Lang, Hatherton and Halliburton, etc. are clearly intentional. Mo Asumang appears briefly as a Condoleezza Rice look-a-like Secretary of State in a photo op with Lang.

Which perhaps explains why the novel (and film) don’t compare with some of his other stuff.

A couple of items caught my eye this week. A short report in the Guardian highlighted the funniest one-liners at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival. The winning joke was adjudged to be:

“I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

You can read the others here.

And finally, the UK air guitar championships were held recently and the Guardian had a selection of photographs of the competitors which you can see here. Unfortunately, no video but a quick check on You Tube found several including some clips from last year’s competition. Enjoy.


Finally, finally: those of you on the East Coast hunker down, keep dry and safe!

Love to you all,


3 thoughts on “28 August 2011”

  1. You are in big trouble now, big brother! Whatever in the world did you think you meant in saying, “It’s obvious where those genes came from.” Perhaps, after a teeny little bit of thought, you might want to restate that terribly insensitive remark. Or maybe the best explanation is that you were switched at birth and our “kind, thoughtful, generous and helpful” son (who probably is handsome and talented beyond belief) is living happily anonymously performing his spontaneous acts of kindness in some small town in middle America. Oh the sadness of it all.
    Besides: That no doubt explains why my other five birth children are perfect in every way, especially kind, generous, and helpful.

  2. Hmmmm – Greg – I think you’re in trouble? Do think Mom is really talking about the rest of us… perfect in every way?

  3. Oops! Clearly our boys get their kind, considerate, thoughtful, generous and helpful genes from their grandparents as well as from their mother; clearly those same genes skipped a generation in my case (or I was indeed switched at birth) and clearly my other siblings got more than their share of those “good” genes.

    I think on this occasion I will take the advice I am frequently handing out to politicians and/or others who find themselves in a deep hole of their own making: Stop Digging!

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