8 January 2012

Good morning to you all on this marvellous Sunday morning – mild if grey and somewhat overcast. At least it’s a change from the gale force winds we enjoyed earlier in the week.

We’ve got quite a big day ahead of us so I will have to be brief, I’m afraid. It’s Pen’s mum’s birthday today and grand celebrations are scheduled to commence in a few hours’ time. I have a number of responsibilities in preparation for this afternoon’s festivities, the most important of which is to stay out of Penny’s way.

Happy BirthdayOf course, being a gentleman I would never reveal how many birthdays it is that Beryl celebrates today but let me just say that the cake required to accommodate all her birthday candles would need to be the size of a small aircraft carrier. Many happy returns!

You will be relieved to know that I am just about keeping my head above water in the rigorous task of watching all of the college football bowl games we’ve had available in the UK. I suppose it’s my childhood but even though I have no particular connection with either establishment, I was sorry to see Stanford lose and pleased to see Oregon win the Rose Bowl. I won’t get to watch tomorrow’s game until Tuesday afternoon so don’t tell me the result!

Route of the new railway
Route of the new railway

The big news in our neighbourhood, apart from Beryl’s birthday, of course, is the announcement this week that the government is “considering very seriously” building a new high speed railway link between London and Birmingham. It’s of interest to us as the proposed new line would pass about four miles from here and will have a significant impact on the villages along its route. It’s quite controversial in the local area as it will, if built, seriously blight great swathes of rural England including Chipping Warden just  down the road. Indeed, the railway line will dissect one of my favourite walks across the Edgecote Estate and will undoubtedly rather spoil the peace and tranquillity. This has been rumbling along for a number of years and presents a rather interesting dilemma; both sides of the argument have many compelling arguments and the “consultations” necessary will inevitably take some time. Ironically, the rail line will go through parts of the country which overwhelmingly support the Conservatives, the senior partner in the current coalition. Not surprisingly, many of the local residents are “up in arms” and are making their views known to their local MPs who are, in turn, passing on their fears of electoral annihilation to government ministers. It’s still to be finally decided but it looks as if the government is minded to decide in its favour if only to try and generate some jobs now that they have so successfully flat-lined the economy and brought unemployment to its highest level since the last time the Conservatives were in office.

I ran across an article on the BBC web site this morning entitled “Eating Christmas trees at the ‘world’s best restaurant’” which piqued my interest. I’m not sure if it was the concept of eating Christmas trees or the assertion that this was the world’s best restaurant which caught my eye but this particular chef certainly has some interesting ideas about what makes a good meal. Doubtful that we’ll be able to visit his restaurant any time soon (it’s in Copenhagen and costs in the region of £150 per head) but I’ll keep my eyes open in anticipation that they will produce a cook book for the masses on how best to prepare live, wriggling prawn and local ants, snail wrapped in nasturtium flowers, quail’s egg served on a bed of smoking hay, not to mention our discarded Christmas tree.

Love to you all,



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