29 April 2012

Good morning from beautiful downtown Huletts Landing at Lake George. As some of you will know, Ms Playchute and I flew into Boston on Tuesday and descended on Steph and Hope, much to their eternal disappointment. Susie arrived on Thursday evening and on Friday we drove over to the Lake with Mom and Dad. Yesterday we greeted our good friend Chip Boynton and his lovely wife Leca for the weekend so I hope you will appreciate that you are lucky to get any sort of correspondence this morning. (I guess many of you will feel that you are extraordinarily unlucky to receive this week’s edition and you would probably be right).

To prepare for our excursion we decided to put in a bit of long-overdue training last weekend. Penny’s sister Judi arrived from Toronto for a visit on Saturday so obviously, on Sunday, Pen prepared a feast to celebrate her arrival to which were invited Nick and Lucy and Annabelle and Pen’s folks, Beryl and Oz. I was instructed to prepare the barbeque for the first incineration of the season and we prepared Sandy’s salmon with pesto. A lovely feast it was too.

Call that a training routine? That was hardly enough to get us warmed up. If you thought that was it, you’d be wrong. Following our gut-busting celebratory feast at Sunday lunchtime, on Sunday evening, we had been invited for dinner at Paul and Mary’s across the road as a bit of a send-off celebration. (Clearly, they were the ones celebrating our departure and absence from the village for a few weeks). So, about half past 6.00 we rolled ourselves across the road and sat down to another feast. Two full-blown meals within the space of five or six hours – that’s a start.

George OsborneIt’s been a bad couple of weeks for our Coalition government. First there was the fallout over the Chancellor, George Osborne’s budget with his tax on hot food, tax cuts for the most wealthy and the withdrawal of promised benefits for old age pensioners. (Remember – we’re all in this together). This was followed very closely by Osborne expressing surprise and “shock” even that the very wealthy frequently make use of tax loopholes to avoid paying tax. (As someone remarked – he’s either been living in a cave for the past twenty years or he is utterly incompetent; in either case he’s not fit to be Chancellor of the Exchequer).

This week we had the news that one of the Culture Secretary’s special advisers has been providing confidential briefing information to James Murdoch and News Corp. The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, was charged with carrying out an independent investigation into the potential impact of allowing the Murdochs to accumulate such a significant proportion of the British media. While he was carrying out his independent investigation, his adviser was systematically forwarding this information on to the Murdochs which they were then able to use to their advantage. All this came to nought, of course; once the phone hacking scandal broke the Murdochs were forced to withdraw their bid but clearly Parliament and the parts of the media the Murdochs don’t own yet are wondering whether there wasn’t perhaps some small degree of corruption or conflict of interest at the very least. The special adviser has resigned but, of course, no one else knew anything about anything.

As if that wasn’t enough, the latest figures on the economy confirm that the UK fell back into recession in the first quarter of this year, its first double-dip downturn since the 1970s. Even Nadine Dorries, a Conservative member of Parliament slightly to the right of Genghis Khan referred to Cameron and Osborne as “two arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of milk.” I couldn’t have put it any better myself!

I ran across a couple of snippets which caught my fancy this week. Firstly, this week marks the 30th anniversary of the Sinclair Spectrum, the first moderately priced personal computer aimed at the home which sparked a revolution. Our household was one of the many thousands who purchased one – it was Ben’s second computer after his Sinclair ZX81. It featured “high resolution” graphics and was expandable to a “massive” 48K!!

Secondly, there was an interesting article on Asparagus and the joy of seasonal eating which I thought was imminently appropriate for our visit to the States.

And finally, Susie shared with me an advertisement for a new miracle cure for “excessive perkiness.”

Next Week: The Adirondack Adventure and a Weekend with Chip & Leca

A quick snapshot following this morning’s gut-busting waffles and salted meat products:

Lake George

(Penny, Susie, Leca, Sandy, Chip, Pam, Mom, Dad, Greg)

Love to you all,