BBC weather.

I have just found out a piece of news which may be of great interest to fellow countryside dwellers and it’s quite a shock.

As you may know by now I’m not one for change for changes sake and am a great believer in the old adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so imagine my surprise when I heard that the BBC have chosen to dump the Met Office as their supplier of weather and use a new upstart company called MeteoGroup.

I had noticed when watching the BBC weather forecast that they had added some new graphics, one of which was the symbol VH which I assume signified the weather in that region was to be Very Hot.

Whatever next another new symbol of FH for when the temperature exceeds that which is comfortable for humans as it has become F—ing Hot and another for when the temperature is unbearably hot and is TFH, Too F—ing Hot.

Where will it end?

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To blog, or not to blog.

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.

I was unsure whether to blog or not today as I’m quite busy, but having reviewed the situation I’m minded to have a go although I am somewhat distracted by listening to Harry and Edna on the wireless playing some splendid forties music and discussing a forthcoming forties event.

Here’s the clever twist now that I am trying to make this blog relevant to the country aspect of the title, quite a lot of these events are held on farmland which gives the chaps who dress up as soldiers the opportunity to play pretend war. Now the wife and I have forties outfits and can cut quite a dash when the occasion demands, but the difference between us and the soldier types is we don’t bring a wartime bell tent, full military uniform, machine gun and our own tank with us.

I don’t know how hard it would be to recommission all these arms, but should there be another war and there be a necessity to form the Home Guard again, if one could gather all the re-enactors and their equipment they could make a dam good fist of storming the D day beaches, let alone forming Dad’s army.

Back to the country aspect again, we are taking the 1947 Bentley to Stonor Park at the weekend for the Bentley Drivers Club Concours event, where we shall be in the presence of over three hundred Bentley motor cars, some of which are the most expensive and most desirable cars in the world.

Stonor Park is one of the oldest family homes still lived in today and has been home to the Stonor family for 850 years and from the looks of the place is a fairly desirable property, to say the least. One of the clues here is the fact that the garden is described as parkland and is home to their herd of fallow deer who have supplied venison to countless kings and queens.

Our more humble garden at home due to its proximity to the woods and farmland has an ample supply of rabbits which we could supply to royalty, where it not for two things, no king or Queen has asked and even if they did I would be extremely reluctant to see any of our wonderful bunny rabbits shot as I see them more as decorative than as meat.

I must say I’m very much looking forward to our visit to Stonor Park at the weekend, you can’t beat a combination of old money, history, and superb classic motor cars, that’s real class.

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A cheery wave and a smile.

When I first moved to the countryside I was somewhat surprised at the friendly nature of the locals who would at the drop of a hat offer a cheery wave and a smile upon meeting, especially when walking down the street.

One could walk to the village shops and on the way be greeted with many a “hello,” and a “good morning,” which at first took me completely by surprise as I was thinking, “I don’t know this person from Adam.” Not wishing to appear like a cold fish I soon took up the habit of greeting passers-bye in similar cheery fashion.

Gone are the London ways of only acknowledging one’s most immediate neighbours and even then with a mumbled, “all right, Stan,” to which the mumbled retort being, “yeah, all right,” which with some of my neighbours was the height of conversation over a period of many years.

Times change and things change with them, some of which I like and some I abhor, actually now I think about it, most change I abhor, especially language and etiquette. Fashion I can put up with, as I don’t have to wear it. The current fashion for skinny jeans and bum freezer jackets is not a look I aspire to, especially as I can just remember it as a very young child being sported by the Teddy Boys, or New Edwardian’s as they were first called.

With regard to changing standards of etiquette I was made aware only today of the continued fall in standards when I ventured out in three of my classic cars and realised how things had changed since acquiring my first. Getting on for twenty years ago I acquired a 1935 Austin Seven which had a 747 cc engine and which could attain the heady top speed of 48 mph on level ground, although considerably slower when meeting an incline. It is safe to say, much as I loved her, she was indeed the bottom rung on the classic car ladder, but I went everywhere in her and was always greeted by smiles and waves from pedestrians and other motorists.

I first went out today in my 2003 MG TF, a two seater sports car which to me is still fairly modern even though it is actually now 15 years old and during the course of my drive had occasion to raise my hand in a cheery fashion to a fellow MG driver in his 1960’s Midget and another chap in a Triumph TR2, neither of whom acknowledged me.

My next car taken for a run was my 1977 MGB GT which I think it safe to say is a genuine classic, in which, once again my cheery waves were rebuffed by a further three drivers in various classic cars.

It was a lovely sunny day so undaunted I resorted to taking my 1947 Bentley for a run working on the principal that perhaps the previous cars had not sufficient prestige to warrant a response from the other drivers, but no, even in the Bentley I was ignored by an E type Jaguar, a Morgan, an MGB and a Morris Minor.

I’m not sure if this is a reflection on the driving abilities of the other drivers who just didn’t notice, or whether they did notice and were too lazy or bad mannered to respond, who knows?

It certainly was a good day for seeing quite a number of classic cars, but a nice sunny day always encourages people to take their cars out, it’s just a shame they have forgotten their manners, with regard to waving back!

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“Back to square one.”

It seems with the demise of the Daily Post Word Prompt whereby a word was suggested each day as a topic to write about, leaving me with no subject for my blog, hence; “Back to square one.” I shall revert to my original subject, The Diary of a Country Bumpkin.

When I first started writing this particular blog it coincided with my arrival in the country having moved from London to the sticks and the culture shock involved with acclimatising to the different lifestyle.

My opinion has changed dramatically since those early days some nine years ago now, to my current position, in that I would rather stich a fork in my eye than return to living in town, so although my opinion of the countryside has changed dramatically, I shall attempt to keep this blog for matters relating to living in the countryside.

Obviously as one who came from the town it will be limited as to the subjects I can cover, I’m not for example suddenly going to attempt to qualify as a country vet to regale you with tales of sticking my arm up the rear end of a pregnant cow, most definitely not.

Here are a couple of quick observations as to the difference between the town and the country, when I first arrived I was surprised at the slower pace of life where one might indulge in a conversation with the salesperson in one’s local shop before purchasing, half a dozen eggs and a pork pie, all well and good if you are first in the queue, not so useful if you are last.

As with so many things there are pros and there are cons, for example, whilst the time taken in the shop is greatly increased, the time taken to get to said shop is dramatically decreased, due to the lack of traffic and much greater speed limits. I think it safe to say one of my greatest pleasures in moving to the country is the ability to drive around as if I’m taking part in the British F1 Grand Prix.

In actual fact I think the pace of life in town is slower than the country due to the enormous amount of time taken to get anywhere, vast swathes of London now have 20 mph speed limits and one is hard pushed to attain those heady speeds, it drives me mad. Empty bus lanes with no traffic in them and I’m stuck in queue of cars going nowhere.

Anyone who reads my blog may have noticed that I have a few cars and am quite keen on collecting more should funds ever permit, I can tell I’m getting into the country way of living because I would rather like to add to my collection of cars with a small classic tractor, commonly known as a Grey Fergie. The ideal vehicle for driving in town as it has a top speed of about 12 mph.

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Word Press Daily Prompt no word, word.

Word Press Daily Prompt no word, word.

Well, here I am writing my daily word press blog as usual, except I have no idea if anyone will see this since the sad demise of the Word Press Daily Prompt, I feel rather like a voice crying in the wilderness, having no idea if my voice is even heard.
This is much harder than I imagined it was going to be, for I have no word and it seems quite hard to write a blog about nothing, perhaps I should imagine myself as a politician as they seem to have the ability to spout on for ages and say nothing.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to call out, “is there anybody out there, can you hear me Major Tom?”
I have been so shaken up by the disappearance of the Daily Prompt that I am literally lost for words and have been forced to fall back on the excellent words of Mr David Bowie.
Until next time!

“Space Oddity”

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
and put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown,
engines on
Check ignition
and may God’s love be with you

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff

This is Ground Control
to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule
if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating
in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past
one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
she knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead,
there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you….

Here am I floating
round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

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I have taken the easy way out with today’s choice of word retrospective as I assume this will be our last chance to blog with the daily word prompt and have taken the word literally and gone back to the beginning of my word prompt blogs in January 2018, although it seems so much longer. Should any of my readers find these snippets vaguely amusing, there are more on this site or you can visit my other blog on

I therefore present my brief retrospective and say goodnight Vienna.

Posted on 09/04/2018by The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I never like to rush when I’m blogging, for I have noticed that when my fingers on the keyboard get ahead of my brain, it becomes ever harder to follow the story because what I am typing is absolute gobbledegoop.
Perhaps I should at this stage, slow down and wait for my brain to catch up, this I’m afraid, may take some time as I’m currently suffering from the ill effects of the strange chest infection which is currently going round and am in a minor state of shock as I had to replace my computer, both very traumatic events for any man to have to cope with.
On the subject of the former I was coughing up so much gunge I was forced to inquire from my wife who in her youth was a nurse, whether she thought I was suffering from pneumonia, but she just laughed and left the room, which left me with two possible conclusions. Either she was a hard faced woman who had no feeling for my well-being and I was indeed at death’s door, or there was nothing major wrong with me and I was just being a hypochondriac, I plumped for the more optimistic diagnosis.
However with the scenario of the computer I knew I was definitely in a genuine state of shock, for I had paid for all my files to be retrieved from my old computer and placed on the new one together with new security and other clever stuff and to my utter amazement, having rushed home and set the thing up, it worked. It all worked, straight away, I just had to put in the passwords it didn’t know and away I went without the need for any shouting on my behalf whatsoever, quite extraordinary.
I love to drive fast but I hate to rush, for there is a distinct difference between travelling quickly with plenty of time available for the completion of your journey and rushing like a mad person with no hope whatsoever of meeting your expected time of arrival. I always allow too much time to get anywhere, unlike much of the youth of today who never allow enough time and always seem to have to rush, then when they are late they blame anyone bar themselves for their late arrival.
It’s an age thing, another of which is the realisation that your grandparents have died and your parents have died and when looking round to see, who’s next it is your generations names that are appearing in the frame. I am lucky that I am in good health, contrary to my little jest earlier about pneumonia and am in no way ready to rush to meet my maker, which reminded me of the splendid poem by Dylan Thomas, Do not go gentle into that good night, which I shall leave you with.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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Posted on 20/03/2018by The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

At first I thought I’d written on the subject, identical but then realised it was in fact similar which I had written previously about and although they are words that are almost the same, they are not identical.
I have two grandchildren who are twins and to all extents and purposes are identical, except they came from two separate eggs which means they are not identical, apparently. Unfortunately, they are so similar, I cannot tell one from the other, although my wife has absolutely no trouble identifying which one is which, this may say more about my lack of deeper involvement with them, than be a comment on my eyesight.
As often happens with brothers and I imagine with all offspring there is a “good” one and a “not so good” one and in the case of my grandchildren this is also the case. There are many modern fashions and habits that I am not greatly in favour of and both of the twins know this,
I very much favour when meeting a chap to extend my hand in the old fashioned manner with a view to clasping the other fellow firmly by his hand and shaking vigorously and not the more modern fashion for engaging in an arm wrestle followed by a man hug, or even worse just slapping each other in the manner known as a high five.
Due to my inability to identify which of the twins are greeting me, I usually extend my hand hoping for the “good” twin who is fairly well educated in the art of manners and gentlemanly conduct and will grap my hand in the proper manner and utter a cheery greeting such as, “what ho, old boy,” and all is well with the world. Unfortunately should it be the other twin, who seems to find pleasure in impersonating his brother, I am at first met with his outstretched hand in the manner of a gentleman but at the last minute he changes tack and slaps me on the hand, which seems to amuse him more than somewhat.
I know they are not identical, but I’m dammed if I can spot the differences, it used to be easy when they were younger and only one of them wore glasses and I’m still not entirely certain that the other fellow actually needs spectacles, I think it’s all part of his cunning ruse.
They won’t be able to hoodwink me in this fashion for ever, as eventually they will develop a little more and start to want to have more of an identity of their own, then all I will have to do is remember which one it is that has the full beard and which has his arm tattooed. Obviously the chap with the tattoo could make my life considerably easier if he were to have his name tattooed on his arm in bright coloured ink, not attractive I know, but from my point of view damnably useful.

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Posted on 13/03/2018by The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I was unsure whether to take on the challenge of today’s daily prompt word as I was not certain I had a proper grasp of the meaning of the word grasp but I persevered and although gripped with trepidation finally came up with an opening sentence.
“Very good,” I thought, but where to go from there, I felt a little like a drowning man, who faced with imminent death would grasp at straws in a vain attempt to save his life. Somewhat like the poor souls on the Titanic who threw themselves into the freezing icy waters clutching nothing more than a flimsy wooden deckchair, unable to quite grasp the seriousness of the situation. Although I rather suspect they would have been more than a little aware of the futility of the situation upon entering the water and being grasped by it’s icy tentacles.
From being distressed in freezing waters my mind was led inexplicably to being in trouble facing a rampaging bull where the only course of action left to save one’s life was to grasp the animal by the horns and presumably cling on for dear life. Whether one might manage to mount the bull whilst still grasping his horns and ride the animal in the finest traditions of rodeo, I have no idea and I hope I never get the opportunity to find out if such acrobatics would be feasible under the circumstances.
My previous topics seem to have inadvertently contained nothing but fear, distress and death, so I shall change tack and comment on the slightly safer subject of grasping the nettle. I imagine this expression has come into common usage from the experience of gently rubbing ones hand on a stinging nettle to be left with a rather sore hand and a nasty rash. Conversely should one grasp the nettle firmly one is allegedly not stung although I have to admit I have never tried the technique, only in a metaphorical manner when dealing with a subject like grasp, for example.
Well, that’s my blog finished, although I’m not sure whether I really got to grips with the subject but I’m hoping you, my dear reader, found it sufficiently gripping to read to the end.

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Posted on 10/03/2018by The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I was reading an article recently which started,”Boater suddenly falls from boat,” and my first reaction was one of surprise as I didn’t think a story of a fellow loosing his boater hat was much of a news item, much as I can sympathise with him as I would be fairly upset if I lost my boater whilst on a boating trip. Continuing to the end it seems I had got the wrong end of the stick and the story was indeed newsworthy, as the truth of the matter was the tragic death of a fellow who had fallen from his boat and drowned. I have no idea though whether he was wearing a hat.

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Posted on 28/02/2018by The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

Many, many years ago I used to go to school, so long ago that it was in the era when only the cleverest two percent of pupils went to university, unlike today where everyone goes.
It’s so long ago I have no idea how we were assessed but I seem to remember, certainly at the end of each term, although it may have been on a much more often basis, we were given our position in class. When receiving our results the form teacher would offer congratulations to those at the top of the class but was somewhat less congratulatory to the poor fellows unfortunate enough to find themselves at the bottom.
“You boy, are dim, yes young man, you are a dimwit, a pusillanimous, procrastinating, sybaritic, idiot,” a phrase often metered out to some poor spotty faced youth, for in my schooldays the masters didn’t pull their punches.
It’s fairly safe to say that, we as pupils also didn’t pull our punches either as boxing was a compulsory sport during my school career. This was an opportunity for the less academically minded pupils to come to the fore, although quite how two boys beating each other about the head was going to improve anyone’s mental ability, I’m not sure.
Myself I was always in the middle of the class as I was, I have to admit, a bit of a daydreamer, often paying too much attention to what was going on out of the window, although the teacher usually gained your attention with a swift blow to the head, by the judicious throwing of the board rubber. Sometimes their accuracy was uncanny and from some distance away too, usually accompanied by, “pay attention, dimwit.”
It never ceases to amaze me how much knowledge I managed to acquire during my school career, perhaps when our heads were knocked together by the teachers using the phrase, “this will help knock some sense into you,” there may have been some truth in what they said.
We had a much more structured system in my day, whereby the pupils in the local state school really were dim, whilst in my private school we were adequate, leaving the upper class to go to Eton and Harrow and a very small minority to go to Oxford and Cambridge.
There were many more manual jobs in the old days which was ideal for the less academically minded pupils who whilst excelling at sports, boxing and the like were then fully trained for a manual job. Even those who felt more at home with a life of crime were equipped with the ability to fight with opposing gang members and to flee like a gazelle when accosted by the rozzers.
Well, it’s time to finish for today as I can feel my mind getting a little dim, hopefully you will enjoy this blog and come back again for whatever is tomorrow’s word choice.
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Terrible blizzard in the South East.
Posted on 28/02/2018by The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

Terrible blizzard this morning in the South East, at least two inches of snow.
No breakfast this morning, Oates ran out.
We’re all going to die.
For God’s sake look after our people

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Posted on 28/01/2018by The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I came across a page which was encouraging bloggers to blog on a daily basis and to take part in writing whereby a topic was suggested and one merely had to write on the subject supplied, all very easy it would appear.
However as with most things to do with computers and the interweb I had an inkling that it was going to be a tad more complicated and as it turned out I was correct.
I am of an age when we had no computer training at school, I don’t think we even had access to a typewriter, let alone a computer, so my knowledge of such things has been gained by trial and error, mostly error!
There are quite a few pages as to how to take part with instructions to set up pingbacks on your blog which seemed to involve going up your back passage to set these things up, needless to say having searched for some considerable time I could find no information of any use with regard to pingbacks whatsoever.
It seemed I would be encouraged to create a link to another blog and I know this will sound ridiculous to those of you who are computer literate but I’m having a devils own job of being able to find the blogs of other people, let alone connect with them.
Whilst I know I come across as a complete Luddite this is not the case, I am only to happy to embrace modern technology, however here is a suggestion for the clever clogs who write the computer programs. When you click on a subject in an article, pingbacks for example, it might be of more use for the next page which appears to say briefly,”do you wish to enable pingbacks, if so click here”. This to me would make considerably more sense than reams of gobbledegook which mean absolutely nothing to the likes of myself and I suspect quite a few other interweb users of a certain age.
I have copied and pasted a piece of text which I came across before starting my blog which seemed relevant to the task in hand but wouldn’t stake my life on it being of any use whatsoever. As I stated at the beginning of this blog, I had an inkling that this was not going to be easy and I am just about to find out as I press the publish button, more in hope than expectation.
Should I by some miracle have managed to connect with anyone out there please don’t hesitate to contact me with the good news, I wait with bated breath.

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Some of you may have noticed that I have not blogged for a few days, or perhaps you haven’t, for you like me may have been away for the weekend enjoying yourself.

What an interesting choice of word for today’s word prompt, juxtapose and how it fits so easily with my experiences at the weekend, for a start lets juxtapose the joy of being retired and having the ability to go away at any time, with the lack of a regular income to pay for said jaunts.

This last weekend entailed a trip away to watch our grandchildren play in a football tournament and again one can juxtapose the pleasure aspect of being away with my delightful wife, compared to the purgatory that was watching the football matches, although to be fair my version of watching football is not perhaps a conventional one. Indeed the comparison between my version of sitting by the side of the pitch in my deckchair reading the latest edition of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Driver magazine and a considerable number of the other fathers and grandfathers who would stand at the side of the pitch shouting instructions at the top of their voices to the poor infants on the pitch, is as they say like chalk and cheese.

I am in the very lucky position to be the owner of both, a modern Bentley Arnage and a classic 1947 Mk VI Bentley and once again one can juxtapose the two cars as the newer car has the benefit of air conditioning, whereas the older one has the option to open the window should the weather become unseasonably hot and perhaps with the weather being baking hot at the weekend, had we compared the two cars before opting to take the older one, we may have been slightly cooler.

Earlier I mentioned the joy of being able to go away whenever one desired if one was retired, however living the life of Reilly has it’s pitfalls when the bills for all this merriment appear and one can juxtapose the two possible lifestyles. That of living like a hermit and saving one’s investments or the life of Reilly whereby one spends and enjoys one’s life. Always a conundrum for if we all had a sell by date where we knew exactly when we might die the arithmetic for calculating how much one might spend to be buried with nought but a pound left would be far easier.

One is never certain when given a word to write about exactly how many times to use it in the text and I am thinking of printing this blog with the word juxtapose both included in and removed from the text, then I can juxtapose both versions to see if I have used the word juxtapose too many times!

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