Blog of A Blog Part 1:

With old Father Time ticking up the months and only a few days of this year to go; it seems a good occasion to look back over this year's blog.


In January I was celebrating my gift of a Captain Beefheart Print; entitled "  Parapliers: The willow Dipped. " Here is what I said about it:

"Parapliers apparently means a pair of pliers; tools in the construction of the railway. Don shows them as eyes framing  the way to future despoilition of the countryside. Don was a lover of nature and the environment. He spent most of his life in the Mojave Desert and thus was particularly aware of the changing features of light, shade and the colours encountered in this region. His paintings are great swirls of colours generally placing animal or animal shapes larger than any human content. The paint was often daubed and scraped on in places; showing a restless energy in his work. With the late onset of MD, he found increasing difficulty with his finger manipulation , especially with circular and oval shapes. Nevertheless the pictures exude warmth and mischief. Don, as noted above, loved a playful pun or oblique reference  in words and pictures.

In my print, for example in the bottom right hand corner is a Japanese Fighting Fish ( looking for survival ?) and not seen clearly here, but above the 'green bird shape' is a Madonna, looking out of the frame.
You will also notice the yellow of the desert, moving to the brown dirt of the highway.
There is much to puzzle here and that is the great essence of his canon; there is always a reason to keep looking and absorb.

I am hopeful, in future times to see an exhibition of his work in the UK. It really needs to be seen 'in the raw' due to the sheer sixe of individual items, many between a metre and two metres in height.
At that size , I would suggest,  it would make somewhat of an impression."

There was one original shown in London this year; but as it was a mixed assembly of various artists, I didn't bother to attend.


Pebbles, a great mare of the 1980s, links together two great servants of flat racing; Clive Brittain ( trainer) and Pat Eddery ( jockey ) with the present year 2015.

Clive who was famous for his dances after victories  and also for being, usually the first on the Newmarket gallops at four in the morning  retired this year at the grand old age of 81.

 Pat, a naturally gifted jockey died earlier this year. A multi-classic winner he will always be remembered for the 1975 King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, in which on Grundy he just out duelled Bustino ( Joe Mercer), often considered to be ‘The Race Of The Century'.
Check out the link to demonstrate what an exceptional horse Pebbles was.


 In February, clearly in a digital frame of mind i penned the following words:

I write
You read.

I shoot
You see.

I video
You watch

Do you
Freeze me
And leave me 

Oh no
Not Slow-Mo!
I  need energising
Fast forward 

I point
I shoot

You receive
In a moment.

Memories may fade
But not in this
Binary landscape
Washed upon a
Cyber shore.
Ready to send
I am blogger.
I am ART.

Well I am still blogging and Mr. Blogger tells me I will shortly be writing post number 400.


This year I have been interested in tea and tea making. I have posted about specialist tea merchants in Monmouth and Cheltenham. It is quite an absorbing subject. Here are some tea-facts for you.

All tea comes from the same plant. “All teas that are classed as a tea have to come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant,” Kate Woollard, tea expert at Whittard, tells BuzzFeed Life. “A lot of companies have gotten into the habit of giving something the title ‘tea’ because it’s something that you put in your cup and it’s hot.
“Specifically, tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia plant. Everything else, a herb (like mint), fruit (like raspberry) and so on, is an infusion.”
The types of tea are white tea, green tea, yellow tea, oolong tea, black tea, and pu-erh tea. “When you have the title ‘white tea’ or ‘green tea’, you’re actually describing the process by which it has been made,” Woollard says.
Tea Making:
Never Add Boiling Water.

“You never want boiling water when you’re drinking tea,” Woollard says. “You don’t want to burn the leaf.” When it comes to making an infusion, however, boiling water is a good idea. “You want to make sure you get the best amount of flavour out of an infusion. It’s almost like a jam. You’re rehydrating the fruit.”

Here’s a handy temperature guide:

White tea: 65–75°C
Green tea: 75–85°C
Black tea: 85–95°C
Infusions: 100°C
Only One Teaspoon.

You should only use one level teaspoon of tea leaves per person – by adding more tea you will end up making the tea too strong and lose that original unique flavour of the tea. Effectively, you’re wasting tea.
“Never add ‘one for the pot’, it’s an old wives’ tale,” Woollard says. “You’re using way too much tea than what you need. With a six-cup teapot, and a standard tea, use five level teaspoons. A large leaf tea, something like a silver needle, you’d use six level teaspoons.”
But what about teabags? “Personally, I don’t drink normal teabags, but I do drink large-leaf teabags. This is the convenience of a teabag, but with loose leaf tea in it. It means that I get the best quality tea, and I can reuse it two to three times, and I don’t need a strainer.”
Milk In First.

The order depends on how you’re brewing your tea. If you’re making tea in a teapot, add milk to the cup first, according to Whittard.
“If you’re making it in a teapot, we always recommend that you put the milk in first,” Woollard says. “If you pour the tea afterwards, it heats up the milk to the same temperature as the tea. It heats the milk up. It makes all the proteins in the milk break down at the same rate. It means you get great flavour throughout the cup of tea and it stops that build up of scum you might get at the top.

“Basically, if you put the milk in first, then you bring the temperature of the milk back up to the same temperature as the tea. If you’re adding milk afterwards, you’re making the tea cooler.”

Cheers everybody Ching Ching!


In March D. and I visited Chastleton House, near Stow on The Wold.

Last Wednesday ( 18/ 3 ) 
 D. and I re-revisited  Chastleton House, a Jacobean residence built between 1607 to 1612. It is situated six miles from Stow on the Wold in Oxfordshire. In increasingly difficult financial straits the same family owned the property until 1991, at which time the National Trust took it over.
The last owners in austere conditions did allow the public access, but the guided tours were accompanied in wet weather by the sounds of buckets filling up with water, as it dripped from the roof in numerous places.

It was of special interest then, having been one of the National Trust locations used in the making of the BBC television series " Wolf Hall ". This was an historical programme set in the time of the Tudors, when HenryV111 was king. It follows the life of Thomas Cromwell, who became before his fall from grace,  Lord Chancellor of England. 
The above courtyard was used to depict  Cromwell's father's ( a blacksmith ) work-place.

The above picture shows Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in the Main Hall of Chastleton, which was also used in the series.

The second series of Wolf Hall is expected next year.


Season's greetings from all from The Manse, Upper-Pensionville, (big ) Bucks.

Thought i'd give you a run-down on the latest news.

Actually going through a rather fallow patch, all jolly quiet, with mild days, but waiting for the storm to break. Had to give up the gym, making me so fit, felt I might go out and harm myself. besides which, the left hip is playing me up, so a visit to the 'Quack ' looks on the cards in the New Year. Asked Baxter to keep his eye out for a 4 X 4 mobile scooter; something with a ' bit of poke in it,' in order to traverse the estate.

Talking of Baxter, my chap seems reasonably happy with life. He naturally is concerned with the fortunes of Glasgow Rangers, but is more cheerful with the progress of the Scottish Rugby team. His main cry these days is that Great Britain did not win the Davis Cup, it was won by Scotland, due to the efforts of the Murraymint boys.

The Memsahib is getting increasingly security conscious, with cameras bestrewn around the estate. She spends a large amount of time studying a panel of video screens and the feed from the cameras. I am bound to say, very little happens.

I had to veto her suggestion to get in a couple of attack dogs, which would not only arouse alarm amongst the staff, but would frighten Macmillan and Eden, not to mention the pugs.

Looking forward to a return to the Caribbean and St. Lucia in particular. I noticed the bananas were very tasteful so decided to go in February.
Will be a good break to gird up the loins for the year ahead.

My chums in the city, tell me interest rates are due to rise in the new year, so if you want to invest, get cracking now.

So have a good Christmas and a New Year, in which both your expectations and your shares pay  bumper dividends,

W. C.


That is about that for this week.
I leave you with a Mermaid I caught at Burford the other week.

Cheerio for now,


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