(These pieces are the harmless ramblings of an intelligent, well-educated and well-travelled man and they are read and enjoyed by many. It is advisable to avoid over analysing in the name of political correctness. The ramblings are generally well informed and amusing but there is no malice intended. The ramblings have been published on the website for four years and have taken up a significant amount of storage which has affected the editing of the website. For this reason the original text has been deleted for most of the pieces but has been stored for access for those who may wish to visit the earlier thoughts of Mr Rugge - Price.
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Important Notice for Cone Heads
Farmers, particularly those who raise livestock, are suffering huge losses due to “Midnight Rustlers”. In our area it’s mainly piggies that are pinched while in the more hilly districts of the U.K., it’s the sheep that go missing, not just one but in hundreds. It’s big time money for meat these days, despite the “fatwa” issued by the austere Head of Goldsmiths, London University, her dictat is the removal of beef from the undergraduates’ menu. Where’s the Beef! Her reasons are founded in carbon emissions from the herd. Well, if I have to eat cabbage and beans instead, my daily personal carbon emissions are capable of blowing away anything a few cows can do, and you don’t want to be downwind either!
As far as the masses are concerned, there are many degrees of separation as to what actually takes place on farms today. In some big cities, New York for example, there is a petting zoo in Harlem containing a few cows that the Young Bruvs can see and even touch, in order that they might understand from whence cometh the “white stuff” in the carton, Yo, Bruv, y’know what ah mean!
If you think that is crazy, try this:
A young checkout counter clerk was recently presented with a box of loose tea leaves. On being told what it was and how you make tea with it, he said.” Oh, I see, when you get home you fill up the teabags yourself”?
Our local Latitude Festival came under fire from many, including the RSPCA, the media and the Wailing Wallies of the Loony Fringe, for displaying sheep of many colours, on the basis that it did them harm! Joseph, he of the multi coloured Coat fame, would have been gobsmacked by the hues on display and I’ve no doubt that Little Bo Peep would also have found these multi coloured sheep to be utterly orgasmic. Anyway, farmers have been dying sheep for years, not only to help with lambing but to deter sneaky sheep nappers!
A friend of mine once had similar trouble on his land in the Welsh Border Country, so he had a chat with the Commanding Officer of the SAS at their barracks in nearby Hereford. A rumour was leaked in the locality that the land was being used for training exercises by the SAS. In fact, they didn’t but from that moment on nobody dared trespass.
T’aint only the folk we are missing here this summer, we seem to have fewer flies, which is a blessing. Normally the fly paper hanging in the kitchen is adorned with hundreds of tiny insects, known in Maine as No Seeums. Very apt description, but this year, no see um!*
It’s comforting to know that Her Majesty has exactly the same opinion of our present pusillanimous politicians as the rest of us. In the words of the great Terry Thomas, ‘What an absolute Shower!’
The young children that come here every summer are a delight to behold and a pleasure to see, many are grandchildren of long-term Orford residents. Of an evening, the Rec playing field is host to many sports, football, tennis, rounders, and even mini badminton. The other evening two seven-year olds were having little success in getting the shuttlecock over the mini net while their respective mums stood by chatting endlessly, totally oblivious to the low standard of play, par for the course, of course! Now I’ve never played the game, but it was abundantly clear a little instruction was needed, and after a few minutes of one on one they were beginning to get the hang of the game with the occasional rally over the net.
All this sporting activity is good to behold but the other side of the tracks, events are not improving. The multitude of stabbings, many by young teenagers, that haunt the country are not good. There are plenty of reasons why it is happening, and again, many ways that are being put forward to containing and stopping it, but none appear to be working. My personal suggestions don’t just lock ‘em up for a few months, it’s utterly pointless, I would suggest six strokes of a heavy-duty cane for each stab. As I well remember from my own youth, FEAR is a great deterrent. By the way, the best way of thrashing is with a right back hander, you achieve more sting that way! I’m a supporter of human rights but, let’s face it, this country has gone soft, wishy washy and lost the plot in the schools and streets. There is very little PT or sports and too much interference by pushy parents and other “do good” nosy Parkers. Even the Bible says it very clearly, “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child”, I’ve no doubt it’s in the Koran too, so it includes our Moslem Brethren as well. Gee whizz, in my prep school, the six inch long wooden blackboard erasers that went whizzing around the classroom were a weapon of choice by our Maths master, a fast bowler for Kent; while the Latin master had a scratch handicap in tweaking both ears at the same time, which is far more painful than wash boarding; and then there was our French teacher, the indomitable Miss Vickers, who had escaped from the clutches of the Wehrmacht in Normandy, (no mean feat for a five foot high fifty year old), so she had that “ ve haf vays of making you shut up” skills and they were enough to silence Hitler! Were you stupid enough to continue she just came straight to your desk and hit you, VERY HARD! Game, Set and Match. You gotta get em while they’re young, a short, sharp and painful lesson does wonders for the mind and cleanses the soul!
There was an article in the Telegraph by Dr Tony Sewell, an expert in this field, in which he states that the Police and Teachers have lost their ‘authority’ within the community, so add loss of parental control to that and the main sources of good behaviour and respect have been removed from our culture. He proved it is possible to rectify this in school by the introduction of rules, routines and uniforms within the Borough of Hackney, where school ratings went from being some of the worst in the country to now being in the best category. So, there is hope yet.
Speak of the Devil, I just watched a small boy, about seven, refuse to do what his Mum wanted and stamping his foot while shouting “I don’t wanna and I’m not gonna anyway!, Two minutes later he was doing exactly as she had asked. The inducement? She bought him an ice cream! Rutting Rhinos, a good clip round the ear’ole wouldn’t half sharpen him up.
Well August Bank Holiday has come and gone, the Flower Show, the Market Square Bun fight and the Orford Dinghy Race. Mr & Mrs Joe Public and all their little Publics, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all came flooding in, perspiring profusely from every pore. There was a report from an Essex beach of air pollution and people having severe breathing difficulties, the cause was put down to a local fuel spill, but I suspect they had temporarily O/D’d on severe wafts of B/O.
PS. * I wus wrong, cos now I see um plenty!
Our summer is jogging along, but very slowly, we seem to have lost our flavour of the month in Orford: no doubt that will thrill a few local stick-in-the-muds, but it don’t ‘elp the bottom line of our retail businesses.
It is, after all, these few months that help most fill their coffers and should that not happen, it will be to the detriment of all of us. However, the saying “build and they will come” often comes true, and there’s lots of building afoot, and with new houses yet to come, including Laura’s new pumps when the Four Horsemen of Orford are done with the developer.
Perhaps it is a good thing that all is still relatively quiet, for it gives one time to deal with other very important matters that bubble to the surface every so often. The latest involves a topiary chicken that resides in a neighbour’s garden, she’s been there quite a while and never bothered a soul, she doesn’t even cluck loudly at dawn, but when her comb grows too big, she does stick her beak out a bit into the path. I received an email from the very nice Scottish couple that own the house and chicken. They had been sent a note by the Suffolk County Highways Dept., asking them to “lop of her head” as she was partially blocking the path. As they were in Scotland, they asked if I and other friends could help them in postponing the beheading of this lovely chicken on Death Row.
I immediately wrote to Ms Reasoning (yes, you couldn’t make that up) in the Highways Dept. with the heading “Headless Chicken” and asked for a deferment for the old bird who, by now, had been christened Mrs Cluck by one of her many supporters. The next day my incoming email box was full of cries of fowl play and so Paula and I went out to pay the old girl a visit, and sure enough, Old Ma Cluck was looking a tad bedraggled and much in need of a “perm and set.” So, we set about her barnet with the hedge clippers and now she’s looking much more perky, but that’s not the end of it, Clucky is on Instagram and Facebook, and support is flowing in daily. Mrs Cluck is admired by many, especially children, so what prompted this Grumpy Grinch to do such a fowl deed.
We were both saddened by the death of Ruth, she was a friend and a lovely lady and we both will miss her as will many others in the Village.
On the TV programme, “Who do you think you are?”, Kate Winslet declared fervently how simply AWFUL it would have been had she discovered that her forbears came from the wealthy or aristocracy, beggar the thought Girl! Personally, I’m only too glad that my ancient ancestors had a bob or two, Ceinogs the Welsh coinage was called, but they were in very short supply, so most household bills were paid with cattle, Mrs Moo being the everyday currency. These Welsh ancestors of ours were responsible for some of today’s international monetary terms: in Welsh, Chattels = cattle = capital; or the Latin equivalent: pecus = cattle = pecuniary; and you all thought we were just gormless Taffies who could do nowt but sing!
So it came to pass, many moons ago, that I was born, luckily with a rather tarnished golden spoon in my mouth, but as I approach the time to drive down the Highway to Hell, I will be presenting myself at the exit for the Pearly Gates with a wooden spoon clutched firmly in my cold arthritic fingers.
Boris’s Bobbies, all twenty thousand of them, will be much welcomed back on the Beat in due course, but hopefully they will all be re-enlistments. I say that cos some new recruits are turning out to be problematic potential plods at the Police Academy. They are astounded that they have to work weekends, and some are not happy with dealing with “Confrontation” situations! I would imagine that, on hearing this news, Bert the Burglar prebooked his next year’s holiday in Benidorm. I wonder what Dixon of Dock Green would say.
On the subject of rich and poor, I often wonder whether some of our Chancellors, Home Secretaries and the like, both past and present, have any idea just how tough it is to live “below the salt”. As a Downing Street dweller, you are actually guarded by several Plods at the gates, so no worries about being burgled, they even escort you to work and back, no way you’re gonna get mugged by Yamaha Yobbos or Moped Muggers. You are able to afford private health care, so you don’t have to wait six months or more for a clinical assessment nor call 999, only to be told you’re in a queue for an ambulance, wait years on a Council list for housing, or argue with the DWP about entitlement.
All of the above are the results of the drastic cost cutting across the board that have dire consequences on those clinging desperately to the bottom rung by their fingernails.
There have been copious letters in the press about the Straits of Hormuz and how are we to defend our tankers. One asked why H.M.S. Montrose couldn’t get there quicker? Hang about mate, this is an old lady of twenty-seven years with four hundred thousand miles on the clock! I’ve no doubt her Captain had the Telegraph on Full Ahead, and, had there been rivets, I’ve no doubt they would have popped. This morning the gallant Admiral West made a case for our two huge Aircraft Carriers being part of the British Fleet. As of now one is still being built and the other has sprung a leak! so they are not available should the Iranian Speed Boats sally forth again. Over 80 % of our destroyers and frigates are in long term dry dock, thus they are not fit for duty either! So, in all reality, we don’t actually have a Fleet at all, possibly just enough ships to call it a Naval Squadron at best. So, I think Admiral Nelson’s comment “I see no ships” is more accurate than Admiral West. However, don’t blame the Navy, Messrs. Brown, Osborne and Eeyore are the culprits.
This evening, July 20th, I heard the squeals and giggles of some little children playing in a nearby garden, that means Summer is here at last. There was more this morning when the Mum was heard loud and clear, “Children, have you all cleaned your teeth, Alice, Michael, DID you hear what I said!” The arrival of children for Summer hols is always a good sign, there are the young and very keen sailors bicycling up and down from the yacht club, then there are the mini bikers and tiny scooter people in multi-colour helmets, all of whom rarely, if ever, draw breath while driving, (I wonder who taught them that?) and then, of course, those for whom the holidays are a chance to begin to build their future financial careers.
An industrious little group of girls set up a souk type stall by the bakery, (best foot traffic spot in the entire village!) selling small stones with pictures painted on one side, yours for 20p or three for 50p.
I bought two, and on the way back down to the Quay, showed them a superior version I bought in Brittany. It was a little dragon with two tiny pebbles for eyes, and I pointed out that if they did this then they could charge a pound. Eyes lit up and so the magic stones have been upgraded to deal with their clientele. Later that afternoon, one of the young team of Stone merchants biked down to the gallery with a donation to the RNLI. now that’s a class act.
PS. Thanks to all who petitioned the Highways Dept on behalf of Mrs Cluck, especially the Raisin family.
Rumour has it she might live to lay another egg.
Ever since being banished to my prep school in 1947, at the tender age of seven and a half, I’ve never been good at long goodbyes, but some are harder than others. Saying a final farewell to David and Christine Murdoch will be sad, not only for both of us but also for many in our village and parishes surrounding us that are within the parochial parish boundaries.
The good deeds they have done are too many to mention, it mattered not whether you were a church goer or not, they were both always there to ensure and comfort us when it was needed, and, as a serial sinner, I can vouch for that!
We wish them every happiness and a peaceful life in Sussex.
We spent a few days in Camden, Maine, recently. There the fields and roadsides were full of beautiful blue lupines, and, judging by the sudden arrival of the migrating Conehead Tribe, summer had arrived. I have to own up to joining them in their quest, for there is no better ice cream than Wild Maine Blueberry. I could slurp it forever!
For those of you who are new Orford residents, the Coneheads, them wot slurps ice cream , are an itinerant tribe that rush like lemmings to Coastal resorts each summer, and on arrival here, can be seen queuing in the rain for the chance to slurp an ice cream. They originated in Camden Maine, but are now to be found slurping away down by the Quay in summer months.
Speaking of which, I hope that, by the time you are reading this, our summer has indeed arrived, sans les deluges! Many newspapers are touting a blistering heat wave of unprecedented biblical proportions, no sign of it in my local weather app. Much Ado about Nowt, as usual.
Like Orford, Camden relies on teenagers out of school to help man, or girl as the case maybe, the many summer jobs in shops and restaurants, but this year it appears the teenage malaise of doing nothing has crept in and everyone is feeling the pinch. One Camden restaurant has been unable to open for lack of staff.
This indifference to earning money is relatively new in America, for past decades the “summer job” has been part of the growing up rite of passage. I’m glad to see that around here the local teenagers are still hard at it.
I was talking to a fellow fossil the other day, he and his Mrs grew up in Liverpool during the war, and he described the huge bombing raid in 1941. They heard the sirens and hid in the cellar, then the world caved in as the house was hit. Luckily no one was hurt and later that morning they were playing footie in the street while the ARP pulled out the dead. As he said, life had to go on.
Were we tougher back then? Perhaps we were, I don’t remember anyone saying they didn’t want to work, the question never actually came up, However the Troopers in our Regiment, many from Barnsley who’s Das had been “Doon Pit” could tell a tale or two about yesteryear: Ee lad, Ah tell youse, these yong blokes today, they don’t knaw how lucky they is. When we wus nippers, it were so cold in our ‘ouse that when us Da chewed ‘is peppermints, we warmed us ‘ands on his breath!
One other item I’ve noticed is the abundance of poppies everywhere, in some places it resembles a scarlet swathe across the countryside. On the Seventy Fifth Anniversary of D-Day, is this a poignant poppy reminder?
There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better, some have gone, and some remain
All these places have their moment with lovers and friends I can still recall
Some are dead and some are living, in my life, I’ve loved them all.
In a village such as ours, there are more than just a handful of crinklies and wrinklies, in fact we’ve got all sorts, the odd antediluvian or cantankerous curmudgeon and a quorum of venerable and ageing fossils like me, and many of us suffer from the occasional memory lapse, known as the Curse of The Crumblies! As one of the aforementioned, I watched Vicky Maclure - DI Fleming from AC 12 in Line of Duty, in case you have forgotten already (!) - and her Dementia Choir going through rehearsals for a public TV performance, folk of all ages, male and female, whose daily lives had been curtailed into oblivion by loss of memory, Vicky’s Nan had previously suffered from dementia.
But there they all were, singing away together in unison, and not just “Roll out the Barrel” but words from new songs in the rehearsal weeks. Amongst them was a thirty one year old father of two, ever ebbing away from his children a little more each day, he had been a one-time drummer in a band but now couldn’t keep the beat any more, yet within minutes he was able to play the drum in time to the music; then there was a lady who suddenly remembered how to play the piano after a ten year dementia absence on tinkling the ivories, she accompanied the choir, and the singers, and you could see from the smiles on their faces, that suddenly they were all back in the moment, and loving every second of that moment.
The experiments being carried out by Professor Sebastian Crutch from University College, London, and Dr. Lauren Gascoyne of Nottingham University had participants wired up for further research into dementia, and although music can’t cure this from happening, it is abundantly clear from the results that there is a connection. It showed on the scans that neutrons in the brain, which previously had not responded to any other incentives, did respond immediately to music. The final concert with an audience of two thousand people in The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham was a huge success but at the same time very poignant to watch, especially with the song Vicky chose, “In My Life” a Beatles Classic. The idea was brave, brilliant and hugely beneficial to those with memory problems and is one that should be repeated around the Country, especially in places like here with its ageing population.
As I wander daily through our local forests with Ace, I do the Teddy Bears Picnic hum “If you go down to the woods today, be sure of a BIG surprise” just in case I forget where I parked the car! Some years ago, I issued instructions to my wife and my family to ensure that once I go doolally, those looking after me recharge my iPad batteries every day so that I can listen to my music. On the other side of the coin, some remarks from those who are losing it, can be very amusing, and if you can’t laugh then I pity you.
My Step Grandma had a few corkers;
A large dinner party where the topic was the sudden demise of a mutual friend who had recently died after a thrombosis. At a gap in the conversation she said, “Poor David, he had a tombola, you know!’
Being driven home from London, the car was approaching Bury St Eds and the huge sugar beet factory hove into view, with two tall chimneys belting out clouds of steam: “Oh Good Lord, the Abbey is on fire!”
By the way, for those of you who benefit from the loss of pain by using CBD oil, try eating local shrimp! It’s a proven fact that cocaine has been found in Suffolk shrimp of late. Pinney’s, here I come! The lady in the fish shop told me “Stuff ‘em up yer nose Darlin, don’t eat em!” And oh yes, I nearly forgot, the Company that produces the best CBD oil in the U.K. is based in the one-time sleepy village of Elmswell in Suffolk, near where I grew up. Seems we are way ahead of the entire Country when it comes to County Lines!
As another Cone Head Slurping Season is about to commence, the question of Summer Parking swims into focus yet again: the Market Square at a total standstill due to over parking; the Quay Street car park bulging at the seams, the Quay itself swamped with cars parked for hours, their owners duly attending them at all times (!) and our little localised problem with tractors unable to get to the fields either via the Square or by Munday’s Lane.
In previous years I’ve placed cones in the narrow part, but these are swiped by a local, surprise, surprise! This year I’m trying something new, a little ditty requesting they park elsewhere.
If it’s here you wanna park,
In the day or after dark,
You’ll block our farmers right of way,
from sowing seeds or cutting hay.
For tractors now are giant machines,
much wider than they’ve ever been,
So all we ask, with due good grace,
please go find another space.
There is, in fact, a relatively simple answer, put a legal Eastern Suffolk Council sign on the Castle Close brick wall. Our esteemed Council Ladies in the Town Hall have asked politely if this could be done as they already have the required sign, but the “good” Burghers that live behind the wall won’t allow it?! Not exactly communal spirit, rather more a touch of ‘I’m all right Jack, pull up the ladder!’
Finally, I had to dispose of some glass jars yesterday, the first bin had bottle necks protruding from the top, so I moved to the second one and this time, opened the bin lid - Holy Moly - it was practically full as well, so I checked the rest of ‘em! Ninety percent of the empty bottles were Châteaux Sans Jambes or Prosecco Putanata, so it can be said that old habits die hard here, and I suppose it helps swirl memories around the brain cells.
Mrs May it’s time for you to scarper,
The Country won’t approve your Brexit Deal
No more votes now, pack yer bags now
We’ve made it clear enough, it ain’t your place to stay
(with apologies to Herman’s Hermits!)
As I begin my next Rambling, it’s eight pm on Easter Monday, the village is silent, many locals a’bed, the cone heads are gone and all’s well.
That was a very sunny Easter holiday and it was lovely to see and hear small children all around, some in strollers, hermetically sealed from the sun’s rays, (it must get awful hot and sweaty in there!) some suitably helmeted youngsters on bikes and teenie females on teenie scooters pushing along Quay Street. I always find it fascinating that the latter scoot along whilst talking nonstop, it’s easy to see, later in life, where the fair sex gets their driving skills from.
It’s often the remarks of children that are astoundingly down to earth:
A small scooter lady. ‘Oh, look Mummy, the Ice Cream man is here, I’m going to have a chocolate one!”
Harassed Mum, trying to keep her eyes on three small people spread out over some twenty five yards of roadway as cars and Lycra Bikas hurtle past.
“No Alice, you haven’t had your lunch yet, “
“But Mummy, I told you I didn’t want to have lunch today so you see I can have an ice cream!”
It would seem the Silly Season has arrived now, somewhat ahead of schedule. The Extinction Rebellion has the right goal in mind, I do worry about my grandchildren and what sort of World will they have to live in? However, their tactics, with which I disagree, are probably annoying more folk than gaining new recruits, and seem to produce some strange bedfellows.
An aged fossil just like me was just one example. Having somehow managed to climb on top of a train, no mean feat given his age of 83, he then glued himself to the roof. When he was duly arrested and brought before the Beak, he was asked his age and nationality, he answered that he didn’t recognise “nationality”, why then did he hold a British passport?
Then there’s Mrs Totty Thompson, shouting the odds from the bridge of the good ship Pink Potty about how she has personally been to the ends of the earth and witnessed all the climate changes happening. If you add in the frequent flier miles, she amassed to do all this, onto those from the flight from California just to attend The Rally, her huge carbon footprint is more than most individuals will achieve in a lifetime.
The huge army of Plods did a great job, and I fully approved of the pair that danced a jig, not only was it very similar to the jig I do every morning when trying to put on my pants, but it also showed a very human streak, contrary to the opinion of Mrs Dick, the Chief Plod. However, If I were PC Plod, I would leave the Glu-Ites stuck fast to doors, windows and trains for a few days, why not wait till they want a wee or a poo! Those “gallant” few, who glued themselves together in a line outside the Bank of England, after a day or two, would leave much more than a Carbon Footprint!
I’m heartened to see that our Four Horsemen For “Friends” are making much headway vis a vis a village garage to include pumps and small pickings as were supplied by Laura. It would be wonderful to have our casual meeting place back as well as the pumps, Bon Chance Gentlemen.
As a Generation War Baby, born in 1940, today’s world becomes more intimidating day by day when it comes to IT and that unknown world within my iPad. Now the utility companies like EON, BT etc. Send me emails telling me my monthly account can be viewed on line, but if you can’t remember your password you are stumped unless you can navigate your way through a mine field of questions to reset the effing thing. But I don’t want to reset it, I just want the old one I always had. Resetting it means I’ll never remember it again, and don’t suggest I write it down somewhere, cos I’ll never remember where I put the piece of paper, it’s a non sequitur.
Recently I had reason to ask the DVLA a couple of questions, it would have been easier and quicker to drive to Swansea and ask them, and I still don’t know the answer.
Last week I asked the new East Suffolk Council a question by email; the automated response told me that my query would be answered in due course, but they were experiencing difficulties and it might be six weeks before I heard from them!
Maybe they have forgotten their password too!
ps Interesting letter from a geophysicist in today’s paper,
“CO2 levels have little to do with Global Warming!”
A week ago, there were many news items about the Viking cruise ship that was in serious trouble off the Norwegian coast, with images of passengers being bowled over together with chairs and tables. For non-sailors this must have been very scary, not only because they had no control over what was happening, but also the incessant and terrifying roar of wind and waves which just added the right background atmosphere for Dante’s Inferno.
Yet the actual storm conditions weren’t more than gale force 9 or possibly 10, the winds were 60mph and the waves 25 ft. high. That’s rough but the ship was 47,000 tonnes and seven hundred and fifty feet long so that shouldn’t be a problem, but the situation was made worse by the fact that she was lying broadside to wind and waves due to lack of power.
So yes, for passengers this would indeed, be frightening
In 1958 I was part of the crew of the cargo ship, SS Clan Cumming, a mere 10,000 tonnes gross weight, and 450 ft in length. We were steaming from Mauritius to Calcutta and encountered a Force 14 Typhoon in the Bay of Bengal, which, for you that are sailors, is the only part of the World where Force 14 is registered by world weather stations.
The wind was 150 to 180mph, the swell over eighty feet and the cresting tops to each wave another twenty feet, so one hundred feet in total. I was an eighteen-year-old and one of four helmsmen on the ship. From my position on the wheel I could see the monstrous waves bearing down above us, but there wasn’t time to be frightened, I had to concentrate on keeping the bows on course, or else we would be broached and would be swamped.
The real motion we were going thru was enormous as described in the reality check below. Even off watch eating and playing cards required “Sea Legs”,
A Reality Check
Just imagine you are standing on a raised platform twenty-foot by sixteen with just the wooden ship’s wheel to hold on to.
The platform is going up and down like an express elevator for one hundred and ten feet permanently, while at the same time it is tipping forward and backward through an arc of fifteen degrees from the horizontal, that being the pitch and toss motion of the ship when standing on the bridge.
Now add to that the twenty-five-degree rolling motion to either side and this creates the corkscrew motion of the ship and you begin to get the feel of just how difficult this is to merely stand up let alone walk!
The above movements are happening at the same time without any pause.
Should you wish to step outside onto the exposed deck then add a few more ingredients to the mix; a 140/180 mph wind trying to blast you off your feet with the spray blinding and stinging your face like stones. The catatonic roar of the ocean and the screaming banshee of the wind through the rigging is more than deafening; you cannot stand up without holding on to a fixed object such as a stanchion or rail.
Walking required careful timing as every time the bow dropped, your feet were left in mid-air which allowed the wind to grab hold and spin you sideways; then the deck would rise up again and hit your feet, jarring the knees each time.
If you were crossing the fifty feet of open deck from our accommodation to the bridge superstructure, either to go on watch or to eat in the saloon, then you have to add in the fact that the seas were sweeping clear over the deck and so hundreds of gallons of water were sloshing to and fro, knee deep, as you made your way forward. Put that all together in the blender and switch on; there you have it, that was our life for the next forty-eight hours.
Living with this upheaval was a feat in itself. Eating required much concentration if you didn’t want a lap full of hot Balti curry or scalding tea; sleeping was fine as long as you wedged your body in the bunk with extra padding and anyway, fatigue was a such a major player in this game that sleep was very easy to come by.
This went on for forty-six hours without any form of let up, other than a brief three hours in the eye of the storm when the wind dropped but the sea didn’t.
That is a Perfect Storm!
It’s a human trait to wonder just where you will end up when your dead. I expect to go down below and fear that JC will sign me on to the SS Eternal Damnation, a cruise ship to Hell, with five thousand passengers on board,
God what an awful thought! I can’t believe people pay good money for being incarcerated on a floating hulk, they are not ships in the true sense of the word. However, it’s not the ship I mind so much as the multitude of the masses on board, restricted to the common areas of the vessel and the enforced nonstop gaiety. To me that’s far worse than any Hurricane.
Meanwhile here in Orford, the usual unnecessary bickering goes on from those who hate to see anything change for the better. The new, but much needed, signs warning pedestrians of no footpath on Quay St near the church has them wittering away in the wings.
Methinks they are suffering from Acute Canute Disorder!
As I write this, we are in the middle of the February heat wave and the temperature outside is 12C, it’s strange but wonderful at the same time and we even had some cone heads slurping away at the weekend. Yet at the back of my mind is that old Jock saying, “Nay cast a cloot till May is oot”, and I so haven’t packed away my winter long johns just yet, as yer dinna ken wots roond the bend! I wish they had meant the PM.
Like most of my generation, memory isn’t our strong point, and losing things we really need is a daily event. Today I lost one of my hearing aids, or earphones as I call ‘em. We spent several hours moving furniture, checking pockets, looking in the car, etc. etc, and as it was getting past our 8pm bedtime we called it a day. As I was getting myself ready to crash out, I found it, ‘twas in my ear! C’est la Vie!
The news that the planning application for the houses on the Friends garage site has been withdrawn is excellent, the Power of the People spoke out loud and clear. On top of that is the added bonus that a group of locals, Orford’s Four Musketeers, have instigated discussions on a new pump and shop site! So, what was originally a “Dies Horribilus” when Friends had to close, could well turn out to be a “Dies Magna” in days to come.
The builders working on Quay House are stripping away the grey screening which is exposing some lovely red brick, and if left like that it would be really much prettier. It appears much interior work is being done as well, including a large basement and work won’t be finished this summer. Great job no doubt, but has anyone told the new owners it could all be underwater in twenty years?
In my last Rambling I mentioned a few anecdotes from my younger days and the people involved, among those are the various butlers that my parents had, all of whom were numbered amongst our best friends. Being a butler is no easy task, and in the days of Mr Carson of Downton Abbey, his immediate team was swelled in number by under-butlers, boot boys and even one to stock up wood and coal buckets around the house. But by the time I was a nipper, the poor old butler was all on his own some, laying the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving the food at each meal, and clearing the table each time, seven days a week. In addition, there was all the silver to be cleaned, cutlery and silver salvers, large ornate trophy cups and centrepieces, even ash trays, mustard pots and salt cellars, a never-ending task that was a bit like painting the Forth Bridge. There was the wine to be decanted, port and brandy decanters refilled, all of which generally required a quick taste test to ensure nothing had corked overnight, quite heavy on the liver, that last task. Then there were the clothes and shoes of the Master of the house, plus those of any male guests staying at the time. This necessitated the brushing of suits and dinner jackets and laying them out on a chair for the owner to get dressed, and of course the packing and unpacking of male guests’ suitcases. As I said, no easy task and not one for the faint hearted.
Our first Butler, Archer, was a wonderful fellow with a bulbous red nose the colour of vintage port, and he was a best pal to us three brothers. Archer had a habit of forgetting to pack an item of guests apparel and, eventually, was warned to mend his ways. One day my Stepfather and Uncle were on the last hole of the Royal Worlington Golf Course, some fifteen miles away, when they espied Archer peddling furiously down the road with a large paper parcel in his wicker basket. “It’s Mr John’s dressing gown sir, he left in the bathroom” was his excuse as he stood by the 9th green. As he mounted his bike for the return trip, my Stepfather said to him. “We will be eight for dinner, Arthur, not six, make sure you are back in time “. He was.
For reasons I know not why, butlers and nannies are generally at loggerheads, and this was much the case at Langham Hall. One sunny afternoon, Nanny was walking out of the front drive, with our younger half brother Charlie in a very smart perambulator, and as she started down the little road to the village, lo and behold, Archer hove into view. He was wobbling and weaving his way up the narrow road on his green Raleigh bicycle, making his way back from a post prandial visit to the village hostelry. As he passed Nanny, he gallantly took one hand off the handlebars and waved with gusto, which given his condition, was a fatal move. He promptly swerved towards the deep ditch at the roadside and, dressed in his butler’s uniform, striped trousers and all, fell headlong into the ditch. He didn’t hurt himself but in his inebriated state with his legs waving like an upturned beetle and head buried at the bottom of the ditch, he was completely stuck and unable to extricate himself. His eventual recovery was undertaken by the chauffeur, Hartley, who had been notified of Archer’s ditched demise by Nanny. Archer was “On Parade” a few hours later serving dinner, naturally.
As you may have realised, I led a very protected life as a boy, but next week I come face to face with the real world; watch this space!
I have just posted a new website for my work, both here and in the US.
I am on the way to being a pseudo vegan by default, not design, due to my becoming a toothless old twat, my meat-masticating molars have bitten the dust and are no longer a part of me. Luckily there’s still shepherd’s pie and hamburgers to be had, although due to some ridiculous Health and Safety law, British eating houses can’t cook a rare hamburger unless the meat is certified. So, what you get is a piece of meat that resembles the leather heel of a shoe in both appearance, taste and texture, completely and utterly uneatable.
I read an article the other day which commented on the posh accents of boys who had been educated at Eton and Harrow and went on to describe how they felt it necessary to alter their accents to hide this fact from their peers in everyday life. My World War 2 generation never had this problem as everyone had to do two years National Service; whether you were posh or pleb mattered not a jot, because for four weeks we all suffered together in the same melting pot of Basic Training, cheek by jowl with Cockney teddy boys, Glaswegian “heed” cases, Brummies, Geordies and Scousers.
However, my first notion of a country dialect was here in Suffolk. Our home, Langham Hall, (above) was situated midway between Bury St. Eds and Stowmarket, a beautiful William and Mary house sitting in one hundred and fifty acres of parkland with thirteen acres of garden. I mention this only to show how totally cut off from the Wide World we actually were while growing up. There was no mains electricity within the tiny village of Langham and we made our own power by a huge coal fired engine that acted as a generator, it resembled a traction engine without wheels. Most of the living in staff came from other parts of the Country, but the gardeners, all three of them, were from the tiny village of Langham, just a mile away. There were only fifty inhabitants of the village, and apart from three who had fought in the war, thirteen had been by bus, Fridays only, to Bury St Eds and the rest hadn’t been anywhere outside a three-mile radius.
It was pure Suffolk back then.
The head gardener was John Frost, known as Freezer by one and all, and he had been bending over potting plants and veggies for so long that he couldn’t stand up straight when talking to you. This meant you couldn’t see his face under his old flat hat and that made his words quite difficult to understand, especially with his broad Suffolk accent.
On one occasion he appeared in my Stepfather’s study and said. “It’s Burrd Sir, ee’s gorn!”
Not understanding what he meant, my Stepfather replied. “What do you mean, where’s he gone to?”
“Ee be loyin in them there roses, and ee be gorn!”
They both went off together to the walled rose garden and sure enough, Old Bird was definitely “gorn”, for there he was, stretched out with his boots on under a rose bush, stiff as a poker.
One of our favourites was the Cook, a lovely lady, whose daughter, Mabel, had been born a tad mentally disabled or with a screw loose as we boys used to called it in those unenlightened times, but she helped with the washing up and the laundry, both of which were hugely considerable in volume. One day it was discovered that the dear Mabel was four months pregnant, and given the near isolation in which our house was placed, the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question was, ‘oo were the Dad? As the months wore on and she grew in stature, the question remained uppermost in everyone’s mind, and there were several large wagers amongst the staff. She was taken into Bury for the birth and lo and behold, out popped a mini Chinaman, Sum Ting Wong. (Say it quickly) The Truth was outed, we had a weekly delivery of clean, and a collection of dirty, laundry and the van driver was Chinese, clearly, up to some Widow Twanky (Hanky Panky) in the back of his van, amongst the dirty sheets; Ah So
Life at Langham was rarely ever dull and as young boys, these people were our best friends, especially “Hart” the chauffeur and Arthur the Butler, but more about them next month.
In March of this year I will be entering my eightieth year, and like many of this age, the tendency to ramble on and reminisce is quite normal, but the difficulty lies in trying to remember what you are actually wittering on about. This is sometimes a problem of mind-bending proportions as I continue to write my life’s Ramblings from birth to the present day.
As the time for checking in my baggage draws ever closer, I sometimes wonder where my e-ticket destination will be, next to the boiler in the basement is the most likely I think, but then you never know as is shown in one of the little histoires I have included in my tome.
In my early teens, our family and those of our many Pilkington cousins all went together for our summer holidays to Le Grand Hotel de le Mer in Morgat, Brittany. The hotel was right on the sandy beach and at times the waves came right up to the steps of the hotel veranda. We kids, some twenty four strong aged between two and fifteen, ate at our own table while our parents sat together, well removed from the Gaderene Swine. The difference was that the Vin Rose flowed like Victoria Falls at theirs while pomme frites and ice cream abounded at ours. One of the parents was a lovely man called Roger Mortimer, a former Coldstream Guards Officer who was captured at Dunkirk while lying unconscious, all his men having been killed, he then became a Prisoner of War for five years. Roger went on to become the racing correspondent for the Sunday Times and was a wonderful man with an enormous sense of humour and the written word, as was seen in the book written by his son Charlie, “Letters from My Father.”
One day after a particularly liquid lunch, Roger came down the steps onto the beach, put down a towel and promptly went off to the land of Nod. There he lay, immobile, for some two hours, his lily-white skin gradually turning the colour of under done filet steak. Just as the tide began to draw closer to his toes, a bevy of Jeune Mademoiselles, in skimpy bathing costumes, came strolling down the beach. Coming across this prone burnt body they stopped and gathered around Roger. At that precise moment a wave touched his toes and he woke up. His first sight was of many bronzed and beautiful legs and thighs stretching up to the Heavens “I looked up and seeing all of these gorgeous legs, I thought, My God, I’m dead already and this must be heaven!”
So, you see, you never can tell.
There’s some scuttlebutt floating around the lower deck that a new sheriff recently rode into town! No less than a lady Copper, supposedly of some senior rank, who has taken up residence in Ferry Lane. In light of the fact that our lovely PCSO ladies have recently fallen foul of budgetary constraints, this could, indeed, be good news for us Wurzel Gummidges.
When I was a whipper snapper, if you needed Z cars, you didn’t dial 999, just a single 0 got you the local operator, who probably lived in the nearby village anyway. Once she answered you asked to be through to PC I Catchem, or Ian, dependant on who you were. On being summoned, he would mount his sturdy Raleigh bicycle and peddle sedately down our front drive to find out what was amiss.
Given the many problems our Plods are having today I wonder if our newly arrived member of the Suffolk Constabulary will oblige likewise today, I can’t wait to hear her dulcet tones of “Allo Allo, wots goin on ‘ere then”.
Ian wasn’t just a copper, he was a fine beater on the home shoot and could deliver a mean googlie during the cricket season.
Finally, my Sunday paper tells me that a vegan diet would slash greenhouse gases, and it might well be so. However, if I increase my daily consumption of veggies, I could personally put a stop to that ever happening. What’s more, our little area of England is on record for some of the highest scores when it comes to ammonia released by the local porkie farms, so I think I’ll leave vegans to chew the cud while I nosh on bangers and burgers.
‘‘Tis another year under my belt, and that time, yet again, when resolutions are made for the new year, I have but one and that’s to have a proper sun and sea holiday before it’s too late.
Along with sailing and skiing it was always a favourite of mine to mess about on a beach and I haven’t done that now for over a decade, so that’s my New Year Resolution done and dusted.
I don’t have any “do without” resolutions, I’m way past that age but however there are several people I could do without ever seeing or hearing about ever again, Mrs “let me be clear” heads the list while vegan and LBGT “activists” are next and Big mouth Blair is in third place.
Those I want to hear more from are Jezza who is single handedly keeping the Tories in power, Trump whose tweets are going to cause him to self destruct, and finally Mueller and his findings.
What will I miss in the coming year, Laura and her team, it’s a travesty.
A Happy New Year to everyone.
Until recently I had been looking forward to Christmas, I always do as I’m child at heart and the thought of a stuffed stocking at the end of my bed has never faded nearly eighty years on. Yet the dour news of the demise of Friends Garage next month has shocked the entire village of Orford, and put a big black cloud over us.
However at the Council meeting in the Village Hall last night there was Much Binding In The Marsh between many of our village elders and the Council over the future outcome. One of the more compelling speeches was from our “Senior Service” resident Mike Finney, reminding one and all of the past debacle of moving the Village shop when action that was taken was too little and too late, and gave us the urgent warning regarding the necessity to form a small but diligent group to pursue the facts and ensure that our needs are met in any future commercial garage site, “ Before Its Too Late!.”
It was clear that everyone there was reading the same chapter but not necessarily the same page, the Council appeared to be somewhat loathe to put up any funds to support a possible village joint enterprise at this time, perhaps they might reconsider if the idea floats in due course?
One aspect in all this that wasn’t mentioned was the personal position of those who run and operate the garage. Its not just the pumps, it’s not just the MOT, it’s not the repairs, it’s not the motor oil, screen wash and coolant, it’s not even the shop filled with bird food, dog food, compost, plants and seeds, light bulbs, white spirit, masking tape, fresh eggs, cold drinks and ice creams, logs, butane bottles, bikes for hire and many other necessities required in our daily village life, for all of that is replaceable, it’s the Oracle herself, it’s Laura, it’s our Minister of Information, it is the very beating heart of Orford that’s being surgically removed, and that’s what has upset everyone.
There’s rarely a time that you pull in to Friends Garage to fill up one’s car, that there isn’t someone from either Orford, Butley, Chillesford, Iken and Sudbourne waiting in the forecourt to have a natter with, it’s the central hub of our local villages from where information and news flows and spreads out across our section of the Peninsula and in reverse, locals from the other five villages flood in to use the garage amenities, and as such it’s irreplaceable. All of this before one even considers the great team that work there and the undeniable factor that Friends has been operational in this location, in one form or another be it coal and coke to a fully fledged motor repair shop, for more than a hundred years, and recently our esteemed Laura Gillespie was awarded the B.E.M. for services to the Community but now this possible development has removed her livelihood in the single stroke of a pen.
As a Community, we owe Laura and vote of thanks and appreciation for all she has done for us!
A Century of service to Orford in so very many ways, only to be unceremoniously kicked out to make room for some horrible looking houses, but then I suppose this was probably inevitable.
But despite everything everyone said at the meeting, in the final analysis just how many of these houses will be put on Airbnb for holiday rental?
What also appears inevitable is that according to Government future coastal flood plans, much of this whole area will be joining Dunwich-Under-the-Sea by 2030.
Glug Glug Glug!
An addendum to this Rambling
I find it very difficult to believe that the garage enterprise never ever made a profit, it sounded like Fake News to me, forty years and not a bean?
Someone who has lived here all their life tells me it’s not true; I can’t put down here what was actually said, it would be bleeped out
We just returned from our annual visit to the US which, ever since the War of Independence back in 1812, has been known as the Land of The Free. Under the presidency of trump, (with a small tee,) it is now called the Land of Me!
Old age has but few perks, a free TV licence still being one of them as of now, but it also brings on a few unseen problems whilst traveling abroad, hiring a car being one of them, I was charged almost double as I was an old duffer. Another old age problem is the long-term suffering from extreme jet lag, there was a time when I was flying the Atlantic regularly on business, and often had to go from the airport to a meeting regardless of the time change, but here I am almost a week after getting back home, still reeling from the after effects. In fact, by day two of our trip, the Wife and I resembled Mr & Mrs Magoo, wandering around not knowing what we were supposed to be doing or, more importantly, where the hell we were going as we drove around areas of Portland Maine that neither of us had ever seen or been before despite the fact it was her home town!
I think I’m restricting future travel to merely channel crossings and even that restricted to ferries only, I can’t be doing with the likes of Easy Jet or Ryan Air, cattle get more respect than their passengers.
It would appear that readers of my Ramblings are spread far and wide across the Globe, with my Grandchildren living in both Sydney and Cape Town I assumed this was already the case, but what self-respecting teenager would read what Grandpa says?
I just received a long communication from a retired couple in Canada who are already “regular readers”. They are trying to trace their ancestry across the Seas, much of which is in Scotland, God forbid they find a connection to Sturgeon, the wee mealie mouthed lassie presently ruling the Picts! Apparently, the name Rugge-Price peeked their interest, and why not indeed, but who do we think we are we?
Price the Prince no less, Taffies galore and Celtic to the core!
According to our family tree, authenticated by the College of Arms, our ancestor was the Prince (Chieftain or Brigand Boss?) of one of the fifteen Celtic tribes that made up the Welsh populace. No doubt rape and pillage were the cries of the unfortunates who fell foul of him but #MeToos didn’t exist back then. Eventually the family married into the Tudor dynasty and the rest, of course, is history!
Talking of #Metoos, last week there was the British Reality Star who was arrested for drunk driving; she refused the offer of a Breathalyser on the basis that her new “puffed up” lips couldn’t fit around the breathalyser nozzle!!
In bygone days I had a mate or two who lived in Harlem NYC, can you imagine one of them being asked to use a breathalyser by a New York Cop for DWI “Ma lips is too big Bro”
I went to a funeral in Weymouth of an old Regimental mate last week. We first met in Ipoh, Malaya in 1960, he was a trooper and I was green 2Lt. He eventually rose to the rank of Major, but by that time I was long gone to America. Ten years ago, we rekindled that friendship at a Regimental Reunion. There were many Old Coms at his service and it was lovely once more to hear that Yorkshire greeting “Ey oop thee” as we all came together and, as they say In Barnsley, “Ee were a good lad” and that he certainly was.
While still in military mode, my dear Brother’s village of Eastern Royal in Wiltshire is putting on a vaudeville show to commemorate the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month of 1918, i.e. the end of World War 1. I think that’s a brilliant idea and only wish we were doing something similar to honour those bygone but not forgotten men. This day, Sunday 11th 2018 is probably the most important day of this year. Does anyone know who went from here?
According to Mrs Letme Makeitclear, we have reached the end of austerity which is a great sound bite but from where I’m sitting, deaf as a post, “Nowt’s happening”.
And then Eeyore Hammond recently declared that our “High Street shops cannot be preserved in Aspic”.
He obviously eats at the top table, for Aspic is formed from the juice of meat and veggies and was used in preserving the shape of moulded dishes served up to the Ruling Classes. I doubt very much that it was ever served to any of those sitting “beneath the salt”
I’ve experienced both ends of the “Have and Have Not” spectrum during my lifetime and while the above-mentioned Pols are both hard working people, I wonder if they actually know the price of a pint of milk?
There’s a lot of folk out here that are really coal and coke and with nowt to eat in the old Mother Hubbard
Ah well, Next Year in Marienbad perhaps?