(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.
They can be reached here
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The news that the planning application for the houses on the Friends garage site has been withdrawn is excellent, the Power of the People spoke out loud and clear.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?