Monday, 12 April 2021

Town Shopping

Searching for a decent birthday card that hadto be posted today for a birthday tomorrow.  Today shops opened and I headed for 'Clinton's' wide choice of mediocre cards.  Lucky for me the place was empty, plenty of cards available, but as expected not a really suitable one was seen.  However, one rude enough for a woman denying she is 80 was found and posted later (only 2nd class stamps available, tsk!).
The shops in town were not as busy as feared.  Queues of scraggy men waited outside barbers (sorry 'Men's Hairdressers') and queues were also seen at banks.  Otherwise the shops were not overflowing.  Several charity shops were open, and as a quick look was required I was inside quickly, more cards bought and now I have a reasonable amount for the next birthday, I suspect however, none will fit the person that day!  It is always the way.

Some time back the town and county councils dug up the High Street, relaid the road with lots of nice red bricks, stopped all traffic yet allowed single and double deck buses to pass along hourly.  It took only a few years for the wheels to dig in and ravines to form on either side of a mountain in the middle. Puddles during rain, people falling when crossing the road, cyclists illegally running the wrong direction until they fall off, and much outcry as to why this was happening.
Now a million or so has been spent to repair this road.  
Last year a group of workers happily blocked everybody, dug up the road, repaired pavements, installed new 'stumble proof' areas, and by Xmas had been dumped by the council.  Too slow, not good enough or inept, I am not sure.  We await a new contracter arriving to finish the job, he will be here soon...
In the meantime the half finished work is hidden behind bright orangy red barriers, people shuffle by, masked and disciplined sort off for the most part, and we await developments, eventually.

The other week I was busy doing Spring cleaning.  This led to much hassle last week when my knees reacted, tiredness swept over me and I could do nothing all week.  Tsk!  Innit marvellous?  
Today was the first time out this weekend, round the town, shopping in reopened shops and that was feeling like a new experience, and noting a barber with no queue, I will look in tomorrow!
People were sitting outside coffee shops, with the temperature not that high.  Were the pubs open?  I did not notice, it was lunchtime but I never gave them a thought.  I did read that those sitting outside pubs had to wear masks.  This begs the question how do they drink?  


Friday, 9 April 2021

Spring Advance at Arras, and Phillip.

In between the clouds today I noticed the buds appearing on the trees opposite.  Naturally, the picture does not show any!  However, the park was filled with kids today, plus guardian parents, none of whom appeared to wear masks while chatting to one another.  We forget, or ignore, so easily.  The young kids are better behaved than those that come later, the 'Chase me! Chase Me! crowd' of adolescents that gather to shout and scream in the darkness.  For a few years they have been reasonably quiet, this years lot may be louder.  They leave behind the same mess as all the others while also going on demonstartions to 'Stop Climate Change' and 'Save the Planet!  
It is understandable that those trapped inside, especially kids, wish to be outside making a noise and having fun so it is difficult to complain.  I wish I could do the same!  The lessening of the chill, it was cold when I visited Tesco early on, means people are fooled into thinking Spring is hear again.  I will cheer them all up by telling them it will soon rain all night and into tomorrow.  It is Spring!

Vimy Ridge, 9th April 1917.  This was the beginning of the Battle of Arras, a battle with a higher attrition rate than the Somme but almost nobody has heard of it.  Fought begrudgingly by General Haig to support a French 'Push' which was a disaster, it began in good style, the Canadians taking Vimy Ridge mostly within the first hour.  Hard fighting thereafter.  The British 3rd Army under General Allenby attacking south of Vimy advanced over three miles before being slowed by enemy resistance.  As the fight stuttered Allenby was removed by Haig much to his disgust.  Sent to the Middle East by Lloyd George he was happy to support the PMs later attacks on Haig.  
No celebrations occur in the UK re this battle, though it is seen, possibly wrongly, as the birth of an independent Canada.  The Canadians did fight well during the conflict, we could not win without them, yet are often ignored by the UK media.  No surprise there. 
Three local men died on that day, Private Ernest Arthur Clark, Private Bertie Charles Cooper, and Private Horace George Green.  There were to be several more in the days to come.  Cooper was one of four men from one family who was killed in action.  A fifth brother survived simply by being sent to India with a Territorial Unit and avoiding the war.
Not sure if you noticed but 150 posts on Twitter have indicated the Duke of Edinburgh has died at 99.  This is no surprise to anyone, he was sick, aged, and while well looked after, all knew it was likely.  
The media have gone into overdrive, endlessly repeating the things we all know, one or two dodgy bits about his comments ('Slitty eyes' anyone) and ignoring anything that makes them look bad.  Saturday's press will not be worth buying as it will contain the pre-prepared pull outs full of what has already filled the TV today. 
Personally I am raging!
The Heart of Midlothian game against Alloa was to be shown on BBC Scotland Channel tonight, this while the BBC channel is showing the same programmes, as is STV and SKY, so they have removed the match from TV as this is considered 'light' programming!
Since when was football Light programming?
Absurd decision, and another attack on the Heart of Midlothian by the Glasgow BBC.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

It's a Shopping Life

This online-shopping is a good thing innit?
What with the trouble last year with 'Hermes' and deliveries I am always a bit wary when ordering online.  However, all delivery companies have expanded greatly, even 'Hermes' has improved the system and enabled decent tracking of the goods, plus asking for report on the delivery.
Today I was informed my 'DPD' driver, name given, would deliver between 9:21 & 10:21.  So I sat back happy about this, as usually they arrive around lunchtime.  In fact he was a couple of minutes early and sped on his way, a cheerful hard working driver.  He must have been up before the postmen this morning!  Yesterday 'Hermes' arrived, a couple using their car rather than a van, a cheery local working class type.  Friendly, quick and within the time given.  A vast improvement for 'hermes.'   

With the vast amount of money received at Xmas I bought myself a (very) cheap, (very) used little camera to shove into my pocket.  Naturally bits are missing, scruff marks abound but the Battery charger works and so does the camera, in spite of marks on the lens!  The missing bit is the connection to the laptop which is required when downloading pictures.  I have ordered a (very) cheap cable from an online shop, but there is another problem.  The 'Canon' site offers downloads for these old cameras and I brought down the user manual easily enough, but when I try for anything else it demands the serial number.  Easy-peasy, they are always on the bottom.  However, when I looked it was not on the bottom!  OO er missus!  What is a going on here?  The condition of the camera indicates a bumbling user, Boris himself perhaps, and care has not been taken.  However the missing number could have been caused by 'wear and tear' or indeed scratched off for devious reasons.  The place I bought it from is a reasonable company however, not a back street job.     
I am now wondering if the cable will connect or if I will still require software to get a connection.  There is however, a possiblity that the Windows help have a solution, this may work. If not, the only solution will be to remove the SD Card and put it into the other camera, download, and return the cards to their respective homes each time I use the thing.  
Buying 'second-hand,' sorry, 'Used,' is a great way to shop if you are happy with older stuff rather than the latest gadget, however there are always pitfalls and bits missing.  
The camera looks like it will to do the job, even if not as good as the Lumix, ideal   for carrying in the pocket.  Mind you it is heavier than it looks.  Picture quality appears OK so far, one day I will get out and look around to see what it can do.

There is however, normal life ahead!  Next week charity shops will open again so I can go shopping without a debit card.  So many items appear to have shrunk hanging up in the cupboard, so items, like jackets, must be inspected.
A hundred and one smaller items have either gone missing or are now required and a perusal of these shops, all eight of them here, is a must!  I suppose I ought to wait a further week or so, the number of bags being donated, including a large black one of mine, will have to be sorted first.  The days of lockdown have given many time to sort out the cupboards.  I canny wait to see the bargains awaiting me.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Resumption of Normal Boredom.

All Easter eggs ought to have been swallowed by now.  All carboard boxes in the recycling, paracetamol passed round for the headaches chocolate guzzling brings, and everyone looking forward to the next commercial money grab, whatever that is.
Having worked hard last week I have done almost nothing this week.  Annual paperwork has been attended to, eventually, online shopping for items to replace things that have shrunk in the cupboard over the last 18 months has taken place, and emails aplenty have been issued, received and answered, not that I made a penny out of this.
An occasional wander across the park, such as today to inform the council of my council tax paperwork, and a visit on other days for bread at Sainsburys.  
Easter is over and it is back to boredom.

Now bungling, bumptious Boris has opened the door to some holidays we can expect a mass loss of discipline across the nation.  Set limits will be treated like a visit to Barnard Castle, crowds will gather hither and thither having fun, assaulting police, fighting with each other and forgetting the virus is still around.  Marbella will be wonderfully full of English yobs if the Spanish allow it.
It may be some distance can be covered.  Caravans blocking the main roads will appeal to the 'Top Gear' fan.  Biker rallies everywhere will fill back roads and B&B's will be upping the prices to make up for lost time, those that are still in business that is.
How many cafe's, shops and hostelries will no longer open?  When the shops open barbers and salons will be OK but small cafe's?  Coffee shops and such like have not be able to pay their way, we lost one good one here, but I suspect the pubs will open, they usually survive.
There will be no more Lock Downs, all will be well!  So expect another wave and further LockDowns in June. 

Monday, 5 April 2021

Easter Monday Sleet


'Lost' sums up much of the day.
Freezing this morning, snow flakes flying about for a while, then later sun shining and fooling me into thinking it was warm.  It was not.  
The stale bread made me lurch up to the shop for goodies to feed my face.  With the usual Easter Monday Holiday weather keeping most inside there is little to tempt anyone out, bar the dogs of course.  So, manfully I ate and slept and watched feeble football, so uninteresting that I answered many emails instead.
Each email appeared to be concerned with Easter eggs for some reason.  Many desired to know if I had one, none suggested sending me any!  Luckily it fell to me three 'Creme Eggs' that happened to be lying about.  As I damage what teeth are left I will ponder on the spelling of 'Cream'  Why 'Creme?'   
Even 'Cadbury's' in the days when they were a proper business could not spell properly.  Either that or their marketing people were English educated.  I don't know.
These eggs, like much of their now American owned produce, were being made in Poland for a while. This in spite of the US woman in charge insisting they would not move production elsewhere.  She has been called to testify before the Parliament committee but remains out of the country for some reason.  I did read they changed the taste and are changing it back to the original again.  I also read somewhere production was returning to the UK.  Whether these things are true I know not but it is something to cogitate upon while stuffing the face.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Easter Morn 2021

This morning, long before I was awake, I shuffled down the road to St Paul's.  The road runs for about a one mile length and appears to me to be getting longer each time I wander down.  Funnily enough it appears quicker coming back, I wonder why?
Sanitised, masked, escorted to seat (near the front) by the 'sergeant at arms,' I found myself happy to be back inside in a well organised, disciplined, happy congregation.  
The other day a Polish church in London was closed by police.  They had a crowded interior, people crammed outside, and few wearing masks, with the choir boys sitting next to one another and no social distancing.  Yet they claim the police were heavy handed?  Vaccine or not, stupidity is not a good idea.  

We are limited to just over 30 people, and the place was full.  Wide spacing of course means the normal congregation cannot fit in, though many still remain indoors isolating.  The gray hair you see sitting to the right in this picture belongs to me, quite how it got gray I know not.  Mrs Vicar likes to photograph such gatherings while Mr Vicar burbles on.  It is fair to say we require barbers to open soon!

In spite of the Covid restrictions people were happy enough, Easter reminds them that Jesus is the purpose of life, his death for us, rising again while leaving our sins ransomed, and the offer of repentance for forgiveness gratefully received.  Add to this just getting out and about and meeting people in the flesh cheers everyone, and the sun shone through the chill pleasing us all.  
Easter eggs were also available and gratefully received. 
Hobbling home I turned to bacon rolls for lunch and football to relax.  Nothing much else happened as sloth was over me and I enjoyed that part of the day!

Friday, 2 April 2021

Good Friday

It was a suitably gray day when I wandered out this morning, gray, cold and nothing like a Jerusalem morning.  The exercise was intended to loosen the stiffness caused by my hard work, naturally this failed!  I now have aches in places I did not know existed before now.
The somewhat glowering sky did not keep people indoors.  From early on the traffic sped by the door in an unending quest for something, I know not what.  Both supermarkets, and indeed the Butchers, were open, cars being loaded with important foodstuffs, enough to feed an army or two and avoid starvation over the next three days until the supermarkets are fully open on Tuesday when the whole process will restart again.  (One at least will open on Easter Monday)  While the foodbank has two openings in town these days and many suffer hardship through the pandemic it is clear many others have enough money to buy urgent things they do not really require, but will buy any shiny thing on offer to seek comfort and happiness.  

More real pleasure and happiness in watching the glow of the Daffs in the park to me.  A walk by the cricket ground 'Players Only. No Spectators' shouted the sign at the gate.  No need, only a groundsman fixing the nets for some future Kids tournament was to be seen.  That and a couple of Crows and a Thrush seeking worms were the only ones around.  Typical English town, it must have a cricket pitche, with at least a 'first team' and a  'second,' like all other small towns have.  The locals take such a game seriously, playing it at some level, talking about it as if it were important, and getting 'hot under the collar' when some question the need to spend time 'Throwing a ball at a man waving a stick?'  I cannot understand the fury aroused when suggesting digging up the grass and building houses for the needy!  There is a lot of space wasted there, don't you think?  Don't these people care...?

After staggering home I decided to do nothing all weekend if I can, though I must hobble to St Ps on Sunday.  So, today I watched the church Good Friday Meditation, on YouTube thankfully, and then sought out the football that will fill the rest of the weekend.  Obviously with prayer and watchfulness ongoing.  
Eggs are found at Eastertime, Bunnies however, ought not to be found in this context!  The image of an egg representing 'new life' was well known in Jesus day and Christians took to it well.  Today this is more of a chocolate bonanza but, looking at those small cream eggs sitting there with my name on I say it is perfectly acceptable!
I hope your Easter is a good one


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Work Never Ceases...

Man alive!  I was at it early today.  Rising at 7ish, I was almost awake by 9.  Listening carefully I realised the house was quiet, all had gone out to earn large amounts of cash and pay towards my pension increase, not that many hours would be required for that!  So, I stuffed the next blanket into the washing machine and set it going.  Three days in a row!  This is costing a fortune in water.
Then in quick order I sorted out the rubbish for the bin men tomorrow, forgetting that it is 'Good Friday' and they will not come till Saturday, did some exercise to ease the pain from yesterday's exercise and then hoovered the house!  
What is wrong with me?  
Coming in from dumping the rubbish I began to pick weeds from the front of the house, a tedious and difficult job for someone who does not bend easily.  Thismay please the landlord but I wish he gave me a stick to use!
I then began my study time, three hours late, failed to understand a word, and all the while contemplating wandering across the park.  
By lunchtime I was dead.
No majorwork could be done as I had to check the budget!  So, I then struggled through the afternoon until near six.  It was then I stopped planning for tomorrow's work when I remembered it was 'Good Friday,' all would be holidaying, the sun would go in, clouds arrive and there is a church 'Stations of the Cross' online at 3 pm.  This meant my cupboard cleaning was out, under the bed remains under the bed, and the need to sort my files continues to grow. 
There again as it is a holiday, visiting Sainsburys early in the morning is also out which saw me hobbling up there tonight, much against my will, to collect what bread I could find for the weekend.  This meant eating late, being out of joint and catching up on emails.
What does it all mean?  
Energy and desire to work, exercising daily?  Housework rather than laziness?
I must be ill...  

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Laundering Blankets and Baby.


Lock Down fever has hit me!  I returned to Spring Cleaning!  Yesterday I washed the bed cover, a large object that filled the machine.  It turns out it is actually white!  For years I thought it was a kind of magnolia colour.   Impressed with this, knowing the neighbours are all out, today I washed the big blanket.  This remains mostly black but some colour now shows in various regions.  Hopefull all are out tomorow and I will do the orange coloured one, I think that is orange...
The thing is I have to ensure folks are out or the whole building shakes, depending on which spin speed is used.  Luckily the large objects were done on 'Duvet,' though I have not the courage to wash my duvet itself, much easier to buy a new one possibly.  How many years should they last...?
The thing is large objects only get washed rarely, in this house years have passed by since the last time and the covers have done their work well, so why bother say I?  Fussy people may grumble about the smell and the somewhat tinged covers but these people I refer to as just 'woke.'  
After this I must clean out the cupboard I began Spring cleaning, oh about two years ago.  Then there is 'under the bed,' which may produce many lost items as well as a wee bit of dust.  I am in no hurry to look under there.  Worse may be the trays on my desk.  The last time I cleared the paperwork I had stuff going back four years, it creaks a bit now so there may be a similar outcome this time.  Time!  Where is a lazy person like me going to get the time to do all this, or indeed the energy?  Oh, I begin to feel weak at the thought...
I had not heard from my favourite, intelligent, beautiful and talented niece for a while and was under the impression her work was keeping her busy.  l ought to have known better!  ln fact she was not keeping a social distance between herself and her husband and while forcing him to do all the cooking, even choosing the ingredients, and they have been working on child production.  So now I have my favourite, talented, good looking, highly intelligent great neice/nephew to look forward to spending money on.
Her intelligence has ensured the birth will arrive in September, thus ensuring several gifts and avoiding them paying for same while Christmas approaches.  Then the family will pile more on the spoiled genius to be.  
Still, I suppose they had not much else to do in Lock Down...


Monday, 29 March 2021

In the Soup

As I walked out the other morning the weather she was gray, the sky cloudy, the wind chilled.  Frozen, I wandered around 'exercising.'  Today, trapped by the smelly washing and then making chicken soup I am stuck inside while the sun hits the 60's F.  Innit typical!  
The soup came from a chicken of dubious heritage, or is it just that no chicken today provides nourishment?  Yesterday I prepared the chicken and turned on the oven at 20 minutes to ten, then sat at the laptop awaiting the oven heating up.  At 20 minutes past 11, I remembered the chicken and placed it in the oven!  An hour and a half of warm house but uncooked chicken!  It was nearer one before I could eat.  My whole day was put out by crass stupidity, and not for the first time.  I could not hobble to the church this morning, too far for me today, though they were open, and could not find a proper service online, it being hours before our online one arrived, so I filled my time with listening to Alistair Begg again.  This however is not the same as meeting people, even wrapped up according to the orders, but he is always worth a listen. 
With the clocks marching forwards we see Spring in action properly, the gas and electric folk want a meter reading!  This means clambering down the awkward stair and then clambering slowly back up again tomorrow to read them.  Have they no heart?  Can they no longer employ people to read meters?  No, they cannot, that costs money the shareholders want!

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Heart of Midlothian and Queen of the South

Nothing much happens here on Saturdays bar watching football.  I had an afternoon of much fun watching the romantically named, Heart of Midlothian, struggle as I have watched them doing so many, many times before, against lesser opposition.  The commentator fussed much about this being umpteen years since the also romantically named, Queen of the South, had beaten the Hearts at Tynecastle, I know not why, I think since 1963 we have only played them here eight times.  I did realise as they spouted the usual nonsense that I was at that game way back in October 1963, several years before I was actually born. 
Scottish Football has many romantic names, Hamilton Academicals, Partick Thistle (who don't play in Partick), Raith Rovers, where the chances of watching them 'Dancing in the streets of Raith,' is very thin, and Brechin City, a city with less than 8000 people!
The Heart of Midlothian team that October day were a formidable outfit, Jim Cruickshank, Davie Holt, Norrie Davidson, Willie Wallace (who reached a hundred goals in less than 4 seasons) and the great Willie Hamilton, a man of outstanding ability of international level.  He ought to have been playing with Law, Baxter and MacKay for his country but rarely made it, the drink did not help, indeed it killed him at 38 years of age.  That great Hearts team played a Queens side that was heading for relegation and naturally in front of 10,817 spectators we lost by one goal to nil!  I cannot mind what the 'Boo Boys' said that day, but they would have been out in force at the end I expect.  Queens dropped down a division, a drop down that has, as yet, stopped them ever returning to the highest level of football.  We had to drop down to play them!
I say that defeat in 1963 was much worse than this.  That day we were in fifth place seeking to go higher, they were eleventh and heading slowly downwards.  It is a long and indeed popular tradition among the Heart of Midlothian that we lose to relegation threatened sides,  Most such sides have done this to us, a tradition that will, rest assured, continue.  You will remember the Lord Provost at the Heart of Midlothian's 50th anniversary telling his audience how "The Hearts are good for Scottish football, they beat all the big teams and lose to all the small ones," a tradition maintained to this day. 
The 'Woke' generation are grumbling loudly and offensively, but they need to develop the natural cynicism that comes with following the Hearts.  I think I became cynical by about 1967 myself.
Indeed while this game was a problem for many I find a much worse crime is lying at our door.  On TV at the moment we have a World Cup Qualifier between Netherlands and Latvia, fine so far.  However, I just realised the referee is a woman!  A woman at an important football match refereeing?  What's the matter, have all the pie stalls been closed by Covid?  Blatant sexism,  false equality, a women refereeing something as important as a football match!  The end is nigh indeed.


Thursday, 25 March 2021

A Day Holiday!

I've just had a holiday!
A church friend took me all off two miles up the road, (Rayne Station is 2 miles and 14 chains from Braintree Station in case you wished to know) where we got coffee from the one time booking hall!   Closed many years ago it has been run for some time by volunteers (I think) with a successful coffee shop attached.  This now provided takeaway coffee and cake for aprice from behind a security window.  I wish I had known this before. The coach just peeping in the photo is used as a museum, when open, and the use of the building in this way is very successful on normal days.  
Naturally, I suggested this spot as I knew it would be quiet, with an occasional passerby, the old railway line now being a popular walking/cycling spot.  Today the car park was full, with others outside, so we squeezed in at the end and joined a long - distantly seperated - queue for coffee.  Very slow, only one man doing everything, and having avoided the slice of tempting cake we both regarded as fattening we could afford it.
How lovely to photograph something other than a Daffodil!  A pot of pansies at the end of the platform, next to the aged railway cart, supplied some colour to the scene.  Sitting nearby I allwed the young lass to disgorge her worries and offer news of the past year.  We have not met for a year, I wonder how many others are in similar situations?  The sun shone occasionally but the clouds kept hiding it again.  This however, did not deter the number of people walking/cycling/dogwalking from using the line.  The coffee queue never ended, it went on for ever and I suspect this is a constant at this spot these days, there is nowhere else nearby to wander abroad.

Had we more time we may have trundled up the path a short way, but neither of us would have gone far.  Age is not a blessing!  It must be 18 months or more since I have been here.  The place is looking a bit grubby, the grass worn by the people attending events before Lock Down, as well as the daily traffic.  This is rather sad, the popularity of the place enhanced by Lockdown leading to a despoiling of the area.  A well kept station building however, and a marvellous day out for me!

Monday, 22 March 2021

Maudlin Monday


After a restful football day yesterday, I fell asleep in every game, I wandered out twice today to grasp the sun and feel the chill of the northern wind.  Not really exciting but it meant I could avoid the no-news that filled the news today.  Indeed, almost more talk was of some bloomers in a Cop show on last nights TV than on real news.  Of course much space is given over to attacks on Nicola by the English news men (all news is Englsh owned) because she is the only opponent Boris has. The sight of so many demanding she resigns while not demanding this of ANY front bench Conservative from Boris down is a level of hypocrisy even the House of Commons has not seen before.

Easter approaches, therefore I have bought sufficient eggs for my many women.  If I fail to meet any, as I intend, I will have to dispose of them in a simialr manner to their Christmas chox.  Hmmm...My teeth are falling out!  The choice was somewhat limited I thought, overpriced and for reasons that make no sense a wide variety of expensive Bunnies are to be found.  Another commercial US money grab!  I refuse them. The use of eggs as a symbol of new life was around before Christ rose from the dead, so his early followers took it on.  I am not sure they had chocolate ones mind.    
My thoughts on Easter bunnies...


Saturday, 20 March 2021

Football Day!


It must be Saturday.  I know this as I have been watching football again.  This is one of the ways I find out what day this is.  Once again I spent much of Wednesday thinking it was Tuesday, this is becoming a habit, I may have to start drawing marks on the wall and checking them off daily to keep up to date.
This afternoon, for the price of £12 I watched the hazy pictures of Arbroath playing the great Heart of Midlothian.  This went as expected.  A 0-0 draw, several bruises, and anither point as we head towards promotion.  Dogged defence, dangerous on attack, and determined under our 'surge' late in the second half Arbroath deserved the point.  Some of our midfield did not.  So, another game passes, another Saturday is almost over (after I have watched the 6 'O' Clock game on BBC Alba) and then I snore into the night.

I've had a look around and nothing else has happened.  I suppose everyone is watching football on TV?

Friday, 19 March 2021



At last, after much struggle, I have reached the end of 'Engel's England.'  Something many of us wish to achieve!  I began reading this book early in Lock Down but just could not find the effort to read anything for a while.  Several dust covered books lie awaiting my eyes so I have begun another two of them.  At least one introduction and one first page!   
Anyway, you may remember Matthew Engel from his previous book, 'Eleven Minutes Late,' so you will know the character of the man.  That book concerned railways, this one involves his journey around every English county.  English only, which is fair enough.  This makes the book a long read, even if some chapters are not too long he does like to spend time in those he associates with.  
There is no real pattern to the journey, he took several years over it, between 2012 and 2014, hopping here and there, and it is worth a look just to see what he thinks is important in the county in which you may have connections.  Ten years out of date maybe but relevant still today.
London here, is treated as a seperate county, and this makes sense.  London has little connection to England, much less to Scotland or Wales, even though the government offices reside here.  London, the government, the Oxbridge set that run the nation, and all the powerful of the land care nothing for anything north of Euston Road, London alone counts with them as that is where their money and friends, make that contacts, are.
Engel travelled around London on his own when around 12 year of age, he lived in Northampton but holidayed with his gran in Temple Meads.  He travelled safely, wandering on and off bus and tube, visiting interesting places.  Boys that age would enjoy such an activity even now, however, I suspect the police, social services and women with short hair and dangly earrings would suffer hysteria at a 'child' exploring on his own today.  Personally I did similar, round Edinburgh, and no harm came to me.  His love of London is clear, possibly because he now lives miles away outside, and here, as in all counties he offers an interesting view of what is around him.
All counties in England are found here, some history, some novelties, some people stories, all the usual things to expect from a travel book.  He missed one bit of Essex mind, this one!   

Wednesday, 17 March 2021