PC 241 It’s Been a Long Time Coming

Did life exist outside of the immediate environs of the local streets? A few months ago I drove to see my daughter for the first time since Christmas and outside of the city boundaries I marvelled at how little seemed to have changed over six months – why would it? “But oh! That’s still there!” The trees were all with blossom and the hedges covered with white hawthorn. So spring-like …. life beginning to return.

White Hawthorn by the roadside

It has been a long time coming, this idea we could get on an airplane and jet off somewhere. The last time had been to Estoril in Portugal last summer and, thwarted at both Christmas and Easter, we started crossing fingers and toes and everything else that our summer trip to Estoril could go ahead. Nothing was certain – we knew that the Portuguese airline TAP was not flying from our local Gatwick Airport after a number of tantalising searches – it appeared that it might have flown if there were enough people who wanted to fly and then only once a week and if that didn’t happen then bad luck and back to square one. So we tried British Airways, accepting that they don’t fly to Lisbon out of Gatwick so we would need to get to Heathrow. Not wanting to get up at sparrow fart we booked a flight in the afternoon and absorbed all the guidance and regulatory changes that came and went like a whore’s drawers.

We established that we needed to have a pre-flight Covid test and that we booked at Gatwick Airport; about the only thing that was functioning there! Then BA cancelled our flight. They had a funny way to communicating what could have been devastating news; they told us the flight we were booked on was cancelled in one email and then a few minutes later, once our spirits were well and truly down in the dumps, emailed to say they had booked us on an early flight on the same day. The smiles returned!

This earlier flight required an overnight stay somewhere around the airport as with Check-In at 0530, the alternative was leaving Hove at 0345, not being sure whether it was a late night or an early morning. Our preferred hotel would have been the Sofitel Hotel adjacent to Terminal 5, from whence we were departing the following day. Sadly Covid Quarantineers had taken all the rooms so we ended up at the Marriott Hotel on Bath Road.

Our journey from Hove was in a taxi driven by Del, an Albanian whose sister lives on Corfu. He’s a nice chap and we compared, with mask-muffled voices, Covid stories on the way to the hotel. His country has a reputation for fierce family honour and rivalry, and criminality; fortunately Del is as straight as a die!

At the Marriott Hotel Kristina, behind the Reception Desk, had that very prominent Eastern European accent and offered, when asked, that she came from Moldova. I am reasonably geographically-literate but couldn’t immediately place Moldova.

What did come to mind was the name of that great raconteur Peter Ustinov! It seemed the sort of place he would have been involved in or even from, possibly an Ambassador in some film! Actually his father was of Russian, German, Polish and Ethiopian Jewish descent, while his mother had French, German, Italian and Russian blood. He was born in Swiss Cottage, London in 1921; so not Moldovan! But I knew Moldova had been a former Soviet Republic and used Google Earth to establish it’s sandwiched between Romania to its west and Ukraine to its east. It’s one of the poorest countries in Europe so Kristina was maybe better off here in the UK? 

Having settled into our room we ventured down to the only place to eat, a Carluccio’s on the ground floor. From 1999, Antonio Carluccio had built up a chain of some 70 restaurants serving ‘authentic Italian cuisine’, but it had gone into administration in March 2020. Some 30 outlets and 800 jobs were saved when Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner’s owner BRG bought the chain.

The manager greeted us and as he showed us to our table, explained they were just getting used to the Carluccio franchise and asked us to comment after our meal. Marta took our order: Bruschetta for Celina and a steak for me. Airport hotel restaurants always have a funny collection of diners, us included I guess (!), most presumably flying off somewhere or maybe just arrived? My comments to the hotel went like this: “Bread and cold salad-dressed tomatoes, not a Basil leaf in sight, no brush of garlic and no suggestion of warmth, does not equal Bruschetta. My steak was meant to have a ‘garnish of rocket’ – I am always a little suspicious when I read ‘garnish’ as it’s so much an after-thought – sure enough the rocket had probably died the day before – limp, going slightly brown. Later, Marta had told me the ‘bread & butter pudding’ was made from chocolate and croissant; ‘What’s not to like?’, I thought. It needed 20 seconds or so in the microwave to unfreeze it – cold and stolid! They thanked me for being honest and gave me 6000 Marriott bonus points!

An expensive electric Jaguar

We booked a cab for 0500 to take us the short hop to Terminal 5. The all-electric Jaguar was a delight although our driver said he didn’t use it for long journeys as its range was limited. He lived locally, started work at 0230 and was all finished by lunchtime! Suddenly we were at T5 and paying the £15 for a ten minute ride – worth getting up at 0100 for perhaps?

Did we have the right documentation and/or QR Codes at check-in? Fortunately we seemed to be OK …. and joked to the lady whether anyone filled their 32kg suitcase allowance . She and her colleague started giggling, listing the items people put in their suitcases ….. for instance, potatoes if flying to Ghana, microwaves …….

We grabbed some breakfast in the lounge, having to order through the QR Reader, picked up some duty free and made our way to the gate.

We took off on time, flew out over Hayling and Thorney Islands and Chichester Harbour,

The Isle of Wight on the right, with Hayling & Thorney Islands above the engine

had a tail wind that shortened our flight time by 30 minutes and landed early.  

The Tagus estuary with Estoril & Cascais top centre. You can see the wooded hills around Sintra on the horizon and then it’s the Atlantic coast.

Fifty minutes later we were in Estoril. Good to be here!

Richard 30th July 2021


PS Those slippers referred to in PC 220 of March had been returned to Hove, despite me writing to the Portuguese Prime Minister, who had the good grace to reply! They were in my luggage this time and now where they should have been in November, with my mother-in-law!

PC 240 They Go Together Like (2)

PC 240 They Go Together Like (2)

A continuation from PC 239 …….

Gin & Tonic – or G&T as it’s often referred to! A real staple of Middle England’s drinkers, a shot or two of gin, a slice of lemon, some ice and a sprig of mint …. oh! and a little tonic (Schweppes of course). The first drink is a great pick-me-up, the second has less effect and the third likely to make most individuals a little morose! I can still taste my first on a ferry from Civitavecchia to Olba in Sardinia in 1976; my Lancia Fulvia had been hoisted onto the deck, which meant I could sleep in it. More recently I discovered Gordon’s G&T with 0.5% ABV; that little percentage made all the difference. But habits change and now Diageo say they recognise the customers’ shift towards non-alcoholic drinks and will only make 0.0% G&T ….. and only in a can. There is probably another PC on the different flavours of gin available but I would have to ask my daughter to contribute to that ……. and she’s busy with a Chickenpoxed child!

Hansel & Gretel – The German fairy tale published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm. Hansel and his sister Gretel are abandoned in a forest, but cared for by a witch who lives in a house made of gingerbread, cake and pastries. Her plan to fatten the two children prior to eating them is thwarted by Gretel, who kills her, before taking all the witches treasures and returning home.

Jekyll & Hyde – the surgeon who performed my heart bypass back in 2013 was called Hyde – the connection with the split personality of Mr Jekyll and his alter ego Mr Hyde could have caused a few sleepless nights, as it was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Mr Hyde that wouldn’t accept responsibility for his evil crimes!

Lager & Lime – Lager with a shot of lime cordial, a mixture popular in the 1980s but looked down on by seasoned drinkers.

Laurel & Hardy – Stan Laurel, a skinny American comedian, teamed up with Oliver Hardy, a stouter chap, to form a double act that began in the era of the silent films. From 1927 to 1955 they made some 107 short films.

M&S – Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer started their clothing and food supplier in Leeds in 1884; nowadays the 959 stores are known as M&Ss. My mother irreverently referred to her local shop as Marks.

Milk & More – (see PC 203) ‘Doorstep deliveries’ of milk have become popular again and ‘Milk & More’ seem to have the lion’s share of the business in southern England. In addition to milk they sell other dairy products and eggs and bread. 

Morecombe & Wise – Eric Morecombe and Ernie Wise were an iconic English comic double act that had huge radio and television success over 43 years, only ending when Eric died in 1984.

There is a statue of the pair at Euston Station in London and one of Eric doing his characteristic leap overlooking Morecombe Bay 

Night & Day – A song sung by Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and others, written by Cole Porter. See also PCs 124 and 125

Peaches & Cream – like strawberries and cream, as a desert. Initially only tinned peaches were available here but now nothing nicer then taking a fresh peach, halving it and popping the halves under a hot grill, with a little ground ginger. The word combination became synonymous with the perfect complexion for a female face.

Pitch & Putt – a derivative of golf, but the hole length is typically 90 metres and only 2 or 3 clubs are used.

Port & Starboard. To identify shipping and shipping lanes at night, lights are used. Port is the left side of a ship and it’s marked by a red light. The other side, Starboard, is marked with a green light. To remember which is which, the alcoholic fortified wine port is red in colour and port has four letters, like left. When arriving at an estuary from the sea, the left hand side is marked with red lights.  

Rain or Shine – Alternating rain and sunshine is something we have to cope with a great deal here in the UK, particularly in April, although the changing climate is increasing their likelihood in any month. ‘Come rain or shine’ means it’ll happen, whatever!

(For) Richer (for) Poorer. The traditional wedding vows contain this well-known couplet, sandwiched between ‘for better, for worse’ and ‘in sickness and in health’. A 1997 film of the same name starring Kirstie Alley and Tom Allen grossed over $32 million. 

Romeo & Juliet. I started writing about these famous Shakespearean lovers and decided this, this romantic love, could easily be a separate topic. So look out for a PC entitled Doomed Love!

Sausage & Mash – another British staple; meaty sausages and mashed potatoes. Or sausages into a batter and baked in the oven for Toad-in-The-Hole.

Salt & Pepper – S&P – the seemingly natural additives to food, before cooking or after. Recently someone queried why it’s become the norm to add black pepper. Being a lover of freshly ground black pepper I was a little taken aback, as it seems such a good additive – but there are alternatives to the ubiquitous ‘black pepper’!

Salt & Vinegar – a very popular combination for crisps; not one I share!!

Spit & Polish – to achieve a real depth of shine on polished leather, like on drill boots, spit is used to wet the cloth before adding the polish. Very effective!

Surf & Turf – if you go to a trendy gastro pub you might well see this on the menu, the idea that some meat and some fish might go together on the same plate? Sounds weird when I write it like that?

Tom & Jerry – A series of 161 comedy short films made in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera featured a cat called Tom and a mouse named Jerry. Safe to say they probably have had their moment! Not to be confused with Ben & Jerry who make gorgeous ice cream!

Top & Tail – if you need an endoscopy and a colonoscopy the gastroenterologists refer to this as a top and tail. I wonder whether the cameras meet in the middle somehow?

Track & Trace – the only two word combination I could think of relating to the Covid 19 Pandemic but there must be more?

Tongue & Groove – Sheets of ready-formed tongue & grove made of MDF and in various thicknesses must be a DIY enthusiast’s dream?

Weights & Measures – ‘Shared Regulatory Services’ has a responsibility to ensure customers and other businesses do not receive short weight when purchasing good, as regulated by the Weights & Measures Act 1985

Whatever pops into one’s head!

Richard 23rd July 2021


PC 239 They Go Together like ………

Cockney rhyming slang has been a feature of life in England seemingly forever but for those of us who weren’t born within the sound of the church bells of St Mary-le-Bow, it’s probably a bit of a mystery! It was created by Cockneys so they could speak freely in front of the local police, who were stationed at the new Bow Street Police Station in the early part of the C19th. Some word combinations are common enough, like Whistle & Flute for a suit, or Apple & Pears meaning stairs; Trouble & Strife is also well-known for wife – the choice of words shouting experience!

The prevailing south westerly winds ensure the sound of the bells covers a wide area of north east London.

Others include Bottle & Glass for ‘arse’, Bristol City for Titty (as in breast!) Butchers Hook for look (“I’ll take a butchers”) at my China Plate – mate. Dog & Bone is well known as Cockney for ‘phone and Frog & Toad for road, but Turkish Bath for laugh? Maybe you know that Mince Pies mean eyes and Pork Pies lies (Porkies??) …… and then Treacle Tart for sweetheart and Raspberry Tart for fart.

Go me thinking about words that have become natural partners, like husband & wife I guess! There are probably hundreds but here are some of the ones that have dropped into my consciousness: you may think the choices reflect my age? Of course!

Ancient & Modern – ‘Hymns Ancient & Modern’ is a collection of 273 hymns in common use in the Church of England. Forced attendance on Sundays has ensured the hymnal’s title is forever burned into my memory!

Bacon & Eggs – rashers of streaky bacon, a couple of fried eggs on fried bread, with optional tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans (and black pudding if you lived north of Watford): those of us who have migrated to a healthier breakfast are often tempted to choose this combination off the hotel menu for breakfast. And why not, once in a while?

Bill & Ben – The Flower Pot Men were an important part of children’s television in1950s Britain. Marionettes fashioned out of wooden flowerpots, Bill and his friend Ben told stories about the garden in which they lived, much to the amusement of another creation called ‘Little Weed’. Not many people had a television set and if you did have one, it was most certainly not colour; this was a programme about a colourful garden so one aspect of the programme was not transmitted!! Bill and Ben had ordinary male voices, although Ben had a trademark nonsense word ‘flobabdob’! Little Weed was a dandelion with a smiley face, forever squeaking ‘weeeeeeeeed’.

Bits & Pieces – A hit song by the Dave Clark Five in 1964: ‘Since you left me and said goodbye, I’m in pieces, bits and pieces.’

Black and Tans – The Black and Tans (Irish: Dúchrónaigh) were constables recruited into the Royal Irish Constabulary as reinforcements during the Irish War of Independence. Recruitment began in 1920 and eventually over 10,000 men were enlisted. (A very dark green and khaki uniform earned them their nickname) They developed a reputation for brutality and reprisal attacks on civilians; this did nothing but sway public opinion against British rule.   

Black & White – used as a title for various dramas, remembered for being a blended Scotch whisky. The bottle’s label featured a black Scottish Terrier and a white West Highland Terrier.

B&Q – DIY enthusiasts here in the UK will know the ubiquitous B&Q, a large superstore selling everything they wanted, and more. Opened in 1969 in Southampton by Richard Block & David Quayle, its initial name of Block & Quayle was quickly shortened to B&Q. By the end of the 1980s B&Q became part of the Kingfisher Group and in the following decade merged with Castorama, France’s largest DIY retailer. B&Q became the corporate sponsor for the international sailor Ellen Macarthur who in 2005 became the fastest person to sail solo around the globe, crossing the finishing line off Ushant after 71days and 14 hours at sea. Her yacht – B&Q!

The orange-and-white 75ft trimaran, plastered with the B&Q logo, had become a familiar sight. A B&Q spokeswoman said: “She has such a ‘can do’ personality; she has proved she really can do it, which fits with the B&Q brand which tries to encourage people to do DIY.” The B&Q slogan? “You can do it if you B&Q it!”     

Bow & Stern – one’s the pointy end of a boat, the other the blunt end.

Bubble &Squeak – a traditional British dish made from cooked potatoes and cabbage, mixed together and fried. First mentioned in 1762.

Champagne & Oysters – both contain complimentary sets of umami flavours that act synergistically to enhance the taste. You need to like oysters in the first place!!

Chapter & Verse – Giving a complete detailed account of what had happened. Often used in quotations from religious texts.

Cow & Gate – A UK dairy products company, founded in 1882. Merged with United Diaries in 1959 to become Unigate.  

Decline & Fall – ….. of The Roman Empire’ by Edward Gibbon (1766-1788). Used in a strangled way by the BBC for its 1976 sitcom ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin’.

Donner und Blizen – the most famous of Santa Claus’s reindeer after Rudolph and note the German word for ‘and’!

…..with mushy peas!

Fish & Chips – I remember going to a fish & chip shop at the back of the Royal Crescent in Bath and buying a portion of chips; they came in a cone of grease-proof paper, wrapped in a piece of newspaper. The fish in England is normally Cod, whilst north of the border in Scotland Haddock; Cod has a longer shelf life than Haddock and in pre-refrigeration days most of England’s fish came from Scotland. Traditionally beef dripping was used to cook the fish and chips, although nowadays you are more likely to find rapeseed, peanut or palm oil.

To be continued ………

Richard 16th July 2021


PC 238 Good and not so good!

The other afternoon I had an appointment with my dentist. These have been completely unavailable during the lockdown so it was a relief to be able to have my first check-up in a year. The tools with which I chew, bite and grind up whatever I put in my mouth have taken their fair share of damage over the years, probably starting in my childhood with rampant disregard to health warnings about too much sugar. Actually that’s not true; there were no warnings about sugar! Many years on, engineering works abound, but fortunately no dentures – sorry, this may be too much information?

The advice about brushing at least twice a day, about using floss or dental brushes or airbrushes, Fluoride toothpaste or not, gush around like mouthwash. My aim, sitting in the chair, is to ignore what is going on and focus on something on the ceiling. So I am looking up and notice that the neon strip lights are in a different fitting; maybe new lights? Not in themselves remarkable, except that the previous fittings had had a wide cover and the new ones are a great deal narrower.

When the original fittings were up, a decorator had removed the embossed paper that covered the whole ceiling. Now around each strip light was a surviving oblong of cream paper. The electrician who had changed the lights obviously was not qualified to remove the paper. Got me thinking about good and not-so-good designers and tradespeople. Anyone with even the slightest nod to ‘good standards’ would have taken a Stanley knife and cut away the paper. 

If you regularly read these scribbles you may remember from July 2018 a photograph of some urinals in a motorway service station in Portugal? I think these must be the greatest, most thoughtful design of men’s urinals on the planet, catering as they do for variations in us chaps’ height. They are of course a nod to the foreign tourists, as no Portuguese national would be able to use the highest one, unless …..

You may wonder how I managed to take the photograph without someone looking at me askance and …..

I have made bits and pieces throughout my life and, being slightly OCD, know the importance of things being exactly vertical or exactly horizontal. (Note 1) Our apartment here in Amber House was brand new in 2012, the result of the conversion of an old people’s home, the original building dating from 1890. Five months after we moved in the company responsible for the work came for a ‘snagging’ inspection. I handed out an Excel spreadsheet where I had noted ‘snags’, to assist them, you understand! I showed them this light switch.

Why couldn’t the electrician simply apply a spirit level? Probably because the same individual positioned other light switches behind open doors?

For nine months we suffered a slight whiff of drains around our kitchen sinks, despite our obsessive attempts to get rid of it. Eventually we engaged a professional plumber who took one look under the right-hand sink and said: “Well! That’s easy! The dickhead who put this in put the U-Bend on the wrong side!” (Note 2)

The red outlines where the U Bend was!!

It took him five minutes to change it around. I wrote to the company that was responsible for the conversion but didn’t get a reply!!

Good design comes in all shapes and sizes. I love this sink in a hotel’s ‘washroom’ – no plug to collect the gunge, just free-flowing water onto a ceramic surface and a chute at the back.

We have three extractor fans in the apartment, one in the hall loo for obvious reasons and downstairs in both bathrooms to assist with steam removal. The isolator switch for each fan has been placed centrally outside, above the door. I am 187cms tall; if I stretch my arm up my fingertips reach to about 217. Celina is considerably shorter and has to jump high to operate the switch.

When I asked the snagging team why the switch was almost unreachable they said it needed to be out of the reach of children. Wow! I know the population is gradually getting taller but zero common sense was applied to where the switch was located; this must have been an architect, positioning ‘fixtures & fittings’. Probably the same one who positioned the towel rail in the en-suite, although this time, in a nod to those vertically challenged amongst us, placed the bottom rung 15 cms off the floor; very useful huh?

I do not want my towel on the floor!

In case you think I can be far too critical, I do admire good design and good workmanship! The local owner of a number of expensive cars, and I mean worth-a-huge-amount-of-money type cars, bought and renovated a row of three run-down garages on Albany Villas some 18 months ago; the three-car garage behind his substantial house was full. His obsession with great design recognised in the choice of his automobiles translates into the quality he demanded of the builders. Brick pillars affront the pavement and are joined by electronic gates. The brickwork is simply beautiful.

But good or not-so-good, it’s better to have things the right way up as opposed to being upside down!

A couple of photographs of Brighton’s Upside Down House

Richard 9th July 2021


PS This Upside Down House is located on Brighton’s promenade. (www.upsidedownhouse.co.uk) Photographs courtesy of Holly Monnery

Note 1 My daughter has a ‘photographs wall’, covered in some thirty or forty (?) framed photographs. When I see her I can’t stop myself making sure they are all level!!

Note 2 The U Bend in pipework is designed to hold water, so that unpleasant smells can’t come up from the drain. It was fitted so an open pipe was attached to the drain.

PC 237 “Next Slide Please”

Here in the United Kingdom we were not used to the ‘Briefing Room’ presentations so loved by, for instance, the Americans. If the monarch or Prime Minister (PM) want to address the Nation, they do it from a chair or from behind a desk, with a certain informality guaranteed; that is the British way, understated but no less important. That changed for politicians at the beginning of the Covid pandemic last year, when the PM needed moral support in the form of specialist advisors to help field the inevitable questions …… that he couldn’t answer.

We became used to a daily briefing, with the scientists demonstrating through complex graphs the various indications of where the virus and therefore the crisis was going. You remember the dreaded R Number? Anything above 1 was not good. Sure, we got inured to the scale and complexity of Covid but if you didn’t know someone who had it, there was a little of the ‘it’s not going to happen to me, I’m fit and healthy’. That view no longer holds any water as the virus has raged indiscriminately across all ages, genders and societal levels!

The fluctuating number of Covid cases in the UK

As the pandemic continued, so the briefings became more formal and a brand new ‘briefing suite’ was created – at the cost of some £2.6million. Then the government got cold feet, not wanting to emulate the White House Press conferences where the Press Corp is always looking to ask a more poignant question, and reverted to the three individuals. The PM has generally been in the chair, actually standing behind a podium (!), except of course when he was in hospital himself, seriously ill. The top team is the PM, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Advisor. The choice of three individuals invariably gives rise to parallels with the three monkeys, one who is deaf, one who is blind and one who is dumb, but I can never work out which description applies to who.

Occasionally other members of the Cabinet have been in the PM’s spot. The Home Secretary, Ms Priti Patel, has chaired a few but at 5ft 3” (160cms) she is vertically challenged and has to have a step behind the podium to give her a lift! During the pandemic and lockdown their interrogators have appeared on a large screen.

I haven’t watched many of these briefings, but the other evening’s was running late and I caught the tail end. Professor Chris Whitty, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, not to be confused with Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Advisor, was speaking, re-enforcing his comments with some illustrations. These days they are obviously digitally produced and show up on a large television screen. There are many things I see or hear that make my jaw drop in amazement; maybe this is because standards have slipped or perhaps I have got more fuddy-duddy. My mouth hit the floor when I heard, for the fifth time, Chris Whitty say: “Next Slide Please”. Of course he would say ‘please’ as he’s a quiet and cultured individual but was he really instructing someone out of sight to change the graph? Didn’t he have a button beneath his finger? Very mid-C20th!

I started these scribbles at the beginning of this week, so you can imagine my surprise when, in The Times on Wednesday 30th June, the cartoonist Peter Brookes picked up Whitty’s phraseology as well:

Two mindless individuals had hassled Chris Whitty for a selfie in St James’ Park!

Hearing ‘Next Slide Please’ immediately took me back to when I first started giving presentations. You remember the vufoil projector?

You scribbled on a piece of acetate with some form of marker pen, then asked someone to put the vufoils on the projector in order.

An illustration of how individuals end up stuck in their careers

Invariably some were back to front, or upside down: some choice of colour made the words or diagrams difficult to read. Giving scripted presentations about the air threat to ground forces in my time as an instructor at the Royal School of Artillery required a copy of what I was saying. This was annotated with ‘vufoil on’ and ‘vufoil off’ for the person next to the projector.

All this reminds me of a general who was well known for giving excellent presentations, but never thanked his team who worked hard to produce the script and supporting visuals. Eventually they had had enough: at the start of one presentation, armed with twenty sheets of script and lots of slides, the general launched into his polished delivery. Finishing page two, he turned the page to start Page Three. Covering the whole page were five words: “You are on you own!” The remaining pages were blank.

I left the Army and joined Short Brothers’ Missile Systems Division’s Sales Team. After a year trudging around Europe I was given ‘India and the Far East’ as my patch. My presentation changed depending on the audience and their security clearance, but my briefcase contained a large circular carousel of slides, one development up from the printed vufoil. By this time the slide projector could normally be operated by a remote control.

One presentation was to a team at the Japanese Defence Contractor Kawasaki Heavy Industries, in a suburb of Tokyo. The slide projector should have been in a museum and only took a linear slide box. From the lectern I was able to advance the slides, so no ‘tsugi no suraido o onegaishimasu’, but the box was on an angle and the slides kept falling out! Not my best moment and not theirs either! (Note 1)

Writing these thoughts reminds me of using a vufoil to create a large painting for a summer ball in Lippstadt in 1973. The theme had been ‘Paris in the summer’ so I drew an outline around the important details of ‘A Bar at the Folies’ by Edouard Manet onto a vufoil. Then glued some butcher’s paper together and projected the image to give me a reproduction 2m by 1.5m. Then out came the paints for ‘painting by numbers’!

Next slide please?

Richard 2nd July 2021


PS Out of the UK adult population of 53.5 million, 85% have had one vaccine dose and 62% two. A real success story.

Note 1 This isn’t a case of ‘bad workman blames his tools’, really!