PC 293 And Another Thing …..

Writing about having dinner with Her Majesty (PC 289) – well, me and 121 others so a small intimate gathering it wasn’t! – prompted another story to rise to the surface of my memory. You may appreciate that in male civilian circles there’s a graduation in the range of attire from budgie smugglers to very formal wear, the highest in the latter being ‘White Tie & Tails’. It is the same in the military, although the frequency of wearing the most formal is rarer these days. When I first joined we had a formal dinner with dinner jackets once a fortnight and once every two months an even more formal one requiring Mess Kit. In the latter the shirts ranged from soft to semi-starched to fully-starched with stiff wing collar.

Edward B was a Guard’s Officer chum and he called me one evening many years ago to say he was in charge of the Tower of London guard for the week. The Officer in Charge of the Guard was permitted to ask a friend to join him for supper and Edward asked whether I was free on such-and-such a night. Sadly I was going to be away and had to decline, but he got in touch some weeks later to say HM the Queen had dropped in for supper. If it’s not really possible to sneak into McDonalds for a quick burger then I guess the security of the Tower of London would allow you to be more relaxed. She had apparently turned up at very short notice and Edward only had a semi-stiff shirt to go with his de rigueur Mess uniform. The queen was obviously very relaxed but asked Edward why he wasn’t wearing the proper shirt. “Oh! Your Majesty. I only wear that on very formal occasions.”   

In the United Kingdom Scout Leaders have issued a Style Guide to help its young members navigate the hyper sensitive times in which we live. I have long realised that talking of someone’s ‘Christian name’ makes some assumptions … but it will take a long time for the security question we are often asked, “What is your mother’s maiden name?”, to change to “What is your mother’s previous name?”, as the guide requires; this designation begs the question: “Previous to what?” The guide also bans terms such as ‘falling on deaf ears’, ‘dinner ladies’ and curiously the reference ‘Down Under’ when talking about Australia and New Zealand. This last one baffles me …… and probably the Australian artist Ken Done who has made a business using it. What the f**k is wrong with referring to both Australia and New Zealand as ‘down under’?  From a Northern European perspective they are almost hidden by the curvature of the earth – although relative to the Equator, the southern tip of New Zealand is actually equivalent to Nantes in France. 

Ben Fogle (1973 – ) made his name in the UK in a social experiment called ‘Castaway’, a year-long effort by 36 men, women and children to build a community on Taransay, a remote Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides. Broadcast by the BBC in 2000 it covered the ups and downs of the individuals, although I suspect the producers introduced material to ensure there was enough ‘drama’!

Described as ‘pioneering’ it was an early form of the new genre of Reality TV; it was followed by Eden and Love Island but remembered only for Ben Fogle and little else! Which is why I remember it as, in his latest venture, Fogle returns to individuals who had gone very ‘off-piste’ to live ‘in the wild’ some years ago.

Tisserdmine is located central right on the Google Map shot

Karen lives in a little oasis village called Tisserdmine in The Sahara Desert in south east Morocco; for a single middle-aged woman an extreme choice. Having heard her talking of surviving a sand storm that lasted two months, Ben questioned her continuing “battle against nature.” But she said: “You have to work with nature, not against it; it’s a challenge you have to dig deep to meet and you can’t throw in the towel. If you ‘battle’ it, it will win.” Many times when I have been caught out by a gale sailing, I have screamed at the sky, dark thunderous clouds and pouring rain, asking ‘it’ to lessen, to give me a break! Of course the simple answer is to ensure your yacht has sails to match the conditions and you know it will get through it. Maybe that’s a metaphor for life; just go with the flow??

Plastic grass gets extremely hot in the sun!

A day or so after I had watched this programme Matt Rudd mentioned plastic grass in his weekly The Sunday Times column. ‘Across the country it (plastic grass) is now the go-to choice for hard working families who simply don’t have the time or inclination to ‘battle’ nature. (Again it shouldn’t be a battle!). He added, almost as a non-sequitur: “My neighbour said I am irresponsible for having flowers in my garden as her child might get stung by a bee.”’ Wow! I know we live in sensitive times but ……? Really?

From a post on Facebook by Sharon Rodgers who takes the credit with the following: “My husband and I went through the McDonald’s driveway window and, as the total bill was £4.25 (Not sure what you can buy for £4.25 at McDonalds but …..), I handed the cashier a £5 and 25 pence. “You’ve given me too much money” says the sales girl. “Yes I know but this way you can give me a pound coin back.” She sighed …… and went to talk to her supervisor, who came over to the window and asked me to repeat my request. I did so; he handed me back the 25p and said: “We’re sorry but we don’t do that kind of thing,” (What did they mean by this, I wonder? Money laundering comes to mind?) The cashier then handed me back 75 pence.” (Note 1)

The American Dorothy Parker (1893 – 1967) was in the news recently as researchers had uncovered details about her early life. She was apparently best known for ‘her wit, wisecracks and eye for C20th urban foibles.’ I love this; on hearing that the famously uncharismatic US President Calvin Coolidge had died she reportedly asked: “How can they tell?”

Richard 29th July 2022


Note 1 For those unfamiliar with UK decimal coinage, at a minimum this would have been three coins – a 50 pence piece plus a twenty and a five.

PC 292 “Sir …..”

When my great grandfather George Nation was out in Dawson City at the very turn of the C20th, managing mining syndicate investments, he wrote as often as he could to his wife Eva back in London. Those letters still exist and they provide a wonderful glimpse of a different time, commenting on local and international news and asking of course after his three children.

He started each with his cursive ‘My Darling Eva’ and finished somewhat formally with ‘Your Loving Husband GM Nation’. Letter writing using pen & paper has gone out of fashion, replaced first by email and then by the highly abbreviated text; most are deleted at some stage, so unlike George’s letters there is rarely any trace.

If you are old enough you might connect ‘letter’ with the British/American Alistair Cooke’s ‘Letter from America’, a fifteen minute weekly broadcast on the BBC. Cooke would speak of some topical US issue, tying together different observations and anecdotes, all beautifully orated in his deep rich voice. The letters were broadcast from 1946 until his death in 2004.

William Donaldson, on the other hand, was a satirist and author, who wrote to those in positions of power and influence, for example The Queen, The Prime Minister or The National Council for (so called) Civil Liberties, under the pseudonym Henry Root and with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

You will know by now I vacuum up news stories; some aspects of a story may lodge in my memory, most simply add to the general data bank from which I can make comment or observation …… a little like gently drifting a watercolour-laden brush across an existing image. Some aspect may prompt me to put pen to paper, or more normally these days finger-tips to keys on my laptop and send a comment to the paper I have read since schooldays (Note 1) – The Times. My efforts rarely make it passed the sub-sub-editor’s desk but I was pleased to have something published early this month

8th July 2022

Sir! In The Times 8th July ‘Affluent patients face longer NHS wait’, Kieran Patel, university hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire Trust’s medical director says that ‘if you have patients who smoke, have hypertension or are overweight, you can use those factors to weigh their position on a waiting list, potentially pushing these patients forward on the list’. For those of us who make an effort to keep the weight down by exercise and sensible eating and who have long recognised the benefits, let alone the cost saving, of not smoking, this smacks of rewarding those taking little responsibility for their own health.”

This is not a black and white subject for sure but, with the British Nation the fattest in Europe, surely educating and supporting people to take even a little responsibility for their own health will save them and the NHS money in the long term?

And a week or so ago I had to respond to this:

“Sir The Sunday Times article about Lincoln Cathedral was wonderfully informative and a great example of modern restoration techniques. However Liam Kelly didn’t learn much geography at school. If the cathedral had been “upwind” of the various factories and power stations that caused the thick layers of dirt, it would have been blessed by clean air. I think ‘downwind’ is the term Liam is looking for!”

It did not get published!!

Last Christmas I spent with Celina’s brother and family here in Estoril, Portugal. I was prompted to write the following to the Times’ Feedback column:

Dear Feedback: Watching the sun rise in the south east over the Targus Estuary in Portugal I was catching up with my online Times. There must be something magical about the Glastonbury Tor in Britain as the picture caption suggests you can have a 360 degree view of the sunrise if you climb to the top.
Ah! The magic of Christmas!”

In September last year our city staged its annual Marathon, possibly the most popular after The London Marathon. But, horror of horrors, it was too short!! Another letter ….

 “Sir…..Living in the great city of Brighton & Hove, I read with a mixture of amusement and sadness that last Sunday’s marathon course was ‘568m’ too long. It’s amusing as it is unbelievable how anyone could get it so wrong. It’s also sad that, as the distance is universally known as 26.2 miles, so the extra missing distance should have been 621 yards.”

And I couldn’t this go; in July 2021, 7 square centimetres is not 7 centimetres squared!!

“Sir! Oh! Dear! Leonardo’s Head of a Bear was described in the Sunday Times as being 7 sq cm. Helpfully a ruler showed it was 7 centimetres both long and tall, making it 49 square centimetres! Back to the classroom!”

‘Head of a Bear’, c1480 (1945). From The Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. [Reynal & Hitchcock, New York, 1945]

In June 2021I wrote some scribbles about two issues facing the general public here in Britain; a scandal within The Post Office and a scandal within the Construction Industry. (PC 235 Generosity in Government) The Times covered both in a ‘Leader Article’ the following month, which deserved comment:

“Sir!  Your leader comment in The Sunday Times was spot on. Two issues concern the right-thinking middle-of-the-road Brit. The scandal of the Post Office’s actions over the last two decades with regards their own postmasters deserves some strong action; the Government’s response is wish-washy and pathetic – this needs to be gripped and those responsible named and shamed.
Other individuals who through no fault of their own are facing financial hardship are those living in buildings with unsafe cladding. We rely on the government to regulate the building industry. When the laws are deemed inadequate it’s the government who should pick up the complete bill.”

One in a hundred might get published but it’s fun to try. More to follow (maybe!)

Richard 22nd July 2022

www.postcardscribbles .co.uk

Note 1 When I was at school I took advantage of the much-reduced Student Subscription for The Times; their way of buying your loyalty to their stance on news stories.

PC 291 More Oinks (2)

If you do a little research about the pig you find an interesting collection of connections. You can call someone ‘pig headed’ if they’re being obstinate or simply ‘being a pig’ when they’re greedy and dirty – grubby! I remember the days when at the rear of canteens and restaurants there were bins for discarded food waste, for example vegetable peel, which were collected by Pig Farmers – Pigs Swill. ‘Pigs in the trough’ can refer to people who have benefitted from something but selfishly spoil it for others; the connection with the pig is that they can eat their fill then cause the trough to spill its contents so that other pigs can’t eat!! Nice huh?

If you have basic knowledge of manufacturing you will remember the term ‘pig iron’. Hot iron is poured into moulds laid out in a sand bed and fed by a common runner. The group of moulds resembled a litter of suckling pigs; the ingot became the piglet and the runner the sow.

In complete contrast to the hard, hot metal of pig iron is the pig tail. From the C17th; in the UK the term referred to braided or plaited hair, which had some vague resemblance to the twisted tail of a pig. In China it’s called a queue or cue. Traditionally Chinese men and women grew their hair long and then styled it in elaborate ways. The Queue was introduced by the Qing Dynasty to show their dominance in Manchuria; the front of the head is shaved, the hair on the top grown long.

For some reason we view pigs as the most endearing of animals and they feature in many children’s stories and cartoons, as well as the adult Miss Piggy from The Muppets. A pig was the subject of a Beatrix Potter story published in 1913, Pigling Bland. Despite being a children’s tale the conversations often reflect the current society’s mores: “You are a worthy person but your family is not well brought up.”I am a great fan of Sheppard’s Winnie-The-Pooh stories, with his friends Piglet (note 1), Tiger and Eeyore. But in the C21st it’s Peppa Pig, a British preschool animated TV series by Astley Baker Davies, that makes the headlines.

The show follows Peppa, an anthropomorphic female piglet, and her family, as well as her peers portrayed as other animals. It was first broadcast on 31 May 2004. The seventh season began broadcasting on 5 March 2021. ‘Peppa’ has been sold to 118 territories generating global sales of £1.1 billion. Last week Quentin Tarantino, whose son Leo enjoys the animated series enormously, claimed it’s the greatest British export of this decade.

And after our Prime Minister’s resignation last week, it’s rumoured she will be made a Dame.

Other miscellaneous facts about pigs: the leather made from pig’s skin ranks fourth after cow, sheep and goat; their bristles are used for shaving and paint brushes; their highly developed sense of smell makes them ideal for hunting truffles; they don’t sweat so roll in mud to cool down; “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” a proverb from the C16th meaning if it’s ugly, no matter how you dress it up, it’s still ugly (!); “Don’t buy a pig in a poke” means don’t buy something you haven’t inspected first (the poke is a bag).

Leviticus 11.27, from the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, says that God forbade Moses and his followers to eat swine ‘because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud.’ It’s possible this came about because the climate in the Middle East was not good for raising pigs; they need grass and shade so there weren’t many around! I don’t think this guidance is followed by most Christians today but in Judaism and Islam pork is a taboo food. It seems acceptable to eat animals that eat plants ie Herbivores, but not animals that eat literally anything ie carnivores or omnivores as pigs are. Fish are OK as long as they have fins and scales, so no shellfish. From a common sense view, should we eat anything that eats waste? Does the flesh of the pig contain toxins which are harmful, even in a minute way, to us human?

The story of how my nephew Hugh and his wife Hannah came to have a pet pig is worth telling. Scripting their ‘Wedding List’ in 2015 they put down ‘pet pig’ as a bit of a joke, not imaging anyone would buy them one! Hannah’s boss offered them a pig but if they hadn’t bought it within three months it would turn into a Kenwood’s toaster! Their sense of humour extended to calling it Babar, probably guaranteeing it developed an identity complex, thinking he was something woolly or an elephant! Babar lived in a Wendy House within a pen in their London garden – although obviously the rules were relaxed sometimes.

To visit their local pub, firstly Hugh & Hannah had to get a licence from the council so he could be walked on the pavement on a lead. Then the local publican had to agreed that Babar was a dog so he could come into the pub; this must have further increased the severity of his identify crisis. His life was cut short by severe arthritis in his knees and he left this world in 2017.

Edward Lear (1812-1888) managed to incorporate a pig into his poem ‘The Owl and The Pussy Cat’ (1871). You may remember that …… ‘The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat. They took some honey and plenty of money wrapped up in a five-pound note.’ Well ….. ‘They sailed away for a year and a day to the land where the Bong tree grows and there in a wood a piggy-wig stood with a ring at the end of his nose’. The pig sold the ring for a shilling and the owl and the pussy cat got married!!

George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945) was a ‘Set Book’ when I was at school. It tells the story of a group of farm animals led by a pig called Napoleon who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free and happy. The historical context is the Russian revolution of 1917 – the allegorical story representing the Russian politicians, voters and workers. Napoleon is said to represent Joseph Stalin and Snowball, another boar, Trotsky. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

The time has come” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things; of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages – and kings – and why the sea is boiling hot – and whether pigs have wings.” Lewis Carroll The Walrus & The Carpenter.

‘……. and whether pigs have wings’!! Indeed! ‘Pigs might fly’ is an adynaton, a figure of speech so hyperbolic that it describes an impossibility.

Charles Whitehead (1835) must have read Carroll; ‘Pigs might fly, but they are very unlikely birds’.

Richard 15th July 2022


PS We flew to Lisbon yesterday. Outside the Supermercado Tradicional this morning in Estoril I found this. Seemed so apt!

Note 1 “We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer.” answered Pooh.

PC 290 This And That

I hadn’t intended to go to the Hope Café this week as I was working on a painting for an ex client of mine, but I got drawn into its warm friendly space and I thought a quick coffee would help me organise my thoughts for this week’s post.

As I was leafing through my beige ‘PC Ideas’ folder, I noticed a piece about how in these post-Covid times we remain wary of close contact with another human. As I started reading, Susie came across with my coffee and a lovely observation. One wall of The Hope Café has some antiqued mirrors which create the illusion of a much larger space and it’s well done. Susie had noticed two good female friends settle down for a coffee and a natter; Susie guessed this was their first time in the ‘Hope’. One of them spied a couple of old dowdy-looking women and remarked to her chum: “Don’t look now but those two probably look like we will in 20 years.” “Oh! My God!” says the other, “there’s a mirror; it’s us!”

Susie tells me Josh and Luke are away on holiday but like everyone else travelling overseas their trip were beset with delays and cancelled flights. The manager Duncan has been helping out and he says trying to find staff is so difficult. Not unusual here today; for instance the UK had been relying on nomadic Europeans for seasonal farm work and now, post-Brexit, soft fruit might well not get harvested. A ridiculous situation; a little like farmers unable to take pigs to an abattoir for lack of abattoir staff.

Pre Covid we had got used to offering more than a formal handshake and hugs and back-patting had become quite normal. Now we unconsciously worry we might catch something and hold off. Let’s hope we get back to hugging soon – something very friendly and loveable about feeling the warmth of someone’s body! (Note 1)

Without Sami to chat to I cast my eyes around and spy a group of young 20 year old somethings. Here in Brighton & Hove I am not surprised by the individual styles of fashion; the latest seems to be coloured hair and I am not talking blonde or Chestnut rinse but strong pink or green or blue or purple. And nail extensions so long that the owner has to develop a slightly different way of tapping their mobile keys; needs must I guess. Coloured hair and nail extensions I can abide but I cringe when I see someone with ‘Fish Lips’!!

SO unnatural!

Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times of 26th June wrote about Leslie Sinclair, a 66 year old man who over the course of his lifetime had donated some 125 litres of blood. (Note 2) On his last visit he was asked whether he was pregnant, as women who are ‘with child’ are not allowed to donate blood – you might think for obvious reasons! He refused to answer what he and most of us would consider an asinine question; clearly not our NHS. In response to his ‘going public’ with what he saw as a ridiculous issue, an anonymous NHS administrator refused to apologise saying we must use language that’s ‘inclusive’. Er! Not for us males who can’t get pregnant.

Around the Platinum Jubilee The Times published a list of notable books we should have read over the past 70 years. I had read about 10% so you can draw your own conclusions to either my literary likes (?) or those who drew up the list. One book caught my eye, JG Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur, set in a fictional town during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Given that my great great great grandfather Stephen Nation had been in India in the lead up to the Mutiny, although he’d died of Cholera in 1848, and that his eldest son Henry had been involved, I have read extensively around the subject, admittedly from European writers so with a biased viewpoint.

 Farrell’s novel drew on the real experiences of people under siege at Lucknow and ‘The Collector’ at Muttra. Amazing that the Victorian participants had ‘deep & meaningful’ discussions about this and that, as the bullets clanged and the cannons crashed outside. There was one particular ‘daily grind’ that one of the characters observed: a couple of villagers would spend their days turning a wheel to bring water up from a well. (Note 3)

If you continue to do what you have always done you will always get the outcome you’ve always got. To achieve something different you have to change. A painful ‘tennis elbow’ (note 4) last year meant an adjustment in a certain yoga posture so there was less pressure on the elbow. A year on I was still doing it, until challenged by a teacher to change.

The other morning I awoke rather groggy from a restless night’s sleep. Like most people there are certain habitual actions you perform at this time of the day, almost without thinking, so ingrained do they become. I walked into the shower room, washed my face, dried it, put my contact lenses in, picked up my underarm deodorant stick ….. and proceeded to rub it over my right ear.
Made me smile!

The 50th Anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival closed last month with Sir Paul McCartney, joined by Bruce Springsteen, singing Hey Jude; the audience joined in with ‘na na na nananana, nannana’! I was reminded of Gail and Cyprus in 1968 (see PC 110 That Reminds me (2))

More Oinks next week!

Richard 8th July 2022


Note 1 You offered your right hand to show it hadn’t got a weapon in it and invited the person to shake it to prove you didn’t have a knife up your sleeve. (That might have been up the other sleeve!)

Note 2 When I first started donating blood one was given a bottle of Guinness stout afterwards as it contains iron!

Note 3 This was 1857. One would hope by now that every village has pumped water (The Charity WaterAid www.wateraid.org works in Africa and elsewhere today towards this goal)

Note 4 I do not play tennis!

PC 289 I had Dinner with Her Majesty!

Unless you are really really against any form of monarchy, I hope you will agree that the feel-good event last month was the celebration of HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The four day party was held all over the United Kingdom, a wonderful celebration for a nonagenarian who has been the sovereign for 70 years. Her real birthday is the 21st April and she was born in 1926 (Note 1), but since 1748 the state has celebrated an Official birthday at the end of May or beginning of June when, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, there is a higher probability of fine weather. The main event is always the Trooping of The Colour on Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall.

Elizabeth had become queen on 21st February 1952, aged 25, on the death of her father; her coronation was 15 months later on 2nd June 1953. This was probably the first time I became aware of our monarch. My grandparents lived in Bath (See PCs 164 and 165) and had a monochrome analogue television, which in 1953 was extremely rare. The Coronation broadcast was in black and white with the actual television image 376 lines high; another 29 lines gave the circuitry time to prepare for the next frame! (Note 2) The screen was small but Granny had purchased a large magnifying square of plastic which fitted over the screen. I suppose it worked to some extent but the refraction of the light through the magnifying panel created its own colour – which was completely unrelated to the activities on the black & white screen – we might have had blue horses or red faces!

This year’s Trooping the Colour was taken by the heir to the throne, with HM The Queen in Windsor no doubt watching the ceremony on digital television. Some 1500 soldiers and 250 horses took part, with the colour of The Irish Guards being trooped. Kings Troop, Royal Horse Artillery (Note 3) also paraded before firing their 82 gun salute from Hyde Park. As Kings Troop paraded the massed bands played the Royal Artillery Slow March, one with which I was extremely familiar, having marched at Sandhurst to the same tune. The crunch of boots on gravel, the dust raised by marching formations, the sweat inside one’s uniform, the music in your ear as well as the inner voice reminding what the next manoeuvre was, well practised so almost automatic, is an ever present delightful memory.

And the title of this postcard? Well, the Royal Regiment of Artillery was formed in 1716 and its 250th birthday was in 1976. The Queen is the Regiment’s Captain General and she and Prince Philip were invited to have dinner at the Royal Artillery Mess at Woolwich in south east London.

The date finally agreed was 4th November even though this coincided with the climax of the 1st British Corps Commander’s Exercise in Germany, which meant that most senior Gunner Officers in Germany, including my own CO, couldn’t attend. I was a lowly Captain and volunteered to go, to join the twenty three Generals, 18 Brigadiers, 36 Colonels, 24 Majors and 21 Captains and Lieutenants – so I had dinner with the Queen, well, me and 121 others!

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh being welcomed by the Master Gunner St James’ Park, Field Marshall Sir Geoffrey Baker

Before dinner half the attendees met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the East Ante Room, the other half after dinner – I was in this half. No Royal Artillery dinner would have been complete without the Post Horn Gallop being played by trumpeters and, after the long mahogany tables had been cleared of the candelabra, the central tablecloth being rolled up from either end and then pulled lengthways off the table, without any deviation.

It’s very unlikely the United Kingdom will see another Platinum Jubilee celebration so this particular weekend was even more special. Apart from Trooping the Colour there were parades down The Mall, a concert in front of Buckingham Palace and thousands of street parties up and down the country.

(photo courtesy The Times)

Older people were interviewed about where they were on the Queen’s coronation and the subject of ‘Coronation Chicken’ came up. The recipe for this was created in 1953, essentially adding curry powder to mayonnaise to make a chicken salad. One 78 year old said his mother didn’t like ‘that foreign muck’ – and later someone on the BBC had to apologise as a viewer had complained. It may not be something to say today, but then our attitude to ‘Johnny Foreigner’ was very different. 

All this military nostalgia reminded me of something I first heard in 1968, when in charge of the regimental rear party in Cyprus. Towards midnight the BBC World Service would broadcast the Shipping Forecast and then play an amalgam of tunes, the National Anthem, Taps and ‘For Those in Peril on The Sea’; it might even have included Abide with Me!! Far from home, this sort of thing tugs at the heart strings!!

During my military service I spent two years in the Ministry of Defence in the ‘procurement department’. We got an allocation of tickets for the Bucking Palace Garden Parties and I went both summers. I went out of interest, with some excitement, and loved the occasion. The tea? Not wonderful!! But who cared?   

Robert Crampton, a Times columnist, is an avowed Republican and in his weekly musings published over the Jubilee said he had never stood when The National Anthem is played. Think he’s confused! While its words reflect good wishes to the sovereign, surely first and foremost it’s the anthem of our Nation and deserves our respect and acknowledgement? (aka The Star-Spangled Banner or La Marseillaise.) 

          ….. and so into a new month!

Richard 1st July 2022


PS Sami (from the Hope Café) emailed simply to say he had arrived in Gujarat safely and would be in touch next month.

Note 1 Under the Zodiac star signs that makes her a Taurus, Celina’s sign. In our yoga studio two others share the same date! Us Scorpios complement Taurians.

Note 2 The next upgrade consisted of 625 lines

Note 3 Fifty per cent of King’s Troop is female.