Sunday, April 27, 2008

Between The Sheets / Between The Lines

“What’s that you are reading then?”
For the third time in ten minutes my eye is dragged from the words, and once again I know that I shall probably start all over at the top of the page. She Of The Townhouse has an impish gleam in her eye.
“It is a tale about a chap whose girlfriend wouldn’t get up and make a cup of tea on Sunday morning!”
“Oooh! Romance or murder mystery?”
Darkly. “I can’t say for certain yet I haven’t got to the end……”

Now then, hastily exiting the Hallett Boudoir I find myself among the growing ranks of youtube viewers. Often I feel the resort of a lazy blogger to flag up things and merely add ‘look at this’ or LOL as their only contribution for the day. Nevertheless I did stumble across a real gem this week. It started on Wednesday evening when Mike Harding played ‘On again’ By Jake Thakeray on radio two. A treat for me. The next day I looked it up in the workplace and was led on via a Gorilla to Georges Brassens and thence to Jaques Brel.
If you have the time and the inclination I recommend that you watch this all the way through. And then if perchance you enjoy it, then look up the others. I promise you wont be disappointed.
Back in the seventies this song meant a lot to me.

Happy Birthday Izzy

Friday, April 25, 2008

Raise Your Glasses

It would be a foolish chap who would comment on the size of his paramour’s arse. Especially on his blog.
Butt you see someone has sat upon my glasses.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

St George’s Day

Oh don’t worry this isn’t going to be a nationalist rant. No “God for Harry” here There are plenty of others in Britain’s glorious multiculture who I can leave that to. I mean to say! “In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility” thats where I stop.
Its just that St Georges day does mark one of the focus points in my year. It’s the day (yesterday incidentally) when I hop over the wall in to the field and start the serious business of hunting for mushrooms. People in Britain have somehow learned to unlearn quite how good these are.
The cheeky little fellows that you see sitting at the top of this page are called ‘St Georges Mushroom’ and they nearly always appear in the last week of April. They smell wonderful, conjuring up for me all kinds of happy memories, reminders of other walks and the taste of time of year. With just a little light preparation they lend a lovely nutty mushroomy taste to whatever you care to add them to. In fact I like them so much that the small sweet and tender ones may not actually make it in to the bag, I eat them like little snacks. Their firm fragrance a much better bet than the far poorer things that lurk near aisle 13 in our local supermarket.
Along with this, the week will most certainly mark the return of the cuckoo to my evening garden dreamtime.
There is still snow on the mountains but I can now sit out in shorts (steady on ladies) in the warm evening sun.
This week, more than any other of the year, marks the passage from winter to summer for me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thoughts On Teenage Binge Drinking

As Asbo and I took our familiar path through the woods this morning we stumbled upon the sorry debris.
The harbinger of summers treats yesterday brought yoof out for an evening drink or two, and as usual they failed to take home the empties.
Clearing up the cans and bottles I noticed that half of the damn things were still full.
Teenage binge drinking isn’t what it used to be.
In my day there was none of this new fangled 500ml in a ring pull can. Oh no. We had full on party sevens in containers made of iron. Containers that needed a restricted kitchen implement to gain entrance, so you had better bring a claw hammer and possibly a nail. And we certainly never left them half full.
Blooming lightweights.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

00 ouch

Like a considerably overgirthed James Bond I am scaling a large wall using my fingertips and toes. Still dressed in my work suit.
I used to climb rather better than this but then there was a lot less of me.
She Of The Town House has bounced Asbo’s ball over the wall on to the rocks below and I now have two pairs of pleading brown eyes wanting me to play fetch….aghh dammit.
This was meant to be a short walk along the estuary before a beer. Now it is looking more like one of those reality TV things where people are set to do things they just aren’t fit for. The bloomin’ wall is ten feet high at least, and there is a river close to the bottom. If I put a foot wrong in all that seaweed I shall be in the ogin.
As I haul myself back up I hear the camera click….
Later on she does the same thing again on the return leg.
It can bloody stay there next time!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First Love

OK she has a face like she swallowed a wasp....she had a really full on case of dog breath...she snored fit to wake the dead...and she bum shuffles your favourite bit of carpet just by the fire.

Asbo didn't seem to mind....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time For A Bonfire

Two years ago, the last time that She Of The Town House moved house, she borrowed ‘a bit of space’ in my barn to store stuff until she could offload it in a car boot (trunk) sale.
I haven't really been able to use my barn since and every time I murmur a word or two about it she pulls a feminine wiles stunt on me.
The that that haven’t rotted away are still there.
To add insult to injury, my new mower has disappeared under a pile of plastic bags that she has shifted from one end to the other.

In a recent flurry of activity she has put The Town House on the market. She may soon have to be renamed Valley Girl.

Is there anyone else out there whose junk moves house less often than they do?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What The F...

So there I am thumbing through other peoples blogs...

"Where's that other thing that we had?"

She Of The Townhouse interrupts my travels.

I have not the faintest clue what it is she is banging on about.

Sat Nav To Hell

Full of good intentions I have brought all my student reports home on a memory stick. I have seventy to complete by Friday and only twenty seven done so far. True to form the little bugger has refused to cooperate and so here I am at the end of loosenes.
I suspect that the comments are going to be a little more formula driven as a result.
Oh well.....

Monday, April 07, 2008

Work To Be Done

Now my holiday is over I don't expect to be turning out a post every day. If past form is to go by then once a week if I am lucky.
In the meantime I present this picture taken from Garvie's leap, the rock at the end of my garden, yesterday.
The view is down the Conwy Valley over the towns of Dolgarog and Llanrwst looking towards the high mountains between Bala and Dolgellau.
The snow capped peak right of centre and in the distance is Arenig Fawr, about 35 kilometres from my house if you could fly there.
I like this picture as it give you a clear idea of the level that my house is at compared to the valley.
I think I showed you this view as a river of mist earlier in the year.
This , along with the last couple of posts should give you also a sense of why, despite the lack of a road, neighbours, or broadband, I wake every day lucky to be alive in such beauty.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Smile

As thrilled as any man would be with a new mower, I decided yesterday to have a little al fresco art attack. I was inspired by figures like the Cerne Giant and the White Horse at Uffington. Taking in to account my own lack of ability and thinking that I would have to wait a few weeks really to see the full effect, I have carved a smiley in the grass below the house. I expected it to become more visible as the grass greens up and the difference between the cut and the uncut became distinctive.
Then last night it snowed.
People from Colwyn Bay to Liverpool will be looking up this morning and, I hope, smiling right back at me.

This is just the sort of thing that winds up in the Weekly Witter and gets me labelled as eccentric by my students…..
Oh well, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Well it does if you are daft enough to stand downwind of this beast.
Whenever high wind and snow is forecast by the BBC I take this as a guarantee of good weather. The gloom and doom foreseen this morning meant that it was time to cook meat over a fire in the garden.
Observe, if you will, my latest contribution to the world of the cookout.
To the uneducated eye it may look like a bath, some bricks, an old metal plate, and a wheelbarrow. Of course Heston Bloominheck (and I suspect Buffalodick) would recognise the genius that is my new barbecue smoker.
Costing precisely nothing, this fine instrument polished off several poultry and half a pig this afternoon. Or rather my guests did. Please note that as children were present I was also forced to turn a couple of carpet burgers that had earlier been smuggled out of aisle thirteen.

Children do not try this at home.
Oh and ladies…fear not…I used the ‘B’ bath.
My hot tub still awaits your pleasure.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hallett’s Mountain Ate My Lorry

I guess that the next generation of Sat Nav gadgets will come with a sense of humour built in. Hopefully when the postcode for my particular blot on the landscape is typed in it will respond with some version of ‘Come on now mate, you’re ‘avin a larf’ rather than a set of patient instructions that lead the unwary motorist to either their Scylla or their Charybdis depending on which side of the road they decide to sacrifice themselves to eventually.
I am sure I have told you all about it before.
Yesterday though, someone’s little bit of digital magic, and their own blind faith, really did excel.
Two large trucks played follow the leader until the gap between the rock and the hard place finally caught them. She Of The Townhouse and I came up behind trying to get to my house to be greeted with the spectacle of walls and trees being shoved aside to try and extract both lorries and their cargo. It seems that someone lower down had ordered 22 tonnes of gravel for a project.
We stayed to mock from the hedge for a little while and then decided to go away and return in a few hours.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Silent Spring

Phrases like “Eat unleaden death tree hugging scum” would never escape from the back of the Hallett cortex save in spring. The season when any mans fancy turns to his lawn. And this year I have decided to do my best to offset the efforts of all those do gooder carbon offsetting bods by buying a petrol lawnmower.
After years of pushing an electric hover around my acre I have finally succumbed. I even toyed briefly with the notion of one that you could ride on but soon realised that I could have ten cheaper mowers for the same price.
So there you go. After a few minutes mocking the safety instruction (long trousers! I don’t think so!!) I put a selection of Steppenwolf and Springsteen into my i(maginary)pod. Casually flicked out the aviators and went for a blast round the nooks and crannies.
To think, I could have had an attachment for stripes as well but you know….its possible to overdo these things.
Later I discovered that fifty conkers that I collected last back end and put in pots have all germinated. I hope this isn’t going to offset the offset offset, if you see what I mean.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dawn Chorus

As Asbo and I dogged the path through the woods today we heard a Woodpecker drum a staccato rhythm on dead branches. I was very pleased with moment.
Later Asbo found a dead sheep that he has been keeping his eye on, one that floated down the river a week or so ago. He pulled and pulled at the almost, but not quite tender leg. Perhaps it will come off tomorrow.
For the rest of the morning an old song has been rattling round my head. A song to be sung to the tune of “Dixie”.
Perhaps if I share it with you it will leave me alone for an hour.


Oh I put my finger in a woodpecker's
And the woodpecker said, "Well bless my soul
Take it out, take it out, take it out,

So I took my finger from the woodpecker's
And the woodpecker said, "Well bless my soul
Put it back, put it back, put it back,

So I inserted my finger in the woodpecker's
And the woodpecker said, "Well bless my soul
Turn it 'round, turn it 'round, turn it 'round

So I rotated my finger in the woodpecker's
And the woodpecker said, "Well bless my soul
Speed it up, speed it up, speed it up

So I accelerated my finger in the woodpecker's
And the woodpecker said, "Well bless my soul
Other way, other way, other way

So I reversed my finger in the woodpecker's
And the woodpecker said, "Well bless my soul
Stroke it in, stroke it in, stroke it in

So I oscillated my finger in the woodpecker's
And the woodpecker said, "Well bless my soul
Take it out, take it out, take it out

and then repeat form the beginning ad infinitum….

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fortunes Stroke

*picture a lot of money*
No one could have been more surprised than I when I was contacted out of the blue by Ntakay. I guess he must have remembered me from years ago when I was working catching core out in Nigeria in the early eighties. Anyway, however he dredged up my name, I must say that I think we both bless the day. While I have become a teacher it seems that he must have stayed in the oil business and, from his own account, risen to a position of responsibility as the principle advisor to the former leader of a west African republic. A country which I am reluctant to reveal the name of for reasons that will become apparent. After years of political stability in his adopted home Ntakay has established himself a by no means modest fortune. Again I don’t want to spill the beans, but lets just say that we are talking a pretty decent euro lottery win here.
Anyway, just before Christmas his government which had for some time been under the eye of an increasingly greedy military was destabilised, and all accounts above 50 million dollars in them have been held in stasis until they can be established as belonging to the government. The only exceptions being those which can be shown clearly to be linked to a foreign personal bank account. It seems the new regime is anxious to clobber its own citizens but would equally like to avoid offending people from the foreign who may be needed in the future to help them retain power.
To cut a long story short, it seems that all we have to do is establish an account with a few thousand in it in our joint names, get it recognised in his country, and then Ntakay can shift his millions over to Europe. He has generously offered me a fat ten percent to help him on the way!
So that’s it. By lunchtime I will have realised a few stocks and shares and opened an account in the name of Hallett & Mweewee. In a week or two its feet up on a desert island for the pair of us.
Why work harder!