Llanrhystud

After the celebrations of Debbie’s 60th birthday party I thought it might be a good idea to have a short break away in Ceredigion in West Wales with Emma and Molly, leaving James and Hamish behind.  As James secured his new job in Morrisons he had to attend new hire training in their Cwmbran store so he couldn’t go with us unfortunately.

To be honest it was an experiment with Molly as she’d never been away with us on holiday, we’d always put her and Hamish into the Royvon kennels together and had done so in the days just before and after the party.  Being brutally honest though we felt the need to have a brief rest from the mad Scotsman and his bark and he’s very close to James anyway so we didn’t feel too bad leaving them both behind.

So last Tuesday we left Llanfoist in the Galaxy with a bemused Molly in the rear in her basket surrounded by suitcases, Emma in the rear seat surrounded by shopping bags and Debbie and I in the front.  We left as late as possible mid afternoon so as to minimise the time Hamish had to spend in his crate awaiting James’ return from Cwmbran.  My sat nav predicted a two hour journey without stopping which proved accurate as we headed past Brecon on the A40 and onto various twisty A & B roads towards our destination.

The cottage I’d chosen was called Cartref Bach which is Welsh for “Small Home” in the small hamlet of Llanrhystud.  It was a little Tardis like downstairs at least as the living room was quite large as was the adjoining kitchen diner and utility room, leading out to large gardens.

When searching for a suitable place to stay I’d looked for an enclosed rear garden for molly so she could wander outside freely to explore and do her ablutions, had a log fire in the living room to snuggle up by, be close to the coastline for walking and a pub for refreshments.  Cartref Bach ticked all those boxes along with off road parking on Church Road and a local small supermarket combined with a sub post office so we were very well served.

We arrived with it still being daylight after an uneventful and uninterrupted journey and for once the sat nav took us straight to where we were going and I pulled the Galaxy into the narrow entrance to the cottage.

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Llanrhystud has hills separating the village from the sea as you can see to the rear

The instructions which I had to admit to having not read properly before arriving told us entry was not before 4pm to allow time for handover and cleaning which was fine, although finding the key safe through the wooden doors to the right of the cottage and attached to the door frame of the adjacent tool house was more challenging although the code was very easy to remember!  I won’t mention it here in case they don’t change in regularly…

Keys secured we made our way inside and immediately Emma bagged the front bedroom with the attached bath and shower, something I didn’t realise until we left as our rear facing bedroom overlooking a field full of sheep and a large hill obscuring the sea just had a curtained off toilet/shower area attached!

Still it was very cosy especially when Debbie got the log fire going and I read about there being further supplies in the shed located in the large rear orchard to the rear of the property on the right.  The weather though was pretty wild with strong winds and rain making the outside rather cold but that only contrasted with the snug warmth inside.

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Don’t take my photo in my PJ’s!

Settled in we watched TV and some episodes of TV Burp 3 on DVD before eventually retiring for a good night’s sleep with Molly in her basket next to our bed in the rear…

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Where’s Hamish and James?

The following days we spent relaxing, popping into the local shop where I was given a ginger cake free of charge that was going out of date the following day which definitely generated goodwill with yours truly as I purloined newspapers, wine, bread, baking potatoes, tomato sauce, yogurts, chicken curry and rice with mango chutney etc. to add to the emergency vegan shop in Waitrose we’d done prior to leaving!

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This patio is all mine!

Molly seems to love exploring out the back although very skittish in terms of noises from the local sheep and bird population.

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The orchard too!  Extra logs are in here Dad…

With the two human ladies of the party staying behind in comfort Molly and I ventured out twice during our four day stay, both times following the same route to the pebble beach closest to the property.  The first time however Molly turned back just before getting to our intended destination due to the blustery conditions of the strong wind coming off the shoreline.

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Turn right outside Cartref Bach and you pass this Church dedicated to Saint Rhystud

With our second attempt though we passed through a deserted caravan park and made it to the bleak shoreline without a trace of human or canine company where Molly looked rather bemused at the expanse of sea water.  Being more of a freshwater River Usk lady, she came, she saw and conquered & returned to the cottage fairly promptly much to my relief.

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The cottage was well equipped with DVD’s and games which we all enjoyed and it’s warmth and comfort led to only two short expeditions outside by car during our short break.

The first was a rather brief seven mile journey south towards the picturesque fishing village of Aberaeron which according to our local guide book in the cottage could only be described as a Welsh “Tobermory” however sadly on this occasion it was not to be due to the fact that as soon as I parked up Molly threw up in the rear of the galaxy and started shaking so we beat a hasty retreat back to the cottage.

Having decided that Golden retrievers, like Molly’s predecessor Tom, travel on light stomachs it was decided prudently to dispatch me alone towards Aberystwyth which 40 years previously had been on my UCCA interview list of potential University places to study planetary and space physics!

Sadly visiting on my own seemed even less attractive than back in 1978 so when I spied Morrisons on the outskirts I gratefully pulled in to do some emergency shopping of tofu stir fry for Emma and I along with some requested treats for Debbie back at Cartef Bach.

Before we knew it the days passed and it was time to leave our cottage and head home, fingers crossed with no further stomach troubles from Molly, although we minimised the risks by refusing her breakfast until we were safely back home…

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Farewell!

Mind you as I napped in our bedroom after a two hour journey back to Llanfoist I suddenly awoke to a rumble where the bed and whole room shook for about five seconds as magnitude 4.4 earthquake shook Wales as a true welcome home surprise! 🙂

Llanrhystud

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch

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Well the astrophysicist in me is excited as I am watching the SpaceX live YouTube feed of the potential launch of their Falcon Heavy triple rocket configuration.

i think there’s a wind shear problem at Kennedy Space Centre that’s pushed out the countdown towards the end of its three hour launch window but the real time feed has just come on the TV and it looks like the first ever test flight may be going ahead – fingers crossed!

The excitement is palpable at the SpaceX HQ’s and I must admit I share their enthusiasm.  If it works and that’s a big if, it could if man rated in future cost only 10% of NASA’s Space Launch System that they are still to launch to replace the retired Space Shuttle.

T minus 17 minutes with no hold at the moment, filling the second stage LOX tanks at the moment…

OMG!

Update will be posted after launch or after abort as there is no slack in the launch window…

Debbie and I just watched the launch and landings of the two side rockets and low earth orbit of the payload Elon Musk’s roadster and “starman” driver to the sound of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.

Just amazing!

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch

Change Is Hard

Most people that know me will not be surprised that reading business books was never high on my agenda!  Jack Welch of GE fame was almost as unknown to me as “Jack Welsh” of Llanfoist notoriety…  Only kidding the latter doesn’t exist as far as I know!

However there was one such book called “Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard” by Chip & Dan Heath, used extensively by senior executives of my last employer before my retirement, which introduced metaphors like the “rider and the elephant” which rung true to my rather limited mind and it goes something like this…

 

rider elephant

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt in his book, “The Happiness Hypothesis” developed a mental model, stemming from behavioural psychology, where he argued that humans have two sides to their psyche.

According to this model, the rider is rational and can plan ahead, while the elephant is irrational and driven by emotion and instinct.  To successfully navigate effective change you have to find the balance between the two and get the elephant and the rider moving together as one.

“Switch” argued a third aspect to this model, that success requires an understanding of the direction, situation and environment, or the path the elephant/rider combo is following.

“Changes often fail because the Rider simply can’t keep the Elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination.  The Elephant’s hunger for instant gratification is the opposite of the Rider’s strength, which is the ability to think long-term, to plan, to think beyond the moment (all those things that your pet can’t do.) …

To make progress toward a goal, whether it’s noble or crass, requires the energy and drive of the Elephant.  And this strength is the mirror image of the Rider’s great weakness: spinning his wheels.  The Rider tends to overanalyze and over think things. …

A reluctant Elephant and a wheel-spinning Rider can both ensure nothing changes.  But when Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily.”

They then introduce three surprises which can be helpful in communicating the need for change:

  1. What looks like resistance is often lack of clarity.  Don’t say eat healthier.  Say eat more dark leafy greens.
  2. What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.  Change is hard…acknowledge it.
  3. What looks like a people problem is often a situational problem.  Make sure to think about their environment and support system.

Well, having now retired from the corporate world for a few years now, leading successful change management of others is a thing of the past for me now but it’s still relevant to successfully changing my own behaviour!

So, always assuming you’ve read this far and haven’t already stated dozing, nodding off or clicked elsewhere, I now turn from theory to practice!

My daughter Emma has recently adopted a vegan diet for three main reasons.  The first is ethical and the way we treat other sentiment beings, who just happen not to be human, the second is a result of caring for the environment and lastly desiring to improve her own health.

Now I too have been on a vegetarian journey, with only a couple of hiccups over Christmas week (organic turkey and crumbed ham) since writing my Eating Fewer Animals post three months ago.  This was the result of me reading a book of the same name that Emma lent me…

Now this morning Debbie and I were blissfully watching another Peter Davidson “Doctor Who” DVD – Caves of the Androzani for those readers of a curious nature – when Emma asked if we could watch together on Netflix a documentary called “What the Health” which I imagine subsequently is a take on the words “What the Hell”.

Although not balanced in terms of the arguments for and against changing one’s diet to plant based only, it does make the case quite powerfully for at least considering it with obesity, diabetes, cancer and other diseases being so prevalent in today’s “advanced” society.

Now my reasons for becoming vegetarian were largely the same as my daughter’s for turning vegan, however I put personal health above the environment.  This is due to me being a rather shallow, selfish 58 year old and sadly less imbued with what’s right and wrong vs. being selfish.  That said, my main driver was the same as Emma, namely a result of my decision to no longer blank out in my consciousness what goes on in factory farming.

I think that has been reinforced by “adopting” Molly, our rescue golden retriever, who really has brought a huge amount of happiness into our family.  How the people involved in puppy farms in Ireland can live with the reality of what they put these dogs through is beyond me ,but what it’s made me realise is that if we as consumers refused to “buy” dogs from this evil supply chain and only took on rescue animals, we could collectively very soon stop this evil trade.

Now living in rural Monmouthshire we are surrounded by farms and moorland filled with cattle, sheep and the occasional pig farm, quite unlike my Egham based experience where the closest I got to these beings was shrink wrapped in supermarket packs.  What I’ve realised walking Molly and Hamish through the countryside with Debbie is how alive, curious and often friendly (and often scared) these farm animals are to our transient presence.

This eased my decision to become vegetarian considerably and I have to say it’s remarkable how easy it’s been given the variety products easily available in all the local supermarkets.  I just haven’t missed meat to the extent where I would ever revert back to my previous eating habits.

Becoming vegetarian though seems a long way at first sight to going vegan and doing without dairy in the forms of cow’s milk, cheese and eggs.

This is where the “What the Health” show kicked in and reminded me about the consequences to male born calves and chickens of the milk and egg industry.  Of course I’ve known about the culling of such new born males, but recessed it to the outer corners of my memory, the same of course with the separation of new born female calves and chicks from their mothers.

When you’re busy earning a living 24×7 it’s easy to shut this out of your mind, less so when you’re retired and you have time to think wider and be in the position to make rational decisions.

So the upshot of it is that this particular “rider” is guiding my “elephant” along the path of transitioning to oat and soya milk rather than cow’s, with eggs to follow a similar exit further down the track when I can work through the alternatives.

Will I keep it up or complete the journey?  All I can say is I hope so, but change is hard, however the rewards to me and particularly those animals spared in future will be great and so I have great hopes.

Two previous corporate bosses that I highly respected, both American as it happens, but with very different personalities, typically ended their conversations with me over the years with “take it easy” and “be well”.

Farewell salutations that now I share with you all too dear readers!

🙂

 

 

 

 

Change Is Hard

Morrisons!

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Now I don’t write about supermarket chains very often in this blog and Morrisons in Abergavenny has a controversial history, however our younger son James got some great news yesterday when he found out that the new store opening on the old cattle market site is going to offer him a permanent job!

This was great news all round and a fantastic reward for all his hard work as unpaid volunteer, as well as an occasional paid relief manager, at the local Blue Cross charity shop.

We found out when after visiting “Get Noticed” design shop to get some posters printed for Debbie’s up and coming 60th birthday and popped into Blue Cross on the way back to see him as usual.  Out of the blue James shared the news that he’d just been phoned up after his interview earlier that afternoon to confirm they were offering him a role and he was to start his induction training soon!

I don’t think anyone observing in such a busy charity shop has ever seen four people so excited, as Debbie, Emma and I took it in turns to repeatedly hug and congratulate James on his brilliant news!

To celebrate we bought ourselves a rare bottle of red wine and James a bottle of special lager for consumption at home and I have to say personally I savoured every sip, although I’m so unused to drinking I had a nap late afternoon in between glasses!

Judging by the exterior of the new store (artist’s impression above) its opening is probably going to be late February or early March, but despite some local opposition to the store in terms of its design or location, we shall definitely be changing our grocery shopping loyalty thanks to the 100 jobs they have brought to the area for sure!

It’s interesting when I look back on our time in Abergavenny just how must economic regeneration has occurred both there and in Llanfoist where we “escaped” to.  Firstly the whole town centre was repaved in time for the Eistedford, the famous Angel hotel front totally refurbished, the large grade II listed building next to the post office modernised and numerous run down shops closed and reopened as new in the High Street.

In Llanfoist itself of course two new housing estates have been completed including our own at Mountain View and just over the Heads of the Valley Road next to the other is the Premier Inn, Costa Coffee and good old McDonald’s and the adjoining Persimmon estate.  There was quite a lot of local opposition historically to all those in the past too despite the undoubted increase in prosperity that they deliver to the local economy.

Interestingly Mountain View itself was built on the old derelict Cooper’s factory site that closed down a number of years ago and as such qualifies as a “brownfield” development, whereas  the hotel and retail developments took place under a series of electricity distribution pylons which probably would have never been developed otherwise and left as rather unattractive waste land.

Understandable “not in my back yard” fears have to be balanced by a thoughtful response to ongoing economic development, which of course is never easy to get right. Recent plans to construct a footbridge over from Llanfoist to Abergavenny are a good example of safety improvements I’m sure by most, even if other developments are resisted by the vocal naysayers.

Still, on balance for my family at least, things don’t look half bad at this point in 2018! 😀

Morrisons!

Super Blue Moon

Although my blog has been a bit quiet over the past week or so, yours truly has been not, so let me use today’s post as a typical example to “illuminate” you dear reader.

Before I do that though, just let me just explain the title of today’s ditty, which reflects the fact that I have just observed a “super blue moon” through my binoculars mounted on a carbon fibre tripod in the second floor guest room.

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Just need to take the lens caps off, hold my iPhone to the eyepiece & hey presto!
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OK so it’s not very good with a handheld camera phone, but looking through the binocular it was really spectacular!

Now back to more mundane matters and the main topic of today’s post, as per normal Deb and I awoke around 8am to the sound of Molly taking a run up to jump onto our king sized bed.

I can tell you it is a lottery on which of our torsos her 25kg of “love” she lands on, however today was my lucky day so I made it downstairs unscathed to continue my morning ritual.

This involves carrying down Molly’s bed into the living room where I draw the curtains, pulling up the Roman blinds there, in the snug and in the kitchen.

Molly usually follows me downstairs after enjoying repeated cuddles with my better half on hearing kibbles being poured into her food bowl.  However before she tucks in I normally let her out onto the pristine Easigrass outside in our small garden (the best £4K I have ever spent) for her ablutions first.

While she’s occupied I therefore put the kettle on for two mugs of decaf coffee and open a sachet of golden syrup flavour Oat So Simple which makes the most delicious porridge in the microwave in only 2 minutes!  I have to say that turning vegetarian seems to have increased my proclivity for sweet things whereas previously I always had a more savoury preference.

I’ve also become rather a porridge aficionado recently, ordering it on our regular jaunts to Caffe Nero in town with lashings of runny honey, instead of ordering my usual decaf Americano.

Enough of this culinary diversion, so the next stage of my typical day comes with the postman’s delivery of my next eBay acquisition which recently have included Captain Scarlet & Thunderbird figures, as well as Dinky die-cast vehicles from the same shows.  UFO is so old hat here in Llanfoist now!

Unfortunately this collectors habit of mine has also extended recently to the imminent arrival of an old fashioned Police telephone box from the late 1950’s that heralds my new addiction to Doctor Who.  Almost every day now new DVD episodes of each Doctor arrive by the Amazon Prime courier service…

This of course triggers a natural request of mine to Debbie which goes along the lines as an example yesterday of “ fancy watching the Claws of Axos?” to which she normally accedes but ends up watching through half closed eyes, interspersed with the occasional snore…

Approximately 2 hours and 4 episodes later I will then announce to my long suffering wife that I should have a shower and get ready for the marathon that is taking the hounds from heaven (Molly) and hell (Hamish) for a walk.

Now Molly our rescue golden retriever is the most angelic dog we have ever owned, but if she suspects that a walk is imminent will leap up in the air, snorting with excitement and rushing all round stalking the two of us attempting to dress in warm clothing and putting on shoes for the short walk to the waiting Galaxy parked in our drive.

Hamish’s blue touch paper is also lit but he adds on a persistent ear shattering bark and occasional bite to encourage a speedy exit.  This has led Debbie and I to concoct a rather elaborate & some would say desperate strategy of getting ready in the rear garden to avoid upturned and damaged furniture on our ground floor.

To spare our long suffering neighbour’s eardrums we believe in the motto “haste over elegance” in our attempts to bundle them into the rear of our people carrier and conclude the desired fast exit.

The Galaxy has a rear compartment reserved for canine occupation with a bespoke rubber mat underneath, fortunately not eaten yet by Molly (unlike the sadly departed Freelander’s) and are prevented from access to the “people” reserved space at the front by an expertly fitted custom dog guard.

All secure we then head off the short distance to the normally crowded car park in Llanfoist that heralds the start and finish point of our typical canal walk which has three  optional routes.  Namely long, medium and short, which doubles to six options if you include the two alternative ways round.

My directional preference and as such frequently overruled by SWMBO, is to cross the main road next to the car park and walk uphill to the canal as if you intended to climb up the Blorenge.  The direction preferred by Debbie’s takes the four of us up along the old railway track which once went all the way to Merthyr, which is now a National cycle track on a steady climb up to Govilon.

The “long” option which takes us past Govilon wharf with its moored narrow boats, up and over a small bridge and back down the canal towpath towards Llanfoist, however this option comes with a terrible danger my preferred direction is overruled…

The reason is that we pass a rather long garden constantly patrolled by two rather aggressive sounding Collie dogs that delight in snarling through a small gap in their hedge and the furthest end.

If we come from the other direction quietly we can often surprise these Collies and by pushing Debbie and Hamish ahead of me and Molly hope this will distract Molly’s attention away from protecting me from their imagined bites!

In reality this danger is vastly overstated as the gap is reinforced with chicken wire so all that ends up happening is that my arm nearly gets pull out of its socket.

If that wasn’t enough angst, the torture Molly inflicts on me is compounded by her increasing hatred of Mallard ducks going about their business swimming in pairs on the canal.  I swear if I didn’t hold her back she would leap into the near stagnant water every time we come across these courting avian couples…

By the time I rejoin the car my posture is more like an exhausted walking orangutang with lacerated hands trailing in the mud churned up in the car park.  As a result the next daily ritual is that of my late afternoon bath to soak away the aches and pains of my dog walking.  Strangely Debbie who typically walks Hamish (who weighs at most 10kg and behaves impeccably on the walk) is bemused by my sad state and settles down to watch her daily intake of soaps.

This involves watching Coronation Street on TV “catch up”, both the current 2017 version where the script seems to involve multiple homicides and the late 1980’s which seems to concentrate on Northern folk getting on with life.  I know which I prefer – the non violent one – and for once SWMBO seems to agree!

Later after suppers are dispensed and Emma and James retreat to their respective “caves” we will settle down to watch Celebrity Big Brother and watch our favourites be evicted all because as poor pensioners we refuse to pay the 50p to save them by phoning in.  Ah well, all things come to an end and 2018 may be the last year this particular program will air, still there’s always “I’m a Celebrity get me Out of Here” or at the weekends “Dancing on Ice” (yawn), or “Strictly Come Dancing” (yeh) to enjoy…

Or even do an occasional bit of astronomy!

 

Super Blue Moon

A Tale of Two John’s

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John aged 18 in 1944

Last week my iPad pinged to notify me by email to say that a certain John Lawson had commented on an old blog post marking my dad’s second anniversary of passing away.

Rather confusingly my father was also called John so hopefully there will be no confusion in this post…

Now I have to admit I had no idea who this John was but he suggested getting in touch as apparently there are numerous connections between the Lawson and Shores families unbeknown to me!

Intrigued I emailed him straight back asking for some more background information and was stunned when I read his initial reply.  Not only had he known the Shores family very well, but when he married his wife Joan way back in 1951, my father was his best man!

We swapped numbers and agreed a time for me to call the following day and ended up reminiscing  for about an hour on the phone.   John put me on speakerphone his end as he is now 91 years old and sadly deaf in one ear but otherwise in relatively good health.

His childhood home was in the Paddock, Anlaby Park Hull, close to 48 Anlaby Park Road North, where my father was brought up before the Shores family moved to 48 the Link.  This is where I used to visit Grandma Shores and Auntie Daisy & Uncle Alf Hopper who cared for her when I was a young boy.

John remembers many happy Christmas parties at the Link ,with pantomimes laid on by siblings Daisy, Beryl, John (my father) and Dorothy, the large house was ideal for playing “Murder”!   At Christmas he also sang in his then treble voice “See, Amid The Winter Snow” and “Where ‘Er You Walk“.

My paternal grandma Hilda had a sister, also called Daisy, who took on the role of housekeeper when John’s mother sadly passed away in 1934 when he was only eight years old.  John’s father was called Sir Philip Lawson and was Officer Commanding 152 Squadron Air Training Corps Hull where he apparently practiced drill loudly on the Corporation fields!

My dad was four years older and they went to different schools at 16, but John followed his example and joined the Royal Navy in 1944 aged 17 & a half.  He volunteered as he didn’t fancy being compulsorily called up into the army and so enlisted in Jamieson Street where Radio Humberside used to be located & broadcast from!  He also trained as a coder, rather than a writer (naval clerk) as he’d originally intended, at the same HMS Cabbala as my father too.

Eventually he was posted to HMS Slinger an escort carrier in the Pacific “forgotten fleet“. Like my father (& me) he made friends for life from his service and organised reunions of his old shipmates in the Chester area.  He even published his memoirs of his wartime experiences on the internet which can be found here.

John’s sister Margaret joined the WAAF during the Second World War and was best friend to my Auntie Beryl, my father’s older sister.  Beryl later married John’s cousin Douglas Pook who was in the RAF!

After the war he sometimes went with my father to watch Hull City at Boothferry Park with Roy Binnington at the stand on Bunker’s Hill Terrace.  Roy was my father’s best friend and attended his funeral so I was honoured to attend his funeral in May 2015 in Yorkshire with Debbie.

I will definitely write a blog post about my memories of Roy in future, as he was so funny and a very talented comic strip style artist, as well as an accomplished architect & best friend to my father.  So much so that I mentioned him during my father’s eulogy with him and his wife Kathleen being very appreciative.

There is one last connection between the two John’s as Roy’s family were originally owners of East Yorkshire Motors and John’s future wife Joan worked there as a wages clerk, while he was cashier for the bus conductors between Hornsea and Bridlington before joining British Gas!

When my father got married in 1956 sadly John couldn’t make the Saturday ceremony as he was supervisor for the loading of coke to Poland whist working overtime for British Gas, however Joan attended in his place.  Sadly they lost touch over the years as so easily happens which made reconnecting with me via the internet and phone so many years later even more special.

He did keep in touch by phone with Auntie Dorothy who lives in nearby Hessle after he had to give up his car and knew of my father’s passing from her but found my blog via judicious use of Google!

John told me he early retired in 1986 at 60 and became a golf enthusiast as well as a grade 140 chess player.  In getting involved in club and reunion activities he started publishing his wartime memories on the internet.

Eventually our call came to the end as the visiting hairdresser downstairs attending to his wife Joan had John as their next client.  So we said our goodbyes for now and exchanged addresses my email later.  I’m sure we’ll keeping touch and if I ever visit Hull I’ll try and pop in and see them.

Although social media can be quite disruptive to people’s lives there is a positive aspect to it as well in terms of reconnecting people and making sure memories are not forgotten.

I suppose it’s all about finding the right balance as with most things in this life!

A Tale of Two John’s

The Year began With Lunch…

…is the opening line of one of my favourite books “A Year In Provence” by Peter Mayle.

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Although I have never been lucky enough to visit Provence and in particular the areas he describes it is on my bucket list and on hearing the sad news on Radio 4 today of his passing aged 78 I raised a mental glass of vin rouge to my memories of the man and his gentle stories.

I know I’ve always been a Francophile, there’s something about the French raison d’être that I really appreciate, such as a joie de vivre et plus choses.  Well you get my drift…

🙂

Peter like me had a big corporate job, albeit in advertising rather than IT, but also grew tired of the pressures & constant air travel and so decided to make a change.

Mind you he “retired” to the life of a full-time writer aged only 35, made the “escape” to France at 50, so he beat by some margin my venture as a recreational blogger who arrived in Llanfoist at 55 three years ago!

I remember the John Thaw TV series based on his book and I have to admit to being one of the rare few who seemed to have enjoyed it at the time and subsequently.

Not as much though as the audio cassette tape set I bought  which I believe was recounted by the author himself.  I listened to it endlessly on the Jaslee, lying down in the extendable double bed in the aft berth, sipping on some St. Emilion and nibbling on some ripe Brie cheese with an occasional piece of torn baguette to accompany them.

Cher Peter, merci beaucoup!

 

The Year began With Lunch…