16 September 2021


Cyclists on The Old Coach Road, Clumber Park

It was time for another walk. I pressed the buttons on Clint's onboard computer and he whisked me off in  an  easterly direction along the A57 to Worksop in Nottinghamshire. There he parked himself along a quiet lane close to Manton Lodge. We were on the northern edge of Clumber  Park - once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle.

Today I just wanted to walk in Geograph squares that I had not yet ticked off. There were many, many  trees but with the assistance of a map I made my way happily in a sausage-shaped circuit of some six  miles.

On one narrow lane I met two council workers in day-glo jerkins. I conversed them for a while. Their role is to clear up litter and something awful that we in Britain call "fly-tipping". I do not know what this is called in America, Canada, Australia, Germany or New Zealand. Essentially, fly-tipping is the dumping of rubbish in the countryside. Often it's simply the detritus from building projects - broken tiles, old lumps of mortar or half-empty bags of cement, random bits of wood, plastic bags and suchlike. The thing is that someone has to clean this crap up  - people like the two men I met.

As we parted, I said  "Keep up the good work gentlemen!"

Happy as a pig in muck

Flytippers are the lowest of the low in my opinion. They do not give a toss about the environment that we all have to share and apparently they have zero concern about the fact that their mindless dumping causes local councils extra and very unnecessary expense.

Ah well, it's nice to blow off a little steam.

Clint transported me back to Sheffield  with little persuasion. Beforehand, we pulled into a McDonalds where I was hoping to purchase one of their brand new plantburgers but apparently they have not reached Worksop yet.

15 September 2021


The Old Grammar School in Market Harborough

Last week, when we were holidaying in Leicestershire and Rutland, I snapped almost two hundred photographs. I shared a handful of those images with you - illustrating blogposts. Today, I simply wish to share some more previously unseen pictures from that lovely week away. We could have easily chosen this week but I am glad that we didn't because it's rather grey and chilly and we have seen some rain  in the past three days. It's hard to believe that just a week ago we were applying sun lotion.

Strangely weathered gravestone at Tilton-on-the-Hill

Ceremonial horseshoes in the Castle Hall, Oakham

Modern stained glass window in Melton Mowbray church

Another view of Normanton Church, Rutland Water

Passer-by in Oakham

14 September 2021


From the Bosh! Instagram page

In Britain there are five big supermarket chains. One of them is called "Morrisons". Yesterday they launched a new range of vegan ready meals designed by Bosh!

They are really good. I know because I have eaten each of the six ready meals -  "Smashin' Shepherd's Pie", "Ultimate Chilli and Rice", "Smokin' Spag Bol", "Mighty Mac N' Greens", "Crackin' Jalfrezi Curry and Rice" and "Game Changin' Lasagne". All so delicious that it is very easy to forget that they contain no meat or dairy elements.

For your interest, the packaging is all recyclable apart from the thin film that is sealed to the tops of all similar ready meals. The card sleeve is made from recycled paper products.

Ian and Henry were over in Wrexham, Wales three weeks ago - visiting a large food factory that has been charged with producing the Bosh! ready meals and shipping them to Morrisons stores around the country. They are in  five hundred locations though the supermarket chain began as a single shop here in Yorkshire.

It is, I am sure you will agree - incredible news. Ian and Henry are further excited by the special relationship that Morrisons have established with Amazon for food deliveries.

The "Bosh!" journey continues. We are naturally so proud of our Ian and wonder what might come next. Perhaps more ready meals...

13 September 2021



Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts in 2001

"I’ve no recollection of ever meeting her" - Prince Andrew

Well, she was just seventeen
You know what I mean
And the way she looked was way beyond compare
So how could I dance with another (Ooh)
When I saw her standing there

Well she looked at me, and I, I could see
That before too long I'd fall in love with her
She wouldn't dance with another (Whooh)
When I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went "boom"
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine

Whoah, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long I fell in love with her
Now I'll never dance with another (Whooh)
When I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went "boom"
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine

Whoah, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long I fell in love with her
Now I'll never dance with another (Whooh)
Since I saw her standing there
Oh since I saw her standing there
Oh since I saw her standing there

12 September 2021


The amazing "Bosh!" story continues. Our son Ian and his old schoolmate Henry have been working hard on their sixth book and it is now available for pre-order pending its release in early December I believe.

Some critics of plant-based diets put about the myth that being vegan is expensive. In this book Ian and Henry wished to dispel that daft rumour and prove that preparing good vegan food can be inexpensive. In fact, when you take the meat or fish element out of food you save yourself many pounds or dollars (Malaysia: ringgits).

Three weeks ago I was checking the final publishers' manuscript for errors and discovered something that made me grin from ear to ear. Ian had not told me in advance about this but in the desserts section of the book there's a recipe for "Neil's Tiger Bars"! In other words they are named after me with a nod to my lifelong support for Hull City A.F.C. - The Tigers! Though I have not yet eaten one of these bars I am confident that they will be amazingly yummy just like me. Sorry about the image below - it is a photo I took of page 203 of the manuscript:-

My immortality  is at last guaranteed!

To explore Bosh! start here.

11 September 2021


Medieval carving in St Peter's Church, Tilton-on-the-Hill

Back home now. It's not terribly far from the heart of Leicestershire to our home in Sheffield. Clint made it in one hour and forty minutes.

Last evening we visited "The Fox and Hounds" in Tugby for a second meal there. Once again the fayre and the service were excellent. Stewart and I had homemade steak pies with fries (English: chips) fresh vegetables and beef gravy. Shirley had a Moroccan chicken dish with couscous and Frances had a pork medley with mashed potato and side vegetables. For dessert, we all opted for homemade sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. Mouth-watering deliciousness.

Another view of Normanton Church by Rutland Water

The owner of Chestnut Cottage lived right next door in Glebe Cottage and she was cool about us departing by midday rather than by 10am as stated on  the contract. We toddled north across the A47 to visit a modern cafe that is very popular with cyclists and locals alike. It is called  Café Ventoux  and there they serve great English breakfasts, including a splendid vegetarian option. Phoebe was her usual contented self. So far in her short life, she has always been calm and smiley in eateries, showing a lovely, easy disposition that we hope will endure.

Oh it was good to get away to Leicestershire - not a typical holiday destination for English folk but we  loved it all the same. Of course, the good weather helped a great deal but we were also very happy with our spacious, comfortable cottage overlooking the village's little primary school and the village green. I will always remember Tugby as sweetly as we will surely remember the local area - a green and pleasant land.

Some of the skittish cattle I encountered near Skeffington

10 September 2021


Cottage in Uppingham

The weather held yesterday. The  rain and thunder that were forecast did not arrive  even though cloud cover increased from the west by the late afternoon. I began the day with a three mile walk out of the next village west of here - Skeffington. Another charming place.

Harvesting near Skeffington

By Welsh Myers Farm, I had a tricky encounter with a herd of mixed cattle. The public footpath led across their field. They were a little panicked and raced two or three times from one corner of their enclosure to the next. I was so happy to reach the far gate and get out of there. They clustered by it with apparent disappointment.

"I told you we should have trampled him earlier!" muttered Buttercup.

My womenfolk and I spent a couple of hours in nearby Uppingham - a small town famous for its public school. In England, a public school is essentially a school for the children of the rich so its really a private school - not open to the public at all. The fee for a boarder is currently £40,000 a year or $55,000 (US). The school is the alma mater of Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Boris Karloff . Surprisingly, it has not spawned a single prime minister in it its five hundred year history.

A glimpse of Uppingham School

We found the place to be quite lovely with little shops and quaint cottages. We enjoyed an excellent lunch in "The Crown" on The High Street. Lovely Mediterranean food that arrived within ten minutes and pleasant, attentive service too.

Hospice shop on Uppingham High Street

In the evening I prepared a simple meal of Lincolnshire sausages from the local butcher, chips (US-french fries), baked beans and fried eggs, followed by scrumptious brownies made by the butcher's wife.

Beforehand, I went on another "Geograph" photo expedition with Clint's assistance, gathering a bunch of map squares in the local  area that I had not yet captured. This involved another visit to the Rolleston Hall country estate where I had to open and close four gates. This is most unusual on a public road in England. Confusingly, "public" in this sense does not mean a private road but one maintained by the state.

Lovely little Phoebe on the rug yesterday morning

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