31 May 2012


In tandem with Queen Elizabeth II's  happy and glorious Diamond Jubilee, English Heritage have sponsored the  production of a booklet which links this weekend's diamond jubilee with Queen Victoria's. David Lambert's booklet focuses on public parks. It can be viewed as a pdf document. Just click on the front cover image below:-
The writing is interesting in its own right but the reason I mention this booklet is that on page eighteen there's a picture that I took in Endcliffe Park which is just down the hill from my old house in Sheffield.

It will seem funny celebrating Her Majesty's remarkable milestone here on  my own in Blogland. I mean, you can hardly have a street party with just one participant but I shall certainly raise a glass to Elizabeth - a constant star in changing times. Politicians, fashions, inventions, wars, celebrities - they have all come and gone but Elizabeth has endured - serene, dutiful and wise for sixty years. She's more than a face on a postage stamp and we will miss her when she's gone. God Save The Queen!

30 May 2012


Sticky Toffee Pudding just sent me these questions:-

  • Why - when you empty a murky washing up bowl - is there always one piece of cutlery left in the bottom? 
  • Why do some wild birds choose to live in the countryside - while others - of the same species - choose to live in urban areas? 
  • Why have I got several single socks in my sock drawer and where did their partners go? 
  • Why can I remember clearly things that happened forty years ago but virtually nothing about last week? 
  • Why do automatic washing machines take such a ridiculously long time to complete their cycles? 
  • Why do I always pick the slowest queue in the supermarket? 
  • Why do the wood pigeons I feed every day fly off the moment I open our back door even though park pigeons will eat from my hand? 
  • Why did some idiot introduce North American grey squirrels to these shores? 
  • Why are there some nights when there's nothing on television that appeals to you while on other nights there are three or four good programmes being shown at the same time?

These are just some of the mysteries of the universe. Perhaps you can answer one or two of STP's questions or maybe you've got nagging issues of your own you'd like to add to the list? Why?... Why not?

29 May 2012


Though his buttocks were still sore after his unwanted confrontation with a Highland cow, my twin brother, Sticky Toffee, ignored the hospital's advice to rest up for a few days. Instead he drove out of Sheffield and parked up near the remote "Strines Inn" on the eastern edge of the moors. There he saw a peacock sitting in a tree. I post this picture specially for Earl Gray and Ms Jan Blawat who, if there is such a word, are both poultryphiles:-
Of course, while some bloggers are tending their chickens and pigeons, others are drinking themselves silly in bars and public houses. So for Jenny Demob-Happy  and Julian "Arctic" Fox, here's "The Strines Inn":-
Healthy urban bloggers like to get out into the countryside and take invigorating walks. This is the track past Foulstone Delf that leads eventually to Derwent Edge. I post it specially for Daphne from darkest Leeds:-
 On the edge there are several interesting rock formations that artistic bloggers like Kiwi-Katherine and Aussie-Helen will appreciate. These rocks are called "Cakes of Bread" but you can't eat them:-
This is an exposed millstone cliff high up Abbey Clough. I didn't even know it existed till Sticky Toffee emailed me his recent snaps. I guess that outdoor types like Shooting Parrots and Libby would love to tackle a  challenging rockface like that and after gathering their ropes and crampons they'd bivouac together overnight:-
Sticky Toffee saw a helium party balloon flying past Back Tor. Like Bobby Brague of Canton, it had a gaudy appearance, danced in the breeze and was filled with gas:-

27 May 2012


Seven miles to the south west of Sheffield there's a piece of wild moorland surrounded by roads. It's called Big Moor. I estimate that if you circumnavigated it on foot by the boundary roads it would take you over seven hours. In spite of its wild appearance, Big Moor was once home to generations of neolithic people. They built at least three significant stone circles, several cairns, dwelling houses and field systems. This was in days when there were still wolves in the British Isles, long before the Romans introduced rabbits and horse chestnut trees and in a time when there were no horses or wheat or potatoes. Life must have been very hard.
By the middle ages, the stone circle builders had gone but the country had very few roads and most travel was still on foot. Trading tracks began to criss-cross the land and on Big Moor several stone posts or stoops were erected to guide travellers and traders across the difficult terrain with its bogs and dips, rivulets and hardy moorland vegetation. Mick Jagger's surname harks back to the jaggers of yesteryear - hardy men who carried heavy packs - they were pedlars and hawkers. The verb "to jag" meant to pack or to carry. When good roads were built and roadworthy coaches developed, the jaggers disappeared but their paths and their guideposts were left behind. 

In the nineteenth century, as the importance of clean, reliable water supplies became more obvious, many reservoirs were constructed across England and on Big Moor you can see the location of Barbrook Reservoir which is now disused.
Barbrook II stone circle
Highland cattle avoiding the hot British sunshine
One of the remote guideposts on Big Moor
Another one - taller, more weathered
Perhaps an old cross in the middle of the moor - not marked on maps
Highland cow about to charge the photographer

 I would like to express my personal thanks to Sticky Toffee Pudding who was responsible for all these photos. He's now on Ward 13 in Chesterfield Hospital. I've never felt Highland cow horns plunging into my muscular and rather shapely buttocks but I imagine it would be pretty painful. Ah well. Now excuse me while I scan the social club's lunch menu,,,

25 May 2012


L.A. man Beckham with  London Olympic torch
Oh wonder of wonders! The sacred Olympic flame is now making its long journey throughout  the British Isles. It's a stupendous media-marketing event with special torch tracksuits for the lucky bearers who have the opportunity to buy their shiny designer torches and then possibly place them for sale on e-bay. So it was in ancient Greece.

Sometimes the torches go out but have no fear for in the trusty back up vehicle the "mother flame" is cradled in a miner's lamp, flown to Cornwall  with Princess Anne, David Beckham and a bunch of other celebrities including Roland Rat, Gordon the Gopher and Sooty. Why worry about the costly and dubious use of aviation fuel? So it was in ancient Greece.

Is it just me? But I am beginning to find all this Olympic razzmatazz rather nauseating. Don't get me wrong - I admire sports people who have the guts, the talent and the physical attributes required to arrive at the pinnacles of their particular sports - but do we need the T-shirts, the mugs, the overpriced tickets, the complimentary five star hotel rooms for members of the International Olympic Committee, corporate tickets by the score? It's all gone a bit mad. That's not how it was in ancient Greece.

If I were back in England and not lounging by the Blogland Social Club pool, I am afraid I would not venture fifty yards to see the stupid Olympic torch relay passing by. Nonetheless, I hope the London Games are a tremendous success and that the weather is kind in those weeks. Lord knows, the economic pollution that is spreading through Europe like an oil slick has left that continent  in need of a "feel good" boost.

I wasn't going to say but I'll say it anyway - I am quietly fearful that something big and bad will happen during this year's Olympics in spite of the massive and hugely expensive security arrangements surrounding the games. I really hope I am wrong but there's something in the air - I can sense it - and it's not just the smell of another dying torch flame.

24 May 2012


I think I have kept this secret from you bloggers for long enough. It's time to tell you that I have an identical twin brother. His name is Sticky Toffee Pudding and for many years he has been propped up by medication and psychological counselling. Between you and me, I think he has got a screw loose - whereas I, in comparison, have so much common sense and mental well-being that I'm weighed down by it - like Friar Tuck carrying Robin Hood on his back all the time.

Anyway, the reason why I had to announce the above is that Sticky Toffee has annoyingly taken up one of my favourite hobbies - namely photography. I understand that northern England has been experiencing a mini-heatwave the last few days and accompanied by his current counsellor, Sticky Toffee has been out and about snapping pictures. Though it pains me to say it, I am quite impressed by some of his snaps and I have taken the liberty of picking out a bunch of them for your ocular pleasure. Stick Toffee reminded me that you can click on the photos to enlarge them.
Thirteenth century wayside cross - Shillito Wood
Nelson's Monument, Birchen Edge
At Hacking Hill, Cubley near Penistone
Sheep sheltering from the sun near Castle Dam, Penistone
Black Rock south of Cromford
Wild Garlic, Harp Edge, Matlock Bath
Matlock Bath from the Jubilee Bridge
After posting all that I feel exhausted so excuse me while I retire for my siesta. It's so warm and still today,  the air feels like sticky toffee.

23 May 2012


The twin towers of World Trade Centre in New York City rose 417 metres from the surface of the Earth - that's 1368 feet. Of course, when you mention these identical and monumental twins, people's minds immediately go back to the momentous morning of September 11th 2001. But what about a morning twenty seven years before? Wednesday August 7th 1974. On that morning, the determined plans of a French eccentric and his support team finally came to fruition.

Twenty five year old Philippe Petit stepped out onto the thin tightrope wire he had managed to string between the North and South towers. And in a trance-like state of courage and self-belief, he walked across. People looked up from the concourse and the streets below, spotting a tiny and vulnerable figure, seemingly suspended miles above in mid-air.And yes - incredibly - he made it across! But outlandishly, he didn't stop there. He made seven further crossings between the twin towers that morning, once even daring to lie down on the rope as he taunted the waiting New York cops.
Somehow the destruction of those towers endows Petit's earlier achievement with more value than it had before. The warped terrorists on their ungodly mission represent the darkness that is in men's hearts but it seems to me that what Petit did represented the best of human beings - facing up to an impossible challenge, creative thinking, fulfilling a dream, breaking norms, believing unambiguously in his capabilities and doing it just because he could - just because it was there.

Petit reminds us that life can be so much more than humdrum reality in which our dreams can literally nag us to death. The rest of us may not be high wire performers but there are dreams that we can also realise if we are brave enough - stepping out from safety above the void to reach the other side. I'm not exactly sure what I am saying but seeing "Man on Wire" - that TV documentary film about Petit for the second time the other night, I could hardly stop thinking about what it all meant.

20 May 2012


Woke late this morning and luxuriated in my Egyptian cotton sheets. Birdsong in Blogland is like an orchestral work with each unseen feathered friend having its part to play. Perfection - after all they must have been rehearsing since time began. Eventually, sunlight seeped into my bedroom through the leafy screen outside:-
I've taken to going everywhere barefoot now and the soles of my feet are becoming so leathery that I hardly notice when I step on a stone or twig. I ambled down to the social club for breakfast - slices of paw-paw, sticky coconut rice and a pot of fresh Zimbabwean coffee. I checked the news and saw that Robin Gibb was dead - so he really has gone back to Massachusetts now. Time for my morning dip so I dived in the luke warm water of the social club pool:-
I'm writing another book so on and off I spent a lot of the day tapping away at my laptop. The temperature in the middle of the day must have been up to forty degrees centigrade but a wafting breeze from across the sea made it bearable. Occasionally, I cooled off in the pool. I ordered chilled coconut milk and in the early evening chose grilled sea bream for dinner which I ate on the terrace overlooking the ocean where Ofama's longboat was at anchor:-
Down on the beach I noticed that Thuza was sitting crosslegged in a sort of trance performing her customary yoga exercises. No doubt this is what makes her body so supple. But not for me. I closed my laptop after producing almost five thousand words in just one day and sauntered homewards along the winding forest path where cotton sheets and silver moonlight were again waiting to embrace me...

19 May 2012


Village? That was the name of the rock band I was in between 1970 and 1972. I was the lead singer. We played many gigs - mostly in East Yorkshire. Youth clubs, village dances, school dances, working men's clubs, back rooms of pubs. We were helped by the youth club leader in  my village - Tom Harrison. He became our manager and had great powers of persuasion.

In fact, the newspaper photograph above was taken at the village youth club where for promotion purposes we met the Scottish popstar Lulu. She's there in the middle between our drummer Colin Wood, and Alan Benson, our bassist. At the back you see our rhythm guitarist - John Brocklebank on the left, seventeen year old me in the middle and our wizard lead guitarist Jock Hornby on the right. I was the only one who had stayed on at school to do A levels. The others had all left Hornsea Secondary Modern at fifteen and had daytime jobs that involved working with their hands - proper jobs in other words.

Our sets consisted of a mixture of old favourites given the Village treatment - "Black Night", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "Summertime Blues", "All Along the Watchtower", "Alright Now" etc. and original numbers that Jock and I had worked on together before trying them out with the rest of the band. He brought the melody and I brought the words.

Back then, I just loved it up there on the stage. I never felt nervous - confident in my own ability as a rock singer and in the musicality of the other lads. Yes - there was an element of ego-tripping about it all but so what? Where ever we went we were appreciated. In the excitement at one particular village hall gig, a mass brawl erupted in front of us and we had to cower  backstage till the storm had died down and the main perpetrators had been ejected.

The others were keen to give up their jobs and go professional. There were plans for a record deal and for a summer residency in a Swedish holiday centre. It was all going swimmingly and then I dropped the bombshell  that I'd be leaving to become a volunteer teacher in Fiji. Tom Harrison was not a happy bunny. Maybe he saw himself as the new Brian Epstein.

Of course, I have often wondered what might have been if I'd stuck with the band and turned my back on the unique teaching opportunity I had been given. Like most ordinary young people in those far off days, I'd never been on an aeroplane before. I'll be fifty nine later this year but I'm only now starting to accept that the rock star career I once dreamt of will never happen. It's over, gone.

18 May 2012


Another feverishly warm tropical night. I hear waves washing upon the shore - a perpetual rhythm like the pulsing of my blood. Beat after beat. I fall asleep and dream in vivid technicolour. I'm in Derbyshire again tackling Walk 27 - Bakewell, Chatsworth Park and the River Wye. I park up near the old railway station in Bakewell and soon I'm crossing the little town's golf course where I see this cock pheasant:-
On the turnpike road between Bakewell and Edensor I spot this old guide stoop which predates the building of Chatsworth House:-
I walk through the estate village of Edensor - built by the sixth Duke of Devonshire in the early nineteenth century to replace the old village that they demolished because it "spoilt" his view from Chatsworth. I notice a fairytale cottage - Rock Villa:-
In front of the famous Chatsworth House by the River Derwent, sheep are grazing:-
I walk past the old corn mill that hasn't ground any corn since the nineteen fifties:-
On to Rowsley and Haddon and along the banks of the River Wye towards Bakewell's Grade I listed fourteenth century stone bridge - still in daily use. I see a Canada goose called Trudeau. He asks me which way it is to Trelawnyd:-
And that's when I wake up sweating like Charlie Brooks. I knew I shouldn't have had that large Tequila Sunrise down at the social club last night. Ten miles of vivid dreaming and a bloody talking goose to boot! Is there a shrink in the house? Jenny?

17 May 2012


Katherine left the day before yesterday. The emotions I experienced were mixed. On the one hand, I was sorry to lose such an erudite and cultured companion whose muffin making skills are legendary. On the other hand, I was angry as hell that she could up sticks and go without even talking through her rash decision. Women may indeed be good at "multi-tasking" but logic and rational thinking seem beyond them. They're also not much good with TV remote controls and electric drills - unless they wear denim dungarees, favour crewcuts and sport aggressive bulldog expressions most of the time.

I stood on the wharf and waved her off with my Hull City first team shirt. The Burmese workers had formed a little choir. They stood on the wooden Brague Memorial Wharf and sang "Farewell to You My Nancy" as Katherine disappeared into the Andaman sunset.

Feeling as low as a Liberal Democrat activist, I trudged back to the social club for a healing pint of Tetley's. But the Huddersfield v MK Dons League One play-off semi-final was on the big screen and I got hooked, ordering several more pints of the delicious nectar. Staggering out of the social club, instinct drew me not home to Thuza and my big bamboo bed in Pudding Towers but along the sandy jungle path to Aotearoa Villa which was formerly Katherine's home.

We don't have locks in Blogland so I just pushed open her door and went in. There was a huge Mel Gibson poster above Katherine's bed and she had left behind her furry pink carpet slippers. There was some unfinished artwork on her easel - a portrait of a bearded New Zealand-based ornithologist who I know to be a world expert on godwits. In fact, there were numerous godwits in the background of this picture.

On the floor were many screwed up balls of art paper. Cissy scented candles were everywhere - all shapes, sizes and colours - and I found  a big box of "England's Glory" matches on the verandah's wickerwork table...

The next morning Thuza came rushing back into my bedroom where I was suffering from a nasty hangover and a degree of mental confusion.

"Mr Pud! Mr Pud! You gotta come."

"Oh Thuza, not again! What is it?"

"De big fire Mr Pud! Missy Katherine house - it a burning down!"

Leaping out of bed, I wrapped my tiger-print sarong around my middle and trotted along the network of forest paths to Aotearoa Villa. The air was filled with acrid smoke. And as I came through the clearing I saw the disaster in front of me. Blogland only has one fire officer - Ofama and he was trying to douse the still burning embers of Katherine's house with a garden hosepipe. 

It was all gone. Everything.

"What happened Ofama?"

"Me think it candle burning Mr Pud. Must ah set light to all dem papers."

I wandered homewards. A bright yellow bird flashed in front of me as a cloud of rainbow-coloured butterflies settled on the stump of an old palm tree. Through the trees I could see the turquoise expanse of the ocean and in spite of myself I chuckled about the fire at Aotearoa Villa, "That'll teach her!" I repeated under my breath. "If you play with fire you might get burnt!"

16 May 2012


I just noticed that this blog has hit and now passed  250,000 views. In the past seven years I have had a couple of problems with view counters but I quickly reset them or sought alternative providers - always trying to make sure that the number going forward was correct. Of course, seven years ago when the Blogger format was less sophisticated, one's stats were not so readily available.

Quarter of a million views. If each view was a football supporter they'd fill Wembley Stadium almost three times over and if every view was a pound coin I'd be as happy as an investment banker on payday.

When you first dip your toes in the shallow end of the blogosphere, you wonder if anyone will ever read what you've written or look at any of the pictures you've posted and then, almost like magic, people come and go as links are made or broken. Isn't it wonderful? I think so.

Well I don't know if I'll ever get to half a million hits. Death could cart me off long before then or I could simply run out of things to say. In the meantime many thanks to regular visitors - those who comment and those who don't. Your presence is appreciated - especially so now that my Blogland dream is slowly turning into some kind of living hell. It reminds me of a line from a Joni Mitchell song - "That was just a dream some of us had."

14 May 2012


Who is this handsome fellow with the audacious hairstyle? Why, it's none other than Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), author of  the grround-breaking "Robinson Crusoe", "Moll Flanders" and "A Journal of The Plague Year" which is presumably a horror story set in Canton, Georgia. 

The hero of "Robinson Crusoe" is also the novel's narrator and he was Yorkshire born and bred. If he hadn't been he would surely not have survived the shipwreck and the lonely years he spent on his famous desert island. It is possible that Defoe modelled his hero on seventeenth century sailor Alexander Selkirk who lived alone on an eastern Pacific island for four years before being rescued.

This is the first paragraph of "Robinson Crusoe". Notice that Robinson refers to both Hull and York - the cradles of English civilisation:-
I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we are now called - nay we call ourselves and write our name - Crusoe; and so my companions always called me.

By Chapter Five, he has arrived at his famous island which he calls his "Island of Despair". This is a feeling with which I can identify for here in Blogland, though I am surrounded by chuntering Burmese servants, the sense of isolation and abandonment has grown upon me like a cancer:-

September 30, 1659. - I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, being shipwrecked during a dreadful storm in the offing, came on shore on this dismal, unfortunate island, which I called "The Island of Despair"; all the rest of the ship's company being drowned, and myself almost dead.

Yes, when I see a picture of Robinson Crusoe, it is, metaphorically speaking, like staring into a mirror:-
Oh, and here I am disciplining my pretend Shooting Parrots - "Who's a pretty boy?":-


Once upon a time there was a baby rabbit called Bunnykins. He had lost Flopsy - his mummy - so he set off on a very long journey to find her, hip-hopping through the north east Derbyshire countryside
He hopped through Hollin Wood, noticing that lovely bluebells were blooming there but Bunnykins couldn't see his Mummy Flopsy anywhere.
Then near the Farm at Rumbling Street, he looked across the fields over Sweetingsick Wood towards Holmesfield but his mummy's rabbity ears were nowhere to be seen.
Hippity-hop, hippity-hop and Little Bunnykins arrived in the big dandelion field near Spitewinter Farm. He stood up on his tippy-toes hoping to see his mummy's flippy-floppy ears amidst all those yellow flowers but all he saw was a fat bumble bee busily flitting from flowerhead to flowerhead. Buzzzzzzz!
Down in the valley he could see Crowhole Reservoir and the big new house next to it so hippity-hoppety he ran down the hill and peeped in through Reservoir House's big kitchen windows.
And this is what Little Bunnykins saw:-
Mummy Flopsy in the middle with Uncle Hopalong on the right and Grannie Wiggily on the left. Bunnykins cried out to them but they didn't move, no they didn't move at all.

13 May 2012


I walk past empty homes that were meant to be filled with life and laughter as we emigrees from western confusion, injustice and hypocrisy built our new society together here in the sun - under these coconut palms, beside these coral white beaches. Instead, it's going to be just me again with these damned whispering servants. You see Katherine deChevalle is homesick and she plans to leave. She's only been here five minutes. I thought something was up when I asked her to come down to see "Damsels in Distress" the other night. Her response was, "Sorry, I'm washing my hair."

I wandered into Helen and Tony's traditional villa only to find one of the gardeners making out with one of the kitchen girls - in Helen's big bamboo bed! I thrashed the gardener with a sweeping brush and the two of them ran off down the beach path, swearing in Burmese. Libby's lovely cottage has been damaged by the tropical storm we had on Thursday night and Rhymes With Plague's Balinese-designed home has become a lavatory for seabirds as they flit between the ocean and the waste treatment plant.

My heart is as heavy as my leaden feet. Katherine was someone I could talk to - urbane, sophisticated with rich life experience. Now it's going to be just me with these duplicitous Asian coolies. I don't even trust Thuza any more since I found her thumbing through my wallet. And there seem to be more of them since I first arrived - as if they're somehow reclaiming this little piece of heaven, multiplying in the dead of night.

And my dreams are filled with Yorkshire, my family back home, my Shirley, Ian and Frances and the lads from the local, Hull City and "The House of Spice", chilly walks in The Peak District. Perhaps it's jut a phase I'm going through. Tonight I shall drink myself blotto in the social club watching the "EastEnders" omnibus while munching on pork scratchings. I'm sure I'll snap out of it.

11 May 2012


"Damsels in Distress" directed by Whit Stillman (2011) is a very odd film. It has had some encouraging reviews so that's why I ordered a copy and watched it last night on the big screen in the social club. Katherine was washing her hair.

It's set in an imagined Ivy League college called Seven Oaks and focuses on the activities and polite conversations of four female students whose mission seems to be to prevent campus suicides and civilise the boorish male population. They are never seen engaging in academic studies.

It has a very light touch with apparently no serious intent whatsoever and as I watched it, not a single chuckle was ignited, not a titter or even  a grin. In that respect it reminded me of the truly awful BBC TV sitcom "My Family".Yet another tale of a privileged elite.

I just wasn't interested in the unremarkable characters who populated the film, communicating in the comfortable East Coast tones of wealthy WASP families. A couple of black characters were thrown into the mix for the sake of political correctness - like so many British TV commercials.

In the end I didn't really care what Lily, Violet, Rose and Heather got up to or how they impacted on the caricatures of young men that surrounded them. It had a grinding self-indulgent slowness to it and though of the modern age, the film contained no motor vehicles, mobile phones or computers. Reference to modern day living was rather incidental and actually for me that was almost the only creative crumb of salvation I found in this forgettable movie. In addition, I would say that the "look" of the film is appealing - from costumes to the appearance of rooms - it's well-presented and beautifully edited.

The Daily Telegraph reviewer said that the film has a "deliciously subdued humour that creeps up on you" but I just thought there are so many more interesting stories to tell. Why did Stillman choose to tell this particular story? And aren't comedies supposed to make people laugh? Out of ten I'd give "Damsels in Distress" a generous four.

10 May 2012


Teatime at The Blogland Social Club
Yorkshire Pudding shakes hands with Katherine deChevalle and shepherds her to the best table on the social club's bay view verandah. She is carrying a palm leaf basket.

Yorkshire Pudding How are you? Rested now?
Katherine Yes, feeling much better thank you. I just needed to sleep. That canoe voyage took more out of me than I imagined. Plus I'm not really used to drinking pints of Yorkshire beer.
Yorkshire Pudding Well you're here now Katherine. Would you like something to drink?
Katherine Yes please. Do you think they might have any Japanese green tea with roasted rice?
Yorkshire Pudding Yuk! Hang on I'll just ask them. (He snaps his fingers)
Gouba (bowing) Yes Mr Pudding sir. How can I serve you?
Yorkshire Pudding Well Gouba, I'd like a nice pint of Tetley's bitter and a Japanese green tea with roasted rice.
Katherine Oh, and could I have milk and sugar to adulterate the tea please?
Gouba Yes ma'am. No problem Miss Katherine. (He scurries away)
Yorkshire Pudding So, how are you finding Blogland? Glad you're here?
Katherine Oh it's lovely Yorkie. Far more beautiful than I even imagined and so peaceful. I can't wait to make art. I feel so inspired. What have you been doing today?
Yorkshire Pudding Reading The Koran. It's hard going and then I went snorkelling over the reef. The water's so clear here. There are some fantastic sights just below the surface. You must come out with me some time.
(Katherine puts her woven palm basket on the table)
Yorkshire Pudding Mmm.. that smells nice? What is it?
Katherine It's a fruit cake. I used an old Kiwi recipe. It was my mother's favourite.
Yorkshire Pudding It's huge! When did you bake it?
Katherine Last night before I went to bed. Fancy a slice?
Yorkshire Pudding Yes please (He snaps his fingers again) Gouba! Gouba! Bring a large knife!
Gouba (From the bar) Okay Mr Pudding. Coming sir!
Katherine I must say, I'm rather glad that some of our mutual blogging acquaintances haven't made it over here.
Yorkshire Pudding I know what you mean Katherine. Take that Brague fellow from Canton, Georgia. He's so abrasive. He'd have been trying to rule the roost the minute he arrived.
Katherine Oh I think Robert is rather sweet. I'd just love to fiddle with his cute goatee beard. He's like a big billy goat. What about that chicken farming guy from North Wales?
Yorkshire Pudding Oh, you mean John Gray? He's rather emotional don't you think? There'd be so many ups and downs and he's obsessive about animals - even chickens for Christ's sake! And he'd be publishing all the community gossip on his blog. We'd have had to learn to keep our mouths shut with him around!
Katherine I was looking forward to meeting Jenny and Keith
Yorkshire Pudding Yes. Jenny's a nice lady. Well-mannered like all former teachers. Keith could have been useful advising on national security.
Katherine Oh it's so warm Yorkie. I think I'll go for a dip.
Yorkshire Pudding Well I think I'll just order another pint of Tetley's and carry on with The Koran. Let me see - where was I :- Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins and that which is in their bellies. They shall be lashed with rods of iron.
Yorkshire Pudding Charming! Enjoy your swim Katherine.... Gouba! Gouba! More beer!