30 June 2019


The Glastonbury Festival 2019 finishes tonight. Once again it has been covered quite brilliantly by the BBC. On Friday night I watched the entire set of British rapper Stormzy - screened live and last night I watched the entire set of  the Las Vegas band - The Killers.

Though previously aware of The Killers, this was the first time I had hunkered down to properly listen to them and watch them perform. Musically, I guess I live in past times - frozen in the music of my youth and it takes a lot to draw me out of my nostalgic hideaway. But last night I was enthralled by The Killers. They are a tight, energetic band with an engaging repertoire. The songs are pure and self-penned and do not rely on computerised trickery for their delivery.

There's Dave Keuning on lead guitar, Mark Stoermer on bass and rhythm guitar, Ronnie Vannucci Jr on drums and at the front - singer and showman Brandon Flowers. The line-up is reminiscent of so many bands of the late sixties and early seventies. You imagine all the hours of practice in some barn or industrial unit - to perfect the songs, iron out the errors and create a style.

Last night Brandon Flowers was in his element - theatrical and totally committed, his tenor voice rising up above the electricity and yet part of it too. He is the father of three boys. Checking him out on Wilkipedia, I discovered that his wife Tana Mundkowsky suffers from a complex post-traumatic stress disorder though I have no idea how that came about. Any advice will be appreciated. It sounds so sad.

The Killers were triumphant. The Glastonbury crowd sang along and The Pet Shop Boys and The Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr came up on stage. For a few minutes it seemed as if all the other stuff in this troubled world didn't matter. Are we human or are we dancers? Good question.

28 June 2019


There were no midwives in attendance, no doctor. Hell, there wasn't even a bed and the twelve year old mother had been given zero pre-natal or ante-natal guidance. No gas and air. No proud father holding her hoof.
I had spent three hours on a circular walk in mid-Derbyshire plodding around and through the village of Crich and was just returning to Clint's resting place when I spotted a calf lying in a field with his doting mother in attendance. "Good photo opportunity", I thought to myself.

And then over to the left of the field, near the boundary wall,  I heard another cow. She had a chestnut brown and black brindle appearance and she was squatting down making grumbly lowing sounds. At first I thought she was sitting on something - maybe a rock or a pile of rags. But then she stood up and there was a baby calf protruding from her uterus. No sooner was the cow back on all fours than the calf was born - dropping to the soft grass below.

The doting and protective mother sniffed and licked the new born creature. At first I thought it was stillborn but very soon there was movement - the movement of life. At this point a local woman joined me in the lane  and we stood together peering over the hedge at the birth scene.
The mother kept licking with her rough tongue, stimulating the calf to fight for air and life. The woman waved across the field to the old farmer who came sauntering across the grass to check that all was well and I joked with him - "What are you going to call the calf? Buttercup or Daisy?" He chortled, revealing a row of uneven teeth - like neglected gravestones.

I stood in that lane for half an hour. The calf made a few gangly attempts to stand up but kept toppling over. Though I would have liked to stay longer, witnessing the moment when the newborn stood securely on her feet, I left happy in the knowledge that that miracle would certainly happen long before the sun set on that lovely summer's day. It was a good day to be born.

27 June 2019


Oscar and Valeria Ramirez - US/Mexico border near Matamoros , Mexico. Drowned in the Rio Grande on Monday June 24th. 

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries coming here?” - Donald Trump in The White House 11/1/18.

26 June 2019


Earlier this month, this blog reached its fourteenth birthday. Though I am no mathmetician, I have worked out that "Yorkshire Pudding" has reflected more than 20% of my entire life. That's a big  chunk.

Fourteen years ago I was the head of the English department in a tough secondary school in northern Sheffield. Statistics demonstrated the high levels of social deprivation in the school's catchment area. Every day I set off at 7.52 and most days got home by 18.30. It was challenging to say the least - to maximise the potential of our pupils and attempt to meet over-optimistic targets at exam time. It was sucking the lifeblood out of me and that's why I opted for early retirement in the summer of 2009 - a decision I have not regretted for one moment.

Fourteen years ago our daughter was working towards her A levels in a very different Sheffield secondary school - where articulate children had school bags and achievable dreams of furthering their education. Our son was working in a men's fashion store on Division Street in the city centre. The academic path was never going to be for him. And Shirley was working in the Lodge Moor health centre as a new practice nurse having moved on from hospital nursing.

A fourteen year old blog gives you a historical record of your life passing by. You can look back on holidays, country walks, books read, films seen, thoughts that arose and you can read about deaths and entrances.

This morning, for example,  I was reading about my battle with Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL) in August 2008. It was and is a deathly strain of e-coli that I must have picked up whilst on holiday in Turkey. It knocked me for six and without a week's course of third generation antibiotics that were dripped in to me in hospital I would now most certainly be dead. Thank heavens for The National Health Service.

Yes. Fourteen years of history. I was just 51 years old when I began this blogging journey. That seems so young when you are looking back from the age of 65. In another fourteen years I will be 79 years old - if I make it that far - and this 65 year old will also appear like a mere youth. But will blogging still exist then? I strongly suspect that it will.

25 June 2019


As some regular visitors to this blog may recall, my parents, Philip and Doreen, met in India during World War Two. They had been posted there by The Royal Air Force. In December 1945, they were married in Delhi before travelling back to postwar Britain to begin their married life together.

Because they returned by ship, they had the opportunity to bring several souvenirs back with them and these handcrafted items were present in our home throughout my childhood. One of those items was a brass table top which I adopted when my mother's house was finally sold.

I removed it from the tired old wooden legs on which it had sat for sixty years and affixed it to a new undercarriage using the base of a table I had bought at a junk furniture shop. Though I have cleaned it before, yesterday I gave it a very thorough cleaning - first applying a toothbrushed coating of paste made from white vinegar, salt and flour before finishing off with a wad of "Brasso" and a soft cloth.

See how it shines. It is a daily reminder of my mother and father and of the anonymous Indian craftsman who created the brass masterpiece - no doubt for a very small reward - seventy five years ago.
And here it is this morning - back on its wooden base:-

Yesterday evening, Shirley said she wanted to watch a vile programme called "Love Island" on our television so I had to escape from the front room. There is no way I will ever watch such gratuitous garbage.

I went to the dining room and worked on the front cover of Frances and Stewart's "order of service". I have been fiddling around with the thing since before we went to Santorini. In ninety minutes, it was finished. I haven't shown them it yet but I hope they'll be happy with it. At the weekend she gave me some extra guidance and I told her to be honest with me when my creation was complete. I would be happy to keep working on it till they are entirely satisfied

24 June 2019


 Periphery... that's a nice word isn't it? It's to do with edges...for example  -  the edges of cities. 

On Friday I rambled for a couple of hours in peripheral fields and along peripheral footpaths to the south of Sheffield  between Bradway, Totley and Dronfield Woodhouse. In this greenbelt land  I observed an unusual number of horses. No doubt they are occasionally ridden by their owners who probably live within the city.  Very possibly, some of them were birthday presents.

Though well fed and watered, most of these horses looked rather lonesome. Like this fellow below who came over to check me out as I plodded past his field. Unfortunately, I was not in possession of any carrots or apples.
At Border View Farm - close to the Yorkshire/Derbyshire border - I spotted this calf in a cowshed, nicely illuminated in the mid-June sunshine. I must say that I am rather pleased with this particular picture...
And close to Barnes Farm I snapped a picture of a fine white horse in profile. Here she is...
And then it was time to go home, departing the peripheral zone, heading back to suburbia in my silver chariot whose name is Clint.

23 June 2019


It is good to be a father and even better to be the father of two excellent human beings - now all grown-up. And it's good to know that they both still love me, still respect me and look back on their childhoods with great fondness. They were loved and treated kindly and they accepted the sensible "rules" we imposed. "Rules" about manners, personal hygiene, doing your best, kindness, bedtime and mealtimes. Of course it helped enormously that they had a mother who was singing from the very same parental hymn sheet.

As a father, it was of large assistance that my own father had been a good man who, in tandem with my mother, raised me and my three brothers with wholesomeness and love. He gave me a successful model upon which to develop my own version of fatherhood. 

No parent is perfect and we all make mistakes but what matters above all is that we should not love our children blindly. We should recognise and respect their individuality, not trying to mould them into new versions of ourselves and we should have fun with them. There should be laughter every day, footballs to kick, books to read, paintings to do, stories to tell.

In fatherhood, I guess you reap what you sow or to put it another way - the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When the years have flown by and your children are adults, you will discover whether or not your instinctive approach to parenting was in general the right one. You will know by seeing clearly the people before you - in whose growth you were privileged to play a vital part.

Last Sunday was Father's Day in this country but Shirley and I were away in Greece. Last night my lovely daughter gave me a late Father's Day card.  As per usual she had made it herself. At first I thought the yellow thing was a pig but it's Trump's hair...

22 June 2019


The scene is set in a bijou apartment in South London. It is the love nest of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his thirty two year old  mistress, Carrie Symonds. As the action opens Johnson is snoozing on the cream-coloured sofa. A glass of red wine he had been holding in his left hand has tumbled over.

JOHNSON Zzzzzzzz! (He mutters in his sleep) Fight them on the beaches...night night Nanny Fifi....zzzzzzz! Britannia rules the waves...ME.ME.ME zzzzzz! (He snores in a porcine manner)
CARRIE (re-entering the lounge in her silk kimono) Boris! Boris! You have spilt your bloody wine all over my new sofa! WAKE UP! You've spilt your wine!
JOHNSON Zzzzzz!...Eh? What? It wasn't me Marina! Urgh? Where am I?
CARRIE You are in my flat and you have spilt your wine again! My sofa is spoilt! I will never get that stain out!
JOHNSON Hush! Hush my little one. Come and play with Little Bojo you frisky filly!
(He attempts to grab Carrie but she retreats to the hallway slamming the door behind her)
JOHNSON Come back fair Desdemona! Let us stroll by the babbling stream to Canaan.
CARRIE (returning to the lounge and again slamming the door with all of her might) I am sick of you Boris!
JOHNSON (Successfully grabbing Carrie this time) Oh my ravishing damsel. Th'art fairer than a sunset over Isis.
CARRIE Get off me! Get out of my flat!
JOHNSON Is it your time of the month you fiery sprite!
CARRIE You absolute pig!
(There is the sound of a neighbour hammering on the door. They ignore it.)
CARRIE (Accidentally knocking Johnson's takeaway plate on the floor where it smashes to pieces) Shit! I told you to clear up this mess. When's the last time you put anything in the dishwasher?
JOHNSON It's all trivial fair Nancy. Let us away to the bedchamber! 
CARRIE You just don’t care for anything because you’re spoilt. You have no care for money or anything! Just look at the sofa! You haven't even seen what you have done.
JOHNSON I am the PM designate my sweetness! I have weighty matters of state to address not the tittle tattle of domesticity.
CARRIE I should have listened to my mother. You are just not good enough for me! I am going to bed!
JOHNSON Wait for me my honeydew melon!
CARRIE You can sleep on the sofa tonight. I'll get you some straw!
(There is a knocking and bell ringing at the front door. Carrie goes to look through the spyhole)
CARRIE It's the police!
JOHNSON (Swallowing) Oh no! Tell them we were just having a little domestic. It would not do for this little tete-a-tete to get in the papers. No, it wouldn't do at all. (Johnson emits a resounding fart).

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (aged 55) remains the front-runner in the race to replace Theresa May as the prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This imagined scene is loosely based on events reported in "The Guardian" - surrounding a domestic disturbance in South London on Thursday night.

20 June 2019


One last swim in the crystal clear waters of the eastern Mediterranean. Now we are back at Room 38. There's wine and beer to finish and juicy peaches to eat. If we could have hand-picked any room in this little hotel it would have been Room 38. It is on the third floor at the very end of the building, the furthest room from the road.
We have slept well here. The bedroom is spacious with a big king-sized bed and the cleaners are very diligent. They are two young men from Nepal who have come to Europe seeking their fortunes. Shirley and I feel quite sorry for them because they work thirteen hours a day, seven days a week. We will leave them healthy tips. In the past, rooms were always serviced by Greek women who usually had familial connections to the business. All this movement around the planet - sometimes it seems that the world has gone mad.

We are going out for one last meal ahead of our flight home. A bus will pick us up at 5.30pm though the flight back to East Midlands airport near Nottingham won't leave till 8.30pm.

It has been a lovely, peaceful break in the sun. We didn't get sunburnt and lived simply for a week. We didn't get trampled by stampeding mules and donkeys. We observed two moonrises. There were echoes of old Greece but for me the highlight was my climb up to Ancient Thira and my walk around those silent stones that spoke powerfully of earlier times inhabited by people much like us.

19 June 2019


Last night, we lay down on sunbeds and watched Mrs Moon rise like a tangerine  over The Aegean Sea. To capture the beauty of the scene faithfully I am afraid that I would need to be in possession of a much better camera. How lovely the familiar orb appeared reflected in the water's  ripples. We don't often see the moment the moon pokes its head above the eastern horizon so tonight we waited for her a second time.

Earlier today we boarded a water "taxi" that chugged around the rocky headland on which Ancient Thira sits. We were deposited in the next bay in the village of Kamara. Here's Shirley by the highest village church:-
Three hours after arrival, it was time to go back. Near the beach I spotted an old lady picking leaves from stalks outside a beachfront taverna. She reminded me of the traditional Greece I knew before - of old men with donkeys and old widows in black. I asked a waitress if she could get me permission to take a few pictures of the happy old lady. She was most obliging.

After snapping the pictures I showed her them and she seemed delighted. She kissed my hand and I kissed hers. The leaves were wild caper leaves for use in traditional recipes. The waitress told me that the old lady was more than ninety years old and that when she was young she was considered to be very beautiful. I said that in my opinion she was still beautiful now.
P.S. φεγγάρι = moon

18 June 2019


We have just been lazing around today. Pool. Sunbed. Read. Pool. Sunbed. Read. And before you know it, the whole day has drifted by.

Back at the Oxfam charity shop where I work, the book section is dominated by two categories - Fiction and Crime Fiction + Thrillers. Now I have read many books in my life - lots and lots of good quality fiction but mostly I have turned my nose up at crime fiction. It just does not appeal to me.

And yet when I am upstairs in the Oxfam shop sorting out book donations, I find myself handling lots of crime fiction - Lee Child, Val McDermid, Michael Connelly, Ruth Rendell,  Steig Larsson, Jamers Patterson, Jo Nesbo etcetera. They are all tremendously successful writers if success is indeed measured in volume of book sales.

Before coming on this little holiday, I decided I would bring a work of crime fiction with me and to read it as a kind of experiment - testing myself. From the Oxfam shelves, I picked a book entitled "Sirens" by a new British crime writer called Joseph Knox.
Set in Manchester, the novel focuses upon underworld activity and at its heart there is a young detective called Aidan Waits. He inhabits a kind of grey zone between the law and the criminal fraternity.

He drinks heavily, he takes drugs, he mixes with thugs, bent coppers and low life losers. Yet in spite of this, with his brilliant mind he is able to make sense of complexity and solve drug-related deaths like a modern day Sherlock Holmes without the deerstalker or the pipe.

Detective Waits gets beaten up, he bleeds, he vomits, he stays out all night. I guess he is some kind of anti-hero but in the end he ensures that evil is punished and good triumphs.

I will say this about "Sirens" - it was very easy to read. You just kept turning the pages and your cerebrum was not even slightly challenged.

But in the end I thought it was pure balderdash. I didn't care about Aidan Waits or the people he mixed with. They were like cut-out figures in a child's scrapbook. And I found the portrait of seedy crime-ridden Manchester most unpleasant and unfaithful. It is not the Manchester I know. Interestingly, there wasn't one mention of Manchester City Football Club or Manchester United or Lancashire cricket or Eccles Cakes or the Pennine hills that rise to the east of the city or The Peterloo Massacre or John Cooper Clarke. It was a fanciful much-edited version of Manchester that was conceived in Joseph Knox's financially-driven imaginings.

In short, this "novel" - if you can rightfully call it that - consolidated my suspicion that  crime fiction is utter tosh. There are much better subjects for writers to explore even if those topics do not promise the same probability of financial reward. I won't be reading another crime novel any time soon. Why should I? To me crime and the detection of it are very tiny parts of everyday life. I find it annoying that TV, film and publishing industries are demonstrably quite obsessed with such a minor topic.

17 June 2019


The capital of Santorini is the little town of Thira. It sits perched on the edge of what was once a massive volcanic crater. In past times, ships that arrived at the island anchored within the crater below the precipitous cliffs. Many arriving travellers made their way up to the town along a winding track - often on the backs of donkeys and mules.
Today, Shirley and I descended the zigzag track on foot, not realising the potential for danger that lay just ahead. There must have been a hundred donkeys and mules working that path. Sometimes they galloped down in teams of six or eight. At other times they trudged up carrying tourists. It was all harum scarum and in the cobbles of the narrow track much malodorous donkey crap had accumulated,
Amongst the teams were muleteers with sticks to whip the flanks of the unfortunate creatures. It all seemed so cruel and unnecessary to us but as we were walking down to the old port we were mostly thinking about survival - pressing ourselves against walls and hoping that the beasts of burden wouldn't career into us or stand on our feet or kick us. 
We were very glad to get to the bottom unscathed and to return to the crater's rim we opted for the cable car instead. That did not exist when I last visited the island and there were certainly not so many animals working the pathway back in 1980. I am sorry that my photos do not convey a true sense of the danger we encountered.

16 June 2019


High above the little church, on top of the mountain, that's where ancient Greeks built a small town. Later it would be subsumed by Roman inhabitants. No doubt its history is rich and tangled and not everything is known. Far from it. Today Ancient Thira lies in a tantalisingly ruinous state.

I woke at six thirty this morning and rather than rolling over and reconnecting with sleep, I got up, donned my walking boots, kissed Shirley farewell and headed off to the mountain. After half an hour I was back on the rocky path that winds up to the ridge.
After forty fairly gruelling minutes I was at the gates of Ancient Thira. The turnstile opened at eight thirty. I waited and then presented my passport and two euro coin before proceeding along another rocky path. I was the first visitor of the day.

The hilltop town's history goes back to 800BC - getting on for three thousand years ago. There must have been good reasons for choosing such a site. Perhaps the cooling winds were attractive. Perhaps they were closer to the gods. Perhaps it was all about defence.
They stored water in underground cisterns. They had social meeting places and baths. They had temples and shrines to different gods - including some Egyptian gods. There were big houses and little houses and a theatre that could accommodate a thousand spectators.

I spent ninety minutes up there, observing the ruins and wondering about the lives that were lived there over a period of a thousand years. It is at times like this that I wish I had studied archaeology when I was at university.

When I got down from the mountain I spotted that procrastinating donkey once again. In my head, I have named her Jenny. I think she's a Canadian donkey. Perhaps I will start a campaign on her behalf. Free Jenny! Let Jenny go!

15 June 2019


Here in Santorini I have already finished one novel. I ordered it via Amazon. It was written in 1933 by James Hilton and it is titled "Lost Horizon".

Two things attracted me to it. Firstly, the very fact that it was written between the two world wars and secondly and pre-eminently because this is the story that introduces us to a mystical paradise on earth called Shangri-La. It is part of  western culture now. Something of a dream antidote to the oftentimes chaotic character of modern life.

I suspect that Hilton was already aware of tales of lost kingdoms and mystical realms located somewhere in the mountains of western China and Tibet. The idea clearly appealed to him and so his Shangri-La was imagined and brought to life. It is a place of reflection and study - a lamasery that overlooks a verdant valley. A place where "moderation" in all things is the watchword.

By accident or design four westerners are brought there - each with their own stories to tell but the very aged High  Lama takes a particular shine to Conway - a veteran of World War One. He seems aimless and frustrated with life until he becomes accustomed to Shangri-La with its ttreasured secrets.

The High Lama says to Conway: "Look at the world today. Is there anything more pitiful? What madness there is! What blindness! A scurrying mass of bewildered humanity crashing headlong against each other. The time must come, my friend, when brutality and the lust for power must perish by its own sword. For when that day comes, the world must begin to look for a new life. And it is our hope that they may find it here.” 

Did Conway end his days in Shangri-La? Perhaps he is still there. Or maybe Shangri-La is a state of mind rather than an actual place. "Lost Horizon" is not a great work of fiction but I found it eminently readable and I am pleased that I bothered to order it.

Meanwhile here on this unusual island, I made it up to the little church on the mountainside this morning - along a rocky path that clings to the precipitous slope. The church - Panagia Katefiani - was locked but I was able to peer inside to see images of saints painted in the style of the Greek Orthodox Church. And there were candles and beads and crosses and a pile of logs for the wintertime. I suspect that the church was built up there to be close to a holy water source located in an adjacent cave.
Not my own picture - View from Panagia Katefiani over Perissa

14 June 2019


View from our room this morning
Santorini calling, come in please. Yes. Here we are in Room 38 of this 28 bedroom hotel. Go figure. The room feels quite Grecian and it looks out across Perissa to a mountain that I hope to scale in order to reach the ruins of Ancient Thira.

Today we were in the sea and in the swimming pool and this evening we ate well at Fillipo's Taverna. Prices are rather different from 1980 but the black sand is just as hot as I remember. It's best to wear diving shoes when you cross the beach.
White horse and man seen from  our balcony
From our little balcony I could see a horse and a donkey - each separately tethered in the hot sun without access to water.  It seemed cruel to me and I was planning to take a bucket of water to the horse when, in the early evening, his owner appeared and led him off.

Up on the mountain we can also see a little white church build into a rocky cleft. Lord knows how you get up there but I would like to try.

The internet connection is quite dodgy here but no doubt there will be other posts from this famous Grecian isle... Καληνύχτα  or Kali nichta (Good night!)
Mountain close up. Zooming in from our balcony

13 June 2019


The last time I was on Santorini, I went into a busy taverna and sat at a small table looking east across the sea. The menu was written in Greek. I asked a young waiter to help me with the menu. His English was as good as my Greek.

What's this? What's this? Is it fish? Is this dolmades? What's this? Is this Greek salad? It was quite a struggle but in the end my order was placed and I waited for the meal to arrive as I consumed an ice cold beer.
The volcanic sands of Perissa
After twenty minutes my food arrived. Very quickly it became clear that there had been a communication breakdown with the young waiter. Instead of the simple meal of rice with kleftiko and a stuffed tomato that I had been expecting, various other plates arrived. There was a grilled fish, a chicken stew, a plate of french fries, a wedge of moussaka and a Greek salad. My little table could not accommodate all the food.

There was enough there to feed a family of four. I noticed some other diners looking in my direction as if to say, "Look at Mr Greedy over there!"

Back in 1980, it was amazingly cheap to eat out in traditional Greek  tavernas. I could not be bothered to argue my way out of the situation so instead I just tucked in and ate as much as I could. 

I slept well on the black sand beach at Perissa that night and in the morning I unzipped my sleeping bag and ran into the sea. It was always a splendid way to wake up and start the day when island hopping around Greece in the summer months.

Later today I will be on Santorini once again. It's the first time that Shirley will have been there. It is often said that the huge volcanic explosion that occurred there in ancient times was possibly the source of the myth of Atlantis.
Thira, the capital of Santorini is perched on the rim of  a  crater looking out over the caldera

12 June 2019


I have contributed well over 12,000 photographs to the geograph photo-mapping project. Mostly these images have been gathered while plodding through the countryside. 

Over the last ten years I have found myself drawn to particular subjects. My photo history shows that I  am especially fond of old farm buildings, churches, bridges, cattle and sheep. But it was a surprise to me to discover that I have taken more than a hundred pictures of lone trees. Most of them shown here have appeared in previous blogposts.
I see them standing in splendid isolation  or clinging to rocky hilltops, bent by the wind. A lone tree might appear symbolic of endurance, individuality, resilience. Perhaps subconsciously I have seen something of myself in all those trees - separate from the forest, away from the woods.

Every tree has a story to tell about the passage of seasons and years, about the struggle to survive. If a tree could indeed talk it might tell us about the things it has seen and the changes it has witnessed. The winds, the storms, warm summer days, the birds and insects that found shelter in its branches.  The very march of  time.

11 June 2019


One of the things I still love about living in England is the unpredictability of our weather. You just never know what you are going to get. We enjoy a temperate maritime climate - greatly influenced by the moods of The Atlantic Ocean and the fickleness of the North Atlantic jet stream. 

Last year at this time we were enjoying honeyed summer warmth. I went up to Leeds to watch England beat Costa Rica in a World Cup "warm up" match. But the fans had no need to warm up. We were in T-shirts waving the red and white flags of our country.

Today, I can hear a wind from the north buffeting our chimney pots. There has been so much rain that I cannot get out in the garden to do some desperately needed tidying up before our holiday and there's a leak in the kitchen...what am I gonna do? It's also pretty cold for June. 

Anybody who arranged weddings for last weekend will have been sorely disappointed by the weather which will have surely put a dampener on things. The weekend ahead doesn't look much better. I guess this is a great time to jet away to Santorini sunshine with its more predictable June weather - sunshine every day with 29 degrees centigrade expected for the next two weeks. I must remember my hat and sunglasses.

On days like today, it would be quite easy to side with climate change deniers. In fact today's evidence suggests that we are experiencing global cooling and if Noah is still at his boatyard he should probably get that ark finished tout suite.

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