Monday, 21 December 2015

All The Lovely People.

We are nice people you and I aren’t we? Kind, compassionate, loving people. Wouldn’t you agree? Okay, maybe not all the time, but most of the time we strive to be good caring people. I’m not wrong am I?

Multiply us. You, me, our relatives, our friends. Multiply us. Multiply us by a million. Two million. Ten million. Multiply us by a billion. What do you get? You get a hell of a lot of kind, compassionate, loving people that’s what you get.

I just can’t figure out where all the hate in the world comes from.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

No News Is Good News Except When It's Good News.

It's not often one receives good news from the Council but I did today with this hand delivered letter. It is amazing. Read it. It says this is an exceptional decision. It surely is. I have never heard of another case like this where no further action is to be taken. People have to fight for years sometimes and even then the results are disappointing.

It must have been my written statement that did it. As you know from reading this blog dear friend my eloquence is legendary. Mind you, my spoken statement was not so eloquent. Luckily my beautiful daughter Jodie was there to calm me down when my temper flared.

Of course the Council might be being a wee bit disingenuous. They did make quite a few errors in the original enforcement notice all those years ago. This was noted by the Government inspector in his report. And of course they actually forgot to enforce it. But I don't want to make an issue of it although had the case gone to court who knows.

But it is done. The battle is won. I am happy. Happy and relieved.

                Love to you all,


Monday, 7 December 2015

People Get Ready.

Its been more than two weeks since I was interviewed under caution by the local council and they haven't been in touch. Still, no news is good news as they say. Not actually sure that's true but I latch onto even the slightest hope these days. Obviously the council aren't too concerned with my concerns. I am trying not to worry because worrying doesn't solve anything. But I am a bit fed up with my first thought every morning is: I wonder if the council have written to me?

I am doing this post on my new laptop computer. I just found out how to make a video on the webcam. This is the result. It seems I can't stop myself singing no matter what the circumstances.

My beard is long and straggly. I have decided not to trim it until my housing problem gets sorted one way or the other. I might have to start plaiting it soon.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


I am sorry I have not been around for a while. I have been having a few problems to do with housing.

After 16 years of living my alternative low impact lifestyle the local district council have suddenly decided they do not approve. The battle is on. I am not going to give up without a fight.

They (the council) have interviewed me under caution. I am now a criminal. The next step is the Crown Prosecution Service deciding whether it is worth taking me to court. I am hoping they will see sense.

This has affected me badly. I try not to worry but it is difficult.

Maybe everything will work out okay? I hope so.

Apart from this I am fine.

I will let you know how things develop.

Monday, 5 October 2015

What Day Is It Today?

A funny thing happened on Saturday, I thought it was Sunday. I decided to make meself a Sunday roast. I had potatoes and vegetables in the cupboard but I didn’t have any meat so I thought to meself, I thought, ‘go down the co-op John boy and get one of them packets of sliced beef. You can heat it up in the microwave, add some gravy and ‘bob’s yer uncle’ as they say.’

So I takes meself down to the shops. When I got there I notice the butchers shop is open and I thinks to meself, ‘that’s unusual, I wonder why they are open on a Sunday?’

I still have it in me mind to get a packet of sliced beef so I heads into the co-op, never even thinking I could get beef in the butchers.

Anyway, long story short I gets the packet of beef and heads home where I cook meself me roast lunch. Roast potatoes, roast vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and of course the sliced beef with gravy. And though I do say it meself, it was delicious.

So I’m sitting in me chair sleeping off this magnificent repast when the phone rings.

“Hallo,” I says.

It is Tricia calling. “Just checking, if you can look after Dixie and Kylie tomorrow,” she says, “when I go to Liverpool.” Dixie and Kylie are her dogs.

I am puzzled. “I thought you were going to Liverpool today,” I say to her.

“No,” she says. “I am going tomorrow Sunday.”

“Sunday?” I says. “It’s Sunday today.”

“It’s Saturday today,” she says.

“Oh blimey,” I laughs, “I just cooked meself a Sunday roast dinner. I wondered why the butchers was open. I thought they must be stock taking.”

I didn’t tell Tricia that I also wondered why the Chippie’s was open on a Sunday too. Well, I wouldn’t want her to think I’m stupid!

But on the plus side I did enjoy me roast dinner.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

You never heard it from me. Right?

Okay look... No I mean listen.. er read this very carefully okay? Keep it to yourself please. Tell not another soul. Let's keep this strictly between ourselves.

Whats happened is this right and please, not a word to another living soul okay: The village sign, the sign outside our village yeah? Well, it got bashed. By a lorry or maybe a van. Something big anyway. I'll tell you what, here's a photo. Have a look for yourself okay?

It's been like this for months. Since the spring at least.

I kept thinking it'll get sorted soon but it never did. I'll be honest with you here, I have never liked it. It looks cheap and despite the wording not very welcoming at all. So I took matters into my own hands.

I stole it! Yeah I know. I'm sorry okay? Don't say anything to anyone please.

Anyway I took it back to my workshop and tried to bash it back into shape. But it still looked awful so I cut the bent bit off with an angle grinder. Then to even things up I cut the other side off too. It is made of aluminium. That's aluminum if you're American. It was covered with reflective stuff. I took that off with a hot air gun. Took flipping ages but eventually I was back to the bare metal. I rubbed it down with emery paper and primed it with red lead primer. Then undercoated it. It was ready for my masterplan to be put into action. Here is a photo of me putting my masterplan into action. Please keep this to yourself. Thanks.

And then, tell no one about this, I put the sign back where I took it from. So it's not stolen is it? It has changed a bit that's true, but it is back where it belongs. Here is another photo. Keep it quiet though please.

It features our church and also a couple of nods to the history of the village. They used to make steam engines here and there was a canal used to transport bricks from the local brickworks.

Here is a closer view of the sign. Remember. Do not mention anything about it being me what done it okay. I could be in trouble if they find out. Say no more. nudge nudge, wink wink, Know what I mean?

Monday, 31 August 2015

A Cooking Lesson Well Learnt.

Have you ever done this? You take a sausage and... Well, what you do is, you take a sausage and cut the skin off it with a sharp knife. It has to be a sharp knife otherwise the skin doesn’t cut and just sort of wrinkles up. You can use scissors – sharp scissors – but they tend to dig into the sausage meat a bit if you’re not careful.

Let’s imagine you have cut the skin off the sausage successfully. You can now discard the skin – throw it in the bin – or maybe give it to the dog if you have a dog, or give it to the cat. Don’t whatever you do give it to your pet budgie. They tend to get sausage skins stuck in their gizzard and clog it up. Best to put it in the bin after all and avoid problems. Hey look, don’t let me sway you. Just do what you like with the discarded skin. But spare a thought for the budgie, that’s all I’m saying.

Have you done that? Taken the skin off? Okay, so put the sausage meat on a board and flatten it. You can use a rolling pin or the heel bit of your hand to do this part. Put some flour on the board first and a little bit on the sausage meat. I should have told you that earlier because it stops the sausage meat sticking to the board. Or the rolling pin. Or your hand if you use the heel part of your hand. Sorry I forgot to mention that. Sausage meat is really sticky. The heel of your hand is the fleshy part on the edge opposite your thumb. It’s that part you would use to karate chop someone.  Perhaps you knew that already?

When you have done that make the sausage meat into a square or a round shape. Make it to fit either two slices of bread or a bread roll. I made mine square because I didn’t have a bread roll.  Oh and don’t forget to season to taste.All you have to do now is fry it on a medium heat for about four minutes each side.

I just did it a few minutes ago. It was horrible. Really really greasy. I gave it to Mia the German Shepherd. I certainly won’t be doing it again. I don’t know why I did it just now to be honest. I much prefer sausages with their skins on. Teach me to mess around with good food!

Maybe I should have added some chopped onion?

Monday, 24 August 2015

No It Didn't.

Last Wednesday it was. Wendy in the Post Office seemed surprised to see me.
“Hello John, she said, looking at me with a sort of, are you OK sort of look on her face. “Are you OK?”
“Yes, I’m fine thanks,” I say.
“I was sorry to hear about the fire,” she says and turning to her colleague Pauline she says, “We were sorry to hear about the fire weren’t we Pauline?”
Pauline looks over to me with a kind of sorry sort of look on her face but she doesn’t say anything because she is serving a customer.
“What fire?” I ask.
“Your caravan burnt down this morning,” she says.
“Well,” I says, “that’s strange because I was in my caravan only ten minutes ago and it definitely hadn’t burnt down then.”
“Well,” she says, “we heard the fire engines going past this morning and someone said your caravan had burnt down.”
“Who was it who said that?” I ask her.
She turns to Pauline, “Who was it that said John’s caravan had burnt down this morning?” she asks her. Pauline doesn’t remember who said it. They both look at me puzzled.
“Anyway, we are glad you are OK. We are glad he’s OK aren’t we.” she says including Pauline in her gladness and Pauline nods her agreement whilst serving another customer.
And then I go home feeling glad indeed that I still have a home to go to.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

A Busy Artist.

Here is the finished painting of the ducks I mentioned in my last post.

As I said I have been busy doing a lot of paintings lately. Here are a few more. If you click on a picture I think they will enlarge.

Blue moon, green sea

Child of Gaza.

Fishing boat.

Colourful fat woman.

Nice cup of tea.

Saint Andrews church, Ford, West Sussex.

The Romany Way.


Squabbling With The Vicar.

Girls in summer frocks.

Self portrait

Mia watching how it's done.

Mia the German Shepherd has settled into life here. She is no longer interested in fighting other dogs (touch wood) and is a real sweetheart with everyone she meets. Even Bonnie the Ginger Cat is getting along with her, finally.

I hope you like my paintings.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Talking To Myself.

Dear Diary,
                  Some days, due to the pain in my feet, walking is a terrible chore. I feel really guilty that I can’t take Mia the German Shepherd for long rambles. I don’t want to moan too much, nobody wants to hear about miserable stuff but I thought, while it is wet and miserable outside a little bit more won’t be too much to tolerate just this once. I suppose I should be grateful that I have enough space around me to give her enough exercise with ball games. Yes I am grateful for that. The pain isn’t always there either so I am grateful for that too.

I used to run long distances. Not as part of a club or anything. Just on my own and just for the sheer joy of it. Miles and miles I used to go. Probably ran a few marathon distances without even realising it. Sometimes in my dreams I imagine I still run everywhere. My feet hardly making contact with the ground and almost floating.

In my early forties while running across the park I was side swiped by a collie dog. It knocked me to the ground twisting my knee sideways. The dog’s owner was apologetic  and I told her I was fine. As it turned out, I wasn’t all right at all and my running days were effectively over from that day on.

That’s enough introspection. I am going to paint today. I have a quick sketch of flying ducks I shall turn into a work of art.

I have sold seven paintings this year including commissions. All right it’s not many but it’s seven more than Vincent Van Gogh sold in his entire life, short though it was.

I don’t keep a record of how many paintings I have sold in my lifetime. The first one I sold I was in my twenties. I must have sold hundreds since then I would think. I remind myself of this when I lose heart with the whole art thing which is quite frequently.

Not at the moment though. At the moment I am in full artistic mode and loving it.

Feeling happier now that’s off my chest.

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Use Of Love Handles In The Art Of Love.

Since me feet gave out and curtailed me walking any distance I have put on a bit of weight. I say a bit of weight, but to be frank it’s rather a lot. I have got love handles on top of me love handles. Ironic really since there ain’t much loving taking place lately.

It’s difficult to say exactly how much weight ‘cos I ain’t got a weighing machine anymore. I got rid of it. Trouble is it was metric and I don’t do metric. I was bleedin’ ‘eavy enough when it was in stones so kilogrammes used to really do me ‘ed in. Besides which it was digital too so I could never read the dial in a steamy bathroom. Yes, I could have weighed meself before turning the tap on but I usually weigh a lot more when I’m dirty and I like to give meself a fair chance.

Shape wise I’m not too bad. My legs for instance are sensational. And though I say it myself I have a rather lovely turn of ankle. That's without socks of course.

Most of the extra weight I’m carrying is around me middle. I reckon it’s about two stone I have put on. Most of it is cakes. I am very partial to a cake. Last night I had eight Mr Kipling Viennese Whirls in one sitting. What I like to do is separate the two halves and lick the buttercream filling off first then the jam and finally finish off by nibbling round the edges of each biscuit slowly. It drives the dog mad watching me eat them. I suppose I could let her have a little taste but sweet biscuits ain’t good for dogs.

If I compress my stomach fat in both hands it takes on the shape of about half a football which along with me extended love handles gives me quite an additional girth.

So, from tomorrow I intend to become a vegetarian. I shall give it a months trial first just to be sure it’s the right thing to do.

My first veggie meal will be a plate of acorns marinaded in a Knorr vegetable stock cube gravy. And for dessert I shall make do with a handful of dried grass. I can feel the weight dropping off just thinking about it.

You might not recognise me the next time we meet, but I don’t want you women worrying. Apparently the love handles are the last to go in weight loss.  Although you will have to come to me because since me feet gave out I can’t walk any distance. Not even in the name of lurve!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Flat Screen TV Flat Against Them.

The problem with flat screen televisions is that you can't put a photograph on top of them. Not even a photo in a flat frame. Bring back proper sized televisions I say so I can put my photo of great uncle Norman wearing his medals back where he belongs.

Yes, yes I know I could put a shelf up but that's not the point. Who is going to pay for the shelf, the TV manufacturers? Of course they're not. The whole thing smacks of collusion between the TV makers and the shelf makers if you ask me. It's just another way of making money from us hard done by proletariat. Not that I'm one for conspiracy theories you understand, but you have to admit it's bloody strange how the shelf industry has taken off since flat screen televisions came along.

Eventually I shall have to put a shelf up I suppose. Great uncle Norman deserves better than being stuck in a drawer.

Why can't things be left as they are? Why this constant need for change? I blame immigration!

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Dew Pond.

I thought you might like to see how the dew/wildlife pond is looking. My Extremely Handsome Son George and I are very pleased with it. The plants are growing well and it is absolutely teeming with life. Mostly... I was going to say insects but are things that live in the water insects? I haven't really thought about that before. There is a great diving beetle, a voracious predator. I was going to remove it but EHS George wouldn't hear of it. "It's part of nature dad," he says and of course he is right.
There are dragonfly larva. And pond skaters and little beetles that do nothing but swim in circles. Lots of tiny little things and clouds of daphnia. All of which will provide food for the frogs and toads we hope will soon colonise. EHS George put frog and toad spawn in earlier this year and they are growing fast. I have also noticed that newts have found their way in.

Birds come down to drink and bathe in the shallow edges and I have seen blackbirds taking beakfuls of mud to build their nests. A pair of mallards are regular visitors too. I am worried that they might cause damage to the plants but there again it is a wildlife pond.

Something I find interesting is that the pond is actually working as a dew pond despite that we had to resort to using a manufactured liner instead of leaving it as just clay. It has never needed the water to be topped up and doesn't evaporate as it does in a much smaller pond nearby.
Extremely Handsome Son George  by the dew pond.

The dew pond

Have a lovely weekend.

Monday, 11 May 2015

My New Camera

Found this hedgehog in the paddock late last night. Really pleased to know it is still here. Loving my new camera, so many different functions. Modern technology. Amazing. I could never have photographed this in the old days. Wind on the film. Make sure you got enough film left. Unwind it. Take it to the chemist to be developed, Think about buying a packet of condoms while you are there. Go back ten days later to collect the photos. Think about buying a packet of condoms while you are there. When you get home find out they have given you someone else's photos. Take them back. Collect your own photos. Discover they haven't come out and there is a little note recommending you remember to take the lens cap off next time. Think about buying a packet of condoms. Go home disappointed. Go back to chemist the next day determined to pluck up the courage to buy a packet of condoms. Buy a new toothbrush instead. Yes indeed modern cameras are brilliant!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Hickory Dickory Dock A Hole Dug For A Clock

Tricia's father's mother's grandfather clock, which belonged to Tricia's mother and before that her father's mother's grandmother who originally got it from her mother in 1881 and is now passed down to Tricia from her mother -you got that?- has been causing me a few problems recently. It is very tall you see. Grandfather clocks always are. Must have had high ceilings in it's original home. The clock is about eight foot high and the ceilings are seven foot. Even lower if you take the beams into account.
Tricia loves this clock. She remembers it from her childhood and so it has great sentimental value to her.
What to do? I suggested jokingly that we should dig a hole in the floor. Tricia thought it was a good idea! So I dug a hole. It wasn't that simple though.

First I had to cut through the floorboards and then break through four inches of concrete. That was hard work. Then I came across the water pipes. What a pain! Moving the water pipes would mean digging up the whole floor. That was a non-starter. The solution was to make some cut outs in the base of the clock. A bit drastic but as Tricia said once the clock was in place it wasn't likely to be moved again for many years.
Once the hole was deep enough I rendered it inside with cement. I covered the bottom of the clock with some leftover pond liner and several bin liners to keep the damp out and put the clock in the hole.
Actually Tricia and I both think the clock looks better with half the bottom section hidden from view. We think it looks better proportioned.

It seems happy enough in it's new home. Tick tocking and chiming the hour.

I still have to tidy the base up.
 There are a few more clocks in Tricia's house too. Here are some pics.

Extremely Handsome Son George's room.

I'm clocking off now. Be back soon if there is time. A couple of puns there.