Three years ago we got married. In the run up to that event I got myself a rowing machine. I mean I wasn’t going to spend my honeymoon in St. Lucia blubbering about like a beached whale. Sadly I didn’t stick with it. Once the ring was on it was all downhill. The night of the wedding we ended up eating pizza in a pub in Henley on Thames. You get the idea.
Fast forward to 2013. My ‘emergency diet’ did a job in the fourth quarter of 2012 but things aren’t going well now. I mean last night I ate pork belly and breast-of-duck; and a bottle of wine. And then fell asleep. So today I made a decision – out with the old….
Check out the magic bucket
In this wonderful Isle we aren’t allowed to shop before 11am or after 5pm on Sundays (except in little shops for some wierd reason) – even on the day before Christmas Eve.
The only person I know who still goes to church is my mother, and, given the rapture, armageddon, doomsday (call it what you will) didn’t come to pass two days ago, i doubt whether many people will be swapping a trip to the local supermarket for a session on their knees praising the almighty.
Anyway, obviously today is going to be hell on earth for those foolhardy enough to venture out. Of course there are some who have no choice. Like me. I needed brussel sprouts and I needed the ingredients for Pigs-In-Blankets – two essential Christmas meal items.
I’d been awake since about 3am since our opposite-neighbours introduced us to the concept of 24 hour daylight with their latest festive lighting arrangement (it’s getting more outrageous each year), so by 10am I was getting bored has hell:
Now I know this is probably getting a bit tedious, but I purchased a holder for my iPhone and then filmed a trip home on the most famous car park in the world – the M25. (If you’ve never heard of this motorway then shame). Tonight we do the 33 mile trip in about 3 minutes, accompanied by Michael Gray’s ‘Weekend’:
I’m not sure how this weekend is actually going to turn out – I’m making a Frasier Cake for my sister’s birthday – they did it on the Great British Bake Off and it looked like a total nightmare; I can see a big pile of cream with bits of sponge and strawberries stuck in it coming on. I can’t wait for the weekend to arrive!
Before there was Selfridges, Sears, JCPenney, John Lewis or Nordstrom there was Allders. Allders was a department store in my part of the world that stood the test of time, right up until this Autumn.
As a child I rode my bike into town with friends and hung around the shopping precinct which Allders fronted and got in trouble with the security men for riding up to the plate glass windows and doing skids, bouncing off the glass. It wasn’t us though, it was some other kids, honest.
Anyway, Allders, which had been around since 1862, had been in trouble for years. It was old school – marbled floors, wooden display cabinets and rickety old escalators. And it was filled with stuff that you could get on the internet. It had no chance.
We took a last tour of the old lady:
Tonight marks the 25th anniversary of the ‘Great Storm of 1987′. That night 25 years ago southern England was hit by winds as strong as a hurricane – reaching 120 mph. We hadn’t experienced anything like it since 1703 – and it’s unlikely any of us alive today will experience anything like it again.
The British take pride in their weather. Our forecasters are a national institution – we watch them every evening. But that night in 1987 one of our best – Michael Fish – told us that a weather feature forming off the Bay of Biscay west of France was nothing to worry about; how wrong he was.
Lucky this wasn’t the States – he’d have been a goner if it had been left-hand drive