Sunday, September 25

The old retainer

Out early on the moor this morning… returning home to continue the autumn maintenance programme. More caulking and painting, up ladders clearing gutters, chopping wood, attending to leaky pipes. Yesterday’s storm resulted in significant ingress of water through a troublesome section of the homestead. All good stuff, I suppose. Keeps me out of trouble. As long as I’m fed and watered am happy to plod along. Every woman should have one.

I’m listening to Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the 70s on the wireless... The big lad is probably considered naff these days, yet back in the grim times Meat Loaf was guaranteed to set the foot tapping. A session in Falmouth is especially memorable. Cher and Queen, Bob Seger too. What wasn’t to like? I hate to sound like a smug boomer but I feel that musically we had the best of it. That said, those days are long past, and much as it seemed like fun, why Corbyn would want to revisit the era beats me. Returning to old haunts is never a good idea, ask Jack Reacher. Onwards and upwards, mon ami, onwards and upwards.

Saturday, September 24

Living the high life

A sign of relative affluence, when you get to eat ‘two’ Dover soles for supper… with lots and lots of peas.

Friday, September 23

Life before safe spaces

Have finished Brendan King’s Bainbridge biography. It was more engaging than I’d expected… Reminds you of those people that were fun to know but dangerous to befriend. Not necessarily ‘national treasures’ like Beryl, but you miss them when they’re gone – the anecdotes they leave behind are more than most of us bequeath to posterity.

Thursday, September 22

The message eventually sinks home

The homestead isn’t particularly large, and in the early days we trusted that visitors would bang on the front door. Unable to make themselves heard, we installed a heavy iron knocker. This too proved insufficient so we fitted a ships bell in the porch, a brass thing with trailing cord. Our final gambit was an electric chime that has two internal speakers… Yet visitors still tap on the door and then go away when we don’t respond. Walk through the front door for fuck sake, stand in the hall and shout. One of us is bound to hear you!

Trek to town

Up to Exeter for supplies. Although the university is miffed at being bounced out the top one-hundred, like the city – not least their MP, the place often appears a little smug with itself. We dropped into RAMM to look at Kurt Jackson's exhibition, then on to a fashion show hosted by one of Mrs G’s favourite frock designers. Lunch at our usual Asian restaurant – the food continues on its downwards trajectory. Plymouth may be on the back foot but it has superior food and footy, to say nothing of its harbour and pubs.

Wednesday, September 21

The joys of city living

Living in a goldfish bowl and having paid £4.5m for the privilege. I suspect a naked Paul Finchley standing at the window of his Neo Bankside home might be just as big a problem for the children on Tate Modern’s 10th floor viewing gallery.

Tuesday, September 20

The smell of the ground

Enjoyable meander across the moor. The landscape is changing colour and distant slopes have already turned to black. Mist and a soft rain this evening… frogs in the pools, singing.

    Every leaf is wet
    and the fox hurries to his destination
    small worlds of rain on a grass-blade
    shaken by a spider at work again (Geoffrey Squires)

The growing market for social connection

Many younger people are having trouble finding others to talk to. If you have the money, apparently, you can now Rent-a-Friend, pay for cuddles, or dine with strangers. And this is a new phenomenon? Prostitutes/escorts anyone?

The over-50s abandon cities

The not so old shouldn’t abandon cities? Am not sure Nick Curtis’s premise is entirely true. It seems to me that for every middle-aged couple that relocates to the sticks for fresh air, the peace and quiet, there’s a comfortably-off ageing couple returning to a metropolis to be close to hospitals, theatres and restaurants. Where they can provide free childcare and school fees for their grandchildren – with an expectation that when times comes they will have someone to wipe the dribble from their chin.

Monday, September 19

There’s life in the old place yet

There are still lots of bees in the yard, butterflies and dragonflies too. Our swallows snuck away a couple of weeks ago without saying goodbye, the bastards. But there are larks on the moor and lots of finches feeding off seed heads… the usual pigeons and crows. Of an evening bats come out to play, the tawny owls to feed.

Sunday, September 18

Heartache Tonight

On such a wonderful day as today (sunshine) I’m willing to cut everyone slack, not least yours truly. Cheers! Neighbours are outside trading horses, basis try and buy. Though not exactly gypsies-r-us there’s a disturbing number of lurchers and whippets crapping on my yard. It’s ’70’s Sunday at the homestead (and on the wireless), everything from Carly Simon to Abba. Large portions of curried goat with frosted jugs of Kingfisher. Rod Stewart (The Faces) and the Eagles (Heartache Tonight)… I'll regret it in the morning.

Saturday, September 17

Call me Mr Tibbs!

Putting in a regular shift and then partying all night is a big ask these days. Thankfully, following Friday’s session, the neighbours have deferred tonight’s ‘get together’. I’m usually game but September is a busy month; so many chores, so many diversions. Although I retain the appetite of a twenty-something, I have the body of Ed Balls…

Way to go, Baggies. Pulis must be enjoying a couple of large ones this evening…

And if there’s one thing you don’t do these days, the ultimate faux-pas, it is to encourage the lynching of a black person...

We were invited to a gallery yesterday, launch of a new exhibition. Heavy on the cobalt blue. Tonight’s sky, however…