Monday, June 17

Life goes on

Today we hosted visitors from our northerly climes who are currently touring the country. We grew up together and the principal of the party remains my sole line on what remains of our teenage era – the kids from those years. Needless to say I roasted a fatted calf and cast open the wine cellar, discovering rather belatedly that everyone was a teetotal vegetarian. The general conversation had less to do with how successful we may or may not have been, than the current prospects for their adult children and infant grandchildren. No one talked of social mobility but rather that their offspring might one-day have a roof over their head and a career that affords some sort of reassurance about the future.

The downside to our guests’ dining reticence is that I am now obliged to eat a dozen meringues, two punnets of strawberries and one of raspberries, and a pint of cream.

Sunday, June 16

That's one expensive shirt

“I’ll promise to go easier on drinking and to get to bed earlier, but not for you, fifty thousand dollars, or two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars will I give up women. They're too much fun.” Babe Ruth.    ...O how the world has changed.

They're not my people

According to a recent survey – and let’s face it, none of us have ever been included in a survey or focus group, so who are we really talking about – some 86% of people think the UK needs a Putin or Xi Jinping to take charge. Of course we all want a strong leader capable of cracking heads together, but only if he accords with our particular view of life. There was a time I sought a range of views before arriving at a consensus; nowadays, however, hell will freeze over before I read another word from the likes of Matthew Parris, Simon Schama or that fuckwhit Max Hastings – life’s too short. As with most, I inhabit an echo chamber.

I’m told today’s India v Pakistan World Cup cricket match will be watched by a billion people world-wide; that 500,000 people applied for Old Trafford tickets. In contrast, despite the hype, a crowd of barely 13,000 attended last week’s England v Scotland women’s football World Cup game at the Allianz Riviera stadium. Unfortunately the BBC licence fee doesn't acknowledge our viewing preferences.

Friday, June 14

A ban on daytime drinking

“Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was a trader at the exchange when he started working in the City in the 1980s. He likened working at the modern-day LME today to ‘being a battery chicken’ in an interview with the Financial Times last year.”

The world’s gone to pot…or, rather, to camomile tea. God what an awful life they appear to lead in the City these days. I can’t but believe they deserve it, sad sorts one and all. Always excepting the cokeheads of course.

Regretfully most all the old faces have long since expired

The Scots Guards Team, all arms pace sticking competition. Alas the Scots Guards I served with, good friends to me, have all expired...heart attacks r us. 

Utilities engineers…be it electricity, gas, water or telephone/broadband. It’s as though I have them on speed dial. Rural life is not for the faint-hearted.

Thursday, June 13

Today was a Ploughman’s...

Not that your average ploughman indulges to this extent, not least when accompanied by a decent glass of Mâcon-Vergisson. The homestead’s cheese board has been bolstered by several quality products from our domestic market – including Guernsey’s Maida Vale, Keen’s Cheddar, Sparkenhoe Blue, Duckett’s Caerphilly and Cornish Yarg. If we left the European Union next week I doubt the gastronomes among us would shed a tear, would be more than happy to make do. The wine of course is another matter.

The story of our times

“The classical liberalism of John Stuart Mill that has shaped our political tradition says that people should be allowed to do things that other people disapprove of, so long as it doesn’t interfere with others’ freedoms. In practice, the creed needs refining. In drafting its laws, society needs to achieve some balance of harms and freedoms.”    …But who gets to arbitrate and to police our behaviour, given the disconnect between people and politicians is so great, when the disconnect between competing tribes is so great? Turning a blind eye seems to have fallen out of fashion.

Tuesday, June 11

Wet wet wet

Am glad I’m not downhill from here, given the rain. Need to don my water-wings and show a leg – places to go, things to do.

 Is there a bigger car crash than the BBC defending their eye-watering salaries and gratuitous upper middle-class lifestyles by penalising the elderly. The succession of BBC executives appearing on this morning's telly make that backstabbing Gove look respectable.

Desperate stuff… I shouldn’t knock him but it’s difficult to be anything other than cynical – of Rory Stewart that is (today’s campaign launch). A Forest Gump-like character with more clichés to the square inch than your average politician. Then again he’s not Sajid Javid.

Sunday, June 9


You realise you’ve become irrelevant when the rabbits and other assorted wildlife ignore your passage across the yard and instead of their running off you have to walk around them.

The slow pace of seasonal change is evident from the rowan (mountain ash) trees, the shade of whose flowers differ across the breadth of the yard. Aside from keeping local witches at bay, their strongly aromatic scent are a reminder of the trees that defined South London mansions. Our bluebells have been replaced by heath spotted orchids, although not in the same sort of numbers.

Saturday, June 8

We’re not dead yet

Have to admit the Trouping the Colour parade is a spectacle and a half. Watching thousands of people flood the Mall is a reassuring sight and a rejoinder to the liberal wing of the Conservative Party.

Friday, June 7

Tweet, bloody tweet…

Burning the candles at both ends doesn’t come easy to an idler…I need an early night. To Bovey this morning for the annual craft fair. Dire weather, lashing down – soaked to the skin. Several years ago it was worth the effort but no more. Back home for dry clothing before attending exhibition opening of popular local artist. Home again to feed livestock and chop wood. The list of outstanding chores grows. ...It seems every twig on every shrub, hedge and tree features a fledgling, tweeting its heart out.

Neighbours are in Wadebridge at the Royal Cornwall Show. I’m told the average age of our farmers is 60; barely 3 per cent of those engaged in farming are under 35. Everyone’s kids go to Uni and pursue a career elsewhere. Farming’s a tough life and they’ve witnessed the toll it exerts on their parents.

Wednesday, June 5


Everyone on my side of the business has spent time in this part of the world. Ferraris and fishing vessels aside, fond memories are few and far between.