Saturday, February 25

Large ones all round

The Welsh contingent called in at the homestead a couple of days ago. They were at the game – are still bemoaning Davies’ inability to hoof it into the stands. Just as well they aren’t here this afternoon, with Mrs G. in full cry.

Storm Doris had its moments but today is worse. One of those days you’re better off slumped in a chair next to the stove.

Friday, February 24

Life has its share of disappointments

The Tories must be cock-a-hoop … there’s no one left to hold their feet to the fire. So much for Labour’s weaponized ‘Protect our NHS’ campaign.

GP rang this morning to check I’m swallowing the obligatory aspirin along with my statins. She was checking because they’re not listed on my chart … “Should be taking them, not least because you’re over 60 and everything’s free”. No, you tosser, nothing’s free: some poor schmuck is picking up the tab. Why would I stick the tax payer with an £8.40 prescription when I can buy aspirins from Boots for £1.29? Little wonder the NHS is a bottomless pit.

Returned home this afternoon to take delivery of a package from a man in China. Been waiting a week. Unfortunately it was another no show: “Driver timed out”. Two or more years ago our delivery drivers were almost always Eastern European and super keen. Alas the Latvians and Lithuanians have progressed to better things.

Thursday, February 23

Tough at the top

Claudio Ranieri sacked. Would that the Labour Party was so decisive. Oh yeah, Blair. If Leicester follow Labour, it has to be Roy Hodgson.

Unrealistic expectations

Ten portions of fruit and vegetables each day? Perhaps we should throw in the towel and become vegetarians. For at least five days each week I eat an apple, a small orange and portion of soft fruit, maybe two plus vegetables ... and while it’s true I regularly consume double this level, that I’m fortunate in being able to afford it, there are limits to the quantity of food a man can stuff down his gullet. …Truth to tell, the primary reason for Gudgeon’s semi-righteous diet is I’m married to someone who gives a shit about this sort of thing – ditto recycling, climate change, refugees, world peace, blah, blah, blah.

Wednesday, February 22

Ireland's champagne moment

“The price of a bottle of champagne and fees paid to stockbrokers are to be included in the basket of items used to calculate the rate of inflation in Ireland — proof, should it be needed, that the country’s near decade-long economic crisis is over. Guinness, of course, retains its place in the basket but is joined by craft beers, avocados, melons and e-cigarettes … Cue trade union demands.” (Today’s Times) ...Must be living it large at Moyhill?

Sunday, February 19

Stomach and soul

A sunshiny day with skylarks on high singing it large, meadow pipits flitting about the furze. The ground’s wet, obviously, but glorious nonetheless. Up to town early for the Sunday food market … kitchen now redolent of the Mediterranean: a mix of garlic and rosemary (rib of veal on the bone), and the overpowering scent of hyacinth. Clichés aside we also have Fulham v Tottenham on the box – what more could you ask.

Although we’re buried in the sticks, thanks to individuals such as Mercanto Italiano hawking their wares throughout the land, even the most reclusive of enthusiasts are afforded an opportunity to sample quality produce from distant lands.

Friday, February 17

Nostalgia

I spent a pleasant half-hour this morning browsing in the record shop. Unbelievably they still sell records – a handful of CDs, but primarily vinyl, including 45s. A lot of the stuff on sale I acquired first time 'round. The kids stood next to me appeared to love retro music as much as the old boys who were lining the track on my way home, photographing steam locomotives. Friday being Friday we are dining on oysters, clams and Dover Soles ... memories of Wheeler’s, the home of soles. And then there's Blair. Still alive and kicking, apparently. Worth his weight in gold.

Thursday, February 16

BBC can sod off too

You’re no better than CNN … Donald Trump responding to Jon Sopel from the BBC. “The press – the dishonesty, is out of control.” Like him or not, the lad’s great entertainment.

Posh Food

“Move aside Hawaiian poké, kombucha, and turmeric shots. The must-have health food of 2017 is a bag of pork scratchings ... The crack cocaine of bar snacks, eaten only by men in pubs with dogs on a string, has come of age as a superfood — and a posh one at that.” (in Today’s Times.) Grief, the mind boggles. Tom Kerridge is to blame, apparently. His latest cookbook – how to lose 11 stones on a low-carbohydrate, no-alcohol diet. I thought the whole point of pork scratchings was the alcohol beer?

More ethnic (English) food for supper this evening: braised hogget hearts, stuffed with prunes and walnuts (Constance Spry Cookery Book, 1972 Edition). AND BEER.

Also in today’s papers... Britons spend more on food and leisure, less on booze, smoking and drugs. “Weekly spending on booze, fags and narcotics fell below £12 for the first time since comparable records began in 2001-02.” Err... a pint and a packet of B&H leaves exactly how much for the line of coke?

Wednesday, February 15

Fun times … I think

City workers at Lloyd’s of London banned from daytime drinking. Long overdue, many would say … responsible employer, healthy working environment. However I’m sure Gudgeon isn’t alone in suspecting our careers would have been bleaker affairs without the obligatory bottle. “I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.” Ah the old ones are the best. If only I could recall a fraction of the adventures now attributed to the generation I worked alongside.

Tuesday, February 14

Valentine’s Day


Naff kitsch or a romantic statement? Maybe one of the same. My enthusiasm has fluctuated over the years, the older I get the more grateful for the opportunity. £60 for flowers, £80 for Champagne and £10 for a slice of chocolate cake … Pennies, really, in terms of return on investment.

More fruitcake from the loonies

Labour is now third most popular party amongst working-class voters, poll finds. And with advocates like Paul Mason are we surprised? Labour ceased to be a party that represented Scots some time ago, and has now given up on the English – become the woman you wouldn’t rush to kiss. Didn’t they learn anything from Cameron’s fruitcakes and loonies jibe?