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Thursday, April 06, 2023



Dymchurch 1923 Paul Nash

I live about 12 miles inland from the little coastal town of Dymchurch on Romney Marsh. The small cafe I have frequented there for about 30 years had recently changed hands. It was, at last, a brilliant cold sunny day so I hoisted out the ebike and decided to toddle down there to have lunch and see what the new owners had done to it.

It was the Easter holidays and there is an amusement park about 200 yards away so the cafe was teeming. But a small elderly man at a table for two offered me the place opposite him. I ordered my meal at the counter (meat pie, chips and mushy peas if you are interested) and joined him.

" I hire out sun loungers on the beach and popped in for elevenses" he said. His accent was pretty heavy Geordie and I commented that he had originated somewhat north of the Kent coast. That got him going.

He had been born in Northumberland and did his National Service in the RAF (so must have probably been at least 80). After his two years service he had fetched up in London, served an apprenticeship in the building trade, stayed there and eventually married and moved to Hastings. "You have kept your Geordie accent still", I commented. "You never lose it lad" (Lad - I am 84!) he proudly replied. This opened the flood gates and I was treated to all his working life story.

Being of a size and enjoying horses he had been a part-time jockey. He rose in the building trade to become a site agent until his retirement at 60. "So what are you going to do now?" his wife asked him. "I bought a dozen donkeys and hired them out for beach rides. I also had a couple of fields nearby at Camber Sands and hired them out in season as overflow car parking". He had three daughters, one in insurance, one a solicitor and the last an accountant. "So they did all the paperwork for me and I collected all the cash.  Some nights when the wife and I cashed up there was five grand lying on the table, It was cash in hand, boy - they paid me for the donkey rides and for the car park when they parked, so no paperwork or invoices and my daughter kept the tax man sweet".

When he had been doing this for 20 years the family said he should slow down a bit. "So I sold the donkeys and the fields and bought 30 sunloungers to hire out on Dymchurch sands as I could see a niche for them. That's what I do now".

He rose to go. "Come down to the beach sometime for a chat" (he loved to talk). By now I had tuned into that Geordie accent - still there after some 60 years. I got on with my meal, reflecting how a simple invitation to sit with him had gifted me with an encounter to remember.

By the way - the new owners have transformed the cafe with redecoration, good food and friendly atmosphere. I shall return to Ivy's Tearoom in the High Street.


Friday, February 24, 2023


I take an Australian motorcycle magazine having been out to that country a few times to visit my daughter who married an Aussie and lives in Perth. A recent editorial contained the following paragraph which chimed with my own opinions:

Loving motorcycles I am glad, at 84, that I should not be around when our government's decree that all new vehicles must be electric powered by 2030. Motorcycles were originally exempted from this ban but are now included. Batteries in motorcycles could not be large enough for any long range. Even cars are suspect here, especially on dark, cold winter days when all ancilliary equipment, lights, heaters and demisters may be all needed to take power from that battery.

Ecars are expensive. Charging takes too long and the infrastructure is just not there. Imagine a journey of say 300 miles in winter with a full passenger load and a need to stop to recharge batteries at a motorway car park. It could be filled with others using all the chargers (if all are working) and even "quick charging" could take 20 minutes.

Still, I envisage that the existing, used IC vehicles will have enhanced selling prices and will be cherished, repaired and used for decades, rather like the vintage American cars in Cuba.

Synthetic fuels, as being developed by Porsche could be the answer to this collective madness.

A Luddite's musings.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


I am attaching a link to a post I made in 2011. I make no apologies for this as, in old age, it continues to inspire me - and indeed can bring tears to my eyes.


Most of those bloggers who commented at the time have faded away into other more superficial social media, but a very few old faithfuls are still around. Good luck to them and long may they continue.

Monday, January 02, 2023


First, I hope all readers will have a calm and contented 2023. I do know that some of you have health issues in old age, but maybe even those will find nuggets of joy for contemplation.

You will have seen from my last post that my life has had its setbacks, but I am determined to resurface and look to the future (however short that may be at age 84).

The weather has not been kind for me to exercise my motorcycle for a while but that has led me to consider my (small) stable. I still like my classic 1997 Suzuki TU250X

which will continue to be ridden as long as I can keep it upright. But I decided to discard the small Honda scooter and find a small, lightweight motorcycle to replace it as a general runaround. I have never really been a great fan of scooters, but they are a useful convenience. Their riding position is akin to squatting on a kitchen chair, legs primly ahead, knees together and with no ability to ride the bumps by taking weight on the footrests as with a motorcycle, legs apart, with some body weight on the arms - akin to astride a horse.

Honda has recently  updated their perennial Honda Cub (100 million produced since 1958 - the most amongst all road vehicles of any kind ever made in the world). Their new 125cc Super Cub seemed to fit the bill for this decrepit, ageing motorcyclist. I looked around and eventually found a 2020 example, down in Gloucester (joys of the internet) which had only done 180 miles 

The dealer offered free delivery to Kent too (no doubt included in their asking price but still....). Is it a motorcycle or a scooter? I suppose it is the former, but dressed somewhat like the latter. It has the advantage of a bike's riding position, but with a scooter's weather protection. And it only weighs a touch over 100 kgs - a great selling point for this ageing, decrepit, etc., etc.

Now we only need some decent weather for me to ride it!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

       (Anna Dillon - The Ridgeway series)       


I see my last post here was in April. A lot has happened in my life since then as my wife for 63 years died last May. But life goes on and Christmas is here. A verse of Joyce Grenfell's seems appropriate:

If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor if I go speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must, parting is hell.
But life goes on, so sing as well.

I had intended that this blog should close (running since 2006) since most of the others seem to have faded away. But it is something I have always enjoyed and interacting with your replies (which have likewise tended to fade away). So, "life goes on" and so will this blog.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022



I sincerely hope that bastard Putin's army are all so incompetent!

I also submit an idea for local councils to change the front of their dog waste bins.

Monday, April 04, 2022



A "Hello" from Pippa (to be known by me as Pips). I have had 6 dogs over my adult life, but my last, Roxy, sadly had to be put down last July.

For some months I was just bereft, but after Christmas the urge came on me once more to get another companion. Never can such be called a "replacement" for a previous dog who can never be  "replaceable". After much searching of rescue centres, where suitable mature small dogs were gone before I could even apply for them, I decided to consult the private "dogs for sale" adverts. Again, most were gone before I could get to them.

At last, a week ago, an advert came up to sell a 6 year old Jack Russell, which was reluctantly for sale by a mature lady who was no longer mobile and was going into a one bedroom council flat where dogs were not allowed. I rang the number immediately and was told that she had had many enquiries (I should think so as many dogs are for sale at £2000/£3000 where this one was priced at £100) but no one had yet arranged to call to see her. I said I would be there by 4.00 pm - it was now 1.00 pm and snowing heavily at that time and accordingly I made the 70 mile round trip to Tunbridge Wells.

I was met by the lady carrying a towel-wrapped dog. "I have just bathed her to show her to you at her best" she said. The animal at once wriggled free of the towel and enthusiastically attached herself to me, tail going at 20 to the dozen. "Oh, she likes you. She has never done that to a stranger before" the surprised owner gasped.

I was sold! My daughter, a confirmed "dog person" has always said, "When the right dog wants you it will find you". Well this one obviously did and has.

She is a Jack Russell terrier in body, but her head is definitely Chihuahua, with her fine skull and pricked up ears. It is an excellent combination though and makes for a good looking dog. She settled in immediately, although would not eat for the first day. No problem, as she is overweight through overfeeding and lack of execise. "I just put a bowlfull of food down for her each morning and she eats it all day when she wants it", said the owner. That will change......

She goes to the vet tomorrow for a check over, vaccination and to get her over long claws clipped (lack of walks on road surfaces).

She is a quick learner and has become my little shadow, following me everywhere - but she can be a tart at times.