The All Mitie Strikes Again …..

The past twenty four hours have been rather strange, not in a bad way I must add. We have all heard about and talked of lines and paths crossing, well, today, everything that is going on in my life seems to have all fallen rather nicely into place, so, to put you into the picture here is a brief synopsis of two very big events that are about to happen to me within the next six weeks.

Firstly, on May 8th I am to be confirmed into the Christian Faith, a path set by my parents nearly sixty years ago, and secondly, as a member of a Friends group of my family church, St Mary’s, we are hosting an open weekend including celebrations for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 90th Birthday, the event, a brain child of myself and my friend Hilary.

We have banged our heads together and come up with a planned schedule of events, making up a steering committee of six members, we have started to steam steadily ahead, delegating tasks to individuals who have used once and many a tried and tested routine and driven many an unbroken wheel that never appeared to need fixing.

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Opening my wooden blinds this morning I am greeted with a beautiful day, tall bright blue skies, the air is clear and I can see many miles toward the horizon, the sea is calm with what I am sure is to be a crisp chilled breeze on my face …. Spring is definitely here …. it IS stunning.

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From my wardrobe I pull out a shirt from my corporate days, it is as blue as blue as the sky, a firm favourite of mine and always seemed to give me luck when I used to wear it, how right was I to be today of all days?  All wrapped up, we set out of the door, Chris and I make our way to our Parish church, that is All Saints. I have a letter for the churchwarden, enclosed is a small gesture in appreciation of her spending hours searching through the 1956 records of baptism and eventually unearthing and producing my certificate, that of which I had never ever seen, however, the black, grey and white photographs of myself in christening robes do prove so, not to mention the embarrassment for me.

Tuesday morning hosts Eucharist with blessings, this is a service I enjoy tremendously, a small chapel off the main church offers an intimate and personal gathering, less than a dozen attend, in the background an aged kettle can be heard climbing slowly to its boil ready to provide tea’s and coffee’s for fellowship soon after.

We offer one another a sign of peace, one very elderly lady, who I have never seen before in my whole life makes a bee line toward me, she cups my hands, smiles, and asks if I have arrived by boat. Brixham is a major fishing port and has its own Pilot station, she had assumed I was a mariner, since a child I have always had my feet in the water, being taught to respect its strengths and dangers, playing sports as a teenager and later owning my own vessels as an adult, my grandfather was one of Brixham’s pioneers in the fishing fleet in the early part of the last century. Strangely, her few words of kindness and a chance meeting gave me the feeling what actually confirmed, not that I have ever doubted, but that I now belonged to this community, after all, my grandparents, grandparents parents are buried in our 15th century graveyard.

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I receive my blessing, my sins have now been forgiven. I keep myself out of the direct sunlight streaming through the faintly stained glass windows, not in fear of  spontaneously combusting and bursting into flames, but to stop being blinded by the intensity of its strength, well that’s my excuse at least.

Attempting to drown the fly paper and thin pink sandwich wafer biscuits in my coffee, which is so strong in depth, it might be easier to chew instead, as it is far too thick to swallow .. I think to myself.  I stare around and up into the dizzy heights of this ancient building, almost every conceivable surface is dark wood and everything in-between adorns the colour gold. At the opposite of the Altar at the far end of the nave stands the large stone Font, I get strong feelings of de’Javu, a vision of a large family appear, all proud, they are gathered around, can I hear a faint cry from a baby?, suddenly, my bumps goose and the heckles on my neck stand to attention.

Heading down the steep hill toward where two ham and cheese croissants have our names on them in the new retro coffee shop I see my dear cousin, we hug and kiss, its been ages since our last meet. I have been trying to corner her for ages, a very successful business woman and a such a kind kind person. I go straight for the jugular and ask for sponsorship for floral displays at the church open weekend, she is carrying a loaf of freshly baked bread, food is always a good sign. I normally approach people and businesses for any donations just after lunch, everyone has been fed, its a great levering point and as we all know a digesting belly is a happy belly,  a smile brings a yes. We now have a whole weekends worth of flowers, to add to that, looks like her other business partner is prepared to cater certain items free gratis too.

“Hi, Paul here, Advertising banners?” I ask my lifetime friend. We’ve known each other so long, our parents were best friends before we both popped along, he now runs his fathers printing business, ……….You get the drift, two exterior banners displaying the words “Welcome to St Mary’s are on the press as I speak.

One more sponsor on the list to go, well, for the time being at least.

Lucky shirt, beautiful day, wouldn’t you say?

19th April 2016

 

 

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Not so ‘sure ….

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After just receiving my renewal premium from my Contents Insurers, I happened to notice that since last year it has been hiked up by almost Eighty Pounds, Fifty Pounds the year previous and another Fifty before that, so, I contacted their *hotline*, which actually cost me to call them, and requested a review, the reason and why. The answer I was given was that it was due to the amount of crime in my postcode and considering the proximity of the water[1] and also that there had been adverse flooding. I informed him however, that, although I am on the cliffs edge, nor near the water, and if there had been any flooding, at seventy five foot above, a very large amount of this country would still be underwater.

The jobs worth would not offer me any form of discount even though I have been with them since 2008, although I had made a claim some two years ago for some books to be replaced due to a fish tank leak, he was adamant that the underwriters were correct in their decision to raise the premium and as their representative he would not make any dispensation at all.

I made a few remarks on my favourite social media tool, good old Twitter, it has taken two days for e’sure to reply to my rant, but yet, still no action.

Enter Giorgio Compario ….. One hundred and Fifty quotes within a minute, and the cheapest one, which had the same cover, excess and benefits was, ….. wait for it … £175.00 cheaper than the original renewal price, but, there is a twist to this, which I find really really bizarre, the two prices are from the SAME Insurance Company.

Again I contacted the *hotline, informed them of my dilemma, and was offered a 5% reduction, can you imagine my reply? … Correct, I was very polite and asked them to cancel my cover as from this midnight …..

Who remembers David Walliams dressed as the ‘female’ sat behind the “Little Britain” desk and coughing in ones face ……. “Computer says NO”

I now have another bulldog covering my assets, still from the same company, but much much cheaper.

 

Ship of Dreams …

I experience many vivid dreams due to one of the medications I take, I often write the contents down and try to analyse, but, I’m sure that if I disclosed all of my thoughts, someone would make me a whole seminar’s worth. Last nights dream was even stranger, and I have just put a few words together on how it happened and of what I can remember.

The rough seas have calmed, at least for tonight.

The tide calls higher than usual, my toes just touch the water and my departure is gentle.

My once secure mooring gently slips, and under the moons ghostly shade I set sail upon my beautiful ship of dreams.

What was once my life, is now but my past.

A destination far far away, not that unfamiliar, seeking faces of those who sailed this same ship a long long time ago.

Paul Stamp 13 April 2016

Short & Sweet … Day 7 of 7

 Sweets! Who can resist them?

I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for candy and anything sticky and sweet, in fact, I had to undergo treatment for continuously eating wine gums, not just any wine gum, not the ones from the pound rack, or the loose ones on a “pick & Mix” stall but, ONLY the best ones available, Those beautiful BEAUTIFUL Maynards!  I would just swallow them instead of chewing, and attempt to break any record I may of held previous of just how many I could get into my greedy gob before starting to make stupid noises and blow snot bubbles out of my nose, I continued to fill my stomach to busting point.

The was a growing and continuous problem, at a tender age nearing my mid-forties, I was a grown man with another bad addiction. So, someone recommended I go and see a Hypnotist …. Gloria answered her own door which opened from Baker Street, W1, she was mature of age, tall and slim, her pink Chanel Suit and the black houndstooth design matched her immaculate suede high heels, I was welcomed into her home, the interior was stunning, I followed her, her manicured hand slid slowly and seductively tight on the hardwood rail on top of the wrought iron bannisters, I watched her arse sashay seductively from side to side as she ascended the winding stairs, a chandelier hung from yet another level and we entered into her studio. I was in awe and totally distracted by the amount of wealth and beauty of this property.

She asked me to sit opposite her, after gently adjusting herself in her chair, she started to play swirly fingers and thumbs with herself, asking my problem, I told her I could not stop eating wine gums, and how ill I had made myself, and asked would she please help me. ……. I closed my eyes, and was asked to concentrate on her voice, not what she was saying, but to tune into her tone. Somewhere in her mellow script she mentioned how hard her upbringing was and that family life to her at an early age was dire, she worked many hours cleaning and achieved nothing because she spent all her spare cash on rubbish and worthless items, and then one day she happened to go and clean for a very very wealthy lady who lived in a very large house ………………… and that sometimes when you feel you deserve a treat, then have one, she clicked her fingers and I awoke, rather stunned.

I have never eaten a wine gum since that session, which by the way was in 2002.

The Turkish Delight is a return holiday gift from Chris, a reward for looking after the house and the dogs, so, this afternoon, I shall enjoy it whilst watching Miss Marple and The Blue Geranium. As I open the mysterious purple foiled wrapper I wonder if the veiled beautiful lady that features in The Frys TV advert is actually Gloria telling me to treat myself for all of the hard work that I do …. I certainly think so!

 

 

Caffeine … Day 6 of 7

 I have such a busy day ahead of me, so, I’m going to have to be really cheeky and pull out one of my “phone a friend” cards, there is so much happening that I didn’t want you to think I would let you down, so, this tiny little blog, is sadly, all the time I can spare today.

I adore Coffee, I adore the aroma, I adore the ritual of preparation and the extra buzz that a really really strong Double Espresso can give, known as many other descriptions, including a “short black”, and such, if you are in Italy, its a “Doppio”, or in Spain or on one of their many beautiful Islands, “Cafe Solo”, which incidentally we will be visiting in September to celebrate my Sixtieth Birthday.

I’m a great believer that coffee shops should be child free including my own flavour’ite, Coffee#1, and just when you think you have found your own very special haven, you find that when you next visit, they have introduced a creche area which angers me immensely, and makes my heart beat rise even higher. Sad now really, because the only reason I visit this establishment is to pick up my freshly ground beans.  I own a couple of their own branded “Clever Drippers”, which are very convenient indeed, and a small “Bodum”Cafietiere, which, today, is loaded with twenty grams of my own personal spiced mix, a pinch of salt and 35omL of hot water and left to infuse for approximately five minutes.

This mornings ritual has been rather unconventional, no fancy cake or any cheese savory to accompany, just a buttered brown roll with a large dollop of Robertsons chunky marmalade to add to my couple of extra double buzzers.

….. Must dash ….

Friday’s Fishy Tail … 5 of 7

I’m slightly annoyed today, that the notes I made to WordPress via my iPhone last evening have just disappeared, this is becoming quite a frequent event, and yes, its happened again.  Just hoping that if I give my my web-cobbed brain and inner sole a good trawling with a net, something may just come a tumbling back into its correct plaice.

So, today my blog comes from an alien kitchen on the waters edge here in Brixham, the recipe I’m trying to re-create is by the talented Dan O’Doherty, as featured above, from the famous Duck & Waffle Restaurant which is a perch’d high above on the fortieth floor of The Heron Tower, London.

(If you haven’t noticed yet, some words have been given a twist with really bad fishy puns, well, to be frank, thats all part of todays irony)

I promise I won’t ling’er too long on this subject, but, instead of my many usual senior blonde-ray moments I’l keep the bull’huss to a minimum, and give this story a bit of a turbot charge before I begin to start Breaking the ice.[1]

A whole baked Sea Bass (from Aldi and not one from Evelyn Harpers Drawer [2]) with spring vegetables will hopefully look as brill on my plate as much as his picture bream’s in the recipe book, I’l keep from floundering and carping on too much and make sure I mullet it over properly before I start to even think about skate’ing on very thin ice, perhaps I am tope’ing for far too much from this?

Right, the Bass has been split down through its spine and the pin bones removed, potatoes, tomatoes and the courgettes are now blanched, all that remains is a case of buttering them up, adding them back into a sturdy stock, reduce it to the thickness of a grey thick lipped mullet and to get myself skate’ing back into action, this whole dish looks like a ray of sunshine and not the cods pollacks as many might think, just imagine how much squid you’d have to pay for it in a restaurant?

 I’m not quite so sure that any of you are actually hooked on this blog and that its starting to wear quite fin’ly, so, I shall stop procrastinating and talking scallops, come to think about it, so, as i just heard someone quote for fucks hake shut up, I’l agree that i think that we have all haddock enough, and infant to be honest, I think it was really eel’y quite bad.Have a lovely fishy Friday folks, I have had a whale of a time today.                                           ….. Courtesy of the Happy Hooker

[1] Frasier (S2, Ep20)                                                                                                                                     [2] Evelyn Harpers Defence, (S5, Ep20)

Brownie Points ….. Day 4 of 7

Slowly and steadily I roll into a “get me outta here” momentum, the dogs are settled and I head off on foot, checking the time, and mapping my route in my head, I decide first stop is at the top of town, for a promised mates errand, on the return leg of this days outing, I pop into one of Brixham’s finest Coffee Shops, the other evening I noticed a Twitter announcement that there were fresh Brownies just coming out their oven, so, I had to tweet back “Must tell you a story about some Brownies I encountered in Amsterdam many years ago”

Fortunately, when I arrived to tell the tale to the proprietress, and expressing a big phew, and far too many ears a listening, we briefly exchanged a conversation dictating that I would write about it to save any actual embarrassment, I then greedily tucked into a warm Cheese Scone and sipped some tea gently out of a Ladies cup, my pinkie finger remained quite reserved as I lifted this fine piece of china up to my lips, no brownies for me, and heres the reason why, not even an honest untouched one made by the lovely Sophie.

I was asked by a friend to accompany him, who was freelancing for Radio Five Live, to attend the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam, and of course, anything for a freebie, I accepted. Eight days of events, mayhem and parties happened, on the last evening we were both coerced to go to a closing ceremony, the only pre-condition to gain entry was that we had to be in “fancy dress”[1]. Are you sure he said “fancy dress?” Yes, replied Keith, at least thats what i thought he said. Now, I’ve only ever been to one fancy dress party before, and that was me dressed as “Andy Pandy”, a courtesy taxi ride in a cop car, high jinks put the end of that evenings events right down the pan.  So, after much contemplation we tried to hire something, of course, all of Amsterdam was in a party mood, this proved fruitless, however, Keith had an idea, we purchased these items, and we got ourselves ready and headed off to this prestigious event, entry was gained and the drinks were flowing, it was an absolutely outrageous evening, conversation came round that brownies were being passed around, believe it or not folks, at this moment in my life  I had NO idea what a brownie was, the first one tasted lovely, slightly earthy, but, definitely chocolatey, the atmosphere became jolly, and loads of luvvies were expressing their happiness with cheeky kisses, I was offered a second, apparantly I remember wondering what all the fuss was about and started giggling.

I was jigging about, doing my “big box, little box’ and enjoying the music, the lights were playing tricks in my head, at that particular time it was wonderful, my mate was laughing at me uncontrollably and said he was enjoying the moment, after eating the third piece of “chunky candy”[2], someone came over and suggested we shouldn’t attempt to eat anymore as it was strong, strong? STRONG !!… Yes, you guessed it, we were both absolutely obliterated, (Id use the words “twatted, munted or even bolloxed”, but, I don’t know whether I can say that on here) we were aware we had to get back to pack our cases to catch the early departure of “the train of the damned”[3] heading back toward Lyon via Rotterdam to connect with the Eurostar, I have terrible vivid memories of wobbling and sweating like a pig to its own slaughter as we headed back to the sanctuary that was our hotel, worse was to come, the street cleaners were out and about tidying up the detritus from the many revellers, talk about humiliation, goodness knows how we got back to the U.K.  Lyon Station was an absolute nightmare, and once onboard the tunnel express, I realised just exactly what we had actually been wearing at the party, we must have looked a sight, …… wet suits, snorkels, masks, and of course, not forgetting the flippers! ….

 

[1] Fetish Wear                                                                                                                                                [2] Chunky Candy (Frasier 2002)                                                                                                                 [3] Train of the Damned (2&HalfMen)