Sunday morning in Suffolk is relaxing for a Londoner, even at its busiest. Take the Halesworth Food Fayre, which occupies the whole Throughfare from 10am to 10pm. It can get crammed later in the day, but we got up early and enjoyed it at its quietest.
It was the best the countryside has to offer: natural honey, plants a-plenty, a whole hog roasting over a fire and more hippie-style crafts than any one person can possibly need.
Our progress down the street was slowed by Mum running into people she knew every 50 yards but it was worth it to reach the band at the end. “We’re playing Halesworth’s main stage later,” declared one of the musicians. “Halesworth’s main stage! We’ve made it!”
Glastonbury? Pah! Halesworth every time!
There’s something about this picture that makes it look Photoshopped. I think it’s the wild, staring eye of the pigeon that makes it looks like it’s about to attack me. I assure you that the picture’s quite genuine, though, grabbed this afternoon in St James’ Park.
It was one of those sunny afternoons in London that make you remember exactly what it is that tourists see in the city. The park is one of those places that native Londoners have all but abandoned to visitors. It’s our loss. My half hour in the park, wandering from one meeting to the next, helped unwind me no end in the middle of a stressfull day. I watched a mother duck take care of her little ones, who bobbed and pecked around her in an unconcerned way as another duck started getting aggressive. I watched policemen wander by, their now commonplace bullet-proof vests open, making them look uncannily like bulky waistcoats. I watched the occasional member of the civil service hurying from meeting to meeting, trailing wisps of governmental conversation in their wake.
A journalist could learn much in a couple of hours in the park.
I was at a seminar at the RICS in Westminster this morning. A comment from the organiser about the increased security (the building is opposite the Houses of Parliament) prompted me to wander down to the on-going protests to see how they were going, a few months on. Well, as you can see, the banners and stands are all still there. However, at midday on a Monday, there was a solitary protestor to look after all of this. There were more tourists poring over the banners than there were actual protestors. How quickly the flames of protest die.
Some people take the day of rest far more seriously than others…
It’s Saturday afternoon in the southern suburbs of Bristol, so what are the good Bristolians doing? They’re at a car boot sale, of course.
And there we spent the day flogging our unwanted goods to passers-by and eager bargain-hunters alike. It’s like a low-tech, open air eBay!
I took the opportunity to have a wander around the whole of the sale – maybe a hundred or so stalls – and see what was on offer. I strongly suggest that anybody who was in a pop group popular with teenagers eight to 10 years ago should avoid this sort of sale, because they’re going to find themselves very depressed very quickly.
The same goes for Gary Barlow, too. The whole of Bristol seems to have decided simultaneously that buying any of his solo stuff was a significant error, one that can only be corrected by the immediate sale of his CDs. Around 20p a go, if you’re interested.
Oh, and clearly the fashionable young ladies of the South West have decided that the animal print mini-skirt is over. There were dozens of the things on sale, none of them in my size, alas.
Here’s another picture of my Dad from my Grandma’s collection.
I love this one, because it’s so redolent of another bygone age of Britain. My father, a fresh-faced young man, newly employed by a paper company, looks very proper and gentlemanly. A blotter, as ubiquitous then as a computer is now, sits on his desk, ready for work. I can easily imagine an older gentleman, with a well-trimmed grey moustache and a pinstripe suit wandering in and saying “Ah, there you are, young Tinworth. Have you got the paperwork for the Moulton sale, yet?”
Just look at Dad’s grooming. The immaculately combed hair. The handkerchief carefully placed in the suit pocket. The clean, white shirt. Pity he spoiled it with too small a knot on his tie, which is pulling it slightly out of line. Still, my father was a bit of a dandy in his day and no mistake.
The picture above is a real piece of family history. Having the chance to look at, preserve and even publish this makes me very thankful for modern technology.
My uncle posted this and a large range of other old pictures to my Mum, as he was cleaning out Grandma’s old possessions. My Mum then quickly scanned this one to send me. Someone very dear to us both, and sadly no longer with us, is in the picture.
The picture is of my Dad (second from the right) and his mates in Port Said during the Suez Crisis back in 1956. It’s hard to imagine modern papers being quite this jingoistic.
I’m so glad Uncle Pat passed these on to us. Memories like this are precious and deserve to be preserved.
I’m not about to turn myself into a pundit. I have no interest in turning myself into an opinionated commentator on the world’s news. I won’t be able to resist doing it from time to time, of course, so it won’t be the thrust of the blog at all.
(Aside: just a though on the “blogs as journalism” argument. In many ways, journalists have made this argument possible. The growth of the ego-driven personal opinion column in magazines and newspapers over the last decade has made it an accepted form of journalism. What are blogs, but an electronic form of those? Certainly few blogs can claim the rigour of most investigative journalists, and precious view the form of a features writer like myself. But the opinion columnist? That’s a blogger alright.)