Calling a Spade a Spade

The press has been full of the story of ‘celebrity chef’ Antony Worrall Thompson stealing food from Tesco. I’m a bit weary of reading described  as ‘theft lite’ by couching the incident in euphemistic terms such as (from the Guardian yesterday) ‘snaffling’. He stole things that didn’t belong to him. End Of.

I’m very nearly a decade out of retailing, but ‘shop lifting’ still presses my buttons (even from Tesco!) You have to be a very committed reader to remember when I wrote about a similar experience. But the Worrall Thompson stuff has reminded me that I haven’t bloged about an ‘incident’*  in a ‘ leading high street pharmacy’

Joe and I were shopping, when I noticed something, not quite right about the young man in the aisle near the razor blades (one of the most stolen items) he was being very furtive, not really looking at the goods on display, but glancing around. It was all a bit odd, to me he had the jizz of a shoplifter.

Edge of Darkness 1

So I told a member of staff of what I’d seen. She thanked me profusely, and Joe and I continued our shopping, good citizen deed of the day done. Cut to ten minutes later when Joe and I are paying for our purchases at the till. The member of staff appears at my side, ‘I just thought I’d tell you’ she says ‘the gentleman you described, that you thought was a shop lifter. Err. Well. Err, actually,  the gentleman, he’s our store detective.’

The thaw 3-1

Over the Christmas break we went to one of our favourite beauty spots (where all the photos on this post are taken, at different times of the year) only to see that someone has stolen the bronze topography , presumably for its scrap value. Annoying.

Change in the  weather 4-1

At the top of the hill, huddled together against the gale that was blowing, we realised we were all standing in some recently scattered ashes, presumably human. Sorry.

Tomorrow, so I’m told the sun will shine and it will be bright and frosty; normal service will be resumed.

*something my family would describe as ‘one of Mums Miranda moments’

Don’t Buy It

We are more than a little cross and upset in this household. One of the more senior members of our family has been duped out of £120 by this  Internet Scam.

He was rung, out of the blue, the caller convinced him there were problems with his computer that could be fixed remotely. They led him to believe they were ringing on behalf of Microsoft, they weren’t. There were no problems to fix, they conned him out of £120 and goodness know what information  they have accessed by gaining remote access to his PC.  We’ve got him to unplug the PC and we are making arrangement to rebuild his PC for him.

I’ve mentioned before, we don’t like being conned, please spread the word on this, we know of others who have been approached. Grrrrrrrr!

This Evening

Spud the dog has eaten the disc from Joe’s new Xbox game (RRP £40) and  I’ve tipped a tray of  hot roast meat juices over my new jeans. *Sigh*

Here is a sunny autumn photo


On the plus side,

a replacement disc is available from manufactures, for £14.00 (but it’s not in stock for 6-8 weeks, with no mechanism for telling us when it is available, bar routinely ringing the ‘helpline’.)

Jeans are easier to fix than flesh.

I Think I’ll Stay at Home

Road works

Sadly, this list comes as no surprise,


Continue reading the main story

· A537 Macclesfield to Buxton – Cheshire/Derbyshire

· A5012 Pikehall to Matlock – Derbyshire

· A621 Baslow to Totley – Derbyshire/South Yorkshire

· A625 Calver to Sheffield – South Yorkshire

· A54 Congleton to Buxton – Derbyshire

· A581 Rufford to Chorley – Lancashire

· A5004 Whaley Bridge to Buxton – Derbyshire

· A675 Blackburn to Preston – Lancashire

· A61 Barnsley to Wakefield – South/West Yorkshire

· A285 Chichester to Petworth – West Sussex

Source: Road Safety Foundation

I’ve bloged about the topic before, its nothing new

The report said the A537 through the Peak District, known as the Cat and Fiddle, had severe bends, steep falls from the carriageway and was edged by dry-stone walls or rock face for almost all its length.

Stone walls, rock face, bends, steep falls; I struggle with why anyone would want to drive such roads fast, but I know they do.

Financial Year End

Just how beige can I make a blog post title? This has surely got to be the winner? It’s just that it’s that time of year again; when the local authorities are feverishly trying to spend their ‘use it or lose it’ budgets before the end of the financial year. It is as predictable as the flowering of the daffodils, you can see the signs.


There is always an out break of new footpath signs at this time of year, but this year the really noticeable spends are the installation of drop kerbs at junctions, I haven’t got a photo to show you, but they are ramped kerb stones, the idea being that they are much easier to negotiate for the disabled or anyone pushing a buggy or pushchair.  It is a fine and noble (not to mention practical) thing to spend public money on I’m just a bit perplexed as to why our local authority are installing them on stretches of roads so isolated that they might see one pedestrian a fortnight, when out side the local doctors surgery, next to the disabled parking bays, there is not a drop kerb insight. Day in, day out the frail, elderly, disabled and parents with sick and fractious children struggle with high kerbs and pot holed surfaces, whilst out on the hill roads, where field tracks come down to the road, there are some very nice new kerbstones for the curlews to look at.

All I ask is a little prioritisation please. But I suppose I shouldn’t  have written this rant as a blog post, just a letter to the council, maybe it’s me, I’m the one that should prioritise.  Oh dear, never mind here are some pretty leaves.

Spring growth

Thankless Task

I’ve often thought being a local councillor must be a bit of a thankless task, for one thing  I suspect you never get a moments peace, that you are never seen as ‘off duty’ and that you probably can’t put a foot in the village on a Saturday morning, to buy so much as a pound of streaky bacon , without being besieged by constituents wanting to bend you ear on anything and everything from the amount of dog poo in the park, extortionate  parking charges at the leisure centre, global warming or the war in Afghanistan, anything goes, your a public face and therefore public property.

Scoop and run

We have some steady workers on our local parish and borough councils; of many political persuasions and some independents too, for good measure, my experience has been that they have been both approachable and proactive (and in the case of the felling of ‘memorial tree’ by borough council employees, they took no prisoners either.) I hope they get the recognition they deserve, however down in Bournemouth, councillor Ben Grower obviously thought he deserved a little more praise than he was getting.

A councillor came under fire today for using a pseudonym to praise his own work.

Ben Grower posted comments under several aliases on the Daily Echo’s website.

But the newspaper in Bournemouth, Dorset, decided to name and shame the councillor after he posted praise for himself under the name Omegaman.

In one post about plans to build Europe’s first artificial surf reef in Boscombe, the Labour councillor wrote: “At least two councillors seem to be concerned about this mess. Well done Cllrs Ratcliffe and Grower.”

When exposed by the local newspaper he was unrepentant

I have done nothing against the law and probably next time I will just use a different pseudonym.”

When asked if his approach was appropriate given his public role, he was quoted as saying members of other parties did the same.

Nice chap eh? just the sort of person you want in public office.


We wanted snow (well the boys were very keen) but what we got was sleet and slush, at first light the house was plastered with mushy snow and  sleet was  bowling across the fields, not nice to venture out in, but  no justifiable reason not too turn out for work and school.* Joe was gutted he’d psyched himself up to a school free day and a bit of sledging. I’ve deadline to meet, so I’ll just re-post one of my favourite chicken snaps, from earlier this year, one of the white leghorns, who is not as white as she likes to think she is.

white chicken in snow

*sorry, I’m not going out to take any photos, you’ll just have to take my word for it, it’s unpleasant.

Hard Day’s Night


Hard days night 

Dusk was falling as I drove home from work, the light really was this strange shade of  blue, like annealed steel, a cold sort of blue.

Hard days night 3

the farmer had just been out to feed the sheep, the crows scavenged, the ground is too frozen to leaver out juicy worms.

Hard days night 2

The main roads are gritted, and free flowing, minor roads and exposed routes need treating with respect.

Cold overnight; snow, blizzard conditions forecast for tomorrow night.

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It’s strange what thoughts come to mind, when you disengage the brain, knock it out of gear and leave ticking over for a while. I was standing by this river, listening and watching the tumbling water, contemplating you might say; when the topic of algebra leapt into my mind, it wasn’t a welcome thought.

When I was at school we had (to my mind at least) a truly terrifying maths teacher, I lived in fear of coming to his attention for you would be marked out, there would be no escape from his shouting or his scathing sarcasm his manner rendered me like a rabbit caught in the glare of car head lights, I would simply freeze in his presence, hardly conducive to learning anything let alone algebra. This teacher had a good stock of standard phrases and put downs, (as well as a keen eye for throwing board rubbers and chalk, kids today don’t know they are born……etc etc) one of his stock lines was that if you got your ‘signs wrong’ in algebra you would be ‘doomed’ and that you would  ‘end your days standing on the Thames embankment contemplating throwing yourself into the cold grey waters.’

At school I never did get the hang of algebra and when I went ‘back to school’ a few years ago the subject  of algebra reared it’s ugly head, at least this time I was able to explain that as a dyslexic, algebra simply ‘does my head in.’ I explained to my tutor.

  • Algebra has the added disadvantage, in that incorporates letters and numerals (a bit like mixing your drinks gives you the worst hangover!) but certain letters combinations cause more confusion than others.
  • mxn, looks like a flock of migrating birds.
  • XxX, a chain link fence!
  • bxd, mirror images are a challenge, so that rules out pxq as well

Second time round, I still didn’t fall for the charms of algebra, but it didn’t matter because by then I’d discovered psychology, sociology and creative writing; so now  I stand on the embankment contemplating the cold grey waters, but not for the reasons predicted by my maths teacher circa 1973



Shards of splintered slate at Honister Slate Mine

Whilst this blog has been wallowing in the visual delights of the Lake district for the last couple of weeks and I’ve been darting around the countryside trying to be in three places at once (only three, how unusual; my friends will be thinking.) I’ve neglected to post a link to this blog, Noddy linked to it days a go, saying

The point the video makes and one that hit home was that making snap judgements without investigating properly can seriously discriminate against those with conditions they would not wish upon their own worst enemies.

Reading this post about self harm this morning has reminded me to pull my finger out and get posting. So please take a few moments to look at the video clip (and beautifully crafted it is too)

it’s important and you can read more about the issue of self harm here at the website of Harmless, who offer resources for people who self harm: because life isn’t always as pretty as a picture.