Claridges, Puffins & Pick Ups – Week 18 : 2018

May 16, 2018

With TV personalities Ben Turnbull and Stephen Fry going public on their battle with prostrate cancer it is something that crosses the mind of all men of a certain age. In fact a dear ex-brother in law has been dealing with this challenge for some time. Like most readers then I can think of at least 5 other friends with the condition. So when urinary issues arise and you feel should go to the doctor it is not the happiest event. I trooped in and despite reassurance that the tests for prostrate cancer and possible diabetes were precautions then I went through a difficult 10 days before I sat in front of him again to hear the results. The upshot was that I was fine as regards the big questions. Some things had changed and pills were prescribed. Frankly I’m not sure if I’ll take the pills as I’m just so damn glad that I’m as well as I am. As everyone says then you need to be vigilant and pro-active about these matters. You do.

I don’t have much affection for small animals (although I did enjoy my daughters when they were under three foot tall) yet I am grateful to puffins. The present Mrs Ives is very sniffy about a ride in the Morgan. The lure of the wind in her hair, a country pub and the admiring glances from all and sundry doesn’t overcome the cramped space, the nigh on yoga position to exit the car or the absence of suspension. However the Yorkshire chapter of the Morgan Sports Car Club circulated details on a trip to Bempton on the East Coast to have a spot of lunch and view various birdies: she was very enthusiastic. Heaven forbid there aren’t any there.

My Southern daughter has an expensive taste in champagne. Despite celebrating her birthday with Prosecco I was despatched by my first wife to Waitrose, with the Favourite Eldest Daughter (FED), to buy a ‘proper drink’. Bollinger was on offer. Unsurprisingly it was sold out by the time we reached the aisle and so we selected some Pol Roger at the discounted (!) price of £37.50. Of course you know that it was Winston Churchill’s favourite champagne. If it’s good enough fro Winnie then it was good enough for FED.

She does dip in her pocket on occasion and with her sister (FYD) she took her mother and I to afternoon tea at Claridges. It is a truly delightful setting with attentive service where seemingly nothing is too much trouble. There were endless sandwiches and cakes as well as a glass or two of champagne (again!). This was our second visit and it was as wonderful as before and I expect it won’t be our last trip either.

What’s the fuss over a Blue passport? Who doesn’t have one (or a cravate)?

Steve Jessney of Nothin’ But The Blues fame on Vixen 101 had a spare ticket for a gig in Hull and we went across for a splendid blues night with Ian Siegal. I was stood there thinking that I should be making notes on the artist and then submitting the copy to The Americana Music Show or Country Music People but I decided to have the night off. With his whiskey and cigarette voice he worked his way through a brilliant set with some fabulous guitar playing by his sideman, Dusty Ciggaar. He’s toured the UK many times and opined that the towns he had visited over the years had changed. Some of the rougher towns such as Liverpool, Belfast and Hull were now gentrified in their appearance. I think he was a little rueful and so was I.

Pick ups? As a man who likes the odd Country Music song then maybe I should be happy about the increasing number of pick ups trundling through our city centres? I’m just bemused at their UK popularity. They have minimal practicality and fuel efficiency. As regards having useful storage facility then they are limited and the space is exposed. (In North America, in the summer, when it rains then an hour later it’s dry and anything you put in the back isn’t damaged or stolen. In the UK this is hardly the case). The size is inappropriate for UK roads and parking bays. Yes, they are bright and shiny and go like hell but to think that there are some tax advantages for the tradesman who is showing off with a fast lorry for his weekend shopping is infuriating. At the moment the choice is limited but if every sparky or farmer buys one then the manufacturers will launch a wider choice, reduce prices and we’ll have more of these things. In the USA the most profitable vehicle Ford sell is their F-150 pick up. You’ve been warned.

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