Sunday, 18 April 2010


You would not believe the number of times I've tried to publish this blog!

My first failed attempt was in my favourite coffee house, Moksha's Caffe. I re-tried at home and almost succeeded but then the internet crashed. Hopefully it'll be third time lucky. So, hello and phew. Lovely to see you. I hope you had a splendid Easter and are enjoying the sunshine by day and planet Venus at night.

Here in the Independent Republic, we're out on foot, bike or boat and thus far, have not been invaded by rosette clad candidates. Neither posters nor election leaflets have dropped on the mat and my voting slip's gone astray. Across the footbridge, they're getting into the swing of things with a hustings at the Shoreham Centre on 26th April. It starts at 7pm, finishes at 10.00pm and all the main candidates will be there.

As it looks as though Spring has truly arrived, I'd like to talk about the Cuckoo. I say talk, because down here we'll hear a rocking horse neigh before we hear a Cuckoo. Fortunately David Attenborough has recorded it and whilst you enjoy that, I'll focus on two facts. Firstly that in flight, this dumpy, striped bird can be confused with a Kestral or Sparrowhawk, come again? Secondly, that the Cuckoo has captured the world's imagination for centuries.

Aristotle, (384 - 322 B.C), thought that the Cuckoo should be praised for its' resourcefulness; Aristophanes, (446-386 B.C), first coined the phrase "cloud-cuckoo-land" in his play "The Birds"; in Celtic mythology the call of the Cuckoo is believed to beckon the souls of the dead; in Tibetan tradition the Cuckoo is considered the king of the birds endowed with magical powers; it's a common Lithuanian folk belief that a Cuckoo can foretell the future; and Bach, Delius and Handel were some of the composers influenced by its' distinctive call.

In England, there are many traditions surrounding ones' response to the first Cuckoo. In Dartmoor, the correct form is to run to the nearest gate and sit on the top bar to drive away the spirit of laziness. In Sussex, it's to go and drink its' health straight away. For obvious reasons, Shoreham Beach hasn't acquired any traditions, but there's no need to feel left out. The Cuckoo Trail, in East Sussex, Heffle Cuckoo Fair and the Laughton Fayre welcomes everyone.

Ta-ra for now. Thanks for popping by and see you soon.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

" You'll only do it once."

Hello and welcome to my blog. Nice to see you again.

I'm not going to keep you long because the sun's out and I don't want you to miss it.

Apparently we shouldn't be too gloomy about the weather because we're more likely to get snow at Easter than Christmas anyway. Whilst statistically that may be true, it's not really the point. Snow at Christmas is pretty and festive. If it shows up at Easter, it's a bit of a party pooper. So Mr/s Weathermen instead of sharing the statistics tell it as it is; it's a real pain in the butt and look miserable whilst you're at it.

Talking of misery, I've abandoned my intention to explain a nautical term a week in favour of something more pressing; a warning. WARNING: Don't fill a diesel car with petrol.

First time around, you'll be met with a sympathetic smile or story about the time they once did it. At some point you'll cheerfully be told, "you'll only do it once," and you'll eagerly nod in agreement.

Second time around is a whole different ball game. Financially it's still an own goal, but emotionally, it's a tad more complex. There are four stages before you reach acceptance; shock, disbelief, denial, and self-reproach. Humiliation comes when you have to go public. And you have to, I'm afraid, unless you can manage without a car. Before you open your mouth, prepare yourself for expressions of incredulity and intrigue. Don't be fooled by assurances that it could happen to anyone and God help you if want to be taken seriously for the next 24 hours. It won't wash because you're now officially an idiot. The AA man knows it, the mechanic knows it and your neighbours know it. Best go into self-imposed exile for a while and trawl through your bank statements identifying "efficiency savings". Failing that, check the use buy dates on your cans because you may not be able to afford fresh food for a while.

Third time around, sell the car.

I'll sign off now as I want to take a quick look at the sun before I continue trawling through our bank statements.

Have a wonderful Easter and see you next week.