Jamaica Inn or out?

Well the BBC’s much vaunted period drama, Jamaica Inn has drawn quite a bit of criticism of late but it’s not only the poor sound that is disappointing – I think the whole thing is rotten.

The whole thing is overplayed in a bad attempt to create an atmosphere of evil and wrongdoing but it has badly misfired. The script is awful as well. I’ve never read the book (yet) but I’m sure this isn’t anything like du Maurier’s classic. Maybe somebody can enlighten me further?

I have however, been a couple of times to the actual Inn. In my youthful naivety, I was disappointed not to see some real Cornish Smugglers but happy to see the parrot. I shan’t be watching the third episode along with a few others I think.

Pleasant Plucked Pheasant

Well Easter is upon us and an excuse to catch up on many things such as sleep, rest and decorating but I marked Easter Sunday with having the family round to enjoy my carefully prepared Pheasant Casserole.

I had acquired the aforesaid birds in a “village trade” and they didn’t come nicely plucked and wrapped in cling film. Instead I had to pluck and gut the birds and freeze them until I could use them up. As it was I had a panic on as I had some much meat, I had to use two casseroles dishes. I’ve ended up freezing one of them as we had too much even for 8 people.

I have to say that I have never eaten pheasant until this year but this recipe was well worth it. It produces a stronger flavour than chicken but is richer and very luxurious. You do need a good red with it.

It went down well with the family anyway so I was pleased that the effort wasn’t wasted.

Today me and Major Orton have been for a bike ride around the environs on Bilstonia and popped in to the Pyle Cock in Wednesfield as I was short of energy. Two pints of Banks’s sorted that out! However, 6 months off the bike have taken their toll  – I’m really creaking!

The Great Sporting Weekend

You have to admit, FA Cup semi-final weekend is one of the great Sporting weekends of the year and this 2014 was one of the best. Arsenal made the Final -v- Hull City after a lacklustre display but Hull deserved their place after League 1 Sheffield United gave them a real fright having twice led. One of the best games I have seen in years and Sheffield only undone by Hull having more power at the right time through better fitness. The romance of the FA Cup can only be enhanced by this game.

And now for the Final; will it be Wengers last game?

The other great sporting event over the weekend was The Masters won by “Blubber” Watson. Well deserved though as he played some great scrambling golf to in by 3 shots. I can’t say anything about the London marathon as I find athletes such a pretentious bunch it does my head in. Its the same with cycling. I really enjoy Le Tour and La Vuelta but lately I’ve seen quite a number of ridiculously dressed middle aged blokes poncing about on expensive bikes thinking they are the next Bradley Wiggins. I was really refreshing yesterday to see a chap in normal attire bombing up our local hill on a cheap bike. Same exercise but without all the unnecessary paraphernalia that you don’t need to enjoy the sport. And get some great exercise.

These Sporting moments are a run up to the summer – in years past the Boat Race and the Grand National have all been in on the act as well, but sunnier weather, lighter nights all point towards easier living and no hiding in the house! Time to get in the garden, take a walk and get on the bike!

Goal 7000

I was present at a little bit of history on Saturday as I witnessed Jamie Murphy score Sheffield United’s 7000th League goal in the 1-1 draw with Leyton orient in an entertaining game, especially the second half.

The United fans are quite good compared to some others I could mention. They also have this tradition of singing a version of “Annie’s Song” to their own twisted verses relating to a Saturday night in the City ending up with a chip butty. You can here it here:

That was one of the highlights of a good weekend to see Mr Five pints in his Sheffield castle, the match followed of course by 5 pint of beer and a good curry. We did a few pubs but I particularly liked the Broomhill Tavern.

Not helped by the traffic, I have spent a lot of time driving this weekend but it’s been well worth it and many thanks to The Frenchman for his hospitality.

Target Tirpitz

This is a good book about the efforts to sink Bismarck‘s sister ship. The battleship posed a real danger to Britain in WWII and this book is well researched and covers the subject in just enough depth. It is also well written and easy to read – I managed it in two weeks unlike Gladstone which the first half has taken me three months and requiring the Oxford English Dictionary to be nearby.

This ship is the basis for many “what-if” wargames and as such demands to be read as there are so many games that could be played based on handling it differently. As it was, Hitler kept it cooped up in Norway threatening but little else. The Royal Navy really had to keep two large capital ships to tackle it and usually a fleet carrier as well – assets that could have been better deployed elsewhere. For the Germans, it sucked up large resources but its arguable if it did help their war effort by tying up enemy assets.

It shows what a threat the Tirpitz was, especially in the mind of Winston Churchill – you could argue he was obsessed by it. Serving on the ship was something of a doddle in the early part of the war, but in the latter days, it was like the Bismarck, a steel tomb waiting to consume it’s crew. Over 900 died when 617 squadron bombed it to destruction with Tallboys delivered by Lancasters.



Ark Royal

This is a book about the most famous Aircraft Carrier in WWII. It’s well written and draws from many sources, most notably from some of the remaining survivors left who served on the ship at that time.

One of the things I enjoyed about it was the journey Rossiter undertook to find the wreck, with the help of some of the biggest underwater survey companies and also the philanthropists from the computer industry. So hats off to them.

The Ark Royal was one of Britain’s biggest naval assets and was heavily utilised in the war although only for three years. Considering it’s main armament was a “Stringbag”, it’s impact on the naval war was enormous.  It was also a very big ship in size and was the Nazi’s Number One target.

A fascinating read and well worth getting out of the library.

A Mess

Well that was the state of my clothes this morning after an afternoon with The Stymaster and Mistress and Sublime Product in the Great Western with a couple of our friends.

Good time though.

The Ides of March

Always an important point in the year  as it’s my Mom’s Birthday the day after and as a result, it’s been very busy this weekend.

For a start off, we had to arrange the Birthday treats which involved a trip to B & Q driven by my Neice (!!) who did very well. That safely negotiated, Saturday involved an early start as my Window man turned up to change the rather awful Bathroom window which has been blowing a gale through it all winter. Whilst he was messing about with that, I painted the fence so that’s the bad job in the garden out of the way.

In the evening I turned roadie for Duffer’s band, but as the rhythm section gave me a lift, I could enjoy The Dogs of Doom to a nice pint of Doombar, which went down well.

Sunday gave the family to enjoy a bit of the exotic as we went for dinner at The Fox at Shipley - Zebra burgers all round. A strange meat is Zebra, not quite tasted anything like it before but as there is the whole range of African animals up for sampling, there is time to find out the most interesting, should I find myself in Africa anytime. The pub does suffer from the “Black Country-mon” syndrome, maybe because it is a big Wolves pub, despite its attempts to go up-market. It is very busy and very popular though. A good end to Mrs. Buckets 76th though.


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