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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Open Day at Offputting Manor

Maddy always says these open days are necessary to be part of the community but I dread the hoi pelloi tramping all over the damn lawn.

Anyway, I left Maddy and the staff to it, retreating to my favourite local, The Surfeit of Lamprey to see if any of my old chums were about.  I was delighted to see that two old Warboys men, Nigel Snipe-Razzel and Jeremy Enjoyse-Silk were propping up the bar, talking with none other than my erstwhile brother-in-law, Henry Treadsoftly.

"What Ho!" I exclaimed, reverting to the Warboys greeting. Nigel raised a hand and waved me over.
"What do you think about this fellow, Nigel Toofar?"  he asked.
"What? The leader of those UKGIP fellows?" I replied, "I think the man is a cad. Not that I'm against stepping away from Europe a bit but he'd go back to shooting foreigners for stepping on the lawn in Parliament square unless they were white anglicans. I mean, one has to live in the modern age, don't you know.  It's one thing to chase loiterers off your lawn with a twelve bore but quite another thing to go around insulting everyone who doesn't have a public school accent and seven generations who fought for the country."

"I thought you might be in favour, old boy" Jeremy said, mockingly. "After all, you told me that you were in favour of going after trespassers with a croquet mallet."

"You'll notice that I didn't distinguish their class or background. That Toofar fellow is just what we don't need.  Facist politics in the guise of middle class acceptability.  That's how that damned  painter got to run Germany back in the thirties."

Henry was nodding all the time. A very middle of the road sort of chap, Henry.  My overbearing sister, Hilderbrande will tell him whom he is to vote for at the next election, of course.
"Where is Hildebrande, today?" I asked, changing the subject.  I knew if he was having a pint, she wouldn't be at home otherwise he would have other tasks.
"Oh, gone up to town with Daisy D'Ayzee to see one of those Geoffrey Overblown-Blythe pieces. Daisy is the new chairperson of the Much Vexing Ladies Music Society"
I nodded.

"Henry deplores Toofar and all his cronies"  Nigel Snipe-Razel added. "Personally, I was rather interested in what he had to say.  He speaks for many who are too afraid to say what they really think."

I agree with the De Grincheux" Jeremy said, lazily, wafting an arm as if in one of his stage appearances, "the man is not to be trusted."

"Mark my words" I said, taking a long pull on my pint of Cardinal's Disgrace, "if we don't start acting like one society, there'll be more trouble and violence resulting from support for parties like that. They stir resentment and create division. This can be a peaceful and joyous nation. If everyone sees the benefits of enjoying an Englishman's lifestyle, has a bit of property, a garden and talks to his and her neighbours, we'd get on fine.  It's not that hard."

Monday, 11 February 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Blizzmas

Whether Persephone forgot her handbag and had to drop back to Hades to get it or whether this is the tail end of the weather that just hit the U.S, this has to be one of the latest snow drops that I can remember. We laughed on Sunday when we saw severe weather warnings flashing on the M1. It was four degrees with a little light rain. Waking this morning to over four inches of the white stuff was a little surprising but not unexpected given it had begun to settle last night and the sky was full of snow. 

And so, a few days before Valentines and a day before Shrove Tuesday, this is how things looked at mid-morning.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

From ....Offputting Manor
Dashed inconvenience this freezing of the inheritance tax, you know.  I was down at the Surfeit of Lamprey talking with our near neighbour, The Colonel (that's Col. J. Arthur Somewhat-Vague for those of you not already familiar with the residents of Hogenroast Malpractice.) was fretting about what will happen when he tries to pass on Crumbleigh Towers to his eldest while still trying to preserve the family silver and, of course, the hunting lodge in Kenya. 

And it's not just us nobs that are likely to suffer, you know.  There's plenty of ordinary people who've paid their tax once over, already and would like to hand on what they worked hard to put together to their families. So why do we have to pay tax again on what we bought with wages that have already been stripped down by those ghastly fellows at the HMRC as they call themselves these days? 

The Colonel soon descended into his cups and I left him mumbling something about his collection of cricket bats that were used in test matches before 1923 but I did agree the point.  Perhaps it is time we put pen to paper and contacted our MP. 

I'll mention it to Maddy. (She writes all the letters for our house).  Just as well I didn't sell some of the manor house land for them to build a golf course on.  I wonder if that means the family membership to the old course counts as a benefit.... It's enough to make the old Baronet, my ancestor, Lord Hugh De Grincheaux turn in his grave.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Offputting Manor

If you want to read the backposts from Offputting Manor in the village of Hogenroast Malpractice, you can find them at Offputting Manor

Why is it always Egg Mayo? (Review)

Review:  Burston Cafe nr St Albans

We used to drop in and eat, regularly at Burston Nurseries. Usually, it was just coffee and something light on a weekend lunchtime and occasionally in the week.

For various reasons, we haven't been in a while so today, we stopped on our way back from a wander around.  There were new menus. It looked like it might be promising but oh dear... we were so wrong.

Fancying a toasted sandwich each, we noted that you could have three fillings for £4.45 but I wanted just egg mayonnaise.  "How much, just for egg mayonnaise?", I asked, expecting it to be the same or maybe 10p more than the standard sandwich. "£4.45", answered the lady behind the cafe bar, cheerfully.  So, I may as well have three fillings, I thought. OK, for once, I will compromise and pay the extra, have some bacon and tomato with that.  Oh and I'll add the bowl of chips for £1.50 on that offer.

Imagine my dismay when the sandwich arrived and the bread was so thin it was nearly see-through, the packing sparse to the point that it had once been introduced to some egg mayonnaise but after shaking hands, all that was left was a smear.... It was hardly cooked and although the chips were nice, the usual small side salad and crisps had been removed as the chips were a replacement not an addition... Our other sandwich did come with a small handful of salad and crisps so we could see just how much we had missed... Not much. 

We won't be back to eat again until we see some change while on our visits to the nursery for plants.  I hope we are not the only customer to walk away. Places like this need to stop believing in their own infallibility. It seems every time we look into a cafe or coffee shop, these days, the prices have gone up again but sadly, the quality is at best, the same as before.  In this case, the prices were most definitely up and the quality, well, you have the idea if you read this note.

I will just say - Burston's....I wouldn't waste strong condemnation. I will just say we are disappointed.  I hope you understand what that means.  

Benington - A Lordship

Benington - Herts
If you are in the area and want to take a stroll around an archetypal English county village, you might want to try Benington sometime. The old village centre is the place to start. You can park on the road or by the village hall. Start at the lovely old church nestling amongst some wonderful old trees and take a wander around the footpaths that circle the village.

There's The Lordship, too, if you want to go in and view what remains. In late January/early February, the lawns are adorned with snowdrops as are most of the nearby banks in the village.  People travel from afar to see the snowdrops in flower.  For birdwatchers, there are usually a good range of our field and woodland birds to be seen. One of our rarer finches are sometimes around the churchyard in Winter.

The best way to get there is off the Stevenage - Ware road.   Google Map


So let's get a couple of things straight before we get started, ok?  Firstly, I am not a grumpy old man all the time.  Secondly, I am even known to be full of delight.  Just not so often, that's all. 

Still want to read my reviews, comment and observations?  So don't complain to me if they aren't all uplifting.

For those who have followed Offputting Manor, previously, service, such as it is, will be resumed here. If and when the squire can be bothered. ;)