Pic on the Beach

You know when you go through your camera roll to delete pictures of crap to make space for photos of more crap? I do it regularly, by the end of the year my camera roll is a distilled stream of snapshots of memorable moments through the year.
 This pic is probably the most poignant for me. It’s a pic of me on West Wittering beach. Debs took it on Sunday 5th of October. It was Deb’s idea to get the bus to the beach and go for a walk. I’d spent the previous 2 weeks worrying myself sick about losing Miss Somerset, Debs wanted me to think about something else for a couple of hours. It didn’t work, all I wanted to do was talk about what I could do to fix things, what words I could say to make it work. It was so hard because I didn’t know what went wrong. It’s difficult to find a solution when you don’t know what the problem is.
 When I wasn’t thinking about Miss Somerset I was worrying about Mum, it was becoming obvious that she was losing her life to that cancer bastard and each visit to the hospice was getting more difficult to see her.
 The following week both situations came to their conclusion. I look at this pic and reminded of how helpless I felt at the time, how I was constantly sighing, what a ball of worry I was. I think for this week alone 2014 can go fuck itself.
 I look alone in this picture but of course I wasn’t, I was with a friend and it was friends that got me through that shit of a few weeks, so thank you friends.
 Let’s have a great 2015, that would be nice. Happy new year everyone.


My family favourite potato (Maris Piper) recipes – Competition Entry


This post is an entry for #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge (http://bit.ly/185Gtlv) sponsored by Potato Council for Potato Week 7 – 13 October, celebrating the varieties of potatoes and how we like to eat them. Learn more and find recipes at http://www.lovepotatoes.co.uk

My family favourite potato recipes:

1. Mashed Potatoes.

Simply buy some lovely Maris Piper potatoes, peel them with a knife or a something I use is a ‘potato peeler’. Chop them up into pieces about the size of a golf ball, or a squash ball if you don’t have a golf ball handy. Put the chopped potatoes in a kettle and boil the kettle for about 20 minutes. If your kettle switches off once boiled keep pressing the button. After 20 minutes drain the water remembering to keep it for a lovely refreshing potato juice drink which can be enjoyed later. Remove the potatoes and mash them up real bad. I use something called a potato masher, but you can use a rolling pin on just hit them with a book or something else that is quite heavy like a shoe. Enjoy your mashed potato with a nice glass of wine or a can of strong lager.

2. Jacket Potatoes.

Jacket potatoes are really easy, much easier than mashed potatoes because no peeling is required or mashing actually. Buy some Maris Piper lovely potatoes and put them in the oven. Tip: Turn the oven on. After about an hour remove the potatoes from the oven. Be careful because they will be a real hot potato haha! Put the potatoes on a plate and enjoy all the potatoey goodness. You can use a knife and fork but I like to use my hands like a feral pig. Some people like to put toppings on their jacket potatoes like cheese and beans or chilli con carne. I like to top my jacket potato with a slightly smaller jacket potato, I love jacket potatoes that much.



Whenever someone tells me they are moving house one of the first questions I always ask is “So what’s your local going to be?” I’m generally more interested to hear about the pub than talk about what plans they might have to knock down walls or put a bedroom in the loft. Yawn off and tell me about the pub!

The other day when I was on a bastard replacement bus service we passed the White Swan in Bosham. The last time I saw it, it looked like this.

Whenever I see a boarded up pub it makes me sad. I’m a sentimental turd and I can’t help myself but think of the memories the old place would have; the laughter between mates; old regulars chatting at the bar; couples meeting on a first date; the sound of jackpot pound coins ejecting from the fruity. I feel sad for the building, even if I didn’t even ever get to know it, like it was an actual living thing. A pub is a bit like a living thing and the life inside it changes with the people who run it. A pub has a personality and character that shifts in time.

For the 15 years I’ve lived in Chichester I’ve had several locals. My first was The Hole In The Wall. It’s an old pub. There’s a stone in the pub “1742”. It amazes that if you were born in 1742, grew old and snuffed it at 80, 3 times the pub would still there, still serving pints. This pub has changed personality since I’ve been here. At lunchtime it used to be like an old peoples’ home serving up manky buffet lunches with smelly overcooked veg, now it’s more of a Sky sports and sambucca pub but still remains a good old reliable boozer.

For 5 years The Four Chesnuts was like my front room, I lived just across the road. I had so many good nights with great friends playing pool, darts and the quizzer, it was a really splendid time of my life. I returned for a pint this week and it was absolutely dead. It made me so sad. I don’t know if I was just being nostalgic, longing for happier times but part of me actually felt sad for the building. Like an old lady who used love dancing and is now struggling to walk.

Me and my ex-ex-ex girlfriend Claudia used to like to going to the Hogshead on South Street to play Hangman on the quiz machine, chasing the £20 top prize, we were gutted when it closed. Soon it re-opened as Trents and it is now one of the best places to go in Chichester. A generic student pub metamorphosed into the place that everyone goes to. The staff are always welcoming and friendly, great food, brilliantly managed. The only thing I don’t like about it is the hand dryer in the gents; it’s shit.

My local for the last 3 years has been the Park Tavern, looking over the beautiful Priory Park, I always yearned for it to be a good pub. For 10 years it was truly crap. I went in once with my mate James for a pint, the only sounds we could hear was a ticking clock and some old boy wheezing as he turned the page on his Telegraph. Jason & Jill arrived and resuscitated it back to life. The pub smiles again like it should. On August bank holiday Sunday I sat on the curb opposite with friends and took this pic of “Prince” George, the resident British bulldog waving from the window. I felt like I was in the best place in England.

I move into my new little scruffy house in Chichester on Monday and I’ll have a new local. If it’s a bit crap I’m lucky because in Chichester everything is 10 minutes away so it won’t stop me visiting these lovely and delicious pubs. If you visit Chichester you must visit one or all of them.

There’s a happy ending to my story. As I passed the White Swan on the bus I was surprised to see that it’s reopened. I’ve never been in it before but I hope it does well and lots of people have lots of happy times inside.

In the 15 years that I’ve lived in Chichester I’ve seen 4 pubs close and that makes me really sad. Pubs are part of being British. Pubs are brilliant. Let’s all go down the pub.

About last night… @5urvey

So there’s this @5urvey twitter account. It’s a lovely idea managed by friend and local resident of the Shire called @RoOkin. This day last year I went to his wedding when he married @Spallerina. Last night we fell out, live on Twitter. Here’s why…

The @5urvery Twitter account is a lovely idea and sometimes 500+ people take part. It sometimes offers really interesting insights into how people think.

Unfortunately sometimes @5urvey has been used by trolls to post anonymous crap. I can remember the first controversial thing @5urvey posted was something to do with the ex-England footballer John Barnes. When I first read it I laughed, then someone pointed out that if what was written wasn’t true then potentially it is libellous. This worried me and I text @RoOkin advising him that he should moderate posts before publishing them or he could get himself into legal trouble.

As @5urvey grew in popularity it attracted more and more internet saddos to post offensive stuff which hurt people’s feelings, including the creator @RoOkin, someone said they wanted to “set him on fire”. This obviously upset him, so has experienced first hand what threatening behaviour feels like. Fortunately for Russell he was strong enough to deal with this abuse, others may not be.

Someone then posted something about another tweeter. “Shall I tell his wife that he’s been messaging my wife” Again, this may or not be true. This worried me. I again text @RoOkin advising him that he should moderate posts. He made enquires with the PocketPoll app but nothing has changed in the months that have passed.

After ‘Moatup’ (A big tweet up) @5urvey became an open message bored for gossip about what went on. People hinted that some people slept with other people (who are married). It wouldn’t be difficult for someone to put 2 and 2 together and make 5.

Then I heard yesterday that someone else was really shook up this week by yet another threatening post. There have probably been many more examples of cruel and hurtful things that people have said. I stopped looking a while ago because I found it a depressing dark corner of Twitter.

Considering I’d, on at least 2 separate occasions, made the effort to advise @RoOkin that he needs to moderate posts and hasn’t reacted I lost my patience. I Tweeted @5urvey my own survey which you can see on my timeline. I’m not the only person to have recommended to Russell directly that he should make efforts to moderate what he posts. Russell is a nice bloke and other people care for him and don’t want to see him get into trouble or hurt people’s feelings. Russell has made efforts to moderate, which I know is difficult, but I don’t believe it has been managed consistently, hence threatening comments still being published.

I also tweeted “It’s difficult to argue with a sociopathic bellend” I since deleted that tweet because it’s not true. I’m sorry that caused offence. I didn’t mean it. However, I do think @5urvey offers a platform for people to be anonymously hurtful and not taking the responsibility to moderate these posts is very anti-social. I found it frustrating that this is still happening.

I don’t think for people to dismiss my concerns with “@5urvey is just a bit of fun” or “If you don’t like it, don’t do it”. I don’t like it anymore and I don’t do it, but this doesn’t stop someone anonymously writing something threatening or cruel about me, you, or someone we care for.

I didn’t go about this the right way, I was a bit of a dick, I’m sorry I upset Russell and Sally. I didn’t realise it was their wedding anniversary until after the spat. I truly hope they have a lovely day.

Bald is beautiful?

My Dad is a baldie. For as long as I can remember he had a ‘Bobby Charlton’ going on. He used to keep a comb in his back pocket and comb over a long bit of hair from the side of his head over the top. It looked silly, especially in the wind. I can remember the day we cut it off, it was about a foot long. He looked so much better afterwards.

I always said to myself that If I ever started losing my hair I’d shave it off. Well I lied. From about the age of 25 my hairline has slowly slipped towards the back of my neck. To disguise this, numerous hairdressers and I have conspired to create a terrible illusion. I did what my Dad did but in a different way. My Dad grew a bit of hair from the side and combed it over, I grew a bit of hair from the top of my head and carefully laid it forward. This illusion was destroyed in the slightest of breezes. This is why I’m always seen wearing a hat. Wind was not my friend.

So a month ago, après snowboarding my friend (a confident tall baldy) gave me a grade 1 all over and I hated it. I was hoping I’d look like Jason Statham but instead I looked like I was ill. I was really hoping I’d look at bit tougher, like that bloke in Prison Break, but no. I think it was such a shock because I’d gone from sort of looking like I had some hair to looking like I obviously had no hair.

Only a handful of people have seen my new look since I’ve fuzzed it off and people’s reactions have been disappointing. “Christ you’re a bald bastard aren’t you!”, “I never thought you should have shaved it.”, “Why don’t you grow it back to how it was?” People can be so cruel.

Over the last 3 weeks I’ve been growing it back, more as an experiment to see what happened. What happened was terrible. Last night I got a little mirror and looked at the back of my head. What I saw was a thick band of hair growing the back of my head. I showed my friend Dangerous Matt and said “Look, at this!” and he said, “That’s quite bad.” I looked like a young Willie Thorne. (This is a bad thing)

I got Dangerous Matt to clipper the thick ring of tragedy and blend it in to the balding thin bit above. Dangerous Matt doesn’t have any previous hair dressing experience but I think he did a good job. I obviously look like a massive slaphead and need to accept the fact that light will bounce off my head forever and blind you in the eyes. Maybe one day I will but for the moment I’m keeping my hat on. Bald isn’t beautiful. It’s shit.

Speech for Granddad

For those who don’t know me, my name is Richard and I want to say a few words in memory of my Granddad on behalf of his grandsons.

David Martin was a remarkable man. One that inspired me greatly. His broad range of interests, and his happy and positive demeanour made him a lovely person to know. He was extremely kind and patient and generous with his time. Grandad never displayed impatience or anger, never raised his fist or voice to anyone.

He always took an interest in people he met and loved to tell stories. Sometimes the same story would get told more than once, but it didn’t matter because they were good stories. The stories mingle and the details fade, but here are a few of the things I can remember:

Granddad read Maths at Southampton – it wasn’t as easy to go to University 70 years ago as it is today, so that was a great achievement by itself. I think Grandad liked the precision of maths. In maths the answer is either right or wrong. If you were given a maths test and you answered all the questions correctly then you get full marks – there can be no other interpretation – although I do remember he once told when he was a teacher, a colleague of his gave a pupil a couple marks for neatness as they left all the answers blank.

There were stories about the war and about operating the aircraft search lights. Granddad was in a team of about seven men. When the air raid siren sounded they all rushed into action. The main problem was, by the time everyone had moved into position and done what they had to do the plane had gone. I think he told me that he never actually saw a plane but thought the searchlights were good for moral. Later in the war Granddad reached the rank of Captain and – due to his knowledge – worked on radio and predictors, an early form of radar.

Grandad was also a great sportsman and had a few cricket stories: there was one about the torrential rain at the Victoria Rec. The pitch was transformed into a lake within just a few moments as the players watched from the pavilion. Another one was the time someone hit a six and the ball landed in a pram being pushed around the boundary – the players ran up to the pram fearing the worst, but fortunately the ball missed the baby who slept through the whole thing. Other stories told how someone was once hit on the head by the ball and it went for a six (we’re not sure if the player concerned was fielding or batting at the time). The time he forgot pack the cricket kit for the tour to the mainland and had to catch the next boat. Grandad often described happy summer times with his brother John, the legendary Shutty and other “run getters”. If grandad edged a ball to the wicket keeper you can be sure that he would have walked and not waited for the umpire’s decision. Equally as wicket keeper you can be sure that he would have appealed only when he thought the batsman was out. Cricket as it should be played.

Grandad set a good example to his grandsons about the right way and the the wrong way to approach problems and how to treat people. Even now, when faced with a difficult sitution or a dilemma in life we can ask ourselves “What would Granddad do?”

As a keen golfer there were golf stories. Like when Grandad first won the Rudd Cup at Osborne Golf Course. He didn’t get around to getting the cup engraved until it was time for the next competition the following year. The trophy had shields that went around the base. The engraver was supposed to put the shield under the last one but instead put it on the top row of the next line and etched it for the current year. As luck would have it Granddad went on to win it again that year too so was able to fill in the gap with the previous year and no one was any the wiser.

Despite his fountain of knowledge and great storytelling, Granddad wasn’t perfect. Grandma was forever having to tidy up after him, he’d tread dirt from the garden into the kitchen, he’d make the sink dirty when washing his hands and he was forever losing stuff. Like the time when driving down the mall he saw a pair of waterproof trousers blowing down the road. He stopped the car to pick them up only to realise that they were his waterproof trousers! They must have fallen out of his golf bag the day before.

Grandad was the most talented person I knew, He could draw, he could play the piano, he could name the stars and constellations, he could explain the orbit of the moon and tides, how the seasons come and go, how long it takes the light from the sun to reach us. As Granddad would say “Of course you all know it’s about 8 minutes as it travels at 186 thousand miles a second.” He knew how light is photosynthesised by plants, the latin names of those plants… He could grow beautiful sweet-peas, grow a peach tree from a stone, explain pollination by bees, discuss genetics and evolution. It’s amazing how all this knowledge could fit one man’s brain!

These days if you want to find something out you can look it up on the internet. Before the internet was invented we had Granddad.

He could fix things and make things, like furniture from bits of drift wood he picked up from Compton beach. He could repair anything electrical or mechanical, Mums says when she was young they lived in the only house on Carisbrooke Road that permenantly had the back of the television set removed, as Granddad would be in the process of fixing it, this was a constant worry to Grandma. Nothing would be wasted or thrown away – “it might be useful for something” you can hear him say. When it came to the contents of his shed, he would say “If it can’t be found in there then it doesn’t exist.”

I’d like to say thank you and well done to lovely Grandma for looking after Granddad over the last few years. I know it’s been hard work for you at times. I’m so proud to have had grandparents that have loved each other and looked after each other for over 60 years.

I’ll end with a joke Grandad told me more than once. Two chaps are playing golf. One is about to take his shot and notices a funeral procession drive past the course. The player stops, removes his hat and waits for the procession to past. The other player says to him. “That was a really nice sign of respect for you to do that.” He replies “It’s the least I could do I was to married to her for 30 years.”

Like I said right at the start, Grandad was a remarkable man and we will miss him and cherish these memories.

A letter about my granddad


I know I speak for all ex-pupils of Barton School when I say how sad we were to hear of the death on Monday, at the age of 97, of one of our ex teachers, David Martin.
David commenced teaching at Barton before the Second World War and became unique in the fact that he never once resorted to using the cane, a rarity in those days.
His easy going manner belied a wonderful ability to earn the respect of all those who had the pleasure to be taught by him and long after they left school many continued to be guided by him whenever they met him around the Island.
A regular attendee at the annual reunions, the love that ex-pupils felt for David was emphasised as they sought him out for their yearly chat.

Some called him David, others Mr.Martin and some could not tear themselves away from calling him Sir, as they would have done in the classroom 50 years earlier. I know from all the messages that I have received that David will be missed.
On behalf of all ‘Boneheads’ , wherever they are, I would like to pas on to Joan and her family our condolences at this time and let her know that her husband will always have a special place in our memories.

People I’ve met on Twitter


At the moment I follow 136 people on Twitter. None of them are celebrities.

2 accounts that I’m following are for work, so that doesn’t count so I’m actually really following 134 real people.

Some of these people I knew before I started twitter, like my Mum and others, these include:

@cornpop (my mum)
@rickharwood (oldest mate)
@Str1pes (My gf)
@Debsa (Best Chi friend)
@HairportUK (my hairdresser)
@Figs1105 (old colleague)

This is interesting isn’t it?

Take out these people, the people I knew before using Twitter this leaves 123 people.

I reckon I have met more people from Twitter as a % of following than anyone else on Twitter.

These are the people I’ve met and actually met and follow onTwitter listed chronologically (ish).

@Tweeeeed (@David1969)

That’s 48 people.

I’ve met 48 people on Twitter, through Twitter, I’ve actually met more than that but I don’t follow them so it doesn’t count.

I’ve met more people I follow on Twitter than people I follow on Twitter who I knew already. Read that again.

I’ve met 39% of the people I’ve “met on Twitter” on Twitter. This is probably a world record and I deserve a Twibbon.

For your information, (FYI) Everyone I’ve ever met on Twitter is very similar to how I thought they would be. It’s quite difficult to bullshit yourself up on Twitter. That’s why we like it.

Who do I want to meet next? Good question..


@Sfendle and @Angryplumber live too far away.

That’s it. Thanks for reading. There was no real point to the blog I just wanted to write it down.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


One Monday morning last May I had this conversation with my old boss.

Boss: “I was in The Swan (Arundel) on Saturday and I was talking to the landlady about business and stuff and she told me she told me a story that happened the night before. You know that they rent rooms out yeah?

Me: “I know the pub but I don’t really know it that well.”

Boss: “It’s like a sort of B&B. Anyway, some people come over to her and complain that water is dripping from the ceiling. So she goes over to check and it is, it’s dripping all over these people’s food. So they go upstairs with the key to the room and they there’s a bloke in there lying on the bed with his laptop?

Me: Was he looking at porn? Did they knock?

Boss: I don’t know, anyway they tell him that water is dripping downstairs and they think it’s coming from his room! He jumps up and says “Shit I left the bath running!” He runs to the bathroom and opens the door. With that water pours out of the bathroom and into the bedroom.”

Me: “Was the overflow blocked or something?”

Boss: “I don’t know. Anyway, all this water pissing out into the bedroom causes more drips downstairs.”

Me: “Why couldn’t he hear the bath over running.”

B: “I don’t know, anyway, that’s not the end of the story. The landlady is in the room, mopping up all the water and she notices there’s a funny smell and It turns out he was cooking a fish in the kettle.”

Me: “Cooking a fish in a kettle?”

Boss: “Yes.”

Me: What? What sort of fish?

Boss: “I don’t know.”

Me: That’s disgusting. What did he say?

Boss: “I don’t know.”

Me: “That’s really really weird. What did she do?”

Boss: “I don’t know.”

Me: “I thought you said that he was on his laptop? Surely the kettle switches off when it’s boiled? Surely a bath can’t over fill in the time it takes a kettle to boil?”

Boss: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Well then what happened?”

Boss: “I don’t know, the pub got busy and she didn’t have time to speak to me.”

Me: “Why didn’t he just get a takeaway?”

Boss: *shrugs shoulders*

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Fish in a kettle.

Letter to smokers


I used to be a Store Manager in a shit retail shop. It was shit and they treated me like shit and it was shit.

This is an email I once sent to a firm of solicitors who worked next door. Some of their workers left loads of cigarette butts on the floor. I got bored of constantly sweeping them up but I didn’t want to make a proper complaint because I wanted to keep it nice and friendly.

I sent it to @debsa to proof read for typos and she recently found it and sent it to me. The photos I included in the original email have since been lost.

The email worked for about 3 days and is below:

Dear Smokers of Thomas ****,

I write to you whilst watching a rather dull episode of Masterchef, I think Kim’s soufflé was a bad choice and frankly Tim has got this one sewn up with that lovely Tiramisu. With little else to do this evening except install a new Wifi router I thought this would be a rather good time to compose a letter to my lovely working neighbours.

Now some of you may already know what I’m about to say, if so, you are free to leave. Thank you for your time. The rest of you, can I ask you to concentrate and focus on what I am about to say. Some of you may even want to read this twice, that’s fine, take as long as you need.

Now Chichester has many lovely walls, many were first laid by the Romans, lots are really stoney and flinty but by far my favourite wall is the one that’s known by you as the “smokers’ wall”.

It’s just the perfect height to rest weary legs, have a natter and smoke your favourite brand. The boxes behind “smokers’ wall” offer perfect privacy to hide what’s becoming an increasingly unpopular hobby. It used to be a really cool sport; how things have changed!

The trouble is, and this is the point of my letter, some people, not you, probably people from Portsmouth, have been abusing our lovely wall and surrounding area. Yes! I know! And to think that the National Trust considered it an area of national beauty in 2006. My friends, the cigarette butts have become a terrible nuisance.

I do my bit for the community. Many of you may have seen me accessorise my Italian fabric suit (great value at only £130) with a stiff broomed brush feverishly hiding the litter.

I have also provided a container see image below:

*image of a bin*

As a professional smoker myself (I smoked for the County in the early 90’s) I know how that having to dispose of the butt is a frightful bore and it almost makes me so stressed that I need another cigarette to get over the effort. So I empathise.

I want to ask you if you would be willing to help me keep Smokers’ Wall nice and clean tidy and lovely? Would you? You would! That’s great news! You can’t ignore the beauty of it can you! Can you?:

*a picture of a tiny wall*

Thank you so much, you really have been wonderful readers.


Rich x

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone