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Tony Grist

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Persevering [Jul. 22nd, 2014|12:34 pm]
My LJ rating keeps climbing and I am currently the 221st most popular blogger on site. I'd be cock-a-hoop if I didn't suspect that what this actually reflects is the exodus of the cool kids.

If I ever make it into the top ten it'll be because there are only ten of us left.

Ah well, soldier on! I keep hoping to post something that'll go viral....
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In Praise Of Supermarkets And Waitrose In Particular [Jul. 22nd, 2014|10:46 am]
We stopped doing a big weekly shop at a supermarket several months ago. I was barely hacking it: unloading Ailz's scooter from the car, going round the shop, putting everything on the belt at checkout, bagging it, loading it into the car, loading Ailz's scooter into the car, unloading the car, putting everything away; it was just too much. So now we have Waitrose deliver.

They're expensive but the quality is brilliant- and if they make mistakes they offer generous recompense. This morning, for example, one of the eggs in our box of 15 was broken so the delivery man gave us the whole box for free. It's the sort of gesture that builds customer loyalty. Again, if they have to substitute one item for another the substitute item almost always represents a trade up- and you get it for the same price.

Julie Burchill was on TV last night singing the praises of the big supermarkets. A brave thing to do- but then Burchill is fearless; I admire her for it even when I dislike what she's saying. On this matter though I've been in her camp for years. We forget- in our ineradicable but idiot nostalgia for all things dead and gone- how the small shop was so very often a rubbish shop. The supermarkets are not only a good thing in themselves, but have forced the small shops that are left to raise their game.
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The Way We Were [Jul. 22nd, 2014|09:31 am]
PICT0011

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Here are my parents- with me- on a fishing holiday in Scotland in 1951.
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See What I Mean... [Jul. 21st, 2014|12:18 pm]
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Cross Stitch [Jul. 21st, 2014|11:26 am]
"Why are you taking my picture? I'm not photogenic."

" I'm trying to give people a picture of life as we live it down here on the farm"

"What you mean is you've run out of things to write about."

"Well, there's not a lot happening right now, is there."

101_5471

So this is Ailz sitting on the patio working at her cross stitch. In the next picture we can see the pattern she's working on; it's called "Proton" and it comes from StitchX Designs. It features 122 different colours and sometimes she says she'd like to kick me for choosing it.

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"And now" says Ailz, "Go and take some pictures of yourself in the mirror- the way you're always doing..."

She thinks I'm vain, you see. And that's so unfair. It's just that selfies and mirror shots allow you to experiment. Push the camera to its limits, sort of thing....
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Plumbing [Jul. 20th, 2014|11:14 am]
The hot water tank has been pushed up into the apex of the roof as high as it will go- which makes access difficult. It doesn't have a lid- just lagging- and the lagging has subsided into the tank and become engorged and is now interfering with the ballcock- with the result that the tank never stops filling and the overflow- which empties onto the patio just outside our bedroom window- starts running in the middle of the night.

I went into the attic this morning and fiddled about and I don't think I've done any harm; I may even have done some good- but, really, you wouldn't know it was the 21st century up there. 
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Reading Tess [Jul. 19th, 2014|07:20 pm]
I'm reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles very slowly. It's a beast of a book and I can't take very much of it at any one time. It's too dreadful.  I know Angel can't help being such a shit but when he accuses Tess of being "an untutored peasant" I want to knock him down and jump up and down on his exquisitely sculpted face.

Quite a few times.

The dreadfulness isn't just because of bad things happening to good people- books are full of that sort of thing and normally I don't turn a hair- but Hardy is just so true.

Angel Clare, ce'st moi.

The truthfulness extends to the smallest details. Hardy's evocations of landscape are wonderful- beautiful but also precise- and go on being beautiful and precise even as his characters suffer.

"Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?"

"Yes."

"All like ours?"

"I don't know; but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound- a few blighted"

"Which do we live on- a splendid one or a blighted one?"

"A blighted one."
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Eastbourne Pier [Jul. 19th, 2014|12:05 pm]
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Hot [Jul. 19th, 2014|09:45 am]
Yesterday was the hottest day of the year. We went to Eastbourne, stopping for lunch at Middle Farm in Firle (very good it was too) where they have 200 different ciders for sale.

In the evening- just as the sun was setting- a thunderstorm blew in from the South. The sky- in between the frequent flashes- looked like flying porridge.
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Chessmen [Jul. 18th, 2014|09:02 am]
I was dreaming I'd found a lot of chessmen in a suitcase in the attic- and I could hear gunfire in the distance.

Then I woke to the most terrific thunderstorm. 
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