Thursday, July 21, 2016

A few last words for no very good reason at all...

I am writing this in the couryard - the 'smoking' couryard of The Horse in Moretonhampstead, pretty much the back of beyond on Darmoor, though certainly not in its bleakest parts. I had planned to stop off at my regular going home haunt, the Brewers Arms, in South Petherton, but when I got there at just 4.25pm, it was shut and wasn't, so the girl in the knick-knack shop opposite told me, due to open until 6pm. Well, it seemed a bit daft hanging on for 90 minutes, so I took off again to home in Cornwall, consulting as I drove - dangerous, don't try this at home, kiddiwinks - the Sky Cloud wifi finder app on my iPad. It assured me that the Union Inn in Ford Street, Moretonhampstead, had Sky wifi, so I set my sat-nav for all points Moretonhampstead.

I've never been here before and imagined some modest clutch of mud huts (though, I hear you remark, the Sky wifi might have been some indicator), but instead found a smallish town in which driving anywhere in its small streets consists of reversing a great deal to let pass yet another Chelsea tractor. Moretonhampstead, on Dartmoor, is that kind of town. Just how much I found out when after one pint of Thatchers at the Union Inn and not really fancying a bowl of the industrial sized chips it serves, I wandered off and found The Horse.

This 'inn' - well, I suppose they would call themselves a gastro-pub - is a very different establishment entirely. Going out to get another laptop mouse, I noticed more folk have arrived since I did about 30 minutes ago, and they all seemed to be the very nubile daughters of the local gentry and their brothers. One indication of
how I am ageing, if any more indications were needed, is just how bloody young 18/19 lasses are these days. They certainly weren't that young when I was 18 and praying to get my end away at least once before I died. (I did, as you ask, and I had just turned 19. I know, a little older than some and a lot older than some others, but there you go, that's life. I blame a Roman Catholic upbringing and a fat early adolescence persuaing me - to this day, in fact - that I am not particularly attractive.)

The schlepp here was just that. We have plenty of very narrow lanes in Cornwall but none I have yet come across meanders for more than five miles and which have to be explored at a very safe 20mph as you have no idea what might be around the corner. As it happens I met only one car and one tractor coming the other way in all
those five miles. I just hope I can find what we here in Old Blighty call 'an A road' which isn't something out of Enid Blyton and her Famous Five. As it is I shan't be back home for some time yet and most of that journey will be taken up getting the hell off Dartmoor again.

I semi-enjoyed the past week in Bordeaux, but my aunt really is now getting old and doddery, and unfortunately deaf and set in her ways. That wouldn't matter if I didn't inadvertently seem to do everything, but everything in a way she didn't like, which didn't conform to her ways, with the result that my head was chewed off pretty regularly. But I should add that she is not in the best of health and I don't think I should be any the more genial if and when I reach 86.

Last night we went to a concert of more or less Latin music and I enjoyed some if not all of it. Several pieces I did enjoy were played on harp and flute, but I'm buggered if I can track down what they were, because even before they musicians tuned up, they informed us that the programme had been changed in some ways, but then didn't actually tell us which ways. One thing I did't like were three piece by Villa Lobos (is that how it's spelled?), I just didn't. I know that's heresy of a certain kind, but, well there you go.

Got to say one thing in favour of The Horse (and I shall chase up a write-up once I have written this last piece): I've just bought a final half-pint of Simmonds cider (not Thatchers, unfortunately) and it was only - only - £1.70. Bloody hell. That did surprise me. Now here's a link to a write-up  and the place's own website

. . .

The crap going on in Turkey will have taken most of us by surprise but only for coming so soon. My sister and brother-in-law lived in Istanbul for several years and even then, she tells, me Erdogan dictatorial tendencies were well to the fore. The coup was in his words 'a gift from God' and will get many in the foreign ministries of Europe and the US scratching their heads as to what to do. But seeing as they did bugger all when Sisi took over Egypt, I suggest it won't be very much.

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