Vineyard and Cellar

Guilt, Cabbages and Kings

I have just spent 2 weeks ‘overseas’. Back in the UK to be precise: 9 days in Cumbria and 6 days in Devon/Cornwall. I was on a self-induced guilt trip to see ‘the-grandchildren’. Those of you with grandchildren will know that feeling. Kids and grandkids do not do guilt. I think it’s only my generation – I neglected my parents …


In praise of potholes – thank you Andrew

I’ve struggled this month to find something to say that could be entertaining. Austerity and recession and sustainability and depression and general scandal have made me take to my bed for most of January. BUT then!  Andrew White (he of ‘so tall his hair goes frizzy when we have  cloud on Abdulskop – and- did you see that picture in …


A Good Person with bagpipes

A good person with bagpipes? That’s it – Christmas and New Year and the End of the World (as we knew it) all gone.  What’s next? Answer: My official retirement birthday and of course– Burns Night: The annual celebration of the birth and life of Robert Burns;  born January 25, 1759,in Alloway, Scotland; died 1796 at the age of only …


AND – SO this is Christmas

And so this is Christmas – nearly. Actually it’s been Christmas in the malls since July – both here in SA and in the UK. It’s also been Trick or Treat – Halloween – Diwali – Guy Fawkes – Bonfire Night for ever. In the UK if I see one more flaming pumpkin or someone wearing a Zuma mask saying …


Towards Sustainability

I can save you money – trust me I’m a car salesman Out here on the farm our single greatest expense (apart from red wine!) is fuel. I continually challenge myself to find a way of reducing costs.  We could I suppose cut back on the alcohol and spend more on travel? But just supposing I chose to try and …


Secret Agents

There’s at least one secret assassin living quietly and anonymously amongst us in Greyton. Also – an unassuming retired couple who used to be special agents. They say that they used to manage a shop in Northern Britain. Let’s call them Mr and Mrs Smith. How do I know all this? Mr S can be garrulous. Recently their sleepy retirement …


Dear Uncle Jackson

Late in July our good friend Dave Jackson died. My letters in the Sentinel were always written to Dave and usually (as now) addressed to ‘Uncle Jackson’. The main reason for this – although I was older than him, by a month, I always felt that he was like my kindly older Uncle Jackson Armstrong. I’ll miss his crafted surreal …


Letter from the West

Before I get into the subject of this letter I have to deal with television – the thief of time. We’ve been back in West Cumbria for 12 weeks and have already lost 6 of those weeks watching the box in the corner. In SA we subscribe to the absolutely cheapest bouquet (bucket!!!) from DSTV which means that once we …






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