Friday, 30 April 2010

More meanderings

Talking of books, this week I completed checking the proofs of I Choose Everything, and on Wednesday, after Jane had helped at Riding for the Disabled, we decided to deliver them in person to Lion Hudson rather than send them by Royal Mail. There's just something about knowing they're there. So round to the Jordan Hill Business Estate and Jane popped out and handed the envelope over.

Then it was time to celebrate. This time it was Aston Pottery, where we'd been in February, near Witney, in the heart of Cameron country. Not that there were many posters up - just one big six-footer. I couldn't help reflecting on the irony of the most English of the candidates for the top job having a typical Scottish name, while the most Scottish has a typical English name. Such profound thoughts show how demob happy I was. The sun was shining and the air was heady with the scent of the tubs full of blue hyacinths along the path from the car park. We headed straight for the tea-room for some lunch and unsuspectingly decided on filled baps - I think mine were prawn marie with salad in sun-dried tomato baps. When they arrived they were HUMUNGOUS. We could have had half each! But very nice they were too. Taking it slowly I completely finished it, not a crumb left. And then we had coffee. Excellent! You can see the view from our table, above. The chap facing is Stephen Baughan, who founded the business with his wife, Jane, in 1990. He's a potter and she's an artist. And they're very friendly.

It's grown from its small beginning into a sizable business - they employ 25+ people now. They're just launching a new size (1 pint jug) and had a wonderful display on the way to the tea-rooms, called the Auricula Theatre. Auriculas are exotic relatives of the primrose. We were given one when we moved here. All the jugs and plates are decorated with different coloured auriculas. But no item is exactly the same as another, as they're all hand-painted. This picture will give you an idea of the beautiful displays in the shop part of the Pottery. Very tempting. We wandered around, and were tempted - a little. A bonus was meeting old (not old old) friends there, and catching up with each other's news.

And so we came home. I did watch the last PMs' debate last night. I'm afraid I was frustrated by the lack of engagement with the serious issues and specific policies. It seemed to me that at least two of the gentlemen were more concerned about projecting image, and that, frankly, doesn't interest me. I admit the debates have apparently aroused people's interest in the election, but I think the cost will be too high if we decide our Prime Minister on how telegenic he or she is. By the way, I've still not had a reply to my letter from Mr Vaizey... How odd!

And á propos of nothing in particular, by way of light relief, here's that donkey story from Brian I promised you. 
Father O'Malley rose from his bed one morning. It was a fine spring day in his new Ballina parish.
He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside.  He then noticed there was a Donkey lying dead in the middle of his front lawn.
Not knowing who else to call, he promptly called the local police station. 
The conversation went like this:
''Good morning. This is Sergeant Jones. How might I help you?"
"And the best of the day ter yer good self. This is Father O'Malley at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. There's a Donkey lying dead right in der middle of me front lawn "
Sergeant Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit, replied with a smirk, "Well now Father, it was always my impression that you people took care of the last rites!"
There was dead silence on the line for a long moment and then Father O'Malley replied:
"Ah, to be sure, that is true; but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin."


  1. Brilliant! English Cameron, Scots Brown! If you go as far as Cameron country, have you tried Witney Lakes for lunch?

  2. No, haven't tried that yet. Is it off the Waitrose ring road, if you see what I mean? Thanks for your story. We need light relief these days.

  3. I will ask my SatNav (Carol) for precise directions.

  4. Hi Michael, haven't seen your blog for a while. Glad new book there - do send me a copy and I'll see what I can do with it in the press (though suspect you won't need my help with it!) A propos of nothing, have you read Michael Morpurgo's A War of Jenkins Ear? Turns out he lives not too far from us and I'm hoping he'll turn some of his writing talents to our diocesan magazine!

  5. Hi Rebecca
    I was thinking about you, and wishing you were around to chat to and get advice from, eg. about getting on to Church Times etc. Monarch seem quite laid back at the moment. I'll send you an email (assuming you've got the same address). Are you suggesting waiting until it's printed or sending you a copy as an attachment?
    And how are you and your family and YOUR writing? Will email.