Escape to the veggie patch

As all Freeview viewers will know, there isn’t much on telly at the weekend, especially in the daytime. Freeview may offer dozens of channels, but they are all basically repeating the same stuff. This is why I can now quote whole episodes of Outback Truckers word-for-word, just as some film buffs can quote from Star Wars.

Yesterday (Sunday) we were, for a while, glued to an ancient episode of Escape to the Country in which presenter Jonnie Irwin was giving a pair of househunters a guided tour round some properties in Yorkshire.

‘That veggie patch will need some TLC,’ said Jonnie.

‘Turnips, leeks, and carrots!’ I exclaimed. ‘”TLC”. Turnips, leeks, and carrots. Well why not? It is a vegetable patch isn’t it?’

Shana was so impressed by my knowledge of gardening abbreviations that she urged me to make a blog post of the incident. So I scrawled a few notes on the back of an envelope, tossed the paper on the floor for safe keeping, and promptly put the whole event out of mind for a time.

So here I am, 24 hours (and a bit) later, bringing it all back to life again. Anything blogworthy should, after all, be not rushed but savoured., do you not agree? 🙂



Phil Spencer’s Stately and sometimes Crumbly Homes

We watched an episode of Phil Spencer’s Stately Homes this evening. The title says it all: mild-mannered property hunter, Phil Spencer,  goes a-visiting some of Britain’s best-loved stately homes and uncovers the history, the quirks, and the building costs of each one. (The final episode looks set to be the best one. Phil will be paying a visit to Kirstie Allsopp‘s palace 🙂 )

Tonight’s stately home was Woburn Abbey, family seat of the various dukes and earls of Bedford. Even though it’s a shadow of its former self (a big chunk of it was demolished long ago because of wet rot, dry rot, and probably lukewarm rot too) it’s still not bad. Award for understatement of the year there maybe?

Many generations ago, one of the dukes (or it might’ve been an earl. I wasn’t taking notes, as you may gather) used local stone to face some of the walls. Good move, you might imagine, what with local stone meaning less transportation required and less of all the associated pollution etc that getting stone from further away might have caused.

But no, this particular duke (or earl) wasn’t bothered about the environment. He was just being a cheapskate.

Trouble is, all this local stone was rubbish and turns to powder and blows away on the wind as soon as you even look at it. Which means the poor old current owners have to repair al the stonework. Phil explained that English Heritage had, in their wisdom, ruled that any repairs must be made using the same RUBBISH stone that the original earl (or duke) used.

Which means sorting out Woburn Abbey will be like painting the Forth Bridge, in that, as soon as it’s finished, it will all need doing again. Me? I’d just pebbledash the whole lot and have done with it. (Note: if you think this is a daft idea, then I should admit, it was actually Shana’s 🙂 )

The Creaky Invaders from Venus

Science fiction. Usually, it’s all advanced technology and far-fetched scenarios. It can be hard to get your head around some of it, especially if you have a head(s) as woolly as ours can be (I think I can safely speak for Shana on that score, even though she’s not in the room at the monent).

Old sci-fi though, is much more comfortable territory.


Take the ‘creaky’ film we recorded recently and watched at lunchtime today. ‘Target Earth‘, made in the late 1950s, might have been hi-tech once, but now it’s reassuringly low-tech. The robot invader from Venus (according to one character’s assumptions) which was part of an army invading Earth, was about as menacing as something I might have cobbled together out of cardboard boxes. And the fact that it apparently operated via a cathode ray tube in its head marked this picture as firmly dated and deserving of our word ‘creaky’.

The chauvinistic dialogue and stereotyped gender roles made this a classic of its era. The only disappointment (for me anyway) was that the soundtrack was not available to buy anywhere. Well that’s what Shana said and who am I to argue?

Oh and don’t be fooled by the poster. The film was definitely in black-and-white. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would have been in colour 🙂