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 mountain of surprise

We were watching an old episode of the property show Escape To The Country this afternoon. ‘Where are we searching today?’ the presenter asked at the beginning, before offering a few obvious clues to poor befuddled viewers. Naturally, being quiz geniuses, we got the answer right away. ‘Somerset!’ I yelled. And was delighted to hear the solution as…

Derbyshire. (Oh well, there were no prizes anyway 🙂 )

The action (no, too strong a word for Escape, due to lack of car chases etc) kicked off near Edale, which is near the start of the Pennine Way, one of England’s oldest footpaths. Walkers begin their trek at a mini-mountain called Kinder Scout. That’s not pronounced ‘kinder’ in the sense of more caring, but to rhyme with ‘hinder’, as Kinder Scount is there as a ploy to slow down or discourage the less committed walkers. People, I suppose, like me. But not like Shana.

‘I’ve climbed Kinder Scout,’ said Shana.

‘Er, I think you mean you scaled it,’ I said. ‘In preparation for your Everest expedition.’

‘Yes, but not many people can say they climbed it, as I did, at the age of eleven,’ said Shana, who is probably a distant relation of the Staffordshire Sherpas.

‘I know something about Kinder Scout that you don’t though, ‘ I said. ‘And I’ve never been anywhere near it.’

‘What’s that?’ said Shana.

‘Well, at the summit there is apparently a giant plastic toy,’ I said. ‘So I guess that must be the Kinder Surprise!’