Sunday, 3 April 2011

You see what I did just then?

We're listening to the Radio 1 chart show whilst heading back to London with a car full of memories from a lovely weekend in Devon.

The Sunday evening chart show seems to have been a fixture in my life. I remember the days of Mel and Kim and Swing Out Sister, when we'd roam the streets of Higham Ferrers, in coats with turned-up sleeves, looking for an open shop to provide us with treats to consume whilst listening to the show. It was the highlight of the day.

Sundays were so incredibly boring in those days. We used to buy a can of coke for ten pence from the one open shop in the town, stand either side of the pond down the rec, and throw it to one another until it burst and sprayed all over the place. That occupied at least an hour!

Reggie Yates, who currently presents The Chart Show, ('twas Bruno Brookes in my day) has just (twice) committed, what has turned into the ultimate presenters' crime at the moment, namely to follow a cheesy or bad pun with the line "you see what we did just then?" It  happens all the time. Steve Jones, Davina McCall and Claudia Winklemen are also keen exponents of the over-used phrase.  I tend to think that a pun is a pun; you certainly don't need to point out that you've just made one. Neither do you need justify the pun's rubbishness by a self-deprecating verbal nod; particularly one so often used!  Keep your ears and eyes open for it... You won't have to wait long!

We had lunch in a carvery today. It was one of those buffet-type places, where a man stands and saws a couple of carcasses apart, and you pass along a counter helping yourself to various vegetables.

I'm afraid the waitress committed another irritating crime. She'd been told there were vegetarians present, and asked us to make ourselves known. I thought she was going to line us up and shoot us, but she simply took a head-count and handed us all a menu. Sadly, there was only one vegetarian option on the menu. She might as well have just handed us the food!

To make matters worse, when she came back to take our orders, I said "can I just check that there really is only one veggie option?" to which she replied "no, there's also a mushroom stroganoff on the daily specials board..." I did wonder why she'd bothered to hand us the menu at all, when she could have just told us the two options... Especially as one of them wasn't even written down!

Anyway, the weekend was a great success, and astonishingly, we weren't expected to pay for a single thing. Celia and Ron were so hugely generous. I can't imagine how much the weekend must have cost them.

Nathan's family jumping on the beach

We went to the beautiful beach at Instowe in the late afternoon yesterday, and took the opportunity to paddle in the water, dig holes in the sand, and rush about in the dunes. Sadly, the car park came free with a burn- out ice cream stand, which didn't feel particularly inviting! I assume the authorities might have that fixed before the high tourist season begins...

350 years ago, and Pepys was badly hangover. The two Sir Williams  forced him to drink two draughts of sack. Hair of the dog and all that. Pepys seemed genuinely surprised by the concept, and even more surprised that it seemed to work!

Perhaps it worked too well, for, in the evening, Pepys went and played his  flageolette for several hours by moonlight. Poor neighbours! That said, in the era of no recorded music, perhaps people were only too pleased to hear music in whatever form it took.

Talk of the town was that the Dutch had given the English a vast sum of money; a bribe by all accounts, to break the King's alliance with Portugal in the form of his bride-to-be, Catherine de Breganza! I'm told the Spanish also had suddenly become rather generous!

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