The Royal Diamond Jubillee action lots of specials in Hamburg and Berlin
English Books and British Foods
open 12-19.00 mon-fri
Prague is 2 hours by car and the beer is cheap.
Walking holidays and a little snow
Inside it is warm
Room for artistic expression
Please, roof come through this Winter.
My Uncle Eric, an avid art collector, donated some fine masterpieces which he discovered with his sharp eye on the Porterbello road market in London.
These we have put on our fine and sturdy historic walls.
More donations are welcome at Baron Bobs´s Gallery
June 26th 2005
Another bad week at the farm. The sun has been burning down and the holiday season is just beginning.
This means more gloom for me.
The person who I sub-letted my flat to is suddenly moving out and is trying to worm out of paying rent for
last two weeks although she is moving out earlier than planned. If I had not phoned she would not have told me until the very end.
I can only wish her unwell and disaster, as she certainly deserves no better.
The moral is do no favours unless it is in writing and one has some leverage. People will try to get away with not paying as much as possible. The more arty the worse they are.
Spinelessness is becoming a problem. Doing the right thing even when it is not of benefit for the person is stupid. Therefore, do only that which gives you benefit. Is the moto.
From here I will be starting my writing project. The hardest part is trying to find something to write about as I can`t claim to be the hottest scribe and my punctuation is almost non-existent. Not to worry I am sure some helpful person will tell me where I am going wrong or suggest I should take a course before pressing a key or using a spell checker.
A good theme is always about me. What has moulded me into the person I am today. I thought I would write as the memories come all the things I can remember. Then perhaps put them into some order, which is very unlike my style.
Every morning I am going to write for fifteen minutes and we will see what comes out.
Woke up at six with the memory of the air pistol which dad kept in one of the sheds we had at the bakery. The bakery is a treasure of stories by the way.
Shame I cannot remember how old I was ,but one of my habits was to always look through other peoples things and find hidden secrets. I was looking for something else , probably another of my fathers tools to break. I could have had one of my brainwaves and with no bit of patience wanted to push through the idea at all cost. Pulling out boxes in an uncontolled manner a few must have fallen onto the sawdust floor, I spotted the gun, Wow John Wayne rides again, Leaving the mess around I concentrated on the gun. I found how to reset it it and pulled the trigger like a demented S king figure. Naturally after a few rounds of rounding up my ugly sisters and repaying them for all those injustices, I have two brothers but they dont seem to exist in my memories yet, perhaps this writing adventure will bring them back again,
the gunned jammed and my trance was broken, jubilation now followed by fear,guilt and de ja voux.
What do I do with the gun where did it come from What story could I tell dad how I broke another of his few possessions. If only i had searched through systematically as they did in the man from uncle and why didnt i have a photographic memory like one of my sisters who seemed to notice every detail.
I decided on plan B . Hide it in a new place which time would forget. The shed seemed huge and I found another place noone would get to. Except, as it turned out later, by my dad who decided to teach the culprit i.e. me, a lesson.
How he knew it was me or took a parents calculated guess I found out only in my twenties as the family enjoyed one of those rare moments of admittting to doing nasty things to each other as a child.
The revealing of old mysteries time.
My dad was a milkman at the time and as an eager four year old I loved going on the electric milk floats.
The day started at 4 or 5 o´clock and we marched off to the dairy, only 50 yards up the road.
Then going into the cool rooms and smelling milk. Fresh milk, sour milk, and off milk. Milk has a strange smell about it, partly innocence partly decay.
We then loaded the float Gold and Silver plus a few longer sterilised milk bottles. Not forgetting the canvass covered round-book which is a roundsman´s bible. I nearly forgot. the joy of my little fingers pulling out the plug which connected the battery charger to the float´s battery. there was a large switch which always made a loud clunk sound, this again enthralled me.
Off we went buzzing down Lovell Road knowing that half the road was asleep, but I Robert was fully awake with my dad doing some work. Walking up garden paths with a bottle of milk, looking for the empties and a note asking for an extra or the famous "no milk today" gave me a feeling of adventure. Early mornings give off a different feeling, even when it is raining and your fingers are dropping off.
Many customers took pity on me for being up so early, but I loved it. I am sure some offered us tea when it was cold but I cannot remember who. I cannot chase every ghost in my brain or can I ?
Money collection day was my first confrontation with the way life works. On this day things seemed different. We started later to catch people in. A few left cash in envlopes on their door-steps, others had it ready as my dad called, and then some were always out. They would be caught in the evening. I knew who were the bad payers as they were suddenly left out and then included in the round.We were not the only family in the Royal Ascot and Windsor area which was short of cash.
Winning was important. At my junior school I was the best in my class. Running and football in the sports field. But I had such a bad temper,still do, and I could not stand being told what to do or how to behave.
These commands were all tricks to prevent me reaching my goal of winning. It was never the praise of my teachers i sought. They all thought I was a know-all, a big-mouth, bad-tempered, cheeky and difficult to control. It was for me. I was a loner. I wanted to earn my own money, do my own thing.
I won prizes for the best project and my favourite teacher Mr Crisfield would talk to me for ages before I went on my evening paperround at 10 years old. He waited for the bus to Windsor. I often wondered why he spent so much time talking to me I did not find myself so interesting. He was the type who liked giving,but he was very strict, still I got away with so much. Shows what happens when as a child your academic performance is good and you can walk the line between being tolerated and going over the top.
Teachers will tolerate much more if the material has been learnt
A blind eye was turned to most my actions. All rules were to be broken ,but not so much as to need great repairs. I was going to be the one who sneaked through the net. I was going to make my own decisions and decide what the school was going to teach me. Subjects I loved I was number one or two, others were torture.
My efforts to have friends were not so successful, always one every three years who later moved away. Class-mates were in the end traitors, I was very talkative and got on with adults,but peers seemed to hate me or ignore me and I started ignoring them or protecting myself. I had a reputation for being tough. I do not know why as I hated hitting people and had a guilty conscience when in a fury I struck out. I was a big kid lifting, sacks of flour must have given me more power in my arms than I thought.I got into most trouble by sticking my nose into other kid´s affairs. The usual big-mouth things then they would say prove it and I would bowl them over. Basher Berridge strikes again.
My first challenge as a roofer
Yesterday was an historic momemt. For the first time ever I did not have a customer in the bookshop. The effect is to have half your crops lost. At the present rate It will take a month of good days to compensate for this day. I feel for all victims of natural disasters.
And I wonder How my mum and dad kept plodding on in the bakery as our customer base died off and new shopping patterns emerged in the light of higher mobility , double earning housholds and the drift away from hand-crafted products.
No wonder he was depressed. Six bolshy children, long hours, moaning cutomers and at 50 not the best candidate for jobs which did not require a talented self-taught all-rounder.
Their stamina puts my generation to shame.
Now the problem lies in that costs are so high you have to run to stand still and not fall into the debt trap.
I worked in the bakery as part of our generation contract and learnt how to work with dough and use an oven. The smell of freshly baked bread and the toffee on the base of the rich lardy cakes takes me to a higher plain of pleasure.
12 years old and cutting dough to the gram just by sight and feel. My fingers were magic.Moulding delicate dough into a plait, Cottage loaves and finger rolls. Dad did it two handed, so perhaps my hands were not so magic after all.
It is another day, I am feeling a little uplifted. Apart from the van problem. Who do I ask to get it fixed and where do I get the money from?
Earning my own money is ingrown.By 14 I had the post of village gardener and paper boy. Pay ranged from 25 pence to 50 pence an hour. 1 pound for snow clearance. It used to flood at one end of the street:cars still went into the flood water at a tremendous speed thus creating a new market for us local youth. Engine stalled, carbereter full of water. We ready for action for a small fee. Heavy rain or snow was good for our business. When the council carried out road repairs and put in new drainage I had to think of new sources of revenue.
Gardening was an enjoyment. Peter Berridge that is dad always had worries that I would pull out not only the weeds or break the patrons tools. Another compensation claim brewing. Not that I proved him wrong I just kept it quiet. But learning by destroying is the fun part of growing up. not only that, all those tips Mr Stagles passed onto me I have used which shows how important it is for kids to have grandparents or something similar. Knowledge has to be passed on. Passing it on is one of the reasons for getting it in the first place. Isn´t it ?
It is Saturday. Saturdays always reminds me of the breadround and football and chips shallow fried by my Grandmother. who had a good supply of fresh chicken in the garden.
Football. I was in the Primary School Bracknell and District team reserves at this level the differences are very wide.From the bad to the disastrous.Nevertheless, you can see clearly how each has his role to play in the ladder of excellence. Without the losers the stars would not shine or even get a chance to play.
A lesson for those elitists who believe the plebs should be grateful. it is the other way round.
Even playing football made me no friends.Perhaps it was me. I will have to ask those who observed me as a youngster to give me their impressions. Why did we not become friends or mates?
I got to know my area really well travelling around on the Moores Coaches. Looking at maps for dad to pick me up or I walked home to save the bus fare. I didn´t have my own boots. I can remember dad giving me a pair of old rugby boots with a steel cap, good for punting the ball. After seeing all the other kids with the latest Adidas and Puma I was forced into buying a pair too, out of the gardening money.
My game did not improve, but my stamina and determination remained solid.
I have had a break as bad news keeps hitting me . My bus needs a new engine. Shop has been very quiet again and I will lose part of my no-claims bonus as Susanne reversed into a parked car. I am still amazed trhat despite my appalling driving style and lackof concentration, I have not had a driving accident yet.
Finding new students is also becoming difficult. Well around here anyway. I dont want to desert this area as for reasons of spatial equity It needs a place of culture and civilisation but the purchasing power is so low as well as the interest that I am going to have to ,sooner or later, abandon the place.
It is nice for the residents to see something bright and cheerful, but income must come in. As soon as a few make it and increase their buying power they forget we exist. If you can´t beat them join them.
I was in the Boy Scouts and each year we raised money for the association through Bob a Job week.
You knocked on doors and asked the owner If they had a jod to do. Each job cost a Shilling or 5 pence.
I always raised most money and I was given a prize of a bomber aeroplane one year. Very appropriate for the peace loving Scouts and it was broken, probably a recycled present of our wonderous Scout master. My first days away from home were also with the Cubs. Camping excursions to some spinny nearby. The camps were always simple but text book cases of how boys wanted a weekend. Camp fire songs bangers and mash and games, mostly team games to increase team spirit and powers of cooperation. As I was only 10 as a cub I did not take any notice of the sexual innuendos of the older Scouts who were 12 to 15. Especially, when we were in a field next to a paddock for horses and Stallions.On these camps there was always a female cub leader and a male Scout Master. This fact alone got the older boys imaginations going.
I was always exited about the next game to win or the next task to pass and the next badge. Bronze silver and gold were the levels and for each their were set tasks to complete. Knots, mapping,general knowledge, First Aid etc . This please note, is just off the top of my head. Should I be more accurate, may be But I am also using this to test my memory. I fear If I start looking up the facts I will getted bogged down and lose my flow.. yeh yeah good excuse.
Tomorrow will come.
Off to the dentists today to get a new filling. Another attack on my budget. Bad news never comes alone.
I don´t mind going to the dentist. In fact I find it quite relaxing lying there with my mouth open.
I have never taken care of my teeth as with most things I put my trust in luck and fate. Living in abakery cum seet shop was a hard thing. Iwas always munching something, noone ever accused me of not havng an appetite. Dad had to go to the wholesalers and I went with him. We had sweets in jars, sold by the quarter. An ideal situation as I could try one or two and perhaps three from each jar without anyone knowing. Except mum and dad, as that is what they did. Never brushing my teeth regularly, as asked, I got a lot of fillings and my mouth became crammed with heavy metal. But that was a phase, from 10 onwards, after the damage had been done, my visits to the dentist were very unspectacular. Quick check, no holes, sand stone out and off you go.
I do remember being given gas as they pulled out my first set of teeth. See we get two chances with our teeth and still do not learn. I think at this point my dentist could have had a word with me. Prevention was not a key word at the time.
We were brought up surrounded by dogs, cats ,rabbits,and chickens.
In the back fields the local farmer grazed his sheep and cows. Across the road was the pig farm and the stud farm. This was not a place for those with sensitive noses or any hair allergies.
Rural bliss pure, with the added advantage of being only 20 miles from the centre of London.
Lets start with the dogs.
Jock,Bruno and Jack, plus the latecomer Laddie who was saved from the evil clutches of my dad´s sister , i.e. my aunt.
Jock was a dark almost nearly Labrador.Always sat in the passage. I was never attacked by him and I left him alone. Bruno was a different case.Friendly dog except when eating and having his tail pulled. I experienced him in both situations.He was also the reason how I came to be the family pet undertaker. Any bodies lying around would be taken care of in the pet cemetry at the bottom of the Garden.
Bruno gave me my first scar on the young innocent face. I suppose it has added a rough charm. At that time it was enourmous,my nick-name scarface also came to be.
So why did he bite me. Answer Bruno stuck his teeth into my new football and I pulled his tail.He took his revenge and I went running to my Grandma blood dripping down my cheek. Old fashioned Dettol slapped on,bandaged up and sent to bed. Meanwhile Bruno got a bone as It was assumed I had provoked the dear dog into ripping my cheek out.I did not hate the dog as it was my fault,I told him the same as I was burying him 12 years later.
Monday . Another week begins. My van needs new engine and I am hoping T/O will be enough to pay for it bit by bit. Light on the horizon: more shows are coming up, but there is also only a fifty-fifty chance that they will make money. That means I have to do at least 6 to get a good average. My nerves are slowly being worn down. Lets hope the Opel still goes, well at least for the next six months.
I can also convert the van into a sales trailer, paint on scenes of Britain and use it as a storeroom.
Make the most of a crap situation.
Actually, considering the situation I have stayed relatively calm. This has changed. I used to be intolerant of things going wrong, Is this a good change?
Being mediocre is very straining. I would like to be superb at one thing, but somehow I get so far and then think of all the other things I want to do before my ship sinks. If I were earning enough money to pay real economy wages all would be well.My problems would be solved with a mere €400 job in the mornings or late at night.
This self-pity is enough. I will have to go on the markets and get used to rejection again.
At school I was always rejected by the girls and cliques so I should be used to it. The trick is to take other work with you so you get a feeling of getting something done. Small things , the paperwork or make a few calls. Never take the mobile, I broke or lost the last two, still there is the to do list. Asked a bank for loan, but income does not meet their new requirements. Too many people have used their rights for Private Insolvency that track record has no influence on the decision anymore.
So sod company, product, spatial and customer loyalty.
After another long break start again.5.3.06.
Spittel was deep in snow and reminded me of our snow clearing efforts. Next door to us were the Harrison´s. Well to do family , very proper. But did not like snow.Dad, Richard and myself had the task of digging out the car. Without scratching it that is.
Five shillings each, dad was there to supervise, but it caught on as other neighbours saw the benefits of us doing the heavy work. Another week where the wolf was kept from the door and Richard and I had a little more money to hoard away.
Child labour is not as bad as they say. When else can the lower classes learn something useful. At 16 the priviledged classes wont want to teach them (us) anything.
I should have been a builder and carried on working on the building sites. Then at least I would not be attacked by fear everytime I listen to another story why the house will cost 50,000 for a roof..
I am going to find a way to get it done myself, alone, single-handed. Using pulleys and supports.
Double platforms and scaffolding.
In five days I will be back in Spittel. 9 days of building work. I am going to be brave and saw some wood to size. Actually measure it up and drill holes for the bolts.
The weather should be fine for cement and I can fill some holes in the Gables. Or more exact do some pointing. Any place where there is a hole I will fill it with cement. I will also treat the wood with preserver and find the wood worm.
A thought occurred to me of building an outdoor shower room against one of the walls. it would be good practice for me and we have enough old roof tiles.
20 April 2005
Easter has come and gone and my discipline to write every day has also gone with the Lemmings. But I have started again. The van is being repaired. Not sure if that is good or bad. In the circumstances it has to be done as I need a van for my outside work.
If things do not improve soon the wolves will soon be going for my two veg and I have not got any pleasant choices to make. At the moment I am de stocking and handing out more flyers. I will have to make it more British. It is still a mystery the lack of student customers although there are four schools within a radius of 2 kilometres. I still can teach a little more.
If only I could shake off this depression. It is driving me crazy.
Last weekend we started clearing out Spittel. It is like going back in time and we have to keep it so. Wonderful for my sense of improvisation. I am already planning the first Reading Weekend.
Imagine reading those old classics and history books in a house and area where Napoleon had been walking and thousands of hopes had been built.
The countryside is out of an Hapsburg epic, I am constantly turning around expecting to see the Light Brigade swarming down the valley.
Queueing up to try out our Chi machine and Noni Juice, not forgetting the hand piston massage machine.
If you are not up to the hard life B & B´s are not too far away. We even have a guest´s car and bikes
Flying the flag: The Saxons are back.
Napoleon used this gateway whilst visiting his wounded warriors. We now need a ghost or two