philwhiteland's blog

More Cyril

Continued from the original article ‘ Cyril ’ My abiding memory of Cyril is inevitably wreathed in smoke. Not by the mists of time but usually via a Players No. 6 Tipped which he held constantly in his mouth. He was one of those people for whom a cigarette was something of a permanent appendage rather than an occasional enjoyment, even to the extent of breathing through his fag as he gave one of his detailed accounts about something you were...

Cyril

I’ve been thinking about Cyril quite a bit over the past few days. I should, at this point, make clear that I do not usually spend my days thinking about Cyril. In fact, it must be quite a while since he last crossed my mind. What brought him to the fore this time was that I have been mowing the lawn. This is the sum total of my efforts in the garden, apart from occasionally hacking some innocent tree to within an inch of its life. This is not...

Braving Benidorm

I’ve just come back from Benidorm. There, I’ve told the world and I don’t care who knows it! Benidorm has a particular place in the national psyche, it tends to be a useful shorthand for everything that it wrong about package holidays and, especially, the British holidaymaker. It occupies the same place that Torremolinos used to hold in the 1960s. I don’t suppose the T.V. series of the same name has done much to change its image, either,...

Brace Yourself!

Every year, since we've been able to do so, my wife and I have bought Senior Citizen Railcards with the intention of "seeing a bit more of this country, this year", and, every year, just like clockwork, we realise that we're coming to the end of the Railcard's natural life and that we haven't done anything with it. Panic sets in and we hunt about for possible locations for a day out, which will go some way toward justifying the expense of the...

The Thing With Bing!

If you've got children of a certain age around the house, then you'll know about Bing! If not, his work may have passed you by, particularly if you don't happen to be an avid fan of CBeebies. Bing! (and he always comes with his own exclamation mark) is a charming black rabbit dressed in a colourful set of dungarees (which people my age would have called a romper suit in the dark ages). He has a series of adventures with his friends Sula (an...

And things that go bump in the night!

As the nights draw in and we reach the end of October, we will once again be able to enjoy that newly-imported pastime of ‘trick or treat’ which, at any other time of the year, would be more accurately termed ‘demanding money with menaces’. I know this instantly brands me as an old curmudgeon, desperately out of touch with the times, but I think it’s a shame that we seem to have embraced the U.S. version of Hallowe’en, with its practical jokes,...

Steak Pie On Wheels

I’ve written quite a lot, just lately, about my doomed attempts to buy a steak pie from a local café (see here , here and here ). The continued absence of this comestible, despite it featuring prominently on the Specials Board, seems to me to be redolent of a societal longing for something that used to exist, but no longer does. Alternatively, it could just mean that they can’t be *rsed to change the Specials Board. Anyway, it seems to me that...

Postscript to the Repeating Steak Pie

If you have been following my Steak Pie saga (which can be found here and here ) it may have occurred to you, as it has just to me, 'What the dickens was the waitress doing in the kitchen all that time after we ordered our mythical steak pies?' In the absence of any facts, I've done what anyone else would do in the circumstances, and made something up: Waitress: "Oh my God, Oh my God, you've got to help me!" Chef: "Calm down, whatever's the...

The Steak Pie Repeateth

Some of you may recall my failure to purchase a steak pie from a local cafe a while back? I'm quite prepared to believe that this event hasn't exactly burned itself deep into your memory but I'm hoping there's a small chance of a sliver of recognition? For those for whom this earth-shattering event did not register, you can find the gory details (which include a spot of drain-unblocking) here . If you can't be bothered to check out the whole...

Out of the mouths of babes...

A couple of weeks ago, I went on my annual Walking Weekend with "the Lads". I've mentioned before that this epithet is becoming more and more of a misnomer with every passing year. After all, I'm 62 and I'm the youngest! Anyway, I was to be dropped off to join the other three but before that, we had to take our six-year-old grandson, Flynn, to school. I drove there and Hilary and Flynn got out of the car, with Hilary reminding Flynn to say...

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