John Owen Smith Home Page Log for 2006 Log for 2007 Log for 2008 Log for 2009 Log for 2010 Log for 2011 Log for 2012 Log for 2013 Log for 2014 Log for 2015 Log for 2016 Log for 2017 Log for 2018 Contact me
I sent off for a new passport well ahead of my old one expiring so that I could
continue to have the EU format cover only to find that they have already
dropped the words 'European Union' even though we haven't left the EU yet, and
may never do!
I complained, but was simply told that: "The exclusion of the words 'European Union' from the cover of a UK passport does not affect its validity for travel to Europe or elsewhere."
Well obviously; but that's not the point and I feel a bit cheated.
As a second birthday present for me and Louis, we went to stay on the Isle of Wight for a few days last week, in an old Scout Hut!
As a birthday present for me and Louis, we went to Brooklands and the museum there. Masses of cars and planes and engines, etc but for me the most memorable exhibit was a London Transport Country bus like those that I caught to school each morning as a kid.
Once again I was 'Sir Robert Hunter', founder of the National Trust, when we
repeated our Dramatic Walk on Hindhead Common on Saturday see
I had once more grown a beard in order to play this character, and on Sunday I once more shaved it off with great pleasure!
Just back from a 10-day rail trip to Vienna, Prague and Berlin. Here are some memories.
Had my annual pacemaker check on the 9th, which was OK.
Went to an open-air production of 'Private Lives' at Hatchlands on the 11th: an interesting interpretation and we were lucky with the weather.
Popped over to Corsham during the weekend just gone and helped Steve re-felt his garden shed. My own shed also needs attention, which I must see to when the weather allows!
Went for a weekend to friends at Herne Bay and decided to take the scenic route there and back that's 4 hours through rural Sussex and Kent rather than 2-and-a -bit hours along the M25. Very pleasant, but you need a cast-iron bladder when travelling along roads such as the lovely A272 as there are no 'services', particularly before noon when all the pubs are shut!
Just back from a few days in France, with temperatures up to 40°C! Thank you Francine for your hospitality, and for the air conditioning in your car.
15th July 2019
Phew! We've just done a weekend of 'Allo 'Allo with me playing the part
of René Artois again. See
We held the Headley Theatre Club annual barbecue in our garden on Sunday afternoon. Here's how we filled the lawn!
With all the current fooling around selecting a new Prime Minister, I don't know why they can't just give the job to Hugh Grant he got close to the likes of the front runner in Love Actually, and he already knows the lines!
The trouble with going away for a fortnight is that you come back to a fortnight's worth of work to do!
Back home after two weeks in France. Here are some random pictures from our time in Corné, on the boat in Lot & Garonne, and around the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.
It is he, Leclerc!
Fawlty Towers met 'Allo 'Allo
We helped Nick choose the cast for the 'Allo 'Allo show in July. I am René again and Dil is Edith again (after 10 years!)
Yesterday we did a massive 'shed clear' of Theatre Club stuff at the village hall see pictures.
It was the annual 'bluebell walk' yesterday, but although they were still blooming nicely in the fields, they had 'gone over' in the woods where the main display usually is. Shame.
Twice to the Royal Albert Hall in the space of a fortnight! Once to see Alfie
Boe, and yesterday to see The Drifters. Both were loud and dramatic.
We also went to Greenwich yesterday, making a day of it. We thought the Observatory at £16 a throw was a bit expensive for what we saw in it, and there was no time to see anything else.
We tried to get from there to the Albert Hall by bus the first part went OK taking the No.166 to High Holborn, but from there it seemed there were no buses west to Kensington. Strange. In the end we took the tube.
We've decided to redecorate the lounge. I'll let you know if I survive the ordeal!
So, the date for the UK to leave the EU has come and gone (29th March) and
we're still in. Those who know me, know my feelings on the matter (see 27
I had a small bet with myself at the time that we'd not leave, and it looks likely that I may be right. If so, I'd be overjoyed. The EU with all its faults has ensured peace in western Europe since the devastation of WW2. It needs to change to accommodate a changing world, but we can assist if we work from the inside.
Forgot to mention last week that my cousin William's son Rupert is working on the discovery of an eighth continent, Zealandia. See him on Youtube.
Up to Northumberland for a few days. We made a halfway stop at Retford and
slept in a bookshop! See pictures below.
Arriving in Alnwick on Shrove Tuesday, we were recommended to go and watch the annual football match between players from the two parishes of St Michael and St Paul. The ball was thrown from the castle gate by the Duke of Northumberland (or it may have been his son) and walked down to the flood plain of the River Aln following a Northumbrian piper. We watched the first half (of 30 minutes) but as it was raining and not overly exciting we left then and sought the warmth of our hotel!
4th March 2019
We had Christian & Maryse from our French twin town of Corné
to stay for a couple of nights, and of course gave them the 'full English'
for breakfast (see right).
Yesterday I mowed my lawn in February! Is this a global warming warning?
The previous day I was dressed as Sir Robert Hunter again at a 'Mystery and History' day set up by the NT at Hindhead for kids at half term. Luckily it was a lovely spring-like day, because there was a lot of standing around waiting for an audience to turn up. However, I did learn several ways to start a fire from the man doing 'bushcraft' demonstrations, so not altogether a wasted day.
18th February 2019
So, after having the No.18 bus run through the village from Haslemere
to Aldershot since bus services began in the 1920s, we now have the No.23
instead, running from Haslemere to Alton and only once every 2
hours instead of hourly. Not sure who this is supposed to benefit!
11th February 2019
The Sunday walk last week was a curtailed affair due to snow, but 6 brave
souls and a dog rambled up the riverside and back (see photo).
Spent two evenings in the village hall helping Dil to make stage curtains last week, and another there dressed in a kilt being MC at a Burns Night. We seem to spend as many evenings in the hall as we do at home! The Burns Night is organised each year by our Twinning Association so there you have it: a group promoting jumelage with the French putting on a Scottish evening in an English village. Vive le difference!
The final weekend of Toad of Toad Hall went well see pictures. Audience numbers were average, which means as good as recent years but nowhere near the halcyon days when we had full houses. I guess people's habits have changed, but it's still good to put on a show involving the kids and adults together, however fraught it gets at times!
The first weekend of Toad of Toad Hall went tolerably well. Let's hope the final weekend goes well too.
Today I placed my first order for books via KDP rather than CreateSpace. It was a bit of a struggle, sending me to Dil's Amazon account first of all but in the end it looks as if books come quicker, more cheaply and invoiced in Pounds rather than Dollars.
A week of activity in the Village Hall and at home preparing for Toad of Toad Hall. At times the lounge floor looked like we'd had a snowfall as Dil made furry animal costumes!