A trip out to The Rose and Crown Upper Farringdon

A friend of mine has taken over a pub in Upper Farringdon near Alton recently.

The other day I decided to go and take a look at it. It is call the Rose and Crown Inn. I can report that although the day I visited it was dry because they had just moved  in whilst I was there two barrels of local ale from the Triple FF brewery arrived so they could settle nicely before opening for the first time the next evening.

I was very impressed with the toilet facilities which were clean well lit and smelt clean and fresh a credit to the previous owners staff. The bar is L shaped and the restaurant is at one end of the L . Outside it has a very large lawned area with a view over the countryside on the rear.

Situated just a 2 mile walk from Jane Austin’s House it is bound to be popular with the walkers. Also dogs are very welcome.

Check out the Rose and Crown Website for the full address and what is going on.

I regret to announce that my friend has had to sell up as it was not possible to carry on at the time. Such a shame it was a lovely friendly pub in a nice location

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The demise of Live Messenger

It has been announced yet another instant messenger service is to end at the end of the year.

Windows Messenger > MSN Messenger > Windows Live Messenger service is to end in early 2013 but it will be combined into Skype so not gone for good. 

It is up to debate whether this will be a good or bad thing. One thing I do note is that Skype was more aimed at the business user and Messenger for social use. It might not be a good thing to mix the two markets together.

I guess instant messenger services have come a long way since ICQ. Now Facebook chat service can now also be merged into Skype along with messenger it does seem this is aimed at being a way of Microsoft earning big bucks from Skype in the future.

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Banks need root-and-branch reform, says Labour’s Ed Balls

“Labour has demanded that top High Street banks should be forced to sell off hundreds of branches in a "root-and-branch" reform of the industry.”

I would guess that could be the worst thing for the public and small businesses!

The banks would quite happily close branches that were in secondary locations where they are borderline profitable. It would mean that the most likely branches to be closed were those few remaining rural branches and those in smaller towns.

It would be better for the new competition that is emerging are protected from being bought out by the big banks.

The new supermarket banks, peer to peer lending companies as well as local community building societies and savings groups should not be able to be bought out by the bigger players. This will ensure future diversity in the sector without inconveniencing the customers of the big 5 banks.

Another thing that seems to have been not considered by this policy is the employment issue. Sell off hundreds of branches assumes that there would be a buyer and staff would be taken over as well. I would suggest that there are plenty of empty high street premises available for new comers to the market and therefore would increase employment in the shorter term.

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Update about the Apollo Tomato House

In May 2010 I bought a Apollo Tomato House which had a bad design feature in that the roof was flat and the rain water collected in it.

Last year I bought another one because I had damaged the zips on the original one (my fault not the product) but as the weather was mild by the time the tomatoes were ready to go in it I did not use it in the end.

However after the excessive gales during the winter as I had not bothered to take it down it finally collapsed.

Today I got the new one out and was delighted to find they had redesigned the roof to allow the rain water to run off. This has prompted me, in fairness, to update my comments on the product. However before you run off looking for this product it seems to be now discontinued.

The original post can be seen here

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A visit to Southwater Horticultural Society Spring Show.

Easter Saturday arrived and I decided time to get out and about!

I remembered someone had posted about a spring show nearby so decided to go and have a look around.

Here are some pictures from the show.


A general picture of the display of spring flowers.


Chutney and marmalade entries.


Flower arrangements


Three tulips from society supplied bulbs  a great idea to get more people involved !


Hot Cross Buns, Ginger bread men, Soda bread and cheese scones made up some of the cookery classes.


Some very creative entries from the younger generation were a delight to behold.



Craft work was to a very high standard and I pity the judges having to choose winners.



A beautiful display of spring flowers.


The prize winning all yellow daffodil!


All in all a very enjoyable trip out.

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Another year nearly over.

It has been a strange year with the death of my father in February and having to have Laddie put to sleep at the end of July.

Guess the highlight of the year was a camping trip to Cornwall on August Bank Holiday weekend. The first time I have been to Cornwall for a good few years. During the trip I visited Penzance and found that my grandparents house was up for sale.

In the middle of September Laddie’s girlfriend (Bonnie) at work died in her sleep and I buried Laddie’s ashes with her so they are together again.

The veggie patch was again quite productive although I had a late start. The one new thing I grew was two butternut squash plants I got given. They just sat there most of the summer and suddenly sprung into life in early September and eventually produced one squash each.

Dad’s death made me review my future with me reaching retirement age next year. I found a dream house in St. Dennis in Cornwall but was beaten to buying it. I also went and looked at a house on the Isle of Sheppey. I ended up with making an offer on a piece of green belt land near work which was accepted and is currently in the hands of the solicitors.

Just before Christmas my blog got hacked but I think it is all back as it was now.

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For a change a spam email which actually was worth reading!

Dear Mr Cameron,
Please find below our suggestion for fixing the UK’s economy.
Instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.
You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:
There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force.
Pay them £1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire.
Ten million job openings – unemployment fixed
2) They MUST buy a new British car.
Ten million cars ordered – Car Industry fixed
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage –
Housing Crisis fixed
4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university –
Crime rate fixed
5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week …..
And there’s your money back in duty/tax etc.
It can’t get any easier than that!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances
If you think this would work, please forward to everyone you know.
Let’s put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home.
This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.
They’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc. and they’d receive money instead of paying it out.
They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance.
Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.
A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell.
They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education.
Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ’s and legal aid would be free, on request.
Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens.
Each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls.
There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.
The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay £600.00 per week and have no hope of ever getting out.
Think about this (more points of contention):
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Appleby almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the county of Cumbria?
And, they even tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

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The coming voting system referendum…

Sat relaxing today after the heat got too much for digging in the garden a mention of the forth coming referendum actually got me thinking about this.

At my age I tend to think that the younger generations should decide this as it is their future. Then I think maybe they need the older persons experience to guide them.

However I came to the conclusion that our current system should be retained. The basic question is do you believe in one person one vote? This works well as our current system of electing a government. The Yes to the Alternative Vote system will split hairs and claim that because you order preferences on the the ballot paper it is all one vote this is only true in my mind if you only make one choice.

However if there is going to be any change to this system it has to be complete proportional representation where the one vote gets a fair share of representation.  There are of course drawbacks with this system as well the main one is lack of local representation.

This proposed Alternative Vote system is a mishmash and to my mind changes very little than perhaps the outcome in a few constituencies.

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The start of a new year!

As we enter 2011 and thinking about the past year I suddenly turned to thinking about the start of the millennium and the decade that has passed. Well I am a year late in doing this but the cold weather has kept me indoors more this holiday break.

Back in the year 2000 we were using either Windows 98 or ME or maybe Windows 2000. We would of connected to the internet over a dial up modem. CD writers were the latest method of recording on a computer.

Yahoo was the main search engine with sites like Google and PayPal in their infancy and of course Facebook not even a dream.

TV would of been recorded on VHS tape and films rented in the same format.

If you listened to music on the move it would of been on a Walkman cassette player.

So much has changed during the last few years but how much more will have changed in the years ahead? This past year we have seen the introduction of 3D television to the living rooms.

2010 has also seen several big changes to our TV programming with the end of The Bill and Last of the Summer Wine being the most well known shows ending their long running series. A Touch of Frost also came to a final end. Others of a more modern note included Lost and 24. Also the year saw the end of Big Brother on Channel 4 although I suspect that it is likely to appear in a very similar format on another channel in the future.

Coronation Street marked its 50th anniversary in December with a week of special episodes and an explosive tram crash storyline.

Two other things of note were the exit of David Tennant who bowed out of Doctor Who and the Time Lord regenerated into Matt Smith, the youngest Doctor yet at 27 years of age. The other biggest news of the year in entertainment was that of Robbie Williams re-joining Take That.

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Autumn Arrives Again

The end of September arrives along with my birthday and I always think now the winter is coming soon.

The veggie plot has done me well this year and for the first time I have had a plentiful supply of tomatoes. Courgettes and runner beans were not so good though but just fortifies my belief that some crops do better each year than others.



This birthday card I received is really good.

I can just see my dog Laddie doing the same.

Also along with my birthday cards the first seed catalogue for the next year arrived! A very interesting addition to the cards.

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