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Posted by Sid Langley on Monday, May 5, 2008

Mayday...mayday...mayday... just an old hack's cheap trick to grab your attention, but as the sun sinks slowly over the building blocking the view from my officestrokebedroom (I think it's a former shoe factory now turning out cardboard boxes), it's time to be reflective over a fine holiday weekend.

Quiet and calm, with the Dr Who trailer probably the most pulse-raising moment - although the troll chasing kids through tunnels in The Spiderwick Chronicles certainly got the attention of this pensioner and his two young charges.

Canny old grandad - I know it needs two 'Ds' but it looks wrong - and this is my blog, so I'm going with one. I'll start that again as I've wandered off topic.

Canny old granddad (the auto-spellchecker put two in!) now waits to see movies until they're well into their run. So at today's early show we shared the whole of a cinema with another adult and two kids.

At the Chinese buffet trough-fest that followed we constructed protective rings on our plates out of shiitake mushrooms and pretended the crispy seaweed was goblin blood, as you do. But while we're on about food, let's hear it for ye olde Englishe tea shoppe, fast (and I used the word advisedly) becoming an endangered species.

Not long after my initiation into the joys (?) of McDonalds the other week we chanced to be 'doing' Kenilworth Castle, my first visit since we lived in the town nearly 40 years ago. A great morning crowned by light lunch just over the road in a very traditional English tea shop, imaginatively called Time for Tea. Highly recommended, and beats any fast food joint hands down.

Ditto Baines on the corner of West Street in the Rutland school town of Uppingham. Do go if you're passing through - only make sure you have some olde cashe with you. They don't take plastic. We were in the area to get a holiday weekend sniff of Rutland Water from the less-visited southern shore with a fascinating stroll from the village of Lyndon, centre of an estate run by the same family for centuries. They're still there.

Thomas Barker, a late 18th century meteorological pioneer, lived there all his life, keeping detailed daily weather records which are currently being mined by experts at the UEA to analyse English climate patterns throughout the century.

This afternoon I did some mining of my own. While the Langley womenfolk planted vegetables and set up water butts, the girls and I were ensconced in a play area having failed to find a shop open to sell us another family ukulele. What did we do before the invention of the Whacky Warehouse and others of that ilk?

While the girls climbed the walls and took younger patrons on the dodgems, grandad (fooled it!) was digging in the great fiction pit with his bare hands (and a laptop) in search of nuggets for this year's Bridport Prize short story contest. If I win I promise to let you (but not the taxman) know.

Right, back to Tiny Tim on YouTube and Tiptoe Through the Tulips (I don't have enough technical know-how to post it here, or I would). If you're interested, check out the wonderful Nick Lucas guitar version on there and the many clips of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, fast becoming the Langley clan's favourite band. Apparently their take on Wuthering Heights is Kate Bush's favourite cover version.

2 comments on “May..hmmmm”

Jane C Says:
Sunday, June 8, 2008 @3:20:50 PM

My boys bought their dad a uke for Christmas, what a sweet instrument, has this taken the place of the banjo in your life Sid?

Harryjames Says:
Friday, October 10, 2008 @12:21:17 AM

Hello, Sid. Remember me? Harry James, your one-time features sidekick at the ET. If this message gets to you, I'd be delighted to hear from you. I live in Hong Kong now - been here for about six years, after living in the Middle East, Singapore and Bangkok. My email address is Do please drop me a line. Harry +852 92633343

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