Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Time To Bid Another Fond Farewell

It’s time for us to bid a fond farewell to Hugh and his countryside menagerie for a little while at least ……..
IMG_2269…… we have much to do back in Evesham, and Hugh, judging from the few telephone conversations he (reluctantly) took from his agent while we have been here is very much in demand in London too.
IMG_2256It was an emotional parting, but Hugh giving Nigel a tub of Millionaires Mini Bites, which he informed the little fella, with straight face and a knowing wink, was staple sweetmeat of all the rich people he knew in Notting Hill, and, for that matter, all round the world, made us all smile …as Nigel swallowed every single word ……..
IMG_2357……… but at least it eased the pain of leaving Hugh’s beloved chickens, even the knitted ones, behind for him!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

So Many Chickens …….

Although we’ve posted pictures of Hugh’s many, many chickens before, the novelty of the way Hugh lets them roam with gay abandon (except at night, naturally) never seems to wear off …….
……. they are everywhere!
IMG_2251Poor Hugh has to do an awful lot of shooooooooooing, but I really don’t think they take an awful lot of notice of him …..
……. he is too soft with them!
Hugh’s basset hounds also seems to enjoy all the peace and quiet of the country as they are a bit of a celebrity in their own right, when Hugh is out walking them (incognito of course) tourists never fail to stop him every few steps for a photos or two, but like Hugh, they take it all in their stride.
As we are not allowed pets under the leasehold of our flat naturally Nigel really embraces being surrounded by all the animals……..
…… especially any new hatchings, after the recent arrival of his swanlings.
IMG_2277It really is a wonderful oasis is peace and tranquilly for us all.
IMG_2344And was nice to see Hugh has got his countryside man “what does” to put our dovecote up from Castle Greysquirrel, we didn’t want to leave it behind, but with no garden at The Towers, well, Hugh snapped our hands off for it …….
…….. his chickens roost in some very unexpected places, and I think he is hoping that one or two might fancy roosting in it. We wish him well as nothing showed the faintest interest in roosting in it back at The Castle …… well, only candles when Darrell got all aesthetically romantic one summer evening!
IMG_2335Happy Days ……….

Monday, 29 May 2017

Hugh Joins In The Scrum

Hugh said that the only thing he wanted to do, apart from having us spend his birthday weekend with him, was to pop over to the next village to have a mooch at their annual BIG Plant Sale.  
IMG_2305We’ve been with Hugh before on a previous birthday visit, so we knew that we needed to girdle our lions most robustly, as it was going to be an almighty scrum …….
IMG_2289…….. country folk, it seems, take their plant sales very seriously, a bit like the our beloved village jumble sales of old, before Car Boots took over!
Hugh knew exactly what he wanted as he’d been making copious notes all last week while watching the BBC coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show.
IMG_2294The plan was for Hugh to jostle for prime position, elbowing if necessary, but strictly no stamping on toes, all something of a delicious and heady novelty compared to the genteel ways of the Notting Hill glitterati.
IMG_2301We were stand behind him to take the burgeoning boxes of plants from him in quick succession and Nigel then was to take them to a corner by the stage and stand guard over them, as it has been known for other sale goers to rifle through the boxes of others in the past!
We were a crack team! Hugh decided that he didn’t really need any antique gardening tools, even if they were only priced at £1 each,  but he did avail himself of a free copy of the Country Gardener as it would look quite impressive on his coffee table back in London.  What is he like?
And while Hugh, Nigel and I partook in a more relaxed après plant scrum tea and homemade coffee cake, Darrell volunteered to stand guard outside, again to keep an eye on Hugh’s prized plants, as he had indeed bagged some most excellent specimens, and anyway Darrell was also very interested in what sort of cars country people drove ……

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A Share Platter Too Too Far

As a treat Hugh took us all to his “local” where they don’t have a clue who he is or even really care. There is a magician who lives up the road in a converted church, who is the village celebrity and as Hugh says, one swarovski encrusted shoulder pad and a magic wand is enough for any village, especially in Worcester!
IMG_2312Anyway, the Vimto and crisps of our choice were on Hugh, but Darrell couldn’t help taking a look at the menu board ……..
IMG_2311…….. he could have been tempted perhaps to the haddock fillet but pigeon and pork meatballs, he mused, perhaps not.  We might be living in Evesham now, but we will never forget our Wolverhampton roots, and memories of feeding the pigeons outside St Peters Church by the fountain …………. well, it just wouldn’t seem right to eat one, especially in spherical form!
IMG_2315But when the landlord asked Hugh if he and his obviously descerning friends, judging by their accents, might fancy partaking in his new sharing platter, poor Hugh, a committed vegetarian with strong vegan leanings went very politely pale!
IMG_2317And, though I  admit, we like to try to be adventurous in our food choice when in foreign climes, this sharing platter was a platter too far, even for us ………
IMG_2313 ……. with it’s paneed testicles, sous vide style heart and kidney croquettes, we were half expecting Ant and Dec to pop out from behind the spider plants and announce we’d been selected for the Village Bush Tucker Trial. Thankfully Hugh declined on all our behalfs, saying that we had a quiche waiting for us at home, so a bottle of their finest Chateau Vimto Neuf Du Pap with straws, served with a salt and vinegar  and cheese and onion bagged accompaniment would be just fine ……. but thank you for asking!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Happy Birthday Hugh

Nigel was a little reluctant to leave his beloved swans behind, but we had promised to spend  the weekend with Hugh at his country bolt hole in Worcester for his birthday.
IMG_2279Hugh was in high spirits when we arrived, having already blown up a few balloons with, he announced proudly, his own lips and not zee balloon pump!
IMG_2281We excitedly gave him our presents. We had purposely chosen to give him very simple things, having decided many years ago that there’s just no point in us trying to compete with the gifts his showbiz friends usually shower upon him, and neither would he expect us too, “You can get so many brilliant things in Poundland and the 99p Shop that Mariah and Elt would never think of getting me. There are only so many baskets of kittens and liquorice allsorts dipped in aspic that one can coo over” he has said before now.
IMG_2283So, our “humble” gifts of M & S Percy and Penny Pigs really went down very well, as Hugh is very partial to a soft fruit flavoured gum, especially if they are also pig and heart shaped.
IMG_2285We also gave him a set of skull shaped shot glasses, something Darrell had noted that he had said he quite fancied for his cocktail cabinet  …….. “We shall knock back the Umbongo in style tonight” he announced.  It was an emotional unwrapping of gifts, but with Hugh that’s not really anything new!
IMG_2248Happy Birthday Hugh ……….
IMG_2249……. you really can rock an oversized birthday badge!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Nigel’s Emotions Are Wrung Through The Mill …….

Nigel went to visit his beloved swans nest yesterday afternoon and got a the most horrendous shock …….
IMG_2380……. in the nest were three very abandoned looking eggs ……
IMG_2376……….. and there was no sign of the swans or the babies he had fallen in love with earlier in the week.
Poor Nigel was distraught …..  he sadly left the nest and walked slowly along the river, his eyes scanning for any sight of the swans and his ears straining for the faintest “peep peep”. With a heart as heavy as lead, Nigel couldn’t help but fear the worst, left alone with thoughts that nature can be a very cruel mistress!
IMG_2387But then, as he turned the corner and approached the slipway his eyes were greeted by the most wondrous sight …….
IMG_2384The swans had taken their 5 baby swanlings to the secluded shallows of said slipway to get used to the water.
IMG_2386Nigel had to admit that he then got a little emotional and needed to pull himself ntogether, before approaching.
The proud parents were very attentive ……..
IMG_2391…… and in turn four of the five swanlings seemed be taking to the water, well, ….. like swans …………….
IMG_2392……. all but one, who seemed to prefer to stay on land close to his mum (or dad)
IMG_2393He was the one, Nigel decided who was going to be his favourite as he looked a bit sad ……..
IMG_2396…… and he, was going to be called Eric.