Monday, 14 August 2017


As, I think, I have mentioned in a previous article I am an avid book collector. This all started many years ago in Kingsley when, having developed a keen interest in books at the village school, I began requesting books as gifts at Christmas and birthdays etc. My books were originally confined to volumes on rural matters but much later in life I developed an interest in food and cooking and so began my cookery book collection. I buy new books and, of course, the internet has transformed the way in which one is now able to access books from all over the world. 

But, my great passion ….my wife would say obsession …is second hand books. Where ever I go my first task is to establish if the town has a second hand book shop. In days gone by this was a fairly simple task, one just tracked down the local Bobby on the beat or traffic warden and, hey presto, directions were provided. Sadly, that is no longer the case, apart from the fact that many second hand book shops have disappeared, (Guildford for example once had two huge shops ), there are now so few Bobbies on the beat and traffic wardens are also gone. However, be that as it may, I am usually able to establish if or if not the place I happen to be visiting has a second hand bookshop, and off I go. Mrs. Y. and I have a well established system in place to ensure that these matters run reasonably smoothly. We agree a time and place at which to meet and she goes off around the shops and I head of to the bookshop. Usually with a cautionary, "don’t buy more than one book, we are running out of space". How negative can you get ! 

Having said that there has been a decline in second hand book shops, there is one glimmer of hope in the form of Oxfam. They have opened up quite a lot of such establishments in recent years. I suppose, as a charity, their outgoings are far less and they get their stock from donations. In these parts we have Oxfam second hand bookshops in Salisbury, Dorchester, Wells, Yeovil, Warminster and Taunton. In Bath there are two, together with a couple more operated by other charities. So all is looking quite healthy as far as I am concerned. 

The people who man the charity shops are usually very helpful and when they get to know an individual will often produce books from the back room which may be of interest.

Well, I hate to admit it, but Mrs. Y. has proved to be right, my book collection is in bad need of more space. There are a number of what, "she who must be obeyed", refers to, menacingly, as piles growing in corners of spare rooms and beside my armchair. I am frequently subjected to the rather rude remark, "oh no not more books" when I return home from a successful expedition. 

My original log cabin, purchased at great expense, from B&Q many years ago is now full. Dare I say it, there are even odd "piles" of books within its walls. So it was, a couple of weeks ago, having had my usual ear bashing about the dreaded piles of books in the house, I casually suggested it might be a good idea to build another cabin. To my great surprise my suggestion was met with agreement, the only questions were, where would it be put and how long would it take to build ? Fortunately, ground is not a problem and there was a fairly obvious area beneath a large tree to the right of the garden, in which little would grow. This met with approval and, I think, will work well as it is almost directly opposite the original cabin. However, this time I am going to design and build the cabin myself with the aid of a friendly builder /handyman whom I employ at weekends to help me with all sorts of tasks. I spent yesterday going through the plans with him and between us we appear to have come up with a rather fetching plan for the new book room. We are even going to include a veranda upon which I hope to recline in peace and harmony with a book, glass or two and a wife who will have no cause to use the dreaded "pile" word ever again. On the face of it the cost of such a venture is likely to be a fraction of the cost of the original B&Q structure. I will keep you posted !.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

BOAT driving prohibitions


Hampshire County Council proposes to make a traffic order as follows:
EFFECT OF ORDER: To prohibit any motor vehicle proceeding in the following routes:
That part of Selborne BOAT 67 between SU 7547 3441 at its junction with Priory Lane and SU 7539 3513 at the Parish Boundary.That part of Worldham BOAT 38 between SU 7539 3513 at the Parish Boundary and SU 7558 3571 at its junction with Wick Hill Hanger.
FURTHER DETAILS: A copy of this notice, the proposed order, a map showing the location and effect of the order and a statement of reasons may be viewed at or inspected during the usual office hours at the following places:
(i) Customer Services, East Hampshire District Council, Penns Place, Petersfield, GU31 4EX
(ii) Countryside Service, Hampshire County Council, The Castle, Winchester, SO23 8UJ
OBJECTIONS: All objections and other representations in respect of this proposal must be sent in writing to the Head of Countryside, Hampshire County Council, Castle Avenue, Winchester, SO23 8UJ or by email to no later than 1 September 2017. All objections must state the grounds on which they are made. Persons wishing to make objections or other representations are advised that in the order-making process, objections or other representations may become publicly available and therefore the names and addresses of those persons making objections or other representations may also be made publicly available.
Please note that this notice is a corrected version of the proposal advertised on 21 July 2017. Any objections received to the earlier proposal have been kept on file and will be taken into consideration.
TITLE: The Order, if made, will be known as "The Hampshire (Selborne BOAT 67 and Worldham BOAT 38) (Prohibition of Driving) Order 2017".
DATED this 11th day of August 2017
KAREN MURRAY, Director of Culture, Communities and Business Services, The Castle, Winchester, SO23 8UJ


Director of Culture, Communities and Business Services
The Castle
SO23 8UJ

Monday, 24 July 2017

English Abroad

On a recent holiday to France I, yet again, encountered all that is bad about the English abroad. Well, having said abroad, when I reflected upon the matter the section of society of whom I write are equally as bad at home as they are abroad. 

On the above occasion we had returned to our favourite hotel in a little sea side village a few miles south of Dieppe. In many ways the hotel is like something out of Daphne du Maurier novel. Located back from the sea on the cliffs it enjoys wide views of the sea. It is a grand old building and, like many of its surrounding houses, was probably a rich merchant's house from a bygone era. Most of the hotel is clad in creeper and its gardens are all very well kept and full of blooms. It is a family run hotel which has been in the family through several generations. It only opens in the summer which is when we found it several years ago. 

On that occasion we had embarked upon another trip to France, which we do quite often, the difference on that particular trip was that I had not bothered to pre-book any accommodation. Reasoning, as I did, that there would be so much to choose from that booking was waste of time and it would be rather fun to tour around a bit and select whatever took our fancy. Mrs. Y. was, to put it mildly, uneasy about this turn of events. However, off we went and all was well until we arrived at our destination and it then became clear to even the most casual of observers that "something was going on". Every junction, round-a bout, every layby, in fact almost everywhere was awash with police. The Gendarmes were out in force. So it was that our search for accommodation began against this background. It didn’t take long to realise there was nothing to be found, quite simply everywhere we went was fully booked. We then discovered, in fact we already knew, the G9 Summit of World heads of state was being held in the nearby seaside town of Hornfleur. Hence the massive security operation. This in turn had resulted in all available places to rest your head being requisitioned for police and security personnel. 

It was during this process when we discovered La Terasse, the hotel referred to above, it also was fully booked. Having found it and fallen in love with the place and its location we resolved to return. This we did and the rest is history. We don’t encounter many English people at the hotel the clients are mostly Dutch, Belgian and German with the odd American. So, on our most recent visit, it was unusual to see two cars in the car park with English number plates. That evening we encountered our fellow countrymen. Two couples, one the parents of either the male or female of the other couple. Obviously one of the couples was much older than the other. We had just embarked upon our evening meal which is, generally, a fairly lengthy process in French hotels. What with aperitifs, several courses, a digestif and coffee. The dining room was fairly full and people were quietly enjoying their food and pleasant conversation when everything changed. The two English couples arrived, the peace was shattered. They were seated three tables down from where we sat and it quickly became evident that our evening was about to be different. Having been seated and gone through a somewhat elaborate, and noisy, not to mention, showy selection of an aperitif the English group began to talk. The trouble was the whole dining room had to listen to their conversation. To be honest it was the younger man that was doing most of the talking, the older couple were quieter and his partner confined herself to the occasional shriek of laughter and lots of "oh darlings" and exaggerated, "how interesting’s". 

The man went on and on and on, hardly pausing for breath. Clearly he felt his conversation was of such great importance that all in the room should hear what he had to say. The truth is he made himself look a complete prat. For the most part, the conversation that was forced upon my wife and I and the rest of the diners was what would, in some circles be described as a complete load of bull manure! I have encountered this behaviour, whilst in France, many times and each time I am left wondering what the point of it is. Are these people so inadequate that they have to put on a show of exaggerated importance in order to impress all around then. There is certainly a large amount of arrogance involved and, frankly, complete disregard for the feelings of all around them. On another occasion, and there have been many, I encountered a husband and wife with a child, this also in a restaurant. On that occasion the male chump was announcing to all and sundry that the family were vegetarian. Back then there was not a great veggie following in France and, other than to suggest a salad, the waiter seemed quite baffled. Well this chap and his wife went on and on about their eating habits and treated us all to a loud running commentary on their likes and dislikes in the food department. I was left, as no doubt many other diners were, with the serious hope that the staff would throw them out. Having disrupted the whole lunch of many diners this particular idiot finally left. The last I saw of him was in the car park where he was running around like a headless chicken searching frantically for the car which he had forgotten to note where he had parked it. You will not be surprise to learn his problems were being shared with anyone within earshot. Fortunately most people shrugged and walked away. Personally, I was left with the overwhelming feeling that the problem couldn’t have happened to a nicer prat.