Twosday – a Tale of Two Tiles

Nothing much happens on Tuesdays, except perhaps a special date. Today is 22-2-22, but if I don’t hurry up and post this it will be Wednesday, except in the Americas where it will still be Tuesday, but written 2-22-22.

 The previous few days were more eventful as we had three storms in a row. Since the Met Office started naming storms we seem to have them more often, the aim being to make us take them seriously. On Thursday we were still thinking ‘not a nuther storm coming, up to E already, Eunice…’

But soon we were receiving RED warnings! Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go out again after Covid / chemotherapy / knee operation / kidnap by aliens – delete as appropriate, we were being instructed to stay home again.

Yellow, amber and even the most severe red warnings are in place for vast swathes of the United Kingdom – from Inverness to the Isle of Wight – for Friday.’

Our local council announced that almost everything would be closed on Friday. Team H deferred their long weekend visit, just like lockdown again, then cancelled as we heard that Eunice was to be followed by Storm Franklin and perhaps Gladys…

Friday dawned fair…

Friends and families warned each other ( well me ) not to go out to see the sea. I thought I would pop out to the recycling bin, but the front door nearly blew off. The front and side of our house takes the brunt of the prevailing south westerly and a record wind speed of 122 miles per hour was recorded on the Isle of Wight, as the wind wended its way to our house.

Unless you live in solitary splendour in the countryside you are probably very close or joined to your neighbours.  It was our neighbour who alerted us to tiles fallen off our roof, just missing their car. Only two tiles lost and one loose, but up high…

A good while ago it was the neighbours the other side who had major building work done to their house with the scaffolding in our driveway. The builders inadvertently broke one of our tiles, but how lucky was that because they fixed it and had four tiles left over and left them with us. Even luckier, considering I always forget where I put everything, I remembered where the spare tiles were hidden in the potting shed.

My son planned to fix the roof before Eunice took unfair advantage of the weak spot. I didn’t think anyone should be doing anything with ladders. My daughter-in-law was dispatched to Wickes to buy a hook attachment for the ladder and some spongy glue stuff. I didn’t think anyone should be going out.

Luckily we have the ‘right sort of roof’ for the proposed action and with careful checking of wind speeds, yet another thing you can do on the internet and the use of two ladders, the roof was repaired later in the day. We did not have to join the queues of home owners waiting for builders and roofers.

We had of course got off lightly. People had four hundred year old oak trees falling on their house and homes were flooded. Sadly the red warnings were justified as several people were killed by toppling trees.

Winter Weekend West – Part Two

Most of us find places to stay for holidays or mini breaks on line and a good way to choose is to pick a bed and breakfast that looks interesting and will make good photos for Instagram, Facebook, your website and your WordPress blog – though my WordPress gallery of pictures is chockablock full now…

We picked Primrose House in St. Ives, Cornwall. February is hardly peak season, but the weatherman promised fine weather. It was half term and we were booking at the last minute, but we got a room.

The journey down was thick fog all the way, as you will know if you are one of my three followers on Instagram or Facebook. Our breakfast stop turned out to be a Macdonalds; in the fog we just saw a sign for Services, no HGVs and a white house shaped building. We decided its proximity to Poundbury, Prince Charles’ life size toy town near Dorchester, was the reason for the absence of the usual bright red and yellow sign. Inside it was bright and clean and packed with customers and more staff than I have ever seen; we later heard from one of the staff they were expecting an unexpected visit from the big boss. That explained the enthusiastic clearing and wiping of tables.


Although the fog cleared just before we got to St. Ives it was impossible to find Primrose House. Like lots of West Country towns St. Ives was built for fishermen and real people walking about their business, not for tourists. We knew there were steep narrow winding lanes, that’s why we wanted to stay in the town and walk everywhere, but we still had to get to our accommodation in the first place. Sat Nav’s directions made no sense. The place is right by the branch line from St. Erth, how handy it would have been to arrive by train; except that journey involves five trains ( four changes ) and takes over nine hours from our home.

We stopped in the car park of a big hotel we had stayed in once before and phoned the B&B. We had missed the tiny lane that was the road to Primrose Valley. It was so steep we could have turned the engine off and free wheeled down. At the bottom were a couple of sharp U turns under, then back under the branch railway line. ‘We’re not moving the car again until it’s time to go home’ I said when I opened my eyes again – I’m not the driver…


Luckily Primrose House lived up to my expectations. It was within yards of the beach if you walked under the branch line. Run by friendly young proprietors who have made the spacious 1908 guest house bright and attractive, it is all white walls, timber and minimalism. The only criticism being that it might be described as a touch too minimalist. Our big room had lots of floor space, but not a single chair to sit on or many surfaces to put anything down. The bathroom was good with a lovely big shower. Anyone who knows the saga of our bathroom will appreciate that a powerful shower is part of the holiday treat.


There was lots on the breakfast menu, freshly cooked and plenty of fruit, cereals etc to help yourself. On the first morning there were lots of guests, but Sunday and Monday nights the owners told us we were alone; literally as there were no staff staying overnight. Possible inspiration for a story! The other strange thing that happened was our room didn’t get serviced due to a mix up, but they gave us a bottle of champagne and deducted money off the bill to make up.


Did we ever manage to get the car back up the hill? Find out next week.




Winter Weekend West – Part One

February may not be thought of as a holiday month in England, except for going abroad for sunshine, but there is plenty to do on a long winter weekend. We headed west through three counties and thick fog to reach Saint Ives on the north coast of Cornwall, nearly at the most westerly tip of England. A three night stay gave us two days of fine weather to enjoy photo opportunities, a blogworthy bed and breakfast establishment and too much inspiration for just one blog.

Cornwall has its own language, flag and nationalist movement. In the past it must have been very remote from the rest of England and in 2014 Cornish people were granted minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. But if you are in a holiday town you are more likely to be continually bumping into Londoners and others seeking the good life. Perhaps the locals are busy going out in their fishing boats rather than sampling fish restaurants.

Incomers are not new, Saint Ives famously has attracted artists since the nineteenth century with the quality of light and beautiful blue seas. Now the town is also well known for its Tate Gallery, squashed between housing association flats on the promenade. Inside, the light and airy building comes into its own, with a beautifully framed view of the beach, which my photograph doesn’t do justice to!


The town has layer upon layer of higgledy piggledy old buildings and narrow lanes clinging to its steep hills; a tourists’ delight. When we see modern tiny houses being built we think them ridiculous, but minute old dwellings most of us find irresistibly cute. Wandering around the maze of lanes we saw  a door only two foot wide at the top of steep steps and one building where a few steps took you below ground to two tiny front doors crammed at right angles; they were holiday lets.


Out on the moors there is plenty of space; the attractions for visitors include the old mine workings and the rocky coast where unbelievably blue seas with snow white surf pound black rocks. Fans of the Poldark books and television series will be familiar with the Cornish scenery and it is as fantastic as it looks on television. Winston Graham the author was not a local by birth, but did live in Cornwall for thirty five years from the age of seventeen.


Weather and Loungers

Weather and Loungers      by an anonymous guest blogger.

February is a dreary month in the Northern Hemisphere and many of us may listen with envy as retired friends and relatives set off on a cruise to the Caribbean, or working friends, who had the foresight to book a week’s holiday in winter, grab a bargain break on an island; anywhere from Cuba to The Canaries.

One rainy day I spotted an email from a relative that was much longer than the usual brief holiday update. I printed it out to enjoy reading properly and messaged back that he should join the blogging world. He suggested I edit it as a guest anonymous blog.


I lay on a sun lounger getting sun burn and wind burn at the same time. I remember saying before we came ‘I don’t mind if it’s not that hot, as long as it’s not too windy.’

Earlier this week we hired a car and drove round the entire island. One of our stops was at what I assume was the highest point; it had a visitor centre with lots of interesting facts to read.

As I move through the exhibition, learning about European colonialism, I’m also learning a lot about the geology and geography of the island. By the end of the exhibit my annoyance and unwarranted resentment starts to build from the facts that are becoming ever clearer.

Feurteventura has the lowest overall land height out of all the Canary Islands, this leads to clouds not being forced up as the blow in from the sea. Apparently this means there is less than average rainfall, although that did not stop it pouring down for two days when we arrived.

Right, sit down if you are not already seated. This thing with clouds and not having high mountains also means it is by far the windiest place for a hundred miles. It regularly gusts 70mph and explains a lot of those jaunty looking palm trees. In summary, this is what I have learned.

A: Do your research.

B: Despite what anyone tells you, unlimited beer will not make you cheerful. You have to be cheerful to start with.

C: You can’t blame anyone for the weather, though I bet someone on Trip Advisor will try.

Now to the title – Weather and Loungers.

I’m sitting here with the musings of Tom Wrigglesworth in my ear.

Occasionally I have a break to read my book. There must be 500 sun loungers round this very large pool and that’s not counting the adults only pool, the chill out pool and the nudists only pool which are all in turn smaller than one another and must culminate in a super relax puddle.

All these sun loungers are meticulously laid out every morning with a level of accuracy that suggests at least a small amount of forward planning. Every so often a couple leave their loungers to get food or sample some of the other wonders this place has to offer. Within no more than ten minutes two members of staff, dressed in white with blue latex gloves, will have reset those loungers to their starting positions; perfectly straight and with the back rest down – I learnt earlier in the week that this stops them blowing away.

As I write, two men have corrected the loungers next to me, the older man seems to be instructing the younger in the correct orientation and optimum lounger spacing. I don’t understand Spanish, but imagine it goes like this.

Look here young whipper snapper, I was arranging sun loungers when you were still at ‘all inclusive buffet’ school.

I imagine his father was a sun lounger arranger and his father before him and his great grandfather was a deckchair; the skills and lessons passed down through the generations. These include minimum distance from lounger to poolside, maximum relative distance between and most important; minimum amount of stacked loungers to prevent them blowing away overnight.

He’s surely a member of the Guild of Master Sun Longer Arrangers and sadly his son has shunned the lifestyle and gone to the mainland to be a jet ski salesman. He toils day after day, trying to pass on his skills to fellow workers, the Guild a dying breed pushed out by low wages and contemporary attitudes. Sometimes he reminisces about the old days; the great strike of 2004 when the lounger arrangers staged a walkout in support of the much abused banana boat operators. He hopes one day to save enough money to fly to a Sandals resort, where they still appreciate his very skilled profession.

So in summary of these thoughts; too much sun on a bald head makes you think up some strange things.