Twitter friends: A message

This is a general message to all my blogging friends who also follow me on Twitter, as well as those who kindly share my blog posts on that platform. Also to everyone who constantly retweets my own Tweeted blog posts, and ‘likes’ them too.

I used to always take time to thank you for doing so, and add a comment where appropriate. However, Twitter have stopped sending me individual notifications. Instead, they send me an email with any number of notifications, all lumped together in one batch. This makes it much more difficult to continue my former practice of thanking you all every time.

In future, I will just ‘like’ your retweet. This will let you know that I have seen it, and tell you that I am grateful too. I still appreciate them just the same, and hope that you will understand why I am changing to this. And please forgive my usual absence from Twitter. I rarely go on the platform, and just use it for promoting my blog posts.

Thanks once again, and best wishes to you all. Pete.


Promoting a fellow blogger

My good blogging friend David Miller has been away from the blogs for some time now. As well as working on a new novel, he has been writing song lyrics for his musical partner, Chris Almoada. Chris’ band produces a great rockabilly sound, real foot-tapping stuff from the old school, and David is his lyricist. After a lot of work, those lyrics are now available on Facebook, for all to see. As I do not have a Facebook account, I cannot like or comment, unfortunately. But if you can, then please do.

As well as writing these lyrics, David is an accomplished writer of Limericks, and has published books too. His last novel, ‘Pope On The Dole’, was a quirky and amusing read that I thoroughly enjoyed. David works from his home in Nevada, close to Las Vegas, and also enjoys hiking in the desert and mountainous countryside there. I am adding some links, in case you would like to know more about him and his work.

Facebook page for those lyrics.
Blog site.
Pope On The Dole.

If you are able to, please share these links around.
Thanks in advance, Pete.

Thinking Aloud on a Sunday


The idea of these posts is to tell you all what I woke up thinking about, on the day when most people get to have a rest from the working week, hopefully relaxing and trying not to think about tomorrow. But this week, I woke up thinking about something very mundane. Hedges. I decided to share this with you anyway, as it says something about getting older, and facing up to physical limitations.

Our back garden is bordered on two sides by tall conifer hedges. We inherited these from the previous owner, and originally intended to have them removed, and replaced with something more manageable. However, the quotes for this job were much higher than we had ever expected, so the plan was scrapped. We also realised that they gave us a welcome degree of privacy from our neighbours’ houses, so on balance, thought it best to keep them.

In 2012, I bought some top-of-the-range cordless trimmers to tackle the job, and spent all weekend getting them nicely manicured, and looking neat. As they are ten feet high, and almost five feet deep, that was a difficult job, involving a lot of time spent on a ladder. I soon realised that this type of hedge grows very quickly too, and the annual trim became something of an unwanted chore. I left it one year, and as a result of my neglect, the central trunks and branches grew back thicker that ever. The next time I got around to cutting it, the trimmers could hardly cope, and I had to resort to using a saw as well. That made a boring job even more difficult.

When I had bad vertigo last year, I let them go again. 2016 seems to have been a record growth year though, and adding nine moths of this year to that, they are now very high and straggly. One of my neighbours from the street behind even knocked and advised me that they are cutting out the light from his garden, and asked me when I was going to cut them. I told him about the vertigo, and he was sympathetic, but it left me feeling guilty. I resolved to start the ‘big cut’ today, as it is forecast to stay dry. But then I woke up worrying about having to do it, and retreated into the office to deal with blogging matters instead.

We could pay someone to do it. We have the money, and there are plenty of companies offering the service. Something inside me says ‘no’. Once we pay someone to do routine jobs that do not require any skill, I am on the way to giving up. Before you know it, we will be paying someone to clean the house, and mow the lawn. I will happily pay someone to do electrical work, painting rooms, or fixing drains. I have no skill in those areas, and they are responsible for their work. But when I stop being able to stand on a ladder, holding a hedge trimmer, it will certainly be an admission of something I don’t want to accept.

So I am writing this, and drinking some coffee.When both are finished, I have an appointment with some hedges.


All photos can be enlarged for detail, and look much better that way.

The Suffolk coastal town of Aldeburgh has been a settlement since Roman times, when it was used for the production of salt. It later became very prosperous, and was a thriving fishing town. The local museum is housed in the Moot Hall. (Meeting hall). This building dates from 1520, though the brick chimneys were added much later.

We arrived on a rather grey and windy day, though the sun did appear later that afternoon. There is still a small fishing industry operating there. Because of the shingle beach, and the absence of a harbour, boats have to be lowered into and raised from the water, using tractors on the beach.

My cousin and her daughter took their spaniels down to the water. The dogs, Jess and Dennis, were enjoying the change of scene.

Meanwhile, Julie was browsing the fresh fish shops along the front, where she bought the ingredients to make a fish pie.

Not all of the boats there are seaworthy. These two look as if they have been abandoned to the elements.

Aldeburgh (pronounced All-bruh) has enjoyed a recent popularity as a place where wealthy southerners buy second homes. House prices in the area have increased dramatically, and the shops in the town also reflect the needs of their rich customers. The town is mostly associated with the famous composer, Benjamin Britten. He went to live there in 1942, and later founded the renowned Aldeburgh Festival. He died there, and is buried in the town. It was also the home of Ruth Rendell, the popular author.

Along the beach is a sculpture in the shape of a scallop shell, erected as a tribute to Benjamin Britten.

Despite looking dramatic in its isolated setting, many residents have complained about this sculpture, and it has often been vandalised. This is a section from Wikipedia, explaining the controversy.

On Aldeburgh’s beach, a short distance north of the town centre, stands a sculpture, The Scallop, dedicated to Benjamin Britten, who used to walk along the beach in the afternoons. Created from stainless steel by Suffolk-based artist Maggi Hambling, it stands 15 feet (4.6 metres) high, and was unveiled in November 2003. The piece is made up of two interlocking scallop shells, each broken, the upright shell being pierced with the words: “I hear those voices that will not be drowned”, which are taken from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes. The sculpture is meant to be enjoyed both visually and tactilely, and people are encouraged to sit on it and watch the sea. Approached along the road from the Thorpeness direction it has a totally different silhouette appearing to be a knight on a rearing charger. The sculpture is controversial in the local area,[22] with some local residents considering it spoiling the beach. It has been vandalised with graffiti and paint on 13 occasions. There have been petitions for its removal and for its retention.”

So, a snapshot of an attractive English town. If you are ever close by, I recommend a visit.

*Photo information, for those interested. I used the Fuji X 30 camera that day, with all shots taken on Aperture Priority setting, mostly at F 5.6. I did not use any film simulation modes, just the standard setting. All these are straight j-pegs from the camera, with no alteration other than to reduce the file sizes by 50%.

Not knowing

During our longer than expected break this week, I didn’t access the Internet. I didn’t read a national newspaper, watch the news, or bother about what was going on outside of the quiet peace of the Suffolk countryside. This from someone who has rolling 24-hour news on for most of the day, and spends hours reading political commentary posts online, as well as those posted by bloggers.

I chatted to my relatives about ‘the old days’, and caught up on family news that I didn’t know about.
We drove over to the coast, and wandered around a timeless seaside town that hasn’t changed much in my lifetime. We ate food together, had a few drinks, and played with the three dogs. The others enjoyed lounging around in the huge hot tub (not my thing) as I brought them drinks from inside the house. Then we strolled on the edges of the fields that surrounded the old farm, tucked away almost a mile from the main road, down a stony driveway.

Not once did I concern myself about the EU, the antics of Mr Trump, weather disasters, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, or the in-fighting in our own government. I didn’t catch sight of the buffoon of a Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, or the maligned Socialist opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn. For three whole days, I was cut off from my normal life, and the events in the world that usually consume my every waking moment.

And nothing happened. There wasn’t a nuclear war anywhere, and America didn’t invade a single country. We continued to argue with the EU, and the Prime Minister stayed the same, without being ousted. No famous actors died, and we didn’t have any serious coastal erosion, or weather events here in Britain. On the smaller scale, there were no family dramas. Nobody ended up in hospital, or contacted us on mobile phones in a panic. In fact, there wasn’t so much as a head cold to worry about. I started to realise why people used to live the life of a hermit, and I came to a conclusion. When you don’t know about what’s going on, nothing goes on. You are better off not knowing, it would seem

I should go away more often.

I have finally got to the end of ten pages of emails. If I missed any of your comments, or didn’t get to one of your posts, I apologise. For the time being, beetleypete is back to normal.

An unexpected break

We went to visit some of my family at their holiday let in Suffolk, and ended up staying for a couple of days. Naturally, I had nothing but my phone, so couldn’t keep up with the blogging. Thanks to those of you that asked after me, and apologies for the delay in getting back to your comments, reblogs, and your own posts.

I returned to well over 200 emails this afternoon, so it will take me a while to wade through them.
Back to ‘normal service’ soon.

Best wishes to you all, Pete.

Archive posts: Sally Cronin guest spot

Once again, the lovely Sally has been kind enough to feature one of my old posts in a guest spot. Some of you will have read it of course, but if you didn’t follow this blog before the end of 2014, you might not know it. If you would like to read it, and see more of Sally’s blog, please follow the link, and leave any comments over there.
Thanks in advance, Pete.