Saturday, November 18

There’s no fireside like your own

You couldn’t fault our accommodation in Bath: large suite of rooms in a stunning historic home, the perfect location and sublime cuisine... And yet it’s nice to be back home – feet up in front of a roaring fire, bottle of Château Thénac, racing and footy on the box. Am good for another year.

Friday, November 17

More rabbit than Sainsbury’s

Apart from their natural attributes – the sticky-out bits – there are a number of things separating the sexes. For instance, women fall out of bed every morning with a compulsion to talk – non-stop, all the time, incessantly. We ate breakfast this morning in the company of an Irish couple from Worcester: and there was little you could do, charming as she was, to shut her up. I’m not at my best in the morning. Life looked a lot better after a pint in the Dog & Duck, though there too... Then at lunch – The Ivy Bath Brasserie – with women from Chelsea and Tottenham. Fortunately by this time I was up to speed, into the swing of things so to speak. Can’t say I miss the corporate roundabout, the mass social gatherings, especially at this time of year – but today I enjoyed myself.

Believe the local Ivy has been open barely a month and is bedding in. There’s nothing wrong with the food – but that’s not why you patronise this sort of place. Great buzz, good service, decent booze…highly recommended.

Thursday, November 16

Onwards and upwards

After Wednesday night’s hijinks, today’s lunchtime session featured one of Mrs G’s favourite venues and included an outstanding dish of fresh mussels followed by a half-decent steak chocolate tart and parsnip ice cream (a passable champagne and a non-too-shabby Beaujolais). Managed to swing by Howard Hodgkin’s Indian-themed exhibition at the Victoria, before yet more shopping and a bracing (lengthy) hike back to the hotel for a costume change. Though wedding anniversary numero forty-four has several hours still to run, Gudgeon is beginning to flag.

Stranger things have happened

On the face of it US$450 million for a work of questionable provenance seems a bit rich. But then everything’s relative, especially if you have billions in the bank. Would be nice to think the successful bidder is a philanthropist who will donate Leonardo's masterpiece to his local provincial public gallery.

Wednesday, November 15

Thankfully we've a decent billet

The bogs and mires of Dartmoor are a breeze, it’s the city streets that do for me – my knees that is (an old refrain). Gudgeon has been consigned to bag-carrying duties, press ganged into one of Mrs G’s shopping expeditions. I must have tramped every street in the city of Bath today, adjourning to an occasional hostelry was scant reward.

Tuesday, November 14

Social mobility isn’t necessarily a one way bet.

Generation guilt attracts older voters to Labour. I hate these generalised diatribes by the FT. This morning’s the usual shit about working class lad made good (from slag heap to school teacher), who now laments his kids are stuck in a rut and unable to continue to climb the greasy pole. “The opportunities open to my generation are not open to my children” says ex-grammar school boy Stan. If this is such a ‘generational’ thing, Stan, exactly how many working-class kids from families with four or more children made it into grammar schools back in 1965? As Mrs Webster confirms, “I was (we were) privileged…(the privileged few)” Given the four Webster sprogs’ careers have stalled or are non-existent, what did they study at university, and why – if we are so desperate for teachers – didn’t they follow in their parents’ footsteps? I’m not unsympathetic. But rather than a sub to middle-class slackers (Corbyn voters) who should have been given better career advice, I’d much rather our money went to the hard-up Wigan pensioners and their Millennial grandchildren that never made it out of Dickens Place. Nostalgia for the Welfare State? We lost the argument a long time ago and it ain’t coming back.

Armistice Day is over

Though Monday’s not my favourite day of the week, yesterday turned out pleasant enough. Arctic air brought snow to parts of England and thankfully the homestead was not one of them. While chill in the yard, accounts and correspondence allowed me to remain warm and snug inside – I have a busy week ahead.

Given the open animosity between rival factions of the Brexit debate, I’ve been steering clear of the Dog & Duck. The arguments have been exhaustively aired and combatants ceased listening to each other long ago. Everyone has adjourned to their respective trenches to glare at the enemy and wait for the whistle to sound. 

Sunday, November 12

Loose talk

Michael Gove says  attractive Iranian woman with photogenic child who managed to get her sweaty mitts on a British passport may well have been up to no good – but it would be unwise to speculate, still less to elaborate.

Saturday, November 11

Local runners and riders

Big win for neighbourhood rider Bryony Frost at Wincanton this afternoon, on the Paul Nicholls-trained Present Man.

Reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated

Woke early this morning to find the sky blackened by a flight of starlings. As if rain clouds aren’t enough. …To Tavistock Farmers’ Market to order the Christmas goose and pick up supplies. Our weather may be bleak but the drive is always a pleasure. Returned with a joint of suitably-aged (native breed) beef to see us through the weekend. Am making the most of things before they ban my diesel-powered work horse and forbid everyone from eating naturally-reared meat. Speaking of Land Rovers … the local dealer recently offered to buy back my neighbour’s Defender for more than it cost when new, three years ago. Maybe we’re not done yet.

Letting bygones be bygones is not in his nature

While I’ll read most anything, Gordon Brown’s life and times is unlikely to make it onto my beside table. Tribal affiliations aside, the lad’s never struck me as someone you’d want to team up with for a pint on the way home from work. That said of course, Philip Hammond is unlikely to lighten your working day and have you rolling in the aisles. Wonder what the plonker has tucked up his sleeve for budget day? I see the usual beggars are already on the street demanding more cash, Barnier and his cronies at the head of the queue.

The girl in front of me in the queue at the Kwik-E-Mart yesterday morning addressed me as ‘Young Man’. Made my day.

Thursday, November 9

The Last Picture Show

Saturday morning minor’s matinees, admission 6D. Gudgeon was a regular, albeit a couple of years after this particular photo was taken. Many thanks to Andy for the Bugle Annual.