How my prejudices are suffering a setback, plus, probing some great (an exaggeration) unknowns

It’s discombobulating living here.

It’s not just the things I don’t know, it’s the things I didn’t know I don’t know.

First, there’s the golf.

I don’t like golf on principle.

Bunch of men getting together and perpetuating their networks of power. Masons without the aprons.

I’m sure some of it’s like that. But seeing the folk who pass by here, I’m not so sure I can reject it unreservedly any more.

All sorts of colours and types of clothing. Not seen a single set of plus fours or a tweed cap.

Young men dashing along. Older women stopping to chat by every green. Young women with dynamic swings. It’s so not what I expected.

The people using the course look normal – whatever that is. And the younger men don’t seem to have time to talk, let alone share Masonic secrets.

Of course, it’s not Royal Birkdale, just down the road. There, I daresay, it might be a bit more like my vision. We sat one evening near their entrance drive, eating fish and chips in our car (big mistake – still smells), watching the light fade over a glistening sea.

You should have seen the cars. Wheeuw! Expensive. Assuming some people have two I reckon they spent more on motors than you would on the average house.


Moving on to the second prejudice …

Mock currants.

I hate mock currants.

Did hate mock currants.

new april2014 012

Mock currant, April, before the leaves are out on the birches

Just outside our fence, on the wild bit of ground between us and the manicured greens, there’s a large stand of mock currants.

Now, I’d only ever seen them clipped to manageable shapes and sizes in suburban gardens. But you know what? They grow to be enormous. And when they are enormous, and all in bloom – wow – they look fantastic. Smell wild – but look fantastic.

(I still wouldn’t want them IN the garden, mind.)

OK, now for the third prejudice.

Plastic windows.

They’re everywhere. And I still can’t understand why they can’t make them to fit better with our style of architecture – improve their aesthetics.

But now we’ve lived near the sea in the north of England for nearly ten years – oh – give me plastic any day!

No painting, No peeling. No rotting.

And warm.

So, middle class readers, have I lost you yet?


Well how about this final one then?

Toby Carvery.

Aha! Thought that might do it!

Well, the first night we spent in our new house there was NO WAY I was about to cook a meal. I’d been on my feet for days cleaning, packing, directing a nice man in serious pain with a locked knee who had a whole house to pack up virtually alone.

We’d been told our new neighbours ran the nearest Toby Carvery. And one of our – uncontestably middle class – friends was positively gleeful. He loves carveries.

So, pointing our snooty noses down, we braved carvery world. And found it good.

Not that I’d go every day or anything. Or for my birthday.

But if you’re hungry. Feel the need for a good, old-fashioned British roast. Five different vegetables. Yorkshire pudding (with anything, not just beef) and stuffing and apple sauce and gravy and horseradish sauce and …

… did I say it’s only £5.99?

OK. Enough prejudice. Let’s move on (if you’re still there) to the unknowns. Which largely fit under the heading:


My little office backs onto a patch of trees. We have a bird bath – well, an old dish that should sit under an earthenware plant pot. This is a recipe for total distraction.

I’ve learned that wood pigeons slip on wet leaves.

That robins can fall off twigs when they stretch out too far for seeds they can’t reach.

That there’s a bird called the garden warbler I’d never heard of (we have them).

That all birds, of every hue and every size just love to splash around and make a mess. And that they drink their bath water. Eeurgh.

In my head I’ve designed a bird shower. It would depend on them knowing where to stand. I’m not sure it will ever make it into production.

Then there are the trees.

The pine cones on the fir trees turned upside down and spat at the world. I never knew they did that. Now things like candles have grown that look as if they’re about to turn into new needles – and possibly new cones.

Early morning in May, view from balcony towards the coast

Early morning in May, view from balcony towards the coast

I’ve seen many kinds of brown butterfly.

Brown butterfly on the hydrangea petiolaris

Brown butterfly on the hydrangea petiolaris

And discovered that an amazing trajectory can be achieved by some golf balls. Yesterday one flew past my window heading this way from the wrong direction, hit the fence and ended up going the opposite way and landing in the lavender.

I still can’t work out where he was when he hit it.

He came and retrieved it and explained in halting English (he was Swedish), ‘sorry, my hand slipped’.

That didn’t help – but I’m not about to try and emulate him just to find out. It’s one thing abandoning some of your prejudices, it’s another changing your behaviour. And, anyway, I’m rubbish at ball sports.

So there we are. But before I go I have two more failed prejudices I really ought to reveal. To you, of all people.

1. People who blog.
2. Emoticons 😉

This entry was posted in Lancashire & the golf coast, Thinking, or ranting, or both and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to How my prejudices are suffering a setback, plus, probing some great (an exaggeration) unknowns

  1. mud4fun says:

    LOL, great post.

    Oddly though I have actually developed some opposite prejudices after experiencing some of the above:

    Golf – I started playing golf at school and continued into my early 20’s then got fed up of the ‘keeping up with the jones’ attitude of many that played at my club. Whether it was poo pooing me because I was using archaic clubs (handed down to me from my Father), the fact I turned up to the golf club in a knackered old Land Rover rather than a Jag and the icing on the cake was remarks about my age, apparently I was too young to understand golf. So I quit and haven’t played since. 😦

    uPVC windows – Up until about 15 years ago I had mostly owned modern houses and I routinely put in uPVC windows as part of my renovations. Then I bought an 1850’s victorian cottage with bags of character, four chimneys, solid fuel heating and an AGA. It had rotten sash windows and many similar cottages in the village had uPVC replacements. I however spent a fortune on hardwood windows because I believe they look far superior and now I absolutely detest plastic windows as they are so out of character for period property. I aslo detest the fact that the main feature arched windows have been bricked up in order to fit cheap square plastic ones. It cost us a small fortune to have am arched window made to fit but boy does it look amazing. 🙂

    Toby carvery – I got stuck in traffic many years ago and was going to be late home so I stopped off and had tea in one, the food was awful, the service even worse and I soon realised that you really do get what you pay for. I now consider a Beefeater as minimum place to stop for a meal to get good food.

    I do however like bloggers and emoticons 🙂


    • Ha ha I love this! How the world comes full circle. We’ve always lived in period properties, from my first flat which was in a Victorian house. In our last house we too spent a fortune putting in wooden sash windows (heard a passerby saying what a shame!!!). Too late we discovered the guy who had painted them ‘three coats and 2 undercoats minimum’ had been economical with the paint. Rotten bits gouged out etc. Painting more or less every 2 years because of where we were… I do loathe the way they brick up arched windows and put in rectangular plastic too. I suppose it is a bit houses for courses (sorry couldn’t help that) – I wouldn’t take out wooden ones and put them in an old house. I think our Toby is probably a good one – the food is genuinely typical Sunday lunch fare and we did really enjoy it. The quality depends on the landlord I guess and he is a workaholic. Your golf story sounds exactly what I’d expect – I could imagine that ‘ours’ is genuinely a bit more normal – perhaps having the big expensive name down the road keeps it in its place! You didn’t have a view on mock currants then? 🙂


  2. Thel says:

    Do I sense that the little potted plant is stepping off the windowsill? I LOVE your mock currants!

    We have 42 kinds of wildflowers in our back yard, and still counting. My favorite is the Antelope Horn milkweed. We have fourteen plants this year. These are a matter of life and death for the Monarch butterfly. Milkweed is the only plant on which the Monarch butterfly lays it’s eggs and is its only larval host.

    The Monarch’s journey from Central Mexico to Canada takes four generations. And the very same butterfly that winters in North America flies 2,000 miles back to Central Mexico for the winter. Amazing!

    Oops, I got off on a tangent when I saw your butterfly. I love your pictures and the beautiful view over your fence and I’m glad you are enjoying it so much.


    • Well remembered! Yes, it’s possible there’s a bit of rootedness setting in at last. We love it here.
      I have a nice image of you tending your ‘wilderness’ now, pottering around checking on the Antelope Horn Milkweed while Ricardo nails up orange slices for the birds. Have you seen Monarchs come through since you’ve been there? What a thought. Fascinating stuff. We have been amazed at how many of the birds we see – beyond the obvious and utterly captivating swallows – have wintered in Africa. Our brown butterflies are not so adventurous as your Monarchs – at least I don’t think so – I must look them up properly. I was thrilled yesterday when I went out to look at the trees (luckily with my camera) and found one sitting on the hydrangea as the bumble bees fed. Oh – we now have a swarm of bumble bees at the front – sigh. But at least they aren’t swarming in thousands like the honey bees who decided not to make their home with us after all.


  3. John Kemp says:

    This is a particularly good one (the are all of course good), I like it. The butterfly looks like a Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria tircis – got this from the book), Habitat: “Woodland rides and clearings and shady lanes in wooded areas”. It “has been increasing its range and numbers in Britain in recent years, especially in areas where new forestry plantations are maturing…”. We have a white Buddleia that attracts butterflies. I’ve never even heard, however, of mock currant (apparently American), but we’ve seen the voyage of the Monarch butterfly on TV.

    PVC we have, in our renovated little old (200 years) rural house, replacing white-painted wood shutters rotted at the base and it doesn’t look out of place, you’ld hardly know the difference if you didn’t look closely. My prejudice against emoticons resists. As for bloggers, not usually my cup of tea (“interests – travel, photography…”), but, well, depends. Which reminds me, go to your home page, and about fourth from the end of “likes” is “Rider”, the SA biker I mentioned. Unusual.


    • Good to hear from you. Thanks for awarding this one a sticky star (I’m resisting a smiley face here) and thanks also for finding the motorbiking priest, I had looked for him in the wrong places – now have followed him. Lovely item on the woman in her 80s having her first pillion ride! I will check out the butterflies too, thank you for this. The habitat certainly sounds right. I won’t sign off with an emoticon, just wink as I type …


  4. John Kemp says:

    PS Conifers have male and female trees, the “upside-down” cones are probably on a male tree. Robins are insectivores so were probably reaching out for ants or suchlike. Garden warblers are commonly attributed to the family of LBJs (Little Brown Jobs) identifiable only by experts. How did you know?


    • The robin was definitely trying to get at seeds (unless the feeder was crawling with insects of course which it could have been I suppose) – I watched him try and reach the seed feeder in all sort of ways and finally overreached himself and fell. We have very fat wood pigeons and one of those was picking up bits that had fallen from the feeder when it slipped over on slippery wet greenery!
      Interesting ‘LBJs’ – we call most antelopes in Zambia GBTs – generic brown things! You’re right to be suspicious of our identification but after watching it time and again and scouring the books we have, assessing its length etc and seeing its flight and hearing its song we are pretty sure it is – we have the right habitat for it too.
      The fir/pine trees – yes, I must investigate them further. The cones were upright till they spat out their seeds.


  5. Thel says:

    The Monarchs passed through here on northern migration in April. We saw only a few and spotted two larva on our milkweed. Sadly their numbers are way down. In October we will watch out for them on their long flight back to Mexico.


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