A chance meeting at the ‘The Muggery’…

6 01 2012

Thoughts for the Day:

‘The US can no longer fight the world’s battles’ (06.01.12)

Barack Obama (1961- )

Is that an altogether bad thing?

 

‘And so last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice… I have decided to stand aside’ (from the race for the Republican nomination) – (04.01.12)

Michelle Bachmann (1956 – )

Phew! Now that is an altogether good thing. The ‘fruit cake’ has crumbled!

 

‘White people love playing “divide & rule” We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism’

(Via Twitter – 04.01.12)

Diane Abbot (1953 – )

Is this really a racist comment or are we getting a tad too sensitive? Diane may, in the words of Nick Clegg, have been ‘stupid and crass’, but then again, it strikes me, she is historically accurate!

 

Friday is cleaning day. Straight after waking, we ‘spring’ out of bed and the race is on for the Dyson and first dibs on cleaning downstairs. It’s not a pretty sight but there is much at stake – the loser gets the marigolds and toilet brush – ugh!

Tomorrow we are looking forward to meeting Valeria a 23-year-old teacher from the Marche region of Italy. She will be lodging with us, two or three nights a week, through to April. Chris is looking forward to brushing up on her Italian and I’m looking forward to some tasty pasta dishes!    

While in the UK, Valeria will be working as European teaching assistant in Chris’s former school. This will enable Valeria to improve her English and the children to learn some basic Italian as well as discovering more about Italy, the Italians and their way of life.

In between the domestic chores we have been finalising the plans for our main holiday this year. We’re now very near to completing our booking, a tour of Indochina during April, which will take in Vietnam (Saigon, Mekong Delta, Hanoi, and a night afloat in Halong Bay), Laos (Luang Prabang) and Cambodia (centred on the legendary temples of Angkor).

Our itinerary allows plenty of opportunities to depart from the well beaten tourist track, to meet locals and learn something of their lifestyle and culture at first hand. It is some years since we were first enchanted by the Far East and we are both really looking forward to returning on another voyage of discovery.

Friday night is take-away night! En route to Upton ‘chippy’ we stepped into ‘The Little Upton Muggery’ for a glass of real ale. We have only recently re-discovered this old town centre pub with its well-kept ‘Hobgoblin’, open coal fires, and antiquated toilets out across the back yard.

It takes its name from the hundreds of mugs which hang from the beamed ceiling and in times gone by, when it first opened, there was a working pottery and kiln on site. Customers buying a round of drinks were presented with a free mug made on the premises. I also recall a traditional sawdust floor which has since given way to a well- worn carpet.

Traditional pub food, faggots onion gravy and the like, is cooked to order, but the culinary speciality of the house is ‘Desperate Dan Pie’ – complete with pastry horns. Not many are man enough to wade their way through this piping hot concoction of beef and vegetables, a whole roast dinner within a pastry case, so there is also a ‘Diddy Dan’ on the menu, for the faint hearted!

Serendipity actually happens. Chris and I were just about to shuffle off up the road for our cod, chips and mushy peas when I recognised a familiar face at the bar – in short, a retired community policeman, PC Roy, who had been a school governor when I was head teacher in Tewkesbury.

We had gradually lost touch and the last time I had bumped into him, a few years ago, was in the doctor’s surgery. He was like a ghost and the weight had fallen from the robust figure I had previously known. He had just been diagnosed with throat cancer, in his mid 50s.

Time has passed by and, frankly, I had assumed the worst. But here he was, if not quite returned to his former glory, certainly looking a lot healthier than on the occasion of our last meeting. He tells me things are looking up and he is hopeful that he will be given the all clear after his next 6 monthly check-up.  

We caught up over a pint, exchanged mobile numbers, and promised to keep in touch. And this time I think we might.                      

  

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