View From The Conservatory


Well actually it’s more like “Noises Off” as that is what alerted me to the nocturnal shenanigans going on on my garden this evening.

It is amazing just how much noise these little critters make whilst courting.

It’s likely these are the squatters, residing under my shed.

Langstone Mill


Langstone Mill, Hampshire, England

Langstone Mill dates from the 1700’s when the windmill was built. Subsequently, in the 1800’s, the mill and the mill store were built. The windmills distinctive black colour is due to the tarred outer skin which is resilient to the effects of coastal weather.

View From The Conservatory


For Christmas our granddaughter, knowing our love of wildlife in the garden, gave us a set of rustic residences to place in our garden.

First up is the Bug Hotel. Although the sign on the outside says Insects & Bees, I don’t think we will be that exclusive.

Bug Hotel

Next is the Squirrel Feeder. It’ll be nice to have something specific to them. Although I am sure the birds will make free with the food, just as the squirrels do with the bird feeders.

Squirrel Feeder

All that is left is the bird nesting box. Given the number of cats around our neighbourhood, we’ll have to be careful with where we site it. That’s a job for tomorrow.

View From The Conservatory


I know we are still officially in Winter, but a little bit of sunshine and elevated temperatures soon convince the plants to venture above soil level.

Amaryllis

This is one of two Amaryllis, a gift from my sister. I’m ashamed to say they were neglected and started to grow in the delivery package before I acquired suitable soil and pots. With suitable nurturing it is leaping skywards although at this stage it does remind me of The Little Shop of Horrors.

Outside, on the decking, I now have a number of pots and troughs, starting to show the fruits of bulb planting late last year.

Only yellows at the moment, but time will reveal more, I’m sure.

Cretins, Morons, Imbeciles


A nurse, who works at Queen Alexandra Hospital, has suffered a panic attack, following an attack against the hospital bus on which she was riding.

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/people/queen-alexandra-hospital-nurse-suffers-panic-attack-after-hospital-bus-attacked-youths-portsmouth-3106179

The bus was attacked by youths throwing stones. One of the windows alongside the nurse shattered, bringing about the panic attack.

One can only imagine the thought processes going on inside the heads of these morons. They certainly have no concerns about the potential consequences of their actions.

This is yet another example of the same moronic behaviour that sees youths attacking all of our emergency service workers.

Who on earth thinks its a good idea to attack our firemen while they are trying to save lives at risk in fires and road accidents. And who thinks its a good idea to attack our ambulance crews and paramedics while they are attending those same incidents.

And then we have the police having to stoically endure interference on a daily basis, whilst putting their own lives at risk, going about their business, to protect us from these same idiotic morons.

Presumably, these are the same thought processes that make firing fireworks at peoples houses. As was happening, in Portsmouth, only a few weeks ago.

This imbecilic behaviour isn’t restricted to the Portsmouth area, rather it is endemic to the whole country.

I don’t understand the whys and wherefores and I don’t pretend to have a solution. What I do know is that the ASBO scheme isn’t good enough. Some youths see being awarded an ASBO as a badge of honour.

When I was a youth, the older folks used to say “they should bring back National Service”. I find that I am now of the opinion that is a good idea.

Going further back in time, to the 16th and 17th centuries, there were the stocks and pillory. Now the idea of these really appeal to me.

Throwing rotten fruit and veg at these miscreants would give some instant feelings of retribution to their victims. And, just maybe, these morons would be too embarrassed to offend again. They would certainly be a very visible reminder to other would be offenders.

I think today’s society could learn something from our ancestors.

Scam !!! Scam!!! Scam!!!


No, I’m not misquoting a Monty Python song. I am aiming this post squarely at

The Lockdown Kitchen

I should have known better, the company name, “The Lockdown Kitchen” , should have rung many alarm bells, indicating that they hadn’t been going for very long. I know, I should have checked the reviews before placing the order. But I didn’t.

On the 26th August I responded to an advert for a kitchen utensil set.

Liked what I saw and placed my order, paying via PayPal. I received the expected confirmation email from the seller. Their email contained the following words

On the face of it, very friendly but it was a lie.

Also on the 26th, I received an email from PayPal indicating that my payment had been made.

So I waited a couple of weeks allowing for their email request and also allowing for the worldwide effects of the pandemic.

I have now chased these folks multiple times for updates on my order. All I have receive are what I call “template” responses …..

As of November 12th, clicking on the tracking link in that email shows this …….

i.e. Nothing has happened for 3 months !!!

As a result of the latest “template” response, on October 10th, I requested a full refund. As of this time, I have not had a response.

In parallel I have raised a claim via PayPal. They have acknowledged but, so far, I have not heard anything else.

Checking out the reviews for this company on-line, I am definitely not the only one that has fallen prey to these scammers. Many folks seem to have trodden the same path along which I am trudging.

Facebook is still allowing these folks to advertise and I have reported them.

The galling thing is that this business is still operational, and also, they seem to be offering the same kitchen utensils for sale. Where are mine ?

The reason for this post is not really about the money, though I would like either the goods or my money back …. soon. No, the real purpose is to alert people to the fact that they may well be throwing their money away.

I also believe that Facebook and other social media sites should be doing more to protect consumers from the scammers that infest their apps.

My advice to anyone considering ordering from these scammers is ….. DON’T !!!

Majestic Dinner Service


An unexpected purchase has taken me on something of a hidden history lesson.

Empire Porcelain Company Dinner Service – “Majestic” Pattern

The pictured “Majestic” dinner service was acquired as part of a larger lot at a local auction. Consequently I didn’t know anything about it. However, whilst preparing to try and sell it on eBay, I did a little research and managed to find a few references to the manufacturer, The Empire Porcelain Company. It’s amazing what you can discover on the interweb.

It transpires that the Empire Porcelain Company had been around since 1895 with works in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England. There were actually three factories operating side by side.

The Empire Porcelain Co Ltd was an important producer of domestic and ornamental earthenware and china for the middle of the market. In the late-1920s and 1930s the company produced interesting art deco-style tablewares and notable art deco ornamental wares decorated using the drip glaze technique. Chinz-decorated wares were produced in the 1940 and 1950s.

From Pottery Histories

The pieces that I have are all dated in the 1950’s, as evidenced by the makers marks on the underside, so they are all around seventy years old.

Empire Porcelain Company marks with date stamp indicating April 1952

The letter B apparently indicates that the dishes were produced under the Wartime Concentration Scheme

The Second World War proved a particularly difficult period for the British pottery industry because severe restrictions were placed on the production of decorated pottery. Production was concentrated in a reduced number of factories in order to save materials, energy and labour as these were needed elsewhere for the war.

Pottery Histories

So there is no sentimental value to the dinner service, well not for me. But the history “behind the glaze” is interesting. Even down to the company being bought by a lawn mower manufacturer. Who would have thought they would have an interest in a pottery company.

Sadly, because the works were difficult to modernise, the Empire Porcelain Company was closed in 1967.