Make Poverty History

Friday, June 24, 2016

Referendum Result - Leave - First Thoughts

Thursday night I went to bad, as did anyone who was following the coverage, expecting the status quo to prevail.  52% for remain.  So I was surprised when I heard the result when the radio started this morning.  52% for leave.  I should have taken my predictions from Twitter - where the feeling was that leave were in the ascendancy.
Today on twitter and in other places there have been cries of agony (that is not too strong).  My future is destroyed!  We won't be able to ...  (insert anything, or everything here that we might lose).  I understand the reaction, its what a sudden, unexpected dose of the unknown does to people - especially younger people.
It was no surprise then, when the stock market and currency markets took a hit - especially as the traders had all gone to bed having 'bet' on remain. Suddenly there were losses to try to recover, which leads, inevitably to more losses.
Right now we pray for those who really are suffering as a result of the shocks - those who can't change sterling into the currency they need, those who are having to pay inflated prices from suppliers in other countries (not just EU countries).
However bad it looks now, it won't be that bad in reality, because we see the worst very easily.  There will be a period of instability, that will hurt some more than others.  For now, we are still IN the EU - none of our laws that we have as a result of treaties can change.  Over the next few months we will get a new government and exit negotiations will begin.  That process should be complete in a couple of years.  Much will change, the country will look very different and changes will continue once we have left.  The exit process gives us the opportunity to get things right, but it also gives us the equal opportunity to make things worse.  Hopefully our politicians will have a more intelligent dialogue with their people than has occurred so far.
Now, whether you are celebrating, or in shock and denial, or sad, or mildly disappointed, the thing to do is to "Keep calm and carry on".

Some particular reactions bear further comment.
Somehow trying to invalidate the result (the majority is not big enough, people didn't understand what they were voting for ...), is about as unhelpful as it gets.  A referendum result is valid if there is only a 1 vote difference.  If people understood so little that they thought a protest vote was a valid thing to do, then I hope they heave learned a lesson.  That's OK in a by-election, not in a referendum.

Blaming your grandparents (and parents) by saying things like 'you have stolen my future', 'don't you ever listen to your kids', 'you don't have to live with this', just shows a certain level of immaturity.  Perhaps, if I am kinder, lack of experience.  Those with the experience, especially those who were old enough to be politically aware in 1972 (the year before Britain joined the EEC), have some idea what it is like to live independently, and may also remember the recession that was caused when we joined.  Many of them will have been thinking of their children and grandchildren and asking what's best for them, as well as what's best for us, before they decided how to vote.

The reaction that a vote to leave is down to poverty as part of a Guardian article I saw on facebook suggested is also unhelpful.  There are many reasons to vote leave, and some of the people I know who voted that way cannot be described as being in poverty.

The future
I cannot tell what will happen any more  than anyone else.  Short term predictions are likely to be quite accurate, long term ones are rarely any good.  We know only this for certain: the way our country is run is going to change.  That gives us an enormous opportunity to do good, so here's my vision:
  • to set up government systems that are fair and open.
  • to be compassionate and lead the world in helping others to develop (we do a pretty good job now) and taking them in when we need to (we used to do a pretty good job of that too)
  • to care for the dispossessed, disadvantaged and those who fall into need
  • to invest in research and development and grow our already impressive science base 
  • to lead the world in environmental responsibility
  • to create a British bill of responsibilities (not rights)
much of this was already being done, and will continue, lets hope and pray that we can make more of it happen.

If you like my vision, please don't elect me a prime minister, but please do push your MPs towards those goals.

If you read 'Should I stay or Should I go' that I wrote on Tuesday, you may be wondering how I voted. Well after much deliberation I decided I was about 55% in favour of remain and voted accordingly.

So I didn't vote for this, but I'm going to try to make it work well.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Algarve Family Holiday part 2 - Arrival

The cab arrived at an o'clock in the morning I had forgotten existed.  The drive to Southend Airport was pleasant enough - hardly a car on the road.  We and the other members of our party arrived in the car park about the same time, and we all trundled through the Airport together.  Bag drop, security, air side restaurant, gate plane, take-off, flight, landing - all pretty straight forward, all as pleasant as possible.  A great start, but this isn't about the journey, this is about the first few hours on Portuguese soil.
Initially getting through Faro airport wasn't a problem, once we had our bags we had to pick up the cars.  I had booked then on One with Avis, one with DriveOnHoliday.  Avis are easy to find, so with a mixture of drivers we got in the queue.  At the desk the excesses were different (less) than Rental Cars had said.  They also offered us extra insurance to completely remove any excess in the event of a claim.  They provided us with documentation in English and Portuguese. - A slow, if satisfactory experience, although the car we got was not what we booked, and could have been booked cheaper on the RentalCars website, it was a good car.  We loaded it up, and after fiddling about with giving the driver the location of the villa sent them on their way.
The remainder of us, with almost no bags, but with a two year old, went to try to find DriveOnHolidays.  Eventually we found their representative who directed us to a queue in the car park.  It was a hot day and the queue was in the open.  Some of us found shade, while one held the place in the queue.  We started to try to work out how long it would be - we guessed at about 90 minutes, we weren't that far wrong. The car hire garage is off site.  There we joined another queue.  So of those ahead of us had a row with the representative.  I'm not surprised - the excess here is higher than on the RentalCars website, and the additional insurance only brought it down to €1000.00 - that's a lot of money.  Still we eventually got the car, and tried to set the satnav to English.  Finally one of the staff set it for us, but it couldn't make sense of the google co-ordinates I had, so we ended up using the phone.
We found the villa, the other half of the party had been there for ages.

Lessons Learned
1) If you have to rent two cars get them from the SAME supplier.
2) Never ever book cars through  Really - NEVER.
3) Use a recognised company that you can deal with here if you need to.
4) Make sure the Rental Cars are available at or very near the Airport

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Should I stay or should I go?

Or, more properly Should I vote stay or should I vote go?  Just some notes to help me think through the decision.

I am still undecided and the information I'm getting is well propaganda or just plain insults really.  Neither side has said anything really convincing.  Each of us will have our own issues.  Mine is primarily around our Identity.  Are we first British, or are we first European?

But I'm not voting for me only, I have 4 grandchildren (perhaps more) to think about. So there are other aspects to consider - it is a decision for the long term, or is it?  If we vote 'leave', I expect there to be another referendum once the exit terms are negotiated, say in 2 to 5 years..

Before we get to that what about:

The economy?
"Its the economy, stupid" - that's what wins elections, but here there is so much doubt.  The markets will react, in the short term there will be some pain, but in the longer term when we can trade with the whole world who knows.  Our trade with other EU countries is currently in decline, but that will not always be so.  We have a strong economy, theirs is weaker, but I can remember being the 'sick man' of Europe.
My conclusion is that we British have been traders for hundreds of years and we're mainly good at it.
The cost of being in the EU is about £8.5billion a year according to FullFact, not a great deal of money in the grand scheme of things.

We need immigration.  We have too many immigrants.  Both can be true, in some places where there are many immigrants the locals feel swamped. In other places there are people desperate to employ people with particular skills that don't exist in this country.
The answer to high numbers is not about controlling immigration, but making adequate provision - houses, school places,  doctors surgeries - INFRASTRUCTURE.  Probably the single thing we are worst at.
The answer to lack of skills is training and planning for it long term.  Probably the thing we are next worse at.
Neither of these things really relates that much to the EU, although when large migrations occur they could provide some financial help.

Who makes our laws? Who can tell us what to do?  The EU is undemocratic in as much as the agenda is set by an appointed commission.  These people are largely sponsored by businesses, and have their own agenda.  The EU courts can tell the UK government what to do, and can override British court judgements.  The first principle is that the law should apply to everyone, individuals, corporations and governments.  I believe the European courts system, largely set up by the British is generally a good thing.  All courts make (seemingly) wacky judgements from time to time.
Majority voting can mean that we get some rules we don't like, but that is true for all the countries.

Ever Close Union
The European Federation, or United States of Europe will eventually arrive, although now that there are so many countries it will take a lot longer to get here.  A well structured federation, with proper directly elected politicians could be a very good thing for Europe, but we are a long way from it, and Britain has (or is promised?) an opt-out, so we can stay on the side lines if we wish.

There have been way too many predictions of doom, especially by the remain campaign.  Third world war - I doubt it.  Economic collapse - I doubt it.  No-one can tell what the world will be like next year (what did you think in 2007?), so predictions for 2030 are spurious guess work and can be safely ignored.
Where though is the vision? Neither side have told us how good it will be, what we can gain.

The final and most important issue for me is our identity.  Are we, as a people, a good fit for a European Union.  We are certainly geographically part of Europe, but also geographically split from Europe. That means that in so many ways we are different.
  • We did not live under Napoleon, as much of Europe did, so our outlook and ways of doing things are different.  
  • We broke away from the Catholic Church and as a result establish protestantism here, it was a difficult time, and some other EU countries have a similar experience, but none so dramatic or 'final'.
  • We came first in the 'Age of Empires' game that ended around the beginning of the twentieth century, and that has left its mark on us - it gives us a certain expectation of leadership in the world.  That is a role we can still fulfil, but can we do it better out, or better in?  It is also a role that is diminishing, with the rise of China and India and ...
  • We have not been occupied by a foreign power for over 1000 years.  Someone will tell me if another EU country can also claim that, I can't think of one.  We have, of course, imported foreign kings when it suited us.
Very little of what has been said in the run up to the referendum so far has been helpful or edifying.  One sound bite I remember from William Hague saying that there is much wrong with the EU, but now is the time to be fixing it from within, not getting out.  That I have to agree with.

Or perhaps I should take this view:

Still a don't know, maybe I'll write again on Friday.

Comments: Please comment, but please be balanced, and no doom and no propaganda please.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Algarve family holiday Part 1 - Preparation

Arranging a family holiday when your children are all grown up and have children of their own can be difficult.  By now they all have commitments in their lives and may not be able to get away at a particular time.  I wanted the family to get together as a celebration of my 60th birthday.  We settled on the last week of May, the one leading up to the bank holiday.  So, a big thank you to my children, and their spouses for making it possible.  I know there were some difficulties and I appreciate the effort some of you made.
Then the question is "Where to go?"  As one of our party does not fly, the first choice - Florida - is not an option.  We agreed on the Algarve.  Then to find somewhere to stay. I found and offered a selection and the choice was unanimous, so the Villa was booked: Villa Ana. Next, Brody also needs his holiday, and we are wary of kennels.  We heard about PetStay, and decided to give them a try.  As the dog / dog sitter must meet prior to the holiday, we arranged a time to travel to see the sitter.  There was some sort of mix up, so we had to reschedule and the eventual meeting went very well.  Meanwhile we received a notice that the Villa is no longer with HomeAway and we have to deal direct with the owner. 
Now I'm starting to wonder if there even is a Villa Ana.  Fortunately in the internet age it is possible to find out and Liz managed to find it on Street View, even if the address we were given could not be found - it appeared to be 800 metres from the location we had found.
Finally we needed transport, arranging drivers and cars had to be done as well.  I used, because they offered a wide selection.  I was looking for space, seats and comfort.  Their site does not handle two rentals at all well, and it got very confused on the second booking, so much so that I had to close the browser and start again.
Flights had to be booked too.  We started by doing a few basic comparisons, we wanted to fly from Southend, but the cost was very high, however while I was waiting for various passports to arrive the costs at Stanstead rose significantly, so Southend became worth the premium.  Booked with EasyJet, and we were pleased with their treatment of families with children. 

All booked and ready to go two weeks before travel, but there's still the question of the Villa - have we really booked Villa Ana - the one on the website, or somewhere else, or not at all?

Saturday, December 05, 2015

"Gun" Day 7 - Deal

The weather has been good to us, mostly it has been cloudy and warm, with rain between mid-night and 5am.  This morning there was bright sunshine, sitting at the table for breakfast the sun was casting our shadow on the back wall, and it was painful to look directly across the channel (nothing to do with the French being there!)
Today we made the short trip to Deal.  The shopping centre has a mass of independent shops and is much more interesting and varied than Billericay.  Deal is an old port town, although it never had a harbour, the boats where simply dragged up the pebble beach.  Well 'pebble' is the town council description - stony would be more accurate.  The stones vary from fist sized downwards. We walked through the main shopping area, stopping to look for various things that Jo wanted for her Christmas productions.  Then we walked down the pier.  A strange place the pier, the only place I've visited where they request a donation for allowing you dog in, but let you in for free!
At the end of the pier is a restaurant, we had a cup of tea and tried the diabetic biscuits we had bought from the little market place:  (A stall called the Gentleman's Fine Food Company)
A stall in the market place selling cookies
I'd like to say "and very nice too" but that would not be true, not that there was anything wrong with the cookies, excepting a lack of sugar.  That of course is necessary to them being suitable for diabetics.  Why diabetic biscuits - because I am preparing myself for that diagnosis after my next blood test.

Back from the end of the pier we walked north along the coast until the path ran out.  The gentle breaking of the waves, the bright sunshine and the level terrain made it one of the easiest walks we had done. Then returned to town, but diverted from the sea front to find some food.  A dog friendly, family friendly pub advertised on a board looked good, so out came the phone and a course was plotted to the Saracens Head.  When we got there is was closed.  We found the Middle Street Fish Bar just in time for Fish and Chips before they too closed.  Back in town we picked up some fresh vegetables for tea.

We had intended to visit Walmer Castle, but it is only open at weekends this time of year, so we continued on back to the cottage.

After our evening meal we took one last walk down the hill to "The Coastguard" for a pint (Incubus tonight) and Jo had a piece of their Fridge Cake. My taster told me that it was very nice, but I was still full from tea.  Back up the hill there was just time for some packing before bed.  An alarm will wake us in the morning for the first time this week. 

Friday, December 04, 2015

"Gun" Day 6 - White Cliffs

We walked from the cottage to the National Trust visitor centre a round trip along the cliffs and back of 5.39 miles.  We stopped in the visitor centre for a bit and had lunch, then returned.  We met a school teacher and his charges, asking questions about the cliffs, and eventually followed them along the cliffs at a distance.  Soon we caught them up, and took pictures for them, then left them behind.  Brody found the long walk a struggle for the last mile or so and is still limping a little.  We have found some new glucosamine tablets that are specifically for pets and that he will eat without having them disguised.

An injured Brody, expecting something - anything - please just feed me!

As I often do, I am reading one of the books left in the cottage. The "Dr. Thorndyke Omnibus his famous cases as described by R.Austin Freeman"  First published in 1929, reprinted 1965.  This is a collection of short detective stories.  Thorndyke is very much like Holmes, though the character is not so filled out.  The reason for this is that the stories are about the detection, not the detector. So this the stories could be summed us as Sherlock meets CSI.  In the first part of the book the stories are written by describing the events, then describing the detection.  In the forward the author tells us that all the facts must be available to the reader - an intention that has so far been delivered, and one that should be essential to all detective novels - though sadly rarely is.  Here though the clues are reasonably easy to see, but the reasoning of the detective is the interesting part of the story.  Sadly, I thought I would not get to finish the book, only one day left and only 167 of 1080 pages read, but by the wonders of google I have found it, and ordered it from a second-hand book seller - first Christmas present!

In the evening we headed into the darkness, there are a few streetlights, one or perhaps two at important junctions and other places, but they are few and far between.  So once off the main road there are no lights.  We drove to the wrong place, due to a sat-nav error.  Then we couldn't see the road the sat-nav said was there (the road looked like a drive and it was very dark).  A couple of times we went down un-made roads, and finally found the road we needed - also unmade. It was worth the hassle.  The Zetland Arms faces the beach in Kingsdown, it is a homely little pub - a communal front-room (a term I read in the CAMRA news letter for the area). The service was exceptional, the food excellent and so the evening was very enjoyable.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"Gun" Day 5 - The Pines

Plan A was to visit "The Pines".  Today they were open.  We arrived well after the opening time, mainly due to my sleeping on until 9:30.  The Pines comes from a project inspired by Fred Cleary.  I used to eat my sandwiches in a garden containing a plaque remembering him - "Tireless in his wish to increase open space in the City".  Of course he did more than that, and the highly sustainable building that is the Pines Calyx conference centre is also a result of his work.
This building, which reminds me of a 21st Century Hobbit House, is unique because of the traditional and modern construction techniques used to create it.  The associated garden also has reed bed sewage filtration.

The tea rooms where we would later eat lunch also has a museum.  The current display is called "Hellfire Corner", the nickname for St. Margaret's Bay area during WWII. 
The reason is that the area was shelled from the French coast bombed by the German airforce and many of the 'dog fights' occurred overhead.  For shelling there is no warning, so no way to be sure you can get to cover.  The warning sounds only after the first shell has landed, and the the all-clear is 60 minutes without a shell, once the enemy knows this it is a simple task to know when the best time is to shell the town.  Big guns were recovered from scrapped warships at the insistence of Churchill, they were not used to attack the guns on the other side of the channel, rather to protect the channel itself.  Before the end of the war they were no longer in use, having worn out!
It was that phrase that caught my eye - 'at the insistence of Churchill'.  I've seen it so many times for actions that appear so obvious (with hindsight?), I wonder how we would have progressed the war without him - certainly less would have been done, and as it turned out what was done was barely enough.
We were under very obvious attack, with guns firing across the channel, the British spirit was summed up for me in this cartoon from punch, on display in the museum.
Today, the commons is to vote on the idea of bombing ISIS in Syria. The threat from ISIS is perceived, unlike in WWII when the threat was very real.  So far only a few terrorist attacks have occurred. Terrible though they are, it seems to me we are already in greater danger of loosing our British spirit.  That is of course how terrorism works, if we change the way we live they have won, if we don't then potentially many more will be killed and injured.  I have only recently reached the (temporary?) conclusion that bombing in Syria is rather more counter productive than doing nothing, and there are plenty of more positive things that may be considered. When there were gas attacks on civilians a couple of years ago, it might have been a good time to get involved, now it is not.

Back to the exhibition.  Being close to France St Mary's bay also saw some of the first international phone cables laid, and the information about their construction and the difficulties of creating a uniform wire and consistent insulation were fascinating.

In WWI Henry Royce developed his first areo-engine, the Eagle, nearby. It was used in many WWI aircraft, and in 1919 was used to make the first on-stop trans-Atlantic flight.

Lunch in the Tea Rooms, where feeding the dog was as important to the staff as feeding the people, was my first Christmas lunch - an open turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and stuffing.  We took some cake with us and walked the dog down to the beach for a swim. He was confused by the tide washing the ball back onto the beach, before he had found it. He is also a natural surfer, catching a wave and riding it back to the beach.  Back at the cottage Brody was tied to the handrail and bathed.  He was not allowed his 'mad moment' that usually follows a bath and remained frustrated into the evening.

After eating we went down to "The Coastguard" to sample their beer (again) and their cheeseboard.  There is a blackboard with their cheeses listed, just as there is with their meals and their beers.  Sadly we did not get to choose the cheeses, but the sample we were given we all very good.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

"Gun" Day 4 - Missed Plans and Food Stops

We had decided to visit "The Pines", but they are open only Wednesday to Sunday, so plan B was put into operation.  Plan B is the 'Frontline Britain Trail'.  Take a look at the website, the village archive is amazing and the posts (for the signs) aren't as new as the pictures suggest. The first move is up the steps from the beach - a lot of steps, but I didn't count.  At the top  we walked along the cliff in front of some impressive houses, we soon came to "The Bluebirds Tea Rooms", near the memorial to the Dover Patrol.  It was windy outside, but very warm inside.  Having Brody we stayed outside and had an early lunch.  The waitress delivering the lunch lost the bread in the wind. Brody never misses a trick, but even he can only eat one piece of bread at a time.  After lunch we continued on the trail, but soon lost it and ended up on the opposite side of St Margaret's-at-Cliffe.  We turned around and headed back, and picked up the trail again.  We have still seen only 2 of the 10 plaques, but have walked and equivalent length, a little over 4 miles. We stopped again in Shelleys Tea Rooms for tea and fruit cake (very good).  Then back to the cottage.
Later we had our evening meal at the White Cliff Hotel - very good food, very attentive service, so a pleasurable evening out.

"Gun" Day 3 - Shopping

Shopping, in my view, should never be the focus of the day, but I may allow some exceptions.  One would be the need for food, so that is how we spent the morning - at Tesco getting supplies to meet our needs and a few (alright more than a few) luxuries for our holiday.  We will probably have to shop again, but not for much.  Even with a list though, there were still things we didn't get, because they hadn't been put on it. We did buy lunch - sandwiches and fruit, a selection of apple, mango and persimmon.  Persimmon I had not tried before, and it went into the list of favourite fruits well above mango (I will eat mango, but I will not request it).  We walked up onto the cliffs and found a seat with a great view over St Margaret's-at-Cliffe.
We walked up to the South Foreland light house, where Marconi experimented with radio, the first light house to have an electric light.  Sadly, time has passed light houses by and they have been superseded by GPS.  How long will it be before they are returned to service as our satellites are destroyed by ever increasing space junk?  They will still be here, but the holiday lets will have to be cancelled.

It was only a short walk - we would have gone on past the light house, but the wind was gusting and very strong, right on the highest point of the cliff walking was unpleasant and bordering on dangerous.

The next exception that permits shopping is shopping for others, so we went towards Canterbury to Barnsole Vineyard.  Here we purchased our Christmas wine, to give as presents.  Returning to St Margaret's Bay, we stopped in Eastry and old Saxon Village for a wander around.  We arrived at school pickup time and found that Saxon descendants drive as badly as everyone else.

After cooking and eating dinner we walked down to "The Coastguard" for a pint.
There are two things worthy of note on the way down to the pub.  A Victorian pillar box, and a Napoleonic wall.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Gun" Day 2 - Watching

After a reasonable nights sleep - something woke us at 6 am, then Brody started barking. Jo got up, she wakes much quicker than I do.  Much later breakfast at The Gun Emplacement is taken with a view of the English Channel watching the ferries and ships going to and fro.

Over breakfast we discussed our accommodation.  It was built in 1910 and was once owned by Peter Ustinov in 1970 it was sold to Miriam Margolis.
After Breakfast we walked along the cliffs - part of the Saxon Shore Way.  It was a blustery day and as we were very close to the cliff edge it was not a good idea to let Brody run - the wind makes him mad.
The route took us round ant up to the junction at the top of the cliff, where the village green is.  I left my camera behind, so Jo took a picture of the boat filled with flowers.  We returned to "The Gun" for cup of tea.
Refreshed we walked down to "The Coastguard" for their 12:30 opening, keen to try their food.   While we waited Brody sampled the beach, but not the water.


Main Course
The starter is white bait, the main course is sea bass with winter vegetables.  Sadly the picture is awful, but the food was lovely.  The main course stayed piping hot right to the end of the meal.

We walked back up the hill and settled in front of the TV to watch the Davis Cup Final, the score at the time was 2-0, 1-1.  A remarkable result.  These last few years will go down as remarkable in the history of British sport.  After the celebrations it was time to find the F1 race from Abu Dhabi. BBC iPlayer
 replayed the race for me almost perfectly.  What a comparison to the Sky only races I watch on NOW TV, which are jumpy and at a very low resolution.

The race over - not the years most interesting, but a better result for McLaren than usual.  We had our usual Sunday tea and proceeded to venture out into the dark.  There are almost no street lights here, so a torch is required especially as for the first couple of hundred yards the road is un-made.  We also found a bin for the dog waste - a great relief for us (and Brody?)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

"Gun" Day 1

A very late break started quietly, as I hope it will continue.  I am still not over the cold.  Our journey to the cottage took exactly the time that the sat-nav said it would.  There were absolutely no delays.  It was the first time we had crossed the Thames at the Dartford Crossing, having pre-paid using the web-site.  All very smooth.
We met the cottage manager at his house and he showed us the way to the cottage.  It is off road - we drove down a track across exposed chalk along a very narrow lane. It was not the most direct route because there are road works on the direct route and the road is closed.  Tomorrow we have to find our way out!
The cottage is close to the edge of a very high cliff.  It was further away, we were told.  Looking over the edge the sea below is chalky for a few yards out - so it is obvious the erosion continues.  When the Gun Emplacement was built (1939-41, I'm guessing) ,  the cliff was probably a long way away. There is a lot of cliff left so I very much doubt that one week will make a huge difference.  The down side is that we cannot let Brody walk in the garden on his own, the up side is the view - watching the sea and the ships going up and down the channel.
The decor in the cottage is in keeping with its time.  In the bedroom there are old light switches, I will post a picture of it later.
 The view from the back door
The view from as near the edge of the cliff as I am prepared to go.

We unpacked the car in time to watch the Murray brothers put us 2-1 up in the Davis Cup final.  An exiting match.  Then Jo made the tea - jacket potato and tuna.  After that we ventured out in the dark and rain and walked down to St Margaret's Bay with Brody who must have suffered dehydration, he was marking so much. We got down to the bay and popped into "The Coastguard" for a swift pint.  Judging by the pictures it was once called The Green Man.
I had not tried Merchant before, it is a full bodied dark ale with a strong flavour, a very nice pint.
Then back to watch Dr Who, but the day got the better of me, so I only saw about half of it!

Now to try the beds ....