Welcome to John Owen Smith’s log

John Owen Smith Home PageLog for 2006Log for 2007Log for 2008Log for 2009Log for 2010Log for 2011Log for 2012Log for 2013Log for 2014Log for 2015Log for 2016Log for 2017Log for 2018 Contact me


19th August 2019

Had my annual pacemaker check on the 9th, which was OK.
Went to an open-air production of 'Private Lives' at Hatchlands on the 11th: an interesting interpretation and we were lucky with the weather.
Popped over to Corsham during the weekend just gone and helped Steve re-felt his garden shed. My own shed also needs attention, which I must see to when the weather allows!


5th August 2019

Went for a weekend to friends at Herne Bay and decided to take the scenic route there and back – that's 4 hours through rural Sussex and Kent rather than 2-and-a -bit hours along the M25. Very pleasant, but you need a cast-iron bladder when travelling along roads such as the lovely A272 as there are no 'services', particularly before noon when all the pubs are shut!


27th July 2019

Just back from a few days in France, with temperatures up to 40°C! Thank you Francine for your hospitality, and for the air conditioning in your car.

We said goodbye to Betjeman
at St Pancras

In France, got away from the heat
in a troglodyte farm …

… amazing
what you can find in there!

Next day we cooled off
down an old slate mine


15th July 2019

Phew! We've just done a weekend of 'Allo 'Allo with me playing the part of René Artois again. See more pictures.
I played the part some years ago, so many of the lines came back easily – but there's no denying it was a tiring stint.
We had full houses, and the punters told us they liked it, so it makes it all worth while.
Once again a grew a moustache for the part – and once again I shaved it off as soon as we'd finished!


1st July 2019

We held the Headley Theatre Club annual barbecue in our garden on Sunday afternoon. Here's how we filled the lawn!


24th June 2019

With all the current fooling around selecting a new Prime Minister, I don't know why they can't just give the job to Hugh Grant – he got close to the likes of the front runner in Love Actually, and he already knows the lines!


17th June 2019

The trouble with going away for a fortnight is that you come back to a fortnight's worth of work to do!


10th June 2019

Back home after two weeks in France. Here are some random pictures from our time in Corné, on the boat in Lot & Garonne, and around the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.

In the queue for the ferry at Portsmouth – some were taking everything except the kitchen sink!

Waiting for the green light on
the Le Mans 24-hr circuit!

The stage we were later to occupy
gloriously(?) in France

The winery we visited

The 'picnic' at the winery

A bell at Fontevraud Abbey –
the hand indicating 'end of line' amused me!

More drinks!
It was indeed 'good ale'

The famous gardens at
the Chateau de Villandry

This is how they keep the hedges
so trim at Villandry

It is he, Leclerc!
[Reference to our upcoming 'Allo 'Allo]

The 'last supper' at Corné

Yet more drinks!!

Boarding 'Le Boat' at Le Mas-d'Agenais

Capt. Webb takes the wheel

Capt. Smith – Look, no hands!!

Trouble at t'lock!

'Les Marronniers' in Vianne
where we ate twice

Moored at Nérac,
not a cloud in the sky!

Sign in Moncrabeau,
the town of liars …

… and here's one of the liars!!

This was another lie – not all the
facilites listed were there

The entry to Condom was long
and narrow, as you might expect!

Snow in June? It was seeds
floating down from willow trees

Water and electricity mix
quite happily in France!

Maybe I was halucinating,
but I distinctly saw the word 'vin'
reflected in the water

Set the timer to 10secs,
position the camera
and this is what you get

The outside stairway to our room
in the two-room hotel at Richelieu.
The ivy was wet!

Fawlty Towers met 'Allo 'Allo
at this Bar-Restaurent
in Couterne

At Arromances for the 75th
anniversary of D-Day …

… here is a DD Sherman with
canvas screen erected

There were many old soldiers
having their photos taken!

A windy walk along the cliffs
above the German tunnel
near Auderville

Heather and dodder
above the German tunnel
near Auderville

An old gate near Auderville
with hole in stone to hold the post

Erika fleeing a shark in Cherbourg!

A tall ship passes our restaurant
on the Cherbourg waterfront


20th May 2019

We helped Nick choose the cast for the 'Allo 'Allo show in July. I am René again and Dil is Edith again (after 10 years!)


13th May 2019

Yesterday we did a massive 'shed clear' of Theatre Club stuff at the village hall see pictures.


6th May 2019

It was the annual 'bluebell walk' yesterday, but although they were still blooming nicely in the fields, they had 'gone over' in the woods where the main display usually is. Shame.


29th April 2019

Twice to the Royal Albert Hall in the space of a fortnight! Once to see Alfie Boe, and yesterday to see The Drifters. Both were loud and dramatic.
We also went to Greenwich yesterday, making a day of it. We thought the Observatory at £16 a throw was a bit expensive for what we saw in it, and there was no time to see anything else.
We tried to get from there to the Albert Hall by bus – the first part went OK taking the No.166 to High Holborn, but from there it seemed there were no buses west to Kensington. Strange. In the end we took the tube.


22nd April 2019

I did!


15th April 2019

We've decided to redecorate the lounge. I'll let you know if I survive the ordeal!


1st April 2019

So, the date for the UK to leave the EU has come and gone (29th March) and we're still in. Those who know me, know my feelings on the matter (see 27 Jun 2016).
I had a small bet with myself at the time that we'd not leave, and it looks likely that I may be right. If so, I'd be overjoyed. The EU with all its faults has ensured peace in western Europe since the devastation of WW2. It needs to change to accommodate a changing world, but we can assist if we work from the inside.


18th March 2019

Forgot to mention last week that my cousin William's son Rupert is working on the discovery of an eighth continent, Zealandia. See him on Youtube.


11th March 2019

Up to Northumberland for a few days. We made a halfway stop at Retford and slept in a bookshop! See pictures below.
Arriving in Alnwick on Shrove Tuesday, we were recommended to go and watch the annual football match between players from the two parishes of St Michael and St Paul. The ball was thrown from the castle gate by the Duke of Northumberland (or it may have been his son) and walked down to the flood plain of the River Aln following a Northumbrian piper. We watched the first half (of 30 minutes) but as it was raining and not overly exciting we left then and sought the warmth of our hotel!

The lounge at
The Barrister's Clerk, Retford

The bedroom at
The Barrister's Clerk

Alnwick Castle. The ball was thrown from the balcony

The piper

The Shrove Tuesday football match in progress


4th March 2019

We had Christian & Maryse from our French twin town of Corné to stay for a couple of nights, and of course gave them the 'full English' for breakfast (see right).
Later in the week I performed in the annual 'Green Room': this year 'Misty' on the sax and three numbers on the 5-string bass to accompany our little 'big band'.
And yesterday, before the storm swept in, I led the monthly walk 'Right Round Lindford'.


25th February 2019

Yesterday I mowed my lawn – in February! Is this a global warming warning?
The previous day I was dressed as Sir Robert Hunter again at a 'Mystery and History' day set up by the NT at Hindhead for kids at half term. Luckily it was a lovely spring-like day, because there was a lot of standing around waiting for an audience to turn up. However, I did learn several ways to start a fire from the man doing 'bushcraft' demonstrations, so not altogether a wasted day.


18th February 2019

So, after having the No.18 bus run through the village from Haslemere to Aldershot since bus services began in the 1920s, we now have the No.23 instead, running from Haslemere to Alton – and only once every 2 hours instead of hourly. Not sure who this is supposed to benefit!


11th February 2019

The Sunday walk last week was a curtailed affair due to snow, but 6 brave souls and a dog rambled up the riverside and back (see photo).
Now we're planning what to do for our Bard's Night at the end of April. This is our English antidote to the Burns Night (see below). A first meeting produced some good ideas, and we'll be building on those to produce a programme over the next week.


28th January 2019

Spent two evenings in the village hall helping Dil to make stage curtains last week, and another there dressed in a kilt being MC at a Burns Night. We seem to spend as many evenings in the hall as we do at home! The Burns Night is organised each year by our Twinning Association – so there you have it: a group promoting jumelage with the French putting on a Scottish evening in an English village. Vive le difference!


21st January 2019

The final weekend of Toad of Toad Hall went well – see pictures. Audience numbers were average, which means as good as recent years but nowhere near the halcyon days when we had full houses. I guess people's habits have changed, but it's still good to put on a show involving the kids and adults together, however fraught it gets at times!


14th January 2019

The first weekend of Toad of Toad Hall went tolerably well. Let's hope the final weekend goes well too.

Today I placed my first order for books via KDP rather than CreateSpace. It was a bit of a struggle, sending me to Dil's Amazon account first of all – but in the end it looks as if books come quicker, more cheaply and invoiced in Pounds rather than Dollars.


7th January 2019

A week of activity in the Village Hall and at home preparing for Toad of Toad Hall. At times the lounge floor looked like we'd had a snowfall as Dil made furry animal costumes!


Continued …


You are very welcome to contact me about anything in the weblogs, or not in the weblogs – but be prepared for your words to appear on-line along with mine!