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Short and Sour

A brief blog this week, because the temptation to rant is too strong. I'm only posting this because the story it concerns, the  abduction  of children by criminal gangs from hotels run by the Home Office, seems to have bewilderingly little traction in the mainstream press. I'm not qualifying the word children with the term asylum seeker. Because that's the point of this blog. The second you do that, you are othering them, you are trying to lessen the impact of this horror which is taking place on British soil at this present time. When the odious Jonathan Gullis roared idiotically that "they shoudn't have come here", when Nick Robinson on the Today  programme leaned heavily on the racist's bogeyman du jour, Albania, when they paid some scant attention to this story, they were trying to distract from the fundamental point. That children are being abducted by criminal gangs, and Suella Braverman is somehow still in a job, even though this is happening on her
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Chef Flu

Blearrgh It is a truth universally acknowledged in hospitality circles that everyone gets ill in January. You've been wound up tight in December, surviving on not enough sleep and probably too much to drink, your immune system isn't in the best of shape, the moment you relax your body goes right, you bastard, now you're for it. So I was expecting it, happens every year. What I hadn't factored into account was that this was the Winter of The Multiple Lurgies, where everyone's immune systems are in ruins from two years of covid and various diseases stalk the land in unhappy conjunction, so when the chef flu got me, I wasn't as ready as I should be. After a busy New Year's Day in the pub (following a frankly unhinged New Year's Eve in the pub) I wasn't well rested, my defences weren't high, but still, I felt okay on the Monday morning. Indeed, we took a little trip to Martin Mere, so I could get the year's birding off to a flier (because that

What just happened?

It's commonplace at this time of year for things like this to do some sort of head-scratching look back at the year just gone. Some whimsical piece full of wonderment at the twists and turns the last go round the sun has taken. Cor, they say, I never saw that coming. Blimey, who'd have expected that. Well, I thought about it, and then decided not to. Because whichever way you slice it, 2022 has been an absolute shithouse for a heck of a lot of people, and it seems a bit tasteless going coo, who remembers "surprised by cake"? crikey, that was a laugh, eh?  Likewise, I am irritated by our media class's tendency to treat politics, which is the stuff of real people's actual lives, as though it were all some jolly entertaining spectator sport. The disastrous conduct of our ruling party has actively served to make everyone in the country worse off this year. It shouldn't really be the subject of a parlour game where someone has to remember precisely how many day


     What would you think if, when you asked someone how they were, they replied "OK"? Would you take that at face value, or regard it as being indicative of deeper problems?      I ask because this has been on my mind a little of late. Mrs Coastaltown asked me how I was one day. I was okay, I said so. Whats's up? She said. Nothing's up, I said, I'm okay, I'm fine. Reader, I was, I was fine.      What would you think if, when you asked someone how they were, they replied "fine"? Would you take that at face value, or regard it as being indicative of deeper problems?      I'm being slightly facetious here, but I have been wondering a little recently about how we perceive language, and how we place too much weight on hyperbole. You can't simply be fine, you have to be amazing, so good, living your best life. Things aren't bad, they're a disaster. Eminently believable events become unbelievable. The comedian Gary Delaney has a good line a

The comforts of irrelevance

To my mild surprise, I came home one day last week to find one of my sons, who shall remain nameless, reading a copy of one of my chapbooks. "Hello Dad" he said, in an off-hand manner, before tossing it on the table. "Not really my sort of thing" I wasn't, I hasten to add, particularly offended by this; his thing is anime, and he's eleven. I don't recall being a particular fan of procedural poetry myself at that age, to be entirely honest with you, I was more a fan of really intently watching the opening titles of Baywatch . Indeed, as with so much of my life, writing poetry was just something I sort of fell into and it turned out I was alright enough at it to publish a bit and read a bit and...well, not much else really. And that's fine, I never had dreams of fame or success from writing, it was always just something I did.  To quote Homer Simpson: aim low kids, aim so low that nobody will realise if you fail. This isn't to say that I didn't

Emphatically not about the queue

This post will be about several things, but it won't be about The Queue. I don't need to explain  that any further, you know it the one I mean, the one that has dominated the national conversation to a perplexing degree over the last few days. I knew when HRH popped her little bejewelled clogs that I was going to be out of step with the majority if my fellow countrymen. Not so much due to my lack of support for the monarchy, though that's definitely a factor, but more due to my distaste for greetings card sentiment. And, dear me, but we've had that in spades. Grieving, I understand. Grief and I, as longer term readers may recall, are well acquainted. And I'm not so arrogant as to tell others how to grieve; but it does seem, from the perspective of one utterly unmoved by the death of someone I didn't know, that we as a country are...enjoying this a little too much? Wallowing a little? I do understand it, to a degree. Brenda represents one of the last links to whe

Back in White

Now, after typing it,  I realise that the title basically sounds like a racist AC/DC cover version, but before you cast your phone aside in disgust at my, now you come to think of it inevitable middle aged slide into reactionary politics, hold on a mo, for this is merely the news that, after a pleasurable couple of years of semi-retirement, your super soaraway Coastalblog is back on the stoves full-time. (I hadn't realised you weren't, you quite reasonably say, fair enough, so to recap...) When I took the pub over I reasoned that I was going to be to preoccupied with various bits and bobs that needed doing front of house, and wouldn't be able to give the kitchen the attention it deserved. I was right in this, to be fair, paperwork, repairs and renovations, navigating the uncertain waters of Covid, all of this took a lot of time up. So I handed the kitchen reins over to my sous chef, Lyndsey (who has, I should say, done an absolutely sterling job). That's me done, I thou