Sunday 18 November 2012

A Rather Posh Smallholding.

I once went to Sandringham (the queen’s posh country smallholding in Norfolk,) suffering from food poisoning.  No she hadn't invited us for a :
"Nice cup of tea."
 A very big cook (Little Chef) had poisoned me the afternoon before.   It was a lovely Summers day, so we decided to go and see how the other half live.  The queen’s herbaceous borders made wonderful sick depositories.
 I stood wrenching and vomiting while tourists passed by with expressions of horror.  Not one person asked me:
“Are you alright mate?” 
“There, there”.  
They just looked horrified as if to say:
“That scruffy Northerner is fetching up in the queen’s borders.  
Send for the beef eaters and take him to the tower of London.” 
Eventually I recovered and went for a saunter and mosey round her majesty’s regal pad.  We walked along roped off pathways (in the house!), and viewed the queens sun faded furniture, pottery and some of her “bling”.  The Majolica pots looked horrible.  If  I had seen them on a car boot sale I would not have paid a fiver for them.  They were worth about a quarter of a million, or a two up and two down ex agricultural labourers cottage in Cheshire.   The diamond encrusted Faberge eggs were nice though and would have looked good on our sideboard, underneath the flying ducks on the Muriel! (Mural).  Bring back Stan and Hilda and Eddie Yates, and the 'tart with a heart', Elsie Tanner. 
Talking of Elsie Tanner.
I once met (queued up for a signed autograph picture for me dear old mum) Pat Phoenix at the local agricultural show.  Her stand (a chair and a decorating table) was situated opposite the beer tent.  Some of the locals were stood outside shouting:
“Elsie, Elsie.  Lend us a tanner.”  
Pat Phoenix just smiled and said:
"Young man.  Flattery will get you nowhere”. 
She was sheer class. 
Talking of  Sandringham and posh houses. 
I once helped build half a golf course (the other nine holes already existed).  I said one morning to a digger driver:
"Did you have a good weekend Bill?”  Not his real name.
He replied: 
“Not really".  
We went to that Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. 
It was a bank holiday and the world and his wife had decided to visit.  The traffic tailbacks went back for miles.
We eventually got inside and it was full of snobby twonks (he didn’t say twonks).  
The house was full of old furniture and paintings.  She likes that kind of sh*t!  I wouldn’t mind there wasn’t even an effing bar to get a pint!” 
Yes he was so right.  The upper classes could have really learned from the proletariat “great unwashed” who built their stately piles for them.  They could have experienced Formica, Caramac, Stylophones and flat packed wardrobes.  I thought to myself: 

“It’s good that working class people have cultural experiences on their days off!”  

I didn't really.  I just laughed.  See you later folks!


  1. The most pertinent question that springs to mind is what did you have to eat at the Little Chef, Dave.

    Was it chicken, fish or some other kind of white meat?

    I remember getting drunk and eating a chicken kebab by mistake, then being violently sick for four days. You've got to be careful with white meat, as it's a bugger to cook, Dave.

  2. Spicy potato wedges Pat. They were on special offer so I ordered them. The waitress had an hissy fit and sarcastically said because we didn't order a 'proper meal':

    "They'll be ready in half an hour."

    We stayed on an old Army camp that was now a camp site. Three O'clock in the morning and I became violently sick and I needed to sit on the toilet. I walked to the toilet quarter of a mile away and started being sick and having diarrhoea at the same time. My head was also aching with dehydration.

    eventually wandered out of the toilets and it was now pitch dark. To make matters worse I couldn't find our tent. It took me an hour to find it, wandering round being sick.

    Next morning we got up, went to Sandringham and I started being sick again. Suppose the moral of the story is. If you're going to be ill. Be ill at home.

    The chicken kebab sounds terrible Pat. There's a lot to be said for cooking your own grub and knowing what it's made of.

    Thank you for your comment.

  3. I enjoyed that.... you have a sort of "flight of ideas" way of writing
    greetings from a wales Pat Phoenix fan(northern wales of course)

  4. Hi John. Thanks for visiting this site. Yes I suppose I do have a 'flight of ideas'(sounds like a mental illness for us writers), scatter gun approach to writing. I try to find my unique writers voice (how pretentious is that?) and hopefully give the reader a laugh and joke along life's way.

    I know North Wales quite a bit. Love Llandudno and Snowdonia. Think my great grandmother came from Wrexham? Pat Phoenix should have been awarded an Oscar for her 'Elsie Tanner' Role. So should Albert Tatlock what was he really called? Didn't he live in Conway?

    Thanks John.

    1. we live in Trelawnyd which over looks ( by a long way) lLANDUDNO'S Orme
      I too have a small ( oh so small) small holding
      comprising of one field and an allotment!
      it's a nice lifestyle

  5. Did you visit this place by choice or was it the wife's idea, Dave?

  6. Hi John. Did you get the gales last night? It was terrible here. It lashed it down all night. Do you have any livestock? We have 7 cattle (bullocks and heifers), 6 ducks and a couple of pigs sometimes, 2 dogs, a cat. What do you grow on your allotment? I love my smallholding but I miss living in a town and infrastructure like public transport and rock concerts.

    Thanks John.

    1. 2 sheep, 2 pigs (now in the freezer) 50 hens, 8 ducks,2 turkeys, 3 guinea fowl, 4 geese, 3 dogs, i cat,

      as for the allotment...the usual mixed bag of mashings

      and as for the city, I do miss friends, the odd nice wine bar. good theatre and films on tap!

  7. I visited it many times Pat. Once went to see Berlin Symphony Orchestra there (on my own) and it was amazing. I really like seaside resorts with piers.


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