Version 5

Hosted by 14.5.21 to 15.5.22
Hosted by Ionos 15.5.22 to present

This edit 25 December 2022

NOTE: Having moved to a new host, there's going to be
a bunch of broken links for a while. Perhaps always. Whatever.



Blog Post List




25.12.22  Nicosia, Cyprus

06.02.22  Chiswick House

05.02.22  Maria Zelia 12.01.1930 - 14.01.2022

28.11.21  High Effort, Low Reward

31.10.21  Peter and Victoria Visit London

24 & 25.7.21  Long Distance Weekend

19.7.21  Reassignment

17.7.21  Second Hike with "The Roads Less Travelled": Epping Forest

3.7.21 to 11.7.21:   My Awesome Week Off

Day 0   Friday  2.7.21     A Long Weekend Lengthens

Day 1   Saturday  3.7.21   Brentwood, 45+NG

Day 2   Sunday  4.7.21   Seaweed

Day 3   Monday  5.7.21   Ouch

Day 4   Tuesday  6.7.21   Not Firing On All Cylinders

Day 5   Wednesday  7.7.21   The Main Event(s)

Day 6   Thursday  8.7.21   London


For some reason you have chosen to visit

Versions 1 to 4 began as a one-person social medium. In the later iterations it was used to promote VERTICAL CLIMB DP Ltd. That company is now dissolved. Bending spanners on UK military aircraft including Sea Kings, Wildcats and Apaches was how I earned a living between 2009 and 2018.

I dabbled with HTML, CSS, etc etc. Each version has been hand coded from online tutorials. Clumsily.

On my laptop, the site would display flawlessly- perfectly spaced and tweaked. That was rarely rendered on other computers. Images that were links would sometimes oddly stack on top of each other, making the links useless.

It took me years to find out that you can turn on the SSL padlock with this lousy three-line script.

     RewriteEngine On
     RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off

You save it as a config file called ".htaccess" in the root directory, and briefly pause from facepalming until you discover what a "mixed content warning" is.

Versions 1 to 4 were meant to be simple. I now realise they just weren't simple enough. Version 5 has no frills, no bells or whistles, no CSS, no SEO, no hand-coded drop down menus, and with any luck- no visitors. (Thank you for buggering that up, by the way).

This site is one HTML file, one SSL script, and a couple of directories for pictures, sounds and videos, in case I ever add any. is my quest to be the barest bones blog believable.

Web hosting companies are devious. This arrangement will make the site agile between new domain providers. I'll be able to exploit a first-year teaser rate, then go carpetbagging my way to a cheap deal a year later. Well... that's the idea, anyway.

There are of course far easier ways of having an online presence. They aren't for me.

Welcome to my website. It's your own time you're wasting.

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25.22  Nicosia, Cyprus

I have good reason to believe that nobody has been overwhemed by the number of blog entries that I have posted this year. I found out that my bestie in Cyprus was going to have a reduced headcount in the family home over the festive season, so I decided to invite myself over and replace one problem he had solved by adding a new one.

As I was leaving the UK, the border force workers were starting a strike. This only affected those entering the country, not those leaving it, but I am fully expecting that there will be strike action happening on the day I get back. Ho Ho Ho.

I made gingerbread for everyone, and made no other effort to upstage bestie's mother's attempt at cooking (the Christmas meal was offbeat but hands down the best festive dinner I have ever eaten). Then it was parlour games and then home. In all likelihood the last time this year I'm posting to this website. C'est la vie, nobody asked you here.

06.02.22  Chiswick House

Last Sunday, a chapter of the Cottage Capers Coterie converged, chugged coffee, chatted, and cantered to Chisick House. We popped into St Nicolas Church, bumping into Janet Ellis on the way. I hadn't seen Liz or Catherine for ages, it was great to catch up. I'm particularly grateful to Liz who picked the venues and carefully researched our day out.

Catherine and Hugh
Liz and Hugh
St. Nicolas Church

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05.02.22  Maria Zelia 12.01.1930 - 14.01.2022

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28.11.21  High Effort, Low Reward

Mighty powers! If it's not a broken link then- Lo! Behold my new toy!
Damn, that's a fine looking pot! It's a dream! Works like a cast iron Le Screuset, but cast from aluminium you can lift it with one hand even when it's brimming with food. Awesome!

And Lo! What a fabulous-looking recipe to christen it with!

Cry me a river, this was bloody horrendous.

Grate stuff, chop stuff, fry stuff and set it aside, fry other stuff and put it in the oven and back out of the oven and add half of... hurry, back in the oven! Did I say out? Etc etc, Oh man this recipe better be worth it.

To be fair it was my first attempt. But it really wasn't worth it. It was revolting.

I have not lost faith. Another interpretation, and adding seasoning that was referred to as 'optional' may make all the difference.

Have you been good? Then treat yourself to another media megamix.  1 2 3 4 5

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31.10.21  Peter and Victoria Visit London

Peter and Victoria vistied London.

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24&25.7.21  Long Distance Weekend

Saturday was an early start, 183 miles for work, and me kicking myself for having to postpone Fulham Palace and Garden with Liz the Artist. I often have BBC R4 on for wallpaper; in the kitchen, when I'm driving etc. I'm not a big fan of poetry, but "Poetry Please" hosted by Roger McGough came on. I stayed tuned. This snippet stuck in my head;

A bit from "Two Travelling Together" by Hiromi Ito

...but back then, I can’t even count how many times I picked up my bags and stepped on the scale, no matter how many times I weighed myself, I still wasn’t the least bit lighter Not knowing what else to do, I took out my books
Then I took out my clothes
Then I went to the bathroom and defecated
Then I took out more clothes
Then I threw up
Then I took out more books
Then I stripped off all my clothes, held my bag, and stood on the scale, but I wasn’t the least bit lighter
Know what I mean? That’s what it means to go on a trip
That’s what it means to leave the place where you live
Trips and then more trips
There are things you need to carry with you to survive
Not knowing what else to do, I called my husband, filed for divorce, talked to my children and told them Mommy wouldn’t be home for a while, in other words, it was only after I abandoned my relationships, my attachments, and even my language that I was light enough to get on the plane

Sunday was a 12.3 mile hike with "GO London". Its good to keep the momentum up, but I'm going to have to pause weekend wandering until MRF have gone back to the 'States.

19.7.21  Reassignment

Georgie Geranium and Porgie Geranium were grown from different cuttings. Porgie flowered first, with deep vivid red blooms.

Georgie's buds are just starting to open, they are a delightful pink. Georgie has now been renamed Georgina.

17.7.21  Second Hike with "The Roads Less Travelled": Epping Forest

The great thing about having my own blog again is that I can be as obtusely cryptic as I like.

I want to be a man who looks forward.

No looking back.

Links to 1 2 3 4 5 6 pics.

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My Awesome Week Off: Saturday 3.7.21 to Sunday 11.7.21


Day 0 Friday  2.7.21    A Long Weekend Lengthens


Two months ago I booked myself a nice, luxurious long weekend.


This was a good plan. As the time got closer, the case for turning a long weekend into a whole week off work grew.


Looking online, there are a large number of clubs and societies in striking distance that have fizzled out or are minimally active.  However- this far, five have stood out who are going strong.  I might post more about them later.


The first of them that I connected with, and the one that has made the biggest impact on Hugh's world, is the "London Silent Book Club".  The whole premise of a book group where everyone is reading their own different book is mind-bending.  Each time I describe the principle to someone, they universally pull a face- bemused and baffled.  Yet Silent Book Clubs are running all over the world.


The London Silent Book Club, at the time this goes to press, is set to recruit additional organisers (including yours truly- I feel rather privileged about that) and in due course run an additional session a week.  This will be discussed at the next meet.


As if my Friday had not started well enough, I got the email confirming my Salisbury trip. Hussah!  Earlier in the week I bagged the last slot on a 3 day/2 night mid-week break in a swanky-looking four star.  This gives me an adventure out of town, while still leaving me time to fully utilise my week off.


I could have legitimately buggered off from work at 2pm, but I wanted to make sure everything would run like a well-oiled Swiss clock in my absence.  I didn't get away from work as soon as I'd have liked.  I wasn't going to make it to the Harrow Bike Shop before they shut on Friday.  So the Cannondale's front wheel and the Giant Escape 2 will just have to reside in the back of the car for now.


One job I crossed off the "to do" list was finding a home for a brand new camera drone.  I'd ordered it months in advance for an astonishingly bargainous £30.  It had a delivery time so long it probably got despatched from China by canoe.  I chose today to say goodbye, completed the assembly and did some filming.  After one final flight, it got put up for adoption and has been taken into Patrick Tembo's care.

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Day 1 Saturday   Brentwood, 45+NG  3.6.21

Not a bad day's walking. And quizzing. Even the geraniums are doing nicely. 


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Day 2 Sunday  4.6.21   Seaweed

17 years ago today, Tom Reddy and I passed out of basic training at HMS Raleigh, and I don't need Mark Zuckerberg to remind me.

Boo to Facebook.  Back to blogging. 

The Geraniums won't need repotting for a while. When they do, I'm planning on mixing some potassium sulphate into the new soil. A reasonably priced packet arrived from eBay, I'll decide on the quantity to use when the time comes.

Now that both are taking root and beginning to flower, the plan is to feed them every time I water them. Also from eBay, I got some concentrated organic liquid seafood fertilizer. [Edit 16.7.21 Liquid seafood? Liquid SEAWEED bwa ha ha] The basic dilution is 10ml for 2l, but they recommend a less strong mixture for younger plants. I measured 5ml into 2l of rain from the water butt using my cookery spoon. (Mental note- don't use that spoon when cooking for other people now).


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Day 3  Monday 5.7.21  Ouch

Rather sad about this.  I had no idea that this was going to be Rooney Nash’s last week at TMD.  Gutted I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye.

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Day 4  Tuesday  6.7.21  Not Firing On All Cylinders


Ecclesiates 11:1-4

“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.  Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.  If the clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth.  Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie.  Whoever watches the wind will not plant, whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”


Be aware; I have no flipping clue what any of that is meant to mean.  Bread cast upon water just ain’t going to be there days later.  The rest is cryptic beyond interpretation.  A quick Google tells me that it has something to do with “The Value of Diligence”. 


Where was I?


Forty miles from Salisbury.  Barrelling along the A303 heading west; something I hadn’t done since my time at RNAS Culdrose.


My car’s engine packs up.  Many motorways have done away with their “hard shoulders”, and by grace of God, this wasn’t one of them.  The night before I’d checked my insurance deets.  Many months before that, I’d started with a new and untried insurer (the renewal offer from the previous one was less tempting than a potato peel pie).


The wait was long but worth it.  The RAC recovery patrol arrived and investigated.  He escorted me after each attempted fix for a few miles.  Each time the same warning would eventually appear on the dash, and the symptoms would be worse. I ended up with a rigid tow to the nearest approved garage, with a little exasperation; it meant travelling in the opposite direction to my destination.


There was a temptation, short but great, to use the recovery included on my insurance to simply give up and go home.  But that really did not feel right at all, I was looking forward to my break in Salisbury too much.  My “onward travel” cover got me 24 hours with something sportier than I was used to, and I extended the rental by a couple of days when I collected it.


I posted a pic to the WhatsApp group set up for the trip.  Bless her, the Meetup Organiser was gutted that I was missing my welcome drinks and light lunch with scones.  But may car was being repaired in Basingstoke, I was on my way, and I joined the group in time for the guided tour of Salisbury with an official guide. 


The Meetup Organiser’s sister was The Quiz Organiser.  She would join us the following evening.  The group of travellers consisted of The Teacher, The Computer Man, The Administrator, The Banker, The Paddleboarder, The Secret Agent, The Artist, and The Project Manager.


I know that people from the trip consent to their pictures being shared.  But it’s my blog.  I’m reluctant to publish anyone’s names- even if I know they wouldn’t mind at all.


The tour of Salisbury was a story of wealth, power and religion. 


The guide mentioned "The Russian Assassin".  It took a while for the penny to drop; Novichoc and the Skripals.  Wowsers!  A bit of a contrast.



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Day 5  Wednesday 7.7.21  The Main Event(s)

Waking up in Salisbury.  Here’s a thing.  Breakfast at the Red Lion began at the reasonable hour of 7am.  Time to squeeze in a solo adventure before joining the throng.  Hire car practicalities were easily dealt with- time for Geocaching.  [Heirogliphics follow]One DNF, two finds.  I had my stamp, but the finds were both Nanos.  Tidy signatures in the log- nothing more. 

For some reason, a rugged travel telescope that was a gift to a child had ended up back in my possession.  I knew that there was no point in attempting any astronomy, but something told me to bring it.  My hotel window had line of sight to the Cathedral.  With no suitable surface to put the ‘scope,  I popped it on the ironing board.   I discovered that there was an anemometer on the top of the spire; go figure. 

A walk through Constable country, a special tour of the Water Meadows, a delightful pub lunch with The Meetup Organiser, The Banker and The Teacher.

At Queen Elizabeth Park, The Computer Man photographed me stepping back off an island.  His timing was quite perfect.

In a sense this was a peak of the trip for me.  We converged on Salisbury Cathedral.

The Project Manager made sharp-eyed observations on the Cathedral exterior.

This was the point where I started chatting to and getting to know The Artist.  A big chunk of my time in the cathedral was with her, the companionship was very enjoyable. 

Outside, three of us took the plunge and started talking politics.  It turned out we all had the same views on the absolute and total triumph of B**xit.  Who knew?

That evening, back at the Red Lion, I put on my perfectly ironed togs for the main dinner of the trip.  I had plumped for a goat cheese starter, a salmon main, and a brownie desert.  Impeccable.

Parlour games followed.  For the quiz, The Computer Man, The Artist and I formed one of three teams.  From the very first round, we established a commanding lead.  The momentum of our increasing score did not abate for the rest of the game, which irritated the hell out of a couple of people.  Ha ha ha ha ha. 

The Meetup Organiser volunteered me to kick off the last game of the evening, “Tongue Tied”.  This was a gentle version of BBC R4’s “Just A Minute”.  I attempted to rip off a couple of Clement Freud’s techniques and got away with it.


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Day 6  Thursday 8.7.21  London

Although Patrick Tembo was ready willing and able to collect me from Basingstoke, I ultimately decided to extend my stay at the Red Lion by one night.  That also meant that the repair to my car and the return of the courtesy vehicle dovetailed the next day- perfectly.

People were welcome to drift off as they liked, but the last day of the trip somehow seemed to be as full as the others.  The Teacher was airlifted over an obstacle, and I walked on water.

Our destination was Old Sarum.  Once an Iron Age hill fort, it was utilised by Romans, Normans and Saxons.  The ramparts of a Motte-and-bailey castle and Salisbury's original  cathedral are preserved there.  A visiting school group gave us a sense of optimism.  Hopefully, we are beginning the last chapter of Covid's story.

The Meetup Organiser took me aside for a moment to sing my praises.  Clearly, she is easily impressed.

Back at the hotel, I ordered smoked salmon sandwiches and a glass of Prosecco.  I would have ordered champagne if it didn’t come with a £44 price tag.  There were fond goodbyes, but the best part was bimbling round town after check-out.  I bumped into The Artist again, and we’re keeping in touch.

The next morning, I swapped cars at Basingstoke, and headed back to London to enjoy the remaining days of my week off.

I’d had an awesome one.

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HUGH 13/11/2022
Hello visitor. Below is the text that appeared when the site had a gallery. Having migrated from One to Ionos, I'm not going to restore it for the current iteration.

(A mix of media from 14th May 2021 onwards.

Videos- Most are not optimised for streaming. Depending on your browser, you could follow the link then right-click and save the movie.

Photos- Some browsers may display them with odd rotations. I could fix this by altering the Jpeg EXIF orientation metadata. I can't be bothered. So I won't).

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Very proud of my baby sister's endeavours to branch out
Kathy Breidenbach's "The Touch Project"

Liz Elmhirst, Painter and Printmaker

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If you don't already have a way to contact me, you won't find one here.

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