July 2018

Tuesday 31st

Paula the Polar Bear 

Dover Museum has a Polar Bear, albeit in a glass case but now Margate has an all action specimen called Paula. She is at the Turner Contemporary in Margate until the end of August, so there’s plenty of time to get to know her. On Sunday Fred (yellow hat) and Erin (glasses) took the opportunity and had a close encounter, fortunately Health and Safety had done due diligence so no little people were lost. All credit to the puppeteers for a realistic bear in appearance and actions.

For me, I left with the name Paula on my mind and couldn’t get the 1963 hit out of my mind; Hey Paula sung by Ray Hidebrand (writer) and Jill Jackson. Isn’t it funny what triggers ones mind?

Monday 30th


Sunday Jaunt with the Current Mrs Smith

With temperatures in the thirties earlier in the week the plan for Sunday was to have a family visit to Samphire Hoe and enjoy the warm sea breezes. However waking up to high winds and rain a plan ‘B’ had to be devised and a return to The Turner Contemporary came into play and a revisit to the Animals and Us exhibition. There’s plenty to see and thought provoking exhibits, one such being ‘Deep Darkness’. It’s a LCD screen with a video of a Jackal and poses the question; does it threaten you or you threaten them? As you watch it you’re drawn into the animals world and then you detect movement and realise there’s a chasm between those worlds.

Sunday 29th

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

Where would you be if you was this Kentish Victorian Bandstand

Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.

Answer to last weeks quiz

The little Kentish Rascal is sitting on the Mayors Seat, Larkey Valley Woods, Canterbury. The seat is a tribute to former Mayor of Canterbury, Frank Hooker, who donated Larkey Valley Woods to the City of Canterbury for the residents to enjoy.

Only one entrant this week, making Jo the winner. Well done Jo and thanks for entering.

Saturday 28th

Smith Towers has gone rustic

With diminishing resources you could say that the garden is in a bit of a mess, compared to past years but I prefer to describe it as rustic. It has certainly encouraged wildlife and some plants left to their own devices are simply stunning. One such plant is the Echinops Ritro, which along with the natural flowers/weeds has significantly increased the bee population. Looking at the garden and thinking back can be frustrating but now I feel there’s an obvious equal beauty in nature itself. Well it makes me feel better.

Friday 27th

Its too darned Hot

It can only be the UK as we’re talking about nothing other than the weather. Second day running and the temperature is still hotter out than in at Smith Towers with 35.1°c yesterday. In a world of blame culture whom can we blame? Parliament is in it’s summer recess, the MAYBOT is busy negotiating BREXIT, Boris is in his bunker, planning and scheming, Jeremy Corbyn is in a deep hole with his mate John McDonnell looking for a long ladder, so who is to blame? Having watched the six o’clock news yesterday evening I feel Thomasz Schafernaker must take some responsibility. Today is potentially going to be hotter so hunker down and keep cool.

Thursday 26th

We’re Having a Heat Wave, a Tropical Heat Wave

Yesterday afternoon our weather station recorded the outside temperature at Smith Towers exceeding the inside at 30.6°c, with the inside at 29.7°c at 15:39. With no rain for sometime, although the monitor would perhaps suggest otherwise and none on the horizon, it looks like being a marathon. The first day of the school holidays it begs the question is there enough sunscreen?

Wednesday 25th

Friendship comes in all colours and persuasion

Howard the Iron Man with the forever Southern Softy

Yesterday Smith Towers had a lovely visitor from Liverpool, which was much appreciated and enjoyed. Recently I spoke about friends and how important they are and how different their support is depending of where they are in relation to oneself and this was no exception. I first met Howard on a Ship Finder (Pinkfroot) website and having posted photos banter developed between us through the comments facility, therefore it was special that he made the effort to visit. Being a Southern Softy I have always been in awe of the Iron Men of the North, at this moment we might, lol. My thoughts then turned to famous Liverpudlians but there are so many of them, so I narrowed it down to popular music. Obviously you have the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers but for my money it has to be George Melly. I’m not sure Howard would agree as he appears to be a Liverpool Philharmonic type of guy but in George Melly’s favour, boy did he know how to live.

Tuesday 24th

How to be economical with water in a drought

The current Mrs Smith has always been economical taking emergency measures when and where appropriate. Bring on our 2018 heat wave and now with the school holidays she thought a paddling pool for her little rascals would be just the thing to keep them occupied, cool and out of mischief. The water companies have been asking us to be careful with our usage, in this case it was more a question of where do you put the water. The current Mrs Smith always resourceful, as she would say,

Monday 23rd

Eric and Colin’s Jaunt moves to Monday for one week only.

Today we ventured back to the Marsh once again and the Kent Wildlife Trust, Romney Marsh Visitor Centre. Currently they are running a Photographic Exhibition of the work of Peter Francis. The works cover the land, sea and sky with some dramatic images, well worth a visit. Click on his website at www.blackbox-imagies.co.uk to view his portfolio.

On the feeder for our entertainment was, what we initially thought was a Blue Tit but not so sure now. Any suggestions?

Sunday 22nd

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

A little Kentish Rascal sitting on a special seat but where is she?

Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.

Answer to last weeks quiz

The Old Kent Market is in Margate opposite the Turner Contemporary?


No entrants this week.

Saturday 21st

The End of an Era at Smith Towers

After a ten-year period and four grandchildren the last little one finished his time at the New House Nursery School yesterday with a leavers party. The current Mrs Smith and I took it as a privilege to ferry the little ones to and fro. As grandparents we would like to thank Jane and all her team at the Nursery for their dedication and care of our families little treasures.

Friday 20th

It must be the end of the summer term

Like London Buses, Sports Days once they start just keep on coming. Wednesday it was the turn of New House Nursery School and rising 5 Oliver was up to the challenge. His success was the result of continuous practice throughout the Summer Term. Well-done Ollie. This Sports Day marks the end of an era before this little chap heads off to mainstream school. Even Nanny had a tear in her eye when she collected him from nursery school for the last time.

Photos courtesy of Brett Perfrement, with thanks.

Thursday 19th

The Loretta’s couldn’t cut the mustard

Like the Englands Football Team the Loretta’s at the St Stephen’s Junior School Sports Day put in a magnificent ‘E’ for effort but couldn’t bring home the big prize. The Loretta’s have learnt a lot from their experience so look out next year, the Yellows are coming.

Wednesday 18th

Friendships can be very special



Following on from yesterday’s blog Smith Towers entertained two good friends, Ron Stupple and Dave Ward, the conversation was varied and interesting travelling the world with a bit of BREXIT for good measure. Like me Dave is not so well having to cope with Parkinson’s disease but Ron was there as his rock in support. I’ve known these two gentlemen, originally from the business world for some time and have witnessed the incredible friendship between them, emphasized now with Dave’s illness. Ron is always there but allows Dave to be as independent as possible, which is so important for someone in this situation. Readers of this blog will know of Eric and Colin’s jaunts, which mirrors the Ron and Dave relationship. Eric always there but lets me get on with things, but like Ron is there ready to jump in if necessary. I’m sure I can speak for Dave also but it isn’t until you’re dropped into our crazy situations that you appreciate the help of special friends, thank you both. When Eric and I are out and about it is often now with the wheelchair and Eric’s skills in this department, well that’s another blog in itself.

Tuesday 17th

A Friend is not just for the moment they are for the duration

Dear Young Friends

I have been asked if I would share my thoughts on friendship, apparently I appear to have a philosophical approach to life. Firstly, I have always thought that people who claim to have a huge friendship base are more likely to have many acquaintances. People we can count on to be true friends are perhaps more sparse.

This last year has proved to me how wonderful true friendship is with the support both The Current Mrs Smith and I have experienced. Friends from school days, the workplace and beyond have become so important in their support of us in this crazy MND world we find ourselves in. Some from great distances, others quite local making the actual support very different in each case however, the one common denominator is knowing when to step forward and perhaps more importantly when to step back.

Moving on to normal times friends are also for support and to share things with a friend is wonderful. That can be anything from ideas through to a piece of music, a book even a TV programme etc. Talking out a problem can often be easier with a friend than a family member. Summing up a friend is a person that is there for you and you for them in the appropriate proportions throughout. Listening to a friend can be therapeutic and essential when you’re at your lowest. We are unique of the species in having friends; animals have family groups but don’t have friends as such, just look how few of them are on FB. Or is that fake news?

Thank you Dear Friends for just being you.

Dear Older Friends

Monday 16th

Was it ever coming home?

Now that France have walked away with the World Cup we have time to reflect on England’s performance. Gareth Southgate and his team were in the eyes of some a set of losers before the event, how wrong that turned out to be. Southgate’s leadership coupled with his and the teams efforts and behaviour has not only instilled pride in themselves but the whole country. Easy to say as an Englishman but the whole Union appears to have been caught up in the moment. Our Antipodean Correspondent pointed out that even the Old Enemy (cricketing terminology) in the form of ABC News have recognised their achievements. Interesting what sport can achieve, even for the not so sporty, so when sport and the arts funding is reduced we’re all the poorer.

Sunday 15th

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

Where would you be if you were The Old Kent Market

Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.


Answer to last Sundays quiz:

The redundant Kent Coastguard Station is on the cliff at St Margaret’s Bay. It is now known as the Bluebird Tea Rooms but not currently operational. It’s on the market for silly money, although recently the asking price has dropped significantly.

No entrants this quiz.

Saturday 14th

Trump Trumps Trump

So, in breezes the Showman, Donald Trump and sets the bar high, in his mind, choosing to be interviewed by the Sun News Paper, a platform he used to be rude about us and the MAYBOT in particular. Move on 24 hours following a banquet at Blenheim Palace, a day at Chequers and just prior to meeting The Queen the relationship between our two countries has gone to the highest level of special, if there is such a thing. He also recognised the MAYBOT is doing a great job with the difficult problem of BREXIT and he likes her. What changed his mind so quickly?

Perhaps the fear of being beaten-up by a 92-year-old lady, metaphorically speaking.

Friday 13th

Latitude 2018

What a difference a nights sleep makes, two little people coping with tiredness and having an unconventional supper followed after a nights sleep a hearty breakfast. It reminds me of Allan Sherman and Hello Muddah Hello Faddah.

Thursday 12th

Eric & Colin’s Thursday Jaunt

Today we returned to Deal and visited the Maritime and Local History Museum and it was a real treat and well worth a visit. Focusing on the local aspect it was a very interesting and informative experience., covering everything from the Goodwin Sands, lifeboats, two wars and the Royal Marines and much more. Run entirely by volunteers and with no outside funding it is all credit to the Deal Community. Canterbury would do well to take a leaf out of the Deal Museum’s book and provide a similar museum of local interest for local people. In today’s Kentish Gazette they say the footfall at Canterbury’s Beaney Institute is low, well are we surprised? No, because with the exception of the odd visiting exhibitions it’s the same old, same old. Museums and galleries need to be inventive and exciting and keep changing encompassing the young and the old and everyone in between.

A poignant part of the Deal museum was a bunker with a video on a loop reflecting on local losses through war. One element was a soldier who had written home after not being allowed compassionate leave to visit his dying farther and was subsequently killed himself. It reminded me, having recently published letters for the family, of my Grandfather’s who was also killed in WW1 and my Daughter’s words that she had known of him all her life but having read the letters said she now felt she knew him.

No entrants so far for the Sunday Quiz.

To help you along this could be yours for a mere £1,250,000. For your money you could make yourself a nice cup of coffee or have a duvet day. Either way you would take in a wonderful panorama. Price is now a bargain having started off North of £3,000,000


Wednesday 11th

RAF 100 Flypast

Sophie Raworth put in a sterling performance as anchor for the BBC coverage of the RAF 100 Year event yesterday morning. Coverage of these events is the BBC at it’s very best. We were presented solemn, royalty, pageant, history, personal and the joy of a 100 Aircraft Flypast. Raworth had done her homework and with knowledge and skill kept the program seamlessly flowing and interesting throughout. A presenter in the waiting, to take over from a dynasty, perhaps?

The event reminds us once again of the bravery and skills within our armed forces. Today it was the RAF’s day but as one commentator said in operations all three services are equally reliant on each other. So true.

Tuesday 10th

All aboard the Sky Lark Site Seeker

Back in the fifties and sixties every seaside town had boat trips around the bay and if they had a pier, most probably also had speedboat trips. The introduction of the Package Holiday changed the dynamics of the UK Seaside Resort and one by one these boat trips generally disappeared. Move forward some 50/60 years and Whitstable is attempting to reintroduce the boat trip. The Thames Barge Greta has offered trips for a long time but a new outfit, Whitstable Boat Trips, are offering a different range of options. You can have short trips around the bay or more adventurous out to the Maunsell Forts. You can even get a soaking on RIBEYE 2, just for fun. Hopefully it will all become popular and an added atraction to the Whitstable experience.

All aboard

Monday 9th

Antony Gormley – Another Time – Margate

Vulnerable Man

On a recent visit to the Turner Contemporary at Margate we had time to study the Antony Gormley sculpture Another Time at some length and on a rising tide added to the nuance. Having taken several photos two in particular showed the differences, with the first perhaps the vulnerability of man while the other had man looking all-powerful.

My photos, Eric’s observations.

All Powerful Man

Sculpture is installed on the Fulsam Rock in front of the Turner Contemporary and will remain until November 2018.

Sunday 8th

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

Can you identify this Kent redundant Coastguard Station?

Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.

Answer to last weeks quiz

The Kent Tower was at Sissinghurst.

The winner this week was Ruth closely followed by Pam. Well done both

Louise’s talk about Paris and the Eiffel Tower was just plain silly.


Saturday 7th

The Lady from Adelaide says yes

As South Australia enjoys 13°c and rain in their mid winter our Antipodean Correspondent, Ruthy is still busy gathering in the exotic harvest. Picking Juicy Oranges and Lemons straight from the tree on the McGee Plantation. What could be better?

Who needs California when you have Adelaide?

Friday 6th

St Pauls Cathedral – Calcutta

Billy our Asia Correspondent recently travelled in India passing through Calcutta and came across St Paul’s Cathedral. Being a Canterbury Boy he found it interesting as the design of the tower is based on Bell Harry Tower of Canterbury, the previous tower based on Norwich Cathedral having succumbed to a massive earthquake in 1934.

Archbishop Fisher visited it on Easter Day in 1959, the first Archbishop to do so. When you travel the World its surprising how many places have a link back to Canterbury.

Thursday 5th

Eric and Colins Thursday Jaunt

We went back to the Turner Contemporary at Margate this morning to see their ‘Animals and Us’ Exhibition, which was very interesting.  Unfortunately because of my late start and Eric’s afternoon commitment we didn’t have as long as we would have liked. On the up side it gives us an excuse to return.

The exhibition is exploring the relationship between animals and us with perhaps, a suggestion we might be orchestrating another mass extinction on Earth. It’s on until the 30th September so there’s plenty of time to catch it. Not everyone is enamoured with the Turner Contemporary but Eric and I have enjoyed much diversity over the last year from My Bed by Tracy Emin through to a reclining Giraffe this morning. All has been art and the fact we still keep talking about it must be healthy.

Wednesday 4th

Monsoon strike in Happy Valley

As we bask in a Californian climate spare a thought for others around the world, where summer brings a different challenge. With temperatures in the low thirties Hong Kong is in monsoon territory, which is essential to the survival of an Island Community replenishing reservoirs but can bring it’s problems.  Happy Valley residents of this property have a serious clean up operation following a monsoon activated soil collapse demolishing a mature tree.

Where’s Charlie Dimmock when you need her?

Tuesday 3rd

Peter Firmin – 1928 – 2018

Sadly we learnt of the death of Peter Firmin at the weekend following a short illness. As an adult watching his and Oliver Posgates creations along with our three children I’m reminded how wonderful they were, particularly pre mobile screens. You will all have your favourites and I found it difficult to chose eventually settling for Bagpuss. Not for Emily’s saggy old cloth cat but Professor Yaffle, the know it all woodpecker and the mice with their Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ. Whatever your favourite was they all transported young and old alike to a magical world or in the case of the Clangers another world. Photos all taken from the exhibits in Canterbury’s Beaney Institute.

Monday 2nd


It’s not easy being a young Mum

When you have a young baby it’s a busy old time but when you’re with Mum and Nan you know they will dote on the little person, doing all those baby things giving you some respite. That is unless they are out doing a bit of retail therapy and you find they have both abandoned you. So as a Mum, what do you do? Get on and feed the baby in the doorway hoping they will eventually come out and take up some responsibility.

Sunday 1st

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

Can you identify this Kent Tower?


Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.

Answer to last weeks quiz

Originally the Elizabethan Tea Rooms (Guest Chamber), now Café Nero in the High Street Canterbury.


No winner or loser this week as there weren’t any entrants.

19 thoughts on “July 2018

  1. I think the Kent Tower, maybe the one at Sissinghurst. Also I really appreciated your beautiful photo of the ‘Current Mrs Smith’ with the roses.

    • Thank you for your kind comment Ruth. Thank you also for entering the Sunday Quiz, all will be revealed next Sunday.

    • Thanks Pam. Yes very hot, keep in the shade and leave all the work for another day. Two of you with the same mind with the quiz, all will be revealed next Sunday.

    • As far as I’m aware President Macron is intending to retain Paris and the Eiffel Tower after BREXIT. Boris on the other hand would lay in front of the bulldozers if the EU tried to steal this Kentish Tower?

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on friendship Colin, I knew they would be thought provoking and interesting. I’m so grateful that we reconnected after many years and a beautiful friendship was nurtured and blossomed. It’s a friendship with both the current Mr Smith and Mrs Smith, which I greatly value. Thank you!

    • Thanks for your kind comments Ruth. I thought it would be easy to put my thoughts down describing friendship, but it became quite difficult. Perhaps I thought too much about the subject?

  3. Believe your bird on the feeder might be a Great Tit. Blue Tits have a blue head and the Great Tit a black head – slightly larger bird. It did look a scruffy specimen perhaps an old one moulting or a young one still to get all its colour.

    • Hi Pam

      Thanks for your comment. Originally we thought the same but feel the beak is different but your theory over moult or being a junior makes sence.

  4. Colin, with the heat we’ve had you won’t be the only one with a ‘rustic’ garden. Had our first shower of rain for weeks, not that you would notice, and I still had to fill the bird baths for the birds. Horsham is supposed to be only 21 today and as it is cloudy I ventured in to the garden removing dead leaves etc. Not sure indoors has dropped to 21 but going in the right direction for me.

    • You’re not wrong Pam. My lawn looks as good as my neighbours when it’s covered in snow or as now a lack of water. lol

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