Wednesday, 28 December 2011


As we hit the middle of the seemingly never-ending Xmas/New years break, here's a thought I expressed to my wife, earlier today.

As is usual for us, over the holiday period, we haven't heard from ANYONE in several days. As I said to my wife:

" Now, I understand why people join clubs. If my bladder can last the length of the service, I might start attending church - JUST TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS ! "

It's a part of the human condition, I guess . We don't go out to work. Our daughter takes herself off to college and we are no-longer involved with other parents. Our own parents have all died. Many of our friends/workmates have died.

Our closest and most similarly-aged rellies, who lived in this town . .emigrated to Oz!

It's now 12 years since we moved half-way across the country. People gradually lose interest in, " Those jumped-up folks who moved away, somewheres. 'Thought the grass was greener etc, etc. TRAITORS! "

And, in a final irony, my wife's brother and family who used to live an hour & a half drive away ( part of our reason for moving here) . . have since moved half an hours drive from where we used to live!! . . .and their eldest boy ( one of our fave nephews) has recently married & moved to Toronto!! :s

Me . . join a club? Yep . . just post me the application forms.
Anything to the left of the K.K.K. . .and I'm your man ! =D

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Medical Matters

I went see my doctor today. In-between discussing my minor ailment, we covered:

1. Whether sharks or jellyfish are the biggest threat to Ozzie & South African swimmers Doc said: 'Hippos bite people in half and they're not even in the sea.
2. The fact that the French like steak raw and the S.Africans want it burnt to a cinder.
3. Annoying people. I mentioned some S.Africans and some female Asian doctors who'd annoyed me.

And this was only a ten-minute appointment! Ya gotta love Dorset ;]

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Cleaning Stew From The Ceiling

It happened like this:

It was about 4 p.m., already getting dark in post 'clock-turning-back' Britain. My wife was fussing about in the kitchen, cooking tea. I could hear her grumbling and cursing when she dropped stuff ( which is often).

All of a sudden, there was an almighty crash and much cursing. She'd done exactly what I did, about a year ago, when I scalded my hand. She'd taken the casserole out of the oven and put in on the gas hob - from whence it had slipped, distributing beef stew all over the floor and the cupboard fronts.

Luckily she didn't scald herself and the casserole dish didn't break. She's been in a funny mood for about a week, so i thought it best to herd her from the room & set about cleaning up.The first 'sweep' went fine . . just the gravy to mop up. I resolved to wash everything thoroughly and return to the stove. Beef stew is not to be wasted.

Having calmed down, my wife returned and helped with the cleaning. We thought we'd got everything ship-shape when we looked up and discovered that there was also stew all over the ceiling ! I went & got the steps and we soon had it sorted. Beef stew is still on the menu . . but we won't be telling our teenage daughter about some of the more unusual stages in its preparation.

So . . if someone were to ask - like a detective - exactly what I was doing on Oct 2nd at around 4p.m., I'd have no trouble at all with my alibi.

" Me, officer", I'd reply, " Why . . I was cleaning Stew from the ceiling, of course. "

Case closed ;]

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Five Go Mad In Morocco !

Between school & University (Nottingham, where I lasted just 3 weeks!), I flew to Bilbao, Spain, with another student of Spanish. We were planning to hitch-hike around the country for 6 weeks. My dad was SO mean that I had just £60 to last 6 weeks!! This meant that for long periods my food was just bread & tomato sauce!!

Luckily, we met up with a group of young Brits with a hired Ford Transit van, just south of Madrid, and they took us with them to Morocco for ten days for just £20 each, all-in. The fact that my 'vistors passport' wasn't actually valid for Morocco was easily overcome by some sleight of hand with the Moroccan border-guard. However, on the way back out, there was a cholera epidemic in the south and the Spanish wouldn't let us & 3 irish girls into the Spanish Protectorate of Ceuta (in Nth. Africa).

The van simply had to return to England - so we two, plus the aforementioned 3 girls and an extra guy, were all stranded in no-mans land for a week, after having been given cholera shots in the most unhygienic conditions possible. Needles were used and then left in a fly-ridden tray of water, which was boiled before the needles were used again. Long haired hippies were also being forced to have their heads shaved before they were allowed into Morocco. No particular reason - just a bit of fun for the border guards.

Talking of drugs, whilst stranded we met a young German who'd been give a Mercedes to drive back to Germany, in-return for the promise of much cash. Unfortunately, the clutch went and he drove it onto the beach. His documents (Including driving-licence photo) were for a girl! He knew there were drugs hidden in the car but didn't know where. He was about to enter Algeciras, in Spain , which is one of the toughest drug-search customs posts in the whole world! We gave him a wide berth, so as not to be incriminated by association.

If we were in the cafe in no-man's-land, and the Moroccan Chief of Police came in for his (free) lunch, we were advised to leave. The fact that he laid his loaded revolver on the table before commencing was probably warning enough, to be honest.

After seven days, on the stroke of midnight, it was deemed that the innoculations would have taken effect and we were allowed into Spanish Ceuta. From there we took the ferry across to Algeciras, on the Spanish mainland, before splitting into groups of two in order to hitch-hike back to the U.K.

My friend and I almost fell at the final hurdle when we foolishly set up our tent underneath an electricity pylon, opposite the airport in Bilbao, the night before our departure. When the security guard asked why we were not on a campsite, I said that it was because we had no money.

Big mistake!! I had forgotten that Franco's Spain had very tough vagrancy laws. Anyone found with less than the equivalent of GB£20 on them could be thrown into jail for vagrancy. Luckily, my pal had richer parents than my own and his promise that he would lend me some of his cash was sufficient for me to avoid jail.

We got home, safely, with chestnut-brown suntans and hair bleached blonde by the sun. I had lost at least a stone in weight, and the sun had had such a health-giving effect on me that I hardly felt the cold, at all, that winter.

How on-earth we survived all of these mad adventures . . unscathed . . and with so little planning . . . will forever remain a mystery and stand as an enduring example, perhaps, of what can be achieved with 'youth' and pure, unadulterated 'dumb-luck' on your side.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Riots & Respect For Politicians

I think our politicians lost youngsters' respect when they were seen to be 'looting' their own expenses system, a while back.

After all, is there really so much difference between a teenager looting a pair of trainers and a politician claiming rent for a property he actually owns, or claiming mortgage-interest for a property where none actually exists . .etc, etc, etc ? Theft is still theft, isn't it ?

Also . . the London Mayor, the P.M. , the deputy P.M. and the Chancellor . . . ALL on hol's at the same time & seemingly in no rush to return. What impression does that give of their interest in the affairs of the country and the safety of its citizens ?

A statement from outside No.10, early on, might have done much to reassure the nation and to dissuade the rioters. As it was, I fear that they took the Government's seeming indifference as a green light for them to continue their rampage, with horrific and entirely predictable consequences.

" With great power comes great responsibility ", said Voltaire, quoting the ancient Greek Philosopher, Socrates. It is a very old adage that our political masters would do well to remember. To hold high office in Government is more than just a 'job', and sometimes personal considerations have to take second place to the security of the country and the safety of its citizens.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

King Of Bullship

PERPETUAL MOTION MARINE PROPULSION (P.M.M.P.) is a novel invention whereby wind-energy is harnessed by the 'egg-whisk' rotor, mounted to the centre of a launch, and turned through ninety degrees (using a crown & pinion drive-system) to deliver rotational energy to a conventional propeller.

Once the vessel is moving, even in the absence of wind, the forward momentum of the launch provides sufficient energy to turn the rotor against the resistance of the air - thus delivering 'perpetual motion'.

In addition to this, the entire superstructure of the vessel is constructed from an innovative dual-skin technology. The outer surface contains photovoltaic cells, delivering electricity to charge thin, lithium-ion batteries which are contained within the inner skin. This stored energy is harnessed through ultra-efficient electric motors to provide extra thrust when at sea or for manoeuvering whilst in the marina.

The system was developed by Prof. James King, third Earl Of Snettisham and founder member of S.P.O.O.F. ( Scientists Providing Opportunities Of Fame) - a sort of T.V. talent show for nerdy inventors.


Professor King is a keen exponent of the traditional art of 'wood whittling' and it was whilst whittling that he had his revelation regarding the 'egg-whisk' drive. He says :

" Where others have gone wrong, is in their choice of materials. The first-choice material of 'metal' for gears is fraught with problems, especially as metals generally get softer as they get hotter. The gears in my 'egg-whisk' drive are made from organic olive-wood, a material which gets harder when heated. Additionally, I use only the finest virgin olive-oil as my lubricant. "

Such is Prof. King's love of whittling that he carries a personal supply of whittling wood with him at all times. He says:

" Wherever I am in the world, I always have wood when I awake in the morning "

We understand that, since giving this interview, prof King has sadly separated from his third wife, Sharon, due to 'Irreconcilable differences'.


Prof King is the third male heir to occupy the family seat of 'Bullship Hall', which is situated nr. Booton, Norfolk, U.K. The King family made their fortune during the early 20th Century, when they shipped huge amounts of corned beef (bully beef), from Argentina, to the troops in W.W.1 in Europe. It was this fortune which built the family home, and from this undertaking is derived its somewhat unusual name.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

I wrote a 'ten-minute lyric' & I like it :]

Sweet Tenderness © Stuart Fretwell 2011

It’s been a long time coming
As I’ve walked (down) this lonely road
It’s been a hard-times living
And I wish that I had known

How a hard man can crumble
When a sweet girl contemplates
How a proud man will deny her
And tell tales of those he hates

It’s been a long road, and a lonely way
To get to where I’m a’goin’
I still can’t believe the love you see
And I hope that I am showin ‘

Sweet Tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .

Sweet Tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .

It’s taken twenty years to get here
Took more to seal my fate
Didn’t know what it was, a-callin’ me
And I thought it was too late . . .

To change the mind of a ‘sickly’ child
And to mend a broken heart
Then I came across you
Now I know that it’s true . .
‘Cos you took my soul apart

Sweet Tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .

Sweet Tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .


What can a man believe-in,
When no-one else believes?
Where can a child place his trust
When they practise to deceive?

Oh, I don’t where the answers lie
Don’t know what’s the best . .
All I know’s I can’t live without
Your . . .Sweet tenderness

Sweet Tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .

Sweet Tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .


And now I feel the sweetest grace
Of a heart that’s laid to rest
Travellin’ was my one desire
But I never found the best

So. . .

I’ve hung-up my boots
And I’ve settled-down
And I know that I am blessed

I’ll live-out my life
Right here, with you . . .
Just to feel your tenderness

Sweet Tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .

Sweet tenderness . . . whoah-oh . .

( repeat, to taste, whilst slowly fading-out :] )

Monday, 23 May 2011

I wrote a new lyric

California Girl © Stuart Fretwell 2011

Soft morning light
Throws shapes through my windows
Perfume, like blossom, on the air

Blue cat is yawning
He knows that it’s morning
And, soon, he’ll hear your sweet voice from the stair

Your soft, golden curls
Remind me of an Angel’s
Your breathing, so soft,
You’re not aware . . .

That soon you’ll be waking
(Your) dreams all forsaken
And your eyes will have that
Special kind of blue

Like Venus, from a painting,
You’ll rise from ocean-dreaming
And nothing-quite prepares me,
When you do


You’re heaven-sent
You have a certain magic
And loving you’s a special kind of prayer

(But)~ Your love is lent
- You have no destination -
Like a bluebird, in a blossom-tree,
We’ll never know when you’ll be there


Oh, California girl
You blew-in with the autumn winds
And nothing I say will make you stay

When summer’s breeze starts blowin’
You’ll fly back to the ocean
But always, like a blessing,
You’ll be here, on my lips

You’ve filled me with your love
Like a gift from the Almighty,
But, darling, please believe me . .
I can’t ever let you go

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Grammar gripes . . .

I used to teach English to foreign students from all over the world.They knew FAR more about English grammar than most of my U.K. students. The foreign students would NEVER have said 'could of', whereas about 98% of my Brit students 'would of' (sic). Grr, indeed ! ;p

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Let The Children Preach ! -.-

I just worked out why I find testimony/faith in youngsters SO affecting/convincing.

It's because you don't HAVE to believe when you're young . . . but when you hear old preachers, you tend to think,
" Well . . .you've gotta believe, at your age. You prob's lived your whole life as sinners and, any day now, you're gonna meet your maker. You're just placing an 'each-way' bet, to be on the safe side ! "

From Peoples' New testament:
Matthew 18:3

Except ye be converted. The Revised Version translates, Except ye turn, which is correct. The Greek word strepho translated in the Common Version be converted is found in the New Testament in the active voice in every instance but one, and means to turn. It means something that the subject is to do, not something that is to be done for him.

Become as little children. Humble, teachable and free from selfish ambition, like little children.

Ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Instead of discussing who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, they had better inquire whether they were going to get in at all.

Amen to that :]