Deer Park Cafe

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 24 July 2017

Now the thing about a blog is that it's personal, owned by you. Written by you, for you and for whoever wants to be associated with you.

I've been blogging for about ten or so years, and I'm still none the wiser in how to make more people see what I write. I'm in and out of love with social media, loving what it did for the General Election, but hating it's very presence in our lives.

My silver serfing is confined to buying supplements, eco sponges and industrial sized bags of quinoa......

Today however I use this space as a blatant plug for THE DEER PARK CAFE in Eridge. Not the Deer Park Cafe that comes up first in the listings. That one is in South Africa. This DEER PARK CAFE is situated off the A26. Turn left past my daughter's old nursery school.

Eridge Village Hall hosts 'Little Acorns'. The hall is a wooden floored one room space. It has a small stage at the end and doors leading out into the countryside. A green garden that the children, and parents, can picnic in. But the hall also doubles as our local Polling Station.

The 'oosbind and I have voted there since 1984. Two tellers sit at a tressle table, tick our names off the electoral role, point us to the ballot box in the middle of the hall, and then wave us goodbye. We are the only two people in the area that do not vote Ukip or Conservative. What we do vote stays between us and the ballot box......Which is good since the cravat wearing, stick wielding locals would be hunting like they do the foxes.

Anyway you drive past the village hall, and continue on a windy windy road until you see the sign, on the right, for THE DEER PARK CAFE.

The caff is but one big barn, tables on the inside, and five or six tables on the outside, set in grass land. Fields, a dog walk. Dogs accompany families. Babies accompany parents. Children accompany each other. It used to be a camping place.

Before that the rooms were run by a woman who worked for the RCA. She displayed student photographs and hung pretty table cloths on each little table. My daughter got a job there, lasted one day. It was just a little too organised and twee for my anarchic muso kid.

The Barn is now owned by Joe. His brother Ben works there too. There's K an Indian chef, Jane, the mother, who hoes, bakes and sweeps and the big daddy who levels up the hanging paintings.

Jane felt a connection to the place when it was up for grabs. She told us the story of the little red lady birds that appeared as a sign of good luck. Which they are. Little lady bugs, from the Chinese to the Sioux, symbolise love, luck and good fortune.

Jim and I wandered in a few weeks ago. It was like we had entered a secret place. Lots of people with enough distance between us to feel alone. The sun shone, the grass grew and Joe brought us THE BEST scrambled eggs this side of Bill Grainger, coffee made to perfection. The second visit the dawter and I had lunch. A sizeable salad, and service with a smile.

On Saturday I had a BLT. We had just come from the hospital where the old git had to have a CT scan to appease the doctors. The BLT was by way of comfortable compensation for spending a Saturday morning in the XRay department of Pembury hospital.

I asked for brown bread, which was cut thick. Doorstep sized chunks of delicious, chewy brown bread. The bacon crispy, the tomatoes and lettuce fresh, all accompanied by Jane telling us the story of the lady bugs.

I'm writing about the DPC because I want everybody in the world to visit, and make it successful. I want everybody to support an independent project that is run by brothers. helped out by the parents. Home made cakes, home made scones, smiles and chatter.

An eatery describes an area. What Joe and his fam have done is create an environment that defines conviviality. That smacks of old school hospitality. That speaks of communication and optimism. I don't know quite why it has touched me, maybe because it is but five minutes down the road. But I think it's because from the get-go - an awful Americanism - it felt like it had always been there. In the middle of the East Sussex countryside.

Simple, clean, ridiculously reasonable and the perfect spot for tea and cake. For chat and coffee. For soup and snivels. For writing and hot chocolate. If you live near GO visit immediately, if you Iive far, book a B&B and spend sometime there. Whatever lets give Joe a huge round of applause for coming up with a venue that is delightful enough for even the muso dawter from Hackney to enjoy.

I shall take friends, family and myself there. They will be laying on summer BBQ's. There will be music. There will autumnal teas, but mostly they will just be there.

THE DEER PARK CAFE

SHAM FARM ROAD

ERIDGE GREEN

ERIDGE

EAST SUSSEX

TN3 9JB

They even have my initials as a post code. What more could an egocentric blogger ask for.

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Auntie Beeb

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 20 July 2017

So now we are witnessing the outing of well paid BBC players.

Outed by politicians who own companies worth millions, outed by dispassionate hard hearts who have always bleated on about the BBC being biased. Outed by a government that has as much decency as an evangelical pastor who has been outed by a self-serving evangelical pastor. Outed because its a super duper smoke screen to cover their facile Brexiteering. Outing so that our minds are turned away from the decimation of our society before our very eyes.

The hypocrisy that is surging around us makes it hard to know who is right. Who is culpable. And we, like meek lambs, stand by and watch as our democracy is skewered from the inside out.

As long as a society is polarised with the rich getting more and the poor getting battered, as long as a civilised society sees success as money and money as success, as long as millions are neglected whilst the minority climb into bed with Lucifer, we will have strife.

And there's nothing poetic about living a life on the bread line. Hand to mouth. There is nothing character building about doing three jobs and still not having enough left over to buy a rail ticket to clean air.

And there's nothing as humiliating as a selfish, entitled group of parasites outing another group of people who have quietly gone about their business in becoming successful. They cant have it both ways. Either everybody is equal, or nobody is. Either we're all important or none of us are.

The BBC has been exposed, and I wonder why, all of a sudden our PBS broadcasting company is being singled out for a lashing. What about Therea's May's husband, a senior executive at a $1.4tn investment fund that profits from tax avoidance companies. What about him?

And what about Blair buying up property like a property tycoon?

And what about Jeremy Hunt who is secretly selling off our NHS, with a smug smile?

And what about Grenfell Tower?

And what about our schools. And what about and what about and what about......

I don't need to go on, my fury gives me hiccups. My sadness at the shenanigans of the weak power brokers who are hiding in plain sight gives me acid reflux. And we do nothing, because as yet we don't know what to do.

Meditate?

Rebel?

Pray?

Join hands?

Believe?

Read?

Wait for new leaders?

What is to be done when the young are ill fitted and the old are bent double?

Where to turn whilst our taxes, paid for in blood sweet and tears, are being squandered on illegitimate causes. Where the news is bleak and the puny powerful skip all the way to the bank.

Life is short. One day you're counting baked worms on the asphalt as the summer drifts into a misty autumn. The next moment you are lying with them. None of us get out of this alive. I don't care if there is life on another planet, I don't care if there is AI and UFO's I care that the life we're all living now is healthy and generous. We laugh at the concept of LOVE, but what else is there.

We cannot let the bastards grind us down, and yet they are. They have the upper hand, as long as we're divided the inefficient, deluded wielders of power win.

Protests, courage, truth, transparency, honesty, compassion, seemingly comes from the have nots whilst the weapon makers laugh all the way to their bunkers.

Declaring that Chris gets a lot and Emily doesn't, outing Gary, spurning Tessa, gloating Vanessa, all of it is irrelevant, as long as 'The Daily Wail' print cover stories like this we take our eye off the ball. For isn't that what they want?

We must claw back our decency, get outraged, make noise. We must call out the self serving, we must search for the truth. THE truth, not their truth, my truth but THE truth. We must acknowledge that, little by little, our silly little lives are being shafted.

I love life, with it's dark days and bad. Life, with it's up days and lilac. Clinging on to hope and sense, seeking out optimism, rejecting cynicism, believing in aspiration, embracing the dream. Recognising that we are being manipulated is the first step into changing. For change we must. To quote Barack Obama:

'Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.'

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Coccyx sucker

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 12 July 2017

It's raining.

The kale, broccoli, cauliflower and runner beans are loving it.

The raspberries are shrivelled and the strawberries have a little life left.

I am, officially, theeee most boring woman in the world.

I've been doing my yoga, and walking. I've been doing my hoeing and mowing. I've been mediating and chilling and then BOOM. Out of the blue I had a twinge.

Nothing major just a funny old twinge in the right lower back.

The twinge twanged more. The pain increased. So I went to my cranial osteopath.

I had sprained the sacroiliac.

When I was twelve, I was at a girls school in Bushey. Lots of money, and then me. My father kept wadges of dosh in his back pocket, flicking through the notes when he need to buy his pack of twenty 'Senior Service'.

The school uniform was exclusive to Harrods. We had never been to Harrods. The sales assistants had never seen anything like the wide boy, market trader who swaggered through the underwear department. Bespoke suit courtesy of Moisha Spiel, his curly headed wife and me. He flashed the cash and bought me indoor shoes, outdoor shoes, a blue summer dress, a brown mac, brown beret and brown knickers, the paraphernalia that independent school girls required.

I arrived at the school, the new girl. Music bursary and East End manners. Miss Foulger, my piano teacher loved me. I loved her. She gave me her musical dictionary which still sits next to the top notes on my boudoir piano in the cottage. Miss Eddington and Miss Upcott loathed me. They thought I was coarse, crass and classless, which of course I was.

In the parquet floored hall we took lunch. Danced eurythmics and attended choir practice. Charlotte Rampling sung in the choir, punching the air with her fist in time to the music. A girl standing behind, me thought it a spiffing joke, to pull the chair away when we were asked to sit. I crashed to the ground.

Taken to the hospital, the doctor pulled on his Marigolds and proceeded too investigate my anal passage. ( I've often wondered, whether that rectal exploration was at all necessary.) Lying on my side I vowed I would never resort to latex gloves in later life.

The diagnosis was a bruised sacroiliac. That practical joker from the lower fifth, probably living in a timber framed house somewhere in Hertfordshire with children of her own, will be ignorant of the grief she caused me. The trauma of that fall has stayed with me since 1962.

So the simple task of hoeing my roses and plucking out the weeds, resulted in the 55 year trauma resurfacing, a literal pain in the butt.

For two weeks I have been ice-packing, pain killing, rearranging my sitting patterns and adopting a whole range of inappropriate postures. I'm walking around like a Chinese farmer with a stack of bamboo on her back. I sleep on the settee and bemoan the fact that, although I am flexible and able, my creaking frame is a reminder that things ain't wot they used to be.

Yesterday I sat on two bean bags and watched Johanna Kontor serve her way to victory. It took me three ball changes to get myself off the floor. I am in constant eye contact with the cat, who shares the bean bags with me.

I'm now sitting in the kitchen, the garden resplendent with rain drops and I'm sporting two ice packs, a coating of pain killers, and two hot water bottles under my feet.

I am reliably informed that it could take six weeks to fully recover, in the mean time I shall think about fashioning a voodoo doll of the fifth former, and then stick pins in her coccyx. See how she likes it.

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Check

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 26 June 2017

I'm sorry about my absence but I can't be the only one who is confused, dazed, horrified, upset, appalled, angry and exhausted, by the chaos that is surrounding us. We all have our opinions, we all think we know what should be done, we all know who we want in and out and out and in. We all point our fingers and cowl under the pressure of thinking we're right, they're wrong. We know better, they know nothing.

Yet still the grass pushes its way up through the concrete.

Broadcasters scatter the news, 24 hours of relentless horror. 24 hours of wall to wall coverage of the splintering of people lives. Congratulating themselves on who can get closest to the bullets. Turn away if the pictures upset you. This report may contain language, images, philosophies that may upset you.

Yet despite the carnage, purple clover manages to spring up through the cracks.

There are those that say endings have to be brutal, that transformation is always difficult, that the old makes way for the new, that it takes innocent Martyrs to shed light into the murky corners. But with loss comes pain, unnecessary suffering, the emptiness of grief. We watch and cry, paralysed this side of the screen.

And yet the world spins round regardless.

Powerless in the face of cynical reportage. Who to believe?

Frustrated in the face of self serving politicians. Who to believe?

I weed the beans, pick the raspberries, water the flowers, walk bare foot in the grass, thinking that I can't be the only one who is dazed and confused.

Thankfully there are those out on the street doing, helping, caring, being. Whilst the elected still waffle and obstruct. Blame and deflect.

Who to believe?

When a country polarises it cannot pull together. When a country is riven with hate and anger, ignorance and intolerance, then the vulnerable suffer.

We await clarity.

We await calamity.

We fear the loss of free speech and democracy, we lament the loss of community and reason.

But, no matter what, the buttercups break through the bleakness. Shining their yellow faces to the sun.

The only constant is change, and change we must.

Tell me I can't be the only one who is exhausted by the chaos surrounding us.

Primary schools are introducing chess. Instead of signing up for computer club hundreds of children are signing up to play chess.

In the quiet they think. They interact. They engage.

Conviviality and co-operation, silent connection.

Check mate - here's to the future.

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Calamity Jen

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 7 June 2017

My little red car had to be collected so that it could face it's MOT.

I only remembered at 7.00 o'clock this morning. I had to have a replacement car as I had to get into town for a voice over. The 11.39 train was my chosen chariot. I stumbled into the bathroom and called G, our very efficient, well intentioned, motor mechanic.

'I'll be there in ten' he said. As bright as a button.

I dressed quickly putting my fleecy blue starred trousers on backwards, and my t-shirt on inside out. Made my way to the garage, stepping over leaves, twigs and broken branches from the latest June downpour.

Drove the car to the end of the drive and there was G, standing at the bottom of the slope, dangling the key for his courtesy car.

I walked back to the cottage, locked the door behind me, stepped out of my trousers and crawled back into bed with the actor who was snoring like a contented alligator.

I set the arm for 10.00, but woke earlier. Had a leisurely shower, applied me lippy, piled up 4.80p's worth of coins for the car park, the morning sun shining lemony through the kitchen window.

I went to my drawer to take out my wallet with my Senior rail card, Oyster card, bus pass, bank card, riffled through the joss sticks, cheque books, and receipts. It wasn't there.

A moment to recollect where and what I had done yesterday, the slow dawning of reality hit me. I had left my cards in my little red car. I put my phone on charge, grabbed the courtesy car keys, shouted out to the snoozing thespian, slid over the leaves to the car and drove like the clappers to the MOT garage.

Nellie the Rut was sitting outside the workshop, her door slightly ajar. Bloody god job I turned up otherwise her juice would have spilled out. Grabbed my cards, sprang back into the courtesy car and turned on the ignition.

Nothing.

Closed the door and tried again. Nothing.

Turned the ignition off, on, checked the lights, wiped the beads of sweat off my forehead. NOTHING.

Ran into the garage and the MOT man came and tried. Starter motor, battery, whatever it was the courtesy car was kaput. Dead as a Dodo. I had no phone, the the was taking away. The 11.39 was still within my grasp but....

I borrowed the garages phone since my mobile was charging on the glasses cabinet in the piano room. I called the old git.

'1p98723gkjsdv*$@ 9997avfpew8h' I said in perfect Anglo Saxon.

I knew he would be longer than shorter since this morning of all mornings, there were three sets of traffic lights outside our road. Four hundred men in yellow jackets were digging up 4 inches of earth.

Jim arrived. We had enough time to go back home, collect my phone and then drive to the station.

The 11.39 was 2 minutes late.

I meditated to Charing Cross, then walked swiftly to Great Tichfield Street.

On Regents Street I asked a post woman if she could point me to Great Tichfield Street.

'Yes I can Jeni, ' she said.
'Tich is down to Top Shop, walk towards Tottenham Court Road, it's second on your left.'

It's a good job I was on my best behaviour. I arrived on the dot of 1.00.

Sat down with three other artistes and we did our stuff. 90 minutes later I was back on the 3.00 o'clock train. Tried to do the Evening Standard crossword but have issues with George Osbornes editing.

Arrived in time for the 16.02 bus, full of noisy schools children and ancient travellers. Saw the old git drive past the bus, got off outside the pub, walked up the hill. Tickled the house key from its hiding place, fed the cat and celebrated my legal car.

Drove to the shop bought green veg and grapefruit juice, home to rustle up a stir-fry and settled down for supper in front of the box.

It's now 23.48, the 'oosbind is nearly home. The duck legs are sizzling in the oven, the stir fry replenished with greenery for him. Jazz FM is on, and my head is nodding....

Tomorrow we vote for our future. I'v got my polling card ready, and not a clue who will win. Perhaps the angels of mercy will be fluttering around, and whoever gets in will have our best interests at heart.

Out polling station is in the middle of green fields. An old church hall where my dawter used to go to nursery school. It has been home to the ballot box for years and years. If only walls could talk eh?

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Wet Rain

Posted by Jeni in | 18 May 2017

Rain is pitter pattering on the sky light.

Emmy, in disgrace, is sitting on the armchair, having crunched her way through something.

I got out of the bean bag and saw a dead, bloody corpse.

Took my glasses off, put on yellow rubber gloves. Scraped the remains into a very big plastic bin bag and dumped it in the dust bin.

The bloody stain made me feel sick. All that bloody murdering on the telly is dealable with - tomato sauce makeup - but in real life. Yukkety yukkety yuck

One of the tree surgeons brought back the tray of empty mugs. For the past two days I've been giving them tea and biscuits. Four mugs with milk. Today there were five. Very nice young gents. Only to discover that the gaffer had tried to talk the neighbour out of it but couldn't make his point so an Oak Tree over 200 years old has been lopped and sawed, damaged and humiliated so that there is more light in their house. Our new neighbours are sweet, young people. But they have broken my heart, not to mention the tree.

Climbed into my little red car and drove to Tunbridge Wells Crematorium. The rain lashing down. A cliche. Parked by the chapel, then climbed back in to go to the crematorium. Lots and lots of people for a dear man who had touched our hearts.

Not much black garb, mostly normal colours. One poem and tears. 'Starry Starry Night' played as the coffin rolled in. Our man had jumped off Beachy Head so we had to leave out verse five of 'Amazing grace'. Speculation as to his motives abound. The favoured one is that he had lost his sight and could not come to terms with going blind. Tragic.

Everybody has a suicide story, it's not the kind of dinner party conversation I like. We adjourned to a pub where his baker son had made cookies and slabs of chewy cake.

It was a gentle affair. People who hadn't seen each other for years sat with coffee and G&T's to talk about him and honour his generosity and hidden kindness. I met a five week old baby, the daughter of an ex pupil of mine. She from a family of thespians who are all doing their stuff, including her. She's off to New York with her Olivier nominated performance. The nipper in tow.

As one goes out the door another one comes in.

The rain fell heavy on my car's roof. I got home in time for the news. But to tell you the truth the political arena stinks. Self serving politicians clawing their way up the greasy pole. And yet we must vote, we must be responsible. What with the Trumpeter from the Orange Lagoon, lying his way into the history books, I'll be glad when it' all over.

Emmy is sitting on the armchair without a care in the world. Cheeky puss....

Theres a lot been happening, health returning, new opportunities sprouting. The old man is in Richard the Third at the Arcola. The dawter is ready to launch her video and release her first EP, move into a Hackney warehouse and invite us round for quinoa. I'm writing when I'm not planting cauliflowers, courgettes, cucumbers and garlic.

This wet rain is very welcome. The smell of the earth, the plants drinking it up. And Emmy curls up on the armchair leaving a bird or mouse family parentless. If she were a dog I could call her a bitch, but she's an old cat who thought she was being kindly bringing me in an offering....

I was given a bunch of freesias on Sunday. They've all opened up. Smelling them makes my mouth water. Take that Emmy, next time bring me flowers.

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democracy

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 26 April 2017

Poppy Pee Wee and Fred, I dare to blast my blog with my own political views because its my blog.

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June 8th.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 18 April 2017

Ive got the fear of the Devil, that if there is a snap election, the Tories will get in with a bigger mandate than before and we will see yet more dismantling of everything.

Schools will be taking lessons, in poly tunnels, in the fields of mouldy strawberries, as all the busy migrant workers have gone and the only people available to pick that soggy fruit are Brexiteers who haven't got their hands dirty since the Profumo affair.

Unless, of course, you are able to afford to send your entitled children to expensive tutors that will cram their heads full of economical facts and figures so they can enter the hallowed halls of the 164 - and soon to be more - grammar schools whose ethos is still clinging onto mortar boards and league tables.

Hospitals will be performing operations in the bowels of dwindling sick houses, unless, of course, you are able to afford private heath care that will only pay up when you are facing a double leg amputation and a tonsillectomy, and even then beware of any complimentary treatment because the rules don't allow for any kind of holistic approach. Even cemeteries are getting overcrowded as people are dying to get in.

Maternity units will be closed down, as untended gooseberry bushes and ancient storks will be hired to do the job whilst Russian landlords build luxury condos on the rubble of torn down community hospitals. Wealthy foreign nationals will purchase our assets. NOT your Syrian or Bulgarian kind of Johnny Foreigner mind you, only your friendly Oligarchs who make their money from selling arms to those nasty little Muslim countries, Sunni or not it's still a load of old Shiaite.

Roads will be tolled, trains will be appropriated, high streets will be closed, The Cotswolds will flourish, S.E.London will be sold to the highest bidder, East London will sink into the pockets of Hipsters, North London will fall under the pressure of intellectuals who know how to discuss the pros and cons of dialectical materialism but don't know the price of a tomato, or how to woo the masses. West London will become a new runway and Central London will become a car park for non-tax-paying-multi- millionaire-oil-tycoons, whose 350.000 Ferraris could buy three semi detached houses in South Shields to house the homeless. Not to mention the buy-to-leave Chinese owned penthouses standing empty whilst their doorways have become domiciles for the abandoned, which overlook rusty bus-stops where our humble Route Master bus will soon charge by the inch and only the wealthiest of citizens will be able to travel.

The old will wither, the young will decay, the carers will crumble, the volunteers will vanish, the mad will wander, the ill will languish, the poor will eat offal and celebrity magazines will publish photographs of women with implanted bum cheeks and vacuous Royal weddings that will leave the Patriotic slurping their hot, weak tea out of their Taiwanese tea cups.

There is an alternative but it's too damn simple. There is no profit in being nice to each other, there is no return on getting old, there is no pay out to be had in extending love to all humanity. There is no capital to be made out of kindness and generosity. There is no bang for a buck unless you are a wheeler dealer, money obsessed fiscal banker, with the eye on the short term and not a care for the world as you star in reality programs made on Islands owned by money obsessed fiscal wankers, whilst sipping champers out of privately owned troughs.

There is an alternative to fake news and climate change deniers. There is an alternative to selfishness, there is an alternative to treating senior citizens as if we are dribbling twits. There is always an alternative, to a world that is tipping on its axis, There is an alternative to spending money on Sarin gas as opposed to saving the Coral; there is an alternative to war war, there is an alternative to ignorant men who think they know it all. There is an alternative to a British Broadcasting Company that feeds its audience, on Home Counties rhetoric whilst pulling close its nets on genuine debate. There is an alternative to wicked thinking. There is an alternative to Political Correctness. There is such a thing as uncorrupt democracy. There is humour and truth, fairness and objectivity. There is fun and compassion, love and forgiveness, which we must tease out and stand by and we must remember that individually we are one drop together we are an ocean

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