Compassion In World Farming, Things You need to Know and Confucius.

On Wednesday we had a forum in our house to discuss the work of CWF. We were privileged to have Philip Lymbery with us to talk about the message contained in the three hundred and sixty pages of his book Farmageddon. Every family should have this book, and it should be compulsory reading in schools. There were sixteen of us, and we all had a role not least the people who cooked and brought wonderful food. We also had Mable Cable the Mary Poppins of the Ginger Pig Butchers I bang on about. They produced some delicious food, all of which was gathered and reared to the high standards of animal and plant welfare we work for at CWF . Amongst us were valued supporters who make the work possible. There was a ubiquitous feel good factor about the whole occasion. Some of us plan to make a trip to Yorkshire to visit the Ginger Pig Farms and see how it can be done. Philip wrote this book with the help of a journalist called Isabel Oakshott. At the start of the project, which involved months of gruelling travel she was not truly convinced; but in the end she made the remark which sums it all up, she said “ Now I get it.” Confucius said that in the end man’s survival was about six inches of top soil and some rain. We need to watch our space whatever and wherever it is.

Lucie O’Donnell and How to Run A Life With Cancer .

Well of course I think she is wonderful, after all she is my daughter. The old Chinese Proverb tells us “If your children are no better that you are , you have lived in vain.” I call her Lucie, it’s special like her. She is of course Lucy to everyone else and if you want to know why she is so special , go to www.cancerismy Lucie, wife and mother of three, running a successful health food business was diagnosed with stage four metastasized breast cancer two and a half years ago. This was very bad news, as bad as it gets…. You may ask why such a late diagnosis, believe me there are many such cases where a woman is told not to worry it is just a local inflammation no wasted energy on the blame game for her, she moved on, her favourite phrase is “it is what it is” indeed that is so. This extraordinary woman has had the most invasive treatments, lost her hair, had operations galore and endured and survived with courage and fortitude. Around her life flourishes even though she knows this is a work in progress. Quite astonishingly, she has written a book called Cancer is My Teacher, it is not out yet but when it is published it will be a bible for all those people who will have to embark on the journey she travelled with such fortitude and acceptance. This is practical physical and emotional advice and much else. She is also a cancer life coach and if you want to know how to get to her click on her website. Fear is contagious and insidious I think her gifts as a life enhancer are all about the banishment of fear and it is this she concentrates on in her wonderful book.

You Forckuffy? Skinny is Bad for You, Phonie Foodies and The Beadle in The Kitchen.

OMG what has happened to peoples stomachs? Half the world is starving and the other half is stomach obsessed and wants to starve. The yummy mummies are going to be hypnotised now to get themselves off coffee, the nipote is earning his tuition fees by serving coffee to these morphic females. A typical order from one of these idiotic stick insects will go “Okaya a skinny flat white, with cinnamon shot, dry and very hot,”

This is a perfect profile of the average customer on these occasions except for the “hot” bit, I am told shagging these women is like boning an ironing board. My cleaning assistant has experience of the awful domestic arrangements of some of these specimens, they read all those frantic colour supplements full of food pictures but in reality they do not know ho0w to open an oven. What is it all for , I ask myself? Actually they can all Fucoffee. I like Elizabeth David, who taught me to cook when I was eighteen; bring on the dairy products, potatoes, and lots of chocolate.

My Girls (the spaniels) started kicking off yesterday, they told me to look out of the window. I did, and saw a frantic Beadle trapped in our newly landscaped garden. The Nipote was here and together we managed to chorale it into my neighbours garden. He is a very famous singer who hates dogs because one bit him in Atlanta Georgia from whence he comes. We got hold of the dogs identity disk and rang the number where he supposedly resides. After a lot of argie we were told the dog was in “Daycare” and not in my garden. …. This was a very irritating conversation and I will not bore you with it, but eventually the two owners suggested that I look after it until, they finished work ……I took the darn thing home, and it tried to mount both spaniels and destroyed the kitchen. Being very intelligent we managed to track down the “day care”. On our way there we were accused by a furious driver of stealing the dog as it dragged the Nipote through some railings…… mission eventually accomplished we got home and rang the owner to inform him of the happy outcome “Okaya , he is an intrepid fellow isn’t he?” he replied with a fake Sloane accent and put the receiver down, I bet he was an estate agent. This is all a mystery another one for coffee?????

Family Constellations Hellingers Approach, Werther and losing the Will to Live.

Opera in the cinema is a mixed blessing, to tell the truth last Saturday was the evening from hell. I mean really, as the delicious Jonas Kaufmann himself put it, most people would tell Werther, Masenet’s hero to “give us a break”. Actually I have seen practically every opera known to man many times over, but this one has cured me forever, the man ( Werther) needs treatment and medication. After three hours of moaning and ranting, there is slow death from self inflicted wounds, because he couldn’t get his leg over with the prissy heroine. Just when you think it’s over, he starts on  again. The one consolation was that Jonas Kaufmann is, literally drop dead gorgeous. As for the two ladies sitting next to me, they set out a four course meal on their laps and noisily consumed some sort of vile fish salad ,spaghetti Bolognese, trifle, sweets and biscuits rounded off with a Thermos of instant coffee smelling of fart, quite a lot of which they squirted on yours truly through  ill fitting dentures. The Gun would have come in very handy, well enough said. Except of course for the idiotic opera talk from the groupies who get opera on the cheap and eat repulsive food out of plastic trays as if they are on a flight to Lanzarotti  (however you spell it) while they watch but don’t really listen. I have thought about this; opera is not meant to be on the cheap, it is supposed to be a real live experience without other peoples sound effects.  To each his own, give me the ballet any day, but never in the cinema.

Werther or as the phonies say “Wertharrrrgh” accent on the last bit, needed a good session with Family Constellations. I wish I were twenty years younger, I would have understood so much more about breaking the destructive patterns in families, it may only take one person to do it. What I never realized was how voices from the past reflect in the subconscious DNA in the family dynamic, like sheep who inherit a knowledge of their grazing territory. One session brings many of these cycles out of the shadows. That is of course why early intervention when children are bereaved is so vital, before the cycle of guilt and blame takes a pernicious grip.

There is something about some opera lovers, take for example the Sainted One, who by and large does not express any emotions except about sport on the TV, he cannot empathize with real things like “The Life of Jayne,” spelt with a Y of course. She is the beautiful black and white dove who feeds in our garden, and has been here for three years or more. Jayne has taken to mixing with very low class pigeons. She brings three of these birds home for dinner, and I am in a state of near nervous breakdown, because I think she is in a serious relationship with one of them, he is an ugly brute with no table manners, she could do so much better for herself. The SO will not talk about this, or offer any helpful suggestions, except for the nasty mention of a gun the other day. I tell you he obviously doesn’t  cry, politicians don’t, except for George Osborn who blubbed theatrically at Margaret Thatchers Funeral, because he was apparently thinking about his nan it was a sickening vision. Well the S.O. weeps in opera’s, he did while the idiotic “Wertharrrgh” blew his innards out. This is rather creepy and I try to pretend we are not together,  but then, I do know there have been some very deranged men who wept like babies to Wagner and suchlike and then did some really horrible things. I have talked to Jayne about all this, watch this space.

Mandela’s Wall, Kitchens are Where The Heart Is, and Caught With Your Pants Down.

Mandela’s Wall, namely the magnificent rebuilding of the garden wall shared with our brave uncomplaining and very poorly neighbour was finished last week. It was truly a labour of love, as was the life of its namesake. It was completed by two heroic men in the face of atrocious weather and many other adverse conditions, but they stuck it out and there it is and it will stand any future hurricanes like the one that blew it down. We found this little bronze Buda in the foundations of the original and it is to him that we offer many prayers to “Diana, truly the goddess of love.

Below you will see a picture of my divine cleaning assistant flanked by her husband and their assistant. They opened a kitchen shop in Tooting, it is wonderful, so if you need a new kitchen go up on all the marble is sourced in India hence the flavour of the photo. Really I felt quite embarrassed by our own recent improvements of which we are inordinately proud on our return. The new open shelving looked very last year.

The day after this opening I went to see my daughter and needed to (what is known in my generation) spend a penny urgently. Rushing to the small room I sank onto the seat with a sigh of relief. This nice feeling was instantly ruined by a sensation that my bladder must have developed a terrible kind of fissure as I was sitting in a pool of warm liquid most of which had gone on the floor and my rather nice new trousers. Leaping to my feet I find that one of my grandsons had put cling film all over the bowl. The worst thing about it was that the whole family were complicit in this as they had realized what he had done the previous day, and deliberately avoided using that loo to spite him. Of course they all looked a bit sheepish, and as for him he looked like the cat that got the cream. But he should watch his back it’s not over yet, not by any means