Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Fame at last!

I've been beavering away at my keyboard recently, and all this industry has been rewarded. Googling my pen name, Dee Huff, brings up two results with articles I've written. How gratifying!

I went into Milton Keynes today, and the drive in was quite beautiful. The whole place is showing off it's autumn colours and it's truly spectacular. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera with me, so I couldn't take a picture. All those H and V roads that Lenny Henry was complaining about are abundantly framed by varying shades of red, brown, green and yellow, and there's even some silver thrown in for good measure. It takes your breath away!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Craft Show

Yesterday I went to a craft show in Great Missenden. I'd spotted signs up around the place advertising that it would be held this weekend, so I packed my wallet and camera and went there.

I'm used to craft shows being pretty frantic places, but in fact this was busy but not crowded. It consisted of some outside stalls and then a series of large tents set out in a U shape with stalls on either side, so you started at one end of the U and finished at the other.

There were some really nice crafts on display, and it was great walking around looking at them and occasionally buying something that caught my fancy.

I can't think why it wasn't crowded. It was a pleasant semi-sunny day, and it was Saturday. Perhaps it's the credit squeeze having an affect on people's spending, or maybe it's just that odd time of year when summer is over and the Christmas shopping season hasn't quite started yet.

I didn't take any pictures. I was too busy looking around, and by the time I remembered I'd have had to start all over again from the beginning, and it was time to go home, so I didn't.

But on my way home I had to stop at a supermarket for some milk, and the carpark was packed, so I had to park in the furthest spot.

This is what I saw from my car.

I could empathise with that!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Ladies Who Lunch

Today I met a friend for lunch at The White Horse Inn in Duns Tew in Oxfordshire. It's a really nice pub in a lovely village, and my friend had a voucher from The Daily Telegraph for a special deal of two two-course meals for £10 with a glass of bordeaux wine included.

Luckily for us it was a warm and sunny day, so we were able to sit outside. The staff were friendly and helpful, and the menu gave us a choice of four dishes for each course. The food was delicious and the portions were generous. We pushed the boat out a bit though, because we topped it all with puddings and coffee and tea, which the pushed up the total cost of the meal. But it was worth it.

We had a look around Duns Tew, and went into the church on the principle that this is usually where you can find out about the village you're in. Sure enough, there was information inside, including a framed copy of the village's entry in the Doomsday Book.

You can check it out at:

A Daily Walk in the Woods

Each day this week, I've taken my daughter's dog for a nice long walk in the woods. My daughter started a new job in London and hasn't been able to get home before dark, so even though she takes him out when she gets back, they aren't able to wander over fields etc.

Yesterday I took my camera with me, thinking that it would be nice to put one or two pictures of the wood on the blog. It was a lovely sunny day, and so there's dappled light shining through the gaps.

I've actually enjoyed these walks, and they're good exercise too, and wake me up after I've sunk into my post-lunch lethargy.

Today, however, was different. Today I went out for lunch with a friend (see my next post titled 'Ladies Who Lunch' and when I came home the dog was raring to go for a walk. To get to the woods we use a public footpath which starts with a flight of steps cut into the bank at the side of the road, then goes along a narrow overgrown path (stinging nettle country - ouch) and over a stile into a field. There are a total of five fields, five stiles and one gate to cross, and on the second to last one were some big cows. The dog managed to irritate the cows and we had to beat a retreat, so we ended up doubling back and never made it to the woods today.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Carbon Emissions Taxes

I skimmed quickly through the text of David Cameron's speech at the Conservative Party Conference (, looking for references to taxes on airlines for carbon emissions, and what use these funds would be put to, but the references were vague . In an interview recently, however, he did say that these sorts of taxes would be used by the Conservatives to help reduce Income Tax, or words to that effect.

For months I've been hoping to hear one party or another tackle public transport. In his speech yesterday Mr. Cameron touched on the sad state of our railways, but then went on to talk about improving the road infrastructure. It seems logical to me that if you want to reduce carbon emissions it isn't enough to tax car drivers and airlines, because despite all the recent taxes, and the high cost of petrol, it's often still quicker and cheaper, if two or more people are travelling together, to drive rather than take the train. You're also assured of a seat, something you can't guarantee if you take a train.

I recently stopped in a motorway service area on the M1. The cafeteria had at least 4 groups of men in suits doing business. It was lunchtime, and they all had meals in front of them and laptops to the side or on their laps. Were some on their way to a conference, sharing transport and stopping for lunch and a quick confab? Were some using the service area as a halfway meeting point? Why weren't they letting the train take the strain?

If they had taken the train they could possibly have spent the whole journey preparing for whatever the purpose of their journey was. However, the only way they could guarantee seats at all would be to book them in advance, and the only way they could guarantee seats together would be to book them together in one transaction. And the cost of the journey would increase if they travelled during peak times, as it probably would if they were travelling on business. It would also multiply by the number of people travelling. By car the cost is pretty much the same regardless of time of day or numbers travelling, and of course the journey is door to door.

So why don't the political parties talk about making funds from carbon offsetting available for improving public transport? If public transport was cheaper, better managed, and a pleasanter experience, then perhaps people might feel more inclined to use it. It's also something that everyone would benefit from.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Yesterday I went for my second Pilates class. They're held once a week in the nearest town, which is just two miles away. I'm not sure how fit you can get doing one class a week, but presumably I should get to the stage where I'll memorise the exercises and should be able to do them on my own at home between classes.

So far, I've really enjoyed it. There are about 15 people in the class, ranging in age between the twenties and the seventies, and only one man. The exercises are gentle and as easy as each individual needs them to be. Soft meditation-type music plays in the background, and the whole aura of the place is one of calm industry. The teacher leads and we follow. The session ends with a nice stretch and a period of relaxation and meditation.

I did a bit better in the first class than I did yesterday, mainly because of my sore arm and scratches and bruises after my dip in the stream.

Speaking of which I took the dog out on the same walk yesterday, and he definitely got quite excited when we were crossing the bridge over the stream, and tried to pull me down the footpath to the bank. Obviously remembering what fun he had last time he was there! But once bitten, twice shy, I stayed on the road and managed to complete the walk without incident.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Lenny Henry

I went to see Lenny Henry at Milton Keynes Theatre last night. He was, as usual, very very funny, and his show made clever use of a background projection screen, the front row of the audience and the road grid system in Milton Keynes (I could have told him a thing or two about that).

But my seat was too far back for me to see his facial expressions, and that, coupled with an amplification system that had just a touch of the Railway station PA systems about it, sometimes made it quite difficult to understand what he was saying. Oh, and not forgetting the couple sitting in the row behind who laughed long and loud at every word that Lenny Henry uttered, whether or not he'd actually reached the punchline. I'd love to know what they were on.

I think I'd have enjoyed it more if we'd been one floor lower, and maybe slightly further forward. But not anywhere near the front row, since then there would be the danger of becoming a part of the show, although at times he did manage to involve the whole of the audience.

I am glad I went though. He is a legend, and I've wanted to see him live for ages, so that's one less thing to do before I die.

I hope he brings this show to the small screen, though, so that I can catch up on the facial expressions and soundtrack I might have missed. I've become used to having Sky Plus, and when I miss a joke I just rewind. I'd have loved to do that a couple of times yesterday.

Overall: a brilliant show, but I was too far away to get 100% out of it.