Posted by: griseldahaveschott | July 29, 2008

Rugger, roses and rubbers

Dear Griselda,

You seem like a sensible sort of girl, a good sort a man could get along with – a girl with common sense. So perhaps you could explain my lady love’s recent moods.

I just don’t understand her any more. Only the other day, for instance, she went into a sulk forever because I hadn’t noticed her change in hair style. All right, it used to be waist length and brunette and now it’s cropped and a golden colour but still … how is a busy man supposed to notice these things?

Lately she keeps asking me what colour her eyes are – well, how should I know that? I hardly stare at them, do I? Even last weekend, she went beserk when she found that the Aber Rugger Club’s annual do was players and officials only and she’d gone and spent £500 on some dressy thing which hit the wallet pretty badly, I can tell you.

It took ages calming her down and I missed the sports results on the Beeb, damn it.

Everything came to a head yesterday when she asked me if I loved her and I said she was a part of me, almost part of the furniture, in fact. For some reason I had a chair thrown at me for that and it just missed poking my eye out.

I really don’t want to make a mistake now her birthday’s coming up sometime (she keeps dropping hints) and I’m at a loss what to buy. I thought maybe some Aber Rugger Club earmuffs might go well with her new evening dressy thing.

What do you think, Griselda? I’m at my wits’ end. If you can sort this one out for me, there’s a pint of Brains coming your way.

Dai Llewellyn-Jones

Well, Dai

I think I too would have been a little put out to be compared to furniture and you were probably quite lucky it was only a chair. My best advice is to watch this video below and by the way, mine is a Pimms N1, boyo.


Dear Griselda

I’d prefer to keep my identity to myself if you don’t mind but the thing is, it’s all so tedious.

Well, I suppose I should start at the beginning, yes. It’s all well and fine, you know, his ex-wife moaning about three in a marriage but those were exciting times, being the other woman, you might say.

And now?

I knew public life was never going to be a bed of roses, what with his sense of destiny and so on but I feel more than a little sympathy with Cecilia Sarkozy, I can tell you.

You’re probably wondering why I would be writing to a provincial rag like yours but your fame has spread beyond Lower Titcup, you have to understand – my son and yourself are both budding cookery writers, after all.

So the thing is – what to do? Perhaps you could throw this open to your readers.

Ex-Gloucestershire Lady

Dear Ex-Gloucestershire Lady

As you say, it’s best to throw this one open to the readers and without further ado, over to the public at large.

Love and kisses,


And finally, Griselda’s household tip to sign off with:

Rubbers and how to use them. Make rubber gloves last twice as long: turn them inside out and stick plasters on the tips of the fingers. Before throwing them away, cut the cuffs into strips and they make wonderful rubber bands. Lastly, if you put a few drops of glycerine in water, this makes the rubber more flexible.

See you soon.

Posted by: griseldahaveschott | July 24, 2008

Advice for the Lovelorn

Griselda again with my July 22nd advice column in the GTE. James felt it might assist his readers with their personal problems as well:

Dear Griselda,

Please can you help me? Until a few weeks ago I thought I’d found Mr Right at last. This man is charismatic, witty, handsome and a wonderful lover. He brings me flowers and buys me expensive jewellery.

The thing is, though, that he won’t tell me where he lives or works and he won’t let me have his phone number – not even his mobile. He always leaves my flat before midnight and is never able to spend a bank holiday with me.

When he takes me out he makes me wear dark glasses, a high-collared Burberry and a headscarf tied just like the Queen ties hers. That’s not even fashionable, is it? And he says he has to keep his trenchcoat on and his trilby pulled down over his eyes everywhere he goes. I am beginning to think that we might look a little strange on Weston-super-Mare Pier in summer.

Do you think there could be a slight problem?

Mandy Eastborough
Love Lane

Well Mandy dear, we go back a long way, don’t we and I know your thoughts on fashion. With the circle Her Majesty moves in, the Balmoral headgear is quite appropriate and you know there is still a vestige of loyalism in this country which likes to follow its monarch’s lead.

Now about your little problem. Are you talking about last Friday week when Brian came into the Brahms and Liszt with Jenny and while she went into the snug he was making eyes at you? Jenny tells me there was absolutely nothing in that, you know. No, I think perhaps you’re referring to another gentleman altogether and yes, there may well be a little problem there. Might I suggest you don your Queenly garb one more time, pop round to 51 Naseby Rd about 9.30 Saturday morning and have a quick peek?

Dear Griselda

Recently my wife and I gave a dinner party for eight at our new Tudor style near the north end of Rutting Forest. We’d toiled pretty much all day to produce the goods, only to have it ruined when one of the guests, who shall remain nameless, straight after the consomme, went out to his Beema for a CD which he then calmly came back and inserted in our player … our player, mind … after first switching off OUR background music, grunting, “Can’t stand bloody Bon Jovi”. Well, really!

What precisely is the etiquette regarding guests bringing music to get-togethers?

[Name withheld for fear of reprisals]

Ladies and gentlemen, Griselda now throws this one open to the readers for your thoughts on the matter. Should guests bring their own music, are we all being just a little oversensitive these days, could we not put up with our hosts’ choice just for a couple of hours? Your responses gladly received.


Finally, two thoughts to leave you with, as I always do at the GTE:

Make sure you know where the main stopcock is in the house, that it is in working order and that everyone living in the house knows where it is. I pinched this from Woman’s Realm: Tips and Wrinkles [Pan, 1972].


Also, I saw this in visiting some of James’ blogfriends: Never trust a man with a beard.
Posted by: griseldahaveschott | July 23, 2008

Stargazy Pie and how to improvise

James has been corresponding with me for some time, I’m not sure why, and he asked me some time back to do a guest post on his blog. Well I don’t know but I said I’d give it a try if he’d edit it like so I wouldn’t look a complete twat. I write for the Greater Titcup Echo, the evening paper in Lower Titcup, down here in the west country and there’s hardly any time for my own writing, what with being the fashion editor, cricket correspondent and personal advice columnist, let alone Graeme Pollard, that’s my editor-in-chief, giving me the food and wine column as well now that Enid Barnes has left to have a baby and the twin boys are doing fine except for a slight bronchial complication with Justin, the younger by a half-head.

When I asked James what he wanted me to write on, he suggested women’s issues but I’m not the woman’s editor, that’s Bridget Proops, sister-in-law of the well-known Geraldine Proops, wife of Sir Raymond Proops the local squire round these parts although he’s sold off most of the manor and they’ve just kept up the Foss Hill house (we call it the Big House), overlooking Balsall Bridge over the Isk River. Actually, it’s just a stream really before it joins the Aster further down towards the lock but it’s quite pretty you know, the view from Squire Proops’s hill like.

I suppose the best way to open my account (my cricket writing shows out here) is to give you the recipe for Stargazy Pie. I’ve been accused by mean-spirited people of pilfering this from Jane Grigson’s Observer book of British cookery but it’s not, it’s mine, well some adjustments are mine anyway. And I never took nothing from Mrs. Beeton who’s not so pure herself when it comes to pinching ideas, is she?

Stargazy Pie

Roll out pastry for double crust pie plate. Cover the plate, brush the rim with water and roll out another piece for the lid. Keep it aside. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C or 400 degrees F.

Clean and bone the fish …

NB: Anyone who knows the west country knows that pilchards went out long ago and now all you get is mackerel so clearly you have to compromise here. I suggest pigeons. Yes, I know, I know. You can’t get squabs anymore so the best bet is the readily available wood pigeon. Not as tasty but there you are.

Here we need to go to Mrs. Beeton (Ward Lock edition) who say lop off the heads of a brace of pigeons, cut each of ’em into four and lie ’em on their bed of gore (no, that’s Wallace, i’n it?). Well, all right. Let’s do the chopped bacon and hard-boiled eggs. Well actually, you need to lay the pigeon bits down first, making sure the heads are sticking off the edge of the plate, gazing up at the stars, I expect this dish has to be prepared at night or at the very least, mid-evening.

Push the mix in between the pigeon bits, put the pastry lid over the top, pushing it down to the pastry below so that it forms a wavy effect as if it’s all at sea, this dish like. Did I mention you have to do a pastry base first? Brush with beaten egg and bake for 30 minutes, though as it’s pigeons like well you have to give ’em 15 minutes extra at a reduced heat.

Serve with a jug of Malmesy wine. If James will have me here again, I’ll be back in a few days with advice for the lovelorn: you don’t ’alf see some hanky panky down our way, what with Joe Kelly and that Anita Proops (she’s one of the Proops, you know) but that’s a story for another day.

James, how did I go first time? I wanted to put in the quartered pigeons you know but I suppose you know best and all the pictures are from Wikipedia like.

Didn’t have a photo of the pie with the heads sticking out so had to follow this idea and have a porcelain head sticking out of the middle of the pie.

Posted by: griseldahaveschott | July 23, 2008

Hello reader

This is the blog of Griselda, from the west country of England and not far from Wales.  I’m a columnist and editor of the Greater Titcup Echo, the evening newspaper in our village.  This site is about things which happen there from time to time.

Posted by: griseldahaveschott | July 23, 2008

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