More Frivolous Cake

Friday, 27 March 2009

perfect coffee

every cloud...
went into the Retro Cafe on Camp Road, Farnborough and was served a perfect cappucino by Estelle, the owner. Truly the most perfect coffee since I was last in Italy. I asked her what the secret was and she just happens to be an afficionado of great coffee and had decided to make sure that all her staff knew how to make it properly too.
We also had a great chat about the trials and tribulations of running your own business and I shared some ideas from retail optics and elsewhere that we discussed and thought might help. I'll be going back to see what happens and post stuff here.

car woes

aware that I was putting my trust in Kwik Fit, trust that had never previously been misplaced, I found myself walking home from Farnborough after a day of disappointment. Car booked in online for service a week in advance for Friday morning. Booked car in to reception at 09:00. "be ready after lunch!" I return at 12:30 to find that servicing has not even started. I return at 15:00 to find my car, unattended but at least up on a ramp. At ten to four, I am asked where to find the wheel nut adapter for the funky alloys (in the first aid kit) and then at 16:40, disaster. A spanner monkey with an air-powered tool whizzed the sump plug too hard and made it impossible to keep oil in the engine. Can't tap the new thread until Monday at the earliest, so car-less and pedestrian for the weekend... Still that won't be inconvenient, will it?


Wednesday, 25 March 2009

cats and dogs

following an uplifting call from Archie 'Two Dogs' Hipwell, thrilled that he appeared high enough on a Google search for a prospective client to find him, two cats at Marlows called to see if I might decipher the confusion of Hotmail coming in from students wanting flats in Farnham. I am indebted to Mike (Marlow) for the apposite imagery...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

free parking

I was reading about the demise of the 'free lunch' business model for dotcom firms and then at lunchtime took advantage of the free parking for customers of Maplins at Solartron Retail Park. Well, it seems that there is no such thing as free parking anymore. I left my car and crossed the road to PC World which was just long enough for a Parking Attendant to appear and issue me a ticket for abandoning my car in the free car park!!!!!!!! I have included a picture of my tiny silver car in this car park, so you can see what a deleterious effect my parking had on the customer traffic flow. It will take some time for my jaw to recover it's normal position having dropped so far.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Chicken sit

chicken sit; (v), to take temporary care of domestic hens.
It's one of the joys of a semi-rural existence that when your neighbours have a long weekend, one gets to chicken sit for them. Needs to be said carefully, I know. Tegan will be making twice daily trips to check for eggs and top up the food and water for Ruby and Pearl and make sure they are fox-proofed at dusk.


Thursday, 19 March 2009

Most Admired Companies 2009

Accordingly to the annual poll by Fortune Magazine, J&J is the fifth most admired company and the number one for people management. Below a comment from the Fortune Magazine Blog.

"The majority of former Pfizer Consumer Health Care employees who joined Johnson and Johnson after the merger would disagree strongly with the rankings. Nearly all found it a stifling, political heavy organization that treated it’s employees nearly uniformly bad."

Master Bun says, "No comment".

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Ant and Bee

Ok, you didn't really expect to find me indoors all day with temperatures of 16C, did you? Well, I got out for a couple of hours into the garden, to remove some (expletive deleted) fly-tipping from the edge of our driveway, which had concealed the manhole cover for the drains. As I bagged it up, to take to the dump, a Bumble Bee bumped into my left leg and looking down I noticed a pair of ants climbing my socks... Good to see bees so early in spring, doncha think? suggests that this is most likely Bombus terrestris (pictured) emerging into the spring sunshine.
Last year, I let parts of the garden grow long to provide flowering plants for the bees (although, that didn't stop comments about being a lazy so and so for not cutting the lawns entirely). This year, there will be more flowers and hopefully more bees and let's hope more honey, too.

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Dad's got a head like a ping pong ball

This gem forwarded by my Mum, to the tune of 'Dad's got a head like a ping pong ball' is for all of you who have parents or are parents... a timeless classic


Monday, 16 March 2009

kebab mixte

Sunday...Farncombe 8:0 Farnham United Lions, England thrash France in 6 Nations, tummybug consigns me to bed and bathroom for the remainder of the day and night and morning, not pretty.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

asleep, a slip

I am tempted to limit today's football match report to an intimation of the final score only. Our boys took the field in a trance-like state despite a lively warm-up but stayed asleep and went in at half time 0:1 down. A simple one-two between Fieldus and Score, opened up the Woking defence allowing Tom to score and equalise with the first move of the second half. Then, fast asleep again, the boys let in a soft goal, missed with their only other chance of the second half and leaked a third goal in the closing minutes. So, a slip, pints go a begging and away to Farncombe tomorrow...
Farnham United Lions 1:3 Woking Sharks

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Friday, 13 March 2009

oh, bother, no bother

Just as I sat back on the train to pen my weekly report, a little light reminds me that I have left my laptop on standby since lunchtime and have only a few minutes of battery left. Stage 2 exams went swimmingly. I finished the three hour paper in two hours, had a leisurely check through the tricky questions and left the exam hall 15 mins early. So, now, home to Comic Relief night and Jamie's recipes cooked by Tegan. Might get my report out to you all by Monday. Have a great weekend...


strolling across the deserted western side of London Bridge, it is hard to miss the contrast with the relentless stream of black-coated figures heading towards the City on the eastern side. seems to be a triumph for civil engineering, (there being a flyover from the station to the eastern pavement,) incidentally, the same one below which I walked to avoid the crowd.
seems odd for an island boy to be in the City before 8 a.m. but at 6 p.m.I will 'scape.


Thursday, 12 March 2009


been in the City of London for three hours now and the bleakness and sleekness of the passing suits is undiminished. the women folk are mainly very well groomed or eastern european, I have even seen a woman of a certain age in a hat, the city boys look like they spend too much time indoors, in the gym, in despair,so what of it? Stage one of my exams passed uneventfully, in that I don't know if I passed, won't know for three weeks but the paper was familiar enough to invoke kittens. time for coffee...

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Sunday, 8 March 2009

chicago town football

that early morning alarm call to the boys, seems to have worked as Farnham United Lions met Fleet Town Colts in a blustery Calthorpe Park, on a bumpy, sloping pitch. Starting brightly and stringing together the passes, FU had all the early pressure and FTC could do nothing but defend. The breakthrough came five minutes before half time when defensive dynamo Miles Molan, intercepted a poor pass and threaded the ball to Calum Todd on the wing. A lay off to Michael Fieldus and a one two down the right wing, saw Connell Forbes striding in from left midfield to score in the top right corner.
One:nil up at half time but playing up the slope in the second half, FU swapped goalies putting the cat-like reflexes of Michael Fieldus in goal and letting clean-sheet Tom Score go up to centre forward. This masterful tactic paid off immediately as FTC came out all guns blazing and peppered the FU goal for the first ten minutes. Michael got to every ball and saved from corners, free kicks and point blank range much to the amazement of all those watching. Even as we were accepting that the ball was going in off the post for the equaliser, somehow Michael regained his feet and sprang to tip it round for a corner.
Waiting patiently upfront, Tom Score was feeding off scraps of possession until a surge from James Reeves-Bueno released the ball early into the path of Molan who made the pass and turn to put Tom goalside with just the goalie to beat. Tom calmly stroked the ball into the bottom right corner and the tie was settled. Two:nil was not enough. Molan and Reeves-Bueno repeated their surging runs and Todd and Forbes kept the defense secure with Harry Kitabayashi. A long clearance from Fieldus in goal, landed kindly for Reeves-Bueno who got his pass away early to Kitabayashi, out of defense for a spell upfront. A nippy pass back to Molan, released early again to Score and Tom duly obliged with his second and FU's third.
The final move of the game saw Kitabayashi goal hanging and when the pass finally came in from the wing, the FTC centre-half wiped man and ball into oblivion and the Ref blew for full time.
Most entertaining contest and just the fillip for the boys ahead of next weeks double header, home to Woking Sharks (3rd in league) on Saturday and away to Farncombe (top) on Sunday.

Final Score Fleet Town Colts 0:3 Farnham United Lions

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Saturday, 7 March 2009

old boy's club, er, racquet

the final result of one:nil does no justice to the energetic hour of tennis that just expired between me and Mike. such fun, in fact, that Mike is going to invite another two chums so that we can make up a fourball actually that's a golfing term, not sure what it is in tennis, a pair of doubles? afterwards, it was two pairs of pints rather than doubles, just reward indeed.

Friday, 6 March 2009


In Titus Groan, first book of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy, the Lady Fuchsia is distracted in her attic by a large and colourful book of verse and pictures. Her great favourite is called The Frivolous Cake and the first verse is reproduced here with thanks to Stephen Peake of

The Frivolous Cake
A freckled and frivolous cake there was
That sailed on a pointless sea,
Or any lugubrious lake there was
In a manner emphatic and free.
How jointlessly, and how jointlessly
The frivolous cake sailed by
On the waves of the ocean that pointlessly
Threw fish to the lilac sky.

Would that I could begin to match the invention and richness of Peake's writing. It is not to be, so my own endeavour will inevitably be More Frivolous..