Just spent a weekend in Brighton. It was absolutely wonderful. The weather was kind, sunny and windy, and it was perfect. ED and his GF have just bought a beach hut, which is where we sat drinking tea and eating various foodstuffs, with family and friends.

I spent some time looking for smooth and/or round stones with the youngest child there (nearly 7). He was directing quite a complicated game but I just followed instructions, and found – a fossil! in fact two, in one stone! I’m so excited about it. Apparently there is an Echinoid (sea urchin) and potentially a bivalve or a brachiopod. I have a friend who’s very, very knowledgeable and clever, and that’s what she says. I’m going to show her the fossil on Saturday.IMG_20150913_183931040 IMG_20150913_183918744

In the evening there were further celebrations and I met some very interesting people. I was talking to one young woman, who, Réjane & Yves, comes from Cholet! she was as surprised as I was that I actually knew it! She’s called Sylvenne and designs and makes jewellery. What a coincidence. She said that nobody else had ever heard of it. But of course Solihull and Cholet are twinned, so I had heard of it anyway. Fancy that. It was lovely to be able to talk French for a while.

The hotel, however, where we have stayed twice before, was very disappointing this time. Overpriced and understaffed. We have written a long email listing our complaints before reviewing on TripAdvisor. We shall see. Their website assured me that every room had a hairdryer. When this turned out not to be so, I asked to borrow one at Reception and was asked for a £5 deposit. That’s all fine, but I had to then ask for the deposit to be returned. We also had to ask, twice, for our final bill to be recalculated, as it was just wrong, and too much. Not good.

And I’ve left Facebook. I had a very difficult discussion with friends of a friend about the refugee situation. In one of the conversations I used the word “underclass”. I really did not intend to offend anybody, and I think if I am offended by the use of a word, I just say “I find that offensive”, but I was subjected to a tirade of very personal insults. When I apologised for using that word, the rant was simply deleted. In the other conversation, I was accused of “trolling” and not wanting anybody else to have a different opinion. Not true, just not true. I should clearly, in hindsight, not have engaged in these conversations. I felt assaulted, and although I am missing Facebook a little (I belonged to a knitting group, and had “liked” various pages such as The Poke, Bill Bryson and Bill Maher), I’m not sure I’ll go back. It’s actually quite fun in the “real world” but the contact with friends is less of course. More time for knitting, though (and blogging)!

The Archers – my view of the characters

If you’re not a fan, or have never heard of it, The Archers is a radio soap. It refers to itself as “an everyday story of country folk“. It’s on six days a week, and each episode is 12 minutes long.

Currently the storylines are a little fraught. I’ve been seething and fuming for a few weeks now, and decided I’d do a little run-down of my take on the various characters.

Jill Archer – sweet, kind, matriarch. Everybody’s favourite person. Motherly, thoughtful, unselfish.

David Archer – one of her sons. Bit thoughtless, protective of his family, I do quite like him.

Ruth Archer – his wife. Dreadful faux Geordie accent, whiny, hopeless cook.

Pip – David & Ruth’s daughter. Irritatingly perfect.

Josh and Ben – David & Ruth’s sons – barely heard from at the moment.

Heather – Ruth’s mother. Lovely, genuine Geordie accent, very old and fragile now.

Shula – one of David’s sisters. Holier than thou, runs a stables, has had a sad life. Irritating.

Elizabeth – David’s other sister. Smart, savvy, widowed young, spoiled as a child, maturing into an interesting person.

Kenton – Shula’s twin brother. Whining, self-pitying, loser. Furious that David didn’t eventually sell up and move away, because Kenton had already spent thousands of pounds based on the fact that David was selling up and moving away (something to do with shares in the farm, not quite sure what). Prat.

Jolene – Kenton’s wife. A good woman. Feisty, ex-country singer, excellent barmaid.

Fallon – Jolene’s daughter from her first marriage. Feisty, good singer, hard worker, interesting.

Harrison – Fallon’s policeman boyfriend. Handsome (apparently), from Yorkshire, good solid bloke.

Brian Aldridge – lord of the manor type. Overplayed at the moment, horrible serial philanderer, sneery and scornful of his heir apparent (Adam).

Jennifer Aldridge – Brian’s wife. Puts up with a lot, but gets her own back in various ways. Irritating high posh voice but basically a nice person.

Lilian Bellamy – Jennifer’s sister. A total pain in the neck, with a voice like a corncrake. Has dreadful taste in men and is consequently shat upon regularly. She has a son, James, who is a complete nightmare (selfish, irritatingly posh, twatty).

Kate – their daughter. An absolute pain. Overplayed as drippy hippy. Has had several children by two different fathers and also serially unfaithful.

Adam – Jennifer’s son by a previous marriage. Mostly dull but has a male partner called Ian, who is just delightful.

Debbie – Jennifer’s daughter (I’m a bit confused as to who her father is). Now “moved away” to Hungary but occasionally turns up. I think she’s great. A good peace-maker when she needs to be.

Alice – Brian & Jennifer’s younger daughter.  Interesting and quite likeable, but her mother, who is a snob, is not pleased that she married the “village blacksmith”.

Rory – Brian’s son by an extramarital relationship, who now lives with them, because his mother died of cancer. (I know, I know. It’s all a bit unlikely).

Ian – Adam’s partner. Brilliant chef at the local hotel. Cooks up a storm. Has a wonderful Irish accent and is usually very happy.

Eddie Grundy – one of the representatives of the “lower” classes. Forever trying out ways of making quick money which never work. Good stockman, has several part time jobs.

Clarrie Grundy – Eddie’s long suffering wife. Feisty, gets very angry with her stupid husband.

Joe – Eddie Grundy’s dad – an older version of Eddie, who is forever whining about his “farmer’s lung” and his dead wife Susan.

Will – Clarrie & Eddie’s son – a pain in the neck. Whiny, still not over his first wife Emma (whatever he says), a good gamekeeper.

Ed – Clarrie & Eddie’s other son – troubled teenhood, good man, now married to Emma. (Mm). Solid, hard working, but always in financial difficulties.

Susan Carter – another representative of the lower classes. Dreadful woman. Incorrigible gossip, whiny, nags her poor husband to death, is delighted her son Chris (the village blacksmith) married into “quality”.

Neil Carter – her poor husband. Good, solid man, excellent pig-man, puts up with way too much.

Chris – their son – interesting but mostly silent.

Emma – their daughter – spoiled little madam who messed the Grundy brothers about, marrying one, having his baby, then leaving him for the other. No wonder they don’t get on so well.

Peggy Woolley – contemporary of Jill Archer and another matriarch, though getting older and slightly frailer now. Irritating, right-wing, unnecessarily disapproving sometimes. Mother of Jennifer, Lilian and Tony.

Tony Archer – Peggy’s son. Old, whiny, not a well man. A “glass half-empty” man and drives me crazy.

Pat Archer – Tony’s wife. Feisty, feminist, left-wing. Good woman but occasionally irritating.

Tom – Tony & Pat’s surviving son. (John died when a tractor rolled onto him years ago). He’s a businessman through and through, but able to stand up to bullies.

Helen – Tony & Pat’s daughter. Fragile, recovered (recovering?) anorexic, also has terrible taste in men.

Rob Titchener – Helen’s husband. Lying, manipulative, sinister, frightening, bully. Hints of violence over the last week or so. Hate him with a passion. But Tom stands up to him. And Tom noticed Helen’s bruised wrist, which she lied about, saying she’d fallen. She hadn’t. It was vile Rob.

I can’t think of anybody else of note. There probably are other characters, but these are the main ones.

Phew. Feeling much better now I’ve let it all out!