Memories of a Gentle Man

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I seem to have entered a phase in life where funerals comprehensibly out-weigh weddings, christenings and other celebrations! Yesterday, Mrs Bard and I went to say goodbye to a friends father, Roy. As I sat in the church watching people arrive, I wondered how they all fitted into the large jig-saw that was Roy’s life. Then I thought of how this ‘truly gentle-man’ fitted into ours…

Roy was a newspaper editor from the days when they were representative of the community they served and not just ‘swapsies’ for large faceless organisations. When our son was killed, it was to him we turned for help with writing the notice to be put into the newspapers. He sat in our kitchen and went through the word-options with such kindness and quiet helpfulness that the memory is vivid even some fifteen years later. When I delivered the eulogy for his daughter Sally’s funeral, he came up to me afterwards and paid me the greatest ever one-word compliment by simply saying ‘Thank you’, but in a way that conveyed a thousand unspoken words and emotions.
He had been a great amateur sportsman in his time and it was entirely fitting that we left the church to co to a ‘Cricket Tea’ afterwards.
The sun shone and the daffodils were in full bloom, how very appropriate.
Thank you Roy.

© Baldock Bard 2018
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The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 26 YEARS!
Season starts 7am Saturday 14
thApril 2018
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Hope for the Future!

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Many of my generation take great pleasure in criticising the youth of today. They wear the phrase ‘…in my day’ as a badge of honour designed to suggest that youngsters of today have it easier, don’t work as hard and there is little hope for the future.
Yesterday I met a young lad who filled me with confidence about the future of agricultural engineering. Tom works for P. Tuckwell at Cromer in Herts, our local John Deere dealership and came to the farm to deliver and fit a battery to the mower. However, when was done, he spotted a mistake in fitting a belt that I had made and used incredible people skills, not only in pointing this out to a customer he’d never met before, but in such a way that didn’t make me feel incompetent or stupid, before helping me to rectify my mistake.
The confidence that I felt afterwards, in both him and his employer, shows that despite much having changed since ‘…in my day’, there are some very skilled young people out there and the future is looking bright, especially in agricultural engineering…

The skill of a young engineer,
from a dealer in this case John Deere,
to be able to spot,
when something looks right but is not,
and impress a grumpy old farmer,
deserves a beer!

Many thanks to Tom of Tuckwell’s and best wishes for the future and apologies for getting you to pose for the photo!

© Baldock Bard 2018
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 26 YEARS!
Season starts 7am Saturday 14
thApril 2018
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

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Anne – a Valuable Mentor

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Anne and Geoffrey at the Car Boot Sale near Baldock

I have been very lucky in my life to have enjoyed the support of mentors. Most have come from the farming fraternity, however a few have helped me in other ways, even if at the time I didn’t recognize the significance of their guidance.
One in particular, Anne, was my brother’s Godmother and a family friend. It was she who encouraged a troublesome teenager (me!) to pick up a book and read. It is therefore, by default, that you (and I) have her to thank for the fact that you are amongst the over 250,000 people worldwide who have read my blog pages.
How did she help? She helped by not only encouraging me to read, but also giving freely of her time and interest, even when the subject matter must have bored her almost to tears!
On one all-too-rare visit when she and husband Geoffrey stayed on the farm, she asked me what I was reading! I well remember, with the greatest of embarrassment in hindsight (I can feel my cheeks redden even now, many years later), how I went into great detail about a book whose subject was truck-driving between the UK and Saudi Arabia (Cola Cowboys, if you’re interested!).
It was always my intention to thank her and show her what that patience had lead to in my writing and my (much improved!) reading. I never did and I shall always regret it.

Later this week I journey to Kent, to say goodbye. I shall be whispering a very personal ‘Thank you’, to the mentor who installed in me a love of books and I shall not be in the least bit ashamed if I spill a tear or two.

The greatest gift you can give a child (particularly a difficult teenager) is your time.
How about you give it a try sometime and while you’re about it, whisper a silent thanks to Anne as well.
Also if you have thanks to give, do it now, if you leave it too long then one day it may sadly be too late.

© Baldock Bard 2018
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above

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Twitter: @baldockbard

 

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A Brush with the Law!

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Sometimes it’s good to time-travel! Yesterday Mrs Bard and I were having Sunday lunch with some relations who live near to where I worked in a previous life many eons ago. Another guest was the neighbouring farmer who I’d not seen for nearly 40 years. I have never been a great one for reminiscing, as it can be painful! I wouldn’t dare re-visit old haunts for fear of stirring up black and smelly mud from the bottom of the pond that is my memory! So it came as a surprise when so many memories surfaced, especially a brush with the law in 1979…

I was awaiting a visit from my ‘big boss’
a cause always for alarm,
when ‘Frank Cannon’ the village policeman,
came to visit me on the farm!
He was a jovial type of bobby,
always up for a laugh,
a raucous sense of humour,
but you wouldn’t want to cross his path.
He was showing me his new-style handcuffs,
he tried them on me just for size,
then started looking for the key,
a look of fear in his eyes!
He jumped into his patrol car,
lights and sirens ‘on alarm!’
I heard him go off into the distance,
I was attached to the wall of the barn!
He finally returned with the key,
had just released me at last,
when in walked my ‘big boss’
the moment for hilarity had passed!
As Frank left in his police car,
“a social call” I lied (quite hard),
“Why in that case please tell me…
did I see blue flashing lights in the yard?”

Frank Cannon was nicknamed after the 1970’s CBS TV series about a rather large policemen who solved every crime put before him. Many thanks to Hugh, Cathy and Winks for helping to ‘stir the mud!’

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

 

 

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Out-Barded in the Barn!

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Last Sunday the village church relocated to our barn for the Harvest Festival. About seventy people came to celebrate harvest, sing the old favorites and have lunch afterwards. It was a great way of remembering how lucky we are in our lives. However during the service I was unexpectedly called up to the front by one of the two vicars and given a poem to read. I’d been out-Barded in my own barn. So for my 1,600th blog posting I can include a ‘Guest Verse-monger!’My grain barn was laid out as a church
including hay bales on which to perch,
a heap of oats a pile made of bean,
a big-bale altar in between!
Then all of a sudden I was called,
had no idea – was not enthralled,
was handed a sheet for me to read,
on which was a verse – I didn’t dare plead!
So thanks to Nick Lyness (With no alarm!)
I was ‘out-barded’ in my own barn!

With many thanks to Fiona and Nick for taking such a truly memorable service. It’s not often that something that doesn’t involve dust a brush or a lorry happens in the barn!
I have reproduced Nick’s verse below for all to see, beneath that dog-collar he has hidden talents – Many thanks for writing such nice things about me!
© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 25 YEARS!
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

2017 Season
EVERY SATURDAY MORNING!
Season Ends 14
th October 2017
With more FREE parking and a field full of bargains!
www.u-boot.co.uk

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Fancy a New Motor?

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There is no topic of discussion that is guaranteed to show up differences amongst men more than, “If money was no object, what car would you buy?” The other day, I was a spectator at such a discussion, it was most illuminating (even though my input was dismissed as being rather tame and liberal…

We were discussing motors,
the way men sometimes do,
someone wanted a Jaguar,
painted Darkest Blue!
Someone wanted a four by four,
go mud-plugging across the land,
(Eat humble pie to a farmer:
‘I’m stuck can you lend a hand?’)
Another saw himself in a Lamborghini,
blonde girlfriend by his side,
his wife said if that happened,
“You’d not afford a taxi ride!”
I fancied a Tesla electric car,
a silent and comfortable ride,
different to my Mitzi,
(sounds like a tractor outside!)
Friend Mick wants a muscle-car
Wants to use words like: “Gawd Dang!”
to ride around the county lanes
In a brand new Ford Mustang!

Well? What would be your choice? Have a great day and drive with care.

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 25 YEARS!
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

2017 Season
EVERY SATURDAY MORNING!
until 14
thOctober
With more FREE parking and a field full of bargains!
www.u-boot.co.uk

 

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The Farm Inspection!

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Once a year we have an inspection on the farm. The result of a pass is that we can call ourselves ‘Farm Assured’ and buyers can buy our crops with confidence knowing that at any stage of the process from gate to plate the origins can be traced. It also shows that we have followed the myriad of rules we have to obey. Gone are the days of Farmer Fred simply having to obey the weather, his wife and the bank manager…

I had a snap inspection yesterday,
even though all the wheat had gone away,
the inspector checked around the farm,
finding nothing amiss to raise an alarm.
Then it came to the paperwork that’s needed,
for every acre of farm that’s seeded.
For this Mrs Bard is firmly in charge,
as my filling skills wouldn’t satisfy the Sarge!
She has a folder she likes very much,
labelled “Farmer Giles – Don’t You Dare Touch!”
All the inspectors we’ve ever had have been firm but fair and we’ve always managed to pass (something I could never manage at school). So thanks to Matt, we’re once again Farm Assured.

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 25 YEARS!
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

2017 Season
EVERY SATURDAY MORNING!
until mid-October
With more FREE parking and a field full of bargains!
www.u-boot.co.uk

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A Slice of Wedding Cake!

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Last weekend I went to a family wedding in Devon. Having been berated by one of my foreign readers for writing about the journey and leaving the main event uncommented, I thought I’d better see what I could do. Writing about such an occasion will never do it full justice (unless it runs to 7,324 pages!) and so I offer you a slice of wedding cake…

The bride went to the altar,
to wed her handsome man,
the forecast talked of showers,
but all went according to plan.
The reception in a marquee,
a very British affair,
Thought I’d spotted Hugh Grant,
turned out he wasn’t there!
The father of the bride,
delivered an emotional speech,
the guests all toasted everyone,
again for glasses reach!
The photos were full of smiling,
with sunshine all around,
some high heels on the lawn,
seemed to dig into the ground!
Over in the corner,
awaiting rain from heaven,
a line of colourful brollies,
vital accessories in Devon!
“My Lords, Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding and raise a glass (or mug!) to Robert and Rebecca, and wish them a wonderful, long and happy marriage; Robert and Rebecca!”

I must just mention the brides mother who sang the first dance. It was truly amazing and had every guest on their feet applauding. One of the most remarkable and emotionally-charged performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.
Also a big ‘Thank You’ from me to the ‘Northern Crew’ who were so friendly towards a ‘Southern Softee’ and were a true pleasure to meet. May we meet again sometime. BB.

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 25 YEARS!
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

2017 Season
EVERY SATURDAY MORNING!
until mid-October
With more FREE parking and a field full of bargains!
www.u-boot.co.uk

 

 

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The Amateur Bee Keeper!

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Following a wedding in Devon, we had a funeral in Chester, a mere 250 miles to the North. The funeral was a true celebration of a life well lived. We stayed with Tony, an amateur bee keeper in Staffordshire. His attitude to this new hobby was rather refreshing…

Tony loves his bees,
he deals with them at ease,
he’s not really sure,
if he wants any more,
but if some swarm by he’ll say ‘please!’

He wears a very strange suit,
along with black Wellington boot,
he carries smoke,
before giving them a poke,
in his honey-questing persuit!

Unless you’re properly dressed it is not a good idea to disturb insects that sting!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 25 YEARS!
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

2017 Season
EVERY SATURDAY MORNING!
until mid-October
With more FREE parking and a field full of bargains!
www.u-boot.co.uk

 

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Alice at Eighty!

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Yesterday evening Mrs Bard and I went to an 80th Birthday Party. Nothing unusual you may think, however as people get older these days they seem to get younger. Back in the day, when my grandmother was 80, she looked positively ancient, dressed in black or grey and confined to a chair. These days bright colours and a positive outlook seem to be the order of the day, particularly with Alice…

At a party in her garden,
(resembling The Palace!)
a young and spritely eighty,
we sang “Happy Birthday Alice!”
Wearing a brightly-coloured dress,
made for her daughter’s wedding,
added to a broad wide smile,
led to the years a-shedding.
Later when she opens,
her pile of birthday cards,
she’ll become aware,
all hold her in high regards.

When I was a child she hosted the most amazing children’s birthday parties, I’m pleased to say she’s not lost her magic touch! Happy Birthday Alice!

© Baldock Bard 2017
For more from the Baldock Bard click on ‘Home’ above
Facebook: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: simon.holtom@btconnect.com

The Baldock ‘Boutique’ Boot Sale
STILL HERE AFTER 25 YEARS!
It is the friendliest bargain bonanza anywhere!
Feed your hungry sat-nav with SG7 6RD

2017 Season
EVERY SATURDAY MORNING!
until mid-October
With more FREE parking and a field full of bargains!
www.u-boot.co.uk

 

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