Good Day,

                  I adore charm, impish-ness, eccentricity and natural, un-laboured accomplishment. I adore those who resolutely refuse to grow up totally and who, with needles, freshly honed, gaily, with relish, prick the balloons of pomposity before them, not out of spite but simply because they merit it.

I adore excellence and craft (in a skill sense) especially when it is related to both culinary matters and writing.

Most of all, I adore honesty and/or straight talking; it is an honourable and brave attribute, a truly magical gift rarely discovered in today’s back-scratching, arse-covering, sound-biting, mealy-mouthed “don’t-tell-it-like-it-is” offerings.

Barring the above today’s offerings, your father had the lot, a full-house, in spades. (By the way, I had, hitherto, no idea that your mother is Amber Rudd, who clearly possesses similar attributes coupled with immense patience and empathy!)

I used to wait, with the required bated breath, to buy The Sunday Times for two reasons. One was to check on the fortunes of Arsenal (and Middlesex CC in the summer months). The other was to devour, with carnal delight, your Dad’s incisive, artistic, erudite, often poetic compositions. Whilst many light-years away from being somebody attempting to attain “groupie-dom”, I did in fact, keep many reviews, until a flash-flood in my cellar (aka my office (sic)) turned them into a gloop of porridge-like consistency.

However, I had, normally on receipt, read them to my (now) wife over an al fresco breakfast which, more often than not, resulted in a table-top collage of spluttered, toasted crumbs, liberally coated with globules of butter and goblets of home-made (by me!) marmalade. For my wife’s part, generous sprinklings of home-made (by me again!) strawberry jam were colourful additives!

My principal point is that, in the UK, the overwhelming majority of us can write; some of us can compose; a charmed few can consistently and regularly create works of art.

Your Dad could.

You clearly can.

Your father had the natural innate gifts, abilities, star dust (call it what you will) to fill a pot with assorted viands, seasoned, to your liking, with copious quantities of salt and pepper, and then he would judiciously lob-in a variety of pertinent additives (together with a few impertinent ones), all expertly chosen. He would then stir the ensemble and add missing ingredients as and when he deemed they were required. I have a mental picture of him, stirring and musing silently to nobody in particular, but to all who have eyes and ears……

“….could do with a smidgen of philosophy there”……..”yes, this now needs a soupcon of candour”……….” oh definitely lacking in heat…where’re the chillies?”

As if by magic, from the metaphorical blank canvas, a da Vinci-esque masterpiece emerged.

Did your father cause harm with his (sometime) coruscating reviews? No, no and thrice NO! I truly cannot envisage restaurants (or restauranteurs) being injured by A A Gill’s reviews. Chicanery revealed? Yes. Inflated egos deflated? Yes. Self-importance downgraded? Yes. TRUTH told? YES!  which, surely, only serves to underline the (unusual) wisdom of one post WWII US President who correctly proclaimed……..

“…if you can’t stand the heat, get outta the kitchen”

Your Dad (often) invited the heat, could take the pressure and, could still weave his magic and relate his poetry.

Your father has also clearly passed on many of his gifts (along with your mother’s) to your good self, (including his good looks) and the highest accolade I can offer to you is that your June 18th Father’s Day tribute was so lovingly, skillfully and emotionally written as to make me want to read it all…..again and again….(and I have!). It also made me cry. It also made me think, in similar vein, about my own father (long passed, adored as much). As importantly, it introduced me to a writer of much talent, of much subtlety, of much perspicacity, of immense honesty and one, moreover who possesses the rare ability to convey emotions using only words. Only artists are blessed with such gifts. You are evidently blessed.

So, as I consign your wonderful article to my (occasionally) soggy office in the bowels of my Malvernian semi, I offer you my heartfelt congratulations and my immense thanks for sparking wonderful memories and for rekindling my faith in today’s journalism and the abilities of far too few of its protagonists.

 

Thank You Muchly

 

 

 

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With June and THE VOTE just around the corner, be honest, aren’t you just a leetle, itsy-bitsy confused about the rantings, bleatings, known-knowns, known-unknowns, claims, counterclaims, spin and downright lies that are being somewhat patronisingly laid upon the unsuspecting UK electorate. (That’s you and me). Well I AM!

Go check my profile for full details, but in short, I am an economist/econometrician who has worked in Central AND Local Government, on QUANGOs, in the private sector and someone who has established and run his own small manufacturing  business. I have also acted as a business consultant for SME’s (small businesses) and much larger corporations. I am a qualified project manager (admittedly very rusty) and a NEBOSH Health & Safety diploma holder and was the Corporate. Planner for “the fastest expanding Local Authority (at the time) in the UK”.

Yes, you’re right, I have never done anything which could be deemed useful! Never had a “proper job” so to speak.

So, what gobbledygook am I going to spout? Whose side am I on? What’s my angle?

Honestly, my sole purpose of this “blog” and its brothers and sisters is to attempt, as clearly as possible and as simply as possible, NOT HOW YOU SHOULD VOTE but the things (the actual facts, not predictions or forecasts) that you should consider before voting. I aim to pose various questions to be considered and leave you to decide on your own, to choose. Each blog will ostensibly cover a single topic, although to consider some areas in isolation will be impossible as they are dependent upon outcomes elsewhere. I shall attempt to give you honest factual answers to confusing questions and where there are zero facts, shall say so. If I omit anything, please bring it to my attention, if you think I have anything wrong, do likewise.

Finally, have I decided which way I am going to vote?

YES. On two principal issues alone. I’ll let you know which way that is on June 24th!

 

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