20240129 – Santa Monica to Atascadero


A very lazy start to another warm sunny day. I could really get used to this lifestyle.

Drive over to the Santa Monica Mountains. First stop King Gillette Ranch. Of course the visitors centre is closed but have a shuffle around. Then it’s on to own main objective, Malibu Creek Park. Sit an have lunch admiring the Mountains – well hills really – and the Blue Birds. Then head off to the Rock Pool. It’s near the visitors centre which as well as being closed is a 1 mile walk away from the main car park. What numpty dreamt this up. Don’t they realise this is America, nobody walks in America. On top of that the distances shown on the signs are a total screw up. Not only must their idea of a mile be based on some mythical American mile, but to find the Rock Pool gets further away as you get closer must be some sort of space time distortion in the fabric of their universe.

Anyway finally get there and it’s infested with two families and an excess of noisy rug rats.

Ventura park.

Then it’s onto Paramount ranch, but that’s all being rebuilt after a forest fire – no doubt caused by climate change which in turn has been caused by BREXIT.

Pass on Peter Strauss Ranch.

It’s been a lovely drive around these “mountains”, so very picturesque.

Then decide we’ll drive down the rest of the famous Mulholland Drive, can you believe it’s closed. Oh well, 101 back to home for afternoon tea in our new mini-kettle – Assam, so civilised.

Big decision, wine or no wine?



Ventura town hall. Why do they always have to be so palatial? Just like the UK it’s taxpayers money so it doesn’t matter.

Stop signs in America leave a lot to be desired. Are they just a stop or is it a 4 way, look for the plaque underneath that says “All Way”, well not always. Now here’s a suggestion why not keep “All Way” stops as an Octagonal sign and 2 way / Others as a Square. That way if you miss the plaque you can still know what it is by the shape – SIMPLES.

Up in Monterey they don’t even bother to say “All Way”.





Only in California.


Another sunny day and lazy start.

Drive down to Main Street Ventura, a pleasant traffic free zone. Have a shuffle around and Wendy has lunch.

Then we do the botanical gardens, at least with plant watching they don’t fly off like bird watching. The place is in need of a bit of TLC and some signs. Good 90 minute walk up and down but not really worth the $7 each.

Quick supermarket stop and then back home for afternoon tea.

The sea mist is shrouding the Channel Islands, there’s an occaisional peep through the mist.


On the wall over the urinal:


Pat Connell – A Word to Islamofascist




Lazy start to a grey day as we pack to move onto to Nat and Pauls home in Atascadero. I must be about 8 years since we last saw them.

Drive up to Pismo beach and stop off on the beach car park for Wendy’s essential lunch. Then drive down to the pier for a stroll. It’s going to rain any moment and is blowing a gale. Is this really California?

Then drive onto Atascadero after yet another brief supermarket stop.

It’s great to see N&P again, they make us so welcome. Nate prepared dinner and then we have a pleasant evening in catching up. Put the World to rights. Agree that we’re both living in a kakistocracy. Watch The Sound of Freedom. And yes by way of a change it’s raining.


An American professor suggested adding a pinch of salt to a cup of tea, and Brits lost their minds. People were pissed. The US Embassy even had to issue a statement condemning the recipe. They said, “We want to ensure the good people of the UK that the unthinkable notion of adding salt to Britain’s national drink is not official United States policy. And never will be.”

It’s Very, Very Funny How These 29 Extremely American Things Confuse The Bloody Hell Out Of British People.

Because I love a good “US vs. UK” moment (our comments in brackets), here are some American things that confuse the hell out of British people:

When Americans say what grade they are in to describe how old they are.

Beans on toast. (what’s wrong with them – awesome).

Sweet potato casserole.

The way Americans heat up water in microwaves. (both bizarre and dangerous).

The fact that Americans call it “math” instead of “maths.” (never understand that one).

When Americans say, “Wanna grab a coffee?”

Why Americans are so friendly and chatty in general. (We agree, they are so awesomely friendly).

Why Americans always joke about marmite.

Why Americans care about the royal family. (never understand that one).

Summer camp. (never understand that one).

The fact that Americans wear things that say “London” and “Oxford,” and Brits wear things that say “New York” and “Chicago.”


The way Americans call pizza “pie.”

The fact that Americans find British accents sexy. (never understand that one, but it’s good for us).

The use of “xx.”

The whole kettle vs. teapot conundrum. (never understand that one. Very rare to find an electric kettle, we take our own.).

The legal drinking age. (never understand that one).

Wee vs. pee.

School dances.

“Chip chip.” (really annoying along with “tally ho” and “old chap”)

The fact that Americans call it “horseback riding” instead of “horse riding.”

Clapping and cheering at movie theaters. (never understand that one).

The way Americans carry shopping bags.

The way Americans think talking in British accents is funny. (just annoying).

The way Americans tell non-Americans what specific state they’re from, as if the non-American has any idea where that is. (never understand that one).

“Lovers’ lanes.”

“On line” vs. “In line.” (worse still is the line instead of queue – probably because it’s difficult to spell queue).

And lastly, toasting marshmallows.




My expensive, luxury easy peel orange – £3.

After a good nights sleep there’s home grown Figs for breakfast – awesome.

Have a lazy day in with N&P, just enjoying one another’s company. Must be over 6 years since we saw them.

Go out for dinner in the evening to a local restaurant in Atascadero.

Then it’s back home for some Netflix – I manage to fall asleep. It’s oh so tiring doing nothing all day.

trivia header

Sea glass are naturally weathered pieces of glass, which often have the appearance of tumbled stones. Sea glass is physically and chemically weathered glass found on beaches along bodies of salt water. These weathering processes produce natural frosted glass. Sea glass is used for decoration, most commonly in jewellery. “Beach glass” comes from fresh water and is often less frosted in appearance than sea glass. Sea glass takes 20–40 years, and sometimes as much as 100–200 years, to acquire its characteristic texture and shape. It is also colloquially referred to as drift glass from the longshore drift process that forms the smooth edges. In practice, the two terms are used interchangeably.

Sea glass begins as normal shards of broken glass that are then persistently tumbled and ground until the sharp edges are smoothed and rounded. In this process, the glass loses its slick surface but gains a frosted appearance over many years.

Naturally produced sea glass (“genuine sea glass”) originates as pieces of glass from broken bottles, broken tableware, or even shipwrecks, which are rolled and tumbled in the ocean for years until all of their edges are rounded off, and the slickness of the glass has been worn to a frosted appearance. Then, the glass will wash to shore where it may be collected.






Morro Bay.

Wake to more frozen figs for breakfast. Then the usual lazy start and once we all get our acts together we drive over to one of our favorite places – Morro bay. Have lunch there overlooking Morro Rock. I have the best crab cakes I’ve ever tasted. Quite novel having a meal at lunch time and then a snack / salad at teatime.

Then drive down the coast to Harmony for a shuffle around the pottery and glassworks. Only 18 people live there!

trivia header

Groundhog Day (Pennsylvania German: Grund’sau dåk, Grundsaudaag, Grundsow Dawg, Murmeltiertag; Nova Scotia: Daks Day) is a tradition observed regionally in the United States and Canada on February 2 of every year. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow, it will retreat to its den and winter will go on for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow, spring will arrive early.

The tradition has roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be.

While the tradition remains popular in the 21st century, studies have found no consistent association between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.

The first Groundhog Day was celebrated on Feb. 2, 1887, in Punxsutawney, Penn., according to History.com.

The weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger (German: Dachs) is the forecasting animal. It is related to the lore that clear weather on the Christian festival of Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.

The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, centering on a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most frequently attended ceremony. Grundsow Lodges in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the southeastern part of the state observe the occasion as well. Other cities in the United States and Canada also have adopted the event.

Punxsutawney Phil brought cheers as he predicted an early spring is in store for us in 2024.



Storage of all the items for the troops.

One of the boxes ready to go.

Storage of all the items for the troops.[/caption]For a change here’s a real good news story.

Our friends Nat and Paul run a charity to send boxes to troops. Every Monday, along with some helpers, they make up boxes to send out to their troops. They also raise money for this charity.

Mission Statement

To serve all our troops in all branches of the United States Military by sending care boxes full of items they need for their professional and personal well-being.

We are reaching out to all deployed military personnel, with the hope of making their deployment a little easier.

Sample list of needs, some of the items requested, that we send in large flat-rate USPS boxes are:






After a fig breakfast, a lazy start and a salmon salad for lunch we set off to our next stop in Cambria. Of course no journey would be complete without a supermarket stop.

Paul tried very hard to get us to stay longer but we’d already booked the hotel and house guests are like fish they go off after a few days. Much as we enjoyed our stay with N&P, it was awesome, we were determined not to overstay our welcome.

Hotel is very nice and comfortable. Chicken salad for tea and a full bottle of wine. Slept like a log despite the 5 serious weather warnings.






We were going to drive up Highway 1, all along the cost to where it was closed off. But when we saw the various work crews clearing fallen trees decided it might be more sensible to just hunker down for the afternoon. Test out some SQL solutions for PCMSC, and who knows I might even get some of the Benjamin Franklin biography read.

Judging by the alarming and dire TV weather forecast you would think this was Armageddon, enough to strike fear and terror into anyone. Stay indoors and check your emergency supplies. The end of the World is nigh. Five weather warnings, don’t they realise this is just a typical summers day in Belthorn:




Nabeel Qureshi: Why I stopped believing Islam is a religion of peace


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