A bumpy landing on Faridge Farm

Welcome to the first Sussex Bylines ‘digested month’ by James Cory-Wright

Cartoon drawing of plane coming into land over blue sea, with Ginsters logo
Ginsterland by Marianne Ray

I know it’s March but I must say that February is always the longest month, despite Dudley, Eunice and Franklin’s best efforts to liven it up. Eunice took out a giant eucalyptus in the local park, but more to the point, she scared the crap out of us on our bumpy return to Blighty. We’d spent our first post-COVID sortie with a Brexile living in France who got her residence papers just days before the Faridge Farm’s oven-ready turkey was delivered. She has eschewed the elysian fields of sovereignty and the warming red tape bonfire to shiver through her retirement in the glorious sunshine of the South of France with a swimming pool and a glass of something local.

Passport control into Gatwick was just like the good old days with that glum existential resignation of feeling like an outcast in your own country. Is it because we are not citizens, just toffs or oiks; or Gatwick’s brown and purple chewing gum carpet? Welcome to Ginsterland.

War of the words

But it’s hard to make light of things when there are the horrible happenings in the Ukraine: the cold cruel brutality and banality. Beyond words. Yet words are all we have as we gasp like useless goldfish at the glass, damned if we do, damned if we don’t. How true that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Whether that’s Putin’s use of words like “denazification”, “human shields” and denial of the word “war”, or the facile bombast of the UK’s Churchill wannabe who, even at this terrible time, seems unable to resist peppering his description of the UK’s response with boosterish baloney like “most”, “best”, “leading” and “very very generous”. Eeeuugh. Compare that utter bollocks with Ukraine president Zelensky’s heartfelt nod to the real Churchill’s use of language with his “We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.” Eat your heart out Mr Piggy.

President Zelensky greets cheering crowds at his inauguration
Happier days in 2019 at the presidential inauguration of Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Mhykhaylo Markiv, Creative Commons

“Get back Jo Jo” 

And I heard one man from Kyiv say: “Russian people don’t want to be back in the USSR”, which allows me to escape to the cinema where I savoured every second of ‘Get Back – The Rooftop Concert’ the Beatles’ last ever live performance in 1969.

Their ace musicianship and chutzpah is so damned cool – especially Paul McCartney in his drop dead black 3 piece suit and natty Californian style shoes, his Höfner bass guitar on which even the black strings were groovy and, well, he was just so dandy and mischievously happy. 

painting of the Beatles under Kingston bridge
The Beatles at Kingston Bridge. Photo credit: Gary Birnie:, Creative Commons

 Raisins to be cheerful

Lastly, a nod to Frito. I love this Spanish tomato sauce that’s like passata but with just a touch of onion and garlic to it. It’s hard to buy in the UK shops but last week I came across Soffritto, presumably its Italian equivalent. And I wondered in an idle moment, what’s the difference? Answers on a postcard please…

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