Oliver Phillips »

I keep writing for the sequel rather than face the reality of a publisher saying yes or no to my novel

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:10am Saturday 19th April 2014

After years of writing thousands of words for newspapers, I have have written a book. Only one person has read it and she thoroughly enjoyed it. So it is a success . . . one hundred per cent so. I may have to settle for that.

Oliver Phillips »

The French love their paperwork but in our case it obscured their ability to get a simple job done

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:20pm Friday 11th April 2014

The French are mired in bureaucracy. We try to avoid it whenever possible. However, when we tried to change our account from branch of Credit Agricole to another just 200 miles south, we found ouselves flooded with paperwork.

Oliver Phillips »

Beware of insurance men bearing gifts

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Friday 4th April 2014

It is one thing to try and get an insurance company to repair your car but it is quite another thing to get them to repair it completely, as we found out with AXA in France.

Oliver Phillips »

Not another tragedy in the White Tower of London?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Friday 28th March 2014

It is amazing how many people have never been to the Tower of London and equally amazing how many foreigners take it on their tourist trip. Are they more interested in our history?

Oliver Phillips »

Avoiding EastEnders is compulsive: it should be an Olympic event

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Friday 21st March 2014

I go to great lengths to avoid the TV soap EastEnders. When it comes on, I feel like asking if they have a spare rope and an exposed beam

Oliver Phillips »

Er excuse me but was this restaurant a battle site? Heritage lost, sanity regained.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 13th March 2014

Half-term flying visit to the UK confirms real ale is what I miss most in France. An outing sees us stumble across an impressive Redwings Horse Sanctuary near Banbury but we are unable to find the precise site of a civil war battle.

Oliver Phillips »

To fly or not to fly but for my wife, there is no such debate

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 6th March 2014

Arriving in Calais at noon on a Sunday morning, I knew I could stop overnight but I just drove and nine hours and 650 hours later I was home, contemplating the fact, at 72, there is indeed no fool like an old fool

Oliver Phillips »

A window onto where it was at and a 30-second preview that lasted a lifetime

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 27th February 2014

Six-five special - a classic case of distance lending enchantment. Even I thought it limited at the time but it was the only TV us rock addicts could watch.

Oliver Phillips »

OK I admit old TV programmes would not stand the test of time but I would have liked the option to check

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 20th February 2014

The BBC it its wisdom did not appreciate the wisdom of archiving early television shows. We might cringe if we were able to see them now, but we would have liked the option.

Oliver Phillips »

We ought to start a PWANIW club to compete -programmes we not involved with. GI? (Get it?)

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 13th February 2014

TOWIE CBB Bake off, Strictly, Splash and all their so-called stars just leave me cold

Oliver Phillips »

Those nodding dogs on the front bench really irritate but are we meant to take them seriously

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 6th February 2014

While Ed Moribund (sorry Miliband) is speaking you can see Ed Balls and Harriet Harman nodding in ritualistic agreement with every word that is spoken, while Nick Clegg looks as if he pondering whether or not to move his knight to Queen-four. Are we meant to take our politicians seriously?

Oliver Phillips »

I would have thought EDF have enough to do in France let alone England

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:52pm Thursday 30th January 2014

The probklems with getting EDF to behave in an efficient manner along with repeated breaks in the supply makes me wonder why they do not concentrate on their French commitments.

»

Fame in the 40s and 50s lasted much longer than Warhol's 15 minutes

Posted on 11:57am Thursday 23rd January 2014

Wolves, Moscow Spartak, Honved, Chataway and Kuts made front-page headlines and were feted for years because, in post-war days, the nation was desperate for good news.

Oliver Phillips »

I unearthed some gems from the 1960s and 70s when I found some reel-to-reel tapes

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 16th January 2014

We were writing and recording songs and Ellie was going to make it but we never got round to making the final push for fame apart from submitting a tape to Hughie Green. Since then they have been gathering dust since 1976 but now I hope to transfer them to cd.

Oliver Phillips »

Yesteryear came flooding back with the weekend's newspaper headlines

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:04pm Thursday 9th January 2014

The Everly Brothers, Eusabio hit the headlines over the weekend and on the Monday there was a very large spread in The Independent on the significance of Buddy Holly. It all came together lin one, poignant, nostalgic binge

Oliver Phillips »

The UK has the drop on the French and Spanish when it comes to Christmas meals

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 3:29pm Friday 3rd January 2014

A picturesque winter trip through Languedoc,The Minerviois and the Pyrenees to sample Christmas in Spain - a subdued version of the festive season in Blighty

Oliver Phillips »

Angry at Motorway madness, I remembered I once was that soldier

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 6:21pm Friday 27th December 2013

Mentally castigating those who hog the central lane on the motorway down to Barcelona, I recalled the days when the M1 opened and first travelling upon it was an experience that mixed totally fright and trepidation with exhilaration.

Oliver Phillips »

Ellie in ninth heaven while I head for Spanish Christmas

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 11:34am Friday 20th December 2013

Eight grandchildren between us already and now we are heading for our ninth. Christmas preparations are different this year as grandchild number nine causes us to switch to Spain for the festive season. Off to Sant Cugat, near Barcelona, for Christmas with a difference.

Oliver Phillips »

Did you attend a class with someone destined for fame? Because I didn't!

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 11:33am Sunday 15th December 2013

Lynda Bellingham, Shirley Eaton, Wham! Spice Girls. Local people have connections with the famous having attended school, became apprentices together or whatever. I tried to find where my youthful path had crossed that of those destined for fame, but failed, miserably.

Oliver Phillips »

There's a hint of taste in old chewing gum but it doesn't last long

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 11:57am Saturday 7th December 2013

Going back to Benevent L'Abbaye in The Creuse, Limousin, France, for a two-day visit, only confirmed that we were right to move on, down to the south and The Tarn .

Oliver Phillips »

I thought I was fit if over-weight. The Folly and Rubbermaid brought it home how wrong I was.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:00pm Thursday 28th November 2013

Two games a golf per week did not make me fit only less unfit. I discovered that when I bought a Rubbermaid upon moving to France and pottering about The Folly.

Oliver Phillips »

Coming across a Rubbermaid made me smile and recall when we first moved to France

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 3:41pm Thursday 21st November 2013

Moving from The Limousin to The Tarn in France was a big wrench, particularly after I had invested so much time and energy into developing an acre plot we dubbed The Folly. But having sold, it, we had to return to clear out the outbuildings and garage.

Oliver Phillips »

We have better numeracy and literacy skills than 18-year-olds? No surprise there then.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:52pm Sunday 10th November 2013

So many in England without key literacy and numeracy skills and are judged behind their grandparents

Oliver Phillips »

We happened across different approaches to the ex-pat lifestyle on our visit to Spain

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 10:33pm Thursday 31st October 2013

We can see advantages to the ex-pat lifestyle in Spain but ultimately we would not swap it for our lifestyle in The Tarn, France.

Oliver Phillips »

Colour was not a problem in south west Herts in the 60s and 70s, or was it?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 5:21pm Thursday 24th October 2013

Looking at some of the problems thrown up during research into the Watford Observer's latest publication Watford and south West Herts in the 20th Century Part 3 - 60s and 70s.

Oliver Phillips »

A night in Dunstable brought it all home to me: what's colour got to do with it?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:00pm Friday 18th October 2013

Racism in Sw Herts in the 1960s was fairly muted because there was little opportunity to indulge in it if you were so inclined. Oliver Phillips had been schooled by a racist father but a night watching Tina Turner in 1963 confirmed what he already suspected: the colour of the skin did not matter.

Oliver Phillips »

Mahoney - a police master of disguises or just a normal working speed cop?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:00pm Friday 11th October 2013

With the publication of the new book -Watford in the 20th Century (Sw Herts in the 60s and 70s) - author Oliver Phillips found himself continually reminded of those bygone days and the characters who inhabited them.

Oliver Phillips »

A labour of love but richly rewarding - that's our new book on the 60s and 70s

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 8:00am Friday 4th October 2013

The new Watford Observer publication Watford and the 20th Century - Sw Herts in the 60s and 70s has been launched this week

Oliver Phillips »

Book sparks bout of recalling characters from the '60s High Street

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 7:20am Friday 27th September 2013

Writing the book on Watford and Sw Herts in the 60s and 70s, characters from the High Street sprung to mind such as Alfie Walker, Dave 'Don' Donovan, Big Harry and de Gaulle.

Oliver Phillips »

New Watford Observer book bridges the gap of the lost local photographic heritage

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 9:00am Saturday 21st September 2013

So many photographic records were lost as a result of corporate and corporation vandalism in Watford

Oliver Phillips »

Do you remember the 1960s and '70s? Our new book will bring back many memories, some good and some regrettable.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:09pm Sunday 15th September 2013

Launched on October 3, the Watford Observer is publishing the third book in the series Watford and the 20th Century covering SW Herts during the dramatic, traumatic and life=changing 1960s and '70s.

Oliver Phillips »

Ted Parrish's fascinating reflections on Watford, Bushey and Oxhey set to be published

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 6:26am Saturday 7th September 2013

Ted Parrish had some 96 articles published in the old Post-Echo, looking at Watford, Bushey and Oxhey past. Now they are reproduced with original photographs of the town in a new book.

Oliver Phillips »

How many times do you have to say I don't want PPI calls

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 11:29am Friday 30th August 2013

My five hours in a French hospital for a local operation on my wrist, was briefly interrupted by an unwanted phone call.

Oliver Phillips »

Who just hit me on the bridge of my nose?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 9:10pm Friday 23rd August 2013

An operation in France: go in early in the morning and out at two after a local anaesthetic.

Oliver Phillips »

Did they have me marked down as a hit-man in a 1994 Honda Civic?

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 10:39pm Friday 16th August 2013

The sun was out and not a cloud to spoil the view as someone from my past once sang. However, then I found my car surrounded by the police as I returned from walking the dogs.

Oliver Phillips »

They tell me I can do things I have never achieved in my life

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 9:59pm Thursday 8th August 2013

Oli's better half takes over the blog this week as he is too busy being Man Friday, while Ellie recovers from as hip operation.

Oliver Phillips »

By the time I got to Phoenix, we were rested and thirsting for more

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 5:09pm Thursday 1st August 2013

The last in a recent series reflecting on a trip down the American South-West. Phoenix and an old gold dust town proved interesting. The last leg of the trip - a tour of Indian country - will appear later in the year.

Oliver Phillips »

After A Couple Of Days They Started Treating Me Like A Native

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 25th July 2013

Camp Verde celebrates the life of the cavalry back in the 19th Century but there is scant mention of the death march which they forced on the Apaches just two years after the peace agreement gave them the area "for as long as the grass grows".

Oliver Phillips »

Flitting reflections on a 3,000-mile trip across the south-west

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 18th July 2013

We had been on the road for 3,000 miles so we sat out on the veranda in our rocking chairs and reflected a-whiles. An' when we gone done that, we reflected some more,.

Oliver Phillips »

The bar had closed, the China-man with the pig-tail had sold up and . . . well they say you should never go back

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 11th July 2013

The first of three articles detailing our stay in a one-horse town in Arizona, after we had travelled some 3,000 miles from New Orleans through Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. It was time to take stock and chill.

Oliver Phillips »

Wheel-chaired to a weekend in the UK and a taste of British summer

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:30pm Thursday 4th July 2013

Flying back to the UK for a long weekend,I took in Thorpe Park, the Harlequin, Beaconscott Village, six restaurants and sampled the quality of the assisted passage service at Luton airport, along with the vagaries and inconsistencies of airport security.

Oliver Phillips »

Back in the UK for the weekend with some help from Ryanair provokes a few memories

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 2:56pm Tuesday 25th June 2013

We are back to confirm one of life's milestones after a long weekend down memory lane with a very dear pal

Oliver Phillips »

We are prepared should summer arrive in Europe some time soon

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 5:06am Thursday 20th June 2013

Air conditioning was an obvious "must" after the heat-wave that hit France last July and August. It was so hot, excavating an area for a swimming pool had to be postponed until September. Happy but distant memories,.

Oliver Phillips »

Where else can you order a pint of Canny Bevvy than 'oop North'.

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 6:21am Wednesday 12th June 2013

For many years I travelled the nation's motorways with kick-off times in mind so it made a change to see the towns and cities beyond the stadia of Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and York.

Oliver Phillips »

Consideration for fellow human beings can be in short supply in Watford

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:21pm Friday 31st May 2013

First come, first served is a good yardstick, but that does not give you the right to ignore those further down the line, An unusual experience so surprised me with its ignorance, I could not bother to be annoyed.

Oliver Phillips »

Being hip to an everyday story about growing old

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 1:54pm Friday 24th May 2013

French red-tape can cause a delay in obtaining even a priority operation

Oliver Phillips »

Imagine the inconvenience of having to wear socks for the first time in six months

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:50pm Friday 17th May 2013

After driving over 3000 miles from New Orleans, it was time to chill out for a couple of days in a town we had been to before. But they say you should never go back.

Oliver Phillips »

We kept just half an hour ahead of the snow as it fell on Bryce Canyon

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:00am Friday 10th May 2013

The prospect of being locked in by snow on the plateau above Bryce, threatened our USA tourist schedule.

Oliver Phillips »

They have names for every gulch, canyon and butte so we added a few more

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 12:00am Friday 3rd May 2013

We just mapped a route in an effort to find a different way to getting to Bryce Canyon and it proved to be the most memorable 48 hours in the USA

Oliver Phillips »

Strange to see a school bus picking up children where John Wayne caught that stagecoach

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Posted on 6:53am Monday 29th April 2013

Reflections on a trip to Arizona and Utah, taking in the magic of Monument Valley.

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