Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Bamboo Toilets

We want to make the patio at the back of our house a bit more private. When out walking the other day we spotted a rather nice bamboo hedge in a pub, which would be ideal for our purposes.

I mentioned to Hay that bamboo is fast growing and can be somewhat invasive and enquired how we could keep it under control. She suggested we get a panda or a Chinese cook.

Yesterday we went on a short train journey from St Ives to Hale and, just before we arrived in St Erth (where we had to change trains), I decided to deballast in the train toilet. It was one of those corner toilets with automatic, sliding doors. On entering it I pressed the button for the door to close and, as soon as they had slid shut, a voice announced that the doors were no longer working - I was trapped. I considered pulling a switch inside the toilet, but wasn't sure whether it would also stop the train, which seemed a bit over the top for a simple door failure. After a bit of faffing around and having alerted Hay to my predicament, I finally pulled the switch and heaved the doors open, only to discover we'd already reached St Erth and the train was now headed back to St Ives. Had to go all the way back and come out again. Rather embarrassing.

Monday, 21 May 2018


I've discovered that the E-Type Jag Prince Harry was seen driving away in is a Concept Zero electric version, which for a purist like me is anathema.

To me it's the equivalent of a fake Leonardo, although not quite, as it relies on an original, existing body. It's just the engine that's replaced with the electric powertrain.  I suppose one has to move with the times and legislation, but a 168 mile range? Come on!

I wonder what Mr Clarkson says about it...

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Sovereignty of Wedding Tea & Pastry

What with doing a 9 mile walk along the SW Coastal Path from St Ives to Zennor, we thought we'd nicely missed The Wedding, but when we got back to the holiday let we found out that Hay's dad and his girlfriend had suffered a catastrophic TV failure and had missed it - Hay's dad had somehow, accidentally managed to disconnect the aerial. That meant we had to sit through the entire, interminable thing on iPlayer after I got the TV working again - there was no compromise as far as his girlfriend was concerned.

The bride wore a nice dress and the groom wore a uniform, although the uniform looked like it was from the Undertakers' Regiment - didn't he have anything red in his wardrobe? The American, pantomime bishop was good, but someone should have hoicked him off after the first 5 minutes. Beckham's tattooed neck added a nice touch of Thug Life to the proceedings (was he chewing gum?). I thought it would have been a nice touch if Prince Philip could have been asked to walk her down the aisle - it would have been his final hurrah.

The papers are going to have a field day today with images of grumpy celebrities and yawns. It was a nice wedding though. Eventually went to bed at 8.30, as I was knackered and in no mood for more wedding analysis.

Woke up this morning to find Harry had bought Megan an E-Type Jag as a wedding present but, sensibly, he drove it. Bit over the top, if you ask me - hope it's not coming from my taxes. The Sunday Times shows a picture on the cover of the couple, with Harry sporting the rictus grin of one who has been forced to smile all day (I call it the Wallace and Gromit grin). We've watched Harry grow up in the glare of the media spotlight - it must be like living in a permanent Truman Show for him, but he's in on the act. Her too now.

This preoccupation with sovereignty is becoming a bit silly. Spotted these in a cupboard in the holiday let:

Never seen any tea plantations in either county. Everyone knows the tea is actually grown in the foothills of the Pennines in Lancashire and imported into Yorkshire and Cornwall where it's then rebranded...

Is it just me, or has Trump got Mr Pastry as his National Security Advisor?

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Rural Diamond Geezer

I just love being over 60...

Especially Wednesdays when it's Diamond Discount day for the over 60s...

well, it's the big wedding today, but I'm afraid we won't be watching. I think a long walk is called for. It beats me how Megan Markle's parents are affording all this pageantry - it must be costing them an arm and a leg. Marrying into a  large family on benefits doesn't help either.

An interesting result from a YouGov daily poll with a clear divide:

Friday, 18 May 2018

Guitar Art

While we were up in Southport a couple of weeks ago we found this guitar in a shop called Dad's Guitars.

Now Hayley's sister is an artist, so Hay's going to commission her to transform a £30 charity shop guitar and possibly start a new business with her.

I was talking to a neighbour the other day and he told me he took the Citizenship Test for a laugh and got 20%, and he's 100% English. I wonder if they'll have a question such as 'what is Brexit'? Half the nation will disagree with the other half as to the definition.

One swallow does not a summer make, as the saying goes. The failure of private industry to run the East Coast Rail Line is not en excuse to start wholesale nationalisation of everything in sight, as the left wing is wont to do. Virgin and Stagecoach merely made a bad investment decision. That shouldn't be used as an excuse by ideologues. Some things are better in public ownership for a variety of reasons; some are plainly not.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

In Search of a News Story

Came across this yesterday:

Seems, at first glance to be quite legit. That is, till one tries to find out who or what Vexen Crabtree is. I found the chart by searching on images in Google and it was on a blog called The Human Truth Foundation, which is a blog by one Vexen Crabtree. At best it has been researched, but at worst it's just one person's view and therefore liable to personal bias. The fact I tend to agree with the chart is immaterial.

Talking of news stories, it would appear Trump has been owned (to use a popular phrase) by Kim Jong Un. Someone in the North Korean regime has analysed Trump and determined that his weakness is his narcissism - that comes as no surprise. They knew Trump could be easily led into a trap by offering talks and just waiting for him to crow about his success - then whipping the carpet from under his feet at the last minute. At least that's how I read it. Kim's offer of talks just didn't seem right to me; it was totally out of character for a dictator.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

What's in a Name

Had to laugh...

It was an article on FlipBoard; people don't half jump to conclusions.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018


Despite the unseasonally cool weather, last week (till Saturday) was the one of the weeks with the most sunshine since we started recording our solar generation.

Click Image to Enlarge

The highest we've recorded was a week in June in 2013, the year we first started recording. We made something like £45 in solar generation that week.

An interesting pattern is developing in our heating use. Whereas in 2013 through to 2015 we had a single trough of electricity expenditure (the blue shaded area), the last three years have shown two distinct phases of usage in winter.

Monday, 14 May 2018

F1 Wedding

Overheard while sat outside a tea shop:

Hay: "I've had enough of working from home."

Chairman: "Ah, that's because you lack the discipline. When you've done what needs to be done you get anxious and start doing things that don't need doing. I have the iron discipline to lie down on the couch, read a page or two and fall asleep, which recharges my batteries and allows me not to do things that don't need doing."

Listen to a news programme or open a paper and all you get bombarded with is the Royal Wedding. I wonder how much Windsor Castle is charging Megan Markle's parents for the wedding package and if they managed to negotiate a discount. There's not much we can learn from the French, but how to treat royalty is certainly one...

Heard something about an F1 road race than's being mooted for London. I firmly believe it should be raced with the potholes being left as they are, as it'll provide added excitement. Formula 1 has become too boring these days - I used to follow it in the 70s and 80s and early 90s, but not since Marcel Proust stopped racing. How he found time for F1, what with all his looking for lost time, I'll never know.

We went out to Minchinhampton for a brief walk yesterday  morning and were sat next to a courting couple outside a tea shop. He seemed to have commitment problems and was complaining that that afternoon he had to wash his car, tidy his flat, prepare himself a meal for the evening and see the girl he was sat next to, but couldn't do all three things. I wondered which he was going to drop.

Minchinhampton is yet another of these beautiful and quaint Cotswold villages that we're infested with in this part of the country - it's horrendous! I believe Keith Allen lives nearby, which isn't necessarily something to crow about and could put visitors off.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Fifth Transporter

Overheard while watching The Transporter:

Chairman: "Who wrote this film?"

Hay: "Luc Besson."

Chairman: " Ah, the bloke who wrote The Sixth Element?"

Hay: "The Fifth Element."

Chairman: "I was talking about the relatively unknown sequel. It has Barry Wossisface in it."

Hay: "Bruce Willis."

Chairman: "That's right - Barry is his middle name - Bruce Barry Willis."

Has anyone ever tasted soy milk cheese? I've heard reports that it tastes nothing like cheese, in which case why call it a cheese?

Why is it that the vast majority of people like paintings by famous artists, yet hardly anyone will put a copy of an Old Master on their wall? The prohibition doesn't seem to extend as much to copies of modern artists and it's not that unusual to see a copy of, say, a Lichtenstein or a Kandinsky on someone's wall, but it's always made obvious that it's a print (as if it could be anything else). It would seem that if we can't have an original, we'd rather not have them on our walls at all, despite universal acclaim to the fact they are beautiful paintings. It's seen as gauche - I wonder what it is about our psychology that makes it so?

I'm led to believe, from the news, that the Eurovision Song Contest was on TV last night. Does anyone still watch it? I haven't had the vaguest interest in it since Terry Wogan stopped presenting it, and even then it was more to do with his irreverent and laconic commentary than the acts. I suppose it does provide a populist a view of geopolitics, but only between the countries that enter. I find it all rather cheesy and would obtain more entertainment value from a documentary on tractor making in Uzbekistan.

Hay and I are addicted to The Bridge - we've watched all three previous series on iPlayer over the last month. Belgian, Scandinavian and Dutch TV series have now become our staple - the plots are excellent and the production values are unrivalled, even when compared to the BBC. The added advantage for me is that I can go and make a cup of tea and still keep up with the plot - maybe not as much with the Scandinavian ones, but it is surprising how many words are common with Dutch. We can't wait for the French spy series, The Bureau, to start again. Live TV on our house now consists of the news and that's about it - the rest is Catch-up, Netflix or Amazon. The vast majority of what passes for entertainment on 'live' TV is cheap dross. More choice, when virtually everything is funded by the same pot of advertising money, can only mean cheap and worse programming.

Think we're going to have to change our Sunday paper from The Sunday Times to something less right wing and with more news in it. The magazine this morning is just The Rich List, which I have no interest in whatsoever; I never even open the Style magazine and the only bit I actually get any information from is the Culture supplement, and that's only about new books. Suggestions on a postcard for a non-partisan newspaper with a good spread of news, both domestic and international.