Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Decimal Coffee Cups

We have two sets of espresso coffee cups - decimal and pre-decimal. The decimal one (on the left) needs to be watched when making an espresso from the machine, as it's slightly too small to take an automatic shot, whereas the pre-decimal, Royal Doulton, fine bone china one can be ignored, safe in the knowledge it won't overflow. Coffee seems better in bone china too.

Bloody EU! Bet it's all their fault.

The decimal ones are going to the charity shop.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Chipping Sodbury Classic Car Run

Overheard as a garish, yellow Lamborghini passes us in the street, driven by a very tanned man:

Hay: "Ugly, ugly, ugly, and a hideous colour...... and the car."

Sunday, 26 June 2016


Overheard in Ye Olde Globe, Berrynarbor:

Hay: "Are you busy on Friday evenings?"

Barmaid: "Well, probably not tonight as The Sawmills on the main road is reopening today. It changed hands recently."

Hay: "I used to go there years ago, it was hideous."

Barmaid: "It used to be owned by the same owner as the Globe."

Hay: "When I say years ago, I mean about 17  years ago."

Barmaid: "He has owned it for 25 years."

Hay: "Anyway........"

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Devonian Scale Kayaking

One thing I've noticed while on holiday here in Devon is that the locals seem to have a problem with scale. Large houses in idyllic settings are called this-and-that 'Cottage'; much smaller houses in the same type of settings are invariably called this-and-that  'Grange'.

Found a gorgeous cove yesterday, reached, according to a sign, by 200 steps in the cliff. The sign lied, it was 248 steps and some steep walking. The steps put off a lot of people, so it's generally deserted. The only other people there yesterday came in by RIB.


We actually managed to get some kayaking in yesterday - the main reason we came down here in the fist place.

Off back home today.

I was speaking to the lady who owned a Devon cream tea emporium on Wednesday and the conversation got around to the referendum. I asked how she will vote and she said; "Out - I don't want to be dictated to by the EU as to how many chips I can put on a plate." That encapsulated the referendum - it has been all about ill-informed perception, rather than reality. Boris is now going to have to reap what he sowed and sort out the mess. He's will be remembered as either one of the greatest Prime Ministers, or the most reviled and the one who oversaw the breakup of the Union. I fear it will be the latter.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Devon Cream Tea War Vapers

Had a Devon cream tea yesterday on St James Place in Ilfracombe, which was obviously the scene of the Great Ilfracombe Cream Tea Wars. The various scone barons had waged war on each other for decades until an uneasy peace was brought about whereby they decided to form a pricing cartel and all charge £3.50 for a pot of tea for one, a scone and some jam and clotted cream (£5.50 for 2 scones).

I've come to the conclusion that these vaping devices are dangerous. What with being on holiday, the beard it getting very hirsute and I trapped some lower lip hair in my vaper. Had to enlist the help of Hay to disentangle me.

The British - or rather English and Welsh - electorate has just perpetrated a massive act of political vandalism through not really understanding the issues and listening to demagogues. The upside is we can get duty-free now when we travel to the continent - wow! That's in exchange for the pound dropping through the floor, foreign debt increasing by between 10-15%, austerity getting worse, probably inflation and a consequent interest rises to keep inflation under control. There's also the prospect of a rush by immigrants to get here before we pull up the drawbridge. Happy days! Almost makes me wish for a benevolent dictatorship.

I wonder if we can keep the Poles and deport UKIP? If a general election is called, the job will be a poisoned chalice. It will be interesting to see Boris' reaction - I can't see him calling for a leadership election just yet, as hit would hit him hard to preside over chaos. I'll bet a pound to a pinch of poo that the Daily Mail will shortly turn on the Brexiteers and the media will coin a new term, "Brexit regret".

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Human Rights Fiasco

Not many people seem to be aware that sending criminals to regimes with poor human rights records is against our own Human Rights Act (1988). To enable the UK to deport criminals to countries with poor human rights would mean we would have to drop that, as it's our own legislation.

Not only that, but we'd also have to opt out of the United Nations' Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which contains almost the exact same wording as the European Convention on Human Rights and our own Human Rights Act when it comes to deportations.

It's also little known that the European Court of Human Rights only decides a fraction of the UK’s human rights cases per year – around ten. Only a handful of those are about foreign criminals or immigration. Indeed, the vast majority of human rights cases – including those involving immigration and extradition – are decided by our own courts under the Human Rights Act.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


It rained continuously from Saturday evening through to yesterday afternoon. I got soaked to the skin on Sunday when we walked from Lee Bay to Ilfracombe and back (coming back the long way), despite having one of those pack-a-mac thingies from Mountain Warehouse. I was wetter inside the damned thing from sweat that couldn't escape, coupled with rain coming in through the stitching of the rain-proofs.

On the basis of that I bought a long waxed jacket (for air circulation) for £35 and broad-brimmed, Australian style hat (£20 with a negotiated £5 discount on the basis of a combined purchase) from Pannier Market in Barnstaple yesterday, and hey presto, the sun came out. I'm now looking forward to the next deluge to test out the waxed jacket, regardless of the fact we're on holiday and some sun would be nice. I must get my money's worth!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Triple Jump Veto

Overheard while watching The Secret Lives of Kittens:

Hay: "When I transport Kitty I always put something in her cage that smell of home."

Chairman: "A pair of my jocks?"

Wandering round Ilfracombe yesterday we came across some commemorative thing for Jonathan Edwards' triple jump record. Not sure why it's in Ilfracombe, as he was born in Windsor. What I can't understand is how the triple jump evolved. Long jump, high jump, even the pole vault must have originated in the real world need to get over an obstacle, but the triple jump? It couldn't be for getting across a boulder-strewn river - too slippery. Why a hop, a skip and a jump - why not 4 or 5 hops? Senseless.

In his interview last night, Cameron would not be drawn into saying he'd veto Turkey's accession to the EU. The great unwashed simply can't understand why not, but they're not diplomats operating within grey areas to achieve an objective. As the Prime Minister of the UK, there are certain things Cameron simply cannot say publicly, especially when the EU is relying on Turkey's co-operation with regard to the problem with Syrian refugees. The carrot has to be dangled, not snatched away because the politically illiterate can't understand diplomacy.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Populist Patriotism

I was listening to a recording of the murdered politician Jo Cox. She mentioned how proud she was of being from Yorkshire.

Hearing that made me think about pride. I found this on a Buddhist website; "Pride is defined as an exaggerated positive evaluation of oneself, often based on a devaluation of others. It results in a kind of attachment to oneself and aversion to others." Ironic, really, given what she was campaigning for. Perhaps it was just a  throw-away comment, after all, politicians need to get the public on their side and identify with them (although that's in short supply at present)..

Had Jo been born in Lancashire, I have no doubt whatsoever she would have been equally proud of having been Lancastrian. Similarly, had she been born in Berlin she'd have been proud to have been a Berliner. That's the nature of pride.

National or regional pride is a false construct - you're proud of whatever you are, and all your attributes, and in your mind it needs no justification; it's a form of arrogance.  National pride can be a very dangerous thing, as was so sadly demonstrated.

I don't feel proud to be British - slightly thankful, perhaps, given the situation in other parts of the world, but not necessarily proud. There are many things wrong with the UK, things that certainly wouldn't make me feel proud - else why are we switching governments every now and again or protesting about some issue or other? There are also many things that are fantastic about Britain, but the pride in that rightly belongs to those who initiated whatever is good. Attaching myself to that pride is hubristic. I can only be proud of what I do or achieve myself, not of an accident of  birth.

Pride has caused many conflicts, especially national pride. The pride that expresses itself as; "My country, right or wrong," is the worst kind - it's an excess of patriotism. It defines an 'in' group and an 'out' group.

Inevitably there are overtones here in respect of the referendum. To paraphrase Clausewitz - war is the continuation of politics with other means; the cooperation afforded by the EU is the continuation of peace with other means. We cannot allow it to be trashed by an excess of patriotism. A modicum of patriotism, however, can help shape it into what is needs to be, but patriotism is a double-edged weapon that can come back to bite you in the bum.

Saturday, 18 June 2016


Spotted this yesterday at my mechanic's garage when I took the car for some pre-MoT work - 1961, German Borgward Isabella. It originally had an under-powered 1500cc engine, which has been replaced by a 2 litre Pinto engine.

A beautiful classic in a fantastic colour!