Wednesday, 30 September 2009


I was thinking about global warming yesterday. What are its consequences? Are they as hideous as some would have us believe? Polar icecaps melt, animals living in polar regions migrate (and probably evolve to cope with the change), sea levels rise, mass migration of humans from flood plains toward higher ground, previously uninhabitable areas become conducive to life in an equitable quid pro quo (much of the Sahara was once a fertile area), a proliferation of vegetation through a warmer climate, warm and shallow seas bringing a proliferation of waterborne life.

In other words, a return to the conditions which sucked carbon from our atmosphere in the first place and laid down seams of fossil fuels – coal and oil. Admittedly we won’t be able to utilise it, but our descendents millions of years in the future will – unless they’ve progressed well beyond burning the earth’s natural resources for energy and mastered the sub-atomic forces.

Releasing anthropogenic carbon merely creates the conditions necessary for the earth to develop the life that actually eliminates it again – it’s a simple feedback control mechanism. When you think about it, coal and oil are merely the earth’s way of converting and storing the sun’s energy – very inefficiently.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Message to The Spiv

Firstly I must thank The Spiv for delivering the tajine he promised me a few months ago. Unfortunately Hay and I were in Cornwall and couldn’t be here to accept it personally and provide some refreshment and recompense for his efforts. Spiv old boy, I note the tajine had a price tag on it of 18 Euros, so let me know your address or bank account details and I’ll put £20 your way.

I’m not able to post much at present as I’m down by the head with work in the lead up to a couple of large and important bids that will bring in enough revenue to reach my target 3 months early, so please bear with me if I’m somewhat distracted for a few weeks.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Boring, boring, boring

Beastly sorry I haven't had time to reply to comments, but I've had no time.

Wednesday we worked from 09:00 to 18:30; yesterday we worked from 08:00 to 18:30; today we work from 08:00 to 15:00 – then I have to drive from Basildon in Essex to Hayle in Cornwall, a midge’s nudger short of 400 miles. I suspect I may not make it in one go and will have to overnight at the caravan and set off at sparrow’s fart on Saturday morning.

I’m going to bore you rigid now. Much to my amazement, I actually learned something valuable from the sales training yesterday; to view what I’m selling from a different perspective. I’m not selling radars, autopilots, VHFs and satellite communication services, but predictability in budgeting. I know it sounds trite, but that simple concept enables me to move away from box shifting (which I hate) to selling a strategic solution to a critical business issue – something I’m more experienced at selling.

This concept enables me and my salesmen to enter an organisation at a higher level than we have heretofore done, as I’m addressing a strategic issue which bedevils many capital-intensive organisations – that of the fact they find it hard to plan ahead due to capital expenditure on purchasing, repair and maintenance being unpredictable. Immediately we focus the conversation on strategic issues, we suddenly find ourselves talking to the Master of Ceremonies rather than his assistant footstool bearer.

If I can enter in to a strategic win/win partnership with a prospect organisation, then I can sell services at a fixed price and product at a mutually agreed and independently audited discount, enabling them to feel confident in putting all their purchases through me – even for products we don’t actually sell today, but on which we can nonetheless obtain trade discounts. That in turn then means they don’t have to waste time and effort obtaining competitive quotes and analysing the results while all the time their ships are being delayed by not having the necessary equipment delivered immediately.

It’s an interesting twist on our selling model and takes it to another level. Whether my staff will be happy with it is another matter. There are already mutterings of dissent within my team, but that’s merely people not liking change and being afraid of new concepts that raise the game. I’ll have to coerce them into coming aboard through example.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Give Me Your Watch.......

Well, the sales training is an object lesson in consultancy more than anything else. By consultancy I mean asking someone for their watch in order to tell them the time.

It transpires that the hour or more I spent on the phone last week with the consultant telling him about my market was repeated with the managers of other two smaller markets. They certainly did their groundwork to make the course relevant to our markets using our own input.

Yesterday we learned to seek out those with ultimate decision making power. Now if you haven’t grasped that within your first few weeks in sales, then you probably won’t last very much longer than another couple of weeks, let alone 30 years.

The other thing we learned was to make the sales pitch relevant to the target person’s business problems. Again, kindergarten stuff you learn pretty quickly from your sales peers or a half competent manager.

The rest of the time from 9am to 6:30pm was spent debating issues on which individual salespersons are sure to differ – and a sure way to waste time while giving the appearance of being productive, as what works for one salesperson will not necessarily work for another (and justifiably so). Every salesperson has his or her own approach, and will defend that approach to the death as being the best approach – it’s simply human nature.

I can guarantee we are being charged a minimum of £1k per person - and there are 11 of us on the 3 day course. Not only that, but 3 other divisions of the company have received the same course. An object lesson in how to capitalise on senior management’s fears that their salesmen aren’t good at their jobs when the failure to reach targets is actually down to the worst recession since the Wall Street Crash and irrational targets that seem to ignore this inconvenient fact. Also an object lesson in referral selling within a large organisation.

I just hope the next 2 days of the course teach us how to perform the impossible by persuading non-existent customers (because they’ve gone bust) to part with money they simply don’t have in the first place as they have suffered a 25% reduction on income. However, having said that, the consultants managed to persuade my company to part with money it doesn’t have, and they’ve done it by preying on fears and the setting of ridiculous expectations. That’s certainly worth learning.

Seems one of my old beards has made it to the National Beard Registry.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Yolk's On You

At breakfast this morning in the Premier Inn near HQ, I was contemplating the humble fried hen’s egg.

I don’t particularly like the white of an egg, particularly if it’s ‘snotty’. It can also hold its heat like a nuclear furnace. I eat it under sufferance, waiting to attack the yolk; however, if not cooked to perfection and still very runny, it disappears the minute you cut into it and spreads all over the plate, being virtually impossible to eat unless mopped up with something else, completely destroying its flavour in the process.

Are you as frustrated with fried eggs as I am?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

My Grandmother Sucked Eggs

Been in sales and marketing virtually all of my shore-based life, but I and my team (all of whom are on the verge of retirement and have been in sales for the last 30 years too) have to go to HQ in Basildon till Friday to be taught how to sell by a bunch of consultants who know bugger all about my market and had the nerve to conference call me for 2 hours last week in an effort to find out more about it. The words 'grandmother', 'teach' and 'eggs' come to mind.

In the words of Capt. Oates: "I am just going outside and may be some time."

Monday, 21 September 2009

U Turns

UK politicians of all hues are accusing each other of U turns in policy after realising that cuts have to be made to spending plans.

Are these people lunatics? Being able to recognise you need to change your mind due to changing circumstances is a positive virtue, not a weakness! It’s not being able to adapt that caused the disaster at Arnhem, the anniversary of which was celebrated last weekend. Montgomery, in his fixation on beating the Americans across the Rhine, ignored all warnings and objective intelligence to the effect that it was an impossible task and doomed to failure. Dogma is not a virtue.

We went to the Cross Hands Hotel in Old Sodbury for dinner on Friday evening. Nice place, if a bit impersonal and branded (Greene King). The food is cheaper and of higher quality than The Dog, but I still prefer The Dog due to the ambience and the fact we know the landlady personally – plus the profits (albeit negligible) remain within the community. An excellent 3 course meal for two with wine, coffee and double liqueurs came to only £65, excluding the tip.

While Lancelot “Capability” Brown landscaped nearby Dodington Park, his less well-known brother, Sid “bloody rubbish” Brown did the Cross Hands’ car-park.

I’d love to run a restaurant where I could arbitrarily decide on a whim whether customers can be served. On Thursdays I’d issue an edict that ugly people will not be served, or on Fridays that no-one dressed in anything red will be served. Saturdays would mean no-one who is obese would be able to eat there. I had a problem with Sundays, but finally plumped for customers only being served if wearing a burqa – male or female, so as to not be discriminatory.

Why are Moslems allowed to get away with missing the u after a q? That’s discriminatory. Burqa, Al-Qaeda, etc.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

What a Carry On - Confessions of a Clay Hoarder

Now for the answer to yesterday’s question.

Words ending in ‘ing’ are a subset of the words having ‘n’ as the penultimate letter (‘ing’ itself having ‘n’ as the penultimate letter); ergo there are more words with ‘n’ as the penultimate letter than ones ending in ‘ing’.

If you thought the answer was words ending in ‘ing’, you’re not alone. The vast majority of people do not analyse the question and spontaneously think there are more words ending in ‘ing’ as you can append it to lots of words. We’re a highly irrational species.

Panic over the infection of a handful of kids in the UK from e-coli caused by petting farm animals has resulted in a swathe of petting farms closing down and hundreds of people being made jobless. I’m not sure of the statistics in the UK, but in the USA you are twice as likely to die from a road accident than die from e.coli, which kind of puts all the hysteria into perspective. Again, an example of pure irrationality.

Talking of irrationality; confession! Never heard of a more kack-handed and ridiculous ideology in my life. The idea that you can expiate your guilt by confessing your misdeeds to a disinterested 3rd party (and by disinterested I mean someone not involved in being ‘sinned’ against – or even mythical) is totally irrational and counter-intuitive. Having confessed your sins you’re free to go on your merry way free of all guilt while the victim of your actions is possibly still suffering the consequences. If you’re going to confess, then it should at the very least be to your victim.

Safari suits! Unless you’re off to the Serengeti or Umfolozi National Parks, what’s the point? My old man used to wear them ever since he returned from one of his voyages to South Africa in the 60s.

I was reading Charles Hawtrey’s wiki page yesterday and was amused by the following observation: “Hawtrey finally retired to Deal in Kent in the 1980s, where he devoted much time to the consumption of alcohol.” For foreign readers not of the British persuasion, Hawtrey was a regular on the Carry On series of film farces.

While we can all probably name half a dozen female supermodels, can any of you name a single male supermodel? Even if you can, are you able to name a single one that married a rich woman? I suppose it just goes to show how shallow men are when compared to women.

Anyone want to take 40 tonnes of excavation clay off me?

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Footings In

You wouldn't believe how far the concrete delivery system can reach.

Cat made herself scarce yesterday; she was obviously aware of the superstition that burying a black cat in your walls or foundations is meant to bring good luck to a house and keep the nasty spirits away.

I'll end today with a question. Are there more words having the letter 'n' as the penultimate letter, or more words ending in 'ing'?

Friday, 18 September 2009

Fuel For Thought.

Petrol in the UK has recently gone up by roughly 3%, whereas autogas (Calor) has increased by 10%. So much for persuading people to use more environmentally friendly fuels.

Here are a couple of thoughts for Friday:

Do intelligent people simply have a higher level of consciousness which enables them to assimilate more information about everything?

Did Jesus have a messiah complex?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem .... Dry Bones

If you’re still a rabid Daily Mail reader and don’t believe that our existing drug laws promote crime, then have a read of this pilot conducted in 3 English cities which had excellent results.

Bones from the thigh and foot of St Therese of Lisieux have arrived in the UK for a tour. This quaint Catholic rite of exhibiting the remains of saints seems rather macabre to me and I can see little point in people wanting to view them. It’s not exactly as if she was an Egyptian Pharaoh from the Old Kingdom. Perhaps it’s more to do with the Catholics’ belief that uttering a few words over her bones will facilitate a temporal reversal of the universal laws of nature.

I say ‘laws’, but it’s not as if matter reads a book of rules and then consciously obeys these rules; we merely use the word ‘laws’ to describe matter’s observed patterns of behaviour, patterns from which they never deviate. Catholics (among others of a religious bent) are firmly, yet without firm evidence, of the opinion that the laws of nature can be violated by incantation through the intercession of supernatural forces, for which again there is no evidence other than heresay. No prayer has ever achieved anything more than can be achieved by a competent therapeutic hypnotist.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Snip

Went for a haircut yesterday. I had somewhat long hair and it took the barber about 10 minutes to sculpt it into a normal short style. The chap before me had what can only be described as a No. 1 back and sides and a No.2 top, yet it took an amazing 20 minutes to achieve this level of simplicity.

The barber must have spent 10 minutes clacking his scissors against his comb, in the manner all barbers do, while appearing to chop off stray hairs which, given the close crop the customer had experienced just a minute before from the clippers, could only have been a figment of his imagination. I somehow suspect he simply wanted a chat, an activity I avoid by the simple expedient of assuming a scowl, which generally tends to deflect any barber (except the terminally chatty) from inane conversation.

Marcus, a lamb that was kept by a school in England in order to teach children about all aspects of farming, has been sent to slaughter, igniting a row between the school and various well meaning, but irrational, animal welfare campaigners and charities.

The decision to send the lamb to slaughter was supported by the school council (comprised of pupils), staff, the governing body and the majority of parents. The school now plans to use the proceeds to buy some pigs to use them to make sausages.

The animal protection charity, Peta, said it had contacted the school asking for the slaughter programme to be shut down saying: "We urge you once again to spare Marcus' life - teaching the children how animals feel love, joy, fear and pain, just like us. We also ask that you shut this programme down. The children have got to know and love Marcus and it is now the perfect chance to introduce humanity, compassion, respect and understanding to the school instead of betrayal."

Peta obviously know nothing about the food chain or how meat for the table is produced and that it involves the killing of animals. The pupils are learning just that, and that if you want to eat meat then there are some decisions that have to be made. It’s called the real world, rather than the fluffy and anthropomorphic Beatrix Potter world that people in Peta inhabit, complete with talking bunnies, hedgehogs with opposable thumbs and pigs that have taken an evolutionary leap that defies comprehension and could only be called a leap of faith.

I’m not at all surprised that the kids themselves agreed that the lamb should go to slaughter. Given the choice, I’m certain kids would want to reintroduce indiscriminate torture into the national sentencing policy, along with mandatory hanging for any teacher who gives them anything but a top grade.

There are literally thousands, if not millions, of kids who cannot make the connection between meat in the supermarket and animals that run around our fields. I’m equally certain there are adults who are similarly disabused of such knowledge and think that lamb is derived form the lamb tree.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Building work begins - with an accident

Well, Colin and Barry – our builders – cleared the build site yesterday, but not before Colin had brained himself on the digger before even starting.

The spoil was taken to the top of the field and having some lush vegetation in it, the sheep decided to become mountain sheep.

Colin – who happens to be a neighbour and friend – has promised that within two weeks he’ll have reached damp course.

The building inspector visited the site too yesterday and gave us some much welcome news: providing the willow and two leylandii come down, we need only take the foundations down to 1 metre and will not require a suspended floor.

Took delivery of a pair of varifocals yesterday. While they’re fine for driving, telling the time from your watch, reading menus and looking at ingredients in supermarkets, they’re as much use as diving goggles for working at a computer screen or doing any serious reading. You need to tilt your head so far back that you resemble one of the aristocracy, and even then the screen or page seems to bend down at the edges. At least I can now drive and read my e-mails simultaneously without switching glasses!

Thank God I took the precaution of getting the cheapest available while I made up my mind; don’t think I’ll bother with expensive ones as I’m still going to have to tote reading glasses around for use in the office.

The authorities in Aceh province, Indonesia, have passed a law making stoning to death a mandatory sentence for adultery along with severe sentences for rape, homosexuality, alcohol consumption and gambling. Attending prayers and dressing according to a Mulsim dress code have been mandatory for some time. What enlightened times we live in.

If you live in the UK and support our armed forces (the men, if not the wars), then here’s a worthwhile petition to sign to save the British Forces Post Office system.

Monday, 14 September 2009

A miraculous apology for fly tipping

Miracle: an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

Isn’t it strange how people these days are increasingly willing to ascribe the word miracle to an event which, while rare, can be entirely attributable to natural causes or probability?

To return for a minute to the Alan Turing apology issue: whereas many gay people would like an apology from ‘society’ for the historical actions of the past (despite there being little causal linkage between the society responsible for those past acts and today’s society), I wonder if they’ve ever considered publicly thanking today’s ‘society’ for having changed the laws such that the injustices of the past can no longer be legally repeated? This pre-occupation with apologies from those not actually responsible for the initial injustice allows those demanding the apology to wallow in victimhood, an emotive state of mind I find particularly distasteful as it instils a ghetto mentality and does not encourage people to move on.

The pikies left yesterday morning, leaving the hedge clippings and tree branches from their last job piled against our hedge on the common side, along with several buckets of dog shit from their dogs and a few paper donations from MacDonald’s. Don’t think I’ll be employing them to trim our hedge in October. In fact I feel like reporting them to the police for fly-tipping. Had they asked us, we would have taken the wood waste and burned it in our field. The only saving grace is that the wood they left is biodegradable and will thus not be a long-term nuisance.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

An apologetic Sunday sermon

Went round to see the pikeys on the common yesterday and it transpires they specialise in tree felling / pruning and hedging – some of which needs done to the trees and hedge around our field. We’ve arranged for them to come back in October for a couple of days and do all the work we require, providing us with free logs for the wood burner in the process when the willow tree comes down (as a condition of only going down 1m with the foundations of the house - or moving it another 10m, with an attendant escalation in the cost of the planning application).

Forgot to mention – the builders are on-site tomorrow to start the foundations, so it’s full steam ahead until we reach the damp course, following which we start saving again to erect the external walls.

Yesterday’s post about vapid apologies raised some dissent among the ranks. An apology is a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another. As such, it must be delivered by the one doing the insulting, failing, injuring or wrongdoing to the one insulted, failed, injured, or wronged.

For someone to step in as a proxy for the delivering party makes it a travesty. For that proxy to deliver it to someone already dead renders it a meaningless ritual. Who benefits? It’s totally vacuous and nothing more than political correctness serving those who like to feel professionally offended on behalf of every possible offendee.

In the case of Alan Turing, society’s atonement (if society can possibly be said to be capable of spontaneous conscious action as a single entity) is that the laws have been changed. That surely is sufficient recognition of the fact that what happened to him was morally wrong – by the more enlightened standards of today.

Clashes have apparently occurred
between the various factions of the Defence League, a right-wing grouping, and the Unite Against Fascism group. The strange thing is that Unite Against Fascism was joined by Muslims. I say strange, as Islam is in essence a fascist religion in that it makes no distinction between state and philosophy and brooks no criticism. Sound familiar? As it turned out, once the demo was over the Muslims turned on the police for a bit of diversionary mayhem.

Any religion whose sacred texts contain within them even the slightest hint of a justification for killing in that religion’s god’s name and maintains that text is the inerrant word of God is barbaric and should be censured by the enlightened as morally corrupt. That would mean censuring all the Abrahamic religions.

It would be hard indeed (if not impossible) to find any such exhortations to violence in an eastern religion. Eastern religions are concerned with eliminating the self through altered states of consciousness in the search for an underlying reality, whereas western religions (by which I mean the Abrahamic traditions) are concerned with ‘truths’ which are not self-evident (in fact lacking in any evidence whatsoever) and the proclamation of smug and self-righteous certainty. That makes western religions very dangerous in my eyes.

Eastern religions do contain some empirical truths based on the scientific principle, whereas western religions are positively hostile to science and have been a barrier to most scientific advancements we now take for granted. We live in a scientifically advanced society despite religion, not because of it.

While there is undoubtedly much good in religion, it will not gain my respect until such time as;

  1. its adherents ditch the ridiculous claim that words written by different men at different times and containing literally thousands of contradictions are the literal inerrant words of an omniscient God, and once that is achieved,
  2. any possible passages containing justifications for killing or doing harm in the name of the texts’ God are excised by the leaders of that religion.

Then, and only then, will I not mock these textual relics of a barbaric past and those who profess certainty about their mythical God and that he’s all for peace and love, but that’s about as likely as water turning to wine or the sun standing still over the skies of Jericho.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Leftover pikeys

Overheard in the caravan:

Chairman: “I think I’ll cook that Nigel Slater recipe we saw on TV the other night – end of week leftovers.”
Hay: “But we don’t have any leftovers.”
Chairman: “That’s OK, I’ll go and buy some.”

The Chairman has heard it mooted that Scottish singing sensation, diva and X-Factor winner, Susan Boyle, is about to star in a porno movie.

Here’s a good article on the legalisation of drugs. I fully concur with the conclusions. As I’ve said here many a time, legalise them and a lot of our troubles will disappear overnight. It’s strange, but look behind every ban, or attempted ban on something from which people can feasibly derive pleasure and you’ll find a right-wing Christian. It’s also a fact that every ban on something from which people can feasibly derive pleasure produces even worse consequences than those attributable to the thing being banned in the first place.

A group of pikeys arrived on the common (the other side of our field's hedgerow) last night. Why do they always have a small yappy dog that won’t shut up? The sight of our caravan must have made them think they were among friends. Must go and visit them later and see if they need any mattresses, upturned prams or burned-out cars. Hope to hell they're not the type that leave more mess than the combined internal capacity of their caravans; we sometimes do get quite decent pikeys who clear up after themselves, but in the main they're the disgusting sort.

Friday, 11 September 2009

The sins of the father

Following a petition, the British government has apologised for the way in which Alan Turing, WWII code breaker and father of modern computer science, was treated for being gay.

When will this self-flagellist, PC fascination with the warped Christian doctrine of ‘the sins of the fathers being visited unto the children of the third and fourth generation’ cease?

I would never dream of apologising for something my grandfather, or even father did, as there is no causal link. Similarly we should not judge the actions of yesteryear by the modes, morals and ethics of today. If we did, we’d be doing nothing but apologising for things from the past over which we had absolutely no control, nor involvement in, whatsoever. We move forward – that’s what evolution is all about.

Where does the blame stop? Where the causal link stops, that’s where. Much as I support gay rights, I don’t support idiocy and propaganda on the part of the gay rights movement.

Just realised while writing this that it's 9/11 (in the American vernacular).

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


There should be a ban on all alcohol advertising, including sports and music sponsorship, doctors say.

Can’t say I’ve noticed any increase in drinks marketing of late; however, thinking about it last night we concluded that it’s probably because we go to bed before the watershed and read, hence missing out on all the adult stuff.

I guess it's missed by marketing people that if you want to sell something to oldies it's pointless doing it after the watershed, as we're all asleep.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Banksy II

This appeared on the railway bridge at the back of our lane on Sunday morning.

Artistic merit; zero
Irony: zero
Social commentary; zero
Political commentary; zero

Monday, 7 September 2009

Genetic modification gone mad!

Boffins create runner bean / pig hybrid.

This was spotted by Hay's sister yesterday while picking runner beans in the veg garden - a bean shaped like a pig's tail. I'm getting very worried about this genetic modification.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Degrees of matching cooking pots

Here’s a conundrum for you. The UK government is gradually making it virtually mandatory for you to have a degree qualification for your job. The latest vocation to being considered for professionalisation under the jack-boot of the degree-obsessed is that of a prison officer. Why is it then that those who lead us us and generate reams of legislation need no qualification whatsoever – not even so much as a City & Guilds qualification in political science?

Another observation - matching cooking pans; are they about cooking, or lifestyle bollocks? My mother had a chip pan which cooked the most delicious chips I’ve ever tasted; a saucepan of dubious provenance; a pressure cooker from the cretaceous epoch and 3 stewing pots which were as matched as Paris Hilton, Stephen Hawking and Lemmy from Motorhead and had been sourced from her mother.

Had a slight problem with the e-cigar. I had come to my last one, only for it to last 24 hours before packing up, leaving me with no supplies but 2 on order. Postal strikes and the usual delays resulted in me being bereft of ersatz smoking, hence I bought a couple of packets of fags to tide me over. Hay was not impressed and made me buy a nicotine inhaler from the chemist’s yesterday – what a waste of money.

The device is not an inhaler at all, but a very basic plastic cigarette holder that merely allows you to suck a dose of nicotine and menthol from sponge in a plastic tube into your mouth, rendering it totally useless as an alternative to smoking. A single cartridge is meant to last for 20 minutes of puffing, but mine lasted all of 5 minutes.

Added to that it cost me £5.99 for the ‘inhaler’ and 6 cartridges, being the supposed equivalent of 12 to 18 cigarettes. That makes it almost twice the cost of smoking cigs. I wouldn’t mind, but I’m certain these things are manufactured for substantially less than 50p. They are neither technologically sophisticated, nor made of expensive materials; you could construct one from a biro tube and a cut up sponge.

If the government really wanted people to give up smoking, these things would be handed out for fractionally more than they cost to make – if not free. It’s senseless midering us about the cost of smoking-related diseases on the National Health Service and then not facilitating quitting in a cost-effective manner. There again, any rational human knows that the taxes from smoking (£10bn in excise and VAT) cover the cost of smoking-related disease (£1.5bn) many times over.

I can’t wait for my proper e-cigar to be delivered.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Ganga Byron

Overheard in the caravan:

Chairman: “Shall we stay up all night and read poetry to each other?”
Hay: “You still reading that Byron biography?”
Chairman: “Mmm.”
Hay: "Thought so."

We were watching a TV documentary about the Ganges last night and how it’’s sacred to Hindus. While the upper reaches are beautiful, it’s only a river; get over it.

Friday, 4 September 2009


Carrying on from yesterday’s theme of the purpose of life; here are my interpretations of the meaning of life for certain people:

  • Marketing people: to consume.
  • Paris Hilton: to shop.
  • A Member of Parliament: to work the expenses system and get a good non-exec directorship.
  • A philosopher: it depends on what you mean by ‘life’ – and what you mean by ‘purpose’.
  • A schizophrenic: to obey the voices.

Feel free to contribute your own suggestions.

Remember the ‘She-Wee’? Another variant, the ‘Ladybag’, has hit the market. Can’t really see the advantage over ‘au naturel’.

I hear that the incoming Japanese PM’s wife claims she’s been to Venus and eats the sun. I guess the Japanese are thank God she’s not the Japanese PM. I wonder what she sees as the purpose to life.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Bloody Life

Lost just over a pound on Tuesday evening – I gave blood again.

People like to think they’re something special by virtue of having a rare blood type, but when you think of it you’re much safer having a blood group that’s a common as muck – like my O/Rh+.

Despite Hay being well versed in matters biological, I had never asked her how long donated blood lasts. On attending the donor session I asked and was surprise to find it only has a shelf-life of between 30 and 45 days – and only 5 days if you’re just talking about donating platelets.

I was reading the Philosophy & Life blog yesterday which contained a 2nd hand piece about the purpose of life. I hate it when people look for a purpose to life, as I believe we determine our own purpose; life ‘is’ and if you keep looking for a purpose to it then it will pass you by.

If forced into defining a purpose then I would define it as adapting everything around us to make life just that bit more bearable for ourselves and our progeny. Enlightened existence I would call making life that bit more bearable for as many as possible, whereas unenlightened existence is concerned solely with the self.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


It's obviously a case of the aberrant apostrophe, but why the inconsistency?

It’s been announced that a British team is to tackle asteroids. That’s welcome news to me – I’ve been a martyr to them for decades.