Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I Hate Flying


Well, I certainly hate flying at night.

I boarded the plane at 22.00, immediately donned my 'nil by mouth' sign (blanket over my head) and was fast asleep before the plane took off.

Having worked a full day, I was in no mood for anything except sleeping all the way to Tel Aviv, and would have done so had my kind neighbour not woken me above Sarajevo in the mistaken belief I was desperate to partake of a mid flight cheese roll. Needless to say I was not, nor was I able to get back to sleep.

I don't know about you, but flying gassed me up something awful, and it wasn't long before my neighbour had cause to regret waking me.

Landed at 5am, waste d half an hour due to my bloody driver not showing up, and am in a taxi on the way to the hotel and should be in time for a quick 7am breakfast before a car collects me at 8 to take me to the office for a round of meetings that are scheduled to continue till 19.30, followed by dinner with our guests. I shall sleep well tonight.

Thank God my return flight is during the day.

It's quite amusing, but whenever an inbound plane lands at Tel Aviv, the majority of the Israelis onboard applaud on touchdown.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Group Pregancy


Someone told me that Beyonce is pregnant - and it's Destiny's Child.

Off so Israel again till Friday, so a small hiatus in posting is imminent.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Glasto Paper Delivieries Cutbacks


We had the annual Folly House gig yesterday afternoon. The day started off quite promising for a 3pm kick-off, and at 2pm the heavens opened with torrential rain. By 4pm it had stopped, but there were further occasional downpours. Needless to say, the garden turned into a Glasto-quagmire.



You can see the house-build in the background of this shot above. We're going to be resuming work in a couple of weeks when our artisan window maker will be measuring up.


As some of you may know, Hay and I have a local paper round up in the village. We've noticed that whereas the pensioners have kept to their normal papers during the economic crisis, the more affluent villagers have cut back to just weekend papers, or none at all.


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Para-Digital-Techno-Olympics


Apropos of all this hot air about Oscar Pistorius' blades; ain't it about time we had separate categories for drug-assisted, technology-assisted or whatever-assisted olympics?

Whatever anyone says about whether Pistorius' blades provide an advantage, basically no-one really knows.

What we should be striving toward is people competing on the basis of like-for-like.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Digital Viagra


Went up to Nottingham for a business meeting yesterday and spotted this.


Perhaps they provide assistance with aerial sex.


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Gadaffi Compound Gap Year


Apparently Gadaffi has been awarded the Edinburgh Festival Comedy Award for his broadcasts.

Did you see the images from Gadaffi's beach house? Gucci, Armani, Dior, Chanel - the sartorial choice of dictators....

Gadaffi's Compound - it sounds like a medication, doesn't it? Perhaps he can get a job selling it; after all, there aren't many opportunities for unemployed dictators.

A lot of A level students are not able to get on to the course they desire - poor dears. Oxford and Cambridge are known, however, for only wanting the best minds and not someone with A*s in drama, critical thinking and general studies.

Given the foregoing, many of them are choosing to engage in what is called the 'gap year', or what we experts call a parentally-funded, self-indulgent spending spree, before trying again in 12 months time in the forlorn hope that the numbers of competing applicants will have reduced to zero.

I have another proposal; increase the gap year to two years and call it National Service, like they do in Israel (although in their case it's 3 years for men and 2 for women), and make it mandatory for all school leavers. However, the thought of some of our youth with a gun in their hands chills me to the bone.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There


They can't find Gaddafi or his family.

Hardly surprising really - it's the last week of August with a Bank Holiday on Monday. He's obviously on vacation.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Shovelling Loot by Trained Association in a Clouded Mind


Got it sussed - eventually. It took me a while, but I think I have the ideal solution to the riots now.

If we provide free class A drugs (and possibly free trainers too) to all the rioters and looters, they'll be too drugged up to do any more damage. In fact, they might even be too doped up to reproduce, which would prevent anything similar happening for a few generations by breaking a vicious circle.

Having holidayed in the Isles of Scilly, and being a naval man myself, I have become interested in the maritime history of the archipelago, especially the wrecks. I was reading a story about the shipwreck of British naval hero, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. They just don't make names like that anymore!

"Anymore" - now there's a word to conjure up an argument among English speakers. Is it 'anymore', or 'any more'? You decide.



Monday, 22 August 2011

Percentages


I was listening to Any Questions on Radio 4 when driving back from Penzance on Saturday and was astounded to hear one of the panellists say (and I paraphrase); “It’s not right that someone on £200k a year should pay the same amount of tax as someone on £20k a year.” Another said’ “Those on higher salaries should be made to pay more in tax, because they earn more.”

Obviously these university educated people are unfamiliar with the concept of what we experts call ‘percentages’ and their impact on what one actually pays in terms of tax.

Now for some Scilly restaurant reviews; I shall start with St Agnes - in fact I'll finish with St Agnes too.

High Tide: unpretentious place with some 18 covers that serves food which can only be described as fine dining. It doubles as a cafĂ© during the day and Mike, the NZ chef, takes over for six nights a week in the summer. Small menu of 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts – all wonderful. Two x 3 course meals with two bottles of wine, coffees and liqueurs came to just over £100 with the tip.

Covean Cottage: a B&B that serves delicious breakfasts and lunches. Once every blue moon the owner holds a themed dining evening for invited guests. As Hay had stayed there previously and we were staying next door, we were invited to what was a Russian dining experience – and delicious it was too. £65 for the two of us (including a large tip) for 3 courses – bring your own wine.

The Turk’s Head: typical Cornish pub (and the only one on the island). A medium sized menu with some real treasures – like the duck leg and the excellent mushroom risotto. Good value for money at anywhere between £40 and £70 for a full meal with booze. The landlady was a bit miffed by my electronic cigarette, for no rational reason other than being an ex-smoker (which ain’t at all rational).

Right - back to work, summer's over for another year.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

St Mary - the Verdict


The final island review is that of St Mary - the main island - being the point of arrival and departure.

St Mary is not my cup of tea - a bit like Rawtenstall made into an island. Full of day-tripping, meaty-armed ladies in floral print skirts munching on ice creams and accompanied by long-suffering, hen-pecked husbands. Too commercialised by far and tainted by the mainland - looks like St Ives must have looked 50 years ago.

I'm sure there are some nice parts of St Mary, but if your first experience of the Scillies is St Mary, then I doubt you'll ever come back.

The photo below is of St Agnes in rush-hour.


Friday, 19 August 2011

Homeward Bound


Coming home today. Want to stay another week.



Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Most Dangerous of the Species


The birds on the Isles of Scilly are incredibly tame and will practically feed from one's hand.

Watching them, it struck me that whereas in most of nature the larger the animal the more danger it represents, with humans it's exactly the opposite and birds understand that the greatest danger comes from kids.

The verdict on Bryher is positive. Thus far I'd be more than willing to return and stay on the islands of St Agnes, St Martin and Bryher. Tresco is too much like an up-market Centre Parcs andhu St Mary looks hideously grim from a distance, bit confirmation of that will be made tomorrow.

None of the islands we've visited has a permanent population greater than 80, and the beaches are deserted, even at the height of the season.

If you must have access to broadband, then the hotels on Tresco, St Martin and Bryher all have free Wi-Fi. However GSM reception on all the islands is patchy as it is supplied by the one mast on St Mary.

Yesterday I saw my first tribal football strip in 5 days. I had thought we'd managed to escape all that, but I suppose it gets everywhere eventually.


Investigative Journalism


The islanders suspect that the recent thieving is attributable to some mainlander contractors working on building a school on St Mary. Tyres were slashed on a car one evening too. The locals are in deep shock as nothing like this has happened before - foreigners and their strange city ways!

So far we've done St Agnes, Tresco and St Martin. Tresco is the worst, being a time-share nightmare, but the other two are fantastic. Doing Brhyer today.

I wanted to buy Hay a Fay Page fishy necklace yesterday, but I didn't have enough cash (the islands operate on a cash economy), but the lady allowed us to take the necklace away with a £10 deposit and a promise to transfer the remaining money when we get home. Now that is trust, something lacking on the mainland.

Saw the film critic, Mark Kermode and family, on the boat to St Martin's yesterday (see below). I can tell you that he must black up his hair for TV appearances. Hay joked he was off to do an interview with Jude Law, who apparently is a regular there. A quick inspection of the hotel's dinner reservation list confirmed it. Who needs to hack phones when The Chairman is on the case? Hay thinks I should become a pap.



Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Communal Community


Looking at the images of the recent riots, it struck me that the standard issue police riot shield has not changed in 4,000 years. However, the police seem to be missing one important element that made the Greek hopelite's phalanx invincible when being charged; a 10 or 12 foot spear.

Rather than coming out with various theories as to why youngsters rioted the other week, perhaps the rioters themselves should be asked as to what drove them to cast aside the wafer-thin veneer of civilization and go feral.

I'm sure most of them have no clue either, but I'm of the opinion a trained psychologist can get to the root cause for most, for what the heart is full of, the man will do.

As to punishment, to quote from a book I'm reading on Marcus Aurelius' Meditations; "The offender needs pity, not wrath; those who must needs corrected should be treated with tact and gentleness. The best kind of revenge is, not to become like unto them."

However, that said, several mobile phones and a collection box on the nearby island of Bryher were raided by some scally on Saturday evening. The local radio station said that if proven to be a local, the chances of the perpetrater reaching police custody would be zero. Perhaps, in a similar vein, the legal system should be left to determine guilt, but the sentence be determined and delivered by the affected local community. That would surely put the fear of God into many crims.

Here's an example of community housing.in St Agnes. If only more authorities were as enlightened as the Duchy of Cornwall - and St Agnes has a population of only 80!

(By the way, I'm unable to respond to comments as my email has gone squonk and I can't even see them.)


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Multi Tasking


Overheard in the Loos.

The Chairman is having a pee in the loo of the New Inn, Tresco while simultaneously answering an email on his smartphone.

Chap also having a pee; "And they say only women can mult-task! Absolute rubbish!"

Scilly Scenes


It's like Cornwall, but better - and without the crowds of people.

Have you noticed how conservative American femal politicians have that 1980s, Stepford Wives, Dynasty, Barbie look about them. Lacquered hair and structure suits, looking as if they've just stepped out of a board room. Hideous!

I'm desperate to hear the news headline; "Apple and Blackberry crumble."







Saturday, 13 August 2011

Scilly Scillies


We set off for Penzance at 4.45 yesterday, leaving some 45 minutes as a fudge factor. What we didn't expect was for the M5 to be closed after junction 26 due to an overturned boat and to spend an hour in a traffic jam.

Having been directed back up the southbound carriageway for some 2 miles, we finally got back on the M5 after junction 27 and made the ferry to the Scillies with 2 minutes to spare, throwing the car keys into the hands of the parking attendant on the quay.

The Scillies are, however, quite idyllic - well, St Agnes is. I am led to believe some of the islands are a bit Yummy Mummy.

Went for a walk around the island of St Agnes yesterday and was intrigued by miles and miles of beautifully crafted walls made of cobbles, whose sole function appear to be to keep the bracken fields separate from the gorse fields.

Obviously someone must be making a fortune from growing bracken and gorse in order to be able to afford such expensive walls.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Real Reason for the Riots


I've got it sussed - forget about all the explanations coming from the social scientists, the politicians, the police. As far as I'm concerned, the rot set in with the industrial revolution and the mass migration of peasants from the land to conurbations. Urbanisation was bound to lead to trouble. Cities should be dismantled and the inhabitants encouraged to live in communities of no larger than a couple of hundred, where everyone knows everyone else and recidivism means intolerable social stigmatisation and an embarrassing spell in the stocks.

Hang on - that means city chavs moving into the shires. Can't have that! Wall up the cities and keep them all inside - including the bent politicians, the corrupt police and rapacious bankers!

I've now got another theory; unemployed young men are being denied their basic instinct to be hunters (i.e. productive workers 'bringing home the bacon'). Looting provides an outlet for the primeval hunting instinct - albeit a socially unacceptable outlet.

Well, it's about as good as any other theory. I'm somewhere on the M5 or A30 now, so I don't really care. What's your pet theory?


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Riots & Uniforms


I must say I do detest all the political posturing and sound-bites from MPs who feel they have to be seen to inspect the damage and photographed with a broom, as if that's going to do a jot of good. I'd rather they were sat behind their desks giving power to those on the ground and have their spokespeople liaise with the media instead.

I was incensed listening to one yob blaming the riots on Poles coming in and 'taking our jobs'. How on earth can someone 'take' jobs from people? The only reason the Poles get the jobs is because many Brits simply don't want to do them in the first place, or can't because they're illiterate! This ill-informed misconception of foreigners coming over to 'take jobs' is nonetheless popular among the illiterati - and a very dangerous one that the far right and the Daily Mail peddle to their advantage.

My recent spell of unemployment demonstrated to me that there are plenty of jobs out there if you're willing to work for the minimum wage. Sadly, there is little incentive when you're being paid benefits by a faceless bureaucracy for sitting at home and doing nothing. However, I can quite understand that attitude, but it is totally selfish and demonstrates a deep lack of respect for the society that hands out the money.

Hay is convinced that rioting is caused by an incessant diet of chips and junk food - plays havoc with the hormones apparently.

The boy was out most of yesterday, which was a pleasant change from sitting in a darkened room playing with his PS3. I was part expecting him to return after dark with a new pair of trainers and some unexplained luxury electronics, but it was not to be.

I'm still not sure about the riot police uniforms. I still prefer the Empire Storm Trooper jobs; they're a tad more intimidating, if somewhat impractical in a close-quarters situation with a Jedi. Perhaps Viv Westwood should be brought in to add a touch of glamour? The policeman in the photo below is just asking for his nads to be kicked, if you ask me - no protection at all!

An Imperial storm trooper (left) and a British riot policeman (right)

Posting will once more be sporadic after today - if at all. We're off to the Scilly Isles for a week, St Agnes, to be precise. No broadband and very little GSM.

I have loaded the HTC Sensation with a variety of e-books to keep me occupied - The Borgias (must catch the TV series with Jeremy Irons on Saturday evening), Meditations, The Antiquities of the Jews, Dracula, Ivanhoe, The Age of Reason, &c - all the stuff I've been meaning to read (or re-read) for ages, but never got round to.

The boy is off to stay with his grandparents in Latvia for two weeks - flying on his own for the first time, so that will be an adventure for him. I will probably have to control him remotely via GSM from Gatwick airport car park to ensure he finds the right gate.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Riot Solution & iPhones


Hay has come up with a solution to the looting; snipers placed at strategic points on rooftops. All it would take would be one or two 'casualties'.

She also wants to picket Apple, as she's just discovered that you can't send a photo with MMS using the iPhone. Have you ever heard something so damned ridiculous? Not only was the iPhone 4 incapable of making a call when launched, you can't even send a picture message with one. Piece of junk!

A friend of mine was caught up in the rioting in Liverpool. He dodged into a Job Centre to hide and breathed a sigh of relief - the rioters would never enter there.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Google Getting a Bit Too Clever


I'm seriously considering switching to Yahoo as my search engine as Google just seems to be getting a bit too clever for its own good.

Rather than just a the plain old search results of yore, I'm now getting rather a lot of sponsored adverts and links to things I'm simply not interested in. If I do a Google search, I invariably have to page down to get anything even remotely pertinent. It even gives me results for searches it thinks I meant to make, rather than searches I actually made; I do not like being told I'm wrong by a bloody search engine.

Pressing the down cursor key no longer simply scrolls the page - it now steps from item to item, loading reams of spurious data, along with information about whether the page is safe. On some image pages the page-down key goes so far and then no further, despite there being more to show.

I used to request 100 search items in a page; now, no matter what I set as the default, it's limited to about 10 items.

No - in its attempt to be more relevant, it has moved into the realm of total irrelevance. Give me back my old Google!

As for the rioters - give them an enforced diet of opera and Shakespeare. Talk about Clockwork Orange! Mindless violence it might be, but it is the direct result of alienation and marginalisation. Will Cameron do a Bashir Assad on them?


Monday, 8 August 2011

Dangerous School Trips


"...and Horatio was eaten by a polar bear."

Sounds like something from a children's book, doesn't it?

Dangerous school trips where pupils stand only a 90% chance of returning alive may become the new black for the middle classes; parents will vie with each other to get their kids eaten by the fiercest carnivores.

"Ptolemy was eaten by a lion in Africa!"

"Well, Ignatius was devoured by a wolf in the Caucasus!"

It certainly beats the usual litigious brigade suing the school because their kid slipped on a banana skin or got a mosquito bite on the school outing.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Friday, 5 August 2011

Wonderful technology

I'm just trying out the new android app for blogger, using speech to text as well.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Life Lessons


A friend sent me the following. It's attributed to Bill Gates, but a modicum of research will show it was actually written by education reformer, Charles J. Sykes (the original mentions thanking God, yet Bill Gates is a known atheist). It none-the-less struck a chord:


Bill Gates gave a speech at a high school about eleven things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: They called it opportunity.

Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were: So before you save the rain forest
from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room..

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one..


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Can't Help But Feel


Can't help but feel that keeping Jonnie Marbles behind bars while he appeals against the totally unreasonable sentence for his foam pie protest against Murdoch is a bit excessive.

Can't help but feel the Royal Family is trying to rejuvenate their bloodline with monkey genes by having Zara marry Mike 'the Nose' Tindall.

Can't help but feel that accusing suppliers of ripping off government departments is a bit off when supplying government departments (including the MoD) means jumping through 20,000 hoops and spending a fortune on getting someone to fill in all the Byzantine paperwork involved in government procurement. No wonder it costs £32 to provide the MoD with one pencil. It's a sad irony that all the efforts put into ensuring the government is not ripped off results in them being ripped off - but it's a self-inflicted injury.

What can't you help thinking?


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

No, No, No!


Amy Winehouse's father, Mitch Winehouse, apparently wants to set up a charitable foundation to provide young kids with drugs rehab, but the kids say; "No, no, no!"


Monday, 1 August 2011

The Thin End of the Wedge


If young girls are obsessed with being thin, why are so many of them fat?