Thursday, 16 August 2018

Bodily Fluids

Was watching an item on the local news about police in Wiltshire introducing spit hoods for arrested ,violent suspects to prevent police being spat on. One Acting Sergeant said she'd rather be kicked and punched than spat on. I wonder whether she thinks this when she goes home and snogs her boyfriend or husband? Personally, I'd rather be spat on than punched, or indeed kicked.

It's strange how the disgust reaction is very strong when it comes to spit and other bodily fluids, yet it disappears in an instant when we fall for someone and we're more than willing to share our spit with another person we've met for perhaps only an instant. 

You know how British wildlife cameramen like to go to exotic locations like Africa, India, China etc? I wonder if African, Indian or Chinese wildlife cameramen come to Britain to shoot wildlife documentaries?

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Pink Hammertime

I somehow think No.2 Son and Hay are not going to allow me to do the laundry ever, ever, ever again.

I made the mistake of putting my Hammertime trousers in with the washing. Naturally, they bled red and turned the washing pink.

The strange thing about bleach is that if you spill it on anything you're wearing it will ruin it, but it's almost ineffectual when used to try to get rid of dye that's stained your clothing.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Sodbury 800

Despite the rain, on Sunday we went to a medieval reenactment at the local rugby club, which was part of the 800th anniversary of Chipping Sodbury being granted its market charter. Very interesting it was too - we spoke to a fletcher, a dyer, a helmet maker and a chainmail maker, among others.


There were some rather nice tournament tents on display too. Wouldn't mind one of those, but not at £1,700 a go.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Kwik Fit F1 Team

I wonder if Kwik Fit have ever considered having their own Formula 1 team? You could imagine them practicing tyre changes to try to supersede the 1.9 seconds fastest ever pitstop.

Kwik Fit Fitter: "Do you want budget or Pirelli, mate?"

Driver: "Pirelli please."

Kwik Fit Fitter: "We'll have to order those - can you come in this afternoon, but not at 1pm as I'll be on my lunch break?"

Driver: "How long will it take"

Kwik Fit Fitter: "Probably about an hour."

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Intergenerational Honey Clothing

No.2 Son, Bruno, has decided to try veganism for a week, not because he's ethical, but because his girlfriend is a vegan. I've come to the conclusion that being the only vegan in a non-vegan household is taking the piss. Vegan honey, for God's sake - it's very expensive apple juice! He can use syrup.

No.2 Son also has a pair of perfectly serviceable Quicksilver jeans that he can no longer wear because they're too short. At 18 he's well over 6 feet tall - probably about 6 feet 6 inches. Rather than take them to the charity shop, I adopted them and they fit perfectly. I couldn't imagine my father ever wearing trousers that I had cast off at age 18, For a start, he had a considerable girth that far exceeded mine, and secondly he was more into safari suits when he was my age and wouldn't have been seen dead wearing a pair of hand-flared Wranglers, Levis or Lee-Coopers.

Spotted a news headline in the Sunday Times this morning - MPs Face Sack for Taking Prostitutes to Parliament. That means very few MPs themselves will be allowed in...

Saturday, 11 August 2018

MC Hammer of the Scots (and Ukip)

I modelled my latest summer trousers for Hayley last night, but she thought I looked like MC Hammer - it's Chairmantime. Told her she can't touch this. Ideal in the hot weather though, and it is set to return.

This is the result of the latest Daily Poll from YouGov:

The Scots, especially the ginger ones, I can believe. Kippers are just fantasists or Neanderthals - either option is eminently possible.

Friday, 10 August 2018

The Eulogy

When someone has died and there's a news report, along with some words from the family of the person who has died, they're always referred to in the most glowing terms - an inspiration, a loving father, a wonderful son, etc., no matter how much of an arse they were.

I can't wait for a family member to say; "Well, he was actually an absolute shit and won't be missed." 

That will probably be reserved for my eulogy...

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Of Course

Spotted this news item on FlipBoard a few days ago.

I'd welcome your comments, but only if I can't understand them....

Starting to feel nostalgic about the heatwave...

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

One Man Went to Mow a Burqa

This burqa kerfuffle - I have little love, or indeed respect for Boris Johnson, but he is right not to apologise for his burqa comment. The burqa is not religious garb, but cultural, as evidenced by the female Muslims criticising him not wearing one themselves - one wonders why they don't wear one?

It might not have been wise of Boris, as a politician, to say what he did, but it is not something for which he needs to apologise. Dave Allen made a career out of sending up religion, for God's sake (that's irony, by the way).

Critics said his comment dehumanised Muslim women - well doesn't the burqa itself do that? It certainly de-feminises them. Boris is known for his jokes and a woman in a burqa does indeed look like a letterbox - it's an observational fact, just like a nun looks like a penguin. Ismalophobia, my arse - it's called humour and religion has no legitimate defence against humour, especially when it's all based on tripe. Religion has tried, many times, to defend itself against fact, but failed miserably. I find myself wavering between 'each person to his own' and outright religiophobia, and the more of this nonsense I hear, the more I become religiophobic and say; "A plague on all their houses." Let's get some perspective!

When all's said and done, you'd think Boris, a prime purveyor of invented nonsense about the EU, would have a soft spot for religious nonsense.

Well, the harvest is in, however, next year I'll be making the unmown areas somewhat smaller.

While leaving areas unmown was intended as a means of reducing the workload over the growing season, as well as for increasing biodiversity in the garden, it's one hell of a work up when it comes to cutting it in late summer - it's easier overall to mow it once a week.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Closing Time

Apparently some 50 pubs a week are closing down due to poor trading conditions as people choose to drink at home and business rates climb. Most of these are in the north.

I've always wanted to buy an interesting looking, defunct, country pub and convert it into a house. They're an especially a good purchase because they invariably come with what we experts call a car park, which provides plenty of land to develop for another house which can provide an income, or fund the conversion of the main pub building. A cellar is also a good advantage in a house.

It would seem that the only pubs that survive are those that adapt to the times and become principally restaurants, but that means a lot of hard work and much longer hours than just a simple drinking pub, as well as some additional skills that not all have.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Mr Whippy's Hair

So who exactly is the mysterious Mr Whippy?

He must be fabulously wealthy by now - he was purveying his ice creams since 1958, when I was a nipper.

I'm always frustrated by how long it takes the barber in my local barber's shop to clip someone's hair. Most youngsters these days have a style which involves no more than 2 settings on a shaver - very close and not so close, yet it still entails about 20 minutes of faffing around with a pair of scissors and a comb to detail it, which I'm certain entails nothing more than snipping away at thin air. Bloody annoying when you're in a queue of about 5 blokes.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Hipster Dining

You know how certain restaurants have a penchant for using all manner of idiotic receptacles on which to serve your dinner, like roofing slates or dustbin lids? Well, I spotted this measure in a hardware and kitchen shop, which would be great for serving drinks in.

It even has graduations for spirit shot measures. 

I told the shop owner that she was missing out on an opportunity and should be selling these at vastly inflated prices to local, hipster bistros, along with cat food trays in which to serve food - meat in the water side of the dish and vegetables in the cat crunchies side. She could even offer them with the most incongruous and impractical eating utensils, such as a screwdriver and a hammer. A couple of cats' paws would be too cruel.

The shop sold those fat balls for wild birds. I think the bloke behind the counter was offended when I asked him if his fat balls were melting in the hot weather. Hay said it was because of where I laid the stress in the sentence.

Talking of stress, I see Liam Fox is blaming the EU's 'theological stance' on the UK's failure to secure an exit deal, rather than his obsession with cake and eating it. I seem to remember someone saying Brexit means Brexit - it would appear that even the government is now afraid of a hard Brexit. We need a hard Remain if the country isn't to be plunged into chaos that it's not prepared for. We'll soon all be using whatever is on hand to serve as plates and eating utensils for whatever we can find in the way of food.ras

It's hilarious that the Brexit Ultras vilify Carney for saying a hard Brexit is odds-on, accusing him of talking the country down, but they don't bat an eyelid when Liam Fox says exactly the same thing. Seems a no deal Brexit on WTO terms is the worst possible deal after all, despite us being told it was just what we need. I'm fed up with these Brexit lies from the charlatans - more so with the numpties that believe them.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Vogueing in the Sea at the Grampus

I was caught napping - sorry, vogueing - along with Spooky...

While on our little jaunt to Lee Bay during the week, we spotted a duck in the sea. Never seen a duck in salt water and didn't realise they went anywhere near the stuff.

We stayed in an AirBnB place and very nice it was too. Only managed to get it at the last minute - someone should start a new website called ....

Spotted this beauty at the Grampus Inn. It belongs to Bill, the landlord. He paid £1,500 for it and is doing it up. Want one! Great for a bit of rough, weekend travelling and we could easily get the kayaks inside, or on the roof, if necessary. Bill says it's like towing a bag of air and you hardly notice you have anything hitched to the car. A double bed with a gas hob and a sink - it's all you need.

Bill is an autodidact - he brews his own beer for the pub, cooks wonderfully and plays a fiddle on open-mic nights like a pro. There's nothing he can't turn his hand to. He advertises for help in the kitchen and bar - takers get free bed and board but no wages. Ideal for trekkers and those wanting to learn English and perfect for Bill. He's always inundated with applications in the summer.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Generalising Viral Infections

I've reached the conclusion that Brexit is a virus. Now I'm not sure whether it attacks people lacking the faculty of critical thinking, or whether it attacks that faculty, rendering the sufferer liable to intense bouts of dogma on certain issues.

It would be interesting to see whether there's a correlation between religiosity and support for Brexit. I suspect not, as I know some religious people who are not in support of Brexit, but the mechanism is remarkably similar. Perhaps the religion virus and Brexit virus are closely related, but different strains - mutations, as it were.

An apt image, I thought, capturing both the Brexit and religion viruses in one, fell swoop.

Hay and I were having a discussion about something or other yesterday and she said that one can't generalise, which got me thinking. We can and do generalise all the time - we're pattern recognising animals and generalisation is part and parcel of what we are and how we survive. Generalising is a heuristic that makes life less complicated. Perhaps the viruses mentioned above are the result of over-generalisation in an effort to make the complex more comfortable and reassuring, resulting in not having to think too much about the complexities - a defence mechanism...

Talking of religion, I hear the Pope has come out against the death penalty in all cases. Given the church has a consistent record of being wrong about almost everything, I may have to change my opinion from anti-death penalty to pro-death penalty, or is that an over-generalisation? Of course, it could just be the usual case of the church coming to its senses rather late, which again is consistent with its track record.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

Have you ever bought meat at a butcher's? Have you ever bought vegetables at a greengrocer's? Have you ever bought real bread at a bakery?

Ever seen a sell-by date on any of the above items? No, you use your common sense. Why is it that food labelling applies only to pre-packaged goods and not stuff bought loose, even when bought in the same shop? Buy loose bananas in a supermarket and there's no sell-by date, but the minute they're placed in a plastic container with cellophane there has to be a label telling you when to either buy them by or by when to eat them by. Illogical.

Talking of labelling, I wonder if electronic gadget manufacturers will ever get round to marketing certain gadgets as containing no Artificial Intelligence?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Bum Polish

Hayley expressed some concern when I walked into the house with these objects yesterday.

I think she must have thought I was going to polish my bottom.

I'd sanded down some of the wooden flooring where it had become ingrained with dirt from the constant abrasion of my office chair and had re-varnished it. All I was trying to do was to gloss the varnish up.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Drought-Resistant Horsefly Balls

Overheard in Chipping Sodbury:

Bloke stood in queue: "I have a doctor's appointment for this horsefly bite."

Ye Gods - no wonder we have to wait weeks for appointments for real medical problems! Horseflies are the bane of my life, but I wouldn't every consider going to the doctor with a bite, even if it was infected. The chemist is adequately qualified to provide advice and medication.

All this stuff about the Leave campaign's programme of lies, deceit, misinformation and financial irregularities on an industrial scale - if it was ball tampering in a cricket match there'd be a national outcry with calls for a judicial inquiry, bringing back the death penalty, as well as the match being declared null and void.

It would seem we have some kind of drought-resistant grass on the common outside our house. I spotted a tuft of it in the garden first and then lots more on the common. It only became apparent following the common being mown.

Patches of it are sprouting up all over the place while the rest of the grass remains brown.

It's very coarse, but perhaps I should be cultivating it on the garden in preparation for more hot summers.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Critical Rules

One of my 'friends' posted some conspiracy theory nonsense on Facebook yesterday from an organisation called Truth in Europe, which is nothing to do with Truth and is run by a notorious conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer who believes all manner of stupid stuff. These people prey on the weak minded who cannot think for themselves.

Some guidelines for critical thinking, which is sorely lacking in much of the population these days:

  1. All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level. (Stephen Schneider).
  2. Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. (Dandemis).
  3. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. (Francis Bacon).
  4. Never fall in love with your hypothesis. (Peter Medawar).
  5. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts. (Arthur Conan Doyle).
  6. A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong. (Francis Crick).
  7. The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting. (Richard Feynman).
  8. To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. (Charles Darwin).
  9. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. (Mark Twain).
  10. Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. (Thomas Jefferson).
  11. All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident. (Arthur Schopenhauer).
Do you think Bob Mugabe would be interested in the job of UK PM?

We were watching Star Wars Episode II last night. Senator Amidala left Jar-Jar Binks in charge of some crucial votes when she had to go back home to Naboo. It's like Mrs May leaving Boris Johnson with the reins of government.

Sunday, 29 July 2018


Last night we attended an annual jazz evening at one of the local houses in Old Sodbury - Camers, a 17th century pile. It's owned by a chap who made his money in electrical contracting. He's spent an absolute fortune on the place, renovating the house and its grounds over a 25 year period - it's beautiful.

For the last couple of years, Hayley's sister has allowed the organisers to use her gazebo, which she purchased as a wedding gazebo for her own wedding a few years back. It's perfectly suited to accommodating a reasonably large band. Friday afternoon was spent erecting it and Saturday afternoon we had to effect some quick repairs due to the wind getting up.

Anyway, Hay's family and attendant hangers on assembled at 6pm, deciding to pitch camp at the back, as we'd taken the precaution of bringing our beach tent, as the weather was predicted to be inclement and we didn't want it to ruin anyone's view.

Everyone else merely brought umbrellas. Numbers were unfortunately down somewhat because of the weather.

The heavens opened at around 7pm, but Hay and I were nice and dry in our beach tent.

It got worse, and for the majority of the time our view was heavily restricted.

Until, that is, I spilled my glass of red wine inside the tent, much to Hay's annoyance. The tent also contained the remnants of our last little jaunt to the Gower - rather a lot of sand. Red wine and sand is an awful mix.

Next time we go on holiday we're thinking of taking the gazebo, along with some campaign furniture; a dining table, some wardrobes, a servant or two - just the essentials - to ensure we are comfortable....

It was a shame the jazz evening coincided with the only rain we've had in two months.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Big Hair Nostalgia

A mystery package was delivered in the post yesterday, addressed to Haylay. I opened it and found this inside.

Hay must have sourced it from a fragrance museum. I think she's reliving the 80s. Here's a drawing of her in the 80s that adorns one of our walls, complete with 80s Big Hair.

Fell on my arse for the first time while skating yesterday. I blame the Tesco car park - it's not as high quality as the Waitrose one. Luckily the protective gear saved my elbow from being smashed to smithereens. I've been gingerly getting back into the skating since the knee problem, but limiting it to about 10 or 20 minutes every 2 or 3 days, very early in the morning, to keep my hand in.

One thing that has been eluding me is turning - I can turn by slightly adjusting my feet as I skate with no problem, but turning simply by leaning over to one side so as to gain a smaller turning arc has proven problematic. I've finally sussed how to do it (you have to scissor your legs while leaning), but haven't yet fully mastered the technique.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Political Dummies

You know, the problem with politics is that any idiot with sufficient support can become an MP. Isn't it about time there was a minimum qualification to be an MP - an exam to show they understand the workings of government, public services and politics in general?

In virtually every other walk of life one has to show either suitable experience or a qualification in order to do a job - more often than not, especially if a newbie, a degree in the subject of your chosen career. Not, however, in politics. Is that, perhaps, why we lurch from crisis to crisis? Should idealism (and more often than not, dogma) trounce expertise? Have we had enough of amateurs as some politicians are fond of saying?

Granted some have relevant life experience in running businesses, but they are few and far between, and many go into politics purely to peddle their influence and patronage in the hope of a directorship. They have a good line in patter and are charismatic enough to promise the earth and attract a sheep-like following, but that alone doesn't cut the mustard.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Scarface Gallagher

I was watching the Al Pacino film, Scarface, on Amazon yesterday. In one final scene Pacino is seen sat in a chair, brooding while his enemies are crawling all over the house, intent on topping him.

Could't help but thin he looked like Liam Gallagher. 

I wonder if Gallagher based his look on Pacino and not Lennon.

Crap film, by the way.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Wasp Death Paper

Both Hay's dad and her sister have wasp nests in their lofts. They're not doing anyone any harm and wasps serve a purpose (although what that might be escapes me), so they are being left in place. Said wasps, however, have been attacking our garden furniture and the oak cladding on the house, scraping away tiny amounts of wood in order to turn it into paper for their nests.

While we were on our short break in The Gower, we noticed a new house being built where the bedrooms were downstairs and the living rooms and kitchen upstairs. This got us to pondering why we generally tend to sleep upstairs and we arrived at the conclusion that, when we all lived in hovels with animals, it was more thermally efficient to sleep above the cows and the habit stuck.

It makes more sense from a security perspective to sleep downstairs too - thieves would undoubtedly wake you up when trying to break in and would abscond with nothing more valuable than your clothes.

An interesting YouGov analysis of the death penalty from yesterday:

Again, an unsurprising result from the right, but I thought the centre and left would not record such a high percentage in favour.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Tea For Two

Our local church does tea and cake on Sunday afternoons and we decided to have a cuppa and a tab-nab after Hay tended her mother's grave on Sunday afternoon.

I couldn't help but notice the teacups, which are emblazoned with a cross and the words '900 years'.

This is referring to Old Sodbury, which was founded over 900 years ago. Chipping Sodbury, on the other hand, is celebrating its 800 year anniversary this year. Chipping Sodbury is what the people in Old Sodbury call a New Town.

Talking of teacups, I spotted this one in the charity shop over the weekend and wondered whether I should purchase it...

Perhaps not, if I value my life...

Monday, 23 July 2018

Vegan Fare

No.2 Son's girlfriend is vegan. This would normally be enough to send me into paroxysms of denunciation and a show trial for good measure. However, in a moment of ennui I decided to cook a vegan meal - I was quite surprised, I actually liked it.

You have to be so damned careful with some ingredients - no cheese or eggs or milk - or even milk powders. Makes you realise how difficult it can be, unless you just stick to using real vegetables and nothing pre-prepared.

Now this recipe is called Mediterranean baked sweet potatoes and is quite simple to make, but if you look for vegan recipes on the internet - indeed any bloody recipe - you get acres of shots of the finished article and reams of waffle before you actually get to the recipe itself. Here's a prime example. So annoying.

On previous weekends I spent ages scouring supermarket shelves for pre-prepared vegan meals, but the results are pitiful, and very expensive - you'd think you were asking for the impossible. Much better to make something yourself from scratch.

Back to a meat-based diet this week...

Sunday, 22 July 2018


OK, just one more post about scything, but only because you asked....

A bit more to do today and then that's it for another year. Next year we're not leaving as much of the garden as wild - smaller unmown compartments and some wild flower seeds are called for. Leaving areas unmown is fine, but if all you get is just grass, it can look somewhat untidy and is a pain to clear up.