Saturday, 29 September 2012

Taxing the Duchess of Cambridge on Mars

Oh God - the French government has raised the top rate tax to 75%! I suppose we're going to see hoards of louche, rich, French people with their strange, foreign ways invading the Home Counties  and helping us with our debt crisis by spending their worthless Euros.

I believe the Mars Rover has spotted a billion year-old pram and some tyres in a dried up riverbed within the Gale Crater.

Saw Ed Milliband on local TV last night - he was making all manner of ridiculous promises that he knows damned well he won't have to keep, 'cos he ain't in power - nor is he ever likely to be. Hay had to remind me who he was though (he hasn't exactly been in the news much recently). I simply can't trust politicians who look about 12. Give me his elder brother any day.

A pal sent me this full frontal image of the Duchess of Cambridge yesterday. I'm only publishing it as I believe it is in the public interest.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Greasy Vocab

I just wish these smartphone manufacturers would use something for the screens that was less susceptible to greasy fingermarks. Now that would be a plus! How about attaching a wiper system with a spray button?

Had an idea for parents who have trouble getting their kids to read the classics. Books, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Moby Dick (which are fantastic reads, but perhaps beyond your average 12 year-old) could be printed with footnotes giving the definition of the more complex words on each page. That way the kids would not only enjoy the books more, but they'd simultaneously extend their vocabulary beyond teenage grunts. 

I know you can do the same job with the aid of a dictionary, but who wants to have 2 books to carry around and be constantly referring from one to t'other?

Thinking about it, it might not get the kids reading more, but the addressable market comprising middle class parents would be massive. Just imagine - parents would be queuing at Waterstone's to get them. I know I would - I'd love to get No.1 Son reading something more intellectually taxing than Alex Ryder.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Greek Cheddar

Kraft were in the region yesterday using the town of Cheddar in Somerset as a backdrop for an advert for Kraft Cheddar cheese. They even wanted a local Cheddar maker to allow them to film him making Cheddar. He sensibly refused. Kraft don't make Cheddar - they don't even make cheese as far as I'm aware - they seem to specialise in making some form of polymer!

Apparently the last two Greeks remaining in work went on strike yesterday. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Solar Etc.

Well, since installing the solar PV system on the 29th Feb, we've thus far made £1,025 from the feed-in tariff. Not bad for an investment of £14k, and we've got another 4 months to go before the full year. I reckon we're on target for a 10% p.a. return, which is far more than the money could attract if sat in a bank account.

The whole kaboodle is being commissioned now and we should have a fully-functioning heating and electricity system before the week is out.

All the gubbins that goes with it, plus the air-source heat pump, underfloor heating controls, etc., require a stoker on permanent standby to operate it though.

Underfloor manifold 

God alone knows - probably heat-source air pump control

 Solar PV

500L tank

Mmm - not sure...

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Star Trak

Now that JJB Sports is to go into administration, where are all the chavs going to get their trakkies?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Desperate Plebians at Plebgate

Took No.1 Son to hospital yesterday for an operation on his mouth. Spotted this chap shuffling along and dragging his drip behind him, desperate to have a drag on a cigarette.

The hospital is one of those endless, sprawling agglomerations of single storey Nissen Huts, held together by chilly, painted brick corridors containing spatio-temporal anomalies that make you pop up in a totally different part of the hospital from where you logically think you are. You know the kind of places I mean - they have signs for toilets which, if you're foolish enough to follow them, lead you round the entire universe and bring you back to where you started. They were either PoW camps, or Butlins in previous incarnations.

Spotted a cleaner mopping out my son's ward. He managed to mop the entire ward without rinsing out his mop once. Now that's what I call efficiency! He was obviously doing his bit to save the NHS a fortune on water and cleaning fluid.

Some minster is under fire for calling a PC a pleb in the Gategate (or is it Plebgate) affair. Since when was being called a pleb offensive? Many on the left indeed view it as a badge of honour. Labour's own publication is called Tribune, which derives from 'Tribune of the Plebs', a Roman official whose job it was to protect the plebians - or landed commoners - from the excesses of the patrician and equestrian orders. Our lower house is even called the Commons. A storm on a chipped tea mug, if you ask me. Those who take offence are obviously proles who have no Latin...

Friday, 21 September 2012

Drug Peerage Wars of the Worlds on the Patio

One hears a Venezuelan drug Baron has been caught. Is a drug Tzar more heinous than a drug Baron?

London (ex)gangster Charlie Richardson has just died. These old London gangsters are becoming increasingly rare now; long gone are the days of gangsters nailing their opponents to the floor as a jolly jape, extracting their teeth with pliers or using bolt cutters to lop off a few fingers as a joke. Surely it's about time that the government put some money into protecting these cheeky, jovial, colourful, cockney icons before they go totally extinct. They should be declared National Treasures.

The new crime families in Manchester just don't have the same panache or style of the old London mob; they wear tracksuits, lob grenades around indiscriminately, kill policewomen, associate with scum, have no code of honour and are simply chavs. I wouldn't give them 5 seconds against a Kray, a Billy Hill, a Jack Spot or a Mad Frankie Fraser. I mean, how many of these drug-dealing arseholes can say they are friends with the stars (footballers don't count as stars - they're termed 'customers')?

Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds is to be revamped. Well, what a load of pretentious rot that was - there's only one decent track on the whole damned album - Forever Autumn - and that was down to Justin Hayward's voice. 'Eve of the War' sounds like the track to a Latin number from Strictly Come Dancing, if you ask me, what with its Latino-disco backbeat. You can just imagine some lithe, sequinned couple writhing sinuously to it.

Having said that, for some inexplicable reason I do like this version of Eve of the War - can't for the life of me think why though. Anyone get a similar feeling or think they know why that may be?

We have got to the patio stage with the house. Patio - a Spanish word denoting a paved area outside a house. We don't have an indigenous word for this concept. Obviously the Saxons and Celts didn't bother with them. They probably didn't have much truck with conservatories or spiral staircases either, come to think of it.

I found out yesterday that this stuff, which is meant to be limestone (but feels more like a sandstone), came all the way from India, along with a consignment of non-native insects which will probably devastate our local ecology. Didn't ask too many questions when we bought it from the local builders' supply - wish we had now. Looks fantastic though.

All these papers and magazines that are piling into the Duchess of Cambridge issue - just shows which magazines not to bother buying if all their readers want to see is a pair of pixelated breasts. The words gutter and press come to mind - journalism it ain't. Bit of an object lesson though for royals in not taking their kit off unless indoors - and even then they need to frisk their mates for hidden cameras.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

A Wife, a Wife, My Kingdom for a Wife

There's a bit of debate over a recently unearthed scrap of papyrus that indicates early Copts thought Jesus had a wife.

Bible scholar Ben Witherington III, a professor in Kentucky, said the term "wife" might simply refer to a female domestic assistant and follower. The man must have a death wish? I'd expect that kind of statement from Mitt (Oops) Romney.

Parsley - what's that all about? Never understood the stuff. Tastes like green carrots and is frankly a waste of time and effort.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

DIY God in Israeli Church Domestic

Overheard in the Caravan:

Hay: "You know how Nigella has turned the house she shared with John Diamond into the film set for her cookery programs? Well, I was thinking that once we move into the house you could turn the caravan into the set for a program called DIY Disasters."

It's holiday time in Israel which, as I work for an Israeli HQ, gives me enormous headaches this time of year. They simply have so many of the damned things, all around the same time. This week it's been New Year, next week it's something called Yummy Kipper (but why you should only eat kippers at a certain time of year is beyond me). Next month we have Sukkot - haven't a clue as to what culinary delights that one's dedicated to, although I'm led to believe it's something to do with booths (or is it boobs?). They probably set up booths and then sell all the kippers they made during Yummy Kipper. Their Friday and Saturday weekend is enough of a nuisance to me and my customers as it is without all these additional distractions.

I hear domestic violence has been redefined to include some additional forms of abuse. Why isn't the church - and particularly the Catholic church - up in arms about the government redefining the meaning of words? I seem to remember them being quite vocal recently about another redefinition that aimed to be more inclusive.

And that hideous, reactionary old fossil, Tebbitt, wants to hang everyone in sight again as a deterrent. It's been demonstrably proven time-after-time that the death penalty is no deterrent. Longer sentencing might help - like life meaning life - it would certainly stop the buggers re-offending (although there have been numerous murders in prison too). So too would hanging, but it's rather final if the hanged person was actually innocent or fitted up by a corrupt copper (shame on me for even uttering those last two words - as if that were even a remote possibility; it's like suggesting MPs lie).

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Do Unto Others at GCSE Time in Antarctica

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is hailed as the world's greatest living explorer. Not for much longer, I suspect, if his latest wheeze to cross the Antarctic in winter at age 68 is anything to go by. Saw him on TV last night and that toupee is quite the worst I've ever seen. Hay finds him deliciously rakish.

GCSEs are to be made more difficult. What? You mean in order to get a grade C they're going to have to put their dates of birth on the papers as well as their names? This is a disgusting infringement of pupils' rights to a pass in whatever exam they choose! They'll never manage to get jobs and will be cast on the scrap heap for all eternity (although it didn't seem to hamper the millions who left school without a qualification to their name and are gainfully employed - some of whom even became wealthy entrepreneurs).

If we have too many pupils leaving school with an unjustified belief that with a C grade they're too qualified to do menial work, then we'll simply end up with a disillusioned, unemployable underclass and wave after wave of immigrants coming in to do the jobs they think beneath them. Hang on - we've already got that....

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, spiritual leader of Hezbollah, has said Arab and Islamic governments should press for an enforceable international law banning insults to Islam and other religions.

This is the chap who has some rather unpalatable views on Jews - not Israelis, but Jews.

I suppose he could be alluding to laws to prevent such actions as the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, which his mate, Mullah Mohammed Omar, had blown up as an affront to Islam.

Oh, I forgot - Buddhists don't count, as they're not generally known for retaliatory action, and if they do retaliate they only go and immolate themselves in protest. Causes havoc with the traffic though when they do it at a main crossroad.

I don't suppose Protestants count either, as they simply serve you warm sherry if they're upset with you (unless you're in Northern Ireland, in which case your kneecaps could get blown to smithereens).

As for apostates and atheists, they can just burn in hell, as they simply refuse to be told what to believe in - despite the death threats.

The ironic thing about all these shambolic protests in the Islamic world is that they end up with the deaths of many more Moslems than infidels. They also result in the drying up of much-needed inward investment to Moslem countries due to the perceived political instability (politics and religion are inextricably bound in Islam) and sheer lunacy that goes on there.

Monday, 17 September 2012

It's Art, 'Cos I Say So

The Chairman notes that a certain Sarah Pickstone has won the John Moores Prize with a work entitled "Stevie Smith and the Willow, shown below.

Sarah Pickstone is about 7, right?

Seems to me that the rarefied world of the art establishment (dare I say vacuous world) is exhibiting the 'prizes-for-all' mentality that has bedevilled education for the last few decades. I'm afraid I'm with Brian Sewell on this: "The trouble with most art since the second world war is that it has been, when claiming to be modern, merely repetitive..... Critics unquestioningly accept as art all that is given them by the Arts Council, Serota, a tiny bunch of canny dealers, and now the Royal Academy." 

I'd like to add Saatchi to the above list, but I suspect it's more the lackeys who fawn on his every word and the YBAs who churn out the dross that panders to his tastes and money. One must remember that Saatchi made his first fortune from advertising - and his second from promoting YBAs.

I was hoping that, in a new age of austerity, Emperor Rothko's new clothes would be seen for what they are - tawdry tat or a mirage. Unfortunately money has its claws too deeply embedded in 'art'. Today we are seeing metaphorical degrees awarded to artists where even a D grade GCSE isn't warranted. An establishment  clique and a bunch of all-too-compliant critics rule the art world.

The word art, like the word poverty, has lost its true meaning through overuse and vested interests.

But that's only my opinion.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Overheard in Various Places

Overheard in the Caravan:

Hay: "How long have we lived in the caravan?"

Chairman: "4 or 5 years."

Hay: "How many times have you cleaned the shower in that time?"

Chairman: "Zero - but there's a very good reason for that. Too much cleaning of showers in a caravan can lead to the watertight integrity being compromised. Men, as we experts call them (or scabrous wastes of time, as women refer to them), prefer watertight showers to clean showers in caravans."

Overheard in Tetbury:

A lady is exiting a ladies' clothing emporium and speaking to her husband.

Lady: "The clothes were for someone 2st lighter."

Husband: "And 20 years younger."

Overheard on the Road Back from Tetbury:

The Chairman is reading a copy of Tetbury Life.

Chairman: "Look at this place that's for sale - £1.75m. Looks like a monastery"

Hay: "That;s the Poor Clare's convent in Woodchester. Who exactly are the Poor Clares?"

Chairman: "A dwindling order of nuns who amass large property portfolios and will be eating cream eclairs for the rest of their lives."

Saturday, 15 September 2012

I Protest

The vast majority of these Muslims protesting over some film that has outraged them look as if they don't even own an radio, let alone a computer and an internet connection with which to view the film. As to why they want to attack everything western - well, methinks it smacks more of the causes behind the UK's 2011 summer riots.

I hear the Pope has spoken out against fundamentalism. I thought all religion was essentially fundamentalist - if the belief in supernatural beings and god-men being able to manipulate the laws of physics isn't fundamentalist, then I'm not sure what is.

I'm surprised no news organ has yet named the snapper of the topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge. His name remains a mystery. Surely he could be done for stalking?

Friday, 14 September 2012


Led Zep are to release a video of their 2007 O2 gig and are also to he honoured in the USA.

I applaud their refusal to reform again, it just wouldn't be the same. Anyway, Plant's voice just ain't what it used to be.

From rock god to old bloke in what seems a very short time. Youth is very, very precious and should be cherished while one has it - it doesn't last long at all. Do what you can, while you can - unless you're a Royal (anyone joining me in storming the French embassy?).

Here's the Chairman's tip for banishing those frown lines that come with age, a tip that has made him enemies within the plastic surgery fraternity - just smile, and of course, ramble on!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Pubs the Answer to All Our Problems, Says CAMRA

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, says that all our financial woes can be solved by spending more time down the pub sampling all the beers offered by the record number of breweries in the UK.

Apparently the last time we had so many breweries we were in the middle of WWII, and we won that one.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Fred Perry

Seems an Englishman still hasn't beaten the curse of Fred Perry.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Clever Clogs

One hears universities are to be set targets for males now.

Rather than buggering about engineering the education system to the extent that every conceivable group is fairly represented, how about just making university entry subject to a student being clever?

I think a few more people in positions of power, when proffered asinine initiatives by underlings, should feel able to say: "Now don't be a prat and do go away dear boy."

Sunday, 9 September 2012


I hear that the anti-smoking brigade have invented Stoptober - an initiative to get people to stop smoking in October.

On the radio I heard that its aim is to 'inject fun into the process of giving up'. Since when were withdrawal symptoms 'fun'? Are these people insane? It's like injecting fun into bomb disposal...

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Growing Like Topsy on Strike

What with the relaxation of planning regulations, we're thinking of building another house further up the field. We'll start with a garage as, providing it's below a certain size, you don't need planning permission for outhouses in the first place. Once that's in place we'll have somewhere to live temporarily, so that's a good place to start. Then we'll build an extension (or what we experts commonly term a house) and take it from there.

I see one of the teaching unions has voted to strike on the basis of 82.5% being in favour from a 27% turnout. That's 22.275% voting to strike. It's not surprising they're going on strike on such a low vote (that's a given, along with the strange manner in which the unions interpret this low number as both a victory and a mandate); what's surprising is that the overwhelming majority of teachers obviously think very little of their union and can't even be bothered to vote in the first place.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Judge Not

I see the PM was quick in getting on-side with the Daily Mail Tendency about remarks made by a judge, who said burglars show courage, although he later back-tracked a bit.

Let's analyse what the judge said: "It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody's house. I wouldn't have the nerve." Well, I can't, in all honesty, disagree.

I agree with Cameron that it is a hateful crime, but one is not automatically a coward for committing a hateful crime.

Burglary is committed by government spies - does that automatically make the spies cowards? I somehow think the PM and the Daily Mail Tendency would praise British spies for showing courage. It is nonetheless burglary, albeit government sanctioned. 

Quite sensibly, the judge will not be censured, which will doubly annoy the knee-jerkers.

Imagine what an army of courageous burglars could achieve in Afghanistan - providing they're not spaced out on smack, although that may feasibly help.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Take Me to THE Hotel

If you were a taxi driver, what would you say to a fare that asked you to take him or her to THE Hotel? 

I was staying in a place called Design And Style Hotel in Hamburg – otherwise known as DAS Hotel. It’s like a British hotel calling itself Tea House England Hotel, and abbreviating it to THE Hotel. 

‘Nuff said?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Business Travel

In Hamburg for most of this week at a maritime exhibition. Will be catching up with some old buddies - the world of maritime sales is quite small and incestuous. Won't be joining the younger members of the fraternity for the creep-up-the-Reep though - far too old and sensible for that.

Spotted this at the airport:

Not as good as 50 Spades of Grey - a study of erotic ironmongery.

Came out vie Brussels (yes, it doesn't make much sense, but it is cheaper) and was amused to see vastly more people of Asian and African descent (or even origin) at the EC Citizens passport immigration queue than indigenous Europeans. Remember I'm from Old Sodbury and besides the odd Celt from across the border, all I get to see is Anglo Saxons.

Brussels is far too French for me; was glad to get to Hamburg and some Teutonic efficiency. Despite arriving and departing from the same terminal at Brussels, I nonetheless had to go through immigration control and security. And the airport signage was, well........ French in terms of instructional value.

The part of Hamburg where my hotel is looks like a suburb of Istanbul. Went out for a meal in the evening and had a choice of Turkish, Turkish, Turkish, Afghan, Turkish or Vietnamese. Went for the Vietnamese.

Large cities are fast losing their original cultural identity and increasingly becoming a melange of cultures. To get a glimpse of the indigenous culture, the tourist now has to venture into the countryside.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Paralympic Allegations

There are allegations of loping in the Paralympics 200m.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Cameron to Build Shanty Towns to End Recession

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, the PM says he wants to cut through the 'red tape' of planning regulations, designed to ensure minimum standards and protect our green spaces, so that rapacious building firms could erect unaffordable shanty towns, miniscule shoe-boxes and office blocks in our local parks and back yards, thus providing much-needed jobs.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Trotter Renovations Ltd.

Went to a local quarry yesterday - when I say local, I mean an hour's drive - to reacquaint myself with the limestone we're having in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Came back via Cirencester, where we stopped off for lunch. Now Cirencester is famous for St John the Baptist church, a fine medieval building. It has been vandalised!

Look at the photo on the left and you'll see how one of the facades of the church used to look. On the right is how part of it looks today. At first glance it's been cleaned - but no, it's been painted in a garish, sand-coloured masonry paint to make it look as if it's been cleaned. I could tell from the overspray on the leaded windows. It looks simply hideous, as if some amateur has had a go at it.

Click to enlarge