Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Had to visit our local agricultural machinery repair place yesterday to get the new tyre for the ride-on-mower fitted (it took 3 blokes an hour of struggling and they still had to use an inner-tube - that'll teach me to buy a cheap Tiawanese import from eBay).

The firm is TH White's in Knockdown (near Westonbirt, which I always thought a good name for a band) and they have a marvelous marketing tag-line: "TH White - In More Fields Than You Imagine."

No.1 Son has a good strap-line: "Trust me, I'm a teenager." However, that's taking marketing a touch too far.

Bought a rotovator off eBay yesterday. Next it'll be a tractor. Must attend the Badminton Horse Trials next weekend....

Monday, 28 April 2014


Called in at St Ives (wish we hadn't) and discovered Fowey, although the locals there do have a problem with English.

Meet ball? 

The aberrant apostrophe.

St Ives has become far too commercialised as an art brand. The place is an excuse for hideous, mass produced "art", of a twee Cornish fishing village nature, but you never see a single artist doing his thing. They're all in "art factories" where "the St Ives light" (which is what they all seem to crow about) is totally immaterial.

Fowey is less commercialised, but fast heading down the St Ives route.

Saturday, 26 April 2014


Gone on jihad to The People's Republic of Cornwall till Sunday to defend the interests of the majority ethnic English.

Mumble, arrrr, mumble ahhharrrr.

Perhaps just as well - got a puncture in the frontymost, rightymost ride-on-mower tyre.  New tyre should arrive today and (hopefully) No.1 Son will get it fitted for me while we're away. Well, he will if he wants a 2nd hand Peugeot RX6 or Gilera DNA for the next academic year (he's 16 now and his new school for A levels is in the back of beyond in Wooton-Under-Edge).

Friday, 25 April 2014

Cornish Independence Balaclavas

Seems the Cornish have been granted some sort of minority status. Not surprised; I've holidayed in Cornwall for years (and about to go again this weekend) and I've yet to meet a genuine Cornish person there. True Cornish people must be a miniscule minority.

Just hope it doesn't go to their head and they start squandering tax money on bilingual road signs like the Welsh, or ramming their language - which only 3 people speak - down the throats of the mainly English kids. If the BBC's adaptation of "Jamaica Inn" is anything to go by, then Cornish is some kind of mumble.

I think we should mass troops on the Cornish border to protect the interests of the English ethnic majority in Cornwall.....

Wonder when the Scousers will petition for minority status, or the Brummies, or the Cockneys. Ludicrous!

Seems the must-have fashion accessory in Syria and Ukraine is a black balacalava. Wonder if we'll see the Cornish wearing them soon.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Christian Country

Apropos of yesterday's post regarding two MPs supporting David Cameron's pronouncement that the UK is a Christian country.

There are two prime attributes one first thinks of when considering the UK.

  1. A democracy, and
  2. A capitalist country.

Neither of these is fundamentally compatible with early Christianity, which was theocratic and communist.

While you're at it, look at the laws in countries that are definitely non-Christian. Take Japan, for example - can you spot any real difference between living in Japan and the UK that are due to Christian  influence? No - we have exactly the same basic laws, thus the argument fails.

Look at the major holidays of the UK - Christmas and Easter. These are no more than Christian celebrations that were grafted on to the pre-existing pagan holidays of Yule (or indeed Saturnalia) and Eostre in an attempt to stamp out paganism. Even the word Easter is of pagan origin and has no Christian etymology whatsoever.

In essence, Christianity - and indeed any religion - is a belief in something that is impossible according the the laws of physics and physical chemistry. A bit like homeopathy (or politics), it's a placebo at best and a rejection of reason.

The politics analogy is rather apt in this case.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Delusional MPs

The UK is a Christian country and those who deny it are "deluding themselves" and ignoring "reality", two senior Conservative MPs have said.

And I suppose the belief that the immutable laws of physics were suspended some 2,000 years ago and a man-god-magician was executed, came back to life and then ascended to "heaven" at a time when miracles by self-professed Messiahs were a regular occurrence isn't self-delusional?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Scottish Pensioners

Gordon Brown is to argue Scotland should stay in the Union due to the UK underwriting £100bn of Scottish pensions.

A damned good argument for cutting Scotland loose, if you ask me!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Grumpy Riverworld

Had a pleasant walk along the Kennet and Avon canal yesterday between Bradford on Avon and Avoncliff. Happened upon a floating cafe which was being run my an old school friend:

This got Hay talking about boats (again). We were reading a Canal Pikey magazine while having our breakfast in the narrowboat and saw this:

More details of the concept here. Now I could get our builder, Colin, to so some fancy work with shuttering and concrete while Stuart, who made our stainless steel bits for the house, could fabricate a steel hull.

Also spotted this place in Bradford-on-Avon:

Those who know me also know that Hay's nickname for me is Badger...

Friday, 18 April 2014

What a Plonker!

Spotted this silly old fool who thought he was videoing the instructions on using his new ride on lawnmower. Turned out he was videoing himself.

What a plonker!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Antediluvial Sartotial Elegance

Was watching Michael Portillo on Great Railway Journeys and was horrified at what he was wearing. He's obviously going through marriage difficulties, as no woman would allow him to wear a dayglo green shirt, sky blue jumper and shocking pink jacket.

Either that, or he's attending a clown convention.

Was picking stones from the ha-ha yesterday evening and came across this chappie - a 60m~400m year-old fossilised ammonite from the lodge foundation spoil. This area used to be a warm, tropical sea - a bit like Somerset a few weeks ago, hence the preponderance of limestone in the region.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Problem Solving

Finally solved the problem of getting No.1 Son to mow the lawn without being asked or demanding payment - got a 3rd hand ride-on-mower on eBay at the weekend.

I even spotted Hay's sister's partner, Perry, mowing my lawn. I'll have all the blokes in the neighbourhood queuing up at this rate.

I wonder if I can make it street-legal? He could then use it to get to his new school after the holidays.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Overheard this morning:

Chairman (looking to change a £20 note): "Got two tenners?"

Hay: "You mean Placido Domingo and wossisface?"

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Boys Were Busy

Looks like the boys were busy while I was away - the concrete pad for Barnfield Lodge is finished.

The base, however, is as far as we're going this year. Time to start saving again - Colin has given us a quote of around £27k, including the work already done on the base.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

9 Till 5

It's the Jewish Pesach, or Passover holiday from tomorrow, so they had a little toast at HQ yesterday:

Our CEO makes a speech.

Our man in France, Gerard.

Our Russian contingent.

Darren, our man in Singapore.

I hear Roman Abramovich has booked an entire hotel in some Israeli resort for Passover. A tad ostentatious, if you ask me.

I find it perverse that Israel does the majority of its business with the parts of the world that have a working week of Monday to Friday, but keeps a Sunday to Thursday working week itself - the same as most of the Arab countries around it, with which it does hardly any business at all.

The standard working week here is 43 hours, but most (at least in my company) work far in excess of that. It's common for me to be getting emails from Israeli colleagues still behind their desks beyond 6pm UK time, which is 8pm Israeli time.

They do, however, have a disproportionally large number of religious holidays when the whole country just shuts down for a week or so - and that's despite only some 25% of Israelis actually being religious in any way, shape or form.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow (I'll probably be in a steam pigeon on the way back to Blighty), Shalom Shabbat.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

It's Hell in the Garden

Two more days to go in this Hell:

Must start looking seriously for a 2nd hand ride-on mower when I get back. Just a spurious and somewhat tangential thought.

Talking of gardens, Hay bought some garden art last weekend. I was a somewhat taken aback at the price, but thinking about it, it's worth it. It's by a local artist Hay's sister knows and it does look rather nice on the patio wall.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Taking it Easy

At a sales conference at HQ in Israel till Friday.

Both annoyed:

  1. Debit card was refused last night at the hotel, followed by a call from Nat West Fraud Team this morning telling me my card had been compromised when I'd already logged the fact I'd be in Israel for the week on their website (meaning a new debit card and updating all my on-line purchasing websites),
  2. Internet connection in the hotel is abysmal,
  3. I've already burned £70 of roaming data (Israel roaming charges are extortionate),
  4. TV only has hideously uninteresting Israeli, Russian or French channels,
and pleased:

  1. Celebrating a $1.3m maintenance contract with the UK Navy,
  2. Highly likely to have another $900k systems contract before I leave here,
  3. Did my European region presentation slot yesterday.
Time to relax!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Regal Exchange of Gifts for Electricity

The Queen and the Pope met yesterday in Rome and exchanged gifts. 

The BBC newsreader announced that the Queen gave the Pope a haunch of venison, some biscuits and a bottle of scotch.

I was convinced the newsreader was going to say that the Pope presented the Queen with the magical finger bone of a saint, or some such grisly Catholic relic.

Just done a quick annual calculation of our electricity use and generation with the solar PV - our total cost for electricity (bearing in mind we are 100% electric and are considered high users) is £50. Very pleased with the solar generation.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mass Extinction of Dinosaurs in Wales

Was watching an item on Noah last night on the local network. I think I've sussed what happened to the dinosaurs; if there were only two of each animal, eating just one of them would ensure its extinction, and Noah and his large family had to eat something. Obviously the dinosaurs were dinner.

The fault with this premis is that the actual numbers quoted were; "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female," unless the dinosaurs were unclean.

Talking of faulty logic, I hear the Welsh Health Minister wants e-cigarettes banned in public enclosed spaces using the premise that they normalise smoking. No, they normalise vaping, which is not the same as smoking. Using that logic, drinking water should be banned in public places as it normalises the drinking of vodka. Faulty logic is being used to justify a moral judgment by trying to convert it into a quasi-scientific argument.

The Welsh Health Minister also states that e-cigarettes are targeted at the young. I believe that to be false, as the grater sales and profits are to be made from the vast number of existing smokers, who are generally old dinosaurs like me (we actually survived The Flood).

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Phase II

We've started to build the guest accommodation at the end of the field - or at least the slab is being put in. The rest will have to wait till next year. To comply with planning regs it has to be a temporary structure, under 4m in height and 4m from any boundary, so it will be a wooden lodge.

The excess earth has gone to make a ha-ha by the house.

And we're moving the Old Sodbury Dyke bit by bit to make the guest accommodation slightly more secluded.

Yesterday was our fist anniversary in the house. Loved every minute of it, but it's still a work in progress.