Saturday, 30 June 2018

Dumbledore in Glass

Went to Lulworth Cove yesterday and also took in Dumbledore, or whatever it's called, just up the coast.

An iconic shot - I simply had to take it again and try to get rid of the crowds. Here's the massaged shot.

Not the same really, although it has its appeal. I guess the marketing people photograph it very early in the morning.

The cove and beach on the other side are rather nice and take some effort to get to with a long flight of steps.

Hay and I are both of the opinion that sightseers (including us) should be made to crawl there on their hands and knees. It would reduce the hideous numbers.

Lulworth Cove was heaving, but again I managed to shoot it such that it looks like we're relatively alone.

When I was in Malmesbury earlier in the week I spotted this in the window of a funeral director's.

Click on the image to gain the full, macabre effect.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Folds in an Album

Bloody skating helmet I collected from Malmesbury yesterday had half the innards missing. Why do people advertise stuff that's not even fit for purpose? Bastards.

We went to Tyntesfield House the other day. It's a National Trust property once owned by a family that made their money from South American guano before they went into merchant banking.

There was a painting on the staircase that intrigued me - not for the subject matter, but how a few daubs can be transformed when viewed from a distance. Look at this.

Now look at it in context. Suddenly it becomes satin folds on a dress, catching the light perfectly.

We had a picnic near a kids' play area. Now who can spot the famous words from an eponymous album from the late 60s prog-rock genre? You might have to click on the image to enlarge it to see what I mean.

The names on the boxes are apple varieties grown locally in Somerset for the cider industry.

Talking of booze, I wonder if anyone has calculated the effect on global warming of the booze industry given the vast amounts of CO2 required? The national shortage of CO2 must mean we're doing our bit to combat climate change, albeit at the cost of a beer shortage.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Upsetting People in Car Parks with Smart Lock

Overheard at 08:30:

Hay: "Is Bruno not going into school this morning?"

Chairman: "How many times have we had this conversation - he doesn't go into school till the afternoon on Tuesdays."

Hay: "And what day is it today?"

Chairman: "Err - Wednesday..... But it was Tuesday yesterday..."

I've been having issues with the Smart Lock feature on my Samsung Galaxy S8+. The location based unclock hasn't been working for many months and I was at my wits' end as to how to resolve the problem - not a single online forum had a solution that worked; however, yesterday I fixed it. I switched off every other Smart Lock feature - voice unlock, on-body detection and trusted devices. Hey Presto - trusted places suddenly worked.

Has anyone else been receiving Facebook generated What We Do Together Matters videos on their timeline? These things worry me - some of the people pictured in the video stills are dead, some have left their partners and married other people. I do wish social media generated things didn't appear on my timeline - some people might be upset by them if I inadvertently posted them. Mind you, when did I last worry about stuff I post upsetting people?

Talking of upsetting people - if you're talking to a German football supporter, don't mention the VAR.

What with taking up rollerblading as a hobby, I was wondering why there's such a marked difference between a skating helmet and a bicycle helmet. Apparently the bicycle helmet is designed to protect your head from one, potentially catastrophic blow from say a car, whereas a skating helmet is designed for repeated minor blows and doesn't need to be replaced after just one accident. Makes sense when you think about it - you're likely to fall over more often when skating than cycling. Someone on Facebook Market in Malmesbury is giving a skating helmet away for free and I'm collecting it later today.

I upgraded from the shopping centre car park for my early morning rollerblading practice sessions to the local Waitrose car park - it's a better class of car park. I discovered that the Waitrose car park is on a slight incline, which I never knew before - it's not that evident in a car and adds a new dimension to the practice sessions. Still haven't fallen over yet.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018


You know there's this constant battle between Cornwall and Devon as regards whether the jam or the cream goes on a scone first as part of a traditional cream tea. Well, we have an added dilemma here in South Gloucestershire - whether the rasher of Gloucester Old Spot bacon goes on top of the cream and jam, or under it.

Thought of a new game - Charity Shop Dilemma - you take a photo of a charity shop junk shelf and your mates have to choose something they'd buy from the items on display. They can't say nothing - something has to be chosen.

What old tat you be forced to buy? Click to enlarge.

Catholics in the Philippines are also in a dilemma with the utterances of President Duerte. Asking "Who is this stupid God?", Mr Duterte criticised the Biblical story of creation and Adam and Eve being thrown out of the Garden of Eden after they ate the "forbidden fruit". "You created something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work," he said. He also slammed the concept of original sin, whereby all humans are tainted by Adam and Eve's wrongdoing - saying: "You weren't born yet, but now you have original sin. What kind of religion is that? I can't accept it." Local Catholic bishop

Arturo Bastes responded by calling the president a "madman" and urging people to pray for his "blasphemous utterances and dictatorial tendencies" to end.

Here's the dilemma - who is the madman - the bloke who quite reasonably criticises a myth, or the bishop who believes wholeheartedly that the myth was an actual event and that prayers to a sky god will shut Duerte up.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Scam Alert

What is Car Pool Karaoke? Am I missing something important?

Apparently the heatwave is set to last till it finishes.

No.1 Son had a tangle with a Nigerian scammer over the weekend. He's selling his gaming laptop, which is a rather high-end spec unit which cost him around £950 (he's after a Mac). Having put it on eBay, someone contacted him to offer a good price and would to add £150 for postage, which immediately raised some suspicions.

The purchaser said he'd transfer the money by PayPal, which seemed all well and good, but when No.1 Son inspected the alleged transfer notice it said the money would clear on proof of postage, which is highly irregular.

No.1 Son then performed a search on the purchaser's email and he traced it to Nigeria. Needless to say, he cancelled the sale.

Always check any money transfer notices for hidden terms - a lot of people would simply have posted the laptop and then not received any money. eMails purporting to come from PayPal are not always from PayPal. A lot of people would also be taken in by the offer of £150 for mailing the item, hoping to make a few bob on it - they target people's greed.

Poor old Nigerians - I often wonder how the vast majority of Nigerians who aren't scammers cope with buying something off the internet. Does anyone trust them?

Monday, 25 June 2018

Do We Care About Orgasmatrons for Dormice?

Found my orgasmatron! It was hidden in the deep recesses of my sock and jock drawer...

The thing is that it doesn't seem to have the same effect as it used to. Could that be the result of having been married for 2 years?

All this kerfuffle about Trump's immigration policy - it's a mess on both sides of the debate.

Uncontrolled immigration is a problem - you can't just have open doors on all and sundry as that's a recipe for disaster and a welcome mat for the far right to get attention. The economy, infrastructure, jobs would all be threatened. Any immigration has to be controlled and planned - plus you need to know who is in the country and why.

Now Trump's policy, since rescinded, to separate the children of illegals from their parents, while a deterrent, is not humane. It's not the fault of the kids and you shouldn't punish the innocent to punish the guilty parents, who are after all, illegal immigrants. Personally I can't see anything wrong with Trump's plan for a proper, hard border - a wall, if necessary. We have the equivalent of a wall in the UK - it's called The Channel and it acts as a deterrent to illegal immigration. Those entering the country legally have to go through immigration control at airports and seaports - absolutely nothing wrong with that. If they're refugees, then there are legal processes and procedures for that.

Those on the left, however, don't seem to have any solution to the problem whatsoever and would be quite happy, by listening to them, for illegals to be given every assistance, as if they were legal immigrants. Now I don't like thin end of the wedge arguments, as they're not always valid, but in this instance it is - it would simply encourage increasing waves of uncontrolled, illegal immigration.

Hay went on one of her nature volunteer things yesterday morning - something to do with dormouse training, or counting, or something. She sent me a photo of these two fast asleep.

I think she's a certified dormouse tamer now, although I can't be certain.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Daft Punk Spinach

Overheard while I'm watching Croatia vs Argentina and Hay is handing me my dinner:

Chairman: "All these Croats have ic at the end of their names."

Hay: "How's the spinach?"

Chairman: "I don't believe he's playing in this match."

Got my auto-darkening welding mask from China yesterday - yes, it does look a bit Daft Punk.

It works beautifully though, despite costing under a tenner. Used it yesterday to weld a few cracks on the ride-on mower deck. The visor is perfectly clear while you place your welding rod, but the second you strike an arc, sensors detect the UV and it darkens electronically in the blink of an eye. It makes arc welding so much easier.

Found the perfect place for practising my rollerblading - the town shopping centre car park at 5am. Not a soul about and nice long stretches to get up some speed. Another couple of hours practise - say 3 at the outside - and I should be road-safe. Beyond the one enforced mishap outside our backdoor, I haven't fallen over at all yet. Stopping is still an issue though. I want to be able to do the hockey stop, but that's going to take a lot more confidence.

I do need some different rollerblades though; these are really cheap and nasty. I had to remove the tongues as they were an absolute pain to tuck in and were cutting into my ankles. Thick socks might be another solution, but more supple skates with a bit of give would be better.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Rollerblading Pensioner

Found this video of a rollerblading pensioner of 78.

Only my 2nd 20 minute practise session down with the homies at the skate park, but no mishaps - yet. Easy does it...

Seems we're having commemorations for something every week now. I'm getting commemoration fatigue. I'm sorely tempted to say the words Political Correctness gone mad. Commemorations are becoming the fastest growing industry - we'll be exporting them soon. It's all very well to force certain issues and keep them in the public eye to force action, but many issues are actually being addressed already - or indeed have been addressed.

Heard the expression nautical miles used on the radio yesterday morning in relation to some migrant ship. I'm sure the nautical mile means nothing to the average person. It's actually 6,080 feet, as opposed to 5,280 feet in a terrestrial mile, being one minute of latitude, or one 60th of a degree of latitude.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Who Wears Short Shorts on the Block

Midsummer and I spotted some frost on the ground while doing my early morning rounds of the property!

I haven't really been able to avoid the World Cup on TV, but is it just me or has football fashion gone full circle in terms of the amount of leg that's shown? Today's shorts wouldn't be out of place in 1909. By comparison, the shorts of the 70s were positively obscene and could be viewed as conducive to up-shorting.

We hear lots of talk about trade blocs. Why on earth do we use the French word bloc, when the English word block has the same meaning, and indeed more meanings? It's not as if the French invented the trade bloc. Realpolitik can be excused, as a German invented the term and we have no equivalent, unless you want to use Power Politics.

Mrs May is apparently mooting a Ukraine-style association with the EU. Does that mean she's open to Russia invading Scotland? So that's where the Leave.EU money came from...

A stark, but unsurprising YouGov daily survey result from a couple of days ago:

Thursday, 21 June 2018

United Ireland on Rollerblades?

The nights are drawing in... Well, someone had to say it.

Apparently the British Ambassador to Romania was greeted at an event in Romania with a British flag that was so out of date in its design that it was last used in 1801 - it was missing the saltire of St Patrick, as shown in the photo below.

One wonders, with the situation over Northern Ireland and Brexit, whether this presages something and the Romanians have inside information....

OK - don't laugh - you're never too old to learn and 63 is an ideal age to learn a new skill, such as rollerblading, as my scything course last week proved.

Didn't fall over once in the entire 30 minute practice session, although I came near to it a few times. Stopping is still a bit of a problem, which is why I used the local kids' skate park - much safer environment than the pavement - and it being term time there are no kids there.

However, I got back home and donned the skates to show Hay my new balancing ability and promptly fell over just outside the door, twisting my leg painfully against the wall in the process. Had I been on the skate park I'd merely have landed on my arse. Doubtless the injured knee will heal quickly - no permanent damage - although there will be no more skating for a few days.

I discovered that skating is much easier if you relax your feet, instead of tensing them in anticipation of a fall. My intention is, once the knee has fixed itself, to do between 30 minutes and an hour per day till I get fully confident. I did have the idea of using my walking poles while gaining confidence, but the hand protectors preclude grasping anything. Might wear gloves instead so I can grasp the poles.

Wonder if anyone has thought of combining rollerblading and scything into a new competitive sport?

Next week the Chairman will learn how to pole vault....

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Hypocrisy of the Paradox

Trump doesn't want the USA to be a holding area for refugees.

It's like the hypocrisy contained in opening of the American Declaration of Independence; "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." All men except their black slaves, of course. Women were notably absent too - as they were in Blighty.

Just like no obese person wants to die from a hear attack, no drug addict wants to die from a drug overdose. Yet drug addicts are put in prison while obese people are encouraged to improve their health, most often with zero effect. Isn't it time we changed our attitude to drug addicts to match that of obese people and treat it as something that requires help, rather than incarceration?

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Facel Vega Skates

I was reading something about Albert Camus yesterday and learned he died in a car accident while driving something called a Facel Vega, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.

An interesting marque and this one looks as if it might have been the concept behind Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward's futuristic Rolls Royce.

Sadly, I succumbed to an impulse yesterday while browsing at the local charity shop.

Fortunately, when I got home, I discovered that the wheels had perished and thus rushed back to get a refund. That was a close thing...

Update: spotted a pair for sale locally on Facebook Market in excellent condition - brand new and unused. Bought them, so I will embarrass my two boys after all...

I wonder if I can create a new sport - Rollerblade scything?

Monday, 18 June 2018

Investors in Gliders & Snaths

I've dug out an old English scythe blade that used to belong to one of Hay's great uncles, who used it to scythe the meadow we built our house in. I think it was last used in anger in the '70s. It was pretty rusty after years of neglect, but seemed in relatively good condition and worth restoring.

What I need, however, is a new snath (being what we experts call the handle), but snaths for English scythes are as rare as brains in a Brexiteer. Below is the blade fully cleaned up and restored.

I think, on the basis of research into English scythe snaths, their availability and price if you can find one, I'm going to have to use this purely as a decorative item in the house and purchase an Austrian scythe  - bloody Europeans and their superior technology...

Been seeing a lot of gliders in our area over the last few days. Going up in a glider would petrify me - not so much in fear of crashing, but losing a thermal and having to land miles from nowhere or destroying some poor farmer's crop. I often wonder which bright spark first thought to himself; "Ooh - I think I'll go up in a plane without an engine"? Doesn't exactly seem a sensible idea at first glance.

Saw a van yesterday with the Investors in People logo. I thought that had died a death decades ago but, apparently, it's still in operation. Never saw the point myself. The companies indulging in this stuff were invariably the worst to work for.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Fathers' Day Scythe for Criminals

Apparently, according to The Sunday Times, less that 5% of all robberies and burglaries are solved. Now given fully 50% of business start-ups fail, I'm surprised more people aren't turning to a career in crime. Heard that Savid Javid is working on a plan to give police more powers to tackle motorcycle thieves - I wonder what additional powers they require beyond the power to arrest thieves? Sounds like more vacuous statements from a government in crisis.

Fathers' Day today. No use to me now, I was completely orphaned in my late 50s.

The scything course was excellent and I learned a lot. For a start, an Austrian scythe is much easier to handle than an English scythe. Secondly, it's best to scythe grass when it's slightly wet. Thirdly, keep it very sharp by honing it often.

Here's me attacking the grass with gusto.

I think I handled it rather well.

This is the Austrian scythe.

Peening the blade with a special gadget.

Here's a video of our tutor showing the correct technique.

I did, however, become aware of another grass cutting tool for long grass - the Allen scythe. Here's a particularly well looked after example. They're generally at least 40 years old.

I may just go on one of their hedge laying courses next.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Up-Cycled Poldark Scythe

Given we've allowed the garden to go to seed and mown paths through it in the interests of ecology, the ride-on-mower now can't cope with the once-a-year cutting - it's simply too long.

Hay spotted a local scything course and has booked me on it for today. Personally I think she was thinking more about Aidan Turner in Poldark than the sight of me scything the grass bare-chested. The only problem is that it's forecast to rain this morning.

 I was of the opinion that a scythe was in the region of £100 plus, but I found some all-metal ones on eBay for just over £30 from Ireland. Must get myself one in time for the harvesting season.

When I spoke with the guy who is doing the tuition, he said Aidan Turner's technique is crap and he wouldn't cut much grass with it.

Being a keen up-cycler, I was impressed with the ingenuity shown in the following images, if not with the safety...

Friday, 15 June 2018

Andy Warhol JRM Original

I see the Jacob Rees-Mogg has been defending the indefensible - the setting up of a branch of his hedge fund, Somerset Capital Management, in Dublin and the firm warning its clients of the effects of a hard Brexit. Oops. Naturally you'd expect the Gruniad to report it, but the Torygraph is also on his tail. Seems he wants to become 'the man that broke the bank of England' while publicly excoriating him.

Apparently particle physicists have discovered some new particles - the Up Brexit, the Down Brexit, the Left Brexit and the Right Brexit. The most elusive particle of all, the Successful Brexit, has yet to show any evidence of existence.

Given that the Universal Credit system, the NHS - in fact, anything that government touches turns to poo, one wonders how they're going to deliver a successful Brexit. The words 'successful' and 'Brexit' are an oxymoron when juxtaposed in a sentence, unless the words 'is' and 'impossible' are included.

A few days ago I was wondering whether charity shops gave their staff some basic training in identifying really valuable pieces of junk. Well, I was looking in one of the local charity shops and spotted this Andy Warhol original in the window.

I'm sure they're not aware of its true value...

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Quelle Surprise - Fake News

Been seeing this meme about Jean Monet, one of the 'founding fathers of the EU', rather a lot recently on Facebook and, being the sceptic that I am, I decided to do a little digging.

It transpires he didn't say this at all and it's a conspiracy theory (quelle surprise) - read this for an explanation. There again, I haven't checked all the sources mentioned in the article.

Yet another breach of customer credit card data. I confidently predict that a system of exchange will be invented where we use some proxy for financial transactions - like government promissory notes or disks of metal that represent the currency being used. In order to steal it, criminals would have to physically attack you, rather than sitting in the comfort of their own homes in front of a computer. A radical idea, or what? It would rejuvenate our high streets.

So a poll has shown that 82% of people would support a tax rise to increase funding to the NHS - the problem is that this doesn't translate to elections and people lie in polls; time after time, the electorate votes against general tax rises. They don't, however, vote against tax rises for others, such as top earners.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

2-Stroke Crap

Does anyone else hate 2-stroke power tools with the same vengeance as I do?

There's a bloody chainsaw to add to this little collection of non-working garden tools that won't start either. Getting just one to work would be brilliant. I'm convinced you can buy one direct from the manufacturer and still not get it to work first time. Even if you did, it wouldn't work 2nd time and certainly not when stored over the winter.

I've rebuilt more cars than I care to remember, but these gizmos freak me out. Everything is tiny and inaccessible; pull just a bit too hard on something and it comes apart in your hands; purposely take something apart and all manner of springs and spigots roll all over the floor; try to get some new petrol pipe of the correct size and you could be asking for unicorn horn dust.

It's always the fuel system that's at fault and rebuilding old carburettors that you either can't buy anymore, or are priced astronomically if you can, is fraught with problems.

It's time to invest in battery operated garden tools with the latest battery technology as tools with cables simply aren't an option in a garden the size of ours.

I hear meat has been found in supermarket vegan foods. Good!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Will of the People

2 years down the line and with many issues which were not know at the time having come to light, I see no reason why parliament should not check that THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE remains as it was, as I somehow think, and as recent polls would indicate, that THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE has shifted somewhat away from imposing a self-inflicted injury on the basis of lies, misinformation and wanton over-simplification of complex issues.

On three occasions – Denmark on the Maastricht Treaty, Ireland on the Nice Treaty and Ireland again on the Lisbon Treaty – voters have initially rejected an EU treaty only to vote in favour of it in a second referendum following a period of reflection. Falsehood will fly, as it were, on the wings of the wind, and carry its tales to every corner of the earth; whilst truth lags behind; her steps, though sure, are slow and solemn..

How many parliaments and administrations suffer multiple mid-term defeats due to the will of the people changing once the consequences of policies become clear? Democracy, after all, is a process and not a binary event.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Brexit Continuity for Eno & Kim

Did you know that Brian Eno's full name is Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. However, his Wiki page says he was born just Brian Peter George Eno.

We were watching the new series of Poldark last night and I was paying more attention to the settings than normal. Charlestown made an appearance, doubling for Truro docks, but what caught my attention most was that there were several scenes in which the sun was rising over a seascape in a morning scene, indicating an east facing location, while also setting over the same seascape in another scene, indicating a west facing location. The makers are obviously filming early morning and evening scenes (usually where Ross Poldark is galloping along some cliffs) at exactly the same time of day, which makes sense from saving money on locations, but contravenes continuity and makes it difficult to determine exactly where the location is.

The world seems split between anti-globalists and globalists. Globalists are meant to be pro free trade, whereas anti-globalists are defined as nationalist and protectionist. What I find strange is that the Brexit movement is anti-globalist, exhibiting both nationalism and protectionism, while simultaneously accusing the EU of protectionism. Brexit is also anti-elitist while being nationalist, which again is incongruous as nationalism is predicated on an elite nation state. The word hypocrisy comes to mind.

Trump and Kim - Trump is caught between two facets of his ego; on the one hand he wants to be seen as a hard man, on the other he's desperate to get a deal and prove himself better than Obama. Kim knows this and is probably betting on the narcissist's hatred of Obama coming out on top, so be prepared for Kim being given anything he demands. I can imagine Kim saying to himself; "At last, someone I can deal with - a narcissist."

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Good Ideas

Anthony Bourdain? News coverage of almost hysteric proportions, but no-one except my elder son has ever heard of him in our extended household, and we're not exactly living under a rock. Could it be because we're not fans of American TV?

Yesterday was the Old Sodbury Village Day, an annual event where we try to raise funds for the fabric of the village hall, as well as provide a day of family entertainment and fun.

Being on the Village Hall Committee, along with Hay, it's our responsibility to come up with various ideas for the entertainment. My contribution this year was arranging for a local archery club to attend; we get an archery section of the local football field, where we hold the event, and the archery club gets the chance to drum up membership from the local community - a win-win scenario.

I usually volunteer to be in charge of the car parking in the adjacent field, but apparently is was also my idea this year to ask people for donations for parking, rather than it being free. I'd forgotten, but managed to rush home and get a bucket, hastily write "PARKING DONATIONS" on it and position it by the field entrance before people started to arrive.

It was interesting to watch people as they went past the bucket after having parked their cars. Some slung in 20 or 30p, that being all they had in change; many deposited 50p; most threw in £1 and some even threw in a £2 coin. A very small number would walk past sheepishly, make no eye contact whatsoever, and leave nothing in the bucket.

Occasionally I had to take a break, when I would take the bulk of the money out of the bucket and leave maybe £4 in change in it. Now despite cars very obviously having come into the car park during my breaks - trade was brisk - the amount of money in the bucket climbed by no more that a couple of quid, indicating that people would generally chuck money into the pot while being watched, but not if there was no-one watching them.

At the end of the day I'd made about a substantial amount from the car park.

Next year's ideas will be a) to provide disabled parking, b) run a car wash in the car park, and c) to run a radio station - Old Sodbury Pirate FM - for the day.....

Saturday, 9 June 2018

The Shirt of T for Boris

Yesterday, while checking out the local charity shops for treasures I came across a Pink Floyd tour T shirt. Hay said no. She maintained that blokes shouldn't wear T shirts with signs or logos - indeed anything on them - after the age of 30, else they look somewhat pathetic. Generally I agree, but I suggested I could grow a huge paunch in order to look the part.

I did, however, pick up this rather attractive little raku vase for £1.99 - a bargain in anyone's money.

I sometimes wonder whether charity shop volunteers are given some basic training in pottery makers' marks to ensure they don't sell for a song something that's worth a fortune. I somehow doubt it.

So, Boris reckons that if Trump had been conducting the Brexit negotiations he'd have gone in hard and won concessions. This asinine statement shows that Boris isn't as clever as some would make him out to be.

To go in hard you have to have a bargaining chip in the form of a metaphorical cudgel you can wield. In the case of the UK, the cudgel is aimed at our own heads - and the EU knows that.

Boris is a well educated fool and has weaponised self-harm. At least he realises we need concessions in order for the economy not to go into meltdown, but the fact we can do little to seriously harm the EU without doing greater harm to ourselves self-evidently shows we're a supplicant. Trump could have done no better - we bought the product, used it effectively for 40 years (it did what it said on the tin) and now we're returning it to the shop and asking for a refund......

I was reading FlipBoard this morning to get my daily aggregated news feed from a variety of sources. A story appeared from yesterday's Sun maintaining that the predicted post-Brexit trade slump hasn't materialised. What does the Sun think post-Brexit means? Have we actually left the EU yet? Have tariffs, which will be the cause of a trade slump, kicked in without our knowledge? I despair of some journalists - you'd think a working knowledge of English would be required for the job.

Friday, 8 June 2018

A Plague on Their Houses

I'm currently well into the 2nd book of Philippa Gregory's series, The Counsins' War, which covers the Wars of the Roses, a period in our history that fascinates me.

The war was fought between the Houses of Lancaster and York - the Duchy of Lancaster being the personal possession of the Monarch since 1399 and the Duchy of York being a cadet branch of the Plantagenets. 

The strange thing about the Duchy of York is that, while usually conferred on the 2nd son of the Monarch, it has never continued beyond two generations due to the holder dying without male heirs or becoming king himself ( happened 6 times) and has had to be created 8 times in total. Prince Andrew, the current Duke of York, seems to be following the tradition of not being able to pass it on to male heirs.

One tends to think of duchies as being based in the county denoted by their name, which is far from the truth. If you look at the map of the Duchy of Lancaster, it's scattered all over the place.

Our local duke, the Duke of Beaufort, is the only duke to have his duchy take its name from outside the British Isles. It's amusing to realise that the Dukes of Somerset are Beauforts, while the Dukes of Beaufort are Somersets, the duchy of Beaufort having been created for a legitimised son of a Duke of Somerset in 1682.