Sunday, 31 March 2019

Existentialist Coffee Table

Changed your clocks?

Got myself a new project - converting an extending oak dining table into a bespoke, extending coffee table.

We've been looking for ages for a very large, affordable coffee table, but with no success. Then I had the bright idea to use a 2nd hand dining table and take down the legs. The fact it's extending and oak, to match our floor, is an added bonus. It also adheres to our upcycling ethos (that means cheap).

He were looking for something in the farmhouse dining table area, but they're impossible to find without paying a fortune and it would be a sin to convert something that's antique.

Hay is convinced it will and up with no legs, as I'm bound to take a bit too much off one leg and then go round compensating each leg in turn, ad infinitum until all the legs are 1mm in length. Hay calls it a Dick Emery table, as there was a Dick Emery sketch where he did exactly that to a billiard table to get it level, but I can't find a video of it.

I prefer to call it, when it's finished, a Cartesian Dualist coffee table - having a point of contact between the extended and the unextended.

Photos of the finished product will be available shortly - or perhaps a photo of the top with 1mm legs

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Curly Cable Anxiety at a Hard Breakfast

Apparently some people were marching in London yesterday afternoon shouting; "We want breakfast" - and they wanted it there and then at 4pm. Not only that, but they seemed to be shouting that they wanted a hard breakfast. Shredded Wheat?

Had a helluva job getting a cable for the Cobra phone - mostly through my own fault. The first one I bought was perfect - RJ10 one end and BT connection at t'other, but it came as grey instead of black. Checking the order it was indeed listed as grey/black. My mistake. The 2nd one was black, but had RJ10 at both ends, and was far too short. Again, my mistake. 3rd one was black and the right length, but RJ10 a both ends. Once more my mistake. I finally resolved this by purchasing a separate adapter.

OK - it was all my mistake.

When you buy coiled phone cables, the length given in the advert headline is the extended length, which is a fraction of the coiled length, the latter being the more important - I needed a 1m coiled length, which means 3m or more extended. I must learn to read the adverts in full before ordering things.

Friday, 29 March 2019

It's a Sign of Cat-astrophe

Received the new sign for the back door - be warned!

One grumpy Kitty waiting to savage anyone who dares to enter her domain.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Mobile Phones on a Flat Earth

So some Muslims are against their kids being given compulsory relationship lessons that include LGBT issues and want to be treated as a special case because of their religion.

What if some Flat Earthers don't want their kids taught geography and the fact the world is a globe because of their beliefs? There was a time when the Catholic church forbade the teaching of heliocentrism.

Get religion out of education. 

Yesterday morning I drove up to a light controlled pedestrian crossing where a woman was intently staring at her mobile phone - so intently that she missed the fact she could cross. Just as she noticed the lights changed again and she'd missed her opportunity.

Further along there was a set of traffic lights at a junction. A kid was wandering across diagonally with not a shred of attention, being welded to his mobile phone. The lights changed when he was only half way across and he hadn't noticed. He was dicing with death.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

The Artisan

We were listening to an episode of The food Programme on Radio 4 about robotic kitchens, where a robot prepared your food. The programme then went on do discuss how robots will eventually replace all aspects of non-creative labour.

This is inevitable, but this could open up totally new markets for artisanal products, and we're already seeing this in many areas, from craft beers to handmade bread. Cutlery is stamped out in uniform conformity by machines, but people (artisanal chefs in particular) will pay hundreds and even thousands of pounds for unique, handmade kitchen knives. Uniqueness will be the key.

I saw a speeded up version of this video on Facebook yesterday - this one is 11 minutes long, but it demonstrates the principle of making something a robot can't. well worth watching.

Of course, this market will depend on people having money with which to purchase artisan products, which is where the Universal Wage comes in.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Porcelain Teeth

Last week I was listening to an article about housecleaning on Woman's Hour, as one does. A woman who makes a living from cleaning others' houses was being interviewed and mentioned she uses denture cleaning tablets to clean toilets.

Well, I thought I'd try the trick and bought a couple of tubes of denture tablets. Put one in the boys' toilet and waited half an hour. Nothing. Chucked in another and waited another half hour. Nothing. Threw in a 3rd and still nothing - then gave up.

Thinking about it I couldn't for the life of me understand how it could work. Calcium carbonate build up in toilets is alkaline. Bicarb - which is basically what denture tablets are - is also alkaline. Simple chemistry says it shouldn't work. 

Looked it up on Google and there were thousands of references to the method, but among them was one Which report that said it was a load of old rubbish that few actually bothered to check. You need an acid to combat calcium carbonate, which I why I've always used vinegar, that I buy in 5 litre containers for £2.50 from a local grocer.

I queried Hay, what with her being a biochemist. She said that bicarb will bind to organic stains and remove them, which is why it's used as a denture cleaner, but wouldn't touch limescale, which is the main problem in our toilets. While denture tablets may remove the organic stains, it doesn't remove the calcium deposits on which they form in the first place. Vinegar, on the other hand, removes the calcium, which takes away any of the stains that form on it.

Don't necessarily believe everything you see or read on the internet. 

Monday, 25 March 2019

Lamp Sconces

While we were in St Mawes on Saturday we popped into the Hotel Tresanton and thought it would be a nice place for Hay's dad and partner to stay for a weekend - till we saw the prices - £270 a night. Gave it a quick recce on the interweb and discovered it was set up by one of the Fortes - Olga Polizzi, nee Forte - so, 'boutique', with prices to match. Not for the likes of us.

I was rather impressed with a couple of light sconces:

Tried to find them on the interweb, but all I could find was this:

A tad tasty for me. I would imagine the shell one was bought from Hannah Woodhouse.  Very nice though. As for the metal skate (or is it a ray), I can't find one.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Ginger Zulu Album Covers

Along with the usual ecumenical adverts showing racial minorities, there's a pernicious increase in adverts showing ginger people. It's as if the powers that be are trying to normalise gingerness and portray them as people like you and me - as if! We all know they're lizard aliens in zip-up human suits...

Yesterday I had a Cornish cream tea and Hay had the bright idea of recreating famous album covers using me as a model. This is her first attempt.

Think I might continue the theme in future posts. Suggestions welcome.

Spotted this amusing advert in St Mawes.

Hay performed her March, cold water swim on Saturday in the River Hayle. 

Brilliant place to enter the water. It's right by Lelant railway station and 100 yards from our AirBnB place, so a hot shower was just a short walk away.

We visited a Trelissick House National Trust property yesterday and I saw this portrait of one of the past owners.

He bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael Caine in Zulu.

Not a lot of people know that...

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Walmart Attire

You hear all these stories about people going out shopping in Walmart in America in their pyjamas; I was walking around the living room making Hayley's tea in my jocks and thought; "Should I quickly nip into Lidl in my jocks and get some milk?" 

It's only a short step from there to pyjamas. or worse - a dressing gown....

Friday, 22 March 2019

Birthday Timeline

I was looking at my Google Maps timeline yesterday and saw that on the laptop you can see your entire timeline for the last 10 years. On my phone I can only see it by the day. Strangely, Sweden isn't included and I definitely went to Malmo and Stockholm several times in the last 10 years. Same goes for Mariehamn on Aland in the Baltic.

As far as the UK goes. I seem to focus on the south and southwest. This calls for more exploration of Yorkshire and East Anglia.

I'm 64 today - managed to crack 65 press-ups all this week and could feasibly have reached 68. Perhaps I'll stick to doing press-ups concomitant with my age and increase them by 1 every year...

Birthday's Eve was my blood donor session:

More people should consider it.

Ref the Ericofon I bought on eBay - I put a colour grabber app on the shell and was surprised to discover it hoverd between Red-Brown and Harley Davidson Orange. Nice!

Just wish I could get a squiggly cord in the same colour, but I doubt that's possible. I did find one on eBay in the USA, but the postage is several times the price of the cord and it's probably not the right shade. Will make do with a black squiggly one for now, which is on order. I'll have to take the phone apart to connect it, as the connection is pre-RJ11 and will be bare wires to terminals.

I must say that I adore the design and am well pleased with the purchase. It's a pity it won't get used much. The base contains a large red button which is the on-off switch; when the handset is placed as in the photo, the button is automatically depressed and the line is disconnected. Picking it up releases the button and connects it. What you have to be careful of is not to put it down on the base when going off to find a piece of paper to write something down, else the call will disconnect.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Existential Questions

Why is Paul Weller called the Modfather?

He was part of the Mod revival and not the original Mod movement - he's simply not old enough. He should be called the Modson.

Why do crumpets take forever to toast?

I like mine with a sprinkle of salt.

Why is the right wing press turning on MPs when all they want is what's best for Britain? No Deal is terminally bad and May's deal is marginally better, but the best deal, by a country mile, is Remain, and most politicians know that even if some sections of the electorate don't..

Someone referenced World War II again to me yesterday in regard of the EU owing the UK a living, however, these events were many years prior to them even being born. Anyone alive today who took part in the Normandy landings must be at least 90 - and there can't be too many of those heroes still alive.

In the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Dutch forces saved England from Catholicism, but I take no personal credit for this, so why should Brexiteers take personal credit for saving Europe from the Nazis? If they do take personal credit for this, then they must also, logically, take personal credit for the slave trade and make reparations.

The French government has been awarding the L├ęgion d’honneur to D-Day veterans from many different countries for many years, as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War. Brexiteers conveniently forget this fact. The corollary of that is that the Europeans should thank the very people who liberated them and not their descendants, which is what they did when they invited Britain to join in their economic prosperity. Of course there was that fly in the ointment called de Gaulle, but that was overcome. Now some Brits have thrown their toys out of the pram in an orgy of hubristic self-destruction and pique, unhappy that they can't rule the EU as they did the Empire.

Additionally, Britain did not defeat the Nazis single-handed; America and Russia played a massive role. Without America or Russia Britain would have been toast. Brexiteers need reminding who was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

The old canard of NATO being the cause of peace in Europe since 1945 was used too, but NATO was created as a foil against Russia, not to prevent war between NATO members, for which it has no mechanism to act. It was formed as an alliance against external threat, not internal. What has stopped Germany and France engaging in a war against each other, on average every 23 years since the 1700s, is the fact they're  now in an economic and trade union, which acts as an existential barrier to war between them (there - I knew I'd get back to existentialism).

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Porch Cats

We're in the process of adding a porch to the kitchen door - I'm not exactly sure why.

It has resulted in an airlock filled with confused cats - while the outer cat flap is open to all, the inner allows only our chipped cat through.

The last photo is our Kitty, who is the least confused, but still confused.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


Islamophobia - what exactly does it mean? Seems no-one can accurately give a definition that all agree with. The word itself means fear of Islam and not, as many believe, a prejudice against Islam, and here is the crux of the matter - it's a nonsensical word. Anti-Islam would be a more accurate description of what we term Islamophobia. The word homophobia has the same problem.

There is no Catholophobia or Hindophobia. I can criticise those religions without being labelled with a word and all the connotations that go with it. Anti-Catholicism is genuine though. The appendage of phobia has a pejorative connotation.

Religions are all open to criticism, and so they should when they assert they are the one, true religion based on divine revelation - they can't all be such. Why should Islam be singled out and given special treatment with the word Islamophobia? All Abrahamic religions contain passages within their sacred texts that can justify believers doing despicable things to non-believers. As far as I'm concerned, they're all nonsensical and I can think of no question for which we once had a scientific answer, however imperfect, which has been superseded by a religious one, but I can think of many in the reverse. Religion has been squeezed out of the area of science and has retreated into philosophy, which doesn't answer any questions, it simply poses more.

Islam is somewhat singular in the way it uses death as a punishment - something Christianity dropped centuries ago as a barbaric relic. According to many surveys, even so-called moderate Muslims have sympathy with the use of the death penalty for certain Islamic transgressions. Such transgressions within most Islamic countries would certainly result in the death penalty.

It would seem that an accusation of Islamophobia is something that's used to stifle criticism of the more barbaric aspects of Islam - the way it treats apostates, gay people, women, the way male genital mutilation is mandatory, etc.

Early Islam had a cultural flowering when it made enormous contributions to medicine, philosophy, mathematics, art, astronomy, art, etc., building on the works of the ancient Greeks that were lost to the west during the Dark Ages when the Alt-Right dominated Europe, but all that was stopped dead in its tracks some 800 years ago when the Abbasid Caliphate came under the influence of a radical form of Islam, the anti-rationalist Ash’ari school, that pronounced faith had precedence over reason and reason could only be used where it promoted faith. Where reason and faith clashed, faith was to be used. That was the end of the Islamic Golden Age and it has never recovered, remaining in its own Alt-Right Dark Age.

Many apologists for Islam maintain we must wait for the Islamic Reformation, which will be a natural consequence of the migration of Muslims into the west and their exposure to a rationalist mindset, which has a certain validity - but how long can we wait? Meanwhile the more barbaric, anti-rationalist forms of Islam stalk our streets spouting hatred and dealing death to anyone who dares to criticise it. Given Islam has no central authority, there is no Pope-like figure to stand up and speak out against this barbarism. That's the problem.

Let's get back to the word Islamophobia though. A phobia is not just a fear, it's primarily an 'irrational' fear. Is it irrational to fear a philosophy whose more fanatical and literal adherents would cut off your head or throw you off a tall building for an Islamic transgression that's entirely legal in the west, like being gay or publishing a cartoon? I would emphatically say not - it's entirely rational and justified; it's precisely why many Muslims who are not as reactionary as the hardliners are fleeing ISIS and the Taliban. If I draw a critical cartoon of Jesus or the Pope, I'll suffer nothing more than some huffing and puffing of self-righteous indignation, not burning at the stake. I dare say that had the Enlightenment not happened, I would be burned at the stake.

We must not, however, tar all Muslims with the same fanatical brush of ISIS or the Taliban. There are many millions of Muslims in Britain who want nothing other than to simply get on with their lives, even if 40% of them support a parallel system of sharia. The corollary of this, however, is that 60% don't - or, rather, 60% don't or are ambivalent. I'd like to know how many of that 60% are dead set against it.

Nothing, however, justifies the massacre of Muslims by other fanatics, like in New Zealand. If you're going to criticise a backward-looking religion, do it with logic, reason and the law of the land, not guns - unless you're faced with fanatics with guns. Using guns against those without guns makes you an extremist fanatic too.

Islamophobia is not racism and should not be confused with it - there are many Muslims of European, Caucasian extraction who were converted when the Balkans were part of the Ottoman Empire, for example the Ciscassians. There are also many Muslims who are not Semitic (another of those strange words that many apply only to Jews, but applies equally to Arabs, as the link shows) - 62% of the world's Muslims live in Indonesia and 10% of Indonesia's population is Christian (as an aside, Indonesia's blasphemy laws are heavily weighted toward Islam and are an affront to rational thought).

Islam is a religion, a philosophy one is free to choose or not, although becoming apostate has severe consequences in Islamic countries, demonstrating that freedom of conscience - a key attribute of western thought - is antithetical to Islam. In the vast majority of countries where it has dominance it's oppressive, bigoted and intolerant.

To view the above map properly, click on it to show the hatched areas, where support for the death penalty for apostasy is >80%. It was compiled from the 2013 PEW global survey of Muslim attitudes.

Am I fearful of Islam? You bet I am, especially of Wahhabism - as fearful of it as I am of Nazism and as fearful as people 600 years ago were of Catholicism during the Inquisition. The Saudis promote this austere version of Islam by the building of mosques throughout the world, funding them anonymously through shell companies. In the UK the majority (41.2%) of masjids are Deobandi - read for yourself their affiliations in the link. Religious extremism is the No.1 cause of terrorism, having superseded national separatism decades ago.

If you think you're not fearful of Islam and you liked Monty Python's Life of Brian, try to write and publish a similar satire of Islam, even if just in the UK.

Another problem with the language used to describe religious extremism is the use of the word radical; we hear of radical Islam in reference to the hardliners. Religious extremism isn't radical, it's reactionary. Radicalism looks forward whereas the reactionary looks backward and the religious extremists certainly look backwards.

Am I fearful of British Muslims? A minority of them, but by no means the vast majority (strangely enough, it's the 16-24 year old group that is becoming more 'radicalised', which is worrying, and this is possibly due to them seeking an identity, as many indigenous British refuse to see them as British, despite being 3rd or 4th generation). Do I detest Islam as a philosophy? Yes, in the same manner I detest all forms of organised religion, but Islam more than most due to the fact it's still mired in the Middle Ages and hasn't yet had its teeth blunted. Does that make me Islamophobic? No - my fear is rational and based on observable fact.

Analyse and discuss.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Eric's Phone in a DJ

Apropos of yesterday's post about me restoring a chest of drawers; Hay is always commenting on my inappropriate attire when doing DIY projects, as I always seem to get my best clothes covered in detritus. She suggested yesterday that I should buy a special dinner suit in which to perform DIY...

Nice little 60s, retro purchase on eBay - an Ericofon telephone.

I was idly watching The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film (not worth watching) and spotted one. They were a 60s icon, not that I've ever seen one in real life. Scandinavian design by Ericsson - I imagine they were used  a lot on The Prisoner TV series, as almost all the props used were futuristic style icons.

Wasn't sure whether to go for a red one or orange - orange is so 60s. Plumped for the red in the end. We never actually use our landline, so a frivolous purchase in terms of use, but nevertheless stylish.  60's stuff is making a resurgence after having been considered naff for so many decades. 

Wild and Wolf of Bath did an Ericofon-lookalike in the 80s or 90s called a Scandiphone, with push-buttons instead of a rotary dial, but they're not the real deal. I can see the real Ericofon climbing dramatically in price with the Brexit demand for 60s things...

Another 60s icon has gone for good - Dick Dale.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Stag Party

I managed to snaffle a free, 1963, Concord chest of drawers on FreeCycle, 

Designed by John & Sylvia Reid as part of the Concord range for Stag Furniture in the 60s, it has striking, geometric handles, oak veneer exterior and tall, elegantly tapering legs. It has a true modernist aesthetic and was way ahead of its time when designed.

John & Sylvia Reid

I sanded it down, repaired some unstuck veneer with a hot iron and gave it 3 coats of kitchen worktop oil which, when dry, will be lightly sanded to make it matt. Just need a 60s table lamp to go with it.

These pieces are becoming very collectable and it was sheer luck I got one for free - saw one on eBay for £240.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Free Will of Lagerfeld

Not sure how, but Hay and I were talking about Karl Lagerfeld last night and the signature look he adopted in his later years, comprising a black suit, white shirt with an enormous collar, black tie (not tied with a Windsor knot - a sartorial error), black gloves and sunglasses. It must have been such a bind to not be able to step out of his house without this uniform on. Had he ventured out in a pair of jogging pants and a T shirt, the paparazzi would have had a field day.

Saw an advert some something or other targeted at older people. Whatever it was included a free will kit, which I thought strange, as we all like to think we have free will anyway. Why on earth would you want a kit to give you free will, unless you subscribed to the notion of a deterministic universe?

There's illness at work - one staff member is off with a sore throat and biliousness. I have little sympathy will illness - Jesus was dead from a surfeit of pancakes and still turned up for work on Monday...

Friday, 15 March 2019

Brexit Status

However one looks at it, the Leave campaign engaged in industrial scale lying. There were a lot of wealthy men talking about “the people” and their “will.” There were targeted advertising campaigns, stolen data and fake social media accounts. Not only that, but Arron Banks perpetrated fraud and turns out to have much deeper Russian business connections than previously suspected. He also tried to conceal them. Thanks to Banks' extensive use of tax havens and shell companies, it has never been entirely clear where all of that money came from — or even whether all of it was really his. There is enough suspicion, however, to warrant an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

London is the world capital of offshore banking, home to the most sophisticated accountants and lawyers; a third of British billionaires have availed themselves of those services and moved their money beyond the reach of the state. Many of them nevertheless continue to make donations to British political parties, and many continue to lobby to keep the rules that favour them exactly as they are and not as the EU would like them. The EU is probably the only power in Europe — maybe even the only one in the world — with the regulatory strength to change the culture of tax avoidance. Since 2016, it has been slowly enacting rules designed to do exactly that. Britain, once and if it leaves the EU, would be exempt.

Conversations with Brexiteers of late have been littered with comments such as; "Of course I didn't believe the words on the bus," and; "no - I didn't listen to the Leave campaign; I made up my own mind." This is rather strange, as in the last 2 plus years, all I've heard Brexiteers do is repeat verbatim the litany of misinformation and lies promulgated by Leave.EU and Get Britain Out - blaming the EU for the destruction of our fishing industry, Turkey sending its entire population to the UK, the EU enforcing the Euro on us, the EU treating us badly, the UK being mostly outvoted, our veto being rescinded, etc., etc. If anyone reading this wants to argue the toss on these issues, feel free.

Also, if they wouldn't believe experts, then who exactly did they believe? Amateurs, incompetents, gut feel, tax dodgers, the bloke from Wetherspoons? Would you allow an amateur to operate on you or represent you in court? Can one make an informed decision in an information vacuum?

To not support a 2nd referendum based on factual information is to condone and collude in wilful manipulation of the truth, which is morally, ethically and intellectually corrupt - there is no other way to look at it. People may argue that parties lie in general elections, but the impact of a GE is 4 or 5 years, not a generation, and the lies contained in party political manifestos are in no was as egregious as those promulgated by the various Leave campaigns, which were industrial in scale and given equal credence with the truth 'in the interests of balance'. How about the interests of truth?

Thursday, 14 March 2019


I spotted this beauty at the local car wash yesterday:

My mate Mike is having his L reg MGB GT rebuilt. He was initially under the impression he could accomplish it for £3,000. Having performed several partial and one complete rebuild, I soon disabused him of that.

It'll cost more than that simply in panels. To do it justice, the car needs the engine and loom removing and a full body respray.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Skippy the Bushmeat Kangaroo

I was idly browsing Wikipedia in relation to Skippy the Bush Kamgaroo after watching a documentary on kangaroos and found this:

You have to laugh...

Hay bought a plant for the garden. 

I'm not sure whether to call it Roger or Thursday...

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Millennium Qi Charging

I've heard at least three pro-Brexit MPs using the Millennium Bug Artifice in the last few days. The artifice maintains that the downside of Brexit is overblown, rather like the Millennium, or Y2K Bug, which came to nothing.

The reason the Millennium Bug never bit hard was precisely because the problem was recognised and fixed before it became an issue; computers that didn't have the fix did in fact have problems, some serious. It's like saying measles isn't an issue while ignoring the fact most people are immunised against it as children. It displays either a childlike naivete or a breathtaking desire to mislead - on past track record, more likely the latter.

Brexit has become like watching the fall of the Roman Empire in very fast forward mode. If we actually leave (which I still don't believe we will) we will see the final humiliation of a once great country as it is destroyed from within by corruption.

About a month ago I bought a Qi wireless charging pad on Amazon for £14.99 and it has proven worthless.

It more often doesn't charge my phone than it does. On Saturday I spotted a wireless charger in Lidl and thought; "Oh well, let's try this one - it's only £12.99."

Works first time, every time, without fail.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Precision Opening

Went to Ross on Wye yesterday and returned via Tewkesbury. I used to like Tewkesbury, but it seems to have turned into one of those places plagued with nothing but nail bars, betting shops, Pound stores and charity shops - no longer a nice place to visit.

Saw this posted on one shop:

A bit difficult to read, but it says; "Reopening at 2:28." Must be OCD....

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Colourful Language

I can't get my head around this idea that the adjective 'coloured' has suddenly become offensive, when it has been used for decades to describe a group of people who are not white and, indeed, I've heard it used by them themselves. I've never known a coloured person of my acquaintance to be upset at being referred to as coloured, just as I'm not offended by being called white.

All white people, regardless of their shade of pink or their location, are described as white. All those who are not white are therefore coloured, regardless of whether they're Indian, Afro-Caribbean, African or Aboriginal. They certainly aren't all black.

Surely racism is defined as hate, not merely the use of a particular adjective. If the intent is to cause offence and hatred is the driving motive, then it's racism, no matter the word used.

It seems that words to describe a group of people become racist with the vagaries of fashion and at the whim of the self-appointed and professional offence taker. Currently it's fashionable to label anyone using the word 'coloured' as a racist, regardless of the intent. To describe someone as being a person 'of colour', illogically, is acceptable, but it means exactly the same as coloured! An apple of flavour is a cumbersome description of a flavoured apple, for heaven's sake.

The equalities people at the university Hay is working at recently announced that people should stop using the term 'coloured'. Everyone was nonplussed.

In the case of Amber Rudd, whatever you think of her politics, her comments were not hateful - quite the opposite in fact, which is surprising given Diane Abbott's glaring incompetence. However, it seems she's a threat to certain people, hence the accusation of racism. People need to get beyond individual words and consider the sentence or paragraph and the intent behind it before accusing someone of racism.

John Barnes, the footballer, has leapt to Amber Rudd's defence in his usual, incisive and logical manner. Amber Rudd's sin was to not have kept up-to-date with the latest anti-racism fashion.