Saturday, 31 August 2019

I Feel Humbled

I heard some lady footballer who was given an award for being the best player say she was 'incredibly humbled' by being given the award. Now, I can imagine she feels on top of the world for being honoured, but how is it possible to feel humbled?

If someone genuinely feels they are undeserving of an award, then I can understand the use of the word humbled, but if a group of people believe you're deserving of the award, surely you'd feel honoured, not humbled?

English is a funny old language.

Friday, 30 August 2019


I was driving from Saltford back to Old Sodbury yesterday and my dashcam caught this on a Skoda.

It seems to be a variant of the Ford soundbite; "Everything we do is driven by you." However, my first thought was; "Non-human?"

Thursday, 29 August 2019


Will Boris raise his standard at Nottingham, with Parliament raising their standard in London?

Boris has cunningly manoeuvred Parliament such that if he can't make the EU blink, he will make Parliament blink and accept May's deal. He doesn't want no deal himself, hence this game of poker.

However, he may have underestimated Parliament - control has been wrested from a monarch before and we may just see a constitutional change to the role of the monarch as a result of this.

We live in interesting times - let the metaphorical battle commence for the control of the nation's future.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019


Following hard on the heels of the False Prophet, Boris Johnson and his outrageous claim that the Brexit vote was overwhelming, Andrea Leadsom was on the news last night accusing those parliamentarians who are co-ordinating a strategy to avert a no-deal Brexit through a no confidence motion of being 'undemocratic'.

If votes of no confidence are undemocratic, then the UK has been undemocratic for a very long time. Here is a list of the no confidence motions that have been used in Parliament. A civil war was fought over this very issue and such a cavalier (pun intended) and populist attitude to truth has no place in politics, being nothing more than political gaslighting.

Obviously Leadsome is among the 93% of the UK population that is unaware that Parliament is sovereign - not the government and certainly not the electorate. And this woman is in government, for God's sake. It beggars belief.

Of course she know that; she's cynically engaging in spin on a massive and industrial scale. Emotion has more effect than fact in this post-truth age and she's capitalising on this. Mention the word undemocratic to people who don't understand representative democracy and they foam at the mouth with righteous indignation, while calling anyone who disagrees with their ill-informed opinion a traitor.

There seem to be no lengths the tax dodgers will go to achieve their goal of keeping their stashes hidden from the tax man, because that's what all this is about.

After the franchise was extended, following one of the many Representation of the People Acts in the last and previous centuries, one MP stated in Parliament that, in order to avert a tragedy some time in the future, it would be necessary to initiate a program to educate the increased electorate in parliamentary democracy. Sadly, this never happened. It's about time that democracy, and especially representative democracy, was a mandatory subject at secondary school.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Post Truth PM

On last night's news I saw and heard Boris Johnson at the G7 Meeting say that Britons had voted 'overwhelmingly' to leave the EU. Unless there's a new definition of overwhelmingly, the man is talking out of his arse, a feat in which he has shown himself to be an adept. What's worse is that many people, who are utterly and totally bereft of critical faculties, actually believe his utterances and treat him like a new messiah, rather than the founder member of The False Prophets.

The electorate is split, Parliament is split and the nations comprising the UK are split - even the Conservative Party is split. Overwhelmingly?

If anything is overwhelming, it's the chaos we're undergoing because party comes before nation and emotion comes before reality.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Opinion and Judgement

My Flipboard news feed contains articles from many sources, one of which is the Spectator. Occasionally it will produce a well written and reasoned article, but when it moves on to Brexit it becomes an ideologically charged maniplulator of truth.

However, there was one reasoned article this morning contemplating the rise of populism and a striking survey result was highlighted. A recent YouGov survey found that only seven per cent of the public believed MPs were elected to exercise their own judgement – the correct position – rather than simply to do their constituents’ bidding. That is a sobering statistic, the result of which can be found here.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Four Freedoms

I find it really ironic that Leavers complain about the Four Freedoms of the EU - the free movement of people, goods, services and capital - when that's exactly what we have between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and yet no one complains about that.

An even bigger irony is that under the EU Four Freedoms we can at least deport foreign criminals, but under the UK's Four Freedoms we can't deport Scottish ones. "Ah, but at least," the Leaver will say "Scottish criminals are just like us," not realising what they're saying "...they also speak the same language," would be added, but that ask the English Leaver to speak a bit of Welsh or Gaelic and you'll be met with a blank stare of incomprehension.

There are rumours around that even if Boris succumbs to a vote of no confidence, he'll remain in No. 10 as a sort of antiPM - a situation like we had in many times in Europe with a Pope and an Antipope. That's not much use though, as government takes place in parliament, not No.10. One is of the opinion that the Enlightenment has not yet reached parts of the Conservative Party.

St Boris is now saying America will have to make compromises in order to gain a British FTA. Does anyone truly see a man like Donald Trump making compromises? Boris is playing to the gallery. When analysed, that statement on compromise is in itself an admission that FTAs are not concluded within a matter of months, but take years and years to negotiate.

It still seems to me that Boris' game, especially after this last pronouncement cunningly closing off an avenue of hope, is not to make the EU blink, but to make Parliament (and possibly the electorate) blink and get it to accept Mrs May's deal, which is better than no deal, but still certainly worse than remaining. I feel the hand of a Dom Cummings behind this Machiavellian ploy, for which I have a grudging admiration.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Darth Boris

I read somewhere that Jedi adepts can prevent their consciousness merging totally with The Force following physical death by rigorous training, thereby being able to maintain a version of the self in isolation from The Force - much in the manner of a ghost - which explains the ghostly figures of Anakin,Obi-Wan and Yoda at the end of one of the Star Wars films.

It strikes me that some in the Conservative Party have learned this trick, but have managed to implement it before death, meaning their physical bodies are totally disassociated from their consciousness, permanently, along with their morals. You can see the effect in the Sith Lord, Darth Boris.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Butchering Bread

It appears that some people are genetically incapable of slicing a loaf. When they attempt this not very difficult manoeuvre, they end up slicing the loaf into wedge-shaped chunks. 

Even if they do manage to carve a perfectly proportioned slice in the vertical plane, the next will be a docker's doorstep, with the thick / thin series being repeated several times before once more lapsing into a wedge in rither the vertical or longitudinal plane.

Strangely enough, it's usually women who tend to produce wonky slices when attempting this test of manual dexterity which men seem capable of mastering with great ease - I always know when Hay has been butchering the bread. Could it be because we men innately understand how to handle a saw?

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Bike Power

Yesterday, following a comment by someone at work about diesel cars and their popularity, I wondered why there were no such animals as diesel powered motorbikes - but after a bit of Googling I discovered that such beasts do exist; however, they are usually homemade jobbies or conversions. One mainstream manufacturer is Enfield in India,which made them in the 80s and continues to investigate them.

However, who would want a diesel bike when the in thing is electric? Youtube introduced me to the Zero SR which, while rather pedestrian looking, can out accelerate anything on the road that's petrol powered by virtue of electric motors having all the torque available immediately and no gears, in the same manner as electric cars.

Pretty impressive, to say the least.

Talking of diesel, on the recommendation of both No.1 and No.2 Sons we watched Mad Max Fury Road the other evening. They must have used up a small tropical forest of carbon sink while making it. Don't waste your time - utter tosh.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019


Saw some advert on TV the other night that made ridiculous claims for the product by stretching the rules of credibility.

Hay and I decided to use the same logic on something else and reached the conclusion that Amazon is environmentally friendly and prevents road accidents.

The logic is as follows - i) it's more environmentally friendly for a single Amazon driver to be delivering multiple purchases to people in my locale than for all those people to individually climb into their cars to buy what they bought on Amazon, and ii) the fact fewer miles are covered by a single driver means there will be fewer road accidents.

The logic is impeccable, but ignores all the transport and returns waste, not to mention the fact that without Amazon we probably wouldn't have bought all the stuff we buy in our orgies of rampant consumerism facilitated by next day delivery. However, the internet can't be uninvented.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Funeral for a Friend

I duly attended my old friend's funeral yesterday in Chelsea, along with three other old friends from our nautical college days in Liverpool in the early 70s. Three of us did our first 2 trips to sea with Mark, the deceased.

Mark was one of those people for whom the words Free Spirit and Iconoclast could have been coined - one of those individuals with an abhorrence of authority, but would always fall on his feet.

The instructions to mourners were lots of colours and no ties. Some went over the top on the colours - one bloke sported a Roy Lichenstein patterned jacket.

A condolence was read out from Stephen Stills of CSNY fame - Mark moved in exalted circles from his days as a superyacht broker in the south of France.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Rednecks & Lords

I was reading an obituary to Peter Fonda yesterday and an interesting point was made: Easy Rider was a social commentary at the time, but it's just as relevant today as it was in 1968. The rednecks haven't gone - they're now in charge.

Yesterday we went to Raglan Castle for a nose around. While I have some regard for the nobility, mainly because their family squabbles for power essentially comprises what is our history, it's iniquitous that someone like the Duke of Beaufort owns half of south Wales for no other reason than one of his ancestors was mates with a king. All that land needs redistributing to those more deserving - like small farmers whose future is under threat. Feudalism, which was a power structure based on patronage, is a system of the past, but its legacy is still with us to this day.

Good God! Am I turning into a communist in my later years? No - it's just that my sense of the need for justice and fairness is increasing with age.

Off to London for a funeral for a friend.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Counting Sheep

If I'm having trouble getting back to sleep after waking in the night, I have a rather strange way of tackling the problem - I have two similar strategies; one is to imagine Oliver Cromwell's army harrying the Scottish army as it moved south along the east coast before beating it decisively at the Battle of Worcester. The 2nd is imagining the collaboration of John Churchill,the Duke of Marlborough, and Prince Eugene of Savoy to destroy the French army at the Battle of Blenheim, which secured both their reputations.

The image above is of the Duke of Marlborough greeting Eugene after the Battle of Blenheim.

I have no idea why I choose this method of getting to sleep, but it does work for me. It might possibly be to do with the writing styles of Antonia Fraser, who's biography of Cromwell is a favourite of mine, as well as the writing style of General Viscount Wolseley, who wrote a two volume biography of Marlborough in 1894, which is also a perennial favourite. I only have volume 2 of the latter book, which I found in a charity shop a number of years ago. It is annotated as a gift to someone called Caroline Mary Jennings of Bloomfield Hall, Sunningdale, which I can find no reference to, in 1903.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Easy Vegetarian

Overheard at the McDonald's drive through:

Mike to operative: "Can I have three burger meals please?"

Mike turns to me:

Mike: "Do you want a burger?"

Chairman: "No thanks. Do they have a vegetarian option?"

Mike to operative: "What vegetarian options to you have?"

Operative: "Salad with chicken."

Watched Easy Rider on TV after we came back from a meal out last night. This morning I saw on the news that Peter Fonda had died. The album from the film was the soundtrack to my youth and was played incessantly in the dormitories - that, Fill Your Head With Rock and The Doors, not forgetting Black Sabbath.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Game Plan

I do believe I've sussed Boris' game plan. Rather than trying to force the EU to blink by threatening a No Deal, he's actually threatening Parliament, in the hope it will blink and accept Mrs May's deal as the lesser of two evils.

That way, if successful, he can legitimately claim to have delivered Brexit, thus cutting Farage off at the knees while satisfying most of the Conservative Party and adhering to the GFA. His remaining problems are i) Scotland and ii) that The Will of the People has changed. The people, however, can stuff themselves when it's the Conservative Party that's at risk.

His use of the pejorative word 'collaborating' is yet another part of his strategy to get the Daily Mail Tendency on-side with WWII references, the use of which makes them froth at the mouth in paroxysms of self righteousness and jingoism. Collaboration, though, also means working together to produce something - rather than nothing, as he well knows.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Haircut 100

Still fiddling with my hair as I wasn't happy with the domed look, so I screwed up my courage and decided to go for the flat-top Prussian look...

I like it - easy to manage and it takes advantage of the fact my hair naturally stands upright when short - it maybe needs to be slightly flatter on top. No helmet hair on the bike either (MoT passed yesterday, so I'm now back on the road). Just need to work on the moustache now - and maybe a tad flatter on top...

Naturally, it went down like a Led Zeppelin with Hay, she said I look like a thug...

Tuesday, 13 August 2019


Boris has come up with a wheeze to cut crime - longer prison sentences - but there are those who maintain it has no effect. While I can understand the premise that longer sentences has no effect on re-offending, simple logic supports the fact that if a lag is away for longer periods, there is less time available 'outside' in order to reoffend and hence there must therefore be a reduction in overall crime.

"Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen," was a saying coined by George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax in the 1600s and takes my point to its logical end. The less time an habitual criminal has available to commit a crime means they will commit fewer crimes in the time remaining available, unless they improve their productivity.

Bertrand Russell was famous for using longer sentences in his books, making many of them almost impenetrable, unless read several times...

Sunday, 11 August 2019


We've got into the habit of recycling just about everything, cardboard, metal, plastic, glass, paper - even plastic film and cat food pouches, which goes to Tesco on a Sunday morning. All vegetable food waste (including eggshells) is put into the compost bin and meat waste is put out for the foxes and assorted wildlife. In fact, the general waste that can't be recycled and goes into the grey wheelie bin has shrunk to less than half a bucketful a week, and that's for a family of four.

Conversely, not a scrap of recycling takes place at work, which I find hard to deal with, as I'm now 100% in the recycling frame of mind and it comes naturally without having to think about it. Commercial business waste, however, is very costly to recycle and it also requires a lot of space - space that simply isn't available if every available scrap of space is needed for your products and you operate on a slender margin. 

If I generate some waste at work myself - maybe a sandwich wrapper or whatever, I feel so guilty about putting it in the work bins that I will sometimes take it home to put in the domestic recycling. 

Sorting of commercial waste must be done off-site at the collection depot if the problem of commercial waste is to be solved.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Decline and Fall

Brexit gets more bizarre by the day:

  • Johnson sets up what he calls a War Cabinet - who have we declared war on, but ourselves? He's obviously trying to channel his inner Churchill and will be wearing a blue onesie next.
  • He says the EU should show common sense, when Brexit itself is a complete abdication of common sense and his demand is that we get a better deal outside of the EU than in it, which would lead to the implosion of the EU.
  • He's putting billions into mitigating the effect of a hard Brexit, when the ERG maintain a hard Brexit is exactly what's needed and all will be rosy.
  • The mere fact he's ploughing billions into hard Brexit preparations - which incidentally also mitigate the effect of a soft Brexit - is an admission in itself that threatening a hard Brexit is a bluff, even to the most casual observer.
  • The government is being dictated to by Dominic Cummings - an unelected bureaucrat who has admitted that Leave won on the basis of lies.

Brexiteers, especially those of the Brexit Party variety, are fond of calling Germany a Nazi state, when Farage is hand-in-glove with the AfD, Marie le Pen's National Front and every fringe, far right entity within Europe. The irony is simply astounding.

Meanwhile, Europeans (and indeed the whole world) looks on us with amusement as we destroy ourselves and the Union. I wonder who will become as famous as Edward Gibbon when the history of what was the United Kingdom is written?

Friday, 9 August 2019


Why were Cavemen called Cavemen, when there aren't that many caves around? It must have been more to do with any available caves being repositories for artefacts and caves being somewhat immune from the effects of weathering, thereby preserving such artefacts.

That said, during our holiday in the Peaks last week we spotted what looked like a Caveman housing estate - an escarpment filled with at least half a dozen caves.

If a Caveman Ugg wanted to move cave to a nicer area, possibly to be within the catchment area of a good school, finding a new cave must have been a nightmare. Using the services of a Cave Agent must surely have been the only option available to him - someone with a deep knowledge of the local geography and the location of the best caves on the market.

That then raises the question of whether Ugg could get a mortgage on a new cave...

Saw this yesterday - brought a smile to my face...

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Yellow Peril & Another Death

Finally - the Beast is back!

MoT booked for next Tuesday.

Received the news that yet another old friend has died, one I have known since my first trip to sea as a cadet at age 16. Last saw him in April at a reunion in Liverpool. That's two within a week.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Public Schools

The hotel we stayed in recently on our holiday in the Peak District, Shrigley Hall, was once a catholic boys' school, run by the Salesian Order

The hotel has some blown up photos on display from the days it was a school and they brought back memories of my time at a minor public school in Anglesey, where I was between the ages of 14 and 16.

The last photo looks particularly sinister to me. I thought I could still catch the faint echoes of the screams of the boys being beaten along the corridor which houses the display.

The Salesians added a chapel to the side of the main house, which is now used as a spa that is filled with prosecco- drinking women. It seems somewhat sacrilegious, but times change, I suppose.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019


If there's one thing that puts me off Labour (besides Jeremy Corbyn) it's their insistence on calling each other comrade. It sounds like something from the annals of the USSR.

It's just so retro and antiquated, not to say sinister. It's just not 21st century.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Waspish Behaviour

I'm not sure why some people dislike wasps so much and are mortally afraid of them. You often see women doing windmills with their arms and flailing at them, managing to achieve nothing more than annoying the poor buggers and being surprised when they get stung.

I took this video of a wasp sharing my cake last Friday.

Hay tried to take a video of a wasp competing with me at cider drinking in Slad yesterday. Little chap was climbing all over my face and specs in order to try and get into the glass, not wishing me the slightest harm. Unfortunately she was too late and he flew off before she could press record.

Horseflies are a different matter - the buggers bite me with no provocation whatsoever, simply because they're hungry. Strangely enough, they leave Hay completely alone.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Sweeny Todd the Demon Barber

I have decided to go back to basics - a cutthroat razor. It's not really back to basics, as I've never actually used one and will have to learn how to sharpen and strop it. Could it be called steampunk shaving?

I've already got the hang of the honing and stropping, which requires a 2 part strop - one side is a slightly rough, PU leather material and the other is a smooth hide leather, each having to be rubbed with a particular grade of grinding paste in the form of a crayon, the coarser of which goes on the PU leather and the finer grade on the hide side.

I will attempt to shave my non-beard face parts today. Hay is standing by with bandages and plasters and thinks I may decapitate myself.

Knowing me as well as I do, I suspect I'll persevere for a week and then revert to the Bic. However, I'll at least know how to shave with an old fashioned cutthroat, a skill I've always wanted to master.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Mr Kipling Makes Exceedingly Good Reservoirs

Well, on the last day of our holiday, and on the way home, we finally found the perfect place to try our new paddleboard - in Staffordshire, of all places. Not exactly the first place that comes to my mind when looking for a tranquil place of natural beauty.

It was another reservoir called Rudyard Lake, in a little place called Rudyard, near Leek. The reservoir is 2 miles long and simply beautiful.

We both started off a bit shaky, but soon got the hang of it. We started paddling on our knees to get the feel of the board and then stood up, when we shot these videos. More practice needed soon.

Loved it so much that we want to go back ASAP. Watch out for news reports that the Rudyard Lake reservoir dam has been damaged and is about to collapse....

Friday, 2 August 2019

Whaley Bridge & White Nancy

So the Whaley Bridge dam I videoed overflowing on Wednesday has partially collapsed and the town is threatened with being inundated. 

We were intending to go to the reservoir again yesterday in order to put in with the new paddle board, but a local we met while climbing up to White Nancy advised us to visit another lake instead. It turned out to be unsuitable for a number of reasons and so we went back to Whaley Bridge in the afternoon, finding the town cut off due to the danger.

Coming back home today from a very wet and soggy Peak District.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Equation Conundrum in Floods

We had a walk along the Macclesfield Canal the other day and I saw a narrowboat with this on the side.

While I can find the right hand part of the equation in some references, I can't find the whole of it and believe it is some form of physicists' in-joke. Can anyone perhaps throw some light on the joke?

Yesterday the Peak District got a bit flooded. to say the least. Here's the reservoir at Whaley Bridge on Tuesday, before the deluge, and after. Locals said they'd never seen anything like it in their lifetimes.

Roads were flooded and blocked, houses were flooded - bit of a disaster all round and I doubt if many have house insurance.

There was a section of road where a bridge had overflowed and we had to wait while some locals kindly cleared the debris. A bunch of young builders in a truck behind us started beeping their horn as we patiently waited. I wish I'd had the time to warn them that this was inadvisable. As it transpired, they were staying at our hotel and followed us for about a mile into the hotel car park - Hay beamed when she saw them follow us. the poor driver didn't know what hit him. He eventually apologised to her. Naturally I had to look burly and handy and muttered something about impatience, not that Hay needed any assistance from me at all as she tongue-lashed the driver, who was clearly embarrassed in front of his mates.

There are some new houses being built just behind the reservoir at Whaley Bridge - I would not advise anyone to buy them...

We also went to Bakewell, where I saw these padlocks festooning a footbridge.

If only I had a couple of paperclips I could have had hours of fun...

In the 70s and 80s there was a TV sitcom with Thora Hird and Christopher Beeny called In Loving Memory. It was set in a family funeral parlour in Yorkshire called Jeremiah Unsworth's. Well, in Whaley Bridge I spotted this sign...