Thursday, 26 March 2015


I'm just whiling away what should be a couple of seconds to receive an email, but seems to be turning into a matter of hours.

It pays to shop around. I have just committed to buy 30 kilograms of aluminium ingot from a company in Yorkshire who are more used to delivering the stuff by the tonne rather than the tiny amount which I need. Sometimes it pays to be small as well.

I was lying in bed before dawn this morning, thinking of how my life would have been different if I was physically smaller than I ended up. I came to the conclusion that I would probably have used my height in the same way as I have exploited my actual height, and try to appeal to the mothering instincts of girls and women, rather than the homicidal Amazonian traits in the ones that I seemed to have attracted.

I think the only woman I ever related to on an equal basis without endless conflict is H.I., which is - no doubt - why we are still together. I have known quite a few couples who delight in constant bickering and arguments about nothing, and they have told me that life would be dull without them. I don't see it myself.

I was walking down the street yesterday, when I came upon an elderly couple at a bus-stop.

She was sitting on the bench and he was standing there, just watching, when - without warning - she threw-up on the pavement. She was obviously not well.

"Oh, that was clever, wasn't it?!", was his unsympathetic response.

She just said, "I couldn't help it," and I was filled with sadness that a couple could be so long together and lose all sense of empathy for each other.

The worst experience of my life to date happened a few years ago when, one evening, I heard a terrible crash from the room next door and ran in to find H.I. lying in a heap after she had fallen over whilst changing out of her trousers and into her pyjamas. She had lost balance and fallen onto a cluttered glass table which - thankfully - had not broken, and she ended up semi-conscious on the floor.

Her face was horribly bruised and she did not leave the house for about a week because of it. Even then, she wore a scarf around her face and dark sunglasses. I still have to fight off tearfulness when I remember it.

That email has just arrived.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Russell Crowe remains a boring c***

Ok, I know I have said this before, but - despite John Gray's schoolboy infatuation - I really do think that Russell Crowe is an obnoxious, arrogant, aggressive and talentless lump of bush-meat, albeit a very wealthy one.

He has now turned into a director, but remains the same rude bastard that he has always been to the journalists who have made him his fortune. Tonight it was a woman, but he doesn't care who or what they are.

What on Earth could anyone possibly see in him???  I really do not understand it. He can't even act for fuck's sake. God knows how his directing skills compare to his thespian ones.


This post is entirely  - almost - to attract Mise back, because she seems to have gone off the radar now, after a brief appearance on our screens a few weeks ago.

I am not going to summon the Hattatts by invoking Iford Manor yet, because they must be up to their necks in the contents of many Pickfords lorries, but I will send my good wishes to them at the same time.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

R is for...

Look how many formal parterres there are in such a small area in this old map. 'Cornwall Street' is now designated 'Walcot Street' after the the name of the medieval village which sprang up outside the city gates, but everything else stays the same.

There is a spelling mistake though. 'Cornwall' should be 'Cornwell', but even my spell-checker says that this is the wrong spelling, and the map could have been made before Johnson standardised spelling and phonetics ruled. I am assuming that the place was named after one of the many wells and not the land in the far West.

'Ladymead' to the left, was originally 'Law-Day Meadow', when travelling assizes were held once a year next to the river to settled legal disputes - like Runnymead, where the Magna Carta was signed.

Today, the bones of Richard 3rd will be taken from Leicester University to the Cathedral where they will sort of lie in state - next to the font - until they are put under a slab with a more formal burial. York wanted their last Plantagenet king back home of course, but York gets enough tourists as it is and Leicester badly needs them. I've never been to either place, believe it or not.

I still cannot get over the amazing story of how Richard was rediscovered, and how a woman who was previously thought of as a ranting obsessive suddenly turned into a national heroine, thanks to the funding of a T.V. station. I want to see that film again, where she walks into a modern, boring car-park, points to a large letter 'R' painted onto the tarmac and says, "I have a strong intuition he is right here."

They dig a hole, and - bugger me - there he is, right under the R.

I can't get enough of this living history stuff.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Empire State

My good friend Sally Strachey is doing the job on this scaffold.  This is the church with the crap bells and Peregrin Falcons on it, but not this Spring I would guess.  Still - no bells!  Hooray!

Launch minus 10... 9... 8... 7... 6...

24 million pixies

This was the first test-shot I made with the 24 Mega Pixel camera he lent me, so rather than waste all those pixels, I thought I would use it as the header to this post. No other reason than that.

He looks like an old, American author doesn't he? If you squint a little, it looks as though the Stars and Stripes are hanging just behind his left shoulder too.

His step-mother used to sing to him and his brother whilst accompanying herself on the piano, and she was so bad at both that they would beg her to give them a tune every time they visited. Every now and then, she would send them a home-made recording of herself singing and playing, and I heard one of them once. It was truly unforgettable, but I cannot remember a note of it.

H.I. has a friend in Texas who fancied herself as an opera singer, and she too would occasionally send whole tapes of her latest recordings. Because her husband was in the oil business, her tapes were of better quality, but the singing wasn't.

Husband made an unspeakable amount of money simply by designing one valve which became widely used in the industry and he eventually drank himself to death. They found him lying on the bonnet of his huge car one morning, having had one over the odds.

It might have been that car in which H.I. was either saved by God, or targeted by God and saved by the Devil. I've already told you that story - it is the one which involves the rattle-snake crawling under her seat and the car bursting into flames in rural Texas. Remember?

I sometimes wonder how many times the Grim Reaper has crept up behind me unnoticed, but been thwarted by agencies also unnoticed by me. I would have bumbled on unaware, like Mr Magoo.

I heard the other day that Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party put out a political broadcast on T.V. in the run-up to the elections, and it consisted of a scrolling list of his achievements with a man painting a large mural in the background. Apparently it lasted for three hours. Three hours.

I would like to ask Yael if she knows of anyone who watched it from beginning to end. The person describing it here said that it wasn't like watching paint dry, it was literally watching paint dry.

Here's a picture of yesterday's eclipse at its maximum, if you're not already eclipsed-out:

Friday, 20 March 2015


I thought that we would not see it because of the inevitable clouds, but the cloud cover was just right. It meant (and means - it's still going on) that you could look at it without blinding yourself.