Sunday, 17 March 2019

Show dogs


Have you seen this one before? Next door to H.I.'s mother's house in Sheffield there was a woman who bred Bedlington Terriers. Craigie Aitchison used to take his dogs all the way to her from London to have them groomed.

She was preparing this one for a show the day I was there. She bent down and selected him from a bunch of other disorderly Bedlingtons and put him on the display table. He froze stock-still.

She would lift his head a quarter of an inch and he would hold the pose. Adjust a back leg and he would hold that too, for as long as he was required to.

These were born to be show dogs.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

What will Spring bring?


It's feeling a bit despondent this weekend. 

Friday, 15 March 2019

Any ideas?


You know how I like mystery objects. I found this - badly framed - in a charity shop. It looks to be quite old and is written on light, handmade paper which has been folded 9 times to form a little packet one and a half inches square.

I cannot identify the language - maybe Nepalese? What makes me curious is why someone would bother to frame it - maybe it is personal or maybe it is historical on some level.

Any Any ideas?

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

There'll always be an England

Some people were sitting around yesterday saying that they were beginning to feel sorry for Theresa May.

I had to remind them that she was the one responsible for sending the Home Office on the hunt for illegal immigrants which lead to deporting hundreds of West Indians to a country which they hadn't seen since they were invited to come over here to help run our transport system.

She knew that she was taking on an impossible job, but she could not resist the office of Prime Minister. They all have their eye on 10 Downing Street and one of them will shortly be taking her place once she has taken the blame for Brexit.

She deserves to take the blame for Brexit. She is a lousy negotiator (when she does, indeed, negotiate) and the EU now has got Britain just where they wanted - by the balls.

She has deliberately dragged her feet since Chequers thinking she could force her own government to accept the flawed deal out of desperation. She is only in still power from buying-off the DUP. Her own party doesn't want her but they didn't want her job before the inevitable catastrophe of Brexit had unfolded on her watch.

They are just about to vote on whether or not to allow an exit from the EU with no deal. What's the betting that they will allow a disorderly and unregulated departure just so British businesses can actually make plans for it?

9 years of austerity followed by this.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The noes have it, the noes have it

I am no longer depressed about this situation. I am beginning to become excited and curious as to how the whole thing is going to pan out.

I have long since become accustomed to the notion that we really are going to leave the EU, either smoothly or roughly, and now it seems as though it is going to be as rough as you like.

I have often said how much I would like to have been born into the era between the death of Oliver Cromwell and the restoration of the monarchy, and - in a small way - it seems my wish may well be granted.

I hope I live long enough to witness the demise of the choice shits of both sides of the political spectrum, though I draw the line at disinterment followed by hanging, drawing and quartering as Cromwell was when Christmas was reinstated.

I hear that Boris Johnson has followed his PR advice by losing weight and having a haircut.

I also hear that the IRA are having a break from kneecapping minor drug dealers and sending small bombs through the post again.

Ah, wonderful. Just like the old times. Bliss.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Swedish angst at its finest


This morning there was a Desert Island Discs repeat featuring the composer Debbie Wiseman. She writes for films and TV - scores and incidental music, etc.

I started thinking about the film 'Roma' that we watched last night and realised that there was no score or incidental music to it at all. It is all visual, and very good visuals as well.

Thinking further - and this relates to the Film Club post of a couple of days ago - I consciously realised that there are many non-mainstream films which do not have music. This is what makes them hard work for some people.

Debbie Wiseman was - in effect - saying that incidental music helps us to understand what is going on. We don't have to concentrate so hard. Think Spaghetti Westerns. Where would they be without Ennio Morriconi?

Bad 'Art' films are made even worse if they have no music. You get to the end of the film and wonder why you put so much effort into watching it.

Sometimes it is good to be told what to think about something. It can save mis-interpretation, but not in the case of '2001 - A Space Odyssey'.

What is the worst Art Film you have ever seen? For me it is 'The Ox' by Sven Nykvist. I can't even remember if it had any music. I walked out when they all began gagging on the rotten meat. I would like to over-dub it with the Benny Hill theme music.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Finger lickin' good


One of the other things the US Ambassador to Britain said when he was trying to persuade us to abandon our standards of agriculture and food production in favour of the US practices and sales was that America had the lowest incidence of salmonella poisoning in the world.

They checked. He was wrong. The USA has a salmonella poisoning problem which is 20 times as bad as Europe's. About 750 people a year actually die of it in the US and thousands more fall very ill.

You can't even blame barbecues for it, as almost every British household has barbecues in the Summer these days and even Australia comes nowhere near the levels of the US.

The real reason for America's problems with contaminated chicken lies in the very practices they want us to accept, if not adopt. In Europe, cross-contamination is dealt with in the factories which process the meat whereas America thinks it need not be so fussy so long as they wash the chicken with chlorine before packing. Bad husbandry and bad handling lead to levels of salmonella which even chlorine cannot eradicate.

The terrible thing is that Theresa May is so desperate for trade deals that I am sure she would be prepared to shaft British farmers to keep Donald happy and compliant - on his own terms.

She has added to the mess of Brexit to such an extent that she is in real danger of destroying the Conservative Party at the same time Corbyn is destroying Labour. She doesn't even consult her own cabinet, let alone any others who are experts in their own fields. She really is ruining Great Britain and there is still more ruining to be done.

The officials in Europe are beside themselves with impatience and worry for the future, saying that the only meaningful negotiations that have taken place since the Chequers proposal have been between Theresa May and her own government. That means Theresa May as an individual.

The first big mistake she made was to pay-off the DUP for their support, because she was getting none from her own cabinet, let alone party. Now all that can be done is put up fences along the whole border of Northern Ireland and scrap the Peace Talks.

We have to leave the EU now. Another referendum which slightly tipped back into a Remain result would mean right-wing riots on the streets of towns and cities across the UK. The damage has already been done.

Theresa May's sole purpose as Prime Minister is now damage limitation, and that means trying to regain a modicum of respect from the rest of the world. Thanks to her, we are in a worse position to negotiate than we were two years ago. We are extremely vulnerable to the advances of people like Trump, and there seems to be little we can do about it.

Do (some of) you still believe that the few remaining successful industries we have left are not going to move to a more sensible country? Well they already are.