Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Simple Simon

For some reason, this little children's poem beloved of my dear departed sister keeps popping into my head tonight. It goes like this:

Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair.
Said Simple Simon to the pieman,
"What have you got there?"
"Pies, you fucking idiot."

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Forget what?

This enormous truck has delivered a load of huge concrete blocks which have been strategically placed around the entrances to Bath Abbey precinct to stop terrorists from driving into the crowds gathered for the Remembrance Service. At the end of the day the blocks will be loaded back on the truck and taken away.

What a strange idea for a business. Someone obviously sat down and saw a gap in the market after Nice, and now literally fills gaps in the markets. I wonder how the company can make enough money from what it does, but I suppose it must. In effect, it must run on subsidies from town councils which are duty bound to pay whatever it costs.

I just told Rachel that I heard an elderly woman yesterday say on the radio that 100 years is long enough and it is about time we remembered something else. That made me laugh as you do at a bad taste joke, except she wasn't joking.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Passion control

Carrying on from the bacon sandwich, some people in positions of authority here are threatening to put high taxes on meat. The reasoning is that it will save the NHS lots of money by making people healthier, because they will not be able to afford to eat meat every day as they are rumoured to do now.

The real motive is that it will produce extra revenue which will probably not be spent on the NHS, but chucked down the black hole which is the national debt. As usual, it would be the poor who will be hit the hardest. Ironically, it is the poor who make up the bulk (literally) of obese people in this country. They need talking to, not taxing.

Farmers will suffer too of course, and the higher tax proposal comes at a time when the same government is threatening to cut subsidies after we leave the E.U. The landscape would suffer as well if all the thousands of square miles of grazing land were left unmanaged because farmers have gone out of business.

I only ever buy non-intensive British meat, so I am not personally responsible for taking grain off the tables of people on the other side of the world. I am also not responsible for de-forestation in the Americas.

When we leave the E.U. British farmers are supposed to make up any shortfall of foreign imports (American or even Chinese chicken etc.) by producing more home-grown food as well as keeping up exports to places like France for the sake of the economy. What a time to clobber them for the sake of the ideology of increasingly trendy vegans and vegetarians.

Friday, 9 November 2018

How much do you love us?

There is a very good baker near here which makes a wonderful white loaf called 'Sherston'. I suppose the baker is in the village of Sherston near Badminton, but have never checked. The above photo is of a Sherston loaf, made by the Hobbs House bakery.

I bought a white Sherston loaf on my way back from dropping off the car for an MOT (oh hell, I have just reminded myself of how much money I am going to have to part with if I want to continue to drive it) and the girls in the shop downstairs asked what was in the white paper bag.

When I told them they said that if I really loved them I would make them bacon sandwiches with it and bring them downstairs still hot. I said I would think about it.

Half an hour later, I went out and bought bacon, and on my way back I waved the packet of bacon at them through the open door of the shop before going upstairs to cook it. They punched the air and shouted 'YESSS!', even though there were customers in the posh shop.

I carefully fried the bacon to perfection and put the rashers between slices of the fresh, lightly buttered, crusty bread, then wrapped the two sandwiches individually in foil and took them downstairs to the girls.

As I walked into the shop, they literally squealed with delight.

This simple act gave me a vicarious pleasure which outweighed any inconvenience or expense incurred in the making by about 10,000 percent. I have never seen anyone so excited about a bacon sandwich.

Later, one of them called me on behalf of the other who asked her to tell me that she works on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Gathering storm or new dawn?

By about midnight tonight, we in the U.K. will know whether or not the U.S.A. - and consequently the rest of the world - will have changed forever.

Predictably, Trump is using immigrants to inspire fear and hatred in an attempt to strengthen his position. There was no need to send all those troops to the borders, but it looked good to his supporters in the run-up to the mid-term elections. People are turning out in unprecedented millions, but nobody can predict which way they will vote. Unpredictability is the hallmark of Trump's office and the key to his success.

There was a very wise Democrat Senator on British radio this morning, advising his fellow Democrats not to make the very same mistake that got Trump elected in the first place - namely by categorising his Republican supporters as ill-educated idiots and alienating them to the extent that they believe Trump to be the only politician who listens to them, hears what they say, then acts on it.

They have to offer something else, but as yet nobody can quite figure out what. Trump has already taken their best bit by claiming credit for the upturn in the economy, when in fact he just jumped on the front of an upward trend which began 10 years ago under a Democrat administration.

If I had to put money on it, I would say that by the end of today, Trump will have many more Republicans in positions of power than he had yesterday and a new era of global politics will begin.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

To gape or not to gape

I am thinking of buying one of these Moroccan Winter Jelabas to wear around the house as a dressing gown. What do you reckon?

They are made from a wool felt and were meant for outdoor use, but I still retain a degree of self respect so It would remain indoors where I can look like a twat in the privacy of my own home.

I could not bring myself to wear a satin dressing gown of the sort favoured by Sherlock Holmes - even indoors - but I sometimes find myself hankering for a hooded towelling one which nobody but H.I. would bat an eyelid about. The trouble with things labelled 'dressing gowns' is that they have no buttons, just a belt which you are supposed to tie around your waist to minimise the danger of exposing yourself through the front of your pyjamas  - which have no zip. The things above are just pulled over your head.

I had a young friend who I once - somehow - got into a conversation with about mens underpants. She said she preferred boxer shorts. Since she didn't wear mens underwear I asked her why, and she said "Because they gape"

My mind was in a whirl...

Saturday, 3 November 2018


This is the stone I am hoping to incorporate into a rustic but also formal water feature. It is from Portland, Dorset, and is called 'roach'. Look closely and you can see the holes of hundreds of Nautilus shells from when they were alive and surrounded by mud.

I love contrasting the random rusticity of this stuff with the formality of how it is shaped. Very 18th/17th century.