Monday, 16 September 2019

Tom Shakespeare versus Dominic Cummings

A weary resignation is beginning to settle over the U.K. We are tired of fighting. The problem of how to unite a divided country has now become more important than Brexit itself.

We all have so much in common. We have all come to despise governments of any political colour and of any nationality. Politicians we can just about tolerate, but all current leaders seem to be universally despised, even - or especially - by their own colleagues.

A man called Tom Shakespeare gave a 14 minute talk on a program called 'A Point of View' last Sunday, during which he described the positive benefits of being flexible enough to change your mind on very important issues. He quoted many well-respected and influential people, and by the end of it I thought he had provided a highly convincing and acceptable way for Brexit voters to save face should the decision to leave the E.U. ever be reversed.

Then it occurred to me that he could just as easily have been talking to devout Remainers.

Pragmatism is neutral.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

For John

You are obviously missing my old posts. What you want is one or two of these.
17th century, like Rachel's cottage.

These are the current ones. Late 18th, early 19th century tavern sticks with ecclesiastical candles. I bloody love them.

Saturday, 14 September 2019


Alerted by the sound of pipes and drums, I just looked out of the window to see the annual Jane Austen procession coming over the bridge. It passed right under our window and it seemed to go on forever. There were, quite literally, about 1000 people all dressed in 1800s costume, strolling behind a small platoon of early 1800s soldiers and bringing the town to a standstill.

As well as the Austen look-alikes, there were hundreds of the husbands she never had, with gold buckles on their shoes and silver tops on their canes. There were sailors and cavalry officers, curates and children, dogs with 1820s collars and leads - they just kept coming.

Long after the marching band was out of earshot, the stragglers promenaded toward Milsom Street and the traffic began moving again. I wondered where they were going because, enormous though it is, the Assembly Rooms is just not big enough to accommodate them all.

About ten minutes later I heard the marching band again (playing The British Grenadiers) and they all reappeared, this time walking in the opposite direction to snake past the Guildhall. God knows where or how they turned around.

I have never read a Jane Austen novel, but I don't recall any peasant characters with speaking parts featuring in the snippets of any screen adaptations I have accidentally seen. Same with the promenade. Not a single beggar dressed in rags amongst them to lower the tone, and all the farmers are gentlemen.

When people discover that they are the reincarnation of a long dead person, it is strange that their old lives were usually privileged ones - even ones which were so distinguished that they found a place in the history books.

I wonder who I will be when I die.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Little domestic mysteries

Life - at the moment - is full of little mysteries.

I am still working on The Case of the Missing Brassiere and The Case of the Little Reaping-Hook, but in the last couple of days I have solved a couple of others.

The afternoon before last, H.I. sent me a message saying that there was another little mystery to solve when I got home.

When I arrived she took me into the living room and pointed at a plant which has been over-spilling the mantle piece for about 40 years. The wall, shelf and floor were covered in what looked like large mouse-droppings and there were bits of fresh leaf lying around too. That much shit would have had to come from at least a dozen mice, so I looked over the small leaves of the plant and found most of them had great patches chewed out of them. Hmm, I thought.

I waited until dark then returned with a torch. When I switched it on there was the culprit. A great, fat caterpillar making no attempt to camouflage itself, travelling up a stem and looking very embarrassed. You would not believe how much shit comes from a single caterpillar in one or two nights. I put it on the kitchen window box to eat the weeds which are doing very well in it, but I have neither seen or heard from it since. It seems to have lost its appetite.

This morning I opened the fridge and found what looked like a pool of blood running out from the bottom and onto the floor. There was no fresh meat in there so I began to work my way up, shelf by shelf, having the clear-out I had promised to do for the last 2 years.

Old jars of goose fat from 3 Christmases ago, cream from months back, 2 boxes of Atora suet from God knows when, 5 opened jars of Thai curry paste - all this and more went into the bin.

Finally I/we got to the freezer box where everything except an unopened bag of cherries was frozen solid. Why had they not frozen and where was the juice coming from?

I worked out that they had not frozen because they had begun to gently rot, creating their own heat from the inside. I also found a tiny pin-prick at the bottom of the plastic bag...

Call me Sherlock...

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Operation Yellowhammer

There is more. Please read it. This isn't a prediction put out by scaremongers, it is a worst-case scenario put out by what we laughingly call our own government.

It contains everything that everyone has been warning about for the last four years.

Now come on, do you REALLY want to crash out of the E.U.? I mean, REALLY?

Jesus Christ. What has everyone been telling Brexit voters since the very beginning?

I repeat - this document was written by a Leave government office. How many more times does everyone need to be reminded that a no-deal exit could lead to anything other than a complete fucking disaster for everyone other than the 1% who make up the wealthiest in the country?

Recipe from the Roman Baths (food post)

Embiggen. Thanks to Imogen.

Do you hear voices?

 This is a little experiment to see if I can put up a post using my phone and only my voice. Bye-bye