Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Shark alert

I am not sure if everyone has noticed the sharks circling around the sinking ship of British politics right now. People seem to be more concerned about the arrangement of deck chairs than the immediate future.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Back to the drawing board

"Let's go and stay in my sister's cottage in the country", Holly suggested one Saturday, so we did.

She was the scattiest girl I had ever known and these were the days before SatNav, so what should have been a 2 hour journey to the Surrey countryside took around 4 hours.

At the end of a grassy track, there was the medieval thatched cottage, sitting within acres of green farmland held back by a narrow quadrangle of wooden cattle fencing.

The elm boards and joists of the bedroom floor were so steeply warped that you could have placed a tennis ball at the door and it would have bounced off the opposite wall a full three feet back into the room.  I slept on the higher side of the bed and throughout the night found myself on top of Holly, not through lust but by the sheer force of gravity.

The whole house shifted and groaned so much during the warm Summer evening that nobody would have been able to tell the difference between a ghost and a burglar.

Around dawn I was awoken by the electronic buzzing of bees, but as I drifted upwards into consciousness I understood that the noise was produced by tiny petrol engines.

Leaving her asleep upstairs I went out to see a group of men in the neighbouring field, all flying model aircraft.

One man was wrestling with a giant of a plane with a 7 foot wingspan, and he told me that this weekend was its maiden flight after over a year of construction in his garage.

I offered to help him launch it and he readily agreed. He cranked the prop and it fired up. The engine note was about 2 octaves deeper than his fellow's. This sounded like a 100cc thing.

I and another took one wingtip each and gradually sprinted into the clear field until the bird left our fingertips and took flight.

It laboured on and upwards in ever increasing circles until it attained a height of several hundred feet, then its creator began furiously jerking on his control stick as the huge plane began spiralling down in ever decreasing circles. He lost radio contact.

The plane hit the ground nose first at great speed and turned itself into matchwood.

He was amazingly sanguine about it.

"Back to the drawing-board!" were his parting words.

I went back to Holly and we had breakfast.

You can you trust?

Hilary Clinton is in London and she expressed her outrage at this government's refusal to publish the report into Russian involvement in British affairs, i.e. social media manipulation etc. She knows what she is talking about. Many people believe Trump's passage to office was nudged along by Putin, who actively dug up as much dirt about Hilary as he could.  Many people believe that Boris Johnson's was as well.

Shortly after Hilary Clinton's interview, a man who has written a book about an alleged cover-up over the Weinstein 'Me Too' accusations (forget his name) came on and said that Hilary Clinton's office was one of the group who killed some of the news stories about Weinstein, because he was one of the most generous funders of Clinton's election campaign.

It is no longer down to party politics. Russia favours right-wing Conservatives over even extreme left-wing socialists like Corbyn these days. How things change. It's pay-back time for all those oligarchs in London now. We have an election coming up.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

I think my husband suspects something

The trig-point on the highest part of Solsbury Hill - the one Peter Gabriel climbed up and later spoilt a perfectly good song by claiming he saw an eagle flying over Bath. Nobody likes liars.

I took that photo from the middle of town using max zoom on my crappy camera. Well it wasn't that crappy when I bought it, but later ones are now so good that they are often used to make professional videos. Someone recently made a full length feature film using only an iPhone.

I once (more than once, actually) had a simple affair with a married woman. She lived in a house in a park on one of the steeper sides of town.

I was in her bedroom one afternoon and noticed a pair of binoculars lying near the window, so I picked them up and looked down to a pub which was about a quarter of a mile away. I can never resist looking through binoculars and I took the opportunity to see who was in the place. I knew most of them.

As I scanned the pavement outside, I saw her husband looking back up at me with another pair of binoculars. I cannot describe how shocking that sight was.

The next time I saw him the atmosphere was a touch frosty to say the least.

Thursday, 7 November 2019


Jacob Rees-Mogg and I have one thing in common. We both like antique silver.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

A very specific drinking glass

If you have a few thousand quince going to waste, here is how to use at least two of them. Someone gave me three the other day. My bottle should be ready for Christmas.

Ratafia was traditionally drunk in the above form of glass. I would love to, but I cannot justify the £1,250 it would cost me to get one.

Here we go. One litre.

This is the glass H.I. uses every Christmas. A 1740, tear-stemmed cordial glass. I love it.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Don't lecture me about life in Britain

I first learned how to use a lathe in woodworking classes at school. Not many boys were permitted lathe work. It was (and still is) considered too dangerous for children. I was allowed because I was one of those irritating kids who had an over-developed sense of self-preservation. I was born Healthy and Safe, three years after the Labour Party created the NHS.

I have been periodically using lathes ever since. I still have a stone lathe at my workshop. It does not occur to some people that stone and marble can be turned on a lathe. It occurs to even fewer that axes are used on stone. They have been for hundreds - if not thousands - of years. I have many stone axes.

After I left school I worked on a concrete gang and was partially responsible for laying the foundations of the University of Surrey. It being the days before concrete pumps, every ton of concrete was pushed in a wheelbarrow over a single scaffold board before being tipped into a vast pit (machine mountings), then the empty barrow would be returned to the concrete lorry to be refilled. Repeat all day, every day, for six days, then repeat the week after. A full barrow of wet concrete weighs 400 pounds. It was the hardest and most exhausting work I have ever done, but it was good money for a 16 year-old.

I have a 'grandad' licence which allows me to drive a little 7.5 ton lorry, but when I reach 70 in 18 months time, this will be relinquished unless I take another test, which I cannot be bothered to do. It's fun driving one of these trucks with a full load - 3.5 tons of stone on the back and air brakes so fierce that you would go through the windscreen if you pulled the little lever accidentally or stamped on the foot pedal too hard.

The first person to ever teach me stone-carving was a Gypsy. True, he was a wealthy Gypsy who lived in a bloody great Surrey house, but he had a £30,000 painted caravan parked up in the grounds which used to be his grandparent's home, so I think that he counted. He did not hare-course, but I have plenty of non-Gypsy friends who did. I always thought that hare-coursing was vile, but hunting with hounds was legal right up until Tony Blair declared it illegal to take the attention away from more important issues.

I have always told my German friends that the E.U. was nothing but a financial carve-up, and this upset them quite a lot about 25 years ago, but then the E.U. and the euro became useful fiscal and financial tools to guard against a U.S. take-over. The dollar crashed and Trump filled a political vacuum as only right-wingers do in times of social crisis. They can still take over any time in the next few months. Is this what you want?

To have a second referendum would result in even a worse situation than produced by the first. The balance would be the same percentage, but reversed. All of this is the sole fault of the Conservatives, beginning with Thatcher (who paved the way for Tony Blair) and continuing with Cameron - the fool who gave in to Farage and the extremists in his own party - followed by Theresa May who kept to her own secret agenda for over two years; culminating in the erstwhile buffoon, Boris Johnson - who has transformed himself into a creature beyond the recognition of even his own family into the bully now resident in 10 Downing Street and who is now gambling on all our futures for the sake of his own political survival. He is running a very high risk of letting Corbyn in through the back door, and if he does he will blame our own Parliament for it. He will blame you for it if he has to.

I filled out a questionnaire about this for the Guardian recently, but they said I did not qualify. Too middle-class apparently.