Saturday 29 February 2020

Surely not!

I noticed the above at my local supermarket yesterday... does Monsieur Leclerc know something that we don't?

Mother Nature's worst invention must be SNOW; I can't stand the wretched stuff.

Of course strong wind comes a very close second.

As well as relentless downpours of heavy rain.

Not to mention blazing heat.

Or long periods of drought.

Or frosts beneath -2 C.

Or thick fog.

If I had the honour of advising Mother Nature, I would suggest that all rain fell only at night, and that 95% of our days had clear blue skies, with 25 C temperatures.

However, I'm not against the occasional thunder storm, lightning, or even rainbows, so I'd give her some leeway for the remaining 5% of days.

Our sledge is remaining firmly packed away. I am convinced we shall have no use for it; but don't quote me on that. Old Mother Nature really enjoys slapping my face!

Friday 28 February 2020

Why I'm not religious, but why I would quite liked to have been.

I have always thought that the protestant church missed out on a great opportunity by not having veered towards becoming a philosophical movement, rather than staying as a doctrinal one.

I don't think many people truly believe in all religion's invisible spooks and spells; I know that most priests certainly don't. The small amount of people who still attend Sunday services, go for the ceremony, the pantomime, and the camaraderie; not for gods and devils. There is a feel-good factor amongst church attendees. It makes them feel like 'good people'. They certainly don't attend for the mumbo-jumbo.

Personally I love the architecture, the music, and much of the ceremonial, but there is no place for me within the established church because, like most, I can't accept the nonsense about gods, devils, heaven, hell, souls, angels, goblins, and virgin births; as well as one of the most off putting rites, the quasi-cannibalistic ceremony of eating flesh and drinking blood, which I find to be quite evil and disturbing.

When first visiting towns or cities, one of my favourite initial destinations is the church or cathedral; on the strict condition that they are ancient. I have little time for modern churches, although there are one or two rare exceptions.

An ancient church will tell you more about a locality than any museum, and therefore becomes the essential hub of any community.

The lovely church in my illustration is in the Surrey village were I was born. It is where my people were married, and also where I sang in the choir. This church, as well as the cathedral where I was at school, had a profound effect on my earlier life. I loved both of them (and still do), but their adherence to all the mumbo-jumbo keeps me from their doors.... other than at Christmas when I might still attend a Carol Service, simply for the pleasure of singing.

Thursday 27 February 2020

A simple test.

"I think I know No 4. Is it a hole filled with water"?

Ms Markle has been Duchess of Sussex for several months, so here is an easy test to see how well she knows her duchy.

1. What are the County Towns of East and West Sussex?
2. Where is the best place to live in East Sussex?
3. Which is the best country Pub' nearest to Lewes?
4. What is Sussex Pond?
5. Who built the Brighton Pavilion?
6. Where is the home ground of Sussex Cricket?
7. Where does The Duke of Norfolk live?
8. Where is the traditional epicentre of The Garden of Eden?
9. What famous girls school is to be found on the Sussex coast?
10. Who is one of the best painters to come from Sussex?
11. What is the name of the Sussex forest where Winnie the Pooh lives?
12. Where did Hilaire Belloc live?

Scores. 10/10 she cheated. 5/10 someone helped her. 0/10 that sounds right.

Please don't show her the answers, but here they are. 1, Lewes and Chichester. 2. Brighton. 3. The Shepherd and Dog, Fulking. 4. A steamed Suet pudding containing butter and a whole Lemon. 5. The Prince Regent, the future George IV. 6. Hove. 7. Arundel. 8. Chanctonbury Ring. 9. Roedean. 10. Cro Magnon. 11. Ashdown Forest. 12. Shipley.

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Fosse bloody Septique.

It's one of those things that happen when you live out in the countryside; occasionally the Septic Tank needs to be emptied; and, boy, ours really did!

It's never a pleasant operation, but yesterday it simply had to be done. I won't go into details.

The man was very efficient, and insisted on practicing his English; we, of course, replied in French.

The amusing illustration on the side of his cab says, 'Call us before it really hurts'. Wise words which we'd ignored.

We now have a squeaky clean fosse septique that you could eat your breakfast from (if indeed you wished to).

To add to our pain.... having had a week of perfect weather, yesterday when we really needed some sunshine, it was pouring.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Another brick in the wall.

We've all seen the story. The Indians are so ashamed of this shanty town, that prior to Trump's visit they built a wall to hide it.

But that is not my subject matter. 

Brick wall-building is not difficult, it requires bricks or blocks (obviously), mortar, a trowel, a length of string, and a level. With those few requirements even one's brain is unnecessary, as you let the tools do all the work for you; as long as you allow them to do so.

I have never understood why wall-building throughout India, The Middle East, and Africa, is so consistently amateurish, although having looked closely at the photo above, I do notice they seem not to even have the trowel, string, or level.

Even 'naughty boys' who attend correctional schooling in the UK, often master the art of bricklaying within a day or two. It really isn't that difficult.

With wages so low, and the price of bricks reasonably high, one might have imagined that wall builders from these countries would take extra care when building a home, or a wall. But the opposite seems to be the case.  Their work is slapdash, and shows no sense of pride whatsoever. I wonder why?

Official: "Oy you; have you ever built a wall?".

Youth: "No Sir".

Official: "Good; you're hired. Build one over there".

Monday 24 February 2020

Go away, and SHUT UP.

How dare this small-time scheming foreign narcissistic TV soap-actress try to tell HM The Queen what she can and cannot do.

The Queen is loved and respected throughout the world; not least in the USA. She is the epitome of grace and decorum, and deserves total respect from junior household members; and even from their consorts. She is not someone with whom one argues.

This staggering disrespect from Ms Markle is outrageous. In all my years I've never heard of anyone speaking to her like this.

Sadly we are only now seeing the true extent of her intentions. She wants her cake, to make plenty of money from said cake, and to eat it too.

If they wish to cut all ties with the Royal Family, do their own thing, and behave like petulant children, then they should just go away and live like anyone else in whatever country that will accept them. And why anyone should pay £40 Million a year to have them 'protected', I really cannot imagine.

Time to blend in with us common oiks, get a job, stop all this nonsense about 'Royal' charities, and GROW UP.

Dear-oh-dear Harry, what HAVE you done! You seem to be fading into the background; just like in the photo above. There's only one person wearing trousers in your relationship, and it certainly ain't you!

Your dear wife's admirers are jumping ship by the millions.

Sunday 23 February 2020


I'm not a dessert eater, but I do love anything to do with Lemon.

Lady Magnon's cakes, pies, or biscuits, may not necessarily look like the illustrations in her Mary Berry cook book, but they always taste good; and that's the important bit.

She made this Lemon Meringue Pie to eat after dinner a couple of nights ago, but without knowing this, guess what the boys bought home from the bakers'? Yes, another Lemon Meringue Pie. You can tell it's a family favourite! 

Boo Boo has his own names for just about everything (as do many children), and has re-named it 'Lemon Boomerang Pie'.

It was delicious.... We have since eaten the baker's version; rubbish.

Saturday 22 February 2020

Another Mayoral hopeful.

I haven't yet seen the full list of prospective candidates for Mayor of London, but I am assured that this (above) is one of them.

His name is Drillminister. Unfortunately I can't find any details of his education, qualifications, work experience, background, etc. The only thing I CAN find are these lyrics (below) to one of his 'songs' (I believe he's a singer). 

"That's serious bootings, dotty lift man like the bootings how's man talking 'bout momo challenge'? The media's got man snoozing crash corn at an informant crash corn anyone slow man's movement can't slow man's movement"..... Then repeat to no discernable tune.

Well, erm, yes, I imagine he has a point, although I'm not quite sure what that point is!

I'm also not 100% sure why he wears a balaclava for all his interviews; maybe he's simply trying to hide his identity; not a good start for candidacy as Mayor. 

Anyway, I wish him luck.

Friday 21 February 2020


I don't even know how many people we had for dinner last night; after counting to about 15 I lost the will to live!

So, what's a chap to do. Simple, make a delicious Greek Pastitsio.

Known in our house as Marconi Pie (Macaroni Pie), it's an ideal dish for when a whole hungry Rugby team turns-up.

Depending on what pasta is used, and in what country it's made, Pastitsio is alternatively known as Lasagna, or cannelloni; the basics are pasta, rich beef/tomato sauce, and a cheesy white sauce. The combinations are endless.

One thing I can always guarantee is that there will never be any left over for my breakfast. Yesterday I made two HUGE dishes.... nothing left!

Tonight we eat Roast Turkey; we always have a second Christmas in Feb'.

Thursday 20 February 2020

Cro's Style Awards. No 337.

I think the 'Sapeurs', or 'Congo Dandies', deserve a place in my ever expanding list of Style Awards.

Mostly from the Brazzaville shanty towns, these uber style conscious men of The Congo spend all their time and money on their appearance.

I believe that many of them have become 'national heroes', and are mobbed by fans wherever they go. Well done guys. You make our drab world just that little bit brighter!

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Yet more misguided activists.

Following on from yesterday's post, I can hardly express how angry the above photo makes me feel. The mindless vandalism demonstrated by these 'climate' activists shows more clearly than I could ever have imagined, how puerile and destructive these scumbag hooligans can be. Why did no-one go and beat the shit out of them?

For a bunch of so-called Eco warriors, Global warming protesters, et al, to wantonly destroy a beautiful and ancient lawn at Cambridge's foremost college, is simply unbelievable. I just hope that the authorities took plenty of photos so they can be identified and prosecuted.

Thank goodness they didn't cut down Newton's Apple tree in the background (actually an ancestor of the original tree), which is such an important icon of Trinity College's extraordinary history. 

Prior to Extinction Rebellion's activities in central London last year, their aims had general support throughout the country, but their outrageous behaviour, and their dumping of tons of rubbish, soon changed all that. This present example of their pure vandalism has, I believe, now reduced their support to almost nothing. 

How proud they must be, standing amongst their day's work. I just hope that those responsible are made to pay dearly for the lawn's restoration.

N.B. I wasn't sure if the people in the top photo were the actual vandals themselves, or just bystanders surveying the damage. Having now seen the photo below, I see they ARE the actual vandals.

I wonder what these idiots actually do to help save our planet? Does digging-up a centuries old lawn really help?

Personally I treat the world with respect. I don't preach about it, but make sure that everything I do will not harm our delicate ecosystem. These people do the opposite. What the hell happened to poor old Blighty! 

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Misguided activists.

For the sake of correctness, I thought I'd better state the actual facts about the recent UK 'deportations'.

There has been so much nonsense written and spoken recently about the deportation of foreign criminals, but who could have imagined that so many ill-informed activists would actually campaign for them to be kept on our streets, rather than being sent back to their own countries, as demanded by Labour's 2007 UK Borders Act. This would have been unimaginable only a few years ago; certainly during Blair's reign.

But twenty-first century lunacy is all around us. Bizarre virtue-signallers have now halted the deportation of 25 extremely nasty illegal immigrant criminals, amongst whom were a murderer, two rapists, and seven extremely violent individuals involved in knife and firearms offences. The rest were everyday burglars, thieves, etc. All of them were foreign nationals. Apparently it would be against their 'Human Rights' to send them home. They will now need council funded homes, plenty of spending money, and probably constant police surveillance to apprehend them should they commit more crimes, as in the recent case of Sudesh Amman (even though Sudesh had all of 20 policemen watching him).

When The Labour Party introduced the UK Borders Act in 2007, the act insisted on 'automatic deportation' in the following conditions.

Section 1. (Foreign Criminals)
(a) who is not a British Citizen
(b) who is convicted in the UK of an offence, and
(c) to whom Sections 1 or 2 applies

Section 2. On condition that the person is sentenced to a period of imprisonment of at least 12 months.

Etc, etc.     

It must be noted here, that in 2006 Tony Blair deported 29,040 people without a whisper from the do-gooder 'Human Rights' brigade; not even from the fragrant Cheery herself (his lovely lawyer wife) who defended every wealthy ne'er-do-well imaginable!  I don't remember any 'campaigners' in 2006, but just like a stick of rock, hypocrisy is written right through these people.

You couldn't make it up, but David Lammy MP, himself, who has been extremely vocal about the deportations, was a minister under both Blair and Brown, and actually voted FOR the 2007 UK Borders Act. If he wants to blame someone for the present few expulsions, he need look no further than at a mirror; not accuse the Tories!  What a disgrace he is.

The stupidity of these campaigners amazes me. They should go ask the family of the murdered man, stabbed in the back by Fitzroy Daley, if they wish to see him back on their streets. Or go and consult the young girls raped by Fabian Henry. Or anyone affected by all those who are considered by The Home Office to be 'a danger to the public'. These campaigners make me sick; how could the UK have come to this? How could anyone in their right minds wish to see these people back on the streets, rather than returned to their own countries? If any of them in the future should kill, rape, or continue in any way to be a 'danger to the public', let their supporters then apologise, and take responsibility. 'Guilty by association' comes to mind.  

It would only be a complete fool who would blame the present Conservative Government for enacting the previous Socialist Government's UK Borders Act; but, believe it or not, this is what they're actually doing!

The question is a simple one; does it make the UK a safer place to live, with foreign criminals on their streets?

I could go on, but it's all far too depressing. À bientôt.

Monday 17 February 2020

Don't let things get in your way. Or maybe you should.

How many of us have had a great idea, only to be stopped in our tracks by an immovable object?

I think I mentioned once that when I first arrived out here, my aim had been to run a Gite for painters. Not a painting school as such, but somewhere where 'artists' could be based, use studio facilities, and maybe have a joint evening crit', with like-minded people, over a glass of wine or two before supper.

We advertised in The Times, and were soon inundated with enquiries. Unfortunately (and here's the immovable object) my advert' seemed to have been read by most of London's Psychiatrists, who wished to be shot of their most difficult patients for a week or two. We ended-up hosting a succession of extremely difficult, and odd, people; one at least of whom we considered quite dangerous. He had a large sword in his car, and was continuously asking Lady Magnon to pray with him! 

With two small children in the house, I soon reluctantly decided to abandon the business, and I took to stone cutting instead.

In fact the peace and tranquility that we gained by stopping, far outweighed any financial advantages that we might have had by continuing.

 Most things happen for the best, even if at the time it looks otherwise.

Sunday 16 February 2020

Terms & Conditions.

As most people are aware, I'm a rather ordinary, bucolic, 'middle of the Road', law-abiding, liberal thinker, and as such I have very few 'rules' as to who I allow to comment on this page; or even what I find acceptable.

I don't tolerate abusive or insulting language, either aimed at myself, or between visiting commentators. Such people will be deleted at once.

I don't care for radical born-again religious fundamentalists, nor do I allow extreme political views from either the right or the left.

With the left having experienced such a trouncing in the recent UK general election, I've noticed that recently their supporters have begun leaving irrational, extreme, and unacceptably disturbing comments. They too will be deleted. Sadly we are witnessing a massive rise in such radicalism across the UK and elsewhere, and it worries me.

My third criteria has always been to eliminate 'trolls'; those who visit simply to be abusive and contrary. I have no time for them.

As for the Snake oil salesmen, Witch doctors, ATM scammers, and the so-called Illuminati, they are simply puerile, and their posts will be sent directly to my spam folder.

It's not a pleasant thing to do, but occasionally I do find it obligatory to 'un-follow' certain bloggers. This is not because I wish to stop free-speech, but because occasionally certain people become ever more extreme and abusive; almost because it's expected of them. No doubt alcohol plays a big part in such outbursts, so some leeway has previously been offered.

Some may remember a blogger who become totally obsessed by religion; his page continues, but he now has no visitors.

'Un-following' may also give them the opportunity to reflect on their beliefs or behaviour, although it appears that some are so entrenched in their radicalism, that I fear this is no more than wishful thinking.

Otherwise, all other comments are extremely welcome.

Saturday 15 February 2020

A Bigger Train Set.

It might sound like a simple solution to have rescheduled all meetings in London or Birmingham by 20 minutes (and for Leeds or Manchester a tiny bit longer), but to genuinely integrate 'The Northern Powerhouse' with the UK's business hub (which is London) the country does need the best road/rail communications possible. The North/South divide has existed for too long.

There are people out there who think that spending this £100 Billion is money down the drain (Originally I wasn't keen on the whole project), but we need to think of it as the old Socialist war cry of  'redistribution of wealth'. The money doesn't just disappear; it becomes liberally spread around. From the simple pickaxe and shovel wielding navvy, to the most sophisticated technicians, all will be taking home their fat pay packets over the next ten years or more. Steel works will remain open, ready-mix providers will be assured their employment, and even the police will earn 'overtime' dealing with tree-hugging protestors.

I have often stated that my least-liked human quality is hypocrisy, but just watch as those who have been demonstrating against the government's policy of austerity, now begin to demonstrate against their excessiveness. Where once they demanded more spending, they are now moaning about the high cost of new infrastructure and communications. 

OK, many of us were unhappy about HS2, but let's now get it done. Employ all those extra workers, enhance the economy of the Midlands/North, and make the travel time between London and the North just that teeny bit quicker.

p.s. While we're on the subject of spending large amounts of public money; when comparing the cost of HS2, to that of Gordon Brown's outrageous NHS privatisations (£300 Billion), I suppose it seems like quite a bargain. 

Friday 14 February 2020

The next Mayor of London?

The race is on for a new Mayor of London, and Rory Stewart (above) has thrown his hat into the ring.

Electioneering takes many strange forms, but Rory's must be one of the strangest. He has asked ordinary people from each of London's 32 boroughs to invite him to stay with them overnight; he promises to bring his own sleeping bag and toothbrush. 

He wants to meet 'ordinary Londoners' in their own homes, to discuss their concerns.

By contrast, if he was simply to visit each of the boroughs for half a day, he could get round all of them in a couple of weeks. Talking to people as they go about their daily business might be more informative than staying overnight in someone's flat. But maybe Rory has some alterior motive up his kilt.

There is no question that ex-MP Rory is a highly intelligent man, some may say on a par with Boris; but high intellect is not the only attribute required to be Mayor of one of the world's greatest cities.

He needs a working knowledge of roads, traffic, infrastructure, taxis, busses, the tube, housing, rich areas, poor areas, parks, monuments, and just about everything else that makes London tick.

I don't know who his rivals are for the job, but he'd probably have my vote. His CV must be one of the most impressive in the whole of the UK. 

Yup; I think he'd make a good Mayor; just ditch the idea of the sofa-surfing! 

Thursday 13 February 2020

The Decline and Fall.

There is no question that Labour, and their policies, are outdated and need a re-think; their few remaining supporters are becoming desperate to find anti-Tory slurs, always a sign of panic.. Everyone in the Labour party agrees, even with a new leader they will struggle to achieve power within the next 10 years, or even more, unless something very extraordinary happens.

Labour needs to come politically much closer to the Tories (Blair understood this); the Marxist policies of Corbyn, Long-Bailey, and McCluskey are from a bygone age. The UK needs a middle-right, and a middle-left; extremes have no place in adult Western politics. We need policies which put the country first, not some Marxist ideals.

Many in the Labour party are now saying that they need another Blair; but even he was a total disaster. Apart from being personally responsible for most of the unrest in the Middle East (and on our own doorsteps) he also managed to do what all Socialist governments do; create unemployment amongst the very people who voted for them. He was also responsible for mass deportation; 29,040 in 2006 alone.

When 'call me Tony' took power in 1997, unemployment was at 2 Million, by the time he left office in 2007 it was at 2.5 Million; an extra 500,000 on the dole.

Things don't bode well for Labour, but they still attract their handful of followers. Even knowing full well that their party always causes both economic and employment disaster, the people that it affects the most still vote for them.

There will always be a few Lemmings out there; rushing blindly for the precipice. The sad part is; they think they're acting on behalf of  'the working man'. One thing is certain; as Scargill showed the world, they ain't.

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Haddock's Feb 2020.

Everything that needed to be dug over, has been. Now only a few bits of late greenery remain.

Still plenty of Cavolo Nero, a row of Perpetual Spinach, and a few lettuces under plastic.

Having said that, it's now when I begin to harvest one of my favourite crops; the flowery sproutings that erupt from all over my Winter Greens.

With the Cavolo Nero (above), I first cut the tops, then I let more sprouts develop all the way down the stems (we ate the ones above last night).

It's like a bonus crop that many veg' growers miss; having taken out all their old plants far too early.

Make a note; don't be in a rush to take out all those old stems, be patient and they'll give you another delicious crop.

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Buy these; not those!

On my yesterday's shopping list were 'Prunes'; I usually eat a couple every day, they quosh any desire for sweets.

At Leclerc, I was just grabbing my usual packet, when a man said to me "Why not buy these instead"; holding up the packet above.

I had a look at the pack, and it seemed to offer all my criteria, so I had a chat with him. He told me that they were totally natural, stoned by hand, traditionally dried in the farm's ovens, and were mi-cuits (semi dried). Perfect.

I do like to buy artisanal products wherever possible; especially when it comes to food. I tasted them as soon as I got home; they were really excellent.

When I took the pack from the man; he pointed at it and said "That's me on the front", and of course I instantly recognised him.

What a nice person. He's from very nearby, he's passionate about what he produces, and he even mentions his children Christelle and Sebastien on the packet. Well done M Salliot.

If only all products were thus.

Monday 10 February 2020

Funny old world.

33 illegal immigrants were recently discovered trying to escape FROM the UK in the back of a lorry that had arrived in Calais from Dover. Yes, FROM Dover, TO Calais.

It seems that these immigrants-come-emigrants feared 'mistreatment' after the UK's exit from the EU, and were now attempting to return to mainland Europe.

Having been discovered by the French authorities, 31 of them were returned to the UK, which not long previously had been their shangri-la. One has to wonder if, on their return, the UK authorities asked to see their 'papers'? Failure to provide, could, I imagine, have meant being sent back to Calais again!

All this after a record 102 illegals had been caught, going in the opposite direction, trying to gain access TO England, last Friday. 

One has to wonder if they didn't wave to each other mid-channel. It really is a funny old world.

Sunday 9 February 2020

Big Bands.

In the early 60's, when I was still at school, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Gene Vincent, were amongst our musical heros. The four piece electric guitar groups had replaced the 'old fashioned' big bands, and music had become more intimate and personal.

One day an order was issued that we were to attend a musical performance by a nearby US Air Force band (from Mildenhall?); frankly none of us really wished to go, we imagined Sousa marches and military rallying tunes; but our presence was obligatory.

I remember the performance well. There must have been about 30-35 musicians, all in uniform, sitting behind their music stands. The conductor walked onto the stage to a rather feeble, unenthusiastic, applause.

Then from the very first few seconds of the first number, the full power of a 'big band' had us transfixed. The amazing sound of the massive brass section filled the hall, and we were suddenly all in awe. It was not only great music, but also great theatre. I think it was the first live concert of its type that I'd attended.

By the end of the hour long concert, everyone was enthralled, and I remember that the final applause lasted for ages. We all talked of little else for days.

I imagine there are still a few big bands around, but most young people would have to be paid to go see them. It's a shame, as they don't know what they're missing.

Saturday 8 February 2020

Mad Marinetti.

Both Lady Magnon and I are big lovers of Pasta. We eat pasta at least twice a week.

Back in 1930, the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (above) launched his famous 'futurist' campaign against the eating of pasta, calling it an 'obsolete' food; heavy, brutalising, and gross. Silly man.

As you could imagine, his pronouncements didn't go down too well wherever pasta was served; i.e. throughout Italy, and elsewhere!

Marinetti suggested his own 'futurist' alternatives to the daily consumption of pasta. He suggested Mortadella with nougat, Pineapple with Sardines, Salami soaked in coffee, flavoured with Eau de Cologne; all of which were to be eaten to the accompaniment of different perfumes, whilst stroking some suitable material such as silk, velvet, or emery paper.

Marinetti claimed that pasta wasn't a food for 'fighters'; he said that it made them placid and slow, whereas meat eaters were quick and aggressive.

Filippo didn't limit his 'futurist' ideas to pasta, he also demanded that all foreign influences in Italy be banned, and proposed that a bar should be known as quistibeve (here one drinks), a cocktail as a polibibita (multi-drink), and an aphrodisiac as a guerro in letto (war-in-the-bed).

Other campaigns against the eating of pasta have failed equally as dismally as Marinetti's, and along with the humble potato and rice; pasta has become a staple of world diet.

Personally I only eat a few varieties of pasta. Spaghetti (my favourite) and Penne with various sauces, and Vermicelli in lunchtime soups.

Life for me would be extremely dull without pasta; and damn Marinetti!


Friday 7 February 2020

Reprinted from 2011. EU or No EU?

Looking back 9 years, I don't think much has changed in Brussels; other than the UK's exit!

As Gordon (son of the manse) Brown signed away England's sovereignty to the EU, others were openly laughing behind his back. Yes, they really were. They'd just pinned a sign on him saying 'MUG'!

I really don't know if England's membership of the EU was advantageous or not, if it was it was at a very high price; however, certain facts are inescapable.

Let's compare the UK's annual contribution to the EU, with tiny Luxembourg's. Each year the UK contributed €103 Billion, and Lux' €2.3 Billion. UK received back €4.6 Billion, and Lux' €10 Billion. The net benefit per capita was MINUS €937 for every UK resident, and PLUS €16,170 for every Luxembourg resident.

OK, the UK is a wealthy country, and Luxembourg is a tin-pot state filled with multi-millionaires. But what the hell is going on here? I fail to understand why each and every UK citizen should be out-of-pocket by €937, whilst each super rich resident of Luxembourg benefits to the tune of €16,170 (maybe that's WHY they're so effing rich).

You may wonder why I've chosen to compare the UK to Luxembourg. Well, according to the IMF Luxembourg is the second richest country in the world (after Qatar), by GDP per capita.... Don't you, like me, get the impression that something's gone seriously wrong in all this?

Or could it simply be because Jean-Claude Juncker was Prime Minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to 2013; and maybe had some influence?

And people still wonder why the UK voted to leave.

Thursday 6 February 2020

News from Stalag 24.

The escape-proof wire fencing has been erected, and a big white plastic tent, behind the mounds of earth, is (I imagine) covering the construction of the new communal pool at the shipping container 'holiday camp'.

The tent has been there for well over three months, but what they're doing under it I cannot imagine. When we had our pool constructed it was all done and dusted within about two/three weeks.

Maybe they are lining the interior with fancy mosaics depicting Nymphs and Shepherds!

You may just be able to see a green tarpaulin on the extreme right of the photo. Someone has bought an empty cottage on the main (minor) road and is having a new roof.

There is work going on everywhere. Noise, mud, and disturbance is all around us; it never stops. 

And it all used to be so very quiet and genteel. 

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Big-ish Brother.

I'm not usually paranoid about the spy inside my laptop; frankly I couldn't care less. But this example made me almost think twice.

France is trying to do-away with bayonet fitting light bulbs in preference for screw fittings. Finding plain old fashioned light bulbs has become a nightmare, and I'm certainly not prepared to change all my lamps.

I ordered a couple of packs of 10 bulbs through Amazon, the delivery date of which, by magic, instantly appeared on my Windows 10 Calendar (above). I suppose Amazon and Windows 10 have some 'arrangement'.

Not only that, but a scam Amazon Email also quickly arrived, telling me that my payment of about £30 had been refused, and for some bizarre reason they owed me £170. I would (of course) need to reveal all my bank details to claim my repayment.

I'm sure that my Laptop knows more about me than I do myself, but it's these little things that worry me. To know that there are machines around the world that follow my every move (even ordering 20 light bulbs), is disturbing. Luckily I'm not yet stupid enough to give the scammers all my money.

My bulbs, above, arrived as promised (I ordered them on Monday morning; they arrived mid-day Tuesday); and of course my payment went through OK.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Sudesh Amman.

What a terrible waste of one's life, but if one truly believes in 'martyrdom', and swathes of virgins in heaven, then I imagine it's a good way to go.

In his case, Sudesh Amman wished to die a martyr; he was awarded the dying bit, but as a 'martyr' I'm not sure. Luckily on this occasion the two people he attacked are OK. The only one to die was the misguided religious fanatic who wished to show his god what a wonderful person he was.

Well, I know it's too late, but may I assure you, Mr Amman, that your non-existent god would think you're a total plonker; and would be ashamed of your action. In fact he might even think you're better off dead; you bring disgrace to the whole Muslim world.

Dog sleeping positions.

Monty was the house expert on sleeping positions. Above is his 'Legs somewhere, head somewhere else' position. 

This above was his 'Broken neck' look. A position designed to make Lady Magnon have a fit.

This one was similar to 'Broken neck' but was known as 'Star gazer'.

And finally we have his 'Hang dog' position. A subtle hint that he needed a pukka dog bed.

Neither Bok nor Billy seemed to be continuing in the Monty tradition, they were/are rank amateurs in comparison.

Monday 3 February 2020

French riot police clash with protesting firefighters in Paris

Everyone, the world over, may be dying from Chinese take-aways, but here in France everything is perfectly normal.

The CRS (riot police) may be running-out of Tear Gas, the water cannons running out of water, and the Yellow Jackets running out of protesters, but everyone still hates everyone else, or wants to work less hours for more money; life goes on as usual.

So, how about a fist-fight between the CRS and the Gendarmes, Doctors against Dentists, or Bakers against Candlestick makers.... it could be arranged!

p.s. The Firemen were protesting about 'better working conditions'; they're complaining that wherever they're sent, it always seems to be on bloody fire!

Sunday 2 February 2020

Much too early.

I noticed yesterday that the Plum trees are in flower. I have no doubt that they will suffer from frost between now and Springtime, meaning that unless they magically re-flower we won't have any Plums this year.

I've also noticed that the buds on the Peach trees are swelling. Disastrous. My fingers are crossed, but I feel it might be in vain (as it so often is).



I know very little of the interior working of my body. I know that it requires food and liquid, but how it all works; I'd rather not know.

I feel much the same about car engines, plumbing, and electricity. I rely on others to know how such things operate, just as I know about certain things of which they would know nothing.

I know nothing of the stars and planets, nothing about most Chinese cities, and nothing about the manufacture of aeroplanes.

At school I learned all about Ox bow lakes, Pythagoras, and the Wars of the Roses, but I didn't learn the ingredients of a basic Pizza dough.

I can still hardly speak a word of Italian, Spanish, or German. I continue to make silly spelling mistakes, open packets at the wrong end, and burn toast. I am an ignoramus when it comes to so many subjects, but somehow the world expects us all to know everything, and makes me feel stupid if I admit to being uneducated.

We all need experts; as long as that's what they really are. However, I suspect that many 'experts' simply bluff their way around their so-called expertise. Just because someone has a professorship at Dim-Wit University doesn't mean that he/she knows more about the cultivation of Potatoes than I do.

When my children were young I advised them to learn absolutely EVERYTHING they possibly could about one particular subject, whether it be water pumps, FX trading, or the manufacture of gloves. None of them followed my advice (probably wisely), but all have done well.

p.s. What the 'BS' stands for in my illustration, I have no idea!

Saturday 1 February 2020

Independence Day.

So, that's it. We're no longer members of the EU.

I've lost my €5 bet, and the debt has already been paid (handing-over ceremony, above).

Now we have to wait and see when we'll be kicked out. After about a year's negotiating, they'll probably decide that we'll be allowed to live in our own home for just a few months each year, although I must say, the main losers will be the French. We (and several hundred thousand other Brits) will simply spend our money elsewhere.

After 47 years here, and all our investment, it's now Goodbye Yerp!

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