Monday, 31 May 2021
Sunday, 30 May 2021
They're not laughing now!
Other than the appalling fiasco over vaccines, and fishing, M Macron and Ms Merkel now have other worries.
Germany's exports to the UK between December '20 and January '21 were down by 30.5%; a loss of £1.7 Billion from their dwindling coffers.
During the same period, French exports to the UK fell by 16%; whilst their imports from the UK rose by 27%. That wouldn't have made Emmanuel very happy!
Macron has now imposed a strict 7 day isolation period for all UK residents who enter France. Whilst back in the UK, France is firmly placed on the 'Amber List' of dodgy countries to visit. If you do somehow manage to get away for a week's holiday to The Riviera, you will have to spend it locked away indoors!
By wishing to punish Great Britain, the tide seems to have turned, and the people who are suffering the most are citizens from the EU's two remaining financial powers; France and Germany.
And, whilst on the subject; whatever happened to those predicted lorry queues at Dover? Here (below) is a picture of the empty 66 acre lorry park in Ashford. It was hurriedly built, and designed to cope with a build-up of 1,700 lorries. It remains unused; I wonder who's paying the electricity bill?
As I said quite recently, a more intelligent EU would have worked WITH the UK, not AGAINST her.
Saturday, 29 May 2021
Thursday, 27 May 2021
I always buy the same wellies. I know exactly where to find them, I like their fit, and they come at the right price (about €13). Their only disadvantage is that they don't last too long; they split. This below is a classic example.
I must wear my wellies more than any other 'footwear'. Living out in the country they are essential. Our grass is wet from dew, or rain, almost every day of the year, and doesn't dry until mid-day at the earliest. I have no idea why this is, but it's something one learns to live with. Wellies make it bearable.
The clothing and shoe dep't at my supermarket is now open again, so on Tuesday I was able to buy a new pair of wellies. I was amused to see that they are 100% recyclable. Lady M is the recycling guru in this house and religiously sorts everything into separate piles before taking them off to the allotted bins. She will be taking my old pair with her when she next goes; although I don't know what category they'll come under.
Why does no-one sell a 'Wellie Repair Kit'?
Wednesday, 26 May 2021
Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Monday, 24 May 2021
Sunday, 23 May 2021
Saturday, 22 May 2021
Friday, 21 May 2021
We've been having some really foul weather recently; bad enough to keep us indoors, watching afternoon TV with our cup of Lapsang and McVities digestive.
A favourite Tea-Time afternoon BBC programme is about buying property in the countryside, and it occasionally involves my screaming at the TV.
Previously my gripes have been about their use of the word 'vaulted', which they use willy-nilly for any ceiling that has beams; and why do they continually call stones, 'bricks'?
However, my latest annoyance comes in respect of 'equestrian properties' that contain an enclosed exercise area.
Such areas are invariably called a 'Ménage' by the presenters, when every horse-owner knows that they are a 'Manège'.
Ménage = Household
Manège = Roundabout
I don't know why this annoys me so much; I suppose it's simply because I expect 'experts' to have some expertise. They'll soon be referring to the Kitchen as the 'en suite'.
Thursday, 20 May 2021
Wednesday, 19 May 2021
Tuesday, 18 May 2021
Monday, 17 May 2021
We all tend to use comparatives to express sizes, lengths, or the heights of things that would otherwise be tricky to estimate.
Tall things tend to be compared to the height of Nelson's Column, long things to Cricket Pitches, and volumes to how many could fit inside Wembley Stadium (above).
Countries sizes are often compared to the number of Wales's that could fit into them.
Room sizes can be compared to the size of a Double Decker Bus, as can Satellites. Front Gardens are often compared to Handkerchiefs. Thickness by Planks or Bricks. Brightness by Buttons. And certain liquid quantities by how many Olympic sized swimming pools they can fill.
Width can be measured in Tennis Courts, obesity by Pigs, attractiveness by Pictures or the rear of Buses, thinness by Rakes, and the lack of hair by Coots.
The British are an inventive lot. More please!
Sunday, 16 May 2021
Brits do like their Summer beach holidays in the sun, and this is witnessed by Spain having regularly been the UK's favourite destination; as can be seen by this typically quiet beach scene, above.
Second on the list of favourite destinations is France.
Like Elephants, Brits have good memories, and I'm sure that many will not return to either Spain or France for quite some while. They will not forget the post-Brexit attitude of these countries towards Britain, and will probably prefer to spend their hard-earned holiday £'s in more friendly countries.
The UK used to send, on average, 18 Million tourists to Spain each year, and 12 Million to France; that's more than any other country, and it represented a lot of holiday dosh.
Croatia, Turkey, Morocco, Bulgaria, and Tunisia are all excellent alternative non-EU holiday destinations (and much cheaper), and, I hope, will benefit from certain nations antagonism towards Britain. Why visit a country where the President/Prime Minister spreads hatred about you, when you can easily go somewhere else where you're welcome? Even Saudi is tempting tourists away from mainland Europe. Pedro, and Emmanuel may come to regret their bad behaviour; especially now when tourist Euros would be extremely welcome.
For the moment both Spain and France are verboten as holiday destinations, and I suspect that Boris may keep it that way for a while (at least until the holiday season is over). My advice is to go somewhere a bit different for a change. You might even find a quiet beach.
Saturday, 15 May 2021
Friday, 14 May 2021
Thursday, 13 May 2021
N.B. The word 'macron' means long (maybe too long) in time. It is also the name of that little line over a vowel encouraging the reader stretch the sound, as in Māori.
Wednesday, 12 May 2021
We've been having some heavy, stormy, rain recently, and we're about to have another week of it. I can't think why, but it set me thinking about BROLLIES.
Other than my cheap schoolboy brollies, my first pukka 'brolly' was bought in order to equip myself correctly before taking up my first ever post-school job; as a 'blue button' (trainee broker) on the London Stock Exchange.
I should never have mentioned anything to my aesthete school friend Monty, but he insisted that I visit Swaine Adeney Brigg in Piccadilly; where, he assured me, all gentlemen bought their umbrellas.
I followed his advice, and found myself spending a bloody fortune on a brolly that I hardly ever used, and eventually lost on the train.
I was then told by another friend to visit the lost property office at Victoria Station, to give them the details of a train and time (but to be vague about the day) when I had lost my brolly, and I would be shown a good selection from which to choose my next 'free' brolly. I did as advised, put on quite a convincing act, chose an expensive looking model from a vast selection, and replaced my lost item with a very good alternative.
Since those city days I have had an extensive collection of cheap brollies, most of which either instantly turned inside-out, or finished with spokes penetrating the covering. I'm sure you recognise the ilk.
My latest model (see the 2 pix above) is very much on a par with my original Swaine Adeney one. It was expensive, is well made, and I hope will see me through. Just look at all those spokes; very solid, and quite heavy too. It's a pukka job.
Bring on the rain.
Tuesday, 11 May 2021
Monday, 10 May 2021
My cousin Stephen was not just a 'doctor'; he was an exceptional one. His diagnostic abilities for 'internal medicine' were second to none.
Sunday, 9 May 2021
It's been a whole year, now, since Sir Keir 'Brylcreem' Starmer took over from Corbyn as Leader of The UK's Labour Party, supposedly giving them slightly more 'electability' than under wee Jeremy.
But the poor guy, Sir Keir already seems to be stuck in the mire. He's been caught visiting a church with very dubious anti-gay procedures, he's been photographed on one knee in submission to something or other, and he's still refusing to apologise for Corbyn's crazy term in office, and/or Labour's anti-Semitic stance. He doesn't seem to have any policies either; whacky or otherwise.
Not only all this, but in the recent parliamentary, and local council elections, Labour have hit rock-bottom. They've even just lost Hartlepool; a Labour 'jewel in the crown' seat, that hadn't seen a Tory win for half a century. Even up there they're getting the message.
Starmer obviously has sharper skills as a speaker than his predecessor; he is, after all, a reasonably well-honed Barrister. But typical of a Barrister turned Politician, he's continually nit-picking from the past rather than proposing policies for the future. Assembling a case from past events might work in court, but not in parliament, giving him the well-earned sobriquet of 'Captain Hindsight'.
At the weekly Wednesday PMQ's it makes him very easy picking for Boris Johnson's superior debating and political abilities; Sir Keir simply sits there blinking, hoping to hit a nerve, whilst looking confused and downhearted. His recent attempt to tar Boris with accusations of 'sleaze' has only made Boris's popularity increase. He can't win.
His novelty value is now waning, and his popularity has fallen drastically. He was originally seen as a latter day, quasi-Tory, 'son of Blair', but without the dewy-eyed appeal; Sir Keir has a somewhat manic and perplexed look. He is also seen as too weak and too right-wing for the more radical members of both his Parliamentary Party, and the all-powerful Trades Unions.
I can't see him leading Labour into the next general election, unless he changes his 'Blairite' political stance. More radical Labour MP's would desperately like to see a woman leading their party, it might give them more kudos (the Conservatives have had two female PM's, so why don't Labour have a female leader?). I suggest that either the fragrant Jess Phillips, Angela Rayner, or even Rebecca Long-Bailey might well be in line for the job.
Some still talk of Labour as being the party of 'The Working Man', but let me explain something; it's a strong economy those 'working men' need, not Labour. You only get growth and high employment with the Conservatives. Labour have NEVER left a term in office without an increase in unemployment; hardly pro those 'working men'.
One doesn't wish to gloat over Labour's demise, but it's their crazy policies! No-one wants a government that would wreck the economy; like the last time they were in power. Those days are over; it's time to think again.
The Labour Parliamentary Party will need to 'pretend' that they believe in more sensible policies, and maybe even start agreeing with the Tories; only that way will they stand any chance of regaining power.
Michael Foot's election manifesto of 1983 was called 'The longest suicide note in history'..... nothing much has changed.
Saturday, 8 May 2021
Friday, 7 May 2021
Mr Marmite: Thank you for your product, it has enlivened my morning toast for over 70 years.
Santa Claus: What can I say. You made my childhood wonderful, and you are still doing the same today.
Dairy Farmers: What would life have been like without Cheese, Yoghurt, and Milk for my cuppa.
Nicolaus Otto: Thank you for your 1876 invention of the Internal Combustion Engine. Having my first car changed my life completely, and driving still allows me the freedom to live 'out of town'.
Henri Matisse, Kitaj, Derain, et al: The pleasure these and so many other painters have given me is immeasurable.
Vignerons worldwide: A noble profession. Without wine at our tables, our lives would be so dull!
Poultry Farmers, Shepherds, Pig Farmers. and Cereal Growers: Bread, Toast, Eggs, Bacon, Shepherd's Pie, Roast Lamb. Need I say more?
Ted Heath (reluctantly): Ted oversaw the UK's entry into 'The Common Market' in 1973, allowing me to live unhindered in France for the past 47 years. All that has now sadly come to an end.
Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli: Certain music grabs you from the very first second you hear it. These two did just that.
Yeats, Woodhouse, Waugh, S Gibbons, Hardy, et al: I'm not a huge reader, but I'm rarely without a book on the go. So, thanks to all those who've written my favourites.
Logie Baird, Marconi, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and maybe Jeff Bezos: Some of the greatest inventors and innovators of all time. Without them you wouldn't be reading this, and I wouldn't have my laptop on which I'm writing it.
The Abbey, King's, and the West Surrey College of Art and Design: They moulded me, and made me what I am today.
And finally, my Family: Thank you for putting-up with me.
Thursday, 6 May 2021
Back in the UK, we are often encouraged to buy Georgian style light switches, Regency style kettles, or Victorian style TV's. Why not a Medieval style Smart-Phone?
I have heard of a Scottish railway Co that boasts a 'Jacobean Steam-Train', and I've even seen an advert for a 'Tudor style' electric door bell; what on earth was that?
Some avoid all this nonsense by referring to 'Heirloom style', or 'English Country style'.
But it does become a little far-fetched when an American home, for sale, was described as 'Queen Anne Tudor style'.
Our own small 1960's Brighton mews type house (above), was, of course, sold as 'Georgian style', simply because they had added a faux-Georgian portico and bay window to the façade. Otherwise there's not a scrap of Georgian about it.
Are the 'Trades Descriptions' chappies not concerned about such things?
Wednesday, 5 May 2021
Tuesday, 4 May 2021
Monday, 3 May 2021
Sunday, 2 May 2021
I can't remember the year, but I can remember the circumstances perfectly.
It must have been about 25 years ago, I could hear horrible 'screeching' sounds coming from a field about 300 metres away. I'd imagined it was a Buzzard in difficulty, but when I went to investigate I found a Roe Deer lying on the ground, and in pain. I imagine the poor animal had been shot, but not accurately enough to kill. It had escaped only to end-up unable to walk, and in obvious discomfort.
I returned to the house, put my small handgun and two bullets in my pocket, and returned to deal with the poor creature. First I apologised to him for what I was about to do, explained to him that it was for the best, and put him out of his misery. Not a pleasant experience.
On another occasion I found a Badger hanging from a wire snare half way up a steep nearby bank. In its attempt to escape, it had scratched away at all the earth around it, making its escape even less possible. Badgers are vicious beasts, and although I am very fond of them, there was no way I could liberate him; he was in a bad way. Again I returned home, fetched my 'priest', and disposed of him.
Yesterday, we (Billy) found an injured young Roe Deer. It looked as if it may have been hit by a car, and was having difficulty walking. Each time I stroked it, it screamed in that piercing dog-like barking voice of theirs. After a while I managed to get it up on its feet, and it slowly walked away. It didn't look too good.
I went with Billy to see if it was still there this morning; it wasn't. So, either it has regained some strength, or it has died. We'll never know.
Beatrix Potter would have us believe that all wild animals die in a comfortable subterranean home, in the warmth of a quilt covered bed, surrounded by weeping young offspring, but of course this isn't the case. Most animals die of disease, wounds from fights, or by being killed by bigger animals. Old Foxes killed by a pack of hounds were often far luckier than those who were died in the wild (but don't tell the anti-hunt folk that).
What goes on deep in the woods is not always as described in Fairy Stories; occasionally it's pretty dire.
Saturday, 1 May 2021
It has never interested me what other people are 'worth'; I'm much more interested in their talents, actions, or opinions.
However, it did interest me recently to read that the average Brit' (?) is worth £172,000, which I imagine is based on property prices.
I also read that 9% of Brits have no savings at all, a third of Brits have less than £600, and yet the average Brit' (whoever these average people are?) has savings of £6,757 (Building Societies, Banks, etc).
Low income families apparently have average savings of £95, and high income families of £62,885.
I do find these types of statistics a little puzzling. Who these 'average' people are, I'm not sure.
It is said that an economist/statistician is someone who believes that if you have one foot in boiling water, and the other in a bucket of ice, you should feel perfectly comfortable.
Still, I suppose that someone needs these figures, and someone has to produce them. Whether we're interested in them or not is another question. I'm hardly going to walk down the street wondering if the people around me have average savings of £6,757. Or perhaps now I will.
Great Grandfather Magnon.