Tuesday, 31 August 2021
Monday, 30 August 2021
There is no question that Afghanistan contains rich pickings for whoever is prepared to offer recognition, support and funding to The Taliban. They may not offer 'friendship'; but money talks!
Above is Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yi, in talks with The Taliban over future trade, and 'humanitarian aid'.
Bets are mostly on China to bid for expensive mining contracts. Estimates suggest that there is anywhere between £1 and £3 Trillion worth of minerals waiting to be mined.
Lithium, Copper, Coal, Gold, Iron, and Bauxite, are amongst the prizes waiting to be harvested. No doubt China will take the Lion's share.
The Taliban might possibly build an ill-equipped hospital, a piss-poor university, and repair a few holes in the roads, but the majority of Chinese cash will go to buy military equipment, and Afghanistan will become an even more serious danger to world peace.
Mineral-rich China will then flood the world with even more High Tech gizmos, and their world domination will strengthen. The future is Chinese.
20 years presence, $2 Trillion spent, and around 2,500 US and UK lives lost. Now we are forced out by a rag-bag army with AK47's. Possibly the worst humiliation in military history for two of the world's most powerful nations;..... and it looks as if China will go on to reap the benefits.
Sunday, 29 August 2021
These days the Gulls have become a menace. They swoop on children eating Ice Creams, or old folk with their bag of chips. They nest on the roofs of houses where they hold dance-parties in the middle of the night. They poo everywhere, and (I'm certain) aim their poo at people and house windows. They are very accurate.
Saturday, 28 August 2021
I've had a few 'mute' parts in films, and was once offered a small speaking part in 'The Countess from Hong Kong' (which, sadly, I was unable to accept), but I've only acted on stage once, and that (as I suspect with most people) was at school.
The show's producer (JM) was one year senior to me. When he first asked me to take part; I categorically refused. He continued to pester me, and eventually I said 'OK', as long as it was a very small part, and required little acting talent.
The play in question was Joseph Kesselring's 'Arsenic and Old Lace'. JM gave me the part of Mortimer Brewster; my lines consisted of about half the whole bloody play.
I learned my lines in a week or so, other than one section where I was on the phone, speaking amidst others speaking. I put my script by the phone and read my lines direct. It was impossible for me to learn when to come in amongst all the other characters who, I seem to remember, were all shouting simultaneously.
I have to admit that I enjoyed my brief acting career (2 shows). I presume that JM chose me for the leading role because of my similarity to Cary Grant, who played the part in the Frank Capra's 1944 film version. Hmmmm, maybe not!
JM went on to be a producer on Broadway, but I never received another call.
Friday, 27 August 2021
Thursday, 26 August 2021
The people of Afghanistan are never far from our thoughts. As an individual, I know there's very little I can do other than offer meaningless support and sympathy. Donated money could end-up almost anywhere, and with The Taliban in charge, one wonders if 'giving' would be simply funding more outrage.
One thing about Afghanistan that really surprised me recently (about which I'd previously known nothing) was the 'Where is my Name' campaign.
I imagine that most would agree that The Taliban's attitude to women is a disgrace, but I'd had no idea that their hatred spread as far as women's names. Not only do these poor women have to cover themselves completely, but it seems that Afghan women are also only known by their relationship to men. Daughter of Mohammed X, Sister of Mohammed X, Wife of Mohammed X, etc. Women's actual names do not appear on their death certificates, or on the birth certificates of their children. They will not appear on the invitations to their own weddings, or even on their gravestones.
There was a recent case where a woman was beaten to death by her husband because her doctor had written her actual name on a prescription form.
The recent 'runaway' President, Ashraf Ghani had promised to look into amending the regulations, but now that The Taliban are back in control, I presume nothing will change.
We who live in the civilised world should give thanks every day that by a freak of nature we were not born in Afghanistan. Those women in the above photo would have been horrified by how primitive their country has become; the photo was taken 96 years ago, and could have been taken in The Luxembourg Gardens or Hyde Park.
With the rag-bag militia now in charge, and calling the shots, it doesn't look as if life for Afghan women will improve for quite some while, but maybe they could show some decency by allowing them to use their own names. It's not that much to ask.
Wednesday, 25 August 2021
Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Monday, 23 August 2021
Sunday, 22 August 2021
Saturday, 21 August 2021
As far as I'm concerned, there are only two types of Peach trees. The one's you buy, and the one's you don't.
Of course there are actually hundreds of different types of Peach, from orange fleshed, to white, to blood coloured. There are flat ones, and round ones. There are furry ones, and there are smooth.
The Peche de Vigne is usually grown from the pip of a good variety. Sometimes they resemble the mother plant, but more than often they don't. In many ways this doesn't really matter as the fruits are good anyway.
The trees were traditionally grown at the end of each row of vines, rather like certain Roses, to predict the onslaught of disease. If spots appeared on the leaves of the Peach trees, it was a warning for the growers to take immediate action. The fruit usually matures at the same time as the vendange so the pickers also had ready made snacks at the end of each row.
I only have one pukka grafted Peach tree; all my others are what I would call Peche de Vigne. It's always a toss-up with Peaches; one year they are loaded, the following year, nothing. They are very susceptible to weather conditions. This year our main Peche de Vigne (above) has plenty of fruit, and they are just beginning to ripen. Wonderful.
Our pukka grafted tree (Boo Boo's tree) also performed very well this year. We've been lucky.
Friday, 20 August 2021
Thursday, 19 August 2021
Wednesday, 18 August 2021
Tuesday, 17 August 2021
Monday, 16 August 2021
All those who've heard of 'Incel' put your hands up. Just as I thought; almost no-one, including me.
The word has recently come to light following the killing of five innocents by 22 year old Jake Davison (below). He shot his own mother, a 3 year old girl, and three others. Davison then turned the gun on himself.
It was 34 C in the shade yesterday, so Lady Magnon decided to do some baking!
First she made some of her wonderful Parmesan biscuits, then, as it's Plum season, she made a delicious Plum Tatin.
We're ostensibly on our annual Summer diet, so biscuits and pies are normally verboten, but we do make exceptions. A slice of Plum Tatin with a dollop of Ice Cream makes the perfect desert after a light meal.
Unfortunately the kitchen remained at 45 C for the rest of the day!
p.s. They look like Figs in the photo, but I can assure you they were Plums!
Sunday, 15 August 2021
When I did my Officer Training, the very first thing we learned was to 'KNOW YOUR ENEMY, GO IN HARD, GO IN STRONG. This was at the very heart of military strategy.
I watch film of the Taliban entering Kabul, and what do I see. Not a single pro-government citizen carrying a gun (above yesterday), whilst every member of the Taliban is carrying an AK47 or Rocket Launcher.
What the hell have these people been thinking? What have the UK and USA forces been thinking? Every single man, woman, and child should have been armed. The idea of the Taliban simply walking into a city and saying "Surrender" is crazy. This small advancing rag-bag of an army should have been slaughtered. They represent a very small percentage of the population, and could easily have been defeated had the citizens been armed.
They knew exactly what was coming, yet they welcomed them with open arms. Personally I would have welcomed them with GUNFIRE. These people are primitive scumbags, and should be wiped out.
Why was this not done?
Saturday, 14 August 2021
Friday, 13 August 2021
Thursday, 12 August 2021
Wednesday, 11 August 2021
Tuesday, 10 August 2021
Monday, 9 August 2021
The jumps have been jumped, the races run, and the dives dived. It's all over, the equipment stored away, and the athletes back in their native countries to great acclaim.
I'm not a huge fan of the Olympic Games, but I do enjoy watching 'excellence' of any sort. For example, on Saturday afternoon, as it poured, we watched some of the Gymnastics involving hoops and balls (I don't know what it's called), and it was spellbinding. I was seriously impressed.
There seemed to be less 'well known' athletes around this time. We Brits all know Tom Daley (the diver), but not many of the others. In many ways they are a species apart; well known in their own circles, but not so much elsewhere.
I was pleased to see that little GB came 4th in the medals table; I think we even have one more gold than shown above. GB was the highest placed amongst the European countries, which no doubt will infuriate Macron, von der Leyen, and Merkel. Expect some sporting retribution.
People outside of the UK may not know of Sue Perkins, but she is a comedienne and TV presenter. One of the most interesting spin-offs from the games was a tour of Tokyo by Ms Perkins, where she delved into the general life of the city. She (of course) visited clothes shops, and was amazed to see that women's shops all seemed to sell what looked like children's clothes. The fashion being for young women to look like schoolgirls...... Interesting!
There seemed to be only one day of serious rain, plenty of days of heat-n-humidity, no real disasters, and a very well run show. Well done Japan, and well done to everyone who took part; whether they gained medals or not.
Sunday, 8 August 2021
Saturday, 7 August 2021
Friday, 6 August 2021
Thursday, 5 August 2021
Wednesday, 4 August 2021
I think I mentioned quite recently that my late Mother-in-Law used to give me a few tins of Swedish Sill for Christmas (above). She knew I loved them, and she had a kind heart.
I tried to buy some recently, but drew a blank. The net failed to provide them, and Ikea don't sell by mail order. I was stumped. However, I looked online for alternatives and found a 'cheats' recipe.
Tuesday, 3 August 2021
Just to keep you up to date with the UK's charming PC, Woke, Snowflake, Junior band of Dungaree-wearing 'Liberal', vegan, left-wing students (have I left anyone out?); they are now attacking the very core of English Literature.
1. There is much concern amongst the literati about the University of East Anglia's dep't of 'Literature and Creative Writing'. They have declared that ENGLISH is the 'Language of the Colonialiser', and they now insist that the University 'Decolonialises it's courses'..... Well, they would wouldn't they!
These charming 'pinkie' profs and undergrads are even questioning the study of Shakespeare, as, apparently, he represents 'White Cisgendered Privileged Male Authors', as well as other writers who represent the 'Privileged White Male Experience'.
I'm sorry if all this sounds like jumbled rubbish, but I am using their exact words.
2. On more Wokery; I've just been listening to some 'Linguistics Professor' who claims that it is insulting to imitate regional or class accents. He gave all sorts of 'liberal-Wokery' reasoning and examples, and even suggested that the characters in 'The Archers' all used stereotypical class/intelligence/occupational accents; and this (he insists) must stop. I suppose we'll have to have everyone in Ambridge all speaking with the same 'received' accents. He would have had Walter Gabriel saying "I say chaps, would you mind frightfully giving me a hand with my muck-spreading....". Oh dear!
3. Not to be outdone, Leeds City Council are looking into the Yorkshire speciality 'Parkin' (a type of cake). It seems that they are very concerned by it being made with Ginger, Treacle, and Sugar, which are (of course) all products of British Colonial Expansion; and therefore EVIL. You really couldn't make it up!
4. And five trustees have recently quit the Vegan Society, because (yes, you've guessed it), it is 'institutionally racist'. It appears that 'Veganism' is 'cultural appropriation'. This British institution, founded by a British man, apparently uses foods and traditions from Africa and Asia. Personally I think the society should be closed down immediately; we cannot allow food racism, can we!
To quote that evil colonial-racist, Shakespeare, 'Cry God for Harry (the other one), England, and St George'..... Oh, and by the way, I shall be continuing to eat meat; which I suppose proves that I'm not institutionally racist, nor do I go in for cultural appropriation!