Sunday 31 March 2024

The Two Ronnies - Crossword

The Two Ronnies were a national treasure. Their weekly TV show was essential viewing. Their humour was somewhat predictable, and it was that predictability that was so funny. This video below is a good example.

An Easter Day Special.

Saturday 30 March 2024

Why does Rap and Hip Hop prompt so many murders?

Someone called Diddy or Puffy has been in the news recently. The Cops entered his homes in Los Angeles and Miami to search for evidence of unsavoury practices. Diddy or Puffy was out when they called, so I believe they arrested his sons instead.

Diddy or Puffy has since been warned by someone called Suge Knight (from inside prison) that his life is in danger. Quite possibly the inevitable will happen.

This encouraged me to see how many Rap/Hip Hop 'artists' have lost their lives in recent times. Almost every time I open my paper another has been shot or stabbed. Some of them are illustrated above. It seems almost part of rap culture.

I looked at the Wiki page entitled 'List of murdered hip hop musicians'. There were so many (none of whom was known to me) that I decided to ignore it. If the subject interests you, do have a look; it's a long list, and rather baffling.

So why do they kill each other? UK bands don't go around murdering members of other bands, so why should these mostly US Afro/Caribbean performers have such hatred for each other. Does it involve something other than 'singing'? 

I am truly baffled!

Friday 29 March 2024

Craftsmanship (a thing of the past?)

I walk past these church corner stones at least twice every day; and I always throw them an admiring smile.

The reason being that I too was a stone-cutter in France for a while, until my bad back told me to quit.

Getting that perfect join between two cut stones is very satisfying. It is laborious (as is all stone-cutting) but not difficult. It is simply a matter of following certain criteria. A scribed line on a lump of stone is not difficult to follow and cut away. It is all a question of measuring, inscribing, chiseling, and planing correctly.

In order to get your stone to then sit correctly, the underneath must be slightly concave in order that only the extreme edges touch the stone beneath. After that it's the 'credit card test'; if you CAN'T insert a credit card between the two stones, you know you've done a good job.  

People often say that 'craftsmanship' is a thing of the past. This is not true. What probably is a thing of the past is the money to pay for it. Craftsmanship costs money.

Below is a new building in The (famous) Lanes here in Brighton; someone suddenly discovered an area that could be further developed, so The Lanes have now slightly expanded.

The building below is brand new, and the flint and brick work is staggeringly good. It is one of those buildings that everyone stops to admire. The whole area will mellow beautifully in the years to come; everything has been done to the best traditional Sussex methods. 

Thursday 28 March 2024

Petticoat 5, computer for women.

When people say that women don't invent things, they are wrong. Take this example of a computer specially designed for women by women. What a wonderful invention.

I shall try to find one for Lady Magnon. She's been looking for something similar for ages; she'll be over the moon!

Wednesday 27 March 2024


This is a rather tricky and embarrassing subject, but it needs to be told in all its grisly detail.

Billy had the snip when he was still quite young; Lady M thought it was best to strike whilst he was still childless.

But the operation doesn't seem to have dampened his ardour, in fact he has recently shown more 'fathering ambitions' than any other dog I've known.

He really doesn't seem to have any preferences either. The recipients of his ardour can be male, female, large, small, or medium.  He can attack from the back or the front; he doesn't seem to mind. 

I can be walking along, humming some Abba favourite, when I look back to find him hard at it, usually with a group of giggling lady dog-owners all applauding his efforts. None of them ever seem to mind.

So, in fear of Billy one day being accused of sexual assault, I wonder what I should be doing about his desires. Should I keep him permanently on a lead? Should I carry a loudspeaker in order to worn fellow dog owners that Billy is on his way? Or should I just shout "Get off, you randy pervert"? 

Usually it's a rather limp-wristed "Billy, stop that at once".

Any suggestions would be welcome.



Tuesday 26 March 2024

Time was...

I come from an era of Elvis, of Yuri Gagarin, of cups and saucers, of when we still polished our shoes, of the Morris Minor, Vesta curries, of Teddy boys, and 'bouffant' hair.

We stood still and removed our hats as a hearse went by, we had a shilling pocket money each week for sweets (if we were lucky), and we had a dressing-up box. 

We had gloves on strings that were threaded through our sleeves, we had fathers who went to work with a folded newspaper an umbrella and a neatly folded mackintosh over his left arm, we went for long tedious walks on Sundays.

Aeroplanes still had propellers, some cars still had starting handles, and there were no yellow lines on the roads.

We had teachers who would thrash us for not being able to translate 'Cotta's army advanced from the South' into Latin, we would be thrown into the deep end of a pool to teach us how to swim, and we were made to write 'I must not ask to be excused' 500 times if we needed to have a pee during lessons.

We ate spotted dick, rice pudding with jam, and frogspawn.

We all knew the difference between a man and a woman, we didn't use the F word every few seconds, and we didn't eat 'take-away' meals every night.

We didn't have allergies, we didn't spend all day on the phone, and we didn't grunt when spoken to.

We also had to visit a shop to buy things, buy stamps to send letters, and use a road map to find directions. We had no TV's, no CD players, no GPS, and no Laptops.

Life was hard.

Monday 25 March 2024

Be careful who advises you!


Groucho Marx famously said that "A Stockbroker is someone who invests your money until it's all gone". I tend to think something similar about 'Financial Advisers'.

If financial advisers knew so much they would be investing in their own recommendations. Instead of which they charge a client good money, and also take commission on securities purchased. Their remit is to make money from the punters rather than investing themselves in the recommended punts. 

I have never had dealings with a financial adviser, but I do know someone who did. Admittedly she was a tad naïve and knew nothing of investing, whilst having a large amount of money to invest. When she mentioned to me that she had arranged a meeting with her financial adviser I nearly fell over backwards.

I knew the sum she had to invest, so I immediately got to finding her something that would have offered good rewards. I found a small period freehold terraced house in S London. It was very attractive, had recently been restored, and was well within her budget. She rejected the idea at once, then some while later visited her advisor.

I'm sure you know what's coming next, and you'd be right. The house would now be worth about £2.5 Million, the monthly rental income would be around £2,500, yet her own choice of investments performed miserably.

By chance I noticed the above article in this week's Sunday Times. In this case the adviser recommended Goldmines and other Offshore Investments all of which failed. 

Presumably the person who lost all his money (an ex-footballer) failed to ask his adviser how much money he himself had in the shares he was recommending; something I would advise everyone to do in the future.

Sunday 24 March 2024

One of life's mysteries!

Dog owners/walkers are usually very conscientious about picking-up their dog's-poo. We have our pockets full of poo-bags at all times, and in case of emergencies are always ready to give some to those who may have run out.

In fact I would say that most dog owners take great pride in their public-spirited cleanliness, and treat their 'filled bags' as some form of decency trophy. Walking to an allotted dustbin with your little black or green bag is a sign of being a worthy member of society. 

So, occasionally seeing sights such as the above really confuses me. Why on earth would anyone go to the lengths of picking up their dog's poo, then leave the bag on a wall, on a gravestone, or even under a bench. It makes no sense. 

I need to catch an offender actually leaving a bag somewhere, then ask them what on earth they think they're doing. I need to know the thinking behind the action. Similarly, I have always wondered why people leave litter on the ground right by the side of a dustbin.

I have to presume that these offenders have a slightly different type of brain to the rest of us, something must have gone wrong with that tiny part of the brain that says 'Put your rubbish/dog poo in the correct receptacle'. 

For the moment it remains a mystery.

Saturday 23 March 2024


The very first 'musical' I went to see was Salad Days. I must have been about 10, and went around singing a few of the songs for ages after. I also have a feeling that it was the occasion of my wearing long trousers for the first time too.

Anyway, here is a very short Monty Python version. Enjoy!

Friday 22 March 2024

Kimbo's snaps.

My son Kimbo and his wife Suzie and now back from Egypt; they had a wonderful time.

They stayed in some sensational hotels, ate sensational food, and spent a few sensational hours ballooning.

I have been up in a hot air balloon myself in France, so I know what it's all about. However, flying over ancient Egyptian sites is something else.

Anyway, here are a couple of photos from his trip. They landed safely, but apparently there was no Champagne awaiting them. For those who haven't flown, Champagne is traditionally offered after landing. Maybe their religion doesn't allow alcohol.

So, welcome home. He brought me a newspaper, a pack of Dates, as well as a few other delights..... There wasn't a lot in the paper!

Thursday 21 March 2024

Recipe Book.

I've just found my mother's old recipe book (Lady M found it). Until she discovered Elizabeth David, this was her only cookery book.

As with all her other books, her driving licence, and address book, etc, the pages are filled with dried four-leafed clovers. The book also contains dozens of hand written or printed recipes that she had gathered over the years.

The poor book is falling to bits, and really needs some serious repair. I shall attempt to do this myself, as I don't think it's worth having it done professionally.

The book dates from 1936 and was issued to users of the Radiation 'New World' Regulo-Controlled Gas Cookers. (very modern)

It's actually a very good book, filled with very good standard recipes. When we were first married, my mother even gave a modern copy to Lady M, which she has used ever since.

I shall now be going through the book trying to work-out who wrote all the loose recipes.

And this (above) is what the 'New World' cooker looked like. I'm sure I can remember it in our kitchen in our Surrey village of Lingfield where I was born.

Having leafed through the book a bit, I seem to be finding lots of recipes for Flapjacks; it's almost obsessive! Hmmm.....

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Life in 2024.


Gert: My bloomin' knee's playing up again Daisy, pass me that lotion would you.

Daisy: I don't think the lotion will help dear, you've probably caught PTSD or ADHD; they're both very fashionable at the moment.

Gert: If anything it's my Mental Health that's causing the pain; not PDTS, or whatever.

Daisy: OK, it could be your Mental Health, but that's probably been caused by the PTSD as well as some ADHD, and The Cost of Living Crisis.

Gert: Yes, I've probably got all of those. Hasn't everyone?

Daisy: Yes, of course they have dear, this is 2024. But at least you're not transitioning (are you?), not being racially abused, not visiting a food bank, not being twittered at, you're not autistic, you don't own slaves, you're not crossing the channel in a plastic paddling pool, or being sent rude photos by 12 year old schoolboys.

Gert: Gosh...... You make me sound almost 'normal'.  

Daisy: You are dear!

Tuesday 19 March 2024


There's a short flight of communal steps up to our row of four bijou town-houses, on either side of which are some metal rails. I've been threatening to tidy them up a bit over the past few years. I could wait no longer, they looked awful.

They were rusty, and really in need of a lick of paint, so I 'WhatsApp'ed' my neighbours and asked if they'd mind if I had a go at them. I don't know if you can see from my photo, but they really looked tired. Anyway, they were quite happy for me to do it.

So, yesterday morning I was out in the sunshine with my wire brush, a serious 'scraper', some heavy grade sandpaper, some special black metal paint, and the job was done in no time.

It may not be perfect, but it does look a lot better than before.

I hope everyone's happy with what I've done; I know I am. 

Next job; remove all those weeds. Lady M is out there already, trowel in hand!


Monday 18 March 2024

Stéphane Grappelli - Honeysuckle Rose - vers 1959

Who doesn't love Stéphane Grappelli!

Is that a young Sacha Distel playing guitar? It certainly looks like him. 

I always think of Grappelli playing with Django Reinhardt, but Distel (if it is him) does a reasonable job.

Sunday 17 March 2024

Seal of Approval.

It's official, Brighton is the best place to live in the UK for 'wellbeing'.

I don't really know everything that 'wellbeing' involves, but I presume it's another word for 'quality of life'.

It's certainly pleasant to be by the sea, within 50 mins of London, to have good shops at hand, plenty of excellent restaurants, an artistic community, drugs available on every street corner, and some really superb entertainment.

We have a good Football team, the County Cricket team plays here, and all water sports are catered for. And if you're a Petrol Head, the annual speed trials along Madeira Drive in September (?) is amazing.

France is nearby, Gatwick is handy, busses are plentiful, and the train to London runs several times an hour (I think).

Brighton is very multi-cultural, accepts all-comers, and is student-friendly. Sadly I did once witness a few left-wing dungaree wearing young 'ladies' painting Stars of David on the windows of M & S; but I must presume they were either of low IQ, or were just plain Nazi supporters. That form of extreme racism is not welcome here. They have not reappeared since.

So, yes. I have to agree with the article above, we are filled to the brim with 'wellbeing', and our 'free-spirit' is alive and well. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

Prince Buster, Enjoy Yourself

I only saw the late Prince Buster once, he was a guest singer with Gino Washington's Ram Jam Band here in Brighton, at The Metropole Hotel. On the same bill was Roy Wood's band The Move; a strange combination of musical tastes. 

If you should go to a Jools Holland gig, he always ends his show with this song; so make sure you learn the words. Everyone has to sing along!

Friday 15 March 2024

Guess the location.

Kimbo and Suzie are on holiday; but where could they be?

It's hot, there are camels, and there are big pointy things sticking out of the sand. 

The tourist shops sell Howard Carter's cast-offs.

The Bangles wanted us to walk like the natives.

And Sam the Sham had a line-up of ancient rulers as his backing band.

Just so that you don't have a shock if you should visit here, Kimbo's taxi from the airport to their 'luxury' hotel cost £1,000. In fact this was just over £16 in UK money, but they still needed smelling salts.

I'll give you are clue; they're not in Cleethorpes.

Thursday 14 March 2024


If you tell them that oversized trousers are really chic, and they should buy all their clothes ten sizes too big; they will follow your every word.

If you tell them that covering your arms, legs, neck, and hands with tattoos, is really cool; they'll do it. 

If you tell people that when they leave their house/flat they must have a rucksack, mobile phone, water bottle, cardboard cup of coffee, and earphones, they will do exactly as you say.

If your young son is told by his school mates that he has to wear £250 'trainers' or they'll never speak to him again, you buy them at once.

If you are told that puce is the new black, you wear puce.

Now this one will really make you laugh. Someone in Taiwan had this great idea. They will slash brand new jeans with a Stanley Knife, rough them up a bit in a concrete mixer filled with pebbles, and then charge you an extra £500 for the pleasure (as they now look like a tramp has been wearing them for a few years),  someone, somewhere, will buy them and actually wear them outdoors in the open. Yes, there's one born every minute.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

My 30 Greatest Pleasures (not in any order of preference).

I'm re-posting this from 2013. Amazingly I wouldn't change anything on the list.

1. Chicken in all its forms.
2. Unsophisticated local red wine (either Merlot or Cabernet).
3. Paintings by Matisse, Derain, Kitaj, and Augustus John.
4. Lady M's Tarte Tatin (above).
5. My 3 gorgeous children, and my 6 gorgeous grandchildren.
6. My house (as it was).
7. My village (as it was).
8. Instrumental Ska music.
9. Meat.
10. Haddock's (my old veg' garden).
11. Christmas Day.
12. Latin.
13. Monty and Bok (our dogs), and Freddie the Cat (now all deceased). And, of course, now Billy too.
14. Dark green glazed 'Biot' pottery.
15. French 18th C country furniture.
16. Fresh eggs from our hens.
17. Sunshine.
18. Patchouli.
19. Beer accompanied by Pork scratchings.
20. Pork pies.
21. Log fires.
22. Home made bread.
23. Strong blue (and other) cheese.
24. Writing.
25. Driving.
26. Kissing pretty girls.
27. Eating out.
28. Getting up in the morning without any aches or pains.
29. Hearing our church bells.
30. And finally;..... Swimming.

I shall now be going around, for the rest of the week, thinking of all the things I've forgotten.

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Missed Opportunity?

Readers of The Sunday Times may have read this article about my neighbour Michelle.

She describes buying a painting at a 'small fair' for £1,000, which she sold back to the seller some time later for £10,000. A wise investment. She didn't say what it was.

Back in the early 60's I was on my way to school with £100 in my pocket which I was to deposit in my school account and spend on some shares in a Company called Paringa Mining and Exploration. It was to be my first time dealing with a broker, and the first time I would have bought shares in my own name.

Between leaving my train at Victoria, and before catching my other train at Liverpool Street, I made my way to Bond Street; the home of London's Art Gallery Scene. I stood outside the window of Gimpel Fils, admiring a small painting by Bernard Buffet, who just happened to be a favourite painter at the time (goodness knows why). It was priced at an affordable £90 (about £2,300 in today's money).

I was so close to buying the painting, but risked the wrath of my Father; so I resisted. I have always wondered what the difference would have been between the profit from Paringa and the profit from Buffet. I suspect the Buffet would have proved a much better investment, and I would have enjoyed the picture over several years.

Should I have bought the painting, and proved to Father that there were investments other than via the Stock Exchange? On reflection I think I should have. How long I would have kept the painting I don't know. How much it is worth today, I don't know either. 

However, I've seen similar sized originals selling today for about £170,000. Hmmmm......

 p.s. I've just noticed that Michelle is on TV tonight; BBC1 8pm.

Monday 11 March 2024

Admission of Guilt.

Oh dear. The Moaning Minnies have been complaining about Kate's Mother's Day picture of her with her three children. The Minnies say it's been doctored, or taken previously, or they used doubles. Whatever was wrong with it, they wish to complain with the strongest possible voice, and have it instantly removed from public view. How dare this family show a photo of themselves that has hidden some outbreak of acne, or removed an annoying Wasp.

Well, before the world's paparazzi starts to complain about MY photos, I would like to make a public admission.

Yes, I have in the past altered my own photos. I have altered their format, their brightness, and even occasionally changed them from colour to black-n-white. And I wish to now apologise before the press splashes a 'World Exclusive' across their front pages; and haul me off to Wormwood Scrubs. 

I have not yet received any complaints about my alterations, so for the moment my pictures haven't been 'killed'. The Minnies have restrained themselves, and the Blog Standards Agency have not yet threatened to take away my camera.

However, if you don't hear from me in the next few days, it could be that I'm rotting in the same cell as royal photographer Prince William.



We've all seen similar videos to this one below.

Shoplifting has become endemic. Gangs of youths are rushing into shops, grabbing everything they can lay their hands on, then fleeing in all directions, causing chaos and making it almost impossible to catch them.

Individual shoplifters treat their crime as a 'job'. They steal on a regular basis, and, if caught they simply hand-over the 'loot', and walk away. They refer to it amusingly as the 'five finger discount'.

So, what to do?

Well, I have a very simple solution. All shops should (by law) have a single exit with a double door self locking system, which would be triggered as soon as any shoplifter heads for the outer door. Once beyond the first door, and before passing through the second, both doors would lock, trapping the thief and his/her swag inside. They would then be arrested at once, and detained in a secure room before the Shoplifting Police arrive. Once detained they MUST be prosecuted, and heavily fined (minimum £5,000); however small an object they attempted to steal. They would then be either imprisoned, or (preferably) securely chained to a very large lump of concrete outside their own home, and not released until the fine was paid in full.

This epidemic (for that is what it is) must be stamped out. Shops are closing by the dozen because of high overheads, and if shoplifting continues at its present rate, we'll end-up with very few High Street stores, and only huge out-of-town superstores with very rigorous security systems.

It needs to be nipped in the bud, and 'shoplifting' made into a serious offence; which it once was.

Sunday 10 March 2024

English Wine.

I was watching a TV programme called the 'Farmers' Country Showdown', about a small family owned vineyard. The programme was about them packing up their van, and selling at a Farmer's Market (somewhere in England).

When it came to their selling, I was astounded to see that their bottles of both white and red wine cost around £15 per bottle. WHY ON EARTH does it cost so much? I would be wanting a good Chateau bottled Margaux at that price.

In France I tend to buy my everyday wine in boxes. The wine keeps well, I have no glass bottles to recycle, and the wine itself is excellent. The box above, which is my regular choice, costs just 10 Euros (£7.50) for FIVE LITRES. Compare that to an English wine which costs £15 for 75 cls. The difference is crazy.

Now, I don't know if this has something to do with UK taxes on alcohol, or if those people were simply overpricing their wine, but something isn't right here. How can home produced wine cost about three times the amount of imported!

England is a good country for wine growing, and if our prices came down a bit I'm sure more vines would be planted. As with all agricultural processes, the initial outlay for equipment is high but the returns are good. There is so much land lying fallow in the UK that this could easily become a major crop in the future. But only if the final result ended-up in our supermarkets at around £5 per bottle. 

Yesterday was my shopping day, and I made a point of looking for English wines. Sadly I didn't find one! There were wines from all around the world, but nothing from around the corner. Maybe Sainsbury's are simply being wise, and not stocking local wine that costs THREE TIMES the price of a good Aussie or Argentinian wine. It simply wouldn't sell.

I don't know what's going on here, but whatever it is it needs to change.


Saturday 9 March 2024

Bill Haley, Rock Around The Clock 1956

This was the first record I ever bought. It was a 78, and it came from Woolworth's in East Grinstead. I can even still remember actually buying it. I must have been 10 years old.

Friday 8 March 2024


Take an old bike, an engine, a long rusty chain, and a petrol tank, and you have a motorbike.

This one was made by my grandson 'Suave Harve'. I can't see any controls (accelerator, etc), so I'm not quite sure how it operates. But it's the idea that counts.

He's a bit of a whizz, our Harve', I imagine there will be more Heath Robinson machines to come.

This one won't win any races!


Thursday 7 March 2024



I was very moved yesterday morning to find this small tribute to Alexei Navalny in our churchyard.

Some kind and caring person had left his photo with a couple of bunches of flowers, another bunch joined them before I passed by again in the afternoon. Somehow I expect that before my tomorrow's early walk with Billy, more flowers will have joined them.

Navalny, as we all know, was a great opponent of Putin. He spoke-up against his corruption and mis-management. A sin that eventually cost him his life under a repressive regime that knows no bounds.

Locking-up opposition politicians is not something we do in the democratic West, although I can think of a few who probably merited being put out of harm's way. 

We will probably never know the full facts of Navalny's death, but it is certainly suspicious. The authorities even arrested more than 130 people for simply attending his funeral.

We should be forever grateful that we were born in a democratic liberal country, and not in some repressive Marxist state, where those infamous Mind-Police are hiding around every corner.

RIP Alexei Navalny.

Wednesday 6 March 2024


I have a small black zipped bag that supposedly contains all that I need to travel from country to country, it is by my side at all times. Yesterday I decided to see what's in it.

Mostly it appears to be nail clipping and filing kit (my nails grow very quickly), but there's also an Opinel, a small magnifying glass, a silent dog whistle, a thick marker pen, a large hypodermic syringe, scissors, and several ball-point pens. In fact there's a pretty eclectic mix of 'essentials' in there.

I haven't yet used the whistle, or the syringe, or the magnifying glass, but I know that if required; they are there.

I also noticed that there is just one Indigestion Tablet, so I have now resolved to replace it with a full blister pack of 12.

All in all I think it's quite a sensible collection of 'essentials'. The only things that are missing are a Swiss Army Knife (but I have one of those in the car), a small .22 Derringer pistol (for obvious reasons), and a reliable lighter; which I have now added. 


Tuesday 5 March 2024

Burglary update.

Lady Magnon and oldest son Kimbo flew out to Toulouse on Saturday morning; they were at the house by early afternoon.

I had previously phoned the people who made all my doors on Thursday morning, and they were at the house that same afternoon to change all the locks, and to try to make the house as secure as possible. Our good friend Craig was there to hand over the new keys when Lady M and Kimbo arrived.

The house was a total mess! Things everywhere, and there were glaringly open spaces where TV's, and HiFi equipment had been. There was no power, so Lady M was obliged to make her next morning's toast in front of the fire.

They haven't really had time to assess exactly what has been taken, but all my antique pewter has gone as well as some personal things. The scumbag had let off a Fire Extinguisher inside the house which left everything covered with a white powder.

Our next door neighbour's gite had also been broken into, but nothing taken. He had tried to unscrew a TV from the wall, but abandoned the idea. Luckily she had noticed a car parked by Haddock's, and recognised whose car it was. She informed the Gendarmes who soon appeared on the scene. They weren't too happy that Mrs Mop had been cleaning everywhere, but they did manage to get some good photos of footprints. Kimbo needed to visit the Gendarmes yesterday before leaving for home, to make a statement. Hercule Poirot is on the job! 

They will visit the man whose car was seen, and hopefully apply some thumbscrews. The outcome remains to be seen.

Kimbo also managed to get the EDF (Electricité de France) to re-connect the power, and other than all that has been stolen we are now back to as near as normal as possible; but considerably out of pocket!

We believe that the burglar had stayed in the house; but for how many days we don't know.

It's been a horrible experience, and my proposed visit later in the year has been tainted. The house will NEVER seem totally secure ever again, even though we now have good surveillance, and security systems in place. Anyone trying to break in in the future will have a nasty surprise.


Monday 4 March 2024

Wind and rain.

The weather has been 'on and off' recently, and trying to dodge the downpours has become a popular sport.

Just two years ago we passed our Autumn/Winter/Spring sojourn in Blighty almost rain-less. Not so this year. I don't wish to over exaggerate the amount of rain we're having but there's been enough.

The problem with coastal rain is that it tends to be accompanied by very strong wind, so a Brolly, or even a large mushroom, is pretty useless.

Even Kellogg (above with the Cherub) would find no protection from her Parasol Mushroom (one of our favourites). The only method of staying dry is by wearing a head-to-toe thick PVC coat; something akin to those worn by North Sea Trawlermen. Strong PVC waders would complete the job. I have just returned from walking with Billy, and I saw THREE wrecked Brollies on the roadside; all turned inside out, and torn.

I'll leave you with my very favourite Brolly poem.

The rain it raineth on the just
and also on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just, because
the unjust stole the just's umbrella.

Sunday 3 March 2024

How to vote. How not to vote!


Voting in local or national elections should represent the free-will of individuals. There should be no coercion of any sort.

One likes to think that people of 'sound mind' will weigh-up all the pros and cons of each candidate, or the party they stand for, and vote accordingly. They should not be told how to vote, or who to vote for, by someone in authority; especially in religious authority. That decision must remain with the individual, otherwise the process becomes a farce. 

Would I ever vote for someone that the Archbishop of Canterbury had told me to vote for? Of course I wouldn't.

People will always join political parties, and as a group attempt to influence others, but if there is religious coercion involved, it becomes pure sectarianism.

So, the UK was shocked, recently, to hear of an immigrant religious group who aim to openly influence the next UK General Election as well as any by-elections. Known as 'Muslim Vote', they plan to unseat a minimum of 55 Labour and Tory MP's in constituencies where there is a high population of Muslims. I've not heard by whom they wish to replace them, but probably by any Muslim-friendly candidate, regardless of what party he or she is standing for.

As the result of a Parliamentary vote last December, the group will advise (order) fellow Muslims to oust MP's who voted against, or abstained, on the question of a Gaza ceasefire. Friday Prayers will become political hustings.

Muslims, just like any other religious communities, should be allowed to think for themselves, and vote for whom they think will run the country the most efficiently. 

As proof of what is happening, the good folk of Rochdale (a heavily Muslim northern town, famous for its 'grooming gangs') has just elected the Communist supporter of Hamas, and a huge fan of the late Saddam Hussein, George Galloway (photo above with supporters), to become their new MP. A vote that effectively punished the two main parties for their more mainstream beliefs. Galloway represents 'The Workers Party of Britain'. Good luck to the poor people of Rochdale; what a joke!

Rishi's Friday evening speech outside No 10 (do watch it) echoed what most fair thinking Englishmen have been saying for years. He's been a tad late in saying what he said, but well done to him for his clarity. We really cannot let extremism undermine everything that our country has achieved.

As-salamu alaikum.

Saturday 2 March 2024


When I was a wee sprog, I had several favourite sweets. I loved Sherbet Fountains, Black Jacks, Flying Saucers, and those pink Shrimp shaped things.

Of all these, the most intriguing by far was the Sherbet Fountain. It looked like a Bonfire Night firework. It looked dangerous; and was extremely annoying. 

The idea was that you bit the end off the licorice straw, then sucked to enjoy the sherbet. But, of course, this never worked, and you ended-up eating the straw then emptying the sherbet onto your hand.

Even so, there was a certain amount of fun involved. They looked so good in their yellow and red livery, and the flavour of the sherbet was wonderful.

I'm not really supposed to eat sweets these days, but I do have a penchant for Sainsbury's 'Fizzy Watermelon Slices'. One bag a week won't kill me; or maybe it will.


Friday 1 March 2024

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