Balaclava Day

October 25, 2014 1 comment

No, it’s not going to be particularly cold in the salubrious suburb of East Acton. I refer to the day of commemoration of the Battle of Balaclava, 160 yearws ago today.  The battle was the second major engagement fought by the British Army in the Crimean War and was fought because the British contingent of the Franco-British Army deployed in support of the Ottoman Empire had been given a position in the developing siege of the Russian fortress and port of Sevastopol.  `The Russian general, Menshikov, had taken the bulk of his army out of the defences of Sevastopol to preserve operational mobility and attempt to sever the communication lines of the Allied Army and attacked the port of Balaclava in the early hours of the morning of the 25th October 1854. Read more…

Categories: General

Problem solved.

October 24, 2014 4 comments

Recently all three upstairs cold taps started to run slowly  ( Yes, yes,  I know, it’s the water that ran slowly and not the tap ).  The  flow gradually declined to a trickle ; something had to be done. The problem was unlikely to be with the taps, they were all of different types, and since the two downstairs cold taps were  working normally I decided that the problem lay with the plumbing.

The prospect of lifting carpets and floors and cutting into walls in search of the blockage  was not a happy one. And the expense !? Plumbers aren’t cheap, and although adept at basic plumbing myself this wasn’t something I felt competent to deal with.

Then inspiration. I took the pressure washer into the attic where lies the cold water tank and directed the jet down the outlet which feeds the upstairs cold taps. I had previously established two way communication with Mrs J via the intercom function on our cordless phones. She opened one tap at a time and I gave each a good 20 second blast of high pressure water. Problem solved. I bet the plumber wouldn’t have done that.

Categories: General

Little things please little minds . . .

October 23, 2014 12 comments

While sipping my second restorative mug of tea this morning, I chuckled quietly at the good-humoured badinage, subsequently removed, between Janus and Christopher on the subtleties of ‘council’ versus ‘counsel’.

But I almost spilt the scalding contents when I moved on to read Mr Mackie’s splendid gaffe ‘from whence’.   And with relevance to Charterhouse, too.   An old Kingstonian would never perpetrate such a solecism. :-)

If you need an explanation, there’s absolutely no hope for you.


October 22, 2014 9 comments

Imagine I’m a ‘political’ migrant from outside the United States of Europe. I get my feet on USE soil in Greece by hook or by crook and then start my trek towards the promised lands in the north. I jump ship from Greece and get stopped in Italy. Italy refuses me entry.

OK so far? No. Italy has now infringed my yooman rites and has to give me asylum if I request it. As long as I am in transit to my chosen destination, I can continue my odyssey, even if I break the law as I go.

So that’s how we get so many wannabees here. Madness? Definitely

Categories: General

Simon Raven – Sound The Retreat – Alms For Oblivion 2

October 22, 2014 3 comments

I’m reading Alms for Oblivion again and this is an excerpt from the second book1  ‘Sound The Retreat’.  I was so impressed that in bed last night I read it aloud to Mrs J.

1    In story chronology – the books were published in a different order.

I sometimes  think of writing, a couple of my neighbours have (and it’s rubbish); then I read something like this and decide not to bother.

Muscateer, Earl of: son of Lord and Lady Canteloupe q.v.; an
officer cadet at the O.T.S., Bangalore, 1945-6 (R)- ✝ 1946

And then one evening a few days later they heard that Muscateer was dead.
‘Dead, sir? Dead of jaundicel’
‘They say he had a dodgy liver,’ Captain Detterling said.
‘Funny, that. His old governor’s is made of brass.’

Read more…

Categories: General

5 years

October 22, 2014 9 comments

So Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to 5 years jail for the killing of his girlfriend by shooting at her through a toilet door!

The feeling down here (and I spoke to a fair cross section of people yesterday) was one of relief that any sentence was not wholly suspended and that it wasn’t long enough!

But that’s ‘justice’ these days, one has to accept that times have changed and move on.

Hello again.

October 21, 2014 3 comments

Whilst absent  I built a shed for Mrs J for her gardening stuff which frees up space in my workshop. She was very fussy about it ( colour, proper windows, stable door etc ). As you can see it is already pretty full.


Categories: General

Poetry of the foot

October 21, 2014 6 comments

Dryden wrote that about ‘dance’. And I know from bitter experience that the world is divided into dancers and the rest.

From my earliest youth my feet never really managed to get the messages from my brain or my spirit or wha’ever and imitate the silky moves I saw others executing so perfectly. Not ballroom, not square, not country, not jive! Not no how!

So many poetic occasions slipped from my grasp to end in flat-footed, prosaic words of apology.

I’ll bet there are some real Freds and Gingers amongst us too. Dammit!

Scots wha hae

October 20, 2014 14 comments

Artist impression of Microbrachius dicki

These little gems will cheer up a Monday morning!


Relocating Rhino

October 19, 2014 4 comments

Is this not a wonderful photo? I just had to share.

It was on the front page of one of my Sunday reads today, it was accompanied by an article explaining that Kruger are relocating over a thousand rhino from ‘high risk’ areas (read close to Mozambique border) to other parts of the park, other parts of the country and even other countries (Botswana and Namibia were mentioned.) Good luck to them.

There was more good news on my 1 o’clock news bulletin. Read more…


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