Scene and Herd

July 24, 2016 4 comments

At my local convenience store today.

The hitching post and buggy parking spots have been there for a while and are often used (sometimes just to leave a deposit as evidenced), the electric car charger is new and as far as I know, unused.

A few captions spring to my somewhat biased mind:

Sublime or ridiculous

Charging or discharging

Bullsh!t or horsesh!t

Nonsense or horsesense

Interesting times

July 24, 2016 5 comments

By the end of 2016, we can expect the world to be changing. Oh yeah, I hear you say, you Januarians always say that kind of thing but nothing really happens.

Well, try this for size:

The confused EU will suspend Shengen without admitting it and immigration via Turkey will virtually cease, following the disappearance of Erdogan and Co.

The UK, led by its Intrepid Triumvirate, will announce a formula for Brexit which safeguards trade with individual Euromembers and drives a coach and four through the EU’s ‘four freedoms’.

President Trump will put the USA into lock-down, by limiting relations with the real world, diplomatically, militarily and commercially. (That will of course exclude his private business interests.) Guns will be issued to the few households not yet/no longer sporting them.

In the wake of the disaster that was Rio 16, international sport will become a rarity, with only football teams going abroad, employing their own armies for protection.

And President Putin will still be missing.

The Madness of Painters

July 23, 2016 12 comments

Vincent van Gogh will be getting the Book of the Week treatment next week on Radio 4. The book is unimaginatively called Van Gogh’s Ear. Poor Vincent, all those sunflowers and wheat fields stem into insignificance next to his self-mutilation that fascinates us to this day. Not even the subsequent self-portrait with bandaged ear could get him noticed in the art world. Only in death would VVG  become famous.

My first impression of this painter was in a negative light and my post-impressions haven’t changed. Canvases smudged with more paint than a courtesan’s make-up. Unrealistic facial portraits and inaccuracies in anatomy. Then there’s all those flowers. He should have cut them up.

I’ve avoided the temptation to put this painter in the Overrated series because all painters are off their head. Hours puzzling over light and shade. Mixing oils and cleaning brushes. All this painstaking preparation when the landscape or sitter could be captured with the click of a camera.

My ears have heard many pronunciations of the painter’s last name. Obviously, I use the popular Goff but other versions include Go and the guttural Hock. Maybe, it’s Hoff or Ho, who knows?

Lastly, it was in 1888 that Vincent took the razor to his ear. What a terrible year was MDCCCLXXXVIII. Jack the Ripper was serial killing in Whitechapel and the seed was planted that birthed an Austrian monster.

A Fest of Lit.

July 23, 2016 3 comments

As an aspiring writer, my big breakthrough piece of fiction is still unwritten, I have always wanted to visit the Cheltenham Literature Festival. The chance to hob-nob with fellow unpublished sorts and to see in the flesh real authors would be happiness unbound.

Mingling at social gatherings with the lit-set I would forgo the glasses of bubbly on the trays and demand a beer from the Jeeves-like waiter. After all, With Faulks’ powers faltering, I’m the next big thing in town. I’d also ask Jeeves for the big daddy of vol-au-vents, a scotch pie. And I’d tell him to drown the pastry with Bertie Worcester sauce. Read more…


July 23, 2016 Leave a comment


Interesting take on Donald Trump here.

Categories: General

Nearly over

July 22, 2016 8 comments

Our 2 weeks in Western Iberia are almost done. We came to enjoy the sound of the ocean, the taste of fresh seafood and warm but not oppressive sunshine. And we found all of that and much more: straight-forward, uncomplicated, friendly people; decorative but functional architecture both grand and unassuming; and Sintra! Lord Byron’s ‘glorious Eden’, later a haunt of Hans Christian Andersen, fairy-tale palaces guarded by a Moorish castle atop Sintra’s breezy, wooded mountain.

So thank you, Portugal. You deserve to thrive and we hope you will.

Categories: Planes, Surfing

Dog Wash

July 21, 2016 22 comments

Whilst walking back from a friends’s house after a discussion on routers and a possible modification to the scarphing jig I came across the mobile dog wash. Ollie was not with me but as you can see from the picture below he’s encountered the dog wash before and was not impressed.

(I have posted this pic previously)

Ollie Dogwash 1

He’s due for a wash so I asked the lady in charge how much it would cost to shampoo a long haired collie. “£28.50 and we use only natural products and essential oils”.

Tough shit Ollie it’s the garden hose and Tesco shampoo again.

Categories: General

Restoration of the House Of Lancaster

July 19, 2016 7 comments

Pakistan deserved to win the first test and as fate would have it, the reformed Mohammad Amir scored the winner. That’s sport for you. England have made a few changes and should be stronger. Another thing to take into account is the second test will take place in God’s County: Lancashire.

The county of the Red Rose  is famous for many things: Betty’s hotpot, Eccles cake, Lancashire tea, The Big Dipper. With its bold and big landscape there is definitely a case for Lancashire to Engexit and become an independent state. As a naturalised Lanky, I’d go for it. I await an Ambassador’s role in the near future.


Pakistan’s Yasir Shah, the Messi lookalike mystery spinner is ranked #1 in the world at bowling. He is only keeping the spot warm for Jimmy because “our” Jimmy is back. James Anderson is a Burnley man, that makes him one of our own. As England’s leading wicket taker “we” expect him to add a lot of Pakistani scalps in the forthcoming contest. (Pity “we’re” not playing India. That sentence would be better with Indian scalps, wouldn’t it? )

With Lancashire doing so well in the County Championship, and Independence looming, it’s only a matter of time before we receive Test playing status and play the rump of England then go for the stumps of Australia.

Margot’s the name (Hollywood’s latest Flame)

July 18, 2016 11 comments

Your friendly, neighbourhood contemporary culture editor is back again. (Stop groaning at the back)

The only show me the money to be made in Hollywood today is in Superhero flicks. The Days of Wine and Roses are gone replaced by spandex and CGI. Even a devoted Marvel Man like me is getting tired by the regurgitated clunkers that have been produced recently.

The latest shlocker is by our Distinguished Competition (That’s DC, folks!) and is called Suicide Squad. It has been hyped to the gunnels and expected to break all box office records. One thing going for it is it features an up and coming starlet from Australia named Margot Robbie. She’s currently at the cinema appearing as Jane in The Legend Of Tarzan. (Still think Maureen O’Sullivan is the ultimate Jane. That time she started the fire with a couple of twigs in Tarzan and his Mate. Yodel-Lodel-LEEEE)

Margot, naturally, cut her teeth in Neighbours. That soap opera has produced more studs and mares than the Darley Arabian. Here’s a wee photo of Margot as a super baddie.

The Revolting Jock Caviar Producer.

The United Kingdom is in many respects a highly unusual country. It is a unitary state comprising four countries. Well, there are questions surrounding Ulster’s status – Read more…

Categories: General

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