The 1914/18 war was always in monochrome; and film footage always depicted armies marching in double time, gesticulating like robots. But all that has changed, thanks to the modern technology Peter Jackson has deployed to shocking effect. I cannot imagine the reality of blood and guts in the trenches when the whole picture is revealed. Lest we forget? After this we never will.
We arrived in Brisbane early on a Saturday and were met by the aunt and uncle of the young appendage. They had moved with their 2 sons to QLD at about the time I had last been there. I had not known them at the time, but have since become very good friends despite the distances that separate. It was an emotional moment, especially for the girl child and her aunt. Continue reading “Beautiful Brisbane”
Yes, dear reader, it’s a tradition. A society wedding like tomorrow’s is larger-than-life, extravagant to a fault and (dare one say) more than a little vulgar. And that’s only the bride’s mother. At least our favourite iconoclast, Prince Philip, seems likely to avoid her altogether. Will he want to sit next to her? He’ll decide when he wakes up. Camilla has already made her choice – to stay away, citing other ‘duties’. Luckily for his new in-laws, the groom is able to keep them in the manner to which they have always aspired. Jolly good match, what, what?
It was picture-postcard romantic to live deep in the beechwoods in a thatched cottage built for the game-keeper in the mid 1800s, wood-smoke curling up from two tall chimneys every morning as the mist cleared in the Spring sunshine.
But these days our little friends Elf and Softy are daring to point out that even the newest, tightest, most efficient woodstoves pump invisible particles into the rooms they heat. And this time they are absolutely right! Much to the chagrin of the green wellie brigade and other country dwellers with a preference for traditional heating.
I acquired ‘solid’ evidence during the Viking years. First, a dripping nose which coincided exactly with winter sojourns at home; second, the state of the fly screens which we needed in the woods and which were yellow with smoke-dust after a few months’ use (there was no dust outside in the woods!).
So before you chuck another log on, you might want to think again.
For those Charioteers (if any) who have been worrying about Cognac-for-breakfast Juncker’s employment prospects when he leaves the EU Commission, I may have found a solution.
Just when I thought that Germany was coming to its senses and trying to get rid of Angela Merkel, I came across this article. Of course it’s possible Angela may also be applying for the post.
It appears that two concerned citizens have come up with a solution to the number of accidents on the A2 motorway, which they are convinced are caused by trolls and elves disturbed by traffic noise. They accompanied a highways authority official on a routine perimeter fence inspection in the course of which they noted “very sad energies” emanating from certain stretches of the motorway. One of the ladies – yes, they were both female – asked the elves to look kindly on travellers while the other apologised to the local boars. This “energetic sealing” of the psychic wounds accomplished, the “elf lady” called on the government to appoint an official “elf commissioner”, whose job will be to be “away with the fairies” in an official capacity. It is unfortunate that shortly after this sealing two lorries were involved in a serious collision.
I’ve been steering clear of blogging about Caledonia (stern and wild) for nigh on far too long. It’s been too painful. But, enough is enough.
In today’s Scotland, we do not discuss Independence with anybody else until we have established that we are on the same side. There is very little opportunity for any sort of civilised discussion between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
I can’t help thinking I’m an egalitarian. The word seems to connote more or less what I stand for, morally speaking. It cements the aims of all those who want to lift our species out of the life old Hobbes described as natural: ”solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. But ever since the Americans crystallised the principle – ‘all men are created equal’ – plenty of gainsayers have ensured that some are more equal than others. They have used pseudo-science, pseudo-religion and pseudo-economics to justify their belief in the subjugation and humiliation of other races and creeds. Not to mention politics where we witness so-called social democrats identifying members of their clubs who have unsuitable views about equality.
Of course the best strategy for my opponents is to deny the principle – which in their book gives them licence to deny their hypocrisy, their dressed-up inhumanity, their sense of innate superiority. Their tribes just play their cards more skilfully, they’ll say; and devil take the hindmost. But I can’t hope St Peter will deal with them in the end; so many of his adherents agree with their flawed conclusions. I just want them to know they can’t fool everyone with their arguments.
Having taken repossession of the girl child, we left Melbourne and flew to Sydney. We had booked our accommodation, a small cottage in Bondi Junction, via Air B&B, the first time we had used the service. It seemed to work reasonably well, though once again we were slightly stunned by the prices being charged for fairly modest lodgings. However, having realised what property costs in that city, we realised that though expensive, it was unlikely that we were being ripped off. Continue reading “Down Under Part 2: Splendid Sydney”
It’s a marvellous day in England. I’m drinking Kenya Blue Mountain coffee — hand-roasted in Dorset. The weather is grey and breezy, but I have a pot of jambalaya simmering in the kitchen.
Part 1 – Marvellous Melbourne
We arrived at about 06.00, some 30 hours after having left home but without proper sleep for about 42 hours. Harare, Lusaka, Dubai, Melbourne. To say we were shattered would be an understatement. What was worse, we had a whole day to kill before we deemed it wise to get some shut eye. Air crew generally claim that in order to acclimatise, it is best to stay awake during the day, regardless of when you arrive or what time your body is telling you it is and only sleep at night time. Easier said than done. Continue reading “The Land Down Under . . .”