Balaclava Day

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 years 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. Continue reading “Balaclava Day”

Another question

Yes, I am 65 not 6.5 years old 🙂 This question is personal and specifically for Christopher, though everybody else’s insights are, of course, welcome.  My second daughter is engaged to a  German guy – they will be married in April in Cyprus.  I will have to make a speech – in Greek, German and English – and also, since my new in-laws and lots of friends and relations are all coming over for the wedding I will wish to interact with them as much as I can.  My German is very rusty and I’m taking online classes with DW but I’d like to switch my ‘background’ radio to a German station.  In the same way as I don’t listen ot the BBC, I don’t want to listen to one of the main broadcasters with their boring talking heads so the question is, could you recommend a decent ‘talk radio’ station something on the lines of the London Broadcasting Corporation, where I can hear ordinary people expressing their views and having the occasional rant? (I can say what I want quite handily, and read well, but have trouble understanding what people are saying to me, if they’re speaking at ordinary conversational speed – especially when  their normal, everyday  usage.  Annoying but, since I haven’t actually lived in Germany since 1991, understandable, I guess.)

After the Legal Question, one for our scientists.

I was reading an SF story where the heroine had to solve a Schroedinger-like event to save someone’s life after a space battle and an even more puzzling quantum event came to mind – a real poser

A cat always lands on its feet, right? And a slice of buttered toast always lands butter side down. So, what happens if you stick a slice of toast on a cat’s back butter side up…

A legal question

The story about the gambler who was refused his winnings by a gambling club because they said he cheated – a claim upheld in the High Court – caught my eye this morning.  I had always understood that gambling activity was binding ‘in honour only’ and did not represent contracts in law.  Is this not the case?

They’re at it again.

January 2009. Gordon Brown orders Labour (?) MPs to vote to keep MPs expenses secret – and we all know why, don’t we? October 2013. MPs try to keep any probes into their expenses secret – I wonder why?

Meanwhile, we have Millie spitting his dummy over any suggestion that MPs representing Scottish constituencies should not be allowed to vote on matters dealing solely with England – matters that they can affect in an electorate they do not represent but which they cannot affect in the electorate that they do represent.

Then there’s our Dave, running scared and adopting UKIP policies wholesale – or trying to – and waving a promise of a referendum on the EU in front of the voters in exactly the same way that he did last time around. Well we all know what happened to that there ‘cast iron promise,’ don’t we?

Does anyone still believe anything that these people say?

PS. 2013? Behind the times? Moi?

The bagpipes…

… are thought by many to be the worst ‘musical’ instrument ever invented.As a soldier, though, I can tell you on the best of authority that when you’re cold, wet, hungry, down to your last magazine and in the deep, deep do-do, the faint sound of the pipes floating in through the freezing fog is the most beautiful sound you’ll ever hear. The Jocks are coming…

In the wider social matrix, the contribution of Scottish engineers, scientists, mathematicians and canny businessmen, as well as artists, writers, musicians, historians…. is well known and widely documented in our history books.

If you’re ever wandering through the malls and street markets in Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong for example, you may notice this:




and I’m sure the charioteers, spread as we are over a significant portion of the globe, could add many more examples Continue reading “The bagpipes…”

Reporting in…

Good evening all.  After my long absence, I think I have reached the stage where I am reasonably fit to be seen again in polite ( mostly…) company.  Where have I been?  Well, I’ve been right here in the salubrious suburb of East Acton all along.  I’ve been AWOL so long that I can’t remember where I was with my son’s illness when I slipped away and closed the door quietly behind me…

I’m sure I shared with you the fact that my son was suffering clinical depression? ( The good news is that he is well on the way to recovery. )  It was the fact that I’ve spent the last three years (good grief, it really is that long ,)supporting the lad through the worst of it that made me disappear from the radar.  I really wasn’t good online company as I found myself on an increasingly shorter fuse and every time I put pen to paper it turned into more than a bit of a rant.  I really didn’t want to subject my co-charioteers to that, hence the self-imposed exile.  I haven’t been entirely off-line, but confined my excursions to James `Delingpole’s blog in the DT, (and that old duffer Geoffrey Lean,) where I was able to rant at the CAGW Whackos to my heart’s content 🙂
Continue reading “Reporting in…”