Social quandary – to say or not to say!

It may well only be a question that is a dilemma to those of us with English embarrassment genes, but I’ll be interested in all points of view.

What does one do when someone smells?

I had a long boring day at a conference in a hot dusty room with the only motivation a scrummy all you can eat carvery luncheon. Kept me going anyhow. We queued up for the delicious feast and sat down politely at a table in the restaurant talking shop as you do at these things, mixing up with others from the group who I hadn’t yet spoken with, a bit of social networking if you like.

Along comes the ‘waiter’ asking for drink orders, all promptly given, no alcohol allowed as it is these days. The five at my table held a pregnant pause until he left and then went collectively….”Urgh, how disgusting!”
Continue reading “Social quandary – to say or not to say!”

Oh dear, oh dear…now the BBC’s in on the act

I have yet to watch the full hour program broadcast on BBC 3 last night, but if the clip here is anything to go by, the BBC is trying to make Islamic converts look weird, stupid, selfish and plain ignorant to their fellow county folk. Not the usual BBC effort as they tend to be very pro, or at least attempting to be balanced (I know they don’t always succeed, but at least they try). I shall report back when I’ve watched the whole documentary of brother on brother.

I know it’s a sensitive subject at the moment, and I’m not intending to stir anyone up here, but this clip in isolation does offer a very sad picture of why someone would change their entire life around an organised religion (of any variety) I have to say though, every Muslim I’ve ever met has shaken me by the right hand.

And just for the humour – Ginger people just shouldn’t grow beards!

Beards – Yay or Nay?

Firstly, I take no credit for this blog, my beloved BBC started the idea with an interesting article the other day about men in uniform and being clean-shaven (, but it got me thinking.

(Incidentally, the chap in the article should get off his ‘yuman rites’ horse and accept the rules if he wants to join. Silly idiot, I really hope he loses his court case)

I hate shaving, but have always done so due to my job and general upbringing and most recently as my cherished wife hates the feeling of bristles as I peck her on the cheek and variations thereof.

I have to say though, if I can get away with it on my days off I try to not shave as apart from the time it takes, my skin is still sensitive even at my great age.

Beards do seem to be making a come back, the 70’s and early 80’s seemed to be the last heyday – many sporting and fashionable wannabes have been supporting beards of the very bushy variety recently – especially amongst Super 15 rugby players. I have noticed with great amusement the last few years of “Movember”, where moustaches are grown for charity in the month of November.

Alas, I would love to partake for the right charity, but despite needing to shave every day, I can’t grow any facial hair sufficiently enough to qualify as a beard or moustache! I’m just not hairy enough!

So, fellow charioteers, what does facial hair say about a gentleman these days? Is it just a fashion, a fad, a religious statement, an image? Does it suit some and not others? Do you still wonder ‘what’s he got to hide?’, and then, linking into the BBC article above, should men in uniform be forced to shave?

I say yes, but that is not surprising as I have to as I mentioned earlier. Am I a dinosaur? Modern Western Society certainly couldn’t impose an equivalent on women…or does it?

I’d have to say in conclusion to my own thoughts, beards are fine, I just don’t like them when they signify a religious symbol, but that’s just me! But I would like one just for a day…..  😀

Plea for help – calling all gardeners!

I do not profess any knowledge or ability in the world of gardening – much to the shame of my mother! My wife is keen and enjoys pottering about and finds it relaxing whenever she finds time. She has produced a very pretty little cottage garden with lots of things with wonderful Latin names. The roses are beautiful and there are some lovely grasses in tubs.

I have one responsibility only….the tiny patch of grass called a lawn. I have to confess, I like a good lawn. I like it to have nice stripes up and down and I am a little fussy about getting neat edges. But, I have no skills or talent! Yesterday, a lovely quiet sunny and mild Saturday, I set about the first cut of the year. Moss was everywhere but that’s ok. The patches of brown grass where my old lady dog makes use for her ablutions, fine. What I can’t stand is the bumpiness and lumpiness! I know the lawn was only laid 6 years ago, but I am getting irked by the fact it seems to get lumpier every year! My electric mower keeps cutting into the earth as I push it up and down it’s so bad! This year it seems even worse 😦

Should I just chuck top soil in the low bits? Well, that hasn’t worked so far! That’s the extent of my attempts to solve the problem. I’m not a fan of internet surfing so haven’t tried looking there for ideas yet – and I’d really rather not!

Please, please, calling all charioteers – any ideas please? It is only a small patch of lawn – 5m by 15m.

I’m not alone!

After some heated discussions where I was starting to believe that Bearsy, Janus and I were the only ones, I was a little relieved to see the following article on BBC news yesterday!

It seems that although not so much anti-monarchy, the red-top reading idiots I insulted may just be suffering from “not caring about the royal wedding” syndrome – I have some faith in human kind restored!

BBC Royal wedding: The naysayers (here)

I particularly liked the sick bags!

It does seem a little silly in these austere times that it has been declared a Bank Holiday – that will cost business and public services a lot of money which seems a little odd.


Blasphemy – For and Against

Firstly, I’ll declare my own stance – I’m all for it! But as a Douglas Adams card holding athiest, I would be!

I was driving all the way to Peterborough this morning, not something that inspires Godly thoughts on the best of days, when I listened to a debate on Radio 5 Live that nearly had me apoplectic with rage. It was a serious debate caused by the assasination of a christian minister in Pakistan. If I was technically adept I would insert a nice BBC news hyperlink here, maybe Bearsy can oblige?

A serious issue of course, and my thoughts go to his family. But really, what did he expect in such a medieval country? I thought Christians grew out of being martyrs a couple of centuries ago, when common sense kicked in. Did he really think he’s made a difference? It would certainly stop me wanting to be one! Continue reading “Blasphemy – For and Against”

Identity – where is one from and where does one belong

Firstly, my apologies for taking so long in making my debut blog. You are all so impressive and deal with this phenomenon of internet communication so easily that I am a little scared of looking silly, stupid, naive and not worthy. But, you are a kind lot too so I shall try!

I have always been fascinated by national identity and migration – it one of the few things I actually studied with interest at QMW in the early 90’s. I have often asked myself the same question and the answer seems to differ as to the context and timing and where I am at the time.

In the Chariot we have a wonderful collection of well travelled and well educated people, including many who no longer reside in the same country as their birth.

I am also a ‘typical’ man in my love of sport this passion often links in when people who know me ask “for whom did you cheer in last night’s game?”

The Norman Tebbit test doesn’t seem to apply to me which I find odd as I was born in England, live in England and have one of the hideous purple EU UK (EUSSR for Bearsy!) passports.  I have a wonderful home counties accent, a grammar school education and work for Her Majesty (I crossed my fingers behind my back when I started – I revel in being a hypocrite!)

Does that still make me English? It should but it doesn’t seem to. I don’t feel English, and I dislike an awful lot about this country and would love to live elsewhere, which I would were it not for my children. I’m certainly not a European, although I adore so much of it as I was lucky enough as a child to be shown so much of it.

Another useful and interesting debate I often use in conversations concerns human nature. I, living in the East Midlands, would naturally support a fellow east midlander in a theoretical debate that was location based against another part of England, say Manchester. However, I would be on the side of the Mancunian in a debate with a Scot. Then, I’d support a Scot over a Frenchman (or woman), then any European over an American. What is it about our psyche that causes this?

So I ask all of you ex-pats and succesfully mobile people here in the Chariot – is where from now more important as to what your identity is? Do you still introduce yourself as your birth identity?

I’d be fascinated in your thoughts as to who we all are!