Bleeding Hearts and buboes

First, let me make it clear that I’m not one of the first. I am well aware that my breakfast soft boiled would have grown into a cute little chick and that my sunday roast  chook was once precisely that. I know full well that the clinically presented prepackaged chops in my supermarket was once a woolly little baa lamb cavorting in a sunny spring meadow, and I’m quite happy to eat fishey wisheys with their eyes and heads on. I don’t have a problem with shooting, fishing, gutting or filleting, it’s a fact of life whether I’m doing it or somebody else is doing it to save me the trouble.

Now (as I imagine they say in the film industry) Cut to……


The Hollywood version of an English Baronial manor. The year 1348. His baronial highness is seated on a highly ornate and gilded throne while scores of scantily clad females dance in the great hall before him.  Jugglers and fire eaters  bring  up the rear. Enter stage left,  a peasant who is gasping for breath and has obviously been running . He  throws himself to the floor at the bottom of the staircase leading up to the throne

Peasant        “My lord, there is a case of buboes in the village”

His baronialness takes a long look into the middle distance while scratching his chin.

HB                  “Hie ye forth and find Sir Swarseneggar. Tell him to go to the village and kill two thirds of the population with his semi-automatic crossbow”

Peasant           “Aye my lord. Shall he destroy all the ones with the buboes?”

HB                    “It matters not. Any two thirds will do”

Fade out.

I’m not sure it would have prevented the death of millions during the plague and I’m not sure it’ll have any effect on the spread of bovine TB in the UK either.

I don’t know whether I’m Carmen or Cohen

Well, I do know that I’m neither of them but I’m in the middle of an identity crisis.

You see, I’m Cornish.  Born and bred.  Grew up here, went to school here, lived here all my life. Well, apart from the times that I lived somewhere else that is. Oh, and the  born and bred bit. It’s a minor technicality really, but as I grew up just on the Cornish side of the border, on the occasion of my birth the hospital in Plymouth was closer than the one in Truro, so I was actually born in Devon. Makes no odds though,  ‘cos as they say down here “Iffen the caat ‘as kittens en the oven it doan maken pasties do et?” So that’s it then, Cornish bred. I can belong to the story that at the bottom of every deep mine in the world you’ll find a Cornishman, similar to the other popular story that in every ships engine room you’ll find a Scotsman. Ahh….. another minor hitch. My father was actually born in India. He wasn’t of Indian descent it was just that his father, as part of the great British Raj,  lived in India  and designed bridges during the construction of the railway system. Dad’s parents were both Scots and at the age of four he was shipped back to boarding school in Scotland where he spent  the remainder of his formative years. Apparently he didn’t see either of his parents again until he was seven, which was considered quite normal then. Extraordinary

I digress

So technically then, I’m a Scot.  That’s great, I can handle that. It’s still part of the big Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Breton celtic thing. I’ve just got to realign myself to be part of the engine room story instead of being at the bottom of the pit. So I and all the thousands of the rest of us stood in engine rooms throughout the world can look forward to receiving our ballot papers for the up and coming Scottish independence vote then?

Err……. No.    Apparently you’re only Scottish enough to vote if you actually live there, even though both you and  your parents might have been born and bred in Prague.

So there you go. Gave up my beloved Cornishness to become a Scot, only to be told I’m not one.

Quite like this one

A police officer was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the police officer’s credibility …Q: ‘Officer — did you see my client fleeing the scene?’A: ‘No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.’

Q: ‘Officer, who provided this description?’

A: ‘The officer who responded to the scene.’

Q: ‘A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?’

A: ‘Yes, sir. With my life.’

Q: ‘With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?’ Continue reading “Quite like this one”

One rung at a time

One of my younger brothers (younger being a relative term as he’s just celebrated his 60th ) is a yacht skipper and has, for years, owned a sailing business based in the Greek islands.

Nice lifestyle really. Summers spent sailing round the islands, organising flotillas, charters and the like. During the winter he returns to the UK and undertakes short term contracts as a commissioning skipper on new yachts for boat builders, checking specifications, testing equipment, sea trials, worldwide deliveries and so on.

Continue reading “One rung at a time”

Security alert for Windows7 and Vista users

I subscribe to a couple of Window users sites and apparently Windows “gadgets” are not protected against malware and need to be disabled urgently

 At next week’s annual hacker gathering in Las Vegas — Black Hat USA 2012 (more info) — Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg will deliver their presentation, “We have you by the gadgets.” As is common for Black Hat presentation pre-announcements, there are as yet few details. But Shkatov and Kohlenberg promise, “We will be talking about the Windows gadget platform and what nastiness can be done with it, how are gadgets made, how are they distributed, and, more importantly, their weaknesses. … As a result, there [are] a number of interesting attack vectors that are interesting to explore and take advantage of. We will be talking about our research into creating malicious gadgets, misappropria! ting legitimate gadgets, and the sorts of flaws we have found in published gadgets.”

Much to their credit, Shkatov and Kohlenberg have been in talks with Microsoft, apparently divulging some of their findings. (The point of Black Hat is to reveal detailed information on how new security exploits work, thus pushing software developers into rapidly patching their code.)

More details at

Dog (poetry competition)

I  wrote this over fifty years ago, when I was under attack equally from acne and emotions and hadn’t yet decided whether I was going to be Sir Galahad or Don Juan. (Well, no-one sets out aspiring to be average do they?)

Anyway, despite it’s faults…..

Small boy running with a black and white dog
Down across the meadow, through the woods, to the bog
Small boy throws sticks, lights a fire, builds a dam
Dog runs around to find where the rabbits ran
Always out together in wind and rain and snow
Where small boy is, then dog has to go

Continue reading “Dog (poetry competition)”