O wad some power the giftie gi’e us …

Anything to convince himself that he’s still important.  I hope you enjoy this, Christopher.


Next thing we know Salmond will  employ someone to throw a rotten haggis at him.  I suppose he expected everyone to know who he is and bow down accordingly. Now Alex, repeat after me “Sic transit gloria mundi” and then go and find someone to explain it to you.

Soor plums for Nicola

I don’t know whether Scotland’s First Minister is proposing to visit the Davis Cup match in Glasgow this weekend. If she does she may be horrified to see the large number of spectators wearing “Back the Brits”  Tshirts as well as all the Union flags, the Union face masks and red, white and blue pompoms. There are a few Scottish flags, but the support is overwhelmingly British. These are presumably some of the people who voted the ‘wrong way’ in the referendum. There are even two guys in hideous Union Jack suits.

(Bearsy and Boadicea, I did feel sorry for little Kokkinakis. At the end of the second set I felt somone ought to have taken the poor wee soul away and given him a ‘jeely piece’ or other treat. He did recover a bit in the third set, but I’m not convinced he’s capable of what his loud-mouthed friend suggested.)

To tell or not to tell?

There’s a readers’ poll in Le Figaro this morning.  The question is “Was Hollande right to make public the fact that an Islamist plot has been discovered and dismantled in France?”  Seventy-seven percent of those who responded voted that Hollande was wrong to do so. (Of course 77% of the French would say Hollande was wrong to say it was raining while standing in the middle of a downpour!)

One would hope that Hollande had the agreement of France’s security and intelligence services to make this announcement, but we don’t know.  So, is it better to rub the noses of of wannabe terrorists in France in yet another failure?  Or would it be better to simply jail the would-be perpetrators quietly and leave the terrorist community in the dark?  I should imagine that the first alternative might simply spur them on to greater efforts, while the second might spread disquiet and despondency “pour décourager les autres”.

I don’t believe it!

This idiot, whose name I had never heard before, is apparently standing for the leadership of the LibDims.  I don’t know whether this suggestion will actually be on his manifesto.


What possible reason could a childrens’ programme for a very young age range have for bringing in homosexual characters? My two little granddaughters love the Peppa Pig characters. There are boys and girls, Mummies and Daddies and some grandparents and other adults.  There are no sexual connotations whatsoever and no need to introduce any.  If the LibDims really want to commit political suicide, they now know what to do.

Southpaw kangaroos

Can anyone explain why this vital discovery has taken so long? Bearsy? Boadicea? Apart from those who actually box kangaroos in circuses and fairs, is it relevant to the rest of us?  I can understand the researchers from St Petersburg State University wishing to visit Australia to escape a Russian winter, but couldn’t they have found something else to research? The water carrying capacity of camels perhaps?

Whose rights come first?

I apologise that so much of my inspiration comes from France and I have to give links to French newspapers. This is an interesting problem.


A homeless man, though it turns out that he does have a roof over his head, has been begging on the streets of Nice accompanied by a Jack Russell puppy.  This little dog has now been taken from him by an animal welfare charity. Local businesses have drafted a petition to have the dog returned to the man.

It turns out that, although a kind waiter brings the man food and the dog always gets some, French cuisine does not always agree with canine tummies.  This beggar has already had animals removed from his care. Personally when I see beggars anywhere accompanied by cats and dogs, my first instinct is to cut the leads and make off with the animals.  A friend of our daughter kindheartedly bought some food for the dog in one instance and needless to say got a mouthful of abuse by way of thanks. Presumably you don’t get much by way of drink or drugs in exchange for a tin of Whiskas

Personally I think the local businesses in this corner of Nice are wrong.  The beggar lost his wife and daughter in a fire, it is reported, but no one put a collar and lead on him and made him sit all day on the pavement.

So who’s your “only” one?

I’ve just seen an advert for a rerun of a Rebus episode tomorrow night with, it said, either John Hannah or Ken Stott. For me Ken Stott is Rebus and that’s that.  Similarly Sean Connery is the only James Bond for me, and Ioan Gruffud is the only Hornblower (sorry, Gregory Peck). To go even farther back in my viewing I consider Rupert Davies as my only Maigret with Ewen Solon as Lucas.  Apologies to Michael Gambon, but there it is.

Do other Charioteers have their “only” actors to play certain roles?

Degrees of guilt?

There’s an article in Nice Matin this morning about an Antibes artist who uses charcoal to decorate local walls and trees. He seems to confine himself to the narrow streets of the old part of the Cité des Remparts, as Antibes is often called at least by the press. It still possesses a fair part of its old defensive walls overlooking the sea.  As you can see the back streets of old Antibes rather give the lie to the reputation of Riviera glamour.

There are penalties for graffitti “artists” in France if they are caught. This artist would face them. Yet his work, as he points out, does no harm to surfaces and washes away in the rain.  This is not the case with the mindless “tags” applied with spray paint on buildings and trains by those who are basically writing “Achmed woz ‘ere” and not creating a thing of beauty but just delineating their gang’s territory.

I think that if this charcoal artist is ever caught, he should not face the same penalty as spray paint vandals. In fact if I were to find his work on our front wall when we go back in a few weeks, I would feel quite honoured.  Surely this is a case where the law should not be applied equally.


Some good news days

While it is often said that there is never any good news to be read in the press, I think that yesterday and today have been pretty satisfactory.

Yesterday we had Merkel and Hollande announcing their latest scheme to show who rules the EU roost by putting forward a plan to make corporation tax the same throughout the EU.  There are more member states than the UK who would object to this, particularly Luxemburg, the homeland of that useless president of the EU commission, and Ireland, which recently discovered through the IMF just how it had been bullied into austerity to save the euro. ( I did like John Redwood’s definition of euro as European Unemployment and Recession Organisation as well.)  But the dreadful duo’s announcement should show Cameron that we might as well get out of the EU now.  Referendum next week and stop the cheques today!  I can understand Hollande’s desire to reduce every other member state’s competitiveness to France’s level, but not why Merkel bothers with him. Perhaps he’s mastered saying “Jawohl meine Führerin” nicely.

Today’s pleasing headline concerned the dawn raid by the Swiss police on the Baur au Lac, one of Zurich’s most prestigious hotels, to arrest half a dozen FIFA officials, allegedly corrupt.  Whether they were dragged out in their pyjamas was not reported. Said pyjamas are probably of silk lined with hundred dollar bills (to misquote P G Wodehouse).

The news about the dire financial straits of the Cat Rescue Society in Menton was less pleasing, but I can’t have everything.