Archive

Archive for the ‘Chips on Shoulders’ Category

A royal dilemma?

July 28, 2017 3 comments

The anniversary of Diana’s demise has prompted public outpourings of emotion across the meeja and (for me surprisingly) from her family. Once again the Windsors find themselves dragged into a world where emotions are worn proudly on the sleeve while they continue to demand privacy and special treatment whenever it suits them. The Princes themselves were certainly the victims of the misconceived funeral display – but should they continue to parade their grief? Was their family less revered while Margaret’s tribulations were more discreetly exposed?

Baggage

July 26, 2017 8 comments

I’m midway through my clan visits in the Green and Pleasant; now moved oop narth from Mid Sussex to West Essex (I can’t have you imagining me in Sarfend, can I?). So I’m very aware of the airlines struggle to squeeze maximum cash out of their no-doubt-tight-fisted passengers.

The pressure on cabin shelf space is inadequate for all the ‘free’ hand bags – the airlines admit it – but despite that, some charge significant sums to stow bags in the hold. On my trip here last week the passengers were invited to volunteer to have their hand luggage stowed below – free, of course. When insufficient numbers cooperated, a number of bags were seized whether their owners approved or not! Of course this treatment is meted out on those who decline to pay for ‘priority’ status only.

The latest nonsense is that Ryanair have now ordered new aircraft for 2019 with 8 or 9 more seats but only room for 2 or 3 more bags.

The race for low fares has ended in tears for both the carriers and the carried, it seems – with no hope of the worst culprits getting together to find better ways to price their services. Ho hum.

 

 

Vive the difference

July 17, 2017 7 comments

 

The recent cringe-worthy visit of the First Man to France demonstrated the qualities of Gallic behaviour. Larger than life, self-satisfied and fundamentally hypocritical. Excusez-moi? Did you say those adjectives describe their No. One Visitor? Oh, yes, I hadn’t noticed. By all accounts the French populace were less than impressed.

Meanwhile, back in the real world (London) his demands for a ‘better reception’ when he deigns to grace us with his ineffable presence, were met with a straightforward, ‘Well, you know the British press’. So he should not hold his presidential breathe.

Says it all really.

 

Tell me about it

July 15, 2017 17 comments

On my last visit to the Green and Pleasant Land in May, I had lunch with three cousins whom I see frequently – all oldies like me. One of them volunteers, in between some winding-down work projects, at a local food bank and had just finished a shift when we met.

I asked him what he saw and felt about the charitable work and received the following reply: ‘Well, five youngish claimants turned up in a taxi together and many of the ‘destitute’ people are obviously chain-smokers and stand outside using their smart-phones. That’s how I feel.’

So my hackles are still descending – very slowly.

Le mot juste

July 14, 2017 6 comments

Like Sheona, I need help with vocabulary.

Tennis fans yesterday witnessed our hybrid Brit hero(ine), Johanna Konta, beaten comprehensively by the elegant Murican Venus Williams. I wanted to say she gave Jo a ‘master-class’, but our other hero, Andy, would have disapproved on feminist grounds. So what is the right word?

Dear Christopher

June 29, 2017 12 comments

There’s bit of a vacuum here in your absence.

Please tick or cross as appropriate. Are you

  • busy with another degree/country/blog?
  • out of wifi range?
  • out of sorts?
  • in Dorset?
  • summat else? (please specify)

The spare

June 26, 2017 19 comments

One’s children cannot all have the Big Job. Since the cradle the Heir’s siblings have known they would be onlookers in history – although George VI had to step in from the bleachers when his brother succumbed to his flaws. And George was not a classic example of the more extravert, younger upstart – yet another of Fate’s ironies. Perhaps that epithet fits Margaret and Andrew better. And Harry, who clearly wishes to kick over the traces and feels frustrated by his obligations.

To misquote the NT: the royal family is in the world but not of it. But since WWII they have gradually accepted and even sought a more public rõle, to try to keep in step with other changes: the weakening class divisions, global travel, television, the internet, social media……and the cult of celebrity, with their total exposure and lack of privacy. And the Spares have naturally claimed more freedom to roam, attracted more media attention for their trouble and agonised over the ambiguity of it all.

No novelist could have invented Harry’s story. He ticks every psychological and social box and will probably continue to keep us enthralled. It’s what spares do.

 

Left Field

June 25, 2017 10 comments

Our favourite pop-star, Jagger Corbyn, is playing into the hands of right-thinking voters. His appearance at Glasto with Messrs Depp, Beckham and Balls (and no doubt many other wannabe undertakers) proves that his ambition far exceeds his judgement. Surrounded by young socialists and some old enough to know better, he gave himself a pat on the back and acquired an image as bizarre as his hero Mick’s. Er one two three four! Yeah!

The dance begins

June 20, 2017 9 comments

As ever the meeja think the Brexit talks are a tennis match. Wrong. It’s more like chess. Sacrificing a pawn opens up new possibilities. Remember M Barnier has so many masters to serve, while David Boyo has a clear mandate: to do the best for the UK. While the cynics sneer, he can make concessions and win territory without the serried ranks of Europrats second guessing him. Give it time, friends!

Why didn’t I think of that?

June 16, 2017 34 comments

Victor Orban, PM of Hungary, wants secondary schools to be equipped with shooting  ranges – to nurture Olympic champions but also to instill patience and concentration – according that is to the Times.

What a wonderful idea! Forget boxing and the martial arts, let’s get military – and why not throw in a few knife-fighting skills too? Then the public school system will be able to make sure all the potential thugs and terrorists have a proper grounding in murder and can succeed in their chosen professions.

I’m surprised the grand old US of A didn’t think of it first (or did they?). It would make a perfect social fit. I can’t wait for Trump’s tweet.