Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Not Political

August 16, 2017 3 comments

Politics have become like espresso. That is, unpalatable and something I can simply no longer stomach. I have been busy this week ensuring that political sites no longer show up on my profiles and I refuse to read anything but the weather forecast and currency exchange rates. I will go to the UK, Denmark and Sweden soon, after all. For lack of anything else to say, here is a video that is just as a-political.


Categories: General

Pulling Apart

August 10, 2017 19 comments

Many of my fellow Charioteers are or have been expatriates. Some have settled permanently, some have repatriated, some have moved to third countries. However distinct a person’s experience, there are some experiences which many share. Read more…

Categories: General

Everybody Needs an Enemy

August 9, 2017 14 comments

Uncle Sam and bear

Having an enemy helps a government stay in business. A good enemy can provide a focal point, a distraction, a source of fear (always useful for keeping the population in line) or, if we are feeling cynical today, a way to transfer tax revenue into the hands of the military-industrial complex. The first thing necessary is to get the public to believe in the enemy. If there is no real enemy at hand, simply make one up. Read more…

Categories: General


August 4, 2017 14 comments

When I was a toddler I was terrified of St Gangolf’s, the second oldest church in Trier. Its altar is a masterpiece of late Gothic art. As an adult I’ve grown to appreciate the quality of the artwork, including that of the near-life-size crucifix. As a toddler, I wasn’t quite so keen. For years the mere mention of the name “Gangolf” could provoke a cold chill in the spine. The emaciated, tortured sculpture of Christ towering over me with a bleeding wound on its side was more than I could manage. Yet, I generally got over my fear of death at a relatively early age. Read more…

Categories: General

School Days

August 4, 2017 19 comments

I attended HMS Worcester (aka Thames Nautical Training College) from 1959 – 63 so was there when this film was made, although can’t recall it being made. Notice the absence of life jackets and Health and Safety. There is no sound and that might be a good thing particularly during the parts about the ship’s band.


Categories: General


One of the quaintest notions that I am frequently subjected to is that Germany is a country utterly transformed. The Federal Republic, apparently, is an entirely new Germany — a Germany that has broken with the its imperial legacies, both monarchic and republican. Parenthetically, the post-First World War German republics were still legally considered empires. That is one of the quirks of translation. If one looks deeper, takes a spade and shovels a few inches beneath the surface a different, deeply troubling truth emerges. Read more…

Categories: General

A new scapegoat

July 27, 2017 19 comments

This may interest mainly Christopher and John Mackie, who tend to blame Alex Salmond for everything, and rightly so in many instances.  But now that Wee Eck is no longer an MP, can I suggest replacing him with Mrs Merkel’s blue-eyed boy, Emmanuel.

According to a recent French poll Emmanuel Macron has sunk even lower in the popularity ratings than last moth.

You don’t need to read French to understand the figures. Macron has the lowest rating of the last four presidents at the same stage in their presidencies, that is after the honeymoon period when the gloss has well and truly worn off.  He has even surpassed – or should that be underpassed – the lamentable François Hollande.

Categories: General

John – Part 1

July 26, 2017 8 comments

Where to start, a bit tricky really, but hey ho here goes.

John was my brother. The story that I am going to tell you is also the reason why I have not been able to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) for over a year.

“Why am I writing this?”,  I ask myself. Well, maybe because there is nothing else I can do.

John was the eldest of three brothers. I am the youngest, or as my parents used to annoyingly call me when I was little, “Bab”.

After a hard beginning, growing up in Lowestoft, being evacuated to the midlands in 1939 and finally joining in the war in 1942, missing any opportunity for a good education, Dad brought up his three sons with a rod of iron. He didn’t know any other way. Boys (and wives) had to be kept in hand. That was the way of his world. He had an almost obsession for schoolwork and education. I later began to realise that this obsession came from his lack of education. He was an intelligent man and easily capable of a university education, but life had handed some bitter blows which meant his time had passed. He therefore wasn’t going to let that happen to his boys.

Read more…

Categories: General

Please remove me from this site.

July 25, 2017 29 comments

This is a message to the tosser who administers this site. Please remove me from it. I have deleted all my posts however WordPress doesn’t make it easy to delete the chariot as of my sites. I’m sure that you’ll be pleased to oblige.

Categories: General

Still Standing

July 24, 2017 9 comments

So, we flew back from St Petersburg last Sunday, via Amsterdam (always a mistake), at the end of an utterly memorable visit to the Russian Federation. Still not convinced that Putin is, on the whole,  a good idea but a wee bit less anti than I was before I went. People wonderful, language interesting, sites and sights epic. We will go back. Read more…

Categories: General