This Day – 4th February 1194

Richard IOn the 4th of February 1194 Richard I paid Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, a ransom of 150,000 marks (£100,000) and was released from what was, by the standards of the time, illegal imprisonment.

Richard was born on the 8th of September 1157, he was the third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was never intended that the lands that Henry and Eleanor held between them would be left to one single heir, and Eleanor gave Richard Aquitaine when he was eleven and ensured that he was formally installed as the Duke in 1172 when he was sixteen. However, despite having autonomy in Aquitaine, Richard, with the aid of his father’s enemy the King of France, was more or less in constant rebellion against Henry until the latter’s death in 1189. Continue reading “This Day – 4th February 1194”

I Name the Guilty Man

Bearsy, good whatever it is over there.

I wish to report myself for electoral fraud. At work today, I logged in to MyT (official lunch break) to start reporting the usual Samanta et alii spammers in the hope of clearing them out of the ‘Latest Blog Posts’  as soon as possible. As we all know, that is the only way to find new blogs as the Front Page is useless in the extreme.

Anyhoo, while online, I nipped over to DNMyT to see which particular member of my nation Boa had topped or tried to blow up in in her latest blog. I was relieved to see that, while her blogs were still all about Jocks, her latest victim only got marooned on a desert island and was eventually allowed to die of fairly natural causes. I suppose it’s a step in the right direction.

Continue reading “I Name the Guilty Man”

Is it Right to Prosecute?

 Today I was going to write about my Democratic values and what they means to me. Fortunately you have been given a reprieve. Instead, I will relate a nasty incident that happened to me not more than a couple of hours ago and ask your opinion on a moral dilemma.

Lunchtime today I was minding my own business, having lunch in a fast food restaurant when a man came in. A rough sort with a skin-head and workman’s clothing. He sat down at the adjacent table and started to hurl abuse at the person sitting opposite me. When that person got up and left the restaurant, he rounded on me throwing verbal abuse (which I shall not repeat here) and then bits of his food at me and then asking me to apologise for it.

  Continue reading “Is it Right to Prosecute?”

Stranger in a strange land?

There are many of us who have moved “abroad” –  Cymbeline to the Caribbean, Bravo to Russia, Nobby to China, Bearsy and Boadicea (assuming you’re not a native Sheila :-)) and CH Luke to Australia, Bubbles and Dickie Doo-Dah to France, Janus to Denmark and yours truly to Portugal, to name but a few.  In the other direction there are brave souls such as Shermeen and the sadly missed Petite Marie who moved to Blighty and who in their own way are also living “abroad”.

In Portuguese culture there is a concept of saudades, which roughly translates as an exile’s longing for the mother country.  In Germany they talk of heimat – the homeland, but I know of no such cloying sentiment about England’s green and pleasant land, except that certain expats still refer to the tender ministrations of a bucket-shop airline as “going home”, which to me shows entirely the wrong mindset.  For me, going home now is always, instinctively and without fail, a black cab to the airport and a one-way flight back to The Cave and the wide hillsides of deepest Portugal. Don’t get me wrong – I shall always be a proud Englishman and at some point in the future there will be a little bit of a Portuguese mountain that will be forever England, but I have no desire ever to return and, quite frankly, feel little affinity with the land I left.

So, how’s it going for you?  Have you settled well into your adopted country, learned the language,  made friends and adapted to your new circumstances?  More importantly. do you ever even think about the profound step you took (for make no mistake it was a very profound step), or do you still retain saudades for your home country, a stranger in a strange land?


On This Day – 2nd February 1709

Alexander Selkirk

On the 2nd of February 1709, Alexander Selkirk (born Selcraig) was rescued from Juan Fernandez Island, now known as Robinson Crusoe Island.

Alexander was born in Lower Largo in 1676. He was the seventh son of the local shoemaker John Selcraig and Euphan Mackie. As a youngster he was so unruly that he was summoned before the Kirk Session for his “undecent carriage” . He took off to sea before the case was concluded.

Alexander enlisted in a privateering expedition led by Captains Dampier and Pickering whose intention was to profit from plundering the Spanish galleons and the rich Spanish colonies. Privateering expeditions were given approval by the government but were, in fact, little more than legalised piracy which was very profitable if the expeditions were successful. Alexander was a first class navigator and was appointed sailing master on the ninety ton vessel “Cinque Ports” which had sixteen guns and a crew of sixty three. Continue reading “On This Day – 2nd February 1709”

20 years ago today

F.W.De Klerk and Nelson Mandela celebrate the end of apartheid

20 years, not that long ago. Frederik Willem De Klerk announced the unbanning of the ANC, PAC, S.A.Communist Party and a host of other political and labour groups, also that Nelson Mandela would be released from his incarceration.

Today’s youth don’t know any different. I was with a 30 year old yesterday he has no recollections of life under the National Party.

In one way it’s mission accomplished for our children, not being the pariah of the Continue reading “20 years ago today”


Marmalade time of year…..

I shall post my marmalade recipe, since it’s that time of year again –

Here it is.

The Marmalade Recipe.

3lbs Seville oranges, 6 pints water, juice of 2 lemons, 6 lbs sugar.

Half the oranges and squeeze, pull out pulp and pith.

Put all this juice, pith pips and pulp into a muslin bag suspended over the pan. Juice will run out, all other bits retained by bag.

Slice skins into fine pieces and add to pan with the water.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 hours, until peel is soft.

Lift out the bag containing the pips etc. and squeeze as much as possible back into the pan. Then discard the bag contents.

Add the lemon juice, and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then boil rapidly until setting point has been reached. (Test by putting a small amount onto a saucer and pulling a spoon through it. It should wrinkle if it has reached setting point)

Warm jars in the oven to 110c along with the jam funnel, if you have one, so all super clean!

Remove the marmalade pan from the heat and skim to get rid off any scum.

Cool for 5-8 minutes then stir to make sure peel is distributed evenly, then fill pots to top,

Seal and when cool label.

This year I added some mulling spices to the bag, but probably not enough as there are barely discernible!

Davos – A Grand Delusion

Well the cream of capitalism has had its week of wonders at the dreamlike fantasia of the Davos resort in Switzerland. One might even be forgiven for thinking that the whiteness of the snow was designed to cleanse the dirty image of a grubby economic system that has gone out of control.

 The Davos conference is now billed as a veritable ‘who’s who’ of senior business managers, captain’s of industry, bankers and government representatives and their various hanger’s on; all puffed up with their egotistical self-importance and their ‘save the world’ arrogance.

 Yet in tangible terms what does all this high-roller back-slapping actually mean for the man on the street?

  Continue reading “Davos – A Grand Delusion”

FIFA 2010 – 2 million tickets sold

There are approximately 3million tickets on offer for this years Football World Cup to be held in South Africa during June and July.

Having already sold two thirds of them must surely be a feather in the cap for the organisers. I of course have applied for 14 of them

Continue reading “FIFA 2010 – 2 million tickets sold”