Friday 29 January 2010

Rubber toothed tossers...

Opposition reaction

Conservative leader David Cameron said it was too soon to tell whether Mr Blair had misled the country about the reasons for going to war.

"Clearly, some of the information that was put in front of Parliament, the dodgy dossier for instance was just unacceptable and was wrong and shouldn't happen again but I think we have to wait for Chilcot's full report before we come to a full conclusion."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, whose party opposed the war, said he "was not sure if people have learned that much which is substantially new from Tony Blair", but said it was a "good thing" he had appeared.

"Because that makes it all the more difficult for Britain ever to be taken to war again, simply on the personal whim of the prime minister," he added.

SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson said: "No matter how skilfully he ducked and dived today, Tony Blair's legacy will forever be that of the illegal, immoral Iraq war.

"Chillingly, the ex-prime minister showed no regret for his dubious decisions which led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in modern times."

Friday 22 January 2010

Diary of an Englishman living in The Highlands...

"Our First Winter"

DEC 20th
It's starting to snow.
The first of the season and the first we've seen for years.
The wife and I took out our hot toddies and sat on the porch watching the fluffy soft flakes drift gently down clinging to the trees and covering the ground.
It's so beautiful and peaceful.

DEC 24th
We awoke to a lovely blanket of crystal white glistening snow covering as far as the eye could see.
What a fantastic sight, every tree and bush covered with a beautiful white mantle.
I shovelled snow for the first time ever and loved it. I did both our driveway and the pavement.
Later that day a snowplough came along and accidentally covered up our driveway with compacted snow from the street. The driver smiled and waved. I waved back and shovelled it away again.
The children next door built a snowman with coal for eyes and a carrot for a nose, and had a snowball fight, a couple just missed me and hit the car so I threw a couple back and joined in their fun.

DEC 26th
It snowed an additional 5 inches last night and the temperature dropped to around minus 8 degrees.
Several branches on our trees and bushes snapped due to the weight of the snow. I shovelled the driveway again.
Shortly afterwards the snowplough came by and did his trick again.
Much of the snow is now a brownish - grey.

JAN 1st
Warmed up enough during the day to create some slush which soon became ice when the temperature dropped again.
Bought snow tyres for both our cars.
Fell on my arse in the driveway.
Went to a physio but nothing was broken.

JAN 5th
Still cold. Sold the wife's car and bought her a 4x4 to get her to work.
She slid into a wall and did considerable damage to the right wing.
Had another 8 inches of white sh*te last night.
Both vehicles are covered in salt and iced up slush.
That bastard snowplough came by twice today.
Where's that bloody shovel?

JAN 9th
More f*****g snow. Not a tree or bush on our property that hasn't been damaged. Power was off most of the night.
Tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and a paraffin heater which tipped over and nearly torched the house.
I managed to put the flames out but suffered 2nd degree burns on my hands. Lost all my eyebrows and eyelashes.
Car hit a f*****g deer on the way to casualty and car was written off.

JAN 13th
F*****g b*****d white sh*te just keeps on coming down. Have to put on every article of clothing just to go to the post box. The little bastards next door ambushed me with snowballs on the way back - I'll shove that carrot so far up the little b*****d's arse it'll take a good surgeon hours to find it.
If I ever catch the a***hole that drives the snowplough I'll chew open his chest and rip out his heart with my teeth.
I think the b*****d hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shovelling and then he accelerates down the street like Michael SchuF*****gmacher and buries the f*****g driveway again.

JAN 17th
Sixteen more f*****g inches of f*****g snow and f*****g ice and f*****g sleet and god knows what other white sh*te fell last night.
I am in court in 3 months time for assaulting the snowplough driver with an ice-pick.
Can't move my f*****g toes.
Haven't seen the sun for 5 weeks.
Minus 20 and more f*****g snow forecast.

JAN 18th


Saturday 16 January 2010

Pru, is that you...?

It’s that time of year again.

About now, someone just has to mention Prunella Scales, and we’re off on a fantasy trip again!

Ever since the lovely lady (Kate) was in ‘Marriage Lines’ all those years ago, when she had a line which went something like this to Richard Briers (George):-

Kate (giggling), “Oh George, when the chambermaid knocked on the door with the tea, you jumped out of my bed, and into the other one...”

...I’ve been hooked!

Fawlty Towers just made matters worse, and the words 'gibbering' and 'wreck' spring to mind every time I see the pic above.

I’m now utterly convinced that all the girls who read this are in fact Prus. Going through the list of all the long suffering visitors, it’s pretty clear to me that Pips definitely is a Pru, because she posted a Pru-Pic some time ago, and she looks like her. Lils always reminds me of Pru, because she manages to be so funny in fewer words than are expected, and she looks like her, Trubes is a well known actress, and therefore probably worked with Pru, and she may well look like her, Hats has all the incisive comment so loved by Sybil (similar looks too, I imagine), Calfy is certainly tipped to be a Pru and there’s plenty of time, Daisers sounded a bit like Pru when we had a chat a few years ago, and the list goes on...

I challenge anyone else on the list to disagree...

Thursday 14 January 2010

Cook's tour...

When Peter Cook enshrined himself in history with his immortal portrayal of Harold Macmillan in ‘Beyond the fringe’, one line still gets used whenever I have to say something inane like ‘here and there’, (“Herr... Herr... Herr and there...”, referring to Cook’s hilarious non-recall of a German politician), and everyone looks at me as if I have some disfiguring disease.

This ‘Herr’ bit easily transforms into a reference in ‘History today’, from ‘The Mary Whitehouse experience’, (“You’ve had a cut! Haircut!”...), and from then on, it is so easy to drop into the next chapter of the story...

Air Miles!

Like many thousands of people I had a letter from Air Miles at the back end of last year, telling me that I’d better re-activate my account by December 31st, or lose the lot! There was blind panic in many households, (including The Turrets) and the dear ladies on the hot desk were all cheerfully helping us spend just enough money to get one mile on the account and save them all from oblivion. We’d amassed over 7,000, plus 20 in paper form, (God knows where they came from...), and of course there was some considerable value in these little gems as we were to find out.

I recycled an old mobile phone for 25 miles with two weeks to spare, so we were at least up and running again. But, this was about the time that BA’s staff were getting the hump about this and that and threatening to go on strike over Christmas.

Now this is not a good idea at all. A bad idea indeed. Very unwelcome and unfair on paying customers at a time when lots of families like to see each other and row for four days...

Mrs S and I decided some time ago that we needed to do more holidays in the UK and not depend on flying everywhere. We’ve done all that airport lounge stuff, but also since JRT came to live here, we’re rather fond of taking her with us, except that she kicks up a fuss for the first few miles, and Mrs S has to lean back and discuss a few home truths with her when she starts to howl. And also, there are so many deals with all the airlines, it’s not easy to see why booking a flight with Air Miles is going to make much difference.

So it only took a few minutes on their website to see what was on offer. We didn’t fancy driving a 40 ton lorry over a cliff in The Andes, or racing turtles in The Himalayas. Neither did we want to go to so many spa treatments that we’d actually end up two years younger than our Daughts, so it was time to rethink the strategy.

It didn’t take long to find the last item on the list, and you’ve guessed it haven’t you Dear Reader! The whole lot arrived just in time for Christmas, and is stashed away – well some of it is..., not a lot actually, for a rainy day, which by coincidence is just what it is doing now after all this snow!

So, to recap, from Peter Cook, via Newman and Baddiel, Air Miles, Strike action, mobile phone, and a big website, we now have now a chance to taste the best Rioja that never is...

Saturday 9 January 2010


I've been a huge fan of Jane Horrocks ever since I first saw her as 'Bubble', in Ab Fab. Her talent is amazing, and just now, after a happy half-hour on Youtube watching some hilarious clips, (if anyone has a copy of her 'Children's Marching Song' from 'Never mind the Horrocks', I'll crawl stark naked over three miles of broken glass in sub-zero temperatures, just to watch one second of the finale), but I digress.

I'm also neatly set up for the post now...(half a second then...?)


Yup, Sodastream!

I found this advert in an old Private Eye in the roof, and it comes from issue 298, dated 18th May, 1973. (I've got a few more of these old beauties and they'll be mentioned in another post when I've counted them...).

It was the cost which made my eyes water when I read the blurb again. "Leading brands of cola at 7p, soda syphon 12p (remember them, great for shooting scotch all over the lounge ceiling), bottle of gin, £2.38p", and so on.

We bought one for the Daughts (and me because I used to be addicted to dry ginger, and Mrs S because she liked the bitter lemon), and they would eventually have odd flavours and colours like Intergalactic Space Juice, which was blue, and never ever washed out of the school uniforms.

But I suppose like all these gadgets, they get old, dirty, uninteresting and eventually chucked out which is a great pity, because looking at the website, it seems that you can pay anything up to £150 for a big new model. Ours went years ago.

It's also interesting to see the style of the ad, mentioning 'housewives having to carry heavy things...(?)', and also how they are honest in admitting that they hadn't got one flavour quite right yet! Now that really is refreshing!

But back to gorgeous Jane. I can watch 'Little Voice' every time it's shown on the TV, and as I also pretend in my dreams that I could be a dead ringer for Michael Caine (I wish - Lils don't you ever, ever say a word...), I reckon that there's the tiniest chance that she might see this and send me a copy of the bit when she loses her cool at the words of that 'Marching song', and curses everyone in sight...

Thursday 7 January 2010

That 'coup', a reporter writes...


The main reason why there were so few 'ministers' queueing up to support their 'leader' in the failed coup yesterday was that they'd all been down the pub at home, peering out the window at the weather and pretending to be worried about not turning up to work because of the snow, but nevertheless, piling on the expenses as usual, (thirty-nine pints please Doris, and one for you as well).

This picture was taken only a few hours ago, and shows a 1949 Hoon-Hewitt, the preferred mode of transport for failed 'ministers' and their pals. In fact, if you look at the picture very carefully, they even put their names up on the top...

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Come back Psion...

Blues has been discussing the various attributes of a rather smart piece of kit, and it got me thinking that it was only a few years ago that I was relying on one of these for a huge amount of info!

I got mine around 1995, when most PCs still had Windows 3.1 as the operating system (Windows 95 was far too new, for our firm anyway...), and it wasn't cheap. (£300?) The leather case was free when I got it too!

But it was a tactile piece of kit, you could get a great diary going, the alarms were fun, and the contacts could just swell and swell in that little brain. Mrs S even bought me a games programme for all those far-away holidays...

More fun came when you were driving late at night on the M2, and needed a phone number. You had to turn on the car's interior light, flip open the Psion's lid single-handed, hold it in front against the steering wheel with your right hand, find the number with your left hand, memorise it out loud, and punch it into the Motorola fixed lead car-phone strategically placed just a bit too far to the left for comfort...

But the real problems came when you had to sync with your PC. The PsiWin manual was nearly as big as the PC blurb itself and written in Old Russian, and although the cable was easy to connect, from then on, everything went pear-shaped! I spent hours fiddling about on-screen, and it really was rocket science to get the files downloaded. Most people I knew just gave up when they tried to connect the two, and we all spent hours in the pub, mucking about with the various settings! I loved mine and was heartbroken when it broke (for the second time), in 2002, and I still miss it.

But there must be some odd vibes in all this, because only a few hours ago, I managed to get it's replacement, an 'Ipaq' pocket PC, to restart after the Christmas break, because it had run the battery down to extinction and was in dire straits.

When I connected it to the computer, everything lit up, it began to sing, and the synchronisation started immediately - which is something it's refused to do for months...

I've also just looked everywhere, and I've lost the dear old 3a...bugger!