Wednesday, January 31, 2018


I went to see the dentist yesterday. She told me I have been biting my tongue. No one I met in the evening could believe it.

Goodnight folks, I'm here all week! Be sure to tip the waitress.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

an aha moment

How to Build Private Alexa Skills with Alexa for Business
If you intend to publish your skill as a private skill, add the "distributionMode": "PRIVATE" line in the publishingInformation block of your skill manifest.

Monday, January 29, 2018

And so it came to pass

Congratulations to Callum

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.

Callum is among the subs for the Newcastle game. Will this be the day he finally gets on?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Thinking of you

If you ever think of me, I'll be thinking of you. Through thick and thin I bear it and grin, and never give in
I could be the one thing there in your hour of need. So if you decide to change your views I'm thinking of you
Terry Hall: God-like genius.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What is the point of it?

It looks like I am going to have to wrap my head around it then. Herewith the skinny from the rules page of the Six Nations site. Rule 3 is what we are interested in.
1. The NatWest 6 Nations Championship is contested each season over seven weekends during February, March and sometimes April by the international sides of France, England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
2. Each team plays the other five once per season with home advantage in alternate seasons (eg England hosted France in 2003, and so France host England in 2004), giving a total of 15 matches per Championship.
3. The following points will be awarded based on the results of each Match (such points to be referred to as "Match Points" to distinguish them from points scored on the field of play):
(i) The Union that wins the Match shall be awarded four Match Points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process) five Match Points. 
(ii) The Union that loses the Match shall be awarded no Match Points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process or loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) one Match Point or (if it scores four tries or more in the process and loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) two Match Points.
(iii) Unions that draw a Match shall each be awarded two Match Points and any of them that scores four tries or more in the process shall be awarded a further one Match Point.
(iv) A Union that wins all five of its Matches (a "Grand Slam") shall be awarded a further three Match Points.
4. If in winning the Championship a team also wins all of their five matches, they are given the title of 'Grand Slam' winner.
5. There is also the title of 'Triple Crown' competed for each season, which is awarded if a team from the 4 Home Unions (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) beats each of the other 3 Home Unions.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Welsh Born Iconette

Wales have named 11-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey in their squad for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Hursey is believed to be the youngest person to represent Wales at any sport at senior level, or compete at a Commonwealth Games for Team Wales.
Last year, aged just 10, she became the youngest player to represent Wales' senior table tennis team in a European Championship.
I am not sure I can get my head around this:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The book of Job

Google Maps thinks I was in Wagamama in Kingston from half past three until stumps were pulled tonight.

Let's just leave it at that shall we?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Icons passed

Ollie's mum died last night, nine years after her dad (Icons passim). It had been on the cards for a while, but it is still terrible news.

I remember that I walked her back to the taxi rank from a pub that had been booked for a party once. Out of the blue, and to break the ice, I said "tell me a wonderful story."

"By the time I was twenty I had finished working for MI6 in Singapore" she replied without missing a beat; a class act.

John Clement's funeral (Icons passim) will be on Valentine's Day. It's a way off but it's the day he met his wife. It's also Ash Wednesday this year. I've heard that on his deathbed he said, "tell Nick at least he won't have to print off any more timesheets for me to fill in." I find that inexpressibly brave and moving; another class act.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

There are going to be times when we can't wait for somebody. Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place — then it won't make a damn.
I met John and Lorraine in Borough Market yesterday. They were chilling after seeing  Girl from the North Country on Friday night. They did the trip on the bus.

I'm finally convinced enough to reciprocate. Ben and I will do the same for the Wales Scotland game. Out from Victoria 4pm on Friday and back from Cardiff half past seven Saturday night,

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Kryptonite to Corbynite

Is Corbyn friends with any Tories?
“I have a civilised relationship with a number of Tories – I discuss issues with them. Listen, David Davis and I worked very closely to try to get Shaker Aamer back into this country,” he says of an effort to get a British resident freed from Guantánamo Bay. “Indeed we went to Washington together – Andrew Mitchell, David Davis, Andy Slaughter and me – and we succeeded.”
Jeremy Corbyn gives props to David Davis for his record as a doughty supporter of civil liberties. Well done sir.

Friday, January 19, 2018

“A bit too early for coffee ... I think I’ll have Scotch.”

Peter Wyngarde, aged by the best estimates 90, has died. Can you really die if you are larger than life? Bootstrapped himself up from a Japanese internment camp (fellow inmate J.G. Ballard) to the inspiration for Austin Powers. 'Nuff respect.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Wales squad for the 2018 Six Nations

Forwards: Rob Evans (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Cory Hill (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, capt), James Davies (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).
Backs: Aled Davies (Scarlets), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Bath), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors), Hallam Amos (Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Steff Evans (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Saracens).
Food for thought on the day that my tickets for the opener against Scotland have definitely come through.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Before the dawn

Off to the HMV Curzon to see Darkest Hour last night. I think it is a masterpiece quite frankly.

Years ago, I saw Gary Oldman filming at Paddington Station. I had gone there with my brother who was catching the train back to Cardiff. I remember him doing the same scene again and again, and thinking how supercilious he appeared, seemingly ignoring the acolytes fluttering around him between takes. Then that particular stage in the proceedings finished, a child ran up to him and he was wreathed in smiles laughing and joking with the people I thought he was scorning moments before. It dawned on me that they were probably working on continuity; making sure that his hair and costume etc. always looked the same so no discrepancies appeared when the film was being edited, and that chatting and reacting to them while they were working would only be a distraction.

"The first time you see Winston Churchill you see all his faults, and the rest of your life you spend discovering his virtues." Gary Oldman too it would appear.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

With Alvaro Morata out of form, who is Callum Hudson-Odoi?

Currant Bun
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s timing could not have been better.
Less than 24 hours after Alvaro Morata drew yet another blank in Chelsea’s goalless draw with Leicester City, the young forward bagged a hat-trick as the Blues’ development team stuffed Sunderland 5-0.
The 17-year-old was on the bench as Antonio Conte’s side drew 0-0 with Norwich City in the FA Cup a fortnight ago.
But that is the closest the teenager has got to the first team this season. For now.
After the Blues were frustrated at home to the Foxes on Saturday, fans have called for Conte to give Hudson-Odoi a chance.
I know I risk droning on and on about Callum's rise and rise, but it really is astonishing.

Monday, January 15, 2018


After I did my MBA I worked as a Corporate Development Executive at George Wimpey PLC. At that time Wimpey had three divisions; house building, construction and minerals.

In November 1995, the Board announced a that Wimpey was to transfer its construction and minerals divisions to Tarmac in return for the latter's housing division.

In July 1999, Tarmac was demerged with the Construction and Professional services arms forming Carillion plc. (The aggregates and building materials side of the business retained the Tarmac name and was bought by Anglo American shortly afterwards.)

This morning Carillion went into liquidation.

Truth be told, even twenty odd years ago Construction made more money from interest on cash than profit on projects, which meant that it was in their interests to delay paying subcontractors as long as possible. I remember thinking that this was an unsustainable business model. I hope it is not how the business was run more recently or the fall out will be catastrophic.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

active service

John Clement died yesterday, taken quickly by cancer that was only diagnosed weeks ago. I once overheard him saying the greatest, most intriguing sentence ever uttered:
I would have got more compensation when I was shot but I wasn't officially on active service.
I guess I'll never hear the story now. RIP.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Words can only hurt you if you try to read them

As part of doing nothing yesterday I took a look at Zoolander on Netflix and was reminded it contained a cameo by the current POTUS.

Fom that I ricocheted to Derek Zoolander reading the Donald's authentic tweets.

I guess you're thinking I must be "like really smart" to pull that off during a day when I'm just kicking back.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Wars of the Apathetic

Have you ever heard of 'The Wars of the Apathetic'? Or 'the persecution of the apathetic by the bone idle'?
Reginald Perrin
Which is a roundabout way of saying I have done nothing today.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Plato's Republic Book 1

Well folks, I have finished Book1 of Plato's Republic and - to be frank - thus far I am with Friedrich Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols:
Before Socrates, argumentative conversation was repudiated in good society: it was considered bad manners, compromising. The young were warned against it. Furthermore, any presentation of one's motives was distrusted. Honest things, like honest men, do not have to explain themselves so openly. What must first be proved is worth little. Wherever authority still forms part of good bearing, where one does not give reasons but commands, the logician is a kind of buffoon: one laughs at him, one does not take him seriously. Socrates was the buffoon who got himself taken seriously: what really happened there?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

We are going to have a lot of fun with this over the next few years

It's not the first time the UKIP AM has caused controversy with his comments relating to minority groups. He previously said it was possible Eastern European immigrants were responsible for the capital’s litter problems.
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά

I have finally, after all these years, started to read Plato's Republic. What is it that it says? Oh yes ....
In practice people who study philosophy too long, and don’t treat it simply as part of their early education and then drop it, become, most of them, very odd birds, not to say thoroughly vicious; while even those who look the best of them are reduced by this study you praise so highly to complete uselessness as members of society.
Possibly I find myself in a bind here.

Monday, January 08, 2018

#meetoo &you?

The Golden Globes 2018: People who think they are saving the world by acting (dressing up and showing off), confront the rest of us over sins that they committed by - you'll never guess - dressing up and showing off. Only this time in black on the red carpet. Genius.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


In the latest home automation developments, I have bought Round the Horne: The Complete Julian & Sandy on Audible, whence it may be summoned from Alexa, and Amazon is Introducing Cooking Capabilities in the Alexa Smart Home Skill API.

Alexa: Then there's Pandro Wildebeeste, the television producer - does all those tough, hard-hitting documentaries about life on the coal-face and steel-smelting in Sierra Leone. Lives in that little pink cottage round the corner.

Myself: He's always dropping in for Alexa's speciality.

Alexa: He likes what I do with herbs, you see.

Myself: Alexa and her herbs. She can do anything with a few herbs. It's a gift.

Alexa: Shut up.

Myself: No, it is - don't run yourself down, Al. She's always denigrating herself, Mr. Prodnose.

Alexa: Well, don't be strange, Mr. Prodnose. Sit yourself down. Now, what do you fancy?

Prodnose: Well could I have a vada at your entrees?

Myself: Oh, he's bold!

Alexa: Here's the menu.

Prodnose: Hmm. I see you've got lally of lamb on.

Alexa: Yes, lamb's nice - or there's your jugged riah. That's palare for hare. We got it from our special charcuterie.

Prodnose: Charcuterie - your butcher?

Myself: You think so? Must be the way I've had me hair done.

Ba-dum-tish. Goodnight folks, I'm here all week! Be sure to tip the waitress.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Friday, January 05, 2018

Weekly Search Stats

As if I wasn't paranoid enough already I got this information from LinkedIn yesterday morning:
1 : number of times your profile appeared in search results between December 26 - January 2
Where your searchers work: 10 Downing Street

What your searchers do: Business Development Specialist

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Discretion is the better part of valour

I've changed my Facebook settings for the New Year. Fingers-crossed, videos and photos of my frankly appalling behaviour will now be limited to a smaller, more discerning audience.

(On reflection it turns out I needn't have been worried, but it is all grist to the mill.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Sam and Shauna's Big Cookout

Less than three years on from See Icons Passim, they've gone from being a pop up to having a restaurant, book and TV show, and more power to their elbow.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018: Dot-com bubble II

Just Eat is now worth £5.6bn compared with Sainsbury’s, which has 1,400 stores and sells 90,000 items and is valued at £5.1bn.
'Nuff said.