Sunday, September 20, 2020

Are Father Fart in Devon

I am off to take Peter on his weekly grocery shop as usual this morning. This movie with his oldest colleague will probably worth a trip to the Riverside once it comes out. There's already Oscar buzz though it isn't due until January 2021.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Shawty got low low low low low low low low

Worth a read given Icons passmin.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Ireland sober is Ireland stiff.

I got my DNA test result on my birthday back in 2018 (Icons passim).

I got an email yesterday:

As you may know, we’re constantly evolving the technology and methods behind AncestryDNA®. Using a combination of scientific expertise, the world’s largest online consumer DNA database, and millions of family trees linked with DNA results, we’re releasing our most precise DNA update yet.

You can see the update at

I am now 98% Irish, 2% Scottish and 0% the rest of the world. Two years ago I was 79% Ireland/Scotland/Wales with assorted other ingredients including 2% European Jewish. I fully expect to be more than 100% Irish the next time they run the rule over my chromosomes.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

In Our Time

The world may be going to hell in a hand basket but least Melvyn Bragg and In Our Time are back on Radio 4 on Thursday mornings.

They kicked a new series off with Pericles this morning. I haven't listened yet but I am sure that will be rectified soon.

One of the guests, Edith Hall, featured on the 'blog on this day last year.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

And so it goes

 No more visits to mum for the foreseeable due to COVID-19.

Dad needs a wedge, and a hoist, and a hospital bed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Nesta Guinness-Walker

 Nesta Guinness-Walker (born 14 September 1999) is an English professional footballer who plays for AFC Wimbledon, as a left back. He scored against Northampton over the weekend.

Andy Tea Merchant told me on Sunday at the Wimbledon Brewery that Guinness-Walker is Alex Guinness' great grandson. This fills me with delight. 

We whiled away much of the afternoon re-purposing Obi Wan Kenobi dialogue for the beautiful game.

To a defender "If you strike me down I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

To the referee "Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them."

That's no moon. It's a cross into the six-yard box!

You get the picture.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Real Sir Tom Jones

I will watch this tonight at

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Love of Wisdom


One day during her years at Radcliffe in the 1890s, Gertrude Stein sat down to write a philosophy exam. She just wasn’t in the mood, though, so instead of answering its questions she penned a short note to her professor, William James: “Dear Professor James, I am so sorry, but really I do not feel a bit like an examination paper in philosophy today”. In due course Stein received a response from James: “Dear Miss Stein, I understand perfectly how you feel. I often feel like that myself”. He gave her an excellent grade.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Money where my mouth is

Jonnie is running some sort of competition to predict how the Premiership will end up this year. I don't know how it will be judged but here is my best guess.

1 Liverpool

2 Manchester City

3 Chelsea

4 Manchester United

5 Tottenham Hotspur

6 Arsenal

7 Everton

8 Wolverhampton Wanderers

9 Leicester City

10 Southampton

11 Leeds

12 Newcastle United

13 West Ham United

14 Sheffield United

15 Aston Villa

16 Burnley

17 Brighton and Hove Albion

18 Crystal Palace

19 West Bromwich Albion

20 Fulham

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Mad Gardener's Song

We kick off today. Would it be possible next weekend? I doubt it.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Tootsie, Amsa and Zia

I watched the first episode of the new Netflix series "Chef's Table: BBQ" the night before last. It is about an 85 year old woman, a pit master called "Tootsie" Tomanetz, who works all week at a school and then gets up at 1 a.m. on Saturday to cook through the night for a Texas joint that opens at eight in the morning. Although it was understated I was very moved, probably because of the refracted light it threw on mum and dad, so I told my brother John about it.

He told me of an earlier favourite episode of Chef's Table about Asma Khan* of Darjeeling Express in London, so I watched that last night. It was great too, and I noticed that both episodes had the same director, Zia Mandviwalla. A name to watch.

* This article says that Asma Khan has got a PhD in British Constitutional Law. We could eat at hers and get her to fill us on in on the legality of Boris J's latest antics at the same time.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you

Yesterday, a Secretary of State told the House of Commons that a new internal market bill, due to be introduced today, will "reinterpret" the special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland and break international law.  This is beyond a disgrace. The head of the UK government’s legal department had already resigned so I imagine he agrees.

I have always a had a sneaking regard for John Major. I think he did most of the legwork that led to peace in Northern Ireland. Since Tony Blair got in though the phrase "this is the worst Prime Minister in living memory" has always been true. Boris Johnson is worse than Theresa May who was worse than David Cameron etc. etc. back nearly a quarter of a century.

Blair's cack-handed constitutional reforms are at the root of many of the problems we have in Parliament today. I am thinking particularly of the downgrading of the office of Lord Chancellor; separating judicial powers from the legislative and executive branches. Yesterday would have been inconceivable before that.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Shoe Polish by Kiwi

I have been writing a lot about the momentous, contradictory events of 1968 lately. It has also struck me that 1968 was the year that Peter Gill really broke out as a director when he presented three hitherto under-rated plays by D. H. Lawrence, as a group in the Royal Court Theatre.

In October they took one of the plays "The Daughter-in-Law" to Milan, Bucharest and Belgrade on a British Council tour.

That must have been interesting in the year of the Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Monday, September 07, 2020

The Ringo Kid

 As a rule I take Peter our for his weekly grocery shop on Sunday mornings, and after that we go to the plumb cafe where he has breakfast and I have a flat white.

Last week, I got a parking ticket while were there. I hadn't realized that the parking restrictions around it applied seven days a week.

Yesterday I phoned as the signs indicated to buy parking ticket and was rather unnerved to find that the automatic system knew my car's registration number and debit card number already. On reflection I imagine this may be because the same company runs the residents' parking for my local council, but I was still disturbed that all of this data was linked to my mobile number.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.


Coronavirus: Coyote Ugly in Cardiff 'could close' over social distancing

Coyote Ugly is disappearing in my niece's rear view mirror now that she is moving to London to go to drama school, but I have to say that everything I have heard about it suggests that it is very professionally run and they are top notch employers. I hope the bar survives.

Saturday, September 05, 2020


I am back in Cardiff visiting Mum and Dad. A spam telephone call claiming to be from Amazon and asking me to cancel a "suspicious" order for an iPhone 11 just came through. I gave them very short shrift though I could imagine someone more vulnerable being taken in. It leaves a bad taste.


If you receive a suspicious phone call, e-mail or text message claiming to be from Amazon, asking for payment, personal information, or offering a refund you do not expect, please do not share any personal information, and disconnect any phone call immediately. Amazon will never ask you for remote access to your device e.g. by asking you to install an app. You can report suspicious spam in the UK to Action Fraud at,

P.S. is all but unusable I gave up on it. 07463617441 is the number the dodgy call came from. 

Friday, September 04, 2020

More 1968: Warhol's wounds.

After he was shot, in 1968, Andy Warhol needed a girdle to keep his innards in place. But he liked being topless. "Paint me with my scars"

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Nigel Tufnel: It really puts perspective on things though, doesn't it?

Boris Johnson was pathetic in Prime Minister's Questions yesterday. The Daily Mail agrees with me, as does the Daily Telegraph. In the normal course of events, these would be dyed in the wool Tory cheer leaders.

That said it is now a year since the Parliament of the United Kingdom was ordered to be prorogued by Queen Elizabeth II upon the advice of the Conservative prime minister, Boris Johnson. The advice was later ruled to be unlawful, and it is as if the controversy never happened. By next week we will have forgotten that BoJo was too lazy even to prepare for PMQS yesterday.

There were two articles in the Torygraph yesterday that referred to Nixon's win in the 1968 presidential election as a possible augury for Trump. I've been scratching at this dirt for a while so it is good to see them catching up.

Add The Selling of the President to the reading list.
The Selling of the President is the enduring story of the 1968 campaign that wrote the script for modern Presidential politicking--and how that script came to be. It introduces:
  • Harry Treleaven, the first adman to suggest that issues bore voters, that image is what counts
  • Roger Ailes, a PR man who coordinated the TV presentations that delivered the product
  • Frank Shakespeare, the man behind the whole campaign, who, after eighteen years at CBS, cast the image that sold America a President
  • And the candidate, Richard Nixon himself--a politician running on television for the highest office in the land

    Wednesday, September 02, 2020

    George Wallace

    George Wallace ran for president in the 1968 election as the American Independent Party candidate. He carried five Southern states, won almost ten million popular votes and 46 electoral votes.

    For most of his career, he was a Democratic Party politician who served as the 45th Governor of Alabama for four terms. Indeed, he sought the United States presidency as a Democrat three times, and only once as an American Independent Party candidate, unsuccessfully each time. Wallace opposed desegregation and supported the policies of "Jim Crow" during the Civil Rights Movement, declaring in his 1963 inaugural address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. called Wallace "perhaps the most dangerous racist in America today".

    He won election to a fourth and final term as Alabama's governor in 1982!

    2020 is mad but 1968 was crazier. 

    Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Leave your preconceptions about race and US political parties at the door - is worth a read.

    Tuesday, September 01, 2020

    The Revolution was Televised


    2020 is a walk in the park compared with 1968 when it comes to unrest, but 1968 had the better soundtrack.


    Monday, August 31, 2020


    1968 was the year of student protests across the globe, and riots in the streets of Paris. Assassinations rocked America and Soviet Tanks crushed the Prague Spring. Sexual liberation, civil rights, drugs and music were said to shape the thinking of a generation.

    The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Republican nominee, former vice president Richard Nixon, defeated the Democratic nominee, incumbent vice president Hubert Humphrey. Analysts have argued the election of 1968 was a major realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal coalition that had dominated presidential politics since 1932.

    I think there are a lot of parallels with 2020.

    Reading List: Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968 by Norman Mailer.

    Sunday, August 30, 2020


    I am off to Kevin's birthday party in Richmond this afternoon. He's lived mostly in Hong Kong for decades, but he has been in London at this time of year once before.

    I can distinctly remember listening to commentary on the radio in the car while we were driving over, because England beat Germany 5-1 at football; a rare event.

    On a whim I googled the game. It was in 2001, 19 years ago! Man I am getting old. I wouldn't have put the elapsed time in double figures.

    Saturday, August 29, 2020

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

    I live in Marlborough Road. I was driving to work along Colliers Wood HIgh Street yesterday when I heard an ambulance siren behind me. I had previously imagined it might be impossible to let one past given the crazy changes that have been made to the road. Now I know it is impossible. I was furious and frustrated, God knows how drivers, paramedics and patients feel. In particular the posts on the outside of the bicycle lanes mean that the road has been narrowed to the extent that you simply can't get out of the way to let the emergency services past.

    Friday, August 28, 2020

    1933: Now and Then

    We all remember Dad's birthday, but it turned out yesterday that we were hazy on his year of birth; datum required for for filling in a form. I teased it out (1933) by looking at my family tree. Let's just meditate for a moment on how odd it is that I reached for that as a reference.

    He was born on March 8.

    • March 7 – The real-estate trading board game Monopoly was invented in the United States.
    • March 9 – Great Depression: The United States Congress began its first 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.

    Thursday, August 27, 2020

    Wednesday, August 26, 2020

    Last Night of the Poms

    Another suggestion, after yesterday, for the BBC.  "This one will run and run," Fergus Cashin.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Last Night Of The Bongs

    Cool Britannia
    Britannia  you are cool (take a trip) 
    Britains ever ever ever shall be hip

    Viv had the answer to the "racist" Rule Britannia at the Proms controversy as well as so much else. He should have been Prime Minister. I could have coped with life under Stanshallism.

    Monday, August 24, 2020

    Possibly an armchair

    I was thinking about a monologue Mia wrote about her grandfather in his chair, and remembered that Viv Stanshall has also staked out a claim in this area.

    Growing up to be like dad,

    Death defying times ahead, 

    Retelling stories old,

    OF times when dad was older.... younger ...

    Now he sits and has

    Every comfort and sits 

    With a washable cover

    Yet it niggles him

    That his life has gone by

    So he says to his son. 

    I don't want to think

    I'm not paid to think

    I've retired you see

    But it worries me

    How can I convey?

    You might turn out to be

    Possibly, an armchair like me. 

    Sunday, August 23, 2020

    Judging Books by Their Covers

     Richard Feynman tries to improve school textbooks

    In 1964 the Nobel-prize physicist Richard P. Feynman served on the State of California's Curriculum Commission and saw how the Commission chose math textbooks for use in California's public schools. In his acerbic memoir of that experience, titled "Judging Books by Their Covers," Feynman analyzed the Commission's idiotic method of evaluating books, and described some of the tactics employed by schoolbook salesmen who wanted the Commission to adopt their shoddy products. "Judging Books by Their Covers" appeared as a chapter in "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" – Feynman's autobiographical book that was published in 1985 by W.W. Norton & Company. This essay is reprinted here for your enjoyment. (His title is motivated by the fact that one publisher sent California multiple copies of a "textbook" consisting entirely of blank pages. It was given high marks.)

    You may want to compare and contrast evaluating blank text books with arguing about the grades kids got for exams that they didn't take.

    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    Don Quixote Part 2

     We have finished Part 1 (1605) of Don Quixote at the rate of one chapter a day on Audible and will start Part 2 (published 10 years later in 1615) tomorrow.

    Thursday, August 20, 2020

    Michel de Montaigne

     I think I wrote well today. It is just that none of it suitable for a weblog.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020

    An actor, huh? Just remember never let anyone catch you at it.


    Mia as been accepted into the acting BA at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. You know, the place where Larry Olivier and "Judo" Dench went. We are all beside ourselves.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020

    The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

     I have never really had much time for Hemingway but I stumbled on this and it is good stuff.

    Monday, August 17, 2020

    Swann's Way

     YouTube's recommendation algorithm tugged on my sleeve concerning the In Our Time episode about Proust yesterday, and I listened to it as À la recherche du temps perdu had come up in the morning when I was talking to Peter and I had been forced to admit that  (apart from madeleine cakes) I knew practically nothing about it at all.

    I learned from Melvyn and guests that the first part of the first book goes on and on and on about our protagonist not being able to get to sleep.

    I never have any trouble getting to sleep. (Is a somniac the opposite of an insomniac?) 

    It has struck me that if I buy the Audible version, I can start to listen to it when I go to bed and never get past the Overture because I always nod off.

    Eat your heart out Borges!

    Sunday, August 16, 2020

    Let it rain, I hydroplane in the bank


    I finished series 2 of The Umbrella Academy yesterday. Good stuff. I was quite taken with the soundtrack and found that Netflix have actually put it up on Spottily as a playlist.

    Saturday, August 15, 2020

    Visual Metaphor Anyone?

    Colliers Wood opposite CITW. Life in 2020 encapsulated in a single image.

    Friday, August 14, 2020

    John Hay


     Once in a while I follow a YouTube recommendation to something I wouldn't usually watch. That is what happened with the video above.

    John Hay was President Lincoln's personal secretary, a position that began nearly five decades of public service. A diplomat who served multiple Administrations from Lincoln to Roosevelt, he was a central figure in defining the U.S. foreign policy.

    He was also, it emerges in the show, a folksy poet and the author of "Jim Bludso of the Prairie Belle" which my Dad used to read to me when I was a little boy (Icons passim).

    Thursday, August 13, 2020

    Wanting to find out how deep the ocean is, I dissolve walking into it

    Cease practice based
    On intellectual understanding,
    Pursuing words and
    Following after speech.
    Learn the backward
    Step that turns
    Your light inward
    To illuminate within.
    Body and mind of themselves
    Will drop away
    And your original face will be manifest.
    The country is transfixed today about the results of A level exams that weren't taken.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020

    Drinking Church

    I'm convinced. Where do I sign up?

    Tuesday, August 11, 2020

    The Captive's Tale

    I have had to dig this up as the Yale course doesn't seem to cover these chapters at all.

    Monday, August 10, 2020

    Calypso in Cardiff Bay

    Helen sent me this link to an episode of Black Music In Europe yesterday knowing that I would in interested in the section on Cardiff.

    I haven't listened yet but I have explored sufficiently to know that the part about the bay starts about 11 minutes 40 in.

    Sunday, August 09, 2020

    Well that's a start

    Callum started for Chelsea yesterday for the first time in a whille and was unlucky to have this screamer disallowed.

    Saturday, August 08, 2020

    15 Must-Have Items for an Edgy, Rocker-Chic Wardrobe

    1. Fights. Blood was spilled at the Mills last night. I was unsurprised as I had noticed the perpetrators snorting that which they shouldn't in the gents earlier. I tipped the wink to John the guvnor who tipped the wink to security in turn, who came down on it pretty quickly when things got real.

    2. Refugees. It rumoured that the council are putting a lot of asylum seekers up. A lot of people seem anxious about this. I am sanguine. They have to stay somewhere.

    No doubt items 3 through 15 of my Must-Have Items for an Edgy, Rocker-Chic Wardrobe will follow, but fights and refugees is a good start.

    Friday, August 07, 2020

    Roath Castle


    We ended up here last night after the Claude closed. 

    It was was built around 1780, and the castellations were added in the 1830s.

    A stone's throw from Albany Road; I had no idea it existed until yesterday.

    Thursday, August 06, 2020

    Today's visits

    11:00 Mum at Ty Enfys
    14:00 Dad at Belle Vue (John came too)
    16:00 Sean Burke at his house at the end of Ty Gwyn Avenue
    18:00 Slavoj Zizek online
    20:00 Kevin Taylor at the Claude

    Wednesday, August 05, 2020

    What the L was that?

    Ben passed his driving test this morning. it had been long delayed specifically by COVID-19, but also by one-thing=and=another in general.

    His instructor being in the long ago pre-lockdown rear mirror, we hired a car from and he also had a two hour lesson with the same crew before the test. He doesn't think he could have done it without them so I am happy to share the love.

    Tuesday, August 04, 2020

    First-order logic

    I need a mask.
    I can buy a mask in a shop.
    I can't go into a shop unless I have a mask.
    There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

    Monday, August 03, 2020

    You're a beautuf intelligent womaaan,,,

    No one will understand this post but me and my brother John. "We'll always have New Orleans."

    Sunday, August 02, 2020

    Do you like good music? That sweet soul music.

    The latest version of BBC Radio's Soul Music (may its tribe increase!) is about Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive."

    We learn that in 1978, when she recorded the song,  Gaynor was, in fact, wearing a medical brace following emergency surgery on her back after an accident that could have left her paralysed for life. “I’d been on stage and fallen backwards over a monitor and ended up in hospital."

    This is totally amazing to me. Phil played bass on a tour with her in the 80s. As a rule he stands to the left of the drummer so he can lock in to the tempo from the high hat, On this occasion though he gradually found himself (and not in a weird way) drifting away from his station and taking the time from her shaking her booty.

    This was after 1978 surgery to remove a ruptured disc and fuse two of the vertebrae in her lower spine, but before she went under the knife again in 1997 to correct the spinal stenosis caused by the initial operation. Two more procedures followed in 2018.

    What a woman.

    Saturday, August 01, 2020

    Shaolin Soccer

    Perhaps subconsciously triggered by today's FA Cup final, a memory of Callum coming around to my house and watching Shaolin Soccer on DVD with Ben years ago when they were still in primary school.

    I think it explains a lot about his style.

    A post shared by Callum Hudson-Odoi (@calteck10) on

    Friday, July 31, 2020

    One door closes and another opens

    I can't spend my whole life reading highbrowne stuff like "Chivalry and Empire: The Colonial Argument of the Princess Micomicona Episode in Don Quijote Part I." Sometimes I need to blow the froth off a cold one and settle down in front of a Netflix comic book adaptation.

    I've finished Warrior Nun and season two of The Umbrella Academy is due to be released at eight this morning.

    Thursday, July 30, 2020


    It is mum and dad's 60th wedding anniversary today.

    Wednesday, July 29, 2020

    Simple Simon

    Very cool indeed Simon. Very cool.

    Tuesday, July 28, 2020

    Beer Pong

    The Hendries have an all-weather table tennis set up in the garden and Ben introduced us all to beer pong (a game Rayburn taught him in the States) over the weekend.
    Beer pong, also known as Beirut, is a drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in a cup of beer on the other end. The game typically consists of opposing teams of two or more players per side with 6 or 10 cups set up in a triangle formation on each side.[1] Each team then takes turns attempting to throw ping pong balls into the opponent's cups. If a ball lands in a cup (known as a 'make'), the contents of that cup are consumed by the other team and the cup is removed from the table. The first team to eliminate all of the opponent's cups is the winner.
    At last, the sport I was born to play.

    Monday, July 27, 2020

    Harry Houdini's Hat

    Harry Houdini started his career touring with carnivals and circuses. At Coney Island in 1893, he met a fellow performer, Wilhelmina Beatrice "Bess" Rahner. When they married in 1894, she joined his  act, which became known as "The Houdinis". For the rest of Houdini's performing career, Bess worked as his stage assistant.

    They were famously devoted, but I am sure I have read or heard somewhere that on the odd, inevitable occasion when they did have a row, he would would be ejected from their caravan and start walking around the fairground. After each lap he would throw his hat in through the window. If Bess threw it back out, he was still in trouble so he would set off again. If she didn't he was forgiven and allowed back in again.

    I think this was wonderfully psychologically astute; as tempers cooled the flying hat would gradually become funny, charming and whimsical.

    Sunday, July 26, 2020

    A smoking gun

    I have got form questioning the Government's OneWeb aquisition (Icons passim).

    It has emerged now that Sam Beckett, the acting permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy raised serious concerns about the purchase.

    Herewith the correspondence on the Ministerial direction for the purchase of OneWeb that will cover the redoubtable Ms Beckett in glory sometime in the future when it is bugger all use to anyone.

    She was sidelined about a week ago (see this). I wonder why? What an extraordinary coincidence.

    While I will continue to stick my nose into the government's business, class is class and I am very impressed by this revelation:
    Emily Maitlis has revealed that she received a “text of support” from Dominic Cummings following her Newsnight monologue.
    The presenter divided audiences in May after introducing an episode of the political programme with a speech claiming that Cummings had “broken the rules”, after he drove from London to County Durham at the height of lockdown.
    Sending a private message of support to someone who is being pilloried for attacking, is one for the ages.

    Saturday, July 25, 2020

    Let's Get Physical

    Wimbledon BookFest is running a live, physical event in September, featuring a keynote speech from Matthew Syed.
    The festival, entitled Last Days of Summer, will run from 12th to 13th September in an open marquee on Wimbledon Common featuring appearances from inspiring speakers and bestselling adult and children's authors.
    Events will have reduced capacities and ticketed entry to ensure it remains safe for everyone, organisers said. The events will also be streamed digitally.
    Also, I am going to try and get back in the gym today as it has finally opened. I have done all but nothing since it shut.

    Friday, July 24, 2020

    Annie Ross

    Annie Ross had died aged 89. Born in Mitcham doncha know. I went to see her live (with Link as I recall) when we were in Swansea University but she didn't play because there were only about half a dozen people in the audience.

    Thursday, July 23, 2020

    You and Ben Browne

    Predicted relationship: Parent/Child
    Shared DNA: 3,419 cM across 83 segments
    Ben has finally had his DNA tested at (I am pretty sure I gave him the kit as a birthday present two years ago. No hurry then.)

    I wonder if there is a way we can link his results (and Mia's) to mine in a family tree so they can get access to my research on our Irish ancestors?

    Wednesday, July 22, 2020

    Oh, those Russians

    I haven't read all of this yet, but the section I am most intereseted in starts on page 15

    Money quote
    Whilst the Russian elite have developed ties with a number of countries in recent years, it would appear that the UK has been viewed as a particularly favourable destination for Russian oligarchs and their money. It is widely recognised that the key to London's appeal was the exploitation of the UK’s investor visa scheme, introduced in 1994, followed by the promotion of a light and limited touch to regulation, with London’s strong capital and housing markets offering sound investment opportunities.
    Intelligence and Security C... by The Guardian on Scribd

    Tuesday, July 21, 2020

    Boulangere Potatoes

    I was at Coffee in the Wood this morning at six to watch Kevin baking his croissants. He thought I was joking when I suggested it.

    The recipe for boulangere potatoes emerged from the French tradition of taking a casserole of potatoes to the local baker so the dish could be placed in the baker's cooling oven to cook. Perhaps I will take a pot of sliced spuds, onions and stock along there tomorrow at about seven.

    Monday, July 20, 2020

    200,000 lives

    Projected increased deaths within one year

    • Covid-19: 50,000
    • Delayed healthcare short term: 12,000 to 25,000
    • Delayed healthcare long term: 185,000
    • Recession: 600 to 12,000
    • Suicide: 500
    • Domestic violence: 20
    • Accidents at home: low tens 
    According to the Torygraph this morning,
    More than 200,000 people could die from the impact of lockdown and protecting the NHS, an official government report shows.
    As national restrictions were imposed, experts from the Department of Health, the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the government’s Actuary Department and the Home Office forecast the collateral damage from delays to healthcare and the effects of recession arising from the pandemic response.
    It estimated that in a reasonable worst case scenario, around 50,000 people would die from coronavirus in the first six months of the pandemic, with mitigation measures in place.
    But in the report published in April they calculated that up to 25,000 could die from delays to treatment in the same period and a further 185,000 in the medium to long term - amounting to nearly one million years of life lost.
    I can't find this report April report online, but as soon as I can a link to it will appear here. Someone needs to look this data in the face.

    Sunday, July 19, 2020


    Ben is in a football tournament today. I didn't even know he played footie.

    RECEPTIONIST: Maternity ward, may I help you?
    CALLER: Yes, I’m calling about my son. He was born at your hospital in 2011, and I was wondering if I might be able to speak to someone about something.
    RECEPTIONIST: What is it that you’re calling about, exactly?
    CALLER: My son has turned into a sporty kid.
    RECEPTIONIST: I’m sorry, did you say you have a spotty kid? This seems like a matter for his pediatrician.
    CALLER: No. He’s sporty. As in, athletic.
    RECEPTIONIST: I’m sorry, but we really can’t—
    CALLER: He led his youth basketball team in three-point shooting last fall.
    RECEPTIONIST: Ma’am, what exactly is the problem?
    CALLER: My son is… really good at sports. Like, all of them.
    CALLER: Basketball. Soccer. Baseball. Football. And now he’s taken up tennis because it’s the perfect social-distancing sport. And he’s amazing at it!
    RECEPTIONIST: This doesn’t seem like something the hospital would be concerned with.
    CALLER: Well, I want to make sure he wasn’t switched at birth. He’s really fast! I can barely walk quickly. And he’s got amazing hand-eye coordination! People say to me all the time, “Wow, your son is really good at sports!” And what can I say? “Thank you”? I take zero credit for his athletic ability. It did NOT come from me.

    Saturday, July 18, 2020

    Virtue has a veil, vice a mask

    References to Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. I am spoiling you this morning.

    Friday, July 17, 2020

    Pull the other one

    The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is the committee of Parliament with statutory responsibility for oversight of the UK Intelligence Community.

    At the beginning of this week the Government, which nominates its members, tried to steamroller Chris Grayling into the role of chair.

    The other nominees rebelled and elected Julian Lewis instead, prompting an embarrassed Downing Street to remove the whip from the victor.

    The Lewis led committee then confirmed it will publish the long-delayed report into Russian infiltration in the UK next week  before parliament goes into recess.

    The former chair of the committee Dominic Grieve said the report had been sent to Downing Street on 17 October last year and was ready for publication once it had been signed off, a process that usually takes up to 10 days.

    Yesterday, by an extraordinary coincidence, Downing St accused Putin's hackers of attempting to steal the UK's Covid-19 vaccine research, and also briefed that the Kremlin 'played Jeremy Corbyn as a useful idiot' to publicise classified documents.

    Why now? The report will come out before Wednesday. It has been sat on because it will reveal unsavoury details of Tory involvement . My guess is funding by oligarchs to gain influence. Yesterday's shenanigans are a clumsy attempt to pull the sting of next week's embarrassment by creating a fairy story in which this government has always stood up to the assertive Russian bear.

    What kind of idiots do they think we are?

    Thursday, July 16, 2020

    Eight to Thirteen

    As I was listening to the first chapter of Don Quixote Book 1 Part 3 on Audible this morning, it struck me that I fancied there was a direct reference to Cervantes' novel in Cyrano de Bergerac. It turns out that it is in the conclusion to Act 2 Scene 7.

    DE GUICHE (qui s'est dominé, avec un sourire):
    . . .Avez-vous lu Don Quichot ?
    Je l'ai lu.
    Et me découvre au nom de cet hurluberlu.
    Veuillez donc méditer alors. . .
    UN PORTEUR (paraissant au fond):
    Voici la chaise.
    Sur le chapitre des moulins !
    CYRANO (saluant):
    Chapitre treize.
    Car, lorsqu'on les attaque, il arrive souvent. . .
    J'attaque donc des gens qui tournent à tout vent ?
    Qu'un moulinet de leurs grands bras chargés de toiles
    Vous lance dans la boue !. . .
    Ou bien dans les étoiles !
    (De Guiche sort. On le voit remonter en chaise. Les seigneurs s'éloignent en chuchotant. Le Bret les réaccompagne. La foule sort.)

    A mystery has emerged. "Chapitre treize" (chapter 13) says Cyrano when de Guiche warns him against titling at windmills, yet - as any fule kno - the windmills appear in chapter 8.

    Perhaps others have noticed before me, but wisely concluded that they didn't care.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2020

    Where's the beef?

    National Cyber Security Centre
    Huawei, 5G, and new US sanctions: round-up of NCSC publications
    A round-up of publications that explain changes to the NCSC’s advice on ‘managing High Risk Vendors within UK telecommunications networks’.
    Well, I have read the bulk of this and I am none the wiser. Broadly is is tautological and disingenuous.
    The new US sanction announced in May 2020 means that Huawei is very unlikely to be able to continue to use US technology and software in the design and manufacture of its products. The NCSC has looked very closely at the impact of these changes on the UK and no longer considers that the UK will be able to manage the security risks of using affected Huawei technology in our future 5G networks.
    I would be interested if anyone can explain how the second sentence follows from the first in the paragraph above.

    Tuesday, July 14, 2020

    Dombey and Son

    I left Peter logged on to my Audible account on Sunday so he could get the hang of it trying out various books from my library,

    The idea is to sign him up fro a month's free trial with his own account next weekend. That will come with a free credit so this version of Dombey and Son could be just the job as I remember him telling me that he thinks that there might be a play on one of the sub plots.

    Great reviews, read by a Welsh actor, more than 40 hours long and free with a trial as opposed to a £34.99 regular price. What is not to like here.

    Monday, July 13, 2020

    Catch Up

    Pubs are going to be opening outdoors in Wales from today. It is strange they have only been open in England for a week and a bit, but when I went for a couple of pints in the Standard yesterday afternoon, it felt as if they had never been away.

    Wales ready to play four home games at Twickenham during autumn 'festival of rugby' says the Torygraph today. My initial reaction was that this is madness, but the article goes on to say:
    The WRU, which is facing a £50 million loss in revenue if games are not rescheduled, has been forced to consider other venues given warnings from the Welsh government that crowds are ­unlikely to be permitted in Cardiff until the new year.
    Between a rock and a hard place.

    If the deal is closed, one of the games would be the rescheduled Six Nations clash with Scotland. I had tickets for Wales v Scotland in Cardiff. They have been on my mantelpiece since the it was cancelled. I wonder if they can be swapped for the Twickenham clash.

    Sunday, July 12, 2020

    Jackie Charlton

    I was sorry to hear of the death of Jackie Charlton.

    I always remember a story he told about learning to be a football manager, because I think we can all learn from it.

    In the first game and the first club he managed his team were losing at half time, so he started tearing a strip off them in the changing in the interval. After he finished ranting, a senior player looked up at him and said "Gov, you aren't helping." Charlton says that his was when he realized that by shouting and screaming he was only venting his own ego and embarrassment.

    This he said was when he learned that the job was to make the best of what was available to him, and only ever to intervene with the positive intention of improving things.

    Everyone can learn from that.

    Saturday, July 11, 2020

    Who's That What's That

    I heard this twice on the radio on my way to Leamongton Spa yesterday and rather liked it. Perhaps I can pretend I am Niko B?

    We all all about da youth today.

    Friday, July 10, 2020


    I am leaving the house very early this morning and driving up to Warwickshire, Shakespeare's county of birth. I have also finished Part 1 of Don Quixote.
    The History of Cardenio, often referred to as merely Cardenio, is a lost play, known to have been performed by the King's Men, a London theatre company, in 1613. The play is attributed to William Shakespeare and John Fletcher in a Stationers' Register entry of 1653. The content of the play is not known, but it was likely to have been based on an episode in Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote involving the character Cardenio, a young man who has been driven mad and lives in the Sierra Morena. Thomas Shelton's translation of the First Part of Don Quixote was published in 1612, and would thus have been available to the presumed authors of the play.
    The RSC tried to re-imagine it in 2011, making this a good post for me to queue up for today.

    Thursday, July 09, 2020

    My Lowbrow Life

    I was rather taken with Summer Feelings - Lennon Stella feat. Charlie Puth (from Scoob! The Album) when it came on the radio as I was driving to work yesterday.

    In the evening I watched episode one of Warrior Nun on Netflix.

    Caught in the middle of an ancient war between good and evil, a young girl wakes up in a morgue with inexplicable powers. Her search for answers brings her to The Order of the Cruciform Sword, a secret society of warrior nuns sworn to protect the world from evil. While juggling her responsibilities as the chosen one with the normal obstacles of a teenage girl, this mysterious fantasy drama is full of mystery, action, adventure, and teenage romance, proving our main character might fight in the name of good, but she’s no angel.

    Wednesday, July 08, 2020

    They don't care

    Whitehall sources suggested on Tuesday night that some care bosses "must accept their share of the blame" for the epidemic in care homes, which is thought to have cost at least 20,000 lives.
    "Obviously the Government has to face up to the fact that much of the guidance came too late, and the personal protection equipment (PPE) and testing was a disaster," the senior source said. "But some of these, care providers are no angels either."
    Just when we thought the government couldn't get any more shameless and cynical, it has started briefing anonymously against carers in the fallout from Boris' ridiculous outburst the day before yesterday.

    My mother is in a home where a resident has just been diagnosed with COVID-19 and my father is in a home where the same thing has happened to a staff member. I haven't seen either of them since February and there is no chance now that I will see them before August.

    Welcome to Johnson’s alternative reality – where care home workers get the blame: Marina Hyde.
    ...... the government is officially blaming care home workers for the deaths of people in care homes – and, presumably, blaming care home workers for the deaths of care home workers themselves. According to Boris Johnson, a Cobra-dodging handshake-nut who was blamelessly “mugged” by the virus himself, “too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have”.

    Tuesday, July 07, 2020

    Verbatim: What Is a Photocopier?

     "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." William Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2.

    Monday, July 06, 2020

    My Highbrow Life

    I went over to see Peter Gill in Hammersmith yesterday morning and then met Ben at the Mills for lunch.

    I am so used to conversation with Peter being at an exalted level that I was initially confused when he said he had started to watch a documentary about Epstein on Netflix but could't get on with it. I had assumed he was talking about Jacob Epstein the sculptor rather than the notorious Jeffrey Epstein.

    Then later over a lager Ben started discoursing about Yukio Mishima, the Japanese author.

    I am honoured by this exalted company.

    Sunday, July 05, 2020

    Marek Ziebart

    The OneWeb fiasco. Watch this space. I am going to buy Dominic Cummings a geometry set for his birthday.

    Saturday, July 04, 2020

    Bog Standard

    The pubs are open and I have had a Stella or two in the Standard.

    It was as if all the locals had never been away.

    Friday, July 03, 2020


    When Andy Tea's laptop went kaput during Tuesday's quiz he said he was going to take it to the IT services place in the High Street. I remembered this yesterday when I had a power supply problem with a Surface Pro so I took it round . Mubashar Ahmad not only fixed the adapter, he refused to take any money for it!

    Let's all just big up HAT Services Ltd, 106 High Street, Colliers Wood SW19 2BT. 0203 524 7530

    Thursday, July 02, 2020

    Florida: Marion County

    Rayburn and his family live in Florida; Marion county to be a little more precise. Corona-virus infections seem to be surging there, and the governor, Ron DeSantis, seems to be a loon.

    Rebekah Jones, who says she was fired from her job in charge of the state’s official Covid-19 database in May for refusing to manipulate its figures is running her own privately funded version now at

    That is where I will be checking regularly for the time being.

    Wednesday, July 01, 2020

    The Impossible Dream

    We have finished reading the Decameron at the rate of one story a day during lock-down.

    I never imagined in my wildest dreams that house arrest could go on so long.

    When I say "reading" above, I really mean listening as I ingested via audible. I am now very much taken with having a story playing as I go about my morning business so I intend to continue with Don Quixote for the simple reason that the chapters seem to average out around fifteen minutes. There was talk of Sherlock Holmes but his stories seem to range  from around 45 minutes to an hour and I don't have that much time between getting up and then getting down to the day's business.

    Tuesday, June 30, 2020


    The OneWeb satellite constellation (formerly WorldVu) was a planned initial 650-satellite constellation that was in the process of being built out in 2019–2020, with a goal to provide global satellite Internet broadband services to people everywhere and was previously aiming to provide global services starting in 2021. The constellation was being deployed by OneWeb, formerly known as WorldVu Satellites and headquartered in London, United Kingdom with offices in California, Florida, Virginia, Dubai and Singapore.

    OneWeb declared bankruptcy in late March 2020, and has laid off most of their employees (reducing its workforce from 531 employees down to 74) but is maintaining the satellite operations center for the 68 satellites already in orbit while the court determines disposition of the OneWeb assets.

    Our government now intends to pay £500m for 20% of it to mitigate the UK’s loss of access to the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system.

    I will continue to follow this with interest as it disappears from the front pages as I find it utterly incomprehensible.

    This is the same government that brought us the ongoing track and trace app debacle remember.

    Monday, June 29, 2020

    Four-square on the Northern Line

    The Beeb
    Two illegal street parties have been broken up by police during another night of unlawful gatherings in London.
    Dispersal zones were put in place in Clapham Common and Tooting Bec Common to clear crowds causing "significant disruptions" on Saturday night.
    Tooting Bec is two stops away from me at Colliers Wood on the Northern Line and Clapham Common is only five. What happened to my invitations?

    Sunday, June 28, 2020

    Hugging the cactus

    This video is coming up for ten years old. I hold no brief for Mel Gibson, but I admire the courage this must have taken from Robert Downey Jr. Compare and contrast yesterday's deafening silence and cancel culture in general.

    Saturday, June 27, 2020

    Reading stabbings: Victims were 'true gentlemen'

    In the aftermath of the stabbings in Reading a week ago tonight, Douglas Murray has said "the gay press, the mainstream press and gay lobbying organisations like Stonewall are primed for what would happen if a right-wing extremist killed people" but adds "they have no idea how to respond when something like Saturday night happens, so they just cover it over."

    Referring to coverage of recent events by 'gay press', he says "they don't know what to do when a young Libyan asylum seeker allegedly stabs three gay men in Reading centre on a Saturday night".

    I had no idea the victims were gay. Did you? Victims were 'true gentlemen' said the BBC; quite.

    I always knew it would come to this (Icons passim). It gives me no satisfaction to be proved right 15 years later.

    Have a couple of neologisms on me:
    Islamophobiaphobic: the fear of being thought Islamophobic.
    Homophobiaphobic: the fear of being thought homophobic.

    The former is now higher up the totem pole in polite society than the latter.

    Friday, June 26, 2020

    a story goes with it

    When I was down in Portishead today Charlie was telling me about a section on the BBC news site called Reality Check and particularly an article called "The fake news about India and China's border clash."

    It turns out that he had spent time with both the Indian and Bangladeshi armies while serving with British Forces.

    He also told me a story about another part of the world, when he was with a ramshackle Sudanese contingent that accidentally strayed over the border into Eritrea. Vegetation stirred and they were intercepted by deeply camouflaged Eritreans who seemed to appear from nowhere. Luckily for Charlie the officers had been trained and Sandhurst and treated him with exemplary civility. Not so much detailing him as "inviting" him back the their headquarters for the evening.

    Thursday, June 25, 2020

    Rayburn and Kevin, yes. The media, no.

    S. I. Hayakawa
    The original version of this book, Language in Action, published in 1941, was in many respects a response to the dangers of propaganda, especially as exemplified in Adolf Hitler's success in persuading millions to share his maniacal and destructive views. It was the writer's conviction then, as it remains now, that everyone needs to have a habitually critical attitude towards language—his own as well as that of others—both for the sake of his personal well being and for his adequate functioning as a citizen. Hitler is gone, but if the majority of our fellow citizens are more susceptible to the slogans of fear and race hatred than to those of peaceful accommodation and mutual respect among human beings, our political liberties remain at the mercy of any eloquent and unscrupulous demagogue.
    Those are wise words above. Once more with feeling, " if the majority of our fellow citizens are more susceptible to the slogans of fear and race hatred than to those of peaceful accommodation and mutual respect among human beings, our political liberties remain at the mercy of any eloquent and unscrupulous demagogue." I had never even heard of Hayakawa until Rayburn, who lives in Florida now with his partner and daughter, introduced me to his though with the wonderfully understated "I try my best to try and understand what's going on in the world."

    Also, last night Kevin told me a story about Test and Trace's Dido Harding and a misplaced decimal point that I won't repeat but also won't forget.

    Wednesday, June 24, 2020

    Use it or lose it

    Pubs to reopen July 4 - here are the rules and guidelines
    Pubs can reopen, but only if they follow strict rules to keep customers safe. For now, it's table service only...
    It will be great to get back in the boozer, don't get me wrong, but there have been pluses from sitting out in the park as well.  A month ago (Icons passim) I was decrying everyone's lack of mobility sitting on the grass in the park instead of around a table. Earlier this week at my birthday drink (I's P) I couldn't help but notice how much more comfortable everyone seemed ass to the grass; sitting down, then sitting then getting up again.

    Use it or lose it. You are all much less likely to fall down and hurt yourself than you were a month ago. Grapple this to thy souls with hoops of steel. Falling down twice is what really impacted most profoundly on my mother's quality of life. Don't let it happen to you.

    Tuesday, June 23, 2020

    Plato's Beard

    a socially distanced party in the park
    I was particularly delighted to get a hand-made card from Ben on my birthday yesterday which contained the quote, attributed to Plato, "Music is moral law. It gives soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm and gaiety to life and to everything." How he ever thought of that after listening to me on the quitar or the piano I will never know.

    I already knew I shared my birthday with Danny Baker, but I was equally pleased to find that Billy Wilder is a June 22nd man as as well.

    Monday, June 22, 2020

    The Room Where It Happened

    From the Telegraph review of The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton.
    Finally, one of the key events over which Bolton eventually quit was Trump’s refusal to countenance a military assault on Iran. The Iranians had shot down an unmanned drone; the military presented a plan to hit their bases, which might have resulted in dozens of casualties. Trump said no. “I don’t like it,” Bolton recalls him stating. “They didn’t kill any of our people.”
    For Bolton this was an unforgivable sign of weakness: "the most irrational thing I ever witnessed any president do." Some readers might admire it. For all his faults, Trump has pursued peace and avoided body bags. He is a very human president, perhaps too human – but sometimes he can be surprisingly humane.
    I have been saying Trump is a dove for months and everyone looks at me as if I am mad.

    Sunday, June 21, 2020

    I’m still catching up.

    Meet the monk who took a 75-day silent retreat and missed the coronavirus pandemic
    How would you explain coronavirus to a younger version of yourself, beamed in from December 2019? How would you explain that, in just a few months, a novel virus has torn across the planet, killing more than 400,000 people and confining a third of the world’s population to their homes? A virus that has incapacitated senior members of the UK government, including the prime minister? And would they even believe you?
    It sounds like the sort of light-hearted hypothetical you might be asked at a (virtual) dinner party, but for Daniel Thorson it is not so ridiculous. The 33-year-old lives and works at a Buddhist monastic academy in Vermont, in the northeastern United States, and recently spent two-and-a-half months in a silent retreat, denied any news from the outside world. Upon coming out on 23rd May, he logged in to Twitter and asked his followers: “Did I miss anything?”.
    My Zen reply; "You didn't miss anything."
    Thorson, who now spends less time on his smartphone and tries to avoid binging on rolling news, is glad he missed what he calls the “anxiety hype cycle” that most of his friends went through in late March, when the world seemed to be falling apart. That said, he is left with one surprising regret. “There is a part of me that wishes I could have been there to watch it, because I've been studying this possibility for years and to have missed it - I don't want to say I feel sad, but it's interesting, I would have liked to learn and see it. But on the whole, what I was doing was so much more valuable than that.
    “I’m still catching up.”

    Saturday, June 20, 2020

    A Slow Motion Car Crash

    With Britain in lockdown, the Government has been trying to find ways to ease restrictions without putting public safety at risk; one solution is a contact-tracing app that can enable digital contact-tracing on a large scale.

    On May 5, the Government revealed its first attempt at a contact-tracing app. But in a major u-turn, on June 18, it admitted that the app flawed and it would switch to a model being developed by tech giants Apple and Google.

    It is an utter and maniacal disgrace that our betters didn't go with Google and Apple in the first place. Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales explains.

    I have been doing a little wood-shedding on this as I was bemused by the fact that the Bluetooth LE protocol was central as I couldn't see (in the absence of beacons) how Bluetooth could be used to track locations. I turns out it is used to check to whom you have been close, not where the closeness occurred. The mist begins to clear. Take a look at and the helpful links.

    Matt Hancock criticising Apple's Bluetooth implementation, NHSX etc. God give me strength.

    Friday, June 19, 2020

    The Hissing of Dumber Fauns

    England rugby fans could soon be banned from singing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'
    RFU reviewing use of the American slave anthem which has previously been criticised by academics for cultural appropriation
    I am not sure that this has been thought through. How would one go about enforcing such a ban? I remember when we were in school a teacher left at the end of a lesson and then returned in high dudgeon claiming that someone had hissed at her on the way out. I hadn't heard any hissing, but it instantly occurred to me (and many other classmates) that it is possible to hiss invisibly. Practically all of us hissed her on the second and many subsequent exits. It was madness to challenge us like that. The deputy head was summoned as I recall, such was the escalation.

    I can remember hearing Swing Low Sweet Chariot at an international for the first time watching on the TV when Chris Oti scored a hat trick against Ireland in 1998. I was bemused to say the least.

    Thursday, June 18, 2020

    Angel of the Morning

    I have bought a battery pack for my 2nd generation Alexa dot, so it can come in to the bathroom with me now of a morning when I am listening to the news or catching up with the day's Decameron story.

    I think it is best that you take my word for the fact that it is working well. I would prefer it if you didn't come in to check while I am about my ablutions.

    It also strike me that I should be able to take it out into the garden. The Wi-Fi should reach.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2020

    There is no good title for this

    Boris Johnson announces end of the foreign aid 'cashpoint' in the sky
    Prime Minister to put UK security first as he scraps international development department
    Boris Johnson will use the £14 billion foreign aid budget to counter “Russian meddling” and protect national security after announcing he is to scrap the Department for International Development.
    Point of order; if you use the foreign aid budget to protect national security it is no longer the foreign aid budget. God knows I disagreed with David Cameron about many things but at least the man is in possession of a moral compass.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020

    When you're right, you write

    Callum Hudson-Odoi: Chelsea winger to face no further action on an allegation of rape, which is a relief. Here is his Twitter post. Do you remember that he was the first Premier League player to test positive for COVID-19? I remember considering suggesting when he got over it, as he would be immune, he should volunteer at a local old people's home. I wish I had now.

    Cf. Manchester United and England's Marcus Rashford who, as well as putting his money and time where his mouth is, penned an open letter this week asking the Government to reverse its decision to cease the free school meals scheme - for which nearly 1.3 million children are eligible - outside of school term time. (It's only a detail in the scheme of things, but that letter is a lovely piece of writing.)

    Monday, June 15, 2020

    just simple lines intertwining

    Mark Ellen and David Hepworth talk to Guy Pratt on their "Word in Your Ear" podcast. I met Mark Ellen in 2009 (Icons passim) and Guy Pratt in 2017 (Icons passim).

     A great entertainer...
     A great Humanitarian...
    And my dear friend of 25 years...

    Why has David Hepworth been so stand-offish, not bumping into us anywhere do you think?