Friday, August 19, 2022

Scot-free no more

 AncestryDNA have done another of their regular revisions of my sample. I am no 98% Irish, 2% Scottish, and <1% Sardinian. I have been 2% Scottish before as I remember.

Here's the link -

I will put a label DNA on this post, then gradually retrospectively apply it to earlier ones to help me get a better handle on the trends and changes. I seem to remember that initially I was only 79% Irish for example.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Daryl Dimple

Before today I have made 21 references to William Dalrymple on the blog. I've even had a brief correspondence with him about Kerala as well as going to see him live, so you can say I am something of a fan. I was pleased to discover then that he is on a new podcast called Empire (Apple), (Spotify):

How do empires rise? Why do they fall? And how have they shaped the world around us today?

William Dalrymple and Anita Anand explore the stories, personalities and events of empire over the course of history.

The first series looks at the British in India, covering the East India Company, the Raj, Gandhi, Independence and Partition.

It is from Goalhanger, the same company that brings us The Rest is Politics etc.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Poker face

Andy H didn't manage to solve Wordle on Monday for the first time since I started doing it and we have been comparing results after pasting our "grids" into WhatsApp. Here's my "grid" for today.

Wordle 424 4/6





I've still got a 100% record. The stats are at the top of this post, but I have no idea how good, bad or indifferent they are compared to the average.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

A change is as good as a wrist

Facebook showed me photograph above yesterday. A muay Thai class exactly fifteen years ago; Kru Johnny Boon presiding. I used to take my Ben (second row right), Callum (front row left), and Jonnie (peeping over Callum's head). Take a look at the the cast on Callum's arm. Now he has grown up to play football for Chelsea and England he still wears an elasticated strap around the wrist. I never notice it without guiltily remembering it was me to took him along to the session at which he broke it

Monday, August 15, 2022

Just because I hate everyone doesn't mean they have to hate me too

L'affaire Sadowitz continues to rumble on. Here are his tour dates. I can't see anything in London, but I could be tempted by Sunday October 30th at the Glee Club in Cardiff; a venue new to me.

'Please note that I might just do card tricks and say NOTHING for a whole hour or I might just do the usual 'screaming fascist' schtick. Or both. Patrons may wish to drink alcohol pre-show to avoid boredom, embarrassment and guilt.'

Sunday, August 14, 2022


 I came late to Salman Rushdie, probably because of what I perceived as the malign influence of the Amis-Barnes-McEwan-Rushdie boys' club back in the day, so when I finally did get round to Midnight's Children it was with low expectations, and driven by a self-abnegating sense of duty after it won the "Booker of Bookers" anniversary prize. More fool me. It is an absolutely marvelous book. An all time favourite of mine whose lustre is probably burnished in my eyes by the reluctance with which I first cracked its spine. Very happy to hear that Sir Salman is off the ventilator this morning, after the despicable attack on him.

In other developments, the Pleasance theatre has cancelled Jerry Sadowitz's Edinburgh fringe standup show  saying his material ‘does not align with our values.’ Have you ever heard of anything so pompous? We live in an age of banal, asphyxiating, crushing orthodoxy. Sadowitz and John Lydon remember were the only two public figures with the chutzpah to break the establishment's omertà on Jimmy Savile's crimes.

As for my good self, I rarely look down, but when I did yesterday I noticed that I had put my polo shirt on inside out. Then, this morning, I realised I had left the front door unlocked overnight.

Prodnose“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"

Myself: I know! I know! T-shirt the wrong way round. Door unlocked. Crazeee!!

Saturday, August 13, 2022


Leaving the office on Thursday I saw a note tucked under the windscreen wiper. A van driver had scratched my car door (and also I noticed my wing mirror) and left me details of her vehicle and contact details for the company. The company was EnhanceAble; perhaps more accurately a charity providing social care for disabled people. I felt a bit guilty about putting the bite on them for my repairs after that especially after speaking to them on the phone but I console myself that the matter will be handled by our insurance companies as opposed to our own bank accounts.

Anyway it has put me in mind of a story; maybe one we can share with mum over Skype at half past ten. Long enough ago for my youngest brother to be driving but still living at home, he had a minor knock of a morning, exchanged details with the driver of the other car and thought no more about it until got home and met my mother that is. (I like to think of her with her arms folded across her chest, her right foot tapping, and the dreaded Death-Star death-stare laser-beaming from her eyes.)

Apparently she had answered the door in the afternoon to find a tearful pregnant woman with a further child in a push chair on her doorstep. This was the wife of the tradesman whose van had bumped John's car. After a few hard years it seems, they were just getting back on the straight and narrow and the repercussions of this incident were likely to plunge them back into penury and despair.

You might as well have told mum that John had stuck up a post office wielding a chewed off shotgun with once of her old stockings pulled over his head as a mask.

I think it reflects well on her now I come to think of it all these years later. But then again it wasn't me who had to put my hand in my pocket.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Getting ready for the weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Shock Jock

Back early in June I wrote:

More and more, I am starting to suspect that I personally know someone who is better informed on any specific hot button issue than any member of the dreary commentariat.

I will start gathering these exemplars together over the months and years into my own new Kitchen Cabinet.

Old school friend, Kevin T is now added as the third member (after Rod and Emma) of the roster. We were out on one of our occasional catch ups on Tuesday evening. After a long and distinguished career, very much of which was spent in telecoms in Asia, he was able gently to correct me and steer me in a more wholesome direction whenever I started ranting, about the OneWeb satellite system or the PRC/Taiwan stand off, by the deceptively simple expedient of knowing far more about, and having spent more time thinking about, the issues than me.

I may have to confront the possibility that I am gradually morphing into Alex Jones, the  swivel-eyed,  alt-right conspiracy theorist. I need my consigliere's, my viziers', and my grey eminences' hand holding. That's Rod, Emma and Kevin so far. God help them. God help me. God help us all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Oblivion Neutron Bomb

I was saddened to hear that Olivia Newton-John had died. Unlike almost everyone else in the world though I flashed back - not to Grease but to "Coming Home" a documentary exploring  the story of her Welsh ancestry, that begins in her father’s home town of Cardiff. 

It wasn't on the iPlayer yesterday but it is this morning. Available for 29 days at Well worth look.

Facts at random; her maternal grandfather was Max Born, the physics Nobel prize laureate and her father - Brinley Newton-John - was the man who took Rudolf Hess into custody.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Nephews and Nieces

My two youngest nephews were on our birthday Skype chat with mum last week and demanded that I produce my nunchuks. I was rather flattered to be honest as I can only remember demonstrating them once before (again over Skype during the coronavirus lockdown) so I sourced a couple fro Amazon - one red, one black - and had them delivered in Cardiff. Seb, Caroline says, "got all his karate /fighting stuff out and put it on display for bedtime." You can see it, including shuriken and daggers etc. above. Also she heard him get up and go to the bathroom in the night, popped her head in just to to double check he was alright. He had taken his nunchaku with him, in case he was attacked by ninja while he was sitting on the loo I imagine.

Also, I finally got to see the Seagull at the Harold Pinter on Saturday; a rearranged booking after the July performance we had originally lined up was "covid in the cast" cancelled. More style than substance in the direction if you want my opinion, but Indira Varma was excellent as Irina Arkadina which made it interesting to see it sitting next to Mia as that was her role when they did it at Central not so long ago.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Les Mis


Grantaire is a member of Les Amis de l'ABC. He is best known for being the skeptic of Les Amis who believes in nothing, except Enjolras, who is his only reason for joining the society. An art student and skeptic with no interest in revolution. Grantaire is involved with the Friends of the ABC due to his friendship with its members and his admiration, veneration and love for Enjolras, who disdains him for his skepticism and drunkenness. He is noted to be extraordinarily ugly and a heavy drinker, and he sleeps through most of the fighting in the June Rebellion. Despite this, he eventually declares himself to be one of the insurgents and dies alongside Enjolras, hand in hand.


Monsieur Thénardier

Sacha Baron Cohen in the film.


Prodnose: This is one of these secret message things I suppose, intelligible to a select coterie, possibly resonant for you when revisited in some tranquil future, yet opaque to the great unwashed, and breaching no confidentiality agreements?

Myself:  When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. The purpose of the rule is to encourage open discussion since anything said is "off the record".

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush


Regular readers will remember that I wrote about Hughesovka in 2007 (passim). Hughesovska became Stalino in 1924.  It took on its modern title, Donetsk, in 1961.

The city of Donetsk was founded in 1869 by Welsh businessman John Hughes, a Merthyr Tydfil boy.

The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR or DNR; Russian: Донецкая Народная Республика, tr. Donetskaya Narodnaya Respublika, IPA: [dɐˈnʲetskəjə nɐˈrodnəjə rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə]) is a breakaway puppet quasi-state proclaimed within the territory of Ukraine, which is militarily occupied by Russia and Russian-backed separatists. The DPR claims the entirety of Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast within the Donbas region as its territory. The capital city of the DPR is Donetsk, which is also the de jure capital of the oblast.
The world is a very strange place.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Shavings from the bench of the master

I wanted to preserve this video so I thought I would see what I could do with achieving a sort of  TikTok vertical look and feel. Project working name: DikTuk

Now I'm here, I may as well have a go of uploading it to your actual TikTok.


♬ original sound Nick Browne597

Friday, August 05, 2022

Radar Love

About Flightradar24
Flightradar24 (,-2.54/6) is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world.
So far, so plane-spottery (shome mishtake shurely? aerovidology Sub-Ed). Anyway, according to the Grauniard, viewers set new records on it earlier this week, as they watched the seven-hour flight of Nancy Pelosi from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei.
Ian Petchenik, the head of communications for Flightradar24, said the site had seen “unprecedented sustained interest” over Pelosi’s flight, and at its peak, a record 708,000 people were simultaneously watching the little red icon representing the House speaker’s Boeing C-40C – callsign SPAR19 – as it looped around the Philippines to bypass Chinese bases in the South China Sea, then soared across the Luzon Strait, reportedly under the watchful cover of a trio of US aircraft carriers, and arced across Taiwan’s mountain ranges before touching down in Taipei.
708,000 people! I like the odd geek out as much as the next man, but I guess I just wasn't made for these times. If anyone launches, please don't tell me.

Myself: See how I did that "launches"? You can launch a website isn't it, but you could also launch a missile! Edgy, alternative, sticking it to the man ......
Prodnose (underwhelmed): You truly are the second coming of Lenny Bruce.

Thursday, August 04, 2022


Mum is 85 today. I won't be able to get to Cardiff for the event, but most of the rest of the family will and have said they will include me over Skype if possible. It was September 6th, 2018 that she fell and fractured her hip (passim). Just a month shy of four years. Nothing has been the same since.

Might as well work out PG's age now I am on this page. Born 1939, he will be 83 on September 7th. Working on his upcoming play is doing him the power of good in my opinion. There is a lesson there about staying stimulated as you get on.

A lesson, the 80 year old John Cale (born 9 March 1942 Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales) doesn't need to be taught. Early this week he released the new track 'Night Crawling', accompanied by an official video. The song reminiscence about his friendship with David Bowie. “It’s been a helluva past two years and I’m glad to finally share a glimpse of what’s coming ahead,” Cale said in a statement. “There was this period around mid-late Seventies when David and I would run into each other in New York. There was plenty of talk about getting some work done but of course we’d end up running the streets, sometimes until we couldn’t keep a thought in our heads, let alone actually get a song together!" Cale plays synths, bass, piano and drums on the track assisted by Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks and vocalist Dustin Boyer.

Sparky enough that generation of South Walians now in their ninth decade eh? I suppose Mum's accident on September 6th and Peter's birthday on the 7th will be forever linked by my magpie brain now. Probably means I won't forget either date moving forward though.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Old Ruts Kenya

A quick pint in the Standard straight after work yesterday with the son and heir, followed by a pizza in Corleone. (No booze for Ben who was off to the gym eightish.)

I forgot to tell him that Maro Itoje had been out to visit Old Ruts Kenya. The jerseys are unmistakable; what a wonderful club the Ruts are. I was never happier than when I was watching him playing for them as a boy on Sunday mornings.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Four degrees of vindaloo


I am a day late to celebrating the Lionesses' triumph in the Euro 2022 final, but here is the winning goal scoring Chloe Kelly giving us her version of Vindaloo.
"Vindaloo" is a song by British band Fat Les. The music was co-written by Blur bassist Alex James and bassist Guy Pratt. The lyrics were written by comedian Keith Allen. It was released as a single in 1998 and recorded for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The song was originally written as a parody of football chants, but was adopted as one in its own right and became a classic.
I have met Guy Pratt. He is Ollie's cousin. Mia, my niece, met Keith Allen when he was filming The Pembrokeshire Murders. Keith wrote Vindaloo with Guy. I love it when a plan comes together.

Monday, August 01, 2022

The Rise and Rise of Ella Paramor

We've missed the auditions over the weekend, but the saloon is opening on August 18th. Thirty three minutes on the tube to Camden Town from the 'Wood then a five minute walk to Coyote Ugly, The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8AH. The Night Tube started up again on the Northern Line in July and I have a 60+ Oyster card. What could possibly go wrong? See Icons passim.

Prodnose: This is one of these secret message things I suppose, intelligible to a select coterie, possibly resonant for you when revisited in some tranquil future, yet opaque to the great unwashed, and breaching no confidentiality agreements?

Myself (settling into armchair and lighting pipe): Correct! You know my methods Watson, apply them.

P.S. I wonder how the Moscow and St Petersburg branches are getting on?