LOOK YOU ~ a rolling scrapbook of life, the universe and nearly everything...
THOUGHT FOR LIFE: every day is a day at school [School motto: Gwell helpu na hindro ~ "If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain."]

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POSTCARDS FROM
MY SQUARE MILE
click... Smile
Updated: 11/08/2013

ALSO...

for a taste of life on the wild side of my square mile, click...

400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 08/06/2013

Welcome To The Well

                                                                                        Design: Yosida
A deep well of conscious cerebration and celebration
YouTube:
Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well – Wynonie Harris

                                    _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _
 
                                                                                   ♫♫♫ TO SELF                            
It seems that the artist Leonardo da Vinci kept a notebook, Notes to Self, a list of “things to do today”: buy paper; charcoal; chalk ... describe tongue of woodpecker and jaw of crocodile...
     These are my Notes to Self, a daily record of the things that make me smile and which brighten up my day no end, whether read in a newspaper, seen on TV, heard on the radio, told in the pub, spotted in the supermarket, a good joke, a great story, a funny cartoon, a film clip, an eye-catching picture, a memorable song, something startling that nevertheless generates a spontaneous smile, curiosities spotted along my walks through the Towy Valley...
     This is a snapshot of life beyond the blue horizon...

    
                                                                               ...and everyday a doolally smile of the day
PS: The shortest distance between two people is a smile ...
                                                                                       
Contact Me

Wednesday, March 9th


Where next for the pointless path to nowhere laid by council
workers at Braintree, Essex? I empathise ... see below...

And for my next trick

THIS is not quite my last will and testament ― fingers crossed ― but it is my last ‘smile of the day and testament’ for a wee while anyway.

My reason for a break was actually triggered when my good pal Chief Wise Owl (CWO) suggested that I should place on proper record my rather smiley walk through time.

True, Look You is a record of the world about me and those things in life that generate much pleasure ― but CWO had noticed that I regularly input my own observations on those things that so amuse me.

Not only that, I occasionally and crucially tell tales of my own observations and experiences noted along my personal stroll through time ― so I should jolly well collect these things together in a proper fashion i.e. a book.

And of course, if I can actually pull such a thing together it is now quite easy and relatively inexpensive to self-publish ― which sounds a splendid idea having gone to the trouble of collecting my somewhat offbeat observations, annotations and thoughts together under one spine.

So I am going to have a go. I shall write a few chapters to see how it goes. I mean, I find the physical act of writing very easy ― but can I pull all my wayward thinking and memories together under one cover?

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So, before I disappear into the sunset and await a new dawn, I thought I would round off today with one of Look You’s favourite observations, namely the online clickbaits which so amuse me.

It really is quite rare that I actually click, mostly because I haven’t got the time to explore these curious tales ― but truth to tell, I rather enjoy leaving it to my own imagination to figure out whether the story takes the high road or the low road.

And this is why I enjoy reading Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times. As a journalist, he explores all these yarns ― that’s his day job ― and he is an expert at succinctly summing them up in his entertaining fashion.

Remember this clickbait from a week or so back?

Married City Lawyer, 51, ‘had rush-hour sex in street outside Waterloo Station’ with prominent barrister who can’t be named because six weeks later she claimed she was attacked

And this is how Rod explored and explained that glorious headline:

Your witness

Two prominent London lawyers were caught having a bit of how’s yer father, m’lud, outside Waterloo station.

The woman ― a barrister ― was seen with her knickers around her ankles. Or briefs.

I suppose you could say they’d been taken down and used in evidence ― because both were arrested and held in the cells for a night.

I can tell you the name of the man ― it’s Graeme Stening, 51, of Windlesham, Surrey. I can also tell you his wife’s name, the price of his house and what sort of law he practices.

But I can’t tell you the name of the lovely lady barrister because six weeks after she accepted a caution she decided she had been the helpless victim of an “assault”.

She had been too drunk to consent, she retrospectively argued. And thus too drunk to accept a caution. And therefore she can never be named, ever. But don’t dare to call the law an ass...

Now that’s what I really call joining up the dots.
                                                                                 10/10

PS: I will continue to collect and cherish 5-Star Smiley things, so I shall, hopefully, pop back sometime soon to keep the smileometer oiled and flying high.

Thanks for your time.

Go well.

 

Tuesday, March 8th

Minus 24 hours and counting...

THIS is my penultimate smile of the day before I take an extended break ― I’ll join up all the dots tomorrow.

So I thought, today, I’d do a quick trawl of the sorts of things that contribute to my 400 Smiles A Day prescription for a hopefully extended walk on the sunny side of life.

For example, here is a typical melt-in-the-mouth clickbait just made to tickle my imagination, and this time spotted in The Telegraph:

And all because the lady loves...

                  Chocolate makes you smarter, study suggests

Perhaps someone should tell these experts that an Honours Degree in ‘Smarter Than The Average Bear’ from the University of Life depends on a ‘Royal Flush’ of genes inherited at the moment of conception.

It also appears that a 5-star genetic inheritance can often lie dormant down the generations, simply waiting for a suitable trigger to emerge.

The best modern example of this is the ‘ordinary’ middle-class girl Prince William married. It was obvious from Kate Middleton’s wedding day that she was nothing of the ordinary sort; indeed, an intriguing clue was how in charge she was of such a formal knees-up and stress-inducing occasion watched by the world at large.

And that despite the planet being distracted by her sister’s eye-catching bum.

What I particularly remember is the open-coach journey following the marriage ceremony, and how elegantly Kate bowed her head when William saluted the National Anthem.

You can’t be taught these seemingly trivial things. Also, and despite being such a ‘smiley’ character, she does sombre with eye-catching gracefulness.

Make no mistake, there are some mightily powerful genes lurking somewhere in her background. Or at least they were lurking.

Corrections and clarifications

  “In a recent issue we mistakenly included a picture of a hare when we were in fact talking about a rabbit. This is an unacceptable mistake, and we are investigating how it could have happened.” A caught-in-the-headlights correction spotted in Tatler, a British glossy magazine focusing on fashion, lifestyle, high society and politics.

Methinks they were winding their readers up. But I know the feeling. Take this upcoming EU referendum hoedown. Whether to be a rabbit or a hare is a bugger of a conundrum because you sense that the Russian hounds will probably get us all in the end anyway, no matter whether we are In Out, Overground Underground, Wombling free...

Talking of Comrade Putin:

  “I shall be an autocrat, that’s my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me; that’s his.”
          
Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.

She also said this: “Power without a nation’s confidence is nothing.”

Are you listening, Mr Cameron?

And this: “In politics a capable ruler must be guided by circumstances, conjectures and conjunctions.”

In other words, whether we are In or Out of the EU, it will all come down in the end to what British prime minister Harold Macmillan (1957 to 1963) replied when once asked what was the most difficult thing about his job: “Events, dear boy, events”.

Or, as Donald Rumsfeld, 83, American politician and businessman, so entertainingly defined “events”: There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

Oh dear: wars and global warming pushes immigration and migration out of all control; a mother-of-all financial crashes brings the world to its knees; terrorists set off a dirty bomb, or two, somewhere in the world; a little visitor from outer space ― not enough to wipe us all out but big enough to throw the world into total chaos...

Enough already of such inevitable “events”. However...

Ashes to dust

   “I would like my ashes to be scattered over Brent Cross Shopping Centre so that I can be sure my children and grandchildren will visit me at least a couple of times a week.” Vanessa Feltz, 54, English broadcaster and journalist, speaking as a main guest at the 40th anniversary of the opening of her local north London ‘shop until you drop’ American-style shopping mall, Brent Cross.

Vanessa did point out at the time, according to herself on her radio show today, that she was repeating an old but funny joke. However, the papers, as is their wont, took her seriously.

For bitter or for worst

   “Girls want a wedding. They don’t want marriage. If only you could have weddings without marriages.” Reported comment by writer Salman Rushdie, 68, author of The Satanic Verses, which resulted in that infamous fatwa.

To balance his comment, perhaps he should also have added: “Boys want sex. They don’t want relationships. If only you could have sex without relationships.”

Want not, waste away a lot

   “Hard pounding, but the antelope is emerging.” Portly Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames, 68, on his diet regime.

Very amusing ― but watch out for fleet-footed pussycats lurking in the rich grasslands of Westminster, Sir Nick:

  “I saw this bloke chatting up a cheetah. He was trying to pull a fast one.” Comedian Tim Vine pulling an exceedingly witty one.

A rose by any other name

Now for a magical image captured and shared online ... of yesterday’s podium presentation at the climax to Stage 1 in Vendôme of the Paris-Nice cycling race, which as it happens I watched live on telly ― and was captivated by something I had never seen happen before.

The winners of each stage are always presented with flowers, fluffy toys, relevant coloured jerseys, champagne ― and kisses ― by exceedingly pretty girls.

And then this happened...

Flower Power Gallery Proper

 

Arnaud Démare, 24, winner of stage 1 of Paris-Nice, plucks a single flower and offers it to the young lady who had just presented him with the bouquet. To say she looked exceedingly chuffed would be an understatement. And yes, he had to be French.

 

Now if that doesn’t make you smile, nothing ever will.

As I have said before, I am not a photographer proper, indeed I have no interest in photography per se ― but I always carry a little camera simply to capture the passing parade.

And just occasionally photographers (including idiots like me) come up with something which owes nothing to technical expertise but everything to do with being in the right place at the right time: “Click!

Magic, compliments of a very professional and attentive Getty snapper (I believe).

Final pause for thought

 “I let my fans down, I let the sport down that I have been playing since the age of four and which I love so deeply. I know with this I face consequences. I don’t want to end my career this way and I really hope I will be given another chance to play this game.”
Meā culpā: Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova, 28, who has failed a drugs test.

So now we know why Sharapova makes those extraordinary noises when she exerts herself on the tennis court. It’s her body complaining about what is being done to it.

Let that be a lesson to all sports people, especially rugby players and cyclists, lest you become addicted to ambition and greed at possible serious cost to your long-term health and prospects.

But that is much like telling Tony Blair to stop touring the planet and charging such extraordinary sums of money to explain to the gullible how he and George Bush managed to f***-up the world for their children and grandchildren.

What a pathetically stupid species we are.

 

Monday, March 7th

VANESSA FELTZ on today’s early-morning ‘Getting to know you’ spot on Radio 2 asked of her listeners: “What is the one gadget you really can’t do without?”

Responses ranged from the alarmingly addictive mobile devices, which most people appear totally lost without these days ― to somewhat esoteric things like an electric blanket.

The first thing that went through my mind is this computer I am now working on. And that is mostly down to its word-processing abilities.

As someone who enjoys writing, in the days BC (Before Computing), if I made some sort of error, or decided that a sentence or a paragraph had to be moved elsewhere, then I would have to tear up the sheet I was writing or typing on ― then pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again.

A computer makes the physical act of writing an effortless task (the mental challenge remains something totally different, obviously). And of course, not being the world’s best speller there’s the ever-present computer spellchecker ― which as a bonus gives me a few extra laughs i.e. my occasional ‘spell-cheque’ revelations.

As a bonus, the computer is the gateway to the interweb where I can check anything out at a few clicks.  

Then I thought ... hang on ... I managed perfectly well before the invention of the personal computer, so I’d cope perfectly well without it.

The secret of writing BC was, that I would work out ahead in my mind what I wanted to say and how I would arrange it on the page ― and check out any facts, as well as the dictionary for any word I wasn’t confident about its spelling ― before starting to write or type.

Photography would have been similar. Before digital cameras we would think carefully about what we wanted to photograph and how best to capture it rather than waste expensive film and processing.

That would have been especially true in the early days of photography when, essentially, they only had one opportunity ― which is why those old photographs tell such glorious stories.

With a digital camera you can take a hundred images and hope that there’s one good one hiding away in there.

So, the computer is off the list.

Actually, the one gadget that I really would miss is the good old wireless. We didn’t have television at home until I was about 15 ― but I always remember a radio in the house. So I grew up with music. Especially popular music of a melodic, rhythmic and catchy nature, which I have always enjoyed.

So a radio is the one gadget I really would find it a challenge to do without.

And talking of music, here’s my current list of song lyrics which generate a smile ― oh, I’ve added one more, which brings the current list up to 10 ― and it’s Ronnie Hilton’s A Windmill In Old Amsterdam.

This always reminds me of Uncle Mac and Children’s Choice on a Saturday morning. And it’s not so much the song’s glorious sing-along qualities, but this particular sequence:

                    ♫♥♫♥♫♥♫
                   
First they had triplets and then they had quins,
                    A windmill with quins in, triplets and twins in;
                    They sang every morning, “How lucky we are,
                    Living in a windmill in Amsterdam, ya
!”.

The delivery of that ya! gets me every time. It has a smile writ large all over it. I guess it must have something to do with my presumed Viking roots.

The link to the YouTube clip is at the bottom of the list.

So here is my Smiley Top Ten ― with Divine Comedy’s National Express  heading the list, if only for its marvellous wit and wisdom...

A lyrical line born with a smile on its face

“But it’s hard to get by when your arse is the size of a small country.”
National Express – Divine Comedy

“Sing for your luncheon, and you’ll get dinner – Dine with wine of choice.”
 Sing For Your Supper – The Mamas And The Papas

“If Mother Nature don’t stop you, Father Time sure will.”
 Mother Nature, Father Time – Brook Benton

“Thump! Thump!
 
The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine – Laurel & Hardy

“The city’s clamour can never spoil / The dreams of a boy and goil...”
 Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald

“Not Reno, dummy, Rio – Rio de Jenero.”
 
Rio – Michael Nesmith

“Told me love was too plebeian...”
 
Cry Me A River – Julie London 

“Sing the song, children.”
 I Can’t Stop Loving You – Ray Charles

“Will you stop that silly beat business and listen!
 I Wanna Be Like You – Jungle Book

“How lucky we are, living in a windmill in Amsterdam, ya!
A Windmill In Old Amsterdam – Ronnie Hilton
 

Smiles unlimited. Ya!
 

Sunday, March 6th

♫  Singing Something Smiley Extra

TODAY, my final few contenders for the ‘Smileometer Top Ten Song Lines’ ― at least for the time being.

First up is Ella Fitzgerald’s Manhattan ― which boasts perhaps the cleverest and most outrageous rhyme in popular music:

             “The city’s clamour can never spoil
              
The dreams of a boy and goil...”

Top smiley material.

                                    Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald

My next choice is simply a sound effect, which comes from Laurel and Hardy’s film Way Out West, and lurks in the song The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine.

It’s the sequence where Stan Laurel does the deep-voice switch ― and a frustrated Oliver Hardy asks the bartender for a mallet ― but before he clouts Stan over the head with it he does a quick “Thump! Thump! on the bar ― and the sound is heard clearly on the track.

In the film clip you can actually see him as well, obviously, which adds to the pleasure.

And imagine, this track reached No 2 in the UK charts back in 1975.

Truly smile-out-loud stuff.

                                              The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine – Laurel & Hardy

Next, The Mamas and the Papas delivering Sing For Your Supper.

And this delightful line:

                                      “Sing for your luncheon, and you’ll get dinner ―
                                       
Dine with wine of choice.”

Ah, they don’t write elegant lines like that nowadays.

                                                                                           Sing For Your Supper – The Mamas And The Papas

Finally, Divine Comedy’s glorious National Express.

When you consider how seriously and worryingly overcrowded the UK is becoming these days, England in particular ― not helped by the fact that the nation is becoming seriously, troublingly obese ― is there a more topical line in all of popular music?

                         “But it’s hard to get by when your arse is the size of a small country...”

Definitely my current favourite smiley line:

                                                                               National Express – Divine Comedy

Honestly, music contributes hugely to my dedicated 400-smiles-a-day regimen.

 

Saturday, March 5th

♫  More Singing Something Smiley

A FEW further contenders for my ‘Smileometer Top Ten Song Lines’ ― those great lines from popular songs which always guarantee a smile at every hearing.

Three songs today which, curiously, all feature the spoken word as the smiley line that draws me in. The first comes from The Jungle Book, in particular the Film/YouTube version: I Wanna Be Like You---

King Louie sings the song following his kidnapping of Mowgli. The song is about the old rascal wanting to be a human so he can do human things, like stroll in to town ― but crucially, he wants the secret of man’s red fire.

Bagheera, the oh-so-sensible black panther, along with Baloo, the good-time, good-natured bear, come to Mowgli’s rescue.

However, Baloo gets carried away with the beat and the rhythm of King Louie’s delivery of the song: “Yeah, well man,” says Baloo, “what a beat!

To which Bagheera responds in a hugely frustrated voice:

                                                                     “Will you stop that silly beat business and listen!

Honestly, that line is so  me. If I had children I would be forever saying “Will you stop that silly beat business and listen!”. So it gets my enthusiastic vote.

Oh, and look out for that grey-haired monkey called Flunkey, who keeps giving King Louie a hard time ― yes, it is definitely Speaker of the House, wee John Bercow, who, under his grey hair, is forever swatting the politicians under his care and giving them a hard time.

                                                                  I Wanna Be Like You – Jungle Book

Next: Ray Charles’s I Can’t Stop Loving You.

It’s that line near the end of the song where Ray Charles says to the backing singers: “Sing the song, children.”

Whenever I hear that line I smile broadly ― and join in the singing. Brilliant.

                                                                                                               I Can’t Stop Loving You – Ray Charles

And the final choice in this group is Michael Nesmith’s Rio.

The line comes at the very end of the song, where that unforgivably handsome blonde girl says:

                                                      “Not Reno, dummy, Rio ― Rio de Jenero.”

What a wonderfully amusing line it is. Watch out for the blonde ― and listen out for her delivery. Oh, and Nesmith’s marvellously confused reaction.

On the radio you rarely get to hear the line because the Jocks are forever talking over the song.

                                                                                                                                             Rio – Michael Nesmith

 

Friday, March 4th

♫  Sing Something Smiley

A WHILE back I pondered the notion of putting together a ‘Smileometer Top Ten of Song Lines’ ― those great lines from popular songs that always but always generate a smile whenever I hear them.

So today I’m going to start pulling them together.

My first choice, unlike all the rest, has a background story with dots to join up...

Things plebeian

Back in 2012 there were allegations that Conservative MP and chief whip Andrew Mitchell had called police officers “plebs” during a row at the Downing Street gates ― he had demanded that they open the huge main gates to allow him through with his bike, rather than use the smaller side gate as the police had reasonably requested.

And the huge row cost him his government job.

It became known as ‘Plebgate’, sometimes ‘Plodgate’, occasionally ‘Gategate’.

Back then ‘pleb’ was not a word ordinarily chucked about as an insult, certainly not a word heard in the Bible or the Asterisk Bar down at the Crazy Horsepower Saloon.

It was regarded as a word used as a term of abuse by a certain type of person ― pleb is really a pretentious way of saying c***, certainly a politically toxic word ― and Mitchell was allegedly such a person, someone who apparently tended to use the word in casual conversation.

Now I was only aware of the word complements of the song Cry Me A River:  



Remember, I remember, all that was said;
Told me love was too plebeian, told me you
were through with me...”

And yes, it turns out that it was Andrew Mitchell who was the ‘pleb’ ― and all because he insisted that the cops opened the big gates to let him through on his little bike.

So every time I now hear that line, “Told me love was too plebeian”, all I can see is a fellow in a pink tie, riding a bike with a wicker shopping basket, and heading for the Pearly Gates at Downing Street ― and I smile and think: what a glorious wanker Andrew Mitchell was that fateful day in September 2012.

As my mother insisted: ignore the grand, sweeping, self-important things people say and do ― it’s always those little things, the spontaneous, the throwaway, the seemingly unimportant, that tell you everything you ever need to know.

So a good place to start with my Top Ten...

                                Cry Me A River – Julie London


My next choice is a line from Brook Benton’s Mother Nature, Father Time:

                   
“If Mother Nature don’t stop you, Father Time sure will.”

Actually, it’s a delightful song, especially so as delivered by that great Benton voice ― in fact a perfect funeral song for the person who has played a long and wonderful innings.

But the video is a hoot, so funny, so gloriously and perfectly over the top. You must watch.

                                                                                                        Mother Nature, Father Time – Brook Benton

That’s enough musical smiles for today.

Now two of my favourite Friday clickbaits to go with two of my favourite smiley song lines...

Cocks of the walk

‘I feel like the luckiest AND happiest man in the world’: Jerry Hall, 59, wears navy dress and a £2.4m ring as she marries Rupert Murdoch, 84, at 18th century London palace after whirlwind romance

If Mother Nature don’t stop you, Father Time sure will. But I did enjoy the juxtaposed navy dress and £2.4m ring.

Mind you, I liked this comment from Marland of Amsterdam:

“I really wish them all the best. She looks stunning and he looks chuffed.”

And finally, this exceedingly funny clickbait:

Larger-than-life veteran actor Brian Blessed, 79, says he’s asked doctors to fit him with the penis of a ’20-year-old’ after getting a £27,000 pacemaker

What a star. The trouble is, Brian, it looks as if Rupert Murdoch has beaten you to it...

 

Thursday, March 3rd

A game of two halves

Face off at the double-take

Yes, it’s the current internet craze that uses software to morph two famous faces into one uncanny image.

And with politics currently dominating the news on both sides of the Atlantic ... well, I have to say, these examples, alongside, are truly clever and smiley.

Yup, Donald Clinton juxtaposed with Boris Cameron.

Top marks ― sadly though, I still wouldn’t trust any of them further than I could throw them.


Meanwhile, on the In, Out, Shake-it-all-about EU referendum front:
 

Global economy will suffer ‘shock’ if Britain leaves EU, G20 warns

The risk of ‘Brexit’ poses dangers for international stability

                                      ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

‘There isn’t some amazing land of milk and honey waiting for us if we leave’, Downing Street warns

Somewhere over the EU rainbow

The above clickbaits suggest that if Britain decides to remain in the EU, then we will all be little Munchkins dancing along down the Yellow Brick Road.

The Italian Lion will have found its courage; the French Scarecrow its brain; and the Greek Tin Man its WD 40.

Angela Merkel is clearly Dorothy ― and David Cameron is loyal little Toto (having kissed goodbye to his balls as detailed last Sunday in ‘Good-bye, Testicles’).

Oh, and Chancellor George Osborne is obviously the Wizard hiding behind the curtain, fooling most of the people most of the time with his ‘magic’.

Seriously though, are the world’s financial movers and shakers really saying with one voice that the fence surrounding the EU is so fragile that if just one significant corner-post is removed i.e. Britain ― then the whole edifice will come crashing down, dragging the world and its mistress down with it, including Russia, China, the US and North Korea.

If this is so, why are David Cameron and George Osborne desperate to sell us a pig in a poke (no ‘Piggate’ pun intended following last year’s uncorroborated anecdote that during his university years David Cameron put a “private part of his anatomy” into a dead pig’s mouth)?

And what sort of grandiose commission promises are Cameron and Osborne on? Significant seats on the European Commission, perhaps? We should be told.

Tweet for Thought

Sir Richard Evans (@RichardEvans36); “We had lunch last weekend with a man born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He kissed my wife’s hand. They don’t make them like that any more.”

I wasn’t sure whether that old Austro-Hungarian smoothie had captivated his wife’s heart ― or captured the gems off her rings in a lip-smackingly impressive fashion.

We definitely should be told.

And finally, mention of David ‘Cockermouth’ Cameron kissing goodbye to his balls ― a couple of ‘Health & Softly-Does-It’ clickbaits to round off the day...

A handful of nuts can extend your life by two years ...  and it WON’T make you gain weight

Well, as long as they’re not talking the nuts known as Donald Clinton and Boris Cameron, I guess. And anyway, of late my nightly After Eights  treat is a small bowl of nuts of many textures.
 

Ward off heart attacks with rhubarb crumble: The fruit and veg that can keep your blood pressure under control

Hm: rhubarb saves ― crumble kills.

Every day a day at school spot

I was intrigued to see rhubarb described in the above clickbait as ‘fruit and veg’. This, compliments of Wikipedia:

Rhubarb is usually considered a vegetable. In the United States, however, a New York court decided in 1947 that, since it was used there as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties.  
 


Wednesday, March 2nd

St David’s Day revisited from on high


[@astro_timpeake] Astronaut Tim Peake yesterday wished the people of Wales a
happy St David’s Day ― from on board the International Space Station
 

WHAT a splendid ambassador Major Tim Peake is for the UK.

Ever since he took off for the International Space Station last December ― and becoming the first Briton to walk in space to boot ― what I particularly enjoy is the way he has meticulously mapped and prepared his journey through the pass we call Earth Orbit.

Just a few months ago the name Tim Peake would have meant nothing, except to family, friends and colleagues, obviously.

But after just a month on the ISS, Major Tim rapidly achieved hero status, particularly among children ― and indeed adults ― interested in science.

He has a fascinating past, is an exceptional high achiever ― and is agreeably accessible.

And he convinced us that he is only human by accidentally dialling a stranger back on planet Earth. Mind you, I have a sneaky suspicion that he knew he was dialling a marginally incorrect number because he fully grasped the good-natured publicity this would generate.

“He’s a natural science communicator," said Dr Emily Grossman, scientist, broadcaster and educator. “He communicates in a way which engages a wide audience of all ages. He is approachable and playful with a sense of fun. He makes us feel like he is ‘just one of us’.”

And just to prove it, yesterday, St David’s Day, not only had he learnt a few crucial words of Welsh ― and researched Welsh companies contributing to various space projects ― he had also taken a Welsh flag with him into space.

It’s his ability to think ahead beyond the obvious. Peripheral vision as opposed to tunnel vision.

As Mr Spock would say: Live long and prosper, Tim Peake.

Oh that our politicians could look beyond the next election and referendum.

As a bonus he tweeted a picture of Wales from the ISS:

Major Tim to ground control

@astro_timpeake: “And from up here ... it’s beautiful looking down on Snowdon,
the Brecon Beacons and the Valleys ... enjoy a very happy St David’s Day.”

Meanwhile, at the other end of civilisation...

An A to Z of dumbing down

Mention of the ultimate room with a view, today the UK has taken a bit of a battering from the curiously named Storm Jake. (Why couldn’t it have been called Jasper ― then we could all sing “Oh Sir Jasper do not touch!”.

Anyway, I particularly enjoyed how our weather forecasters kept pointing out that Storm Jake was actually named by Irish meteorologists.

What I want to know is this: who named Storms A to I?

 

 

St David’s Day 2016
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant


Google’s March 1st Doodle:
Celtic knot ... leaks ... daffodils ... dragon ... full house ... Iechyd da
!


SECOND day running the Google Doodle has drawn an XL smile. And I really do like the above ― has a certain Celtic elegance about it.

Yep, it’s St David’s Day, the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales.

It is also a Celia Imrie Day: feet up, laugh out loud, drink champagne ― and admire daffodils on doorstep ... which reflect two of Wales’s favourite women:

  Light  and  shady
 
Myfanwy  and  Delilah

Happy St David’s Day. And here’s lookin’ at you.

Spell-cheque corner: ‘Myfanwy’ ― a female name derived from the Welsh annwyl, meaning ‘beloved’; also one of Wales’s most popular love songs, first published in 1875 ― came up as ‘Meany’.

Oh dear, my computer finds the Welsh language a great challenge. Eeny, Meany, Myfanwy, Moe---
 


 

Leap Year Day 2016


Google’s Doodle: Room for a small one?

  “IN AN ideal world, and given that today is February 29, an extra day, a bonus day, a special day, an exceedingly pleasant surplus-to-requirements day ― how would you spend it?” Thus Vanessa Feltz on the ‘Getting to know you’ spot on her early morning Radio 2 show.

“What would be your ideal way to spend it?” Vanessa continued.  “Globe trotting, perhaps: breakfast in London, lunch in New York, supper in LA? A day indulging in your very favourite food and drink? Going to the cinema or the theatre? Or just soaking up the beautiful British countryside all around us?”

Yep, I was sold on that last one. Actually, between you, me and every Towy Valley gatepost, every day is a special day.

So off I go ― and boy oh boy, was there a surprise waiting for me down the long and winding track.

A pleasant if cold and frosty start, but the forecasters warned that the dry, sunny and coldish week or so we’ve just enjoyed is coming to an end. So best to embrace it while it lasts.

And there’s nothing quite like a great sunrise. As my morning walk through the surrounding countryside always coincides with the sunrise (when it’s available to view, that is) then it goes without saying that I occasionally witness the spectacular, the colourful, the curious, the smiley...

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a photographer, indeed I have no real interest in the art ― but I always carry a little camera set on ‘auto-pilot’ to capture the magic of the passing parade.

And how about this for something different and special?

A Pythagorean sunrise?

The square of the smile of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the smiles of the other two sides

Now how wonderful is that?

However, within an hour or so of setting off on my walk, the clear skies had disappeared and high cloud cover had silently slid in over the Towy Valley.

I decided to take a detour via the bluebell wood to catch up on developments.

Back on the 1st of January I’d noticed that there were little green bluebell shoots all over the woodland floor.

Normally, from the moment the shoots first appear, to the time when the woodland floor morphs into a lush carpet of green prior to the first bluebell making its grand entrance, can take anywhere between five to eight weeks. But it depends what happens to the weather in between.

To revisit my annual spring lecture of joy unbounded:

Over the past 17 years I’ve kept a record of the appearance of the first welcome bluebell of the season ― excepting 2001, the year when Foot & Mouth struck and the countryside was out of bounds.

Along my springtime early-morning walks I divert through the local bluebell woods.

I pass one particularly secluded and sheltered south-facing location in Castle Woods, a real suntrap, a spot where a solitary bluebell always but always appears a few days ahead of her brothers and sisters, and a good week or so ahead of her cousins and the rest of the family ― which is why I call ‘her’ Solitaire.

As a rule of thumb her appearance varies between March 18 and March 30 ― excepting the occasional wayward year.

Spring 2006 was really cold, dry and late, and the bluebell did not appear until April 8; in 2008, with its unusually mild and wet winter and spring, Solitaire appeared, astonishingly, on February 28.

However, this winter has, according to the weather people, been the mildest and wettest since records began some 100-plus years ago.

The January 2016 woodland floor had suggested another early flowering season ― but the coldish weather of the past week or so had thrown me and I hadn’t paid a visit to Castle Woods for several days, so today I did.

And I had the surprise of my life...

Where have you been all my life?
     
February 2016: Solitaire in solitary confinement, waiting to be found and appreciated

It was fairly obvious that the bluebell had appeared a good couple of days previous, so I am happy to put its initial appearance at the 26th ― that’ll learn me to keep a daily bluebell watch ― and all of which fits in perfectly with the weather records of winter 2016.

So it beats 2008 by a couple of days.

And there we have it, a perfect way to enjoy the start of a Leap Year Day.

And of course, by one of those delightful coincidences, 2008 and 2016 have something in common ... both Leap Years. Oh, and in 2012 Solitaire appeared on March 1st.

Do I detect a weather pattern developing here?
 


Sunday, February 28th

Weird page-turner No 3


TIME for another in the series Weirdest Book Title Ever ― I’ve already featured
The Jewish-Japanese Sex & Cook Book and How to Raise Wolves, as well as What Bird Did That?

So here we go...

And here’s another fine balls up


Amazon: None for sale, curiously
 

At first I thought the book had been written by “Any Welsh Guy” ― a typical Nogood Welsh Boyo ― but it turns out to be “Anne Welsh Guy”. Phew!

Also, when I initially spotted the glorious book cover online it would have been, oh, around the time David Cameron’s drawn-out re-negotiations apropos the EU referendum were drawing to some sort of closure.

And Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission (and dive-bomber of note ― yes, he’ll shite on anyone), had said: “I have no Plan B ― because Britain will not leave.”

I smiled one of my ironic specialities ― and remember thinking (with apologies to the ghost of Mary Howitt):

The Junker and the Fly Boy

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said a Junker to a Fly, 
“'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, 
And I’ve many curious things to shew when you are there.” 
“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain, 
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again...” 

...And now dear constituents, who may this story read, 
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed: 
Unto a dreadful counsellor, close heart and ear and eye, 
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Junker and the Fly.
 

However, back to Good-bye, Testicles  and its book cover ― what I saw was a British Bulldog in the bed, and in close attendance, and sporting some evil grins, a German Shepherd and a French Poodle.

Yes, Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande about to rob Prime Minister Cameron of his balls and his manhood.

Well, it made me smile.

Incidentally, the reason why I couldn’t find any Good-bye, Testicles  for sale on Amazon was ― ta-dah ― because it’s a spoof cover.

Yes, it’s a take off of this book...

Now how funny is that?

Be that as it may, it does remind me of a tale recently spotted from Down Under:
 

Crestfallen from Crestview: Never forget your Y-Fronts
(Wearing underwear important in Queensland)

Yes, a sharp reminder for Queenslanders to wear clean underwear in public, especially when working under vehicles.

From the Brisbane Times  comes the tale of a Crestview couple who drove to the local Super Store, only to have their vehicle break down in the car park.

The fellow told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he tried to fix the problem...

The wife returned later with her loaded trolley ― only to see a small group of people gathered near the car.

On closer inspection she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis. Although the chap was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned private parts into glaringly public ones.

Unable to bare the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, bent down as elegantly as she could and quickly put her hand up his shorts, tucked everything back into place ― and away from prying, mocking eyes.

She then took a deep breath and boldly stood up to face the crowd.

When she looked across the car, she found herself staring at her husband gaping at her in a gobsmacked manner.

The mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his forehead.

And the car suffered two damaged nuts, apparently.

An urban legend? Probably, sadly ― but what a cracker. A nutcracker, even.

But you never know. Truth is forever stranger than fiction.

 

Saturday, February 27th

Open all hours

THERE’S currently a dialogue unfolding as to what extent our major stores and supermarkets should trade on Sundays beyond the restricted 10am to 4pm hours now allowed.

Corner shops such as Spar ― commercial premises of less than 280 square metres floor area ― can open all the hours they wish anyway, including Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.

Obviously the big boys and girls want a significant part of the action. It is called greed.

That all brings me neatly to a tale told by Laurie Taylor on Thinking Allowed  on Radio 4 the other day...

Closed shop

My son would have been about, oh, 5-years-old, when we took him on holiday to Brittany. I remember that he particularly liked the broad sandy beaches and he was delighted to learn that we were going to spend another day at the seaside.

But as we approached our destination he suddenly grew apprehensive: “Mummy,” he said from the back seat in an alarmed voice, “it’s Sunday.”

“Yes, darling,” said my wife, “what’s the matter with that?”

“Won’t the ... won’t the sea be closed?”

Excellent.

Curiously enough, one of the facts I learnt from Michael Portillo’s TV series Great British Train Journeys  detailing the expansion and history of the railways back in Victorian times, was that, once a nationwide rail network had begun to take shape, and an essential common time of day had been established throughout the land, the trains did not run on a Sunday between the hours of 10 and 4 ― because this was when people were expected to be attending church.

How curious that is, the very hours our stores currently open for business. The new religion, obviously.

It is indeed a strange old world.

Talking of which, next, a brace of choice tweets spotted along the way ― the first about English stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard, 54, who happens to be a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party...
 

@andrewlawrence: Izzard to stand for Labour’s NEC [the party’s ruling National Executive Committee]: “I will stand up for ordinary people,” said the multi-millionaire cross-dresser predominantly based in LA.

                             ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

@AgnesCPoirier: France’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron “erotically harassed” by female fans. He had to call the police.

Gosh, “erotically harassed”. I wish. The EU is clearly falling apart at its very French silk seams. Brexit it is then.

However, a point of order: First we had “gender neutral” (not AC, not DC, not even Three Phase); next came “arbitrarily detained” (Julian Assange); followed closely by “gravitational waves” (nipples ripples in the fabric of space-time); and now we have “erotically harassed”.

Speak tidy, for goodness sake.

Do you know, the planet’s movers and shakers appear to be living in a different universe to the rest of us. And they definitely speak in tongues of galaxies.

Believe it or don’t corner

Alcohol is bad for your health ... EVEN in moderation: Just one glass a day ‘increases the risk of certain cancers’

Dr Sally Norton, NHS weight-loss surgeon, warns that alcohol is linked to more than 60 different illnesses and diseases

However, you pays your money and takes your medicine...


Beer could help ‘protect brain against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s’

Researchers in China have found that a compound in hops could protect brain cells from oxidative damage ― and slow the development of degenerative brain diseases

Actually, I’m reminded of Billy Connolly, who suffers from Parkinson’s. At a recent award ceremony he addressed his Parkinson’s with a typical quip: “I wish he’d f****** kept it.”

I sometimes feel like that about all these contradictory health and food warnings coming our way with every passing breath.
 

“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord, etc...”
 


Friday, February 26th

The rhythm of life
 

WE ALL know that feeling. Something we’ve meticulously planned goes horribly wrong. Not disastrously so, just frustratingly so.

But before we arrive at that “D’oh!” moment, yesterday the inaugural run of probably the most famous locomotive in the whole world, the Flying Scotsman, took place following its decade-long £4.2m refit as it chuffed its cheery way along the East Coast Main Line from London King’s Cross to York.

Loads of eye-catching photographs have been doing the online rounds and lovingly shared...

Powering ahead

Flying Scotsman: steaming past the Eggborough Power Station near Selby, North Yorkshire

Some 300 VIPs, fundraisers, competition winners and members of the public who paid up to £450 a treat were on board the Flyer for the trip.

Also, multitudes lined the c.200 mile route, pretty much all of them holding a camera of some description.

And now we come to that “Bugger! Bugger! Bugger!” moment.

‘I had a feeling this would happen’: you wait for a train
and two come along at once and bugger it all up


Trainspotter Ryan Allen was among those lining tracks, bridges and stations to capture on
camera the Flying Scotsman as it sped past. Unfortunately for him, he met a Virgin...

I mean, hasn’t that happened to all of us, in some shape or other?

Ryan drove 50 miles to Little Bytham in Lincolnshire and waited nearly an hour to catch in person and on film the train on its journey from London to York.

But his potentially beautiful video was ruined by an infuriatingly-timed, common or garden Virgin train.

He shared his frustration on Twitter with the caption “I had a feeling this would happen” ― the above picture suggests perfectly what happens next. Probably even better than the video because it leaves everything to the imagination.

Indeed his frustrated moment caught the imagination of the media. Virgin Trains duly saw the tweet and have offered Ryan the trip of a lifetime to Atlanta, Georgia to see one of the famous rail networks by way of apology for photobombing his effort.

It’s called a win-win situation. Ryan gets a surprise complimentary holiday. And Virgin is blessed with loads of positive publicity ― which will be extended when Ryan takes his holiday because the media embraces with gusto this kind of story. And why not?

Pause for thought

So how does the Flying Scotsman manage to pull millions of people without effort?

Well, everything worthwhile in life has rhythm, whether it’s sex, singing, story-telling or a Scotsman in Flying mode. And the Flying Scotsman has rhythm in spades.

The other day I pulled together on here, compliments of YouTube, a series of perfect sound effects to wake up to through the alarm clock: from a car refusing to start, via some cockerels sounding hilariously like the morning after the night before ― to the theme music from Jaws  and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But far and away my favourite is the sequence of twin steam engines pulling a full load up the Lickey Incline, from the gentle faraway sound at the bottom of the hill ― to the magnificent full bore and whistle at the top.

And all oh so beautifully filmed.

Here are the links from my Desert Island Video Jukebox Wake Up Call...

Rise & Shine
Sound effects - Car engine refusing to start
Cocks crowing
Rooster crowing compilation
Steam Trains on the Lickey Incline
Twin Steam Trains on the Lickey Incline

Opening music to 2001: A Space Odyssey
Snap out of it – Jaws Theme
Sunchyme – Dario G


Incidentally, let’s hope Britain’s Eurovision song entry for 2016 (being decided tonight) will be both musical and catchy ― with loads of rhythm thrown in for good measure.

Talking of the rhythm of trains and sex, as we were, it will  be hard to beat this clickbait spotted today:
 

Married City Lawyer, 51, ‘had rush-hour sex in street outside Waterloo Station’ with prominent barrister who can’t be named because six weeks later she claimed she was attacked

 

Thursday, February 25th
 

“I am only a beer teetotaller, not a champagne teetotaller”
George Bernard Shaw (Proserpine in Candida)


I MAKE no apology for repeating one of my favourite quotes ― and this time there is  a specific reason...

  “I need to laugh more and drink more glasses of champagne ― even when there is nothing to celebrate.” English actress Celia Imrie, 63, contemplating her next 20 years .

And that reason is ... serendipitously tripping over this glorious gem of a quote from Celia:

  “My mother was a Debrett’s-listed aristocrat and father was a commoner from Glasgow who became a doctor. They’d met when she stepped out of a posh social event one night. He was sitting in his car outside and took a fancy to her and offered the gift of a fruit. I’m the result of an apple.”

How totally wonderful. Celia sounds my sort of woman. What with that champagne and the apple ― class to the core, obviously.

Meanwhile, some humour injected into the already boring old EU referendum nonsense, compliments of a couple of letters to The Times:


EU In or Out?

Sir, A straw poll from a middle-aged, middle-class dinner on Saturday evening: nine In, one Out. I’m not sure if it was the French cheese or Italian wine that swung it through.
Jessica Armstrong, London SW6

EU what?

Sir, In contrast to Jessica Armstrong’s middle-class Fulham dinner party, the straw poll here of employees over a cup of tea and a British biscuit was 11 In, 24 Out. Obviously everyone here was sober at the time.
Ian Brown, Managing Director, Industrial Maintenance Services, Portsmouth

I was suitably impressed that Ian Brown had deduced from the SW6 clue that the middle-of-the-road party was in Fulham. Some neat footwork there.

Along a similar but different theme, a letter in The Telegraph:

In Out, On Off

SIR – Is there a gadget that will automatically switch off my television and radio when the word “referendum” is mentioned?
Bill Scott, Leeds, West Yorkshire

I always have the TV Zap-a-dee-doo-dah thingy close at hand to instantly change channels. However, the best gadget of all is the brain, which has a wonderful capacity to switch off at will.
 

Every day a day at school spot

There is currently much complaining apropos a popular drama series on the BBC called Happy Valley, which I haven’t seen, but is apparently ruined by dreadful sound quality with viewers unable to hear what anyone is saying.

Well now, a couple of fascinating letters in The Telegraph:


Why TV producers are immune to mumbling

SIR – At the Science Museum in London there is a small exhibit that made a deep impression upon me.
     When you press a button, you hear a sentence spoken which is so blurred and mumbled that it is quite incomprehensible. Press the second button, and the words are shown on a screen. Press the third button, and the same sentence is played again. This time it sounds quite clear.
     This demonstrates a principle that television programme makers do not seem to be aware of: once you know the script, you are no longer qualified to decide if the speech is understandable. The only real judge can be the first-time listener ― and this is usually the viewer.
     Viewers of BBC One’s Happy Valley have complained about the sound quality. It probably sounded fine to the producers, because they knew the script.
     A visit to the little gizmo at the Science Museum should be a requirement for everyone involved in the making of television programmes.
Chris Addis, Cheadle, Staffordshire

Hi-fi mumbling

SIR – Part of the reason for mumbling on television programmes is that producers review the productions on high-quality studio devices, while most of us will watch on television with small speakers.
Producers should view their programmes on these so that they know what most of us will receive.
Stephen Green, Weymouth, Dorset

Now how interesting is all that? As I always suspected, media folk live in a galaxy far, far away.

Actually, the best viewer comment I saw about Happy Valley  suggested that the series should be moved from its Yorkshire base to the Mumbles on the western edge of Swansea Bay.

Very droll.
 


Wednesday, February 24th

Lights, camera, action

TWO intriguing clickbaits today, both of which generated a cynical variety of smile ― and I duly clicked out of curiosity. First...
 

Jeremy Clarkson apologises for punching Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon and calling him a ‘lazy Irish c***’ as presenter and BBC pay out £100,000 in compensation


Oisin Tymon launched the six-figure lawsuit against both Clarkson and the BBC after the Top Gear presenter gave him a bloody lip in a fight in a Yorkshire hotel over the unavailability of a steak meal after a day’s filming, which of course led to Clarkson being sacked from the motoring show.

Today Clarkson apologised and agreed to contribute to the payout.

It’s the first time the presenter has formally said sorry in public although he previously tweeted his regrets and attempted to contact Tymon directly.

I’ve said it before, but what I found surprising at the time of the infamous Clarkson-Tymon fracas was, and despite the number of people present during the extended shemozzle ― BBC and Hotel staff, along with guests ― not a single frame of the incident surfaced. Not even CCTV footage.

And remember, everything these days is filmed to death.

Now that a settlement and apology has been signed, sealed and delivered, should the nation now prepare itself for a grand premier?

Incidentally, Clarkson now works for Amazon, where he will drone on and on, obviously; his new motoring show will go head-to-head with the revamped Chris Evans-led BBC Top Gear.

And talking of head-to head confrontations...

War of the words

Cameron to Corbyn: ‘Put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem’

The Prime Minister and Labour leader trade blows as Prime Minister’s Questions turns nasty and descends into a war of words about the NHS and personal sartorial standards

 

David Cameron had launched a strident defence of the Government’s health policy, insisting: “I have to say ― I think if Nye Bevan [Labour politician and founder of the NHS] was here today, he’d want a seven-day NHS because he knew the NHS was for patients up and down our country.”

The Prime Minster went on to claim that the Government was building an NHS for patients, prompting Jeremy Corbyn to highlight a campaign against cuts in Cameron’s own Oxfordshire constituency.

The remark prompted a heckle from the Labour benches about Mary Cameron, the PM’s mother, recently signing a high-profile petition against local authority cuts.

David Cameron responded: “I think I know what my mother would say, I think she’d look across the Despatch Box [at Jeremy Corbyn] and say ‘Put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem!’.”

Cue Commons uproar.

The furious Labour leader hit back: “If we’re talking of motherly advice, my late mother would have said: ‘Stand up for the principle of a health service free at the point of use for everybody because that’s what she dedicated her life to, as did many of her generation.”

Apropos personal appearance, when Jeremy Corbyn is at the House of Commons he looks perfectly smart to me. Okay, he’s not as smoothly turned out as Cameron ― but would Corbyn want to look like the very model of a modern spiv?

After the exchanges, Jeremy Corbyn quoted Albert Einstein on Twitter in a fresh dig at the PM:
 


What a totally brilliant quote that is. I had never heard it before. And it earns my smile of the day.

Actually, if the author of the quote had not been obvious, I would have guessed it was the work of Mark Twain.

But most telling of all, in the Mail Online  comment section ― and remember, the Daily Mail is very much a paper of the right and of the Tory party ― the ‘Best rated’ comment, by a country mile, was this:


The Truth, Preston: Here goes Cameron again with his personal insults. This is what he does if anybody disagrees with him ... he then looks round to see how many are laughing. He is a very nasty, bullying individual.
     Cameron, please do us all a favour and resign. He cannot help it, the power has gone to his head and he thinks he is better than everyone else. He thinks he is right all the time, nasty, nasty man ... untrustworthy.


Whisper it, but I caught myself nodding along with that comment. Indeed, I too find Cameron rather impossible to trust. He is a spiv in an ultra-smooth suit. It
’s a surprise he hasn’t cut himself on its creases.
 


Tuesday, February 23rd
 

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”
Mark Twain (1835-1910)

LISTENING to Vanessa Feltz’ radio show early-morning, and she launched into the day’s ‘Getting to know you’ spot where unusual and off-beat questions are asked of her listeners.

Today, it was trigged by producer of the show Kerry, who the previous evening on Facebook had been posed this question: “You have been kidnapped and the cast of the last show you watched on television are coming to find you. Rate your chances of rescue.”

“So what was the last thing you watched on telly last night?” said Vanessa.

So let’s see: it could have been Huw Edwards and the crew on the BBC’s 10 o’clock  News ... or God forbid, everyone on The Jonathan Ross Show  on ITV ... or the nurses and doctors compliments of 24 Hours in A&E  on More 4...

Vanessa herself had been watching The People v OJ Simpson ― American Crime Story  on BBC2.

It sounded the sort of game that was made to tickle my juvenile gene.

The last programme I watched on Monday, before going on the computer, was at 7 o’clock on the Syfy channel: Star Trek: The Next Generation. Curiously, I have never seen Star Wars, but I enjoy watching Star Trek. Strange, but true.

Anyway, back with last night’s Star Trek  episode, Time’s Arrow.

It was a particularly entertaining episode where Data the Android is whisked back in time to the America of 1893, where he will lose his head. Literally.

Always the Twain shall meet

  Yes, along the way he meets and engages with Mark Twain ― or Samuel Clemens as he is referred to in the episode (both characters pictured above).

Anyway, imagine that: I’ve been kidnapped and the crew of the Enterprise, in particular Data and guest Mark Twain, ride to my rescue. It’s almost worth being kidnapped.

A simple, silly game, but I had no chance to submit my thoughts to Vanessa. So here we are instead.

Mind you, a couple of listener efforts tickled my old smileometer.

One contributor had been watching Dad’s Army, so that rescue would have been a laugh a minute. At least you would die laughing if it all went horribly wrong.

Another listener mentioned Top Gear. I thought a word of warning should have been issued: make sure you are not kidnapped and held in Argentina.

The curiosity shop

The top two ‘Most shared’ clickbaits on the Telegraph  website this afternoon were:

    
1)   Mobile phones are ‘cooking’ men’s sperm

     2)   Hitler ‘had tiny deformed penis’ as well as just one testicle, historians claim

Yesterday, these were the top three:

    
1)  Boris Johnson exclusive: There is only one way to get the change we want ― leave the EU

     2)  Eating chocolate ‘improves brain function’ ― study

     3)  George Osborne will abolish pension perk in tax bombshell, claims former minister

Time, methinks, for our leaders to dump their mobiles and start eating lots and lots more chocolate.
 


Monday, February 22nd

What a wonderful world it would be

YESTERDAY I briefly pondered whether you might be a ‘Cat’ or a ‘Dog’ person ... as it happens, a couple of weeks back there was a two-part series on BBC television about our pets...

Man’s best friend test
Cats v Dogs – Which is Best?


Armed with the latest global scientific research, Chris Packham
and Liz Bonnin battle it out to find the definitive answer
to the burning question - which are best, cats or dogs?

Chris Packham championed the canines and Liz Bonnin the felines as they sought to establish supremacy in the domestic-pet stakes (mind you, with a surname like Bonnin, Liz should have been the dog person, surely?).

In the first programme the pair questioned vets and animal scientists and conducted tests to compare senses, physical prowess and brain power. It would appear that dogs are more intelligent ― but to quote a Sunday Times  preview, “who can say the participating moggies were actually trying?”.

Most impressive though was a sequence where a friendly mountain-rescue dog called Boris (ho, ho, ho) unerringly tracks Chris Packham across Manchester City centre after a 40-minute delay.

Essentially, and relative to body size, dogs have bigger and more complex brains, more stamina and superior emotional intelligence. Cats, on the other hand, are better at seeing in the dark, more agile, faster over short distances and their hearing is more acute.

It was an honourable draw, I guess.

Mind you, what was it Mark Twain said? “If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

Be that as it may, reflecting on the central question as to whether cats or dogs are best, I was struck by something quite different ― but before I get there, this from today’s listings page in The Sunday Times  TV guide, in particular the viewer comment corner...


 You say

Surely, Cats v Dogs – Which is best? should have been titled Cats v Dogs – Which Are Better?  Peter Burville

It is quite remarkable that the BBC, the bastion of good grammar and pronunciation (obviously, a joke ― lol) could make two howlers using only three words, innit?
Barry Thompson

Grammatically speaking, the title was a complete dog’s dinner ― and no one at the BBC even noticed.  Neville James

The appalling grammar was only bettered by the appalling “science” on display. Make sure you cook up some “science” to match your preconceived conclusions. The BBC and science: dumb, dumber and dumbest.  Tony Braybon


Hamsters get my vote.  Debbie Martin

Well, the programme was  light-entertainment ― and the “science” was,  well, “entertaining”.

As to the grammatical thingy ― I really am not qualified to comment on that. However, given that I read and write by sight and sound only i.e. if it looks okay, trips easily off the tongue and serenades the ear, it gets my vote: save ... send.

And, truth to tell, Cats v Dogs – Which is Best? sounds and looks better than Cats v Dogs – Which Are Better?

Intriguingly, in the blurb accompanying the picture, above, the BBC does use “which are best - cats or dogs?”

I presume there will be a response from other  You sayers , so I shall look forward to it.

Anyway, going back to the Cats v Dogs thingy ... what did cross my mind was this, with a nod of acknowledgment towards Mark Twain: which particular characteristic of the creatures would I have wished to have been incorporated in the human DNA?

Well, dogs are noted for their loyalty, companionship, unconditional love ― oh, and being delightfully non-judgmental. But I do actually know people who possess such qualities ― not many, for sure, but they are out there.

As for a pussycat, there is nothing quite like a moggy jumping up onto your lap and furiously purring its pleasure. It vibrates through your whole body.

But crucially, if a cat is not in the mood to purr, nothing will entice it to do so ― so we know to leave it alone and give it time and space to recover its emotional equilibrium ― or should that be emotional purrquilibrium?

Just imagine if we humans had been gifted the ability to purr our pleasure. And if we didn’t want to purr, you would never be told “C’mon, cheer up, it’s not the end of the world!”. We would simply be given time and space to recover our purrquilibrium.

What a wonderful world this would be
 


Sunday, February 21st

The wheel always turns full circle


WHETHER you are an European Union ‘In’ or ‘Out‘ person, a ‘Trump’ or a ‘Clinton’ individual, a ‘Cat’ or a ‘Dog’ type, the newspaper clickbaits keep whizzing past at a furious pace...
 

Fear of hackers forces Sony to dust off the fax machine

Chief executive of Sony Pictures reveals he now writes sensitive messages by hand and sends them by fax

                    ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

Millennials rewind to the Eighties as cassette sales surge

The humble music cassette is back at the forefront of American pop music culture ― decades after it was left for dead by the compact disc

Not only do I still posses a working fax machine, as well as a couple of fully functional cassette player/recorders, I also have a VHS machine in perfect working order ― which suggests that cheques and cash will never completely give way to cards and smart technology.

It would seem that the smarter things become, the easier they are to break or hack.

And mention of everything going round in circles:

Miss Transgender UK pageant winner stripped of her title for ‘not being transgender enough’

                    ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

Let boys wear dresses, head tells parents

Head of £33,000-a-year Heathfield boarding school in Ascot, Jo Heywood, says boys should wear princess dresses and girls should dress up as firemen as she calls for ‘gender neutral’ parenting

The ‘Ascot Gavotte’ springs effortlessly to mind. And I never know these days whether the name ‘Jo’ is male, female or gender neutral.

                    ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

Lock of John Lennon’s hair sells for $35,000 (£24,298)

A snip of John Lennon’s hair that was cut by a German hairdresser in 1967 as the Beatle prepared to appear in a film has been sold at an auction in Dallas

 

Boris Brexit and a Boris Bike

I was going to give the ‘In, Out, Shake It All About’ European Union referendum a bit of a miss for a few days ― but I’m transfixed by all the comings and goings. So...

For those in faraway places, etc... the Boris Bike is Londons self-service, bike-sharing scheme for short journeys ... simply go to any docking station ― no need to book, simply hire a bike, ride it where you like, then return it to any docking station.

So, with Mayor of London Boris Johnson having rejected David Cameron’s invitation to climb aboard his ‘EU IN’ bicycle made for two and a trip to Brussels ― and opted instead for the ‘EU OUT, OUT, OUT’ campaign, this tweet spotted in the wake of the announcement:

@PoliticalPics: “Priceless”

Telegraph cartoonist Adams effortlessly tops the day’s smileometer
 


Saturday, February 20th

EU, Me and Us
(A Look You starter for ten apropos the INs & OUTs of the EU referendum)

  “I didn’t like some of David Bowie’s music, and I thought most of his outfits were pretentious twaddle.” Jeremy Clarkson, 55, selects top gear following the singer’s death.

I’ve revisited that “Hear, hear
!” quote from last month because, as I said at the time, I was taken aback by the media’s over-the-top reaction to Bowie’s death; so much so I abandoned all news and music stations for a couple of days to take in a bit of clear air.

Something similar happened again last night, around 10 o’clock, when David Cameron’s EU renegotiations came to a sudden conclusion. I decided there and then that I would not watch any news channels for a couple of days ― or at least until all the immediate OTT doolallyness had died down.

However, I am already aware that June 23 is the X-me-quick day.

So I thought it an opportune moment to share some of my favourite quotes thus far, with a few ‘Letters to the Editor’ thrown in for good measure.

  “This is not a real battle. It’s more like a haka before a rugby game.” The Tory MP Daniel Hannan, 44, dismisses the “charade” of the Prime Minister’s EU reform plan which has involved lots of sticking out of tongues.

Do you know, I remember thinking as we awaited the bell to indicate the final lap apropos the referendum---

Was I correct in presuming that David Cameron’s surprisingly early announcement of his intention to leave Downing Street this term (a surprise even to his own party) was because, behind the scenes, the buggers burghers of Brussels had promised him the top job in Europe if he kept Britain in the EU?

Watch this space, as they say.

  “The European Union is like the orchestra playing on the Titanic.” EU leaders are failing to tackle Europe’s big problems, says Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Wow
! I am clearly not the only one sensing trouble ahead with an iceberg or two ― or three ― or four ― maybe more ― lying in ambush in the dense political fog that is Europe.

Anyway, on with the music...

  “I am living in Europe, of course, as it were; a tiny little cloud-bolted, rainy corner of sort-of Europe, a cake-filled, misery-laden grey old island.”
Emma Thompson, 56, British actress, writer, Oscar winner and Europhile, battles against “Brexit” madness in a bizarre tirade against quitting Brussels ― and seemingly possessed by the ghost of Marie-Antoinette.

Let ‘em eat cake, indeed. Either that or Emma really has it in for Great British Bake Off  treasure Mary Berry big time. So what did folk make of the Leftie Luvvie’s outburst?

Love lost?

“Who is this Emma Thompson? Is she another of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s former girlfriends?” JEM Tugwood of Worthing, in a letter to the Daily Mail.

Euro zone

“Emma Thompson says that she feels ‘European’. She should not confuse being European with being in the EU. The former is an accident of geography and birth, the latter is political.” Jeremy Tozer of Stoke Row, Oxfordshire, in a letter to The Telegraph.

Historical whispers

“There’s no need for a referendum on our membership of the EU. The decision was made 450,000 years ago when the land bridge linking Britain to Europe collapsed, forming the English Channel.” John Hayes of Welford, Northants, provides a concise history cum geography lesson in a missive to the Daily Mail.

By the way, Emma Thompson did later explain that her comment was meant as a joke. Oh yes, she is also listed on Wikipedia as a comedian. Lol.

I trust English celebrity chef, restaurateur, and media personality Jamie Oliver, currently campaigning for a “sugar tax”, is not going to get involved in EU politics...

Gas mask 5

“He might be a good cook, but why should anyone take Jamie Oliver seriously when he names his children Daisy Boo, Poppy Honey, Petal Blossom Rainbow and Buddy Bear. No wonder Zowie Bowie saw the light.” P S Young of Rotherham, in a letter to the Daily Mail.

I did check those names ... tick ... but they do all have one common or garden Christian name: Pamela, Rosie, er, Rainbow ― and Maurice.

If you didn’t smile you’d go mad.

A matter of trust

“Could someone please explain why, if we don’t trust the EU with our currency, we should trust them with everything else?” Brian Christley of Abergele, North Wales, in a letter to the Western Mail.

No gain, no ouch
!

“Apropos the EU referendum, should we be alarmed that television subtitles often render “the in campaign” as “the income pain”? Joanna Hackett of London, SE1, in an amusing one-liner to The Telegraph.

Bird of Paradise

“Given the confusing arguments in favour of or against maintaining Britain’s membership of the EU, Richard Walker suggests that Ladybird should publish a book called How it works: The European Union. This would probably be the shortest book in history, consisting of three words: ‘Not very well’.” Tore Fauske of Cheltenham, in a letter to The Telegraph.


And there you have it. Hopefully, this concise starter guide to the European Union has helped.
 

Friday, February 19th

More Trumpety-Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump...

WHENEVER I see old Donald Trump strutting his stuff on the telly I am reminded of something or other ― and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Then I spot this newspaper missive:

Orbicularis oris

 

  “Judging by his facial expressions, Donald Trump thinks he is Mussolini.”
                          
J W Jures of Newhaven in a letter to the Daily Mail.

Bingo. A visit to Google images beckoned...

       Passport?  

 


Benito Mussolini
aka Iron Prefect


Donald John Trump
aka Perfect Irony


ll Duce Gramps
aka Rusty Pixel

 

So Mussolini was Trump’s grandfather (at least compliments of ll Duce Gramps @The PixelFactor, above).

Exceedingly clever and witty.

Joking aside, Trump’s pout is an alarming reflection of Mussolini at full bore at the height of his dictatorship.

Spell-cheque corner: ‘ll’ ― as in ll Duce (‘The Leader’) ― came up as ‘lol Duce’. Oh dear, ‘The Laugh Out Loud Leader’ (or ‘The Lots Of Love Leader’, as David Cameron thought when he first started texting, at least according to his friend Rebekah Brooks).

Is not ‘lol Duce’ the best spell-cheque suggestion yet?

Rewind---

Last Monday I featured this clickbait: “Church accused of ‘trolling’ ailing Richard Dawkins”

After being accused of being the meddlesome troll living under the bridge, the Church of England defended its prayers for the rapid recovery of the well-known atheist Professor by pointing out that that is its day job.

Well now, following all the fuss that the Church should not interfere in the lives of atheists, a rather thoughtful letter duly surfaced in The Telegraph:

Healing prayers

SIR – I am an atheist. When I became ill with cancer, the believers among my family and friends prayed for me ― which I felt was an act of kindness.
     I also reckoned that if I was right in my non-belief and they were wrong, no harm had been done. If it was the other way round, then a good word had been put in for me.
     There is no recurrence of my cancer at present.
Captain Kim Mockett, Littlebourne, Kent

The letter reminds me of Pascal’s Wager, an argument in apologetic philosophy by the 17th-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623–62). It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or that he does not.

Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will suffer only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell)

In a nutshell, best to believe that God exists. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then, without hesitation, that He exists.

Mind you, given that I sometimes think, what with the infinite doolallyness of the world about me, that I am actually He playing the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost of all computer games (or, if you are reading this, then you are He), it raises an intriguing question:

Does Donald Trump really exist?

And on that note, Boing
!: even God has to find time for bed.
 


Thursday, February 18th

Weird page-turner No 2

A COUPLE of weeks back I stumbled upon a Twitter thread dedicated to the Weirdest Book Title Ever ― and I featured The Jewish-Japanese Sex & Cook Book and How to Raise Wolves.

Quite. Time for another high flyer...

Shite happens


Amazon: Paperback only (ho, ho, ho)
26 Used from £0.01 (+ £2.80 UK delivery
!)
6 New from £20.29

What North American bird did that? I say Madonna. Where do I send my answer?

[If it were a British bird, then I would plump for Adele, who is forever flirting with shite happenings.]

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼


Sticking with things American ... a letter in The Times:

All you need is glove

Sir, Geoffrey Evans says he saw a “buy one, get one free” offer for gloves. This reminds me of the story of Sam Goldwyn, who worked in the glove business in Europe before moving to the US and becoming a film producer.
     He was told it was impossible to export his gloves to America because of the high duties, so he sorted his wares into left-handed and right-handed. The former he sent to New York and the latter to Boston.
     However, he failed to pay the shipping charges so, when the goods were not claimed, the port authorities auctioned them off. Goldwyn was the only bidder.
Paul Jones, Nottingham

That marvellous tale brings to mind just a few of Sam Goldwyn’s famously amusing quotes:

         
A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

          Let’s have some new clichés.

          If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive.

          A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad.

          When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.

          I'm willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.

          When I want your opinion I will give it to you.

          Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day.

That final quote brings to mind my observation from yesterday apropos Stephen Fry and David Cameron: It is a great truth that the cleverest people are also the most stupid.

 

Wednesday, February 17th

Choosing the perfect old bag

  “Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards dressed as a bag lady.” Baftas host Stephen Fry welcomes Jenny Beavan as she collects her costume design trophy for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road.

She was wearing trousers, a leather jacket and a scarf ― but looking at photographs of her appearance, she should have got her own back and started singing: “Feed the birds, tuppence a bag...”

Unsurprisingly, the social media sky duly fell on Fry’s head for his perceived insult ... Mad Fry: Fury Road.

And not for the first time he deleted his Twitter account following all the vitriol, saying “too many people have peed in the pond”.

But what does he expect when he himself peppers his tweets with obscenity?

 “I don’t feel anything other than massive relief ― free at last.” Stephen Fry, again, on quitting Twitter one more time, adding that it was “like a boulder rolling off my chest”.

Hm, a rolling boulder gathers no abuse.

  “I am absolutely not upset.” Jenny Beavan insists she’s still friends with Fry after the “bag lady” jibe.

And the passing parade moves on ― but not before a quick pause for thought...

Frying tonight

If Stephen Fry’s “bag lady” remark to friend Jenny Beavan had been made backstage, in private, everyone would have laughed it off, presumably. But I am astonished that Fry’s XXXXL brain did not warn him against saying it on live TV in front of millions. With social media waiting in ambush.

Similarly, David Cameron’s recent much-derided warning to MPs to ignore the views of Eurosceptic grassroots members of the Tory party apropos the upcoming EU referendum. What was  the fellow thinking of?

It is a great truth that the cleverest people are also the most stupid. No wonder the world is in a mess when our movers and shakers have no sense of the ambush that always awaits when you enter the pass.

Thankfully, I am probably the most average person in the country (height excepted). There’s a lot to be said for being 50 per cent clever and 50 per cent wise. After all, back in the day, 50 per cent was a pass mark.

Mention of “bag lady” jibes bring to mind the just happened
Grammy Awards ceremony.

Yesterday I shared what are believed to be the first ever photographs to feature people smiling. Normally, I smile at what I am looking at ― or listening to ― or thinking of ― so it was interesting for it to be turned on its head.

But today I’m back with smiling along with what’s in front of me.

Coming up, a headline and a pastiche of pictures spotted in Mail Online...

Are these the worst red carpet disasters EVER? Music’s biggest stars
hit an all-time low in the style stakes at the Grammy Awards


Boing! “Time for bed,” said Zebedee
The Passing Grammy Parade meets The Magic Roundabout at Los Angeles

Oh dear, I’m glad that as a bloke I can just slip into a black tie and dinner suit ― and off I go with a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi-yo, Silver!”.

Boing
! “Definitely, positively, irrefutably time for bed,” insisted Zebedee.
 


Tuesday, February 16th


>>>Angelgirl758

AS IT says up there on the Welcome Mat, Look You is a daily record of the things wot make me smile and which brighten up my day no end.

Well now, listening this morning to Radio Cymru, the Welsh language station, there was a gent on from the National Library of Wales discussing the Library’s positive relationship with Wikipedia.

One topic that came up was a brief history of early photography, in particular the fascinating tale of a Welsh lady, Mary Dillwyn (1816-1906), claimed to be the earliest female photographer in Wales, who took amateur photographs of flowers, animals, family and friends in the 1840s and 1850s.

One of her images from 1853 is said to be the first portrait photograph of a smile ― bearing in mind, of course, that all those memorable early images always have people looking exceedingly stern.

Mary Dillwyn managed to capture the fleeting smiley expression of her young nephew, William Mansel Llewelyn (Willy), as he gazed intently at something off camera. The photograph, I learn compliments of Wikipedia and the National Library of Wales, is typical of Dillwyn’s informal approach.

Just Willy by Mary Dillwyn

But is he gazing at the Mona Lisa?

Young Willy’s image has survived its journey through time because his enigmatic smile was the first to be captured in a photograph in Britain ― and probably the world.

Google ‘Mary Dillwyn – Wikipedia’, and you will find out more about this fascinating lady.

What you will also discover lurking in one of the links is that the ‘first smile’ claim is disputed: see, for example, this equally well-known c.1844 ‘Edinburgh Ale’ image in the Hill & Adamson photography gallery...

One for the road: Here’s lookin’ at you, chaps

“Mine is the wench on the right, gents ... the middle one looks your type,
George – and James, sorry old boy, you’ll have to entertain the spare...”
(But who is the fellow on the right talking to on his mobile?)

This marvellously smiley image was reportedly taken just six years after the very first photograph of a human.

But it is not really a portrait, more perhaps what I would describe as the first photograph ever to capture the casual magic of the passing parade.

It catches perfectly how you would expect to observe three men in a bar enjoying a happy hour.

It is as captivating as any modern photograph ― and carries overwhelmingly the motion that ‘Content and an eye for a great picture trumps technical brilliance every time’.

Oh yes, I enjoyed this ‘glass half-full’ slurp of information about the Edinburgh Ale picture:

On the table are three glasses of ale. According to a contemporary account, Edinburgh Ale was “a potent fluid, which almost glued the lips of the drinker together”.

“Glued the lips of the drinker together,” observes an unaccredited writer.  That has to be one of the oddest descriptions of how a beer tastes I have ever read. It makes me want to try an Edinburgh Ale. I’ve got to start working on that time machine.

As stated on the Welcome Mat: Look You is a daily record of the things wot make me smile and which brighten up my day no end. Tick. √
 


Monday, February 15th

Give me a ring sometime soon

WELL, it’s the day after the Valentine’s Day ‘Love is all @ the Butterfly Ball’ stuff, in particular the cross-species smooching and mooching as featured in yesterday’s smile of the day.

I also mentioned that I’d perused a picture gallery labelled ‘Animals kissing for Valentine’s Day’. One image featured swans doing that spectacular heart thing they do when true love comes calling.

But things don’t always work out as they should. Here, a brace of telling images from my own files.

First, a couple of swans do that romancing thing I mentioned above...

Swan Lake: If I said you had a beautiful body...

The body language, however, suggests that everything isn’t quite going all
Kind Hearts and Coronations ... a touch of the ‘In your dreams, sunshine
!

The gossip on the oxbow lake, though, whispers that the pair did decide to make a go of it ― but disaster waits in ambush...

The engagement is announced ... however...

“Are you sure this is where you dropped the bloody ring?”

As Chief Wise Owl always says at moments such as this: say nothing is best.

Talking of love, this is my favourite clickbait of the day:

Prayers for Richard Dawkins from Church of England

After being accused of ‘trolling’, the Church of England defends praying for well-known atheist Professor Richard Dawkins, 74, following his stroke

Professor Dawkins has since said he was “improving” and thanked well-wishers for their support.

That episode really did make me smile. As did the following brief exchange on a comment board.

Someone called ‘Belstaff’ was having a right old go at the Church for getting involved because it was none of their business, what with Dawkins being the world’s most famous atheist, probably. (Personally, I thought it quite a smart and clever bit of footwork by the Church.)

Other posters defended the Church and pointed out that as Christians they pray for everyone, irrespective of their beliefs.

One defendant signed off thus:

Elysium (responding to Belstaff, above): “God bless you and may the scales fall from your eyes :-)”

Belstaff (responding to Elysium): “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wanna buy some magic beans?”

Realeastender: “Belstaff, why are you selling them? Have they stopped working for you?”


Oh dear, that last one generated a generous smile hereabouts ― and it seemed like a good time to make my excuses and leave to catch up with the swans and see if they
’ve recovered the ring...

Addendum

A wonderfully thoughtful letter duly surfaced in The Telegraph:

Healing prayers

SIR – I am an atheist. When I became ill with cancer, the believers among my family and friends prayed for me ― which I felt was an act of kindness.
     I also reckoned that if I was right in my non-belief and they were wrong, no harm had been done. If it was the other way round, then a good word had been put in for me.
     There is no recurrence of my cancer at present.
Captain Kim Mockett, Littlebourne, Kent

 


Sunday, February 14th

You are my s delight

THIS morning I perused a picture gallery labelled ‘Animals kissing for Valentine’s Day’. There were caterpillars, pigs, squirrels, fish, swans...

A smiley collection of images for sure ― but to be truthful they were not so much kissing as mostly rubbing noses à la the traditional Eskimo greeting. Also, the kissing involved same-species creatures: the pair of squirrels, for example, being the exceedingly cute red variety.

Then I remembered a photo I captured a few years back along my daily sunrise walk through the Towy Valley, involving Ermintrude the cow and Mister Ed the exceedingly friendly neighbourhood stallion...

♫♥♫♥♫♥♫
You must remember this,
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh...


The fundamental things apply,
No matter what the future brings...


But who is that intruder playing gooseberry? Fancy a threesome, Missy?

A Valentine Dream

Ermintrude awoke with a start.  Mister Ed, her beloved, enquired as to what had brought about that sudden jolt. She sighed and said: “I just had a dream that it was Valentine’s Day and you gave me a pearl necklace with a big bell on it. What do you suppose it means?

“You’ll know tonight,” said Mister Ed with a knowing nod and a quick swish of you-know-what.

That evening Mister Ed came in from the fields with a package in his mouth and presented it to Ermintrude.

Delighted, she opened it ― only to find a book entitled “The Meaning of Dreams”.
 


Saturday, February 13th

Zip that lip

YESTERDAY I mentioned that, while I do not actively engage with Social Media, I do enjoy perusing, for example, the daily Top of the Tweets compliments of Twitterland.

The other day I came across a rather neat tweet ― but it needed some background information, a few dots joined up to paint a picture.

Good old Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times, as usual, comes to the rescue...

                              
Many degrees of madness

More cheering news from our university campuses. At my old college, the London School of Economics, a society has been set up to promote freedom of speech ― an antediluvian notion that is quite rightly abhorred in almost all of our institutes of higher education.

Common sense should soon prevail, because this society is itself facing a call to be banned.

A student called Maurice Banerjee Palmer has demanded the anti-ban society be banned because, among other reasons: “They don’t seem to have put any effort into understanding the rationale behind safe spaces, or their effect.”

No indeed. “Safe spaces” are places where students can go when they don’t wish to hear views that might diverge from their own, and these days they constitute the entire campus.

Maurice is training to be a lawyer, incidentally.

And that clever tweet I mentioned?

  @peterboghossian: “I have more in common with people who believe Jesus walked on water than I do with people who want to ban speech on campus.”

We do indeed live in a strange world. As this perplexed correspondent to a national newspaper points out:

Fantasy Island

   “IS THIS the real life? Is this just fantasy? A man in charge of a football team to be paid more in 3½ days than our Prime Minister earns in a year. Graham Andrews of Bideford, Devon in a letter to the Daily Mail.

I can only repeat what I have said hereabouts before; indeed back on August 22 last year this Daily Mail  clickbait caught my eye...

Is our universe FAKE? Physicists claim we could all be the playthings of an advanced civilisation

That’s the radical theory put forward by a number of scientists, who claim there is a possibility that our world is merely a computer simulation ― and there may be evidence of this if we know where to look...

As I said at the time, that is certainly not a radical theory here at Look You. To recap:

When I stand and stare at the utter doolallyness of the world about me, I often think that, like Graham Andrews in the above letter, this life is not for real.

Indeed, I sometimes wonder if, whisper it, I am God. And that I am just playing a game ― a computer simulation, a sort of dress rehearsal to iron out all the creases of madness here, there and everywhere on Planet Earth.

Or Ole Blue Eye, as I identify the planet in my Universe Challenge  game.

But hang about: if You are reading this ― then perhaps You  are God, and I am just a component, a character, a plaything in Your  computer simulation.

What else can possibly make sense?

Last gasp

Finally, with Wales having defeated Scotland today at the rugby, now is an opportune moment to share and enjoy a letter spotted in The Times:

Money’s worth

Sir, Tuppence Middleton has been brilliant in War and Peace  on television. Any chance ― for the sake of happy nomenclature ― of introducing her to the equally brilliant Wales rugby star Leigh Halfpenny?
Benedict Le Vay, London SW19

Very witty. Sadly, though, Leigh Halfpenny didn’t feature today as he is still grounded with a long-term leg injury.

Mind you, ‘nomenclature’ is not a word you hear in the Bible (I’m fairly sure), or in the Asterisk Bar down at the Crazy Horsepower Saloon (I’m 100% sure).

There again, if the lovely Mrs Tuppence Halfpenny was a regular at the Crazy Horsepower, she’d be known affectionately as Mrs Circa One New Pee, or CP1 for short.

Incidentally, Urban Dictionary  throws up this neat definition:

Tuppence ha’penny millionaire

A person who pretends to have millions of pounds in the bank, but actually struggles to find a penny to scratch their ass with.

Hm, I personally know one or two of those.

 


Friday, February 12th

Day trip to Twitterland

ONCE upon a time, those in the media ― newspapers, magazines, radio, television ― could promote their views and opinions unhindered. And the media of course wholeheartedly embraces the world of celebrity.

Now we might well be overwhelmed with the need to give many meeja folk a good old slap apropos their thoughts and opinions ― metaphorically speaking of course ― but essentially we had to like it or lump it. End of.

Then came the internet and something called Social Media ― and suddenly Jo Bloggs could respond with his or her take on life, the universe and everything, instantly, unhindered, and hoover up a huge following in the process.

I do not actively engage in Social Media ― it strikes me as yet another addiction to add to the list ― but I do enjoy perusing the best of, as in say, Twitter.

A perfect example is this beckoning clickbait headline in Mail Online...

It’s the BBC’s dream PC line-up! New Top Gear hosts revealed and
the internet is quick to notice there’s ‘a black guy, a woman
and a foreigner’ (and, of course, a ginger)

[what, no gay in the TG village?]

So I embraced the Twitterati view of New Top Gear, as in this promotional BBC image, but with added info thereon to help explain what’s what and who’s who...

Fudgey @fudgecrumpet

“Meet the new Top Gear Team”

 

11/01/2016: The BBC today unveiled the full Magnificent Seven-person team due to host the new-look Top Gear show when it returns to the screens in May. As well as the previously-announced Chris Evans (centre) and Friends actor Matt LeBlanc (third from left), the new team includes German racing driver Sabine Schmitz (second from left), unknown technology journalist Rory Reid (left, and who got on the show by submitting an audition tape and calling himself ‘the lovechild of Idris Elba and Jeremy Clarkson’), former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan (second from right) and YouTube star Chris Harris (third from right). And a tall person in a helmet (someone called Jezzabel?).

[Thinks: is Rory Reid (‘the lovechild of Idris Elba and Jeremy Clarkson’) supposed to be the token gay in the TG village? Or perhaps it’s Chris Harris (‘The guy inside Tinky Winky’)? Or Sabine Schmitz, even? Goodness, this is all so very confusing for a simple country boy like me. And where, pray, is the BBC’s very own lovechild, Clare Balding, in all of this? Clare, after all, delights in having some horse power between her legs.]

 

Be all that as it James May, Top Gear fans instantly went online commenting that the line-up suggests the show will be very different from its famously politically incorrect style under former hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.

The photo of the crew also sparked a series of online memes, with the team being compared to My Little Pony and Roland Rat.

So let’s enjoy these marvellous memes...

Scott Wilks @scottwilks

“New Top Gear line-up get train to first photoshoot”

Apart from the sky-high smileometer reading of the picture, what a fabulous photo that is. A human Sphinx? Mind you, I’m not sure what health and safety would say. And hang about: is that Jezza Clarkson on the parallel track, waving them off?

Next, straight out of the Top Gear stable...
 


And, Top Gear investigates the commuter Rat Run with Roland Evans in charge...

 

And I thought ... hm, why shouldn’t I join in all the fun?

Now I have always thought of Chris Evans as a bit of a chipmunk. I mean, it’s the way he talks and acts on his breakfast radio show ― my excuse being that I listen to him so as to charge up my juvenile gene to hopefully see me through the day, much as you would plug in an electric car for a quick boost.

So here we are...

♫ ... You Spin Me Round

Chris on the left, A-lister Matt LeBlanc (Alvin to his fans and
essential for Top Gear’s international appeal) in the middle,
with German pussychip Sabine Schmitz making up the trio

And on that bombshell...

 

Thursday, February 11th
 

♫ ... Off he went with a Trumpety-Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump...
 


Zazzle Dazzle by Eloquents

THE OTHER day I quoted columnist Rod Liddle: “I want to see President Trump ― if only because of who he’d annoy.”

I am with Rod ― and it gets better. A clickbait spotted in The Telegraph:

No sympathy for the Donald: The Rolling Stones join Adele, Neil Young and other A-listers angry that Trump is using their music

Good old Nellie must be trumpeting triumphantly in her grave. Go the Donald.


Be all that as it may, this delightfully doolally world of ours ― gravitational waves and all ― must keep on turning.

For example...

Scotland over a barrel

  “OH NO! Look at the oil price! Now we’ll never get rid of the Scots! Phil North of Brigg, North Lincolnshire in a letter to the Daily Mail.

Yes, have you noticed how few barrel rolls Alex Salmond is performing these days? And Nicola Sturgeon is looking less slick by the day.

                    ♫♥♫♥♫♥♫

                    “Stop!” cried the UK mama fish, “or you will get lost.”
                    But the two little fishies didn’t want to be bossed.
                    The two little fishies went off on a spree,
                    And they swam and they swam right out to the North Sea ...
etc, etc...
                   
(With apologies to lyricists Josephine Carringer and Bernice Idins)

Believe it or don’t: clickbait 1

Councillor steals £155K in coins from launderette machines and donates ‘dirty money’ to charities

Believe it or don’t: clickbait 2

Google’s European boss reveals he doesn’t know his OWN PAY as he faces angry MPs over £130million ‘sweetheart’ tax deal

Matt Brittin, giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee today, was asked five times how much he earned and finally admitted: ‘I don’t have a figure.’

And if you believe that, you will believe anything.

Look, you don’t need to be an expert to appreciate that extraterrestrials did land at Roswell in 1947. They were Ferengi shapeshifters, better known as Changelings, or perhaps Nochangelings.

They went on to become the planets movers and shakers (including science fiction script writers), hence why 99% of the world’s wealth is now under the control of 1% of the population.

The folk at Google are Ferengi, driven by their Rules of Acquisition (all 285). And most of them marginally paraphrased to suit the gullibility of we Huw-mans.

Here are just three of those rules, plucked at random

1.  Once you have their money, you never give it back ― unless it’s a BOGOF loss-leader to make them think you’re a person they can do business with.

74.  Knowledge equals profit. And search engines equal lots and lots and lots of tax-free profit.

76.  Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies ― and your Gold-Pressed Latinum reserves will increase exponentially.

There, you will look at our movers and shakers, especially the folk who live on the Google Hill, a wee bit differently in future.

PS: By the way, do you suppose that Google’s European boss was actually christened Matt Britain, but he felt so guilty about this tax and earnings business he changed it by deed poll to Matt Brittin?
 


Wednesday, February 10th

♫ ... Whistle a happy tune

AND NOW, a delightfully cheery little tale I serendipitously tripped over...

Objects that celebrities took to the grave

Humphrey Bogart ~ A golden whistle

In her 1944 movie debut, To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall told Humphrey Bogart: “You know you don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow.”

Sometime during their fabled love affair, Bogie gave Bacall a golden whistle charm to honour the meeting. When he died in 1957, the charm was buried with his ashes. Bacall had it engraved with the phrase, “If you want anything, just whistle.”

Now how delightful is that?

Ah, but what would I like to take to the grave?

Hm, I’ll have to sleep on that one ― and hopefully wake up as well to make suitable arrangements before I finally roll over and enter The Big Sleep.

However, before I lay my head on my pillow for the night: Every day a day at school  whistler spot...

So was hir joly whistle wel y-wet
(the following compliments of Word Histories)

Since medieval times, the word whistle has been jocular for the mouth or throat as used in speaking or singing.

The expression ‘to wet one’s whistle’, meaning to take a drink, is found as early as, approximately, 1386 in The Reeve's Tale  by Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400).

          He yexeth, and he speketh thurgh the nose
          As he were on the quakke, or on the pose.
          To bedde he goth, and with hym goth his wyf.
          As any jay she light was and jolyf,
          So was hir joly whistle wel y-wet.

Translation:

He belches and speaks through his nose as if he had a frog in his throat or a cold. His wife went to bed also, as light and frisky as any jay, so well had she wet her jolly whistle.


Goodness, here’s lookin’ at you, kid. No hang on, that’s the wrong film.

Let’s just stick to whistling a happy tune.
 


Tuesday, February 9th
 

Today is ... Safer Internet Day

I DUNNO, where’s it all going to end? These days we have to engage in safer drinking, safer eating, safer language, safer sex ― that symbol alongside makes me think: Chastity belt locked ... check...

Anyway, on Google there were loads of tips to stay safe online. And the first line of defence? A strong password: **** *** (an easy one to guess, that, but a cracking thought though).

All this brings me neatly to:

Speaking in tongues asterisks

  “DAME HELEN MIRREN has received much praise recently for taste and discretion with her clothing. So that just leaves the foul language...” Jacqueline Deeks of Rustington, Sussex in a letter to the Daily Mail.

  “If your brain was donated to science, science would return it.” Dame Helen Mirren ridicules drink-drivers in an American advertising campaign, and featured on television during last Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Well, if Dame Helen’s own brain was donated to the science of etymology and semantics ― the study of the history of words and the relationship between signs and symbols, especially the use of asterisks in the printed word, presumably ― then science would grab her brain with both hands.

It would be fascinating to know, though, why Dame Helen finds it increasingly impossible to speak in public without effin’ and blindin’ all over the place.

There was a report the other day confirming that, as older people enter their second childhood phase and start to show first signs of serious doolallyness, their obscenity output explodes dramatically.

I hope old Dame Helen, 70, is not losing it, poor thing.

‘I am on the train’ of the day

  “Now at Starbucks, where I am the oldest person in the room. Next stop, the Oldie of the Year Awards, where I will be the youngest.” Gyles Brandreth, 67, English writer and broadcaster, moves with the times.

Very amusing ― and best of all, you can actually hear Gyles saying that.

Next, a letter in The Times:

Driveway to haven

Sir, Carol Midgley describes the misery of trying to park outside your house in a city (Notebook, Jan 29). My neighbours and I have the luxury of unlimited acres of parking space ― but face a 65-mile car trip to the nearest major hospital.
     Some you win, some you lose.
Sylvia Crookes, Bainbridge, Wensleydale


Well said, Sylvia Crookes. Swings and roundabouts rule, OK?

And finally...

Smile of the day

  “I USED to have gadgets that ran like clockwork: all I had to do was wind them up. Now I only have gadgets that wind me up.” Cheryl Hawkins of Hastings in a letter to the Daily Mail.

Actually, that goes on the shortlist for Quote of the Year.
 


Monday, February 8th

EU turn if you want to...

AS the latest EU referendum poll shows a nine-point lead for Brexit, is the Leave camp heading for victory?
       (WARNING: Terms and conditions apply i.e. the polls could still be getting things horribly wrong.)

Be that as it may (or most likely June), a couple of letters climbed up my smileometer.

Advanced driver test

“Apropos David Cameron’s EU renegotiation, it is not an emergency brake the nation needs but a three-point turn.” Mike Bridgeman of Devizes in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.

Wordy wise

  FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION ― [the action or habit of estimating something as worthless] ― the perfect word to describe David Cameron’s long-winded EU reform nonsense.”
P A Hull of Cannock in a letter to the Daily Mail.

Now that’s an exceedingly smiley observation. In fact, it could give rise to a whole new word to describe Davy Cameron’s EU renegotiations:

                                             FLOCCININYOUREUDREAMSSUNSHINE ― the default reaction to a politician you would not trust further than you could throw ― and as if by magic, it happens to feature the same number of letters as its inspiration.

Move along there

There was a smashing
MATT  cartoon over the weekend ... in celebration of David Cameron prompting much anger in his own party by telling MPs to ignore the views of eurosceptic grassroots members (honestly, Cameron is such a gloriously old-fashioned kind of spiv).

Anyway, the MATT  cartoon: A man is reading the paper, and his good lady sat next to him is busily knitting away. She turns to him: “You should join the local Conservatives. You have a lot of views that deserve to be ignored.”

 
Spell-cheque corner: This is the first time I have mentioned ‘Brexit’ ― a newly surfaced word referring to the ‘Leave the EU’ camp ― and my computer, unsurprisingly, did not recognise it.

It suggested ‘Bruit’, meaning:
     1)
rumour or report: a story, true or untrue, that is passed about among people (archaic)
     2) medicine: a medically significant but abnormal sound heard inside the body, usually with the aid of a stethoscope, and caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart or blood vessels, a murmur.

How about that? For ‘Brexit’ read ‘Bruit’: a nation with a turbulent and revolutionary murmur beating firmly at its heart.

Yes, we are truly pissed off with our movers and shakers, whether they be politicians, civil servants, bankers, corporate giants, media experts...
 


Sunday, February 7th

Make it snappy

A BRACE of images have effortlessly shot up my smileometer.

The first, spotted on Twitter...

Classic Pics @Classic_picx

The cast of Harry Potter cast: Then vs Now

Now how funny is that? Brilliant. I highly commend a visit to the House of Classic Pics for an endless river of memorable captions added to familiar pictures:

                                                                              https://twitter.com/classic_picx

Some mothers do ‘ave ‘em

As a bonus, the next picture has also been all over the shop over the weekend. A brilliant Photoshop exercise was my initial reaction ― but all is not what it’s not, so to speak...

What the puck?

Pampered junior ice hockey players at work, rest and play

Yes, it’s an actual photograph. Untouched. Well, as far as I can tell. And I did spot it in The Times, a newspaper which always points out a Photoshopped image (unless of course the paper itself has been fooled).

The picture features a few of Canada’s London Knights ice hockey team watching their game against The Niagara IceDogs (both major minor ice hockey teams in the Ontario Hockey League) in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Do you suppose they were expecting to get the shite knocked out of them? Well, it is a rough, tough old game.

But what a clever and exceedingly witty shot it is.

And the second-in from the right takes the prize. Well, he does look as if he’s just done a whoopsie.
 


Saturday, February 6th

The Catcher in the Eye


THE OTHER day I stumbled upon a Twitter thread dedicated to the Weirdest Book Title Ever. And there were some glorious eye-catching crackers, this one being a perfect example...
 

     Feeling sheepish in wolves’ clothing 
 

Amazon: Hardcover from $275.00
11 Used from $275.00
1 Collectible from $1,349.95

Amazon: Paperback from $249.98
11 Used from $249.98
2 New from $759.40

What astonishing cover prices those are. So I wondered about the author (presumably now dead, hence the cost), and more to the point, what the book was all about.

So I searched out some reviews ... which ranged from 5 Stars down to just 2. In fact the one I thought most informative was this:

Goodreads.com
Leah Nicolich-Henkin (rated 2 Stars out of 5)
Witty and intriguing title: A+
Living up to title: C-

There is a lot of raising wolves. There is almost no Jewish-Japanese Sex and Cooking. (There is one Jew in a couple of chapters, and about a page of Japanese cooking. The only actual sex is between wolves.)

Basically the book is a somewhat humorous but mostly just strange account of raising a family of wolves in suburban Connecticut. This part is reasonably interesting, but it is interspersed with occasional sexist, racist, or homophobic comments. I might overlook these in a really great book, but not in one such as this.

In short, I recommend that someone else take this marvellous title and use it for a better book.

Then I came upon this...

@ manofmany.com
Man of Many in Entertainment, Lifestyle

Do not let the title of The Jewish-Japanese Sex & Cook Book and How to Raise Wolves fool you. There is some raising of wolves but hardly any sex and no real Jewish-Japanese fusion cuisine to speak of.

Jack Douglas [1908-1989, American comedy writer] was a humour writer working in the 1970s and appeared to relish filling his books with as many socially unacceptable jokes as humanly possible.

With the benefit of politically correct hindsight there is no way Douglas would have been published today with his perchance for sexist, racist and homophobic cracks.

However, if you fancy an insight into the heyday of the nerve touching 1970s give Douglas a read. Perhaps it will show just what a big a stick we have up our butts these days.

Interesting. But at $249.98 a copy? I think not. I wonder, though, if my local library has it lurking in the system. Probably not, but I shall visit next week to enquire.

Oh yes, Jack Douglas has also written a book called My Brother Was An Only Child, which is another eye-catching and thought-provoking title.

The final word

The hardback/paperback info on the Amazon website about The Jewish-Japanese Sex & Cook Book Etc  took me back mega-moons, to a cousin of mine, sadly no longer with us, Brian Rees, who was a car dealer.

He told the tale of an attractive lady buying a new sports car, a TR3A Roadster, the basic vehicle coming with either a soft top (fabric) or a ‘clip-on’ hardtop as standard. If the buyer wanted both then it would add to the cost, obviously (the hardtop being a sound investment in a typical British winter).

Anyway, the deal is nearly done, so Brian asks her: “Soft top or hardtop?”

“Oh, definitely a hardtop,” she said, with a hint of wickedness, “I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
 


Friday, February 5th
 

Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat
(Whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad)
 

CLICKBAITS and Julie Andrews are some of my favourite things.

Nine times out of 10 I never actually click on the bait because I enjoy setting off on my very own flights of fancy apropos the doolallyness of the world about me.

But should you, dear visitor, want to find out more ― well, all you need do is take the headline and feed it into Ivor the Search Engine or Google or Whatever.

So, on with the show ― and three perfectly doolally clickbaits catch my eye: from the sublime, via the ridiculous, to the appalling...

North Korea bombards South with balloons packed with used toilet paper and cigarette butts in bizarre propaganda war

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! Mile-high KO, OK?

Delta Boeing 757 diverted after fist fight between air hostesses at 37,000 feet

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

‘Bus Stop Cat’ who was famous for being friendly to hundreds of commuters mourned after being ‘kicked to death’ by thugs
 

Finally though, especially after that last one about the poor cat, a clickbait just spotted and which will raise the spirits no end:

You won’t believe the secret to a long life for the recently-deceased Spanish man who lived to 107---

Four bottles of red wine each and every day ― two bottles with lunch and another two with dinner ― and never drinking water

I trust all that splendidly uplifting news about the Spaniard who animated my life, Antonio Docampo Garcia, isn’t a mistake and that it really was four bottles of wine a day and not four red grapes a day  ― remember that amusing tale from a couple of days back?

 

Thursday, February 4th
 

Humanity’s Doolallypedia litmus test update


THE FOLLOWING are all online British newspaper clickbaits spotted over recent days...
 

Menopause! It’s the power surge, says Kay Burley: Sky News presenter wants to rename women’s hormone change to break down taboo

Ah, but is that ‘power surge’ going to be AC, DC or Three Phase? You know, is it a little bit of this, a wee touch of the that, and a whole bunch of the other? We should be told.

And don’t let me start on Womenopause ― or the ‘power blackout’ as we chaps down the pub call it...

Next:

Sex bomb: Could dynamite be the cure for erectile dysfunction?

A series of scientific studies suggest that nitro-glycerine might one day rival Viagra as a treatment for erectile dysfunction

My God, it gives a whole new meaning to a blow-up doll. Imagine the explosion if my nitro-glycerine-soaked thingamajig was ever to come into contact with Kay Burley’s power-surge thingamabob ... Wham! BANG! Thank you ma’am.

Hissing and spitting and purring

The following two clickbaits featured as the top two ‘Most shared’ stories on The Telegraph  website at 1700hrs last Friday:

Woman says she is a cat trapped in the wrong body ― she hisses at dogs, hates water and claims she can even see better at night

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

Men need nights out with the lads, scientists say

☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼     ☼

Now c’mon, after that cat woman story, are you surprised we chaps disappear down the Crazy Horsepower Saloon at the slightest hint of baring of claws and teeth?

  “Listen, if my husband did what Bill Clinton did, I would have left him long ago.” Carly Fiorina, Republican presidential candidate, tells it as it is and that Hilary should have bared her claws and teeth a lot more at her stinky old tomcat.

Yes, Bill and Hilary remain a curious couple ― which ensures that politicians remain the least trusted and respected members of society.

And how about this exceedingly curious Telegraph  clickbait?
 

Are Donald Trump’s teeny-tiny hands harming his presidential chances?

He wants to hold the reins to the world’s greatest superpower ― but are Trump’s hands big enough?

What a bizarre headline that is ― I was tempted to click ... but made my excuses and moved on ― however, I shall keep an eye open for those hands of his. Actually, I have read somewhere that he hates shaking hands and will avoid it wherever possible. Hm, interesting.

The only advice I was ever given about hands was to make sure that I only got romantically involved with girls with small hands ― because they would make my thingamajig look bigger. Impossible to fault that logic.

The final word goes to columnist Rod Liddle:

  “I want to see President Trump ― if only because of who he’d annoy.”

I know exactly what Rod means. Indeed, I would give anything to see the ‘Out’ campaign carry the EU referendum ― if only because of the total political chaos it would leave in its wake, especially inside the EU.

In fact, my guess is that Britain would do just fine on its own simply because it’s an island and its DNA is awash with survival genes and lifebelts.
                                                                 


Wednesday, February 3rd

One for the road

A COUPLE of letters spotted in The Telegraph...

Wherry not

SIR – My local pub serves Wherry beer. Yesterday I ordered a pint and was met with a response from the barmaid of “No Wherrys”.
David Brown, Lavenham, Suffolk

Worrying development

SIR – Apropos revelations about the growing use of the phrase “no problem”, I recently asked a staff member on a hospital ward to stop using its variant, “no worries”, during a conversation about my father, as, while she may not have had any, I did.
     Her immediate reply was: “No worries.”
Malcolm Watson, Welford, Berkshire

Actually, you can just hear the staff member (nurse? doctor? physiotherapist?) saying that.

Anyway, mention of Wherry’s beer brings to mind a recent clickbait reassuring me that Eating fresh red seedless grapes can help you lose weight or prevent weight gain due to the low number of calories they contain’.

And so to a letter in The Times...

Grape expectations

Sir, I was delighted to read that eating a handful of red grapes four times a week will help me lose weight (News, Jan 28). I am assuming that fermenting them first will only add to this effect.
Dr Andrew Stoddart, St Leonards on Sea, E Sussex

A Peter Young did respond, but rather spoilt the joke by pointing out that, actually, it takes 75/100 grapes to produce one glass of wine.

That last bit of info did generate an exclamation cum question mark, so I sent Ivor the Search Engine  out for a sniff and a slurp ... well, well:

It takes one cluster of grapes to make one glass of wine. There are approximately 75 – 100 grapes to a cluster (depending on the grape type). There are approximately four clusters to a 750ml bottle of wine. One vine produces around 10 bottles of wine.

A quick word

  “One reason why I don’t drink is because I wish to know when I am having a good time.”
Nancy Astor (1879-1964), American-born English socialite and politician, quoted in the Christian Herald (1960).

One of the members of the local Hole In The Head Gang I used to hang out with back in the day, had a habit of declaring after a night on the tiles: “Had a wonderful time last night. Can’t remember a thing.” I empathise with both my drinking pal and Nancy Astor.

Talking of boozing...

Nature vs nurture

Richard Dawkins, 74,
English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, writer and an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, recently gave an interview to The Times.

In a ‘Quick fire’ section, one question asked was this:

  Nature or nurture? “That is a very complicated question, you can’t possibly expect a one word answer.

Hm. Now I earned my University of Life degree working as a barman at the Crazy Horsepower Saloon. There I learnt that nature is the hard drive delivered at conception, while nurture is the software subsequently added. However, software can easily be corrupted, overwritten and deleted.

As a barman I observed that with every drink consumed during a ‘session’, a layer of learned behaviour (software) was removed. When drunk, people expose themselves in the raw, in the hard drive of life.

Indeed they behave in the way you would expect them to act when sober but put under extreme stress ― or importantly, when behind closed doors at home.

As a rule of thumb, some 10 per cent of people when pissed become amusing, witty, silly, exhibitionists ― and generally exceedingly entertaining company.

Mostly though, people become awkward, argumentative, difficult, bolshie, aggressive ― and a few morph into something quite violent which demands the handle-with-extreme-care treatment.

As I may have mentioned hereabouts before, my advice to anyone deciding to go into partnership with someone, whether it be personal or business, is to first get that person really drunk ― while remaining absolutely sober yourself.

The result will tell you everything you ever need to know.

So: nature or nurture? Well, nature every time.


‘Look away now’ Clickbait of the Day
(Compliments of The Telegraph)

                                          Lose weight: eat chocolate cake 
 

Tuesday, February 2nd

Gone with the wind


DURING my Kit Kat mid-winter break, one of my favourite clickbaits was this one spotted in The Telegraph...
 

Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse ― and Sundance Film Festival audience walks out in disgust

The former Harry Potter star’s latest film, Swiss Army Man, also features a scene in which Radcliffe’s penis is used as a divining rod

Now how perfectly doolally is that? A Swiss Army Man with his Swish Army Penis, a trusted and wizard tool of adventurers around the world, whether exploring the city, the oceans, the mountains ― and indeed the boudoirs.

I did not click, obviously, because that would have unceremoniously wedged a sprag between the spokes of my go-anywhere 4x4 imagination . (Incidentally, with January a month when so many celebrity entities bit the dust, a quick thought on the passing of the Land Rover Defender. RIP LRD.)

Anyway, back with that Swish Army Penis: now if I had only known about that divining rod line when I was the regulation young buck about town zooming along the local highways and byways in my smileometer-rich TR3: “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me and play with my divining rod.” “Oh, you smooth talking Nogood Boyo you ... and who knows, I may well whisper ‘welcome to the well’.”

And then I spotted this missive, again in The Telegraph...

Build-up of wind

SIR – While driving through the prairies of northern France, we were amazed by the number of wind turbines and found ourselves musing on what the collective noun might be for such an accumulation.
     Could it be a generation?
Trina Golland, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Fair play, Trina, that  is rather good. Anyway, the suggestions wafted in on the breeze in droves.

A squander, a ballet, a folly, or an eyesore

Bob Broughton of Laleston in Glamorgan: A generation of wind turbines would only work if they did significant generating. I suggest a squander  would be more appropriate.

Julia Evans of Beganne, Morbihan in France: I have always called it a ballet. The turbines’ elegant tapered blades resemble legs in white tights.

John Anderson of Nelson in New Zealand: The collective term for turbines should be an eyesore.

Mike Bridgman of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire: Given their proliferation across the countryside, might they be described as a rash?

Gordon Crook of Bottesford in Nottinghamshire: A folly?

Simon Ragsdale of Swinford in Leicestershire: A subsidy. Without that noun, they would not exist.

Stephen von Bertele of Acomb in North Yorkshire: A mendacity?

Ken Grimrod-Smythe of Ingbirchworth in South Yorkshire: A bitter blow?

Jeffrey Cook of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire: An abomination.


What a broad canvas of locations responding to that question.

Anyway, as for my thoughts ... well, given the farting clickbait that triggered today’s dispatch, how about a windbreak of turbines?

Or could it be a Tara  of turbines? Or even a Ta-ra of turbines? Tara of course being the home of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind.

Oh yes, TARA* is also the acronym for the Timed Antagonistic Response Alethiometer, a type of lie detection technique.

Every day a day at school spot

* The TARA is a computer-based technique. It requires respondents to classify a succession of mixed statements as true or false, as quickly and accurately as they can, by pressing one of two keys.

The faster they do so, the more likely they are to be telling the truth; the slower they do so, the more likely they are to be lying.

The TARA works by manufacturing an artificial situation in which lying is more challenging than truth-telling. Specifically, it permits truth-tellers to complete two alternating tasks using the same strategy, but requires liars to complete them using contradictory strategies.

Hence, if both truth-tellers and liars complete the TARA accurately as stipulated, then the former will complete it more quickly than the latter, all else being equal.

How perfect do you suppose it would be if David Cameron had to sit a TARA test apropos all this EU three-card-trick business?

Finally...

Dodgy déjà vu utterance of the day

                                          Punxsutawney Phil emerges at Gobblers Knob
 


Monday, February 1st

Back under smiler’s orders

A REVIEW in last Saturday’s Times  newspaper of ‘a children’s book for the very young about sharing happiness’ happened to catch my perusing eye. I quote:

Be happy, cheer up, look on the bright side, just grin, goddammit!

The book is Pass it On  (2-5) by Sophy Henn: Her main message is that of a squillion R&B songs: “Share the love.” Yet hers comes with no musical accompaniment but smart rhymes and beautiful pictures. It is neither preachy nor cloying.

A child in a red hat jumps out of bed with a good intention: “When you see something terrific, pass it on.” I don’t think she’s talking about that photo of the white giraffe that looks like David Bowie [check it out online, very smiley], but rather kindness and goodwill.

“If you chance upon a chuckle, hee-hee-hee and pass it on;
Should you spot a thing of wonder, jump for joy and pass it on.”

Well now, checking out today’s TV & Radio listings in The Sunday Times  Culture magazine, their first  CHOICE  following the  PICK OF THE DAY  was this…

Art for fun’s sake
Joy Of Painting
(PBS America, 12.10pm – Sky 534 Freesat 160 Virgin 276)

The Grey Mountain by Bob Ross
“When you see something terrific, pass it on.”

 

There is something of the Fast Show sketch about this simple, instructional art show, which originally ran in America between 1983 and 1994, yet it is not without its soothing charms.

The presenter is Bob Ross, an unlikely former master sergeant who died in 1995, and he radiates calm from beneath his perm as he paints a natural landscape [“We artists don’t make mistakes. Just happy little accidents.”].

There are tips on painting horizons, lakes and clouds, but Ross’s real appeal is his post-hippie insistence that his viewers “just take your time and make beautiful, beautiful things.”
Culture magazine review

 

Now all that rang a bell. I seem to remember something similar when I first stumbled upon satellite television, oh some 20 years ago, in particular on an American channel.

So I watched it today on PBS America ― and there it was, as I remember it. And as mesmerising as when I first saw it.

I’m no artist ― yes, I have an ‘O-level’ in Art, but I was never grabbed by the lapels by the art of art ― but watching Bob Ross paint away is so astonishingly relaxing and smiley.

Apart from his obvious talent, it’s his communication skills and reassuring wrap-around voice that touches the spot. Not to mention some truly neat throwaway lines.

Bob Ross (1942-1995), American painter

“I started painting as a hobby when I was little. I
didn’t know I had any talent. I believe talent is
just a pursued interest. Anybody can do what I do.”

‘The Grey Mountain’, featured above, he painted from scratch in some 25 minutes, which I find exceedingly impressive.

And there’s something quite sobering in the realisation that he was dead four years after painting it, at the age of 52.

Check him out.  It’s on PBS every weekday morning at 9.00am, repeated just after midday. Actually, they show a couple of episodes in tandem, which I sense is a bit of a shame. One episode at a sitting is somehow more satisfying.

You will also find his tutorials on YouTube. Try ‘Bob Ross – A Walk in the Woods (Season 1 Episode 1)’. Mind you, he’s not quite as laid-back in that first ever episode as in the one I watched today, which is fair enough.

Now what was it author Sophy Henn said? “When you see something terrific, pass it on.” Tick √.

Finally, and importantly ... Sophy Henn has words for dull days too. “So when the sky is grey and rainy you’ll know just what to do ... grab your wellies and mac, splash a smile and pass it on.”

I guess I’m already sold on that. Definitely a √.
 

Smile of the day 2016: Jan

                                                                                                                                                                          Home

Previously on Look You...
Smile of the day 2016: Jan
Smile of the day 2015: Dec
Smile of the day 2015: Nov
Smile of the day 2015: Oct
Smile of the day 2015: Sep
Smile of the day 2015: Aug
Smile of the day 2015: Jul
Smile of the day 2015: Jun
Smile of the day 2015: May
Smile of the day 2015: Apr
Smile of the day 2015: Mar
Smile of the day 2015: Feb
Smile of the day 2015: Jan
Smile of the day 2014: Dec
Smile of the day 2014: Nov
Smile of the day 2014: Oct
Smile of the day 2014: Sep
Smile of the day 2014: Aug
Smile of the day 2014: Jul
Smile of the day 2014: Jun
Smile of the day 2014: May

Smile of the day 2014: Apr
Smile of the day 2014: Mar
Smile of the day 2014: Feb
Smile of the day 2014: Jan
Smile of the day 2013: Dec
Smile of the day 2013: Nov
Smile of the day 2013: Oct
Smile of the day 2013: Sep
Smile of the day 2013: Aug
Smile of the day 2013: Jul
Smile of the day 2013: Jun
Smile of the day 2013: May
Smile of the day 2013: Apr
Smile of the day 2013: Mar
Smile of the day 2013: Feb

Smile of the day 2013: Jan
Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)

Previous 2012 smiles: Smile of the day 2012 (Jan-Mar) .. Smile of the day 2012 (Apr-Jun) .. Smile of the day 2012c (Jul-Sep) .. Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)
Previous 2011 smiles:  Smile of the Day 2011 (Jan-Jun) .. Smile of the Day 2011 (Jul-Sep) .. Smile of the day 2011 (Oct-Dec)
                   Home

 Previously: Smile of the Day 2010
Home   2010 (Jan to Jun)   2009   2008   March to May '07   June to Aug '07   Sep to Dec '07


Reception

You are here, way out west,
at Llandeilo

aka Llandampness
aka Dodgy City
aka Coo-ee
!

@astro_timpeake

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People from a planet without flowers would
 think we must be mad with joy the whole
time to have such things about us

 Iris Murdoch

 
A horse chestnut in Dinefwr Park, Llanblossom,
loaded with eye-catching, candelabra-style
flowers, looking remarkably like Wales in
full bloom ... as Wales always is...
10/06/2013
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My Desert Island Video Jukebox
(wearing my musical heritage on my sleeve,
so to speak, all compliments of YouTube)


The Sleepy Lagoon – The Platters



Signature tunes
  - a Christie smile! See here:
Beyond The Blue Horizon – Lou Christie
I’m Just A Country Boy – Don Williams
That’s My Home – Acker Bilk
Travelin’ Man – Ricky Nelson
That’s Life – Frank Sinatra

Rise & Shine
Sound effects - Car engine refusing to start
Cocks crowing
Rooster crowing compilation
Steam Trains on the Lickey Incline
Twin Steam Trains on the Lickey Incline

Opening music to 2001: A Space Odyssey
Snap out of it – Jaws Theme
Sunchyme – Dario G


A lyrical line born with a smile on its face
National Express – Divine Comedy
Sing For Your Supper – The Mamas And The Papas
Mother Nature, Father Time – Brook Benton
The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine – Laurel & Hardy
Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald
Rio – Michael Nesmith
Cry Me A River – Julie London
I Can’t Stop Loving You – Ray Charles
I Wanna Be Like You – Jungle Book
A Windmill In Old Amsterdam – Ronnie Hilton

Music my mother told me to enjoy
(rather than listen to Radio Luxembourg!)
The Lord’s Prayer – Andrea Bocelli and the Mormon Choir
Dylan’s Eli Jenkins’ Prayer – The Treorci Lads
Pantyfedwen - Cymanfa Ganu, Tabernacle, Morriston
Calon Lân – Cape Town Youth Choir
Talu’r Pris Yn Llawn – Côr Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn
Mistar Sandman - Côr y Wiber
Cerdd Wefus (Lip Music) - Plethyn
Seidir Ddoe - Plethyn
Georgy Girl – The Seekers

  -  5:12 of relaxation:
Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune – Piano Solo
I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls – 4:19 of Pure Heaven
Hallelujah Chorus – Flash Mob in Canada
Totus Tuus (Henryk Górecki) – Choir of New College, Oxford

Christmas music
 
...  Prokofiev’s Troika
Jolly Old St. Nicholas – Ray Conniff Singers
Here We Come A-Caroling – Ray Conniff Singers
Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride
Blue Christmas – Elvis & Martina McBride
We Wish You A Merry Christmas – JD & The Muppets
The Way Old Friends Do - Abba


Junior Choice
Puffin’ Billy – Children’s Favourites
Ballad of Davy Crockett – Tennessee Ernie Ford
Three Wheels On My Wagon – New Christy Minstrels
Where will the baby’s dimple be – Rosemary Clooney
I’m A Blue Toothbrush – Max Bygraves
There’s A Hole In The Bucket – Harry Belafonte & Odetta
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly – Burl Ives
I Want To Be Like You – The Jungle Book
The Runaway Train – Michael Holliday
Nellie The Elephant – Mandy Miller
Nellie The Elephant – The Toy Dolls
Bella Naughty-Naughty – Lady and the Tramp

- Slapstick at its best:
Morris Mimer – Kenny Everett
Acting the goat – The Family Chèvre

Sing-along melodies
Daisy Bell: A Bicycle Built For Two – Nat King Cole
You Are My Sunshine – Seven of Mine and The Doc
You Are My Sunshine – Anne Murray
Abilene – George Hamilton IV
Day Trip To Bangor – Fiddler’s Dram

Calendar Girl – Neil Sedaka
I’ll See You In My Dreams – Joe Brown
Take Me Home Country Roads – John Denver

Funny, familiar...
Just A Minute – Fenella Fielding
She Had To Go And Lose It At The Astor – Harry Roy
The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine – Laurel & Hardy
Doodle time – Summer becomes winter
Weather Forecast – Master Singers
Sheriff JW Pepper – Live and Let Die 1
Sheriff JW Pepper – Live and Let Die 2
Always look on the bright side of life – Monty Python

Default popular music labelled 'Pleasure'
...Love at first glow:
Glow Worm – The Mills Brothers
(Love Is All @) The Butterfly Ball – Roger Glover
My Echo, My Shadow and Me (We Three) – Ink Spots
Yes Tonight, Josephine – Johnnie Ray
Far Away Places – Ray Conniff Singers
Marrakesh Express – Crosby, Stills & Nash
City Of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie
He’ll Have To Go – Jim Reeves
Magic Moments – Perry Como
Old Dogs & Children & Watermelon Wine – Tom T. Hall
From Russia With Love – Matt Monro
Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer - Chocotiger
Poor People Of Paris – Winifred Atwell
Bad, Bad, Pussycat – Gloria Estafan & MSM

Rock 'n' roll Years
Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley & The Comets
Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis
Hound Dog - Elvis
The Last Time – The Rolling Stones
Blackbird – The Beatles
Rockstar - Nickelback

Flirting with Boogie-woogie & Trad Jazz
Boogie-woogie Piano – Johan Blohm
Andrews Sisters Swing Medley – Star Sisters
Sailing Down Chesapeake Bay – Kenny Ball
Don’t Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes At Me – Acker Bilk
I Love You, Samantha – Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen


Relaxevoo
............... Lights out:
Dancing In The Dark – Conniff, Fred & Cyd
Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole
Autumn Leaves/Walkin’ In The Rain – Ray Conniff
Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
Kiss On The Lips – The Dualers
Maria Elena – Acker Bilk
On Days Like These – Matt Monro
The Girl From Ipanema – Astrid Gilberto & Stan Getz
Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Solitaire – The Carpenters

The British Winter of 2015/2016
Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head - B J Thomas
The Day The Rains Came Down - Jane Morgan & L Armstrong
Walkin’ In The Rain – Johnnie Ray
Rhythm Of The Rain – The Cascades
(Always take the) Weather With You – Crowded House
Singin’ In The Rain – Gene Kelly
Singin’ In The Rain Plus – Eric & Ern

Candy Man
Feed The Birds – Julie Andrews
Sing For Your Supper – The Mamas And The Papas

Curtain Call
September Song – Frank Sinatra
It Was A Very Good Year – Frank Sinatra

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FIRST TIME HERE?

c.99 seconds walking in my moccasins:
  I was born on the sunny side of a Welsh
 hillside, at a place I affectionately call
Big Slopes, on the 26th and the 28th of
November,  in the Year of the Horse......

More

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Previously on LOOK YOU......


Smile of the day 2016: Jan
Smile of the day 2015: Dec
Smile of the day 2015: Nov
Smile of the day 2015: Oct
Smile of the day 2015: Sep
Smile of the day 2015: Aug
Smile of the day 2015: Jul
Smile of the day 2015: Jun
Smile of the day 2015: May
Smile of the day 2015: Apr
Smile of the day 2015: Mar
Smile of the day 2015: Feb
Smile of the day 2015: Jan
Smile of the day 2014: Dec
Smile of the day 2014: Nov
Smile of the day 2014: Oct
Smile of the day 2014: Sep
Smile of the day 2014: Aug
Smile of the day 2014: Jul
Smile of the day 2014: Jun
Smile of the day 2014: May
Smile of the day 2014: Apr
Smile of the day 2014: Mar
Smile of the day 2014: Feb
Smile of the day 2014: Jan
Smile of the day 2013: Dec
Smile of the day 2013: Nov
Smile of the day 2013: Oct
Smile of the day 2013: Sep
Smile of the day 2013: Aug
Smile of the day 2013: Jul
Smile of the day 2013: Jun
Smile of the day 2013: May

Smile of the day 2013: Apr
Smile of the day 2013: Mar
Smile of the day 2013: Feb

Smile of the day 2013: Jan
Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)
Smile of the day 2012c (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the day 2012 (Apr-Jun)
Smile of the day 2012 (Jan-Mar)

Smile of the day 2011 (Oct-Dec)
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jan-Jun)

Smile of the Day 2010
2010 (Jan to Jun)
2009

2008
Sep to Dec '07

June to Aug '07
March to May '07

As it was in the beginning:
ST DAVID'S DAY, 2007

***************************************
Postcards from my Square Mile @
smile
Updated: 11/08/2013

Here's lookin' at you @
400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 08/06/2013


What A Gas @
400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 17/05/2009

**********************
Contact Me

**********************
 Home
***************************************

Flower Power Gallery


 My favourite horse chestnut in Dinefwr Park,
Llangorgeous ― still looking remarkably like
Wales on song ― starts to show its autumn
tints in a Towy Valley sunrise
October 2014

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A solitary visitor puts down unexpected
and surprising roots in a corner of the
garden ― both it and a flying visitor
add hugely to my smileometer reading
                                          August 2014
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The sight and scent of the bluebell and the
wild garlic blooming together - in a corner
of Castle Woods, Llangorgeous - both
confuse and delight the senses...
                                              22/05/2013
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'Solitaire', the welcome first bluebell of
a late and cold spring, spotted this day
in Castle Woods, Llancoldness - brrr
!
                                        05/04/2013
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A handsome and friendly little bluetit
captured against a background of
Towy Valley snowdrops
                                        06/02/2013
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As perfect as a flower...
The folk who live on the hill at
Rainbow's End, Towy Valley,
Nr Llandampness, Welsh Wales
                               09/12/2012

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below...

                                     02/11/2012

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I knew that this glorious Olympian
sunrise, with the sun seemingly
hanging on a golden ribbon,
would one day tick the right box
                                 04/08/2012
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Not quite a flower; however,
summer arrives two months
late at Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo

but as always, better late than never
!
                                        24/07/2012

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♫♫♫  You're a white bluebell,
I'm a blue bluebell, have
me met somewhere before?
Substitute the bluebell words here

*************************************

A strikingly handsome daffodil
spotted in the grounds
surrounding my home


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The elegant Duchess of Cambridge
sports a couple of daffodils, the
national flower of Wales, on her
lapel in honour of St David's Day
[plus a handy posy, of course]

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January: the year's first welcome
visitor - no prizes for guessing
the identity of this little beauty


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the last autumnal leaf on the
tulip tree outside the cottage -
and the epitome of a tulip flower

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it seems perfectly natural
to wear a remembrance
poppy on my web site's lapel

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A blue-tit admires
the vivid foxglove flower;
there again, perhaps something
else had caught its eye!

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A beautiful and a bountiful
crop of Wych Elm tree fruit -
which precede the leaf

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A glorious 'Golden chain'
spotted at
Penlan Park, Llandeilo

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A beautiful sprig of cherry
blossom not a million
miles from my door

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Come up some time and see me:
a bee with those pollen
baskets on its hind legs
full to bursting

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Dan the Flowerpot Snowman
spotted in Bridge Street
Llansnowness

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the handsome hawthorn blossom
[featured a quick scroll down]
has now completed nature's circle -
admired by both me and the great tit


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the Himalayan Balsam ~
to learn all about this
naughty-but-nice plant, click
400 Smiles A Day  (02/10/2010)

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the dense flower head
of the red clover
attracts a grateful visitor

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the perfectly handsome
hawthorn blossom -
shame it remains in all its
glory for just a few days

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Red eye - or more correctly,
red campion, all over the
shop with its rich pink flowers
and hairy leaves - very eye-catching

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A blooming Carey Mulligan is welcome
in my flower bed anytime - the square
mile connection being that her mum,
Nano Booth, hails from Llandeilo

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A honey bee embraces the
stylish but antonymously named
'primula vulgaris' - the wild primrose

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A perfect buttonhole for the
Welshman who may vote Lib Dem -
but is a Labourite at heart

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Male flower cluster - the hazel catkin,
also known as a lamb's tail -
being admired by a bluetit
"There are always flowers for those
who wish to see them." Henri Matisse

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The year's first celebrity visitor,
the beautiful snowdrop

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