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MY SQUARE MILE
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400 Smiles A Day
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...
everyday a doolally smile of the day
The shortest distance between two people is a smile ...
Monday, August 31st 2015
Health check watch
THREE smiley clickbaits and a topless tweet spotted on this
Bank Holiday Monday...
How 25-minute walk could add 7 years to life
New research at St George’s University Hospital
London unlocks secrets of delaying the ageing process
Well, I guess I have a head start, fingers crossed, given
my daily two-hour sunrise walk through the Towy Valley.
I say daily: during the month of August I have only been
on a dozen or so morning walks, mostly down to the rainy season, ho, ho,
ho. Not that we’ve had
a month of torrential rain, but most of it appears to have fallen around
sunrise and the first few hours of daylight.
I am happy to delay my walk an hour or so if the Met
radar suggests that the rain front is about to clear through, otherwise
I will take a rain check. Boom-boom!
Forty winks: A nap a day keeps the doctor at bay and could save
So concludes research presented to the European
Society of Cardiology at their annual conference in London
Actually, a forty winks fellow I am not. All things being equal, I
enjoy seven hours uninterrupted sleep a night, and that does me just
However, a word in your ear:
“After 50, you have to stop seeing your heart as a muscle and more as
an unexploded bomb.”
Hal Cruttenden, English stand-up comedian, at the Edinburgh
Finally, and remembering that today is a holiday in England and
Why we should have three-day weekends ALL YEAR: Better work-life
balance boosts health and productivity, expert argues
David Spencer, Professor of Economics at the
University of Leeds, also believes we should only work a 30-hour
week to get the most of other areas of life
Yes siree bob, I believe in that notion, absolutely.
These days I
have my feet permanently up, but I rarely toiled away for
more than 20-30 hours a week during my working life anyway ― which I
guess explains why I never garnered position, power and possessions. But I
have no complaints.
The sky falls on a tweeter
Oh yes, I have found that 400 smiles a day also help keep
the doctor at bay. There are of course degrees of smiles, so it really
is quite easy to keep my account in credit.
For example, apart from the above three clickbaits, this
headline and tweet did the trick today, with bells on...
Tory councillor ‘sorry’ over Facebook photograph of boat
full of naked women with dodgy caption:
If @carlsberg did illegal immigrants
Mike Kusneraitis, who sits on Runneymede Borough Council in
Surrey, said he should be judged on his actions in the
community, not by “misjudged postings on social media” after
images he shared online were deemed highly offensive.
They included one image of a boat-full of nude women (pictured)
with the caption ‘If Carlsberg did illegal immigrants’. The
council is now investigating...
I must admit, it had me tittering away to myself because it so
perfectly and wickedly fits the sort of ads Carlsberg are so brilliant at.
Yep, a very funny tweet. And of course the glorious comment
about “misjudged postings on social media”. Well, it makes a
change from being all “tired and emotional”.
So how do you suppose it all came to pass? Well, a bank holiday
weekend, relaxing in the conservatory, a few too many glasses of
vino, perhaps ― a wee bit tired and emotional? ― and Mungo
Jerry’s In The Summertime blasting away in the
In the summertime when the weather is hot,
You can stretch right up and touch the sky;
When the weather’s fine
You got women, you got women on your mind;
Have a drink, have a drive,
Go out and see what you can find...
And then you have this really funny idea ... you duly press that accursed
‘send’ button ― and the sky proceeds to fall on your head.
PS: I was intrigued by his surname, Kusneraitis ... it
seems he grew up in a family that came to the UK to escape
fascism and genocide ― which I guess allows him a degree of
Sunday, August 30th
A quick pause for thought
Dolphin or shark?
BOTH yesterday and the day before I indulged
myself with ‘The 10 most difficult and challenging job interview
questions’, in particular the first on the list: How many
traffic lights are there in London?
And my response, which I rather liked, even if I
say so myself, was: “Three. The same as everywhere else in the
country: red, green and amber.”
I have since realised that, really, I should have
also indicated what appeared in the Mail Online article as a
proper response if you were attending a proper interview,
although I am pretty sure I would have got away with my answer
because it indicated just a hint of superior footwork in a tight
Anyway, fair’s fair, here’s the considered
Mirror, gear, clutch, accelerator ― go-go-go...!
“This is essentially a brainteaser to test how you
would think through tough questions,” said James Reed, author of
Why You? 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never
“Reassure yourself that no one is going to have the
correct answer to the question. It is highly impossible unless you have
a comprehensive knowledge of UK traffic lights.
“Take a breath to
gather your thoughts and respond with: ‘I couldn’t give you an exact
number, obviously, but I could make a guess by trying to estimate the
number of traffic lights in a square mile based on my personal
experience and then taking a shot at the total size of London in square
Good response, even if it is a load of old bullshit. But which type of employee would best fit into
Me, with my literal response ― true, you could
challenge me regarding the red/amber combination, but they don’t mix into a
specific and separate colour ― or perhaps the seemingly thoughtful
suggested by the expert?
You pays your money, etc.,
While on the subject of lateral thinking, a couple of
letters spotted in the Telegraph, along with one comment
submitted in response:
Swallows on the line
SIR – Swallows are starting to line up on the telephone
wires around our village. Where did they congregate before the age of
Susie Brickwood, Widford, Hertfordshire
Some big questions
SIR – Susie Brickwood
asks where swallows congregated before the age of telecommunications.
There are, however, more puzzling questions: what did moths do before
light bulbs, what did wasps do before picnics, and what did dogs do
before lamp posts?
Young, London W13
No To Nanny: Trees ... Candles ... Fetes ... Trees again ...
Nothing I can add to that, really. Nanny always knows best. But what an
intriguing surname Brickwood is. Do you suppose the family are builders?
Saturday, August 29th
Lights that do mislead the morn
The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the
Universe, and Everything is ...
(see Grovehill junction in Beverley, below)
YESTERDAY I attempted to answer ‘The 10 most
difficult and challenging job interview questions ever’. For
Q1? How many
traffic lights are there in London? “Three.
The same as everywhere else in the country: red, green and
Well now, today, unbelievably, I tripped over the following
headline and picture in Mail Online:
Junction with 42 sets of traffic lights: Locals in despair
as roundabout is replaced by chaotic road layout
that do mislead the motorist
Residents have raised concerns about Grovehill junction in
Beverley, East Yorkshire, which they say is causing chaos for
drivers. It boasts a total of 42 sets of traffic lights.
Howard Tomlinson, of the Grovehill Action Group, is worried that
the number of traffic lights at the junction is confusing
motorists. The junction, which used to be a five-route
roundabout, is part of the £22million Beverley Integrated
Transport Plan, which includes a newly built southern bypass.
Wow, crazy or what? Imagine a child needing to cross the road
and having to navigate all those lights ― truly frightening.
Further evidence of the ever-mushrooming doolallyness of
While on the business of junctions and traffic lights and
mucho confusion, a couple of letters in The Daily Telegraph:
Name that satnav
SIR – My husband and I talk to the satnav and have named
her Gladys ― from “So glad I bought this”. We think she is great ― always prompt, calm and
helpful. The accent is another subject.
Hm, I think, Beryl from Birkenhead, that I would have named her
Able. Apart from her obvious abilities, imagine, when you leave home in
the car the neighbours would nod and say: “There go Cain and Able.”
SIR – We call our satnav Camilla because there are three
of us in the car.
Say nothing is best.
Friday, August 28th
On the ball
A clickbait spotted in Mail Online ― and it did
draw me in...
The 10 most difficult job interview questions revealed (and how
to answer them correctly)
It was all to do with what they call ‘curveball
questions’ ― questions that have no right or wrong answers. All the
interviewer is looking for is how the candidate actually responds under
pressure to what is essentially an idiot question.
Or, as they would say down at the Crazy Horsepower
Saloon: the interviewer is looking for the person blessed with superior
Penny de Valk, Managing Director of people management
business Penna’s Talent Practice, told Mail Online:
“Curveball questions can be used to put people on the spot … how
candidates answer these questions can provide the interviewer with a bit
of insight into how their mind works. It speaks volumes.”
What the Mail did was not so much inform the
reader how to answer correctly ― remember there are no correct answers ―
but rather suggest how to set
about answering impossible questions, to show that you have a logical
train of thought to reach the impossible goal.
However, I decided to set about answering these 10
questions by saying the first thing that came to mind ― which I
faithfully reproduce here.
Intriguingly, the first question does indeed have a definitive
answer, but it is highly unlikely that anybody knows the correct answer
― at least not without doing much research.
Anyway, off we go...
1) How many
traffic lights are there in London?
“Three. The same as everywhere else in the country: red,
green and amber.”
2) How would you
interject a fight between Batman and Superman?
say: ‘C’mon now lads, let’s all cool down, let’s all have a drink
together and see how we can pool our resources to sort out all those bad
guys out there.’ That interjection is probably down to having earned my
honours degree from the University of Life while working behind the bar down at the
Crazy Horsepower Saloon. I often came across people who thought they
were James Bond or Indiana Jones.”
3) What can you
make from this piece of paper?
takes me back to my childhood and Children’s Favourites on the wireless
― but before I turn it into a plane, let’s have a quick game of Noughts
4) If we shrunk
you to the size of a pencil and put you in a blender, how would you try
to get out?
would use the rubber stuck to my head to make a hole in the side of the
blender, the blender drawn on that piece of paper you just handed me ― and
then climb out. Simples.”
5) What colour is
As in blue sky thinking.”
6) What do you
think about garden gnomes?
little as possible.”
7) Can you name
the seven dwarfs?
Sneezy, Sleepy ... um, John Bercow ― oh, that’s a House of Commons
8) What fruit
would you be?
“Banana, one of Mother Nature’s works of art: sunshiny colour,
no need to wash hands or fruit before eating, no messy
peeling, tastes great, easy to eat, even for those with no teeth, full
of goodness and can be safely eaten even as it starts to go off. PS: in
an emergency it can be used as a Post-it note, even a postcard.”
9) In a news story about your life, what would
the headline be?
on the sunny side of the street.”
10) Tell me a
give me a word, any word, even an expression ― and I’ll take it from there...”
Being asked to tell a story or a joke off the cuff ― well, I go blank. But
a word, any word, really, would trigger my association thought processes
and hopefully join up a few dots in my brain...
And there we are, 10/10. At least, all 10 questions answered. Mind you,
I now wonder what all that says about me?
Probably, that I am the sort
of individual that will end up with a web site dedicated to the things
wot make me smile.
Incidentally, I had a quick look through the comments and I smiled at
these three contributions...
The Wolf of
Salford: 11) Have you had sexual relations with that woman?
SueinBath: 8) What fruit would you be? A nice date.
Mike: 3) What can you make from this piece of paper? Just
tell them you once had an origami business but it folded and you moved
on to a Bonsai business, which was so successful that you are now
looking for a smaller garden.
That clever and funny answer from Mike put me firmly back in my box. But
how would Mike have answered the other questions?
Spell-cheque corner: ‘SueinBath’ came up as
‘Steinbach’, a city in Canada, a town in Germany, a piano somewhere not
a million miles away ― but, all the while it’s a nice date in a town
in the southwest of England noted for its natural hot springs and
18th-century Georgian architecture.
Thursday, August 27th
Something old, something new...
my jokes have received a telegram from the Queen.”
Jim Dale, 80, English
actor and comedian, takes the mickey out of the longevity of his
material ― which is, of course, 100-years-of-old, and counting.
little joke there ― did you actually spot it? I always smile when presenters and celebrities on
the radio or TV get caught out by two simple and very basic expressions,
80-years-of-age and 80-years-old.
It really is very easy to trip up
halfway though and say 80-years-of-old. Listen out for it ― guaranteed
to generate a smile.
“The great nations have always acted like gangsters,
and the small nations like prostitutes.”
(1928-1999), British (US-born) film director, in the Guardian (1963).
What a marvellous quote that is.
“All music is folk music, I ain’t never heard no horse
sing a song.” Louis Armstrong (1901-1971),
American jazz trumpeter and singer, in an interview with The New York
True, but Mister Ed once stopped me in my tracks. “A horse is a horse,
of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse, of course.” That
is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed. Sadly, Mister
Ed shares his words of wisdom only with Wilbur, his hapless owner.
And so, to something new...
“I just deleted all the German names off my phone ― it’s Hans free.” Darren Walsh, 39, English actor and comedian,
beats a 12-year-old girl to win best joke of the Edinburgh Fringe
“They’re always telling me to live my dreams ― but I don’t want to be
naked in an exam I haven’t revised for.” Grace the Child, 12,
schoolgirl and comedian, snuck into 10th place in the public vote with
her Edinburgh fringe joke.
A point of order: those
Edinburgh jokes are not actually jokes but one-liners, surely? Anyway,
on with the show...
“As a general rule of thumb, if you do the opposite of what happened
to you as a kid, you will end up all right.” Lenny Henry,
56, British comedian, actor and television presenter, offers up tips on
Hm, I wonder if his adopted
daughter Billie, 23, will offer up similar advice in 2045, which really would be funny.
parents are not as stupid as they seem.”
Guru-Murthy, 45, English television presenter on Channel 4, offers up
advice to young people.
Ah, but Mark Twain (twenty-five-to-seven – ten-past-seven) said it
so much better:
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant
I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be
21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven
I trust that the ghost of Mark Twain (1835-1910)
appreciated my second and very own little joke of the day.
And on that note...
Wednesday, August 26th
The bells, the bells ... revisited
THE silly season arrived a month or so early this year ―
here’s the Mail Online back in July...
Seen and heard:
Council proposes putting hi-viz jackets and string
of flashing lights on COWS to cut back on road collisions
Several cows have been struck by cars on the green at
Hungerford, Berkshire, indeed in June one was so badly hurt it had to be
put down by a vet, prompting the local council to put forward the plans.
The proposal, which would create a herd of “disco” cattle
and in the process light up the local common, was put forward by councillors as a means
of promoting a little Heaven in Hungerford where Cows May Safely Graze
when God turns out the light.
The farmers were in no doubt ― it was a “ridiculous” idea
and a prime example of health and safety gone mad.
The problem is far from new and farmers have spent years
trying to persuade the local authority to introduce traffic calming
measures to stop motorists tearing through the common at high speed...
Meanwhile, on the good old comment board...
currently reside 10 minutes from Hungerford. Local residents are aghast.
It has been suggested elsewhere that the councillors responsible should
henceforth act as ‘sleeping policemen’ on the road across the common.
Alternatively the cows should sound their horns.
Well, here we are in August, and the silly season is now in full flow: this tale has just
surfaced from deep within the heart of the EU...
Cowbells could be banned after animal rights
activists say that they
are CRUEL and send them MAD
[It wasn’t exactly clear from the clickbait headline
whether it was the cows or the animal rights activists that were
being driven MAD ― so I read on...]
Animal rights activists in Germany are calling for an end
to cowbells because they say they are cruel.
Cow bells tinkling across Alpine pastures is a common
feature in the south of the country and farmers say essential for
keeping track of their herds.
But the German Animal Protection Federation claims the
bells send the animals ‘mad’ and that GPS trackers around their necks
are more effective in the modern age.
The Bavarian government and tourist board have vowed to
fight the move.
Meanwhile, on the good old Daily Mail letters page...
Gillingham, Dorset: Cowbells could be banned because they’re cruel,
but cows have bells only because their horns don’t work.
Actually, Ralph, most cows are now dehorned when young
for um, health and safety reasons, so no wonder their horns don’t work.
By the way, I know for a fact that bells
drive cats doolally ... the birds always hear them as they creep up so
they just fly away. It drives the cats bloody MAD.
Never mind a zebra crossing
Talk of all these stressed-out cows, and I’m reminded of
a memorable incident from this year’s Tour de France.
There was almost disaster on stage 11 of the Tour, when
France’s Warren Barguil narrowly avoided crashing into a herd of cows
and their young...
No bullshit: herd seen and heard
diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cows jumped in front of the Tour de
Dieu, oh la vache, merde, sacrebleu, bon sang, zut alors...!”
Oh my God, holy cow, shit, golly gosh, good grief, darn it, etc...
The Giant-Alpecin rider, who was descending off the Col
du Tourmalet ― the highest paved mountain pass in the French Pyrenees ―
at a speed not far short of 100kmh (60mph), had to take evasive action
when a herd of cattle and calves started crossing the road.
There was a camera motorcycle following the rider ― see
it just behind the first cow across, above. Fortunately, the 23-year-old
rider spotted the hazard early and managed to swerve out of the way.
The cows though were briefly startled by the motorcycle and the
accompanying team cars ― the vehicles did get through, but one was held up...
The cows are here, the bell I hear
Tour de Cross Here ... modest horns, but note bell around neck of cow
Fortunately, by the time the peloton ― the main group of
riders, about 100 strong ― came charging down the hill, the cows were well clear of the
A smiley incident for sure ― which made a change from seeing
the cyclists being driven MAD when held up at railway crossings
barriers come down.
Indeed it is incidents like the above that make road
cycling such a joy to watch.
Tuesday, August 25th
Wrong way round
THE extravagant doolallyness engulfing the world is now
well established. But I’m noticing that increasingly these days,
everything is also back to front.
For example, a brace of photographs just spotted...
Riding madly off in All Directions
Reaction Puzzles Even Psychologists.” So ran a headline in the
American Science News Letter in February 1964.
Yesterday it was reported that the band One Direction
was breaking up. For bereft fans, of course, Beatlemania is
ancient history, with many decades having past...
Bemused parents should do their utmost to sympathise,
perhaps consoling their distraught offspring that where there
used to be only one direction, there are now at least four. If
they won’t take it from them, they could ask grandma.
Thus The Times newspaper today, reporting
the catastrophic news about One Direction ... with tongue ever so
slightly in cheek, methinks.
And then I saw this...
Nip and tuck
Topless activists pose for photographs for onlookers during a
‘Free the nipple’ demonstration in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
― giving exposure to a wide-ranging campaign to bring equality for men and
[Exceedingly funny, though, that all those dodgy-looking
snappers have their tops firmly on. So much for
See what I mean when I say that everything is back to
front these days.
Given that the One Direction lads are walking away from
the limelight, we should have seen the backs of them ― Famous Five Go
Walkies ― and given that ‘Free the nipple’ is eager for us men,
especially, to front up, we should have seen the five activists from the
other side ― Famous Five Go Tits Up.
Ah well, it was just a thought.
Free the Clarkson
your A-level results aren’t great, be cheered by the fact that I got a C
and two Us. And I’m currently sitting in a villa in St Tropez.”
There is life after
disappointing results, not to mention an unexpected knockout blow,
insists Jeremy Clarkson.
Jeremy is not subliminally suggesting that the Côte d’Azur is now the
new Costa del Crime. Scarcely believe.
Sticking with Clarkson, I see that Amazon has shelled out a whopping
£160 million to sign up Jeremy, along with pals Richard Hammond and James May, for a new
Goodness, Jeremy is not only a very naughty boy but also the very
essence of a modern Messiah.
However, a word of caution...
Up the Amazon without a piddle ― à la go-karte style
The New York Times rates Amazon not a
particularly happy-clappy place to work: tears, regular sackings and a
red button to make sure you don’t waste time in the loo.
Do you suppose that the Amazon workers know that a “very,
very, very expensive” Jeremy Clarkson (and that is according to Jeff
Bezos, Chief Shitting Bull at Amazon) is about to stride in through
the door ― tired, emotional and very, very, very hungry?
“And how would you like your steak, Mr. Clarkson?”
“It’s outside, strapped to my car: just chop its
horns off, wipe its arse and fry it, baby.”
Spell-cheque corner: ‘Bezos’, as in Jeff Bezos,
the boss of Amazon who has just used a tipper lorry to pour money into
Jeremy Clarkson’s bank account, came up as ‘Bozos’.
And ‘d’Azur’, as in Côte d’Azur, Clarkson’s current
bolt-hole, came up as ‘Côte d’aze’.
Oh dear, ‘Bozos’ and ‘Côte d’aze’ ... you cheeky computer
Monday, August 24th
THE smart money suggests that the Telegraph
newspaper has poached one of the Sun’s top sub-editors ―
you know, those clever people who deliver witty and
eye-catching newspaper headlines, whether online or in print.
Just the other day I featured a picture of Vladimir
Putin in a mini-sub disappearing under the waves and looking every inch
a Bond villain ― my guess being that he was
diving to remove some atomic bombs from a sunken Vulcan
bomber ― and the picture was accompanied by this glorious Telegraph
A View to a Krill
Honestly, that gets better every time I read it.
Well now, yesterday I
my thoughts on the young British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson,
who dramatically failed in her bid for a first global medal when she
fouled on all three long jump efforts, made worse because
it was the event deemed to be her strongest.
Now I watched the highlights of the event on the BBC, and in the studio
were a couple of high-profile pundits: Michael Johnson, the retired
American sprinter, who is generally regarded as one of the best pundits
on the BBC ― and Daley Thompson, a popular English decathlete from
yesteryear, who was really there as Morecambe to Johnson’s Wise.
Essentially, Katarina’s bombed long jump attempt led the two BBC pundits
to suggest that
the problem might be her coach’s stance/support
approach to the competition, in particular that disastrous long jump event ― which
in turn led to a rebuke from Greg Rutherford, a current British long
jumper who is himself going for gold tomorrow.
Personally, I thought their comments, especially Johnson’s, were quite
reasonable and fair. It was constructive criticism from two who have
been there and done it.
Anyway, that’s an outline of the story ― which drew this glorious
Telegraph clickbait headline...
BBC’s Johnson and Thompson blasted over Johnson-Thompson
Greg Rutherford hits out at “unfair” assessment
of British heptathlete’s performance at the Beijing
Now I am loathed to admit that I never
spotted that quite
extraordinary coincidence. Best summed up by this online comment...
unclealbert: “BBC’s Johnson and Thompson blasted over
What a great headline!
You could not make it up :-)
And if you did make it up, Uncle Albert, nobody would believe you.
the conclusion of young Katarina’s disastrous long jump performance, her
fellow British competitor, Jessica Ennis-Hill, went up to her, embraced
her and clearly sympathised and reassured her.
Which drew this ruthlessly honest observation from Daley Thompson: “If a
competitor who was threatening my chances of a gold had failed so
spectacularly, I would have kept my distance and quietly thanked the
gods that one serious challenger, at least, was out of the way.”
appreciated fully where Daley was coming from ― but I guess it all goes
to prove what an agreeable soul Jessica Ennis-Hill is. No wonder she is
such a much-liked athlete.
Sunday, August 23rd
YESTERDAY, I pondered ‘the God question’. Yes, you
remember: given the
utter doolallyness of the world at large I often think that,
just perhaps, I am
God and that I am playing some sort of computer simulation game simply to amuse
How else to explain all this madness?
There again, perhaps you are God and I am just a character in your
personal computer simulation.
Oh yes, and for some reason I threw in this line apropos
other computer characters: ‘As are heptathletes Katarina
Johnson-Thompson and Jessica Ennis-Hill, currently putting their very
best foot (feet?) forward in the Bird’s Nest Stadium out there in
I wrote that after watching the two athletes complete the
first day of the heptathlon and finding themselves in first and second
place, with Katarina perhaps set to overtake Jessica on the second and
Well now, today...
Britain’s Jessica Ennis-Hill, pictured alongside, produced a
display of immense focus and fortitude to be crowned world
heptathlon champion once again and complete a remarkable
sporting return following the birth of a baby boy just a year
[And if I can add a personal observation: what a
pleasant and agreeable individual the 29-year-old Jessica comes
However, the British one-two of Ennis-Hill and Johnson-Thompson that had seemed
such a genuine possibility after the
first day of competition disappeared when Katarina Johnson-Thompson
dramatically fouled out of the long jump, the fifth event.
Johnson-Thompson slogged through the final two events
under duress but was in tears at the end, her hopes of a first senior
global medal dashed by a combination of inexperience and inaccuracy.
Yesterday I wrote that the two athletes were ‘currently
putting their very best foot (feet?) forward’ ― but Katarina,
unfortunately, literally put her best foot forward a bit too far ― three
times too far in fact, and disastrously so in what was deemed to be her best event, the
Poor thing, she was so upset. But she is young enough at
22 to have learnt some valuable lessons.
That which we call a rose
But I tell you what, the young heptathlete has a name as good and as memorable as it gets
in this modern Britain of ours:
The name Katarina just rolls off the tongue. Such a classy name.
Only a natural-born pleb would reduce it to Kat. Unless of course we are
talking a very intimate moment: “Hello Pussy Kat!”
As for her surname ― we Welsh have a thing about internal
rhymes, an important part of our poetry, and it doesn’t get much better
that Johnson-Thompson. (And how curious that both heptathletes have
I shall certainly keep an eye out for young Katarina
Johnson-Thompson in the coming years. Indeed, Katarina and Jessica could
well be competing for the gold in Rio next year.
Saturday, August 22nd
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform...
I heard it through the grapevine
AND here is an exceedingly interesting clickbait spotted lurking in
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...
Well, that is certainly not a radical theory here at Look You.
Yes indeed, I have
explored this curious phenomenon before.
When I look around at the utter
doolallyness of the world about me I often think, this cannot be
serious, and wonder if, whisper
it, I am God. And that I am just playing a game ― a computer simulation,
in modern geeky terms.
But hang on: if You are reading this ― then perhaps
You are God in that exceedingly advanced civilisation of
which scientists speak, and I am just a component, a character,
a plaything in Your
As are heptathletes Katarina Johnson-Thompson and
Jessica Ennis-Hill, currently putting their very best foot (feet?)
forward in the Bird’s Nest
Stadium out there in Beijing.
How else can I ― or, um, You ― possibly explain the
utter madness unfolding all over the shop, indeed as highlighted in the
news day in day out?
Yes, even help explain serious nonsense like this glorious clickbait headline,
again in Mail Online...
Why going to the gym WON’T help you lose weight ― you need to
Study finds exercise alone is not enough to shed
the pounds (increasing exercise increases the appetite and
causes people to eat more food, experts from Loyola University
Chicago Stritch School of Medicine found)
Dieting is the only way of losing weight, they
Ah yes, the now exceedingly well-established 100%
Guaranteed EL Diet ― that’s EL, as in EAT LESS.
And we still have to be told all this?
But of course, this is just a computer simulation game
that I am playing to ensure that the parallel universe I am working on ―
or should that be what You are working on? ― won’t be
as mad as this game.
You see, even the name Loyola
University is much too close to Doolally University to be taken
Yes, it all adds to the
delights of the passing computer simulation.
Look, you are my plaything and you
will now feed me those grapes ... or rather, given yesterday’s
smile, it should read: feed me those greengages...
Friday, August 21st
Cups that cheer but not inebriate
A RECENT letter spotted in The Times
instantly registered on my brain’s hard drive ― and is well worth sharing here on
Everyone a winner
Sir, Tim Hands’
ironic suggestion that scholarships might be awarded for “resilience or
well-being” (“Scholarships are an out of date nuisance, says top
headmaster,” August 7) remind me that at Eastbourne College prep school
(now no more) in the 1960s, there was a Courtesy Cup, a Cheerfulness
Cup, and even the Lord Rupert Nevill Prize for Otherwise Unrewarded Boy.
The Rev RC Smail,
How totally wonderful is that? It set me thinking: what cup would I have earned at school?
Probably the Would Rather Be Somewhere Else Doing
Something Completely Different Cup. Or perhaps even the Always Looking Out Of
My cups would have overfloweth.
Yesterday I mentioned that I am not a watcher
of The Great British Bake Off ― I prefer to peruse the
Reduced To Clear bins and shelves down at the Lidl and Larger
Well, today I had to force myself to do a bit of
shopping. Now I am a strictly in-and-out shopper, whether it be for
food, clothes, whatever ― I know what I want, and that is it; which is why I always have a peep along the
Reduced to Clear shelves ― I see things that I would never
Today I notice a packet of
― SWEET, JUICY AND DELICIOUS
... Produce of PORTUGAL.
Now I had never heard of ‘greengages’ ― they looked like plums,
but green, obviously.
A 250g pack (pretty much 9 ounces in old money) was £1 ― but reduced to 58p. Yep, mother
never bred a jibber...
When I got home, I duly sampled ... yum … sweet, juicy and
delicious, just as it said on the tin, so to speak. And definitely plums.
I shall certainly look out for them in future.
The reduced bin clearly did its job. Perhaps the
supermarkets do this to capture floating shoppers like me. And could that
be what they mean by the term ‘loss leader’?!
Also, since last Wednesday’s smile of the day, I haven’t been able to
get Vladimir Putin and John Prescott out of my mind.
Or rather, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. I don’t know how
many times I’ve watched these two videos over the past couple of days
and laughed out loud at the thought that I am actually watching Putin
and Prescott ― you can just picture Prescott on the trail of that lonesome pine
in the arse, and using the mallet on Putin’s head.
As for I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls, I wasn’t
sure about the pretty girl (Rosina Lawrence singing, Jacqueline Wells
acting) ― but who else but Kate Middleton.
Incidentally, and as someone points out on a comment
board, the rare and perfect meeting of wonderful music and outrageous
comedy is rare and works here to perfection. As it does, funnily enough,
when Morecambe and Wise did Singing In The Rain.
Anyway, I shall enjoy Prescott and Putin on the Ritz yet again:
I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls
On The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine
Thursday, August 20th
A CLICKBAIT spotted in this morning’s Telegraph:
Seven more things we learnt from episode three of the Bake Off ―
Oops, sorry, that should read
I am not a watcher of The Great British Bake Off ― I prefer to
Reduced To Clear
shelves and bins down at the Lidl and Large stores.
However, yesterday morning on the wireless, on the Chris
Evans Breakfast Show, I was amused that octogenarian Merry Berry
inadvertently revealed the identity of the contestant eliminated in
that very evening’s show.
Bless you, Mary, I really like and admire you ― but
should you not reign in all these celebrity appearances? I mean, for
your own peace of mind? (Piece of mind?)
Anyway, it seems that revealing the loser was the least of the
show’s problems, best summed up in this Telegraph headline
― for sure a clickbait starter for ten, remembering the top chef who
once said that he paid as much attention to the bread in his restaurant
as everything else ― because that was invariably the first thing they
would taste and would set the tone...
Was Paul’s ‘Cecil the Lion’ bread not winning Star Baker the
Great British Bake Off’s biggest injustice?
Twitter users thought it a shame that the
bread which looked like Cecil the Lion didn’t win Paul the top
Paul Jagger next to his magnificent bread
Paul Hollywood, Bake Off judge, was full of praise for
contestant Paul Jagger’s “King of the Jungle” bread sculpture ―
which viewers thought looked a lot like Cecil, the lion recently
shot with bow and arrow by trophy hunter Walter Palmer.
Hollywood said: “That is one of the best things I’ve seen in
bread ever. It’s exceptional.” The chuffed baker, Paul Jagger,
managed to win a Bake Off first ― a highly commended mention for
his baked creation.
Actually, all that is a bit spooky because the show was
recorded well before Cecil became a byword for a walk on the shady side
of the bush.
Whatever, I enjoyed the following brief exchange in the
comment section regarding
the Cecil loaf...
Wasn’t very good, was it? It wasn’t stuck with arrows for a start.
Free Speech: Is that meant to be funny??
sgtpluck: Depends on your humour, I guess. Mine runs dark, so
yeah, I guess it was. Tell you what though ― a couple of fletched
breadsticks stuck in his lion-loaf would have been unmissable TV. Bit of
strawberry jam, you know, for realism. Ratings through the roof.
Besides, ironic you asking me that with a moniker like ‘free speech’.
I enjoyed that final sentence. Very clever.
own particular response to the joys of the passing circus?
Sunshine&Showers: Given the
curious case of the Cecil bread that did not go “Crumbs!”
in the night ― not to mention poor old Merry Berry’s spoiler leak ― is
Bake Off morphing into television’s very own BOGOFF?
Whatever, you know me, always on the lookout for things that juxtapose...
Let them eat cake
Mother accidentally requests ‘a wee blind girl’ on daughter’s
21st Birthday cake after autocorrect fail
A 21st birthday cake for Laura Seggie, above, arrived with a
little girl holding a white cane on top of it ― thanks to an
Marie Seggie, 52, had texted a friend and asked her to
bake the cake with ‘a wee blond girl on top’ for daughter Laura’s
birthday party, who is studying politics at university.
However, she failed to notice her iPhone’s autocorrect
facility had changed ‘blond’ to ‘blind’. Marie only found out when her
pal delivered the cake to her home in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, on
Obviously, they all saw the funny side, hence the picture
and the story.
But what went through the mind of Marie’s friend when she
saw ‘a wee blind girl’? Didn’t she think it odd?
Also, do you suppose that if she had actually texted
‘blonde’, the autocorrect wouldn’t have changed it?
Finally, and crucially, I note that the 21-year-old Laura
isn’t exactly blonde.
Between you, me and Merry Berry, I smell a rat. I think
it was all a set-up for a bit of a laugh and some publicity. And if so,
it worked a treat.
Wednesday, August 19th
TODAY, a Putin and Prescott double bill special. Yes,
the Laurel and Hardy of the planet’s
movers and shakers (a tip, Lord Prescott: always remember to give the old stallion a good
shake, rattle and roll before putting it back in the barn and closing the door):
The name’s Putin. Vlad Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, actually, to be precise (nonchalantly lights
The Russian President, 62, old Thunderballs himself, has burnished his
swashbuckling “action man” credentials with a new telegenic adventure
which draws comparisons with a James Bond villain.
The Sun newspaper is noted for its clever and memorable
headlines, but today, the award goes to the Telegraph...
A View to a Krill
President Vladimir Putin is seen inside a research bathyscaphe
C-Explorer submersible in the waters of the Black Sea as he
takes part in expedition in search of an ancient shipwreck
off coast of Crimea.
me: but are we sure Vlad wasn’t diving to remove the atomic
bombs from a sunken Vulcan bomber? I know, I know, that’s pure
SPECTRElation on my part. But he definitely looks the part of a
Bond villain. And in the Black Sea as well.
Barn door etiquette
Remember this tale from last Saturday?
Lord [John] Prescott: I didn’t grope Linda, she’s
“built like a bloody barn door”
Former deputy prime minister
denies allegations he stuck his hands up former MP Austin
Mitchell’s wife’s skirt, saying “the f**cking house” would have
fallen down if he had
Well now, Linda McDougall, wife of the former Labour
MP Austin Mitchell, has attempted to close the barn door, albeit the
stallion has well and truly bolted:
John Prescott is
says ex-MP’s wife after peer’s
like a bloody barn door” rant
Well, I don’t think Linda will find many prepared to
argue the toss with her. Prescott certainly acts in a doolally fashion,
whether he is insane or not.
But here’s a funny thing ... whenever I trip over a John
Prescott tweet I am always pleasantly surprised at its lol-factor
rating. For example:
“I keep making the mistake of calling him
Chumbawamba so I get into all sorts of bloody trouble.”
Prescott on Labour’s promising rising star Chuka Umunna, 36,
shadow business secretary, who has not ruled out one day running
to lead the Labour party (watch this space, folks).
Now that tweet is funny ― but
curiously, whenever I come across
something he has said out loud, the “barn door” quote, for example ― he
sounds so extravagantly, delightfully doolally. “Insane”, even.
I remember a time when we all had a bank manager hiding
in the wardrobe ― remember those marvellous bank ads? ― but that was a
time before all the bankers became spivs, obviously.
Do you suppose though that John Prescott has a wit doctor
hiding on his hard drive? There is more than a suspicion that he has a tweeting
However, if the tweets are to be believed, then Prescott
has morphed from a word-mangling Old Labour attack dog into a social
media aficionado widely regarded as one of the funniest politicians on
His pithy comments on stories in the news are regularly
retweeted hundreds-of-times over by his devoted followers and invariably
feature in lists of “Best Tweets of the Week” in magazines and
newspapers ― see the above example.
But if the former deputy PM is not the
author of his tweets,
then who is? All fingers point, apparently, to his son David, a PR
executive and active Labour campaigner.
And therein lies the ambush: when
“followers” actually meet you in the flesh they are overwhelmingly
disappointed that the reality of the old vulture in the hand does not
match up to the melodic tweets of the red-breasted robin in the social
Whatever, it all adds to the delights of the passing
parade ― and forever on
The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine...
Tuesday, August 18th
A MATT RUDD piece in last weekend’s Sunday Times rang a bell
... I had previously read of what he
speaks, the tale of the 80-something old boy who’d gone fishing.
Oh, first things first: the Sunday Times article was accompanied by a
large photograph of Matt ― I never quite understood why every
columnist must have his or her picture accompanying every article, week
in, week out.
Actually knowing what a writer looks like tends to put
me right off. I mean, it’s the equivalent of a genetic fingerprint:
it tells you nearly everything you ever need to know (60 per cent of
what we are is written into the face, etc...).
Anyway, I found a more fitting picture on the web, which
has nothing to do with Matt ― but everything to do with the tale he
tells. So here’s the headline and opening gambit of his column, along
with the photo of my choice:
All you hysterics take note: crash into lake, smoke pipe,
What would you do if you drove into a lake? Let’s
say you were following your sat nav, religiously, as you do.
Turn left. Turn right. Proceed to next roundabout. Drive into
lake. And now you’re in the lake and your car is filling with
water. What would you do?
You’d panic. Of course you would. I’d panic too.
There would be a lot of splashing about, brief recriminations
and then we’d strangle ourselves with the seatbelt we were too
panicky to remember how to undo.
Last Wednesday, an octogenarian on a fishing trip
accidentally drove into a lake in Loxley, Warwickshire, but he didn’t panic.
As his car filled with water, he got out his pipe and he smoked
it, possibly listening to Air on a G string as he did. After a
while, emergency crews arrived and rescued him.
“He wasn’t hurt or even cold but crews removed
his clothing to ensure he didn’t get cold and he was driven home
in the ambulance,” said a spokesman afterwards.
We must learn from the pipe-smoking octogenarian.
Not the driving-into-lake bit but the
smoking-the-pipe-after-driving-into-the-lake bit. Because we’ve
become a nation of panickers. In a few decades, we appear to
have exchanged the Blitz spirit for perpetual hysteria...
Ah, that Condor moment
sure to click on this Nothing
should disturb that Condor moment YouTube
link for a TV ad from yesteryear that was just made for this story.
Brilliant. Meanwhile, back with the tale...]
piece was very amusing. Especially the panicking about margarine and butter
― remember the health and lifestyle clickbait I nibbled at the other
Matt Rudd went on to list the endless things that now stress us out:
“Do you remember a time when we didn’t panic about a heatwave? Or a bit
of rain? Or a dusting of snow? Or margarine? Or butter?”
Butter unlikely to harm health, but margarine
could be deadly: Saturated fats found in butter, eggs or cream
does not increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes or
early death, a study has shown
Anyway, back to the pipe smoker. When I was but a pup I
well remember that many a man, especially the older man, would forever
be puffing away on a pipe.
The only person I know that does so now is old Chief Wise
Owl down at the Crazy Horsepower Saloon.
And the clue lies in why he is known as Chief Wise Owl.
You know how it is: we all think of that perfect response
to a put-down or a smart aleck comment ― but infuriatingly it is always
10 bloody seconds too late.
You see, we only have a maximum of 2.5 seconds to come up with a
perfect bit of repartee or a memorable bon mot. Miss that deadline and
we curse ourselves for not thinking fast enough.
But take Chief Wise Owl. When someone says something to
him that begs a witty or clever response, he will puff on his pipe, tilt
his head slightly backwards and slowly blow out a cloud of smoke ... and
then gently point the pipe like a James Bond camouflaged gun ― a
routine which can last up to 10 seconds ― and of course he shoots
the perfect response.
Now the thing is, when Chief Wise Owl does the pipe
puffing routine, nobody ever cuts across. We seem to be mesmerised
by the routine ― and of course he is left in peace to think and as
a consequence be
Mind you, since smoking was banned in pubs, he’s lost his
Do you suppose there is such a thing as an e-pipe? Similar to an
e-ciggie, the electronic cigarette?
Perhaps we should all start smoking an electronic pipe
for that laid-back, no-care-in-the-world, Condor feeling.
Bring it on. Ah yes, that Condor feeling...
Monday, August 17th
(Do you come here often?)
A Rod Liddle piece in The Sunday Times
grappled with my imagination:
Sex with robots? Auto-mate with care
There were two reports last week about how robots might
interact with us in 50 or 60 years. First, they may be regularly
persuaded to have sexual intercourse with us, which is terrific news.
Second, they might be inclined to adopt one or another religious faith.
Less good news, frankly.
So you enjoy a thoroughly vigorous session with some
cyberbabe called Xylax B5100 and wake up to find it sitting on the edge
of the bed, sobbing and counting on its rosary at the speed of light.
“Dear Mary, Holy Mother of Christ, forgive me for what I have done,
please forgive me. Especially forgive me for the bit with the melon and
the whipped cream.” That would be irritating, I think.
Of course not all robots will be Roman Catholic. Some
might, instead, start growing very long beards and investigating flights
to Syria. Take one of those out for a date to the movies and, if you
steal a Kola Kube from the cinema pick‘n’mix, you’ll have your right
hand chopped off by the android, right there in the foyer.
Mixed blessings, in my book.
The one thing that intrigued me was this: apropos the
cyberbabe called Xylax B5100 ― let’s call her Dot ― would she have an
Women have the G-Spot ― named after the German-born
physician and scientist
Ernst Gräfenberg, noted for sticking his fingers where he shouldn’t ― so
who would Dot’s iSpot be named after?
guess is Ikea, one screw short of a result.
“Life is short. Have an affair”
not lipstick on your collar that gets you caught. It’s digital
lipstick.” Text messages and
voicemails give away the modern cheat, says Noel Biderman of the
extramarital dating site Ashley Madison, which was recently hacked and
caught with its trousers down and its skirt up.
Now I was going to say, you wouldn’t have had that sort of trouble with
Dot ― but
things a bit far.
Sunday, August 16th
Putting it on the line
WITH Kensington Palace accusing paparazzi photographers
of harassing young Prince George in order to get pictures of him ― in
particular using children to draw the young lad into view in
playgrounds, and a photographer setting up a “hide” in his car as he
staked out a play area ― it curiously made me think of Lord Sewel.
If you recall, he was the 69-year-old Deputy Speaker of the House of
Lords ― until he was pictured in an orange bra and leather jacket at a
sex, drugs and rock‘n’roll party with £200-a-night shady ladies of the
Then I saw a certain picture online ... and I thought,
blimey, the paparazzi have been staking out Lord Sewel’s back garden as
First though, a reminder of the Sun’s original front page...
The Lord’s cup runneth over
But no, fair play, it wasn’t Sewel’s back garden at all ―
actually, this is what the clickbait said:
How to find the right bra
The right bra will streamline your shape, perfect your outfit
and even improve your health. Here’s how to ensure you’re
wearing the right one...
Well, I did smile at the thought of the right bra
streamlining the naughty Lord’s shape, perfecting his outfit and
improving his health ― but as per usual with these clickbaits, I quickly
made my excuses and moved on to the next...
A pause for
the paparazzi stalking Prince George, those pictures have to be bought
and published by editors of magazines and newspapers, right? So when
their own children ask them what they do for a living, do you suppose
they say: “I employ horrible people to stalk young children like you...”
Saturday, August 15th
The delightful doolallyness of Planet Earth
A BRACE of juxtaposed clickbaits spotted on the home page
of Planet Telegraph:
Lord [John] Prescott: I didn’t grope Linda, she’s “built like a
[A bloody barn door ...
with lots of fingerprints on its arse.]
Former deputy prime minister denies allegations he stuck his
hands up former MP Austin Mitchell’s wife’s skirt, saying “the
f**cking house” would have fallen down if he had
Hm, the curious case of the extra asterisk that barked in
The first thing that struck me was this: all these years
I’ve been spelling “f**cking” all wrong. The word is faithfully
reproduced here, from the Telegraph ― and yes, that is a double-**!
The only thing I can think of is, that as Prescott was
born in North Wales, he actually does spell the f-word with a double-ff
― “ff” being a letter in the Welsh alphabet.
The Welsh word is of course “ffwcio” ― unlike its English
counterpart the Welsh version always generates a smile ... I think it’s
the letter “o” latched onto the end.
Whatever, perhaps Prescott really did say the Welsh
version ― and something got lost or added in the translation.
Be that as it may, the whole story made me smile, without
even having to click on it ― which is precisely how clickbaits should
And then alongside it, this:
Dear Graham: “Should I marry my girlfriend even though her
“Ironically for your children, going bald wouldn’t be the worst
thing that happened to them,” writes Telegraph
agony uncle Graham Norton
Graham Norton, agony uncle for the nation? How perfectly
and wonderfully doolally is that? The whole world really is mad, except for thee and me,
Meanwhile, back with John Prescott’s pal Tony Blair: here, the former
prime minister is
discussing the doomsday battle unfolding over the leadership of the
is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the
jagged rocks below. This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the
serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’. It is a moment
for a rugby tackle, if that were possible.”
Tony Blair, warning
that Labour faced annihilation if it elected left-winger Jeremy Corbyn
be missing something here ... but didn’t Tony Blair walk eyes shut, arms
outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below, when, on
the strength of that infamous sexed-up dossier, he led the nation to war
in faraway places with strange sounding names?
Crucially, neither Blair nor George Bush sensed the
intense tribalism of Africa and the nuclear winter that would rise like
a phoenix from the ashes of Iraq and the Arab spring.
If ever a rugby tackle was needed, it was on Tony Blair
and his enforcer Alastair Campbell when they sexed-up that report on the
danger Iraq posed.
Anyway, I shall leave you with this memorable quote:
“If Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership, I intend
to set up a chain of assisted suicide clinics in the south.”
Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun newspaper, doesn’t seem to be
a member of the Jezbollah.
Friday, August 14th
“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is
limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know
and you will see the way to fly.”
Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
This, from a BBC
THE cry of the herring gull is a staple of the seaside soundtrack, their
distinctive white chests and grey wings part of the scenery.
Opinions of the gulls range from them being brutish birds to a beautiful
species needing our protection.
There have been numerous run-ins with people ― and their pets ― in the
past, often when the gulls feel threatened, are protecting their young
or scavenging for food.
However, aggressive gulls that have snatched ice cream from children
could be culled using drones, a councillor has suggested.
A Whitehaven boy was “traumatised” when a “seagull swooped down, took
the ice cream out of his hand and off it went”, town councillor Graham
The drones could be used to
spray nests with a chemical to stop eggs hatching...
However, the gulls could be way ahead of the game, as the following
brace of images confirm...
The skies are
alive with gulls getting their retaliation in first
cartoon says it all: seagulls and drones sorted out in one. But what of
that marvellous second photo?
This is one of a series of mind-bending mashups labelled
The surreal shots are the brainchild of art-director
Stephen McMennamy from Atlanta, Georgia, USA: “At its core the
Combophoto project is simply combining two separate images that
complement one another to tell a different story.”
Yep, truly eye-catching, for sure. And the seagulls live to fight
While on the subject of things surreal, a recent letter in The Daily
SIR – Now that Nasa has discovered a “twin Earth” just
down the road, perhaps we could pay the resident aliens a visit,
sneaking in under cover of darkness to leave some crop circles for them
It is time we got our own back.
Very funny. And yes, there really is a village called Godstone. Hm, perhaps
that’s where they’re hiding the infamous Labour Ed Stone which became
part of the last
General Election campaign.
Thursday, August 13th
The bells, the bells...!
A Morris dancer’s clogs: “I’ve got bells that jingle jangle jingle”
YEP, it all started with a tweet...
@SuffolkGazette: SHOCKER ― Morris dancers in pub
brawl with blind football team.
Read here > > >
So I clicked ... and landed at the ― ta-rah ― Suffolk
Morris dancers and blind footballers in mass brawl
August 12, 2015
Exclusive by Hugh Dunnett, Crime Reporter
Police were called after a mass brawl broke out in a pub
car park between a group of morris dancers and a blind football team
Footballers were enjoying a match on the village green at
Rattlesden, near Stowmarket, using a ball with a bell in it so they
could keep up with play.
But all hell broke out when the morris dancers began
performing at a nearby pub.
A player kicked the ball off the pitch towards The
Brewers Arms, and then mistook a morris dancer’s uniform bells for the
one in the ball.
He promptly kicked the dancer in the shin,
sending him flying over a table and crashing into a flower pot. A
hanging basket then fell on his head.
More blind footballers then joined the melee, kicking out
at the bells and then being surprised when they were punched by furious
The brawl was only stopped when the referee caught up and
blew his whistle loudly.
Three morris men suffered severely bruised legs, while
one of the footballers had a cut caused by being hit on the head with a
morris dancer’s stick.
With everyone blaming each other, the police were called
to sort out the mess.
A Suffolk police spokesman said: “It was certainly an
unusual call from one of the locals in the pub. By the time we got there
it had all calmed down, and both sides realised how the mistake had been
“In fact, they had made up and were all enjoying a drink
together, although a couple were still being patched up by the
“We took no further action, but recommended that the
morris men did not use bells on their uniforms when the blind
footballers were playing nearby.”
comment section beckoned ― oh yes, be sure to remember the name Hugh Dunnett, the
newspaper’s crime reporter...
This is just so morris. Love it!
DIZZY BAGGE: Why are you poking fun at a terrible disability?
Morris Dancers can’t help the way they are and there is no known cure.
THE EDITOR: Dear Ms Bagge ― A fair point. We have
therefore made a small donation to the local Morris Men retirement home.
You should hear its front door bell, though. Terrible racket. Regards, The
GARY JONES: Is your crime writer’s name really Who Doneit?
THE EDITOR: Dear Mr Jones ― Yes, crime reporter
Hugh Dunnett works with my Crime Editor ― Rob Banks. Nothing funny about
that. Regards, The Editor.
Chuckling away, as is my wont, I instructed Ivor the
Search Engine to fetch me some info on the Suffolk Gazette ... well, I never...
spoof news and satire site, The Suffolk Gazette brings you all the
latest dramas from Suffolk.
Wonderful ― effortlessly making my smile of the day. And best of all,
endorsing that my living has definitely, positively not been in vain.
Wednesday, August 12th
How to live forever and die suddenly
MY search for the perfect diet and lifestyle goes on.
Coming up are genuine recent clickbaits spotted online in major
newspapers, and here given the traffic lights colour
code ... proof that doolallyness is alive and well and getting fat..
Why three curries a week could lower risk of death: People who
eat spicy foods three times a week cut risk of dying by 14 per
cent, Harvard study finds
Revealed: How a can of DIET coke makes your body store fat, rots
teeth and affects you in the same way as cocaine within ONE HOUR
☼ ☼ ☼
Daily glass of grapefruit juice ‘protects against heart
disease’, study finds
Revealed: How to lose weight ― drink red wine
Proof red wine helps you lose weight. An ingredient found in
grapes, berries and red wine can help turn flab into
calorie-burning ‘brown’ fat. Just drink responsibly!
☼ ☼ ☼
Fat is back: how a calorific ‘banting’ diet [eating enough
animal fat] could be the healthier option
Fat. It causes high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart
disease, right? Think again.
Butter unlikely to harm health,
but margarine could be deadly
Saturated fats found in butter, eggs or cream does not increase the risk of stroke, heart
disease, diabetes or early death, a study has shown
☼ ☼ ☼
One cup of coffee a day could stave off Alzheimer’s
but two cups may INCREASE risk of memory loss, say scientists
Mobile phones ARE linked to cancer, study claims: Long-term use
‘is associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, headaches and skin
Can eating cherries banish your jelly belly?
They can trim
tummies, sooth exercise pain and even help you sleep
☼ ☼ ☼
Do you have a ‘good looking’ penis?
Hang about: how did that amber clickbait get in there? Ah, got
Scientists believe they have worked out what
women want from men in the lunchbox department ― and the answers
might not be what you expect
Of course: ‘the lunchbox department’, that’s what
threw me. Whatever, now they tell me about having a ‘good
looking’ penis. As it happens, my body is liberally sprinkled with little brown
― someone told me that they are birth marks.
But here’s the thing: I have a wee brown spot
right at the sharp end of proceedings. Now if I had known about
this ‘good looking’ penis thingy, well, I would have worn it as
my buttonhole. So to speak.
Anyway, now that I’ve gone down this track, best
to balance the books...
☼ ☼ ☼
Revealed, how to beat PMs, from eating cheese to munching on
(but the bad news is, chocolate only makes things worse)
Should you give up bacon if you want to have children?
Now I didn’t actually click on any of those baits, even
the handsome penis one. Best to press on regardless, methinks.
The answer to this living forever and dying suddenly
thing is, of course, moderation in everything: a little bit of this, a
little bit of that ― and definitely a little bit of the other.
Tuesday, August 11th
@asabenn: Love this Hayek quote ― “I keep waiting to meet
a man who has more balls than I do.”
Yep, the quote certainly grabbed my attention.
The tweeter, incidentally, is one Asa Bennett, Telegraph
assistant comment editor, also in charge of morning politics
briefing. I know the feeling: Dai Aphanous is in charge of
nightly bullshit briefing in the Asterisk bar down at the Crazy
The @asabenn tweet was accompanied by a black and white,
ever so slightly grainy photo of a middle-aged fellow, sporting glasses
and a moustache ― and looking rather studious.
So I sent Ivor the Search Engine in search
of Hayek ... Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992),
Austrian and British economist and philosopher best known for his
defence of classical liberalism.
Hm. However, I smelt a rat when I read this quote of his: “I regard
it in fact as the great
advantage of the mathematical technique that it allows us
to describe, by means of algebraic equations, the general character of a
pattern even where we are ignorant of the numerical values which will
determine its particular manifestation.”
Blimey. Now why would Friedrich talk about meeting a man with more balls
when, being a genius of “mathematical technique” and “algebraic
equations”, he would appreciate that it is quite feasible that out there
in this doolally world of ours there’s a man ― or indeed men ― boasting
three, four, maybe more, balls.
Indeed, I smelt a dead rat. So I next gave Ivor the actual
balls quote ... first things first, the picture that accompanied the
@asabenn tweet ― directly below...
Take your pick ... which Hayek image rings your bell and grabs your
...and alongside old Friedrich, the image that Ivor came
back with: yes, a colour photo of a middle-aged woman sporting oodles of
sex appeal ― and looking rather studious.
who she? Well, meet Salma Hayek, 48, Mexican-American film
actress, director and producer.
Suddenly, the quote made sense:
“I keep waiting to meet a man who has more balls than I
A really clever quote from a really clever lady, obviously.
Moral of the tale: Trust the quote but double-take the author.
Mind you, my guess is that Asa Bennett knew precisely what he was doing.
Playing off one Hayek against another. A sort of media in-joke?
Which all brings me back to one of my favourite quotes: Believe nothing
you hear and only half what you see.
Worthy smile of the day, though, whichever way you look at it.
Monday, August 10th
Celebrate National Rice Pudding Day with centuries-old comfort
and still rated the world’s most popular dessert
“I took her to lunch and she decided I was all right because I ordered
and rice pudding.” The late George Cole recalls meeting his second
Penny Morrell, and falling instantly in love with her.
Yesterday I celebrated and smiled along with
International Cat Day ― albeit a day late. Today I am celebrating
National Rice Pudding Day ― albeit a day late.
Oh dear, the story of my life. Never mind, by hook or by
crook, I will somehow get there before the cat has eaten the
Interesting that yesterday, Sunday, was actually rice
pudding day because it instantly whisks me back to my childhood and
Sunday lunch ― or Cinio Dydd Sul (Sunday dinner) as we
called it back then in Welsh Wales.
There were two sorts of rice pudding from blessed memory: the one served up
at school ― pass! ― and the
special one my mother pulled out of the farmhouse oven ―
delicious and exceedingly moreish. What I particularly remember, though
...yes, the generously burnt skin was something to die
Truly, it is astonishing what actually registers and is retained on
the brain’s hard drive.
“And to this end they built themselves a stupendous super-computer
which was so amazingly intelligent that even before its data banks had
been connected up it had started from ‘I think therefore I am’ and got
as far as deducing the existence of rice pudding and income tax before
anyone managed to turn it off.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy
Returning to George Cole, whose death I acknowledged last
Friday ― and of course I quote him above apropos his love of both Penny Morrell
and rice pudding ― while perusing his obituaries over the weekend, a few tales
grabbed my attention.
George Edward Cole was born in London in 1925. His real
mother abandoned him when he was ten days old and he was adopted by a
Cockney couple, George and Florence Cole.
Aged 13, he was rummaging at the top of a wardrobe for
hidden Christmas presents when he found documents confirming his
adoption. “I can’t remember whether I was upset at that or the fact that
I didn’t find any Christmas presents,” he recalled.
George Cole of course became best known for playing the lovable rogue
Arthur Daley in Minder.
Daley’s Cockney jargon entered the British lexicon. He
contributed memorable phrases such as “A friend in need ... is a pest”,
as well as malapropisms such as “He’s an invertebrate liar”. They became
known as Arthur Daleyisms.
But the best was “the world is your lobster”, which his
son had heard someone say in a pub: “I took out my wallet and gave
him £25 and bought the line off him. I sat on it for about two years and
suddenly we had a boxing episode.
“I went round to see Terry McCann [his minder] after
the fight and he was covered in blood and moaning. And I said,
ad-libbing, ‘Don’t you worry my son, from now on the world is your
Daley habitually referred to his wife as Her Indoors or
‘Er Indoors i.e. one’s wife or girlfriend; in extended use applied to
any woman who occupies a position of authority who is regarded as
domineering. The series original writer the late Leon Griffiths
apparently first heard it used by a taxi-driver drinking companion of
The Duke of Edinburgh became such a fan that a pal had a
cushion made for Philip bearing the legend ‘E11R Indoors’. It is said to
be still in use today.
What is interesting is how many of these catchphrases come
from real life, things that writers and actors overhear. Dylan Thomas
was famous for always keeping a notebook to jot down such gifts from the
The one thing I also liked about Minder was the lack of
any foul language. It seems that Cole detested it and refused to use four-letter words
Well done, George. If the writing and the acting is good
enough, obscene language adds nothing at all.
Think the famous line from The Italian Job: “You were
only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”
Now in real life the Charlie Croker character would have
used the f-word. But actually, it adds nothing to the impact of the
line. The original is just perfect because it reflects good writing and
Good man George Cole for
resisting such shortcuts.
Spell-cheque corner: ‘Dalyisms’ ― as in Arthur
Daley’s Cockney jargon ― astonishingly, came up as ‘Dualisms’ (if you
don’t mind I don’t matter), followed by ‘Dialogisms’.
Sunday, August 9th
“One of the most striking differences between a cat
and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives”
THE very first picture that caught my eye this morning
was a celebration of International Cat Day, which apparently fell
yesterday, August 8th.
And we all know how cats rule the interweb...
Who you lookin’ at?
cat Garfi, a nine-year-old Persian pussy cursed with a natural-born
glare, is, according to owner Hulya Ozkok, really a bit of a pussycat ―
but he does have his own set of rules of engagement and acquisition
What I like best about Garfi, though, is his obvious
dislike of parties, especially birthday celebrations.
I have only ever celebrated one birthday, my 21st, which
was the recognised coming-of-age thingy back in the day.
It unfolded in a local pub, and by one of those
extraordinary coincidences that litter my stroll through time, Brian
from the farm next-door had his birthday on the same day.
But we not only shared a birthday, we shared a date of
birth (well, we shared one of my dates of birth), which is quite
And that one birthday party has kept me going down the
years. Indeed, my birthday regularly passes without my realising it,
which is a rather splendid way to grow older without fuss or bother.
Finally, I was really taken with this letter spotted in the Business
section of The Sunday Times...
The four rules of negotiation
IN his column last week on the art of negotiation, Luke
Johnson did not mention the four commandments that apply.
▪ Aim high: you can always
trade down, never up;
▪ Get the other fellow’s total
shopping list before you start negotiating;
▪ Keep the whole package in
mind all the time. Flush out all the minor details;
▪ Keep searching for variables.
These rules apply
whether you are negotiating our continued membership of the EU or the
financial millstone strangling Greece ― or agreeing the terms of a
purchase from a big supplier.
John Lidstone, Sutton
wonderful. Hope you were paying attention, David Cameron.
Oh, and I bet pussycat Garfi deploys those rules of
negotiation with owner Hulya Ozkok every time he feels peckish or needs
Spell-cheque corner: ‘Garfi’, our pussycat of the day, came up as
‘Garfish’, rather than ‘Garfield’ the celebrated comic strip cat.
The next choice was ‘Graf’, so I guess if Garfi were
female, she could have been called The Admiral Graf Spayed.
Saturday, August 8th
I tripped over this memorable diversion while
oldgit13: I have just
been sent this copy of a letter published in a local
paper ... somewhere...
Sir, I haven’t got a computer, but I was told about Facebook and Twitter
and am trying to make friends outside Facebook and Twitter while
applying the same principles.
Every day I walk down the street and tell passers-by what
I have eaten, how I feel, what I have done the night before and what I
will do for the rest of the day. I give them pictures of my wife, my
daughter, my dog and me gardening ― me on holiday, spending time by the
I also listen to their conversations, tell them I “like”
them and give them my opinion of every subject that interests me ―
whether or not it interests them.
And it works. I
already have four people following me: two police officers, a social
worker and a psychiatrist...
How fantastically witty is that?
I was intrigued, though, because there was no heading or
title to the letter. Neither was an author indicated.
Now at first glance it looks like a letter to The Times ―
not just the way it begins (Sir, I haven’t...
I mean, a letter to the Telegraph or the Western Mail
SIR - I haven’t...
the Daily Mail would dive straight in:
) ― also, the elegance and rhythm of the writing indicates a Times
So I dropped an email to The Times, in particular
Rose Wild, editor of the paper’s Feedback column.
She duly responded ― thank you, Rose ― and advised
me that she had in fact already
come across the missive, and confirmed that it was not a Times
letter, indeed she had no idea whence it had emerged.
Shame, for it would be rather wonderful to identify the
author and his classy rubbishing of Facebook and Twitter. I say his
because I presume that it is a man:
“I give them pictures of my wife...”.
Mind you, these days it is possible for a woman to have a wife. Oh hum.
Come to think of it, perhaps it was from Gerald Wiley c/o The
Pearly Gates Hotel.
Gerald Wiley? That was the pseudonym used by the late and
talented comedian Ronnie Barker to submit sketches to the BBC.
Incidentally, and whilst we are discussing Twitter, I am intrigued by
the term ‘followers’ to describe those individuals who religiously
follow someone ― anyone ― who publish their every thought and action.
So I presume that a person who tweets is the new Jesus
Christ. After all, it was he who started this ‘followers’ business all
those years ago.
Now there’s a thought: The Life of Twitter.
Friday, August 7th
It ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it
WE all know what Sunday Times writer AA Gill
thinks of the Welsh: “Loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted,
bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls.” Tra-la-la.
As I have written before, the words deployed mean nothing
― sticks and stones, etc. ― but it was the venom with which they
were spat out which registered. There is little doubt that somewhere
along his slither through time a Welsh lass made fun of AA’s manhood and
he’s been taking it out on all us Welsh ever since. Tra-la-la.
Be that as it may, following the announcement of the death of the
English actor George Cole at the age of 90, BBC News ran a selection of
his best film and television lines.
Included was a brief scene from the popular 1980s TV
series Minder, where Cole memorably portrayed the devious and
cheerfully corrupt used-car salesman, general wheeler-dealer and
all-round spiv, Arthur Daley. And George Cole managed to render attractive a
character without a single redeeming feature.
“Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly”
George Cole, above, as Arthur Daley: “You don’t get what’s fair in life,
You get what you negotiate.”
to the aforementioned scene from Minder:
Arthur and Terry (his
likeable and long-suffering minder ― played by Dennis Waterman) are
having breakfast aboard a train, and a German gentleman passes. Clearly
Arthur and the German know each other from across a crowded carriage,
but have not yet been introduced, and the German stops. “Good morning,”
says Arthur in a cheery fashion.
The German bows politely: “Guten morgen.” (I am fairly
click his heels, but I
can’t be 100 per
“Ah, pleased to meet you, Mr. Morgan,” says Arthur,
extending his hand without bothering to get up. “Arthur Daley.”
The German gently
rolls his eyes and moves on. Arthur turns to Terry: “He didn’t sound
Welsh, did he? He seemed like a nice chap.”
Oh dear, how to put the boot in and still generate a smile.
A quick test: you walk into a bar and there are just two
customers present; one side there’s AA Gill, a fine writer despite his
need to peddle aggravation as his default setting; the other end of the
bar, Arthur Daley, as fine a spiv as you could ever wish to meet. But
which one will you head for to enjoy a drink and to share a chat and a
Perhaps this is how George Cole’s headstone should
Spell-cheque corner: ‘morgen’ ― as in ‘Guten morgen’ ― came up
first as ‘margin’, followed by, believe it or don’t, ‘Morgan’. I kid you
The last line
Following the announcement of the death of
George Cole, there was a line delivered on the news by a fellow
thespian. It is a line just occasionally heard out here in the real
world, in the community. Indeed, there can’t be many a finer epitaph:
“You never met anyone with a bad word to say about George.”
Thursday, August 6th
It started with a kiss
“Kissing, in my opinion,
is one of
the most erotic and sensual acts of foreplay.” Columnist
Rachael Misstear kicks off her weekly ‘Matter of Fact’ column in The
“Done properly,” Rachael continues, “it is an obvious,
slightly tamer simulation of the engagement which might follow. Maybe
that’s why I have such a problem with people doing it in public. It’s
just too personal a thing to witness...”
Yep, I grasp what Rachael is getting at.
I then turn the
page, and what catches my eye is the first quote in the ‘They said
“My parents used to tell me off for licking my plate, but if the food
is good it’s a great compliment. Smelling is the overture, eating is the
main act, licking is the curtain call.”
actor Richard E Grant, 58, Swazi-born English actor.
Linking that quote to Rachael’s thoughts on kissing, I suppose you could
say: “Kissing is the overture, making love is the main act, and ‘I’ll
be in touch’ is the curtain call.”
Talking of making love being the main act:
“If your heart is with Jeremy Corbyn, get a
Former Labour PM Tony Blair on
the party’s leadership battle, in particular the
“To suggest somebody should have a transplant if they are making
decisions by the heart is totally unacceptable.” Labour peer Lord
(John) Prescott (and Deputy Prime Minister under Tony Blair), attacks
his former boss over the ex-prime minister’s remarks about Jeremy
“Tony Blair should face
trial for war crimes over Iraq.” Jeremy Corbyn, currently leading
the opinion polls for the Labour leadership, castrates any thoughts
Blair has on becoming a heart transplant consultant.
entering stage right:
“My real name is Joyce Frankenberg. I changed it when I was 17.
My agent told me that it was too long, too foreign and too difficult to
Jane Seemore, 64, British-American actress. Oops, sorry, that should
read Jane Seymour.
“I feel like I’ve climbed out of a bi-plane and into a spaceship.”
Sacked Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson on the news that he and
his former BBC Top Gear team are to front a new show on Amazon Prime.
“So is he going to be delivering my parcels then?”
Jeremy Clarkson’s daughter
Emily on hearing her father has secured an exceedingly profitable deal
for a motoring show with Amazon Prime.
funny, Emily ― but I do hope that the spaceship Jeremy has climbed
aboard is not called Amazon Galactic (see Richard Branson).
“Bins, filling the car up with petrol, recycling ... this is all
men’s work. In the same way, lighting candles is women’s work ― and
Baroness (Karren) Brady, 46,
English sports executive, politician, broadcaster, columnist, author,
lighter of the candles...
what an entertaining ― and rather surprising ― quote that is to round
off the smile of the day.
Wednesday, August 5th
Rise and shine
DULY captivated by yesterday’s two photographs of our
planet as captured from space, I was reminded of my smile of the day
from last Thursday, about Spike Milligan and his more memorable quotes.
Remember? When he was
gently probed about his well-documented depressions? He responded thus:
“You feel the pain much more than anybody else. But you also see the
sunrise better than anyone else.”
And I, in turn, was reminded of what he said to his three young children
while playing Cowboys and Indians out in the garden with them: “There
are those who spend millions buying up van Goghs, Picassos, Turners and
Monets to hang on their walls ― yet all you need do is stop and look
around ... there are Old Masters everywhere: the flowers, the trees, the
clouds ― and they don’t cost a penny.”
So, inspired by Spike’s observations about beautiful sunrises ― and
indeed yesterday’s pictures from space ― I thought I’d get under the
cloud cover and look through my own photos for some worthy contenders.
If all the world were paper,
And all the sea were ink,
And all the trees were bread and cheese,
What should we do for drink?
Sunrise on a
misty morn on the Dinefwr Castle and Park Estate at Llandeilo
He who bends himself a Joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the Joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.
Sunrise in the Towy Valley, Llandeilo ― with a pair of swallows caught
in the aircraft con trails
Just ponder ... neither Anonymous nor Blake had the benefit of a camera
to capture the joy of the moment and literally relive it later.
There again, that is probably why back then they were so good at
capturing what they saw in verse. And indeed on canvas.
Tuesday, August 4th
Weather is here, wish you were lovely
GIVEN that the UK weather has temporarily forgotten that
it’s actually high summer ― I’ve missed many a sunrise walk over the
past few weeks due to the rain, including this very morning ― but today,
coincidentally, I was captivated by two images spotted in the media.
And both to do with weather.
Britain’s rain clouds never looked lovelier: stunning colour
picture of Earth from a new weather satellite
The European Space Agency’s weather satellite captured this image
at 10am this morning ― showing a depression centred to the North West of
Scotland, the rotten culprit which brought all the rain to Llandampness
The new satellite, holding station in a geostationary orbit
some 22,000 miles
out in space, will send back images of the Earth’s surface and
atmosphere in 12 different wavelengths once every 15 minutes when fully
operational. So there.
And it will show our planet in all its glorious colours;
I particularly like the green and white cummerbund holding Africa’s
Oh yes, the satellite will, fingers crossed, improve
weather forecasting, ho,
And then, I stumbled upon this extraordinary image...
Super Typhoon Soudelor: strongest storm on Earth this year
Storm Soudelor roaring across the western Pacific Ocean and packing
wind gusts of up to
220 miles per hour as it heads for Japan, Taiwan and China...
How perfect everything looks from 22,000 miles away ... but
from the height of the International Space Station, circa 220 miles ― well, things look a
Incidentally, the typhoon picture was captured yesterday
by Japan’s Himawari-8 Satellite.
As I said, a brace of quite astonishing and perfectly
Monday, August 3rd
Pomp on a romp
OVER the past week there’s been one story that has
exercised both disbelief and hilarity in equal measures ― perfectly
summed up by the following headline and two front pages from The Sun,
the newspaper wot broke the story in the first place ― and endorsed with a perfect
summing-up from smiley poet Pam Ayres...
Lord Sewel, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, is pictured in orange
and leather jacket at a sex and drugs party with £200-a-night
[What? No rock‘n’roll? He was had!]
All hypocrites should take due care,
When snorting coke in Dolphin Square,
An orange bra is not so cute,
And best left on the prostitute.
Honestly, what on earth makes a man of 69 behave in such
a ‘Wish you were here; weather terrible but sex and drugs while dangling
from the chandeliers just great’ fashion? And wearing an orange
I am reminded of the dyslexic peer who walked into a bar
... actually, the proper joke is the one about the dyslexic peer who
walked into a bra ― but Lord Sewel went and spoilt it all.
And what about that delightful word ‘romp’? It’s forever
spotted in the tabloids, yet I’ve never once heard it in the Bible or
down at the Crazy Horsepower Saloon.
Actually, Lord Coke reminds me
of a certain cartoon character ― even if his bra has slipped a little...
Seriously, though, didn’t old Deputy Dirty Dawg think it
suspicious, not so much why the girls insisted he wore the bra, but
rather why they so meticulously sought his opinions apropos the nation’s
leading politicians. Even those still visible and looking rather risible
in our rear-view mirrors.
His views prompted this letter in the Daily Mail:
DISGRACED Lord Sewel
may have shown a lack of judgment in cavorting with prostitutes and
taking drugs, but his views on the political elite are spot on.
Janet Byrne, Harrow,
Janet Byrne, and here are just a few of said views as caught on tape...
Sneer of the realm
“The most facile, superficial prime minister there’s ever been. He just
shoots from the hip [lip?]. He is false. He makes one-off commitments
and cannot deliver.”
Well, Sewel is a Labour peer after all. But hang about...
Tony Blair: He
went to war in Iraq “because he fell in love with George Bush,
And Cherie Blair: “Very ambitious and obsessed with money.”
The Labour leadership race: “A f****** mess.” Jeremy Corbyn
“useless” and a “romantic idiot”; Andy Burnham “terribly contradictory”
and “goes whichever way the wind is blowing”; Yvette Cooper “OK but not
strong”; and Liz Kendall, whose name he had actually forgotten, “a Blair supporter who is just too naïve”.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson: A “joke”, an “arsehole” and a
“public school upper class twit. He plays well in London because they
like a cheeky chappie.”
[Spell-cheque corner: ‘chappie’ came up as
‘crappie’. How very Lord Sewel. But what a clever computer. Yes,
electronic chips are slowly taking over the world. Chips with
Everything takes on a whole new meaning.]
the Tory Chancellor: “A very, very consummate politician who will
one day be prime minister.”
take that last one as a “Yes” then? But here’s my favourite…
Alex Salmond of
the SNP: “I watched him holding court: a silly, pompous prat.”
That last one sounds just perfect.
Do you suppose that people high on drugs behave just like
individuals high on drink ― they just can’t stop themselves speaking the
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
It will be fascinating, though, how
future historians view Sewel’s
opinions on the political elite. Rather favourably, I guess.
Finally, I shall leave you in the capable imagination of who else but
the Telegraph’s smiley² cartoonist...
Sunday, August 2nd
Weight and see
YESTERDAY I shared with you my serendipitous enjoyment of
Bells of Lazonby’s “mouthwateringly moreish”
Caramel Shortbread Slices ... well now, a
missive spotted a couple of weeks ago
in The Sunday Telegraph:
SIR – Where does this
attack on sugar leave us jam-makers?
A typical jam recipe requires a kilo of fruit and a
kilo of granulated sugar ― the latter providing preservative qualities,
so that the jam will keep for months.
Jam made with artificial sweeteners, like stevia (which
is extracted from plant leaves and is calorie-free), is more like a
compote and should be consumed within two weeks.
here’s a smiley response:
Spoonful of sugar
SIR – Sandy Pratt should continue to use sugar for
The relevant question, when considering your teeth,
weight and waistline, is not how much sugar goes into the jam, but how
much jam goes into your mouth.
Sandy Pratt had also written to The Times, which
drew a slightly more sophisticated response:
Sir, All Sandy Pratt
needs to do to comply with the recommendation to cut sugar consumption
by half is to spend twice as long eating the jam.
Tam Fry, National
Goodness, a Fry-up at the National Obesity Forum; talk about nominative determinism.
And talking of putting on weight, again from the
Small trick for dieters
SIR – The simplest way to deal with the problem of
obesity is to serve scaled-down portions on smaller plates, as suggested
by our family doctor some 20 years ago.
That last missive reminds me of a letter from a while
back in The Sunday
Times , where a lady ― perhaps it was the
aforementioned Jill Forrest ― who had been to see her doctor and he had
duly advised her to lose weight.
Confused by all the diets available she asked the doctor
which one he recommended. He reached for a pen and paper and wrote:
It’s what I now call my
100% Guaranteed EL Diet
Saturday, August 1st
A TWEET link led me to this Telegraph clickbait:
How every politician has answered Mumsnet’s 'favourite biscuit'
question since 2009
The innocent question which then prime minister Gordon Brown refused to answer has
become a ritual. Here's a searchable list of politicians and
The answer that had actually caught my eye was this, from
March 2010 ... first though, a few joined-up dots about the author...
Douglas Alexander [...47,
British Labour politician who was the Shadow Foreign
Secretary and former Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire
South ― until he lost his seat in May 2015 to the Scottish National
Party’s Mhairi Black, a 20-year-old politics student at Glasgow
Anyway, his biscuit answer:
“Terrible admission, and not very patriotic but
my favourite are chocolate Leibniz. (A slab of [German] chocolate
pretending to be a biscuit.) Prefer the dark chocolate ones to the milk
ones ― and of course I hope that they will soon embrace Fairtade(?).”
Now the reason this captured my imagination is ... well, I’ve mentioned
before that when I visit a supermarket I always have a look along the
‘Reduced to clear’ shelves ― yes of course, I am always in the market
for a bargain, but mostly I look for those things I would never normally
buy because, price-wise, they look like a bit of a rip-off.
Well now, the day before I read about Douglas
Alexander’s favourite Munchengladbach (a sort of German cum English cum
Welsh joke), I spotted a packet of ― ta-rah...
4 Caramel Shortbread Slices
― Mouthwateringly moreish ...
All butter shortbread, generously topped with caramel and finished with
a layer of milk chocolate [shelf price £2.25 ― reduced to 59p]
Having already tasted one of the above before
reading about Douglas Alexander’s Leibniz variety, I really did smile
out loud at that “slab of chocolate pretending to be a biscuit” line, a
perfect description for the Bells Caramel Shortbread Slice.
Mind you, I thoroughly enjoyed my Bells caramel,
especially so at 15p a slice. But would I pay nearly 60p for a not very
big slice at that? Hm. Thanks, but no thanks.
Mind you, if Uncle Ernie or Auntie Camelot decide to
come calling and I then have money to burn...
Spell-cheque corner: ‘Mhairi’ ― as in Mhairi Black the new
Scottish MP ― came up as ‘Mohair’. From what I’ve seen of young Mhairi,
she looks much more scratchy and itchy than mohair.
Incidentally, Mhairi is the Scottish Gaelic form of Mary. In Welsh it is
Mari, pronounced Ma-ree.
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
Smile of the Day 2010
(Jan to Jun) 2009
March to May '07
June to Aug '07
Sep to Dec '07
You are here, way out west,
aka Dodgy City
Previously on LOOK
Smile of the day 2015:
Smile of the day
Smile of the day 2015:
Smile of the day 2015:
Smile of the day
Smile of the day 2015:
Smile of the day 2015:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day
Smile of the day
Smile of the day 2014:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day 2013:
Smile of the day
Smile of the day 2013: Jan
of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)
of the day 2012c (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the day 2012
Smile of the day 2012 (Jan-Mar)
Smile of the day 2011
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jan-Jun)
Smile of the Day 2010
2010 (Jan to Jun)
Sep to Dec '07
June to Aug '07
March to May '07
As it was in
ST DAVID'S DAY, 2007
Postcards from my Square
Here's lookin' at you
400 Smiles A Day
What A Gas
400 Smiles A Day