Monday, December 31, 2007

not so special delivery

There was a knock on the door and when I got there I found this bloke had opened it and was a slouching silhouette in the doorway filling in his electronic delivery book. Without looking up he said, “Come along young man”. My inclination was to say “Give me the package and Fuck off” But it occurred to me he might well be one of the hoards from ‘off’ seeping into the area like raw sewage in which event I didn’t really want to engage in a prolonged feud. So I said nothing at all. I took the package with the faintest hint of a snatch, signed his electronic book in an almost contemptuous manner and silently closed the door on him just fractionally too fast for good manners. I am not sure he got the message

Horses for courses

Peter the Painter’s heart is really in showbiz. For his latest pre Christmas production, ‘Country Christmas’ at Talgarth he needed a donkey in the nativity scene. Local children in traditional nativity garb would sing the song ‘Little Donkey’. Peter set off to find one and came up with ‘Gentle’. Showbiz was not in her blood and despite pulling, pushing and persuasion with carrots she refused to enter the building. The small crowd that gathered was amused especially some idle builders who offered advice in the traditional manner – but nothing worked.
The show must go on and Peter came up with a replacement that was a little easier to handle. So it came to pass that the nativity part of the show began and Mary & Joseph entered leading the noble beast and the children began the ‘Little Donkey’ song. The Shetland pony was a magnificent actor.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I discover a Pulsar…….sort of

Regularly, every so often, Sky television would splutter a little burst of sound interference.
I tried turning off the central heating, the computer, the cooker , mobile phones and every other electrical appliance I could find but it made no difference. Suspicion turned to the neighbours as mine invariably does. But first I timed the regularity of the pulses of interference and found them to be 40 seconds. I searched the internet using terms like Sky, interference, 40 seconds etc but again came up with nothing.
Then I had an idea. We have a little weather station powered by 6 AA batteries which receives data from sensors in the garden and the garage. I looked up the manual on the web and found that it communicates this data every 40 seconds. Mystery solved.
The reason I am so pleased with this outcome is that my normal methods are not so subtle and if ever I do have any success with technology its usually because I switched it off and when it came on again it was cured.

unfamous last words

Here are some beautiful obituaries Polk County Georgia Obituaries . I cant quite work out why they should not be possible today but that they are not is a matter of regret.
I could not even bring myself to laugh at the sherrif who accidentally shot himself in the head so movingly was it written. (Mr. John Hutchings if you cant read through them all)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What has he done?

For some strange reason I have suddenly had a spate of Googlers looking for Ulick Murphy one of the odd names I have collected. I wonder what he might have done to bring about this sudden attention; when I bagged him he was working for an insurance company as was my personal favorite and the star of my collection
'Dashita Dave'.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Feynman again

Feynman discusses the very question that was troubling me about light.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A matter of logic

The other day I was passing the ambulance station in Llandod when an NHS vehicle reversed slowly into the road. As it moved an annoying voice, in English, advised that it was indeed going backwards and it would be best if you didn’t lay down in the road and allow it to pass over you. These were not the exact words but it doesn’t matter – you get my drift. This kind of tosh has ceased to be funny but what happened next restored my faith in the boundless comic creativity of officialdom. While the vehicle was still moving backwards they repeated the warning in Welsh! I don’t speak Welsh and so I thanked my lucky stars that I happened to have arrived while the vehicle was giving me this important message in English.
Now here is a little exercise in elementary logic.
All Welshmen speak English.
Some Welshmen speak Welsh.
It follows from those two premises that if a warning has to be given in a language then it should be given in English alone since all Welsh speakers understand it whereas not all English speakers understand Welsh.
If there is any argument at all for a warning in an additional language then I regret to point out that Polish would have a much better claim than Welsh.

Overheard conversation just now

Menna “I told her it was too late to do it on direct debit now as she had not returned the form and we must have the money in full. She said sorry but she had been very busy and couldn’t pay it all.”
Tracy D “So she cant have been busy earning then?”.

A great line which deserves to have been delivered direct to the client.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Syd and Gloria

If we had a Prime Minister called Gloria that would surely be a good thing? Gloria surviving 3 attempts to depose her just doesn't seem right to me, why would anyone want to overthrow Glo?
Margaret or Hillary or Harriet or Benazir I can understand but Gloria must be completely beneficent.

For Christmas I was hoping for an extra large T shirt with a huge picture of a smiling Sid James on the front - I saw one up at the dams at Rhayader a few months back and was very impressed. However the success of my bombay bad boy and eggs diet might mean that I do not have the canvass to do the face justice when the time comes. Mixed blessings indeed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

day 21 still drifting west

I am looking forward to being overweight, only another 10lbs to go.
I estimate that on the present diet of Bombay Badboys and eggs I should hit this happy zone in the dietician’s visual aid in 2 weeks time. You may say, “Well whats happy about that?” Well it wouldnt be very happy at all of course if you were moving from left to right.
I do like the way that terms like obese and morbidly obese are replaced by fat and very fat. I heard Alan Carr say the other night "She was so fat they had to cut her out of a hoola hoop"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The best of my thinking today

Travis would be a good name for a dog.
I calculate 738 calories in my pork chop dinner.
I would be shocked if the Mccanns turn out not to have done it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Any old irony

Certain words I find myself looking up in a dictionary 2 or 3 times a year going back years. The definition never quite persuades or sticks.
One of them is ‘irony’. Of course I can label the situation ‘ironic’ when a bus driver gets run over by a bus and know that I am on safe ground, even though he obviously was not. I recognise, but cant connect to the squashed bus driver, dramatic irony but wonder whether a film that lacked dramatic irony at its first outing acquires it when you see the repeat. I see Socratic irony turning up too. What I cant see is what connects these various things what are the necessary and sufficient conditions that hold together the concept of irony?.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Too old for comics

Lately I have been harassed by some comic readers . For some reason Stumblesent me to a comic strip and all I did was ask somebody to explain the joke and mentioned that I had to look up eviscerate in the dictionary. The line I like most in this little encounter is from a comic reader who urges her fellow literati to ‘stop feeding the Troll’ -meaning me I presume. Blow me down if the next thing I read is Icedink writing about eviscerated and headless deer. At least I didnt have to use the dictionary this time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Can you see what it is yet?

This is a bad picture but I didnt have the nerve or the time to worry about the photography. The curving white line near the top might be a clue.
See Comments for the answer if you have a strong stomach.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I yamwhat I yam

According to Wikipedia “I Am What I Am" is a song originally featured on the Tony-award winning Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles (1983 -1987)’
Alec in Coronation Street I remember saying that if he heard another turn I yamming he would lose his mind.
Normally I fall asleep when the television is on but the other night I drifted into consciousness two thirds through a documentary film which actually woke me up for the rest. ‘Deep Water’about the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race of 1968. I cant think how I missed all this drama back in the 60’s. All fascinating characters but Donald Crowhurst the most interesting of all. In a round the world yacht race he hung about off South America faking with great difficulty his log and then slipped back into the race as the others came round the Horn. Then because the boat in front of him sunk and it would mean him winning the race (for the fastest circumnavigation) he completely lost his mind , wrote a 25,000 word essay, which included the phrase ‘I am what I am’ and jumped overboard.
So among other things I am wondering if he was in fact the first Iyamma or whether there where earlier examples.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The prisoner

Llangoed Hall which is just down the road to us was designed by one Sir Clough Williams-Ellis and by chance this week we visited Port Meirion for which he is much better known. Beautiful situation above the estuarine sands that Patrick McGoohan many times got to before being suffocated by the big white aggressive balloon which pursued him in the Prisoner. Here is a picture of me seated on what is definitely not a themed alfresco toilet but rather a kind of shelter.

Gracious Living

I had to laugh. We were in Llanidloes on our way home from Aberdyfi.
Couldn’t get in to the tea room Ann wanted and so she reluctantly agreed the place I like.
The ‘National Milk Bar’ beautifully stuck in 1960 I’d say.
There were waitresses but we ordered at the counter.
Me ‘Black coffee please’ – Ann ‘have you any earl grey?’
Reply ‘Yes cup or mug?’

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another Chapter

According to the paper Mr McCann said during the interview, "There is absolutely no suggestion that Madeleine and the children were drugged and it is outrageous,"
But I heard this little bit of the interview on GMTV and he actually referred only to Madeleine not being sedated but as soon as he said it he corrected himself to refer to all of the children not being sedated. This would be a totally pointless correction to make except that the Mccanns are relying on showing that the twins were not sedated and that therefore it follows (somehow) that Madeleine was not sedated. This is the same surprisingly cool calculation that has been shown all along. Nobody should be convicted for keeping their cool under fire but then this is not a court of law.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Unecessary signs and unecessary companies

Went to visit Anns Aunt in Bronllys hospital. Excellent place, they even allow the patient’s pets to visit, but under the usual threats of extinction..
Fine location too with the Black Mountains close by.
Unfortunately they too seem to be getting the taste for unnecessary signs, here is one requesting the car driver not to drive his car through the flower bed. I am so glad that I saw it in time and was able to avoid tearing up a strip right down the middle.

Earlier today I wanted to get some chocolate for diabetics and knowing that the loathsome Boots advertise a full range of such products I called in despite having vowed never to go near them again since they wouldn’t let me have a packet of Aspro Clear without unwanted advice from their pharmacist. When I got to the head of the queue I asked, without hope, if they had any chocolate for diabetics.
She looked rather shifty and said “We don’t sell it the Welsh Diabetic Association has said….” I interrupted her sermon with “So you haven’t got any then?”
The sooner Boots goes down the pan the better.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Alive & well and selling towels in the Cotswolds

Moreton in Marsh market week before last. This fellow was selling Egyptian cotton towels and Ann was very impressed with the quality. He had a good line in patter too. He said to the crowd that had gathered "Some people think that I look like somebody famous. Any ideas?" An uninhibited lady at the front gave the required answer "Bin Laden?" He looked startled and hurt and replied in puzzled tone "No, George Bush"

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Its the way he tells them

I have just this minute returned from a funeral in the village, the deceased was an ex publican of the same turn of mind as myself. His death followed very quickly after the initial diagnosis of his illness and was a shock to everyone.
The first hymn was ‘Abide with me’ and was followed by the 23rd Psalm.
The Vicar then came to the pulpit and began in solemn voice the eulogy.
“ We are gathered here to celebrate the life of a miserable old bugger……”
You could almost hear the deceased laughing – that’s what I call vicaring.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Augustus Hare

Yesterday as I sat in the waiting room of Abergavenny hospital waiting to visit somebody I read the preamble to a book by AC Grayling called ' What is Good?’.
He made mention of Augustus Hare and how Hare’s bible had all references to praising God scratched out . Hare’s position was that since God was undoubtedly a gentleman he would not approve of all this praising business and I must admit that point has troubled me too.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What I did in the holidays – Chapter 1

I thought we would go away for a few days – 4 in all.
I thought we would travel across country over two days to the east coast and then return.
I got a map and picked out an area that was a couple of hours away for the first stop and plunged a pin into the chunk coloured green which showed no large settlements of humans. The nearest place to the pin was Shipston on Stour of which I had never heard. On the internet I found The White Bear and the price looked very good for that area £86 for bed breakfast and an evening meal off of the full menu. So that’s £43 each per night. I then noticed that it was close to other tourist places like Stratford and the Cotswolds villages and so idleness crept over me and after a very cursory look at Trip Adviser I booked for the 4 days.
I immediately liked it. It was an ancient pub, obviously much used by the locals. The carpet in the bar had countless holes in it where ‘generations’ of smokers had stubbed their cigarettes before being ousted to the ‘designated smoking area' by the PC . It really is scandalous the way that non-smokers have muscled their way into these institutions and dumbed them down. Its like Mary Whitehouse being appointed to run a brothel.
Me I haven’t smoked since the lung operation about 5 years ago but even so I have not joined the ranks of the self righteous, that carpet to me was a thing of beauty.
Ann visibly flinched when she saw it and I thought, ‘ there could be trouble here’. The room they showed us I admit was grotty , there was nowhere to sit down and it was up in the attic and didn’t have a shower. I didn’t mind any of this but Ann was not happy and fixed to see the manageress as soon as she came on duty at 7pm.
I did notice that the light pull in the bathroom was missing the end toggle and the chord was excessively dirty and tapered at the bottom end like some wetted thread before you pass it through the eye of the needle. This shows that I am not a complete philistine because even I felt some disquiet.
Here is a picture of Ann ringing her mother while waiting for the arrival of the manageress.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another let down

Had a good visitor to my blog today from Serbia & Montenegro – but he didn’t stay long.
He got their via Google search engine which threw up my blog as likely to be of interest to him.
On one page I described how a couple of medics had attended my wifes uncle, taken ill in Church and said to him “Obviously you didn’t pray loud enough” to which the Vicar interjected at once “What do you mean – he’s alive isn’t he?”
Also on the same page was my collection of interesting names including one ‘Nigel Titt’. Somewhere else on the page the adjective big .
The curious Serb was seeking more information and what he had typed into the Google search was Big Titt Medics.
I am a constant source of disappointment to people.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

redistribution of wealth

Just read the following.

‘The current position is that , if you own a (holiday) property abroad through a company but it is available for your own use it should be taxed on you as benefit in kind. This side effect of legislation was never intended ………… New draft legislation is now out for comment removing this tax charge…….’

The 'current position' seems perfectly logical to me but the 'never intended' 'side effect' is obviously affecting the net income of the politicians and their cronies who set the rule up in the first place. No I dont suppose they did intend it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Smoking bible

The smoking bible clue is a valid one.

Samuel II, chapter 12, verses 15-21 is interesting.

5And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

16David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.

17And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.

18And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?

19But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.

20Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.

21Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.

22And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

23But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

The bit that interests me is in bold.

Doctors who are not Christian still live by some moral code (one hopes) and the most reasonable one and likely one is the idea that one should act in order to maximise the good. A consequence of this is that if to ‘cover up’ an error leads to an increase in the ‘good’ then one is morally obliged to cover up the error. From a utilitarian point of view then the medical profession should be continually ‘covering up’.
But if you are a Christian , which I assume means that you feel obliged to act in the way that Christ would act then you would instinctively know that to ‘cover up’ was wrong and you might feel inclined to seek out some textual justification for what you are about to undertake.
So it could be that there is a culture of utilitarianism and a culture of Christianity and the text links the two.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Disposing of mental Junk

(Have a look at the clips wine tasting)

I am hoping to keep out from my head permanently the names, faces doings and sayings of all members of the present government. At the moment I remember, always with a start, that Brown is the Prime minister. I am confident though that I can unlearn this fact before he becomes truly embedded. I know there is some woman who is the Home Secretary but what her name is and what she looks like and what she thinks and what she does I am proud to say that I have already forgotten. That fellow Darling might prove a tougher problem solely because of his name which is by far the most important thing about him – I will have no trouble with what he says and does it is easily forgettable.
In the 1960’s there was that judge who famously enquired during a trial “Who are the Beatles ?” It was generally assumed that this was an affectation on his part. However I now see that it almost certainly wasn’t. I am pleased to genuinely fail to recognise nearly all celebrities, all footballers other than the unavoidable Beckham and all pop singers. I am now turning my active inattention to the government and anticipate no problems.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chartered Insurance Institute

I forget I write these things - a letter to Insurance Age in 2005. Not terribly exciting but I would like my vendetta against the C.I.I. to have maximum affect and so repeat it here.
I stumbled accross the professional body of the Animal Aromatherapists last week.
Professional these days just means you get paid for it.

I heard a shelf stacker in Sommerfields the other day taking some stick for not being professional with the baked beans.

The CII is no longer professional in the original sense but just as money grubbing as the rest.

I had a leaflet from them this week offering me up to 23% off of technical lectures as a member of the CII. 23% - not 50% or 60%.I felt like writing back and saying make it 24.6% and youve got a deal.

I may be going mad but I was reminded of the great Jean Brodie when summoned to attend the headmistress at something like 3.15 pm.

"She seeks to intimidate me in quarters of an hour".

Because CII these days are so completely in the Thrall of the marketing scientologists I bet that 23% was carefully chosen. 50% or 60% or even 25% is a bit too cavalier but 23% suggests to all but the most ungrateful that we have carefully considered every aspect of our costs and can shave it right down to 23%.

'low, heading West slowly loosing identity'
shipping forescast/my life

Monday, September 10, 2007

I bet

Even as we blog there is almost certainly a meeting of earnest social workers in Leicester discussing whether they ought to intervene in the Mccann case.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ode to a four penny stamp

Just remembered a poem I wrote when working in the Post office aged about 20 it went, and don’t worry I only remember 4 or 5 lines;

Oh fourpenny blue thy radiant face
Hath led me wandering from this place
To happier lands wherein thy grace
Doth sparkle like the wine etc, etc.

I don’t mind repeating this drivel here because it was meant to be funny at the time. Obviously under the influence of Edgar Allen Poe I notice.

This was for a Post Office staff magazine called the ‘Southeaster’.
I also remember writing for Post Magazine , the main Union magazine, a letter pointing out that they should all stop complaining about salary and conditions and get on with their work and that more of them should follow the example of those in our office and demand an immediate cut in salary to help the country out in these difficult times.
The phone didn’t stop ringing and I received one death threat from somebody in a menacing Geordie accent.
They didn’t seem to appreciate my sense of humour either.

Friday, August 31, 2007

10 years

I never was grief stricken at the death of the Princess of Wales. I didn't know her and cared no more than for any other overadulated celebrity.
The response from the public was completely baffling to me.
I remember going in to the Pearl Assurance office where I was working at the time and during the coffee break the conversation turned to a television programme concerning spontaneous combustion. Someone began explaining that the theory was that the fat in the body kept the flame ignited and burning until all that was left was ashes in the middle and possibly a completely untouched limb or two on the periphery.
At which point I thought it right to interject "So you could say that he lived his life like a candle in the wind" . It was greeted with absolute silence. I got my coat.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I couldn't remember the name of this fellow in the golf cap for years. I have at last tracked him down - 'Dave Wottle', the name still doesn't ring a bell but his race in the 1972 Olympics certainly does. Brilliant - puts all those boring Paula Radcliffe type plodders in their place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where are you R Ton ?

This morning at the end of an elaborate dream which I cant remember there appeared the following Memories are wooden forks and spoons - R Ton. I jumped out of bed and kept repeating it to myself until I had written it down.
Now I cant think why I bothered except I dont ever recall remembering written words in a dream before.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Ive got tooth ache and wondered why we had nerves in the teeth or rather what evolutionary advantage does having nerves in teeth give.
All I could find was this exchange on the net.

I had to have my nerve removed from my tooth today and wondered why we have them. I had suffered awful toothache since xmas eve, its ok now but why are teeth so troublesome?

Salamanda Wed 04/01/06 22:22

its like any part of the would we know there was anything wrong with the tooth if there were no nerves to tell us? I think that must be the reason. If there is a big hole in your tooth that needs a filling, you know because it it painful. Can't think of any other reason! Maybe someone call tell us

Wed 04/01/06

So that’s the answer it is to remind us to go to the Dentist.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Still rambling

I like this header to the blog of Vikash

I am not perfect and I never will be! What would perfection be? No flaws, I guess. If I were alone on this earth, would I be perfect? Yes I suppose. Everything about me is perfect in isolation. I may stammer, I may limp, I may be anything but I am perfection as myself, I am the perfect me. My speech becomes a stammer when I emulate your speech, My gait becomes a limp when I walk like you and I become imperfect when I want to be as perfect as you. I'm imperfect as you but perfect as me

He is a bit slow with the posts though.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


The experiment didn’t work. Although it wasn’t really an experiment more of a demonstration but on either count it failed.
A ‘demonstration’ because it ‘must’ work if carried out properly.
3 dimensional Euclidean geometry is part of the way that the world is, at least on the level of this exercise. If I had properly cut the corners in my journey home there must be a clear difference between the journey there and the journey back but there wasn’t, exactly the same 18.2 miles on the mileometer. Since the instrument only measures to one decimal place either the affect over 18 miles is less than 1/10th of a mile or I wasn’t extravagant enough in cutting the corners, probably a bit of both.
Somebody following me must have been extremely puzzled as it was because I didnt drive fast, just kept to around 40mph but on coming to a left hand bend would hug the inside line like a geriatric formula 1 driver and when encountering a right hand bend, if I couldn't safely cross onto the opposite side of the road, would put my offside wheels onto the central white line and pass the thundering Juggernaut coming in the other direction like some bizarre parody of a Red Arrows 'crossover'.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Machine Code

The purpose of language, English say, must be to enable communication between one human being and another. Why would I need the same language to think in my own head as I need to pass on information to you? For example I tell you ‘I feel hot’ and this conveys an idea to you but I am not conscious of thinking the words ‘I feel hot’ in my head in order to convey to myself the idea that I am hot.

At the base of computers is ‘machine code’ that is the stuff that tells the computer what to do etc. A code of 1s’ and zeros far too messy for humans to usefully employ and so there is a higher language that makes it easier to use plus an interpreter which converts this higher language into the language that the machine does understand. The need to interpret slows the process down considerably.

I feel that there is an analogy here between the machine process and the human process. The higher language , English for example, when used by me to speak to you is the result of some kind of interpreter in my head converting the ‘machine code’ of my thoughts into a language, English, which the interpreter in your head converts into your own private code and you ‘understand’ me.
I know that Wittgenstein says this is all tosh and there is no such thing as a private language but I will carry on with the thought because I am not convinced and because it leads to an chess example and Wittgenstein himself used a lot of chess analogies.

I am an average chess player and I recognise that many good players see father and more quickly than I do. I find that when I am considering a position I do think in English, ‘Pawn takes pawn, knight takes pawn, bishop to king 5 check etc ‘ as well as to a lesser extent being conscious of patterns which are not expressed in my head in English.
It occurred to me to ask why do I need internally this English language to express the moves to myself and I contrasted it with the feeling for pattern in the game which I also had. I thought that maybe the difference between me and the good players must be that they had got shot of English altogether as a thought process and were employing something more in line with machine code in a computer.
When I asked a couple of them about this they looked at me as if I were a total idiot. I got my coat.

Victorian Belly Dancers

Victorian festival in Llandrindod Wells. Here is Mark Bradley yesterday his attention is held by a troupe of Belly Dancers performing in Middleton Street – probably went on all the time in Victoria’s reign.
Managed to hang on to complete self control in the office when an appointment arranged for me with a Mr Hunt turned out, face to face, to be with a Mr Kunt.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You will love the pipeline

As expected my limerick didn't get anywhere as it was was far too politically incorrect. There were only four entries but so desperate was the judge to avoid acknowledging it in anyway she gave second prize to something that wasn't even a limerick - I counted at least14 lines in it.
I say 'at least' because I was trying to count surreptitiously so as not to appear that I was about to mount a serious legal challenge to the result. This feigned nonchalance on my part might have led to slight mathematical inaccuracy, but rest assured there were at least 14 lines, limerick it certainly wasn't.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Show

Saturday coming is Llyswen show day and Ann is entering a ginger cake.
I am entering the Limerick competition which has the unpromising required opening 'There once was a pipeline....' This refers to the ugly scar which crosses Wales as they lay a huge pipe line to take gas from one side of the country to the other - they might get a few years use out of it before the gas runs out or it is blown up by terrorists. The whole thing is highly suspect , it all seems to have been organised behind closed doors.
So far with the Limerick I have got;

There once was a pipeline of steel
It desecrates every green hill
So thanks to backhanders
And incompetent planners
Hard luck - too late- done deal

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Its the 12th but not as glorious as it was.

Day 2 and 1/12 and the Brecon Jazz festival was pretty dull in the streets. It might be the pressure from all the bureaucrats to interfere, contain, sanitise and ultimately lose it as an event.The same bunch of worthless articles who buggered up the roads within the town. This band was very good though and represented the festival as it used to be.

Friday, August 10, 2007

keeping a low profile

Somebody from Acaster Malbis visited today according to Sitemeter.
Went to Google fight where Acaster Malbis defeated my own Llyswen by 36,200 to 28,700. I have never heard of Acatster Malbis (apparently near York) and so am quite pleased that Llyswen is even less hunted.

Experiment (results expected Monday)

Object: To determine reduction in distance travelled by cutting corners.
(Possible application – reduction of carbon footprint )
Apparatus: Vauxhall Astra
(Note Distance between home (Llyswen) and office (Llandrindod Wells) is approximately 18.4 Miles. (AA Rout planner))

A car was driven from home to office keeping as far as possible in the middle of the left hand lane throughout. The distance measured by the milometer was ……….miles.
The same car was driven in the opposite direction from office to home cutting every corner that it was safe to cut. The distance measured was ……………miles.

Results: (Distance cut/ distance normal) X fuel normal = fuel cut.
100 X(Fuel normal – fuel cut)/ (fuel normal) = % fuel saved

Friday, August 03, 2007

To do list

Due to forgetfulness it would be a pity to allow my last days at work (about 3 years to go) to pass unproductively and so I will keep a note here in the blog of things I ought to do close to retirement as I think of them.
No1) When sending off copy marriage certificates to insurance companies tipex out whats written in the rank or profession of father box and insert 'petty tyrant' or whatever else takes my fancy and then rephotocopy before sending.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


200th post and still this son of a bitch ventriloquist announces through me 'My blog is worth nothing'.

Youre the tops, I am Bernard Mathews

All the way into work in the car this morning I was trying to remember what Cole Porter rhymed with Mahatma Ghandi in the song ‘You’re the tops’.
I remembered in the end , Napoleon brandy.
Back in the good old days attending the OU summer school at Bath on the Philosophy of Arts course we had a lecturer who closely resembled Lionel Blair in mannerisms and voice. He came into the room and announced “ Now you are all students of aesthetics and so when you go into the examination and sit down I want you to put a nice vase of flowers on your desk (indicating with limp wrist) there, not there (agressively pointing) but there.(casual flip of the hand)” . He scattered all these cut out pictures of paintings about and asked us to chose one that each of us liked and then to say why.
Wendy from Peckham chose Monet’s Poppies at Argenteial and when asked to say what she liked about it pointed out the connection between poppies and war dead. Interesting because the artist could have had no such connection in mind. The same point occurred later when somebody else chose a postcard of a stark black and white drawing entitled Buchenwald forest done long before the Nazis came to power.
One of the superlatives which the singer attributes in the Porter song is, “you’re a turkey dinner’ which is still amusing but post Bernard Mathews might become incomprehensible. Just goes to show how intention and perception differ in time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dancing with Krauts

Here Brigadier Scovell fraternises with a friendly Hun during his recent eightieth birthday party.


mate in 1.

After the traffic signs I feel this blog needs to up the tempo, to raise the level of excitement nearer the feverpitch of a year or so ago and with that end in view I set out this little 10 minute game I played on Yahoo last night. I won but to tell you the truth I didnt realise the last move was mate as I played it. I only saw that it won the queen. Stanford le Hope is the name I play under as well as a place in Essex with excellent gravel pits and bearded tits.

Move History:
Allangozi StanfordleHope
1 Pe2-e4 ; Pe7-e5
2 Pd2-d3 ; Pd7-d5
3 Pe4xd5 ; Pc7-c6
4 Pd5xc6 ; b8xc6
5 Pa2-a3 ; g8-f6
6 Pf2-f3 ; Bf8-c5
7 b1-c3 ; Qd8-b6
8 c3-e2 ; Bc5-f2+
9 Ke1-d2 ; Qb6-e3+
10 Kd2-c3 ; f6-d5+
11 Kc3-b3 ; Qe3-b6+
12 Kb3-a2 ; Bc8-e6
13 Ka2-b1 ; c6-d4
14 e2xd4 ; d5-c3++

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Google Groups

Littérature et invention de Freud
Ce groupe devait en fait s'intituler "Littérature et psychanalyse", mais il ne convenait pas alors aux critères d'autorisation de Google... à cause de la présence du mot "anal" dans le mot "psychanalyse" ! Qui d(écr)it mieux !
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Literature, Language: French
Low activity, 6 members, moderated

Just so you know I was searching for a french language group.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

British Summer time

One of the dams at Rhayader this afternoon.
and watcher of the dam.
and the quieter side of the dam

Friday, July 20, 2007

Total eclipse of the brain

I ve no great interest in road signs; far too many of the ugly pc things; I try not to look. This one near me I cant avoid seeing.
It is at the junction of two major roads in the country. A thoughtless idiot from Powys planning has arranged for a large white sign to be placed in such a position that it totally eclipses fast moving traffic from the right for somebody waiting to make a turn into the road.. The accident at this junction is inevitable.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Music man

Went to a concert at Talgarth on Saturday and Llangoed on Sunday.
The theatre in Talgarth is situated above some public lavatories in the centre of this little town at the foot of the Black Mountains. The lavatories have a kind of porch which shelters the entrance to the inner sanctum. Perhaps shelter was the primitive motivation for the youth of Talgarth to gather at the khazi in time immemorial. Now it has become an all weather debating ground. Protected from the elements they discuss Philosophy , Art and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The khazi at Talgarth must be what mathematicians call a ‘strange attractor’ – but I could be wrong.
The concert itself was fine it was Peter (the Painter) Edwards and the Lifeguards. The venue and the event were so old fashioned you could have been dropped back into the 1950’s. The place was full and we were all sitting on those old wooden chairs that have stood ready in Church halls everywhere. Towards the end of the performance I noticed that although full, about 120 people, there was not one black face in the audience.
Sunday at 3pm went to another concert at Llangoed Hall. I was attracted to this because it mentioned Cole Porter , Ivor Novelo, Gershwin etc but it turned out to be a first half very heavy on Mozart arias . I think the reason I prefer Beethoven to Mozart is that he only wrote one bloody opera.. On the subject of opera we went to see D’Oyly Carte once, the Mikado. We lasted to the interval and escaped. Call me a philistine if you must but my favorite opera is 'Just one cornetto - give it to me' - curtain.
Cole Porter only put in a brief appearance in the second half. But overall it was ‘a worthwhile experience’

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

same old stuff

Driving through Surrey to Brigadier Scovells 80th birthday party I saw no housing estates or other monstrosities. The Nimbys have complete control and good luck to them but how do they manage it?
Blair a liar and a crook absolved. Why ?
Influxes of cheap foreign labour clearly undemocratic so why?
The underlying power of the establishment makes even the murder of Diana look feasible.

'Brigadier' Scovell turns 80

Georgian house Hotel Haslemere last Sunday for the Scoves 80th birthday party. He hasnt changed a bit since I knew him 35 years ago when he was chief claims broker for the Lloyds insurance broker, Bland Welch. I remember the back office manager confronting him at his desk and laying into him verbally for something that we hadnt done. The Scove sat there quietly pipe in hand as Malcolm Bunn became louder and louder and more and more agitated. Still the Scove remained impassive and serious looking. Then slowly his right arm began to rise while his eyes remained attentively fixed on Bunn. We could eventually see that it held a card which read 'I may look interested but Im just being polite'.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Black Death – potentially viable?

Isnt it paradoxical to describe a bomb as ‘potentially viable’? I expect the police used the phrase to suggest to the public that this was a real one that would probably have gone off if they hadn’t found it. They, the police, put a stop to its potential. Perhaps they couldn’t think of the antonym of viable as I cant but decided to go with a cliché that was in the vicinity and anyway language doesn’t mean much these days. In any event isn’t ‘potential’ implicit in ‘viable’? What irritated me was the BBC Breakfast news reporting of the incident as if a ‘potentially viable bomb’ as opposed to ‘a bomb’ actually had some meaning.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Going to work on a Walrus

Just sent this to BBC Breakfast TV
Dear Sirs,
Why were your presenters so emphatic about the walrus tusk your guest brought on being a 'replica'?
It clearly wasn’t a replica as during the first session the guest said “you can see how many thousands (of these animals/tusks) must have been taken as I have got one" Shall I submit this to Harry Hill I wonder?
You then repeated the lie in the next session insisting it was a replica. This time your guest was careful to go along with you and I presume had been warned. For goodness sake you are supposed to be a news programme not some department of social engineering. Report do not manipulate!
Your programme is as bad and I mean bad as GMTV. It is a case of parallel evolution. For goodness sake Sky of all people are better than you. Ill be glad when they bring back Lazy Town on BBC 2 as that will give me something decent to watch of a morning while I delay getting ready for work.
Douglas Mcleod

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

missing bits

Here are some fragments I would have thought would be on the net somewhere but I cant find them. In case I am the last receptacle of this junk I’ll record them here.

I know three things about the horse
And two of them are rather coarse.
(Don’t remember where I heard this but it stuck)

Ive only got three ha’pence and that looks mighty queer
Wheres the other sixpence
Must have gone on beer.
(as sung by my Grandmother)

What we gonna do when the baby cries
What we gonna do when the baby cries
What we gonna do when the baby cries
Stick two fingers in his eyes.
(From a folk song but I cant find any reference to it- obviously not pc so might have been suppressed)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mr Healey's sheep

I still seem to be suffering with the rural. It is not at all like me and I dont think it will last much longer.
This is a picture which should excite my sheep farming neighbours.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Nice Cows

Went to Dinefwr Park and Castle today. Very pleasant National Trust house, park, gardens and castle. By the way I love that line in Dinner ladies where one them, her marriage unsatisfactory illustrates with; “ We are members of the National Trust, but we never go”.
Im not terribly enthralled with livestock as a rule but the park contained some very ancient looking white cattle which turned out to be a pedigree herd that had been at Dinefwr for a thousand years. Cow Information here

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Another record failure

Just been looking round for a disk to put a database on and found this on a disk.
Its a project I had in 2003 to take a picture everyday for a complete calender year and to write a brief diary. I see I didnt get round to starting it until January 15th - 14 days late and then forgot to take the picture and then the next day I seem to have taken the picture but misplaced it and the day after that I seem to have forgotten the project altogether. But I will leave this little scrap here as it is fossil evidence of my existence on this planet.

15th January 2003

Forgot to take a picture!!
Ian arrived back from Naples just after 2pm much to Ann's relief. (and mine but I realise that this little episode is nothing like that which is to come.)
Poor old Monty admitted to Bronlly's with water works problem.
Jim Mayers has been up there all day waiting for a blood transfusion - they forgot the blood!!
Been trying to understand W B Yeats poem the 'second coming' as it seems absolutely loaded with significance. But on the internet even those who teach the subject seem remarkably ignorant.
One academic said '….the centre cannot hold…..' referred to the collapsing of the 'Gyre' of the opening lines. Even I see that this is nonsense and it's primarily a military metaphor. And that silly bitch taught English, this being her 'favourite poem'!.

16th January 2003

Thursday and I am at the Builth Office again. Picture - Our car park at the back of the office/bank and Builth bridge from over the road. Weather much milder but no sign of any big winds. When I get home tonight - should be about 5.15pm from Builth - I will have a cup of tea and go and see Monty at Bronllys. Today I am burdened with many commercial risks and nobody sensible enough to talk to about them - i.e. insurance companies.

You heard it here first

Here is a journalist with her finger on the pulse. And its an 'exclusive' too.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lost data

I have lost count of the number of times I have been seated round about middle and off as you look at this Picture taken today in Saundersfoot carrying out valuable research. I realised today that it has been a wasted effort because I neglected to keep the proper records.
What happens is that Ann goes round the shops and I sit quite near to the whelk stall as was and sneer internally at the passers by as I await her return. In itself this would not be a valuable contribution to the advancement of science. However in addition to sneering I got into the habit of assessing each person who crossed an invisible line running from the whelk stall as was to me. I put them into one of two pigeon holes. The slim and the obese. Those of indeterminate size I mentally discard.
So I sit there counting the obese on the fingers of my right hand and the slim on the fingers of my left hand and when I get to more than five I perform a strange little mental trick that I cannot explain that enables me to continue counting.
How valuable this data would have been had I written it down when Ann turned up instead of immediately forgetting it and saying something like "Where have you been?"
I realised today too with even greater regret that were I to observe my present self crossing the line from where the whelk stall was to the bench where I sit I would have no option but to count myself on my right hand.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Politics explained

I remember as a child asking my mother what all these poster were about that kept appearing in windows. She told me that labour stand for the poor and that conservatives stand for the rich. And the liberals?. “They don’t stand for anything your father votes liberal”.
I think she was essentially right except I would change ‘stand for’ to ‘use’.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Collapsing Rhino

Aunty B: “She has to loose 2llbs if she wants Brecon to do it (general anaesthetic), otherwise its Nevil Hall.(big hospital).
Me: “Doesn’t sound right - Brecon gave me a general anaesthetic”
Son: “What did they do shoot a dart into you?”


Im not sure where I got this but refound it in some corner of the computer.
If you load it into ,Paint Shop pro say, and flip the image , maybe rotate it too, then the love in the mirror does become hate and the other love.

Monday, April 09, 2007


The other day in the hut I read Alice in Wonderland again.
I have never seen a decent representation of this book on screen they all feel compelled to fiddle with it for some reason.
Given away with the Daily Mail recently was a version of Alice with one Tina Majorino as Alice. (Surely they MUST have called her Utterly Butterly at school or even ‘I cant believe shes not butter’. If they didn’t then they should have been ashamed of themselves and all got jobs in the Royal Navy collecting goody bags)
This version occasionally had the feel of Alice despite from the start the ridiculous motive for the dream that they felt compelled to add that she was worried about having to sing a song in front of some grown ups. However I felt more uneasy about Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee turning up played very badly by Robbie Coltrane and some other fat chap and soon after that an elderly knight. My rereading confirmed that the Tweedles and the knight do not belong to the book.
These tales were supposed to have been told to Alice Liddell while on a rowing boat hired from Salter Brothers of Folly Bridge Oxford for a trip on the Thames.
I hired a boat for the first time from Salter Brothers. It was a motor boat called Pilgrim and it was hired during ‘Bumps week’ After being shown how to steer/drive they asked me if I felt competent to go and of course I replied yes. So we set off down river and shortly came upon the races in full flight. I steered in and out of the speeding boats in a most embarrassing manner. Ann hid below decks while Bertie Wooster types shouted at me from the bank through megaphones. Eventually we got past. But then Ann said we had left the bedding behind at Salter Brothers and would have to go back for it. I was all for leaving it there and pressing on down river but she insisted. So I had to turn and weave my way back past now frantic screaming from both banks. At one point I glanced over my shoulder and saw a crew of eight bearing down on me at fantastic speed – all facing the wrong way so far as I could see. I shut my eyes but thankfully there was no collision. We picked up the bedding and set forth again downstream. Those students must have thought I was really taking the piss but luckily there was some kind of break in the proceedings and this coupled with my newly acquired navigational skills allowed us to pass incident free.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Did this one of Kipling's in school but I have seen neither hide nor hair of it since.

Now Tomlinson gave up the ghost at his house in Berkeley Square,
And a Spirit came to his bedside and gripped him by the hair—
A Spirit gripped him by the hair and carried him far away,
Till he heard as the roar of a rain-fed ford the roar of the Milky Way:
Till he heard the roar of the Milky Way die down and drone and cease,
And they came to the Gate within the Wall where Peter holds the keys.
"Stand up, stand up now, Tomlinson, and answer loud and high
"The good that ye did for the sake of men or ever ye came to die—
"The good that ye did for the sake of men on the little Earth so lone!"
And the naked soul of Tomlinson grew white as the rain-washed bone.
"O I have a friend on Earth," he said, "that was my priest and guide,
"And well would he answer all for me if he were at my side."
—"For that ye strove in neighbour-love it shall be written fair,
"But now ye wait at Heaven's Gate and not in Berkeley Square:
"Though we called your friend from his bed this night, he could not speak for you,
"For the race is run by one and one and never by two and two."
Then Tomlinson looked up and down, and little gain was there,
For the naked stars grinned overhead, and he saw that his soul was bare.
The Wind that blows between the Worlds, it cut him like a knife,
And Tomlinson took up the tale and spoke of his good in life.
"O this I have read in a book," he said, "and that was told to me,
"And this I have thought that another man thought of a Prince in Muscovy."
The good souls flocked like homing doves and bade him clear the path,
And Peter twirled the jangling Keys in weariness and wrath.
"Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought," he said, "and the tale is yet to run:
"By the worth of the body that once ye had, give answer—what ha' ye done?"
Then Tomlinson looked back and forth, and little good it bore,
For the darkness stayed at his shoulder-blade and Heaven's Gate before:—
"O this I have felt, and this I have guessed, and this I heard men say,
"And this they wrote that another man wrote of a carl in Norroway."
"Ye have read, ye have felt, ye have guessed, good lack! Ye have hampered Heaven's Gate;
"There's little room between the stars in idleness to prate!
"For none may reach by hired speech of neighbour, priest, and kin
"Through borrowed deed to God's good meed that lies so fair within;
"Get hence, get hence to the Lord of Wrong, for thy doom has yet to run,
"And . . . the faith that ye share with Berkeley Square uphold you, Tomlinson!"
The Spirit gripped him by the hair, and sun by sun they fell
Till they came to the belt of Naughty Stars that rim the mouth of Hell.
The first are red with pride and wrath, the next are white with pain,
But the third are black with clinkered sin that cannot burn again.
They may hold their path, they may leave their path, with never a soul to mark:
They may burn or freeze, but they must not cease in the Scorn of the Outer Dark.
The Wind that blows between the Worlds, it nipped him to the bone,
And he yearned to the flare of Hell-gate there as the light of his own hearth-stone.
The Devil he sat behind the bars, where the desperate legions drew,
But he caught the hasting Tomlinson and would not let him through.
"Wot ye the price of good pit-coal that I must pay?" said he,
"That ye rank yoursel' so fit for Hell and ask no leave of me?
"I am all o'er-sib to Adam's breed that ye should give me scorn,
"For I strove with God for your First Father the day that he was born.
"Sit down, sit down upon the slag, and answer loud and high
"The harm that ye did to the Sons of Men or ever you came to die."
And Tomlinson looked up and up, and saw against the night
The belly of a tortured star blood-red in Hell-Mouth light;
And Tomlinson looked down and down, and saw beneath his feet
The frontlet of a tortured star milk-white in Hell-Mouth heat.
"O I had a love on earth," said he, "that kissed me to my fall;
"And if ye would call my love to me I know she would answer all."
—"All that ye did in love forbid it shall be written fair,
"But now ye wait at Hell-Mouth Gate and not in Berkeley Square:
"Though we whistled your love from her bed to-night, I trow she would not run,
"For the sin that ye do by two and two ye must pay for one by one!"
The Wind that blows between the Worlds, it cut him like a knife,
And Tomlinson took up the tale and spoke of his sins in life:—
"Once I ha' laughed at the power of Love and twice at the grip of the Grave,
"And thrice I ha' patted my God on the head that men might call me brave."
The Devil he blew on a brandered soul and laid it aside to cool:—
"Do ye think I would waste my good pit-coal on the hide of a brain-sick fool?
"I see no worth in the hobnail mirth or the jolthead jest ye did
"That I should waken my gentlemen that are sleeping three on a grid."
Then Tomlinson looked back and forth, and there was little grace,
For Hell-Gate filled the houseless soul with the Fear of Naked Space.
"Nay, this I ha' heard," quo' Tomlinson, "and this was noised abroad,
"And this I ha' got from a Belgian book on the word of a dead French lord."
—"Ye ha' heard, ye ha' read, ye ha' got, good lack! and the tale begins afresh—
"Have ye sinned one sin for the pride o' the eye or the sinful lust of the flesh?"
Then Tomlinson he gripped the bars and yammered, "Let me in—
"For I mind that I borrowed my neighbour's wife to sin the deadly sin."
The Devil he grinned behind the bars, and banked the fires high:
"Did ye read of that sin in a book?" said he; and Tomlinson said, "Ay!"
The Devil he blew upon his nails, and the little devils ran,
And he said: "Go husk this whimpering thief that comes in the guise of a man:
"Winnow him out 'twixt star and star, and sieve his proper worth:
"There's sore decline in Adam's line if this be spawn of Earth."
Empusa's crew, so naked-new they may not face the fire,
But weep that they bin too small to sin to the height of their desire,
Over the coal they chased the Soul, and racked it all abroad,
As children rifle a caddis-case or the raven's foolish hoard.
And back they came with the tattered Thing, as children after play,
And they said: "The soul that he got from God he has bartered clean away.
"We have threshed a stook of print and book, and winnowed a chattering wind,
"And many a soul wherefrom he stole, but his we cannot find.
"We have handled him, we have dandled him, we have seared him to the bone,
"And, Sire, if tooth and nail show truth he has no soul of his own."
The Devil he bowed his head to his breast and rumbled deep and low:—
"I'm all o'er-sib to Adam's breed that I should bid him go.
"Yet close we lie, and deep we lie, and if I gave him place,
"My gentlemen that are so proud would flout me to my face;
"They'd call my house a common stews and me a careless host,
"And—I would not anger my gentlemen for the sake of a shiftless ghost."
The Devil he looked at the mangled Soul that prayed to feel the flame,
And he thought of Holy Charity, but he thought of his own good name:—
"Now ye could haste my coal to waste, and sit ye down to fry.
"Did ye think of that theft for yourself?" said he; and Tomlinson said, "Ay! "
The Devil he blew an outward breath, for his heart was free from care:—
"Ye have scarce the soul of a louse," he said, "but the roots of sin are there,
"And for that sin should ye come in were I the lord alone,
"But sinful pride has rule inside—ay, mightier than my own.
"Honour and Wit, fore-damned they sit, to each his Priest and Whore;
"Nay, scarce I dare myself go there, and you they'd torture sore.
"Ye are neither spirit nor spirk," he said; "ye are neither book nor brute—
"Go, get ye back to the flesh again for the sake of Man's repute.
"I'm all o'er-sib to Adam's breed that I should mock your pain,
"But look that ye win to a worthier sin ere ye come back again.
"Get hence, the hearse is at your door—the grim black stallions wait—
"They bear your clay to place to-day. Speed, lest ye come too late!
"Go back to Earth with lip unsealed—go back with open eye,
"And carry my word to the Sons of Men or ever ye come to die:
"That the sin they do by two and two they must pay for one by one,
"And . . . the God you took from a printed book be with you, Tomlinson!"

Good Friday walk round the block and an omen in the gutter

Went for a circular walk on Friday - about 60 minutes in all - should have been quicker as it wasn't very far but I am grossly unfit.
The inadvertent picture of my shadow appears to indicate a rather nasty prognosis à la Omen to my nether regions.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Forget dark matter

If I were to give you some data on an inside leg measurement and various other figures and angles taken from the drawing below then you would probably be able to come up quite easily with the conclusion that what you are dealing with is a pair of trousers. It would be easy because thats the perspective that we have on trousers.

However as I was seated
this morning I observed my trousers in a heap around my ankles and it occurred to me that the measurements and angles of the same pair of trousers but collapsed and seen from the top would make it no easy thing for some one to identify a pair of strides from the mathematical data only. Suppose that data of this type was the latest data on background radiation in the universe fresh in from Hubble. I imagined the best scientific brains being totally stumped by the mysterious figures and what it could mean for cosmology. Then somewhere, perhaps in an observatory high up in the Andes, a spectacled geek pouring over a computer print out of the data, his jaw dropped exclaims in wonder. "My God - its a pair of trousers!"

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ish programmes’ Schlafly

I like maths but Im not very good at it.
This is my favourite computer programme of any kind and it was written in 1992 by Roger Schlafly and is free to download at;
With this programme you input an equation and it solves it! Brilliant indeed it occurs to me that this would be one of the very, very few times you could legitimately use the word awesome – well maybe you couldn’t but I could because I do , maybe in my ignorance, wonder at its power.
Yesterday for example a client had £10,230 and wanted to invest it for as long as it took to reach £12,500 with an interest rate of 5%.
Now I know you can do this easily with Excel but it is so boring with a spreadsheet.
With this programme you type in your equation and it solves the equation. So you need to construct an equation first. In this case 10230 X 1.05^x = 12500. When you type it in you get the result, 4.107 years. Which equals 4 years and 39 days.

He also has a very nice collection of quotations too including this one from CS Lewis;

‘Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Christmas Notes

I am making a note here in case I forget of a few ideas I have had for the next party.
Every year we have a parish Christmas party in the village hall. Since there is only one village hall but two villages Llyswen (Breconshire) and Boughrood(Radnorshire) , divided by the Wye, the village that holds the second party often finds it taking place well into January. I cant help thinking when its our turn for the late Christmas party that seeing Santa Claus , when he turns up, is a bit like answering a knock on the door to find that a relative who had been staying with you for two weeks but left at last for home that morning had turned up again in the afternoon having missed the train.


Get a load of plastic bags from Morrisons.
Two teams of men against the clock strive to open as many bags as they can.
When they’ve finished doing that the plastic bags can be left there in a big heap for the children to play with.

We give someone a pram and a walkman or whatever you call them these days and he has to push the pram in time with the music. Everyone else guesses the music playing from his ridiculous movements. It is in order to shout contemptuous remarks at him while this is going on because the ear plugs and the music means he wont hear it and get upset.

As we go into the hall we could each draw a random card . All those people who draw the right card would have to keep it to themselves. Then just as the tea is about to end the music would start playing and the chosen ones in sequence would have to sing a few lines from ‘Perfect Day’. For the rest of us the excitement is in anticipating where the next humiliating contribution is coming from. On second thoughts might need to ‘seed’ the random cards to achieve maximum audience interest.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

D Side

I bought a box of used seaside postcards. These two were the most subtle. I wont pretend I didnt laugh though.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I am a camera.

I remember a film of this title which I have forgotten but the title lives on.
Having spent my life first listening to the radio, Dan Dare, Journey into Space, The Goon Show , Round the Horn etc and then graduating to television, ‘I love Lucy’ , Quatermass etc and then films, Jason and the Argonauts, American musicals etc etc I found myself sitting in the window of a Chinese restaurant watching the street while recorded music played through concealed speakers. I soon noticed that what was happening in the outside world was being beautifully choreographed in response to the music and that it must have been me that was doing it. Around the corner limped a fellow his awkward movements perfectly in time. My eyes subconsciously choosing the right beat cut to a woman who circled once as she walked to call out to a friend . I found my eyes moving naturally from one rhythmic object to another and sometimes I moved the whole head. But always there was never any difficulty in keeping the music and movement together.
So all those years of sitting down in front of the radio, the TV and the cinema were not wasted they have turned me into a sort of artist.

More refined than Rab C

Alan Johnston sent me these - I couldnt even find a picture of Chick Murray with Google image

Chic Murray (glasgow legend from the 60s) - just for douglas:

'I was in London the other day and this man came up to me and asked me if I knew the Battersea dog's home. I said that I didn't know it had been away.'

'So there I was lying in the gutter. This man stopped and asked '"What's the matter? Did you fall over?" So I said "No. I've a bar of toffee in my back pocket and I was just trying to break it."

I made a stupid mistake last week. Come to think of it, did you ever hear of someone making a clever mistake?

So I gave him a wave. Actually, it was more of a half wave, because I only half know him.

What use is happiness? It can't buy you money

If something's neither here nor there, where the hell is it?

I had a tragic childhood. My parents never understood me. They were Japanese.

I won't say I was slow developer, but our teacher was quite pleased to have someone her own age in the class to talk to.

If it weren't for marriage, husband and wives would have to fight with strangers.

After I told my wife that black underwear turned me on, she didn't wash my Y-fronts for a month.

Kippers- fish that like a lot of sleep.

The boat was so old; it must have been launched when Long John Silver had two legs and an egg on his shoulder.

It was a pretty posh place. They were so used to fur coats that two bears strolled in and ordered lunch and nobody even noticed.

I felt as out of place as a left-handed violinist in a crowded string section.

I drew a gun. He drew a gun. I drew another gun. Soon we were surrounded by lovely drawings of guns.

There's a new slimming course just out where they remove all your bones. Not only do you weigh less, but you also look so much more relaxed.

The police stopped me when I was out in my car. They told me it was a spot check. I admitted to two pimples and a boil.

I first met my wife in the tunnel of love. She was digging it at the time.

I dreamt I was forced to eat 25lbs of marshmallows. When I woke up, my pillow was missing.

I got up this morning. I like to get up in the morning; it gives me the rest of the day to myself. I crossed the landing and went down stairs. Mind you, if there had been no stairs, I wouldn't even have attempted it.

We were so poor; the ultimate luxury in our house at the time was ashtrays without advertisements. It was all the wolf could do to keep us away from his door. A luxury meal was prairie sandwiches- two slices of bread with wide-open spaces between them. There were so many holes in my socks I could put them on seventeen different ways.

My mother was so house proud that when my father got up to sleepwalk she had the bed made by the time he got back.

I went to the butchers to buy a leg of lamb. "Is it Scotch?", I asked. "Why?Are you going to talk to it or eat it?". "In that case, have you got any wild duck?". "No", he responded, "but I've got one I could aggravate for you".

I rang the bell of this small bed-and breakfast place, whereupon a lady appeared at an outside window. "What do you want?", she asked. "I want to stay here", I replied. "Well, stay there then", she said and closed the window.

There are two rules for drinking whisky. First, never take whisky without water, and second, never take water without whisky.

My wife went to a beauty parlour and got a mudpack. For two days she looked nice, then the mud fell off.

My father was from Aberdeen, and a more generous man you couldn't wish to meet. I have a gold watch that belonged to him. He sold it to me on his deathbed. I wrote him a cheque for it, post dated of course.

I went to the doctor and he told me I only had three minutes to live. I immediately asked if there was anything he could do for me, to which he replied, that he could boil me an egg.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Murder he wrote

If he does turn out to be strangled then I think the chances are it was a spin bowler as they would have the necessary power in their fingers.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Replace wife with mechanical woman for only £119.99

About 5 or 6 years ago we were visiting an émigré from the village who had gone to live in Sleaford , Lincolnshire. I was driving and Ann was navigating with her usual reluctance. After half an hour of driving without seeing anything that looked at all reassuring to me I stopped the car and asked Ann if she was sure that she knew where we were. She showed me the map and pointed out the thin, meandering road upon which we were set and assured me that soon we would arrive at Pinkies. When I pointed out to her that the road was meandering because it was in fact a river and this might have been guessed to be the case even by the inexperienced map reader because it was coloured blue she did not seem at all ready to accept the necessary sarcasm but rather threw the map at me and refused to go on.
Last Thursday I bought from Aldi a satellite navigation system for £119.99 and it works beautifully. It has a female voice. Apart from calculating the route accurately, should I make the occasional error she does not say “You should have turned where I said – I dont know where we are – youll have to go back. This is the last time…..etc etc”. Instead of all that stuff the mechanical woman quietly recalculates the route and tells me the way in a voice that bears no recriminations and does not humiliate by forcing me back to face the precise point of my error

Monday, March 19, 2007

Grocer menace

Just popped down to the Spa for a sandwich.
There is a chap there normally whose name I do not know and with whom I have never had any kind of a conversation who always greets me with; “ Yall right?” I used to find this very disconcerting and wondered what he knew about my life.
I have just returned with my sandwich having been served by a new one who saves his little dose of paranoia until the end of the transaction when he closes with “Take care now”. Its all very worrying.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

British First

I have deliberately kept this film of me dark so as to avoid identification.
I now make public my discovery which advances human kind and gives justification to my life.
Since the dawn of time if somebody wished to make a popping sound they took their index finger or that long one in the middle of the hand the name of which I do not possess although I am sure it has one and placed it inside the mouth flicking it from inside to outside to produce the pop. I have discovered, and up until now kept it secret, that placing the finger on the outside of the cheek and flicking inwards produces a much more satisfactory sound. I should say that to produce the best sound you do need to inflate the cheek and this is done by blocking the mouth with the middle finger. It is well worth the effort of practicing this technique.
It is only fear of publication in America that leads me to rush ahead with this announcement now.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sharper than a serpents tooth all round

Back to the Black Prince. There was just one child among the passengers aged 3.
She was called Regan. Didn’t her mother research the name before bestowing it upon her? Cordelia I can understand but Regan? I like to think though that in later life she might be grateful for not being called Goneril.

There was one real disaster on board though, more horrific than the already reported near sinking and the non-exploding Muslim. One day I misread the ‘dress code’ for the day and took it as ‘informal’ when in fact it was ‘casual’ and not even ‘smart casual’. I was devastated to find myself in a jacket and tie when all about me smirked in open necked shirts. The shame of it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Greenwich Park

I just bought this postcard of the refreshment Pavilion in Greenwich Park - posted 1910. It was still there and operating in 1960, 70 years later. I hope it is still there.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The non appearance of toast makes the idea of God more plausible

Leibniz said in effect that out of the infinite number of possible universes that God could have created he chose the one that produced the greatest good.
This makes sense. If everything were ‘perfect’ , no pain, no death etc then apart from the fact that we wouldn’t be human in the way we have been up to now, apart from that, we would soon invent new trivia to get heated over. On this Black Prince the service is fantastic and the meals excellent, by my definition of the word it is a perfect eating experience and provided by Philipinos . For some reason though the other day at breakfast the toast did not turn up on cue. I would guess the period of uncertainty between its absence being noted and its actual arrival was less than 3 minutes. However in this plane of perfection the miniscule ripple of ‘no toast’ seemed to cause tremendous waves of panic on our table. ‘where is the toast’ , ‘he hasn’t brought the toast’, ‘my eggs going cold -I cant eat it without the toast’ ‘Excuse me toast here please!’. Gradually the panic and aggression seemed to mount and Ann and I wished we were not sitting there. Had these people forgotten what the service was like in England ?
I draw the conclusion that Leibniz’s contention is therefore tenable. If as human beings we have the capacity to suffer pain then in a universe where perfection reigns except in the matter of the regular appearance of toast at breakfast people will begin to feel real pain when they don’t get their toast on time.
We do not know what the output of good would be under any other possible arrangement of the universe compared to the present one but there is no reason to suppose for example that the removal of all pain automatically increases the good

Big bang didn't happen

There were about 400 passengers on the Black Prince and practically all of them/us were British, white , over 50 and by nature conservative. After we left Liverpool there appeared among us a young Muslim couple, the wife wearing black and the burqa, only her eyes visible in the exposed slit. When I was very young, too young for it’s rating, I managed to get in to see the cult film ‘The Day the Earth stood still’. This involved a Robot called Gort who was capable of destroying the world by activating a slit in it’s face and this silent unsmiling couple came with a similar kind of alien menace. They spoke to nobody and remained in their cabin. A few days later we were walking along the narrow corridor of cabins from fore to aft when the brighter light at the end of the corridor illuminated the figure of the woman leaning with her back against the ships side and I could make out from her silhouette that she appeared to be pregnant. As we approached I kept thinking to myself, ‘please don’t let her explode, please don’t let her explode, please don’t let her explode’. She didn’t .

Friday, March 09, 2007


I lay on my bed with my body running from port to starboard.
On my left hand side was a window with a curtain which I could see edge on. The window was secured with great bolts and could not be opened. Ahead of me just beyond my feet Ann’s Jacket hung on a hook.
As we began to cross the Bay of Biscay the jacket moved on its hook. More correctly the jacket remained where it was and the whole ship oscillated about it. The instrument of Ann’s jacket recorded the pitch of the ship.
Out of the corner of my eye I observed the curtain move into the cabin or rather the whole ship moved away from the curtain. The instrument of the curtain measured the roll of the ship.
Round about two O’clock in the morning Ann said she had had enough and was going collect her life jacket from the bottom of the wardrobe and go and wait in the ‘muster station’ for the inevitable call. I shouted at her to get a grip of herself and felt much better for my little bout of nastiness.
There were not many for breakfast the next morning

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Black Prince second attempt

Off on the Black Prince tomorrow for a cruise . At least it doesn’t look like a chunk of Shopping Mall has broken off from a city centre and is floating gently round the shores of lake placid. The first 3 or 4 days will be the Irish Sea and the Bay of Biscay and so it should feel like a proper journey at least. I shall report in due course.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cheese Mission

There are many little peculiarities in border speak.
Ann asked me to get some cheese from the village shop Saturday. “..and be sure to ask for the tasty cheese”.
The following shop conversation ensued.
“Oh and could I have some cheese?”
Ivy replies “ Do you want the tasty cheese Doug?”
“yes please but what would happen if somebody said to you – please don’t make it the tasty cheese, I cant stand tasty cheese”
Ivy “then they would have the mild cheese”.
At last I got it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


From the Llyswen side of Boughrood Bridge Friday 9th Feb 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007


New Year started badly. Toilet wouldn't flush. Drain blocked.
Travelled 28 miles to Merthyr B&Q and bought a set of rods.
Didn't help and the plunger dropped off in the pipe.
Had to lie flat on the ground and stick my arm up to recover it.
The professionals sneered at my incompetence and agreed to come round and fix it tomorrow. There then followed between me and Ann a risk assessment of the coming 24 hours and possible contingency arrangements involving a bucket and her Aunt who lives in the next village but who goes to bed at 7.30pm.
Then had shower and noticed Homer Simpson soap on a rope Christmas present.
Decided to use but on applying to my body his head immediately fell off leaving a jagged edge upon which jagged edge I severely bruised my left nipple.