Sunday, November 23, 2008

Understanding Shakespear

Yesterday 22nd November with heavy snow predicted for London I understood perfectly the line in the sonnet But thy eternal summer shall not fade. Ann made me mow the grass. Perhaps he could have added If I've got anything to do with it just to make it crystal clear.
Erica , who is 89, was telling us about a pig from her childhood called Horace and how intelligent he was but they still ate him. I couldn't resist 'Alas poor Horace they chewed him well'
Went to Cardiff last Wednesday we were going to see Haley Westenra but it was cancelled This big wheel was quite impressive though.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Absolutely nothing to do - pretended to do something in a notebook for the last hour of the day in the hope I wouldnt get spotted.
Tomorrow I might try,
'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' a few thousand times. Perhaps I could take an axe to work in my briefcase

I curse Freecell you mouse the X and scream silently dive , dive, dive but another window pops up and asks if you are sure you realy want to move the bloody game off the screen!.
I dont think they saw it though.

Even tried to start a novel last Friday. All I managed was two small paragraphs that I might include somewhere in something. Notice I say 'a novel' and not 'the novel'

Monday, June 30, 2008

Rocky Whelk

High above the Wye on the way to Builth Wells just beyond Erwood there are some very small quarry like cuts into the exposed rock. Break off a piece of this and you will find it contains a fossilised seabed which is now several hundred feet above the river valley twisting below. Here you will find some Silurian whelk intact after a brief and uninteresting life on the seabed 400 million years ago. However I cant find any evidence of the lives of my own parents beyond the barest essentials. Those who research their own family history penetrate a few years into the past and at best come up with a ‘history’ that has all the appeal of a telephone directory. This ancient creature slimes his way across some prehistoric sea bottom and is immortalised in stone.
I found this journal by somebody called Mrs J N Noakes containing details of two holidays she had in 1961 and 62 by coach to Denmark and Italy. They are not very interesting although there are plenty of photographs, equally unexciting. Nevertheless I think I will use them to build a website and try and give Mrs J N Noakes, whoever she is/was a little bit of Rocky the Whelks longevity and the website building should be a useful exercise. So I am giving up blogging.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

bog standard

I cant get into the office toilet at present because there is a resident rat which has not yet moved on.
Why cant I get a job at Google

Monday, June 02, 2008

this year it was their turn

Day 2 of twinning trip Brecon to Gouesnou in Brittany near Brest. To mark 20th anniversary a tree planting ceremony. Anns friend has not turned up and Ann is worried as she is not in the best of health and this is her first trip with the twinners. Ann speaks to Phillip one of the local organisers. The ceremony continues to the end and then the microphone stutters again and Phillip's voice graveley announces. "We have big news about Shirley Evans...." long pause "she is at the hairdressers".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Drinkers 'ignorant' about alcohol

Three-quarters of drinkers do not know a typical glass of wine contains three units of alcohol, a survey for the Department of Health suggests.

And how many commentators including the fellow who wrote these reams know what a ‘unit’ actually is? I don’t know and I don’t care but these people are taking it seriously so might be expected to know of what they are talking.
a typical glass of wine contains three units of alcohol they will say.
But what does this glass of wine contain in 3 measures?
Why units of course!!
What is a unit?
You get 3 of them typically in a glass of wine!
But what do you get?
Alcohol of course.
But what is 3 Alcohols?
3 units stupid.
I give in.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Functions of Music

This year I have mainly been cutting the grass to the accompaniment of ‘Deaf School’ following the recommendation of Icedink. However for the making of beds I find Bonnie Tyler , ‘Holding on for a hero’ very hard to beat.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A different Boris

At Hay Literary Festival they occasionally have events that interest me.
This year Boris Spassky is to play a simultaneous exhibition against 20 people and so I applied as directed on their website.

Email to HLF
26th April 2008
Good morning,
I would like to play Mr Spassky.

No reply

Before the brochure had been published and distributed I noticed on the website that the event was full – no further places. I thought this was a bit much closing an event before the brochure had been issued and so I wrote;

Email to HLF

2nd May 2008

Are you going to bother to reply to this or had you allocated all the places before you advertised it which seems most likely and cant be bothered to answer?

Then on 7th May I get the following from the Festival Director Peter Florence

actually, you were going to get a place as one of the most local applicants, but you're also the rudest, so you won't

To which I replied 10th May 2008

Odd is it not that you were going to allocate me a place when, before you had got round to publishing a brochure, your website said that this event was fully subscribed and there was no point in applying?
But I whole heartedly agree with you that the last thing we want in a chess player is rudeness! Its a pity you were not in charge of world chess when Boris lost his title in Reykjavík it would never have happened.
I do not claim to be a Bobbie Fischer either in ability to play chess or in achieving the necessary level of rudeness, in fact I am struggling now to avoid directly quoting Bobby Fischer for fear that you will not recognise it as a quotation from the master and think I am merely being foul mouthed.
Anyway it would have been nice to play Boris but it is no lifetimes ambition so I am not 'sick as parrot' and to be frank I think your email shows that you have probably been reading some textbooks from the Lifemanship, 'Early Learners' series.
Still good luck with the Festival - Kenn Dodd looks good - rest of it though I am not so sure.

I know the last line will annoy him I am pleased to say.

Monday, April 28, 2008

No wonder I am so cheerful

Saturday before last we were sitting in Oscars at Hay on Wye having a coffee. As I sat there I remembered that an ex customer named Adrian lived round the corner. I hadn’t seen him or even thought about him for 10 years but 3 days earlier he had suddenly come into my head. Adrian was a good musician and I thought he would be the one to recommend a local band or DJ or whatever they call them as we were going to need one. So I said to the others “I am just going out to have a word with my friend he knows all about local music – that’s if he isn’t dead” As soon as I said it there was a terrific bang in the otherwise practically deserted restaurant like something toppling over and crashing to the ground. I got to the house and his son answered the door and you can guess the rest. Adrian had suddenly and unexpectedly died 3 days earlier.
I don’t myself attach any supernatural explanation to this but he was younger than me and it gave me the rather unpleasant idea that my life was like being in an enormous queue , sometimes standing for ages in a single spot , sometimes shuffling forward a few paces. With Adrians death I fancied the queue moved a bit faster for a bit longer and I think I might have caught a glimpse at last of the counter to come and something behind it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

five star

I like trip adviser and there are some great reviews in Top 10 Dirty Hotels. Really loved the English number 1 in Oxford. I am tempted to try it for a night.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

One for the road

So they intend reducing the permitted blood alcohol level further for drivers.
I remember when the evidence for road accident frequency and alcohol was first used to justify a law change.
The published graphs showed an exponential increase in accident frequency compared with individual alcohol consumption. But on the far left of this chart, before the accidents and the alcohol started mounting up there was a tiny dip, like a tick, a little valley before the graph took off into a large hill, practically unnoticeable.
The only interpretation is that 1 drink makes you a safer driver. I can’t find that graph now maybe it has been forgotten about. More likely it is unthinkable in this ‘free’ society of ours.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Put it in the Curry

I can say Deoxyribonucleic without a conscious thought but Cardamom I cannot say without my face screwing up in concentration and spelling it first in my head and then reading the image phonetically. Why should this be?

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Me to the Brecon & Radnor

Please advise - have you got a new editor yet ?

Who is it?

I hope its not that awful fellow who took my letter - changed the heading, inserted a photograph and a cartoon and manufactured a letter which was about logic into an anti Welsh piece for his own purposes. Citizen Kane he was not.

I need to know to see whether it is safe to send anything in.

Brecon & Radnor to me

Pleased to advise that Julie Chappell is the new editor, not the poor man’s Citizen Kane, and it is presumably safe for you to resume contributing to our letters page.
However I must add I didn’t change the text of your previous letter.
Twm Owen
News editor

Tel: 01874 610111
Fax: 01874 624097
The Brecon and Radnor Express Ltd is a limited company registered in England
and Wales. Registered number: 2677142. Registered Office: The Old Court House, Union Road, Farnham GU9 7PT.

Me to Brecon & Radnor

No just as Bill Clinton did not have sex with that woman you did not change the text of my letter. Other than the heading, the Polish cartoon, the photograph and the deliberate misdirection of emphasis, other than that you were a model of journalistic integrity.

He hasn’t replied.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Guilty M’lud

But with extenuating circumstances – I only wanted to play chess not to have to listen to another awful american going on about how good he was.

Dear stanfordlehope ,

Your Electronic Arts Pogo account has been issued a warning for
violating the Terms of Service for Electronic Arts Online.

Violation: Use of inappropriate language
Transmit or facilitate distribution of Content that is harmful,
abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, vulgar, sexually explicit,
defamatory, infringing, invasive of personal privacy or publicity rights, or in
a reasonable person's view, objectionable. Hate speech is not

Chat Log:
StanfordleHope 21:09:35 do fuck off

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mothering Sunday incident at the Rhosgoch Golf Club

Top Bog

Going to Rhosgoch Golf Club today for lunch. As you can see they have a really ‘quacking ‘ bog there and I am looking forward to it. I think they mean quaking but perhaps they are just proud of it.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

At least you could eat the Eloi

I have just signed up to Bebo just to read what the local youth are up to.
God they are morons and it is worse than I imagined.
I was prepared to grant for the sake of argument that writing in text –speak might have some merit that I could not yet appreciate; but it has none its an illusion adding nothing to ideas and dropping much. If you are going to write in an abbreviated way then why write ‘is’ as ‘iz’ ? What is saved? What is the different shade of meaning?
They have nothing to say it is almost all about their gr8 m8s etc. At least when the human race degenerated in the ‘Time Machine’ they provided a bit of fodder for the Morlocks.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alan Coren

Listening to the News Quiz on the way back from work on Saturday and noticed again that Alan Coren wasn't in it. Googled him to find that as I was beginning to fear he had died. How come I am always missing the important events? I remember him answering a question on the appointment of Rowan Williams as Archbishop " I know nothing about him except that when you see him in those robes you just know there is some serious sandaling going on under there"
Just down the road in the next village towards Builth is the Erwood Inn which has associations with Punch.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Llyswen in the top 10 - just

seeSunday Times

Big it up

I ve just looked at some dreadful paintings on a website where the artist declares amongst other things ‘ I paint because I don’t know how not to’ . I think she rather underestimates herself as the stuff I saw was an excellent demonstration of how not to. Where does all this excessive confidence come from these days?
Does it date to Muhammad Ali whose self glorification seemed at least different and was anyway mainly true.?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cardiff Bay

After Fish and Chips at BHS Newport yesterday went on to Cardiff Bay and had a pot of tea in the warm February sunshine on an outside table on that little pier on the right.
There are some nice buildings but the overpriced Assembly building already looked a little rusty round some of the screws on its fitments and the great wooden underside of the billowing canopy like roof ,if it belonged to us, I would be beginning to fear pressure from Ann to give it another coat of varnish. Also there were a couple of metal pillars there that looked to me like somebody had thought after the event - I think we had better stick another couple in to be on the safe side. Nevertheless it was good to see.

Never trust a dairy farmer – the Cheese Conspiracy

I think I am safe in saying that as they are all sheep farmers in these parts.
We are what we are by reason of our genes and by the accidents of life as we wade through it. From a genetic point of view I can think or I can feel within my self no innate propensity to drink milk or to take it and let it go off a bit before consuming its solidifying remains. Therefore that I have drunk milk and eaten cheese must be due to some event or events which have befallen me. I can imagine no accident however bizarre that would cause me to discover on my own that the milk of an unrelated species was something I should ‘drinka pinta’ day of .
So that is it the false claims of the farming industry that milk, butter cheese etc are ‘good for you’ being established in the climate before I was born.
I am made of genes which are rigid in their influence changing only as they mutate to subsequent generations. I am also shaped by life as I encounter it and it interacts with my genetic propensity. But the body of ‘knowledge’ that exists in the world, like ‘dairy products are good for you’, is also like genes in influencing behaviour except that it exists outside of the body of an individual and can mutate during the lifetime of an individual. That would explain the longevity of certain defunct ideas like democracy for example.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fish, chips, peas and the Big Issue

Two top hole eating experiences in two days !!
Today it was British Home Stores Newport – fish chips and peas at £5.25.
A bit more pricey than the Bell Hotel and the extra 50p probably reflected the more sophisticated lifestyle of a big city like Newport.
The Big Issue seller was himself from Newport and had a great line in patter.
‘Big issue love? Go on buy it - take it home - sling it in the recycling if you like.’
He worked very hard and I sat watching him while Ann was wandering round Marks.
I calculated that only about 1 in 40 bought despite him working constantly and with an original script. He deserved much more and in another selling environment he would have been top man without too much trouble.
The Big Issue seller in Llandod and the one in Brecon appear to be East Europeans and one is tempted to ask whether their homeless are doing our homeless out of their birthright.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Beautiful Ote

Sunday Lunch at the The Bell Hotel Talgarth. A friend of mine used to call it the Belle Ote because for a number of years, Reggy Perrin like, it had mysteriously shed the letters from both ends of ‘Hotel’.But now its signage is fully restored and I do not have to wonder what a beautiful ote might be.
This was the first time I had been in despite living here for 26 years.
The menu was roast beef or pork or pheasant - £4.75. I ordered a pint of beer and a tonic water which came to £2.60.
The surroundings were beautifully anachronistic I cant think of a time when I would not have recognised them or been surprised at what the Bell contained.They have permanently diverted all traffic round Talgarth now and the quietness as the sunlight streamed in through the windows from the main road added to the pleasure. Ann had a rice pudding and I had treacle tart and ice cream and this boosted the overall cost by £4. Excellent value but more than that a beautifully ‘unimproved’ experience.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Head of beheading

From the Times
Four men pleaded guilty today over a plot to kidnap and behead a member of the Armed Forces from Birmingham city centre. The group, headed by Parviz Khan, a 38-year-old unemployed charity worker, was arrested in February last year……………

What does an ‘unemployed charity worker’ do for a living when he is working.?

How high is the water Mamma ?

January 13th and river is highish. You can just about see our garage here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Not enough pearls before the swine

15000 police officers marching for more pay.
I don’t think they are going to get much sympathy this time.
Ive been trying to think of something commendable they’ve done in the last 12 months but I cant.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I recognise the teeth

From thetelegraph

The drawings were based on the account of holiday-maker Gail Cooper, who said she saw the same man of north African appearance acting strangely on three different occasions around Praia da Luz in April last year.
On April 22 she said he was lurking by a group of children who were on a trip to the beach as part of the Mark Warner kids club - an excursion Madeleine joined in with several times before she went missing.
A second time she saw him walking alone on the same beach when it was pouring with rain. On a third occasion, he knocked on the door of her villa, claiming to being collecting money for charity, while her eight-year-old grand-daughter could clearly be seen swimming in the pool at the house.

I am the last person to require any kind of legalistic proof before reaching a conclusion about the guilt of somebody but this chaps strange behaviour seems to amount to;
1)on one occasion standing (or lurking as the Telegraph says) in the vicinity of some children.
2)walking alone on the beach while it was raining.
3)collecting money while a child was visibly swimming in a pool.

I did recognise the teeth though they belong to a local star of karaoke and they keep cropping up in unexpected locations. I am haunted by these teeth. In February of 2007 I met them on a cruise ship on the way to Morocco they were then occupying the mouth of a rather dumpy passenger who belted out "Be my love" in the mode of Mario Lanza.
I was fascinated both by the power of his voice, he declined the microphone, and by the strength of the dental fixative he was using. Had those teeth blown they could have taken an eye out in the gallery. I have seen those teeth on other occassions too. Sometimes a person walking down the street will stop and turn his head towards me for no reason at all and as I look at him the teeth will emerge rodent like and begin to intimidate me.

Friday, January 18, 2008


What a terrible day Bobby Fischer dead and tonight Vera Duckworth.

PS Ive just realised Bobby was 64 , the number of squares on a chessboard.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Like pulling teeth

Went to the dentist in Brecon today in quite a good mood so you can judge what yesterday must have been like to bestow cheerfulness upon such an appointment.
Ive been going there for 20 years or so and we have never said much to each other, indeed anything.
This time to celebrate the fact that today was not yesterday before going I looked up on the internet and committed to memory the name of the particular tooth that had become chipped.
My plan was as I lay down on the dentists chair and he asked as he always did “Any particular problems?” I would reply “Lower right first bicuspid chipped”
This would surprise him and he would make some remark to which I had intended to lie , “I have always been interested in teeth”.
I went in and as I lay down he asked “Any particular problems” and I immediately replied, “Lower right first bicuspid chipped” ;completely unmoved and in his normal deadpan manner he said “Ill have a look at it later” as if it were quite common for his patients to discuss their teeth in such an esoteric manner. He made no further reference to my contrived entrance.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Ive just checked on the definition of 'outrageous' because in a sense two hydogen atoms walking down the street could be construed as 'outrageous'.
When I typed into Google 'Define:outrageous' I got; Outrageous" is the fourth and final single released from Britney Spears' album In the Zone released during the second quarter of 2004.

Atomic Theory Confirmed

Had a calender for Christmas which allegedly contained 365 Outrageous jokes. The following is in no way outrageous but its the only one that has made me laugh so far.
Two hydrogen atoms walking down the street. One stops suddenly and says "I think I just lost an electron"; "Are you sure?"; "Im positive"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

office party

Annual Office party last Saturday at the Seven Stars Aberedw.

dont think about it

Had to go and see a urologist a week or so ago. After the event as I sat in reception awaiting a blood test I shuddered violently at the memory of the examination which had just taken place. Ann said ‘I don’t know what makes them take up that line of work’ to which I found myself answering ‘ Yes it’s a bit of a niche market’.