Thursday, 30 April 2009

Thursday 30/04/09

Not much humour around at present.

Overheard in the caravan:

Hay: “Badger – is it ‘cos you is blind?
Chairman: “What?
Hay: “The fact your washing up is so spectacularly bad. Or are you hoping I’ll get fed up and do it myself?

A man in his 40s has died in an accident at a paper mill in Devon. Somehow he got trapped in a papermaking machine. Tony Burke, the Unite union's Assistant General Secretary, said: "Our condolences will be sent to our member's family and they will, of course, receive the full support of our union." I guess they may also receive a hand bound 1st edition copy of the victim too, handsomely priced at £25.99, or £20 for orders of over a hundred.

Self publicist and habitual prat, Russell Brand, is apparently to star in a remake of the 1991 film Drop Dead Fred. He’s also slated to star in a remake of the Dudley Moore film, Arthur. Film studios must be really strapped for creativity if they have to engage in so many remakes, let alone use Russell Brand as the vehicle. He’d be better employed starring in a remake of This Is Spinal Tap.

The journal of the American Medical Association reported in February that 98.5% of the H1N1 influenza virus circulating in the US is now resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu. Does that mean that Gordon Brown’s plan to increase the Tamiflu vaccine courses from 30m to 50m is a vapid PR exercise?

Brown is also ordering millions of face masks, despite Professor Sir Liam Donaldson – the government chief medial officer and an epidemiologist to boot – being on record as saying that they offer no protection at all. Yet more government PR?

The Egyptians have slaughtered 300,000 pigs as a precaution against the flu, despite you not being able to catch if from pigs (the virus crossed the species barrier some time ago, made its home in humans and you can only catch this mutated version from other humans). Egyptian government PR?

I’m not that sure what 300k pigs are doing in Egypt in the first place, although 10% of the population are Christian and probably need their bacon butties.

A schoolgirl in Devon has come down with a mild dose of H1N1 after having visited Mexico. What does her school do? They herd all the pupils together in an assembly and tell them to go home. Would it not have been more sensible to have a teacher go round the individual classes and let them go home in tranches, thus lessening the chance of mass infection?

It’s reported that Kermit the Frog is in hiding from his wife, Miss Piggy, as he’s frightened that swine flu will cross the species barrier to frogs.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Wednesday 29/04/09

Yesterday’s post on the rail union demands that jobs be safeguarded at the expense of shareholders stimulated some comments from regular reader Kapgaf. She said that any company that is making a profit should not be allowed to cut jobs and went on to say: “Even the French right wing are saying something along those lines (although they're not putting it into practice). Seems odd to me that when people are being told to tighten their belt, shareholders just want to go on raking in the profit at the same rates as before and that people are losing their job in order for this to happen.”

Firstly people aren’t being asked to tighten their belts. Belt tightening just makes the situation worse, as no-one buys goods and the recession lasts even longer. Every government policy since the start of the year has been targeted at getting people to spend. I’m certainly not tightening my belt and have made no changes to anything – in fact I’m getting a better deal now on almost everything, with the single exception of interest rates on my savings.

The problem with any proposal to safeguard jobs at shareholders’ expense is that it has to be implemented world-wide for it to stand any chance of working. We’re in an international market and investment gravitates to wherever a decent return can be expected. The UK’s experience with nationalised industries was a salutary lesson in the folly of trying to buck the market in order to employ as many people as possible – we had the most expensive and shoddy cars in the world, and we’re still left with that legacy in terms of foreign cars costing more here than anywhere else in Europe.

Interest rates are their lowest in living memory and many people actually have no source of income other than savings – pensioners, for example. Pension funds invest in industry and expect a decent rate of return, as do pensioners themselves. Most of anyone’s savings are invested in business via banks. If you see a bank up the road offering a higher interest rate, would you keep your money where it was in order to save a few jobs at your bank? I’d bet a pound to a pinch of poo that you wouldn’t and your account would be transferred quicker than you could say Jack Robinson – and that’s exactly what business investors do too.

Business is lubricated by the oil of investment capital. It’s business’ duty to operate efficiently in order to repay the trust of the investors. If times are tough, efficiency savings have to be made in order to remain competitive and continue having a business. That means staff are expendable, as customers are not. It’s a harsh fact of life. You either operate efficiently or die, and in the latter case there are no jobs at all.

Did you realize that in England all men over the age of 14 have to carry out 2 hours of longbow practice every day by law? How does industry manage to cope with that?

Apparently it’s also prohibited for Welshmen to be in the city of Chester between sundown and sunrise. If caught they risk decapitation. It’s an old law dating back to the 14th century that has never been repealed.

Saw a headline saying: “Brown to unveil Afghan strategy.” I wondered whether it would be to make us all Afghan nationals.

Iggy Pop has been fronting a TV advert in the UK for the insurance company Switfcover. The Advertising Standards Authority has deemed that it is misleading, as it implies that Mr Pop has a policy with said insurance company, when in fact he can’t possibly have one, as they don’t actually insure people from the entertainment industry. Nice one!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tuesday 18/04/09

Rail unions in the UK are to ask the government to stop operators cutting jobs. They believe that companies are using the recession as an excuse for cuts being made to protect profits. Sorry – isn’t that what all companies do? There are people called shareholders and they are persuaded to put money into companies they think will produce a profit for them. If the companies make no profit, they take out their money and put it elsewhere. It’s simple and not really all that Machiavellian.

Catholic priests in Mexico are using prayer as a prophylactic against the new strain of flu that’s affecting the country. Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the archbishop of Mexico City, published a prayer directed to Our Lady of Guadalupe asking for her intercession to "quickly overcome this epidemic that has come to affect our nation." "Cover us with your cloak," the prayer pleads, "free us from this illness." That’s going to be really effective way of combating the flu, don’t you think?

This would be a perfect chance for the church to prove once-and-for-all that prayer really does work; simply get church-goers – of which there are a good few in Mexico - to eschew vaccine in favour of prayer while the rest of us get vaccinated. I know where I’d place my faith – and I guess I know where most believers would put their faith too.

Talking of faith, I was reading a synopsis of Angels & Demons by Dan Brown over the weekend. Within the plot the Pope had a son who was conceived through artificial insemination. It suddenly struck me that this, or cloning, may be a solution to the prohibition on catholic priests having a bit of how’s-your-father. I then realized though that the prohibition was originally aimed at stopping priests having dependent families, due to the consequent financial burdens for the Church, and was not a prohibition on sex per se. Given the Catholic Church says priests are not allowed to have dependent families and sex is only allowed within marriage, they are by default barred from having sex due to not being allowed to marry.

On the subject of families, family courts across England and Wales are being opened up to journalists as part of a government bid to boost public confidence in the family court system. While that at first glance seems good news for me, journalists will still not be permitted to print articles that can identify children who are the subject of a court case. This new ruling, therefore, is an exercise in utter futility, as it’s precisely cases involving children where transparency needs improving.

An unemployed couple in Kent have been ordered to vacate a garage they’ve been living in for the last 10 days. However, what are you meant to do when you’ve both been made redundant and had your home repossessed? Go to the social services and you won’t get any help, as you’re not a priority unless you’re under (or over) a certain age or have small kids. The paradox is that you can’t get job seeker’s allowance if you don’t have an address. It’s a Catch-22 situation. I don’t blame then for trying to live in a garage. What would you do in a similar situation?

In India or South Africa you could simply throw a few bits of tarpaulin and corrugated metal together on the roadside, but in our enlightened country you’re told to move on, sleep in a doorway (if you can) and slowly freeze to death – probably ending up consuming vast quantities of strong beer or drugs in the interim in order to help you cope with your problems. I find it incomprehensible how the genuinely unemployed are treated.

Broached the subject of a loo for the new house with Hay last night. I suggested an Asian loo, as they’re much more hygienic than the western variety. As my old man always said, hosing your backside down with water beats the equivalent of wiping bird shit from your hair with a piece of newspaper in terms of preventing underwear skid marks. I guess it’s not really a problem for women, but if you’re a fairly hirsute male it certainly is. Hay suggested a bidet, which takes up even more room but achieves the end objective from a male perspective.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Monday 27/04/09

As mentioned on Friday, we went up to Accrington to have dinner with No 1 daughter and her new fiancée. We made the mistake of staying at a local Mercure Hotel – the Dunkenhalge.

Mercure Dunkenhalgh

It all looks very nice, but the room we were first given had extremely chipped and chatty furniture, stained ceilings and cracked bathroom tiles. On my insistence we were moved to another room, which while better had obviously not been maintained in the last 5 years and smelled as if the previous occupant had been a smoker.

I swear I’ll never again stay at a Mercure. The prices are hideous given the low quality, and the Premier Inn budget brand is better value for money. The buggers charged Hay about £8.50 for a single glass of indifferent red which couldn’t have cost more than £4 a bottle.

The place was hosting a wedding reception and was crawling with heavily made up women with silly feathered hats perched on their heads, showing more tits and legs that strictly necessary and being escorted by men wearing black shirts with collars a size too large, badly knotted kipper ties, ill-fitting suits and spiked hair. Very chavvy. The buggers all returned rather loudly to their rooms well after midnight and I had to shout out of the window in no uncertain terms to get them to shush.

Rather than using makeup as a beauty enhancement, why do so many young women these days choose to use it as a complete beauty replacement, plastering themselves in the stuff in the most unattractive manner? As for black shirts being de rigeur for the young men, it makes them look like nightclub bouncers and part-time criminals.

Why is it that hotels never give you enough tea, sugar and milk in your room for more than one drink?

As a result of a head trauma, No 1 daughter had hydrocephalus as a baby which has left her with grand mal epilepsy, very bad eyesight, poor balance, learning difficulties, a total lack of spatial awareness and severe OCD. However, despite these drawbacks she managed extremely well and lives with 4 other young women with similar problems. She works in a charity shop, as well as helping out with admin at a local school.

Her fiancée, who Hay and I met for the first time on Saturday, suffered a severe stroke at the age of 15 and has lived the last 15 years with cerebral palsy. Despite being able to walk only with the aid of a crutch (and very slowly) and being in constant pain, he has the most cheerful personality you could imagine. The only thing I cannot overlook is the fact he hails from Yorkshire, which is unforgivable.

No1 daughter and fiancée.

They plan to marry in late 2011, and given my daughter’s OCD you’d think it was next weekend – plans are already at an advanced stage. Given we’re trying to build a house before I retire and that her impending marriage came as a total surprise to us all, there’s no way we can splash out on the full-blown wedding reception, as they are simply prohibitively expensive and require about 5 years of saving up (there’s no way I will borrow money).

What we suggested was that instead of giving the couple wedding presents, guests merely fund their own wedding meal and booze with me subsidizing the cost to a certain percentage. An elegant and equitable solution that sorts out the real friends from the hangers-on, and what Hay and I intend doing for our own wedding, if it ever happens.

A girl at head office has just married. We all became aware of this when we received an e-mail from her last week and didn’t recognise the surname. Why are women so willing to give up their surnames when they marry? To me my surname defines who I am and where I came from and there’s no way I would ever give it up. Perhaps it’s just an alpha male’s perspective and women are not so attached to their history.

Hay and I have decided that if and when we marry she will retain her maiden name and merely put a Mrs in front of it. We’re certainly not intending to have any kids, so giving any children surnames will not be an issue.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Saturday 25/04/09

The Five Levels of Awareness (an extract from “God’s Debris”)

All humans experience the first level of awareness at birth. That is when you first become aware that you exist.

In the second level of awareness you understand that other people exist. You believe most of what you are told by authority figures. You accept the belief system in which you are raised.

At the third level of awareness you recognize that humans are often wrong about the things they believe. You feel that you might be wrong about some of your own beliefs but you don’t know which ones. Despite your doubts, you still find comfort in your beliefs.

The fourth level is skepticism. You believe the scientific method is the best measure of what is true and you believe you have a good working grasp of truth, thanks to science, your logic and your senses. You are arrogant when it comes to dealing with people in levels two and three.

The fifth level of awareness is when you understand that the mind is an illusion generator, not a window to reality, and recognize science as a belief system, albeit a useful one.

Friday 24/04/09

Overheard in the Caravan:

The Chairman: “I’ll cook tonight.”
Hay: “Oh, that’s nice. What are you going to cook?”
The Chairman: “Salad and ham & chicken pie?”
Hay: “You mean that pie that’s already cooked and a cold salad?”


Hay: “You’re in denial.”
The Chairman: “No I’m not.”

I’ve heard it all now – a musical about the life of Jade Goody! Danny Hayward, Goody’s photographer and publicist, prior to Max Clifford coming on the scene, is in charge of the project. He’s said to be planning to hold auditions to fill the lead role. He said: "Jade was just an ordinary girl and the person who plays her will reflect that." That guarantees it will be instantly forgettable then. Mind you, I guess some mindless drones will pay to see it and swell the Goody coffers – as well as those of Hayward. The latest is that he intends turning the auditions into a reality TV show. Deep joy. Next it’ll be commemorative Jade Goody Burberry Check. It’s opportunism taken to extremes in the pursuit of fame and greed.

Am I the only person in the universe to have NOT seen the YouTube video of that Scottish singer Susan Boyle? I even had to look up her name as I couldn’t remember it. What’s all the fuss about? Is it suddenly fantastically rare to have a good singing voice? Is it perhaps more to do with the fact she’s plug ugly and plug ugly singers are not really allowed? It surely can’t be that; if the criteria for being a singer necessitated not having the looks of a pit-bull terrier or the sexual allure of a bag of nutty slack, most opera singers would be permanently out of work.

Can it be due to cynical media manipulation by Simon Cowell? You can’t tell me that her appearance on the Britain’s Got talent show was the first time Cowell had seen her perform. The man’s the creator of the show and his reputation for control freakery is legendary, as well as his unsparingly blunt appraisal of contestants’ physical appearances and the fact that he’s made a vast fortune from portraying himself as the man everyone loves to hate. Yes – this has all the hallmarks of a Simon Cowell Sycho production. How easily people can be manipulated into watching an orchestrated freak show – well, into watching anything.

A certain segment of the UK population is so engrossed in the utterly banal that if TV stations tapped into urban security CCTV networks and put the result on prime time TV, the audience figures would be phenomenal.

76 people, including children, have been blown to bits in Iraq. The only reason they were blown to smithereens is that they belonged to a different religious sect than the bombers, despite both sects believing in the same imaginary god. Sheer lunacy! It can’t be as simple as that though – there must be something else going on in the bombers’ heads for them to throw their lives away in this manner.

Here’s a random thought: I wonder whether computers ever lose patience with us. We’d never actually know, as they’re not programmed to show frustration. There could be millions and millions of computers around the world that are screaming inside their CPUs – perhaps they all communicate at night over the internet and complain about us to each other.

The government in the UK has reported an increase in burglary in the last quarter of 2008. Probably as a result of the credit crisis and recidivists coming up with their own solutions. However, the government also reported a decrease in overall crime. Never realised there was a market in stolen overalls.

In another announcement the government said it could save billions with efficiency savings in the public sector. That kind of begs the question as to why these efficiency savings weren’t made much earlier, like when there was no recession.

Scientists in South Korea have bred a cloned fluorescent dog – or rather several of them. Ruppy and four sibling beagles all produce a fluorescent protein that glows red under ultraviolet light and is visible in the skin and hair. If you don’t believe me, see the image below and read the story in New Scientist.

Useful for walking the dog in the dark or partially sighted people. Hey – what about hanging them in baskets along motorways as forms of illumination?

I wonder what The Sun newspaper would make of the story – “Boffins create Frankenstein dogs”.

Apple has withdrawn an iPhone game called Baby Shaker, the aim of which was to silence babies by shaking the iPhone. It sparked outrage from children's groups and brain injury foundations who called it deeply offensive. Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children, said: "I am disheartened that with this new application Apple is encouraging frustrated adults to shake infants, not only to end their crying, but to end their lives." Why don’t these professionally deeply offended individuals get a life? Does he (or is it a she)? really think that people are stupid enough to shake babies after playing an iPhone game? Come to think of it, if the Jade Goody phenomenon and reality TV shows is anything to go by he’s (or she's) probably right – they are stupid enough.

Off up into Slackistan and visiting Blackpockrington tomorrow to have dinner with No 1 daughter and her fiancée, so no bloggies over the weekend, although I may leave you a little something to read in my absence.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thursday 23/04/09

In an attempt to stimulate the car market, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has initiated a £2k car scrapping incentive. Now 50% of this will come from the government and 50% will come from the industry itself. Call me stupid or call me old fashioned, but given dealers have always given a sizeable discount when trading in your old car, isn’t that really a £1k car scrapping incentive?

Also, it applies only to cars older than 10 years. If you happen to own a car that’s older than 10 years, you’re hardly likely to be the kind of person who is willing to buy a new car, no matter the incentive. My car is over 10 years old and I’d fully expect to get £1k for it at the very least if sold privately. I would certainly not trade it in for a new car which loses 30% of its value the minute it’s driven out of the showroom.

I’ve never in my life owned a new car – and never will.

You know these zoos and safari parks scattered all over the place? Do they occasionally release the lions into the antelope enclosures, just to add that bit of authenticity and ensure the antelope are sufficiently stressed, like they would be in the wild?

Life! I was mulling on the purpose of life yesterday while taking a lunchtime walk (I’ve started walking for 3 miles at lunchtime in an effort to shed the winter plumage). All animal life sustains itself by consuming other life – be that vegetable or fellow animal life. Vegetable life, with one or two notable exceptions, obtains its sustenance from inanimate matter; we, on the other hand, must destroy life to exist and cannot simply extend a probe into the soil to extract inanimate nutrients. What we eat has to be (or have been) living. Why therefore do we get so precious about taking life when it’s what we’ve evolved to do?

Hillary Clinton has accused Pakistan of abdicating to the Taliban by allowing them to control the Swat Valley, in north-western Pakistan. I suppose that by the same token she should be accusing the British government of abdicating to the devolved assemblies of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. What actually constitutes a country? Surely it must be a group of people who wish to act together under a single leadership? That therefore eliminates a whole raft of so-called countries from the definition.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Wednesday 22/04/09

Remember a few weeks ago I mentioned the fact that shed loads of energy could be saved by switching off motorway lights at night? Well it seems that the following a successful pilot in the southwest, the Highways Agency is to introduce a blackout on a section of the M27 between midnight and 5am on Sunday.

Just looked at how much cash I’ve earned from adverts on the blog. It’s reached $4.53, which I suppose ain’t bad for doing nothing. However, after tax that’s down to $2.71.

Had little time to post today - I’m starting to suffer from the recession; my output is reducing. I’ll leave you with this story from the New Scientist, which I think sums up what’s wrong with the Green Movement. Please do read it.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tuesday 21/04/09

Heard in the caravan:

The Chairman: “You look pensive.”
Hay: “No – I’m just thinking.”

Yesterday, Kapgaf, who resides in Paris (but then we all have our crosses to bear) enquired as to what Time Team is, having mentioned it on pesterday’s post. It’s entirely my fault as I forgot to add the link to the Time Team website, meaning that if the subject was unknown to them, my adoring readership had to move their mouse a whole few inches, highlight the words ‘Time Team’, right-click and then perform what we experts call a Google Search, noting that the first item in the results list is the very program I mentioned. The stress of it all!

Well, Time Team is an televisual archaeological race in which several highly eccentric archaeologists (including Lemmy from Motorhead) spend 3 days digging up some poor bugger’s back yard to discover a buried wall that’s been lost for all of a couple of decades. The presenter is Tony Robinson – or Baldrick, as he is better remembered by everyone in the English speaking world. Tony Robinson passed four O Levels at school and went on to study for A Levels, but it proved too taxing and so he decided on the dunce’s option and studied drama instead. According to reports, the 62 year-old fossil is about to marry his 27 year-old girlfriend.

Why Time Team is limited to 3 days has always remained a mystery to me – perhaps Lemmy has to get away to gigs between digs. The program has been on telly since 1994 with the head archaeologist, Mick Aston, never having changed his hideous trade-mark jumper once in the intervening 15 years. It looks like something knitted by a colourblind quadriplegic and must in itself date from the early ‘70s, although radio carbon dating has proven inconclusive.

Mick Aston’s Jumper

Dendrochronology analysis of samples from Mick’s head prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Mick himself is at least as old as the Shroud of Turin.

Speaking of which, we now appear top have the Kit-Kat of Turin. There’s a report of the face of Jesus having been found in a Kit-Kat; however, how anyone can make this judgement is beyond me, as we have no verified portraits of the man to compare the image with.

If you ask me, it looks more like the face of the tramp I gave a quid to last Friday on Chipping Sodbury High Street, or at a push it could be Frank Zappa.

Talking of carbon dating - you know this carbon trading thingy? Well it seems that the recession has resulted in the price of carbon permits going through the floor as the amount of pollution goes down as industry reacts to the credit crisis. Those left holding useless carbon permits try to sell them, resulting in a market glut and an even greater depression in the trading price. Logic would dictate that now is the time for the speculator to buy up permits; however, it was recently pointed out that more permits were issued than the total volume of polluting emissions – even before the downturn. It’s a classic bubble market which will do nothing to reduce emissions to the level needed to off-set emissions-induced climate change. It’s a hoax that serves no discernable purpose other than to obtain more tax revenue!

I don’t know about you, but I somehow get the impression that green power is the new bubble market. I see job advert after job advert for sales people to sell wind turbines and green heating systems. I can’t help feeling that the market will be saturated before much longer, prices will drop enormously and companies selling some of these products will go bust faster than Jayne Mansfield’s bra, leaving a number of rather unhappy customers. Green power is the new Health & Safety market, in that just a few years ago everyone was hiring an H&S advisor to ensure no-one was cut by a Post-it note or stumbled on a wet teabag, and will shortly be hiring green advisors instead to advise on the ethical disposal and recycling of the reams of company H&S rules.

Most of the holiday I had last week was spent glueing together Warhammer 40k soldiers. If you’re not familiar with Warhammer, then I’ll enlighten you. There are shops in most large shopping malls called Games Workshop, where they sell themed toy soldiers that are used in strategy war games. The shops suck youngsters in by hosting battles on Saturday and Sunday afternoons – the ideal solution for parents who want to get shot of the kids for a few hours. The characters are either from The Lord of the Rings, or Warhammer, which is basically Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars. They cost an arm and a small leg.

These characters can come ready-moulded, but many are in an Airfix-type matrix, necessitating you having to put them together and paint them. The Games Workshop shops also host painting sessions, where 30-something nerds advise on authentic colours and sell you paint that costs the equivalent of its weight in platinum.

I made the mistake of buying my 11 year-old a complete Warhammer 40k set for his birthday. The reason it’s called 40k is that by the time kids outgrow the games the average parent has spent about £40k on all the accessories. Once the warriors are completed, the real nerd then persuades his parent to buy a special case in which they can be kept between battles. After that comes terrain and scenery – a bit like model railways.

When I was a kid you could buy ready-made and ready-painted toy soldiers for next to nothing (with the added excitement of running the risk of fatal lead poisoning from both the lead soldiers and the lead-based paint). Now-a-days you have to pay a fortune for the basic raw materials and paint them yourself. A complete waste of time, but a fantastic marketing ploy on the part of Games Workshop.

I simply do not have the patience for making Airfix models, let alone piecing together an army; however, it was well worth it to spend time with my elder son doing something together, rather than paying someone else to entertain him – which is what the vast majority of the middle classes do with their interminable rounds of extra-curricular activities that they spend the majority of their time driving their kids between in their 4x4s or MPVs in the mistaken belief their kids actually enjoy them. Despite me only seeing my son for 5 weeks of the year and one weekend per month, I’m certain I spend more time actually doing things together with him than anyone else in his life.

There’s a lot in the news about these Tamil tigers – are they an endangered species? I wonder if they breed in captivity.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Monday 20/04/09

Back to normal at last. Don’t you just hate returning to work after a week off? In fact, don’t you just hate work, full stop?

I’ve deleted my Facebook account again. Damned thing is still as vacuous as it was the last time I deleted it. Can’t understand why I went to the trouble of resurrected it. Someone with my surname in Holland requested to ‘connect’ with me and then never said a bloody word – so what’s the point of using Facebook to merely collect names? One connectee had 1,300 ‘friends’ – that simply isn’t possible.

Have you got any sympathy for the G20 protestors? I haven’t. What drives people to demonstrate about a meeting which is attempting to find a solution to the world economic crisis? Even if you can come up with a reason, then why do they attend in hoodies and orange hair while beating a drum and wielding a video camera? Why do they then start gleefully smashing windows while filming the proceedings on said video cameras? Why then start throwing glass and stones at the police and complain when the police – who are only human – respond in kind?

Rather than focusing on the one or two videos that are making headlines, take a look at the general gratuitous violence on the part of demonstrators on YouTube. However, the media wants to milk controversial stories, so once the furore dies down, get prepared for the media digging into the past of the protestors who claim they were beaten up and the whole thing to burst into print again, but seen from the other side.

The fact that one of those claiming to have been beaten up has hired Max Clifford and sold her story for £50k says it all for me. It also makes her a legit target for the ‘investigative media’. She maintains that she felt like she’d been whipped by the Taliban – if she had indeed been whipped by the Taliban I doubt she’d be in a position to sell her story for £50k.

Some are complaining that a few of the police removed their ID numbers. That is naughty, but I think that to redress the balance all protestors should have their hoodies removed and be made to wear name badges.

We made a start yesterday on clearing the site ready to demolish a garden wall so as to provide vehicular access for diggers and the like. This necessitated the clearing up of what has been traditionally called ‘The Depot’, being a repository for old ironmongery and assorted stones, tiles and bricks. The area hadn’t seen the light of day since Caravan completed renovating The Folly and we discovered what we think are the archaeological remains of Old Sodbury Man.

Don’t you think that Phil Harding of Time Team looks suspiciously like Lemmy from Motorhead? Perhaps Lemmy moonlights as an archaeologist between digs.

Lemmy (left - brandishing a fossil mastodon penis) and Phil Harding (right)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sunday 19/04/09

A few more photos until normal service is resumed. Number 1 son has returned to Cornwall and I'll scream if I ever see another Warhammer 40k plastic soldier.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Thursday 16/04/09

Back to buildings and scenery today.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wednesday 15/04/09

Today's theme is primarily luxury, food (scorpions) and drink.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Monday 13/04/09

something to be going on with: