Monday, 24 April 2017

May you live in interesting times

It ought to be boring. I wish it was. Years of ignoring ordinary people and putting the interests of global business over a properly functioning society are now being paid for, worldwide. Marine Le Pen could well be the next President of France. That would bring down the E.U. for sure.

That old Chinese curse is taking effect.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

When is a Twat Jumper not a Twat Jumper?


When it is worn by a child in the 1950s, although some people might disagree. Ever since I became an adult, I have had an extreme aversion to two sartorial defects: long trousers which are too short (I always had my brother's cast-offs) and pointy collars which are not tucked into the top of a jumper.

Oh, and I have always hated parting my hair too. I have not combed or even brushed my hair for over 50 years.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Haunted Toilet Seat


This is the cover picture for a children's story I wrote called, 'The Haunted Toilet Seat'. I thought it had all the ingredients to appeal to the average 8 year-old boy. The boy in the story enters another world by squeezing himself through a disused lavatory bowl (via the lid, found in a skip) from a derelict house in his neighbourhood, where he meets a rather attractive Victorian young girl.

I think you get the picture.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Off the wall


I am now gunless so I removed the cabinet from the cupboard to make room for the clothes which were evicted like excess passengers from an over-booked United Airlines flight.

A friend asked me if I felt less of a man for not owning any guns, and I said that I thought I had noticed my willy had shrunk since I got rid of them. If only manhood was that simple.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

All the fields are brown


Oh hell, I just got an election notice for the combined West of England authority (don't ask) Mayoral contest, and now we have a General Election set for a few weeks time. I hate democracy - it has got us into so much trouble recently.

I don't blame Theresa May, I would have done the same thing to consolidate my grasp on power, but she is taking a bit of a risk. I think it has backfired on a few career politicians in the past, and there must be quite a few Conservative MPs who are thinking about what they are going to do with the rest of their lives after they are thrown out. Heads will roll, because the only people (right now) she has to worry about are her own back-benchers, but if there is another protest vote like all the others have been, then Corbyn could be in with a chance. Everyone wrote off Trump - remember?

The biggest issue with our Mayoral election seems to hinge on housing and the Green Belt. About 10 years ago, the 7 mile tract of beautiful riverside land between Bath and Bristol suddenly had a massive, 50 inch sewage system laid in it - for no obvious reason...

Shortly after this, central government admitted that there was a drastic shortage of affordable housing and gave builders encouragement to build more homes by paying lip-service to the problem. All the developers yelped for joy and began throwing up extremely expensive boxes  on as many sites as local planners were forced to give up, and everyone carried on making millions of quid from property, just like the old days.

The only new-builds within the city of Bath are either student accommodation (there is a lot of money in students) or £2 million mansions which have somehow slipped through the planning process and now compete with Sham Castle on the city's historic skyline for imposition. In the closest shopping street to me, about 25% of the shops are empty, because they cannot afford to run their crappy gift-shops and pay the business rates and rents to the council at the same time as feeding their families.

The government is now allowing house-building on greenfield sites, even though there are so many brownfield ones due to the industries which used to occupy them going out of business because of past government policies.

Our local, free, glossy magazines (Bath Life, The Bath Magazine) are dominated by estate agents. Before you get to the 10 pages of property ads you have to tour the endless parties thrown by estate agents and what used to be called the Chamber of Commerce, in the 'society' pages, and recent issues have focussed on the first phase of the 'Riverside Development' - the first mile of the 7 which will eventually merge Bristol with Bath at the expense of the unspoilt and peaceful countryside.

Interspersed amongst the main bulk of the business interests (which include a great many adverts for family accountants who specialise in going through divorce in the least financially painful way possible), there is a little feature on an unsuccessful artist, just to throw in a bit of local colour to attract buyers from London. You see? We DO have some extraordinary ordinary people living here! Such fun!

People have always taken a quick profit to feather their nests before moving out of the towns which they helped to destroy and retiring to the unspoilt countryside, but things are really getting out of hand now.

I think I may vote Green in the Mayoral election. I may even vote Green in the General Election. After all, it hasn't done Germany any harm, has it....?


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Picture heavy for a change


Yesterday we went to Iford Manor for a cream tea. The Wisteria was an unexpected bonus.


On the way, the bluebell woods - better than last week.


This is the resident cat in the Manor. It didn't even bother to look up. Seen it all before by the look of it.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Twat Jumper


When I was about 20 years old, I was walking down the street in Farnham when I saw a good-looking girl walking toward me wearing a lovely, well-worn but cherished Fair Isle jumper. I liked it so much that I stopped the girl and asked to buy it. I offered her 50p (recently 10 shillings) and she peeled it off in front of me and handed it over. That in itself I would have given her 50p for, with or without the jumper.

I wore it constantly for the next few years and - unusually for me - took good care of it, washing it regularly and guarding it against moths. I loved it.

When I arrived in Bath I continued to take care of it and eventually gave it as a present to a good friend who took it back to Tehran with him a couple of years later when he returned to his home country.

About three years ago I happened to admire this jumper - a modern re-make of the classic Fair Isle, made by elderly, authentical women in Scotland - and it was given to me as a birthday present.

I put it on and and looked at myself in the mirror. Something wasn't quite right. The jumper was fine. It was me who wasn't quite right.

Over the preceding 40 years I had become misshapen and about 4 stone heavier, as most men do when they get older. I reluctantly decided that you have to be wafer thin, no more than 25 years old and preferably living in the 1920s to wear a Fair Isle jumper.

A friend of mine - of the same age - was given the identical jumper the same year, and we eventually asked each other why we never wore them. My answer was identical to his - 'Because it makes me look like a twat'.

Every now and then I meet up with this friend and we ask each other, "Have you still got your twat jumper?"