Purple prose

Big Mike alerted me to the fact that today is Bill Watterson’s birthday.


Bill Watterson, creator of the greatest cartoon strip ever: Calvin and Hobbes.   The six year old boy with the stuffed tiger alter ego ran in the South China Morning Post (amongst many others) and, when withdrawn in a ‘revamp’, attracted so many complaints that it was reinstated the following week.

To understand the mind of this genius you only need to know one quote:

I won’t eat any cereal that doesn’t turn the milk purple.


Postal strike

The lack of posts in recent days should not be interpreted as anything other than the practical consequence of the overwhelming amount of work that seems to have come my way recently.

It should in no way be linked to the current postal strike afflicting these shores.

Unkind people have suggested they did not actually notice any perceptible difference in the service of delivering letters.

But I couldn’t possibly comment.

Three Castles 2007

OK, it’s been a very long time since I managed to post an update or a whinge on anything…. well, we’ve been busy.

Last week was half term so, after a few days at home in the rain, Shivs and I went off to do the Three Castles Welsh Classic Trial in Llandudno.    This was the same format as last year and despite the promise of terrible weather, we had a practically rain free 4 days of fabulous driving.

Toolkit Tim was also entered and purely through luck and a bigger engine he managed to beat us into 31st place overall and 2nd in class.   He was 25th and won our class.

The pic above was taken on the way home at the head of Horeshoe Pass with rally friend Derek and daughter Aimee in convoy with their MGA, 5 minutes after we’d stopped for an hour to fix Tim’s cars’ broken throttle cable.

If only it had happened during the rally, the results would have been so different……..

Ah well.   There’s next year.

HIP hop flop

My cynical blog the other day regarding the impending new Home Information Packs, seems to have turned out to be at least partly true, as their imposition from June 1st this year has been deferred to August due to a lack of adequate inspectors.

Well, only party deferred.   I suspect in order to save a little face – and of course raise money from us to pay for the investment to date in more state funded bureacracy – the HIP’s will be required for homes with more than 4 bedrooms.

This part volte face was announced by Communities (sic) Minister, Ruth Kelly, just one week after her sidekick Yvette Cooper denied there was any shortage of inspectors and all would be well.

Spin spin spin.   You couldn’t make this stuff up.

It’s worse.   In what seems to have been a decision taken on the hoof as they walked to the House, the idea that only 4+ bedded houses will be included at this stage means that every estate agent in the land will be reaching for the euphemism handbook for new ways to describe Bed’s 4, 5, etc. as there is no definition for what constitutes Bed 4.

Expect to see a lot of marketing guff for 3 bed homes, with studies, boxrooms, playrooms, dressing rooms, store rooms, wine stores, libraries, attics etc. etc.

Government.   It violates the Trades Description Act in my view.   But then, what would I know… I have a 3 bed house with 2 studies, a boxroom and an attic.

HIP’s or no HIP’s?

Well well, in another really well thought out scheme to add bureacracy, control and state meddling, in what is already a stressful experience, Home Information Packs are due to become a legal requirement on June 1st.

However, whilst there has been a last minute rush to instruct estate agents to put homes on the market to avoid having to pay the costs and deal with the pain of preparing these packs, the latest is they may not become law after all.

In a rare moment of clarity His Tax and Wasteship is considering whether or not to support them.

Now, a cynical person might say this is just a PM in waiting looking to improve his public image in advance of starting his new job.

But I couldn’t possibly comment.

Asbo – the bizarre

In February, Kim Sutton was given an order that stated that she was not to “dip one toe or finger” in any river nor loiter about any bridge or multi-storey car park, after repeated suicide attempts had failed to achieve anything except wasted police time. Sutton has a personality disorder and is not the only one with an Asbo that mental health charities are concerned about. At least five autism sufferers also have Asbos at the moment.

A man in Yorkshire was banned from all NHS buildings after a 16-year obsession with collecting medical equipment drove him to the attempted theft of hospital property – 47 times in the past year alone, one of which involved him faking a heart attack.

In Oldham, meanwhile, an unnamed teenager has been prevented from having the name of his gang shaved into his head.

Pool Prep part 3

When we first pulled off the cover, it was very green…. but a week and some helpful chemicals later, it is deep inviting blue.   The clarity is not quite there, particularly at the deep end, but it was good enough for us to swim, both days, at the weekend.

The water remains cold, but we moved it up from 16C to 20C on Sunday and as of this evening it is 22C.

Here’s hoping the warm weather lasts until next weekend.   Four perfect weekends in a row would be fabulous.

Donkey business

A young man named Gordon bought a donkey from an old farmer for £100.00.

The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day, but when the farmer drove up he said, “Sorry son, but I have some bad news… the donkey is on my truck, but unfortunately he’s dead.”

Gordon replied, “Well then, just give me my money back.”

The farmer said, “I can’t do that, because I’ve spent it already.”

Gordon said, “OK then, well just unload the donkey anyway.”

The farmer asked, “What are you going to do with him?” ”

Gordon answered, “I’m going to raffle him off.”

To which the farmer exclaimed, “Surely you can’t raffle off a dead donkey!”

But Gordon, with a wicked smile on his face said, “Of course I can, you watch me. I just won’t bother to tell anybody that he’s dead.”

A month later the farmer met up with Gordon and asked, “What happened with that dead donkey?”

Gordon said, “I raffled him off, sold 500 tickets at two pounds a piece, and made a huge, fat profit!!”

Totally amazed, the farmer asked, “Didn’t anyone complain that you had stolen their money because you lied about the donkey being dead?”

To which Gordon replied, “The only guy who found out about the donkey being dead was the raffle winner when he came to claim his prize. So I gave him his £2 raffle ticket money back plus an extra £200, which as you know is double the going rate for a donkey, so he thought I was great guy!!

Gordon grew up and eventually became the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and no matter how many times he lied, or how much money he stole from the voters, as long as he gave them back some of the stolen money, most of them, unfortunately, still thought he was a great guy.

The moral of this story is that, if you think Gordon is about to play fair and do something for the everyday people of the country for once in his miserable life, think again, because you’ll be better off flogging a dead donkey.