Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rather a coincidence, Mr Dimbleby

We walked over the hill from our rented holiday cottage in Hallsands to Beesands and decided that tea and chips would be the best refreshment to be had from the Britannia @ the Beach. Talked turned to favourite dogs, as it sometimes does, and I said I'd recently seen a repeat of David Dimbleby's sailing. documentary, in which he introduced his skipper's wired-haired fox terrier, Stanley. Jane said that was a great name for a terrier before our attention turned to a red-sailed yacht passing close to the shore. I took out my binoculars and Jane focused them on the boat, only to exclaim that is was Dimbleby aboard his beloved yacht Rocket - and that Stanley was there in the boat with him! We raised a salutory chip to the great orator, his crew. but most of all to the venerable sea dog.

Devon country lanes

The drive from Totnes to our self-catering cottage on a farm at Hallsands in Friday's downpour was interesting, to say the least. The satnav took us down ever narrowing lanes, with ever-increasing amounts of standing water one the road surface. Looming hedges took out much of the light already depleted by the grey storm clouds that lowered from the narrow slit of observable sky.
My wife, who hasn't been to the - usually glorious - South Hams before, admitted to feelings of claustrophobia before we swung down hill to the farm and the dry  welcome of home for the next week.
Woke today to clear blue skies and a light breeze. Now I can show them the beauty of south Devon combes and clear sandy beaches that I've loved since my late teens.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Controlling Conservatives

The present crop of Tory leaders seem to have turned their collective back on their party's traditional reliance on the idea of individual liberty. This is particularly the case with their apparent growing willingness to tell the media, and country at large, what language they don't want to be used. First off, we had IDS and his acolytes bashing the Beeb over the bedroom tax, on the spurious grounds that he and Cameron preferred 'spare room subsidy'. Post Tory general election win, the rot has spread, with Gove telling his Ministry of Justice civil servants how to write (as a former journalist himself, he should know better...). Then we had Cameron lecturing the media about his dislike of the IS tag, on the grounds that the group is neither 'Islamic' nor a 'state'. As with the bedroom tax name debacle, the BBC (Charter renewal in the offing) cravenly capitulated to this bollocks. And now, suitably emboldened, IDS is back with his stated intention of changing the definition of 'child poverty' because he doesn't like the way it is covered in news reports and social media. This thought/news controlling tendency, which you'd have thought Tories would have run a mile from, due to its Soviet-style origins (and Orwellian overtones) also manifests itself in the ridiculous way some Tory politicians try to dispose of an argument by stating blithely that they 'don't recognise' some fact or set of statistics contrary to their own world-view (good examples of this dark art of thought-spin tend to fall most readily from the lips of Theresa May, when asked to comment on an opposing view). The supposed party of liberty has turned into a modern-manifestation of the stupid party, but mainstream media is dangerously accepting, when it should be ridiculing from the rooftops - it's the only way to drag Cameron and his cabinet of blinkered fantasist neo-cons back to anything that remotely resembles reality.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

D-Day, 71 years on. A school party's tribute

Youngest son returned home from six-day school trip to Normandy in the wee small hours. He'd been very impressed with the solemnity of the British, American and - perhaps most movingly of all - by the German cemeteries they'd visited. In the British cemetery, his group had discovered a section set aside for the dead of other allied nations, and of one Polish soldier's grave in particular. It's good to know that, having given his life for the freedom of Europe, Pte Ernest Minge, found a special place in the affections of a group of 13-year olds...

Monday, July 06, 2015

Teenage confusion: when 'in' means 'on'

A commonplace, but nonetheless annoying phenomenon, concerns my two teenaged sons and the dishwasher. When the amount of used crockery left lying around in their bedrooms starts to exceed the stock of clean dishes and plates in the kitchen cupboards, we issue a parental order for the mucky stuff to be taken downstairs and placed 'in' the dishwasher. But this apparently simple instruction is nearly always mistranslated in their computer game and streamed music addled brains, so that 'in' becomes 'on top'.
A small problem to the passing reader, perhaps, but one that is seriously starting to affect my already feeble grasp on sanity.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

That's entertainment?

Come in from the garden to find youngest son riveted to youtube video of three potty-mouthed adolescents playing Grand Theft Auto and giggling over their expletive-ridden in game commentary. And he thinks I'm boring.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Give blood

Just back from failed first attempt at blood donation. Medical problem needs checking with GP before the red stuff can flow free. Was asked if I'd ever had unprotected oral or anal sex with another male. Question came as a bit of a surprise, because I thought they only offered tea and biscuits afterwards...