Saturday, 18 December 2010

The Good Captain

None of my women have tears in their eyes
You can ask 'em about me I swear
'n they'll tell you
That's one man I swear
Yeah that's a man


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Michael Rosen, champion of youth literacy

From the comments on an article about Literacy in CIF:


12 December 2010 9:54AM
Just the kids? A friend's 14 year old daughter notes that her RE teacher is unable to spell "atheist".


12 December 2010 9:57AM
Why do you think being able to spell 'atheist' is a mark of anything other than that someone hasn't spelled 'atheist' in the standard way? What makes you think that spelling signifies something anything more significant than itself? It's a complete fallacy.

Labour did just the opposite of one-size-fits-all. They encouraged academies, faith schools and specialist schools.


12 December 2010 12:42PM

@MichaelRosen 12 December 2010 9:57AM
Why do you think being able to spell 'atheist' is a mark of anything other than that someone hasn't spelled 'atheist' in the standard way? What makes you think that spelling signifies something anything more significant than itself? It's a complete fallacy.

In Rosen English

Wie du yoo fink been able 2 spel afeist is a marc of anyfink ovver than vat summon hasnt spelt afeeist in ve standrd weigh. Wot make u fink that splink signyfyes anyfink mor signiffikunt van itslf. Its a komplete phallusy.

That's where that goes, Mikey baby.

(Cornelius is Elby btw!)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Monday, 22 November 2010

Climate of Fear (h/t WOAR)

Mrs Raft has suggested that making soup is a great way to occupy oneself in the current doom and gloom. Since October I have found that crochet is a fairly nifty distraction and also helps the repetitive strain injury caused by gripping the computer mouse.

Progress has been made and I like making things to keep people warm. I leave the soup to Elby as he somehow makes it taste like more than the sum of it's parts. When I make it, it tastes like hot water with onions and vegetables floating in it.

This is the first thing I made. It is a machine washable cot blanket for Elby's first grandchild, due in March.

This came next, an alpaca beanie, sadly too small to fit anyone but me :-)

Then I made this for a friend's doll. No pattern, just trial and error, proving how simple it is.

I just finished this shawl this weekend. It is alpaca/merino/silk mix yarn and feels utterly lush. The wool was a bargain (only £12 for the four skeins it took to make). A Christmas present.

These are for a cushion, made in a lovely cotton yarn. Another pressie.

Now I go to sleep wondering about colour combinations and wool densities rather than fretting about the Euro Gendarmerie, or the national debt.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

11/11/10 Already forgotten

Today I am very sad. An old friend is dying in hospital, whilst his family try to get him home. He is 88, and his war was spent in India and Burma, his time as an undergraduate cut short to get him to the front. He is one of the very finest human beings I have ever met. Gentle, immaculate in his grooming, twinkly and kind. Until two months ago he was playing 18 holes of golf twice a week. Until a month ago he still had accountancy clients. Then suddenly he couldn't breath, couldn't walk, his heart started failing and a series of strokes have put him in hospital. When I visited him on Tuesday I found him in a side room, contorted in a collapsed bed, with nothing to drink, and struggling to breath. Not one to make a fuss, even if he could reach the bell to summon a nurse. To the nurses he is just another old codger waiting to meet his maker, and they will get around to fixing his bed/fetching a bed pan/water/helping him to take a drink all in due course, but not until the pressing need has passed. He shouldn't be left alone. He should be at home with his loving wife of 65 years.

You are a darling man Alan, the very finest sort, I will miss you so much, and I will miss your war stories that your family tired of hearing years ago. May the bureaucrats get their arses into gear so that you may go peacefully, with a view of your garden, with your loving family around you. Thank you for everything you did to protect your fellows and to rebuild your country. I will miss you so. The world will be a lesser place without you.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

What it is like being married to a Deadhead

The Grateful Dead were pioneers in the world of rock and roll. They were the first to use great walls of speakers, and monitors too so that they could hear themselves. They also had such a huge musical repertoire, from Old Time, Blues, Cowboy songs, Rock and Roll, Disco, to Train Crash Psychedelic, that none of their gigs were the same. They also allowed audience members to tape the shows, and these tapes were always exchanged freely between Deadheads. Often recordings were made from the soundboard, and many of these have been released as CDs. At Dead concerts people jotted down the set list (if they could write). There are archives documenting each show with reviews such as The Tapers Compendium and analyses of their lyrics such as The Annotated Dead and huge vaults of recordings.

One of Elby's fine sons sent him this, a scenario which illustrates the title of this post uncannily.

A quick look at the media player on my computer shows 2825.2 GB of Grateful Dead or
7768:35:58 playing hours.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hungary criminalises midwives.

If you want a home birth move to Holland. It's all very Handmaids Tale. See here

Isn't the EU just wonderful?

Friday, 22 October 2010

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Somerset reinvents the Wurzels

I don't have a TV so never see may be sick of this one, but it tickled me.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Hurrah! Stay off the roads...

Calfy passed her driving test today. It was 6th time lucky :-

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Why I became a hooker

September has been one of those months. Firstly Elby filled the diesel van up with unleaded petrol. Then Calfy took a train with a prebooked £8 fare and had to pay £89 excess because she didn't have her railcard on her. Poppy needs more surgery (on her other ear this time. At least her ears should match afterwards) Then I step on my specs, bending the frames beyond repair....

So, last Saturday I wandered up to the old part of town, determined to learn a new skill, a long held desire, not really planning to profit by it, only to give myself something to do with my hands other than slapping the side of my head.....

I bought a crochet hook and some yarn and to my surprise, produced these by the end of the weekend! It is easier than knitting by a long way, mainly because you can see pretty much straight away when you have gone wrong and wind back. I got all the instructions on Youtube; there are hundreds of people out there who want you to learn how to make a granny square!

Elby is of course very excited that I might make him one of these

or one of these

Pig was less excited when I showed him this

I have made progress and Elby is looking forward to a full set of coasters...

I even taught Calfy to do it last night...

Here are some inspiring crochet creations to keep me persevering :-)

Monday, 2 August 2010


Calfy and her beloved little sister.

Do visit Woman on a Raft.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

A Good Read

I don't know whether this is chick lit but I loved it. Them Tudors eh? What were they like? I feel like I have been hanging out in the 1530's.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Quote of the Day

"We need to reclaim and re-enact our commitments to community. Default statism turns citizens into consumers and makes government a giant problem solver, which only increases our technical managerialism."

David Miliband on the challenges facing the Labour Party.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Somebody get this man a chauffeur!

George, The People's Poof, has got to July this year before his annual traffic incident. There must be lots of sober young men out there willing to drive his car, surely? Hell, I'd drive him around myself.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Lilith's Domestic Tips #1

I haven't been blogging because life is hectic and it is easy to get out of the habit if you don't just sit down and do it!

Anyway, here is something I discovered this year...using a gas kettle instead of an electric one saves us about £15 a month (Yes, we drink a lot of tea.)

And Lilith's planet saving tip No2. is using one of these

You can put everything in them, cooked meat, bread, tea bags and you end up with fab fertiliser/compost, which has made our garden go bonkers this year, and eco friendly drain cleaner. It is a great little gadget especially if you have an Elby to deal with the thing. Our local council collects food waste every week. I am waiting for them to fine me for not putting any out.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Will he turn himself in?

From today's Times.

H/T Elby

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Dennis Hopper

Easy Rider and Blue Velvet are the films everyone remembers Dennis Hopper for. I probably wouldn't make an effort to see either film again.

True Romance however is a different apple. It is a grisly but highly entertaining film. Scripted by Tarantino, and directed by Tony Scott, Ridley's bro, it is probably the best work Tarantino has done. Hopper only has a small part, but he makes it count.

Along with Christopher Walken, Hopper is superb in this scene. He knows he is going to die, and he doesn't want to give up his son. So he mouths off..... Exquisite.

I have uploaded the 10 minute clip here but there is a 5 minute version if you can't bear the tension build up. Not for the squeamish or politically correct.

RIP Dennis, and thanks for all the entertainment.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

I was going to do a post about the Labour leadership

Gruesome Twosome

But I thought, well, if they want to elect a man who can piss off the Russians, the Sri Lankans, and the Indians single handedly, if they think a man who has done nothing outside of "politics", ever, is the man to lead the Party and, who knows, maybe even the government at some point, then who am I to comment?

Then I thought I would blog Scroblene's azalea instead. I can't get the bloody picture off my mobile device.

Update: here it is. Scrobbers kindly gave us a seedling two years ago and this year it has flowered. I think it is a native but I really don't know. Scroblene, is yours flowering too? Doesn't it smell divine?

Monday, 10 May 2010

Why is he still in No10?

Has he not been in the Library with the revolver all weekend now?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I should be on holiday

Sadly events have conspired to trash all our holidays this year. Calfy was supposed to be going to Uzbekistan, but her travelling companion used a dodgy visa company to get the three visas required, Russian, Kazakh and Uzbek. They failed to get him any in six weeks. Calfy got all hers in four. So she is here, blue.

My mother was supposed to fly to Spain but hers was the only flight cancelled from Bristol the morning after the no fly ban was lifted. So she has to practise her castanets here.

I was due to go to Cornwall with Elby and the dogs, but Poppy has required ear surgery for something nasty that appeared on her earlobe so she is here having a quiet time with me rather galloping through the gorse with Pig.

I have already voted. Calfy's postal vote never arrived so if she had gone on holiday she would have been unable to vote at her first general election so at least she gets the strange experience of the polling station.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

"I thought he was an educated man"

Mrs Duffy, you poor love. You just went and had a spontaneous word as you were passing by. For your trouble you were grossly insulted and had the media crawling all over your drive and the Gorgon in your living room, smiling about how mortified he was. You just wanted to know what he was going to do about the national debt. I don't expect you found out. Did you ever say "Do call me Gillian" to him?

Leaders debate could be fun. I may even watch.

Have any of you tried this? It is the Telegraph's contribution towards helping the floating voter. The shocking thing for me was that I came out 71% BNP when I didn't eliminate them from my voting possibilities.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Psychedelic Bush

It's that screaming pink azalea time of year again.

Real life has been overwhelming of late and blogging very light. I at last have some time off work and am spending it catering to Calfy's every need. She has another driving test tomorrow this means driving all day clinging to the door handle. As the car is a bit of an agricultural vehicle in appearance and aroma it would probably be quite a good idea to clean it so as not to scare the examiner.

This is quite funny here

Monday, 5 April 2010

And we thought our politicians were "smart"....

Has this man been hitting the hash cake or is this actually the best he can do?

Hat tip: Beast of Clerkenwell

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Gary Elsby of Stoke on Trent

Gary Elsby, (of Stoke on Trent) who many of us remember fondly for his incomprehensible comments on Guido, was on the radio yesterday. I caught him by accident, objecting to the parachuting in of "Tristram Hunt" (not a real name surely? rhyming slang?) as Labour candidate for Stoke on Trent. Good on you Gary. I would gladly donate to your campaign to run as a local independent.

He is on here at about 15 minutes in.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

New Labour's education policies

I am so glad I do not have school age children. Surely this is a breach of Section 4?

I thought Calfy's school was bad enough for teaching 13 year olds about the Bulger murder, which left my girl sleepless for a week. I thought they were pretty bad for accusing her of being obsessed with death (she used to read the Craig Brown column next to the obituaries in the Telegraph), but the above takes the biscuit in institutional child abuse.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Pig injured himself on something sharp in the woods this week. Big triangular tear and lots of stitches. He thinks he is better now. I am covered in bruises from the lampshade charging past.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Non Domicile Tax Status

There is a lot of hysteria about Lord Ashcroft being a "non dom". People seem to think it means he pays no UK tax. I am apparently default non dom as my father is, also by default as he never said to anyone that he will never return to New Zealand. He still might. Being a non dom has never made any difference to my tax bill. I have no assets outside this country and have always paid swingeing amounts of tax relative to my income. It would only be a perk for me if

a) I won the NZ lottery
b) I won the UK lottery and migrated for three years in the twenty years before my death...then my beneficiaries would not have to pay inheritance tax on my massive estate. If I popped my clogs tomorrow my estate would not qualify for IHT.

What is causing the upset? Is it that Non Doms with very large incomes outside the UK don't have to pay UK taxes (or only £30,000 p.a.) on these incomes? They pay tax in the country they earned the money in, so why should they get hit by more tax from the UK Government? Do people want to drive this handful of mega rich foreigners out of the country as well as the moderate earners with skills?

My sister has already emigrated, my brother is talking about going, my father retired last month and I earned so little last year that I got a tax rebate instead of a bill in January. Elby is redundant and Calfy can't get work, and that is just one family. The treasury should be grateful for everything it gets.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Bad Science

Well, everybody who is anybody is quite down on Homoeopathy these days aren't they? But who can trust a "peer reviewed" medical journal when this kind of shit goes on?

As far as I am concerned, all medicine is "magic" anyway, whether Western "science" based or otherwise. Bodies and minds get better, often to the surprise of all concerned. Sometimes drugs seem to help. Sometimes they seem to make things worse. Sometimes they kill people. Sometimes they have no discernible effect. Drug therapies are terribly variable in their outcomes, and often cause more problems than they mitigate, tolerances are quickly developed and patients are uninformed. It seems their doctors are too. I doubt Dr Scott Reuben is the only one to behave like this. Ben Goldacre has nothing to say on the subject.

Surgery is amazing, obviously insulin is marvellous, but drug therapies are often so crude and dangerous that I find it astonishing that people could freak out about more non invasive treatments that, for many, work without causing so much damage.

After being told that her blood pressure was dangerously high, my mother, who had no symptoms, tried several hypertensive drugs. These ALL gave her nasty side effects, many of which look like symptoms of heart disease/hypertension to me (breathlessness, swollen ankles, headaches, angina) and eventually she asked the Doctor if she could stop experimenting with them. None of them brought her blood pressure down anyway. The Doc was horrified, asked her what her friends were on, and said that the drugs gave Mum a 25% protection against heart attacks and strokes. Mum thought "25%? Is that all?" (Sounds less than placebo to me) and stopped. Her blood pressure IS higher than a 35 year old's, but does she need her quality of life screwed by medication? Would she not be better going out with a bang in her 80's like her mother and grandfather, but living a full and comfortable life until her time is up? It's a scam I tell you! I am off to take an arnica pill.

Update: Elby pointed me to this in which Madeleine Ennis discovers that homoeopathy does have an effect that she can't explain but has replicated.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Friday, 19 February 2010

Fashion Champion Sarah

Hatfield Girl has brought this important story to my attention

According to the Telegraph....

"London Fashion Week, for autumn/winter 2010/2011, was officially opened by the prime minister’s wife, Sarah Brown, who wore a printed dress by Erdem, one of London’s brightest rising stars, accessorised with a belt made from a recycled fire-hose.

Mrs Brown said she was full of admiration and awe for the young designers who were securing British fashion’s future. “I am uplifted by their passion and fearless determination.”

Johnny Depp

Sarah Brown

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Hollie Greig

Videos from investigating journalist Robert Green here

For more on this hideous story see here and here.

This stopped me sleeping. Why would the journalist investigating Hollie's case, arrested for breach of the peace, be incarcerated for 3 days before getting bail? See here. What can we do?

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Here she is. She is fast. She is soft. She doesn't stand any nonsense from Pig.
They play and play and play....

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

They are coming to take us away, ha ha

I thought I would link to this post as I wonder why this stuff is not national headlines. Huntsman on the EU Masterplan

L is for Labour

Tip of hat to Hemulen

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

New family member

It is happy chaos in the Berserk household as Elby and I become the Brad and Angelina of the canine world. Pig is ecstatic because he now has a live-in friend! More soon when I have pics :-) She came yesterday, a sort of surprise; trained, adorable and she and Pig get on like a house on fire.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Blair's "reality"

As someone who has got up close and personal to a full blown clinical Narcissist in her time I always shiver when I hear the phrase "The Reality is...". Hearing Bliar say it many times yesterday at the Chilcot Inquiry, I wondered if non-narcissists ever use this expression?

The creep put on a performance of his life. As slippery as a blob of mercury he avoided answering the questions, some of which I would have liked to hear an answer to. The panel didn't hold him to answering the questions. He didn't seem bothered about the death and chaos in Iraq, because now Saddam Hussein is gone and the world is much better and he has done the Iraqis the most enormous favour. Dead babies, displaced families, warring neighbours, no work, electricity or water.

Far from expressing regret, Bliar seems to think that we should be going into Iran for more of the same.

Some babies are just much more precious than others.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Madness everywhere

Sometimes I think every day is April 1st when I look at the papers. Today for your special consideration I give you this and if that doesn't disturb your coffee and croissant, how about this for irony. I think I might stay away from the news for a little while just to make sure it is them, not me.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Poster campaigning

Here's mine

You can make your own here

Update: Here's Elby's contribution to the campaign

And here's a really disturbing one from Modo. Genius

Thursday, 14 January 2010

The Lanky Gene

The mother of Elby's children is researching some genealogy on Elby's side. It turns out that Elby's Great Grandmother was the sister of Basil Fawlty's Grandpa. So that explains the silly walk!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Satisfying present

We asked people not to give us presents for our wedding but the above slipped through...I think it is an object of desire...a china tetra pak jug.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Proper snow

Well it seems to be thank you letter writing day as there is no point in trying to get anywhere. Pig went bonkers when he got into the snow.

Here is a late rose from the front that was still going before Christmas that I didn't get around to posting.

Does anyone know what this plant is?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Does anyone know where Raedwald has gone?

Update: He is blocked from Blogger by automated spam detectors and it takes a while to sort out..quite a while.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy Day

Thank you for all your sweet sentiments. We had a lovely day.