Thursday, August 30, 2007


The other day I bought this. It's absolutely and exceedingly wonderful. The first time for donkeys' I've bought a record I'd looked forward to getting and not been disappointed the first time I played it.

I junked the earlier post I wrote on why I think The White Stripes are excellent. It basically boils down to this: he plays cheap old guitars and sometimes turns them up very loud (just like I used to in my bedroom) and she can't play the drums very well (just like your mate couldn't). The difference between them and us being, of course, talent and charisma. I'm 46 and currently clean out mobile decontamination units to make ends meet. I still have a cheap guitar that I play in my bedroom.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007


If, as we are increasingly being led to believe, global warming is all our fault, where does this leave insurance companies who refuse claims for damage resulting from freak weather using the universal get out "Act of God"? Where's a theologian, or even an eschatologist, when you need one?

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Yesterday was very hot and I was treated to lunch and beer here by friend and occasional client, Colin. The last time I went to the Woolpack in Brookland was in 1978 on the occasion of Colin's brother Patrick's 17th birthday. I didn't really know Colin at that time but this post tells the story of our re-acquaintance. Back in the 70s The Woolpack was a proper marsh pub and the back bar was a plain (and cold in November) room with distempered walls and a single long and ancient table. They didn't seem to mind a large and mostly under-aged rabble sitting round it, either. Now it's prettier with hanging baskets outside and festoons of very old and dry hops just ready to relinquish their spider population into your hair as you duck under the very low beams. They also do exceedingly good fish and chips and splendid beer, especially this one on cask. Nothing special about going to a pub for lunch except for the fact that we actually managed to sit outside in the sun. It was very pleasant.

Today I found a hornet's nest. I thought I saw a hornet the other day but it disappeared very quickly. Today I saw several entering and leaving an old woodpecker's hole in a cherry tree. Five yards away is this greengage tree.
We've had a bumper crop off it this year but the recent rains managed to split most of the remainder of the fruit so now it's the insect equivalent of a running buffet and the hornets are the greediest customers. Plenty of wasps, flies and butterflies in it too, so much so that despite there being no wind, the tree appeared to be moving. Also present were a squadron of around 30 dragonflies picking off the smaller flies on the wing. Nature's bounty.

Also nearby is a plum tree that has managed to deposit much of its cargo into a trailer parked beneath it where it is now fermenting. The abundance of rain this year hasn't done the soft fruit any favours and it's often dropped before it can be picked. Shame. Walk by though and it smells like a bar. There was a crow in the trailer earlier and I swear it was pissed. Back to the hornets.

There were actually two entrances into the nest and I stood watching them for a few minutes. Contrary to popular belief, hornets aren't particularly aggressive so I wondered if I could get some pictures. I got hold of Dad's monopod, stuck my cheapo camera on the end and set it on timer. I held the monopod at arm's length, pointing into the nest and took a picture. It didn't quite work. Look! A cloud.

I heard a very loud buzzing noise by my left ear and instinctively scarpered just as the shutter clicked. Hornet nests always have a sentry and I was there at changing of the guard, the incoming one deciding to show who was in charge. I wasn't arguing. As I said though, they're not aggressive and they soon got used to me sticking a camera into their doorways and never bothered me again. I daresay I wouldn't necessarily have been too bothered either if I was out of it on plum brandy. Try as I might, I couldn't quite get the shot dead centre but I did manage the couple below. You can see the nest quite clearly and if you look closely on the right, an inhabitant.

Monday, August 20, 2007


In lieu of any prose appearing here in the near future, here's one of the best live songs ever by one of the best songwriters ever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I was in a caravan (a Sprite Musketeer) in a caravan park in the Peak District listening to John Peel (on a radio that I can still see in the kitchen) when he mentioned that they were getting news from America that he'd died.

Where were you when you heard that Elvis had one too many quarter pounders with peanut butter and banana relish?

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Quote from Jack Warner, the controversial vice-president of FIFA, football's governing gravy train body:

"Nobody in Europe likes England. England invented the sport but has never made any impact on world football."

Mr Warner is from that mighty footballing nation and nil times World Cup winners, Trinidad and Tobago. The impact he is currently having is that his personal activities are dragging the "beautiful game" even further into the mire of commerciality that is blighting it. Yet more disgrace surrounding the major working man's diversion. Mr Warner is neither a noted ambassador nor gentleman of the sport like for instance, Mr R. Charlton. Nor does he grace a defence or win the fulsome respect of his opponents quite like the late Mr R. Moore. He will be an easy act to follow.

Here's a nice picture of a sunset from last week.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


She always sounds nervous, the accent's Barnsley but there's no other voice on this planet that I would stop everything to listen to. Just beautiful.

And funny.