Category Archives: In The News

May – Poem(s)

Here we go, I’m sure these months are getting shorter. This month another style to tackle.

A clerihew has the following properties: It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; it mostly pokes fun at famous people. It has four lines of irregular length and metre for comic effect and has a rhyme structure is AABB; the subject matter and wording are often humorously contrived in order to achieve a rhyme, including the use of phrases in Latin, French and other non-English languages.

The first line contains, and may consist solely of, the subject’s name. According to a letter in The Spectator in the 1960s, Bentley said that a true clerihew has to have the name “at the end of the first line”, as the whole point was the skill in rhyming awkward names.

A well known example being – Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St Paul’s”

So here are my attempts.

King Charles the third
"This crown is absurd
So heavy one fears
It'll just sit on one's ears"


Camilla the Queen 'Consort'
A title, insult and retort
Causing such strife
As mistress and wife.


Charles and Camilla
Appear quite vanilla
Leaked phone calls broadcast
A quite salacious past!

I’ll just take myself to the Tower, I know the way I’ve been there before 😬


Posted by on May 1, 2023 in General, In The News, people


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Crowning Quandry

Note to self :: next time your brain thinks of something, keep your gob shut!

It was such an innocent thought. I was sitting in a meeting of local residents and complex neighbours about a planned street party for the coronation, with activities and games here too, my brain pondered “hmm, I could maybe create some bunting, must Google for a pattern, maybe” I googled, I oowed and it began.

A series of red, white and blue crowns strung on a triple thread chain. Simples! Well in truth it hasn’t been that difficult, I made a start in batches of six (for no reason) of each colour, tucking ends as each six were completed (I hate tucking ends) and propped them neatly in the basket. After a while there was a neat bunch of batches in the basket and I realised three rows would fill it, nice and neat, all very mathematical and logical. Merrily I continued reciting the pattern mantra sounding like I was summoning up some dark demonic creature, until the basket was full.

While chating to BFF and doing the mental maths I was taken aback to work out, I had completed one-hundred and eight crowns, tucking in two-hundred and sixteen ends, taking approximately fifty-four hours before I began stringing them together.

So what’s the quandry? Well, it’s the coronation itself.

It is a major historical event, more rare than Royal jubilees, weddings or funerals, such an event of poignant pageantry with links back to centuries, literally with the 12th century anointing spoon. Next level with the regalia and symbolism.


It’s the heads the crowns are being plonked on; the history, the reputations, the insecurities, the fragilities, the egos and the politics. It’s been awhile since the U.K. has had a divorced King on the throne, We go back to George IV (Jan 1820-June 1830) who didn’t want his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, crowned Queen Consort so issued divorce papers (which were quashed), she was excluded from the ceremony and died suddenly a couple of weeks after her estranged husband’s coronation. So we go back further to good old Henry VIII who wasn’t divorced when he ascended the throne but sure got the Guinness Record Holder by the time he died (twice divorced). Honestly, soap opera scripts have nothing on the absurdity of human behaviour compared to the historical royals.

Which brings me to Charles and Camilla (and Diana). How things happened and how it was played out through the media has not just tainted the institution it has permanently stained the Monarchy in perpetuity. What sits uncomfortably for me, is the behaviour of C&C before, during and after his marriage to Diana. It is a clear fact of families that relationships break down and couples divorce, and it was inevitable that Charles and Diana would divorce. It is almost certain that the divorced partners will go on to establish new romances, but having ‘the mistress’ prominent and even befriending the naive bride seemed especially cruel.

Okay, so nobody wants to carry the moniker of ‘marriage wrecker’ or ‘adulterer’ nor be reminded of past bad behaviour, but trying to gloss over, control the narrative around a person or situation, that sticks in the throat. Mistakes have and will be made, who knows how things will change.

And finally, one huge favour …… for the love of patient nerves, please hang your Union Flags the right way up 🇬🇧


Posted by on April 17, 2023 in In The News, Projects


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Bombs Building Sandcastles

No…………Body………..Move or sneeze or burp or

Well, dear reader, it’s been an interesting few days. Just up the road from my new abode they are constructing a third river crossing, it’s been thirty years in discussion, three years in building and should be operational by May this year – providing they are no more snaffoo like this week.

Tuesday morning a little left-over from 1942 was dredged up from the river beside the construction area. A one meter long, 250lb bomb, that for the past 81 years has napped through thunderstorms, heavy vibrating ships and boats slowly trundling over it, the rumbling of lorries and vehicles along the road beside it, even the pile driving of the river wall strengthening and outer harbour construction, not to mention the seismic waves when the nearby power station chimneys were demolished.

Police closed roads and began evacuating homes and businesses, placing a 100m cordon around the area. After the Bomb Squad arrived they extended the cordon to mandatory evacuation up to 200m and voluntary but strongly advised 400m zones. This included a small dementia home, who have stayed put but have their minibus and trailer packed with kit and essentials should it become necessary.

The local newspaper has been keeping a ‘live update’ page going throughout the day, giving much needed info such as where evacuation centres are, which roads are closed, the consequential congestion (at one time traffic was moving at the heady speed of a whole two miles per hour!). As well as some typical local media style reporting, like, “Warnings that car windows and camera lenses could crack if….” Proper Pulitzer stuff!

It was decided that a 400 ton sand house would be built around Berty Bomb before any attempts to defuse it could begin. Now 400 ton isn’t a couple of lorry loads and most of Wednesday was taken with getting the sand in place. It looks like sand was compacted into large bags that were then placed, brick like, immediately around the bomb, then a second wall built around that. Then a ceiling of sand was added. A walkway barely wide enough for a beefy bloke or robot to fit through snaked between the sand walls.

All was progressing well until …… “I say chaps, has anyone checked utility maps” slightly blank faces.

“Bally eck, there are gas pipelines under the road!!”

No doubt tea was brewed as tools were downed and a clutch of technicals got their calculators out and recalibrated their thoughts.

Of course, I’m paraphrasing and making light, but how come it hadn’t occurred sooner.

The plan seems to be, after the sand has settled, to send in Robo to start cutting into the bomb, to defuse the detonation circuits and make it ‘safe’, for it then to be taken out to sea, strapped to a better bomb, sunk and then detonated.

Another hold up, water is getting into the area and compromising the sand walls – we’ve all been there with our beach sandcastles. Repairs are needed before Robo can continue his delicate cutting. It seemed the cutting equipment was causing the water build up, so another stoppage and brew up to decide on another option to defuse. The slow burn was the only option left.

And then ………….

Berty unexpectedly went boom.

Thankfully all personnel working the area are unharmed and accounted for. It seems no property or vehicles have been damaged either. Where I am (under half a mile if the crow flies straight) it rattled the newly installed fire doors and echoed through the corridor but the earth didn’t move.


Posted by on February 10, 2023 in In The News, Uncategorized


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The Journey

I was drawn to this film as it starred Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney, two incredible character actors whose work I’ve admired for many years.

The Journey is the fictional dramatisation of a true event, in 2006 the first initial talks of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement were being held in St Andrew’s Scotland. An incredibly precarious intense meeting between the two highly charged staunch political figures and their associates. However Dr Ian Paisley needed to return to Northern Ireland to attend the celebration of his golden wedding anniversary, bad weather closed the local airport but when a proposal to use a different airport was put to Martin MaGuinness he cited the protocol that he and Paisley must travel together to prevent any attempted assassination plot, thus the two men were driven to the airport where a private jet awaited them both.

Unbeknown to these two figures MI5 had one of their operatives as the driver, and had bugged the car with microphones and mini camera to listen to what the two men might discusse in hope of getting useable intelligence to help the talks progress. Initially neither man can bear to look at the other, neither wanting to give in and look/speak first either. Both despising the history, the past actions, the beliefs and hopes for the future, it seems impossible to find any uncontroversial common ground.

Timothy Spall as The Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, is astounding, his mastering of mannerisms and instantly recognisable voice and vocal manner is remarkable, along with the craft of make up and wardrobe completing an incredible transformation.

Colm Meaney as Martin MaGuinness the republican politician for Sinn Fein and leader of the Provisional IRA is captivating. There is a true sense of battle weary, concern that the movement and ‘the troubles’ are breeding another generation of soldiers without fully understanding the cause and reasoning. Fighting an unwinable civil war.

Even though I grew up during this era and vividly remember the news reports of street warfare, the terrorist bombings and numerous attacks, the core fight was not really understood or known, other than Catholic versus Protestant. Listening as these two enemies eloquently spoke of their experience through life, their earnest beliefs,

Without giving too much away, gradually through this journey there are cracks in their iron resolve, there are moments where the human comes out instead of the political representative, even moments of mirth, and a couple of plot twists which question what one thinks of the other.

As they are about to board the plane the two men speak alone, perhaps this is the moment when they can acknowledge that while they fervently disagree with each other they can at least respect each other’s passion and commitment.

It’s a film I feel I need to watch again, to enjoy what I know is coming and perhaps catch a few nuances I missed first time around.

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Posted by on August 23, 2022 in Films, In The News, people, Review


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Tightrope Controversy

WARNING :: Those of a sensitive or easily riled nature may want to skip this post.

Recently the news, and media in general, have been several stories that have attracted a degree of controversy. I have remained silent because I either feel to voice my thoughts would bring forth degrees of flaming, trolling and hatred, or because I feel the media is trying to stir or has a biased slant, or because in some respects it’s none of my business. But this is my blog, so, I’m just going to blurt it out here. You are welcome to agree, disagree, comment or not, read or not.

Roe v Wade – the most contentious subject on the planet. I’ve always felt that there is no straightforward answer to the subject of terminations. It cannot be an accepted contraception method, a without consequence easily available option. There will always be ways and means of getting terminations and those can be very dangerous, even deadly. There are circumstances where it should to be an available option. But I’m not in a position to dictate the what’s, why’s and wherefores, or intelligent enough to draft a potentially length ‘rule’. Ultimately it is the choice of the pregnant person. There is a quote about The Unborn by Dave Barnhart that’s quite poignant, look it up.

MAiD (medically aided death) – Another contentious matter. There is a movement in the U.K. called Dying With Dignity, who are calling for legislation on this matter. I can see why many are fearful of this, but I also see why people want the option. I have disabled friends who are ardently against and those who can see its place. As a disabled person, with a life limiting condition, I can see a time when I might like to say “okay I’m done, enough”. But how to write a piece of legislation that fits all the variables. It is still a legal requirement to have two doctors signatures for a cremation, a great deal of meticulous thought, planning and specificity needs to take place. We are all going to die of something, likely it won’t be pleasant, to have an element of lucid, considered, discussed, understood control of that, is a big deal. Again it is a personal choice, it isn’t a straightforward yes or no.

Balcony Banning – oh where to begin compiling thoughts on the debacle of how the media report Royal Family issues. When the Duke of York walked with HMQ as she entered the Abbey for the memorial, there was media flamed uproar and they made that their primary report issue. I’d rather he did that short walk (which didn’t include the aisle) than have him process the length of the Abbey as the other family members did when entering and leaving. As for who is on the Balcony, there have been many occasions when fewer members were there. Ten years ago for the diamond jubilee there were just six. HMQ hasn’t ‘banned’ anybody from anything, but the use of such an inflammatory word makes it sound like the family are having duels along the long corridor about it! The Press and the Media will steer the coverage, it’s theme and tone, and by their nature they will twist and inflate the merest hint of scandal, scowl or controversy when they should be pushing the magnitude of the occasion and achievement.

Depp v Heard – when two strong empowered egos with too much wealth and say lock horns! They are both as bad as each other, they’ve both done wrong, said wrong, and been wronged. They are both abused and abuser. A volatile clash of personalities and the only winners are the paid parties (legal teams, pr peeps etc). I don’t need a blow by urinating, smirking, crying, tutting days long account everywhere I turn. Sheesh, when will it end.

What else……

U.K. Politics – party gate, beer gate, long drive eye tests, basic instinct legs, tractor porn, canoodling clenches, there’s better behaviour is a school nursery playground. Politics is a dirty world, where word play, economies with the truth, self important posturing are the name of the day. Once upon a decade ago I used to think I had a reasonable handle on what the policies of the parties (even Monster Raving Loony party) were, but today I have zero idea what they are or how they’d try to achieve them. All I know is that things are a mess, likely to get messier. Answers are not within our nation, global circumstances heavily impact our shores. Nothing can be counted upon, trusted or believed. It’s pitiful.

I think that’s about it. So cruel cruel trolls and keyboard warriors, do your best, I ain’t bovvered.


Posted by on May 9, 2022 in Grumble, In The News


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The Attic Scam

It was perfect timing and considering it was before my morning coffee I was rather on the ball.

Picture the scene, Carer was writing up the care book when my phone rang, because holding the thing is tiresome I hit the speakerphone button.

“Good morning, how are things today? Good I hope” announced the overly cheerful voice instantly putting me on guard.

“Well I’ve not had my coffee yet so…..” I cautiously reply

“I am calling because you are on our register as your property still has the old style loft insulation?”

“Oh dear, that doesn’t sound good” I over did the sound of concern

“Can you tell me if you’ve re-insulated your attic at all?”

“I don’t stick my head up there, I couldn’t say”

“Do you know if it is yellow or pink?”

“Like I said, I haven’t stuck my head up there”

“I see, how long have you lived there?”

“Thirty years”

By now my carer is giving me a few odd glances as confusion crosses her face

“Well as I said you might still have the old attic insulation and we can come out and survey to check and the talk through the various options”


“Latest research shows that effective insulation can reduce energy costs considerably”

“That’s very important with all these price increases”

“Our survey costs £170 but the Government will pay for that in certain cases. Can I ask which of these age brackets you fall into, 50-65, 65-85, 85+”

I thought about saying that it’s rude to ask a lady her age but instead I just said the first one.

“Excellent news, the survey will be free. Do you have pen and paper handy I will need to give you a reference number”

I pretended to grab something. Carer had gone from looking confused to thinking I’ve totally lost the plot.

“Okay, I’m ready, can I ask, when they come to survey the property will I need to give this to the Inspector?” it help to sound a little thick at times

“Yes, they will need it”

“Oh…..I better make sure I give it to the person upstairs, I live in a black of flats…….”

Phone went dead.

Carer burst out laughing.



Posted by on March 2, 2022 in General, In The News, Life, Uncategorized


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My Take on the CoVid Jabs

Warning :: some may find this post controversial.

So… my thoughts.

There are thoughts, rumours, guidance and (changing) laws surrounding medical, nursing and care staff and the requirement of CoVid vaccinations. It seems highly likely that those without a vaccine may no longer be permitted to work in hospitals, care homes or community care (I think many are required to have hepatitis jabs before working in the medical field). As a disabled person who has carers visit I tried my best to come up with a method of explaining the potential efficacy of herd vaccination, in my circumstances and how I feel.

Potential 1 – an unvaxxed carer carrying a CoVid variant visits an unvaxxed client . Neither has antibodies to battle the virus, it has a, shall we say, level 10 strength, high potential of putting someone like me in hospital ICU or causing a death.

Potential 2 – An unvaxxed carer carrying a CoVid variant visits a vaxxed client. The strength level 10 virus meets my rehearsed system and knocks its strength to say level 5. Bad enough to make me very unwell, possibly hospitalised but I fight to slowly recover.

Potential 3 – A vaxxed carer carrying a CoVid variant visits an unvaxxed client. The virus strength carried by the carer is knocked back to say level 5 because of their rehearsed immunity, the unvaxxed client may well be very ill, but hopefully recover.

Potential 4 – a vaxxed carer carrying a CoVid variant visits a vaxxed client. The virus on the carer is knocked to strength level 5 because of the rehearsed immunity, so the client gets a milder hit, add the rehearsed immunity of the client whose been jabbed and that strength level becomes let’s say level 2-3. I might be unwell, even spend a few days in bed, and a couple of weeks getting my strength back.

Now, my personal view is that I’d prefer a fully vaccinated carer to visit me, and that I am fully vaccinated to protect myself further. At the moment according to the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group for my location there are “plans to begin home visit at some point during December”. I wish they’d get a shift on! I’ve had the two jabs and would welcome the booster.

As to the vaccinations themselves, the different makers, differing formulas and contents, differing efficacy and effects – that is a completely different subject and far more complicated than my reasonably intelligent brain can wade through – and not the subject of this post.

Disclaimer :: I am not a scientist nor a medical professional, but nor am I an ignorant. I may have miscomprehended thoughts. I am but human. I’ve read multiple articles from credible sites of the U.K., Europe and the USA. This post is just my personal cogitation. You, dear reader, may agree or disagree with some or all of what I write, and that’s okay. You may comment with counter explanation and opinion, and that is welcomed, so I can learn and understand further. But personally attack, belittle, or bully me, that is not okay and shows your failings far greater than mine.


Posted by on December 14, 2021 in In The News



Celebrating Persecution

In this time of woke-ness, is there room for the tradition of Bonfire Night?

Ask yourself this …. what is the fifth of November about?

Historically, its begins with the events of 5 November 1605 when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the Houses of Lords intending to kill the King and many Lords and politicians at the Grand State Opening.

Hmm, treasonable actions indeed.

Hmm, if you dive a little deeper it becomes a failed conspiracy, or terrorist endeavour, by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England (VI of Scotland) and replace him with a Catholic head of state. An act of religious war during a period of Great British history where there were factions arguing over whether the absolute monarch should return to the original faith of Roman Catholicism or remain as the newer revised Anglican Church of England, still in its relative infancy since Henry VIII separated from Rome.

Hmm, suddenly it’s starting to sound a little more sinister.

During the years after the foiled plot the tradition sprang up with locals gathering around bonfires had an effigy on the top. In some parts of the country (predominantly Protestant) they were more like scruffy scarecrows, but there were towns and cities where the effigy was made to depict Guy Fawkes, the local Catholic Bishop or The Pope. The idea being to send a strong political message that Catholicism would not be tolerated and sympathisers/followers could expect to be severely punished.

Definitely more sinister, a potential act of incitement and definitely religious intolerance.

In our modern times the strong messaging of Bonfire Night has been lost, generally now firmly placed in the ‘wrap up in hats and scarves, the owww and ahhhs as colourful sparks cascade from the skies while you munch another hot dog or potato baked in the roaring fire’. Yet there is still an event in Lewes near Eastbourne where they make an effigy to the likeness of the presiding Pope to burn atop the tree.

Mind boggling!

Still as we all gathering around the carbon emitting flames and marvel at the chemical incendiaries releasing gasses into the skies, celebrating the burning of those following a religious denomination, maybe the words of A D Wintle will ring in our ears…..

Guy Fawkes, the last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.


Posted by on November 5, 2021 in In The News, Life, people


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Just Ignore Him – Alan Davies

It was with a degree of trepidation that I began this read, a curious reason to choose to read the book at all you may think. You see, I had read many glowing reviews and critics praise, so often I find them so over hyped and the opposite to my own conclusions, and also because I enjoy Alan’s skills and abilities as a comedian, panellist and actor across many years and I was intrigued and eager to hear about his history.

Thanks to his “As Yet Untitled” series on Dave and of course QI I had gleaned a few snippets of info, I know Australia featured strongly, that his Mum had died when he was very young, that he had a turbulent relationship with school and so forth, but not the core happenings, the fundamentals that form our foundations. His journey that took him from a child to adulthood, from innocent exploration to working family man.

This memoir is not a chronological diary of life, picking out those highlights or significant events that either helped or hindered his progress through life, interspersed with whimsical anecdotes. This is an honest, touching account from a survivor of life as a sexually abused child. It is phenomenally well written, at no time is Alan portrayed as the hapless, silent victim, but the confused child, struggling to comprehend weighty issues, in an environment of isolation, by which I mean alone within his own family as well as in a crowd.

Reading and understanding how his fathers behaviour towards him across many years affected his every moment through out life was incredibly enlightening. The conflicting emotions and signals, the ‘special secret’ versus being ignored or intentionally reprimanded. The feeling of displacement and disconnection around him. At the core there is this influential figure, a father, the person you have an instinctive affection towards, who is supposed to protect you and teach you about life. Realising the perversions of this authoritative presence and the extent of them and how they still prevailed in his dotage.

It has left scars, fractured the family somewhat, still rearing its ugliness on Alan to this day. Taking the brave step of reporting his father’s behaviour to the authorities must have been such an incredibly hard thing to balance in your own mind, the tugging to and fro with the pros and cons. He has my continued admiration.

It was powerful to read about his misbehaviour, the antics that some may say was attention seeking, maybe it was, maybe not having the nurturing, caring, maternal aspect at home he was seeking it from somewhere else, in some misguided fashion to fit in a place comfortably. All children have phases of tantrums and boundary pushing, it’s a process of learning and growing, but it can also be a red flag to something not being ‘right’ there is more to this behaviour than growing pains. As adults we are incredibly blind to spotting the subtle signals of difference.

I hope Alan has found calmness within himself as his adult life has progressed, getting the support and understanding from his wife, a fresh fun zest in life as his own children grow. That he knows he has value to other people.


Posted by on May 15, 2021 in Books, In The News, people, Review


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How are we? Things pootling along okay? I am sort of slightly unanchored, with the days getting longer I cannot feel what time of day it is, I have no idea what day of the week it is and I am not altogether sure which month it is, especially in relation to things/events I need to remember. It’s all gone a bit groundhog. Even my three day week method has collapsed as I think it’s today when it’s actually tomorrow.

We are approaching the anniversary of the first lockdown here in the U.K. Oddly for me it wasn’t that much of a change, I can’t leave the house and there’s nowhere I want/need to go to anyway. Once I grasped the book-early book-often with the groceries, that sorted that.

Where it all impacted me was people visiting me. A work colleague (hello Joss) would visit and we’d chatter, laugh, rant, ponder and generally muse over the oddities of life and I have really missed those hours of escape. BFF had to reorganise her visits, although we were able to get together but were isolating except for food. Neph would bring my bread, ably assisted by mini-me and we’d have a brief catch-up. Then there was my bi-monthly pedicure, I really miss that. A hour of scrubbing, pampering and natter which resulted in tidy toes, shiny nails and a general happy inner well being. Plus Neph’s better half would come to harvest my hair and we could catch up on happenings at the same time.

Generally it feels like we have forgotten the seriousness and ominousness of how things were back early last year. It’s amazing the power of the unknown has, where as now, it feels like the atmosphere is a mix of weariness at the restrictions and lack of faith/trust in the information.

As we begin the steady slow progress of coming out of lockdown, I do wonder how the general populous will behave. Will it be the manic, crazy, rush akin to the Harrods January sales of old or will it be the tentative, cautious, creeping animal rehomed after rescue.


Posted by on March 22, 2021 in General, In The News, Life


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