Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Novel form of transport

I don't know about you, but I become less and less interested in watching the news on television, whether it's BBC or Sky. So much triviality, negativity interspersed with endless speculation and talking heads second guessing. I increasingly visit two other channels, AlJazeera and RT (Russian TV channel in English). This from AlJazeera last night is my idea of a newsitem, but as far as I know, unreported in our media. It's the sort of news that lifts the spirits, and that is in very short supply these days.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Twitter no more

I have deleted my Twitter account after trying it out for a few weeks. It probably says more about me than it does about Twitter (Facebook is a close second for the chop), but I really dislike the way Twitter seems to "profile" me and then post tweets from people or groups that I have never heard of, and which are of no interest to me. It's as if they are telling me they know best what is good for me. Well, bollocks to that.
I'm thinking of going back to actually talking to people face to face. A novelty, I know, but it might be fun.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

A hole in one

I hadn't appreciated that heather will grow successfully in our non-acidic fen soil. But it has to be the Calluna not the Erica genus. Caroline, my green-fingered gardener, planted a heather border this afternoon, and even before she had bedded in the last plant, a Bumblebee arrived and checked out the heather. I think the last sentence deserves an exclamation mark. The main reason for planting heather was because it is attractive to insects, particularly bees, which, as I am sure you know, are having a bad time these days because of pesticides and other foolish human activity. The bee came and went so quickly that I didn't get a chance to see its bum, but, never mind, it and I hope its mates will be back.
PS Once that flowering shrub and others yet to be planted have reached full size, they will hide my neighbour's oiltank. Please ignore it and look at the heather. Thanks.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum

There is an old Jewish story about a gathering for a funeral.  The mourners have come out of a sense of obligation rather than through any fondness for the departed.  The rabbi sensing a feeling in the air asks, “Would anyone like to say a few words about our brother Isaac?”
There is an embarrassed silence as people look at their feet or stare fixedly into the middle distance so as not to catch the rabbi’s eye.
Feeling awkward about the situation and feeling that someone should say something, the rabbi asks again, “Would anyone care to say a few words about Isaac?”
Again, there is silence, no-one prepared to venture even a word.  As the silence drags out the sense of awkwardness continues, people furtively glancing around to see if anyone will speak.  Eventually, a man, a contemporary of Isaac, feels compelled to speak up.
“His brother was worse”.


Here's a story to warm your eco-cockles. Five primary schools in the Kurdish part of Iraq have undertaken a nestbox project to make and put up birdboxes in their area. The full story is HERE.
So many of such projects, initiated and funded by Western European countries or organisations (in this case, Birdlife International) only survive as long as the foreign investment and help are there, and then wither when the locals take over full responsibility. I have a feeling, though, that the Kurds are made of sterner stuff, and that this project will prosper.

Bargain of the Day!

Nah, you're not fooled for one moment, are you? But what might fool anyone is the online sales "free delivery" gimmick. I just bought a DVD online from Amazon priced at £5 + £1.76 delivery. Out of curiosity, I checked my usual discount supplier, Play.com, who offer the same DVD at £7.25 with FREE DELIVERY.
Caveat emptor.

De mortuis

Mrs Trellis of North Wales adds her obituary note
 Dear Mrs Scrote, she writes, I just heard on the wireless that Lady Thatcher has gone to her reward. As a feminist myself, I was glad a woman got to be Pri-minister but I wish she'd been a socialist with a normal voice and not so well dressed. Dungarees, greasy hair and a few "ee by gums" and "innits" would have made all the difference.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Resplendent Quetzal

They call this the "Bird of Freedom" because it dies if put in a cage. Anyone putting this bird in a cage should be put in a cage.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

New header

I hope you like the new (April) header. After all, when the Robin takes off his hat, gloves and muffler and starts to belt out a verse or two of "Oh what a beautiful morning", Spring can't be far away.

Monday, April 01, 2013

No, please don't say that again!

You know how it is with us polyglots. We hear a strange language and we can't rest till we have identified it, or at least narrowed it down to a family. Here in East Anglia we have a lot of immigrant workers from middle and eastern Europe, so shopping at Tesco's has become the aural equivalent of an Araucaria crossword. The Slavic languages aren't too difficult, but those Baltic tongues defeat me; I am generally reduced to thinking "Well, he LOOKS Lithuanian", but it's really a copout. As for Albanian, I have no idea what it sounds like, but if the man speaking is pimping, nicking pot noodles or shooting at people, I am racially inclined to a certain conclusion...
But I was really floored yesterday afternoon. Having nothing better to do, I turned to Channel 81, the BBC Parliament channel, in the hope of seeing Miliband and Cameron kicking the shit out of each other. Instead, I was treated to a newschannel in a tongue I couldn't identify AT ALL. They were very good, it was a kind of showcase of all the telejournalism they had done over the years in Kosovo, Afghanistan and all over the place. Nice smiley men and women they were too, very professional. At one point, I thought "Basque", a blind guess, but when they did a critical piece on ETA, I cancelled that thought. So, what language were they speaking? No clues at all that I could pick up.
The truth was finally revealed only when I googled the name of the newschannel. It would never have occurred to me in a million years that there would be thriving newchannel in this language. How's that for unthiinking prejudice?