Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Even Flow

It should come as no surprise to hear a white South African say, "I don't like black people". There are still an enormous amount of bigoted wankers left in the country - there was always going to be. But when one of them is an award-winning writer it leaves you wondering...

Annelie Botes might not be a household name here (she is regarded as the most popular contemporary writer in her homeland), but she's trying her damnedest to become one. She uses the explanation of fear as her reason for her shocking statement. This is a coward's excuse and I'm sure if Iain Banks or Martin Amis were to publicly say that David Cameron or George Osborne were cunts, because they're scary, it would cut no ice. (Yes, I know it would be true, but can you imagine what the Daily Mail would say about it?)


Speaking of ice (again); it must be weird for people living in Northants and further south and west seeing parts of Britain shrouded in several feet of snow. We all know that Brits are renowned for not dealing with the white stuff, but watching the news its hard to believe that this country, which struggles with ½ an inch of unexpected precipitation is in the grip of what can easily be described as the worst winter weather since 1963 (and it's only December 1st).

I hate winter. But what is worse is shivering in subzero temperatures with as much snow on the floor as icing sugar on a Christmas cake. I've seen harder frosts.

But, it has been cold. I spent nearly 20 minutes breaking the ice on the duck pond this morning and with the thermometer saying -2 at 10:00am, I wouldn't be surprised if I had to go and do it again before the day is out. I have pulled out a dozen bucket loads of ice just to give the poor little quackers the chance to have swim and a drink.

Apparently, the North Sea is about 12 degrees at the moment, about 14 degrees warmer than Newcastle. makes you wonder what it would be like to go for a swim...


A story in the Guardian yesterday that rattled my cage was that of the RSPCA suing a woman because she had the mendacity to contest her parents will. Christine Gill's parents, specifically her father, opted not to leave their only daughter any money in their will, instead deciding to give it to the RSPCA. It is alleged that Ms Gill's mother wasn't keen on this, but because her husband was a 'stubborn, domineering and self-opinionated man' she didn't do anything about it. Subsequently, when she died, all her money went to the charity.

Ms Gill, obviously thinking that this wasn't right, took the decision to court and won. the judge, quite rightly stating it would not be right for her not to inherit her parents money. So the RSPCA has mounted a legal battle to get the £2.3million back. It has so far cost £1.3million in court costs and the RSPCA says it is 'obliged' to fight.

This is not the first time this charity has done this. in fact, there are a lot of charities out there that do this and I think it is morally abhorrent. I know that charities struggle to survive, especially in the current climate, but, come on. It makes you want to never leave a charity anything in your will; for a number of reasons, but also because there is no guarantee your money is going to be used for the cause you're leaving it to. The charity, for all you know, might be using that money to mount a case against someone who has been shafted by an arsehole parent.

I'm a big supporter of the RSPCA. We give a small donation to them through our bank every month and I'm seriously considering stopping this and sending them a letter explaining that i now believe them all to be a BOC...


Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark - the musical. Ahem. Apparently it's a lot of shit and there are so many logistical problems it might struggle to achieve what it wants. I know what I want - for producers NOT to try and turn stuff like this into Broadway musicals...


There was a quiz question last night that I wanted to challenge m'colleague One El on. But I decided against it because we got the question right and knowing him the way I do it would have come to nothing (but rest assured, we will discuss it over a pint tomorrow).

I can't remember the exact wording of the question but it related to the link between perfect eyesight and a limited overs cricket match. The answer being 20/20. The thing is 20/20 vision isn't perfect eyesight. It is normal eyesight. It is what most people who don't use spectacles (or contact lenses) have. 20/10 vision is arguably considerably better (and if you want to be really pedantic 20/8 and 20/2 visions are even better, but there are very few humans who have the eyesight of birds of prey).

The reason I know this is because I used to have 20/10 vision, in fact, my optician thought it was possibly even 20/8 vision. It means, in a succinct way, what most people see clearly at 10 (or 8) feet, you can see at 20 feet. I would argue that my eyesight was even sharper than that. When I was younger I could read things that other people struggled to actually see. I could read bus numbers from nearly a mile away. I could read the small print at the bottom of an opticians chart; in fact, my brilliant eyesight was something of a party piece. I was even accused at times of either memorising things or just being clever enough to work out what things said; so, in my usual fashion, I'd get them to hold something up I've never seen before, about three times the distance that the average person would read it and then proceed to tell them exactly what the print said. I got it wrong a couple of times; but I'm sure a hawk occasionally mistakes a stuffed toy for a mouse.

I still have pretty excellent vision, in fact I can still read things that are really far away. Unfortunately, I can't read things that are quite close...

20/10 vision - Oh how I remember that...


Prince Andrew is a twat - no surprises there then.


I was having a quick chat with my mate Will on FB chat the other day; comparing recipes and chewing the fat, as you do, and he got a first hand of why I hate this fucking keyboard so much...


I have a return to work scheduled for the 16th. I am moving offices to allow me not to be stymied by my back and sciatica problems as driving long distances does have a reaction. So the next two weeks are going to be as energetic as I can manage. I won't find out if I need to have an operation on my back until after Christmas and I have no physio scheduled at the moment, because of the chance I might fuck my disc again. But, the boredom has been digging deep. I ran out of B movies to watch and ironically once I was able to move around a bit, I didn't want to sit in front of the TV all the time. The last couple of weeks, as many of you know, has been filled with cooking, blogging, some dog walking, going to the pub once a week and, er... See? I need to do something constructive over the next fortnight. I probably won't; but at least I'm showing willing.

We're off to Stamford on Friday. I was so impressed with the place back in September that I want to go there again and see if I can buy some Christmassy type stuff for the wife. I also want to check out the Jolly Brewer as I didn't last time we were there and apparently I should have.

Saturday has an old friends reunion at our old haunt The Bold Dragoon. I have a feeling that unless the weather improves dramatically, some of the people coming considerable distances probably won't; but it should be a laugh (for a couple of hours at least).

Looking at the last few paragraphs I'm beginning to regret writing them in a public forum... I am such a sad bastard (and I'm getting fat!).


  1. Does the old tennis ball trick not work in the duck pond? If you float a tennis ball in a fish pond, it stops the surface from freezing over.

    If your duck pond is of the larger variety, you might want to try a football.

    The floating of the ball disturbs the water enough that it doesn't freeze, or at least that's the theory.

  2. K, that's absolute ball-ocks ;)

    We have a plastic ornamental duck; we've tried footballs, you name it. When the weather is too cold everything freezes!

  3. Fair enough. Have you tried concreting over the pond? That'll fix the problem.

  4. The ducks wouldn't be very happy...