Thursday, April 30, 2009

Watching the Wedding DVD.

Today was spent negotiating - or rather trying to negotiate - with various owners about bits of land we wanted. The day started with ten minutes in the bank that I thought was going to take an hour, followed by what I thought would be ten minutes of LAG business that ended up being 90 minutes.
By the time all that was out of the way, we were late for a meeting with the Topographer who does satellite drawings of our land. In this case, there was a dispute over about 800 sq. mtrs which can only be resolved by the land court in Sibiu. There is no real problem, we just have to get everything certified twice and then the court grants us our land - that we have already paid for. It is, of course, a hang over from the Communist days when the extent of any given piece of land was irrelevant. Now that each bit of land is owned by someone, it matters where the boundaries are and how big the bit of land is.
As far as I was concerned it meant I had about an hour to walk over some of our land and see what had been done ( and what hadn't). I suppose I could be upset about various things, but the sun was shining, the swallows were whirling around, the baby storks were peeking out of their nests, the butterflies were burgeoning, and the orchard we own was in full blossom. The scent was almost overpowering, and the noise of the bees was deafening. Incidentally, Romania doesn't seem to have any problem with bees dying. In fact, the price of honey this year is predicted to fall as they have an oversupply. Just might be to do with the fact that there are none of the particularly long-lived insecticides anywhere in Transylvania - in fact there aren't at all. People here look at you as if you have two heads when you talk of " organic" produce. Because there is nothing artificial in use, its all what we would describe as organic. As far as they are concerned its just food.
Having succesfully confirmed our land ownership, we started the round of speaking with various old ladies. They, of course, are convinced we are multi-millionaires who will pay them anything. It usually takes us three or four meetings to persuade them otherwise, but two in particular today have been ultra stubborn. We left both without agreement, but with them in no doubt our offers were final, would not be increased, and in fact, in view of the economic situation, might be reduced and/or withdrawn. As Alin said " We will see"
By the time we finished it was after 6pm (having started as all good Romanians do at 07:30 am) and as we were driving wearily home, one of Alin's mobiles rang. It drowned out the tolling Church bells.
It was the Mayor.
Why weren't we at his house? Frankly, we hadn't been invited.
Nothing would do but that we should turn round and come for a drink - which consisted of polishing off the two bottles of Neuburger ( you will be glad to hear the Mayor approves of them) a bottle of his own excellent rose wine and three quarters of a litre of his special Nemsa grape white wine.
Tina his wife produced her excellent bean and ham Ciorba, a thick tasty soup, along with my favourite sausages and the Mosna potatoes.
Now you may say this was all a bit much, but of course there was an ulterior motive.
With a great crash the gate opened and in came the Mayor's son ( also Alin) and his truly gorgeous wife Irena. You may recall I was a guest of honour at the wedding on 14th February.
With a flourish they produced the video of the wedding ( on 4 DVDs and cut down from about 15 hours to a mere 4) and the album, which had so many photos in it I could hardly lift it.
And I had to watch the video.
Luckily, Alin and Irena were in a hurry so I only had about 90 minutes of viewing. Other people's wedding films usually leave me cold, but, as I told you in February, there were lots of people there I knew - and here I was watching them all misbehaving and in some cases seriously drunk.
The Mayor myself and Tina had been the ones drinking the wine, so we found the whole thing utterly hilarious, whilst my Alin ( driving, not allowed to drink) and Alin 2 and Irena ( who hardly touch a drop between them) wondered why we thought it was all so funny.
When it came to the part where the bride is stolen and ransommed, all three of us were in such hysterics at my and the kidnapper's performances that we had to stop the DVD until we three calmed down. Tears were streaming down our cheeks and every few moments more giggles and guffaws escaped us. Eventually we got the DVD moving again, but by that time the sober members decided we were not taking it seriously enough and turned it off.
A couple of glasses later it was time to go.
As we walked out, the Mayor gripped by shoulder.
" Mr. King, when you are coming you take all my cares away. Saturday we will have a barbeque in the fields. The Government accountants are coming and we need to make a good impression. You will be there."
Looks like a party on Saturday then....

Alack or Alas?

Mike Smithson on PB has an excerpt from John Rentoul of the Independent:
""You know it is over when black is reported as white. When everything is fitted to the template of retreat, disarray and incompetence….”
Rentoul goes on to make the argument he has put before - Labour could stem the expected election losses by switching leader. His personal favourite is Alas Johnson.."
Hm... bit of a Freudian slip methinks....

A Famous Victory?

I'm sure you have seen the pictures of David Cameron, Joanna Lumley and Nick Clegg celebrating the victory for Gurkhas in the House of Commons.
It is, of course, wonderful news, and a huge slap in the face for Brown and his Bunker, but let me remind you that the Gurkha Welfare Trust is still caring for 10,600 pensioners and their dependants in Nepal.
That is the real disgrace in this situation, and it's why the GWT keeps desperately raising funds.
A fellow committee member emailed me last night:

"This afternoon's vote is merely a token victory and commits the Government to nothing if Brown's political lickspittles in the Immigration Dept decide to rough it out, which legally they are quite entitled to do. "
Brown and his minion's spite will be all the more sharp.
Please give generously at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In Romania

I awoke this morning very early as the sun was streaming in my window - which was open.
To we Scots, there are usually one and a half nights a year when you can sleep with the windows open, unless you want to get hypothermia, so the thought of it being the end of April and yet having the windows open is a sort of Clause 4 moment. One approaches it with trepidation and yet with excitement.
I hadn't actually been in the flat for more than 16 weeks, as the previous trip in February I was in Medias full time, and last week was very much a rush. I'd forgotten the pleasures of making the coffee, the sound of the children going to school (at 8am), the banter in the square, the lack of a TV pumping out drivel - and not having to read about the recession and the swine flu every two minutes.
Alin told me that the Mayor had bought me a lamb as an Easter present.
I said I thought that was very kind, but I already had lambs from my own burgeoning flock ( at least it would be if the teethy wolves stopped eating them - I feel a bit like the people who feed the birds in the winter, only it's wolves that I feed. )
Stupidly, I then asked if the Shepherd had been looking after it.
" No no Mr. K, it was for eating, and when you didn't come, the Mayor he say Mr.K he give us a lamb for Easter to the people in the City Hall, and they eated it.They were very happy."
Ask a silly question.....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You can fool some of the people....

According to the BBC website,
"The UK is one of the best prepared countries in the world to deal with swine flu, Gordon Brown says. "
That'll be as well prepared as we were to deal with the recession then, will it?

In Budapest

I'm on my way back to Romania with what I thought was a really sneaking new way. Glasgow Luton, Luton Budapest train almost immediately to Sighisoara.
In theory its almost perfect.
In practice yesterday, the first leg went perfectly, but when I got on the Wizz flight to Budapest, they announced they were having to pick up people in Venice ( Venice!) who had been stranded there by a broken down aircraft.
The result was I didn't get to Budapest until 2 am, no train, nowhere to go.
So I went to my favourite Golden Park beside Kelleti station ( because its handy for everything). The Wizz desk was still open so I complained about the diversion and they sold me a half price ticket to Tirgu Mures from Budapest for lunchtime Tuesday.The hotel gave me a a 70% discount for a room ( including their excellent breakfast) and here I am waiting for the plane.
In the middle of all this I picked up 2 bottles of Neuburger.
You may recall I have an ongoing search for the true Neuburger wine for the Mayor. He has always complained that it should have a greenish tinge, and none of the producers so far have achieved this.
This time, it does.
The other thing I liked ( apart from the sparkling weather) was some upmarket graffiti.
It read " Christianity is not dead! It is only asleep! It will awaken for the Apocalypse!"
I bet Church attendance in Mexico has gone through the roof....
The flight to Transylvania was 2 hrs late taking off. We loaded up on time then sat there waiting for them to get the engines going.
Actually, the problem was not so much that they couldn't get the engines to wrok - they couldn't get them to work on their own.
Tirgu Mures doesn't have the jumpstart leads the bigger airports do - so the aircraft has to be able to work itself. In this case, it couldn't - until the man with the screwdriver and hammer came out and did the equivalent of giving it a kick.
Worked fine after that...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dan Hannan, Clement Attlee and Sir Winston Churchill

Dan Hannan gave yet another corker of a speech at the Tory Spring Conference today.
Whilst making the point that we are not anti-Europe but pro-Britain, not anti-federalist but pro-democracy, he told the following story.
After his 1945 victory, Clem was relieving himself in the Commons loos.
The door banged open and in stalked Winnie. Glancing at Attlee, he headed for the urinal farthest away from him
" Stand offish today Winston," remarked Attlee.
" Not at all Prime Minister," growled Winston." It's just that every time you see anything big you want to nationalise it."

Gurkha Highlander 2008.

Today was the Gurkha Welfare Trust's Gurkha Curry Lunch in Edinburgh. It's always a good occassion and this year, with 140 attendees, it had more people than ever before.
We had had to collect the Deputy Director who had flown up to attend the event. Unfortunately, her heel had broken, so our first job was to get to M&S for a pair of shoes.
The lunch went off excellently well. The people concerned with the Trust, both Committee and supporters, are all in the incredibly nice category. We support 10,600 ex Gurkhas and their dependants who get no money whatever in retirement. The £30 per month we pay them ( which because of the fall in the GBP is costing us an extra £600,000 pa) makes the difference, quite literally, between life and starvation. Do feel free to go online and donate at
The food was excellent, the raffle well supported.
Amazingly, the man who won three prizes last year ( he gave two back) won a further four this year ( he gave three back). I told him next year he has to bring prizes rather than win them.
One of the matters mentioned was the book that Walker John has written about the walk. It is called "Gurkha Teuchter" and will shortly be published. It's good. I had to proof read it.
If anyone is interested, leave your email addresses in the comments.All proceeds to the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
The new film " Centurion" about the 9th Legion that disappeared in Scotland was mostly shot on Glenfeshie Estate. The lads had to cross it in a day.....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Only have a baby if you're planning to stay married for at least 18 years...

I couldn't possibly use the headline of this article from Takimag on my family blog before 9pm, nor would you want me to, I'm sure, but I was taken by this line:
"The scariest part of this survey however, is what it says about kids: “Children of divorced or never-married mothers are six to 30 times more likely to suffer from serious child abuse than are children raised by both biological parents in marriage". The writer ( who I have never heard of) argues that if you are going to have a baby as a young woman you need to be crazy to try to bring it up on your own. Which is why the girls go for the new "boyfriend".
How many child abuse cases have you seen recently where the biological father battered a wee mite to death?
Thought not.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How to win friends no. 94

The immigration minister, Woolas by name, has just talked tough on immigration.

So there will be fewer ne'r do wells coming into the country to sponge off us.

Er well no, actually.

There will be fewer ex -Gurkhas.


It was 40 years ago today....

The Great Brian Boru is berating me for not having posted recently. There is a perfectly ordinary explanation.
After the Irish left, I was almost immediately on my way out of the country to Romania.
Just so you know I got back yesterday in time to go to a dinner party.
And I'm back to Romania on Monday.
So I've had little time for anything much.
The dinner party for the Irish went what one could only describe as swimmingly - of the eleven present, 4 including myself were not drinking, but the remaining 7 got through 14 assorted bottles of fizz,red and white.
In fact, everyone had such a good time that we could only finally get to bed about 3am on Sunday.
The contingent from Germany have already sent us pictures - everything in beautiful order before, and complete detritus after.
For some reason they have also taken photos of the enormous breakfasts that were being served up.
Let me tell you a small story about my friend from 40 odd years ago.
The Earl of Kilkenny - for it is he - wondered at some point over the weekend where we had first met. I reminded him it was at a party in a side road off Kings road.
" Ah yes" he said, " I remember now. I was living round the corner and was walking home one night. The windows of Number 57 were wide open with music blaring. A young lady asked if myself and my companion ( a senior accountant with the Irish Tourist Board at the time) would care to come in. We declined. I dropped the man off home and made my way back to the party.
Some time later there were great hammerings at the door. An elderly man in pyjamas was standing there. One of the scantily clad young ladies asked him in and gave him a drink. (I hasten to add they were scantily dressed because it was the 60s and the mini was in - as well as see through tops). Some considerable time later there were more hammerings at the door.
By this time, you and I had met and were getting on famously shouting at each other above the noise. Each floor of the house was playing different music.
Anyway, the door was opened to reveal two policemen, who were also invited in by young ladies - and had drinks pressed on them. They were there, they said because an elderly man had been kidnapped. The policemen were taken to where he was and could see the report was not true.
Some more time passed, and the door reverberated once more. There stood an elderly lady in her dressing gown.
Now it so happened that it was myself that opened the door. I had great difficulty making out what she was trying to say - it may have been the drink fuddling me somewhat.
Anyway, she really really wanted her husband back. So we went in search of him, and there he was with the two policemen, all very tipsy and dancing with several mini skirted young ladies."
He paused.
" I think his evening came to an end about then."
You may ask how he is the Earl of Kilkenny, when no such title exists? Himself talks in a very aristocratic Irish brogue, which, when combined with the title, always ensures the best table, the best ticket and the best service imaginable....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Irish are here!

One of the nicest aspects of having our (very) old Irish friends to stay is that a proper breakfast is required.
None of your cardboard muesli and yogurt muck - its black pudding, eggs, bacon, sausages,tomatoes and kidneys. And a loaf or two.
The main reason is they hardly eat anything during the day, until tea-time, when cakes are required with the several pots of tea.
To celebrate their being here, Mrs L had arranged a dinner party for tonight. She assured me we would be 9. For some reason, almost certainly allied to my inherited Gypsy gene from old Queen Lear, I had a sneaky suspicion we had asked another couple.
And so it has proved. An email winged its way in asking if the Cocktail Warrior was still expected.
Fortunately, I had been working on the assumption that someone else would turn up, and so it has proved.
On past form, although I don't drink in this country, I shall be hung-over tomorrow. The reason, of course, is the adrenalin racing round as the banter goes back and forth as my soon-to-be-ossified brain tries to keep up.
The dog is already exhausted with the strain of the arrangements....

Friday, April 17, 2009

PC gone mad No.94

For our grand Saturday farewell extravaganza for the Irish, Mrs. Lear dispatched me to the local fish shop to acquire that most Scottish of starters, smoked salmon.
I duly purchased the required item, all beautifully sliced and vacuum packed.
The label had the following allergy advice: May contain fish.
I sincerely hope so....


I have some Irish friends staying at the moment, which means the tea consumption has gone through the roof, along with the cake, potato and cream.

I parked briefly behind a car to undertake a small commission, and when I returned my friend said:
" Do you think that's directed at all politicians?"
He was referring to the number plate which started L I B 1234.
Underneath, in the small space where usually there is an advert for the car selling company, the owner had had printed
" Lazy Ignorant Bastards, the lot of them!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

For those of you unable to access Guido just now...'s his last post before the huge surge in traffic brought his server down.

The Lobby’s Shameful Complicity in McPoison’s Reign of TerrorGuido FawkesToday, 11:11 AM

"Guido’s eyes welled up when he read Alice Miles piece in The Times this morning. For five years this blog has squarely blamed Lobby journalists for failing the people. The Fourth Estate may not have a formal constitutional role, but the role is real.Journalists are to there to “speak truth unto power”. Not trade favours for tittle tattle, not report spin as truth. From the start of this era of spin the Lobby pack have been willing accomplices. It is actually hard to name journalists who can hold their heads high. Peter Oborne - seen as an eccentric maverick, Martin Bright - hounded out of a job by Brown’s henchmen, Fraser Nelson - frozen out by Downing Street despite being Britain’s most widely read politcal columnist. Who else stood up to McPoison and revealed his text message terrorism?Cowardice and cronyism runs right through the Lobby. Fear of being taken off the teat of pre-packaged stories served to them. That is not journalism, that is copy-taking. The many stories filed this week which reveal just how horrible Brown’s cabal have been are of mere historical interest. They would have been brave if they had been written before McPoison was toppled. You all knew and said nothing. You knew and went along with it. Your revelatory articles are merely confessions of previous personal cowardice.It is not as if it was a secret, as an outsider Guido went on Newsnight and laid out his manifesto, telling the Lobby to get some backbone and stand up to the spin machine. That j’accuse was met with a ferocious counter-attack from the doyen of the Lobby system, Sir Michael White, Nick Robinson cried foul, Paxman sneered. The issue was glossed over. The Lobby felt relief. The little boy who had pointed at the naked Lobby was rebuffed. Who has ended up looking the biggest fools? As you write your reviews of the years of terror and spin, do you not feel just the slightest tinge of guilt at your complicity? Guido, too far below the salt to even be nominated for the Orwell Prize for Bloggers, remembered that speaking truth in a time of deceit was a revolutionary act, and the Lobby journalists now sleep safe in their beds tonight, because a rough blogger was prepared to do violence on Damian McBride.You knew and did nothing, you failed your readers, you failed the truth. Hang your heads in shame."


From the Telegraph Letters page:
Don’t skip the fandango
SIR – I read your report (April 14) that the two most-heard songs in public are A Whiter Shade of Pale and Bohemian Rhapsody and mentioned it to a friend, who immediately pointed out that both songs contain the word fandango.
Could this be the elusive secret of writing a guaranteed hit?
John Benson Harpenden, Hertfordshire
If you care to read what a fandango is, it will immediately become clear why "fandango" has become the same as a haroosh,stramash,kerfuffle and carry-on.
In any event, it would be completely beyond my ( lacking) terpsichorean skills.
Even the light fandango

Spin, lies and manipulation

Middle Ms. Lear is a member of an association that holds awards every year. This year she is on the judging panel, and has been underwhelmed by how it works.
In essence people nominate themselves ( and the organisers nominate a few) and lo and behold those who have been trained by the organisers end up on the short list.
Ms. Lear is of course having none of it. The people put forward should be judged on their model and how well it is implemented, not on whether or not they took a course.
It does beg the question though of how things are now organised in this country.
Dizzy has another attack on Labour's "consultation" exercises, which, bullied and cajolled, deliver the predetermined result.
Or if they don't they are simply ignored. The regional assembly debacle is a case in point.
Clearly in NuBritain we are all left with manipulation as the only way forward.
I have long said that Labour has no principles and hence no guide as to what it should do - beyond the Stalinist tendency to force more and and more stifling legislation down our throats. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that there is virtually no legislative programme for MPs to debate. That, of course, is partly because Brown has effectively bypassed Parliament as where laws are made - orders in council account for something like 70 times more legislation than Parliament.
It's time a little boy stood up and said " The Emperor has no clothes".

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

See Glasgow?

All over our local news today is the statement that Glasgow has the fastest growing unemployed population in Britain.
I could have told you that some time ago as about 25% of our tenants have effectively gone bust and a couple that were due to replace them have decided not to proceed.
What can they do? One of our better tenants, who was forging ahead with a new business, in which he had already invested £30,000, had his £20,000 overdraft revoked on Friday. Why? No one will tell him, but I'm willing to bet it's because the Bank ( RBS by the way) want a bigger fee and higher margin.
Glasgow humour will, I'm sure, find a way through. On a hoarding around what was supposed to be yet another "superb, outstanding, exceptional" slum-in-the-making someone has stuck in letters a foot high:
which almost certainly means it was a highly educated person who did it.
Shame the revolting Brown never thought about it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Amidst all the continuing spin and lies around "Smeargate", I was struck how Draper continues to lie and lie again. Calling the emails juvenile is the spin word trying to deflect from the baseness of their content. Saying his private emails were hacked ( Guido insists they weren't and Dizzy says the way they were sent was the electronic equivalent of a postcard) is trying to deflect from his own position in it all. Saying they were never meant to be published is given the lie by his saying they were brilliant and he would speak to Andrew about timing and technology and run with them asap. Saying they were done in McBride's own time is trying to deflect the fact that McBride was a civil servant paid for by you and me who shouldn't be doing anything for a political party.
And finally - although I fully expect further revelations and resignations - for now, as Iain Dale has pointed out, Draper lied about the Dale Racism row.
No wonder they have no time to sort the economic mess they created.
Further revelations:
Both Draper and McBride have publicly stated that the smears " were never intended to see the light of day".
In that case, why is Nadine Dorries all over the BBC, GMTV and Sky saying she was contacted some months ago about the allegations regarding herself? See Iain Dale...
Youngest Ms Lear insists McBride was not a civil servant. He may have been once but as a Spad he is not. Civil servants ( proper ones) send back stuff that has political implications.
The problem is clearly some people are less honourable than others....

Friday, April 10, 2009

I want to be alone.....

As you know Mrs. Lear is working towards her new job as a Parkie for Glasgow City Council - at least I think that's what she's doing.
However, she returned home the other day fulminating about how Quangos and other do-gooders get involved and mess up the countryside. I assume this is as opposed to the farmers ( who kill things that attack their sheep) the huntin' shootin' fishin' lot ( who kill things) and the non-locals ( who kill things in their 4 x 4s). By the way, have you ever noticed that this last group always insist having these vehicles makes absolute sense - for them?
Anyway, the gist of her fury was that the Black Grouse, which has been in decline for many years, is probably reaching a critical point. There have been umpteen committees, groups, studies and what not to try to reverse this. Every single one of these groups and studies requires the poor birds to be counted. At a guess, over the last 5 years, every Black Grouse will have been counted about 20 times. The amount of money spent on this would enable every bird to have its own mansion.
Now the number one thing that Black Grouse really really dislike is being disturbed when they are on a thing called a lek. In essence, this means the male bird trying to get his leg over. Male readers think of a knock at the door at a critical moment, a mobile going off, or your inamorata spotting a man through the window with a pair of binoculars.
It ain't going to happen after that is it?
Well, that's pretty much the male Black Grouse's view too.
I'm sure all the watchers and counters are well trained and careful, but a Black Grouse is a pretty wily bird - much more so than pheasants or even Red Grouse.
So the efforts of all these do-gooders are rather counter productive. There's a trail of frustrated birdies hopping about, and extremely worried that the next time they get the missus in the right frame of mind,another twenty pairs of binoculars will be trained on him.
However, there is hope.
There is one area where no counting, ogling or spying goes on - and, surprise surprise, the Black Grouse population here is growing wonderfully well - despite the older birds being culled. Not one penny has been spent on any study beyond the keepers having a general look at the hillside every now and again.
It's Balmoral Estate. Her Majesty won't allow those do-gooders onto her land.....


I've written before about how anagrams fall largely into 4 categories ( sort of apt, opposites, weird) and loved this one.
Have a guess.....

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

That Irish Austerity Package..

Well, someones done it at last. Actually CUT wages, pensions, programmes, and INCREASED taxes.
And quite right too. It's what we need to do but with the numbers roughly 10 times as big. Think about it.
I watched a programme last night about the 1929 crash. The similarities with today are startling. Increase in borrowing. Speculation. And the one I particularly liked was that on October 23rd, generally regarded as the day before it all got really nasty, there was a crash in Automotive stocks ( cars to you and me) which would appear to have been the catalyst for the greater crash to follow. US car manufacturers are actually considering bankruptcy at the moment.
Thinking about it, that makes sense. Cars account for a huge percentage of our GDP ( think of repairs, new tyres,petrol, insurance etc etc), and if their sales are falling, so is everything else.
Alex Salmond has referred to the Celtic Tiger Arc of Ecomonic growth. This was Iceland, Ireland and Scotland.
Looking a bit motheaten and Tiggerish, methinks.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

You know its a recession when...

You know its a recession when your friends start getting fired.
Unfortunately, I'm now at an age when it's my friends children that get fired.
I heard today of a very bright chap who hasn't worked since September. He is married with two children and living in what most people would regard as a big house.
He is so hard up for money he asked his father for £200 to pay for groceries. His father ( who recently bought( rented?) a new Mercedes and lives in another, bigger house) told him he couldn't spare it. The wife went to her mother and borrowed £300. The school fees are two months behind. There's effectively no equity in the house.
Where is it all going to end? It can only be in mass bankruptcy.

Gimme gimme gimme...

I had a most edifying meeting with a lady from Glasgow District Council yesterday, whose sole task was to make sure I was claiming all I was entitled to, now that I am over 60.
I pointed out to her that actually I didn't claim anything, but she said her job was to make sure I did, and also what I would be entitled to from age 65.
The point she was making was that nearly £3 billion of benefits for the elderly go unclaimed every year, and in general terms, they have paid for it through their taxes over the years. The problem was the more elderly were very averse to claiming - and apart from anything else the forms they have to fill in are so obtuse and lengthy that most of them fall asleep half way through. So her job was to contact the "younger" element and get them hooked into the system as early as possible.
She told me that her method of getting people in was to talk about Council Tax. This was the most hated element of what people spent money on. As she said, once she got them fulminating about that, she could get them to sign up to pretty much anything.
What did strike me though was that this is another example of Liebore extending its tied estate - gerrymandering in truth. After all, if you are getting a few hundred quid from someone you tend not to vote against them - or at least think twice where there's a chance the other side might take it away.
So next time you think about claiming a benefit, just remember who gave it to you - and then vote for a change from the present government.
And before you ask, my own bet would be that the visit will cost me money rather than giving it back to me...

You couldn't make it up no.94

Middle Ms. Lear has been having some problems in her " close" as tenement flats in Glasgow are called with water somehow spilling from the attic down through 3 flats - fortunately not hers.
However, the problem is so severe - and apparently unfixable - that the water has been turned off for the whole close.
Enter Environmental health - they are closely allied with elfnsafety.
The only thing is the gentleman concerned was a Mr. Flood....
Mr. Flood sent out a plumber whose name was Pipe...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Anarchy! Protest!Time for a nap!

Silversprite up in the Hebrides has a lovely picture of the G20 protests which you can see here. As an OAP I can relate to it absolutely....

Friday, April 03, 2009


Driving through town just now I came across a couple of demonstrations by Glasgow City employees ( it's Friday after all and the weather's most pleasant).
They were picketing the building that houses the planning department and the City assessors ( I'm with them all the way on this one).
What amused me was that, though the picketers were clearly sons of the soil,grimy shipyard salt of the earth.. no hang about, that's not true they sit behind computers and answer phones saying the computer system's down...anyway, there they were ready for a siege.
They had their thermos flasks of Lattes, their wraps for lunch... and dozens of bottles of mineral water. Not even in plastic bottles - in GLASS bottles.
Not like when I was a flying picket.....
It seems there was a bit of a do because the Police said they couldn't have the glass bottles - elfnsafety dontcha know....
The youngest Ms. Lear has pointed out I am a Capitalist Pig and was never a flying picket. She is quite correct. I took the bus....

Tickets please...

I spent yesterday in London and would have to say that the only protesters I saw were outside the Chinese Embassy - I think protesting about the Falung Gong. I was only in one taxi as I was late, but otherwise travelled on buses which all got me where I wanted to go for 90p and on time.
The taxi driver ( natch) had a view on the G20, which was mostly that it was doing nothing for the man in the street HERE. All the stimulus ( if it really is such) looks to benefit other countries, unless, of course, we ask the IMF for some dosh. Just on that point, the $750billion to do with the IMF is actually nothing of the sort - its the amount the IMF wants to be able to lend, and which has to be subscribed by the various countries at the conference. I think that means we will have to find more billions to come out of taxpayers pockets here. In general, his view was that everything the government had done was merely headline stuff - he saw no evidence of people being less ground down - forget better off. His view would be entirely in tune with Brown's answer to a question posed by a journalist: What would be success for the G20? Brown's answer is very revealing; " It'll be a success if you ( ie the media ) say it is". No mention of actually doing something for anyone.
But I digress.
On the Train back, there was some problem which mean the buffet/shop had no power. So no hot anything, but more importantly no credit card machine working.
Which meant that a good 75% of the people who wanted a cold sandwich couldn't pay for it. They literally had no cash at all on them. Being old fashioned, I always carry enough cash to deal with any emergency - if you have cash, you can have what you want.
I was sitting right beside the train manager's office, which is about half way up the train, equipped with computers and CCTV cameras.
I've always thought they had little to do, but was surprised at how much was required of them. Apart from announcements about stations, times etc, all the problems were his to deal with as well. Last night, these included a drunk, a child that was throwing up all over the place ( it was a Pendolino train) and some poor woman who, despite having a reserved seat, found it occupied by an extremely belligerent elderly woman who simply refused point blank to move. I am glad to say the train manager ( or guard as they used to be known) put the poor woman into first class.
Our guard was in constant communication with the driver, because with lower power it took longer for the train to accelerate up to speed - making a significant difference to timings between stations.
" Aye," says,the guard," This train's right keech" He referred to the driver as " Big man". I've mentioned this before - it doesn't refer to height but to intellectual capacity. A train driver is clearly superior to a guard in the Virgin hierarchy....
But our manager was also caring about we ordinary passengers - because of the low power, he put out an announcement saying that unless the various gadgets we had plugged in had surge protectors, we should work on battery, as if the power came back on fully, the surge would destroy them. As it happens, it did come back about Carlisle, and as far as I know, everyone was safe.
So next time you're on a train, spare a thought for your Manager. He/she has a much worse job than you might think.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Whisky Galore

I was fascinated to read that there is a project on the go to "dehydrate" whisky.
It would save fortunes in bottles,transport and storage costs. Basically, they flash-freeze the whisky which forms tiny crystals, which are then dehydrated and packed in a small box. You don't even need to rehydrate it all at once - and the amount of water added determines the strength too.
They are also doing a very nice line in water from the streams where the whisky is made, so you can get the whole experience.
NB apparently it doesn't work with whiskey - which comes from Ireland.

Is it a bird...???

Nice line from Kevin Maguire on Breakfast this morning. Bill Turnbull referred to Gordon Brown as being in saving the world mode, and Maguire said " Yes he's thinking of himself as Superman, but unfortunately when he comes out of the telephone booth he's still dressed as Clark Kent"
Like it