Friday, April 30, 2010

Sticking out

The volcanic ash has had some unexpected effects.
People having to remain overseas - if on medication - have had some issues with getting their pill supplies.
Most have had a fairly easy ride. In the EU for example, you can go along to a doctor, explain your problems, show the medication and get a new prescription which can be filled in ( for example) Puerto Banus, if that's where your staying.
So it was without too much worry that a very senior Scottish gentleman discovered that he might have an extra week or so in Spain before he could get home.
He toddled into the doctor, gave him his prescriptions, explained his problems and the doctor nodded sagely.
Now the gentleman in question has a specifically dodgy ticker that requires constant medication.
One of the pills he has to take every day is Viagra.
50 mg.
8 times a day.
This results in certain effects which I will leave to your imagination, and which elicit quite a lot of admiring glances from ladies of all vintage - and quite a lot of men too.
So the Spanish doctor,having nodded sagely,looked at the bulge in his patient's trousers,and wrote out the prescriptions, all bar the Viagra.
The Scottish grandee queried this, and was assured no prescription was necessary - Viagra was available over the counter in Spain without prescription.
He popped into the pharmacy, handed over the prescriptions, then said , "Viagra?"
"Si", said the pharmacist." Quantos?"
Now the VIP had never had to think about that- he had simply got the prescription, used the pills, and then refilled the prescription when he finished them.
Just at that point, his third wife ( some 20 years his younger) hobbled into the shop - she had hurt her back gardening.
The husband and she exchanged some words, then he turned back to the pharmacist.
He had no real idea what to say - so he said the first thing that came into his head.
The pharmacist dropped the pills he was holding. He looked at the wife. He looked at the husband. He looked at the husband's crotch.
He shook his head.
"Madre de Dios! You Eeenglish! Normally you are just disgusting with the beer! But now - you are disgusting with the sex too!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

God made Sex

I was taken with this headline to a story about sex education in America. Of course, we in the UK couldn't possibly bring God into our rapidly disintegrating multi-cultural society, and absolutely not into S-E-X.
In America, though, God is still very big business, and He is listened to.
Well, his minions on Earth are, at any rate.
So I was pleased to see that God had made sex. It has always seemed to me that it's not something that had to be constructed. After all, even very primitive creatures have what they call sex ( we might not, of course). I'm sure Mr. Fact will make sure we get all this correct.
The point of the article was that parents should be the people to inform their children about it - never mind how embarrassed both sides might be.
I well remember my own sex education at school, which I have mentioned before.
The majority of what I learned from my parents came from my father ( boy - dad - it's a man thing).
We were walking up a street in Vevey, Switzerland that sits comforatbly on the Lake of Geneva in it's pristine smugness. As we made our way homewards, my father kept his eyes very firmly on the ground, and harumphed, clearing his throat.
" Hm yes, your over thirteen now, aren't you?"
" Yes Dad."
" Harumph, harumph... ah, things start happening.. harumph!"
" Yes Dad"
" Ah, harumph, ah, there might be hairs growing .."
" Yes Dad"
" Harumph.. all over?"
" Yes Dad."
" AH and er, harumph, what about down there?"
" Yes Dad."
" Ah," sigh of relief. " That's all right then..."

Living on the edge

Sorry about the sizing - I'll have to get the chap that winds my watch to sort it (joke)
When I was looking up Falstaff for the previous post, I came across this quote of his:
I can get no remedy against this consumption of the
borrowing only lingers and lingers it out... ( I,2,585)
Do you think Gordon Brown knows this?
Or the Greeks?

A singular man

Here's a tale to take your mind off bigots and the election.
Mind you, we all have prejudices..
Anyway, in Romania in the time of Ceausescu, there lived a man who didn't like the regime. Actually, lots of men didn't like the regime, but they toed the line.
This particular man, whose name was Tiberius ( and they have Trajan as well), decided he would "drop out" of the stranglehold that the regime had on it's people.
So he went off to live in the woods not far from a place called Apold. It was pretty chilly in the winter but he dug himself a cave and was fine.
The only problem was that he needed to feed himself, so he hunted a bit, stole a bit and general kept himself out of people's way.
The regime, of course, didn't like this show of individuality one bit, so they sent a few people out to throw him in jail.
Unfortunately ( or fortunately if you were Tiberius), they couldn't lay hands on him. They found the entrance to the cave all right, but when they went inside they started to be impeded by booby traps and disappearing floors into bottomless pits.
Tiberius had dug all these himself, and every time one of his pursuers disappeared there was maniacal laughter ahead of the pack.
The baddies eventually gave up, swearing to return.
Of course, reporting failure on something to the regime at the time wasn't a good idea, so there was a degree of fudge, delay and obfuscation which meant it was some months before anything further happened. Think Falstaff's description of his defence in Henry IV part 2.
They returned in force, with machinery and weapons, and tried for days to capture Tiberius, and always just in front of them was that maniacal laugh.
Eventually, they lost all patience and brought up artillery and explosives. They spent days laying charges, and finally pushed the plunger.
Tiberius had gone round disconnecting things.
By now, of course, he had become a hero, so the regime started at one end of the woods and cave and systematically blew half the mountainside to bits. Still they heard the laughter.
Finally, they poured hundreds of tons of concret and boulders into the caves, working all the way round like a hunter with a ferret after rabbits. Even as they poured, they heard the laugh.
When the work was all done there was silence. After a couple of days of no sound, they packed up their equipment and went away.
And Tiberius watched them from the top of the Church tower in Apold...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why people hate Thatcher

.. because she made them face reality.
PS. Lovely quote from ex-Fabian Stephen Pollard:"When you give power to those previously subservient to bureaucracy and ideology, everything blossoms"

Back to the Present

I finally got back to Glasgow last night.

My journey was most interesting, travelling through Hungary,Austria,Germany and Holland before setting foot on UK soil again.

I'm quite lucky - there must be several tens of thousands still stuck.

Travelling for 2 days across Europe in a train was a salutary lesson. The further west and north, the better the train. I set off from Sighisoara with 4 enormous sandwiches as provided by Alin, a bar of chocolate, 4 half litres of water, some cabbage pie - and a loo roll. I may say I didn't need it...

Nowhere did I see a single UK consular official helping out. In fact, at the main Vienna Railway station where I had to change for Munich, there were probably some 3 -4,000 Brits desperately trying to get to the Channel Coast without money or anything. Austrian Railways, at their own cost, was passing out coffee, water, food and what information they had, and very welcome it was too to those that needed it. They had also made the loos free ( normally 50 cents) to British travellers. An excellent effort.

Once into Germany, I saw just how far down the list of countries we have slipped. Everywhere was spotless. The trains had people clearing up regularly, and also cleaning the loos en route. They had recycling bins on the trains, and anything that was collected was recycled before being taken off. The trains themselves had about 25% more space per passenger than ours do. The train stations, even in the middle of the night, had all-night train information ( and trains that ran all night) as well as attended toilets and shower rooms and places to eat and drink.

At one point on a platform in Dortmund I looked a little lost. We wee man popped out of a sentry box, and asked if he could help. Which he duly did. This was about 1am.

Things were similarly good in Holland as I made my way to the early ( or is that late?) Hook of Holland to Harwich ferry. And there I met up with more hoards of Brits pleading with the officials to let them board. Eventually ( at a guess) a ferry which normally would take mostly freight and perhaps 4/500 foot passengers, took not so much freight but about 3 or 4,000 poor souls.

On board I was able to get a shower and change my shirt, so I looked quite presentable.

There were lots of tales, but two will suffice.

One elderly couple had been at Calais for 5 days. Not one Navy ship, not any British officials, nothing. So they gave up and headed to Hoek Van Holland, where they thought they would have a better chance ( they did).

Another couple had been in Argentina, and, as it happened, had flown with Iberia and therefore back to Madrid.

They had heard Brown intone that there would be a fleet of coaches waiting to take them to the Navy ships.

Not only were there no coaches and no Navy ships, there were again no British officials to help. In the end, they had found that there were possible chances in Holland, had changed their UK flight to Amsterdam, then made their way to the port.

Brown referring to the Dunkirk spirit made everyone laugh. As one of them told me:" Well at Dunkirk at least there were both ships and direction. And I should know, 'cos I was there. Here, this lot couldn't organise a chimps tea party".

I'm not sure I quite get that one, but I'm sure you get the drift.


I finally made it back last night ( more anon) but I was struck by an email I received from the only Tory Councillor in Glasgow:

Following the recent Council Budget announcement of additional funding for roads maintenance, Glasgow City Council can now set out below the proposals on how it intends to commit this combined budget of £12 million.
There has been no capital investment in the fabric of the network since 2006/07. This has left our roads more vulnerable to attack by external agents such as the weather. The last 2 successive years of extreme winter weather have demonstrated the vulnerability of our Road Network. Underlying problems have allowed the cold weather to wreak havoc, as evidenced by the massive increase in the number of reported potholes:-
2007/08 2008/09 2009/10
No of potholes
(Winter period 3,500 4,647 10,199
Oct – March )

So there you have it. There are officially 10,199 potholes in Glasgow City.

These are reported - and not necessarily filled in.....

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Dunkirk Spirit

Well,with a bit of luck I'll be back Sunday night. I won't bore you with all the machinations required to get a ferry reservation, but suffice it to say I had to get the Mayor to pull a few strings. Quite what his connection with Stena Line is I have no idea, but I suspect it may have something to do with RomGaz where his son works..

Of course, Romanians being what they are, they are convinced the flight ban has only been promulgated to enable train and bus companies to make a profit, and there could be a smidgen of truth in that. They are certainly profiting handsomely.

Spring has definitely arrived in Sighisoara - the little sad smiley ladies are out with their bunches of flowers. As you may recall from a previous post, their real business is not selling flowers, but getting their pictures taken. They are chosen for their diminutive size and the bitter-sweet smile they can put on. I defy anyone not to want to take a picture of them clutching a small bunch of wild flowers...

My enforced presence here has worked quite well, as people who might have wanted to avoid talking to us have no excuse not to when there would appear to be no imminent departure, so we have been able to achieve much that might not have happened otherwise. The weather continues to be beautiful after one day of rain.

The Mayor was very concerned that I would be travelling for at least 2 days to get home, and said that the situation was of such gravity that I should be allowed to take a bottle of tuica with me en route. In fact, it just so happened he had one with him, and, purely by chance, another one as well, which he proposed to keep me company with overnight. I reminded him of our compact, and after a bit of ( false?) concern for my well-being, he conceded he would save them for 3rd September.

He did insist however we should have a special lunch.

As you know, lunch is about 5pm, and we went to a place I had never been in Medias. I can only describe it as a barn, which it was, as it was a flour store for the bakery next door.

The "lunch" was prepared in the bakery oven and consisted of an entire leg of piglet smoked and roasted, served with nothing but the beans so beloved by everyone here - myself included. It was the most enormous chunk I had ever seen on a plate, and was absolutely delicious.

Of course, there was no charge. When the Mayor asked for the bill, he expressed wonderful astonishment that it was free. He is very good at that. It's a bit like the Godfather.." Your Don expects you to do this out of respect and love for him...."

I take the train later tonight. It feels a bit like Europe at the start of WW2 - it will be dark, a spirit of fortitude required, sandwiches, water - and loo-paper.

You never know...

Monday, April 19, 2010


My enforced prolongation of stay in Romania is throwing up all sorts of wonderful things.

Not least is the fact that rather than 120 odd goats we now appear to have more than 150.

At this time of year they are out in the fields in groups of 10/15, being looked after by young boys, who might be described as Peter's descendants ( That's Peter as in Heidi). Quite how I own all these goats is completely beyond me. The good thing is that it is creating employment where there was none before and the cries of horror at the size of the herd have diminished as more and more people are taking care of them. I think there are now 14 in total, with the boys on about GBP2 per day, with the seniors on about GBP6. It is of course 7 days a week, so there are opportunities to rotate work as needed.In the winter they are all indoors, so far fewer people are needed to look after them.

The first of the Billys went off to market and fetched about GBP300 each, so it's all woking out quite well though my fingers are firmly crossed. At last count we should be selling about 40 so we are firmly on course for a small profit this year

Goats, of course, eat their way through everything, so we have had a policy of getting them onto the worst land that needs cleaning up. Once the goats have chomped their way across, planting or reseeding is a doddle.Yesterday was spent all day in the fields, and a serious suntan is now in place. The butterflies and lizards were also stirring, and Transylvania is back to it's magical best.

I have a new camera which is simply wonderful - I have lots of really good pictures of my feet or the sky, but not many of anything else. Naturally, I don't have the instruction manual with me, nor would I read it if I did - it's a man thing. Fortunately, Alin is always on hand, and spent the whole evening early last week working out how it worked. At least I can now take a picture, look at it and erase it too.

Out here, sometimes amazing things happen for no apparent reason.

Alin was approached a few weeks ago by a man who couldn't pay his gas bill, begging to sell us a piece of land.

It wasn't where we wanted it.

It wasn't near anything else we owned.

It wasn't that easy to access.

It hadn't been worked for some years.

There were title problems, inheritage problems ( as Alin calls them) and even a problem with his ID.

Elena, the Capo of the local food Mafia in Nemsa, asked us very politely if we would please buy it, as she owed the man a favour. Reluctantly, Alin agreed to buy it, after his usual " Mr. King, what you tink?" elicited a shrug of my shoulders down the telephone.

One of the magical things here are the picnics people have. Barbecue is almost a religion. The Mayor has a good spot, set in the trees, but without much outlook. I've been looking for a spot where I could have my barbecue. Two or three areas have come up, but all of them just lacked a little something.

So yesterday we went to look at the land Alin had reluctantly bought, and slaved over to get the paperwork in order.

To say I was charmed would be to put it too mildly.

The land sits above Nemsa, looking straight down the valley and across the village, nestling in a kind of hollow below a wooded hillock.

We both just stood there gazing about.

" Mr. King, I'm thinking this will be your picnic spot."

A load of fag ash..

I've deliberately not mentioned the volcanic ash cloud up to now, as I couldn't believe Europe as a whole had collectively taken leave of it's senses.
When Mt. St.Helens erupted over a far larger area of the United States in 1980, less than 1000 flights were cancelled, and those mostly because the airstrips were covered with ash which had to be cleared away.
The Met office is in full cover-its-backside mode. Quite apart from the fact that people who study volcanoes regularly fly through the ash to measure all sorts of things, IATA has roundly condemned Europe, lambasted European leaders for their inaction, and calling the travel chaos "a mess and an embarrassment. "
Iata chief Giovanni Bisignani said: "The decision that Europe has made is with no risk assessment, no consultation, no co-ordination, no leadership."
Well that shouldn't be such a surprise - that's Europe described perfectly.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cold turkey

There are perils associated with doing business in Romania, and I have been hit by two of them today.

The first concerns some land we have owned for quite some time. To cut a long story short, there would appear to be two pieces of land with the same reference number.

As far as the law and we are concerned, we own the bit we thought we bought. As far as the person farming our land is concerned, it is still his.

However, it actually works in our favour, ,as we have a specific requirement for another piece nearby, which is owned by the dispossessed farmer. Nothing could be simpler than to effect a transfer each way....which has therefore worked out very well in our favour.

The other problem is the Mayor , having had his birthday, has decided he won't drink until my birthday on 3rd September. The problem is he has roped me in to do the cold turkey with him. In fact, it won't be much of a problem for me as I don't drink in the UK anyway, but I am Godfather at another wedding in Romania on 16th May, and that will be quite difficult.

Still, it's in a good cause. The bet is a bottle of whisky - to be drunk by the loser.

I don't drink whisky, so I better not lose.
PS. You see what being drunk does to you....???

A badge of honour

Being in Romania makes me reflect on what the EU actually does.

Apart from giving farmers like me subvention payments, most of the time it's objects are Statist and regulatory.

For instance, last year when we did the contracts for renting the land to various people, we simply put all the bits one individual was renting onto one piece of paper and had it notarised. The Romanians ( who make French and Italian bureaucrats look like amateurs) have simply layered EU regulations on top of their own. Somewhere along the line, this has translated into having to do one contract for each piece of land.

So yesterday we took the notary with us to Nemsa and Alma Vii, clutching ream upon ream of paper, and as each renter came up he signed, I signed and stamped, in three copies.

128 times.

Times 3.

I was completely punchdrunk by the time we finished.

The only ray of light on the horizon is that this is the first year this has had to be done, and everyone is up in arms about it, so there is likely to be a modification for next year.

Last year we got goats and sheep as rent, but as we now own most of the goats in the area ( and having the sheep simply feeds the teethy wolves and the locals), we will receive a share in the produce in the autumn, or in some cases days work. This last is quite useful as it saves having to pick and choose who we want to work for us on the day.

Yesterday was the Mayor's birthday, so of course we had to go and wish him many happy returns. He is now 58, and although he drinks like a fish and eats all the wrong things, he looks remarkably young. I put it down to his not smoking at all and being effectively stress free. Everyone does everything for him.

Of course, it could just be the genes.

His father died last month.

He lost a leg in the war and refused ever to wear a prosthetic, which stood outside his front door for all to see. He hirpled about on his crutches until the day before he passed away.

He was married twice( his first wife died during WW2) and Eugen is the progeny of his second marriage post-war.

He was 92 when he died, a man who worked the fields well into his 70s, and a previous mayor in the Communist era.

So I expect at least another 25 or 30 years out of Eugen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goat Stew.

I've been very busy the last couple of days out here, and very boring it has been as well.

Hours spent with lawyers and accountants are just about bearable, but with officials who require upwards of 40 or 50 signatures and stamps is enough to make me want to shoot myself. Fortunately, it does eventually end, and one can emerge blinking into the sunshine again.

The Mayor is well. The house he is building for his son and daughter-in-law is progressing well, even if he has some odd ideas. He has decided it should have CCTV cameras. As everyone has told us,"For what he wants this? To watch his chickens pecking?" The house is in the grounds of his own house, which is immediately beside the police, so it is extremely unlikely anyone would attempt anything.

The centre of Sighisoara is no longer a mess - the cobbles have all been put back, although with true Official determination some of them have had to be dug up again. They had very carefully sunk some uplighters into strategic locations - the only problem being no one had laid any electric cables...

The new seasons cabbage is not here yet. This means that one does not order cabbage salad as it is a bit white and tough. Of course, foreigners and people from Bucharest are steered to order it, as they, of course, know no better.

But the overwhelming question of the day, on everyone's lips, is what are we going to do with the goats? You may recall last autumn we had about 60 - I say "about" as my calculation was less than the goatherd's, which, in turn,was less than there actually was.

Having been mated in November, we now have a string of baby goats emerging, which, in theory, will take us to about 120.

This is such an enormous number that people actually can't conceive of how we are going to deal with them. As Baldrick would say, I have a cunning plan...

It looks as if we will have about 25 or 30 male goats from the new crop, so these will be sold far and wide - we will only sell in our area if anyone wants one. Some may even find their way back to Switzerland to help their gene pool.

On 23rd May, a large delegation is coming from LeManoir near Caen in France to mark 25 years of association with Mosna. There is to be a feast for the whole (top echelon) population of the three villages and the French - about 300 people in total.

By my reckoning, this will use up about 30 kids. Of course, the Mayor has a budget for this, but Mosna City Hall also has a derelict orchard I want, so we have arranged a small swap. He will buy the goats from me and I will buy the orchard from him. More precisely, Mosna will give me the orchard and I will pay the Mayor....

But hey - that's the goat problem solved . For this year at least..

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The weather here in Romania is not of the very best, but it was still great to get into the hills and check the land that had most recently been bought. I had seen pictures and maps sent over the internet, but there is nothing quite like walking over one's own land, and seeing what the views are like from it.

We have huge amounts to settle in the next week or so, from what to do about the goats, which are beginning to take over everyone's thinking in Nemsa, to registering additional land for subvention payments, appearing before the land court and many more.

But today was Sunday, so it was more important to just get the feel for the area again.

This is the time of year that the snails are collected.

Every wet patch of grass has its own seeker or two, complete with sacks to pop the little darlings into.

I was most impressed to see this, and stopped to watch for a few minutes. I remarked what a good food source they were, after being hung in a sack for a week to drain them of any residual dirt.

"No, Mr. King, " said Alin." We Romanians are definitely not eating such things. We think of them as kaka ( a universal European term for poo)"

Apparently, snails go for about GBP3.5 per Kg. to the collector, and each village has it's own super collector who pays out, then takes a van load to the main town where huge lorries are waiting to take them to other countries. They are never eaten in Romania.

In the season, the ordinary collectors, after some rain, can make up to GBP30 per day - just about a week's wages in the countryside.

As we were going to visit the Mayor, we stopped in Medias flower market to pick up a bunch of roses. There were some lovely yellow ones, with red centres, and I immediately bought a bunch of 7 for GBP2.50. I raised them to my nose and sniffed.

There was a sort of plasticky smell. My thought was it was the paper around them, so I plunged my nose further in.

Still plasticky - indeed, rather moreso.

I turned to Alin.

"These flowers smell funny."

He looked at me and burst into side-slapping gales of laughter.

The red bits in the middle were not natural - they were spray-painted on.

And it had been comprehensively and expertly transferred to my nose and face.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Very Cheeky..

I'm back in Romania after the winter break, and was greeted with a dull day. It brightened as we drove back from Cluj to Sighisoara, and I heard of the Polish airplane crash and the death of the Polish Prime Minister. Not over comforting, then, that I had bee flying with a Polish airline ( Wizz)

More importantly, on the flight with me were The Cheeky Girls. They of course come from Cluj originally.
Now in Romania, they are NOT known for one of them having been engaged to Lembit Opik. Indeed when I mentioned this to another passenger, they asked a) what nationality was he and b) what did he do. I explained he was a Lib-Dem MP, and the enquirer laughed.
"That" he said,"Is why I have never heard of him"
The reason they are known in Romania is because one of them ( I have no idea which one) supposedly had an affair with Tony Blair.
They are not known for their singing ability.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I'm already bored with the election. At 11pm last night the scrolling BREAKING NEWS feed from Sky had, as it's one and only story " Gordon Brown calls election for May 6th"
That was hardly breaking, it had been broken some 12 hours earlier.
The only potential joy I can see is the bloggers, mobile phone cameras and mobile phone recorders catching politicians unaware and skewering phoniness, as has been pointed out elsewhere.
I'm off to London and Romania for the next few weeks, so will at least miss the first half.
I may have to remove myself somewhere else for the rest....

Sunday, April 04, 2010

PLEASE take us back to the '80s, not the '70s

I know my reader doesn't like it when I mention politics, but this is a slightly off-topic mention with a bit of a sideswipe.
Depicting David Cameron as Gene Hunt has to be the stupidest thing this Labour Government has ever done - and it's done many many stupid things.
Of course, it's stupidity has a purpose - to make us all more dependant on the State. Even taking away the tax break on pension dividends was designed in the long term to make more people reliant on the State - and turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
But DC as GH harks back to a period which many regard as a golden age. From the 70's we were a bankrupt, nonentity of a country, until we regained pride in ourselves again and in our country. Labour, of course, destroyed that pride before, and have done it again. Reagan did the same with America - it had lost it's faith in itself, and Reagan gave her it back.Clinton and Obama have thrown it away again and Americans will come to regret their retreat.
Labour talks of taking tough decisions, but in reality take none - bar to set up another quango and deliberate.
Many years ago, one of the heads of Nestles, that great multinational, told me that in many ways it didn't matter what decisions he took - by the time it mattered it would be long after it was relevant. The same is true in any field - what matters is having a decision so that plans can be made. The problem is none of the present slew of national or local Labour politicians have a clue about that - they've never taken any decision beyond where their next meal is coming from.
And before you tell me they have taken decisions, in general they are disastrous.
So back to Gene Genie. If you are a man, wouldn't you like to do away with all the PC claptrap and just say what you really think without being mealy mouthed?
And if you're a woman, even if you are a feminist, I can't help but think you just might like that hint of danger...

Saturday, April 03, 2010


What is it that makes a truly great film? People think I'm a bit odd because I watch and re-watch films that I regard as great.
Casablanca has to be in the top ten and is on More4 this afternoon.
There isn't any part of it that drops below excellent - the pace,the acting, the story, the message.Great films send shivers down my spine, and this one is no exception.
In case you aren't sure, Rick (aka Humphrey Bogart) does NOT say " Play it again Sam". He just says "Play it". Ingrid Bergman on the other hand says " Play it Sam".
But he DOES say " Here's lookin'at you kid."

Thursday, April 01, 2010

MOD and Joanna Lumley and Gurkhas

How many Gurkhas have arrived since the new immigration entitlements were announced?
This is a matter for the Home Office and the UK Border Agency and beyond the remit of the WPC. It is inevitable that the number of Gurkhas will increase in this country as a result of a series of changes to Government immigration entitlements for Gurkhas. The Trust is ready to respond to any increase through the establishment of a Welfare Centre in Salisbury and strong partnerships with other Service Charities and agencies.
What do you think of Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley has been a champion of the Gurkha solider for decades and is a loyal and devoted daughter of the Regiment. The Trust is honoured to have Miss Lumley as a Vice Patron of the Trust and thrilled that she has lent her support to the launch of a major fundraising drive for the Trust.
What is Joanna Lumley’s position on the recent media coverage on UK Gurkha welfare?
You will have to ask Joanna Lumley. These issues are beyond the remit of the WPC.
Is Joanna Lumley to blame for the hardships being experienced by Gurkhas in this country?
Of course not. The issues on UK Gurkha welfare are complicated and best addressed another time. For now, focus of the WPC is raising funds for 10,000 old Gurkha soldiers and widows in Nepal who rely on the Trust.
What is the Trust’s position on GAESO and the other organisations accused of exploiting Gurkhas.
These issues are beyond the remit of the WPC
The Trust is deeply distressed to learn of instances where organisations and individuals have misled Gurkhas over the realities of life in the UK. The Trust is in no way implicated in these articles and, in partnership with the MOD, has in place a comprehensive welfare structure to support those seeking resettlement in the UK. These services are impartial, authoritative and provided free of charge.
These are complicated matters and best addressed in another forum as the WPC is a fundraising activity with its focus on raising money for welfare pensions (and the CT).
What does the Trust think about the cases of Gurkhas in distress in the UK recently featured in the media?
The Trust is very concerned about reports of Gurkhas in need of welfare support. It would be inappropriate for the Trust to comment on the detail of the specific welfare cases in the media, but in general it is important that the public is reassured, there an excellent welfare infrastructure in place for any Gurkha in need in this country and it responds with urgency to cases of distress and hardship both here and in Nepal. The Gurkha Welfare Centre in Salisbury (with a forward operating base at Aldershot) is the focus for all UK Gurkha welfare and is helping Gurkhas seek their statutory entitlements and benevolence from other Service charities and agencies.
If there is such a huge demand for welfare support in this country, why is the WPC directing its funds to Nepal?
There are 10,000 old soldiers and widows in Nepal who are in the twilight of their lives and rely absolutely on the Trust for a dignified old age. We owe a debt of honour to these people, many of whom are WWII veterans.
Furthermore, the WPC is a personal challenge for Mike Willis and Bruce Jackman. They are compelled to help their old comrades and those that served directly alongside of them.

Scandal! Gossip!

Now I know it's Poisson d'Avril, but this is absolutely true ( and tickles my sense of glee. )
I live in an area of Glasgow where there are various kinds of social occasion, including concerts, Gal days and the like. Not every married couple equally like such events, so as we live in an enlightened and open society, one couple's husband could quite easily escort another man's wide to eg an art show, whilst the other halves went their own ways quite separately.
Nothing wrong in that... except... I'm a very cynical old King. As Reggie's CJ would say, " I didn't get to where I am today by being not cynical and eating pumice stone.."
There is one couple with an age difference of about 30 years. The lady concerned is a bit ditzy, but hey that's fine, she's nice looking, well dressed and quite cheery.
Her husband likes football, she likes concerts. So she goes to concerts - with another married man who is about the same age as the husband - a " walker".
And has done for years.
And being an entirely cynical chap, I've always thought they were at it like rabbits in spring. It is undeniable that a year or so into the " relationship" she had glammed up a bit more and had a silly smile on her face - as did the walker.
Time goes on, and the smiles faded.
Move forward a year or two. I happen to be in the doc's surgery today having the remains of my face removed - when lo and behold in comes the walker, muffled up, cap pulled down over face, coat turned up. He would have been unable to recognise me.
He goes to where the repeat prescriptions are collected, but finds his is not there. He whispers his name to the receptionist, who calls across to her colleague, " Has the doc not done Mr.Walker's Viagra prescription yet?"
You heard it here first.
I have a running joke with a friend that I can tell when people have been at it - they have flashing signs on their head, which fade until they do it again. And the more they do it the brighter the sign.
So if you see a couple with one flashing sign but not over the other......