Sunday, October 31, 2010


I wonder how many people have picked up on the very clever allusion in the new AA ad for home cover insurance?
And why, you may ask, is John Cleese, who has pots and pots of money, doing it?

Well, I suspect he has been offered so much money for a day's work that he couldn't turn it down ( or he's got a book/film to publicise).

So what is it?

Well, as the water pours down through the ceiling, his " daughter" says she will call the AA.

He replies," The AA? For faulty showers?"


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sic Transit...

The crown Prince of Japan, an extremely erudite man, spent some time at Oxford.

The story goes that when he went for his interview, which mostly consisted of having dinner with the Master of Balliol, the following exchange took place.

Now Balliol regards itself as rather grand, a bit like the second regiment of the Gurkhas, or just about any Guards regiment.

At dinner, which was proceeding most smoothly, as you would imagine, the Master was making conversation and said to HRH " I've always been fascinated with Japan and it's culture and spiritual life. How exactly does the Royal Family fit into that?"

" Well," said the prince," There are, for instance, two sides to my position."

" How interesting, and what would they be?"

" Naturally, there is the temporal, which clearly defines my position as next in line to the throne."

" Of course, " said the Master, with an unctious smile." And the other?"

" The other is the spiritual, which, from my point of view, means I am a god."

" Ah, yes, I see, " said the Master." In that case, I'm sure you will feel very at home at Balliol."

Monday, October 18, 2010

True Phlegm

I know I'm not keeping up with the pace, but hey, sometimes I have stuff to do.

I had an exceptionally fine dinner last Thursday night for the Gurkhas in the New Club in Edinburgh, complete with regimental silver, generals, lords,kilts,trews,medals and an after dinner speech.

The speech was given by Professor David Purdie, who not only gave his services free but also donated the pre-dinner drinks. The reason was his 90 year old father-in-law had fought with the Gurkhas in Korea, and is ( possibly) the last surviving Gurkha officer from that period.

He gave an excellent speech, not so much for the content but for the delivery. It was replete with military stories of the great and good, none more so than the Brigadier in the Carlton Club which was blown up by the IRA in 1990.

He represented everything a British Brigadier is known for: shoes so shiny you could see your face in them; suit immaculately correct; regimental tie; and true phlegm.

The Brig was having his dinner when the bomb went off. He was eating his dessert, and as the building collapsed around him, a cone of plaster formed on his head - and on the spoon of pud that was making it's way to his mouth.

As he came to rest somewhere between the first floor and the basement, complete with table and chair and himself intact, he took stock of the situation with a mind honed from years of command.

In his own words :" As I dusted off the plaster from the spoon, and ate my pudding, my thought was that this was no ordinary kitchen mishap."

It became the quote of the year - and reminds me of Sid James in " Carry on Up the Khyber."

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A decade in Afghanistan

Scotland is set to host the main events of a national appeal to raise over £350,000 for those affected by the war in Afghanistan, which will be launched in October. An ambitious team of students from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth lead the ‘DecAid’ campaign, which will honour the decade long contribution of British Armed Forces in Afghanistan since 2001. how of solidarity. DecAid deserves to s
The official launch on 13th October in 7 Rifles Barracks, Davies Street, London, will be supported by DecAid’s patrons; Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Parker KCB CBE, Deputy Commander of ISAF Forces in Afghanistan; Hamish Clark of ‘Monarch of the Glen’; the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, and sponsors; Exeter University Innovation Centre; Plymouth University; Exeter University and NRG Direct Mail.
DecAid’s latest patron, former BBC war correspondent and independent politician, Martin Bell, comments "I find it most heartening that these young people, on their own initiative, are doing so much to support our soldiers in Afghanistan. This is not a celebration but a show of solidarity.”
DecAid proceedings will dominate 2011 in a coordinated year-long campaign. The opening ceremony, a spectacular ‘Massed Pipes and Drums’ event, on 26th June 2011, will see 2,011 musicians march along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, in conjunction with the Armed Forces Day events.
The appeal has set a series of extreme physical challenges which will involve several thousand people nationally, including ex-servicemen, their family and friends. The challenges include;
The ‘Munro Mission’, in Scotland, which aims to conquer 283 mountains in 49 days, climbing the height of Mount Everest every three days. The team will complete the 1600 mile route without the use of motorised transport, instead travelling on foot, and by bicycle and kayak. Ever Munro will be dedicated to service men and women who have lost their lives in Afghanistan. In this challenge the team will look to raise money for additional service charities such as the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
‘The Ride 2 Remember’ static bike race from London to Kabul,
‘The Big Tow’, in which vehicles will be towed around Rockingham race track in a tri-service competition; and
‘Stretched to the Limit’ where 30 teams will attempt the arduous trek up Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales, carrying a heavy stretcher.
The DecAid enterprise will donate to three service charities;
‘Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association’ (SSAFA);
‘The British Limbless Ex-Servicemen Association’ (BLESMA); and
‘Talking 2 Minds’,
It is the brainchild of Rupert Laing, aged 24, who lives in Moray and is a former Exeter University graduate.
Laing comments “we want to encourage the population of the UK, particularly our generation of under 25 year olds, to stand up and show their support for the work of the courageous and inspiring members of our armed forces on the 10th anniversary of the conflict.” Laing leads the DecAid Team which is made up of current and former members of the Exeter University Officer Training Corps (EUOTC).
As well as its own proceedings, DecAid will oversee individually organised events which can be advertised on their website All of the money raised will go towards helping those affected by the decade long conflict in Afghanistan.
Notes for Editors:
For further information contact: Rupert Laing – or 07709 430 127
Several of the participants have already completed challenges such as climbing the five highest mountains of the UK and Eire in five days, each involving a marathon, and briefly held the World Record for the most people joined together to complete a marathon.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Jest Magic!

You might not believe this, but I was in the company of an erstwhile fund-raiser for the Labour party today. Yes, I know, very uncharacteristic.

He is, however, properly speaking, a dirty rotten capitalist, but also quite a nice chap, and we have business dealings with him that generally work out well.

We were chatting away when he suddenly broke off.

" Ya know, Kingy, I have to tell ya this. I'm this close to voting for that David Bluidy Cameron of yours. He's jest magic!"

There could be no more ringing endorsement...