Monday, 30 June 2014

Pearls Of Wisdom

Thirty years ago today I got married. Wise men will tell you I never did anything better and have done nothing wiser since. So today is our pearl anniversary. So you see what I've done with the title of this entry - clever eh?

Sharon and I are staying at one of the London outposts of our property empire - well Rachel's flat. She is at Glastonbury but doesn't live here any longer anyway - it's complicated.

Daughter number one is not at Glastonbury so has been chaperoning her old parents, mostly from pub to pub. Yet again I have to praise all that London has to offer, though cheap it ain't

So what have we done? Friday night, Sharon  and I had a satisfactory meal at the local pub, the Edinboro Castle (yes that's how they spell it) - decent chicken caesar salad and fairly priced prosecco.  We were back there yesterday with Helen for a very agreeable lunch - fish and chips since you ask, washed down with three pints of Ubu. In between those two visits we had taken a more upmarket excursion on  the Saturday morning to mark Helen's birthday. We brunched at the Gilbert Scott restaurant in the magnificent refurbished St Pancras station hotel. Excellent service and very good food at a predictably elevated price. The Ridgeview English sparkling wine worked very well with my haddock omelette. Rather less pricey was a nostalgic visit later that afternoon to  the Zetland in South Kensington - my local when a student three decades ago. It wasn't all eating and drinking, we fitted in the Victoria and Albert Museum as well. I'm ashamed to admit that I had never been in there before despite having lived in a flat directly opposite for my final two years at King's.

So all in all, having a lovely time. Theatre tonight. Review to follow.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Godliness Of Growth

Spume is a follower of the blog and his alter ego Ian Marchant has a rather better blog  at Something of the Night . I recommend it because it never indulges in cant. But I beg to take issue with his denigration of capitalist growth in his recent announcement of rejoining the Green Party. The fault in capitalism is not with the system but with the people within it. Growth has lifted swathes out of real poverty. It has also made a hero out of a charlatan like Richard Branson but let's not bung the baby out with the bath water.

A 'rentier' is one who lives off rent or other income from property including intellectual property. In damning the rentier class (and by association the dreaded Tories) an author living off his royalties has to be slightly careful. All intellectual property is theft?  

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Lost In Translation

I like owning books. I like to own the books I have read. They don't have to be new books, in fact it is very difficult for me to pass a second-hand bookshop. I already own more books than I am likely to read and that is before the volumes held on my Kindle.

Mais, si amusant comme en anglais?
A gift at Christmas (from my father I think) was a bundle of Simenon's Maigret novels rescued from a charity shop. In between other bits and bobs of reading (I have inherited Dad's habit of having more than one book on the go) I am enjoying My Friend Maigret. All good stuff but it does make me jealous of those polyglots who can read these things in their original language. How does alliteration translate, or that English staple the pun? Does Wodehouse work in French? 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

British Values I

Only now I come to write about these fabled values do I realise that they are the stuff of nostalgia. Tomorrow does not belong to me, nor has today, much less did yesterday. I am an anachronism. Oh well.

Saying please and thank you. Holding doors open. Letting ladies pass by on the correct side of the pavement thus sparing them from splashes from inconsiderately driven carriages. Shaking hands - firmly. These are a few of my favourite things.

The Beatles. Shakespeare. Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads. My Grandma. Anthony Powell. Simon Raven. Evelyn Waugh. Pete Atkin. Amateur rugby union football. These are a few of my favourite things.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Why Am I Not Surprised

I'm a Brummie. Thus the undermining of Birmingham''s educational institutions pains me. We used to be able to rely on our politicians to vandalise the system - all hues of the knob-heads have been laying waste the landscape for most of my life. But the latest desecration is being practised by Islamist entryists. Saddest of all, no one is really one bit surprised that this goes on. And now we have all sorts of fatuous claims that henceforth there will be a concentration on 'British values'. By which they mean? Here's the news - the people making the loudest noise have no real clue what they're shouting about. So it will be for me dear reader to tell you what I think and to put your minds at rest. Watch this space. I spy a high horse that begs to be ridden. Tomorrow belongs to me!  

Stop Taking The Piss

I had a rather splendid day at Lord's last Thursday. I helped out with the hosting of some business guests and I have to express admiration for the quality of the corporate hospitality at the home of cricket. I'm sure it must have been bloody expensive (one doesn't ask old chap) but they laid on a bloody good show. Seared tuna steak is an ambitious offering in mass catering terms but they executed it to perfection. Mucho impressivo as we say round these parts.

No, I didn't sit here
Of course a day at the cricket is always the better for the sun being out and for a young Englishman (Joe Root) making a century, but this would have been enjoyable even in murkier circumstances. The only bum note was sounded by the deplorable over rate, a curse in which the two teams conspired throughout the match, a match which terminated this evening in that most cricket of things - a thrilling draw. Its longueurs are part of cricket's charm but this behaviour trespasses into taking the piss out of the paying public. So get a grip, there's good chaps.