Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Isn't It Nice When Things Work Properly

Whilst British Airways spent the weekend looking like the most disorganised company in the world - BA IT meltdown - and the Conservative Party continued in its self-inflicted death spiral, we had a nice couple of days at the old country estate. Things worked properly.

The drive to Mon took less than three hours without a single traffic jam. The journey home also came in at less than three hours including a stop to buy safety snacks (this is family slang for emergency rations) which included very satisfactory chicken balls. Not sure how much actual chicken was in them but they tasted great.

Even the bank holiday weather worked with us. We walked round to Red Wharf Bay, enjoyed a couple of outdoor drinks at The Ship Inn and the rain left us alone. Glorious. Main object of the visit was to firm up plans for the kitchen extension and allied works of improvement. Meetings with both kitchen designer and builder were fruitful so it's full steam ahead.

Nice. And we drank champagne while watching a silly but enjoyable film, Jack Reacher. He may be as mad as a box of frogs but you have to concede that Tom Cruise has presence. 6/10.  

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Clowns Are Still With Us

The forthcoming election appears cursed. Never before in the field of electoral combat has such unremitting drivel issued forth from so many.

If polls are to be believed a third of the country is content to wake up on 9 June and find Diane Abbott as Home Secretary. Meanwhile four tenths of the country can find it in their hearts to renew power in the hands of whichever clown came up with the Tory policy on social care. Give me strength. To cap it all we are asked to take Nicola Sturgeon (leaderene of a provincial faction) seriously - this a woman who is not even a candidate in the election.

One is left to sift the rubble of a collapsed citadel of good sense for the least bad option. To help you, here is a link to a clip of Corbyn's mash-brained moral relativism on his mates in the IRA. Corbyn Equivocates (Note also the BBC's craven and inaccurate captioning of the piece). "Clown" is a decidedly generous appellation.

Still, things could be a lot worse - Donald Trump could be President of the USA.  

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Hence! Wilt Thou Lift Up Olympus?

The revolting events in Manchester need no commenatry from me. I did start to pen something but it was plainly inadequate. Damn them all to Hell.

To more cheerful things: a trip yesterday to Sheffield to see Julius Caesar at The Crucible. This was the first Shakespeare I ever studied seriously, back in 'O'Level days. I have heard it said that it is an unsatisfactory play, what with the titular charcter getting brutally bumped off by half-time. This misses the point - it is replete with fascinating characters aside from Caesar himself. Brutus is tragic, Cassius intriguing and, on the periphery, Lepidus's lack of substance sets us up nicely for what is to come in the even better Antony and Cleopatra.

The Crucible is a great viewing theatre and this is an excellent production - the first segment chillingly political and the second searingly military. I even sort of enjoyed the steamy rail travel that allowed me to have a couple of glasses of perfectly passable sauvignon blanc.

And isn't it a small world? As I was quaffing first of the said glasses I spotted S with whom I had worked at London 2012. Of all the gin joints, in all the places etc. We chatted amiably and parted to watch the play, presumably never to meet again. Rather British, I call it.   

Monday, 22 May 2017

That London; Hell Is Other People; Lives Of The Rich And Famous

An interesting and, on balance, most enjoyable Sunday. On the train to That London with Joey Barton sitting in our carriage, presumably en route to watch his boyhood team, Everton, who were at Arsenal. He behaved himself. So did I. Tempting to know what the odds on that double would have been. Should have asked him.

Rather bloody lovely
Once in That London we went for a longish walk on Hampstead Heath in the company of Daughters One and Two (I say that as if there might be more - there aren't). Now, I'm ashamed to admit it but notwithstanding my time at university in the Big Smoke, I'd never made it to Hampstead before. Rather bloody lovely - the sort of place where people can afford to be liberal. I pinched that line from an old friend from college days.

We rewarded our exertions with a late lunch at The Holly Bush: nice pub, good food, notably good service. recommended.

Hell is other people, most particularly on crowded trains going back to Liverpool full of football fans. At least they don't smash the trains up like they used to. Joey Barton was in our carriage again. What were the odds? Oh sorry already done that gag. Is Barton stalking me? Am I stalking him? He was not the only footballer on the train - two coaches of first-class had been commandeered for the Everton team and sundry hangers-on. They denied entry to autograph seekers but Barton duly signed for two youngsters. good on him.

A prejudice confirmed by yesterday's lunch: fish and chips should always be haddock rather than cod.

Friday, 19 May 2017

A Frenzy Of Righteous Apathy

I was wrong - turns out politics hadn't got interesting again. It has just got infuriating.

A snap election and Trump under constant scrutiny, this ought to be meat and drink to a rent-a-mouth like Big Fat Pig/OG/the Boy Roberts. But instead I simply haven't got the energy to emote. They've worn me down, the whole shameless shower of them.

The Labour Party has produced a manifesto to trump their elongated suicide note of 1983. Into the market-bashing space on the left that Labour has vacated comes no less a figure than Mrs May. Hands up for the managed economy anyone. All the Lib Dems can offer me is Tim Farron - and I can't quite put my finger on the reason but if I had to punch just one politico in the face, it would be him. Oh hang on I was forgetting bloody Trump. Mind you, I'm not taken in by the synthetic rage of certain Democrats who still seem to be in denial about the fact they lost to the shit-bag in the first place.

I recommend that you turn off the news and go to iPlayer and watch a nearly fifty year old masterpiece of television - Kenneth Clark's wondrous Civilisation.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Of Samosas, Pork Pies, Haggis And Rugby Football

Oh and I should have mentioned the beer because there was plenty of that as well.

Just back from the European Finals Weekend in Edinburgh. A bloody great trip. So first of all big thanks to our organiser JRS - good hotel, good driving, looked after the kitty and even got us kitted out in matching shirts and rain tops - tops which have what AW (who couldn't remember the word 'hood' - it's his age) termed an 'integrated hat'. I think AW might very well be the funniest man in the world. What great company - blessings to aforesaid JRS and AW and also to AS, AO and BH.

Food of kings - or should that be maharajas?
Samosas: BH had brought a megabox of Indian provender. I had samosas for lunch on Friday, supper on Friday (actually the wee hours of Saturday) and breakfast on Sunday. I like samosas.

Pork pies: AO is a titan in the pork pie industry - and no, I'm not making that up. He brought a megabox of pork pie based provender. I had pork pies for lunch on Friday and for lunch on Sunday. I have also had a pork pie back at home today. I like pork pies.

Haggis: AS (who has claims to be the most civilised front row forward in history) had booked us into Howies for lunch on match day. This sheltered us from the rain (although we did, of course, all have integrated hats with us) and the provender was excellent. I had the cullen skink as a starter and the haggis for main. I like haggis.

The rugby? Well, Friday's Challenge Cup was a poorish game between two sides, Gloucester and Stade Francais, who looked terrified of winning. Still, the ultimate Stade victory was a reward for the titan that is Sergio Parisse. And I had samosas for supper so not a bad day at the office.

Saturday, and the Champions Cup Final was a different cup of tea. Played at a giddying pace and full of thunderous defence, Saracens and Clermont Auvergne served up a treat, deservedly won by Saracens whose athletic professionalism really ought to be admired, not cavilled at by the jealous. I had a Macdonalds for my late supper. Which was nice, but not as good, in the wider scale of things, as either samosas or pork pies. Or indeed haggis.

Life is good.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Send In The Clowns

Politics, bloody politics. They're all over the place, these politician clowns.

Plankton brain - went to Cambridge
Please tell me there is not a more asinine, plankton brained pile of uselessness than Diane Abbott. If you haven't heard it yet track down her car crash of an interview on LBC earlier this week. At last the world begins to realise just what a berk this woman is. She is the Shadow Home Secretary. Nuff said.

Graduate of the Bercow Likeability School

But worse, although no longer an active politician, there is still Gorgeous George Osborne, bizarrely transfigured into editor of The London Evening Standard. He now stands outside Westminster lugging rocks at those (principally Theresa May) he deems to have diverted him from his manifest destiny. Sad and funny. At least Abbot isn't getting paid the fortune that Osborne's grimy paws are raking in.

If I ruled the world
And just to ensure that we at the OG are not accused of provincialism, it is right that we should alert you to a bloke strutting around Europe showing the modesty and self-awareness that used to be the sole preserve of Juan-Antonio Samaranch, the fascist who ran the Olympics. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you His Supreme Smugness Jean-Claude Juncker.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Children's Films That Adults Can Enjoy

Exhibit A: the Pixar imprimatur.

Exhibit B: Finding Dory. It finds time to be both funny and moving and the climactic car chase (yes, an animated car chase) is especially good.

Watched it last night with the Groupie and a sadly ill Daughter Number Two. 7.5/10.

The Kindness Of A Stranger

It is the second night of the Dunmore East Golf Classic and the boys are eating at the Azzurro restaurant. Their fellow diners are all golfers.

The scene of the drama
A senior gent at the table next to ours starts to cough uncontrollably. It dawns on the rest of us that he is choking. Big Fat Pig gets to his feet just in case he has to administer the Heimlich Manoeuvre. Both he and the victim are relieved when the lady at the third table betrays her medical training and skilfully performs said Manoeuvre. The gobbet of steak is ejected. Gratitude is expressed and everyone returns to their food. The manager brings a glass of Prosecco to the good lady and thanks her for saving the man's life. He then produces a glass of the same for the choker and thanks him for not dying in the restaurant. The room rings with applause. The food is good.

God is in his heaven and all is well with the world.