Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Wings stay on

There's a Far Side cartoon where 'Ted' reaches for a switch which, unbeknownst to him, causes the wings of the plane to fall off. Fergus now knows how Ted felt. Except for the splatty bit at the end, thankfully. That sensation will have to wait.

There we were. Driving along the M1. Southbound. Somewhere between Birmingham and London. It's a dull drive. It was dull weather. It was either raining or about to start raining. Road conditions were not at their best. It was, to be fair, slug-ugly weather for driving.

I was bored. Jonathan was, by this time, bored. The novelty of being in the car long since worn off. Kate was either bored, or stressed by the fact that Jonathan was bored and trying to exit the moving vehicle. He does that, often. I wasn't paying attention to anything but the road. I wasn't paying attention to Fergus, who was riding up front with me. And was bored.

The new kind of modern, fangled automobile doesn't have an old-fashioned hand-brake. I like the old style hand-brake. It is pleasing to pull on, and off. There's satisfaction there. I can see advantages to a hand-brake powered by a switch. But only to someone enfeebled in some way. Or with no left hand. I disgress.

So Fergus was bored. The hand-brake switch was within reach. It wasn't exactly clear to him what it was, so he experiemented.

Remarkably it didn't end horribly. There was a bit of grinding, and a beep of complaint from the dashboard, and some cussing from me, but nothing that will leave any mark.

Thank goodness for that.

Sunday, 22 November 2015


We* usually go away at about this time of year. Just for the weekend. Nothing serious. A break between the burning heat of summer in England, and the festive cheer of Christmas. Anything to break to monotony of November.

This year we've been particularly bold and forsaken the West Country, the North, the South and the Heart of England and gone for Essex. Which is, to be honest, a lot quicker to get to from London, which is important if you can't leave until after school on a Friday. The calculus of children, eh?

Observations. It's a lot nicer here when it isn't raining, sleeting and blowing a gale. Creeksea Place Barns come highly recommended, whether for a weekend of walking or a Hen Party (that's what next-door are up to). And they are repairing the roof on St Peters-on-the-Wall. Scaffolding. Wherever I seem to go, there is scaffolding. I think it's a genetic thing, passed down from my father. Who was, once-upon-a-time, a scaffolder.

* select group of world-travellers

Friday, 11 September 2015


I don't generally think about boxing, but this article, which is brilliantly well written, crystalised to me the realisation that boxing is as much part of civilised society as, say, racking heretics or stoning homosexuals.

People pay to watch chaps beat each other senseless. Sometimes the chaps die. Often they are left with brain injuries.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Brian Cox just said something in our kitchen (OK, from out of the radio in our kitchen). Which led me to this thing which is just so bloomin' cool. Mindblowing, really.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Monday, 13 July 2015

Roads and roads and roads and roads

A long drive back from Ironbridge yesterday. Stuck in the back of the car with a sleeping toddler who, when awake, has worked out how to unbuckle himself and get into the front of the moving car with mummy, daddy and lots of exciting dials and knobs. Which is why I'm sitting in the back, watching and waiting.

So I took to reading the road atlas. It's compelling reading. Perhaps slightly less eagerly anticipated than "Go set a watchman" (they do annual updates - a road atlas that had been locked in a safety deposit box for 60 years might be of interest, but would be scarcely practical) but nonetheless saitsfying. It's quite unstructured, in narrative terms. You can dip in and out at any stage, and come away satisfied. And, perhaps, lost.

So, roads. Wherever we go, at the moment, we seem to come across the A38. There is is, running along the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire. There it is again as we try to naviagate our way around Worcester. And again, as we try (in vain) to escape the scrum of traffic around Birmingham. Circumnavigating Birmingham can bring nothing but regret. It almost makes you regret you left home in the first place.

The A38 also features in my earlier life, in the South West, before 911, George Bush and the worst of Blair, but that's another story. We can go back to Cornwall and Devon, but we can never go back to 1999.

So I thought about cycling at A38, which seems like a pretty bad idea given how much of it is trunk road. It takes in some interesting spots, mind you, starting in Bodmin, ending in Mansfield. It is 292 miles (470 km) long, making it the longest 2-digit A road in England, says DECCipedia. My mind drifted to the A12, the road of my childhood, which takes you from London to Great Yarmouth, or at A1, running up the spine of the country.

Then, in idle query, I turned to the A5, which I only really know as Edgware Road, London, and vaguely as passing odd places like Dunstable and Daventry. Imagine my surprise and delight, therefore (imagine the surprise and delight of anyone reading a road atlas) when I discovered that it doesn't end up in Manchester (nothing wrong with Manchester) but in fact crosses Snowdonia and ends up in Holyhead and is, for large chunks of its length, single carriageway. Now here is a road of exploring. At great slowness.

Friday, 12 June 2015

When they eat you in the night you don't want to know

This afternoon "5ml Barrel" by Bomb the Bass, and "Piano Tuner Song 2000 AD" by Ivor Cutler have both come up on the random shuffle on my music playing device.

What a brilliant day.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Fall Out

Make him leader, now, please.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

This is life

We own a shed. Huzzah!

Thursday, 19 February 2015


This is a long, and completely terrifying article about ISIS. (Not The Isis). It's also very well written and I learned a lot from it. Thanks to Kate for pointing me at in, in a "Argh that's completely terrifying" way.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The future

Welcome to the future. I can now post blog articles just using my voice and my smartphone. I don't have to engage my brain or filter my blog postings in any way. What could possibly go wrong?