Our old terraced house was so cramped on our left, we could smell the garlic from Mr and Mrs Frog….
We moved into a new home last night. It was odd to do it at 11.00 pm, but the Agent said it had to be done then. We’d been talking about it for years, but last night we completed the move.
We had worried about the position – would the more distant neighbours be friendly? – would they like us? Yet, we were not perfect, of course. Some people liked to remind us of our reaction when we objected to the new neighbours that moved into the upstairs flat across the hall we’d always called “Windrush” on account of the draughts in our grand terraced house years ago, but that’s all over now. Continue reading “A New Home”
… He wasn’t old school, he wasn’t Oxbridge, he was a lad from Tooting and a redbrick university.
1 February 2016
‘Pembrokeshire, home to the wild cliffs of West Wales and castles from the time of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn…’ Deirdre Fairbrother snapped the radio button off. She’d heard too many wonderful Pembrokeshire stories, if it was so wonderful, why didn’t more people live here?
Outside, the morning light, which could often be fickle, was clear and luminous. It shone into her artist’s studio. She liked days like this when she was alone with her oils and canvas with nothing on her agenda except her usual visit to her aged mother later in the afternoon. Loading her horsehair brush with a mixture of chrome yellow and magenta previously stirred on her palette, she touched the canvas again, and again more strongly, before standing back to observe the subtle change in her summer landscape. The season was well past now, but she worked with care at her rediscovered joy. Bit by bit, she was starting to rekindle her original love of painting, which she had foolishly set aside when she and Peter had started their family thirty-six years ago.
To read more go to Old School on Amazon
The declaration: Lost by 344 votes to 286, a Majority of 58, the Nos have it.
15 January 2109, Lost by 432 to 202, a Majority of 230; 12 March, Lost by 391 to 242, a Majority of 149; 29 March 2109, Lost by 344 votes to 286, a Majority of 58. What now?
Parliament has today voted down our Government’s proposal to leave the European Union for a third (and probably final time). Watching from the sidelines, it is not pretty. Continue reading “The Meaningful Brexit Vote.”
The great thing about watching sports, like cricket, is that from the boundary spectators can see the whole panoply of the game develop before their eyes, whereas the players in the middle can only see a limited perspective, just the bowler, or just the batsman, for example. So it is with politics and our problem with leaving the European Union.
We, the great unwashed, are on the boundary seeing the whole picture on our televisions, social media pages, and newspapers whereas the players (or politicians) have their vision limited by party loyalties, constituency considerations and their own innate beliefs. Continue reading “A View from the Boundary”
Once upon a time, or olim as our scholarly protagonist Jacob Really-Smug was prone to say, there was a young country boy living on one side of a large river. From his countryside home he could dimly see in the distance the Big School across the estuary.
Each day he’d walk to his small country school, only to be bullied by the bigger boys because he was a bright teacher’s pet and he wore glasses. He hated games the most. Fearful of getting his knees dirty and scared of being kicked below the belt, he detested football with a passion which far exceeded that with which his classmates supported Rovers or United or Hotspur, the teams on the other side of the river. Worst of all he had to take off his glasses to play, so he was even more disadvantaged in the game. He hated football. Continue reading “A Really-Smug Story”
Michel Barnier must be under as much pressure as Prime Minister May….
The first ever referendum related to an electoral procedure. It was ordered by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1641. It was embodied in an order passed on June 2, which set forth that “The freemen were growing to so great a multitude as will be overburdensome to the country, ” and “the way of proxies is found subject to many miscarriages.” The Court proposed, subject “to the advice and consent of the freemen,” that “every ten freemen,” in each town, should “choose one to be sent to the Court (of Elections) with power to make election for all the rest.” The order provided that the Deputies should “carry the copy hereof to the several towns and to make returns at the next Court, what the minds of the freemen are herein, that the Court may proceed accordingly.”
As there is no evidence that the proposed plan of voting by tens was ever tried, it would appear that “the minds of the freemen” were adverse to it. However, no return of the votes can now be found.
It marked the way for referenda.
Continue reading “Referenda and the ‘People’s Vote’ on the Final Brexit Plan”
The European Political Map Before the Unification Movements of Germany and Italy
Doesn’t the path of history look obvious when viewed through the lens of time? A hundred years ago the actions and subsequent reactions of states or politicians seem obvious. Events which so troubled our forefathers are taught by the simplicity of a needlewoman’s thread and as the embroidery becomes a tapestry and we see the pattern so clearly that even the simplest student can follow it.
But look into the future and the clear patterns distort, the threads tangle. After hundreds of years of association and unification, do we face, in Europe today, the first cuckoo of the spring of disunion? Continue reading “The Catalan Referendum – The Impasse”
…David Corbyn took on and felled Goliath May.
On 14 June, George Monbiot wrote an article in The Guardian: ‘The biggest losers? Not the Tories but the media who missed the story’.
Yes, if you live, like the media, in a hall of mirrors, you will only reflect not detect. Speaking with like minded people will yield no new insights.
The 2017 election was truly amazing. Labour had been in internal chaos merely months ago. The party was so weak that even the there-will-be-no-election Theresa May decided to call one to “strengthen her hand” in the upcoming Brexit talks. Few people had seen a greater Conservative lead in the polls. They stood on 44% on 17 April 2017; Labour on 24%. The outcome a forgone conclusion predicted the media.
But in the intervening seven weeks, the party which had been in chaos reared up like a Kraken from the deep and shocked everyone. The legendary creature that resembled a giant squid destroyed ships. Well, it destroyed her ladyship all right. Continue reading “What the Media Missed”
MacDonald (the eventual Labour Prime Minister) with his heady utopian internationalism was the perfect voice for the Labour party. For MacDonald read Corbyn,
Is this 2017 or 1923? The parallels are eerily similar. Theresa May should have been a student of history and not geography, or perhaps she should have got a first at Oxford. Another second on her CV doesn’t look good.
But why 1923? Continue reading “Election Parallels Previous Conservative Error”
Three badgers had lived quietly down in the woods just below our house for years. They upset no one and no one really bothered with them. They were just there in the background along with all the other members of the family of friends who lived at Belmont North. Then something changed, not suddenly but slowly, imperceptibly a first. Marjorie bought a bird feeder. Now she was extending an extra kindness to birds. Some some new foreign ones arrived too. We had all sorts flying in – black ravens, grey headed jackdaws, jays with their iridescent blue stripes and, of course, sparrows tits, and the year-round red breasted robin as well as a few visitors like swallows and swifts – to peck away at the freely abundant food…. Continue reading “The Three Badgers – An Allegorical Tale”