These days they are the underclass, that vast army of uneducated, unemployable, often criminally inclined, very often obese, more than often drugged people of any age found in any especially well developed country with a democratic government. (more…)
Some years ago one of those correct persons who infest modern life pointed out to a bottling company that the label on one of their jams was politically incorrect. The label included an illustration of a ‘dark-skinned’ puppet popular for more than a century called a ‘Gollywog’. The lobbies moved in, the righteous demonstrated, normally sleepy MPs awoke to the horror of it all and made clanging speeches. The Robertson Company had to remove the offensive Gollywog from labels and advertising. Political correctitude had won again. (more…)
I suppose we are about half way through the London Olympics of 2012 – sad for some, radiant news for others. I suppose I will be accused of being a dry old stick (if not something much worse) but I used to enjoy the Olympic Games when in order to take part you had to be amateur. The moment the Committee plumped for professionals the Games gained a little glamour but lost all interest; for me anyway, and a few more like me.
And now the British Royal Mint makes gold coins to celebrate the Games. The coins’ designer explains that his inspiration was the first Games held ‘in ancient Greece, where athletes pledged their allegiance to the gods of Olympia’. Oh dear me no! There weren’t any ‘gods of Olympia’.
I have been forced to reach the conclusion that this planet is full of persons whose self-appointed task it is to find errors, large or small, in the writing of history or science blogsites. These individuals crouch before their screen all day, and possibly all night, watching for some unintentioned mistake to appear, like a titmouse for the circling kite’s breakfast. (more…)
I am sure there are Waugh-fans, or, better, Waugh-wolves who can answer a simple question: In their respective biographies of Evelyn Waugh, Christopher Sykes (Evelyn Waugh: a biography) and Selina Hastings (same title) tell the story of the ageing master of English prose appearing at an Ann Fleming dinner party with a huge, old-fashioned ear-trumpet. He claimed to be deaf, but was actually using the trumpet as a weapon in conversations. Sykes and Hastings have Ann Fleming giving the instrument a sound thwack with a table implement when Waugh turned it toward her. We are also told that Lady Diana Cooper poured champagne down it. (more…)
I would need to be told what other EU countries do about charging road tax to vehicle owners. In Britain it is simply called Road Tax, and you pay according to type of vehicle. The annual sum is set by the government of the day, and the quite enormous income generated by the Tax is supposedly used in the maintenance of roads and everything to do with them. It does not matter if you live in North Yorkshire or South Devon, you will pay the same road tax according to what vehicle you use. It is well known that ‘Spain in Different’, and in the case of the Rodaje the difference is stupefying. (more…)
At one time a British colony, Virginia is a state in North America that consists of ‘tide-water’ land in the central-Atlantic coastal plain of the United States of America. The waters drain into Chesapeake Bay and Piedmont on the eastern side of the Allegheny Mountains.
Jamestown was the first permanent British colony, settled in 1607 by the Virginia Company of London, a company given that name by Sir Walter Ralegh in honour of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen. The colonists survived and became prosperous through the growing, sale and shipment of tobacco. ‘White’ tobacco all round the world is still called ‘Virginia’, as opposed to the blackish product originating from Turkey and the Middle East. The name ‘White’ probably comes from the fact that the plant was originally grown and tended by white servants on the farms, but this did not last long. After 1690 tobacco was cultivated (but not owned) by black slaves. (more…)
These Godless days, the word ‘Puritan’ has come to be more of an adjective than a collective term. ‘Mr Brown had rather a Puritan nature’ said the newspapers of the dignified but unelected English Prime Minister. Given his childhood in a Scottish manse, his nature should come as no surprise.
Puritans, however, were English Protestants of an extreme nature, by no means satisfied with settlements made by the recently established Anglican Church. Deep hatred of anything smelling of incense, incensed your typical Puritan. He or she desired absolute ‘purity’ within the Church of England – no Popery, no Jargon. Catholic elements needed expulsion. There is some irony to be found here, because as we know the Anglican Church was founded for political reasons encouraged by an impure, lusty and cruel monarch. (more…)
The shortest, and probably the most effective piece of drama Shakespeare wrote was Macbeth. Even the least educated among us will quote from this play, perhaps without knowing we are doing so. ‘Is this a dagger I see before me?’ ‘And good men’s lives expire before the feathers in their cap,’ ‘Double, double, toil and trouble . . .’ ‘Ring the alarum bell! – Blow wind, come wrack/ At least we’ll die with harness on our back.’ ‘I bear a charméd life, which must not yield/ to one of woman born.’ ‘Despair thy charm/and let the angel whom thou still hast served/tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb/untimely ripped.’ Etcetera. (more…)
If you are a crow, living in the United States of America, and on a whim you decided to fly directly north to the northernmost part, from the southernmost part of the most southerly of the original Thirteen Colonies on the eastern seaboard, you would cover 750 kilometres or 500 miles. Though I am not a crow, I have done the journey in a Chevolet Impala (not mine) at a time when the President of the USA found it convenient, safer and cheaper for Americans to drive no faster than 55 m.p.h., even on the finest roads in the world. (more…)