Wednesday 24 June 2009


It has been commented to me that in "retirement" OG and I have become excessively and sometimes exhaustingly busy. Take the last three days for example. Between us we transported our favourite grandson-in-law between coaching assignments four times, took a great granddaughter to school and back three times, baby sat her sick sister for four hours, went clothes shopping with a granddaugher, took a grandson to buy his birthday present, took him swimming and drum practice, took the car in for MOT, went for a leisurely lunch with a daughter, shoehorned in visits to the dentist, hairdresser and doctors and in our free time watched a bit of Wimbledon!.

The most exhausting part was working out the logistics. This week, because of the complexity of our commitments, I actually had to compile a spreadsheet! Matters were not improved when I suddenly thought that Monday was Tuesday and turned up at the dentist a day early.

And finally…. I was sent this by DogLover. Don’t you just love it?

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in California when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you give me a calf?" Bud looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany . Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car. Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?" “You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says Bud. "Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep. Now give me back my dog.”

Sunday 21 June 2009


I would like to state right here and now, without any contradiction, that SatNavs are not completely at home in a city. In fact last Wednesday mine got me hopeless lost in Nottingham.

“At the next roundabout take the 6th exit” she said with authority.

“What 6th exit you dumbo? There are only 4 exits. Ah well, I’ll take the last exit, which happens to be the 4th exit you illiterate bitch”

“At the next roundabout take the 4th exit”

“But that takes me back to the roundabout where you told me to take the 6th exit that doesn’t exist and got me into this mess in the first place. Are you sure about this? But, hey, you’re the expert. I’ll tell you what, I’ll ignore you and take the 3rd exit, so there!”

“Prepare to turn right, turn right now”

This takes me down a side road.

“When safe to do so, make a U turn”

“Turn left”. “But that takes me back to the original roundabout.” She was speechless. I guess she had reserved the right to remain silent.

I had now lost the will to live. An added complexity was that each roundabout had priority lanes. And have you ever noticed that men are particularly pernickety and don’t seem to take kindly to old ladies in powerful cars cutting them up at roundabouts? Bastards! I must confess that I had to use a few finger and/or hand signals and the odd poking out of the tongue movement to release the tension and get my message across.

But I digress. So … ignoring the imbecilic SatNav idiot I plough on and finally unwind myself from the two offending roundabouts. She settles down for a while until - “Prepare to bear left”. I prepare. "Bear left" I bear left. “Turn left”. Complied with. “Turn left”. Also complied with.

“Prepare to bear left”. “But we’ve done this before you silly cow”. At this point I am again committed and find myself going past the same group of businessmen that I had seen gawp at the car a couple of minutes ago on my first circuit. I slow down

Laughing and shrugging out of the window I explain “SatNav malfunction I’m afraid”

They laugh too “Thought so, where are looking for”

“Arthur Street”

Head scratching, “That’s not around here”. You ain't kidding, I'd already worked that one out! Heads together, discussion, and then suddenly “She’s driving an S6V10". Well, stop the world, it’s an S6V10! Three regular booted and suited businessmen suddenly become little boys. “That’s got a Lamborghini engine”. They mill around making boy talk and salivating. “Hey, hey, let’s get back to where it’s at – Arthur Street?” Men!

The only high point of this whole sorry saga was that OG wasn’t sitting alongside me doing his rocking, head in the hands, shouting and moaning act.

When I finally arrived home I said to OG

“Did you know that car has a Lamborghini engine?”


“No, neither did I!”

And finally … I believe that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

Sunday 14 June 2009


Yesterday we went to what I always think of as a typically English event, a summer fete. An event that was attended by all ages, shapes, sizes, and creeds proving to me that England is still uniquely alive and well and living in Nottingham. I sometimes become jaded thinking that everything about this Country is slowly sliding downhill, when along comes a little gem like this to thankfully prove me wrong.

And the icing on the cake was that one of our esteemed and talented grandsons was singing with his band Buff Orpington. Their “slot” was sandwiched between a very elderly lady singing a medley of show songs followed by a mad rendition of a Stanley Holloway monologue “The Return of Albert" comes back.htm and them came a very funny guy reciting his own poetry. Only in England!

This "Englishness" reminds me of the time OG and I were in a small village church in Surrey one Armistice Day Sunday. The place was filled with “old soldiers” prouding displaying their medals. In the middle of the service, when the congregation was at full throttle singing a rousing hymn, one of these good old boys started breathing very hard and began tilting to one side.

The service continued unabated whilst the man behind him very carefully moved his chair and gently caught him as he slithered toward the floor.

The service continued, with the vicar giving his sermon while the man continued to writhe on the floor making strange sounds. A while late, with the service still in full swing, two ambulance men trotted in with a stretcher, lifted him on to it and took him away. OG, being Scottish and quite volatile himself, is always very bemused but nevertheless impressed with this extreme form of English stoicism. He leant toward me and whispered in amazement “I suppose this is what makes England great”.

The next week the vicar was happy to announce that the gentleman had recovered. Only in England!

And finally …. the gene pool could use a little chlorine

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Originally uploaded by anninfotel

Monday 8 June 2009


Dear Mr Brown,

You say that you are not going to resign because “I am going to get on with the job that I set myself. People know I am determined and people know I work hard and people know that I am not going to allow temporary setbacks to deter me from doing what is the right thing for the country.

I am not arrogant or unwilling to listen to people but I do believe that if people look towards what needs to be done at the moment, it is to get us through this economic downturn. I think I have got the experience to do that.”

Fine words, but unfortunately, your actions don’t match these noble sentiments. If you really believe that we are only suffering “temporary setbacks” consider this.

Last June the lives of Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo, two brilliant French biochemistry graduates on a three-month course on genetic developments at Imperial College, London, were tragically bought to an end. One evening, by chance, their paths crossed Nigel Farmer and Daniel Sonnex who followed them home and tortured them for their PIN numbers, stabbing them more that 200 times before burning their bodies.

This tragedy happened as a direct result of systemic failures in the Criminal Justice System which allowed Daniel Sonnex, a dangerous psychopath who had spent all but 4 months of his adult life in prison and who had already admitted to the prison psychiatrist that he had homicidal tendancies to roam the streets.

A couple of days before the killings a Magistrates Court had baled Daniel Sonnex because the printer wasn’t working at the Probation Office to process the paperwork to hold him.

A prison psychitrist had previously downgraded his danger level to moderate and consequently the probation officer entrused with overseeing this dangerous psychopath was a rookie with only 9 months experience and a 171 case load.

The Police who, once alerted to the fact that Daniel Sonnex should be urgently detained. took two weeks to process the request and so on, and so on.

During the trial Gabriel's father Oliver Ferez told the judge that it took immense strength for him not to collapse under the strain of his grief. He said “I am finding myself for the first time in my life sitting in a criminal court and I have found it very difficult to just listen. The language barrier of course has reinforced my feeling of isolation.

A story like ours destroys you very rapidly on all levels, it destroys the family, psychologically and financially, and it is a drama at all levels. This tragedy has given me to feel disappointment, revolt, bitterness.

I might also tell you that every morning on my way to work, I cry, always at the same hour. I no longer know how to answer people when they ask how many children I have. I might tell you that I feel ashamed of laughing now. I might tell you that I look elsewhere whenever I come across the sight of a wedding, of other people's happiness because the display of their joy is like so many stab wounds to my heart.

This is now what my daily life is like, and that of Hélène and Amaury, my two other children, Gabriel's sister and brother. Their big brother is no longer here to love them and protect them.

We will remain forever inconsolable and the weight of our tears and suffering has broken our lives. No child, no individual should have to put up with such barbarity.”

No-one can possibly understand the anguish, grief and bewilderment of these two families. They probably thought that thier sons were staying in a civilized society, totally unaware that the crazy PC brigade had handed the lunatics total control of the asylum.

Mr Brown, you have been Chancellor and then Prime Minister for over a decade, and I am pleading with you to tell us why this Country is systematically being run into the ground. So much so that it has become acceptable to allow animals like this to stagger drunk and drugged up through our green and pleasant land. If it’s not your responsiblity then you had better tell us who is wrecking this County, because we need to put a stop to this madness right now.

Yours sincerely,

A Concerned Citizen

And finally.......I believe that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.