Tuesday 30 November 2010

Secrets and lies

Governments around the world have condemned the latest ‘WikiLeaks’ which spill the beans on opinions and viewpoints held in certain corridors of power around the world. Governments like keeping secrets and in general tend to be jolly unhappy, much perturbed and well exercised when those secrets escape. They don’t like secrets becoming Unsecrets. Whilst to governments ‘WikiLeaks’ is the devil incarnate I happen to think that it is a force for good. For “every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” so to speak. I like the idea of governments having very few containable secrets. I happen to think that it would make for better government. I am reminded about a scene from Crocodile Dundee; there is a discussion about psychiatrists. It continues, “You're right. Guess we could all use more mates. Suppose you don't have any shrinks at Walkabout Creek?” and Mick Dundee replies with “Back there, if you've got a problem, you tell Wally. He tells everyone in town, brings it out in the open, no more problem.

So there you have it: ‘WikiLeaks’ tells everyone in town. This brings it out in the open. No more problems.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Oh dear what can the matter be?

This story about a poor old French lady stuck in the lavatory for three weeks amused me. It wasn’t the poor woman’s plight, although I have to be honest and say that I was drawn by the ‘Lady Stuck In Lavatory’ link headline on Yahoo. What really amused me was the last little paragraph in the story. Read it now. Do you think they formed a committee and passed a resolution about dialling 999 or whatever the French equivalent is?

Monday 22 November 2010

Resonance, Renewal and Rope-making in Chatham

The Saturday before last saw us, en masse, at Chatham Dock Yards in Kent. We were there to see the Stanley Spencer paintings that he created during WW2 of the Clyde shipbuilders. All eight of Spencer’s paintings – originally commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee – and more than 20 associated drawings were on display.

Spencer’s style is very appealing to the eye. His images mostly of men toiling in the Clyde shipyards depict them as safe cuddly marshmallow type figures rather than the grim reality of gritty hard working Glasgow men sweating at a dangerous job. It’s as if he is depicting the inner goodness and honesty of working class people rather than the grim reality of the grime and unsafe working conditions. Spencer packs a lot into each of the pictures. There’s so much going on. They are the sort of paintings that you would find it hard to tire of. The exhibitions on until 12th December so hurry if you don’t want to miss this treat.

After feasting our eyes on the delights of Stanley Spencer’s paintings we headed for the rope-works on the dockyard site. Our guide was Steve or ‘Mr Steve’ as he informed us we should address him. Steve was ‘in character’ playing the part of a foreman at the rope works in the year of eighteen seventy-five. Steve clearly modelled his character on Genial Harry Grout that not so lovable rogue from Porridge. Steve was most entertaining and informative. Part way through several of us were ‘roped in’ to do some rope-making. My part in the process was to turn a handle on a flywheel that drove belts that in turn facilitated the twisting of the strands. One of my great grandfathers was part owner of Haverhill Rope works around the early part of the 20th century. For a very brief period I felt an affinity with my forebear. Well, sort of. The rope works is most certainly worth a visit. The camera doesn’t lie:

Tuesday 9 November 2010

It’s hip to be square?

Kellogg’s produce a sugary snack bar called Squares. Actually it’s hard to tell if it’s a bar singular or bars plural from the advertising and promotional images, and as it’s packed with far too many carbohydrates for any sane person to want to eat, I shan’t be buying a pack to find out. But either way, singular or plural, it/they ain’t squares. A square is a two dimensional geometrical shape. A Kellogg’s Square is, I firmly believe, a three dimensional confectionery item, thus in reality making it a cuboid. I wonder if Kellogg’s are aware of their faux pas? Does no one at the company have a maths O’level?

The Kellogg’s Cuboid – I think it will catch on!

Wednesday 3 November 2010

numb curd

Recently we've had the odd day or two when it’s been quite cold. Days when it’s been a bit more winter than autumn. I hate the cold. I've often thought it would be quite nice to be able to hibernate. Is it just me? Am I the only person who has to wrap up in umpteen layers before I can venture out? Why do I feel the cold so much? Even in the mid of a deep mid winter you see people (let's be honest, blokes mainly) walking along in t-shirt and jeans as if it were a balmy summers day. How do they do that? Don't they feel the cold? Now I can accept that people can have their temperature tolerance levels set differently and that whilst I feel the cold when it’s bloody freezing others may not. I can accept this. It’s not fair, but I can accept it. But what I really don't understand is why these same people who are warm in a t-shirt in winter aren't rendered totally incapable in summer? And, why don't they spontaneously combust at the merest hint of a heat wave. Life is so unfair.