Saturday, July 14, 2018

Post 309. THE MID-MONTH NEWS.

FIRST THE GOOD.
Rescue of Thai youngsters.
Best news of the year so far was that all twelve of the Thai boy footballers (aged 11 to 17) and their coach (aged only 25), had escaped from the flooded Tham Luang cave complex where they had been trapped for seventeen days and that the international team of rescuers involved, including many Thai navy seals, were (with the exception of one brave seal who lost his life early on) equally fortunate.
A handful of the lads, who were stateless, may now be given statehood too.
Still hope for humanity, isn't there.
THEN THE WORRYING.
Our daughter Roz. (In the only picture I could find of her - at The Warner Bros. Studio Tour in 2012 - half blocked out by her father's left arm.)
The younger of our two daughters, Roz, has been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She has undergone a variety of tests - the results of which the hospital seems to be taking an inordinately long time to release, let alone act upon - and has prepared herself with a thoroughness that has been one of her more positive traits ever since she came of age.
At present we are feeling very old and sadly aware that we have nothing to offer but concern and love.
That's it for the moment.
For chrissake get moving, St. Mary's.
THEN THE BAD:
The World Cup.
FOOTBALL'S STAYING ABROAD
It's staying abroad
It's staying abroad 
Now for chrissake shut up about it. 
THEN THE REALITY.
Trump's here.
Aaah, he can wait until next time.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Post 308. FOOTBALL FOOTBALL AND MORE FOOTBALL.

TIME AGAIN FOR.
A plethora of professional cheating.
I am running into the penalty box. I am almost in control of the ball: It jiggles about and I can't get set for a shot. There is somebody running alongside me! Please let them try to dispossess me! Please let them put a hand - an arm - a leg - a foot near me! Please let them touch me!
They have! I'm down! I'm poleaxed! I'm rolling about! I'm writhing! I've adopted the 'in agonies' expression! I'm looking to the referee - assistant referee - the public - the cameras to record my Oscar deserving performance - I am looking for a penalty kick!
I think I may have got one!
What? Oh, sod sportsmanship, it's professional cheating and I'm a master of it. Refs love playing God and seldom trust cameras.
I'll be a hero back home.
Next season I'll be in a top club in the English Premier League. There's a fortune to be picked up there. When I retire they'll call me an icon.
Silly bastards!
Footnote 
FOR THAT NICE AMERICAN READER.
1. For football read soccer.
2. A Video Assisted Referee (VAR) currently videos international matches and acts as arbiter if a refereeing decision appears to require questioning.
This may rapidly fall out of favour now that the use of it has seen World Cup holders Germany knocked out of the 2018 tournament by South Korea. (Cue for uncontrollable English glee.)
Well there's not been much in football for us to smile about since the nineteen sixties.
TELEVISION.
NEXT WEEK IT'S WIMBLEDON.
So more repeat repeats.
Yep, the BBC will go into sports overdrive again for the next fortnight while every loud grunt or shrill scream that nowadays accompanies the striking of a small ball with a tennis racquet for a lot of money supersedes every other television programme previously listed for the delectation of the viewing public.
It would be a little more tolerable if the repeats drafted in to replace cancelled shows were not so often repeat repeats.
Over the years of Wimbledon tournaments I've watched some features so many times I could pass for one of the cast. 
By the same token, I've now taken in so much Scandi noir I hardly need look at the subtitles.
The Bridge has seen me (and lord alone knows how many millions more) caught up (apparently for the last time) in the weird and wonderful world of detective Saga Norén (Sofia Helin), a vintage Porsche driving mix-up of forthright femininity and investigative genius.
Truth is, I took in what was said more than I ever understood what the plot was about.
Enjoyed Saga though.
Great character: beautifully acted.
Enough now.
Enjoy the heat wave.
Watch some more footie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Post 307. FATHER'S DAY 2018.


LOST ANOTHER DAY OF SCRIBBLING.
It just vanished.
A short while ago the computer lifeboat captain made a fine job of fixing my draft blog post page and it worked a treat for post 306. Dunno what I did to annoy it last Saturday, but on the Sunday, Father's Day, I switched on and found myself faced with a blank page. Every bloggin' thing I had written was gone. What? Oh, I think I saved it – just don't know where it went.
That's me and technology.
Ah well.
Back to page one, which I think started with: WHATEVER HAPPENED
TO SPEAKING YOUR MIND?
The PC Brigade GB has effortlessly become the Corps of Political Correctness and, with the addition of the Fairness to Foreigners Division, is fast transforming into PC National Command.
Whatever happened to speaking your mind?
Time was when expressions like tell the truth and shame the devil were commonplace and the privilege of publicly expressing one's opinion was accepted without question.
Not now.
Now I am reminded again and again that when, back in 2015 - Post 2(32) - I wrote Honesty is not always the best policy. (Ask Gerald Ratner. Ask Brian True-May) I was merely putting forward a token objection to the way in which an individual's entire life could be realigned (even ruined) by the negative input of unwell-wishers. Little did I foresee the army of professional objectors who would gradually take over the UK with all the ruthlessness of ducking parties on archaic witch hunts.
During the past week the author Lionel Shriver has been dropped as a literary judge after she criticised the latest diversity and inclusion policies proposed by Penguin Random House. It seems Ms. Shriver, writing in The Spectator, dared to suggest that Penguin was “drunk on virtue.” 
The editorial director of the magazine Mslexia duly removed her from the judging panel of their annual short story competition for, it would seem, the sin of speaking her mind.
I shan't elaborate. It's all on Google. If you're interested, look it up.
I do despair though.
Know nothing of Lionel Shriver and hold no brief for the magazine that carried her views, but whatever has happened to freedom of speech? And how long before we hang the people who exercise it?
This has become an age of mad intolerance.
TELEVISION.
The Wright Stuff (Chanel 5) But not anymore.
Last Thursday Matthew Wright made his final appearance as presenter of this morning chat show. 
He had been in the chair for the better part of eighteen years and said he wanted to spend more time with his wife. Good for him. I hope she was with him on the evening of the same day when he was welcomed at Cardiff for David Dimbleby's Question Time on BBC 1 despite having bitched about the Beeb throughout his entire tenure on The Wright Stuff.
Clearly not everybody is opposed to freedom of speech, though in this case I think it more likely that nobody from Broadcasting House has even glanced at Chanel 5 for the past eighteen years.
Good luck, Matthew.
That's all, folks.





 
 




Sunday, June 10, 2018

Post 306. ALL ABOUT FAMILY.

STARTING WITH
Jess Daisy White MPharm:
Best news of late was that our granddaughter, Jess White, has obtained a Master of Pharmacy degree: a First, too. Currently she is set on a tour of Europe (couple of days Copenhagen etc. etc.) Needless to say we are delighted for her and immensely proud of her. Richly deserved, my lovely, very well done.
So, whilst we are embracing nepotism, let's mention Neil W. Barnden:
The Computer Lifeboat Captain, immersed as he constantly is in a demanding work schedule (don't be fooled, producing computer games is not a doddle), once more turned out the lifeboat to pull me off the treacherous rocks of technology.
In the process he valiantly attempted to impart a smidgin of computer sense (some hopes) into his father's IT resistant brain. Glad to say I did pick up on a bit of it, including the advice that Google would not be bothered by the pictures I print so long as they are not pornographic. Well, they never are. And to quote the late Hylda Baker: “I say that without fear of contraception.” 
Whatever, we have never lived in each other's pockets, so it was good to see our Neil again.
It was good, too, to welcome dear friend
Anne Wilkening for a short stay.
(If I could find a picture I'd publish it)
She came from Cornwall last weekend: sang in Portsmouth Cathedral on the Saturday, lunched out with us on the Sunday, visited Pompey's Mary Rose Museum with us on Monday and, before I could so much as open another bottle, had gone back home. The Mary Rose is a splendidly presented, truly moving, experience and Anne's brief company was, as always, a delight.
Last but by no means least, Roz Barnden:
Our Roz has put her house up for sale. It is a nice three-bedroomed semi with off road parking for two vehicles and a long back garden at the end of which stands a fine summerhouse. Should sell easily enough, but this is the Island. Enough said. We can only hope for her. The dog Buddy will be back with us tomorrow.
And that's it from the personal home front.
The usual mixed bag next time.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Post 305. THE CONSTANTLY OFFENDED.

THOSE WHO NEVER STOP TAKING OFFENCE.
Will take it now.
Yep. Somebody will take offence at the tone of this post before I so much as get started. And if somebody can invoke a law to stop it being written they'll do that, too. It's their way. We are living in an age of the easily offended and there are a helluva lot of them about: they are the sort who will be mightily offended at being described as 'easily offended.' and I am inclined to the view that their extreme readiness to be so hugely affronted is another ominous hand-me-down from that land of the rising litigation, America.
If you are decrepit and desperate enough to watch daytime television chat programmes in Britain, right now you will be well aware of the words alleged and our lawyers advise. Everybody is scared witless at the thought of being sued.
Fact is, malcontents who are not trying to prise money out of you (and in my case just think 'blood' and 'stone') are eager instead to obtain an apology.
Don't ask me why. Litigation benefits no one but lawyers and an apology is just words. 
Currently I am getting messages from Google urging me (I think) to adhere to their policy on personal something-or-other. Needless to say I don't understand a word of it, but from today I shall print no photos except my own, just in case anything else is what breaches their policy on whatever it is.
The world has gone mad.
TELEVISION.
Peter Kay's Car Share.
We watched The Finale of this wonderful slice of life and, just in case you have not seen it, we thought it was even better than the original. Kay and Sian Gibson are a magical combination.
BBC Music Weekend.
A treat for music lovers of all ages. We particularly enjoyed the combined talent of Nigel Kennedy and Mark King: another magical combination.
And while we are about it...
Later with Jools Holland. It was good to hear Lily Allen again, with Jools on piano, performing her ballad Three. Heartfelt and unique.
That's it. No more to say right now.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Post 304. THE DAY AFTER THE WEDDING.

FAREWELL PROTOCOL, HELLO MODERNITY.
This was a joyful occasion.
My heading could have been worded 'The day after that wedding' but, in an age of weird political correctness so far as words are concerned, 'that' might have been construed as a note of criticism which (though I am by no manner of means a royalist and the happy couple have probably, in one day, ensured the survival of the Windsor dynasty for at least another century) it is not. 
The world and his wife - her husband - its partner - whatever - saw this for the joyful occasion it truly was, not least because the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a truly likeable couple, artlessly embodied a refreshing farewell to protocol and a cheerful hello to modernity.
Of all the senior royals, Prince Charles came across as the most politely resigned to such change, Prince Philip the most cheerful - I think he's just glad to still be alive - and HM Queen Elizabeth (together, I'm sure, with no small number of hangers-on) the least happy. But HM seldom looks all that happy nowadays, does she.
C'est la vie.
For the rest of us, the show was hugely enlivened by Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry's sermon-like address.
Bless him, I think he may be a disciple of his fellow American Andy Warhol who sagely prophesied: "in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." By the time he reached 'fire' and was but a stone's throw from 'brimstone' I was starting to wonder whether, at my age, I had enough time left to hear him finish (boy, did he enjoy his time on the world stage) but, sure enough, I was there for his blessing, for the end of the service, and for a denouement which had the couple riding around Windsor in an open carriage to the delight of the public and, no doubt, the considerable concern of Special Branch.
Meghan and Harry may have to face none of the real world worries that beset most young people starting out on married life today, but it would be churlish not to wish them health, happiness, and a long and happy marriage.
Good luck to them and to all the others who took the plunge yesterday.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Post 303. I PUT THEM SOMEWHERE SAFE.

THAT NOTORIOUSLY SAD MISTAKE.
I still can't find things I put away at Christmas, including family photographs normally lined along the mantelpiece in the dining room: they had to come down to accommodate the Santa Claus line-up that benevolently beams away there for a couple of weeks every December.
Well, it's only May now so I might still unearth them before it's time to repeat that notoriously sad mistake.
I won't hold me breath, though. 
MAY THE GODS PROTECT US.
From lunatics with beiief.
This morning came news that five people were attacked in central Paris last night - one of them fatally - by a knife wielding nutjob who French police promptly shot dead, and that a family of six indoctrinated idiots (mother, father, two daughters and two sons) carried out suicide bomb attacks on three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia today.
They and many of those they attacked, died.
Why?
Christ knows what these twisted barmpots are out to prove, but no religion or belief in the world is worth that sort of carnage.
AND AT HOME.
Nephew Philip Butler.
This highly regarded younger son of Mo's late sister, Jean, had to undergo a re-route of blood supply (this time at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital) recently, will be returning there shortly for an operation on his liver, but was out and cheerfully optimistic in time for his birthday on the 11th of May.
All the very best, Phil. Youre a good 'un. As is...
NO DOOM ON YOU.
Jess Daisy White                                                                                                 
our granddaughter (on the right), who completed her studies at Hertfordshire University this week and returned home in time to tackle the annual Walk the Wight event today. She, together with friends, Buddy the dog (who made it to Carisbrooke), and with lord knows how many more worthwhile walkers for Mountbatten Hospice charity, started out from Bembridge at 7am and, via Arreton, Carisbrooke, Mottistone and Freshwater, made it to Alum Bay at a little after 5 this afternoon. On a selfishly personal note, lovely girl, the one and only Popsy is very, very proud of you. Well done.