11 April 2010

I sat down on Thursday afternoon to watch the recording of the Wednesday night baseball game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. As I settled into my chair, I was astounded to hear Dave O’Brien describe the day’s weather in Boston – sunny with temperatures reaching 91 degrees.


We’ve just seen the sun for the first time since early October 2006 and still need gloves, hats, sweaters, jackets and our Bronco Nagurski long underwear!

Actually, although you will know that it is a rare occurrence, I am exaggerating just a bit. In fact, the weather for the latter part of the week has been glorious. The temperature reached nearly 60 degrees on Thursday and has been in the same vicinity since then. And, while the sunshine has not been blindingly blinding, we have at least seen the sun for much of the time. It turns out they were right after all – Spring is bursting.

Aubretia Daffodils

I guess you will have picked up that the tediousness of our election campaign has begun. We are exceedingly fortunate that our campaigns only last four weeks (apart from the constant name-calling that goes on all the time). The election itself will be on 6 May, but even that four week period seems like an eternity when there is nothing but negativity spewing forth from either side.

There was a 61% turnout at the last election, almost exactly the same as in the last Presidential election, I’ve just discovered. I’m impressed that even that number of people can be bothered – they’re all as bad as each other and it is increasingly difficult to find any differences between the various manifestos. In any event, given the bizarre democratic process we employ in this country, the election is actually decided in a handful of marginal constituencies and, in our case, it doesn’t matter who we vote for: this area has had a Conservative MP since the time of Simon de Montfort.

Fortunately, some people have got the right approach to the whole charade. Have a look at this clip from the BBC site – I think it’s a great strategy.

Those of you following David’s blog in Japan will know that he needs to acquire an Alien Registration Card and carry it with him all the time. When I first came to the UK in 1973, I too needed to acquire a similar certification to prove my dispensation to live and work here. Of course, I didn’t need it to acquire a mobile phone – there weren’t any! (Indeed, I don’t think we had a landline until Adam was born).

In those days a woman married to a British citizen was automatically allowed to settle in the UK. A man married to a British woman, however, had no such rights, hence the need for me to acquire a Work Permit and an Alien Registration Card. I was also obliged to register with the local police station – clearly it was essential that the local constabulary knew who and where these dangerous aliens were. One time we even had a visit from a policeman from Stratford when we moved from Bracknell to Edge Hill or Radway who was anxious to inspect me (and my card, I guess). Fortunately, he found everything in order and it wasn’t for another two or three years before the EuropeanVisaVIPPCourt decreed that the British position was discriminatory and men were granted the same rights as women married to UK subjects. After that judgement, I had to send my passport off to the Home Office to be adorned with a stamp/visa stating that I was “Given leave to enter the United Kingdom for an indefinite period”. Since then I’ve been through three or four passports and nowadays when I pass through immigration they very kindly endorse my passport with “VIPP” which I would love to think stands for “Very Important Person Possibly” but, in fact, means “Visa in Previous Passport” which I can only acquire each time I come through by continuing to carry the original albeit now expired passport with the all-important original visa.

Since the weather has been fine for three days now, Ms Penelope has suggested that it’s time for the first lawn mowing of the season. Naturally, I disagree but fortuitously I ran across an Andy Capp cartoon providing the perfect opportunity to turn this into a romantic gesture.

A Romantic Gesture

We’re away next weekend so you may be lucky and escape the dross of the Befouled Weakly News clogging up your inbox. Well, you can always hope for the best.

Much love to you all,


PS – She won. The lawn received its first trim of the season yesterday.