13 March 2011

Must be quick this morning – we are awaiting the arrival of John and Cilla Jelliffe who are in the UK for a short visit along with Sam and Emma. The last time they visited the UK they failed to contact us so we chastised them roundly when we saw them last. John e-mailed a couple of weeks ago so it seems they have learned their lesson.

Although this morning has dawned cold, wet, drizzly, grey and miserable, we have had a couple of genuinely Spring-like days this week – the temperature has been in double figures (Celsius, of course) although it has still been cold and frosty at night. On those occasions when the sun has shone as well it has been a positive pleasure to walk the dog – only three layers required instead of the normal four or five. Scotland and Northern Ireland have been getting the remnants of the snow which dumped on those of you in the great frozen Northeast  but luckily for us the jet stream seems to be driving it northwards. The daffodils are still not quite out but it won’t be long – if the temperatures resume their moderate ascent we should see the colour by next week, I suspect.

BreadI’m not sure I have commented previously on our new bread maker (new as of Christmas, that is). It is wonderful. This could easily become my new default wedding gift for newlyweds – I reckon every home should have one. I guess some of you will  already have one and, while I’ve fancied one for some time, I finally got round to purchasing one as a Christmas present to myself – “Thank you very much. Just what I’ve always wanted!” Just plonk some yeast, flour, salt, sugar and water in the pot, put it in the breadmaker and some hours later, hey presto! Fabulously delicious fresh-baked bread. We found some local granary-style flour – Cotswold Crunch – which makes a truly delicious loaf. Now, if someone could provide me with some decent sour dough instructions I think I would be in heaven.

Sir Fred Goodwin
Sir Fred Goodwin - Not a Banker

I had to laugh. We have in this country something called “Super Injunctions”. They are the same as an ordinary injunction in that they prevent someone from doing something. Often, of course, an injunction prevents the media from reporting something. What makes Super Injunctions “super” is the added restriction that the media is not even allowed to mention that an injunction has been issued. Well, it turns out that Sir Fred Goodwin, the disgraced former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland who ran it into the ground and then was sacked, (his redundancy eased somewhat, no doubt, by his three-quarters of a million pound annual pension), has apparently obtained a super injunction which prevents the media describing him as a banker. The only reason we’ve heard about the injunction, since it cannot be reported in the media, is because a Liberal Democrat MP raised the issue in the House of Commons where discussion is protected by Parliamentary privilege.

Now I can understand why, in today’s climate, Sir Fred would not want to be referred to as a banker. Would he prefer “wanker” do you think?

Finally, I ran across the following somewhere during the week. Apparently it came originally from the LA Times:

Tombstone, Ariz., which was the site of the legendary 1881 “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (made into a 1957 movie), is about 70  miles from the Tucson shopping center where a U.S. Congresswoman, a federal judge, and others were shot in January. A Los Angeles Times dispatch later that month noted that the “Wild West” of 1881 Tombstone had far stricter gun control than present-day Arizona.  The historic gunfight occurred when the marshal (Virgil Earp, brother of Wyatt) tried to enforce the town’s no-carry law against local thugs. Today, however, with few restrictions and no licenses required, virtually any Arizonan 18 or older can carry a handgun openly, and those 21 or older can carry one concealed.

Not sure that’s progress.

Love to you all,

Greg