Good morning to you all and hope it’s a grand morning wherever you are waking up. We’ve had a busy, busy week including the first bicycle ride of the new year. Indeed, it’s the first bike ride I’ve been able to enjoy since last summer sometime when Adam was still here, I think and a glorious ride it was too. Bright, bright clear blue skies with what temperatures I am sure the cycling fraternity would describe as “bracingly fresh.” I would describe it as “cold” bordering on “f***ing cold”. Still, it was an excellent outing which was most enjoyable in spite of the frozen extremities.
Ms Playchute and I enjoyed an outing on Monday evening to see the film J. Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio. This was another of the free cinema screenings we get invited to from time to time and I have to say both Penelope and I enjoyed it. Reviews here have not been great and the film certainly left me wanting to know more, but it was a good evening out. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure a discount voucher for any restaurants near the cinema so we had to be satisfied with fish and chips from the Oasis Fish Bar – delicious!
A couple of people seem to think I went on a bit of a rant last week. Undoubtedly true, but the occasional rant is very good for you, I’m sure. However, if you thought any of my observations concerning the stupidity of Michael Gove were exaggerated, think again. This week he captured another round of headlines with his suggestion that the public should purchase a new yacht for the Queen in this, her Diamond Jubilee year.
Not surprisingly, most commentators have suggested that Gove is somewhat out of touch with the views of the general public. Unemployment is at its highest level since the last time the Tories were in power, public spending cuts have decimated local services and Gove suggests that the taxpayer would be delighted to stump up £60m to give the Queen (annual income £300 million) a new yacht.
David Cameron likes the idea as well but only if it is privately funded which led a number of sketch writers to play with the theme of a glorious yacht covered with sponsor’s logos rather like a formula one racing car. Another writer made the observation that generally, when one thinks about giving someone a present for reaching a significant milestone, normal protocol is to have the gift ready to present on the specific occasion. The writer went on to observe that, as far as he was aware, “Yachts R Us” had not yet opened any showrooms in the UK and, given the timescale for delivery of a new yacht (which has not yet been designed), he wondered whether Gove and Cameron were proposing slipping the Queen an envelope with a lovely drawing and the inscription “IOU One Yacht” during the festivities. Interestingly, while there’s been no comment from the Queen, as far as I know, Prince Charles has also come out in favour of the idea. Only a cynic would suggest that this is because by the time it was delivered he might well be king.
Steve Bell, one of the Guardian’s resident satirical cartoonists, had this to comment on the suggestion. (And, since most of our foreign readership won’t know, that’s Michael Gove).
You really couldn’t make it up.
There’s much, much more to tell you about but not enough time, I’m afraid. So, we’ll have to hold over until next week our description of Pen’s father’s 90th birthday celebrations as well as one or two other bits and pieces. There is just, however, sufficient time to share the following from the Wall Street Journal with you:
A December news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned of the dangers of Campylobacter jejuni bacteria infections on a sheep ranch, but apparently only among workers who used an old-style (19th century) method of castrating the animals. CDC strongly urged that workers stop biting off the sheep’s genitals and instead use modern tools. [Wall Street Journal, 12-8-2011].
You can read the full article here.
Love to you all,