25 March 2012

Good morning to you all on a gloriously glorious day in our neck of the woods. Here’s hoping that your Spring has sprung too. I have to say, we’re not getting the 70 degree temperatures Pam wrote about; ours are in the more modest 50s and 60s range but it’s bright, clear, sunny and warm so what’s to complain about. And, we’ve had pretty decent weather all week – a bit foggy and hazy in the mornings with a bit of chill but once the sun has broken through to disperse the haze, it’s been lovely.

Indeed, it was so nice yesterday that we indulged ourselves with this year’s sometimes occasionally annual stroll down the Oxford canal from Claydon down to Cropredy. Not much to show for our efforts but it was lovely and Molly particularly enjoyed herself.

If only Ms Playchute and I were in a better position to enjoy the weather! Instead, we spent much of the week dealing with the consequences of the plague which arrived at our household on Monday evening. After an excellent meal of Greg’s world famous Cajun chicken and linguini with Alfredo sauce (recipe available on request), Penelope began to feel somewhat nauseous. She then spent a happy time in the bathroom through most of the night alternating between crouching over the toilet emptying the contents of her stomach and sitting on the loo dealing with successive bouts of explosive diarrhoea. I feel compelled to point out that her experiences were completely unrelated to the fine cuisine we had consumed but rather she’d had the misfortune to come into contact with someone who was carrying a dose of Norovirus, better known here as the winter vomiting bug.

Regrettably, Ms Playchute endured much the worse of it. She was up all through the night while I merely complained about the disruption to my sleeping pattern. My experience started on Tuesday but, while feeling nauseous I never actually vomited; I merely enjoyed the delightful symptoms associated with explosive diarrhoea and therefore was spared dealing with the dilemma which is frequently presented to sufferers – do I sit or do I kneel? Sometimes, apparently, one has to do both. Not very pleasant and, while the outpourings from both ends concluded in about 36 hours, both she and I (but especially she) have been somewhat less than our usual fun-filled, care-free selves for most of the week.

Another sign of Spring of which I have been reminded in the week is the arrival of the piercing shaft of sunlight which drills through my eyelids at about 7.00 in the morning. As the sun marches northwards it reaches that point on the horizon where there exists a direct line between the sun as it peeks above the horizon, one of our bedroom windows (which has no curtain or blind) and my sleeping eyes through which it drills vigorously causing, as they say, a somewhat rude awakening. Often, of course, the weather is so lousy in the UK at this time of year, that it’s not an issue. This week, on a couple of the non-foggy mornings however, it has been very abrupt indeed! Of course, as Spring progresses the sun moves further to the northeast and bursts through another of our unblinded bedroom windows onto Penelope’s slumbering eyes. The only real difference is that her awakening arrives at about 4.30 each morning instead of the marginally more respectable time of 7.00ish.

Venus and JupiterOne evening last week when I was feeling marginally better than awful, I had another attempt at capturing the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. I don’t think my efforts are going to win any prizes but I was somewhat more successful than on the previous occasion I tried. Click the image for a larger version in which you might actually be able to see both planets!

And speaking of things celestial, I ran across a video on the Guardian web site of the Northern Lights shot from the International Space Station which I thought was pretty cool. You can find it here.

And finally, those of you with a half decent memory will remember that I wrote about Stephen Gough, the Naked Rambler some years ago (February 2009, in fact. If you need a quick reminder you can grab one here). This is the chap who, for some reason, wanted to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats naked which he did on a couple of occasions spending some time skirmishing with local law enforcement agencies along the way.

I ran across an article in yesterday’s Guardian which brings us up to date with his most recent activities. It seems he is currently residing at Her Majesty’s pleasure in Perth prison in Scotland serving a 657 day sentence for a breach of the peace and contempt of court. (I wonder how they arrive at such a precise figure for his sentence.) The breach of peace occurred when he left HMP Perth naked after finishing a previous sentence. He was taken to Perth sheriff court, and represented himself naked. That was the contempt. This latest sentence is his 17th in ten years; he has effectively spent nearly the last six years in prison for refusing to get dressed. Interesting difference between attitudes in England where he was largely tolerated and Scotland where he has been in custody for most of the past six years.

In Scotland, breach of the peace is partly defined as “conduct which does, or could, cause the lieges [public] to be placed in a state of fear, alarm or annoyance”. The prosecution has very rarely managed to rustle up witnesses to claim Gough’s nakedness has had any of these effects on them. What is keeping him in prison is simply the theoretical idea that it could.

Isn’t this one of those instances where if you ignore it, it will go away?

Much love to you all,


3 thoughts on “25 March 2012”

    1. Certainly he wasn’t wearing clothes when interviewed by the guy who wrote the Guardian article.

  1. No – he’s not wearing clothes in prison. I guess one should click on the links…

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