27 May 2012

My goodness, what a busy, busy week we’ve had. And, to make things even better, the weather in the second half of the week has been fairly marvellous – bright clear skies and temperatures reaching into the mid-70s – a veritable heat wave for the UK! I’m afraid there is too much to relate this week so you’re going to get the current narrative spread over two weeks. That means you will have to wait until next time for a detailed description of Ms Playchute’s Sixty Sensational Celebratory Surprises which began on Thursday with Ben’s arrival for her birthday party yesterday evening. In the meantime, though, you will have to put up with an account of last weekend’s entertainments which included a terrific day out in the big city with the usual suspects.

Turner ExhibitionLast Saturday we went up to town to catch the Turner exhibition at the National Gallery – Turner Inspired – in the Light of Claude. Apparently, Turner was “inspired” by the light and landscapes in Claude’s works and the exhibition has gathered various examples together and displayed them side-by-side. Indeed, on his death Turner left the National Gallery two paintings on the condition that they were hung between two pictures by Claude. The exhibition was very good but for all Turner’s fame, I thought the Claude’s were better.

After the exhibition we made our way to Ed’s Diner for a very tasty lunch.

Ed's Diner

And then it was on to the Theatre Royal Haymarket for the matinee performance of One Man, Two Guvenors which was great fun. It’s a very amusing comedy based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni and is very reminiscent of a Shakespearean comedy complete with a woman dressed as a man (and, you will be surprised to learn, none of the characters can spot that “he” is a she), mistaken identities and multiple, farcical misunderstandings. And so to dinner at Assaggetti, an Italian just opposite the Haymarket for a very pleasant meal of Italian tapas which was most enjoyable. The 8.30 train got us home and into bed by about 10.00, a terrific day out and, as you can see, London is getting dressed in its celebratory costume getting ready to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and then, of course, the Olympics.

London - 19 May 2012

From the “You read it here first” department – a report on the BBC web site the other day suggested that “Higher university fees ‘will add £100bn to public debt’. You will remember I wrote some time ago about the lack of “joined-up” thinking in the coalition government and the raising of student tuition fees, intended to reduce government expenditure and help cut the deficit, would actually end up increasing the deficit because of the increased student loans required and the likelihood of some eventual default on the loans. The latest report suggests that the policy will add about £100 billion to the deficit over the next twenty years. One of the more astute policies they’ve introduced.

I also enjoyed an article in the Guardian where one of those giving testimony to the Levenson enquiry on phone hacking, Peter Oborne, a journalist on the Telegraph, has suggested that lying in politics should be made illegal and a punishable offence. I’ve mentioned this before but isn’t that what politicians do? Apparently, the only “problem” is how to define a lie. It seems pretty straight-forward to me but then I’m not a lawyer or a politician but something along the lines of deliberately saying or writing something which is untrue in the knowledge that it is not true ought to do the trick. So, for example, a politician who says during the election campaign, “We pledge not to increase tuition fees” or “We have no plans to raise VAT” ought to get them banged up – what a great idea.

Finally, are white bluebells still called “Bluebells”?

Love to you all,

Greg