3 March 2013

Good morning to you all and welcome to March. We’ve had a pretty good week, weather-wise, in beautiful, downtown Byfield. We’ve even seen the sun on a couple of occasions – it materialised through the early morning gloom on Wednesday morning like a long-delayed ship gradually emerging through the mist and fog. Amazingly, we’ve also noticed how much earlier it’s been getting light each morning and how much later it stays light in the afternoon – one could almost be forgiven for assuming that Spring can’t be far away. Indeed, the snowdrops are out and the daffodils won’t be far behind.

Snowdrops at Edgecote

The fine weather improves the disposition of most folk, even the miserable woman who handles our business at the village post office. I was surprised to observe that she seemed much more cheerful than normal when I waited patiently in the queue on Wednesday afternoon (or, at least she was marginally less miserable and officious than usual). The sunshine can do that to you! The only small problem – when one is waiting in the queue, her unusually cheery sun-fuelled disposition clearly compels her to have five minute conversations with each customer. I now know, for example, that she was born and raised in Lowestoft, information that I would gladly trade for a bit of a less lengthy wait in her queue.

How is it that the Royal Bank of Scotland (the one which Fred Goodwin drove to ruin and who then took out an injunction to prevent anyone referring to him as a “banker”) which was bailed out by the government and hence is now owned by the taxpayer, made a £5.2 billion loss last year yet still reckons that it needs to pay more than £600 million in bonuses to stop its poor, beleaguered bankers from fleeing abroad with all their skill and expertise? Listening to the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London one could be forgiven for imagining that if their bonuses were not paid in full we would have the ugly sight of gaggles of former bankers huddling in cardboard boxes on street corners in the City.

The EU is currently discussing a limit on banker’s bonuses. The proposals suggest that a bonus should be no more than 100% of one’s salary or up to 200% if approved by shareholders. Not surprisingly, Cameron is utterly opposed to the proposal (also, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the UK is apparently the only government opposed to the proposal). But heck, we’re all in this together so that’s OK.

The horsemeat scandal continues unabated along with the string of jokes, PhotoShopped masterpieces and anagrams. My current favourite: did you know that Findus Ready Meals for One: Lasagne is an anagram of

Feed your diners lame nags an’ foals

I ran across the following cartoon the other day and was struck by how it could apply, with one minor modification, to our Molly.

Multi-tasking

With Molly there would be no chance of any scattered food. Apart from that, though, she regularly splashes the contents of her water bowl all over the kitchen floor which, when combined with her drooling anticipation of dinner time, can make for a very exciting roller-coaster of an adventure every time one visits the kitchen.

Two drink-related stories caught my eye this week. Apparently, beer drinkers in the States have filed a $5 million (£3.3m) lawsuit accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its beer. Now, I concede that I am not a great beer drinker but one obvious question arises – how could they tell?

And, in Scotland, they’re not watering down their beer but rather pouring good whiskey down the drain! Instead of draining away waste water during a routine cleaning operation, the workers on duty somehow managed to flush out thousands of litres of bulk whiskey. Oh dear.

And finally, a YouTube video of a naked guy locked out of his hotel room. It’s almost certainly a spoof but still very amusing – how many of us have almost been there?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCzejSt8s7I

Love to you all,

Greg