21 July 2013

The week's weather

Are you kidding me? While some of the rest of you have been enduring torrential downpours and burst beaver dams, we have been enjoying some of the finest weather to visit these shores in a very, very long time. Somewhat like waiting for a bus, I suppose – you wait years for a decent summer’s day and then ten or fifteen come along in a row!

Of course, we are not used to such weather conditions in the UK so, on Wednesday, we had sight of the first Level 3 Heatwave Alert in these parts for a considerable time. I have to say, I hadn’t realised the Met Office had such a well-devised and efficient Heatwave Alert system – it’s not as if we get much practice. Still, on Tuesday the Met Office was predicting a 90% likelihood of “heatwave” conditions for the next few days in London and the south which, apparently, means temperatures above 30o Celsius (i.e., 86o Fahrenheit). Not much of a heatwave for those of you in many other parts of the world but for the UK, it’s a scorcher! How fortunate we are that the tabloid newspapers (in this instance the Daily Mail) helpfully published some photographs designed to help us all cope with the scorching temperatures!

Phew! What a Scorcher!

No hosepipe ban yet but that won’t be far off, I ‘m sure.

Penny in Annabelle's Paddling PoolOf course, we’ve had our own way of dealing with the heat and we are quite capable of printing photographs of beautiful young women cavorting in the surf (or, in this case, a paddling pool). With the sun scorching down and temperatures soaring into the 80s, Ms Playchute requested that I fill Annabelle’s paddling pool so that she could cool down. She completed her sixty-five laps in record time!

Dementia, thy name is Molly. The other morning I was awakened at the ungodly hour of 7.15 by the sound of our Molly barking vigorously demanding to be let out so that she could start her day. Normally at that time of the morning I would ignore her and Penny would eventually get up to let her out, prompted by several well-placed kicks and nudges from me (all the while pretending to be asleep, of course).

On this occasion, however,  Ms Playchute had awakened absurdly early and had departed about 6.30 to go swimming in Banbury. Since Pen’s mum is not doing the stairs particularly well at the moment, it was, unfortunately, down to me. So, cursing and muttering, I stumbled down the stairs to let her out and to fix myself a hot drink. The normal routine is that when Molly comes in from her morning excursion around the back garden she gets a little snack and so she did. I then wandered bleary-eyed back upstairs, back into bed with my drink and fired up the iPad to read the morning’s news.

You might be able to guess how thrilled I was to hear, about three minutes later, the dulcet tones of Molly barking to be let out, again. “No!” I shouted. She persisted. So, downstairs I go to let her out again. This time, though, I let her out through the French doors in the “library” and left them open so that she could come and go as she pleased. I watched for a moment just to see what she was so desperate about. Imagine my surprise when, instead of wandering around the back lawn studiously searching for the best place to leave her morning deposit, she raced around to the front door like a rocket and started barking to be let in again. I followed her through the garage and bellowed at her – “I left the library door open for you!” and insisted she accompany me back through the garage and in through the library doors so that she would realise that there was no need to summon assistance through the process of barking her head off. She dutifully followed me back around and in through the library door and, afterburners engaged, raced to the kitchen clearly expecting another snack. “No way, José. You’ve already had it.” And I went back upstairs, read the news in peace and had my morning shower.

As I emerged I could hear her outside, barking at the front door to be let in again! It’s a good job I am such a patient and considerate individual or we would be serving Molly burgers on the barbeque this evening.

She is  clearly demanding that we send her off on a Doggie Holiday at the Paw Seasons Dog Hotel. £47,000 worth of Doggie Heaven including such canine highlights as:

  • suite with a screen for films such as 101 Dalmatians and Lassie
  • bespoke doghouse replicating owner’s home
  • personal chef
  • walks at local beach with ice cream
  • surfing lesson
  • day with dog behaviour expert
  • reiki session
  • grooming at Harrods pet spa
  • luxury wardrobe
  • solid bronze car mascot of the dog and portrait by artist Jo Chambers

Give me a break!

And speaking of Molly burgers, we wrote a few weeks ago about the Chancellor, Osborne the Tit, making an arse of himself by Tweeting a photograph of himself eating a gourmet burger which ended up costing more than many poorer families have to spend on food for a week. Once again the main stream media has caught up with us. The following cartoon is from Private Eye – click for a larger version.

Osborne the Tit

I ran across a new approach by a politician caught making a statement which is unsupported by the evidence. We’ve written before how David Cameron has been “rebuked” for being less than truthful in statements he’s made. One time he was told off for claiming that the government was reducing Britain’s debt when, in fact, throughout the coalition’s time in office the debt has continued to rise. Another time he was chastised for claiming that the government’s austerity programme was not responsible for the weak state of the economy when the Office for Budget Responsibility said exactly the opposite.

Now we have Iain Duncan Smith, the government minister responsible for Work and Pensions claiming that some of his welfare reforms are already working in that, even before they have been introduced, many of those who have previously been on benefits have found work. He claimed that the “threat” of the introduction of tougher benefit rules had forced thousands to find jobs, the implication being that anyone on benefit is, by definition, a scrounger. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support his premise. So, when he was rebuked, unlike Cameron who simply ignored the reprimand, Smith said that it didn’t matter whether there was any evidence for his statement or not – what mattered was that he “believed it” to be true.

Steve Bell cartoon

What a brilliant idea – no more “lying” by politicians. All they need to say from henceforth is that they “believe” what they are saying is true. Pigs can fly? Hey, I believe it!

Today is the conclusion of this year’s Tour de France and it has been a fantastic race. 3,497 kilometres in three weeks! I get exhausted just watching it even after adopting a horizontal position on the sofa in front of the television!

Love to you all,

Greg