16 February 2014

Another week, another seven days of wet and windy weather. And so it goes on. The forecaster’s job has certainly been pretty easy these past weeks. On Friday and Saturday it seems we had a months’ worth of rain in two days – considering that we’ve already had several months’ worth of rain we are coming to the conclusion that this is just getting silly.

Just to put our recent spell of miserable weather in perspective, the Guardian had a collection of photos the other day about the 1953 floods. Apart from the fact that they are in black and white, you could just about substitute some of these for photos of the current floods. What it must be like to be in some of the areas worst affected I cannot imagine.

At least we’re not enduring the icy temperatures that some of you are experiencing. Our friend Erik Benson sent me a link to this photo collection of the St Joseph Lighthouse on Lake Michigan during a recent cold spell.

And while the weather continues in the same vein, so too do the bankers – Barclays has just announced bonus payments for its elite which are up 10% from a year ago despite profits having fallen and the loss of 12,000 jobs. (And, after its multi-million  pound fine for the fraud of fiddling the Libor interest rate). In order to get the best staff you have to pay them the going global rate – yep, that’s working well then.

The Wolf of Wall StreetMs Playchute and I enjoyed a most pleasant evening out last Thursday. We ventured to the Banbury Flea Pit and watched an early screening of The Wolf of Wall Street which we very much enjoyed. (Warning to my mother: do not watch this film. There is enough sex and bad language to last you several lifetimes). As most of you will be aware, I am sure, it’s the story of Jordan Belfort, a former penny stock broker who makes a bucket-load of money and who indulges in all the excesses money can buy. He is ultimately convicted of fraud and other crimes relating to the manipulation of the stock market. Leonardo DiCaprio is superb in the lead and Jonah Hill is excellent in the role of his number 2. Excellent film, thoroughly recommended – 5 Star (The Befouled Weakly News).

I ran across a video on the BBC web site about the song “I Wish I Knew How It Felt to be Free” one of my all-time favourite tunes. The video is part of the BBC’s series of articles and vignettes about the meaning of freedom in 2014 and, as the video says, the song has been covered by numerous artists but I reckon Nina Simone’s version is one of the very best. Hard to believe that it was fifty years ago!

Finally, another photo collection from the Guardian, a collection of aerial perspectives by photographer Alex MacLean.


Dinghies clustered around dock, Duxbury, Massachusetts, US, 1993

Golf oasis in desert hills, Las Vegas, Nevada, US, 2009

Staking out territory, Livorno, Italy, 2007

Flower fields, Lompoc, California, US, 2013

The Jolly Roger Amusement Park, Ocean City, Maryland, US, 2011

Bathers in wave pool, Orlando, Florida, US, 1999

Shipping containers, Portsmouth, Virginia, US, 2011

B-52 Bone Yard, Tucson, Arizona, US, 1993

Over ramps, Albuquerque, New Mexico, US, 2008

Brightly painted houses, Burano, Italy, 2010

Bay Channel, Fremont, California, US, 1984

Desert housing block, Las Vegas, Nevada, US, 2009

It’s good to get a different perspective on things from time to time.

And finally, finally – Happy Birthday to cousin Bunny Wilkening whose house on Lake George we borrowed last summer for my father’s 90th XCstravaganza. Hope you have a wonderful day!

Love to you all,