2 March 2014

A Pleasant Sunny Day at Edgecote
A Pleasant Sunny Day at Edgecote

It’s actually been a fairly decent week, I have to confess. We’ve had a couple of nice, Spring-like days with some blue skies and relatively warm sunshine. Everything seems to be moving in the right direction – that is, until we heard the forecast for this weekend. No, not more rain as such but rather – snow. I’m doubtful that we will get any but it is decidedly cooler than it has been for much of the week and the sleeting rain would easily turn to snow on the higher ground. I guess the birds singing last week as if the future of their species depended on it were mistaken. Spring is still a little ways away.

Great photo from the Guardian Eye Witness series:

The Somerset Levels
Sunset on the Somerset Levels – flooded for more than a month now.

So, if the weather continues to be fairly wet and miserable, how about those other staples of our lives – the bankers. Yep, they are still up to their usual tricks. The Royal Bank of Scotland, which is just over 80% owned by the British taxpayer after it had to be bailed out, has just announced loses of about £8.2 billion (more than £22 million per day), up from a measly £5.3 billion loss last year. No worries, though, they’ve also announced a bonus pool of £576 million to be paid to those staff who have done so well in managing the bank on our behalf! Nothing pays quite like failure, at least in banking it seems.

In spite of the weekend forecast, yesterday morning (Saturday) dawned sunny and bright so the delightful Ms Playchute suggested an outing. After consulting our National Trust handbook, we opted to set off to Baddesley Clinton just north of Warwick. This is a fantastic Elizabethan moated manor house with a rich history – it was occupied by the same family, the Ferrers, for more than 500 years and as such it has many of its original Elizabethan artefacts. The family were Roman Catholic and so on the wrong side of the authorities during the Elizabethan period. The house has a number of Priest Holes designed to hide the visiting priests if the authorities came to investigate, one of which drops from the kitchen into the sewer below, a long tunnel which could accommodate several priests and which would deter any detailed investigations by the priest hunters.

It’s a bit early in the season so the gardens are still largely in the winter slumber but the house itself was fascinating – a fun day out (4.5 out of 5 – the Befouled Weakly News).

This won’t mean much to our non-British readers but it’s thirty years since the satirical programme Spitting Image first aired on British television. An exhibition of puppets and cartoons has just opened in London and the Guardian had an article describing it. In our household, it was required viewing and, as far as I can tell, none of our three boys was too emotionally scarred by watching it. It was rude, vulgar, anti-establishment (although it certainly did not portray many of the opposition leaders in a particularly kind manner either – remember the diminutive David Steele and the slobbering Roy Hattersley?) and it was enormously funny.


Ms Playchute and I had a discussion on Thursday evening about a profound “problem” which I am sure would provide fodder for a PhD dissertation. Why do the different elements of one’s bed covers move in apparently opposite directions at different speeds? Like many of you on these cold winter nights, I suspect, we have a sheet, electric blanket and duvet on our bed. When the bed was made at the beginning of the week, all those elements were perfectly aligned. We didn’t actually get a ruler out and measure how far each item was from the floor on each side of the bed but, judging by eye, it was pretty close. Four or five nights later, as we get into bed, I see that the electric blanket is virtually touching the ground on my side of the bed while the sheet and duvet are still in their correct positions. How is that possible? Given that I am not a fan of the electric blanket, the other question is why does it seem to migrate to my side of the bed? Answers on the back of a postcard, please.

And speaking of scientific investigations, I ran across an article in the Guardian describing a new children’s book but that’s not what attracted me to the article in the first place. It also had a True or False quiz on the author, John McNally’s, top 10 Crazy Science Facts. So, I thought it would be fun to let you complete the quiz as well. No fair clicking the link until you’ve answered the questions!

[slickquiz id=1]

Read the article and a bit more about each question here.

How did you do?

Much love to you all,








7 thoughts on “2 March 2014”

  1. The link for the quiz doesn’t seem to be working.
    Bummer – we might have to go read the article if we don’t get that link working pronto.
    Quiz Queen

    1. It seems to not be working on an iPad or iPhone and who knows what else! Someone brighter than I am will have to explain why.

      1. It’s not working because it’s trying to validate an email field that doesn’t exist. I don’t know how much control you have over the HTML/Javascript, but replacing:
        if (emailLabel) {
        if (false) {
        seemed to fix it, for me at least.

      2. Doesn’t seem to work on the MAC either… will have to get out the Lenovo Lab Top.
        David is coming for dinner Monday – Perhaps he’ll have an idea why…

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