31 May 2015

It’s been another great week, although I have to concede that the weather has not played its part! We did have some lovely weather on Thursday but the rest of the week has been a bit of a damp squib – one of these days summer is going to arrive (perhaps).

Last Saturday evening we had a fun time out with Nick on a magical mystery tour – neither Penelope nor I had the slightest idea of what adventures the evening held. Our first stop was the Yo Sushi restaurant in Leamington. Now, those of you who know Ms Playchute will appreciate that this was probably the last thing she would be interested in – the mere concept of consuming uncooked fish had her feeling distinctly unwell and wobbly but Nick reassured her that they did have cooked items as well, even some of which were non-fish related and, in the end, she thoroughly enjoyed herself. Meanwhile, Nick and I devoured our respective share of the EU fisheries quota for the United Kingdom.

Soon we were on our way again and, after a short drive, we found ourselves at the Warwick Arts Centre where, it turns out, Joan Armatrading was performing for our pleasure! Great performance, wonderful woman and a splendid early birthday present for Ms Playchute.

Joan Armatrading

That show set us up well for the week and then, on Thursday, (Ms Penelope’s actual birthday) came the best excuse for celebration yet – we collected Adam and Ava from Heathrow. They were supposed to have been arriving on Wednesday evening at the very respectable time of 8.30pm. However, their flight from Guilin to Hong Kong was late and they missed the connecting flight they were due to have been on. Fortunately, through the magic of the internet, Adam was able to give us their updated arrival details – they were now going to be arriving at 5.30 the following morning!!! A bit of an early departure for us but it was a great start to Penny’s birthday, collecting our youngest son and his wife for a three-week visit!

We all spent a bit of time snoozing on Thursday, Adam and Ava to mitigate the effects of their jet lag, Pen and I to mitigate the effects of the unlawfully early hour we were compelled to arise.

Then, on Thursday evening it was off to The Inn at Farnborough for an excellent birthday meal. We reckon the Inn might have changed hands since we were last there a few months ago. There was a different menu to the one we have been used to and, I have to confess, that was always one of our (minor) criticisms of the place – the menu was always the same. Very tasty food, deliciously prepared and presented but always the same stuff. Now, apparently, they change the menu every week and, from our sampling at least, the quality is still every bit as good as it always has been. Delicious!

I ran across an article in the Guardian this week which made me chuckle. As we all know, politicians have a very vague and tenuous relationship with the principle of telling the truth. In other words, politicians sometimes/occasionally/regularly/continuously lie. There’s a bit of a row just at the moment between the Scottish National Party and the last surviving Liberal Democrat MP in Scotland. Just a few days before the election a “confidential” memo was leaked to the press which suggested that Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, would prefer that David Cameron should be the next Prime Minister rather than Ed Milliband. Leaving aside the small issue that the alleged leak was completely untrue and the equally minor matter that this was supposed to be confidential, the Liberal Democrats seemingly leaked it anyway. When questioned about his knowledge of the leak, Alistair Carmichael, the sole surviving LibDem MP in Scotland claimed that he knew nothing about it at all. That now turns out to have been a lie. Not only did he indeed know something about it, he was, in fact, the person who authorised the leak. Having been caught out, he has apologised and figures that should be the end of it. Meanwhile, the Scottish Nationalists have asked the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards to launch a formal enquiry into Carmichael’s behaviour, i.e., his lying.

What I found so amusing is not that Carmichael lied instead of telling the truth. It was the manner in which Sir Malcolm Bruce, former deputy of the Liberal Democrats who resigned his seat at this election, sprang to his colleague’s support with the dubious logic that if MPs were to be chastised for lying, the House of Commons would be empty. In other words, we shouldn’t worry about politicians lying because they all do it. And somehow, that makes it all right?

Although we’ve not had any squabbling in our swallow accommodation this year, I did think the following was cute.

Birdhouse Double Booked

I saw in the Guardian that the Scottish painter Jack Vettriano has injured his shoulder and won’t be able to paint for “the foreseeable future.” A shame as I really like his stuff in spite of what the so-called “experts” think of his work. He has been described, in the Daily Telegraph, as the Jeffrey Archer of the art world, a purveyor of “badly conceived soft porn.” Hmmm, I’ve never been a fan of Jeffrey Archer – perhaps it’s the badly conceived soft porn which I find so appealing.

The Singing Butler

And finally, while completing a couple of chores on Wednesday, I spotted these lovely little flowers amongst the ferns along the wall outside the kitchen window. They are absolutely gorgeous!

Little Flowers

And finally, finally, for anyone interested, a lovely article in the Guardian describing the nonsense that is the current (and previous) government’s on-going housing policy. In brief, there is a shortage of “affordable” housing, a situation created by Thatcher’s policy of allowing Council House tenants to purchase their homes at a greatly subsidised price while, at the same time, precluding councils from building any replacement stock. The inevitable result – a chronic housing shortage and escalating house prices.

Part of the plan was that councils should refrain from supplying affordable housing, liberating the home-building sector from unfair competition and causing it to start providing affordable housing itself. Alas, the result instead has been a chronic housing shortage, making homes less affordable than ever.

Please note: you will need an understanding of satire to fully appreciate this article

Much love to you all,