Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thursday Thirteen 3

Thirteen Things about things that make me rant.
Lot's of things upset me greatly, but these are the little niggly things that are bound to set me off in a ridiculous rant

1 Weather forecasts from outside. We don't need some idiot bint standing shivering in a field somewhere to tell us that it's cold. We know. Stop sending weather forecasters outside - this is especially aimed at BBC Breakfast News
2 Tail-Gating Drivers. Really there's no need to drive so close to me. It's rude, it's aggressive and I'll just drive slower until you back off buddy.
3. Cyclists. Not all cyclists, some are great. But there is a certain number of them who seem to think the roads are their private kingdoms. Use hand signals, stick to the side of the road and for the love of all that is good and proper, don't drive three abreast on a country lane. And start paying road tax.
4. ID Cards. Why do I need a piece of plastic with all my biometric data on some computer somewhere? Don't give me the "if you're not guilty of anything, you've got nothing to hide" codswallop. If you are an innocent person why should you have to answer for your legal actions. Government's should be accountable to the people, not Vice Versa!
5. Bloody Vegetarians. Ok, ok, you've made a health/moral choice and I accept that. Just don't ram it down my throat. Whenever you have a vegetarian over for a meal they make a big thing of making sure you know their preferences. Next time I go to a vegetarian's for a meal they'll know that my preference is a nice juicy, rare steak.
6. Rude Shop Assistants. Is it so hard to say please and thank you? I know what it's like to work in a busy supermarket on a Saturday afternoon when everyone is a bit frazzled. But I always said please and thank you, and that's all I expect.
7. Bird Flu. Don't get me wrong, I believe that it exists, but really, why are we all in such a flap about it? It has killed what 200 people across the world. 200 out of 6 BILLION. I'm more worried about normal flu, or AIDS, or the growth of the measles because parents have refused to have their kids vaccinated. Let's get a little perspective here please.
8. Furry Letterboxes. Political campaigners will be with me on this one. When you are trying to deliver leaflets and letterboxes have a furry draught excluder on them which makes it impossible to pop a leaflet through them.
9. Smug Celebrities. Everyone is entitled to their views, everyone is entitled to tell us their views. Celebrity endorsement is great for raising attention to difficult causes. But we don't have to take the words of celebrities as the gospel. It isn't it is their opinion. And having your baby in Africa does nothing to alleviate poverty Angelina Jolie. Bugger off and leave the Namibians alone.
10. American Spellings. Nothing wrong with that in America. I'm not in America though and we use s's not z's here. It's organisation in Britain. And the funny thing with the dates doesn't cut it either, 1st December is 1/12 not 12/1. (Sorry to all the Americans who visit, I do love your country but not this aspect invading British life).
11. My Own Clumsiness. There's only so often you can hit yourself on the head with a phone without getting annoyed with yourself.
12. People Who Call at 5.05pm. Come on guys, it's five past five. I need to leave in five minutes to catch my train. Is it really so important that it can't wait til tomorrow at 9? And then I get mad at myself for answering the damn phone.
13. Pete Doherty. The guy should be in jail, or a serious rehab programme. Stop letting him get away with numerous criminal acts and get the guy some help. We're just sending out the signal that it's ok to be a junkie criminal as long as the media think you're a bit of a lad. It isn't, he's ill and he needs help.

Thankfully that's the 13 or I'll turn myself into a little tasmanian devil like ball of fury.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens! (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My BBFC Rating

My life has been rated:
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See what your rating is!
Created by Bart King

Fab. I think it's the fact that I'm a sweary beastie that puts me right up there.

Hat tip: Jo Salmon

I'm Baffled

Fair enough, that's a fairly regular state of mind for me. Things baffle me on a regular basis. But I am now totally baffled. A barrister has admitted filming up girls' skirts for the purpose of collecting and cataloguing the images. Yet the judge orders that he be found not guilty. I admit, I'm no legal expert, but it seems to me that he should be found guilty of SOMETHING, I don't know what, but that isn't normal behaviour and shouldn't be treated as such.

His defence, and a spectacularly succesful one at that, was that his family like collecting things. So do mine, when I was a kid I collected rubbers (the eraser kind!) and now I like bookmarks from where-ever I visit, my mum likes little china thimbles and my dad collects paper-knifes. Darren collects ceramic piggy banks. These are normal (if geekish) collections, it is not normal to collect video-taped images of up girls skirts.

Perhaps there's a good legal reason, but I'd love to hear it. I may have to start collecting money from banks. My family has a tradition of liking to count money.

Read more here and let me know if you can ease my bafflement.

Labour's Bad Day

A ridiculously bad day for the Labour Party.

First we have the lingering story of the crisis in the NHS. (Crisis? What Crisis?), yesterday we found out all about the foreign criminals roaming the streets (it's great, two Daily Mail hatreds in the one story), and now today John Prescott's affair(s?) come to light.

The first two are definitely resigning issues, Patricia Hewitt doesn't think it matters that thousands of NHS staff are losing their jobs and Charles Clarke just doesn't know anything that is going on. There are serious departmental and leadership failures in two of the most important departments of government and the Ministers are refusing to accept their responsibilty.

I don't think John Prescott has to resign over his affairs. I don't believe that infidelity is a resigning issue, although I do take on board the argument that if you ask the country to trust you, you must be trustworthy. But I don't fully agree. An affair is an issue for a couple to deal with. There is part of me however that is feeling smug, this is the man who lambasted the Conservative Party pre 1997 for being sleazy. He used Steve Norris as an example of the sleaze of the Tory Party, while (allegedly) being a well known serial adulterer. When Greenpeace invaded his roof and Chumbawumba chucked water over him, he screamed blue murder because of how it had upset Pauline. He's a nasty little hypocrite and I hope his wife leaves him. And takes the Jags.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

London Marathon

Went up to London for the Marathon today. Now have sore legs, feet, back and about two and a half hours in I started to feel dizzy. And I was only spectating!!!

I really enjoyed it, maybe one year I'll do it myself. Just have to lose about 3 stone before I start training, but the Krispy Kreme doughnuts won't help.

Congratulations to everyone who ran, particularly Reigate Councillor Andy Mountney and Professor David Cesarani.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Mixed Day

Very mixed day today.

A couple of sparrows flew into the living room window, one of the poor little things died instantly and his mate was knocked out. I got very upset and cried like a baby, and cried and cried. I'm not a particularly religious person but I do get upset when one of God's creatures dies. Darren boxed up the lady sparrow to take her to the local wildlife centre, but before they got there she started flapping around the car. When he opened the car window she flew off. Here's hoping that she only stunned herself briefly and will now be ok.

I renewed my tax disc online. Yay. So easy and saved me from being late again renewing. I love it when life is made easier.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is Her Majesty's 80th Birthday.

Would just like to add my best wishes and thanks to a wonderful Monarch who has worked hard for our country for so long.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things that I would like to do

1 Learn the violin
2 Learn to scuba dive
3 And then dive in the Caribbean
4 Write a novel published...
5 And have it published
6 Spend New Year in New York
7 Learn to ride a horse
8 Learn the Salsa
9 Celebrate my 50th Wedding Anniversary (only 47 1/2 years to go)
10 Own our own home
11 Be able to afford a really gorgeous designer dress...
12 And be able to fit into it
13 See a great musical on Broadway

Most of these I should be able to do something about, I'm just too lazy. Perhaps this time next year I will come back and see what's been done about them. Of all 13 I'm only working towards 2, I've been learning the violin for about two months, and I'm working happily on number 9.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens! (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

State Funerals

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith is campaigning for the last veteran of World War I to be granted a state funeral. I get the idea behind it, and anything that we can do to honour sacrifices is a good thing. I just don't agree with this plan.

How do we know who the last veteran will be? There aren't any lists that could be regarded as 100% reliable. And are we wishing away the lives of these old men?

Several families have said they wouldn't want this intrusion at a time of private grief. A country can't decide how someone should be remembered.

State Funerals are huge events, only one non-Royal has had a State Funeral, ever, and that was Winston Churchill. We shouldn't really open this up further or there will be a never-ending clamour for different groups to have a state funeral - last WWII survivor, last Holocaust Survivor, victims of terrorist attacks at home or abroad, soldiers killed now in the Gulf, any and every politician. I just think there lies a risk that the special-ness of the State Funeral could be cheapened if this proposal were to be accepted.

And what would happen if the last veteran to pass away turned out to be a thoroughly unpleasant bloke? I don't want to pass judgement on anyone who is still with us, but surely not all veterans have been law-abiding throughout their lives. Will there be a moral judgement on the last veteran? Should there be? I don't know and that is the problem with this suggestion. Too many variables, too many questions that we can't know the answers to.

Let's look at another way of honouring all our veterans of past and present conflicts. Let's also look at honouring their lives today and not their deaths by ensuring excellent standards of care home and hospital care for all our pensioners. That would be a real memorial.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I've Been Tagged

Wystful 1 has tagged me. Which means I have to come up with six weird things about myself. Which I'm happy to share with the blogosphere.

1. Like Wystful, I love the smell of coffee but hate the taste. In fact, I don't like tea either.
2. I was a Young Conservative in North Glasgow - that was weird.
3. I get cold really easily, even on warm days but when I visited Auschwitz in -5 degrees I wasn't cold at all
4. My knuckles are non-existent. When I form a fist there are just tiny little bumps, but when my hand is flat there are little indents where the knuckles should be
5. I am really clumsy - on an average day I will bump into doors, stub my toe, hit my head with the phone etc about 5 or 6 times
6. I like visiting cemetaries and imagining the lives of the people buried there based only on their gravestones (I don't like new cemetaries, or gravestones of young people - just older cemetaries)

I'm not going to tag anyone this time, because I'm feeling a bit too lazy. But do leave your comments about how weird you are.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

My New Puppy

We are considering adopting a dog from the local RSPCA centre once Darren starts working from home. And if our landlord allows us to. We went yesterday and I fell in love with one little cutie called Buster. A real mutt, but utterly adorable, I was really upset leaving him in the horrid little prison cell he was in (no offence to RSPCA who do a great job, but dogs shouldn't live in cages).

In the meantime I have adopted a virtual pet from somewhere or other - link in the sidebar.

I'd rather have a real one though. If you want a cute dog and we can't get him, do give Buster a look. He's at Millbrook in Surrey and he is adorable.


The rat is called Roland, apparently. We are going to get a humane trap and release him onto the common tomorrow. I hope, it could be that he becomes a family mascot before then.

He is quite cute as you can see.

Unwelcome Guest

My husband, Darren, is in the process of setting up his own photography business, specialising in wildlife photography. As he is still working a lot of his work at the moment is based in our garden and he has taken some wonderful bird shots. We have tried to make our garden as welcoming to birds as possible, with a lovely table, seed holders, fat cakes... Everything the average British garden bird would want. We also put out bread. And that it would appear is our mistake. We have our first rat now invading the garden, stealing the bread. I don't like rats, I don't want a rat in our garden. But - his agent has very few rat photos and this is the ideal opportunity. And, much as I hate to admit it, the little fellow is quite cute - in a filthy, disease ridden way.

So what do we do?

(Not our rat!)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Domestic Violence

It's very likely that sentencing for Domestic Violence offences in England and Wales will soon be downgraded and that if the man shows genuine contrition then he'll be sentenced to a community order rather than prison.

This has wound me up immensley and I have been intending to write about this for a while, but I found a letter in the Daily Telegraph which sums up all my arguments:

Sorry is too easy

Sir -

It is only in the past decade that domestic violence (News, April 12) has been recognised for what it is, a crime that has far-reaching effects on both the victim and children. It would be a retrograde step if the sentencing guidelines encouraged the courts to regard signs of remorse as a means of avoiding a custodial sentence. Many victims have discovered, with the benefit of hindsight, that an apparently genuine display of remorse has been little more than a coldly calculated means of avoiding punishment. The perpetrators are often skilled at emotionally manipulating their victims and at convincing themselves that, if no charge has been made, no crime has been committed. The violence, whether physical, mental or emotional, is usually the result of a deep-rooted personality disorder, which it is unlikely that a domestic violence programme will cure. Punishment is the only way that offenders can be forced to face the seriousness of their behaviour and it is essential they then receive the appropriate medical help if they are not to reoffend.

Anne Wells, Reading, Berks

Well done to Anne Wells for saying exactly what I was thinking, and probably much better than I could.

Let's remember though that while women are the largest group of victims of Domestic Violence, men are affected and its a problem in the gay community too. All victims deserve protection and all perpetrators need punishment and/or treatment.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Moray By-Election

The Moray by-election to elect a replacement for the late, much missed Margaret Ewing will be held on 27 April and the handbags are coming out. The SNP are accusing the Conservatives of playing dirty by claiming that Mary Scanlon is the natural successor to Margaret.

I must admit to having some feelings of unease about some of the language in the Conservative material that has been published on the website. It does seem that the tactics employed by Mark McInnes (in charge of the Scottish Conservatives, still behaves like a YC) are slightly distasteful. You know the kind of thing - Margaret was a dear friend, I want to be just like Margaret, I'll be a bonnie fechter for Moray. Nothing wrong as such and just ever so slightly nauseating. I hope she loses, I hope she loses big and that her arrogance in giving up her seat in the Scottish Parliament will be repaid in spades.

And just for the record - even if she was a good friend of Margaret, Margaret would still want her to lose.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Shock, Horror, Labour Bloggers

I'm linking to some blogs by Labour hacks. Not because I agree with them, but all three are consistently entertaining and quite often thought-provoking.

I especially enjoy Antonia Bance, half the time I nod sagely in agreement and half the time I grumble about just how wrong she is on the world. The truth as usual is probably somewhere in between our beliefs.

But enjoy all three...

My First Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Louise - Books I Love
I do wonder if I should have more high-brow stuff on the list. But these are the books I would read on the plane, so that's what counts.

1. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (The best of series) - JK Rowling
3. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
4. Death on the Nile - Agatha Christie
5. I'll Take Manhatten - Judith Krantz
6. The Plot Against America (new favourite) - Philip Roth
7. Sunset Song - Lewis Grassic Gibbons
8. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
9. The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Alison Weir
10. Rivals - Jilly Cooper
11. All Creatures Great & Small - James Herriott
12. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
13. Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin

As it's my first ever Thursday Thirteen I'm just trawling to see whose 13's I like and randomly adding them.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Labour Woes In Essex

This from the Southend Echo:

"THE Labour Party has been left without election candidates in five Southend Council wards after a freak theft.
Nomination papers for next month's elections were stolen from the back seat of a car minutes before they were to be submitted.
One of the wards the party is now unable to contest is Prittlewell, where Ian Gilbert had been selected to challenge council leader Anna Waite.
Mr Gilbert, 27, who was Labour's youngest candidate, said: "I was looking forward to fighting on local issues in an important election."
The papers were stolen from the back seat of a car belonging to Southend West constituency secretary Ron Kennedy, who had stopped in Tintern Avenue, Westcliff, to get signatures from two party members before handing the forms in at the Civic Centre."

Oh dear, oh dear. I can't help feeling a little sorry for poor Mr Kennedy, this is the stuff of nightmares for all election agents. But why in the name of all that is holy did he wait til just before close of nominations before putting in his papers?

This is a game that I've known to be played lots - hold your nominations off til the last minute then word won't get out who your candidate in X ward is. Or he may have waited til the last minute before starting expenses. Either way it worked out badly for the Labour Party.

I always liked to get my nominations in early - just in case disasters struck. Thankfully they never did.

Hat Tip: Labour Watch

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Prince Harry & The Stripper

The tabloids are full of the latest Royal Family scandal. Prince Harry took a trip to Spearmint Rhino with some of his mates. Big deal! Some young blokes in the army went to a lap dancing club - why is this in the papers? Why do we need to know - and why in the name of god did the BBC have to spend listen payers money getting people into a studio to debate the situation.

I do think that our Royal Family, who do enough to damage to their own image on their own, do come in for a lot of crap that they really don't deserve. Leave them alone unless they actually do something newsworthy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hail Hail!

Celtic have won the title.

Am a very happy bunny.


Watched the new political drama from the US which has everyone abuzz.

Is it softening up the ground for a Hillary/Condi presidency or is it just a new spin on an old formula? Is the black Chief of Staff a hint for Hillary to pick Barack Obama as her running mate?

Anyway, the programme...

Didn't have the sparkle of The West Wing, but spent an hour pleasantly enough.