Friday, 22 September 2017

Creativity beckons

Far be it for me to predict what will come of today's speech that the Maybot will make in Florence.

I do, however, like to play about with options on outcomes, a form of Mystic Meg soothsayer, if you like.

Why? Well, why not?
With the Tories having f*cked up pretty much anything they could think of in this country - much of it without even trying too hard - you might as well laugh and poke fun while the sun's still shining.

So, without further preamble, here's my starter for ten on how the Maybot, BoJo, DD and their merry chums expect Brexit discussions to move ahead after they propose the following to break deadlocks.

  1. A bridge shall be built from Dover to Calais. The EU will have to fund it and only when complete will the Tory government agree to meeting their European counterparts halfway. In all senses.
  2. Britain will return to imperial measures across the board. No more of this metric nonsense, and currency denominations will once again be defined in terms of shillings, farthings, pennies and guineas. All bartering as to what is owed to the EU will be subject to conversion and the UK will set its own exchange rate. So that makes it twenty guineas and sixpence, take it or leave it guv'nor.
  3. Any negotiations shall henceforth be conducted in Olde English. That's a close match to a thick Scottish accent to you and me, hence a new opportunity for translators to flock to the table and variously interpret what each party is trying to convey. No doubt further hours of joy and, indeed, procrastination.
  4. Every participant at roundtable discussions shall be proficient on the rules of cricket. No knowledge, no say.
  5. Each negotiation session shall begin with at least twenty minutes' talk about the weather. There is no precursor about how you engage in this, nor which country's weather you opt to discuss - although penalties will be awarded at random if your country's rainfall/sunshine/temperature is deemed to be preferable to Britain's - but failure to comply will mean the entire British congregation have the option to walk out in disgust.
  6. There shall be no talk about the Royal Family.
  7. Unless you wish to touch on whether past imperial connections and interfamilial marriages actually infer that Britain should seek to reestablish reign over numerous regions in the Continent.
  8. All participants at negotiations must abide by a British sartorial code: oversized suit jackets for men, bland ties (preferably with yesterday's lunch stains well visible), scuffed shoes, ill-fitting skirts or kaleidoscopic dresses for women, preferably adorned by chunky costume jewellery for added effect. None of this European elegance please, far too distracting.
  9. All impasse shall be resolved by having a cup of tea. In times of extreme tension, this will be extended to include a biscuit and a nice sit down.
  10. There will be no negotiations during the airing of The Great British Bake Off. After all, what's not to like about a good cake? 

So there you go. I may be wide of the mark, but then again what would I know about the intricacies of politics and negotiations?

yes, exactly, hung out to dry


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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Twenty-seven years

Time passes quickly - we all seem to say so at some point.

Twenty-seven years ago today I landed in this country, slightly adrift in terms of where and what I might be headed towards, and thus commenced a rollercoaster ride into full adulthood and beyond.

A couple of points worth noting:
  1. I never came to the UK seeking citizenship, I already had two other nationalities to my name, one of which enabled me to settle and work here without the need for a visa;
  2. I believed - correctly as it turned out - that any career I sought was best pursued in London given the opportunities, cosmopolitan mix, and proximity to Europe that it offered.
Now, close to three decades later, I approach this anniversary with mixed feelings.

With the Brexit vote last year I have found myself in a similar quandary to many others in my situation.

Do I remain in the country that I have called home for more than half my life?

The honest truth is I don't know. Given family, friends, work, social life, health, education and much more, there is too much at stake to make a rash decision. Ironic that OH - who is British - would happily decamp tomorrow to warmer climes Down Under.

So what would otherwise have been an occasion for celebration feels far more subdued now. The country I call home is feeling somewhat unwelcoming.

A nation divided? Definitely.

A nation defined now by tarnished ideals and lies? Absolutely.

Not sure that sits comfortably with the values I wish for me and my family any longer.

In the meantime, work and plan, work and plan, work and plan...



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Monday, 21 August 2017

Get a grip

Did I miss something?

Another disheartening and mindless attack on innocents, this time in Barcelona, hatred without rhyme nor reason. Cowardice on a grand scale by those who were, like most of us, fortunate enough to live in a democratic country that grants freedom of expression and movement.

I just cannot comprehend, whatever the explanations offered.

The jumped-up thin-skinned orange misogynist still in charge over the pond, spouting incoherent tweets and unable to spell even the shortest of words. Twice.
How so, America? Oh, wait, yes, something cryptic about making a country great again and an election that went way off track.


At least late night hosts are not holding back. A degree of sanity - and comedy - there. Even if reality makes me weep into my breakfast porridge.

Politicians in Australia feigning ignorance about their own origins, with the 'purebred' deeming themselves the sole ones fit to serve in office. Because - heaven forbid - any of us should have mixed parentage. Oh, the sacrilege! Hello immigration? Any chance you let 'other nationalities' into the great nation down under since the convicts? Hmmm? Sure they weren't just opportunists?

Cue endless face palming.

Idiots still pondering how much longer they can get away with not having a plan for Brexit... or coming up with such ridiculous alternatives as to be truly laughable.


Oh, the irony of it all. My porridge at this stage resembles floating oats in a sea of tears.

Then we had the UK health secretary telling a world-renowned physicist that, basically, the latter didn't know his sh*t. Of course. Because once a d*ckhead, always a d*ckhead, isn't that so Jeremy?

He's probably not listening anyway. He never is.

But finally, FINALLY, we had something to really make us stand up and pay attention.

Indeed, the Maybot is back from her shirt-dress outfitted holiday. And the first thing on her agenda was....

... *cue drum roll*...

Big Ben.

Yes. We live in a society that deems clock stoppage the most pressing issue. No less than three (yes, three) parliamentary committees are "looking into the matter" from various angles.

I would hope that at least one of them will report that we live in 2017, most people wear a watch or have access to the time on their mobile devices, and that there are, quite frankly, more important items to deal with.

Oh. Just saw a pig fly by.



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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Just me?

Something about a last-minute panic has hit.

Aside from thinking - mistakenly - that today was Friday (it isn't, it's still only Thursday) and that my bank balance is so far underwater that I dare not anticipate what my weekly text update from my provider will say in the morning when it pings my phone (aside from "Seriously? WTF?"), it has also dawned on me that for the first time ever the house will be minus two out of three children from Wednesday.

One with friends in Italy, another ditto but in Norway.

And Widget on a local RYA sailing course with his best mate to keep him busy.

What to do then, with all this free time?

Actually, free time my arse.
I'll be working.
But with less distractions.

And possibly a bit of cycling thrown in, just for good measure.

Work life balance and all that.
Although potentially with less phone calls from offspring asking where I am.

School holidays. Gotta love 'em.



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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Analogies of a sort

Thankfully I spent the tail end of last week in a different country, taking part in another cycling event that was both exhilarating and exhausting, with my good friend (and fellow Kevinette) the Aussie Solicitor.

As we crossed the finish line there was much cheering and a man with a microphone ran up wanting to interview us. A bit of banter and a few laughs - especially when I mentioned that we had come this far to "escape the election" - and he signed off with a "Good luck with Brexit!"

Indeed.

Talk about a car crash.

I had jokingly said this was Ms May's election to lose, not Corbyn's to win, but hardly expected my words to be quite so prophetic.

Not being known to mince my words, and having already endured friendship fallouts from the lamentable referendum of last June, I decided to focus instead on one of the books we were set to read for Kevin's next rendezvous.

Now possibly because I was so put out by a trust fund hypocrite being re-elected to my local constituency - by a mere forty-five votes, no less - my take on this book was, ermm, let's just say less than favourable.

Aussie Solicitor, who has (perhaps wisely) not read it yet, asked me what I thought.

"An absolute pile of shit."

Like I said, no word-mincing.

And a perfect analogy for other events too.

where to even start...


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Friday, 2 June 2017

Schlepping it over to the continent

Good grief, another month gone by already.

Amongst other things (work, mainly... and cycling) I have been rather taken in the lead up to this:



When I have more hours in the day, I will post the full version.

Suffice to say it was an incredible event with some truly fabulous people.
And all for a common and very worthy cause: children and education.

Yay us.


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Monday, 1 May 2017

Dinner is served, badly

It is election season.

Obviously we didn't have quite enough excitement last year, so what we were categorically told would not happen in the UK is actually happening and it is only a matter of time before the proverbial starts hitting the fan once more, everyone goes for the jugular and we split the nation even further.

Just as well we are all "coming together", as Ms May would have us believe.

Except for Westminster, apparently.

Not sure where she gets her stats from, but I am guessing the same source as The Donald. Listen to those voices in your head and sooner or later you believe the alternative reality is the truth.

Ho hum.

However my current favourite take on the dire situation - and delusion - of the incumbent PM (and her band of incompetents) is the most recent, involving her dinner with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The report by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) is solely in German, in hard copy print edition, with no English translation, and is summarised brilliantly by the Berlin bureau chief at The Economist via a series of tweets.

The event can best be described as a total clusterf*ck.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall.



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