Random musings from the front line (well, more like the support trench, or perhaps the castle 10 miles away, supping Chateau Lafite with the General Staff) in the battle for curiosity, inertia, grammar and a Dachshund called Colin.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Trafalgar 200 - or "My Big Day Out"


International Fleet Review - Solent 28 Jun 05

I haven't got much time this wek - or indeed this month, as I go away until the beginning of August tomorrow - but I thought I'd share these photographs that I took today (one about 30 mins ago!). It was a great honour to witness the Fleet Review, from a warship at sea, about 100 yards from the "Main Woman" (Her Majesty) and the entire occasion was an absolute credit to the navies of the world. Especially our one.


Son et Lumiere - Southsea 28 Jun 05

The culmination of the day's events was an absolutely spectacular son et lumiere fireworks-cum-music-cum-reenactment-cum-cum thing, which was quite simply the most impressive (and free!) public event I've ever been to. Huzzah for Nelson. And all that. So here I am: tipsy, sun burnt and on a computer when I should be in bed. See you in August....

Monday, June 20, 2005

The International Symbol of Bad Driving

Don't Speed in Bus Shelters, KidsOver the blisteringly hot weekend, I drove 100 miles north to my old university city for a boozy reunion with some friends, and then back again (avec hangover) the next day. Maybe it was the heat - maybe it was the lack of air conditioning in every car sold in the UK until 1999 (including mine) - maybe it was my throbbing temples - but most of the drivers on the roads seemed to be incompetent idiots. Changing lanes violently, without indicating, and directly in front of other vehicles was a typical symptom, as was that almost-always-in-a-Volvo refusal to move to the left hand lane. But probably the most irritating habit of the sub-standard drivers I experienced was the refusal to go anywhere near the envelope of the speed limit.

Oooooh, a 30mph limit. Let's drive at 15mph.Now I don't, as a rule, speed. Much. OK, I have 3 points (34mph in a 30 zone, by mobile camera, your honour, I thought he was a surveyor) from 2 years ago and on empty motorways I cruise at 80mph. In fact, I'd go faster if I wasn't so much of a coward about losing my licence, especially as modern cars are orders of magnitude safer, more maneouvrable and stoppable than those around when "70mph" was plucked out of the air as the limit. But I cannot see the point of driving at 15mph in a 30mph limit, when it's an empty wide road, with no pedestrians, in bright sunlight. And, funny old thing, the car that first did this to me had that Christian fish symbol on the boot. And the next one. AND THE NEXT ONE! Now, I always thought that the point of the little fishy thing was to show the world that you belived in Jesus and all that. I fail to see why sticking it on the back of your Morris Ital (immaculate, British Leyland brown) means you have to then mentally halve all the published speed limits and keep to "fish" speed. Or maybe the Christian sect that issues these stickers (I'm pretty sure it's not the C of E) only believes in kilometres an hour. Either way, here's a message to all of those drivers with little fishies - "Jesus wants you to change into 3rd gear".

It's a bum rap, officer Mind you, there are so many speed cameras around these says, they could just be obeying one of the little known prophecies in the Book of Galadriekial about "the carriage with the fish shall be flashed and verily, will receive a triumvirate of points of penalty". I'm not going to rehearse all the well-worn arguments against (many) and for (none) speed cameras vice Traffic Cops but I'd love to know how many of the little cheats you read about online to avoid tickets actually work. You can get super-reflective number plate spray, buy real spray-on mud in an aerosol can (recommended for 4x4s only), refuse to sign the speeding summons, claim the car is for sale and on a test drive with a mysterious "Mr Galloway" etc, but do any actually work? I've even heard the ludicrous suggestion that you shouldn't break the speed limit - what a lark! Or, alternatively, you could stick your bum at the camera and rest assured that your backside will make its way onto the internet eventually. Nice bum, mate.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Cock Shot

Look at my 3 inches!Wandering through the streets of my home town, I found this brass plate embedded in the pavement. Of course, I am fully aware of its purpose in the grand "water main/fireman" scheme of life, but it started me thinking - municipal double entendres - are there many more of them?

So, I spent the day with my camera phone (actually, it's the first photo I've ever downloaded from my phone - remarkable quality for a piece of add-on Nokia rubbish) stalking my picturesque metropolis, looking for rude words, in official typefaces. And here are my results:

Oh ha ha. I used to be a doctor, you know. I'm afraid that's it. A picture of someone's house with a not-very funny name plate, entirely based on the occupant's profession in the medical sector (I'm guessing). Maybe the City Council don't actually have Finbarr Saunders working for their signwriting department, but it would be nice if they could make more of an effort. When I was at school in Bristol, the local scaffolding company was called "Avon Erections", which always made us giggle. And there's a tool hire firm on the A27 called "Beaver Tool Hire". But c'est tout. Can either of my readers find an original (ie not from an email circular - I have loads of them!) example to appeal to my puerile mind?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Ding ding - de - ding ding ding. Brrrrrr. Etc

Stroke his misshapen genitalia for a chance to get even....then CLICK I hate that bloody frog. Number 1 in the charts, for pity's sake, a sacred position that should be rightfully the preserve of ... er .. St Winifred's School Choir, Benny Hill and Mr Blobby. Personally I was delighted that downloads became included in the official charts a few weeks ago as I assumed that low-selling dance music tracks and teenage-targeted cheese would stop infiltrating my ears on the rare occasions that I listened to Radio 1. I had even heard rumours that the baby-faced child that used to present the Top 40 (Wesley "Wes" Butters) was sacked for being too immature in this mature new world of Noughties music (and nothing to do with how close he allegedly was to the rather nasal ageing DJ Paul Gambaccini (I think Honeytom first told me that)).

But that frog. You know the story - 17 year old Swede, internet chat rooms, Jamster blah blah blah. You have even read about his shrivelled genitalia being censored on the TV ads. But never did I suspect that enough idiots were out their to actually pay for him to "ding ding" out of their stolen Nokias. Forget world poverty, global warming, soaring crime rates or National Naturism Day (today, since you ask, which is why I am typing this in the buff) - the real issue is why there are enough people out there with the spare cash, inclination and selfish streak to download such an annoying noise, purely to be able to inflict it on others in the vicinity every time their phone rings. Personally, I blame Big Brother.

So, if you fancy a bit of revenge, click on the picture above and play a diverting and rather satisfying little game that makes you feel that little bit better. Ding ding ding-de-ding ... BANG.