Wednesday, 30 November 2011


I'm sure that like me, you're pleased when you read that through the advancement of forensic techniques, murderers and rapists are being prosecuted many years after the offence. No doubt they thought they had got away with their crimes after they went unsolved for so long but thankfully 'cold cases' are in the process of warming up.

Cases of child abuse are undergoing a similar process and the horrific stories which have emerged often reveal that the worst offenders frequently worked as professionals with children. So who can children trust?

You might think that a county judge would administer fair justice to his children but the recent viral video released by Hillary Adams of her father beating her in 2004 when she was 16 years old disproves this. The video is sickening and shows the father clearly losing self-control as he repeatedly lashes his daughter with a leather strap. At one point he shouts 'Lay down or I'll spank you in the f***ing face.'
Hillary had the forethought to set up the 'sting' when the beatings were forming a pattern, secretly filming the event and has now shared it with the world.

I shall leave you to form your own opinions about this case but the one thing which appals me is that because of the American 'statute of limitations', there is a good chance that this clear act of child abuse will go unpunished. Apparently cases have to be brought to court within five years. The argument is that as time passes, evidence becomes less reliable.

In this country we do not have such a view. We try the case and if the evidence is deemed unreliable so be it but if the case is proved then justice has been done.

Here ends the case for the prosecution.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


You will never believe this but it's my duty to tell you.

The NHS are to try out a new piece of kit. It costs about £1500 and it's called a Mandometer. It's a plate. Not a gold plate. Not a silver plate. Just a plate. A plate which you eat off.

It's made by those cunning Swedes but you won't find this plate in IKEA. So what makes it so expensive?

It talks to you. Yes, you read me right. You didn't realise you needed a plate which talks to you did you? Well perhaps you don't - unless you're overweight. Because to be frank it doesn't just talk to you, it nags you. It's the worst kind of nagging too because it takes no notice whatever of your replies.

It says things like 'Are you feeling full yet?' or 'Please eat more slowly'. So it's polite at least. I mean it might have said 'Slow down you fat bastard'.

Get this. It has a monitor with a screen on which you can watch how your food is disappearing off the plate. Sorry to state the obvious but I can just watch the plate to see that.

Anyway, once my mother stopped nagging me for being what she called 'a greedy little pig' it wasn't too long before I had a wife to do the job so that's £1500 I have saved myself.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I've just been checking my diary and I may have a problem. I expect you're fully aware of the joys of having an electronic diary. The big advantage is when you have a regular recurring event and can just enter it once with the instruction to repeat the event every week or month or year.

I well remember when I used to have a traditional diary and spent ages writing in my weekly events fifty two times. Now I just tap it in and say repeat every week and there it is stretching off to infinity.

It's brilliant for birthdays too especially when I know the year my friend or relative was born because it not only tells me the date but also their age. As a result I shall have no excuse now for missing my wife's 150th birthday. The main problem will be finding a 150th card in the shops.

I have made no secret of the fact that I intend to live until at least 100. This gives me a problem though. I shall obviously be thrilled to recieve the Queen's (or King's) telegram. The problem is that I may be out when it is delivered because unfortunately, my diary informs me that I shall be playing badminton that morning.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


I have said before that I love this time of year (November) which is the month in which my birthday falls. I also ventured to suggest that many people like the time of year when they were born.

However there is one little thing which I am not happy about at this late Autumn period. It is time to switch on the central heating. Don't misunderstand me. It's not that I begrudge the power companies their income. The reason why I don't enjoy switching on the heating is that it is a source of disagreement between my wife and I.

I sometimes think that I could be dressed like an Eskimo and need to chisel away the ice to find the heating switch below and she would still be saying 'You're surely not thinking of putting the heating on? It's sweltering in here'.

When the heating is on, I am usually in at least three layers of clothing while she is wearing a vest top and going round flapping her hand to cool her face. I once tried to raise the subject of hot flushes but I value my life too much to make the same mistake again.

We control the heating via the thermostat which is at the foot of the stairs. When she passes it she turns it down to 18 degrees and when I pass it I turn it up to 20. I wonder - can plumbers fix the central heating when it has a nervous breakdown?

I have warned her that if I die of hypothermia she will be arrested for involuntary manslaughter but then of course, there is always the chance that I might find myself in the dock should she expire due to heat exhaustion.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Has this ever happened to you? There I was, bouncing along merrily, buoyant with the prospects of the day ahead when I turned the page of my newspaper (The Times) and read something so appalling that I could think of little else for a long time afterwards.

The incident I speak of took place in Afghanistan, that hotbed of calm, justice and serenity and concerns a lady named Gulnaz. When she was a married woman aged 19, she was brutally raped and became pregnant thereafter. She now has an infant daughter and the good news is that eventually, her attacker was caught and convicted.

The bad news? Despite being an innocent victim of this crime, Gulnaz was given a 12 year jail sentence for adultery along with her child and in order to secure herself an early release she has been made to marry the rapist.

Like me, I'm sure that your jaw just hit the floor. The only thing that we can do for people like Gulnaz is to keep talking about her. Tell the world that we find this type of inhumanity totally unacceptable.

If I have brought Gulnaz' story to just one person who hadn't heard about it before then I am content.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


My daughter has always been very fond of pigs which may be due to the fact that she appears to have been born on National Pig Day, which incidentally is on March 1st.

The pig is a much maligned animal I discover. In my constant quest to research old sayings I find that in 1732 it was said that
'A hog in armour is still but a hog'. This was recycled in 1887 when it appeared as 'A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog'. More recently of course we have have the American version 'you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig'.

I have recently found that the modern equivalents of some of these old sayings are not necessarily as aesthetically pleasing to the ear. When my daughter and I were discussing a mutual acquaintance of mature years who let us say, has overestimated her attractiveness I quoted 'You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear'. My daughter readily agreed adding 'Yes, you can't polish a turd'.

I suppose I could have said that our friend was 'mutton dressed up as lamb' but then that's a whole different animal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Look, I'm bright me. I passed all my exams, got all the qualifications, even joined Mensa for a while. OK my memory isn't the best but otherwise my brain stands me in pretty good stead.

You will understand then why I'm a bit puzzled and pretty embarrassed to report the following event which took place earlier today.

I was in the gents toilet. Well somehow I find the gents caters better for my needs than the ladies and there isn't usually a queue. Anyway, having done my thing, I dutifully washed my hands and then held them under the electric air drier. We've all been there. You wave your hands around like a demented traffic policeman but nothing happens. Nothing.

So I applied a bit of logic. First I searched for a power switch. In the past I have often located this and found that it was switched off. No joy. Then I searched for a paper towel alternative but this was the only option.

Now in the past, I would usually give up at this point and dry my hands on the portable towel which I always carry with me also known as jeans. However, I thought I'd have one more attempt.

I'm not very technically minded but I know enough to be aware that these hand driers have a sensor underneath which detects the presence of your hands and then switches on the power. So I thought I'd try holding my hands really close to the hot air aperture to try to wake the sensor up.

It was while doing this that I felt the paper towel slightly protruding from underneath for yes, this was actually a paper towel dispenser and there was no hand drier in the room.

I dried my hands and walked out feeling rather sheepish but very pleased that it was a single cubicle and no-one had witnessed my senior moment.

Let it be our secret.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Today is my 65th birthday and last night I held a celebratory dinner in my own honour. There were 16 of us and we were in a private dining room in one of my favourite restaurants.

I had prepared a short speech despite my family's groans ('Oh no not another speech') and decided to deliver it after the main course before the wine had reached tsunami proportions.

The theme of my little chat was about the importance, having achieved the grand old age of 65, of having a good team behind you and in my case, I was looking at them. Between them, my friends and family present at the dinner are able to provide all of the useful support services I might need. The guests included

A Cordon Bleu chef to satisfy the inner man.
An Accountant to nurture my newly acquired pension.
A magistrate to get me off with a caution when I am hauled up for driving the wrong way up the motorway.
A Pharmacist to advise me how best to use my free medicine prescriptions.
A sports coach to keep me fit.
A weather expert to ensure my life's autumn days are sunny.
An advisor for vehicles for the disabled should my fitness expert let me down.
A home entertainment advisor who boasts one of the largest DVD collections in the area.
A brilliant teacher (you're never too old to learn) and fashion advisor who keeps me looking trendy.
A bodyguard - who is an army sergeant (don't mess with me).
A fully qualified life coach - sadly too late for a mid-life crisis.
A home improvements expert.
A marketing manager to help me publish my book.
A master stonemason who will be able to make me a bespoke gravestone of the finest quality when my luck runs out.
The love in my life and the love of my life who also serves as the other half of my brain (I lack the common sense gene).

All in all, the dream team.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


My wife and I have had a 'Duh' moment. You know - when you've been a bit slow to catch on. In our case, 'slow' was four years.

Let me explain.

We've lived in our lovely house for five years or so and like everything about it. The first thing we had done was to get a gas fire fitted - the sort that looks like a real coal fire. We love it. We also get to use it a bit more often than we'd like because we have always found the living room to be a bit draughty.

Of course this is fine during the warmer months of the year but when the chillier ones come around we sit there shivering until we light the fire.

So it continued until about a year ago when my wife had her eureka moment. 'Why don't we try shutting the door?' she said. So we did. Ever since then, our living room has been 'toasty' and we have been able to warm it up by just lighting a few candles instead of the expensive gas fire.

How stupid is that?

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe.” - Albert Einstein