Wednesday, 30 December 2009


It was a wonder that I ever took up bridge. My mother was a ‘golf widow’ and she seemingly hated the game and resented every minute that she was left alone while my father walked the links. They did however share the pleasure of playing bridge though there were some occasions when a ‘falling out’ meant that they had to partner a guest and play against each other to avoid total acrimony. I remember countless times as a child watching, or more often hearing, my parents playing this card game which seemed to be punctuated with bitter arguments the severity of which depended on how well Mum and Dad knew their opponents.

Thankfully at that time I had not heard of the famous ‘Bennett’ murder which took place in 1931 in America when a furious wife, incensed at her husband’s bidding and play at bridge, pulled out a revolver and shot him dead. If I had I would have no doubt have intervened to preserve the peace. Yet despite this unfortunate introduction to the game, I later took it up and like thousands of others find it hard to get through a week without a bridge ‘fix’.

I have played the game in kitchens, in gardens, in ballrooms, on boats, on my computer and of course in bridge clubs. My partners’ ages must have ranged between 9 and 90 as does the membership of my local bridge club. Despite the best endeavours of my parents, it is a very sociable game which is why I made the change from chess to bridge. I much prefer the bustle of the bridge club with the banter between hands to the library-like silence of the chess club broken only by the ticking of the many chess clocks.

I well remember my first ever visit to the local bridge club and wondering what to expect as I approached. With a few hundred yards left to walk, I suddenly froze. What if everyone wears black tie? But I need not have worried. I soon discovered that the game is very cosmopolitan and not at all stuffy.

Listening to my parents those fifty or so years ago, I learned that the worst bridge player they knew was ‘Gladys’. During one game my Dad’s play apparently went a bridge too far. My mother rounded on him venomously ‘I hope that when you die, you find yourself playing an endless game of bridge with Gladys as your partner!’ My father replied ‘As long as we are playing in the clubhouse at the golf club and I can see you eternally playing the 18th hole I will be content!’

Sunday, 27 December 2009


The family are all gathered together. The tree is festooned with tinsel, lights and decorations and underneath it lie a great number of wrapped presents destined for the people in the room. But how do you proceed from there?

In Christmases past I have 'persuaded' my family to adopt the method which I first encountered when I was in the bosom of my first wife's family - who were Italian. Firstly, the youngest members retrieve the gifts from below the tree, read the labels and then bestow them accordingly. This means that each of us start to amass a pile of presents and in my case, the pile is usually the smallest *sob. Then the oldest person present gets to open their gifts and then the next oldest etc. The system has its pros and cons.

The good things about this method are that:
1. The youngest get to witness the ceremony - for once they have opened their presents they are lost in reverie.
2. The kids get reading practice. (Admittedly not so important if they are in their 30's).
3. I get to open my stuff first.

The bad things about the method are that:
1. It always leads to the debate 'why do we do it this way?'
2. There is no doubt who is the oldest.
3. The kids get petulant waiting.

More recently, I have been over-ruled and now we each open one thing then repeat. This means I always drop out first. Both systems have their merits - how is it done in your household?

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


Not that I'm playing for sympathy or anything but I thought I would share with you that I have never had a Christmas stocking full of presents. Not even as a child.

Before you shed a tear at my plight let me explain why my life has been so blighted. My mother, bless her, decided that she couldn't get enough stuff in a stocking so from day 1 my brother and I had Christmas pillow cases. Result!

Recently, I have been reminiscing about those exciting times when I tried so hard to sleep with one eye open so that I would catch a glimpse of Father Christmas. For some reason, all I ever remember catching a glimpse of, was one of my parents peering in to see whether I was asleep or not. Funny that.

I confess that I have no idea what childrens' Christmas stockings contain nowadays but in my day, the best items included the following. My comic annuals - 'Beano' and 'Dandy' - were eagerly awaited each year and there were usually several surprise toys. Then there were the stalwarts - those items without which my Christmas pillow case just would not be complete. Firstly, the chocolate money. I never buy it for myself nowadays but as a child they were just divine! Many children received sugar mice in their stockings but in our case we had sugar pigs - much bigger and did a much better job of ruining your teeth! Finally, there were the inevitable satsumas or tangerines which I still love today. You can see why we had to have pillow cases!

What used to be in your Christmas stocking?

Sunday, 20 December 2009


If you already know the origins of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' then let me not detain you further. However, if this information has previously escaped your attention then allow me to enlighten you.

Popular legend has it that it contains a coded message within having been written during the period when thanks originally to the efforts of Henry VIII, Catholics were suppressed (1558-1829) and were not allowed to openly practice their religion.

The items in each verse had religious significance and were intended to help Catholic children to remember the key features of their faith. 'My true love' (God) actually gave the following:

12 drummers drumming = the twelve points of the Apostle's creed.

11 pipers piping = the eleven disciples (not counting Judas).

10 lords a-leaping = the ten commandments.

9 ladies dancing = the nine fruits of the Holy spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

8 maids a-milking = the eight beatitudes (Christ's blessings from the sermon on the mount).

7 swans a-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy spirit (prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership and mercy).

6 geese a-laying = the six days of creation.

5 gold rings = the Torah or law (the first five books of the Old Testament).

4 Colley birds = the four gospels. Note not 'calling' birds. Colley birds were blackbirds.

3 French hens = faith, hope and love.

2 turtle doves = the Old and New Testaments.

The partridge in the pear tree being Jesus himself.

Now I'm off to examine Rudolph. I suspect that his red-nose could be a subversive ploy by Alcoholics Anonymous!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I was under the impression that we (The Allies) won the second world war. I was told that we beat the Germans who were trying to take over the world. The story goes that we would have been subject to German rule and forced to drive Volkswagens and wear short leather trousers.

More recently, of course, we have been told that all those nasty Germans have gone and only nice ones are left. In my personal experience though, I must say that the Germans I meet on holiday still have plenty of territorial ambitions when it comes to the sun loungers round the pool.

So if we won the war and thereby saved ourselves from becoming some sort of Bavarian holiday isle, how come I keep seeing most of our cities proudly displaying posters advertising that they are hosting 'Traditional German Christmas markets'?

I don't want Saint Nicholas entombed in a glass case. I don't want a knitted hat which makes me look like I have pigtails.

Glühwein? I don't want my wine tasting of glue, nor do I want it spiced or hot.

Stollen? Then give it back at once!

Wurst? I don't want the worst I want the best.

Apparently German gingerbread is called Pfefferkuchen which means 'peppercake' - what have pepper and cake got to do with each other pray tell?

I'm betting that they don't have a 'traditional British Christmas market' in downtown Dusseldorf.

Sorry but as far as 'traditional' German Christmas markets are concerned, all I have to say is "Bah! Humbug!' or for the benefit of my German friends 'Bah! Betrug!'

Sunday, 13 December 2009


My dear departed mother had a morbid terror of being cremated alive. It was such a concern to her, that she made me promise to stick a pin in her on her deathbed to check that she didn't flinch. I tried to persuade her that since she would be laid out for several days, there was every likelihood that a passing undertaker would notice her tapping out S.O.S. in morse with her finger but she would have none of it. So yes, I pricked her finger.

She is in good company. George Washington no less, was so terrified of the idea of being buried alive that he made his servants promise to wait for 2 days after his death before burying him.

Fear of being buried alive, the medical term for which is 'Taphephobia', was so common in the 18th and 19th centuries that the 'safety coffin' was invented. This was a coffin with a cord inside attached to a bell above ground so that anyone who might awaken to find themselves in a small, dark, confined space could feel around for the rope and set the bell ringing. It seems to have escaped people's attention, that a bell ringing from a churchyard is a fairly commonplace event.

Of course, this fear of premature burial is completely irrational especially nowadays with modern medicine being so advanced. By the way, while I think of it, when it comes to my turn, I'd be obliged if I could be buried with my mobile phone - only because I am so fond of it. Oh, and if you could just make sure that it is charged up I'd be most obliged.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Along with my shiny new computer, I have acquired it's electronic diary. I have used electronic diaries before but this one is different from my previous ones. The difference is that I can now categorise the events in my life and then colour code them.

For example, I have a category called 'Dining out' (my favourite) which I chose to colour yellow. 'Birthdays' are green, 'Recreation' is purple, 'Appointments' are red......well you get the idea.

I can then view any one category on it's own so for instance I can select just 'Birthdays' so that I can check whether I have cards to buy in the near future. Alternatively, I can view all of the categories together which makes for a very colourful display.

I feel things are going well when I find 3 or more colours on the same day. It shows that I have variety in my life. It also shows a degree of balance so that if I have a morning session of purple tennis I can see that I will be able to regain any weight I lose when I have my yellow dining event in the evening.

So now I lead a much more colourful life than I used to but I have a confession to make. I find that more and more, I especially enjoy the days which are just plain white!

Sunday, 6 December 2009


The first inkling I had of what retirement would be like was when I found myself buying a pair of bright yellow 'Marigolds'. For the unititiated, these are rubber household gloves used when washing dishes or for other domestic chores. Naturally I only wear them when no-one can see me. Except of course for Dearly Beloved who no doubt derives some perverse pleasure in witnessing my indignity.

I jest.

I have no problem with helping out at home and anyway, I was forewarned. I attended not one but two pre-retirement courses (not that I was eager to stop work or anything you understand!) and the first thing I learned there proved to be very true. We were told that in cases where our wives were still working when we retired, we would be left lists. Each morning there would be a verbal or written list of tasks to be completed before our spouses arrived home - and so it came to pass.

I have become intimately acquainted with the dishwasher and with the hoover. You can stop thinking your smutty thought right now! I have my own apron. I also took a crash course in how to put up the ironing board which thankfully I am rarely called upon to use.

However, I have a confession to make. I'm a bit of a fraud. My apparent inability to fathom the workings of the washing machine are shall we say, a trifle embellished. I trust you dear reader to keep this secret to yourself and on no account let it reach the ears of my dear wife.

Monday, 30 November 2009


I just got back from a few days in Brussels.

Don't need to say much more really do I? I mean I've got the bragging out of the way. "Eww get him jet-setting it!"

I've maybe induced a touch of jealousy. "How come he gets to go to Brussels while I'm stuck here cooking the sprouts?"

Perhaps there's a little curiosity. "What's he doing going to Belgium? I didn't notice him among the long list of also-rans for the EU Presidency."

This reminds me of my sadly now deceased Aunt Lillie who once actually started off a conversation with the wonderful line:
"You know as you sail into Capetown............"
Well no Auntie, sadly I don't.

Oh alright then, since you ask so nicely I'll tell you. It was to attend a wedding and it was just fabulous.

On the Friday we attended the official ceremony when the mayor officiates and conducts the legal aspects of the marriage. The next day it was all down to the church for the traditional religious bit.

Then it started to turn magical. We were bussed out into the Belgian countryside to a fairy-tale château where we were greeted with log fires and tasty things to nibble - no not the bridesmaids! A multi-course sit-down meal followed that with wines arriving in response to your thoughts of them. Speeches, coffee, cake - all the usual elements and after a short time to catch your breath it was on with the dancing.

At first, as the drink flowed and the music played, things developed in the usual way. Granddad's gingerly tested out their hip-replacements on the dance floor. Ladies' 'fascinators' started to appear on gentleman's heads. If you don't know what they are check here. Then men started tying their ties round their heads (well OK I started that off!). Then ladies pinched the ties and tied them round their heads where they looked far better than their male counterparts.

This may all have been in part because there was a free bar. Just consider that concept for a moment! Wines, beers, vodka etc. etc. just there as and when you want it. Everyone loved the music for a very simple reason - it was their choice. Each guest had been asked in advance to submit their three favourite dance tracks for the playlist - the ones that make you just have to get on your feet and dance. What a clever idea! So lines of cavorting conga dancers developed, snaking round the hall and we were all doing the mashed potato, the mambo, the macarena or just madly dancing when someone introduced a long pole and before long there was a limbo contest for those whose backs could stand it.

You're getting the picture I'm sure, that we were having a great time. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, it did! Pancakes were being freshly cooked in the corner to eat with jam and sugar or just lemon. What a wonderful touch!

Sadly, all good things have to end sometime and we were bussed back to our hotels at silly o'clock to dream of princesses being married to their handsome princes having witnessed just how it should be done.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Apparently I don't drink enough. Now if you'd seen me last Saturday night after I'd consumed the best part of two bottles of Merlot unaided, you would question this statement. However, here I am being literal. I do not consume enough fluid.

How do I know this? Because I am blessed to have people around me who care about the state of my health and who regularly nag me about it. Recently, the nagging with regards to my failure to quaff several litres of water per day has come from at least three different people and so in order to attempt to silence my critics, I have succumbed.

I know that going everywhere with a plastic bottle of water clutched in your hand has almost become a fashion statement but I am clearly not in the vanguard of fashion where drinking is concerned. I simply try desperately to remember to drink a glass or two - sometimes instead of my beloved coffee. There I've said it. You now realise how serious an issue this is for me.

Once again I turn to my late grandfather for help and he duly obliges with this poem which I believe to have been penned by him.

"Pure water is the best of drinks
that man to man can bring.
But who am I that I should have
the best of everything?

Let Princes revel at the pump,
Peers with the pond make free -
But whisky, wine or even beer
Are good enough for me."

Sunday, 22 November 2009


Since the dawn of time, men and women have had their individual roles in life.

Neanderthal men would be off killing dinosaurs while their women dusted the cave. Knights of yore fought dragons whilst their ladies spent hours trying to pick the lock on their chastity belt. Elizabethan explorers would sail to foreign parts whilst their wives gave birth a year or so after their departure. Victorian gentlemen in tall hats would build huge constructions out of metal for the sheer hell of it as their ladies sewed tapestries and made lace doilies back home. Last century, the men were off fighting world wars as their ladyfolk packed food parcels and drew lines down the back of their legs to look like stocking seams.

If the men were in any doubt about their role, the female of the species would leave subtle clues. Mr. Caveman would wake to find his hunting loincloth and club waiting for him by the cave entrance. Sir Laughalot would find his armour at the ready, newly polished by his distressed damsel. Explorers' telescopes lay next to their sandwiches by the door. Victorian gentlemen found their place at table carefully laid with knife, fork and screwdriver. The tin hat sat gleaming on the breakfast table as Tommy came down for breakfast.

Things haven't changed. This morning, my wife having departed for work, I entered the kitchen to find that she had left the empty pepper grinder sitting next to a packet of peppercorns both strategically placed by the kettle. Clearly, when it comes to the intricacies of the pepper grinder's mechanism, it's a man thing.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


I sometimes fail to spot things. There was an occasion involving my first wife - you'll understand in a moment why she is my 'ex' - when she returned from a shopping trip wearing a new outfit. This wasn't just a new dress but a skin-tight snakeskin trouser suit. I didn't notice it, much to my shame.

I am more attentive with my second wife. I have learned the hard way that when she has gone for a hair appointment, my line on her return is 'Ooh, your hair looks nice dear'. I even remember to stop reading and look up at her before saying it.

I also sometimes forget things. Like forgetting to zip up when I've had a wee (this is a well-known 'old man' thing). Another example is that I have to put things somewhere where I'll literally fall over them or I'll never remember to deal with them.

I take some comfort though from learning of the Macedonian gentleman who was on a motoring holiday in Europe with his wife. He filled up with petrol near Pesaro in central Italy and got a call 6 hours later in Germany to point out that his wife was still at the petrol station. Apparently, she always sat in the back and clearly she wasn't a back-seat driver because he hadn't noticed she wasn't there! If you don't believe me check here.

Even I'm not that bad. Now, what was I saying?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

NOW I'M 63

You'll remember that John Lennon sang about his concern that the love of his life might not still love him when he reached 64. he wrote the song in 1966 which was the year that his Dad became 64. I was 20 and remember thinking back then that being 64 sounded positively ancient. Now, I'm just a year away.

I know it's just a number and it genuinely doesn't trouble me to be this age. The important thing of course is to be 'young at heart' as Frank Sinatra sang in 1954 - you can hear it here on a 78 r.p.m. record with authentic crackles, just as I remember 78s. 

The snag is that however young at heart you may feel, your body keeps reminding you that it's starting to wear out. I'm lucky in that I still have my hair and my own teeth. In fact all of me is original with a few bits missing. Mind you, it's a race as to whether my knees or my hips will get replaced first.

It took a while, but I've learned that the old guy in the mirror is me. I've also learned what I can still do and what I can no longer do and what tablets to take and exercise to do in order to keep the old body working well. So I'm happy with my age, at home with myself so to speak.

However, if you would prefer to be younger, follow Lucille Ball's advice - lie about your age! Oops! I blew it in the title. Oh well, I'll just have to keep taking the tablets.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Now I know you'll find this hard to believe but I winge a lot. One of my eternal gripes is the constant road works which we seem to get on the stretch of motorway near us and this seems to have spread to smaller roads which are closer still.

Thumbing through Grampa's book, 'Pierrot's Album', which I introduced you to in my post called simply,'Pierrot', I discover that my affliction is clearly hereditary. I was born in 59 Tanworth Lane, Shirley and Grampa lived two doors away in 55.

He wrote this little poem in 1931 - 78 years ago! This was the year he moved into his house and it was before the road had been surfaced. The poem was published in the local paper and as you will see, proves that "there is nothing new under the sun".


In Shirley's heard a sweet refrain
"Let's go and dig up Tanworth Lane".
Builders, sewermen, gas-men too,
All dig holes to obscure our view.

They dig a deep hole for a drain
And then they cover it up again.
The gas-man then he doth appear
Saying "Come on Bill, our course is clear,
We really must have a hole down here".

Saturdays, Sundays there's no rest,
They dig and dig with added zest.
We take much mud into our houses
And Oh! you should see poor Pa's "trousis!".

When Father Xmas comes by heck!
He'll fall and break his poor old neck.

Perhaps some day our good surveyor
Will send his men with tarmac layer
And thus rejoice the poor ratepayer.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


I try so hard to support local shops, really I do. OK for buying the weekly food shopping, supermarkets have won the day but as far as other shops are concerned......

When we moved here three years ago, I was delighted to discover that there was a small opticians only 5 minutes walk away. I went in and introduced myself. During the conversation, I discovered that although my previous optician was in a town some 35 miles away, the same guy who did my eye tests there, came here once a month. It was spooky really, because I was feeling sorry that Pete, for that was his name, wouldn't be doing my eye tests any more.

I booked in with him and had my first test. Now, I have to be tested regularly for Glaucoma and during that part of the test, it became clear that the equipment was so old that it wasn't up to doing the job. Pete was frustrated that he couldn't check me out properly. I was concerned that my eyes weren't getting the quality of test that I needed.

So sadly, I had to move to a large chain of opticians whose equipment is totally up-to-date, who have a much larger choice of frames, and whose prices are much lower. I say 'sadly' but of course, I'm much better served now with the new opticians.

Isn't it a shame though, that market forces are driving smaller shops out of business in this way? Presumably, in time, there will only be huge shopping conglomerates left. Or am i I being a dinosaur again? (Don't answer that!)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


One of my pet hates is door-to-door sellers. Usually it's 'I represent Sparky Electricity. Have you checked your power bills lately?' I hate it when they have learning difficulties or are disabled. It makes it almost impossible to say no when they offer their cheap household goods which you wouldn't dream of buying in a shop.

Occasionally, you get the scary ones. The gypsies selling pegs or offering to sharpen knives. Then you worry whether you will be cursed if you don't comply and will spend the rest of your life doomed, never to win the lottery or meet your frog prince.

One pleasant exception though, many years ago, was a young student who was selling her art. She held up a canvas of a forest scene and it was clear that she had a talent. I succumbed and looked through her other paintings. My eyes lit up when I came upon a seascape, because I am a sucker for water in paintings. I bought it of course and it has pride of place on my study wall.

This preamble is only to set the scene for my experience yesterday morning when the muse came tapping at my shoulder like a salesman offering his wares. I'd been reading a piece about Keats ('How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.....') and here was the muse tempting me with the thought of writing a love poem. My natural lethargy tried to fight him off but then the intrigue kicked in. How hard can it be? What a fatal question that is!

So here is my love poem. Treat it gently, for it is entwined with my soul.

The world is the better that you are in it.
No less is my life for your presence at its heart.

My actions are referenced to you my love
and my thoughts are governed by your nearness.

Let it ever be so.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


I have a theory. I have held it for many years now but I reveal it with some trepidation because I suspect that you will disprove it dear reader.

My theory is simple. I believe that for most people, their favourite time of the year is around their birthday. I don't mean the day itself. I mean the seasonal aspects of that time of year.

In my own case, although I love the energy and vibrance of spring with its bursting new growth; although I love the hot summer sun and the balmy days spent on carefree holidays; although I love the crisp, chilly, wintry days, especially when accompanied with a fresh fall of snow; although I love all these, my favourite time is Autumn. To be more precise, it's the latter days of Autumn when the smoke of fires is on the air and the mists begin to appear.

My birthday is on November 6th and this falls the day after 'Guy Fawkes night'. This is when we celebrate the failure of the Gunpowder plotters in their attempt to blow up our parliament in 1605. Traditionally, this involves a large bonfire and letting off fireworks. Nowadays, this is usually done in large public gatherings but when I was a child, each household tended to do their own bonfire and fireworks - health & safety nightmare! Of course, my birthday celebrations turned into a bonfire and firework party which was the most magical way to spend your birthday as you can imagine.

So that is my theory. I think the reason why it holds true for me and for so many others, is that we never quite forget those childhood days of eager anticipation for the big event of our birthday and the accompanying cards and presents. The falling leaves and misty, smoky days were a harbinger of my special day. I hope your birthdays are as special for you.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


I spent an amazing day at the children's hospice today and I wanted to share it with you. We had a visit from a guy called 'Brummie' from 'Taste for Adventure'. He is ex-SAS and spent several hours with the children and staff sharing details about survival in the wild.

A dozen or so kids, most in electric wheelchairs were fascinated as Brummie showed us how the most ordinary, everyday objects can be life-savers.

For instance, after a helicopter crash in the jungle, how did a pen and paper help to save lives? The answer is that the group of survivors realised that they were not going to be rescued after some 3 weeks of surviving near the crash site so they sent 4 people off to try to find help. Before they left, they wrote down the names of all the survivors and drew a map of the geographical features which they could see from the crash site, which included a waterfall and two streams which came together to become one. Sadly, the group of 4 fell to their deaths whilst crossing dangerous terrain. However, their bodies were found and the piece of paper made it clear that there were several others lost in the jungle. A local guide recognised where they were from the clumsily drawn map and led rescuers straight to the remaining survivors.

What a story! This guy was absolutely fascinating and had the kids (and staff) held spellbound as he told his tales. We were shown how to build shelters, find food and water and start fires. Having been shown this, staff and children proceeded to build our own shelters and after an outdoor lunch of burgers and hotdogs, they all had a turn at starting fires. We warn kids not to play with matches - quite rightly - but these deserving children had a real thrill out of starting their own fires (under careful supervision).

We were astonished to watch as Brummie rubbed an ordinary household battery against a piece of steel wool and it burst into flames! Apparently, this is one of the commonest causes of household fires when batteries and steel wool come into contact in your garage and then ignite cans of paint. You have been warned!

After saying goodbye to Brummie, we kept the fun going with a range of outdoor activities devised by the Hospice staff. Firstly there was some orienteering to test map-reading skills. Then we had to erect a shelter to keep us safe overnight in the unlikely scenario that a plane crash near the hospice had left us all trapped in the garden. Finally, they were able to test their skills at hunting down a wild animal for food. I was the wild animal and I'm pleased to say that having found me lurking in the undergrowth after a 10-minute search, they decided I wouldn't taste too good!

Fantastic fun for all concerned and many thanks to Brummie - read all about him by clicking the link above.

Sunday, 25 October 2009


We have witnessed a furore over the appearance of the leader of the BNP (British National Party) on BBC's Question Time. The BNP for anyone who may not know, is a cuddly sort of right-wing, neo-fascist, heavily racist political party. There were furious protests that Nick Whatisname should not have been given airtime and that the programme gave the BNP valuable and dangerous publicity.

Well, given that we are a nation who believes in free speech, I for one would defend the BBC for allowing it. However, I have grave reservations about the way they handled it. By bullying him and not allowing him enough chance to speak and dig his own grave, they appear to have awarded him martyrdom status in the eyes of some people. I watched the programme and Nutty Nick came across as a sleazy, slimy weasel of a bloke - so he'd fit into British politics just fine at the moment with all the scandal over their expenses.

I was prompted to take a peek at the BNP website and check out their policies and based on this, in the interest of balance after Question Time gave Nick Niceguy such a bad time, I present a list of 10 GOOD things about the BNP for your consideration.

1. Unlike the other parties, they have no MPs fiddling their expenses because....well because thankfully, they have no MPs.
2. Their name, BNP, is easily mis-googled (click link).
3. They are able to re-write history - apparently the holocaust didn't happen. So we could get them to tell us how we stalwart Brits repelled the Romans and the Vikings for instance. (Update: Nick Thingy may be changing his mind on this one).
4. Since Nick Numpty was sporting a poppy, he obviously believes in remembering the valour shown by the many nationalities who helped us win the second world war, blacks, gurkas etc.
5. They'll bring back the birch and give those naughty schoolkids a darn good thrashing.
6. (This is a quote from their website because you won't believe me otherwise) - they will use 'electronically tagged chain gangs to improve coastal defences'. That should keep us safe from those nasty Somali pirates!
7. We'll be able to have machine guns in our homes (quote 'any means of defence') to protect ourselves from burglars. ('Pass me my Uzi darling').
8. The candle industry will be given a huge boost because the BNP will remove overhead power lines.
9. They will put a stop to the 'spineless subservience to the USA'. Of course there will be a slight drawback to this in that the tourist industry will collapse - but then it only brings in a paltry £85 billion.
10. Nick Nobody is such a friendly, handsome and charismatic leader that he will undoubtedly attract masses of votes at the next election.