Wednesday, 31 July 2013


In which I extract the poetry hidden in well-known songs.

Some songs just seem to stand the test of time. This old favourite of mine was written in 1911 and the lyrics were by George A. Norton and Maybelle E. Watson. 

How wonderful to have written something so loved that it is still played a century later.

All the best singers have recorded it, such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand to name a few.

Its a song to listen to when you're feeling a bit down because its meant to be lifting but when I listen to my favourite version sung by Ella Fitzgerald, I start blubbing like a baby - a melancholy baby.

Come to me my melancholy baby.
Cuddle up and don't be blue.
All your fears are foolish fancies, maybe,
You know dear that I'm in love with you.

Every cloud must have a silver lining.
Wait until the sun shines through.
Smile, my honey dear
While I kiss away each tear
Or else I shall be melancholy too.

Sunday, 28 July 2013


I have worked with disabled children most of my life. Most were intellectually disadvantaged but many also had physical disability and were wheelchair bound.

I have also had good friends who live their lives in wheelchairs and have had to find ways to cope with the limitations which this brings.

Life in a wheelchair is clearly no fun as Melanie Reid, journalist with 'The Times' can vouch for, since she fell from a horse and suffered spinal injury leaving her severely disabled.

One of the first times when this cruel situation was brought home to us was perhaps when Superman (Christopher Reeve), became a quadriplegic, again after a fall from a horse in 1995.

Imagine then what it must be like to have a condition where you want to have this disability. Where you life your life doing dangerous things in the hope that you will break your legs or sever your spine.

The condition is called 'Body Integrity Identity Disorder' and an American lady, Chloe-Jennings White, suffers from it.

For once, I hope somebody doesn't get their dearest wish.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


The list of things which I would quite like to have is very long indeed. 

The list of things which I would very much like to have is a little shorter. 

Shorter still is the list of items which I desperately yearn to have.

There is an odd little phrase for this. A thing which you absolutely pine for is often said to be something which you would "give your eye teeth for".

Now I don't know about you but my eyes don't have teeth. Neither do my teeth have eyes. So what on Earth does the saying mean?

Well it dates back to at least 1657 when it was used in "Nature's Cabinet Unlock'd" by Thomas Browne. 

As to its meaning, it would seem that it refers to the upper and lower canine teeth for the simple reason that they are in line with the eye sockets, being positioned directly below them.

Well eye never.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


My wife was in a black mood. This was caused by my underpants. Apparently the fact that they were all black gave her laundry problems.

Now I have learned from experience that anything which puts my dearly beloved into a mood has to go - so out they all went and I hit the shops on pants patrol.

In no time at all I had bought every conceivable colour, red, yellow, lime green, neon orange, electric blue and so on. 

Now on laundry day, our garden is a riot of colour and this has nothing to do with our plants but everything to do with the washing line.

So is my wife happy now? Of course not.

The new problem is that when she brought in the rainbow-coloured pile of freshly laundered underpants, a rather confused and drowsy bumble bee was found nestling within trying to locate some pollen.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


In which I extract the poetry hidden in well-known songs.

I have written elsewhere about my exploits in Sweden during a mainly mis-spent youth. There is one song which always takes me back to those times, though the Beatles got the country wrong and sang about Norway instead of Sweden - Norwegian Wood.

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me... 
She showed me her room, isn't it good, Norwegian wood? 

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere, 
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair. 

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine 
We talked until two and then she said, "It's time for bed" 

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh. 
I told her I didn't and crawled off to sleep in the bath 

And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown 
So I lit a fire, isn't it good, Norwegian wood.

This was Paul McCartney's explanation of the lyrics (which were mainly written by John Lennon) courtesy of wikipedia.

"Peter Asher (brother of McCartney's then-girlfriend Jane Asher) had his room done out in wood, a lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian wood. It was pine, really, cheap pine. But it's not as good a title, "Cheap Pine", baby. So it was a little parody really on those kind of girls who when you'd go to their flat there would be a lot of Norwegian wood. 

It was completely imaginary from my point of view but in John's it was based on an affair he had. This wasn't the decor of someone's house, we made that up. So she makes him sleep in the bath and then finally in the last verse I had this idea to set the Norwegian wood on fire as revenge, so we did it very tongue in cheek. She led him on, then said, "You'd better sleep in the bath." In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge ... so it meant I burned the place down ..."

Sunday, 14 July 2013


Unless you were at the bottom of a coal mine on Mars with earplugs in, you will know that Andy Murray won Wimbledon. He did it convincingly and is now everybody's favourite Scot.

Something which might have passed you by however is the significance of the number seven in this momentous event in British tennis.

Murray achieved his win on the seventh day of the seventh month of the year, seventy seven years after Fred Perry did so.

The last British woman to win Wimbledon, Virginia Wade, did so in nineteen seventy seven.

This was Murray's seventh grand slam final.

He has been dating his greatest fan, girlfriend Kim Sears, for seven years.

Finally, both Murray and Djokovic were born in nineteen eighty seven, seven days apart. 


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

NUTTY NEWS (2) - Football Crazy

My pick from the recent examples of nutty news stories.

I always intended these to be funny news stories but this one is so incredible it had to be included.

You probably know that Brazil is to host the football World Cup in 2014. If you are a referee, you may be interested in this story.

On June 30th this year, during an amateur football match in Brazil, the referee showed a player the red card.

The player refused to leave the pitch and an argument began between him and the referee. 

The referee pulled out a knife and stabbed the player. Later, the player died on the way to the hospital.

Following the stabbing, there was a crowd invasion of the pitch. The crowd stoned the referee. They then tied him up. Next they cut off his hands and then his legs just below the knee. 

Just to be sure, they now decapitated him and stuck his head on a pole which they then stuck in the middle of the pitch. 

I shan't be buying a ticket for the World Cup next year.

Sunday, 7 July 2013


My personal favourite of the recent batch of nutty news stories.  

There are some who would say that you have to be a pretty brave person to be a burglar. Their argument is that you never know what or who you might find in the building which you infiltrate. You also need to be quite bright in knowing how to break in and which target to choose.

The time of year can be a factor as the burglar who chose to do his thing in the Winter found to his cost when the police simply followed his footsteps to his house in the snow.

The main things you would need to worry about as a burglar are armed householders and angry dogs. There are also burglar alarms to consider and of course in this modern age, CCTV. 

So if you were to choose a place to burgle, top of the list of places to avoid would be ...?

A CCTV installer. Our intrepid burglar got this one wrong and his every move was filmed - he was then identified and caught within 24 hours.

Hope he remembered to smile for the camera.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


I don't often get political but sometimes it just seems to be a case of stating the bleeding obvious. So here I go once again demonstrating why I'm not in Westminster.

What the frack is Fracking?
It's drilling for natural gas. Fracking technology makes  it possible to drill both vertically and horizontally to tap into natural gas reserves that were previously inaccessible. Most experts view natural gas as the most important fuel for the future.

What Are its Advantages?
Natural gas releases much less carbon into the atmosphere than coal. The improved drilling methods for natural gas can slow the progression of global warming. Natural gas plants are also relatively cheap to build.

What Are its Disadvantages?
Fracking can cause very small earthquakes with the possibility of minor structural damage. Some experts believe these quakes actually relieve pressure that could have caused larger future earthquakes. There is an issue regarding the disposal of contaminated water from the fracking process. There can also be land rights issues. 

We cannot survive as a modern society without energy. It is essential. That being so, eventually we shall have to ignore green issues to obtain it. So let's get the frack on with it.