Thursday, July 30, 2009

Making a poor fist of it

I said I'd do this...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Black Pig sails for the sunset...

We are at that age, so it should come as no surprise the the sparks of the creative genius that lit up our childhood are fading one by one. It is still something to be mourned and their work celebrated.

And so it is that we now say goodbye to John Ryan, the cartoonist who created Captain Pugwash.

We'll not have an airing of the urban myths about the naughty names this day. Let's just appreciate the splendour of innocence.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Weighing up the bloke on the train in to work this morning who was growing one out I got to wondering: when does a Mohican become a Pompadour?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Career choices

I'm at that funny age now. That one where a lad gets to review whatever it is he's made of his life. Reluctantly I have to admit that my international sex kitten days are probably behind me. The best I can hope for, then, is to become A National Treasure.

I expect I'll have to buy some cardigans.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Small consolations

I'm mightily relieved to see a flock of sparrows visiting the garden. OK, it's just seven of them but it's seven more than we've had this past couple of months. Sadly, just one is a juvenile. I'm hoping there's a few more on the assembly line somewhere down the road.

The collared doves, magpies and blue tits are travelling round in threes. In all three cases it's one adult and two juveniles. Perhaps this is a way of dividing up the risks of managing adolescents in a cat-filled world.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cartoon capers

Ladies and gentlemen...

My favourite, ever, Tex Avery cartoon. Which is a bit like choosing your favourite child. Imagine all the daftest, craziest gags you've ever seen crammed into nearly eight minutes of fun. And then tag that ending onto it all...

Sunday, July 12, 2009


It's not been a bad weekend. The weather's been a bit up and down (OK then, a lot up and down - very warm yesterday afternoon, cool evening, bright sunny Sunday morning, torrential rain at lunchtime, another cool evening). England scratched a draw against the Aussies despite it all. Lancashire beat Worcestershire by seven wickets and a day to spare. I've been making a pig of myself with fruit from the garden, and not yet into the pear, plum and apple season. The rowan's looking like there'll be plenty for jelly this year and a good bout of sunshine in August is all that's needed for a feast of figs. The geraniums are mostly gone over, just providing a huge carpet of downy leaves in various shades of green and red. The pelargoniums have just started flowering and look very promising. As do the new carnations and pinks (I ordered a pile of very old varieties for to put into hanging baskets and containers on the patio). The garden's messy and a bit neglected but it's mostly fun in its way. Even if the slugs have eaten all the vegetables.

The goldfinches are on their second broods now. I'm not sure if the pair of fledglings that have been sitting on the outhouse roof this afternoon are this pair's first or second lot. Last year we got three broods. I think largely because I provided about two ton of niger seed for them. It's looking that way again this year. I also seem to be feeding a couple of dozen starlings, though it looks like they don't like the "Berry Essence" fat cakes (all the other flavours struggle to last a day). The wrens have been nesting in the brambles on the embankment again. Back in the days when the garden was more open I used to have the treat of seeing the wrens taking the new bods out for their first forays. These days there's so much cover I seldom get to see them, which in many respects is a shame but is rather safer for all concerned. The cock wren is often in evidence, he particularly likes foraging his way through the hanging baskets and the tree heathers. The blue tits and great tits are nesting behind the garages down the road. They've not been overly productive this year: already I'm being visited by a mixed flock of a pair of great tits and two juvenile blue tits, which suggests that it's been a poor year and the great tits have given up.

The adult robins aren't much in evidence lately, with the cock only singing at dawn, which suggests they're busy. I am getting a regular visit from one of their youngsters though. My garden traditionally is an overlap area between two robin territories, it isn't that unusual to see two pairs on the feeders. This time of year it becomes a temporary territory-in-miniature for the juveniles. It gets a bit fractious in the early autumn when the moult's completed and they all notice each others' red breasts and bad tempers.

I'd started to wonder about the robins as even they couldn't have been shifting mealworms at the rate they were going. Sure enough, it turns out that the collared doves have figured how to use the worm feeders. It isn't quite as ridiculous as the wood pigeons dangling upside down on the fat feeders.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday singalong

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Memorial to the unknown herbivore

I was having a friendly argument about vegetarianism. I'm not a vegetarian but do go days without eating meat, not as a conscious effort "to be healthy," just that the meals didn't happen to include meat in them. Most of the vegetarians I know are pretty relaxed about other people's choices and don't impose their views on others unbidden. I do know a few meat-eaters who get a bit evangelical about it, however. Sometimes it gets silly...

"You'd not catch me sitting around eating roots and seeds!"

"What's that you're eating, Bill?"

"A chip butty. Why?"

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

When you and I were young...

Friday, July 03, 2009

Oh, go on then...

We used to tune into the Colonial Service on Sunday lunchtime to listen to Billy and Wally's "Hold Your Plums." I heard the first one live:

Sadly, I couldn't find Borussia Munchengladbach or the three men sent into the fiery furnace. perhaps next time.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hypocritical fat fuck

Must have been somebody else who was Secretary of State for Transport for all those years and did jack all except pour gallons of gelt down the rapacious maws of an endless procession of consultants, bean-counters and regulators.