31 March 2010


Queen Isabella of Castille issued the Alhambra Decree in 1492, ordering the 150,000 Jews in Castille to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.  The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated in 1889.  Construction began on the RMS Titanic in 1909.  The Royal Australian Air Force was established in 1921.  Around 200,000 gathered in London to protest the poll tax in 1990.

Born today:  René Descartes (1596-1650), Andrew Marvell (1621-1678), Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Edward FitzGerald (1809-1883), Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929), Octavio Paz (1914-1998), César Chávez (1927-1993), Gordie Howe (1928), Shirley Jones (1934), Christopher Walken (1943), Angus Young (1955) and Ewan McGregor (1971).

It is Freedom Day in Malta.


  1. Leni: I am not trying to be invisible. my op. sys. has issues with adobe flash so i forbid the script.

  2. Leni - the starlings???

    Any glass faced buildings in the vicinity?

    From the RSPB:

    "Glazed and Confused"
    Last modified: 25 March 2010

    "We’ve all failed to differentiate between glass and air and collided with a door or window.

    And, in the garden, we’re not the only ones who don’t mix well with glass.

    The RSPB is warning that thousands of birds will injure themselves in the forthcoming breeding season by striking windows in the heat of the chase fight off a rival and attacking their own reflected image in confusion.

    The wildlife charity is asking people to reduce the risk of window strikes and the associated injuries in the coming months such as concussion, broken beaks and internal injuries.

    The onset of spring has triggered a flurry of activity with our wild birds as they prepare for the breeding season.

    Territorial birds seemingly attack or fly at windows or reflective surfaces as they see themselves in the glass and think it is an intruding bird and try to defend their patch.

    Some birds also collide in the heat of a chase or because they see a reflection of the sky and trees in the glass. There may also be another window or mirror in the room making the bird think there is a way through."

    Evidently double glazing and things like patio doors have increased the problem in recent years.Presumably a glass faced office block could pose quite a hazard

  3. Hi all,

    Starlings, this?:


    Sounds plausible to me. As far as we understand it flocking birds take cues from one another, as much as (or sometimes more than) from the environment, so it's possible that one bird making the fatal mistake could've caused a snowball effect, but without further info I really don't know!

  4. And in honour of Descartes birthday:

    "Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
    Who was very rarely stable

    Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
    Who could think you under the table

    David Hume could out consume
    Schopenhauer and Hegel

    And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
    Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel

    There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach yer
    'Bout the raising of the wrist
    Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed

    John Stuart Mill, of his own free will
    On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill

    Plato they say, could stick it away
    Half a crate of whiskey every day

    Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle
    Hobbes was fond of his dram
    And René Descartes was a drunken fart
    "I drink, therefore I am"

    Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed
    A lovely little thinker
    But a bugger when he's pissed

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. BB - thanks for the birthday greeting/wishes.

    Perhaps I should just combine it with Marvell's to avoid the confusion in future years.....a two day thrash has more appeal come to think of it.

    Marvell was born in Winestead-in-Holderness, East Riding of Yorkshire, near the city of Kingston upon Hull. The family moved to Hull when his father was appointed Lecturer at Holy Trinity Church there, and Marvell was educated at Hull Grammar School. A secondary school in the city is now named after him.

  7. Dott - great ditty really witty.

  8. deano, thanks, but you do know it's Monty Python? (and incidentally, sung in a broad fake Aussie accent) Sorry, should've credited it!

  9. Dot - that's brilliant! am trying to think of more - Spinoza a bit tricky - Spinooza = boozer?

  10. Philippa,

    'fraid I can't help, the only philosophers I know are already in that song: where do you think I know them from? ;-)

  11. LOL!
    but the last verse doesn't scan does it! Perhaps it works better when its sung?

  12. Sorry, rubbish at links.....


  13. A great start to the day - I'd forgotten from whence it came, but a joy to be reminded.

  14. Spinoza was a dozo when on the ouzo.... ok not that great but it's early and I'm sober.

  15. Just me or has our visitor counter failed?

  16. Message for Lavartis - do you have a spare ipod / mp3 player / walkman / cassette player that can be taken in if you are going to visit pen? or does somebody else have one that can be sent / passed on?

    I got nothing, unfortunately...

  17. No radio in NHS mental hospitals? BBC Radio 1/2/3 and the commercial stations surely. Every bed used to have its own earphones.

    All very confusing, he's taken his tapes or memory card and not the device to play them?

    He'll have us searching the flea markets for rare vinyls next. WTF has he got a good supply of stylus for the record player?

  18. Another message for LavartisProdeo: penileplesysthmograph's really looking forward to your visit. CIF's just about his only connection to the outside world, all email and UT are blocked. If you can't get on CIF WDYWTTA, you can communicate via me, kiz, pip etc. to confirm a time.

  19. Birthday boy Rene goes into a pub.

    Barman: Hello, Professor. What will it be ?
    Descartes: A beer, please.

    Some time passes ...

    Barman: Another beer, Professor ?
    Descartes: I think not ...

    A pop, the whoosh of a small implosion and the barstool is empty.

  20. Oza by another name Osa


    Spinoza was a doza when on the Oza

    Ok I'll get me coat - I was sure that somewhere in my dim and disgraceful past I had one morning awoke looking at a bottle called something like oza. I wondered why I didn't like plums.

    As we say - you learn something new on UT everyday.

  21. Hello and welcome/welcome back to UT Gegenbeispiel

  22. Sheff

    You were after the address? This emerged during the chat of the last few days:

    Jonathan Chase
    Oxleas House
    Queen Elizabeth Hospital,
    Stadium Road,
    Greater London,
    SE18 4QH

    Yesterday he said he was on Avery Ward.

  23. Gegenbeispiel

    LOL! and works on both levels! (I drink/think therefore I am)

    Incidentally I use the philosophers song as a cure for what the Germans(?) call earworm. Got an annoying song in your head? Sing the philosophers song to yourself, annoying song? Gone!

  24. Morning all

    Still feeling like the 'walking dead' so intend
    to do as little as possible today.

    Do people think Blairs support of Brown is
    nothing more than a cynical ploy to make sure
    he loses the election?

    Happy birthday deano.Will toast you with a
    glass of good red later.

    What,s happened to Spring?The weather looks
    like i feel! A supposedly reliable amateur
    meteorologist is predicting a BBQ summer this
    year.Although no doubt the Brits will turn
    orange anyway even if it continually pisses
    down.When did fake tans become de rigueur?
    Personally i think they tend to make people
    look like they have a bad case of jaundice!

  25. Extraordinary post on the Butt thread this morning, from a chap claiming to have been cured of homosexuality by what appears to have been ECT in Canada... It's here, if it hasn't been disappeared yet.

    What odd things human beings make of themselves.

  26. In case anyone misses this.

    Here is a random right wing post generator otherwise known as the the twat-o-tron.

    Instructions for use are simple. Just press where it says "The twat-o-tron" and voila! another steaming pile of ready made cif fuckwittery.

  27. bloody hell - woman's hour perpetuating the 'upside' of bipolar disorder as 'increased energy and creativity' - thought the person being interviewed would pick up the interviewer for that, but they seem to be agreeing (admittedly limiting it to the 'slope up', but completely ignoring the rest of the cycle...).

  28. PeterJ - the vocab and phrasing suggests that's a troll just warming up...it would appear he has already managed to derail the thread...

  29. Thanks Dot!

    As I suspected it does work better when sung!

  30. Philippa - yes, quite. Still extraordinary stuff though, with a whiff of converse Poe's Law about it.

  31. PB"....'upside' of bipolar...." - following in the footsteps of Stephen Fry/Spike Milligan et al who have expressed similar views ( although they also had things to say about the other downside part of the cycle...)

    Cheers Paul - weather shit here too just got soaked trews in a cold shower of wet hail!

  32. Hey everybody...

    Happy Birthday to Deano and anyone else who's celebrating.

    re the starlings: has anybody seen 'flashforward' on the telly??
    Bit of a coincidence, is all.

    Erm, I'll have coffee before I post next time...

  33. Aww man this twat-o-tron is genius. It's just come up with:

    I cant believe where this country is headed.. does anyone realise that council estate scum are inviting in paedophiles and AIDs because Britain is now under sharia law. It is vital that we bring back the cane thatll teach em. Time to get nu-liar-bor eOUT!!!!!!

    Liberal_lefty_bias Revoluotionsville

    Just thought of a great idea. Anyone who still posts on CiF, do you fancy firing a few of these on under assumed names to see how many recommends they get?

    And indeed if the mods let them stay on? There's a Brown immigration thread just appeared on the front page. Looks perfect to me.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. deano - I know, there may well be a real or perceived 'burst of energy' on the way up, but I do think it's disingenuous not to explain that the 'peak' is entirely different, and the 'way down' and the 'trough' can leave you unable to function at all, let alone be an asset to a meeting.

    What Fry / Milligan / Richard Dreyfus et al had to say about it was much more balanced. There's a 'romanticising' of depression (re artists of whatever discipline) that can be, if not as damaging as the 'nutter stereotype', still damaging.

    Kind of like thinking all gay men are adorable gossips who can help you shop - not as damaging as 'burn in hell', but still going on the 'not f-ing helping' pile...

    Sorry - the sheer fuckwittery on some of the gay threads at the moment is making me cross.

  36. your grace - genius. particularly like the absence of apostrophes - gives it just the right tone...

  37. Oh, God, not someone trotting out myth: Creative people are more likely to be mentally ill than non-creative people; artists and writers are more likely to be alcoholics, clinically depressed, or commit suicide. Anyone can think of at least one famous artist or writer who committed suicide (Hemingway, Plath) or did some other crazy thing (Van Gogh cutting off his ear).

    Trouble is,it's a “myth” because there’s no solid scientific evidence for it. What is true, is that the creative industries might,just might tolerate unexpected behaviour better than other lines of work, because they tend to focus on peak performance, and less on regularity. That's how divas and surly stroppy sods survive in those industries: so long as they can perform when the spotlight is on 'em, their eccentricities etc (which are usually behavioural problems or plain childishness, not MH problems) get tolerated.
    For most of the world though, regularity and consistency are expected and deviation from the norm isn't well tolerated.
    And the idea that having and MH problem directly links to talent or creativity is plain tosh. They can coincide in a person, but they are not related.

  38. Duke

    Once upon a time i was naive enough to believe
    that only the dull,the dim and those easily
    led would spew out the sort of virulent views
    seen on twat-o-tron.Sadly that of course isn,t
    the case.

    I have serious concerns that a more charismatic
    BNP leader than Nick Griffin could hoover up
    a lot of votes in this country if the economic
    situation turns as nasty as i think it might.
    Very worrying!

    On a lighter note i hope your move to the
    'flatlands' has gone well.Don,t know what
    your Dutch is like but i,ve found that
    clearing your throat does seem to be a form
    of communication in the Netherlands.


    Working Class Tax Payer In the Know

  40. Parisian local government is working on a plan to help women out of prostitution through classes in philosophy. Others say it'll never work and they're just putting Descartes before the whores.

  41. @James - How well up are you on configuring browsers, and do you use Firefox? There are reasonably simple instructions here for setting up a UK proxy using the FoxyProxy Firefox add-in, which should then let you use UK TV catchup sites.

    It's worth noting that 4OD for Channel 4 picks up the Internet Explorer proxy settings even if you're watching in Firefox (or at least, it did last time I looked), so you'd need to set the IE proxy stuff even if you're not using it.

    Let me know if you need more info or background.

  42. PeterJ, Philippa:

    The handle "ReconstitutedMeat" also suggests a blatant lack of (self)respect coupled with lashings of homophobia.

    It is a hoax which had tragically attracted two recommends when i looked.

  43. Paul,

    cheers. As Woody Allen said, Dutch isn't a language it's a throat infection. The harsh 'g' which equates with the Scottish 'ch' (Loch) means I have no problems with it, but my wife who is English does. As a result, when she speaks Dutch, many Dutch think she's Belgian as their pronunciation of the 'g' is softer.

    Lunchtime over, back to work.....

  44. Peter,

    many thanks.

    I'll have a fiddle a bit later, and see what happens...

  45. Anyone want to go to zounds' pub for lunch?

  46. Duke - that is an unbelievable post!

    Deano - happy birthday! Big hugs and I will have a sip of the red stuff from hubbys glass in honour of you tonight.

    Read a very interesting article the other day regarding a decision by the Federal court in Germany to overturn Merkels 2005 Welfare reforms! Two families took the case to court claiming they could not live on the new money given to them and they WON!!!

    ''Last month, the federal constitutional court said that a sweeping reform established five years ago to reduce what was then seen as an overburdened welfare system was unconstitutional. The reason: It failed to ensure its 6.7 million recipients, especially children, "a dignified minimum income" and give less privileged citizens a "minimum level of participation in social, cultural, and political life."
    The court gave Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition until year's end to create a better model. And it unleashed heated debate over the future of Germany's social model at a time when, from France to Greece, social unrest in Europe is widespread.''

    How absolutely brilliant is that? Of course the right are already attacking it as 'complete socialism' but it is an interesting development.

    And here the government are scrapping pathways to work. Ha ha ha ha ha. It doesn't work. Who'd have thunk it?

    Off to help me ma out now for an hour or so but will pop back later.

  47. Just realised that last post was full of exclamation marks. Far, far too many. Apologies thus.

  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. "..... Creative people are more likely to be mentally ill than non-creative people; artists and writers are more likely to be alcoholics, clinically depressed, ...".

    Plainly a questionable and complex topic, I've known a lot of unartistic alco's and depressives as well as some folk who swore their juices were excited by substances or lunar phases..

    The message I took from Fry/Milligan was that there was a phase, during the bipolar cycle, that aided their 'art' but they both wondered whether it was a price worth paying for the downside.

    Not 100% sure but I think Fry concluded yea and Milligan nay.

    Paul - I noted that on Newsnight a couple of nights ago that as the economics editor was doing a piece on the state of employment around the UK he was obliged to say something to the effect "... everywhere I go I ask questions about the economy and I get answers about immigration..."

    It is a simmering issue, that is gaining heat as more and more realise that there ain't a lot in globalisation for them.

    The legitimate question of what sort of jobs our kids and grandkids going to do remains in an economy in which more and more slowly realise that "... we can't make a living taking in each others washing..." to use Kinnock's words.

    That was what the piece/issue the editor was trying to focus on when hijacked again and again by the concern for immigration.

    Loved it martillo ! Class.

  50. deano - "price worth paying" - indeed, still remember Dreyfus describing medication as 'letterboxing' his personality - took of the best and the worst. He was troubled by that - Fry, as I recall, OK with it. I had some of the same issues with meds myself (although I am good old-fashioned 'unipolar' - tcha, so unfashionable, en't I?) but then it turned out they didn't work anyway...

  51. PB - it would frighten me to death. The idea of riding a wave that can lift or drown you at it's whim is not for the faint hearted.

    Nearest I get to it is joyfully/recklessly supping myself to within an inch of complete liver failure from time to time. An act of silliness rather than creativity, although the beat of the world is undoubtedly different in it's echo when listened to with your glass on the wind..

  52. Glad you liked it, deano. Call it a birthday present. Happy Birthday! I'm an Aries, too.

  53. "..... Creative people are more likely to be mentally ill than non-creative people; artists and writers are more likely to be alcoholics, clinically depressed, ...".

    That's probably because they have to deal with literary agents.

    Give Pen my best regards. Seeing as he's in Eltham I'd have happily popped in myself this weekend as I'm down that way fairly regularly but as he's made it quite clear he doesn't particularly like me it's probably best that I don't.

  54. Deano - happy birthday!

    Martillo - *groan* (that's a good groan, though).

  55. Following LordS....

    I'd like to pass my best wishes to pen, I really would BUT I won't: he's gotten so wound up with me the last few times we've spoken I think the mere mention of me would do more harm than good.

  56. Fair point, Dotterel.

    Probably best whoever is dropping by just says something vague like "everyone from UT/CIF sends their best".

  57. Agreed LordS, but I didn't mean to imply that you should necessarily do the same as me. I don't know what's happened between you and him so it's your call. I just wanted to explain to everyone else why I was keeping quiet on the pen issue.

  58. Just to clarify my views upthread. I do think that in certain circumstances there can be a correlation between having an MH problem (and that inc. me and is my line of work) and being creative, but that it's not causative, more of an environmental association, in that (as expressed before) the creative atmosphere and creative 'industries' can be more accommodating to those with MH problems

  59. princesscc: While social unrest may be spreading from France to Greece, rest assured it will never come to Germany. Here, people address the courts, as well they should.

    Just ask Lenin about the problems revolutions in Germany face ...

    deano, old fruit, very happy birthday greetings to you, sir!

    All: Your words about addictions and being miserable not being required to be an artist - couldn't you have told me before I went to the dogs? I guess that means I should start writing instead of continuing boozing ...

  60. Oh, and best wishes to pen, hoping he gets better soon.

  61. @Alisdair

    I,ve always felt that creative people often have
    to have an almost split personality.On the one
    hand their ability to be creative necessitates
    the need for sensitivity.But at the same time
    they need to be thick skinned and often ruthless
    in order to survive and thrive in what are often
    fiercely competitive and 'crowded' sectors.

    You may well be right that creative industries
    are more accomodating to people with MH
    problems but only to a point .Plus i recently read an article from a woman who works for a MH charity but alleged that even in that sector people with MH problems face problems.

  62. Your Grace

    Love the twat o tron...just been having some fun on it - must remember not to be drinking coffee next time - laughing so much I now have it all over my keyboard!

    Have sent a card to pen. Said we haven't forgotten him.

  63. Well surprise surfuckingprise, G20 officer that thumps a much smaller female protester gets off Scot free

    Apparently he thought the carton of orange and digital camera she was carrying was a weapon. Which suggests to me that either he's a fucking useless police officer or he was given carte blanche by the state to kick the shit out of legitimate protesters.

  64. either, your grace?

    belt (the protestors) and braces (against backlash) approach, surely...

  65. Philippa and Duke

    Did anyone seriously consider the outcome would
    be any different?

  66. Paul - well, I'd had a couple of drinks when listening to the coverage a few days back, and was feeling quite optimistic, so yes, for about thirty seconds...then I remembered where I was...

  67. The agency worker rights article is CiF at its finest.

    It was commissioned as a result of 'you tell us'. Who do they get to write it? An Oxbridge graduate.

  68. Philippa-i know that feeling when reality hits!
    Advisable then to have another drink!

    Duke-You would have least thought they,d
    consider Durham!

  69. Your Grace

    Just heard about that TSG officer on the news- Delroy Smellie. It's a bloody outrage and I did actually think he might be convicted as the evidence seemed pretty clear. The judge must have believed him when he said he was afraid of the crowd. Can't say the TSG have ever seemed like scaredy cats to me - quite the reverse in fact.

    I am now bloody furious that the bastard has got away with it and it also means the rest of them will feel much more relaxed about belting people on demos. Basically they have impunity.

    Still no news about the officer involved in Ian Tomlinson's death though. He'll probably get off scott free too.

    What a sodding country!

  70. your grace - had been so busy with the plethopra of gay threads (oh, ambassador, wiz zis array of diverent opportunities for etoiles to dig holez, you are reeeally spoiling uzz), hadn't noticed that one. clearly representative of the cleaning / cooking / building / driving workforce being fucked around by their 'non-employers'.


    Paul: "Advisable then to have another drink!"
    So kind, I think I will...

  71. @ Paul: i recently read an article from a woman who works for a MH charity but alleged that even in that sector people with MH problems face problems
    God, tell me about it. Some are exemplary but one of the worst, least accommodating employers with regard to MH that I know was an NHS MH trust (since reformed somewhat). Using MH services didn't 'fit' somehow with the blinkered (and actually dangerously ignorant about MH, which you'd naively think was their business after all...) managerialist atmosphere that prevailed. Some employers you wouldn't think of as being decent in this regard are pretty damn good (signed up for "Mindful Employer" accreditation, have MH First Aid training in-house etc), others of whom you'd expect better are alarmingly poor.

  72. Oh God, immigration thread up. Will be opening that bottle of red riiiiight ... abooooout ... now.

  73. Bloody hell, it's by the 'Christians vote Tory' guy as well. Sleeves up, kids.

  74. Hi -- Happy Birthdat Deano - I/ve stopped counting mine. More gone than to come.

    Have a friend who is bi-polar. He too dislikes medication which 'levels ' - trouble is he sometimes tips into a psychotic episode. A remark such as " Hebrew script is manifesting itself through me " will alert friends - but not always himself.

    He is very insightful about what happens to him and how people respond. I once accompanied him on a mission to self refer - he was busy being Thor at the time. The Dr. who greeted him hailed him as " Thor " - R turned to me and said "Amazing how many people collude " before lapsing back into his Thor persona.

    Read some interesting stuff once (Jung perhaps ) about the connections between psychosis, creativity and particularly Surrealiasm. Many people consider that much of Jung's work was written while he himself was suffering from MH problems. Many people fear the challenge of eccentric thinking.

    Psychiatry needs shaking up. Having worked with 'maladjusted ' children it is obvious that ' disturbance ' or other ways of thinking change as society and social expectations change. Not so long ago gay guys were regarded as 'inverts, and subjected to horrendous treatment - by society and the psychiatric lot.

  75. Evening all

    Smellie by name, Smellie by nature, it seems. Lucky bastard. There is no way that was reasonable force.

    Still, the government can now pat themselves on the back and say they have done the Right Thing in prosecuting him and it was the district judge who made the decision.

    If I were Nicky Fisher I would still be thinking about a civil action against the police, though, because the standard of proof is balance of probabilities, not beyond reasonable doubt.

    Ah well.

  76. Some people on UT may disagree with me
    but i think the Left really does need to get
    it,s act together over the whole issue of
    immigration and population growth.The British
    population can,t be allowed to grow to over
    70 million.For both environmental and social
    reasons we would be handing down a 'poison
    chalice' to future generations if population
    growth continues at current levels.

  77. Very stinky indeed BB. Self defence my backside. He did it because he can get way with it as we all know and has been proved in court today. Plus ca change.

  78. Blimey, have just managed to locate another non-hetero female Christian poster on CIF! I think that's that particular quota filled up now. We'll have to start turning away all the other disappointed candidates...

  79. Paul

    I think this 70 million figure is part of scare tactics and they're bandied about willy nilly. Immigration generally is down at the moment (although I don't have figures to hand).

    All the EU countries need to work together if we're to deal with the issues. Just heard on the news for example, that things are really disastrous in Latvia right now some Latvians think that things will be better for them here - when they get here they find themselves somewhat mistaken. There are jobs but they're hard and badly paid (food processing for example).

    As far as asylum issues are concerned - our foreign policy is where we need to look - but even if we do, it'll take a long time. In the meantime we have to manage the way things are now and likely to be in the short to medium term. Not blaming the victims would be a good start. (Not saying that you are btw).

  80. Could someone please tell me how to upload an avatar to this blog ? I've reformatted the image to 45 by 45 pixels, which is how all of them are displayed, but the upload still gets stuck in on the "rotating but periodically disintegrating fan" image which presumably means it's processing or something.

  81. Hello gegenspiel
    Things do go awry here sometimes. Is it a big file? They can take time to upload.

  82. Pen would like a radio, I assume with headphones. If Lavartis or anyone is going to pay a visit I'd be more than happy to pay for one. Is it poss to arrange this with someone, anyone? Obviously, I can't go myself as am in Greece. I'd send him one direct but I don't know how long he's going to be in there and the Greek postal service is, shall we say, a bit tardy. Anyone seen Lavartis about? Or know how I can get in touch with him?

  83. sheffpixie: Thanks. No the file's tiny: 2555 bytes.
    Is it better to upload from the client machine or from another website ? I can easily put the file on my ex-work web server.

  84. Kiz - I've got a spare wind up /mains radio he could have. I could send it if we can establish that he is able to receive it.

  85. Well, Lavartis' letter seems to have got through, so he must be getting post.

  86. sheff- At the moment I can only liase with pen on waddya. I'm off work on friday and can try and call Oxleas house then to ask. I can only get on ut in the evening when I'm working... tomorrow is my last day at work and then I've got four days off. I just think he'd be really chuffed if he got a radio... Could you phone Oxleas house tomorrow... or would you rather I did Friday?

  87. gegenspiel

    I did it by going to my Blogger account and followed the destructions. I don't know any other way of doing it.

  88. @Sheff

    Have always accepted that asylum is a seperate
    issue to immigration and any cap on that would
    be totally unacceptable.Immigration from the EU
    is something we can,t do anything about unless
    we leave the EU.Immigration from outside the
    EU IS however a different ball game and at
    present not sure how the points system is
    panning out vis-a-vis work permits.However
    there is also the issue of student and marriage
    visas as well.And for a number of reasons
    i think even greater controls need to be applied
    to them.

    Disagree with you that the 70 million figure
    is a scare tactic.At present the population
    is 61 million and is growing at around 0.6%
    per year-twice the growth rate of pre-1997.
    So if that rate continues or increases we will
    easily reach 70 million+ by 2031.

    I would also like child benefit restricted to
    2 children per woman.It is estimated that between
    50-60,OOO extra births have taken place to non-
    working women on low incomes as a direct consequence
    of the increases in child benefit by New Labour.It
    is a fact that the poorest communities in Britain
    have not only the highest birth rates but also the
    highest rates of population growth as well.Families
    with only 1 or 2 children are a damn sight easier
    to lift out of poverty than those with 3 or more

    I feel the Left has thus far 'ducked' the whole
    issue of population control-inc immigration.And
    that may at least partly explain why many working
    class communities have seen an increase in support
    for the BNP.Additionally the Left to my knowledge
    has not seriously looked at the ENVIRONMENTAL consequences of England-and it is England as opposed to the UK-having to accomodate at least 10 million
    more people.Especially as we can barely cope with
    the population we already have.

    Apologies for going on but it is something i feel
    very strongly about.

  89. kz

    Just phoned Oxleas House and got put through to Avery Ward. Person who I spoke to was a bit vague and not very helpful....but said he'd find out and I left my mobile number.

    Am moving house tomorrow and am not sure what my landline number will be yet. In any case, as soon as I've got a bit sorted out I'll phone again and see whats what.

    I don't really do waddya but if you could put a message up for pen saying we are on the radio case that'd be good.

  90. Brusselsexpats: P.p.g.'s name is Dr Jonathan Chase.

  91. Someone with a 'posh' voice could phone 'on behalf' of the BBC and ask for a moments help for a survey for a forthcoming programme:

    Question - "is it true that patients in your hospital do not have individual free access to the BBC radio stations?"

    Whatever happened to 'hospital radio'etc?

    I'm amazed that access to radio is not available to MH patients in NHS hospitals. At the very least I would have thought it might have helped patients 'stay cool', save only those who were being disturbed by the thought of controlling radio waves.

  92. The staff at oxleas have already told him you called sheff. He can accept packages, the only caveat being that he has to open them in front of staff. So you can send him the radio and he says he would be very grateful for it.

  93. Just thought sheff? Aren't you going to be a bit busy to organise sending a radio to Pen?

  94. Paul - I'm broadly in agreement with you, especially as you agree that asylum-seekers are a different topic.

  95. Oh, and also agree with Sheff that sorting out foreign policy would go a long way.

  96. Don,t want to sound harsh but no one really knows
    what Pens problem is.Supporting him by say hi and
    sending him a radio etc isn,t a problem.But is there
    a chance that inadvertedly the amount of contact Pen
    is having with Cif might just be undermining his
    treatment programme.?

    None of my business i know!

  97. But is there a chance that inadvertedly the amount of contact Pen is having with Cif might just be undermining his treatment programme.?

    It's a good question, but my gut reaction is no. I'm sure the staff at Oxleas are aware if it and if they thought it was a problem, they'd be in contact.

  98. Whatever his problem, he's still just a person and all peole need contact with others.. I can't see that there's anything wrong in being supportive and keeping in touch.. The only thing I get iffy about is when people start trying to 'diagnose' (don't mean you!) or work out what's going on etc.. I'm sure people can be supportive and use disctetion at the same time, no?

  99. I have to agree with Paul on the pen issue. The whole thing has spiralled out of control and turned into a misery soap opera on WDYWTTA. The man is obviously seriously unwell, and this may not be helping him at all, although the attention seems to be what he wants. Whether that's beneficial to him or harmful we are in no position to judge. fwiw, I have serious doubts about his claims about his parents and his family and these repeated allegations of physical violence (along with many other repeated themes in his posts.) Does nobody here think that his parents might actually love him and only want the best for him?

    It is a shame, but I'm not going to involved with this either. I would suggest that we temper our compassion with a little caution as we do NOT know the true situation.

  100. I'm sure his parents are really upset... I wouldn't dream of judging them. And yes we can never know the whole situation. It's not necessary to 'believe' everything he says is 'true'. The fact we know is that he's in hospital and wants contact with people.

  101. While I too have my doubts about Pen's accounts of things, I expect that the personal contacts do help - no matter how ill you might be, it must be awful to be shut up in that way, probably especially if you don't think you *are* ill.

    Scherfig, yes, I do think his family probably wants the best for him. He said himself that he used to think that they were wonderful.

    I should imagine the staff are monitoring what he does - he's able to access Cif but not here, although that may well be just a generic restriction on the computer he has use of. But I'm sure he's told them about his postings - can you imagine that he's not done so?

  102. scherf/Paul

    Agree we don't know what pen's issues are - apart from the fact that he's obviously in a lot of distress.

    I don't do waddya so don't know what's going on there. but I see no harm in dropping him a line and sending him a radio.

    My only experience with serious mental health problems was with my youngest brother and a couple of friends. What was apparent was that it can be an excruciatingly isolating business and if by keeping in touch (with a light hand) that helps ameliorate the loneliness then that is surely a good thing.

    Perfectly happy to take a lead from his doctors and if they think the contact is inappropriate then so be it.

  103. Happy Birthday Deano!
    Been at work guys. Weird.
    Cu after the pub quiz. Hi Gegen!

  104. Kiz - I'll pack the radio up tonight and send it off either tomorrow or Saturday.

  105. Paul - We are all left guessing. One hopes that our 'good intentions' don't hinder pens progress away from a situation he finds difficult (as many of us would) but I can see the danger.

    I have wondered if the staff realise that in WDYWTTA he is effectively in an open chat room and not simply reading and commenting in national newspaper.

    If progress depends on a self awarness that you are in a position that many others would find 'odd' daily reinforcement that you are, for want of better words, "not out of step" may not be doing his case a lot of good - but I really know nowt and especially what could best help the man.

    I'm guessing/hoping that an act of kindness and concern by his friends won't hinder his recovery for he plainly has become distressed whether for good reason or not.

    BTW We (me/scherf/leni et al) started to scratch at the immigration issue not long ago but we have some way to go to reach conclusions/positions.

    We do need to continue the discussion but I was waiting for Sheff to get back from her hols and now I guess we'll have to wait for her to complete her house move.

    I am far from happy with the current position and sense a real danger/backlash. I tend to let my traditional internationalist perspective hinder my thinking and at the minute I'm still chewing on the pro's and con's of the notion of guest worker. I suspect that this may encourage a better flow of funds to overseas communities 'back home', perhaps accentuated by special tax proviso's for guest workers, on say a 5 year fixed permit. One permit per lifetime for example.

    The utilitarian in me would want to see whatever economic chances the UK can give to others to be shared out and circulated from generation to generation rather than being hogged by those who seized the chance first.

    Must say I'm a long way from thinking it through though.

  106. Pen has said on the waddya that he can have mail, calls and visits. It's obvious he feels isolated and is distressed about that.. and if the hospital explicitly allows contact then I don't see why it's wrong to be in touch. I don't think thatthe waddya thread has turned 'miserable' at all...

  107. nice one sheff... you're a doll...

  108. Just tried ringing the number P.p.g. gave on WDYWTTA. Engaged for the last 30 mins. Anyone else get through to him on the voice line already ?

  109. I'm sure that we can rely on Sheff's sensitive ear as much as anyones.

    I'm glad that she can find the time to send the radio and hope that it will help him feel less isolated. But it does seem a bugger to me that a soul can't be given access to radio when an inpatient/ guest of the NHS.

    If he were a member of my family I would be bending the ear of my MP and the Chair of the Trust responsible for his hospital - if true it's a fegging disgrace.

  110. Re support of P.p.g. partially swamping WDYWTTA, one could ask Jess to set up a separate P.p.g. support thread. The problem would then be that because it would be specialised it might be blocked by the institution software. The nice thing about WDYWTTA is that there's still lots of other stuff ("salt" in cryptography jargon) that makes it appear much less targeted.

  111. I can't think that making an 'isolated' thread would be a good idea. He likes posting on waddya. A lot of his posts are fun and funny.. so he works out a bit of anger now and then?
    It hasn't stopped the other chats... lots of stuff has been brought up and wot not...

  112. I wasn,t judging anyone and people will obviously
    make their own minds up.However i just have this
    uneasy feeling that his well-intentioned friends
    may get in out of their depth.Also by the fact he,s
    revealed his true identity and whereabouts and could
    be leaving himself even more vulnerable.

    I,m no expert but i can,t believe that a MH
    professional would be happy with not only the
    content of some of Pens posts but also the quantity-given that they are being seen by people
    on an open forum who may not have his best
    interests at heart.

    I wish Pen all the best but apart from saying the
    odd 'hi' i will be leaving well alone from now on.

  113. . "....But I'm sure he's told them about his postings - can you imagine that he's not done so?...

    Yes - given some of the comments that I have seen him post about the shrinks/staff I would guess, that other things being equal, he hasn't.

    To assume that the average mental health nurse ward attendant knows the ins and outs of CiF and or UT seems to me a big ask.

    If you had the fears that he has - would you give them the passwords/link to your identity and access to your posting record?

    If I were a ward sister would I want his postings about my ward/treatment appearing in a national daily which might send an investigative journalist around to check? - I wonder.

  114. I have sent it from thee and me kiz.


    We don't know the situation with pen's family - they may be supportive or they may not. I know my youngest brother's illness caused him to do everything he could to drive us away, the effect being enormous distress to us and in particular dreadful despair for our parents. In the end he killed himself. He was only 30. It was an unspeakable time.

  115. Paul: I think revealing his true name is, in his case, fairly innocuous. It's so common that when I googled it I got loads of hits but nothing that closely matched P.p.g. It would be very different with, e.g., me.

    As for MH pros being happy or not with P.p.g.'s posts, they and he have had enough experience of peer review to handle it, I guess.

    Do send him the odd "hi", it'll be appreciated.

  116. Hi everyone.

    On pen, I share Paul, sherf & dean's reservations but don't see a problem with a little kindness & humanity. From experience of having friends & family members with various mh issues, I do think that that it's important to consistently maintain reality and not buy into their alternative reality however real their reality may be to them. So dean is right - care is needed in that regard. Didn't put that very well but hope you got what I mean.

    On immigration. Um. deano - you're right about the importance of money being sent to families & others back home. Many here send money to pay for education, medical treatment etc and to benefit those living in poverty, who they may not even know. A friend of mine (now deceased) sent money occasionally to his auntie back home knowing that even a tenner or two made a world of difference to her comfort in old age.

  117. Hm - there was a Dr Jonathan Chase in this TV series, a 'shape-shifter' -


    A coincidence I suppose. Has anyone actually spoke to him?

  118. Ah, sheff - so sorry to hear about your brother.

  119. Edwin

    I think that Manimal has come up before on here. And pen has called himself a shapeshifter from time to time IIRC.

  120. btw, rednorth has been deleted on the benefits trap thread (which I've only just found) - anyone see it? Just curious ..

  121. "....In the end he killed himself. He was only 30. It was an unspeakable time...."

    You shared that with us before Sheff. It must have been god-awful for you and yours. It is an especially important contribution and it influences my final stance, as it must yours.

    I would always want the man to have the benefit of the doubt and any act that might be interpreted by him, as assuring him, that he is not all alone cannot be easily wrong.

    I think/hope getting the radio from two ladies he has commented with should be a good thing.

    It was good to read Chin's view.

  122. Thanks Ms Chin. I think I'll keep a distance from this one!

  123. This comment has been removed by the author.

  124. Sheff.. It's from you!
    I'll say this as one last word. I think (and this is form some experience) that it's very easy where mental health issues are concerned to be encouraged to think that it's best to say/do nothing.. leave it to the pro's.. There's an argument for that in many instances.
    Right now, all Pen is doing is chatting and he wants a radio.

  125. I completely understand people wanting to keep a distance on this one. We know practically nothing about what's going on and pen's version of events may not be that reliable in the detail.

    What is obvious is his extreme distress and we do know he's currently in Oxleas House. It hasn't taken much effort to wrap up a radio and it won't take much to post it. I don't call that getting involved beyond a very ordinary consideration for another person who needs it at the moment.

    And it's one more thing I won't have to lug over to the new flat tomorrow!

  126. Gorecki's Sorrowful Songs on Radio 3 at the moment. Bliss!

  127. kiz

    Agree, I'm not that comfortable with leaving it to the pro's tbh. And as I said before, a little kindness when someone is in distress is a good thing. Including chatting on Waddya or sending a card, radio etc.

  128. Welcome Gegenbeispiel! Glad to see you here.

    Surprised that the avatar upload ran into trouble.

  129. "I know my youngest brother's illness caused him to do everything he could to drive us away"

    That's so cruel, for everyone concerned. You're not the first I've heard from about that awful situation Sheff. I agree with those who say we shouldn't be giving our 'diagnoses' but that some support can do no harm. I'll send pen a card.

  130. Re Pen

    We can do little to influence Pen's condition or circumstances other than offering support.

    It's bad to feel alone.

    I.m sorry about your brother. x

  131. Just got through to P.p.g and had a nice 40 min. conversation with him. He sounds OK, pissed off but not despairing, enthusiastic about himself but nothing like manic. He's really grateful for the contact he's had with us and the support he's getting from us.He seems more understanding of some aspects of his family situation than one might read from some of his posts. He's really looking forward to, and is very grateful for, sheff's radio and kiz's voice call tomorrow.

  132. Gorecki's Sorrowful Songs .......... Bliss!


  133. Paul/Martillo

    It was over 20 years ago now but burned into my consciousness. It's probably affected how I've responded to pen's situation, I know. I am only too aware of the acute loneliness mental illness can cause. A terrifying thing if you've ever witnessed it - never mind gone through it.

  134. Good news there Gegenbeispiel.

  135. Happy Birthday, deano.

    MsChin 'From experience of having friends & family members with various mh issues, I do think that that it's important to consistently maintain reality and not buy into their alternative reality however real their reality may be to them.'
    - from my experience, would agree 100% with this. Also agree though that some contact, especially for someone clearly alone, distressed and in need of support, is beneficial; will be sending a card to pen tomorrow. Have a friend diagnosed with borderline personality disorder; have been in hospital with her after failed suicide attempts/failure to take essential asthma medication a number of times: can be hard work, but she appreciated the support afterwards. She's now become involved with a fundamentalist Christian group, who have apparently booked her onto a Christian MH retreat somewhere - so all old friends are superfluous to requirements. So what can you do?

    sheff- really sorry to hear about your brother.

  136. BTW - whilst on the general subject of immigration.

    I came across the fact that when the establishment wanted the South African Zola Budd to run for the UK in the Olympics of ?? they gave her UK citizenship 'cos her grandfather had been British.

    Given that Montana's> Cornish forebear never took US citizenship, I declare her case for UK citizenship made without further ado!

  137. Gegenbeispeil, very glad to hear it I have to confess my thought today was that this was some sort of very bad taste prank from one of Cif's resident hoaxers. Good for you, the wonderful Sheff, Kiz, and the others who kept plugging away.

    I have a couple of books will send that may be of some interest to him or if not can do for the ward.

  138. Sheff

    Back in the early 80,s a school friend of mine
    committed suicide.I know that is not the same as
    a brother but he nevertheless was someone i grew
    up with all through primary and secondary school.
    So i do have some sense of how you feel.

    With regard to Pen people have got to do what THEY
    want to do.At the end of the day it,s their decision.

    Anyway all the best with your impending move.

  139. shaz and sheff

    Being powerless to do anything is just part of being there for someone. I found it a very hard lesson to learn.

  140. Is a group ((hug)) in order?

  141. deano

    We'll get BB on the case right away.

  142. All in favour of hugs MsC!

    Being powerless to do anything is just part of being there for someone. I found it a very hard lesson to learn.

    Very hard lesson and learnt the hard way in my case. I had the illusion that we could save my brother and we couldn't.

    Still, just spoken to pen and as gegenbeispiel says he sounds very 'up' at the moment and actually rather sweet and really grateful for the support people are giving him and wanted me to pass that on to everyone on the UT.

    I have found him quite disturbing at times but feel better about it now I've actually spoken to him.

  143. I will send Pen a card too.

    Sheff - I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a brother like that. MH issues are something that have been on my mind a lot of late, for various reasons that I won't go into in public, but it scares me shitless.

    Hugs to all. x

  144. sheff

    It's not an illusion, just a glimmer of hope which was hard to let go.

    Re: phonecall - glad to hear that.

    More (((hugs))), everyone?

  145. but it scares me shitless

    BB - I know what you mean. Email me if you would like to. you know where to find my address.

  146. Can i have a hug please?Or is this a women only
    hug fest?

  147. Many thanks for birthday greetings friends.

    Am now feeling a bit of a fraud - there was a confusion about the exact date 30th/31st which I/we resolved a couple of days ago in favour of the 30th. Thus I shared my birthday yesterday with our friend from Canada Boudican.

    Not to worry I had greetings from one son yesterday, my daughter today and I expect a card from the other son some time in July.

    Mungo took the safest option and greeted my wakening on both days as though I had just returned from the moon. I suppose being licked awake is better than sleeping for ever. Although his running flying leap onto my bed is fraught with its own danger.

    Yesterday I celebrated with the annual ritual of touching the ground with the palm of my hands once for each year of my age (no bending at the knees allowed). I am now quite clear that it would be tedious to live to 100. I would be pleased if I could still touch my toes at 70, bugger it thereafter.

  148. Never thought for one moment that you wouldn't feel included, Paul, so sorry about that.

  149. Paul

    Thanks - am finally more or less ready. Have various members of the family coming to do the heavy lifting thank christ. But am worried that it's going to be like living in a crammed to the rafters second hand shop. still have too much stuff - must unload more!

  150. deano

    Do distract us with more about Mungo's morning greetings, or summat. Could do with cheering up and hearing of your palm escapades was a good start.

  151. Paul - we don't do women only on the UT - so take it as read, you are included.

  152. It would be grand if we can see a little more ease in our friend pen on the morrow now he has had the reassurance of two warm calls.

    I hope so and that he sleeps easier as a result of your sterling efforts.

  153. Cheers for that ladies.

    I,ve come all over all nice and tingly!And on that
    happy note i,ll say nite nite.Early start tomorrow.

  154. Do we have a slug afficianado on UT ?

    All winter I have been finding snail trails in the house - i have never found the culprit.

    Now I have an outbreak of very large leopard slugs lurking outside the back door. Anyone else have trouble with these beasties ?


    Dogge has the cunning leap down to a fine art. Sometimes, though, he miscues and concertinas against the wall.

  155. Hug to Paul, just cuz.

    Deano - that reminds me of the joke about the guy who died on his hundredth birthday. He was doing fine right up to the 75th "bump"...

    Sheff - thanks x Good luck with the moving tomorrow.

    MsChin - reading back, yes I wonder if there is any "ancestry" claim that Montana might be able to make? I would have to go and look it up, because I haven't dealt with one before. Not sure what the rules and regs are these days (seeing as they seem to change every time the Daily Mail vomits up another headline)

  156. Leni

    I've had slugs in the house too. Basically you have to get up at about three in the morning to catch them. Bloody pain but it that's when you'll find them in the house.

    i found going out at night with a torch and a pair of scissors (wet nights are best) and assassinating the little buggers was quite effective too. My good will has never extended to slugs - not since they munched their way through all my most favoured plants. Not very zen I know.

  157. Instead of stabbing them, you could put salt down.

    Kryptonite for slugs. Semi-permeable membranes, osmosis and all that...

  158. Leni

    If you can't take up sheff's suggestion, get a hedgehog or a frog.


    All the best for tomorrow.

  159. BB - They dissolve into disgusting slimey puddles if you put salt down. I cut them in half. The truly unpleasant thing is that they then cannibalise the dead ones. I find it hard to be sympathetic.

  160. Ah well - time for bed, said Zebedee.

    Night night all x

  161. Slugs came out of a pot plant that lived out doors last summer, 3am is the best time.. Woke at 5 am today bathroom window 1ft wide opened by the wind 1/2 inch of snow on the bathroom floor!

    Well done Gegen for the phone call, how did he sound? on a scale where 1 is ok and 10 is far from ok?

  162. The morning ritual with Mungo is fraught with danger and I really have to be careful about saying too much. The bastard will be reading this if he gets a chance.

    He watched a tv programme once about extra sensory perception and has been over enthusiastic about demonstrating his prowess in the field ever since.

    He has the astonishing ability to sense the very moment I start to stir into semi consciousness. I'm usually just starting to think something like " .....that's promising I didn't expire overnight after all, praise be the..."

    that's when I hear the bastard humming the superman theme tune...............I know then I have a split second to save myself because....

    ... then there is this wild galloping noise as he hurtles the 18ft from one end of the van, to my sleeping quarters,.......at the other.

    The bastard flys through the final three feet of airspace and lands atop me........I have a split second to get my hands to cover me knackers or I'm limping for the day with watering eyes..

    As I've said before Mungo is a dog with an inappropriate sense of humour he just thinks its funny to shock me into life. He thinks one grin and a lick and all is well with the world. Bastard is usually right though.

  163. Cutting them in half is out and the leopards are longer than the average toad.

    Last year we had some ghost slugs for the first time - the thing of nightmares - they go down worm holes and gnash the worms. Ghost slugs have teeth.

  164. beer in a saucer is a fine slug trap.

  165. Deano

    Bastard is usually right though.

    Of course he is - how could you possibly resist?

    the leopards are longer than the average toad.

    They and your ghost slugs (which I've not come across thank god), sound revolting. You have my sympathy.

  166. Deano

    Are they singing drunks or the violent kind ? These leopard types are huge !

  167. one grin and a lick and all is well with the world

    Works for me, too!

  168. They drown in the beer, like the old chestnut, Glaswegian drowns in beer vat, after two trips out to go to the toilet....

  169. I'll try to get Mungo's photo sorted out when me new camera comes (in the next day or so) and then I'll post the 'Mungo and the Furnivall Beard' yarn on his blog.

    That's a promise.

  170. Right, bed for me. So goodnight all.


  171. Ooo, deano! We're on a promise, folks. Yippee!

  172. Sheff

    Ghosties are coming your way. They appeared in Wales 2 or 3 years ago - registered as a new species. Moving north faster than a snails pace it seems. They are white and a bit skinny for a slug - I suppose they have to be to wriggle down a worm hole.

    Now I've got the shudders.

  173. Sorry turminder - just spotted your post. Still going to bed though ..

  174. sheffpixie: good luck with the move. Better you than me - my last one was a bit of a disaster, I'm still both unpacking and missing things after almost 3 years. I'm sure you'll be much more efficient than that. Thanks for including me in the hugs, too.

    BB et. al.: my very superficial reading is that Ppg will need a social worker very soon: he needs to get a place of his own and be discharged directly into it - just as Kiz said on WDYWTTA. I don't feel this is the right place to discuss the reasons except to say it 's not really anyone's fault.

  175. Montana my dear friend from my part of Yorkshire the visitor counter has not been working at all today - is this because you've ditched it?

    Have "they" found out that you adjusted it to keep adverts etc out?

    Hope you are well and going to have a good Easter break. I seem to recall that there might at one time have been a question of contract renewal at about this time? If so I hope it is all sorted as you would wish it to be.


  176. deano: I have just temporarily allowed 99counters.com and i see 12 UK, 1 US, and no Hungary oddly enough.

  177. Deano:

    1st: Belated birthday wishes. I feel especially stupid about not saying anything earlier. I did read the posts about it the other day.

    2nd: The counter is working for me. I see 10 UK, 1 Hungary and myself right now.

  178. Oooh, first goldfinch of the year on my bird feeder right now. Cinammon is riveted.

  179. deano: Many happy returns!

    Montana: Nice to see you in your new guise.

  180. Evenin' all,

    Happy brithday Deano, for yesterday or today (of course that leaves you open to the joke that "I always thought you were born yesterday" :-#)- that's a smile with a twirly moustache. and In that frame of mind:

    Paul is right, immigration should be discussed freely and openly. Oh and bloody slugs, eh, come over here upsetting us all. Like they have as much right to be here as we do. Bastards!

  181. Habib

    I pick the slugs up and carry them to the field - i think they come back - I need to put a tracking device thingy in a couple to be sure. I can't kill anything at all.

    Immigration yes it is a big problem - but loads of Brits abroad. I wonder by how much the figures balance out.

  182. deano03: happy birthday - last minute wish !

  183. Glad to read the counter is still working - hope it will be in Yorkshire again tomorrow.

    Come to think of it I had a message that something or other had 'crashed' on my machine this am. I'll close it right down tonight and start afresh on the morn.

    Sounds like a sight of spring for you Montana I hope so.

    I'm away to bed I have an early MOT appointment tomorrow.

    Good night friends.

  184. happy birthday deano and thank you for that lovely image of Mungo hurtling across the van...

    and well done gegen and sheff for getting through to pen, am sure that the 'little things' like chats, radios and cards will be a good thing for him - agree with the consensus that while we can't know exactly what's going on, holding out a hand is a good thing to do. the tone of his posts recently suggests he's much more level, and if he sounded OK in the phonecalls, then that's the main thing.

    re: slugs, if you do avail yourself of a hedgehog, Leni, for God's sake make sure you're not around to watch the denouement. Grossest noise I think I've ever heard...

    am trying not to think about the ghost slugs. eep.

  185. Work is good, thanx Leni. : )

    NN all, open to the public tmra/tday!

  186. Ooh, storm! I do like a good storm...

  187. "I can't kill anything at all."

    Leni, I would love to be able to say the same, but I have slapped too many mosquitos into a two dimensional existence. Felt really gulty, afterwards, mind.

  188. april fools article up.

    it's a grower. very clever...

  189. Hi All&lurkers too--Very quiet on here. The time zone issue does seem to preclude a constant discourse. Still fun for me to discuss and debate issues/interests with people in parts of the world different than mine.

    Hi to pen, hang in there, I think you will.

    turminder--what's it like to be a working man again? Hope the job suits you.

  190. Hi Boudican, still lurking on yesterday's thread.