09 May 2010


The Battle of Megiddo took place in 1457 BC.  Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated in 1092.  Australia's first parliament convened in Melbourne in 1901.  Australia's parliament convened in Canberra for the first time in 1927.  The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Enovid from Searle Laboratories as the world's first oral contraceptive in 1960.

Born today:  J.M. Barrie (1860-1937), Howard Carter (1874-1939), Hank Snow (1914-1999), Richard Adams (1920), Joan Sims (1930-2001), Geraldine McEwan (1932), Alan Bennett (1934), Roger Hargreaves (1935-1988), Albert Finney (1936), Glenda Jackson (1936), David Gahan (1962) and Paul Heaton (1962).

Somewhat ironically, it is Mother's Day in the US and Canada today.


  1. Happy Moma's day Montana!

    Thank christ for the pill! It was a total revolution for women back in the 60's. I think I was a better mother to the two children I had (in quick succession), than I would have been for the many more I might have had had it not been for that little miracle. So perhaps not so ironic.

  2. Have an enjoyable mums day Montana

    Chekhov - "...not in the summer he ain't..."............. Brill, made me smile a lot and added nicely to Duke's City memory. Both tales reminded me of just how 'sharp' modest and decent people could be.

    Difficult to imagine many of today's players having the wit.

  3. Morning all....

    Extreme election fatigue and too many beers through the night whilst watching the election, working for 2 days has meant I've been in a daze and problably was a bit of a loon t'other night ;-)

    Hope everyone well and pleased at least the Tories aren't swanning into No.10.

    Got to go to work ;-(

    Happy Mother's day Monatana - will your kids be cooking for you all day?

  4. Take an apostrophe with 'mum's' since it is your day.

    Vision and focus is slowly returning to my wearied eye....perhaps that should be pickled eye.

    I must say that when I awoke about 6.50 and shortly thereafter logged in to read the UT nightshift's comments it was odd to see myself as the only UT in the entire world logged in. That's only happened once before since we've had the counter.

    That counter is fun..... and I hope it stays.

    My Acers look fine this morning and the green lace leaf's are actually in flower for the first time. The tiny flowers aren't much to write home about, but they will give me a chance of seed. And truth is I have never grown an Acer from seed - just another of the things I want to do before I leave this coil .

  5. Actually most lace leaf Acers are grafted onto a more vigorous rootstock so seed growing of them ain't easy.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Acers and their often delightful shapes and colours:

    A nicely shaped purple lace leaf

    I have about half a dozen of the red/purples in my collection but as I've indicated before they are susceptible to leaf burn from cold winds.

  6. Mornin' Deano/La Rit

    Beautiful day here and that bloody cold north wind seems to have eased up at last. - think I'll consider getting up.

    Also still in recovery from the election binge so I sympathise with other addled brains out there.

    deano - I have a baby acer on my balcony which I'm cultivating. One day it might look like the glorious one in your picture.

  7. Lenni - Having thought about it...........I can reassure you that on balance there is more that is idyllic than dark about my life.

    It is something of the madness of Britain that old tramps are allowed to live in a quiet corner of a 25 acre field of Yorkshire and have a collection of Acers and all unmolested.

    My Acers are getting to be worth as much as my van and will, as long as they live, continue to appreciate whilst the van depreciates to nothing. I hope that each of my kids/grandkids will inherit a fine Acer - they'll get little else.

    There is so much wrong with our country but there are also some unexpected delights for a lucky few.

    I do of course share LaRits' pleasure that the old enemy did not get straight in but much hangs on the outcome of the next few days.

  8. Sheff I can't recall if you were logged on that day, about this time, last year when I was last enthusing about Acers................but if you weren't.........................

    It's not difficult to appreciate why eighteenth century wealthy Japanese used to have acer parties to which friends and associates would be invited.

    As I understand it the art was to frame the landscape and have it caressed within the shape of the Acer. A view of Mt Fuji through a carefully 'trained and shaped' centre being the most enviable and prized of all.

  9. Just a very quick word to one and all... got to race and get dressed, get on bike and go to work....

    Acers... I have one I've had in a pot for about 10 years.... sort of minature/almost Bonsai. i love it. Rewards me every year, but needs moving to a shadier spot as it got burned last year.

    Delicate critters they are!


  10. Morning all, happy mothers' day Montana!

    am keeping fingers crossed that airports down here sort themselves out so I can fly back to London on Tuesday. It's ATP! Ash is far too mainstream for ATP...

  11. Fingers crossed. PB

    For the benefit of non native English speakers/writers who may be confused by my capitalising of mid sentence Acers - it's because I've elevated them to a religion.

    (And one day my sometime might find out were I blog and I like to drive hell in her English teacher sensibilities with cavalier misuse)

    Right that's the dark side of me's outing for the day. I must get on with other things this day.

    laters (much laters all)

  12. By the waySheff I spent much of yesterday dipping in and out of Joe Bageant's blog of essays.

    Yet another writer unknown to me, have to say though, I enjoyed the reading.

  13. Deano

    I have been reading him for a while - great insights into an American world view we don't hear much about this side of the pond.

  14. If anyone can watch the iplayer, ie anyone who is in Britain...


    At 2:53 there is a crowd of people.
    Here I am on newsnight Scotland, amongst the groupd camoaigning for electoral reform.

    I am wearing a white/cream jumper with dark hair about 3/4 of the way to the right. I'm pretty much the only person without any purple clothing or balloons.

    The woman with grey hair interviewd immediatly afterwards was very interesting to talk to, as was her husband,

  15. Parking: (it won't last long over on the Guard.)

    "...........Labour could learn a lot from watching two principled men doing what's best for Britain....."

    Err excuse me MakeLabourHistory you mean the two public schoolboys competing in the Bliar lookalike stakes. I doubt that either have a shred of regard for the national interest - they are both free market advocates of one shade or another. They are keen on me me me me.

    Labour sadly is history. It was sold out a while ago by a gang of self seeking entryists that your two heroes seek to emulate..

    I don't know about asking for Brown's head if I were Nick the lad I wouldn't be seen in the same County as the uber creep Mandelson and as for getting into bed with Dave.

    I'm glad I won't have to launder the sheets.

  16. Hello All


    Had a look at your link - i saw no demo there !

    Is this the beginning of a 'purple revolution ' here ? Why purple ?

  17. Deano

    i collected Acer seeds a few years ago- from the Japanese garden we have here in the Forest.

    i put some in the fridge ans some in the freezer for two weeks.

    those from the freezer germinated. Best of luck with yours.

    Everyone should grow at least one tree in a lifetime.

    i have a sequoia and several oak trees I now need to find homes for.

  18. Happy mothers day Montana!

    Deano - we have a fine Acer now - was made aware of their finery by your good self last year and we went and got a nice deep red one. I would like one of the burnished gold ones at some point.

    I have a gardening question for anyone who knows. I have been trying to grow night scented stock for the last four years. I cannot do it - they always fail to come through or just come through very weedy and die. Last year I mixed night scented with other stock and the others came through but not the night scented.

    This is perturbing me as I love the scent and really want to grow them. I put them in a tray in my utility room until about june and them put them outside but they will not grow. Any tips?

    As per the election - I love that leaked letter from 'Foreing Secretary' to Prime Minister. Ha ha ha. And also how childish and stupid is that!

  19. Princess

    night scented stock seed is temperature sensitive.

    i plant some early seeds - if too cold they fail to germinate. Planting again in mid May when overall temp is higher usually does the trick.
    best of luck.

  20. Afternoon all!

    in true Gardeners Question style...and on a arboricultural/horicultural note...before I left I planted some acorns and they actually seem to have taken as it were, any tips on how to make sure they keep growing....?I fear for the hot summers here..:)

  21. Princess

    Sorry - meant to say plant in situ.


    Young oaks can be subject to leaf burn. Keep them watered and if possible shaded. i find a good rule is trees which grow naturally in the locality do better. I cannot for example grow beech trees - the nearest one is several miles from here and growing at lower level - also to do with soil depth. Acers thrive here - as do other mountain plants such as fuschias - magellan fuschias in particular.

  22. Before we leave the subject of trees can I recommend the Ginko ? wonderful trees - ancient survivers - also known as the maiden fern tree. Very pretty and unusual.

  23. have just retired from Khaled Diab's thread on press freedom - yet again sunk to I/P sniping.

  24. Thanks for that Leni. I will give it another go this year. I am determined!

    Deano - hope your eye continues to improve.

  25. Dont know if this has been posted on here before or not -(got a feeling it might have) - but for all angry/fed up/disappointed/disenfranchised etc untrustees - it might be worth putting your signature to this.


  26. princess

    I got email from 'takebackparliament' Signed petition - to any purpose remains to be seen. I think they are the purple revolution people.

  27. Just got an email actually from Sheff re the above so maybe she has mentioned it on here before - if so sorry Sheff - couldnt remember if it had been put up or not.

    When I signed up the other day it was twenty thousand when the other half signed up a bit ago it was 38 thousand and counting!

  28. I signed it too but it feels a bit like spitting into the wind.

  29. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_81l4DXlwM

    for purple people everywhere.

  30. Looks like its gonne be a lib-tory pact.

  31. Jay

    Many 'pundits' have said a lib-tory pact will trigger October election / I wonder ?

    Much will now depend on both national mood and broader economic news.

    Hey - Ho. What next ?

  32. If it is lib tory then I fear for the lib dems future, I know I am not the most clued up politically but I came very close to voting for them.

    If they put their own desires to taste a bit of power before the fact that is is the Tories they are laying down with I won't be tempted again.

  33. Leni
    thanks for the advice...

    purple is the colour of the moment it seems......
    as for purple people there is a movement here in Italy called "Il Popolo Viola" it was formed over the internet last year and has had huge demonstrations here to get rid of Berlusconi, and to protest about controversial laws hate to be cynical but doesn't seem to have had much impact....so far...

  34. Jenni

    it remains now for us to discover the nature of this agreement. How many Libdems in the cabinet ?

    Most libdem voters are to the left rather than the right - outbreaks of anger and rejection are to be expected - certainly hoped for.

  35. If Clegg signs up with the tories he's a bloody sell out, not that it surprises me. I suppose it's the whiff of power...amazing how seductive it can be and what are principles when you get the chance to get your hands on the levers of power, however tenuously.

    I did put up a link up to the take back parliament site the other day princess - but it can't be restated enough and people may well have missed it so good on you for the above.

  36. well the lib dems haven't mentioned political reform after exiting the "talks" a statement about the economy...ol'shirley williams has said she's against the coalition with the cons....

    I reckon it'll all end in tears even before it starts....

  37. Phone Lib dem HQ to say 'No sell out @

    0207 2227990

  38. sheff
    apparently clegg's up for sale on ebay....
    ......I wonder if it was the teflon coated range...

  39. Interesting point, Jennifer. Supposing the libtory goes ahead, Cameron will not actually give the lib dems anything once he has himself inside number 10 - they'll look like not only sell outs but weak too.

    So, if there was a October election, Cameron will have thrown in some sweeteners to prepared himself, maybe tried to redraw constituencies to his advantage, what would the October results look like? Lib dem vote would absolutely drop through the floor, but where would those voters go? Labour and small parties is the only options - which could well mean a big Cameron majority.

  40. "I signed it too but it feels a bit like spitting into the wind"

    Jennifera - I'm always spitting in the wind!

    Hello everyone - am feeling invigorated by my marathon cycling today - as per usual, Southwest (fucking bastard) Trains telling lies on their website (i.e. "we say trains are running on our website, but that doesn't mean they exist" malarky)

    Really enjoyed reading these comments about people's tree passions. Was wking in posh garden centre today - can you believe a tree called "Twisty Baby"??

    Apparently a 'Pseudoacacia' lovely-looking ting is was too....

    Do you think Cleggy is a 'pseudo-Conservative'only not so errmmm.. lovely looking' ;)

  41. I meant to say that because of the train ting, I ended up cycling Staines to Chertsey (approx. 6 miles) Chertsey to Lyne (2 miles) Lyne to Chertsey.... yet 2-3 more miles.... body and energy, no problem, knees, slightly worrying :(

  42. LaRit

    if Clegg goes for tories he will certainly be shown to be a twister.

  43. gandolfo

    Thats very funny.... Just heard on news that Clegg and Brown have had a 'secret' meeting.

  44. As for the Pill, I had some rather nice blue-ish ones recently, but they er.. weren't of the contraceptive variety, but a v. fine accomp to the Idjut Boys ;)

  45. (strictly non-sexual of course)

  46. Interesting times dear friends - if the Lib's were to push Nick the lad I could see the bastard jumping ship in return for a safe Tory seat in October.

    I wish I wasn't just a cynical old hippy but I just never would trust public school boys - they get used to being buggered at such an early age.

    I sometimes think the establishment has an army of political recruiters who tour the public schools recruiting the likely lads from each generation to ensure that they have all the options covered.

    "You my likely lad - you can join the Libs

    You young sir can cover our options by joining the Tories and you young Master can serve your country well by doing a stint in nulabour - you'll all be looked after.

    Now listen up, do as your told and it's no more buggering after dark - except for those of you who have acquired a taste for it. Remember when it's all over you all get a nice little earner in a bank or somesuch."

    PCC -Acer Orange Dream is a beautiful spring colour burst shrub. The leaves, at first spring burst, are a fabulous orange yellow with a red edge. You'll love it and it's not that expensive. Best in the spring but still attractive as the summer develops

  47. "I wish I wasn't just a cynical old hippy but I just never would trust public school boys - they get used to being buggered at such an early age."

    Made me chuckle...

  48. Leni

    I wonder you know, I reckon Clegg might be a proper "twisty" turncoat on the Lib-Dems - so all his bravado of electoral reform may just be posturing. Makes you laff doesn't it? all these white men in suits arguing the toss about who gets to be Head Boy.

    What worries me is another election in the Autumn and a clear Tory victory....

  49. Wiki:

    "...In 1999 and 2009, Mandelson was an invited guest of the Bilderberg Group and attended the annual conferences.."

    A gentleman who will not only bugger all and sundry but Saturday too given half a chance.

    I just don't feel he holidays with Rothschild by happy coincidence.

    I'm not really a violent guy - but I sometimes think a little horse whipping for the learning of the others might not go astray. It's not his sexual predilection I'm unhappy with it's his all round slime.

  50. La Rit

    I've resurrected my old bike since I'm now living in the valley bottom and its mostly flat. I don't do up hill and those huge, crazy inner city roundabouts, which are fine in a car you don't care about as you can just batter your way through, but on a bike they're terrifying.

    Have to say my knees are creaking a bit too.

  51. Deano

    We've not heard anything from mandy for the last few days. I'm sure there'll be plots to hatch given the circs, so he'll have to keep his prick in his pocket.

  52. sheff/deano
    last I heard was that Mandy was ready to dump gordon....the crafty buggers keeping his head down....in all senses

  53. Really glad you provided that link, Deano! Was confused about what an Acer was all this time, but never thought to Google it. We call them Japanese Maples over here. They are, indeed, beautiful.

    Got breakfast in bed (a bowl of cereal -- he is ten) and a nice home-made card signed by him and Cinnamon (he drew a paw print). I didn't even know he knew that it was Mothers' Day, so it was an especially nice surprise.

  54. gandolfo

    He'll definitely be mixing it somewhere - over a good dinner and a bottle or three of something expensive.

  55. Sheff
    he is one of the most dispicable characters of the Nulab phenomenon, so when gordon finally goes, as he undoubtedly will, mandy will be creeping around his next victim......

  56. Sheff!

    Have been riding my bike in London on and off for about 10 years but doesn't matter where you cycle, people driving cars, vans, lorries etc. are 90% distracted and 10% on the ball: ergo v. dangerous.

    Many roads I avoid, because they're very, very scary, Bridges in London, the ones that look quiet? deadly. The busy ones are usually the best - apart from Blackfriars.

    I'm terrible though, because when I get scared, I get very stroppy and have devoloped a particular shouty style at times.... it's very funny, but I stay alive ;)

  57. La Rit

    I've never cycled over Blackfriars Bridge (tottered a few times) but have spent many a happy hour in the Blackfriars pub which accounts for the tottering. I grew up in north London but spent a surprising amount of time wandering around the city when I should have still been in school.

  58. La Rit/ sheff

    I cycled for years in London...until a lorry decided to do an illegal left hand turn taking me and my bike with it...luckily I jumped off in time the bike went under.......I'd love to cycle here in Rome but I value my life...more people die using pedestrian crossings than not..maybe I should suggest a bike trip to rome to Seaton.....;)

    be careful out there.....

  59. gandolfo

    Cycling in Rome! Now that is a terrifying thought.

  60. Hi, everybody. WOW! The Untrusted has finally metamorphosed into the waddya thread for people who don't want to post on waddya! Acers, lasses, bicycles, smashed wine glasses in a rented room and faux outrage about how terrible the world is. (UT2 - an article about a female, muslim, socialist MP - not quite so interesting, not so many comments. No surprise there.) You should get hermionegingold and killingtime and unexceptional over here. It would be perfect! Jessica could hand out the cookies.

    As Kevin Kline said when he opened the safe and found it empty - DISAPOOOOOINTED!

  61. I hope that you both Sheff & LaRit wear high viz luminious waistcoats and helmets when cycling. You will live much longer if you do.

    Many cyclists don't (I always do) and yet when they drive their own cars they are aware how much more visible a cyclist is when herm wears a viz vest. Some people it would seem would rather dice with death than draw attention to themselves.

  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

  63. Oh come on scherf, give us a break - it's Sunday, the sun has been shining for once and we're all exhausted and still recovering from election excesses.

  64. Evening Scherf 30 Comments!

    That's 30 more than Blears re-election or Opik's demise got here and we can't vote in Danish elections.

    Plenty of interesting political discussion going on here on UT you just need to read between the lines.

  65. Hello visitor from Bulgaria.

  66. Sheff

    Always able to feel the pain and anger behind Gideon Ley's pieces.

    Parts of Israeli admin have clearly long lost their senses.

  67. Leni

    There are times, like this one with Prado, when I really do think they have completely lost the plot.

  68. Sheff

    Israel is held together by the external enemy - huge danger os Israel tearing itself to pieces - hard times ahead there. The cruelty of the occupation and the seige of Gaza are likely to worsen before they imprive.

    Jordan making warning sounds in the background being ignored. Both Israeli and Palestinian people will suffer.

    Bloody politicians.

  69. Just looked back at Khaled Diab's piece- there were about 90 comments when it closed. The mine sweepers have been thru - leaving only 50 odd. Rational discussion is no longer possible.

  70. Evening all

    Latest on the Cameron/Clegg lovefest is that a full
    coalition is out of the question but a looser alliance
    ia possible.Of course it,s all ballocks as i,m sure
    everyone knows.The LibDems would lose all credibility
    if they opted for any form of 'marriage of convenience' with the Tories.

    Reckon we,re all gonna be stuck in some sort of
    political no man,s land until another election is
    called.Possibly in October?But even then no guarantees although Labour by then will almost
    certainly have another Leader.However as others
    here have already pointed out on previous threads
    the choice of either Balls or a Milliband doesn,t
    exactly generate any feelings of hope!!

  71. Paul

    Is there anybody else - apart from Balls and Millies - we can start to promote as possible Lab leader ?

    CiF just might come in handy after all.

    No point in just moaning behind the scenes.

  72. Hi Leni

    Bearing in mind the personal and political overlap
    these days the only halfway decent candidate for the
    Labour Party leadership i can think of is Alan Johnson.He,s personable and has a Trade Union background.Trouble is i don,t know whether he,s got the guts to exorcise Labour of the likes of Mandelson and Co.He,d definitely be an improvement on Brown mind.

    Back to Clegg he,d be an absolute idiot to get close
    to either Cameron or Brown.OK there is an argument
    for having an agreement to bring about economic
    stability but i can,t see such an agreement holding
    up when tough decisions have to be made.Clegg may
    improve his status in the short term but in the longer term he and the LibDems would pay dearly if
    they got too close to either of the other two main

  73. deano30:you would have loved my Dad. His wit was as dry as snuff. I remember being at Bramall one afternoon during the seventies. One of his mates asked him if he was going on a "three day week"(knowing full well that my Dad grafted his arse off 24/7) to which my Dad replied "I'm not working an extra day a week for anyone"!

  74. deano30: "Plenty of interesting political discussions going on here on UT. You just need to read between the lines"
    Well said deano.
    My pseudonym isn't Chekhov by accident. His plays were all about "subtext" (ie what was going on off stage was equally as important as what was happening on it.)
    A lot of people think Chekhov's plays are tragedies. I prefer to view them as black comedies.

  75. chekhov

    Understanding dwells in the nuance and opportunity in the cracks between.

  76. Leni: Quite! I think late Miles Kington put it rather well: "knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad"!

  77. @scherfig:

    We get the point. Seriously. We got it ages ago, as a matter of fact. You and Hank are both so much more intellectual and concerned than any of the rest of us. We will never, no matter what we do, obtain the gravitas that comes so naturally to you.

    But thank you for popping in from time to time to let us know just what feeble excuses for human beings we are. We might get cocky, otherwise.

  78. Hi Montana - don't know if you are still about. Seems ages since had a 'chat'. Glad mothers day card and brekkie was a nice surprise.

    Just watched an interesting report on France 24 focusing on the UK economy and it focused on Yorkshire - went to ex-mining villages around Leeds and then to the shiny new City with all the finance buildings that have shot up. So much more in-depth than anything that any of our useless home grown news channels would do.

    As far as Cleggy goes. What a moron! I think he should not do a deal - with either party actually (talking from a purely impartial point of view - I would peronally like him to do a deal with Labour to keep the Tories out) but if he had a brain he would avoid any coalitions.

    Went on the Lib Dem voice and read the comments - nearly 80% were saying they would rip up their party cards if Clegg jumped into bed with Cameron. If Clegg could see long term and not let his schoolboy excitement at a ministerial post get the better of him - he would back the Tories with a basic promise to rubber stamp their budget as long as it wasn't too looney. Then he would also demand the Tories set a fixed term - one they couldnt wiggle out of - to stop Cameron calling an election in six months time.

    This is exactly what David Steel was proposing and makes the most sense. The lib dems could back - or not - Tory legislation piece by piece and keep their membership from deserting them. They would also be free to talk to Labour re a possible coalition when the next election is called based around reform.

    But my view is Clegg will like the press attention, the excitement of the whif of power and it will all go to his head. You can see it in the eyes of the Lib Dems and their smiles. The Tories all look gutted. Hilarious.

  79. Princess

    How does a minority gvt. - having the most seats but not a majority, oust brown from power?

    The general opinion - across the board - seems to be that Clegg will ruin the Libdems if he goes into coalition with the tories.

    Hi Montana

  80. I dont think they can 'oust' him Leni. But I think he will go and let Cameron try to have a go at setting up a minority government if Labour cant get the lib dems on board.

    The thing I really, really don't want to happen is for Cameron to be able to call the next election when it suits him and when they are riding high in the polls - which is going to be early on as they wont be hated as they will a year or sooner into their parliament.

    In fact the right wing blogs are interesting - they are all talking about an election on the 14th October. Who has decided this? Where has this date come from? Why are they SO certain Clegg wont do a deal with Labour and the Tories will get in?

    If Clegg allows that he has lost the plot and handed the Tories (who still have a huge war chest) a probable victory in a few months.

    I don't know what Labour can do if they don't get the Lib Dems on board. Maybe someone who knows more about the constitution etc than me (wouldn't be hard) would have more of an idea.

    I think thats why if the Lib Dems just wont get into bed with Labour (for whatever reason) then instead of a full coalition with the Tories they should just allow the Tories to try and form a government by rubber stamping that most basic of acts. And maybe passing a budget too that would be devoid of Osbournes most loony slash and burn policies.

    In reality the whole thing strikes me as so weird Clegg doing all this selling out to Camerona and co - I mean on the deficit they are closer to Labour, on electoral reform and on Europe. Can you imagine Osbourne and co agreeing to no cuts this year?

    It all makes my head spin.

    Right I am going to try and get some kip.Night Leni and Montana and anyone else around.

  81. Am I right in assuming that if a coalition- having between them half the seats - is not formed then the PM )in this case Brown) can prepare legislative package for Queen's speech and the put it to house. They can either vote to endorse this - in which case the minority gvt. continues in office, or they can vote him out in which case Queeny would ask Cameron , as largest party , to form gvt ?

    If anybody, tonight or tomorrow, can confirm this or explain if this is wrong I would be grateful.


    don't know where the Oct. 14 date first came from - I heard it yesterday. somebody pushing for it I assume and hoping that repetition will make it happen.

    Night P and Montana and all else x

  82. Brown announces he's stepping down, Pickford's booked at No10 for Boxing Day...