22 May 2010


Alexander the Gread defeated Darius III at the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC.  Richard, Duke of York, defeated Henry VI at the First Battle of St. Albans in 1445.  Nearly 1000 people headed west from Independence, Missouri, in 1843 -- the first group to set out on  what became known as the Oregon Trail.  The most powerful earthquake ever recorded struck southern Chile in 1960.  It measured 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale.  Ceylon adopted a new constitution in 1972, becoming a republic and changing its name to Sri Lanka.

Born today:  lobster-loving Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855), Richard Wagner (1813-1883), Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Hergé (1907-1983), Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), Charles Aznavour (1924), George Best (1946-2005), Bernie Taupin (1950), Jerry Dammers (1955), and Morrissey (1959).

It is Republic Day in Sri Lanka.


  1. Morning all

    Looks like it is going to be a lovely day! I have one wandering rat to try and tempt out from under the shed, though. The lads thought it would be a good idea to let them out on the grass for a bit. The shy, well behaved rat did as he was told, but his bolshy older brother sniffed freedom in the air and made a run for it...

    I will try and lure him out with some bbq lamb later.

  2. Morning BB

    Rats like apples - try one within his sight range - rats will try to roll them away to eat in comfort. You may be able to catch him while he's busy. Drop a box over him perhaps.

    Glorious day here too - i'm off outside to smell the air, feed the birds and drink first coffee of the day.

  3. Morning everyone. I hope you're all well, I've been away for a while.

    Is there any news about penile? I wrote to him, but I'm ashamed to say I never got around to visiting him.

  4. Thanks, Leni. I have set up the cage next to the shed - they are so institutionalised that they don't normally leave their cage for long with the doors wide open - with the little brother in a box on the sofa with me here, burbling away quite happily. I have bitten a chunk out of an apple and put it in the cage so that the aroma will waft over to him. Hopefully that will tempt him back in.

    My lad is pretty distraught - all the more so that he got a complete bollocking for disobeying me and letting them out in the first place as I suspected this might happen.

  5. Morning Lavartis - I have been sporadic in my posting recently too, so I haven't caught up with Pen of late.

    How are things with you?

  6. BB

    Hope Ratty returns - the loss of a pet is devastating.

    Make a small run.
    4 boards knocked together in square or rectangle , covered in fine chicken wire. Doesn't need to be very high - it can then be
    placed over beasties on grass

    Lavartis - Hi

    Pen is home , had an ATL on Cif last week.

  7. Good luck to the guy who is to attempt a new Lawnmower World Landspeed Record on those sands in Wales today - he needs to beat 81mph!

    Great to see you here again BB - try a lady rat, perhaps with a little lipstick, and a bangle or two. Getting the mood music right can be difficle I think somethin classical .........'here comes the Queen of Sheba' might do it.


  8. For those who may be unaware...........

    Tintin's fantastic Dog: 'Milou' (Snowy) just loves whisky drinking and bone chewing

    Don't we all.

  9. Good day for Yorkshire in 1445 - only a few things finer than a King on his arse.

  10. Enjoy the fantastical weather everybody.


  11. morning all....

    It's such a beaustiful day and I have the Mother of all hangovers ;( met an old friend yesterday (who had a premature baby girl at 30 weeks, but she is now a very big, bouncing and rudely healthy 13.5 pounds, she is positively a giant compared to the last time I saw her!)

    I'm ashamed to say, we drank far too much wine. I really admire her as she has never had it easy, she was a child-carer for her Mother (and a is a really fine bassonist) we had a lot to catch up on and hope to do some work together with her Wind Quintet.

    BB so sorry about the rat making his bid for freedom - I really hope he comes back soon.

    We had a hamster once - it lasted as long as the time it took to chew its way out of the tea chest we were keeping it in temporarily... had much more success with rabbits and guinea pigs... my Dad built a long run at the bottom of the garden from the old shed... worked a treat!

    Hi Leni

    Hope the cracked rib is improving ;)

  12. Leni - we already have a run which was built for long-departed guinea pigs, although it doesn't have chicken wire on it. Good thinking, though. GPs just kind of sit there and be, in a very zen way, whereas the ratties are very curious, investigative little things and would be all over the place in no time.

    Morning Deano and LaRit.

    Deano, the last think I need is a female rat and gzillions of baby rats to think about. :o)

    LaRit - hangovers suck. Especially on a lovely day like today. Have a big cooked breakfast and a pint of your favourite fruit juice cut 50/50 with water. That is my favourite cure.

  13. Morning All


    Glad you and netbook are back safe and well.

    Re: Secure "virtual" storage. I second what thauma said about an external hard drive and would add a couple of points.

    I use a slaptop for work which involves data belonging to customers. I therefore take reasonable steps to prevent the laptop from going walkies (physical security).

    The file system is encrypted to insure against the unfortunate event that i do lose the machine.

    If i would have to take my machine in for service, -- which touch wood hasn't happened yet -- i would take out the hard disk.

    External hard disks with quickish USB are quite affordable these days. Get two, alternate the backups and keep them at different locations: say one at home and one at work (if you don't work at home as i do).

    If the external hard disks are too cumbersome for you, you could consider USB sticks (pen drives). They are cheaper and more convenient, so you could have three and rotate the backups of your most strategic information: the information that would give you the greatest hassle if you were to lose it.

    I suppose you use windoze and aren't as paranoid as i am, so you may not want to bother with the encryption, but if you do ever want to bother, without giving up windoze you could look at truecrypt, which is suitable for encrypting pen drives under windoze.

  14. BB
    GPs just kind of sit there and be, in a very zen way,

    Don't they though! In the 70's had a GP called Charlie Brown (Black and Ginger Abysinian). Used to let him run around the living room never went into the hall (I think he thought he would fall of the world!) He use to sit in the doorway and beg for the dandelion leaves I picked for him on the way home from work.

    We had a run for him to go outside on the lawn, the first time he used it he smelt the grass and sat up and begged! Didn't realise he was sitting on the stuff! Bless!

  15. Morning LaRit (speaking very quietly)

    Cross-posting from the dog-end of the day before yesterday's thread (in case you didn't catch that):

    LaRit: Sorry i could not respond earlier because of family complications here. Highly courageous post(s) indeed. Perhaps it is fair to say that women who might need an abortion should be cut a bit of slack. It was more or less what i was trying to say.

  16. Annetan

    Your GP sounds absolutely gorgeous! We had two when my lad was 7 or 8 who were as cute as.

    Medve - thanks for the advice. I will certainly invest in an external HD of some description.

  17. Hi BB & Medev ;)

    (thanks for the softly, softly posts!!)

    Feeling a bit down in the dumps as I swerved work today, which is, to be honest, a bit bloody stupid so on top of the hangover, I'm now feeling anxious and guilty. Flippin' eck, the things we do to ourselves :(

    I shall take your advice BB and get a large cooked breakfast on the go.... so far just a big cup of tea and a coffee., so need to flush myself out with lots of nice juice :-)

    Medev, sorry to hear of the fambly troubles, coming from a family with plenty of troubles, I can empathise with that one... Still not talking to my older sister, it's been nearly 6 months and makes me feel bloody awful.

    Thanks for your kind words and the issue with ToP always seems to be one of damning women from many angles.... it's really difficult to stomach at times. After all, I think the abuse is just as bad as racism and yet people spouting the vitriol think it's their god-given right to do so, so yes, women who choose to terminate really do need to be cut some slack and step forward and say this is no longer acceptable.

    Like any other form of abuse, the abusers/bullies rely on a culture of fear to keep the objects of their hatred subdued.

  18. LaRit:

    Family complications = threat of trouble, which required my full and undivided attention and presence. We seem to be back on straight and level flight for the time being, thank goodness!

  19. Right, well it is the afternoon, I hope everyone is sober when they read this to prevent any misplaced assumptions, namely that I believe 'poor people are poor becuase of there own fault' as Montana so rather uneloquently put it.

    Let's start on a light note. I came back to visit my family in Stornoway as I had a bit of spare time, waiting for job interviews, careers advice interviews. So I am enjoying the Hebridean frsh air again, I have just been for a 10k run

    Funnily enough, as I was travelling up north I got a job interview for the position of pharmacy assistan, that is 1 out of 30 applications. Turminder was talking potentially 1 in 100 applications gets an interview. I will see how it goes.

    Either way, I hope to be doing some volunteering in my community anyway. I have signed up for the Samaritans, namely the telephone answering service, so that is nationwide not local. But I would still like to do some community volunteering.

    So, now on to the serious stuff, which will probably make some people spit and snarl.
    I feel that many on the left deny people's individual responsibility. For example, when I said that yes, many working class people act iressponsibly by eating unhealthy food and having bad diets, Montana responded by saying they can only afford cheap food which is high in fat. My response- I can cook delicious healthy pastas which can cost only a pound per meal, of course taking into account the 'initial investment', ie buying £5 worth of ingredients for the pasta and for the sauce, but which would provide 5 evening meals.

    If you deny that people have individual responsibility over their lives, then it just another example of left wing paternalism. People do have responisiblity, full stop. Of course there are ogres like Rupert Murdoch with their malicious intention of keeping the poor ignorant through their publication, but anyone on benefits in this country can very cheaply study on the Open University, something like Sociology, psychology, media studies etc to better themselves and with education they could see through the lies of Murdoch rags or Conservative party propaganda.

    I do not consider myself 'on the left', just as I am not 'on the right' altohugh I admit that the left tends to be more intellectually steeped. Generally I am a humanist, with I suppose secular Christian notions of social equality. Yes, I am also a moralist, but morals are not tied to religion.

    I can accept some aspects of Marxism though, namely his claim that 'being (environment) determines conscioussness'. Taking the example of food, if a child is brought up by two parents who only cook and eat fired fatty food, then it is more than likely the child will be like them, similarly poverty, social disfunctionality, long term unemployment etc. Duke made some excellent posts about this.

    Also I accept that most of the posters on the UT are at least twice my age, and may find it patronising that I may be lecturing them.
    Just as you are entitled to your opinions, I am to mine. But to get angry and snarl and scream because how I perceive the world deviates from the 'one true path' to a better society won't get us anywhere.

  20. In addition to the above, to break this cycle, with the one exmaple I have given, eating bad food, the answer is education. It is not that most are lacking in material need, they are lacking in educational need. So, I would be happy to volunteer to help out in my community on a healthy eating scheme.

  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. /\ The above deletion was becuase I posted twice /\

  23. Napoleon,

    If I may be so bold, I'd like to offer an opinion on the above post, and some of the 'previous'....

    Is that OK?

  24. By all means, 'speak youre branes' everyone. I am going out for a while to the sports centre and various other things, so I may not be back til 9pm tonight.

    I wold also appreciate it if people don't resort to swearing and and homiems.

  25. Nap

    I have missed most of this, but it is right you should be allowed to post your political opinions about things here, but it is also right that people should be able to challenge them too.

    I have opinions which don't always gel with some people here, and I sometimes don't like the flak I get when I voice them and it can upset me. So I choose my moments. When I am feeling up to a strong debate, I will enter into one. When I don't feel up to it either intellectually or emotionally, I won't.

  26. "When I don't feel up to it either intellectually or emotionally, I won't."

    BB, I'd like to have that kind of wisdom, but, unfortunately...

  27. First of all,

    I do agree with you that the left/right thing can be a bit troublesome, for many reasons, not least because it's an example of painting the world in black and white, while avoiding the many shades of grey, yet I do feel that you yourself fall into the same 'polarisation trap' with some of your own observations/conclusions.

    To take the above post as an example, it seems to me at least, to be suggesting that certain 'issues' come down to a question of 'individual responsibility' vs 'left-wing paternalism'.

    It doesn't.
    As with most things, the issue is replete with nuances and 'bigger picture' issues that need to be taken into consideration.

    (I think, that more generally, people have had a problem with the certainty with which you draw your conclusions, based on your own, very specific experience....)

    Yes, individual responsibility could be taken into consideration, but, as a rule, if you see a lack of this, do you need to ask why, for example?

    Is there a reason that this has disappeared, or eroded?

    Are there any other factors that preceded this decline? Should these be considered in terms of mere correlation, or is there an element of causation?

    To use your example of 'healthy eating', here's just a few questions that should temper any conclusions, or add nuances to the debate....

    You said:

    In addition to the above, to break this cycle, with the one exmaple I have given, eating bad food, the answer is education. It is not that most are lacking in material need, they are lacking in educational need.

    and earlier...

    I can cook delicious healthy pastas which can cost only a pound per meal

    First of all, if you were a single mother, let's say working perhaps two jobs, trying to help the kids with homework, encouraging them to follow 'intellectual pursuits', or any of the other millions of time-consuming jobs that come with being a parent, do you still have the time to make this healthy food?
    Or is it easier to put some fish-fingers in the oven - Indeed, do you always have a choice between the two?

    Secondly, are the working classes eating a specifically more unhealthy diet nowadays, or are they eating the same diet, but with a different lifestyle?
    Is this change of lifestyle entirely a result of 'individual responsibility', or has it been forced upon them?

    (I'm thinking here of many of the Labour intensive industries that used to be the centre of entire communities, but have now largely disappeared.....)

    Must we consider the cumulative psychological effects of many years of lack of opportunity, of neglect, of a removal of dignity, when we consider the diets or health related lifestyles of the 'working class'?

    (And here, I would ask you to consider your own recent experiences, looking for a job etc. Is it really too hard to imagine, that, after a frustrating or demeaning day of rejection, or futility, someone else would reach for a packet of fags, McDonalds, and a few cans of beer, because, after all of that, making one of Jamie Fucking Olivers delicious, healthy meals for a fiver, is the last thing in the world that they want to do...?)

    And, yes, these may not always be relevant factors, some people may not have such 'excuses', but, in a way, that's the point isn't it!?

    When one draws such specific, sweeping conclusions, or boils issues down into 'one word answers', you almost certainly exclude at least some of the factors that, I would argue, really should be taken into consideration....

  28. Well said Mr Dixon. It does mean I now have to delete was I was going to say, but writing it was fairly cathartic.

    Just watched Ross Noble on the Jonathan Ross Show. Let's all pretend to pile into Nap - you know he loves it!

  29. By the way, is anybody else watching this entirely mad game of football?

  30. "My response- I can cook delicious healthy pastas which can cost only a pound per meal, of course taking into account the 'initial investment', ie buying £5 worth of ingredients for the pasta and for the sauce, but which would provide 5 evening meals."

    Yes but you are one person not a family Napolean, your five meals are therefore actually one for a family that's 14 meals a week (not including breakfast) that's £70 minimum of basic ingredients, then you have to add in the costs of cooking and storage...
    (I might add also 5 meals of pasta a week is not a healthy diet I know I live in Italy...!)

    have you ever thought why people on low incomes actually end up buying cheap, unhealthy food?
    1. it's quick to prepare, i.e. it can be thrown into a microwave and heated in 2mins...that means you spend less on cooking costs,

    2. Most shop in deprived areas don't stock healthy food they stock non perishables i.e. tins, frozen foods etc to go to the supermarkets or markets where the quality and cost is lower costs money do people have the money to go to these centres to get it are they able I would say in many cases they can't...

    3. it's normally high fat, high energy food...have you ever been really hungry the desire is to eat something that fixes those hunger pangs quick...? Most people go for crisps, chocolate, chips etc. People on low incomes don't have the money to eat regular healthy meals that's one of the reasons they are constrained to eat crap.It’s not because they are stupid, ignorant, lazy or irresponsible. In essence it's about getting enough to eat...not about what you eat it's primal Napolean.
    You want people to eat better? Give them enough money, an efficient and cheap way to cook food and access to a decent variety of food.

  31. indeed James

    Habib I thought of deleting mine but WTH i posted it anyway!!!!

  32. I must be very childish emotionally, when someone posts saying that he hopes everyone is sober and doesn't lower themselves to swearing I just want to get wasted and run through my sweary vocabulary.

    Luckily the adult me can overule my naughty side and I am going to take BBs excellent advice to heart and not get involved.

    Great post James Dixon I wish I could sometimes come across that clearly. ;)

  33. And very well said, gandolfo. Mine was a bit shouty/sweary, in all honesty. Jennifera and BB are right. You two have done it much better.

  34. Nap - on the obesity thread I have been trying to explain my own personal experience of weight loss - A source of stress disappeared - I stopped comfort eating - I lost weight.

    I was one of those who cooked very healthy meals but stuffed with unhealthy stuff between meals.

    I was told I was not facing the fact that I became fat because I was eating too much.

    Now - the reason I became fat was that of course I was eating too much.

    But the cause pf my over eating was stress.

    Having great difficulty explaining the difference between a cause and a reason!

    I was also at great pains to point out that I did not thing everyone had a weight problem for this reason.

    personal responsibility is fine and good but until the stress in my life (it was considerable) went away I made very little headway with my weight loss. No doctor ever gave me the little bit of help I needed - how to deal with the stress!

    Luckily the stress went away and the weight is coming of. But the stress went away without my personal intervention (unless you count a dogged determination not to reject my daughter when she behaved appallingly to me due to depression) so I don't see how personal responsibility came into it.

    Sadly sometimes life does deal people so many bad deals that they do just crack. I think many of the long term unemployed are in this situation.

    They need help, calling them names doesn't help them it makes them worse just as calling me a lardarse or a fat old cow didn't help me. (I got a lot of that, being fat seems to be a crime worse than murder these days!

  35. Cheers folks,

    (tbh, I'm impressed you made it to the end, even I was dozing off after the 127th paragraph....)

    I agree with what Gandolfo said too....


    What football? B'pool and Cardiff?

  36. Yeah, the play off final to get into the Prem. It's not high quality, but is bloody good. I have a lot of love for both teams, but, well I was born a Lancashire lad.

  37. I didn't think it'd be on here, but it is....

    Missed the first 70 minutes though....

  38. Good post Anne

    (And I think you made the difference between cause and reason very clear, btw!!)

  39. Yey!!! :-)
    Blackpool won!
    I'm glad for Jimmy Armfield, grew up listening to his words on radio 2, I can still hear the theme from The Rockford Files playing. (Apologies to those not old or interested enough to know who Jimmy is.)

  40. I am obese, or as I like to call it a big fat arse, and when people ask me about why I eat too much I like to explain to them that it is none of their fecking business and when they follow it up with concern for my health I tell them to stick it.

    I have played that game for too long, I have spent half my life on one diet or another, I have suffered from eating disorders (did you know you can be eating disordered and still fat, and I am not talking about binge eating).

    I have spent weeks living on cuppa soup and I have followed healthy eating plans from the GP and at the end of all my efforts I am fatter than I have ever been.

    I don't need strangers advice and I don't need shame from everyone around me, I need people to mind their own business.

    I am not particulary happy about my size but I am not letting it rule my life any more, and when people come up with the my taxes will be paying for your health care argument I remind them that I will probably die young so in the long run I am saving them money. ;)

    As far as I can tell the widespread growth in childhood obesity is simply a reason for fat haters to spew that hatred in a more obvious manner pretending that they care about those kids.

    It is a problem (at least we keep being told it is and I don't have enough knowledge to counter that view) but for those who feel really strongly about it I doubt that shaming and embarassing people is the way to go.

  41. Anne: Courageous and educational commenting.

    Nap: Up to a point i am with you, in that i think the traditional left-right divide has become somewhat dysfunctional. My own views, depending on issue, range form fairly loony extreme left to downright libertarian. I am convinced, however, that every standpoint should pass a crucial compassion test.

  42. I'm going to take my life in my hands & join the foodie debate - as James' example single mother (although with only 1 job + WTC) I would say that I did actually make every effort to ensure that we ate healthily, and that was because of the kids. Had it been just me, I probably wouldn't have bothered, but there was no question that the kids were going to eat properly. Yes they did have pizza days, and fish finger days, but they also had constant access to veg & fruit, & limited access to crisps, chocs & fizzy.
    And yes, sometimes it would have been a hell of a lot easier just to whack chips in the oven again, or send the oldest down the chippy and just miss out on the arguments about broccoli - but I never felt that was an option.

    And tbh, if someone had suggested that it was okay to feed my kids crap because I was a lone parent on benefits, I'd have been furious.

    La Rit - if you're around - your termination post was outstanding.

  43. jenn and anne
    great posts.....people judge very easiy....on the other side of the spectrum I am quite skinny apparently clinically underweight for my height weight ratio..I have always been like this and from a very young age have been hit with the accusatorial "you're anorexic aren't you, you need to eat more etc etc". Yet I eat like a pig!! Stress is also a big factor...when I get stressed the weight falls off me and I physically can't eat...
    For me the dramma is putting on weight! It can take me months to put on 1kg and normally have to resort to "unhealthy" foods to do it.

    Medev hits the nail on the head with this:
    "I am convinced, however, that every standpoint should pass a crucial compassion test. "
    Napolean I fear you lack a bit of this at the moment.....

  44. Shaz just wanted to say that I only speak for myself, I don't have kids and I have no idea how I would have dealt with this issue if I had.

    Being responsible for someone elses health is something I have never experienced and I like to think that since I wouldn't like anyone to experience some of the vicious abuse I have I would be most careful to do the right thing.

  45. Jen - it seems that abusing overweight people is seen in some quarters as not only acceptable, but justifiable, as recent comments on the CiF Kevin Smith thread, for example, made screamingly obvious.

    More people should adopt Medve's philosophy.

  46. Napolean

    I suggest you read this, assuming that you haven't

  47. Napoleon K.

    You live off your parents money.

    Fuck off.

  48. ganolfo:

    from your linky:

    By contrast, in a city such as Liverpool, the cheapest foods are the most calorie-dense – kebabs, chips, crisps, puddings, soda, etc – so the poor there are more at risk from obesity.

    I would argue with that. While it is true that these are -- at least in my experience -- "foods" that take up larger proportion of the diets of poor people, they are actually not cheap at all.

    With a well-equipped kitchen and a generously stocked pantry i can put meals on the table cheaper than any Chinese take-away or kebab (allowing for energy costs).

    There is a huge profit margin in chips and crisps, more than 80%. Those who visit take-away parlours for their staples are paying that price despite their poverty, unfortunately.

  49. Medve you are right that with the right equipment and ingredients you can make tasty and cheap food, I haven't got a well equipped kitchen though, I have an old fridge with freezer space for about three meals worth of food, a microwave and a small grill.

    My cooker went kaput a while ago and I am saving up for a new one although it is taking longer than I expected.

    No excuses from me about my diet though I can afford to eat fairly well and my bad diet is down to a combination of laziness and depression

  50. The idea of publically accessible allotments to the poor.



  51. PS Nap. Work on your strengths, not on your weaknesses (Like juvenile prejudice and blatent inexperience of life.(

  52. jennifera30
    Keep on rocking.

    Going offline for a while...

  53. jenniferra - wasn't getting at anyone just telling my own story.

    What I forgot to mention above is that if I didn't start loosing weight my life would be in great danger - I have an inherted heart condition.

    But people have no business mentioning your weight to you. Used to be called 'personal remarks' and therefore rude that!

  54. Oh sorry anne I didn't think you were getting at anyone in particular and I would not blame anyone for losing weight whether it be for health or aesthetic reasons.

    I've been trying to eat better myself lately and doing some serious walking and if weight loss is an effect of that I will be happy.

    I just get a bit fed up of having to try and be a 'good fattie' i.e. tell anyone who feels like querying me how I do eat veg and do exercise.

    When it comes to body issues I try to do what I wish others would do to me and mind my own business.

    Good luck with your health issues anne and I am really glad that a source of stress has gone from your life, we all need a bit of peace. x

  55. Bitterweed

    GreatGrandDad and Frog2 (over on the other place) used to say that golf-courses should be taken over and ploughed up to produce food.

    Have a look at this article on The Telegraph which says that local councils are not keen on having rows of cabbages and makeshift sheds spoiling the view and forming a blot on the landscape.

    "If people are asking for allotments then councils have to look for land, but a lot are just saying they are looking and we can do nothing about it because there is no time frame," she said. "I think they are probably exploiting a legal loophole."

    Mrs McDaid said councils manage to find land for other services like swimming pools. She said councils do not need planning permission to convert agricultural land to allotments. She also said councils can compulsorily rent land if it is needed and pointed out that that central Government is currently urging councils to use derelict land, building sites and even car parks to provide allotments.

    I remember, in a previous life with a previous wife, strolling down the lane to a neighbour, who was always in his garden, puffing on a pipe and toiling over the soil and its spoils, in wellingtons and ancient tweed jacket.

    We would have a chat and buy vegetables, which were picked or dug up there and then and he would only take about enough loose change to replace his seeds and, I suppose, something for his effort.

    There were no price lists, even on propped-up blackboards and I cannot remember a BOGOF offer on anything.

    About a year ago, I chatted to a chap at an allotment to see if they sold any of their produce. It was a bit like a meeting of spies, with many sideways glances and air hissed through teeth and lookings up and down to see if I might be some kind of infiltrator or agent provocateur.

    Eventually, I was told that the council did not allow it, presumably in case the odd pound of runner beans changing hands for money outside the normal shopping experience of our hectic lifestyles toppled the mighty leviathan of Tesco and brought the world to its knees.

    I think we should start trading food in our own neighbourhoods.

    You know, with ordinary people who want to do so growing it and ordinary people who choose to buying it.

    Obviously, we would all take the risk of being gunned down by the police on the orders of Weights and Measures and Elfin Saftey, but we might be able to use Nick Clegg and his chums as barricades and sandbags.

    After all, we are about to experience the rolling back of the state, aren't we?

  56. jennifera: God speed and extra bits of good luck for saving up!

    I have the benefit of:

    Four hub gas cooker built into worktop

    Built in electric oven with circulating fan, grill and heaters at the back, bottom, and top with timer and other frills. Fairly el cheapo Italian manufacturer: it has gone wrong twice in six years, but the spare parts are readily available and inexpensive, so i was able to put it right.

    Rice cooking pan: brilliant. saves energy and always cooks perfect tasty rice, without burning or sticking (i got it as a present ;-)).

    Water filter: makes quite good mains water better.

    Two fridges. One smallish one, now old, which we got new when our old old one packed up. When we built our present kitchen (where i work as well) we got a somewhat bigger one as well, as energy efficient as possible.

    Brilliant Italian coffee maker: compresses the water to fifteen atmospheres (coffee with honey is an essential food for me).

    Hand operated juicer for oranges and lemons (not electric).

    Three sinks, one in the worktop for food preparation and cleaning at a normal level and a double one to the side at 105cm (3.5') for me to wash up at without having to bend over too much (no dishwasher).

    Plenty of good pans, sauce pans, frying pans, oven-proof casserole dishes (with lids) couple of kettles, several tea pots.

    Good knives, chopping boards, and various graters.

    Bloody microwave. I hate it, but it is oh so handy for warming up leftovers or meals that have been pre-prepared.

    Despite all that good fortune i munched my way through half a packet of biscuits while reading all the comments under gandolfo's linky.

  57. I do hope they were home made, organic biscuits medve. ;)

  58. jennifera: Alas, no. But delicious all the same.

  59. jennifera:

    As for the adjoining pantry, the builder refused to build it as it was on the plans on the grounds that it was not big enough to hang half a pig in it. He made it twice the size at the expense of the bathroom.

  60. Not only wouldn't I know what to do with a kitchen like that, the idea of cleaning it is giving me the vapours!

  61. Evening all

    One of the many problems we have in this country is
    that basic healthy foodstuffs are often at their most expensive in the poorest areas.And that is because the poorest areas are less likely to attract the big retailers.People who live in the poorest areas are therefore often dependant on independant retailers who need to charge higher prices to make a profit.

    People who live in the poorest areas are also the
    least likely to own cars and are therefore dependant
    on public transport to get them to the big retailers
    who sell the healthier basic foodstuffs at lower prices.It,s a vicious circle.And if you,re a single mum on a low income who has been worn down by the system it is often the best and cheapest option to take the kids for a special offer burger and chips.Fast food outlets unlike the big retailers are more than happy to proliferate in the poorest areas.

    ps Congrats to any Blackpool fans.Welcome to the
    Premier League.Goes without saying that my team
    Spurs will kick your asses next season.

  62. Right well, thanks for not swearing, except of course bitterweed.

    No I do not live off my parents money, I live off my own money which I inherited when my granny died, the family sold the house in London and bought a cheaper place, the money saved was tied in shares. It is not a huge amount, the cut off point for benefits is £16,000, mine is only a few grand more . (And of course I accept that I am in an extrenly priveliged position). My mother has low wage hospital cleaner job and my father has a serious disability. I support myself.

    I had no control of it till I was 18. When I was 18 I was in a psychiatric unit and had a bout of mental illness. I have got over it now, but I was going in circles thanks to the idiocies of the mental health system. So I had to support myslef all this time. I have only just managed to escape the idiocies of the psychiatric system, so obviously I have not had a job previously. And it will be very hard to get one anyway as people are gonna ask where three years of my life went, I have no references or employment history.

    The only money I really spent not just to subsit myslef was when I went to Russia to study Russian at a language college for 4 weeks. This was in preparation for me hopefully doing a degree in this subject, however the British university system would not accept it-- because I did not do a language in A level/Scottish higher when I was at school. (FFS, I had a knowledge of Russian far greater than the Higher, plus I asked about applying in October, I could have spent nearly a year self studying.)I could have done any language at school and not have a word of Russian and still get on a Russian degree course, but my knowledge of Russian language, literature and culture was not accounted for.

    This was a severe blow to me and actually put me back in a state of depression for over a year.

    Am I suppose to apologise for the actions of my parents and grandparents?

    I've spent so long ansewering BWs idiocy that I haven't yet commented on the one hypothetical situation I describe.

  63. I'm off that obesity thread, its upsetting me. Why do these sick fuckers have such a desperate need to HATE and why do they always pick on the poor the weak and the vulnerable?

    I know I know they are just nasty bullies!

    Sorry - needed to rant!!!!!

  64. "...My cooker went kaput a while ago and I am saving up for a new one although it is taking longer than I expected.."

    Jenn - came across the following site whilst looking for stuff to help my son and his partner set up their first home.

    Some crap stuff, but a lot of quality usable stuff the consumerist society is looking to get rid off to make way for the latest model.

    Good site for second hand gear

  65. jennifera: It is about 3mx6m (10'x20') so it is large enough to contain the dining table and four chairs (we can add two for when there are guests) and my deskette. It also triples as a reception room and entrance hallway. I clean it once or twice week, sometimes less if i have a lot of work on. So don't worry. It replaces the old kitchenette (sorry Bitey) which was only 3'x7' and much harder to clean!

  66. medve(sorry I also spelt you wrong last time!)
    I'm actually arguing against Napoleon's argument that people on low incomes are irresponsible because they eat crap food that makes them overweight. I disagree wholeheartedly with this presumption because it ignores a whole number of factors.
    What you say is true to a point for someone that has a good income, a well equipped kitchen and the means to access food. This isn't even mentioning the cycle of poverty outlined by Duke some days ago.

    "I would argue with that. While it is true that these are -- at least in my experience -- "foods" that take up larger proportion of the diets of poor people, they are actually not cheap at all"

    Well yes they aren't "cheap" but the caloric content and fat content essentially is high. -Cheap because you don't have to cook it: save money
    -you don't need to go to the supermarket, that might be miles away and cost you £3.00 to get there and back: save money,
    -generally in deprived areas there aren't shops providing healthy cheap food, often the prices are considerably more than the mega supermarkets....

    and it's instant hit and gratifying.

    "With a well-equipped kitchen and a generously stocked pantry i can put meals on the table cheaper than any Chinese take-away or kebab (allowing for energy costs)."

    Yes, but what if you haven't got this? people living on low incomes can't have a well stocked larder nor will they necessarily have a energy saving kitchen.

    re allotments I think there are a number of projects running to enable people to grow their own food, also these projects provide advice on planting, seeds and tools.....but obviously you need to know where to access the information...maybe leni may know something

  67. Thanks Deano it looks pretty good, bookmarked it for a good look tomorrow.

  68. re, the food.

    Where I live there is a shopping centre, Asda, poundshops and 'the biggest indoor market in Scotlan'. Asda do healthy food as well as unhealthy food. There are shops like Holland and Barret. I admit that there are many who are far away from these shopping areas becuase of disastrous urban planning failures.

    Urban environment. Yes, I accept that. Where I am now, there is plenty of fresh air. The sports centre is excellent, they have a scheme where a family can have unlimited acess to all the sports centres facilites and classes for £20 a month. This scheme is funded by the health board, who have quite rightly concluded a healthy populace would be cheaper in the long run, even if they have to subsidise the sports centre.

    But this is what I am saying, a new sense of civic responsibility is needed, in things like urban planning and provision of leisure facilties.

    I also gnerally have issues with the private leisure facilites, David Lloyd clubs etc.. I would prefer the council run municipal ones, excpet there has to be a massive reinvestmant in facilites.

  69. gandolfo: Exactly. And unfortunately there is another aspect as well. My experience of poor people who are trying to raise children as well is that they often have to live hand to mouth. So if a little bit of cash materialises (possibly borrowed) late afternoon or early evening the temptation is huge to take it to the fish and chip shop so the kids can have bite as soon as possible.

    Please do not think that i condemn poor people for the hard choices they have to make, or that i don't realise how lucky some of us are.

    I did spend some time a long while ago as a homeless person without income. Tricky.

  70. Hi Lavartis-long time no 'see'.Hope all goes well
    with you.

    @BB-did i read correctly? You keep pet rats?

  71. Napoleon
    "But this is what I am saying, a new sense of civic responsibility is needed, in things like urban planning and provision of leisure facilties."

    No you weren't saying that you were saying people that are overweight because they are ignorant and irresponsible...Don't change your argument because you haven't factored in certain things and now you realise that it is infact full of gaping holes.... admit you had a flimsey argument to start with and you hadn't thought of certain points....humility...

  72. Medve:
    "Please do not think that i condemn poor people for the hard choices they have to make, or that i don't realise how lucky some of us are."

    No, Medve I didn't think that at all :)

  73. By the way, had a look at deano's linky and i was horrified to see what classes as inexpensive these days. I am pretty happy with our kitchen, but we only managed to get it together when the younger one was six and the older one ten. We scrimped and saved for ten years.

  74. I live off my own money which I inherited when my granny died,

    I support myself

    BWs idiocy

    Napoleon, it seems to me that you don't actually do anything apart from slag off the people who work in or visit the jobcentre. And you claim that you are a 'working class intellectual'. Here's a radical intellectual thought for you - working class means that you actually work,. or have worked. You don't sit on your arse and survive on money that someone else has earned 50 years ago. I've said it before, and I'll say it again (in spite of the various people here who have a 'soft spot' for you and think that we should engage with with you and try to change your mind) you're an arrogant self-righteous narcissistic wanker. And to call bitterweed an idiot is unacceptable. You should just fuck off - you're an attention seeking moron with nothing to offer.

  75. Hi all

    Just been adding to my own body mass with a lovely bbq'd shoulder of lamb I got cheap yesterday cos it was at it's sell by date. Marinated it in some ginger, lemongrass, chilli, garlic and lime with olive oil overnight and it cooked an absolute blinder.

    I am overweight, like every other woman on my mother's side of the family. Line us up together - aunties, cousins - and we all have the same big bosoms and big bottoms. I don't eat huge amounts, and I don't eat a lot of crap either, but I am resigned to my genetic make-up now. End of.

    I must have been on every single diet known to man - the Californian one where you ate pineapple for two days, the Kensington one, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, Slimming World... you name it, I have slogged through it, lost a few pounds and given up.

    I also blame the fact that I was a serious cyclist when I was a youngster - not exactly Chris Hoy, but certainly managed a 10 mile time trial in under 35 mins. I was a lean, mean racing machine in those days, and naturally as soon as I stopped the lard went on. Ah well.

    I agree entirely, though, that poorer people have poorer diets either because they have less time or less cheap fresh produce available to them - but also because, let's face it, a McDo and chips is tastier than a plate of pasta any day of the week. And if you were brought up on fast food and fried stuff, that is what you will cook for yourself and your family too.

    Jen - have you heard of Freecycle? Linky here: http://www.uk.freecycle.org/

    Lots of people use it when they want to get rid of stuff that they want to get rid of but would rather give away than sell it.

  76. gandolfo
    Oh, yes I admit, I bow down and worship you. I was so wrong, but I have been shown the shining path to truth. Only an unshakeable faith in what my betters tell me will save me. Forgive me for my ignorance, o wise advisers. I kneel at your feet.

    You basically want the satisfaction. There is very little I can say on this blog site without taking up my time, I too busy to impart my 'ideology'. Yes, I do believe a new sense of civic responsibility is needed. I am not talking of the Tory 'big society' bollocks, I am talking of things like a more enlightened attitude to urban planning. This is jsut one example, better urban planning so people are nearer to shops selling a wider range of foods is one example re the obesity thread.

  77. @annetan

    No need to apologize for having a rant and it,s
    better out than in.Society has more than it,s fair
    share of unthinking,unfeeling,unyielding,bigotted
    self-centred,self-serving shits.

  78. "unthinking,unfeeling,unyielding,bigotted
    self-centred,self-serving shits."

    Did someone call my name?

    Is anyone watching the champions league final? I felt a bit sad because I knew I was going to miss the last half, but, honestly, it's so boring I don't mind going off now to catch the bus to work.

  79. BB, shaz: Great minds! I hadn't heard of them. Great tip!

  80. Oh thanks I am liking freecycle.

    Round here people often put their stuff out the back of the house when they are upgrading and they are generally gone before the council get a chance to pick it up, I have done it myself with an old TV and it is pretty efficient.

    Sadly although you often see washing machines and freezers you never get cookers.

  81. Napoleon:

    Bitterweed touched on why your comments tend to make me see red. As I understand it, you are in your early 20s and have never yet been formally employed. Which means that someone else (and I'm assuming it's your parents) has been paying your way in life, thus far. In other words, for all your bluster about "personal responsibility", you've never actually had to assume any yourself.

    I, on the other hand, am 49 years old and have been paying my own way in life for the past 31 years. I have done everything "right". I have a degree, for most of my life I was slim, even somewhat underweight, well into my 30s, ate well, etc. I was using contraception when I became pregnant, I don't drink beyond one or two servings of alcohol every couple of years (my alcohol intake shot up to a dangerous 6 bottles of cider last year! Haven't had any so far this year, so I think I'm back on the straight-and-narrow...) and I have never smoked (anything) or taken drugs. And still, I find myself at 49 -- a single mother, overweight (though not obese), and living below the poverty line for my area.

    The woman who lives across the way from me is in her early 30s. She is morbidly obese and a single mother (one 5 year-old girl). Until a couple of months ago, she had been living on welfare since she became pregnant with her child. I believe that she had a disability waiver for much of that time, allowing her to stay on TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families -- Iowa's version of welfare) longer than the 5 year lifetime limit that was federally mandated during Clinton's "welfare reform" (i.e., workfare -- the obscenity that your government is trying to visit on your nation's poor).

    You would probably look at her and dismiss her as one of the "feckless poor". I get the feeling that you would probably dismiss me as one of the "feckless poor", as well, even though I work full time. What I know about my neighbour, however, that makes me feel compassion for her that I don't think you would, is that I know that her early childhood was with an abusive, alcoholic father. She was quite likely sexually abused in adolescence by her step-father (I know that her sister was, it seems likely that she was, too). She was abused by the father of her daughter and, while not mentally retarded, is on the low-functioning side. She's had a pretty shitty hand dealt to her in life. But she loves her daughter and is doing the best she can to be a good mother.

    Every single one of those people that you so judgementally dismiss as "feckless" and lacking in personal responsibility has his or her own story. Stories that you are never likely to know. One thing I know for certain, though, is that each and every one of them was dealt a far more rotten hand in life than you were. This is why I find your tone and your cock-sure attitude so offensive.

    I'm an atheist, but I still put a lot of stock in the phrase, "There, but for the grace of god..." Medve's compassion test is a nice non-theistic alternative. It would behoove you to cultivate one of them, otherwise you're most likely going to be called a cunt again, even if it's not here.

  82. Napoleon
    kill the sarcasm mate and the poor me act....if you don't want people to argue against what you write don't write it....
    you change your argument from ignorant chavs who eat crap food and get fat because they are irresponsible to it's all the fault of urban planning....... a quantum leap in your oh so well though out intellectual argument

    you don't need to go on bended knees napoleon just think before you write and maybe read around the subject before saying you are the font of all knowledge on the subject and that everyonelse is wrong.......HUMILITY

  83. Napolean: have you been studying at the "Pollyanna Tonybee" school of debating where if your logic ends up in a cul-de-sac you simply move the goalposts?
    BTW; inheriting money does not equate to supporting yourself.

  84. Montana:

    I'm an atheist, but I still put a lot of stock in the phrase, "There, but for the grace of god..."


    Thank our lucky stars when things are good. Try to cope when things are bad.

    I treat parenting as a hobby and also my first line occupation. You are right that those who are raising children whilst having been dealt bum hands deserve more support from all of us.

  85. BTW: with regard to the left v right business; some one might have mentioned this before but there is a website (I think it's called "moral compass) which has a test and gives a more nuanced assessment of your political stance on the basis of your answers to various questions. It's not, by any stretch, definitive but it certainly makes a bit of sense about the political spectrum being circular rather than linear.

  86. Well, scherfig and gandolfo are saying things pretty well, but that's not going to stop me from adding:


    You are full of excuses for yourself and you fail to see that living off an inheritance is NOT supporting yourself, but feel qualified to judge others as feckless and irresponsible.

    Gandolfo has, patiently and without ad hominem, explained the flaws in your argument and you respond with sarcasm and trying to re-write the history of your own argument when it has been shown to be deficient instead of admitting to any lack of knowledge or insight.

    You drip condescension at every turn.

    I am nowhere near as nice as most of the other people who post here and have no intention of apologising for this:

    You are an arrogant, hypocritical, pseudo-intellectual cunt utterly lacking in any real self-awareness or compassion. Others may find it worthwhile to try to engage with you -- but you've shown me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not worth my time. If you fucked off and never commented here again, I would not miss you one jot.

  87. In my book - an inevitable difficulty/alerting loud bell/suspicion with the 'responsible for self' school of thought is:

    i) it helps the deluded think/believe that they really can differentiate between
    a) the deserving poor
    b) the undeserving poor

    ii) in turn it helps in the (false) justification (smoke screen) between

    a) the deserving rich
    b) the insufficiently deserving rest

    ii) it thus so easily fits in with the elitist ideas and the justification of gross inequality 'because I'm worth it' (I must be, I'm superior I can control/shape my destiny he/she cannot etc)..............

    Personally I have no difficulty with personal responsibility but then I'm an existentialist and I have years of education and reading behind me................but then I also have sufficient imagination/understanding to recognise my own extreme good luck and the truth in the phrase ".. there but for the grace of God go I..."

    Oh and by the way Nap it's no fucking accident that crap food is loaded with sugar and salt.

    It all starts with an 'accidental' exposure to Tomato Ketchup.....occasionally followed by an unfortunate adventure into an unsatisfactory personal relationship..........it might then involve a victory over tobacco/alcohol/heroin/other abuseive influence on the route-march of a disadvantaged life..

    In these terms holding unhealthy eating down to lack of self discipline is a tad simplistic

    I think the discussion about nature and/or nurture also fits into this debate too

  88. Montana. Goodbye and good luck. I sincerly hope America gets a welfare state one day, for you, for your neighbour and for all the Americans.

    I have my life before me. Pardon me for saying, but many posters here are much older than me, if this is what you want to do all day, post ranting comments anonymously on websites by all means.

    Yes, I am such a heartless cunt and general vampire that I am going to look into volunteering in my community, even if I do manage to find a job, and that is on top of my studies.


  89. Moral politics quiz.

    I just took that one. My results:

    Your scored -7 on Moral Order and 7 on Moral Rules.

    The following categories best match your score (multiple responses are possible):
    System: Socialism
    Ideology: International Socialism, International Communism, Libertarian Socialism
    Party: No match.
    Presidents: Jimmy Carter
    04' Election: David Cobb
    08' Election: Dennis Kucinich

    Of the 612,575 respondents (11,191 on Facebook):
    2% are close to you.
    97% are more conservative.
    0% are more liberal.
    0% are more socialist.
    1% are more authoritarian.

  90. hi - this is a quick call.

    Re - allotments. Coupla years ago I had an idea for assisting pensioners with gardens they could no longer manage and those wanting to grow veg but had no land.

    I formed a group - casual, no docs. - simple idea was for the would be veg growers to cultivate gardens, both they and pensioners would share produce, any surplus to be sold at 'basket market' on weekly basis or shared with needy.

    Seeds are available in large pckts. - cheaer. Peas and beans can be saved for following year. Chinese cabbage and spinach, leave couple of plants to go to seed.

    unfortunately having done all the organising I was in hospital for 6 weeks - then unable to walk for several months so it all came to nought. May tryagain now I am fitter.

    People who are perfectly capable of organising themselves often lack the confidence to do so. This stops them achieving things quite within their grasp. Confidence is the thing .

    Start off by asking people what they want to do or achieve - the fact that they want to do it usually means they have the ability. Sometimes you have to support 2 steps beyond their need so tht if they fall back a bit they are still going forward.

    There are acres and acres of uncultivated land available - even in cities.

  91. Has ratty turned up yet, BB?

    The healthy eating / lifestyle stuff is being marketed as the passport to good health, yet there are no guarantees that you will live healthily to a ripe old age. It's all about 'risky behaviours', but what pleasure?

  92. Ah, Napoleon. Arrogant, hypocritical and sarcastic to the end.

  93. MsChin

    Well, I have seen the little bugger this evening. He nonchalantly trotted out from under the hedge, so I bent down to pick him up and he scarpered into the hedge again.

    I got a chunk of bbq beefburger and sat on my arse for a good 20 minutes with it calling to him. He eventually trotted back out, came right up to me and went for the meat, but as I went to pick him up he snatched it off me and ran back into the hedge.

    Outwitted by a rat. Again... sigh...

    I have set up a cardboard box for him with some bedding, chunks of burger and a dish of water in the vain hope that he will settle himself down in there. Good to know he is still alive and kicking though and not yet a moggy's dinner.

  94. Hey Montana! Long time no speak!

    Hope you and yours are well. xx

  95. What is arrogant about wishing Americans well in their quest for a welfare state Montana?


  96. Not much to add to the replies to Nap cept to say i do not accept as valid or moral a society which assumes some have the right to champagne while others have to make do with a thin broth for nourishment.

    i don't know if you have done voluntary work before but the days of Lady Bountiful handing out calves heel jelly to the broken down , but deserving, poor are long gone. You cannot help anybody until you respect them.

  97. Napoleon
    just hope I don't ring the Samaritans and you answer the phone your true lack of humility, compassion and the ability to actually listen and hear what people are saying doesn't boad well for your new venture...then again you may well learn something.....

    you are a sarcy bugger aren't you... I'd watch that if I were you that won't help either in your future life..

  98. Hey ho! I ended up a bit to the left of Hitler and slightly more authoritarian than Gandhi :-((

    There was me thinking i was far more lefty and far more libertarian than Gandhi! Something awry here maybe?

    Yes. my initial interpretation of the data. It turns out i am:
    Economic Left/Right: -5.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.21

    So fairly lefty, quite libertarian.

    Slightly left of Gandhi and much more libertarian. That's better.

  99. Flippin eck, Tucker!

    I just did that Moral Politics quiz and I am pretty similar to Montana, but apparently the nearest politician to me is Dennis Kuchinich. I have absolutely no idea what he stands for, so I shall have to look into it now.

  100. Montana: FWIW; I think you were a tad harsh with Napoleon. He comes across, to me, as some one who's heart is in the right place but he hasn't worked out how to deal with the "grey areas".
    Hope that makes sense.

  101. My results from Medve's quiz:

    Economic Left/Right: -9.62
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.21

    Which, as near as I can tell, puts me to the left of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama and on the libertarian end of the left -- which is where I'd have said I was. The "1% are more authoritarian" result from the first quiz I took was a bit of a surprise to me.

  102. BB

    So ratty still on the loose ? Clever things aren't they ?


    Last word of advice - a conversation is a two way operation - listening and undrstanding the other person is *the* most important part of any communication.

  103. "You cannot help anybody until you respect them".

    Wise words, Leni.


    Hope you do better with ratty tomorrow, maybe he'll get tired of his adventure!

  104. I have sourced some funding available from Japan for a new service.

    The Samuraitans

    *ring ring*

    "Hello. What. Hey. What ? You must kill youself!"

  105. NapK:

    Personally, I think you're talking through your arse.

    The UPper Claases have about as much 'personal responsibility' as a bar of fucking soap.

    They've been waging the real, cruel and ugly 'Class War' for centuries and I have come to realise, though I absolutely fucking hate it, but dropping litter deliberately and getting fat on junk food has, in itself become a bizarre form of rebellion.

    You've only got to look at a picture of 'Trinny Woodhall' (you know, the classy doyenne of "how to dress yourself"?)in the Evening Bore to realise that the personal 'responsibility' of expensive clothes, starvation, plastic surgery (booty-lips) and 2 kids by "in vitro" do not a happy person make.

    How dare they critisise.... fuck them

  106. Good going Montana! My excuse is that some of the questions were IMHO poorly phrased, so i could not strongly agree or disagree!

  107. shit, can't spell at all anymore

    Critisize? Critisise?

    Bloody rubbish me... :(

  108. Nap - if it is goodbye then goodbye . Some food for thought:

    @ 14:36 you choose to express yourself thus:

    "... For example, when I said that yes, many working class people act iressponsibly by eating unhealthy food and having bad diets,..."

    you might one day see that you loaded the gun yourself.....

    why not something a little more neutral like

    "... For example, when I said that yes, many people may act misguidedly by eating unhealthy food and having poor diets,.,.."

  109. Chekhov, I guess that's where you and I differ in our opinion of Napoleon. He comes across to me as someone who's so thoroughly up his own arse that he'd need surgery to get it out of there.

    His mutterings about wanting to help people seem to me to stem more from a vague realisation that that's what decent people do than any genuine compassion felt.

  110. Hi La Rit

    ,m suposed to be doing something - not really in mood but will panic in morning.

    Ribs are doing fine thanks - can move again without dreading the consequences !

    You must let us know how your new musical venture goes.

    Criticise - I think .

  111. LaRit: Turning your tis into tic will make both options good. Plus, i like your originals anyway.

  112. "..Hope you do better with ratty tomorrow, maybe he'll get tired of his adventure.."

    The rat needs a shag and locking him up with his brother is plain cruel.

    My hope is that he has run away to join a Circus and that he lives happily ever after to.

  113. Medve:

    Yes, some of the questions were a bit iffy -- on both quizzes. Yours was certainly more nuanced and written a bit better. That's why I like those results better. :-)

  114. In my younger days I was a Samaritan for a few years, they had a pretty rigourous selection policy before they even really started training you.

    I don't know if that has changed but as they are sometimes dealing with life and death situations they don't just take anyone.

  115. medev:

    You know, I like me originals too ;)

    Am hoo(wo)man not automaton ;)

    (not that I'm up me own arse or anything)

  116. Leni

    Have you got a rib injury? Something else I must have missed!

    Hope you feel better soon. I bet it hurts like hell, you poor thing.

    LaRit - are you a music teacher? I might well send my lad over to you for vegan meals and encouragement, then. He is a brilliant guitarist who, through the milk-bottle glasses of teen angst, thinks he is shite.

  117. Leni: "listening and understanding the other person is *the* most important part of any communication."
    Wise words, indeed Leni, which is why I asked you to clarify your reply to my e-mail before responding.
    BTW that's not a rebuke for you not getting back to me. Take your time, do it when it suits you. I know you are busy!

  118. Best Samaritan yarn I ever heard.....

    Fine lady I knew was working the night line and constantly being phoned by a perv who started every call with heavy breathing and

    "...I've got something in my hand...."

    At the tenth call she replied

    "....If it will fit in one hand it's no fucking good to me...... Now go fuck yourself."

  119. BB - have you tried peanut butter for 'ratty'.

    In my first, mouse infested flat, PB was the only thing that worked in the 'humane traps', and I can only assume rats and mice have similar palates....

  120. Deano,

    That is funny. But I was quite offended at the time though.....


  121. Montana:

    Not my quiz, just provided the linky after shaz had already done so.

    However, your results do raise a lot of doubt over your assertion that you are nowhere near as nice as most of the other people who post here. In my book at any rate.

  122. "However, your results do raise a lot of doubt over your assertion that you are nowhere near as nice as most of the other people who post here."

    Seconded o/

  123. LOL James

    There is a really great French comedy film called "La Pere Noel est une Ordure" (Father Christmas is a Shit) about a Samaritan-like organisation on Christmas Eve. Bloody hilarious. I saw a remake of it too that was set in California but it didn't work as well as the original.

  124. When I worked for the CAB we had a regular bloke who used to ring up and describe in great detail the women's clothes he was wearing. Most of us were used to him and just let him talk, but one time a new volunteer - an older, very forthright woman - having heard what he was wearing, said 'Oh my dear, you should never wear stilettos with trousers! Sensible flatties, dear, sensible flatties!'

    The rest of us were in hysterics. And yes, he did call again!

  125. We,ve just had a lovely RATatouille for supper.Made
    from all fresh natural products.Yum Yum!

  126. Yes the the guy did it!!!!

    From the Uxbridge Gazette:

    May 22 2010

    "A British lawnmower cut the world land speed record to ribbons with a trail blazing new top speed of more than 86mph.
    The unique petrol driven mower raced into the record books in front of an ecstatic crowd at Pendine Sands, in west Wales.
    Rider Don Wales smashed the previous 80.792mph lawnmower land speed record with an impressive 86.069mph.
    But his team have vowed to return to the scene of the speeding triumph on Sunday in a bid to break the elusive 100mph barrier.
    The jet-red sit-on machine began by giving a demonstration of its grass cutting ability to prove it qualified as a lawnmower.
    Challengers for the record must drive over a measured mile in one direction and return within an hour.
    The record attempt using the motorised grass cutter also has to ensure it is built primarily from lawnmower parts.
    Mr Wales went on to streak across the one-mile section at the seven-mile stretch of sand, proving that speed is in the blood.
    His grandfather was Sir Malcolm Campbell who broke the world land speed record, in a car, at the same historic venue in 1924."

  127. Montana: (re-Napoleon) I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt if only because I hope they would return the courtesy when my short comings are exposed. No doubt some would call it a "cop out"...I would call it a survival strategy!

  128. "A British lawnmower cut the world land speed record to ribbons with a trail blazing new top speed of more than 86mph"


    That just about sums up the aspirations of this country ;(

  129. Paul

    "What's for afters?"

    "Well there's rat cake, rat sorbet, rat pudding or strawberry tart."

    "Strawberry tart?"

    "Well, it's got some rat in it"

    "How much?"

    "Three - quite a lot actually."

    "Well I'll have a slice without so much rat in it..."

  130. I've got a bit of a soft spot for Lawn Mowers...

    One of my favourite films is 'The Straight Story'!!

  131. @BB

    Apologies -very insensitive of me.Trouble is when i
    was a kid we had a gerbil which was partly eaten by
    our cat after i introduced them.Just wanted them to
    be mates.Since then i,ve never been able to look a
    rat in the face-let alone have one as pet.:-)

  132. chekov

    I think the benefit of the doubt was extended, tbh, but compassion and empathy for those less fortunate hasn't really been forthcoming despite the patience shown. I find that difficult because I can't be that judgemental about people I know & care about, who don't have much choice about their lifestyle and/or have medical conditions which mean they are not svelte.

  133. LOL Paul - no worries. At least he was still alive three hours ago, which is more than I had hoped for.

  134. It's a start LaRit - my hope is that it can be elevated to a new national pastime ............"...Now David Cameron has been given half a mile start, can he make the finish line, or the Bullingdon Club, before he is mown down..."

    Well it has been a warm day!

    The second half entertainment involves Bankers carrying bonuses in pound coins trying to outrun an eight cylinder 500bhp lawnmower painted in red. That might have to be conducted on a closed off section of the M1......

    No make that the M2... "...can the tosser make Dover before he is trimmed and shaved of his ill-gotten gains.

    OK - I confess I am sober and wishing I wasn't. Hope your hangover is no more.

  135. "OK - I confess I am sober... "

    Isn't there a law against that on a Saturday night? Or at least some local bylaw? Tsk!

  136. "At least he was still alive three hours ago, which is more than I had hoped for.

    Come on BB stop being coy - has the poor sod had a shag?

    The RSPCA may have to become involved and they will advise you that several rats every year find celibacy so intolerable that the Circus is the only choice.

  137. Deano and LaRit(and BB as it's in your neck of the woods)
    lawn mower racing is a particular favorite in deepest west sussex....it's a combination of beer drinking and racing right down your street!!
    check it out

  138. BB

    A serious suggestion here!!

    Howsa about taking the rat you,ve still got out
    in the garden in his cage.Rats make noise and they
    are supposed to be intelligent so if the escaped
    rat hears his caged brother it might coax him back!

  139. BB: I'll raise a small glass of a rather lovely Italian forest strawberry liqueur to that. Good health everyone!

  140. Sobriety - my new middle name.

    I have become a reformed fellow during your absence BB.

  141. Speaking as someone stuck in a tiny little, oppresively warm office, can I just say go on Ratty - make a break for it!

    Just kidding, BB, hope you find him/her safe for your little 'un.

  142. deano "Sobriety - my new middle name."30

    .....blimey mate I nearly choked on me grappa!! can you put a warning before you post!

  143. Paul

    We've tried that one! Cory (the well-behaved non-fugitive of the two brothers) was outside with us in his cage and on my knee for about three hours this afternoon. But seeing as how Freddie is the dominant one of the two, he was probably just sneering at him from under the hedge and telling him what a sucker he was...

    Deano - I hope he doesn't find himself a mistress. I will never get him back in the bloody cage after that!

    They do have a superb state-of-the-art luxury duplex cage though, with a little mezzanine and ladders and lots of fun stuff for them. Last night we kept Cory inside in a box and left the cage out in case Freddie was feeling homesick, but that didn't really work.

  144. Wisborough Green, Gandolpho! Not far away at all. My sis lives in Barnes Green. Deffo worth a look. :o)

  145. BB
    many a sunday spent in Barnes Green and Wisborough green watching me dad playing cricket.....also lots of good pubs around there...

  146. BB:sober on a Saturday night? and confessed openly on a public forum! Expect a visit from the stasi with a bottle of vodka and a funnel.
    Don't tell me you weren't warned!

  147. Gandolfo - deano.sobriety.30.

    Does rather have a nice ring to it. Sounds exotic although perhaps a little implausible

    Can't wait for the library to open and see how the lady librarians take to it.

    "....Excuse me young miss. I wish to notify you, and your fine female colleagues, of a change of name...."

    Worth a try I think. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

  148. Hah! Excellent, Habib and Gandolpho.

    "Rat Trap" is one of those songs that reminds me of my mis-spent yoof!

  149. chekhov: BB was quoting deano. Of course, neither deserves the attention of the anti-sobriety police. I suspect deano's new found clean-living status is a devious ploy to impress a likely lady.

  150. deano.sobriety.30

    "perhaps a little implausible" mmm me thinks at this stage in the game!!!;)

    but definitly worth a try.......

  151. BB

    You could also go on Crimewatch and make a'Missing
    Rats Appeal'.I,m told the public can be extremely
    helpful in tracking missing rats down.

  152. "Have you seen this rodent?"

    We could do an escape reconstruction with Cory playing the part of his brother! That would rock! :o)

  153. Well, I'm pissed as a lord thanx! Wondered how long it would take nap to spit the coral dummy. What were we all doing when we were 19? I had just moved to Scotland, was dating a 25 year old girl, whom I had met whilst hitchhiking, she gave me a lift, and 2 and a half years of (good & bad) crazy.

    Dunno about the rest of you but I'd love to show Nap some of his posts in 10 years time, the contraction of the sphincter would probably give him an embolism...

    Dunno if this is practical BB, but rats love hashish, one ate an eighth of mine once, the bastard! 24 hours late!

  154. BB

    And i,d be happy to play the part of the concerned
    'cyber mate'.Offering support and all that.As long
    as Mr BB doesn,t object of course.Just make sure
    the 'feds' there don,t automatically assume i,m one
    of the villains.

  155. Turminder
    my dog ate a whole plant of grass that was happily growing on the balcony....
    a friend's dog many years ago ate acid and spent much of his canine life literally running up walls.....

  156. Aye Gandolfo, we had a cat that had eaten a few grass seedlings, always a bit weird after that... Dogs seem to like getting stoned and I'm sure my cat does...

  157. turminder
    I would give anything for any 19 year old to see this though.


    God damn.

  158. Gandolfo

    my late husband played cricket in Barnes Green - i know Wisborough and the lawn mower racing.

  159. Leni
    maybe he knew my dad how long ago?

  160. Turminder, bai, never too late for a good rendition. (I do like the odd leitmotif)

    "a 25 year old girl, whom I had met whilst hitchhiking, she gave me a lift, and 2 and a half years of (good & bad) crazy."

    Her name wasn't Suzanne, was it?

  161. The only one of her's that matters


  162. @Scherfig
    Cheers for the back up earlier.

    As if we old fucks need it.



  163. Not my cup o cha BW...

    But when you're 19 you don't appreciate stuff like this..

    Amanda, as it goes Habib, pra mera...

  164. Gandolfo

    Barnes Green !


    Two new additions to the periodic table of elements:

    Element name: WOMANIUM
    Symbol: WO
    Atomic weight: (don't even go there)
    Physical properties: Generally soft and round in form. Boils at nothing and may freeze anytime. Melts when treated properly. Very bitter if not used well.
    Chemical properties: Very active. Highly unstable. Possesses affinity with gold, silver,platinum and precious stones. Violent when left alone. Turns slightly green when placed next to a better specimen.
    Usage: Highly ornamental. An extremely good catalyst for dispersion of wealth.
    Probably the most powerful income reducing agent known.
    Caution: highly explosive in inexperienced hands!

    Element name: MANIUM
    Symbol: XY
    Atomic weight:(180+/-50)
    Physical properties: Solid at room temperature but gets bent slighty out of shape easily.
    Fairly dense ans sometimes flaky. Difficult to find a pure sample. Due to rust, ageing samples are unable to conduct electricity as easily as young samples.
    Chemical properties: Attempts to bond with WO any chance it can get. Also tends to form strong bonds with itself. Becomes explosive when mixed with KD (Element:CHILDIUM)for prolonged periods of time. Neutralize by saturating with alcohol.
    Usage: None known. Possibly good methane source. Good samples are able to produce large quantities on command.
    Caution: in the absence of WO this element rapidly decomposes and begins to smell.

  166. well if he played during the 70s, 80s and 90s then he most probably knew me dad, he played for forest green then slinfold.....

  167. Blimey Leni!

    Both Gandolpho and I are originally from Horsham - was your husband from Barnes Green or the surrounding area? Small world!

  168. Atomboy
    Thanks for that post by the way.

  169. BB
    We lived in Barnes green - at Muntham house school in term time and had house in Findon Valley. I also worked at Roffey House school in Horsham. know the area well. I lectured at Crawley tertiary college, as vol. taught English to Laotian refugees ar Christs Hospital.

  170. BB
    My foster son lives in Billingshurst.

  171. turminder

    Kate Rusby rules. Good stuff.

  172. Glad she ditched that arse McCusker too! NN all.

  173. leni
    my parents were also teachers my dad in Dorking and my mum was in Beare Green...my dad helped to set up the opportunity playgroup for children with learning difficulties in horsham in the 70s...I'm sure from what you said he most probably knew your husband and maybe you....!indeed as BB says a small world....he also knew teachers at CH....

  174. Wow Leni! It really is a very small world. One of my sister's friends works at Muntham.

  175. I don't know any teachers at CH but I do remember one of the first ever rugby matches between CH Masters and Barnes Green. Barnes Green had a new rugby team back in the early 90s and didn't have their own pitch, so they had use of CH's. Consequently that match - the first one I took my husband to - was going to be a grudge match because they shared the same ground.

    Having explained the basics of rugby - and the principle that it was a hooligan's game played by gentlemen etc etc - to husband, I was horrified that his first live match involved the CH sports master head-butting a Barnes Green player at least 20 yards off the ball, and the ref calling the game 15 minutes early due to the violence...

  176. turminder
    That utterly rocks. Thanks

    Enough of the bollocks. Where's yer tunes ?!

  177. Been at BBQ all day so missed all the stuff



  178. Night night, Turminder.

    Sleep tight. Watch the bed bugs don't bite. x

  179. Bitterweed


    OK - this is the first one that came into my head. Go figure.

    You're free to do what you want to do...

  180. Have been reading upthread and seen the 'kicking'
    Napoleon got tonight.Not a pretty sight.Young,deluded
    vulnerable young man torn to shreds by people who
    are older,wiser and sharper.

    Am i losing the plot here?Napoleon is in his early 20,s, friendless,unemployed,has a history of psychiatric illness and maybe UT is all he,s got right now.And for the record i don,t agree with Napoleons views.I just think given his circumstances people who are older,sharper and wiser than him should have handled things differently.That,s all.

    btw-SCHERFIG-since i,ve been posting here all i,ve
    seen you do is attack people.You actually started
    tonights events and if i,d been on-line at the time
    i would have told you to fuck off and mind your
    own business.What gives you the right to pass
    judgement on people here when you seldom seem to
    contribute anything but your own bile?

  181. Got one eye on the tv at the moment, and this is ripping my guts out. I am saying a very rude word about every minute and half.

    Fucking fuckers.

  182. BB
    bet hubby was impressed! Blimey a game of cricket in those parts aint much different especially in the days when Ollie Reed attended matches.....
    I remember going to CH (my grandparents lived in Tower Hill) quite often when they had the farm and cows....that was before girls were allowed of course!! ;)

  183. BB

    That was rubbish.

    This isn't though.