20 December 2010


There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.
-Josh Billings


  1. Hmph! Blogger must not like the new version of Opera or something. Couldn't get an image to load again tonight -- kept getting an error message something like "Server returned invalid". So I closed Opera & tried in Chrome. No problem with the image at all.

    I expect everyone to appreciate the goddamn picture.

  2. Hi Montana--Best picture ever!

    The Wordpress suggestion sounds good although I know SFA about it. Why not, if it's easy to do?

    PeterJ--Very good clip on the Irish economy. Humorous but true.

  3. beautiful pic, montana!

    (that do?)

  4. OK - I need advice. No good at reading between the lines here - does this mean:
    a) you stand no chance of getting home by Christmas but we don't want to admit that yet
    b) it will actually be fine, we're just being paranoid

    Due to the severe disruption we have experienced today we have a number of trains and crew out of position. We expect ongoing severe weather conditions to result in speed restrictions and delays on our routes.

    We will operate a contingency timetable with some cancellations for a number of days.

    We recommend that if you do not need to travel you cancel or postpone your journey. Due to exceptional demand, sales are closed for travel up to and including 24 Dec. If you are booked to travel during this period you will be eligible for a refund or to exchange your tickets in the next 90 days. If you must travel and have a valid ticket please arrive at the station 1 hr before your departure time where we will be check you onto the next available train due to a backlog from the weekend. There will be very long queues at our stations.

    I mean, what the fuck does "if you do not need to travel" mean? If I didn't need to travel, I wouldn't have bought a sodding ticket.

    Help me.

  5. plus, on the vote, i should be counted as 'abstention - happy to accept the view of fellow UT-ers' - didn't want you to get the wrong idea from me picking the 'couldn't care less' option...

  6. @Montana

    I added this to yesterday's thread by accident:

    In the days of bloggingnewhorizons on wordpress, you had to be invited on. I take it that was a chosen option of the blog and not a default.


    It sounds as if they have no idea either. Good luck! I should have left during the night. It's snowing again now. Hope it stops by the afternoon.

  7. anthony howard has died.

    would quite like there to be some good news today. am heading for a slump...

  8. spike - cannot face an epic snow-bound trip, really. am seriously considering exchanging for a trip in the new year, but the bastards have only put up that option for people with tickets for yesterday. need to get confirmation i can do that within the next two hours to know what to do!


    good luck with your attempt to scale the north face of europe...

  9. crap. rider not upgraded to:
    If you absolutely must travel...

    that's it. am staying put.

  10. Morning all

    Great picture Montana!

    Phillipa - Gawd knows what that means. I suppose deciding whether to travel or not at the mo depends on how intrepid you feel. I'm off tomorrow - so fingers X'd that the train (trans pennine) and Manchester airport are still functioning. The worst of the weather seems to be in the south west, slowly moving north. Good luck to you and spoke for your journeys!

    Sad news about Anthony Howard.

  11. @Sheff

    Call me spoke if you like, I'm not wheely bothered. :-)

  12. Spike :-))

    just heard on the news that the FCO are saying driving in northern France is inadvisable? Will you risk it?

  13. i feel about as intrepid as a not very intrepid thing on an intrepid-avoidance weekend.

    just phoned home to tell them they're on their own for Christmas. first time ever i won't be with them. bit sobby at the moment.

  14. small message of hope for you Phillipa (won't help with your travel plans though...)

    Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience

    "The last thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration. … It's all we have left. The normal mechanisms by which democratic participation are rendered possible in this country have been closed shut. … This is what's left of hope in this country."

    Chris Hedges, American journlalist, author and war correspondent.

  15. Oh Phillipa - sorry you're so sad. Is the oisette good at giving comfort?

  16. sheff - hope so. she's still asleep, but there are presents under the tree, and we can go shopping later (and I can work a couple of days, so that's money in), and am sure it will be lovely, is just...

    34 years of Christmas with the APs, just the three of us. not happening. due to inability of trains to cope with weather. thought first Christmas away from them would be for more interesting reasons...

  17. ...will be mostly maudlin and weepy all day, think. just humour me...

  18. ...oh bless, though, have just been offered to be 'adopted' for Christmas by friends...

  19. @Sheff

    Motorway almost all the way to Dieppe. It should stop snowing by lunchtime, so I'll give them an hour or two to salt before I go.

    It had all melted by the end of the afternoon yesterday so I should have gone in the evening. Ah well.

    I'm more worried about Seaford to the IOW and back on the 24th and 26th.

  20. not quite sure how this works, but if I've taken the travel karmic hit, that should free up some luck for Spike and others travelling today? hope so.

    bon courage, a tous.

  21. Spike

    The French are much better at keeping the péages clear than we are with our motorways in my experience. Have driven up from the alps a few times through very wintry weather and never had a problem. Good luck with the Seaford/IOW bit though...

  22. arsewipe national express take £10 'admin fee' off refunds. peh.

  23. having been directed to the McCluskey editorial, am parking this from dippy as a favourite post thus far...
    Utter gash. Even if everything mentioned in this editorial merited a rethink, what is being driven through by the the current shower of twats is not the answer.

    it's the 'shower of twats' that elevates this, think...

  24. Will try and cheer you up Philippa:

    Went to our christmas party on Saturday night.

    They played 'The Twist' - so I 'Twisted'

    They played the 'Jump' - so I 'Jumped'

    They played 'Come On Eileen'

    I got thrown out after that ...

  25. tascia - yup, that would be the first laugh of the day! cheers...

  26. @Sheff


    That was Craig Brown, wasn't it? Please tell me it was.

  27. Jesus wept! Have you seen this groan editorial?

    Trade unions: Leading nowhere

    I finally give up on the groan...what with the above and that grotesque piece of flummery from Lady Alice on the same day - have had enough.

  28. 'fraid not Peter..genuine article. Just google Lady Alice Douglas, for the full horrible truth.

  29. Yeah, Sheff. That has Glover's fingerprints all over it.

  30. Good grief. That Lady Alice is a walking parody.

  31. thank you for posting that also o'er there, Peter!

    am feeling much more happy now. cuddles will do that.

  32. No parody, Peter, it's the 'real thing'. Her husband even bonked their Polish nanny. As cliches go, it couldn't be better. The 'lives of others', eh?

    Simon, 33, and Lady Alice, who met at a drama workshop while he was serving a nine-year prison stretch for armed robbery, hired 20-year-old Magda to help look after their two children Hero, five, and three-year-old Tybalt.

  33. ...and now brian hanrahan has died...


  34. this is quite a laugh as well...

    "I'm stereotyped as a beefcake, but I think of myself as an intellectual"

    guess who. go on, guess.

  35. @Philippa

    Yes, that's sad. Oddly, just after it was announced on the radio, they went live to Heathrow where the reporter said she'd just counted four planes leaving.

  36. So Hanrahan as well..hey ho. I've still not got over James Cameron dying - his columns were one of the main reasons I bought the groan in the first place - its been a downhill slide since his demise in 1985.

  37. think that was lightacandle, sheff - sipech largely amused by comedy drugs-bust from the bbc...

  38. Was just reading his obits, Philippa. Very, very sad.

    I'm really sorry to hear you won't make it home for Christmas. That's really sad. But it's really good of your friends to offer to share their christmas with you - I'm sure you'll still have a lovely time, even though you'll miss your parental elements.

    In other news...
    I momentarily missed the James bit, and thought sheffpixie had said that Cameron had died...

  39. oops Phillipa, my bad...I should pay more attention..

  40. @Sheff

    I loved James Cameron, after first coming across him in TV documentaries. I particularly remember one about his early days, working in the grim Lubyanka of D.C. Thomson's Dundee Beano factory.

  41. thought sheffpixie had said that Cameron had died...

    Sorry to disappoint you Meerkatje!!

  42. harley26 20 December 2010 1:11AM

    This is the second piece of arrant codswallop I've read in the guardian today - very disappointing, as it's the only paper that I feel any way approaches my viewpoint.

    first we had Catherine Bennett's slapdash, piece of filth on julian assange (who edited that?) and now we've got this piece of ludicrousness. As many have said, it's one straw man after another - knocking down opinions that no one is expressing. What is the Guardian's view? What do they propose? It's simply not good enough to criticise a non-existent position.

    And anyone who thinks that direct action never works (like Toby Young) has a flimsy grasp on history.
    Looks like I'm going to be joined in Pre-Mod by rather a lot of people .... !

    Who's Lady Alice, one more laugh this am ?

  43. Favourite comment on the Alice thread reads simply:


    Reminds me of one my favourites from the original Gogarty debacle:


    These sort of one word expressions of disgust are usually a pretty good marker for an article that is completely off the scale of Graun depravity...

    Hero and Tybalt. Forget reality tv, if she really gave a shite about their feelings she might have thought twice before giving them such hilariously stupid names.

  44. Philippa

    Sorry to hear about your disrupted/abandoned travel plans. Hope you can salvage some sort of holiday spirit out of it - for me, spirits, usually being the operative word...
    I head home tomorrow, Squeezyjet, via Luton to Embra. Am checking BBC weather pages every few minutes. I really don't want to get as far as Luton then come to a grinding halt. Anyways, if I don't post again, chin up. And, as happy a holiday as you can make it to all. I may be AFK - as they say, apparently - for a week or so.
    Btw, what's with all the dying "celebs"? It'd seem that every year they see Xmas approaching & give up the will...
    Oh, PS, can anybody tell me if regular HTML works in these posts to get bold, italics,blockquotes,etc...

  45. thanks meerkatjie - new plan is Christmas eve with oisette's family (which is when the french do their grande bouffe) and then a subsequent more british arrangement on the day itself. although given issues with temp regulator on oven, will not be cooking turkey.

    am thinking magret de canard with all the trimmings. must work out how to make bread sauce without a packet.

  46. xenium - good luck on your travels! and it's all < and > round here,,,

  47. @Jay

    It's one of those pieces that starts badly, and then keeps on piling up absurdities, one after another, until the only option is to laugh at the teetering heap of horrors. And we though Simon Hoggart's Xmas round-robins were too ludicrous to be true.

  48. Cheers for that Philippa...;-)

  49. afowlis -- i, b, linkies, but not blockquotes .

    One LOL from Sheff's vid!

  50. First time I've seen Pr Michael Hudson at the Guardian , article on the great economic success of austerity in Latvia..

    Lady Alice?

  51. Philipa, commiserations.

    My travel crises continue. The BBC TV weather is still arguing with the BBC online forecast and Met Check. This has been going on for over 24 hours.

    How can it be? The online ones say that it is going to be clear for the next couple of days, whereas the tv one has the snow from the South West passing over London and Hertfordshire sometime this evening/night.

    Christ on a fucking bike I wish they would make up their minds.

    Xenium, I am supposed to be passing through Embra airport tomorrow too, but getting a train out rather than one in. So I will wave at random people in case it is you (assuming I get there).

  52. Actually, that would be a plane out, rather than a train. Airports being more for aeroplanes than trains and Edinburgh not even having a train station.

    I am a bit stressed.

  53. Phillipa

    My bread sauce recipe - works a treat

    Lots of white bread - crumbled (not crusts)
    large knob butter
    one medium onion
    salt/pepper to taste

    quantities depend on how much you need

    Peel onion but keep whole. Stick moderate quantity of cloves all over it. Heat milk and butter in pan. Put in the onion/cloves. Crumble in the bread until it gets nice and thick. Simmer for a while. Salt/pepper if you fancy it.

  54. Hola Spencer,
    The BBC currently says fog & very poor visibility for Embra tomorrow. Am not in panic mode just yet... I'll wave randomly too. Maybe we'll meet up in that special room where they take the clearly bewildered...

  55. Morning all!!


    Commiserations!! I know how much the idea of Xmas without family can seem weird, but, if it's any consolation, one of the best ones I had was when I was 'adopted' by another one in Canada.

    (Sorry mum, if you're reading! But last year was the second best...)

  56. Spencer
    Edinburgh not even having a train station. That made me laugh. You really are stressed... Waverley? Haymarket? And, coming out of Waverley onto Waverley Bridge you have perhaps one of the finest city vistas imaginable in front of you...

  57. cheers sheff, that looks way less complicated that the delia version!

  58. I don't fear Christmas on my own, personally. What I fear is getting stuck for the duration in a cheap hotel somewhere like Ullapool.

  59. What time are you due to arrive at the airport, Xenium?

  60. Xenium, Edinburgh airport was what I meant. I am going by train but have to get a bus from Waverley.

    Which is bizarre as the train to Queensferry goes along the edge of the airport. You think that they could have stuck a station in there somewhere.

    I am in stressed out mode though. I am not going to Edinburgh tomorrow but on Wednesday.

    Tomorrow I am trying to get 30 frail pensioners safely through the snow and ice to a pub in the country for Christmas dinner.

  61. So, Rubber Lips Glover is turning his inept hand to gastro-porn. The clueless Glover, who manages to combine being rotten and sprightly, rather like a dancing turd, informs us that: '...Eating semi-rancid food is an unfortunate English rural tradition...'.

    Yeeesss....and another 'unfortunate English tradition' is having vacuous, celebrity boyfriends write semi-rancid articles for newspapers.

    Britain's future, economists have decided, lies in making things: look around and there aren't many products in which the country leads the world. But stilton can beat anything

    Bravo, Jules. While he and his chums promote a Britain that can't house its people, educate its children, care for its elderly, protect it vulnerable or defend its weak, Rubber Lips Glover brings hope: we can become a world cheese-power!

    Is it too early to start drinking?

  62. Fuck it...that's made my mind up. I've forbidden Artemis and Destiny from signing up for "Prodigyquest 2011". Artemis will just have to wait til Cambridge and the Footlights before he unleashes his pioneering brand of observational humour cum-politico-literary pastiche and unfortunately Destiny's Crayola-montage-nouveau may just have to bide it's time in the wings...the spotlight will be all the more luminescent once she finally launches herself upon a complacent and unsuspecting art world.

    I've told Svetlana she must prepare them for the disappointment.Obviously Mrs Fish and I will share their frustration...but I've always thought some things are better coming from an Estonian.

  63. @Spencer:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/se/se_latest_radar.html - updated every hour...

    I’d tend to defer to the Met Office as a rule. There’s a big band of heavy weather moving up from the SW. Not going to be fun if you’re in the South East, apparently.

  64. Spencer
    Ha ha. Have fun tomorrow & a safe journey when you get going. I'm off now, so to everyone here all the best for the holidays. As Greg Lake says: "The Christmas you get you deserve." So, I'm sure all on UT will have a great time. ;-) On the other hand, Cameron's & Clegg's will be fucking awful!!!

    Is it too early to start drinking?

  65. SwiftyBoy, thanks. I was just on the Met office site, as it happens. Their severe weather warning is still well over to the West at the moment but it is not looking too good is it?

    Still, I can delay the final decision until the morning as the chance to get our money back from the deposit or mini-bus hires has gone anyway.

  66. "Is it too early to start drinking?

    Reminds me of an amusing conversation few years back between my friend and his girlfriend, he was going to some festival in Brighton the next day:

    Lad - "Well i'll be heading down with the boys around 11."

    His girlfriend - "No!! Please dont! If you go down at 11 you'll be drunk by midday!!"

    Lad - "Yeah, thats the point."

  67. "must work out how to make bread sauce without a packet."

    This I can help you with. Peel a small onion. Stud it with cloves. Place it in milk and slowly simmer for a while till the flavour of the onion and clove permeates the milk. Leave it to stand for a while, so the flavour soaks in. (Keep in the fridge)

    Make bread crumbs from a day old white loaf (if you have a food process, whizz it in there, as that's very quick and makes light crumbs, but don't worry too much if you don't).

    Heat the milk again, remove the onion, toss in the breadcrumbs, and whip with a hand whisk, so that it's fluffy and creamy. Add the crumbs fairly slowly (handful at a time) till you get the consistency you want. Add butter and salt to taste.

  68. Gah, I typed that ages ago, and forgot to hit send, and now I see I've posted exactly what sheff said.
    I really am too ditzy and disorganised to post on the internet.

  69. I see that the always incisive @RedMiner suspects Rubber Lips of writing that disgraceful bit of anti-union drivel.

    Personally, I suspect the Obs Chief Leader writer, one Rafael Behr, an oaf of epic proportions.

    Best remembered by old-hands as the master tactician who led the charge against his own readers in the Gogarty debacle.

    How does someone so alarmingly dim, so remarkably talentless, so violently unappetising get a job like that?

    Oh, look....Behr is on the 'advisory team' at Bright Blue.

    'Bright Blue is a not-for-profit, independent organisation passionately committed to promoting a fairer, more socially just Britain in this Parliament and beyond.'

    And who are his fellow advisors? Well, what a shock: Rt Hon David Willetts MP (Con), Rt Hon Theresa May MP (Con), Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP (Con), Charlotte Leslie MP (Con), Damian Hinds MP (Con) and Ian Mulheirn (Coño), the Director of the Social Market Foundation.

    Founded in 1989, the organisation was cited as ‘John Major’s favourite thinktank’ and two former directors (Rick Nye and Daniel Finkelstein) left to work for the Conservative Party.--wiki

    What a surprise. Cunt.

  70. dad just sent me this

    absolutely brilliant

  71. Sad news Phillipa. Hope the rest of you get home ok. I'm off tomorrow. Hopefully you should be okay Spencer, I doubt you'll get stuck in Ullapool, Calmac have a service as late as Christmas eve.

  72. Yeah very bad news, Philippa, i think there's going to be a lot of stranded people this Xmas sadly. Havent heard from the Duke, he was attempting to fly into blighty too...

  73. ModsRockYourWorld
    Thanks for the link to Bright Blue, they all like like strong contenders for Peter Mannion's new team.

  74. Not too likely, Charles. I would only be in Ullapool anyway if I gave up on a flight from Edinburgh and trains and buses were getting through, a fairly unlikely scenario.

    But I did once get a ferry from Ullapool on Christmas eve after it has not sailed the day before due to the Minch being too rough, and I swear it only went (after 6 hours deliberation) because so many people were desperate to get to the Island.

    The roughest crossing I have ever had and the fact that they opened the bar and let everyone on board hours before meant that it was even worse.

    Never have drunk Trawler Rum since, come to think of it!

  75. ta charles, jay - and suspect there may be quite a few of the 'british connection' here who get stuck too. four meant to be leaving today by plane are incommunicado, which could mean that they are stuck at the airport, another half dozen tomorrow, who are considering contingency plans.

  76. Fucking hell...MogadonInEastKilbride has finally succumbed to religious mania...

    "How about a piece on the modern day significance of the biblical character Job, after all, even after God have removed Job's protection, Satan, for as much as he tried, was still unable - as our cousins might say - to blow Job away, and he lived to be 140"

    Obviously he identifies with Job..a saintly individual and unwitting victim of supernatural forces beyond his control...he doesn't quite seem to understand that his own 'persecution' stems from his tendency to continually post self-inflating, apocryphal bullshit and bigoted nonsense...another believer in the hallowed and inviolable status of the Guardian...sole admirer of Julian Glover

    Or maybe it's the way he's been ignored by the divine Jess

    'And verily did Martyn email unto the Jess beseeching her to end his torment and raise him above the line. Yet she rained down tribulation upon him and smote down his C of sapphire. And in his suffering did he cry out "Why hast though forsaken me Jess?". But Jess did not take pity on Marty "Talk to the hand since mine countenance hath not ears for thee".

    And ye Martyn did wail and gnash his teeth and he cried out in his fury "fuckin housenigger" and "go and fuck your mother" and Jess was not pleased and did make the scum of the earth from the City of UT loose fire and brimstone upon his flabby carcass. But the Lord had given Martyn the power of tongues and the key to the hearts of all the children of the earth and Martyn cried out one last time unto Jess: "Forgive me Jess and I shall raise up such a temple to thee; girded all about with rubies and emeralds and the glories of every kingdom and culture of the earth"

    And Jess looked upon his wretched and thought "Fuck it..might be a laugh" And it came to pass.'

  77. Just seen the Elliott piece, very funny even tho I only watched one episode this year. Just looked up this on youtube, that subhuman Baggs character being obliterated in interview, and it really does warm the heart.

    The amount of "Corporatese" i hear every day is intolerable, its the most stunted, laughable, cliche ridden form of communication imaginable, and instantly signals the speaker to be a first rate cretin.

    This interview,


    could be slotted straight into The Office and would be considered one of the most sublime scenes of the series...

    "You're not "a brand"!"

    "I think i might be..."

    Someone needed to throw a heavy shoe into his face right there.

  78. Do you remember the Suilven Spencer? A legendary ship. I'm generally suspicious of nostalgic old duffers but everyone seems to say that the old ferry was much better at coping in the rough weather. What is your opinion on this eternal debate?

    (Can't do proper link sorry)

  79. JayReilly
    The sole purpose of that programme is to watch iredeemable cunts like Baggs get a slapping.

  80. Charles, the Suilven was shit. The one before that was shit too (The Clansman?). The ferries on the Ullapool run are always shit. If you want a decent ferry you have to go from Tarbert. It's tradional.

    The Suilven, if memory serves, was built for running people up and down Norwegian fjords and was completely unsuited to the Minch.

    The latest one, though shed like, is better except for that scary booming sound it makes in rough weather that makes you think you have just hit a reef every few minutes. But it is more stable.

    The crossing I was referring to was long, long ago, though and pre-Suilvan, let alone Isle of Lewis

  81. The sole purpose of that site is to watch irredeemable cunts like Glover get a slapping.

  82. "What is your opinion on this eternal debate?"

    Well, no one with any claims to taste, decency or scholarly achievement can fail to have a view on the old Suilven Spencer debate, the best minds in history have toyed with the finer points of the argument since classical times...

    My own view is one grounded in total ignorance - all i will say is that that ship being tossed around must have been living hell to be aboard, and vomit must have been flowing freely.

  83. BW - indeed mate, but i just couldnt bring myself to watch it this year, too depressing to watch them... I used to work with one of the girls in it too.

  84. Thanks, Jay...fucking priceless...'you're not even a fish'...

    Glover-like in his slippery stupidity. I don't much care for Sralan (or Lorshooguh, as I suppose we must call him) but his '...you're full of shit...' is unimprovable.

  85. The sole purpose of that site is to watch irredeemable cunts like Bidisha get a monk on.

  86. "but his '...you're full of shit...' is unimprovable."

    Agreed, was delivered perfectly, dripping with contempt and disgust. The bacteria they get in for that programme really do highlight the very worst of office life, they really do, they are all managers in the making - that quality to turn from dribbling obsequious, arse licking platitudes to being a total shitbag to those beneath in the blink of an eye.

    That is the modern manager at his worst, and the squabbling on the Apprentice, the nastiness, compared to the most servile, wimpering idiocy in the boardroom highlights the distinction perfectly. "Kiss up, piss down" is the terminology i believe...

    Urchins, to the last.

  87. The sole purpose of that site is to watch irredeemable cunts like Martyn get a 'don't call us' from people he reveres but who despise him as a desperate little fucktard.

  88. Philippa - really sorry about your Christmas plans - good luck to Spike, Sheff, Xenium, Spencer - everyone trying to get anywhere.

    Son still in NY. He's been told the earliest possible flight home will be the 23rd - if then - luckily so far he's been given hotel room & food, so could be a lot worse - desperately sorry for all the poor sods on airport floors.

    H'm... Stuart Baggs... the 'I have to rein in my extreme masculinity on this task' chap... unfuckingbelievable.

  89. JayReilly-- Finally got around to it -- the Sigma Event !

    Next time I bump into my well-padded oldest mate in the derivative-clearing business-- I shall work it in somewhere . For the last two years his refrain was that they've been "saving the planet" with all their sophistication an stuff.

    Noticed an FT article on LTC Clearnet upping Irish margins only ten days ago...

  90. I wanna be on the Apprentice...never even watched it but...

    "Monkeyfish...you're not even a fish..or a monkey..and you're full of shit"

    I'd just give him 'the look'.

  91. Well that is just the anecdotal evidence that I've heard Spencer. Folk saying that the Suilven sailed much more frequently and the IoL frequently does not sail in rough conditions.

    Not that is means much anyway.

  92. Just heard Red Ed 'Gussie Fink-Nottle' MillivanilliBand, the Boden catalogue Trotsky, toe the 'unions just have to suck it up' party line.

    We are so fucked...

  93. Dave - thats exactly the one, yeah, handy one to remember when dealing with the Rational Market brigade: namely, they're talking utter dogshite.

    Seeing 25 sigma events every few days is roughly equivalent to predicting a 10-0 thrashing in a football match, only for it to be 35,345,432,112,344 - 0 in the other direction. You'd struggle to be more wrong if you tried.

    Bitters - the mouthy one with the short bleached hair and glasses. Used to have her number in fact, she had longer hair back then and was quite good fun as it goes...`Gobby as hell tho.

  94. "'I have to rein in my extreme masculinity on this task'"

    Please, please tell me he didnt actually say that.

  95. New game: "Guess who Sir Alan's interviewing"

    Contestant A

    "It says here on your CV that you're a renowned political analyst who's worked with some of the finest minds in Europe...so why d'you keep staring at that teapot?"

    Contestant B

    ""It says here on your CV that you speak 78 languages, were educated in 187 countries, have been ordained in 43 Christain denominations, you're a Shia, Sunni, Sufi and Ismaeli imam, you're chief Rabbi of Spain, you play the classical guitar, oboe, piano, nose-flute, you've worked Nobel prize winning economists, physicists, chemists, peace-prize holders, you're a major poet and literary genius, breaker of 1000 hearts, world-heavyweight boxing/karate/judo champion, winner of the Golden Boot at the last three world cups...and yet...you got lost on the way here,stuck in the lift, your dick caught in your zip, you've got odd socks on, dogshit all over your shoes, you're a flabby little nobody and you keep calling me Sir Alf."

  96. Not having TV I've never watched the Apprentice. Tough stuff on the bullshitter there ...

  97. Thanks for everyone's good luck wishes. Have had a nap and motorways are now reported clear, so I'll be off in half an hour. If all goes well, I'll be checking in from Dieppe early evening.

    Have a good afternoon!

  98. Shaz

    That's pretty harsh. Fingers crossed!!

    (It could be worse though, I've just read somewhere that they've evacuated Newark because of a bomb-scare!!)

  99. JR
    The one that said "sausaages" and "professionality" ? Toxic little she-ferret. Get rid.

  100. Contestant C
    It says here you founded Hawkwind and also sold me my first IT systems components. For those reasons alone, I'm going to kick your cock off.

  101. Spamfilter ate my public service links to Jay's Apprentice and Nap's stormy weather !

    Golem from yesterday is almost ENCOURAGING --

    And this provides me with some hope.

    If the financial fraud mutates as I think it will, and nations increasingly try to find ways of claiming that regulators and bankers in other countries were the cause of their own banks downfall so this mutation of the fraud itself may do what our pathetically corrupted regulatory regimes have failed even to attempt.

    Till now there has been, to be blunt, a special relationship between the regulators and the banks - like that between a whore and those who pimp her. The banks pimp out their regulator to make the pubic feel better. Their job is to provide relief with a sham inquiry here and a quick stress relief test there. How else could you describe three 'inquiries' in to Irish banking, each so tightly drawn as to assure none of the difficult questions could be asked let alone addressed? In all our contries 'our' financial regualtor works for the banks and is there to manage public anger and make sure our access to facts is strictly 'regulated'.

    But events are now overtaking the regulators themselves. We are now beginning to see legal action taken which will, I think eventually not only by-pass the regulators but eventually draw them in as accused.

    The recent Madoff case citing UniCredit, HSBC, Bank Austria and others is a case in point.

    If every country tries to blame the banks and regulators in other nations, we may yet get at the truth.


  102. thats the one bitters - we're talking maybe 5 years ago tho.

    "Toxic little she-ferret"

    Made me chuckle...

  103. Philippa

    (If you're still about, Channel4 news are saying that the queue for the eurostar (going the other way) is now '5 hours long', so you may have just made a really good decision. Hard as it was!!)

    Right, coming off twitter now....

  104. good luck shaz and spike!

    news from two friends who had to borrow a car to escape from the frozen 'sop (trains apparently still cringing) - they managed to crawl past 'giant chunks of ice' on the motorway and then past St Pancras, where "people were queuing out of the building and stretching back virtually to Euston station". can only imagine Lille (a hub) will be worse. Paris hub already blocked with thousands stuck...

    have been shopping and bought shitloads of food. aiming to make a proper go of my first Chrimbo France-side...

  105. james - well, that lines up with reports from friends! aye, think this is much the better option. food and friends will do me nicely...

  106. Loved that flash mob Handel, Phillipa - they're definitely on to something, should be more of it, might make shopping an experience worth having!

  107. OK - I'm of to brave "the Mall" (*shudder*), as it just occurred to me that it's the 20th of December, and I've yet to buy a single fucking present...!!

    Have a good afternoon!!

  108. "...and yet...you got lost on the way here,stuck in the lift, your dick caught in your zip, you've got odd socks on, dogshit all over your shoes, you're a flabby little nobody and you keep calling me Sir Alf."

    ooh-ooh-ooh...I know this one...it's AlanRusbridgerInTuscany...what have I won?

  109. Jay - he actually did.

    MF - Contestant B

    ""It says here on your CV that you speak 78 languages, were educated in 187 countries, have been ordained in 43 Christain denominations, you're a Shia, Sunni, Sufi and Ismaeli imam, you're chief Rabbi of Spain, you play the classical guitar, oboe, piano, nose-flute, you've worked Nobel prize winning economists, physicists, chemists, peace-prize holders, you're a major poet and literary genius, breaker of 1000 hearts, world-heavyweight boxing/karate/judo champion, winner of the Golden Boot at the last three world cups...and yet...you got lost on the way here,stuck in the lift, your dick caught in your zip, you've got odd socks on, dogshit all over your shoes, you're a flabby little nobody and you keep calling me Sir Alf."

    Didn't know MIE had been on the Apprentice...

  110. Woh ... sudden blizzard here in the Midlands, where the snow usually misses us.

    Good luck to travellers, and enjoy your friendy xmas, Philippa!

  111. Contestant D

    Hang on..let me see if I've got this right...it says here for decades you've been a passionate advocate of the rights of ordinary people, have undertaken rigorous research into the indignities of the casual, low-paid employment sector, are renowned for you caring empathic approach and yet you seem to be on a six-figure salary, own three houses, one in Tuscany, had your children privately educated, are best-mates with some of the more 'out-there' 'market-discipline' NuLabour politicians...and all this after just 'drifting' into journalism.

    Sorry missus...you're full of shit..not even a fish...you're fired.

  112. Contestant E

    Whoa there..let me see if I've got this right...it says here you're a leader-writer for a newspaper which claims to be the world's leading liberal voice and yet you shack up with with a former Tory politician, write regular apologias for the banking sector, expect the working class to bear the brunt of the current recession, dismiss trades unions as harmful and anachronistic institutions....you're hired.

  113. have just seen a report of sitch at gare du Nord on the 'snow - fuck me!' thread, and am even more glad now...sounds like total chaos...

  114. heheheheheh

    ThudanBlunder :
    (quotes)The chancellor George Osborne is stranded in New York because of the flight disruption.
    (responds) Thus confirming that every cloud has a silver lining.

  115. Charle, it is probably true that the Suilvan sailed more frequently but that does not mean it was a better boat.

    My guess is that the general culture of risk aversion has grown and grown, so now if there is any chance of the passengers being bounced about a bit they decide to sit in harbour.

    I actually cannot imagine them sailing in conditions like they did on that Christmas eve, nowadays, whatever the ferry was like.

    In other news, the belt of snow seems to be headed inexorably towards London.

    Oh, and I just saw on the telly that there are major delays on the East Coast line to Edinburgh because of power lines being out!

    Fuck! I suppose they have a couple of days to sort it out though.

  116. Contestant F

    "OK..let's just see if I've understood you. You claim to be a feisty feminist and socialist whose ideology was forged during the "Winter of..erm...living in a house in North London with a bunch of your fellow graduates without the amenities your privileged upper-middle-class backgrounds had led you to take for granted...and the final straw came when a couple of you had a bad cold"...you now look back at this experience as the most significant formative period in your life rather than the years at Oxbridge, the idyllic Pony-Club childhood or the couple of months in a student review which left you bitter, hardened and savvy to the exploitative, sex-obsessed depravities of the Patriarchy (aka men)...you have since become the self-appointed voice of a generation and all-purpose rent-a-gob, ever willing to knock out a few hundred shrill and strident words on any topic you think makes you look progressive...

    hmmmm...just what we're looking for...you're hired"

    "Gosh...thanks Mr Rushbridger...er...I mean Alan...it's all a bit of a shock...I mean..we're...erm...we're not even related...are we?"

  117. LSP and Paris now to all intents and purposes shut for eurostar - brrrrrrrr.

  118. When historians look back at 2008-10, what will puzzle them most, I believe, is the strange triumph of failed ideas.

    Free-market fundamentalists have been wrong about everything — yet they now dominate the political scene more thoroughly than ever.

    How did that happen? How, after runaway banks brought the economy to its knees, did we end up with Ron Paul, who says “I don’t think we need regulators,” about to take over a key House panel overseeing the Fed?

    How, after the experiences of the Clinton and Bush administrations — the first raised taxes and presided over spectacular job growth; the second cut taxes and presided over anemic growth even before the crisis — did we end up with bipartisan agreement on even more tax cuts?

    The free-market fundamentalists have been as wrong about events abroad as they have about events in America — and suffered equally few consequences.

    “Ireland,” declared George Osborne in 2006, “stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking.”

    Whoops. But Mr. Osborne is now Britain’s top economic official.

    And in his new position, he’s setting out to emulate the austerity policies Ireland implemented after its bubble burst.

    After all, conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic spent much of the past year hailing Irish austerity as a resounding success.

    “The Irish approach worked in 1987-89 — and it’s working now,” declared Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute last June.

    Whoops, again.

    But such failures don’t seem to matter.

    To borrow the title of a recent book by the Australian economist John Quiggin on doctrines that the crisis should have killed but didn’t, we’re still — perhaps more than ever — ruled by “zombie economics.” -Paul Krugman, The NYT, today

  119. Afternoon all

    Phil - huge hugs, honey .

    Look on the bright side - at least you will get to do a proper French reveillon with a bit of luck, which is fekkin awesome, with copious amounts of posh food and wine, silly games and dancing to cheesy music, and usually doesn't finish til about 6 in the morning.

    Everyone else travelling - hope you arrive safe and sound. xx

    Montana - that is the best photo you have ever posted on this blog! :o) xx

  120. ...and eurostar have just responded to my plea, yesterday, as to whether i should set out today - telling me not to, a mere 3.5 hours after i should have set off.

    f-ing muppets.

  121. Hero and Tybalt?

    Hero and Tybalt?!

    Has anyone called social services?

  122. Philippa, at least you can feel wise and prescient and smug that you made the right call.

    I just saw the news here. The Queues in St Pancras are enormous, out of the door and into the freezing street.

    I don't remember them being that bad even last year when the train got stuck in the tunnel.

  123. "ooh-ooh-ooh...I know this one...it's AlanRusbridgerInTuscany...what have I won?"

    a signed copy of the CIF Book Club's Tome of the Year...MugabeInExothermicReaction's "How Green Is My Rabbi?"

    ...a heart-rending but inspiring tale of a simple Judeo-Celtic-Iberian-Somali-bisexual-telepathic-goatherd's rise from obscurity in the Valleys to international prominence as eminence-grise of the interweb generation

    "I couldn't put it down...there I've said it... so will you fuck off and leave me alone..and btw, I've changed my email address"

    Jessica Reed

    "erm..OK...put in over there...I might read it later"

    Julian Glover

  124. every bit of news in re eurostar makes me shudder att he thought...i don't feel in the least bit wise or prescient or smug - i feel sad, annoyed and relieved simultaneously. this is not a pleasant combination.

    still, there's a bottle of red around here somewhere and i have pate. am pretty sure there's some chocolate as well.

  125. Contestant J
    You describe yourself as a "communist feminist with an OBE" and have shown scant regard for evidence in your long career of what you dexcribe as "campaigning journalism". Despite being parachuted in to a Hampstead general election fight you managed to win the Green party even fewer votes than ever. You're hired !

  126. Spencer/Charles

    I remember the old McBranes ferries back in the 60s - now they were properly rough old boats.

    We once bribed a couple of slightly pished fishermen to take us to Eigg from Mallaig as the ferries weren't running due to bad weather - we were forced to heave to at Rum to wait the storm out and nearly lost one of the party over the stern he was throwing up so hard...arrgh..them were the days...

  127. Major, if you're about, got an extremely funny phone call you might enjoy, if Montana could give you my email address i'll send it over. Wasnt at my place but mate of a mate sent it over. Bloke's trying to buy something, dealer wont do it - cant do the volume at that price, offers to put through book slowly as and when available, the bloke goes into nuclear meltdown, an almost constant stream of c*nt, f*cking, pr*ck, various physical threats, extremely funny....

  128. A couple of docs for Xmas viewing

    Pilger doc on The war you don't see

    wikileaks the movie made by Swedish TV (in English)

  129. Monkeyfish, you still going to the piss-up in London this evening? We will want a report!

  130. I'll be there Turgle, report will be on your desk promptly tomorrow morning - or possibly a bit later depending on the hangover damage...

  131. Sheff, the first one I remember (on holiday in the 60s before my parent's moved up in the early seventies) was the one to Barra which though a car ferry was not a drive in one.

    Cars had to drive over a net which was then winched up and swung over and down into the hold.

    Something has gone, but it has to be said the idea of drinking rum in a bar jam packed with homegoing Hereachs with cigarette smoke so thick in the bar that you could cut lumps of it out to throw at any Ruachs that might have snuck on board, as the boat bounces about in a Force 7...

    Well, there are things that can make the prospect of a nice cappuccino as the plane glides high over the swell, amidst the idle chatter of incomers from Leamington Spar seem positively appealing.

  132. If I could stop sneezing and coughing for long enough not to be considered a bio-hazard, I would love to go along tonight. Sigh. Think I am stuck here for the bloody duration now, which is shite.

  133. "Monkeyfish, you still going to the piss-up in London this evening?"

    No..snowed off..didn't want to take the risk...setting off for Brighton on Wednesday with an overnight stop on the way...might not have made it back.

    Might do a 'report' anyway, though.

    Contestant J

    "Says here you beat of hundreds of the brightest and best qualified graduates in the country to secure a position with your Dad's newspaper...can you assure me there wasn't any..erm...hint of bias...in the selection process?"

    "Oh no..not at all..I used my mother's maiden name"

    "Yes...but that's not..erm...exactly what I meant...anyway tell me what you do"

    "Well I usually get in about 11 and Jess asks me to fetch a coffee so I nip down to Cafe Nero...maybe get back about oneish...so then we normally nip down the pub for a high-powered team-strategy meeting/lunch...then sometimes we'll get back to the office about half three and I'll look at a few threads...come up with a few instant witty responses...run them by Jess so she can check spellings and stuff...y'know...grammar, punctuation, reality...post them and then sometimes we'll nip down a wine bar before dinner. It's non-stop Sir Alan..deadlines...make-up...writing stuff...fashion..I can deal with pressure"

  134. Philippa, seen this? http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2010/dec/20/snow-ice-disrupt-christmas-travel-live-updates

  135. spencer

    The 'something' went when ferries went and they widened the roads and built bridges from Ballachulish up. Remember missing the last ferry there one night when we were on our way up to Nevis and having to drive all the way round by Kinlochleven shining a torch on the road 'cos the lights had gone (it was an old Morris 8 Tourer we'd bought for a tenner and was always conking out).

  136. Sheff, I remember driving my dad driving round via Ballachulish before they built the bridge because in the summer the queues for the ferry were so long.

    Fast forward 40 years or so and my mum my nephew and I were staying in the Alex MacIntyre climbing hut in North Ballachulish watching these little planes flying around over the loch when one of them suddenly stooped like a falcon and flew right under the bridge.

    Heartstopping moment. Daredevil pilots do it from time to time, it seems, to show off their skills.

  137. Sheff - hehe, you have some great travel stories!

  138. thauma - don't get me started on travel stories - I can bore for England! Have some good ones from Africa. Can send you to sleep with those next time we get together...

  139. Might do a 'report' anyway, though.

    Yes, please!

  140. One of the joys of Christmas telly is being able to cringe at the jokes on a Carry On film. Carry On Screaming on right now on ITV3.

    "Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde? I was at school with them both. They used to pinch me pocket money - said the change did them good..."

  141. Philippa - sorry you are so blue :(

    Sheff and others - woke up late and logged onto the Gruan and saw THAT leader. Fucking abomination. Seriously bad - but redminers post seriously good.

    Isn't the Editorial meant to reflect the overall stance of the paper?

    Sheff when you off? When you back? I hope you get some lovely warmth for a few days out there. its bone achingly cold in South Yorks today.

  142. Sheff - you did tell me the one about the rednecks in the US ... wasn't boring at all!

  143. Philippa - this is the Eurostar situation here -

    People at St Pancras station queued for five hours for Eurostar services to the continent, which was also suffering from severe weather. The station was so busy, many had to wait outside, lined up around the terminal building.

    Eurostar is now asking all passengers with bookings to stay away from St Pancras, as they try to clear the huge backlog.

    One worker at St Pancras estimated there were 3,500 people - most of them families - queuing outside the station.

    A Salvation Army tea truck was serving hot drinks, and spirits were surprisingly relaxed despite Eurostar staff "keepng out of public view," he told the BBC.

  144. @BB

    Sid James
    "I had a dream about you last night Nurse"

    "Did you ?"

    Sid James
    "No you wouldn't let me."

  145. Alternative take on the old 12 days song on youtube here by brokenofbritian - girls got a great voice. Very topical. Putting it on here as broken of britain have asked it to be distributed so it gets a lot of youtube hits and highlights their cause: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKdKzalMhXc

  146. Sheff - you're travelling tales aren't boring at all! By the way did you get my emails? Have been sending em to you MsC and Montana with no reply. Starting to get a complex! (or its just my useless email ain't working).

  147. This comment has been removed by the author.

  148. Shaz

    The Sally Army giving out tea? While the Eurostar staff skulk away somewhere? That is bloody atrocious.

  149. PCC - am off tomorrow - with luck. Back in about two weeks, 'course I'd be happy to be stuck in Morocco for a while longer. Not that !'m wishing horrendous weather on you or anything!

    Am staying here. it belongs to my daughter in laws' cousin, who is, I am told, quite eccentric in interesting ways - I haven't met her yet. She is married to a Moroccan who may or may not be a religious fanatic, a Sufi mystic, or perfectly normal - depending on who in the family you're talking too.

  150. PCC - haven't had any emails from you recently.

  151. Sheff - have a brilliant time and tell us all about it when you return!

  152. in brighter news, think my canal+ sub has gone through, so can spend the evening watching city playing meh against everton, which will no doubt cheer me up immensely.

    sheff - check out that rooftop view! wow...have a wonderful time!

  153. Sheff - It looks gorgeous! Bloody lovely. Have a speedy journey and a lovely time out there. Emails weren't important just been sending a few and not had reply's but don't think they are going - they were just about possible meet up in Jan.

    We will have to meet up in Jan at the quiz or someones house and you can tell us all about it - hope you take lots of photos.

  154. professor of climate physics being interviewed on PM.

    he's in san francisco, where he isn't supposed to be.

    nice mix of the objective and subjective on the reportingg front there...

  155. my ongoing hunger for travel news updates brings me to this from SteveinDC (who clearly isn't in DC):

    Here's the score for the top 4 after listening to christmas music on non-stop rotation for 29hrs straight at Terminal 1 of Heathrow airport:
    Wizard "I Wish It Could Be Christmas" - played 21 times
    BandAid "Do They Know Its Christmas" - played 17 times
    Paul MCartney "Wonderful Christmas Time" - played 14 times
    and surprisingly,
    The Waitresses "Christmas Wrapping" - played 11 times

    that man is suffering cruel and unusual punishment right there...

  156. but this from durchfall is even better...


    Just to let you know that I have just given birth at Heathrow airport.

    I would like to thank the staff for all their helpful messages of support after a successful birth. The provision of some elementary medical care might have been helpful during labour and the straw mattress was a bit unhygienic, but well I survived.

    I was forced to give birth in an outbuilding as all the floorspace in the terminals was full of people who could afford to pay the VAT. I was put in the guard dog section outbuilding with a donkey, a heavily built security guard and a representative of management. I am soon expecting a visit from a three man seasonal snow clearance team from Gatwick and an astonished sheep farmer who got stuck on the M4.

    As I look out of the frosty window I have time to reflect that whatever we may say about him, King Herod always kept the taxes rolling in. Bit like BAA really. And the birth of my first borne is a sample of the experience that he will give us through the rest of our lives.

    Never mind. God bless you and be of good cheer at this festive time.

    Yours humbly


  157. and more from SteveinDC (will stop soon, promise) after someone wondered if Last Christmas was on the playlist...

    George Michael came in 6th - played 9 times in 29hrs.
    Yes, I was a little surprised by that one. I figured Terminal 1 would have been a place where George Michael would have done well. Mind you, I'm down near the Zurich Insurance stand (the one with free internet access) - it's a little classier down there.

  158. brussels airport shut having run out of anti-freeze.

    now, I'm not going to draw any conclusions from that, but...

  159. Phil - perhaps an extra-chilly wind has blown through it lately?

  160. ha!

    i was thinking more along the lines of common low-end substitutes for alcohol, but that works too.

  161. Hello everyone

    Enjoy your French Christmas Philippa.

    More snow today - still no road grit.

    I see the BS is in action in London - Sally Army keeping the people warm. The entire 'developed world' appears to have ground to a halt.

    Bring forth the happy peasants with farm implements and burning torches to clear the snow and warm the air - delay the revolution.

  162. Philippa - hehe, hadn't thought of that interpretation myself!

    Anti-freeze - gah!

  163. leni - the sally army were getting credit fromm the LSP queue as interviewed on sky news earlier, bless 'em.

    they should have stormed in to the terminal and just played 'nearer my god to thee' at top volumne until the staff started sorting things out....

    am currently surrounded by festive picnic tea - pate, tarama, smoked ducky things, roquefort, cherry tomatoes....plus wine.

    basically, the refund from my train tickets is going to be used as the excuse for all manner of indulgence.

  164. Yum, sounds good Phillipa - maybe Crimble won't be so bad after all!

  165. urnotanatheist just posted something on the Ashura thread that has literally made me cry with laughter.

    " "Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was greater than the death of al-Husayn (may Allaah be pleased with him)"
    What's the next one down? May Allah not be too annoyed with him?"

    Sheer pythonesque beauty.

  166. I'm finding the reactions to the Ashura article extremely annoying. All that smug self-righteousness.
    What on earth were the guardian thinking running that article? Surely they new that comments would be rabidly anti-islamic, and really extremely bloody stupid?

  167. BB - i preferred the chap referring to there being nothing wrong with a spot of M&S, meself...

  168. Hi Leni

    Apparently Mother Theresa's religious order set up 'shop' in North London some years ago to offer help to the Capital's poor and dispossessed.Says it all really!

  169. Well, I slammed my boot at 3.50 and drove off. Five minutes later, I worked out which 3 things I'd forgotten and turned round.

    I slammed my boot again at 4.00 and took off once more. By the time I remembered what else I'd forgotten, I'd gone too far to turn back, so sodded it.

    I was braced for the journey from hell, but I hadn't reckoned with it being so... anticlimactic. The motorways were perfectly salted and unencumbered by jack-knifed-truck scenes of armageddon. It took me 15 minutes longer than usual to get to Dieppe and I'm now toying with a gin and orange and waiting for UC.

    So it all having gone so well, why do I have such a bad, bad feeling about getting from Seaford to the IOW on Friday? Probably because I firmly believe in my heart that if anyone can run out salt and grit after just a few days of snow, it's the UK.


    Smoked salmon and foie gras! You can't have a réveillon without smoked salmon and foie gras! I'll give you a pass on oysters because I don't eat them (never liked the idea of eating something still alive). For the foie gras, just remember that it's like foxes and hunting: the ducks and geese enjoy the sport.

    Oh and champagne, champagne!

  170. @Phil

    re: Champagne

    If you have a local Auchan, they've got champagne at €9.something that's OK.

  171. They seem to be doing a lot of nutter-baiting at the moment, Meerkatjie. The article about "indigenous Britons" might just as well have had a sign up on it saying "Members of Majority Rights and the BNP, spout your nonsense here!" on it.

    As for the editorial laying in to Len McCluskey today... it is beyond belief.

  172. Spike

    You just made me cry. Nine euros a fucking bottle?!!

    And you forgot lobster..

    The good thing about a good reveillon with friends is that it doesn't have to be expensive if everyone brings something along, because there are so many courses, you just need a couple of mouthfuls of each. Get enough of you together and you can have a bloody five star meal for fifteen quid each. Brilliant.

  173. Phil

    "BB - i preferred the chap referring to there being nothing wrong with a spot of M&S, meself... "

    This is not just self-mutilation. This is M&S self-mutilation...

    Why do people insist on doing serious self-harm in the name of religion, though? One of my friend's mother-in-law, who is originally portuguese, was convinced that the reason why her daughter couldn't have children was because of some slight to god, so she went round her local church on her bare knees until they bled, reciting prayers...

  174. Am not going anywhere near that ashura thread BB - I can imagine what it's like.

    Re food - am hoping for lots of things like this

  175. @BB

    I must confess that I feel so guilty and in need of atonement that I've been self-harming with drugs, alcohol and junk food for 40 years now...

  176. Evening all.

    Safe journey to those who are travelling somewhere.


    Haven't had time to read all this thread, but sorry to hear that you will be in France rather than en famille in England for Christmas.

  177. BB Seems pretty bonkers to me but I believe the cilice is still favoured by more extreme Christians, together with lots of fasting and self abasement.

  178. @MF

    Whatever happens, as long as I get across the Channel, I'll do some shopping in Brighton on Thursday afternoon, so if you want to meet up even if none of the other lightweights can be bothered, mail: icantbelieveitsnotspikeparis@gmail.com

  179. PhilippaB -- you're not the only one, haven't had Christmas with my Ma since 1972, well she did piss off back to NZ! Seen her four times since, but getting on better and better by e-mail. At 83 she's extremely frail but still fortunately sane, and actually more so than ever.

    I found this in that well-known Commie Propaganda Rag the the Wall Street Journal Feb2009.

    "Lois Humphrey, 80, has trouble climbing stairs and suffers severe hearing loss, so she needs an amplifier on her phone. She had to leave her department-store job because it was too hard on her feet. But she must keep working to pay for rent and prescriptions. She started at Experience Works in 2000. She has moved from one community organization to another in her Mechanicsburg, Pa., community, receiving different training along the way.

    She is now back with Experience Works, the nonprofit training and placement organization, which thus far has been unable to find her a private-sector job. "I've been stuck in here," she says, but gladly so. "I still need to work because of medications," says Ms. Humphrey, who has cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

    Justyn Jaymes of the Senior Employment Center in Akron, which administers the federal training program locally, is expected to move 27 to 32 people a year into private-sector paying jobs. They aren't supposed to spend more than 27 months in the program, on average. Several people are at that level or have exceeded it.

    "I'm going to have to be aggressive pushing people out in the next year," says Mr. Jaymes. He says he's always on the lookout for jobs, noticing a help-wanted sign in an Office Max store, and whether hotels need housekeepers, janitors and breakfast hostesses.

    Every week, he meets with at least four new older unemployed adults. He says he is "pretty blunt with them," telling them up front: "This is not a job. It looks like a job and feels like a job, but it is training and temporary. Are you going to job hunt or get comfortable?" Those accepted into the program must keep a log, recording their job-hunting efforts.

    Getting hired isn't impossible. Dorothy Adams, 90, who raised six sons, had been a waitress. She quit at age 85 because of the physical demands. She couldn't make it on $8,000 a year in Social Security and $1,140 in food stamps, so she enrolled in an Experience Works training program in central Pennsylvania."

    She got a job last year at a home-health-care agency. She drives to the homes of elderly adults who are sick and homebound. She reads them their mail, takes them to appointments, helps them dress and prepares light meals. She gets paid $7.50 an hour, plus mileage reimbursement.

    That came out from a 'trail' I was following ( at ScoopNZ on Wikileaks/NZ the upcoming "FreeTrade Agreement" ( TransPacificPartnership) that will cunningly abolish the NZ system of buying cheap supplies of NHS medicines, and so on to the O'Bama "non-reform" of Medicare. And so on to more poverty.

    The corporate takeover and extreme rip-off of healthcare proceeds here too. They'll rebuild the University Hospital in Caen, and some parts of the PFI contracts appear 10X what they should be ...

    I have a very rare sore throat ( threatening worse?), obviously caught from BB or another of you invalids here, so going down the micro -shop 8k's away, next door to the pub, supplies- LEMONS, honey, I have GROG.. hehe :-)

  180. Paul, Mother Teresa's mob (The Missionaries of Charity) have had a place just behind Kilburn High Rd. for at least 25 years.

    I know, because I used to drop in there once a week for a hot bath, a hot meal and a change of clothes when I was sleeping rough. As I say, that was 25 years ago but I know they're still there and doubtless doing the same thing.

    The nuns were mostly Indians and, to be fair, they never gave you any of the 'come to Jesus' rebop. Just gave you what you needed, smiled a lot and left you to go to Hell in your own way. I really liked them.

    Mother Teresa, however, has always struck me as a bit of a ghoul...and her choice in friends was just downright embarrassing. Hitchen's book on her made an almost unanswerable case against that kind of 'misery as redemption' bullshit.

    But the Kilburn contingent were good as gold.

  181. Nowt so queer as folk, Sheff...

    Hey MsChin - hope you're well! And I forgot to say hi to PCC earlier too. Hugs to all I have appeared to ignore today. x

    Spike - so how are you planning to atone? Three rounds of the Internationale at the next party conference while standing on your head wearing Union Jack underwear would be a fitting punishment if you ask me...

  182. spike - well done! glad people are getting out (3/4 of those leaving today are safely blighty-side, the last one has probably just forgotten to turn his phone on).

    will definitely be seeking out some bubbly later in the week...

    sheff - did consider mentioning the cilice and self-mortification to the smug catholic, but couldn't face the inevitable results...

    BB - what, rope-grown, hand-fished, corn-fed, organic self-mutilation? heheheheheh.

  183. Spike that's good! The local theory is that they're making a special effort on salting here so that everyone can do their Xmas shopping at Leclerc granville .

    Long one in the spamfolder BB? , sickening so forgot to save as usual ! XX

  184. I've just had to spend 25 minutes walking home in -8 degrees Glasgow. Feckin freeszing. And I had to sign on this afternoon entailing a lot more walking. Anyway, I won't be playing University Challenge tonite because my brains turned to mush.

    Saw the thread on 'indigenous Britons' but didn't comment as using the voluntary place's computer. There is different between credible and rational critiscism of multiculturalism like Paul and me did the other day and ethno volkists and Christian nationalists. Scum.

    Anyway, knackered and shivering. Had some mulled wine (two glasses) for the first time of my life at our little party, then stumbled home.

  185. Dave

    The idea that an 85 year old woman has to work as a waitress to avoid starvation is utterly horrifying... I can't believe I have just read that.

    The land of the free and the home of the brave. Free to starve and die if you don't have the right insurance, brave enough to work til your grave...

    Get well soon, mate.

  186. "This is not just self-mutilation. This is M&S self-mutilation..."

    That made me chuckle. I'm marking, or trying to mark, so I needed a chuckle.

  187. My dear friends

    This ‘weather event’ is the very dickens, isn’t it? One minute you are strolling along the boulevard enjoying a well-earned retirement from the import-export game; the next, falling arse over tit on the pavement to the amusement of the unwashed.

    To make matters worse, Mrs Selfmade was decidedly unsympathetic. Having followed the advice of my lifestyle and writing guru Peter Bracken, I was sporting a newly ¬acquired pair of linen pantaloons and moleskin loafers. The tear in the former and the lack of grip of the latter led the good lady to denounce me for paying more attention to my ‘internet buddies’ than to dignity and commonsense.

    In all the circumstances, I think I will have to dispense with young Bracken’s services, if only to keep the peace at home, since the last thing I want at Christmas is to be left heating up a turkey meal for one in the microwave whilst being subject to sympathy visits from Master Selfmade. The devil of it is that I was just getting used to those ‘loons and, with more practice, could no doubt have made a very creditable entrée into the better circles of Weston-super-Mare.

    I fear I will also have to cancel all my assignations for the week, hence this letter which should reach all the ladies in question. The fall has made me worried for this wretched back of mine and, in any case, with Mrs Selfmade watching me like a hawk my freedom of action is more circumscribed than hitherto. When I think of the hours I have spent rubbing liniment into her knee I could weep at the advantage she is now taking of my being hors de combat.
    But let us not allow these minor inconveniences to detract from the essential message of Christmas, namely ‘good will to all self made men’. I can hardly imagine the extent to which I have brightened all your lives, but by the same token you have made an old man very happy with your kindness (especially Mrs BB whose kindness has at times caused the quack to lecture me on the risk to the old ticker).

    So as we enter the festive season I can only say God bless you, every one of you*

    Your mentor


    *I exclude Bracken from this. Frankly, you’ve been a disappointment to me. I’m a pretty fair judge of men (I’ve had to be, in my game) but I’m bound to say that you’ve flattered to deceive. And not in a good way.

  188. Nap - keep yourself warm, love. Wrap up with a blankey in front of the telly and drink lots of tea.

    My nutter of a lad was staying with a friend over the weekend and had walked the 7 miles over there on Saturday morning. Called me yesterday to say he was staying last night too, then at 4 this morning we hear this almighty banging on the front door. He was finding it hard to sleep and missing his bed so had walked home. He couldn't get the key to work in the lock.

    Minus 11c it was here last night... And his feet were so cold I thought he was going to get frostbite. Once I got him sorted, and warmed up again, I had a bit of a panic attack about what could have happened to him, in true Mummy style...

    I don't think he will do that again in a hurry.