Sunday, 30 November 2008

Have I Got News for You.

For those of you who watched Have I Got News for You this week and so may remember a reference to an Australian, David Thorne, who attempted to pay a utility bill with a drawing of a spider, I offer a link to the complete correspondence that my daughter, Rebecca, sent me a couple of weeks ago. It is here and well worth a look.

For those who don't know Have I Got News for You, it is a weekly satirical swipe at the news that has been running on BBC TV since 1990.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could pay your bills with drawings, songs or poems? I'd be so rich.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Contrary to Popular Belief, Writing is NOT a Solitary Pursuit

I have so many critics peeping over my shoulder when I write, I am never alone. They line up like birds on a telegraph wire to make their comments, which are always positive, of course.

There is Character Critic: "For goodness sake, he is supposed to be dour as Inspector Rebus with a hangover yet you've written he is delighted to have rescued the victim? He would have found it more amusing to discover the vicitm chopped to pieces and stuffed into Christmas crackers to be distributed at the local orphanage.

The Dialogue Critic: "' Ah dunnae kinn whit ye ur talkin' abit.' Where on earth did you dig that out from, The Sassenach Schoolboy's Book of Scottish Phrases?"

The Adjectival Critic: "In the name of all that is beautiful, exquisite, fragrant and precious, leave it out."

The Adverbial Critic: dittoly

The Semicolon Critic: "Nooooo!"

The Colon Critic: ditto

The Plot Critic: "Stephen Hawking would be most interested in the black holes you have managed to create."

The Structural Critic: "Only Isambard Kingdom Brunel could construct something more complicated. Have you ever considered a career as a scaffolder?"

The Bridging Critic: "Next time employ Nicholas Parsons to create the links. He might be as useless but at least he takes just a minute. Boom! Boom!"

The Humour Critic: "Ha! Ha! Ha! Don't make me laugh."

The Personal Development Critic: "Have you ever considered a career as a scaffolder?"

Ad infinitum: Tweet! Tweet!

It's a wonder I am getting anything written but the book progresses despite the odds. I also now understand where Daphne du Maurier found her inspiration for The Birds.

PS The picture of the birds remind me of my childhood in Malaysia. Every evening birds would line up on the telegraph wires to chatter away though what they had to say I never learnt. At five years old, I could only speak pigeon English, pigeon Malay and pigeon Chinese, so I don't think they were pigeons. Boom! Boom!

PPS The Quit Smoking Campaign is stuttering but will happen. When I have positive news, i.e. one week without a cigarette, I will post.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Ninety Years Ago

I had two great uncles who were killed in WWI, both were Jesuits. Apparently the mortality rate of Catholic priests was disproportionately high.

These photographs are of the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. They were taken on a field trip when I was studying Literature of WWI at Sussex University The memorial is spectacular. That said I found the regimented ranks of graves in the many cemeteries scattered across Normandy and Belgium, be they a small group of five or six, or thousands as at Tyne Cot, more poignant. Read Girl on The Run's wonderful poem about her recent visit to Ypres here

Boys' Toys

Eager readers will note that I have not blogged recently. This is because I have acquired a new toy, an Acer Aspire One Mini Laptop. It is brilliant. It boots up in seconds, has all the software you need ready installed, includes wifi. And though tiny, it is perfectly useable.

What more could you want? Well, being a boy I have spent four days fiddling with it to download new software and update some of the existing. Its operating system is a stripped version of Linux, Linpus, so fiddling did mean fiddling in the root directory with a system I have not encountered before. However I did find some very useful sites which I list in case anyone else is tempted.

Ten Tweaks for a new Acer Aspire One is the most useful.
This FTP site has lots of software to download.
And the Acer Aspire One Forum is generally helpful - all possible questions are answered in it somewhere though they do take a lot of hunting to find.

Smoking and Drinking

After 20 days without alcohol I had a couple of bottles of wine with Sue over the past two days because she has been staying and it would have been rude not to. But as the no smoking is starting from tomorrow I shall have to return to the wagon till Christmas.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


As reported in my last post, I am currently reading Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and this morning I find that archaeologists have discovered evidence of Alexander Selkirk, the marooned sailor who originally inspired the story - here.

Must be Halloween.

There is also an interesting article on Defoe here
(PS I love the naff illustration for the cover of this edition.)