Etty-cut (up)

OK, I give in.

Can you tell me?

When did it become acceptable to cut across a lane of oncoming traffic and sit there – blocking the way – to wait for a gap in the other line of traffic?




It’s made me chuckle a little.

There’s an item in today’s news that says that our MPs want the minimum driving age raised to 18 years.

And yet I’ve been (Hmm… I can’t say ‘cut up’ because that would be incorrect so I’ll use the proper description) forcibly blocked from proceeding in an unexpected manner that caused me to have to use severe braking and then had my journey halted three times today.

Not by younger drivers.

Middle aged drivers.

Two females and one male.

And not a boy-racer in sight.


Hill Street Blues

I used to watch the eponymous TV prog.

Mold-breaking, in its day.

But I remember a scene from one particular episode where hardened police Sergeant says to bitter undercover cop:

Let’s hope the temperature doesn’t climb any hotter. If the mercury gets higher so will the body count.

It was an observation that in warmer times people can be prone to lose their cool (ha ha!) and do things they might later regret.

I remember this scene because about 17.00 today in sunny south London (temp: 24.5c) I saw the logical in action.

Two car drivers, outside Camberwell, stopped to have a real ding dong in the middle of the road.

Neither vehicle had made contact with the other but, I suspect, one was keeping station too closely for the leading driver to be comfortable with.

Did I say ‘ding dong’?

It was a real slagging match.

And a fist was waved in the face of one driver,

Neither showed signs of backing down.

Neither did back down.

And then a passing police car pulled over and the driver of that vehicle intervened.

Then the matter was closed off.


Not why did he intervene.

Why did it happen?

Why do we let our self-control evaporate when we got warmer?

Why do we permit ourselves to become so… stressed out that we always seem to be living on the verge of blowing up when things we don’t like cross our field of vision?

I find it impossible to believe that this scene would have occurred in the dead of winter.

It was interesting to observe – and interesting to listen to.

But I’m thankful that we don’t carry guns as a matter of routine in this country.


Sunday’s show jumping…

Didn’t happen.

Whilst it would be untrue to say that ‘rain stopped play’ (other nutcases braved the downpours)…

I decided to let discretion be the better part of valour.

And remained at home.

I wasn’t being a fair-weather rider (honest!).

I just didn’t have any water-wings big enough for Vin.


Film review: Perfume

Don’t watch it while you’re eating.

In fact, don’t watch it soon after you’ve eaten.

It’s a rough, tough, unpleasantly gory start.

But it gets better.

And better.

And better.

Set in pre-revolution France Perfume is the story of a man with an extraordinary gift – the power to ‘divine’ smells.

In a time when open sewers ran through the streets and many of the population lived in total squalor…

In a time when fresh, uncontaminated drinking/washing water was as far out of reach of everyone on the planet as eradicating hunger is today…

The gift of scent and the ability to mask the unpleasantly odorous with something pleasant…

This would have been a gift greater than anyone of the time could have imagined.

Despite being gritty and treating the period with great realism, this is a beautiful film.

The cinematography is brilliant.

A moving portrait of shades, colours and hues.

And, I think, homage to Stanley Kubrik.

Was I imagining nods in the direction of A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon?

The cast is underplayed, a strange thing to say with a cast as strong as this (Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood and beautifully narrated by John Hurt).

The locations are stunning.

The story is stunningly woven.

The combination of a German director, German producer and international cast have made something incredibly worthwhile.

An unusual subject, stunningly filmed.

Film review: Shrek The Third

Many people are apparently labouring under the misapprehension – because of a generous certification – that Shrek The Third is a children’s film.

It isn’t.

What child would get the soundtrack and the way it was used (Do You Remember Rock n’ Roll by The Ramones, Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, the beautifully sardonic use of Live and Let Die – so ironically sung by a chorus of frogs –  the Wings version of course, not Guns n’ Roses, or Damien Rice’s Nine Crimes)?

What child would get the deliciously pervy exchanges (the one between Prince Charming and Rapunzel is a great example)?

What child would get the cinematic references (Singin’ in the Rain, The Sound of Music – beautifully done by Julie Andrews!, Midnight Cowboy, Monty Python & The Holy Grail – or was it Spamalot? – A Chorus Line and The Truman Show… oh yeah, and Rosemary’s Baby/The Exorcist)?

The story’s a little weak in places but it’s still an enjoyable romp.

If you can think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon (out of the bedroom), do it.

But Shrek The Third is a fun, entertaining way to pass time in the company of someone you love.


Dressage for fun

Prelim 7 and Prelim 14 at Bromsgrove Riding Club.

From start to finish Vin was a star; ‘Mr Chilled Out’.

He’s come such a long way since we began the ‘need to get miles on his clock’ policy.

Bromsgrove can be testing for a highly-strung horse

The riding club venue is adjacent to six lanes of motorway and as a result a high level of traffic noise blankets the field.

This makes it perfect – in my view – just the venue to ‘get miles on his clock’.

The moment I unloaded Vin he showed he was Mr Cool.

We tacked up, mounted, walked off and began working in.

Half an hour later we did P7 and I felt he was brilliant.

An hour later we did P14 – slightly less brilliantly (a little too much pace in some of the movements for my comfort), but – I was very pleased again.

I have to give a huge thank you to my caller; she battled against the unrelenting traffic noise but not once did I lose the thread of what was being shouted at me.

We got placed 6th in P7 and were unplaced (but 7th) in P14.

Our first rosette! (his second one though – he earned that with Karen on board at the Eventer’s Challenge show jumping competition a couple of months ago when I was unable to ride).


Tomorrow (weather permitting) we’re going show jumping at Allenshill.

Fingers crossed!

Day 44 in the Big Brother House

One forty-one PM.
Charley is in the garden with Nicky.

They’re dissecting Heidegger’s principle of Phenomenology as discussed in his groundbreaking work Sein und Zeit.

They are examining his concept in German so as not to lose the subtle nuance of the philosopher’s keenest thinking.

Meanwhile in the caravan Ziggy and Liam have held a seance to bring Albert Einstein back from the dead.

‘Where’s the Ho’s and Bitches?’ asked the ghostly apparition of the German-born theoretical physicist.

‘I beg your pardon?’ asked Ziggy.

‘The snatch, man, where’s the juicy booty?’

Liam tactfully cleared his throat.

‘I’m sorry Albert, we called you here to help us construct a new paradigm for the conceptualisation of relativisitic cosmology that Ziggy’s been working on.’

The world’s greatest thinker paused to assimilate the task the two Big Brother housemates have set themselves.

Then he shook his head, said ‘Nah, screw that, dudez. I wanna get me some grab-ass.’

And then I wake up.

Einsten and Heidegger are just figments of my overheated imagination.

Most of the Big Brother housemates really are as stupid as they seem.

Carole and Liam show a frightening amount of intelligence compared to their fellow housemates; they don’t really belong in the shallow end of the gene pool.

Chanelle has just said, ‘Swedish? What language do they speak?’

And Charley has just said, “Where’s Nepal? Poland?”

Now Charley is doing her very best impression of Catherine Tate without even drawing a single breath, ‘I ain’t bovvered do I look bovvered? I’m not bovvered I couldn’t give a shit I’m really not bovvered.’

I’m secretly praying that there’s a sniper on the roof if Charley is evicted this evening.

The vet’s photo session

Today I went to the veterinary practice that’s been treating Beech’s fracture.

I met the veterinary surgeon who took me in to a small office where we went through the three sets of x-rays that mark his progress.

The first set was taken the day after he was kicked.

The second set was taken three weeks later.

The third set was taken almost five weeks later again.

The first group of x-rays show no sign of damage at all.

The second group clearly shows signs of calcification (outlined).

But no explicit signs of a fracture (and we should perhaps remind ourselves that after this x-ray Beech trotted up sound!).

The third group shows a hairline fracture (outlined) but the calcification has vanished – a good sign.

The bottom line is the prognosis is good.

He’s got another six weeks of box rest but the Robert Jones Dressing can come off.

And we can get a farrier to remove his shoes and trim his feet.

Get well Beech!


Mushy peas are excellent

You’ll probably never find mushy peas on a Michelin menu but last night they saved my bacon (euphemistically speaking).

I concentrated so hard on cooking the main bits and bobs that comprised tea and getting the timing right that I completely forgot to cook the veg.