2013 — 5 May: Sunday

Yesterday's evening entertainment1 pandered to all my prejudices very nicely. It's all part of my cunning plan, having a day or so earlier also re-watched the 2005 cinema version by Joe Wright, to prepare for tackling my new annotated edition of this masterly book. What else is a Bank Holiday weekend good for?

I was sorry to learn...

... that William Zinsser has lost his sight, but glad to find that, at 90, he's still teaching people how to polish their less than pellucid prose. His "On writing well" may be only seven entries from the end of my little library, alphabetically, but is one of the few books on writing that I "rate" and that I can read with pleasure. (Link.)

Rumbles of discontent

I was equally sorry to learn that 20% of UK households are currently having to borrow2 to meet their monthly food bills. This does not strike me as a healthy economic portent. Odd, therefore, that the guvmint's statisticians are telling us that "personal insolvencies have dropped to their lowest levels in five years". My own 'household income' is in the "Which?" survey's lower range (as, indeed, I saw from that fatuous new social class calculator recently) but I prefer to regard myself simply as cash-poor / time-rich. (Link.)

Welsh sheep-shagger?

OK, it's an amusingly-written piece about unamusing antics and reactions. Source and snippet:

The actions of Elen Humphreys are not as undignified, but they're a glance into deeper and darker waters. She was collecting some of her father's belongings from the house of his mistress, Angela Payne, when she rebuked her parent's lover with the phrase: "Leave well alone, you English cow." Elen's father has, according to her lawyer Andrew Hutchinson, recently been going "backwards and forwards" between his wife of 32 years and Payne. Perhaps he'd left something behind after his most recent oscillation. If so, his daughter was a bad choice of toothbrush/toupee/mobile phone/sex toy fetcher.

David Mitchell in Observer

Speaking of unamusing, I ignored that nice Mr Farage's dire warnings to me3 about the 29,000,000 Bulgarians and Romanians massing at the Eastleigh border. But I've just read an editorial on the guvmint caving in to the tobacco lobby. Mr Farage's odious gang of malcontents is, it seems, keen to repeal the ban on smoking in pubs. Now that's a threat I find personally intolerable.

I barely tolerate dear Mama's accumulating pile of paperwork, and have just lost an hour of my life tidying up the last six months of the noisome stuff. Still, at least I found my house insurance details buried in the heap. I think that's called a silver lining.

"On this day" a mere...

... 17 years ago, I could have been spotted attempting to regale dear Mama (in one of my regular weekly letters) with an item I'd originally clipped from the "Ariadne" column in New Scientist, 1 September 1977, that had tickled me:


I'd also noted "Judging by her whimpering sighs, Christa is struggling with this year's Tax Return; a pleasure that still awaits me." Mind you, that could just have been a reaction to whatever music I'd been playing at the time.


The need to thaw out my lunchtime Scotch egg is going to delay proceedings for a few minutes.

When I popped my head out of the patio door earlier, the cat that had attracted my attention actually strolled casually back through my jungle to chat and check me out before resuming his patrol. But:




1  My Blu-ray of the 1995 BBC production of "Pride & Prejudice" — beautifully restored from the original Super 16mm negative film stock and its accompanying magnetic tape soundtrack.
2  As I do almost all my food shopping at Waitrose, and use their credit card to pay for it, I could also be described as borrowing. The difference (if any) being I settle my monthly bill, in full, before any of that nasty interest stuff kicks me in the teeth. Like poor dotty Mrs Bennett (and her inability to understand why the estate is 'entailed' away from her no matter how often it is explained to her) I will never understand why the Bank of England's base lending rate (or whatever they call it these days) is more than an order of magnitude less than a credit card's APR.
It can't just be simple greed, can it? :-)
3  Thankfully the supply of bumph from him dried up — I conclude that someone pointed out to him that I wasn't an Eastleigh voter (despite being an Eastleigh council tax payer) since the most recent round of guvmint boundary-changing in their successful attempt to keep Winchester right-thinking.