2015 — 23 May: Saturday

A lovely, sunny, pre-Bank Holiday morning.1 A nice, hot, fresh cuppa. A plentiful supply of plums to be stewed. The only bit of dear Mama's estate still to be sorted out is her little stash of BP shares and I await the next round of paperwork on that front. Then there are the tax men. There are always tax men, since Brenda has all those palaces to maintain. (Income tax was actually supposed to be a temporary measure to finance our anti-Napoleonic measures a while back.)

I need to deal with whatever decision Mr "Work and Pensions" Taxman reaches about overpaid pension and underpaid income tax after his eight-week 'allowance' times out. Who knows? He may even raise my Winter Fuel Allowance now that even he will have to admit dear Mama no longer shares my unpalatial accommodation. (She never did, of course, except for postal purposes, but that was enough for him to reduce both our Fuel Allowances and I couldn't be bothered to argue with him. Who can quite fully fathom the inner workings of the bureaucratic mental processes?)

Then there's Mr "Inheritance" Taxman; he has allowed himself until 9th June to unearth any possible excuse for claiming his brand of death tax before he, too, must concede defeat. Unless the guvmint guidance on the topic is wrong, I'm certain an elegant sufficiency (somewhat over £250,000) of dear Mama's little nest egg has been fed into the rapacious maw of the care-home since August 2010 for there to be not even the faintest liability for that particular penalty. By any imaginative stretch of those mental processes. We shall see.

Look on the bright side: I believe I've now run out of parental units to tidy up after :-)

It was hard...

... to select just one snippet from Ms Hyde's joyous riff on our fabulous new Tory Robot Overlords and their Major Concerns:

Small Guvmint

I do so like Home Secretaries. They always seem able to provide a rich seam of satirisable behaviour after just a few minutes in the job.

I like to...

... kid myself that I'm special. (I'm not, of course.) A moment's contemplation of the insignificance of our planet set against the solar system, let alone the local galaxy, makes that crystal clear. As does a life-long interest in SF and science.

"The terror of death has guided the development of art, religion, language, economics, and science," they write. "It raised the pyramids in Egypt and razed the Twin Towers in Manhattan. It contributes to conflicts around the globe. At a more personal level, recognition of our mortality leads us to love fancy cars, tan ourselves to an unhealthy crisp, max out our credit cards, drive like lunatics, itch for a fight with a perceived enemy, and crave fame, however ephemeral, even if we have to drink yak urine on Survivor to get it."

Marc Parry in Chronicle

Me? I'm more aligned with that scrap of dialogue near the end of "Casablanca":

Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill o' beans in this crazy world.

Date: 1943


... it can be tricky to keep up the pretence of not being a completeist:

3 Stross omnibus editions

At least I don't get, erm, Strossed out about it. Despite their convoluted history. If Paratime has the concept of history.

I'm not in the habit...

... of fixing other peoples' broken weblinks, but I've just made an exception for a Grauniad obituary that turned out to have moved from its original location at some point since I last read it precisely eight years ago. You can blame Anthony Sher, one of whose 'memories' today joggled loose an item I recalled from the obit... which turned out to have moved... hence my fix.

Just caught my eye:

Starting points

I've only just remembered...

... to download the MP3s auto-ripped for me from a trio of CDs I bought yesterday:

I was also tempted by the band ("Woven Hand") formed in the wake of "16 Horsepower", but I figured that was probably enough new music to be going on with. The combination of Americana and religion may just be a step too far.



1  My habit of enjoying weekends in general, and Bank Holiday weekends even more, is so deeply ingrained I see no need to change my attitude towards them.