Image via Lionsgate UK
In life`s rich tapestry, there can be fewer heartaches or natural shocks as traumatic as suffering a flood and even as our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of these terrible weather events, it is vital that we indentify who is to blame for the suffering.
Honest developers, local councils, construction firms and estate agents are in the business of business and cannot be criticised for planning, approving building and then selling property on floodplains. It is always important to read the small print in any building and land transaction yet sadly some of the victims seem to have missed the sentence containing the words “flood” and “plain” and have happily signed the bottom line securing their dream home with a lovely view of the river. (more…)
Power to the people
Any suggestion that the big six energy companies are operating an illegal cartel to fix gas and electricity prices to ensure massive profit is entirely erroneous; there are a magnificent seven gunslingers in the illegal cartel.
Akira Kurosawa`s superb “Seven Samurai”, released in 1954, told the story of noble warriors protecting simple farmers against evil, pillaging bandits. Hollywood updated the scenario into the wild-west with “The Magnificent Seven” released in 1960. Later, in 1998, Pixar used the same story in “A Bug`s Life”. The 2013 version is a little more complex. We still have the evil, pillaging bandits and the slightly camp cowboys and the hopelessly inept circus troop but we simple farmers might be a little confused as to who the mercenary protectors are and who the pillaging bandits might actually be. (more…)
Dia de muerto
As Hallowmas concludes for another year and with extorting candy with menaces completely replacing traditional apple bobbing, it is perhaps time to welcome another celebration imported from the Americas.
Anyone with even a passing understanding of the Aztec deity Mictecacihuatl and the synthesis of pre-Colombian ritual and Catholic worship will know that the day of the dead is not just about marigolds and sugar skulls. All soul`s day involves food and music and dancing and laughter to encourage the souls of the dearly departed to join us for a single day back on earth. Rather than trick or treat or tooth decay, obesity and encouraging children to demand sweets from strangers, perhaps we should sing and dance to encourage the return of entities that we once held dear. (more…)
It is, perhaps, the ultimate proof of failed parenthood when an announcement that the household alpha male has been followed home from the pub by a hedgehog provokes scant surprise or any comment from children glued to Family Guy on the television.
A couple of weeks ago, trudging back from the pub through a night that can only be described as “driech”, a movement in a hedge close to home suggested the presence of a rat. Quickening my step, I turned and saw a hedgehog emerge onto the pavement. I stopped; the hedgehog stopped. I moved on; the hedgehog followed. The vast majority of previous encounters with these creatures had led me to believe that they resembled flat, spiky fish and had external organs but this specimen was round and intact. There was no evidence of physical injury and it seemed in good health so I went home.
“No, really, a hedgehog just followed me home. It`s on the doorstep now.” The youngest cynic, already a veteran of tall stories from a dad full of Guinness, was the only one to respond, probably more out of sympathy than interest. Upon re-opening the front door and finding the hedgehog with wet and doleful eyes attempting to climb the step, the resultant “squeeee” (I believe that this is an acceptable use of language on Facebook) provoked the stirring of the household. Within moments the creature was wrapped in a towel and eating cat food in the kitchen. (more…)
Image via nationalgallery. org.uk
After 208 years you might be forgiven in thinking Nelson`s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar was pretty conclusive but more recent events might result in Napoleon Bonaparte and Admiral Villeneuve rising from their graves to demand a steward`s inquiry.
As a relative stranger to the concept of electricity (Michael Faraday had just turned 14 at the time of Trafalgar and Georg Ohm was only 16), Nelson was probably aware of electric fish and the funny smell that is produced when lightning strikes a ship at sea. He could not, however, have imagined that a novelty experiment would, one day, become a basic human necessity and that pillaging the treasure of colonial rivals would be replaced by pillaging the pockets of his own countrymen. Similarly, if the musket round to his shoulder hadn`t finished him off, the very idea that steam would replace sail would have seen him descending to Davy Jones` Locker faster than a Liberal Democrat thrown overboard at an election. (more…)