Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Floods in Kingston

Last year we had spectacular flooding. The last several months have seen Thames Water digging vast holes in the roads and putting absolutely massive pipes down, all in an affort to protect us from more flooding. But this morning there was still an expansive lake under the railway bridge - great fun watching motorists splasing through it.


My Dad died one year ago today. Quite a thought; the time has gone by so swiftly. My mum is being very stoic, but she is currently suffering from a bad bout of 'flu which is no doubt related.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Election Looms

Last Friday a brochure dropped through the letterbox outlining all the candidates in the forthcoming election.

Yikes. I didn’t realise so many of them are so retrogressive – and I don’t mean Boris Johnson! Really, everyone should vote for someone vaguely respectable, if only to keep some of the dire types out of City Hall.

I’ve watched several of the tv debates and Boris has been quite effective, if not quite his usual charming witty self. He seems to have spent some time in a Cameroonian re-education centre.

Brian Paddick has tried hard but his lack of political expertise has damaged him: I feel he was too eager in debates, and often sank to quite coarse personal attacks, which is an off-putting characteristic.

Which leaves Ken. I feel that he won all the debates I watched – he came across well (relaxed, in command, never defensive) and seemed more on top of detail than the others. Boris’s bendy-bus gimmick was a terrible fiasco.

I’m an extremely counter-cultural voter; I always vote for parties when they are about to lose. Now everyone has gone off Labour I will probably vote for them. I can’t say however that I will cry terribly if Boris wins: it will at the very least be interesting to see what he does. Also, it is true that three terms may well be too much for any individual.

Friday, April 18, 2008


So glad Itsu on Piccadilly survived the polonium scandal! Had lunch there today – definitely the best chain-type sushi available in London, with or without added polonium.

Afterwards, gossiped beautifully with an ex-colleague about my late unlamented employers: they are rapidly going down the plug-hole! Yippee!!

That set me up for the weekend, then :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Revenge of the Books

I shared a very large house with Ivan and Liz for 9 years. I could happily buy as many books as I liked and they would be easily swallowed up in the vast spaces available everywhere. This house was actually in CLAPHAM for the benefit of those “friends” and “relatives” who I have subsequently to my horror learned always secretly thought we lived in St Ockwell.


However, these days I do indisputably live in the Clapham heartlands, albeit in a tiny little flat. Foolishly, I took all 19 meters of my books (I remember the number because I had to measure for the mover’s quote and he said he had to come round “to see what 19 meters of books looks like”.

Well, it fills my spare room.

Need to use the room now, so have been studiously de-accessioning to the Trinity Hospice Charity shop over the past several weeks. I reckon I’ve got rid of at least 4 meters. I spent the weekend moving the bookcases (and books) into the sitting room. I now measure 18 meters of books.

The mis-match is possibly because I am adding books almost as quickly as I am getting rid of them. Sheesh. I really haven’t bought a book for ages and ages. Except for the one I bought on Saturday.

Monday, April 07, 2008

America's current standing in the world

A picture says a thousand words, as they say.

via Joe. My. God.. Too good not to steal, particularly since I'm having a political Monday.

The Triumph of Boris

“It is a unique feat to be the only politician to have prospered in the face of the ferocious opposition of both Thatcher and Blair, the two most powerful Prime Ministers of the past 60 years. So what a miserable end it will be for Ken if his nemesis turns out to be Boris Johnson, priapic cabaret artist and the most hapless host there has been in the history of Have I got News for You.”
- Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer, 6 April 08, trying to encourage Ken to find his mojo.

Olympic Flame Shame

Hooray for London! What a fantastic disruption of the whole Olympic propaganda scenario: snow, chanting, chaos, squads and squads of Chinese “officials” and British police (almost as many as George Bush needed when he came to visit) – my favourite bit was the fire-extinguisher. Personally, as a complete non-sporting couch potato, I couldn’t care less about sporting boycotts etc, but it has to be said China has left itself wide open to this sort of protest. After all, they specifically said having the Olympics would help them develop human rights in China, and in fact almost the opposite has occurred. So they deserve all they get.

I do like the pageantry – but as London as demonstrated, a good protest looks as good on TV as a festival.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Post Mugabe?

And we hold our breath as the aged autocrat Mugabe decides which way his country will go. It seems the foolish would-be dictator believed his own propaganda and didn’t have a Plan B for stealing the election. His age, his uncharacteristic pause for thought, and the overwhelming electoral win of his opponents all seriously weaken his position and it is likely he will have to go.

But how? He can choose to go quietly: negotiate an exit deal that will give him some real honour and give his country the opportunity to recover. Or else he can dig in, unleash the dogs of war and create a cataclysm.

It all goes to show elections are really quite powerful things. As I was born in Zimbabwe I feel quite involved and am hoping very much for the best.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Back from a weekend in the country – hiked in the rain with Lesley over a Civil War battlefield, and met a funny man whose facial hair growth was suspiciously 17th-century: methinks he’s a cavalier in the reconstructed Royalist army.

Liz flew back to Cape Town last night from Terminal Five and ‘phoned in a glowing report – it’s absolutely gorgeous, and she had no problems at all. Let’s hope her luggage arrives.