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Sure, that looks safe


This is the last public three-day weekend before Christmas and it was blazing hot. What passes for it here, anyway. There were five flower festivals, a circus and a blacksmith demonstration. We managed to do…most of them.

Just one fete today. The moment I set foot on the field, the band struck up the Star Spangled Banner. Seriously, this happened. I felt like the President.

(Aside: have you heard Bill Clinton’s Hail to the Chief lyrics? It goes, “Hail to the Chief, he’s the Chief and he needs hailing.” Good one, Bubbah).

It was the usual: brass band, cake stall, junk stall, produce, plants, splat the rat, tombola, book stall. Dog show. They’re big on dog shows, or what they call “fun dog shows” (to distinguish them from serious formal dog shows, I guess).

Three old guys were there with an old tractor, an American jeep and a machine gun. They were the only people who brought chairs, so I asked to sit in one and we chatted.

Then they asked me to watch their stuff while they went across to the pub. I thought they’d never come back, but finally one old boy did. Lit up like a Christmas tree. He decided I must have a cartridge as a thank you. This wasn’t entirely right, as the machine gun belonged to one of the other old boys, but I couldn’t resist a souvenir.

When fingers didn’t work, he tried the knife. When the knife didn’t work, he got out a hammer. Thank god they’re dummy rounds.

Yes, I got my souvenir eventually, and nobody lost an eye


Comment from Veeshir
Time: August 28, 2017, 8:20 pm

Hail to the Chief, he’s the Chief and he needs hailing.
I saw that in My Fellow Americans with James Garner.
It’s from 96 so they might have got it from Bill.

Unless Bill Clinton says he coined it, then it’s definitely from the movie.

Comment from Pupster
Time: August 28, 2017, 10:48 pm

Watch mah machine-gun whilst I tie-one on?

You’re good people Stoaty.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: August 28, 2017, 10:59 pm


The moment I set foot on the field, the band struck up the Star Spangled Banner.

I have to ask “Why?” Is this an ex-pat community? Do they realize “We won!”? Did they play the “God Save the Queen?” I find it weird that a band in a quintessential British past time like “a fête” would play a foreign nation’s anthem. Oh wait! It was a British drinking song before an anthem…. is that the answer?

He decided I must have a cartridge

I’m proud of you!

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: August 28, 2017, 11:22 pm

I spent a day watching All Creatures Great and Small. The entire series is on youtube. Boy, there was a lot of boozing and chasing of women in it.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: August 29, 2017, 12:16 am

Random chook update from SE of Houston: my aunt’s chooks have thus far survived both the very real threats of drowning and floating fire ants.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 29, 2017, 12:17 am

*ZOMG* They had a MACHINE GUN!!1! And there were CHILDREN there!

Um, what kinda machine gun? I suppose it was demobbed, but still… I wonder if the non-machine-gunner knew that some people will pay good money for the links that make up ammo belts, at least as long as they haven’t been mangled with a knife or hammer. He DID know for sure they were dummies, right? (-:

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 29, 2017, 12:19 am

Thanks for the Texas chook update, Mrs. Peel. Glad they’re OK.

I’d rather put up with the occasional alligator than a floating raft of fire ants. Brr-rr-rr!

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: August 29, 2017, 2:19 am

Isnt more rain on the way to TX?

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: August 29, 2017, 5:12 am

I hope that wasn’t a black painted assault-machine gun, but just one of the ordinary safer ones.

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: August 29, 2017, 6:50 am

Nice Jean Shepard reference.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: August 29, 2017, 1:17 pm

@Ric Fan
Yeppers, they’re predicting the storm is coming round again for a second chorus. All 12000 National Guard troops are mobilized and the Cajuns deployed their flood veteran navy for which we are grateful.

Oh and Stoaty, not to diminish your powers and authorities vested in you as an American in a foreign land ( you are allowed to storm embassies and forts and capture shut I think, while singing the Marines’ hymn), but in theory the band could have been playing “to Anacreon in Heavean”. Old Francis Scott Key conquered the English drinking tune melody and bound it to serve our words.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: August 29, 2017, 2:37 pm

Some parts of the Houston area have gotten as much as 41 inches of rain so far. For those of you who only speak metric that’s a full meter and four or five of those centepillar thingies.


Here in Dallas, we’ve had essentially nothing from the storm.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: August 29, 2017, 3:49 pm

Hence the “thus far”…My family is all fine so far, luckily. Just waiting out the storm.

Comment from Drew458
Time: August 29, 2017, 3:49 pm

What cartridge is that? Looks a bit bigger than 5.56, but not as big as 7.62 NATO or .303 British, but straighter than the Russian 7.62X39. Just wondering. There’s a hand tool called a linker/delinker made just for this job. Looks kind of like an egg slicer. Amazed they didn’t have one on hand.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: August 29, 2017, 6:24 pm

If Dame Stoaty keeps messing with WWII machine guns we’re going to have to write a song for her.

(wait for it….)

(trigger warning)

We can call it the S.Weasel Lied.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: August 29, 2017, 7:09 pm

Read that a Houston Police Officer drowned. He was caught in a torrent in his car. 🙁

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: August 29, 2017, 8:02 pm

@Uncle Al
“*ZOMG* They had a MACHINE GUN!!1! And there were CHILDREN there!”

Just thank Gaia they didn’t have any black painted assault doorbells there man.


I think we’re going to enjoy the future. Imagine having been brave enough to have rung a door bell, and lived to tell the tale.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 29, 2017, 8:37 pm

@Durnedyankee – There’s no end to the weird damage inflicted by over-parenting. Any adolescent or adult who is freaked by a doorbell has been isolated from interacting with the real world without parental intermediation.

When the doorbell rings here at my house, I have no qualms at all about answering it. Maybe the Ruger LC9s Pro in my pocket has something to do with that. (-:

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: August 29, 2017, 9:25 pm

What’s next I wonder – old telephones that ring?

Reminds me – speaking of ancient and dangerous devices….

When I was a kid my grandparents had a party line, during thunder storms the phone would occasionally ring during lightning strikes. They would always say “don’t pick it up, it’s lightning”.
I wondered if I answered it would a lightning guy jump out of the phone?

But I was a strange kid, I used to try and imagine what it would look to me as I whizzed through the weekend when my dad (who never raised a hand to anyone) would threaten to ‘knock me into the middle of next Tuesday’.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: August 30, 2017, 7:33 am

Uncle Al, that is a Colt-Browning M1919A1 light machine gun, in .30-06. Most likely made by either the Guide Light, or Saginaw Steering Divisions of Gneral Motors. GM made a lot of stuff for the military.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: August 30, 2017, 3:25 pm

“Splat the rat”? What, may I ask, is that?

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Time: September 3, 2017, 4:26 pm

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Comment from traffic solder
Time: January 31, 2018, 9:51 am

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Comment from story bazaar
Time: January 31, 2018, 9:51 am

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