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But can it pull a plough?

There were several of these tear-assing around the last country show. What they have to do with things rural I do not know, but the plough horse didn’t seem bothered.

I hate to think what it costs to run one of these in a country where gasoline is somewhere north of eight bucks a gallon.

Reminder: new Dead Pool tomorrow. I am still stunned at the brazenness of the Jeffrey Epstein murder.

I say ‘murder’ with confidence, because you can’t break bones in your neck with a jail cell hanging. Dude was manually strangled.

It takes a drop of approximately the height of the hangee to snap the neck. It’s more complicated than that – Albert Pierrepoint, long-serving British executioner, had a complex formula for working out the height of the drop, depending on the height and weight of the subject. Too short a drop, and the convict strangled slowly. Too long a drop, and his head popped off like a Barbie doll. Both very embarrassing for the hangman.

Anyway. You get the point. Somebody went into that cell and killed the man, and I’m sure we’ll never get to the bottom of it. Stand by for a bajillion speculative paperback exposés for, like, the rest of our lives.

But we don’t care about that. We care about Dead Pool Round 124. See you here!

August 15, 2019 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 9

Brother, can you spare a groat?

At a country show this weekend, we fell in with a group of very enthusiastic metal detectorists. They had some astonishing finds — although, if you read the labels, it was over quite an extended time period. I think one has a long wait between astonishing finds.

Many of them were probably votive offerings – small objects thrown into water for religious reasons. We…don’t really know much about this. My favorite of these — I was an idiot and didn’t get a picture — was a tiny head of a…well, I thought it was a wolf at first. But it either had three horns, or two standy-up ears and a single horn growing out of the center of its forehead. So! Either a wolf unicorn or, much more likely, the debbil.

I wonder who was trying to conjure that boi out of the brackish water and why?

Inset: a very good Henry VII silver groat. I love groats. Probably because I love saying ‘groat’. They were worth four pence and fell out of use in the Nineteenth C.

Uncle B bought me a metal detector when we first moved here. Then I discovered most of the land around is protected conservation land, no detectoring allowed. So I scanned our garden and found a few rusty nails. No groat for me!

August 13, 2019 — 9:02 pm
Comments: 12

Keep an eye on this

Power outages over a huge swathe of the UK today. There are three things going on here:

Aging infrastructure. They haven’t been maintaining the old suppliers of electricity like they should. This is in large part because:

Push for green alternatives. They’re scrabbling to replace reliable, old-fashioned sources like coal and nuclear with windpower, wavepower and solar. Not only are these things inherently unable to pull the cart, but the old fossil fuel plants aren’t allowed to be maintained properly or upgraded.

But mostly because there are a lot more people on this little island than they’re letting on. The official figure is somewhere around 60 million, but lots of people think it’s at least 10 million more than that. Based on quantifiable data like housing shortages and stock movement in the big supermarket chains. (On an unrelated note, they pulled something like another 30 ‘migrants’ out of the water near us today alone).

It was pretty messy, because it essentially knocked out all transportation. On a Friday. People were using their phones to light their way out of the subway, at least one lady got stuck in a carriage because the doors wouldn’t open (where was the backup power to basic emergency services? Good question).

Expect more of this. But hey, I expect the enthusiasm for green energy to wane when Jemima can’t charge her iphone.

And yes we lost power, but just long enough to turn off our computers and not long enough that we noticed until we noticed our computers were off. Good weekend, everyone!

August 9, 2019 — 10:29 pm
Comments: 13

It’s sad, really

From the same show, a small section of a Wall o’ Guns. As you might imagine, these are mostly replicas and functionally destroyed guns.

But not all. There are some tiny loopholes for muzzle-loading firearms and guns of no longer manufactured calibers, and he had a few. No longer manufactured here. Ahem.

This man does the leatherwork and was principally showing off that, and very nice it was, too. But you could tell he loved his pistoles.

And yes, if you’ve read about the MASSIVE KILLER HEAT WAVE, it’s been warm. Today was the hottest, in the mid-nineties hereabouts. That is indeed very hot for here. But now we’re having a violent thunderstorm to blow it all away and it will be back in the low seventies tomorrow.

We may very well lose our internets. Fair warning.

July 25, 2019 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 6

They got to Mr Punch

We went to a surprisingly subdued Punch and Judy show this weekend. It was missing several key elements. Punch didn’t have his distinctive squeaky voice (made by one of those mouth-whistle things like they used to sell in the comic books for ventriloquism) and his slap stick, which is just what it sounds like.

Even worse, there wasn’t a single murder. Punch didn’t clobber Judy, or the policeman. The baby didn’t fall into the sausage machine. The policeman didn’t brain Punch. And nobody at all got hanged.

To be fair, no Punch and Judy show includes all those elements, and almost none of them do the hanging these days. I’m willing to put most of that down to a less than polished performer (‘the Professor’ as a Punch and Judy showman is always called), but I have a feeling the shocking lack of violence was deliberate.

What is the world coming to?

p.s. sorry about the terse post last night. I was pissed. That was a lot of work to go through to end up with a saucepan full of FAIL.

July 24, 2019 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 8

Happy birthday, big guy

It’s Big Ben’s 160th birthday today. Or, more accurately, the 160th anniversary of the first time it struck.

I nicked the picture from Wikipedia, so I’m assuming it’s safe. That’s actually from 2007, when he was having his face cleaned.

First time I heard it struck, Uncle B took me into London without telling me why, maneuvered me directly under it just as it bonged out the hour. Just like on the BBC news.

Ironically, it’s under scaffolding today being overhauled. Renovations are expected to last into 2021.

July 11, 2019 — 8:59 pm
Comments: 8

Here we go!

The Summer fete/flower festival/country fair season is upon us and this is a homity pie.

Never had it before. In fact, I haven’t had it now. I’m savin’ it for lunch.

It’s a pastry crust filled with potatoes and an onion and leek mixture. Then it’s covered in cheese and baked. This particular variable has mustard seeds in it, which I haven’t seen in any of the recipes. A nice old lady sold it to us at a country fair.

It looks like the cross between a quiche and a ‘za.

I’ve never heard anyone in the wild say ‘za, by the way. It’s a word I picked up playing an online variation of Scrabble. Very handy for dumping unwanted Zs.

And with that, the festival season begins!

May 27, 2019 — 8:56 pm
Comments: 12

Happy birthday, Sherlock

According to the National Archives, today is Sherlock Holmeseses birthday. The birthday of the character? The birthday of the creation of the character? I dunno. They don’t say. They do say

Scotland Yard used to receive many letters from individuals hoping to make contact. Allegedly a secretary was later employed to respond, explaining he was no longer detecting and had left London to enjoy a rural retirement in Sussex.

Hey, we could be fictional neighbors!

p.s. ever since I told WordPress I use a British keyboard, it changes my Z’s to S’s and puts all those gay extra U’s in stuff.

May 21, 2019 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 12

Yep, they’re still washing up

Unexploded bomb spotted at Beachy Head. It’s apparently only visible at low tide, so the bomb disposal squad is waiting for morning. You know, if you want to run out and steal it.

I wonder what damn fool took the picture.

Beachy Head is a tall chalk cliff near Eastbourne and is the UK’s favorite suicide spot. In fact, Wikipedia tells me it’s the third most popular suicide destination in the world, after the Golden Gate Bridge and the Aokigahara Woods. People have been offing themselves there since at least the 7th Century.

The one that sticks in my head is the poor bastard who drove his rascal off the cliff. Now that’s determination.

Happy Monday!

May 20, 2019 — 9:36 pm
Comments: 11

I don’t think you could hide many merry men in there

Ladies and gentlemen, Sherwood Forest.

Somebody went on a hike there today; it came across my Twitter feed. It’s a park now, naturally. It blows my mind when I see something cross my threshold and I realize, ohhhhh, THAT Sherwood Forest.

Like the time Uncle B and I were out driving a ways from home and I said, “oh, look — there’s a tea room called the House at Pooh Corner.” And he was like, “no, Weasel, I’m pretty sure that’s the actual House at Pooh Corner.” And I’m like “GET. OUT!!!!

Right. Remember. Tomorrow. 6 WBT. Dead Pool Round 121.

May 16, 2019 — 9:39 pm
Comments: 9