Thursday, June 29, 2006


Every time I travel on the Underground I find myself breaking the regualtions.
I can never find a dog to carry, as I descend the escalator.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nannies & Toys

It seems to me that busy mothers and fathers who entrust their children to the care of nannies and child-minders store up trouble for their off–spring. The apparent benefits of this alternative care conceal the creation of a serious level of short-term pyschological inadequacy. What the long-term effects maybe I do not know.

In the majority of cases when I have entertained children who are not in regular, daily contact, with their parents these youngsters often exhibit a greater degree of attention seeking behaviour than their poorer, and usually lower class, counterparts. They fidget, cannot settle, do not cooperate easily with other youngsters at the party and raise their voice in conversation in an attempt to dominate. The worst manifestation is the need to become violent with those around, in an attempt to achieve close physical contact ~ it is euphemistically called "play fighting".
It isn’t that the nannies do not do a good job but they can be no more than a surrogate parent especially when the natural parent is still in evidence, albeit infrequently.

So often these children have around them, piles of expensive toys, many sadly discarded, which have been provided for them by the 'caring' parents. None of these costly items, however, can replace the close parental contact that is really needed to promote healthy social development in the child.

The latest technological games quite often require one participant so that any chance of inter-acting with other humans, rather than a machine, is almost non-existent. The days when a rag doll, a stuffed toy or an unusually shaped piece of wood could fire the imagination and entertain are gone.

Advert picture

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Look Alikes

The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare (1564~1616)

The similarities between the young and the old not only relate to helplessness, lack of teeth, hair, and control of bodily functions, but equally, I have observed, to physical characteristics; the ‘facial look’ being the most significant. It appears to me that the very young and the very old version of the same person look more alike than their teenager, youth or middle-aged, counterpart.
Study a very young face and you will see how the person will look in old age.

Young & Old Hands by Luisella

Thursday, June 22, 2006


So clean, so environmentally safe and good.
The bike maybe, but what about the rider?

The Red Traffic Light is meaningless to the majority of cyclists who ignore them creating a danger to other motorists and pedestrians alike.

There are those who are trying to create a better,safer, environment despite the behaviour of cyclists who create mayhem.

BBC Article about parent protests at cyclists who fail to stop at red lights

Night time, and most cyclists ride without any lights.
Complete irresponsible maddness.
Cyclists who ride without lights in the dark could be fined during a police crackdown.
Not a wide enough campaign I fear, although elsewhere some are fighting a losing battle.
‘I use lights when it’s dark because otherwise I get smeared across the tarmac’ and ‘I don’t ride along pavements like a five year old’.

Pavements. Obviously the province of the cyclist not the pedestrian.
No cyclist on a pavement could care less about others or the law.

I once witnessed a cyclist without lights, at night, ignoring a stop light and sped past, going the wrong way up a one way street, and then swerved to ride on the pavement.

This link will give you all the facts and distressing figures.

60,000 approx pedestrians involved in an accident with a cyclist in one year. “This explains why cyclists have so bad opinion among pedestrians.”

Illegal Cycling on Footways. Hansard: Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835.
“Cycling on the footway poses danger, concern and fear to pedestrians, particularly to elderly or disabled ones.”
How many near misses I have had as I step out onto the pavement from my house? I don’t care to remember.
Pedestrians need now, to exercise the Highway Code to cross pavement as well as the road!

To cap it all Lambeth Council have used ratepayers money to advertise the benefits of cycling in the borough. The advert depicts a bicycle and a female rider astride it. Where is this bike? On the pavement outside the Ritzy cinema in Brixton.

Cyclists have no insurance, no identification, no compulsory training, no consideration for others, and are accountable to no one. They are truly a law unto themselves and a danger to us all.

In the USA the situation is just as mad!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Traffic ~ Calmed?

Those raised humps do everything, apart from make for a calm journey. It is an excuse not to mend the roads by removing the potholes and the lumps. Contractors are paid to make the road condition worse. Now, we all pay for the addition of lumps and bumps. The cost is not only to the wear and tear on the vehicle; the increased pollution by driving in a low gear but also the toll on the comfort of the driver who now pays attention the where the lump is sited in order to approach it centrally, minimising the jolt. The driver should rather be watching other traffic and looking out for pedestrians about to leap out in front their vehicle.
All in all, these lumps encourage erratic driving and possibly cause more accidents than they are meant to prevent.

Image: Traffic Calming 101

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dressing Up

Time was when rushing and kicking and screaming around the football field was the activity for the national winter sport. When the cricket season began it was a signal that summer had arrived and the howling mobs of winter soccer fans were relegated to quieteness for a few months whilst the flannelled fools established that unmistakable click of leather on willow followed by polite applause.

Sadly, with the advent of the Packer Test Cricket Matches the screaming fans have found their way onto the summer terraces echoing their winter counterparts.

What still distinguishes the two sets of fans, however, is the dress.

Winter scarves in the livery of the football team together with a bobble hat in suitable colours created a sea of colour from which the songs, many based upon hymn tunes, and chants would rise before giving way to throat-ripping screams as a possible goal approached.

Sun hats over a ruddy complexion from the beer consumed, together with the essential accessory of an umbrella, is what the avid cricket fan sports.

In a year of a football World Cup our relatively peaceful summer is hijacked by the screaming hoards. Everywhere is evidence of their presence; the flags draped around shoulders; the fluttering flags on cars and the unmistakable renaming of this fair land, now called, ‘Ing-ger-laaaand’ until the 10th July when cricket is permitted to return, and the football population pontificate about how, ‘We was robbed’, of victory.

What I find utterly bewildering is the number of players who comprise a team. In my childhood each team had 11 players and some reserves. Now the streets and pubs are full of players in England team shirts. Observing the physique of most of the these ‘team players’ explains why England seldom win the world cup. They are some of the most unhealthy couch sloths imaginable. It has been pointed out to me that they are not team players but 'supporters'. I am led by this information to ponder the motivation for the ‘dressing up’ and the thought that these sad fans could ever be mistaken for a Beckham or a Gazza.

When I entertain at children’s fancy dress birthday parties I have been known to dress up as a character, in the line of duty of course, and certainly the little ones play at being Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Buzz Lightyear.

Recently, whilst purchasing a military costume for a performing job, the Army Surplus shop assistant informed me that his biggest sales were at Christmas and New Year adult fancy dress parties.

What is the emotional age of these adults who parade themselves in England football kit I wonder? Moreover, what is going on when these most unfit people sport the name of a particular player upon their shirt. Just who do think they are kidding? I can understand hero worship amongst the young, emulating a pop or sporting idol. The young still have the potential to become like their hero, but the lumbering beer-gutted middle-aged man??
Please . . .

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A little Wisdom

An elderly 80 something year old lady once observed that if you are in a position to speculate whether two people have "done it" then it is usually safer to assume, given they have had the opportunity, they most probably have.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

And now Marriage

Today the Archbishop of Canterbury decries partnerships as weakening family values. A radio listener wanted to invite the said prelate to her celebration of 25 years partnership which will take place amongst her, once wedded but now divorced, friends. So much for family values! Her union has lasted much longer than those failed, though blessed, marriages.

I do become amused when others pontificate about the royals becoming separated or divorced or re-married; complaining about the fact that a potential monarch has power to appoint bishops in the Church of England. Do these self-righteous commentators have no sense of history?
The Church of England, whose values they so want to defend, was created by the ‘Defender of the Faith’ a certain Mr.Henry number 8. How many wives did he have? How many divorces? How many of them did he have put to death in order that he could re-marry? Who, not acceptinging the stance of the then church on the subject of divorce, abolished it and set up his own, with himself as its supreme head?
Don’t make me laugh.


Thursday, June 08, 2006


When I think about the numbers of people who have been killed in the name of a religion, any religion, coupled with exhortations by those same religious leaders and followers to love or at least, have consideration for other, fellow humans; then I am led to conclude, in the words of ‘1066 and All That’ that “Religion” is, “a Bad Thing”, unless you count expanding one's borders, through invasion and increasing your sphere of influence through conquest, in which case "Religion" is, "a Good Thing"!

To point out all the great achievements that have been made or motivativated, in the name of religion, like architecture of churches and mosques; fabulous music and works of art; charitable foundations and works; persons exhibiting bravery and fortitude in the face of adversity and appalling odds, doesn’t seem to help.
Those great works of religious art which gave employment to artists and artisans were, I suggest, carried out to the glorification of the patron or the body commissioning the work, rather than to the deity celebrated.

A young man was once advised that if he wanted to become rich he should ‘invent a new religion’. There would seem to be plenty of examples where this has worked rather well for the creator.

Perhaps the religion itself is not to blame but the ways in which the adherents interpret it and then behave as a result. This doesn’t help me either because if a doctrine of love can result in mass murder, suppression of freedom and mayhem, performed in its name, then there must be something fundamentally wrong with the original set of beliefs that results in such contrasting and contradictatory action.
Religion, it seems can be the refuge of the scoundrel; the rationalisation for the extremist lunatic.

I cannot accept that any religion that requires its believers to murder others, or die themselves, can be right.

Many religions seem to exclude those who are not signed up members to it; superiority of members over non-members being a major characteristic.

Perhaps the origin of many religions, or at least the successful development of them is that they create or maintain a sense of tribal identity and in the most influencial world religions, help create and effect a sense of national identity. The conflicts between these religions have, in the past, and still today, given rise to wars between countries and their predominant religion ~ the ‘fight’ for that religion enshrined in the national identity has been cited as a justification for the war. If a ‘war on terror’ coincides with a ‘war’ against a religious divide what would happen if the ‘religious’ element were removed from the equation. How many genocides have been carried out on the basis of religious differences? Are we to believe that the religious differences between the murderers and the victims were purely coincidental in these acts of inhuman atrocity?

Is there really any place or justification for this kind of religious superiority remaining in a world that is becoming increasingly multicultural; which by dint of closer cohabitation of those of different cultural backgrounds are beginning to merge into one pan-european, and eventually, pan-global, society. The biggest cities of the world now contain, living cheek by jowl, people from a variety of backgrounds who will enevitably, over time and inter-marriage, merge their cultures.

Can isolationism, based on religious divisions, be justified when there are so many problems, on a world scale, that need a unified response?