Wednesday, December 03, 2014

British Constitution: a guide.

One of the highlights of my week is my journey home of a Wednesday lunchtime when Prime Minister’s Questions is on the electric radio. I usually react to this celebration of the pinnacle of the democratic process by switching it off and listening to some music. For those of you unfortunate enough not to live in the UK here is how it works. Once a week the Prime Minister (Slimy Dave) answers questions from fellow members of parliament. The questions alternate between his own party and the opposition parties. A typical session commences something like this:

“Would the right honourable gentleman care to take advantage of the opportunity to answer this fatuous question by blaming everything bad that has ever happened on the previous government?”

The next question is of the form:

“Would my right honourable friend care to lean forward a little further so that my tongue can reach the other end of his digestive tract?”

Today on my return journey George Total Twat Osborne was taking the opportunity to fill the airwaves with his fanciful and mendacious bile.

I listened to Frank Zappa instead. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

There is nothing like a good education, is there?

I have had a lovely email from a gentleman in New Jersey (the American state not the item of apparel – stop being silly). Here is my reply:

Mel! Thanks for the message. I am overwhelmed by your kindness and have taken the trouble to respond to most of your points by interspersing your comments with mine. I hope this does not confuse you. (Your bits are in blue mine in red)

Late Stage College Planning- You Can Still Save A lot of Money On College Costs

Not strictly accurate. If I am spending money then, by definition, I am not saving it. I cannot save money on costs I can only try to reduce costs. Are you trying to save costs by not capitalising the “l” in “lot” and the “o” in “of” because I don’t think that works with electronic media. Maybe You have put A lot of Research into This, but having read the rest of your letter I remain unconvinced. 

As the parents of a college-bound student, you may be very confused and suffering from anxieties, sleepless nights, fear of going broke, and acquiring huge student debt. If so, you are not alone. With the dramatic increase in the cost of college during the past few decades, paired with the extreme highs and lows of the market and the economy, many families simply can’t afford to attempt this important and expensive process on their own. For most parents, the college years will be the most expensive time in their lives. It makes good sense to seek some assistance.

I am not the parents of a college-bound student, neither am I the parents of an egg-bound student nor a clothbound student but I do have paperbound book – alas I am not its parents. I, being singular, cannot be the parents of anything. Although I have often been given advice along the lines of – to paraphrase – copulating with myself, I have never heeded that advice (you are evidently no stranger to dubious advice) and even if I had, I suspect that there would be numerous pitfalls even before the possibility of gestation. Mel, dear boy, prithee read that first sentence again. It isn’t very well constructed is it? Did your teachers not warn you about the dangers of too many “ands”? We have a saying over here – “Many ands make stuff unwork”. Perhaps you have a degree in marketing which would explain your complete disregard for English usage. In most walks of life it is useful to be able to convey your ideas succinctly and be sanguine about the audience’s chances of comprehending them; in marketing the reverse is true.

We help families evaluate the various options available to them such as whether a private college makes more sense than a public one, or perhaps a trade school makes even better sense. Should your child begin at a Community College and then transfer to a four year school later? Making decisions on these important issues should be based on real knowledge, not myth. Selecting the “right” college can make the difference in both your child’s happiness and the potential savings of thousands of dollars.

Now I see your point – I am confused! If a trade school does not make better sense that a private college, does it matter whether it makes better sense that a public one? Where does this leave me? Why is the right college in quotation marks? Is this a meaning of the word “right” (correct use of quotation marks there, Mel!) with which I am unfamiliar? What do you mean by a college making more sense? You do not display much expertise on the topic of making sense so perhaps I should move on.

At (Name censored - Ed.), we will help you craft a structured plan for choosing the right institution for your

College–bound children without jeopardizing your own retirement, including:

We will not mention the new paragraph there. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it. 

§  Separating myth from reality in order to make educated decisions (not what is heard at the water fountain at work or from the neighbor next door);

I do not have a water cooler at my place of work. We do, however, glory in the possession of a kettle. To the best of my recollection (and I must confess that I cannot remember the details of every conversation I have had at that location) I have never been misled or subject to mendacious propaganda. There was, however, an occasion in 1995 when I had cause to doubt the judgement of a colleague in regard to his opinion of the qualities of the episode of “Father Ted” which we had both seen the previous evening. What really concerns me about this point is the construction. Are you implying that water-fountain gossip is myth or do you believe it to be reality? What is reality? Having pondered your missive for some time I am beginning to believe that I ought to invest some time in delving into existential philosophy. If I am to take that course should I chose a private or public college or a trade school? Is there a trade school for philosophy? Should that be “or” or “nor” in your point? Perhaps I need to learn more about simple syntax. Further you specify my next door neighbour. What about the neighbour next door but one? Are they more or less prone to veracity? How do you know? I have always viewed my neighbours as upright and reliable, now you are sowing the seeds of doubt. Even though they seldom discuss matters of more importance than the weather (I have, after all, only been resident here for 25 years) I am beginning to think that I should carry waterproof clothing with me at all times, even when one of these bastards tells me that it is a fine day.

§  Navigating the process for making the right choices about college-those best suited for your child;

§  Forecasting realistic chances of admission at selected colleges using comprehensive, proprietary software, and identifying a plan to improve those chances for schools that may seem out of reach..

Why does this point end with a double full-stop when the others end with a semi-colon? Can any point really end with a semi-colon and have grammatical integrity? It has only taken two readings of your little article to make me question my understanding of even the most simple elements of construction and style.

§  Formulating a plan that will minimize the cost of attendance, reduce out of pocket expenses and maximize financial aid;

§  Differentiating between the pricing of so -called "cheaper" state colleges and "expensive" private colleges – Public institutions do not necessarily equate to a lower cost of attendance;

Why is there a space before “so” and “-called”? Why does Public have a capital “P”?

§  Assisting in the preparation of the FAFSA form;       PLUS MUCH MORE

Our planning team consists of experienced financial advisors and a former college admissions director with
40 + years of experience in higher education, including 18 years working in the “Ivies”.

First step: visit us for a complimentary meeting when we will provide an overview of the college selection process, estimate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and help you calculate the amount of financial aid that might be available. For more information or to make your complimentary appointment, please give us a call at (censored - Ed.).
Anyway, Mel, dear friend (I feel so very close to you already) I should point out that I am a resident of the UK. (In case you voted Republican at the recent elections, UK stands for “United Kingdom” and is not part of the United States. We have our own government and everything.) I do not have children of any description let alone those about to embark on college education in North America.

Perhaps you should consider checking your email addresses. But please write again – I cannot convey how much pleasure I have derived from our relationship. In the meantime I will seek out a volume of P G Wodehouse so that he can learn me how to write good again.
Love and peace

Saturday, November 01, 2014


There is a story, in the Grauniad amongst others, that Asshat Osborne is going to be paying back war bonds. I did not know about these things (and there is no need to inform me, thank you very much) but it seems very bizarre and unsavoury.

The UK government borrowed some money to finance the first world war and has been paying interest on those loans ever since. Apparently most of the bond owners are individuals rather than banks. I am not interested in knowing who these people are, but, FFS, would you want your financial security tied up in paying for the Somme? (Apparently there are other bonds still around that date back to the Napoleonic wars and the South Sea Bubble).

My grandfather was definitely not one of the bond buyers. He didn't have any money for that shit anyway. Instead he sent his oldest son to get killed going over the top in a futile attempt to capture a useless hill and then the next oldest son was gassed in the war and died of cancer in his 40s.

The centenary of this war is sobering and shocking. It exemplifies the pitiful moral immaturity of our species in being unable to resolve our differences without conflict. From what I can see the only suitable marking of these anniversaries is that of lament. There may have been heroism in the midst of it, but all I can think of is the thousands upon thousands of boys buried in north west Europe and all of the others around the world killed for no purpose.

I am, of course, equally culpable. My taxes are paying for the murder of children all the way from Syria to Pakistan.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

To help you keep well-informed

History has corners of relative obscurity where the lesser-known relatives of famous historical figures carve their own nooks and crannies in the passageway that is our journey towards our destiny. Very often these characters had a more profound influence than that for which they are generally given credit. There follows a history of some of them.

Vlad the Improver

Vlad was a helpful child and as he matured his helpfulness blossomed. He saw it as his role to make things better despite the obstacles put in his way, often by those whom he was attempting to aid. His firm conviction that he possessed the gift of seeing things the way that they were meant to be ensured that he was always busy. He would roll up at someone or other’s dwelling – the dwelling could be anything from a rude hut to a carefully crafted castle, the someone (or other) could be a close friend, a casual acquaintance or just some chosen person whose home he happened to be passing. Without the awkward business of waiting to be asked he would set about rearranging the furniture, changing the décor, moving doors and windows, re-styling clothes and so on. The projects could last anything from a few hours to months at a time. “No rest for the gifted” he would quip, quite regularly, and no one was allowed to rest until perfection had been achieved. Strangely people were not always pleased to receive his help. Luckily for them the concept of psychoanalysis had not yet been discovered – had it been, then Vlad would have felt compelled to improve the character of people as well as their environment. As it was, however, increasing numbers of people were driven from their homes, often destroying them completely before leaving. They would travel as far away as possible, often so deranged by fear of a visit that they would volunteer to be impaled by Vlad’s hitherto easy-going cousin.

Attila the Hungry

In the dark ages, the folk of central and southern Europe had a pretty hard time of it. It was dark for one thing and central and southern Europe for another. Like most young people, Attila had an appetite that exceeded his corporeal needs. Sadly, he had no culinary skills and was too lethargic from overeating to find or buy food for himself. He therefore adopted the habit of fetching up at someone or other’s house (a different someone or other than those visited by Vlad; these people did not all live in the same age) at mealtime in the hope of being invited to join in. Such was his patience that in most cases the residents would ask him if he would care to share their food. Within minutes he would be outside about ninety percent of the comestibles in the house and be asleep in front of the fire, his corpulence often resulting in preventing the heat from reaching other parts of the house. It is reckoned that during his journeys across the steppes and Europe, as many as four in five people died of starvation combined with fatigue.

Ginseng Khan

“You want to rub a little bit of dianthus oil on that” was typical of the sort of advice disseminated by young Khan. We assume that until very recently the skills of doctors and apothecaries were primitive, bound up in myth, and ineffective. This view is not without some justification, but there have always been those with gifts of healing and folklore has quite regularly built up a valuable collection of remedies and treatments. Young Khan was blessed with the conviction that nature had a cure for everything. He had unguents for ulcers, balms for blisters, soups for syphilis all carefully prepared from flora and fungi that he had collected and distilled himself. Scholars estimate that upwards of three and three-quarter million people died from his cures. Many times that number were driven insane by mushroom-induced hallucinations. When Genghis Khan started to have itchy feet and felt like spending winter in Venice, he found that his march through civilisation went largely unchallenged because no bugger was well enough to stop him.

Alexander the Grout

“Yes – I’ll be there next Tuesday to finish it off” – householders from Skopje to Surat were told the same thing. You could scarcely visit a settlement on that route that had not been bodged by young Al. His most famous projects included the Tat Mahal, the Hanging baskets of Babylon (“OK – my guy says that the compost will be with you soon, problem with the supplier, mate – nothing I can do”), the statues of Zeus (“Only one Zeus? You better ask Monty Python about that”) and the Lighthouse of Alexandria (“Not my fault, pal, I didn’t do the wiring, have you tried finding a sparks in ante-Christian Egypt?”). When his nephew set off on his adventures he was greeted in delight by the inhabitants who only discovered too late that he was not head of the party of Eastern European craftsmen that they had sent for at very reasonable rates. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Visitor receives the honorary title of Uffar Gwirion

The children smiled politely, but were certainly not going to pull his finger.

Slimy Dave wonders if he can get away with smacking the foreign-looking kid while Bazza is distracted.

Bazza takes some time out to visit the special needs pupil.

In response to the question, Bazza points out on the map exactly "where the fuck" he is from.

"Tell me if you think you are going to get away with this shit"

Having spent several hours in the company of what can only be described as an utter twat, Bazza delights in some mature conversation.

Slimy Dave proudly boasts of his budgetary restructuring, moving money from school meals to supporting local businesses. "A hungry kid is a motivated kid" he explains. Angela wonders whether to drink her water or pour it over the daft bastard. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Maud - sod off out of my garden you bloody hoodlum

Our walk today took us to Waggoners Wells, where there is a plaque commemorating a poem written there by Tennyson in 1863.

Here is what Alf wrote:

"Flower in the crannied wall"

Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Here is the poem I wrote today:

Flower in the crannied wall
I leave you just where I found you
If every bugger tore out the flora
Mankind would all be much the poorer
Tennyson, poet or a know it all?
Vandal. That is God’s (and also my) view

Will I get a plaque? Will I bollocks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Keeping up with the correspondence

An interesting selection of emails arrive this evening.

1) From Chattanooga a young man invites me to “Dr. David Banks will be teaching on Professionalism, get ready for the time of your life. “
I reply thus:
Do you, by any chance, think that as part of the good doctor's discourse on professionalism he will touch on the topic of making sure that you always have the correct email address?
And has anyone ever pointed out that your name is an anagram of "An orgasmic hen"? 
love and peace

2) I am alarmed to learn that my membership of Bay Harbor (sic) Fitness has expired.
I tell them:
Thank you. As you are 4396.8 miles from my house, I figure that I could get as fit as I need by walking to your establishment. It may be a tad tiring, so I would be grateful for a lift back.
love and peace

3) I am surprised to learn that I applied for the role of Plant Manager in East Palestine – a young lady writes thus:
Thank you very much for your interest in the Plant Manager role. We are writing to let you know this position has been put on hold indefinitely.
I reply, effusively:
Thank you for letting me know.
I note that there is an East Palestine in Ohio, and I am assuming that this is the location of the role to which you allude. This is a relief as the other Palestine would not be my chosen work location at the moment. 
I don't recall sharing any interest in plant management - I tend to put them in the ground surround them with some organic compost and make sure that they are watered as required - more husbandry than management I would say, but it is perhaps my tendency towards pedantry that was a factor in my lack of success in obtaining this post. 
As the venue is 3703.2 miles from my house, I would probably not be there on time each morning, so perhaps it is for the best.
By the way, did you know that your name was an anagram of "Naked as the lingerie"?
love and peace

4) The same man from Chattanooga writes :
What would you do with $2500 to make Chattanooga a more connected city?
I reply:

I would buy train tickets, leaving the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four
You’re making it too easy now.
Love and peace

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Monetary slang

Yesterday I received an email that began:

It was a pleasure speaking with you again today.  Below is the formula to determine the minimum collateral value before a house call for both Margin and Non-Purpose Loans.  The maintenance requirement for equities is 30% for both loan types.

Minimum Collateral Value = Debit Balance / 1 – Maintenance Requirement

And concluded:

Please call me if any additional questions come up.

I didn’t have any questions as such, so I consulted my friends on Facebook, and was able to compile a comprehensive and challenging list. I was therefore able to reply thus:

Yo! Bobby!

It sure was cool to speak TO you too, although I have no recollection of it.

There is an expression used in the home of the Empire “I didn’t understand a word of it”. That would not be apposite in this case, as I understood all of the words; it was your neat trick of combining them in such a way as to render them incomprehensible that got me. Well done!

Anyway, I didn’t really have any questions, so I asked my friends on Facebook if they would like to take advantage of your kind offer. Here they are:

Rosemarie asks: WTF? You know people who can decipher that shit?   (that one may rhetorical)
Mike: How long before you own all of my assets?
Lynne: If God created the sun on the fourth day, how had four days passed?
Richard: …do you still do that IRS dodge you they used to and who is your contact?
Lynne (again): what is purpose of a non-purpose loan?
Dave: Where did I put my car keys?
FN: Would you rather be a flying horse, a unicorn, or just a regular horse?
Lynne (again, she’s a saucy minx, isn’t she?): Would you rather star in a porn film and have to watch it with your parents or have your parents star in a porn film and have to watch it with your friends?
Richard (again): Red sauce, brown sauce or no sauce at all?
Norma: Mathematically, with no brackets, that formula does not make sense! Why divide anything by 1?
FN: (again): Did you ever practise kissing with one of your sisters' Barbies?
Adam: Guess what?

Over to you

Love and peace.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


The Indescribable reports "Nigel Farage says homosexuality makes most Britons aged over 70 feel uncomfortable as he defends candidate Roger Helmer"

This is a tricky one, isn't it? Maybe our Nige is telling the truth for once. I tend to err on the side of fairness, and just because someone has a proven track record of talking total bollocks all of the time, it does not prove that he is not occasionally capable of telling the truth once or twice. But let's put him aside for a moment. I would quite like to put him aside permanently – it is not as though there is a shortage of twats to replace him.

Let us turn our attention for a moment then to the elderly. Yes, they may be irritating and irrelevant, but that does not mean that they are not deserving of compassion. So, granddad, if homosexuality makes you feel uncomfortable the solution is simple. Stop doing it. Alternatively, find a less painful way of doing it – I am sure that these exist, but don’t wish to encourage the use of this website for the dissemination of such information.

If any of you wish to tell Roger how to roger Nigel in a less painful way, his website is here:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lady Chatterley's Plover

A few weeks ago a friend of mine appeared on the electric television (for about the length of time it takes a rhea to cross a road) having been witness to a rhea roaming the Hertfordshire countryside.

The Torygraph and other worthy tomes today report that it has been shot. The rhea, that is, not my friend – he remains cheerfully bullet-free, despite the best efforts of the Establishment.

The dangerous animal (again, I allude to the bird, not my friend) was shot by a gamekeeper. There is no irony in the job title being in direct conflict with the job description. A local golfer is quoted as saying “It’s sad that someone had to shoot it, but if it was a traffic hazard, I understand that.”

My niece pointed out that “traffic hazards” are not exclusively avian. If there is a need to rid the world of potential traffic hazards then it is incumbent on me to join the kill. I will be arming myself like Rambo and setting of in pursuit of them. I believe I shall start with Hertfordshire golfers, whose ridiculous clothing can distract motorists, whose badly directed golf balls can easily unseat motor cyclists and whose ridiculous opinions can cause car drivers (me) to such excesses of rage that they lose all notion of highway etiquette.

It is perhaps a cruel thing to do, but I am not one to shirk my duty. I will attempt to be humane in the execution and leave the bodies neatly piled in bunkers so that they can be easily covered over.

If you can let me have a list of other potential traffic hazards, I will develop a schedule on my free weekends.

*  For the benefit of Abe, the CIA analyst who has been tasked with monitoring my net activities (Hi, Abe – how are Cynthia and the kids?), I should perhaps point out that this article is intending to be satirical. I am, as you know, a pinko, tree-hugging, commie, pacifist faggot, and the only dangerous weapon I shall be likely to wield today is my bread knife should I feel esurient of an evening and set about the organic, wholemeal loaf that I baked overnight in order to get outside some of it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Stink Theory

Just yesterday evening on the electric wireless, there was a short piece about TCM the scientists and another of their invaluable experiments. I will list the points made.

·         They were conducting experiments on mice in order to research pain
·         The mice did not show behaviour consistent with experiencing pain
·         They (the experimenters, not the experimentees, ffs) deduced that the mice’s reaction was due to their showing signs of stress which somehow alleviated the pain
·         This stress disappeared when the experimenters left the room
·         They then discovered that the stress was only present when the mice were being handled by men; when women were present it had no effect
·         They discovered that the scent of men is similar to the scent of male mice and this was influencing the mice
·         They proved this by asking the men to leave behind their sweaty t-shirts and leave the room – the mice were stressed by the smell of male human clothing
·         This experiment was conducted in Canada

Here are some of my observations on this little story

·         After 14 billion + years of this universe expanding, the most intelligent life form known in these parts has still not evolved beyond the stage of finding it necessary to torture rodents.
·         Don’t we already know that observers affect the outcome – innit called the Observer Paradox or summat?
·         If the smell of the human male has such an acute effect upon the scientific method, it supports my theory that all of the science I learned in school is flawed, if not complete balderdash. All of the experiments I observed during the 5 painful years I was forced to learn chemistry, physics and biology were conducted in the presence of a roomful of adolescents. For most of the time I was too shy to get close enough to the girls to find out whether they smelt unpleasant, but I can testify that the boys were beyond disgusting and this has been my experience of adolescent males ever since; they stink. The little belief I had before in magnetic north and south poles, the reflexes of frogs and Avogadro’s hypothesis and all other guff has now dissipated, and I confess to feeling strangely liberated. Those particles whizzing round the corridors at Cern are motivated only by the need to get away from the disgusting odour of physicists. We shall learn nothing about the nature of existence by meddling with it.
·         If the human armpit smells like a mouse armpit, then there is probably a market out there for rodent deodorant.
·         If you are unfortunate enough to be admitted to hospital and require an operation make sure that you request that the anaesthesiologist has appalling personal hygiene.
·         The sight of the experimenters removing their shirts would probably cause most sentient mice more stress than the smell of their sweat.
·         Canadians are not as friendly as they would have us believe
·         Science or religion – which one is more crazy? Buggered if I can decide.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I can tell you what the papers say, but am buggered if I can think of a reason why they are saying it.

I thought that I would begin my day by checking the Torygraph. As ever it provides a treasure trove of insightful material, guaranteed to improve the mind.

“Treasury minister: I will fight against HS2 rail project”. Ms Andrea Leadsom (who she? Ed.) is promising to tie herself to the railway line in protest. Good for her;  I am off to buy some rope, and persuade some of her colleagues to join her. 

I have already mentioned on facebook (who he? Ed.) this sad tale which I originally found elsewhere:

There is an article in the Indescribable today about a Tibetan monk who left his laptop on a train after having his photograph taken with Bozza. It claims that he is upset about losing years of research stored on it (the laptop - not the train or the photograph, do keep up). I suspect that he will be even more distraught when he comes face to face with Lord Yama who will tell him that he will be reincarnated as a slug for associating with slimeballs in this life. The path to liberation is strewn with distractions, and I, for one, will not be tempted, which is why I turn down the more lurid requests from some of you. 

William Wordsworth would be in 'fits' about planning reforms, says Sir Andrew Motion”. I wish that old Bill had been a political campaigner, rather than taking to his chalk and slate with the result that we were meant to study his utterances on damp October afternoons instead of being out losing our virginity behind the gym. Verbose old bugger. “Intimations of Immortality” my arse. In “The Solitary Reaper” Wordsworth describes the singing of a young lady, presumably she is singing in Gaelic as he wonders about the subject of her song. Well, Bill, she was actually chanting a warning to other local girls about a dodgy looking voyeur and potential pervert.

Mary Berry (who she? Ed) is campaigning against overcooked omelettes. I am sure you all share her outrage. There are cynics who would say that the established media have not only scraped the bottom of the barrel when it comes to suitable subject matter, but have removed 28 feet of topsoil beneath it. I have long eschewed the practice of digesting poultry periods, so her remonstrations will not attract my support, but let us all be grateful that she has found a cause that will add meaning to her life. 

They also report that “Gemma Chan, the Sherlock actress, says she hopes Arsenal will win the FA Cup after the injuries the team have suffered.” Gemma (who she? Ed) should be applauded for sharing this opinion with us all, and we should not be conflicted if it turns out that President Ivan Gašparovič of Slovakia will be rooting for Hull.

Finally, there is a long article about gifts being given to prince George by the happy Antipodeans. They are wasting their time – I haven’t even had a thank you note for the dog castrating kit that I sent him for the christening. I know Bill is too dumb to write, but Kathy is capable of wielding a crayon if there is a footman available to hold the paper still, ffs.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

I love you all

For all of you who will be celebrating the death of a quasi-fictional, god-bothering soppy bastard tomorrow, may I remind you that February 14th is also the anniversary of the death of P G Wodehouse, a man who could bring more joy in a few words than a warehouse full of crap verses hawked by the avaricious to the gullible.

So don't waste your money on rip-off meals and chemical laden flora, perambulate merrily in the general direction of your library and pick up an improving novel.

"He was a tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say 'when!'"

Friday, January 17, 2014

Alfred the Grave

I am sure that you will all be delighted to read in the Torygraph that some interminable busybody has been poking around among the dead, and claims to have found the bones of king Alfred in a box in Winchester. It is a little late to return them to him, but I am sure he is grateful for the attention.

Most of you will be familiar with Alf, although very few will have attended his funeral. I wish they would leave him in peace, along with future corpses in North Hampshire, amongst whom I may well number sometime in the next 50 years.

The Torygraph reports that the bones may be those of Alf’s son, Edward the Elder. Alf showed great perspicacity in bestowing this sobriquet onto his son. Many of our modern royals resemble shrubs, in appearance, intelligence and, one would like to think, in their contribution to the welfare of us all. Ted’s daughter married an illegal immigrant, one Sitric Caech (Norwegian for Citrus Cake), and thus the purity of the genetic line was ensured.

Alfred is portrayed as a great hero among the British. I am sure Michael Gove has a photograph of him on his desk. He was not, however, a great liberal reformer, and somewhat cruelly named one of his sons Ethel Weird.

When I get home, I shall have a rummage round in the loft to see if there is any trace of Vortigern, king of the Britons.