12 February 2017

Good morning to you all. I’m sitting in my study looking out the window over the Upper Green, Moreton Pinkney as the snowflakes drift casually down, lovely to look at and thankfully insufficient to cause any disruption or inconvenience. I think this calls for a warm fire.

Back in the day when we lived in Radway we could be assured of at least a couple of days of moderate snow fall. Each year there would be two or three days when the snow was sufficient to make my journey into work very challenging at the very least or downright impossible; with any luck, we could always look forward to at least a couple days off school when all of us, me, Pen, the boys and whichever dogs were in residence at the time, would go sledging on Edgehill.

Nowadays it’s difficult to recollect any such accumulation of snow. I think in Byfield we had maybe two or three occasions when the snow amounted to anything more than a trivial dusting and certainly I cannot remember being “stranded” at all in the eighteen years we lived there. In Radway we were “stranded” a couple of times every year.

As you can see, this time, once again, we’ve had almost no accumulation (and that’s the most we’ve had this year). One might begin to suspect that climate change wasn’t simply a left-wing hoax but fortunately the following cartoon from the New Yorker is reassuring:

During the cold weather, Ms Playchute has been steadily providing sustenance to the bird population of the village and this morning I reckon about three-quarters of them were busy devouring the seed Penelope has put out for their benefit. The “General,” as I have come to refer to the male pheasant who appears most afternoons, even made an earlier than usual appearance.

Still, it’s not all cold and gloom, there are distinct signs that Spring can’t be too far away. We ran across these beauties poking their heads above the ground on a very pleasant walk earlier in the week.

We had a wonderful visit with our friends on the south coast last weekend. We went down to see Miles Jupp doing his stand-up routine at the Brighton Dome which was a lot of fun. Certainly we laughed all the way through the evening and through most of the rest of the weekend as well. Being with kindred spirits helps you to appreciate that it’s not you going mad but the rest of the world!

Jupp’s rambling monologue was very amusing but one story in particular struck home to me. He has a gaggle of young children and he described how he was driving in the car with his wife and kids one day as they passed the site of a brand new Tesco supermarket. From the back of the car, one of the children chirped, “I cannot believe how f**king big that Tesco is!” No wonder the parents of my grandchildren are worried about what their daughters might come out with one day.

The BBC had a piece earlier in the week on the Brexit vote which provided some interesting analysis of the Referendum result. In a nutshell, the older and less-well educated wards voted to Leave while the younger and more highly educated voters tended toward Remain. Or, in other words, the ignorant, old and senile have cast us on this voyage of misadventure but it will always remain Cameron’s calamity. Thoughtlessly catastrophic. Sad.

This graph will give you a feel for pretty much the rest of the analysis.

I wonder what a similar analysis of the US Presidential vote would look like.

I ran across an excellent article by John Cassidy in the New Yorker about Brexit. With all the insanities going on in Washington and the so-called President, the Stateside-based media have more than enough nonsense and alt-facts to report on. So, it was a pleasant surprise to find his nice little primer on how we came to be in this mess. Too bad the picture he paints of the UK moving forward is so thoroughly depressing.

With the right-wing tabloids busy running stories, many of them dubious, about immigrants with large families relying on welfare programs, many British voters paid little attention to careful studies showing that E.U. migrants, as a whole, pay considerably more in taxes than they receive in government benefits. Fake news triumphed.

Fake News – aka, Lies

With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, have a look at this article in the Guardian – Unhappy Valentines: Romantic Holiday Disasters. It will put your less-than-successful romantic evenings into perspective.

And finally, this came up on my New Yorker desk calendar the other day. It just about sums up the excitement in our household of a winter’s eve.

Love to you all,





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