Greg's Occasional News & Views

16 December 2018

What a week! We had a great outing to the theatre last Saturday and have also enjoyed a couple of other performances – Annabelle’s and Jessica’s respective Nativity plays. Oh, this is what the festive season is all about!

Last Saturday we trekked up to London to join our friends Sue & Stuart and Dave & Sue for a production of Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre. Sadly, Stuart was unwell so Dave and Sue’s younger daughter Zoe joined us instead – I think she enjoyed herself but hanging out with a group of old fogeys must have been challenging for her.

The production was absolutely fabulous. It starred Ralph Fiennes as Antony and Sophie Okonedo as Cleopatra, both of whom were magnificent. Some of the reviews felt it was a bit slow – it does last three and a half hours with 42 scenes to get through – but I thought it moved right along quite happily. The time seemed to fly by.

The staging, as always it seems, was stunning – there were revolving sets, an opulent Egyptian palace complete with sunken pool and a high tech war room with display screens, radio chatter and the latest satellite technology. At one point the stage revolved and the Egyptian palace descended through the floor to be replaced by another set of scenery – at that point I think my jaw fell through the floor. How do they do that?

On Wednesday afternoon we made our way across to Barford Primary School for Annabelle’s Nativity play. As I’ve written in previous years, I think, this is a great British tradition and Annabelle’s school always puts on something quite entertaining and amusing. This year’s offering in which Bubble played Angel # 6 in the choir of angels was very good and it’s astonishing how the teaching staff can organise and keep focused an abundance of four to seven year olds. Even the flock of sheep, about twenty-five four year olds, kept their nerve, sang their song and danced, each sheep performing more or less the same choreographed routine. Bubble had several lines to deliver which she did with confidence and clarity and the whole affair was great fun.

On Thursday afternoon we trotted down the road to Culworth Primary School to see their Nativity offering in which Jessica was a sheep. I reckon this presents the teaching staff with an even greater challenge – herding a flock of two to three year olds on to the stage and off again at the appropriate points. Jessica certainly looked the part courtesy of an outstanding sheep costume prepared by Ms Playchute even though she clearly had no idea what the heck was going on! At one point she had a little dance all by herself while the others were leaving the stage. A star is born!

Lovely rainbow the other day as Penelope and I strolled around the Edgecote estate just down the road. We were babysitting one of the neighbour’s dogs (Bertie the Cocker Spaniel) while they were off in Copenhagen for the weekend. Thankfully, we got to enjoy the spectacle of a magnificent rainbow (in fact, a double rainbow – you can just see the faint outline of the second one above the first) without getting wet. What are the chances of that?

And so we come to the f**kfest which is Brexit – you could not make this stuff up!

I am sure you’ve all been following the nonsense. The Parliamentary vote on whether or not to approve the Withdrawal Agreement which the government has negotiated was postponed at the 11th hour as the Government faced a humiliating and undoubted defeat. This after Mrs May and various government ministers had declared that the vote would definitely, absolutely, positively go ahead as scheduled. Indeed, a government minister was being interviewed live on television and was saying that the vote would go ahead on Tuesday evening when the interviewer informed him that Mrs May had just announced its postponement. He literally laughed at the news as he’d been sent out to say the exact opposite barely half an hour before.

The irony and hypocrisy is staggering – we can’t have a second vote on Brexit because to do so would be to “devalue democracy” and thwart the “will of the people.” Of course, this is the government which held a general election in 2015 which returned a Conservative majority. In 2017, i.e., two years later, after having declared six times in the previous month that she would not call a snap election, she did so. This election, far from devaluing democracy, returned a parliament with no overall majority. I.e., the “will of the people” had changed – imagine that! In 2016, when the plank Cameron resigned, the Conservative party held a leadership election in which Theresa May was elected leader and hence Prime Minister. This week, dissatisfied with their choice, the loony Brexiteers forced another leadership contest. But, for some reason, it would be anti-democratic to hold another referendum now that the options are known.

I ran across another good metaphor on Facebook describing the current positions:

You put an offer in to buy a house. The structural survey you then commission says, in stark contrast to what the vendors told you, it’s on a sinkhole immediately adjacent to a sewerage farm. Actual wolves live on the street.

Do you:

A) Change your mind about buying (No Brexit)

B) Buy the house anyway (May’s deal)

C) Change your mind but also set fire to the house you currently live in (No Deal)

If you choose Option C the Loony Brexiteers would love to hear from you.

And so we lurch ahead with a staggeringly incompetent government trying to force through an exceptionally unpopular agreement while a band of loony nutters tries to derail the process so that we crash out of the EU with no deal at all. All this when the government’s own economic forecasts suggest that the UK will be substantially worse off under either scenario. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Finally, I ran across this on Facebook the other day, Golam makes the case for a People’s Vote.

Love to you all,




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