So, it seems that it's not just Kofi Annan and Hans Blix who are being bugged and spied upon. Oh no, for is this not the most suspicious looking "Blackbird" you have ever seen? Just sitting at the bottom of our garden turning his head one way and then t'other in a most un-Blackbird like manner. Well, I'm onto their game....... they'll have to do better than that.
And wasn't the Blackbird a spy-plane already?
How apt that on the day of the first Citizenship Ceremonies for new Brits that something happens that makes even one such as I proud to be British. For the results of this survey for the Beeb has accomplished just this emotion. You see, apparently the UK has fewer God Squad types than "...any other country" (though the survey only lists 10). Hurrah, for us (and welcome to the new Brits)!
..and this was going to draw us into a post about "Animal Farm". But then I remembered that that was Snowball.... so that was the end of that little idea.
Pretty flower though, eh?
I'm saddenned to learn of the demise of Mud's Les Gray. Mud were my first favourite band I think..I even had a pair of aviator shades to mimic Les's classic rocker look... but, shades aside, they also provided (via writers Chinn & Chapman) excellent pop tunes and a pleasing sense of humour, never tasking themselves too seriously. Sad. I shall dig out my copy of Mud Rock as soon as I get home.....
Well, I don't know that this is to blame for the decline in Cockernee sparrows everywhere but it cenrtainly isn't going to help in my neck of the woods, is it? We don't often get hawks around here... and certainly not just sitting in the tree looking at the empty bird feeder. Nice to see him though......
I'm sure you all remember Post-Punk-Pop-Prosthletysers the Alarm... 68 guns and all that big hair. Indeed I'd hazard a guess that the big hair was wholly responsible for the large hole in ozone layer that appeared in the early eighties. Anyway, they're still around apparently and thought they'd try a little experiment with their latest single. In today's image conscious charts they surmised that a bunch of 40-something Welsh rockers might not get quite the same publicity as some nice pretty young things. So they released the single under the name of "The Poppyfields" and got a young band to mime for the video. The result.... mucho interest from radio stations and a number 28 new entry position (last week). The song "45 RPM" brings to mind, with it's title at least, Stiff Little Fingers immensely superior 78 rpm.... from an even earlier age. And SLF are still going too. Scary.
We have two cars, though our old Golf doesn't get used very much these days. Indeed very rarely at al ,so that when we came to use it the battery was dead. Jump starts worked for immediate use but the battery wouldn't hold it's charge over night. Clearly time for a new battery. No problem, I duly fitted said battery and, as I connected up the live terminal a loud beep emmited from the alarm.
The alarm that I'd forgotten this car had.
So how to disarm? I knew we didn't have the immobilising key but vaguely recalled seeing the leetle key fob button boxes somewhere (but had a sneaky feeling that at least one of them was broken).
Much drawer emptying later I found them both.
Neither had a battery in it.
Or any indication of what sort of battery they required.... other than a fecking small one. Shops were shut by now anyway.... I ran a quick check on t'internet and was not at all surpised to learn that Piranha Car Alarms are a conpany no longer in existence. It just gets better, doesn't it?
You'd be surpised how many batteries there are that are the same size as the one that my little button box requires. I bought one of each. And one of them worked. If you have any small devices that take strange little batteries let me know... I may well have just the one you need.
Anyway, we can drive the car again now. Though we don't actually want to at the moment.
Half-term for the girls this week. For Tuesday's delight and delectation I asked them what they wanted to do with the day. Kay straight away suggested the Science Museum, which was cool. Dee took far longer to finally ask for the zoo. I don't like zoos. But, figuring they have to learn for themselves I agreed.
We started off with the zoo. It was raining so we spent most of the time inside the Aquarium and Reptile house. The only creatures happy with the weather seemed to be the penguins. The lions and tigers looked as unhappy as ever but at least the poor demented polar bear is no longer there. And the elephants have been moved to Whipsnade too. Anyway all I really came away with was this picture of a penguin and this one of a snake.
The science museum was even less receptive for photography.... yet far more interesting.
But the highlight of the day for me was the exhibition of photographs comprising the Earth From the Air exhibition. I'd seen these photos on line and in print before but here they are enormous barn door size prints. Absolutely stunning! Thoroughly recommended.
Planarchy is, as I'm sure you're aware by now, primarily a Public Service Website.. To further this end, today we bring you an important product re-call notice.. I'm used to reading these but they ususally concern nuts in milk, gluten in gluten-free products or jam in beef-sandwiches.. So imagine my delight when I came across this one...."Product recall of ‘Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips’. The product actually contains ‘Sour Cream & Onion Flavored Potato Chips’ "
Exciting, isn't it?
Well, stinking colds and fecking migraines aside I still managed to fit in this excellent play on Saturday night. Staring Zee's bro Ess (the one on the left) it tells the story of the four nights who killed Thomas à Becket. We all know the story of Thomas à Becket and how he turned from being Henry II's mate to a pain in the arse but never before had I heard the tale of the four knights that ended up fulfilling the wicked "deed". I'm not sure how much was fact and much artistic conjecture but who cares.....very interesting..... so much so that I've spent several moments trying to find out just what did befall them after the end of the play... it doesn't appear they lasted very long.
Oh, and an excellent performance from Ess... totally outshone t'other knights. The poster above, incidentally, was an early draft apparently (and much better then the final version BTW). I found the line "These bad boys have just committed the crime of the century and want to spend an evening with you.... Can you handle it?" wonderful!
As ever with my theatre reviews, it's too late to go and see it as Saturday was the last night...
Well, "School of Rock" was a much better film than I expected... somehow they avoided the normal saccharine that seems to taint these faux rebel stories for kids. Whether I'd have enjoyed it as much (or seen it at all) were it not for the girls I don't know. It's good to be able to feel like a kid again... even for someone as serious as me.
In the more local "School of Rock" front I had a major moment of pride last night when Dee asked if we had any Nirvana albums.... specifically..
"That song where they go..Here we are now, Entertain us..."
.... and I was nearly giving up hope with all the S Club and Busted CDs around the place. But, it appears there is hope after all.
What is the difference anyway? Above, you can see the very aptly named Tufted Duck. But how come this is a Great Crested Grebe. They both just look like pretty punky birds to me. There are also the interestingly (well, slightly) named Common Pochard and a Coot. Well, you know I take bird pictures at the weekend.....and this weekend it was ducks (and a Grebe). I just thought I'd keep you waiting a bit before letting you see them.
How did you survive?
PS: While we're on bird names, who came up with Blackbird? Really good one, whoever-you-were.
This afternoon saw young Kay's first venture into inter-school sports, representing her school in a four team knockout tournament. They were knocked out after two matches but, since the teams they were playing against had been playing together since September, whereas Kay's lot only got together three weeks ago this was hardly surprising. They put up a better fight than the 3:1 and 2:1 score lines suggested...... and anyway this was much better than my first Hockey outing. I seem to remember we lost 9:1.
That was nigh on 30 years ago. Arrggh!
On hearing that Kay was to be playing this match my ma mentioned that she's played for her school up until the age of 14 (when she decided it was unseemly to have bruised shins). It's funny the tales that come out after all these years... I'm sure I never knew she'd played hockey!
So, the croci have barely opened their petals and already summer is here! Seventeen degrees centigrade 'twas in balmy London today. I was out and about at work in shirt sleeves whereas last week (during the Big Freeze™) 'twas jumper and big jacket. Unpredictable weather veering from one extreme to the other... I wonder what causes that then?
....apart from Ming the Merciless, obviously.
A new visitor to our garden this afternoon in the shape of a flock (4) Long Tailed Tits. This is the first of the four (his mates arrived later). You have to admire the way in which they turned up exactly a week after we did the RSPB Birdwatch.... had they turned up last week the stats would have (after extrapolation) shown several thousand more of them in the national population. There's also another picture of the local squirrel here, for those more interested in the mammalian visitors to our garden.
Zee and Kay return from a trip to TK Max with various designer label stuff for ridiculously low prices.... says Zee to me:
"This is Fenwright & Mason and it was only £25!" she says, holding up some trousers.
"Not the Fenwright & Mason?" I ask.
"Yes, the Fenwright & Mason," she replies.
"What, the Fenwright & Mason that I've never ever heard of?"
They looked for something for me but the closest they came was a dressing gown.
"But there's nothing wrong with the dressing gown I have now!"
"It's falling to bits," she replies.
"Falling, but not fallen....there's not an MOT test for dressing gowns you know.... it still covers me up and keeps me warm. So it's fine!"
You wonder why we don't do clothes shopping together don't you?