Thursday, October 31, 2019

Dick Whittington's ghost doesn't work for Harry

A neighbour moves out and Yours Truly volunteers to help him with some lugging of the weighty stuff I see filling the compact living space. He's pleased to get the hand.
Harry (let’s call him) is a fellow of very limited funds who has been here working for as a sort of butler handyman, cook, plongeur, shopper, all rolled rather uncomfortably into one.
is pay: the equivalent of Pound Shop peanuts.
He’s an older fellow, perhaps late sixties, who knows now that Dick Whittington’s streets paved with gold haven’t survived.

Hoping to do well

He came here from the Indian subcontinent, hoping to do well. He learned that hard work alone isn’t sufficient to reach the level of those who succeed.
However, Fortune did help with a council flat earmarked for the needy.
Because he possessed so little, a few necessities for life – a cooker, a fridge, and a few sticks of furniture – were donated by the council.
The Dick Whittington promise of London hasn’t worked, especially as the employers paid little more than slave rates yet demanded – not asked – his presence for extensive hours. It’s a sad tale, though sadly not uncommon. This one, however, does come with a surprise denouement.
His rent is all paid up and he has an initial deposit of several hundred pounds to get back and that will be sufficient for the ticket home.
Expecting the refund to depend on the return of the council furniture, he asked the council when they might collect it… 
Continues on the blogs for my ocean-crossing adventure

Monday, October 28, 2019


No surprise that the world’s most powerful buffoon had to turn to murder to attempt to square up the tragedy he began by unleashing political Turks over the border into Syria.
But is slaughter or - if the official account is to be believed - causing the suicide of a serious menace the way of an intelligent, modern world?
Perfectly the norm in Roman times, but is it how we of the apparently modern world should react, especially the, er, leader of the most civilised and intelligent nation?
We – the powers-that-be here – certainly didn’t accept it when Russia seemingly did much the same, though rather less expensively and messily, in Salisbury.

Most advanced nation

And yet when the most advanced nation on earth,
   the seat of astonishing intellectual power,
   a country whose brains can put a man on the moon,
   can explore Space,
   can perform near miracles in medicine,
faces a negative force, it forgets its brain and applies the brawn.
Our school children are taught – are advised - against brainless resorting to fighting. Violence isn’t the way of bright people these days, they have been learning.
What are they to make of the most recent headlines, emblazoned on TV and pushed out on radio waves, which show that the way of the brightest nation is to forget justice and get even by collecting your mates and sending them in with knives bared?  Continues on the blogs for my adventure story ...

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The laugh that almost brought the House down

I often ask myself if I shouldn’t feel sorry for the short memory seemingly possessed by some politicians it would be all too easy to name.
But then I remind myself about my own short memory.
Obviously, the lucky electorate of the most democratic country in the world is being treated to a wonderful, if not exactly well written soap opera.
It has an intriguing title - Brexit.

 Magical twist

I’m giving it a capital letter, because the wordy watchdog Grammarly will show it as a spelling error if I don’t.
It just might be that the title doesn’t actually deserves it.
 The comedy had a magical twist tonight.
The Chief, er, Character as this actor is termed - whether he’s the #1 villain or not – turns on his colleagues to threaten them with the chance that the goal of the play will not be realised unless they behave and obey.
It might well be that the majority on stage don’t actually want the offered conclusion because they can see the crookery, with which we in the audience are only too familiar.
And yet the Chief, er, Character, being a not quite grown-up kid himself, knows that the threat of withdrawing a treat (desired or not) is a perfect punishment for winning children round.
The Fool like the Chief, er, Character know this well because they supported and played a major part in a big red bus that toured the country offering the closest to propaganda that most of us will have seen outside of a war.
So, stamping a foot, he’ll deny them the conclusion they don’t want and give them a general poll, which they are unprepared for.

Temper tantrums

Calamity, major upset, temper tantrums, even if mostly this emanates from the Chief, er, Character himself.
The Fool introduces quite a linked-up laugh from episode to episode. He, incidentally, seems decidedly fooled by the Chief, er, Character himself.
The chuckle follows his reminder that it’s The Public themselves, the audience, in fact, that wants – that demands – the mysterious Brexit. Continues of the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Sticks and stones and 'bedsocks' really hurt

Poor old (young) footballers suffering from the hollered jeers of fans, and every empathy to them, but as I was blogging the other day, you don’t have to be a sports hero, nor a different colour, to suffer this strange form of abuse.
Footie stars are constantly under attack from fans of ‘the other side’, but among more recent outbursts of bias came racist chants.
I was bemoaning the abuse flung my way after the family emigrated Down Under, me a neatly uniformed lad with a posh school accent.

Verbal attacks

My new classmates certainly did not approve, and let me know it.
Another round of unnerving verbal attacks happened a few years later, on Day 1 at my first high school.
But first let me thank Patricia Vytlacil from the Mid-West across the Pond. Patricia moved to the US quite along time ago from kiwiland.
She recalls newcomers arriving at her school in Wanganui, in the North Island, where it seems the attitude to kids from abroad could hardly have been more different.

An enchanted life

‘I suspect I lived an enchanted life in a small town in the North Island of NZ compared to your experience as an immigrant kid in the South Island.
‘At our high school, we occasionally had students visit from the UK or even the USA and they were greeted with quite some excitement. How we envied their exotic accents!!
‘Perhaps it was just me super-conscious of our kiwi accent that seemed somehow inferior to one from overseas - anywhere overseas,’ writes Patricia.

Pretty impressed

 ‘But I like to think the rest of our class was pretty impressed by the foreigners also! It was not just their accents but the fact that they had experienced a life clearly different from ours.’
My own attacks fell away almost as soon as I learned to exchange my accent for the local version of English. However, a few years later when I moved into high school in a country town, a fresh and new outburst of mocking began almost immediately. Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at