Friday, 29 April 2011

Reflections on the Royal Wedding

Firstly did you notice how smartly turned out the police where who were lining the route?  - no nauseating Health & Safety high visibility jackets for them - they looked very smart and professional (the exception being the motorcycle escort to the various coaches who - for some reason - kept their bilious yellow coats on). I do think that one of the reasons why the police are now held in such low regard is that they look like a lot of overweight dustmen. When I was a boy the police everywhere were as smart as paint and respected and admired - now they look like slobs and are reviled and despised by nearly everyone - is there a connection I wonder? 

Secondly next time you hear someone question the value of the monarchy get them to ring up the owner of Land Rover/Jaguar. Behind every official car or coach cruised an immaculate Range Rover bursting with security men with all the kit - how much I wonder would an advertising agency have charged Land Rover for that 'product placement?'  And how many extra sales will that free advertising generate - quite a few I suspect. 

Thirdly even I - reluctantly dragged off by my wife to watch the whole affair on a friends giant TV 'with surround sound' - found my cynicism was gradually warn away by the brilliance of the pageantry, the beauty of the bride, the charm of the bridegroom and the  whole 'tout ensemble' of the event - hurray that has put those idiots who yearn for a republic back in their box.

Lastly the Duke of Edinburgh is a most remarkable man. So many people say that they dread getting old - well not if I am as fit and as good looking as the duke is at ninety.   

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

is Cameron a phony?

According to the Daily Telegraph David Cameron will wear a 'lounge suit' rather than a morning coat to the Royal Wedding- what a plonker?  The problem with Cameron is that he has never had any connection with 'ordinary people' (if there is such a thing).  If only he had been a soldier or done something - anything - which brought him in touch with some of the great unwashed he would have found out something very strange- the one thing people hate more than anything else is a phony - someone pretending to be something they aren't. the other thing he might have discovered is that no one 'respects' you for 'dressing down' in fact - if he could be bothered to ask the Queen for some advice during his weekly audience - she would tell him  that 'ordinary people' don't want their monarch to dress as they do and nore - she would say - do I think they want their Prime Minister to 'dress down' either.   Still Cameron persists in nauseatingly wearing a 'hair shir' in public -so the long suffering Samantha had to slum it recently in a three star hotel in Spain to accord with this new 'image.'   come back Tony Blair - all is forgiven - yes you too were a phony but a least you carried it off with style and not like a wet blancmange.

Saturday, 16 April 2011


Politicians can't resist meddling. So 'Our Dave' apparently is considering a change in the law so 'Kate & Wills' first born, if it is a girl, will become Queen rather than her younger brother if she has one.  Now as a beneficiary of primogeniture - the custom by which the eldest male inherits the title/house/estate or, in the case of Prince William and his wife, the crown - you would expect me to support it and I do.  Primogeniture is a simple rule which is understood by everyone and therefore brooks no argument. My eldest son will inherit my house and estate, all my children have known this since they were old enough to understand and they accept it as fair. They know the only reason that there is a house and estate to inherit is because generation after generation has followed this rule and that the only fair rule of inheritance, as far as estates go; is to give as you received.  In other words if you received your estate because you were the eldest son it is not for you to wee wee and have change of heart and 'try to be fair' by dividing your inheritance or, just as bad,  deciding  that one of the other siblings is 'more suited' to inheriting the estate.

According to a fatuous survey in Country Life magazine (can't be much good if they didn't ask my opinion) some 43% of landowners now feel 'primogeniture to be either less important or not important at all, preferring ability, fairness and equality.'  Actually all that proves is that 43% of landowners are pretty mentally retarded, something I suppose many people suspected anyway. There is nothing 'fair' in cutting out your eldest son (unless of course he is entirely useless and degenerate) if you yourself inherited solely because you were the eldest.  As for 'equality' pass the sick bag.  As for the offspring of Prince William and Katherine why change a rule which has, on the whole, worked well for a thousand years?  No doubt 'Our Dave' assumes that if they have a daughter she will turn into a clone of the Princess Royal, Princess Anne but think about it, what if she turned out like Princess Beatrice or Eugenie? no better not.

Monday, 11 April 2011

National Trust 2

Yesterday morning we showed thirty three people round the house and then gave them coffee.  It was great fun and provided a bit of cash to help towards the house upkeep. The unfun bit is the lead up to the arrival of the visitors. It is true that it was only the previous evening that I happened to mention en passant to my wife that,shortly after breakfast, a coachload of some thirty odd people would be descending on us for a 'tour & coffee.'  It is also true that due to the burst pipe damage of the winter much of the interior is a building site rather than a pristine historic house. Lastly the children are back on holiday so passages are blocked up by trunks which appear to have vomited half their contents over the floor.  Still, as I explained, to my wife this is what visitors want. Simon Jenkins, the Chairman of the NT is on record as saying that he wants NT properties to have a more 'lived in air' and judging by the rather pathetic effort in this detraction made at Saltram, which I visited the other day, NT staff need to take lessons from me and my family.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The National Trust

As an owner of the proverbial 'stately home' there is nothing I enjoy more than snooping around other such houses which is why I am a member of the National Trust. The other day I drove over with a cousin to a marvellous National Trust house in South Devon called Saltram.  Sadly our enjoyment of the interior was frustrated because most of the rooms were so dark that they rendered the pictures which adorned the walls almost invisible to the naked eye.  The reason of course is that the NT dreads the effect of sunlight and its ultra violet rays on the fabrics which cover the walls and furniture. Now I know  that sunlight rots and fades such fabrics but I do query this modern obsession with 'preserving fabrics' which were never intended to be preserved for ever. I also wonder why the NT don't try putting a film of ultra violet light excluder over their windows as I have done in a couple of rooms - so far it seems to have done the trick but perhaps they do not trust modern technology.  So, at Saltram, the walls of a couple of rooms are covered with a very faded and worn red velvet which, for some reason, the Trust thinks must be saved for posterity. Why? it is just boring old red velvet, why not do, what any private owner of such a house would do - rip it off and replace it with brand new dazzling red velvet?  This worship of fabrics in NT houses is being taken to such a ridiculous extremeism that in future I intend to always take a torch whenever I visit one of their houses - and I advise all of you to do the same.       

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Eagle

So do I go to see this film or not?  My immediate reaction is no if only because it is based on a child hood favourite book, the Eagle of the Ninth, by that marvellous children's historical novelist,Rosemary Sutcliffe.  My father read it to us children sitting by the fire after tea when I was, I suppose, about five years old. Most children of that age then were still on 'soppy childrens books' but my father refused to read anything which he did not enjoy personally so we three children were brought up on a superb diet of historical fiction.  Sadly though whenever I have been to see a film of a favourite book it has been wrecked by the directors/producers who insist on making it 'relevant' and 'sending a message.'  Rosemary Sutcliffe would never have dreamt of writing anything 'relevant' let alone 'sending a message' which of course is why she was such a brilliant writer. Reviews I have read speak of a suggestion of a  'homoerotic' relationship between slave and master something totally absent from the book of course where actually Marcus, the hero, becomes romantically involved with a British girl. 

But the best reason for not going is that they have bowed to pressure from the American publicists to change the title from Eagle of the Ninth to just The Eagle as they were frightened that many Americans would otherwise think it was a film about golf. Well how thick is that?  Now they have shortened the title to just the Eagle presumably most Americans will think it is a story about a bird and - at a guess -as there are far fewer ornithologists in USA than there are golfers they would have been better off sticking to the original name.