Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Riots and Appeasement

On Sunday night the police entered into an unholy pact with the rioters in Tottenham. Carry on looting and we won't interfere -just don't throw bricks and bottles at us please and stay roughly in your own area. What a deal, and the inhabitants of Tottenham reacted with glee to the offer and took full advantage of it. Hardly surprising then that all around the country the 'yuff' on sink estates said to themselves; 'Why this is great - all we have to do is get fifty or sixty of us together in a shopping centre - cause some aggro - and the police will do nothing while we help ourselves to all the goodies we always wanted.

It was not that long ago that us Brits took pride in having the best police in the world - now we have among the worst police in the world - utterly incapable of doing what they are overpaid to do - namely keep order and protect private property. Partly this must be due to the very low calibre of officers at the top of the police -watching the acting head of the Metropolitan Police on TV trying to explain what was happening was embarrassing - he couldn't even put his cap on straight.

One other point. why is it OK to fire rubber bullets at Irishmen and douse them in CS gas when they misbehave but it is strictly verbotem use such methods on the good citizens of Tottenham when they decide to go on the rampage. Are Irishmen meant to have thicker heads or something or is it just permissable to be beastly to rioting Irishmen but not to 'members of immigrant community.'  Anyhow it strickes me as a very racist policy and one which should be reversed forwith - if it is all right to blast Paddy with a rubber bullet it must be OK to blast anyone else with one as well. 

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Searcys at the Gherkin - restaurant review

I don't normally do restaurant reviews as I don't normally go to restaurants.  But I recently traipsed up to London  to have lunch on top of the Gherkin.  Now I have a rule of thumb about restaurants - the more spectacular the site, the more beautiful the view, the worst the food and service. This certainly applies in the country when that idealistic pub on the rivers edge, with salmon leaping over the weir, turns out to offer over priced, disgusting, microwaved rubbish so I was interested to see if the rule applied to London.  When you finally get to the top of the Gherkin, after going through a sort of airport security kerfuffle at the base, the view is undeniably five star, you sit in comfortable ultra modern chairs over looking the vast panorama of London laid out at your feet. Sitting there sipping a excellent Bloody Mary was a truly great experience. but what of the restaurant?

We sat down and I perused my menu, and then I went back over it again getting ever more anxious because you know what - there was absolutely nothing on it that rang any bells with my greed particles.  It is true I was tempted by a starter which which was called Pig on toast .....etc.   I have never seen a 'Pig on Toast' and was intrigued enough to ask the waiter if the piece of toast was a very big one. Apparently it wasn't the whole Pig which went on the toast but just a bit of mushed up cheek of pig - to which I was nearly made a pooterish response that; 'wasn't it a bit of cheek to call a bit of mashed up cheek of pig 'Pig on toast' but I resisted the temptation.

At last we ordered. Mine was something to do with smoked salmon though when it arrived I was hard put to spot the smoked salmon or anything else for that matter so minuscule was the offering on my plate. This was nouvelle cusiine taken to extremes.  No danger of getting fat here I thought. Then we waited and waited and waited till our main course came -eventually - with much fanfare and an abundance of waiters. we weren't going to get fat on this course either but it was a little more substantial than the last one. Mine was something to do with breast of Gressingham duck ........etc not that I have clue where Gressingham is or why a duck from Gressingham should be in anyway superior to a duck from anywhere else. It was in fairness very good, what there was of it. We avoided being tempted by pudding and went straight on to coffee which arrived in a good sized cup and was offered a chocolate to go with it.

On my way back on the train I had a cup of tea and was so hungry that I splashed out on a slice of 'railway cake' to go with it. So what of the restaurant? well the menu gets five stars for pretentiousness and the food gets five stars for anorexics, but, put simply, an invitation to the Gherkin won't tempt me out of the confines of Devon again.   



Monday, 1 August 2011

Acute Oak Decline

As a landowner I am a member of numerous organisations which try, with varying success, to inform politicians and the 'Urban elite' about the reality of much of what goes on in the countryside.  I have just received a missive from one such body, Woodland Heritage, which is appealing to raise the trifling sum of £45,000 to carry out research into a disease called Acute Oak Decline (AOD) threatening our iconic English oak.  Now I say £45,000 is a trifling sum,  not, sadly, for me or most other foresters, but it is though surely for government.  Remember this is a government which considered that spending £2.0 million on  a fatuous survey to discover what made us 'happy' was a good use of taxpayers money.  Well it doesn't, I would have thought, need a £2.0 million survey to tell even this bunch of mental pygmies in DEFRA and government that if AOD gets going and runs rampant, causing death and destruction among our oak trees, then it will make a lot of people very unhappy indeed.

The research is being undertaken by Dr. Sandra Denman at Forest Research and she has already discovered a new bacterium which is linked to AOD and money is now needed to carry out further mapping and research which is necessary to try and isolate the causes and to find a way to understand and tackle this disease. If you are interested in this major threat to our woodlands then you can look up her research to date at; ww.forestresearch.go.uk/oakdecline.  Of course the obvious place to look for money would be from  Rachel Johnstone who, you may remember, ran the fatuous, and extremely successful, campaign against the privatisation of the Forestry Commission woods in England. Come on Rachel use you undoubted media skills to do something really about 'saving our forest' and make a couple of phone calls to your Notting Hill Gate friends and get them to write out a cheque for the whole amount neede for this research and send it to Woodland Heritage, Arundel House, Haselmere GU27 1NE.  Do this and we in the world of 'real' forestry just might begin to take you and your friends seriously.