Saturday, 18 August 2018

The world............. full.

The world is mostly full of forking idiots.

And the world is full of idiots forking.............

Tonight, Jackie challenged a man at the lock who was allowing his daughters to run across the vee-gate lock beams.....

(Danger of death by drowning: HIGH............)

He accused her of being 'aggressive' and 'a lefty'.

Personally, I think we should have left the twat to drown his children.

Then he would have had to explain it to his no doubt ex-wife.

But Jackie intervened.

Was abused.

But was absolutely right.

People, if you are going to let your children stand into danger, willingly, because you are a 'businessman' and 'this is the school of life', and you think my wife is somehow wrong for calling you out on your arrant foolishness and stupidity, then you are in no shape or form a fit parent.

End of.

Good luck with your continued attempts to drown your daughters.

Is this some attempt to get back at your wife?

We don't know.

But accusing Jackie of being 'abusive' says a lot.

You have been reported to the E.A and Cam Con.

We don't know if it will do any good, but we can only hope you will not be putting your children into danger any further.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Stormy weather.......

The mooring was hit by a mini tornado at tea-time today.

I was still at work but have surveyed the aftermath.

Bottisham Lock is out of action for the weekend at least: One or more of the poplars that grow nearby have fallen across th lock pen and blocked it.

From the red cross on the lock itself, it looks like a power outage would prevent it's use anyway.

The big willows at either end of The Parish have suffered badly. It all looks very unstable. I hope they won't have to come down as they are venerable and picturesque.

On board Pippin, everything is a bit damp : one of our side hatches blew open which led to considerable ingress of rain.

All the hopper windows were open too....... water droplets formed some very pretty patterns on the recently painted ceiling.

Our wooden table, the chairs, and my lovely Captains chair are heavily watermarked.

But old towels have been deployed, the worst of it is mopped up, and we shall probably be reasonably dry again by Tuesday.... (The sofa, the cushions, the curtains etc are all very damp.)

It's going to be a humid night on board, as the thunder continues to roll and the rain falls, denying me the chance to let some fresh air in......

But no-one came adrift and no-one is hurt.

And our newly re-conditioned Rutland 913 Wind Turbine hasn't been struck by lightning.....


Touch wood.......

Or rubber.....

Or anything non-conductive, really..........

Hope you are all okay out there in the greater blog-o-sphere.......

Keep safe, all.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Emma Chambers

It is with the greatest sadness that I write this.

Emma Chambers, film and television actress, has died at the age of 53.

I was at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art from 1983 to 1986. Emma was there at the same time, though we were in different classes.

I remember her as one of the good people: kind, warm-hearted, never nasty, and so, so funny, both on and off stage.

Webber was a hard, nasty, bitchy school. Such attributes were in short supply. So Emma stood out, not only because of this, but also because, even then, it was clear she was possessed of a truly stellar talent.

As my own career popped and banged before fizzling out like some defective firework, it gave me true joy to see her doing so well, first, as Charity Pecksniff in the TV adaptation of 'Martin Chuzzlewit', then later, running rings around both Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in 'Notting Hill'.

She will be best remembered for her superb comedy timing and wonderful characterisation in the role of Alice Tinker in 'The Vicar of Dibley'. I remember watching the episode of Alice's wedding. My mum had tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks as Alice made her way down the aisle accompanied by Telly-tubby 'bridesmaids'.

Although I knew her, I can make no claim to having been a friend of Emma's, either at college, or afterwards.

But I feel truly stricken that she has died so young, and at the height of her powers.

She was one of the best of us, and definitely one of the nicest.

God bless you, sweet one, and may you rest in peace.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

In which Victor and I give up entirely and go to the pub.............

This morning, I received an unsolicited text message from EE inviting me to 'Gift Like a Boss' this Christmas.

Does anybody out there have any idea what this means?

There was a day when I could 'Punch like a South Bound Freight Train'.....

It's been a long while, but this makes me feel like getting back into training......

'Gift Like a Boss' indeed..........

Good Grief, children! 

This is the language of Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Coleridge, Maugham, Eliot, Dickens, Fforde, insert the name of your favourite author and wordsmith here that you are traducing with your spine-wrenchingly awful misconstructions.

So what to say to the bunch of hopelessly misguided suits who came up with this?

I am starting an on-line campaign:

It's called "No. Stop it. Stop it Now. No, Really, Before I Lose My Temper ......."

We then add what we wish to say to the authors of this abomination, and sign.

I will open the batting thus:

.... "you lame brained excuses for a bunch of numpty cretins." John Witts.

(Come on, I'm just warming up. I'm sure you can do much better.........)

Please send your submissions to this blog on the usual electronic postcard.

Meanwhile, Victor and I will be muttering into our Milk Stout in the Saloon Bar........

Merry Christmas everyone........

Thursday, 30 November 2017

In which I have a Victor Meldrew moment......

"I don't believe it.


Yes, dear old Victor's catchphrase could not be more apt than it is today.

It actually wearies me to hear the news that the current incumbent of The White House has re-tweeted vile racist nonsense from a bunch of pathetic non-entities based in the United Kingdom.

Also, that Garrison Keillor, American  radio broadcaster and author of 'Lake Woebegone Days' has just been fired from his job as a result of an accusation of improper behaviour.

Good Grief.

I love his work: if you haven't read his book, then get a copy quick before they are all burned.

I don't know.

Look, if he did something or said something or suggested something that would not have made his mother proud at some point in his seventy five years, then he should say sorry and make amends.

But don't let the accusation (at time of writing not substantiated) prevent you from reading his work.

It's a great primer for the sublime prose of Kent Haruf, an author who is a fairly recent addition to Pippin's library.

Start with 'Plainsong'.

For many years, academia has been in search of The Great American Novel.

For my money, this is it.

'Benediction' is also brilliant.

I haven't read 'Our Souls at Night' yet, though.

I am given to understand it is not about the late shift at the local hospital's colonoscopy clinic, no matter what the British English pronunciation of the title may lead you to believe.......

It is a shame Mr Haruf is no longer with us.

He could have continued his superb ouvre with a book entitled "Our Souls at The White House"........

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

"I was glad......

.....when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord this day"

That's the introit commonly used in the Anglican mass and also a traditional anthem at the Coronation of a new King or Queen.

The most famous setting is by Sir Hubert Parry for King Edward VII's Coronation in 1902.

I think it's rather lovely........

 And today, I am glad.

Yes, the North Koreans have just launched another ballistic missile....

Yes, Messrs Barnier and Juncker are currently working out how to most royally stuff the U.K. as it slides, rudderless, toward a Brexit negotiated by poltroons on behalf of non-entities.

Yes the White House is, well, ...............fill it in for yourself.......

And yet "I am Glad".

Not, of course, because of any of that bollocks................

Goes without saying, really.


"I Am Glad" because a little boy I met once in 1991 (when he came round the Museum of the Moving Image with his older brother, and I had, as one of the actor guides, in Odeon Commissionaire character, to show them out of the 'quick' exit door from The Odeon exhibit to the shop because they were late for tea with their Mum), has just got engaged.

I am very glad about this.

I am also very glad his fiancee is an American.

(I fell in love with one myself back in the early eighties.... it was not to be...)

I am also very glad she is of mixed race.

And I am very glad and that she has been married once before, and that she and he will be allowed to marry in church.

His family has been, in the past, rather hide-bound by tradition, you see......

His Great great Uncle was prohibited by the family from marrying an American divorcee.

His Great Aunt was not allowed to marry a divorcee, even though he was a decorated war hero, and was very close to his Great Aunt's father.......

And they weren't terribly nice to his Mum when she and his Dad got divorced.

And he was devastated when she got killed in a car crash..........

What with that and military service in Afghanistan, the lad has been through the wringer.

But his girl seems very nice indeed, and I wish them both good luck, long life and much happiness.

Their good news has made me glad.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Ten Years on................

Today marks ten years since the day that Jackie and I closed the deal on Pippin and became boaters.

Ten years.......


Well, we're okay.....

The eponymous widebeam has been blacked three times, had a new gearbox, ten engine services, and been treated to more solar panels, a wind turbine and lately, a new energy efficient washing machine that means we can do a load of laundry entirely off the solar bank without using the mahoosive generator in the bows (silent since March..... I wonder if it still works....)

We've made some wonderful friends and had some great times.

We've seen people come and go on the river, and waved farewell with sadness to most and given the extended middle digit to only one or two.

In short, it has been a blast.

And it's far from over yet!

If you've stayed with this nonsense throughout, especially the long silences which meant only that I was rather busy or just didn't feel I had much of interest to say, then thank you.

Here's to the next ten years!