Friday, 30 March 2012

Crisis? What crisis?

Our esteemed government's hopeless mishandling of the possibility that the tanker drivers might go on strike has finally succeeded in creating a fuel shortage.

I hope the Old Etonian Coterie that runs this poor benighted country are now slapping each other on the back at the jolly good jape thay have played on the oiky chavs they are forced to govern.

'Tee-hee', eh, readers?

Good grief, what an utterly useless bunch of bastards.......

Anyway, some good has come from Francis Maude's sorry debacle: an old joke, moribund and out to pasture since World War Two, has found at last a new relevance:

"What's the difference between Paraffin and Petrol, Sid?"

"I dunno, 'Arry, what IS the difference between Paraffin and Petrol?"

"Well, Sid, There's two f's in Paraffin, and there ain't no effin' Petrol!"

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Lyrics and The Power of the Interweb.

This morning I arrived at The Hole Making Shop singing to myself.

The tune was the last one I heard on the radio before getting out of the car and clocking on.

It was Manfred Mann and the Earth Band with'Blinded by the Light'.

The problem was, the only bit of the lyric that has been comprehensible to me since I first heard the track sometime back in the early 13th century were the title words. The rest of the chorus has always been for me an audio mush that sounded something like "Blinded by the light, vanduptimidooshon larga gooner inder nye".

But it's so catchy I couldn't stop.

Twenty minutes in to the morning's Hole Making Session, my colleague Charlie ( 5' 10", lots of interesting tattoos, nice girl) was getting a bit fed up with it.

I had to admit that so was I.

Then in stepped Cheryl, one of The Grand Master Hole-makers on duty with us that shift.

She found the lyrics on Google and printed them off for me.

"Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night"

A mystery solved! And one that had haunted me most of my adult life!


I understood.

But we didn't stop there.

Readers of a certain vintage will remember The Skids "Into the Valley" from 1978 or '79.

Once again, only the title is comprehensible on the record. The rest is just very catchy and rhythmic wibble.

Not any more.

If you have ever wondered what on earth they were on about, Google it.

You will be as surprised as I was to find an anti-war song as beautiful and eloquent as Wilfred Owen.

Which brings me to the last of my unsolved mystery lyrics.

'Magnolia Simms' by the Monkees.

An utterly daft song with a manufactured scratch on it.

However, to my teenage ear (I owned a very battered LP with it on) the song had a real feeling of defiance, laced with something of anger and 'who cares what you think' about it.

(Other kids of my age were rocking out to AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, which probably explains why I didn't have many friends....)

'Magnolia Simms' became my theme song, probably because I spent my teens being angry, defiant and not caring.....

I even named my first car, a 1956 Morris Minor split-screen "Magnolia Simms"....

My version:

"Talk to me, you blue island palms, oh , that sweet Magnolia......

Apple pie underneath the window still warm,

Stay with me, Magnolia!"

Sums up a South Seas idyll, doesn't it, with a duskily beautiful Magnolia Simms
ever at your side, and like the trusty Morris, never letting you down, taking the p*ss or being cruel.

Today, I found out I got it completely wrong.

The first line is:

"Love, to me, is blue eyed and blonde, oh, that sweet Magnolia......."

Even when objections to something which whiffs vaguely of crypto-fascism are put aside, I still vastly prefer my mis-heard version......

And, no, since you ask, I have NOT been at the cooking sherry again.............

Monday, 19 March 2012


We've spent the last two weekends in Highgate decorating Jackie's studio flat.

It's going okay, but there's always so much prep to do. It never seems to end!

But then, a good, thoroughly prepped job is the difference between looking okay and having the 'wow' factor we're after.

I got the RSJs from work: there are three of them, they are bloody enormous and very heavy.

I also have nowhere to put them.

In short, they are perfect.

Or would be if my beloved hadn't made me promise on all that I hold sacred NOT TO EVEN BREATHE HARD near nb Caboodle until the flat is finished, Pippin's engine is serviced, the engine room repainted, ditto the gas locker, the shutters have been finished and the woodpile re-stocked, condensed and tidied to our landlord's satisfaction.

Good job Caboodle's owner doesn't take her out more than once a year, really.........

Monday, 12 March 2012


I find this quite exciting, but then I'm a sad git at heart.......

A neighbour of ours, (for whom we did the fab paint-job last year), told me the other day that her boat's engine was dead, had ceased to be, had shuffled off this mortal coil and was singing with the great choir invisible..

(Actually, she didn't say that, but she's not much of a Monty Python fan and I am, and it's my blog, okay?).

Anyway, the engine's knackered.

She rang RCR, who came out, prodded the engine's corpse, and gave her the number of some bloke in this area, who arrived, did the same, and quoted her £3,500 to supply and fit a reconditioned unit.

Now, I don't have a terribly high opinion of this individual, as he seriously mucked some other good chums of mine about some time ago......

However, on the off-chance that he can actually read, and therefore, may be reading this, I shall refrain from naming him.

But £3500 to supply and fit a recon unit?

'Cobbleurs', as I believe they say in France...

I have spanners.

I have a mate who trained as a diesel fitter with The Royal Engineers.....

I have just come across three RSJs which will be surplus to requirements at work when No.7 R & D shed has it's new gas crodulator installed.....

And Facilities Management have said I can have them!!

So far, so serendipidous.......

Wednesday is my day off, so I may sneak aboard with a tape measure and see if my cunning cantileverage plan will make it off the drawing board.

Watch this space!

Thursday, 8 March 2012


It's up there.

In a cloudless night sky.

A full moon.

It's Light Enough to almost read by it's light, never mind Travel. (Sorry Chris and Simone!)

Us lycanthropes will, of course, be looking to our medicine. (Wolfsbane, mainly: it slips down lovely with a spoon-full of sugar......)

Anyone else seen that fabulous Larson cartoon of the werewolf and the hitchhiker?

The tag line was "Don't believe everything you here about us! Just throw the stick, pal, throw the stick!!!"

But enough of the tribulations of those afflicted by a monthly embarassment of hairy palms.

For, all joking aside, the moon tonight is truly stunning.

I have friends in blogworld who hold the Moon sacred.

Looking up at the sky tonight, I kind of get it.

Once again, I find myself quoting Tom Waits, (drunkard, ballardeer, blue-collar poet and writer of the sound-track to more than one post-'Dear John'-letter evening.....)

'Grapefruit moon, and one star rising.......'

The moon figures a lot in Waits's lyrics.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if you inspected his palms right now and found them more than a little hairy........