Friday, September 29, 2006

Gay marriages are ungodly and unAfrican

In a frightening echo of Robert Mugabe and Sam Nujoma, so says Jacob Zuma, the man who wants to succeed Mbeki as leader of the ANC and president of South Africa.

An extract from the Mail & Guardian editorial about tomorrow's Jo'burg Pride:

The right to be protected from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is, famously, established in our Constitution, and with it the right to equality before the law, which must, of course, include marriage.

That Constitution is the signal achievement of our negotiated revolution -- a revolution in which Zuma played no small part. Is it possible that he wanted the rest of the country to hear him, and to see in him a champion of the new conservatism?

Equally disturbing is that his remarks find an echo in the mainstream of government. The Constitutional Court has ordered Parliament to make legislative provision for same-sex marriages by the end of the year. This could easily have been achieved by inserting the words “or spouse” into the Marriages Act alongside the gender specific “husband” and “wife”. Instead MPs are considering the Civil Unions Bill, which seeks to carve out a separate legal regime for same-sex partners in the interests of “social cohesion”. This is sexual orientation apartheid.

Why is a government that has stood firm on the death penalty and abortion rights now on the run from religious and cultural conservatives? Is the ANC, mindful of the deep unhappiness within its ranks over its stance on these issues, unwilling to risk a principled stance when divisions run so deep and the stakes are so high?

The Constitution is not to be held to ransom by the brutal politics of the moment. Saturday’s marchers march for all of us.

Thankfully, the ANC Youth League, Cosatu and the SACP, staunch Zuma supporters during his corruption and rape trials, have distanced themselves from his latest remarks.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chinese whispers

When asked for information on how to contact someone else’s next-of-kin, you always tend to assume the worst. It's much worse than getting an unexpected telephone calls very late at night.

Having been unsuccessful at trying to contact JP’s partner, J, Mike rang me on Tuesday, asking if I knew how to contact people close to JP as he’d been asked for the information by their office in Hangzhou. All that they could tell him was that JP had been knocked over by a trolley-bus.

I provided him with another number for J and numbers of some of JP’s friends but was left with a sinking feeling about what could have happened to him. Mike duly contacted the various friends leaving them with the same message about the accident and the need to contact next-of-kin.

As the hours passed by, Mike managed to get more information by contacting a colleague in the Hangzhou office, a personal friend of his and JP’s. Apparently medical information was being sought by doctors prior to operating on JP. Still not good news but things appeared slightly better than the conclusions being jumped to as a result of the first communication. By the time I met Mike for a drink that night, he’d heard more – an operation would probably not be necessary but JP remained in intensive care. Each time he’d heard more news, Mike had had to contact all the friends whom he’d initially contacted to set their minds at ease about JP’s condition.

We were out for a drink to celebrate Alan’s 30th birthday but the events in China cast a bit of a pall over the event. Alan was toasted several times and while I don’t remember if we toasted JP and wished him a speedy recovery or not, we definitely did so in our heads.

It appears that JP is doing alright even if it may take a few weeks before he regains full alertness. No operation is necessary. He drifts in and out of consciousness and gets grumpy when he tries to move and finds that he can’t. His partner, J is now with him, and has commented that the grumpiness might be due to his not having had alcohol in a couple of days!

Had he not been in China, he’d definitely have been out with us on Tuesday – not having had alcohol for a few days would not have been an option.

JP, get better quickly and we'll be seeing you in the pub soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Insults - they just don't make them as they used to

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about."
Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it."
Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."
Abraham Lincoln

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
Groucho Marx

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play, bring a friend... if you have one."
George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second...if there is one."
Winston Churchill, in response

"I feel so miserable without you, it's almost like having you here."
Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."
Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
Paul Keating

"He had delusions of adequacy."
Walter Kerr

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure."
Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt."
Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge."
Thomas Brackett Reed

"He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them."
James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily."
Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him."
Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts...for support rather than illumination."
Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music."
Billy Wilder

Update: More classic insults can be found here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Half inches

It’s raining outside today so I had to have my fag in the horrid, cramped, smoky box outside, the place that is unaffectionately known as the ‘smoking room’. One of my fellow smokers was reading the Sun (why do people read that paper??) and looked up as one of her colleagues squeezed into the box.

Pointing at the front page article on Richard Hammond, she said, ‘It’s amazing, not a single broken bone in his body, just a black eye.’ Obviously, she was only referring to visible injuries as the poor guy has significant brain damage.

‘Well, he’s only five two, you know,’ said her colleague as if that explained it. He looked a couple of inches shorter than six foot.

Another woman, herself probably about five two, motioned at herself and piped up, ‘And your point is?’

He smiled at her, looking slightly sheepish, ‘Um, yes, I see what you mean.’

The Sun reader, also smiling, said, "When I had my accident and I was giving the policeman my details for the report, I told him I was five, three and a half but I saw him write five foot three. I said, ‘Excuse me, but that should be five three AND a half!’ ‘Oh, SORRY,’ he said and changed it for me."

‘I thought it was only us men who worried about halves,’ said her friend.

‘Oh no,‘ she said, ‘that half inch is VERY important. So you mean to say you’re five and a half?’

‘Fuck you,‘ he said as everyone laughed.

He did walk into that one, didn’t he?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Will I defend to the death your right to say it?

Or will I kill you for what you say?

As a South African of a particular generation, albeit a white one, freedom and freedom of speech have always been very cherished concepts. Which is why, as a left-leaning sort who hung around other lefties, some of whom didn’t just lean but had actually fallen over, I found their comparisons of Thatcher with Hitler an affront. No matter how right-wing she was and despite her authoritarian tendencies, she was a democratically elected leader whose political life depended on the ballot box.

So, it is with increasing dismay that I view the depressing effects of how Muslim extremism is setting the political agenda and managing to curtail freedom of speech. Other, far more articulate and erudite, commentators get this point across far more effectively than I can, so I’ll resort to quoting them rather than come up with my own words and arguments:

Anne Applebaum in The Washington Post:
Nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it's time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn't the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain's chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them -- simultaneously?

Maybe it's a pipe dream: The day when the White House and Greenpeace can issue a joint statement is surely distant indeed. But if stray comments by Western leaders -- not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values -- are going to inspire regular violence, I don't feel that it's asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense.

William Rees-Mogg in The Times:
The question is not whether the quotation from the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus is offensive: it is.

The question is whether the emperor is justified in what he said. His main thrust was at least partly justified. There is a real problem about the teaching of the Koran on violence against the infidel. That existed in the 14th century, and was demonstrated on 9/11, 2001. There is every reason to discuss it. I am more afraid of silence than offence.

From Der Spiegel:
But the attacks against the pope are especially grotesque. The severe criticism -- often coupled with threats of violence -- directed at the speech held last Tuesday by Benedict XVI is not just an attack on the head of the Catholic Church. The malicious twisting of the pope's words and the absurd allegations made by representatives of Islam represent a frontal attack on open religious and philosophical dialogue.

That so many in the Muslim world joined the protests against the pope merely show just how influential Islamist extremist groups have become. The political goal of the Islamists is clear: any dispute between Christianity and Islam must obey the rules handed down by political Islamism.

Bending to this demand would be a mistake -- indeed it would be tantamount to turning one's back on freedom of expression and opinion. What will come next? Perhaps a complaint that Allah feels insulted by the numerous European women who don bikinis during a summer trip to the beach. It could be anything really -- militant Islamists will always find something. But the response needs to be firm. Freedom of speech, after all, is a vital value and needs to be defended. Any attempt to make political speech hostage to some imagined will of God must be resisted.

I’m one of the first to admit antipathy towards the Catholic Church, being fully aware of the atrocities perpetuated under its name in times past and the present atrocity of preaching against the use of condoms. So, I’m no apologist for the Pope and the Catholic Church. In fact, I’m almost a subscriber to the rather simplistic notion that all religion should be abolished as it has been and continues to be such a cause of conflict. But, despite my decade of idealistic youth having long gone, I do still cherish freedom of speech even if my understanding of it has taken a battering.

I fully understand how the actions of the West have angered Muslims but their grievances, often justified, are done no favours by irrational, often violent, reactions to any perceived slight from the ‘infidel’. Some would argue that knowing that such reactions are not uncommon, one needs to be careful about what one says and how one says it. As with greater power requiring greater responsibility (Uncle Ben to Peter Parker/Spider-man), you could argue that greater freedom requires the same and, therefore, freedom of speech should be about provoking meaningful debate and not about being deliberately insulting. The Pope’s recent remarks were provocative, deliberately so, but definitely not insulting. The Danish cartoon debacle could have been described as deliberately provocative and insulting although the worldwide Muslim reaction was completely irrational and inappropriate.

There's no reason to respond to every presumed insult. Consider an example from Denmark. Recently, a paper there published a number of rather tasteless Holocaust cartoons which had been shown in Tehran. The reaction of Copenhagen's rabbi was instructive when considered against the bloody response to the Muhammad cartoons -- outrage which ended up costing lives. When asked if he would call for protests, the rabbi merely said: "You know, I've seen worse."

Voltaire is attributed with having said, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ This appears to have been a corruption of something he really did say, 'I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.' At one stage I would have happily claimed to subscribe to such a sentiment but when freedom of speech is threatened with death you begin to think that Voltaire was being impossibly and impractically noble.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Even yobs can have manners

My morning lift routine is in disarray at the moment.

D is on honeymoon and A has been spending nights in Northampton or working in London. So, for the time being, I catch a train to Wellingborough where I’m picked up by a colleague who lives there and driven the rest of the way to Northampton.

Instead of the usual one hour and twenty minutes, my door-to-door journey takes me about an hour longer. No, not very pleasant but there’s one advantage to the current situation – I get to buy a newspaper and actually get to read most of it.

I was a bit late this morning so I rushed into the newsagent, slapped down my 70p, grabbed a paper and rushed out again.

I almost collided into a guy riding past on his bicycle.

He shouldn’t have been driving on the pavement, of course. But that bit of road in Hockley has been cordoned off with large metal barriers – it’s being hacked up and will soon be pedestrianised.

He wobbled ever so slightly while trying to avoid me and carried on up the hill. I was sleepy enough for the event not to have ruffled me much but it woke me up enough to be quite surprised when he shouted out an apology.

‘Sorry, mate,’ he said, giving me a wave.

‘Alright,’ I said.

Not only did his apology surprise me, it actually made me feel good. He really didn’t look the sort to apologise for almost knocking me over. Probably in his mid twenties, he was unshaven, looked like he’d had a rough night and wore military-like camouflage. Nothing unusual – pretty standard, in fact, for Nottingham’s streets. The pink bike was a bit of a surprise.

A few seconds later, some ten metres ahead of me, he jumped off his bicycle, threw it to one side and started swearing loudly. Had he not apologised earlier, I may have thought his aggression was directed at me.

He started attacking the metal barriers with great gusto.

During the night, the barriers had fallen over, probably pushed over by various drunken revellers. Some of them had fallen on the pavement so that there wasn’t that much room left to walk (or ride) past them. Not much room but definitely enough room. This obviously incensed him so he decided to have a go at removing them from the pavement. It didn’t stop there. Once he’d removed those that lay on the pavement, swearing and shouting all the while, he kicked the rest over so that all of them fell over into the hacked up road. There was no way that residents at the nearby Comfort Inn could not have been woken up by all that shouting and the sound of crashing metal.

I carried on walking to the station.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A rollercoaster ride to nowhere

Late Monday afternoon: Job confirmed in Antwerp.

Mid Tuesday afternoon: Received email with the following details:
  • Initial contract is until the end of the year but that is just because when IBM have a contract with XX Bank until.(not my grammar!) When this gets extended then IBM can offer extensions to the candidates - we are looking at a minimum 6 month contract - probably longer.
  • You will be based in Antwerp with travel to other sites required.
  • For all business related trips to sites outside of Antwerp, IBM will cover flight and accommodation costs. There may be a per diem on top of this for food, taxis etc but this is not confirmed yet. Whenever you are travelling from your home to the base location (i.e Antwerp) or vice versa, then expenses for this including accommodation in Antwerp will need to be paid yourself.
  • IBM will probably have a list of hotels in Antwerp where they have a preferred rate, but to be honest you will probably find cheaper options by looking on the internet.
  • Cost of living in Antwerp - you can probably get decent hotels (3/4 star) between EUR80-100 p/night - there are also cheaper options than this.
  • Dress code - I will find out.
  • Timesheets need to be completed on a monthly basis and then you invoice us.
A bit of internet research showed that I’d easily get a decent, fully-furnished apartment in one of the best parts of central Antwerp for about £600 per month.

Late Tuesday afternoon: Job cancelled as result of something to do with IBM’s client, XX Bank.

Early Wednesday morning: Received explanatory email:
I spoke to my contact at IBM last night and apparently the senior Project Managers at IBM had just come out of a meeting with XX Bank where they informed them that they would be cost cutting and hence all hiring had to stop.

I am just as annoyed and frustrated as you. Once again, sorry for the way this has worked out - this is a first for me with IBM.

When I first mentioned the possibility of my moving to Antwerp a few days ago, I expressed reservations about the very regular travel but by the time I'd investigated decent-looking accommodation, my mindset had already accepted that I’d be starting work there on September 25th.

Talk about a roller-coaster ride of emotions and expectations! At least I didn't notify my current employers of my imminent departure.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Death of the King of Kitsch

Chinese GirlVladimir Tretchikoff, the king of kitsch, is dead.

No one who was of a sentient age in the sixties and seventies could have escaped the pervasive presence of Tretchikoff’s ‘The Chinese Girl’ (also known as the 'Green Lady'), a print that adorned many a home and, later, many a thrift shop. ‘I always called it my father’s Mona Lisa,’ said his daughter of her father’s most famous work, one of the best selling prints of all time. Besides all the sixties and seventies living rooms, and thrift shops ever since, it appeared in various plays and television programmes: the original set of Alfie, with a drawn moustache in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and in an episode of Doctor Who.

Although I was more than sentient at the time, I can’t claim to have had the most refined artistic sensibility but even I shuddered when in the presence of The Chinese Girl.

I knew it was kitsch before I’d even learnt the word.

weeping roseIt took some years after learning the word that I learnt that Tretchikoff was a South African even though he was Russian by birth and almost 30 by the time he reached South Africa. By then, although not a proud South African (that only happened years later), a certain post-ironic appreciation of kitsch made me want to be pleased that he was South African.

But, while I was trying to avoid being tainted by Tretchikoff, I was more than eager to devour the latest Wilbur Smith. Although he’s written a lot since the seventies, I particularly associate him with my teenage years when each new novel would cause a literary sensation in airports worldwide. Apart from exciting plotlines that dramatised the world around me (post-colonial Africa) and breathed life into one of my interests at the time (Ancient Egypt), his books were peppered with enough explicit sex to keep a teenage boy’s raging hormones on the boil. Teenage boys in seventies South Africa may have been deprived of Playboy but they had Wilbur Smith. And he was South African too! Although born in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), being a white African and having been educated in South Africa, everyone regarded him as South African.

My Wilbur Smith phase ended as I entered my angst-ridden, existentialist phase when he was uncermoniously dumped for the likes of Camus and Sartre. By that time, I'd also discovered Gunter Grass whose books, despite being ‘serious’ literature, had passages that were even better hormonal fodder for a sex-obsessed boy, particularly a gay one. My copy of ‘Cat and Mouse’ still has a number of pages that won’t open. I haven’t read a Wilbur Smith since the late seventies but, these days, if I were bored and happened to chance upon a book of his lying next to Sartre and Camus, my choice of book would not be much of a contest. Intellectual laziness has done what South African patriotism could never achieve!

Tretchikoff lived in Cape Town’s southern suburbs and I often saw him wheeling a trolley up and down the aisles of Claremont Pick ‘n Pay. Wilbur Smith has a large farm just outside Cape Town but I’ve also seen him wheeling a trolley around the same supermarket. There’s something strangely reassuring about seeing people who have untold millions doing unpleasant chores that millions of us on more modest incomes have to do.

As far as I know, there were no public scandals associated with Tretchikoff’s long life but Wilbur Smith was embroiled in a very public one when details emerged in the press on how he treated Christian, his daughter from his first marriage. They fell out when she was expelled from boarding school at 13, after being falsely accused of involvement with drugs. She wrote to cut off contact with him, but later hitchhiked 700 miles to his home, turning up at about 11 o'clock at night. "He said, 'Have a good life,' and closed the door," she was reported as saying in 1993. Christian was married in 1990, and received a final letter from her father soon afterwards. They’ve not had contact since.

Not that you can compare Wilbur Smith with John Osborne, but his treatment of his daughter reminds me a lot of John Osborne’s extraordinary behaviour towards his. His vicious abuse of her culminated in him chucking her out at 17, removing her from school for good measure. Her only crime seems to have been a lack of interest in his thespian friends ("There is not one of them who is not worth a dozen low lifes like you," he reproached her). He never saw her again. "Nolan's birthday," he wrote in his notebook when she turned 22, "God rot her."

But, I digress. This post was meant to be about Tretchikoff, not my teenage reading habits and arbitrary details about various authors, some of them dead. At least I refrained from delving into the scandal that has surrounded Gunter Grass in the past few weeks.

Despite him being reviled by the art critics, although some are asking that his reputation be re-assessed, Tretchikoff will always occupy a place in the cultural lexicon of the last half of the twentieth century. Now, that the King is dead, I wonder who'll don his crown?

Jack Vettriano, perhaps?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I do miss a good Sunday lunch

Sunday lunch time - crusty Portuguese rolls with thick slices of cheese and slices of banana!


I really do miss having the 7/11 just down the road as at home in Cape Town. Their bread is delicious, just perfect for weekend lunchtime snacks. If not having the cheese and banana rolls I so love and I’d remembered to buy rare roast beef from the Oakhurst farmshop on Main Road, the rolls would be stuffed with lettuce, beef and lots and lots of horseradish sauce.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Being true to my name

A true nomad, no matter how reluctant he may be about his lifestyle, really needs to wander a bit more than I’ve been doing over the past three years.

I’ve spent most of that time in Nottingham, a city that I’ve grown to enjoy a lot, particularly as I’ve made some very good friends there. So, staying on longer would be great if I were to find a good contract nearby, preferably not as far away as Northampton. My current contract has been extended by another four months. A good thing, of course – the money won’t dry up and it means staying on in Nottingham.

However, while waiting to hear if my contract would be extended, I’ve been looking into what’s available elsewhere just in case the contract came to an end. And, it seems that I am wanted elsewhere. I’m hoping to get final confirmation that I’m wanted for a role either based in Antwerp or Amsterdam. Both cities, especially Amsterdam, appeal to me. The job is a lot better paid and involves travel to countries I’ve never been to before - Brazil and the States.

It sounds irresistible, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no.

Yes, because I’d be working and living somewhere completely different to the UK. Yes, because I’d be travelling to places I want to visit. Yes, because I’d be getting a lot more money that will help quicken my return to South Africa. No, because I’ll have to get used to a new job, new country, new people, etc. No, because spending 50% of my time travelling could get wearisome quite quickly. And, no, because I’ll be leaving friends behind. That's the biggest no and it almost outweighs all the yes-es.

True to my name, I’m reluctant about being a nomad.

But, on balance, should I get a firm offer that definitely benefits my pocket, I’ll be on the move again.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Let them eat beetroot

‘Let them eat cake.’

We all know what happened to the last woman who told her subjects that. Yes, her head rolled.

‘Let them eat beetroot.’

She may not be a queen but South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang knows all about regal disdain.

The TAC have called for her head before but she remains impervious to criticism. President Mbeki maintains a sullen silence on the HIV/AIDS issue and tacitly supports her. But, now that respected members of the international scientific community are baying for blood, we may get a decent response.

Let's hope her head rolls soon!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Those effing Poles!

"A not unattractive gypsy gamine type -- highly sexed, I should say ... an accent more foreign than it need be," British agent Lord Cottenham said in a report that forms part of official documents released today about Lady Howard of Effingham.

Effingham? They must be effing joking? But it appears not. What a wonderful name for an alleged spy who relied on sexual charms to woo men into indiscretions.

MI5, in the released papers, said the Polish-born Malwina Gertler only married Lord Howard, a bankrupt whose inheritance had been cut off, to gain British nationality. Her lover, the notorious Polish arms dealer Edward Weisblat, kept a chauffeur and a Rolls Royce and Cadillac in London. Lady Effingham used his money to pay her husband 500 pounds plus a weekly allowance of 7 pounds.

She was jailed for five months in 1941.

"It's just like a rather cheap finishing school," she said in a newspaper interview on her release. "I had my own cell. I made little chintz curtains for the window and had my own bed cover."

I don’t think many of today’s inhabitants of Holloway Prison would describe the place like that but, then again, most prisons tend to be finishing schools of quite a different sort nowadays – they polish (please don't groan!!) the skills and talents of today’s criminals.

These days, many in the UK complain about the poor Poles coming over here and depressing the wage market for British nationals.

Despite statistics that show that the Polish influx has been good for the country, liberal commentators, like Polly Toynbee of The Guardian, have argued that future immigration from EU accession states should be limited until their GDP matches that of the UK. ‘Workers in Britain should not have their wages depressed by the flood of immigrants from low-pay economies,’she says, claiming that the day rates of building workers have halved since 2004. The Sunday Herald coments that ‘by suggesting that the very integrity of British society could be imperilled by immigration, Toynbee is treading ground which the liberal left in Britain has long feared to go near, for fear of being accused of sounding racist. Indeed, this argument could equally be applied to immigration from non-white countries. But because we are talking about Poles and Lithuanians, rather than Pakistanis and Indians, it doesn’t sound like Powellism.’

Sixty or so years ago, Poles arriving with money that they used to prop up the aristocracy were being accused of espionage.

The poor Poles, they really can’t win, can they?

Trying to find my mojo...

Mojo Jojo

This silence of mine is getting a bit permanent, isn’t it? I even missed my blog birthday, the 31st of August. And, as we know, every self-respecting blogger makes a bit of a fuss about that. Obviously, there isn’t much self-respect here.

However, mindful of the fact that my first post blamed my entry into the blogging world on Mike, I’m also mindful of the fact that Mike has mentioned, quite a few times too, that the longer one doesn’t post, the more difficult it becomes. So, should this entry become the first flowering of a new burst of activity on here, you know whom to blame.

Although there’s been quite a bit going on in my life that I could have blogged about and there’ve been numerous news items that I considered commenting about, my mojo seems to have been somewhere else. Is this what it feels like to be one of the Powerpuff Girls? You know, Buttercup was always my favourite Powerpuff girl (she’s the tomboy – go figure!) but this test says that I’m Bubbles. Yes, the one who is described as ‘the baby of the group (despite being the same age) and is defined by her innocence, playfulness and gentle demeanour. She does, however, have a tendency to be naive, submissive and overemotional, leading to her often being (unfairly) regarded, by friends and foes alike, as the group's weak link.’

What a load of bollocks!!

Anyway, perhaps I’m back and, perhaps, more nomadic wanderings are on the way.