Great Britain

British Eccentrics: Fannying About With Food

Fanny Cradock (real name Phyllis Nan Sortain ‘Primrose’ Pechey) was primarily a live performer. Her parents, Bijou and Archibald, were usually bankrupt so Fanny tried various menial jobs before entering the restaurant trade, hailing Escoffier as a saviour of British cookery  She and her monocle-wearing Major Johnny ran a Daily Telegraph column (where they probably appeared […]

Bah Humbug! The Modern Scrooge’s Christmas

There’s so much Christmas around here I could expectorate tinsel. Christmas used to be fun with granddad smoking rolling tobacco indoors and grandma swearing at him and Mum force-feeding everyone her strange homemade mince pies that tasted vaguely of cigarettes and Dad building train-sets that caught fire. Now they’re all dead, so Christmas is a […]

So, That Happened.

William Blake said ‘active evil is better than passive good’. He could not have asked for a better demonstration of his maxim last night. An election is usually about choosing the right candidate, not trying to avoid the wrong one. Boris Johnson, centrist, liar, racist, homophobe, fantasist, inconsistent in policies, evasive in interviews, awkward in […]

The British Bee Hive

I first became properly aware of this image when I saw it used as an enormous front-cloth in ‘Sweeney Todd’ on Broadway. George Cruikshank’s etching was designed in 1840 and was brought up to date by him in 1867. I’d like to have included a much larger image but it’s readily available online. The political […]

The Rich Will Always Be With Us

Exhibit A: The Honourable Member for the 18th Century, Jacob Rees-Mogg AKA The Haunted Chimney, about whom the writer Ian Trevett had this to say: ‘He is famed for filibustering, where MPs block bills by talking for long enough to block the progress of a bill. In his long speech to filibuster the Sustainable Livestock Bill, […]

The Day The Earth Caught Fire…Is Now

Phew, what a scorcher! The second hottest day in history may become the hottest tonight as the temperature is still rising at currently just over 38C – no, I have no idea what that is in Fahrenheit, a system still clung to by papers like the Mail and Express. I’m not there, mercifully, as it’s […]

The Kipper: A Brief History

Kipper: A whole herring, a small, smelly, oily fish that has been split from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted or pickled, and smoked over oak woodchips to produce a slimy, emetic meat some people insist on eating for breakfast. Not to be confused with; UKipper: A far-right racist also known for its unpleasant […]

You Couldn’t Make It Up. But I Might Try.

I’m thinking of writing a new detective series very different from the present one. Let me explain why. Never live in a country that wants to be a world power. The power-hungry nation will focus its attention on everything except its residents. It will involve itself in the wars of those it wants something from, […]

Lit Up

Following on from the ‘Spitfire’ post, here’s another odd radio memory kicked off by Ian Luck, who knows far too much about this sort of thing. As the comments point out, it’s performed by chaps called Public Service Broadcasting. The above photo appears to have been taken in 1970 but I’m assured is recent. Got […]

Every Era Gets The Icons It Deserves

I read a quote somewhere that summed up the journey difference between the UK and the US; ‘When I went from my house to my old job across Texas I realised that the same journey in Europe would have taken me to two or three different countries.’ I love the fact that most of Europe […]