Great Britain

Ruddy Hell!

This is a weird story. The last remaining one hundred Ruddy Ducks in England are to be shot at great expense by a government agency because the Spanish have complained that they interbreed with their own rare white-headed ducks. So far the Spaniards have killed 6,500 Ruddy Ducks at a cost of over £5 million, […]

Ancient England

The thought sometimes crosses my mind; If I still manage to find lost pockets of London, how many more must there be around England? A friend of mine who has regularly contributed to these pages, Jan Briggs, sends me details of Saxon objects that still cling on in the landscape of England. This Saxon baptismal […]

Rich, Vulgar & In London

Everyone complains about how expensive London is, and part of it is down to property prices being jacked up by the super-rich attracted by the domicile laws, which are unique in the world. If you come from overseas, can prove you are going to return and can establish a domicile separate from your “residency” in […]

Gunfire For Beginners

I don’t believe you have to kill a shark in order to write about it, Hemingway-style, but a writer needs a certain amount of experience in order to write about anything. I suppose that’s not always true; HRF Keating’s Inspector Ghote novels were written without him visiting India. But some writers end up writing about […]

Wonka Applications Now Open

British residents can now enter a lottery for free tickets to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Buckingham Palace Concert here. Caution: May Contain Cliff Richard. It’s organised by Gary Barlow, who has now undergone a remarkable transformation from Boy-Band Sex Toy to the Vicar of Stiffkey.

Everything Really Old Is New Again

In times of austerity people become nostalgic for past comforts – but it seems we’re going back more than just a few years this time. David Beckham’s to blame for the return of the humble vest – as in ‘under-the-shirt’ – his new range just went on sale at H&M, although the sudden freezing snap […]

Is It OK To Like Union Jacks Again?

I like Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks and his jacket, which looks quiet on the outside until you throw it open. The Union Jack may be about to go for a burton, if the Scottish element of the British Isles gives in to the chip on its shoulder and removes itself from the union, but does that […]

Getting The Horn

What’s going on here then? This is Cuckold’s Point, Rotherhithe, at a sharp bend on the Thames near the church of St Mary and the Angel pub. The name came from a post with a paid of horns on it that marked the starting point of the riotous Horn Fair, a carnival that end from […]

British Units Of Measurement

Following a recipe last night, I found myself forced to work between three accepted British units of measurement; grams, ounces and cupfuls. We seem to have adopted some measurement units but none of them completely. This, of course, is the British way of doing things. After the campaign for women’s suffrage peaked between 1910 and […]

Let’s Talk About The Weather

So said the schoolgirls in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ when confronted with something more serious, but on George Monbiot’s excellent site there’s a report about how the forecasting of the British weather became politicised after the UK right-wing press began making predictions using a couple of meteorological companies, neither of whom had prediction track records. […]