Monthly Archives: September 2004


Hurricane Ivan has finally hit the USA. I’m surprised Bush hasn’t invaded it.
Ivan’s an odd name for a hurricane.
For several hundred years, hurricanes were named after the saints days on which they occurred. For example Hurricane San Felipe in 1876.
But now they’ve gone all secular and a shortlist of 21 potential names for future hurricanes is compiled every year by the World Meteorological Organisation. It’s done several years in advance. So we already know what hurricanes might be called in 2008.
Names can be repeated. But, if they’re attached to particularly fierce hurricanes, they’re ‘retired’ and never used again . Ivan will probably be retired after this year. Recently Keith was retired and replaced by Kirk. Michelle was supplanted by Melissa. And Lenny was sacked, giving way to Lee.
In 2005, we face the prospect of hurricanes called Dennis and Stan. Gordon may sweep across the Caribbean in 2007, along with Florence (the name of one of my rabbits). Dean and Sebastian, who sound like a gay couple from Islington, are potential names for 2007. And old biddies Bertha and Arthur are shortlisted for 2008, along with the flamboyant Hurricane Hortense.

New Admissions Policy on Isle of Skye

I had my hair cut this morning. And, as I sat there being cropped, the barber turned to the young chap in the next chair who was clearly a family friend. “So…have you been to Skye yet?” he asked. “No,” replied the young guy. “We wanted to go, but they wouldn’t allow us in. You’ve got to be over 25.” I was slightly surprised (but secretly impressed) that Skye had banned all young people. Then I suddenly remembered. ‘Sky’ is the name of a trendy new nightclub down the road in Ware. Does that mean I’ve finally become middle-aged? Please say no.

The Unspeakable in Pursuit of the Uneatable

Parliament was interrupted yesterday by a pathetic rabble of twits who kill animals for fun.
BBC News Story
When the debate resumed, MPs backed a ban on hunting in England and Wales by 339 to 155 votes.
So, why should we ban fox-hunting? Here are ten reasons…

  1. We live in a democracy. According to recent MORI polls, between 76% and 80% of us support a ban on hunting. And in rural areas, 52% want it banned. A mere 28% of countryside people oppose a ban.
  2. Hunting does not reduce the number of foxes. Hunts only kill 3% of the fox population every year. According to a Mammal Society report for the RSPCA, fox hunting makes no difference whatsoever. “Foxes have a very high level of productivity. There are 240,000 adult foxes in Britain and these produce 425,000 cubs each year. So if fox numbers are to remain constant, there needs to be 64% mortality each year.” During a temporary ban on hunting in 2001, “There was no difference in the pattern of change in fox abundance between areas within or outside a hunt country…the ban on hunting had no impact on fox numbers in Britain.

Six Degrees

Following my Six Degrees of Separation namedrops (see Next Door section), Viv has pointed out that Cyn’s godson Owain Yeoman (see pic), who played Lysander in Troy, has just been offered a lead role in a new Hollywood production (watch this space for more info).

CD Case Cracked

It’s official. After weeks of dramatic speculation, Lee Brewster, BBC CD archivist and nubbinologist, has discovered the definitive term for the middly bit of a CD cover which grips CDs in place. This is in fact known in the inner sanctum of the CD world as a…”spider”. Peacockshock is most grateful for this entomological etymological elucidation. Lee would like to point out that he does have many interests other than CD cases.

Holy Grail in Hertford?

The Holy Grail may be in Hertford…according to the local Mercury newspaper. And readers of the best-selling Da Vinci Code (which centres on Grail symbolism) are now “set to flock” here in search of it. Why? Well, this part of Hertfordshire was once a haunt of the mysterious Knights Templar who guarded the Grail’s secrets. In 1309, King Edward III imprisoned four of the knights in Hertford Castle and local legend claims they hid their treasure around these parts. Now, thanks to the Da Vinci book, the tourist office is expecting a flood of Grail researchers around Hertford Castle, Bengeo Temple Farm and nearby Royston Cave. Of course, the Grail may not be an object at all, but that’s another story. I’m reading The Da Vinci Code at the moment and it’s excellent. Meanwhile, Bollinger the cat (click on pic) denies all knowledge of the Grail.

Knight’s Tombstone

I took this photo recently in the graveyard of Kilmartin Church in the Scottish Highlands, where several of the Knights Templar are said to be buried.

Definition of a Nubbin

After much consternation and fitful googling, I finally had an epiphany today and consulted the Oxford English Dictionary on the subject of a “nubbin” (scroll down for nubbinabilia and speculation regarding alleged ‘nubbins’ in CD cases…long story). According to my two-volume version of the OED, a nubbin is a “stub, stump, or residual part” and a diminutive form of the word “nub” which is a “knob, small protuberance” or central “point or gist of a story”. This would suggest that “nubbin” is indeed the correct word for the centre of a CD case, on which a CD clicks into place. It is, after all, a small central protuberance. No…I’m not doing any links to sites featuring small or even large protuberances. This is a family blog.

Shock Lobster

This evening, I was innocently walking down the river on the way home from the gym, admiring some sunflowers blurred by the smoke of a garden fire, when…a live lobster loomed in the middle of the towpath, giving me an evil and beady look and brandishing its claws in a menacing fashion. For a moment, after years of waiting, I thought I’d finally flipped. I was expecting Lewis Carroll to appear. Then, out of the dusk came the Sid James chortling of a nearby angler. “Don’t panic,” he guffawed. “It’s a crayfish. There are loads of them in the river. They’re not very friendly and they tend to eat the other fish if they don’t like them, but it probably won’t hurt you.” He picked it up gently with a pincer thing, put it in the river and it swam off. “They’re strange things,” he added. “They come out of the river, go for a walk, then jump back in.” Yet another odd Hertford moment. Breaking Crayfish Story

Nubbins News

The great nubbins debate continues (see nubbin-related entries below). Thank you to Frank, a nubbin boffin, for observing that some CD case cognoscenti and CD case manufacturers such as Jewelbox refer to “nubbins” as “hooks” and that companies such as Triggerpack don’t even use them.


Thank you to Lee from BBC CD Archiving who is investigating the word “nubbins.” I suggested in a Peacockshock entry last week that the little teeth in the middle of CD cases were possibly known as “nubbins”, but no-one’s entirely sure and Lee is determined to find out. Watch this space.

Amusing Headline

Recent headline in The Telegraph:
Countryside Is Unsafe Claims Man Mistaken For Fox