Monthly Archives: November 2008

Shortage of Holes

According to a somewhat alarmist TV report about recycling this week, the UK is ‘running out of holes’.

Surely not. There’s an endless supply of them. You just dig them. I guess it could get problematic if you dug a hole, filled it in, and then dug another one in the same location. Would the second hole somehow cancel out the first?

The Telegraph has become weirdly obsessed by holes of late. Recent headlines include –

There’s a God-shaped hole in Westminster (What exactly does a God-shaped hole look like?)


Labour lands Britain in a £1 trillion hole (How can an entire country land in a hole? Did the hole itself cost £1 trillion?)

The Beatles seemed to have a thing about holes as well, transforming four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire into overnight celebrities in 1967. (Though the holes were rather small, they had to count them all. Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.) Perhaps Blackburn could profit from the hole shortage.

I look forward to a national boom in the hole trade.

US TV discussion about the money hole

Freezy Water and Cold Christmas

As the Winter Solstice approaches, it’s good to know that I live relatively near to two highly topical villages – Cold Christmas and Freezy Water.
Talking of silly place names, I’m also not far from Ugley (which – yes – does boast an Ugley Women’s Institute, run by a Mrs Scar) and the village of Nasty. Nasty has no WI, sadly.

posing on the fluffy blue tower

in the kitchen, keeping an eye on the oven

All Over the Place

November has been ridiculous. I’ve been in Newcastle, Leeds, Wales, Bristol, London, Cambridge and various other far-flung and exotic places. I’ve stayed everywhere from a Premier Inn by a motorway to a boutique hotel with a comlimentary decanter of port by my bed.
The other day, when I was in Bristol, I seriously thought I was in Cardiff for several minutes and frightened my taxi driver by asking him whether he liked living in Wales.
I’m now off to Suffolk for a couple of days, but then I’m back in Hertford for several weeks. Hurrah.
Bolly’s been fine about this and, unlike a typical cat, isn’t remotely huffy when I get home. My friend H has been kindly staying over to deputise as La Boll’s personal assistant.

The Blackberry of Doom

I put my birthday into my BlackBerry diary today and it asked me to tell it the ‘number of recurrences’. After pondering this somewhat morbidly, I decided not to tempt fate by predicting the ‘number of recurrences’ and to enter my birthday anew every year, just to be on the safe side.

Raindrops, Subways, Happy Talk and Wagner

The Subways – who are superb AND from Welwyn Garden City
I’ve just thrown iTunes into confusion. The ‘Genius’ application, which predicts the music you might like, based on your downloads, has had a psychotic breakdown and thinks it’s an ostrich.
This is because my last five downloads were –
Happy Talk from South Pacific (um … for Bolly)
The Prelude from Das Rheingold by Wagner (even the Wagner haters must like this)
Raindrops and Encore Une Fois by Sash and Stunt (two classic dance tracks merged into a quintessence of clubby fabulousness)
There’s a Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon for New York by Louis Armstrong (makes me sooo happy)
All or Nothing by The Subways (Indie perfection from Welwyn, via LA)
This has totally discombobulated iTunes, which is now recommending totally random music and I fear may go into meltdown. What should I download next to confuse it even more? Steps? The Wombles? Stockhausen’s Greatest Hits, sung by Leona Lewis?

Den Grimme Ælling

One of the Hertford Seven – almost a swan

It’s good to see the Hertford cygnets doing so well. It just seems a few days since they made it into The Mercury, when they decided to stage a sit-in on Bull Plain near the town centre. Now, they’re almost swans.

But they’ve never, ever been ugly. Never. Ever. I won’t have it.

I’ve always taken extreme exception to the cygnetist propaganda and defamatory ducklingism in Hans Christian Anderson’s Ugly Duckling (Grimme Ælling).

But there’s more to the tale than meets the eye – or beak, or whatever.

According to a recent biography, Anderson looked frighteningly like a duck when he was a child – big hands and feet and a beak-like nose.

Like the duckling, he was an outsider.

And there’s now speculation that Andersen was in fact the illegitimate son of the Crown Prince of Denmark. He discovered this just before he wrote the story. So, the inner swan metaphor stood not just for inner beauty, but for secret royal lineage.

Could this be why the Hertford cygnets tried to storm the town centre in July? Are they related in some way to the Knights Templar? Do they know something we don’t?

an unequivocally cute duckling