Welcome to Peacockshock - my house on the internet. I'm Ian Peacock.

I’m based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, but I’ve lived everywhere from London to Cambridge to Austria.

I’m mad about animals and have an adorable Jackapoo, Eddie, named after the dog in Frasier.

So don't dither on the doorstep. Have a wander round. You can either just scroll down this page, or you can mouse around the house and click on the rooms. Do keep coming back for new stuff. I update my witterings regularly

Enjoy your stay.

Ian

Bunny Apple Alert

I innocently gave the rabbits an apple for breakfast yesterday. But they only ate part of it. And, when I got home, it was abuzz with wasps. Hertford is currently suffering from a wasp invasion (“Wasp Wars” is the frontpage headline in the local paper). Thankfully, the rabbits ignored the wasps. But it’s the last time I’ll ever give them apples at this time of year. Also…remember…if you have a rabbit, get it protected against flystrike in the summer. Ask your vet to treat it with Rearguard or something similar. This is a sort of anti-fly hair-gel. It will protect your rabbit and also give it a fashionable Gareth-Gates-style hairdo.

Stop F***ing Swearing

I just went for a walk around genteel Hertford and overheard about 30 F***s. F*** is no longer a swear word in the UK.

But it certainly was in the 17th century in puritanical Jamestown. If you said it once, or twice, you had a bodkin shoved through your tongue. If you said it three times, you were put to death. That’s a f***ing serious punishment.

And F*** was still taboo n 1882 when The Times got into terrible trouble for using F*** in a parliamentary report: “The speaker said he felt inclined for a bit of f***ing.”

As recently as the sixties, the critic Ken Tynan was lambasted for saying it on the BBC, resulting in several parliamentary motions and official apologies.

But when Bono of U2 recently said “f***ing brilliant” in front of millions of viewers on live American TV, there were just 200 complaints (which is tiny in US media terms).

Now the Federal Communication Commission has declared that “f***ing” is OK, if used ‘properly’. By ‘properly’, they mean ‘casually’, as an intensifier of meaning rather than about, um, “activities or functions.”

F*** is now a stlye-statement rather than a taboo word. French Connection UK know that only too well. In 1997, they were just muddling along. So they decided to have fun (and shock the nation’s dyslexics) with their naughty acronym FCUK. The risk paid off. Their profits soared from £6 million to £19 million.

And it seems c*** is heading in the same direction. When John Lydon said it live on peak-time ITV recently, there were fewer than 100 complaints from over 10 million viewers.

Some facts about F*** :

It’s not AngloSaxon, as popularly supposed, but originates in Sanskrit and the Norse word “Fokkar”.

For centuries, it was replaced in England by the word “swive.”

It wasn’t mentioned in English Literature till the late 16th Century.

It was a criminal offence to publish the word till 1960.

Philip Larkin’s use of F is the most frequently-quoted occurence.

F*** is the title of a popular Finnish magazine.

F*** once appeared on BBC Radio 4‘s The Archers (in 1995) but…in French.

OK. Now f*** off and read another bit of Peacockshock.

Hertford Arch

Here are some pix of my home town, Hertford. This medieval arch is pretty near where I live and it’s a useful landmark when I’m giving directions to the house.

Quote for Today

He that has and a little tiny wit,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
For the rain it raineth every day.
Shakespeare

Wells Cathedral clock

I’ve just been recording interviews in Wells Somerset. And I managed a trip to the cathedral to see the famous Wells clock. Made in 1390, it’s still working. Every quarter hour, a bunch of jousting knights whizz around the top. Meanwhile, in a nearby nook, a quarter jack strikes a bell with his heel. It represents a pre-Copernican universe, with the earth at its centre. And it’s actually very easy to read.