Saturday 31 July 2010

July, You Didn't Let Us Down. Grumpy's Alternative News.

What a month, where do we begin! Money, what to do with it. One of Elvis's pianos is up for sale, they think it might fetch £1,000,000. Plus Roy Roger's horse, Trigger (stuffed of course) is to be auctioned, they think it might fetch up to £133, 000 ($200,000). You're too late for the ashes of the cat featured in the Coronation Street titles, they fetched £800 at a Gloucestershire auctioneers. Talking of ashes, did you notice they're creating a reef in the English Channel made from concrete and reef balls filled with cremated remains. (Ringstead Bay, Dorset.) But I digress, they've not had the Chatsworth House contents auction yet (this autumn. 20,000 items, 1,400 lots.) There's something for everyone: marble chimneypiece £300,000, down to teacups and saucers, £20-£600 plus the Duchess's 'record changer and wireless', circa 1935, £30-50. (All prices are estimates.)
Alternatively you might fancy the new flying car, the Terrafugia Transition, priced £128,000. Money can't buy Paul the octopus who correctly predicted World Cup results but if you're really loaded you could go for that most exclusive of internet domain names, (It fetched $12million when last sold in 2006.) The only person I can think of who could afford that sort of money is Wayne Rooney. He won a court case recently that will make him richer than ever. But it didn't stop him being named as the ugliest footballer on earth by Money can't buy everything, Wayne!
Enough of money. What made me laugh, or cry for that matter. The ice-cream van for dogs in Regent's Park is brilliant. 'Canine cookie crunch' indeed. I hope the van, which is called K99 and plays the Scooby Doo theme does well. The burglar from Blackburn who left behind his false teeth when he had a sandwich at the scene of crime was not the sharpest. Nominally brighter than the seventy six year old retired Army major who hurt his back 'tombstoning' at Durdle Door. Couldn't he find something safer with which to occupy himself. Any suggestions? He'd have been better off 'tweeting' like Ivy Bean who died recently, aged 104 and acknowledged as the oldest person on Twitter. Mind you, her 'tweets' weren't exactly ground-breaking. 'Had a visit from our sandra yesterday she bought some parkin which we had with our cuppa.' Rest in peace, Ivy.
There were things in the month that made me wonder. The property tycoon who attacked a helicopter, hitting it and trying to open the pilot's door because it blew dust over his Land Rover lacked self control. Even more serious was the maniac who knifed two people because they hit his car with a discarded lollipop. He was deservedly locked up. Frightening that such people exist. Likewise the idiots in Russia who hoisted a donkey into the air by parachute as a publicity stunt ought to have had a dose of their own medicine. Fortunately such individuals are in the minority.
Just a couple or so items in poor taste. I know some of you love them! Can you remember Keith Chegwin presenting a game show whilst naked. I thought of him when I read someone has been putting up photographs of his private parts (with a pink bow tied round!) around Lewes. No, I am NOT suggesting it is Keith Chegwin! The pictures are being examined for fingerprints. Honestly! There is so, so much more I could say but I mustn't! And evidently 'a big budget' p0rn movie was shot in a London hospital. They won't say which one but evidently the hospital made a 'substantial income'. Having recently spent a week in hospital I'm totally jealous. I bet it made the time go a lot quicker!
I will leave you with a snippet from Derby, my home town. We have a university, just like Oxford and Cambridge. But no studies of comparable depth or importance. Derby University is offering a one year diploma course in artisan food, showing amongst other things how to bake bread and make cheese and pickle. One module even shows how to brew ale. Shakespearean studies, who needs 'em!

Sunday 25 July 2010

Where's granddad Gone?

Away, Monday blues, granddad's gone to the pub again!

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Do You Always Look on The Bright Side of Life.

The last post I wrote was a miserable rant in many ways and I was amazed at the positive comments I received. Seemingly many of you feel like me concerning the injustices in the world and the fools and the greedy so and so's out there. I try not to be too gloomy too often. So I was not a little surprised to come across a draft dated March 2009. Seemingly I never posted this effort, perhaps the mood lightened.
'They don't call me Grumpy Old Ken for nothing. I'm sitting here because it's raining like hell and I was going out. Plus we got wet through at the football. Not a bad match but we really ought to have won. The cookers packed up and they wanted well over two hundred pounds to fix it. I have had to buy a new one and Curry's messed me around concerning delivery. Plus when it did arrive they couldn't fit it for technical reasons they should have told me about in the shop. Plus I've had to get someone else to fit the darned thing. Now I've got to go back to Curry's as I paid in vouchers so now they owe me money for non fitting. Our motorhome leaks and has to be sorted, less than a year old. Plus it's being recalled anyway, I think for the fourth time, I've lost count. My teeth need doing, and the bill, already mounting, will be astronomical. I can't sell my house, on the market since August, the offers have been derisory, and I've found some damp in our new home that will need sorting. I bought a greenhouse in the week to cheer myself up and half the bits are missing. My knees ache and my breathing could be better; the doctor's surgery was full, made me feel ten times worse. The TV licence is due and the car tax, insurance and gas and electricity bills not far behind. My moods not improved by a nail in my tyre and a mark on the van courtesy of some fool in a public car park. Thank God I've no cat to get fleas or dog to get rabies.
Fast forward to July 2010.
The house eventually sold and if it didn't make a fortune, so what, many would love a house to sell. Someone fetched the old cooker for spares (Freecycle) so it did someone some good. I can still walk and am still alive though bits fall off with regular monotony. The bills still hover and the teeth still 'bover' plus the damps still there, but who cares in the middle of summer. The wife, the kids and the grandchildren are still lovely, it's nearly the new football season and only 157 days to Christmas! Is your glass half full or half empty.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Always Look on the Black Side of Life.

Having written two posts on June that were fairly cheerful I started to think of aspects in the month that got me going. After all, I'm not called Grumpy for nothing!
For instance, the idiot fat cats in the world never suffer in hard times. I noticed, there are 172 Civil Servants earning more than the Prime Minister. (£150,000 or more.) Plus more than 100 BBC staff also earn more than David Cameron. (The most senior executive, Carol Thomson earns £333,000 a year.)
Our chief executive of Derby City Council, Adam Wilkinson earns a mere £160,000 a year. Poor man, except that Kent County Council gave him severance pay of £365,000 when he quit as director of environment after twelve months. Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury's received almost £8,000,000 last year. What a pity they recorded their worst growth in six years, lest some of my more affluent readers try to suggest such indecent bonuses, salaries and pensions are justified. The trend is that the salaries of directors of large companies are increasing whilst profits are decreasing. (BBC News, 4th July.)
The word effluence springs to mind rather than affluence. I notice a loaf of bread made in Nailsworth has up to a hundred customers in the Cotswolds despite costing £21 each. I'm not so sure about the sensibilities of that either in these austere times.
One can argue that one's money is yours to spend as you please, but is it that simple. Whilst half the world starves, Britain is in the middle of the worst depression for many decades and Cabestan, a Swiss company offer a watch for sale at £250,000. (The Scuderia Ferrari One.)
I think that what gets my goat, so to speak, is the hypocrisy of it all, big business and the rich purporting to care whilst continuing to profit massively in a troubled world. Not all company profits are decreasing. I noticed brewers Fuller, Smith and Turner showing great concern for the future. Well, it didn't stop your yearly profits being up 17% on the year, did it lads.
I've suffered several dodgy life threatening experiences over the last few years. So much so that I made a vow not to concern myself with things I can't change. Yet here I am, raving about stupid, greedy imbeciles who really don't deserve a minute of my time. So why do I do it? I refuse to read regularly either The Daily Express or The Daily Mail. What pathetic apologies for newspapers they are. Negative, subversive, biased, frankly unpleasant and pandering to their readers prejudices. It worries me that many, particularly the older generation like my mother in law are influenced by the propaganda of people with a hidden agenda. (I do of course recognise that The Sun wields great influence but I always assume, naively in all probability that most realise the Sun is a comic at heart.) If none of us ever read a newspaper ever again I doubt our lives would be too diminished. We need to know of the world beyond our immediate environment, but how much do we need to know in reality.
Is it paranoia or merely concern that makes me so het up at times. Many things in June besides 'fat cats' caught my eye. In Gloucester Cathedral flower arrangers have been told they must undergo Criminal Record Bureau checks. The usual PC rubbish. Plus the EU attempting to ban the sale of eggs by the dozen is mind bendingly dumb. A dozen is divisible by half, a quarter, a third, a sixth, try that, you metric lovers. I don't know what is worse, the interference or the stupidity.
The police had many, many chances to apprehend a rapist in London and failing to do so makes me angry and not a little sad. This alongside the case of Eddie Gilfoyle whose conviction for murder after eighteen years now seems highly suspect. The police failing to heed the written warning given when Raoul Moat was released from prison is enough to make even the fairest of individuals roar with frustration. (Yet the police had until recently a Home Office Adviser on red tape. Officially 'the independent reducing bureaucracy advocate'.)
France -Inter sacking comedians because they had the temerity to suggest Nicolas Sarkozy is a midget is pathetic but at least it's funny. Of course he is a midget. I too at five feet four am a midget. Of course you are a midget, Sarkozy, so deal with it, you power mad French fool.
Just some of life's irritations from the past weeks. All off my chest now! Do you get steamed up with the world out there or is it just me. And is it the same for my readers overseas? Same or similar problems? How do you cope with it all; I'd love to know.
This was to be the end of this miserable post. Except that I've just had four superb days in the Yorkshire Dales in the motorhome. Met a chap whose father is a lord. A chap without a bit of swagger or brag, what a lovely guy you are. Stayed once again on my favourite campsite, Cow Close Barn near Leyburn. 'Mike, the 'boss', affable and helpful as ever. Dad, Alec, not in the best of health but never one to let his problems affect others. Both utter charmers, plus their equally lovely, hard working wives; always a pleasure to meet again. Four days with my own smashing wife savouring the delights of great people and beautiful countryside. What the heck am I doing letting the idiots in the world get to me. You tell me!

Friday 9 July 2010

Don't Laugh, it's Not Funny.

Some things in the June news made me laugh and they shouldn't have. Perhaps laugh is the wrong word. The two homeless men who sold a man they killed to a kebab stall is not funny. But what caught my eye was the fact that nothing was found when the stall was searched. The two men ate most of him and nothing remained when the stall was examined. 'The meat, from the deceased victim had already been cooked or sold, an investigator said. Moral, don't buy kebabs from stalls in Moscow.
People never cease to amaze. Three strange men, take your pick. The seventeen stone burglar in Devon caught trying to wriggle through a two foot hole he had made in order to get into a departmental store. One, he inevitably got wedged and two, his wriggling set off the burglar alarm. Or how about the idiot rescued in the middle of the night a mile off Bournmouth in a four foot long toy boat, equipped with only one paddle, a sandwich and a drink. Perhaps the south excels when it comes to complete fools. Phillip Northmore wanted to look smart in court when accused of shoplifting in Exeter. So he stole a suit on his way there and was promptly apprehended. In court he admitted the offence, along with drunkenness, criminal damage and breaching a suspended jail term. I'm not sure the collective term for all three, any suggestions?
I thought the last gentleman mentioned at least showed initiative. Governments and their ilk are always imploring us to show 'initiative'. The man in Chatham ordered to tidy up his garden following a visit by environmental health officers after complaints from neighbours showed initiative. The next time his garden was inspected it was spotless. Gone were the bin bags, fridges, vacuum cleaners and microwaves. Only when the officers looked over his five feet fence they saw next door's garden contained, bin bags, fridges, vacuum cleaners and microwaves. Which cost James Sullivan £185 in fines for the easy answer to his problem. Could be worse, he could live next door to you!
(Talking of living next door, how would next door be advertised in the estate agent's window. Estate agent Simon Ward believes in being honest. He described one house in Bournmouth as 'A sorry home that needs gutting.' He said of another, 'I apologise for the lack of photographs but I didn't really fancy spending too long in there.') Not that everyone is so honest; mind you, some are too honest. A drunken driver trapped in his overturned car in Auckland opened another can of beer whilst he waited for emergency services to arrive. Asked how much he had consumed, he replied, 'I've been drinking for four days straight.' His honesty cost him £525 in fines and a ten month ban.
No, not everyone is honest. A student in Oxford 'stole' his own bicycle nine times using bolt cutters to see if any member of the public would challenge him. And how many did so? One, and he took no action.! It's easier to look the other way. Perhaps if the bikes were wired up to the 'mains ' it would be the 'shock' some people need. Too drastic? Maybe. But officials in Cape Town have come up with a 'bright idea'. Thieves keep stealing the cables to the street lights. So now they leave the lights on during the day. A shocking idea? Try cutting through live cables, definitely a painful experience!
The three men offering The Ritz Hotel for sale, price £250 million were not exactly honest either but they certainly showed initiative.Terence Collins, a London property dealer jumped at the chance to buy. He's no fool concerning property and knew full well The Ritz was worth £600 million of anybodies money. Mr Collins knows a bargain and transferred £1 million to the accounts of Mr Patrick Dolan and Mr Anthony Lee as a down payment. Unfortunately the Ritz belongs to the Barclay brothers, Sirs David and Frederick, owners of The Daily Telegraph. The trial of Patrick and Anthony proceeds, no sign of the million pound deposit. Didn't the name of the men's solicitor ring alarm bells. 'Conn' Farrell, I ask you! You couldn't make it up!
Finally a man after Grumpys own heart. A Dutchman in the village of Minnertsa lived with his four siblings and was evidently an awkward old so and so, Described as 'Used to being obeyed and quick to anger.' So when he said he was not to be disturbed in his bedroom they followed his instructions. His body was found in bed four years later!

Sunday 4 July 2010

Jolly Old June

Did no one notice May's Alternative News never materialised due to Grumpy's dodgy health in the not so merry month of May. No such problem in June, so what caught the eye.
As usual, the animal kingdom was in the news. A rare shrew was returned home to the Isles of Scilly after stowing away on the ferry to Cornwell. And a chihuahua called Conchita is at the centre of a law suite in Miami. Its owner, Gail Posner left it £10,000 a month in her will, to include, amongst other things, manicures, pedicures and cashmere pyjamas. Ms Posner's son is not amused. Plus zoo workers in charge of pregnant pandas sent back to the Research Centre in Sichuan, China to breed are really taking the job seriously. Those involved will disguise themselves as pandas 'By donning a black and white fur coat and crawling on the ground.' The mind boggles. Nevertheless they are luckier than the eight foxes and fifty chameleons found in extremely large suitcases of a passenger at Cairo Airport bound for Thailand. At least they were alive, which was more than could be said for the the tiger, rare birds and lemurs found in the freezer of a man in Coventry. Some of which, incidentally, were bought on eBay. They reckon Knut the polar bear at Berlin Zoo has psychological problems, minor compared with the two idiots just mentioned. To end this section on a more hopeful note, how about Oscar the two year old cat who has been fitted with bionic legs after a combine harvester accident in Jersey. Good luck, Oscar, I hope you go from strength to strength.
I see Lord Freud, the minister for social reform has come up with a scheme whereby grandparents mentor teenagers and help them 'Navigate the adult world', a policy now officially adopted in David Cameron's 'Big Society' strategy. Are these people real. What do they think grandparents do all their lives, drink tea and watch Jeremy Kyle! Did you notice, by the way, a US study suggests drinking more than four cups of tea a day increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Mind you, even they, Georgetown University suggest more studies are needed.
Talking of oldies, did you know 'Tears' by Ken Dodd was the biggest selling record of the sixties after 'She Loves You' and 'I Want to Hold Your Hand'. Eat your heart out, Tom Jones, Cliff and The Rolling Stones. Plus Doddy is still touring at the age of eighty two with his Happiness Show.
On a macabre note, do you fancy your body going on display, courtesy of Dr von Hagens who has become infamous for displaying treated corpses on public display in tableau's depicting corpses running, playing chess and other less mentionable occupations. Plus his attached supermarket has body parts for sale: a smoker's lung, £3,600, a head and brain slice, £1,500 0r a testicle for a mere £360. Ideal presents for those who have everything. Or perhaps for someone you don't like!
June had so much to offer I will do a follow up concerning ten things that made me smile. But I'll leave you with one or two 'shorties' that caught the eye.
I noticed that Sir Randulph Fiennes, the explorer is regularly mixed up, where officialdom is concerned, ie speeding tickets with Hollywood actor Ralph Fiennes. On a par with the Australian Parliament House gift shop that was selling mugs marked 'Barrack' Obama. Get it right lads. (Barack of course.)
I noticed the American military have ditched Velcro and returned to the humble button. Evidently the fine sand in Iraq and Afghanistan plays havoc with Velcro. So much for the 21st century progress.
And finally one for the ladies. How much do you spend on shoes, my dears. The website reckons girls purchase their first pair at fourteen and buy seven pairs a year for the rest of their lives. It is suggested the average woman has nineteen pairs of shoes, worth £664.81 in her wardrobe. And the cost over a lifetime? £16,000! No wonder many a man wears clothes reminiscent of Worzel Gummidge. It's all he can afford!