Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fair Mumbai

An Indian acquaintance of mine has moved to Singapore and is bemused to be continually asked by the locals, "Are you from the black or white part of India?" On further enquiry he was told by one, "If you're from Mumbai, your skin should be fair!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Epitaph of the day

On Margaret Daniels' grave at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia:
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More problems

Foxconn which was beset by problems earlier this year after a spate of suicides at one of its factories in China, has now had to close its plant in Chennai in south India after 250 workers were sent to hospital, feeling dizzy and sick. 28 of them remain there and the plant is being checked and cleaned with people saying that the cause was pesticide spraying. Another sick and dizzy person will be Steve Jobs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Albino of the day

Thursday, July 15, 2010

St Swithun's Day

Today is the feast of St Swithun, patron saint of Winchester, and I am sorry to report that it was raining there this morning so this may mark a hiatus in our glorious summer. Roll on 25 August!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The day before Bastille Day, the French National Assembly voted in favour of banning anybody from wearing clothing which hide their face in public, including in service establishments for the public. How will surgeons manage?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Slow motion

It was a glorious day at Sandbanks on Friday: brilliant sunshine, golden sand shimmering in the heat and a myriad of yachts bobbing on the azure blue sea. Jack Kidd, captain of England's polo team, managed to look cool in white jodhpurs and shirt, flanked by his glamorous groom, who equalled his height, her pony tail befitting the occasion. The chukkas progressed, fast and furious, whilst the jugs of Pimms also flowed at a good pace from the marquee to the stands.

A quarter to five heralded the moment we'd been waiting for: the first game of camel polo to be played in Europe. Four camels trooped in; not majestic dromedaries but stocky Bactrians with two humps and a polo player sitting betwixt. Three of the camels were 9 year old females, the other a castrated male. The whistle blew and the game began. Well, it began in theory. The red beach ball which had been so keenly chased earlier in the afternoon by the dapper polo ponies, was held in some disdain by "Joseph's Amazing Camels" from Warwickshire. After a great deal of slapping on the rear hump, one of them strolled towards the ball at a leisurely pace whilst the other three pretended not to notice. The young woman riding the mobile camel wielded her stick and whooshed it down at the ball, to no avail: she missed. At this point the other three camels had noticed something at the exit of the pitch: the gate was opening. It was possibly the thoughts of sugar beet and water which excited them, possibly the escape from being exhorted to perform inane tasks. Whatever the cause, they suddenly took off and raced towards the other end of the pitch, in the opposite direction from the ball. The herd mentality, or perhaps the realisation that not much food would be left, took hold of the one standing by the ball, who charged after them, dashing all hopes of a goal from the rider and the audience.

The camels had been in training for three months and we were told they live until they are 40 so have many years of polo playing ahead of them. I'm not sure it'll be a crowd puller in the short-term.

Friday, July 09, 2010

A European debut

Today is our annual office outing to the beach polo at Sandbanks which will feature a camel polo match, the first to be played in Europe. I was wondering whether they'd be borrowing a train of camels from London zoo for this or flying some racing hotshots over from Dubai. In fact, the camels come from Warwickshire and have been in training for months. More details on Monday. Bon weekend!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hospital pass

My dear friend collapsed and was admitted to Gloucester hospital so I sent her an emergency parcel on a Friday, guaranteed next day delivery. She did not receive it the next day. Perhaps it was lost in the hospital post system and may be found at some point that weekend? Fat chance! I tracked the parcel on the internet: it had not yet been delivered but would arrive on Monday. Meanwhile, my friend was hoping to leave the hospital on Monday and said she'd wait for the post. No parcel and, no, she couldn't leave before more tests. Tuesday, glorious day: she could go home and the parcel arrived just as she was leaving! I wrote to the Post Office complaints department, requesting a refund of the £8.50 postal charge. They replied that hospitals were not on the list of places where delivery could be guaranteed and therefore they would not refund me. No apology was given for the fact that their staff were unaware of this ruling. Unbelievable!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Driver of the day

Monday, July 05, 2010


Claire Rutter and Peter Auty gave magnificent performances as the lovers Tosca and Cavaradossi at our local Grange Park opera on Saturday. The producer, Lindsay Posner, had made 1940s Rome the setting, with the wicked Scarpa a henchman of Mussolini. There were two intervals for us to enjoy our picnic at leisure, although it took some strength to tuck into our strawberries and cream after Scarpa's gruesome death.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

French hospitality

My friends went to sample the delights of Epernay. On arrival at their hotel, they found a letter waiting for them, inviting them to dine two days later at Chateau Pol Roger. That evening, they went out for dinner at a local restaurant and sat at their reserved table. The waiter approached them with a bottle of champagne on ice, "With the compliments of Pol Roger!" he declared. The following evening, at another restaurant, they were presented with another bottle of Pol Roger. Much bemused, they arrived at the chateau for dinner the next day. It transpired that the chatelaine was a great friend of their brother-in-law and had arranged the whole surprise, to the extent that she'd called all the restaurants in Epernay, instructing them to serve Pol Roger to Mr and Mrs X should they have a reservation!