Friday, November 19, 2010

Ate breve!

I'm off to find the sun again. Back 7 December.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Photo of the day

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Good news (at last)

What good news that our charming Prince William has become engaged to his sweet Kate! What do you think about The Ring? Is it a lucky or unlucky charm?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

War crimes

It was bad enough to hear Bush condoning waterboarding last week but to discover today that millions of pounds are to be given in compensation by UK taxpayers to Guantanamo Bay detainees really takes the biscuit. Not having the guts to expose the disgusting acts of our intelligence services, backed by Blair and Bush, the Government has decided that these cases cannot go to trial and instead will simply accept that the prisoners were innocent victims of torture. Why doesn't it also issue an arrest for Tony Blair for war crimes?

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Book of the Dead

If you have a couple of hours to spare and use the audio guide, The Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum is well worth a visit. A set of spells was used by Egyptians from around 2400BC right up until around 500BC to help them to navigate the journey after death, through the obstacles within the underworld until they could find eternal life in the Field of Reeds where a beautiful house, garden and soul mate awaited them in the land of the gods. When the body was mummified it was buried in the tomb with a papyrus setting out the spells. The eyes and mouth of the corpse were opened so that it would be able to read the instructions and chant the incantations (although how it could do this through the wrappings is unclear to me). The heart was removed before mummification and placed in a separate jar in the tomb.

Once the body had got past the monsters on the road and in the waters of the journey through the underworld it came at last to Anubis, the jackal-headed god. Anubis took the heart and balanced it on the scales against an ostrich feather. If the heart was good and light, the body could have eternal life. If not, the heart would be eaten by a horrible monster with the head of a crocodile and the body of a lion. The Egyptians were worried that their hearts may contradict the good account they wanted to give of themselves at the time of judgement and so there were also spells to keep their hearts quiet after they'd left the body.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Photo of the day

Captions please!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The last day

I said to my father this morning, "It's the last day!"
"What do you mean?" he asked, looking rather alarmed.
"The last day of being 91!"
In his birthday card (which he didn't save until the day...) his sister wrote, "92 not out!"
Meanwhile the mother of some friends of ours in Winchester is a fit 105 year old!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Nonsense of the day

The common cormorant or shag

Lays eggs inside a paper bag.

The reason you will see, no doubt,

It is to keep the lightning out,

But what these unobservant birds

Have never noticed is that herds

Of wandering bears may come with buns

And steal the bags to hold the crumbs

Friday, November 05, 2010

Letter of the day

Sir, You report that the UK government had hoped to sell our current Harrier aircraft to India but that P.V.Naik, head of the Indian Air Force, described the UK's Harriers as "iffy".

He has indicated that India plans to buy a more advanced fleet. India's navy currently plans to have three aircraft carriers, one on each flank of the country and one in reserve or under maintenance.

For each of the last three years India has had more aid from the UK than any other country and according to the Department of International Development received £295m directly from the UK government in 2009-10. The DfID's strategy and the Prime Minister's comments in Delhi earlier this year indicate that it is planned to increase this amount during the next five years. This expenditure would cover the costs of keeping the Harriers flying until their end date of 2020 and would avoid the currently planned position of this country having aircraft carriers with no aircraft.

I wonder if the government should adopt a policy of not giving aid to countries that choose to buy better military capabilities that we can ourselves apparently afford?

Sir Paul Judge

(Today's FT)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thai floods

Here's a photo of a street in Hatyai, Thailand after the recent rain...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The price of curry

The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, has been auctioning himself for lunch on e-Bay for 11 years now and donating the proceeds to charity. This year's lunch went for a record $2.63m. Now the Indian billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala who runs the Mumbai based fund management company, Rare Enterprises, is following Buffett's example. The auction closed today and sold for $31,517 (1.4m rupees) to a stock market analyst in Gujarat, the proceeds going to the Children's Movement for Civic Awareness. Jhunjhunwala predicted in December 2008 that India would see "the mother of all bull runs in the next four to five years." The index has more than doubled since he said that. He looks as if he enjoys a good lunch...

Monday, November 01, 2010


Bravo to the first female President of Brazil: Dilma Rousseff!