Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Curse of the day

This sheet of lead is given to Mercury, that he exact vengeance for the gloves which have been lost; that he take blood and health from the person who has stolen them...

This curse tablet was found in Uley, Gloucestershire and dates from the second century AD.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Breath of God

The Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge has a magnificent collection of Mediaeval manuscripts and early printed books. One of these is a sixth century Gospel book from Canterbury, a present from Pope Gregory the Great to St Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. This book has been carried in procession in the service of enthronement of every Archbishop of Canterbury since 598.
During the service of enthronement of Archbishop Rowan Williams in February 2003, the book was carried, open, on a cushion held by one of the party processing down the aisle of Canterbury Cathedral. To the amazement of the man holding it, its pages began to ripple, as if moved by the Holy Ghost, adding to the spirituality of the occasion. It was only after the service that he discovered the human reason for the movement of the pages: the sound waves and breath from 4000 people singing, facing the procession from both sides of the cathedral.

Friday, August 26, 2011

No we Kan't...Yes we can...In a hole

Alternative captions anybody?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anna Hazare

Quotation from one of my Indian brokers, "If the current campaign by Anna Hazare helps bring down corruption to historic mean levels (from the highs of the recent past), that in itself would be a big boost for the Indian economy and markets. In my opinion, Dr. Manmohan Singh is India's best best in helping achieve that as he is probably the only politician - repeat only politician - who can claim that he has not sinned and, therefore, can 'cast the first stone'. An Indian politician without corruption is like a fish out of water."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boo boo of the day

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paradox of the day

"Epimenides the Cretan says all Cretans are liars."

Epimenides was a mystic and a philosopher who wrote in the sixth century BC. His main claim to fame was that he lived for nearly 300 years, 57 of them asleep in a cave. After his death, his skin was preserved in Sparta but history does not relate how long it lasted.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Marmalade is tasty if it's very thickly spread

My dear father's memory, sight and hearing are all failing which is sad and frustrating for him. He manages well generally, nevertheless, and makes his own breakfast and lunch every day during the week, having learned to use a microwave aged 88. Muesli and toast and marmalade are his weekday breakfast, therefore, to make a change, I always cook him eggs at the weekend. On Saturday, however, horror of horrors, there were no eggs in the fridge. "Would you like smoked salmon on toast instead?" I asked. "Yes, that sounds very nice," he replied. I spread some butter on the hot toast, topped it with salmon and a squeeze of lemon, presented it to him and carried on making some for myself. "This marmalade is very good!" he said. "What did you say it is?"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cartoon of the day

There's a cartoon by Roger Beale in today's FT of a man holding a letter in his hand and saying to his wife, "It's his A Level results. I suppose we just redirect them to the prison."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photo of the month

For my dog-loving readers: do you like the sausage dog lead?

Dramatic pricing

Burma's currency, the kyat, has something in common with the Swiss Franc: both have risen around 25% against the US dollar over the past year. Last year the Burmese government launched a huge privatisation programme, selling ports, petrol stations, land and state-owned businesses. All assets had to be paid for in kyat. This meant that those generals and businessmen who wanted to participate had to convert their offshore dollar savings, causing the kyat to soar. Property prices are going through the roof: a theatre in central Rangoon has sold for US$63m.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Heroes of the month

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thought for the day

An Indian broker tells me this today: In the Indian epic, Mahabharat by Sage Vyasa, there is an episode in which the Lord of Death in disguise as the demigod Yaksha tests the wisdom of King Yudishtira, the king known for righteousness,by asking several questions. The questions asked by Yaksha, and the answers given by the King have been branded as “Yaksha Prashna" (questions of Yaksha).

One of the questions that was asked by the Lord of Death was:

Question: Who is a happy man?
Answer: The person who has no debt is a happy man.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mountainous prices

My friends have bought a ski chalet in Switzerland which they are intending to use three times a year but otherwise to let. They have been looking for local staff to help them with the admin and the cleaning and have been told that the standard rate for cleaners in the Alps is £50 per hour!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A haven of honesty

I am very grateful that there have been no riots in my vicinity. My friend in Clapham said the only shop not looted on St John's Road was Waterstone's. To put things in context, my most recent main distress was losing my watch. I'd just bought a shiny mock-croc daffodil coloured new strap for it, cheered by the prospect of sunshine on my wrist. I fitted the strap myself and it was rather loose. In fact, it was so loose that it fell off twice on the first day of its new ensemble. Regardless of this, I wore it to work and was mortified to discover on Monday afternoon that my wrist was bare. The watch was not in the office, not in my car, not in the area between. I'd visited Asda in Bournemouth at lunchtime so, as an outside chance, I went back there yesterday lunchtime. The girl at the lost property desk got out her book. The first three articles found in the supermarket on Monday were a five pound note, a Samsung mobile phone and a watch. "What's the description of your watch?" she asked. "It's most notable feature was a bright yellow strap," I replied. "Yes, it's here." she said, delving into a polythene bag in the safe labelled 8 August. The sunshine had returned.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Mad mass destruction

Not sure if this is Enfield or global equity markets

Thursday, August 04, 2011

RIP Millangoda Raja

This Sri Lankan elephant is thought to have had the longest tusks in Asia and was about 70 when he died.