The Curmudgeon's Blog


A Little Christmas Cheer

A letter from someone to his wife:

Hi Sweetheart,

I am sorry about getting into an argument about putting up the Christmas lights. I guess that sometimes I feel like you are pushing me too hard when you want something. I realise that I was wrong and I am apologising for being such a hard-headed guy. All I want is for you to be happy and be able to enjoy the holiday season. Nothing brightens the Christmas spirit like Christmas lights! I took the time to hang our lights for you today; and now I'm off to the football.

Again, I am very sorry for the way I acted yesterday. I'll be home later.

Love you

Her response:

Hi Honey,

Thank you for that heartfelt apology. I don't often get an apology from you, and I truly appreciate it. I too felt bad about the argument and wanted to apologise. I realise that I can sometimes be a little pushy. I will try to respect your feelings from now on. Thank you for taking the time to hang the Christmas lights for me. It really means a lot. In the spirit of giving, I washed your truck for you; and now I am off to the shops.

I love you too!

Christmas Cheer

Help Desk

Help Desk

Now we know how he did it


Jumping to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver and daredevil, set the world record for skydiving an estimated 24 miles, reaching an estimated speed of 834 mph, or Mach 1.24, on 14 October 2012, and became the first person to create a sonic boom without mechanical intervention. In doing so he set the altitude record for a manned balloon flight, parachute jump from the highest altitude, and greatest free fall velocity. Kudos!


The Body Politic

Just received the regular e-newsletter from Bill Newton Dunn, our local MEP. Bill writes:

"A thought on the government "reshuffle" at Westminster:

One wonders whether any large business would "reshuffle" its heads of department and hope it would run better. "Marketing Director, from tomorrow you will now do Basic Research. Finance Director, you will now do Exports. R & D Director, you will now do Personnel. Personnel you will now do Finance." Most people would immediately sell their shares in the business. In the EU Commission in Brussels and in the USA Administration in Washington, unelected outsiders are chosen to run government departments, they are quizzed by elected MEPs and Congressmen, who vote them into office (or not), and then they are left to do their special job. It seems to me that the reservoir of real talent at Westminster is small enough already, being limited to elected MPs, without reshuffling them after a while to do something completely different and hoping the country will be run better.

Frightening isn't it! But it gets worse. That limited pool of talent no longer has experience to bring to the job; most of the main players in all parties came to the job direct from university via parliamentary research and "special adviser" roles so they don't even have experience of running something. Many achieve minister, even secretary, status in their first session of parliament and therefore don't even have the experience of running a government department.

Same is probably true of Europe, which seems to be headed by career politicians often nominated because they failed.


Free Health Check

Health Check

The Diamond Jubilee

Marvellous show of boats going down the Thames. Apparently over a million people turned up to watch, mostly, it seemed, reporters from the BBC. One told us that unless we were actually present we wouldn't believe the atmosphere.

I wish these people would shut up occasionally - it isn't radio and we can see for ourselves what is happening. Even in today's service at St.Paul's, James Naughtie couldn't resist telling us the name of one of the speakers even though his name was being shown on screen. The only real problems with these mega events are the gaps between things taking place. These gaps have to be filled and silence seemingly will not do, so television channels feel the need for often pompous witterings from learned historians and shallow young presenters.

There has been some confusion on air with the Queen's Ascension (this weekend) and her Coronation (actually a year from now). Even The Sunday Times got it wrong; as part of it's coverage of this weekend's activities, it printed a facsimile edition of it's Coronation Supplement dated May 31st 1953.


Who said cricket wasn't exciting?

IPL Cricket

What an end to the Indian Premier League final, with Kolkota Knight Riders beating the favourites Chennai in a last over clincher. I've written before about how tremendous the short version of the game is, particularly the Indian league, and this year's edition was the best yet, with many nail-biting finishes.

For those who think cricket is boring and those who watch it prematurely senile, you just have to look at the description of an earlier game as shown on ITV4. Exciting no?



A little girl walks into a pet shop and asks with the sweetest little lisp, between two missing teeth, "Excuth me mithter, do you keep widdle wabbits?"

As the salesman's heart melts, he gets down on his knees so that he's on her level and asks, "Do you want a widdle white wabbit, or a thoft and fuwwy bwack wabbit, or maybe one like that cute widdle bwown wabbit over there?"

She, in turn, blushes, rocks on her heels, crosses her little arms, leans forward and says, in a tiny quiet voice .....

"I don't think my python weally gives a thit."


From the Belfast Advertiser

Cruise Aground

Editors and advertisement managers need to meet more often.


Who gave HER the keys?

I'm going to die.

Scared dog

There are 10 types of people ...

Those that get binary and those that don't!


Plastic Christmas Trees ...


... Will never be the same again.

This is a black and silver Christmas tree that spouts white polystyrene bits from a tube up its centre that fall like snow over the tree and down into what looks like an upturned black umbrella. Plays music to get you into the festive spirit and is also available in pink, though why I don't know.

A perfect gift for those that are imaginatively challenged and a scoop at 79.95.


Now that I'm getting older ...

... I limit myself to two Guinness at a time.


Male Chauvinism Alive & Well in Lincolnshire

Two blokes overheard on the beach at Saltfleet...

"Watch out if you're going along that way. There's two women with three alsations and the dogs have got more sense."

"The problem with women is that they're born breathing."

"The pity is we can't live with them but we can't live without them."


Another Irish Joke ...

Two Red Indians and an Irishman were walking through the woods. All of a sudden one of the Red Indians ran up a hill to the mouth of a small cave. 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!' he called into the cave and listened closely until he heard an answering, 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Woooooo! He then tore off his clothes and ran into the cave.

The Irishman was puzzled and asked the remaining Indian what it was all about. 'Was the other Indian crazy or what?' The Indian replied 'No, It is our custom during mating season when Indian men see cave, they holler 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!' into the opening. If they get an answer back, it means there's a beautiful squaw in there waiting for us.

Just then they came upon another cave. The second Indian ran up to the cave, stopped, and hollered, 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!' Immediately, there was the answer.. 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!' from deep inside. He also tore off his clothes and ran into the opening.

The Irishman wandered around in the woods alone for a while, and then spied a third large cave. As he looked in amazement at the size of the huge opening, he was thinking, 'Hoo, man! Look at the size of this cave! It is bigger than those the Indians found. There must be some really big, fine women in this cave!'

He stood in front of the opening and hollered with all his might 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!' Like the others, he then heard an answering call, 'WOOOOOOOOO, WOOOOOOOOO WOOOOOOOOO!' With a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face, he raced into the cave, tearing off his clothes as he ran.

The following day, the headline of the local newspaper read................



My Type of Shopping Trip


Alas I don't know the location of this oasis

Photo from 41Club newsletter, © unknown


Prince Philip at 90

Interviewed by the BBC on his 90th birthday, the Duke of Edinburgh insisted that he was not a "green" campaigner. "There's a difference between being concerned for the conservation of nature and being a bunny hugger," he added.

Bless you Sir.


Indian Premier League Cricket

Recuperating from a recent hospital stay I have really enjoyed the Indian 20-20 cricket on ITV4 every afternoon. It's brilliant, noisy, colourful and the opposite of the staid English game. Teams play in vibrant coloured strips and within the confines of twenty over games give us a feast of boundaries and sixes. Audiences are noisy in their support and it is a pleasure to see full grounds for every match. There are cheerleading dancers, some in Indian costumes and some in frankly skimpy outfits.

And then there's Preity, owner of the Kings XI Punjab!.


New Home

Anna and I moved into our new home this week courtesy of Mansfield District Council. The council's workmen had done a fair job of cleaning up the place after the previous tenant and the toilet had one of those sticky "For your convenience we have sanitised this toilet" signs common in cheaper hotels a few years ago.

I tore it off, lifted the lid and found floating there the largest turd I've seen. Gee thanks, council!.


Put Away Your Spellchecker

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Wlel I Nveer.


Stunning Location?

Barratt Homes have started a new estate of housing near me. They are advertising it as "stunning value" (whatever that means) and "stunning location".

Stunning location yep - provided you don't mind facing onto the back of the largest ASDA hereabouts!


If ...

I'm just back from a weekend in the Lake District with a group of friends I met more than 30 years ago. Three of us have achieved the milestone of 60th birthdays this year and, well, any excuse ...

Our original meeting was quite by chance. I'd been doing a solo 3-day climb of the mountains around the Lairig Ghru in the Cairngorms and had completed my first day arriving at Corrour Bothy shortly after a group of English people. In their now customary courtesy they offered me a cup of tea. Now every Scottish user of bothies knows the importance of getting first choice of the better, dryer floor spaces, and I felt no shame in selecting the best while they drunk tea.

That day had been extremely hot, with helicopters flying in to rescue heat stroke victims. I decided to cut back on my trip and walk back through the Lairig in the company of the group. Invitations to join them at the pub after the walk, and subsequently to their reunion, followed and the rest, as they say, is history.

A chance meeting out in the wild resulting in valued friendships that have lasted a lifetime.


This is Mansfield

I stopped to ask two women where the nearest Post Office was. "At the newsagent just over there", said one. "No", said the other, "they don't do that sh*t no longer".

This is a dreadful use of English - the woman should have said "... ANY longer"!


The Last Place I Would Have Thought of Looking

Have you ever wondered why you always seem to find the thing you're missing in the last place you think of looking?

That's because you actually do find it in the last place you think of looking. Always. You wouldn't keep looking for it after you had found it would you, so it must have been in the last place you looked for it.


People with Short Memories

Hundreds of folk have been stranded abroad due to the collapse of the travel firm GoldTrail. Many others have lost their holidays. Obviously one's sympathies are with them all.

The MD of the UK's largest travel company Thomsons, interviewed this morning on the BBC, said that to be safe holiday makers should book and travel with a large, well-recognised travel company. Huh! This woman need only look back to the 70's and remember the names Court Line and Clarksons. At the time Court, together with Clarksons, which it had earlier taken over on the latter's failure 2 years before, was the largest and best-known travel company, the Thomsons of it's time - but that didn't stop it's bankruptcy in August 1974, the largest travel company ever to go bust.

There's no God-given right for large companies to be exempt from bankruptcy, nor any rule that says a small company is more at risk. Commentators suggest that there will be other travel company failures in these economically challenging times and I doubt Thomsons is any more immune than Goldtrail.


The Sad Taste of Dejavue

I awoke to the news that the Government was bringing in a new policy of taking funding off Primary Care Trusts and giving it to GPs to manage. In 1990 I joined a GP practice to help them plan and implement the first, pilot wave of what was called GP Fundholding; taking budget funds off Area Health Authorities (the PCTs of their day) and giving it to GPs to manage. Hey but its new, so it must be different!

I went on to manage a third wave practice. Both practices were owned by forward-thinking GPs who wanted to change the way they cared for their patients and wanted to be at the cutting end of general practice. In both cases we achieved improvements for patients by bringing in services into the practice. I remember being told by one large hospital that they couldn't agree to half hour slots for outpatients as they couldn't favour or patients over the patients of other practices; we told them to implement it for everyone if they wanted our funding - and they found a way of doing it, probably by forcing the consultants to get back from the golf course earlier! Another improvement we gained was QED - quick and early diagnosis of cancer - now a normal feature of hospital service and much trumpetted by the last Government as one of their successes.

By the fifth wave all the interested and motivated practices were already fundholding and it became increasingly common for GPs to enter large fundholding syndicates and hospitals encouraged this as they found it easier to deal with large block contracts. Independent-minded GP practices found that they were stifled by bureaucracy. When New Labour took over in 1997 it was easy for them to make every GP join a syndicate and these became known as Primary Care Trusts. So the circle goes ...

Overnight GP Fundholding managers became unemployable and hundreds of highly skilled managers left the health service, myself included. Their loss.

Did GP budget-holding make a difference? Yes for a while, but it eventually ran into obfuscation and red tape and was reduced to the lowest denominator. That will also happen to the new scheme and eventually budget holding groups will become - ooh let me think - primary health authorities.


The Three Bears

The three bears returned to their house one day to find that someone had been in it. The baby bear said, "Someone's been eating my porridge". The mummy bear said, "Someone's been eating MY porridge".

The daddy bear said, "Sod the f*****g porridge, someone's stolen the TV."


The Start of My Blog

I've been ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS/ME for some years now. I decided to set up my own website to develop my interest in computers into an interest in designing websites. It's also a way to get me back involved with life and other less frivolous things.

All my life I've been a bit of a pedant coupled with a tendency toward cynicism. What better vehicle for me to comment on life's absurdities and irritations!