July 11, 2009

Which Witch?

No one ever said that the English were entirely rational.....and here's proof of that.

Wookey Hole in Somerset was reputed to be where a witch lived, centuries ago. It's more probable that it's simply where a few old women took shelter after being cast out but that's another matter. However, in order to try and get people to visit the tourist attraction they are looking for someone to play the role of witch:

Fancy 80,000 dollars a year on a stress-free job with flexible working hours and no need to wear a suit?

Well, grab your black pointy hat, take out that rusty black hessian drape from the back of the wardrobe and refresh your memory on how to turn your grumpy neighbor into a mouse. Somerset tourist attraction Wookey Hole caves is advertising for a "witch" and has already received 100 applicants since the beginning of the week.

Me? I think this is the PR department noting how much publicity that advertising of the job on that Australian island got.

July 11, 2009 in The English | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 18, 2007

Illegitimacy and Societies Past

So all these people researching their pasts are finding that out forebears were really rather like us. Illegitimate children, bigamous marriages and so on. At least, that's the Guardian line.

Instead, as the Ancestry findings show, people lived pretty much as they do today. Family life was far from stable, with a high degree of illegitimacy and a fair amount of to-ing and fro-ing within the extended family. (How else to account for all those name changes and secret adoptions?)

Well, yes, sorta. Descended, as I am, from a woman one of whose children has the interesting line on the birth certificate: "Born 11 months after husband's death!" I can see what is meant. She went off to Australia as a gel (one of five daughters and one son of a blacksmith, assisted passage in the 1850s as the Govt wanted to populate the place), married, had children, divorced, hooked up again, another child, then married again (not the father of the last), went to Peru with the railway engineer she had married, he died there and she returned to Blighty with the one (I think) surviving child: who may or may not have been the issue of her last marriage (that last, born in Callao, well, it might be Celts and it might be Amerinds leading to the very black hair on one side of the family).

OK; so far, pretty much as the G says: there were indeed some interesting times then, it wasn't the nuclear nor Victorian family of repute. However, look at the note on the birth certificate.

But discovering that they spent most of their time clinging to the perch of respectability, and sometimes falling off, is hardly the stuff dinner party anecdotes are made of.

Clinging to the perch of respectability. The very concept of falling off. That's really rather different from today, isn't it? I'm not saying better or worse, but I am saying that it's different.

September 18, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2007

Explaining Blackpool

I once requested the wine list in Blackpool's 'finest' eaterie, to be told 'the wine this week is red'.

Jasper Gerard.

I'm sure that's a very old joke and entirely unoriginal but so what, eh?

September 16, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 23, 2007

Blindingly Obvious

Well, yes:

Population data for the year to July 2006 showed the proportion of babies born to a foreign parent has risen to 25 per cent compared to under 20 per cent just six years ago.
Figures from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) earlier this year showed about six million people living in Britain - one in 10 - was born overseas.
Also, the foreign-born population is growing while the British-born population is declining.

We've long known that immigrants tend to have a higher birth rate than indigenes. They're usually coming from places with a higher birth rate and that cutlural idea stays with them when they arrive: actually, the birth rates tend to be somewhere between the averages of the society moved to and the one moved from.

What anyone wants to do about it (me? Nothing) is another matter.

August 23, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 15, 2007


Racist jibe of the day: these Greeks really do go overboard, don't they?

One sight of that diminutive figure is enough to send me into raptures of delight that I blush to describe on a family blog such as this. How shall I count the ways? Eyes, wide and bright like saucers of champagne, yet also dark and passionate as goblets of ruby Buckfast. A neck, slender and playful like a faun’s, framed by hair delicate yet supple, like silken ropes of song. Her mouth – the mouth that launched a thousand policy discussions – a mouth that seems to defy the laws of physics, that exists in four or even five dimensions, curving space and time around it into an exquisite event horizon of pure sensuality. Breasts like quivering moulds of vodka jelly, barely restrained by the power suits and prim blouses, with peaks hauntingly reminiscent of Paisley Abbey on a misty, moonlit night. And the lisp – O, the lisp! Each word magically transformed into a teasing, seductive invitation that no mythological siren of yore could ever hope to match. And Wendy knows lots of words; she’s brighter than a brain pie.

Is it the moussaka or the plate smashing that causes this?

August 15, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Scottish Independence

A pity:

English voters will be given no say over proposals that could end the 300-year-old union with Scotland, the leader of Edinburgh's new nationalist administration said yesterday.

We'd say yes, bye bye, whether the haggis wearers wanted it or not.

August 15, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

August 14, 2007

Scottish Independence

Plans which could pave the way for the break-up of the 300-year-old union of England and Scotland will be unveiled in Edinburgh today.


Don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.

August 14, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 03, 2007

We've Still Got Legal Discrimination

We do you know, it's still legal to discriminate against one group in the UK.


August 3, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 02, 2007

Prague counts cost of Brits behaving badly

That's a Guardian headline, that is:

Prague is renowned for many things: Franz Kafka, the Charles bridge, a peerless astronomical clock, and some of the finest, cheapest lagers on Earth. But the Czech capital has now gained a reputation for something it could almost certainly do without: it appears to be an international centre for badly behaved Brits abroad.

And blamed for this development are the tens of thousands of Britons in stag and hen parties who visit the city each year, according to a report released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The report, entitled British Behaviour Abroad, quantifies the key problems encountered overseas every year.

Of all the countries surveyed between April 1 2005 and March 31 2006, the Czech Republic tops the rankings of where people are disproportionately likely to need consular assistance.

All of which gives me the opportunity to rerun one of my favourite quotes about us:

Many are in favour of the British men, even if they cause havoc. "If the British take advantage of the cheapness of our city that's OK. It's economics," said Inspector Daniel Kolar of the Prague police. "In any case, they are more pleasant drunk than the Germans are when they're sober."

August 2, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 31, 2007

Social Mobility

Who says we don't have social mobility in England?

Indeed, it gives one a certain warm glow to think that the lads' pin-up Jordan, who lives near Brighton, may put her new baby daughter Princess Tiáamii down for nearby Roedean.

July 31, 2007 in The English | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack