Ah, doesn't it just make you feel good all over? Aren't you proud to be British? It's a national holiday and a day of celebration - well, unless your employer is not going to pay you for today! Bah! Humbug!
Anyway, hands up everyone who thinks that these two will be enjoying mutual carnal knowledge for the first time tonight? It is, after all their wedding night...
You could, of course, say 'like father like son' in this respect, except that in Wills' case he's been sleeping with the woman he intends to marry, whereas dear old dad was porking Camilla whilst he was engaged to and after he married Diana.
But we should not apply our modern standards to what is a long standing British tradition. In Victorian times - an indeed before then - they took the vow of 'procreation of children' very seriously. It was common in the old days to try out the prospective wife before marrying her with the full knowledge and permission of the parents. For hundreds of years, it was common for the wife to walk down the aisle whilst carrying the first child. Men did not want to marry a barren woman.
So in Wills' case, there is a precedent and, in any case, it is now acceptable for unmarried people to live together according to modern custom. There is only the Royal tradition of keeping a mistress that could possibly justify Charles' adulterous behaviour.
So if we are looking for a moral compass, let's hope that the next head of the Anglican Church will be William V, not Charles III !
Here's a little gem from the Town Council in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
In his election address, the independant councillor, David Nettleton, has made great store of the fact that he has been leader of the finance committee and in this capacity has identified a way to save the town's crossing patrols.
The crossing patrols apparently cost the council around £17,500 per annum and were threatened with the axe, but Cllr Nettleton says that this can be funded because for the last three years they have been paying a retired town clerk £18,000 a year as part of an early retirement package.
So that's alright then - we can fund crossing patrols out of the money we have been wasting because we're not going to be wasting it any more!
And you expect to be re-elected on the back of this piece of financial wizardry? If I were you, I'd keep quiet about it...
I don't know if you are for or against the Alternative Vote - that's between you and the ballot box - but what I do know is that I really don't like the way the 'No' campaign is being run.
In the post yesterday was a flier from the 'No' campaign informing me that that if I vote 'Yes' then I will be committing the governement to spending £130 million on electronic vote counting machines. I've looked into this. It's absolute piffle! There are no such plans.
In Saturday's 'Daily Telegraph' there was an article saying that the Conservatives calculate that it will cost three times as much to run a general election under AV. OK, maybe it would cost a bit more because of the extra counting when the leading candidate doesn't get 50% straight off, but three tomes as much? How do you work that out?...
Well, apparently the Conservatives took the costs per head of running an election in Australia and then extrapolated it. Unfortunately, they neglected to mention that Australia is the size of Western Europe and in places very sparsely populated. Oh, yeah, and they elect both houses not just the one.
Then there's 'minority parties are evil' scare tactic. AV will allow the BNP to get seats in parliament. Maybe, but only if 50% of the electorate vote for it.
And, of course, our troops will die from lack of equipment if we spend the money on AV. More crap - even if we don't spend the money on AV you can bet your life the troops won't get any of it.
And let's not forget this classic : "Changing the way we vote will give the politicians more power to ignore the verdict of the voters"! How the hell do you work that one out? They already ignore us!
I'm all in favour of a vigorous debate, but it strikes me the 'No' campaign is aptly named - it's 100% negative.
There are pros and cons on both sides of this debate. At the end of the day it's up to the voters. Personally, I would couple this to compulsory voting, because if you don't vote then you have no right to complain about what you get.
The one thing I would say about AV is that I find it hard to understand how political parties can elect their own leaders under this system, but want to deny us the right to do the same. But that's politicians for you - one rule for them and another for us.
Personally, I'm in Greece on polling day, so I've already posted my vote. How about you?
Sorry if you missed it, but Benny has given an Easter broadcast on Italian TV in the interests of 'improving communication and transparency."
Right.......believe that when I see it!
The Vatican invited people to send in their questions by e-mail and then the three most popular questions would be put to the Pope in a pre-recorded broadcast for RAI. In the end they decided to expand this to seven questions. Sounds pretty good on the face of it.
Questions are restricted by 'relevence to the life of Jesus' - so nothing allowed about covering up sex scandals, then? Transparency, my arse!
The Vatican will decide which are the most asked - sorry, make that relevant - questions and we'll not be told what the others were.
Answering these pertinent and relevant questions, Benny was aked by the mother of a son in a permanent vegetative state whether to let him die and was told 'his soul is still there but his body is like a guitar with broken strings.' Apparently, 'he can still feel love' even though he is totally unaware of anything at all.
Asked by a Japanese about the earthquake and tsunami, Benny told her that 'Jesus suffered as well, you know' so that's alright then.
And a woman in Ivory Coast asked about the suffering and murder in her country to be told 'only love comes from God. Violence never comes from God' - well apart from the crusades,the Spanish Inquisition etc etc! You get the picture.
Sorry, but I don't get what any of this has to do with a Rabbi who was persecuted and crucified 2000 years ago.
Anyway, it was pre-recorded, not live. So call me a cynic, but it seems to me that it could have been recorded weeks ago. Shurley not?
79 year old pensioner, Maurice Scott, was a voluntary director of one of Leeds City Council's housing management teams who got really incensed when he received documents saying that three of the Councils senior executives - including the Chief Executive who earns £88,000 a year - were to be given pay increase while the rest of the staff were suffering a pay freeze!
Mr Scott sent the documents with a complaint to the leader of Labour-controlled Leeds City Council Keith Wakefield, and Chief Whip Cllr Peter Gruen. Gruen promptly forwarded it on to the management team concerned, NWN Homes.
Next thing he knew, we was to appear before them to explain alledged 'breach of confidence'. He refused to attend as he felt he had done nothing wrong. Following the meeting, he received the letter saying he is to be removed from office for breaching the Board of Directors’ Code of Conduct “by conveying confidential information to people outside this organisation.”
The decision will be ratified at the next board meeting which he has been invited to attend. Mr Scott commented :
"I am very upset. All I was doing was standing up for people’s right to know. I was standing up for the rights of working people. This is public money. I will go to the meeting because I have done nothing wrong and that is what I will tell them."
The Chair of NWN Homes' Standards Committee, Cllr Alson Lowe, simply commented "This is an internal matter."
As my regular reader will know by now, I am not a great football fan.
I don't actually dislike football. In a former life I used to go to the local club and enjoy a game from the side lines, or in the all-seater stand (50 seats and a corregated tin roof).
I have a friend who is a consultant psychlogist. When I suggested to him that football was basically tribal warfare by surrogate - a view for which I have been mocked over the year - he amazed me by saying : "Exactly!"
Now I have no problem with supporters cheering on their sides at matches. To each his own. However, the last big game I went to was Leeds United against Wimbledon in the semi final of the FA cup at Selhurst Park after they drew at their first meeting.
I was in the back of the stand from where I could get perfect view of a patch of green with some coloured dots moving around on it. I totally could not see the point. You get a much better view on TV, and if you blink you don't miss the goal - not that I could actually see as far the goal from where I was sitting! Anyone prepared to pay £50 for this is, in my humble opinion, nuts.
But not as nuts as the bastard who sent three parcel bombs to Glasgow Rangers Celtic.
Surrogate warfare is fine in it's place, but this drags football down to an all time low. The bastard should be strung up.
...or we could just introduce a real game of Rollerball or Death Race?
All I can say is that Monday's party at home - if you can call number 10 that! - went a damn site better than our 'secret' getaway to Spain. I mean Dave thought that by sneaking off on QuEasyJet we could slip out of the country unnoticed. After all. I mean it's not exactly the Heathrow VIP lounge.
According to the papers of course we went by RyanAir, and BMI to three different Spanish airports all at the same time. If they are going to invade our privacy like this then the least they could do was to actually check their facts. I don't know - maybe we didn't go at all and just photoshopped the pictures to fake it while sneaking off to a little country cottage somewhere.
I suppose I shouldn't complain really after Thailand got called off and then our Nile cruise got caught in a war. The austerity thing is really getting funny though, lol! Flying EasyJet and booking into a budget hotel. I ask you, do I look like I do budget hotel? They do have a back door you know!
And a meal in a local restaurant. Fair enough, but there was a very nice bottle of Verve Cliquot back at the hotel afterwards if you catch my drift. Anyway it was nice to have a break from the kids - and I did insist that if Dave was going to stage this pantomime then there was NO WAY he was going to get away with dragging me off for this load of old tat on the real day.
After all, you're only 40 once - although I do seem to remember you've been 39 or a few years now, haven't you darling? It's going to cost Dave a positive banker's bonus to make this up to me!
Oh, and I won't bother to send show you the holiday snaps 'cos most of them have been splattered all over the papers anyway. They've got more than we have!
It's Easter Week - so amazingly this is the one week of the year which does not have a national or international charity designated for it.
So here's a list of just a few of the rivetting events and non-events that you might have missed out on already this year...
January kicked off with Food Allergy and Intolerance Week (24th - 27th),a campaign to raise awareness about the many people who suffer from food intolerance to ingredients such as wheat, dairy, eggs, and gluten. And in case you have really bad food habits that can make you ill, this coincides with Cancertalk Week.
Don't miss Farmhouse Breakfast Week (23rd - 29th)! Oh, sorry, you already did. This campaign aims to highlight the importance of breakfast and the range and quality of regional breakfast produce available in the UK
Or there's National Storytelling Week (29th - 5th Feb) which aims to 'raise awareness of this ancient form of entertainment'.
February kicks off with National Apprenticeship Week, followed by National Marriage Week. Celebrated in churches and communities across the country - the purpose of the Week is to celebrate the importance of marriage. It's also, ironically, World Orphan Week
This is followed by National Nest Box Week (15th - 21st) which aims to get as many people as possible to put up nest boxes in order to help our breeding birds and other wildlife. Fortuitously, you needn't go hungry as you do this as it's also National Chip Week - celebrating the nation's favourite food
Then there's Student Volunteering Week (21st - 27th) - an opportunity to keep the great unwashed ON the streets for a change! Perhaps they could put up some nest boxes?
28 February - 13 March is a BOGOF! It's Fair Trade Fortnight where students spend a whole two weeks contemplating where their food comes from and how they can help people in poorer countries. Yeah, right...
1st - 31st March is useful for those poor students doing all that comtemplating, because it's National Bed Month!
6th - 12th March is National Glaucoma Week - probably due to all that contemplation, we are seeking to arouse awareness of eye disease.
11th -20th March is National Science and Engineering Week. Says a lot that all these brainy scientists have found a way to make a week last a whole 10 days!
14th - 20th March is Brain Awareness Week which promotes awareness of research into the brain
21st - 27th March is Salt Awareness Week - aiming to educate the public as to the importance of salt in the diet. Shame it didn't coincide with Chip Week.
March ends with Hospital Broadcasting Week, the annnual opportunity to raise the profile of every hospital broadcasting station in the UK. Wow!
April gets a couple of whole month events - National Autism Month and National Pet Month. Plus 10th - 16th is World Homeopathy Awareness Week, and then to bring the month to a close we have RSPCA Week
Oh and did I forget to mention World Braile Day, SOS Day, World Wetlands Day, World Cancer Day, UNICEF Day for Change, Safer Internet Day, National Doodle Day, Gold Heart Day, International Mother Language Day, World Thinking Day, The Toddle Waddle, International Childrens Book Day, World Health Day, World Haemophilia Day, Earth Day, World Book and Copyright Day, World Malaria Day and Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day...
Still, if you did miss a few, there's the rest of the year to go yet.
After all, you wouldn't want to miss Be Nice to Nettles Week, would you?
Pope Benedict XVI and representatives of the world’s major religions will make speeches and sign a common commitment to peace when they meet in Assisi in October, but they will not pray together, the Vatican has said.
I find this totally baffling!
The October gathering will commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s “prayer for peace” encounter in Assisi. The 1986 event was seen by many as a milestone in interreligious relations but was criticised by some Catholics who said it appeared to inappropriately mix elements from Christian and non-Christian religions.
Given that the last meeting was called "prayer for peace", I find the decision even more baffling!
Pope Benedict will prepare for the Assisi gathering by hosting a prayer service with Catholics from the Diocese of Rome in St Peter’s Basilica the evening before. According to the Catholic Herald, "other Catholic dioceses and other Christian communities are encouraged to organise similar prayer services."
So what they are basically saying is that only the Catholic and 'other Christians' should pray together for peace?
There are also apparently arguments wthin the Catholics community that to pray to God with members of other faiths would degrade the Catholic Church's claim to be the one true faith....
...so, in the interests of peace, let's cut the hypocrisy and bring back the Crusades!
Well, if you have then you wont have for long because now Portugal is holding out the begging bowl for the almighty fucking mess that the incompetent load of tossers in Brussels have got us into!
Well, actually that's not quite fair because there is an even bigger tosser that we have to thank for this almighy fucking mess - and that tosser is none other than Alistair Darling.
In a humungous fit of peek and spite before being told to sod off by the electorate, Alistair popped off to Brussels and agreed that Britain would be more than happy to contribute to any support - for which read 'rescue' - fund for the single European currency.
Now this currency was never going to work and for once I have to give thanks to Tony Blair - a man that I despise - for keeping us out. There are far to many countries in the EU and those countries have far too diverse an economic structure for them ever to be united under a single currency. It was doomed from the start and was only pushed through because it was part of the great Fourth Reich masterplan to take over the world by the back door.
Now it's all gone Pete Tong and Portugal is just the latest to be holding it's hand out. It's unlikely to be the last.
So thanks a lot, Alistair. You spiteful little cunt..
I am indebted to the London Patriot for this story exposing how the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, provided a character reference for an unlicensed minicab driver who was jailed for sexually assaulting a passenger.
The man in question was a Bangladeshi cab driver who, despite being in this country for 20 years, still hadn't managed to learn English! Zamal Uddin, 44, twice sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman in Hoxton last October after she got into his illegal taxi after a night out with friends.
Uddin leaned over and touched his passenger’s breasts in the cab before following her after she fled into an alley where he pinned her against the wall and touched her under her clothing. He was jailed for 18 months and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. He admitted two charges of sexual assault and driving while disqualified.
However, before passing sentence the judge was handed testimonials on Uddin’s behalf from several Tower Hamlets councillors and the borough’s mayor Lutfur Rahman. Judge King said they all seemed “to be in ignorance of your background and personality”.
In a written reply, Rahman says that he is often approached by constituents for references, that he thought the offense was driving while disqualified, and that he was unaware of the other charges. You can read this is full on the London Patriot website.
All I can say is that the mouthwash ain't making it!
I was listening to the BBC Breakfast programme the other day and they were running a piece on the statistical correlation between the consumption of alcohol and deaths due to cancer.
According to the BBC, the statistics prove that cancer is caused by alcohol. You are, apparently, proven to be 18% more likely to get cancer if you consume two glasses of wine a day. I can picture my smokey drinkey blogger friends out there shouting at the screen already as they read this!
It is, of course, absolute tosh!
Now I have been accused in the past of being pedantic and insisting that English is used properly (shurely not!) so crap like this raises my blood pressure - which is apparently OK as a couple of glasses of red wine tend to lower it again, so at least I'll die of cancer instead of a heart attack.
So let's clear this up. If the Beeb had said 'there is a strong statistical correlation that suggests a link between alcohol and cancer' then fair enough, but in these days of lack of 'Standards, dear boy. Standards' the Beeb is notorious for grabbing the sensational headline...
Statistically, pretty much everyone who has been killed in a road accident has, at some point, eaten potatoes. Therefore, applying the BBC's exacting standards, potatoes have been proven to kill motorists.
The United States of America has the highest prison population in the world. Over 2.3 million Americans are living behind bars - over 1% of the population.
In the Land of the Free, there are higher proportions of prisoners than in China, South Africa or Russia.
Whites make up 56% of all federal prisoners; 40% are black, 2% are Native American and 2% are Asian.
10% are 17 years old. There are more 17 year olds in jail than there are in college.
And it gets more worrying when you think about what these people do while they are incarcerated.
The United States has one of the largest standing arming forces in the world, and these forces could not operate without the prison population. All helmets used by the military are made by prisoners. They also make an awful lot of other military equipment - webbing, clothing, even ammunition.
As well as the well known licence plates, they also manufacture appliances and office furniture. There is a proposal on the table for them to used to operate calls centres. Imagine the service you could expect from that!
In the US it is illegal to import any product manufactured using slave labour, but there is an argument that says by using prisoners in this way, they are effectively providing slave labour of their own. Economically, the argument is that it enables the US to compete with cheap Mexican labour.
And now Ken Clarke is proposing to make prisoners in this country work a 40 hour week while they are locked up - so if you are facing redundancy because it costs too much to employ you, then you might like to bear all this in mind...
For a number of years, I worked for a Japanese company. I have visitted Japan and found it a beautiful country. I admire the way in which they have dealt with the recent disaster which has hit their country. I admit that I don't like the Japanese in general, though I have met one or two notable exceptions.
But there is one consistent thread through all this - I will never understand them.
Many years ago, I had a Japanese teacher staying with me and she and her colleagues gave us a little thank you party one evening at the end of their stay. They were demonstrating calligraphy and asked what they could write on a little sign for me as a keepsake. I asked her to write "Go away. I'm busy" so I could hang it behind my desk at work.
The sign duly hung, but always got a strange reception whenever it was read. Several years later, I asked an Englishman who lived in Japan why this was. He told me that it did not translate. In Japan every is busy working as hard as he can, so what was my point?
On another occasion, I shared an office with a chap called Henry (they all took English names when working here). Henry ran QA for the UK and reported to a Euro QA manager based in collogne called Bando. One day the phone rang. Henry was slumped over his desk looking despondent. Bando was on the phone so Henry immediately sprang to attention! For the next five minutes, all he said was "Hi, Bando san. Hi!"
As he put the phone down he slumped across his desk breathing a sigh of relief. "Bando san?" I asked. "Hi," he replied. "Bando san."
I asked him "Henry, if Bando san told you to go up to the roof and throw yourself off, would you do it?" Henry looked at me and replied "Of course." I looked at him in amazement and said "Would you ask why?" He said "Not ask me to do that unless he have good reason."
After a few seconds he asked me "What you say if Phil san ask you do this? "I'd tell him to fuck off!" I answered.
Today's lesson is taken from the Book of Genesis, Waterstone's 2011 edition...
In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and White Chocolate Magnums. And Satan said, 'You want hot fudge with that? And Man said, 'Yes!' And Woman said, 'I'll have one too with chocolate chips'. And lo they gained 10 pounds.
And God created the healthy yoghurt that woman might keep the figure that man found so fair.
And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.
So God said, 'Try my fresh green salad'. And Satan presented Blue Cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.
God then said 'I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them'.
And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter, and Man's cholesterol went through the roof.
Then God brought forth the potato; naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.
Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep-fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt. And Man put on more pounds. God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.
And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.
Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.
And Satan created McDonalds and the 99p double cheeseburger. Then Satan said 'You want fries with that?' and Man replied, 'Yes, and super size 'em'. And Satan said, 'It is good.' And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.
God sighed ......... and created quadruple by-pass surgery.
And then ............. Satan chuckled and created the National Health Service.
I never quite figured out why the sexual urge of men and women differ so much. And I never have figured out the whole Venus and Mars thing. I have never figured out why men think with their head and women with their heart.
One evening last week, my wife and I were getting into bed. Well, the passion starts to heat up, and she eventually says 'I don't feel like it, I just want you to hold me.'
I said 'WHAT??!! What was that?!'
So she says 'You're just not in touch with my emotional needs as a woman enough for me to satisfy your physical needs as a man.' She responded to my puzzled look by saying, 'Can't you just love me for who I am and not what I do for you in the bedroom?'
Realizing that nothing was going to happen that night, I went to sleep.
The very next day I took the day off of work to spend time with her. We went out to a nice lunch and then went shopping at a big, big department store. I walked around with her while she tried on several different very expensive outfits. She couldn't decide which one to take so I told her we'd just buy them all. She wanted new shoes to compliment her new clothes, so I said lets get a pair for each outfit.
We went on to the jewelry department where she picked out a pair of diamond earrings. Let me tell you...she was so excited. She must have thought I was one wave short of a shipwreck. I started to think she was testing me because she asked for a tennis outfit when she doesn't even know how to play tennis.
I think I threw her for a loop when I said, 'That's fine, darling.'
She was almost nearing sexual satisfaction from all of the excitement. Smiling with excited anticipation she finally said, 'I think this is all dear, let's go to the cashier.'
I could hardly contain myself when I blurted out, 'No honey, I don't feel like it.'
Her face just went completely blank as her jaw dropped with a baffled WHAT?'
I then said 'Darling! I just want you to HOLD this stuff for a while. You're just not in touch with my financial needs as a man enough for me to satisfy your shopping needs as a woman.' And just when she had this look like she was going to kill me, I added, 'Why can't you just love me for who I am and not for the things I buy you ?'
OK. So we are now embroiled in a 'military action' in Libya which 'does not involve regime change' and in which we will 'not be deploying ground troops' and which is, apparently, less popular than the invasion of Iraq so famously launched illegally by Tony Blair.
The problem is that Gaddafi's troops are disciplined and well armed and the rebels aren't. There was a case earlier this week of one of their men being killed by his own gun while he was trying to figure out how to work it. Apparently, one of our aircraft obliterated a bunch of rebels who mistakenly opened fire on a NATO aircraft. This latter incident was particularly strange as there are no Libyan planes in the air at the moment, so it only goes to illustrate the discipline problem.
It would also appear that some of our non-deployed ground troops are telling the aircraft where to drop their bombs and that Gaddafi is not a target unless, of course, 'he happens to get in the way of our bombs'.
So can we believe a word of it when we are told that we will not be supplying arms to the rebels?I suspect not.
Eventually, if it is not happening already, other nations - possibly Arab - will be supplying arms to either or both sides in this bloody civil war. But they won't be getting them from us. Or will they?
Gaddafi's forces are armed by weapons supplied by this country. Some of the army units have defected to the rebel side so they also have weapons supplied by us. It's a lucrative business. But of course it would be immoral and possibly illegal to supply arms to both sides in a war - especially when we are then also engaged in destroying the very materiel that we supplied in the first place.
However, let's not forget that our illustrious PM was recently involved in a tour of the Gulf accompanied by a bunch or - er - arms dealers! And, after all, if those countries then decide to sell them on to Libya then it's nothing to do with us...
I was stupid enough to belief that when we got rid of the dreaded Broon and his crowd of incompetent wastrels that things could only get better. I suppose I should have remembered that Blair used that line as his campaign song, and look how that turned out!
Now I know that the Conservative Party did not win the election and that a coalition has to make compromises, but I really did expect better of Cameron.
I expected him to deal with the excesses of the bankers, not just let then carry on paying themselves obscene bonuses. At the very least not in the banks that we actually own...
I expected him to honour his manifesto promiss for an Eu referendum. I did not expect him to do a complete 180 degree U-turn on the issue after being presented with a petition with over 350,000 signatures on it. I expected better reasoning than that he thought it was 'inappropriate'...
I expected him to stand his ground on NHS reforms not to start faffing about pretending to 'listen and reconsider' when the decisions have already been made...
I expected him to make tough decisions about the public finances, not give away our money to foreign countries who don't need it just to suck up to them to support us in a war we shouldn't be involved in in the first place...
I expected him to start making plans to brings the troops home like he said he would...
Instead, I am forced to use the most powerful word in the English language to judge his performance so far. I am disappointed.
I thought better of you, Cameron. I thought you were a statesman. I thought you had backbone. I thought you would make a good Prime Minister.
Yes, I know it's April - but for some of us sad buggers, it's new year. I refer of course to the New Tax Year.
Out with the old and in with the new! Just when you've seen the last of the bloody bank and building societies trying to ram ISAs down your throat, along comes that lovely brown envelope 'inviting' you to submit a tax return.
Now for many of you, this is most likely not a problem, but for us old farts that are trying desperately to make ends meet with our meagre pensions and even more meagre savings this is pretty much the last straw. I don't have a huge income, but what there is is spread around all over the place in little bits, so the result is that I always end up overpaying tax and then having to claim it back again every April.
HMRC are now so piddled with me doing this every year, that they like to launch a pre-emptive strike. Hence their kind 'invitation'. Somehow, only our esteemed Revenue Service could cock up your taxes, then send you a demand to fill in a return and tell you that it's an 'invitation'.
So, fresh off the blocks this afternoon I shall be sending off the usual letters, making the usual phone calls and sending the e-mails that are required for me to gather in all the supporting paperwork that enables me to compose this annual extravaganza. It's a absolute pain in the neck, so if Boy George reckons he can simplify the system, then good luck to him. He gets my support - even if I will believe it when I see it.
To be fair to HMRC, once the claim is in the cheque comes pretty quickly. That's about the only good thing I have to say about it all.
As you might imagine, things have been a little intense here lately what with all the fuss over what's been going on in Libya, and the boys have been throwing their toys out of the pram over what to do!
I mean Dave knows that this isn't exactly going to be his Falklands but on the other hand he doesn't want it to turn out the way Iraq did for telfon Tone either! We could all do without another one of those. Anyway, he came up with this bright idea of having a war without anyone on our side actually getting involved. Brill - if it works.
Trouble is, Obummer doesn't seem to have the cohones, if you know what I mean? He wants to call the shots but doesn't want to be seen to be leading the show. Dave was really piddled off with him when he rang him the other night. All he kept doing was bringing the subject back to the cricket word cup and could Dave explain the rules to him. In the end Dave sort of lost it and told him it was it was just like Aghanistan - you stand there while people chuck the ball at you, you try not to drop it, and the game goes on forever without getting a result!
Anyway, it was a bit of a relief when old Sarky stepped in. Dave reckoned that Gadoofy hacked him off by telling him he'd bought him the presidency and now it was payback time, so he leapt right in and paid him back with a few bangers. I was going to go with Dave to Paris so I could get a bit off shopping in while Dave was at the palace, but then Madame S offered to go with me. OMG, have you seen her? She makes me look positively scruffy!
Anyhow, it all worked out alright in the end. Each of the boys got to polish their shiney new aeroplanes, stroke their missiles and move their ships about and everyone was happy. Talk about boys and their toys!
Never liked Paris much anyway - too many French people!
Yes, they're at it again in Suffolk - and you guessed it! The centre of attention is none other than their much respected (sic) chief executive Andrea Hill.
It seems that the grossly overpaid Andrea has now pissed off the councillors so much that a couple of them have decided to openly criticise her in the national press.
Kathy Pollard and Caroline Page have expressed their opinions in a full page article in a national Sunday newspaper, specifically about recent revelations over money spent for a photoshoot for Mrs Hill and senior councillors and lifestyle coaching sessions for the chief executive and others. Priceless...
This shameless £218,000 a year trougher has even attracted the attantion of David Cameron - and frankly about time too! Whether he has the balls to do anything about it remains to be seen, but we live in hope...
Mrs Pollard states: “All heads of local authorities have had unpleasant decisions to make during the past 25 years as successive national governments have cut their spending. Yet the average person would be hard pressed to name those chief executives. Not so in Suffolk. Mention Suffolk County Council to anybody and the subject of THAT WOMAN and her salary will arise. It’s an issue that just won’t go away.”
She later claims that Mrs Hill has become “confused” with being responsible for a lot of public money “with being worth a lot of public money”.
(You can read more about it in the Daily Mail by clicking here)
Never mind the Turin Shroud, during the last decade the Lord has indeed appeared to us in many guises. Here's a top ten selection :
In November 2002, a devotee doing some baking for the Renewal Retreat Centre in Bangalore, India spotted an image resembling Jesus in a chapati. The likeness was hastily put on public display.
On Ash Wednesday in February 2007, Guadalupe Rodriguez, a cafeteria worker at Pugh Elementary in Houston, Texas, noticed a striking image while cleaning the dishes after lunch.
"On the third rinse I started watching it, trying to discover what it was," she said. "It showed to me like it is the Virgin Mary." Anel Villareal, a pupil, recalled: "They said, 'The Virgin is in the cafeteria,' and I ran over there to see and, my God, it was the Virgin. I cried when I see her with my own eyes."
The baking pan was soon on display in the front yard of a home a few streets away from the school, attracting numerous visitors.
In April 2006, Gregorio Gomez, a 57-year-old Tzotzil Indian, said a voice told him in a dream that he would find an image of Jesus Christ on a rock. The following month he stumbled across the "image" as he was walking near his village of Santa Anita, on Huitepec Mountain in Mexico.
News of the likeness travelled quickly. Hundreds of people flocked to the rock to study the image and leave a candle.
In April 2009, an outline of the Virgin Mary was spotted on a food griddle at a restaurant on the California/Mexico border.
The image was discovered by Hilda Maciel, a chef at the Las Palmas restaurant in the small border town of Calexico.
The restaurant's general manager Brenda Martinez told the Associated Press that, after local churchman Reverend Gerardo Fernandez confirmed the image was a "true likeness of the Virgin", more than 100 people hurried to restaurant to view it. Among the onlookers was a group of masked Mexican wrestlers in town for an exhibition.
In September 2009 the Daily Telegraph noted that, if looked at from the right angle, a photograph of the Martian surface released by Nasa could show the face and robed body of Jesus. The photo had been taken the previous month.
In March 2006, members of the Triumph Learning and Worship Centre for Life, in Saraland, Alabama believed a section of drywall had buckled into an image of Christ on the cross. They attested that the depiction made them feel closer to God. Their church had been flooded by Hurricane Katrina the year before.
A tree stump in in Passaic, New Jersey was given a permanent shelter in December 2006, following repeated "glimpses" of the Virgin Mary. The new structure replaced a plywood lean-to that the city dismantled after the makeshift roof collapsed amid prayer candles, flowers and rosary beads.
On February 28 2006, Thomas Haley, an employee of Hardy's Hardware in Manchester, Connecticut, was busy unloading supplies from a truck when he discovered a piece of sheet metal he believed bore the image of Jesus Christ.
Haley and a co-worker subsequently auctioned the piece of metal on eBay, where it was viewed more than 120,000 times. It was purchased for US$1,500 by online casino GoldenPalace.com.
The offices of West Midlands company EMS Maintenance Services were evacuated following flooding caused by a torrential downpour in November 2006.
When staff returned to work the next day they discovered an five-inch "image" of the face of Jesus left behind in the cement of the factory floor. The likeness was made from the remnants of dried mud and concrete left behind by the flash flood at the company's factory in Willenhall, Wolverhampton.
In August 2006, workers at a luxury chocolate makers in Fountain Valley, California, discovered a two-inch dropping of chocolate that bore a striking resemblance to the Virgin Mary.
Cruz Jacinto, a kitchen worker for Bodega's Chocolates, was the first to spot the lump of melted chocolate when she began her shift cleaning up drippings that had accumulated under a large vat. It looked just like the Virgin Mary on the prayer card she was carrying in her pocket.
The uniquely-shaped chocolate dropping was initially displayed in the front of the company's gift shop but now rests in a back room and is brought out only for curious visitors.
My neighbour found out that her dog (a schnauzer) could hardly hear, so she took it to the vet. The vet found that the problem was hair in the dog's ears. He cleaned both ears, and the dog could then hear fine. The vet then proceeded to tell the lady that, if she wanted to keep this from recurring, she should go to the chemist and get some "Nair" hair remover and rub it in the dog's ears once a month.
The lady went to the chemist and bought some "Nair" hair remover. At the till, the pharmacist told her, "If you're going to use this under your arms, don't use deodorant for a few days."
The lady said, "I'm not using it under my arms."
The pharmacist said, "If you're using it on your legs, don't shave for a couple of days."
The lady replied, "I'm not using it on my legs either. If you must know, I'm using it on my schnauzer."
The pharmacist said, "Well stay off your bicycle for about a week."
Sometimes you just have to wonder if there is any sanity in Westminster at all!
My blood boiled last night when the Government announced that in order to allay 'accusations of right wing bias' in the Office of Budget Responsibility, they have appointed Gordon Brown as a 'special advisor'.
An OBR spokesperson said of the appointment : 'Mr Brown's appointment in an advisory capacity reflects his wealth of economic and financial knowledge gained through both his time as Prime Minister and, of course, his many years as Chancellor of the Exchequer. We are sure he will make a valuable contribution to the work of the OBR.'
I expect we'll be paying him a nice fat fee as well!
That's of course ignoring the fact that he's one who got the country in this bloody mess to start with...