David Copperfield and a guilty secret earworm

Many congratulations to the Watermill Senior Youth Theatre for a fantastic production of David Copperfield, which finished its run last night.

The production climaxes, both bizarrely and magically, with the cast miming to “Top of the World” by the Carpenters. Our resident teenager had not heard of the Carpenters. This led me to go into my “Best voice ever/terrible waste and tragedy” riff about Karen Carpenter.

I now have an extremely pleasant earworm. It’s cheesy. It sounds as though it’s played on a cheap Bontempi organ. But it’s magical.

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The glorious days of the railway remembered

Ian Hislop goes off the rails is worth watching on BBC iPlayer. He looks at the impact of Beeching’s Axe, which hacked off a significant chunk of the British railways system.

The programme ended with that glorious Flanders and Swann song “The Slow Train” which is on YouTube below.

Sadly, despite its rich rhyming potential, F&S did not mention Bude, whose railway station was closed down and is now replaced with housing. I was on the last train out of Bude, alongside my grandfather, who saw the first train coming into Bude.

Lord Carey – bless him

I have read Lord Carey’s article in the Mail, so you don’t have to. The headline is: “The PM’s done more than any leader to make Christians feel they’re persecuted”.

The basis of his thesis is:

-A ComRes poll that I can’t find on the web yet
-Crucifixes at work
-Changes to a parliamentary chapel
-Equal marriage, including ramifications for employees such as teachers

I think we Christians can sleep safely at night. By introducing the word “persecuted” in connection with British Christians, Lord Carey is doing a grave disservice to those Christians throughout the world who actually are persecuted and who are in danger of injury or death because of their faith.

We live in one of the only two countries in the world where religious leaders sit in parliament as of right. (The other country is Iran). Indeed, in his retirement, Lord Carey himself sits in parliament. Our Head of State is head of the Church of England, which is the established church.

I think we ought to remember all that before getting too carried away with what dear old Lord Carey has to say.

Update: ComRes have now published the poll referred to in Lord Carey’s article. You can read it here.

This Johnny Cash tune is stuck in my head. There is only one thing for it!

I think I’ve mentioned that I am fan of the oevre of the late Mr Johnny Cash. A fine singer. He would have got the thumbs down from Simon Cowell for being out of tune, I reckon.

But I don’t like Johnny Cash enough to have “Thing called love” going around in my head for five days! There are limits.

I blame it on Nat West and their blessed e-ISAs.

Anyway, there is now only one thing for it. I have to lance the boil! So I am now listening to the tune at full ear-bleeding volume over and over again to try to rid myself of it!

I do like the backing vocals, I must say. And the blessed and late Ray Moore, the best deejay in the world EVER – bar none, used to introduce this song by saying that Johnny Cash plays the guitar with his foot at the start of it….

The extraordinary case of the wrong Miliband

imageIt seems that Moving to New York is replacing the Chiltern Hundreds as the place where resigning MPs go. First, Louise Mensch. Now, David Miliband.

It is remarkable for an MP to stand down with such suddenness. Presumably, he wants to get out of his brother’s hair.

Since Ed Miliband was elected Labour leader, David Miliband has made the odd speech in the Commons, each time showing remarkable skills of articulation, passion and intelligence. – Each time raising an unspoken banner saying “It should have been David”.

The one with the looks, the brains and the gift of the gab is moving to New York, while we’re left with the one with the adenoids.

Photo: Some rights reserved by john.puddephat

Bull-on-bull action and the Two Cocks brewery

Some rights reserved by ScootieWell, if that doesn’t get my hitcounter going mad with two second duration visits, I don’t know what will….

I just watched last night’s Countryfile in the bath via iPad and iPlayer. Well, I thought it was impressive anyway.

One of their segments brought back memories.

In about 1973 when I was 14 years old, one of the little after school clubs I joined paid a big dividend. Chess club was a bit staid. As was Geography club. Snore. But the Young Farmers’ Club was definitely the place to be – being, as we were, on the edge of Exmoor, 600 feet above sea level. West Buckland School is a superb and thriving school and it has always had a touch of the farm about it.

“Next week we’re visiting the AI centre in Tiverton” our teacher Mr Avens announced.

At first, to a bunch of teenage boys, this did not stir much excitement. But then, as word spread round as to the meaning of “AI” (Artificial Insemination), the boys in the Young Farmers’ Club of West Buckland School started to get positively gleeful about the prospect of this visit.

It did not disappoint. The whole visit was given a Monty Python air, as we had to don blue plastic hats and overshoes. My, how we laughed.

But the climax of our teenage glee came when we were shown the bulls. Needless to say, the man showing us round had to explain how they actually did IT. How did they actually collect the semen from the bulls?

My, how we sniggered, as the poor chap explained that one of the men there had to don a plastic mac (I’m collapsing with silly giggles at the very thought of it!) and thrust this long receptacle up or down (or both) the bull’s penis as it mounted another bull or, sometimes, without any mounting at all.

Gales of exploding laughter, there was, as soon as we boys could politely relieve ourselves!

Anyway, Countryfile reported this week that 40-50 year old semen collected from bulls is still being used to inseminate cows to rejuvenate the South Devon breed. Indeed, they showed us such an insemination. So semen collected shortly before or after our Young Farmers’ Club visit to the AI centre in Tiverton, is still being used to procreate beautiful cattle! Incredible!

In order to justify the, frankly, over-egged title of this post, I finish with this: My nearest and dearest has brought the Two Cocks brewery to my attention. It’s based at Christmas Farm, Enborne, Berkshire. As soon as I am released from my lenten waggon trip, I will search out one of their brews pronto.

Photo above: South Devon cow (or is it a bull?) – Some rights reserved by Scootie.