Friday, 25 May 2012


I seem to meet quite a lot of people who tell me I should do this, that or the other, or, more probably that I shouldn't do this, that or the other, because of climate change / global warming.

I generally ask them a couple of questions:

"What is the most compelling evidence you have seen of man's causality in climate change?"


"What's the best evidence you have seen that man can control climate change?"

Amazingly enough, I have never yet had a straight, factual answer to either question. The response I do get is a hateful look of the kind reserved for, I imagine, paedophiles, or some other species of vileness in the eye of the beholder, and the following sort of rhetoric:

"Ah... you're a climate change DENYER, are you?"

Nope. I'm not even a fully paid up climate change sceptic. Now. Where's your data?

I am a sceptic, though, about anything which becomes orthodoxy, which becomes axiom. Why? Because it offends the human capacity to inquire, to think.

It may be easy. But is it right?

I live in hope that someone is going to give me an answer to my two questions.

I will listen with a very genuine interest and curiosity.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A SHORT HISTORY OF.......................... HELICOPTERS

Today there was a helicopter at Laytham, hovering to inspect the high tension wires and pylons. The pilot was very skilful, keeping the chopper still as an onboard camera caught all the action of lines and joints. It set me in mind of my own occasional contact with aircraft of the rotary variety.

I was introduced to them as a very young man. The first I ever encountered were Westland Wessex. Big old things. I was taught to rappel down a rope to get out of them, blacked up and in camouflage. I can still remember the excitement of these rare, expensive aerial bus rides, which saved you miles of walking. I remember the orders:
"Make safe before you get in. When over the landing zone, take your turn sitting on the step. Sling you rifle over your shoulder. Grab the rope with both hands. Wrap your feet. Go when I say go. Down you go. All round defence at the bottom. Cock your rifle. Try not to kill yourself or anyone else." This was before the days of Health and Safety. No safety line and karabiner, Just NCO Instructors who delighted in telling you certainly spurious stories about the last young soldier to have fallen, and how he twitched about in spinal agony beneath the whirling rotors.
You were only supposed to summon helicopter assistance when absolutely needed, but the radio airwaves were full of young platoon commanders trying to cadge a ride.
"2 - 1, this is 2-1 Tango, I am experiencing heavy resistance. Very heavy. Request helivac immediately."
Then the RSM's voice.
"Negative 2 - 1 Tango. What do you think this is Mr. Berry? F**king Vietnam? Crack on".

The most unusual present I got when I married (bar the blow pipe and poisoned arrows) was a helicopter ride around the cirques and volcanic heights of Reunion Island. Very nice. Bit too short, I recall.

It was then quite a few years before I got to use a whirly bird in anger. I was doing a course over in Herefordshire and got, at late notice, a summons from a client to a presentation of a large proposal, in Milton Keynes. The course finished at, I think half three. The Milton Keynes meeting was called for five. "Only one form of transport will get you there in time," my PA informed me. "How much?" I answered. After wincing, I authorized the credit card. At three twenty seven, or something, the hotel receptionist came into the training room and announced "your helicopter is here, Mr. Berry." I said, "Ah, yes. Just ask them to hold on while I finish would you?" Then, after making my apologies to the open jawed room, I grabbed my overnight bag, walked out to the hotel lawn and the awaiting chopper, engines still on, slung the bag nonchalantly in the back seat and got in. "All set, Mr. Berry?" asked the pilot. "Let's go," I said. Then came the trip's only problem: concocting a wave cool enough to suggest to the training course now asssembled on the lawn that this was a customary mode of transport. At Cranfield airfield, my PA had kindly, and cunningly arranged for one of the client's managers to meet me. I emerged to shake their hand, feeling like an exotic rajah. I hardly need say, we got the contract.

Note to self, I thought wistfully today. Helicopter is the ONLY way to travel.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Ee. I've come a long way since I were a lad.

555.34 miles, to be precise.
My love is seeing your perfection.

Friday, 18 May 2012

A shite day.

I drive 200 miles to see a prospective client.
They've got the wrong time in the diary.

I return to another client seeking to postpone a vital programme.


Only two remedies known to man: lager and curry.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

"Are you trying to pick me up?"

"Well, you're succeeding."

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Just taking the dogma for a walk .........................................

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A dogma isn't just for Christmas.

It's for life.

Friday, 11 May 2012


Sometimes one comes up against people who are carrying around with them the weight of blaming. It's a heavy piece of baggage to shoulder, and it invariably invokes my compassion. Put it down, I want to say. Just leave it there, and you will walk the taller.

Just occasionally one encounters a severe case, and the individual actually looks tortured by it, as though the habit of blaming has actually twisted their body or demeanour. I can imagine with time such a burden leading to all sorts of skeletal and other health problems.

And it does seem as though it is a peculiarly difficult thing for people to let go. I suppose that may be because blame proves you right, even if you aren't. It feeds on its own certainty. When blaming you perhaps feel as though you are giving the blame to someone else. But you are not. You are deepening its hold on your own body. Not relaxing, for sure.

Buddha said that blame is like a red hot coal which you throw at someone else. It may burn them, but it will certainly burn you.

I try to avoid the habit myself, because I'm a coward, and I don't like burning myself, though I'm certain I have my moments. I've most certainly had my moments of being on the receiving end. They can sting. But the smarting is momentary, depending as it does on feelings of guilt. Sure, there's a pang, a brief primal self questioning as one gets a childhood reminder of the stern parent voice. But guilt is a tricky matter. It's rarely, in my experience, resident only in one person. More normally, it's a bitter pie, to be shared out to a few. Often, to the person doing the blaming there's a fair portion due.

A swift check of the body and conscience, and relaxed order is restored. Did I do what I could? Did I do what anyone might reasonably expect? Did I do what any fallible human might? Yes? Good. I can go on without concern, and without the torture carried on by the blaming habit, etching itself ever deeper, ever more corrosively into character and physicality.

The coal misses, as (because it is thrown in the blindness of rage) it invariably will.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Does this explain what sometimes seem to be Sisyphian efforts?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012