Sunday, 13 October 2013


If you don't like the radio station that is playing, retune.

Saturday, 12 October 2013


Here's an odd thing.
Our justice system works on the presumption of innocence and it is the duty of the prosecution to prove guilt, not the burden of the defence to prove innocence. A jury of twelve good men (and women) must be persuaded of guilt. And the standard is high. The burden of proof is beyond reasonable doubt. No room for doubt. Certainty. "So that you are sure".
Now, how is it, that, after a jury's deliberation beyond two hours and ten minutes, a judge may accept a majority decision?
Let's suppose nine of the jurors are convinced of the defendant's guilt. Three are not. Assuming that those three are "reasonable" there must by definition be reasonable doubt, and therefore an acquittal is the only possible verdict.
Suppose it is the other way around. Nine say not guilty. Three are convinced of guilt. The only possible logical verdict is an acquittal.
The numbers don't matter. If eleven say one thing, and one says another, it is only logical to conclude that there is some room for reasonable doubt.
If the dissenting minority of jurors are not reasonable, then they should not be jurors.
A puzzle with huge consequences.
I wonder what our real de facto burden of proof truly is?

Friday, 11 October 2013


I remember joking with an old friend of mine about Tourettes. The joke went, every man has Tourettes going on in his head. This was when we both disclosed the same mildly obscene workings of our two minds which would normally, of course, be unspoken.
Having real Tourettes must be no joke. But why are the tourettes invariably so terribly insulting / obscene / rude? Why couldn't they be nice things? Is it that we are censored only in the terrible things? That seems to tie in so poorly with what one experiences in organizations - a paucity of real and heartfelt praise.
Anyway, back to the Tourettes. I am not a magnet for loonies. I fix them with such an intimidating glare that, combined with a haircut suited to a Chief Inspector, they are often daunted and skulk away, thank God. Waiting on the station platform yesterday, though, the loony chose the next bench, from which he ruminated aloud.
His first utterance was incoherent - a deep guttural grunt.
Next, "nah, fuckit."
A pause .
A pause.
Another grunt / wail.
Another pause.
Repeat in not necessarily the same order.
This happens four or five times, each punctuated by a pause of a few moments.
Then, unexpectedly, he burped.
"Oo. Pardon me," he said.
Manners maketh man.

Friday, 4 October 2013


Let's start with the easy questions.

Who are you?
I do not know.

What is your name?
I have no name I own.

Where are you from?
Again I do not know.

How old are you?
I cannot say.

Where do you live?
That may be anywhere.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


MINI MSSUS:         When I'm at school, and Mummy is away working, aren't you lonely?

ME:                           Being alone isn't the same as being lonely.

MINI MISSUS:         Yes, but aren't you sometimes lonely?

ME:                            If I feel lonely, I go for a walk.

MINI MISSUS:         And then you're with the trees, birds and animals?

ME:                            Exactly.


When you say you have no time
Have you not the same as me?

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Rule one of walking in the British countryside: never shit within a mile of a footpath.
Breaking this rule has often got me into trouble. As it did today.
I started my walk towards the Pedlar Wife's Hole. This sounds like a music hall gag, but is, in fact, a cartographic, nay topographic, truth. It reminds me of a place in the French south called Miassole. Yes, if you don't believe me, Google it. Just after I got separated, and in a far from good state emotionally, I received one of the greatest acts of friendship of my entire life. I was invited away on holiday with my two sons, given a damn good listening to, whilst I expelled the grief of the situation. And on top of that, one of the best holidays ever. Miassole captured the imaginations of two little boys, and two big ones. No day was complete without a major session of what happened in Miassole. There was a traffic jam in Miassole. I saw you wandering about in Miassole. What were you doing in Miassole? Et cetera.
As with Miassol, so with the Pedlar Wife's Hole. Except I was alone, and thus became, for a while, one of those mad people who smirk and gibber at their own lonely jokes. Perhaps it was this levity which caught me short, but I think not.
What actually was the cause, was the apple juice. I and the Missus have become a team closely resembling a pairing of Mrs Tiggywinkle and Delia Bloody Smith. Discovering that we can make our own apple juice has led to frenzy of peeling, core-ing and juicing. And it's good stuff. Except that it goes right through you, in a most lubricating manner. It beats a coffee and a fag as a purgative. Hell, it beats skydiving, or being mortared.
So rule number one had to be broken. But the rule exists for good reason. The reason being that no sooner is one in situ, than interruption is guaranteed. And no matter how concealed the chosen location, you will be spotted. When they rewrite Army manuals on camouflage, they will be changed from the principles of SHAPE (no straight lines in nature), SHINE (the reason we used to take out our cap badges from our berets when we went, laughingly, "tactical") and SILHOUETTE (don't walk on a skyline unless you want to be shot- rather obviously) to SHAPE, SHINE and the more appropriately alliterative, SHITTING IN THE OPEN. Because, believe me, the one thing certain to be seen for miles is a hairy bum and a courtesy flag of boxers flying at the starboard cross trees.
Today, scouting my best cover, I returned to The Pedlar Wife's Hole and there made my offering to Mother Nature. Returning to propriety, and the footpath, I had gone only a few yards before I realised that, tailing me, at a distance where a full view of the matinee performance simply must have been had, were a couple of hikers of late middle age, the very first people I'd seen on the entire walk. They weren't there when I made my pre dump recce. They were nowhere to be seen. How did they get there? They were conspiring together and, did I dream it, smirking?
Note to self. More proof of the power of the rule. A dump in the open is like the magnetic north pole. Every single hiker in a million square miles will converge upon the act, drawn there by an irresistible force.
Don't do it.

PS. Just noticed on the OS map that the small stream fed by Pedlar  Wife's Hole is Bottom Drain.


If your best friend is the Universe,
How would you ever be lonely?