Friday, 30 May 2014


The footballer Joey Barton has had to apologise for saying on BBC Question Time (why was he on it anyway?) that the four main political parties are like four really ugly girls.

If he'd said they're like four really ugly blokes, would he have had to apologise?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


Four yachtsmen are missing after their yacht capsized and sank mid Atlantic. The US Coastguard has been persuaded to resume a search, assisted by RAF aircraft.
I hope the men will be found and returned safe to their anguished families. Feeling great solidarity with the worried families, I signed a petition to urge resumption of the search.
But those of us who go to sea for adventure have no real right to expect others to rescue us. Though it is the duty of any vessel to respond to a mayday if they can, the extent to which, as a yachtsman you call on this is up to you. We go to sea by choice. I know of more than one sailor who sails with no expectation of rescue, and whose philosophy is to sort out their own salvation, or perish in the attempt, without endangering anyone else's life in a rescue mission.
My boat has an EPIRB and a radio to call for help.
I have a horror of the rescue situation as it inevitably signals my failure as a skipper.
But is it worth losing your life by not calling for help?
The other day I made my first single handed passage. It was close coastal work in home waters. I was still terrified. At every second there was a keen awareness that going over the side would very probably be the end of me.
Alone, though, the decision of whether to call for help or not is perhaps morally and practically clearer than with others aboard.
I pray for those in peril on the sea.
And I pray for my own wisdom to not go to sea in circumstances even the least bit perilous, and if I do, to take the right responsibility for my life, and any entrusted to me.

Thursday, 15 May 2014


  • I am away, staying at Fawsley, the most bonkers of all places. A bonkers pile, exploded into the British countryside. The sheep are arrogantly bonkers, mutely submitting to being run over on the gated road. The place is bonkers, architecture all over the place, mainly bonkers Tudor with bonkers bits of Georgian and Palladian fill in. The staff are bonkers. I thought the receptionist was going to bite my neck. She is a long dead Russian ballerina. The systems creak more than the floorboards. Even the menu is bonkers. Smoked salmon, but in some mad curry slurry, which obviously you have to ask them not to put on the plate. A perfectly good steak is ruined by some Cajun nonsense. Why don't cooks just do the simple thing well? Eating out would be so much better if they tried less hard. A glass of wine is a tenner, but a bottle only twenty. They have every form of gin but not Plymouth. The pictures on the wall are all of British Royalty, from Tudors onwards. Oil paintings. Except they aren't - they're prints with odd dabs of paint put on to make them seem authentic. Even the guest list is bonkers. The place is full of lesbian couples, each a bonkers combo of pneumatic babe and industrial lump.
  • An interesting conversation about autism and how autistic people work from detail outwards. I recommend the book The Reason I Jump. I see  this detail out tendency in people who would not be thought of as autistic too.
  • Late food makes my sleep intolerably awful. Alcohol in the evening also has this effect. It is difficult to accept this after such a long career of carousing.
  • Can women have it all? Career, motherhood, loving partnership? An interesting chat about whether it's the media asking this question which limits women's sense of entitlement. Little girls are criticised for being bossy. Little boys aren't.
  • One of my clients has resigned, following a single session with me. There is a frisson to this. Excitement. Fear, too.
  • The Hopping Hare is a place I really like. I stay there quite often and the people are getting to know me. They are very nice and helpful. For example, I went mid afternoon to try and get some lunch. No chef. But the barmaid said "I'm no great cook but I could rustle you up a sandwich." That kind of straightforward care is rare.
  • I desperately need an early night, having feasted and thus slept so badly. I am ready for bed at about nine and am just dropping off when there's a fireworks display. The bonkers tin lid on it.
  • Tomorrow I sleep on Cylesta. I dream of it.

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Giro d'Italia is starting in Belfast.
The Tour de France is starting in Yorkshire.

The Marathon des sables is due to start in Barnsley.
The Venice Biennale will start in Caracas.
Rio's famous carnival will shift its start to Antarctica, posing costume challenges for the participants.
The May Day parade in Russia's Red Square will start in Belgium.
The London Marathon will start on the moon.
The Edinburgh tattoo will be in Cameroun.
Timbuktu will host for the first time the Palio.
The Derby will be run mid Atlantic.

I'm all for cosmopolitanism, but to an older gent like myself it can at times be a touch confusing.