Battling with Sunshine…

Given the weather from the last few weeks it does seem somewhat contrary to complain when a nice sunny day comes along.   Well being ‘ somewhat contrary‘ is a curse I have had to live with for a very long time and I guess getting older isn’t helping matters.

Yesterday I visited one of my favourite garden  places, Hidcote Manor, to enjoy the gardens and take in the sun.   Unfortunately, as anyone who has tried to make an interesting photographic image of a flower or gardens, the sun is your worst enemy.  The colours of the flowers become really harsh and unforgiving as do the shadows.  In short it can be a nightmare – yesterday was no exception.

What it does force the photographer to do is to get creative – if you don’t want blown out highlights etc. – and you have to hunt out the dapple shade and the small places where the power of the harsh sun is ameliorated to a degree.   Anyway these are some of the images that I hope were not destroyed by the sun.

  Of course this is not the first I’ve bitched about this problem at Hidcote and I guess it won’t be the last.

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71 Days


Is this what post Brexit Britain will look like?   Of course not because pre Brexit doesn’t look like this – only in fantasy places such as Hidcote manor.   What we do know is that the next 71 days are going to be a bit of an increasing shit storm,   Nothing to worry about then.

One good bit of good Brexit  news – the 1st of November is a public holiday in France (all saints day).  On such public holidays large lorries are not allowed to travel on the autoroutes so perhaps we might all be spared what Brexit has to offer the good people of Kent until Monday the 4th November.

We should be so lucky, lucky lucky lucky….

Now back to those sunny uplands.

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72 Days


When lost in a never ending storm it is always worth stating known facts rather than speculation based on speculation when trying to navigate your way out of the maelstrom .   So before I start to speculate these are the known facts as they stand:

  • In 2016 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum;
  • A General Election was held in 2017 when both Labour and Conservatives promised to honour the result of the 2016 referendum;
  • The parliament of the the UK legislated to leave the EU on a specific date (European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.)  The original date was amended by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019 to the current one of 31st October 2019;
  • A withdrawal agreement has been reached between the then government of the UK which, when presented to the House of Commons was defeated three times by a significant margin.

Now, much as I might not want the UK to leave the EU, I can’t argue with any of those facts.  The upshot of  which means that the UK will leave the EU at 23:00 hours on the 31st October 2019.  We might be able to agree some form of agreement with the EU between now and that date but unless the Act of Parliament is amended (by a similar act as the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019) then we will leave on the 31st of October 2019.   I do not believe there is anything in the 2018 nor 2019 Act of Parliament to say that we can only leave with some form of withdrawal agreement but rather we are going to leave…(you get the idea.)

I know the above does sound all very Brexiterish but it is not meant to be. These are the facts and I know I want to stay in the EU but I cannot ignore them, as many of the remain politicians seem to want to (if I hear one more time Parliament didn’t vote to leave without a deal then I will scream!   Parliament has refused to approve a deal and nothing was included in the substantive Act nor its amending act to say a withdrawal agreement must be agreed before leaving.  The House of Commons has had plenty of opportunity to do so and it has not.)

This brings us to what will happen in the first week of Parliament’s return – will there be a vote of no confidence?   If we disregard all the nonsense talk of a government of National Unity lead by Jeremy Corbyn  (I can think of no better definition of an oxymoron.) Then should the Johnson government fall in such a vote we will be having a General Election just at the time when we will need our political classes to be concentrating on amiliating any of the outcomes outlined in the Operation Yellowhammer document and also passing all the legislation needed to make sure the statute book is in order by the 31st October 2019.  Should the Johnson government fall the argument that the outgoing shouldn’t do anything controversial during the run up to the election doesn’t apply to leaving the EU as this is a substantive Act of Parliament.  It would be like saying that an outgoing government shouldn’t ensure that the Theft Act was enforced.  So forcing the Johnson government to fall will mean we have no government just at the time we need a government more than ever.  I cannot see how that is in the National Interest no matter what I might think about Boris Johnson et al.

I don’t want the UK to leave the EU  but I am afraid the time for such a debate has passed.   We all now have to prepare as best we can for life outside the EU.   We remainers will just have to accept we lost and make the best of what will always be a suboptimal world post 31st October.

One final thought.  Should the UK leave the EU without a deal it will be a huge diplomatic failure on both sides.   Britain will have increased trade barriers with its largest trading partner and may have soured relations with them for sometime to come.  The European Union will have ensured that the one thing they were trying to prevent, a hard border on the island of Ireland, will be a reality by the 1st November 2019 whilst at the same time will have to deal with the huge destabilizing economy at the geographical heart of the EU – if Kent is going to become a lorry park then so is northern France.   They will both try and dress it all up as the other’s fault but it is fault on both sides.  Nobody will win from this mess and don’t believe a word from anyone who claims otherwise.

Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of...

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77 Days

A new day and a new bit of nonsense – Jeremy Corbyn has decided he is the leader of the Remain side in the House of Commons – he wants to be their Prime Minister and is willing to lead a government of National Unity.   Now if you think that Boris Johnson is being disingenuous about Brexit then this is right up their with £350m a week for the NHS.  Corbyn has always been hostile to the European Union which is a legitimate position to take – just ask the Brexiteers so for him to suddenly offer to lead this new potential government is just nonsense and of course Corbyn knows this.  He also knows that he is also one of the divisive people in British politics at the moment and so the chances of anyone beyond his supporters believing anything he says are very small indeed.

Still it got him some nice column inches and people like me, not that I count, writing about him.

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78 Days

There is one aspect of the Leave case that the Remain side doesn’t have an answer to – legitimacy.   They may bang on about Russian interference, lies on the side of buses or xenophobia but the Leave side won the referendum and much as I don’t like it we have voted to leave the European Union and unless another referendum is held, not a  a general election as they are always about so much more, and the leave side is defeated then leave we will  and then make the most of what comes next.  This stinks I know but that is the way our system works.

I was reminded about this when I was listening to Lord Heseltine the other day making more and more incoherent arguments about Parliament not voting to leave without a deal.   This is only partially true.  The House of Commons had three opportunities to vote to leave with a deal, the withdrawal agreement,  and it failed to do so.  Also an Act of Parliament says we are going to leave the European Union.   As for his attack on Dominic Cummings well all I will say is Bernard Ingham.   Every government has their own unelected enforcer/guru/doing his master/mistress’s biding – Cummings is just the latest.

I fear that leaving the European Union is at best sub optimal but leave we are and to suggest that some form of House of Commons chicanery might stop this is about as realistic as there being a government of National Unity without Jeremy Corbyn leading it.

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79 Days

Visiting the excellent The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists at the Leicester Museum and Art gallery for a second time doesn’t diminish the experience.    For anyone over 50 in Britain it was like revisiting your childhood.   All around you in the is the formative artwork of your childhood.  This was the view of the world for Post War children that was safe and reassuring – full of upstanding people going about their lives.  Even the well known shits such as King John were given a makeover.   It could be described as  the British version of the Soviet Social Realism art and those of us who grew up with it have a warm affection for the simple world it portrays.  I suspect that might also be the view of our many of our contemporaries who grew up in the former Soviet Union of their childhood art.

Of course for anyone under 50 the attraction is more curio than nostalgia and it was interesting to see the expressions on the teenagers who appeared to be somewhat bewildered by the whole experience and good on them for that.   They have their own world view and perhaps one day they too will experience the joys of remembering things past when they are in their 50’s.

As a startling  juxta position the next gallery contains one of the finest collections of German expressionist art anywhere in the world.   Instead of the reassuring images produced by  the Ladybird book artists you find graphic images of war and torment.   Under the Nazis it was viewed as degenerate art and was band.

They provide strange bedfellows but should be viewed together. Life is nothing like as safe as the warm world of Ladybird but thankfully for most of us the world isn’t as forbidding as that captured by the German Expressionists.  In these crazy Brexit days it is worthwhile understanding that there are many more views than the closed off one you might want to think the world should be.  Viewed together that message is loud and clear  are well worth the trip to experience.

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80 Days

It doesn’t get better than this…Over and Over again

What if one day there isn’t such thing as snow?

As the poet wrote and sang….

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