Thursday, August 25, 2011


Regular visitors may have already realised this, but for those who haven't, this blog is going into suspended animation for the foreseeable future. I will probably be back after a good long break, but for now, thank you to all my visitors and comment-makers and farewell...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kevin Myers on form again...

Reading through Kevin Myers' (my favourite columnist, for the uninitiated) articles published in the Irish Independent during my recent sojourn in Asia Minor, I came upon this one in which he discusses his views as to the gender of the next president of the republic of Ireland.

In a sense, as a dispassionate English observer, the subject matter of the article is irrelevant; it's the sublime use of the English language which made me laugh out loud; especially the short paragraph about O'Leary and the lifejacket...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did; and I was sober when I read it.

Unlike now, I have to cheerfully confess...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

hurray, hurray, it's a holi holiday...

It's that time of year again when the Throne is packing up its troubles and heading for sunnier climes.

And as the last three days have been spent traipsing round shop after interminable shop after the mem sahib, both me and my exhausted wallet could do with the rest!

See you in ten days or so...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Football's Survival Sunday: how did I do...

Regular readers will know that I am something of a football fan. They will also be aware that at the beginning of each of the last three Premier League seasons, I have put my amateur punditry skills to the test by predicting which teams would finish where.

This season, though, rather than predict the position in which each club would finish, I decided to deal with the ones that really matter, groups which I called, rather inventively I thought, The Winners and The Losers.

And starting with my predicted winners, I tipped Chelsea for the title (d'oh!) and the rest of the top four to be United, City and Arsenal, in no particular order. So I got the Champions wrong, but correctly called the four teams who would qualify for the Champions League. But before anyone says it for me, let me be the first to concede that a blind man on a galloping horse could have seen that, so no kudos to the Throne there, then.

Moving slightly further down the pecking order, but remaining with 'the winners', I saw Spurs, Everton and Liverpool filling the next three spots.I got those right as well, and whilst some might suggest that they were another 'gimme', I would remind them that for a significant period of the early part of the season, Liverpool were languishing in the lower reaches of the league, whilst Everton's season started slowly and built to an excellent crescendo.

Turning to The Losers, I have to admit that I was significantly wide of the mark in predicting that Blackpool, Wolves and West Brom would take the drop. Yes, the Seasiders - everybody's second favourite team - eventually succumbed to their inability to defend, but both of the others survived, despite experiencing real wobbles and in Wolves' case, spending months in the bottom three. But as Mick McCarthy and his Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez would doubtless observe, it doesn't matter how much of the season you spend in the bottom three as long as you're not in it after the final game.

So congratulations to the survivors and apologies to supporters of those clubs I wrongly tipped for the drop.

And whilst I'm wearing the hair shirt, allow me to open myself to further ridicule by reminding you of another of my predictions, suggesting that if any team was capable of breaking into the top seven, it was Birmingham City, who actually ended up being relegated!

So there we are; a bit of a curate's egg really - called the top seven exactly right, but got most of the losers wrong and one of them - Birmingham - very badly so.

Still, it won't stop me breaking out the crystal again next August... Bet you can hardly wait!

Ps. I see that Chelsea (or should that be Abramovich) have sacked Carlo Ancelotti after two seasons in charge at The Bridge. Well, he only won The Double in his first season, didn't he; what else could he expect from a grateful owner other than the sack.

And unless the Russian is prepared to dig very deep again this summer (and I don't see that happening), I see Chelsea's star waning somewhat, as their top stars, Terry, Lampard and Drogba all begin to age simultaneously, whilst Petr Cech is a shadow of the keeper he was before his skull fracture. If I was Abramovich, I'd be phoning Arsene Wenger to seek his advice in developing a coping strategy for season after season of high expectation and ultimate, crushing failure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More from Kevin Myers...

A return to form here for one of my favourite columnists, Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent, who prods both the English (specifically) and the Irish with similarly pointed sticks as a consequence our what he perceives to be our ahistoric attitudes to our pasts.

Spot on in my view; but what do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2011

A new beginning...

In the ten days or so which have passed since I last posted, my faithful Toshiba laptop - which served me very well for over seven years - finally gave up the ghost and stopped working completely, hence (partially) the recent hiatus.

Anyway, so catastrophic was the collapse of my old machine, that I was left with no alternative other than to 'mend it with a new one' as my grandfather used to say.

So, this offering is the first with my new Acer number; it will not be the last, as I feel a post coming on later this weekend vis-a-vis the putative referendum on Scottish independence...

As Gary Glitter once said (before he was unmasked and jailed as a serial paedophile) it's good to be back.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

It's not fair, waaaah, waaaah!

So the 'campaign group' Republic is to complain that the BBC's coverage of the Royal Wedding was completely impartial; in other words, their point of view was ignored.

So far, so good.

And if I was the Director General of the Corporation, I would dismiss their complaint out of hand and without further investigation and advise them to write to the Grauniad, so that its shrinking readership can fulminate with them in faux outrage.

As Jilted John sang in the seventies; "Yeah, yeah; it's not fair, yeah yeah..."

You lost. Again. You will always lose. Get over it you sour, one dimensional - I'll say it again - LOSERS and stop behaving like Violet-Elizabeth Bott when you don't get your own way.

Oh, and watch that the door doesn't hit your backside on the way out. Or not, I couldn't care less about you.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A good time was had by all...

I hope you all had an excellent extended Bank Holiday weekend; I know I did: lots to eat, more to drink (especially on Friday) and wall-to-wall sunshine - marvellous.

And I was right in my gut feeling about the Queen bestowing a Dukedom on Prince William on the morning of his marriage; and further, that it would be the Dukedom of Cambridge.

Shame I'm not a gambling man; I could have made a few shillings there!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy St George's Day

I suspect that everyone who visits this site today will know precisely what day it is, and as such, allow me to remind you of Cecil Rhodes' famous injunction to one of his countrymen:

"Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life."

Or perhaps this one from the late (and great) former Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning, who was born a draper's son in Hampshire:

"There are many things in life more worthwhile than money. One is to be brought up in this our England which is still the envy of less happy lands."

Indeed. And as it now "beer o'clock", to quote Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt, may I wish a very happy St George's Day to Englishmen and Englishwomen everywhere.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thoughts on the Royal Wedding...

Well, not strictly speaking on the wedding itself, for which I wish Prince William and Kate all the very best, but on the participants themselves; and being old-fashioned, it's ladies first, so I'll start with Kate, or as we must learn to call her: Catherine.

In saying what I'm about to say, I will no doubt be damned to eternal hell-fire by the Diana worshippers who still cling to their view of William's mother as a saint in human form, whose beauty is unsurpassed in the history of human pulchritude, but I think that Kate (sorry, Catherine!) knocks her into a cocked-hat in the beauty stakes; her looks are of a totally different order of magnitude to the late Princess of Wales, even if Diana was a very attractive woman

But that aside, I have to say that I've been a little alarmed at Kate's recent impersonation of the incredible shrinking woman. For a girl who was always slender, her recent weight loss - and it must be in the order of a stone - has meant that the bones in her chest are clearly visible, whilst her legs are now simply thin.

And yes, I know she'll be nervous at the prospect of her wedding - which bride (or groom) isn't - but unlike most brides, she will have the eyes of as many as two billion people on her when she takes her vows; a prospect sufficiently terrifying, I suspect to quell the fiercest of appetites. But please, Kate (sorry again!) once the wedding is done and dusted, have a few good meals and get your weight back up to normal; you'll look even better for it.

Turning to William, the same Diana worshippers who can't (or won't) let her go and can't forgive Prince Charles for 'betraying' her, are clamouring for the succession to leap a generation and see William crowned our next king, rather than his father.

Forgetting for a minute that the rules governing succession to the Throne mean that Charles will become king the second his mother breathes her last (and long may that day be off), irrespective of the wishes of what could be called the anti-Caroline faction, what of William's wishes; have any of them given that a moment's consideration?

I suspect that being bumped up the queue to next-in-line would horrify William, a young man who clearly wants to live as ordinary a life for as long as possible given his extraordinary inheritance. Would the Diana worshippers really want to foist the responsibility of monarchy on his shoulders before he was either ready or prepared for the responsibility?


Because if they do in the teeth of the evidence that the prospect would horrify William, then they do their idol's eldest son, and by extension her memory, a grave disservice indeed. And let's also remember the relationship William and Harry have with their father. Both of them clearly love him dearly (and he them) irrespective of the circumstances of the break up of his marriage to their mother and there is no way on God's good clean earth that William would agree to act in a manner which would deprive Charles of the birthright he has planned for for over sixty years: he simply wouldn't do it, and nor should he either.

Anyway, moving on, I have a feeling that the Queen will make William a duke on the morning of his wedding, in order that Kate will have a proper royal title, rather than the leaden 'HRH Princess William of Wales', which doesn't exactly do the job, I'm afraid.

No, I suspect that the newly married Catherine will become HRH the Duchess of Cambridge when she says 'I do'; don't ask me why I think Cambridge, rather than Sussex or Albany; I just have a gut feeling about it.

Anyway, let me close by wishing them both well again and by presuming to advise Catherine to have more than her fair share of the wedding cake...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A little Lancashire banter...

I have to say that this intra-Lancashire banter between Freddie Flintoff and Jimmy Anderson made me laugh; I'd never realised Fred was so witty. I particularly enjoyed: "the town mobile phone is working overtime with all extra thumbs to the pump" before suggesting the Burnley "town crier" was being kept busy by reading all his tweets to illiterate townsfolk. Corkers! Just one point, though; Prince William didn't go to to Preston on his recent visit to Lancashire; he and Kate went to a suitably soggy Darwen (the sun had been cracking the flags the day before)and then to Blackburn, which as all football fans will know will have annoyed people from Burnley far more than being compared to the Dingles, or described as more generously endowed in the finger department than the norm! Update Looks like the paragraphing's still knackered...

Football and alleged anti-Semitism...

As I mentioned in my reply to the comment from 'Outed' on the post below this, I have suffered something of a problem internet access-wise, as a result of my trusty seven-year-old laptop going kapowee about ten days ago. So catastrophic was its collapse, that not even the TPS (technically proficient son) could repair it and hence my recent keyboard-silence. Anyway, tenuous link re-established (crosses fingers), I couldn't let this article in today's Daily Telegraph go by without comment. Regular visitors to the Throne will recall that I am a football fan; indeed, I have been attending matches at my favourite team's ground for nearly forty years (good grief, forty years!) and in all that time, I cannot remember ever hearing any specifically anti-Semitic chanting or abuse. Don't get me wrong though; in those four decades, I have heard the most appalling racist abuse at grounds the length an breadth of the country - not for the last fifteen years or more though, I'm glad to say - and similarly offensive chanting aimed at goading supporters of Manchester United by reminding them in verse of the Munich air disaster and supporters of any Welsh club, north or south, it mattered not, by references to the Aberfan disaster. All breathtakingly appalling. However, as God is my witness, the only football fans I have ever heard using the expression 'Yid' or any of its derivatives, are supporters of Tottenham Hotspur themselves; so I suspect that David Baddiel would be well advised to focus the early part of his campaign on encouraging Spurs fans to stop using the expression about themselves before training his guns on others who use it about them.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A little light relief...

Shamelessly nicked from a site called World Weary Detective. Apparently they made him laugh; me too! Read them carefully...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Large bacon sandwich, please...

Regular visitors to the Throne may recall that I entertain a healthy scepticism as regards the opinion of certain ‘scientists’, as they always seem to be described, as to what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for our health.

That scepticism has been significantly reinforced this weekend by the publication of two wholly contradictory reports (here and here) as to the possible health risks – or otherwise - of eating too much red meat.

Why on earth should we entertain the opinions of the merchants of doom, who claim that eating more than one bacon sandwich a week will result in colorectal cancer, if heart disease doesn’t kill us first? Weren’t they saying the same things about the cholesterol content of eggs a decade ago, (don’t eat more than two a week or you’ll have a heart attack!) only to see that ill-founded scare story comprehensively repudiated?

And what about the campaign to get people to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day? I actually do so because I happen to like them, but other countries recommend eating far more – the Japanese for instance recommend the consumption of quantities in the teens; so who’s scientists are correct, if any?

We’re also told, at interminable length, that drinking more than a thimble full of alcohol a week will leave us with livers resembling a use teabag, whilst simultaneously urging us all – but especially middle class, middle aged wine drinkers, for some reason - to sign the pledge or face a slow, painful death. At the risk of repeating myself for a third time, the much-vaunted numbers of ‘Units’ of alcohol we are ‘allowed’ to drink each day or week (without supposedly catastrophic consequences for our health) were the result of completely unscientific, finger-in-the-air guesswork by people who should (and probably did) know better.

Moving on, I am not and never have been a smoker; in fact, I have never held a lit cigarette to my lips, let alone suck on one. But whilst acknowledging that smoking cigarettes is very likely to damage the health of the person doing it, I utterly reject the hysterical nonsense surrounding the issue of second-hand smoking and even more ludicrously, third hand smoking: I simply don’t believe it.

I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ food, only bad diets and in closing, can anyone tell me why, if we are eating and drinking ourselves towards ill-health and an early, painful death, we are now living longer than we have done in the history of mankind?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ian O'Doherty rips into Irish 'junkies'...

Irrespective of the fact that I've helped myself to about a gallon of Mr Fosters finest amber throat charmer, (with more to come) I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement with Ian O'Doherty's observations about 'junkies' in today's Irish Independent.

Shocking? Possibly; but not as shocking as allowing more innocents to be debauched by their parents, surely?

Anyone disagree?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

From bad to worse...

I don't know which aspect of this case depresses me more; the fact that a fifteen-year-old mother was attacked in a busy, well lit Lancashire street by a gang of at least six other girls, or that at the time of the attack, the victim was pushing her 14 month-old child in its pram.

Because on any reading of the victim's situation, she must have given birth aged fourteen and given the human gestation period, it is entirely possible - indeed probable - that her child was conceived when she was only thirteen years old.

As a nation, we are surely going to Hell in a handcart; God help us.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

There goes domino number four...

By which, of course, I mean that former MP Jim Devine has become the fourth parliamentarian to be convicted following the expenses scandal exposed during the final few months of the last parliament.

He may consider himself fortunate if he doesn't follow his former colleagues David Chaytor and Eric Illsley through the prison gates when he returns to court to be sentenced.

And still the pulses run quicker in the Morley and Haddingfield houses...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ian O'Doherty and intolerant 'liberals'...

It's been a while since I posted a link to an opinion piece from the Irish Independent, so allow me to rectify that omission forthwith.

But unlike my more regular links to the writings of Kevin Myers, this piece, in which he exposes the illiberal bankruptcy of the self-important pedlars of 'the orthodoxy' - ring any bells - comes from one of his colleagues, the frequently amusing and always readable Ian O'Doherty.

You won't be surprised to read that I think he's got it absolutely spot on; but what do you think?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lord Taylor convicted: the third domino falls...

Given the nature of the evidence which emerged during the trial of Lord Taylor of Warwick, I am not at all surprised to see him convicted of six counts of false accounting in relation to what are now unarguably bogus expenses claims.

Indeed, given his extraordinary admissions (remember, Lord Taylor is a fully qualified barrister who specialised in the criminal law) that he claimed a total of £11,000 in lieu of a salary which members of the upper house are not entitled to, because 'that's what everyone was doing, so I thought it was all right', the only aspect of his conviction which raises my eyebrows is that he was only convicted on a majority of eleven to one.

I fear the noble lord would now be well advised to buy himself a new toothbrush before he returns to court to be sentenced, as a custodial sentence may now be all but inevitable. At this rate, Kenneth Clarke may have to consider building a new prison simply to hold convicted parliamentarians.

He could call it H(MPs) Graft.

And still the pulses run quicker in the Morley, Devine and Haddingfield homesteads...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A wintry wonderland...

I took this photograph earlier today, whilst out for a walk in the Lancashire countryside with Mrs RToK and our canine companion.

Whether the shot actually conveys the true beauty of the scene, I'll leave up to you; but the dusting of hoar frost on the branches of the trees and bushes at either side of the path was truly a sight to behold.

And for those of you wondering exactly where I came across this scene, it was on the footpath leading down into Marles Wood at Dinckley in the Ribble Valley. For regular or semi-regular visitors, this location is about half a mile away from the one I refer to in this post from April 2010.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ex-PC Mark Kennedy courts the press...

Whatever your views about the rights and wrongs of using 'undercover' police officers to infiltrate environmentalist groups bent on 'direct action' (and for what it's worth I would be very disappointed in them if they weren't), you may agree with me when I observe that for a man supposedly living 'in fear of his life' after he was exposed as such an officer, Mark Kennedy has hardly acted as he might have been expected to if his fear was genuine.

On what do I base that assertion?

Well call me old-fashioned, but agreeing to have your photograph taken (after transforming your appearance back to what most people would refer to as 'normal') and printed in a national Sunday newspaper is hardly the action of a man fearful of an imminent lethal attack, is it?

Either that, or he's an imbecile.

And by the way; has anyone else noticed his rather startling resemblance to the late Marty Feldman?

Friday, January 14, 2011


Just to lighten the tone, here is a post I shamelessly nicked from a site called 'Area Trace, No Search':

.uıɐƃɐ ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ƃuıʎnq ɹǝʌǝu ɯɐ ı

Well it amused me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eric Illsley MP: The second domino falls...

So, the second of those former and in this case present, parliamentarians to be charged with fraudulently obtaining thousands of pounds in so-called 'expenses' from the taxpayer has acknowledged his serial dishonesty by pleading guilty to obtaining a total of £14,500 he was simply not entitled to.

I was going to say that he had admitted stealing it; but it's actually worse than that. Theft can be - and frequently is - an opportunist crime, committed by those presented with a spur-of-the moment chance to take something which doesn't belong to them.

But Eric Illsley like David Chaytor before him engaged in a sophisticated and protracted campaign of dishonesty and deceit in order to 'steal' that money; and in that sense, his offences are far more serious than simple opportunistic theft, particularly as he is still a serving Member of Parliament and therefore in a position of huge trust and responsibility.

I will not speculate here as to the potential sentence he faces on returning to court in a month's time, but if I was him, I wouldn't be making any holiday plans this year.

And as a corollary, I suspect that with this news, pulses in the Morley, Devine and Haddingfield houses continue to quicken whilst their rabbits' noses simultaneously twitch all the more urgently...

Friday, January 07, 2011

The first domino falls...

As former MP David Chaytor begins his richly deserved, but all too brief, prison sentence for stealing in the order £20,000 from the rest of us, I wonder if pulses are running just a little quicker in the Hanningfield, Morley and Devine households this evening...

Given that Chaytor has been jailed, despite his guilty plea, I suspect that the other three might just roll the dice and put their trust in twelve good men and true, don't you?

But to lapse into the vernacular for a moment, I'll bet their rear ends are twiching like rabbits' noses tonight...

Well done, England...

Little more to add to the tidal wave of publicity which has accompanied England's retention of The Ashes on Australian soil.
Not only did we retain the trophy however - merely drawing the series would have been sufficient to achieve that target - we won the series 3 - 1, winning three test matches by an innings, which for the uninitiated, is a thrashing.
We have effectively mauled the Australians on their own soil. They hate it; they really, really hate it.
Which makes our victory all the sweeter, because as any sports fan will attest, there is nothing as awful as an Australian bragging about his country's latest sporting success; magnanimity in victory is a concept utterly lost on them.
So well done England and roll on 2013...