Friday, April 14, 2017

In The Duke Wore Jeans (England, 1958), John Wayne plays the part of an English noblemen anxious to wed his daughter to a Texas oilman (Tommy Steele). The film raises a number of interesting questions, some of which have not been satisfactorily answered to this very day. We know, for example, that the Duke wore jeans (wranglers) but that's about as far as it goes. Did he wear Jean's? Surely not as this would have been an extremely tight fit. Even supposing for a moment that he did in fact wear Jean's, then whose did Jean wear? Did she wear the Duke's? Again, this beggars belief. How could she possibly be expected to wear the Duke's jeans? It just doesn't add up.

But perhaps we are asking the wrong question.  If the question is "Whose jeans did Jean wear?" the whole thing is absurd, for reasons hinted at above. But if, on the other hand, the real question is "the Duke wore Jean's  what? it begins to make a curious sort of sense. The Duke was in fact wearing Jean's undergarments. And by the same token, Jean was, unbeknownst to him, wearing the Duke's underclothes.This explanation also holds up if you believe, as I do, that the true title of the film is "The Duke wore Gene's". Of course, now I understand! The Duke wore Gene Kelly's undergarments.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Looking for Trouble

Here I was, happy enough to make do with the same Blogger layout or "theme" I have used for years, when my good friend, fellow blogger and Beaumont survivor Jerry, asked if I could suggest any tweaks to the appearance of his blog. Mindful of the havoc I have wreaked (wrought?) in recent years when called in for "assistance" by innocent parties, I felt obliged to warn Jerry off, but, imbued as I am with the death wish, of course I could not resist "looking under the hood" myself, the results of which you now see before your startled eyes. 

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First swallow sighted on March 30th.

When Tom Stoppard was asked what his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was about, he replied that it was about to make him a lot of money.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Morse and Co.

I never realised what dangerous places Oxford and Cambridge were until I started binge-watching Endeavour, Lewis and Grantchester on Netflix. On the strength of my encounters so far, Oxford comes across as marginally more gruesome. You see, once a murder is committed you can be pretty sure that another is not far behind. As the old saying goes, it never rains but it pours. In the end, of course, Detective Inspector Lewis and Detective Sergeant Hathaway always get their man or, it pains me to write this, woman, but not before the cauldron of jealousy, hate and lust that is university life has been exposed to our horrified gaze. I think I would have turned down a place in college even if I had been accepted.

If you have ever wondered what happened in later life to those who avoided being murdered while up at Oxford or Cambridge, you will find the answer in the novels of Agatha Christie, the difference being that the task of tracking down the culprits now falls upon a private detective.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Breaking Vows


  • You won't believe what the Duchess of Windsor looks like now
  • The Brexit sign means happy motoring
  • Unemployment drops to lowest rate since 1575
  • Brexit won't mean shift in policy towards migrating birds, says Boris
  • Donald Trump shows off his new state-of-the-art telephone
  • Ireland angers voices over Brexit
  • Polish MEP skinned alive for suggesting that men are less intelligent than women
  • Bert Weedon calls for expulsion of Turkey from Eurovision Song Thrush Contest
  • Article 50 accidentally triggered. Man held
  • Tories face tax revolt from Welsh bards

Mont Blanc





Tuesday, March 07, 2017



Am I the same person as I was at the age of twenty? To make my meaning a little clearer, am I the same person as when I started this blog some 12 years ago? Has my character changed? Has my way of looking at the world changed?

These are questions to which I have no answer, but of one thing I can be sure: the quality of my brain has not changed, only its stamina. As evidence, I would like to cite Yuval Noah Harari (I had to check three times to make sure I had got his name right) and his exceedingly brilliant Home Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. I could never in a million years match the extraordinary clarity and focus of the Daktari brain. My brain is just not hard-wired in the same way, but the good news is that perhaps one day, thanks to advances in biochemistry, it could be. Indeed, there is no more urgent challenge to the world than to improve the quality of the Capel-Dunn brain.

As to the stamina of my brain, dazzled as I am by the lucidity of Jokari's exposition, I have to admit to a feeling of exhaustion after reading a page or two. I am assuming that biochemistry can do something about that as well.



Monday, March 06, 2017

Mont Blanc





110 miles away as the crow flies
Not all that easy to see, but it's there on the right.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Who Said This?


“I haven’t spoken to my mother-in-law for eighteen months. I don’t like to interrupt her.”

Let's Keep This Car on the Road

Some people bring an arrogant streak to the task of driving; others, like me, are afflicted by the conviction that all other drivers are sitting in perpetual judgement of our "performance". Am I driving too fast (unlikely) or too slow (probably)? Am I drifting too far towards the centre of the road? Have I forgotten to dip my headlights? Did I forget to signal my intention to turn left? Have I given those behind me ample opportunity to overtake? Do these people realise that we are in a built-up area and that all I'm doing  is trying to observe the speed limit? Am I looking out of the window too much in an effort to appear casual or, on the contrary, does my hunched posture over the steering wheel indicate that I have just robbed a bank?

In these tense encounters, I am always grateful for allies. These may include little cars whose occupants, typically sales reps who have exhausted their reserve of points, do not require a driving licence. Hostile and aggressive elements can hardly blame me if I am stuck behind one of these vehicles. Similarly, in this agricultural part of France, it would take a particularly psychopathic driver not to sympathise with me when I fail to overtake a tractor. For once in a while, I can pretend to be on the same side as the school bully.

When I was younger, and presumably more alert, I was always careful not to sound my horn at those less fortunate souls with whom I was required to share the road, so why can't the new generation extend the same courtesy to me in my twilight years? Why do they have to be so perfectly beastly to those of us who fought to preserve a world in which our descendants could drive in peace and my goodness I'm driving much too fast as I go through this village; I do so hope there are no gendarmes around.

In The Duke Wore Jeans (England, 1958), John Wayne plays the part of an English noblemen anxious to wed his daughter to a Texas oilman (Tom...