‘Pay your taxes!’ White van man shouted from the street as I began life as a lord.
It was a rude introduction and not the servile red carpet treatment I had expected - or been promised. But perhaps it was my own fault for hiring a lord’s robe to celebrate the arrival of this newly purchased title.
Continue reading "Buying a Lordship title: Confessions of a cad" »
Mike Teavee. Remember him?
The boy who watched television morning, noon and night in the Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This spoilt brat had a lifestyle to be truly envied as a young reader – that is, before he was shrunk into a television set at Willy Wonka’s factory.
My parents wouldn’t let me watch much television - but I wasn't missing much. Choice for children was pretty poor and the remote control had yet to be invented. But now my own children are bombarded with far more options - and have their own Mike Teavee cravings.
There is no better way to put it than in the words of the Oompa-Loompa poem as written by Roald Dahl about the qualities of telly during a trip to the Willy Wonka chocolate factory. Here is just a taster…
Continue reading "Oompa-Loompa guide to saving money without TV " »
There are two types of people in this world. Those who like Tintin and those who prefer Asterix. The others - people who don’t know or, worse still, even care - simply do not count.
It goes without saying Tintin fans are superior. They don’t just get off on reading comics but have an appreciation of art, fine storytelling, exotic adventures and detectives in bowler hats.
Asterix is okay - it certainly has its humorous moments but, let’s face it, is more a cartoon strip. He gives adults who like to read comics - we call them graphic novels - a bad name.
One in the eye for boring grown-ups who fail to understand getting old need not mean losing a childish enthusiasm for life is Tintin has become a cool investment.
Continue reading "Blistering Barnacles! Tintin in the Land of Investments" »
So farewell, then. Paul the psychic octopus has died.
Nothing sinister about his demise. ‘Passed away peacefully during the night’ according to Stefan Porwoll, manager of the Oberhousen Sea Life Centre in Germany where he lived.
Continue reading "Paul, the psychic octopus dies. RIP Wayne Rooney" »
Personal finance no longer seems to be just about money - fame as well as fortune appear to be the must-have combination for wannabes in the 21st Century.
As a measure of this success the benchmark is surely set by the X Factor pantomime villain Simon Cowell.
He may not yet have the financial clout of Lord Alan Sugar or one of the Dragon’s Den crew but shows them his heels when it comes to nurturing fame.
Continue reading "Tesco Mary and the Simon Cowell X Factor" »
Brighton Police auctioned off a scarlet striped Basque with matching sheer thong earlier this week.
Bidding started at £1 on Friday morning and by Monday afternoon when the hammer went down six bids had pushed the price up to £5.50.
It looks like a bargain for those wishing to spice up their bedroom antics with ‘1 X Ladies nightwear matching top and briefs, size 8.’
But read the small print and you discovered the lingerie was second-hand with at least one previous owner with sex games on the mind.
How on earth did the police get their hands on these smalls? Were they the proceeds of a brothel raid or just an innocent secret policeman’s ball?
Continue reading "Sexy lingerie for sale at Brighton police station " »
‘Right. That’s it. We are not going anywhere until you have done your six times table – and this time properly.’ The car pulls into a lay-by. My son is in tears, the daughter is rolling her eyes and I am shouting at everyone.
These are the joyous frayed ends of the school summer holiday.
It is a tough time for the eight-year-old. We have set him the task of learning his tables before returning to school. This is not homework but parent-work - something far less palatable.
Continue reading "It takes tears to learn your times tables" »
Feeling a little queasy?
That is just the first symptom. You will then be sick to the pit of your stomach before all that bile gets churned up and spurted out through the nostrils as a steaming rage. Then all you are left with is empty despair - and a bill.
The emotional roller coaster of getting slapped with a parking ticket is a brutal journey. Although disproportionate to the £40 or £60 doled out by a traffic warden it does not make the hurt feel any better.
Continue reading "Revenge on the traffic warden" »
Formula 1 motor racing. For the anoraks among us there is no better way of wasting a hot Sunday afternoon than watching cars drive round and round in circles.
Okay, so it could have been a bit better. I could have been at the fabulous new Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire sucking in fumes rather than sitting at home with the curtains drawn. And it might have been easier had the telly not broken down so I was forced to squint as the excitement unfolded on the laptop.
But there are certainly no complaints.
Continue reading "The Formula 1 guide to beating banks" »
So here’s the choice in Afghanistan. Break the law and grow poppies for the Taliban and earn £45 a pound for the crop. Alternatively follow the straight-and-narrow and grow wheat instead – and pocket just 15p a pound.
Continue reading "Afghanistan: The price of poppy fields " »