On Dorset IX (of XIII)

Roughly hewn stone quay

Cut through cliff on gullied path

Rum run, duty free


n.b. The coastline of Dorset, its back lanes and ancient tracks marking routes to pre-Roman settlements, avoiding the old toll roads of the King’s Highways were busy with smuggling as decommissioned soldiers and sailors sought ways to make a living after wars with Spain and later France.

Will we see a return to large-scale smuggling from Europe when the UK leaves its nearest and most valuable trading bloc partner? The Royal Navy has much to do and few resources to hand. We will see how free enterprise evolves with a depleted police service and small scale navy to enforce regulations and tarrifs.

Watch this space, or rather watch these spaces; voids left to be filled by Austerity and Brexit. Meanwhile if you want to save money on your income, hide ill-gotten gains, the UK and its islands (Isle of Man, Cayman Isles, Turks & Caicos, British Virgin Islands, even Gibraltar) are open for business. Welcome aboard!

CLP 20/07/2019


On Dorset VI (of XIII)

Small fry are the prey

Little ponds trawled by big fish

We’re prawns in their game

n.b. Fishing is as much part of Dorset as agriculture. It is a most complex industry based on the premise that the seas are for man to perpetually harvest. The idea that no input is required, so just pull the fish in, is false. In fishery it is plain to see that unregulated competition is a bad thing. Un-restrained, the profit motive destroys life itself; consumes the very essence of the business itself; lays bare the contradictions in capitalism and free competition.

The little boats trying to scrape a living are pushed to the margins, whilst fish stocks still tumble and profits for the big boys rise. Issuing regulations on a global, European, or national basis does not mean controls are implemented, enforceable, or practical; there are too many holes for the selfish to slip through – shame the same does not apply to the fish themselves.

Revealed: the millionaires hoarding UK fishing rights

Privatising the seas: how the UK turned fishing rights into a commodity

CLP 17/07/2019

A Novel Turn of Phrase

Perhaps more common

Than I’d like to imagine

The enormous illuminated message board that stands out over the traffic on the M25 displayed the words

“Oncoming vehicle”

With phased reductions in the subsquent variable speed limit

The traffic ahead of me began to concertina

I turned off at the junction

Took an alternative route

Just in case

This was the real-time automobile version of “the light at the end of the tunnel is the light of an oncoming train”

As Half Man Half Biscuit sang


n.b. This term, “Oncoming vehicle” is pretty un-nerving when you are in traffic travelling between 60 / 80 mph (96 / 129 kph). My initial reaction was to question my interpretation of the display; my second was a growing realisation that this was the sort of traffic incident that would require a well-practised police intervention; my third was to speculate how this might be played out in the media; my fourth was to ask myself, “Do you feel lucky?” I decided to take the exit offered, thankfully, before I joined the developing queue ahead.

If your knowledge of English is still developing “Oncoming vehicle” may have escaped your CELTA teacher’s list of handy terms to keep you alive, basically it means “Someone is driving on the wrong side of the motorway and is coming straight at you.”

The use of the word ‘vehicle’, whilst technically correct, lends itself to feverish speculation as to the nature of this oncoming machine. Is it a phrase on a list approved for motorway signage by the DfT (“Daft”) or Department for Transport?

A problem faced on the motorways is the credibility of the signs. So often a sign promises excitement (“Incident Ahead”) without delivering, or imposes variable speed restrictions for no apparent reason. Thus many drivers are sceptical of these electronically displayed messages; a bit like the Conservative governments’ series of empty promises.

Of course the oncoming vehicle message could be referring to Boris Johnson in a chariot.


CLP 10/07/2019

On the Ether

Have you a problem?

Did you “Ask the Universe”?

No? Whyever not?


n.b. Use of the phrase “Ask the Universe” is increasingly common and it is usually deployed when some personal difficulty looms into view.

I suspect asking this question in an open-minded and sincere manner serves the same purpose as saying prayers, in that the practise of asking the expanding cosmos of gases, dark matter, stuff, black holes, stars, planets, comets and man-made space junk requires concentrated focus on the troublesome issue, raises awareness of influencing factors and generates some positive thinking and possible actions that, (on occasions), lead to outcomes that help resolve the issue.

I remember that as a young boy serving as an altar boy, that there used to be in one of the Roman Catholic services I attended, a prayer that asked for the “conversion of England.” It helped fuel ideas in my immature brain of the righteousness of the Roman faith, reminded me of the ridiculousness of the English monarchy, inflamed thoughts of The Occupation of Northern Ireland by Her Majesty’s armed forces and reinforced the ideal that there was only One True Faith.

As history has proven England has been converted, but not quite as many had prayed for, or imagined. Seven day a week shopping, car-choked, rent in two by the Russian-funded Brexit campaign and Tory Boys quibbling about who is least unsuitable to be Prime Minister without having to go through the trouble of a General Election, are manifestations of a troubled land that is fast slipping into a trough of debt and distrust and despond. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/06/ex-mi6-chief-uk-going-through-political-nervous-breakdown

It is no wonder that magic and mystery, witchcraft and wizardry are returning to popular belief.

You often hear the phrase “Be careful what you ask for” as an accompaniment to the suggestion that one’s problem is offered to the Universe for resolution. This is a bit of arse-covering by the witches/wizards just in case Fate and Fortune takes a different view of circumstances.

In my humble opinion, who you know is probably more important than cosmological forces in sorting temporal matters, so “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” is more practical guidance to stimulate actions and seek solutions to current challenges. The person / people you ask can say “No” if they cannot help you.

What “who you know” encourages and rewards is the development of social skills, sharing ideas, advice and practical help, as well as genorosity of spirit,because if you do not treat others as you like to be treated then why would anyone want to help you? This I understand fits the idea of karma, or “What goes round, comes round.” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/05/brexit-could-jeopardise-5bn-lifeline-of-eu-cash-councils-warn Love thy neighbour, anyone? https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/06/sarfraz-manzoor-xenophobia-has-not-only-returned-it-has-become-normalised-


CLP 06/07/2019



Devised by Etonians

Such worthy people


n.b. A word comprising various bits and pieces from Latin and Classical Greek that was made up by a wit of Eton College, (located just off the M4 near Slough, beneath the westerly Heathrow airport).

Fees at this bucolic location are currently £13,556 per term, (known as a half – there are 3 halfs each academic year, (I offer no comment on the mathematics behind this)). Extra curricular activities can cost between £500 and £1000 per term. Music lessons are between £310 and £620 per term, but there is a 10% discount on fees for boys on musical scholarships.

In 2012 “floccinaucinihilipilification” was used by the Conservative MP, Rupert Rees-Mogg* in the House of Commons – what irony that name carries when 32% of UK Members of Parliament are private school educated.

Floccaucinihilipilification means the act, or habit of describing, or acting as if something is worthless. Roughly 48% of the UK population feel that is how they are acted towards by the current government as it pursues Brexit and the other 52% feel the same because the of the way the current government is pursuing Brexit.

The UK is far from being a united kingdom at the moment, but it is providing the rest of the world some welcome light relief. Former colonial dominions are seeing this as a form of karma, after previously being on the wrong end of the British Empire.

*British citizen Rees-Mogg leads a collection of Conservative MPs called the European Research Group (ERG). They collect around the notion that the European Union can be best researched by taking the United Kingdom out of the EU organisation of nations, who work as a group to reform Europe so that the continent finds peaceful solutions to its differences. The ERG approach is akin to saying to your beloved “I want to research how we can improve the quality of our relationship together, so I am going back to my mother’s.”, (which for some couples, might indeed improve the relationship).

I sense our European cousins may feel this may be the only way forward having had to deal with private school boys like Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and the political & global strategy genius who is David Cameron, (see EU Referendum, June 2016 and the invasion of Libya, 2011.

CLP 23/02/2019

On Walsall XI

Canal basin pool

New art, new buildings, new start

Money spent, not shared


CLP 14/02/2019

n.b. Rejuvenation has led to modern buildings, waterside developments and the arrival of poverty professionals. Walsall Council continues to struggle to find ways to improve the environment, provide choices and opportunities, educate and care for the lcal population. Many committed people, many challenges.

Not easy with a national government wasting over £2bn on “an act of national self-harm”; Brexit is fiddling whilst Home burns.


CLP 14/02/2019


Rapidly raised clump

Earth worked to set a camp

To dominate

Cruelly divide and rule

Subjugate, enslave

And never leave

They took the Commons

They hold them still


The Norman barons came in 1066 AD with William The Bastard and carved up the land between them for their own profit and profit remains the driving motivation of the power brokers in the UK today. More generous motivation seems beyond them.

Generations will curse the Conservatives for the harm they are causing. The poor live out on the streets in increasing numbers, exclusions of children with learning difficulties rise due to government education funding cuts, families are being evicted from rented accommodation due to the low wage economy and rentier capitalism, businesses are cutting jobs and moving to mainland Europe, ambulances queue with sick in need of treatment at our hospitals, public transport becomes unaffordable and unreliable, whilst our motorway to Europe is being laid out for lorry parking because of free market ideology, a metaphor for our hopes and dreams; a government planned choking of a major arterial route to our closest neighbours because of the extremism of Brexit.

In history I was taught about The Sick Man of Europe, (the decaying Ottoman Empire), but in time to come this United Kingdom will carry the label The Laughing Stock of Europe.