Skip to main content

Postmans' Knock

The postman had to remind me this morning that it wasn't Sunday. "It's OK," he said, "I almost forgot as well" and so thankfully, I avoided waking the family up in time for church.

After a while, the Christmas holiday starts to resemble the film, 'Groundhog Day'. There's still half a Christmas pudding left under cling film and the cream is reaching its sell-by-date and so someone has to make that final gesture of selfless courage and eat it. The two bottles of good Irish whiskey present me with a rather more difficult challenge before work starts on Monday.

The New Year is hardly hours old before all the political parties are starting their pre-election campaigns. I caught the LibDems Chris Hulme this morning taking a thinly disguised class-war swipe at David Cameron over Conservative plans for inheritance tax reform, suggesting it was a cynical ploy to pander to his rich friends and George Osborne's.

Curiously enough though, the BBC ran a programme on Radio 4, a couple of weeks ago where the balance of the taxation contribution in our economy from both rich and poor was investigated. I was quite astonished to discover the remarkable degree to which the wealthier members of our society, (anyone earning over £50,000 pa) through taxation, already subsidise the broad majority who are the net beneficiaries of welfare. The economists clearly warned that the 'Class War' epithet was a political myth and that the LibDems 'Mansion Tax' plans and more risked pushing the system beyond breaking point. Like policing, taxation is only possible through consensus and it has to be sensible, fair and pragmatic across the entire society. Skewing this to penalise the more successful, could simply drive us back to the 1970s and a position where people and businesses simply leave the country.

Regardless of political affiliation however, there's a huge gap in the public finances to be filled and simply squeezing the so-called 'rich' isn't going to achieve it. Britain is going to have to learn to live within its means and for many families, this is going to come as a terrible wake-up-call after so many years of experiencing life in one of the most generous welfare states in the world.

Meanwhile and on a  lighter topic, here's a Rory Bremner sketch that you may not have seen.

Popular posts from this blog

A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

Merlins over Thanet

Marooned, temporarily at Manston this afternoon are the Merlins over Malta team on the way to the Mediterranean for a display to mark the historic Second World War defence of the island.


Charlie Brown

Unfortunately, the weather over Thanet is appalling this afternoon and the Spitfire and Hurricane can’t get airborne again until it clears, so the celebrity Battle of Britain aircraft pilots, Charlie Brown, Clive Denny and their team-mates are contemplating an evening among the fleshpots of Margate.


Clive Denny (Hurricane) & Charlie Brown (Spitfire) Pilots

I’m rather hoping the weather it will clear through though as they have to get to Jersey before dusk if possible and I have to take some photos of the Spitfire and Hurricane for Pilot Magazine and I’ve always wanted a chance to get in either aircraft!

An Interview with Charlie Brown

They just got off, squadron scramble or what? They were ready and gone in ten minutes towards the nearest patch of blue sky!

An interview with the legendary S…
Median Saleh

I mentioned in the last post, the 1981 expedition that took in Median Saleh, the ruined Nabatean city in Saudi Arabia


A temple carved from the rock from Petra's sister city.

By coincidence, one of the most important train stations on the Hejaz railway sat next to the ruins and when Lawrence of Arabia blew the line in 1917, the trains were trapped there and are still there today, gathering dust and with "Krupp" on the engine casings.


One of the trains, sitting where T.E. Lawrence left themwith Dr Paul Garnett as the passenger

Below, you can see one of the fortified train stations that Lawrence attacked along the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina.



More photos Medain Saleh can be found on THIS Site - Apparently you can catch a tourist bus these days, rather different from risking life and limb to cross an unfriendly Saudi Arabia twenty years ago!