mesmileEach week on my mainframe computer here in the global Slog Boombust Empire delivering 1 bloke’s opinions from no more than 1 county via 1 office and 1 reporter not entirely 24 hours a day, I have a spreadsheet setting out the tasks to be completed.

Being a lotech genius of unparalleled Renaissance range, I have managed to combine the hardware and software involved into one package called Chalk on a Blackboard.

The protocol involved is 100% consistent, in that across the top are the days from Monday to Sunday, and down the side are the tasks. Each week I underachieve the task content by about 15%, with the result that my writing is getting smaller and smaller. It is, if you like, 9 steps forward with 2 backwards, and 3 new steps to learn every day.

Yesterday was Sunday, and thus time to compile the new list: but my skills as a scribe are not what they were. As part of a design I’m working on, I’d written one task as ‘affix postcards’. I looked at it this morning, and it read for all the world as ‘asphyxiate bastards’.

That’s a fine aspiration, but as in these my twilight years I have become a convinced pacifist, it’s not one I can comfortably contain in my psyche.


Before compiling yesterday’s list, I decided to close the main house for the winter. It was a voyage of discovery.

I discovered that the ‘cutting-edge’ boiler installed by a fat, ginger cockney idiot two years ago had gone out, because the pressure had fallen below the required safety level. Thus there was no hot water.

I discovered that the Samsung fridge freezer had for no discernible reason decided to stop freezing stuff. It was on – the cold-level indicators proved that – but half of this year’s fruit crop was dribbling across the floor.

I discovered the Chilean potato vine has delusions of grandeur that include growing through the walls of the house and rendering it impossible to close the shutters without taking a chainsaw to the problem.

I discovered that the anti-weed blanket I laid beneath the terracing gravel had given up the ghost, and every known genus of weed was thrusting upwards through it.

Had I been to the Manor born, it would’ve been the whip-tongued task of a few minutes to berate the lower classes tied to my estate, and order them to put all this right by next weekend, on pain of their children being sold into merciless neocon slavery. But I wasn’t, so I didn’t. Instead, I retreated downhill to the Maison des Amis and hurled insults at CNN.


Pretty early on – like most members of the so-called Anglosphere – I learned the old adage about “not being able to see the wood for the trees”. But as time goes on, I don’t think it fits our contemporary world any more.

We may all think at times how this or that public figure is ‘wooden’. I’ve often heard people say this about John Redwood, for example. But in person, he is very obviously a man of sound convictions and great intellect. The American Left is trying very hard to force Donald Trump into the pigeon hole marked ‘woodentopped yob’: but both his background and achievements belie that.

Self-styled “progressive” intellectuals are surprisingly often ignorant on many levels. More and more, I think in their case the problem is being unable to see the sturdy trees for the tough wood.