Monthly Archives: January 2012

State of ships / ships of state

I’ll be tying two disparate things together again today, as is my wont, and trying to make it look more like good reasoning than a clever parlour trick. The first is the state of Hungary in which something is distinctly rotten and the second is the coast of Italy, recently decorated with one of the

Killing them less than softly …

An American author, Danny Wind, in a clear stylistic reference to Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal”, but without the degrees of irony typical of that far greater satire, recently wrote a book entitled “Let’s kill all the Belgians: a child’s guide to genocide”. It would seem that the Belgians have only been pretending to weakness and

And there’s another country…

Is there anything so spectacular, lovely, exciting and utterly unnecessary as a firework display? On a scale of 1 to 100, on which first love is 1 and filling out income-tax forms is 100, it would probably rank in most people’s top 10 if they were scrupulously honest. The Chinese, we are told, invented fireworks

Oh come, all ye hateful

My Cousin Fiona’s eldest, Beth, has a daughter named Erin who started primary school in September. It being the end of the autumn term, and despite its multi-ethnic makeup, Christmas fills the air, the corridors and just about everywhere else. Erin’s school may be cosmopolitan, but it’s quite traditional enough to want to provide its

The mysterious Edwin Drood has gone west

Our dear Edwin is once again on his travels, visiting one of civilization’s more remote edges, which, apparently, the internet has not yet reached. His housekeeper Madame Harker has assured the editor that he will be sending in his next column very soon, and kindly requested that we not telephone her at this particular time