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It’s possible this Blog is becoming fixated with my wife’s old school friends, but that must continue, as news has reached me that Lizzie-Price-the-school-friend, has morphed into Elizabeth-Price-the-artist and, more importantly now one of four Turner prize nominees.

That prize is the one won by Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and other famous producers of unusual or just plain weird art, depending on your point of view.

The prize for Damien Hirst was won for a shark, cut in half and pickled in a large tank. Now, I’m pretty open minded about art, but in my view, things not suited to pickling are large marine animals and eggs.

Admittedly I’ve never seen the former but I once tried the latter as there was a habit in some pubs to have a jar of them on the bar.

The purpose those serve is to gauge whether you have drunk too much.  Shouting, dribbling and talking crap is a good clue, but not a 100% reliable indicator in my case.

A better flag of drinking too much is the point at which pickled eggs start to look delicious, you order them and they taste OK.

I once did, then did, and they didn’t

Tracey Emin’s was either the unmade bed or a tent affair with the names of everyone she has ever slept with written on it – haven’t bothered to check which.

My bed is mostly unmade, so I fit in with the artistic community nicely there. Fabric with the names of all the people I’ve ever slept with though would be more of a small windbreak than a tent – and even then, only if written in the same size font as MCDONALDS or HARD ROCK CAFE signs.

My wife Emma was actually in the same art lessons at school and Lizzie  used to help with her drawings from time to time. The key point here is that we may still have some.

In the event that she wins the Turner prize, these could be worth good money so I’ve sent Emma up to the loft to see if she can track them down.

In an encouraging sort of way, I have told her only to come back when she either has the art or feels – as recompense for a missed opportunity – she can concede to my every demand for the next month, sordid or otherwise.

No result yet and not looking good on either front. She has asked me to bring her dinner to her up there.

 

There is a HARD ROCK CAFE in New York incidentally that the Band Terravision, who are from Yorkshire in the frozen wastelands of Northern England once took a disliking to as it sounded all soft and Southern.

They scaled the outside of the building and removed the H to leave a more appropriate sounding ‘ARD ROCK CAFÉ sign to fit in with their Northern dialect.

Now that is Art

Those people in the Corporate world and in the habit of joining round table meetings will be familiar with approaches to ice-breakers at the start. The most common of these is for everyone to give one interesting or unusual fact about themselves.

I normally go for this:

• I was once deliberately electrocuted by the most senior person in the UK judiciary for crimes against his daughter

Interesting, but rarely believed – and there’s never time to explain. A number of people that get this blog will have heard this before, so here is the explanation:

As a child, a man called Igor Judge was a lawyer in a small town near my parents and lived in the same Northamptonshire village.

He had an interest in Victorian gadgets and memorabilia. One of these was an electrocution device with a winding handle and 2 hand grips through which it gave a sequence of electric shocks.

It was used to treat nervous disorders and, later on, as an attempt to treat shell shock.

When I was around 7, there was an open gardens event in the village during which I was chasing his daughter around his garden. He thought that sort of behaviour was best treated with that device and electrocuted me.

Igor Judge was rapidly promoted, and for a period actually became  Judge Judge.

Most people would have been so overwhelmed by the comic potential there that they would have stopped.

He didn’t though and is now Lord Chief Justice Baron Igor Judge – head of the Judiciary for England and Wales (but not of Scotland I notice)

Of course, this entire story is reliant on my 7 year old memory and, whilst my father remembers him having the gadget, he can’t be certain he was the one that actually wound the handle. As such, there’s a risk this Blog is actually libellous.

I read the story of someone who was imprisoned recently for saying something offensive on Twitter about a footballer who had a heart attack on the pitch.

I assume he said something really quite offensive, but nevertheless it does ring alarm bells for someone who has just accused the Lord Chief Justice of a crime.

He has significantly more legal muscle than me and, on legal matters, I believe answers only to the Queen.

I thought I would adopt a pre-emptive defence and send a message to her explaining my bona fides, as I think legal folk say.

Twitter was the obvious method to communicate with a busy woman like her.

The Hash Tag #HRH didn’t work though and #QUEEN did work but not in exactly the way I’d anticipated.

As you may remember, my various previous campaigns have not always gained the level of support I’d hoped for.

This time though, the campaign is Justice for the Northamptonshire One – and it could really matter, so please provide your support as comments on this Blog

Further to that, I plan to fallback on the following new armoury of campaign approaches to strengthen my case:

i) Ask Steven Fry to Twat about it on his Twitter page. Everyone else with something to whinge about asks him to do that

ii) …this one hurts… ask my wife’s ex-boyfriendRichard Wiseman to provide his support, since he has become influential in the media

iii) Break for the Scottish border and taunt Baron Judge from there. I don’t imagine the Scottish in general like me much either but if I just put on a Tartan dress it should be enough to get them on my side and stop me being extradited.

They are generally simple folk after all.

There has been something of hiatus in Posts on this blog following the death of my mother and resulting writer’s block – at least writer’s block for the sort of drivel I write here.

Like several people I know that have lost a parent, I think of many things I should have said to her. In my case though, she never saw this Blog so I at least have the comfort that she was never persecuted with it in the way you are.

After a writing gap, TV sitcoms tend to launch with an update/resume of previous episodes. Admittedly, that approach relies on the previous content having been good in the first place, at which point the similarity disappears

Nevertheless, I thought the time was right for a progress updates on previous campaigns:

  • CAMPAIGN 1   Revitalising the name Dave    STATUS:GREEN

As I mentioned, the name seems to have fallen into disrepute at some point in the last 30 years. As such I have been lobbying people to get on with impregnating/being impregnated so they can buck the trend and name their child Dave.

Positive news on this is that my first success is now around a month old and doing well.

His father, I believe follows this Blog, although his mother does not. As such it may come as a surprise in future for her to learn that her new son was named Dave Masid and not Amaan Shah Masid as she had instructed.

  • CAMPAIGN 2 Increasing my popularity above my wife’s ex boyfriend, Richard Wiseman    STATUS:RED

This one has been an active disappointment. I have seen no evidence at all of greater popularity.

My family are doing little more than tolerating me.

The Joker I was playing was my local Greek Doner Kebab shop liking me on the basis that I was the main force subsidising their living.      That has fallen flat.

I tried to order one last night, and they have stopped serving meat products. Seems impossible to believe they could make that mistake, given that their cuisine is based entirely on a giant elephant’s foot affair on a spindle, with just a few bits of grass to go with it.

That kind of business acumen seems alone to illustrate the problems of the Greek economy.

Admittedly, as a child there was a fish and chip shop in a village near me that used to shut for lunch. Not the whole of lunch admittedly just 12:30-1:30 or something, but an act of similar stupididity, and that shop still survives to this day apparently

Richard, conversely is doing even better. I was watching TV the other day and a question started on University Challenge:

‘Who is the British Psychologist….’

(starting to get anxious here)

‘ that wrote the books the Luck Factor…’

( getting one of those horror movie feelings now, along the ‘for God’s sake don’t go into the room’ lines)

‘and 59 seconds.’

(It’s him.  Not only is he on TV all the time but he’s actually the answer to a TV quiz question)

CAMPAIGN 3   Uncovering Psychopaths    STATUS:AMBER

1 in 100 people are clinically Psychopathic – at least in a Nursery Slopes kind of way

I have spotted several of these in the last month.

Some actually follow this Blog though so I can’t really get them independently verified – hence just an Amber status

And now, my new campaign:

I understand the name Susan is also now extremely rare in the under 30s. I know several Susans/Sues of around my age but nothing younger

Although an invitation to be there seems unlikely, I’ve discovered that I quite like the idea of people engaging in sexual congress at my command.

As such, you must all do your duty and start to breed a new generation of Susans now.

A man called Andrew Fleming on Biddeford Council in Devon has mounted (and won) a campaign to stop prayers being read at the start of council meetings. This used various legal arguments, including his human rights having been violated by having to listen to them.

Now, I’m not a religious man, but human rights? Surely even in Devon, there are more important things to fret about – shortages of cream tea ingredients, being adjacent to Cornwall or something.

I have a weak basis to form a view on this as my religious exposure has been fairly small. My wife was brought up as a Catholic though and we did marry in a service called Disparity of Cults, intended for Catholics who have fallen by the wayside and are marrying a non-Catholic.

My active participation in the religious side of that was pretty limited, aside from the regular ‘do you take this woman… ‘ and so on. At one point, the priest waved his hands over my head dismissively and muttered Beelzebub or something though.

There is also, I discovered, a point in the regular Catholic service at which everyone turns round and shakes hands with the other people around them. That’s all very well in Rome, but this is Britain – some of these people are strangers for God’s sake. It’s only a small step from that to making eye contact with complete strangers and that must surely impinge on our human rights a little.

All a bit odd, but what I didn’t do was the act of the fool from Devon and decide to whinge about it. He was, however, egged on by Richard Dawkins, the humanist with a mix of high intelligence and stupidity which are rarely seen operating in tandem. Enoch Powell was another with the same mix.

Most obvious feature of both is that they are/were just profoundly tedious, humourless gits.

Seems to me that benign slightly religious people are generally a good thing. They do no harm, and periodically one of them will find something good to do.

Conversely, religious fundamentalists tend to blow people up and fundamentalist of the Dawkins/Fleming ilk just drive us to end it all ourselves.

If you really feel strongly enough to protest about them, at least make it interesting. I refer you to the genuine case of a man in the Midlands a few years ago. He was prosecuted for common assault on a Jehovah’s Witness who had knocked on his door to spread the word.

He was seen to floor the unfortunate Witness then stand over him shouting ‘did Jehovah witness that then?’

That is the way to do it

I discover that in France, cats say Wrillow and not Meow.

That is clearly just wrong.

Demonstrate by simply making the noise yourself now and at the same time, visualise the way cats move their mouths. You never see a cat making the face shape needed to make an ‘R’ sound.

Conversely an ‘M’ face movement is naturally associated with saying Meow, drinking milk, and licking your own bottom.

Hopefully you’re not reading this in an office and I didn’t inadvertently trick you into making a Meow noise at your desk. If so, it’s best just to turn around now and explain. As per my last post that is plausible evidence of psychosis and worth setting the record straight before rumours start.

If you had replicated the other cat behaviour points I mention, best just to say nothing

All this is just a minor quirk of national differences. A more major point surrounds names and specifically the fact that in the UK, the name Dave appears to have fallen into a state of disrepute. It’s common in Australia and a few other countries but at some point in the last 30 years it quietly fell out of fashion in the UK. You now never come across a child with a first name of Dave.

I have attempted to use this blog to launch campaigns previously with limited success. In particular, the one to join my wife’s ex boyfriend in the Independent’s list of ‘100 people that make Britain a better place to live’ had disappointing results.

However, my next campaign could be the big one – it is to re-establish Dave as a fashionable name across the nurseries and pre-schools of the UK.

What I need from any of you planning or expecting a child is to think of me, and consider this noble moniker as the perfect name. It just takes a few dozen people to kick this off and it could go viral as on-line marketing folk say.

I’ve already started by lobbying for a colleague at work to name his child (due in a few weeks) as Dave.

He’s from India where the name is not so much in decline as never really having got underway in the first place.

Dave Masid though has a noble sound to it, plus the cachet of being even more rare than here.

Just to be clear, I’m not asking you actually to impregnate/be impregnated by your partners in support of this campaign. If you are prepared to take that step though, be sure not to mention during the act that you’re thinking of me.

That could really be misunderstood.  There is some evidence to suggest that even my wife isn’t thinking of me all that much during these events, so for you to start doing it seems wrong.

While you start doing your duty in aid of the campaign, I’ll think of other marketing ideas.

Maternity clothes with ‘Dave Inside’ labels, along similar lines to Intel could be a good start.

Several people have asked if I use Twitter but, the fact is that they’re limited to 140 characters. If you saw any of the earlier Posts, you will have realised I don’t get out of bed for less than 500 words.
It may all be rubbish but you can at least see I’ve gone to a reasonable amount of effort.
 
In my experience, even the most erudite writers on Twitter sites just talk about going to the shops, what they had for breakfast and so on. Even if you look back over what Stephen Fry has Twatted in the past (Twat I believe being the past participle of  Twitter) it was really just trivia and complaints about people insulting him.
If a man with no human failings like Fry can’t do it, no-one can.
 
So, in the interests of a shorter Post, I turn to statistics I’ve heard recently.
 
i) I gather from a Bill Bryson book I just read that 3.7 million Americans believe they have been abducted by aliens at one time or another.
A number of Americans read these Posts so in the spirit of balance I should add that most Bryson statistics are all about the US.  
Similar statistics will no doubt exist in the UK for people from Cornwall.
People in the rest of the UK, view Cornwall in the same way as the rest of the world view the US
 
 
ii) 6% of people believe man never landed on the moon.
That was 6% of Americans again, I’m afraid – figures for belief in anything much do not exist for Cornwall
 
6% is just a CNN estimate incidentally
I couldn’t find any exact figure, but then I couldn’t find any exact figure for Halfwits either
 
 
iii) 1 in 100 people are clinically psychopathic.
This means unable to experience any real liking or empathy for other people’s feelings – and not necessarily full blown Hannibal Lecter types.
Nevertheless it’s a genuine figure based on responses to a standard set of questions used by psychiatrists.
Since everyone knows more than 100 people, it  could be a good pub game to play guess the psychopath
 
 
iv) I looked this up having heard the psychopath thing on the radio and there is a similar set of questions used to spot psychosis.
That’s a really serious family of mental illnesses in which people can’t separate fantasy from reality, hear voices telling them to do things and so on.
 
However, one of the questions in that was   ‘Do you think the accuracy of Astrology predictions is too much to be coincidence’

Answer yes to that and you’re on the potential psychotic list
 

 I don’t believe in astrology, but I understand those in my star sign, Scorpio, are known for their generally passionate and virile nature

 So, I have a dilemma:
 
Do I go with the tempting passion and virility description – and acknowledge the less tempting psychotic bit, or do I go public with the opposite of virility which, judging by my word search on the Net is much less appealing.
 
Incidentally, I never write this Blog at work, which is just as well.
 
The results that came back on my searches for the opposite of virility would have had klaxons going off throughout the building
 
 I’m writing this Post in a Sports Hall where my son is getting his weekly Winter fix of Cricket Nets. For those not of the English persuasion, that is just batting in an indoor setting without injuring passers by, breaking stuff or catching a nasty chill.

The last point is, I recognise just a bit soft and pathetic.
If the Scandinavians played cricket they’d be playing in their shorts on a frozen lake or something.
 
Pathetic we may be, but nevertheless it was one of the finest exports of the British Empire from previous centuries. Admittedly to be a relatively fine export from the age of Empire is competing with some pretty suspect achievements.
Specifically, invading many other parts of the world that were just minding their own business, attacking and killing their people then renaming their cities to something that could be pronounced by someone from Chelsea.
 
On the positive side, they then imported cuisine from the far reaches of the empire, with the longer term benefit that it headed off the risk of our high streets just being full of Pork Scratching, Suet Pudding and Brussel Sprout restaurants.
Actually, I quite like two of those three but, strangely I couldn’t think of any other disgusting British foodstuffs when I wrote that.
With such a rich source to tap, I could surely have done better there.
 
We did establish the Greenwich Meridian as the metric used across the world as a measure of how far to the left or right you are from a small area of London though. We can claim that as an achievement as it’s universally used to this day,
I guess as no-one could think of any better place to choose.
 
The Greenwich Meridian line actually runs North to South a few hundred yards away from my house in fact which, I would have thought, would mean that by just walking that distance I could cross into the other hemisphere and hence into a different day.
 
I’ve tried it, and I didn’t,
 
There is a pub just over that line from me, and the staff there do seem to be  a little on the backward side, but that’s just coincidence I think.
 
 
Anyway, how I got into this line of thinking was to point out that my father has never taken part in cricket activities – playing or spectating. In other respects, I’ve started noticing that I’m becoming him.
There is a famous poem written about a woman becoming her mother, turning a combination of brown and grey, and wearing plaid skirts or something.
 
The equivalent seems to be happening to me but in my case the changes are these:
 
i) I have developed an interest in keeping bees.
Strange as I don’t like honey and the only redeeming feature of them – aside from pollinating our flowers so crops and life on earth can be possible, was that, as a child my younger brother was allergic to bee stings. He had some treatment with injections to overcome it but from then on, had to be stung every month by a bee to stop his immune system from falling back into its old ways.
I got to be the one to dress up in beekeeping gear and hold a bee from my dad’s hive, sharp end first into his outstretched arm.
 
You know, I’ve believed that justification until this day and, only now I come to write it down do I wonder if this was one of my dad’s confidence tricks, as described in a previous Post.
Probably not.
He did laugh at us, but didn’t normally torture us.
 
 
ii) I watch Fred Dibnah TV programmes and start to think that steam trains and traction engines are huge and magnificent things that I’d just like to own myself.
Previously I thought they were just nicely painted ways of keeping Dibnah out of harm’s way
 
iii) I start to think that growing a beard might look OK, no-one would laugh and I could get up later in the morning.
 
All of this is probably not really driven by fear of turning into my dad. He’s a generally splendid man and I could do much worse than turn into him.
I think it’s more to do with fear of growing older.
 
However, that fear has, literally this minute been headed off by hearing on the radio that Sean Connery – the greatest James Bond in my opinion – was the same age as I am now when he first played the part.
 
Perfect – just typed 700 words of drivel and I’m cured of an irrational mental hang up.
There are people that would charge good money for that.

You may have heard that Bob Holness, presenter of the long running Blockbusters  TV quiz show in the eighties died yesterday. For the few  people who receive this Blog and are too young , or were not in the UK at the time, it was a word game involving various ways of guessing words or phrases from the starting letters. Contestants were school sixth formers around 17-18 years old.

I read through a few snippets of tribute to his career, which were all  very nice and included the fact that he also once played James Bond in fact.

On the Blockbusters front they all gave the much quoted line of contestants asking to ‘have a  P  please Bob ‘ to riotous applause from the studio audience.

One better quote did not make it though. A friend of mine was actually a contestant on the programme and heard this exchange:

HOLNESS:  What ‘F’ comes before Sex…

CONTESTANT (Buzzing to interrupt):  Foreplay

AUDIENCE: A full minute of laughter

HOLNESS:  No

HOLNESS (repeating the question): What ‘F’ comes before Sex, Play and Weather

OPPOSING CONTESTANT: Fair

HOLNESS:  Correct – Fair Sex, Fair Play, Fair Weather.

 

That should surely be the one he’s remembered for

My mother is currently in hospital having bits of her leg amputated in order to keep surgical staff off the streets. It’s a common side effect for diabetics in fairly old age that circulation in their feet and legs just isn’t up to muster any more and requires this kind of treatment.

The hospital appear to be treating her as having some kind of loyal customer status and recognizing that by replumbing her legs or lopping parts of them off completely on a weekly basis. All very necessary but a bit concerning for me, and I’m not even the one waking up to see how much of me is still remaining.

There is a positive to all this as well though. In her recovering status she mostly understands what is going on around her but is pretty drugged up with pain killers and not really able to maintain much of a conversation.  In order to avoid us both just sitting in silence, this has given me the 0ppurtunity to talk at her about things that only a captive audience would stay awake for.

Well, she doesn’t always stay awake in fact, but you take my general point.

My latest of these was reminding her of a sequence of deceits carried out by my father when I was a young child – with her tacit support since she never went out of her way to stop him. He had clearly reached the stage that many parents reach 0f being bombarded by too many stupid questions and just giving any quick, off the cuff answer that comes to mind. I was at an age that you tend to believe your parents fairly unquestioningly

For example, I asked why Cat’s Eyes are called that.   He told me they were for cats to see across the road.

The real reason wasn’t obvious to me then and even the fact that, to be useful for that purpose, they would have to run across the road rather than down the middle did not raise any questions in my mind

As another example, when watching a First World War film, I asked him how Germany army officers’ trousers – those padded jodhpur-like things with the extended sections to the outside of each thigh – kept their shape.

He told me it was because they were filled with concrete.

This one did seem a little unlikely at first, but thinking about it further, it did account for their stiff legged march. That one stayed with me for a number of years.

There are many more of these, but the reason I mentioned it to my mother was to let her know this disfunction has been passed subconsciously to me. For example, I convinced my daughter that she would be sleeping in a cupboard and even set up a bed in that would fit a seven year old successfully.

She believed that completely and told me years later that she was a bit upset by it, but mainly just when I told her the truth and she realised she wouldn’t be sleeping in there indefinitely.

I also used red food colouring to convince her that the red coloured Brussel Sprout existed and was in fact a sweeet variety best enjoyed with cream.
All very harmless in that case.

What was less harmlesss was one of my similar delusions on my son. I told him that Expresso coffee was made by boiling it down to such a consistency that it is eaten with a spoon and the cup could safely be inverted over someone’s head.

That example was one I probably should have thought through a bit more thoroughly.

They are now starting to pick these up much more easily, which has made me vulnerable to Boy who Cried Wolf situations.

People like me with Multiple Sclerosis  tend to fall over periodically, which has been pretty harmless so far on level ground, although it does tend to surprise passers by a bit, unless it happens in my normal drinking venues.  People seem to take it much more in their stride there.                                 

However, it has happened three times now at the top of my stairs and each time I fell down the full length of them, ending up on the floor having hit the wall at the bottom (facing backwards by a mechanism I can’t really understand).

It was fairly painful first time and I suspected I might have actually cracked a rib or something. Being badly winded, I could  only let out a very faint, and very high pitched whisper.

I couldn’t think of a really suitable phrase to summon assistance so just shouted ‘Help’, or more accurately just sort of twittered ‘Help’.  As I lay there, I could hear both children debating it upstairs and deciding I was just messing around again.

I finally heard them agreeing for one of them to come and check me out just in case, but my lesson was learned.

Mostly learned anyway.

I just came back from dinner, having written this Post beforehand and by the same compulsion, I found myself telling them that the Kidney Beans in their Chilli con Carne are actually the kidneys of a small animal and are so called as they resemble a bean.

Pointless and not even funny but I just can’t stop myself doing it.

I think I may need some professional help here if I can just get some guidance on what specialists deal with this kind of  thing.

I’ve just returned from a very nice, but very middle class feeling evening of Christmas Drinks with people from my village and, in particular members of a few choirs my wife is associated with.

I guess I’d place myself as middle class if that just means University educated and having a respectable office job.  However, there’s middle class and midde class. There were multiple company owners there and one Lady – a Countess more accurately, in fact

My brushes with aristocracy have really been limited to overtaking Princes Charles on a motorway some time ago. He was driving an open topped Aston Martin which may not tie in that well with his green credentials although, to his credit, saving fuel by driving at 55mph – and the two unmarked escort cars trailing him were a necessary evil I guess.

Encounters with Countesses have been pretty much zero. In fact it had not occured to me that we even had Countesses in this country. However, whilst I knew quite a few of these people and they’re all very nice, I did find myself dithering for some time about what I should wear there.

My experience is that the confidence people of this ilk tend to have is demonstrated by wearing obviously clashing clothes – bright red corduroys and bright green shirts for example. Those colours are normally only worn by presenters of young children’s TV shows – as they feel confidently superior to their viewers and by those well into the tiers of the middle classes as they feel confidently superior to everyone.

This led me to thinking we should have some standard dress code to remove the smart casual dilemma altogether. I’m thinking of  something along the lines of tartan . You can have a standard with your own regional variants but everyone knows that on Burns night, everyone will be wearing a kilt and will be unencumbered by underwear.

We could have other country variants on the same theme. The French could wear their own colours of stripy tops and onions, the Dutch different coloured clogs and culottes, or whatever those trousers that only reach down to mid-calf are called.

The English – God Help us – would wear Morris Dancer outfits with different coloured ribbons to flail about to differentiate themselves.

I accept all of this sounds ghastly, but it does at least mean we’ll have no fashion qualms before this sort of social event.

All this, I think you’ll agree has some merit, but does need a suitable body to administer this new social standard.

Let me propose Belgium as the owners.

Pretty independent, no discernable characteristics of its own (if we leave aside their habit of putting fruit into beer – where by rights no fruit is required) and most importantly a proven track record led by Brussels in administering standardisation where, by rights no standardisation is required.

By which I mean 2nd instalment of my marriage updates, not a 2nd marriage.

Having blogged about my 20th anniversary a while ago, I felt I should bring you some less positive news.

I discover that my wife’s last boyfriend before me, Richard Wiseman, now appears in the Independent on Sunday’s list of ‘100 people that make Britain a better place to live’. At best, I must be at position 500.

 I met Richard once and he seemed a nice enough chap and is very good on TV, but can he justifiably be that  far ahead of me?

 Emma and my children seem to quite like me for a start and that’s not all, there must be dozens more.

 The owners of my preferred Doner Kebab shop, at least, must accept that me subsidising their boutique is a positive thing. They’re Greek, and the parlous state of their economy at the minute would make their votes count for double.

 Furthermore, my willingness to attempt to fly paragliders despite little innate ability maintains the lifestyle of several of the more tolerant instructors.

 So here’s my idea: I change the details of this Blog to state that all followers implicitly agree that I have made Britain a better place to live.

 Would this work?

 I think I could get 50 followers from work as a start. Blogs by their nature are a less intrusive format than eMail so people would sign up just to stop me bothering them by sending this kind of stuff direct.

 Probably needs several thousand people to give my campaign any real impetus. Could be possible though great oak trees from little acorns and all that.

 Maybe some more conventional ideas to kick start my campaign. Print up some T shirts or something.

Also, it needs a campaign name really.

 Maybe Dave Dawson Makes Britain a Better Place to Live and Stops Him Sending Me More Bloody eMails.

 Might need some work to generate a more  memorable acronym though.  DDMBPTLSHSMMBE isn’t going to stick in anyone’s  mind

Finally, I guess Richard Wiseman probably has stuff all over the web. If I was to link to him in some way it could either be;

i) A cunning way of leading readers who are already in a positive frame from a Blog or other site belonging to Richard

ii) The act of an Internet stalker who is more likely to be arrested than to acquire supporters

I’ll consider any opinions on those options before I take this any further.

My wife, the lovely Emma and I have been married for 20 years.
To celebrate her good fortune in this regard, I will be off taking her to Prague for a long weekend.

There, I can introduce her to Czech beer in a romantic setting.

You will find this hard to believe I imagine (the 20 years, not the beer and romance), due to my youthful appearance and childlike joie de vivre.
You must remember we were married virtually as children though.

I have never been to Prague, but I have prepared in a number of ways:
i)I have looked at pictures of the city on the web and it looks very nice. Not a huge amount of preparation, I’ll grant you but it was me that suggested getting married in the first place, so I’m actually ahead on points here

ii) I have bought a Czech translation app for my iPhone. That will actually read out the words for me to simplify the pronunciation of a language which seems to use vowels in an unusually thrifty way.
The exception to that is the word ‘pivo’ which means beer and, as I recall is conveniently the same in all 4 languages from the former Yugoslavian countries too.

iii) I have order some currrency. There are mechanisms by which you can order via the Web in advance to collect at the airport.I couldn’t be bothered to look into that so I just used the phone.
Not such a rewarding experience for me but, presumably a good thing for the guy manning the currency order phone line.

By virtue of having been married for this long, we often find we are thinking the same thing at the same time so conversation is unnecessary. As such, it’s possible we’ll just spend the weekend sitting in bars and cafes, in companionable silence, the passtime at which Britain leads the world.

I will be returning on Monday fresh for a golfing team build thing.

As a word of warning, I once got a fractured skull at a pitch and putt golf course. Pictures of my skull x-rays can be viewed at http://www.golfingcretin.co.uk