Oct 18 2014

Woomerang Boomerang – It’s Tingha and Tucker

I happened across my Tingha and Tucker membership pack while I was sorting through my parents’ house this afternoon. Here’s the signed picture it contained of Jean Morton with them and their friends.

Tingha and TuckerThe pack dates from 1967 according to the postmark on the envelope it was in. As well as the photograph and badge, it also contains a membership card – almost certainly the first one I ever had. However, I doubt that I had any say in whether I wanted to join, unlike when joining another organisation that had membership cards a few years later.

Membership card - front and backThe inside of the card details the club rules, which are, to say the least, interesting in their scope. The 1960s somehow don’t seem all that rock and roll when you read them. The show was cancelled in 1970, after having run for eight years.

Membership card - insideATV were, of course, the television station that brought us Tiswas just a few years later. Somehow, I don’t think Jean Morton would have been all that impressed.



Oct 16 2014

Brixham harbour, 1962

Another image from my father’s collection of slides – the fishing boats in Brixham harbour, Devon, 1962.

Brixham Harbour, Devon, 1962

Oct 11 2014

Via Pessina, Lugano, 1956

Via Pessina, Lugano, 1956


From my father’s collection of slides, taken in the summer of 1956. A quick search demonstrates that this shop is still there and looks much the same, even if dress standards have changed somewhat over the last 60 years.


Oct 03 2014

Definitely not the most convincing tweet from the Cabinet Office …

Malmaison Hotel, OxfordNot perhaps the best or most convincing illustration of the point the Cabinet Office wishes to make. This former prison has been a hotel since late 2005 – that’s a few years before 2010 ….


Oct 03 2014

Watch and wait

Some good news!

While I’ve been told that I will definitely need chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant to treat my lymphoma, for the time being the plan is to “watch and wait”. At the moment, only a small number of lymph nodes are affected and there’s no trace of the disease in my bone marrow. The hospital will keep seeing me every few weeks so that any change in status can be picked up and acted on quickly. This means that I will get treatment at the optimal time for prolonging any remission.

This grace period might only be for a few weeks, but it could last months or even for a few years. There’s no way of predicting the time that remains before treatment will need to start, but the further away that is the better I think.



Oct 01 2014


Having spent rather more time that I’ve wanted to with the medical profession over the last couple of months, I’ve noticed the way that they use language is sometimes just a little different to the way the rest of us do.

Take the word ‘uncomfortable’. Recently we’ve replaced our mattress because, as it was several years old, it had become somewhat uncomfortable to sleep on. It wasn’t painful to sleep on the mattress, but it certainly wasn’t as cosy as it used to be. So I thought I had a pretty good handle on what ‘uncomfortable’ meant. For example, this looks pretty uncomfortable to me:


However, having recently undergone a bone marrow biopsy, I now realise that the medical profession use the word ‘uncomfortable’ in an entirely different way to, well, everyone else I’ve ever met. Whenever I’ve been told that something will be uncomfortable, what they’ve actually meant is that it will really sting while we’re doing it, and will probably remain sore for several days afterwards. I really never, ever, want to hear that something they’re about to do to me is going to hurt – even a little!

The second word I’ve been thinking about is ‘carer’. While booking a flu jab for us a couple of days ago, the surgery asked my wife if she was my carer.

Its use threw both of us off balance temporarily. While I understand why that word was used, it somehow doesn’t seem appropriate in my current condition. When I get really poorly from the chemotherapy, then yes, I may need a carer.

But at the moment, while I’m still relatively well, hearing that word used feels – how should I put this? – just a little bit uncomfortable.


Sep 26 2014

When I am in charge …

… these will be seven of the things that I will change (*).

Now, I realise that I’m hardly likely to get elected to high office on the basis of this manifesto but some things really do need fixing. If I have to scream and rant to get my way, trashing my Liberal credentials in the process, then so be it.


Any university continuing to give out honorary degrees and doctorates to celebrities, politicians, business leaders and the like will have their charter revoked immediately. Studying for a degree or higher qualification is bloody hard work (I should know!) and honorary degrees devalue the efforts of all real students.

Unpaid Internships

These are completely unacceptable and stifle social mobility. Volunteering is fine, but those taking part in such activities must be genuine volunteers, free to stop or vary their commitment at any point that suits them, rather than the kind of ‘volunteer’ intern sought by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust a couple of years ago.

Software Developers

Continuing to use a floppy disc icon to mean ‘save’ is almost as archaic as using a cassette tape icon for the same function. From the moment I come to power, all software developers will have 24 hours to find, agree on and implement something a little more 21st century. Now that’s what I’d call agile …

Floppy disc iconThe National Lottery

Has always been a tax on the poor. I’m not going to abolish the lottery per se as it’s still relatively popular and I have my eyes on a second (and perhaps third) term in power. Instead, I’m going to turn the lottery into something indistinguishable from premium bonds where the original stake is never lost. Good causes that might otherwise lose out through the lack of lottery funding will be able to apply for the same funds raised from something a little more progressive – let’s call it taxation.

Ensuring that everyone understands that demonstrating a correlation is not the same as demonstrating cause and effect

Showing that the amount of cheese eaten correlates with golf course revenues doesn’t mean that excessive cheese eating causes higher golf course revenues, or vice-versa. Well durr. More seriously though, mistaking correlations for cause and effect might be behind the increases seen in potentially serious, but preventable diseases such as measles.

Prime Minister’s Questions

I’m going to set up an independent panel to assess each answer the Prime Minister (who, of course, will be reporting to me) gives at PMQs. If they judge that a question hasn’t been answered, the PM will have another chance to answer the same question in a new ritual I’ve decided to call Prime Minister’s Detention. This will take place in an empty Commons chamber after all of the other MPs have returned home on a Friday afternoon. If the panel still regards their answer as unsatisfactory, they will have the ability to fine, imprison or force a by-election in their constituency. If this policy is successful, it will be extended to cover all other ministers and eventually, any politician who appears on the Today programme or Newsnight.

Daily Mail Readers

As a good Liberal, I believe that the Daily Mail should be free to publish whatever distortions it wants to, provided it stays within the letter of the law of course. The real problem is the people who choose to read it. Without its readers, it would soon disappear off the face of the planet. I’m therefore going to tackle the root cause and introduce a tax of a few pence per copy sold that will go straight to charities supporting things that the average Daily Mail reader would loathe. I’m very hopeful that the emotional conflict caused by such a strategy will wean these readers away to less harmful newspapers, like, errr, … ok, I admit this policy needs a bit of work. And the other six might do as well. Time to get back to the day job …


(*) Yes, of course I want world peace etc. etc., but I think there needs to be a little bit of realism in my manifesto. After all, I’m rarely in charge in my own house, so I’m hardly likely to become president of the world. Many thanks to Tattooed Mummy for providing the inspiration for this article rant.


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