Archive for June, 2010

Wind up


I have a namesake hurricane. This is exciting. According to the BBC “Alex sweeps in”, which sounds grand. But according to the (more geographically relevant) Houston Chronicle my alter ego is just “plodding”, which might more accurately reflect typical Alex behaviour. We do tend to plod doggedly though. Apparently Alex is a category 2 hurricane. […]

Greetings from We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased or rated books by Boris Vian have also purchased The Plague by Albert Camus. For this reason, you might like to know that The Plague will be released on 1 July 2010.  You can pre-order yours for just £5.59 (30% off the RRP) by following […]

Bracing trip


For a hot Sunday afternoon in June the beach was surprisingly empty. Everyone must have been busy somewhere else. I decided to go for a swim. The tide was out and there was a flat expanse of sand before the gently breaking waves. Between the flat sand and I was a sloping stretch of shingle […]

Bing bong


Because I don’t travel around as much as I used to, I miss out on many comic moments. Such as the announcements made by reluctant train staff thrust into the front line of customer service by an edict to “keep the customer informed”. So I was lucky this evening to be on a delayed train […]

An angel knocked on the door. He didn’t look like an angel. He carried a slim folder and was wearing a creased blue suit, a tie and a moustache. I suppose that they don’t bother with the whole wings and white robes business these days, due to health and safety considerations. But he said that […]

Allez France!


I looked up “teamwork” in my largest French dictionary.  The only translation is “travail d’équipe”, which really means “work done by a team”. The French don’t have a word for “teamwork” in the sense that we use it, as ‘purposeful collaboration towards a common goal’. This explains a lot. “Collaboration” is also a tricky word […]

There was an announcement. “This train is arriving in London three minutes ahead of schedule.” As I waited to disembark I thought about what I would do with the extra three minutes I had been given. I could boil an egg. But I prefer my eggs to be boiled for five minutes and a rather […]

Home straight


At last I’m home. The longest stretch of the journey was the bit between Barton Mills and Thetford as usual. I was disappointed to find that the A11 had not been dualled whilst I was away and not surprised to find that the road had been closed at Elveden due to an accident. It’s good […]

The Airbus A380 is a rare and remarkable thing – a leviathan of the air, carrying a multitude of passengers and controlled by a computer. It is a pleasure to stretch out in its comfortable armchairs and to scroll through 1200 channels of entertainment. But when the computer does not work it becomes a leviathan […]

Next time you are out and about, take a look at the pavement. If you are in the UK, I bet that you will see a black or grey splodge of discarded chewing gum somewhere within 3 metres. I bet that you will not see somebody walking past barefoot. In Brisbane you will not see […]

Damp proof


It rains a lot in Sydney. Note that the water in the gutter is flowing the other way. Which proves I am in the southern hemisphere.

I flushed the toilet in my bathroom on the 28th floor and wondered where the water went. Did it plummet straight down a 300 ft shaft to a 19th century sewer arched with carefully laid bricks? Or did tall buildings have multiple downpipes which spiral around each other like architectural DNA connecting to a stinking […]



The small screen at a seat in an aeroplane is probably not the best place to appreciate the spectacle of the film Avatar. But where else would I be able to sit uninterrupted for a couple of hours and catch up on current trends in morality-steeped narrative. In case you are the only other person […]