Archive for April, 2011

To save you time tomorrow I have been scouring the media speculation about the royal wedding. Here is my balanced forecast of the highlights… The weather will be cloudy and cool with a brisk north-easterly wind. There is a chance of a few rain showers. Umbrellas will generally be red, white and blue. Or black. […]

What the deuce?


Of course it is a coincidence, but I couldn’t help but smile when Mrs R left to play tennis for the first time in ages. Ten minutes later the first drops of rain for weeks began to fall. I suppose it is possible that Mrs R is actually a rain goddess. This opens up new […]

To celebrate a 21st birthday we hired simple boats and went canoeing on a quiet stretch of the Norfolk Broads. The birthday girl and her teenage brother and sister each paddled their own kayaks. Mrs R and I shared a substantial Canadian canoe, like two grizzled trappers looking for muskrats and beaver in the northern […]

Miserable time


Here in the UK holidaymageddon is upon us. [For readers in other countries: the unusual alignment of Easter, 1st May and a Royal Wedding means that we have four public holidays in the next 11 days. This is what happens when the timing of some holidays is determined by the position of the Moon in […]

Yes or no?


Does anyone know anything about the referendum that is coming up? I know that we have to vote “Yes”. Or “No”. But I’m a bit mystified about what difference it will make. I have read all the leaflets which have come through the door. Well, the single leaflet that has been delivered. This mainly consisted […]

Sporting chance


As a shopping experience it is unappealing. You are required to select items with limited information about what they contain. They may or may not feature precisely what you want. The items in question are only on sale for 26 days. Once purchased, the items will not be delivered for over a year. In fact […]



On impulse I bought a waffle iron in my favourite shop. It seemed good value. Everyone likes waffles. When I first switched it on, to test it without any waffle mixture, a small column of smoke rose from the top and it smelt strange. I retrieved the instructions from the bin: “Nar vaffeljamet anvands for […]

Wedding fatigue


It’s good to be back in England, where there is less excitement about the Royal Wedding… The local newspaper in Brisbane had a special daily feature with a countdown to the wedding and story about the royal couple in every edition. It’s less good to be back in British summer time when my body clock […]

Brolly deficit


It is raining sub-tropically here in Queensland this morning. There is nothing like a sub-tropical downpour to make you realise the benefits of a good umbrella. I do not have a good umbrella.  



Jaywalking is not allowed in Brisbane. This means that you are only allowed to cross the road at designated crossing points when the lights are green. I don’t know why it is called ‘jaywalking’. If you cross the road in the wrong place or at the wrong time, you can be fined forty dollars on […]



Every now and then a piece of insurance trivia surprises me. This week I found out that the global reinsurance cost of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami is less than the global reinsurance cost of the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake. Why….? …Because everyone expected a devastating earthquake in Japan. Reinsurance costs were so high that […]

Soft cell


I’ve stayed in enough hotels to be suspicious when the desk clerk tells me “I’ve upgraded you to a one-bedroomed executive suite”. This usually means that the regular rooms have been overbooked and they are obliged to find somewhere else to put you. In most cases this will be a room which a fussy executive […]