PC 254 Overheard

I understand that writers are always looking for ideas and snippets from real life to weave into their fictional tales, although the first ‘novel’ is often fairly autobiographical. Sitting on a bus or in a restaurant or in a café, with a notebook open to catch and record some lovely phrase …… or awful account ….. can be the start. The most famous café writer that comes to mind is JK Rowling, who continued writing her Harry Potter stories in The Elephant House café in Edinburgh. Now the place is on the tourist bus route, although the café is temporary closed, having suffered smoke and water damage from a fire next door in August 2021.

The black-framed metal door opened into The Hope Café. On the right hand side the counter with all the paraphernalia to make drinks to meet the wide eclectic tastes of today’s customers – and cakes and stuff to tempt us. In the middle a collection of smallish tables with purposefully mismatched chairs and down the left a row of bench seating for more intimate chatter

I settled into my usual seat, with eyes on both the entrance and on the counter. From my yellow Kipling bag I pulled out my scruffy notebooks and pencil case. The cafe had no power socket for laptop charging and I knew mine would only last 45 minutes so it was the old fashion way or no way.  One of my notebooks simply held scraps of paper, some ripped from newspapers or magazines, others my own scribbles at 3 am in the dark, a bon mot that I needed to record – otherwise lost.

A quick furtive look around the room confirmed the usual regulars were there plus a table occupied by two late-twenties women. They sat over their coffees, one a latte and the other one a simple double espresso, their handbags over the chair-backs, the iPhone or Samsung in front, visible in case …… in case what? In case the conversation was boring,  in case world war three had been declared, in case DHL suddenly needed them to be home between 1200-1400, in case …..?

Outwardly they looked chalk & cheese these two and the decade that had passed since leaving school had left its mark; one obviously a mother and the other single. But true friendship, with care and love, lasts a lifetime and this sounded like a catch-up coffee.

One had a loud piercing voice and it was impossible not to cock an ear!

I had a fling when I was in France; I was only there for a week but I met this chap in a bar and well, I was bored and he was engaging. My recollection is we never actually had sex but then again one evening we got extremely drunk and woke up in the same bedroom.  Well! I texted him: “We had fun! It was a couple of days! We kissed! Now get over …..  and I have found someone else and you just need to accept that! Sorry!” And you know what, like he couldn’t accept it, that I was the, what’s that expression, The Love of His Life. God! He hardly knows me ……. no way ….. just have to be brutal.”

“So you just cast him aside like an out-of-date Activia Vanilla yoghurt?” asked the friend!

And all this in earshot of every other customer, the old lady nursing a single cup of tea and a teacake, two blokes indulging in the ‘Full English but ‘no mushrooms please’, a romantic couple with only eyes for each other, the mother and two children struggling to control their ‘I want’ suggestions.

In one’s twenties the ‘love’ focus is to have some fun, get some experience and acknowledge that the ‘love of your life’ may be followed by other loves of your life. It’s unfortunate if you look on a friend, as this woman did, as a ‘potential ex-boyfriend’ as it immediately suggests a lack of permanence and possible lack of commitment. But it’s a view!

On the television on the café wall, out of the corner of my eye, I overheard rather than observed a news item. Just as a crisis was looming in the UK energy supplies, the newsreader was joined by the BBC Business editor Simon Jack to give a more detailed analysis. Having talked about gas prices and price caps and gas pipelines and petrol supply issues, he added that one or two longer-term projects that were going to change the industry would have to be put ‘on the back burner’ (Note 1) for the time being – and he said it with a straight face!

Realising the time, I quickly stuffed everything into my bag and, with a nod to Susie behind the counter, headed out of the door. To my right was a bus stop for the No 1 – and the indicator board signified one was due.

Sure enough, around the square it came and, with a flourish of my iPhone over the reader, I was on and in a seat.

Across the aisle sat 70-something Jim, unmasked and overweight. At the next stop another old chap got on, supporting his sagging body with walking sticks. Spying the empty seat next to Jim, he sat down. Snippets of overheard conversation went something like:

Stan: Where are you off to?
Jim: Portslade

Stan: Oh! Yes! I have lived in Portslade for years; still don’t know my way around. Where’s your stop?

Jim: No idea?

Stan: What! You have no idea where you’re getting off?

Jim: No! Of course I can recognise my stop but I can’t tell you exactly which one it is.

Stan: No worries ………

Stan looks out of the window and sees the mountains of rubbish on the streets (note 2).

Stan: This bin strike is causing a bit of a mess; I used to work for a council up north for many years so know something about ‘em bastards. (Ed: Not sure if he was referring to the council or the company that runs the refuse collection service.)

Jim is obese and he’s finding the seat uncomfortable.

Jim: This seat isn’t very big; sorry, I seem to be overflowing. They must be making narrower ones.

Stan: Where are you getting off?

Jim: Portslade – I told you ……

Stan: Which is your stop ……

I got off the bus at my stop, smiling to myself, amused by the elderly.

Richard 29th October 2021


PS Probably christened Stanley and James but more likely known as Jim and Stan??

Note 1 The back burner being the rear ring on the hob, offering less heat.

Note 2 In the City of Brighton & Hove on 7th October the chaps responsible for collecting the rubbish from the street bins went on strike. Apparently they had been asked to change their ‘round’ or drive with another team, as Covid and sickness required some flexibility. They went back to work a week ago, after a massive pay increase for the drivers.

PC 253 What is This Thing Called Love? (3)

(See also PCs 242 and 244)

Maybe a common thread of these tales of forbidden love is two powerful families? As a teenager I loved the ‘forbidden love’ stories from the English author Noel Barber (1909-1988). Nothing better than to sit in a summer’s garden and read ‘Tanamera’ based in Singapore, ‘A Woman of Cairo’ based, surprisingly, in Egypt (!) or ‘A Farewell to France’. Barber had started his first novel when in his seventies, after a career as a leading foreign correspondent for the Daily Mail.  

One of the classical romances, Tristan & Isolde, is the tale of a princess who, pledged to marry a king, instead becomes involved with his nephew.  Tristan travels to Ireland to bring back Isolde for his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall. On the C12th ferry back to England they drink a love potion, which ensures that Isolde, although married to Mark, still has the hots for Tristan! The ménage à trois continues until the love potion wears off! Richard Wagner wrote the opera of the same name in 1859 – well, not quite the same; the ampersand became ‘und’! 

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1847) is among the most dramatic of romantic tragedies in literature and deserves a mention here. I have never read it but a flash of some film version enters my brain, as does Kate Bush’s melodic song. Some story about Heathcliff and Cathy, right? Societal constraints and personal pride prevent Cathy from being with Heathcliff and she eventually marries another man. Heathcliff remains bitter through the rest of his life.

Then I go on Google and read a synopsis of the story, which started: “Many people, generally those who have never read the book (that’s me!), consider Wuthering Heights to be a straightforward, if intense, love story — Romeo and Juliet on the Yorkshire Moors. But this is a mistake. Really the story is one of revenge.”

So replace the warmth and sun of Verona with wild, windy and wet Yorkshire? To be honest, the synopsis was confusing, complicated and incomprehensible. The names of the main characters come and go like horses on a merry-go-round, at speed and in a hurry. Kate Bush’s lyrics from her 1978 song went like this:

Bad dreams in the night, They told me I was going to lose the fight, Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering, Wuthering Heights!”

“Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy. I’ve come home, I’m so cold. Let me in your window.”

It follows the life of Heathcliff, a mysterious gypsy-like person, from childhood to his death in his late thirties. Heathcliff is raised in his adopted family and then runs away when the young woman he loves decides to marry another. He returns later, rich and educated, and sets about gaining his revenge on the two families. In ‘This Charming Man’, a novel by Marian Keyes, Dad scornfully remarks: “Gothic bollocks! Doesn’t anyone remember that Heathcliff was a psychopath. He killed Isabel’s dog.’” It’s a view!

When Edward VIII, crowned King on 20 January 1936 in London, fell in love with American divorcée Wallis Simpson the affair shocked the nation – due to strong opposition from the church and government over their proposed marriage. Edward chose to abdicate the throne: “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.’ His abdication in December 1936 forced his brother George, not a very healthy individual, to become king. George died in 1952 at the young age of 56 and his wife Elizabeth forever blamed Edward – or more likely Wallis Simpson! The couple married and settled in France. Recently it’s been revealed that both had Nazi associations and the Germans planned to re-install him as King after they successfully invaded the UK (Note 1)

Then we know the current Prince of Wales continued to see his mistress Camilla née Shand even when she was married to Andrew Parker Bowles and he was married to Princess Diana. Their lives came full circle when, after their respective divorces, they eventually married in 2005.

Elizabeth Barrett (1806 – 1861) was an accomplished and respected poet in poor health when Robert Browning wrote to her “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrrett.” They courted in secret because of her family’s disapproval. She wrote: “I am not of a cold nature and cannot be treated coldly. When cold water is thrown upon a hot iron the iron hisses.” When they married in 1846 her father disinherited her and the couple moved to Florence, Italy where, fifteen years later, she would die in Browning’s arms. Elizabeth’s work had a major influence on writers such as poets Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson. If you need to understand the strength of her writing, read Sonnet 43 published in 1845 – “How Do I Love Thee?”  

There is an ancient love story which has left a mark on the history of Portugal: the tale of forbidden love between Infante (the Crown Prince) Pedro and Inês (pronounced Inaish) de Castro, lady-in-waiting to his wife Constance. Although he was married, the Infante would have secret romantic meetings with Inês in the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas. When Constance died in 1345, Pedro and Inês lived as a married couple, a decision which angered his father King Afonso IV, who was strongly opposed the relationship, as did the court and the population.

Pedro and Inês lived at Santa Clara Palace, in Coimbra, with their three children for many years. However, King Afonso IV, who was constantly under pressure because of the growing disapproval of the union within the court, decided to order the murder of Inês de Castro in January 1355. Deranged by pain, Pedro led an uprising against the King and would never forgive his father for murdering his lover. When he finally took the crown in 1357, Pedro ordered the arrest and execution of Inês’ murderers by ripping their hearts out. This action earned him the title of “the Cruel”.

Later, after swearing that he had secretly married Inês de Castro, King Pedro demanded that she be recognized as Queen of Portugal. In April 1360, he ordered the body of Inês to be moved from Coimbra to the Royal Monastery of Alcobaça, where two magnificent tombs were built so that he could rest next to his eternal lover forever. Thus, the most overwhelming Portuguese love story would be immortalized in stone.

Richard 22nd October 2021


PS Coincidentally Romeo & Juliet was in the papers on 21st July this year. In these ultra-sensitive times, The Globe Theatre in London apparently issued a warning to those wanting to watch the play, as it contained themes which some might find disturbing! Go figure!

Note 1 See Widowland by CJ Carey

PC 252 Commuting

A deserted Trafalgar Square in London

It stopped …. dead in its tracks, as it were (!) ….. commuting ……. as the pandemic locked societies’ workers down. For months individuals used to travelling some distance to work found themselves in, for instance, their spare bedroom, trying to sort out the intermittent connection on Zoom. Gradually Working From Home (WFH) became the new norm and now, as the restrictions ease, there seems to be a need to prize out ex-commuters from their cosy WFH existence and get them back into the real office.

I stood on the wet platform at Fleet railway station, leaning forward to get my first glimpse of the 0722 that would take me into London Waterloo. My position on the asphalt ensured that when the train stopped the carriage door would be directly in front of me, to reach out, open and climb into my usual seat. Those who don’t regularly commute (Note 1) by train will decry the numbness of the habit but it made all the difference – a front or rear facing seat – smoking or non-smoking ….. ah! The choices!

Up until this point in my life I had never had a commute of more than a few miles, in some cases a few yards. Now I had joined the great daily migration into the UK’s capital city, for a role in the MOD’s Procurement Executive in Fleetbank House, just off Fleet Street. From the steps out of Waterloo Station to my desk was about 16 minutes, a wiggly walk south of the river then over Blackfriars Bridge and up.

There is no ‘commute’ when at boarding school, or indeed at the Royal Military Academy. My first posting was to a regiment stationed on the outskirts of Devizes. The commute was simply falling out of bed in my room in a wooden hut, putting my uniform on and walking down the hill to the barracks and work; the first task was ‘stables parade’!

In Lippstadt in Germany it was a sleepy walk across Sűdstrasse to breakfast in the Officers Mess, then back into the barracks; 300 yards maximum (we hadn’t changed to the metric system at that time!)

My first real commute, ie using a car, was from an Army married quarter in Harnham, a suburb on the southern edge of the City of Salisbury, to the headquarters of the UK Land Forces where I had a staff job. This took the time it takes to smoke one cigarette!

After Staff College and my MOD appointment, I was posted to Bulford, just north of Salisbury, to be Battery Commander of an Air Defence unit. For domestic reasons, I declined the offer of an Army Married quarter and commuted from my Fleet house, a total distance of some 68 miles. I found out that I could access the M3 motorway through a utilities-only entrance for Fleet Services, so very soon settled into a smooth drive on first the motorway, then the A303. I left home early so was in the barracks about 0745. I had an old dark blue VW Beetle I had bought specifically for the task, but its rusty bodywork meant that when it rained the foot-well filled up with water. I spent my last four months of Army service teaching at the Royal School of Artillery, another mile along the A303; it was the coldest January on record and the water in the foot-well froze!

My sales role at Short Brothers’ London office started in 1986; often the commute was not into the Berkley Square offices but out to Heathrow to catch the British Midland 0700 flight to Belfast’s Aldergrove Airport and a head office Sales Meeting or to some European capital city on a sales trip. I drove from my Rowledge Village home to Farnham Station and caught the train. When my Honda Accord died and I had no way of getting to the station, for three months I caught a coach which came through the village at 0613 and eventually arrived at Hyde Park Corner ay 0840; from there I walked along Piccadilly towards the office. The coach’s interior was poorly lit so reading was difficult; absolute nightmare!

A move to Clapham Common introduced me to the joys of the London Underground’s Northern Line; on a normal day the tube was too warm, on a summer’s day, almost unbearable!  After arriving in Waterloo and walking over the pedestrian bridge, I passed through the Horse Guards Arch, usually getting a salute from the guardsman (Note 2), on up through St James’ Park and into Berkeley Square.

When I first started working for Morgan & Banks, the walk from Charing Cross underground station was up to Trafalgar Square, turn north and up to the bottom of St Martin’s Lane. Two years later an office move found me on the north side of Waterloo Bridge, opposite Somerset House.

Working for myself and running The Yellow Palette gave me my shortest commute – upstairs to the converted loft and my desk – measured in metres as opposed to kilometres!

I read recently that those who used to work in an office after commuting some distance are now restricting their ‘working week’ to three days and are known as TWaTs (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays). (Note 3)

And today? The ‘traffic update’ on the radio about queues on the M25, or train disruption due to leaves on the railway lines is mentally acknowledged and dismissed. More tea vicar?

Richard 15th October 2021


PS My Australian connections gave me insight into the most delightful commute, by ferry across Sydney Harbour to Circular Quay.

Note 1 The term commute actually involves traveling ‘some’ distance between one’s home and place of work on a regular basis, so I am stretching this to mentions short walks!

Note 2 Those of us lucky enough to have undergone some form of military training developed a ‘military bearing’, a certain way of walking, confident and with ‘head in the back of the collar’. Recognised by those on sentry duty at Horseguards even!

Note 3 Twat is a very derogatory term for a stupid or annoying person. It’s also vulgar slang for a vagina. I have no idea why it has such polar-opposite meanings.

PC 251 Collections (2) or ‘I wish I had Said That!’

This is the second collection of words or phrases or passages that I have amassed. I hope you find them interesting, informative, thoughtful and amusing in equal or unequal measure.

Philip Ayrton-Grime had been our Queen’s vet for many decades. On his retirement they were having a glass of sherry. “Do you find” asked the Queen “that you begin to forget names and faces as we get older?” “Absolutely!” your majesty, Philip replied. The Queen sighed: “Fortunately everybody seems to know who I am.

Jeffrey Archer quoted the following in one of his novels: “If it flies, floats or fucks, rent it!” and attributed it to Sir James Goldsmith (1933 – 1997). Goldsmith, a very successful businessman, was loved and hated in equal measure.

His three marriages produced six children including Jemina, who was married to the Pakistani Imran Khan (1995-2004), and Zac who was ennobled in 2020. His mistress gave birth to two more; at one point Goldsmith lived in a house with his wife in one wing and his mistress in another. This colourful character died of pancreatic cancer at the early age of 64. 

In the Offshore Sailing world the name Ellen MacArthur is instantly recognisable, particularly for her record-breaking solo circumnavigation in 2005 on the trimaran B&Q. Subsequently she founded the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust (The EMCT); its aim is to provide an adventurous outlet for teenagers in their remission from cancer. In my capacity as a business coach I provided some pro bono assistance to the CEO.

She spoke at the Southampton Boat Show in 1998: “I don’t know where my motivation comes from …… but one thing I’ve learnt over the past year is that if deep down in your heart you have a goal, you CAN achieve it. Getting to that stage has pushed me hard, harder than I ever imagined, but I have experienced moments more rewarding and more beautiful than in my wildest dreams. Yes, it’s true; luck does play a part in it. But if you believe, and are determined, you can build your own luck … and realize that the vision is really NOT so far away.”

Albert Einstein is often quoted and he had a great wit: “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity; and I am not sure about the universe.”

The late American author Philip Roth wrote some interesting books, among them ‘The Human Stain’ (Note 2), ‘Goodbye Columbus’ and ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’.

He never shied away from writing how it is: “We leave a stain, we leave a trail, we leave an imprint, impurity, cruelty, abuse, error, excrement, semen – there’s no other way to be here. The truth about us is endless …… as are the lies.”

Some writers are delightfully descriptive; I know it adds to my enjoyment of their stories:

The warmth of the day lingered in the still of the night”. Claire Frances, who first came to prominence as a 1977 Round-The-World yacht skipper, has written some good novels.

Oslo was at this hour hers, like sharing a stolen hour from a secret lover. The hills to the east lay in shadows, those to the west bathed in a soft light. The buildings in the city centre were black silhouettes like a cemetery at sunrise. A few glass buildings were lit up like silver coloured fish beneath the dark surface of the water.” Jo Nesbo author

The sea looked like a colourful quilt of sunshine and clouds.” I love this, can imagine narrowing my eyes against the reflection of the sun off the choppy water, and the thousand colourful patches.

A limerick is a short and fun four or five line poem with a distinctive rhythm, popularised by Edward Lear (1812 – 1888).

“There was a young man from Forfar, (Note 1)

Who caught the three three for Forfar,

For he said: “I believe I will leave

far before the four four for Forfar.”

In my business coaching days, I would always summarise a meeting with a client with a follow-up letter, often appending some phrase or saying at the bottom. Sounds a little corny, but I hoped that my client would read, mark and inwardly digest the words, for they had a message! I often used these words spoken by Brutus from Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’: “There is a time in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.  Omitted, all the voyage of one’s life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea am I now afloat, and I must take the current when it serves or lose my venture.”

Love: having written about doomed love in my PCs entitled ‘What is This Thing Called Love?” (1&2), I reflect that writing about love is bound to be hugely coloured by one’s own experiences. Some authors are good at describing sex and all its attendant emotions, others gloss over it.

Dolly Alderton, the Sunday Times Columnist would, I had imagined, have been good, but in her book Ghosts she seemed rather shy of graphic descriptions!! When fictional Nina falls in love with Max it’s very bland. Then Max disappears …… ghosting is a new phenomenon in the complex world of human relationships. Maybe she had given her all in her autobiographical “Everything I know About Love” – which is a fun and revealing book.

I am grateful to Meg Mason for this description, from Sorry & Bliss; Martha, after the first two attempts at physical contact, thought: “The third time, it felt like we had been melted down and made into another thing. We lay for so long afterwards, facing each other in the dark, not talking, our breath in the same pattern, our stomachs touching. We went to sleep that way and woke up that way. It was the happiest I have ever felt.” Sexy huh?

Louis de Berniere, author of ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, ‘Birds Without Wings’ and others

From his book ‘The Autumn of the Ace’

“Nothing is or is not as it seems
As we are, so you shall be,
As you are, so were we,
As dancing motes of golden dust
We whirled within our beam of light,
And then became, but always were,
This dust that falls from dreams.”

…….. this dust that falls from dreams ……. (to be continued)

Richard 8th October 2021


Note 1 Forfar is a town in Scotland about 20kms north of Dundee, on the east coast

Note 2 The Human Stain was made into a film starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman

PC 250 Summarising the last year’s PCs

There’s a well-known saying that a picture paints a thousand words (note 1) ……. and my weekly post’s word-count is generally about that. By way of illustration, we could certainly write a 1000 words about this …….

I have selected 50 photographs from those that accompanied the last fifty postcards; visible only for my Facebook followers. For my newer readers who might want to read some of the back catalogue, I sense it’s quite a daunting task, although a look at the summary PCs (PCs 100 and 200) might help you make a selection. Having increased the posts to one a week, I hear chums say it’s easy to ‘get behind’ but actually most are about 7 minutes to read, so with a good cup of coffee ……..

Of these twelve months’ worth, there’s obviously very little written about travelling, apart from PC 241, but there are six about sailing experiences! I hope those of you who sail, or who would like to, found these more interesting than those of you for whom the idea of getting cold and wet and feeling sick is akin to standing in a cold shower ripping up £5 notes. (Note 2)

I have tried not to get too morose about Covid, which has been with us for the last year and more. Recently a good friend told Celina how 34 out of 60 participants in some equestrian get-together, all double-vaccinated, later came out with Covid symptoms. We still need to be sensible in how we go about our lives. One possible outcome of the pandemic and the wet blanket that it drapes across our normal activities was explored in PC 233 ‘Am I Obese?’ Suffice to say it was a little wake-up call and the wobble has reduced significantly!

I pulled together a lot of other individuals’ comments about this and that in ‘Collections’ (PC 247) and there are two more in a similar vein to come. ‘What is This Thing Called Love’ looked at love affairs that were doomed. The more I read the more I found, so there is another part to this trio to come; a departure from my normal stand-alone scribbles.   

PC 234 ‘No buts …. no butts’ exploring the disposal of the cigarette butt would, I thought, have produced a similar number of comments as PC 47 on Loo Paper, but I was disappointed. “The disposal of the butt was always an issue, but everyone was ignorant of the problem. The cigarette filter is 99% cellulose acetate which is a plastic. We have changed our thinking about plastic bags and about plastic straws and now we need to focus on how we get rid of our butts. ………Discarding your cigarette stub has been described as “The Last Acceptable form of Littering”. Let’s all try to make this completely unacceptable and a rare event, like not wearing your seat belt or drinking and then driving. So no “But ….”; just “No Butts!”

You may recall PC 208 Wills & Pens and how both my witnesses for a new Will signing expressed surprise at my option of a fountain pen for them to complete their task? In the newspaper just last week I read that one in ten (10%!) people in Britain admit to not having written anything by hand in the past year – meaning they haven’t picked up a pencil, biro or fountain pen, not that they were dipping a finger into some inkwell. A quarter of those aged between 18 and 24 said they never used cursive script to write a letter or postcard yet half of those surveyed loved receiving handwritten letters! (Note 3)

Often my little brain thinks of something which might develop into a topic for a postcard and I dump these thoughts into Notes on my iPhone or onto Word on my laptop and collect them together: examples in this ‘fifty’ are ‘Ephemera’ 221, ‘Thinking Out loud’ 228, ‘Observations’ number 230 and ‘Chewing The Fat’ 206.

Most of the time I feel fairly apolitical, getting irritated about the issue and not its political colour. Here, in the aftermath of the awful 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, when 72 people were burned to death, the current government is lacking the grip needed to sort out the resultant building scandal. (See Generosity in Government PC 235). In last Sunday’s Times a headline ‘Building Bosses’ Profits Dwarf Fire Safety Cash’ suggested that the CEOs of the ten biggest property developers paid themselves £708 million in dividends, shares and pay over the last three years, £65 million more than they have allocated to fix the dangerous homes they have built. Doesn’t sound fair does it? Mind you, as the inquiry into the fire uncovers more shoddy standards and compromises, the truth, hopefully, will out! (Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice’.).

Talking of truth, that word has been under the microscope a little in the last year and I tried to pull some of the issues together in ‘Truth, the Whole Truth (PC226). In my last paragraph I wrote: ‘What is striking are these new ideas about what is true, what is your truth or my truth and what isn’t; to use a playing card analogy, that a ‘lived experience’ can trump ‘hard evidence and intellectual analysis’. One person’s version of past events can be rather different – summed up nicely by the statement from The Queen – “recollections may vary”.’

I had some fun with ‘They Go Together ….’ (PCs 39 & 40) and I hope you found them amusing to read?

Richard 1st October 2021


Note 1Reportedly first used by Frederick R. Barnard in Printer’s Ink  in December 1921, while commenting that graphics can tell a story as effectively as a large amount of descriptive text.

Note 2 This was the oft-reported figure, although with inflation I suspect it’s gone up to £20 or more?

Note 3 Just like another news item the other day that reported 96% of those who live here in the UK can’t swim 100 m ….. or tread water for 2 minutes! Shock horror! And we an island nation.