An Oh-S0-Special Summer Solstice


What’s rarer than a Blue Moon?

A Strawberry one of course.

Yes, it’s summer solstice and the longest day of the year but as if that’s not special enough for you, there’s something big to look forward to tonight. For the first time in almost 70 years the solstice will coincide with a full moon and we should have a Strawberry Moon.


Don’t expect a big old strawberry colored moon though, the names comes from the season being one of berries and it’ll actually be more rose or honey colored…unless we are so very lucky. There might be a very logical explanation about it being low in the sky and  humidity but I choose to merely marvel at the spectacle.

I think I will adopt that saying from now on, Once in a Strawberry Moon, it sounds so much more sophisticated and apt to spark conversation, don’t you think?


Let’s not forget…

henrycooper_146572b1The name of the opponent synonymous to Muhammed Ali is George Foreman, a name as commonly used as the grill he’s famous for promoting. But let’s not forget that Ali had opponents more formidable than the soundly defeated Foreman.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m English and back in the days when I was growing up in a pretty poor town in the Midlands, TV’s were not at all common. We had the first one in our street and one of my earliest memories is being squeezed out of our living room because all the neighbors had dropped by to watch Neil Armstrong take those first famous steps onto the surface of the moon. But my dad hadn’t scrimped and saved his shillings, watched them turn into pounds over the years to buy a TV for such frivolous things as moon landings…our TV was bought so we could watch sport. The weekends were for football, rugby and cricket, and watching good old Lester Piggott bring the winner past the finishing line. For my nan it was the wrestling on a Saturday afternoon at 4 when her favorites Giant Haystacks and Mick McManus would crush the opposition inside, and sometimes outsides, the ropes. As much as my dad loved Match of the Day and sitting there with his piece of paper and pen waiting to check the results and see if he’d won The Pools, nothing compared to watching the boxing and my place was on his knee while I was small enough to fit and by his side when I wasn’t. The first thing my dad said he’d watched on our first little brown Bakelite set was Henry Cooper vs Cassius Clay in 1963, Cooper knocked down the young Clay, sent him crashing to the ring floor and whenever my dad recalled the moment it would always be with a smile and a chuckle. He never did say whether or not he had a couple of shilling riding on the outcome but I know we had a rare week in Morcombe Bay for our holidays that summer. The fight I remember is when my hero Joe Bugner went the distance with Ali, I sat glued to the set for what seemed like a lifetime, my heart regularly jumping into my throat…and boy was it close when they called out the numbers at the end, closer than anyone would have ever imagined. There was no trip to Morcombe that year, we had to make do with a weekend in Blackpool .

So, we can celebrate the life of a great fighter but let’s not forget the men who were his opponents and made him a legend.

Little Suckers!


So this is MooMoo, he may have a pretty low IQ on the puss-cat scale and despite the huge tail (photo of very impressive bushy tail available on request) an inadequate sense of balance but he is adorable by any standard… and he has fleas! Oh yes, let me assure you that coat of his is crawling with them. No amount of combing, dollops of expensive liquid of questionable potency on the back of his neck, medicated shampoos or herbal tablets have had any effect! I am finding that the impressive claims of all the aforementioned concoctions totally bogus. He runs the risk of being shaved…

What’s with the names?

A couple of people have asked, ‘So why are some of the British characters in your books sounding like they’re Roman if they hate them so much?’ Well, the Roman emperor Julius Caesar invaded Britain a couple of times before,  in 55 and 54 BC, and eventually managed to install a king for a while. The whole name thing…just something that got left behind when they were ousted.

I love answering questions about Britannica, writing about the books is almost as enjoyable as it was to write them. I encourage you to ask, there’s no such thing as a stupid question, if you are thinking it I guarantee you are not alone. Mind you, thinking about it, there is one stupid question, ‘Should I read an instalment?’ Because the answer is simple, yes!

I plan a huge rewrite next year before I issue the instalments back together again as books, possibly as a trilogy and your input may help shape that new version. So read an instalment or two, or all of them and tell me…what do you think?


The thing under the sink…

th5XGTKBDGI can’t help having a quick rant. Having just moved house I am once again faced with a chunk of useless metal under my sink, (rest assured that when I put in a new kitchen in my last house a waste disposal unit was not on the Ikea shopping list) and now I am having to deal with clogs and back-flows and the stink associated with it. Is it not time we did away with these obsolete heaps of scrap metal?

I will elaborate just in case someone is stupid enough to be thinking, I couldn’t be without mine I use it all the time! Please note that I gleaned the following information from various sources whilst considering if I should ever install a disposal unit again and whilst I cannot attest to the complete accuracy, I pass on my findings to you completely convinced that they are in all probability, truthful.

You may have heard some propaganda, probably emanating from Sinkerator or whatever it’s called, that food scraps in landfills decompose quickly and produce the greenhouse gas methane that does way more damage to  the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Plus, just as scary, it putrefies into an acidic liquid that seeps into ground water. The only sane solution…use a waste disposal in your sink. I think not, and in my not so humble opinion, neither should you.

As with all good marketing there is a bending of the truth. Yes, when trapped underground moist organic materials produce gas which is maybe 50-70% methane…not something we want in our atmosphere. But these days our new landfills here in California that hold more than 2.5 million cubic meters install gas collection systems and some even use the methane to generate their own electricity. Other, older landfills are being modified to do the same and I read that excess gas (of which there should be a considerable amount) will be piped to add to our supply of Natural Gas because they are one and the same.

The same cannot be said for gas emitted by waste water treatment plants, the place that your crunched up food waste goes when you put them through your disposal. Now think about it a second…that’s all it’ll take, you put crap into the water and someone has to take it out, meaning more energy costs and horrifically in my mind, more chemicals. And where do the solids that are riddled with chemicals go? You guessed it, to the landfill, about 30% of the solids you flush into the system from what I can gather. So, has anyone connected the dots yet? The way I see it is that not only do we get the dreaded acid leaching into the water table anyway, we get the added bonus of a whole shit-load of chemicals. Then there is the problem of moving all that waste material through our city’s waste system. HELLO! It requires a lot of water and water, in case you haven’t noticed is in short supply. Here are the stats I found: 19% of California’s electricity and 32% of its natural gas use is used to pump water and wastewater! More dots to connect, pumping water uses a lot of energy and therefore, looking at the bigger picture, contributes a significant amount to global warming.

So, unless you compost at home, the better alternative is to put only your compostable fresh, green, raw veggie scraps in your green bin (be sensible here) and ALL other food waste straight into the garbage. Don’t get me started on fats…

Keep our water clean!