None for the Road

None for the Road

The post open heart regime is two units(two glasses of wine) a day and two alcohol free days a week. The days when alcoholics were advised not to drink more than a litre a day are sadly long gone. So how’s it going? I have exceeded two units  about half a dozen times in six months and though there have been alcohol free days, the two days a week  I have found impossible. Even two glasses makes enough difference to look forward to and relish.

(A major plus of cutting down from 13 units(3 pints, a double and three glasses ) a day has been my weight has stayed a stone and half less than  pre op.)

My hero Chris Hitchens  admitted to at least a bottle of wine plus a few scotches every day. Doctors always double whatever  you  admit.Delightfully he wrote in  his autobiography, “Alcohol makes people less tedious and food less bland as well can help to  provide inspiration”(to say nothing of a sex life.).

Anyway the Hitch gives us some golden rules of drinking which are worth repeating if coming a bit late in my alcohol reduced state.

Dont drink on a empty stomach; the main point of drink is the enhancement of food

Dont drink if you have the blues, its a junk cure

Drink when you are in a good mood

Cheap booze is a false economy

Drinking alone can involve the happiest glasses you ever drain

Hangovers are a bad sign

Not remembering an even worse sign

As is having a drinking start time

Narcotics make you  even more boring

Never think about driving even you have taken a drop

The Hitch died aged 63. Which proves  anything you want.

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The Love that Dared

The Love That Dared

Julian Rathbone wrote about being a pretty boy at Clayesmore, Alec Waugh about  the hot house affairs at Sherborne.  John Peel  wrote of being raped at Shrewsbury, in most public schools pretty ,younger boys were lusted after like girls, sexual favours were rife at Stowe and mutual masturbation common at Eton.. Before 1970 most boarding schools had their share of love affairs, crushes and deep sighs.

I was reminded of this when reading Hitch 22 the largely excellent autobiography of the  brilliant Christopher Hitchens(1949-2011). Here he  writes of the night life at the Leys School, Cambridge 1963-67.

“Most boys  decided  quite early on that since their penises would evidently gave them no rest at all, they would repay the favour by giving  their penises no respite in return. The night was loud with boasts and the groans which resulted from this endless and  fairly evenly matched combat  between chaps and  their cocks. To even the dullest lad, furthermore, it would sometimes occur to think that self abuse was wasted on self, and might be better relished in mixed company. Some were choosy about their company, some less so, but I can only remember a very few  boys who abstained(or to put it more cruelly were so unappetising to be left out of) this compensation for the general hellishness of male adolescence. It was quite possible to arrange a vigorous session of mutual relief without a word being spoken, even without eye contact.”

Never put better. My lips are sealed.

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Prayers for Brexit

Prayers for Brexit

Sunday found us in the 12th century St Margaret’s , Wadham,Sussex. The old churchyard  with its leaning stones and cracked tombs had recently been cut, the sun was strong. It was here as a boy Shelley locked himself in as a prank and learnt the religion from which he would rebel.

More recently it was here that number one son, Leo and Vicky married and it here in a few weeks Delilah Belle will be christened. To get the Cof E points to qualify the family must attend a few services. So like worthy Victorians the Thompsons filled a pew. There were 50 others in the congregation.

Before the service we exchanged a few jolly words with the Rev Jules Barnes. She turned out to be a better vicar than preacher. A dull sermon and worse hymns, the service did not add up to much.  Delilah and Octavia were as bored as the rest of us. But at some point our prayers were asked for Brexit. So thats sorted. From now on  as the wheels fall of May’s  Mystery Tours,its His fault.

Though I do remember a few years  ago sitting next to a devout Catholic and asking her if she believed in the power of prayer. She said of course. So I said how come every week 100 million Anglicans  pray for the Queen and   her family, yet they  are one of the most dysfunctional families north of the river.

She replied  with all the seriousness of her faith, Perhaps you are not praying properly. Maybe we Anglicans havent got the right number. Theresa May is a vicar’s daughter and if she doesn’t know His number,who does. And without His help  Brexit is doomed. Light that candle,you never know.

So there we are. St Margaret of Cortona was deserted by her lover and  became  a nun and doer of good deeds. She is now the patron saint of the wrongly accused ,the homeless, single mothers and step children. So I qualify, but a rather heavy work load for even the  hardest working saint.

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Love is Like

Love is Like

A stove, it burns you when its hot. Love hurts.

So crooned Roy Orbison(see link).

But it hurts some more than others. When gay historian Lytton Strachey died of cancer his partner  the artist Dora Carrington topped herself. It was a Bloomsbury thing.

This came to mind when I picked up and started to google last week’s suicides of  Sophie Gradon and Aaron Armstrong.

Many of my readers wouldn’t have heard of either. But viewers of ITV2s Love Island know the score. This is the ultimate. Reality TV made Real. She was ex Miss Newcastle and Miss GB,worked as a model  and marketing manager, was a high profile charity worker.

She became even higher profile when in 2016 when she was on Love Island. She not only “got off” with hunky barman Tom but when he left the Island she got off with Kate,thereby making the tabloids really get the message, this girl was not only on reality tv but a Reality TV Star. She had another spell with Tom. This is the 21st century, get real.

Then came flings with Wayne Lineker(brother), rugby star Danny Cipriani, none of which stopped the tabloid frenzy. She loved love, the tabloids loved her and the stove was  getting hotter. At 32  she recently claimed 25 year Aaron Armstrong was the one. She posted a video of the amateur boxer,hunk playing with  his dog, “When the love of your life loves his dog like this you know he is the one”. Of course a cold beast like me cannot get the logic of that statement, but hey.

Around this time  Sophie admits to  anxiety and depression. Love sometimes is not enough. On midsummers  day her merry go round stopped and  Aaron found her dead in her parents house. He posted “Everyday we spent together  was so amazing I want those days back”. Trolls attacked him for attention seeking. He hit back and admitted  a similar lost girlfriend and suicide attempt four years ago.

Reality TV suddenly got very Real.  Five weeks after  his “princess” had  taken the road less travelled he took the same ride. Shortly before  death Aaron had Instagrammed “I wish I could cuddle you all day”. The language of love and reality tv says now he can.

There is a line in the song,”I know itsnt true That love is just a lie to make you feel blue” Oh no.

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Old Story

Old  Story


The death this week of the excellent Lord Carrington (soldier, politician, diplomat) reminded me of  an old story. Its  1972 and he  an Harold Macmillan are in the Carlton     Club watching the US presidential primaries. Senator Muskie comes on and breaks down in tears  saying he can no longer run as his wife has been outed as an alcoholic.

Mac turns to Carrington  and drawls” Really I can never understand these Americans,fancy resigning over a silly thing like your wife liking a drink or two.

Carrington replies “Oh come on Harold,how would you like it if Lady Dorothy was all over the press as an alcoholic.”(Lady Dorothy MacMillan had a long affair with bi sexual Lord Boothby)

Mac strokes his famous moustache and says,”If people started talking of Lady Dorothy being an alcie I would just say, you should have seen her mother.”

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Out and About


Out and About

OK so football is not coming home. Did you really expect.. Get real. It was a good game with both sides missing chances and the best side won. There are more important issues.

We  should all get out more. Last Saturday, while 20 million plus watched England versus Sweden,30,000 brave souls went on the Pride in London march. But something of a hissy fit developed. As the brave lessies, queers, either ways and turnarounds danced their way through London another group,ten strong went to the front on the march and caused moral mayhem. One weeps. One beats one’s breast. One is saddened, Has it  come to this?

For  a  radical lesbian group  complete with banners “Lesbian=Female Homosexual” had jumped to the  front of the march. This Get the L Out group want  lesbians to leave the LBGT alliance. Of course its important, pay attention.

They feel that lesbians once famous for their cigars, corduroy suits, crew cuts and  sports ability are now being forced by the  transgender lobby to change into men. This has made me think seriously about some of the members of my men only drinking club.

But the Pride march organisers threw a complete hissy fit over these brave girls, unfortunately I was watching the football so I don’t know whether they were wearing dungarees or summer dresses. The Pride organisers issued a statement stating these lessies “showed a level of bigotry,ignorance and hate which is unacceptable.” Right On.

In reply the group admitted to “bad ass,direct action”. Its war.

A  quick google and I find not only has battle been joined but the full details of  Get the L(great slogan) demands are laid out. I include one objection to the LBGT movement. It

“Promotes the rights of heterosexual males who “identify” as women and lesbians (despite most of them still retaining their male genitals) over the rights of lesbians to choose their sexual partners. This new ‘queer’ LGBT politics thus coerces lesbians to accept the penis as a female organ and promotes heterosexual intercourse between male and female as a form of lesbian sex. This is simply a new facet to rape culture and compulsory heterosexuality.”

A Get The L Out spokeswoman said: “We protested to protect our rights and on behalf of all the lesbians intimidated, threatened and silenced by the GBT community everywhere.

“The GBT community today, by supporting the rights of males who “identify as lesbians” (also called “transwomen”) over the rights of lesbians to choose their sexual partners (on the basis of their sex, not how they “identify”) is in fact enforcing heterosexuality on lesbians.

“This is a misogynistic and anti-lesbian manifestation of the rape culture we live


Exactly. While we  in the club talk aimlessly,pointlessly about cricket,missed chances and Brexit there are more important things. I am not getting out more ,I am so shocked I am not ever going out again. Trump is coming, perhaps he can sort it out.

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One for Sorrow


One for sorrow two for joy

Three for a girl, four for a boy

Five for silver,six for gold

Seven for a secret never to be told

Eight for dream,Nine for a wish

Goes the rhythm about magpies,always the source of superstition and anger. Children used to divide the numbers on their bus tickets by seven  and  the remainder told which  “magpie”   number was theirs. Northern girls would cover their luck by asking magpies how their wives were,farmers boys would always say “Good morning Mr Magpie”. Whatever

Magpies are growing in numbers, encouraged by the decline in game keepers and the growth of road kill carrion which is the magpie favourite. That was not my inspiration. It was the decline in the once queues  of sparrows and blue tits coming to our bird feed. One of the few up sides to old age is bird watching ,time for, appreciation of, a joy in .

The   decline of these  small chums coincided with the regular sighting of a pair of magpies. Swaggering like gangsters collecting protection. Hardly a joy. I am no David Attenborough but I have heard tell. And all my books and research show that the eggs and young of small birds are part of magpie’s spring diet

As our glorious summer unfolds there has been some return of our small pals. Interestingly on the next feed the gold finches peck away at  their niger seeds without a second thought of those” black and white brutes”,those machine gun like chatterers. Maybe the legend that links  gold finches with Jesus is enough to keep magpies,who work for someone else at bay.

But as te Rev Collins wrote in Britsh Birds and their Haunts in 1882,” it(the magpie) has gained the unenviable notoriety as a prowling bandit. In the harrying of birds’ nests no schoolboy can compete. Pheasants and smaller birds are watched to their retreat and plundered of their eggs and their young.”

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