Monthly Archives: October 2023

  • Dumb Britons bought property in Italy but voted for Brexit

    In what clearly counts as an instance of buyer’s remorse, today’s inews carries a piece about two Britons – one in his thirties and from Bristol, the other a pensioner from Winchester, who both voted for Brexit and now seem surprised they cannot get visas to live permanently in their respective properties, as per the screenshot below of the report’s headline and byline.

    Headline reads - ‘I made a huge mistake’: Brexit-
voting Briton can’t get visa to live in his £43,000 Italian home. Byline reads - A 35-year-old graphic designer from Bristol told i he wishes he could ‘turn back time and vote Remain’

    Both are now suffering remorse and a feeling of betrayal (remember all those smooth-talking right-wing politicians who lied to the public saying nothing would really changed in our relationship with the EU and its member states? Ed.).

    As defined by the dictionary, the phrase buyer’s remorse has two meanings:

    • a sense of regret or uneasiness after having purchased a house, car, or other major item; and
    • a sense of regret after having committed to an endorsement, policy, plan of action, etc.

    Either of both of those definitions may be applicable in these two instances.

    These stories have a moral, i.e. think before you vote (bearing in mind that all politicians lie. Ed.) and always remember the law of unexpected consequences.

  • Shropshire Star exclusive: donkey has waist

    The Shropshire Star is a local newspaper serving the county where your ‘umble scribe was born. However, its role in the field of science – and the discipline of asinine anatomy in particular – has not previously been recognised.

    Until now, that is.

    On Friday the Star carried a report of a donkey with its back legs and rear stuck in a storm drain somewhere undisclosed in the vicinity of Market Drayton, your correspondent’s home town.

    The incident was attended by crews from Market Drayton, Telford Central and Wellington fire stations, who were able to extract the donkey called Amigo from the drain.

    The Star was so pleased with its contribution to asinine anatomy and veterinary science that it incorporated it into its headline: Firefighters rush to rescue donkey stuck waist-deep in storm drain,

    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
    Here’s a donkey. Spot the waist.
    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    There are two dictionary definitions of waist, one pertaining to anatomy, the other to apparel. Neither mentions donkeys:

    • the part of the body above and slightly narrower than the hips; and
    • the part of a piece of clothing that goes around or covers the area between the hips and the ribs.

    The Guardian also covered the story. Curiously, its account fails to mention Amigo’s waist. 😀

  • Dumb Britain abuses 999 service

    According to Wikipedia, “999 is an official emergency telephone number in a number of countries which allows the caller to contact emergency services for emergency assistance“, with approximately 35 million calls being made per year.

    The English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom. Ed.) uses the emergency number to provide a certain number of emergency services – ambulance, fire brigade, police and coastguard being the main ones, as well as – depending on location – lifeboat, mountain rescue, cave rescue, mine rescue and bomb disposal.

    However, and this is quite a significant however, one of the services not offered is advising the hard of thinking where they can get a haircut in the wee small hours, as the Bristol Post duly reported after reading Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s social media feed on X, formerly known as Twitter before man-baby Elon Musk spent his pocket money on the company.

    The post reads:

    999 call: Caller has stated he is in an emergency, as his local barbers are closed at 01:00am. Upon reflection, the caller agreed that it is unlikely that any barbers would be open at this time, and that this was not a Police matter.
    Tweet from Avon and Somerset Police Control Room reads 999 call: Caller has stated he is in an emergency, as his local barbers are closed at 01:00am. Upon reflection, the caller agreed that it is unlikely that any barbers would be open at this time, and that this was not a Police matter.

    The tweet was sent by Mr Plod as part of International Control Room Week which aims to highlight the work done by people working in 999 control rooms across the emergency services.

  • Cancelled show moved to imaginary Shropshire town

    Omid Djalili. Image courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsOne of the cultural jewels of Market Drayton – the town where your ‘umble scribe grew up – is the Festival Drayton Centre. However, in those days it was Frogmore Road Primitive Methodist chapel, a venue where my late mother took to the pulpit as a lay preacher when I was a child.

    Last Thursday Iranian-British comedian and actor Omid Djalili pulled out of a show at the Centre due to “personal threats due to the situation in Israel“, as reported by the BBC.

    The BBC did manage to get the essentials of the story correct. However, one significant national news outlet did not.

    Step forward The Independent, once a decent broadsheet newspaper that refused to publish trivia about the so-called royal family, but now sadly reduced to a badly researched news website with irritating properties and mediocre content.

    In its rendition of the story, The Independent wrote as follows:

    On Thursday (19 October), Djalili was scheduled to perform at the Festival Drayton Centre in West Drayton, Shropshire. However, the show was pulled hours before its scheduled opening due to safety concerns for the star.

    No gazetteer of Shropshire features such a place as West Drayton. Whilst Market Drayton itself consists of two parishes – Drayton in Hales and Little Drayton (also known as Drayton Parva. Ed.), but of an occidental Drayton, there’s not a sign.

    Within the polluting embrace of London’s M25 orbital car park there is the London suburb of West Drayton, whilst another village of the same name exists in Nottinghamshire.

    Your correspondent notes that the Independent piece was written by a ‘culture reporter and reviewer‘ writing mostly for titles based within that there London, so perhaps the geographical ignorance can be excused. 🙂

  • Dumb Britain personified

    One of the regular features of Private Eye magazine is its Dumb Britain column, which typically records the answers clueless quiz show contestants have given on TV.

    The advent of social media has now enabled the entire population to show how stupid they can be without the need to apply to appear on a TV quiz show, as in the case of one unidentified woman from Armthorpe near Doncaster, which was duly reported 2 days ago by the Daily Mirror.

    Headline reads Woman slams selfish paragliders who
made her think Hamas were invading Doncaster

    The story was also picked up by other tabloids, with Daily Mail commentards questioning the lady’s sanity – quite a feat given their single-digit IQs.

    If Hamas were contemplating invading Yorkshire, their paragliding aviators would have to train really hard, given the distance between Gaza City and God’s Own County is several multiples of the current world paragliding record of some 612 km for a straight line flight.

  • Commission fires warning shot across Musk’s bows

    EU flagThe EU Commission has announced it has sent a request for information to social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, under the Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA). It follows indications of the alleged spreading of illegal content and disinformation, in particular the spreading of terrorist and violent content and hate speech. Furthermore, the request also concerns compliance with other provisions of the DSA

    The Commission reports it is investigating X’s compliance with the DSA, including the following:

    • Policies and practices regarding notices on illegal content;
    • Complaint handling; and
    • Risk assessment measures to mitigate the risks identified.

    X needs to provide the requested information to the Commission by 18 October 2023 for questions related to the activation and functioning of X’s crisis response protocol and by 31 October 2023 on the rest. Based on the assessment of the replies, the Commission will assess next steps. This could entail the formal opening of proceedings under Article 66 of the DSA.

    The Commission can impose fines for incorrect, incomplete or misleading information in response to a request for information under Article 74 (2) of the DSA. If X does not reply, the Commission may decide to request the information by decision. In this case, failure to reply by the deadline could lead to the imposition of period penalties.

    Your ‘umble scribe believes that the platform owner’s normal response to those he does not like – a turd emoji – will not placate the inhabitants of the Berlaymont building in Brussels (posts passim).

  • Barton Hill’s monthly litter pick

    Barton Hill’s monthly community litter pick took place last Saturday.As usual, we assembled outside the Wellspring Settlement (formerly Barton Hill Settlement. Ed.) at 10 am on Saturday to decide where needed our attention most.

    We then tackled some of the Urban Park before proceeding to Cobden Street and its associated public open space and picnic table, a favourite spot with locals for drinking beer.

    This month saw the biggest turnout for several months – 5 in total; and whilst we were in the Urban Park organiser Shona took the email address of another prospective volunteer to add to the mailing list.

    At the end of one hour’s picking in pleasant, warm sunshine, we posed for the obligatory group photo before heading back to the Settlement for a well-deserved hot drink.

    Saturday's litter picking crew

    Here’s the swag we collected divided into recyclable materials (translucent bags) and general waste (green bags) awaiting collection by Bristol Waste.

    The haul of litter and recyclables

    Once again, many thanks to Shona for organising the event (as well as for the photos above. Ed.) and my fellow volunteers to turning out and working so willingly.

  • Free Software video now in 12 languages

    FSFE logoOver the last few weeks the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has been running a fundraising campaign to translate its “What is Free Software” video into more European languages. The FSFE’s Ana Galán writes: “Tanks to your contributions, it is now available in 12 languages! Albanian*, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish! You can find them all at“.

    In the next few months these videos will help the FSFE’s volunteers to reach out to their local candidates for the European Parliament and advocate the adoption of free software, explaining them why it is important and making politicians aware of the benefits of Software Freedom for society.

    * = To be released shortly

  • Happy retirement, Lesley!

    Regular readers will recall that the lovely community café at St Mark’s Baptist Church in Easton closed at the end of August (posts passim).

    Saturday last, 30th September, saw a retirement party for Lesley at the church. This was well attended by a broad range of people from Easton and beyond, all gathered to wish Lesley a happy retirement and partake of Lesley’s excellent cakes over which she’d laboured. These included not just church members, local traders, café users, foodbank volunteers and Abdul Malik from Easton Jamia Masjid, the mosque that faces the church across the street.

    Lesley with Abdul Malik from the church's close neighbour, from the mosque over the road.
    Lesley with Abdul Malik the church’s close neighbour, Easton Jamia Masjid.
    After a question and answer session with Lesley that covered the whole history of the café from its inception up to its closure in August, various people were invited out to the front, given a microphone and said a few words about the café, Lesley and so on. Abdul paid a great tribute (from what I could see wholly unscripted. Ed.) to Lesley and the collaboration between the chapel and mosque, particularly on large community events such as the Grand Iftar at the end of Ramadan.

    One of those invited to address the assembled throng was your ‘umble scribe, who was asked to read out his above-mentioned blog post, which was composed on the café’s final day and was received with general approbation.

    Lesley did drop some very serious hints that even though the café had now closed, that did not mean the end of catering activities for the community. Your correspondent will keep his ear to the ground and relay any information that comes to light.

    In the meantime, have a happy retirement, Lesley; and don’t be afraid to use your bus pass! 😉