Wednesday, 24 March 2010


This is how to put photos where you want them within your blog.
  1. Write your blog, in part or full as you wish.
  2. When you want to insert a photo, use the 'Add Image' icon to select and upload the photo. It will always appear at the top of the post.
  3. Click 'Edit HTML' at the top RH corner. You'll see a lot of gobbledegook at the top of the post - that's the photo! You can now cut/copy and paste this stuff to wherever you want within the post.
  4. Switch back to 'Compose' and you'll see the result.

Simple, isn't it? SO WHY ISN'T IT????

Experiment results follow:

photo 1 follows

Some more text - photo 2 follows

final text - if you've read this far - am I an idiot, or senile, or a senile idiot, or all three, for not twigging this simple procedure from the outset? Or am I still missing the easy way?


The Guardian has been running a correspondence in its letters page, people out-clicheing each other for what seems like, ooh, a year and a day. Trouble is, you can't keep up. Cliches are now entirely the province of journalism, and journalists' job is to keep one jump ahead of the zeitgeist: so journo A coins a killing phrase on day 1; day 2, journo 2 schticks it into an article or leader; day 3, it's a brand-new cutting-edge cliche. Day 4, it's in a letter to the Guardian.

But, a letter today suggested that the latest one might be 'I did nothing wrong'. Now that's wrong. The correct formulation is 'I did nothing against the rules'. And that's an important distinction, albeit one with an increasingly (decreasingly?) small difference. Notions of what is right or wrong are blurring into notions of what is legal or illegal. Which brings me neatly to Lord Ashcroft.

I had an enlightening conversation the other evening with a fairly eminent and well-informed person who was able, from direct experience, to confirm my impression that the Lord had had it set up, in 1999, in such a way that the tax regime would be totally legal, would conform in any superficially apparent way to the undertakings given to Hague, and wouldn't questioned (or even noticed) for, let's say, ten years - "which of course gave him ten years' worth of tax, whatever", as my friend put it.

Anyway, WTF. What goes around comes around - and a week's a long time, as the saying goes.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Road Rage Record

I needed to write this down, and thought the blog was as good a place as any. I don't expect comments or anything, though they're of course always welcome. At the least, you'll be able to witness the fact that I wrote the record within 24 hours of the incident (this is mostly a transcription of my notes made during today).

Monday 15 March 5.30 - 6.00 p.m.

  • I'm on my way through Reading to pick up Kate for an evening with Linda and Alan in Datchet.
  • I'm tailgated (2 metres behind me) along Tilehurst Road and down Castle Hill by a white BMW reg T 758 JUR. (It's driven, I later find, by a scouser called P. Pickering. Mobile number 07532 169533)
  • At the roundabout he jumps a red light and takes the right hand lane (IDR) on the slip road. I catch up in the LH lane for Mill Lane.
  • He takes the IDR, then cuts in to the next slip road, trying to get in front of everyone but ending up behind me, ducking and weaving through the traffic so that he ends up in the middle lane, me in the right lane, both following signs and road markings to join Mill Lane (you really need a map to follow this, it's a very complicated junction, but just bear with me - at this point, we're both in the correct lane for where we want to go, even though he's broken at least three laws to get there).
  • Mill Lane starts as two lanes which merge into one. The signs say 'merge in turn'. He's a car's length behind me, to my left, so I signal left and prepare to merge ahead of him. He decides at this point to accelerate, still desperate to be in front - and sideswipes my car with his front bumper.
  • We pull up in the hatched area where the lanes merge.


  • We get out and inspect the damage. It was a minor impact - a graze. No real damage to my car, a bit of loose bumper trim on his.
  • Notwithstanding, he immediately opens up a tirade of abuse and threat which scares me (I'm a physical coward at the best of times, and have still, after 65+ years, not evolved a working set of responses to this kind of stuff).
  • My recollections of just a few of his choice phrases - it'll give you a flavour of his thought processes as well as his mindset and his communication skills:
  • "You fucking cut me up, you wanker, you was in the wrong lane (I wasn't), you cut me up"
  • "I've got a witness" (I laughed at this point, which didn't help)
  • "I'm going to follow you home"
  • "I'd break your nose if you wasn't so old"
  • (later, after I'd made an ill-advised comment 'there's something wrong with you, mate') "I'm going to break your nose anyway" (He didn't)
  • (later still) "I'd break your fucking nose if there wasn't all these cameras around" (he seems to have this obsession with my nose)
  • Much more of the same - that'll do as a sample.
  • He threatens several times to call the police. I say OK, call them (although I really don't want this as I know Kate's getting anxious and I don't have her number on my mobile), but of course he doesn't - pretends to a couple of times, but I call his bluff.
  • My sole response to all of this is "we need to exchange names and addresses". I write mine down.
  • He insists that we need to exchange insurance details as well (we don't), and foolishly I eventually give him my policy number.
  • By now, I've had enough. I can see that he's written down his name and insurance policy on a card, but I still don't have his address. I press him for this, and eventually he says "it's on the back". We exchange cards/notes and drive off.
  • Of course, his address isn't on the back of the card, just a mobile number. So he's actually committed a crime called 'leaving the scene of an accident without ...' whatever.
  • Just before we leave, his parting shot, on seeing my address, is "My mate John lives there - he'll be knocking at your door".
  • I'm in some fear that he's going to to follow me to Kate's, but thankfully he turns right into Basingstoke Road. Hopefully I'll never see the little shit again.
So far, neither Pete or John have called round. I have my defences (door chain, phone, digital camera, machete) at the ready.