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26 September 2009

Death to the "Trumblies"!

I've just driven 15 miles on a 60 mph road at 35 mph because some guy 3 cars in front (with nothing in front of him) has decided that's the speed we should be doing. A mile of cars behind us could do nothing because of oncoming traffic on the other side. Pathetic! Why do these people have driving licences?


Changing the subject, why are we all getting so worked up about Iran developing nuclear weapons? For 40 years the USA and USSR confronted each other with WMD which nobody dare use because of the unthinkable consequences. If Iran launched a nuclear attack against the West, Iran would be obliterated. It follows that Ahmed I'm-a-dinner-jacket would not use it.

20 September 2009

Forget the Plane - go by Train!

We have just returned from a week's river cruise on the Saone and Rhone in the south of France. We started and finished in Lyon. The vacation package included first class train travel to and from the cruise ship. We made our own arrangements to get to London from York, using National Express Trains. After an overnight stay in London, we boarded the Eurostar at the beautiful new St Pancras International train station, and that took us via the Channel Tunnel to Lille in northern France.

At Lille we changed to a French double-decker TGV that whisked us comfortably down to the south of France at speeds approaching 200 mph. A short transfer by coach from the station to the cruise ship moorings and we were on board the Princesse de Provence by tea time.

After a week's cruising these beatiful rivers, visiting Tournus, Chalon-sur-Saone, Macon, Trevoux, Avignon, and Vienne, taking in the 2000-year old Roman Aqueduct Pont du Gard, and the vineyards of Beaujolais and Chateau-neuf-du-Pape we returned to North Yorkshire by the same route. We left the south of France at 10.40 a.m. and were back in Northern England within seven and a half hours. The journey was smooth, fast and comfortable, with fast check-in, passport control and security checks on the Eurostar leg of the journey.

You would be hard put to beat these times travelling by plane, with which you have all the usual long check-in times, general airport nightmares, and travel to and from airports. You avoid all this by train and, moreover, you actually see something on the journey.

Unless you have to cross a vast ocean to get where you are going, forget the plane - go by train.

07 September 2009


Why are we there?

What have we achieved?

This, from today's New York Times ..

“We think that about 15 percent of the polling sites never opened on Election Day,” the senior Western diplomat said. “But they still managed to report thousands of ballots for Karzai.”

Besides creating the fake sites, Mr. Karzai’s supporters also took over approximately 800 legitimate polling centers and used them to fraudulently report tens of thousands of additional ballots for Mr. Karzai, the officials said.

The result, the officials said, is that in some provinces, the pro-Karzai ballots may exceed the people who actually voted by a factor of 10. “We are talking about orders of magnitude,” the senior Western diplomat said.

We are told by the politicians that our boys and girls in uniform are there (1) to make safe the streets of America and Europe from the threat of terrorism and (2) to encourage the Afghans to take the democratic path as an alternative to the tyranny of the Taliban.

Well, with regard to keeping us safe from terrorism I haven't noticed that our world has been a safer place in recent years, and with regard to democracy, the last I heard was that democracy has nothing to do with faking thousands of votes.

So - I want somebody to tell me again - why are we there, and what have we achieved?