Monday, December 20, 2010

Apprentice Stella

Mrs C returned from Scagton today to announce that we would be having a Capon for Christmas dinner.

My initial concerns about eating a Penguin were soon laid to rest after a surreptitious look on the internet revealed it to be a chicken that has had its conkers removed, or in teaching speak a Senior Management Chicken.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Amazon Kindle

You can now download my book from Amazon's Kindle Store here. I haven't tried one of these newfangled Kindles yet, so if you've got one let me know what you think of it.

Have also just watched the film Harry Brown and it's given me a few good ideas for how to pass the time when I become a pensioner. It is a real Christmas feel good film about a friendly old man who loves loves nothing better than to play a quiet game of chess with his friend and then murder a few drugs dealers. Inspirational stuff.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Student Fees Protests

The thought of 'making physical contact with Camilla' would have kept me at home last week rather than throwing things at the Police because the taxpayer would rather not pay for half a million barely literate 18 year olds to spend 3 years sitting around talking rubbish before receiving a degree in Ice Cream Sculpture.

Mind you, it does strike me that these events are another nail in the coffin for the traditional newspapers. You can either read some rumours and half truths cobbled together by someone who wasn't there, or read a blog like Inspector Gadget's which is full of comments from police and protesters who were.

Friday, December 10, 2010


If like me, you spend all your hard earned money on booze, then you should stop reading my witterings and head over to Laithwaites Wine. I've been a fan of theirs for a couple of years (or about 500 bottles, depending on how you measure time)

The true test of any company though, is how they deal with their mistakes. (At Chalk Enterprises, we think we're quite good at this because we have had such a huge amount of practice)

Anyway, when I phoned them up last week to complain bitterly that they had substituted three bottles in my Christmas Case without bothering to ask me, the man from Customer Services just replied:

"Try them and if you don't like 'em then we'll just knock their price off your next order or give you your money back, whatever you want."

This shut me up.

Believe it or not, they aren't giving me anything to write this, but if they offer to do so then I will be more than happy to accept.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Student Fees Protest

Best quotes I've heard so far:

"The Government got in debt, so they are putting the people in debt to get out of it!"

"£9000 per year! How are we going to afford twenty one grand over three years!"

"The police stole my wallet!"

"Everyone has the human right to be educated to their fullest extent!"

"What do we want? A Future!!! When do we want it? Now!!!"

And from one well dressed young man: "We have come from the slums of London!"

I didn't hear anybody chanting "Charge the Thickos!" and I still can't understand anything Ed Milliband says.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


If you are looking for a home for your hard earned savings then let me urge you with all my heart not to ever consider opening an account with Citibank.

They are perfectly legitimate bank and pay interest as and when they are supposed to, but wait until you try and contact Customer Services. I have now listened to three currysworth of Indian music and have been assured that my call is of great value several hundred times. When I finally got through to "Kevin" he was perfectly pleasant and polite, but unable to help me in any way, shape or form with my very simple request.

If you are as unwise as me then you will ask to be put through to the Head of Customer Services and "Kevin" will cheerfully reply with barely restrained delight; "Not a problem Sir!" before either cutting you off or placing you back on interminable hold where you can listen endlessly to how easy it is to send them an email (I did two weeks previously, but they never replied).

In my mind's eye, I can see him now, hooting with laughter as he entertains his friends over a mango lassi, with the tale of the enraged Englishman who fell for the 'Head of Customer Services' trick. Even as I write this they are putting together a new gag just in case I ever phone back.


When I was in my twenties, a friend and I had a routine, whereby whichever one of us was first asked by a girl what they did for a living, would always reply with casual modesty;

"Oh I'm a dolphin trainer."

Our rule was that the other one had to back up this claim, using one of a number of aquatic anecdotes and then in turn when an enquiry was made as to their employment, they had to be a bus driver. This would in turn be supported by an amusing tale of transport turmoil. We did it so many times that I once absent mindedly wrote it on my car insurance application.

I mention this only because the other day I was asked if I had any advice for my friend's son who was just starting his first job and it was the only thing I could think of.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Schools Closed Everywhere

Let's be honest, the number of schools that have been closed recently is a National disgrace.

Everybody points the finger at somebody else.

Parents who are forced to take annual leave to look after their children, blame the teachers for not making enough effort to turn up to work. They ask why they won't go to their nearest school to see if they are needed, like police or midwives do. Teachers reply that they can't get in to work and it's the Head in conjunction with the Local Authority who decide whether to close a school. They also claim that there are identification and CRB check issues with going to another school.

Heads say they close the schools because they need a minimum number of teachers there to legally open (and deny that it's because lots of pupils wouldn't turn up and make the absence figures look really bad). They also make the point that if they had to close midway through the day then the effects would be far worse than closing right from the start.

Local authorities say that if the emergency services can't get to a school then they are not legally allowed to open, or if a teacher skids on the car park and has an accident, or if a child slips in the playground and breaks their arm, then they will be sued, so it's all the fault of the ambulance chasing solicitors.

Solicitors in turn would say that they are simply going their job meeting a demand from parents and teachers. They would blame mad judges for awarding huge sums in compensation for trivial accidents. The judges would say that they weren't mad but simply follow the Government guidelines and anyway who makes the law in the first place?

The bottom line is that after last year's chaos, everyone said that procedures must be put in place to ensure minimal disruption next time we have bad weather. Roll on 12 months and nothing has happened.

We will say exactly the same next year.