Life Lessons from a Greyhound by Angela Reed-Fox

RATING: 5/5 BLURB: “Fancy some life coaching on the cheap? Read on for the pearls of wisdom handed on to me by my rescue dog, Sean. I didn’t think I needed much help with running my lif…

Source: Life Lessons from a Greyhound by Angela Reed-Fox

Absolutely had to share this. Enjoy.

There’s nothing quite like a bit of Wagner on a car journey….

Beautiful people: Liz Woodward, Tim Young, Paul Hullings

Here’s a perfect example of three people who see gratitude as an action rather than a sentiment. Amazing things can happen as we take notice of people around us.

If you enjoyed this, please share and/or leave a comment. If you have anecdotes of beautiful people you’ve come across (preferably non-famous), do let me know so that I can feature them in another post. Let’s share beauty.

Beautiful person: Nobuyuki Tsujii

The internet isn’t all photographs of people’s dinners, or crowd hysteria over someone shooting a lion. No, away from the noise, there’s beauty. There are people quietly doing the thing they do, and enriching people’s lives as a result. Watch below as a pianist performs his own composition while he cries over the people to whom he dedicated it. Enjoy.

Feel free to share and make Mr Tsujii famous!

Do you know a beautiful person? Is there someone you know or have heard of that is making their bit of the world a better place? I’m always looking for more beautiful people I can feature. Let’s give airtime to selfless people, people who do what they do for love – and make things better. Contact me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment below.

Hey chaps, here’s a rape: when is art not art?

And it’s one in the eye for art. Sorry folks, looks like the fat lady’s singing. Oh, wait, that’s Wagner.

The latest production of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell (William Tell) at the Royal Opera House met with boos as a scene involving a female character getting sexually attacked unfolded. Such was the audience reaction that Kasper Holten, director of opera issued a statement: ‘The production includes a scene which puts the spotlight on the brutal reality of women being abused during war time, and sexual violence being a tragic fact of war,’ Holten said. ‘The production intends to make it an uncomfortable scene, just as there are several upsetting and violent scenes in Rossini’s score. We are sorry if some people have found this distressing.’ This statement raises a few questions about the position in our culture of art in general and the Royal Opera House in particular.


This paternalistic and possibly arrogant attitude really appropriate with regards to art? The audience bought tickets for a night of entertainment. They got an eyeful, and also got preached at. Had they wanted to be upset, made uncomfortable and informed about the violence society imposes on its more vulnerable members, they could have curled up with a cup of tea and a report on female genital mutilation. They didn’t. They bought opera tickets. They went for entertainment. Therefore, they’d surely be within their rights to claim a refund under the Trade Descriptions Act.

Bad Business

Presumably art establishments want people to pay to come and see their wares rather than rely on government funding? The basic rule of business is that you need to give customers what they want. Naturally if they want a rape scene, they’re probably not the best kind of customers. The customers in question didn’t want it though. It was imposed on them by a company which thought it knew what their customers should have wanted. As soon as a company adopts this faulty attitude, it will either go bust, or be bailed out by the government. If it gets bailed out by the government, it just becomes a ministry for propaganda. We’re now in a situation where the audience wants entertainment and the company wants to educate them. That’s never going to work. (However, I do agree that the public has got exactly what it asked for with regards to television, which is another matter entirely.)


There is a certain insecurity in art circles with some who seem unable to bear the thought that art is beauty, and entertainment. It doesn’t save lives. It’s not essential to existence – it’s just a really, really good thing to have. They feel the need to use art as an opportunity to preach something or other. It’s OK that art is entertainment. Really it is. It’s good to be entertained. Unfortunately for the past 80 years or so, there’s been a definite movement to make things ugly. It’s got to the point where we can’t enjoy the vivid, melodic, and downright rollicking score of Rossini’s without having to have the rape thing as well. Why can’t things just be nice? We have enough trouble in the world already, why do we have to have it shoved down our throats when we’re trying to relax and get away from it for a bit?


Sensationalising instead of highlighting. There are lot of things about war that are rubbish – the pain, the death, the mutilation, the broken families, the lives forever changed. Loads of stuff. There is also a lot of boredom interspersed with moments of life-threatening action. Interestingly the production concentrated on the less common sexual abuse than the rather more common boredom. I wonder why that is?


I suspect anyone who has suffered sexual abuse, or knows anyone who has, recognises that involving such thing in an evening of entertainment is tasteless at best.

It’s just not cricket.

And here’s the thing. This production is not about raising the awareness of the plight of women. It’s purely to get publicity. Had the company honestly been concerned about a related aspect of the opera, a more effective thing (that wouldn’t have cost a bean) would have been to partner with an organisation that is involved in relieving the suffering of such victims, invite them to submit an article for print in their programme, and to invite donations from the punters. That would have been caring, sensitive, and productive. As it is, they got the publicity they wanted – and all publicity is apparently a good thing, so I suspect there are going to be more ticket sales for this production in that sector of our society that enjoys watching a jolly good rape. I’ll not be there.

Want your art back the way it should be? Too right.

Guardian puts Mr Gove in the naughty corner. Again.

It’s official; it’s a thin news day. When there’s not much happening in the world, that’s when journalists come out to play, and write what they really want to write.

Thank God for that. As the world gets a little crazier every week, it’s nice to get a bit of respite and read the Guardian having a rant about Michael Gove. Considering the readership of the Guardian includes a good proportion of socialists and teachers, that’s a pretty reliable punt for entertainment.

What’s he done this time? Prepare yourselves. Yes, he has taken it upon himself to improvise a mini style guide for his department.

The naughty man.

So the Guardian of course is ripping into him for requesting that staff don’t use ‘However’ at the beginning of a sentence, or ‘doesn’t’ when they should be writing ‘does not’. Or being unnecessarily pompous. I can only assume that the Guardian is publishing such stuff to get back at a minister, or a government, which it hates. After all, the story has nothing in it – except hypocrisy. The Guardian itself has a style guide – as does every newspaper, and every reputable company or organisation that has extensive dealings with thepublic – such as Yahoo, Apple and MailChimp. In fact I have the Guardian style guide on my book shelf – and let me tell you it’s a comprehensive 362 pages. The NHS has a style guide of sorts also – particular colours and pictures can be used in presentations and print communications etc.

Michael Gove just wants a consistent style of communication from his department. What’s entertaining is that the Guardian can take normal professional practice and try to turn it into something ridiculous. Nothing ridiculous about the Guardian’s style guide, however, that’s serious stuff.

Taking a headline, and running with it. Pun intended.

obesity, overweight
Moderation is key to a longer, healthier life. Sorry it’s boring.

Today’s award for the most unhelpful headline goes to the subeditors of the BBC with this little gem:

‘Exercise ‘not key to obesity fight’

So what happens is, if they want to say something they should say, they stick it in inverted commas to make it look like they’re not really saying it, when they’re saying it. Along the lines of ‘wasn’t me, guv’nor’. BBC, you must be so proud.

An editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said that it was time to ‘bust the myth’ that exercise had a big effect on obesity. Naturally the reach of the BBC is wider than that of the British Journal of Sports Medicine – and the reach of the headline is far, far wider than the reach of the detail in the story. And that’s why headlines are risky, and need to thought about responsibly. Now we’ll have a situation where people think that the disembodied quote from three experts writing in a periodical they’ll never read is licence for them never to do exercise again.

But let’s look at it. Those experts are right in one sense – our diet is so far out of whack it dwarfs our sedentary lifestyle in how damaging it is to our long-term health. We like junk food, and it’s hard to avoid since it’s so cheap and plentiful. Those who are obese can have a tremendous effect on their weight if they cut their daily calorie intake from that of a pro cyclist down to that of a sedentary person (in some cases a drop in excess of 2000 calories). The other reason they’re right is that in those who are morbidly obese, really effective exercise is impossible. The first gains need to come from curbing intake.

But the key to success remains – a deficit between what calories you need, and what you actually consume. One of the results of exercise is to boost the deficit.

What was also not addressed was the fixation on obesity. I suppose it’s easy to fixate on because it’s so visible – but generally it’s not being fat that kills you, it’s heart disease, or diabetes that leads to complications, or a stroke or whatever. Obesity increases the risk of all of these. Exercise is great at reducing the risk of these. So exercise, whether you use it for calorie busting or not, is a great thing to have in your life.

The problem with obesity is the same as the problem with politics – we get hooked on the extreme – extreme eating, extreme dieting, extreme exercise, extreme left, extreme right. Actually there’s a sweet spot, and it’s at neither end of the spectrum. A reasonable diet and reasonable exercise will have you living healthier for longer. Yes, there are those who feel the need to eat a diet of raw wizardfruit and ground unicorn horn, or whatever’s currently trendy (I lose track); there’ll always fads and extremes – it’s just not where the success is.

Today’s message is just not encouraging. Exercise does work, and it works best when you’re paying attention to diet as well. People who are trying to make changes should be supported and encouraged, not discouraged by being told half the story. Moderation is something we can all do. For some of us, that’s a habit we need to learn – but that’s OK, recognising it is the best place to start.

Journalists: Be responsible

Experts: Stop trying to be extreme to get column inches

Everyone else: Be different, be average.

The day the music will die

Kent Nagano, musical director of the Hamburg State Opera, recently claimed that classical music was on its way out, that it was ‘losing its social significance’. This was met by much wagging of heads and tutting that the world is going to the dogs, and that the young people don’t know what’s good for them. But is he right?

It’s not usual that I’ll accuse someone else of being pessimistic, I’m quite happy to take that duty upon myself, but this time I can’t agree with Mr Nagano. Did the sandalmakers of Rome panic that the world was going down the pan, and that with the Roman invasion of Britain that would be the end of open-toe footwear? Erm no. What will happen with classical music is the same as what will happen with everything that is worth keeping – it will adapt to survive.

In fact, it’s already doing that – and it’s been doing it for a while. What if people hankered after the music of JS Bach and refused anything new-fangled? Well there’d be no Magic Flute by Mozart for a start – and in fact anything involving a clarinet, a horn with valves, or a saxophone – or even a pianoforte as opposed to a fortepiano – would not exist. And I think we’d all agree, we’re more culturally prosperous for the fact that music has adapted to the changing world around it.

Mr Nagano cites budget cuts and technology for reasons why music will die. Budget cuts sharpen the game. When survival is harder, invention, innovation, and adaptation happen faster. Why do people not go to as many classical concerts as 80 years ago? Probably because now they’re able to hear the music in their own homes on CD or iTunes. I suspect Mr and Mrs Average have a greater fondness for classical music now than ever before. Remember Italia ’90? Remember Pavarotti? That sporting event brought Puccini to probably his most massive audience yet. And Nessun Dorma (the song) is one of those that we’re all  now familiar with. How about X Factor and the use of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana when they start the programme? Classical music is a cultural staple. It’s not going anywhere. It’s being used in such a wide variety of settings that it is short-sighted to worry about people not going to so many concerts as before.

Every Easter weekend, the commercial radio station, ClassicFM releases its top 300 pieces of classical music chosen by its listeners. There are two interesting things about it:

  1. A lot of the pieces stay the same. If you’re not mad keen on The Lark Ascending or Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto, there’s no point bothering with the last half an hour where they unveil who’s at the top.
  2. Some of the pieces change. And what’s been really interesting has been the increase in the number of pieces from film soundtracks over the last 15 years or so, and also the inclusion of music computer games more recently.

These changes show that classical music is attaining a wider audience than ever before. EVEN computer games now!

So perhaps the concern is not regarding classical music itself, so much, as the declining demand for classical concerts. But even then, there are changes. Picnic style concerts during the summer are popular, Andre Rieu has popularised classical music as light entertainment – be as snobby as you like, he’s made it accessible and enjoyable for more people. There are classical music festivals all over the place, and concerts are taking place in all kinds of venues.

But yes, perhaps the actual ‘classical concert’ might be under pressure to change, and there might be enough people who like the status quo who will prevent that change from happening. I like classical concerts. There is nothing like watching some incredible person negotiate the intricacies of Dvorak’s cello concerto – but I know that that’s not for everyone. And culture’s a democracy; if a thing isn’t popular enough, it’ll have to change. Or leave. Perhaps in the future orchestra’s will use their funding not just for classical concerts but to work with communities to improve society through art. Julian Lloyd-Webber (cellist) is doing just that by being involved in a UK project designed along similar lines to the El Sistema project of Venezuela (Gustavo Dudamel’s baby), a programme for teaching music to children who live in the country’s slums, and described by Sir Simon Rattle as ‘the most important thing happening to classical music anywhere in the world’.

So in short, classical music doesn’t have to die. I’d argue it’s more relevant today than ever. It will need to continue adapting as it always has done. Music is fluid. There is no time in history that you can point to and say ‘THAT right there is “music”‘. It will continue changing, developing, growing – like Smetana’s river Vltava, in fact. Funny that.

Put the Don Maclean song away – here’s Gustavo ‘the Dude’ Dudamel with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela

A sinister Tory plot to kidnap nurses and stop them working in the NHS

Almost unbelievably, Labour is claiming that there’s a secret Tory plot afoot to axe the number of nurses working in the NHS. Amongst others, the Guardian has given up space for conspiracy talk.

Applying the wisdom of Occam’s Razor (the simplest theory is probably the true one), there’s no conspiracy, it’s just that nurses are leaving the NHS faster than they can be replaced. Probably not helped by being accused of laziness by Mr Cameron. Nurses will leave at a faster rate when more of them wise up to the fact that they’re doing a lot of doctor-work for less than a quarter of doctor-pay. When they stop moaning about what’s not in their paypacket, and start moaning about the gap between what they do and what they are paid to do, we’ll see an uptick in nurses leaving. I’m not saying it like it’s a good thing – it’s just that nurses have been underpaid for years because they have been immensely undervalued for years. I understand the emotional, physical and mental pressure that comes from just doing a nursing job; it is like no other. Interestingly Labour claims that most of the losses will be from mental health. I’d concur with that, they’re probably right with that at least – but I’d say the rate of haemorrhage is more in line with nurse burn-out and disillusionment than some Tory plot that’s clearly too clever for its own good. We don’t need a conspiracy; nurses are quite able to take themselves out of the equation without any help from Mr Cameron.

I left my permanent post as a practice nurse a couple of months ago, burned out. I’m just now starting to feel human again. Caring for people properly in an environment of huge regulation, impersonal and often unworkable policies (that you don’t get time to read unless you take them home!) and the lack of respect from some staff and patients makes a tough job even harder. One of my previous colleagues has blown the whistle on her employers three times, and three times has had to find another job. There aren’t enough nurses like her. People like her are hard to find – and I suspect that nursing colleges do not have the places available that are needed to stem the shortfall in the nursing workforce – and I suspect, they are not attracting and recruiting some of the right people to train as nurses.

Nursing’s a mess. It’s not some sordid little plot, it’s a result of generations of disrespect and not being valued. Maybe instead of pointing fingers, politicians like Mr Burnham might want to offer a solution instead.

Because sometimes the only thing you can do is sit in a corner and rock.

Floppy morals and the Clarkson Debate

I’ve just realised my morals are bendy. Hitting people is wrong. Clarkson hit someone, and in any other job it is highly likely that this would have led to instant dismissal – and yet…

I find myself rooting for Clarkson, partly because the BBC’s the BBC. But I’m clearly not as immune to ‘packaging’ as I thought. For example, the 50 Shades of Grey thing? That’s just domestic violence with pretty people. As long as the people are pretty and/or rich (preferably both) then the mainstream media – and therefore the collective conscience – is OK with it. I’m no feminist, but I was shocked that women would go to watch a film that is purely about glamorising abuse.

The problem? People don’t really think any more, and were happy to accept opinions as packaged by the media. And it’s the same with Mr Clarkson – I like him; I find it difficult not to like him with his cleverly un-clever humour – but I’ve realised I’ve developed a double standard right there. He’s funny and I like him, so I let him off the hook and am indignant that the BBC should sack him. The media reaction was entertaining with journalists not sure whether to root for their colleagues, or pour scorn on the BBC, I enjoyed that immensely.

Interestingly the BBC, socialist entity as it is, is now being held up as the very thing its journalists hate – the large corporation against which the little person must struggle. We’re now in the position that hitting people is wrong, unless of course you’re being punished for it by a large corporation, and then it’s OK.

Was it right that the BBC should sack him? Probably, but what a waste of grumpy, middle-aged, yet lovable talent. Now what will we do? For those of us who still have TVs, it’s going to be that ‘midwife programme’ or a poke in the eye.

For Mr Clarkson, it’s a question as to how much rebranding and positive PR is really necessary.

That’ll be a no to Celebrity Big Brother then?

Why crocheters aren’t serial killers

You heard right. I think of all sorts of things when I’m crocheting away. I’d be happy to bet that serial killers take up a smaller percentage of the crochet community than the wider population.

I know what you’re thinking – crocheters are little wizened old ladies, right? Little wizened old ladies don’t kill people. (Actually that depends entirely on how weird your taste in films is.)

Stick with me – if the world leaders today would beat their spears into crochet hooks, we’d all be a bit better off. Crochet has an intensely relaxing effect and that Kim Jung Un could definitely do with calming down a bit. And let’s face it, most of us are so dosed up on coffee we wouldn’t be able to cope if we weren’t experiencing caffeine-induced cardiac arrhythmias. Crochet just makes the world a better place, time to think and just to be. Crochet is so mindless, you can do pretty much anything at the same time (except for driving – please not that) reading, checking emails, talking to people (in fact when talking to boring people, crochet is invaluable in keeping one awake). Perhaps taking time to relax can help a bit more than taking time to get your morning palpitations with Joe. Just imagine if you didn’t need to live faster, because you had a better handle on what mattered, and what life should be like.

I attribute the fact that I am still married to the Fox after 8 years, to crochet. He’s a lovely chap, but MY is he stressy! There is no way I wouldn’t catch that level of stress and run with it if I didn’t have some type of therapy. You can tell him; I don’t mind – he already knows. It’s that quasi-hypnotic repetitive movement – with crochet it’s so creative, but without crochet, it’s really just sitting in a corner and rocking. Surprisingly more social acceptable, but interestingly a lot less satisfying. I look forward to a time, many centuries from now when companies will not have ‘smoking shelters’ (those nasty little bus stops where you catch cancer) but rather ‘crochet breaks’: ‘You look stressed, Martin. How about you just pop out to finish off that sleeve?’ I can just see it now. Yeah, maybe not.

And those little wizened old ladies? Well I’d prepare to bet that they’re wizened because they’re over two hundred years old – and they’re still here because they’re so chilled out by crocheting. Someone should do a study on it. And call it ‘Live long and crochet’.

Make gloves, not war, darlings.

The ‘Heart-Friendly Town’ and the Scourge of the Defibrillator

A community defibrillator? Surely that’s a no-brainer?

It’s an emotive issue and the received response is ‘Of course I’d want to see one in my high street or whatever’. Defibs save lives, and if money were no object (and we have to be realistic here) it would be great to have them everywhere.

At the risk of being completely shot down by the establishment, I’d say it needs a bit more thought. The question should not be ‘Do you want a defib on your High Street?’ but rather ‘Do you want more lives saved?’ And then following that, ‘How can we save the most lives with the resources we have available?’ Let’s not get distracted by the ‘Defib or no defib’ debate, it’s much more complex than that.

Buying a defib is emotive – surely it’s a good thing! But I’d encourage people to consider the opportunity cost – what other intervention could have been implemented, and would it have been more effective? As far as I know the BHF is still offering help to buy community defibs, and it is tempting to take the funding because it’s ‘free money’ – but if you donate to charity you hope it’s being used effectively, and there are other measures that would be good to implement and would benefit many more people. Yes, I’d like to see defibs but only as part of a wider health campaign.There’s a danger in installing a defib, ticking the box, and thinking that’s it, you’re done.

Heart attacks are frightening experiences for all involved. The likelihood of one happening in the first place should be of considerable concern, at least as much maximising survival rate when one actually does. Here’s a fact – most of them happen in the home. Not in the high street. Therefore there is more likelihood they could be successful if installed in a built up residential area rather than a shopping area. Why are they installed in high streets? Perhaps because the research on ideal placement is not done, or perhaps because decisions are made by those who have the budget but not the awareness (and pointing no fingers here), perhaps it is a political decision to make people feel cared for, or it’s an emotional decision – or perhaps for PR.

The defib only provides a return on investment when it is successfully used and a life is saved. It’s not enough to install one – it needs to be secure from thieves, but also accessible immediately to those who need it, with no wasted seconds. So I’d respectfully suggest that most of them are installed in the wrong place.

So what do we do if most heart attacks occur out of the range of where most defibs are installed? Of course look at relocating the defib (obviously!) But also look at other measures that could be implemented – is a defib the best solution? Naturally, if it’s a defib or nothing, I’d go for the defib every time. I want lives saved. However, I think the resources can be better deployed to greater effect in the same community by different interventions.

If defibs are going to be installed, I’d prefer to see them as part of a wider initiative. How about having a ‘heart-friendly town’ where organisations and individuals work together to tackle the root causes of heart disease? How about awareness evenings? More GP referrals to exercise outlets? Health buddies? A commitment to living healthier for longer rather than just longer? You might think that this is over-ambition – and maybe it is. But I’d argue although it’s more time-intensive than buying a defib, it stands to improve health in every generation in the community, for longer. It will prevent people needing the defib in the first place.

People need to take back control of their health. As a community we need a healthier outlook. There is a correlation between what life choices they make and what benefit or disbenefit this brings them.

I’m a nurse, and I can honestly say that the joy from seeing someone succeeding in reducing their cardiovascular or diabetes risk considerably is like no other. Seeing people take control, and get their lives back – seeing them excited by what they’ve achieved is indescribable. The change this brings to themselves and their families is amazing.

By making changes, you not only reduce the risk of needing a defib:

  • You decrease your future need of diabetic drugs
  • You increase your body image
  • You increase self-esteem
  • You increase confidence
  • You facilitate healthier relationships with those you love
  • You have a lighter mood.

I have seen all these outcomes and more. I would like to see health promotion – proper health promotion at the top of the community list. It’s all too easy to install a ‘just in case’ box on a wall and leave it at that – but do we not deserve better than that? In fact a project in Salford, Manchester was set up to address health inequalities and ended up achieving all sorts of unexpected outcomes as a result – and for every £1 invested it yielded £12 of social and health benefit for the participants and their communities – and this carried on as long as the project was running; even afterwards, much of the benefit remained as people maintained the changes they’d made and reaped the rewards.

Yes, a defib is great, but what if in 20 years it has saved no lives? In terms of return on investment, there are many other concepts that will be more effective for more people, for much longer (even permanently). Lives are complex; save a life, and you’ve saved a father, grandfather, cousin and uncle in one go; you save a family’s grief, you save hardship, pain, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. Faced with the choice between possibly saving one life and definitely saving 50, I’d go with the 50 every time. Yes, in health as with in everything, it is a numbers game.

Whatever a defib costs, it’s likely more lives can be saved by using the investment another way. I applaud the sentiment with which people campaign for more defibs, but the people in our communities need, and deserve, more than just that. Let’s aim bigger. Let’s live better. 


#SeantheGreyhound on computer operating systems

#SeantheGreyhound: What are you doing?

Me: Trying to get my computer to work.

#StG: What operating system is it?

Me: Microsoft Sloth. Why? What do you know about computers?

#StG: Tsk, Microsoft Sloth, huh? Is that the two-toed version?

Me: Yes, why?

#StG: Cheapskate. It’s a false economy; if you had the three-toed version you’d be able to update a lot quicker. Now you need to go into the c-panel clear your cache and delete your old temporary files, and reinstall. It’ll take hours. Particularly with all those plug-ins you keep installing.

And that, my dears, is the conversation I’d be having with my greyhound if he were able to talk. As it is, he can’t – so I just have to make the stuff up.

Knitting Friday – 13/2/15

Welcome to the special commemorative edition of Knitting Friday. Commemorative because I’m retiring. Not from Knitting Friday, strangely I have time to still write shocking banality, but don’t have so much time to fix people.

So what’s been going on this week?

Well, first of all, someone got done for being rude when someone challenged her for dropping a fag butt. Yep. It made the news. But some things go together – dropping litter and having a foul mouth for example go together like strawberries and cream.

You really ought to think about casting off.

OAP of the week goes to 75 year old Charlie Burton of Pennsylvania who assisted a copper who was struggling to restrain a shoplifter. Charlie waded in and immobilised the toerag, threatening to break his arm if he moved.

Yep. Wouldn’t happen in Britain.

Yeah, that’s not him. I just thought it was cool.

Apparently a 100 year old crocodile has croaked after years of being fed chickens and goats for good luck. What goes around comes around, croc – those chickens and goats must be laughing now. Apparently in Bangladesh feeding a fat crocodile is good luck. Not sure whom for… I don’t know about you, but I never had the Bangladeshis down as having a crocodile-feeding fetish, just didn’t seem that type. The Belgians, however, are a different matter…Strange race.

Does my bum look big in this? Er yes, but not as big as your eyeballs.

In Tampa, Florida, a couple almost got put out with the rubbish as the dumpster they were kipping in was emptied into a dustbin lorry. As if that weren’t bad enough, what’s more embarrassing is that the authorities assumed they were homeless people, when actually they were just on a night out at the casino. Yeah, you see that’s what happens when you go out in your onesie. It’s a slippery slope. And before you know it you’ll have free tickets to the uh, soup kitchen. Think on people. Remember to dress appropriately when greeting one’s public.

I probably wouldn’t have this amount of self-composure if I looked this much like a div.

Also in Florida, a 17 year old managed to wander around a hospital for a month posing as a doctor in a mask, stethoscope and white coat. His mum said he had refused to take mediation for his ‘condition’. A month though! And that’s a really bad costume – everyone knows doctors are trying to look more and more like normal people; you’ll be lucky if they’ve actually got a stethoscope any more… Can’t believe he took a month to get busted. A consultant who failed to notice the teeny doctor said ‘Doctors are looking younger and younger every year.’ Yes. But 17?

Erm, yep. Not that doctor.

Headline of the week this week goes to Associated Press for this little beauty:

2 deer stuck together: police use stungun to free 1

Those of us who went to journalist school will note the howler of starting a sentence with a numeral. And also ending it with one. And also making single digits into numerals. And also having no capitals. What’s going on?

Still it’s a stonker, isn’t it? The actually story is a bit of a let-down. They weren’t stuck together, they had their horns locked, which is far less interesting. I can see how the entanglement would happen, I do after all have curly hair. What was interesting was that gap between reading the headline and finding out the total non-story of the piece – I was thinking what sicko has been glueing together potential roadkill? That’s just weird. And yes, it was weird. Too weird for reality. Imagination 1, Real life 0.

Why do you dress us up to look like dorks? Erm, because it’s funny?

Dutch police are being given a helping hand by the weather – snow is melting more quickly from the roofs of cannabis nurseries, making them easy to spot from the outside. Old-fashioned policing right there. Don’t you just love it?

Life is too short to crochet some things. Sorry, but it is.

In other news, Samsung admits that its smart TVs are so smart they’re reporting all you’re saying back to King Obama. Or maybe someone scarier. Probably Ed Balls. It’s kind of like 1984 but without the overalls.

When TVs go bad, they go REALLY bad.

TV is not your friend, people.

Cornwall now; as if you didn’t need reminding that no one’s got a sense of humour anymore and everyone’s trying to blame everyone else – a 5 year old has been invoiced £15.95 for missing his friend’s birthday party. Erm yes, apparently it’s true. Just when you thought Britain couldn’t get any sadder.

Better blow them out on your own then, mate.

Sex now. Well, it is the commemorative edition. Randy elephants in Thailand have damaged cars well trying to get one on. Nice.

Yeah right. Butter wouldn't melt. As if.

And finally, second-best greyhound of the week goes to:

You know it.

It’s been fun, y’all.


Live in the present too.

Whilst it is important and responsible to plan for the future, it is also important to enjoy the present. That long walk with lots of things to sniff, if you’re a greyhound, or perhaps that surprise afternoon off that gives time that can just be enjoyed, if you’re not.

It’s OK to be naked.

OK, this only counts if you’re a dog. But then, if you were, why would you be reading this?

Be free. And recognize how good that feels.

All things are possible. Even stairs.

Stairs are tricky when you’re tall and have four long legs. But there’s always a challenge with anything that’s really worth doing.

Want to read more greyt wisdom? It's available on Amazon!
Want to read more greyt wisdom?
It’s available on Kindle!

Did you notice Sean the Greyhound and I have been a bit quiet?

It’s true what they say about pigs, if they’re not getting up to something, they’re thinking about getting up to something.

Same with greyhounds. And Angelas.

We’ve written a book! Yes! Admittedly it isn’t a long one, but it’s a book with chapters and pages and everything. In it I have written all the things I have learned about life from Sean the Greyhound. You’d think it couldn’t be much considering he didn’t even know his name when we picked him up, but you might be surprised and impressed that he’s a pretty wise old owl.

I’ll post a bit of it so you can get a taster. However, if you fancy getting the book for yourself – most of the royalties will go to Greyhound Rescue West of England and other greyhound charities.

I really hope you enjoy it. Sean doesn’t care.

Want to read more greyt wisdom? It's available on Kindle!
Want to read more greyt wisdom?
It’s available on Kindle!

Knitting Friday 26/9/14

Is it me or is the world more depressing than it EVER has been before?

And I’m not even THINKING about Scotland. That’s like allowing the people of Lichfield to vote on whether they want to be in the Midlands any more. The argument was divided between those who recognised that a population of 4 million would not have the salary power to be taxed enough to keep the country going, and those who couldn’t admit that the heath of the economy had anything to do with the life they expected to be able to lead.

Let’s just switch off from the important, horrible stuff and veg out  by wallowing in the weirdness of folks.

Headline of the week goes to: ‘Giant Green-Fanged Spider ‘Attacks’ Man in Devon Home as Species Spreads Across UK

Why? Because despite the green-fanged quality of the spider, what really got me was the inverted commas – ‘attacks’ which implies a certain degree of ‘sort of’. How can you sort of attack something?

It’s grammar. Use it wisely, people!



Do you remember when mobile phones were the size of children’s shoe boxes? And then they got smaller and smaller until you could almost swallow them? Then the phone companies realised it was better business to make you pay more for stuff you don’t want than to pay less for a smaller box. So now phones are getting bigger again. So much so, that the small thumbed Japanese are struggling to evolve quickly enough for technology. What’s the solution to handily navigating those shumungous smartphones that can also be used as a skateboard?

A fake thumb. Obviously. (My first suggestion would have been to make them smaller again until we’ve evolved, but clearly I am not business-brained enough).

Yes. The Japanese have massive phones – so they need a massive thumb to go with it. Just the one.


And here’s a little something to keep YOUR GIANT THUMB WARM. Yes.

America now, and someone’s taken a lion statue in Massachusetts apart and found a time capsule. They haven’t opened it yet. But who knows what might be inside?! It’s dated 1901 which means it’s pre the great depression, pre both world wars, pre the Titanic and pre Justin Bieber.

Yep, much greater time all round. Who’d want to live in the future when you can live before all that crap’s invented?


Yep, before all that.

Staying in America, there’s a lady who plays her harp for gorillas. And it keeps them calm. For all receptionists out there who are wondering what they’re doing wrong and why their job is so tough; it’s cos you don’t have a harp. If you did, those punters would be purring.


Loving that.

More livstock now; some women found a python in the boot of their rental car. What’s interesting is that the journalist seems mystified as to how a snake several feet long gotin there. My guess it probably didn’t get in through the lock. Perhaps it had a leg up?


How do you know if a snake is dangerous? Well as a general rule of thumb if it’s knitted and wearing specs, it’s probably OK.

Germany now, and a man who was wanted for a fine of 700 euros or a jail sentence was stopped in an arcade. Before he could be arrested, the machine he was on hit the jackpot and coughed up 1000 euros.


Unfortunately for the rest of us the rain falls on the unrighteous as well.


Oh thank goodness, there’s someone who had enough time on their hands to knit one of these. Just wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do if they hadn’t…

Elsewhere a Canadian man was arrested for wearing 50 plus turtles under his clothes.

I was quite keen to hear who he explained it – but they didn’t go into that. Shame.


Could it be that the shark of the week slot is back?

Erm no. We ran out. Sorry.

You want it? Get knitting then.

Like foreign trips, but hate getting screwed over by the airlines?

A poor woman from Derbyshire netted a bargain flight for 2 to Faro – and just prior to checkout she noticed the baggage cost was £23,659,382,125.95. Erm yes.

The company in question claimed it was an isolated incident and that it was a glitch in the system. Right. Strikes me as a bit of a precise glitch to me – none of this ‘I’ve just added a discretionary nine ‘0’s to your bill’ no, it’s super precise right down to 95p. I think that’s a bit more than a glitch.


How long do you reckon a car chase could last? 6 hours?

How long do you reckon a car chase could last involving a digger? Half an hour

But that’s in America right? Where they have wide straight roads that go on for miles and you can dip off into the prairie?

Nope. This is Leicestershire. And it took 3 hours.

WHAT WERE THEY DOING? I have no idea – the journo didn’t elaborate. And that’s the problem with journalism today. Too much of the stuff we don’t want and not enough of the stuff we do. digger

Second-best greyhound of the week goes to:


Best greyhound of the week goes to:


He’s so lush I just want to eat him.

Have a good week!


British Greyhound General Classification of Cats and Dogs

Since being privileged with having a greyhound in my life, I have learned that there is a difference between what we typically perceive to be cats and dogs, and what is actually the case, thanks to my greyhound Seón for the clarification. The correct classification (with sub-categories) is as follows:

Cats Dogs Aliens Sub-category – weird flying cat things
Cat Greyhound Swan Pigeons
Squirrel Whippet Ducks
Yorkshire terrier Saluki
Pug Mongrel
Miniature poodle Lurcher
King Charles spaniel Labrador
Miniature Schnauzer Springer Spaniel
Shih Tzu Great Dane
Norfolk Terrier Dalmatian
Havanese Jack Russell
Bichon Frise Border Collie
Pomeranian Fox
Any wussy designer crossbreed such as labradoodle Staffie
Pekingese Border Terrier
Chihuahua Alsatian
Lhasa Apso Rottweiler

Hope that clears that up.