In Guano Veritas

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To Everybody!

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This Pear Tree was growing when Queen Victoria was on the throne, long before the Boer War, as Britain was emerging from Recession, about 125 years ago.

Two my Great-Great Grandfathers were still alive and my grandparents were in their teens.

The orchard is still productive. I see it every morning from my bedroom window.

It's worth more as a talisman of our country than 20 minutes off a London to Edinburgh rail journey.

Pear trees of Britain - Unite!

If anybody wants to hug it I'll be happy to arrange it next year.


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This pear tree was planted about 1890 in Worcestershire; it produces huge crops of quite sweet pears which have been a joy to my grandchildren for years.

Spend the billions of HS2 money on improving rail journeys all over the country, making the system more user friendly, rather than on destructive political projects that shave minutes off the journey - it's a no brainer, but then political backers of HS2 have no brains.

Most of the people who might get jobs on HS2 could work on improving the railways with creative ideas how to make journeys more agreeable and more punctual, and those that don't could get apprenticeships to tree biologists and surgeons, helping to stop the spread of tree disease.

Cutting down or digging up trees that have been producing fruit every year since long before the First World War, and were admired by some of the men who took part, would be cutting living links with the past. 

Must go now, around dawn I'll go and hug the pear tree and have a chat!

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Ambridge is sick, and contagious,

Naivety's rfe; it's outrageous!

Helen can't see

Rob's obsession with "me"

And the Grundies think Hazel's advantageous?

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The Russian statement stated:

"This is simply complicated

So, with nothing to rely on

Here's an oxymoron!"

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SPITFIRE – ICON OF A NATION (available on amazon)

The 5th March 2016 is the 80th anniversary of the first flight of the Spitfire. It is a story so big it’s almost untellable. And yet, , it goes on and on…

The Spitfire is a British icon, not only in the UK but around the world. Britain no longer exports aircraft but R.J. Mitchell’s genius still exports Britishness and our our unspoken confidence in the 1930s.

The Spitfire’s working life lasted from 4th August 1938 until 1961 when the Irish Air Corps retired its last operational example.

Of the 20, 351 Spitfires built, 54 are still airworthy, 30 of them in Britain.

There are some 250 Spitfires on static display, being dug up, restored, in air museums and in storage.

They are on display in 30 countries from Australia to Zimbabwe and Israel to China.

R.J. Mitchell’s creation tops the list of British icons. It shares that list, with Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s K6  Red Telephone Kiosk, introduced in 1935, and AEC’s  Routemaster Bus introduced on 2nd February 1956.

What these three icons share is that even as landline telephones disappear and new buses appear, people want the familiar around them. No air show is complete without Spitfires; K6 kiosks have been turned into wi-fi hotspots;  Routemasters still carry tourists in London.

It’s as if we just can’t let go, that Britain would not be Britain without the Spitfire.


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The victim’s families and friends have one savage fact: they know their loved ones are not coming home. All good people are with them.

Today, the Russians authorities, the Egyptian authorities, the Russian airline, The Egyptian aviation people, Presidents Sisi and Putin, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, ISIS…   have no facts but lots of different views about the crash of the A321 over Sinai, as expressed in their words and in actions.

Some are trying to grab the blame; others are trying to avoid it.

Facts are few. Evidence of anything beyond that the aircraft has crashed is, as it always is, is bouncing around media like peas on a drum. Experts are preparing for the media war, for the technical investigation, for data from the cockpit voice recorder and “black box.”

This is going to run and run as spin doctors from the airline industry, aircraft manufacturing industry, holiday and tourism industries, national governments of Russia, Egypt, Ukraine, Belarus, and international regulators play round after round of Olympian Blame Games.

Some things are being aired; others not.

Here’s a thought: the A321 is a fly by wire (FBW) airliner, an industry standard for the last 25 years; it is in modern media speak “computer controlled” though the pilot is still in the cockpit rather than thousands of miles away as with military “drones;” We hear about 15 yr.-old boys hacking to Talk Talk, highly sophisticated, international data heists, driverless cars, and yes, drones, counter drones, counter-counter drones at airport approaches and over the back gardens.

We should ask the better aviation security experts whether this crash could be a first piece of airliner “hackjacking”, somebody who for any one of thousands of reasons interfered with the computer controls of KGL 9628 on the ground, in the air, even, wildly through an on-board device, to kill people and screw up the already screwed up Middle East.

Yes do the technical investigation, do it thoroughly and truthfully and that means maximizing transparency something for which neither Russia nor Egypt are particularly well known or equipped.

Better to ask the questions:

“Are there real threats we have not thought of yet? “

“ Who Benefits?”

ISIS or their offshoots have made what seem to be muddled and non-credible claims but the crash already benefits them, because until we all have the truth (probably impossible) there is going to be a residual fear which will seep into the airline industry and the global importance of 15,000 plus airliners which could be attacked in a similar way.

The way governments will handle this is a gift to ISIS if all the rest of the world does is just argue amongst themselves.

The speculation surrounding the “emergency landing for technical reasons” and the “loss of control” before it crashed” are no more evidence than the denial of ‘missile attacks” or the bringing of what may be premature criminal proceedings against the airline.

There’s lots of speculation swirling round, but it’s all there for a purpose:  positioning and propaganda.

Let’s stick to hard questions, publically aired and answered by people who know what they’re talking about, and not let the cause of the crash disappear into a multi-national series of Chilcot Inquiries because that suits politicians.

The investigation does not belong to Russia and Egypt, or the airline industry – there is more at stake than that, even if in the end the explanation is simple and not either terrorism or conspiracy.

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Posted by on in Blogging

Peter Mandleson is right on one count: it could be a long time before New Old Labour becomes evidently unelectable giving Old New Labour a chance to mount an effective coup.

But that is the counsel of despair. Pontification is best left to the Pope and when the Corbyn Crisis does come, and it could be next week, the fallout will be immediate, unexpected and may come from a direction nobody has thought of, leaving Lord M (and other Lords and MPs) like bad smells in a colander frantic to find a hole through which to escape just when they should look as if they can immediately take charge.

It’s Lord Peter’s strategy that’s wrong: simply chatting in the First Class lounge while an insurgent crew steer the ship towards an iceberg, propelled by a mixture of incompetence and class revenge, is not good enough. Worse, it’s simplicity masquerading as intellectual prowess. It’s lazy.

Hitting that iceberg is the next best thing to a racing certainty. Whenever it comes it is an opportunity for Lord Peter and his Chums; what’s needed is a plan of action not waiting for the plums to fall. At the moment, as strategies go, it seems Mr Corbyn and most of his shadow cabinet is playing the parts allotted them in the script. But at least they have a script: it is Corbyn who is out there, the sole purveyor of ideas, Corbyn who is “get [ting] [his] picture in the paper in his little clorth [sic] cap.”

Mandleson’s cultivated procrastination maybe, just maybe, a way of regrouping ahead of the Party conference; his outburst just maybe intended as a sliver of hope to the 97% of Labour MPs said to oppose Corbyn. As things stand, it looks as if Jez will be lionized at the conference and if his triumph is met with a sulky, Old New Labour silence, the effect will be long lasting. If Corbyn fails to ”Unite” the party, if he fails to be cheered to the rafters (unlikely), then all the various electorates will want a source of new ideas. Either way, the Mandlesonistas will need to be quick to step into the breach.

Ultimately, Lord M is wrong. Instead of the “long haul,” what is needed longer vision and greater flexibility and a rapid response mentality, authentic political discourse and a forward-looking presence on every possible medium: social, TV, radio, print and through the Party.

The appearance, let alone the reality, of Old New Labour having to rummage around for well spun policies dreamt up twenty years ago will be fatal. Yet something along those lines is what Lord M is prescribing and in a crisis it will manifest itself as laziness, invisibility, disengagement, triangulation and pontification.

No more Whimsey, Lord Peter; it’s time for street fighting.

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Daniel - becomes a Good Soldier, goes from RTR to SAS, then struck down being a hero and disabled?

Phoebe - team Leader on University Challenge, a First in Greats and an Olympic rowing cox?

Pip - blossoms as a farmer, will add Home Farm and/or BL to her parish.

Adam - decides to retire in favour of Pip as contractor working with Debbie, sees the Green light - pundit, activist, MP?

Johnny - opens the batting for MCC in 2025 Ashes Test?

Debbie - will be farming the whole of Hungary soon, then start on Slovakia.

Kate - very late developer, succeeds in hippy-happy therapy the turns to poetry, growing organic perfume plants for votive candles and lives a bisexual life.

Meriel - the next Australian Prime Minister but 21.

Rhorie - gets his own show on RTE aged 18, fronts Saturday nights on ITV and makes enough money by switching to US TV to buy BL out of the change from filling up his exec jet at pumps. (Does Who Do You Think You Are? and finds lots of Irish cousins.)

Alice - next Briton in space,  getting a crater on the far side of the moon named after Ambridge.

Josh - realising there is no place for boys at Brookfield, emigrates to Australia.

Ben - signs up as an apprentice for MUFC, plays in the World Cup 2024.

Tom - marries Kirsty and they take over the Bridge Farm shop.

Henry - first transgender character in Ambridge.

James - is left half the Bull when Lilian's lungs, liver and kidneys fail and/or her heart is finally acknowledged to be broken; buys out Kenton, turns it round and sells it to Harvester - Kenton cheated again.

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