Sport(!), diplomacy, a patronising git and a concert in Beer Quarry Caves on 31 July

14 July 2019

When I was listing gaps last week, I noticed that both of this afternoon’s shifts were completely empty so I took one duty and published the other three.  When I arrived for my duty, my fellow volunteer, clearly rather more of a sports fan than I, explained that the cricket world cup final and the Wimbledon men’s final were both on this afternoon.

(I subsequently discovered that the cricket match was played at Lords.  Can anybody explain to me why some international cricket matches are played at Lords and some at the Oval?  Or aren’t they?)

At Wimbledon this week, the commentators on various matches proved conclusively that the best ploy in life when you’ve got nothing to say, is to say it.  The men’s final was so close that tennis should make provision for a tie so they both should have won, shared the prize money equally and held the cup for 6 months each.

I was actually at Wimbledon on Tuesday, for two minutes, while my train decanted tennis fans as I was on my way to spend five minutes having a tiny muscle in my larynx botoxed.  Yes, yes, I know, I left Judy for 9½ hours for a 5-minute medical procedure but I gather the other ‘nearest’ hospitals that inject larynxes are probably in Cardiff or Birmingham.

Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Trumpland, has very properly been providing Britain with secret and unofficial briefings on the state of affairs in America but some idiot leaked some highly sensitive (and acute) comments to the press this week, and some idiot editor published them.

Darroch naturally resigned when Boris Johnson refused to commit himself to supporting Darroch if he became prime minister.  In fact, Johnson continued to refuse to commit himself to anything, even his subsequent, half-arsed admission that he should perhaps have said something different, but that’s par for the course for Johnson.

Then Wednesday’s ‘Daily Express’ topped its front page with “May has messed up Brexit, says Trump”.  He seems to think that, if she’d done what he told her to, everything would now be tickety-boo and she could have united the UK, just like he’s united Congress and all Americans.  And this was just weeks after he said she’d done a “very good job”.  Patronising git.

Just imagine the reaction if the headline had read “Trump has messed up Iran, says May”.  I know a British prime minister would never actually say this about an American president (well, Boris Johnson might of course, which is one of the things that make his likely coronation even more terrifying) because our real politicians are far too diplomatic and tactful to criticise other countries’ internal activities in public, but just imagine if she had.

Trump’s U-turn after the House of Representatives refused to let him include a question about American citizenship in the census reminded me of the line from the film ‘Closely Observed Trains’ which is translated in the sub-titles as “Our [German] tactical retreat into Belgium has outpaced the Americans”.

Trump has already proved that Iran’s Hassan Rouhani hit the nail on the head when he recently suggested Trump suffers from a “mental disorder”.  Any person without a ‘mental disorder’ would either have ignored it or taken it as a political negotiating point but Trump is so thin-skinned and sleep-depraved (that wasn’t what I meant to type but I think I’ll leave it as it is*), he threatened Iran with “obliteration” before going back to tune his fiddle as the torches were lit.

Actually, Nero couldn’t have played the fiddle while Rome burned, not least because its family of instruments wasn’t invented until some 1,200 years later.  If he played anything, it was probably a cithara, a heavyweight ancestor of the lyre.

Talking of music, here’s a date for your diary:  7.30 pm, Wednesday 31 July.  The East Devon Folk Choir and MenSing** choirs organised by Wren Music, a Devon charity, are giving a concert in Beer Quarry Caves (please arrive from 7 pm to get fitted with a safety helmet).  Just imagine the acoustics!  Tickets are £6, or £4 for students and those on income-related benefits.  Advance booking is essential for safety reasons;  call 01837 53754 or email  It will last approximately an hour but you can bring a lightweight folding chair (and warm clothing and sturdy footwear are recommended).


*   the ‘undo’ button must surely*** be one of the 20th century’s greatest technological advances

**   doesn’t MenSing sound like a Chinese intelligence test?

***   have you noticed that, when people say “I’m sure that …” or “surely”, they mean the exact opposite?

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