"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

A Farthingsworth of Tall Tales from Blighty's Fameless Blog
Newsflash from New York (no, not that one!) |  Are the British better drivers? |  The Story of the Telephone Kiosk |  Drinking Nelson's Blood |  Screaming Jelly Babies |  Flying to the UK is very dangerous! |  Brits to drive on the right |  Who hung the monkey? |  Upper class virgins |  Double, double trouble |  What a Lovely Morning for a War

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blushing British Bollards

They might have been called "Hore Beacons" if it were not for the eccentric trait of the British aristocracy in adopting "double-barrelled" surnames.

An insurance company manager in Devon, England called Jacob Isaac Belisha and his wife Elizabeth became the parents of a man who name is immortal throughout Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Jacob passed away a year after the birth of his son Leslie. Elizabeth remarried. Her new husband was Sir Adair Hore and they adopted the surname Hore-Belisha.

Half Famous
Leslie went onto a political career marred by prejudice about his Jewish heritage. But his name, well at least fifty percent of it, will live on forever.

Leslie, you see, is the inventor of the "Belisha Beacon". These blushing bollards can be found at either end of a "zebra crossing" (okay, that's another blog post).

The Blushing Baron Meets the One-Eyed Dutchman
Belisha Beacons are intended to attract the attention of motorists to the location of a pedestrian crossing. But of course the 1st Baron Hore-Belisha couldn't have anticipated competition from the One-Eyed Dutchman called a Gatsometer.

Nowadays, British motorists have their eyes firmly fixed on their speedometers to avoid being shot in the back by the ubiquitous, mindless, robot speed cameras.

Pedestrians crossing the road have been relegated to the status of collateral casualties in the war against helpless British motorists. Leslie, 1st Baron Hore-Belisha, would have turned bright orange at the very thought of it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doing The Wash

Blighty's Blog spent a Fortnight in the United Queendom in August and came back with some ripping yarns to tell. Here is another "Tale From the Trip".

A big bit of Britain is missing. Maybe it was the Vikings (my ancestors), maybe it was the Romans or the Normans. Somebody, or something, sometime, took a giant bite out of England's east coast.

Danger! ... Danger!
The missing bit is a bay 20 miles long by 15 miles wide called "The Wash". The Wash is a dangerous place to be. Navigation through its shallow waters is fraught with hazards. The Royal Air Force uses the western shoreline as a training area and frequently drops bombs on it, but I didn't find that out until an RAF fighter jet whistled through my hair.

Diamonds Gone Forever
It was dangerous even before the RAF earned its wings. My namesake, King John of England, lost the Crown Jewels in the Wash. I have shared my first name with only one English monarch and his whole reign was something less than spectacular.

I decided to visit The Wash this past summer. I had never seen it before and decided that this was the year to put a check mark against it. My tour route took me past the western shore (the inland coast) of The Wash.

The Fool on the Hill
No problem methought, just make a slight diversion, find a place to park near the seashore and stroll along the beach. Fool.

There are no signs indicating "beach this way". There are no traffic jams of holidaymakers carrying mother, father, 2.5 kids and the family dog on a day out to the seaside.

Instead, after a lot of navigation guided by the Sun, we managed to find a "white road" (the lowest classification of roads on a British motoring map) that wound its way through the hedgerows ending up alongside a huge wall of grass covered earth.

We parked the car, walked along the edge of a field, climbed a steep flight of steps and found ourselves on top of a massive dyke overlooking The Wash.

The first attack by the RAF took us by surprise. One of their fighter jets screamed in very low from the south. I pointed my Canon at it and fired off a few shots but the jet managed to get away.

The Parting Shot
The same jet made several passes, its undercarriage skirting through the parting in my hair, its engine noise pounding my eardrums. Eventually the airstrike was over; the pilot pulled back on his stick and flew inland.

We retreated. "Blimey" I thought, as we drove back to the main road, "they don't like tourists here". I pulled out my itinerary and put a big black check mark against another item on the list. We had done The Wash.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Free Tickets to Australia

This story was filed by Blighty's Blog correspondent Ian Legbe-Forewicket
The Government of Ontario has hatched plans to provide British immigrants to Canada's largest province with free passage to Australia.

In what, at first blush, sounds like a promising move for expat Brits eager to escape the onslaught of another cruel winter, the announcement today from Queens Park has sent shudders of fear through Ontario's bulging British community.

The announcement follows hard on the heels of the McGuinty government's attempts to starve the British out of Ontario by forcing the closure of all their small butcher shops (Blighty's Blog uncovered this story a few months ago: the McGuinty government used economic pressure to force haggis makers out of business- editor).

Now a new ministry has been setup to forcibly remove Brits from Ontario. It has been given the terrifying name of "The Ontario Ministry of Transportation".

British and Australian citizens are well familiar with judicial transportation. The practice of shipping undesirables to Australia was common practice in 18th Century Britain.

A spokesperson for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty told Blighty's Blog: "look it's really very simple; we just don't want haggis-eaters hanging around our province. If this new measure doesn't work we are going to have to use get-tough tactics such as ... continued on page 94

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Murder Most Fowl

Aaaarrrggh! Help! Help! Keep  the women of Peterborough, away from me! No, no I am not being paranoid; the paranoids are chasing me too.

When I first saw this set of knives in a Peterborough store window this past summer, I thought: "that would be handy; a good set of knives for carving the Turkey on Thanksgiving and for chopping chicken for Sunday dinner. And look, there are smaller knives for partridge and quail."

"You could murder most fowl with this set of knives" I thought. And then I noticed the knife holder.
It happened during my trip to the UK this past summer. One of the local women took SWMBO (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) and I into a shopping mall. This bizarre and strange object was displayed in a store window.

Is there a demand for things like this in Peterborough? Are the women of Peterborough so angry with their men that an object such as this is openly sold?

What ideas did SWMBO get when she saw this? Should I be concerned when, on returning home, she ordered custom licence plates for her car that read "Boudica"? What should I read into her question about whether the Ontario Ministry of Transportation would allow rotating knives on the hubcaps of her "chariot"?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Upper Class Virgins

There is something saucy going on aboard Virgin Atlantic's aeroplanes. Now I am sure we all like big comfy seats, free booze and being treated like somebody special at check-in when we fly. But, hey, Sir Richard Branson has taken special treatment to a whole new level onboard his fleet of Virgin Atlantic jumbo fun and shenanigans planes.

I don't think, strictly speaking, that you really even have to be either upper class or a virgin to join in the fun. You do, however, have to shell out a bucket load of coin for the privilege.

Here is what Virgin has to say about its "Upper Class" service:
From the complimentary limo to the onboard bar and fully flat beds, Upper Class provides the VIP treatment that you deserve. (Uh-huh).

Your seat is a suite. Complete with a private power source, and guest seat for meeting or entertaining. (nudge-nudge, wink-wink). When sleep beckons, your seat converts to a totally flat, super-wide bed complete with a duvet and turn down service.

We all have our own little comforts that help us get the best possible flight's sleep, but individually our needs are all different. (Steady on Sir Richard, you'll frighten the horses)

Sip a signature drink at the onboard bar. If films are your pleasure, enjoy over 43 channels of programming on your widescreen personal entertainment system. (Is it getting a little warm in here?)

You'll find the expected and the unexpected in our unique Clubhouses. (Saucy!)

Whether you want to work or play whilst onboard, our in-seat power will keep your gadgets going. (Alright, now you are going too far Dickie).
 Oh what dirty fun it must be to be upper class!