Sunday, December 04, 2022

Parting the Waves

 One of the minor joys of the past couple of years has been following the YouTube videos put up by a handful of camera operators based at Rufford Ford, Nottinghamshire. The ford is where a minor road crosses an old mill stream, (the mill is now a heritage centre), and is normally easy to cross. But sometimes after heavy rain it rises to two or three feet deep and should not be crossed by normal vehicles. This message seems to have eluded the good folk of Nottingham. Although the ford only cuts off a few miles from perfectly good roads on either side, many seem determined to hurtle through it no matter how deep the water. And the YouTubers are there to catch the huge waves that break over a delighted crowd of onlookers, and better still (for us), the moments when the engines cough and die, the electrics fail and the hapless drivers remove their shoes and wade out to seek help.

Confidently in...


... And assisted out

Pics courtesy of Tom Sunderland

These videos have been a huge success and seem to have made running the gauntlet of the ford a challenge for every hard lad in the vicinity. The road is actually a residential, 30mph street and often there are signs warning of closure, but the presence of the cameras seems to be a greater incentive and they hit the waters at maximum speed. Whether they think this helps or they are just maddened by the anticipating crowds, who knows? The joke is that many vehicles that have successfully made it to the other side leave little souvenirs behind, smashed off by the force of the waters - number plates, bumpers, sections of engine housing - all of which are gleefully gathered up and dumped in a pile at the side of the road.

Sometimes the police lie in wait to file a few tasty charges - speeding, dangerous driving, not being in full control of a vehicle, being a total berk - but the council have had enough. Much to the chagrin of the crowds and the YouTubers, and very much to the financial detriment of every recovery garage for miles around, they have closed the road.  

Warnings that that the road was closed due to flooding have not deterred morons from driving into it in the past. I wonder if they will continue to brave the waters, like some sort of ancient coming-of-age ceremonial test of manhood, come what may? In which case we can look forward to more encounters such as this one, where a gentlemen in a small car took one look at the watermark showing three feet of water and put his foot down, only to float gently downstream.

Bow wave over the engine? No worries.

Prepare to abandon ship

 Pics courtesy of Tom Sunderland

Friday, November 11, 2022

World Cup 2022 - Read it here, read it first!

 It's that magic time of year, when the thrill of anticipation makes your blood tingle and your heart beat just a little faster. The laughter and merriment of children - the twinkling smiles of the old folk - the cheerful lights beating back the gloom of the late autumn evenings. Join us as we celebrate the wonderful world of - The World Cup in Catarrh  [Does this look right to you? Ed]

We've always been ahead of the game when it comes to English football. You marvelled at the accuracy of our forecasts for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, you gawped in disbelief as we nailed it yet again for the 2016 Euros in France and you were speechless beyond belief when we unveiled our take on the World Cup in Russia in 2018. We were the first to pick England as the winners, or losers, against Germany in the Euros 2021 And now it is time to let your brains boggle into hyperspace as we invite a star panel of some of the finest contributors to this column to bring us -  

The Ramblings Exclusive Predictions for World Cup 2022

First, let's meet the panel.

*Fresh from a series of work-placements at some of the most dynamic, forward-thinking and exciting businesses ever to use more than one font for a PowerPoint presentation, it is the Young Intern of the Year (failed), Taz1.

*Acclaimed for his ability to drink coffee whilst dismissing objections in all directions,  be upstanding for American judge and all-round cliché dispenser, Judge D. Crockett2.

*Our intrepid correspondent (name withheld to protect him, his family and his entire neighbourhood) who covered the astonishing rise and decline of the supreme head of the Mongol Hordes, President Khan, and who has finally stopped shaking enough to hold a pen3

*And the man holding the ring and steering the ship - it's our very own Ed 4.


Match 1 - England v Iran, Sheikitallabout Stadium, Nov 21st

Taz: Ah, gosh, spotlight on me then, as it were, oh dear, I don't have a lot of time for football, merely being in the same office as a business executive makes me weak at the knees. Ermm, I go for 86 for 4 in the third chukka.
Crockett: Gonna be plenty of ass kicked in that ballgame, yes sirree
Correspondent: The latest rumours circulating amongst the water-sellers at the Dung Gate are that one team is certain to win, unless it is a draw.
Ed: That seems pretty unanimous then, we back England. Or the other team. God speed to both of them.

Match 2 England vs USA, AbdulsProstheticHands Arena Nov 25th

Crockett: US of A every time feller, ol' Uncle Sam'll be doing the whopping of asses in this one, we'll knock them out of left field. Those redcoats ain't gonna know what hit them and let me tell you this, boy, if I don't get me some cawfee and donuts real soon, I may just have to go out and get them myself, you hear what I'm saying?
Taz: Oh dear, honestly, I do hope it's a jolly good match and not too many get out for a duck, I think England by a short head and that young Mickey Rooney, I hear he's a jolly good player, they ought to get him on with that other chap, Hurri Cane is it?
Correspondent: I'm afraid the last match I saw was the Mongol Horde vs the Moghul Allstars at polo and I had to leave when they kicked the ball into the river and asked if anyone with a particularly large, round head wished to participate.
I think it looks like rain. Blast, I left my umbrella at my aunt's. 

Match 3 England vs Wales Doha-diddydiddydumdiddydo Park Nov 29th

Correspondent: Ah, a civil war situation. Had a few of those back in my time. President Khan started most of them by arguing with his supporters about the best way to execute his enemies.
Crockett: Yup, we know all about the war between the states, young feller. Them damn Yankees and those yelling Rebs, gosh darn it, some people got themselves hurt real bad, can you believe that?
Taz: Oh yes, um, don't really want to have to pick a side here, bit sensitive, there's a girl in the office called Myfanwy, rather sweet really, hoping to take her out for a coffee one day, better not rock the boat if you know what I mean.
Ed: I'm going to go out on a limb here. England to win 5 -0. There, I said it. And by God, I'd do it again if I had to.

There it is. England to win the stages, unless they fail to. Success in the later rounds absolutely guaranteed although a shock knockout in the round of 16, the quarter-finals or the semi-finals is always likely. As to the final - we shall have to wait and see.




1. After his debut at Channel 4, Taz featured with Easyjet, Coca-Cola and TV host Carol Azam (probably)

2. He presided over Pumpernickel vs Pumpernickel, Trump's Lying Lawyer vs The Truth and The Case of the Rude Waiter

3. Our reporter first went to Karakorum to cover the surprise election of President Khan in 2016 and continued to file increasingly erratic, if not downright peculiar, stories until the shock moment when Pres. Khan finally had to put his scimitar away

4. No introduction needed, not that it would be given even if it was.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Return of the King

Chapter One

This time it was going to be alright. The nation might be in chaos, the leadership divided, the grassroots confused and voters losing confidence, but waiting calmly overseas was the one man who could save Britain. 

He had retreated when previous defeats seemed overwhelming but he knew, with a profound wisdom borne of many battles, that he was not utterly vanquished. There still might be some overlooked hope, some unexpected twist, that would bring him back triumphant, his enemies cowed and fleeing in disorder, his people shaking off the spells that bound them to those who had betrayed them, his very own great nation rising as one to usher him back into the power that he so richly deserved.

And so it was that as his aircraft bore him back into British airspace and the duty-frees were placed lovingly into the discreet briefcase that never left his side, he smiled; a wry but warm smile that he was returning to his own people and to the acclamation of his party ......

Stop press: 

Pic: BBC Website

 Chapter Two

And so it was that the King left once more for his warm retreat in the South American sunshine. [Another couple of thousand words here, please. Ed]


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Call for Carroll

 As we seem to be living in some mad inverted version of reality, with chancellors being fired for carrying out the agreed policy, and home secretaries finding a flimsy excuse to resign, and prime ministers going nowhere one day and resigning the next, there is only one man to whom we may reliably turn for assistance in getting some sort of grasp, however feeble, on what the hell is going on.

The LizTruss and the Chancellor
were walking down the Mall
"With taxes cut there must be growth"
The LizTruss told her pal
"And as for those who tell us 'no'
I say let's sack 'em all".

"Perhaps the Bank of England might..."
The Chancellor began.
"God rot them all" the LizTruss said
"They're useless, every man.
Let's waste no time in cracking on
We have the perfect plan".

"Oh markets, come and join with us"
The LizTruss did beseech
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk
And I have much to preach"
"She's always right" The Chancellor said
"Keep quiet and let her teach".

The LizTruss and the Chancellor
Continued down their road.
But one by one the moneymen
remained in their abode.
"She's sowing doom" their faces said
"The markets will implode".

"The time has come" the LizTruss said
"To talk of many things
Of budgets, debt and fuel costs
Of reckless spending flings
And why the rich will save us all
And whether pigs have wings".

"But wait a bit" the markets cried
"Before you choose this path.
It doesn't seem to work at all
Has no-one done the math?"
"Keep quiet" snarled the Chancellor
"Or else you'll feel my wrath"

The LizTruss and the Chancellor
Discovered, to their cost
That people need to understand
And not feel double-crossed
The pressure grew, the storm it blew
And both were media-tossed.

And as the waves engulfed their boat
The Chancellor was caught
Discharged into the foaming waves
Their recklessness had bought
And now alone the LizTruss stood
Though all had come to naught.

The LizTruss and the Chancellor
No longer can be seen
Now others try to hide the tracks
Of where their steps had been
And scratch their chins and try to learn
Whatever did it mean?

Friday, October 14, 2022

All about U

It has been a turbulent few days with major swings in market confidence, falls in the value of the pound and shares, and increases in interest rates, combined with intense pressure on the government to appear to look at least vaguely competent. Readers may be confused about the latest proposals for managing the British economy, and the rapid changes taking place at the top, and the least we can do is to offer a simple guide.

The latest government U-turn overturns the planned reduction in the increase in tax, which was scheduled to be cut to no less than a phased-in increase, itself deferred a year and phased out under the U-turn which raised the rate it could be increased to the lower of the amount projected before the budgeted increase that was held over from the targeted reduction, itself reduced on a sliding scale proposed in the policy reversed by the U-turn that increased the maximum reduction to an increase of what had been previously reduced, and the maximum of the reduced increases of the forecast change based on a rolling forecast of turnouts from turn-ups for the book.

 A government spokesman said the government now intends to go away and lie down in a darkened room, although the amount of darkness may be reduced by the incremental increase in daylight consequent upon a phasing out of the twilight allowance, as projected previously but now tapered off and subject to any U-turns that may be ahead. Or have already happened.

 The ex-chancellor, who found himself summoned back to London from Washington so swiftly he would barely have a chance to stock up on duty-frees, turned into Downing Street, was turned out of office and turned back to a career on the back benches. The prime minister, who announced staunchly only yesterday that there would be no U-turn, reaffirmed today that all her previous statements were inoperative and now onwards, NOW ONWARDS, there would be no more U-turns, unless forced on her by the “markets” or by the raw fear gripping vulnerable Tory MPs, or if there was a jolly good reason to, and not just because of rash decisions taken on the back of ludicrous promises to gullible members of her party who were voting for her as leader, that is right out and not going to happen, we have her solemn and binding promise, read her lips, no U-turns. Unless….


 Meanwhile a dilemma for lovers of poetry. Lines on the departure of Mr Kwarteng or welcoming the arrival of the man whose surname is so easy to match with suitable rhymes? I had made the obvious start this morning:

And so farewell to Kwazi
His job gone down the khazi

And that is as far as I got. I didn't really want to put something in about "arrested by the Stasi".  Anyway Jeremy H. is back and let us see how big a Hunt he can be this time.