Two feet of snow
(I am indebted for this picture to the wonderful
Eric and Jean Grosvenor, who run
The Commercial in Tantobie)
In this blogposting…
* Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know
* A Night At The Music Hall
* They Have Snow In France, Too
* 6 Billion Others

* Happy Birthday
Now - read on, and let the Devil take the hindmost…

* The average adult spends 8 minutes and 45 seconds a day complaining about something
* A fifth of all pets are given home-cooked meals
* 1 in 10 British people say they prefer dogs to human beings
* The average age of the first-time bride is now 30
* A tenth of all the furniture bought by UK householders comes from Ikea
* 10% of people spend more time talking to their partner on the phone, or via email, than face-to-face
* London Zoo’s gorillas ate 70 kilos of popcorn last year

One of the finest - and funniest - birthday presents I ever received was from my friend Sue a couple of years ago. It was a 4 CD boxed-set called A Night At The Music Hall and features original recordings of those bawdy, essentially British music-hall songs from before the First World War.

Amongst the artists performing these seaside-postcard gems are George Formby Snr, Marie Lloyd, Vesta Victoria, Harry Champion, Florrie Ford, Lillie Langtry...even their names are evocative of a time before brutal, X-Factor commercialism replaced the giggles of nudge-nudge innocence.

But for me, the real pleasure of the CDs lies in the titles of the songs themselves. Who doesn’t want to know the plots behind such unforgettable gems as…

* Never Let Your Braces Dangle
* A Little Bit Of Cucumber
* Now I Have To Call Him Father
* Up I Came With My little Lot
* The Bird on Nellie’s Hat
* All Of A Sudden It Struck Me
* It Aint All Honey And It Aint All Jam
* Archibald - Certainly Not!
* I’m Getting Ready For My Mother-in-Law
* Nature’s Made A Big Mistake

They don’t write - or sing - them like that any more.

If you take a look at Serge's blog, you'll see that he's posted an entry all about his native village, of which he is rightly very proud.

You'll also realise that they've had some pretty hefty snowfalls in Beaujolais, too.

While you're at it, give him a friendly English boost; make yourself one of his followers.

I guess it will take years for something as mind-expanding as the internet to truly show us how it can change the way we think, communicate and live. I suspect we’ve only just begun.

A friend has drawn my attention to a website which was one of the first to demonstrate the internet’s mind-expanding possibilities. It’s called and, like much on the net, is a startlingly simple idea that is only possible because the internet exists and is accessible to anyone with a computer connected to it.

Hundreds of ‘ordinary‘ people from all corners of the world, describe themselves, their lives and their thoughts and, in so doing, show us clearly that there is no such thing as an ‘ordinary‘ person. is strangely addictive and deeply moving. Take a look.

For good or ill, I’ve decided that AGM XXII will take place at 1100 on Wednesday 29 December in Newcastle city centre. I know it’s a tricky time for everyone but please try to make it if you can. It’ll be lovely to see you again.

Bring at least one Christmas-cracker joke.

And remember - a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

...Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Butler, General Franco, Claude Renoir, Ronnie Corbett, Gemma Jones, Jeff Bridges, Jay-Z - and yours truly (even if I say so myself).

And a VERY big Thankyou to everyone who has sent me cards, emails, Facebook messages, gifts and texts. Once again, I’m overawed and thrilled to bits.


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