Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are opinions libel?

Interesting problem. If a blogger publishes a critical opinion, having described accurately something that has happened, is s/he libelling anyone? I seriously doubt it. The defence against libel is that the facts are true.

Why then should someone ask for a blog to be "scrubbed" of recognisable names or further posts not published until they've been scrutinised and approved by that someone? Someone, I might add, who is not the blogger's employer?

I'm not the blogger involved, incidentally. The blog is probably just going to change to a private status.

But it does make me wonder.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rubber Gloves

Every evening when I wash up I struggle into my rubber gloves before I set to. If I don't, I get hang-nails and they make life painful, even if I resist the urge to bite them off. But every time I heave and tug at the local shop's gloves, I look at the size details and I wonder...

The pack size says, "Medium". The cuff info says, "7 - 7 1/2". I know my glove size is 8 1/2, so not too long ago I decided I'd buy the next size that was available in the shop's gloves, and bravely bought their "Large". Job sorted, I thought. No such luck. The fingers are an inch too long and the whole thing slides off if I am not careful. "Large" is marked "9 - 9 1/2"!!!

So will someone please tell me, if size 7 is Medium, and size 9 is Large, what do I need to ask for to get a size 8?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why the French should be grateful to the English

Last night I was busily working on my laptop while my husband watched a series of back to back CSI episodes on channel 5. Last of all (post midnight) was an hour with NCIS, effectively the Naval version of these. Which I enjoy for its witty interplay between the family of characters, and for the presence of that hard working and lovely actor, David McCallum - with whom I was very healthily in love, when I was 13 and he was Illya Kuryakin in The Man From UNCLE. And no, I'm not really digressing.

Wrapped up, as I was, in the piece of writing I was polishing, I was barely taking notice, although I did gather that the episode was a kind of climax to some other episodes I'd seen, because there were highly compressed and effective flashbacks to various scenes I recognised. I wasn't paying much attention though, except to note that the Director lady was obsessing about a person called Larg Ren Wee (Asian? I wondered) and she had been seen to incite Tony Dinozzo (pronounced Dee-nozo) to seduce some relation of his, called Jarn Ben Wah. I partially decoded Jarn as John but couldn't work out why Tony - a very hetero male - would agree to this, even in the line of duty. He did seem a little reluctant.

Enter David McCallum as Dr Donald "Ducky" Mallard (and as a Millard how I cringe at the dreadful puns involved there) - so I perk up - well you do, don't you, when Illya Kuryakin pops up and adds a little Britishness to the scenery. and he starts discussing these two Asian named characters, whose names Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) tends to mumble a little self consciously. And behold, the lovely Mr McCallum sayeth, in a crystal clear Parisian accent, that the man whose death they are all investigating is nicknamed "La Grenouille", the Frog, and his real surname is Benoit, and his daughter - yes a DAUGHTER, whom Tony has been very happy to seduce - is Jeanne Benoit. Not Larg Ren Wee but La Grenouille. Not Jarn Ben Wah but Jeanne Benoit.

So I humbly apologise to all French speakers for the mangled job some English speaking "actors" make of their language.

And presumably they also talk about Princess Arn, Arn of Green Gables, and Arnie Get Your Gun?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ruby and the Idiots

Normally I write about my drives out with Ruby the Magnificent in order to share the pleasure that carriage driving gives us. My driving is my recreation and I come home soothed in mind and spirit. Not so today. I’m BOILING.

I took Ruby out by herself because Mr T has had a few days off to ease a windgall on one his hind legs, and Jen didn’t want to work him hard today. So I packed up some plastic bags for “recycling” and strapped them to the cart seat before setting off towards Tebay over our big hill, Pikestoll. Since Pikey is a long hard haul, and I intended to go right round the circuit which is a distance of 8 miles, I let Ruby stroll along to warm up at a walk. I stopped at “Tom’s gateway” about a third of the way up to move the midge-repeller from the top of the collar, where it was touching Ruby’s wither as the collar moved, and clip it round the stem of the saddle terret. I don’t know if these sonic repellents actually work but when you’ve got a midgey farm and midge-sensitive horses all routes are worth trying. At any rate, the repeller (which is solar powered) didn’t give any other problems in its new position, and midges were the least of Ruby’s troubles on the drive!

It was all very peaceful over Pikey and down to Roundthwaite road end, where we paused for quite a while, waiting for a clear run out onto the A685. Ruby tends to think that once a car has passed it is time to move out, whereas I could see traffic coming from much further down the road. The traffic wasn’t actually heavy, but the cars kept coming. She was very good though and trotted straight out once the road really was clear. We kept a nice steady trot going over the motorway and railway bridges, up into Tebay and to David Trotter’s house, where I left the two bags of bags for him to reuse in his greengrocery deliveries. Then we went on our merry way through the village, through the narrows, down the hill and round the motorway roundabout. Keeping ourselves to ourselves, warning people of our presence with our flashing lights back and front.

Most people whom we meet on the road are courteous and smiling, and I smile and wave at them because I’m happy and why not share it? So it continued, until we were leaving the roundabout, when Ruby scooted because she saw a motorcyclist. But it was nothing serious, and I still managed to signal which exit I was going down. As we continued along the Orton section of the A685, however, I began to realise that there was a good deal more traffic than I’d expected; possibly leaving the motorway and heading for Appleby, where the Fair Hill gipsy gathering is coming to a close. Were they all horse people? I seriously doubt it. Horse sense was certainly not in evidence. When we approached blind summits where nobody should overtake because they can’t see if anything is coming, they overtook. When I signalled them not to overtake because, sitting higher than the cars, I could see oncoming traffic, they overtook. When a convoy of foreign registered cars came up behind me and the first one pulled out to overtake, they all did the same, as though an umbilical cord might snap if they were separated – never mind the fact that the oncoming traffic had to stop for them. I kept Ruby pounding along at a good straight trot, but her 11mph was just not fast enough for the idiots. I don’t mean that everyone who followed me was a fool, because I was aware of one car that sat politely twenty yards back from us for at least a mile; but my verbal commands along that stretch included several cries of greeting to members of the Head family [work it out], and my coachman style driving gave ample opportunity to exercise my whip hand in certain unconventional signals.

Do cyclists have these troubles? They are equally vulnerable on the road. How do they deal with them, I wonder?

Once past Orton, where we left the Appleby road, courtesy and good humour returned, and perfect strangers waved and grinned, just the way it all usually happens. And Ruby walked and cooled off from her frenetic two miles. When we passed the youngster being schooled on the lunge at Selsmire farm, and he used our passing as an excuse to squeal and buck in circles, she only flicked an ear and told him saddles weren’t that big a deal. She ignored the inquisitive Shetlands and the farm bikes, and only wanted to get back onto the yard and scream to Mr T that she hadn’t abandoned him, she still loved him and she was home.

And when I turned her out with him she squealed and told him to get lost!

If you were in your car on the A685 this summer Sunday lunchtime, heading for Appleby, and if Ruby and I held you up for a few minutes until the road was clear, then I apologise, and thank you. Nothing went wrong on the drive. We drove to the rules of the road. But I’m furious at the idiot behaviour we encountered, so come on Google, index this lot and let the idiots read the things I didn’t have the chance to say today. If they can read.

“If you risked your life and ours by overtaking on a blind brow, on a blind bend, or in the face of oncoming traffic, or if you forced me to rein in my horse as you pulled in front of me, then please tell me – what was so important, on a Sunday lunch time, that you couldn’t be patient for those few minutes?”