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As I was writing this, news came in of another disaster to afflict the fragile heart of Paris - the tragic demise of the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris.

(image from YouTube livestream from CBSN)
It doesn't really matter if you're Catholic or not, or even a believer at all. This 12th century cathedral (started in 1163, finished in 1345) was not only one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture, it also held hundreds of years of history - Napoleon I's coronation was there, as was the crowning of Henry VI of England (crowned the King of France!), Mary Queen of Scots married there, something about a hunchback, and many irreplaceable works of art - much of which charts the history of France itself over the last 700 odd years.

(image from YouTube livestream from CBSN)


Wanna feel old?

Today, back in 1994, Acorn launched the original RiscPC range. A quarter century ago.

(image from


Sakura and swallows

The white (native) cherry trees are making abundant flowers now, while the Japanese Sakura is only beginning. I recall that last year it was a later bloomer than the white. Everything may also be a bit confused because we had a warm spell followed by freezing nights.

The big willow has turned green at last!

Additionally, the swallows have arrived (they first showed up on Friday 12th). I think these ones are the colder climate ones heading north. Ours usually arrive about a week later.


Too much imagination

Here's a pretty flower:

And here' alternative way to see it - a (ridiculously badly drawn-in-five-minutes) giant space ray gun:


Brexit and True Britishness

Hasn't happened yet, thankfully. It seems that habitual liar Nigel Farage didn't book himself a ticket to somewhere else the day after Brexit didn't happen. Instead, knowing that his party has been outed as a bunch of lunatic racists and bigots, he is starting up a completely different party comprised of lunatic racists and bigots (and, god help us, another Rees-Mogg to deal with). For some reason, the media seem to be falling over themselves to give this man a platform to spew his bollocks.

It seems like the British government wants to implement strong laws to counter fake news and misinformation. Well, I won't believe a word of that until LBC radio gets shut down, and a proper serious investigation into the various angles of the Leave campaign is launched. I won't hold my breath.

So now the UK has until Halloween in order to work out what it wants. The EU wanted a year, Macron wanted three months, they settled on six. Macron's "excuse" was that the EU has better things to do than endlessly debate Brexit. I say "excuse" rather than "reason" because if that was true he'd have agreed to a year - kick the can further down the road.
You see, the EU has stated very clearly that the offer is what's on offer. There's no point May coming to any European city until she has something new to say. The British government is a complete mess that is embarrassing and cringe-inducing. And now the slimy git (that's my personal opinion) Farage has crawled out of the woodwork to stir things up, and no doubt bugger off without accepting any last time.

What Macron really needs to do is realise that the EU negotiators have already sussed all of this. He may want to posture and be the big important man, but the simple truth of the matter is that Brexit is over. It's finished. The EU just needs to keep granting extension after extension until somebody finally has the balls to revoke article 50.

Here's why:

  • They accept May's forsaken deal
    Britain remains on the periphery of the EU. Sort of there, but sort of not. Of course, to make everything work smoothly, there will be alignment (that the ERG can't accept) without any say whatsoever in the decision making.
  • Norway plus plus plus plus minus question equals hash tilde
    These are all closer to the EU, much less hassle and friction, implies an amount of freedom of movement (one of May's infamous red lines), but still no say in the decisions. Norway (EFTA) accepts most EU decisions as they are seen as beneficial. The British government is too childish to accept decisions made by others, regardless...
  • Crash out (aka Crash and Burn)
    Certain politicians will tell you that all will be rosy operating within WTO rules. When you realise that by "rosy" they actually mean "poop brown"... this isn't even touching the issue of the Irish border. It simply isn't possible to have Northern Ireland out of the EU, Ireland in the EU, and no sort of border between the two. The current approach of the British, given that the flimsy government is being propped up by a bunch of Unionists, is akin to shoving fingers in ears and shouting lalalala loudly. It is quite likely, given the attitude of current Tory party members ("go whistle" etc) that they will simply expect to fall out and it's no big deal if there's a checkpoint in Ireland. No, it's no big deal. It simply implies reneging on international agreements which would turn Britain from being the world's laughing stock into... a rogue state. That's not a promotion.

Furthermore, the past two years (give or take) have shown that the British government is weak, more willing to fight itself than do anything useful for the good of the country and its citizens, still has delusions of colonial grandeur, and simply cannot be trusted to make a decision and/or stick to it.
In short, don't expect the rest of the world to beat a path to Britain's door. Their own incompetence and negligence has marginalised them in the eyes of the rest of the world. Britain might claim to be open for business (so long as you're white and loaded), but a better question would be to ask - what does Britain have to offer?

And there you have it. The only sensible way forward is to remain a part of the EU. Sure, the EU has flaws, but Britain might try pointing out some of these and trying to enact some change from within. Because without? Without there is nothing useful. No, there's no great deal with Trump, just look at news stories over the past week and anybody that has an IQ in double digits ought to understand that.
So in reality Brexit is finished. Farage has probably cropped up now in the hoping that he'll continue to be voted as an MEP so he can keep getting paid to insult everybody (nice job if you can get it). Otherwise, there's no coherent future for Brexit. It's over. It's done.
All that remains is for the EU (including you, Mr. Macron!) to grant as many extensions as necessary until that sinks in. Either that or May actually gets her "deal" through parliament, but one can hardly call that any form of progress.


Now, I did caption this part "true Britishness". So for this, I shall look at three British institutions:

  • Queen (the rock group)
  • The Queen (not the rock group)
  • Saint George (and his flag)

Now time to tear them apart as being anything but British, in the narrow-minded anti-immigration sense that is taking hold of certain parts of government/media/society.

  • Queen
    Brian May is not only very British (born in Hampton in 1947), but he's also damned smart, being an epic guitarist and an astrophysicist. I know, those go together like pork chops and custard, but when you're just that awesome you can pull it off. Freddie Mercury, on the other hand, was not only the extremely flamboyant face of the group as well as lead singer, he was also born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar (in 1946, as Farrokh Bulsara). His personal legacy cannot be understated. And.. he was an immigrant.

  • Queen Elisabeth II
    She's British, born in Mayfair in 1926. She's also the titular Queen of a lot of places (Commonwealth), including Canada!
    She is the titular head of the House of Windsor. However, the House of Windsor came into being 101 years ago, in July 1917. Prior to that, it was the House Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, or maybe I should say it correctly as Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (founded in 1826 from the House of Wettin which was founded some time in the 10th century).
    In other words, until an abrupt name change due to anti-German sentiment during WW1, the British Royal family were of German (and other European) lineage. Indeed, they still are really - the name changed, the people didn't.
    Indeed, all of the various European royals are intermingled - nothing clearer than to point out that the Queen's husband (Prince Philip) was born in Corfu in Greece as - believe it or not - Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (Greece and Denmark!!!?).

  • Saint George (and his flag)
    Forget British - I'm aiming squarely at England now, and you don't get any more English than Saint George. He's the patron of England, the red cross on white is his flag that is enthusiastically waved at football matches. Saint George slew a freakin' dragon and converted thousands to Christianity along the way. He's basically a medieval action hero.
    Only a few itty bitty problems.
    None of this has anything to do with England.
    The man was born in Cappadocia. That's part of the country we now call Turkey - yes, the dramatic desperate irony of campaign trying to claim that Turkey is imminently joining the EU when their own patron saint would have been a Turk. Seriously, please laugh. I did.
    That red cross on white flag? Yeah, about that. It arose around Genoa (Italy) sometime in the 12th century. Edward III of England chose to adopt Saint George as the patron saint of his Order of the Garter in 1348, and I guess from there it became adopted as the flag of England. So it's been British for about 670 years, but neither began in Britain. They are both imports/immigrants as much as historical concepts could be.
    Oh, and the dragon slaying? There are many variations of this story. A popular version from Legenda aurea (Jacobus da Varagine) places the action in a place called "Silene", in what is nowadays Libya.

Seriously, people, if it wasn't for immigration they'd all be speaking Pict and Brittonic and arguing over sheep.


Girls and gender

I saw this picture in this week's publicity for the Super U supermarket chain. The shirt in the middle says "I am a girl". The first thing I thought when I saw that was "duh!". The second thing I thought when I saw that was that if a British shop introduced such a product, the world would probably end. After all, a girl wearing a shirt identifying herself as a girl - such horrific and blatant gender stereotyping. Must be stopped! Won't somebody think of the children! Arrrgh!

(image from SuperU publicity)



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Sam, 17th April 2019, 18:58
" they'd all be speaking Pict and Brittonic and arguing over sheep " 
Best. Put - down. Evah.
Gavin Wraith, 18th April 2019, 13:59
I visited St George's tomb once; the one in Jordan that is :). From the horse, princess and dragon iconography it seems pretty clear that the St George myth borrows heavily from muddled memories of the Greek Bellerophon myth, which in turn borrowed from muddled memories of Lydian myths, which borrowed from Hittite myths, ... .  
The unhistoricity makes St George the perfect patron saint for Britain. Just think of all the poor chaps spurred on to their deaths for the sake of a fairy tale. That has always been the way to do it.
Atheist, 18th April 2019, 15:51
I expected better from you than to peddle the tedious lies and Catholic propaganda, keep that to yourself arsehole. I'm never reading this rubbish again.
David Pilling, 18th April 2019, 23:01
pretty flower, dodecatheon, common name shooting stars. The botanists (boo hiss) have scrapped the genus and combined them into primula. Don't worry there'll be another botanist along in a while who will split them off again. 
Notre Dame passed me by at school, only now seen the impressive rose windows. St. George - never felt he was a big deal, common knowledge about him not being British. 
See how far ignorance gets you. 
Imagine your house is on fire, and Mr Macron and Mr Trump are directing the fire fighting operation via twitter. 
David Pilling, 18th April 2019, 23:10
RISC PC takes us to the show in Harrogate (at which it was launched). Nice computer for the time. Didn't think it would be the end of the line (which it was for Acorn). Seemed like "ho hum", but big step forward in number of colours. 
David Pilling, 19th April 2019, 15:09
Acorn User Show, Harrogate 
April 22nd - 24th, 1994 
I was there on the Friday. 
Bernard Boase, 21st April 2019, 10:33
Whereas I was at the Cumberland Hotel for the London launch of the PriscPC on 15 April 1994. Acorn had advertised the location to punters using only Ordnance Survey coordinates. How geeky! It took me two years to justify the expense of buying one.
David Pilling, 21st April 2019, 15:03
Bernard - I now feel cheated - I wanted Harrogate to be the launch. OS coords must have been more difficult, before (widespread) GPS and the web. 
Pity they didn't have StrongARM for the launch.

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