Saturday, 2 April 2011


I am, by nature, a fan of myths as entertainment, though not as arguments for belief. I hate it when people get their myths in a twist. Particularly sad when the National Trust does it, but there is something about Snowdon that goes to its collective head. I was present at a dinner where the Trust congratulated itself for keeping Snowdon in Wales. I had a picture of a Horde of the Yellow Peril invading Wales with wheelbarrows, filling them with bits of Snowdon until they had enough barrow loads to rebuild the mountain somewhere south of Kyoto.

I see the NT is at it again, claiming they should be given the money to buy Lake Idwal, where they seem to believe two dragons fought, the White Saxon Dragon and the Red Saxon Dragon. I commend to them the Mabinogion, a superb collection of Welsh myths collected by an English woman.

When Lludd ruled Britain (c.100 BCE), a hideous scream, whose origin could not be determined, was heard each May Eve causing infertility, panic and mayhem through out the realm. Lludd's brother Llefelys, a King of Gaul, explained the cause was battling dragons. The scream would be uttered by the dragon of the Britons when it was fighting another alien dragon and was being defeated. Lludd captured both dragons in a cauldron filled with beer when they had transformed themselves, as apparently dragons did, into pigs. The captured dragons were buried at the hill later called Dinas Emrys. At the summit is a circle of tumbled stones where the dragons were hidden.
Another legend tells of the attempts of Vortigern to build a castle on Dinas Emrys. Every time it was built, it collapsed. Merlin explained the reason was that the dragons were fighting underground. The truth of the myth is probably that the primitive Welsh saw the long pennants the Roman legions marched behind that “wriggled” in the wind. To further banjax the foe, the Romans attached whistles to the flags that screamed in the wind. It was just a case of mistaken identity. Having said that, I will be contributing to the NT fund because such a beautiful spot should be in public ownership.
I am far too fond of God to have any truck with the myth we call religion. Religion diminishes God because it fashions him in the image of man, a querulous, self-absorbed, jealous, unforgiving and unbelievably cruel creature. And let's face, it a lousy father. My God is the Creative Force which hides the snowdrop inside a tiny bulb, sculpts the mountains and sets out the endless Universe .
Identification is beyond our little mind grasp.

Religion I despise and fear. We stand on a crumbling cusp. America, which represents religion at its most benign, no longer leads the world. Destroyed by its massive debt, it must yield its place as Guardian of the Sacred Oak - to speak in terms of the most fascinating book ever written, The Golden Bough. Two new and muscled youths stand by to fight to become America's successor. They are China, which has no discernible religion, and the Muslim world which is piloted by the Wahabi sect, intolerant, vicious and puritan.. India is too mired in corruption to take part in the struggle to rule the world.

Britain is Ruritania Recidiva. We are major contributors to the Muslim ire. How about this, from the splendidly named Sir Laming Worthington-Evans, secretary of state for war nearly a century ago? "If the Arab population realised that the peaceful control of Mesopotamia ultimately depends on our intention of bombing women and children, I'm very doubtful if we shall gain that acquiescence of the fathers and husbands of Mesopotamia to which the Secretary of State for the Colonies looks forward." He was referring to Iraq in the 1920s; he could have been talking about the Middle East today, in which are about further to mire ourselvesw.

Lemsip remains the great myth inducer. I have started dreaming page leads, which to non- newspaper persons means the story which leads the page and the source of great revenue to freelance journalists.
Last night in a dream I came across a lady in a cafe who told me of a worrying experience she had when she went to buy a pepper mill in John Lewis's. The only ones she could find were mills made in the image of policemen, from which the pepper emerged from the pointed end of the helmet. She blushed when she told me there was something disturbingly phallic about them and added that when she turned one over she saw the description “Penismill”.

The story took a bit of writing but it was OK once I had thought of an introductory paragraph. Then I had to sell it to a newspaper as an exclusive. That took hours. As a result, I woke up exhausted.

Reminds me of the old German proverb: “All skill is in vain when an angel pees in the touchhole of your musket.”
The Herr who thought of that was mainlining Lemsip.


Teachers in Wales were last year given paperwork equivalent to five copies of War and Peace by the Assembly Government, it has been claimed.

A study by the Welsh Conservatives uncovers the vast amount of policy papers, strategy updates and guidelines sent to schools by the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills.
It found that in 2009-10, the Assembly’s education team processed 8,468 pages of documentation that, when stacked in a pile, would stretch to more than a metre in height.
According to the Welsh Tories, the volume of paper- work equates to reading all seven Harry Potter books twice or Tolstoy’s epic War and Peace five times.

A cafe owner who was ordered to tear down an extractor fan because the smell of bacon offended Muslims was celebrating a 'victory for commons sense' today. Beverley Akciecek has won her appeal against the ruling by Stockport councillors.
Mrs Akciecek's neighbour's had claimed their Muslim friends were refusing to visit because they 'couldn't stand'  the odour. And the Lib Dem-run council ruled the smell from the fan, which has been in Bev's Snack Shack for more than three years, was 'unacceptable on the grounds of residential amenity' and told her to take it down.
Customers who fancy some salt on their fish and chips will have to ask for it in Stockport, after the council asked takeaways to place cellars under the counter.

JUST A NOTE FOR... ( I forget what for)

Most of what humans experience as perception is actually furnished by the memory. This is because the conscious brain can only process a trickle of data. Psychologists agree that only one to four 'items,' either thoughts or sensations,
can be held in mind, immediately available to consciousness, at the same time. Some have tried to quantify these constraints. According to the work of Manfred Zimmerman of Germany's Heidelberg University, only a woeful fifty bits of information per second make their way into the conscious brain, while an estimated eleven million bits of data flow from the senses every second


Chris Greaves, speaking at the funeral of his dad, Bob Greaves, oft-married TV presenter and former Daily Mail man (obit was in Ranters last week)...:

"So who was Bob Greaves? He was my dad, of course...a beloved granddad...and to some here he was a colleague and a valued friend. But to most of you, he was a husband."

(With thanks to Revel Barker)