And the Moral of the Story is…

… don’t go into bookies wearing a gas-mask and carrying a pistol!  Yep, a guy who did just that in Plymouth was restrained by customers and staff and subsequently died. 

Now, I’m not in favour of a gung-ho, vigilante approach to crime but I think it was very brave of the people in that bookies to tackle someone carrying a gun and I sincerely hope they – or the police – won’t be charged with anything.  There’s far too much passivity in public as it is – everyone’s too scared to do anything for fear of being sued.

And on that note, here’s Mark’s latest warning to the public about a new menace to our well-being and a new body which has been formed to help:

On the other hand, I am in favour of a gung-ho approach to speculators.  I would, frankly, line up all speculators in world food and oil prices against the wall and have them shot.  Slowly.  These a***holes are unbelievably callous and selfish and we should show them no mercy.

I had a rather slow day yesterday but eventually wrote something, including some more description of the house where I grew up.  Here’s some of it:

The House Where I Grew Up

The kitchen was also the main living-area; no-one used the lounge during the day unless people came for afternoon tea and required something more formal than a mug round the kitchen table but at the same time less formal than an interview in the study.  The kitchen had huge windows which looked out over the sports field and by the window lurked an ancient brown armchair with hooped wooden arms which we weren’t supposed to sit on but always did.  The phone sat on the cupboard next to this armchair and we would sit for hours twirling the phone-cord round a finger while we chatted to friends or boyfriends.  Outside in summer a cricket match unravelled like a silent dance – morris-men without handkerchiefs – while above them the belly of a plane hung low over the scene, its scream muted by the double-glazing.  (You could get a grant for double-glazing if you were born within the sound of Heathrow.  Then you were a true Westerner…)

On the sideboard stood a huge, brick-like radio which picked up radio 4 at mealtimes and Capital (then the London independent music station) when I was in there alone, though on Sunday afternoons while our parents slept, it would always be tuned to radio 1 for Alan Freeman’s top 40 show.

I have very few photos of this room as most of our family photos were taken in the dining-room or lounge at Christmas.  The rest of the year, the dining-room was the repository for old furniture and the scene of my cold piano-practice sessions; though our mother dreamed of turning it into a salon like one she’d seen at nearby Osterley house.

Sadly, she only got as far as painting it turquoise and buying a chaise longue which nobody ever sat or reclined on – and which ended up being a home for her various embroidery projects.  She did get very good at embroidery though, and took a City and Guilds exam in it.

In spite of my mother’s efforts to glamourise the house, it remained scruffy and down-at-heel: it also resisted my efforts to romanticise it like one of the houses in my story-books.  I was desperate to discover a ghost, but there wasn’t one – though from the garden it was easy to imagine a white face at the landing window; and when I was in bed at night the stairs creaked in exactly the way they would creak if a mysterious intruder was – well, intruding mysteriously.  But there was a disappointing lack of secret passages, hidden panels, spooky cellars and concealed doors.  Even the air-raid shelter – or what remained of it – was just a hole with a few weeds in.  Still, although it wasn’t as close to an Enid Blyton house as I would have liked, and failed to resemble Osterley House as my mother would have liked, it was more interesting than your average terrace.

So that’s it.  Today I shall be mostly… exploring the mysterious and frightening cupboards in my current house and clearing them out.

Kirk out