I’m Trying to Think of Something Nice to Say About 2016. Meanwhile Here is Some Light Music…

And here’s another one.  How much more loss can we take in one year?  We’ve lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Prince, Terry Wogan (all right, scratch that last one) but really: I’m just getting over the heartbreak of losing Cohen, and now this!  I really don’t think I can take much more.  For he is dead, the inimitable, the ground-breaking (or perhaps we should say atmosphere-breaking) the witty, eccentric and yet still dedicated Ian Mccaskill has passed over like the weather fronts he so often gave us.  His forecasts were legendary: he didn’t so much present the weather as dance around it, giving us off-beat and off-the-cuff remarks about what warm or cold fronts were likely to have the temerity to pass over us, and which of a battery of symbols would be governing our destinies in the coming hours.

‘They’ – ie non-British folk, say that we Brits talk about the weather all the time.  They seem to find this bizarre, but as I keep explaining to every Johnny foreigner I meet, we always talk about the weather because there’s always something to talk about!  The weather changes constantly.  In Spain, for example, once you’ve said ‘Ay, que calor!’ or ‘Ay, que frio!’ there’s not much else to say (though you should, of course, say it with an upside-down exclamation mark, something I have failed to do here because there is a shortage of upside-down punctuation on this blog.)  In Britain the weather changes constantly, which makes it notoriously difficult to forecast – and it was this fact that made Mccaskill so entertaining.  He knew his stuff; which meant that he knew he was operating with so many variables it would make the viewer’s head spin, so instead of being serious he joked about it.  He was a pleasure to watch and enlivened many a dull forecast; but the one I remember the most was when, during a particularly wet summer, he said:

No, I can’t find that one but I remember him saying… well, I’ll tell you in a bit.  Meanwhile here is a Christmas forecast from 1990:

And here’s a Spitting Image take on how wrong the weather often was:


RIP Ian.  We will miss you.

Kirk out

PS the thing I remember most is him saying during a particularly wet summer, ‘I’m trying to think of something nice to say about the weather.  Meanwhile here is some light music.’


Sharing this as a response to my last one. Some interesting ideas I think

A Box Of Chocolates

Look, I’m really sorry about this but I don’t think I can resist it any longer.  I recently blogged about the inappropriateness of putting tallow in fivers and couldn’t help but think about the appropriateness or otherwise of what the notes are made of, and I’m not going to get past this until I splurge it here, so that’s what I’m doing.

Just as a brief aside, I often find that the writing process is in series rather than parallel.  I find myself unable to write what I want well until I’ve written something else which occupies my mind, so sometimes I have to write that first to get it out of the way.  This is what happened with the TOS reviews and NaNoWriMo, so sorry everyone, you’re going to be subjected to this.

Right now, books are made of paper.  In days of yore, this paper was made of…

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Tallow Tales

I don’t really know why, but unlike many vegetarians and vegans I can’t really get too worked up about the tallow in the new fiver.  The first time I got one of these was in the village of Grosmont at the local shop (a local shop for local people) – in fact the place seemed to be awash with them; but it wasn’t until I got back to civilisation that I heard about the tallow.  If I’m honest, my reaction was a shrug of the shoulders.  What’s the big deal?  There are bigger things to worry about, in my opinion.  After all, I’m veggie not vegan; I wear leather and suede and use things with animal products in.  I don’t mind handling meat on the odd occasion (though I guess it depends what type of meat and what I’m doing with it) and to me, vegetarianism is about what I put in my body not what I hold in my hand.

I first embraced vegetarianism when I was living in a yoga ashram.  The plant-based diet was considered to be a peaceful one; first, because it didn’t involve the slaughter of other living things, and second, because the consumption of meat was thought to raise levels of aggression-inducing hormones.  There are also of course health reasons for not eating meat: it’s better for your digestion and the diet tends to be lower in fat and cholesterol.

That was twenty-five years ago, and I’ve never looked back.  Though initially I missed things like corned beef and tuna, the very thought of what I’m actually eating is enough to put me off should I get the urge to order, say, a bacon sandwich (bacon is one of the hardest things to give up).  Not everyone was supportive at first; my family didn’t understand it and when I said I had a craving for bacon, urged me to ‘just have some!’  Not helpful.  But I’ve never regretted it.  My digestion functions much better and I think I probably am less aggressive, though it’s hard to say as other life-changes went along with a change of diet.

Yet I can’t bring myself to care about tallow in five pound notes.  Maybe I should – maybe I would if I gave it more thought, but I don’t.  And I get a little pissed off when people say there’s no point in being just vegetarian: that you might as well go the whole hog and become vegan.  I don’t want to be vegan.  Vegan is too extreme for me.  There are many reasons for being vegetarian and they should all be respected.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts…

Kirk out