Yes, but it was such an obvious punch line

Me: Do you want a hot cross bun in bed?

Emily: Maybe. I do have to get up soon. Will they be long?

Me: No, th-

Emily: Don’t even think about it.


In a flap, Jack

Memo to Castle View School, Canvey: proof, if any were needed, that the entire country is chuckling at the antics of your headmistress.


Killer Moth

This is cruel, but fun.


Farewell to the fumes

As seen last night.


We drove round Harwell and then back through Milton Park, but the views were obscured by the drizzle. In the end we parked up on the long service road that gets about as close to those towers as it’s possible to get. And I forgot to bring the tripod or the shutter release switch, and thus my photos were dreadful. For the above, I am indebted to The Social Landscape of Didcot, whose Facebook page you really ought to visit, if you like that sort of thing.

But I’ve long been fascinated with the place. When the news emerged just over a decade ago that our company was relocating from Reading to Milton Park, there were immediate cries of horror when it was learned that we’d practically be within throwing distance of the power station. Jokes about fish with three eyes and the industrial revolution were slung about the office like the rubber bands you ping when you’re bored. It wasn’t until I moved to the neighbourhood in early 2004 that I realised the pull it had on the landscape: the majesty of those towers first thing in the morning was something to behold, even when they’re being hijacked by protesters (more than once). We were about as close to the power station as it’s possible to get in residential accommodation, and we loved the majesty of its colossal towers, and the splendour of the billowing smoke as it filled the sky on a clear morning.

In my experience, Didcot Power Station is loathed by all except those who actually live near it. You get your share of environmentally-minded protests, of course, but it’s an almost iconic (and I do not use that word loosely) part of the landscape. The thought of the Oxfordshire skyline without it is a strange and bewildering one, and yet that is becoming increasingly likely. The last I heard English Heritage were planning on getting it listed – a scheme endorsed by Philip Pullman, no less – but I suspect the developers will eventually move in and we’ll have another housing estate.

There have been a myriad words written on this place, by wiser minds than I, but I’d say this: it has become our neighbour over the years, an unmistakable beacon, a reminder that wherever we are and however long our journey, there is such a thing as home. I mentioned I didn’t take that first image – time, weather constraints and sleepy children prevented that – but whenever we’ve been out walking the Ridgeway we’ve tried to snap it if it’s in view. A few from the gallery are printed below. The future of the the site is uncertain, but its place in our past is anchored, and remembered with fondness.


Sutton Courtenay, December 2006


Chilton, March 2010


Compton, January 2011


Compton, August 2011


Sparsholt, September 2011


Chequers (or near enough), October 2011


Segsbury, October 2011


Grim’s Ditch, November 2011


Grim’s Ditch, November 2011


Sutton Courtenay, December 2006

You’d make a very good door

Every. Single. Morning.


“What…is your favourite colour?”

My brother just emailed to say they’d been playing with his colleague’s iPhone, and had asked Siri “What’s the air speed velocity of a swallow flying in winter?”. Suri had answered “About 25mph if we’re talking about a European swallow“.So we tried it here. Suri’s answer to the same query was “The last person who asked me that question wound up in a crevasse.”

Creole Lady Marmalade (part 2)

Following on from yesterday’s image of a marmalade jar, repeated below for posterity…


Anyway. When I stuck this on Facebook little did I realise the storm of pedantry I’d be unleashing. I count seven shares. By my standards, that’s practically viral. (It’s no George Takei, but you take what you can get.)

Here are some of the comments that followed.

Andy:  They’re not whole oranges, so “less” is perfectly OK. (One could argue…)

Emily: By the same token one could argue that “How much oranges does it take to make one jar of marmalade?” is also valid, presumably?

Peter: Does each jar really contain integer oranges? That’s a remarkably precise bottling process if so.

Thomas: It’s not a matter of mathematics, it’s a matter of grammar (unlike almost all the other things on here which claim to be about grammar): “orange” is a count noun. Its real-world referent is irrelevant. (nb: I am not necessarily defending the enforcement of the less / fewer distinction, just saying that it’s not incoherent in this case.)

Peter: On the other hand, had they put “Less orange, still Seville”, I’m sure the reply would have been a Pantone chart.

Thomas: I’m sure someone would have done so, yes. That doesn’t mean that Emily’s adjustment was unreasonable within the terms of the less / fewer distinction.

Peter: I agree, I’m just seeing if we can find an even better formulation. Arguably, the elephant in the room (or the jar) is the claim that it contains Seville.

Thomas: “Fine cut Seville” should be the name of a hairdresser there. Wait, isn’t there an opera about that?

Peter: Prokofiev, The Love for Three Oranges Or Fewer.

Thomas: I was amused to see a Trinity punt called “Love of an Orange”.

Ben: If there’s going to be this much argy-bargy about it, it’s just as well they’re not the only fruit.

Creole Lady Marmalade

I can’t believe she did that.


When is a door not a door

This gag has been doing the rounds over the last week or two, and probably beyond that. I’ve remade it. (I therefore take credit for the execution, if not the joke.)




Why remake a perfectly good sight gag?




(This one was mine. But you can steal it.)

Basket case

Someone left a mitten hanging out of the glove basket in the hall. Quite by accident, it looked like it was wearing sunglasses.



Actually, you know, if Cool Spot had an obese older brother…


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