The Befouled Weakly News

23 November 2008

Good morning to you all on a cold, cold, cold morning in Byfield. The weather took a turn last Thursday night/Friday morning when it turned very much colder and clearer with modest winds running down from the northeast. We awoke this morning to a smattering of snow and they are predicting more to come during the day. It looks at the moment, however, more like that sleeting, drizzling rain which is so wonderful to endure and considerably less attractive.

As mentioned last time, we went off to Oxford last Sunday with Pen’s folks in the boot of the car to visit the Earth from the Air exhibition at Oxford Castle. Oxford Castle (a medieval motte and bailey castle), was also later the site of Oxford Jail in the grounds of which the exhibition was held. I hope you visited the web site last weekend and could get a feel for some of these photographs; they are sensational and the exhibition was superb. The photos are printed in a large format (probably about four feet by three feet) and are mounted on stands with some environmental information underneath. One comment was particularly interesting (and sad, I suppose):

“If the earth had formed a year ago, on January 1, life would have appeared on February 26, dinosaurs would have arrived on December 10 to vanish 16 days later, and Homo Sapiens would only have showed up very late on December 31. A few minutes later, in under one minute, man would have drastically altered the fragile balance between land, seas and atmosphere.”

Pretty depressing thought, really. Just to prove we were there....

Beryl & Penny at the exhibition
Oz at the exhibition

At the exhibition
At the exhibition

As if that weren’t enough excitement for one week, on Friday evening we (Pen, me and her folks) were invited over to Nick and Lucy’s for a “farewell” meal – Beryl and Oz fly out to Australia for their winter retreat on Friday. I guess most everyone will be able to appreciate that being invited to dinner at Nick and Lucy’s is just about as fine as it can get; he is a wonderful chef and Friday evening’s meal was in no sense a disappointment. He had prepared a caramelised onion, butternut squash and Welsh goat cheese in pastry which was simply sensational. The main topic of discussion at the dinner table was the method he employs for producing his pastry which simply melts in your mouth. (And, I am not particularly a fan of caramelised onions, butternut squash or, for that matter, Welsh goat cheese but this was, indeed, outstanding). The pudding was equally fantastic – a dark chocolate biscuit type affair with a white chocolate mousse accompanied by raspberries and raspberry coolie. Absolutely sensational. We’ll come again!

And there’s more excitement to come. On Tuesday evening I am off to Oxford to be wined and dined by the Council’s finest in recognition of my “excellent” contribution to the work of the County Council over the past year. For some reason which escapes me at the moment, Penelope has declined my offer of allowing her to drive me there, sit in the car for two hours while I get rat-faced and then drive me back home again. Honestly, you try to show a girl a good time and this is the thanks you get. All of which means that we shall have to find another occasion on which to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary – I’m thinking of taking advantage of the lunch time special at McDonald’s.

And finally, another enjoyable Saturday afternoon of international rugby. This time the English were up against the South Africans (to whom they lost the World Cup final last year, you will remember), the Irish hosted Argentina and the Welsh were up against the All Blacks. Regrettably,  the France – Australia match did not make it on to our television screens nor did the Scotland – Canada match (probably the first time the Scots have had an opportunity to be competitive in many years). Next weekend it’s the English against the All Blacks which should be amusing.

No more today, I guess so

Love to you all,


Real newspaper headlines, apparently, which demonstrate the limited wisdom of headline writers in their capacity to state the obvious. I particularly like the startling discovery as reported in the Portland Oregonian that teenage girls often have babies fathered by men.

Study Finds Sex, Pregnancy Link
Cornell Daily Sun

Whatever Their Motives, Moms Who Kill Kids Still Shock Us
Holland Sentinel

Survey Finds Dirtier Subways After Cleaning Jobs Were Cut
New York Times

Larger Kangaroos Leap Farther, Researchers Find
Los Angeles Times

'Light' Meals are Lower in Fat, Calories
Huntington Herald-Dispatch

Alcohol Ads Promote Drinking
Hartford Courant

Malls Try to Attract Shoppers
Baltimore Sun

Official: Only Rain Will Cure Drought
Herald-News, Westpost, Massachusetts

Teenage Girls Often Have Babies Fathered by Men
Portland Oregonian

Low Wages Said Key to Poverty
New York Newsday

Man Shoots Neighbor With Machete
Miami Herald

Tomatoes Come in Big, Little, Medium Sizes
Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Virginia

Dirty-Air Cities Far Deadlier Than Clean Ones, Study Shows
New York Times

Man Run Over by Freight Train Dies
Los Angeles Times

Scientists See Quakes in L.A. Future
Portland Oregonian

Wachtler Tells Graduates That Life in Jail is Demeaning
Buffalo News

Free Advice: Bundle Up When Out in the Cold
Lexington Herald-Leader

Prosecution Paints O.J. as a Wife-Killer
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Economist Uses Theory to Explain Economy
Collinsville Herald-Journal

Bible Church's Focus is the Bible
Saint Augustine Record, Florida

Clinton Pledges Restraint in Use of Nuclear Weapons
Cedar Rapids Gazette

Discoveries: Older Blacks Have Edge in Longevity
Chicago Tribune

Court Rules Boxer Shorts Are Indeed Underwear
Journal of Commerce

Biting Nails Can Be Sign of Tenseness in a Person
Schenectady, New York, Daily Gazette

Lack of Brains Hinders Research
Columbus Dispatch

How We Feel About Ourselves is the Core of Self-Esteem, Says Author
Louise Hart
Boulder, Colorado, Daily Camera

Fish Lurk in Streams
Rochester, New York, Democrat & Chronicle

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