Fringe Box



Diary of an Ockhamite: A Mouse Called Elvis and a Rolling Stone’s Health Regime…

Published on: 9 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 3 Nov, 2022

A sidelong glance from Tony Edwards’ Ockham viewpoint…

A mouse called Elvis

This week I discovered an unexpected hazard for cars which spend too much time couped-up in a garage, like my old 1972 Mercedes 350 SL. A field mouse apparently took up residence under the bonnet and amused itself by chewing some of the wiring.

The chap who came to fix the wiring offered to solve the mouse problem too, by ensuring that Elvis didn’t return.

“Why Elvis?” I asked him.

“Because he’ll be Caught in a Trap,” he spluttered before he collapsed in a fit of giggles.

“Don’t be CrueI,” I said, joining in the impromptu tribute to Elvis’s hits.

A home for Elvis?

No mouse traps were set but, in the interests of the future well-being of my old Mercedes, I’m hoping that Elvis has left the building.

AGA energy economics

Switch off for Winter?

My August gas bill was somewhat higher than I’d expected.  Nuff said.

I’ll have to re-think my winter fuel strategy if the AGA, which burns gas 24/7, can produce bills like this during a heatwave.

I reckon it’ll be cheaper to turn it and the central heating completely off this winter, cancel the weekly Ocado delivery, and eat out every evening in a nice warm local restaurant.  Added bonuses – no cooking and no washing up.

But if the energy bills keep rising as predicted, it will definitely be cheaper to lock up the house and take-off on a world cruise for six months. Believe me, it’s true – I’ve done the maths. [As long as you keep writing the column. Ed]

An angelic name?

You have to feel sorry for the couple who spent many months choosing a special name for their son – an original name to set him apart from the usual run-of-the-mill Brads, Mats, Bens, Jims, and Mikes and one which would be unlikely to be twisted or changed by other kids.

So they christened him Uriel, after one of the archangels, and congratulated themselves on settling on a name that would be respected by his classmates when he went to school.  No William cut down to Bill or Robert shortened to Bob for their son Uriel.

But, this week, they revealed that things hadn’t quite worked out and that Uriel was now unhappy with his name after some of the more delinquent kids at his school had given him the less than angelic nickname “Urinal”.

Kids can be very cruel but I’d like to think that Uriel told them all to p*ss off.

Prime Minister Liz Truss

Problems and Prime Ministers

We’ve had drought and floods, rocketing energy prices, a shortage of doctors, dentists and nurses, soaring NHS waiting lists, lingering Covid and monkeypox viruses, incessant rail strikes and general unrest in the workplace, junior barristers downing their briefs, threats of a national strike, spiralling rates of knife and gun crime, a police force which ignores burglary but dances the Macarena, rising interest rates and falling house values, the pound sliding against the dollar and euro, escalating food poverty across the country, and a government which has spent the last two months watching two smug, self-centred MPs knock six bells out of each other in a bid to become Prime Minister – instead of running the country.

Liz Truss has now been handed the poisoned chalice so the proverbial will hit the fan sometime soon but, like the hoped-for light at the end of the tunnel, the fan will probably have been switched-off to save energy

A letter from Liz

And talking of our new Prime Minister, I was pleased to receive an e-mail from her on Tuesday evening.  It didn’t say very much and largely repeated her Downing Street speech earlier in the day – which didn’t say very much either.  But her signature was slightly more revealing.

As you can see, it’s quite a bold signature – none of your spidery doctors’ scrawl – indicating a well-developed sense of self-worth, according to handwriting experts.  Graphologists, as they are known, would also spotlight the upward slant of her name which, they say, demonstrates forward thinking and creativity.

And, if you’re interested, Apple founder and entrepreneur Steve Jobs also signed his name with an “ascending slope”. He famously said that innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower, so perhaps we should expect some big ideas from the new PM in the coming months.

Liz Truss’s signature also indicates that she won’t get too bogged down by details and her actions will speak for themselves – which, of course, has echoes of Boris Johnson.

And there are similarities between the Truss signature and the autograph of the first woman to hold the office of UK Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher. She once proclaimed: “You don’t tell deliberate lies, but sometimes you have to be evasive.”

And that has echoes of Bojo too, don’t you think?

Is Klingon catching on?

“People who speak more than one language are considered to be more attractive,” somebody tweeted this week.

“Not if the language is Klingon,” joked somebody else.

But is it a joke?  I’ve been checking and it looks as if the lingo of the bumpy head aliens in Star Trek is catching on – big time.  It’s now spoken all over the world, according to the Klingon Language Institute (KLI) which runs a course on tlhingan Hoi (That’s how you say Klingon Language in Klingon).

There’s even a Klingon dictionary – published by Simon & Schuster – which features rude Klingon words as well. Apparently, if you really want to insult a Klingon just say Hab SoSll’ Quch (Your mother has a smooth forehead).

A commendably bumpy-headed Klingon

And it’s a very brusque language. Klingons don’t say hello, for example, they ask abruptly nuqneH (What do you want?).

But, say Klingon enthusiasts, it’s the fastest growing language in the galaxy and nowhere near as complicated and difficult to grasp as English.

OK, maybe the English language is slightly more complicated than many but it can be mastered through tough, thorough, thought though.

Fat chance, I hear you say, while others might say slim chance.  You have to accept that fat and slim mean exactly the same thing in English – sometimes. But other times they mean the exact opposite.  Then again…

As Mr Spock might say: “Illogical”.

Mick’s rock-n-roll health trip

Who’d have believed that Mick Jagger, the rock idol who famously declared that anything worth doing is worth over-doing, has been working out with a new fitness regime?

Mick Jagger – A wig or the real thing?

The 79-year-old had heart valve replacement surgery two years back but has since been living by another of his personal maxims: “It’s OK to let yourself go as long as you can get yourself back again.:

And to do that he’s been using weight training, Pilates, jogging, ballet and sprinting for five or six days a week to get back into trim – helped by a diet of avocado, fish and pasta.

I heard this week that Jagger typically runs for twelve miles on stage during an average concert which is rather more than the estimated seven miles covered by top footballers in any major match.

I guess you’d have to stay fit to live Mick’s kind of life for so long but I wonder how much has really changed.  He said recently: “You start out playing rock-n-roll so you can do drugs and have sex. But you end up doing drugs so you can play rock-n-roll and have sex.”

I just wish he’d come clean about the Barnet.  Is it a wig or can the secret to a thick, dark head of hair on a man of nearly 80 really boil down to a daily jog round the block and a bowl of guacamole?

Shall I compare thee?

And still on the subject of music icons, what do you think of this?

I don’t like your little games
Don’t like your tilted stage
The role you made me play of the fool
No, I don’t like you.

Now I’m not trying to set myself up as some kind of pseudo-literary critic but it’s not quite Shakespeare is it?

Or maybe it is.  They’re the opening lyrics to Taylor Swift’s song Look what you made me do, which has just been included in literary studies at Texas University, Austin, where the Taylor Swift Song Book is now officially part of the syllabus. It will be discussed and compared with the works of Shakespeare, Chaucer and some of the other big literary hitters.

The Taylor-Swift of the 16thcentury?

I reckon we could all quote a line or two from Shakespeare but I hadn’t realised, until I checked this week, just how many everyday phrases were first coined by the Bard.  For example:

  • A wild goose chase.  Romeo & Juliet
  • I have been in such a pickle.  The Tempest
  • Be cruel to be kind.  Hamlet
  • Laugh oneself into stitches. Twelfth Night
  • For goodness sake.    Henry VIII
  • Neither here nor there.  Othello
  • One fell swoop.   Macbeth
  • Eat out of house and home.  Henry 1V  Part II
  • All that glitters is not gold.  The Merchant of Venice
  • The world’s my oyster.   Merry Wives of Windsor

and then there’s…

  • No, I don’t like you.  Look what you made me do. (Definitely not the Bard)

In all honesty…

Beware of those who begin sentences with: ”If I’m honest”.  It indicates doubt and signals that what follows may not be honest while, at the same time, lulling you into a false sense of security because of the “I’m honest” bit. You hear it all the time in TV interviews.

David Attenborough’s honest face

And cover your ears if you hear “To be brutally honest,” because this person probably wouldn’t recognise the naked truth if it stripped to the buff for an episode of Naked Attraction.

The verbal deluge that spews forth from the brutally honest is largely fiction, embellished with tiny elements of fact – making it all the more dangerous to the gullible.

But how, in all honesty, do I know all this to be true? Well, truth be told, it’s only a theory at this stage but one which, quite honestly, I hope to prove very shortly.  To be perfectly honest I’ve been inspired by recent research which indicates that we associate certain celebrities with honesty purely by their looks.

As a matter of fact, David Attenborough was top of a recent list of honest-looking faces, followed by Tom Hanks and Prince William.  I think The Queen was in there somewhere too.

But for proof that there may be a very thin line between honesty and stupidity we need look no further than George W Bush who, when asked what the W in his name stood for, declared solemnly: “It stands for honesty.”

And that’s the unvarnished truth… honest.

Wake up Planning

If anyone in Guildford’s planning department happens to see the case officer dealing with the Wisley Airfield application sometime soon, perhaps they’d be so kind as to give them a gentle nudge for me.

I’ve written twice in recent weeks asking why a comment on Guildford’s planning portal, supporting Taylor-Wimpey’s 2022 application (22/P/01175) for a ‘new town’ at the former airfield, refers to a totally different application dated nearly eight years earlier (15/P/00012).

No reply so far so it rather looks as if somebody isn’t paying attention.

[Ed’s update: We asked GBC to comment but they declined. Hopefully they will, nonetheless, correct their error.]

Thought for the day

If Cinderella’s slippers were a perfect fit, how come one fell off?


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