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London, England
Ex-international lawyer, ex-expat. Returned to London to enjoy his financial independence while pursuing his lost creativity.
Interests: travel, photography, writing
Recent Activity
In 2013 a new museum opened in Warsaw. We visited it today. It is a public/private partnership between the Polish, German and Norwegian governments and many corporate and individual donors. It is in a magnificent building standing in what was once the Warsaw Ghetto. It is understated on the outside... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2015 at The Last Ditch
One of the Jewish members of our group evoked an embarrassed laugh this morning as we walked into the Jewish cemetery in Kielce. "Another perfect day; let's go visit some dead Jews", he said. It was dark humour to relieve the tension of an emotional week. At times, this tour... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2015 at The Last Ditch
After all the death and despair we have reviewed this week it was good to be regular tourists this morning. We visited the Wawel, seat of Polish kings. We toured the Royal Cathedral, of which John Paul II was formerly the bishop. We enjoyed the largest and, in my opinion... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2015 at The Last Ditch
Auschwitz is the German name for Oświęcim in Poland. To the majority of its inhabitants before the Second World War, it was known by its Yiddish name, Oshpitzin. Because of the notorious concentration camp, Oświęcim's main industry is now - as the unpleasant jargon has it - "necrotourism". The number... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2015 at The Last Ditch
Museum-Memorial Site in Bełżec. We started our day in Zamość, visiting the synagogue there restored by the Foundation organising my tour. The Polish state has handed back such sites in the 1,200 places where there were Jewish communities in Poland before the Holocaust. There are now 10 places where Jews... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2015 at The Last Ditch
This is not a jolly tour by its nature, though the people on it are mostly happy sorts. When we visit a site (like the Yeshiva at Lublin, pictured) we are glad it survives but sad the people it once served are gone. When we visit a death camp like... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2015 at The Last Ditch
Tributes to the fallen of the Warsaw Uprising on the streets after the recent anniversary I couldn't spare the time to drive on this trip to I am reduced to planes and coaches. I am touring Poland for the next nine days with an organisation called The Foundation for the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2015 at The Last Ditch
Speranza took me last week to another place I have never been before. Cornwall. I know my home islands quite poorly, having spent twenty years abroad. If I had thought of Cornwall before, it was because of Rick Stein or Poldark or the dim notion that there was another set... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2015 at The Last Ditch
The Mazda MX-5 is a fun car - a bit of a rip off in design terms from a classic Lotus of the sixties. My brother in law has one and it's at the cool end of my personal Cool Wall. I will never be able to cross France in one because I am too big to get in it, alas. I have averaged over 75 mph travelling through France in the last two days because of the higher speed limit - 130kph is just over 80mph. The roads are brilliant. While the French Government has overspent and indebted its citizens as yet unborn just as much, if not more, as the next social democracy, at least it has delivered some adequate infrastructure in the process.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2015 on En voyage at The Last Ditch
1 reply
If you get out of this blogging habit, it's hard to get back in. Time was, I would have meticulously taken a photo at the start of this trip and then logged each stop. I am more relaxed these days. Sorry. I am on one of my favourite runs -... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at The Last Ditch
I agree. I would say it's an incredibly bad piece of parliamentary drafting, but I practised law for too long to be surprised by the poor quality of legislation. I am not sure whether I care as much about the body making the decision being elected, as I do about it being an independent judge. Even that doesn't help if the law is plain bad.
1 reply
Discussions of "sexting" in the media and on websites advising young people and their parents, focus on the risks to teenagers of being coerced, blackmailed or subjected to "revenge porn". There is another, perhaps worse, risk from the criminal justice system. Firstly, the law on this subject is very badly... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2015 at The Last Ditch
Our cowardice helped to allow this attack | The Times. I am coming out of retirement as a political blogger for one day to say, firstly, that je suis Charlie. I want to add my small voice to the condemnation of the murders in Paris yesterday. I want to express... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at The Last Ditch
Guardianisti should be marched at gunpoint from one to the other until even the stupidest gets the point. Lucky for their delusions our worldview doesn't permit such measures as theirs does.
Toggle Commented Dec 9, 2014 on It's been a while, Warsaw at The Last Ditch
1 reply
Al. Jana Pawla II It's not that my enthusiasm for travel blogging is not as great as it was for the political kind, it's just that I don't travel as much as I think about politics! My latest trip was last weekend, to Poland. I dislike flying these days; mostly... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2014 at The Last Ditch
It's been a while. My excursions have been short and not particularly blogworthy. Those of you who know I have a soft spot for the virtual reality world known as Second Life may be interested to see that Speranza has arrived there. Here she is with my avatar, parked outside... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at The Last Ditch
I shall look into it for my next trip. Thanks.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
Nothing like that, sadly. It was all deadly serious and we were all potential child murderers. One tutor insisted, though no-one believed her, that she never exceeded the limit. There was some useful information from advanced driving instructors and I will modify my driving style in some ways - so it was not a complete waste of my time. I was delighted to find that I was far from alone in finding it hard to submit to power-tripping state agents actually. I came over as mild compared to some participants. I was rather amused by the AA's rent-seeking (the AA was ACPO's contractor in my case) in trying to get us to record a view in our feedback that "every driver would benefit from such a course". What better way for a corporation to make money than have people compelled by the state to buy its services?
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
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I am well aware of it. I steer well clear of models (e.g. any kind of mommy van) favoured by the "It's only to get from A to B" brigade. Their lack of enthusiasm for cars and motoring is bound to be reflected in their performance. No-one gets to be good (whatever natural abilities they may have) at an activity they don't enjoy. The A-Bniks are far more dangerous even than "boy racer" types who may be insufficiently risk-averse but do at least aspire to be skilful (and probably will achieve it one day if they are spared). We can all have a lapse of attention and make a mistake so motoring is a dangerous activity per se, but if you disdain cars and driving you are likely to be a permanent menace. I am lucky enough to drive a powerful car and have to be all the more conscious of my surroundings. For example, Speranza can stop more quickly than most vehicles because of her F1-derived brakes. I must therefore worry more about the stopping distance of cars behind. So I end up pulling over to let them pass rather than leave them tailgating me dangerously. I would rather get back into the "slow overtaking" queue on a crowded British motorway behind rather than in front of them, regrettable though it is to reinforce their bad behaviour by rewarding it. The best use of such fools is to tuck in at a safe distance behind them and let them intimidate slow traffic out of ones way with their boorish behaviour. Then pass them when they are done. Even that needs to be done with caution as they are raising the risk of a pile-up for everyone in their presence. Speranza is usually the fastest car on the road, but I am rarely (apart from occasional glorious moments on German autobahns) the fastest driver. When I go on track driving courses I frustrate the tutors, because I find it hard to overcome the habits of forty years of road driving. I often drive well below the speed limit if conditions are poor. In heavy rain my visibility down at the level of mommy van spray is poor. If I can't get in front of the line of traffic and out of the spray, I will hang back from it until conditions improve or even pull off and have a sandwich. Perform to the best of your own ability, manage risk as if everyone else is a fool and be gracious to all is as good a guide to driving as to any other aspect of life. I am trying to look forward to the course, despite being rather ashamed of submitting to the blackmail involved. I feel I should tell Thames Valley Police where to stick their indoctrination, pay the fine and take the points like a man. Avoiding an increase in my insurance premiums is an understandable but far from noble objective. I know I will have to bite my tongue for four hours but it's always interesting to meet new people and to observe them under stress. Keeping my mouth shut is anyway good practice for life in politically-correct Britain. It won't adjust to me so I must adjust to it. I rather suspect that will be the best educational benefit.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
It doesn't mean that where I live either, which is why I like to drive in countries where (a) the speed limits are closer to sensible or (b) the speed cameras don't do foreigners so I am only risking a cash fine if actually bagged in a sporting fashion. They are also very polite, call me Monsieur and do not lecture, rebuke or talk down to me. They simply state the amount by which I exceeded the limit and the sum of money they would like. Here in the Envy Isles; Lands of the Damp Puritans, I drive mostly only to get to the Eurotunnel. Otherwise I use the bus and tube, as my miserabilist masters prefer.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2014 on Home again at The Last Ditch
1 reply
Done, dusted Damp start in Epernay this morning I had two martinis and a bottle - not of Gevrey Chambertin - but a very fine Cote Rotie last night to wash down a superb meal. A couple of miserable old Welsh people at the next table gave the staff a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at The Last Ditch
I didn't, sorry. I am already back home.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2014 on Tuscany and back at The Last Ditch
1 reply
In the old days, my late wife and I used to fly home from Poland or Russia, pick up her mum and drive to the South of France for a holiday. Our daughters were not keen on road trips with music selected by 'the elderly' so would fly down and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at The Last Ditch
The trip is going rather well so far. I have not posted only because the wifi in our "villa" (a small word for a rather splendid 13th Century fortified house) was as medieval as the building. I don't want to quibble though. The house was wonderful and my friends and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at The Last Ditch
I am booked onto an indoctrination course in lieu of penalty points at present, so I drove very carefully to the Eurotunnel Terminal at Folkestone. I am, as they say in football, "on a six pointer." If I pick up another ticket before attending my course I will get back... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at The Last Ditch