Brains? Where we’re going we don’t need brains!

It is a fact well known to all that here at the Wyrmlog I expend great effort to keep abreast of the latest developments in science and technology (You! at the back! Stop sniggering!). As such I thought it was important to have a look at ChatGP, the AI chatbot that is – depending on who you talk to – either the greatest thing ever created by humankind or the harbinger of the collapse of civilisation.

The Dino Pope taking his flock for a walk – Jacques Tilly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As is my standard test for all AI systems I asked its opinion on the religious persuasions of dinosaurs, a practise deriving from the very first Googlewhack I ever found – the phrase “Mormon diplodocus” (What’s a Googlewhack? Don’t young people today read Dave Gorman?). It responded with the following…


In the ancient world of the dinosaurs, there were many different species with diverse religious preferences. Some, like the Stegosaurus, were devout followers of the Earth goddess, Gaia. They believed that the natural world was sacred and that all living things were connected. They spent their days meditating in the forest, communing with nature and giving thanks for the abundance of the land.

The Triceratops, on the other hand, were devout followers of the Sky god, Uranus. They believed that the god of the sky had created the earth and all its creatures, and they spent their days gazing up at the heavens in awe and reverence. They were known for their elaborate rituals, which involved sacrificing large plants and animals to appease Uranus and ensure good weather.

The Velociraptor, on the other hand, were not religious in the traditional sense. They were fierce hunters and believed that strength and cunning were the keys to survival. They had no need for gods or goddesses, and instead relied on their own skills and instincts to survive in the harsh wilderness.

Finally, the T-Rex, the king of the dinosaurs, was the most powerful of them all. He had no need to rely on any god or goddess. He was the god of the dinosaurs. All the other dinosaurs worshiped him and feared him. He ruled the land with an iron fist and was worshiped as a god by all.

Despite their differences in religious beliefs, all the dinosaurs lived in harmony and respected one another’s beliefs. They knew that the natural world was vast and mysterious, and that there was room for many different ways of understanding and honoring it.

In the end, these ancient creatures may have gone extinct, but their belief systems lived on through the creatures that inherited the earth. And their legacy of respect for diversity will forever be remembered in the annals of history.


I think we may be in serious trouble…

No, I DON’T know you!

Today the Scarred for Life Twitter account (@ScarredForLife2) alerted me to the existence of this 1973 TV advertisement for the UK’s Vauxhall Motor Company.

I can’t (between bouts of horrified weeping) but wonder if this… “character” shall we say, had an influence of the Owlman sightings that started three years later at Mawnan Old Church in Cornwall. Compare the following drawings by witnesses…

For the record I find the eagle owl hypothesis fairly convincing, but seeing things like… that… on TV could well have an effect when confronted by something large, scary and bird like.

Crimes

It is my deep and strongly held conviction that to play the version of Pulp’s Common People that omits the second verse IS A CRIME.

Similarly, it is my deep and strongly held conviction that to play the version of Pulp’s Disco 2000 that omits the monologue IS A CRIME.

Furthermore, it is my deep and strongly held conviction that to play any version of Pulp’s Disco 2000 and not to sing along with the “OOOOOO OO-OO OO-OO-OO-OO” bits at the end IS A CRIME.

That is all.

England ’86 – Part 3

And so we come to the third and final part of my day by day summary of the UK holiday my family took in 1986 (part one, part two). In this exciting episode we head for recently irradiated Scotland. Prepare for tales of blatent diary forgery, vandalism of historic sites and an encounter with the UK’s oldest living resident!

Saturday May 31st – Drove from Liverpool to wilds of Scotland with Uncle Tony. Memorable and spectacular trip through Highlands that I mostly missed by falling asleep. Checked into A-Frame cabin next to stream at Delny Highland Lodges.

Sunday June 1st – Church (of course) in repurposed Invergordon Nissen Hut, Presbyterians having grabbed all decent buildings. Then off to misnamed Black Isle (it’s a peninsula). Visited Clootie Well, picturesque ruins of Fortrose Cathedral and Chanonry Point Lighthouse from which we observed pod of dolphins. Then visited Fairy Glen which was quite nice. Aunty Mary and Uncle Doug arrived in evening.

Monday June 2nd – Entry begins with blatant fabrication about not just seeing but actually photographing Loch Ness Monster. Shameful! Drove to Loch Ness and attended the exhibition at Drumnadrochit. Particularly fascinated by bisected otter (it died of natural causes). Staged photo of fibreglass monster. Scanned the Loch from Urquart Castle but saw nothing. Lunch at Fort Augustus. Saw deer, went home.

Tuesday June 3rd – Went to the rather impressive Fort George. Dad vanished so I ran full mile around battlements looking for him. Still no sign so had lunch without him. Once he turned up headed to Brodie Castle and saw misprinted dinner plates. Then to Cawdor Castle which was hitting the Macbeth connection hard. Disappointed we didn’t get special treatment for being Cawdor Campbells on Mum’s side.

Wednesday June 4th – Drove across entire country and back to look at palm trees at Inverewe Gardens, despite having palm trees at home.

Thursday June 5th – Went to Landmark Visitors’ Centre at Carrbridge where told so much snow on the Cairngorm mountains they were considering re-opening skiing season. Diverted to the Cairngorm ski-lift to see snow. Got to top, spent two minutes throwing snowballs. then blizzard rolled in. Rode down ski-lift being pelted by snow in gale force winds. Brother spent half hour standing under hand dryer in mens’ toilets. Back to Landmark where saw a movie, walked through maze and brother saw a “facon” (or possibly “falon”).

Friday June 6th – Took advantage of services at Lodges to go for family horse ride. Dad’s horse (“Sally”) completely uncontrollable. Chased by cows. Didn’t know I was allergic to horses at time – diary says nothing but was probably miserable. Shopping in Inverness. Looked into visiting Fryish Monument but everyone too lazy and selfish to consider mere 10 mile walk. Set off for John o’ Groats but only got as far as Bonar bridge before giving it up as a bad job and turning around.

Saturday June 7th – Checked out of Highland Lodges and set off for Perth (many jokes made) via the Great Glen and Glencoe. Split between two cars. Various stops due to brother’s car sickness meant we fell behind – got caught up around Lochy Bridge where others had temerity to blame us for the confusion. Visited Glencoe – careful to keep quiet about Campbell connections as MacDonalds tend not to care about VERY CLEAR DISTINCTION between Cawdor and Argyle Campbells. Continued to Perth then Bridge of Earn where checked into chalets just adjacent to ruins of old bridge.

Sunday June 8th – Went to church, dropped Dad at the Black Watch museum then went through a car wash. Visited Huntingtower where the spiral staircases were built backwards because the owners wielded their swords left-handed (a fanciful tale told wherever there are backwards spiral staircases). Picked up Dad from the museum and went back to chalets.

Monday June 9th – Drove to Edinburgh. Made game of spotting buildings resembling ones in London – fortunate that no Scots overheard or we’d have been killed. Visited Castle, almost froze from wind chill. Fascinated by Mons Meg. Looked for place to eat, found The Witchery sited in building where witches apparently met to “talk to saten”. Ate at big table alongside dummy dressed like witch – most discomforting. Visited cathedral, walked through town for hours. No one wanted to climb Scott Monument despite gothic awesomeness. Fryish monument all over again.

Note: The Witchery is now a very swanky and quite expensive fine dining establishment and boutique hotel that no longer features dummies dressed as witches, no longer claims its location was ever actually used by witches and seems to keep very quiet about its origins as a 1980s tourist trap…

Tuesday June 10th – Toured various factories churning out pottery and glassware at Crieff. Ate haggis at cafeteria.

Wednesday June 11th – Visited Killacrankie and Blair Castle. Saw deer penned up with sheep. Impressed by sheer number of horns on display. Less impressed by state of dining room, roof of which had collapsed. Visited “friends” who lived at a coal yard. Built fort out of bricks in their sandpit.

Thursday June 12th – Drove around Loch Lomond in appalling conditions of pounding rain interspersed with thick fog. Carried on to Doune Castle – ignorance of Monty Python meant many missed joke opportunities. Caretaker showed us bats – sadly rather small and unimpressive. Back to chalets but Uncle Doug had keys so were locked out. Headed for another castle but couldn’t find it.

Friday June 13th – Went to Loch Levan and caught ferry to island with castle where Mary Queen of Scots imprisoned. After lunch visited Stirling Castle. Saw Wallace Monument across valley but no one wanted to visit it except me. Scott Monument all over again.

Saturday June 14th – Checked out of chalets and drove approx 700kms back to Warsash with Mary and Doug via Carlisle. Long drive even by Australian standards. Various stops for food, refreshments and brother’s car sickness. Mum and Dad got a day to themselves for once.

Sunday June 15th – Church (no escaping it) then to Sheila and Mike’s for lunch. Looked at Sarah’s shell collection. Mum and Dad arrived at some point during the day but I totally failed to record when.

Monday June 16th – Shopping in Southampton followed by walk on the beach. Found interesting rocks and built a miniature Stonehenge, which is the kind of thing kids did in the benighted ages before Nintendo released the Game Boy.

Tuesday June 17th – Headed off for the south west. Brass rubbing at Exeter Cathedral. Bought postcard of pipe organ lit up blue despite Mum and Dad hating it. Visited Powderham Castle. Scruffy looking man saw Mum’s interest in music box collection and activated them all. Scruffy looking man was 17th Earl of Devon. Introduced us to the famous Timothy (we fed her lettuce). Visit to grandparents of brother’s school friend Jason in Teignmouth. Checked into bed and breakfast.

Wednesday June 18th – Got lost in Plymouth looking for Dad’s second cousin as discovered by Radio Devon. Found him eventually. Went to Tintagel – only had time to look at fossil museum or King Arthur’s Hall tourist trap. Opted for fossil museum where waxwork posed in window turned out to be very alive owner. Over to castle where large American woman slipped and broke her ankle, having to be carried back to mainland across precarious bridges and walkways by two unfortunate men. Overcome by Arthurian mystique I nicked a stone from the ruined castle walls – have meant to find and return it for years. Up coast to Clovelly where walked up and down ridiculously steep streets and looked at tourist tat in Donkey Shop. Night at bed and breakfast.

Thursday June 19th – Caves at Wookey Hole. No sign of Chewbacca. Toured old paper mill, learned about paper production and played with old fairground machines. Dad extremely evasive on why he wouldn’t let me have a go on the “What the Butler Saw” machine. Drove to Glastonbury and visited the abbey ruins. Laughed at the same sign concerning the Abbot “vaulting the choir and facing it” that Mum had laughed at as a child. Visited more of those mysterious ‘friends’ and checked into a bed and breakfast.

Friday June 20th – Drove back to Warsash. Entirely failed to find a Roman Villa on the way.

Saturday June 21st – Shopping at Fareham in the morning. Mum, Mary and brother went to a bazaar in the afternoon. Brother bought me back a ceramic dinosaur which was very nice of him.

Sunday June 22nd – Diary makes no mention of church, but what are the odds? Drove to Frieth for garden party with Uncle Fran and Sally. Played with hammock in garden afterwards. Then back to Warsash.

Monday June 23rd – Bought pages for postcard albums in Fareham, and ordered even more of them. Had clearly devolved into some kind of postcard fiends.

Tuesday June 24th – Off to Winchester for the ‘Domesday 900’ exhibition celebrating (funnily enough) 900 years since the creation of the Domesday Book. Located in Great Hall and featuring lots of wax figures in Norman robes. Very impressive wood carving of the entire Bayeux Tapestry (an artifact that appears to have entirely vanished from history). Admired round table then paintings of King Arthur in W.H.Smiths. Saw ‘a play’ – a reenacted medieval mummer’s play maybe?

Wednesday June 25th – Helped (more likely hindered) Dad cut down a tree in Mary and Doug’s garden.

Thursday June 26th – Drove to the Weald and Downland Museum. Thirty-one years too early for The Repair Shop. Very impressed by mushroom shaped staddle stones. Visited ‘friends’ in Burgess Hill again – who are these people?

Friday June 27th – Into Southsea for the D-Day Museum. Tapestry not as impressive as the wooden one, but liked the tank. Across to Southsea Castle where we toured the bomb-proof tunnels. Went to a dance in the evening where the crowds and music made me extremely grumpy.

Saturday June 28th – Off to a medieval fair at “Stilbing-ton” which I presume must have been Stubbington. Was picked out of crowd to be a ‘squire’ and follow a ‘knight’ around while wearing extremely heavy chainmail and a helmet. Watched the ox roast roast. Stopped off to pick strawberries on the way home, then the car broke down 100m from the house.

Sunday June 29th – Church in the morning. Sheila and Mike came for lunch. Brother cut finger in bathroom when lightbulb spontaneously exploded – it certainly had nothing to do with it being hit by a damp washcloth we were defintely not throwing around.

Monday June 30th – Back to Fareham to order more postcard album pages (this is getting ridiculous). Got Dad a shoebox for some reason and went to “the predinked” (what?) to get prawn crackers.

Tuesday July 1st – Drove up to London to pick up parcels. Lunch with Tony and Grandmadge at the Italian restaurant with the sorbets, then “watering the ‘club’ oval” (whatever the hell that’s meant to mean). Drove back from London.

Wednesday July 2nd – Had a swim in the pool next door and saw the Fujifilm Blimp.

Thursday July 3rd – Farwell party at Mary and Doug’s. I’d like to say who came but totally neglected to record it, probably due to end of holiday depression.

Friday July 4th – Sombre drive to Heathrow. Lunch at the airport then boarded plane for home. Sadness mitigated by the 1979 version of The Plank at which I laughed so hard the rest of the passengers were laughing at me. Stop offs at Abu Dhabi and Singapore before finally arriving back in Perth.

So that’s it. A holiday the likes of which it’s hard to imagine in these cash strapped (albiet somewhat less-irradiated) days. I’ve been back to the UK on my own several times since and revisited some of these places. I hope to do so again once the international situation stabilises. In particular I mean to find that stone and return it to Tintagel – I don’t know what I was thinking.

THE END

By Strange Coincidence…

I happened to take a wander through Northbridge today and as is my wont took a bunch of photographs of things that looked interesting or cool. Among these was the old factory now in use as a Wilson Car Park (That’s “parking lot” to you North Americans) on James Street, just adjacent to the freeway.

Note the Google Street View car. I may show up on an update!
Also, those dark bits are inside the lens array so I can’t clean them out 🙁

While looking for good angles and lighting and such my attention was drawn by the curvy bit poking up behind the facade. It looked like the factory was constructed around an older building. Curious and with plenty on time on my hands I decided to go in and have a look.

Inside I indeed found the remains of a previous structure with rather fancy – albeit badly abused – columns and some nice surviving detail on the internal part of the pediment.


I took a bunch of photos, poked around the place a bit, and went on my way.

Half an hour or so later, down the Horseshoe Bridge end of Roe Street, I stumbled over a newly erected historical marker talking about the street’s seedy past as Perth’s red light district (a past I already knew about thanks to my dad’s stories of earning pocket money by holding places in brothel queues for visiting American sailors in the late ’40s)…


Did you spot it? Let’s try a close up…


It’s the very structure entombed in the car park! How’s that for a crazy coincidence?!

It turns out that it was a service station that acted as a secret back door to the notorious “Josie Villa”. Which I guess means that visitors to Northbridge are parking their cars on the site of early 20th century Perth’s best known knocking shop!

My walk also spotted an old horseshoe that I presume has been dug up as part of the extensive roadworks talking place all along Roe. I considered nabbing it, but I’ve already got enough junk lying around here.

You’re letting all the luck run out! Gosh!

Start the Year Right!

Who’s the best Leon of all time?
Leon from the movie Lindsey and Leon go to a Roller Disco

What would kill a Victorian child nowadays?
Victorian children drank mercury for breakfast, ate coal dust for lunch and swallowed cholera for dinner. We wouldn’t be able to kill them with napalm.

What do you think is really the problem with people?
There’s only so much intelligence available and the more people there are the less each person gets.

What are some situations where people deserve to lose their bank accounts, homes, and jobs?
Putting bandanas on their dogs!

What is the life of a sane person like?
How the hell would I know?

What do you think of people that have pet rats and they kiss them?
Worse things happen at sea!

You are tasked with reordering the alphabet, what does it look like now?
A Á À Ä E É È Ë I Í Ì Ï O Ó Ò Ö U Ú Ù Ü Ø Ǿ Æ Ǽ P B F V T D S Z K G Þ Ð C J Š Ž H L M N R W Y
Dél wiþ it!

How do you get out of a conversation?
“I have to go now. My planet needs me.” walk away

What does ghana think about MINUSMA? Does Ghana think MINUSMA should contiune or change? What does Ghana think about cooperation between MINUSMA and the Mali Goverment?
Do I look like a West African Nation?

If you know death is just 5 minutes away, what are you eating?
Something really weird to give the Medical Examiner a surprise!

What is some random advice for today?
Don’t take any wooden bitcoins on the digital super highway

Where do we come from?
We evolved from octopuses and are on a gradual journey back to the sea!

What does every man need in his life?
A genuine bona-fide electrified six-car monorail!

What advice to give an introvert when going to bootcamp for the first time?
Make your will

What kind of physical touch best says “I love you” to you?
Not touching me without explicit permission.

If you were held at gun point and told that if you didn’t impress them with your dance moves you would be killed, what dance moves would you bust out?
I’d sit down on the floor and say “Let’s just get this over with”

What colour is a mirror?
How high is the sky?

What movie completely changes its plot when you change one letter in its title? What’s the new movie about?
Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalken
The plot. Doesn’t really. Change. But it kind of. Starts and. Stops. A lot.

What’s the closest thing to being dead without being dead?
Spending time in Hoboken New Jersey

How would you explain being high to someone who’s never been high?
An unpleasant experience where your muscular control over your body is impaired and your thought processes are unreliable. Not recommended.

What are some biological flaws within the human body?
Running air and fuel through the same port.

What is the most 90’s thing you can think of?
That annoying cartoon character with the pointy chin and wavy hair

Fido Dido?
That’s the fellow!

if you woke up in a basement looking area with nothing but a dog, what would you do?
Pat the dog

What’s your position on chiropractors?
At best they’re the equivalent of a massage therapist. At worst they’ll inflict permanent spinal damage on you while telling you they’re curing your cancer.

Really?
The inventor of chiropractic claimed he was told about it by a ghost, and that every disease from the common cold to schizophrenia was caused by a misaligned spine. It’s utter crap.

What if you could ask the universe a question about anything knowing you’d have your answer, what would you ask?
How you doing’?

What makes a kick in the nuts funny?
The fact that it’s not you

What subjects should schools start teaching the children?
Healing, curses, hexes, vexes and other excesses

If you could only play one bord game in your life from this point on what would you chose?
A straight road or passageway driven at right angles to the main cleavage of the coal in a coal mine? Doesn’t sound very entertaining to me…

What if one day God descended from the heavens, said – “These people whom you worship as gods in your specific religions is just me in my different forms” and went away without any more explanations?
Good luck convincing people it was actually God and not just a particularly obtuse Pepsi commercial.

What’s something that took you way too long to figure out?
That organised labour was not heavily involved in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Your nationality gives you game-like stats. What would your nationality buffs and debuffs be?
Australia:
+5 Animal Handling
+5 Carousing
+5 Casual Racism

What is y’all predictions for 2023?
Things will get worse.

How often have you had the desire to just go up to Donald Trump and vigorously rub your hand on his head just to see if his hair was real and not a toupee?
Never! I don’t want to catch anything!

What instantly comes to mind when you hear “Money”?
Get away!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would purchase?
Depends how much I won. No point going yacht shopping if my payout is $2.50

How do you make someone feel better after you told them they look average?
Remind them that that means they look better than or equal to half the population

What’s a good reason to punch a kid in the face?
Fun!

If you could meet any Greek god or titan and ask them 1 question, which god/titan would you pick and what question would you ask them?
I’d ask Cronus “So how’s that whole eating your children thing working out for you?”

If you could do anything you wanted, without the complications stopping you, what would you do?
Drape myself entirely in velvet

Why’s everyone looking for someone to hate?
Freddy Mercury isn’t!

Why is there no Mark IX armour?
Cawl works exclusively in binary and sometimes screws up his translations to decimal

If Earth was in a binary system with another life-hosting planet?
Mondas intensifies!

What are some fun activities that can be done in Prague during Christmas other than looking at nice architectures?
Golem hunting!

What would be the historic changes that would arise if the Space Shuttle Challenger worked?
It did work – perfectly – for nine missions.

What motivates you to keep going?
Spite. I refuse to let the universe win!

How big is Santa’s penis?
He’s a crime fighting genius and he always has hot young chicks on his boat. Santa’s cock is a foot long!

No, wait, I’m thinking about Quincy…

What made you not want to have kids?
I’ve never wanted to have kids. I remain puzzled by what makes other people so keen to have them.

What questions should we NOT ask on a date?
Have you no sense of decency, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

What weird thing would you make socially acceptable if possible?
Draping oneself entirely in velvet

What is your astrological sign?
Lobo, the wolf!

Those who don’t wash your hair ‘traditionally’ (with shampoo), what do you do use if anything at all?
Tangerines

What’s your country’s Ohio?
Heard Island. It’s round at each end and high in the middle.

What foreign laws were you unaware of, when traveling to that country, that landed you in that country’s jail/prison?
You gotta be really careful hailing a taxi in Germany…

Who is the best fictional Father or Father figure?
Gomez Addams

What is a good way to start a conversation with a complete stranger?
“I am Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer! Are you the Gatekeeper?”

What is the meaning of life?
A somewhat disappointing Monty Python movie released in 1983. The accompanying The Crimson Permanent Assurance short however is actually rather good.

What events justifies Lionel Messi as the real GOAT?
His deep hatred of trolls and diet of old tin cans

Why would one be a flat-earther?
Religion. Scratch a hardcore flat-earther and you’ll find a religious fundamentalist of some kind.

How would you prove existence or nonexistence of God?
There’s no scientific way to prove or disprove the existence of something that exists outside-of/above nature.

If you were a Villain, What would your evil lair look like?
A 2 kilometer tall pillar of polished black basalt rising from the icy, storm-wracked waters of the Southern Ocean.

What are some everyday items with hidden features we don’t know about?
Wolverines have a button on the back of their necks that switches them between French and English mode.

What would happen if Kanye West managed to become president one day?
The living would envy the dead

What supplement/vitamin/health food do you swear by?
Bug powder dust and Mugwump jism.

What was the robot and guy that taught us things at school?
Uncle Fingers and Dickbot 3000?

You are a Hollywood executive devoid of any creativity, what children’s toy will you turn into the next billion dollar action-movie franchise?
Fidget spinners were HUGE but no one made a movie!? Get Michael Bay on the line NOW!!

How often do you brush your dogs teeth?
A question my spam folder asks me every day!

What is the best sour patch kids flavor?
Chicken

What do you think is missing from the pages of our history that was never taught to us neither had been recorded properly as per public view but in reality has a world changing truth never brought out to the public?
They don’t want you to know that Thomas Jefferson was advised on the writing of the Declaration of Independence by a duck!

If you had unlimited money, what’s one thing you still wouldn’t buy?
Shitty cartoons of monkeys

Did you hook up with your bully? If so, how’d it go?
I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question

What is a sports commentator?
The term ‘sports commentator’ is used to refer to a member of many species of even-toed ruminant that are indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia.

Oh, sorry, that’s ‘antelope’. Disregard!

Why were we born humans and not Na’vi from Avatar?
I’m gonna have to start by explaining the difference between reality and fiction.

How did you end up in your career today?
The government locked me in a room with a landline and phone book and wouldn’t let me out until I had a job interview.

You’ve just come across the TARDIS unlocked with the Doctor nowhere in sight. The door is open, the controls are surprisingly easy to understand, and you have the entirety of human history available to you. Where do you go, and what do you do when you get there?
Even assuming the TARDIS will go where I tell it to (which is a big if!) I’m not gonna risk messing with history, I’ll just ferret around until I find the Time-Space Visualiser and watch history instead.

People who visited the Mystery Flesh Pit before the incident, what was the scariest thing you saw?
The scariest thing was how flimsy all the bracing looked. They kept telling us it was perfectly safe but I was terrified that it would all collapse at any second 🙁

What is your opinion about the Illuminati?
A useful distraction from the politicians, corporations and rich bastards who actually run the world.

Using the name of a TV series or movie, how would you describe your love life?
Alone in the Dark

How do you react if a guy uses the urinal that is right next to you?
Name his penis!

What is the best way to combat angry neighbors?
Bury plutonium in their lawn

How do we know we all see the same colors?
We don’t. Welcome to reality kid!

What do you wear on a first date?
My robe and wizard hat

What are some really weird noises you make when you’re completely alone at home?
Every now and then I’ll chant “wub wub wub wub wub wub” for no reason at all.

How do you say UNO; ‘oo-no’ or ‘you-no’?
It’s pronounced ‘doge’

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever experienced in college?
A guy trying to pick me up because the place I decided to eat my lunch at turned out to be the campus gay beat.

What would you do if you woke up dead?
Take off my skin and dance around in my bones.

What’s some good advice for High Schoolers visiting New York for the first time?
The sewers are much safer these days as most of the alligators have been eaten by the CHUDs.

People who can’t be in a relationship. Why and what’s your story?
Avoidant Personality Disorder! It’s a riot!

What do you think about zodiac partnership compatibility?
People who believe in something as ludicrous as astrology deserve each other

If you could remove one color in the whole world, what would it be and why?
I did it last week. Go see if you can find anything coloured ikrall!

Sea level is slowly rising above EVERY continent at unpredictable speeds, what’s your next move?
Try really hard to evolve gills

What is your favorite state?
Unconsciousness

Which song has the lyrics easiest to get wrong?
Anything performed by James Reyne

How do deaf people hear voices in dreams?
If they do then it’s probably the same way in your dreams that your hand is your hand but it’s also a crocodile that belongs to your neighbour and you have to look after it even though you don’t want to and it’s a yacht.

The world is collapsing. You can bring just one person with you to another planet. Who do you choose?
No way I could pick someone. I’d just let someone else take two people.

What is a stranger you meet at the pub red flag?
Offering you tourist-class tickets to the Interzone.

How would you react to NASA announcing the existence of a city sized spider with webbing across the whole asteroid belt?
I’d be very glad that it was about 500 million kilometers away.

What songs are romantic?
Berserker by Cousin Olaf

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done to try impress a crush?
In high school I did the rap from the KLF’s Justified and Ancient at three times normal speed to impress a girl.

Somehow she was not impressed.

What’s the scariest part about life?
That any sufficiently motivated dickhead can instantly take it away from you.

Completely straight men and women, how confident are you, if big money was on the line, of your ability to please someone of the same gender as you?
I’m not even confident of pleasing the opposite gender.

What is being an adult like?
Like being a kid but with more problems, more responsibility and less people to help you out.

In your opinion who has the most epic/badass one man army story throughout history?
I’m not sure if it technically counts as badass but in 1944 Finnish soldier Aimo Koivunen took his entire unit’s supply of speed in one hit and skied 400km, living on nothing but pine needles and a bird he slapped straight out of the air.

What do you hate about cats?
Their Fel D 1 Secretoglobin protein complex.

Which is the most hated western European country and why?
Neutral Moresnet. Zinc hoarding bastards!

You wake up in an alien ship with a probe half way up your doopa – what’s your next move?
Turn to the nearest alien and say “Gary, we talked about this!”

Non-Americans, what is your opinion of American football?
All that padding! Hilarious!

A “loose unit”. What does it mean when describing a person?
It means that – for better or worse – they are an unpredictable, freewheeling agent of chaos.

What will we soon be in the golden age of?
Resource wars!

What is something the majority of people like to do, but you hate?
Getting high/drunk. Every recreational drug I’ve tried makes me feel weird, uncomfortable and shitty.

Why do you want to keep living?
Because I haven’t learnt everything yet!

What is the best movie ever?
Lindsey and Leon go to the Roller Disco

Why why why why why?
Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

People who have been in awkward situations, what’s the secret to getting out of it?
Shout “This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!” and hurl yourself through the nearest window.

What’s something normal in Brazil and not in other countries?
Using a cardboard disc to indicate whether you wish to be continually stuffed with meat.

How many languages can you speak and what are they?
I can speak English, manage a few words and phrases in Spanish, French, Italian and German, and yell a few words in Japanese and Finnish. So – in conclusion – one.

English speakers, is it kitty corner or catty corner and why/where are you from?
It’s “diagonal”.

What’s the worst threat to Society?
Dolphins developing opposable thumbs.

What’s your favourite Pokemon and why?
I luuuurve the sexy slither of a mudkip

If the events of Harry Potter happened in real life, which side would you be on? Voldemort’s or Harry’s?
Can’t I be on both? Like the late Earl Warren?

If you were allowed to nuke a country, knowing your attack won’t be condemned and your target can’t retaliate, would you do it, and if yes, what country would you nuke?
How to say “I’m a sociopath” without saying “I’m a sociopath”

Who’s the best Spongebob character?
Nosferatu!!

If you didn’t have to work, how would you spend your days?
I don’t know, but I’d like the opportunity to find out.

What would you choose a stray cat or a breed cat like Persian or British, and why?
I’d choose a dog because I’m deadly allergic to cats.

How do you feel about people who hate music?
I suspect they are some kind of alien in a skin suit.

if you had a $3000 Louis Vuitton work bag would you take it with you when you leave the office without cameras on your two 15 minute breaks and your one 30 minute break? Why, why not?
If I had a $3000 Louis Vuitton work bag I’d sell it, buy a $50 work bag and enjoy having an extra $2950

What do people mean when they say they are too tired after work for fun?
How to say “I’m an extrovert” without saying “I’m an extrovert”

What’s the nearest thing you can grab onto if gravity were to suddenly flip?
Grabbing onto something would be a minor concern as the entire universe blows itself to pieces.

Can men get pregnant? If so, how and how do they give birth?
How is babby formed? How man get pragnent?

Straight people, would you date someone who is non-binary?
If I found them attractive, sure.

What is a sigma male?
A person who thinks an embarrassingly inaccurate model of wolf social dynamics somehow applies to human beings.

If Sony decided to use a different name for PlayStation 6, what would it be?
Crash Bandicoot’s Glory Box

It’s 30 days into the apocalypse where are you and what are you doing for supplies?
Oh please! I was killed by a biker gang on day 8!

What would you do if the world disappeared?
Die?

What topics are absolutely inappropriate on a first date?
The Treaty of Westphalia. That’s just asking for trouble!

You can choose your last dinner. What is it?
I did choose my last dinner. I had Chinese. I’m now considering what to have for dinner tonight.

How would you react if you found out that your kids have been secretly using your credit cards to buy stuff, but instead of video games they spent it on Bored Apes NFTs?
I’d take them out back and shoot them.

You can ask one question to Putin. What do you ask?
Do you ever think about Stalin lying on his bedroom floor, wracked with pain, his consciousness slowly fading away as he listens to his underlings bicker about how they’re going to divide his power amongst themselves and laugh about not calling a doctor?

What are your thoughts on multiple genders these days?
Western society is finally have to face up to the fact that nature doesn’t fit into neat little boxes.

What do you think about kpop ?
Not my thing, but if someone enjoys it then who am I to argue with them?

Why don’t we just give Taiwan to China?
We can give them your house too!

You get one superpower, but the catch is that nobody can have ever thought of it before. What’s your superpower?
I can shoot objects into orbit by pointing at them John Travolta disco style.

What is the worst dog breed and why?
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier. It looks like it was bred to go down holes after sewage.

What medicines do you take, and why?
Antihistamines to stop my immune system from mugging me, antidepressants to stop my brain from mugging me, lactase to stop my guts from freaking out at the sight of cheese, anti-inflammatories to stop my jaw locking up and amphetamines to keep me awake.

If Ukraine joins NATO, what city in the world will Russia Nuke first?
Saint Petersburg (they’d be aiming for Helsinki, but, y’know, Russians)

Le penis is chewy, and it tastes like steak, they also sell it now in restaurants and it costs $0.99 for starters, what do you think about it?
I think that’s one hell of a fetish you’re dealing with there.

Which villain is more iconic, Dr. Doofenshmirtz or Robbie Rotten?
Robbie Rotten almost mowed down a friend of mine with his bike once, so I’ll go with him.

What is one thing in your home that’s broken that you never seem to get around to fixing?
Me!

What are good things to do, to increase a valuation on a house?
Bury a statue of St Joseph upside down in the yard.

Why do you feel like an anomaly?
Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you feel like an anomaly.

You have been granted the power to give everyone in the world one object. What is that object?
A MYSTERIOUS CUBE!

You’re suddenly the president of your country, you have one week to fuck your whole country up. What do you do?
Declare war on China

Who is the most prolific killer ever, in your opinion?
Thomas Midgley Jr.

How often do you go in the woods to roast chestnuts?
All the time! (if by ‘roast’ you mean ‘brutally murder’ and by ‘chestnuts’ you mean ‘vagrants’…)

What’s the best way to lose weight?
A spell in a Russian prison.

What’s more attractive for girls, a guy walking around eating an apple or smoking a cigarette?
I would imagine it depends on the personal taste of the individual girl in question.

What are some things that pregnant women should avoid that not everyone knows about?
False vacuum decay

What might be the reason that someone checked in a hotel room at 9, then kept moving, throwing heavy things around/open and close closets drawers until 12, and then walked across the room back and forth from 1 to 3 am?
Sir, we haven’t rented that room out in years. Not since ‘The Incident’…

How would you spend your holidays if you had to spend them alone?
I do spend my holidays alone. It’s pretty sweet.

What is the plot of your favorite book or movie explained as horribly as possible?
A group of academics start a small business but are hampered by interference from the EPA.

Who is the Greatest Musician/Band of all time?
Shooby Taylor, the human horn!

If you can bluntly tell people how you want to be treated, how would you describe it?
You should all grovel before me like DOGS!!

What is placed in the Vatican’s vault?
The was nothing in the Vactican vault, But it wasn’t Pope Benedicts’s fault!

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Does crocodile stir-fry count as weird?

What is the ONLY original Rule 34 website?
zombo.com!

What would happen if adults were the only authorized users on social media?
The spelling would improve slightly.

What is a woman?
A rag, a bone and a hank of hair

What ridiculous and untrue, yet plausible, explanation can you come up with for the cause of a headache?
Inside you there are two wolves. One of them has their teeth in your medulla oblongata.

Going downtown to ask folks questions live; what questions should be asked?
“Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?”

What would happen if we threw a nuclear bomb into the middle of an active volcanic crater?
The bomb would melt and the lava would become slightly more radioactive.

You have an hour to create a new movie idea, explain your idea?
An Englishman is stopped in a dark country lane by a giant, glowing goat who tells him to go to the top of the highest mountain in Spain on midsummer’s day for his ‘reward’. Comic hi-jinks ensue as he tries to convince his wife, his friends, his bank manager and the Spanish immigration services that he’s not insane.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?
Betty White

How do you have sex with glasses?
Use lots of lube

You now have one extra room in your house, what you do with it?
Decorate it to look like the Back Rooms.

When did we as a society decide money matters more then love?
If by “money” you mean “resources” then as soon as humans existed. You can’t eat love!

What is Rick and Morty?
An Australian cartoon about a violent lunatic looking for a green cube.

What’s the affect of left handed kid being forced to become right handed?
The worst handwriting you’ve ever seen.

What’s the most ruthless and efficient way to become mayor of a small town?
Contaminate all the local salad bars with e. coli so everyone is too sick to vote except for your followers.

What is a tomato?
A wolf peach!

People who knows about mewing, how to keep your tongue up all the time and is it bad if tip of the tongue is pushing the front teeth?
Mewing doesn’t do anything except prove your gullibility to dumbass internet fads.

How come we are taught advanced math in school if most of us aren’t going to use it?
Because learning difficult shit is good for your brain.

Who is “the hero we need right now”?
Vermin Supreme!

What do you consider as the definition of “art”?
Anything that is put on display is art. Whether it’s good art is another issue entirely.

What would you do if Dream died?
He did, but as one of the Endless he was instantly replaced by a new incarnation.

if you were god and there is nothing except you, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Dance!

What do you think of Zendaya?
I have no objection to Zendaya.

What is the best and most hilarious opening line if you want to make the other person laugh?
“Hi, I’m a pedigree racehourse. MOOOOOOOOOO!”

What would you like to be written on your grave?
Death is but a Door
Time is but a Window
I will return

People who don’t live in the US, are you happy where you live?
Hell yeah! Socialised healthcare and a minuscule chance of getting shot – what’s not to love?

What would you name your yacht if you had one?
“Perfectly Normal Boat”

What’s the best answer to “Where do you see yourself in 10 years”?
“Dancing on your grave!”

There are many empty malls, and there will be many more in the near future. What can they be repurposed for?
Hobo battle arenas

Let’s say we live in a world where we’re all cars, exactly like the Pixar movie. What car would you be?
A Lightburn and Co. Zeta Sedan

What is the best unreleased song you’ve ever heard?
Where’d the Cheese Go Part 2 by Ween

What do you think is the biggest mistake of humanity?
Coming down out of the trees.

What’s the most creative band name in your opinion?
“9cm Worm Makes Own Food”

What do you think about free will?
I believe I have free will, but I may not have any choice in the matter…

Who is the best President the United Stares has had?
Lipton Quick

What are some mind-blowing facts about cricket?
At Edgbaston in 1932 (as Canter was facing Willcox bowling from the pavilion end) a spectator ran onto the ground claiming to have seen an alligator materialise on the pitch. No one else saw anything and Warwickshire went on to win by three wickets.

Why can’t we all just be nice and get along?
He’s trying to make us be nice! Break his knees!

Where do all the hot and sexy Martian women hang out?
Club Barsoom on the north side of Olympus Mons

Which generation did it better between Grease (1978) & High School Musical (2006)?
Remind me, which one had the school shooting scene?

What is the greatest song of all time?
Hot Dogs and Apple Sauce

If Neanderthals were still alive today, what kind of racist slurs would we use on them?
“Chinless!”

What is the best Michael Jackson song?
Ben – The greatest love song ever written for a cannibalistic rat!

Who is the most shameful figure in history?
Binro the Heretic. Crazy bastard with his “the stars are far away suns!” and “Ribos moves, not the heavens!”. Torture was too good for him!

What is your darkest desire?
To have a hundred of the Earth dollars!

Which artist would you consider a industry plant?
Dua Lipa was grown out of broccoli by the Monsanto Corporation!

What’s the most exciting moment while hunting?
When your prey realises there’s no escape and resorts to promises of money or whining about having a wife and children.

If you were held at gunpoint, what would you say?
‘Tective man a say, say daddy me Snow me stab someone down the lane a licky boom boom dem!

Warhammer 40,000 Map Icons

Many years ago I purchased the rulebook for the now sadly defuct Fantasy Flight Warhammer 40k RPG Dark Heresy. While I thought the game was great I was rather annoyed by the poor quality of the planet icons used in the provided map of the Calixis Sector, and being the kind of obsessive nerd I am I couldn’t help but make my own version of if where you could tell what planet was what without having to use a bright light and a magnifying glass.

One thing led to another and by 2019 I’d produced an entire library of icons for 40k maps, free for anyone to use, which could be found on Reddit.

Recently someone contacted me having problems downloading the icons, so I decided it was time to make some updates, and post the files here where I know where to find them without having to sort through my rather chaotic Reddit history.

So here it is – Version 5.0, for your downloading pleasure!

SVG Version – This is the version to use if you know what you’re doing with Vector graphics. If you’re making your map in a vector editor such as Illustrator or Inkscape this is the superior option. If you’re not, then one of the PNG versions will probably be more convenient. DOWNLOAD

Transparent PNG version – A PNG export of the SVG icons with transparency enabled. If your graphic editor works with transparent PNGs (which pretty much everything should these days) you should use this one. Each icon is rendered into two versions. One with no glow and one with a white glow suitable to paste onto a dark background. DOWNLOAD

Flat PNG Version – A PNG export of the SVG icons with no transparency. This is the last resort version for really old or simple graphic programs that can’t handle PNG transparency. There are two versions of each icon, one with no glow on a white background, and one with a white glow on a black background. DOWNLOAD

Enjoy!

New Year, New Fear!

Looking back I’m not sure if 2022 was better than 2021 or I’ve just become numb to the horror. In any case, welcome to 2023!

I celebrated the new year by ripping off a toenail. This was an accident, not some strange type of ritual, although it was entirely my own fault for letting said nail grow too long. My little toe nails are strange, gnarled lumps of keratin that slowly grow upwards in a bulge – I only need to cut them a few times a year but I need to use model clippers with a lot of force behind them to actually do it. I left them a bit too long this time round and my left one caught on something and ripped straight out, leaving a deep, bloody hole… how’s your year going?

By way of an oracle for the new year I’m going to load up iTunes and get it to randomly play something to see what it tells us about what’s to come. Let’s see…

Lipstick on Your Collar by Connie Francis – what the hell is that even doing in my music collection!? So I guess… I’m going to get a girlfriend… and then cheat on her? Neither of those sound much like me…

Anyway, as is my custom here are some pictures of baby (or at least cute) animals to welcome in the new rotational cycle.

England ’86 – Part 2

Here is part two of my day by day summary of the UK holiday my family took in 1986 (back to part one). I’ve already covered our trips to various manor houses, ancient sites and relatives, and when I left off we were hunkered down next to James Blunt’s windmill in Cley Next the Sea waiting for the radiation cloud from Chernobyl to arrive. What wacky adventures will we have next?

Wednesday April 30 -In the morning went out on a boat to see seals, but had to look at a bunch of boring birds first (undoubtedly at the insistence of fanatical twitcher Uncle Fran). Did eventually see a gratifying number of seals. In the afternoon went to look for fossils in the cliffs. Spend a few hours trying to dig out an extremely long bone that in retrospect was probably a tree root.

Thursday May 1st – Left Cley to head back to Frieth, but not before taking photos of James Blunt’s lambs at James Blunt’s windmill. Stopped off at ruins of Binham Priory, Castle Acre Priory and Castle Acre Castle, the later of which was extremely uninteresting. Had lunch at a motorway-side Happy Eater.

Friday May 2nd – Went to Windsor. Toured the Madame Tussauds “Victoria and Empire” exhibition at the railway station which was mostly waxworks of Queen Victoria getting on and off trains. Then went to the castle where we discovered that the Keep was closed, as were the Royal Apartments. We were however able to look at Queen Mary’s dollhouse and the dungeons (later to become notorious for hosting an entirely fictional species of venomous spider). Finally – for some reason – we went shopping for door knockers.

Saturday May 3rd – Headed out to Uffington as the Chernobyl radiation cloud passed over the country. Mum wisely elected to stay in bed. Saw the White Horse from close up which is arguably the worst way to see it, then visited Wayland’s Smithy which my brother found extremely creepy (either radiation getting to him or traumatic memories of The Moon Stallion).

Sunday May 4th – Church in the morning. A noticeably short service (possibly the Priest wanted to get away quickly to buy iodine tablets). Back to Uncle Fran’s to pack up and head for London. On the way I felt sick (undoubtedly radiation poisoning) and we stopped at a roadside parking area surrounded by “all sorts of junk”. Arrived at Grandmadge’s in Palmers Green in time for lunch.

Monday May 5th – Planned to walk around London but was wet in Palmers Green. Went into London anyway to see if weather was better. It wasn’t. Walked around London anyway. Mobbed by pigeons at Trafalgar Square. Walked to Piccadilly Circus via Admiralty Arch then went home.

Tuesday May 6th – Headed to Madame Tussauds. Many jokes made about Bob Hawke belonging in the Chamber of Horrors (parents dyed-in-the-wool Liberal voters). Brother and I most impressed with ‘Slush Puppies’ in restaurant. Mum – obviously ill from all the radiation – fell asleep during the planetarium show.

Wednesday May 7th – Hit up the Tower of London. Many photos taken of Beefeater who looked just like family friend back in Australia. Viewed crown jewels, spent rest of day chanting “move along please” in monotone like the guards. Visited Tower Bridge and were inside exhibition when a ship went through. Were unable to get out of exhibition to see ship go through as power was diverted from the lifts to the bascules. Contented ourselves looking out window at vertical road surface.

Thursday May 8th – Went to the Natural History Museum. Exhausted parents by insisting on looking at every exhibit including a “spcele sustmy” with computer games in it (unsure what’s worse, my spelling or handwriting). Had lunch, went to see the spiders. Spotted Uncle Tony in Children’s Gallery after which parents had to apologise to a random man with a vague resemblance to Uncle Tony. Moved to the Science Museum. Had to drag Dad away from the warplane exhibit. Went on the earthquake simulator at the Geology museum and watched a simulated volcanic eruption before heading home.

Friday May 9th – Went to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Was shocked that we were allowed into the Crypt and then just as shocked that the Crypt was not a maze of crumbling tunnels full of skeletons and cobwebs. Was very impressed with Christopher Wren’s model of the Cathedral and quite disappointed that the real one was so toned down in comparison. Climbed up to the Whispering Gallery then refused to go any higher. Andrew and Mum continued all the way to the top while Dad had to stay behind and make sure I didn’t plunge over the railings in a fit of vertigo. Left the Cathedral to get lunch but everywhere was closed. Continued to the Museum of London which turned out to have a restaurant. Ate soup and toured the museum. Went home and had dinner at Uncle Tony’s favourite Italian restaurant where they served sorbet in hollowed out citrus fruit (unarguably the best way to serve sorbet).

Saturday May 10th – Did nothing of interest except have fish and chips for dinner while Dad and Uncle Tony watched the FA Cup final (Liverpool v. Everton at Wembley. Liverpool won 3-1).

Sunday May 11th – Went to church then had ‘a boring day’. In the evening ‘a visitor’ arrived and we ‘showed her lots of things’ which is so cryptic it would fit into in a Dan Brown novel.

Monday May 12th – Picked up Grandmadge from her sister’s place where she had been ‘having a rest’ – presumably from two hyperactive step-grandchildren. Drove back to Warsash in the rain.

Tuesday May 13th – Went into Southampton and visited the museum in the Bargate. Lunch at the cafe in the Owen Owen department store. Walked along the wall to the Maritime Museum in the old Wool House. Hit up the Archeology museum and discovered one of the towers in the city wall has the same name as Dad. Convinced the museum to part with one of their only two maps of the walls and went to gawk at said tower. Gawked at ruins of Castle and went home.

Wednesday May 14th – Went into Fareham for haircuts at random barbers. Spent entire cut gazing in astonishment at “Willy Grooming Kit” openly displayed on counter. Particularly confused by inclusion of comb, having not yet reached puberty. Barber parted my hair and sprayed some kind of lacquer on it – went out of my way to mess it up as soon as we left. Mum dropped off camera bag for repair at a shop. Went squirrel spotting at Aunty Mary’s work but they were all scared off by the lingering scent of hair lacquer.

Thursday May 15th – Were meant to go to Arundel but brother was sick so did nothing except walk into the village to post letters. Dropped one on the way, found it on the way back so went back to post it. Looked around ‘Lots of Things’ – apparently a store in the village (did we use some kind of remote viewing to show it to the mysterious visitor on May 11th?)

Friday May 16th – Brother had recovered so to Arundel we went. Visited the world famous and quite morbid Potter’s Museum of Curiosities – I was particularly taken with the diprosopic lamb. Sated chronic sorbet addiction at lunch. Drove to mechanical music museum which for some reason Mum enjoyed much more than Potter’s. Bought a tape of steam organ music that was played incessantly for the rest of our stay in the country (I still know Offenbach’s Galop Infernal by heart). Drove to World War II airfield museum where brother and I got to test out a mechanical Spitfire simulator being constructed out of assorted junk by a couple of actual Spitfire pilots – in retrospect probably the coolest experience of the entire trip.

Saturday May 17th – Quiet day. Mum, brother and Aunty Mary went to do the flowers at Saint Margaret Mary’s but I – tired of providing unpaid labour – plead off as sick.

Sunday May 18th – My brother’s birthday. Party with all the relatives (after church, of course). Gifts included various Transformers and a postcard album, and the cake was a hedgehog with flake for spines and smarties for eyes.

Monday May 19th – Headed to Beaulieu. Took in the car museum including the “Wheels” ride-through exhibition on the history of cars. Most impressed with the future of cars which is (apparently) insect-legged pods on the moon. Played with the remote control cars and rode the monorail, which seemed an odd inclusion at a site devoted to the celebration of private transport. Visited the Abbey where a sign stated that the presence of ghostly monks could be detected by a smell of roses, placed right next to a giant bowl of potpourri. Listened to a steam calliope in the carpark and were handed passes to a free tour of a nearby stately home the next day.

Tuesday May 20th – Went to the free tour at Elmer’s Court which turned out to be a pitch for timeshares. Mum and Dad happily went through the entire presentation and tour of the facilities before telling the salesman that we were tourists from Australia and hence had no interest. Absolutely savage.

Wednesday May 21st – Drove up to London. Stopped for lunch at the Fleet Services on the M3 which – due to the bridge over the motorway – I thought was the most amazing place I’d ever seen.

Thursday May 22nd – Returned to the Natural History Museum to look at bats, then headed to the Houses of Parliament. Tried to see Westminster Hall but it was closed. Went to visit Westminster Abbey. It was closed. Decided to visit the Abbey Cloisters. They were closed. Cabinet War Rooms were open. Mum annoyed by brother and I bothering her while she listened to Churchill speeches. Stumbled over the Jewel Tower museum. Walked to Horse Guards then to Buckingham Palace.

Friday May 23rd – Got tube to Victoria Station then walked to Coach Station which was “dirty”. Had lunch there anyway. Boarded bus to Liverpool. Air conditioning and all but one TV broken. One working TV played Police Academy which I thought was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. Picked up in Liverpool by Aunty Jo (the Nun) who drove us – like a maniac – to the school for the blind of which she was principal.

Saturday May 24th – Packed a picnic lunch and headed for Wales. Forgot that it was a Bank Holiday weekend and hence every other person in Liverpool was also headed for Wales. Finally crept across the border after hours in traffic and pulled into the first layby we found. Ate our sandwiches in the drizzle and drove back to Liverpool. Spent several hours playing Robin of Sherwood in the bouncy play.

Sunday May 25th – After the inevitable church we drove to a manor house to see a flower show. Discovered it didn’t start until next week. Went to a different manor house that didn’t have a flower show but did have a miniature railway and a “disco bounce” (whatever that may be…). Did penance for disco bouncing by visiting an elderly Nun.

Monday May 26th – Bank Holiday. Went to Southport, bought some new bathers and had a game of croquet with the parents of a friend back in Australia.

Tuesday May 27th – Blackpool. So windy that my brother (a skinny child medically prescribed cooking chocolate to try and bulk him up) was almost blown away down the street. Lifts in Blackpool Tower weren’t working and (to my disgust) Mum and Dad refused to consider the stairs. Won 80p in a penny drop machine but could not resist the allure of greater riches and immediately lost it. Visited a “friend” who lived in some flats. Dropped in to the Formby red squirrel sanctuary on the way back where the opportunity to photograph a squirrel posing on a tree stump was ruined by a bunch of idiots who drove in with their radio blaring at full volume. SQUIRRELS DO NOT APPRECIATE FALCO!!

Wednesday May 28th – Drove cross country to York. Queued for an hour at the Jorvik Viking Centre, but were most impressed by the viking having a difficult time in the outhouse. Took in York Minster which was still being rebuilt after God smote it with a lightning bolt two years earlier. Examined the bosses designed by Blue Peter viewers. Went through the Castle Museum and climbed the mound to Clifford’s Tower. Bought a loaf of bread shaped like a hedgehog then drove back to Liverpool.

Thursday May 29th – Went into Liverpool where we visited both the “Cristen” and “ANGLEGEN” cathedrals (Anglicans, of course, famously not counting as “Cristens”). Had lunch in the cloisters then visited the Immigration Museum in the docks. Saw a barge.

Friday May 30th – Packed for Scotland and tried again for the flower show. This time it was actually there. Had a picnic by the nearby lake. Goodbye dinner with the Nuns.

End of Part Two! Check back soon to discover what pleasures and perils await in the bonny, freshly-irradiated glens of Scotland!

CONTINUE TO PART 3

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