Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Warning for swearing.
Of course the only news in the entire world today is what naughty James Naughtie said on The Today Programme. This is quite lucky for me, because I have just written 1500 words of my book, in an outrageous burst of verbosity. I managed to deploy an argument which included Medusa, Barry Norman, Dirk Bogarde, Marilyn Monroe, Artemis, and Charlotte Rampling, which means that now I do not have one working brain cell left in my head. As a result, I have nothing useful to say about the continuing Lib Dem row over tuition fees, or the Iranians going to Geneva to talk about their nuclear programme, or the Russian spy in the House of Commons, or the latest Wikileak. (Luckily I have no opinion about Cheryl Cole, so that is one less thing I have to worry about, although apparently she has done something which is getting the newspapers excited. Although it does seem she merely has to wake up in the morning to get certain sections of the press hot under their frayed collars.)
Thank goodness then that Mr Naughtie chose this morning to introduce Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, as Jeremy Cunt the Hulture Secretary. Twitter went ballistic, abandoning for a moment its reverent contemplation of KEVIN PIETERSEN'S (yes, he now goes into capitals too) majestic 227 knock in The Ashes. Best joke of the day went something along the lines of: now shocked parents all over Britain are having to explain to their children what a 'hulture secretary' is. Then, as if that were not enough, Andrew Marr was talking about Freudian slips with the lovely David Aaronovitch on Start the Week, and he SAID IT AGAIN. I think twice. I rang up Sarah: 'are they doing it for a bet?' we shouted at each other.
All of which means the good news is that I do not have to struggle to give you any coherent blog but can merely direct you here for your daily amusement.
(For my foreign readers, who are not addicted to the BBC and cannot get the iPlayer and have not a clue what I am talking about:
The Today Programme is the most serious national morning news programme. All the politicians listen to it, and all of them go on it. It not only reports the news, but quite often makes news.
James Naughtie is its veteran presenter, who has been working for the BBC since the Queen was a girl. He is famous for his long and involved questions. The very unkind might suspect that he is slightly in love with the sound of his own rolling locutions, so this makes the slip doubly funny.
Jeremy Hunt is one of those smooth, ambitious politicians. He may well be an extremely nice man, but I am suspicious of him because he has a long track record of making very disobliging remarks about the BBC. My deep fear is that actually he loathes the Beeb with a passion and longs to turn The Today Programme into Fox News. I really hope this is not true, but it adds an extra piquancy to what Naughtie called him.)
And some quick pictures -
My sister has logs:
In weather like this, that may be all you need.
The woods are dark and deep:
But just look at the outrageous colours in the beech avenue:
I know that some of you are worried about the dogs getting cold in all this weather, so I thought I would post a little series to show how much fun they are having. They adore the snow:
(I know that one is slightly blurry, but I had to put it in because it's such a SNOW DOG action shot.)
In more contemplative mood:
The almost unbearably sweet snow on the nose effect is because she likes eating the stuff, as if it were ice cream:
We only ever stay out for twenty minutes at a time, run about a lot, and then I take them inside and rug them up for a bit, under my delightful new blankets, until they are warm as toast. So do not fret. Also, despite their elegant appearance, they are tough as old boots. This is because of their Labrador blood. Labradors are descended from the St John's Water dog, and were used by the Portuguese fishermen who settled in Newfoundland to tow ropes between fishing boats, gather in fishing nets, and even pull dories along with their teeth. They are a miracle, really, bred for endurance, strength and loyalty. Generations later, they still have a thick undercoat and an oily layer next to the skin for repelling water. In the summer, both my dogs hear the call of their ancestral heritage, and plunge into the burn on the slightest excuse.
Finally, two more shots of the fantastical winter light. The view south over my garden wall:
And a little further west, colours I can scarcely believe are real:
(And for you England cricket fans out there, let us keep our fingers crossed for the next six wickets. As usual, I am braced for disaster: rain, Australian hundreds, the entire England bowling attack falling apart. That's cricket, say all the pundits, you never know what will happen. But oh, oh, the merest whiff of victory is in my nostrils, however much I try to dispel it.)