Monday, 6 December 2010

In praise of Dr Spooner

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:

5th Dec 1

And roses:

5th Dec 2

In weather like this, that may be all you need.

The woods are dark and deep:

5th Dec 3

5th Dec 8-1

But just look at the outrageous colours in the beech avenue:

5th Dec 10

5th Dec 12

5th Dec 15

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:

5th Dec 5

5th Dec 6

5th Dec 7

(I know that one is slightly blurry, but I had to put it in because it's such a SNOW DOG action shot.)

5th Dec 8

In more contemplative mood:

5th Dec 17

5th Dec 14

The almost unbearably sweet snow on the nose effect is because she likes eating the stuff, as if it were ice cream:

5th Dec 18

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:

5th Dec 9

And a little further west, colours I can scarcely believe are real:

5th Dec 16

(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.)


  1. I could hardly believe my ears this morning! Apparently James Blunt is thrilled that someone else has come along to become the rhyming slang equivalent.

  2. You started Tuesday morning with the giggles which is an excellent way to start the day!!! And is the name actually Naughtie!!! and thank you for the explanation (re the dogs). I know I sounded like an old grannie but I was kind of worried about all that snow.

  3. I love the dogs' snowy noses. And fascinating orange-coloured trees.

    I knew a Canadian who used to broadcast on the radio for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - he claimed to have once referred to it as "The Canadian Corping Castration"!

  4. Poor old J Naughtie; it made me laugh out loud in the car while being part of some horrible stodgy traffic this morning. Particularly when he faked a coughing fit while clearly dying to fall about laughing. Good job Sarah Montague was't on as well or it would have collapsed into hopeless giggles.

    D and the P looking particularly lovely with snow on their muzzles and snow dog action ears. And how odd that all that rich russetty colour should be around aftr all that snow. I really have got to move out of London and get some dogs.

  5. Snow Dogs. Snow Action! :) The beech avenue looks utterly *spectacular*

  6. Betty - love James Blunt joke.

    Mystica - the name really is Naughtie, although because he is Scottish it is pronounced Nock-tee. You were sweet to worry about the canines and I am glad to put your mind at rest. (They are lying in front of the fire as I write this.)

    Vivien - love the Canadian joke. And so glad you like the snowy noses.

    Kate - the colour has suddenly come back after a week of utter white. It is rather curious that it should all still be there, as if autumn has not quite finished with us yet, despite the minus ten degrees.

    Anne - always glad that you appreciate the snow action. You know I cannot resist those dogs in motion; the ears in the air make me laugh too much.

  7. Loved the pictures as ever: the snow (though I have had enough now) the gorgeous girls and the mesmerising trees. Still musing at how people could get so agitated by a slip of teh tongue; buut really, on Tuesday morning there is really only one thing to say.......Way Hey the Lads!!!!!!!

    Now for a few good nights sleep.


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