Tuesday 24 February 2015

Highway Code

Far far too often you will see someone on a roundabout indicating right while they leave the roundabout (to the left). Normally I will avoid them and make the wanker sign. This week I saw exactly the same behaviour, but it was one of the women I work with driving the car. I seethed gently for the rest of my commute and steeled myself to confront her about her terrible driving when we got to work.

I'm glad I spotted that when we got to work she was in her other car and wearing a different dress. It turns out that I'm cross with a complete stranger who's about at tall as one of the managers, has similar hair, and the same colour car. The bitch!

Richard "Paragraph 186" B

Monday 16 February 2015

I should be an MP

As the candidate for the Traditional Pie Party, can you tell us what you stand for and against?

  • I'm for pies that have a pasty case and a top crust. I’m against those things that masquerade as pies, but which are actually a shallow bowl of stew with a pastry hat.

Why should people vote for you?

  • If the people send me to parliament, then I would work tirelessly to defend the interests of all my constituents, particularly those who want traditional pies with a pastry case and a top crust.

But isn't this a pointless single issue campaign?

  • Not at all. The job of a member of parliament is to represent his constituents, and that is what I would do, no matter who they are or what they believe. Whether they prefer shortcrust or puff pasty, watercrust or ruff-puff. Be they vegetarian or meat eating, whether they love or loathe kidneys in a steak pie.

What is your stance on Europe?

  • I believe that the Euro-zone as it currently exists cannot endure. It is a full currency union, but with different countries maintaining their own central banks, their own interest rate policies, and their own taxation schemes. I believe that the currency is doomed in the long term unless it is underpinned by the cohesive force of a comprehensive and sturdy, yet light, pastry case.

Do you see UKIP as a credible alternative vote?

  • I know for a fact that Mr Farage is a man who likes his ale. I see no reason why that shouldn't extend to a steak and ale pie. With further negotiations, I think it is realistic to expect him to be in favour of a steak and ale pie with a crust and lid.

Where do you stand on the recent revelations about tax avoidance and tax evasion?

  • These are two very separate matters. Tax evasion is simply criminality and needs to be dealt with in court. Tax avoidance is playing the system to your best advantage. The fact that tax avoidance schemes exists tells us nothing so much as the parlous state of our tax laws. I am a member of the tax payers alliance which campaigns for simpler and fairer taxes. I were elected I would order a root and branch review of the various tax rates and tax exemptions. The review would start with the issue closest to my constituents hearts: VAT on hot baked goods, aka "The Pasty Tax".

What would you do about the violent attacks by religious extremists?

  • I think it is too easy to get caught up in discussions of ideology and motivation. The simple fact remains that murder is illegal, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice, removed from society, and kept between four delicious pasty walls, to stew in their own rich juices, until rehabilitation is possible.

Should there be limits to freedom of speech?

  • This is contentious issue, but there are already limits to free speech, relating to, for example, incitement to riot, and promoting hatred. I would introduce further kerbs, so that restauraters could no longer legally describe a bowl of stew with a pastry crouton as a fucking "pie".

Richard "Screaming Lord" B

Wednesday 11 February 2015


I have been in America three times in the last year, and although I'm not a fan of all their cooking, I'm very impressed by their breakfasts.  My favourite is waffles with bacon and maple syrup. I have bought myself a cheap waffle iron and set about learning to make waffles. The waffle recipe is challenging because the batter has to double its size and cook in about 5 minutes. Half of the recipes include huge amounts of baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, or tartar and their flavour suffers as a result. The better recipes use yeast, so there's slightly more to do than would be ideal between getting up and eating breakfast. This is the recipe that I've had best results with, and that I'm sticking with:

½ sachet yeast (3.5g)
Dessert spoon warm water
4.5oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
½ pint butter milk [1][2]
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Wake the yeast up in the water with a pinch of the sugar. Leave it standing for at least five minutes.
Sieve the flour and powders into a bowl, add the sugar, make a well in the centre.
Slowly add the egg and butter milk stirring continually to make a thin batter.
Stir in the yeast.
Stir in the oil.[3]
Leave the mixture to stand for 10 minutes so that the yeast latches onto the starches in the flour.

Preheat the iron and add a few drops of oil.
Half fill the iron with batter. Close, swirl, and turn over so that the whole iron is coated with batter.
Cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat, turning regularly.

[1 The co-op doesn’t sell butter milk so I use a mixture of milk and soured cream]
[2 For my American readers, ½ pint is 10 fl. Oz.]
[3 The oil is less prone to separate out if you add it last.]

Richard "American Breakfast – stay away from me. American Breakfast – mama let me be." B

Tuesday 3 February 2015

General Election

I normally try to write something light-hearted for my blog, but just this once I'm going to stray into politics:

There has been a lot of talk about there being fewer than 100 days until the general election and about whether the younger voters should even bother. My belief is that we should all, to a man, go to the polling station and spoil our ballot papers. Our votes WILL be counted, and there can be no talk of voter-apathy if we get a huge turn out of people, like me, who believe that the best candidates that the political parties have to offer just aren’t good enough.

I have no problem with parliamentary democracy, and I'm proud to live under one. I'd just rather not be governed by one filled almost entirely with self-serving, populist, centrist idiots. Here is a brief round-up of a few of my favourite reasons, since I left college, to believe that the entire political caste is incompetent:

  • We've had a government who sold off the radio frequency spectrum (you only get one of those), paid off all the debts, and then announced the end of boom-and-bust economics.
  • We've had a government who dismissed their advisor on drugs policy because he had the temerity to suggest examining cost and outcomes of the current policy. The bastard!
  • We've had a government who decided that we needed to sell some of our gold and buy foreign currency. They then made such a bad job of it that you can see exactly when it happened on any graph of gold prices, from a long way away, if you squint.
  • We've had a government which noticed that the (approx) 10% of school leavers who went to university ended up as the most economically productive members of society and decided that we could make the whole country richer if we sent 50% of people to university. In the process they have destroyed free higher education and de-valued British degrees. It was exactly the same logic which would notice that pregnant people are predominantly women, and then deciding that the way to increase the number of women in the boardroom would be to inseminate 50% of company directors. [note 1]
  • Expenses.
  • The standard of debate in the house of commons.

Richard "don’t waste your vote – spoil your vote" B

[note 1 If you want to know why it looks so much like going to university raises your wages in later life, it's probably because deciding to go away to university at the end of school used to be a good proxy for being bright and hard-working. In combination those factors have a positive predictive effect on your earning potential.]