The Most Eeeeevil Gun In Britain

British police have disclosed the type of handgun most often used in criminal activity in the U.K. It is the sinister-looking Beretta 9000S:

Loyal Readers will know, of course, that this is doubleplusunpossible, because handguns are banned from private ownership in Britishland, and therefore this report cannot be true.

“Up to 19 shootings” in the past year — or, as they say in Chicago (where handguns are almost as much controlled as in Britain), “the average Friday night”.

Hidden Gem

Tilshead is a tiny, unremarkable village tucked away between Devizes and Salisbury in Wiltshire. You have to slow down to go through it because the houses are right on the road — a common feature in Britishland villages — and no doubt it’s an annoyance to do so, for those people steaming through the Salisbury Plain on their way to or from Stonehenge.

Yet if you stop, as I did, you can find little corners of sheer beauty in villages like Tilshead — such as Lavender Cottage:

Of course, thatched cottages are anything but rare in These Yerrr Parrrrts, as the locals call them, and no doubt the locals don’t think they’re remarkable. But they are to me, and I’ll post a few more from other such villages, as I stop to marvel at them. Please indulge me.

Vista

I have been remiss in posting a view of Hardy Country, so allow me to rectify that omission with the vista from Free Market Towers estate’s south border:

(The photo has been compressed in the loading, so if you want a bigger picture, right-click on it and open with your favorite viewer or in another tab.)

5 Worst Small Cars To Go Anywhere In

There are many bad cars, there are many ugly cars, there are many cars that turned out to be failures (ahem Ford Edsel), so the competition is strong. However, if you were to poll anyone who knows anything at all about cars and ask them for their top 20 worst small cars aimed at the cost-conscious driver, these five (including variants) would be on everybody’s list. Shitty designs, woeful engineering, crappy materials, zero performance / handling, prone to bursting into flames: these clunkers had them all — proof, as if anyone needed it, that for some people, (low) price is everything.

Ford Pinto

AMC  Gremlin / Pacer

Yugo

Robin Reliant

Trabant

In the case of the Trabi, it remains a monument to how Communism can screw things up: when essentially the same people can produce two totally different cars — i.e. Mercedes/BMW/Porsche/Volkswagen on one side of a Wall, and the Trabant on the other.

Missing In Action

Yesterday I was in Salisbury, doing the tourist thing (pics and AAR to follow). Today I’ll be traveling in the Cotswolds, visiting towns of great beauty — a follow-up, if you will, of the trip Mr. FM took me in the Porsche, when I was unable to see anything except the blur of scenery and the sight of cyclists falling into roadside ditches.

Today may see more of the latter, but I will be stopping to see the blurred things in focus. That AAR will appear on Sunday.

See y’all tomorrow. I’ll just leave you with a completely gratuitous pic of one of my favorite guns of all time (and the piece on which I learned to shoot handguns), the Beretta Model 75 in .22 LR:

The frame wasn’t designed by Pininfarina, but it could have been.

Why I Prefer To Travel When It’s Cold

In all my travels around Britishland, I’d never been to the little town of Cheddar, whence the eponymous cheese is derived. So yesterday, as it was warm and not raining, I decided to rectify that with a little day trip to check the place out.

The route from Free Market Towers encompasses, as one would imagine, scenes of indescribable pastoral beauty: rolling hills, freshly-harvested fields or else emerald-green expanses populated by sheep and/or cattle, stone walls, the occasional stately home à la FM Towers, and occasionally an actual castle or two. (More on that topic anon.) Here’s an example, one of hundreds, of a church in an otherwise unknown little town:

On and on I went (no main roads on my travels, no sir), until the scenery suddenly changed: into a gorge I swept, with towering cliffs and tight corners on the twisty little road:

…but here’s why I prefer to travel when it’s either late autumn or even winter.

You see, because it’s the summer school holidays Over Here, about a zillion people had had the same idea as I, with the subsequent dolorous result:

That was only one of about a dozen car parks scattered along the road that wound through the gorge — and almost everyone had walked the mile or two down the road into Cheddar itself. If you can imagine the Boardwalk on the Jersey Shores over a midsummer weekend, you’ll get the picture. I couldn’t stop to buy cheese — in fact, I couldn’t even stop to get a picture of the mayhem, so crowded was the place.

So in foul humor I retraced my steps out of Cheddar and back, more or less, along the same way I’d come.

Because you see, en route I had been rather taken with a tiny little village named Norton St. Philip, which had not one, but two interesting pubs on its narrow streets. I picked the George:

…because a.) there was lots of parking and b.) because Observant Readers will note the presence of the “Wadworth” brewery sign, which meant the wondrous beverage 6X (which I sorely needed after the disappointment of Cheddar). I discovered reason c.), by the way, as I walked into the place:

So: heritage, hangings, history and 6X all in one place — like I was going to pass up that little combination — and the George wasn’t crowded either, so I could sit in undisturbed peace and quiet and enjoy my lunch of lamb’s liver with bacon and mashed potato, all washed down by a glass of refreshing 6X.

Heaven.

And on the topic of heaven, here’s a view of the church at Norton St. Philip, just below the pub and across the village green (and it’s even more beautiful than my humble pic suggests):

I’ll be back — but only when it’s colder. The George has this huge fireplace in the pub, you see, and rooms with bathrooms, so I won’t need to stay sober to drive home. Hell, I might just call The George home and never leave Norton St. Philip…