No Cottage No Cry

Got back to the Englishman’s Castle (i.e. farm) last night after a four-hour journey from Cornwall in the pouring rain (see: Britishland Weather, Normal Autumn Edition). Of course, after leaving the cottage at 3pm and this being Britishland Autumn, only one hour was completed in daylight and the rest in Stygian black dampness. Fortunately, The Englishman is well versed in the Dark Arts of driving a Land Rover in such conditions which is a Good Thing because as any fule kno, Land Rovers have totally inadequate and shit windshield wipers which, at any speed over 20mph, simply wave about feebly over the glass without making much contact. Being a Stout Bulldog, however, The Englishman didn’t seem to notice, even when negotiating the terror known as traffic circles (“roundabouts”) along the A303, which runs from Cornwall all the way past Stonehenge, ending I-don’t-care-where.

Of course, after such a journey some sustenance was needed, but rather than go to the King’s Arms (which could only have ended badly), we settled for a curry and a couple beers at a fine Indian restaurant in Devizes.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. This is.

Had my landlord called me earlier to say that the next scheduled guests had canceled their stay and would I like to stay in Boscastle for the next few days, I would have sung the Hallelujah Chorus. Why? Well, I like singing the Hallelujah Chorus at the best of times, but mostly I would have sung it because my stay in the cottage, far from being the ordeal I thought it might be, turned out to be one of the best times of my life. This was not just because Boscastle is beautiful (it is) or because the locals are very friendly (they are) or because I liked being on my own (amazingly, I discovered that I do).

It was a great time because of the cottage itself. I’ve not given a proper description of the place before because I wanted to do the place justice after I left. So here goes.

It’s called “The Old Store House” because that’s what it used to be back in the 19th(?) century. It’s a really old building, and lies smack bang on the banks of the river, just before it empties into the harbor and estuary:

It has three bedrooms and can house five people (two double beds and a single, across three bedrooms), and has two bathrooms upstairs — excellent showers and a bathtub. But that doesn’t tell the full story. The place, inside, is absolutely gorgeous: stone and tile floors downstairs, and carpets upstairs. Here’s the kitchen and the living room:

…and the pictures don’t do them justice at all. (By the way, in the bookcase are an incredible selection of dime novels in hardback; Loyal Readers will know of my love for the genre, and suffice it to say that I read four during my stay.) Simply put: I could live there quite happily for the rest of my life — and I should point out that my good friends the Sorensons (who took me there and stayed a couple days) are of the same opinion.

Enough of that. To my Murkin Readers I say: if you’ve ever thought of visiting Britishland, you have to visit Cornwall, you have to visit Boscastle, and you have to stay at The Old Store House. To my Britishland Readers I say: book your stay for next year (here). But I should warn you all that The Englishman has already booked out fifteen weeks (nearly four months) of next year, so do not procrastinate.

And I’m told that almost all the people who’ve booked their stay are “returners”, which should give you an idea.

This is not a plug of gratitude to The Englishman on my part — although I am pathetically grateful to him for getting me in there at such short notice. This post is a service to my Readers, because I promise you, you will love the place, both the town and The Old Store House.

If you do manage to get in, email me and I’ll give you all the inside scoop: where and where not to eat, tips about local beauty spots, and where to shop. Now get going.


P.S. “Sharon’s Plaice” [sic] just up the road from the cottage has the best fish & chips I’ve ever eaten. The fish comes from that morning’s catch, and fresh potatoes are likewise dropped off daily from one of the local farms. Last Saturday night there were about fifteen people (I among them) standing in the chilly rain, patiently waiting for their orders to be filled.

It was the third time I’d been there in five days.

Oh, and the Spar Foodliner across the street sells Wadworth 6X.

Livin’ The Dream

So this guy inherited a bank, had no interest in running it, and sold it for three quarters of a billion dollars. Then he set out to do what any super-wealthy Formula 1 enthusiast would do: he built his own racetrack in his backyard where he can race his $5-million collection of sports cars whenever he feels like it.

And just to add to y’all’s jealousy, the 52-year old guy’s racing companion is his 23-year-old girlfriend, the wonderfully-named Clemence Lepeyre:

I know: he’s ugly, she’s young and gorgeous; he has lots of money, she has… well, you know.

Sounds like everyone’s happy except the Usual Suspects (in this case, the envious socialists because he dares to be rich and enjoys spending his money, and the envious harpies who whine about the couple’s age difference, like he’s going to settle for some old frump about his own age lol).

To all us guys, though, this man is a god. (What else would you do with $726 million and no charitable instincts?) All he needs to make this thing perfect is an air-conditioned 500-yard indoor range somewhere. (By the way, I love the track layout: it has something for everyone and every kind of sports car.)

As I’ve often said before: money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it sure as hell buys you a better class of unhappiness. Now all I need is to buy that winning PowerBall ticket so I can test that hypothesis for myself…

Foolishness

Under “Feminist Harpy” in the dictionary, you’ll find this picture:

Why? Because of this insane demand:

Mother demands her son’s school take Sleeping Beauty off the curriculum because the princess doesn’t give consent to be kissed and woken up by prince
Sarah Hall, from Northumberland Park, North Shields, claimed the fairytale promotes an ‘inappropriate sexual’ message to young children.
She argued the story is irresponsible because it teaches children it is acceptable to kiss women while they are asleep.
The mother of two said: ‘I think it’s a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent.
‘It’s about saying is this still relevant, is it appropriate?’
Ms Hall is worried about what message the tale, which features a Prince waking up a Princess by kissing her, sends to impressionable youngsters.

Neither Prince Charming nor Sleeping Beauty were available for comment — because they’re fucking fictional characters.

Fuck The Cloud

…and by that, I mean this entire notion that we can store our stuff remotely as opposed to locally on our own storage devices, and that we can blithely entrust our writings and thoughts to the whim of others like the monstrous entities known as Google, Twitter or Facebook.

All this came from reading this article, and I’ve tried so hard to ignore the reaction it caused in me; but nearly a week has passed, and I’m still enraged. Let me count the ways.

[E]ven your private documents can be censored online. This morning, a ton of users reported being locked out of completely innocuous Google Docs for “inappropriate content.”
Google’s abuse policy prohibits the posting of serious threats, needlessly graphic or violent content, hate speech, harassment, confidential information, pornography, and anything illegal including child exploitation and copyrighted content.
Today, however, multiple users believe that the content they were locked out of did not contain prohibited material. National Geographic reporter Rachael Bale, who was locked out of a draft of a story about wildlife crime, claims that nothing in her document violated Google’s policies.

Which is why I don’t store a single fucking thing at Google Docs or anywhere else in “The Cloud”, because on my storage device, I and I alone decide what is and isn’t “inappropriate content”, i.e. “serious threats, needlessly graphic or violent content, hate speech, harassment, confidential information, pornography, and anything illegal.”

Bloody hell; under those constraints, where would they put my comment that I’d like to tie Ted Kennedy to a chair and beat him to death with a lead pipe? (Uttered, by the way, while he was still alive and therefore not only “hate speech” — which it most certainly was — but it could even have been construed as a “death threat” — I fucking wish.)

What also gets me is the unctuously-correct statement by the author of this same article, to whit:

Nobody should be writing hate speech or death threats in their Google docs — or anywhere.

Fuck you, you simpering asswipe. I’d like to point out that one man’s “hate speech” is another man’s truth — which is why our First Amendment leaves out all judgments in its protection of that freedom — and my suggestion of this treatment of various politicians and/or technology executives could be construed as a “death threat” whereas it is, so far, just wishful thinking on my part.

Here’s my take on all of this. If I were a corporate executive and one of my subordinates even suggested using Goggle Dox, Twatter or Fuckfacebook [sp?] to store and/or communicate our company documents, I’d fire him on the spot — because I think it is the absolute height of corporate irresponsibility to delegate those capabilities to any outside entity, let alone to these techno-bastards.

All that said: I’m perfectly aware that the service these tools provide is in essence on their private property and that they’re therefore entitled to set their own terms and conditions of its use. But that’s not how they sell it, of course. They pose as public offerings: “Just post or keep your stuff with us: it’s secure, convenient, no-hassle and — best of all — it’s free!

Well, there’s really no such thing as “free”, is there? There are always terms and conditions — and more fool the people who buy into this crap.

Fuck The Cloud, and the cloud-givers.

And by the way, seeing as this post contains “hate speech” and potential “death threats”, I might as well go the Full Monty with this sketch by Agostino Caracci:

Art, or pornography? (And just so we’re all clear on the topic; according to legend, Bacchus [sic] is supposed to have raped Ariane. Doubleplusungood crimethink pornography.)