Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Looking Back - Sir Alec Douglas-Home Steps Down

On this day in 1965, the leader of the Opposition, Alec Douglas-Home, surprised colleagues by resigning from his post. The former Conservative Prime Minister made the announcement at a news conference at Conservative Central Office, London.
Some Conservative MPs blamed press criticism for their leader's sudden departure after less than two years in office. Sir Alec said he made the decision after spending the weekend at one of his homes in Scotland.

Sir Alec implemented a new selection procedure after the discontent following his appointment by the retiring Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, in 1963. When interviewed, Sir Alec would not name his preferred choice to succeed him, saying he would serve the Conservative Party in any capacity required by the new leader.
Edward Heath went on to win the leadership contest, with the full backing of Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
Sir Alec served as shadow foreign secretary for Mr Heath until the Conservatives won the 1970 general election. Sir Alec left the Commons in October 1974 and was given a life peerage taking the title of Baron Home of the Hirsel. He remained a prominent figure in the House of Lords until his death in October 1995.


Is it just me! Or does Sir Alec Douglas-Home resemble the advertising character Alexander Meerkat? Take a look at the picture on the right. What do you think?

Cat Nap

Poem - Death In Leamington (John Betjeman)

This weeks Betjamen poem is called Death in Leamington, a simple tale of a well-to-do lady in Leamington Spa who has quietly passed away in her bed. She is discovered by her nurse whilst bringing her afternoon tea. The calm reaction of the nurse reminds us of the acceptance of the inevitabilty of death.

Death in Leamington

She died in the upstairs bedroom
By the light of the ev'ning star
That shone through the plate glass window
From over Leamington Spa.

Beside her the lonely crochet
Lay patiently and unstirred,
But the fingers that have worked it
Were dead as the spoken word.

And Nurse came in with the tea-things
Breast high 'mid the stands and chairs -
But Nurse was alone with her own little soul,
And the things were alone with theirs.

She bolted the big round window,
She let the blinds unroll,
She set a match to the mantle,
She covered the fire with coal.

And "Tea!" she said in a tiny voice
"Wake up! It's nearly five."
Oh! Chintzy, chintzy cheeriness,
Half dead and half alive.

Do you know that the stucco is peeling?
Do you know that the heart will stop?
From those yellow Italianate arches
Do you hear the plaster drop.

Nurse looked at the silent bedstead,
At the gray, decaying face,
As the calm of a Leamington ev'ning
Drifted into the place.

She moved the table of bottles
Away from the bed to the wall;
And tiptoeing gently over the stairs
Turned down the gas in the hall.

John Betjeman
From The Illustrated Poems of John Betjamen



Here is a tricky little riddle for you to solve. By studying the clues can you work out what is being spoken about?

I am very easily missed
And often overlooked
I come to some people
Others must search
Once you find me you must take advantage
For I may be gone before you know
The answer will appear in tomorrows Journal!

How To Give A Cat A Pill

01 Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

02 Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind the couch, Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

03 Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw away soggy pill.

04 Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for count of ten.

05 Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call partner from garden.

06 Kneel on floor with cat firmly wedged between knees, holding front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get partner to hold cat's head firmly in one hand whilst forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

07 Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

08 Wrap cat in large towel and get partner to lie on cat with its head just visible from partner's armpit. Put pill in drinking straw, force cat's mouth open with a pencil and blow down drinking straw.

09 Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band aid to partner's arm and remove blood from carpet with soda water.

10 Retrieve cat from neighbours shed. Get another pill, place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck and leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11 Get screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check dates for last tetanus shot. Throw away T-shirt and get a clean one from the bedroom.

12 Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while avoiding cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13 Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table. Find heavy duty gardening gloves from shed. Force cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour a litre of water down throat to wash pill down.

14 Get partner to drive you to emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15 Arrange for vet to make a house call.

Witty Bits

Christ is so cool. He's born, I get presents. He dies, I get Easter Eggs.
Never hit a man with glasses. Hit him with a baseball bat.
Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
Life is a sexually transmitted disease with 100% mortality rate.
What the hell do you mean, my birth certificate expired?