Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Simplest Fact of All

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Chernobyl Diaries: OK but Disappointing

Went to see CD last night with Mrs H. To get the important matters settled, we took in our goodies. I refuse to pay £20 for a fizzy pop and a bucket o' popcorn.

I even won a cup of coffee (for Mrs H) in a £1 for charity lucky dip (coffee cost £2.49rrp) in the Coffee Emporium across the street. We were off to a good start!

Anyhow onto the film. Quite good. Not really scary (though Mrs H hid in her jumper a few times in a 70s Dr Who stylee saying "tell me what happens") and too short. It ended just when you hope it would get going, spin off into an X Files style govt cover-up plot or final big fight scene etc.

It wasn't boring like Transformers or Avengers Assemble, but was definitely missing something. Too formulaic in parts (stay in the van and turn the flipping lights off!) but moreover just not enough plot/back story etc.

Mrs H gave it 9/10 but she is easily pleased (she married me!) - I'm sticking to 6.5/10.

I wonder if a docu-film about the background to Chernobyl, Fukushima, Bhopal etc., cover ups and mistreatment of locals, and the UK government plans to bury tons and tons of nuclear waste in the Lake District, the tax-payers' bank-rolling of nuclear big business, and associated cover-ups and 'green-washing' of nuclear power for dubious ends might be more worrying/scary.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Warning to the Modern World

“Do not be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 17 June 2012

I Wonder if Hilaire Belloc Liked Viennese Whirls?

Just had a Viennese Whirl and a cup of tea in my Hilaire Belloc mug.

Does life get any better?

The blog is in danger of becoming a food fest.

Mrs H has retired to read a book. I think she has a deep loathing of football. And she's not even a rugby fan!

Happy Fathers Day to Old Pa Hurley (and Reflections on Sweets)

Coconut Rolls
You know it's Father's Day when you open your Liquorice Allsorts (other brands are available) and there is a preponderance of Coconut Rolls!

Mmmmm. My favourites.

Luckily Mrs H loves the sprogs (jelly-ish ones) which I do not really like, and the youngest Hurley loves the plain liquorice ones which are pretty hit and miss for me.

So there we are. Like Jack Spratt and his wife, the 'plate' (as it were) shall be licked clean.

Happy Father's Day to all Dads. Especially my dad, Old Pa Hurley who is officially the best dad in the world. I would probably swap a skip load of Coconut Rolls for him. Now that's filial love!

Greater love hath no man than to give up his Coconut Rolls for his dad.

Luckily for me Old Pa Hurley seemed perfectly sated with a big box of Bassett's Wine Gums (other brands are available).

I did try and find a pic of a skip filled with sweets... but no joy. Just how much use is the internet?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Reflections on Birthdays and Death

There's a famous text that goes "in the midst of life we are in death" or somesuch. Well it's certainly true.

This time of year is "birthday season" in our house when the little Hurleys have their special days clustered ('tis a conspiracy to skint me out). There's also a lot of revising and exam-sitting going on.

Mix in birthdays, exams, parties, school etc. and life is at its fullest. To a backdrop of the Jubilee, Euro 2012, Leveson, Olympics -- the whole world seems "busy."

With this in mind I found out an old friend had passed away unexpectedly tonight.

Just today I was rushing about town doing various banking, bill paying, etc. stopped off to get my hair cut and even picked up some supplies for Mrs H from the food emporium.

It's weird because you get so wrapped up in daily life, rushing about to get chores done, then when you hear a friend has passed away it does make you stop in your tracks and remember the fleeting nature of life.

Someone you can be speaking to one day can be dead just a few days later.

Very sad, but c'est la vie, in every sense.

Today I've gone from the excitement, balloons, streamers, cake and candles of a birthday tea to the memento mori of some very sad news.

Life is a roller coaster, I guess that's something Harry Redknapp is reflecting on tonight.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Hurleys: Common as Muck

A lovely family moment yesterday, one to cherish for generations. Mrs H and the littlest H were in London to see Shrek the Musical on stage in the West End. Oh yes: we Hurleys are posh and can mix it with the top knobs of the West End. Next step is surely an invite to a garden party at Buckingham Palace?

"For Services to the Blogging Community: Gareth Hurley, accompanied by Mrs H."

Oh yes. I can see it now. Top hat and tails. That's Mrs H sorted. I could go for a floral print. A bit of retro 50s Laura Ashley.

Or maybe not. Maybe yesterday's family moment has scuppered my dreams of cucumber sandwiches on the lawn (though I hasten to add my preference is for pork pies, victoria sponge and a builder's mug of tea).

So what was this event that's sent shock waves through the upper echelons of the British establishment - to shake BuckPal (to use the modern parlance) to its very foundations?

Well, left with instructions for the day by Mrs H (as usual when she's away) we found ourselves in one of the smaller supermarkets. I won't name them for fear of upsetting my sponsors (Ranjit's Corner Emporium) but suffice to say we Co-Operated to get there.

One of the items on my list was 'toilet rolls' and never one to shirk my responsibilities I decamped to the isle containing these daily necessariums. The remnant of the Hurley children followed.

On reaching the large range of 'paper essentials' I announced to the children that we needed to calculate the prices and quantities to work out the optimum product. Cue much moaning and rolling of eyes from those who are used to spending my money! How naughty.

So I scanned the shelves for the special offers and there was a sumptuous quality branded product - let's just say it was 'velvety' - at 9 rolls for £3. OK, I lodged that in the spending receptacle in my cranium.

I then turned to look at the cheaper options including the own-brand and the (pardon the intentional pun) bottom of the range items.

At which point, one of the Hurley boys spoke out, against my perceived "tightertudiness" or "skinflinterfication" (which is purely fictional of course) by announcing, for half the patrons of said establishment to hear:

"You don't want to buy that cheap rubbish, your finger will go through it."

Talk about 'painting a picture!' Bless him. From the mouth of babes (and teens) etc.

At that point I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and that the velvety brand was indeed the best bargain, grabbed the 9-pack and got to the till asap, in record time no less!

So there we go. Just as I envision grandeur and being part of the aristocracy, a Hurley child brings me crashing back to earth.

Oh well. Humility is good for the soul.

Perhaps I should seek an audience with the makers of the velvety option paper and sell them a new slogan, a distinctive style of marketing: "Try Our Velvet Tissue: It's Posh and Your Finger Won't Go Through It."

Could be a USP (Unique Selling Point) they haven't thought of!

We Hurleys are nothing if not forward thinking. Besides which, if a success and the velvety tissue goes viral, we might get a BuckPal invite 'For Services to Industry and Exports' as The Queen (as we all know) doesn't use the loo, she may not see the murky side of the advert campaign, just its multi-billion pound results.

Mission accomplished.

I await a call from the velvety brand makers.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Does God Believe in Atheists? Ed Miliband's Atheism

So Ed Miliband says he is an atheist. Hardly a revolutionary act in today's Britain where the governments "don't do God" (ref A. Campbell).

On a Radio 4 piece today he also said he turned to God (he's Jewish) before his dad died.

Seems he wants to have his cake and eat it. Whilst nothing is beyond God, even Catholics know that the Good Lord "giveth and taketh away" according to His own plan.

Besides which, as many priests have told me, God always insists we do all we humanly can. When doing His miracles Christ always insisted his helpers filled vessels, cast out nets, distribute food etc. He didn't have to have their help - but the lesson is there.

So if Comrade Ed wants to jettison the errors of his parents (they were Marxists too) and get to Confession he may have a better chance...

But we all of us, atheists or wise, should not try to second guess the Good Lord. But remember one thing: one day we shall answer for our actions and inactions. Even Richard Dawkins, no matter his protestations!

He may not recognise God; dread the day when God doesn't recognise him! Gnashing of teeth, etc.

Still he's got time left and everyone can get to Confession, even Prof H.

Anyway, it's raining again, the chickens are looking most bedraggled and it's time for tea! Yippee!

As Old Pa Hurley used to say (and still may for all I know): "I could eat a baby's dirty nappy with mustard on!"

Not that I'm a fan of mustard, but you get the idea.

Politics, religion and food: it really is an exciting day! I just need to mention Cardiff's change of strip (again) to shoehorn sports into the agenda - and hey presto! (reference for the atheists methinks) it's a perfect storm!



Tea was a homemade turkey, brie, bread and cranberry burger in a bun! With orange juice. It was remarkably tasty and satisfying. Yum.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Cardiff City to Change Strip to Red???

So Cardiff City go red - to get out of the red?

My hunch is that the fans will wear old strip or the new blue away kit.

The money men always seem to spoil football.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

How to Stop Nuisance Callers: Beware the Men in Black

I was walking Patch the Dog (PTD) this morning, as Mrs H who normally does the morning walking duties is away in Caernarfon accompanying our youngest at yet another Urdd National Eisteddfod! It's become almost an annual event that one of our offspring makes it through to the National Eisteddfod (and gets on TV!). And to think I couldn't even get a first prize in my school Eisteddfod!

Anyhoo, there I was walking back to Hurley Towers with PTD, gaily swinging my bag of dog pooh, when I spotted them! In their long dark coats, clutching their files and cases!

You are wondering who they are no doubt. Could it be a Bourne film - are they CIA or MI5 operatives looking to "take down" PTD and I?


Who were the MiB?
Might they be the fabled Men in Black? Would they ask me weird questions (about UFOs and the strange man across the road who seems unkempt, shuffles in his baggy-arsed jeans and is too large for his small car) before wiping my memory?


Might they be debt or rent-collectors, the Rackmans of the 21st Century out to  take my hard-earned money for some outstanding bill overlooked in the chaos of everyday life?


Might they be spies for some enemy agency? Perhaps scouts for Rugby League teams out to bribe me to start supporting strange Northern teams and betray my beloved Wales? Or agents from London Pride or some Burton-on-Trent based brewery out to offer me free beer in return for turning my back on Brains glorious brews?


Perhaps they were secret RSPCA agents out to confiscate my frogs from the pond or the chickens from our run?


Perhaps they were Anglicans out to canvas my support for women priests, pooftahs in the clergy, and to shake my belief in Transubstantiation and the Real Presence?


It was worse.

These were indeed enemy agents in our midst. They would send shivers of fear up the most hardened and resolute spines. As I passed them I saw the literature sticking out of pockets, fists and cases: these were Jehovah's Witnesses! On our Holy soil!

I was rehearsing my speech to them as I continued home and got PTD in. As Mrs H was away I could really let fly without fear of (another) clip around the ear for being just so outspoken.

I gave PTD his treat for (semi) behaving on our walk, and put the kettle on. I am nothing if not cultured. Oh, just in case I should say that I put the bag of dog pooh out the back in our special bin, then washed my hands. I don't want you thinking I act nonchalantly or in a lackadaisical manner when it comes to handling dog faeces! Perish the thought.

I made my tea. I even popped some bread in the toaster. I am nothing if not extravagant with my celebration of life: no dour Presbyterianism in Hurley Towers. No siree.

I waited. sipped tea. And waited. Munched toast. And waited. Gave PTD a crust. And waited... But knock there came none.

The lesson here is clear, for all men of goodwill and anyone who doesn't like CIA-Men in Black-Rackman lookalikes knocking on their door at all hours of the day. And I, in my status at Captain Charitable and Mr. Caring-Sharing 2012 am willing to divulge my secret to you all (fees are discretionary, if you wish to send me a fiver - no problem).


When you open the door to Jehovah's Witnesses do not:

  • Fling it shut
  • Say "sorry I'm busy"
  • Mumble something and close the door.
  • Say "no thank you" politely.

These are fatal errors. They will see you as a "challenge" and mark their little notebooks as such, and try and get you again when they next swing their infernal machinery of proselytising into town. Any of these replies/responses or similar will guarantee you another visit from those promoting error and annoyance.

This is what you have to do. I know because I did it and they have never knocked since:

You ask: When was your church started? They answer (19th Century or some such).
You ask: Do you believe in Jesus Christ? They answer (yes).

You then say: We are Roman Catholics. Our Church was founded by Jesus Christ who made St Peter the first Pope. You are promoting heresy and a false church founded by a conman. Plead forgiveness from God, convert and get to Confession. You are in danger of losing your souls by promoting heresy.

You do all this with a firm, almost stern look on your face so they know you are deadly serious and far from joking.

They will mark you in their book as a 'lost cause' perhaps, or maybe they will view you as dangerous and a possible means to lose some of those they send on their missions to subvert the goodly people of these lands. Either way, it seems they will not send another heretic to your door.

And who knows - when castigating them, your charity may reap some reward by planting the seed of Truth in their minds. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day.

And: you need never fear getting that knock on the door the next time you're in the bath, up a set of ladders, changing a baby's nappy, putting the finishing touches to a great work of art - or otherwise indisposed.

Here endeth the lesson.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

A Special Diamond Jubilee Event

Rumour has it that Old Pa Hurley is threatening to open his Diamond Jubilee wallet this weekend.

It's not red, white and blue nor adorned with crowns - it just hasn't been opened for 60 years!