On the subject of tomorrow

Let’s put a name to one Stan Chamberlain 149 Sqdn lost over Germany 7/8 September 1941in Wellington X9705. 5 others lost with him. His only child, a son, was born after he died. Standing in front of 6 gravestones and especially holding the telegram received by Ellen is extraordinarily moving. Real real people. I wear a poppy not glorify but to remember. My FiL has lived with the loss his whole life.

We who grow old remember….

Not bad, not bad at all

When a doctor gave him a long and convoluted explanation as to why he was going to stop treating him for sepsis, the monk interrupted him: “You mean I’m dying?” The doctor nodded. Sangharakshita looked thoughtfully at the pile of audiobooks that had just been stacked by his bed. He smiled and said: “You had better put those back.”

A different one. Heard from someone who was there. Actually, who was a flight controller there. However, this could just be a good story, really don’t know.

Plane coming in to land on carrier. Obvious that it’s not going to make it, it’ll splash and badly. Last words of pilot “Cancel two late lunches.”


With quiet stoicism, Taverner completed 41 missions over two tours as a navigator flying in Halifax bombers with No 51 Squadron. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The odds on aircrew surviving a single tour of 30 missions were about 1 in 6. The odds on surviving a second tour were even worse.

5/6 ths of Bomber Command aircrew died over a 30 mission tour?

5/6ths of crews lost at least one member of crew over a 30 mission tour?

Or they’ve got the odds the wrong way around – 1/6th died?

Doesn’t quite work

A raconteur with a pro- nounced sense of humour and a taste for the fine things in life, Jago was a repository of stories related to the alcohol industry. His first big success was to reinvigorate the almost forgotten Croft Pale Cream Sherry. He recalled walking into the sample room at Vila Nova de Gaia in Porto at 10am one day in 1963 to find George Robertson, the chairman of Croft, sampling an old tawny and smoking a large Havana. “I was priggishly shocked,” he recalled, then “George said: ‘Everyone smokes a cigar when they drink port.’ ”

Sure, it’s two stories got mixed. But tawny, Porto, that’s port, not sherry.

Still at least the Times has Tom Jago, correctly, inventing Bailey’s not the oft attributed Tony O’Reilly. Which is one of those stories where anecdotes and quotes migrate to a more famous past person – there’s an awful lot that Twain or Churchill didn’t say but others did.

Nice story

Of Peter Stringfellow:

Even as he came to rely on hearing aids and cosmetic surgery to hold the advancing years at bay, he continued to date girls less than half his age. When he was in his sixties one of his girlfriends asked him to send flowers to her mother on her 40th birthday.

Fun for Bathonians

Sir Roger Bannister
Gentlemanly athlete and physician who was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes, but was prouder of his achievements in neurology
The family moved to Bath, Somerset, when the war broke out. His daily walk to the City of Bath Boys’ School ended with a sprint up 150ft of steps, and he soon broke the school’s cross-country record.

City Boys’ is now Beechen Cliff. So those steps are those leading up from the station/Widcombe to Alexandria Park. Yep, they’ll get the lungs and legs working. I’ve walked them.


Gone ’round the other way ever since.

Good planning, not perfect, but good

The art of the lifetime savings hypothesis is that you should die around and about when you run out of money. Or, obviously, run out of money around and about when you die:

All Creatures Great and Small star Robert Hardy had only £165,000 in his will.

Good planning there.

A mixture of lifetime gifts to the children, a solid pension or annuity which dies with you, some cash of course for uncertainty. But we pass this way but once, enjoy it while we can but really do try not to run out.

Of course, that lifetime savings hypothesis, along with income smoothing over time, must be wrong for it is neoliberalism associated with Milton Friedman. It’s just remarkable, for something so obviously wrong, how often it works out that way.

Reports of my demise are sadly premature

A former Big Brother contestant has been left furious after the Channel 5 show announced her death and paid tribute.

A message posted on the Twitter account read: “So sad to hear that Rebekah Shelton, who appeared in #BBUK 2009 as Rodrigo Lopes, has passed away aged just 32. Our thoughts are with her friends and family, from everyone here at Big Brother UK.”

Dozens of news reports emerged on Friday morning that Rebekah Shelton had died “unexpectedly”.

Devastated fans remembered her as one of the “most loveable housemates” as they mourned her “death.”

However, it turns out the reports were false, and Ms Shelton posted a furious video on Twitter.

She said: “I’m not dead!!!!!! Please stop spreading this news!!!!! My lawyer is already working on this and this person who wants to spoil my happiness is going to pay for it!!!”.

Can’t recall who made the first comment…..

There’s a great truth here

Asked in later life if she was aware of the mesmerising power of her beauty as a 19-year-old, Keeler answered: “I don’t think young girls know they’re beautiful. Although I must admit there wasn’t much I couldn’t get or do if I wanted to then. I was a shy girl. I had rosy cheeks. I hated them. I blushed easily.”

Female beauty certainly eases the path through life. And it comes as something of a shock to many who were that this effect fades.

It explains a certain amount of the modern world that this is so…..

I loved these columns

However, it was the content of the column that may perhaps never be equalled. Each week, using the pen name of Daedalus, he wrote about an ingenious invention that was on the edge of plausibility, but was entertainingly fictional. It was not so much science fiction as technology fiction. As he put it: “Daedalus is ideally just beyond the edge of possibility, but only just. I can’t overtly break the laws of physics, and my arguments are always carefully buttressed by scientific facts . . . nonetheless, one should have the feeling that the argument has gone off the rails somewhere.”

The ones that struck were where some new discovery was slightly perverted into the foundation of a business. That just didn’t, really, make sense but did superficially.

Something of a pity that this appears to be where the professor of practice has got his economics from.

Oh, very clever

An alternative epitaph might have been delivered by Max the macaw. Blazer’s wife had taken the bird after their divorce and returned it to him a year later having taught it some choice phrases. Henceforth, as Blazer took business meetings at Trump Tower, the macaw would squawk: “You’re a dope.”

Pretty sure this isn’t quite right

Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt died with an estate in the UK worth just a few hundred thousand pounds.
The 68-year-old rocker’s estate is valued at a little over half a million pounds, but after debts and costs amounts to £230,753, according to his will.

Estates of artists (yes, I know, but, he was an artist) are a bit more complicated. His performance royalties (ie, recording) will continue to come in for some time. Songwriting for another 70 years. I don’t think “Whatever You Want” is going to survive quite in the same manner that, say, Nessun Dorma has but I’d still expect it to get another couple of decades play on the radio. And such royalties do add up. One play on a BBC station would gross Parfitt’s estate perhaps £30 (Andy Brown getting another such and that number’s a bit of a guess from memory) before whatever deal there is with the music publisher.

He didn’t write that many songs, true, but just that one alone would, I would think at least, provide a useful income. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there’s a thousand plays a year on UK radio, all paying needle time to the writers.

We have a number of tax specialists around here. How are such future earnings from an estate valued for probate purposes?

Well, not so much really

From the Times obituary of Captain Crawford:

Under Crawford, Unseen launched 18 torpedo attacks, yielding 15 hits and 11 successes. She also survived 199 depth charges — no wonder the consumption of rum over 257 days at sea during 11 combat patrols was seven gallons, seven pints and six tots per man.

Well, not so much really. Standard rum issue was one eighth of a pint per man per day. So the rum issue there was in fact two issues a day, thereabouts, allowing for the occasional Temperance declared.

Not low, no, but by the standards of the time (there was no other booze on a submarine of course) not all that high either.