Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tax and spend…

Last year, the Inland Revenue sent me a simplified tax form, just a folded A3 sheet, rather than the full self-assessment deal. And when I sent that in and they owed me some money, they said this year that they wouldn't send a tax return.

Actually they did — but this time it's just one piece of A4 with the non-PAYE boxes that I fill in (Gift Aid, pension, investments, that sort of thing). In other words all the bits that require hunting through the various account statements that a full tax return takes, just less paper.

At least I don't have to wait for my P11D this time.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Went over the 7000 mile mark at the spot where I wrote off the previous car, on the way home from work.

Not so surprising…

Your Inner European is Dutch!

Open minded and tolerant.
You're up for just about anything.

Who's Your Inner European?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Nature Notes

There was a swan nesting on the backs, in the ditch on the other side of the river from Kings' when I was walking past on the way to the cinema.

Film — The Edukators

A piece of modern-day German social commentary, angsting about what became of the spirit of '68, mixed with a generous dose of Jules et Jim.

The film follows a German equivalent of the Merry Pranksters, who end up inadvertently having to abduct one of their victims, now a rich executive, previously a 60's revolutionary. One of his lines raised the a general ripple of laughter from the mainly middle aged and older audience, especially given the current state of politics "One day you go into the polling booth, and find yourself voting conservative."

Not deep, but interesting none the less.

Friday, April 15, 2005

An unexpected result

This test looks like puts as much weight on minor things like fox-hunting as it does on significant economic issues. Alas, the socially liberal parties are the economically illiterate, and vice-versa.

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:
Labour -32
Conservative -2
Liberal Democrat 31
UK Independence Party 35
Green 51

You should vote: Green

The Green Party, which is of course strong on environmental issues, takes a strong position on welfare issues, but was firmly against the war in Iraq. Other key concerns are cannabis, where the party takes a liberal line, and fox-hunting, which unsurprisingly the Greens are firmly against.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Times change

The old (15+ years) garden table (softwood picnic table with fold-up seats) finally succumbed to rot over the winter, as we discovered today when trying to sit on one of the benches. And fashions have changed so much that at the garden centre, there is nothing but posh tables with separate chairs.

Friday, April 08, 2005

What a week

Well, we've seen the triumph of Popery, in that the heir to the throne re-arranged his affairs on account of the Bishop of Rome. Though this seems to have passed some people by — at morning cakes today one of my colleagues wandered towards the table with the papers on saying “What's happening in the world today…” What with the funeral for a Pope and UK manufacturing one gets 1970's acid flashbacks…

And then the election. We have the National Socialist British Workers' Party … I'm sorry, that should read New Labour (who are presiding over the victory of the fundamentalist terrorists and of Popery); the Tories (a bunch of bandits like the name originally meant) trying to flank them on the right, and getting squeezed by UKIP (the Daily Mail party). And then we have the nice-guys in the LibDems, who are socially liberal, and would be OK if they let the Orange Book crowd take charge so they were economically liberal too, and not economically illiterate and supine in the face of Franco-German dirigisme.

I guess in four weeks time, I will have held my nose and voted LibDem — though it means nothing as the constituency is, to first approximation, 25% Lab, 25% Lib and 50% Andrew Lansley. (Actual figures 24%/27%/44%.)

[Now playing - Planet Rock]

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Film — Downfall

The story of Hitler's secretary, and the Nazi High Command, late April, 1945; filmed in German, by Germans.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

Who is mad and who is sane in that world turned upside-down?

Not a walk in the park. One of the most harrowing movies I've sat through.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Garden goes mad

Spent much of the day gardening. The Forsythia burst into bloom when I wasn't watching; and now buds are starting to burst on cherry and plum. Though I cut it on Friday, the grass looks like it needs another go. The weeds have grown like it was May.

At least the evenings are long, now.

The other sign of spring - dawn chorus, all week. And I have to stop waking at dawn.