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Aug. 23rd, 2016

Dogfight [by the_gneech]

Chocks Away!

I received this utterly delightful piece of art from haikujaguar, as a surprise thank you for a small and fun favour I performed involving Borough Market and spending other people's money.

I especially love the way the helmet has been made to fit over husky ears:

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Aug. 22nd, 2016


Smol Dog

When one of Howard's colleagues asked him to dogsit in August, Howard did the right thing and informed me straight away. I ended up taking last week off so I could go down to Dorset and 'help'.

Jasper is a Jack Russell, or Jack Russellish (he's a rescue), somewhere between five and ten years old, and (mostly) exceptionally quiet and well-behaved. Of course we spoiled him rotten, showered him with attention, let him sleep on the bed and bought him a Union Jack bandana, so he will go home entirely too big for his boots.

The three of us had many adventures, including visiting callmemadam, disturbing a wasps' nest, and going to the beach at Weymouth, where I had a swim and Jasper dug a big hole.

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Jul. 29th, 2016

Naked Gun titties

Thought for the Day

If your bra can't double as military headgear for a couple of favourite plushies, you're doing it wrong.


("This would be the support unit, I take it?" - wardy)

Jul. 28th, 2016

Dogfight [by the_gneech]

The Red Baron

I went to a first night yesterday, such is my hip and happening London life.

OK, it was the first night of two, in a small, hot room at the RAF Museum in Hendon. But it was a world premiere!

Written and directed by Robert Gillespie, whose credits include appearances in practically every British sitcom of the 1970s, The Red Baron has a cast of just three - Manfred von Richthofen himself, his father, and a fictional prostitute named Coco - and takes place entirely in Coco's room near the Western Front.

The actor playing Manfred did an excellent job, portraying the pilot as a handsome, arrogant bastard who goes to pieces when faced with a woman. (He was also hot; I enjoyed watching him march around the stage in his uniform and got quite excited when the plot required him to take his trousers off, though of course he was wearing long early-20th-century underwear beneath.)

Papa was also excellent, looking spookily how Manfred might have looked if he had lived to be an old man and delivering his pro-war polemics with passion.

And Coco got all the best lines:

MANFRED: I'm sorry. The only other living being I feel comfortable touching is my dog.
COCO: Woof.

I went along prepared to cringe a little. Instead I laughed, in the right way, and cried a bit too.

There's another performance on Saturday, and I hope it will be staged elsewhere in the future.

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Jul. 19th, 2016

Orange Vespa Huskyteer

Cider and Scooters

Many thanks to porsupah for alerting me to Saturday's Cider Dog festival at the Miller, near London Bridge!

I went along with televassi and slightlyfoxed. We enjoyed a few decorous halves and some excellent writer chat, despite the efforts of the miniature digger which was eating the road a few metres from our table.

There were 75 ciders, so we were never going to make significant inroads. I enjoyed a ginger and chilli cider from The Orchard Pig, then tried a pineapple and grapefruit that was too sweet even for me. Regretted not trying: elderflower gin & tonic cider. (They did have a comprehensive range of sweet, medium, dry and perry; I, however, am easily seduced by novelty.)

On Sunday I rode down the A21, through some annoying roadworks, to the Route 1066 Diner ("Get your chips at Route 1066"), where the Honda NC700 forum was having a meetup. Put some names to faces, was bought a frothy coffee by my fellow-Integra owner Tex, and managed this lineup of three big scooters. Mine is on the left, facing entirely the wrong direction:

Three Integras
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Jul. 14th, 2016

Dogfight [by the_gneech]

Those Planes Were Fast As Lightnings

Farnborough International Airshow is this week, but I have already had my aviation thrills at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire.

I dragged Howard along for both days, meeting wardy and silverwindblade on Saturday and establishing a base camp from which to catch the action or mount expeditions to look at the static display and trade stands.

Here's how it feels to watch the display:

Belgian F-16 taking off

And here's what it's like wandering about:

Fighter lineup

The big attraction this year was the long-delayed F-35 Lightning. This is a supersonic, stealthy fighter that can hover, so it's not surprising it took Lockheed Martin longer than expected to sort it out. In the air and on the ground it looks thoroughly futuristic, alien and sinister, especially in company with the F-22 Raptor.


Howard is very keen on the Eurofighter Typhoon, and this year there were four to enjoy. The plane is manufactured by a European consortium and operated by the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, each of whom provided one.

This was a great year for F-16s, too, with Turkish, Greek, Belgian and Polish examples in eyecatching liveries. I think the Belgians had a slight edge in both performance and colour scheme, though I ended up buying a T-shirt from the Poles.

We were privileged to witness the last ever display of Ramex Delta's two Mirage 2000s, performing in such a tight, close formation that one plane appeared to be the other's shadow. A punchy performance from the Polish MiG-29 Fulcrum (the type is as old as I am, incidentally) was another standout.

Sunday's weather was more changeable, with some heavy showers that sent everyone dashing under the wing of the nearest tanker, or into the Royal Jordanian Air Force's tent for some Turkish delight. Towards the end of the afternoon the sky cleared, and the final few performers - the Gripen, the Italian Typhoon and the Italian Frecce Tricolori display team - really seemed to revel in it, powering vertically towards the sun. In 'Red Arrows fly with something unusual' news, we got two Typhoons and an F-35, together with the red Hawks representing the past, present and future of the RAF.

I don't think I heard the word 'Brexit' uttered once all weekend.

Past, present and future

Jul. 7th, 2016

Hope's Huskies - Bunty cover

I Prefer The Term 'Book Pimp'

"You are the go-to person for book recommendations. You have a talent for picking out exactly the right book for the right person and enjoy chatting with friends who love books as much as you do. You especially love battered old paperbacks that can be passed around and enjoyed by everyone."

Quiz here, via callmemadam.

Jul. 6th, 2016

Orange Vespa Huskyteer

Riding West

Saturday was another X9 Forum ride, this time the annual West Country Ride ably led by Paul.

I left work at 4pm on Friday and arrived at the hotel in Calne at 7:30, having taken 3 hours to do the first 100 miles of my journey and half an hour to do the much nicer final 30 (which included cresting a hill at Avebury to see a Hercules flying low and slow across the fields towards me).

I found the rest of the party about to head from bar to restaurant, and tagged on. Howard appeared soon afterwards, having travelled over from Dorchester, and we enjoyed a really tasty meal followed by a couple of drinks.

In the morning Steve led us to the start point, glamorously located in Morrisons car park, but the sight of Paul coming the other way on his Integra told us we'd gone wrong somewhere. After a scenic tour of the local roundabouts, during which I formed part of a splinter group that somehow ended up at the ride's finish point, we were all gathered together just in time for it to pour with rain.

Waterproofs donned, we set off into a mixture of sunny spells and heavy showers. Paul had arranged some lovely country roads, scenic views, and only one U-turn. It was lovely to wind our way through the hills with a white horse in chalk appearing and disappearing ahead, and to pass through villages waving at the tourists.

It stopped raining after lunch, but I played it safe and kept the waterproof trousers on until the tea stop. Lunch was in Frome and tea in Marlborough, both very pretty. (Tea included a meringue the size of my two fists; I had to take half of it home in a box.)

Although we are still the X9 Forum, very few of our members still ride X9s, and on this trip mine was just one of an unprecedented three Integras. Here they all are:

Three Integras

Jun. 27th, 2016



Have you been to the Globe? OMG you must go to the Globe. I don't care if you're several continents away.

My visit yesterday, to see A Midsummer Night's Dream from the £5 standing area, was my first, but we all came away plotting to go again as soon as possible. Everyone in our six-strong, three-generation party (ranging in age from seven upwards) was utterly enthralled.

Usually I like my Shakespeare very traditional (or what I fondly imagine is traditional; lots of velvet and facial hair, please). This version was a little bit modern and a little bit Bollywood: rude mechanicals recast as Globe staff led by Rita Quince and Health & Safety Officer Nick Bottom, and the quartet of lovers as Hoxton hipsters with Helena gender-swapped to an adorably camp Helenus.

It was totally fresh, and made me feel that Shakespeare was living and relevant in all those ways that English teachers unsuccessfully bang on about.

Jun. 20th, 2016

Monocle Husky

400 Rabbits

Many of you know I'm a big fan of my local pizza place, 400 Rabbits.

Not only do they serve tasty sourdough pizza, Gelupo ice cream and craft cider, but they introduced me to the four hundred drunken rabbit gods of Aztec mythology.

This in turn enabled me to write a story about what happens when Eighty-Six Rabbit begins to wonder whether getting hammered every night for all eternity is really the way to have fun...

'400 Rabbits' appears in Gods with Fur, available for preorder from FurPlanet.

My earnings will just about buy me a celebratory 400 Rabbits pizza.

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