Posts by Splinter

    If I had a penny for every time an Argentine said to me:

    'If only the English had won.'

    'Yes but you're from a serious (sic) country.'

    'Que pais (Arg) de mierda!'

    'Why are you living here, then?'

    etc etc

    They send out the scouts first, the smaller ones. Then the big buggers turn up, then the even bigger ones with wings.

    This time it's war.

    Over the last few weeks we've had a rather unpleasant ant problem in the house.

    It started in the spare bedroom/office where small anthills were appearing (granules of earth in the room), so eventually I blocked off all their tiny holes, until they found others which I also blocked off.

    Then they went for the bathroom as an alternative plan, so I did the same, but I must have missed some bits. They like the gaps in skirting boards and door frames where they're not flush with the tiles.

    Yesterday morning, when I woke up, I headed for the bathroom and jumped back in alarm to find them swarming all over the walls and floor. Not a pleasant sight at 7 am, so I zapped them all with Raid and cleared them up (there were thousands of the buggers). I'll now have to seal the door frame where I could see them crawling out, hoping that they won't find another exit point.

    Makes your skin crawl actually.

    Don't look if it's too early for bugs!

    I loved that documentary GlasgowJohn

    A shame that Scotland had such a rough time and I remember watching their games at a friend's house in Portsmouth, with Archie Gemmill's goal being unforgettable. His determination was outstanding.

    We were all behind Scotland's Tartan Army at that time and on reflection the impact it had as a nation was remarkable and for many, life would never be the same again.

    On the other side of the coin, let's not forget how Videla and the rest of the military junta used the event for shameless propaganda, whilst murdering innocent people outside the stadiums.


    Archie is never allowed to forget that goal and yet it's amazing how much he had been passed over by one or two managers both at club and at national level.

    He also says that he was told he was too wee. Blimey, look at Messi and others.

    Now that we've finished Monzón - A Knockout Blow on Netflix - which was terrific by the way, I now know the possible origins of pipí cucú, the charming expletive for when something is excellent. A bit like impecable, for example.

    In 1974, Carlos Monzón went to Paris to receive a prize from Giscard d'Estaing (when he was mayor) for the best sportsman and his manager and others tried to get him to memorise merci beaucoup over and over again.But when the moment came to say thank you, all he could manage was pipí cucú!

    It's also said that the saying may have come from the US acronym PQ, meaning Perfect Quality (PPQQ), which sounds much more likely to be honest.

    Anyway, it has thankfully become part of the Argentine lexicon, thanks mainly to Monzón.

    Here's a hilarious video where Cherquis Bialo explains how it all came about in Paris that day.…popularizo-carlos-monzon/

    Just finished The King, a modern interpretation of parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV and Henry V, seemingly targeted at millennials.

    It's common knowledge that much of Shakespeare's Henry V is based on hearsay, yet his pre-battle speeches at Harfleur ('Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.') and Agincourt ('We band of brothers') have become the stuff of legend and remain the most stirring battle speeches of our time.

    The King portrays Henry (Hal) as a pacifist and reluctant leader, a fop to Catherine of Valois and I found Timothee Chalomet's (an American) performance as Hal to be too 21st century and not in the slightest bit convincing. In fact, he seemed reluctant to carry out any of the deeds that the real Henry V actually carried out.

    The battle scenes were very realistic and the cinematography was superb, but...

    This is yet another nod to the PC millennials, diluting and revising both Shakespeare and history into easily digestible snack bites for the sensitive.

    Here's Henry V's speech at Harfleur, as written by Shakespeare:

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

    Or close the wall up with our English dead.

    In peace there's nothing so becomes a man

    As modest stillness and humility:

    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

    Then imitate the action of the tiger;

    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

    Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;

    Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;

    Let pry through the portage of the head

    Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it

    As fearfully as doth a galled rock

    O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,

    Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.

    Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,

    Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit

    To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.

    Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!

    Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,

    Have in these parts from morn till even fought

    And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:

    Dishonour not your mothers; now attest

    That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.

    Be copy now to men of grosser blood,

    And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,

    Whose limbs were made in England, show us here

    The mettle of your pasture; let us swear

    That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;

    For there is none of you so mean and base,

    That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

    I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

    Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:

    Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

    Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

    Here's his speech at Agincourt:

    What’s he that wishes so?

    My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:

    If we are mark’d to die, we are enow

    To do our country loss; and if to live,

    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

    God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

    By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,

    Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;

    It yearns me not if men my garments wear;

    Such outward things dwell not in my desires:

    But if it be a sin to covet honour,

    I am the most offending soul alive.

    No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:

    God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour

    As one man more, methinks, would share from me

    For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

    Let him depart; his passport shall be made

    And crowns for convoy put into his purse:

    We would not die in that man’s company

    That fears his fellowship to die with us.

    This day is called the feast of Crispian:

    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

    Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,

    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

    He that shall live this day, and see old age,

    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

    And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’

    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.

    And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’

    Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,

    But he’ll remember with advantages

    What feats he did that day: then shall our names.

    Familiar in his mouth as household words

    Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,

    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,

    Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.

    This story shall the good man teach his son;

    And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,

    From this day to the ending of the world,

    But we in it shall be remember’d;

    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

    This day shall gentle his condition:

    And gentlemen in England now a-bed

    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

    The shorter, condensed version from The King:

    You expect of me a speech?

    I have only one to give.

    It is the same one I’d give were we not standing on the brim of a battlefield.

    It is the same one I’d give were we to meet in the street by chance.

    I have only ever hoped for one thing: to see this kingdom united under this English crown.

    All men are born to die. We know it. We carry it with us always. If your day be today, so be it. Mine will be tomorrow.

    Or mine today and yours tomorrow. It matters not.

    What matters is that you know in your hearts that today you are that kingdom united.

    You are England, each and every one of you. England is you. And it is the space between you.

    Fight not for yourselves. Fight for that space. Fill that space. Make it tissue. Make it mass. Make it impenetrable. Make it yours! Make it England! Make it England! Great men to it, captains, lords. Great men to it!

    Bolivia was becoming a cross between an African banana republic and a 70s style South American dictatorship, so the people (and the OES) saw that, called his bluff and he did the honourable thing.

    On November 7th, 1920, in strictest secrecy, four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine and the Somme.

    None of the soldiers who did the digging were told why.

    The bodies were taken by field ambulance to GHQ at St-Pol-Sur-Ter Noise. Once there, the bodies were draped with the union flag.

    Sentries were posted and Brigadier-General Wyatt and a Colonel Gell selected one body at random. The other three were reburied.

    A French Honour Guard was selected and stood by the coffin overnight of the chosen soldier overnight.

    On the morning of the 8th November, a specially designed coffin made of oak from the grounds of Hampton Court arrived and the Unknown Warrior was placed inside.

    On top was placed a crusaders sword and a shield on which was inscribed:

    "A British Warrior who fell in the GREAT WAR 1914-1918 for King and Country".

    On the 9th of November, the Unknown Warrior was taken by horse-drawn carriage through Guards of Honour and the sound of tolling bells and bugle calls to the quayside.

    There, he was saluted by Marechal Foche and loaded onto HMS Vernon bound for Dover. The coffin stood on the deck covered in wreaths, surrounded by the French Honour Guard.

    Upon arrival at Dover, the Unknown Warrior was met with a nineteen gun salute - something that was normally only reserved for Field Marshals.

    A special train had been arranged and he was then conveyed to Victoria Station, London.

    He remained there overnight, and, on the morning of the 11th of November, he was finally taken to Westminster Abbey.

    The idea of the unknown warrior was thought of by a Padre called David Railton who had served on the front line during the Great War the union flag he had used as an altar cloth whilst at the front, was the one that had been draped over the coffin.

    It was his intention that all of the relatives of the 517,773 combatants whose bodies had not been identified could believe that the Unknown Warrior could very well be their lost husband, father, brother or son...

    THIS is the reason we wear poppies.

    We do not glorify war.

    We remember - with humility - the great and the ultimate sacrifices that were made, not just in this war, but in every war and conflict where our service personnel have fought - to ensure the liberty and freedoms that we now take for granted.

    Every year, on the 11th of November, we remember the Unknown Warrior.

    At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

    Lest we forget.