Tag Archives: Amusement

Happiness is…..

….a full bookshelf. The Sticker household is nine books richer this afternoon. Eight hard and one paperback. Awesome Books delivered a series of secondhand and brand new volumes for me, while Amazon deposited two heavyweight historical tomes upon our doorstep. After over eight years, my once almost complete Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams Hardback book collection is gradually being rebuilt.

This promises to be a curl up in a corner and read weekend. With real books made of real paper. With real alcohol in real glasses, and possibly a side trip to see some real furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. And a few real guffaws. Which will be very good for my nervous and cardiovascular systems.

First dickhead to say ‘but eBooks are better’ in the comments will be mocked unmercifully. Religious nutters and political cold callers, between whom there is no neurological difference if you believe what Stefan Molyneux has to say, (see video below) will be left to bake on our doorstep.

I’m almost inclined to put a clear plastic cover over the doorbell with an ‘Emergency use only’ sticker on it. Wonder if Canadian Tire do such an item?

All I know is that we’re going to need considerably bigger bookshelves……
New BooksThe Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, Maskerade, Jingo, Interesting Times and the Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.

Old jokes, a disambiguation

Following a little transnational cultural mistranslation in the comments of yesterdays post, I would like to offer a little clarification. Here at the Bill Sticker Institute for the preservation of old jokes, japes and facetiousness, our single becobwebbed researcher has been moved to lift his weary Jesters cap off the pages of the ‘Bumper Compendium of Auncient Fooleries‘ by Geoffrey Chaucer (1st edition). A venerable vellum tome which we alone own the copyright to, and have the last extant copy of. So there. It’s even got the one about the ‘Last goose in the shambles’. For any connoisseur of English humour, this should be a clue to it’s comprehensiveness.

One of our helpful customer service IgorsHowever, the jest in question is more recent than that, I merely mentioned that we have a copy of such a rare volume to demonstrate how seriously old jokes are taken around here. Notwithstanding, our researcher has been despatched, capering into our catacomb like archives with a jingle, a hey nonny-nonny and a blow ’bout the cheeks with his inflated pigs bladder (Which we hope is not a permanent condition). Not to find anything out, we just want him out of the way so our trusty crew of Igors can do the real work.

What they have come back with are the references to late Victorian music hall routines, where a comic actor or actress would make the statement “And my case comes up next Tuesday.” as a throwaway punchline. The focus for this line is a mockery of the various obscenity laws then being enacted, where any heretofore innocent act would reputedly result in the perpetrator being arrested and subject to trial in the various Police or Magistrates courts. Having one’s ‘Case come up’ means that one had been summonsed to appear before the magistrates on some unspecified charge of obscene conduct. The date of the appearance to be set by the teller of the joke. To wit; “My case comes up on Tuesday” is a statement that one has been accused, and a court appearance has been set for the following Tuesday. The ‘Tuesday’ is a random variable, and has no effect on the jests efficaciousness.

Therefore; “Embrace your inner Englishman.” Made as an exhortation to behave in a given fashion, would be met by;
“I did, and my case comes up on Tuesday.” To imply that embracing one’s inner Englishman, presumably in public, was a public decency offence and having a degree of obscenity sufficient for the forces of law and order to become involved. The subtext being that the exhorted would not be complying with the requested standard of behaviour.

This particular joke has largely fallen into disuse since the 1960’s and 70’s, when its last recorded use on UK nationwide Television was on the Morcambe and Wise show. Other notable users of this specific joke are Tony Hancock and the entire ‘Carry on‘ team. Researchers have also recounted how it was also a favourite of Benny Hill.

There are those of course, who will become outraged and scream like demented toddlers that such a statement is ‘anti (Insert cause here)’ because the use of said phrase implies that their chosen cause is an offence against public mores and morals, which in retrospect is probable. But these are people who take themselves and their opinions far too seriously. Therefore we should be cautious, and approach such topics only when heavily armed. Just in case.

For those of you who don’t give a fig for trendy causes, we are pleased to announce that our playlist of young ladies getting their kit off in an artistic fashion is an ongoing project, with videos being added at least once every day or two. We are happy to add that most are definitely not safe for work.

We hope the aforementioned has been of assistance.

As an appendix we would like to introduce, at least to lovers of satirical Country music; Miss Shirley Gnome.

Road trip, day five

On our way again, this time on the northbound leg of our little roadtrip around the northwastern US of A. Highway 101 all the way up to the fleshpots north of Astoria for a meal out and overnight stay before moving on to Tacoma for a couple of evenings, thence back to BC via the Coho ferry.

Restricted viewingIn the previous post, I made mention that the coastline of Southern Oregon is ‘pay-per-view’. As far as accessing most of the beaches is concerned, this is true, as in order to stop, no matter how briefly, in one of the National Parks that line this side of the USA, you need to have purchased a pass. We hadn’t, and seeing as there was no ticket booth at the places we entered, we simply did a 180 and went off in search of ‘beach access’, which we eventually found. Unfortunately the north wind was blowing, whipping the dry sand up into miniature sandscapes up and down the kilometres of beach. This particular stretch of beach looked to be suffering the curse of septic tank runoff from a nearby resort and a sizeable stretch of holiday homes. Which rather took the shine off things. It was either that or hire a dune buggy or ATV, which Mrs S would not be allowed to ride because of her recent injury. So we moved on.

Further north on the 101, there are more places to park to enjoy the huge expanses of yellow sand, the coastal highway squiggling more closely to the shoreline along mile after mile of almost deserted beach. Being a European trained driver, I was happily throwing our little SUV through tight corners which would not disgrace an English country A-road and wondering why there was no-one in my rear view mirror, even though I hadn’t been speeding (Honestly officer – I was being ever so good). Between Florence and Cannon Beach, Oregon (Well worth a stopover. Incredible beach. Try the Warren Inn for lunch) it’s a joy. Especially on such a sunny day as today. Great driving, good food, and the Universe totally failing to go ‘Foom’. The more northerly beaches are also great for kite flying, sunbathing or surfing. Although the wind needs to shift into the West to produce the best Pacific Breakers.

One of the things I’ve also noticed in passing have been visiting political campaigners. No doubt organising support for next years Presidential Elections. No Republicans as yet, but the the ‘Obama Mama’s’ (I think that’s who they are) whose vehicles are graced with a metallic ‘O’ inside the rear window, and a ‘Clintonite’ sporting a Hilary Clinton bumper sticker have been in evidence. No doubt infiltrating local meetings with their forced letterbox smiles and promises. (Never trust someone who smiles ingratiatingly all the time – they’re up to something.) Their vehicles all being late model and fairly new looking. They’re also mostly black, the vehicles that is. Something I found a trifle sinister. Considering the mess the golf pro currently ensconced in the White House has made of things, the thought of another Democrat in the form of a Clinton in the hot seat must make the blood of many Americans (and anyone else on the planet – apart from the more rabid mullahs) run icy cold. I mean, come on; even Sarah Palin would be a better choice for the first woman president of the USA. That’s not an edifying prospect either.

Never mind; as regards meals out, Mrs S and I had a minor culinary epiphany last night. We dined at a very nice seafood place where the fish was not encased in batter or smothered in cheese sauce. Instead of dessert, I voiced the desire for a Martini to round off what was a very pleasant repast. Mrs S concurred and we ordered two fairly dry fancy Martinis off the menu instead of the usual ‘death by chocolate’ so full of caloric energy it could power a Saturn 5 booster into orbit. Which turned out to be a good move. We walked back to our hotel with a lightness of step and sense of mild euphoria, rather than simply feeling weighed down and a little over indulged. Thus we have decided, in future, instead of dessert we’ll have Martinis instead. We’ll also forget wine with out meal, as that would rather be gilding the lily. Which has the dual effect of lowering the bill whilst at the same time making us look like a pair of visiting sophisticates (Snarf). Who knows? Perhaps we’ll start a trend.

On the topic of what to eat here in the Northwestern USA. Coastal eateries do what they call ‘Steamer Clams’ which I think are nicer than Moules Mariniere, which I’m also quite partial to. Try them. If you’re not professionally allergic to seafood, they are a treat. The best places manage to clean these delicacies so thoroughly that there is no detectable sand in them, which can put a crimp in your seafood dining experience.

Last item today; if you do one thing in your life. If you cannot gallop horses through the surf on a deserted Irish beach or run naked along a seemingly endless West Highland strand, screaming your ecstasy for the sheer exhilaration of being alive, hire an SUV and take a drive up and down Long Beach, Washington, USA. As Mrs S and I did this evening before sundown. Just look up how long it is. Go on. Do not under any circumstances take my word or anyone else’s for this. Twenty eight smegging miles. Okay, the beach speed limit is twenty five miles per hour (A beach with a speed limit, my life already), and bits of it are off limits during the Summer months but frankly I don’t care. You can drive further along Padre Island, Texas (One hundred and thirty miles) but it’s going to take a full construction crew with earth movers to eradicate the grin currently planted upon my face.

What can I say, I’m easily pleased.

Road trip, day four, hiatus

Back at the Pacific coast for a forty eight hour pause in the relentless round of road running. Although I will say this; Route 126 from Eugene, Oregon, out to the coast is a delight to drive. The bends are cambered, which in my book adds to the driving experience. I’ve mentally bookmarked it for a motorcycle ride sometime in the next twelve to eighteen months. It’s that good. Over fifty kilometres of lovely swooping right and left handers reminiscent of some great stretches of UK tarmac from my Halcyon riding days. Only there’s way more of it with nicer scenery and less traffic. Oh yes, and it’s currently being freshly resurfaced. Go for a run if you’re in the district in late August, early September.

The only downside of the Pacific coast, at least from what we’ve found in Oregon, is finding that a great deal of it is Pay-per-view. It is also very windy at the moment. Very sunny, but the breeze is stiff enough to thicken gravy. Then there are the jellyfish. Thousands of the little buggers, so barefoot isn’t a very intelligent choice in footwear at the waters edge. Miles and miles of sand though. All the way from California and northbound to Washington. Which the wind blows into metre deep drifts all over the beach. Some of the more mature dunes are as high as a block of condos and a bright yellowy white.

On an even nicer note, Mrs S treated me to a brand new Skagen Titanium wristwatch yesterday, which I wasn’t expecting. She said it was an apology for all the extra aggro I’ve been putting up with over the past few weeks since she broke her arm. Well, I have been more of a body servant, chauffeur, scribe and general factotum than usual. But it is nice to have the extra effort recognised. I like Titanium watches, the metal is light, matches your body temperature so much that you hardly know you’re wearing one. On the other hand it may have been because I was less than my usual decisive self and she wanted me to simply get a move on. She could have said “Bill.” In her meaning voice which would have done just as well.

Anyway. We have beer and Jameson’s in the hotel fridge. Some has even found its way down my willing throat, me havin such a terrible thirst, begorrah, said he, indulging his inner Irishman. I’ve also been introduced to the delights of Double Stuf heads and tails Oreos. Oh, the calories, the calories!

We’re both having a thoroughly splendid time. Hope you are too.

Routine shizzle

Not much happening chez Maison Sticker apart from hanging around for Mrs S’s appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. She needs to talk to one to get a proper referral for rehab. Because she broke her arm out of country, she needs to follow procedure to get into the BC system. Which means a BC Orthopod has to give her busted wing the once over before she can get any physio. No matter our health insurance is paid up to date, and we’ve got cover coming out of her ears, the niceties must be observed. It’s a pain, but it’s slack season as far as work is concerned, so it’s not like we’re having to juggle two dozen other items at the same time. Just a case of hurry up and wait. So long as we can make our conference next week, we can easily shift arrangements. There’s also a little road trip dahn sarf to see how the folks across the border are faring and take a pootle along the Oregon and Washington scenic coastlines.

As for the Greek business, our investments aren’t going to be hit as we’ve no real exposure in the affected markets. The whole schemozzle, at least from this side of the pond and the FT’s pages, looks like it’s devolved into some kind of bizarre economic winking contest. No-one is actually dumb enough to take the last support from under their respective houses of cards, but it does look like the financial penny is dropping regarding the Euro. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ top down financial philosophy is showing a pair of Achilles heels which anyone with any real financial acumen could see a mile off. Real life economies are subject to the financial whims of populaces, politicians, banks and corporations, which tend, at least in Europe, to be a bit more locally focussed. The financial systems of the USA evolved from a roughly common culture with the same basic language. Europe can’t be like the USA, no matter how much the federalists would like it to be, because Europe doesn’t have the basis of that roughly common culture. It’s too, well, Balkan if you catch my drift. Not literally, but kind of. While the Common Market wasn’t a bad idea as far as promoting free trade was concerned, trying to shoehorn all the splendid diversities of mainland Europe into a centrally governed Federal republic was always a step too far. Various empire builders have had a go by assimilation and even military invasion, but in the end the locals always end up having their say.

And the centralisers wanted to bring Turkey and the Ukraine into their hegemony? Oh dearie me. Soo not a good idea.

What else? Various mini sagas over property etcetera grumble on. As far as that’s concerned I’m just biding my time. New neighbours downstairs. Some sociable, others not so much. Landlady is looking after a yappy little Yorkshire Terrier with a habit of shitting on doorsteps. Which can make walking through the back yard a very eyes down affair. Its owners will return next week, so by the time we come back from our conference and road trip, the little bastard will be gone. You can’t even make friends with the territorial little sod, it just runs away and yaps at you, as it it were his territory alone. Then when you turn away, tries to sneak after your ankles.

In my more evil moments, most of them between waking up and going to bed, I’m minded to remember a small rural adventure from my younger days regarding stupid dogs that have no off switch; a mate was shagging his girlfriend. Both of them a little shy of their sixteenth birthday, but this was in the 70’s and everyone involved but me is no longer around. No injury, no foul – right Officer? In the way of hormonally charged youth everywhere, he begged me as his best friend to keep his intrusive twelve year old brother out of the way. In my youthful lack of judgement I agreed, providing we could go rough shooting the following day with his Dads then-legal pump action shotgun. The lovers arranged their horizontal jogging, I baby sat younger brother downstairs and out of the lovers tryst. His and her lust was satisfied and all was well. Up until we were exiting the house. As we did, next doors Jack Russell broached the fence and began having a go at my friends ankles as we made our way out of said girlfriends back garden gate (That is not a euphemism BTW). I still have to work hard not to collapse in fits of giggles as I recall the rapidly dopplering ‘Yap-yap-yap-yap-yeellpppp!’ as my friend perfectly drop kicked the noisy little tyke back over the garden fence to where it belonged.

The temptation to do likewise to Landladies friends’ Yorkie is sometimes quite hard to resist.

Cast off

Pirate breath fresh advert bArrh me hearties! We be a-putting back to sea to flog the oggin once again. Back to work ye swabs and fetch me a fresh roast cabin boy!

No, no, no, no, wrong! Not that type of casting off. Nor are we cannibalising the crew of the good ship Bill Sticker (or even doing other unspeakable things to them – even if the little scamps thoroughly deserve it). Yet. Although if the mutinous mutterings I’ve been hearing from the mob below decks continue, there may be floggings. If we’re lucky I’ll get a Groat for each of the devils rejects. Honestly, they’re so low they need a telescope to look up to the scum of the Earth.

No. The sun is above the yardarm, celebrations are afoot, and the Hummingbirds are visiting. I am enjoying a large Vodka and Tonic, and so is Mrs S, who has finally had the cast removed from her arm. Nice job by the French Orthopaedic surgeon BTW. Another month or two and you’ll hardly know there was a scar there. Very neat.

Mrs S has been in the shower, singing happily as she gets properly clean, and my heart is so light you’d think ’twere filled with Helium.

The outside world can do what it pleases.

Hands up the mittens Mister Bosun, full speed ahead and damn your tomatoes!

Really bad junk science

Apart from the ‘science’ of Carbon Dioxide caused ‘Man made Climate Change’, there is one area where really bad junky science is trumpeted as ‘TRUTH’, oh-yes-it-is and you’re a filthy ‘denier’ for even doubting it (Or so say those who’ve got lumbered with too many ‘carbon credits’ in their investment portfolios), and that’s in the diet ‘industry’.

Todays little epistle comes from a Skype conversation with Youngest, when she told Mrs S and I that she and her friend had gone to get their ‘Fat indexes’ checked.

Well isn’t that responsible of them? Two young women in their early 20’s keeping an eye on their health, taking responsibility for their dietary choices and keeping well. Both are fitness fanatics who use the gym at least 3 times a week, Youngest runs half Marathons every month or so, runs almost every day. I might also point out that Youngest and friend both have bikini fit bodies with hardly an ounce of additional flesh visible. Having had them as house guests, and been their house guest at various times over the past four years I can personally attest to this, as they were prone to wander mildly hungover through kitchens (My traditional habitat) in their underwear first thing in the morning, and swimsuits later in the day when they’d had an afternoon dip at our old place. Which can do strange (but very pleasant) things to an older mans mind. Subsequent decorous hugs of greeting have confirmed their lack of unwanted body fat. And? I still have a pulse you know.

However, what made me sit up in amazement was Youngest’s announcement that both of them were found to be borderline ‘obese’ with a body fat index of 30. “Seriously?” I guffawed. Ten pounds each lighter and these two girls would be borderline malnourished. Whoever administered the test, I opined, should have gone to SpecSavers. No, I was told; the test was done twice and still arrived at the same result. I asked if the test equipment was faulty. No, I was told, the gyms equipment had been checked the week before. Then perchance had the tester possessed no more than a room temperature IQ with only the haziest notion of how to administer said test? Again, a somewhat indignant ‘no’ came my way. At this point the subject was changed.

Then again this should come as no surprise, having seen the maladministration of ‘dietary science’ on more than one occasion. Examples include those unfortunate people now regularly dosed with Statins, suffering side effects like muscle aches, memory loss and even an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, then finding out that dietary cholesterol does not necessarily equal blood cholesterol (Don’t take my word for all this – look it up yourself). High fibre diets resulting in bowel obstruction / overload, fever and excruciating pain. (I’ve had this happen to me – it’s not very nice.) Nurses giving out enemas and other bowel flushing treatments to patients, even when said treatments are ‘contra-indicated’, for relatively mild constipation. For example, purgatives or enemas should under no circumstances be administered to patients with any type of heart failure or a range of other life threatening conditions. Yet they are. There are no statistics on this, but anecdotal evidence still filters out. Which proves the axiom; Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it don’t happen.

The whole ‘dietary fat is bad for you’ meme has been found not to be as set in stone as once believed. As for the figures re alcohol and vegetables plucked from thin air – see the ‘Five a day’ and ‘no more than 21 units of alcohol a week’ campaigns. Both of which fail to take into account the variability of the human body. For an amusing take on that subject; Richard Hammond, latterly of Top Gear fame has done a series of videos on in this instance, the ‘Drink two litres of water a day’ and ‘Tap water not as good as bottled’ marketing BS. Today is Sunday; Watch and Smile.

Where all this nonsense comes from is so often to be found in the cut and paste Lamestream world of ‘Science Journalism’ (Cough, cough, sardonic laughter) as promoted in ‘Health and Fitness’ magazines and the Sunday supplements. You know the sort of thing ‘Get your fit bikini body for Summer’ (Then complain about all those ‘sexist’ men ogling their newly ‘fit’ bodies – no pleasing some people) ‘Lose twenty pounds on the new miracle diet’ and find out that yo-yo dieting leaves that wonderful ‘orange peel’ effect skin (Cellulite) on the thighs and bum. Which, oddly enough, you can get rid of with the new ‘miracle’ anti-cellulite cream. Of course, much of this so-called ‘science’ often has more to do with press release content than the originating scientific paper. I’m often left wondering how many researchers in every field of scientific endeavour have read the media output on their study and gone “I never said that!” in incredulous tones, then heaved a heavy sigh and plodded on regardless as the lucrative public speaking invitations materialise.

Having a nice day

Well, no matter what the doom and gloom in the Lamestream media, it’s a glorious day here in sunny Victoria, British Columbia, and instead of my usual grumpy old guy posts, I thought I’d do one on some of life’s little victories. Our collapsing closet is fixed, so we no longer feel like we’re living in a charity shop. The loo has stopped leaking, Mrs S is healing nicely, she’s had a nice smart hairdo and the sun is shining. Isn’t that nice? We have had a very nice brunch, picked up one of those digital photo display thingies for a relative song, and having downloaded three or four hundred holiday snaps onto it, I’m enjoying a well deserved beer.

So, you might comment; it’s been a nice day so far Bill, now watch some bastard try and ruin it. Well not so fast my fine fetlocked fellows. Despite all the catastrophes we’re constantly told that befall us all if we don’t do exactly what we’re told, I’m feeling optimistic. The whole Global Warming thing continues to fail to happen. Rogue asteroids whizz past as they have done since time immemorial. Massed ranks of Jiahdis have so far failed to invade the downtown core. Was there a tidal wave? Not on my beach. Massive volcanic eruption. Not today. Has the Earth moved for me? Well yes, but only in the nicest way possible. No shark attacks or invasion of creepy crawlies. The zombie apocalypse can be watched downtown first hand as the junkies and beggars wobble their addled brains around for the entertainment of all and sundry. The global financial system is still intact, the powers that be will continue to kick the economic can down the road because they’ve got way more to lose than the rest of us put together. We might lose some of our savings, but we can still work. Their heads have a lot further to fall and they know it. So yes, I’m feeling optimistic, providing I keep my eyes and options open.

The bills are paid, we’re ahead of the game for once, and it is such a nice feeling I think I’ll do it all again tomorrow.

Trigger warnings and microaggressions

Trigger warningGood morning. This is a warning, courtesy of the Bill Sticker Institute for pointing and laughing at self destructive hypersensitivity. We have been informed by our lawyers, Lye, Cheetham and Runne that there are persons out there in interwebland whose single purpose in life is to detect things which might offend other people they’ve never met, and wouldn’t talk to even if they did because the offence takers are such delicate ickle bunnies. On the behalf of others, of course. Sorry, we’ve been told that describing people as hypersensitive should have had a ‘trigger warning‘ before it. We apologise for the microaggression that might be construed from this paragraph.

No we don’t. We lied. OMG! We lied! Well spank our nethers and tie us to a bondage bed (Yes please Monique, I’ll turn the other cheek). We’re not apologetic at all. Frankly we didn’t know that you might be offended, and can tell you in all honesty, that we do not care about your mealy mouthed, spineless victimhood. If you can’t take a joke you should stay out of the closet. Or come out of it. Whatever. Nobody of any account really gives a shit anyway about your personal ethnic or sexual sensitivities. Apart from our lawyers, who can smell a mobius twisted buck ten miles upwind in a blizzard.

Frankly, no-one cares if some immature, thin-skinned offence seeker fresh off mommies teats gets their panties in a bunch over what they thought was written that might have infringed upon their ‘rights’. Whatever those are, apart from some invented inanity claimed by emotionally stunted wankstains who had a hard time getting out of their Mother’s womb with someone else doing all the bloody pushing. A wet fart has a better right to existence.

We’re sorry, should we have inserted a warning of some sort before the aforementioned? Really? Christ on a bike, that’s sad to the point of derangement. Only in Academia could such garbage take hold and flourish like some bizarre, pointless, poisonous bloom kept alive for its curiosity value alone.

If anyone is offended and wants to send their lawyers, just try our nearest Bar Tabac in the Rue de Charonne, 11th Arondissement, Paris. Little bit of a rough neighbourhood but we like it. The graffiti’s spelled correctly. If the second hand smoke doesn’t get them first. Or the Pernod fumes. Or getting looked at in a funny way as they enter. Any resultant abuse will be free of charge and multilingual.

/rantmode

Should we have posted a warning or something……..again?

(Merry mocking laughter tinkling somewhere in the distance…)

Bullet and carrot

I read this in The Register this morning. An ‘operation’ in Northumbria taking twenty Policemen, a helicopter and no doubt several marksmen to take down one cow. Not a Steer or Bull, but a cow FFS! A milker at that.

Now I appreciate that cattle can be a risk to traffic on the highway, but shooting the poor bloody animal? Which was no doubt terrified with all these loud, whirly things and shouty black clad two legs chasing it. Now if the upper echelons of the Northumbrian constabulary ever drop by this humble blog, I have an alternative which may save their budgets. Instead of all those dramatic helicopter chases, shouting, urgent operational messages flashing through control, tracking the errant bovine via its cellphone signal and CCTV before a single crack! And down goes another enemy of the people, comrades. May I propose a solution known to all expert livestock handlers and rural Veternarians: a red bucket.

It’s a bit old school I know but when livestock escape, any old fashioned country copper would know where to find; A) A red bucket and a little dry cattle feed. B) A big, juicy bunch of grass. C) A properly trained Stockman who can be called upon to lure said errant bovine back into its enclosure who would understand the use of both. Back in the old fashioned 20th century, before whizzy Hollywood inspired Helichopper chases and brave, dedicated marksmen capable of dropping a Taliban Terrorist at a thousand metres, dealing with loose livestock was part of a country coppers daily round. At least in my neighbourhood. Livestock regularly got out because they broke down fences, were let out by ‘Animal rights’ activists, or simply wandered through a carelessly left open gateway. Sheep, cattle, pigs, Horses, chickens, Geese and even turkeys could regularly be found out of their proper enclosures. The solution was always the same. Red plastic bucket. Or a galvanised feed pail. Or call the nearest livestock farmer. Who would keep one as a matter of course.

The benefit of the proposed low tech solution is that first; it’s cheap, secondly the cow gets to live, thirdly, being a milker, it gets to dole out more of that lovely white stuff that with a little skill can be turned into smooth butters, excellent cheeses and yoghurts, or even drunk neat, if you’re not concerned about the low fat garbage some dietitians insist upon (A.K.A. The ‘cardboard’ diet).

Anyone who has ever had to deal with livestock knows the use of this high tech piece of rural technology. Red bucket, handful of gravel if no dry feed is available. Shake, rattle, let animal follow to nearest gated enclosure or pen. A bunch of grass or carrots and reassuring low pitched “Tch, tch” noises can be used, but these tools are only truly effective in expert hands, like a farm raised child of eleven. Pigs require a little more care as they do have a nasty bite, but that’s what a pig board is for.

Which is the downside of the red bucket and its ilk. It’s not dramatic. Teams of dedicated anti-terrorist units do not have to be deployed and the cost is minimal. Which, thinking about it, is probably why the Northumbrian Police didn’t look for one. What would all those highly trained marksmen and helichopper pilots do for target practice otherwise?