“Anyone wanting to be Prime Minister should be automatically discounted”


The joys of walking are many and various, walking with a chum is recommended, though walking alone can sometimes have it’s moments too.

Today I set out early with my chum Robin. We were expecting hot weather so the early start was a must, and it was perfect. A walk in Paradise, as it really is called, just outside Painswick. Cotswold landscape at its very best. There used to be a bus stop there but it seems to have been dispensed with. Take a look here for a previous visit:  Jesus drives a Porsche in Paradise.

Walking and talking we got into things political and I expressed some doubts about our rulers, whereupon Robin came up with the quote of the day: “Anyone wanting that job should not be allowed to do it” he said and I tend to agree. Thrusting ambition and naked greed for power seem to most of us to be unsuitable attributes to be a leader of the nation. But what do we know?

The subject was quickly dispensed with as we got on with worthier ones. We came across these horses. Now I’m not a big fan of horses as they can step on you and bite, but these chaps were not in the mood for anything but a curious bit of tail waving and strolling. At “3 o’clock” ( fighter pilot parlance I believe ) in the image you might glance another demon, looks like it might be a flying insect ready for breakfast. Scamble! Scramble!

Paradise tree

Down in the valley where we kept cool, we took a break for a stare and a minor rendition from Robin, who’s a fine folk singer. Here he is backed by various birds whilst we take in a quick drying hay field. He and his fellow singers, known collectively as the Gloucester Diamonds have recently put together a cd of some lovely songs. Find out more right here: The Gloucester Diamonds

The walk ended in Painswick where we found a super little coffee shop after passing this chap mowing the bowling green for no apparent reason. I suspect that he would not gather more than a handful of clippings from the entire area. He had markers to guide where he’s been! It was like giving a completely bald bloke a haircut with a pair of electric clippers. We expected him to come out afterward and get the steam iron out on it. Now here’s a bloke who might make a good prime minister.





What’s the betting you don’t win?


Cheltenham Race Week starts tomorrow, I think. I live down the road from the course but I’ve never been there. I’m sure it’s a wonderful event and the town will be filled with a heady mix of racegoers looking for the full English Breakfast or even the full Irish, as many of them are from Ireland.

The bookies have a heyday and the streets start to fill with young women dressed as jockeys in a rather unseemly attempt at attracting business. Some of them have obviously never been near a horse and the horse would probably be thankful for that.

I write as someone experienced in a racecourse but not racing. When I was a student I had a job at the nearby Haydock Park Racecourse which is close to Wigan. I was a temporary assistant to the ground staff and a wonderful bunch of blokes they were. I was an extra pair of hands to aid in the picking up of litter after a meeting, not a great task as losing racegoers tend to rip up their betting slips into tiny pieces when they lose,and they lose a lot.

A more interesting task was helping build the fences between race meetings. We’d trundle off to Lord Derby’s estate down the East Lancs Road and cut bunches of birch trees, tie it up and load it onto the back of a trailer to be towed by a tractor. The area was awash with mosquitoes and horse flies, pedigree horse flies. We’d get bitten rotten all part from George Willie, one of the elderly guys who was part of the team. ” How do you do it George?” someone asked one morning. ” Easy, I spray myself with ‘flit flyspray’ before I leave the house, and if any of them land on me they die on contact”. None of us fancied doing the same, ‘flit’ being the near equivalent of nerve gas.

After we’d got a complete load we headed back to the course, I was put on top of the load with a red flag to warn approaching traffic. Health and safety was not the consideration it is today. I was certainly a little nervous but a couple of cigarettes on the journey back calmed my nerves atop this natural bonfire.

The day before the races the horses used to arrive, with tiny jockeys who’d be invisible on the streets of Cheltenham. Lester Piggot, an famously unpopular jockey with the staff, used to arrive by plane and land in the middle of the course. We were charged with putting down white sheets to help his pilot land. Some of the staff were tempted to move them nearer the trees to make his landing a little more interesting.

Stable boys and some girl would look after the horses, and well I remember when one of them said to me, “Put your wages on my horse, sure fire winner”. I’d never bet before in my life but this was a chance not to miss: an inside tip! So I placed my bet.

This was in the days when they started the race at a rope across the course, a messy affair, and my race was no exception. My horse started fast and was probably quicker than any of the others, unfortunately it was going in exactly the opposite direction and there was nothing the hapless tiny person on board could do about it.

I’ve never bet on a horse since.

The drawing is a near finished version of a series on Sports Nuts.








Glossary : A Collection of Gloucestershire Place Names

More true meanings of Gloucestershire place names, glossary meaning a collection of Gloucestershire place names, as you well know. I’m planning a small book, illustrated of course, with the whole truth and nothing but the truthity truth. I’ll tell you when it’s done.


Frampton Mansell

The outfit worn by a large huntsman. Rather too tight across the backside and gut as the owner has generally owned it and worn it from when he was at least three trouser sizes thinner.

Puts the horse under exceptional strain. See also Hartbury as someone displaying a Frampton will generally respond to to an observation about his Frampton with one single very loud Hartbury.


The sound made when men of a certain age clear their throats before speaking in public, or when someone makes a disparaging remark about them. Onomatopoeic. Emphasis on the HART. Method of dissapproval, see Frampton Mansell. Only ever used by rich landowners who have no need to purchase their own furniture.

If you are outside the UK, then believe me these places do exist. Look on Google maps.