Recognise this building? Qatar News Agency and the several fairly new apartment blocks behind it are just the latest victims of the city-wide orgy of destruction from which the new Doha will rise, Phoenix like, to delight the privileged few who will be able to enjoy it. It's arguable that city reconstruction on this scale has not been seen since Napoleon's Paris. But most of what Napoleon cleared away would probably have fallen down of its own accord, left to its own devices. You can't say the same of these apartments (below). Even the little substation looks fresh out of the box. One can only guess how many smaller dreams, plans and ambitions were dashed by the round of eviction orders that preceded the onslaught. Uncounted small sacrifices for the greater good, perhaps.
This song by Harry Gordon is about 100 years old and is in the Scottish music hall tradition. It's short because it was the lead into a stand-up comedy routine in character. The character in this case being a fireman on the footplate of a steam engine.
This blog started out as Helga's Chickens. Later, it became The Paranormal Hotel, and more recently, Paraplexed at the Paranormal Hotel. The changes were occasioned by such major events as: Helga's retirement and/or exile to the (now demolished) Rattlesnake, my move from Dubai to Qatar and the final closure (after several aborted mini-closures) of Jockey's Pub. Well, dear readers, another major event has occurred. I have relocated again, this time from Qatar back to England. Retirement? Not sure yet. Technically, I am a pensioner, having crossed the formal finishing line. But my return home was triggered not by chronology but by a debilitating attack of shingles in the left ophthalmic nerve. If anyone ever offers you this, even on a trial basis, smile sweetly and say no. It hurts a lot, for months. But that's behind me now, give or take the odd twinge, and with summer drawing to a close, the homing pull of pipe and slippers may very well prove a weak force. Winter may
I have been uncharacteristically quiet in recent weeks over the ongoing Brexit debacle. There are reasons for this and the most important one is: it matters nothing what I think, mine is a small voice in the wilderness, what will be will be, so why add to the fog of verbiage? That said, I feel moved to deliver myself of the following, on a take it or leave it basis, i.e. I'm not really up for arguing the points: 1. The 2016 referendum was ill-conceived and exacerbated by the then PM's complacency and lack of preparation. He deserved to lose, and did. So, there are consequences. 2. A referendum should be a last resort and should be binding for a generation. As an example: Alex Salmond stated as much when he thought he was going to win Scottish independence.. When he lost, he reneged on this principle, at the expense of his political integrity. 3. I would have preferred to remain in the E.U. but I cannot see a democratically valid way to realise this. I also think it likely that