A Divine New Year

It feels like just last year (it wasn’t; it was 2019-19) that we saw the New Year in with the Divine Comedy at the Sage. It was possibly my most enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

It certainly beat the Millennium, when I was chair bound with broken ribs. Not to mention this year.

Ok, I will, this New Year I have Covid.

Anyway, The Divine Comedy on the New Year’s Eve Graham Norton Show.

I was (very mildly) disappointed that, in the following interview, there was no mention of the Father Ted connection.

Still, a most pleasant end to a year.


Some dog pictures from pubs in Newcastle the other night. She’s possibly the cutest dog ever.

I didn’t really want a dog, but once persuaded, I wanted a pub dog. I couldn’t have asked a better pub dog; or a better dog. Life wouldn’t be the same without her.


Home from Kings Lynn, I went into the passage by the side of the house to collect a bag of firewood.

In doing so, I slipped on a bag of coal and, instinctively put an arm out to break my fall. Unfortunately, that particular arm then came into contact with a VW van front panel.

It was a bit messy, but all is now bandaged. Leaking a bit though.

Kings Lynn

We did the family stuff in Peterborough last night/today. Obviously that involved some favourite pubs. Here’s the dog with a glass of wine in one.

This evening has been spent in Kings Lynn. We particularly enjoyed the Nip and Growler.

Where the dog enjoyed a great pint of black IPA and a decent pilsner.

Kings Lynn; a very pretty place. Well worth a visit, although it’s a bit sparse on good pubs with proper beer.

Socialist dog

Our dog’s a socialist. She believes in equality for dogs.

I shan’t comment as to equality for all animals.

Cows and sheep are cute too. Ok, so they may taste nice. But kittens probably make a great kebab.

We live in a world where ‘pets’ are companions and, as such, can’t be eaten. Yet bigger mammals, of equal or greater intelligence can be served up as a burger or a kebab.

I love mg dog to bits, but I feel for the creatures murdered for human greed.


Remember the Charlie Brown Christmas song? It goes, ‘Oh Christmas tree, oh …’.

I much prefer, ‘Then raise the scarlet standard high’.

Yes, I know there’s the old Labour Party version. It’s more current, more correct; but the old version is so cool. And, in the weird place we’re in right now, so relevant.

Anyway, a Christmas tree.


I was a huge Madness fan in my (and their) younger days. Since their Ladykillers tour brought them to Newcastle yesterday, I had to grab some tickets.

Squeeze, who I’d (weirdly) never actually seen live before, were supporting, and they were a huge bonus. Particularly since I’d not known that Glen Tilbrook had rejoined the band.

I’d actually watched the Ladykillers, the classic old film, on TV yesterday afternoon. I’d assumed that the tour of the same name was unconnected, but the gig definitely had something of a theme, with images and clips from the film. There were also, unusual for this band, pretty open criticisms of UK politics.

Yes, they’re getting on a bit, but they do still put on a good show.

It was also clear that they’d had some coaching in the Northeast dialect, when they performed Wor House. There was also the correct pronunciation of Newcastle, as opposed to the inappropriate Newcarstle.


A while back, I needed my passport for ID purposes. But, it couldn’t be found.

It turned up a few weeks ago, but it’d since expired.

A few days ago, I submitted a renewal application. There wasn’t an option to post the decade old passport approved picture, left over from I don’t remember what purpose.

So I uploaded a new picture. Well, it wasn’t exactly new, but an old Glastonbury ticket picture surely would work. After all, it looked a lot like a passport picture.

So that didn’t work. All was not lost though; I found an old photo, which was fortunately in the right format. It existed in paper form only, so I took a picture of the picture and uploaded it. It looked fine and was accepted by the passport picture robot.

After a couple of days, I received an email, asking me to upload another picture. It seemed that my picture of a picture wasn’t acceptable.

This meant that I needed to either take a new picture or seek a photo machine. With little fair in my selfie prowess, I opted for the machine.

It’d been a very long time since I’d used such a machine (I probably need one once more in my lifetime). Such machines had been largely unchanged since I was a child, so I was somewhat confused by the controls. After successfully taking pictures of my head, I realised that the machine only accepted cash. All was not lost though; a cash machine was located just a few yards away. I needed a £10 note because the £5 in my pocket was insufficient.

Returning with my tenner, I repeated the process, only to find that I needed the exact money, £8. I’d noted that no change would be given, but had assumed that the parking ticket principle would apply – I didn’t mind losing £2 just to get the process over with.

And, so, I spent 79p on a Fry’s chocolate orange. It was the only vegan chocolate in the shop, although It was only purchased to give me change.

I had a slight concern that my £2 coin might not be accepted, but my doubt was unfounded. I completed the process once more, only to be faced with a charge of £24. It seemed that my previous attempts had been retained.

With no cancel option, I did what any other man would do. I went for a pint of beer to wait for the machine to time out.

Obviously, I needed to allow enough time for this to happen. After one pint, the machine had still retained my head. Realising that this would start the process again, I returned to the pub. After several pints, the machine worked perfectly.

I do wonder how my new picture could be acceptable. The old one is pretty close, but the thug in the new one only loosely bears a resemblance.


I joined a Covid protest yesterday, on the basis that its focus would be a possible third national lockdown.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The first, overly long, speech concentrated on demonising the Police and weaponising 5G to trigger genes mutated by Covid vaccinations.

I learned that the vaccinations will result in millions of deaths in the UK and that God will protect the unvaccinated.

Fortunately, the many people joining the protest along the route didn’t hear this speech.

There was a huge missed opportunity; the focus should have been on the Government, the actions of those in power and their knee jerk decisions. Not conspiracy theories and religion. But that’s just my view.