Two choicest Idioms – Butter Up & As Mad As A Hatter

A few weeks ago my new book, Straight From The Horse’s Mouth was released in Paperback and Kindle formats and I have been waiting for it to work its way through onto Apple iBooks.   As it is now live, I thought I would post up two of the 101 idioms that make up Straight From The Horse’s Mouth.

The Idioms that we use every day reveal a rich heritage and history that lies just beneath the surface of the English language.    Some though have numerous origins that could very well leave one barking up the wrong tree!

Butter up.

Meaning: To lavish excessive praise on someone in order to make them more agreeable to a request.

Origin:  There are two possible origins for this commonly used phrase.  The most obvious one is the habit of making bread more attractive and palatable to eat by spreading butter on it.  A slice of stale bread may be unappealing but if you put enough butter on it then perhaps it is a little more tempting to eat.

The other origin is much older and dates back to ancient India when it was customary in some areas to throw balls of butter at statues of gods so that they grant you a small favour or forgiveness.

Both terms make sense, and it is possible that they developed independently of each other.  As with other sayings, it is also entirely possible that the British brought back the term from India in the 18th and 19th centuries and gave it new prominence in the English language.

 

My second idiom comes involves a famous character who shares my surname, Alice Liddell.  You may well be familiar with her the famous tale in which she stars, Alice In Wonderland.

Mad as a hatter.

Meaning: To be completely insane.

This Idiom seems to be insanely irreverent. Why on earth would a hatter be considered mad?   Some assume it is due to the memorable Mad Hatter character in Alice in Wonderland. In reality, it’s likely that the Mad Hatter was himself influenced by the older origins of the phrase.

Origin: Traditionally in the 18th and 19th century, mercury was used in felting and hat making.  We now know that mercury is highly toxic and the poisoning that hat makers suffered was a direct result of mercury poisoning.  Some of the milder symptoms included slurred speech, tremors, stumbling, and later in extreme cases, hallucinations

As Mad As A Hatter

As Mad As A Hatter – Just one of the many illustrations in Straight From The Horse’s Mouth, created by the talented Jo Robinson.

 

The meaning and origins of 100 common idioms or phrases are explained in this irreverent journey through the English language. This book takes you from the ancient world to the modern day and covers almost every aspect of life, it will open your eyes to the rich and fun heritage of the English language, maybe make you think twice but definitely raise a smile. ‘The writings on the wall’ though we don’t want to ‘blow our own trumpet’ so ‘keep your shirt on’, we’ll give you the ‘full monty’, ‘Warts and all’ lowdown on 100 of the most interesting Idioms. This isn’t a ‘damp squib’ that deserves to be ‘left on the shelf.’ and that’s ‘Straight from the horse’s mouth’!

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Straight From The Horse’s Mouth is available from the UK in Kindle format from Amazon here and paperback format here.      American Amazon readers can squirm their way through the book in Kindle format here and in paperback format here.   As well as being available through Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Nook, you can also get in on the action on your favourite Apple product by purchasing the book on iBooks by clicking below!

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The mysterious case of Lord Lucan

It was one of the most mysterious disappearances in the modern era when Lord Richard John Bingham, Seventh Earl of Lucan seemingly vanished without trace.  These days he is often mentioned in the same breath as Elvis Presley being seen sighted working in a Fish and Chip Shop in Burnley but the light-hearted jokes paper over a cold-blooded murder.

Recently the missing peer’s widow Veronica, the Countess of Lucan, recalls the gory events of November 7, 1974, when her family’s nanny Sandra Rivett was killed and her husband disappeared without a trace.

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Sandra Rivett, nanny who was the victim of mistaken identiy.

Lord Lucan was a member of the aristocracy with a less than cosy life.  Unknown at the time, Lord Lucan had had unsecured debts of £45,000 and preferential liabilities for £1,326. His assets were estimated at £22,632.

At the time, Veronica had recently won a court battle against her estranged husband, claiming custody of their three children. Lucan was heavily burdened by debt, and had a history of domestic abuse. It is generally believed that he  had intended to murder his wife but ended up killing Rivett by mistake when he attacked her half-seen figure in the darkened basement of their home, in London’s upmarket Belgravia.

Normally Sandra would have that particular night off to see her boyfriend but unknowingly to Lord Lucan, his wife Veronica has given the nanny permission to switch her days around.   After putting the younger children to bed, at about 8:55 pm, Sandra Rivett  asked Veronica if she would like a cup of tea, before heading downstairs to the basement kitchen to make one. As she entered the room, she was bludgeoned to death with a piece of bandaged lead pipe. Her killer then placed her body into a canvas mailsack. Meanwhile, wondering what had delayed her nanny, Lady Lucan descended from the first floor to see what had happened. She called to Rivett from the top of the basement stairs and was herself attacked. As she screamed for her life, her attacker told her to “shut up”.

Lady Lucan, 79, describes how she fought for her life. She says she pleaded with Lucan – who had just bludgeoned nanny Sandra Rivett – as he tried to strangle her.

‘I screamed and my husband put three gloved fingers down my throat to stop me screaming and we started to fight, he tried to push me down to the basement stairs but I clung on to the balustrade and kicked one of them out of place.  He started to strangle me and then tried to poke my eye out but I continued fighting and then I grasped at his genitals and he moved back and I found myself sitting in between his legs. I put my hand down and I felt something metal covered in bandaging and a great deal of my hair. I said, “Please don’t kill me John” and then I asked “Where’s Sandra?” and he said, “She’s dead. Don’t look.”

She says she believed he tried to get her to take sleeping tablets so he could kill her.

‘When your life is in danger… you’ll try and play on his psychology,’ she says. ‘But I still tried to placate him. I said, “What shall we do with the body? Sandra has few friends, no one will miss her. And I can stay in the house until my wounds have healed.” He appeared to be accepting.

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Lord and Lady Lucan

‘Then he said, “Have you got any sleeping tablets” and I said, “Yes I have”. And he hustled me… up the stairs. He asked, “Would you take some [sleeping tablets]?”. I said yes. Well presumably he was hoping that I would go to sleep and – well I don’t know if this is true – that he’d be able to put a pillow over my head and smother me.

‘I could see that my face was absolutely covered in blood and it was impossible to see how much damage had been done because there was so much blood.’

Lord Lucan and his wife then went upstairs.  Whilst the children were in one room, the couple then went into their bedroom.  Both were covered in blood, from when he had battered his wife with some lead piping and so the Lord went in the bathroom to wash his hands and face which is when his wife Veronica took her chance to escape.  Though badly injured and bleeding profusely, Veronica found the strength to stagger to the nearby Plumbers Arms pub on Lower Belgrave Street, calling for help, where she shared the news of Rivett’s murder. Lucan, meanwhile, was never officially sighted again.

Early the next morning, his borrowed car was found – abandoned – on a quiet residential street in Newhaven on the south coast. In the intervening years, strange theories have proliferated about the peer – did he take his own life? Or did he flee to another country, to avoid prosecution? Here are a few of the most compelling theories that have been put forward by members of Lucan’s circle.

 

The theories: what happened to ‘Lucky’ Lucan next?

1. ‘He drowned himself after murdering the nanny by mistake’

James Wilson, a close friend of the earl and part of his circle of wealthy gamblers at the Clermont Club, shared his own version of events with The Telegraph in 2015. In this account, with what is widely thought, Lucan had planned to murder his estranged wife Veronica, Countess of Lucan, but killed Rivett by mistake after failing to recognise her in the dark.

According to Wilson, he filled his pockets with stones before jumping off his boat and drowning himself in Newhaven Harbour, just hours after the killing. “I believe that when he realised he had killed the nanny, the remorse, guilt and panic led him to commit suicide,” he said.

Wilson claimed that Lucan had been planning to kill his wife for quite some time, and had mentioned his murderous intentions to his acquaintance Lady Osborne, mother of Lucan’s friend Lord Aspinall, and grandmother of Evening Standard editor George Osborne. “She told me that Lucky had confided to her that he intended to kill Veronica,” said Wilson.“She told me she said to him: ‘Well John, if you intend to do that, make sure you hide her body well!’ Lady O had a loud cackling laugh and it was obvious she did not like Veronica – not many people did.”

“She told me she said to him: ‘Well John, if you intend to do that, make sure you hide her body well!’ Lady O had a loud cackling laugh and it was obvious she did not like Veronica – not many people did.”

“She told me she said to him: ‘Well John, if you intend to do that, make sure you hide her body well!’ Lady O had a loud cackling laugh and it was obvious she did not like Veronica – not many people did.”

Wilson added: “John Lucan was a gambler. He gambled on successfully killing his wife and being able to hide her body and get away with murder.

“But when it went terribly wrong he must have realised he only had two options open to him; hand himself in or kill himself. Having lost the gamble he chose the latter.”

2. ‘He moved to Africa and lived a secret life there until 2000’

In 2012, Shirley Robey stepped forward with her theory about what happened to Lucan.

She claimed to have overheard conversations about his whereabouts – after his disappearance – between two of his friends: James Goldsmith (father of former MP Zac Goldsmith), and casino owner John Aspinall, her employer at the time.

Robey worked for Aspinall from 1979-85, and said she often heard him talk about Lucan, but didn’t know the gory details of the case at the time.

 “I knew he was hiding, I knew he was in Africa, I knew we were hushing it up. I knew he’d fallen out with his wife and I knew it was a major secret but for whatever reason I didn’t appreciate there had been a murder until some years later,” she said.

“It didn’t occur to me to be honest. I had a very great deal of admiration and respect for him [Aspinall] and it just didn’t occur to me that he would get me into any kind of trouble. […] If I’d have known it was a murder, I think I would have handled things quite differently. In fact I know I would have done.”

3.  ‘He shot himself and his body was fed to a tiger in a zoo’

Philippe Marcq, another of Lucan’s wealthy gambler friends, claims he was told by Stephen Raphael – another regular at the Clermont Club – that Lucan drove to a private zoo in Kent after the killing. At the zoo, which was owned by Aspinall, a group of friends tried to advise Lucan about what to do next.

Marcq said: “They told him: ‘Look, it is absolutely terrible what happened. You are a murderer. You tried to kill your wife out of desperation for your children and so they would be free from her influence.

“But what you have done makes absolutely sure she will be in control of your children for years to come – you are a murderer and you are going to be in a cell for the next 30 years’.”

His friends allegedly told him that, without proof of death, probate could not be granted on his estate for at least seven years – by which time his children would be old enough to look after their own affairs.

They allegedly dismissed the idea that he flee abroad, saying he was not cut out for a life on the run and he would be returned to the UK. Instead, Marcq said a pistol was placed in front of Lucan, who picked it up, went into the next room, and shot himself. The body was then allegedly fed to a tiger named Zorra.

Police reportedly investigated the tiger theory at the time, after Aspinall’s mother, Lady Osborne told them: “The last I heard of him (Lucan), he was being fed to the tigers at my son’s zoo.”

When police visited Howletts, Aspinall is said to have responded: “My tigers are only fed the choicest cuts – do you really think they’re going to eat stringy old Lucky?”

4. ‘He didn’t commit the murder, and his friends helped him flee from the accusations’

Lucan’s brother, Hugh Bingham, has defended the peer’s innocence, and claimed that (rather than committing suicide) he in fact went into hiding after Rivett’s death.

“I have always believed he didn’t commit murder,” Bingham said. “He had no choice but to flee in the face of cruel allegations.”

Although Bingham has not put forward a definitive theory regarding Lucan’s whereabouts, he claimed that parts of the police investigation didn’t quite add up.

 

“The police inquiry was compromised from the start,” he has alleged. “For example, there is significant evidence of the existence of an unknown man at the scene – is he known to police?”As it happened, Lord Lucan was only declared officially dead in February 2016 which allowed his estate to be passed on to his son.

 

Giving her her on take on what she believed happened to her husband, the Countess said “I believe my late husband committed suicide shortly after the murder of Sandra, most probably by bravely throwing himself on to the propellers of a ship in mid-Channel, hoping that his remains would be irrecoverable so that death duties would not be immediately payable as the children’s education had not been secured.”

She added: “My husband committed suicide because he was an honourable man. Of course, I have learned to forgive.”

Nevertheless, Lord Lucan continues to be spotted as far away as New Zealand and India with most sightings being in South America or Africa.

The Countess of  Lucan herself has said that she hasn’t been the best mother and has not seen her estranged children for 35 years and was known to be a difficult woman who wasn’t particularly liked back in the 1970’s.

Now aged 79, Veronica says “I am deeply sad that my marriage caused Mrs Sandra Rivett to die. I am very sorry about that. But I cannot alter it, except not to forget about her – and I don’t forget about her.”

Lady Lucan as she is today.

Countess of Lucan as she is today.

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A video of the re-opened Borough Market

Borough Market has long been one of my favourite parts of London and so aside from the more obvious issues following the recent attack there and the adjoining London Bridge, I have been waiting to get back inside both for professional and personal reasons.

Having been a few times in the last week to see the market and surrounding streets gradually come back to life, today was the first day the market was properly re-opened.

Things are understandably still getting back to normal but I wanted to support the local traders and my tourists today really wanted to sample some of the best street food anywhere in the world.

Defying terrorism has never tasted so good.   I hope you enjoy the video, Neals Yard is heaven if you adore cheese as I do.

 

 

 

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Politics might be serious but elections don’t have to be.

Politics is generally a serious profession, albeit one so often mired in lies, broken promises and unachievable policies.  General Elections are the one time we have a chance to change the government at a national level.  Whereas in most countries it is a matter of utmost importance and seriousness with some nations even banning even the most legitimate of political opposition, it is something in Britain that we don’t quite ascribe too.

It is hard to imagine the President of the USA, Russia, China or the leaders of Germany, France or India having to stand against individuals in fancy dress and give serious political interviews next to them but this is one of the many novel quirks about our particular form of democracy.     Without their willingness to lose their deposit funding, our politics too would be almost boring but our innate ability to poke fun at ourselves even at times of possible European disintegration and the national divide that is Brexit is what makes us who we are.

Election-watchers around the world were no doubt surprised to see our Prime Minister standing against amongst others,  Lord Buckethead, who appeared alongside Theresa May on the podium as results were read out for the Maidenhead constituency.

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Buckethead, a self-described “intergalactic space lord” whose real name is unknown, won 249 votes in the Berkshire contest. It is not the first time Buckethead has stood against a prime minister – a candidate with the same name took on Margaret Thatcher in 1987 and lost with just 131 votes. He also stood against John Major in 1992.

This time around, Buckethead campaigned on a platform of strong but “not entirely stable leadership”. His manifesto, he declared after the results had been confirmed, delivered him a “new Buckethead record”.

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Buckethead’s reappearance on the political scene did not go unnoticed.

 

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Part of the manifesto of Lord Buckethead.

 

While most British people are used to a varied range of candidates, mostly due to the advent of the oddball Monster Raving Loony party, election watchers from further afield were fascinated.

Underlining the British penchant for unorthodox candidates, Buckethead was joined in the Maidenhead vote by Elmo, who got three votes, and Howling “Laud” Hope of the Monster Raving Loony Party (119 votes).

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A credible performance, I am sure you’ll agree but still some way off the highs of his predecessor who had one of the longest and unsuccessful political careers in history, Screaming Lord Sutch.

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The 3rd Earl of Harrow deserves a blog post of his own one day and I’m probably crazy enough to write it.  I remember when The Monster Raving Loony Party finished above the SDP (Social Democratic Party) which I thought pretty much finished them off but apparently they are still on the go, along with the Judean Peoples Front in Life of Brian.    I believe the SDP did beat off Captain Bean of the Baked Bean Party and Blacky the Dog who campaigned for all the buttons on road crossings to be lowered to dog nose level.

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Away from Maidenhead, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, had to contend with a slippery rival in Cumbria’s Westmorland and Lonsdale.  Farron held on to his seat with a reduced majority of 777. Adding insult to injury, he was upstaged during his victory speech by Mr Fishfinger, a man dressed as a piece of frozen food.

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Fishfinger, who changed his name by deed poll to take part in the election, decided to run after an informal Twitter poll found users would rather be led by a fish finger than Farron. He got 309 votes.   Obviously the thousands of voters who picked a different candidate need to take a long and hard look in the mirror when they realise who they overlooked.

Happily as the election seemed to deliver a disastrous result all round, we will most likely have another one soon.  I can’t wait, if anyone wants to crowdfund me into launching a wacky political party, let me know.  Alternatively, leave some as yet untapped manifesto ideas in the comments below 🙂

And yes I know, I avoided any obvious comment about Donald Trump.

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Talk of Terrorism is all hype.

I rarely post simple blog posts but this graphic caught my attention.  I’ve never quite understood the media obsession with terrorism or indeed some prominent political hype about it either and that despite living almost my entire life under the supposed shadow of terrorism.

There are so many more causes of death to worry about, most of which could be avoided if only as much money, resources, time and policies which were spent or I’d even say wasted on terrorism as on other causes or death.

Of course being against terrorism is a nice way to garner support and manipulate thinking but wouldn’t it be better if even the media, let alone governments, spent their time highlighting suicide or diabetes, let alone one of the big killers?

I don’t want armed police on the streets or cameras everywhere and I’m definitely not a millionth of a percent as scared about terrorism as I am about people I know dying from heart problems, cancer or respiratory disorders.  As a sufferer of quite bad asthma, I don’t see any media hype about people dying of chest complaints except for the regular scare stories about the latest flu outbreaks.  Over 80,000 people died last year in the UK alone from poor air quality and pollution, a total that short of a nuclear bomb going off, could never be equaled by terrorists and yet few care.

The chart below is from our NHS (National Health Service) and highlights the various the likelihood of dying from various causes of death.  Whilst each country is different and some poorer nations might swap natural disasters for western diseases caused by obesity for example, it must be clear that what the media and governments say you should be concerned about is actually right at the bottom of the list. 99.9999999% of you reading this blog are going to die from almost any other cause rather than a lunatic terrorist.

Risk Of Death From Terrorism

Risk Of Death From Terrorism

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London is Reeling…. NOT

Maybe it is just a fundamental difference between us and other countries but according to some foreign media, everyone in the UK and particularly London is terrified but as the headline in the Independent revealed, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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I have to say that I’m not in the slightest bit terrified nor do I give it a second thought.  I may not have lived through The Blitz but I did go to university during a period when IRA bombs were going off in London extremely regularly, sometimes several in a week or even a day.  In fact once I was told by my professor that having 2 bombs go off between my station and the college was not sufficient reason to be 15 minutes late for class.   He was right of course.

And with an attitude like that, it is just my tiny way of demonstrating how impossible the task is in front of the terrorists.  Is the country that has seen off more enemies than any other really going to cower in terror at a bunch of losers with a few knives or access to a van?  Hardly.  And in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter except for the unfortunate people killed or injured.

I really think even the British media is over-hyping things, let alone foreign media.  I remember just in the 1990’s when the IRA would murder someone and it resulted in 2 minutes of newstime towards the end of the newscast with the events reported unemotionally and factually.  There really is more chance to die in any number of ways, in a car crash, normal street crime, natural disaster or human catasrophe… in many other countries just by being shot by non-terrorists.

So no, I’m not terrified and I’m not reeling and I don’t know anyone who is.  Some things that leave me reeling are when the local shop has run out of soya milk, I arrive on time for my bus to find it went early and then the next one arrives late.  Or when someone sits next to me on the tube early in the morning when the train is empty and by close to me I mean within 20 or 30 seats…. double that if they are on their phone or have music playing.

The defiance began at the police cordon. It was mingled with the first floral tributes and the signs with the slogan “For London”.

And it found its purest expression in Chris and Isabel Charlton, strolling hand in hand in the sunshine, eight months married; pausing, as it happened, right where the police lines began, to kiss in the middle of the street.

You couldn’t let the terrorists win, said Mr Charlton, 39. You couldn’t succumb to hate. “You’ve got to carry on,” he added.

They live locally and had been to Borough Market twice that day. Only the coincidence of friends coming round for supper had stopped them having a meal in one of the market’s restaurants that night.

It could have been them, caught up in a terrorist rampage that left seven dead after a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge, before moving on to Borough Market where attackers started stabbing people.

So weren’t they now terrified, as the killers wanted them to be, as some news networks seemingly expected them to be? “Terrified?” said the faultlessly polite Mr Charlton. “That’s a bit strong. We’re probably going to go shopping … Very mundane. Sorry.”

Next to pass was Andrea Woelke, German-born and 25 years a Londoner, in the process of getting a British passport, with his seven-month-old son in a baby carrier.

From where we were in Union Street, you could peer inside the cordon and just about see what looked like containers for first aid equipment, seemingly discarded by paramedics in the rush to help the wounded.

Mr Woelke said  “The terrorists want us to freak out,” he said. “They want life not to return to normal. The best way to stick two fingers up to them is to get on with our lives, and our democracy.”

With a restless seven-month-old baby to placate, the best way to keep calm was to carry on walking. “We might meet friends for coffee,” he said, strolling on, more frightened of the baby starting to wail again than any terrorists.

At the Rose and Crown, across the road from the cordon, you could find people at the bar, still cracking jokes about Brexit and each other (even if today they had to tell the foreign news crews where to find a fancy meal, this being a proper, crisps-only sort of establishment).

Suggestions that fear should have kept them from a Sunday lunchtime pint were met only with bemusement and shrugged shoulders. “Well I’m not terrified,” said Robert Discipline, 53. “Life has to go on.”

Omar Morris, 37, a decorator and theatrical prop maker said  “They won’t stop me from doing nothing,” he said. “There’s no way they can change me or make me a different person.”

Nor was he going to fall into the terrorists’ trap of starting to hate Muslims. He wasn’t going to let the recruiters’ propaganda that everyone in the West hated Islam ring true. “I’m not a hater,” he said, with a rather cheeky grin.

John King laughed at the idea he must be frightened. “I’m not frightened in the least,” he said. “I’m the gentlest, politest chap you’ll meet, but I’ve never been terrified of nobody in all my life and I’m not going to start now.

“Mum had been in the Blitz. Dad had been in a Japanese POW camp.” Now that, said Mr King, had been “hard, hard, hard”. “That bunch of f*cking animals aren’t going to make me afraid.”

At the neighbouring table Danny and Jeanette Rowley from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, offered a glass wine and vowed to carry on with their trip to London, despite having seen a group of Americans returning terrified to their hotel after being caught up in the attack on London Bridge.

Mrs Rowley, 50, a midwife, revealed that her granddad had been in the World War One trenches. Those previous generations, she said, had been “gutsy”.

“We’re a tough breed us Brits,” said Mr Rowley, 48, a carpenter.

It was hard now to resist such pride as other images of defiance emerge such as “pint man”, who while forced to flee the terror attack did not see the need to abandon his beer, or to spill it.

Pint Man

The man on the right is obviously taking everything in his stride.,,, even a terrorist wasn’t going to get him to leave his drink. Perhaps as the pubs round London Bridge charge over £5 a pint!

The New York Times, a newspaper that – despite what the current US President thinks – enjoys a towering reputation built on a near-obsession with fact checking, must have felt entirely safe in describing the London attacks as hitting “a nation still reeling” from the Manchester Arena bombing.

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It was soon put right on Twitter by Alan, an NHS scientist. “You really don’t understand us Brits do you?” he wrote.  “The only thing that leaves us reeling is a penalty shoot-out against Germany!”

“Or no milk nor tea bags,” added the next twitter user to respond.

Inevitably, the New York Times was informed what “reeling” means in British English: a wartime wife, sitting atop the rubble of her bombed out home, enjoying a nice cup of tea.

A bunch of murderers may have inflicted death and mayhem on Saturday night. But there is a reason, a folk memory, behind the T-shirt, mug and diary-selling popularity of the slogan “Keep calm and carry on”.

Perhaps the terrorists have just given us a chance to live up to it.

Below are a few other Londoners who are obviously terrorfied and reeling.

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I can really sympathise with all of these things as they leave me reeling too.

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It didn’t long for Isis to claim responsibility for the attack but again good humour came to the fore with the same predictability that has Isis claiming responsibility for terror attacks around the world, often ones they have nothing to do with.

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Apart from a big dollup of Keep Calm and Carry On, I think the media should make more of some of the heroes of the attack who confronted the terrorists either with simple police batons or skateboards or bar stools.  One such gentleman is 47 year old Roy Larner who is thought to have saved possibly dozens of lives by fighting all 3 armed terrorists with only his fists.

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Roy has friends with a typical sense of humour.

He explains how he reacted when the killers burst into the restaurant shouting “Islam, Islam” and “This is for Allah”.

“Like an idiot, I shouted back at them. I thought, ‘I need to take the p*** out of these b******s’.”

“I took a few steps towards them and said, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’. So they started attacking me.”

Mr Larner added: “I stood in front of them trying to fight them off. Everyone else ran to the back.

“I was on my own against all three of them, that’s why I got hurt so much.

“It was just me, trying to grab them with my bare hands and hold on. I was swinging.

“I got stabbed and sliced eight times. They got me in my head, chest and both hands. There was blood everywhere.

“They were saying, ‘Islam, Islam!’. I said again, ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall!’

Mr Larner, from Peckham, south-east London, said the attackers eventually “ran out of the pub and legged it”.

Despite his injuries, Roy followed them outside.

“It wasn’t until I was in a police car,” said Mr Larner, “That I realised I was in a bad way. I’d been sliced up all over.”

“I didn’t think of my safety at the time,” he added. “I’d had four or five pints — nothing major.

“I can handle myself. But I was out with an old person and it was out of order.”

Keep Calm and Carry On Blogging

Keep Calm and Carry On Blogging

 

For those who are interested, new CCTV footage emerged overnight showing the 3 supposed terrorists attacking one last victim before being confronted by police.

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Roger Moore – Nobody Does It Better

We all have our own favourite James Bond actor and the films that go with it.  There are always a few who like Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby but when it comes down to it, the choice is usually between Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore though it is must be said that Daniel Craig is increasingly muscling his way into contention.

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For me, Daniel Craig is my favourite James Bond but if it isn’t hypocritical to say so, I think Roger Moore is the best.

Without arguing about how closely each incarnation of 007 most closely ties in witht he novels, I’d say that Moore deserves his spot at the top of the rankings because he was so much more than just Bond. He was the quintessential Englishman, somewhere between gentleman and jester – a slick, schmaltzy, suave provocateur. He handled the tone of the role perfectly, pitching his delivery somewhere between the camp kitsch of Piers Brosnan and the smouldering cool of Connery. Moore’s 007 was, in a word, fun: never above a wry laugh, preferably with a dry Martini in hand.

Never the most cold-blooded of Bonds, Sir Roger Moore inspired fans around the world and in a way his wry English humour and good-natured manner, set a blueprint of behaviour to aspire to.

As much as many might not think he made the best Bond, it has never been claimed that Sir Roger Moore was a great actor.    He made a career of raising an eyebrow in a manner rivalled by Mr. Spock and this was later played up by the caricature of him on Spitting Image when his puppet declared “My acting range has always been something between the two extremes of ‘raises left eyebrow’ and ‘raises right eyebrow’.
I can’t abide people who think highly of themselves, even if it is warranted.  It’s not a very British thing to do.  Sir Roger Moore no doubt adopted the same approach a long time before I was on the planet and no-one could downplay his accomplishments more than he could himself.
In 2015, the venerable actor was asked about the talents of Daniel Craig as James Bond. “I believe he’s an excellent Bond,” enthused Sir Roger. “He’s much stronger than I am. I think he does a hell of a good job of it. He and Sean are I think undoubtedly the best Bonds.”
Where, asked the interviewer, did Sir Roger rank himself in the unofficial list?
“I think a little bit behind George Lazenby, I suppose,” came the response. (Lazenby, an Australian model picked from the wilderness for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret, is widely regarded as the worst Bond to grace the silver screen.)

What made Sir Roger, who took over after Lazenby vacated the licence to kill in 1971, so good in comparison? Perhaps it was the sardonic wit that helped him to deliver zingers like this: “Of course I do my own stunts. And I also do my own lying.”

Moore was a dapper gentleman to the end, and spoke of how he still felt young at heart. “The wonderful thing about age is that your knees don’t work as well, you can’t run down steps quite as easily and obviously you can’t lift heavy weights. But your mind doesn’t feel any different. I read the obituary columns and I think: ‘Oh goodness, he was only 93!”

All the same, he didn’t just grow old gracefully. As he told GQ in a 2008 interview, “You can either grow old gracefully or begrudgingly. I chose both.”After retiring from the Bond franchise in 1985, Sir Roger stepped back from the big screen, favouring cameos over leading roles. That’s not to say he wasn’t busy, however. Sir Roger became a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef in 1991 and remained active in the role for over two decades, visiting Ghana, Honduras, and the Philippines in the process.

With the acting world still at his feet, after retiring from the Bond franchise in 1985, Sir Roger stepped back from the big screen, favouring cameos over leading roles. Instead his new passion was being a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef from 1991 and  he remained active in the role for over two decades, visiting Ghana, Honduras, and the Philippines in the process.

Moore was knighted for services to charity in 2003. “The knighthood for my humanitarian work meant more than if it had been for my acting,” he told the Guardian.

Whilst going through lots of anecdotes in preparation for writing this post about a young boy who once met Sir Roger back in 1983 before their paths crossed again decades later in a professional capacity and I thought it was too good not to share.

“As a seven-year-old in about 1983, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports, I was with my grandad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper. I told my granddad I’d just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph. My grandad had no idea who James Bond or Roger Moore were, so we walked over and he popped me in front of Roger Moore, with the words “my grandson says you’re famous. Can you sign this?”

“As a seven-year-old in about 1983, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports, I was with my grandad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper. I told my granddad I’d just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph. My grandad had no idea who James Bond or Roger Moore were, so we walked over and he popped me in front of Roger Moore, with the words “my grandson says you’re famous. Can you sign this?”

As charming as you’d expect, Roger asks my name and duly signs the back of my plane ticket, a fulsome note full of best wishes. I’m ecstatic, but as we head back to our seats, I glance down at the signature. It’s hard to decipher it but it definitely doesn’t say ‘James Bond’. My grandad looks at it, half figures out it says ‘Roger Moore’ – I have absolutely no idea who that is, and my hearts sinks. I tell my grandad he’s signed it wrong, that he’s put someone else’s name – so my grandad heads back to Roger Moore, holding the ticket which he’s only just signed.

I remember staying by our seats and my grandad saying “he says you’ve signed the wrong name. He says your name is James Bond.” Roger Moore’s face crinkled up with realisation and he beckoned me over. When I was by his knee, he leant over, looked from side to side, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said to me, “I have to sign my name as ‘Roger Moore’ because otherwise…Blofeld might find out I was here.” He asked me not to tell anyone that I’d just seen James Bond, and he thanked me for keeping his secret. I went back to our seats, my nerves absolutely jangling with delight. My grandad asked me if he’d signed ‘James Bond.’ No, I said. I’d got it wrong. I was working with James Bond now.

Many, many years later, I was working as a scriptwriter on a recording that involved UNICEF, and Roger Moore was doing a piece to camera as an ambassador. He was completely lovely and while the cameramen were setting up, I told him in passing the story of when I met him in Nice Airport. He was happy to hear it, and he had a chuckle and said “Well, I don’t remember but I’m glad you got to meet James Bond.” So that was lovely.

And then he did something so brilliant. After the filming, he walked past me in the corridor, heading out to his car – but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, “Of course I remember our meeting in Nice. But I didn’t say anything in there, because those cameramen – any one of them could be working for Blofeld.”

I was as delighted at 30 as I had been at 7. What a man. What a tremendous man.”

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