Sick Again

Seasonal tradition – the pre-festive flu


Body aching like I’ve been thrown several times against a wall. Head hurting like it’s been clamped firmly in a vice, and someone is still turning the screw and I’m coughing like an old tramp nurtured on full tar cigarettes and left out for several days in the rain.

« Can’t give you any antibiotics » says the doctor,

« Just stay home in the warm. Take plenty paracetemol and above all, do nothing. »

And with a flourish of his drug company-sponsored pen, the doc signs off « Here you are » he announces and with a big beaming smile he pushes a form a across the desk

« What’s this? »

« A médical certificate for a week’s sick leave. Doctor’s orders, stay home for a week and do nothing. »

« Nothing ! »

Yes, those are the doctor’s orders – nothing.

Now, there are some people I know who would simply ignore médical advice, and, even with a médical certificate, would crawl into work and work, just to prove to everyone else, that what they do is so important, that no one can do without them, and it is thanks to such « heroics » that a everyone else gets sick.

I am going to firmly follow doctor’s orders

YES you’re ill. You’ve got flu or something nastier and though you are not going to die, you certainly feel in a state close to mortal demise.

Get it into your head that you won’t be fit for work

Doctor’s orders – DO NOTHING.

And that is exactly what I do for a week. I do nothing.

I head home, a shivering wreck. I pop a fistful of paracetemol, pull on a grotty old tracksuit, fill a hot water bottle and then wrap myself in a huge duvet and settle down in front of the TV for a week of nothing.

Yep folks – I’ve spent all week watching TV

The news channels, the soap channels, the shopping channels, the kids’ channels, the vintage re-run channels, the religious channels, the crafting channels.

I’ve watched watched North Korean Missiles tests with non stop beaming faced images of « Rocket man ». I’ve seen Laura Ingells comes to blows with Nelly Olsen, I’ve cruised on the Love Boat, I’ve solved murders with Angela Landsbury, I’ve been to Southfork and back via Falcon’s Crest. I’ve learned how to make « lovely » Christmas décorations and « scrapbooking-style » Christmas cards. I’ve learned how to cook the perfect turkey. I’ve drooled over everything from hot rocks and cool diamonds on the jewelery channel to power vacuums, slow cookers, fitness machines and stairlifts on the shopping channels. I’ve watched Christians, Moslems, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs all ranting their rants – I’ve had calls to prayer, calls ro reason and advice to bring me closer to God.

And in-between the programs – commercial and more commercials with slippers, surgical stockings, death insurance, more bloody chairlifts, exercise aids for the elderly, Christmas chocolates and incontinence pants and checks for colon cancer and urinary probems for older men

AAAAAGH – If I were old. I’m only 52 and in every bloody ad or programme or propoganda slot for the « elderly » it is echoed and re-echoed «NOW YOU ARE OVER 50 … »

Yes I must accept that at 50 you turn into a gibbering, slobbering, incontinet, piss stinking, disabled, semi senile , pyjama-wearing, slipper shuffling wreck. AAAAAAAGH.

Oh Thank God, I’ve found Boomerang TV on the satellite – re-runs of the original Hanna Barbera cartoons – Scooby Doo, Flintstones, The Jetsons …

Hey, If advertisers think I should be senile at 50, might as well watch some kids TV.

What I have loved about this week in the Twilight TV sickness world – all the mid morning ménopause unf*** your f****d-up life TV –

Forgotten second rate stars back from the grave with a book to sell and a career to relaunch.

The youngish, late fortysomething replastified bimbo looks caringly and meaningfully into the UV gaze of the late sixtysomething soap survivor –

« Tell me how did …


breast cancer

the loss of your pet dog


Drug addiction


Sexual breakdown


affect your life ? »

« And what is the subject of your new book ? »


And in this week of TV watching, I have loved all these heart-tugging broken family shows – like Jeremy Kyle

Get a mid morning TV slot, when all the world’s misfits are just rolling out of bed, and wheel some obese, loud-mouthed, no-brain, white trash dysfuntional families into the studio, get them screaming at each other, and you’ve got one shit hot TV show.

The Usual stuff :

Mother sleeps with daughter’s boyfriend a few weeks away from the wedding.

Husband-to-be is sleeping with his fiancé’s sister.

Father-in-law having a fling with his future daughter-in-law.

And after a venomous slanging match it all ends in tears and a big hug.

When I hear people at work reeling off about their perfect lives and their perfect kids, I always feel that I have kind of failed somewhere in my life, but it takes a week of watching Daytime TV to show me otherwise – aspiring and subscribing to the dreams, hopes and fears of the stay-at-homes – for whatever reason people have to stay home.

It takes all sorts to make up a world, and we all need some kind of place in this crazy world.

Back to work tomorrow – fighting fit and one thing is for sure – the first thing someoneis going to say « Did you enjoy your holiday ? »






The Leaf, the Witch and the Hedgehog (A “neighborly” autumn tale)

The old lady across the road stares at me with autumn acrimony, holding me in her leafy gaze as I turn into my driveway. Like an old witch she shakes her broom at me and utters a seasonal curse. She used to scare me, now I know she is just totally mad – the madness of having time on your hands and very little to worry about. Some people call it retirement.

It’s all about leaves, my leaves, or those that fall from the maple tree in my front garden – the branches overhang the street and … in summer the old lady parks her car, on my side of the street, under my tree, under the vast leafy canopy that offers shady respite from the warm sun.

In autumn she leaves notes in my letterbox asking me to perform a « neighbourly gesture » and sweep up the leaves.

« All your leaves end up on my side of the street and they blow into my garden, and I’m too old to sweep them up. »

She is happy enough about her summer parking space, but when leaves fall in the fall.

Occasionally she sweeps the leaves from her side of the street back over to my side of the street, but they all blow back to her side, so she started sweeping the leaves into my front garden and then – in an escalation of « leaf wars », she would bag up the leaves from my tree that had fallen into her garden and come to dump them in my garden.

So, I raked and swept and shredded and filled my composter until it choked, then I picked up, bagged up and loaded up the car with bags of leaves to take to the local garden dumpster, and I returned home to find more leaves and I returned home to find the old witch sweeping up leaves, cursing as the wind whirled up and blew away the piles of leaves she had so carefully heaped up, ready for despatch into my garden. She cursed the wind again, angrily shaking her broom at the sky. I thought about saying hello, but she just flew off.

I did my neighbourly duty and swept and raked and shredded again and decided to call it a day when the day called it night and the sun slowly yawned, swallowing the light and the kind of dusty autumn dusk hazed in.

Bags and more bags and nowhere to store them and an evil idea comes to mind – to creep out in the middle of the night and hump my bags across the street and empty them over the witch’s fence. That is cruel, and with Halloween upon us, this is no time to upset anyone endowed with dark magical powers

So, as every year, leaves and more leaves, composted, shredded, bagged up and disposed of, save those last leaves – piled up at the end of my garden. A place of winter « residence » for our visiting hedgehogs. They nestle down deep in the leafy mountain and have done so every winter for the last ten years

Forgotten Soldier

It’s one of those  airless,  hot summer Sundays. The world is on holiday, deepest France is in full summer slumber – a perfect time for a country drive, on uncluttered winding roads – across the fields and through the forests. On a photo safari down to the village of Souesmes, sight of a major battle in 1944 between local resistance fighters and the Wehrmacht heading north to reinforce German forces fighting in Normandy. This is the centre of France, where, in July and August 1944 over a quarter of a million German troops  heading north to south and west to east, were stopped in their tracks by the local Resistance. There are hundreds of small roadside monuments commemorating such events and occasionally village war memorials inscribed with the names of the dead from World war Two and World War One – in many villages nowadays the names of the dead from both wars are greater than the number of current inhabitants. Here are some photos of an “unknown soldier” on a village war memorial. His face shows the suffering and scars of war and his state of decay shows the indifference of modern France where once the link between the nation’s army and its citizens was a true historical and moral bond. here is the forgotten soldier.

Of Satellite TV, Advertising, Barbecues, German supermarkets French Wine, Napoleon, British Bangers and the Metric System

I love my satellite TV – over 300 channels and I can still say (hand on heart) that there is nothing to watch of en evening. Take out the news channels, the plethora of religious channels, the shopping channels and TV reality channels – there isn’t much choice left, BUT, I do get British TV. I have a direct window on British news, views and contemporary culture . I can enjoy some excellent drama and also follow my favourite soap operas. Best of all, (and the best indicator of social and economic trends) I get all the ads –

British ads are so different from the French TV commercials. They are funnier, quirkier and far more professional than their French equivalents – There is nothing better tan the humble TV commercial to highlight the cultural divide between France and Britain.

On this, the hottest weekend of the year so far, when common sense would dictate that we all crawl under a stone rather than stand outside in the blazing sun, the good folks don my street are all firing up their barbecues. Midday was the sound of popping corks, as neighbours « unplugged » their rosé wine, and come early afternoon – following a long aperitif, the air was thick with the irresistible odour of sizzling meat.

I daresay this scene is being repeated across the Channel – everywhere in the UK is enjoying unseasonably warm weather – And on both sides of the water, there will be people crawling in to work tomorrow morning with hangovers and red raw flesh burned by the sun – Yes folks, never get too drunk on a hot day like today, and never snooze off in the sun for a drunken post BBQ nap.

Back at the commercial break, I am watching an ad for that German discount supermarket with an unpronounceable name – Lidl –

The ad is doing the hard sell on BBQ goodies. I am told that at Sainsbury’s supermarket, a good bottle of French Champagne will set me back £30, BUT for the same price at Lidl, I can get a second rate bottle of French fizz, a bottle of French white and French Rosé wine, several slices of Italian ham and a Moroccan cous cous, all for £29,95. Now I am not sure that the advertisers have actually understood what a cous cous really is, and they perhaps mean Taboulé – notwithstanding that’s quite a bit of food and booze for just under thirty quid and it’s all FRENCH – Oh thank you European Single Market. Oh thank you EU trade deals. Oh thank you EU. On this, the day before Britain sends a delegation to Brussels, to being Brexit negotiations. AH, all those European garden party goodies. How much will they cost after Brexit? Food for thought indeed. BUT if you are enjoying beer, burgers and sausages – yes they might be British bangers made at your local butcher’s, but they were made in regulation with EU-inspired food and hygiene norms. As for that beer, are you sure it isn’t a continental lager ? Perhaps from Belgium?

And that was a tenuous link into my next rant which takes you (dear reader) to Belgium) and the small village of Watterlot, known to the Brits as Waterloo.

Before we head to the site of the famous battle though, a quick final word on TV ads – you would never get that Lidl ad on French TV. Under national French TV regulations it is illegal to advertise alcohol on TV.

Off to Waterloo, which was a battle that gave its name to a London mainline train station and the 1974 Eurovision- winning ABBA song.

Napoleon cartoon wih more than a littlle hint of Mr Stallone

So the Brits named a station after a victory against Napoleon, well the French did the same – Austerlitz train station in Paris, named after old Bonaparte’s December 1805 victory over a Russian/Austrian army under the command of Czar Alexander 1st (Austerlitz is situated in the boundaries of the modern Czech republic)

Now we have a phrase in French –«  C’est son Waterloo » – meaning that it is a person’s last heroic but futile stand. Ironically (more Brexit) Britain begins Brexit negotiations tomorrow (Monday 19th June) in the Belgium capital of Brussels, just 30 kilometres from the battlefield of Waterloo. Will this be the British Waterloo – in the French sense ?

Napoleon – love him or hate him – left us a few daily reminders. He was the guy who introduced the metric system to France and eventually to Europe. I noticed this week, after the tragic events at Grenfell House in northwest London, all the journalists, fire fighters and assorted experts were giving their measurements in metres.

Back t the weather – on Sunday June 18th 1815 it was raining and the battlefield was heavy going for the cavalry. On Sunday June 18th, afternoon temperatures in my corner of France hit the 34°c mark. On the Friday night BBC London News bulletin, a very voluptuous lady informed viewers that Saturday temperatures would hit a 32°c high – no more Fahrenheit on the BBC, although wind speeds are still given in miles per hour.

Meanwhile back at the Lidl advert, the bottle sizes are being quoted in centilitres and the weights are in grammes and t is all for French wine. Perhaps Napoleon did win in the long run.

Okay – time to sign off and uncork a bottle of French Rosé. Later on, I’ll be having my Father’s day treat of a juicy Aberdeen Angus steak with good old Mc Cain oven chips made in the Netherlands.

Before I go, this Sunday is polling day in the second round of French parliamentary elections – this isn’t one to bet on, Emmanuel Macron’s « La République en Marche » party is set to wipe the board a forecast puts him at over 400 seats in the 570 seat French parliament. I can’t help thinking of a recently elected British prime minister who would love a similar majority – no snuggling up to the nasty Unionists.

Of course, voter turnout has been low, everyone here is too busy at the BBQ to go and vote.

Ok it is officially wine time.


The Election After the Night Before

Personal ramblings and flawed analysis on the Presidential blip in France and scares of a right wing victory

Monday April 24th 2017

It is a warm, sunny day of lilac and birdsong. The wisteria is thick with its long purple flowers and the lawn is pushing up daisies everywhere – seems almost a shame to cut the grass, which was the main reason I decided to take the afternoon off work. I’d vote that all days be like this.

Sunday too, was a pleasant day, just warm enough to fire up the barbecue and eat in the garden, which was what many people did before heading to the polling station in the afternoon to cast their vote in the first round of the French presidential election.

Yes, this is France, and obviously the French do nothing like anyone else , so the presidential election is held over two rounds.

In the first round a handful of minority parties for the far flung edges of French politics jockey for position with the mainstream candidates to get their point across. Call them the no-hopers or men and women, so passionate about their lost cause, that they will spend weeks or months on the election trail fighting their corner in the full knowledge that they will only get, at best, 2% of the vote. Within the ranks of the no-hopers this time around – a couple of Trostskyist parties, an anti-European candidate, an ultra Gaullist and a Farmers’ party – a candidate representing the interests of the nations agricultural/rural lobby.

A long time back, the far right-wing Front National (FN) was also a minority party – a band of ultra catholic nationalists ; nostalgic for a Franco-French Vichy-style France. The FN hovered around the 9% mark – branded as fascists and anti-semites, they never seemed to seriously worry anyone, until April 21st 2002, when they made it through to the second round of the French presidential election by beating the mainstream socialist party candidate, Lionel Jospin, into third place.

In the French two round system only the two candidates with the biggest scores make it through to the second round.

April 21st 2002 – panic stations. The FN candidate, Jean Marie Le Pen was in a run off with the Republican party candidate, Jacques Chirac. There were calls for an anti FN, Republican alliance and the left, however unwillingly, voted Chirac in the second round ensuring he won with a resounding 82% of the popular vote – quite astounding when you know that French elections are normally a 51%- 49% affair.

Now the FN are back with a 21% share of the first round vote, and a place in the second round of voting, to be held in two weeks time. Is this a disaster ? I think not, the other candidate in the presidential run-off – Emmanuel Macron, should, short of a disaster, win hands down ; however, France has changed since 2002, and the shock will come if the FN and their presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, poll over 35% – if this is the case, she will be the true winner of the election. Note that we are not voting in favour of a candidate and his policies, rather we are voting against a candidate who presents a potential danger for France, and such has been the stuff of French elections for may a year – a vote against rather than a vote in favour.

Think back to May 15th 2012. Around 8pm the official result of the French presidential election is announced – François Hollande. A real shock – this diminutive bloke with a wonky tie, crumpled suits and all the charisma of a small town grocer had suddenly become president of France. How did that happen ? I still remember the look on the new president’s face when he gave his first press conference after securing the presidency – it was one of total disbelief, he genuinely did not expect to win, but he didn’t win, the French simply turned out en masse to vote against the other candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sunday 15th May, I watched the interminable election coverage long into the night, then switched off the TV and went to sleep for the next five years. Sure the next morning, I must have been like President Hollande himself, pinching myself just to make sure this wasn’t just a dream. I used to be passionate about French politics, styling myself as a «keen observer» and blogging at length on the subject, but there was something about François Hollande that just left me indifferent, unconcerned.

Like many people I think I’ve spent the last five years under sedation. It’s not that Hollande was a bad president, he was just a non-president, and even he realised that the day that he announced he would not be seeking to renew his mandate in the 2017 French presidential elections.

Sure, a lot has happened in the past five years, a lot of tragic events – the murder of journalists in the january 2015 «Charlie Hebdo» attacks, the November 2015 terrorism in Paris, the July 14th massacre in Nice, and just a few days ago, the murder of a police officer on the Champs Elysées – and of course, the presidential mandate started with the fractious and damaging national debate on same sex marriage, where century-old religious cleavages were once again opened. What passed off peacefully, as a progressive and common sense reform in most other countries, in France was branded as a major societal change and taken up by the left as a crusade. However, despite fractious and tragic events, when we take a look back at the Hollande presidency we will seriously ask the question « What happened ? – What did President Hollande actually do? »

This time round of course we are not voting against Hollande, he is not running, but we are voting against the socialist party in general. The once venerable and mighty party with its great history and legendary heros like Leon Blum, Jean Jaurès, and François Mitterrand, only polled 7% in the first round; historically the worst score ever for the party. What happened? Where were the socialist voters?

Well over the past few years, the French socialist party has gone the same way as the British labour party – it has become an essentially middle class club for the Chattering Classes – bright young Parisian intellectuals who worry more about breaking links with the past and building a brave new multicultural society. The French socialist party has become a very Boho affair. Traditional working class supporters abandoned the party years ago and started voting in droves for the Front National, which was also the fate of the Communist Party. Many observers say this presidential election is the death knell of the socialist party and they put the blame squarely on the shoulders of one man – François Hollande – lack of any real policy, lack of leadership – an uncharismatic and indecisive leader.

So, France voted against the socialists and in a couple of weeks, we will all be heading to the polls to vote against the FN. And who are the candidates in round two?

Marine Le Pen – not really a fascist, but a far/extreme right wing nationalist and populist candidate playing on fears of immigration, terrorism. She is the French « Brexit » lady. She currently has a 21% share of the vote and could draw support from conservative fringe candidates from the first round and ironically she could als draw a lot of support from disillusioned socialist voters for her stance on immigration and French jobs for French workers. (She’s no words than, or just as bad as Donald Trump)

Emmanuel Macron – François Hollande’s ex- finance minister who left the government to found « En Marche» – his own popular/citizen movement in a catch-all Blairite mode. This is the guy who will break the traditional two party mold of French politics and «refound» France. mr macron will draw in huge support from the anti FN alliance that is quickly forming.

And finally, I should have spent the last few months giving in depth wall-to-wall, 24/7 blog coverage to the election, but I’ve just kind of lost interest in French politics. Guess I’ll need to wake up.

In Praise of Sensible Cakes.

maxresdefaultThe French call it « Gouter », which for want of a better translation would be « teatime » in English, however, depending of where you live in England’s green and pleasant land, « tea » can be one of several different meals.

So, I am not talking full blown « afternoon tea » – that meal in-between meals enjoyed mostly by tourists, neither am I talking « teatime », that term used in the North of England to describe what us southerners might simply call « dinner » – because in Northern England, « dinner » is actually your lunch.

Back to the French « gouter » which is no more than a couple of biscuits or a choclate bar or some kind of sweet snack that kids wolf down when they arrive home from school.

So, this being Saturday – I hit the supermarket like the thousands of other souls in this small town who shop on Saturday morning, because that is the time that everyone goes shopping. Long lines at the checkout, bumper-to-bumper trolleys in the aisles and … the « phenomen » that annoys me above all else – people meeting and chatting and standing right in the middle of the aisle as they do so, oblivious to the fact that they are blocking the way for everyone. I wish supermarket trolleys were equipped with horns ; I’d honk all thses aisle hogs – worse than road hogs.

Back to cake

It was on leaving the house that my daughter asked me (shouting from her bedroom) « dad can you bring back a cake (gâteau) for the gouter »

A cake – oh please for a real, sensible cake ! A Victoria sponge, a carrot cake, a banana and walnut, a Dundee cake – something copious, solid and sensible. This is France though, and the French don’t do decent cakes (I can hear howls of gastronomic francophile anguis as I write) – Yes the French have Patisseries – icing-covered, cream filled créations hat are better to look at than taste. Oh the chocolate eclair – NO, that is not a cake, it’s an éclair – and worse the coffee cream éclair. I don’t want fancy pâtisseries, I want a slice of carrot cake.

Of course, for the purposes of the « gouter », when the daughter says « gâteau » and I translate as cake, I should of course have understood « biscuit » – yep, this is the country where a cake can be a biscuit and a biscuit – well that’s something fancy that pastry chefs use in their pâtisseries. Confused – you should be.

To avoid confusion we use brand names in my house

Nevertheless – I wandered into that aisle where sweets and biscuits are sold, looking for a real cake. Ginger bread, Brownies, « English » fruit cake, but nothing that I would consider as a real cake in my very English définition.

I might get a « cake » at the baker’s, but the baker is a baker and not a pâtissier, though there are a few fruit tarts (referred to in English as pies) because when the French make an apple pie, it is an apple tart.

Oh for real cake !

Yes, I can get almost real cake in my corner of deepest France, though I have to frequent one of the plethora of tea rooms or coffee shops that have opened up in my small provincial town.

Even then, the carrot cake on offer is a very small « ersatz » affair.

No decent cake. All this in the land where Marie Antoinette told the peasants to eat cake beceuqe they had no bread.

Lost in translation again. Marie Antoinette didn’t actually say cake or « gâteau » – she actually meant Brioche, which is Brioche, because we don’t have that in Britain because it’s French.

« Let them eat cake ! »

Perhaps if they’d given the peasants a nice slice of Victoria sponge and a decent cup of tea, we would never have had all this revolution nonsense.

Why did the Three Bears Go For a Walk In the Middle of Breakfast?

Hooray, it’s the weekend – that 48 hour blip when we all catch up on life – housework, washing, shoppingn and if you have kids, it’s that time for near-family breakdown as, last thing on Sunday night, your offspring retrieve their schoolbag form where they flung it on Friday evening, and begin their homework.

Hooray, my daughter has finished her formal school education meaning an end to the Sunday night homework stress. Notwithsatnding, as a teacher, Sunday is quite simply the prelude to Monday and is dedicated to lesson preparation. Looking for new and exciting ways to teach English grammar. The wife is working on probabilty, the mays and mights and what ifs and what could have happened … to impart these structures to her students she has hit on the idea of «Unsolved Mysteries»

So, here’s an unsolved mystery – the Mary Celeste. Being a lazy chap, I have «borrowed» the Wikpedia entry on the mysterious fate of this ship and her crew (I have to say it is succinct and well written and I certainly could not have done better.

Mary Celeste (often misreported as Marie Celeste) was an American merchant brigantine, discovered adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean, off the Azores Islands, on December 5, 1872. The Canadian brigantine Dei Gratia found her in a dishevelled but seaworthy condition, under partial sail, and with her lifeboat missing. The last entry in her log was dated ten days earlier. She had left New York City for Genoa on November 7, and on discovery was still amply provisioned. Her cargo of denatured alcohol was intact, and the captain’s and crew’s personal belongings were undisturbed. None of those who had been on board were ever seen or heard from again.

What might have happened to the crew of the Mary Celeste? What could have been their reasons fo abandonning ship? They might have been kidnapped by Aliens? They could all have just decided to go for a swim during the middle of dinner.

Looking for more exploitable and «teachable» unsolved mysteries, I suggest one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

Why did the three bears go for a walk?

Okay, so three bears living reasonably comfortably in a small house* in the woods, suddenly, during breakfast one morning, decide to go for a walk, and they don’t even lock the house when they’re gone.

*I say small house because mummy, daddy and baby bear all shared the same bedroom, so I guess we are in some kind of one up, one down cottage.

Imagine, you are in the middle of breakfast, perhaps not yet fully awake and therefore, not quite in your state of full mental awareness. You are waiting for your porridge to cool down and suddenly you just leave the house and go for a walk. Why?


I don’t know about you, but I take breakfast as soon as I get up, so I’m still in pyjamas and I certainly wouldn’t go for an early morning walk in my pyjamas, except to put the dustbins out or retrieve my morning paper from the letterbox.

What made daddy bear just walk out the house and what made mummy and baby bear follow him? A strange far off noise or lights in the sky – some distant and untoward event that merited closer investigation? It can’t have been all that «untoward» if the bears later returned.

Perhaps daddy bear just decided he needed a stroll around the garden whilst his porridge cooled down, and mummy and bear simply followed him outside – for we do not know actually how far the three bears went or even where they went or how long they were gone. Obviously they weren’t going far because they didn’t bother to lock their house. However they were gone long enough for Goldilocks to eat their porridge and have a nap.

Of course, the three bears lived in more reassuring times and they lived in the middle of a forest – they didn’t need to be as security conscious as modern bears. Unless of course, they simply rushed out the house so fast that they forgot to lock it or mummy and daddy bear were suffering from mild dementia or perhaps they were just stupid.

What if they had locked the house? Well Goldilocks might never have got in.

This of course brings me to the second unsolved mystery in the Three Bears Mystery. Who was Goldilocks and what was she doing wandering round the forest on her own early in the morning? (I say early because I presume the bears got up early, though we don’t know on what day this happened. Imagine it was a Sunday and the bears were actually sitting down for a brunch, generally taken later than breakfast)

So, at an unspecified time of the morning on an unspecified day, a blonde girl (of unspecified age) is walking through the woods on her own. Why? Is she too simply out for a walk in the middle of breakfast?

In some versions of the story, Goldilocks is a «little» girl. Why would a little girl be wandering around the woods on her own? Is she lost? Has she been abandonned by her parents? We know that Goldilocks is suffering from hunger and fatigue – she needs food and a bed – quite logical that she may venture into an empty house in search of sustenance and rest. If this last scenario were the case, We can assume that Goldilocks has been on the road for some time. Is she running away from some one? The girl needs help though. Just as well she found the bears’ house and not Hansel and Gretel’s bewitched, edible cottage.

Let us assume that Golidlocks is not «a little girl» but a teeanger advancing into adulthood. She might just be crossing the woods as a short cut home form a wild all night party. She might be fleeing from a gang of people smugglers? Or is there something more malevolent in the Goldilocks mystery – is she actively seeking the bears to steal their porridge? Was it indeed Goldilocks who created the diversion that made the bears leave their house?

Fairy tales are good for this kind of probability exercise.

Sleeping beauty for example – why wait 100 yars for a young prince to come and cut your hedge? A good gardener with a decent hedge timmer would have done it far sooner and far quicker.

The Seven Dwarves – They own a diamond mine for chrissake, but they live in a small cottage and all sleep in the same room. They don’t even employ a housekeeper – they wait until a princess comes along to do all the cooking ad cleaning for free. Are these dwarves just plain mean or is their some kind of sexual or masonic motif? Hey they all sleep together then along comes Snow White and no one even makes a play for her.

What if Cinderella hadn’t lost that glass slipper?

What if Munchkin laborers had gone on strike and not finished the Yellow Brick road before Dorothy blew in?

And what if I didn’t manage to find some plausible way to end this post?

And what did happen to Goldilocks?