Monday, 22 August 2011


I haven't been to Italy for ages and my view of it is across between A Room with a View and La Dolce Vita. Some like it hot and I like it hot but it was too hot. As in closed oven hot. But everything else about it was Merchant and Ivory drop dead romantic. We travelled to Le Marche which is like Tuscany but they do it for real rather than for show. I think it's less to do with the fact they don't know how to market themselves and more to do with the fact they are not prepared to sell themselves. We rode horses in between gorgeous medieval villages void of tourist shops and trappings but full of butchers, bakers and shoe makers. We mountain biked, which was exciting and terrifying and still have skin on my knees which is a miracle. Having gone full pelt over my bike around Richmond Park on many occasions I now have scars on both knees which will be with me forever that look like carpet burns. Hey ho.

The trekking through the gorges was magical. Stunning countryside, dappled light, ice cold water but on that hot day it didn't matter. It was the perfect piercing hot temperature for ice cold water. Eating peaches that dripped with sweet juice. Lov-er-ly. And the paragliding which made me feel like an eagle although I undoubtedly looked like an ugly turkey. I didn't care. I was told by one of the head honchos that 'this is a sport for men to do manly things amongst men.' Well they got a mother and her son for a morning, and in my articles, I'm going to get more mums and their children to do the same. Fabulous experience, utterly amazing barring the cow pats we landed in on the way down. Thank goodness they were dried. (Thank you sun!)

Saturday, 13 August 2011


So the riots have subsided. I don't think it was the police, nor the government rhetoric, nor the announcement by Cameron that we have a broken society, more profound than he or his speech writers realised (see my blog on mindgames, mud and Murdoch). It was the fact that shopkeepers in the end were standing outside their homes prepared to protect their properties and small businesses from the looters. The looters expected public support for their actions, because there is obscene imbalance between the wealthy and the poor and the recent cuts have impacted much more on the poor than the wealthy. And although they have no right to loot, they do have a right to be furious.

The student protestors had public sympathy in general, but the looters lost it as soon as they attacked homes and small businesses (they should have stuck to the big soul less brands synonymous with big business and false promises) and the parts of London synonymous with the greedy. As it was, the poor were robbing from the poor. The 'full force of the law' is not the way to deal with the broken society. The Law is one of the institutions that is broken.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


I'm in Austria watching what is happening in the UK on CNN. They are showing lots of images of buildings blazing, shops being looted, and a man being helped up by people who then proceed to mug him. There's also some highly articulate people talking about why the riots are happening. Why the rioters have absolutely nothing to lose. That the 'have nots' are now having something to say about it.

The other story is how the stock market is going up and down like a yo yo. The story if you like is about those people who 'have'. People dont' give a diddly squat about what happens on the stock market. We are told it matters - we know it matters - the recent financial crash had global implications for all of us, and are continuing to (re read first paragraph). Billions of pounds have been made in the last few days by those who are playing with the market. The money is numbers, meaningless unless you have that much money to play with in the first place. Global gambling. Legalised mugging. This lot are bored as well.

The gangs are setting fire to the wrong parts of London.