Crisis Management

When the shit hits the fan there’ll be trouble
and there’s only one thing left to do,
we’ll all get our stories sounding consistent
and the blame will be squarely on you.

It’s not that we actually dislike you
and you’ve not caused us any real trouble,
but someone must take all the blame for this cock-up
and they’ll find your name lying in the rubble.

You’re in the unfortunate position
where it’s conceivable it might be your fault,
and you’re senior enough in a management role
that you could have called it all to a halt.

But the proper trend in these situations
is to frantically manoeuvre away
and distance yourself from disasters you caused
and let some other unfortunate pay.

Buying a carpet

Now, I know that this sounds just a little boring, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s not just the carpet that is beautiful, especially the hand-made ones, but there is also the whole process of buying a carpet. I’m talking about buying a carpet in the Middle East, although your local trader might give you the same service. You don’t have to buy a carpet; you can simply enjoy the show.

There is something incredibly relaxing about sitting in the shop, having a cup of tea brought around to you, and then going through the styles of carpets on offer. The number of carpets seems to muffle the stress of life and take the sharp edges off the day. I have spent a long time in such places, learning the difference between those carpets from Tabriz, Kerman, Esfahan, Qom, Nain in Iran, Bukhara, and Samarkand, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, along with various tribal designs from the Middle East. And I have enjoyed every minute of it.

I should note at this point that I hate shopping, but shopping for carpets does not feel like shopping to me. There are the different materials, from the wool on wool carpets, cotton-based carpets, the silk inlaid wool carpets, the silk on silk carpets that are so fine that you’d be scared of walking on them for fear of causing damage. But this is the point about carpets; they are made to be walked on. The more you walk on a wool carpet, the more you smooth the coarse wool fibres and make it feel soft and almost silky.

I am a sucker for a good Persian carpet, but that is my preference, there are many other options for fine carpets. And carpets don’t lose their value either. The more you wear a carpet, the more character it gets, and, provided that it is a genuine hand-made carpet with good tight knots, the better it will become. A good carpet is a feature of your house, both as a work of art, and also as friend to your feet.

Cynan the Mapmaker (613 – 651)

Cynan the Map-maker was born in Dyfed. He was the nephew of Prince Malgo and had a privileged life. He developed an interest in drawing and, as he grew older, became quite an accomplished map-maker. He was very close to the king and took the opportunity to learn how to read and write, giving him the ability to annotate his maps. He soon found himself travelling extensively outside of left Dyfed as various kingdoms clamoured for his services – he really was very good.

Cynan wandered through the country for a period of fifteen years, all the time drawing maps and keeping himself gainfully employed. While drawing came easy to Cynan, he rarely returned to Dyfed and he soon found that the life of the travelling artisan was not to his liking. He often had to stay in lodgings and villages that were not up to his regal standard. During this time he kept a diary and came up with the idea of writing a review of all of the villages he visited. This led to him writing his best known work – A Guide to Villages for the Discerning Traveller, which he published in 644. There are no surviving copies of the full manuscript and it is considered unlikely that there were many people who were able to read it. Literacy was uncommon in 7th Century Britain. He distributed it for free and it is said to have been considered an excellent fire starter on cold nights.

While most of his reviews have long since disappeared from the historical record, there are some that remain. The best example details one of his trips through the Kingdom of Mercia. This resulted in a particularly interesting chapter that has survived in tact to this day. He was not one to write a great deal about each village, but what he wrote made his point in a succinct manner. What follows is an example of his style (updated for the modern english language).


The village of Belche was not stimulating. It was full of backward people who, in all probability, should not be allowed to breed, judging by the result of the obvious in-breeding currently underway. I prefer my ale to be served by a barmaid with only five fingers, not six, and without a face so lopsided that it makes me feel dizzy.

The people of Lansing Boyle are unjustifiably proud of their hovels. This village is a wasteful use of wood, good farming land, and people.

After visiting Phestering, I realised that I have been to more interesting and attractive piles of human faeces than that place. It sits in the landscape like an abscess on the face of an otherwise fair maiden.

Glummeley Rogerring has no redeeming features. The inn served what can only be described as recycled vomit, and the lodgings were akin to sleeping in pig swill. The populace were among the most stupid I have ever come across.

Pocks-in-the-Nethers is easily the most attractive village in the region. This is not difficult, but I must give credit where credit is due. There are a refreshingly small number of dullards and oafs wandering the street, the ale made me feel only mildly unwell, not as if I was dying, and there was a steadfast adherence to mediocrity among all people. Shame about the food poisoning and rank smell that pervades the whole village.

As word spread about Cynan, he found that he found an icy welcome in most of the villages he visited. This was his own fault, as he would recite his review of one village in the neighbouring village; often after drinking copious amounts of ale. The fact that he was working for the local kings kept him from serious harm, but his life became a bit harder. His appalling memory meant that he sometimes returned to villages he’d slandered and found himself sleeping on the hardest bed, and served left-overs rather than freshly-cooked meals. This happened on a return visit to Pocks-in-the-Nethers, where he also contracted a pox in his nethers.

He eventually died a few years later, in 651, on his way to the funeral of Aiden of Lindisfarne. The soon to become Saint Aiden had died after, allegedly, saving the town of Bamburgh from fire (and from King Penda of Mercia, who had set fire to it) by getting God to change the wind direction through the power of prayer. Cynan’s fate was reportedly due to the effects of a serious case of foot-in-mouth disease. He suggested, within earshot of some very drunk local farmers with sharp scythes, that he’d seen weeping sores more attractive than their village of Fetid-on-the-Gnose.

A President’s Prayer

A President’s Prayer

Our President, somehow elected,
Delusion be his game.
It seems that he won
And there’s work to be done
And blame to be deflected.
Support  him today in his legal challenges.
And forgive him his petulant tweets,

As we forgive those who make petulant
tweets in response.
And lead him not into innovation,
But deliver him from progress.
For he has the Staff,
With the power and the will
To speak bullshit
For ever and ever.

That song…

There is a moment that happens out of the blue. It usually happens when you are in the middle of cleaning the bathroom, the kitchen, or the oven (well perhaps not the oven. I might happen when you are in the middle of dealing with a pile of paperwork, bills etc. It might even happen when you are cooking a meal, writing a book, washing the car, or maybe even just reading the paper top catch up on the latest disasters and incompetence of politicians.

Then you hear the first bars of a song on the radio. This is a song that takes you back to a great time in your life. It might be to do with a great time of your youth – your first crush at high school for instance, a great event at university, a personal achievement that made you feel on top of the world. Before you know it your foot starts tapping and your fingers follow along; your head begins to bob to the beat and you find yourself mouthing the words to yourself. Your knee then starts flexing, encouraging your hips to move to the rhythm. Arm movements follow and then suddenly you are down on your knees air-guitaring the guitar solo or dancing like a maniac around the room, the garden, or the office, singing in your toneless voice.

This is a priceless moment (and not just for those lucky enough to see you making a twat of yourself) that lifts you up for the whole day. You can’t help but feel better for it – the mundane reality has been pushed to one side, washed away by a moment of pure uninhibited joy. It’s the little things that make life fun!

WARP releases new policies

For all those interested, my political party has released some new policies – there is a looming election over here and we intend to tackle the big issues!


Faultless Rufus (1544 -1599)

Faultless Rufus was a contemporary of William Shakespeare. He was a failed playwright who lived in London. His origins are not clear, but it is believed that he was born near Southwark and spent his youth working as a carter. He always wanted to write for a living, however, once his limitations as a playwright became apparent he changed direction. He took to the commercial world of public relations in an attempt to make a living. He offered his services to various trading ventures and worked hard to write them slogans that would help sell their wares.

His real name was Rufus Barking, but his inability to tell lies in his first chosen profession led him to gain the ironic name Faultless. His acquaintances often said that his only fault was that he was too honest, and this is what spelt the death of his first chosen profession. His plays were incredibly tedious affairs that reflected no fantasy or anything remotely different from real life. People didn’t want this; they had enough of the disappointments of real life on a daily basis and yearned for a fantasy or humourous escapism.

His inability to tell lies in his new chosen profession led him to gain the name Faultless, his only fault being that he was honest to a fault. His slogans included, Stinks like a Lord, but fit for a King’s table, to promote the wares of local fish merchant Mudlark Molloy. This caused some controversy, mainly from various lords who maintained that they didn’t stink at all; subsequent research proved them wrong. From this moment Faultless Rufus was walking on thin ice. He was firmly in the sights of the aristocracy.

Another slogan, Deflowerin Maidens – London’s best brothel – Only a 40% chance of catching the pox, earned him the wrath of the female population of London. They were incensed that he had stooped to advertising the sex industry. He followed this with an advert for a local medical practice, The Leech House – Have your blood sucked out by us, not the tax collectors. This earned him a special visit from the tax collectors, who delivered him two black eyes and kick in the groin. This slowed him down for a while but he continued his relentless quest for honesty in advertising.

His best known piece was a sonnet to promote London as a tourist destination for the rest of the world. It was Queen Elizabeth’s idea; she personally commissioned the work. Rufus toiled on this for many months, agonising over how best to promote his native city. He eventually produced his final draft of Come to London in November 1599. He was promptly arrested, charged with treason, and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Since his honesty had alienated most of the influential population, his appeals for clemency fell on deaf ears. He was executed on 24 December 1599. The Queen was reported as being delighted by the outcome of the trial that never happened and commented that his hanging should serve as a warning to anybody who spread malicious lies about London – even if they were true.

Come to London (Sewer of the West)

I drifted lonely as a turd,
Through open sewers of London town,
With an odour of which most have heard,
This is the Jewel in England’s crown.
Come moor your boat at Greenwich Docks,
The Bloody Flux and Plague await,
As does a strong dose of the pox,
If you take our women on a date.
Come stroll throughout our putrid place,
Eat dodgy meals that make your shiver,
Then let our thugs rearrange your face,
And dump you senseless in the river.
Come to London and I think you’ll find,
That we’ll rob you foreign bastards blind

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