353 days ago
A kind reader sent Joshua some old fashioned postcards of railway trains. Half of them are now framed and sit at the top of the landing. Beneath them are just some of the books written by family members. One has a very famous pair of pants.
814 days ago
I had explained about the Oracle to young Joshua, take to your wooden walls and all that. But what fascinated him about Delphi is the man he terms “my great, great Uncle” that is to say David Cochrane. I have covered his death in 1931 many times here and his portrait hangs in our kitchen back at the Welsh Hovel.
995 days ago
At what point will the Government and MPs wake up to how useless is the FCA. I first warned a leading figure, Sir George Young (now Lord Young), that it was asleep at the wheel – with regard to the £3 billion Quindell fraud – back in 2013. The complacent old fool assured his errant step nephew and second cousin that the regulator knew what it was doing and I had no need to do anything more. Of course it did not. Belatedly MPs are waking up to the failings of the FCA with regard to London & Capital Finance but there have been a stream of other mini-bond disasters where I have issued explicit warnings over two years and the FCA has done BUGGER ALL to stop them from continuing to raise funds. Some have already gone tits up so losing vulnerable savers hundreds of millions of pounds. Others are car crashes in waiting. I am so angry at the FCA for letting down those who are most vulnerable.
2477 days ago
My father gave this watch to me some years ago and has now and again asked where it is. "Somewhere" I replied truthfully if evasively. I feared greatly that it had been stolen while my possessions were stored in London at the pizza place. I knew at least one of the staff was a thief so why not? This loss preyed on my conscience as when they found the body of my father's Uncle David in 1932 it was by his watch and passport that it was identifiable, having lain at the bottom of a Greek mountain for more than a year.
The story of the death of David Cochrane on the mountain opposite Delphi, now known as Kokranos mountain by the locals, is one that I followed up on the ground a couple of years ago as you can read HERE in a series of photo articles.
Dad and I are perhaps the only folks who really care what happened.
3456 days ago
On my way back from ancient Delphi I climbed the seemingly endless steps to the Church and graveyard here for one last look at the small cluster of protestant stones in the corner. As last time, there was no David. But on my way back to my hotel I bumped into George, owner of the excellent Hotel Pitho and we spotted the priest…in a taverna.
He had been told about me and we chatted. No Church records would have been kept of a non-Orthodox burial and as David was a protestant that meant one dead end.
I am certain that having fallen down the Delphi (not Desfina) side of Mount kirthos/Cochrane he would have been buried here. A letter from the foreign office to the then Sir George Young states that my great grandparents wanted him buried “locally”.
Thus according to Greek tradition his bones would have been removed after a couple of decades but after a while the box in the charnel house would have contained nothing but dust. I asked the priest what happens then? “A hole” said he. So that is it, the last remains of David went down a hole with the dust that was one other residents of the Delphi graveyard. His dust now mingles with the Greek soil.
And so there is nothing to take back from Greece to England. Nothing physical anyway. The photos of Cochrane Mountain and tales of how he is remembered via the mountain, even if fewer and fewer folks know the full story, go back with me. I know that various family members have already seen the photos. This part of the story is now over. There is little more that can be discovered.
3488 days ago
My video postcard this weekend covered my plans to go to Greece after the UK Investor Show to track down the graves of my two great Uncles: Francis and David Cochrane. I think we have now firmly established that Francis is buried in Egypt (contrary to a family myth) where he died on December 21st 1942 from wounds received fighting the Germans. For him the great mystery is the odd circumstances of his marriage.
He married a Diana Norman in Paddington in the late summer of 1938. Apparently the witness at the registry office was the taxi driver. However despite living in Chelsea, two miles from my grandparents and fifteen miles from his parents, he did not tell anyone of his marriage until the summer of 1942 (my Grandmother’s diary confirms this) when, before leaving for Egypt he visited relatives with his bride of four years.
This seems very odd behaviour. Almost as odd is that this is the last time Diana Norman is seen – she had absolutely no contact thereafter with my family. I can find no record of her death so can only assume that she is either still alive (she would now be 99), died abroad or re-married and has died under another name. Investigations continue. My father and I are on the case.
As for poor David, he is certainly buried in Greece. I have today received two items from my father. The first is a letter to the Times from Mr Caclamanos of the Greek Legation in London. It protests in the strongest terms about the actions of Sir George Young, grandfather of the current Leader of the House and of my step-mother, who had taken up the case of David, insisting that he had been killed by brigands or by shepherds who, according to Sir George, routinely killed anyone who tried to stop their dogs barking.
The Greek states that “I understand that the contents of the letter and other declarations of Sir George of this subject, sent out in Press telegrams, have caused an outburst of protests in Greece, and they are considered an unjust and unfair comment of a sad, fortuitous event, which could not in any way reflect upon the reputation of a country justly claiming to be safe for tourists and travellers as any other civilised country.”
To his eternal credit, Sir George worked tirelessly on this case because his wife was my Great Grandmother’s sister. My father is indeed married to his second cousin. The second item to arrive from Shipston is a rather sad letter from the Foreign Office to Sir George noting that, after a year missing, the remains of the body of poor David had been found in thick bushes with his passport, a cheque and his English money and gold watch. No brigands, no robbery, he simply fell down a ravine.
This letter confirms that following the wishes of David’s father, “regarding the burial locally of the remains have been communicated to his Majesty’s Minister.” It seems that no-one travelled out to Greece for the funeral but the grave is almost certainly in Delphi or nearby. And thus it is to Delphi that I will be heading in April.
3708 days ago
My father says that the daughter of Sir George Young (his brother in law) let it be known at a recent family gathering that she was cross with me for writing on this blog a suggestion that her Dad was not virile. I do not know what she was smoking but I have never discussed the virility of Sir George here or anywhere else. The parastical political classes seem to think that the rest of us have an interest in that sort of thing. We really don’t give a damn..
I did opine that since he was not middle aged, Sir George, could not have been one of the Downing street lovers ( they were identified early on as both being middle aged). But as to what Sir George is like in the sack, I know nothing and care even less.
3770 days ago
It seems as if Sunday 2nd June 2013 was the busiest day in the history of this blog – a happy first anniversary. More than 42,000 page impressions in one day is about the same as I enjoyed in the whole of the first eight weeks of this site. Of course I know that it is nothing to do with this being my first anniversary and all to do with those magic words #DowningStreetAffair.
Right now I sit onboard the 21.42 from Paddington heading for a few days with my father and step mother, the arch deluded lefties of Shipston on Stour. I appeared to be in everyone’s good books for volunteering to baby sit for step sister Flea on Wednesday. As an added benefit, by the time I had volunteered she already had another offer and so I am off the hook.
However I now appear to have regained evil son status by suggesting that my Step Mother phones her brother Sir George Young asking him for his take on the Downing Street affair. Apparently this was not considered funny – I was only kidding.
Apparently I am still suspected of selling some story about “wicked Uncle George” (being a Tory he is naturally considered wicked in my family) to Private Eye about 20 years ago. On that occasion I was blameless. But I suspect folks are right not to bank on my discretion were Sir George to spill the beans. Not that most of us won’t already know all by the morning as twitter and the foreign press force Call Me Dave to come clean.
3771 days ago
It appears that two middle aged senior political figures (both married) have been shagging each other. The affair has now ended. The Daily Mail has the story and knows the names but cannot print them for “legal reasons.” Call Me Dave is said to be shit scared as this is explosive and will apparently blow him off course. Er …what course?
Given that the political class contains a good few closet homosexuals we should not assume that this affair involves any women. A few of the Cabinet, like Sir George Young, are too old to be runners and riders in the great Downing Street sex scandal. But elsewhere who knows?
Cash for questions, back to basics sex scandals it is right back to 1995…all we need now is a new single from Oasis and a battle with the next release from Blur.
Footnote: Apparently there are some heterosexuals in the Westminster village. Iain Dale ( not one of them) assures us that it is a man and a woman involved.
3829 days ago
Maguire is a senior journalist with the Daily Mirror and a professional Northern class warrior. He was born in South Shields and has made a point of not losing his Geordie accent - indeed it has got more pronounced over the years - despite him being a full time member of the political media elite of London. I imagine that he lives in a plush part of North London. But he is oh so very working class (with an A pronounced the right way).
And so he wades into the debate on child killing welfare junkie Mick Philpott by suggesting on twitter
The issue of "funding lifestyles" should begin with George Osborne's family trust fund and the knighthood Sir George inherits
What a tool. Osborne will one day become Sir George as he inherits a baronetcy. This is the same reason Sir George Young is a Sir – he is a baronet. It is not a knighthood. It is a hereditary title and brings you zero money just a silly title. It funds no lifestyle.
And yes Osborne’s family is rich and the chancellor has enjoyed the benefits of that and will inherit wealth. So frigging what. Does Maguire think that no-one should inherit wealth? The Osborne cash has been around for a couple of generations. What about the Miliband cash – both of those boys inherited a good amount from their Marxist Dad. Does Maguire think that is wrong? Will his three offspring inherit anything from the money Maguire and his partner (Cambridge educated novelist and Guardian writer Emma Burstall) have made over the years from the lefty media circus? Go on Maguire: who are you leaving your cash to?
As it happens it is none of my business who leaves their cash to whom. The point is that it is the fruit of their labour (or perhaps that of their parents or grandparents) and individuals should have every right to decide where cash they earn goes to. That is rather different to Mick Philpott who acquired income and wealth with money taken from folks who worked to fund his lifestyle and his asset accretion (the snooker tables etc.) via Britain's utterly crocked welfare system and onerous tax regime. We as taxpayers had no say in the matter we just ponied up involuntarily to give Mick an easy life.
You have to be a bitter and stupid deluded leftie not to appreciate the difference between the funded lifestyle of Mick Philpott and that of George Osborne. Step forward Kevin Maguire.
3899 days ago
An excited email arrives from my deluded lefty step mother Helen (sister of Tory Toff Sir George Young) – Stratford Council in Warwickshire has tonight thrown out plans for a big Tesco on the edge of Shipston-on-Stour. The unholy alliance of deluded Middle class lefties and the Tory Toffs has won.
And so there will no new jobs created for the plebs on the council estates. The residents of Shipston will continue to be served by two Co-ops that are not that cheap and have a limited choice as well as by the two butchers where the Tory Toffs and my dad can buy pheasant, quail, expensive lamb and pork and not care about paying over the odds because they can afford it. The plebs who were hoping for a place to get a wide choice of cheap Turkey twizzlers will be disappointed.
So no jobs and no choice of cheap turkey twizzlers for the plebs. No planning gain which would have created some affordable and rented housing for the plebs. The articulate middle class lefties and Tory Toffs have won the debate and can still choose which butcher to buy their quail from and life goes on. The Tory Toffs are naturally wicked and hate the poor. We all know that. The deluded Middle class lefties are tonight celebrating preserving the “community” and “diversity” of this small market town. But it is a community that many folks are financially excluded from. It is a diversity the plebs cannot afford to enjoy.
It has made my step mother very happy. That makes me happy. But it was the wrong result for those at the bottom of the heap. Capitalism could have assisted them. When capitalism is blocked to preserve the vested interests of those who are affluent it always makes the poor poorer.
As a non Guardian reader I am not meant to care about the plebs. That is meant to be the preserve of deluded middle class lefties. But in reality….
3913 days ago
The Government is meant to be making spending cuts. Of course we all know that the wicked Tories are doing no such thing, spending is going up. But just for a minute let us humour Call Me Dave and pretend that MPs realise that Bankrupt Britain is going bust and that Government spending has to be cut back. So what news do we have today? MP’s reckon that local councillors should get more money for their allowances. Hell’s teeth. Labour MP Clive Betts things that compensation needs to be “appropriate.” At a number of levels this is obscene.
Checking out the website of Real Man Pizza’s local council ( Camden) I see that in the year to April 2011 ( the last available data) its local councillors cost local residents £807,473.47.
3947 days ago
Whenever the words “breach of human rights” comes up your blood boils. Whether it is the terrorist who you cannot deport because it would upset the life of his family (a cat), the Somali pirate or Rwandan mass murderer whose ‘uman rights would be compromised if he had to go back home to face justice or whether it is the thought of the wicked witch whose Chambers promoted this daft legislation and has grown rich on it, my blood always boils. Aaaagh Cherioe Blair what did we do as a nation to deserve you?
But now there is another oppressed and unloved minority whose human rights are, they claim, set to be breached. I refer to a group of men and women even less loved than that other great ‘human rights beneficiary Abu Qatada. I speak of course of expense grubbing greedy MPs.
The expenses watchdogs wants MPs who used taxpayers cash to buy a second home to rent out to hand back any profits made over the past two years. I cannot see what is the problem with that. It was our (i.e. the taxpayers capital) that funded these entrepreneurial ventures, we should get the profits. About 70 MPs are affected and are now threatening legal action to stop this happening.
3963 days ago
I am staying with my father for a few days looking after him as my step mother is off in London to see wicked Uncle George. As I have noted before my family (little step sister Flea excluded) are a bunch of deluded lefties and so the paper delivered here every day is The Guardian. Imagine my horror at seeing Polly Toynbee’s face staring at me across the breakfast table in the morning.
3970 days ago
I am going away today to a place without a TV in case I get hooked but I admit that I watched I’m a Celebrity once again yesterday. And I watched the whole show. I cannot offer an excuse but I offer the observation that Nadine Dorries MP is winning friends and the posh boy Old Etonians (David Cameron and Sir George Young) who suspended her from the Tories are looking increasingly silly. What will they do if she wins?
Yesterday Nadine found herself up against the wimpish airhead actress from Coronation Street in a contest eating such horrors as a rotten egg, a piece of camel foot and a kangaroo testicle
3972 days ago
I am not exactly the target audience for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. For starters I have an IQ greater than 75. And I am also handicapped in that I have no idea at all who most of these celebrities are. I am also a bit confused as to which one is Ant and which is Dec. I have never known and never wanted to as they both strike me at utter morons. But in the interests of research I managed to survive about twenty minutes of the show last night before retreating to start watching Series Five of Brothers & Sisters on download. That is the last series, post car crash and I am gripped.
Back in the Jungle my observations are
3978 days ago
Nadine Dorries MP has today been suspended from the Tories for agreeing to appear on “I’m a celebrity Get Me Out of Here.” Oh bully for you David Cameron. I am no defender of this appalling woman but that she is heading off to Australia to make a fool of herself (while still trousering £6,158 for representing the folks of Mid Bedfordshire as their MP) is hardly a hanging offence is it?
The point about Mad Nad is that she has done far worse before and got away with it. Moreover some of Call Me Dave’s pals in the party have done far worse in recent weeks and also got away with it.
3984 days ago
Sir George Young is the new Government chief whip. As it happens I know a bit about him as he is also my second cousin once removed and, rather more importantly, brother of my step mother Helen. And I see that he is now a founder member of a new group of Tory MPs which wants to “reach out” to “blue collar” Tories. The sort of people Young’s predecessor Andrew Mitchell might have described as “plebs.” Young’s qualifications?
Born in a stately home at Cookham, like his grandfather, father and brother he went to Eton then