Double Dutch

Back in the days when there were twelve pence to a shilling and twenty shillings to a pound, there was an urban myth of a retired Maths teacher who runs into his worst student as the latter climbs out of a Rolls Royce. The younger man embraces his old nemesis, proceeds to thank him for…

It takes two to tango

Apart from the snow-white attire, it could have been, quite literally, two Old Joes getting together for Saturday lunch and a chinwag. Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio made history at the Castel Gandolfo outside Rome last week when, for the first time in at least 600 years, two popes met face to living face. Watching their rather wooden performances before the cameras (neither…

Olympic spirit lost

My trip to New York cancelled last week courtesy of Superstorm Sandy, I decided to take advantage of the hour before anyone realized my  calendar was empty to clear my desk. Forgetting the utterly ignored disposable cup of coffee nestling under a sheet of foolscap, I watched in helpless horror as it tipped drunkenly on its side and lazily cast forth its…

Pole position

Several years ago we went on a family trip to Holland. Sitting in the front passenger seat of the taxi taking us south from Schiphol, I tried to keep the driver's attention while the kids re-enacted the Second World War in the rear of the van. Observing that signs on the motorway to Uit appeared over…

Of mice and men

When challenged by an aide as to why he had changed his mind about invading the tiny island nation of Grenada, Ronald Reagan is reported to have replied "I sat back and thought: What would John Wayne have done?" That was nearly 30 years ago and the protracted  7 week campaign was a huge military success for…

Risks of the import/export/import business

Back in the sixties when my all-time superhero,  Batman,  used to dress like he was going to a neighbourhood Halloween party, actors Adam West and Burt Ward would issue warnings to stupid children not to try any of their stunts at home. That was sound advice. While they had the full attention of the little weirdos…

Rocket tax

At the dawn of my career when I would flit from audit client to audit client, red and green pens at the ready, every accounting department would resonate at least once each day to the gravelly voice of Bonnie Tyler singing  "Every now and then I fall apart". Well, last week scientists finally proved (almost) that she was…

Did you hear the one about…..?

Comedians  fear the moment in their careers when they lose their timing. Evidently not the Cypriots. This week Cyprus proudly assumes the six month rotating presidency of the EU. Last week, after knocking on the doors of friends and distant neighbours to see if they could spare a dime, they finally asked the EU for a…

Raising the energy bar

In my salad days, apart from holding down a regular job as an elementary school student, I had some house jobs. Returning home in the freezing dark each winter's eve, my chafed thighs burning from the cold, I would make straight for the soot encrusted scuttle standing guard outside the kitchen door. Carrying it across the yard to the squat  bunker opposite I would scoop coal into…