Sunday, 27 June 2010


In London you can pick up the Sunday newspapers from about 10pm on a Saturday evening. However with the internet now you can read those same Sunday newspaper articles from about the same time on a Saturday from the comfort of your house out in the sticks. That's what I did yesterday. I logged onto the Daily Mail website and thought it was April Fool's Day. The headline that greeted me was "EU To Ban Selling Eggs By The Dozen". Here's the link - unbelievable - so you can tell that I'm not making this up.

So the EU (or the Evil Empire as I prefer to call it) is now telling shopkeepers and I assume also direct farm sellers that their eggs must now all be weighed and then sold by weight not by numbers. Do you know how much an egg weighs? Well no one in the Troy family did either, in fact Mrs Troy has never mastered non-Imperial weights at all. So I got out my precious metal digital weighing scales, changed Troy ounces (well they have to be named after someone!) to grams and put a medium sized egg on the scales. Ladies and Gentlemen, a medium sized egg weighs 65.4gm.

So how good is your mental arithmetic. Suppose you want to buy six eggs - what would you now ask for? In true Monty Python style your conversation may go...

You : "Good morning, dear shopkeeper, I'd like 392.4gm of eggs please".

Shopkeeper : "Sorry Sir [or Madam], this is a cheese shop".

For those not too adept at mental arithmetic what you have just done above is attempt to buy six eggs from a specialist cheese shop.

You probably think I'm being silly. You wouldn't ask for such an odd amount of weight down to one decimal point now would you? Instead the conversation would probably go something like this...

You : "Is this an egg shop?" [good, you're not getting caught twice]

Shopkeeper : "Yes Sir [or Madam], we sell only the finest eggs. Didn't you notice our Royal Warrant?. We sell eggs to the Prince Of Wales".

You : "Excellent! If they are good enough for Charles and Camilla, they are good enough for me! I'd like half a kilo of eggs please".

Shopkeeper : "No problem Sir [or Madam]...(counts) one, two, three, four, five, six, seven (pauses then mutters under his breath - "err, four hundred and fifty seven point eight grams"), "You did say half a kilo?"

You : "Oh yes please!"

Shopkeeper : (egg cracking sound) "And this (picks up part of shell containing some yolk and some egg white) makes its exactly half a kilo. I'll put the seven whole ones in a bag but you'll need to carry the broken one home carefully".

You : "That's fine, I've still got nearly half an egg back at home from the last time I purchased eggs, so this will just make up the eight eggs I need for my baking".

The European Union has come up plenty of stupid schemes in its time but this surely is one of the most ludicrous. Early this morning we took Troy Junior along to his Sunday morning cricket practice and I asked several of the parents there if they'd seen the article about eggs having to be sold by weight not by number. All, without exception, thought I was pulling their leg.

The English are an apathetic bunch who have let Johnnie European get away with 'murder' since we joined the Common Market. Maybe, just maybe, something as small as an egg could be the catalyst that gets us to wake up to the sheer stupidity as well as the total democratic deficit that is the EU. Perhaps we are 'happy' to borrow money then ship £8billion a year of it across to Brussels to build roads and bridges in Ireland and Greece but maybe (please!) we will finally revolt against the EU over buying eggs by weight and regain our freedom?

UPDATE - Wednesday 30th June. According to the BBC this was a false alarm by The Mail On Sunday although I think there has been some behind the scene pressure as initially an amendment to save the "selling by quantity" had been rejected. See this link

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Along with another 21 million people here in the UK, I turned on my TV to watch the match at 7.30pm yesterday evening.

Watching the images relayed from the stadium, it made me proud to see such fine, upstanding, clean cut, hard-working young Englishmen representing our country in South Africa.

But enough about the Princes William and Harry. What about the English football team - weren't they CRAP??

Thursday, 3 June 2010


When I was a child I lived within half a mile of the showground in Harrogate where they held the annual Great Yorkshire Show. This three day show was THE big event in the local calendar and one of the largest agricultural shows in the country. The traffic on those days was choatic but at least we could walk to the show. Probably the last show I went to was in the late 1960's.

Here in Suffolk, the county agricultural show is instead rather aptly named the Suffolk Show. This year we decided to buy tickets in advance and attend the show. I always hate buying tickets in advance given the unreliableness of the British climate but we took the gamble. In fact both yesterday and today we've had glorious weather - not a cloud in the sky - so our gamble has paid off.

We planned to get there mid-morning but the traffic queues were horrendous so took off down to Felixstowe for an hour, ate an early sandwich lunch watching the container ships at Felixstowe Dock and were then able to drive straight into the show without any congestion. Initially the place seemed heaving with people and as we passed countless trade stands, most of which Troy Junior wanted to look at, I was beginning to regret renewing my experience of agricultural shows. It wasn't as if I was in the market for a tractor or a combined harvester. The show site is vast but after an extensive walkabout we sat down near one of the show rings. Bowler hatted gentlemen in pinstriped suits were setting out a table of trophies.

A uniquely British scene!
The first event we witnessed was heavy horses pulling gleaming carts at speed through gaps only one foot wider than their wheelbase (the carts' not the horses' of course).
Here's one of the horses with its cart.

It was an impressive sight seeing these big beasts being steered on the gallop between such narrow gaps. If the obstacles were hit then the tennis balls balanced on them would fall off. It didn't happen very often, mostly they cleared with inches to spare.

The trophies shown in the first picture on this posting were for all the various class winning animals. There was a particularly impressive bull, being lead by a small young lady. Even the commentator in the ring marvelled at how she was able to control the animal. Mind you, if she hadn't, I suspect you would have already heard about it on the national news rather than seeing it first on my blog.

A part of that bull quite impressed Troy Junior. (Well I guess that's why he said "look at its balls" in a loud voice).
As well as Mr Bull, Mrs Cow and child, also won trophies. Mrs Troy was impressed with how clean they were.

Moving on to another show ring we were treated to some horse jumping. It was the first time that Mrs Troy had seen live show jumping and she was amazed at the height of the jumps. I stationed myself next to the last jump to get a photograph but most of the horses had faults (a technical term meaning they knocked off a rail) and retired before reaching the last jump. So I was lucky to get this photo before Troy Junior wanted to move on.

Finally to complete the photos from the day here are some horses and hounds pretending to be hunting a fox.

All in all, a very enjoyable day out. I left the show thinking that I mustn't leave it another 40+ years before visiting my next one.