This England

Here’s an uncharacteristically patriotic post (and the football match earlier today was a cracker, wasn’t it?). From the BBC, discussing the Lord Mayor’s parade:

Lady Chichester’s Bactrian camel Therese also took part, after undergoing special training to cope with crowds and noise on the parade ground at Tidworth, Wiltshire.

And here she is (Therese, that is; I’m not sure who the other person is; conceivably that’s Lady Chichester, but I doubt it).UPDATE [2 minutes later]: There’s more here, and the official-looking press release for the LM’s S has this:

One of the most unusual participants in this year’s Show is Bactrian camel, Therese. The six-year-old, who lives in Wiltshire with 17 alpacas and Larry the llama, is eagerly looking forward to strutting her stuff on the streets of London – a far cry from her ancestors in Outer Mongolia.She is probably the world’s only camel who is skilled in both dressage and show-jumping – so a brisk walk through the city shouldn’t pose too many problems for Therese. The last camel to appear in the Lord Mayor’s Show was 400 years ago for Elizabeth I and it drew crowds from all over England who had never seen such an animal, but it’s safe to say that Therese will revel in the attention.

OK. That’s enough about Therese the camel. Good to hear that she lives with seventeen alpacas and a llama.


Since 11 September 2001, the world has divided into those who think that Christopher Hitchens is a beacon of moral clarity, sharp thinking and even sharper writing, and those who think he’s lost it completely. I’ve resisted the latter conclusion a bit on the grounds that I think he’s been writing some of his best lit crit over these last few years, however much I’ve disliked his political journalism, which I’ve more or less stopped reading. But some snippets from the last few days which I’ve stumbled across online suggest that, yes, he’s lost it completely.

Item One [via], Item Two, Item Three.


Vita activa:

Vita contemplativa:

UPDATE [7.30pm]: Andromache’s worrying away at the same strip of fur just behind the swivel-chair I’m sitting on to type these words, and purring so loudly that I thought it was my hard-drive on the point of collapse.

Remember, Remember the Ninth of November

Norm reminds us that yesterday was the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Someone pointed out to me the other day just how many key dates in twentieth century German history fell on November 9 (or, as we might say, the European 9/11). Stupidly, I hadn’t noticed this pattern before:

1918: The abdication of the Kaiser and the proclamation of the Republic.

1923: The failure of the Beer Hall Putsch.

1938: Kristallnacht.

1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall.

It’s a remarkable sequence.

Watt? Who?

A chap called Peter Watt has just emailed me to tell me that he’s the new general secretary of the Labour Party. But rather than tell me who he is or why he has the right experience to be the GS of the LP, he tells me that his mum is very proud of him. So if anyone’s got the slightest idea about who this chap is, please use the Comments.