December 22, 2017

A tranquil and beautiful part of the English Lake District could become a “gravy train” for a commercial company. “Treetop Trek Ltd” wants to string zip wires over the lake Thirlmere as part of an “activity hub”. The planning application is currently being processed.




December 19, 2017

Newspapers have been blamed for the vitriolic reaction from social media towards those M.P.s who defeated the government over Brexit.
Newspapers have been around long before the Internet was even conceived and their existence has played a major role in British democracy. It’s not up to journalism to change its tune but for social media to put its house in order.


December 16, 2017

How demeaning to see Britain grovelling to the E.U. mandarins to come to a trade deal. Apparently our homework is now good enough and we can now go out to play. I know that the “divorce” is complicated and people’s wealth and livelihoods are at stake but is it worth losing our dignity. No one really knows if we would be better or worse off without a deal. In the short term I suspect that there would be job losses and standards of living would fall but we would have recovered from that and retained our self respect.

Now we could get caned!


The E.U. proposes to sanction the U.K. if it breaks the rules of the transition agreement. This period is intended to smooth the transition from our current trading arrangements with the E.U. and those which we want to sign with other countries. However if these new conditions prevent the U.K. from preparing for this there doesn’t seem to be much point in it; we might as well reconsider the trade deal and leave next year. A lot of countries in the E.U. have now become disenchanted with the whole project and do not want to lose any more sovereignty and some are courting a similar exit. It may be better for the E.U. to re-think the whole idea and consider something similar to the original “common market” model (Treaty of Rome 1957).


December 13, 2017


November 12, 2017

This is a fiendish puzzle which I first encountered at University. After a week of trying to solve it I gave up. I then challenged my brother to try it and was incensed to find out when I called him that he’d cracked it! I didn’t ask him for the solution and put it on the “back burner” for later but I never got round to solving it.


PATRIOTISM is what made Britain GREAT and CIVILITY:

November 7, 2017


October 31, 2017


October 8, 2017

Bag the F.S.A. and sling it in the bin – after sterilising it!

An article in the Daily Mail (Oct 2nd 2017) by G.Odling headed “COULD BAGS FOR LIFE END UP SPREADING DEADLY BUGS?” places the onus of food safety on the consumer. The F.S.A. informs us that the packaging of raw foods can harbour dangerous bacteria and we should take steps to protect ourselves. This is ludicrous. Consumers shouldn’t be expected to take home food in contaminated packaging.
They will also no longer check supermarket chickens for campylobacter on the grounds that “supermarkets and their suppliers had made significant progress in taking action to reduce levels in their products.” Volkswagen have made “significant progress” after fiddling the emission levels of their cars but their cars are still being checked; roadside monitors continually check the air for pollution; restaurants and cafes are repeatedly checked. It is the duty of all in the food chain from farm to kitchen to supply us with safe and wholesome food and the duty of the F.S.A. to make sure that this is the case with REPEATED checks.

“It’s important to note that -18°C is actually the minimum temperature required by regulations and anything found to be warmer than this should not be served.” [Should read ‘MAXIMUM’]




October 3, 2017

“I mean this is Magna Carta, it’s the Burgesses coming at Parliament, it’s the great Reform Bill, it’s the bill of rights, it’s so many… It’s Waterloo, it’s Agincourt, it’s Crecy, We win all these things.”


He has no idea “what it is like to watch one’s country surrendering its laws, money and borders by stealth to a remote and unaccountable bureaucracy”.


September 10, 2017

(You can leave any time you like but you can never check in!)

After a three and a half-hour train journey from Rome I arrived at Mestre railway station and hailed a taxi. He couldn’t take me to the door as it was in a pedestrianised zone and told me that it wasn’t far and described how to get there. After trudging around for twenty minutes looking for the place I arrived exhausted at the door. I knew I had arrived at the right place, not because of the grandiose neon sign above the door but because of the small card in the intercom system of what appeared to be a block of flats.
I rang the bell and a man answered and I told him that I had a reservation but he didn’t reply or open the door. I rang a few more times with no response. I then pressed another bell at random hoping someone would let me in. A lady popped her head out of a window on the top floor and I explained in my broken Italian the situation. She opened the door and I stepped into the hallway. The lady came down and knocked on the door of the Hotel apartment but got no reply. She came down to me and I thanked her and said that I would look for another hotel; I’d booked it whilst in Rome at a public Internet point and used the same booking company that I’ve used often without a single hitch.
We both left the building together and she went on her way. It was then about 6:30pm, a few miles from one of the most popular attractions in Italy in peak season and I was worried.
The place was quiet and I headed back up the path looking for another hotel. I’d walked less that ten minutes when I entered a square and looked around and saw a hotel – Hotel Vivit. I walked in and took the lift up to the reception. I needed three nights and waited anxiously as she looked through the book. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as she said there was a room available.

I received an email from the other hotel about my “no show” when I got home which was in Spanish. Since my Spanish is non-existent I replied to them in English.


PAUL BITHELL, nos gustaría hacerte una pregunta sobre tu reserva en el Venice Bella

13 Aug at 8:46 AM
Número de confirmación:

Código PIN:


¿Cómo estás? El Venice Bella (número de reserva 1476169936) nos ha avisado de que no hiciste el registro de entrada el 2017-08-12.

¿Podrías confirmarnos esta información?

No me alojé en el establecimiento

Me alojé en el establecimiento

Copyright (c) 1996-2017 Todos los derechos reservados.

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Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately I don’t speak Spanish but I assume that your email relates to my “no show” at your hotel on the 12th August 2017. In the early evening of the 12th I arrived at the hotel and was unable to gain access. On pressing the bell a man answered but did not unlock the front door. On repeated calls he did not answer. Fortunately a lady from the top floor let me in and came down and knocked on the hotel door (1st floor). She didn’t get any response. We both left the building and I booked into another hotel. I would appreciate it if you would refund my payement (£157.42) plus an appropriate sum as compensation.


P.F. Bithell


Update : Venice Bella (1476.169.936)(2)
Booking. com Customer Service
17 Sep at 3:27 AM Home | FAQ
Manage booking

Dear Paul Bithell,
Thank you for contacting the Customer Service team.
We sincerely apologise that Venice Bella was not able to honour your reservation.
We would like to make sure that you were able to stay at an alternative accommodation with minimum inconvenience to you, and if you incurred any additional costs due to this situation, please send us copies of your receipts. We will assist you in any way possible.
Once again, please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this situation might have caused.
Thank you for understanding, and we hope to be of service to you in the future.
Kind regards,

Lelly Ximena A. Customer Service Team

I sent them a copy of the receipt from Hotel Vivit:

Click here to view and change your booking at any time.
– Customer Service Team
1.2.1 .txt
Reply Reply to All Forward More
Paul Bithell Dear Lelly Ximena A. Thank you for your email. Please find attached the receipt from Hotel Vivit which I booked into on the 12th August 2017. Regards, P.F. Bithell 25 Sep at 9:41 PM
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I then received an email from them in Spanish, which contained a link to a form asking for my card details. This was also in Spanish so I used the translation tool on the page. Before entering anything, I scrolled through the ‘nationality’ box to enter my nationality but ‘British’ was not included. Neither was ‘United Kingdom’ or any other suitable entry to state my nationality: I scrolled from top to bottom three times.
I was convinced it wasn’t genuine, I came to the conclusion that it was either some nasty “entity” trying to give me hassle or an attempt to steal my card details. Either way I submitted the form but they didn’t get the information that they wanted.


However, when I logged on a few days later to take some screen shots of the page, “United Kingdom” was in the list.

I contacted and asked them to arrange an alternative method of payment.

Dear Lelly Ximena A.
Thank you for your attention in this matter. Can you please ask Venice Bella to send me the compensation (€84.90) by post as I found the form requesting my bank details to be suspicious.

P.F. Bithell


I have received no reply from VENICE BELLA/BOOKING.COM and I have re-sent the email.