Get in there.

As I lie abed writing wind and rain are a howling and a lashing outside as Imogen passes over us in a seemingly endless succession of winter storms. More extreme weather seems to be the new norm and instead of doing stuff to maybe prepare for the this many of our ‘leaders’ are a howling and a lashing furiously about the EU. But they’re only human and humans is mainly stupid.

They’re only human such as mr juncker the EU commission president who is apparently in favour of new EU legislation to make kleptonic corporations disclose their profits and tax bills. Many of these corporations used and use luxembourg for their ‘secret sweetheart tax deals’ whose finance minister between 1995 and 2009 was……………mr juncker.

French president, Monsieur Hollande, appointed monsieur cahuzac as his tax tsar in 2012 to lead the ‘crusade against high-wealth tax avoiders and make the kleptos pay their share’. He’s now on trial for fraud having had secret bank accounts in switzerland for 20 years, he’s only human.

And my throat’s still a little sore after Saturday. First the excitement of my soccer team the mighty Foxes winning and extending their lead. Then the ‘new’ England rugby team, well only new in the form of new management with the Aussie Mr Jones and co (many British teams are now managed and coached by various Antipodeans), playing Scotland. As ever I watched the game in my local hostelry, Steve the landlord had put up 2 large England and Scotland flags. Bruce and his family supporting Scotland sat under the English flag whilst I and my English supporting mates sat under the Scottish flag. As ever I drank some beer and made quite a lot of noise, making people laugh and annoyed in equal measure. I like Bruce and don’t want to get on the wrong side of him as he is a neighbour and a policeman, however his son’s only overly consistent comment whenever something went Scotland’s way was ‘get in there’. I forlornly hoped for some variation during the game. If Bruce or his son read this at least they might say ‘get out of here’!

Kate and I then went out for a small dinner party and fuelled by beer and England’s win I talked a lot and my throat got sore.

And then I watched a documentary about Il Palio, the bareback horse race run in Sienna’s wonderful medieval piazza. I’ve been in Sienna twice to experience it and it is exciting. Watching the documentary made me realise more just what an incredibly medieval experience it is. There are no women involved, except as spectators. All the jockeys are male, the officials are male, all those dressed in weird and wonderful medieval costume are male (or seemed to be), the whips are male (made from extended ox penises), all the leaders of the various contrada (districts of Sienna) are male. It involves lots of macho behaviour including corruption amongst all concerned and fighting between various males. The first time I was there after the race finished 2 large groups of men piled onto the racetrack and then piled into each other. There were police nearby but they just watched for a while until the officer gave the nod and they casually walked between the warring groups and they parted. The documentary showed a large group of men severely kicking and beating an unfortunate jockey who’d ridden the angry men’s horse, the jockeys are mercenaries and have no affiliation to the contrada’s horse they ride.

I do like the flags for the different contrada though and I have 2 hanging next to me, one is my favourite ‘snail’. They do claim that Sienna has a very low crime rate, but I think I want to hear from the women there what Siennan life for them is like.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.



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