Worry not – you haven’t fallen into a mysteriously deep sleep for the last four months or so (or, if you have, welcome back! Must’ve been a helluva party – or did you upset a Bad Fairy? Lynda Snell, perhaps?). Today (6th April) is indeed the first day of a new year – a new tax year.
The reason why the tax year in Blighty ends on 5th April is interesting (at least, it’s interesting to me – and I’m the one writing this blog – Ed).
The civic year used to begin on 25th March (called Lady Day, being the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Virgin Mary – calculated by literal-minded churchmen as being exactly nine months before Christmas), until 1752.[small digression – according to Wikipedia, which the Ed consults occasionally hem hem when penning this blog, the year started on 25th March “between 1155 and 1752” – if any reader has an 850-year-long memory, or a better search engine than the Ed’s, do let us know what happened before 1155….]
In 1752, however, the Government finally became vaguely aware that the Gregorian Calendar had replaced the Julian Calendar in Catholic countries some 170 years previously, and decided to follow suit – by then, the two calendars were 11 days out of kilter, and in accordingly 2 September that year was followed by 14 September, to put things right (allegedly provoking riotous chanting of “Give Us Our Eleven Days”). The civil new year was moved to 1st January, but the taxpayers of the time were blowed if they were going to pay tax early, so the tax year was pushed back by 11 days, to end on 4th April (the extra day was added in 1800, which was not a Leap Year – properly speaking the same should have happened in 1900 and 2100, but one assumes that our legislators had moved on to other things by then).
The posh old-fashioned title for 6th April is “Old Lady Day” (i.e. what-used-to-be Lady Day, rather than the Day celebrating elderly ladies) (nice idea, but that would be silly….).[it’s safe to come out now]
So what, he sa lightly?
Well, you know all those Noo-Year’s Resolutions you made in January? And, more specifically, the whizzy business plan you laid before your TAB Board in January? How’s it going? Maybe now’s a good time just to have a quick check to see whether you’re still on track (and if not, to seek guidance from your fellow TAB Board members on what remedial action you need to take).
Moving on…. plenty of items outré and bizarre in the meejah this week –
• the techies march on….
• ….the National Education Union tell us that today’s youngest pupils are so used to tablets and smartphones that even when using a real book they try to move to the next page by swiping it (must bring a warm glow to Apple’s heart (core?) – Ed)….
• …. talking of which, Apple’s next iPhone will probably enable you to “perform tasks by moving your fingers close to the screen without actually touching it” (a boon if you’re trying to follow a recipe but your fingers are sticky, they say)….
• …. while Mr Mark Zuckerberg and Mr Tim Cook (bosses of Facebook and Apple respectively) have been exchanging words this week. Mr C had ventured a mild criticism of Facebook’s use of its customers’ data as product to be monetised, whereupon Mr Z hinted that customers are being held hostage by Apple (thus in the process effortlessly winning the Bluffington Post’s (un)coveted Brass Neck Award of the week) (a period of silence from Mr Z would be welcome – Ed)
there were other tech malfunctions too –
• ….the Beeb were red-faced after the first episode of Earth’s Natural Wonders (which focused on yak-herders in Nepal) included a backdrop of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (the famous global symbol of the Italian Dolomites) (now “D’ohhhlomites” at Broadcasting House, presumably? – I’ll get me coat – Ed)….
• …. while the official programme of the Commonwealth Games (which opened this week in Oz) told its readers that England’s capital is Banjul and its population just over two million. Mr Mark Peters (CEO of the body running the games) put a brave face on it, saying that “sometimes you make mistakes”, and that the programmes would probably become valuable as a result of the error (nice try, mate)
in foody news –
• the owners of Henry’s Bistro Café (in Wallington, in Surrey) are fed up with customers who spend lots of time, but not much money, in their establishment – they sent a letter of complaint to a group of 17 ladies who spent £55 (between them) over three hours – the letter was (natch) promptly posted on social media (one hopes the owners never open a café in Vienna)….
• …. boffins from Stanford revealed that too much stress not only makes you eat more, but makes your body convert more food into fat….
• …. but Dr John Stievenpiper (from Toronto) stuck up for pasta this week (not a happy phrase – Ed), leading to the Times’s hopeful headline Eating Pasta Three Times A Week Can Help You Lose Weight. This instantly caught the Ed’s eye (can’t think why), but unfortunately wasn’t quite a fair summary of the good doctor’s views (who’d’ve thought it, eh?) – you have to eat it as part of a healthy diet, and instead of other carbs
• in news from the animal kingdom, dinosaur footprints show that the beasties have been paddling in the sea off Skye (be still, my beating heart – it was 170 million years ago)….
• …. while bowhead whales are apparently the jazz kings of the seas. The Times helpfully set out a summary of how various species sound (under the headline The Blues Planet) – humpbacks go “aaargh oo-arr oo-arr woo brmm brmm” (“like Aled Jones with barnacles, mid-puberty”) (sounds more like Eddie Grundy to me – Ed), blue whales go “wooo wooo click click wooo wooo” (“like a bad cover version of Everybody Hurts, by REM”), while the bowhead goes “wooooo bubba bubba wooo bubba wooo” (“like Louis Armstrong improvising scat to a smoky New Orleans bar during Prohibition”). Hmmm – a slow afternoon in the subbies’ room at Wapping, methinks – Ed
back in the H. Sapiens musical world –
• …. Classic fm’s annual poll (for the most popular piece of classical music) was topped this year for the first time by the 1812 Overture (was it Mr V Putin’s votes wot won it? – Ed)….
• …. Ms Sarah Rowley, an Oxford classics graduate who runs the Twitter page @LatinRocksOn, is trying to encourage da yoof to take an interest in Latin – Ms R is translating “hundreds of pop songs” – e.g. Abba’s “tu es saltans regina”, Bruce Springsteen’s “nati sumus ut curramus”, and Sinead O’Connor’s “sunt septem horae et quindecim dies ex quo sustulisti amorem” (if you were slacking at school, there’s a translation at the end of the post)….
• …. and the Derbyshire Constabulary Choir are not ‘appy, after the new Chief Constable (Mr Peter Goodman) told them that they must admit women or lose their 60-year connexion to the force. The choir concluded that it would take ten to fifteen years to find enough female singers, and are changing their name to the Derbyshire Community Male Voice Choir (presumably their next concert will include “a policeman’s lot is not a happy one” – Ed)
• meanwhile Warwickshire Plod has gained attention after posting an e-fit picture of a man wanted in connexion with a burglary – people compared it to the Cheshire Cat
• if you fancy a new challenge, and are sick of the rush hour, there’s a vacancy for someone to look after visitors to St Michael’s Mount (in Cornwall)
• Neanderthal Man’s lumpen features/rugged good looks were not just a pretty face – it enabled him to “turbo-breathe” and excel at cold weather hunting, according to boffins from Oz
• other boffins (this time from Budapest) (or possibly Pest-Buda) think they’ve worked out how the Vikings navigated so well – they used “sunstones” (crystals of Iceland spar) (how did they get to Iceland first, though, eh? – Ed)
• Mr Andrew Morton, the well-known self-publicist biographer, tells us that Ms Meghan Markle is descended from Robert the Bruce (so are most of the rest of us, I guess – Cynical Ed) (but hey, Mr M’s got a book to sell) (no relation, by the way)
• the Hubble Space Telescope has been able to look back even further than Bannockburn – they’ve spotted a “blue supergiant” star 9 billion light years away (when the light we see left it, it was two-thirds of the way back to the Big Bang)
• Mr Benjamin Smarr (from Berkeley) reckons that students who sleep late are not just lazy – some people are “night owls” (as opposed to “larks” or “finches”), and the lecture timetable should be altered to take this into account (hurrah and huzzah – Ed)
• Sr Juan Villarino, an Argentine who has thumbed lifts in 90 countries and covered 100,000 miles, has ranked the countries he has visited by the length of time it takes to get a lift. Iraq came top (7 minutes), while Sweden’s 51 minutes was exceeded only by Tibet’s 3 hours and 16 minutes (bet Sr V got cold – Ed). Blighty’s drivers are almost twice as nice as our French neighbours (hurrah) – 18 minutes vs nearly 35 minutes….
• …. while M Emmanuel Macron got into l’eau chaud this week for his affection for Franglais, after opining that “la démocratie est le système le plus bottom up de la terre”
• and finally, if you’re financially challenged, you might want to brush up on your peotry skills – Mr Nate Crowley was sorting out his late mother’s affairs and found an exchange of letters with her bank manager dating back to 1977. She wrote an “Ode to an O/D” to say she was overdrawn and would rectify it, including “oh dear oh me/as you can see/I have severely overspent/I don’t know where the money went”. The Midland’s Mr Westlake replied in prose, but included “your ode we read with great delight/the overdraft was an oversight” (hmmm – methinks Mr W’s scansion was rather better than Mrs C’s, but I guess it’s the result that counts – Ed)
On to Columbo Corner, and cue hollow laughter from the Bluffington Post’s female readers. Research has found that if a woman is averagely intelligent she will tell you that she is averagely intelligent, but that if a man tells you he is cleverer than two-thirds of the population, he is averagely intelligent…. (who knew?? – Ed). Apparently men consistently believe that they are better at maths than they are, that they are better at driving than is statistically possible (!), and that (when speed dating) far more partners find them attractive than actually do….
Have a great weekend – and carpe diem (and no, it doesn’t mean “God is a fish” (HT Mr Peter Banks))….
Cheers for now
Those Latin pop lyrics – “you are the dancing queen”, “we were born to run”, and “it’s been seven hours and fifteen days/since you took your love away”. They don’t write ‘em like that any more….
For a light-hearted look at some of what TAB does, have a look at this animation
I presently run three Boards –
Dark Blue (for people who run large businesses) – one spare seat
Light Blue (for people who run large businesses) — two spare seats
White Board (for people who run fast-growing businesses) — two spare seats
“There are three types of accountant — those who can count, and those who can’t” (Trad) (can’t see what’s funny about that — Ed) (FCA)
By Tom Morton – TAB Harrogate