Wednesday, 26 October 2016


The story goes like this.

A man was sitting on a bench at the railway station, eating a bag of chips. One or two seagulls arrived and the man started throwing the odd chip to them. This attracted more seagulls until eventually there were about twenty of them flapping around and waiting to be fed. As the train pulled into the station, he stayed where he was but as the doors were closing, he threw the bag with the remaining chips into the train carriage followed by the flock of seagulls. The doors closed with the seagulls inside: pandemonium. 

This story, I am assured, never happened and I'm sure it never will. Who would be so irresponsible as to cause such distress to all those train passengers, not to mention the seagulls? And did any of those gulls have tickets? I don't think so.

I certainly have no intention of ever doing anything like this and hope no-one else does either. If you do though, can you video it please - just so we can all see just what a complete bastard you are.


Today, I received one of those dammed click bait scam Facebook posts appealing to me to type "amen" if God had protected me while driving. Accompanying it was a picture of a  car crash scene that had been set up for a film or TV production set. (Not this picture, I have already deleted the post; this is just to give you an idea).

Apart from the obvious response that the accident was probably caused by some idiot typing "amen" on his phone when he should have been looking where he was going, I still get frustrated by the sheer number of people who respond to this type of scam; it had over 50,000 shares.

You can see how, in this case, the scammer responsible for this particular post could create an emotional appeal to anyone who had been involved in a traffic accident or narrowly avoided one. They may well feel it appropriate to express some act or display of gratitude for surviving the experience.

Now I'm no expert in these matters, not being of a religious persuasion, but I can't imagine God needing to check his Facebook page to find out if you appreciate His divine intervention and, that being the case, how would typing "amen" on a Facebook post help?

Similarly, it's unlikely that Jesus is going to wait till he gets enough "likes" before curing that sick child.

Everyone who uses social media and especially those who think they may be susceptible to emotional appeals should take the time to read a couple of excellent articles posted on the website.

Below is an extract from an article by their writer Craig Charles. You can read the two articles here and here.

"So what are you really doing when you type in ‘Amen’?

While you may think you are somehow helping or at least showing empathy, what you’re really doing is helping immoral like-farmers exploit Facebook users to make money, by causing a photo to spread online that has most likely been stolen elsewhere from the Internet and used without permission.

The next time you see a post imploring you to type ‘Amen’ in to the comments, think twice. Is it really because the post is empathetic to the cause in question, or do the people behind the post just want it to go viral across Facebook with your help?" (Craig Charles -

Sunday, 23 October 2016


The phrase originally attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, although never found in any of his published works brings me to my subject for today. 

Blogger Statistics.

Writing a blog is rather like whistling to the wind, you can never be sure who is listening, or even, if anyone is listening at all. Here is where statistics should be of some help. Blogger provides a set of statistics for blogger users so authors can monitor the success (or otherwise) of their work. The problem is that the ones provided by Blogger are pretty much useless as they all contradict each other. 

Let me give you an example. According to Blogger stats, so far this week I have received 157 page views. That's a bit on the low side, probably because I haven't publicised any of my recent post much. Most of them are from the UK but with a smattering of hits from around the world. Sometimes these foreign page views overwhelm the figures, providing up to 90% of the total. Russia seems to be the source of many of these but I get them from as far away as Brazil, Australia and the United States.

When I go on to find out where these traffic sources are coming from the figures don't add up. 37 hits from referring URLs yet 43 from referring sites although those two figures should be the same. Then, when I look at the number of hits each post has received, I get a different number again, 49 this time.

All this adds up to the fact that I have no idea how many people are reading my blog and sometimes wonder whether it's worth the while. The last time I asked for feedback to get an idea of numbers only one person responded (thanks Arthur Pewty).

On a lighter note, I do have some fun clicking on some of those referring URLs to see who they are. Most come via Facebook which is no real surprise as that is where I post details of my updates. I also get regular hits via Arthur Pewty's Maggot Sandwich and Bexley is Bonkers which is also no surprise as they both mention my blog from time to time.

Some of them are really strange though. One called  bounces me to a sex contact site called Don't click the link unless you are very broad minded. I'm not quite sure how it found it's way to the Thamesmead Grump though, he uses a completely different service. takes me to another dating site, this time it's all in Japanese but I clicked the translation service just for a laugh. Sub menus offer "category palpation" and "rankings meet the most". Must say, I'm almost tempted. is another Blogger site but there doesn't seem to be anything on it.


The Thamesmead Grump wishes to complain about the quality of 419 scam emails he has been receiving lately. I can't remember the last time I had the widow of a deposed African dictator asking me to help her out of a refugee camp with her trunk full of jewels and US Dollars. Those born-again widows dying of long time cancer of the (insert organ here) must have all popped their cork by now because I haven't had a peep out of any of them for a while. The Nigerian authorities have finally repaired all those roads that foreigners and their families used to keep getting killed on and, (my favourite), those poor orphans whose Fathers took them so special and are now on the run from homicidal Uncles seem to have completely disappeared. Even the FBI have given up trying to arrest me.

I do get the occasional offer of a loan at competitive rates a tax rebate from HMRC and sometimes a genuine business opportunity will come along, but other than that, pretty much nothing. Boring.

Sunday, 16 October 2016


The furore over the disclosure of a number of pro EU articles written by Boris Johnson is understandable but why is everone so surprised he wrote them? Right up to his decision to support the Brexit campaign, he had been a fervent supporter of Britain's continued membership. For at least the whole of the previous year, he had been attending business meetings in the City warning bankers and industrialists of the danger to the economy if we ever left.

Boris Johnson likes to present a bumbling, rather harmless and lovable persona but the reality is very different. He is a cold, calculating self serving hypocrite who cynically chose to support what he assumed at the time would be a hopeless cause in order to become the darling of both big business on the right of the Tory party who were becoming increasingly alarmed at the prospect of having all their tax bolt holes shut down and equally to the normally left leaning but blatantly racist working class rump. 

When the Brexit campaign failed, as it surely would, he would emerge as the hero of the hour, swept to power with huge support from the likes of Rupert Murdoch and other right wing newspapers owned by tax dodging billionaires who finance and largely run the Tory party.

It didn't matter to him that, had the campaign been successful, the consequences for the British economy would be at least as disastrous as he had originally claimed.

It never occurred to him when he joined the Brexit cause that the public would be so stupid as to fall for the chaotic shambles of the "out" campaign with it's contradictions, half truths and downright lies.  It's no coincidence that the supporters of the leave campaign included David Icke, Nigel Farage, the BNP, George Galloway and Donald Trump.

The result of the referendum when it finally came in would have shocked him to the core. He obviously couldn't stand for the leadership of the party now. Whoever took over was going to be on a hiding to nothing while they tried to rescue something from the shambles and pleasing no-one in the process. Who wants to be the 21st century equivalent of Neville Chamberlain?

Here is Boris making a heartfelt plea for Turkey to be allowed to join the EU.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


©Bank of England
I've just got my first new plastic (or polymer-based, as the Bank of England prefer to call it) £5 note. Quite novel I suppose although it does feel as though I should be buying a hotel on Mayfair with it, or at least, a public utility. Seeing as how we do most of our shopping nowadays with plastic, we might as well make the banknotes out of the stuff as well.

I do have a couple of issues with it though. Firstly, the portrait of the Queen. They have decided to keep with the 1990 Roger Withington design which, let's face it, is pretty out of date by now. I would prefer a more up-to-date image showing the maturity and gravitas of the longest reigning Queen in British history. Shame on you Bank of England.

The reverse shows the perhaps timely image of Winston Churchill, coinciding as it does with our recent decision to leave the European Union. Winston himself was very keen on European integration and the people who were trying to achieve it. In his "Great Contemporaries" written in 1937 he wrote "One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement" and you can read what he thought about Mussolini here. (Spoiler: He was very keen)

The jury is still out as to whether he included the United Kingdom in that.

When you consider the huge number of possible famous Winston Churchill quotes available, I'm a bit concerned about the one they eventually chose. "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, sweat and tears" is perhaps perhaps less of historical significance and more a warning of things to come. Or, given the present government's attitude to disability benefits, his quote "I propose that 100,000 degenerate Britons should be forcibly sterilised and others put in labour camps to halt the decline of the British race" when he was Home Secretary would be more in keeping with current thinking.

Perhaps the Bank of England was being ironic when they replaced the portrait of Elizabeth Fry, who spent her life tirelessly working with society's downtrodden with one of a man who would have them all sterilised or put in labour camps, and who used armed troops against striking trade unionists. Then again, perhaps they were just demonstrating how things are going to be from now on.


I haven't forgotten my update on the decision by Bexley Council to start using bailiffs to collect council tax arrears instead of attachment orders. I need to get it right and it's taking a while to research but I do hope to publish something by the end of next week.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Serving suggestion
Following on from my last post about the dire choice of programmes on the BBC over the weekend. It doesn't get any better during the week. On my list of endless instalments of cookery and darts programmes, I forgot to mention quiz shows.

This week we will be treated to over 16 hours of them, and that's just the ones involving the public; I haven't included the endless "celebrity" versions featuring famous people no-one has ever heard of.

Cookery programmes - twenty two and a half hours this week, not including cookery items in other programmes.


I'm currently writing an update on the use of bailiffs by Bexley Council to recover outstanding council tax arrears. You will recall, I mentioned that Bexley is the worst borough in London for the use of bailiffs rather than recover through deduction of earnings or benefit.

It should be ready before the end of the week so keep a look out.