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The Profumo Scandal

The unfolding scandal was big news in Australia.  My parents, along with many of their friends, followed the affair closely. It dominated the talk at parties and other social gatherings.

One of my parents bought a satirical record ‘Fool Britannia’ that sailed close to defamation.  Neither Macmillan nor Profumo nor any other person of interest was named but it was clear to whom the jokes referred.  The cast, including Peter Sellers, mocked Harold Macmillan, the British Prime Minister, with a caricature of his characteristic foppish accent pronouncing the hypothetical portfolio: The Minister for Whore

Ward was referenced only as: 'This doctor chappie'. 'Which doctor?'  'Witch doctor?  I thought he was a GP.'

One track was called: ‘Countess Interruptus’.  Another had some old duffers in a club telling a joke:

Q:   How many newspapers does this girl take?

A:   A Mail; two Mirrors; several Observers; and as many Times as she can get!

The record also featured a breakfast with the royal family that rather tangentially referred to the scandal in a question from the Queen to the Duke that he brushes off.

PP: 'And dear, you can stop smiling and waving now.'  ER: 'Oh, have they gone?'

The skit seemed to be about Charles hiccoughing after getting into the cherry brandy, a minor scandal at the time. But it had a hidden agenda that reduced my mother to hysterical laughter.  It had been revealed that Ward knew both Philip and Princess Margaret socially.

Charles is three years younger than me so the suggestion that he was drunk at breakfast was quite funny.  His adventure with the brandy was presented as a charming peccadillo confirming his humanity, not quite akin to his son wearing a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party.

 


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Travel

Ireland

 

 

 

 

In October 2018 we travelled to Ireland. Later we would go on to England (the south coast and London) before travelling overland (and underwater) by rail to Belgium and then on to Berlin to visit our grandchildren there. 

The island of Ireland is not very big, about a quarter as large again as Tasmania, with a population not much bigger than Sydney (4.75 million in the Republic of Ireland with another 1.85 million in Northern Ireland).  So it's mainly rural and not very densely populated. 

It was unusually warm for October in Europe, including Germany, and Ireland is a very pleasant part of the world, not unlike Tasmania, and in many ways familiar, due to a shared language and culture.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Australia in the 1930s

 

 

These recollections are by Ross Smith, written when he was only 86 years old; the same young man who subsequently went to war in New Britain; as related elsewhere on this website [read more...].  We learn about the development of the skills that later saved his life and those of others in his platoon.  We also get a sense of what it was to be poor in pre-war Australia; and the continuity of that experience from the earlier convict and pioneering days from which our Australia grew.                   *

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Opinions and Philosophy

Medical fun and games

 

 

 

 

We all die of something.

After 70 it's less likely to be as a result of risky behaviour or suicide and more likely to be heart disease followed by a stroke or cancer. Unfortunately as we age, like a horse in a race coming up from behind, dementia begins to take a larger toll and pulmonary disease sees off many of the remainder. Heart failure is probably the least troublesome choice, if you had one, or suicide.

In 2020 COVID-19 has become a significant killer overseas but in Australia less than a thousand died and the risk from influenza, pneumonia and lower respiratory conditions had also fallen as there was less respiratory infection due to pandemic precautions and increased influenza immunisation. So overall, in Australia in 2020, deaths were below the annual norm.  Yet 2021 will bring a new story and we've already had a new COVID-19 hotspot closing borders again right before Christmas*.

So what will kill me?

Some years back, in October 2016, at the age of 71, my aorta began to show it's age and I dropped into the repair shop where a new heart valve - a pericardial bioprosthesis - was fitted. See The Meaning of Death elsewhere on this website. This has reduced my chances of heart failure so now I need to fear cancer; and later, dimentia.  

More fun and games.

 

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