An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: R


It will come as no surprise to long-term followers of this blog that film remakes feature for ‘R’. With a handful of exceptions, the constant remakes of great films are usually unnecessary, and completely pointless too.

Yes, they remade ‘Carrie’, that classic Stephen King adaptation from 1976.
And it was truly awful.

Taking on one of the best British gangster thrillers ever, they remade the wonderful ‘Get Carter’, in 2000.
Why? Please tell me why!

Seemingly out to murder another classic Michael Caine film, they remade ‘The Italian Job’, in 2003.
COME ON! Just stop it!

I could also write a book on how they remake foreign language films for people who can’t handle subtitles, always ruining them in the process.
One of the worst examples has to be ‘The Vanishing’. They changed the ending in the US version, to make it ‘happy’.

And don’t get me started on Japanese Anime classics with western actors voicing the characters!
How wrong does this sound? Very wrong, believe me.


While I am on ‘R’, I have to mention ‘Reimagining’. In case you don’t know, this is the blatant plagiarism of classic fiction, ‘Reimagined’ for the modern reader. Take ‘Jane Eyre’, set it in modern-day California, call it something else, and you have ‘reimagined’ the original. You get the idea.


Film makers and writers, I have a suggestion for you.


An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: Q


Q is a hard letter to find things to add, whether you like them, or don’t.

I don’t hate quiche. I have eaten it, and would politely still eat it, if it was served to me by someone.

But as a snack, it would never be my first choice. Years of weddings and funerals, where small pieces of quiche or the now familar ‘mini-quiche’ are always on offer. Sometimes the pastry is undercooked, and they are also usually served cold too. Shop-bought versions are often lacking in flavour, and just plain boring.

These days, you can buy ‘dressed up’ quiches, even ‘Vegan quiche’.
Like this one.

But on any list of tasty edibles, quiche would be at the bottom for me.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: P

Peanut Butter.

It might sound strange that I don’t like peanut butter. I like peanuts, plain or salted. I like Satay sauce on Asian food, and that’s made from peanuts.
But peanut butter gives me the shivers, smooth or crunchy.

The first time I ever saw it as a child, it was always the Sun Pat brand.

That is still sold, but supermarkets also sell their own brands. Then there are the ‘Organic’ or ‘Luxury’ versions sold by various companies.

It’s the texture, as far as I am concerned. It has a cloying feel to it, and a tendency to stick to the roof of your mouth. The crunchy variety has bits that can get between your teeth, and the taste is simply too overwhelmingly ‘Peanutty’. And it smells funny too.

I know millions of people love it, including most of America, which is famous for its peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

But I don’t like it.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: O


I mean this type of oil, not the cooking variety.

I don’t like our dependence on oil, or the fact that it causes so many wars. I don’t like the fact that it makes so much money for some countries that still leave so many of their people on the poverty line. I have a diesel car, and oil-fired heating. But I don’t enjoy that fact, just tolerate it because that’s the way things are. And I don’t like the way it creates industrial landscapes like this one. It needs to change, and sooner rather than later.

I don’t like ravaging the sea bed for oil either.

And the way it pollutes both sea and land is aways disastrous.

Most of all, I hate oil for doing things like this.

High time we woke up, and stopped depending on it. It will run out one day.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: N

Navigation Aids.

In the UK, they are known as Satnavs, short for ‘Satellite Navigation’. There are many types, including the removable ones like the one above. These have to be taken away with you when you stop, or someone will soon be smashing the car window to steal it.

Some more expensive cars offer ones built into the car dashboard, often part of the car’s ‘Entertainment System’. Some add-ons include warning of speed cameras, traffic delays due to roadworks, and international maps for driving in Europe. All very nice, when it works.

They require constant updating to stay accurate, and the removable ones have to be connected to a computer to allow this.

My experience with them has not been good. Using one I bought for Julie, it constantly told us to ‘Turn Right’ when we were on a long bridge crossing a river. I have also been instructed to ‘Take the next exit’ where there was no exit. One issue seems to be that they need to receive a strong signal at all times. In some country districts and remote areas, this is just not possible.

Then there is the safety aspect. Almost all involve taking your eyes off the road briefly, to check on your progress. Yes, they talk to you and tell you where to go, but the desire to look at them is overwhelming.

These days, Google Maps on any smartphone offers the option of a free Satvav. Once again, signal strength is crucial, so I wouldn’t want to rely on it. It also uses up your phone battery very quickly as it has to update every few seconds.

I use a map. A big book of maps of Great Britain, buying an up to date one every couple of years. I look at it before I leave, and picture the journey in my head. For example. ‘A47 to A11, then all the way to junction 23’. Put the map away, and just do that, with nobody telling me to deviate. If I encounter any problems, I pull off the road into a lay-by or service area, and check the map again.

I have been driving for fifty-one years, and maps have never let me down once.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: M


Unlike wild field and harvest mice, or the mice kept in cages as pets, feral mice living inside your home is not a good thing at all.

‘While the common house mouse is not as dangerous to your health as a deer mouse, they can still spread disease, such as hantavirus, salmonellosis and listeria through their urine, droppings, saliva and nesting materials’.

As well as stealing your food and leaving disease and droppings around, they also chew electical wires, and damage conduits and plastic piping in their efforts to get around inside your house.

I have been lucky since moving to Norfolk, but when I lived in London, I had a big problem with mice in various places I lived over the years.

I tried going down the poisoning route, but that never seemed to be effective, and I certainly never found any dead mice that might have taken that blue granular bait. So I went ‘old school’, and bought a job lot of retro spring mouse-traps. The shop advised using chocolate to attract them, rather than the old fashioned lure of cheese. So I baited half a dozen traps with Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, and put them in the places I had previously know them to frequent.

Less than ten minutes later, I heard the first ‘Snap!’ This was followed by a series of snaps in quick succession as three more traps were sprung. I waited a little longer, then investigated. Sure enough, four dead mice, one in each of the four traps. They had all been killed instantly by the thin metal bar that had dropped across their neck or body. I re-baited with chocolate, and put them back.

During the evening there were more snaps, and I found five more dead mice before bedtime. Within a week, I had no more mouse activity at all.

So if you get mice in the house, use the old-style traps. They really work.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: L


The first time I saw a young woman wearing leggings, I wrongly assumed she was about to take part in a sporting event. But I was wrong, she was simply walking around the shops. At first, all the leggings I saw were grey marl, much like these.

It wasn’t long before black became the most ubiquitous colour, and could be seen worn by many women instead of jeans or trousers.

I didn’t really get it. They were not tights, (pantyhose) and not track-suit trousers. Rarely worn with anything covering them, the fact they had no feet section seemed to change the idea of the girls and women wearing them about what was acceptable everyday wear.

Some women who would never have been seen dead in public without wearing a skirt over tights suddenly thought it was acceptable to commute to work dressed like this. (She is wearing some. Look just above her shoes and you can see the bottoms of them.)

It wasn’t long before it caught on with the older age groups, though they sometimes wore a longer top to accompany the leggings.
(And yes, that includes my own wife. Though this is not her in the photo.)

I am sure that many girls and women find this clothing item exceedingly comfortable. But for my taste it lacks the class of either trousers, or skirt or dress worn with nylons. As I have said before, I am old fashioned. I accept that women should be free to dress as they please, and that my opinion doesn’t matter in the slightest.

But that said, I really wouldn’t be happy if my wife or girlfriend was walking around dressed like this.

Sorry, female readers. I don’t like them.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: K


Luckily, we still have road signs in miles here. If a place is twelve miles away, I can picture how long that will take. I have driven in Europe, and never settled easily on things like speed limits and distance signs in kilometres. They always seemed so much further away for one thing, and a speed limit shown at ’80’ could confuse me into thinking I could drive at 80 mph.

For many years, the speedometer gauges in cars have shown speed markings in both miles and kilometres, but constantly checking the smaller figures didn’t come naturally.

Then they started to estimate a car’s fuel consumption in kilometres per litre of fuel. How was I supposed to work that out? Tell me it did 45 to the gallon, and I had a fair idea that was reasonably economical. But Kms to a litre? The metric method was starting to creep in, and I suspected that one day we might lose our familiar signs in miles.

I used to try to imagine just how much work it would take to change every traffic sign in Great Britain. And what that would cost.

I still don’t know whether or not Brexit will put an end to the eventual total acceptance of metrics where miles are concerned.

But if it does, that okay with me.

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: J


Before anyone even comments, I have a feeling this choice is going to be unpopular. Everyone likes Jeans, don’t they? Well not me. Walk along any street, and it won’t be long before you see someone wearing denim jeans. They are almost a uniform, seemingly only matched by the black leggings so popular with young (and older) women these days.
(Yes, they might well feature in ‘L’)

I didn’t even own a pair of denim jeans for most of my life. I eventually bought a pair of Wrangler jeans, to wear on a motorcycle under my waterproofs. Fellow motorcyclists had suggested they gave good protection in the event of an accident. But I never wore them socially, not even for popping to the shops, or meeting a mate for a drink.

I didn’t think they were comfortable. Too hot in the summer, and bunching up between my legs when I sat down. I tried to see if some Levi 501s might be better, but hated the high waist on those. And unlike some people, I don’t look good in jeans. At 5 feet 7 inches, I am not tall, and I don’t have much bum to fill out the back of them either. Besides, they take forever to dry when they are washed, and are a pig to iron. If you don’t iron them, they look as creased as if they were blue tinfoil.

So no jeans for me.

Some men think women look sexy in jeans. I don’t agree. For one thing, not every woman looks like this in them.

But even if they did, I would take a nice dress or skirt every time. I know, I’m old-fashioned. But I’m old, so what do you expect?

And now we have this trend, proving that fools and their money are soon parted.

They sell them for men too.

If I had torn my trousers like that, I would throw them away. Not prance about around town in them, thinking I was cool.

I doubt this will be a well-received post, so do your worst in the comments, jeans fans!

An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: I


I don’t mean uninformed ignorance of course. If people are not taught something, or made aware of it, I cannot blame them for ignorance of a fact.

The sort of ignorance I cannot tolerate is ‘Informed Ignorance’.

One good example of this is Holcaust Denial. Presented with irrefutable facts; documentation, eyewitness testimony, and even contemporary film footage, it is impossible to deny what was done to the Jews (and others) by the Nazis in Germany. Yet many people, some of them well-educated academics, choose to ignorantly believe it never happened.

Then there are comments like “I don’t care what I can see, I know what I believe”. Or “I don’t care what is happening to the people in such and such country, as it doesn’t affect me”.

In these modern times, ‘Fake News’ and photo manipulation makes it harder to judge the truth of what we are seeing and hearing. I can accept that. But we all have the ability to apply commonsense when coming to conclusions, though so many seem content to abandon that at the first opportunity.

Racism is often driven by ignorance. “They want our jobs”. “They will take away our houses”. “They will make us all change our religion”. Yet centuries of immigration to countries like Britain and America have not shown any evidence that this is true. In Britain, it is a fact that many immigrants only come to do the jobs that British people will not do. Or qualified immigrants work as doctors, nurses, or heath experts, making up the shortfall in the NHS that existed previously.

But the ignorant continue to complain; though they had no intention of ever working at picking crops in a field all day for minimum wage, or training to become a nurse.

Now we have ignorant people denying the existence of Covid-19, despite the huge number of deaths it has caused. I lost one of my dearest friends to the virus in May. Yet many continue to claim it is ‘just the ‘flu’, or that it hasn’t really happened and is merely a way of governments being able to control people. They refuse to wear masks, or to stop associating in crowds. So in 2020, we have ‘informed ignorance’ on a scale never seen before in my lifetime.

We have always had ignorance in society of course, and in every country on Earth.

But it’s getting worse, and I don’t like it.