Doppelgangers, Tigers and Estate Agents by Vince Nolan


My Dearest Chums,

Is it just me or is there more than a passing resemblance between Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame and our World no 1 rugby referee Nigel Owens?

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Talking of singers, what about Gloria Leicester Fan?  Very popular of late.

Staying with showbiz, I read that the recently departed David Gest was in the UK to tour in his musical show “David Gest Is Not Dead, But Alive With Soul”.  I must confess to having no idea who he was but “Not Dead”, who is he kidding?  In other medical news, the man who invented throat lozenges died last week.  Apparently there was no coughing at his funeral.  Talking of ailments, my Doctor has given me some anti-gloating cream.  Now all I want to do is rub it in.

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I purchased a sandwich the other day from a local supermarket.  I know, my life is one long party.  Anyway, it purported to be “Wiltshire Cured Ham” (with salad accoutrements and on granary bread of course), so I “Bought British”.  However, closer inspection of the labelling revealed that I had in fact purchased “Danish pork cured in Wiltshire”.  I didn’t even know it was ill.  This got me thinking about our EU position and one of the lesser discussed issues about our membership, “Protected Designation of Origin”.  There is even a badge.

Essentially this has meant that Champagne can only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champagne Region of France.  I know you have been battling with your consciences over whether we should stay in Europe or not so this Protected Designation of Origin could make all the difference to you. The people of Caerphilly, Cheddar, Melton Mowbray and Bakewell would be up in arms if we were to leave the EU never mind the people of Glamorgan and our famous Sausage.  Didn’t think of that did you?

Ignoring the obvious political implications of the EU vote, it has been interesting to observe our neighbours and alleged allies for their reaction to the prospect of us possibly not wanting to be part of the European Family.  It did not take long for the old battle-lines to be drawn once again.  The Germans have said “out means out” and started lampooning our Queen on a TV programme. Of course they seem to have forgotten that her family name was Saxe Coburg Gotha and they came from Wettin in Germany.  The French have said they will close the refugee camp at Sangatte in Calais with the implication that it will then be next stop UK.  Finally, our US “special relationship” chums have said that “we will be in the back of the queue when it comes to a trade deal with them in Europe.” If this were to involve President Trump that’s probably just as well.

Staying with the business sector, I thought that the Advertising Standards Authority had long since prevented estate agents telling tall-tales about properties they were marketing.  You remember the type of thing:

  • “Good transport links” – Built on a motorway.
  • “Close to local amenities” – Above an all-night takeaway.
  • “Peaceful and unspoilt location” – In the middle of nowhere.
  • “Would suit DIY enthusiast” – Falling down.
  • “Development opportunity” – Fallen down.

So imagine my surprise when a major Cardiff Agent recently advertised the following: “Luxury Cardiff Penthouse with panoramic views across the sea towards Bristol and even over to Ireland”.  Oh please!  I remember curvature of the earth stuff from my geography days. This of course limits the distance we can see. Ireland is 150 miles from Cardiff as the crow flies (other birds are also available). So by my rough calculations, this penthouse must be about ten miles high at least or to put it more simply in a language we all understand:

(R + h)2= R2 + OG2


OG2 = (R + h)2 − R2 .

As you all know, if we expand the term (R + h)2 = R2 + 2 R h + h2, the R2 terms cancel, and OG = sqrt ( 2 R h + h2 ). It’s customary to use the fact that h << R at this point, so that we can neglect the second term.  Then OG ≈ sqrt ( 2 R h ) which is the distance to the horizon, neglecting refraction. Not only don’t I understand any of it but these equations also use keys on my laptop which have never been used before and are unlikely to be used again.  However, I think that proves my point (don’t write in).

Whilst we are talking about shifty business practices, what about the recent revelation of the 11.5m stolen files from a Panama law firm which allegedly revealed billions of dollars of tax avoidance and money laundering on a global scale?  I am self-employed, pay my taxes and recently had a threatening letter and an invoice for £62 of unpaid tax being the difference between what my accountant had calculated I needed to pay and what the HMRC said I should have paid.  I am thinking of setting up offshore banking facilities on Flat Holm in order to avoid future issues. Anyone want to join me?

Q:  What is the difference between tax

avoidance and tax evasion?

A:   Jail.

And another thing, I hear tell that a recent survey established that there are more tigers in the wild than were originally thought to be (up by 1,000 to 3,890). This set me wondering who had the gig of counting these critters?  Can you imagine:  “One, two, three, now all stand still a minute guys.  Where was I?  Oh yes:  One, two, three, run……………………….”

Finally, I have been reading a very interesting autobiography written by Marty Feldman. He had an unusual but refreshing take on life. He observed that people often use religious belief as a kind of “Cosmic Scapegoat” when things go wrong which I think is a rather neat observation.

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And you cannot see Ireland from Cardiff, no matter how tall you may be, don’t start me.

Bye for now.