Thursday, 30 November 2017

please mind the gap


There's still a load of numbers missing from the often-missing David Davies spreadsheet.

My original calculation for the Brexit cost of exit was somewhere around €41bn. Just a tad north of the current estimated figure. I based it on a 'snake in the tunnel' model which I boshed out on my MacBook Air.

The 'aggressive low' figure was based upon UK strong-arm and around €27bn and the high figure based upon EU27 toughness was €55bn.

We are just talking about the exit cost.

In my model I then added an amount for ongoing run rate charges, which in my model lasted until 2027. No-one is mentioning that aspect yet, which I suppose will be a factor of Stage 2 or whatever it is called and will include things like pensions and long term project commitments.

I'd better revise my spreadsheet now that some harder numbers are available. There's likely to be an improvement to what I show as the ongoing run-rate, which I'll remodel when I get a few more minutes. Instead of a Department of 1000 people, I'm doing this alone, but I'd better get it up to date for the next time they pop over to - y'know - copy my findings.

In my modelling I show the big payment as part of a run-rate. This is handy for the government, who can make it look less severe by spreading the payment over say 2019-2021. They've just finished doing something similar with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The ex-macho casino bank was bought up by the government a few years ago and the toxic waste created by the banking gangsters was hived off into a separate unit. That unit has just announced its closure. The cost to the tax-payers? Around £45m. Slightly more than the cost of the exit portion of Brexit.

In comparison with Brexit, this once-deplorable city gentleman's club now gets a tiny amount of attention yet still seems to clock up similar amounts of government bail-out money.

Of course, Brexit is a much bigger situation overall, although the power-lies told about its cost have continued ever since the referendum. In UK public spending terms net EU-annual cost is still a smaller amount than the money UK provides to foreign aid.

I've also looked up some of my other early calculations (from around nine months ago) and can see the other significant lumps of money which will need to be brought into the discussion. Instead of using a grand total, we are getting slices of the full amount fed to us as individual portions.

I'm also curious about David Davis? He seems to have drifted even further from visibility, not even bothering to turn up to questions on Tuesday and instead fielding another Minister.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

down to the crossroads

IMG_6231-Edit-Edit.jpg
I haven't amassed a collection of 'hanging around' pictures yet in my new area, although I'm just starting the process.

They are the kind of pictures that come in handy when I want to burble on about nothing in particular, like the other evening when we went to the pub after our little German Feierabend. We all brought various goodies, including way too much Stollen and Lebkuchen. There was a cheeky little Schnaps too, although I was quite careful.

Later on and past the German-speaking part of the evening, we tried a nearby independent bar which sold a steam beer made locally. From the first sip it gave me flashbacks to San Fransisco drinking Anchor Steam out of frozen glasses. Outside, instead of warm weather and fog, we had icy rain, but that is another story.

But I'll take the general situation as a good sign.

We are getting more established around here, albeit with varied trips to London and elsewhere. My pictures of black cabs might be slightly less frequent, but perhaps I will replace them with seagulls and boats.
Old Brompton Road and Bina Gardens
And come to think of it, it's less than a week since I stopped off for a hasty lunch at Leon's. That's the one on the South Bank.
EM530648.jpg
It will still take time to get things set up here.

At least I've some shelving in the new office, so we can start to sort through more of the containers. There comes a point where everything that was packed away drifts to new locations.
Sometimes this is logical, other times it makes no sense other than as an indicator that the item(s) may no longer be required.

My recent mention of the bike turbo is similarly a good sign. There's finally enough room in the garage to be able to sort out the bicycles after a seven month gap.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Yep, binged my way through Stranger Things 2. Next comes the bike turbo full set viewing


I'll guiltily admit to binge watching the Stranger Things 2 series. Not all in one go, but still quite speedily. The mainly U-Certificate scariness is appealing, along with some proper Saturday morning cinema cliffhangers.

The actors, both youthful and adult, play the whole storyline convincingly, whilst little hat-tips acknowledge other movies and TV-shows. It could be as simple as the retrieval of a hat after the equivalent of a Temple of Doom moment, mysterious foreboding colour signals, or even the ways that colours repeat around the Mom character played by Winona Ryder.

Actually, Ryder's part as the mother plays brilliantly, and she doesn't seem to waste a single frame. And that's the thing with this series. Just about all the characters could have been selected from other slightly scary movies to play their parts in this one. Whether it's the tough lone cop with a heart of gold, the scientist with secrets, the ensemble BMX-riding lads with their 1980's walkie talkies, mysterious 011, it all fits nicely together.

They've managed to get over the sequel to Part 1 issue too, with the pre-existing scary thing now part of a Much Bigger Thing. For a series which requires plenty of dark-scene action, they've also managed to shoot it well. The only time the screen goes properly black is when they intend it to. Other times we see shadows well lit enough to tell what is happening.

Maybe there were a few pacing issues in this series. There were times when conversations seemed to take their time, but I suppose this was also an echo of olden days episodic shows where the right cliffhanger needed to happen at exactly the right point. Okay, and there is one Mr Robot-esque episode that doesn't seem to serve a sensible purpose, except maybe if they were hunting around for a sequel or trying to think of ideas for a spin off. Easily forgotten in the run of the series although an overly clumsy way to rebuild a character.

Aside from the minor gripes I've decided to do a full series sweep through Series 1 and 2 at some point soon. It may need to be a bike turbo thing.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

How Apple, Sainsburys, Jacobs and Stocard are driving me crackers

Okay Apple, Sainsburys, Jacobs, United Biscuits, pladis, Stocard; enough. This is the start of a slippery slope.

It's one thing to advertise biscuits on the tube, even to blast those across platform retailing projections that TfL is so pleased to be extending. But you should not be invading my personal wristwatch with your crass marketing*.

Tim Cook said of the Apple Watch on his wrist. "This isn’t obnoxious. This isn’t building a barrier...it will tap my wrist" (with silent vibrations) "I can casually look and see what’s going on."

Okay if it is some big news story, even the weather or a daily health statistics update.

But an advertisement for cheap crackers in a local store?

C'mon. Someone has lost the plot. And where one apprentice marketeer stumbles, a whole meddle of errant marketeers will follow.

Why get Jony Ive, Marc Newson, Alan Dye and the whole team of designers to come up with a personal, customisable watch and then let barbarians attack it with value-destroying promotions?

I suppose it has taken a couple of years for this crass monetisation to start.

Tim & Jony, get it sorted.

* And yes, I know there are ways to suppress the notifications, but I should not need to do this

Friday, 24 November 2017

red star over russia


Another exhibition I've visited recently is Red Star over Russia, which presents Russian visual culture from 1905-55. Much of the exhibition shocks, as it documents the reshaping of communist ideals and power in the wake of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The selection on show is from a much larger collection originally curated by David King (1943-2016). It shows the propaganda via photographs, posters, journals and books to carry the Communist message across the vast land mass of Russia.

Look carefully into the photomontages and the workers can be seen to be more tired and worn than the purveyors of the posters would desire.

There's another David King book also called Red Star over Russia, which deals with the same subject matter, but adds greater commentary around the impacts of the Bolshevik seizure of power, of Lenin and Trotsky's supposition that they could create a workers' state.

We see later portrayals of peasants, workers and intellectuals. Of the Red Army and of the agitational propaganda trains with their unmerciful depiction of the overthrow of the Tsar. There's hardly any feel-good, nearly all of it has a poses a threat in its meaning.

A smaller exhibit shows some of the cropping or editing of pictures to remove those no longer in favour. On some its a simple photo-edit. On others there's a scissor cut. A few are clumsily removed with a knife.

What is also striking, even at this distance fro the hell, is the differences between the portrayals and the realities. Here's the vision:

And then there's a picture of a reality, in this case in Uralmashstroi, 1933.

The white apartment blocks were reserved for the foreign specialists, factory management and members of the party. I cropped the Russian slogan from above the first colourful picture. It said something like: Cleanse the party of class aliens and hostile elements, self-seekers, bureaucrats and morally decayed persons.

And that hardline undercurrent runs relentlessly through many of the graphics.

Today we see a Russian Confederation that covers one eighth of earth's inhabited land area spanning eleven time zones yet with three quarters of its 145 million population living in the European part of the country.

Their early weaponised graphics appear to have evolved into something that can nowadays embrace the social media.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Modigliani at the Tate


Along to the Tate for the opening of the Modigliani exhibition.

There's a style to Modiligiani's portraits, which take an essence of a person and simplify its structure to a level that dare I say Disney would be pleased with.

The show has been heavily advertised for the large collection of nudes included, although there's also a compelling selection of portraits of his contemporaries.

An aspect airbrushed from the exhibition seems to be the beyond louche treatment that Modigliani meted out on some of his models. Here we have an artist who flamed and sputtered out by the age of 38, after copious sex, absinthe, cocaine and other Montmartre delicacies.

I enjoyed the exhibition. Maybe it doesn't appeal to many lovers of modernism, because it only offers a token amount of shapes, preferring instead to keep the personalities of the sitters recognisable.

There's some styling cues too, like the almond-shaped eyes, often dark and undetailed, yet still presenting a look towards the viewer.

Almost every portrait is of the sitter alone, without much distraction in background detailing. Look closely at some of the [pictures (you can get right up close to most of them) and it's possible to see the ways he filled in background and areas with sometimes small squares being painted consecutively. Here's one from a series of Paul Guillaume.

The show also featured a small and heavily subscribed Virtual Reality area, where Modigliani's studio was on display. Untidy, cluttered and with a VR cigarette smouldering in a corner. Add a bucket to catch dripping rain water and it is no wonder he was often ill.

But back to Modigliani, we can see pictures that span his short life. The latter ones include his then lover Jeanne Hébuterne.

Tragically, she died a couple of days after his own death, falling from a 5th floor window.

Exhibition worth seeing? Yes. Thought provoking? Yes. Popular? Certainly.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

beta testing festive Xmas travel arrangements


Sometimes it can all go a bit pear shaped. We'd met at the assigned point for a spot of lunch and maybe a glass of beer. Central London, just a few steps from Waterloo station. It was all part of the plan.

And we had a great time. Enough of a good time to stay a little longer than the original plan. It turned me into the designated survivor for the walk back to the station. I wasn't actually planning to go to the station at all. I needed to head along Lower Marsh, but this was only a short diversion.

I'll put it down to the last sips of Malbec. My colleague had something fo a parity failure. The type where everything becomes suddenly discombobulated.

I've had many years of commuting from Waterloo and recognise that progressive move towards the festive season, where there are a few slightly damaged people on the last trains home.

But this was (a) November and (b) only around 8pm.

Also, This. Was. Not. A. Drill.

Anyway, I poured my colleague into one of the blue flagged seats (the ones that signify 'may need attention'), checked that the train wasn't going much further than the required stop (Weybridge on a train to Woking). Then time to say goodbye and frantically text ahead for collection at the destination.

One slight glitch because there were two trains within 8 minutes of one another departing Waterloo.

Let's just say it worked out fine and I could then make my way back to Lower Marsh.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

lighting up time


The lights were turned on a few days ago and the wooden huts of the Christmas market are lively with punters in the grounds of the cathedral. I've actually consumed my first tartiflette with reblochon which seems to be a current festive thing.

An in my mince pie tasting the budget varieties are currently winning, with a close run thing between Tescos and Waitrose.

Of course we haven't actually crossed over that artificially introduced UK Black Friday yet, although some well-known on-line retailers are anxious to remind us of all kinds of bargains.

I'm also liking some of the slogans that have appeared: My current favourite is:

"All I want for Christmas is...
simple journey planning to get us from stop to shop"


Snappy, isn't it? Especially when they closed the central bus routes for the evening that the sign was on display. Another slogan, "Hay, time to get your gift on." is obviously in some kind of code.

But kudos to the band in the shopping centre playing a mix of xmas tunes with some black-eyed peas mixed in. It was all very jolly with a good live buzz, balancing a Timmy Mallet meets Top of the Pops vibe, which was retro but genuinely enjoyable.

Here's some real Black-Eyed Peas. The still fabulous "Where is the love?"

Friday, 17 November 2017

Visible Girls: The Phoenix #exeter


I was along to the opening of Anita Corbin's Visible Girls exhibition at the Phoenix in Gandy Street on Thursday. It's a series of double portraits by Anita Corbin, taken in in the 1980s and reflecting the colourful and vibrant personalities of those featured.

The original series illustrated various types of non-conformity, sub-cultures, styles and spirit. Many of the young women were playing with self identity, captured in the pairs of individuals.

A later twist has been to re-photograph the same pairs of women in modern times. Quite a challenge, bridging a 35 year gap although a surprising number have been found and re-photographed thanks often to social media.

On opening night, the gallery was packed with people animatedly exploring the pictures. I'm told the project continues as there are still some of the original set that have escaped the second picture.

These are lovely often posed pictures, taken at clubs, pubs and even ladies loos, sprinkled around London. There's limited scratchy backdrops which are still evocative of place and time and in some cases the original location has been used for both pictures. In one example, there's a copy of the original picture on a piano in the recent picture. Every picture has a little caption naming the women and often explaining the future situation and when and how they were tracked down.

I like the way the colour and lighting has been used too. Some photographers used to challenge the authenticity of portraiture in colour, yet here it works perfectly. I like that there's catchlight in eyes and the new pictures have been taken to blend very well with the older ones.

For me, most of all, it's about the way that the individuality, friendships and attitude have been captured.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

carping about parking

I had to add another new parking app to my phone the other day. There's supposed to be two brand leaders, but there seem to be an awful lot of second tier additions.

I notice Westminster has taken the once-ubiquitous RingGo and re-branded it for their own use. All so we can get a picture of Parliament on the home page.

To get around my area we need to use at least a couple of these apps regularly, no doubt the result of some whimsical tendering process.

As it all becomes increasingly cashless, there are the additionally systems that use Wave or some other contactless add-ons.

The trick is to remember to keep the apps current, which is easier done away from the parking site. A rainy windswept Pay and Display isn't always the ideal spot to have to do update maintenance and downloads, simply to be able to park. Although sitting updating parking apps isn't what I'd expect in Generation Y.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

too early


I see a few newspapers published articles about the Greggs advent calendar before the commentary related to the sausage roll picture started.

The London Metro includes a picture of the nativity scene, with the sausage roll and a description about shepherds paying a nativity homage. No criticism from that paper, although I think they got their sheep-minding facts wrong. Even I can see the three pictured men are carrying gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I'll be watching to see if the Metro, Mirror and others now attempt to flip across to the critical bandwagon.

There's an indulgent hypocrisy to all of this, given most people's secular outlook. Office parties, booze, gifts, Festivus '97, winter sales. I'm reminded of that story about expelling the merchants from the temple, somewhat overlooked whilst we drift towards this year's Yule.

Meanwhile, Greggs continues via its longstanding Greggs Foundation, to donate to 450 children breakfast clubs across the UK and quietly donates its unsold food to numerous UK food banks, where the amount has increased 16 fold over the last four years.

shorting the UK


They say that instability worries the stock markets, so an outfit like the tax-avoiding Barclay Brothers, owners of the Torygraph and based in Monaco and Brecqhou in the Channel Islands can wreak havoc with their Правда-like stories.

I suppose it is a way to make money from Brexit news. I expect there are others with similar ideas.

Here's how. Create disruption. Sell short. Sell shares you don't own and buy them back on the instability pushing the prices south. Make sure it's all done through offshore arrangements and then there's no tax bills to worry about.

Here's the last few days on the market, with today's news creating a further wipeout.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

rise of the fast idiots

We all know that Dan Ashcroft was right with his predictions of the cereal cafes and twit machines which invaded Hipston and other oft-bearded areas.

I still occasionally watch an episode of that Nathan Barley series, which is so ancient that it had to predict the likes of Twitter and smoked salmon coffee before they were, y'know, things.

Now much of Ashcroft's world has happened, to the extent that some people watch the TV show on YouTube and have to ask if it is meant to be a spoof. Meanwhile the nextgen worldview variants are powered up, with ever increasing artificial intelligence. There's earnest debates on the radio about the rise of robots to replace workers.

Some of it seems bizarre, like the camera built into an oven to check how the cakes are coming along, and the full sized screen on a fridge to show its contents without opening the door.

In technology we used to talk about a solution looking for a problem. I sense that we have passed that point now, as many of the Generation Y and even some Zs are reaching positions of influence in product design.

I can see the temptation put ever-cheaper electronics into everything, but it can all go awry. Our previous oven was touch-screen controlled but would require a complete re-boot about once every two weeks. The built-in microwave needed about six separate menu selections to start, compared with the prior one which needed one twist of a dial.

The new smart radiator controls miss a point. Generally you don't need to continuously micro adjust the heat output of individual home radiators and an occasional twist to, say, position 3 can suffice. Below are a couple of thermostat examples. The one on the left is manual and twisted to position 3. The one on the right is battery operated, requires a wi-fi connection and can then be set by the arrows or a phone. I notice it is also low on battery at the moment.

Of course, I do play around with the home technology and have some of it for lights and television control simplification (one handset instead of five etc). It's that question of balance.

So will my self-driving car be capable of negotiating twisty Devon single track lanes with passing places. Will it be able to convincingly reverse when a tractor is ahead? Will Alexa learn to stop interrupting television shows with random outbursts of non-comprehension?

Can Google learn that when I ask for "train Exeter to Paddington" (A famous and high-speed route from the dawn of the railways direct to London), that I don't want to go to Paddington, Warrington.

We seem to be at an interesting point. Like Dan Ashcroft's rise of the idiots, I suspect we now have to add in a couple of other factors. The click generation with it's less than 140 character attention span coupled with an abundance of high speed. They used to call a computer a fast idiot; perhaps its time has arrived?

Monday, 13 November 2017

at the beach


Just because it is almost officially winter doesn't mean we can't visit the beach.

That's the second time in the last few days that we've dined by the water's edge. Last time outside a pub and this time a small restaurant looking out to sea. In between I strolled a different beach along the evening sand.

Winter can wait just a while longer.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

fixing the non-charging iPhone


My iPhone has been erratically charging for a couple of weeks. It kinda sneaks up that it isn't charging when I've had a couple of days where it has been down to the red battery level unexpectedly.

I checked the various charging cables and noticed they needed to be wiggled before the phone would charge. Then I remembered the occasional need to blow into the lightening port. This time no difference and I couldn't find the canned air to give more of a blast. Instead I found a small screwdriver to pick carefully at the lint which had worked its way into the slot. A surprising amount, easily enough to stop electrical connections. Of course, if I were telling someone else to try this I'd suggest using a non conductive material such as a toothpick.

Normal charging (including through a charging dock) has resumed.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Further Emissions


I've been keeping an eye on the moves to make London's air cleaner with the various new congestion charges. My own car already pays the £10.50 per day charge when it is in London for not being electric or hybrid. If you don't enrol in the automatic scheme then it is £11.50 per day.

My vehicle is a Blue Efficiency model, to Euro 5 standards, which were the most efficient available at the time of purchase. As a result, it dodges the extra charge that is due to start in April next year. That's the T-Charge, which is a further £10 per day.

It starts for diesel cars up to Euro 4, so my Euro 5 is a pass.

But then, in 2019, the ULEZ is being introduced. Ultra Low Emissions Zone. That's the one for less than Euro 6 diesel and will affect my car (if I still have it). The daily charge for that is £12.50, so at that point my car would cost £11.50 + £12.50 per day in Central London. £24 before parking is enough to consider other options, although I suppose many with company accounts or the well-heeled will consider this simply a cost of doing business. For anyone with an older vehicle at Euro 4 level or lower it is even tougher with a cost of £34 per day.

I'm all for cleaner air and am a regular cyclist for shorter journeys. I also use public transport around the centre comprising a mix of bus and tube. I still find it galling that I bought diesel when we were all told to, that the mpg was much better, that the common rail versions were all clean and nothing like the old smelly diesels of yesteryear.

It is consequently annoying to be penalised at the extent envisaged, because new discoveries have shown the previous science, marketing and good citizenship to be wrong.

We are also in the middle of a cycle of manufacturers' semi-updates to vehicles. The manufacturers are figuring out how to make batteries, how to make them last, how to redesign the cars for them to fit, how the replacements will be fitted after about 4-5 years. The list goes on. They also have heaps invested int ht current production lines and will no doubt want to keep it run sign as long as possible. As a comparison of longevity I notice that Ford still fit drum brakes to the rear wheels of many of their vehicles.

I also have a suspicion that whilst a Euro 5 diesel car might last 8-10 years, the substitute semi-electric will have a considerably shorter life because of the cost of renewing the power packs.

Guess I'll need to keep an eye on Mr Musk's share price.


beyond the X, to the gravity defying Y-Phone.


It may defy physics, but it's a bit more advanced than the X.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

rewards of chaos

It is getting very confusing. Despite the quantity of meetings that Patel had during her 'holiday' in Israel, there's some pieces that still don't stack up with the news reports.

There's that minuted meeting on 22 August where Mr Oren, Deputy Minister at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, told Middle East minister Alistair Burt and British Ambassador David Quarrey that Ms. Patel had a successful meeting with Mr Netanyahu.

It says they in turn told Downing Street. But perhaps they forgot. Or it could be a fib, I suppose? But wait, they are diplomats, so they must be telling the truth. Maybe its a symptom of the chaos.

Then there's the London meetings, back in September. There's actually a tweet with a photograph of Patel and Erdan standing in the House of Commons.

Now this would be a very badly kept secret, or maybe there's a fib somewhere in the process? Or more chaos?

The strangest one is when Patel met Rotem in New York on September 18th. It says that the meeting wasn't disclosed after advice from Number 10 because of potential embarrassment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Apparently the FCO gets sensitive about having things happen which it feels are its own territory.

So was there a cover up, or is it a fib that Number 10 didn't know? Perhaps put it down to chaos?

I'll also take the broader view of Number 10. It's not one person. It's a full dither of civil servants, with commensurate stackable in-trays. So who knows where the isolated information has finally landed? And who bothered to forward it anywhere? Perhaps it was all chaotic?

As a slight aside, I used to travel to Israel and remember some of the weird meeting pressures. My typical post-flight hotel arrival time was around 5 a.m, and my hosts for whatever meetings I was attending would invariably have things booked for later that same morning.

Despite a main purpose there would always be extra meetings snuck in, and they'd often have sensitive connotations. Meet this security firm. Meet this supplier operating with special tax advantages. Today we are meeting the Army, but outside the barracks in a metal-detector surrounded cafe. I became wise to this after a while, but it seemed to be a part of the local culture to attempt these extra things, so the thought of Patel's 12 meetings organised by a fixer doesn't particularly surprise me, and could easily have been run over just a couple of days.

But back to the UK.

Boris Johnson has wanted his department to absorb DfID, calling it “a colossal mistake in the 1990s to divide the Department for International Development from the Foreign Office”. No great surprise if there's no love lost during the recent exchanges, then.

And behind the monied scenes, let's not forget that DfID uncovered some dubious practices about how foreign aid has been offered from the UK. There were the stolen papers from DfID allegedly used for Business Development by a well-known firm of contractors referred to in tabloid circles as foreign aid fat-cats.

Some quite complicated agendas then.

There's too many half-truths in all of it. More like a government-wide malaise. Instead of strong and stable we get chaos and lies.

Johnson makes it up on the hoof. The last few days illustrate his lack of contrition related to that prisoner situation, but it is only one of his series of blunders which are still not being brought to an end.

And Davis, with his own quoted 50-60 Brexit sector analyses which, now they are being asked for, are mysteriously incomplete.

But May doesn't need to do anything. No-one wants her job at the moment.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

a roundabout route


I do use those flight radar tracking systems sometimes. In fact I'll be using it tonight when I'm at the airport later.

Today it seems to have been used with superabundance on twitter to track that inbound Kenyan 787 Dreamliner (5Y-KZB).

Some remarked upon the apparent changes of direction, but this is a pretty standard incoming flight pattern, banking around the dome, with a good view of London from the starboard window seats. It's easy to spot the famous landmarks, The Eye, The Shard, Palace of Westminster, Downing Street.

Of course, they are passed at high speed. The plane is slowing from a few hundred miles per hour as it descends towards LHR.

Then the disembarkation. It's fun to get one of those limos from the steps instead of having to go along the corridors from the jetway, mingle with everyone else and then pickup the luggage.

Although, I've never had the three car treatment, with a whole convoy of black vehicles to accompany me back towards London. I see the perimeter roads were used to good effect, which is a definite preference for me also, when there's traffic around.

Helicopters hovering over Parliament and Whitehall are quite a common sound, but there's usually something happening at the time, like a protest, or a big event. This time we may hear about a resignation, but it's still not the big oaf's turn.

Even the way May enters the building through the back garden can be something of a circuitous metaphor. Yet, outside Number 10, the media with a lower budget wait for the outcome. Will May play it for a sacking or will Patel resign? Will the noise from it be enough to quell other criticisms of the shaky and wobbling leadership?

The helicopter spin gives us an answer.