Saturday, 16 February 2019


This post is composed from two earlier posts that I published in January about the appeal for hi-res images of Jago's artwork. I have designed it for USAF Upper Heyford veteran websites as many Americans who follow these sites will not have seen the January posts - apologies to those who have seen the material before but it's Jago and worth a second look! 

As many readers - but not all - will know, the biography of Jago Stone will be published as 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone' by Rob Donovan on October 1 this year. Unicorn PLG are my publishers. Their design team and I are working together to ensure that the book looks as good as it reads - and to this end I contacted recently all those who had sent me images of their Jago Stone paintings and which I then referenced and included as images within the text. Unicorn and I hoped that these contributors would respond and send me hi-res images of their Jago Stone art work which I could then add to the Dropbox to send to Unicorn. The higher the resolution, the finer the picture.

The response has been impressive. So many higher-resolution images have arrived through cyber space. In this post, I give you - the reader - the opportunity to see some of the hi-res images that have come from the United States. A taster for the book itself.

I'll start with a story that I have already outlined in a Christmas 2018 post called: MORE AMERICAN LINKS - THE JENNY JANZEN COLLECTION. Here's the link to that post: Press here. Jenny has one of the largest collections of Jago's watercolours in the United States and we have been fortunate enough to be gifted images of fourteen of them. Four of these, I included in that Christmas 2018 post. Here is another:

Tysoe Fire Station, Warwickshire - Jago Stone (1976)

In the order the American hi-res images came, first the story behind those from Jessica Raber, nee Pue. Jessica is an artist in Bloomington, Indiana - press here for a link. Jessica was five years old when Jago painted a watercolour of her parent's home in Bicester, Oxfordshire in 1984 during the time they were on tour, stationed

Friday, 8 February 2019


Bob Woodward is very good at capturing the instinctive Trump style and explaining why he was the winner in the presidential campaign of 2016. Here are some extracts from an early part (p.16) of 'Fear':

'Politicians like Hillary (Clinton) can't talk naturally, (Steve) Bannon said … not from the heart or from deep conviction - not angry. Trump said okay, you become the Chief Executive Officer of the campaign ...
They agreed that Kellyanne Conway - a feisty, outspoken Republican pollster who was already helping the campaign - would be designated campaign manager. (Bannon continued) "We're going to put her on television every day as the female-friendly face on the thing … people like her. And that's what we need is likeability … I'll never be on TV."

Fear (2018) by Bob Woodward

Conway had never run a campaign either. That made three of them - the shiny neophyte candidate, the campaign CEO and the campaign manager'.

Woodward was shaping my understanding as I read his words. Trump, Bannon, and Conway - trading as political virgins: a new passport to popular success. And Conway knew her man, her boss - Donald Trump. An unreconstructed septuagenarian. Here is Woodward recording the moment of her appointment:

"Do you think you can run this thing? he asked.
"What is 'this thing'? she asked. "I'm running this photo shoot."
"The campaign," Trump said. "The whole thing. Are you willing to not see your kids for a few

Wednesday, 6 February 2019


When I had come to the end of my 26 miles and a few hundred yards in the London Marathon in April 2017, I spent a few minutes with the Salvation Army officers who were around at the end of the race welcoming their runners as they finished. I had just achieved a personal best marathon time in this, my third marathon - 05:37:29 - aged 68. Three years before, I had completed the Edinburgh Marathon in  05:42:10 and five years before, in 2012 - the year of the London Olympics - I had my first marathon under my belt in 05:40:55. So nearly 3.5 minutes faster in 2017 and five years older. It was like defying gravity but then running has always been a counter-intuitive activity for me - see my background story and the galleries featuring me as a runner by pressing here.

Running for the line in the Mall - London 2017

I was proud to run wearing the Salvation Army vest in 2017 and raise £3000 towards the development of the Sally Army's rehabilitation unit in Swindon for former drug users. I remember

Sunday, 3 February 2019


The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is the bad guy. He's the one with the bandit moustache. Millions are leaving the country because it's in such a mess. All due to the socialist beliefs of Maduro and his government. The good guy is Juan Guaido who has recently become the president of the national assembly as a leading member of the opposition Popular Will Party. There's an informal agreement to rotate this position of president between the different political  parties in Venezuela. He's the fresh-faced one. No bandit moustache. As soon as he became the president of the national assembly, he declared himself the rightful president of the country. The bad guy, Maduro, was no longer the president. He was.

President Maduro

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, soon announced that Maduro was no longer the president of Venezuela. Juan Guaido now held that position. A few days later, our foreign secretary, James Hunt, declared that Briain does not regard Maduro as Venezuela's "legitimate leader". Instead, opposition head Juan Guiado is "the right person to take the country forward". That's a special relationship in action - Trump leads; the Tory government follows.

self-declared president - Juan Guaido

Listen to our media and the Trump/Tory line rules the airwaves and fills cyberspace. But there is another side to the story.

There is an evident link between Guaido and his actions on the one hand and Trump's support. According to Associated Press, Guaido had secretly visited Washington, Colombia and Brazil in the

Thursday, 31 January 2019


In September 2018, Bob Woodward's account of the first eighteen months of the presidency of Donald Trump was published. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward had been the Washington Post journalists who exposed the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. Woodward knows his territory; he draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with first-hand sources and from meeting notes, personal diaries, files and paperwork. As the blurb says, here is an account 'in unprecedented detail (of) the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump's White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies.'

I finished reading my birthday copy very recently - and felt compelled to share a summary of Woodward's account. He makes few judgements; he reports. The verdict on the President is left to the reader. I had already made my judgement before reading 'Fear'. That verdict is more than confirmed by 'Fear'. 

Here is a link to my thinking about Trump and the special relationship, so-called, between the USA and the UK, as expressed in a post in early 2017: press here to find out more. If you had been in Truro around that time as we faced the prospect of a state visit by the new American President, you would have heard me one evening - see photo below - expounding on the menace of a man whom I - and others - believe is mentally unfit to be the leader of the most powerful nation on our planet. My reasoning? He evidently had all the symptoms of a medical condition: narcissistic personality disorder

Rob Donovan on the wall in Lemon Quay, Truro, next to Steve Robinson aka Red Robbo - February 16, 2017

'The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump - 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President' by Bandy X. Lee & Robert Jay Lifton (2017) provides a compelling account of the reasons why there are medical grounds for doubting his fitness for office. These are the words of one of the 

Friday, 25 January 2019


On 31 December 2018, Bernard Porter published a piece on the London Review of Books Blog (LRB Blog) with this title: What is Corbyn thinking?  Bernard Porter is an academic historian. I think his own thinking about Jeremy's thinking is worth sharing. Here is my summary of his article, using his words for the most part:

Here is how Bernard Porter begins:
'Jeremy Corbyn is getting a lot of stick just now ... for not coming out clearly in favour of a second referendum, and for Remain. The Guardian is especially critical: but when hasn’t it been, of this untidy bearded radical? I’d have liked Labour to have taken more of a pro-European lead. But then I think again.'
Second thoughts are always worth considering. Why should Labour necessarily take a more pro-European lead - whatever that means? In any case, to insist that No Deal can not be countenanced is markedly more pro-European than PM May's position.

Jeremy Corbyn - 2017 General Election

BP continues:
'There are three reasons for suspending judgment on Corbyn until the whole sorry affair has worked itself out. First, he is at least being consistent in his career-long Euroscepticism, which is

Sunday, 20 January 2019


There are numinous moments in a lifetime when we seem to be touched by the Gods. You choose your own metaphor if you are uncomfortable with mine - but I hope you have had the joy of experiencing transcendence. For me, Manchester United beating Bayern Munich with two very late goals to become European champions in 1999 when I was aged 50; my first ascent of a mountain (Helvellyn), aged 16; and so on. Two will have to suffice in this introduction to a blog-post in which I am giving thanks to two people who have brought me a joy that left me utterly at one with myself and the universe - a snooker player and an actor who became that snooker ace; Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins and Richard Dormer.

Alex Higgins and Richard Dormer, on stage in 2003

A bit of background to explain more fully:

In 1970 in a Kidlington cinema outside Oxford, I watched the new American release: 'Mash'. I was blown away. These anarchic surgeons operating close to the battlefields of Korea were brilliant at