By Tom Morris - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Foyles new shop entrance

News today that Foyles has been sold to Waterstones. Christina Foyle would be turning in her grave!

Asked who had been the most boring literary lunch guest, she always told the story of Sir Walter Gilbey, director of the gin-making company. ”He spoke for one and a half hours,” she said. ”A man in front of my father fell asleep so he hit the chap with the toastmaster’s gavel. The man said: ‘Hit me again. I can still hear him.’ ”


Sam, Sam, Pick Up Tha Musket

Don’t think I’ve heard this since I were a schoolboy.

If you are able, it is probably best read in a northern accent:

Sam, Sam, Pick Up Tha Musket

It occurred on the evening before Waterloo,
As troops were lined up on parade.
And sergeant inspecting ’em, he were a terror,
Of whom every man were afraid.

All excepting one man, he were in’t front rank,
A man by t’name of Sam Small.
And he and t’sergeant were both daggers drawn,
They thought nowt of each other at all.

As sergeant walked past he was swinging his arms,
And he happened to brush against Sam.
And knocking t’musket clean out of ‘is hand,
It fell t’ground wi’ a slam.

‘Pick it up!’ said sergeant, abrupt like, but cool.
But Sam wi’ a shake of ‘is ‘ead.
Said ‘Seeing as tha knocked it out of my hand,
P’rhaps tha’ll pick t’ thing up instead.

Sam, Sam, pick up tha musket!
The sergeant exclaimed with a roar.
Sam said tha’ knocked it down reasonin’
Tha’ll pick it up, or it stays, where t’is on the floor.

The sound of high words very soon reached
The ears of an officer, Lieutenant Bird.
Who says to the sergeant ‘Now what’s all this ‘ere?’,
And the sergeant told what had occurred.

‘Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket !’,
Lieutenant exclaimed with some heat.
Sam says he knocked it down, reasonin he picks it up,
Or it stays where’t is at my feet.

It caused quite a stir when the Captain arrived,
To find out the cause of the trouble,
And every man there all, excepting old Sam,
Was full of excitement and bubble.

‘Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket!’,
Said Captain, for strictness renowned.
Sam says he knocked it down, reasonin he picks it up,
Or it stays where’t is on the ground.

The same thing occurred when the Major and Colonel
Both tried to get Sam to see sense.
But when old Duke of Wellington came into view,
Well then the excitement was tense.

Up rode the Duke on a lovely white horse
To ‘Find out the cause of the bother.’
He looked at the musket, and then at old Sam,
And he talked to old Sam like a brother.

‘Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket’, the Duke
Said as quiet as could be,
‘Sam, Sam-Sam-Sam, pick up thy musket.’,
Come on lad just to please me.

All right Duke says old Sam just for thee I’ll oblige,
And to show thee I meant no offence.
So Sam picked it up. ‘Gradely lad.’ said the Duke.
‘Righto boys let battle commence.’

The poem is, in fact, a traditional folk song which was written in 1929 and made famous by the actor Stanley Holloway [1890-1982] It is about the period before the Duke of Wellington’s famous battle at Waterloo against Napoleon in 1815.

Lesley Cowley Departure

Nominet have just announced that Lesley Cowley is stepping down from Nominet, the private company that runs the .uk domain space.

Nominet has been mired in controversy for the last few years, most recently when it was found guilty of disability discrimination in an employment tribunal case brought by a whistle blower.

Personally I’ve felt recent consultations on policy changes have been nothing more than whitewashes with the decisions already made.

I believe Nominet has not proven itself to live up to the “open, free and neutral” internet that it claims to believe in, and I can only hope the departure of the long-serving CEO will result in a change of culture for the better with a more bottom-up, consultative process coming into the company.



If you need a tool that can change your computer’s fan speeds, read the temperatures of your motherboard and your hard disk, read voltages and fan speeds and check the status of your hard disk using S.M.A.R.T. or SCSI attributes, then try Speedfan.

It’s not just for fans. In fact on my Acer laptop it didn’t actually detect the fan at all. But did give loads of other information