Wednesday 28 September 2022

Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd – What About Flora?

Flora Ackroyd, the 20-ish niece of Roger Ackroyd, is in a terrible fix. Her uncle is a self-made man, and he has invited the penniless Flora and her mother (his sister) to live with him. They have their room and board, and a very small allowance – Roger, though generous with his houseroom, is mean with money.

Flora, who is now upper-middle-class by association, has nothing to do but hope to attract a reasonably well-off man. If her husband can't "keep her in the style to which she has become accustomed", she'd be letting her family down. Having clawed their way up, they don't want to be seen to slide down the class scale.

But Flora has a problem. Her allowance does not cover the clothes she needs to attract rich suitors. So she turns to crime, confusing the evidence about the murder and making herself miserable. She likes a houseguest, Major Blunt, but he is a principled man who won't want to marry a petty thief. (See The Mystery of the Blue Train and The Moving Finger for the transformative effect of expensive clothes.)

I have always wondered why she doesn't just get a job. However, she isn't qualified for anything. The only roles available to her would be – as Christie explains in other books – companion or governess. But both would take her away from home and she'd be unlikely to meet any rich men. She could, like another character in the book, go downmarket as a parlourmaid or Woolworth's shop girl. But she'd be recognised by family friends. She can't even learn to type at home – that's not something you can keep secret. Plus, jobs as a shopgirl or typist wouldn't earn her enough.

When Agatha Christie went round the world with her husband and an official boosting the British Empire exhibition, she was so seasick that she threatened to get off the boat at Madeira and get a job as a parlourmaid. She thought she'd be quite good in the role. Was this the ultimate plan behind her disappearance

To find out what happens to Flora, read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

More about Christie here, and links to the rest.
That's Flora Montgomery above in the 2000 dramatisation.

Sunday 4 September 2022

Corny Old Jokes Plus

I know I’m not dumb, and I also know I’m not blonde!
 (Dolly Parton)

A woman has a better chance of snaring a man if she keeps her trap shut.

One of the happiest days of my life was when I walked down the aisle. And saw that Waitrose had a 3 for 2 offer on Pickled Onion Monster Munch. (Leslie Costar)

You scheming, devious megalomaniac!
That's Mr Megalomaniac to you! 

(Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures)

The past is rewritten so quickly, you don't know what's going to happen yesterday. (Soviet joke)

Tallinn, Estonia, mid 1970s, a haberdashery. 
Do you have zippers?
Where is the nearest store that carries zippers?

(Helsinki is in Finland.)

A Polish guy goes to the optometrist to have his eyesight tested. The doctor shows him a card: “Can you read this?” The guy: “Read it? I went to school with him!”

I was born in Austria-Hungary. I went to school in Czechoslovakia. My first job was in Hungary. I married my wife in the USSR. I get my pension in Ukraine. But I never left the city I was born in.

Is that a Junya Watanabe she's got on?
Then I'm wearing mine upside down!

(Hale and Pace, The Management. Watanabe made origami-like dresses in the 80s.)

I need some new shoes - some that'll take me up to Bob’s shoulder but not over Bill’s head. 

I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty. (Groucho Marx)

What do you know about atoms?
Very little.
Besides that.


Matthew Sweet: Don’t know whether the Romans would agree.

Two women by a washing line. One says to the other: “It dries the washing using the very latest technology – a combination of solar and wind power.”

Good Consternoon Afterble. What makes you drink I’m thunk? I am not under the affluence of incahol.

Your teeth are like stars! They come out at night.

You remind me of the sea.
Majestic and awe-inspiring?
No, you make me sick.

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday 1 September 2022

Outrageous Excuses 19

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
 (Matthew's Gospel) ML explains on Facebook: It’s a parable to teach a deeper truth.

There were many reasons I didn't get vaccinated, but a main one was that I was so against the idea of vaccine passports, that I didn't want to have one - in case I was tempted to use it at any point and so be a participant. (@TrattenRabbit. See also: I'm not getting vaccinated because: In the film I Am Legend a vaccine turns people into zombies.)

It’s OK for politicians to lie because “everybody does it” and “the other side is worse”. (Via JN)

The LGB Alliance announce that they have a stand at the LibDem conference. Oh, sorry they don’t – they’ve been told there’s been an “administrative error”.

Johnny and Amber: She fought back, so SHE’S the abuser.

Atrocities in Ukraine are all committed by Ukrainians on Ukrainians. And besides the cyclist captured on film being shot by the Russians was just a “crisis actor”. (And I suppose those burned bodies were shop window dummies.)

Murderer Wayne Couzens initially ran an entirely false account in which he pretended that for two or three weeks he had been acting under the coercion of a gang from one of the Balkan countries who compelled him to abduct girls who he then handed over… His account on this issue was highly detailed and it was a complete fiction. (Sentencing judge in Sarah Everard case)

A Labour plan to remove private schools' charitable status would end up costing the taxpayer - with schools closing and pupils switching to state schools, sector leaders have warned. (@tes)

Megachurch pastor, 62, is placed on leave after allowing volunteer with 'obsessive sexual feelings' for children to work in unsupervised roles as 'a method of treatment' (Daily Mail. The volunteer was his son, and they were shopped by his sister.)

Trump supporters on the Arizona recount (there were errors, but a recount gave Biden more votes, not fewer): We just wanted to learn the vulnerabilities of the voting system.

Care homes shouldn't adjust their sensory environment much, because autistic people won't be able to go back into the 'real world' if we make them too easy to be in. (Via Twitter)

Iron sharpens iron. (Common in US Christian circles, I’m told, to excuse all kinds of bad behaviour – and to keep people in abusive relationships.)

I am sorry to go but I have concluded it’s time to reduce my commitments on a number of fronts. Over the summer I’ve had time to reflect on my extensive portfolio of interests and decided it was time to cut back. (Andrew Neil resigns from NewsGB Sept 2021)

MVRDV explained that "working with plants is unpredictable" in its response to criticism over the £2 million Marble Arch Mound. (It was a howling failure, and is now being dismantled.)

Orthodox Jewish newspaper: We removed Hillary Clinton from the photo out of respect for women.


A condition such as dyslexia is an integral part of a person. To take away their dyslexia is to take away from the person. (Self help website for neurodivergents)

I’m not getting my deaf daughter a cochlear implant because it would be disrespectful to the deaf community and deaf culture.

Nonbinary person here... I had to skip going to a protest this morning that was very close to where I live because it was framed as a women’s rights issue and I didn’t know if that language was intentionally exclusionary and so I couldn’t be sure it would be a safe place for me to be. (Via Twitter, verbatim.)

I found out when my husband volunteered at our local food bank that they get rid of the sweets that people donate: "we care greatly about the health of our community and respectfully ask that you do NOT donate soda, cakes, cookies, or candy, as we will not provide these goods." (@keepingitsimpl7)

Javid: pouring money into NHS is unfair on the young (Times 2022-06-16)

Cycle lanes? London can never be like Amsterdam. (We can’t copy past architecture because lifestyles are different now, and we don’t want to live in a museum.)

We can’t ban [guns, cigarettes, river-polluting battery chicken farms] because people would lose their jobs.

Caught shoplifting? Bought a gun? “I was researching a novel.” (If an actor, say “I was researching a part”.)

I would be letting X down if I even tried to “understand” your position. (Twitter)


I just got off the train in my wheelchair and said to the lady who came with the ramp ‘Thank you for coming, we’ve had a lot of bad experiences with ramp access today’ she replied and said ‘You’ve had bad experiences, I’ve had to put this ramp down three times today for people like you’. (@DisabledEliza)

I am so sorry someone on our railway said this to you. Maybe they’d had a bad day at work, or in their life; I’d like to think they weren’t always like that. You’re entitled to the service everyone else is – and the railway’s job is to help you get where you want to go. (@SirPeterHendy)

They said they had “worded it sensitively” and they are “sorry if I got triggered by it” (not an apology) “but that if I did then my reaction to it was “about me” - yuck. (HT)

A mixed-race hospital porter successfuly sued for harassment and discrimination. Other porters (all white) made remarks such as “He looks like a Muslim and they’re terrorists”. Two of his supervisors claimed there was “nothing malicious” in the comments


Then there’s my mother’s elderly English neighbour. She explained: “I voted Leave because I had a very happy childhood”. The world she remembered was white English, straight, male-dominated, with state violence toward transgressors. People knew their place. (@AndrewPRLevi)

I voted ‘LEAVE’ because I thought ‘STAY’ would win.’

Yes, I did vote for Brexit, but I can assure everybody that's listening I did not vote for this. I voted for people to be more patriotic. (Pig Farmer on Woman's Hour)

Turkey farmer near Chelmsford faces a “car crash” at Christmas as there aren’t enough workers. “I voted Leave to keep the lazy ones out, not the ones who pluck and pack for me.” (via LBC)

Now is not the time to talk about Brexit” – in a week of food shortages and queues at petrol stations as the stuff runs out. (Pure Jeremy Bentham.)

'Please bear with us, we're experiencing high demand,' say supermarkets with half-empty shelves due to a shortage of drivers thanks to Brexit.

Oh no – actually the empty shelves are due to people holidaying at home and eating food.

Or they’re empty because Tony Blair urged young people to go to university.
And it costs a lot to get an HGV licence.
And not enough people are training.
And older drivers are retiring.

And drivers really are badly treated: low-paid, expected to sleep in cab, not allowed to use toilets at delivery site. 

Anyway, food shortages will be good for people because they all eat too much! It will cure our obesity problem and reduce the strain on the NHS.

What we need is longer lorries, suggests some bright spark.

My Brexiteer family tell me that Brexit Food Shortages et al are being deliberately engineered by remainers to make people believe that Brexit is an unmitigated failure. (@OldUnclePunch)

Whatever people give as a reason for voting Tory, their real reasons are all: “What’s in it for me?” (Including: "You can't trust Labour with the economy.")