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Mrs. Monk's Would-be Diary should have been written by Mrs. Monk, since she is the "Writer" in the family.
However, since she is a writer only in the conceptual sense, I have undertaken to fill these pages on her behalf
If not by her, these pages will certainly be about her, and other important matters of the day         Leslie Monk




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29 December 2014

Dear Grant

Thank you for your Email.

Mrs. Monk was worried that we had fallen out because we had not heard from you for a while.

You say that if I donate 100 to the Conservative Party, one of your filthy rich subscribers will add a further 100. Or to put it another way if I don’t donate 100, the Conservative party will be denied 200.

Thank you for helping me make my decision . It does seem a no-brainer to me because nobody likes wasting money on lost causes. Have you seen the polls?

 Thank you for your list of “our” achievements. What exactly did I do apart from reading your email and having a little chuckle.

Happy New Year and try not think about the polls.

PS when you have a spare moment, please fix the railway network.


Pictures of People

photographed this year by Mrs Monk.

25 December 0000

This years Christmas Card

and others

22 December 2014

The Yarn Bombers

Anarchy in wool. A charm offensive.


20 december 2014

Four Shopping Days to Christmas.
That is three days to put head into sand. And one day to force myself into a shop, to buy something that would pass scrutiny of demanding recipient of gift, Mrs Monk. Might just accept my fate and take the flack.

Mrs. Monk is addicted to shops and I am allergic to shops.

Otherwise we have a lot in common.



15 december 2014

The Daily Telegraph today leaked advice to Labour candidates who have been told to avoid the subject of Immigration on the door step. The Nigel Barton Moment. No kidding! Did they read my post yesterday below.

14 december 2014

The Nigel Barton Moment

And why we need

Russell Brand

And why he should not stand for election; heaven forbid.

The Nigel Barton Moment is frequently discussed on these pages. It is of course the moment when a politician fails to say what he really thinks because he wants to court all available votes in what we call a democracy, even if that vote is from a confirmed racist or a xenophobe.

Nigel Farage hardly bothers to disguise his tendency to court racists. He knows very well that he is the apologia of racism, but that does not trouble him. That makes him smile. That makes him laugh out loud.

Gordon Brown had a Nigel Barton moment and that cost him dearly in 2010. Cameron and May and Labour “shadows” are aware of the pitfalls and have also failed to condemn endemic British racism. They tend to assert unconvincingly and wish-fulfillingly, British notions of tolerance and fair play.

Does not wash. Does not stand scrutiny.

And when would a career politician ever tell a potential constituent not to vote for them, because they did not approve of the vote-giver? Has that ever happened?

That is why we need Russell Brand and that is why he should not stand for election.

So far, so untainted.

Respect to Dennis Potter. Not much has changed since 1965.

13 december 2014

Badding Farage

Get off My Land, Says Kent


12 december 2014

 Go on the record against the Bedroom Tax

In just four days, there will be a parliamentary vote on scrapping the Bedroom Tax. Why would anyone of any political persuasion not sign this petition?

9 december 2014

Serjeant Musgrave's Dance

And The Special Relationship

“war crimes” that may well have prolonged the current "war on terror." #CIAReport

 7 december 2014

Last Year’s Foodbank Christmas Card

David Cameron is still in denial and has turned down  100s of Millions of  EU Cash for Foodbanks . Cameron wants to be seen fighting for EU money but he does not want it for the UK poor.


Today the Bishops are naming names.

They are naming David Cameron for starving the poor.



Items designed to be useful or important for only a short time and/or occasionally embedded with prescient significance.

Photos by Sara Monk.

Shopping for Jesus

 24 November 2014

“health and safety”  for bullshit jobs-worth “health and safety” reasoning.

16 november 2014

Dear Theresa May

You might need to reconsider the poster you sent me just a month ago.

Police crime figures have now lost official status over claims of fiddling  and the UK Statistics Authority has withdrawn the gold-standard status from police figures, due to 'accumulating evidence' of unreliability.

You must have known.

3 november 2014


An early postman in these post privatisation days is like finding an apple in a puddle in the street and dancing a  fox-trot with the vermin where the rain has fallen.

25 october 2014

British Gas

.. was one of the earliest "privatisations". Formerly a non profit nationalised company "giving" away heat to the British public at knock down prices. Thatcher privatised British Gas and now they lead all other gas providers by driving up the price of heat.

Naked capitalism was embraced by privatised British Gas and pretty soon they were dishing out huge sums to incumbent management, notably .....

Cedric Brown,

 the original "Fat Cat" that outraged an army of small time investors, Thatcher's new capitalists were disappointed.

Who do they now blame? The immigrants of course.

It was twenty years ago Mrs Monk Wrote a letter to the Observer on these very subjects illustrated by the legendary Trog.

Let Classy Croaks Cull Fat Cats

Such progress we have made in the last twenty years.

23 october 2014

Recent London Pictures

snapped by Mrs Monk

Tripple Hippo Award

Pot calls kettle black

“The salaries paid to the executive directors are in many cases absolutely outrageous and unjustifiable.”

David Amess, of all people, felt compelled to complain about Southend Hospital Trust Executive Pay.

Privatised Trust Executives get huge salaries and he of all people is surprised.

If a Labour MP said this they would say it were the “Politics of Envy”.

“The hyena complaining about what the vulture gets!”

Evening Echo Reader

Intriguing Chambermaid

"Oh My God!"

Attempting to juggle these plentiful gifts, while simultaneously maintaining my dignity.

 17 October 2014

17 october 2014


UKIP Candidate for Basildon has been deselected for being something worse than a UKIP candidate

16 october 2014

Dear Theresa May

Thank you for your email.

You say "Under Labour, Police officers were wrapped in red tape, unable to do their job"

Do they no longer have to record and count the crimes committed because of Nasty Red Tape, because you also say that crime has gone down under your tenure as Home Secretary?

Amazing! How do you do get away with this BS?

Bedding Farage

10 october 2014

Ugly donkey passes posh thoroughbred

5 october 2014

Recent Pictures of Leigh upon Sea and thereabouts by Sara Monk. Pictures are added and subtracted from this collection from time to time. Mrs. Monk’s editor deserves some credit but gets very little.

2 october 2014

Tory Conference

Given last weeks panic driven pledges to ameliorate the Scots, how pathetic and desperate were David Cameron’s pledges to protect the NHS with references to his own tragic family story as if that excused his failure to honour his NHS pledges before the last election, or would allow us to accept yesterday’s preposterous financial pledges that unraveled arithmetically almost before he finished speaking to the Tory faithful at his party conference.

The man needs another vacation already.

29 September 2014

hard working privileges

Pride and Privilege.

Osborne’s contrary rhetoric.


28 September 2014


your own home means security, independence Grant Shapps

Dagenham Titanic

 27 September 2014

Mrs Monk took this picture of the sinking Ford Factory in Dagenham from the new A13. For more than a century, Ford manufactured vehicles in Britain, and at its peak rolled out more than 3,000 cars a day off its production lines.


subscribe, no charge...

Love is a very splendid thing. A movie called "Love" was created by us Monks at Shoestringonline. We then discovered that there were 10,729 movies on vimeo with the same title. Most seem to be syrup, or church, or just bad, or all three. Surely there would be enough to start a Love Channel. Love Channel was born, or was there already a Love Channel. Apparently not.


Nine Years Ago

 21 September 2005

BAD Apples

 25 September 2014

Today the story of the bendy i-phone


 21 September 2014

Picture snapped on MillBank, Westminster


 12 September 2014

More Scots live within 2 miles of the River Thames than live within 2 miles of Sean Connery.


 11 September 2014

Unhappy Anniversary

Postcard from Oblivion


 8 September 2014

Reasons not to be cheerful: Bee Stings, Doctor No and Uncle Derek’s Banana

Big Theft

 2 September 2014

British Telecom are always so happy to charge for a service they do not provide.


28 August 2014

Andy Murray

could easily have gone out in the first round of the US Open, when his body went into cramp melt down.

He survived, but 6 seeded men did go out in the first round and that would hurt.

  • Marin Cilic (CRO) [14]
  • Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [19]
  • Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) [21]
  • Julien Benneteau (FRA) [24]
  • Santiago Giraldo (COL) [27]
  • Lukas Rosol (CZE) [29]

Unseeded Heather Watson also went out far too easily along with just three seeded women who also lost in the first round

  • Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) [12]
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [20]
  • Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [25]

Andy Murray plays the unseeded German qualifier Matthias Bachinger tonight at midnight UK time.

27 August 2014


Items designed to be useful or important for only a short time and/or occasionally embedded with prescient significance.

Photos by Sara Monk.

26 August 2014

Everybody Loves a Ukulele.

Mrs Monk heard me say that and went out and bought me one. Have yet to set the world on fire with it, but imagine my delight when we came upon this band by chance performing on the Priory Park rotund bandstand one Sunday afternoon. They were happy to turn their backs on their audience, who after all paid nothing to hear their tunes,  and pose for Mrs Monk. Happy to recommend the D'Ukes who put on a good show.

I'll see you in my dreams.

Eight Years Ago

“Maxjet, I am a Diabetic,” she said.

An unsolicited prayer hijack,

in exchange for a free call to the UK. Amen

21 August 2014

Tory Mugs for Mugs

Grant Shapps, You’ve made my day.

The Ghost of Doubtfire

13 August 2014

Mrs Monk’s students secretly referred to her as Mrs Doubtfire, I choose to believe this was a compliment.

Mrs Monk is alive and well, but Mrs Doubtfire is no more.

9 August 2014

Imagine Charlie's WTF moment

We Monks have a painted floor that shines like an ice rink when freshly painted white, which it was today.

Mrs Monk says that Mr Monk is trying to be John Lennon, Alternatively she might say that he wants the house to look like an art gallery.

Either way the floor was painted by Mr Monk today and he made sure that Mrs Monk was out of the house while he undertook his task.

However Mrs Monk returned home early, unexpected. As she entered Cat Flap Charlie entered in her wake and unwittingly walked upon the wet paint, faltering he stalled, then made his slippery passage across the kitchen floor, his four cat legs seemingly out of control as if he were skating on ice. This was Charlie's WTF moment.

I looked down at my paint job and Charlie's skid marks.

We cleaned him up before he started to lick the paint off his paws. White paws on a black cat is not a good look.


the face of Southend West

His story and other stories of local interest.

All Legal



David Webb, of David Webb & Co solicitors, London Road, Westcliff, was struck off the solicitors register in 2013, having appealed and lost his appeal against that decision to strike  him off the solicitor’s register.  Mr Webb had also been banned from practicing as a solicitor in the late 90s, so he had form.

If you were his client during that time or faced him in court as an opponent,  you may have grounds to question any judgement made based upon his participation.

Please write to David Amess or Shoestringonline and get it off  your chest. Ask Mr Amess about his sunshine holidays in the Maldives at your expense.

4 August 2014

They used to call me Odd Socks in my youth, because of my habit of wearing one red and one green sock. Cannot say this was a deliberate statement on my part designed to challenge conservative values and the status quo.

This was just lazy sock pairing.

40 years later I found myself today embarrassed by Mrs Monk walking around Bluewater Shopping Centre wearing odd shoes.

Odd shoes! Surely, this is going too far?

One other odd thing I did notice was the tight vested muscle men promenading the Bluewaterv Mall inadvertently wearing cat’s meow, camp, Warhol-like Homo-erotic designer wear.

Now that is odd.

Did not see that coming.

4 August 2014

Bus Stop

3 August 2014

Osborne's Recession

For pity's sake Esther, please wear a vest.

31 July 2014

The Dog picture was bought from a charity shop with the intention of overpainting it. Then Mrs Monk went around town setting up these pictures, circa 1995, before the verb "photoshop" was invented.


25 July 2014

Drove into a manhole in Basildon Essex, where the manlid had been removed.

This happened soon after a thunderstorm, and torrential rain, but the suspicion is that some roadworks were left recklessly, or had been tampered with by vandals.

In any event we Monks wee impressed by the two motorists that came to our assistance. We were in fact trapped in a conundrum  where we could not proceed without allowing our rear wheel to collapse into the manhole, and we could not reverse without allowing our front wheel to collapse into the same void.

I understood the dilemma almost immediately but I also had to deal with the panic of my passenger, Mrs. Monk.

The problem was solved by a very smart motorist who blocked the other lane of traffic that might cause us harm. Thus the entire passage of two lanes of Essex drivers were obstructed while we calmly dealt with our crisis.

When I say calmly, I refer only to myself because Mrs Monk was less than calm and the two motorists who came to our assistance then became the target of abuse from a number of mindless motorists who thought they might vent their spleen with their horns.

"WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP",  seemed the appropriate but futile retort.

Thank you strangers for getting us out of a hole, quite literally.

20 July 1969

The First Man on the Moon

20 July 2014

 Death In Essex

Part 3.2

I looked at Southend and gazed at the longest  pleasure pier in the world.

17 July 2014

the silent fart

went on to become the Secretary of State for Education. He went too far and got the sack, and then got stuck in the toilet all in the same week, this week.

The final part of Death In Essex, by Sara Monk, ... is coming soon.

13 July 2014

Scottish Nationalism is as unpalatable as any other kind of self serving Nationalism?

This week’s “Question Time” featured Scottish Nationalists on the panel, and in the audience; all were on the whole trying to appeal for a “Yes“ vote by attacking the Tories in Westminster, but without appearing to attack the English, not all of whom are Tories.

Ironically, this would be a self serving argument for the Scottish Nationalists that would in fact help the Tories electorally, and disadvantage the “unselfish” Left in what they might call, “England”.

And all because of a random line somewhere near Hadrian’s Wall.

“Some of my best friends are English”, they said, “and we are richer than the Japanese”.

That is not a worthy argument for voting Yes, even if it were true.

No, that is a Tory argument for voting Yes.

More 2014

Go to 2016 2015D  2015C 2015B 2015A 2014B 2014A 2013B, 2013A, 2012B, 2012A 2011B, 2011A , 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004

  Complain, Applaud, or Comment  CONTACT Shoestringonline


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