Saturday, December 31, 2011

No way Jose

Hans, a middle-aged German tourist on his first visit to Orlando, Florida, finds the red light district and enters a large brothel. The madam asks him to be seated and sends over a young lady to entertain him.

They sit and talk, frolic a little, giggle a bit, drink a bit, and she sits on his lap. He whispers in her ear and she gasps and runs away! Seeing this, the madam sends over a more experienced lady to entertain the gentleman.

They sit and talk, frolic a little, giggle a bit, drink a bit, and she sits on his lap. He whispers in her ear, and she too screams, "No!" and walks quickly away.

The madam is surprised that this ordinary looking man has asked for something so outrageous that her two girls will have nothing to do with him. She decides that only her most experienced lady, Lola, will do. Lola has never said no, and it's not likely anything would surprise her. So the madam sends her over to Hans. They sit and talk, frolic a little, giggle a bit, drink a bit, and she sits on his lap. He whispers in her ear and she screams, "NO WAY, BUDDY!" and smacks him as hard as she can and leaves.

Madam is by now absolutely intrigued, having seen nothing like this in all her years of operating a brothel. She hasn't done the bedroom work herself for a long time, but she's sure she has said yes to everything a man could possibly ask for. She just has to find out what this man wants that has made her girls so angry. Besides she sees a chance to teach her employees a lesson.

So she goes over to Hans and says that she's the best in the house and is available. She sits and talks with him. They frolic, giggle, drink and then she sits in his lap.

Hans leans forwards and whispers in her ear, "Can I pay in Euros?"

The Wetherby Whaler

I thought we'd leave it late for lunch at the Wetherby Whaler just in case they were busy. Trouble is, so did everybody else. We had to queue. Queue for a bloody fish and chip resto.
Having said that the people in the queue behind us had driven over from Hull. Hull! That's about an hours drive and they live on the coast. There's a helluva lot more fish over there than in deepest Yorkshire. 'Surely there's a decent fish shop in Hull?' I said.
'Nah, the next nearest decent one is York' (and that's a Wetherby Whaler as well).
We were visiting with my son James, and his family and James, who is a foody and avowed pescatarian, pronounced the fish and chips as outstanding.
So there you have it. If you want decent fish and chips and you live within an hours drive of Wetherby then you know where to go.
Make sure you ask for well done chips.
See what you get here, a free restaurant guide and gastro tips.

Friday, December 30, 2011

It just makes sense

I was in the car with my mother and I was moaning about two punctures that I'd had over Christmas and the problems of getting them fixed. The first was a nail in a tyre and the second a faulty valve in another tyre.
After a slight pause she said, "It's the garages."
"What do you mean?" I said.
"Garages drive around throwing nails in the street to get business," she said.
I had to really concentrate to keep the car on the road.
It's never boring with my mum around.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Trip advisor

This comment was left by one of our recent visitors. She is a bright, eight years old girl.

"I was a little homesick in your house and at home my own bed is more comfortable.
Love Maisie xxx"

I smile every time I look at it and it has pride of place on our fridge.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Is that it?

It's 11.00 pm on Christmas night and I'm stone cold sober, on my own, having just dropped my mother back home. The roads are empty and every light seems to be set at green. Time for a little quiet reflection.
An annual recurring thought popped into my head.
Is that it?
We had a houseful of folks with not an inch to spare (with more coming on Boxing Day to stay) with weeks of planning and hours of preparation, Jan was very tired and more than a little frazzled, but that was it. It was all over.
Twenty four hours of festivities all over in the blink of an eye. I know that it makes me sound like a grumpy old man (nothing new there then - Ed) but is it really worth all the fuss, all the hype?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A poorly boy

Poor old Max. For over a month now he has had a nasty cyst on his foot that was very angry, swollen and from which he would lose blood. We had been trying, for about a month, to treat it with antibiotics to no avail but we bit the bullet yesterday and had a surgical procedure to cut it out.
It was even worse than anyone had thought and he is now stitched and bandaged and hobbling about. Frankly the vets are unsure of the cause and have prepared us for further problems.
At least it now means he spends Christmas at home instead of in kennels. Bless.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

OK, what's the answer

It's been a long time since either of us has been on a 'works outing' but that's just changed, and we're not just talking about a coach trip to Blackpool either.
Despite being 'very part-time', we were very kindly invited to dinner at the excellent Malt Shovel in Brearton by the proprietor of the kennels we hardly work at.
Not only was there an excellent dinner but it also happened to be pub quiz night and carols, accompanied by a small brass band (what else, it is Yorkshire after all), around the huge Christmas tree outside.
Now, Jan and I being a little competitive, are rather partial to a pub quiz, which, when you add back all the half points deducted by a miserly quiz master, we won. Well, OK, our table won. Jan's good for literature (books and that), cooking and knitting and I'm good for sport, science and life's deeper problems and we're both useless at, as it's politely known, popular culture (ie bloody Eastenders and modern music).
So if your team needs 'beefing up' in the intellectual department give us a call. Our rates are very modest (unlike you - Ed).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One of life's mysteries

When I was young, much younger, you would, from time to time, see a man with one leg shorter than the other. I'm not sure why but it was always a man, never a woman, probably just one of those little burdens that us men had to bear. The poor man would clump around with a grotesquely thick soled shoe to compensate for his shorter leg.
I haven't seen anything like that for many years until recently.
Tell me it's some kind of joke that women, who admittedly missed out the first time round, think it's somehow fashionable to wear the same kind of footwear now.
These modern shoes are stupid and it's impossible to walk in them without either lifting your foot completely off the ground and walking like an elephant or allowing your heel to leave the shoe.
Come on ladies, wake up. They make you look stupid!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A mystery solved

At long last we know who ate all the pies.

My favourite Christmas song

Shane McGowan - dentally challenged dope head or creative genius. Discuss.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Don't shoot the messenger

It's a romantic full moon, when Pedro said, "Hey, mamacita, let's do Weeweechu."
Oh no, not now, let's look at the moon!" said Rosita.

Oh, c'mon baby, let's you and I do Weeweechu. I love you and it's the perfect time,"
Pedro begged.

"But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon." replied Rosita.
Please, corazoncito, just once, do Weeweechu with me." 

Rosita looked at Pedro and said, "OK, one time, we'll do Weeweechu."
Pedro grabbed his guitar and they both sang.....
"Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas,
Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."

Friday, December 16, 2011

The road to hell

I'm beginning to really dislike motorway driving in the south of England. During one of our recent trips we were driving north along the M23 towards the M25.
A warning sign said 'M25, Long Delays between Junction 3 and Junction 29'. WTF, that's virtually the whole length of the motorway, with long delays.
Now I'm not always convinced that the warning signs are very accurate but I was in no mood to take a chance so we took the next exit off the M23 and headed cross country.
The cross country roads were trouble free and we finished the journey without problem. Thank god for sat navs is all I can say.
On the way back home the other day we saw warning signs stating that the A1 was totally closed near Peterborough. As I marginally prefer the A1 to the M1 we had to change our route quickly. I remembered that I'd seen a route north leaving the M1 at Junction 21a and taking the A46 to rejoin the A1 at Newark, higher up, so that's what we did.
What a good route. Apart from some road works which will soon be finished, very fast.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A modern dilemma

With Leeds in the running for its own TV station will the first words be, "Ay oop luv, here's t'news?"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wot, no wind

Today's Saturday so after a quick trip to Petersfield, it must be Brighton.
We're at my son James' house to see my granddaughter Clara. What a little treasure.
I don't normally 'do' babies but she is such pretty happy child who (very surprisingly - Ed) seems pleased to see me. Despite not having seen her for several months she was immediately comfortable and (very surprisingly - Ed) smiley.
So that's a bonus.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

East Sussex

Were down in Eastbourne at the start of a seasonal week-long trip to see the grand-kids.
Eastbourne because that's where my good friend and old tennis coaching partner Rob lives. I don't know this part of the world and haven't seen Rob for several years so a visit was in order.
My view of Eastbourne was 'old folks' and wheelchairs but how wrong I was. Apart from being attractive, this is a thriving town, full of life.
After a good curry the night before, we took a trip into the countryside and amongst others visited Beachy Head. You'd be right to think that that's a bit ghoulish given that it's a favourite spot for suicides but I was interested to see the area.
The downside of the visit was the wind. It was blowing a gale. The wind was so strong that we were unable to walk more than a few meters from the car. I've never experienced anything like it.
What was very interesting was to see 'rangers' patrolling the area ready to talk to any would be jumpers. Having said that the wind was so strong you couldn't possible have launched yourself off.
Later we visited the very pretty village of Alfriston and enjoyed a drink in front of a log fire in the very excellent Deans Place. Bugger the wind outside, this was the life. Much better. Highly recommended.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vot, no sense of der humour

Have you ever noticed what that fashion icon Angela Merkel wears? It's like she bought a job lot of stuff from Primark and rotates them. It's always the same, a coloured jacket that is cut like every other one but in a different colour and teamed with dark pants. Today her jacket looked dark, either dark blue or black.
I can't wait until tomorrow. I particularly look forward to the pastel colours.
Who says the Germans don't have a sense of humour?

Fancy a giggle?

This made me laugh.

Get it sorted

Why does everybody, well not absolutely everybody, get so enthused about bloody Pandas? The people that shipped them half way round the world should be crated up and have the same done to them.
What is it with crowds standing by the side of the road waving flags at two huge lorries as the pandas get delivered to a zoo? Has our 'celebrity' obsessed culture sunk so low that we wave flags at lorries now? This article pretty much summed it up for me. What I'd like them to do is maul their keeper then eat him (with a bit of bamboo on the side) and hopefully change their appeal forever.
And, whilst I'm at it, can you think of anything more stupid then letting 'Brussels' exercise any control over euro-zone budgets? This is the organisation that has never had its own accounts signed off by its auditors. It's a corrupt shambles, patently incapable of running its own affairs. What is everyone thinking of, well OK, not every, everyone?
Let me at 'em.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A sweet gift

Jan has just bought me a Jehovah's Witness advent calendar.
Every time I open a door a little voice tells me to fuck off.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have always disliked blog sites that don't update regularly. I have always tried to write something everyday but of late I have failed and for that I apologise. I'm not sure why it is but whatever the reason it just hasn't happened.
I suspect that it's a question of the right kind of stimulation combined with a resistance to mention stuff too close to home that might upset others. I'm not sure.
France was an adventure with many things new and different and maybe England is just more familiar and so more difficult to write about, again I'm not sure.
Bear with me the muse may return but if it doesn't I'll hang up my pen and give you the courtesy of letting you know.

Friday, November 18, 2011

An authentic trip to India

Are you one of the thousands that fancy a trip to India but can't afford one, then here's the answer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not for the squeamish

I find this one of the funniest programmes on television. It's a bit off the wall inasmuch as Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant get their (miserable) friend Karl Pilkington to complete a bucket list by visiting countries and 'enjoying' unusual experiences.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mince Pies

The trouble with mince pies is they're so bloody yummy.
Each year we sample all the different pies from all our local stores. It's an excuse to eat pies in the interest of research but also an opportunity to find the right pastry and mincemeat combination.
Over the years Tesco deep filled mince pies have been our favourite and as yet we have to sample them. Harrogate is a bit too posh for a Tesco (although planning permission has now been granted) so they're not easy to find but my mother reminded me that there is a Tesco mini mart at a petrol station near her.
Anyway we are working our way through the various stores and I'll report back.
For our foreign friends (and those from Lancashire) I should point out that a mince pie is a sweet confection and not stuffed with meat.
Talking about mince pies reminds me of a time when we lived in France when I'd stock up with the little blighters during each autumn drive to the UK.
Early one December I mentioned to Jan that I'd eaten them all and that we had none left for Christmas, but not to worry I'd found a £25 return trip to Stansted and I'd pop over and fill a suitcase.
'Bugger that,' said Jan, 'I'll go myself and do a little shopping at the same time.'
She came back with umpteen boxes. Not the cheapest pies we'd ever eaten but boy did they taste good.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I mentioned a slap up meal in the last post (actually there were two) and I've been dreaming about it (them) ever since. So much so that Jan made one of them for lunch yesterday.
After nearly nine years in France we had to move to England to eat a delicious Tartiflette.
What a great dish. Glyn our host, who does most of the cooking Chez Glyn, produced the most mouth watering dish imaginable and, with friends visiting from France soon, we've decided to add it to the menus. Basically it's a one pot meal with potatoes, smoked ham/bacon and cheese.
Glyn's was particularly nice and I can imagine a few corrective interviews until Jan gets it just right, but I'm sure it will be well worth the wait.
Here's the recipe with some good pictures.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Black eyed peas anyone?

That was an interesting and very enjoyable weekend.
We had been invited to stay with friends, our next door neighbours when we were in France, over in Lancashire. It's a part of England that neither of us know and started with a trip to Another Place, the Antony Gormley sculptures on Crosby Beach, just north of Liverpool.
For the avoidance of doubt, the sculpture is the one on the right above.
Over 100 life size cast iron figures are spread over three kilometres of beach and a kilometre out to sea. Some are submerged at high tide but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get Jan to stay still long enough to see how high the water came.
After that we drove up to Southport home to some of Liverpool's players and an attractive town in its own right.
Later that evening we went to a fireworks display at Bolton School where we met the headmistress and tried black eyed peas and vinegar for the first and possibly the last time. All this followed by a slap up meal back at our hosts home.
How cool is all that?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Something for nothing

In this day and age it's not often that you get something for nothing but today we did.
It all started last week when a couple of guys turned up at the door offering to fit cavity wall insulation to the house for free. Your immediate reaction is 'go away' but they promised that there was no catch, it would be paid by the government and it would be completed the next week within a couple of hours.
As it happened they were doing the same work on the house opposite and because I reckoned that he is a canny kind of guy (see how northern/scottish I've become) we decided to have it done as well.
Frankly the house is always pretty warm but I thought that an extra layer of insulation (even if there was one already fitted) would do no harm. They arrived as promised this morning and finished the job on time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wish you were here

Grief, we're still recovering.
We normally live a quiet life, building model planes, knitting and stuff like that, but we had friends to stay last week and the action packed days that followed really changed the routine. Mind you, it changed in a very nice way.
Amongst the fun was a visit to Harrogate to see Question of Sport live in the HIC on Friday, dinner at The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill on Saturday and Eggs Benedict at Fountains Abbey for Sunday brunch. All this intermingled with days out treats for a seven years old.
As if all that wasn't enough we were entertained day and night by my good friend AJ who also had my mother in stitches over dinner on Sunday night. Excellent.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where's me cardy?

It never fails to amaze me at how little people (OK, young women) wear on a night out.
There I was, at 11.00 pm last Saturday, sitting in a car in my ski jacket and woolly hat looking for my skis waiting for the car to warm up (looking like a prat -Ed). There she was sitting on the step outside a shop in a short skirt and skimpy top.
I realise that women have this extra layer of subcutaneous fat that will help protect them from the cold but this was ridiculous.
I first noticed this strange behaviour several decades ago in Newcastle. There was snow on the ground, it was very cold and we'd just left Tuxedo Junction (OK, we were young and that's what you did in those days) and there they were, lots of young women, pouring out of the club wearing so little it wasn't true. It was crazy and not much appears to have changed over the years. Strange.

Monday, October 31, 2011

News flash

Just in case you missed this important piece of news you can read about it here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You wanna what?

It was the spring of 1957 and Bobby went to pick up his date. When he got to the front door, the girl's father answered and invited him in.
"Carrie's not ready yet, so why don't you have a seat?" he said. "That's cool," said Bobby.
Carrie's father asked Bobby what they were planning to do. Bobby replied politely, "We'll probably just go to the soda shop or a movie." Carrie's father responded, "Why don't you two go out and screw? I hear all the kids are doing it."
Naturally, this comes as a bit of a surprise to Bobby, so he asked Carrie's Dad to repeat it.
"Yeah," said Carrie's father, "Carrie really likes to screw; she'll screw all night if we let her!"
Bobby's eyes lit up, and his plan for the evening was beginning to look pretty good.
A few minutes later, Carrie came downstairs in her little poodle skirt and announced that she was ready to go. Almost breathless with anticipation, Bobby escorted his date out the front door.

About 20 minutes later, Carrie rushed back into the house, slammed the door behind her, and screamed at her father, "Daddy! It's called 'The TWIST'!" 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Banned from the supermarket

Yesterday I was at my local Sainsbury's store buying a large bag of Winalot dog food and was in the checkout queue when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had, an elephant? On impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Winalot Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn’t, because I'd ended up in hospital last time, but that I'd lost 2 stone before I woke up in intensive care.

I told her that it was an essentially perfect diet and that the way it works is to load your pockets with Winalot nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in the queue was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked me if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me? I told her no, I stepped off the kerb to sniff an Irish Setter's arse and got hit by a car.

I'm now banned from Sainsbury's.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The way forward

I started life by being very pro Europe and more specifically I was in favour of the Common Market as it was then envisaged way back in the 70's.
But things have changed and they've changed in a way that I dislike intensely.
Creeping federalism by some power hungry loons has meant that the EU has been put together on a piecemeal, somewhat insidious basis but more importantly in an unsustainable way.
For me this article sums up the basic problem with the entity that has emerged. You can't even get the two countries with the most to lose/gain over the Euro debacle to agree on the way forward. So what chance all 17 Euro countries.
And then the notion that 27 countries, in the wider EU, with cultures, politics and economies so diverse, agreeing on how to move forward is nothing more than fantasy, pie in the sky.
In my humble opinion there is no appetite within the population of Europe for what has emerged. Non whatsoever. If they want my advice they'd stop, completely scrap what has evolved, reconsider and propose a federal European entity and ask which countries wanted in.
It's the only way that the Euro can move forward but realistically I think it's a dead duck.
And we pay huge sums for idiots to come up with this mess. More fool us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

If you say so.......

I've often thought that supermarket cashiers got their job because they maybe offered just a little bit more than your average supermarket employee. Call me a bigot, but there you go (you're a bigot - Ed).
Anyway we were in a supermarket yesterday and Jan had put a yellow, a red and a green pepper in the same bag because the price (£ per kilo) was the same for all of them.
To the uninitiated that sort of makes sense and it's something I had done previously myself.
As the cashier tore open the bag to weigh the peppers separately Jan said to her that they were all the same price per kilo so it wouldn't make any difference.
Because the same thing had already happened to me, I whispered in Jan's ear that they probably did it for stock control purposes and that different coloured peppers probably had different bar-codes. Jan understood immediately and so far so good.
Then, the piece de resistance, as the cashier completed weighing the peppers she said, "look, it does make a difference, the red one weighs less than the green one and because each of the peppers are a different weight they cost different amounts!" Bless.
I thought the woman standing behind us was going to wet herself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can it be true?

So I'm sitting next to Jan, I'm watching television and she's reading a magazine. I become aware that she's looking at me and notice that she shakes her head.
Whilst I'm quite used to this strange behaviour, I ask her what she's doing.
She thrusts the article that she's reading at me and leaves me to read.
The article is headed, "Is He A Psychopath?" I was just a little disturbed to say the least. My love of the last fifteen years was wondering whether I was a psychopath.
Anyway amongst lots of other things there was a check-list that is used in conjunction with a psychiatric interview to determine whether someone is a psychopath, or not. This is the list:

1 Meticulous about his appearance (not sure why it's always a he!)
2 Glibness, superficial charm
3 Need for stimulation
4 Pathological lying
5 Cunning, manipulative
6 Lack of remorse
7 Shallow
8 Callous, lack of empathy
9 Grandiose sense of self worth
10 Parasitic lifestyle
11 Promiscuous sexual behaviour
12 Impulsiveness
13 Irresponsibility

The list goes on but I'm sure you get the drift.
Anyway, I said to Jan, "How did I do? Am I a psychopath?"
She said, "no", as if she was actually bloody contemplating it, "you fail on the first one, meticulous about his appearance."
I didn't ask her about any of the others in the list because I was scared about what she might say. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Make it clear

I hate rules/laws that fudge the issue.
If it's wrong to hit a horse with a whip at the beginning of a race then why would it be right to hit it at the end of the race? I have no feelings either way on this issue but hate it when rules are introduced that just don't make sense.
Take the case of cutting dog's ears. It's either right or wrong, in my opinion there's no in-between.
Our dogs are Beaucerons and we got them from a breeder in France. In the period between getting Max and then Min they changed the rules. Instead of outlawing the cutting of ears altogether they introduced 'a law' stating that if the ears were cut then a breeder couldn't show the dog.
Such a ridiculous fudge. Max's ears were cut and Minnie's are natural. Again I don't have a strong view either way but laws like that should be much more clear cut. If it's wrong to cut ears then it's wrong.
I hate any form of appeasement like that, unless of course it's aimed at appeasing me!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The citizenship test

Ivan made me aware of this in another place.
I found the questions interesting but only in their irrelevance. Why would you need to know alternate names for the Church of England or whether Ulster Scots is a dialect spoken in Northern Ireland?
As a citizen of the United Kingdom I have managed quite well without this knowledge and here we are asking others questions about it. It's a joke.
I failed (64%). How did you do?
Take the test here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Mum has just come back from a short cruise to Lisbon and back. Not bad for an 87 years old. I imagined that she'd come back grumpy but not at all. She enjoyed it enormously.
Jan and I popped round for lunch today  and she couldn't stop talking about it. She went with Olsen Lines on the MS Balmoral and had nothing bit praise for the amenities, food and the trips when in port.
Frankly it's not something that really appeals to me, especially the bit about having to wear a jacket and tie for dinner. Still, not everyone's a scruff like me.
Conversations with my mum usually make me laugh because she has a different outlook on people and life. She mentioned various people that she'd met including a couple of elderly men, the first was 'self made,' but he looked a bit rough, a bit like a gangster and another who was gay, "but he had impeccable table manners", she said, as if in some way that would be unusual.
As she mentioned table manners she took a sidelong glance at me and I said, "don't I have good table manners mum?"
"You could have if you tried," she said. We just fell about.
She also mentioned another person, a lady, who was very elegant, but thin and who also had a catheter but no bladder. I was in stitches.
She couldn't get over how many old people there were, some in wheelchairs, and of course the captain.
"He was Norwegian, you know, from Norway!"
Whatever you say about my mum, she certainly cheers me up, well some of the time. Bless.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A good day

1 Turn on TV in bedroom to watch race 

2 Tell Jan to stop whingeing and go back to sleep 

3 Watch Andrew Marr 

4 Read Sunday Times 

5 Go to shops whilst Jan listens to the Archers 

6 Get earache from Jan cos I'm slobbing whilst she's busy in the house 

7 Get lovely email from friends who want to go on holiday with me and I can take Jan if I want 

8 All in all a very good day 


What's the connection between Minnie and Michael Jackson?
Well, earlier this week she had a small procedure on her paw and, according to the bill, one of the drugs the vet used to knock her out was Propofol.
But that's not all, what's my connection with Strictly Come Dancing?
Well, in a previous life I took the exams to be a tennis coach and one of the other people on the course was a somewhat slimmer Dann Lobb.
A really nice man and a very good tennis player.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A mystery

I just don't understand what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bread and cheese

Talking about being mentally scarred - Jan asked me to pop out for some bread rolls today, pointing out that a nice lump of a really good Lancashire cheese needed eating.
I pointed out that after 15 years of 'marriage' I would have thought that she'd have realised that I rarely eat bread with cheese. An issue that stems from my childhood. From my Italian mother's attempts at making sandwiches.
Don't forget an Italian (in her day) hadn't really come across the notion of a sandwich. My mother's attempts at packed lunches  involved half a loaf of badly cut bread with several pounds of cheese in the middle producing a cheese sandwich about four inches thick.
As a growing lad I tried my best to eat them but the first mouthful was always the start of the problem. That first mouthful congealed into a solid, flat paste and stuck to the roof of my mouth and was really difficult to shift. Given the time it took to release said mess from the top of and around my mouth, lunch-time had finished and it was impossible to eat any more. I went back to class still hungry.
It was the start of my psychosis.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I must admit that I've offloaded my long-term memory into the cloud. For as long as I can remember (ho ho) I've used Google Calender to record everything I have to do.
It all started long ago when I used to make lists. 'To-do' lists that were always completed from the top so that everything was completed in chronological order without fear or favour.
I never allowed myself to move on to the next item before the previous one had been dealt with. All a bit anal but ultimately efficient.
That behaviour has continued to the present day but instead of handwritten lists my to-do list is now recorded in the calender. A calender that sits on Google's servers somewhere.  Which means that part of my brain is actually  somewhere else. How weird is that?
It's a pretty foolproof system and it allows me to grow old without having to remember anything. Excellent.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A sobering thought

No chance with the beach towels now.

The best pork pies

I'm not a great fan of pork pies, I usually find them stodgy, solid and frankly not very appetizing.
But, that's it, look no more I have found the best pork pies in the world, bar none.
Appleton's butchers in the market place in Ripon make pies that you can only dream of. If I had a criticism of other pork pies I'd say they were like solid rubber lumps of filling with hard pastry. Appleton's on the other hand are 'light as a feather', easily digestible and keep you coming back for more, so unlike anything you've ever had before.
We were out to friends for dinner and, because they're in Lancashire, we decided to take them some real honest, top quality, Yarkshire food.
As I stood in the shop, people we queuing outside just to buy these pies. The woman in front of me wanted three and they didn't have any more but the 'lad' said, 'hang on a minute I'll go check.' He came back beaming, 'they're just coming out of the oven,' he said, and sure enough minutes later he walked in with a tray of said pies.
They were so hot that we, the whole shop, all had to wait until they'd cooled down. Excellent.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Work dulls your senses

My strong advice to anybody who works is to stop. Give it up.
I'd forgotten what hard work entails, the ravages to your body but more importantly the ravages to your mind.
There I was ambling along without a care in the world and this work business reared its ugly head.
We get up at 06.15 which is the first shock to the system and leave the house at 07.20 which is the second shock and the morning progresses from there.
It does get a bit better however. Our first job is to let all the pooches out for their first stretch of the day and some, most of them, are so pleased to see you and make a big fuss (more than I get from Jan).
The second job is to feed them all, each with his own particular diet, in fact it's amazing how many different variations of food there are.
Almost no two dogs are the same but they all seem healthy and happy nonetheless. After a quick cup of tea, all the dogs are then continually exercised for the rest of the morning with other pooches arriving and some leaving.
It's a full on job with no time for rest or play other than to play with the dogs in the field which isn't really rest either.
We get home a lunchtime shattered and brain dead (even more than usual I presume - Ed). Thank goodness it's only occasional work.

Monday, September 26, 2011

You came from where?

Following a local television news item and, being partial to the odd curry, we decided to visit the World Curry Festival in Leeds.
Leeds is rather a long way to go for a curry so we were hoping for something a bit different. It wasn't, at least what we had wasn't as good as we can get locally. There were a couple of stalls that we would like to have tried but after stuffing our faces in an £8 all you can eat buffet we weren't up to it.
It was busy, there were lots of queues but we now have a better idea for next year.
We ate a sit down meal in one of the marquees and shared the table with a couple of guys who had travelled all the way from Cambridge, a hell of a journey, just to check it out. Amazing. Made our one hour trip pale into insignificance.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

There ain't nothing like a Dame...nothing

Watching an interview with Helen Mirren this morning made me realise that I hate the title Dame.
The male equivalent Sir is much more magisterial but Dame conjures up, however fleetingly, the image of an overdressed, over made-up pantomime figure with huge spotty drawers.
Sir, on the other hand, commands respect.
Now neither of these titles affects me (yet) but in case any of you have pretensions, and feel like I do, then we need to get started and get the title Dame changed.
In today's PC world a lady (if I'm still allowed to say that) should probably be called Sir as well (they're all called bloody actor n'est pas) but I'm fairly open minded.
Siree is good for me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Working in a chain gang

Yesterday was my first full day as a working person for quite some time. Came home shattered. Not much fun this working lark.

Still, I've got my love to keep me warm.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Being French

I can't get over what people wear around here. Or, should I say, how little they wear.
It was bright and sunny this morning, as it seems to be most mornings, and, whilst on a brief expedition into the garden to feed the dogs, I noticed the nice lady across the way sweeping her drive.
Neither Jan nor I, sluts that we are, have ever swept the drive. And even less have we ever swept the drive in a skimpy top. A top more suitable, in my humble opinion, for the beach.
It wasn't freezing but it sure as hell wasn't warm. It was on the blue side of cool which to my delicate nature verges on bloody cold. I had in fact recently just retrieved my Doc Martins and was thinking about getting some dubbin on them to protect my feet from the upcoming elements. This is definitely not flip flop weather.
It seems that the mores around here is to shed all your clothes at the merest sign of the sun and then, presumably because it was a good memory, keep the summer clothes on until someone points out that the white stuff lapping around your ankles is snow.
It would appear that we've become more French in our habits. We could never get over seeing the French walking around in hats and coats in 20c+ weather whilst us grockles were wearing flip flops and shorts. I think we've been brainwashed and become ever so slightly French.
Anyway, we popped over to Fountains Abbey at lunch time to meet friends who were visiting the area and, sure enough, there were more strange folk walking about in shorts and t-shirts whilst the sensible amongst us were wearing woolly hats and padded gilets.
The rest of the day was excellent with lunch at the Bruce Arms and then a visit to the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham marred only by getting soaked with an unexpected squall. Top day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Obstinate women

Reading this news piece about trying to get Vegemite into the US reminded me of the time that my family (including my mother) took a holiday in Hawaii. We flew via Denver, where we refuelled.
As this was the first port of call that's where we went through immigration formalities.
So, there we were standing in line and I checked with my wife and kids that they had nothing that was likely to be confiscated by Ag and Fish (or whatever they're called).
When I got to my mother, deep down inside I knew that I would have a problem. My mother was (and still is) an elderly Italian, from an era when you travelled with food. In her day there were no roadside snack bars or motorway service areas, you had to carry what you were likely to need to eat and drink.
'OK, what have you got Ma', I said?
She looked a bit sheepish (I knew it) but she eventually admitted that amongst her various food stuffs was a melon. She had hidden it. I got angry because I had told her but also because I knew how tough they can be at immigration and if she failed to declare something, and they found it, we would all get turned over and we might even miss the onward connection.
My mother HATES throwing food away. She just couldn't accept that they wouldn't allow her food into the country.
What a row we had and that started a sulk that lasted almost another week. Never again I said to myself, but needless to say I did.
Now I've got Jan, who mum likes, who's very diplomatic (with the patience of a saint) and who mum listens to, to help me. Yippee.

PS That's not my mum, I just like the photo.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A discerning viewer

Look, I do try.
Jan has this notion that I dislike costume drama, but she's wrong.
I dislike boring or uninteresting costume drama.
A series I love is the Borgias (on Sky Atlantic) and you don't get more costume or drama than that. It's very, very good and holds my attention throughout the whole hour.
The costumes, the intrigue, the history lesson (it puts the Borgias, Machiavellis, Sforzas etc into historical significance) and cinematography are all excellent. The actors are good and, for good measure, there's a decent amount of fairly explicit rumpy pumpy. Excellent.
Some of the same adjectives can be used for Downton Abbey but with the fairly important added proviso that it's bloody boring.
I sat through an hour and a half of this guff, trying so hard for my beloved, to show her that I'm not backward, want to share her enjoyment, and to get into her cultural frame of mind, but it was frankly downright boring.
Don't worry if you missed it, I'll sum up the plot for you, man's at war, man comes home from war and has faint dalliance with woman (not even a snog)  and then goes back to war. There's a very mild sub-plot and that's it.
I sat through the whole 90 minutes (well almost). It took them 90 bloody minutes to tell that story.
I have found a single fifteen second micturition more fun.
At most this is a 30 minute series and they could show cartoons for the other hour.
Look I know that some people will think that I'm a moron but maybe, just maybe, I'm right.
If Downton Abbey turns you on then I'd suggest that knitting would be a better use of your time and at least you'd get a bloody jumper at the end of it!

PS. Admit it, you had to look it up?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Get a life

Most Yorkshire men are taking time off this morning (well actually only one)  from leading Lancashire to win the county championship for the first time in 77 years. So it was a nice surprise to see that they were 'doing' the weather from Harrogate this morning on the BBC news.
The presenter was at the Flower Show which also featured humongous vegetables and other things horticultural. Not any old vegetables mind you but grotesque over grown monsters like the one above.
What's all that about?
These people have obviously only ever heard of genetically modified crops (not that it worries me) and their one aim in life is to grow the biggest of their chosen vegetable. They're all barking.

And, whilst I'm at it, what's the problem with me eating sweeties in the car? My all time favourites are M&S fruit gums, but you don't always see them, they're a bit rare (that's because you are always eating them - Ed) so when I do see them I buy several packets. So far so good.
The next problem is that when we get home, Jan hides them. She doesn't like me eating sweeties in the car, she says I make a lot of noise! She has an absolute mountain of them (and a few choccies as well) hidden somewhere. But can I find them? What's all that about?
It's like living with the bloody Gestapo.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A change of life

We (me) didn't get any sleep on Tuesday night because Max pestered us to let him out of the house, every half hour, because he had the squits.
Whilst I appreciate his attitude to keeping a clean house I also appreciate my sleep because I feel awful if I don't get my eight hours but, more especially, as Wednesday was my first day as a 'kennel lad.'
It all started a few weeks ago. We were picking the dogs up from the kennels that we like and I happened to mention to the harassed lady looking after the dogs that if she was ever in need of some emergency help to give us a call (I could always send Jan).
Well a few weeks later, after I noted that they were advertising for some help, I repeated my offer.
I really should learn to keep my mouth shut.
Today was a 'trial day.' My first experience as a 'kennel lad'.
So, not only did I not feel well through a lack of sleep but the 7.45 am start came as a bit of a shock to the system. On top of that I had a sore throat and I had man flu.
The cynical amongst you may think that I'm looking for sympathy and for once you'd be dead right.
The picture above is what it would look like if I was a) female and b) if I thought it was a good idea to read a book to a dog.