Monday, December 31, 2012

Two seconds of fame

I knew I was destined for TV.
A few months back we went to Fountains Abbey because they were filming The Antiques Roadshow there. Jan had a tea set from the Ming dynasty or whatever and wanted it valued and I fancied seeing what they did and how it was organised. And on top of all that it was only 10 minutes away.
Anyway, last night they showed the episode from the abbey and I sat glued to the television, ignoring the stuff they were talking about but continually scanning the crowd looking for any beautiful people.
About 45 minutes in, one of the chaps they were talking to rang a bell with me. There was a table and a film crew near us where they had to ask a stupid mother and baby to move away because the child was crying and making a huge fuss and they couldn't hear themselves think.
I half remembered the incident and the people involved. This was my moment.
'Look Jan, look,' I said. 'Who's that gorgeous hunk right at the edge of the screen?'
In a flash I was gone. Naturally you couldn't see Jan because I now realise that they only show very photogenic people, those that they think can reach stardom.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Something different

I decided to be a vegan this morning so I started the day with an apple and a few nuts. It was rather good and I suspect very healthy.
Jan served a 'turkey Caesar' for lunch which was a bit more challenging. She told me that I'd have to remove the turkey, parmesan cheese and eggs (from the sauce) in order to remain a vegan.
Sod that I thought, I'll start again tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Still looking to crack the code (from yesterday)

We were watching Dynamo on television last night doing the most amazing tricks. If you have never seen him I urge you to look him out. He's amazing.
At one point he climbs to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain to the Christ the Redeemer statue. Just below the statue he levitates about five feet in the air in front of a whole crowd of people. They were all around him and he left with them open mouthed at what they had seen.
Anyway, I said to mum, 'did you see that? Isn't that amazing?' She said, 'well he didn't levitate very high, did he?'
Jan and I were in stitches. I'm still looking to unlock the code.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cracking the code

It all started when I suggested that we go out for our Christmas lunch. Jan agreed, which rather surprised me* but we booked to eat at the Bruce Arms. I have to admit that this is the first time that we'd ever eaten out at Christmas but I felt that as there would only be three of us and and therefore easier to organise and not too expensive, Jan should have a treat and not have to cook. So far so good.
Anyway, as the time approached I thought that Jan was looking a little down. 'What's the matter?' I said.
'It doesn't feel right, 'she said. 'I'm not used to this.'
'So let me get this right,' I said, 'you would rather spend hours sweating over a hot stove, preparing a huge turkey meal and all the bits that go with it?'
'Er, yes,' she said. 'That's what I'm used to to. That's what I feel I should be doing.'*
I scratched my head and moved away before I said something inflammatory, cos I'm like that.
Still, Hugh (the chef proprietor) offered a scrumptious choice of starters and mains and she seemed to enjoy it. What surprised me though was Jan's choice of main course*. Beef Wellington.  Normally, she doesn't enjoy great slabs of meat and believe me this was a huge piece of fillet, which she polished off with gusto.
Life for me is still a huge learning curve and I realise that I still have so much to learn. Cracking the code still eludes me.

Note the * represents each time I have to reassess my core beliefs. Each time I realise that I'm a long way off cracking the female code.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Where is he?

It's funny to think that he's already in Australia (at the time of writing). Check it out here.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A rather special experience

Jan's son Luke and his girlfriend were visiting so we took them around Ripon to see the sites. Last visit of the afternoon was to the Minster. It was dark and raining outside but you could see the warm welcoming lights of the Minster through the glass doors at the front.
We were alone, there were no visitors, so as some went off to explore I sat at the back and admired the Christmas decorations and sat in the warm glow. What made the visit really special was listening to the Ripon Cathedral Choir who were practising for the evening service.
We had our own private performance of seasonal music and carols. Excellent.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shop early

One of the reasons for not looking forward to xmas is having to replace broken bulbs in the various decorations around the house. Jan likes decorations (OK so do I) but it's an inevitable chore.
Anyway, I had to find some small bulbs and went to the obvious electrical specialist in Ripon. As I approached the counter with a small bulb in my hand, without even looking at the bulb, the chap behind the counter said, "don't tell me, 34 volt, 3 watt, we haven't got any." So not only does he know about electrical stuff, but he's also a mind reader. How cool is that?
OK, so with no joy in Ripon we headed to Harrogate. Jan needed a stint in M&S and I knew where we could probably buy the bulbs. She got what she wanted in M&S, but I failed with bulbs. Bum.

I like marron glacé. I've tried to find them at various stores and despite asking blokes in suits, in all the stores we went to, all I got was a blank stare. Seems like it's not a very well known product. Harrogate was bound to have them somewhere. Lakeland had sold out and we bought the very last box in Lewis and Cooper.
Shop early for christmas kept ringing in my ears. Jan was totally unsympathetic. Nothing new there then.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Christmas classic

It's 12 years since Kirsty MacColl died and unbelievably Shane MacGowan is still going strong, ish.

Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Hometown

A bit of nostalgia. Thanks to Ivan for reminding me.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Back and forth over the Pennines

Having been really disappointed with the tat of the 'christmas market' in Harrogate the other weekend we set off to explore the Dickensian market in Grassington.
As there was no parking in Grassington itself, we used the park and ride some four miles away. When you saw the number of cars queuing to get into the car park you could see why they'd organised it. It was quite a good market with many people dressed in period costumes and a reasonable range of stalls. We got there about 10.30 am and by 12.30 we'd had enough but not before I'd scoffed that old Yorkshire standby, a kangaroo burger. As we left, literally hundreds of people were pouring into the village so we left just in time.
Then, not being satisfied with one trip over the Pennines, the following day we met friends for lunch near Skipton at the Tempest Arms. What a busy place and the food ain't bad either. I started with Yorkshire puddings and onion gravy and frankly could have stopped after working my way through three huge puddings. This was followed by a smoked duck combo which was also very good. Recommended.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just a teensy rant

What is it with this boy band JLS? Have they ever made a 'good' record? Why do folks get excited about them? To my mind they take 'average' to a whole new level.
And whilst I'm at it do you think the Labour Party could find someone to talk about the economy who doesn't sound like the increasingly annoying, adenoidal Rachel Reeves?
Isn't anyone smart enough to see that she can't be taken seriously?

Feeling better already.

Monday, December 3, 2012

How it all began

In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dorothy.  And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg…  Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?" And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success.  Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew.  It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung.  They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."  And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known.

He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are."
And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators."
"YAHOO," said Abraham.

And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.  Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).  That is how it all began.  And that's the truth....

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nice neighbours

As I was trying to wake Jan this morning, around 9.00 am, there was a knock on the door.
It was our next door neighbour and she had something for us. Her husband had obviously spent a huge amount of time putting together a two page spread sheet schedule of all the christmas activity around here. Wasn't that kind. What nice neighbours.
Anyway, Jan was looking down the list and mentioned that we should go to the Dickensian Christmas Fayre in Grassington tomorrow.
I happened to mention that as she hadn't bought any new clothes for a long time, she wouldn't need to dress up.
I expect she'll start talking to me again soon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The fragrant Helen Flanagan

I don't understand all the fuss about Helen Flanagan and it's a pity that she's been thrown out of the jungle.
It would seem that she is being mocked by the media and her co-contestants in IACGMOOH (TV programme for overseas readers).
That's not fair.
I enjoy listening to her talk about all her problems, her views on the world and the more I can see of her the better.
She's got a great future in front of her and she obviously needs all the support that she can get.
I'm fascinated by her impeccable dress sense and love of tanning products. She's an inspiration to us all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Men can multi task

What a tough day and in particular I had a tough afternoon in front of the television.
It all started this morning with Jan cooking eggy bread and bacon (don't you just love a cooked breakfast at the weekend) whilst feeding the dogs and sorting them out. I of course had the onerous job of reading the newspapers. She then cooked a delicious lunch of pasta with tuna and broccoli (one of my favourites) whilst cooking some special food for Max (I continued to wade my way through the papers) and then later in the afternoon taking them both for a walk whilst I watched sport on the TV.
With a big, tasty match between Chelsea and Man City and the year ending championship deciding Grand Prix, both screening at the same time, it was difficult to know what to watch. But good old Sky came up with the solution, they showed both events on a split screen so that you didn't need to miss any of the action and you could flip easily between the two. Excellent.
Who said that men can't multi task?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cuff im Dano

So I'm sitting there, bored out of my mind, having taken my mum to hospital for a regular eye check-up.
I know, I should be reading a book or something but previous visits have been very quick so I didn't bother to take one.
Anyway, it felt like the lights were going out, as two burly prison warders escorted a manacled prisoner. It was the first time I'd ever seen anyone handcuffed let alone handcuffed to a prison guard at the same time. Whilst it all appeared to be in the line of duty for the two guards the prisoner, a young Asian man in his twenties, looked disoriented and slightly frightened. I felt sorry for him.
This then made me wonder what I'd do if he tried to escape and my knee-jerk feeling was that I'd help him. Given that I had no idea what he'd done or how serious his crime was I started to berate myself (quietly, because I don't go in for self flagellation) for being such an idiot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My kind of shop

Having moved back to Yorkshire nearly two years ago I'm amazed at how the county has changed and improved since I last lived around here 40 or so years ago.
Prior to moving to France I lived in the south of England, in Berkshire to be precise, for about 20 years. As southern readers will appreciate, you can get a little blasé at all the goodies available to you, especially living so close to London, and you can develop the notion that the sun only shines on the home counties.
Well, we were out and about the other day and went exploring in Northallerton. My memory of the town was pretty bleak but some local friends had told us about a really good shop called Lewis and Cooper. Boy were they right. It's an amazing place, full of all the goodies basics that are difficult to find elsewhere. A treasure trove of nice things, a cornucopia of stuff to spoil yourself with, my kind of shop. With good reason it's known as the Fortnum and Masons of the north. They've even got one in Harrogate, which we didn't know about, but it isn't very big compared to the huge Aladdin's cave in Northallerton.
If you can't think of what to buy me this year they sell on-line.  As a friend of mine says, 'just mentioning it like.'

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A good day

Jan was having a 'good day'.
I mentioned that I fancied pasta for lunch and she said, 'that's exactly what you are going to get.'
'Isn't it scary how we often think the same things,' she said?
'It would be even more scary if you really knew what I was thinking,' I said to myself.
Anyway, on the way back from wherever we popped into Booths because I fancied my favourite, pasta al vongole and we needed clams. They didn't have any but they did have some good looking cockles (which are actually clams by another name) and I asked for half a kilo.
My newest best friend (didn't catch his name) weighed out 500 grams and, realising that he only had about 250 grams left, muttered to himself, 'I'll never sell that small quantity,' so he put them into our bag free gratis.
This is one good store. I think I've said that before.
The pasta was the best Jan had ever cooked so all in all a very good day.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Romanzo Criminale

It started, when we lived in France, as a way of killing an hour after taking the dogs for a walk. Historically, Jan made a cup of tea, I stuffed something sweet into my face and we put the shutters down and lit a fire to keep out the freezing night air.
We then watched an episode of something interesting like The Wire or The Sopranos. Nothing too intellectually challenging but an excellent way to kill that dead hour before whatever the evening had in store. Funny how these things start.
Anyway, we've continued that tradition here in Ripon. Now we are more likely to record stuff and will then watch episodes of the latest thriller on subsequent days rather than wait for a week between episodes. That has two advantages. The first that you can fast forward through the adverts and the second that you don't have to try so hard to remember what the hell is going on.
We have just finished series two of Romanzo Criminale and very good it was too. Recommended. If you buy the DVDs make sure you get English subtitles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where did you get that name?

Have you ever wondered at the unusual names given to children. This might help explain.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The bottle

A Man asked a waiter to take a bottle of Merlot to an unusually attractive woman sitting alone at a table in a cozy little restaurant.

The waiter took the Merlot to the woman and said, 'This is from the gentleman who is seated over there'..... and indicated the sender with a nod of his head.

She stared at the wine coolly for a few seconds, not looking at the man, and then decided to send a reply to him. The waiter, who was lingering nearby for a response, took the note from her and conveyed it to the gentleman.

The note read: 'For me to accept this bottle, you need to have a Mercedes in your garage, a million dollars in the bank and 7 inches in your pants'..

After reading the note, the man decided to compose one of his own. He folded the note, handed it to the waiter and instructed him to deliver it to the lady.

It read:
'Just to let you know things aren't always what they appear to be, I have a Ferrari Maranello, BMW Z8, Mercedes CL600, and a Porsche Turbo in my several garages; I have beautiful homes in Aspen and Miami , and a 10,000 acre ranch in Louisiana . There is over twenty million dollars in my bank account and portfolio. But, not even for a woman as beautiful as you, would I cut off three inches. Just send the wine back..

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Each time that Jan says or does something horrible to me, of which there are many examples and then, shortly after, she suffers some minor pain, I mention that it's god's way of getting her back for being horrible.
Now, I have no means of being able to verify this but it seems that according to this article there are certain muslim clerics who would probably agree with me. I might just stop sticking pins in her doll as it seems that the direct approach has a much more satisfactory outcome.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Just don't touch the tyres

I quite like Halloween. I realise that it's a recent American import but basically it does no harm and is a darn sight better than the havoc we used to inflict when we were youngsters. Mischief Night we used to call it.
I like all the little ones dressing up and I like it when they come round begging for sweets. It's once a year for goodness sake, once a year to show an effort and get on with your neighbours. Once a year to avoid getting your tyres slashed or scratch marks down the car (just kidding). Once a year to show that you are a good all round egg and not worthy of your neighbours opprobrium.
I like giving the children sweets, not in a Jimmy Savile sort of way, but because they are usually tiny tots who have made an effort to dress up and that should be rewarded. Must admit we had a bit of a panic this year because even though we bought a huge tin of sweets and a back up bag of chocolates  (which I could eat if we had any left over) we ended up with just two small chocolate bars at the end of the two hour feeding frenzy. Phew.
I'm off to dress up now to see if I can get Jan to reward me in some way.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Une noisette svp

This video of 'I was made for loving you' is rather good, even if it is in French.
I'm under instructions to point out that it was originally made by the glam rock band Kiss, but you've probably heard it more recently as an advert for Costa Coffee.
Thanks Craig.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No end to his depravity

This picture of Gary Glitter being arrested over allegations of child abuse showed that he wasn't wearing a poppy. The man is an absolute disgrace isn't he?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Remember I bruise easily

If, like me, you were intrigued by recent reports of a Brazilian woman auctioning her virginity online then you should read this.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Breath deeply

The dogs, particularly Minnie, become very agitated when they hear thunder or other prolonged loud explosions. This usually means that you get the joy of a 45 Kg dog on your lap trying to bury its head somewhere around your neck. It's not funny.
With the fireworks weekend coming up and after advice from the vet, I decided to try something to calm them down.
Adaptil, is a dog appeasing pheromone that replicates the 'scent' given off by a lactating mother for her puppies. We chose the adapter method because we could then hit both dogs at the same time. This means plugging a little doofer into a electric plug socket and the pheromones get diffused.
At first it was difficult to see if it had had any effect because our two spend a lot of time sleeping and just generally lounging about. I guess we weren't really going to find out until the fireworks started.
Still, I did note a decrease in aggressive behaviour from Jan, so that was a result.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

After you, no after you

I love the market in Ripon on Thursday mornings and we tend to buy our fruit and veg there as well as any other odds and sod we have to do.
So we're in Johnsons the cleaners picking up some dry cleaning when a small scruffy man came in behind me. He was dressed in a cap and coat over what looked like a fishmonger's apron and he'd dumped several suits onto the counter which needed altering. He looked very dishevelled and the apron didn't bode well for smells.
Anyway, he's chatting to the assistant and tells her that, amongst other things, he wants the trousers shortening.
You can see where this is going can't you?
The assistant asks him what leg length he wants.
"No idea," he said in a dirty old man voice, "someone will have to measure me."
In a flash, all the assistants had disappeared leaving me barely able to contain my laughter and being ushered out of the shop by Jan before I embarrassed her. It was so, so funny.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


With my grandson staying this weekend and in the need to keep him (and me) amused we took off to the CountrySideLive event at the Great Yorkshire Showground this morning. The highlight of the day was going to be the ferret racing. Combine that with the fact that Jan had previously said she wanted to take a look at the showground then it was a no brainer.
I must be getting very cynical in my old age but I couldn't help noticing that the car park was full of 4x4s and the uniform worn by the great and good of Yorkshire comprised of a wide brimmed felt 'cowboy' hat, a green quilted waistcoat over a checked viyella shirt and tight trousers tucked into suede/leather boots (Hunters if that didn't look right). All very posh and very Country Life.
Jan, being a townie, but a wannabe  squire's lady, decided that she wanted to buy the uniform but we had only just managed to scramble together enough cash for the entrance fee, coffee and a few 'authentic' cornish pasties from a van. We'll save up for the next outing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Defies belief

I used to be a fan of The Common Market, way back when, but I really do not like what has developed in its place. The EU is a hopeless pile (fill in the missing words), an organisation that has never had its accounts signed off. A situation that if translated into the real world would debarr it legally as an institution.
If you read this article it pretty much typifies my disgust at what's happening. Our elected government has to wait for some unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to give it the OK to start installing high speed broadband in rural communities. WTF?
We have slowly given up the right to control ourselves, make our own sensible decisions and decide what we can do in our own country without approval from Brussels. We have managed quite well for hundreds of years without the need to ask someone's opinion or authority.
It's an absolute nonsense and we go along with it. Don't get me started.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A game for real men

Just before I left school, way back in the mist of time, the school introduced Rugby League. That sort of made sense because it was a solid northern, traditional game and the school had stopped boxing. In other words, they transferred the violence from indoors to out.
However, having been brought up on a diet of this strange televised blood mud sport I sort of lost interest. This changed somewhat when I learnt that my closest friend in France used to play treize for Leeds as a young man. He was/is an all round good guy so I came out in sympathy.
Anyway, the Super League Grand Final (Leeds v Warrington) was played at the weekend and out of sheer boredom I watched it.
Than god I did. What a match. It was very fast, end to end football of the highest quality and very, very exciting. The modern Rugby League player is very fit, far fitter than 'regular' footballers, and if this report is to be believed (no reason why not) it's a game played by real men.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ne're a mist

We've been back eighteen months now and, only because I dragged her kicking and screaming, we went to look at the two containers of furniture that we couldn't get into the house and that were still in store nearby. We opened both containers and sorted the contents into two piles one to keep and one to dispose of (to the Salvation Army).
This, I thought, was going to be the hardest bit. Jan hates getting rid of anything. But, it went well. It only took us half an hour and there was ne'er a mist in the ladies eye.
Well done that lady.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Get a grip

I have always believed that governments should not be involved in running nationalised 'businesses'. They should be run by people - entrepreneurs, who know what they're doing. Answerable to shareholders. That way you should get some accountability. A government should govern, that's what they're elected to do.
It was with some incredulity that I read that some voices, mostly on the left wing, were crying out for the renationalisation of the railways following the recent railway franchise fiasco. They seemed to be missing the point that it was the very civil service, who made the huge recent blunders, that would be the people empowered to run the railways. Get a grip.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Borgias

Watched the last episode of (season 2) of The Borgias last night. What a good series. Buy the DVDs, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spot the difference

The difference between Google Maps and Apple Maps displayed here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Definite or indefinite

Always looking for an opportunity to raise the level of culture in the house, and noticing that The Guardian were offering tickets, I booked to see A Government Inspector at Harrogate Theatre. Part of Harrogate theatre's All Points North Season.
Now, as you all know, The Government Inspector was a satirical play by the Ukrainian born Nikolai Gogol. Based upon an anecdote allegedly recounted to Gogol by Pushkin, the play is a comedy of errors, satirizing human greed, stupidity, and the extensive political corruption of Imperial Russia (please keep up). So far so good.
The seats were relatively inexpensive and I managed to get my favourite seats with plenty of leg room and a quick exit to the bar, just in case. The small mistake that I made was in not noticing that there is a difference between 'A Government Inspector' and 'The Government Inspector.' The actual difference being that one is the original play and the other isn't. It's an adaptation placing the action in a northern provincial town. Guess which one we went to see?
Now, I have no objection to farce, this farce was well produced and directed and well acted but lacked some of the subtlety and gravitas that I'd expected. After about 30 minutes I knew that Jan's cultural levels were not going to be improved. Nor was I alone in my disappointment. It raised barely a titter because I suspect that like me the audience was expecting something just a wee bit different.
Ah well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mr Gorsky

As commander of the Apollo 11 lunar module Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon.

His first words as he stepped onto the moon were, 'That's one small step for man but one giant step for mankind.' These words were heard by millions.

Just before he re-entered the lander he was heard to say, 'Good luck Mr Gorsky.' Many thought that it was a casual remark aimed at some Russian astronaut. However, upon checking, there was no Soviet or US astronaut by that name.

Over the years many people questioned Armstrong about what he had said but all he ever did was smile.

On 5th July 1995 he was asked the question again and this time he replied. Mr Gorsky had finally died and Armstrong felt that he could now answer the question.

In 1938, when he was a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend and his friend hit a ball into the neighbours back yard. The neighbours were a Mr and Mrs Gorsky. Armstrong went into their yard and as he bent to pick up the ball he heard Mrs Gorsky shouting at Mr Gorsky.

'Sex, you want sex? I'll tell you when you'll get sex. You'll get sex when the kid next door sets foot on the moon. That's when.'

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Regular are best

The annual taste test has started.
On our way back from dropping the dogs off for their wash and blow dry I popped into our local coop to get some cash from their cash machine. As I left it hit me.
I hadn't noticed them as I'd walked in but there they were in their wonderful, glistening Christmassy box. Mince pies.
I may have mentioned before that I'm rather partial to the odd mince pie, so much so that we have been known to fly back from France just to buy some of the delicious little blighters.
The annual routine runs like this. Buy a box of the deep filled ones from every supermarket during October and November and decide which ones get pride of place in my stomach during December and January.
Avoid the 'luxury' brands because in the attempt to make them 'luxury' they usually spoil them. Regular deep filled are best.
Supermarket shares rise steeply at this time of the year and now you know why.

Friday, September 14, 2012

So true

This cartoon by Matt in today's Telegraph is funny.

The caption reads: 'I see you buying the iPhone 5 and shortly after Apple launching the iPhone 6.'

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm just popping out

Despite the fact that the outdoor sequences of this film were made near Coventry and the indoor shots at a studio in Barnsley (that should keep the conspiracy theorists happy) it's very interesting. Well done NASA.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

C'mon Andy

Andy Murray's recent victory at the US Open was like a fairytale.

So what could me more appropriate than Fairytale of New York. Here it is, my favourite Christmas carol ever (a bit earlier than normal).


It was Friday at around 6 pm and I had a small technical question for Amazon regarding their new Kindle Fire, so I emailed them.
Given that it was late in the day and the weekend was about to start I was quite prepared to wait until Monday for a reply. In fact, I picked up the reply the next morning, Saturday, and noted that it was sent at around 10pm on Friday night. A four hour turnaround. Now that's what I call customer service. Outstanding.
After living in France for several years where I could reasonably expect a reply somewhere around Tuesday (blame the 35 hour week, weekends off and closed Monday) it was a very refreshing change.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

You've gotta be joking

I was reading this article about deep fried Mars Bars the other day and couldn't help laughing when I read that, "Plans to bid for EU protected geographical status were dropped."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

La Vida Loca

Everyone should watch this before leaving for work in the morning. I love it. It puts a smile on my face and makes me want to dance.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Little things

Jan's back soon and I have nearly succeeded in my number one goal of not lighting the top of the stove. I say nearly because, without any help from anyone, I managed to get the oven going. One of my ready meals had to be oven cooked and couldn't be heated in the microwave. That is so inconsistent and inconsiderate and I shall be writing a strong letter of complaint to Morrisons. You never know I might just get a few macaroni cheeses out of it.
Reading the Sunday papers was a sheer delight. The opportunity to have them all to myself without anybody messing them up before I got to them was heaven. I get really twitchy if the Sunday Times is not pristine before I get to read it. I blame it on an old war wound.
Anyway,  a recipe in the magazine really took my fancy, it was an old favourite from Italy (where else), pasta with olive oil and chilli (technical note, Delia uses a fresh chilli but it should really be a dried one crumbled - I just couldn't be arsed to find a better recipe, sorry) however I still had several meals to warm up and it would have involved just a bit of cooking which also meant I'd have to light the stove. That idea got put onto the back burner, as it were. I'll let Jan cook it, she needs the practice.
I deserve that for being such a big brave boy and managing so admirably, and, she'll do a much better job than me (he said graciously).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Colour blind

Just the other day I asked Jan what I should wear. Now before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) let me say that Jan is a very kind person. She usually lets me decide what to wear but that day was special and I knew that she would have to approve.
Unlike her, I don't try on a myriad of clothes only to have to change the next minute. I tried to save a lot of time by attempting to get it right first time and so I asked my mentor.
I realise that I'm normally a scruffy oik so getting it right is important to me (ish).
Anyway, as she was standing near my wardrobe, I asked her to pull out my green polo.
'This isn't green,' she said, 'it's aqua.'
'It was green when I put it away,' I said, 'and I think it still is.'
Jan and I have always differed on colours.
'It's not green,' she bleated, 'it's aqua.'
This argument went on like this for a minute or two and was going to run and run unless I put a stop to it, I had to get smart.
'OK, when I was young and learning my colours, aqua was a colour that was never mentioned, my school obviously wasn't as posh as yours.'
'It's not green, it's aqua,' she unhelpfully replied.
'OK, when I asked you to hand me my bloody green polo, why did you hand me that one?'
No reply. Game set and match.

With Jan away I have assumed responsibility for giving Minnie her thrice weekly hormone pill. I got a pill out of the packet and as I was walking towards Min to give her it, I stopped to pop a few grapes in my mouth. Next thing I knew, the pill had gone. Oh bugger, I'd swallowed it. The pill had gone.
The picture below is me wearing my aqua polo with my slightly enlarged breasts.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 27, 2012

Easy peasy

Hell, it's quiet at the moment.

Jan is away for a few days and has left me 'in charge.'
Whilst I appreciate the responsibility, I didn't realise how much I'd got used to her barking orders. At times it made me feel like a new army recruit being drilled by his loving sergeant.
It had somehow become quite familiar, almost caring.
Her enforced absence means that I now have to fend for myself. No big deal really. Why she always complains about waiting on me hand and foot is anybody's guess.
I cook, clean, shop, look after the dogs, without so much as breaking sweat. Shopping is easy, all you have to do is think about all the things you miss or are not allowed to eat and put them on a list. Things like biscuits, grapes, chocolate, ready made puddings, that sort of thing.
Anyway, can't stop and chat, things to do, houses to clean, meal planning to finalise, shopping to do, TV viewing to organise and ready meals to warm up.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A tiny favour

Jan isn't what you'd call an earth mother.
She doesn't knit her own yogurt or stuff like that.
A few days ago, for only the third time in 16 years, I asked her a small favour. If she could ever find her sewing kit (because I don't possess one) could she please complete a very small repair for me.
I'd been tempted to get smart and use a stapler but, not wanting to damage my unblemished skin, I thought better of it. Anyway as she toiled and sweated at my small request she reminded me of a famous painting which I can't quite place at the moment. Maybe it was this one?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

That explains it

So we're in Lidl yesterday stocking up on washing powder and fabric softener (don't ask me, I just drive the car) checking out the 'everything you never knew you needed goodies' in the centre aisles and looking for some excellent frozen clams that we'd previously bought.
Anyway, I approached a family whom I can only describe as huge and the two males who were standing side by side were completely blocking the aisle.
I get mildly irritated at this sort of thing and for one second thought that I was maybe back in France, where the fuck you attitude and blocking the aisles is almost a national pastime.
I digress. With difficulty I squeezed the trolley through them (Jan allows me to drive the car and the trolley) and couldn't help noticing what was written on the younger males t-shirt.
The legend read "SEX, DRUGS and SAUSAGE ROLLS."
That explained it all. Excellent.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I make no bones about it but it's getting harder to update this blog regularly. When we were in France there was much which was new and different and I felt worthy of mention.
That's a bit different here, hence the lack of posts. Sorry.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Irish Olympic sailing commentary.

This is funny. Be patient while it loads. If for some reason there is a problem then click on this link:

Friday, August 10, 2012

BBC Olympics

Having been in Spain, and spared the first week or so of the Olympics, I have to say that I'm really enjoying watching it for the last few days here in the UK.
Jan, who rarely watches sport other than rugby, got interested in the Taekwondo, no doubt looking to pick up a few kidney crunching, aggressive moves. I look forward to the pain!
Being the 'home' Olympics broadcaster, it's refreshing to watch the BBC coverage which, whilst naturally concentrating on the GB team, also shows a huge range of all the other sports at the push of a couple of buttons.
When we were in Spain last week the coverage was again naturally concentrating on Spanish athletes. I mentioned to Ben, a Barca resident, do they have a red button facility? He looked at me blankly.
I had to point out that the BBC had an additional 24 channels covering all the sport being played at any one point in time, available on the 'red button.' I'm not sure if they have that facility in France either.
Whatever your opinion of the output you have to say that the BBC is a very good broadcaster.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

God's own country

We're back. Back to the land of milk and honey.

Back to where the deer roam free and the buffalo roam.

Back to milk, honey, blue skies, white scudding clouds and Olympic Medals.

As FR 9296 hit the ground with an almighty thump, a relieved Jan leant over and whispered some magic words.

"You know that thing you keep asking me for but I always say no?"

"You mean?"


"You mean?"


"You mean?"

"Yes, tonight I'll warm you up a Morrison's chicken jalfrezi."

It's good to be home.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Finally the truth

I'm not sure if you can read this but I'd guess you can make it bigger by clicking on it.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad