Saturday, March 31, 2012

A message from our sponsor

We're going to Clara's christening in Oxford this weekend and I have one message for all drivers everywhere.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another little gem

That was a nice drive into the Yorkshire Dales.
We had previously bought some hot smoked salmon from Booths from a local smoke house and decided to see if we could find it. We knew that Bleiker's in Glasshouses wasn't the one and decided to try Mackenzies Smokehouse in Blubberhouses. What a find.
We're always on the look out for places to take visitors and we've found another. All their smoked products and a lot more are sold in the shop at the front and at the back there is a great looking restaurant. Being the middle of the afternoon we'd already eaten but found room for a cup of tea and scone with jam and cream. Excellent.

Having passed them on the way there, the 'golf balls' at Menwith Hill have always fascinated and somewhat spooked me. The shot above was taken from quite a long way away on a different route back. It seems so out of place in this beautiful dales setting but also strangely magnificent.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A little medical knowledge

Mum, who lives on her own, has an alarm device that she can use to call for help.
Sitting having a cup of tea yesterday afternoon I got a call from the alarm company saying that her alarm had activated so I should check.
Having spoken to her within the last hour because she had been visited by the 'Fast Response Team' after a doctor's visit, I naturally assumed that it was connected with that visit but kept trying to contact her as well.
We went to see her this morning because she needed to be x-rayed after a fall and whilst we were waiting I mentioned that if she is going to activate the alarm she should, if possible, be able to take a phone call.
The alarm looks like a watch but mum refuses to wear it as a watch and pins it to her jumper (don't ask) but, in this instance, had put the jumper in the washing machine whereupon the alarm was continually activated (never mind being rendered useless) until she remembered what she'd done with it.
She seemed to think that it was funny that she had created total mayhem. So far so bad.
Anyway, I'm sitting waiting at Harrogate General Hospital for her to be x-rayed and they have a TV which gives you lots of information about the hospital, the x-ray department and other guff stuff.
One interesting fact that I picked up in my boredom is that the human body has 206 bones and more than half of that number is either in your hands or your feet.
Who needs Wiki when you get so much free, useful information here?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Harrogate Theatre again

I wasn't sure what to expect.
Jan had seen them before and somehow I viewed them with a bit of trepidation. By the end I was pleasantly surprised.
As the theatre filled around us the sea of grey just got bigger and bigger. If it had been up to me, I'd have sold Grecian 2000 rather than ice cream at the interval.
As the show progressed I wondered what all the grannies around me were thinking. They didn't seemed phased by the very strong language, they seemed to enjoy it, assuming they could actually hear it.
Fascinating Aida were not quite what I expected. For some reason I associated them with middle income, middle aged women and based upon our audience they certainly appealed to older women, of which there were lots, but also some men and even some younger folks (but not many). Their material fell into the category of musical satirists and much of it was clever, bawdy, skilful and funny.
If you are offended by bad language then they are not for you otherwise go and see them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And now for something a bit different

I'm not just old jokes you know. Saw this yesterday and felt the need to share.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blond joke

An attractive blonde from Cork, Ireland, arrived at the casino.  She seemed a little intoxicated and bet twenty thousand dollars in a single roll of the dice.

She said, "I hope you don't mind, but I feel much luckier when I'm 
completely nude." with that, she stripped from the neck down, rolled the dice and with an Irish brogue yelled, "Come on, baby, Mama needs new clothes!"

As the dice came to a stop, she jumped up and down and squealed. "Yes! Yes! I won, I won!"   She hugged each of the dealers, picked up her winnings and her clothes and quickly departed.

The dealers stared at each other dumbfounded.  Finally, one of them asked, "What did she roll?"  The other answered, "I don't know - I thought you were watching."

And the moral of the story?

Not all Irish are drunks, not all blondes are dumb, ..... but all men...are men!

And boys did you notice that the girl above isn't blond?

Friday, March 9, 2012

An error of judgement

You sometimes hear about male terrorists escaping detection by disguising themselves with a burqa. Somebody needs to sit this guy down and have a good talk to him.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Farts smell better in France

We've been back in Blighty a year now and I have to say that we're pleased with the move.
Ripon is a lovely little market town with all the shops (many of them really good) that we need for day to day living and a great little market once a week.
The quality of produce in the market is very good and, as you would expect, at prices less than the supermarkets. Not something we experienced in France which always surprised me. The quality of produce in the French market we frequented was always superior to the supermarket but at prices to match. In fact we found food shopping in France, with the exception of Lidl, to be relatively expensive. When we first arrived, prices were quite good but they increased quite a bit during the 8+ years that we were there.
It beats me how French people can afford to shop given that salaries are not high, but they do, and the markets and supermarkets were always well supported. Not that shopping isn't good in England, it is and it's cheaper. In French stores fruit and veg were always very good and I guessed that France got first pick of Spanish fruit and veg.
I have to say that I really miss Lidl in Sommieres, the one near us in Knaresborough isn't half as good mainly because it doesn't have three aisles of cheap but good quality stuff you never knew you needed.
Whilst we have familiarity with England what has really surprised us is the number of days we wake to sunshine, even though it might not last the whole day.
Our English neighbours in France warned us that we were making a big mistake going back to England, especially with the weather (they live in Lancashire very near the west coast). So far we've been very pleasantly surprised. If you only visit France when the weather is good then you'll get a biased view.
When we first arrived in France what really surprised us was how cold it was at night in winter. I guess that it had something to do with the days being clear and sunny. It was much colder than we have experienced so far here and much colder than we expected.
Not for one second would I attempt to dispute that overall the weather in the south of France is better than it is in the UK but bearing in mind that I am only talking about one particular area, it isn't the bed of roses that one might believe.
If I was to summarise the difference I'd say that the weather in France is more extreme. Hotter when it's hot, colder when it's cold and much, much windier than you might expect, but when it's nice, it's very, very nice.
And the moral of the story - the grass is always greener - but we all knew that didn't we?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Confused of Kazakhstan

First you have to listen to the delicious Ricky Martin below. I love this type of music and I defy you not to tap your feet as it plays. Try it.
When you've done that, click on this link. Seems that someone got a bit confused.
Thanks to Craig for this.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mad Men

We're hooked.
Some time ago my mate AJ suggested that we watch Mad Men. As he's a man of superb taste we followed his advice and Jan bought me the box set for christmas.
What a find. We can't get enough, it has become totally addictive. It reminds me of my previous business life and the office shenanigans. There are some great characters with the lovely Christina Hendricks right out there in front (if you get my drift).
Having just finished series 3 and just started on series 4 we're looking forward to the new series which starts later this month. Recommended.

Friday, March 2, 2012


We've been cloned. Well, more specifically, Jan has had her French bank card cloned and someone has used it to place bets with a company in France. As it stands we are 1700 euros down the pan.
Anyway, after discussions with Credit Agricole in Nimes, I was told that after a bit of form filling and a report from the police in England, the fraud could be passed to their investigation unit in Paris.
Off I went to our local nick, this was going to be the easy bit, only to be informed that they couldn't issue an incident number because it wasn't a crime that they could or would investigate. After all, the fraud had happened in France they said.
They gave me a tiny slip of paper that showed the name and collar number of the person to whom I spoke which looked fairly meaningless and which I knew would be unlikely to satisfy French bureaucracy. I was right.
'Can't they put a stamp on it to make it look more official,' they said.
I could see where this was going so I drafted a simple letter which I thought the police could photocopy onto police headed paper and set off in hope.
'No can do,' said the desk policeman, 'we don't even issue anything to help insurance claims in England, only if it's a crime that we will investigate.'
After a bit of pleading and brown nosing he said, more to get rid of me than anything else, 'I'll go to a higher authority and see what happens. But don't raise your hopes.'
Not very hopeful of a successful outcome we discussed making a trip to Nimes to report the fraud to the police in France. When all was said and done 1700 euros was at stake.
Anyway, one hour after we got home I was emailed an excellent letter on Police headed paper which referred to having reported the fraud and that it wasn't their policy to supply anything further. Brilliant. All the proof that I needed given the circumstances, they understood exactly what I needed.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Something a little different

We went out for a curry last night.
In order to try something a bit different I tried a pelican curry.
It wasn't too spicy but the bill was enormous!