Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quirky and fun

Enjoyable, if for no other reason than to watch one of the judges' faces.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

When will I ever learn?

I hate shopping with my mother. Hate it. It all stems back to a time when I was young, had just started to drive, and she kept me waiting for THREE hours as she 'popped' into the shops.
'Twenty minutes max', she said.
It's a wonder to behold. She goes into a daydream and loses all sense of time and sense. So, I surprised myself when she asked me to take her to Booths our local supermarket so that she could buy 'a couple of things', and I agreed.
I went to Harrogate to pick her up and drove back to Ripon. She doesn't get out much so as she was coming for lunch I thought that it shouldn't be too bad especially if I timed it so that we had to 'be quick' because Jan was cooking and expected us.
The knot tightened in my stomach as we approached the store and in order to try and get some kind of control of proceedings I asked her what she wanted.
'Three things', she said, 'no four'.
Could this be true?
'I want some nuts, streaky bacon, cheese and water,' she said.
My original plan to go and drink some coffee, whilst she shopped, went out of the window. This might not actually take much time I thought. So I stayed with her knowing how easily she gets distracted. Whilst she propped herself on the back of the trolley I gently (but forcibly) guided it round the store.
I estimate that the cost for the 'four things' that she wanted came to around £16.
In fact we were in there for about an hour and the final bill came to £154.
Will I ever learn?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It could almost be France

I saw this sign on a door in Boroughbridge the other day. It made me laugh. The shop was shut.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


I don't mind Halloween in fact I quite like it. We always buy lots of small sweets to give to the children who invariably make a significant effort in dressing up, are always very polite and are always chaperoned by their parents.
I like small kids and it's the one time of the year when they do something silly and get to stuff their faces with loads of sugar.
I know, I know, it's an American import but it's much more wholesome than the sorts of tricks I got up to as a kid when being vicious was the name of the game particularly with some old curmudgeon who you didn't like.
The visits start around 5.30 pm and have generally finished by 7.00 pm and in that one and half hour period we got through a large tin and a half of sweets. That means some were left over for me. Yippee.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A very funny man

I couldn't resist this. He's a master storyteller.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


In a fit of enthusiasm, having seen Gone Girl last week we booked to see the 'five star' rated Ida last night. We liked Gone Girl, both having enjoyed the book and now the film so it was with some anticipation that we looked forward to Ida.
Filmed in black and white, in Polish with English subtitles it was the story of a young nun who tried to find her roots. If you like films where not much happens and not much is said, with lots of staring into space but very nicely filmed then you might like Ida. It is definitely an 'art house' film but a film that you don't really get emotionally involved with. I'm not sure why.
We both left feeling a bit empty and at a bit of a loss of what to say, which is unusual for Jan.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


We have two dogs. One is very bright and the other isn't. Neither are allowed on the settee. The dim one never gets on the settee but the bright one waits until we have left the room and then climbs on, usually when we are both upstairs doing something.
But here's the funny bit. Because he knows that he shouldn't be on the settee, when he hears one of us coming down stairs he gets off and greets us at the bottom of the stairs wagging his tail as if nothing has happened. He hasn't yet figured out that I can tell where he's been by simply feeling if there is a warm spot on the cushion.
When he figures that one out then we have a major problem.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And another but a bit more cerebral

A bit late in the day for most of us but true nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Very funny

Friday, September 26, 2014

To give you a lift

I came across this which I think is quite cheery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I'm confused because jeans, which I bought the other day, proved to be too long. This is strange because I always buy the same leg length (29 ins just in case you want to buy me a pair) and I measured them and they were exactly the length as advertised.
I had them shortened by 1.5 inches and now they fit much better. The only answer is that I'm shrinking, but 1.5 inches seems an awful lot or another answer could be that I've always bought my trousers too long. Hmmmm?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Damn, where is it?

Two young men, one each living either side of us has left home this weekend. On one side for further education and on the other to join the army.
Given the position of their bathroom and the proximity of our respective houses we could, from time to time, hear the army hopeful having a shower. The music blared out and after a short silence you could hear him shout, "Mum can you pass me a towel?"
Move this forward to next week and think about the reaction to, "Sarge, can you pass me a towel?"
A quick lesson in growing up will ensue methinks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

100 more sleeps

I saw the first mince pies the other day in Morrisons. I lurv mince pies.
Yippee, only one hundred sleeps before christmas.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


We live in an area that does not have good phone reception.
When we first moved here our phones with Vodafone were useless. I was told that Orange were the best, just, at reception but I went with Three because I like their tariffs (being the smallest they have to try harder) and I eventually got a femtocell for the house (from Three) so that we have full five bar reception.
I'll admit I'm a bit geeky and have long wondered what kind of reception I could get with Orange so, when out and about (in Brighton) one day, I popped into their shop and bough a very cheap smartphone so that I could test their reception. Which so far is about the same as Three.
As an aside the phone, a Huawei, is very good. It cost £39 and is easy to use, does all the things I expect a phone to do and does it well and now makes me wonder why I, and many others, get so fixated with phone technology and having to have the latest and best.
The graphic above sums it up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I've always said that Harrogate is somewhere that you want to leave when you're 18 years old but when you get to 50 you wonder why you ever thought like that and want to get back.
Reading this article the other day made me realise how lucky we are to live where we do. The move from France to Yorkshire was mostly motivated for the need to be nearer my mother as she grows older and more frail but having said that we've been pleasantly surprised about how good the weather has been, how nice the people are and how good the shops are. Not nice weather in a tropical sort of way but plenty of sunshine, little rain and temperatures not exceeding 20C, sort of way.
It's easy to complain about where you live but having now lived in various places in the UK and also France I can honestly say that you could do a lot worse than this part of the world. You could spend a lot of time researching places to live but for me the best place to live is wherever Jan is (OK, sorry, pass the sick bucket).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wind farms

I have just driven from the Spanish border in France to Calais. I must have seen in the region of 50 wind turbines, probably more, throughout this 800 mile journey and, unbelievably, only 3 were actually working.
Something is very, very wrong here. They are very expensive to build and maintain without getting into the cost of land rental and subsidies.
We wouldn't ever let that happen in the UK, would we?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Yorkshireman

What qualifies you as a Yorkshireman? Whilst I am proud to mention that Yorkshire, if considered as a country, came 12th at the last Olympics and 5th at the recent commonwealth games, I have always questioned whether I can consider myself as a Tyke.
I believe that I was conceived in Yorkshire (sorry if that's a tad too much information) but born in Bristol from an Italian mother and a Liverpudlian father. I was raised in Yorkshire from about age 3 and spent all of my formative years here but I'm still not sure. I'm stateless, a man with tomato stains down his shirt front and hub caps under his arm.
Just in case you need a bit more information about what constitutes a Yorkshireman this sums it up. Translations are available.

'Ear all, see all, say nowt;
Eyt all, sup all, pay nowt;
And if ivver tha does owt fer nowt -
Allus do it fer thissen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Taste of things to come

I saw a robin on the lawn yesterday. What's going on? Confused of Yorkshire.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Growing old

There was a time, when I'm ashamed to admit, that I looked down on folks who were drinking tea when I felt that they should be drinking something else. Who would drink tea when they could be quaffing a nice wine or something similar?
I'm now that tea drinker. For the last few years I've pretty much stopped drinking wine or at least drinking in the way that I used to. That's not to say that I don't drink at all, I still enjoy a nice wine with friends over dinner, but just not drinking for the sake of it.
It's much more the quality rather than the quantity type of drinking. The other night, with friends staying for the weekend, I went in search of a nice red and found a bottle of 2006 El Sequé that I didn't know I had. I remember the first time we ever tried it sitting in the kitchen in France and Jan said, 'that's the nicest red I have ever drunk.' A statement that took me somewhat by surprise but I agreed. It's a red from Alicante in Spain, a region that you associate more with holidays than wine production.
Anyway, my friend and I finished the bottle before dinner and jolly nice it was too.
They've gone now so it's back to drinking tea.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Carluccio's Harrogate

From time to time I fancy Eggs Benedict for breakfast and, whilst I can modestly claim to make a pretty good one myself (as long as Jan makes the foaming hollandaise), it's nice to have it made for you. I first came across the notion of going out to eat breakfast in the States and thought it was a great idea. It's less normal here in the UK and don't even think about it in France unless all you want is a coffee and croissant. So, when I saw that Carluccio's in Harrogate is open for breakfast and, better still, they will cook EB for you, we had to try it.
After suffering a very poor hollandaise sauce in another café in town I didn't have high expectations but this was surprisingly good. Not as good as Jan's but perfectly acceptable. Not only was my EB good but Jan had the works, Colazione Magnifica, and very good it was too.
'It's better than I could make at home,' she said, 'excellent.'
My breakfast came quite quickly which made me a tad suspicious so I asked the waiter (they are all very pleasant and polite) whether the hollandaise is bought or made fresh.
'I don't know,' he said, 'I'll check with the kitchen.'
After a few minutes he came back, 'we buy it in,' he said. You know what, it was what I expected, because having to listen to Jan whinge when she makes it I suspected that it hadn't just been made. This admission meant they went up in my estimation. An inferior run place would have lied and it felt good that they weren't trying to pull the wool. Top marks all round.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

At long last, a ferret

We were in the pet shop buying supplies of wild bird food and dog treats and the assistant asked us what breed of dogs we had.
He hadn't heard of Beaucerons and jokingly Jan said, 'they're big' a lot bigger than a ferret. 'Oh I love ferrets he said, I've got three. One of which is an albino. All my friends have ferrets.'
'Do they bite,' Jan asked?
'One does,' he said, but the others are fine. You have to get one, they're great pets.'
'You're the first person I've ever met who owns a ferret,' said Jan, and, before she could buy one, I got her out of the shop.
'Never joke about ferrets in Yorkshire,' I said, 'they won't understand and you might get hurt.'

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A mystery solved

While out and about recently I'd noticed that certain folks were under dressed. Under dressed as in, 'it ain't that warm why are you wearing so little?' Then, after a while, it dawned on me. The under dressed were almost all heavily tattooed. What was more important to them, was showing the world their tattoos and not how cold they were.
Personally I'm not keen on tats and my dislike started when David Beckham started several years ago. I can understand the odd, out of the way tattoo, administered when you are young and foolish and probably pissed, but not the heavy all over 'body art' that you'd wish you had never had done when you get to old age.
Spare me all the socio mumbo jumbo about body art over the ages and freedom of expression, it just doesn't look too good. I can only assume that the man above is self employed. YMMV.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Doctor bloody Who

A long time ago, when I was young, I watched and enjoyed Dr Who. It was, and still is, a sci-fi children's programme with lots of goodies and baddies, implausible plots, a stupid 'time machine the tardis,' and just a hint of sex.
50 years later it is still going strong and it is still a children's programme. Why do the BBC trail this bloody programme as if it's some great meaningful blockbuster. We have been reminded time after time that the next series starts on August 26th with the latest incarnation of 'The Doctor' and his sidekick. They will no doubt face the latest new evil characters as they travel through time and space and will of course exit victorious. I'm sure that children will enjoy it but surely it gets puffed out of all proportion? 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A visitor from the far east

Josh, one of Jan's sons, visited briefly over the weekend. He came over from Hong Kong with his girlfriend Elisha and treated us to an outstanding meal at The Yorke Arms. Excellent.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

50 Shades

To see what this book would look like if written by a man, copy and paste this link:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

No 36

Ever since I've been an adult I'd heard a lot about No 69 and, whilst I could appreciate its direction, I've always wanted to try a No 36.

After a bit of deliberation and being mature adults, we decided to let our inhibitions go and decided to partake of the pleasure. The journey had a mostly up and down sensation, quite a bumpy ride, reminiscent of a poorly sprung car and, at the end, I felt slightly nauseous.

Upstairs was the place to be, I've always like upstairs.

The first session took about 40 minutes then we stopped for a breather, something to eat and started again after a couple of hours. The second session was a bit quicker and seemed over before we knew it but then we already had a good idea of what to expect.

Jan has tried it before on her own however this was my first ever use of my free bus pass. The journey between Ripon and Harrogate will never be the same again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


When visiting Brighton recently we also visited a friend in Eastbourne. Seeing as they're two seaside towns about 30 minutes apart on the same coast, it's difficult not to compare the two. Both towns have similar grand buildings on or near the seafront but Eastbourne somehow feels smarter, nicer in most departments.

I suspect that because Brighton has quicker links to London it attracts lots of wealthy and poor Londoners (whoops now I'm going to upset Londoners) and, as a University town, it has lots of students. Superficially at least, Eastbourne seems to be less scruffy, less 'vibrant' and cater for a better class of folks (like me). For a person who doesn't like the term 'class' that grates as I say it.

The evening that we were there, a really good brass band played on the sea front and turned a mundane promenade into something quite pleasurable. 

God, I'm getting old.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seems appropriate

I must admit I'm not a big fan of Brighton. I'm probably just prejudiced but rumours about it being the drug capital of England and some of the other things I've seen and heard about the place leave me feeling rather negative.
We have kids who live with their families and work there so we visit.

The picture below made me laugh and it seemed to confirm my prejudice. Never mind having an open topped rubbish bin sitting outside houses, they also ask people not to sleep in them.

Apologies to the residents of Brighton. I know you are nice folks really.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My new job on a market stall

I've just been inundated with one request to start posting again. I have to admit that from time to time Jan turns to me and says, 'you should blog that.' I've been so sorely tempted that now I've done it.

This morning is a good example. I'm standing at our fruit and veg stall in the market and I noticed two of the serving lads eyeing a very voluptuous young woman standing in the queue. I smiled knowingly at one of them and he said, 'my mate's missus has just chucked him out so he's a bit lonely.'

I smiled and nodded in agreement, trying to stay on the right side of the man who was adding up our bill, 'she's very attractive and well stacked,' I said.

He laughed and without missing a beat he said, 'with an attitude like that you could could have a job here.' I was very flattered.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


A good friend wrote to me recently asking if I was OK. Which made me think that I've treated my loyal readers pretty shabbily by stopping posting without saying goodbye. I'm sorry.
My first ever post was in January 2005 and now, nine years later, I think I've run out of steam. I have always felt that 'the something to say' should be meaningful or amusing or both. The move to France always brought something interesting, for me and hopefully for others, but the move back to the UK and its familiar territory less so.
I share the occasional thing on Facebook but that's about it, so thank you for taking the time to read all this rubbish and I wish you all a happy and fulfilling life.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A mystery

It might be a symptom of this time of the year or something we don't understand but Jan received a card the other day with a note on the back saying don't open until the 30th.
We were both intrigued but not wishing to spoil whatever was in store we waited until 30th. When Jan opened it the puzzle deepened. The envelope was postmarked Swindon and neither of us knows anyone that lives there (or thereabouts) and the birthday card was signed Pat. Jan knows a couple of Pats but they don't live in Swindon and Jan's birthday is in March. So Pat, if by some coincidence you are reading this, thank you and Happy New Year.