Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Summer bank holiday

Some bank holiday weekends are wasted as you try to fill the time with useful and interesting pastimes, but fail and end up watching a bad, highly edited film on ITV2.  This weekend wasn't one of those.

On Saturday we travelled to Grafham Water and took a leisurely walk around the reservoir.  Despite the weatherman's threat of rain, it was sunny most of the way around and this time was not muddy (unlike the last time that was really awful).  We stopped at a pub part way around and it seemed that everyone had a dog.

As it was a nice day, there were plenty of people about, mostly cycling, but some actually running the 10 mile route.

On Saturday evening I cooked a stir-fry, the first in years and then we watched Amadeus which I had recorded a few nights before.  I wasn't sure that I would like it, but it's an impressive film and a fascinating story.

On Sunday we went to Pete's mum's house and for another walk, but mainly to pick sloes, blackberry's and apples.  In the afternoon we made sloe gin, blackberry vodka and Pete made a mess of the kitchen producing apple and onion chutney.  All of this will be packaged up in December as Christmas presents!

In the evening, I cooked home-made lamb burgers, using herbs from the garden (basil, rosemary and mint) and spicy potatoes that were very spicy.  We then watched This Is It, the Michael Jackson documentary that happened to be on TV.  I would not have chosen it as a choice of viewing but Pete was keen.  I thought it was quite watchable but was nowhere near as good as the rave reviews I have heard.  Two things occurred to me throughout:  First, I am sure that had the shows taken place in London, they would have been amazing and very impressive.  Secondly, I am saddened at how quickly they cashed in on his death and wondered where all the money was going.

On Monday, we cleaned the garage (fun huh!?) before walking into town with Max to look around a couple of shops before enjoying a coffee and bacon sandwich.  We got back around midday, I made a curry ready for the evening and watched a period drama called A Handful of Dust before heading out again, this time across the fields for a few miles to a lovely pub in a lovely village for beer.

The curry was followed by yet another film, this time a gay one called The Fluffer that was silly, but OK to while away 90 minutes.  I have found that our Lovefilm subscription gives access to loads of online films for no extra charge, so that was how we watched The Fluffer.

And now back to work.  Boo!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Next Sunday is the 5th don't you know

It's almost time for the next "5 on the fifth".  As usual, everyone is welcome to take part. You can either take 5 random pictures of something that happens to you on the 5th of September (or the days leading up to it) or perhaps go for my suggested theme. This month, the theme is The Blues.

I hope that you will be inspired take part.  Don't forget to add a comment on my blog on the 5th with your name, location and link where the pictures can be found. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog so that your visitors get to see the other contributions.

You can join the 5 on the fifth Facebook page here.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Start of the bank holiday weekend

I've not been up to much this week other than work. And that in itself is depressing. Anyway...

Pete, his friend Kirk and I went to Prezzo on Wednesday,
using vouchers of course. The standard of food is always great and 2 courses and a beer for a tenner is a bargain. Go and treat yourself readers in the UK!

Last night we watched Avatar on DVD with great surround sound. I had not been looking forward to seeing it after hearing reviews that seemed to describe it as a fairy tale with tall Smurfs. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it! I appreciate that it has flaws, but overall I thought this fantasy story, and the way it was made, worked quite well. I am not a fan of films over 2 hours in length, but I had no problem with this one.

Today both Pete and I have been working from home (there's a blog entry coming on that topic soon I think). We are dog sitting for the long weekend with Max as our guest. The plan is to take him for a couple of long walks, perhaps repeating the reservoir walk but in reverse. No, not walking backwards, but certainly stopping at the pub en route.

One thing that has wound me up this week was that after EIGHT years using eBay and a flawless 589 positive feedbacks, some tosser has given me negative feedback! They reckon that the waistcoat I sold them had loose buttons. I have emailed them and said that if that was the case (it wasn't), I would have given a full refund but after the negative feedback, they get nothing!

I will soon post details of the next
5 on the Fifth and once again I intend promoting it to try and achieve a good number of contributors.

Tw*ts of the moment

The news this week featured 2 evil people, but they were nasty for very different reasons...

Thirty-two year old Wendy Lewis has been sentenced to 12 weeks in jail after being caught on CCTV urinating on the cenotaph at Blackpool.  I could write for days on why this is so very wrong, but it's obvious of course.

And to make it even worse, her benefit scrounging husband felt that it was appropriate to give a nazi salute to the press. Such scummy people should have their benefits taken away.  In fact, what do these people add to society?  They take take take and don't give a damn what they do.  

The greatest news coverage was the "bin lady". We may never know why this little old lady thought it would be funny to put a cat in a wheelie bin.  There are even Facebook groups suggesting that horrible things happen to her.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Edinburgh - Best and worst jokes

The best and worst jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe have been announced and there are some great one-liners...

Top ten best jokes:

1) Tim Vine - "I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again."

2) David Gibson - "I'm currently dating a couple of anorexics. Two birds, one stone."

3) Emo Philips - "I picked up a hitchhiker. You've got to when you hit them."

4) Jack Whitehall - "I bought one of those anti-bullying wristbands when they first came out. I say 'bought', I actually stole it off a short, fat ginger kid."

5) Gary Delaney - "As a kid I was made to walk the plank. We couldn't afford a dog."

6) John Bishop - "Being an England supporter is like being the over-optimistic parents of the fat kid on sports day."

7) Bo Burnham - "What do you call a kid with no arms and an eyepatch? Names."

8) Gary Delaney - "Dave drowned. So at the funeral we got him a wreath in the shape of a lifebelt. Well, it's what he would have wanted."

9) Robert White - "For Vanessa Feltz, life is like a box of chocolates: empty."

10) Gareth Richards - "Wooden spoons are great. You can either use them to prepare food, or, if you can't be bothered with that, just write a number on one and walk into a pub…"

And some of the "worst"…

Sara Pascoe - "Why did the chicken commit suicide? To get to the other side."
Emo Philips - "I like to play chess with bald men in the park although it's hard to find 32 of them."
Bec Hill - "Some of my best friends are vegan. They were going to come today but they didn't have the energy to climb up the stairs."
Dan Antopolski - "How many Spaniards does it take to change a lightbulb? Juan."
Doc Brown - "I was born into the music industry. My dad worked in Our Price."

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Catholic church and justice

You may have read today that a Priest in Northern Ireland in 1972 might have been actively involved in mass murder and that the police, the Catholic Church and the state conspired to cover up a priest's suspected role in one of the worst atrocities of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Nine people died in bombings in Claudy, County Londonderry in July 1972 and high-level talks led to the Priest, James Chesney, being moved to the Irish Republic.

In December 1972 Willie Whitelaw met Cardinal Conway to discuss the issue. According to one report, 'the cardinal said he knew the priest was a very bad man and would see what could be done'. The church leader mentioned 'the possibility of transferring him to Donegal...'

Doesn't this sound a little too similar to the church moving suspected pedophiles to another parish? Cover ups will always come to light and for me, all this bad press takes the church a long way from a loving and peaceful organisation. I appreciate that a minority of Priests are bad people, but the way the church deals with it's problems is foolish.

In 2005 the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for the leaders of Uganda’s brutal Lords Resistance Army and local Catholic clergy were quick to denounce the move as a threat to peace. Since then, the Archbishop of Gulu, Jean-Baptist Odama, has led a campaign against the indictment of LRA leader Joseph Kony, whose crimes include the large-scale sexual enslavement of children.

The power of many churches is worrying, but it seems that the Catholic church makes a habit of covering up crimes. Some representatives, who today have rightly condemned the decision made in Northern Ireland in 1972, must wonder about the love and understanding within their church.

It makes you wonder has complicit the Catholic church was in the Northern Ireland troubles. Did they harbour mass murderers? Did they allow hundreds of people to die by turning a blind eye?

The troubles are a complex historical mess and the church's involvement is likely to be very small. On a very very basic level, it seems to me that the many good people in Ulster have been tainted by the psychopathic murderers.  These people have used their undemocratic and foul ideals, linked to religion and arguments that go back centuries, to carry out acts that are pure evil. Violence can't win this one I am sure, but perhaps many of them are not that bothered and just enjoy their violent ways.

The Catholic church needs an amazing PR guru to sort this one out.

The French are coming!

I came across a very long list of French words that are used regularly in English and have edited it down. It's amazing how many words we use from other languages and don't even register the fact. So, for all of those stupid English people that don't like the French... here are just a selection of phrases that you may want to avoid from now on as they are all French.

aide-mémoire "memory aid"

à la carte "on the menu"

art déco "decorative art" - Short for art décoratif.

art nouveau "new art"

au fait "conversant, informed"

bon appétit "good appetite" - The closest English equivalent is "Enjoy your meal."

carte blanche "blank card" - Free hand, ability to do whatever you want/need.

chic "stylish" - Chic sounds more chic than "stylish.

cul-de-sac "bottom (butt) of the bag" - An English dead-end street.

debutante "beginner"

double entendre "double hearing" - A 'Carry On' moment.

encore "again"

en route "on route" - On the way.

fait accompli "done deed"

faux pas "false step, trip" - foolish mistake.

gauche "left, awkward"

ménage à trois "household of three" - Sexual threesome.

objet d'art "art object"

raison d'être "reason for being"

soirée "evening" - An elegant party.

soupçon "suspicion" - A small amount of something.

souvenir "memory, keepsake"

tête-à-tête "head to head"

tour de force "turn of strength" - Something which takes a great deal of skill to accomplish.

vol-au-vent "flight of the wind" - Light pastry shell filled with meat or fish with sauce.

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Pete and I hosted a barbecue next night with family and friends. We finished at about 1.30am (though the kids were still up at 5am staying in the garage/room) and I had very little sleep. After a large breakfast we have spent a couple of hours tidying up.

Due to tiredness, this blog posting is a pretty basic one.

Anyway, here is a nice picture to brighten your day (well, most of you too)...

Friday, 20 August 2010

An important exploration of language

Did you know that the “ps” sound is not common in Spanish? Speakers in certain areas change words to a more comfortable pronunciation. For example, Pepsi is pronounced Pesi in many parts of Spain. So the drinks giant has decided to make a joke of it and paid Fernando Torres a huge amount of money to make this advert.

He's fab and can do no wrong of course...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Bad boy Tomasz

There is something yellow and bright in the sky and my lawn is green. What's happening?! Has the world gone mad? A few days sunshine has been nice and we we're having a barbecue (a word I always struggle to spell) on Saturday, I pray that we get some good weather.

Anyway... here is some fun for the middle of the week:

The BBC has apologised to viewers after weathermen Tomasz Schafernaker was caught giving the finger live on air. It appears that Tomasz did not know the camera was on him when he made the rude sign to a colleague teasing him.

And this gives me an excuse to also show a picture of Tomasz posing for a magazine shoot last year. Who would have thought that hidden under his suit was a fit body!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Strange football misc.

Following on from the football related post a couple of days ago, here are 3 footie pictures showing 3 stupid things from today's sports news...

The awful Everton away kit for this season:

Criminal and Newcastle thug Joey Barton sporting a moustache that makes him look like a prat:

Nicolas Anelka forgot that playing for your country is a privilege and he should grateful for being paid thousands of percent more than the average man on the street - he'll never play for France again:

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Football 2010/11

The Premiership season began this week, just a week after the Championship started.  It seems only days since the lacklustre England team at the World Cup broke our hearts and Crystal Palace saved their place in the league in Sheffield.  After a crazy year at Crystal Palace, with massive highs (the FA cup wins and some excellent performances) to extreme lows (administration leading to a 10 point deduction and subsequent bad run of  results).  The club was a day away from extinction, all based on a debt that was far less than similar clubs.  This can all be put down to years of mismanagement.

The club was saved and is now owned by a team of men that are also fans.  After decades, Selhurst Park is owned by the club and only a few of the best players have been retained from last season.  The new owners are all successful businessmen and intend to run the club as a business, cutting out stupid and risky spending.  Time will tell if their approach will be successful.

My predictions for the season ahead are listed below. I am rarely correct and would not suggest making a bet based on my thoughts.

Premiership: (No surprises again I fear)

Top in order:
Manchester United
Manchester City

West Brom


This could be an incredibly open league this year with 10 or more teams with the ability to do well. The top 2 might feature any of these teams...


I think Crystal Palace will have another erratic season with so many changes having taken place. A mid table finish would be welcome.

The golden boot:

The Premierships top scorers will be, in this order...

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The challenge - update

Pete and I went into the local town today to look around the shops. We dropped into a new charity shop to check out the books, DVDs and CDs.  Look what I found!  (See this blog entry if this makes no sense to you!)

Friday, 13 August 2010

43 Things

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a website called 43 Things. You simply list the things that you want to do with your life, whether they are short term or long term objectives. The site then tells you how many other people want to achieve the same things and there are stories and feedback from people who have ticked them off their own lists.

This all appealed to me as someone who (a) likes writing lists and (b) is very good a dreaming and (c) also good at putting things off.

Here is a small selection of my 43 Things...

  • Visit New York 
  • Learn to meditate 
  • Visit Morocco 
  • Drive around Europe in a campervan 
  • Get a lizard tattoo 
  • Write a radio play 
  • Need less sleep 
  • Learn and practice speed reading 
  • Go to the driving range and play golf 
  • Visit the Cerne Abbas Giant 
  • Busk 
  • Make the front page of a newspaper

I'll get round to them one day I'm sure. I also have my blog-based Kitchen List to push me (update soon).  It's worth going to the site just to see the front page and the random dreams of people around the world. There are some very strange ones I noted...

Go for a midnight picnic, learn to draw caricatures, be selfish, get my tongue pierced, Learn to pick locks.

Weird huh?!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I'm a gay son

Do you remember when The Daily Mail, that evil inconsistent and generally wrong newspaper reported on the death of Stephen Gately? That story showed them to be insensitive, bigoted and full of hatred... and full of shit as is often the case.

For example, they ran a story with the headline "Swimmers plunged into dark after council covers swimming pool windows to protect Muslim women's modesty". This article stated that that a swimming pool at Darlaston Leisure Centre in Walsall covered ground-level windows following complaints 'received from Muslim groups'. It went on to mention the pool was singled out by Muslims. The article was missing something... the facts.

What actually happened was that the gauze that had been blocking people from viewing swimmers for decades had become damaged. Some people suggested that the screens were fixed so the council used opaque film as it had in a number of other swimming pools. It is an efficient way to achieve the privacy. Those that suggested this work were male and female and also from every part of the community.

So the pool wasn't plunged into darkness at all, Muslim women hadn't solely complained and this practice was in line with other pools in the district. It makes me angry that a national newspaper (and others) can stir up hatred based on incorrect information.

And a
t the weekend, they ran a story with the headline "Why every mum should have a gay son".

As Pete and I were at my parents and Pete's mum had come along for the weekend, we were both interested as were they.  And what a stereotypical load of claptrap it was!

You wont believe the bollocks in the article - here are a few quotes:
  • Gay sons are said to be "are a passport to a fabulous life of pampering, holidays and heart-to-hearts".
  • My sexuality means that I’m more in tune with her.
  • I instinctively know what suits her – last week I bought her a polka-dot blouse in Marks & Spencer because I knew it would go brilliantly with a chunky belt.
  • I help her look glamorous, giving her hair a blow-dry before we hit the town and taking her for manicures. 

The pure black & white rubbish printed by the Daily Mail angers me on a regular basis, but this latest success at complete stupidity stunned me.  The examples they provided were insultingly stereotypical men that I had NOTHING in common with and know not one single gay man that comes close.

Having read the article, I offered to cut my mum's hair and buy clothes for her, but she turned me down flat.

Anyway, you can read the full rancid awful text here.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Family BBQ

Pete and I spent the weekend in Kent at my parents for a full family barbecue.  The family ravelled from far and wide for lots of food and much too much drink.  I'm not sure where the various kids get the energy.  Here's a picture I took this morning whilst eating a fry-up.

Thanks to those that took part in the last Five On The Fifth.  There were some excellent and interesting images posted to the various blogs.  I appreciate that holidays and the 5th falling on a Thursday meant that numbers were down a bit.  I do need to carry out some promotion however. Don't forget that you can join the 5 on the fifth Facebook page here.

And finally, I asked a question in the
last blog post about the stunningly beautiful picture.  So who was the guy?  It was Zac Efron...

Friday, 6 August 2010

Who lives in a body like this?

I saw the full picture of this famous guy and was pleasantly pleased. Just look at this near perfect body... just the right amount of muscle, a little fuzz of hair, beautifully formed and free of fat.  And we all know that fat-free things are good for you.

Guesses as to the identity on a postcard please.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Five on the fifth #14

Welcome to 5 on the fifth, a monthly posting that benefits from audience participation. You take 5 photographs on the 5th of the month (or the days leading up to the 5th) - post a comment here with your name, location and link to the site containing your photos and I will update the blog entry with your information. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog, so that your visitors get to see the other contributions. You can take 5 random pictures or follow my suggested theme - this month it is: "On The Road".

You can join the 5 on the fifth Facebook page here.

My own pictures are below the links of those who kindly contributed:

Made in Scotland, London
My Time, Dublin
WannabeVirginia W., Ontario
Mrs Urs, Zurich

David, Brighton
Andrew, Bristol
Pete, Our house
Bryn, London

Torchy, Somewhere in the south
James, London

All of my pictures were taken on a couple of very poor mobile phones mainly on the side of the road over the past 2 days.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

August Movie Update

Here are the films that Pete and I have received from Lovefilm.com and watched on TV and DVD over the past month or so, in reverse order, with my ratings out of ten from my movie list on IMDB.

A very interesting film starring Colin Firth and a young actor called Matthew Beard who I thought was excellent throughout.  I hope he gets some luck with his career.

"R Pats" in a cliche ridden film.

Clever effects and interesting ideas, but a dull film really.

George Clooney as a man who lives his life travelling a working without achieving anything in his personal life.  Better than it sounds.

Far better than I thought it would be.  Quite a good romp, apart from the final big scene that puts the Houses Of Parliament next to Tower Bridge.

A good Woody Allen film! (though it's quite old)

Really weird and some great effects, but lost it's way too often.

The script isn't great, acting suspect at times and Aaron Johnson who played John Lennon looked much older than the other actors even though they were meant to be the same age.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


It's almost time for the next "5 on the fifth".  As usual, everyone is welcome to take part. You can either take 5 random pictures of anything that happens to you on the 5th of August (or the days leading up to it) or perhaps go for my suggested theme. This month, the theme is On The Road.

I hope that you will be inspired take part.  Don't forget to add a comment on my blog on the 5th with your name, location and link where the pictures can be found. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog so that your visitors get to see the other contributions.

You can join the 5 on the fifth Facebook page here.