Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The things you learn

Yesterday I was listening to a Podcast whilst driving home from an appointment in Reading.  It's a radio 4 show called 'Chain Reaction' - a brilliant show.  Person A interviews Person B on one episode, then Person B interviews person C the following week.  Person C interviews person D... etc etc - you get the idea.

Anyway - a very random topic came up about the late great George Formby.  Who would have thought that dear old George was a political thinker ahead of his time...

In 1946 Beryl and George toured South Africa shortly before formal racial apartheid was introduced, where they refused to play racially-segregated venues. According to Formby's biographer, when George was cheered by a black audience after embracing a small black girl who had presented his wife with a box of chocolates. National Party leader Daniel François Malan (who later introduced apartheid) phoned to complain; Beryl replied "Why don't you piss off you horrible little man?".

And something else comes to mind when I think of the stars of yesteryear... whatever happened to the old black & white films that used to be on TV on Saturday afternoons?  A whole generation is missing out!

Monday, 29 August 2011

On the riverbank

Pete and I spent most of the day with our friend Charlotte (and her dog Louie). We walked south along the canal near Ware in Hertfordshire for a few miles to a pub called the 'Fish and Eels'. The service was awful, but the beer tasted just fine!

There were plenty of people about enjoying the bank holiday and when we got back to Charlotte's, we had a lovely lunch. A great way to spend a day.

Here are a few pictures from the day...

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Bank holiday weekend

Pete and I spent Friday evening watching a very interesting French film called 'Little White Lies'.  It was mainly set in Cap Ferret near Bordeaux where we went last October.  An interesting film about money, selfishness and love.  A strange mix you may agree, but worth a look.

Yesterday we ventured into the local town and brought a few things in the shops before returning to make fresh juice (a mix of apples, carrots, grapefruit, peppers and plums!).  We then went to the see Hitchin Town play Circencester in a lower league football game.  Hitchin won 6-2 in a pulsating game that was non-stop action and despite the initial baulking at the £9 entrance fee, we both agreed it was worth the money in the end.  The weather started with heavy rain, then blue skies, then more rain, more rain and then ended with a brilliant rainbow.  Crazy summer weather!

On the way back we stopped for a quick beer before getting back and cooking roast chicken and roast potatoes, followed by a selection of cheeses.  A wonderfully cheap and satisfying meal.  What a friend we have in cheeses.

Today I drove us to Cambridge.  We had a coffee and then a walk around the shops.  There were some very fit guys free running - I wish I could do that and also have the pecs and abs that they had too. 

I had a voucher for some free photo printing after buying a new camera last month.  I have to say that the Jessops system is atrocious to use.   I was tempted to leave the shop after pressing the so-called-touch-screen over and over again and getting nowhere.  After some time, we got there and I now have a selection of photos that I don't quite know what to do with!  Actually, a couple may become Christmas presents.

We had intended going out this evening - let's see how we feel after dinner.  

Bank holiday tomorrow!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Edinburgh - Best jokes 2011

The best jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe have been announced (you can see the 2010 best of here)

Top ten best jokes:
1. Nick Helm – “I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

2. Tim Vine – “Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.”

3. Hannibal Buress – “People say ‘I'm taking it one day at a time.’ You know what? So is everybody. That's how time works.”

4. Tim Key – “Drive Thru McDonalds was more expensive than I thought ... once you've hired the car ...”

5. Matt Kirshen – “I was playing chess with my friend and he said, 'Let's make this interesting'. So we stopped playing chess.”

6. Sarah Millican – “My mother told me, you don’t have to put anything in your mouth you don’t want to. Then she made me eat broccoli, which felt like double standards.”

7. Alan Sharp – “I was in a band which we called The Prevention, because we hoped people would say we were better than The Cure.”

8. Mark Watson – “Someone asked me recently – what would I rather give up, food or sex. Neither! I’m not falling for that one again, wife.”

9. Andrew Lawrence – “I admire these phone hackers. I think they have a lot of patience. I can’t even be bothered to check my OWN voicemails.”

10. DeAnne Smith – “My friend died doing what he loved ... Heroin.”

And a selection of the worst (though I think some are still great!):
1. Tim Vine – “Uncle Ben has died. No more Mr Rice Guy.”

2. Josh Howie – I've got nothing against the Chinese. Don't get me Wong.

3. Andrew Bird – “My wife’s eating for two. She’s not pregnant, just schizophrenic.”

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Olympic hopefuls #1 - Louis Smith

It's less than a year to the London Olympics (we have tickets for 4 events!) and I thought it would be a fine idea to highlight a few of our sporting hero's who are hoping to be part of Team GB next summer. And of course, they will all be male, fit and cute!

Let's start with 22 year old Louis Smith, gymnast who specialises in the Pommel Horse. I have seen him interviewed a couple of times and he seems a dedicated and grounded guy.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A hit with the ladies

Yesterday I unexpectedly bumped into an ex-colleague (Samantha) who is married to another ex-colleague (Adam).  Adam and I used to take the piss out of each other all the time as we are both quite short. I had a quick chat with Sam and the person I was with said to me afterwards: "Wow, I wish I had good looking women randomly coming up to me saying hello!"

So I added that comment to her Facebook page and here are the follow up statements...

Samantha:   Aww that's a lovely compliment. Did he see my baby bump?  Good to see you after so long!! 

Stephen:   I dont think he was that observant - I told him lovely ladies are always saying "hello", but of course they are wasting their time with me!

Adam:   Stop flirting with my wife.

Stephen:   You can flirt with my boyfriend if you are jealous.

Adam:   Can I pat his head like i used to you?? ;-) 

Stephen:   If you can reach :-p

Samantha:   ‎:D

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The great sweatshirt mystery

A mystery... or am I going mad?

When I was at my Mum and Dad's last weekend, I put my grey sweatshirt on (that I bought in Los Angeles) just before Pete and I walked to the pub.  However, at the last minute I decided it was too warm and left it behind.

The weird thing is, next day we couldn't find the sweatshirt.  And it's still missing!

Could there be a Poltergeist in deepest Kent stealing clothing?

Monday, 22 August 2011

The state of the nation

I yoinked this image from a national newspaper last week.  Sadly, it sounds like the UK in 2011.  However, when you compare with other countries I have visited and even the UK of generations passed, has it really changed that much?  In the 1950's for example, the murder rate was higher, crime in general was higher and poverty was worse - so are we really in such a bad state?

For further discussion...

Friday, 19 August 2011

Zac Efron naked... still

I had a leap in reader numbers on my blog at the weekend, all due to the phrase I commented on in May - "Zac Efron naked".  It appears that, after a little investigation, the two words "zac efron's" were trending on Twitter on Saturday due to an image that had been posted somewhere.  The unedited version of a photoshopped image (see polite version below) is all over the web and it's an expert job. I have few doubts that it's a fake... he's bigger than that (in my mind anyway)!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Photoshop a looter

Some clever people have been using Photoshop to embarrass the stupid, selfish, deluded looters. Not sure if it will work, but it made me laugh and we need to laugh after an awful week in the UK...


Monday, 15 August 2011


It was a splendidly busy weekend.  I drove along a painfully slow M25 on Friday to arrive at parents at about 6pm.  Pete was already there having got a train from a London appointment.  We went up the local pub with the parents. A great way to spend a summers evening.

On Saturday morning, Pete and I went to Tunbridge Wells.  It's a great place to look around the shops - from the usual in-every-high-street to the independent ones.  However, the main reason for the visit to Kent was to attend a BBQ with guest of honour my nephew Sam who turned 18 on Sunday.

We had a lovely party and finished late - though Sam finished far later as he went to Maidstone with some friends after midnight to go clubbing (as he was officially over 18) and was keen to waive his ID in the face of a bouncer.  Of course, no-one asked for his ID!

Here is a picture of 3 of my nephews - the 3 brothers.  Sam is the upside down one in the photo below, which is actually a remake of a photo I took in 2007.

On Sunday, we drove to London to watch some fit ladies wearing very little in a world Beach Volleyball competition.  It was officially part of the Olympic warmups and the 'stadium' for 1500 people was in Horse Guards Parade.  For those outside of the UK, William and Kate rode through the arch after their wedding.  It's a fantastic location for a sporting event.

It was a shame that it wasn't the mens competition, but we were both impressed by the skills required by the pairings.  The Brazilians beat the USA for the record.

Here are some images from the day.  That's Ronnie Wood in the 3rd picture and a guy gyrating with one of the dancers in picture number 4!

Sunday, 14 August 2011


The copyright Police stopped me from including the gay kiss images of the sexy Colton Haynes, but nevermind - here are some new totally hetero images that caught my eye...

Thursday, 11 August 2011

August movie update

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

The Castle (1997) 8
Funny Australian film.  I think that most Aussies and Brits would find it funny. I get the feeling that Americans would be wondering why we were laughing.

True Grit (2010) 8
Some great acting and a classic story.

The Fighter (2010) 7
Disappointing - just another sports film with an obvious ending. I am really beginning to dislike Christain Bales as he seems to be overacting all of the time.

Get Low (2009) 8
A strange film about a man who wants to plan his own funeral. Simple but effective.

Paul (2011) 7
Recommended by my friends 15 year old son and I laughed all the way through - though it missed opportunities to be even funnier.

Tetro (2009) 8
Atmospheric and gripping. My full review is here.

Vamp (1986) 2
Terribly dated vampire film.

Howl (2010) 7
All about the life of Allen Ginsberg - I loved the animation sequences.

Black Swan (2010) 7
Not as good as I had hoped, but still a very good movie.

The Way Back (2010) 7
Based on a true story - a good adventure, with dodgy accents.

Chatroom (2010) 6
Original, but didn't quite work. Aaron Johnson is cute and Matthew Beard is an amazing actor.

To Catch a Thief (1955) 6
Classic Hitchcock - and it was good see Nice and district.

Love and Other Drugs (2010) 1
Absolute shit story and crap acting and synical in its attempt to use serious illness as entertainment.

Kung Fu Panda (2008) 8
Very funny, wonderful animations - fun for all the family etc!

The Tourist (2010) 6
So obvious, so many errors, so bad it's watchable.

Passenger Side (2009) 7
Now this is how to make an improvised film. Witty road trip.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


This is a very depressing posting...

I just want touch on the recent/ongoing riots in London today.  We can all agree that they are nonsensical and without any justification.

Time will tell, but I think that a lot of the rioters are doing it for the thrill and with criminal intentions and sadly, they are using social media to be highly mobile.  It saddens me so much as London is an amazing city with so many opportunities for everyone who wants to take them.

Part of the problem us that our justice system is too weak on criminals.  A police officer friend says that most people he arrests have dozens of convictions and don't care.  A slap on the wrist is all they get.

And the Police are working with one hand tied behind their backs - give them water cannons, tazers and guns if required. Get this sorted and cut out the crap that Theresa May was spouting this morning about consensual Policing.

I hope that they spend a good long time tracking these thugs down and throwing them in jail. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if we see some vigalante action if this is not resolved.

The thing that really scares me is that there are thousands of young men, many who have nothing to demonstrate about, thinking it's appropriate to steal and terrorise people. Is there such a large evil underclass in the UK that is selfish, angry, bitter and without morals? 

We will see what happens next...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Peterborough loss

Yesterday Pete and I went to Peterborough play Crystal Palace to watch the opening game of the Championship season.  Palace were made up mainly of new signings and loan players.  This did not work. It seemed to me that too many players didn't know their exact role and we lost 2-1.  When Peterborough attacked and moved the ball quickly, we were vulnerable.  Anyway, let's not dwell on that part of the day.

I cant remember the last away game I went to, it was that long ago and it was a great atmosphere with 3000 Palace fans packed into one end of the stadium.

I had never been to Peterborough and was surprised at how nice the town centre is.  However, the population there looks... strange. Ask anyone that knows and they will just say "it's the people from the fens - too much interbreeding".  Also, Polish is the first language it seems.  With so many farms in the area, the Poles come to pick crops because the unemployed English are too lazy.

The last 5 on the fifth was well attended from all over the world - so thanks for those who took part.  I found a couple had not added a link to my site.  Please remember to do that or the others wont know you are playing!

Here are some images from the day - via the Instagram iPhone app.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Five on the fifth #26

Welcome to '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading up to the 5th of the month. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog, so that your visitors can find the other contributions. You can take 5 random pictures or follow my suggested theme: MY TOWN.

You no longer have to leave a comment with your details (though comments are welcome) - just complete the form below including your name and location in the 'link title' field and like magic, you will appear in the list of contributors.

My images are below:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Stuff 'n' snippits

The past few weeks have seen Pete and I attend a couple of local events as part of a month long town festival.  First, we went to an evening of local film including one that was made in 1911.  It was a surprisingly interesting evening that also included details of the four cinemas that the town once had.  There is no cinema here today.

And along with 28 others, we took part in a ghost walk.  It was actually more of a history walk, but it was amazing what you can learn about your local town - and even more surprising were the many things I had never noticed.

I saw this litter fella and took his picture with my compact camera.

One night last week, we took our friend Melissa out for dinner and drank far too much.  Friday was a struggle, but luckily a meeting I had to was fairly local.

We also went to a charity garden party run by my Mum and Dad and I took this picture of my sister-in-law throwing a coin in the air.  You can see the coin...

And of course, the next posting is 5 on the fifth

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

30 second movie #4

My latest 30 second movie was filmed candidly in Cambridge last week.  It's wheely good.

Monday, 1 August 2011

The August 5

In a few days time, '5 on the fifth' will return. Take 5 photographs on the days leading up to the 5th and publish those on your own blog and then add the link to my blog so that others can see your images. 

You can either take 5 random pictures or follow this months theme: MY TOWN.