Friday 28 September 2012

Picture Daily 110

Well I took a break...I can't say why.  I just did. Lack of dedication, commitment and consistency.

I liked the curves at Earl's Court underground station...nothing more than that

Thursday 27 September 2012

Love it or hate it...

They're filming around here again...this time in Bermondsey Square (most famous for its antiques market) and they're being quite secretive about what it is all about...although there's a rumour that Mary Portas is involved.  Anyway, they must have a big budget as they seem to have taken over a whole hotel plus the bar next when HotelGB hits your screens you saw it here first

Music matters to always has played an important part in my life even though I remain tone deaf, can't sing to save my life (ask the family about my rendition of the partridge in a pear tree during the Twelve Days of Christmas a couple of years ago), nor have I ever been able to play any instrument (recorder lessons were approached with far and dread every week at school).  I'm not even much good at blowing my own trumpet.  But I guess its the emotions and memories that go with the music that matters most.  That probably explains why since the Olympics, I've barely been able to listen to anything apart from the Opening Ceremony soundtrack...the emotions that went with that were overwhelming.  Similarly, I have a very strong emotional attachment to Roxy Music's Avalon which was the soundtrack to one of the happiest periods of my life.

And then there's Andy Williams, whose songs managed to have a similar impact - I think that they remind me of the Sundays when my father drove us to see my grandmother whilst we listened to Family Favourites (BFPO, etc).  Of course, it was always exciting and the sun was always shining and when your seven Granny is a goddess.  Later on in life, when The Boy was similarly young, he used to listen to my choice of music which ranged from The Stereophonics through to Andy Williams via The Stranglers and it has continued to influence his taste even though he is much more widely listened.

One of my best ever birthdays involved me spending the morning in a flotation tank before going to collect my new car and then coming up to London to see Andy Williams perform at The Albert Hall.  It was sublime, even though at the time none of my friends could understand why I would want to see him.  It was a great day, a wonderful evening.

I remember being with The Boy one afternoon when we went to The Rainforest Cafe (imagine the Amazon jungle replicated in a basement restaurant) and they played one of my favourite Andy Williams songs.  The Boy knew every word and sang along - on reflection it may not have been the most appropriate thing.  Anyway, RIP Andy Williams who made my life that little bit better.

I should have guessed, but I hadn't - evidently I have my own YouTube was 'auto-started' by YouTube themselves.  It can be found here and if you look, you'll probably see that if you've posted any videos on your blog you have one too!

I love Marmite...and even more now that they do their regular limited editions.  So the rule is that when a limited edition comes out we buy two for eating, and one for display.  The latest, and I can only assume in honour of all the gold medals we collected during the para/o lympics is Marmite Gold.  It contains little flakes of may not be real gold (unlike the bottle of vodka that we have in the drinks cupboard) and will probably taste delicious when we get to open the jar.

In the meantime, here's the complete collection, most of it well beyond its sell-by date:

And in the background is Paddington bear, who at one stage gave up marmalade for Marmite..or perhaps he just got confused.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

No more pink pound

If anyone wants to know, the link between Andrew Gold and West Side Story is his mother - Marni Nixon - who was Natalie Wood's singing voice for the film...there you go thought you'd find that piece of trivia fascinating!

I thought that John over at Going Gently may have got carried away when I saw this...sadly it's just about another over-paid financier...

I'm already at the stage at dreading when I'm old and infirm, and unable to open any of the packets of food because the people who've designed them have made them tamper-proof that they're so difficult to open.  There's a fair few things already that are a challenge and I have to resort to scissors.  I suspect there will come a time when I'm found lying on the floor having starved to death having been unable to open a packet of food.

I'm also finding it increasingly difficult to type the letters of 'captcha' codes when trying to comment on people's blogs.  I now set myself a limit of six goes, and then give up...that doesn't really seem like progress to me.  There must surely be a better way.

Right across the way from the office I saw this:

You'll probably be thinking it's a yellow fire truck.  But you'd be wrong.  The clue is in the black splodges of tar.  It is a piece of art which highlights the exploitation of black workers in the Deep South.  Or something like that.  'The Emperor's new clothes" may come to mind.  Anyway it's a lovely shiny truck, just a shame about the black smudges...

I'm not the best at keeping on top of things.  I mentioned once that a couple of years ago I had to pay someone to open post that had accumulated over the previous five years.  I'd managed to spot the ones that really and truly needed opening (mostly), but the rest had been thrust into several large boxes..;.when I say large I mean large - the half dozen boxes were big enough that not all of them fitted into the back of the Jeep.  in one go.  It was pretty shameful, but I had mainly managed to stay out of trouble.  I guess I should have learnt, but I hadn't and my lack of focus had switched to e-mails...specifically e-mails from credit card companies.  The net result is that this week, having ignored my statements for the last six months, I discovered that someone had been using it on my behalf.  I kind of wish they had been living the high life (but apart from £250's worth of beauty products), they hadn't.  Apart from the, to be expected, mobile phone top ups and international calls, the other large charges were for delivery of chemicals...I assume from that it won't be difficult to trace them.  Anyway, some £700 had been spent, and Smile have given it all back to me without any hesitation...I don't think I deserve it as I should have spotted the transactions before.  Foolish of me.  They've even sent a new card - white, not the pink of the old one.  Foolish of them.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

"Why is nobody talking about me?"

I was pleased with myself on Friday night.  Very pleased indeed. We'd switched the TV on, and Tom Jones was singing in a very beautiful looking hall.  It took me just a few short moments before I turned to The Cat's Mother and said, "I know that's St Luke's."  I went on the TV guide and sure enough I was right.  I've never been there...well not inside anyway, but I was right...I whooped at my own cleverness...and spent the next half an hour trying to work out how I knew.  I was cock-a-hoop, she was modestly pleased, perhaps.

When The Cat came in I told her about my cleverness.

Two pairs of eyes were raised to the ceiling.

The Boy showed interest, no more.

Nobody shared my sense of impressiveness.

In fact, whilst I'd never been inside, I was familiar with the building from the outside.  After splitting from The Boy's Mother, I had bought a flat in a building which had been converted from an old printing was loft living, just near Old Street in central London.  Just round the corner from me was a burnt out and derelict church - St Lukes - which I spent hours musing over.  It's derelict look I thought should be was part of it's I had grand plans for it which would involve the whole structure being encased in glass.  Actually I wanted to convert the inside, which for years was frequented by drug addicts and down and outs into a house for me to live in, whilst knowing that would never happen.  Unbeknownst to me the building had been acquired by the London Symphony Orchestra and was to be used as practice rooms and as a small venue.  I was disappointed when it was refurbished and rebuilt because no one had followed my secret plans, and not so long after it was finished I moved away.

But it was good to see...and hasn't Tom Jones still got a cracking voice?  And wasn't I clever to recognise that building from the inside?

On Sunday night whilst the kids were partying we were doing a YouTube safari.  We started off with Andrew Gold "Oh what a lonely boy".  There was a link to one of the things we'd done earlier on in the week.  I wonder if you can work it out?

On Wednesday we'd been on the Gingerline - a secret dining pay your money and book which night you want to go.  Half an hour before it starts, you get a text which tells you where to will be somewhere on the 'Gingerline'...the Eat London Line - one of the new overground lines.  We'd not been before, but we do enjoy Secret Cinema so thought this would be fun.  Indeed it was.  We ended up in a dodgy part of London that neither of us had ever been to, enjoyed a fabulous meal in very chintzy surroundings with people that we would never have met otherwise.

Many, many years ago I spotted a railway bridge over one of the London canals in east London and desperately wanted to buy it to turn into a fabulous home.  It never happened, of course, but it was a wonderful dream to have...the bridge is now part of the East London Line which I now so enjoy travelling on.

We were fortunate with the weather on Saturday as we'd booked tickets for us and eight others to go to Hampton Court to attend the outdoors cinema there.  We'd hoped to travel on a boat down the Thames and make a day of it, but the boat schedules didn't allow we travelled by car instead, forgoing a picnic on the lawns for a meal in a local restaurant.  When we arrived we settled down, and quickly realised that late September means very chilly evenings...we wrapped up and wrapped up again to try and keep warm..but it was a challenge even to watch the very magical West Side Story - a film that oddly only The Cat's Mother had actually seen before.  It was fantastic, fully deserving of its ten Oscars...a wonderful story (thank you William Shakespeare) and some terrific songs.  Here's an interesting link

Anyway let me know if you work out the puzzle

Monday 24 September 2012


To be honest it was a pretty terrifying experience for a man like me.

It wasn't that The Cat's Mother had been duped by The Cat and The Boy into buying a big bottle of Jagermeister ("I don't know what it is" she protested when my jaw hit the ground)

It wasn't the loud, pumping music in a darkened room.

It wasn't even the general concept of The Cat and 18 of her friends sitting round the table to celebrate her eighteenth birthday (actually it's next weekend, not this)

It was more that the 'girls' when they turned up wore the highest heals and the shortest skirts, with half the Boots make-up counter on their faces that terrified me.  At the tender age of seventeen, some eighteen, these girls knew just how to strut their stuff..and did it with aplomb.

Of course, in Essex, it is not unfair to say that the girls tend to grow up early and understand that if you've got it, flaunt's just better when they do it on the high street rather than in our dining room.

We'd asked someone to come and cook for the 18+1 on Sunday, in the (vain) hope that the evening before a school day would mean moderation in all things.  The Cat's Dinner Party is the first part of celebrations that will carry on throughout the week until she hits the grand old age of eighteen, and I'm glad to say we and they survived very well.  The gentle chatter rose to a crescendo as the evening progressed...The Cat's Mother and I hid in another room...too terrified to leave in case we were cornered by one of the marauding teenagers.  But nothing was broken, nothing was spilt (well not much anyway)...and by 11.30, they'd all gone

As far as we can tell, it was a splendid evening for everyone.  And a momentous one.  A symbolic moment for putting away childish things.

We, the adults stood outside looking in...