Friday 15 March 2013

It's all a bit fishy

I'm delighted to see royalty following in our footsteps.  Well done Charles and Camilla...let me know if you want any more travel tips. Last year we headed off to Jordan, and prior to heading to Petra and The Dead Sea, we went to the fabulous Roman city of Jerash.  The middle east is such a fascinating place to travel to...human history, from its beginnings can be found there. It is a shame that so much of it is unstable, and there is an overwhelming feeling that western governments are anxious to keep it that way - well done William Hague for arming rebels here there and everywhere; Al Qaeda was armed by the west and look what happened there.  

Jerash is overwhelming - it is vast, and so much is still standing that you can almost feel and smell life as it used to be.  Walking down the high street you can still see the multi-levelled shops, now empty of course.  Much like our own high streets.  I posted about Jordan here, and the first three shots were taken in Jerash. And here are some more:

Cameron is becoming more and more of a Conservative as he goes on.  After God only knows how many hours and how much money was spent on the Leveson enquiry into press conduct, he has effectively dumped the whole report in the bin, told the Ed Miller Band to f*ck off, and put Cleggers back in his kennel.  There will be a street party the length of Fleet Street tonight, and no doubt Murdoch and his minions will be piling up the cash for David's pay off.  With Osborne unable to formulate any economic policy that in any way hurt his city paymasters, I'm anticipating a hot summer of riots.

In the meantime, I've been helping the economy by buying a new lens for my camera.  Admittedly it wasn't actually made in the UK, but you can't have everything.  I'll need a bit of practice to get the best out of it - a fisheye lens - but I quite like these...hoping to have some fun with it in the coming weeks!

Thursday 14 March 2013


Last night before we dined with Mr Walliams we went to a 'Promenade Performance' at Somerset House.  The performance was 'In the beginning was the end'.  Essentially, this is immersive and interactive theatre in the basement corridors of the building.  It's the sort of conceptial theatrical bullshit that I love, and The CAt's Mother tolerates.

You don't get the programme until the end, so you have to work out what it's all about.  We decided it was about the greed and cynicism of multinational corporations...a popular theme with me.  But as it turns out, the concept came from Da Vinci who thought that mankind was obsessed with machinery.  Which is odd, because I thought that was exactly what he was obsessed with.  And somehow we missed John the Baptist.  If you go you can make your own mind up.  We were warned before we started our journey that there was male and female nudity.  Hurrah, it's about time we didn't see something that was just todgers all over the place.  And there were more naked women than men.  But boohoo.  Strangers nudity is fine when it's twenty metres away on the stage, but rather less comfortable when these folk pass within touching distance.  Not that we did.  Anyway, an experience, but perhaps it was all concept and no execution or artistry.

I'm always fascinated by the nuances of language.

Today, I had a problem because a package that should have been delivered hadn't arrived.  When I called the supplier to find out what was going on they told me that it was because of the way I filled in the form.  I explained quite politely that I could only fill in the form the way it was presented on my computer screen, so I couldn't accept any implication that I had done anything wrong.  Indeed I was right the man admitted, the fault lay with their software and what was on screen hadn't translated into the right address label.

At the weekend The Cat managed to clip the curb with the car.  She's been driving a short while and these things happen.  I was told when I started riding a motorbike that it was inevitable that I would have an accident within six months.  Indeed I did.  So if this is The Cat's equivalent we have all been let off very lightly and should all be grateful.  She was with El Bastardo*, but they were unable to put the spare on as they couldn't get the wheel nuts undone.  The AA man came and (apparently) explained  the wheel was rusted to the hub caps, and the only way to remove them was with a copper hammer because a normal one would shatter the bolts.

Now here comes the language thing again.  The Cat's Mother got a text from El Bastardo saying with great authority that all the wheels should be checked because they were rusted in place, the nuts were seized and the only way to loosen them was with a copper hammer.  No mention of the AA man.  Written in a tone of great knowledge and authority.  EB is a very, very, very successful man.  And I think I understand why.  Because he acquired the knowledge about the wheel, and now dispenses it as if it's his own.

If I had been in the same situation, I would have said, "The AA man told me that....."  You can take it from that I am not very, very, very successful, but just as knowledgeable.

*I didn't include her father in my list of characters.  This has to be said in a very heavy accent, and with a degree of humour.  We bare no grudges.

On Saturday, I went on photographic course...hence the pictures this week.  The best part was listening to two hours of our (French) tutor explaining the techniques of famous photographers.  The worst part was the gut who kept answering his phone during those two hours.  I don't know if it will do me any good, but it was an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday, and a good way to make me go out on to the streets and take some pictures.

This is what's known in our house as a 'tosser photo'

None of us on the course could really get this right...but it was fascinating to see this old pub being renovated whilst the ugly modern buildings tried to crowd it out

And I just liked the contrast between the cheap booze and the church

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Some Mothers Do Have 'em

Last night we dined with David Walliams.  

Well OK, he was on the table behind us.  And I can tell you four things as a result.  He's a very big man.  His wife is very pregnant.  He's very earnest.  He knows a lot of people....he was meeting and greeting constantly.

Sunday was Mothers Day, of course.

Mothers Day is a tricky one for us.

Since The Boy's Mother died, it's been a date The Boy and I have studiously avoided.

That's hard on Grandma in Cyprus because she doesn't get the bunch of flowers she deserves...although she does at least get a telephone call and in my heart a big thanks for having tolerated her youngest son all this time....

However, these days we can't avoid it all together.  The Cat gets tipped out of bed about three hours before she would like to deliver flowers and a little gift.  A breakfast of marmite toast was brought....although obviously, even though I was still in bed with The Cat's Mother, there wasn't even a crumb for me.  The Cat's Mother had in fact leapt out of bed earlier to make tea whilst I was still asleep so at least I had a hot drink.  The Boy remained steadfastly in bed, heals dug in on the basis that this was The Cat's event and she didn't want him treading on her toes. Mmmm. Methinks something was not quite right.

However, The Cat's Mother has a mother too, so along with the rest of the family we went on a trip...a  round trip across the Thames on the cable car, so that The Cat's Mother's Mother could see the Tate and Lyle factory that she used to work at...I think that was the story anyway.  The Boy and I spotted this...and really want to get one...we think it would be a lotta, lotta fun

We then disembarked for a pub lunch.  Very delicious....but in all honesty, I missed quite a bit because The Boy and I were being frantically distracted by the England vs Italy rugby game which was looking a bit iffy.

And here is the third photo in the series that I took on Saturday.  I have another one where the girl is staring daggers at me, but this one captured the moment

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Get stuffed

They (whoever they are) say you shouldn't drink red wine with fish.  Utter nonsense of course, and well proven when last night I was eating my fish pie whilst seated watching something rubbish on TV.  Somehow I up-ended my glass of red wine and the entire contents (except for those that stained the carpet and the sofa) into my dinner plate.  It took long enough to clear up the mess that the pie had to be re-zapped in the microwave, but it was still delicious.

I must admit that I don't much enjoy eating dinner in front of the TV, and it is something we would never do in the past.  But somehow, the regime of our evening life has slackened and instead of sitting round the dining table putting the world to rights, we increasingly find ourselves setting up iPlayer before we dine.

Yesterday, 'Being Human' came to an end after five series...if you've watched it you'll know it's about a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire who share a house.  The Boy started watching it, and managed to entice The Cat and The Cat's Mother into watching it as well.  Whilst it's probably true that it sagged in the middle, by the time it reached its climaz yesterday it was on an absolute high.  Music, humour and horror all rolled into one delicious programme.  We shall miss it desperately.

As ever, the weekend was a busy one.

I'm not a great fan of Steve Coogan (I know I'm in the minority there) fact I have never found him funny. I've tried hard, but Alan Partridge just didn't do it for me.  But then about 18 months ago he teamed up with Rob Brydon for a gentle drive around the lake district visiting some of the best restaurants in the area.  The genius of the series was that you could never be quite sure what was scripted and what was 'for real'.  the chemistry between the two of them was superb, and we were all engrossed.  One of the chefs whose food they enjoyed was Simon Rogan, and he has opened a 'pop up' in London... if you can call anything that lasts for two years a pop up.  On Friday night we went along...there were seven of us all enjoying a ten course meal.  Scrummy and delicious.  But then it should be. There were some oddities...such as the oil which had been soaked in charcoal, and truthfully tasted as though it had just come out of the Jeep's engine. Anyway, they were very enthusiastic, we were very enthusiastic, and came away well stuffed.

This was a picture I took on Saturday....what was going on?

Monday 11 March 2013

Justified Ancients of Mumu...or Boddingtons

I took this picture yesterday....the question is does it remind you of beer or Tammy Wynette's finest moment?