Monthly Archives: November 2009

A visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost…

I visited my local brewery this afternoon (the Hogs Back Brewery) to pick up some beer for me and to get a variety pack to take with me for an ale fan up in Bangor. They do some very fine ales in Wales, indeed I’ve drunk a few of them, but I do have some loyalty towards my local brewery. Especially as they do some exceptionally fine beers.

However, the quote about being visited by a friendly yet anxious ghost is about a slightly different beer. This one is slightly stronger than your usualy beer and the brewers suggest that you should drink it “in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.

I very nearly used the name of the beer as my post title… after all it has the wonderfully off the wall name of Tactical Nuclear Penguin and at 32% it’s… pretty strong.

Credit when it’s due…

“It’s probably a combination of our new president, a feeling that change has swept the land and thinking about how they can get involved in this change.” – Bonnie Greer

Since her appearance on Question Time I have a growing admiration of Bonnie Greer, and then she says something like this. Of course, on it’s own, this statement doesn’t seem too bad, indeed the election of President Obama has led to a great feeling of change not only in the United States but across the world.

However, I don’t think that he can claim* any sort of credit for the first African-American Disney Princess, Tiana in The Princess and the Frog. Mainly because, being a hand-drawn animated film it has been in production for a number of years and the ethnicity was decided back when Barack Obama was an unknown senator from Illinois… if not before!!

* – not that he is…

Partial power…

There isn’t something reassuring about getting home to a house that is looking rather dark… especially when it shouldn’t be. However, that’s what happened on Saturday (yes, I’m running behind with news) when something somewhere shorted causing all power to disappear.

Even after two visits from the electrician we only have most lights and about half the power sockets working which is most annoying. The current theory is that there’s something amiss somewhere between the attic and upstairs hall. Unfortunally my bedroom is situated between these two points and so when I popped home on my way from Harrods to The Office carpets and floorboards were up in an attempt to access the wires.

All I can say is that the problem had better be down there now!!


Over the last couple of weeks I have taken to watching a Swedish dectective series on BBC4 called Wallander. I have a funny feeling that there has been a recent English adaption done by the BBC but I much prefer to watch it in the original Swedish. I don’t know why, but it just seems…. more correct.

Admitedly you have to read subtitles (unless you happen to know Swedish) but there is just something… and I’m not sure what, that just feels right. Sure, in the first episode there were five rather brutal murders, two shootings and a suicide by tank, and in the second a rather disturbing child pornography ring storyline. This episode has so far had one muder and one kidnapping and it seems like the perp has been breaking into our hero’s (Kurk Wallander) flat…


It was fab…

Accepting that various confidentiality rules means that I can’t tell you some things about my trip down to the Southern Hemisphere, I can tell you that the trip itself was brilliant. I guess when you have a wide pool from which to select people from it is possible to pick twenty that should get on together and even though we ranged from our early twenties to our early fifties, came from all four countries and corners of the United Kingdom we all bonded really well. In fact, conisdering that we only met Saturday evening the fact that there were tears when we all said goodbye early Thursday morning shows how well we all gelled.

While you could see that there we sort of split into three loose groups we usually all came together for dinner out in town, and of course we were hanging out together during the day. Not to mention our wrap party that we held in the hotel (we were only told to keep the volume down once) until about three in the morning… but when the beer comes in litre bottles and costs about two of our English pounds… well you might as well enjoy yourself!!

Of course, two flights the length of London-Buenos Aires are annoying, especially if like me you tend not to be able to sleep… on the other hand I did manage to watch Moon, Up, The Time Travellers Wife, The Simpsons Movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (twice), Pale Rider, Land of the Lost, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as well as a number of tv programmes that were also available.

And because we were in the Southern Hemisphere… well, the toilets flush in the wrong direction!!!


Looking before you leap…

Tomorrow I am off on an, albeit short, adventure to lands foreign… and to be honest I’m not sure why. Thing is, I don’t really want to go. Well, sort of. It is one of those cases where when everything started I never thought it would actually come to pass, that at some point it would all come to an end long before I actually had to have a packed bag and head off to the airport.

But it hasn’t.

I suspect that somewhere in that is a moral about consequences… or possibly about looking before you leap, however all of that is fairly moot now as I finish off packing my bag and make sure that I have everything that I might possibly need. No doubt something will be forgotten, it always is, but I shall try to be as ready as I possibly can be.

Wish me luck!!

Once upon a time…

If you’re quick (before 2pm Thursday) you too can vote on Radio 2’s “Best Bedtime Story”. I was actually listening to Radio 2 this lunchtime and heard about this and my first thought on what the best bedtime story was the first in a series of books that I loved during my childhood. Five On A Treasure Island, which is the first in the ‘Famous Five’ series by Enid Blyton. Much to my surprise this was one of the short listed books!!

Got my vote! ;o)

I was quite pleased that of the eight shortlisted books I had read five of them and of the remaining three I had heard of two of them. If you would like to vote for your favourite the shortlist is:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
Five On A Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Winnie The Pooh by A.A Milne

And the vote is taking place on Jeremy Vine’s page on the BBC Radio2 website.

Holding out for a hero…

Sorry I’ve not posted recently, I’ve been feeling a bit grumpy and not 100% and figured that I would wait until I had something more fun to tell. Well, while I am still feeling grumpy this story from the BBCi made me feel much better.

It is one of those things where if you had to think of a politician who might come to the rescue of a lady being attacked by “oiks”, and having chased them off then escorted her home I could only really think of one. Yep, that blonde, mopped-haired Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

There are some who go beyond the call of duty for those in their care. Yay Boris!!