Friday, 22 August 2008

Theatre Night!

We enjoyed a few days last week in the company of our good friends from Ludlow, Elaine and Sandy – they stayed over with us.

It’s always good to see them and although we only get together a couple of times a year, we always seem to just ‘click’ and pick up where we last left off! I guess we’ve been doing that for longer than any of us care to (or even can!) remember!

We decided to have an evening out at The Mill at Sonning; one of those dinner/theatre places not far away so it was a welcome change to set off and arrive there around 15 minutes or so later plus parking was very easy too!

Weird as it might seem, we’ve lived here off and on for about 30 years or so and we’ve never ever been to The Mill – and oh what a treat we’ve missed!!

The play was Plaza Suite, a comedy by Neil Simon about a room in the Plaza Hotel, New York – you might get the drift by clicking here.

Anyway it was a very good evening; the food was fairly plain but excellent and the show itself very, very funny – if you ever get the chance to see it anywhere, you really shouldn’t miss it!

So we had fun!

Oh I almost forgot; while they were here, Elaine asked me if I could fix a small website for her to advertise the B&B she runs from Ludlow – so hey presto if you click here, you’ll see what I did!

So if anyone is thinking of visiting Ludlow for one of their famous Festivals or just a look around, I recommend you stay at Elaine and Sandy’s place and I just know that you’ll be assured of a very warm welcome!!

(but hey, mind your waistline! Elaine's cooking is scrummy!)

Friday, 15 August 2008

Not for the faint-hearted!

Now here for your delight (!!) is (apparently!) a true story; its source was the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service in Adelaide.

A bloke and his family were on holiday in the United States and went to Mexico for a week. An avid cactus fan, the man bought a one-metre high, rare and expensive cactus there.

On arrival back home, Australian Customs said it must be quarantined for 3 months. He finally got his cactus home, planted it in his backyard and over time, it grew to about 2 metres.

One evening while watering his garden after a warm spring day, he gave the cactus a light spray. He was amazed to see the plant shiver all over. He gave it another spray and it shivered again.

He was puzzled so he rang the council, who put him on to the state gardens people. After a few transfers, he got the state's foremost cactus expert who asked him many questions. How tall is it? Has it flowered? Etc.

Finally he asked the most disturbing question. 'Is your family in the house?' The bloke answered yes. The cactus expert said get out of the house NOW! Get on to the front lawn strip and wait for me; I will be there in 20 minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, 2 fire trucks, 2 police cars and an ambulance came screaming around the corner.

A fireman got out and asked 'Are you the bloke with the cactus?'

‘I am’, he said.

A guy jumped out of the fire truck wearing what looked like a spacesuit, a breathing cylinder and mask, attached to what looked like a scuba backpack, with a large hose attached. He headed for the backyard and turned the flame-thrower on the cactus, spraying it up and down.

After a few minutes the flame-thrower man stopped, the cactus stood smoking and spitting, half the fence was burnt and parts of the gardens were well and truly scorched. Just then the cactus expert appeared and laid a calming hand on the bloke's shoulder.

'What the hell's going on?' the owner says.

'Let me show you' says the cactus man.

He went over to the cactus and picked away a crusty bit, the cactus was almost entirely hollow and filled with tiger-striped, bird-eating tarantula spiders, each about the size of two hand spans.

The story was that this type of spider lays eggs in this type of cactus and they hatch and live in it as they grow to full-size. When full-size, they release themselves. The cactus just explodes and about 150 dinner-plate-sized hairy spiders are flung from it, dispersing everywhere. They had been ready to pop. The aftermath was that the house and the adjoining houses had to be vacated and fumigated: police tape was put up outside the whole area and no one was allowed in for two weeks.

And here's what one of the cuties looks like sitting on a FULL-SIZE dinner plate...


Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Sands of Time

Monday, 11 August 2008

Second Life - Internet Lodge No. 9659 Embassy

Now here's something new - say hello to a slightly under-dressed Bro. Mercury Lefevre on a visit!

Confused huh? this space!

Friday, 8 August 2008


Hmm, a variation on the theme of the environment I was musing about yesterday - but I guess this is nothing to do with Mother Nature, just us very messy an inconsiderate human beings!

Interesting study on air quality today:
  • London - 56 micrograms per metre cubed (ug/m3)
  • Glasgow - 42 ug/m3
  • Manchester - 29 ug/m3
  • Beijing - 333 ug/m3
.........cough, cough, splutter, splutter!!!

Somehow I don't think running the Marathon in Beijing appeals to me!!

Thursday, 7 August 2008


Some days, Mother Nature stops by to remind us that she's never very far away!

Last night on the way back from seeing Winnie in Kent, we stopped off at our old friends Steve and Sue Weatherley for a curry and natter which was nice - we left their place at around 9pm just as the rain started; it had been a very humid day so I guess storms were not unexpected!

Sue was talking about her conversation with their daughter 'Angel' that morning who lives with her husband Will in Hong Kong where they were apparently in the middle of a Typhoon - so storms were very much a topic of conversation!

Anyway we'd only gone about a mile when the heavens literally OPENED and a deluge of rain swamped everything! There was thunder and lightning, both the sheet and forked varieties, plus torrential rain like you thought the world was going to be washed away!!

We crept along the M25 for about 15 miles or so peering through the gloom until suddenly, quite suddenly, it stopped and the road was completely DRY!!

Well I guess it has to start and end raining somewhere doesn't it!! When we got home at around 10pm Wokingham obviously hadn't seen a drop of rain anywhere during the day!!

Oh how we just LOVE the English summer!!

And then this morning I was idly surfing and looking at the Sydney online newspapers to see what was happening Downunder - it's mid winter there of course; but not winter like WE know it!!

A nasty storm hit Sydney yesterday too - witness the rather dramatic photo above!

Apparently temperatures plummeted and at Woolongong, south of Sydney they even had SNOW - which is quite a rare event in NSW outside of the 'snow resorts' of the Snowy Mountains!

Weird weather, the world over!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Dark Knight

We scooted down to the movies earlier and saw the ‘Batman’ film ‘The Dark Knight’ – I’d been looking forward to seeing it for some time mainly because I was fascinated about the character of The Joker, played by the late Aussie actor, Heath Ledger.

We were in Australia earlier this year when his sudden and tragic death was reported and like all Aussie ‘icons’ – and Heath Ledger really WAS one of those – there was a major outpouring of national grief; the TV and newspapers were absolutely FULL of it seemingly for weeks on end!

Watching the film I can understand why famous actors like Sir Michael Caine feel that he deserves a posthumous Oscar for his magnificent and awesome performance as The Joker – he really brings the character ALIVE in so many ways.

In the UK it’s been given a ‘12’ certificate which for me is slightly weird as some of the scenes are quite violent and ‘scary’ – but then what do I know?!!

If you haven’t seen it yet, I think its well worth a watch to see a rather special actor in a role which strangely suited him so well - oh and also for the superb special effects.

…and Batman himself? You know something; I can’t remember who played him – I guess that also says something when the ‘star’ is eclipsed by someone else!!

Trafalgar - 2008

The story is familiar; the characters etched on our memories, but times have changed.

Nelson: 'Order the signal, Hardy.'

Hardy: 'Aye, aye sir.'

Nelson: 'Hold on, that's not what I dictated to Flags. What's the meaning of this?'

Hardy: 'Sorry sir?'

Nelson (reading aloud): '' England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability.' - What in God's name is all that gobbledygook?'

Hardy: 'Admiralty policy, I'm afraid, Sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now and we had the devil's own job getting ' England ' past the censors, lest it be considered racist.'

Nelson: 'Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco.'

Hardy: 'Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments.'

Nelson: 'In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle.'

Hardy: 'The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. Its part of the Government's policy to combat binge drinking.'

Nelson: 'Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it........... full speed ahead.'

Hardy: 'I think you'll find that there's a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water Sir.'

Nelson: 'Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Get me a report from the crow's nest please.'

Hardy: 'That won't be possible, sir.'

Nelson: 'What! Why not?'

Hardy: 'Health and Safety have closed the crow's nest, Sir. No harnesses have been installed and they said that rope ladders don't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until proper scaffolding has been erected.'

Nelson: 'Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy.'

Hardy: 'He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral.'

Nelson: 'Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd.'

Hardy: 'Health and safety again, Sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled.'

Nelson: 'Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disability card.'

Hardy: 'Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.'

Nelson: 'Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.'

Hardy: 'A couple of problems there too, Sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don't want anyone breathing in too much salt - haven't you seen the adverts?'

Nelson: 'I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy.'

Hardy: 'The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.'

Nelson: 'What? This is mutiny!'

Hardy: 'It's not that, Sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There are a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.'

Nelson: 'Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?'

Hardy: 'Actually, Sir, we're not.'

Nelson: 'We're not?'

Hardy: 'No, sir. The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation.'

Nelson: 'But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil.'

Hardy: 'I wouldn't let the ship's diversity coordinator hear you saying hat Sir. You'll be up on disciplinary report.'

Nelson: 'You must consider every man an enemy, who speaks ill of your King.'

Hardy: 'Not any more, Sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it's the rules. It could save your life'

Nelson: 'Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?'

Hardy: As I explained, Sir, rum is off the menu! And there's a ban on corporal punishment.'

Nelson: 'What about sodomy?'

Hardy: 'I believe that is now legal, sir.'

Nelson: 'In that case............................... kiss me, Hardy.'

(um, with humble apologies to those of a sensitive disposition!!)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Sunday lunch - a la David!

Mmmm, the development of my (up-til-now latent) culinary skills continues unabated - today I cooked for Sunday lunch, roast duck crown with figs and maple syrup accompanied by roasted vegetables.

The Head Chef, she says I did good!!!

Anyway I thought I'd accompany this rather boring news with the following clip - hope you like it!!


Friday, 1 August 2008

Idyllic Cruising

Now everyone knows how I just LOVE sailing and messing about in boats (even though I have been known to have the odd problem with seasickness!!) but Shirley’s always trying to get me to go on one of those idyllic Mediterranean cruises – you know the sort I mean?


Rough Cruise - The best bloopers are a click away