Friday, December 30, 2005

It snowed a little

I took this photo yesterday with Mrs C's
camera ... the trees are up the road from our

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Yes, Happy New Year, everyone ... hope you
all have a fantastic 2006.

Mrs C and I have spent a few days over Xmas
with our daughter and her fella in London
(South Wimbledon, to be precise).
We had a great time, but I felt odd at being
on the receiving end of all the hospitality
... a role-reversal for us, as in previous
years we'd done all the entertaining. A
sign of us getting older (and our kids also).
(I can picture in years to come, our girls
tossing coins to decide whose turn it was to
have the old gits over for Xmas).

For the Xmas dinner/lunch, we had a delicious
nut roast (a Rose Elliot recipe, which has a
lot of mushrooms and breadcrumbs in it,
making it much lighter and more enjoyable to
eat), with the usual veg, Yorkshire puds and
gravy... mmmmm.
We came back up to Nottm on Tuesday ... up
the motorways with half the nation it seemed
to me ... took us 5 hours in the car and
another hour having breaks, to get back.
Luckily it wasn't snowing very hard.

Our cats, Slayer and Miss D, were very
pleased to see us, when we got back - they've
been more affectionate than usual. They've
been well looked after by a couple of our
I spent today working out how to use Mrs C's
new camera (a 4mpix Canon A520 which I'm
very impressed with). Both of us have been
taking some photos with it, mainly of the
snow all around us ... and then I installed
the commputer software and made a slide-show
of the pics .. all fairly easy (and the
camera is amazingly easy to use).
Well it's way past my bed-time, so I'll sign
off there.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A big apology from me

Max of Two Tone Records has pointed out that
the privacy settings on my Comments box were
set far too high.... a mistake on my part.

I’ve just reset them, so anyone can now make
a comment.

So my apologies (and my thanks also) to Max,
and to everyone else who wanted to make a

Fancy another one?

I've just spotted on the Blogadoon site
(which I find very funny and irreverent by
the way), a reference to "",
which I'd created as the title for my blog.
The fancyapint site looks like a good guide
to watering holes in London. So I've changed
the title of my blog.

Doing a bit of lateral thinking, as I often
do (Mrs C thinks it's often way-off-course
thinking, and she's right), I've remembered
a joke I heard on Radio 4 a couple of weeks

An attractive young woman went up to the
barman and said, " Can I have a double
entendre, please?"
So he gave her one.

Hope you get that joke, as a university
friend of mine didn't understand it at all.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Xmas Cards & Newsletters

Does anyone like receiving cards and
newsletters at Xmas-time? Do they really
enhance our friendships?

When I haven’t been in touch with a friend or
a family member for some months (or even a
year), I enjoy catching up on a bit of their
news. What I don’t like are cards from
people who’ve hurriedly scribbled a name or
two on their card (like saying a brief
“Hello” to a someone in the street).

And what I dislike even more are utterly
boring newsletters, either full of stuff I
already know about them, or with lists of
names of people I’ve never heard of or met.

A lot of people write in a very strange
style, such as “Richard did ... Meanwhile,
Sue did so well at...” ... and I’m left
wondering who actually wrote the blasted
thing. Others write in a very boastful way
of their own and their childrens’
achievements, with colour photos of award
ceremonies they’d been to, and the like.
(I'm beginning to sound like Victor Meldew).

Well, what about emailing some form of Xmas
greetings to your family and friends? This
year, I’ve sent a few Xmas cards by email, to
try this idea out. I put a cheerful Xmas
message onto one of my digital photos, and
sent the photo off to a few of my friends,
one by one.

I asked my big brother what he thought of the
idea (I’d thought he’d be one of those who
might be offended), but surprisingly he was
all in favour of the idea ... "Better for the
environment," he said.

So in future, I’m thinking of sending out a
lot more email greetings, together with a bit
of news for the people I send them too. If
it snows in the next month or so, I’ll be out
there with my camera to get some nice snow
scenes for future use. (Now, I'm starting to
sound patronising).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bleak House

Wow! What a fantastic series ... Andrew
Davies’ dramatisation of Charles Dicken’s
Bleak House, that’s just finished on BBC1.
If it comes round again, or if it comes out
on DVD, then go and watch it. An amazing
production and top-quality acting.

I can’t single out any actor for particular
praise, as they were all excellent, however
I really liked the evil characters like
Smallweed, played by Phil Davis, “Shake me
up, Judy! Shake me up!”, and the lawyer
Tulkinghorn, played by Charles Dance, who
was cold and menacing.

Last night, Mrs C and I watched the closing
stages of “Strictly Come Dancing” and the “X
Factor”. Some excellent talent there, and
you could see the results of some
extremely hard work that had been put in my
the contestants...good entertainment, but I
didn’t feel any “wow” sensation with either

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The L-Word

If you get an Amazon token for Xmas, and
you’re wondering what to spend it on, then
I’d recommend you buy the first series of the
L-Word on DVD. Have a look at the synopsis &
reviews on Amazon, if you haven’t heard of it.

“A television series which centres on the
lives and loves of a group of women living
and working in Los Angeles.”

One of our daughters loaned it to us a couple
of weeks ago, and we loved it. A good script
and phenomenal acting ... we couldn’t stop
watching it.

It’s not for the homophobic or for Christians
(who would be very offended by certain
blasphemous imagery).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

New HIV infections in the UK

Milady recently commented in her blog that
that she thinks gay men are being unfairly
discriminated against. As a group they are
not allowed to donate blood to the Blood
Transfusion Service, and yet a women who had
had anal sex with a heterosexual bloke, can
give blood. See her Soapbox.

Well, is the NBTS being homophobic or too
cautious? I’ll leave you to judge for

I’ve spent a bit of time looking up the
latest research info on HIV incidence in the
UK, and have found the latest statistics from
the Government's Health Protection Agency, which I find worrying. The figures were published last month.

As regards infections thought to have been
acquired in the UK, three quarters were in gay and bisexual men. There were 2185 gay and bisexual men and 489 heterosexual women
diagnosed with HIV last year. The rate of
infection amongst gay men is constant from
one year to the next, but it’s slowly
increasing in heterosexual women.

Looking at figures for the whole population
... “During 2004, 7275 new HIV diagnoses were
reported in the UK -- this compares to 7217
diagnoses in 2003. The majority of cases
(4287) were diagnosed in heterosexual men and
women, 73% of which were likely to have been
acquired in Africa.”

Monday, December 12, 2005

Letting go

I’ve just been reading Clare’s comments on her
wind problem … shared by many like myself,
but we’re too embarrassed to talk about it.

This reminded me of a funny thing I read in
Mrs C’s “Good Housekeeping” yesterday, under
the heading, “Things self-help books never
tell you” ... “Yoga lessons will become a
stressful, hour-long battle against breaking
wind in front of everyone else”.

That’s one thing that puts me off going to
classes, unless they have an open fart

me aged 6

I thought you'd like to see a photo of me as
a kid ... with lots of curly hair.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mrs Henderson Presents

I’m full of cold at the moment, just entering
my second week of it (& feeling a bit
feverish yesterday but less so today).

It didn’t put me off going with Mrs C to the
Broadway Cinema this afternoon, to see “Mrs
Henderson Presents”. Very good if you like
musicals and seeing lots of nude women, just

I was surprised that the censors thought it
suitable for 12 year old kids to see it, (if
accompanied by an adult). However, I have to
say that I didn’t feel sexually excited in
the least (but I probably would have been if
I were actually there in the 1940s). I felt
more tearful than excited at certain dramatic
moments in the film. Very good acting,
especially from Judi Dench as Mrs H.. I
thought Will Young's singing was outstanding.

There was an interesting notice up in the
Broadway Café went something like this...
“If you are fortunate to look less than 21
years of age, then don’t be surprised if a
member of staff asks for an ID card, before
they serve you alcohol”. I thought that was
more friendly and funnier than the usual
notices you see in pubs.

It's a shame in some ways that I don't look
under 21, though I've got a boyish slim body,
that I'm now pleased to have. I received one
cutting remark from a woman I knew (when I
was about 19 and was sunbathing topless)..
she said that I looked like a victim out of
Belsen. It's true that I was very skinny
and lacked a suntan at the time. However,
the future Mrs C liked my looks, I'm pleased
to say. I had lots more hair on top at the
time ... one friend likened it to a bird's
nest. It was a mass of curls. The bird's nest
has disappeared, unfortunately.

How to feel happy

Mrs C and I have watched a couple of TV
programmes on making Slough happy. The
makers came up with 10 ideas that could make
you feel happier. I won’t list them all here,
but you can have a look at them on the BBC

Yes, I definitely feel happier if I phone up
a friend or member of the family for a chat,
as they suggested.

Mrs C told me that in one episode they invited
participants to stroll round the local
cemetery, and to read the headstones for
inspiration. I have visited a few graveyards
in recent years … mainly to see where my
parents' ashes were buried and other
graveyards where past ancestors were buried
too. I can’t say any of these visits made me
feel happier… though I was interested to see
the gravestones from a family history point
of view.

I recall visiting Pere Lachaise Cemetery in
Paris over 10 years ago (not long after my
father had died). I saw that someone had
draped fresh white lilies over Chopin’s grave,
and felt deeply touched. I also saw the
Communards’ Wall where some of the commune
members were shot dead against the wall (in
the 1871 uprising). And then in the
crematorium area, there were grieving people
who had just come out of a service.

Later in the day we visited the Catacombs in
Paris, where there are stacks and stacks of
human bones stored underground, bones turfed
out of Parisian graveyards. Well I had to
get out as quickly as possible as I was
feeling too tearful. I walked out of the
place fast.

Am I counting my blessings as the Happiness
Manifesto suggests we should? Well, yes I
am. I’m still alive, and compared with
sad and stressful times in the past, I’m
feeling much happier now.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Nottingham centre

Well, the Council House in the centre of Nottm
looked pretty in the late afternoon sunlight.
So here it is. The council is revamping the
area in the foreground.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Graffiti seen in Nottingham

A little joke for you ...written on the back
door of an extremely dirty white van in
Nottingham ... written with a finger ...
Also available in white