Friday, July 31, 2009

Man flu

I knew it, I've got swine flu. Well, OK I've got a runny nose. I never have a runny nose! It's so bloody cold here you're bound to catch something. I've even started sneezing, which is also something I never do. Jeans and t-shirt weather it ain't, but that's all I've got. Bugger.

Last night, after a long wait, we got a decent Chinese meal. We've got a curry lined up for tonight, a Thai meal on Sunday, so somehow we had to squeeze in a Chinese. Bingo, got that one out of the way. Nobody searches out and eats good ethnic food as efficiently as we do.

Today was all about taking a lovely, 92 years old lady out for lunch, followed by a little (well actually a lot) of retail therapy at Marks and Spencer to buy some warm clothes.

We need to know

Tell me Elisabetta, what first attracted you to the multi millionaire Flavio Briatore?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

From your motoring correspondent

I don't know about you, but I've always been very suspicious of cars like Kia, Daewoo etc. or basically anything that comes out of Korea. On this trip Hertz 'upgraded' me to a Kia Ceed and my first thought was it's a pile of shit and because I'm returning the car to Luton they're happy to get rid of it.

However, first impressions are good. It's a nice little car, it's comfortable, moves well, is reasonably well equipped and, it has a seven year warranty, which means that it will live longer than me (most things will live longer than you - Ed).

I don't know what they cost, or much else about the car, but if you're happy to see it become worthless the minute you put the key in the door and are happy to drive it into the ground, then it might not be a bad buy. It's worth checking out.

Having landed in Leeds, I'd arranged to meet Jan at Luton airport (don't ask) and it was a good journey. Unless of course you count the endless roadworks and the violent hailstorm that I drove through on the way down the M1. Oh yes, and the hailstorm that soaked me and battered my forehead as I walked from the car park to the terminal. Such joy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


'Ello from a cold and wet 'Arrogate. With the temperature at 15C, it's exactly half of what we left 2 hours ago. Still, can't complain, it's quite refreshing.
Look, I don't want to put any ideas in your heads but having accompanied mum back from Girona, with wheelchair assistance, I gotta tell you that you don't half get good treatment. You get pushed around in a wheelchair (don't forget that some Ryanair gates are miles away), you get to the front of every queue, no waiting, and you even get assistance with a hydraulic lift on and off the plane with your own entrance. Good eh?
To top it all, we also got great service from Hertz. I had mum in a wheelchair and a trolley load of luggage. No problem said the nice Hertz lady. She sent a man to get the car and another assistant pushed mum out in the rain whilst I pushed the luggage. Good eh? All this for another few quid. It felt like a good deal to me!
Ah well, it's off for fish and chips tonight. Things just get better and better.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can Barris

Hola from a sunny Barcelona. Needing to get from Girona to Leeds later this week, we decided to take a couple of days R&R before the flight (Your life is one permanent R&R - Ed). This kills several birds with one stone. Mum has a nice break to her stay and gets to stay in Barcelona before flying back, we all get to see Paula, Ben and the delightful Kate and, more importantly, I get to eat arroz negro on the seafront in Sitges. Everybody's happy!

We do seem to get lucky with restaurants. On the drive to Barca we headed for Can Xiguet a good restaurant about 7 kilometers from the airport. We got there and found that it was shut for the holidays but I noticed another place that we had passed that had a very full car park.

What a good find. If you like snails then this is the place for you. But since I'd given up eating snot when I was two, I (we) settled for some other food. And very good it was too. Can Barris is just a bit closer to the airport than Can Xiguet and I'd recommend either of them unreservedly.

To get to either of them, leave the AP 7 at junction 8 (the airport turnoff) and head towards Cassa. Can Barris is about 6 Kms on the right and Can Xiguet about a kilometer further on.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The evil eye

Jan blames me for lots of things, but I'm sort of getting used to it. You'd be amazed at the problems I cause. Like the other day when she jumped a Stop sign. How was I to know that sitting quietly, scrunched up in my seat, waiting for the impact was going to make her drive through a Stop sign. It turns out that I make her nervous, so it's my fault, it's always my bloody fault. This ability to avoid accepting responsibilty for your actions is a very English thing. Still, I've got broad shoulders.

Well, now this problem has extended to my mother. We were eating at a pretty lousy Chinese resto in Nimes the other day (I know that all Chinese restaurants are lousy in Nimes, but someone said to give it a try) when my mother turned to me and said, "You're giving me indigestion." That was a new one. When I burst out laughing she turned to Jan and said, "It's his gaze."

So there you have it. Next time I look at you, have the bloody Gaviscon handy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Parlez-vous Francaise?

Thanks to Peter for this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Last night Minnie started to paw her eye and it became very swollen and eventually shut. It was no better this morning so we took her off to the vet. It took three of us to hold her but she let the vet examine her eye. The picture above is what she managed to extract. A piece of thorn about 2 cms long. Bless.

The vet mentioned that she was seeing about 10 of these a day, buried in various parts of dogs' bodies. Grief.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why I don't like cricket

In my youth, I used to watch cricket at Hedingley (I'm surprised that you can remember - Ed). Or, should I say I tried to watch cricket. I remember one test match where I sat there for three hours, bent down to pick up something off the floor, and missed the only action of the day. Bugger!

And today? I was watching the last day of the match between England and Australia, which was quite exciting, when Jan called me for lunch. I walked out to the terrace and, as I did so, Australia lost a wicket. As I ate lunch they lost another. I don't have much luck with this game! They don't deserve my support.

The last letter home

I read this, this morning and admit that it made me cry.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Golf fable from Yorkshire

Thanks to Will for this.

The grass is greener

When I was younger I used to visit my grandmother in Italy. What I could never understand was why the apartment was always dark, with all the windows closed and the shutters down. They were smart in them there days and everything was done for a reason.

Well, now I know the answer. It keeps the place cool.

Now that I'm wiser (hmmm - Ed) you'd think that I would behave differently. It so goes against the grain to shut out all the sunlight, but common sense dictates that sunshine = hot and hot air = uncomfortable. Add to this a smattering of humidity then the whole business becomes quite unpleasant.

When I was in England a week or so back the cooler temperature were a pleasant relief. How come us mortals are never satisfied? Why is the grass always greener?

Whenever we go back to England, Jan continues to be amazed at the amount of choice the supermarkets offer.

What did my mother say the other day on a trip to Carrefour?

'You have so much choice in the supermarkets here in France.'

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sort it out

Why do people pick on me (probably because you're a prat - Ed). There I am sitting at the computer writing emails and all that good stuff when mum sidles up behind me and says, "Where's Jan?" So all of a sudden I'm the family satnav.

Not ten minutes later, Jan sidles up and says, "Where's you mother?"

Why is everybody incapable of looking for themselves? How come everybody bugs me with simple stuff that they can find out for themselves.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Two blond genies

A guy is walking along a beach when he comes across a lamp partially buried in the sand. He picks up the lamp and gives it a rub.

Two blonde genies appear, and they tell him he has been granted three wishes.

The guy makes his three wishes and the blonde genies disappear.

The next thing the guy knows, he's in a bedroom, in a golf-course mansion, surrounded by 50 beautiful women.

After he makes love to all of them, he begins to explore this fabulous house.
Suddenly he feels something soft under his feet, he looks down and the floor is covered in $100 bills.

Then, there's a knock at the door. He answers it and standing there are two persons dressed in Ku Klux Klan outfits. They drag him outside to the nearest tree, throw a rope over a limb and hang him by the neck until he's dead.

As the Klansmen are walking away, they remove their hoods. It's the two blonde genies. One blonde genie says to the other one,
'I can understand the first wish having all these beautiful women in a big mansion to make love to.
I can also understand him wanting to be a millionaire. But why he wanted to be hung like a black man is beyond me ?'

Friday, July 10, 2009

An idle moment

Fancy a bit of harmless fun? Go to this site and turn your sound on. Click on each horse from left to right. To turn off a horse, click on it again. See if you can compose your own tune.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The perfect baby

It's always the same when Mum and Jan get together. The two of them were chatting and the conversation got round to me, as a baby.

Jan said, "What was he like as a baby?"

Mum said, "He was excellent. He slept most of the time and only woke up when he was hungry."

Jan thought about the comment for a second and said, "Not much has changed really."

I've got three weeks of this!

3 in the UK

For all you travelling computer buffs, I have some info. Understandably, my mum doesn't have broadband (if she did, she'd try to knit it or something) so I've been messing about with mobile broadband for some months now.

At first I tried Vodafone but found their connection 'patchy' to say the least. Sort of like trying to connect to the Internet with smoke signals if you get my drift.

So today I tried with '3' and it was so much better. At the very least I got a 3G connection and most of the time better than that. As I'm an occasional user, that works fine for me and it's recommended (especially if you're near HG2 7EG). Incidentally, Ofcom have just produced coverage maps for the first time and that backs up my recommendation.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The land of the fruit cake

It's a miracle! He never really left us. Surely this is proof of something?

The thin end of the wedge

Listen lads, this doesn't look good. I reckon it's all part of a huge female plot to do away with us all together.
Our last remaining excuse to get our leg over is about to disappear. You ignore this at your peril.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Look, I've got to say it.

This Michael Jackson thing is getting so out of hand.

A gold coffin for Pete's sake.

Lots of 'tributes' from 'big' stars.

Am I missing something here?

MJ was a pop singer who produced some good material (and the moon walk - Ed), but for crying out loud he was a pop singer (not to mention a paedophile) and a seriously disturbed person to boot. Here we are with hour long television programmes and all that shit.

Under normal circumstances he should have been in Broadmoor or wherever those nutters go, but instead he gets feted like a god. The world has turned upside down. I can't wait to see how they honour Gary Glitter. But then again he's a convicted paedophile so I guess that makes all the difference.

Thank God for that

Proof that there is a God.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Airport security

As a postscript to the previous item, and given my disdain for the security process at airports, I can confirm that not one person looked at my passport at Girona airport. I was travelling with cabin baggage only so didn't need to go to a check-in desk. The only document that was examined was my computer generated boarding card. The first time that the passport was examined was when we landed at Leeds. What a total shambles.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sods law again

Hola from Girona. I'm on my way to the sunny north of England to pick up my aged mother and accompany her back to France.

Now, most normal people would avoid staying a night, on their own, in Girona, but the Ryanair flight is early in the morning and, as Girona airport is a straight three hour drive, it would mean leaving the house at 04.00 in the morning, with no allowance for problems along the way, stuff I used to do when I was younger but not now mes braves. I also know that if I miss a night's sleep I'll feel really bad the next day, so off I jolly well went.

Missing the best Wimbledon final for many years, I checked in and settled down for the night. Guess what? Hot and thirsty I woke at 03.00 and, I suppose mindful of not wanting to over sleep, dozed fitfully until 05.00. Bugger.

French health care

I've got say that the health system here in France is bloody good. We went to The Fransican Clinic again this morning for Jans's annual 'epreuve d'effort' with Dr F. They don't mess about here. She sees her cardiologist every six months and takes the excercise test every year.

Anyway, she passed with flying colours despite the fact that Jan thought that it might not be so good. Good effort darling.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Grief, the police must be short of money. They seem to be all over the place at the moment. I got a fine for speeding the other day and I may have got another today. At least I saw the cops today, I never saw them at all the first time. Neither time was I too far over the limit but at 90 euros for each infraction it's a cost that I could do without. Bugger. Must try harder.