Wednesday, 31 January 2007

The Meaning of Life

Has long puzzled man and led to a whole raft of answers. Most notably "42" if anyone else is a fan of Douglas Adams.

However, one of the best theories loosely based on this question is that to have a meaningful life, one must firstly have "job satisfaction".

I wholeheartedly concur.

I am totally satisfied that I have no job.



- Izola TV has repositioned its CCTV cameras and our road is now back on the screen. Barmen at the "Moby Dick" breathe a sigh of relief.

- Tottenham Hotspur's PR department have replied to our initial enquiry regards a possible transfer and advised they have directed the email to the correct people. We sit and wait.

- ktelontour extends its tour of Slovenia (well, Izola) by another month and will definitely now be leaving 1st May 2007. Much rejoicing in the streets of Izola subsequently noted.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Why We Ride Bikes

Nuff said...

Nationwide, Top Bank

I should like to point out that should I choose to open up another Nationwide account, I can do so over the internet, without having to offer proof of identity.

Now that is modern day banking and once again greatly appreciated.

And whilst I'm bigging up the Nationwide they are also encouraging people to use their on line banking facilities and do away with useless paper statements. Opt out of a monthly postal statement and you could win £1000. Plus save a few hundred trees.

Further, due to our perhaps unusual lifestyle "on the road" we will at some point have difficulty in receiving our new ATM/credit cards. Enquiring (on line via email, of course) as to what our options were, we were quite delighted to find out that the Nationwide will send out replacement cards by post outside of the UK to quite literally all the major countries world wide*.

Are you listening Abbey?

*Edited to copy list of countries Nationwide will forward cards to:

American Samoa Andorra Anguilla Antarctica Antigua & Barbuda Austrailia Austria Bahamas Barbados Belgium Bermuda Bouvet Island British Antarctic Territory British Indian Ocean Territories (Brit Indian Ocean) British Virgin Islands (British Virgin Is) Canada CA Canada, Alberta Canada, British Columbia Canada, Manitoba Canada, New Brunswick Canada, Newfoundland Canada, Northwest Territories Canada, Nova Scotia Canada, Ontaria Canada, Prince Edward Island Canada, Quebec Canada, Saskatchewan Canada, Yukon Canton and Enderbury Islands Cape Verde Islands Christmas Island Cocos (keeling) Island (Cocos (Keeling) Is) Comoros Cook Islands Cyprus Denmark Dominica Dominican Republic (Dominican Rep) Dronning Maud Island (Dronning Maud Is) Faeroe Islands Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Fiji Finland France France, Metroplitan French Polynesia French Southern Territory (Fr Antarctic Ter) Germany Gibraltar Greece Greenland Guadaloupe Guam Heard and McDonald Islands (Heard/McDonald Is) Iceland Ireland Italy Johnson Island Liechtenstein Luxembourg Malta Mayotte -- -- Micronesia Midway Islands Monaco Montserrat Nauru Netherlands Netherlands, Antilles (Netherlands Antilles) New Caledonia New Zealand Niue Norfolk Island Norway Pacific Island Trust Territories Palau Pitcairn Islands Portugal Reunion St Pierre and Miquelon (St Pierre/Miquel) San Marino Sao Tome and Principe (Sao Tome/Princip) Spain Sweden Switzerland Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tabago (Trinidad/Tobago) Turks and Caicos Islands (Turks/Caicos Is) Tuvalu United Kingdon United States Vanuatu Vatican City State (Vatican City St) Wake Island Wallis and Futuna Islands (Wallis/Futuna Is)

Banking "Procedure"

Now I am aware that in this day and age of money laundering banks need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to people wishing to open new banking accounts.

What I can't understand though is how, if you've been with a particular bank for over 30 years, that they cannot open another account without you having to go into a branch in person and prove who you are with a passport or driving licence.

You've been with them for years already!

But the best bit is the usual "Can you please provide proof of ID, Mr karTER?"

"Er, yes- you've got my bank details in front of you, I've had an account with you since 1977, you know me by sight as I come in here pretty much daily and you have watched me grow up over the years."

"Well, it's for 'security', you understand."

"Nope, I don't as it goes, what 'security'?"


British Passports

Why does anyone owning a British passport have to queue at passport control with people who have a "European" passport in the UK?

Why on earth do you have to queue with tourists, business people, holiday makers et al to get into your own country?

Why can't they have dedicated queues for citizens returning home and speed up the depressing and time consuming process?

Naturally they should have this scheme in all countries- bloody ridiculous to have to wait in line simply to get home.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

In Case You Missed It

We've just gone past 500, yes, five hundred, posts on our Blog.

That's nearly as much fun as watching your top coat lose its moisture, but hey, I've had fun...

1,2,3, it's as Easy as A, B, C...

For the record and if anyone is due to come and visit, the Slovenian numbers are as follows:

0- nic
1- ena
2- dva
3- tri
4- stiri
5- pet
6- sest
7- sedem
8- oscem
9- devet
10- deset

NOTE: No accents available but seeing as I can't pronounce them correctly do you really think I'm going to give you a head start?

Haubis, The Bakers

As you are aware, we use our local shops to buy daily provisions, including our baker, Haubis of course.

Over the months the girls behind the counter have become used to my regular order of "pet Kaiser, prosim" and as time has moved on, I've even come close to perhaps pronouncing it maybe half right.

This minor advancement in pronunciation has however a downside for the staff, as they can no longer laugh quite as heartily at my strangled vowels, much hand gesticulating and pointing in a panic.

So, those clever people have worked out yet another way for their daily fix of laughing at Johnny Foreigner by introducing a special offer of 10 rolls for the price of 5...

"Deset" is ten and yes, I haven't quite got that down pat yet, but as soon as I do, I just know it's going to go back to normal price!

BTW, current cost of a fresh baked, yummy roll is now ~7p. :o)

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Speaking of The Moby Dick

Check it out here:

Our Izola TV Channel

You might recall that I mentioned we have a dedicated "TV" channel for Izola which is in fact a CCTV camera showing the harbour and the little square at the bottom of our road, 24 hours a day to the sounds of the local radio station.

It doesn't sound like much but it has given me hours of entertainment (one night the street light bulb was flickering!) and it's always the first channel that is switched on- usually to see what the weather is like. Looking out of the window is sooooo 20th century...

Well, we have a further development. The channel went off air last night but on checking this morning, we were back on air, however, they've moved the camera angle and we can no longer see the square nor the bottom of our road.

The new panorama is of the big hotel situated next to the square and I'm not impressed.

How on earth is the barman at "The Moby Dick" going to know when to pour my pint?

Izola on Ice

Looks like even we can't escape the wintry weather here- it's been snowing all day long although it's only settling on the higher ground.

We get a great view looking across the Marina and seeing the hills all white and snowy. Makes a most pleasant change.


Version 3.0 is available to download and looks rather snazzy. Amongst new stuff is the ability to "dial" a telephone number directly from a web page which is a nifty trick.

Get it here:

Is Anyone Out There?

We've heard that there have been a few cm of snow in England recently.

Have they closed the country yet?


Monday, 22 January 2007

The Slovenian Times

Most interesting and helpful to any English speakers who are living in Slovenia. Take a look if you have time:

Monday, 22nd January

Is supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

Shite weather, failed New Year's resolutions, unpaid Christmas bills, back to work after the weekend- they all combine to make today the worst day of the year.

Think I'll go up the pub this lunch time...


Sunday, 21 January 2007

TV Licence Fee

The BBC licence fee currently at £131.50 will rise to £151 over the next six years.

Did I mention that we can receive Slovenian, Croatian, French, Italian, Hungarian, English, German and Austrian channels?

All for bugger all?


Trim & Tone With the Trolley Workout

Some supermarkets have introduced weighted trolleys in an effort to help shoppers shed a few pounds. The heavier trolleys burn off up to double the calories in a typical one hour shopping trip.

(i) Who the hell goes shopping for an hour?

(ii) Just make the trolleys smaller so you can't buy so many pies.

How To Avoid a Driving Ban

If caught by Plod whilst driving under the influence of alcohol.

Just give your name as Otis Ferry (son of Bryan, the musician) and claim that your pals were plying you with trebles instead of single shots when out at a night club.

Not only is that the weakest "excuse" I have ever heard (other than "I can't remember who was driving at the time" if nicked by a GATSO for speeding...) but should the guy even have a licence if he is so retarded that he can't tell the difference between a single and a treble?

Oh silly me, of course he couldn't- he was shit faced.

Scouting For the Spurs

As mentioned, Orhan, our host, is a bit of a sports fanatic and since he has found out that I am a Tottenham fan he has taken an interest in how they are performing.

He laughs a lot when he watches some of their games.

He also has contacts within the sports world locally and recently he advised me that Spurs had failed in a bid to sign a Slovenian player as the asking price was too high. He said that he knew of another player that was younger, better (plays at U21 for his national team) and if Tottenham were to be interested in him, he could arrange a meeting!!

I have managed to track down an email contact at Spurs (public relations officer) and put forward a tentative enquiry. Should our email not be zapped as spam, who knows what may happen?

It's not every day one is involved in the transfer market and although I am doubtful much will come of it, I will keep you posted.

Life in the fast lane, eh?

Long Term Stay

It seems that if one wishes to stay in Slovenia one has to take up residency by reporting to the police station and then one is free to stay for up to 183 days without further effort.

Thereafter, should one want to extend the stay further it is necessary to complete an income tax form.

183 days is bang on six months and would suit us to the ground.


Izola- A Place to Come Back To

Part of the reason of our "world" tour is to research where we'd like to settle once we have hopefully seen all there is to see and decide to give up our life on the road.

The loose plan is to perhaps return to somewhere which we both liked, stay there for six months of the year and then take a "holiday" for the other six months spending time in one or maybe two countries to give a bit of variety.

Already it looks very likely that Izola may become the place where we should like to put down some roots - it is truly a wonderful town with friendly people, a mild climate and breathe taking views.

Still, we do have a long way to go yet so who knows what is around the corner?

The Only English People in the Village

It seems word of our stay is now spreading and it is not just the local shops that enjoy hearing me attempt to speak my pigeon/pidjun Slovenian.

Complete strangers approach me on the street, smile and greet me with the words "Dober Dan" awaiting me to reply in kind.

Surely it is just to hear me make an arse out of myself? No one wishes people a "good day" just out of the blue, for no apparent reason?

Or do they...?

That's the Spirit

It's around 09.00 in the morning and I'm off to buy the daily rolls. En route, depending on which path you take, one passes by several coffee bars and as usual they are all full. It seems in Slovenia no one bothers to make coffee at home- why should they when they can pop out and grab a decent cup at a reasonable price?

Anyway, not everyone drinks coffee first thing though and certainly a one or two bars were full of people earnestly quaffing bottles of beer- judging by the empties on the table.

Outstanding effort!

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Marmite Dislikers

Do they have confusion over their sexuality too? And I'll bet they prefer lager an' all.


The FA Cup

The mighty Tottenham Hotspur won 4-0 last night and march into the next round of the FA Cup. However, once again we've been drawn against Southend United, my "home" team, a division below us and also the same opponents we had to play in the last round of the League Cup (or whatever it's now called?)

On that occasion Spurs were taken to the final minutes of extra time before scoring the dubious winning (and only) goal which, by all accounts forwarded by the travelling Blue Army fans, was blatantly off side {cheers for the commentary Webby ;0)}.

I wonder what result the next meeting of these teams will throw up? Either way, it won't be easy and who knows, maybe the Shrimpers will get their revenge? I'd prefer Spurs to win, but I'd be more than happy if Southend were to get through.

I think...

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Another Favourite Joke

Q: How do you turn a fox into an elephant?

A: Marry one.



Anyone else noticed how it's become more runny?

Give us back our thicker Marmite and stop diluting it to make even bigger profits, please.

(Still tastes just as good, but it's just not the same.)

Qatar Airways

Bet Qatar Airways don't charge you per luggage items. They are wonderful. Go fly with Qatar Airways; you know it makes sense.

And bank with Nationwide whilst you're at it too...

Mummy, Mummy, That Naughty Man is Using Bad Language...Again!

Robbing, thieving, money grabbing fucking bastards.

Both Ryanair and Easy Jet charge you £5 & £7 for using your credit card to book flights over the internet. How the fuck else are you expected to pay on-line? Squeeze cash into your pooter? Send off a postal order (for which the wonderful PO charge you anyway)? Write them a cheque?
And it gets better.

Ryanair charge each traveller for their luggage too, at £7 per case per passenger- as if you're going to go on holiday without a case. Greedy fuckers!

So get this. Wifey's mum & aunt are coming to visit us in a few week's time and we've just arranged the tickets (for 2 x passengers):

Air Fare: £1.60 yup, 80 pence per head!)

Baggage Fee: £14.00

Credit Card Fee: £7.00

"Taxes": £63.48

Total- £86.08

So you actually pay less than a couple of quid for your flights and yet end up with a bill for over £85!

I repeat, robbing, thieving, money grabbing fucking bastards.



Most of you are no doubt aware of the product Mr Muscle in the UK and we have the same stuff in Slovenia. However, here it is called "Mr Muscolo".

No really.


George W. Bush

It can't just simply be a coincidence that his middle initial starts with an "W", can it?

I don't suppose BLiar's starts with a "C"...

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Just Like England

Yesterday we went "al fresco" and had a coffee (well, wifey did- I can't stand the stuff) outside. It was so warm and sunny that we sat outside in the middle of January and watched the sun sink down towards the Adriatic, wearing just a pullover.

Until a large delivery truck pulled up on the opposite side of the road and blocked the sun out!

All the punters on the veranda simply smiled, made a joke or casually returned to their papers and conversation, and within minutes the van driver came back and was about to drive off when he noticed a couple of young kids with their father on a table next to us.

So the delivery chap went into the back of his van, brought out a handful of balloons and gave them to the kids, before driving off and returning us to our basking sunshine.

Just as they do things in England, eh?

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Local Radio Station

We've been listening to the radio a lot over the last few months (the apartment comes with a radio/CD player) and the music has been quite excellent, mixing the old with the new.

It's just suddenly dawned on me that there is hardly any annoying DJ chat between songs. Indeed, the only spoken voice you hear is on the hour when the news are aired or the odd plug for the station name. They don't even tell you what the song and artist are.

Not that I'd understand anyway. :-D

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Are You Sure?

It's about 17:30 local time (that's ~4.30 pm in the UK) and they're showing "The Wire" by the makers of "The Sopranos" and "Deadwood".

They sure don't mind the "F" word on the box pre watershed times here!

Fucking great...

And Finally on Football

Despite the vast majority of the nation demanding video replays to be introduced to the professional game (as in rugby, cricket, tennis etc etc*) the FA stands firm by using the tired excuse that it will undermine the role of the referee and players will lose their respect for the human official.


Hhhhmmm- would I respect the referee more if he (she?) made split second decisions that can (and have!) changed the entire course of a game because of human error or if he simply asked for clarification from the fourth referee who has the luxury of studying an instant replay to get the correct decision?

As has been proven in other sports*, I think the powers that be need to remove their heads from their arses and get with the 21st century.

And Speaking of Footie

Why does the English league continue to insist that football be played during the month of January? Traditionally it is the coldest, wettest, bleakest month of the entire year so why not take a leaf out of the German's book and shut the league down for a month?

The pitches get a rest, the players can take a holiday, the fans can save some cash after the Christmas excesses and it's hardly going to be a problem extending the season another month at the end of the season when the weather is usually better.

Still, I'm sure the FA know best, eh?

David Beckham

Has been in the news recently due to his shock decision to leave the Spanish league and head to America to see out the last few years of his career.

Much debate has ensued as to the bucketfuls of cash he is going to earn and the question has been raised if he is indeed worth the King's Ransom he is supposedly going to get paid.

Personally I wish him all the best and good luck to him for jumping on the Yankee dollar bandwagon- as some have mischievously mentioned, someone has to show the Americans how to play proper football.

That being the case- why send an Englander? Should have been a German if they want a proper job doing... ;-)


Just been to our ATM to withdraw some more readies (a free withdrawal courtesy of Nationwide) and I noticed an ear phone socket; compete with the headphone sign above it mounted into the cash point dispenser.

This can only be for one of two reasons:

(a) An aid for the blind to be given oral instruction on how to use the cash point machine

(b) To provide background/piped "muzac" to ensure your transaction is as comfortable as possible.

I suspect it may be the former but what puzzles me then is how would a blind customer know the ear/headphone socket exists...?

Answers on a post card to:

The Jammy Gets
Wonderful Place by the Adriatic


12 Days of Christmas

My true love gave to me; a new calendar.

Oddly enough on the 13th day of January there are still loads of shops and establishments proudly displaying their Christmas trees complete with flashing lights.

Now either our Slovenian cousins don't follow the "remove all festive decorations by the 12th night" rule or they are simply not superstitious.

Either way though, it does seem a bit surreal to be greeted by a fully decked-out pine tree well into the second week of the year.

I wonder if Santa is still lurking?

Post Script: Just finished watching "The Great Escape" on the TV- it really must still be Christmas here!

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Vacuum Cleaners

Wot's one of those then?


Swiss Army Knives

A must have for any budding boy scout or intrepid explorer, it also happened to be my going away present from Helen prior to the start of our trip last year.

Yesterday I had cause to use it in earnest for the first time (as opposed to practising in front of the mirror asking "are you looking at me? Are you really looking at me?") whilst we were in the pub.

To open a particularly stubborn packet of peanuts...

NOTE: Everywhere we have been, in all the pubs and bars, they are more than happy to let you bring in your own food and snacks. Come in munching on a slice of pizza- no problem. Got any peanuts? Nope? I'll just provide my own then.

Not so in the UK. You'll get banned for daring to do something like that!

Cheaper by Bus?


Unusually the bus is more expensive than taking the train- up to 50% more costly.

This is mainly down to the time it takes as for the train journey and the number of times you have to change- whilst the bus is direct, with the local trains you end up going around the houses and having to change at least once.

So, if you have time to spare- take the train and save some dosh but be prepared to heave your luggage about a bit.

10 Green Bottles, Hanging on the Wall...

In the further interests of scientific research we returned to our bar, "The Moby Dick" yesterday and ordered a beer and a coffee. Unfortunately the barrel was being changed or the pipes were being cleaned and so I had to have a bottled beer of "Union" instead of the usual draft.

Imagine my surprise when we got the bill to find that bottled beer is cheaper by 20 cents, at €1.80 for a half litre bottle instead of €2.00 per half litre straight from the pump.

Back in the UK bottled beer is always more expensive and so I'm now off to find out what the Slovenian word for "bottle" is!

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Happy Birthday

To bruv-in-law, Dave (today) and Julia (top cousin) tomorrow.

Hope you both have great days and get a chance to treat yourselves.

All together now,

"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday etc etc..." :-D

2006 Darwin Awards

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.....

And now, the honourable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer...$15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away. ***A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER***

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

Taken from here:-

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Capital Gains Tax

This rather wonderful tax has been around for donkey's years and allows the government to take a large slice of your profits if you make anything from an investment.

You invest some of your cash (that has already been taxed) and take a punt on a project that may, or may not yield some kind of a profit and if successful, you are then expected to hand over the readies to The Feds who have done the square root of bugger all to earn it.

You take all the chances and they collect. Lovely, isn't it?

So, why aren't betting wins similarly taxed? Why are any wins derived from gambling allowed to be shored off without any type of taxation?

The Moby Dick

Is one of our local bars in Izola and yesterday afternoon we popped into to say "hi" and check out the prices since the introduction of the Euro.

Happily, the price of a pint (half litre) has been set at €2.00 (£1.35) which is not too unreasonable and still a load cheaper than the UK, where a similar pint costs £2.75!

Anyway, we'd just bought a drink (wifey's sparkling mineral water came in at a nifty 40p) and we noticed that the flat screen TV on the wall was showing a slide show of what appeared to be photos of the Christmas and New Year's Eve parties the bar had thrown. Literally hundreds of photos of happy people having a good time.

Not only a brilliant idea but it also made me wish we'd been there!

Oh well, guess we'll just have to look forward to Greece next year instead...

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Gambolling Along*

Like lambs to the slaughter is how we saw the packed casino we visited last night along with the hundreds of punters shovelling cash into the casino's coffers.

I've never had the slightest interest in gambling, although by all accounts it is becoming even bigger business than ever; especially with the advent of on-line gaming.

I can see the intrigue in playing cards as there is clearly some kind of skill involved, but how is it fun or skillful to bet money on automated machines? Beats me.

Still, each to their own and we had a super time with our hosts who showed us the casino in the neighbouring town where their youngest daughter works as a croupier. Fascinating to observe the gamblers at close quarters (and there were some real high flyers with thousands of Euros being won, lost and waved about) and a most enjoyable night out.

*Yes, a very dodgy title but correct in context none the less...

Update on Flickr

More photos of our recent trip to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia and Helen's birthday party.

Click here:

Our Trip To Date

The red line is where we have driven and the blue line is where we have flown to.
2007 will see us travel down the Adriatic coast to arrive in Greece at the end of the year.


It's worth straining the eyes to read the small print...

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

So, that's that then.

England's glorious reign as cricket supremos and winners of the Ashes in 2005 has come full circle as the Australians beat, sorry, slaughtered England's First XI by a margin of 5-0.

The first whitewash in over 80 odd years and only the second time in the series' entire history.

I'm not sure what the answers are; if there are any, but maybe it's time to take it on the chin and accept that despite inventing the game, England are merely also rans and no matter what hype and hysteria the media cobbles together "Team England" will not be world champions at any team sport simply because they feel they have a right to be.

England's MBE seems highly appropriate now, doesn't it? More Bleedin' Excuses...

Surely Not?

A recent survey reports that the biggest failure for young people trying to obtain jobs in secretarial and clerical sector was making spelling and grammatical errors.

Imagine having to write and spell correctly to work as a secretary...whatever next?

Seconds Out...

GNER is giving a 1,000 of its rail staff radio-controlled watches in an attempt to get more trains running on time.

The watches automatically adjust themselves daily, ensuring that staff will work to same time.

“Research showed that old watches used by train despatchers could vary by up to 90 seconds,” GNER said.

The Times reports.

They'd be better off giving their staff calendars to measure the delays of their trains...

Peek-a Boo...

Yours truly at Helen's birthday party (bonus point if you can guess how old) with one of the waitresses. She seemed to drink as much as she served and consistently appeared in all of the pictures- top burd. Hel's in the middle by the way.

Belt Up

Law dictates that car passengers must wear a seat belt, front and back.

Ditto in taxis and on coaches.

Why not on buses too then?

So what if you only have a stop or two to wait before alighting- an accident can occur in a split second. How come the law does not apply here as well?

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Ghost in the House?

Whilst back in the UK we stayed a few nights at my parents and were looked after there like royalty. First class food, comfortable beds and all the mod cons one could hope for (aside from a virus ridden computer that would not allow me to post on here so you guys got lucky too.)

After one particularly late night (Helen's 40th birthday party as it goes) wifey and I had got back and went straight to bed whereupon we both crashed as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

At stupid o'clock in the morning I heard a noise and then was awoken as wifey had gone to my parents bedroom to use their en suite bathroom, completely ignoring the guest bathroom next to our bedroom.

I got up to find my parents rather bewildered and confused in their bed, wondering if:

(a) we had burglars
(b) the roof had caved in
(c) it was April Fool's day

Wifey finished in the bathroom and fully clothed, walked straight past me and back into her bed without recognition or word aside from a rather odd hand gesticulation, pointing to the guest bathroom and shrugging her shoulders.

We all went back to sleep and the next morning it seems wifey had gone for a tour around the house, leaving her coat across the kitchen floor in front of the door and setting her watch down on the sideboard in the front sitting room (which she hadn't worn to the party, just left in her handbag) before (we assume) she then went to en suite upstairs.

It transpires that wifey had been sleepwalking and had no idea of what had occurred in the night aside from waking up in her dress but wondering how as she remembered taking it off before going to bed.

Spooky eh? :-D

But on the Other Hand

Our other bank, Nationwide continues to give us excellent service and superb customer liaison. They had no problem in stopping statements from being sent out by post...

Not only have their free cash points and credit card facilities saved us over £400 worldwide (well, only Europe so far) but we received our annual interest to our current account at the end of December and got an unexpected bonus of nearly £80! Mind you, with English prices being what they are that didn't last long!

Top work Nationwide- by far the best bank we have had the pleasure in dealing with. Are you listening, Abbey?

Computer Says No...

Prior to our departure last year, I advised our bank that we were leaving the country and that we did not wish to receive any paper correspondence from them as we would continue to monitor our finances on line. I was assured this would be done and that was the end of that.

On getting back to the UK, we had nine months worth of statements and other guff from the Abbey.

I popped into our local branch to find out why.

The first excuse was that it was the law. Er, if that is so, please show me this law.

Hasty retreat to the Manager (the person who had actually dealt with my original request and who clearly remembered the details) who came out to see me.

It was confirmed that unfortunately, despite promising me that Abbey could comply with my simple instructions it was the law and that all current accounts had to have a statement sent out via the post.

Upon advising the Manager that our other bank had managed to arrange this without problem and that being the case, how could it be against the law; a further back peddle came up with it was actually an internal Abbey directive and not against the law at all.

After a further thirty minutes of "discussion" it seems that Abbey can in fact stop all paper correspondence at source (they did not feel able to take full responsibility for the potential of identity theft, my primary concern) and hopefully my parents will not have their letter box bombarded with junk mail or other Abbey special offers.

My point?

Just this- why is it that in England the first response is always "no, we can't do that"?

How refreshing it would be for them to actually make an effort and perhaps try to help in the first instance without having to waste people's time and cause bad feeling.

Not impressed at all.

All Change

We're now in Izola and extremely happy to be back.

Whilst it's been enormous fun to catch up with friends and family, the non-stop travelling and partying for a fortnight was starting to catch up and it is so nice to be able to just do absolutely nothing.

Our lovely little fishing village is just as idyllic as before and nothing has changed other than the Tolar is no more. From 1st January 2007, Slovenia has adopted the Euro (239.643 SIT to 1.000 Euro) and after a short dual currency which ends next week, we embrace the Euro for all it's worth.

Which is not quite so much as everything gets rounded up in favour of the manufacturer. As usual.

However, as we are still in chill mode and have not even ventured out to our local bar yet, the standard currency indicator has not been established yet. A pint/half litre of beer.

Perhaps next week if I can be bothered to get out of bed...

Monday, 1 January 2007

Many Many Thanks

To all our family and friends that have so generously looked after us whilst we have holidayed back in England. We have had a marvelous time and it's been so good to catch up.

We've only a day or so left before we fly back to Ljubljana and from there onto Izola and whilst we will be a sad to leave our chums behind again, we're both very much looking forward to resuming our new lifestyle in new surroundings.

As mentioned, this may well be our last trip back to the UK for a long time so next time we meet it's going to have to be at our end but then we can play host.

New Year's Day Tradition

One thing I always did (or as close to the day as possible if were away on holiday) was to take a ride on the bike and hit a swift three figures to welcome in the new year.

Sadly, that is a custom I will not be doing in the near future as we are now bike less but someday, somewhere I look forward to swinging a leg over two wheels and winding things up another notch.

But, to all the lucky bastards who have a bike, have fun guys and keep it shiny side up in 2007.

Eye, Eye...

What is more dangerous than giving a little boy a "toy" wooden crossbow for Christmas?

Allowing his father to get his hands on it first.

I am now sitting here typing with one eye whilst the other recovers from the trauma of nearly having it shot out. Entirely accidentally, of course.

And when I do get full use of both optics, that very friendly cat, which appears to have sussed out that I am allergic to its species and insists on sitting on my lap at every given opportunity is going to be very, very sorry indeed.

Who needs fox hunting anyway?


It's All In a Name

I'm not going to comment on the hanging of Saddam Hussein but one thing I have repeatedly found odd is how the media constantly refer to him as "Saddam".

Surely it comes across as over friendly by using his first name instead of his surname and I get the feeling had his name been, say, John Smith nobody would have been referring to him as "John".

Hel's 40th Party

And the main reason we had returned to the UK, was on Saturday and as usual a resounding success for all who attended.

Top venue, great guests, good food and a free bar- all the makings of a super night out, despite the invitation requesting "black tie" (we didn't actually receive the invitation proper so that was my excuse for the lack of dinner suit...)

I did however make a "huge" effort in wearing black jeans, smart boots (the trainers were reluctantly left behind for an evening) and the latest Germany away shirt- black and red, so it all kinda looked colour coordinated and dead smart- in my opinion, anyway!

Towards the end of the evening a young lady approached me and above the music managed to ask me what made me so special?

"My sparkling personality?" I ventured, deciding (quite correctly as it happens) she wasn't a Germany fan.

She then quite nicely proceeded to ask why, when all the other guys had worn suits, I hadn't made a similar effort?

I suggested that interrupting our world tour and travelling back to the country could perhaps have been interpreted a bit of an effort but she still seemed to think this was a tad lame.

I got the distinct impression that as she had known Hel for over five years she seemed to be believe she was quite an authority on what H would find acceptable for her party but then seemed to mellow somewhat when I mentioned that Helen and I actually went back well over twenty years ago and that I didn't even wear a tie to her wedding.

Game, set and match...