Monday, 30 July 2007

Back in Trogir

Landed safe and sound after a doddle of a journey once again. Lift to the bus station, direct through to Trogir and a couple of hundred metres to walk at the other end. Piece of cake.

We will check internet options and update as and when opportunities allow.

In the meantime, we're off to reacquaint ourselves with this lovely little town.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Tally Ho

Despite fox hunting being against the law in the UK, Britain’s biggest bank is insuring numerous hunts (as many as 125) against the costs of a court case should a prosecution be brought against the organisers.

HSBC will pay all legal fees associated with hunt employees taken to court for breaking the law, even if they are found guilty.

I am not aware of the complexities of UK law but to me that suggests that HSBC are actively becoming involved in an illegal activity prior to the event and thus are culpable too. Shouldn't they be prosecuted?

I also wonder if the HSBC can offer burglars insurance in case of getting nicked?




Under the hunting ban introduced in February 2005, prosecutions can be brought either against hunts as organisations or against individuals such as hunt masters and employees, riders who take part in illegal hunts or landowners who allow them.

SWISS

SWISS: Symptoms of Winter in Summer Syndrome is the latest buzz word doing the rounds after chemists report there has been a 60% rise in the purchase of cold and flu remedies sold over the counter.

Apparently the symptoms can last for up to a month and include diarrhoea, vomiting, colds, sore throats, inexplicable tiredness, fevers and general aches and pains.

Want to know the best cure? Come to Croatia for a week or two...

Today's Yoof

The latest report undertaken by Public Policy Research who have close links to the Labour Government reveals that Britain has the worst behaved teenagers in Europe.

They are more likely to take drugs, have sex at an early age, indulge in binge drinking and get involved in fights.

One of the reasons for this is the collapse in the family unit where, without guidance from the family, kids are more likely to succumb to peer pressure.

Sadly, I am not surprised by the findings at all.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

A Gift For Someone Who Has Everything


Solid silver lids to fit your Marmite jars. Well, why not?

Was I There?

Publishers are all scrambling for the rights to Keith Richards' autobiography, with rumours rife that it's going to cost the lucky winner more than £3 million to win the contract.

Fine, but how much is he actually going to remember from his past?

And Still The Misery Mounts

Yes, it's been confirmed. :-(

The Spice Girls ("girl power, yeah man- like wow, zig-a-zag bollocks") have announced an extra three dates to their world tour.

What's the matter with you people? Step away from the ticket office. NOW!

They are also claiming a much "slicker" new look.

The only look that would suit them is an empty stage.

It's Not All Oompah and Lederhosen Anymore

ZDF, the German television broadcaster has cancelled its long running "Volksmusik" show which celebrates lederhosen and folksinging, after two decades of producing the programme.

Dwindling audiences amongst the younger generation have forced ZDF to overhaul its offerings and they will now turn their attention to providing more modern, open air style concerts instead.

Despite falling viewer numbers, Marianne and Michael Hartl, the show's presenters, managed to attract more than four million fans who tuned in on Thursday night to see the couple bow out.

If only the Germans had been so decisive for the opening of the 2006 World Cup in Munich, eh?

Juicy Apples

We recently mentioned the resurgence in the popularity of real ale in the UK. Well, it's not just traditional beer that is becoming main stream again.

For the first time, Britons supped more than a billion pints of cider in a year- up by a massive 26%. This is more than 2 700 000 pints a day!

Good to hear that it's not all lager and that finally something useful is being made from apples which nowadays all taste of cardboard.



And for those that are not aware, the equivalent of cider made from pears, not apples, is called perry.

More Birthdays

Many happy returns to Lorraine, motorbike burd who came to visit us in Fazana with a jar of Marmite (1st August) and my niece, Tara, who will be four on the 4th August.

Slightly early but we'll be off line so we're making the most. :-)

Mr & Mrs Britnell

Woohoo- you've made your first wedding anniversary; many congratulations.

Here's hoping the subsequent years are as easy as the first and that you have many, many more to come.

Raising a glass to you both.

Friday, 27 July 2007

The End is Near

Our final full day tomorrow in Vodice after nearly three weeks here and as you can probably gather, we've loved it. To us it's been a proper seaside holiday and we've down the whole tourist thing and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Warly Sunday morning sees us off to the bus station to head further south, to Trogir, a place we've been to before and this will be our base for about a week enabling us to visit Split, our favourite city in Croatia.

Unfortunately we do not have access to the internet whilst in Trogir so we'll not be able to update our Blog as regularly as previously but everyone is entitled to a break so make the most of it. Once we're in Montenegro (early August) we should be back on line.

Hopefully we've been able to provide a small insight into what Croatia is all about and should you wish to take a week or two to see for yourselves, you will not be disappointed.

Whilst we continue on our travels further afield for a few more years yet, one thing you can bet your last Kuna on- we'll be coming back on a regular basis. Perhaps one day, you'll join us too?

Sladoled

Walk around any town in Croatia during the summer/warm season and you'll see a sign up for "sladoled" pretty much everywhere.

It's pronounced sla-do-led, means "ice cream" and as mentioned before the Croatians are expert in making it.

Our favourite ice cream parlour opens at 08:00 am and stays open all the way through until 01:00 am the following day- uninterrupted.

Told you it's popular here.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Money Well Spent?

Want to know how much the British taxpayer coughed up to cover their MPs' expenses in 2006/7?

Over £95 000 000!


What a bargain...









The exact figure was £95.48 million which is an increase of £4.973 million, (5.5%) and includes expenses, travel, pensions, allowances and staffing costs.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Back to School

In the wake of the revelations that the BBC has repeatedly misled its viewers with phoney phone-ins, it is ordering all of it staff to attend a mandatory new training programme to teach honesty to BBC staff.

Pardon?

You have to teach adult people honesty?

Does anyone really believe a couple of PowerPoint presentations is going to make deceitful people tell the truth?

And, just exactly who is going to pay for these "courses"- over 16 000 people are to attend.


Ah yes, the good old BBC licence fee is really being put to good use...

Out & About in Vodice

We have mentioned that Vodice is a very popular seaside resort, attracting tourists and holiday makers in their thousands.

And rightfully so; it has glorious weather, warm, crystal clear waters, quite literally hundreds of restaurants and bars and within the surrounding areas, plenty to keep you and the kids occupied for day trips and sightseeing tours if you fancy a break from the beach.

The locals are all majorly friendly, welcoming and generous, speaking many languages, including English, to ensure all your requirements are met and that you do indeed have the best break in the sun you could possibly want.

In the evening the entire promenade is packed with holiday makers strolling around, looking at menus, buying ice creams or just enjoying the atmosphere. We've been here for over two weeks now and in all that time and with this number of people around, we have yet to witness one argument or notice any display of violence.

I have repeatedly mentioned the prices here and how far your pound will stretch, whether it's in the local tavernas or in the markets and both the food and drink are of the finest quality.

So, whilst we have the more obvious beach destinations for family summer breaks such as Spain, Greece and Turkey (and they are no less worthy) why not try somewhere a little closer to home and give Vodice/Croatia a try?

Happy Birthday to My MIL

Many congratulations on the anniversary of your birthday and we both hope you have a lovely day. We'll call you a bit later to have a chat.

Water, Water, Everywhere

How many snowflakes does one need to get the same water content as a single drop of rain?

One hundred, apparently.

All the Right Ideas

A national referendum is to be granted in Hungary if the required 200 000 signatures are obtained to introduce a law requiring a siesta in the afternoons.

However, despite the ferocious heat wave currently being experienced in the country, the National Election Committee has turned down the request for a referendum proposal for making beer free in restaurants.

Wonderful.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

It's All in the Name

"Famous" parents have often taken leave of what little senses they possess and given their off spring ridiculous names.

Following on in that time honoured tradition, Jordon and Andre Whats-his-face have dutifully named their daughter Princess Tiaamii* - pronounced tee-ah-me.

Proof, if it was ever needed, that certain people should not be allowed in the same room as each other let alone breed.





*A combination of Andre's mother "Thea" and Jordan's mother "Amy" apparently...

More "Safety" Cameras Due

Drivers who stray into cycle lanes, even briefly to pass a vehicle turning right, will soon be targeted by new cameras and fined £120.

The cameras will also monitor cycle boxes at traffic lights, known as “advanced stop lines” and similar fines will be imposed.

Initially the scheme will be trialed in London, where else, before being rolled out nationwide.

Happy motoring everyone...

Well and Truly Fingered

For some inexplicable reason, schools will be able to fingerprint pupils in accordance with data protection guidance.

It is supposedly going to help in registration, for the dinner queue and the library...

The Schools Minister, said the move would "clarify matters for head teachers".

No idea how or why you need to have your dabs taken to queue for lunch or borrow a library book.

Can anyone explain the need for this to me?




Parents will be able to exclude their children from the system.

Kawasaki 636 Ninja


So there we were walking into town on another blazingly hot day and we notice a sign saying "Bikes For Hire".
Not scooters, which is the norm, but proper motorcycles and there were two parked up under a canopy.
I approached the chap and asked him how much to hire the Ninja (pictured above) and for 24 hours, including insurance, helmet and petrol he asked for 900 HRK (~£90!).
Talk about itchy palms...
Unfortunately that is at least three day's worth of rent and so sadly my yearnings will have to wait for a few weeks yet until we get into Montenegro.
*Ho Hum*

Monday, 23 July 2007

Number 13, Unlucky For Some?

Not for us, as we once again dropped by our local cinema last night to see "Ocean's Thirteen", the third in the Danny Ocean saga of con men/bank heists/jokes/buddy movies.

Same cinema, same blurkie at the door (and the same big smile as he greeted us like long lost friends), same seats and the same style film as its predecessors, Eleven and Twelve.

The original with Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis Junior/Rest of the Rat Pack plus Angie Dickinson wasn't a bad film, where a group of ex-army pals plan to rob the big five Las Vegas casinos.

The remake with George Clooney/Brad Pitt/Matt Damon/Elliot Gould etcetera whilst not quite following the original plot was good in its own right.

The second, with pretty much the original cast was nothing more than a free jolly for our film stars as they flitted around Europe on an all inclusive holiday. The film seemed to be a minor inconsideration; an intrusion into their vacation, and it showed. The result was predictably shite- the film poor at best.

So what of the third "let's milk the franchise and screw the public out of their hard earned" instalment? (Although at two quid entry it made us the screwee which makes a pleasant change.)

For me, in between 11 and 12, or to put it more accurately, an average of Eleven Point Five.

The predictable plot was introduced far too early in the film and so left little opportunity for twists, there was little suspense as you expect the inevitable "unforeseen" complications to be fully planned for and the for me, some of the key characters were underemployed and only brought in as an after thought.

Al Pacino, most famous for his Mr-Shouty-Blurk-Don't-Fuck-With-Me roles predictably played the baddie but he must have been taking anger management classes and barely raised his voice.

The burd who played his right hand (wo)man was obviously chosen due to her likeness to Angie Dickinson (I doubt many of the new audience would pick that up and was therefore hardly worth the effort) but that was all she had going for her. Her character was superfluous and though she was supposed to be a hard nosed businesswoman she inexplicably became a love struck teenager. Logical? Hardly.

I shan't dwell on the negatives for there are more but they are only minor. The film is worth seeing, if for no other reasons than to witness our heart throbs who are indeed mortal and can also put on weight and gain wrinkles.

It seems Mr Pitt and I now not only share film star looks but we also have a passion for extended chins...

My favourite part without doubt is a brilliant performance by Eddie Izzard (I bet he was pinching himself as he shared a long scene with Clooney and Pitt where they are begging him for his help) and I also enjoyed the way the main characters are clearly enjoying the banter, which in some places is not just very clever but witty to boot.

So, onto the ktelontour rating. Not worth a cinema ticket in the UK but fly to Croatia and spend two quid whiling away a couple of fun hours in air conditioned excellence or wait for it to come out on Sky.

I wonder what we have arriving next week?



In one scene Al Pacino refers to his casino hotel in Singapore called 'The Sapphire'. Currently (July 2007) there are no legal casinos in Singapore. Ooops...

Churches and Sight Seeing

No matter where we end up, there will be a church (or similar) just waiting to be visited.

Whilst not a religious person in the least, it is still nevertheless fascinating to see how these places of worship differ from town to town, let alone country to country and over the years we must have checked out hundreds of them.

One thing of note for Croatian churches however, is that they are always playing organ music when we go in. Not live, but piped organ music.

No idea why, but it always reminds me of a Hammer House of Horror style film set and is enough to ensure I don't linger for too long...

Nice Touch


Here's something we haven't come across before- a guide book in braille. Lovely idea and something we should see more of.

The Waterfalls At Krka Park





More photos on Flickr...

We've Been to Krk, Next is Krka

Krka National park to be more precise.

How lucky are we? Chilling out in the new pad, there is a ring at the door and it's our new host suggesting that as he's due to visit his mum, would we like a lift to Krka National Park which was on his way.

Would we ever! It's been on our list of things to must do since we've been in Vodice, but all the organised trips are around 300 HRK (about thirty quid) a head. No buses run directly from here and the only way to reach the parks is by getting to Sibenik and grabbing a bus from there. Rather involved and time consuming and not really deal in this rather oppressive heat wave.

We really have such a hard life...

Instead, we got driven (with air con!) to the little town of Skradin and from there we hopped on the boat to take us directly to the national park's entrance.

A very reasonable 80 HRK per person (~£8) and we were in.

Words will not be able to do this place justice so you'll have to make do with some pictures we took. Amazing doesn't begin to describe what we saw, and that is not just the waterfalls which dominated the first impressions.

The parks in total are massive and we spent two hours just walking around the first suggested excursion. To view them all would require days and include boat trips and organised tours, but our mini wander was more than enough to savour the delights of this delightful eco-system.

Anyway, enough waffle- photies coming up.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Where We Are Now

Right here: Rosko Apartments

BIG thumbs up from ktelontour - recommended. :oD

Our New Pad in Vodice

WOW!

After our somewhat basic and cramped apartment we've had for nearly two weeks, we have really landed on our feet.

- A double bed again.

- TV with satellite channels

- Radio/CD player

- Air con

- Free broadband and not wireless but cable attachment (far better as we get a continuous signal without fluctuation or drop)

- Proper cooking facilities with extractor fan

- BIG, quiet fridge

- Plenty of space

- Lift to the bus station when we leave next Sunday

Down side?

An extra 5 minute walk to the beach and no toaster. All for the same money.

*yay*

50 For Both Innings

A couple who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary died within a few hours of each other.

The wife suffered a brain haemorrhage and whilst her husband of fifty years kept a bedside vigil, he had a fatal heart attack the next morning.

Call me old fashioned but that is nothing short of romantic.

Cash For Honours, The Results Are In

The Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard yesterday advised that after interviewing 136 people, in an investigation that lasted sixteen months and that cost the taxpayer almost £1 000 000, there wold be no arrests or convictions.

Did anyone seriously ever expect there to be?

All this does is demonstrate once again that politicians will be able to manipulate the law to their advantage and that our fine friends in blue are most expert in spoofing up our taxes with professional incompetency.

Although to be fair, Plod is blaming the CPS (Crown Prosecuting Service) and they are in turn blaming Dibble.

I blame the people for allowing this comedy of errors to keep repeatedly being played out.

Off Air?

Whilst we still have the delights of Vodice for another week or so, we are moving onto a new apartment across town. As with all moves, despite the promise of internet connection, nothing is guaranteed, but we will keep our fingers crossed that all goes well and that we can join you tomorrow for business as usual.

Pirates of the Caribbean III - At World's End

Was our treat last night at the local cinema.

Same one man band selling the tickets, affording entry to the theatre and ensuring all was well for the audience. It was, and we regained our exact same seats as with our previous two visits. Just think, fancy having a local pictures with a regular Stammtisch?

Once again the film kicked off with remarkable punctuality without the need for tired and long, drawn out advertisements or 30 minute trailers that give away the entire plots and best moments of the next forthcoming blockbuster. No, around here you pay, take your seat and dive directly into the feature, exactly as it says on the tin. Lovely.

And it was a corker too.

All the regular faces are on display- Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, Bill Nighy (the list is entirely endless) but they are joined by notably Chow Yung Fat playing a great asian pirate and a surprise (not anymore) cameo by none other than Keith Richards, playing Jack Sparrow's father. We did all know that, right?

Whilst I'm sure the casting of Richards was a bit of fun for both him and Depp, who famously modeled his character on Richards, it was nothing more than a stocking filler and perhaps an in-joke which worked fairly well.

The film reputedly cost over $300 000 000 to make and almost immediately one can see where most of that money went (outside of the actors' wages) the sumptuous sets and breathe taking animation is a wonder to witness and clearly there are some very imaginative people at Disney who can really make a fantasy pirate world spring to life.

All the acting is first rate, the story hangs together well-ish and pulls together most of the threads of the previous two outings but there are still places where the dialogue is difficult to follow and the plot overly complex*.

That said, it is rare for a sequel to reach a similar level of its predecessor (although strike II which was nothing more than a money spinner and by far the weakest link) and without doubt if you make the effort to see this offering, you will be well rewarded as you are transported back to your childhood and fondly remember playing at being pirates searching for buried treasure.

All together, aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh me 'earties, 'tis sure a fine treat that awaits thee...





* Rumours abound that this was done deliberately to encourage repeat viewings, which at nearly three hours long will take some doing...

Friday, 20 July 2007

Speaking of Hand Luggage

Are you aware that there is a ban on bringing more than one piece of hand luggage aboard an aircraft in the UK? This was introduced to counter the threat of terrorism in August 2006 and also included the complete ban of taking any form of liquid on board.

You may be keen to know that whilst the rest of Europe, America and Australia also have restrictions on liquids in hand luggage, no other country limits its passengers to one carry-on bag.

Government officials said that the ban on allowing more than one piece of hand luggage on board aircraft will be lifted, but not until after the summer holidays.

Why not? Why the need to wait until after the traditional holiday season to lift this ruling, which no one else is enforcing?

Answers on a postcard to...oh, hang on, there's a postal strike in the UK, isn't there?

More Hand Bags With BA

British Airways has finally had to 'fess up and admit to sending thousands of bags to Milan by lorry for "processing" because they had failed to load them onto the same planes their owners were on.

Apparently its Heathrow processing centre lacked the capacity to cope with all the extra bags that were being checked in.

So, let me understand this more clearly.

You allow extra time to arrive at the airport where you spend hours going through security checks and in all this time, the people you pay for an airline ticket do not have the resources to ensure you and your luggage board the plane at the same time, thus ensuring you land at your destination without your personal possessions?

And we pay for this privilege?

And what about the green issue, conservationist knob-head politicians who jump up and down at the slightest whiff of carbon emissions contraventions? Why aren't they questioning the need to transport bags by lorry from one country to another?

Happy holidays, everyone.

Top Job

Imagine doing a job that resulted in working part time for only six months in a year at a cost of £165 000, which also included getting paid for expenses at £58 000?

Imagine also resigning and getting a compensation pay off of £388 000, making a total of £611 000.

You don't have to imagine if you were the former chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

And they wonder why the London Olympics are turning into a farce?

How Much Dough?

Due to a world shortage of wheat, the price of an English white bread is to rise by 10p, pitching the average cost of a loaf around £1.19 to £1.29.

No doubt we shall see a rise in the cost of loaves on our travels for similar reasons but currently we pay around fifty pence and the bread here is truly tasty and always guaranteed fresh.

The bakeries seem to be open around the clock and no matter what the time is, there is always a steaming, fresh loaf coming out of the oven. Delicious.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Don't Mention The War

Whilst strolling around the waterfront in Krk we met an old sea captain advertising his boat for day trips to the neighbouring islands.
He seemed quite surprised to hear our English accents and we started chatting away happily. He mentioned that before 1992 he had lived in Pula from where we had just arrived and that "there used to be far more English tourists before John Major and Malcolm Rifkind upheld the arms embargo that denied the Croat and Bosnian forces the right to defend themselves against the formidable and highly trained Serbian army. Furthermore, as Britain then prevented other countries from intervening we were clearly responsible for "assisting" the Serbs - finally acting only when our "naughty child" (Milosevic) continued to upset the sensibilities of the US."

Now, while the old gadgy certainly has a point;
(I am still building up the courage to read Brendan Simms' account "Unfinest Hour. Britain And The Destruction Of Bosnia")
I simply cannot go around apologising for the sins of my forefathers and certainly not for the disastrous foreign policies of my government - even when I did vote for them.
I'm English for Fuck's sake!

Otherwise it could be a very short and uncomfortable world tour. T.

Organ Donation

This was mentioned recently on here, with the proposal for people to have to opt out of the scheme due to a chronic shortage of volunteers.

Here's a solution- you will only be eligible for a transplant if you yourself are a registered donor. You have to be in it to win it, effectively.

Seems like a pretty simple suggestion to me.

BBC in Yet More Bother

In a continuing trend of falsifying winners for phone in competitions on the BBC, Mark Thompson, the Director-General, said that viewers and staff had

“every right to be angry, as I am angry, that these and the earlier serious lapses have cast a shadow over the wider integrity of the BBC”.

He also admitted that viewers had been deceived on a scale far greater than previously thought.

OK, apology accepted but I'm not impressed with the service that you are ofering and I wish to cancel my contract.

Oh, I can't can I. I need to put up with this sack of shite because it the law...


With thanks to The Times:

Comic Relief, transmitted on March 16 on BBC One

In a section of the appeal programme, viewers were invited to donate money and informed that, by calling in, they could win prizes that belonged to a famous couple. The first two callers taken on air gave incorrect answers. The other waiting callers were lost and a third caller was heard on air successfully answering the question. This caller was not a viewer but a member of the production team.


Sport Relief, transmitted on July 15, 2006, on BBC One

Viewers were led to believe that a member of the public won a competition, but the caller was in fact a member of the production team. The BBC has found evidence that this action was planned as a contingency in advance and that the physical infrastructure of the competition meant that it would have been impossible for it to be run as was described on air, and warnings about potential difficulties in conducting the competition were ignored. This incident was not referred up nor was it declared to a BBC audit in March.


Children in Need, transmitted on November 18, 2005, on BBC One Scotland

In a segment called Raven: The Island in the BBC’s Children in Need appeal’s Scotland broadcast, viewers were led to believe that a phone-in competition, open to the audience, had been won by a viewer, when in fact, because of a technical mistake, calls from the public did not get through and the name of a fictitious winner was read out on air.


TMi, transmitted on September 16, 2006, on BBC Two and CBBC

After a production problem with a live competition, viewers were led to believe that a member of the audience was involved and won a competition open to the public. In fact, the caller was a member of the production team. The programme team failed to seek proper advice before running the competition.


The Liz Kershaw show, transmitted in 2005-06 on BBC 6 Music

In pre-recorded programmes, presented as if they were live, a competition was announced which appeared to feature genuine listeners phoning in to take part, one of whom would win a prize on air. In fact, in recorded programmes, there were no competitions or prizes and all of the callers were members of production team and their friends. A new producer took over the programme in December 2006 and stopped the practices as a matter of priority.


White Label, transmitted on World Service until April 2006

A weekly pop music preview programme on the English Service. On more than one occasion a fake winner was announced for the CD prize when no winning entries had been received

Cashing Up With Dibble

Are you aware that police funding was increased by more than 40%, to £12 billion a year, and yet there has been little impact on crime levels?

Shocking, unacceptable and yet strangely par for the course as no one is being made accountable for this terrible waste of tax payer's money. Same again next year? Or perhaps even worse...



A mere 53% of cases that do reach court result in convictions and for every 100 of the 10.9 million crimes (estimated by the British Crime Survey in 2005), there were just three convictions.

Green, Green Grass

Research in Japan has revealed that a kilo of beef (2.2lb) is more detrimental to the environment, with it being responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and pollution than a person driving a car for three hours, having left all the lights on at home.

I am reliably informed that the Government will now be introducing new legislation to ensure all UK citizens will become vegetarian by 2008...




The comparison has been made by estimating the polluting effects of raising cattle for slaughter, including carbon emissions from the animals’ flatulence and the transport of cows and feed.

Hit the Road Jacques

Think you can leave the UK on holiday and drive abroad without fear of getting nicked for speeding?

Think again.

A rule means that "a tourist given a fine or fixed penalty notice for any amount over £50.00 while in another EU country, could face a court summons, or policeman on the doorstep, long after returning".

The rule is already binding on all 25 member states, and they now have two years to write national laws implementing the rule, which will came into full force this year.

And if you hope local Plod will not be bothered to collect fines on behalf of another country, there is an incentive. The authorities who collect the fine will keep the proceeds, rather than send them back to the original scene of the crime and you know just how much Dibble loves to enforce traffic violations in the UK.

Happy holidays...

Paying the Ferryman

Yesterday we decided to spend a day in Sibenik, a small coastal town, slightly further south of Vodice but instead of getting the bus, we opted for the ferry.

Clearly we weren't the only ones with such an idea for when we arrived to purchase tickets, the queue was quite a length. It took perhaps 15-20 minutes to get near to the front and time was fast running out as the ferry was to due leave within a few minutes.

As we were due to get served the cashier told us we could buy tickets on board...

A simple sign above the kiosk would have solved all the queuing problems for everyone (for there were people who missed the boat) stating this option, but obviously, this is far too sensible.

Still, as you'll see from the photos, it was well worth the effort- a really pretty place, if a tad warm.

But It Was Well Worth It







To Temperatures Of...


Arriving at Sibenik


Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Vaffanculo

Apologies to any of our Italian readers (and yes, we do have some) for the rather shocking title of this post, but apparently the use of the "V" word is no longer considered as offensive as it once was.

Italy's highest court has judged the word too common to be considered in contravention of article 594 of Italy's penal code, which deals with offences under a category of "honour" crimes. This follows a case where a deputy mayor felt his honour had been offended by a foul-mouthed city councillor.

"Its unfortunately frequent use, sadly widespread ... has changed its impact," the court ruled, while lamenting the "deterioration in language and good manners".

So a bit like the "F" word in the English spoken language- a sign of the times all round.



Vaffanculo is generally translated as "fuck off" by the way...

Another Late Comer to the Party

It seems it is not just Smoke on Trent's council that made administrative errors when trying to implement the national smoking ban.

So too with Fareham Borough Council in Hampshire which means they are powerless to enforce the ban in its pubs and workplaces.

It failed to agree the by-law at last month’s full council meeting, so it cannot come into force until July 27.

Oddly enough, the local authority has not publicised this fact but now you know, you can quite happily puff away for a couple of weeks yet...

Ticking all the Wrong Boxes

Did you know that one in ten only pay back the minimum required amount on their credit card?

That being the case, it could take up to thirty years to clear the debt.

Currently the minimum repayment percentage is 2%, but if this was increased by another percent to 3%, the same repayment time would drop to only fifteen years and interest payments would be cut by a staggering £5.5 billion!





Credit card debt in Britain has now reached £54 billion.

Give us a Twirl

With the end of wigs for judges and barristers in sight, some fashion designer burd is offering her services "pro bono" (free) to design the new robe.

Some hip and happening spokesperson twittered on how the "new gowns will be the envy of the Commonwealth".

Surely the whole reason for dispensing with the wigs and associated apparel is to bring the profession into the 21st century and stop the charade of dressing up?

So why the need for any type of gown? Just wear what is comfortable (obviously no tie...) and do your bloody job instead of poncing about in fancy dress.

Tuff Stamps

Further with the observations from the beach is the popularity of tattoos amongst both of the sexes.

A rough straw poll puts the percentage around 75-80% with brands and a huge-mongous range of designs and images.

Tribal bands are still what the majority of punters are displaying and the gurlies still favour the inking across the small of their backs, but people are becoming more adventurous.

Again, as with body fat there isn't much hiding place on the beach...

Pound of Flesh

One of the more obvious circumstances of frequenting a beach during the summer (at least abroad where there is sunshine and warmth for more than a day or two in a row) is the amount of bare flesh that is on display.

Contrary to popular scaremongers amongst the medical world, is that on the whole most bodies on display are not obese or over weight; simply dis-proportioned.

No matter how hard one tries, as we advance through the decades, we will all put on weight- blurks around the midriff and burds around the bum and thighs.

Of course one can prolong the inevitable with copious exercise and strict dieting, but as sure as King Canute found out, you cannot hold back the waves of fat indefinitely.

So the choice remains with you. Get used to it, deal with it and enjoy life or cover up, stay off the beach or go and live in England.

More on the Tie

Despite my intense dislike for the ridiculous neck tie, I still like to offer a balanced view and so give you a quick history of the tie in the UK.

The tie as we know it evolved from the French cravat, although the French themselves copied the garment from those worn by Croatian fighters in the 17th century. The word "cravat" is derivative of "Croat".

The Gallic flamboyance needed to be toned down when the garment crossed the Channel, becoming popular in England during the second half of the 19th century.

The English tie, which emerged in its current form in the 1920s, was simply designed to add colour to a uniform or suit.

The Duke of Windsor lent his name to the famous Windsor knot, although he did not use the knot himself.

See? Even when I try, ties are just simply b-o-r-i-n-g...

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

That Takes Some Doing...

Romanian traffic cops in the seaside town of Constanta were rather surprised to discover that the driver of a BMW they pulled for zigzagging across the road had no licence, no hands, no clothes, and was figuratively legless.

The 23 year old driver tested positive for twice the drink-drive limit, and put his lack of clothes down to a trip to a local nudist beach, which he'd left in a bit of a hurry.

The reason for the amputated hands is not noted, but the Beemer was an automatic, which must have made things a bit easier for him.

The police sub-inspector said: "He had no licence, but told us he had developed his own special way of driving."

The chap has been charged with drunk driving and driving without a licence, having apparently avoided a public decency rap.

Many thanks to BigBadMad for sending me this story from here: The Register

Broadband Connections

It is one of the most important life lines to us as we travel around from place to place and the first thing we look for in accommodation.

There has just been a review of prices and connection speeds for the Top Thirty "Richest Nations" and it will probably come as no surprise to find the UK is no where the top of the list for good VFM (value for money) or download rates. It ranks a miserable 19th.

Average cost of monthly broadband connection is £14.50 whereas it is just £5.40 in Sweden, less than £8.00 in the United States and £8.20 in France.

In Britain it is difficult to get much more than 8 Mbps (megabits per second)- not so with many of our international peers with Japan leading the way with broadband speeds of 100 Mbps! However, this is more down to the fact that most UK houses are still connected to broadband exchanges via old copper wires.

All in all, the report says that in the UK, the cheapest megabit per second broadband connection is £1.81, more than the US on £1.59 and considerably more than in Japan at just 11 pence.

I guess we've been dead lucky so as we usually average 54 Mbps at a cost of sweet bugger all.

You Can't Count On Anyone

Question: What is one eighth of 32?

(a) 6
(b) 4
(c) 2
(d) 8
(e) None of these
(f) Don't know

If you are unable to answer this basic maths question aimed at eight-year-old children, you may well be the one adult in fourteen who has difficulty in numeracy.

And if you are under eight and haven't sussed it, tell your old man it's (b)...

Harry Potter

The seventh and final HP book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is due to go on sale at midnight on Friday, 20th July, (how rather twee, but what's the point?) but it seems there will not be much profit to be made for some retailers.

The recommended retail price (RRP) is £17.99 with the wholesale price at £9.89, however it is being advertised as low as £7.99- £8.87 which means that most retailers are selling the book at a loss just to attract customers.

Bet they're glad it's the last one...

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

If current trends continue, Scientology will be the most popular religion in the world by 2035.

That's only 28 years away...

Hhhhhmmmm, Donuts


You may have heard of the Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset, England?
Pagans believe the ancient chalk outline of the naked, sexually aroused giant to be a symbol of ancient spirituality and many also believe the 180 ft carving aids fertility.
Whatever their thoughts on this, one thing is for sure; they ain't Simpson fans. It seems they are not amused by the latest addition of Homer in an adjoining field which has been painted with water-based biodegradable paint that will wash away as soon as it rains.
The district manager for The Pagan Federation said:
"We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind. We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away."

She added: "I'm amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It's an area of scientific interest."
Tell you what love, save some of your powerful magic and conjure yourself up a sense of humour instead.

** Not Work Safe **

A traffic warden approached a man parking his car.

"You can't park there, that's a disabled bay" he said.

"But I am disabled"

The warden replied sarcastically, "oh really, what with?"

"Fucking Tourettes you cunt, now piss off, you tosser"


:oD

Coming Up

To our local cinema next weekend; Oceans 13 to keep wifey happy with Brad Pitt & George Clooney (yeah, what do they look like in Speedos, huh?) and Pirates of the Caribbean III- The World's End.

Brilliant, and all for the cost of a couple of quid.

Sunday Masses

Here's something one doesn't see often- people queuing to get into church.

Sunday Mass was being given and the local churchy/chapel/gang hut thing was so full they were standing in the street, where the thoughtful religious crew had arranged to have the sermon piped out into the road via loud speakers.

Quite a sight and clearly demonstrating that God is alive and doing very well in Croatia.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Come Again?


Yeah, you are reading that correctly- it's going to hit 41 degrees Centigrade this week!

Boris Johnson

Has just announced that he will be running for the position as London Mayor at the next elections. He had until noon today to advise the Conservative party of his intentions and made the deadline with an hour to go.

I am not sure what his political manifesto is, but if popularity is anything to go by, he will walk it.

Points Make Prizes

But the only prize will be losing your licence far more easily if the latest recommendations for speeding are going to be made law.

A "sliding scale" for doling out points onto your licence is to be considered, with 2 points for a few mph over the limit up to 6 points for more serious speeds. Fines will also be increased to match the severity of the speeding offence committed.

So if you end up doing 45 mph in a 30 mph zone twice for example, and it's bye bye licence.

The transport minister, said: "Graduated speeding penalties make the punishment better fit the crime. This considers drivers who breach the limit by a small amount through lapses in concentration."

Through lapses of concentration? What a tosser- people speed because they want to and they disagree with the limits imposed on them.

Limits which have not been revised for decades and are so far out of date it makes a mockery of the current restrictions. Are they seriously expecting us to believe that we have made no progress in technology in the quality of modern tyres, brakes (ABS anyone?) or road conditions that means we have to stick to a speed limit that is over half a century old?

Preposterous, and if they continue to take us for fools we will continue to speed and flout the law.

Big Brother BBC

The latest technology in detection devices has finally reached the BBC in their quest to locate, persecute/prosecute and exterminate licence dodgers.

It seems the hand held units, no larger than a torch, are apparently highly accurate and will ensure anyone watching a television without a £135.50 (~190€) licence will no longer have anywhere to hide.

For the benefit of our foreign readers who may not be aware, one needs a TV licence by law in the UK with fines of up to £1000 for non-compliance. Still think England is so cool?



More than 1,000 licence fee evaders were caught each day in 2006 and YTD (year to date) for the first six months of this year, 214,000 have been nicked.

** Update **

Follow up to "In the Name of God" with a fuller story in today's Times:

More details here

Coincidence? Not Half!

I'm a passionate fan of motorbikes and this is possibly the single most thing I miss on our travels; our stable of two wheeled steeds. However, it's a small sacrifice to make and I still keep in touch with the bike scene via forum chat boards where I have made lots of great friends.

These forums are not just a good way to meet and interact with people who share similar tastes, but they are full of very generous and knowledgeable folk who are always keen to help should you have a problem or query.

Recently we discovered that scans we had taken of our passports could not be opened as we no longer had the correct programme since our previous laptop died. I put up a plea for help and shortly received an email from "Nomad" who volunteered his services and converted them within minutes for us.

Perhaps a simple task for someone with the correct software, but still a favour nonetheless, which got us out of a hole and helped us immensely. Top man.

From an entirely different board, another pal "Jonah" was taking his R1 (funnily enough, I had one of those too) out for a blast and ended up in Dawlish Warren where he treated himself to a pint in The Anchor by the harbour. He saw a couple of Harleys (although Nomad rides a Triumph Rocket III- nice one J!) and the riders noticed his bike and especially a couple of stickers for "The Gin House" adhered to his fairings.

One of the guys struck up conversation in the usual friendly biker style and asked Jonah if he knew Trixy (we have some great user names on these forums :oD) and me and it happened to be Nomad of all people- he was off to France for his holiday on the bike with some friends.

It really is a small world sometimes...

Water Melons

I've been enthusing about the variety of fruit trees we have witnessed in Croatia, but it is not just the trees that are amazing; the fruit itself can be quite astonishing too.

We must be in high water melon season because everywhere we look there are these monster melons stacked mile high, waiting to be carted off.

They are so big that it takes a team of grown men to physically carry them as if they were tablets of rock set for Stonehenge and in comparison they make what passes for a similar item in the UK look about the size of a marble.

I think I've eaten more fruit in the last few weeks than in years back in Blighty and that really can't be a bad thing.

And Further Congratulations

To my parents, who yesterday celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary. Fine effort and not something one hears about so much nowadays.

Happy Birthday, Ira

Many happy returns of the day and we hope you have a great time celebrating.

Was it really a year ago we posted up a similar message?

The Last King of Scotland

We're on a roll.

Saturday night it was "Spidy 3" and last night it was "The Last King of Scotland"; and what an amazing film it was.

Without spoiling it for people who have not seen the film, it concerns itself over the life story of the brutal Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, as witnessed through the eyes of his personal physician set in the 1970s.

Astounding acting by both Forest Whitaker* (Amin) and James McAvoy (Dr Nicholas Garrigan) with a great cameo by a nearly unrecognisable Gillian Anderson, who is blonde and puts on a more than passable English accent.

Despite some highly irritating and questionable acts by Dr Garrigan which could have marred a truly splendid film, it is the powerful and almost mesmerising acting by Whitaker switching effortlessly between his "good cop/bad cop" schizo persona which almost single handidly made this film a must see for me.

It's astonishing to think back and realise that this monster reigned for almost 8 years (1971 - 1979) and in the end never faced trial for his actions, instead fleeing his country to live in exile in Saudi Arabia, where he died in 2003. Coincidentally dying on the same day as Elvis Presley; 16th August.

ktelontour rating: Just grab any chance to see this film.


*Rightfully winning an Oscar for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role"

It's Not Just Us Who Fell in Love with Slovenia

Since Slovenia entered the European Union, government figures show that about 2 200 properties have been sold to foreigners, 900 of which have been bought by British residents.

The latest is Heather Mills, the estranged wife of Paul McCartney and she has picked up a house formerly used by the country's president for his official holidays, for £400 000.

See? Exactly what we have been saying- Slovenia is the happening place and we sure are looking forward to returning in a few year's time.






Please do not visit or take a holiday there and spoil our secret sanctuary. ;-)

Deutsche Moto GP

Unfortunately we got our timing slightly wrong today and ended up leaving our apartment later than we thought to catch up with the Sachsenring Moto GP.

We don't have Eurosport here (not even a bleedin' telly) but with a load of German tourists in Vodice we figured we stood a good chance to see the race in one of the numerous sea front bars.

We did; sadly only for the last 10 laps of the race, but that was enough to see yet another quality duel with everyone giving their utmost in scorching conditions.

It appears that Rossi is mortal after all and will have a major battle in reclaiming his lost world crown this year but as I am not an out and out Valentino fan, this simply adds to my personal enjoyment to see great racing from a number of contenders and not a runaway leader.

As ever, a top write up with our mate Mad over at [Mad TV] so go take a look.

The Things One Notices...


I was rinsing out my swimming trunks/shorts and noticed the label-you may need to enlarge the image.
So, on the one hand I still have the waist size of a teenager and yet on the other I seem to be hung like a fourteen year old.
Life's full of bitter sweet ironies. :oD

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Boogie on Down with the Beckhams

The Beckham "brand" is set to be cashed in on further with the intention to open a chain of "elite nightclubs across the States and around the world".

Could be interesting, imagine going to a disco where the bouncers have larger IQs than the owners...

Donor Kebab?

Due to a chronic shortage of kidneys, livers and hearts, the chief medical officer wants everyone to be treated as organ donors after death unless they explicitly opt out of the scheme.

He recommends a 100%, across the board scheme where it is presumed everyone is a donor unless the individual makes the effort to de-register themselves.

Despite actually having registered as a potential donor myself and believing it is a most worthy cause, I have to say I find this wholly intrusive and yet another ploy by which the "powers that be" attempt to once again interfere in other people's lives.

Sorry, but why should the onus be placed on someone for wishing to opt out? Next thing it will be presumed guilty until proven innocent...


Approximately 90% of Britons are willing to donate organs after their death, but only 14.5 million (23% of the population) are on the Organ Donor Register.

In the Name of God?

The Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles is due to pay at least $600 million (~£294 million) to settle court cases brought by people who as children were sexually abused by priests.

People have brought forward 500 cases so far and the first was due to be heard in court tomorrow.

I find this appalling.

They wait until the 24th hour before finally offering meagre compensation to the poor children they had a duty and trust to care for and thus avoid any of the sordid details being made public.

I truly hope the bastards burn in Hell and just wish legal proceedings are still going to be instigated against this scum.

There is a God? I hardly think so.

Capital Radio

One of the great advantages of broadband internet connection (aside from polluting the "super information highway" with my guff) is that we can listen to our favourite radio station during the day.

What takes a bit more getting used to is hearing the news as it happens and also to the weather bullet- ins.

"Warm, with temperatures heading into 21-22 degrees centigrade with showers and strong gusts of wind later in the day"

Come again? Warm? We average 30+ everyday and rain happens once a fortnight, late in the evening to keep the plants happy.

Shall I just stop there? :oD

Capital Radio- 95.8

Dining Out in Vodice

To round off the evening yesterday we went out for dinner after the film and headed down to the sea front where there is a plethora of restaurant choices.

The place was absolutely packed with holiday makers out in their droves at around 9.30 pm, all enjoying the hot, balmy night air and milling around just relaxing. There was also another, free open air concert which drew large crowds and all the ice-cream parlours were enjoying a brisk trade as the tourists tried to keep cool on their delicious desserts.

We found an ideal eatery which had a free table and scanned the well proportioned menu, settling for shark steak (wifey) and squid (me) with side salad. Both meals came with potatoes and vegetable and the food arrived quickly, was piping hot and freshly prepared. Possibly the best meal we've had to date in Vodice and the entire bill came to fifteen quid- three of which was for water and a fruit juice.

Is anyone tempted to take a holiday to Croatia yet? You'd be mad to miss out.

The Year of the Three

Spider- Man 3
Pirates of the Caribbean 3
Shrek 3
Oceans 13


Can't Hollywood think of anything new anymore?



(And Die Hard 4 but that would have messed up the list of...)

Film Ratings

I've just checked out the Spider- Man 3's certification and it seems to be a 12 or PG.

I'm not overly au fait with these "guidelines" as being well over the age of 18 now, they don't apply, but I think it means that anyone seeing the film has to be 12 or over or have their parents present to be admitted.

Not so here, a family watched with their two kids, one of which was in a pushchair/pram and about 18 months old.

Several, unsupervised kids were well under 12 (6-8?) and no one was the slightest bit worried about it, including us. It's just great to see people relaxing and not enforcing strict rules and the kids themselves were absolutely well behaved and quiet once the film began rolling.

I've seen poorer behaved adult audiences back in England!

The Other Traveller's Entertainment Centre

If lacking a TV is the cinema.

Fortunately Vodice has one and whilst viewing times are limited; confined to evenings only Friday to Sunday, two shows per night, they have recent fill-ums.

Last night we went to see "Spider- Man 3" (or is it III? They try all sorts to make the title seem more exciting than it really is) and it wasn't bad.

The plot had major holes akin to the bottomless money pit the London 2012 Olympics are turning into, but suspend belief, stop yourself from shouting at the real howlers in continuity and just go with the flow.

Hell, compared to that utter arse dropping of the monstrously dull turd, "Superman Returns" (which coincidentally watched in Oliwa, Poland around this time last year) it was a cinematic masterpiece.

Anyway, no doubt you'll have already seen the film or will be watching it as the Big Block-Buster Christmas fill-um on the BBC for 2037) and I don't want to spoil it for the slower people at the back of the class, so the ktelontour rating is good to kill off a couple of hours on a limited budget.

Oh, did I not mention the entry price?

£1.87/person to sit in sumptuous seats with so much leg room one needed the usher to point out the other side and they positively encourage you to bring in your own snacks and drinks.

Literary Review - It's Back

With the absence of television at our current abode, we have reverted back to the traveller's best friend and taken to books.

Our current supply of books has been dwindling and so wifey in a mad rush of blood to the head went out and purchased a couple of English books from the local book store, one of which I have just completed. "Croatian Nights"

It's a collection of 18 short stories half of which are penned by British Authors; the other half by Croatian and it is supposed to have been born out of "a shared fondness for hard drinking and the contempt for regular employment".

I can safely advise that there is certainly a bit of contempt within the pages- most of it for a good yarn, and the closest it gets to "hard drinking" is perhaps a whiff of ginger beer.

Of the eighteen offerings, I'd perhaps re-read merely one, perhaps two at a push- the rest are dire, but I do have sympathy for the Croatian writers who have had their works translated and thus must lose something along the way.

As to the Brits? What the bloody hell is their excuse?

ktelontour rating? Avoid and spend your hard saved tenner on rusty pins to insert into eyeballs; marginally more fun.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

The Seven Wonders In Pictures

You may recall we recently mentioned that there was an on-line poll to select the new Seven Wonders of the World. We posted up the winners but, thanks to the BBC, we can now also offer you a chance to see them.

One day we hope to able to report back that we have seen them all for real on our travels, but in the meantime the pictures will have to suffice. Enjoy.

India's Taj Mahal


Jordan's Petra


Peru's Machu Picchu


The Great Wall of China


The Colosseum in Rome


Brazil's Statue of Christ the Redeemer


The Ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico



Wembley Turf

Barely a few months old, the "new and improved" Wembley has to re-lay its turf, only three weeks before the start of the new season (the Community Shield match between Manchester United and Chelsea).

It seems that the summer concerts have taken their toll which have prevented proper re-growth of the grass and so an entire new pitch needs to be laid.

Is there anything else left that could possibly go wrong?

Titter


Bank Charges Abroad

In an ever increasing push to make even more profit, banks are to hike up their prices for using credit & debit cards abroad.

All the common high street banks will charge between £4.25 - £4.99 if you withdraw £100 cash from the ATM using your debit card and £5.25 - £5.95 if using your credit card for the same amount.

And if using your credit card to pay off a hotel bill or settle a restaurant tab the charges are still costly, ranging from £2.75 - £2.95/transaction.

So, do the sensible thing and open an account with the Nationwide where all over seas transactions are free.




Estimated total figures for "hidden charges" was £326 million last year and this will be nearing £500 million for 2007.

It's in the Bag

The latest scam to screw you out of yet more wedge?

They are intending a 10p tax on plastic, supermarket carrier bags.

The proposal is to be included in a Bill to come before MPs on 27th November 2007 and if passed, the new law could be in force by 2009.






It is estimated that 13 billion carrier bags are used each year; an adult uses about 300 a year on average, yet only one in 200 is recycled.

Sheffield Steel

And on the subject of football, this really made me laugh:

Hitler was a Sheffield United fan...

Beckham Mania

Will not be covered here on ktelontour, instead and with thanks to The Times, we will celebrate the 50 worst footballers that have had the good (mis?)fortune to grace the Premiership.

List

However, don't blame me if there are people missing or that are included that you personally rate- I didn't compile the list. :oD

And an update with an additional 20 more names:

Here

Green For Go?

I've just found out that the Prime Minister of England does not wait at red traffic lights.

Clearly this abuse of power will be excused under the all encompassing banner of "terrorism" but I really cannot understand why this is necessary.

Are we to believe the PM is above the law of the land?

Sorry, of course he is- he can wage war on another country just because he feels it is justified...and of course he has the "terrorism" excuse ready to hand once again.

It's All in the Name

It's not often I mention names on here, but following on from wifey's post about the two burds currently facing 10 years in the slammer for trying to smuggle cocaine out of Ghana, it's their names that struck me.

Obviously it's not their fault they have been saddled with their handles, that dubious honour goes to their parents, but if names are an indication of IQ levels...

Yasemin and Yetunde?

Per-lease.

The Weather Forecast

Having made a complete pig's ear out of their summer weather predictions and entirely missing the deluge of rain and floods you guys are currently experiencing, the Met Office is making amends by issuing its winter forecast as follows:

"It will be warmer and wetter than usual, but colder and drier than last year, and but for global warming it would be colder than usual too."

And they get paid for this?

Nice Weather for Ducks

During the recent, terrible floods which have devastated parts of England, some people were turned back by the emergency services due to closed roads.

Imagine working at Sheffield Hospital where staff were told that their time off had to be taken as part of their annual holiday allowance or as unpaid leave?

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said that otherwise it would be unfair on staff who did get to work.

That's going to be a right moral booster, isn't it?

That's A Big 10-4

They just can't stop meddling, can they?

The next item on the agenda of "It's Working Fine But Let's Bollocks It Up Anyway" is to introduce "Airwavespeak" to Plod which will see such traditional jargon as “roger that” and “over and out” being banned.

If it ain't broke...





Airwavespeak will consist of 28 key words and 16 “status” codes and will be introduced nationally over the next two years.

GCSE, It's as Easy as ABC...

The latest planned overhaul of the basic qualification, the GCSE, is to introduce multiple choice answers and give up to 50% of the marks for correct punctuation.

Officials announced that it was an attempt to ensure all school-leavers gain basic numeracy and literacy skills.

If the aim of the "test" is for everyone to pass, why not just give hand out the certificates with the milk tokens?

Friday, 13 July 2007

Darwin's Law or a sketch from Little Britain

I laughed myself silly when I read this in the news today regarding the two British girls being held in Ghana - courtesy of the BBC :

One of the girls told Channel 4 News on Thursday night they were tricked into carrying drugs to London.
Speaking by telephone from prison in Accra, she said: "There were basically two boys over here who gave us two bags and told us... it was an empty bag
"We never thought anything bad was inside... and they told us to go to the UK and drop it off to some boy... at the airport."
"It was basically like a set-up. They didn't tell us nothing, we didn't think nothing, 'cos basically we are innocent.
"We don't know nothing about this drugs and stuff."

Priceless.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Is the fear of Friday 13th, which is today.

Supposedly Adam and Eve were booted from Eden on a Friday.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

The Great Flood started on a Friday.

Pretty bad day if it also happened to be the 13th and you were around in biblical times, eh?

Here's another gem. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck:

- Jack the Ripper
- Charles Manson
- Jeffrey Dahmer
- Theodore Bundy
- Albert De Salvo

Coincidence?

Of course it bloody is; who the hell introduces themselves as "Mr Ripper, Jack to me mates"?




Note: Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13 and is different to fearing Friday 13th.

We Get This a Lot!


Bottle Deposit


Ever wondered what to do with your empty bottles?

The same question occurred to a pensioner in England and he ended up using his empty wine bottles to create this folly (pictured above) in his back garden modelled on the Pantheon in Rome.

He has already used 3 000 empties in the concrete structure, which stands 3.5 metres (11ft) high with a diameter of almost 6.0 metres and he estimates that he will need another 2 000 bottles to finish the job.

Whilst he is an enthusiastic wine drinker himself, he did admit that he has had a lot of donations and he plans to add a seating area for visitors upon completion.

It's nice to be different, isn't it?

Mobile Madness

I've just discovered that Britain has 40 million mobile phone numbers in use.

Blimey.

Go On My Son

A barrister who parks his 500 cc Suzuki motorcycle on the pavement outside his home in London, is refusing to pay any of the 100 parking tickets he has amassed to date.

He claims his bike is immune to fines because its wheels do not touch the ground when it is parked on the centre stand with both wheels off the ground. He says that the relevant legislation states that a parking violation is committed when a motor vehicle is “parked with one or more wheels on any part of an urban road" and he is now seeking an injunction against Islington council.

Excellent- I hope he wins.

Sounds About Right

Sadly BLiar is still in the news, this time for stating that he wants to live in the palatial former residence of the British High Commissioner in Palestine.

BLiar, who will represent the UN, the EU, the US and Russia made the request for lodgings at Government House, Jerusalem recently but I wonder if he is aware that the former residence of the High Commissioner (who oversaw Britain’s mandate of Palestine until 1948) is said to have been where Judas betrayed Jesus...

Ice Cream

Right, that's got all the burds interested. ;-)

They sure know their ice creams in Croatia. Loads of flavours (although it takes a lot to beat the original, simple vanilla) and more than reasonable to boot.

A single scoop in a wafer cone, which is usually a generous time and a half, kicks off at 4-5 HRK (37 - 46p).

Simply delicious as you wander along the promenade in the baking sun, deciding where you're going to eat later.

Drinks in Restaurants

I've probably mentioned this before but it still irritates me; the cost of drinks when dining out and in particular soft drinks.

It seems to be the whole world over, but how on earth can they justify charging a small fortune for a drink to accompany your food? What is even more aggravating is they then only offer you a titchy bottle too.

250 ml? Sod off, that's only a bleedin' mouthful, you greedy gits.

Grrrr...

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Heartwarming

This chap had a dream to restore a 25 year old Lotus which he hoped to achieve in 18 months at around £25 000. He joined an on-line fan club to gain advice and locate parts but in the process he suffered multiple mini-strokes (Reiter's Syndrome) preventing him from making any progress on his project.

His new pals at the club found out about this and decided to complete the restoration in secret as a surprise for the guy.

While he recovered in hospital, the club set up a private area on the website and went about recruiting help from its 3 800 members and before long, offers of money, car parts and time soon came flooding.

Thanks to the response, the entire car was restored to its former glory in just five weeks, taking 2 000 hours to finish.

They then managed to convince the owner to come down to a Club Lotus annual track day where they drove his car on the track, before stopping in front of him.

It was only then that he recognised his registration plate!

What a lovely tale.


Full story from the BBC

Our Beach




Life From A Window

This was the view from our digs in Zadar. The apartment itself was lovely with all mod cons but yes it was situated on a building site.
When our hosts started building the house 15 years ago there was no-one else for miles around - just green fields and a great view of the mountains. Then other families started to move to the Novi estate. Sadly then came the war and all work stopped. Unfortunately since there are a few properties owned by displaced former residents, it may be a while yet before the estate is completed. Still, our hosts' incredible hospitality more than made up for the lack of view - and the garden to the back was lovely. And you think you have problems with your neighbours ?

Public Phones

We needed to make a telephone call to our next host as he had kindly offered to collect us from the bus station.

We'd been putting some coins aside in readiness but we were unsure as to rates because we'd be calling a mobile phone from a public land line, which back in the UK is extortionate.

Of course upon arrival the telephone only accepted cards, but with a kiosk nearby we picked up a 15 HRK card (~£1.50) without fuss or bother and proceeded to call the given number.

I can't remember the length of the conversation, but certainly long enough to let our host know we'd arrived and we would be waiting for him and he advised us he would be along in five minutes or so.

The cost for this convo?

Less than 10p- how's that for a good service?

More Photies on Flickr

HERE

Having now published in excess of 200 photos on this site for free, it appears we have reached our limit and our older photos will no longer be available to view unless we upgrade to the "professional" package.

So, if you've missed the early days, tough- we ain't paying. You can of course still see our latest pictures and hopefully they may inspire you to come and visit one day.

:oD

Yet More Trees




In the occasional series of Fruit Trees Found in Croatia, we bring you, fig, pomegranate and lime; all growing quite freely in the numerous gardens surrounding the area.
Beats cabbages and cucumbers.


Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Balkan Brief

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia which was the worst atrocity in Europe since WWII and arguably the UN’s darkest hour.

Hopefully the commemorative ceremony and planned marches will take place peacefully but I have my fears as tensions are running particularly high this year for several reasons:
It recently came to light that whilst the International Court of Justice concluded that indeed this was Genocide, the same court failed to subpoena known documents which may have altered their March 2007 decision to declare Belgrade not responsible for the actions of the Bosnian Serb officers in charge. (Thus absolving the Serbian government from paying enormous financial damages to Bosnia.)
Today will also see the burial of the remaining 446 victims of the massacre who were identified last year, which sad occasion has already been marred by the latest bickering within the current tripartite government who cannot even agree on the security or organisation of the event.

This is just one of the recent developments which serve to highlight the current deterioration in political relations in Bosnia Herzegovina.
As we are looking forward to visiting BiH next month we are taking an active interest in the region, particularly as the EU have now extended the Office of EU Special Representative (and High Representative) to new envoy Miroslav Lajcak. It had been hoped that the last envoy (Christian Schwarz-Schilling) would be the last but as with Northern Ireland and now Iraq the formation of a stable, effective coalition government is proving elusive. Hopefully Mr Lajcak will have more luck than his predecessors (who include Paddy Ashdown) - at least the 44 year old Slovakian seems to have more understanding of the region.

On a lighter note – Dracula’s Castle is up for sale

The Von Habsburg family to whom the castle was returned last year have decided to sell up – Bound to cost an eye tooth.

So Vodice, What's it all About?

You've seen the pictures below (and you'll soon have a few more in Flickr) and I'm sure you'll agree it looks fabulous. It is.

But it is also very popular with tourists, especially the Germans, which account for approximately 60% of foreign visitors and once again makes life a bit easier for anyone speaking German. We do.

However, it is also full of national tourists so if the Croatians take to the beaches and choose Vodice as their break in the sun, we must be doing something right. We have.

It's brilliant and makes a change to be out and about in the milling crowds at night. Retailers are all geared towards keeping Mr & Mrs Tourist happy with shops and markets staying open well after 10.00 pm and there are literally hundreds of restaurants and bars to choose from.

I think we're going to have great fun here over the next few weeks.

Best Man?

Receiving an email at the beginning of the year from a friend advising that he was getting married in July, a chap flew back from Toronto, Canada to attend.

It cost him £500 for the ticket and he travelled over 3 500 miles only to discover that whilst the wedding was indeed in July; he was a year too early as it was due in 2008!

The man said that he did find it odd that he had not received an invitation or that the rest of their mutual mates had not mentioned it, but it didn't stop him from wanting to be there.

Top man!

All Along the Watch Tower

As mentioned previously, Britain is one of the most filmed and spied upon countries in the world, and we are constantly told it is for our own good and safety.

So how come a two mile stretch of the Holloway Road in London has 102 CCTV cameras trained on it (not to mention an additional 7 speed/traffic lane infringement cameras) and yet police advised there have been 430 offences committed over six months on it, including 29 serious assaults, 15 robberies and 32 burglaries?

Something is clearly not working...



Britain has 4.2 million CCTV cameras, one for every 14 people which is more than in the rest of Europe put together.

Here's a Novelty

We have a toaster in our apartment.

Hot, buttered toast with Marmite at long last.

*yay*

Ed Balls

The new Schools Secretary has proudly claims that "his task in the next decade is for our education system to become world class".

I'm sorry, but with a name like his I just can't anything he says seriously, especially given the fact that his Government has systematically bollocksed up the education system in Britain over the last ten odd years...

Vonderful Vodice







Fuming In Stoke

Can't do without your fag despite the recent ban?

Not an MP and so unable to get off from paying your fine?

Fear not, just move to Stoke.

Due to their usual incompetency, Stoke-on-Trent council did not complete legal paperwork by the 1st July deadline and so they are unable to legally impose any fines until 2nd August.





The council was named the worst in England by the Audit Commission earlier this year.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

London 2012

I see the London Olympics are now going to cost an estimated £9.3 billion as opposed to the original forecast of £2.4 billion, more than four times the amount.

Sounds a bit like the Wembley fiasco to me.



Don't we ever learn?

You Must be Kidding

A man in America recently robbed a bank, disguised as a tree!

He apparently had three branches taped to his head and chest, held up a bank, and stole a bag of cash (no doubt marked up as swag or loot)!

And guess where the bank was? In Elm Street.

Monty Python sketch or what?




The whole thing was captured on a security camera and I bet it will be on you tube pretty sharpish. Can't wait.

Latest Scores on the Doors



Click on the image to enlarge and get dead jealous as to where we are and where we have been.

Last Supper

Another top feast with our hosts in Zadar yesterday saw us dine on fresh squid they had caught themselves the night before, with wine they had pressed themselves, accompanied by vegetables they had grown in their garden.

The only thing they had bought was the bread!

The squid risotto (using its own ink) was amazing and yet another first for us- simple, yet delicious and cooked to perfection with the al dente rice giving a lovely contrast to the silk like squid.

Why do UK restaurants charge a fortune for risotto? It's so simple to make, uses very few ingredients and yet the chefs make out it's a top of the range, complex dish.

It's not, so stop conning people into thinking it is and offer it at a reasonable price so that everyone can try it.

Landed in Vodice

Without fuss or effort we have managed the next step of our journey by cadging a lift to the main bus station with our hosts in Zadar, and then getting the coach directly to Vodice for a more than reasonable £4/head (about 100km and about an hour and a half on the bus).

A quick phone call and we were collected at this end and we're now happily setting up home in our latest accommodation.

It's basic.

We have single beds, no air con and no TV.

We do have internet, a 120m stroll to the beach and a lovely seaside town to explore.

So, all in all we're very happy and suspect we will be doing a lot of swimming here just to keep cool.

Expect photos on here and Flickr over the next few days and a bit more news as we begin to explore our new surroundings.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Cheers, Ian- Another Chuckle

I have two dogs and I was buying a large bag of Winalot in Tesco and standing in the queue minding my own business, waiting to pay at the till.

A woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

On impulse, I told her no, that I was starting "The Winalot Diet" again, although I probably shouldn't because last time I ended up in the hospital.

However, it had been successful as I had lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and the way that it works is to load your trouser pockets with Winalot nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

Practically everyone in the queue was by now listening to my story, particularly a guy who was behind her.

Horrified, she asked if I'd ended up in the hospital in that condition because I had been poisoned.

I told her no, it was because I'd been sitting in the road licking my arse and a bus ran me over.

I thought one guy was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard as he staggered out the door.

Stupid cow..........why else would I buy dog food?

Musical Attitudes

Worldwide music sales are expected to take a battering this year, making 2007 the worst year for the recording industry for more than a quarter of a century.

Naturally much of the reason for this is the new digital era and the simplicity of "pirating" music.

However, I feel the main cause of this drop in sales is quite simply that there is nothing worth buying anymore.

With programmes such as "Pap Idols" and similar, where talentless bints and brain-dead buffoons are selected simply due to their looks and the ability to learn complicated choreographic dance routines, one sees why.

They have no talent, can't sing or play a note on a real musical instrument and couldn't even compose a note to the milkman let along write a tuneful song. All they expect are instant fame and recognition just for looking pretty.

And the music business no longer seems content to provide proper music anymore either. Instead they want to promote costly and overly complex CGI videos, because they know their latest acts can't hold a tune, let alone a cup of tea. They want a sure fire money generator without the risk of looking for proper talent and giving them a chance to make it big.

Sorry people, you're being found out. Stick to music and not appearance, stick to the radio and not VH-1 or MTV and maybe, just maybe, we'll start to listen again.