Monday, 31 October 2011

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Lacking Training?

A burd Plod officer who hit her head on a cabinet after the back of chair snapped off received £10 000 compensation, latest figures show.  Another Dibble was paid £5 000 after slipping on a wet patch in a bog.   The figures have been released following a request under the Freedom of Information Act and show the Farce has paid out £45 894 since 2006.  Doesn't sound like much, why the fuss?

Other incidents include:

* A Public Protection Officer who burnt his hand in flames at training course at RAF Cosford- £4 875
* A Response Volume Crime Officer received a knee injury after he lost control approaching a corner- £1 600
* A Response Officer put his hand through a pane of glass while running out of a station on a 999 call- £2 052
* A Central Ticket Office staff member claimed that complaints about backache and an "uncomfortable workstation" were not addressed- £1 000
* A Crime Desk Investigation staff member slipped on wet floor in toilet and hurt her back- £5 000.


Weight Savers

E-readers are meant to let you carry entire libraries without any additional weight- but the devices actually get heavier every time a new text is downloaded.  The weight difference is unlikely to make much difference to holidaymakers' baggage allowances, however, because each new tome is about as heavy as a single molecule of DNA. 

It's because storing new data involves holding electrons in a fixed place in the device's memory.  Although the electrons were already present, keeping them still rather than allowing them to float around takes up extra energy- about a billionth of a microjoule per bit of data.

Using Einstein's E=mc² formula, which states that energy and mass are directly related, it's been calculated that filling a 4GB Kindle to its storage limit would increase its weight by a billionth of a billionth of a gram, or 0.000000000000000001g.  This is roughly equivalent to the weight of a small virus, while the equivalent number of books (about 3 500) would weigh approximately two tons. :o)

After You

21st century manners as per TTel:

“Manners maketh man,” said William of Wykeham, Chancellor of England, Bishop of Winchester and founder of New College, Oxford, and Winchester College.
Maybe in the 14th century they did. But where are the well-mannered men today? In an interview last week, Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey, bemoaned the lost art of chivalry.
“Those old manners – such as men standing when women arrive at the dinner table or opening doors for you – are lovely,” she said. “But young men wouldn’t think about that for a second because it’s not the culture any more.” 

Nowt wrong with manners but then stop bleating about "equality" and how you don't want help.  You can't have it both ways.  Open your own jars...

 Offer a pregnant woman your seat
 Check that the “pregnant” woman isn’t just a bit fat
 Check again
 Try to remain calm when you’re slapped in the face by an outraged fat woman
 Put your armpit in a short woman’s face
 Hit anyone with your man bag, unless they’re a tourist
 Get on the Underground without letting people off first, unless it’s rush hour on the Northern Line, in which case it’s every man and (pregnant) woman for themselves
 Offer to carry a woman’s bag if it looks heavy
 Be too offended when she calls the police
 Congratulate a female colleague on her forthcoming marriage
 Ask her when she’s going to have children – and whether this means you can take her job
 Include your female colleagues when you visit a strip club with clients
 Be surprised when they sue your firm for £10.4 million for sexual harassment
 Take your statutory paternity leave
 Tell your male colleagues how much you enjoyed it
 Be encouraging to the girl on work experience
 Show her round the stationery cupboard
 Offer to pay
 Repeat your offer when she counter-offers to “go Dutch”
 Give in gracefully when she insists for a second time
 Suggest you should go Dutch straight away
 Point out that she had a more expensive starter than you and should
pay accordingly
 Invoice her after the third date when she refuses a fourth
 Hold a door open for a woman
 Hold a door open for a man
 Get too upset when no one says thank you
 Ask a girl to dance
 Dance well
 Try to kiss her
 Lunge unsuccessfully more than once
 Dance too well
 Ask her before she asks you
 Ask her before she asks you to ask her
 Ask her father for permission unless she would definitely like you not to ask her father, but you can’t ask her to find out – you should just know
 Go down on one knee, unless she’d rather you didn’t
 Have a perfect ring, unless she’d rather choose it together
 Make it more romantic, more memorable and more impressive than all her friends’ proposals put together
 Forget a single one of the dos
 Say how nice the bride looks
 Point out how much money they could have saved if she had only worn that nice dress she already had in her wardrobe
 Stand up when a woman comes into the room
 Stand up if the room they’ve walked into is the lavatory
 Flirt gently with your hostess
 Ask her to leave the room after pudding so the men can talk business
 Offer to drive your wife home
 Put your keys in the bowl in the middle
of the table first
 Stand your round
 Pretend you’re interested in football
 Order shandy
 Take out the rubbish
 Put up shelves
 Deal with spiders
 Cook
 Learn how to change nappies
 Complain
 Suggest that maternity leave is just a paid holiday
 Fend off burglars
 Kill them
 Use moisturiser
 Tell anyone about it
 Pretend you’re trying your hardest
 Slam a smash into your friend’s wife’s face
 Turn up
 Hold your wife’s hand
 Be sober
 Be upset that when in the throes of labour pains your wife draws blood with her nails and calls you a ******* ****
 Pretend you know something about wine when the sniffy maitre d’ thrusts a menu at you
 Automatically choose the second cheapest
 Sniff, swill and taste without giggling
 Send the screw-top white back because it’s corked
 Pretend that you’re just as interested in Downton Abbey as Top Gear, Ultimate Force and Scrapheap Challenge
 Take too seriously the views of an actress asked about modern manners

Recycle and Live Longer?

People who re-use water bottles have, on average, a three year longer life span than other bottled water drinkers.

Stroll On

Sarfend win and go top!

1 Southend 16 17 35
2 Crawley Town 16 11 35
3 Morecambe 16 17 29
4 Oxford Utd 16 11 29
5 Cheltenham 16 6 29
6 Shrewsbury 16 4 28
7 Swindon 16 10 26
8 Burton Albion 15 5 26
9 Port Vale 16 8 25
10 Gillingham 16 6 24
11 Macclesfield 16 3 24
12 AFC Wimbledon 16 -5 24
13 Torquay 16 0 21
14 Rotherham 16 -1 21
15 Bristol Rovers 16 -5 21
16 Aldershot 15 2 20
17 Crewe 16 -4 19
18 Northampton 16 -7 16
19 Accrington 16 -7 16
20 Hereford 16 -14 16
21 Bradford 16 -6 14
22 Dag & Red 16 -13 13
23 Barnet 16 -17 12
24 Plymouth 16 -21 8

This Week

Newcastle pay tonight and could go 3rd, Spurs take on Rubin Kazan on Thursday (I can see us going out and won't be upset) but it means we have another Sunday fixture, away to Fulham.  Arse.

Saturday, 5th November 2011- Barclays Premier League
Newcastle v Everton, 12:45
Arsenal v West Brom, 15:00
Aston Villa v Norwich, 15:00
Blackburn v Chelsea, 15:00
Liverpool v Swansea, 15:00
Man Utd v Sunderland, 15:00
QPR v Man City, 17:30 

Don't Mess With the Orhan

There was a mix up over the seat tickets for the Chicago performance and I ended up in the next row on the opposite side to the rest of the guys.  It was hardly a problem as the place was packed but Orhan asked if they could add a chair to the end of their row so we could all sit together.

Apparently the chap said no and wandered off to sort out more seating and I went off to find my place.  Ten minutes later, Orhan was having "serious discussions" with the guy who was adding chairs to my side, which lasted a good five minutes before the guy legged it.  I thought he was going to get laid out but had no idea why...

Turns out the same man had added two chair for some girls to Orhan's end after all and he was not impressed.  Apparently (according to wifey) he was fuming well into the act before he eventually started to enjoy the show and settle down.

What a guy- that's our friend and how things are done in these parts.  :o)


Click to enlarge

Valencia MotoGP

Colin Edwards will miss the final MotoGP race of the season in Valencia as he awaits surgery on a broken arm.  He was injured in the accident in which poor Simoncelli was killed last weekend and has returned to Houston, Texas, for checks which showed multiple fractures to his left humerus (upper arm).  The American rider said:

"I wanted to be in Valencia next week to give my support to MotoGP but it is not going to be possible."

Firstly, I want to thank everybody for all their messages of support since Sunday.  The support and love has been overwhelming and it has been a great comfort to me at this difficult time.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Marco and I will miss him a lot, as will the entire MotoGP family. I watched Marco's funeral yesterday and I really wish I could have been there.

I wanted to go but unfortunately my injuries meant I was unable to travel.  I know Valentino Rossi spoke to Marco's family on my behalf and I thank him for that. It was a great service and a fitting celebration of his life."

Great guy and we hope he comes back next season with his new team.


Parker's Play

Two goals from Gareth Bale helped Spurs to victory but Redknapp reserved his greatest praise for the Scott Parker, his 31 year old midfielder. Redknapp said:

"Parker was just amazing, I haven't seen many displays like that.  You hate to mention anyone in the same breath as Dave Mackay, who was one of finest players at this club, but it was right up there with the best.

Dave would have been proud of that performance. He won every tackle, he broke things up, his all round play was top class. He's made a big difference."

I said to the chairman during the summer the one player I wanted was Scott Parker.  Forget looking for £20m players or anything else, Scott Parker is what we need at this football club. He'll make a difference to this club and this team and that's what he has done."

Who is Dave Mackay?

  • Mackay joined Tottenham from Hearts and played 318 games at White Hart Lane between 1959 and 1968.
  • A lung-busting Scottish midfielder, he was the heartbeat of Spurs' double-winning team of 1960-61 and won two more FA Cups and a Uefa Cup while at the club.
  • He was renowned for his tireless work ethic and fearless attitude.
  • Later played for Brian Clough at Derby and ended his playing career at Swindon.
  • Replaced Clough as Derby boss and won the Division One title in 1975.


"The Bible tells us to love our neighbours, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."        

-- G K Chesterton

For Our American Readers

Tie for Third

With a game in hand.  Happy so far, although the Toon should beat Stoke tonight and go above Chelsea. Wifey will be chuffed.

1 Man City 10 28 28
2 Man Utd 10 15 23
3 Chelsea 10 8 19
4 Newcastle 9 6 19
5 Tottenham 9 4 19
6 Liverpool 10 4 18
7 Arsenal 10 -1 16
8 Norwich 10 -1 13
9 Aston Villa 10 0 12
10 Swansea 10 -3 12
11 Stoke 9 -4 12
12 QPR 10 -9 12
13 West Brom 10 -4 11
14 Sunderland 10 2 10
15 Fulham 10 1 10
16 Everton 9 -3 10
17 Wolves 10 -8 8
18 Blackburn 10 -10 6
19 Bolton 10 -14 6
20 Wigan 10 -11 5

Other Results

Saturday, 29th October 2011- Barclays Premier League

Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale scored twice to extend Tottenham's unbeaten run to seven games with victory over Queens Park Rangers.

In a first half dominated by Spurs, the Welshman swept in from 18 yards after Aaron Lennon's clever run and pass.

Rafael van der Vaart then stayed onside to slot past Paddy Kenny when he collected Ledley King's mis-hit shot.

QPR were more positive after the break and substitute Jay Bothroyd headed in, but Bale struck from the edge of the box to seal the win.

The winger's two fine efforts were his first at White Hart Lane since New Year's Day, and the second one was most welcome as it came at a time when the visitors were in the ascendancy.

It took Harry Redknapp's team to fifth in the table, level on points with Chelsea and Newcastle, as they continue to put their poor start to the season well behind them.

Spurs could have been four goals to the good by the break, such was the fluency of their attacking and the willingness they showed to win the ball back.

Van der Vaart drew an early save from the busy Kenny and the Dutchman's free-kick was headed wide by the industrious Emmanuel Adebayor.

Some of the link play from Tottenham's front five, orchestrated by Scott Parker, was a delight to watch but their opener on 20 minutes came from a more direct route.

Brad Friedel's goal-kick was nodded on by Adebayor and after Van der Vaart fed Lennon, who cut in from the right, the Englishman's pass was crashed in by Bale.

The winger almost added to that strike moments later but sent Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cut-back over the bar.

QPR's cause was not helped by an early injury to centre-back Fitz Hall, who was replaced by Danny Gabbidon, but they came up against a Spurs team in a rich vein of form.

There was a touch of fortune to their second goal, though, as King's mis-hit shot fell to the marginally onside Van der Vaart, who made no mistake from 16 yards.

But the build-up to the goal was marked by the hard work of Adebayor, who pinched the ball off Gabbidon as he strode out of defence.

Having failed to see a real effort on target from his side before half-time, QPR boss Neil Warnock opted for a more attacking approach in the second period with Jamie Mackie coming on for Shaun Derry and the disappointing Adel Taarabt replaced by Jay Bothroyd.

With an extra man up front, the changes put more pressure on the Spurs backline and Heidar Helguson had already had a shot deflected wide before the visitors pulled a goal back.

The Iceland international headed a corner goalwards and Bothroyd, from close to the line, nodded in his first goal since the former Cardiff striker joined QPR in the summer.

Van der Vaart continued his personal duel with Kenny, with the QPR keeper coming out on top twice, but the dominance the hosts had shown in the first period had evaporated.

But relief swept round the stadium when Bale swapped passes with Lennon before arching a delightful strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.This result, with Bale hitting form and a favourable run of games to come, means Spurs will feel their pursuit of a swift return to Champions League football is definitely on course.

QPR boss Neil Warnock: 

"We thought [at the break] that we would put two substitutes on. We created chances and gave the fans something to shout. They were a few itchy feet on the Spurs bench at 2-1 and that was pleasing for us.
"I am so pleased that we gave them a game, they were a little nervous at 2-1, but it is difficult at this level and they were better than us today.
"We are learning all the time - when I look back at the Fulham game, we were terrible and let ourselves go, but we have learnt from there and we had character and organisation today. We have just got to stick at it.
"We played with personality in the second half, but in the first half we were a little apprehensive and gave them too much respect."


Book of the Year

Jasper Fforde's "The Big Over Easy".

Half a day on a bus is ample opportunity to read and to have the pleasure of such a novel makes the time fly.  By far one of the most imaginative rewards I've had in a long, long time, it was a delight from start to finish and while I rarely ever succumb to envy, this is how I currently feel.

Wifey has the whole book to herself today and not since John Burdett have I felt this way.  Someone is going to have a great 9 hours on the bus and I won't be able to sleep for all the laughing.

Bloody superb, buy a copy now for yourself and another for a Christmas present for someone you like.


"There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it."
- Mary Wilson Little

Spooky Thoughts

10 Truly Spooky Facts to Haunt Your Dreams This Halloween- from College Humour

There have been an increasing number of studies recently that state that spending prolonged periods of time sitting can take years off your life. What are you doing right now? Probably sitting. What are you going to be doing in an hour? Probably still sitting. Have humans taken over so much of the planet that the only predators that can take us on are our own big fat asses? Go take a walk and think about that. Or just think about it while sitting. You’re doomed anyway.

This is a fish/parasite local to the Amazon that crawls up your urethra (that’s your pee hole) or vagina then drives hooks in so you can’t pull it out. It has been said to cause so much pain that men would rather cut their penises off than stand the pain long enough for an alternate treatment. Candiru are very rarely documented and they’re only in the Amazon, so you probably don’t have to worry. But you should still worry. There’s a creature that has evolved to drive hooks into your penis. You should constantly be worried.

Remember a time when getting Gonorrhea was just embarrassing, but generally not a big deal? Forget it. New studies have shown a strain of super Gonorrhea that resists antibiotics, both oral and intravenous. That means that, for the time being, it is incurable, and, if you catch it, it could burn when you pee forever. Also, it’s still embarrassing.

There’s a parasitic disease called Toxoplasmosis that is primarily hosted by cats and can be spread by changing kitty litter and even eating some undercooked meat. When rodents catch it, it removes their fear of cats and even causes them to be drawn to the smell of cat urine. Some other behavioral symptoms include decreased novelty seeking, slower reactions, and big sweaters emblazoned with cat puns.

Over 80% of the United State’s cocaine supply contains a cattle deworming drug called levamisole. That just seems like regular gross, right? Well, yes, that, PLUS it can rot the skin off your nose, ears, and cheeks. You need those things. They’re what make your face. The dead skin can heal back up as a big scar once the cocaine is out of your system. Or it can also kill you. Because it’s flesh-eating cocaine. Obviously it can kill you.

It seems like there’s no way for a procedure like a “Vampire Face-Lift” to live up to the sensational spookiness of its name. But it can. It’s real name is Selphyl and it involves having blood drawn from your arm, then spun around in a machine to separate the platelets, then getting it injected into your face. The idea behind it is that it will cause fresh collagen production, but we’re pretty sure that it just causes rich older women to be even more terrifying than they already are.

Bats are a traditional feature of spooky Halloween decorations, so you’re probably over them by now. You shouldn’t be. Bats are terrifying. Here are a few bat facts to remember next time you see a “bird” at night: they’ve been around for over 50 million years, they can grow to have a 6 ft wingspan, those wings are made of skin, their colonies are huge (20-40 million live in a single cave in San Antonio, TX), and, oh yeah, their saliva has an anti-clotting agent so they can drink your blood for hours on end.

Celebration, Florida is a real town where people live and work and go to school. It’s also owned by Disney. Disney built an “idyllic” town in 1996, and then people actually moved there. As of 2010, 7,427 people lived in Celebration, FL and enjoy the fake snow the town puts out during its Christmas events. And, in case you weren’t properly convinced that this place is a total creepville: it just recently had its first murder. We don’t know what’s creepier, that someone was murdered, that it took so long for someone to be murdered, or that the murder weapon was a poisoned apple.

Do you ever lie awake at night, trying to find your place in the universe? If so, give up. If Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is correct, gravity bends all of space and time around an endless curve, which means that there can never be any correct answer to your questions about humanity’s comparable value in the universe because such measurement is impossible and you’d probably be too stupid to understand it anyway.

Of course, the star of all terror: death. You could die at any second. You could be dead before you finish this sentence. Want to pretend like that doesn’t scare you? Look at the last text you sent. Look at the contents of your underwear drawer. Look at your browser history. You should constantly be afraid of dying because someone is going to find that stuff and that’s the only shred of evidence left of your fragile, pathetic life.


Still More to Come

Toady the itinerary is a visit to the local markets and then a cruise down the river, before we leave at 13:30 to get back to Koper/Izoal for around midnight.  It's been a long trip but filled with fun things and more than interesting sights and memories.  The people (both local and with us on the tour) have been brilliant and we are so happy we made the effort.

I've missed out loads of stuff and will add then to the Blog as we carry on over the week and when I remember them, but for the moment, we'll leave it there as I check out how Tottenham got on yesterday.  There will also be some Halloween stuff popping up during the day which we pre-posted before we left.  Enjoy.

Town Tour

Another early start yesterday, even with the extra hour, and after breakfast we were back on the road to tour the city, visit the mountain where the Unknown Soldier memorial is, the Telecom Tower (I kept my feet firmly on the ground, thank you very much) and we went off to see where Peter the Great lived.  A church was also included and the time flew by as we basked in the glorious sun.

Lunch was a traditional meal with the local beer and the waiter asked if all was well.  As with me, Orhan is quite straightforward and said my scoff was cold (hardly a problem as it was still fine and they were catering for nearly 200 guests).  The waiter was most apologetic and brought over another beer- on the house as way to apologise.

Happy days.

Happy Halloween


Show Time

Take a sleep deprived karTER, who is not big fan of the stage at best, and ask him to see a musical.  What do you think the outcome could be?  I think they were taking bets on when I'd be walking out, but quite honestly, it was bloody brilliant.

I'm not sure how long the show went on for, 3 hours with the short break?  But it was smashing, even if all of it was in Serbian- including the songs.  The cast were first class, the sings were well sung (and with interesting lyrics according to Orhan) and the dances were very good.

I missed the tap routines but I suppose on a small stage one has to work around that  but the puppet scene was fantastic and they all could sing and dance like top professionals, which they are.

The show was a sell out and then some with extra chairs added to the aisles, but the best thing is that tickets are only 700 Dinar, around a fiver, so every one can afford to go.  Utterly delightful evening out, even if I was near to falling asleep on my feet as we left.

Scranning Out

Both breakfast and dinner were more than acceptable (more so if a meat eater, although there were some veggie dishes) and we ate well.  Dinner is similar to breakfast but they also add 3 - 4 hot meals with the cold cuts, cheeses and pastries.

The restaurant is very comfortable and both it and the bar are open to the public too.

Cost of a Bed

Clearly we would have got a deal with the travel agency but even so, a weekend rate for a minimum of two nights was 75€/night.  Worth the cash, the hotel is lovely and we also had breakfast and dinner included.

Prices of accommodation

The prices have been valid since 25.12.2009. god.


A SINGLE STANDARD ROOM (smaller room, standard bed)
QUEEN room (a room with a double bed)
TWIN room (two standard beds)
COMFORT room (a double bed, larger room)
A THREE-BED ROOM (double bed + one standard bed)
SEMI-APARTMENT (double bed + sofa, larger room)
APARTMENT (double bed in a bedroom + living room)
EXECUTIVE apartment (double bed in a bedroom + living room, VI floor)


Adittional charge for second person in a room is - € 15.-


Adittional charge for a third person in a room is - € 15.-

Lucky, Lucky

The O's managed to get an executive apartment (luck of the draw) and we went up to have a look.  Blimey, it was bigger than than our pad in Izola with three rooms, two bathrooms and even an office.  Two extra large TVs and all mod cons in between.

Excellent, I love it when things go well.  :o)

Our New Home

The Balkan Hotel

Hotel Balkan is an oasis of peace and cosiness, placed amidst the boiling energy and tumultous life of Belgrade center, daily visited by thousands of people, and is an ideal basis for businessmen as well as for leasure travellers.

It is in the vicinity of Knez Mihailova Street, a promenade where you can feel all the charm of Belgrade, and just a couple of steps from the Republic Square, near many theaters, museums and cinemas, as well as near Skadarlija, - old bohemian quarter. It is also near the building of Belgrade Parlament, the Economy Chamber of Serbia, the Economy Chamber of Belgrade, numerous ministries and other institutions, relevant for business people. 




1 Presidential Apartment
2 Executive Apartments
7 apartments
5 superior rooms
5 three-bed rooms
14 comfort rooms
10 twin rooms
26 queen rooms
20 standard single rooms
air conditioner
cable TV
mini bar
coffee machine
safe deposit box
wireless internet connection
bath robe
hair dryer
• 7 parking spots with a video supervision in front of the hotel around the clock

•Parking spots in a public garage in hotel vicinity.

The Balkan Hotel

Is where we are staying and it is right in the centre of the city.  In fact, cross the road and you'll be at the oldest theatre in town, where they were showing Chicago.  It's a rather grand place and oozes history while still retaining some secrecy, and our coach was staying here.

Checking in nearly 100 people would usually take time but here we got our key within minutes and were up in our room.  Lovely.

Warm and cosy, we had a choice of a huge double and a single, flat screen TV, wardrobe, bedside cabinets and the bathroom was fully equipped, including a fantastic shower with plenty of hot water.  You can read our review for TripAdvisor soon, but for the moment, we'll take bits off their website in the next post.


Once the city of spies, now just an amazing place that offers history, architecture, intrigue, sights and passion.  A quite stunning city by both day and night and we've had such a great time here.  If you get the chance, come over and have a look for yourselves.  We're coming back at some point, that's a fact.

Sleeping with the Os

The only way to travel and one of my favourite photos of the trip.  Olivera and Orhan, our bestest friends take five (hundred).  :o)

Stamp in, Stamp Out

Another couple of pages lost in the passport as both Croatian and Serbian border guards insisted on adding ink to our rapidly filling passport.  It was odd to see Cyrillic letters again (Serbia) but we can vaguely recall some of them and once you can understand it, it's pretty simple.

The Drive

Very comfy Mercedes coaches and all manner of seating options to ensure the hours counted down without too much strain.  Regular bog and fag breaks but we were stumped at our first pit stop in Croatia- no one had Kunar and so it was chip in a few Euro cents or use a tree.

At the Serbian border it was easier as they exchanged our foreign cash and gave us a very fair rate, 1€ to 100 Dinars.  Even in town we could only improve by the odd Kunar or two so no one lost out.

I think we arrived around 15:00 due to traffic in Belgrade's outskirts but the trip was easy with plenty to see and I even got to grab a few hour's kip, on and off.


The alarm gans off, we stumble out of bed and meet the Os upstairs or some heavy coffee.  I wake up on the fumes alone and next thing, Orhan is driving like a demon to get us to Koper to catch our bus.  Nothing gets in his way of the first cup of java.

We make it with plenty of time to spare and join the milling throngs of sleepy but excited passengers.  Two luxury coaches are going up Belgrade, on the near to nine hour journey- that's just under 200 people.  This is no small excursion.

C & H

So we can recap and start off with:

Calvin and Hobbes

Hold Up...

As we packed for our weekend to Belgrade, wifey looked at me incredulously and asked if I was leaving the lappie behind. 

"Affirmative, there's no point as I doubt we'll have time or have access to wi-fi"".

"Well take it anyway as I can do some of Savong's figures on the bus".

"Righty ho".

The only thing wifey did on the bus was sleep and we have access to wi-fi...  :o)


Heard that Jimmy Savile died over the weekend.  Shame, he was one of the nice guys.  :-(

Ah Yes, Well Then

Sorry, my post regards setting the clocks back should haver appeared on Saturday morning, not yesterday.  If you haven't yet done so, enjoy the extra hour you've just gained.  :o)

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Don't forget, the clocks go back tonight and you all get an extra hour in bed.

30th October, 2011

When local daylight time is about to reach Sunday, 30th October 2011, 02:00:00 clocks are turned backward 1 hour to Sunday, 30th October 2011, 01:00:00 local standard time instead

Saturday, 29 October 2011

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes


"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
- Yogi Berra

Thanks to Au P

World  Richest Royals

10. Prince Karim Al Husseini, Aga Khan

Fortune: $800 million (unchanged)
Age: 73
Spiritual leader of the world's Ismaili Muslims chairs the Aga Khan Development Network, which promotes investments in Asia and Africa. Passionate horse breeder owns an estimated 800 thoroughbreds at stud farms in Ireland and France; holds stake in Goffs, one of Britain's largest horse auction houses, and French horse auction house Arqana. Filed suit this year against two Canadians for copyright infringement; the pair published a book using Aga Khan's writings, allegedly without approval.

9. Prince Albert II, Monaco

Fortune: $1 billion (unchanged)
Age: 52
Head of 700-year-old Grimaldi family attempting to add onto Monaco, which is smaller than New York's Central Park, by erecting new district on pillars at sea. Promoting his new film Antarctica 2009: A Continent in a State of Alert, based on his 17-day trek there. In June long-time bachelor announced engagement to former South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock. Being sued by former employee Robert Eringer, an alleged spymaster for Monaco, for back pay. Family fortune includes real estate, art, antique cars, stamps and stake in Monte Carlo's casino.

8. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar

Fortune: $2.4 billion (up)
Age: 58
Became ruler after deposing father in a bloodless coup in 1995. Leads one of the best-performing global economies, based on rising oil and gas prices; GDP rose 9.5% last year and is set for double-digit growth this year. Qatar Holding purchased Britain's Harrod's department store more than $2 billion. Emir is leading Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup, the first time it would be staged in the Middle East if the bid is accepted. In spare time, cruises on his 436-foot super-yacht Al Mirqab, one of world's largest.

7. King Mohammed IV, Morocco

Fortune: $2.5 billion (unchanged)
Age: 46
Ascended throne after father's death in 1999; focused on alleviating poverty and improving on father's human rights record. Royal assets include a majority stake in OCP Group, the country's sole phosphate miner, as well as significant property holdings. Phosphate prices on the rise after a dip last year. King's ambitious goal of attracting 10 million annual tourists to Morocco by 2010 close to being achieved with some help from Hollywood: comely country served as backdrop to recent star vehicles Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia.

6. Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein

Fortune: $3.5 billion (unchanged)
Age: 65
Head of a nearly 900-year-old family, prince celebrating his 65th birthday with display at Vienna's Liechtenstein Museum of roughly 140 artworks acquired during his reign, including works by Rembrandt and Rubens; also promoting his new book The State in the Third Millennium. Meanwhile, country trying to cut government expenditures to plug budget gap of 15%. Profits at his privately owned LGT bank down 35% last year. Liechtenstein taken off of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development's "uncooperative tax haven" list May 2009, a year after tax evasion scandals brought investigations and calls for more transparency in the country's banking sector.

5. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai

Fortune: $4.5 billion (down)
Age: 60
Fortune tumbled due to emirate's heavy debt load of $109 billion racked up by state-owned companies in heady days; $15.5 billion of debt due this year. His own Dubai Holding owes banks $12 billion, majority through investment companies Dubai Group and Dubai International Capital, which own stakes in Sony's and Airbus' parent. Last December sold stake in Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes at a 60% discount to purchase two years ago. Recently stated that the UAE economy is doing fine and that the worst for Dubai is over. Renowned horseman has valuable equine assets.

4. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, United Arab Emirates

Fortune: $15 billion (down)
Age: 62
Re-elected president of the UAE for a second five-year term in November by the emirates' Federal Supreme Council. The hereditary ruler of the tiny emirate of Abu Dhabi provided $10 billion bailout package to debt-burdened brother state of Dubai in December. Did not escape downturn; fortune down $3 billion as result of last year's 40% decline in oil export earnings, coupled with double-digit declines in real estate and stock markets. Continuing to promote his Abu Dhabi 2030 plan to reinvent it as a tourism and cultural hub.

3. King Abdullah bin Abul Aziz, Saudi Arabia

Fortune: $18 billion (up)
Age: 86
Managed to steer Saudi Arabia through the global recession with government spending and high oil production; the country is projected to record 4% growth this year. King's fortune up as a result. This year hosted the 12th annual Gulf Cooperation Council attended by fellow royals from Qatar, Kuwait and Dubai. Known for trying to lighten up his Kingdom's strict religious laws; recently fired a cleric for criticizing a new co-ed university that is set to open in Saudi Arabia.

2. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei

Fortune: $20 billion (unchanged)
Age: 63
Sultan is divorcing his third wife; remains married to first wife and mother of eventual successor, Prince Al-Muhtadee Bilah Bolkiah. He and Brunei weathered global recession with conservative economic policies and currency pegged to Singapore's. But oil production is slowing; reserves are expected to last only 25 years. Trying to diversify economy. Sultan continues to spend lavishly: reportedly purchased 48 handbags, 24 "duck" umbrellas from Lederer de Paris shop in New York recently. Case against brother Prince Jefri, accused of pilfering $15 billion from sultanate, remains in courts.

D'Ya Know Wot I Mean?

An average person spends six minutes a day in hesitant speech, using words such as "um" or "er".

Friday, 28 October 2011

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

That's Yer Lot

We're shutting up shop now and won't be back until 1st November with tales of our adventure to Serbia.  There will be some odd posts over the next couple of days that we've "timed" as they are more appropriate for Halloween but we'll see you all Tuesday for a live session.

In the meant time, as ever, we'll sign out with Calvin and Hobbes.  :o)

Born to be Mild

Half of Britons under 40 don't know how to bleed a radiator because the mild winters of the 1980s and 1990s meant they never needed to learn, according to a survey by British Gas.  The study also found that 75% of young adults have no idea how to check the pressure on their boiler and 81% have no clue how to deal with a frozen pipe according to the research.

I'm sure that when the need arises they will find out- or simply ask their parents.  Aren't most under 40s still living at home?

Beer Talking

Men are three times more likely to be the first one to say "I love you" in a relationship, according to study that overturns the myth of reluctant male romantics.

Previous research indicated that women are more expressive about how they feel - and tend to be ones who fall in love first.  The reality, according to the latest findings by a psychologist in America is that women are actually more circumspect than men when it comes to romance.

The study, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, showed men were more likely to fall in love within a few weeks, while most women said it took several months.  Men were also more inclined to tell their partner they loved them much sooner in the relationship.

They also tend to drink more beer so 'nuff said.

In the Dark

The "world famous" Blackpool illuminations are at the centre of a row waged by business leaders and local hotel owners, who claim that this year's lights are the shoddiest they have ever seen. 

Residents have complained that the illuminations are the worst ever, amid fears that the poor show may put visitors off coming to the town completely, the Independent reports.  They say this year's display, which leaves rows of bulbs unlit and missing, is outdated and unprofessional.

Business leaders are so concerned that they have called an emergency meeting called "Save Blackpool Illuminations", to discuss how to improve the attraction.  They hope the meeting will help establish the reasons why this year's illuminations are leaving residents so unimpressed.

Blackpool suffered extensive damage during the storms earlier this year, with several of the more elaborate light displays broken or destroyed and there was also a fire at its lights depot, which led to a bulb shortage for the seasonal illuminations.

The council said all technical issues with the lights had been resolved and officials are said to have pointed to a number of additions to this year's illuminations, including new lights on the prom, newly reopened tower and piers.

The Blackpool illuminations first lit up the coastal resort in 1879, when eight arc lamps were installed as the first electric street lights in Britain.   Since 1912, the lights have become a regular fixture of the seaside calendar, extending the festive season into the new year.  The display, which includes traditional white bulbs as well as flashing lights, coloured patterns and fibre optics, runs for six miles down Blackpool's Golden Mile.

Linguistically Speaking

One word goes out of fashion and another takes its place. Does it matter? A brainbox becomes a geek, a yahoo becomes a chav, bejewelled becomes blinged, hilarious becomes lol. And thus the English language, that great rolling river, brimming with words for every situation, does what it has always done – adapts and re-invents itself.
Well, yes, it does matter, says L P Davidson (no relation), the author of Planet Word, a new book published in conjunction with the recent Stephen Fry series of the same name on BBC2, which challenges the cult of the new in matters lexicological.
It is normal, Davidson acknowledges, for each generation to coin new words that will baffle the generation before. But if too many old words get lost in the process, particularly words of such idiosyncratic provenance that, once discarded, they will never make a comeback, our language will become impoverished and restricted.
As new words such as “hoodie”, “wag”, “nimby” and “mumpreneur” bed themselves in, time is served on war-horses such as “balderdash”, “rambunctious” and “gobbledegook”. They soldier on, but are increasingly viewed as archaic, the sort of thing Grandpa and Grandma say because they were born in olden times, before Jamie Oliver came along and talked, like, cool and wicked, innit.
We won’t miss all of them. Some weren’t great words in the first place. But others are so vivid, and are so much more expressive than those that have taken their place, it is only proper to mourn their passing.

No buzz-word of the internet age has the same poetry as “gallimaufry”, “brouhaha” or even those joined-at-birth twins, “flotsam and jetsam”. But the terms are double-Dutch to today’s children – who even have to have “double-Dutch” explained to them.

Take “ranygazoo”, a wonderfully onomatopoeic word I first came across in a novel by P G Wodehouse. I couldn’t use it now without courting ridicule. Instead, I’d have to use “prank”, which is probably the closest synonym, and even “prank” would be unfamiliar to many teenagers.
One of Davidson’s grumbles is the fact that the new words which jostle out the old are getting shorter, as text-speak becomes ubiquitous and Twitter puts a premium on brevity, with “tx” replacing “thanks” and “soz” – yuk – supplanting “sorry”.

There is nothing wrong with short words per se; it is often the sign of a good writer to use a short word when a longer one is available. But they are less resonant, and more likely to give offence. How many spats – think of the current allegations of racism levelled at England football captain John Terry – are rooted in monosyllabic language, which functions like a bludgeon rather than a rapier?

Longer words, even when pejorative, are far less inflammatory. I recently tried to wind up my partner’s six-year-old goddaughter by calling her “ridiculous”. She greeted the word like a new toy and, for the next three weeks, everyone and everything in her life had the r-word gleefully applied to them, from her brother to contestants on Strictly Come Dancing. How much more innocuous than the insults she would have heard in the school playground!

Her brief love affair with “ridiculous” will stand her in good stead all her life. Realising that there are words of four, five, six syllables that express things that shorter words cannot is one of the great joys of childhood. I remember when I was about 10 learning “antidisestablish- mentariarianism” from a teacher and rolling it happily off my tongue for days, all 12 glorious syllables of it.

A few years later, when I came across the 13-syllable “honorificabilitudinitatibus” in Love’s Labour Lost, it was another epiphany. Though Shakespeare was using the word to lampoon the pretentiousness of Elizabethan pedagogues, there was a joy in the cascade of vowels and consonants that beat anything I had heard on television.

The day words such as “mewl”, “caterwaul” and “gallivanting” are incomprehensible to three-quarters of the population, I for one will be very sorry. And, no, I don’t mean very soz.


38 is the New 40

It has long been thought that life begins at 40, but a new report suggests that Britons are at their happiest two years earlier.

In general, respondents felt better about themselves in their thirties than when younger, suggesting that it’s “not just wisdom that comes with age”.  Twentysomethings were also more likely to care more about money than their health, and to look enviously at their friends’ lifestyles. They even spent more time fretting about getting old.
The poll found that on average 38 was the age at which people felt most content with their lives, but among older respondents, happiness reached its peak at 48, “reinforcing a belief that age and experience provide a wealth of benefits”.

An academic study published earlier this year suggested that individuals experience a “u-shaped happiness curve” throughout their lives, with satisfaction increasing in middle age as their careers and families become more stable and they grow more philosophical about their lot.

Those who were married told the new study that they felt happiest at 42, but single people said “true contentment” came at just 27.
Similarly, couples enjoyed social situations the most at 38 while those who never married felt most confident at 27.

Women were most at ease with their bodies at 31, a year later than men, but older respondents felt that sexual confidence did not peak until they turned 35.

More at TTel

Bleeding Stomachs

Taking just two pills of aspirin a day can cut the risk of bowel cancer by almost two-thirds for those at the highest risk, research has found.

No doubt this will be completely rescinded next week but if you want more news on this, check out TTel.

Only in America

The Association of Teleconferencing Professionals estimates that among conference calls that have at least 10 participants, 73% have at least one 'heavy breather' participating.

Where does one begin to even comment on such a statement?  Outstanding factual.  :o)

Ponk de Marmite

275x250.jpg A designer scent has been created to represent the smells of Burton-on-Trent, the town famous for Marmite and beer.
A businesswoman and perfumer says she created the perfumes because the town is famed for its smells.

The male and female scents will go on sale for £36.50 in the run up to Christmas and the women's version is said to encapsulate the smells of Marmite and the countryside.

The men's fragrance meanwhile, is said to include leather, forests, and beer.

Oh, dear...

iPad v World Peace?

If they were granted one wish, more British people would ask for an iPad 2 than world peace.

A poll found that while the most popular wish would be for one million pounds, it was closely followed by an Apple iPad 2.  Wishes for world peace came in third, followed by being famous, cosmetic surgery and a new sports car.

Other popular wishes included, a mansion, meeting a celebrity and owning a designer wardrobe. Less popular ones were "McDonalds in their kitchen" and an "unlimited supply of new trainers".

Anyone else find that more than depressing?

The Big O

WASHINGTON—Overwhelmed by the frustration of being utterly unable to solve any of the numerous difficult problems it faces, a worn-out nation finally broke down Thursday morning and begged its smart people to please just fix everything now.

Admitting they had "absolutely no idea what the fuck [they were] doing," millions of Americans immediately ceased trying to manage the country's large-scale, ongoing disasters and pleaded with U.S. scientists, economists, educators, philosophers, and inventors to intervene and make things better again.

"You are good at doing things, and we are bad, okay? We admit it," said Cincinnati-area executive Robert Everhart, who belongs to the growing consortium of citizens desperately asking America's qualified people to take it from here. "So we're begging you, please grab hold of the reins. We know we said we didn't need to read any books or have a lot of expertise to do this stuff, but we were wrong. We need your help, and we need it bad."

"Obviously we've messed things up pretty severely, but we're fairly certain you can fix them back up," Everhart added. "You guys are really smart."

Acknowledging they lacked the know-how to put anything together without it all falling apart again in a matter of seconds, millions of ordinary Americans implored the nation's skilled individuals to just use their knowledge to end the financial crisis, manage the health care industry, determine which human beings are actually fit to hold political office, teach the nation's children, and enact overarching policy decisions that serve the greater good.

Citizens across the nation also promised to stay completely out of the way while those people who actually have some idea what they're doing roll up their sleeves and get down to the bottom of all this. In addition, the competent have been issued assurances they will not be hindered by irrelevant, totally uninformed opinions while they are getting things done.

"You won't hear a single word out of us, we swear," said Chicago real-estate broker Paul Linder, mentioning that smart people can have all the time and resources they need to make the necessary repairs to society. "We're going to keep our attention where it's best suited by watching some T.V., surfing the Internet, or maybe trying to mend that fence of mine that's been falling down for so long. That kind of thing is really more our speed."

"Although, actually, if you guys could help out with the fence, that would be great," Linder added.

According to Beltway insiders, the phenomenon has spread to the highest levels of the U.S. government, with hundreds of lawmakers crumpling up all bills currently under debate and claiming that pervasive problems related to unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, and energy crises should probably be left to people who know some things about that stuff.

In the hours following the country's desperate pleas, the 2012 Republican presidential candidates issued statements agreeing that the United States was in pretty bad shape right now and that it would indeed be best to start letting people with a track record of accomplishment act on the nation's behalf.

"As anyone who listens to me for even two seconds can tell you, I'm no expert when it comes to pretty much anything," Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said. "That's why I promise voters that as president, I will make it my top priority to just hang back and let smart people take care of everything."

"Come to think of it, though, I'm not really qualified to give an opinion on this or any other issue," Perry continued. "I should probably just shut the fuck up now and go away."


After two whole days with loss of sound, Discovery Channel seems to have been sorted out and we can get the final week's episode of Senior v Junior in Orange County Choppers.

Isn't life grand?  :o)

Book Covers- 25

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Favourite book: 1984 by George Orwell
From SL

Book Covers- 24

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan

Favourite book: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Book Covers- 23

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

Favourite book: Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Book Covers- 22

Noel Edmonds

Noel Edmonds

Favourite book: Born to be Riled by Jeremy Clarkson

Book Covers- 21

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Favourite book: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Book Covers- 20



Favourite book: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart

Book Covers- 19

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore

Favourite book: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

Book Covers- 18

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

Favourite book: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Book Covers- 17

Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase

Favourite book: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Book Covers- 16

Will Smith

Will Smith

Favourite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo