Thursday, April 30, 2009

El Sequé

When Ben last came up from Barcelona he brought us a present from friends.

Tonight, we fancied a drink and, as Jan was cooking lamb, we drank it. Hell, it was nice. I tracked it down and this is the link to buy some more. It's pricey but, unlike L'Oreal, it's worth it. Very highly recommended.

Sam the Bellhop

Good fun!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Judy got married and had 13 children. Her first husband, Ted, died of cancer.

She married again, and she & Bob had 7 more children but Bob was killed in a car accident.

12 years later Judy again, remarried,.... and this time, she & John had 5 more children.
Judy finally died, after having produced 25 children.

Standing before her coffin, the preacher prayed for her. He thanked the Lord for this very loving woman and said,"Lord, they are finally together."

Ethel leaned over and quietly asked her best friend, Margaret: "Do you think he means her first, second, or third husband?"

After a pause Margaret replied:...."I think he means her legs, Ethel..."
Thanks to Robin for this.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lidl. Everything you never knew you needed.

I've ranted on about Lidl in the past, and today is no exception. I love the place. Even though Jan has objected to me buying essential life saving equipment previously (like a crash helmet and fire extinguisher), this morning I unwrapped my latest little treasure that I'd sneaked into the trolley on Saturday.

It's a amazing, small, four-in-one tool that you keep in the car. It's a hammer for breaking windscreen glass, an LCD tyre pressure gauge, a little torch and a knife for cutting your seat belt. As I explained the huge benefits of my versatile little friend, to my beloved, I could see that her eyes were glazing over.

Even though it only cost six euros, her face told me that she wasn't impressed. "What the hell would you do with it?" she enquired.

"It's easy," I said. "Imagine that it's late at night and you're involved in a nasty car accident. Your car is a total wreck, the doors won't open and you can't unbuckle your seat belt. You're trapped inside. This is where my amazing gadget comes into its own. After cutting your seat belt to free yourself, you break the glass with the hammer and then squeeze through through the window. And then, even though it's dark, using the inbuilt little torch, you can work your way round to each tyre and check your tyre pressures. Simple."

She did see the funny side!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wot a lota rain

Having finished spreading the first six tons of gravel yesterday, as predicted, the heavens opened today and washed it all down nicely. In addition to the gravel we also planted a small olive tree so the rain was good for that as well. For pretty much the first time in my life I was happy that it rained. Weird.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt goes to the clubhouse in Augusta and asks to become a member.
The secretary says: "I'm sorry, Sir, we can't accept you here but there's a multi-racial club just 10 minutes down the road."

He replied: "But I'm Usain Bolt!"

The secretary said, "Ok. So it's five minutes down the road".

Blinkered parents

I read this today and it made me laugh but it also reminded me of some village parents who gather around the school bus several times a day. They are so blinkered and self centred that they completely block the road with their cars and vans and stand around chatting. It is so irritating because there is plenty of room to park more considerately and maybe, just maybe, walk for a few metres with their little cherubs.

When I was five I walked over a mile to my school from one side of Harrogate town centre to the other, across three main roads (I don't think your mum really liked you - Ed). I learnt about danger and how to deal with it and got some exercise into the bargain. We were 'ard in them days!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not such an easy day

There I was gently stewing in my pit this morning, looking forward to an easy day, with maybe a spot of lunch somewhere, when the phone went at 7.55. It was the local builder's merchants who wanted to star delivering 12 tons of gravel for the terrace. I'd completely forgotten. Bugger. Bang went lunch and it was on with the work clothes.

It turned out to be quite a tricky exercise. Because the terrace is higher than the general ground level the gravel had to be delivered in 'sacks' of a cubic meter each, weighing about a ton and a quarter. Goodness knows how the sacks hold the weight.

Anyway, as he hoisted the last sack from the back of the lorry the back wheels lifted about 2 feet off the ground. The driver was concentrating on getting the sack over the wall and, above the din of his engine, I had to scream at him to stop. It could have been an unholy mess.

He will come back next week to finish the delivery and in the meantime there's a spot of barrowing to do. You're all welcome!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A petition

A friend has sent me the message below.

Basically it is asking anybody who is interested, to sign a petition to stop the European Commission (my favourite people) enacting a law that will allow the production of rosé wine by mixing red and white wine rather than the traditional method of pressing black grapes.

Chers amis,
La Fédération des Vignerons Indépendants du Var se mobilise avec l’ensemble des organismes viticoles du département pour sauver nos vins rosés.
En effet, la commission Européenne est en passe de lever l'interdiction de coupage des vins rouge et blanc pour faire un vin de couleur rose sans aucune concertation. Cette proposition de règlement se fait au mépris du savoir faire acquis par les vignerons producteurs de Rosé depuis trente ans, de la sauvegarde des régions productrices et de l'attente du consommateur qui apprécie le vrai rosé.
Nous avons mené de nombreuses actions auprès du Ministre et du parlement Européen depuis ces dernières semaines. Nous vous ferons parvenir dans les prochains jours le détail ainsi que nos plans d’actions.
Pour l’instant nous avons obtenu un report du vote jusqu'au 19 juin mais nous ne devons pas relâcher notre mobilisation. Pour cela, n’hésitez pas à vous connecter au site suivant : et signez la pétition et faites la suivre à vos amis !!!


Monday, April 20, 2009

The genie

A man walks into a bar with a paper bag, he sits down and places the bag on the counter.

The bartender walks up and asks what's in the bag. The man reaches into the bag and pulls out a little man, about one foot high and sets him on the counter.

He reaches back into the bag and pulls out a small piano, setting it on the counter as well.

He reaches into the bag once again and pulls out a tiny piano bench, which he places in front of the piano.

The little man sits down at the piano and starts playing a beautiful piece by Mozart!

'Where on earth did you get that?' says the bartender.

The man responds by reaching into the paper bag but this time he pulls out a magic lamp. He hands it to the bartender and says:

'Here. Rub it.'

So the bartender rubs the lamp, and suddenly there's a gust of smoke and a beautiful genie is standing before him.

'I will grant you one wish. Just one wish because each person is only allowed one wish!'

The bartender gets real excited and without hesitation he says, 'I want a million bucks!'

A few moments later, a duck walks into the bar and it is soon followed by another duck, then another. Pretty soon, the entire bar is filled with ducks and they keep coming!

The bartender turns to the man and says, 'Y'know, I think your genie's a little deaf. I asked for a million bucks, not a million ducks.'

'Tell me about it!!' says the man, 'do you really think I asked for a 12 inch pianist?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A lovely lunch

What a lovely lunch. I must admit that I wasn't really in the mood but we'd promised Liz (who had volunteered to prepare food) that we'd go, so off we went.

I'm glad we did. The purpose of the event was to raise money for St Michael's church in nearby Boissett. The venue was Domaind du Grand Chemin and Liz was the chef.

What a good do. Naturally Grand Chemin provided the wine, and as their Gris is one of our regular summer quaffers then I was bound to be a happy bunny.

Now, given that I'm a bit of an atheist (how can you be a bit of an aetheist? - Ed), I wasn't too sure what I was doing there. I felt a bit hypocritical but there were some lovely people so the time passed pleasantly.

The food was excellent because Liz surpassed herself. The following menu and all the wine that you could drink for 15 Euros a head. Amazing.

Lemongrass and Coriander Vichyssoise.
Pollo Tonnato (Poached chicken with tuna mayonnaise)
Terrine of Pork and Veal with Pistachio
Poached Salmon with Mayonnaise
Iced Brown Sugar meringue Gateaux

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Green Hammerton

Jan's maiden name is Hammerton and she likes to recycle stuff. When I saw this sign in England recently I just had to take a photo.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I wish I'd said that

Clement Freud, who died just the other day, had already decided on his epitaph.

'Best before April 2009'.

How funny is that.

Normal service has been resumed

I was too embarrassed to mention that we lost badly the last time we played tennis (one set was 6-0) but I'm pleased to say that normal service has been resumed. Milton and Peter are playing much, much better now but we had more of the luck this time. I like luck! Luck's good.


A man had just settled into his seat next to the window on the plane when another man sat down in the aisle seat and put his black Labrador Retriever in the middle seat next to the man.

The first man looked very quizzically at the dog and asked why the dog was allowed on the plane.

The second man explained that he was from the Police Drugs Enforcement Agency and that the dog was a 'sniffing dog'. 'His name is Sniffer and he's the best there is. I'll show you once we get airborne, when I put him to work.

'The plane took off, and once it had levelled out, the Policeman said, 'Watch this.'

He told Sniffer to 'search'. Sniffer jumped down, walked along the aisle, and finally sat very purposefully next to a woman for several seconds. Sniffer then returned to his seat and put one paw on the policeman's arm.

The Policeman said, 'Good boy', and he turned to the man and said, 'That woman is in possession of marijuana, I'm making a note of her seat number and the authorities will apprehend her when we land.

'Gee, that's pretty good,' replied the first man.

Once again, the Policeman sent Sniffer to search the aisles. The Lab sniffed about, sat down beside a man for a few seconds, returned to its seat, and this time he placed two paws on the agent's arm.

The Policeman said, 'That man is carrying cocaine, so again, I'm making a note of his seat number for the police.

''I like it!' said his seat mate.

The Policeman then told Sniffer to 'search' again. Sniffer walked up and down the aisles for a little while, sat down for a moment, and then came racing back to the agent. It jumped into the middle seat and proceeded to shit.

The first man was really disgusted and couldn't figure out how or why a well-trained dog would behave like that, so he asked the Policeman,

'What's going on?

'The Policeman replied nervously, 'I think he's just found a bomb.'

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's the question

The question is, should all coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan and let them get on with it or stay and try to change things?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday opening

In line with the French (or so I thought), since coming to France, I have never visited a supermarket on Sunday. Well yesterday, Easter Sunday, we needed something in a hurry and knowing that our local Carrefour Market is normally open on Sunday morning I popped out.

I can't say that I was too optimistic because when all was said and done it was Easter Sunday, but was I in for a surprise. The place was heaving, packed. The busiest I have seen since it's opening day.

So much for all the rubbish about keeping Sunday special.

Very confused

Let me get this right. Any old subversive, religious fanatic, Tom, Dick or Ahmed is not only allowed to enter, preach his hatred, build a few bombs and then stay in the UK, but they ban a woman who wants to spread the gospel and give a little light relief to a few lonely men. The UK is being run by a bunch of lunatics.

The Perfect Wife

This is one for the boys.

Why 'g' ?

Lying in bed in the morning is where we do most of our conscious thinking. Out of the blue Jan said, "what does the 'g' in g-spot stand for?" Goodness knows why she thought of that.

Anyway, I realised that I didn't know either, so a conversation ensued where we tried to fathom this enormous problem.

After much hilarity, we finally agreed that it all depends on where you live.

If you're from Surrey it stands for 'Golly gosh.'

If you're from the East End of London it stands for 'Gor blimey.'

The home counties, 'Good show old bean.'

If you're a seventies child, 'Groovy.'

If you're from Leeds, 'Grrrand.'

The world's problems solved instantly.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009

Mark had the great sense to publish this and I've nicked it from him.


We are so lucky, or rather Ben and Paula are. Kate, our third grandaughter, is a lovely, happy child, rarely cries and always sleeps through the night.

It's a real pleasure to see them in Barcelona or to have them visiting. The picture above shows the little angel sitting on the kitchen bar examining her chocolate Easter bunny. Bless.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


With Kate, Ben, Paula and Ave visiting from Barcelona, we could have done without the rain this weekend. In particular, because Ben has brought my favourite Spanish vegetable, Calçots and is hoping to cook them on an open fire, outdoors.

After peeling off the burnt exterior they are then dipped in romesco sauce and usually eaten standing up. It's great fun and very tasty Catalonian tradition.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Leaving home

Even if you've seen it before, it's still very funny.

Now I understand

Coming back through the airport yesterday I couldn't help but feel that security was very tight. This is why.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Doncaster Airport

Having waxed lyrical about Doncaster Airport, a word of warning. This is a very attractive, new, small, clean airport and at the time of travel, with not too many flights. This means that passengers are outnumbered by airport staff who have lots of time on their hands. This means that, for the first time ever, we also had our cabin baggage weighed (and had to pay for excess baggage - bugger) and were almost strip searched at security. My laptop was swabbed inside and out for explosives and x-rayed twice. Still, we got away with several kilos because they didn't check the bag that I was carrying around my neck. Result!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A meal fit for the gods

One meal right in our sights was fish and chips and tonight was the night. It's funny how you get these cravings when the food isn't readily available to you locally. Not wanting to drive to Leeds to our usual haunt we decided to check out The Wetherby Whaler. We hadn't been there for several years and not wanting to turn up too early we set off at 19.00. Grief, the place was packed when we arrived, which of course was a good sign. We needn't have worried because it's open most of the day. The fish was excellent but none of us enjoyed the chips. Pity. Still it's worth revisiting and recommended.

You want what?

I know that I've posted this before but Bryan sent it to me again today and it still makes me laugh. Enjoy.

A young Chinese couple ges married. She's a virgin. Truth be told, he is a virgin too, but she doesn't know that.

On their wedding night, she cowers naked under the sheets as her husband undresses in the darkness. He climbs into bed next to her and tries to be reassuring.

'My darring,' he whispers, 'I know dis you firss time and you berry flighten. I promise you, I give you anyting you want. I do anyting - juss anyting you want. You juss ask. So...Whatchu want?' he says, trying to sound experienced and worldly, which he hopes will impress her.

A thoughtful silence follows and he waits patiently (and eagerly) for her reply.

She eventually shyly whispers back, 'I want to try someting I have hear about from odda girls... Numbaa 69.'

More thoughtful silence, this time from him. Eventually, in a puzzled tone he asks her.... 'You want...... Garlic Chicken wif snow peas?

Monday, April 06, 2009

Shaken not stirred

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Flying vegetables

I've never been one to bang on about global warming and all that good stuff. Others seem to know better, but frankly I remain sceptical about lots of the propaganda put out by no doubt worthy souls. What I believe is that the world changes and has been changing for millions of years. The climate goes through cycles and animals become extinct and we find new and presumed lost species, all the time. It's doubtful that man's campfires made the dinosaurs extinct.

But, if I was for one second going to subscribe to the latest ideas about global warming then I would have to ask people to stop buying some stuff from overseas. Flying vegetables half way round the world is just plain stupid.

This evening we ate asparagus from Mexico and broad beans from Guatemala. They were both delicious, but even my pea brain can figure out that that can't be right. Flying either of these vegetables half way round the world can't be very eco (whatever that is). What's wrong with seasonal stuff that's grown locally? When I was a kid, broad beans were grown by my father in the back garden. They were horrible and I've never really been a fan. We never ate asparagus and we managed just fine. How stupid are we getting?

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Jan bought some 'Genuine Yorkshire Crisps' today from Morrisons.
And the flavour? Tomato, basil and mozzarella.
All very Yorkshire!!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Sportsman's Arms

One of the things that I've been looking forward to munching lots of this trip is hot cross buns. I love em! Yes I know they're fattening but once a year can't be so bad, can it? (Er, yes - Ed) Anyway, they've been on the table for breakfast each morning, spread thick with butter, fulfilling my little fantasy. No doubt I'll be sick of them soon but at the moment I'm in heaven. Excellent.

Staying on a foodie theme, no trip to Harrogate is complete without a trip to The Sportsman's Arms, in Wath Nidderdale. Whilst the girls were enjoying the warm country air, I was on a mission to sink a pint of Black Sheep bitter. So everyone was happy! Jan, whom I class as a southern softie, loves this part of the world, so a pair of green wellies, a waxed jacket and some egg laying chickens are on the cards for her next birthday.

Both the girls wanted a white wine so I chose a white Grenache Blanc from France and when it came to the table Jan looked closely at the bottle and said, "you'll never guess where this is from. It's made by Mas Montel, in Aspere, not more than 15 minutes from our house."

Anyway, Jan spent a long time reading through the huge, delicious blackboard menu with mum. They were there for what seemed like ages with Jan patiently explaining the menu in detail. After about fifteen minutes Jan finished and then, after another five minutes, mum said in a crestfallen voice, "so they don't have any liver then?" We both fell about. Bless.

Boris Yeltsin meets the devil

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Question of the day

Have you heard about the dyslexic madame who ran a warehouse?

Marks and Spencer

We walked into Marks and Spencer this morning and it took Jan literally eight seconds to pick something up and buy it. Is this a new record?

All this took place whilst I headed over to the 'test your patience seat' near the entrance. I just wish Jan could shop without drooling so much. She doesn't realise how embarrassing it is.
Still, I got a few goodies that will keep me quiet for a while.


Hello from a warm and sunny Harrogate. Not what I was expecting given that when we left France via Gerona in Spain it was cold, wet and miserable.

The reason for Gerona was because I'd seen a new route to Doncaster in the north of England which is fairly close to mum in Harrogate. All other flights to England take us no nearer than three hours away so I decided to make the three hour part of the journey through France to Spain rather than face the rigours of the motorways in England. A smart move. On top of that, Doncaster airport is brand new and a breeze to pass through because it's so small. By the time we'd cleared passport control our bags were waiting for us at baggage reclaim. Excellent. Recommended.