Monday, March 31, 2008

Road trip

In which Reidski and Jane boldly venture North.

I saw a hotel deal for a place in Scarborough offering dinner, bed and breakfast for 2 at £45 a night. That is £45 for two. That seems cheap. In fact it seems so very cheap that one wonders just exactly how basic this hotel will be. I will report back.

Anyway, I'm not too bothered about eating at the hotel as I am fully intending to stuff my belly full of fish right here.

The last time I was in Scarborough I ended up at the hospital watching my then three year old daughter have her eyelid stictched up following an accident on an astro glide. She still has the scar and I blame myself as I knew at the time I should have been demanding the best stitcher up of eyes that Yorkshire had to offer.

The time before that I was in Scarborough half of the hotel garden disappeared over the cliff and into the sea during an over night storm. A year or so later the entire hotel followed it.

I am due a disaster free trip to Scarborough.

Back Wednesday if Dracula doesn't get me first.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Odd Pub Guide

Reidski came up to see me last night and I thought we would go some where 'different'. Well where we ended up was different alright.

My bible - The Good Pub Guide - doesn't extol the virtues of very many Northamptonshire pubs but this one is always in it, yet I had never been there. It is - and I can say this now having driven to it twice last night - far from the madding crowds, and getting to it was rather a challenge but find it we did. However arriving as we did at 6.15 we found it well and truly shut. A check back at the bible revealed it would not be open till 7. We were now several miles of winding, narrow gated country roads away from any other pub, but where there is a significant need for a pint...well, obviously we did find another pub, but we decided we would go back to the Kings Arms as the food recommendations sounded brilliant. Back round the winding, narrow gated country roads we went and result! The pub is now open - and quite packed in the bar. In we go. The place does that thing as happens in American Werewolf in London where our heroes enter the country pub and it goes completely quiet as all eyes fall upon the strangers at the door.

There then followed a quite remarkably difficult scene at the bar in which our attempts to order some wine ended up with me having a gin and tonic and Reidski having a pint. This incident was partly explained by the local behind the bar having difficulty understanding a Scottish accent, and partly by as we later realised, the fact that the old boy serving us was clearly a customer, and not a bar man. Not a bar man by any stretch of the imagination. All of this scene was carried out in full hearing of, as well as for the amusement of, everyone else in the pub.

The bar itself was decorated as though we were sitting in the front room of a 19th century cottage. Chintz was us. And it would obviously have been out of place to add signs to this front room decor like 'Toilets', although it would be everso helpful if they could see fit to put such a sign up in future. I think there was one other woman in there, but it was a bit difficult to be absolutely certain about the gender of the person concerned. Anyway, much as I fought against it, it became inevitable that I was going to have to go in search of the ladies and that meant I had to make my way through a sea of men, and worse, ask them where the toilets were hidden. I would like to say that not every man in that pub knew I was going for a wee - but I can't. They were all so helpful; they all but escorted me to the door of the ladies loo. And on my way back to my seat, they parted in the manner of the Red Sea when Moses was on the job. Inconspicous I was not.

And what of the mouthwatering sounding food as highly recommended? Well, we don't exactly know. There was no one eating. There was no smells of cooking. There were no menus - although there were pamphlets about the cheese they sell over the counter. (I have never known a pub that sold cheese before but I am sure it is very good cheese.) And yes, we are both adults, and I am sure we really could have asked about eating, but we are both also very susceptible to being embarrassed in public,and neither of us had the nerve to enquire as to the availabilty or otherwise of any pub grub.

We ended up in a Chef and Brewer.

Which really just serves us right for being such wimps.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Which is madder?


To spend a bank holiday Monday travelling from Northampton by coach all the way to Carlisle for a football match (which we lost) and back again?


To eat a deep fried Cadbury's cream egg at a chip shop in Penrith?

My eldest did both of those things yesterday.

He looked pretty sick when he finally got home which could be put down to either of these things.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I have been

at a bit of a loss as to what to write about this past week. I usually enjoy writing about the ridiculous, but in a week when we learnt that Heather Mills requires £39,000 a year for wine when she doesn't even drink, I feel that the art of describing the ridiculous has been somewhat surpassed.

There was of course our very own Rob Styles incident last Friday night. Football fans amongst you will know that this referee excelled himself in this match involving amongst very many strange incidents a bizarre penalty he awarded for Chelsea against Liverpool. The more devoted football fans may also know about his controversial refereeing of this match a fortnight ago between Watford and Stoke City. You probably won't however have heard that he doesn't just confine his inept refereeing performances to the higher leagues. In our match against Nottingham Forest he sent one of their players off after 20 minutes with scarcely any justification whatsoever. He did however atone for his error towards Forest by awarding a penalty against our goal keeper for the sin of getting the ball and having Nathan Tyson fall over him. Not even the Forest fans thought it was a penalty, but Mr Styles has his own version of footballing regulations. Fortunately for you all though, as Reidski hates people who have a go at referees, I do not intend to mention this at all. No, not at all.

I can however report that Reidski and I went to this exhibition to see some of the First Emperor's Terracotta Army.

Lots to be amazed about. Not least was that aged 13 in 246 BC this kid became King and promptly declared himself First Divine Emperor or the Qin, China, The World, The Universe and got grown men to go out and risk their lives for him conquering the rest of China, The World, and The Universe without at any point any one saying "Get lost squirt - and have you finished your homework yet?"

I knew of course about the army of soldiers, but I didn't know about the administrators, the musicians, the acrobats, the birds and animals, and everything else the Emperor would need to ensure he conquered the after life as effectively as he conquered every place on this earth. (I didn't see any women though. Maybe sex was considered an unnecessary distraction to manly pursuits?)

What is really rather mind blowing is the fact that they have opened 600 pits thus far but are unlikely to open the Emperor's actual tomb for many many more years. It is rumoured to contain rivers of mercury replicating the rivers of China (indeed, readings taken of the soil there show extremely high readings of mercury), and pearls in the sky to replicate the stars in the universe. They hope to maybe one day have the technology to see inside the tomb without actually disturbing it. Whatever happens there, it won't be in any of our life times.

And on that cheery thought - Laters!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A True Story

over on my other place.

Monday, March 17, 2008


to the police in Hemel Hempstead for this rescue.

"All in all, not a bad day off" according to He Who Was Rescued.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Special Offer

Hurry, hurry. Get your half price chocolate Easter bunny now.

As opposed to buying your chocolate Easter bunny at any other time of the year when they will no longer be on special offer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A little piece

for you at my other place.

It concerns death.

But I thought it was funny.

I am very disappointed.

My hopes were raised when I read in the latest circular to all staff that our very own parking service was shortlisted for no less than TWO categories in the prestigious national British Parking Awards 2008.

My reading went on to inform me that The British Parking Awards are recognised as the leading showcase for innovation, excellence and achievement in the UK parking sector – but you probably all knew that already?

So it was with baited breath that I logged on to The British Parking Awards website> to read how the awards (attended by a packed house of nearly five hundred parking professionals over lunch at the Dorchester Hotel on Friday) went.

Alas, I have to tell you my employers came away empty handed.

However, I am sure you will all join me in congratulating Haringey Borough Council for their triumph in the
Enforcement Team of the Year Award (sponsored by The Enforcers*)

And this looks like the sort of car park one would wish to visit…

The Best New Car Park Award was won by:

Ocean Car Park, Southampton.

The Ocean Car Park provides 776 spaces for the new Ocean Village Marina. The designers wanted to create a car park where the architecture aided the subconscious understanding of the first time user. It has iconic spiral ramps and there are daylight sensors to control lighting and rainwater is harvested to irrigate landscaping.

(We are talking about a car park here aren’t we? Ed.)

Well done indeed to all the worthy winners, most of whom are too deeply dull to mention. (OK. ALL of whom are probably too dull to mention, but I mentioned two of them anyway.)

Another slight disappointment from the same staff circular. Towcester Recycling Centre HAS won an award – but my hopes for national recognition for Towcester Recycling Centre were shattered when on further investigation it turns out they were only up against the other recycling centres in the county.

Still, many thanks to my employers who obviously feel we need to know this stuff.

(You need n’t thank me for taking the time to share it with you. Hey! It is my pleasure!)

• Sounds like a ‘70’s cop series.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Parisian highlights

What a beautiful museum the D'Orsay is. The building itself (a former railway terminal) is stunning, but the stuff in it must have been good because the art illiterates that are also known as Reidski and Jane could hardly tear themselves away from the place.

At one point as we drifted along past various priceless works of art Reidski said to me; "I know that one through a board game we used to play as kids". "I had that game too!" I shrieked, much to the annoyance of the more refined art appreciators. We remembered it was called Masterpiece, and we both agreed that any art education we had was gained via that one board game. (And it seems it is still available.)Impossible to choose a favourite painting from there, but when I go away I always have to bring a fridge magnet back (how sad am I?) and this was on the fridge magnet I bought there so I guess it was one of my top 10.

We spent some time wandering around the islands. I had never been on the Ile St Louis before, but it was lovely; so atmospheric, and entirely untouched by hen party's or stag weekends. We also had a lovely crepe there (Yes Cookie - I did say a crepe!)(At the Sarrasin et le Froment.)

The other area we went to which was new to me was Le Marais where my normally legendary sense of direction (for once I am not kidding here - I have a great sense of direction) completely deserted me, and I don't think Reidski will object to me telling you that given his not exactly quite so sharp sense of direction, that meant we were in the words of that superb record (I am kidding here OK??) "Lost in France." But not for too long.

Reidski has already mentioned our 'Not so great' meal. Note to selves in future - We have a guide book that suggests great places to eat so use the damn thing. Because when we did we had wonderful food but when we did not we had tourist trap (rhymes with 'crap'. Coincidence? I think not) average, and you don't want average food in France.

And to end, I really don't want to repeat word for word what Reidski has already said about our trip to Paris, but this cemetery which is close to where we were staying in Montmartre was wonderful.And amongst very many moving tributes and monuments there the one that reduced me to tears was one we saw dedicated to the children of a Jewish family who were taken away by the Nazis.

Strange to think that within our parents life time, France was an occupied country.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Yes, we are back. Now Reidski has already written about much of our trip so I will refer you to him here for part of the story.

Like he says, we both saw much that was new to both of us last week. We also both had an entirely alien - but very welcome - experience whilst travelling there and back. We got an up grade!!!

Now granted, we were on a train to France, so this may not have quite the same impact as say an up grade when travelling Trans Atlantic to the States, however it was a very pleasant surprise indeed when the nice lady attendant asked us if we would like a drink and then suggested "Champagne?" Well - it would have been rude not to - but both of us were half expecting to get charged for it only we weren't. Nor were we charged for our second glass of champagne - or our lovely meal - or the wine we had with that. We also travelled back same class, although that train left a bit early for alcohol consumption - yes, even too early for us. We have no idea why it happened, but it was only later when looking round at the assorted fur coats and Chanel handbags that I realised that someone somewhere must have made some kind of a mistake by admitting a woman in a red berghaus walking jacket* into that particular carriage. I can only conclude it must have been Reidski's posh accent when he was making the booking wot done it.

Anyway, Eurostar is unbelievable. Two and a half hours from St Pancras (St Pancras International as we must now call it) to Paris. Wow.

* I may have been the scruffiest woman in Paris, but I was very glad of my wind proof jacket. Christ it was cold in that city last week.

I would go on a bit more but my internet connection keeps recovering from 'serious errors' so I am going to quit whilst I am still a few inches ahead. Does anyone ever actually understand what those errors are?

Monday, March 03, 2008

I lead a glamorous life

This thought occurred to me yesterday as I was on my hands and knees in the bathroom cleaning the floor, and wondering why exactly it was that I was doing this on what was ostensibly my doubly special day...birthday AND Mother's Day.

But later, when I had finished cooking a big dinner for all my family, and I found myself drinking rose verve cliquot champagne I decided life wasn't so bad after all. We were not only celebrating the two occasions already mentioned, but were wondering how on earth my mum and dad had succeeded in staying married for 50 years? It was their Golden Wedding Anniversary at the weekend too, and the mystery of how they made that milestone is one of the big questions of our time. As my friend of many years past said of my teenage years when I was with her on Saturday evening - the many many rows between my parents were memorable.

I could now attempt to make this blog a bit more interesting and make out I was mentally scarred by all those years of living in the middle of a battle field - only I wasn't.

And now I have a week off work and tomorrow Reidski and I will be in the very glamorous city of Paris. Our first night there will be spent in an Irish bar watching Celtic. Yes, I really do lead such a glamorous life!

Now to go and see if I can bribe the local garage into giving me a valid MOT certificate.