Friday, 25 July 2008

The Internet bestman

You can turn off the intense dramatic music that builds up until…… until ……well, nothing really. After the initial problems with our flight, which made up the bulk of the previous BlackLOG, and the real fear that we might not make the cruise and thus the wedding, it was all plain sailing, although I guess plain flying might be a better expression. Which left me to take on my duties as Best Man or at least would have done if I had not been an Internet Best Man…….

Internet Best Man
Everyone has heard of Internet brides. Well I think I might be the world’s first Internet Best Man. I’m not claiming for one moment that Mitch selected me off a web page. It’s just that being over 4,500 miles away from the event I was not able to indulge in the normal Best Man duties, like planning (and even attending) Mitch’s stag night. Even the position of Ring Bearer was whisked away from me, when Frodo appeared out of nowhere and grabbed the wedding rings before I had even a sniff of a chance to lose them. I have to admit, it was probably a very wise move, what with my track record of losing things. Still, a little bit of a kick in the teeth nevertheless, as my record for finding things is almost as good as my record for losing them in the first place. (This record would be a darn sight better if I could exclude black & red custom-built Oakley half jacket sunglasses from the loss column. Two pairs this year alone - I’m thinking of gluing the current pair to my head.) I strongly suspect that the Ring Bearer, who was not much more than knee high to a grass hopper, has a record for finding things, which currently consists of the inside of his nose with his finger and very little else. I have to admit that he did a wonderful job and at one point Joyce (the Bride) got very excited when she thought Mitch had gone and had an additional gemstone added to her ring. Fortunately those bogies wipe off really easily leaving hardly a mark. When I asked Frodo if he would like to make the Best Man’s speech he must have slipped a ring onto his finger because he vanished before my very eyes.

An Internet Best Man

For the record, Frodo was played by Joyce’s five year old nephew Dominic, who did not have a clue about Lord of the Rings, yet alone Ring Bearers or even Frodo for that matter. Then again the rest of the Canadian entourage struggled with most of the content of my speech, until I brought up the subject of “tazering pensioners at Vancouver airport”, a subject which they seemed to appreciate.

Tazering Pensioners a Canadian national sport, apparently

Sadly, however, I lost the rest of the audience - the ones who do not say “Eh?” at the end of almost every sentence because they weren’t familiar with the Canadian Mounties favourite airport hobby….. Hey ho, you can’t win them all. I did at least fulfil the most important duty of a Best Man - I turned up to stand by the main man and, much to Mrs B’s relief and, I suspect, Joyce’s, I did not attempt to cop off with the bride. Job done I say. Now show me to the Honeymoon……..but that’s another story which will have to wait until the next BlackLOG because I understand the modern reader has a fairly short span of attention and Mrs B tells me that I’ve already probably passed it.

Secret bonus bit for people with staying power
It's Ok Mrs B has left the room and deep down I know that some of you have more stamina then Mrs B gives you credit for....

Breaking News
Managed to persuade Mrs B that what we were lacking in our life was a 'George Forman - Lean Mean Grilling Machine'. I'm not sure how I did it, but I did and the best bit is that having got Mrs B to give it the green light, rather than use my usual, get it in the house for 5 mins and try and claim that we have had it for ages routine,(I have to admit this tactic never really works but being a bloke I feel duty bound to use it) I can hold Mrs B fully responsible when the Gadget fails to live up to my expectation. Oh yes a free pass, hang on a second while I do my little victory jig around the room......

Ok I'm back

Music section
My favourite record at the moment is by a Norwegian singer 'Ida Maria' called "I like you so much better when you're naked". I did try and warn you about these sexually liberated Europeans in previous BlackLOGs. It has a classic chorus which goes surprisingly enough "I like you so much better when you're naked" then the next line "I like me so much better when you're naked". Pure Genius, it's that 'me' bit along with 'you're' instead of the expected 'I'm'. Ida I salute you even if you do mention the dreaded ciggies, which to be honest loses you a few marks in my book. If I was better organised I would add a link to the song, but I'm falling back on the "you will enjoy it so much more, if you track it down yourself" defence. Besides I can't do everything for you......

Very late breaking news
'George Forman' update. The damn thing worked like a dream. While I'm delighted about that, I can't help but think I've wasted a free pass....

--------"Pssst, you better go, I think Mrs B is coming back"-------------

Friday, 11 July 2008

Terminal 5 and the 'joys' of flying with BA

With excitement, hedged with a little bit of fear and trepidation, after the recent press mauling that BA received over Terminal 5, Mrs B and I made our way to the very terminal . From recent experience of Heathrow we left ourselves what we thought would be plenty of time to get to our allotted ‘meet and greet’ appointment (aside 1). From almost the moment that we saw the signs for Terminal 5 luck deserted me and my life started to spiral horribly out of control. There was so little traffic we arrived half an hour early, a shady looking individual grasped the car keys from me before the car had even stopped and we found ourselves deposited on the pavement. Having checked in online it took us a matter of minutes to deposit our luggage and not much longer to get through security. So what is so bad about this you may be asking yourself? All I can say in my distressed state is:

Mrs B
Duty Free
Oodles of time……
My advice to any husband or boyfriend, don’t use Terminal 5 unless you are travelling on your own

BA better then Air Canada, but it was a close run thing
Still suffering from the after effects of Mrs B’s Terminal 5 retail therapy session, I staggered to our plane, accompanied by some rather large carrier bags. We made it to our seats in good time and the plane left the gate exactly on time, proceeded to the runway, fired up the engines and then juddered to a halt. 45 minutes later we trundled back to the gate and the intercom system burst into life…..

Had the additional weight of Mrs B’s purchases proved too much?

Had the airline equivalent of Nafman given the pilot the wrong direction?

Evidently not. Now forgive me if I get a bit technical here but apparently the two bits of metal coat hangers that hang off the front of the plane and predict something or other were buggered. BA then announced that while this was new cutting-edge technology that had only recently been installed they were not able to fly without it. If one of the wings was hanging off or one of the engines was smouldering away or, god forbid, the entertainment system was out of action I could understand it but being held up because the ‘something or other that had only just been introduced that attempts to predict something that probably won’t happen’ was having a bad wire day(aside 2). Thank god Mrs B had insisted on direct flights. For once our itinerary had the luxury of being able to cope with a delay of up to 21 hours before the vacation plans went tits up. Various announcements were made over the next two hours - some even good. Such as the message that the entertainment system was going to be switched on. I was fairly relaxed at this stage and the itinerary and I happily indulged ourselves in making a choice from the 25 or so films on offer, while Mrs B indulged in a little triple z action beside me. Then there came the announcement that the prongy things (sorry to get technical again) were having a really bad day so the flight might have to be rescheduled until tomorrow when they might be feeling a little better. Eeeek. That meant we would fail to make the Alaska bound cruise ship, which was bad enough, but since our friends Mitch & Joyce were getting married on the ship and I was down to be Best Man, a total and utter disaster. Itinerary and I went into panic mode and even Mrs B drifted briefly back into consciousness made the comment “Oooh, that’s not good!” before drifting off again. (aside 3).

Mrs B proves that falling asleep is
actually easier then falling off a Log

I'm sorry but how is it possible to sleep like that?

I tried talking to one of the trolley dolly’s to see what possibilities we had for finding an alternative flight out to Vancouver. He seemed more interested in making sure that he had not chipped his nail varnish or was he playing it cool? After 4 hours the prongy things evidently felt better and decided to give the ball back to the pilot. Another short delay while they put in some additional fuel, to cater for Mrs Bs purchases no doubt, then we were back on the runway. Four and a half hours late but thankfully, with full entertainment package working, we were underway. Is it just us or is everyone’s holiday just a drama ready to unravel?….. Next time on the BlackLOG find out if we manage to squander the remainder of our 16.5 hour leeway or if we actually make the cruise.

---------------------------Till next time--------------------------

(1) This is a system where you turn up outside of the terminal you are flying from, thrust your car keys into the hands of the shadiest looking individual you can find and hope he turns up with your car at the end of the trip. If you have not booked this service in advance there is a high chance you have just donated your car to a less than worthy cause. The next time you see it, it is likely to be shown on the news, parked through the window of a jewellery shop.Just think This could be your car

(Return to text)

(2) This reminds me about a story I heard about British horse racing. There is a law that states that there have to be two ambulances at a race meet at all times in case of an accident to a jockey. At one meet a jockey fell off of his horse and was put in the back of an ambulance. Instead of whisking him off to the local hospital the ambulance parked up and waited for the race meet to finish. Why? Well, because if the ambulance with the injured jockey left the course there would only be one ambulance in attendance and the meeting would have had to be abandoned. I understand the jockey died before he reached the hospital. Fantastic British logic at its very best. (Return to text)

I would have liked to have got my hands on a video of two ambulances crashing into each other as they raced to pick up a fallen jockey (The winner, no doubt, would have the privilege of letting the jockey spend his last few hours on Earth with them). Unbelievably YouTube were not able to provide such a video but I thought this one was pretty damn good Head on horse action. Incidentally why do the British Horse Racing Authority bother with ambulances when they could cut out the middle man and just have two hearses.

(3)This reminds me of a flight Mitch told me about. He fell asleep almost as soon as he got on the plane and woke up about 5 hours later as everyone was getting off. He was a little bit bemused that the airport seemed very familiar as he was sure he had never been to Montreal before. Then he realised that he was still in Vancouver and the flight had not left the ground, he had slept on the runway for the entire time. Incidentally this was the same scheduled flight that caused Mrs B and I so much trouble on our last ski trip and was just one of the many reasons that we were flying BA & not Air Canada (Return to text)
Mitch re-enacts sleeping through his delay. No sorry, he's actually fallen asleep again. Mrs B & McG are such a bad influence....

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The almost patented McG wake up alarm system

I'm afraid the Mitch/Joyce wedding and Alaska cruise Blog (possibly series of Blogs if my past holiday blogs are anything to go by) is still in post production. In the meantime I thought you might appreciate a classic little video clip that has been doing the rounds. This also marks a first for the BlackLOG, a video that I have actually managed to load onto the site. I discovered that the previous videos I tried to load were about 10x over the size limit. Doh!

Until now I assumed that any night time injuries that occurred to me were the results of unprovoked attacks from "sleep Ninja Mrs B". I now have video evidence, via Catcam, to show the true culprit (I assume that this was filmed by Mischief and then transcribed, like a court sketch, as Mrs B does not like pictures of her Boudoir being released in case anyone recognises and attempts to kidnap our bedspread....)

Please note the "almost patented McG
alarm system" and "sleep Ninja Mrs B"
are not available in the shops

More cat news
Apparently I'm not the only one who McG is doing damage to. The latest visit to the vets turned into yet another embarrassing trip for me. Not only did I get another lecture about McG's less than silf-like state, this time from I have to be honest, a scale-challenging veterinary nurse. The one sided conversation went something like this

SVN :- "Have you thought about exercise?"

Me :- Shrug of shoulders.... Cue thought bubble "Have you ever though about it!! cause it doesn't look like you have ever tried it""

SVN :- "cutting back would be a start"

Me :- Thought bubble "McG might have eaten all the pies but looks like you ate everything else"

McG just sat there with a "Are you really going to take advice from lumpy?" expression on his ickle face

Then both McG and Mischief turned claw on the Vet and at least one of them drew blood. This probably accounts for the much higher veterinary bill than usual.

McG goes that extra mile to lose the lbs

Fortunately they don't make a cat harness big enough for McG. Let's face it walking Big G
would be a new low, even for my rubbish reputation

Friday, 4 July 2008

Lincolnshire just like the New Of The World brought to life

It is always a joy to visit our friends in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. Some of you who have been with the BlackLOG for some time will already be aware of Teach who delights in picking up on any offences to the English language that I manage to sneak past Mrs B (This normally happens when Mrs B is tired or when I have added content after her editing. A.k.A while Mrs B is looking the other way). I like to think that I have inspired Teach to create her own Blog (skipperthequarterhorse It might be a bit horsey for some of you but I like Teach’s wit and style even if it specialises in galloping all over the BlackLOG. Teach, feel free to send your Blog address to my email address. I currently seem to be able to receive messages but not send them from it “Curse be on you MS Outlook!”. P.S. Teach, you might want to skip the next couple of lines or at least send me the Blog address before you read on. No particular reason…….) A huge prize for any one who reports back to me even the slightest wiff of a grammatical error, a hint of a spelling mistake or even a split infinitive when it should have been a double…..No pressure then Teach (Not that you have been reading this bit…..)

Our first visit to Hugh and Teach, many years ago, was to a fully fledged working dairy farm with real cows that went moo and everything, always the best kind in my view. As well as a menagerie of other animals that make up your typical farm, including numerous cats that actually worked for a living (aside 1),loads of chickens which came with a character filled cockerel called Dinner (aside 2). Recently, however, Hugh has got tired of working for a living and joined our cats as a lad of leisure. This was remarkably simple to do and just involved getting rid of all the cows leaving him plenty of time to concentrate on his favourite hobby - falling out with the neighbours. This must take considerable effort from him as he is such a nice bloke. (He told Mrs B and me that the cows had gone to stay with a little old lady in the city, where they would be much happier, and explaining we could probably go and visit them when they had settled in properly. I wonder if she is any relation to the little old lady who lives in the country and regularly gave good homes to all our cats, gerbils, budgies etc…when I was a kid. I really should track her down and ask for them all back, it’s just that my mother refuses to give me her address….). But that’s only part of the story, the real reason for our trips into darkest Lincolnshire is to catch up on the latest gossip and scandal. It’s like entering a living version of the News of the World. I’m sure these things go on under our very noses in good old Bishops Stortford but we certainly never find out about them. Between each visit to Lincolnshire people seem to regularly switch partners (thankfully Hugh and Teach seem stable enough), local Mayors get done for embezzlement. Their cleaner’s mum turned out to be running a brothel from the upstairs of a local public house. Teach went way beyond the call of duty for our latest visit and entertained us by running around a field watched by her bemused horse “Skipper” who took up a front row position and stood contentedly munching on grass. We can't wait for our next visit, I'm thinking possibly a scandal involving human sacrifice might be fun.....

Teach puts herself through yet another vigorous workout, including, ooh, stepping over the pole......

Skipper grabs a snack while he waits for Teach to start her next routine.

Berlin: - never a dull moment
The taxi that picked me up from Berlin airport had a TV in the centre console which was pretty cool for watching the footie, except every time the handbrake was applied the picture vanished. I have never wanted to hit more red lights in my life, not even when I was on my old school bus. I'm pretty sure that once the driver realised I was interested in the game he started to jump the lights. Gee,thanks.

Because my trip was taken at such late notice I ended up in the designer hotel that I had so much difficulty in the last time I stayed there. This time I managed to turn all the lights off within half an hour and as an added bonus the previous occupant had dismantled the constantly beeping phone, saving me the trouble of doing so. It looked like they had been less subtle than me though and used a sledge hammer; either that or his over-sized German wife had sat on it.
This visit I was disappointed to discover that the mini bar in the rooms are complimentary, which for a non-drinker like me is about as useful as offering a cannibal free reign over a salad bar.

-------------------End of another BlackLOG---------------------------

(1) This would come as a real shock to McG & Mischief whose very existence is dedicated to sleeping and being waited on paw and claw. We had a home invasion the other day when a beautiful black and white cat burst through the front door and started to make himself at home. While our two complained bitterly they did not so much as lift a paw to defend their territory, leaving it down to me to forcibly evict our friendly but never the less unwelcome guest. Our two would have been straight down the Cats Protection league if I had not done so. As long as they got a lift that is. Another example of their commitment to the cat equivalent of a dole queue was when I attempted some lawn repairs the other week. Within seconds of me leaving the scene the garden was full of birds; both of the cats just watched them lazily from the conservatory window. Mrs B was not much better calling out to me that the birds were eating all my grass seeds. Not one of them thinking to go outside and chase them away- had they all recently been watching Alfred Hitchcock “The Birds” and were too terrified to venture outside…?(Return to text)
McG in shock when he finds out that some cats work for a living

Mischief waiting indignantly for a lift down to the Cats Protection League to register a formal complaint.

(2) We asked Teach what we were eating one evening

Teach :- “Dinner”

Us :- “Yes we know that, but what are we eating?”

Teach :- “Dinner”

Us :- “Oh!”

If it’s any consolation to ‘Dinner’, he tasted very nice. (Return to text)