Thursday, 27 May 2010

Scouting for meat.....

We attended a Bollywood extravaganza* at our local hall last week. Mrs B took the opportunity to dress up in a Saree, while I decided not to. I’m already getting probing questions from Nikki over at Que sera sera! about some of my recent behaviour ….

“Why do you know so much about Gossip Girl**? Moonlighting as a fashion blogger, cross dressing...I'm curious.” Nikki

* i.e local amateur production given a fancy pants name to try and draw in the punters. It was for charity so I’m sure they can be forgiven….

** I’m putting it down to a midlife crisis and feel it is only proper that I also own up to various similar hideous offences including the blatant watching, and on occasions enjoyment of, Glee; The Vampire Diaries; One Tree Hill and other such teen TV atrocities. I draw the line at reality TV programmes however; even I have some standards. Even if they happen to be very low ones…..

I did however decide to enter into the spirit of the event and wore a pair of long white shorts, sandals and a collarless jacket. This was my attempt at doing a posh Ghandi but did not go down well with a very disapproving Mrs B – she gave me a warning for attempted civil disobedience in a built up area, during the hours of darkness, as well as an AFBO (Anti Fashion Behaviour Order) and me, a published fashion critic, oh the disgrace.

The evening entertainment could best be described as “interesting” – a trio of kids with nothing better to do on a Saturday night than jiggle about to Indian music. (Think Fame or even Glee*** but remove any vestige of talent - not that either of those shows had much of it in the first place - replacing it with bucket loads of enthusiasm and natural raw inability). I guess it could have been worse, the three of them could have been out mugging pensioners. Hmmm, when the day of reckoning comes, at the end of my life, I wonder if I can include taking one for the pensioners, in my plus column?

*** Please note my blatant attempt to appeal to all age groups. Don’t say I don’t make an effort…..

The Indian music in question appeared to have been fused with elevator music and was played through an amp that sounded like it was 20ft under water. This may actually have proved to be a good thing as the distortion was far more musical than the tunes that were assaulting our ears could ever be….

Still, they were serving authentic curry, so I felt it was probably worth going through the audio and visual torture….Only,when they served up the curry, they had forgotten to include the most important ingredient….No,not the spices and herbs, or the rice and yoghurt, these were all present and correct,but where was the meat? In my (possibly slightly warped) view, it should be a capital offence to advertise curry but fail to mention it would contain just the evils of vegetarianism*****. I need meat not rabbit food….

***** If we had been built to eat vegetables we would not have vitamin supplements

Perhaps I’m being unfair and they had actualy been attempting to lure rabbits into the curry. If so, a word of advice for next time, they should allow the curry to mature a little longer, giving time for the rabbits to actually get there and most importantly, allow for them to eat all those evil vegetables. Of course there maybe the slight danger of bunny nuggets but I’m sure that these can be passed off as squidgy raisons….

Thanks to our friends Penny and Paul I just about managed to survive after they took pity on me and practically carried me back to their house to provide me copious amounts of meat before my body went into Carniphylactic***** shock…..

***** Similar to anaphylactic shock except brought on through un-exposure to meat rather than exposure to allergens… I'm not sure of the spelling of Carniphylactic, it's not like I make these words up......only I did with that one. So surely I can't spell it doubt Teach will let me know.

Penny & Mrs B attempt some Indian dance moves

Looks like the other Bollywood guests are surrendering.

Mrs B prays for the event to end.

Not sure what an oversize mini-babybell* has to do
with Bollywood?....Mala any ideas?

* Or is it a mini woman with a normal sized babybell? 

Ticket touting made easy
Our latest gig was 'Scouting For Girls' at the Hammersmith apollo – a great fun band, an English version of Bare Naked Ladies – i.e. great music with often amusing lyrics, some of my favourites lines include :-

“She’s thirty turned flirty, isn’t that the age a girl turns dirty”
From - She’s so lovely

“Take of your clothes, take of your clothes and come to bedIt used to be just me but that’s how 1 plus 1 makes 3”
From - 1+1=3

“Posh girls have good manners but they go like the clappers because they never got to hang around with boys at school”
From - Posh Girls

“It ain't gonna happen
For me and the Strachan”
From - Michaela Strachan

Misheard lyrics of the night –I thought it was hilarious that Mrs B thought, when SFGs were singing “You put the meaning in wacaday”, a Kids program from the 80’s, that Michaela Strachan hosted,  she heard it as “Wank-a-day….”

The SFG fan base proved a mixed blessing, being largely made up of young teenage girls (no need to say anything Nikki. I just happen to like lots of different types of music) meant the audience were quite short in stature, allowing Mrs B an excellent view of the stage for once. The normal Mosh pit action, which can easily be avoided by stepping back a bit, was replaced with a high pitch screeching, which can get very annoying. I know that classical music and also low pitch sound is often used to disperse groups of adolescence on from public places, perhaps the high pitch screech is some sort of teenage revenge…..

One thing I hate about concerts is when I end up with spare tickets to sell, when friends can’t make it. I have tried selling the tickets outside a venue before but the reaction you get from people, it's as if  I'm suddenly scum, something that should be wiped off the sole of their shoes. To be honest, I have a certain amount of sympathy with them, as I personally believe ticket touts****** are indeed the scum of the earth and the main reason why people can’t get tickets for concerts at a reasonable price in the first place. It’s not that I’m trying to sell the tickets at a profit even, just trying to cover the cost. This time I managed to sell some spare tickets before hand using the internet. It still meant I had to meet up with strangers outside the gig, which feels a bit odd. Think of it like turning up for a blind date, where the person that you are meeting has brought along their partner and clearly doesn’t want to hang around for a chat and so they give you money to go away…. However, it beats having to pimp the tickets on a street corner….

****** The only time I've scalped tickets was for U2 at Twickenham.  The tout started off at about £200 per ticket but I managed to get him down to £100 which was only about £30 over the asking price….It was only after I had handed over the money and he was sprinting down the road that I realise that our tickets were in separate parts of the stadium to each other…. Oh, you have to love those little scamps, right up to the point you catch them and take them to be euthanized….

Catch you next week.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Owl spotting proves not so much of a hoot for Mrs B

We have been going up to our friends' farm in Lincolnshire for over 20 years (why not check out Teach's blog Skipper's Blog, I believe inspired by the BlackLOG on the basis if I can write a Blog anyone can....) they have always made us very welcome, going above and beyond the call of duty to entertain us by finding new things for us to do or brighten our lives with hot local gossip. Over the years we have been fascinated to discover that Hugh and Cathryn’s cleaners’ mother ran the local brothel, from a nearby pub, and that one of the local counsellors was arrested on a murder charge. The local scandal levels in Wainfleet and the surrounding environs could power the Sunday rag sheets from here to the next century. In fact Gossip Girl would struggle to compete, even during a Blair, Serena & Jenny three-way lesbian romp, with Lily filmig the event for posterity.

We on the other hand are at the opposite end of the gossip scale and couldn’t tell you if the people 3 doors down had moved or just changed cars and hairstyles…We did discover during Shed Wars that the bad neighbours had an aversion to snakes, which could have come in handy if Shed Wars had escalated, but peace broke out when I refused to get drawn into a slanging match and came over all "Mr Reasonable".* Other than the back door slamming on a semi-regular basis and the fence panel being replaced after a mere three month gap** …. (Mrs B thinks they left it to try and get a reaction. Sometimes, just sometimes, apathy*** is the right course of non-action) it’s like no one actually lives there….

* Hugh, note there are ways of dealing with even the most awkward of neighbours and I’m sure that, given time, your neighbours will learn how to cope with you….putting an end to “dog crap wars” and "boundary creep wars" for ever. Well perhaps not….

* Please note this is a genius bit of writing and deserves a Pulitzer Prize nomination for the best 'whatever the word is for a clean double entendre' in a blog during May 2010 in the Bishops Stortford area (Sorry Imo).

**Actually I find apathy can get me through most situations, as people often mistake it for intellectual contemplation as opposed to couldn’t be arsed reality….

One of the regular events we have attended with them has been the Skegness Round Table Summer Ball (of which Hugh has been President - nothing to get over excited about as this role is rotated around the members and is seen more as an irritating infection, being passed around like a dose of the clap, rather than a great honour….). During these events Mrs B and I have achieved an extraordinarily high rate of return on our raffle ticket purchases, which has been great but the prizes have never been quite as good as they sounded. Some of the highlights included:

  • The first win was a CD player which was really great but came a few days too late, as I had purchased one the week before….
  • Second, there was an annual season ticket to Hardy’s animal farm, which, being over 120 miles away from home, was quite a distance to go just to get nipped by a sheep, head butted by a goat and kicked by a rotund pony with a Napoleon Bonaparte complex… Besides, Hugh and Cathryn were friends with the owners and could get us free access anytime we wanted.
  • We came up trumps one year when Mrs B won a box of fine wine, only someone managed to knock them over just as we went to collect them, leaving us with a single bottle. You can win that on a tombola...
  •  This year we surpassed ourselves when we won an Audi…Yes ladies and gentleman a brand spanking new …. ….but hold it a second, put the Champagne and Milkshake back on ice ….. True, it was a Brand New Audi but it was only to be ours for a weekend. (That’s not a raffle prize that’s an extended test drive for a car you don’t actually wish to purchase) …. We worked out that with petrol at it’s current price it would cost us a small fortune to drive to Skegness to pick the thing up. Thus we have donated the prize to our hosts in order to put some pressure on them to come and visit us….
My heart bleeds for those people who stagger out each year with a flat screen TV (yes, yes I know we recently bought one but you can never have too many TV’s. I’m sure we could make room for it), although knowing our luck, if we did win one I would get a hernia attempting to carry it back to the car and drop the thing on Mrs B’s good foot… How ungrateful does this make us sound?

What’s the best/worst raffle prize you have won?

(Late breaking news, just as I reached the deadline for this week's blog we won another raffle prize at a more local event. No car, TV or even an 'access all areas' pass to abuse small furry animals. This time Mrs B selected a pair of shiny foot jewels that she can’t wear at the moment as they won’t stretch over the Air boot. Personally, I would have selected the 3 free nights in our own bedroom.) Raffle prizes just arn't what they used to be...

In the early years of our visits, such was the novelty of staying on a working farm, that even Mrs B managed to drag herself out of bed, at some unearthly hour, so that we could hinder Hugh’s attempts to milk the cows. The cows have long since gone and have been replaced by a menagerie of wild animals, including owls. Mrs B is fascinated with owls and is desperate to see a wild one in flight. Last year we went out owl spotting in the car and Mrs B and Hugh decided to walk back across the fields, convinced that this would provide the best viewing opportunity. I was left to drive home around the lanes. I got back before them of course, and strolled over to one of the barns just as an owl was departing. I managed to get a couple of pictures to show Mrs B, as by the time they trudged damply into the yard (it had started to rain) the owl had long gone. My picture did nothing to improve Mrs Bs down-sodden mood …

During the build-up to this year's visit we were getting reports of regular owl sightings and Mrs B's excitement level and sense of anticipation were off the scale. Yes, we had seen some owls a couple of weeks ago, close at hand, but those were tame display birds and it’s not the same as seeing a wild one. Think of it in terms of going to see a rank amateur actor in a play at your local theatre one week and then the next week going to see a highly-rated actor in a top West End show. Yes, the local production might be great fun to watch but very unlikely to leave you feeling in awe of what you have witnessed, not unless the actor unintentionally falls over a lot or start quoting great swathes of lines from a totally different play ….

Owl spotting was never going to be easy as Mrs B had the handicap of her leg in the air boot this year so was already struggling with a limited range and speed. I took the Beast and wandered down to the barns and got my reward. By the time Mrs B had made it the owls had gone again. I then made my way across to the other side of the farm to an old cottage and was rewarded this time with another couple of owl sightings.

Please don’t think this is like one of those TV documentaries where they try and build up a sense of excitement and anticipation by claiming they are running out of time to see the rare Ethiopian tea-making squirrel make a cuppa. What a surprise, just as they are about to pack up the cameras, a little teacup appears followed by teapot and some hazelnut cake and the ceremony begins. I can assure you that, after this, no more owls appeared, it was like they had moved out and poor Mrs B once again lost out. I’m not sure what she has done to upset them but there would appear to be an owl conspiracy against her.

As I drove home, with a slightly dejected Mrs B, we got a phone call from Hugh to say the owls had returned. They had no doubt finished having tea with the Ethiopian squirrels and were now circling around the farm wearing little T-shirts saying “Up yours, Mrs B.” Oh well, maybe next time. As I’ve always said those amateur actors are so much more fun to watch than those overpaid talented professional ones…

Mrs B is currently working on next year's strategy and intends to employ reverse psychology to spot those damn birdies, by pretending to be completely disinterested. Quite frankly I think the owls will see right through it.

Is Jools Holland the new Marmite?
I got the opportunity to pick up some tickets for Jools Holland playing Audley End and was surprised by the reaction I got when I asked people if they were interested in joining us. Absolutely no middle ground. It was either a warm fuzzy “Oh, I’ve always wanted to see him live ….” or an almost vitriolic spitting “I’ve always wanted to see him dead…..”.

So that's it for another week, just the Photo's to go. Catch you next time...

One of the owls using a pigeon 
as a Mrs B spotter...

An arty collection of tyres - If this was in the Tate Modern
it would have critics wetting their collective nickers. It's
all down to the brilliant placement and just the correct
amount of  tread wear. Excuse me I'm just off to shoot
a critic and not with The Beast....

Mrs B gets a couple of toy boys to try and
get over the lack of owl action.... 

Kathryn, are you sure you can trust your men?
Hugh looks like he is going for the diminished
responsibilities defence.... 

Hugh shows off his new Handbag
It's not that easy to carry, he
might have to use it as
a rucksack....

Cathryn realises that Hugh is wasting his money
as we are bound to win the raffle....

Just as well this owl shaved its wingpits this morning
that could have been embarrasing...

Apprently on a farm you have to have
 a collection of old rusty tractors.
It's the Law...

Mrs B gets her revenge and gives the body
 of a missing Large Boned Owl to Treacle to
 hide the evidence. 

Currently taking bets as to which will burst
first Tim's head or the balloon?

 Who are you callinig Chicken?
I just hope this one has not been named dinner....

Hugh having difficulty getting his 'Stunt Dog' into the air .

If you look carefully you might just be
able to spot a little tea pot, cup and
the remains of a hazelnut cake...

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Losing it....or how not to

We went to see Ruby Wax, live at the mighty Rhodes Centre in Bishops Stortford (Don't worry, I'm not convinced Ruby knew exactly where she was either). It was a good show but would have been so much better if we had not been in the very back row of the balcony (Craig, what happened? Richard and Alison, who booked after you, got front row tickets. I might have to change my Rhodes Centre ticket supplier.....).

Thankfully, the venue is not massive, however, it did put us next to two women who nattered constantly for the entire length of the, aptly named "losing it", show. I had to really bite back hard not to say anything to them. I knew that if I had started I would have lost it with them. The topics they covered were wide and sweeping and included an in-depth conversation about the content of their handbags, (at one point they were actually taking items out of the bags, no doubt for even more in-depth discussion and visual impact), what they had for lunch, the price of school clothes, where they had got the blouse that one of them was wearing. This took up about 10 minutes on its own as they discussed how lovely it was and how both of them thought it was lovely and they could not think of a lovelier blouse that either of them had ever seen etc etc etc.

The only thing that interrupted the constant flow of words was the interval and when one of the harpies phone rang. "Oh, I'm so embarrassed" she exclaimed but instead of turning it off she proceeded to answer the damn thing..... At the end of the show they finally stopped chatting long enough to applaud and I heard one of them say:-

"That was brilliant!".

How in hell would they know? Unless of course she was not actually talking about the show but the catch up session that she had just had with her friend. No doubt they went home and immediately called each other up for the next two hours to say what a good time they had.

I was trying to think why I didn't say anything to them. Even Mrs B expressed her surprise at my dogged silence. On reflection, I believe the main reason I didn't say anything was because of the delicious juxtaposition that had played out before me. While Ruby was on stage talking about the ability of Englishwomen to prattle on endlessly about nothing in particular, the ladies next to me went above and beyond the call of duty to prove her point. The irony clearly being lost on our two new friends... Names, addresses (and, if I had my way, their breaths(permanently)) have been withheld...

Craig & Mala's wedding details
OK, OK, I've kept you waiting for long enough (even to the point of being harangued by Vinnie, who demanded to know where the photographs of him were....You have to remember he is Italian) the details of Mala & Craig's wedding and the safari we went on....., Settle down, settle down, it was only a day at Woburn Safari Park and not a 2 week trip around deepest, darkest Africa (which would not be a problem for The Beast as it has great low light capability....). The wedding being held close to Woburn, Mrs B took the opportunity to book a weekend break which included dinner and access to Woburn Abbey and Woburn Safari park....Why is it that the offer, clearly stated on the WEB, is never available when you try and book it? But curiously there is a slightly different offer : "half as much for twice the cost...." Grrrrrr bloody hotels....

When I was invited to the wedding I thought I was simply down as a guest and witness to our friends happy day. I guess the six weeks that Mala and Craig left to organise themselves meant that they did not have a lot of think time, otherwise I'm sure they would have found someone more suitable to assist them. Either that or they were hoping that I would not have enough time to use The Beast.....Fat chance...

The tasks I picked up were :-

1st up - Sorting the music out for the ceremony. Unfortunately I didn't get to select the music and I fear most of the congregation now think I'm a Barbara Streisand fan. I got to create the CD and play it at appropriate moments, through the service. Poor Mala has been so busy trying to squeeze 6 months of planning into 6 weeks that she forgot to ask me to undertake this task. I suspect she had one of those conversations in her head and then convinced herself that we had spoken. I only found out when Craig sent me the running order with my name against the music part and a note thanking for me agreeing to do it....Thank god that Craig is excessively organised, otherwise I would probably have not found out until during the embarrassing silence as Mala walked up the Isle.... The best man's speech touched on Craig's ability to over organise. I actually had first-hand experience of it when I received Craig's wedding planner:

11:45 Background music starts [I fear my cue may have been about 12 seconds late, putting the whole schedule in jeopardy]

11:55 Craig meets Registrar beforehand ; hands over "certificate for marriage" [This makes it sound like a relay race. I wonder if they get disqualified if they drop the baton, sorry I mean certificate....]

11:58 Wedding dress arrives*

12:00  Ceremony commences [personally I feel a starting pistol would have been appropriate but it was not to be....]

12:00 + 12 seconds Music change to Evergreen : Barbara Streisand [Time for me to stick my fingers in my ears and make loud noises to cover my distress]

12:00 + 28 seconds Mala walks down the isle [Would it have been so bad if I had swapped out BS for something decent? I mean what bride has not dreamt of walking down the isle to Roy C - 'Shotgun Wedding'....? As it was I could not find a copy]

12:00 + 37 seconds Mala reaches her mark [I was tempted to move it but thought better of it...]

12:01 + 22 seconds Registrar gives introduction, says Flitwick Manor is authorised for weddings…

12:03 Registrar calls on congregation to declare if they know of any lawful impediment…[I thought that the Registrar had a slight speech impediment but decided it probably was not the time to bring it up ]

12:05 Registrar talks about marriage…

12:06 Craig and Mala declare that they know of no reason why they cannot be lawfully married…

12:08 Dawn reads "My love"

12:14 Registrar asks Craig and Mala if they wish to marry each other…. "I do" [Craig could have said it with a bit more conviction but it was OK as Mala more than made up for it with a very enthusiastic declaration....]

12:15 Craig and Mala then contract to marry, saying additional vows they have chosen with prompting from the Registrar [I felt the cattle prod was a bit OTT but it certainly proved effective]

12:16 Glen gets the rings out

12:16 + 12 seconds Glen drops the rings

12:16 + 42 seconds Glen finds and picks up rings and hands them to the Registrar [Wow, Craig even built in some contingency planning in case of problems]

12:17 Craig and Mala exchange rings saying some extra words [Craig seriously..... just 3 minutes for Mala???]

12:20 Ritu reads "Blessing for a Marriage"

12:22 Music change to Romance from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik [That kind of gives the impression the music automatically changes.....that was another 30 seconds lost off of the schedule....oooops]

12:23 Craig and Mala sign the register

12:24 Music change to Alla Hornpipe

12:25 - 12:27 Confetti Outside…

12:28 Music change to Classical Background

* No joke, due to the problems with the ash cloud** Mala's wedding dress and her dress for the evening did not arrive from India until the night before the wedding. She was running around at 10pm trying to find a tailor to make final adjustments.

** My sister was distraught at being forced to spend an extra week in her 5star hotel in the Caribbean at BA's expense. People just don't realise the hardships somr are being put through. As our friend Lisa said, another couple of days in the sun and with the addition of two handles my sister would have been returned to us as an Antique Leather Handbag......

I must point out although I may have enhanced Craig's wedding plan a little, it was not by very much..... I do like it when someone else gets to write most of the BlackLOG script.

2nd - Mala handed me a video camera a couple of days before the wedding (An improvement in that she remembered to have the conversation with me this time) and asked me if I would mind doing a bit of informal videoing through out the day. Always up for a challenge I was happy to oblige...The first problem I found was videoing the wedding and attempting to cue music while using the Beast.

'This is definitely multitasking territory and, as anyone knows us men can't multi-task.'

Next the music was at the back of the room and so I had to do all the filming from there, which was straight into the light....Oh, well it was informal so not a problem. I did a little bit of filming through out the day and thought nothing of it. However, any time I stopped, Mala's mum would come up and ask me why I was not filming... I managed to get Mrs B to do some, she's much better with video as she makes the effort to put a bit of commentary to go with it....

Come the evening session, however and the battery was flat. Which meant I missed most of the speeches. Mala's mum again appeared and asked me why I was not filming. I explained the battery was flat and she asked me why I had not recharged it....I looked a bit quizzical and at this point I was informed that the video was for all the family back in India who had not been able to attend.....Gulp...... .

Having failed to find a plug at the venue I grabbed Mrs B's mini Beast which has a video option and filmed everything that moved....Oh no. ... I hope someone explains that it is a wedding video.

3rd - Assisted with writing one of the speeches :- Vinnie, as the person most responsible for Craig and Mala meeting in the first place was asked to open the speeches by letting everyone know how Mala and Craig had met. He decided that his speech could do with some BlackLOG magic. I may have already mentioned that he's Italian so can be forgiven for mistaking my mindless chatter for English humour. I say with some satisfaction that the best laughs were my from my lines but I'm not sure if it was Vinnie's excellent delivery or pity laughs for bad lines....

Woburn Safari Park
I can't help but think there was something wrong as we sat in a traffic queue edging through the animal enclosures, pumping out carbon dioxide. I appreciate that it is the people going to see the animals that pays for their feed but fear we are going to produce generations of sickly lions, asthmatic tigers and barfing bears.....

But at least Mrs B got to see some owls, tune in next week to see why that was so important....

I'll end with some photos

Flitwick Manor - the venue for Craig & Mala's wedding

Wrest Park - evening venue

Grounds of Wrest park. I built in a slant to help  
deal with water run off due to predicted heavy rain.
Thankfully the Weather men got it wrong again..... 

Mala making a speech - sorry ladies this is the
best shot I have of the wedding dress. I was too
busy with other tasks.

Loura and Vinnie - When the Registrar said you can
now kiss, I think they meant the Bride and Groom....

Craig in traditional wedding gear...

The shop keeper tailor gave Mr Ben Craig a
traditional India wedding jacket for
the start of his new adventure....

Vinnie gives his speech using traditional
Italian phrases...including
'Rigor mortis on two feet'
'Dressed to the nines'

I think this is one of Mala's aunties - or possibly a
gate crasher. It's one of my favourite shots
of the day.....

Vinnie's hair care regime was always
going to play havoc with Craig's
timing schedule.

Mrs B and Loura

Safari pictures

Who needs moving eyes when you can
twist your head 180 degrees in any direction..?
Some people claim an owl can turn its head
360 degrees but that would mean its head
would fall off.....

A Harris Hawk - has  such good eye
sight it can read a newspaper across
the length of a football field. I gues that's
why they don't need to purchase papers, they
just read other people's....

With no Zebras available Woburn had
to improvise with a giraffe crossing ....

A Squirrel Monkey just hanging around...

The power and the grace....

Beautiful plumage on the Barn Owl.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

In at the deep end, how to swim the perfect length...

I've not been swimming recently, partly because of the problems at "Swim Club" so I was determined last week to get back into a regular routine. Which was why I forced myself along to the gym to use the pool...

I finished my first length and it felt good - I was even thinking that "Fish Boy" was back and was about to start my second length, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed something yellow and pink was waving flabby arms at me and hollering. Wow, it had felt good but I'm pretty sure it wasn't worthy of a huge celebration or anything.

What were they were going to do once I reached 50 lengths?

I never found out as they were not celebrating my perfect length, they were having a go at me for swimming, yes, swimming, in a swimming pool.  Now forgive me if I'm being a bit simplistic but isn't the clue in the name

 S.W.I.M.M.I.N.G P.O.O.L?

I got out of the pool and asked them what planet they were on.

Life guard :- "I'm sorry Sir, you are in the recreational area and you are not allowed to lift your arms above head hight...."
Blimy, I thought, what are you meant to do if you are drowning? My guess as tidely and quietly as possible with your arms rigid against your body

Me - "So what you are telling me is that I'm not allowed to swim?"

Life guard :- "You can do breaststroke."
I'm sorry to me that's just treading water with a bit of forward motion....

Me - "Isn't that banned under some "no petting" rule?"

Life guard :- Blank expression

Life guard :- "You have two lanes that you can swim in."
I looked across at the two narrow lanes with around 12 people in each lane and then back at the rest of the pool, about 4 lanes worth of open water with about 5 people lolling around trying to float their way to fitness.....

I decided to try a different tact.

Me - "This is the dedicated swimming time 'Swim Fitness' on your timetable?"

Life guard :- "Yes."

Me - "So why are you stopping me swimming?"

Life guard :- "You can swim in the lanes"
Damn she was going to stick to her script, almost as good as a seasoned politician.

Me - "What in the packed lanes with people being crushed to death at both ends?"

Life guard :- "Yes"
she said a little more hesitantly

Me - "Then it's not really worth me bothering is it.?"

At this point I stormed off, but due to the steam emitting from my ears and a lack of familiarity with the pool's layout, my dramatic exit was rather ruined when I struggled to find the exit to the Gents' changing rooms, nearly tripping over the f***ing 'No Swimming Sign' in the process. Just as well I didn't. If I had tripped and fallen in the pool, the lifeguard would probably have shouted at me for diving...

Still at least I had done a great length. It was possibly close to perfection. Is this life's way of telling me to give it up and go and join the rest of once Great Britain stagnating in the back waters....????

As a bit of background to my loss of humour

Last year I was swimming a good 2 to 3 miles a week, since joining a new gym, at the begining of the year and exclude my humilation at swim club (First rule of swim club, never talk about swim club), I have managed a paltry 25 metres in 3 months.... This is because when ever I try and use the pool I run into :-

Hippo training - A.K.A Aqua arobics . Every other pool I've used they just ring fence the hippos and let everyone else take their chance in the rest of the pool....

Swimming Club - I suspect a similar concept to swim best avoided

Schools - Fair enough I don't want to share the same water as a bunch of fighting, peeing and probably pooing adolesense

Swimming lessons - How cruel is that, teach people to swim but then not let them use their new found skill.....That should be filed under some sort of Chinese Water torture.

Diving club - Since they occupy the bottom of the pool why can't I be allowed to swim along the surface?

Swim for all - Basically a pool full of pensioners, kids and no doubt hippos, waiting for an industrial crane to remove them from the water.

Life savers - Why? Since no one is allowed to swim. Just who are they expecting to save?

Swim Fitness - Billed on their leaflet as :

Sessions with lanes for those who know swimming is the best way to stay active "uninterrupted". Ask for one of our results cards to help you get more out of your time in the pool.

Sorry you are going to have to peel me off the ceiling again, it was during a "Swim Fitness" session that I was stopped after just one length.

Surely I can sue them under the Trades Description Act............

I'm guessing here but I suspect the results card is about the size of a postage stamp, I can't see 25 metres a session taking much room to document.....

This was hardly the :-

Sales lady -"Yes you can swim at any time sir"
I obviously didn't see that she had her fingers crossed and put the fact that she would not look me straight in the eye down to a slight squint.

that I signed up a year's membership for......


Please tell me it is not just me who sees the irony of Gordon Brown getting all animated and excited about the plight of the 14 year old girl who broke down in tears at "his" political rally, because of the poverty trap that her family are caught in and calling for a march for justice dinity and fairness:-
  • Does he not realise that he and his cronies have been in charge of this country for almost the whole of her life?
  • Infact even worse he has been in charge of the Treasury for the majority of those 14 years.  The very place where the girls family work and are so poorly paid. 
  • Who exactly is he calling on people to march against....
I guess that would have to be him......

So perhaps I'm doing him a dis-service and he is more sensible than I'm giving him credit for.....

Perhaps his election slogan should be :

"Anyone but me"

It would be funny if only not so many people had not been caught up in the hype and hugging,  thinking that impassioned words are all it takes.  The man who robbed our pension funds, sold of half our gold reserves at the lowest price in 20 years and steered the country into a deeper depression than most of Europe and left us with  huge debts to boot is looking to steal the election.

If he does the country will get what it deserves,  although frankly I'm not convinced by any politicians but it's probably about time someone else was given a go at the rudder....


I'll leave you with a few teaser pictures from this weekend, which included Mala and Craig's East/West fusion wedding (I ended up with 3 wedding-related tasks. Will people never learn?). Find out how Mrs B got on after she refused to wear her RoboCop boot. Plus shots of our Safari trip. (Don't get too excited and moan about yet another BlackLOG holiday, this was only to Woburn Safari Park for Bank Holiday Monday - and ,yes, it did rain). I will fill in the details and provide more pictures (If I remember) next week....

Mala enjoying being the centre of attention. 

Mala & Craig looking remarkably relaxed
and cheerful, considering her wedding
dress and their evening wear did not
 arrive from India until 10pm the
night before the wedding.

I could not remember if this was from the wedding or the
aftermath of Mrs B being attacked in the Bird House at
Woburn. Then I realised that I only wear suits for
weddings and funerals and not Safari trips....  

There is a good chance that this owl will be banned
for using a controversial over head stroke....

Much better, although there might be problems
with frightening members of the diving club...

The recent wombat remake of "Alien"
proved very popular down under...

This squirrel monkey reminds me of the joke
aboutthe worlds  shortest pygmy tribe who
get lost in tall grass called the

A Squirrel Monkey, looking for his nuts.
He's got no chance they are tiny...

As requested by Danica-Dragonfly, Mrs B's Cheap
& Cheerful shoes from last weeks Blog....