Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The signs are not good

Picking up from last week's “No photographs”  sign at Lulworth Cove, I have to admit I did stretch it a tad  – Don’t crucify me, I do admit to it up front, if you ever bother to read the top section, that the truth can be stretched for entertainments sake.  What would you rather - a blow by blow account of my life ?
"Alarm goes off.
Move my left leg, which is still slightly asleep.
Get out of bed and scratched my left buttock cheek.
Look down to see Mrs B still sparko.
Move to the bedroom door and open it,
Walk to the stairs
Go down the stairs......."

The actual wording in Lulworth was “No commercial photography or painting.” You have to pity the poor artist, they are at a real disadvantage when compared to photographers. Those easels and canvas are a dead giveaway. While the Beast might not be pocket-sized, many of today’s cameras are. Besides the problem with the easel, I suspect it’s a bit difficult to snap off a clandestine painting. Do they sell really fast drying paint……? In my defence, the commercial bit is written like small print on a dodgy contract…..

I’m afraid to say “No Photography” signs are like “Don’t walk on the grass” signs, it just makes me want to break the rule…..Even worse are those “Caution! Hot!” signs. Whose fingers don’t gravitate towards them to check if it’s true? Ouch, invariably they are…..

The UK appears to be going sign mad at the moment with thousands appearing all over the place:

No parking – It’s not so much the "No parking" signs bit that I object to, some of these are almost sensible, it’s when they deliberately make signs to confuse people into getting parking tickets.

You can park here on a Thursday
after 6pm if the parking  attendant
is wearing Green  socks  and  has
 not had a argument with his wife.

We almost got caught out in Dorset when we parked for 5 hours in a car park. Mrs B had put in £5 to cover the £1 an hour charge. It turns out that despite all the other car parks in the area getting cheaper the longer you parked, this one had stated, in small print, that after 4 hours it became £4 an hour.  Fortunately for us the parking attendant was still arguing with his wife and so had not got around to giving us a parking ticket….

"No turning" - What a jolly friendly little sign these are, especially in a no through road  …..if I had enough money I would purchase loads of cars and just abandon them by every one of those damn signs, putting a little note on the windscreen saying. “OK, how do I get my car back then?”

"No swimming" - OK, when it is in a dangerous area like a waterfall or near rapids or even a sewage plant….but in a swimming pool? – No, I say, no it’s too much….

"No mobile phones" - I think I can understand this one in hospitals and petrol (gas if you like) stations ( but I recently saw one of these on the door to a cafĂ© toilet. What were they worried about, that someone was going to tweet about having a dump in there….?)

"Drive carefully little princess on board" – Well done, so you have proved you can reproduce but why does that mean you expect everyone else to compensate for your driving inadequacies

"Police - accident" - There are so many of these about it begs the question “Why are the police not banned from driving on the roads?”

"Police - slow" - More proof: all those police accidents must be down to the police’s excessive speeding

It makes me want to put up loads of “No signs, except this sign” signs. Only I deeply suspect I am not alone out there and lots of people with burnt fingers will only be inspired to create new signs …

Are there any signs out there that annoy/amuse you?

Eclipsed by Mrs B
Apart from suffering signoyance - Oh yes another new word for you guys to get your teeth into, don’t tell me I don’t know how to look after you…..OK, which of you clever dicks put up the sign:

 “No creating  new 
 words by  mashing 
 old words together

Sorry about that distraction. Some of you can be so cruel….

Apart from the joys of signoyance,  the highlight for me was Mischief jumping on my knee and promptly having a five minute sneezing fit. While you might not think it exciting, it sure as hell eclipsed Sunday, when I got a fatal (certainly for our bike ride) puncture and unfortunately still managed to make it home in time for “that” game* . I can tell you, you haven’t lived until you have been covered in cat nasal spray. The little minx was not sneezing before and has not sneezed since. Don’t be surprised if I come down with some sort of feline flu….. Symptoms of which are 95% sleep addiction, 5% special ability to be distracted by wriggly bits of string, 5% eating (25% in McG’s case)  and a loss of basic maths ability….

* We have the Ashes in cricket, based on the death of English cricket.Things were so bad we should probably do the same for English International football, except I’m not sure it’s legal to burn players anymore, even the rubbish ones…. P.S. I over heared a rumour that Mr Rooneys poor showing was down to having been caught with a Lady of negotiable virtue** before the World Cup had even started. It is a good source - a girl reading out a text to her mate as they left Tesco's – The News of the World would pay good money for that level of reliability…..

** That’s probably the end of her career, imagine the shame of being caught in bed with a pink version of Shrek .

Mischief - The snot queen
"Are you sniffing at me....?" 

Mrs B on the other hand has had a much more interesting week - invited to Wimbledon she got to watch: Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal and her Maj (No not Madonna, the other Maj - the not so musical one).  I think Mrs B and Mini Beast did an admirable job capturing the event….I might have to retire….I’m starting a campaign to get Mrs B to start her own Blog or at the very least make guest blog appearances.  While I have to work really hard to be this mediocre, Mrs B is naturally funny without trying…..
Photo finish
A Mrs B and Mini Beast special

Her Majness looking a bit different as she 
unveils  her latest look.  A change 
from her  Sex Coffee Table Book days

Jarkko Nieminen knew the game
was up once his ball toss lodged
in the woman's cleavage...

Is it ever a good time to let Caroline Wozniacki  
know that her dress is caught in her knickers
and that she has a chicken stuck on her head?

Is that a ball in his pocket or is Nadal
just pleased to see Mrs B?

OK, we know Nadal has great buns but
coudn't the line judge make their pervert
stare a bit less obvious....

Murray regrets choosing such a hard pose
during an early round of musical statues...

For the record I had a bumper week for complimentary music for this issues topics and if you hang around long enough you will hear.... 

Sign of the Times – Prince
Her Majesty – Not sure who the artists is? but I though it was a fun cover of the Beatles last track on Abbey Road. I don’t normally like Beatles covers but there are a few exceptions, for example Fiona Apple – Across the Universe and the soundtrack to the film “I am Sam”
Sign of the Times – The Belle Stars
Born under a bad sign – Jimmy Hendrix

Catch you next week

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Who would have thought Dorset such a hot bed of scandal?

Some good news for fans of The Beast, I’m not sure if it was the damn good talking to I gave him, based around the whole “Taking part is just as good if not better than winning” (Who believes that rubbish?) or it might have been after a couple of days of reading through the manual that I found out how to reset him. Whatever - The Beast is back and taking great (well, in my biased opinion) pictures. On a similar subject I am rather glad that I had used a clear filter on all my lenses, as the filter on the 70-200mm lens somehow shattered. I hate to think how sick I would have been feeling if that had been the glass of my lens……

This weeks photo competition, over at “In a yellow house” is Water. I was foxed for a second, especially as the publicity shot she used is so awesome and so I thought of not entering this week. Then I remembered some shots I took last year, when we went white water rafting. The Beast had been locked in the car while we were rafting – sometimes I fear he might have rabies as he does not react well when he is around water – but afterwards he was so pleased to be out and off the leash he was up for anything.

The power of man v power of nature -
There was only ever going to be one winner
Well done that Beast...

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Cycling in Dorset
It seemed like a good idea at the time when we loaded the bikes onto ElleGee but our suspicions were realised when, on our return from our first bike trip, Mrs B read out the description of the journey we had just undertaken which involved words such as: strenuous; highest point; rolling hills; steep inclines. It didn’t mention Olympic training, altitude or even sickness but it can’t have been far below the surface of the article or at the very least between the lines. We should have guessed when ElleGee struggled on the journey to the cottage that we were staying at, often having to drop into second and on one occasion first gear but your mind has a way of blocking these things out (It took ages to get the bikes loaded so I was determined to make use of them). I’m sure some of the views must have been stunning; it’s just we were both so knackered that once we reached the top of what had seemed like a never-ending climb all we could manage to do was roll down the other side. I would like to say we bravely let the bikes run but it was all we could do to keep the brakes on and even then we were still topping 30 mph. 26 miles of this were more than enough for one holiday and so the bikes were put out to pasture for the rest of the week and we let ElleGee take the strain - when it came to using wheels at least.

The Bikes going for a ride on ElleGee....
Now why didn't we think of that earlier? 

Oh no, more dodgy content
After last week’s Bee porn ordeal I had hoped that we would be able to run a relatively clean BlackLOG this week but alas, it is not to be. Among the many magnificent sights that Dorset has to offer we came across some rather seedy ones. The first being what appeared to be a glamour shoot for octogenarians*. Fortunately they were so craggy that when they did strip off they blended into the surrounding rock faces and so we were spared from the worst of it. There were a few disturbing grey tufts that suddenly appeared along the cliff face but I managed to switch my mind off to what they really were and substituted seagull nests instead….

* Please note for modesty’s sake I am steering well clear of using the term Sexagenarians. Sorry, despite recent experiences, it’s just not that sort of blog…..

For those of you with exceptional
observational skills you might be
able to pick out some odd looking
grey nests and some crinkly bottoms.

Then there was the Cerne Abbas Giant

Cerne Abbas is a beautiful little village which just happens to be over looked by a chalk picture of a naked man with a very large appendage.  I guess because it is historic, over 1500 years old, it somehow becomes acceptable. I just wonder what the Puritans and latterly the Victorians made of it. Face it, anyone who took the trouble to cover table and piano legs, because of how immodest they found legs in general must have been beside themselves with shock at seeing that plastered all over a hillside. There are stories that the Victorians allowed the undergrowth to cover the offending item. Now that would have been a bush to witness…..

Look away now if you suffer from
excessive Victorian sensibilities…..

We were going to buy the clock but the
appendage was clearly second hand....

Sorry could not resist that one, it was much
funnier when I said it in the shop....

More TV fun
The TV at the cottage that we had booked in Dorset was not huge but was a darn site better than last weeks dolls house effort in Deal. So what if it was an old fashioned type…?. Only when I turned it on the colour was blown……I phoned up the emergency contact number (Come on, this was in the middle of the World Cup! What more of an emergency could there be?) The owner promised to come over the next day to see if he could fix it….. Now, how good is this? He brought over his own large flat screen TV from home and some fresh grown strawberries to sweeten the deal. I felt a bit guilty until he assured me he was going away so didn’t need it. It’s just a shame the England performance against Algeria didn’t live up to such a generous gesture. If I thought it would have helped I would have called up the emergency line again to see if he could fix England for me but our short term landlord had gone away…..How selfish is that?

Other highlights of the week were the fake Tutankhamun and history of mummification museum. I’m not entirely sure what that had to do with Dorset but it was fascinating all the same and has fired up our desire to go back to Egypt and take The Beast with us.

Photo finish
So the new section I launched last week has made it to a second publication, any more of this and there is a danger that it might become a permanent fixture. To end with in the traditional way, some pictures taken on our trip to Dorset....Hope to catch you all next week...

Scottie dog guarding the deck chairs - I love this little fellow

"It's a beautiful bay..."

Apologies to U2 & the Levellers for 95% plagiarism of
their song titles. I  Emailed both groups and asked if they
would mind doing a rework of their songs for this weeks
BlackLOG but I figure they must be busy since neither
group has got back to me.  So I'm sorry to say I have had
 to use the original versions for this weeks Blog....

Seagulls having a Water Cooler moment,  only they
don't talk about last nights must see TV, they talk
about direct hits and near misses.... 

If you have ever had a flyby splat attack, as you strolled
along the promenade you know what I'm talking about...

Mrs B sure looks like a happy bunny....

Is it just me but does this sum up a beach holiday in
 the UK? All a bit sad and in decline but you can't
beat it on a warm sunny day....

Lulworth Cove, this is what I thought of the  
stupid sign not to take any pictures....

I'm sure they will get over it....

More stunning views across Dorset - this
time without the grass & chalk porn....

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Here, there and everywhere

Lots of bits to cover this week as we have been all over the shop and I am struggling to get internet access in deepest Dorset…Yes it’s another holiday.

Photo Comp
The Beast and I didn’t win last week’s summer competition or even get an honourable mention. As Cynical Scribbler said, in last week’s comments section: “If we don’t win we should ask for a steward’s enquiry.” Where is a steward when you need one….?

Personally I’m blaming the BP incident, as it is a Yank run competition, and El Presidenti is busy whipping up all sorts of anti-British feeling at the moment, to act as a smoke screen. Come on guys, calling for an enquiry because Paul McCartney (a dreaded Brit) visited the White House? Just be thankful he isn’t with Heather Mills any longer and didn’t bring her along. She is probably calling her solicitors to see why the visit wasn’t included in the divorce settlement…..

Yes BP are not blameless (besides it is more of an international company than British, having changed its name from British Petroleum over a decade ago) and should take a portion of the blame as well as a large part of the costs. It seems to have been conveniently overlooked that American companies have an equal responsibility for this tragedy. Transocean being a case in point. It was their rig, operated by them* which was leased by BP that blew up causing this disaster. If I leased a faulty TV, which was operated by the company that leased it and which blew up, I’m not sure I would be happy about being the only one being held responsible for wiping out half the neighbourhood.

* I have to admit I’m not 100% sure about who was operating the rig but for the purposes of this week’s blog it is much more convenient for me to go with this story line…Hey the truth never gets in the way of the proper press covering a story from whatever angle they choose….

The Beast has taken the loss particularly badly and has come down with some sort of virus, which has left him struggling to focus and taking 4 attempts to get the light right. He produces a couple of over bright shots, a dark one before getting it more or less on the nose. Most strange, I feel a rather expensive trip to camera hospital coming our way. I wonder if, like the America pension companies who have shares in BP and who are suing for losses, I can sue “In a Yellow House” for cost of repair fees for a depressed camera……

Against my better judgement I’m entering this week’s competition with the subject of Nature – To be on the safe side I shall put my entry under the Irish flag.

Hannibal the Swallow lets his sisters sing for their supper
while he gets on with the important task of eating his
brother....Nature, isn't it just wonderful?

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Press the above button to
see the inferior entries... 

Keane at Thetford Forest
A great gig, held in a fantastic little venue in a clearing in the trees. I had difficulty getting The Beast in as he was accused of being a professional camera by security. Nowhere on any of the tickets or accompanying literature, which is admittedly unusual, did they mention the use or rather non-use of cameras. Suddenly it was no cameras over a certain size, which is being sizest in my book. I note they were not stopping large people going in and they take up much more space. Fortunately I had dressed The Beast in his 50mm jacket lens (i.e small) and left the 75-200 jacket zoom lens (i.e. very large) at the bottom of the bag, under the Picnic blanket. Security told me I could take him in as long as I didn’t use him. Yeah, like that was going to happen….besides I had my fingers crossed behind my back as I agreed to their demands.....

Tom Chaplin - Lead Singer

The one thing that lets down the venue was the food and not for the reasons that you might think. The quality was good** and the price was only a little bit inflated. What let the experience down was only having one food outlet. Yes, count it - one…. I had left Mrs B in the middle of the crowd and it was over an hour and a half later that I made it back to her. …. Worse still they only sold food but no drinks. As I made my way back to Mrs B I glanced across at the drinks queue, which was twice as long as the food one and decided it was a lost cause. Mrs B already had a case for suing for abandonment. Another couple of hours and she probably could have declared me legally dead and collected my life insurance. Besides I only just got back in time for Keane to hit the stage….. We should have brought a picnic but the bag was already full of illicit camera equipment. Besides, security would probably have accused us of attempting to bring in a professional picnic and made us swear not to eat it…..

** I had a Venison Burger. It was probably road kill caused by the sudden influx of visitors to the forest, while Mrs B had a vegetable chilli – they had run out of beef, I guess the local cattle are better at crossing the road than the deer or even the carrots, beans and other assorted inedible foods that make up a vegetable*** dish …..

*** yuck, I feel queasy and unclean just mentioning the word

Football woes in Deal
No sooner had we got home from Thetford than it was off to Deal in Kent to celebrate Mrs B’s Dad’s 70th. Mrs B had booked a lovely house with sea views for the extended family. She had even checked that it had a TV and everything so I could watch some of the World**** Cup. Unfortunately she had not checked the dimensions of said TV which would not have looked out of place in a dolls house. To think I had left my 58” World Cup ready TV unused at home. Still it didn’t matter as she had booked a table for dinner at 7:30pm on the Saturday evening at exactly the same time that England’s opening game kicked off. I’m guessing that our keeper was feeling guilty about the whole BP fiasco as I hear he rather generously gifted the USA an equaliser. Doesn’t that make us even now? I would comment further on the game but as I didn’t get to see it….In defence of Mrs B, if we had stayed at home I would not have seen the England goal anyway as I would have been watching in HD and ITV HD was busy showing a car advert rather than Stevie Gerrard’s 4th minute goal. Bloody amateurs, sounds like they should leave the showing of anything more demanding than a test card to the BBC….

**** Unlike the world series in baseball, the World Cup does encourage proper global involvement and don’t even get me started on the Americas cup and the whole “Not wanting to give it over to the winning nation if they don’t happen to be American*****”. Sorry to be so bitter but the photo competition (did I mention I didn’t even get an honourable mention?) and subsequent Beast illness, is sitting heavy on my heart.

***** I have at this point decided to conveniently forget the years where we steadfastly refused to hand the Ashes to the Aussie upstarts who have regularly thrashed us at cricket over the years but feel I should defend the keeping of the Elgin Marbles. Elgin won those fair and square even if the Greeks did not realise he was playing for keeps.

Is that a TV or a postage stamp? Pass me 
the binoculars I think someone scored.... 

Chris Isaak - Sheppards Bush
Did I tell you it was all go last week? From Deal it was straight up to Sheppards Bush for a Chris Isaak gig (“Wicked Games” etc) A big thank you to Ash who gave us the tickets and insisted on paying for dinner as well. I left the sickly Beast in the car and we used Mrs B’s Mini Beast, which is much easier to smuggle into venues. It also has a very good video option on it which I would show you if only Blogger had not hidden the video load button.

Mrs B and I had wanted to see Chris Isaak for a long time but had failed to catch him******. Either finding out too late about his tours or already being booked up for another event. I can report it was worth the wait, his haunting voice and excellent backing group were complimented by a magnificent and very funny commentary throughout the night. He even did a second encore, which is quite unusual in these days of venue control, and played for almost 2 hours. Again, unusual with some groups finding it difficult to make it to an hour and a half. The down side (you know there invariably is with the BlackLOG) he attracts a more mature audience (admittedly we are no spring chickens ourselves), which equates to a taller audience, which makes it difficult for Mrs B to see. For some reason a lot of the women were sporting big hair, possibly wigs, while any follicly challenged men seem to make up for it with hats – do us a favour guys, it’s an indoor gig….

****** Mrs B admitted that she would not have actually recognised him if he passed her in the street. I’m guessing she is not the only one as he painted his name on his guitar to help people recognise him

How kind of Mr Isaak to put his name on his guitar
so Mrs B could tell who we had come to see....
Not that she could see much thanks to the big hair
and the hats.....

The Mini Beast did a good job as
a stand in for the depressed Beast

I could go on, as from the gig it was a short visit home for a quick kip, pack and then off to Dorset for the week but I can see you are starting to fidget at the back and I need to leave something for next week. I will leave you this week with a big thanks to Kirsty for looking after McG and Mischief in our absence and I can assure you no Americans were hurt during the production of this Blog but I may have hurt the feeling of some of the more sensitive off you. I’m sure you will get over it just as I will get over the crushing disappointment off Photogate ….Ok, ok I’ll get a life…..

Photo Finish
As ever I will leave you with some shots from the last week, including some flowers from a secret garden in Sandwich, just up the coast from Deal. Thanks to Mrs B's Mum and Dad for that suggestion, I'm not surprised you didn't join us as it's a bit steep at £6 each to get in, for that sort of money I was expecting to see man-eating plants....... Plus call me picky but it's not very secret garden when you have signs leading you to it.

Mrs B's mums creation - if you have one of those
new lick and taste PC screens you should be able to
get a hint of the flavours.....

Giving nature a helping hand.....
Mrs B and Mini Beast - I think that is my
 finger  at the bottom of the shot.

Bees and flowers getting it on....
Move along, nothing to see here but interspecies porn
The love that dares not speak its name

Perhaps that's why it was so expensive to get in
porn's not cheap these days ....

More bee porn...
Mini Beast and Mrs B again

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sunk by a household appliance...

I start this week with another desperate attempt to win  photo competition over at "in a Yellow house"..  The Subject of this week's competition is summer and my entry 

 Bursting out for summer

Check out the other entrants over at
BWS tips button
or go and enter for yourself....

Music control seems to have been returned so I have selected an appropriately inappropriate opening track for this week....

Some of you may recall it has been an interesting time for Shuffler, having spent most of last year in an institution, while the local authorities attempted to saddle her with different labels.  We've had everything from Asperger's Syndrome, Delusional Disorder, Dementia, Bipolar, Depression etc.... You name it, Shuffler's had it, all be it briefly….We seem to live in a caring age that is determined to force us all into little boxes that can be ticked, folded neatly and then forgotten about. The one box they don’t seem to have though is the one for "Awkward" … Shuffler would fit that a treat.  She is normally fine with people, as long as she gets her own way and in fact seems to be very popular with some of her carers.  As long as they don’t try and make her do anything she does not want to do, that is.

I know Shuffler has been suffering from incontinence for a few years.  She proudly announced a few weeks ago that she now gets free Tenalady Pants (nappies for grownups).  Just typical of the sort of stimulating conversation we have these days. At this point she also claimed that her meals on wheels dinners were now being provided for free. A couple of days later I got a phone call from said meals on wheels saying that Shuffler had stopped paying her bill…..

Does this mean that she is also stealing her TP’s and the next call I’m going to get is that she is up on a shoplifting charge?


Is it a case of the Emperor's new clothes and she is wearing her super-strength invisible ones?

If it is the latter, it might account for how she ended up back in hospital after a number of reported incidents of damp patches in the kitchen. Despite her protests of innocence she was admitted and the Doctors laid siege to her.  She received a full barrage of tests, was prodded, probed and questioned to find out if she had a urine infection or if they could pinpoint any other reason for the sudden surge in the non-drought like conditions in and around her kitchen. After a week of discovering nothing, other than what an awkward bugger Shuffler can be, she was given the all clear and released back home.  It is this sort of level of poor treatment that should be reported to Social Services, only.... this was Social Services...who do you report them to....?

 Subsequent investigations pointed to the problem being her leaking washing machine. It’s a shame they don’t do the equivalent of Tenelady pants for leaky household goods….

Now, for anyone thinking,

"How can they mistake washing machine pee for human pee?",

well, it can probably be put down to being old. Have you ever wondered why some old people don’t smell as a fragrant and fresh as a spring morning? It comes down to a fatal combination of losing a sense of smell at the same time as a certain amount of relaxation in hygiene standards as they return towards childhood*.  In more severe cases they stop tidying their bedroom**, doing their homework and brushing their teeth (or should that be brushing their gums?) . 

* Not sure where I’m going to go, having steadfastly refused to leave childhood in the first place

** Often putting up badly spelt, threatening "Keep Out" signs

My relationship with Shuffler had been going down hill since before my father died. I can’t say she didn’t do a fantastic job looking after him, as he fought an, ultimately, fruitless battle with cancer. Given 6 months to live when I was 14, my father held out for three gruelling years, wasting away before our very eyes. At the end he was almost totally bedridden but not for a minute did I ever think of him as anything other than a normal father. Even 27 years later I still feel the loss and one of my biggest regrets is that Mrs B never got to meet him. I hope enough of his qualities remain in me to give Mrs B a flavour of the man.

Where I have a real problems with Shuffler is the games she has always played. One particular incident springs to mind. Shuffler would collapse and either go rigid or look like she was having a fit - very difficult for a couple of teenagers and a dying man to handle. This went on for quite some time until my Dad pointed out that she would probably end up losing her driving licence. This seemed to produce some sort of miracle cure and Shuffler never suffered another attack. It also made it clear to us  that her game was manipulation and helped me and my Sister after my father's death.  I suspect it was attention-seeking but shortly after Dad’s funeral my sister went to university and Shuffler started to try and turn my sister and me against each other, claiming "Your sister said this" or "Your brother said that". We cottoned on very quickly and would ring each other up and laugh about the latest ludicrous claim.  The end result was that rather than driving a wedge between us she helped us get closer.

When I decided it was time to leave home and buy a house, Shuffler offered to lend me the deposit. Great - that would be really helpful. However the next few months became a living hell as she threatened at almost every opportunity to withdraw her offer of the money. It was bad enough that she was mucking me around but as I was buying a house with a friend …. In the end she stumped up the deposit but it was held over me for the next few years, which proved a fantastic incentive to pay it off quickly. I probably would have been better off going to a loan shark.  After all what’s a few broken bones and 5000% interest compared to a smorgasbord of emotional distress?

Cake of the week (This is a new and possibly one-off section of the BlackLOG)
"Chocolate, Mocha, Coke*** and fizzy sprinkles cake". The name hardly rolls off the tongue and judging by the huge slice I received was not rolling off the plate either. Your dedicated guinea pig can report it was absolutely delicious and well worth the risk. Mrs B predictably rolled her eyes at my choice as she opted for the much safer sounding "Lemon Meringue Cake", which must have been OK because it appeared to vaporize before her, a slight lemon smudge on her lips being the only clue as to its final resting place…

*** Please note the fizzy drink and not the white powder
Some of the other cakes available were:

Tropical fruits
Malteser chocolate cake
Eton mess cake
Popcorn toffee cake

These were all home made creations and I confidently predict it won’t be the last time that we will be waddling out of that particular door. The only downside for a coffee shop (Delicious – In Bishops Storford) was that their fancy coffee machine had broken. Since this is one of about 12 coffee shops in the town they need to get it sorted PDQ otherwise they will suffer the same fate as the kitchen design shop that previously occupied the same space.

We had actually used the services of this shop when we revamped our kitchen a few years back. I was not surprised that it went under though, as they were pretty useless. Mrs B and I had a rough idea of what we wanted, they then tried to turn our plan into an unworkable space with useless attempts to keep clean lines and flog us more granite work top than we needed. If we had gone with their ideas, we would have ended up with a kitchen bar that ended in such a sharp point we could have impaled unwanted guests on it or used it for spiking mail that had been dealt with…

As it was they stopped me having the kitchen hob with the proper Wok burner, claiming it was too wide for the work surface. It was only after they had finished the work that I found out they could have supplied us with a slightly wider run of granite, which would have allowed space for my original choice of hob. Grrr!!!! Yet another example of some of the useless tradesmen that are out there (most of whom seem to gravitate towards our door). I don’t think they were out to con us; they were just genuinely 100% incompetent. Not having been to design school myself, I can only guess that they teach people all sorts of rubbish about clean lines and perspective but forget to mention that these will only work if combined with equal measure of common sense and practicality…..

Photo's of the week
I had a meeting in London this week and so dragged The Beast along....

"Big Ben"  
If it had been built in the swinging 60's
I wonder if  they might have called it
"Well Endowed Wilfred"?

The London Eye, although from this
 angle I've managed to make it look
 more  like a tower****. Which is a bit
 silly as we already have a perfectly good
Tower of London.  Any Texans around
 want to buy this, it will match nicely with
the infamous non-towered bridge you
purchased from us....P.S. it's perfectly safe 
BP have nothing to do with its operation... 

**** Next week I will try and straighten the "Leaning Tower of Pizza" and make the statue of Jesus, in Rio, look like a second hand car salesman. If I have any time left I will look at turning Mount Rushmore into the Beatles.... Please note this is all without the aid of the evils of Photoshop and will be achieved by a clever combination of cropping, angles and mind altering drugs….

I then met up with Mrs B, in Canary Wharf, for dinner, where there happened to be a car expo which featured the new Mini Countryman (5 door 4x4). We are currently looking to replace our 12 year old Golf and the new (not so) Mini is a front runner at the moment

I swear we've stayed in smaller ski apartments in France.....

Looking at that suspicious leak under the right front
tyre, I hope Shuffler is not around, that would probably
be enough to get her another week in hospital....

After the lack of meat, from a couple of weeks ago, we invited my saviours on the day Penny & Paul  to share a rather large piece of lamb that got heaved onto the BBQ.

Lamb, butterflied and then marinated in Balsamic Vinegar,
Lemon Juice and various herbs and spices. My mouth
is still watering....

Fresh picked English Asparagus, with Hollandaise
Dressing, poached egg (Thank you Penny for doing
the poaching) and parmesan shaving nice job Mrs B

Catch you next week

Thursday, 3 June 2010

This week practically falling over to get the BlackLOG to you

This is a relatively short Blog this week as I’ve been a little under the weather, due to an ongoing cold (possibly man flu) that has developed into an ear infection, leaving me a bit more unbalanced than usual. Those with long memories might recall I had a similar problem last year. The nice lady doctor only made me wait for 2 hours, leaving me exposed to a room full of, no doubt, infectious and diseased people (is a doctor’s waiting room really the best place for them?) before prescribing 84 pills and telling me to try not to fall over so much. It’s a shame I didn’t tell her I thought I was a pair of curtains because at least telling me to pull myself together would have been a lot funnier…..

This made Bank Holiday Monday a complete write off for us, as I spent most of it in bed, while poor Mrs B, still struggling with her broken leg, tried to look after me. The cats thought it was Christmas and rather than lend a helping paw spent the day curled up around me. I was just praying they weren’t doing their impression of the Death Cat  from an episode of House.M.D.  The one where the hospital cat curled up on the bed of anyone who was just about to shuffle of their mortal coil….Mischief happily played possum for most of the day, while McG did a bit of pacing around me, almost like he was measuring me for his food bowl, before settling down. You just have to love him…..

So all you get this week is my entries for a small online photo competition, over at yellow house. We made it out for a bike ride on Sunday (yes, Mrs B* is braving the bike with a partially mended leg) and I happened to take a couple of appropriate photographs that I’ve entered over at The Yellow House and a Yoga update….

* The “proof that life is unfair” conversation. Just after we had stopped and had tea and cake at the sometimes splendid** Braughing church hall Tea Room -

Mrs B - “Oooh, they have meringues and cream, do you want to share one?”

Me – “Go on then”

Mrs B – “No wait, it will never be as good as my mum makes!”

Me – “Well, what about sharing a slice of the coffee cake?”

Mrs B – “No. We’ve already had cake.”

Me – “But that’s not fair!”

Mrs B – with an angelic smile - “I Know“

** Various organisations take it in turns to run the tea room on a Sunday – some are better than others, not all are Jane Asher . Enough said

Photo competition with this weeks challenge being “Red”

BWS tips button

Aarrgghh red - Apprently this
seasons fashion faux pas!

Day of the Triffids - now where is that sea water
 when you really need it?

The British army took a couple of
centuries to work out the subtleties
of camouflage...Still we did beat all
our colour blind opponents.

I saw red in another way, when I popped into our local Tesco's "not so" supermarket and saw a yellow sticker offering a 2 for £5 deal. All very nice, except the individual item in question was priced at only £2.19. I took out the offer label (does that count as shop lifting or vandalism?) and when I was at the till spotted the  duty manager and took the opportunity to point out this bargain of the century :

Duty manager - "Well sir,  it covers a range of goods, which when added together create the bargain"

Me - "The only other goods in the vicinity, with the same offer costs £2.59, so even if you combine them you are still paying 22p more..." - not a bad bit of math’s for early in the morning

Duty manager - "You don't have to take the offer!"

Me - "Don't worry I won’t. I’m just trying to point out that you are conning your customers"

Duty Manager - "They don't have to take up the offer"

I could have carried on but there was a nice brick wall nearby which looked like I would have more success banging my head against....

I'm looking forward to the:-

Pay for 3, get just 2 offer

Or the equally enticing

Buy 1 get a second for twice the price

Yoga update
I think I have realised why I still carry on with my futile attempts to become supple - it is the pure amount of comedy gold that is potentially available in an average Yoga class and I don’t just mean wind-assisted laughs….

During a recent class, one of the guys, who is normally quite noisy during his poses, was sounding twice as loud and almost orgasmic. In between grunts, groans and genuine sighs, I innocently yelled across to his wife “What’s it like living with Porno Sound Effects guy?” Even the hard core Yogerites managed to laugh at that one. This got me thinking about the different yoga types so far that I’ve come across:

The “Porno Sound Effects” guy – well obviously I’ve just told you about him…

The “Good at everything” girl – Miss or possibly Mrs can make any position look easy and more often than not exclaims afterwards “I wasn’t very good - my third vertebrae was 1/16th of a millimetre out of line….” Grrrr my whole bloody pose was about 3 miles out of line but you don’t hear me moaning about it…..OK, actually you do but that’s down to the excruciating pain…..

The “I’m going to pass wind and not own up to it” woman Generally women of a certain age who stand in front of me and wait until we are both bending forward….Yuck

The “Princess Diana” Stands around looking good but quite frankly a bit of a waste of space….Obviously there is an under pass in Paris with their name on it.

The “Duchess of York” Stands around not looking particularly great, claims she could introduce you to her ex husband and then blames everything on the booze.

The “Bill Clinton” Tries to get off with every woman in the room, prepared to admit to “Improper Yoga” but not “Full Yoga” relationships.

The “Gordon Brown”Makes claims about how good they are, possibly the best there has ever been but are frankly rubbish and who gives away all your yoga stuff for next to nothing, claiming it is the prudent thing to do and then promptly leaves the class in financial ruin.

You might be asking what my yoga type is? Well that would be Wrong Sex Royalty

What, I hear you mutter, in the hell is Wrong Sex Royalty?

Let me explain. Think of the princess and the pea story where a young woman’s royal identity is established by a test of her physical sensitivity……

That would account for the excessive amount of pain I suffer through a class.  As for the royalty aspect that's not as far fetched as it sounds – I’m probably only 32,000,000th in line to the throne.

Leaving just the the wrong sex part of the equation. I have to face it I make about as convincing woman as Susan Boyle (who could be Jimmy Krankies father)  thus making it the prince and the pea.…..

Anyone brave enough to admit their Yoga Type?

Catch you next week and with a little luck I will be feeling better