Archive for category Festivities

England won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest – The UK lost.

The United Kingdom (they came 11th) may have lost the contest but England were the real winners.

43 countries voted, and 41 of those voted in English not French.

France, of course, voted in French, and the Belgian representative was a Walloon (a French speaking Belgian) so naturally did as well, but no one else did.

Out of the twenty-five groups singing, 21 sang in English, three sang in their home language (Serbia, Spain, and even the French singer sang in his home language which was Corsican). Those adept at mental arithmetic will notice I have missed one out. This was the Greek entry and this was sung half in English and half in Greek.

Without wishing to denigrate France, a country I love and visit often – especially Paris where I worked between 1959 and 1962) surely there is a case now to drop French from the languages required to host the show, making it just English and the language of the host country? This would be fairer to the people in the country who are hosting the show.

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A civilised rally against debt in London 14 May 2011

Join their Official Page here for updates and debate:

A well mannered, polite rally for civilised people who don’t wish to see
their hard earned money being spent on pointless government
initiatives and instead would like government spending
to actually fall and our national debt to be cut.

They don’t think that it’s fair for us to continue borrowing money to live a lifestyle that we simply can’t afford – burdening our children with unnecessary debt that they will have to pay back.

Any visits to Fortnum and Mason’s by protestors will only be to marvel at their selection of quality goods and perhaps make the occasional purchase.

Bonfires will be strictly forbidden: it’s out of season anyway

Trips to see Vodafone and other high street chains will result in congratulations to the company for providing jobs and growth in the UK.

And a caveat on their Facebook site: “Offensive posts will be deleted. This is an event for people who want to come to our event to support what we stand for, not an opportunity for defamation or hate. We reserve the right to delete what we do not like and don’t really mind if you have a problem with this. It is our event after all, not yours.”

Offical hashtag #RallyAgainstDebt or #RAD

Official Website:

What a bleddy marvellous idea!


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Wine tasting at home.

Photo of wineIt is sometimes difficult for an amateur to go to an wine tasting event with so many professionals using such flowery language but it doesn’t matter too much.

When you taste wine and you feel you haven’t the ability to smell the nose or taste the wine in such an expert way, don’t worry about it.

There is another way!

Use numbers. Score your wine out of twenty points. When you examine to colour, give points between 0 and 3 depending on the clarity and brightness of the colour and the size of the lip around the wine. Then give between 0 and 7 for the nose and how it pleases you. Finally give between 0 and 10 for the taste of the wine. 0 is equal for buying it for your mother-in law, and 10 for whether you intend trying to make an impression on a young millionnairess with large eyes.

When in a restaurant, and the wine waiter pours a sample for you to taste there should be enough in the glass to sip a couple of mouthfuls. Otherwise you cannot swill the wine around the glass to get a decent nose of the wine. A waiter without the experience will give you a quarter of an inch in the glass, don’t be afriad to say to them, I need at least two centimetres to be able to test the wine.

First of all look at the colour of the wine over a white light or a white table cloth. Look for cloud or foreign objects in the wine. Then swill the wine around the glass and sniff – you will soon know if there is something funny there! If all seems fine, take a decent mouthful and swirl the wine around the mouth before you swallow. This will give you the final judgement to see whether it is corked or not. One bottle in ten is corked but that isn’t quite as bad as it seems.

If you take corked wine in levels between level one a little corked, to level 10, very corked, different people’s palates can decide whether it is corked or not. Rather than the person at the head of the family testing, it is best to allow the person with the most experience of wine to make this important test. This way if the wine is corked and he can taste it, it can be exchanged. If someone who doesn’t know tests it and accepts it, then your experienced person will be saddled with a bad wine and his evening will be ruined.

If you want to test the difference between an old wine and a fresh wine at home, then buy a new wine and then also buy the exact wine, but a few years older. Then when you taste at home, open both bottles and taste the fresh wine first, followed by the old wine. This way you will learn that age with the right wines improves the wine magnificently.

A word of warning though. If you are happy with the low priced wines you are drinking, and for any reason, you are not prepared to pay more for the nectar of the gods, do not go to wine tastings at all. There is no point whatsoever in educating your palate if you are not willing to pay more.

I did, and am forever crippling myself buying wines which I find hard to afford on my pension!

And my mother-in-law stopped speaking to me.

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Today is Christmas

For the Christian Religion, today is the day of peace, celebrating the Son of God. As a Deist I don’t agree with the religious aspects but I love to listen to King’s College Carols and agree with the sentiments of peace.

Peace means tolerance, I know only too well that this can be difficult, especially when one is thrown into a room with all one’s family and other relatives but we owe it to our host, and the cook, and all those who genuinely want to be friendly to make the most of the day. We also have a responsibility to those who still harp on bitter memories, to help them gain peace, even if only for this occasion.

A merry Christmas to all my readers. I do know that even if this offends our thought police, other religions, including Jewish and Muslims, do not become offended by this, and to them I say, enjoy this forced break and make the most of it. We’ll all be back on the grindstone in January!

See you all on Amazon tomorrow!


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