Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

 I hope 2013 will be a vintage year for you. Back 11 January.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Christmas kiss

On my pre-Christmas lunch stroll through the puddles of the Winchester water meadows, I was surprised to feel a large wet tongue licking my hand from behind. Looking around, I saw a golden labrador grinning up at me who'd smelled the stuffing for the goose on my fingers!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Photo of the day

Flowers of ice on the Arctic Ocean

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you, your family and friends a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

President Park

Congratulations to President Park, the first woman to lead South Korea! Here she is with her father who seized power in the country in a coup d'etat in 1961 and was assassinated by his Head of Intelligence in 1979. Her mother was also assassinated, by Norks (North Koreans) in 1974 so Park Geun Hye had to step into the breach as First Lady when she was 22.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bad joke of the day

Morris and his wife Esther went to the state fair every year and every year Morris would say to Esther, “Esther, I’d like to ride in that helicopter.”

Every year, Esther replied, “I know, Morris, but that helicopter ride is fifty dollars and fifty dollars is fifty dollars.”

One year Morris and Esther went to the fair and Morris said, “Esther, I’m 85 years old and if I don’t ride that helicopter I may never get another chance.”

To this, Esther replied, “I know, Morris, but that helicopter ride is fifty dollars and fifty dollars is fifty dollars.”

The pilot overheard the couple and said, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take both of you for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire trip and don’t say a word, I won’t charge you a cent, but, if you say one word, I’ll charge you fifty dollars.”

Morris and Esther agreed and up they went.

The pilot did all kinds of fancy manoeuvres but not a word was heard.

He did his daredevil tricks over and over again but no word was uttered.

When they landed, the pilot turned to Morris and said, “By golly, I did everything I could to make you yell out but you didn’t. I’m impressed!”

Morris replied, “Well to be honest I nearly said something when Esther fell out but, you know, fifty dollars is fifty dollars!”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


My nephew parties for a living, arranging festivals and warehouse events for 5000 people. I asked him how his business was going.
"Amazingly well," he said. "We're now trying a new 'intimate' event."
"What, for 1000 people?" I joked.
"No, for 2000," he said in all seriousness.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I thought 2012 was going to be a good year, ie one without a funeral, but my cousin has died unexpectedly and her funeral's on Monday. She was 69 and has predeceased her 90 year old mother. My aunt said her daughter was the best possible 21st birthday present.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rooting for Root

Bravo to Joe Root, the 21 year old who's 31 not out in his first Test Match! Another cricketing hero from Yorkshire.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Letter of the day

Sir, My only meeting with this delightful man (Sir Patrick Moore) was on the forecourt of Victoria Station. He was completely lost and told me: "I am always confused in these places but feel much more at home on Ursa Major."
David Bowerman
Pulborough, W.Sussex

Today's Times

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

All I want for Christmas...

is a diamond encrusted panda! Well, that's what PPR wants: it's buying the Hong Kong jeweller Qeelin.

Monday, December 10, 2012


A “longevity millionaire” is defined as somebody who lives for a million hours which, as I’m sure you’ve already worked out, is just over 114 years. There were two longevity millionaires in Japan last year: a man aged 115 and a woman of 114.
In 2010 there were 86,000 people resident in Asia Pacific who were over 100 years old. Over half of them were Japanese.
In the 1960s there were 153 centenarians in Japan. There are now around 51,000.
There are around 67 “supercentenarians” (people of 110 and over) in the world and a third of them are Japanese. Must be the sake!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bishops: M or F?

What really irks me regarding the debate about whether women may become Bishops of the Church of England is the term "women bishops". As far as I am aware, nobody speaks of men bishops or men vicars. Why don't people use the adjective "female"?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


My Scottish friend assures me that this is an excellent recipe for gravadlax:

Take two sides of salmon. Use as much whisky as is needed to cover them and mix it with 4 tablespoons of sugar, a dash of lemon and a generous sprinkling of crushed juniper berries. Stir well and pour over the salmon. Leave it for three days, turning frequently.
Wash the fish down with water and then coat it with a mixture of mustard, honey and dill. Leave for two days before serving.

I'm going to try it for Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Bad joke of the day

A group of chaps, all 40, discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed they’d meet at Ocean View restaurant because of the pretty waitresses.

Ten years later, aged 50, the friends decided to have another lunch. Finally it was agreed they’d meet at Ocean View restaurant because the food and service were good and the wine list excellent.

Ten years later, aged 60, the friends again discussed where they’d have lunch. Finally it was agreed they’d meet at Ocean View because they could dine in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.

Ten years later, aged 70, the friends decided to have another lunch. Finally it was agreed they’d meet at Ocean View because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had an elevator.

Ten years later, aged 80, the friends again discussed where they’d have lunch. Finally it was agreed they’d meet at Ocean View because they’d never been there before.

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Royal Opera House

Back from sunny Oman (sadly). We saw The Manganiyar Seduction, an Indian musical production, at the recently built Royal Opera House in Muscat. The show was starting at 7.30pm but our hotel advised us to get there at 6pm to avoid the queues. We arrived promptly, went through the airport-style security, fortunately without shoe removal, and then had to wait in an ante-chamber without chairs until 6.30pm. The foyer is photographed above: it has a magnificently carved wooden ceiling with mother of pearl inlay and the galleries around it are so finely made in marble that they look like carved ivory. There was a large omission, however. There's no bar. No alcohol was to be expected in a Muslim country but there were no soft drinks on offer either. "Food and drink is forbidden inside the auditorium" was one of the twenty rules displayed on the tickets. We'd assumed that they'd be available somewhere. The ushers (see one above) were very glamorous in their national costumes: we'd initially mistaken them for VIPs.
The production, directed by Roysten Abel, was inspired by the red light district in Amsterdam. There were 36 boxes on stage, 9 per row with 4 tiers. Each had  red curtains drawn over it and was surrounded by bright lights. At the beginning, one box drew back its curtains to reveal a violinist, cross-legged, playing a plaintive tune. Then other boxes were gradually opened, revealing singers, zitherers, flautists, drummers and guitarists (all men). Crescendos came and went, "Allah" was called. When all 36 musicians played and sang together, our seats reverberated. We were seduced by this Sufi poetry although it would have been all the more enjoyable with a translation, some smoked salmon sandwiches and a couple of glasses of champagne.