on the road again

Well I’ve been trying to keep up with regular postings of late but have got a bit side-tracked over the last few days what with work stuff and a week-end visit up to the People’s Republic of Yorkshire to the christening of our great friends L&S’s grand-daughter Molly Rose. Lovely name, beautiful baby, great do and  a welcome chance to catch up with all our family too. My super grandsons seem half a year older each time I see them. Sigh, I’m ageing at twice the rate of a 30 year old and it’s becoming more rapid I sense. Anyway I’m off to Italy with R for a couple of weeks to oversee some landscaping/building work at our MdF home. Two days drive ahead but hopefully a lot of sun on the back as I mix concrete, lay gravel, stain wood, decorate some rooms and refresh some pine furniture. If I get chance to write a few postings too it’ll be a miracle but I’m sure I’ll be blogging with aching back and heart as I miss the end of the Premiership season and the General Election. Will it be a a red or blue success in either case? We’ll see eh. Until then, ciao amici.



get clegg

It looks like a Welsh language interjection but it’s actually an instruction that might have gone out from the Conservative Party HQ to the right wing press yesterday because look at today’s front pages:

I’ve not been able to show the Sun’s front page but safe to say it wasn’t supportive.

Now I guess you could assume that last week’s no-mark Clegg did huge damage  to both of the leading parties’ prospects following the first debate  but especially to the Tories given this massive press blitzkrieg on the morning of debate day 2. About the only thing they didn’t accuse him of was gross moral turpitude with an alsatian dog. I didn’t see tonight’s debate live as C and I went out for dinner but from the highlights and poll results it seems that marginally Cameron did best, just ahead of Clegg. And yet another poll says that Cleggy did as well as Campo. Poor old Gordo was last on all polls. It’s getting hot this election isn’t it? Tony Blair must be kissing the Middle East sky that he isn’t still there as he would walk this televisual challenge by a country mile. Next week’s debate could and should be a real bare fists fight but Brown needs to get his knuckle dusters out methinks to rescue things.

What do you think?


ugly buildings

Regular readers may be coming to the conclusion that I’m a frustrated wannabe architect masquerading as a marketing guy. Damn you’re good. Anyway here’s the latest in an occasional series of postings inspired by my irresistible desire to write about buildings that I come across. You may remember in a recent posting I was going on about how I found nearby Twickenhan to be a pleasant few lanes down by the river spoiled by a scruffy High St that would shame Slough and a hideously ugly office block slap bang in the centre of the town. I scoffed, as I tend to do, because the High St here in Teddington is chock full of interesting shops, restaurants and bars and 20 times more attractive in my view.  However, as is also my want, I was talking the truth but not the whole truth. You see Teddington has a slab ugly building sister itself…in fact two.

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travel chaos

I heard from a friend and colleague last night that they were struggling to get home after a recent holiday in Lanzarote as a result of the flight ban caused by the volcanic ash plume spewing its way from Iceland. The last I’d heard they were en route to the French border having left Barcelona some hours earlier. Heaven only knows how and when they’ll get back and at what cost. This morning I checked into the news channels to see what the latest situation was, especially as the flight ban had been lifted late last night. It wasn’t terribly reassuring. Continue reading

I love great tv ads

The problem is I haven’t seen any lately. I wrote recently about the incessant and annoying gocompare ads and the cynicism of the Louise and Jamie Redknapp ad for Thomas Cook holidays (like they would ever be seen on one). Now another cluster of intelligence-insulting adverts has come along. Firstly the latest in a long line of new creative treatments for Halifax Bank which is their current attempt, I think, to show actual bank workers promoting the company’s products and services. But instead of  picking on an unlikely hero figure in the style of Howard ‘owl-glasses’ Brown (what’s he doing now?), they’ve gone for what appears to be a staff-run Halifax Bank radio station. I know it sounds ridiculous (who would ever listen to it?) but I think that’s the idea because in all honesty it’s a tad mystifying to know exactly what’s going on. Continue reading

be prepared; be very prepared….

….for some startling news, reported in today’s Independent. The UK Scout movement is, apparently, more popular than ever with total members nearing half a million with over 16,000 youngsters having joined in the last year, the 5th consecutive annual rise in membership.  Even more staggering is the news that some 33,500 youngsters remain on the waiting list to join due to the need to recruit more adult volunteers  even though the number of volunteers is currently higher than the combined workforce of Mc Donald’s (67,000) and the BBC (24,000).

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three men in a debate

So were you one of the 9.4m people who watched last night’s televised debate, otherwise known as the First of the Summer Lies, featuring those three irascible rascals Cleggy, Campo and Gordo? It was, incredibly,  the first such debate featuring the leaders of the main political parties in the UK and it attracted the night’s largest tv audience. We watched it and it wasn’t too bad. The 76 (!!) rules made it a little unatmospheric (no applause permitted, no follow-up questions etc) and the interventions of the facilitator, ‘Stewpot’ Stewart, were a little annoying but it was certainly interesting. Cleggy did best by a country mile – I especially liked his summation where he name-checked all the question setters. That was very cute.  Campo I thought did least well and Gordo, well, it was a valiant effort. I liked it when he tried to land his two obviously-prepared cutting remarks – ‘this isn’t Question Time David; it’s answer time’ and ‘you can’t airbrush your policies like you airbrush your posters’ but he’s hopeless at timing and they got almost totally lost beneath Stewpot’s interjections. But he tried to smile as he delivered the lines and, bless him, for a few seconds he looked almost human.

But the best bit of the night was when my daughter R (regular readers will know she’s Down’s syndrome) asked afterwards how I’ll vote in the election. Rather neatly I turned the question back and asked who she’s thinking of backing and immediately she replied Lionel. My wife and I looked at each other quizzically and asked who? Lionel she said, Lionel Blair. It’s moments like that that bring a lump to our throats and a smile to our faces. We explained that Tony Blair (or Foggy as he’s affectionately remembered) was no longer leader of New Labour but the thought of the nation being led by one of our campest hoofers started to take root in my mind. Wayne Sleep could be Minister for Internal Affairs (ooh matron), Arlene Philips Leader of the Commons and Brendon Cole, Chief Whip. Or as we better know them… the Liberal Democrats front bench. Morning Jeremy!


battle of britain or pearl harbor?

I’ve written before about the quality of Italian tv – it’s basically an excuse to oggle attractive women. Which is just fine,  for a while but, believe me, it gets wearisome pretty quickly because there’s no depth to the people nor the programmes. The women who present the major sports shows for example look and dress quite sensationally but their contribution doesn’t compare to, say, a Claire Balding, who in a million years would never be considered a forces pin-up but has succeeded because of her journalistic/presenter  skills – she at least knows her subject matter. Even so I don’t think Claire’s a patch on some of the great male sports presenters in the UK; old school – Brian Moore, Harry Carpenter and Richie Benaud as well as ‘new’ boys Martin Tyler, Jeff Stelling and Martin Brundle for example. She’s good but nowhere near top gun. In Italy the female presenter’s primary task it seems is not to offer insight but a sight of her plunging neckline and/or oh so short hemline as she moves off and on the studio high stool (it’s a challenge repeated dozens of times, often not perfectly demurely) whilst shouting inanities increasingly loudly over the many  voices of the assembled throng of old and seedy-looking former players and has-been male commentators.

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