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I’ve been doing some catch up reading with Bill Bryson’s works. I do admire his writing style and content. And I found out an interesting answer to a question that has bugged me for years. I wouldn’t call it the most profound question of all time but when you’re in the supermarket and looking at that huge shelving system full of a range of exotic condiments, have you never wondered just what exactly is the difference between a herb and a spice? I imagined it was that herbs were grown locally (hence herbaceous borders?) and spices came from distant places like the East Indies and the Caribbean islands.  But Bill explained that it isn’t necessarily geographical (although I suspect that in 90% of cases it is). The answer is far more locally-based; herbs exclusively come from the leaves of plants whilst spices are taken from the woodier parts or the seeds or fruits. So there you go. Did you know that? Continue reading

More surprises

Well my last posting on the subject of surprise endings took a while to get going. To be honest  I was scratching around for inspiration until Mr Josh happily popped into my mind. I was actually going to write about two quite separate subjects before that and I might still get round to them later.  But the surprise thing seemed to resonate with me and it might have been a little  intuitive because lo and behold we were delighted by some more surprises which are worth sharing I hope.

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Footballers eh

I hooked up with a very old mate from uni the other night for a beer. He’s a semi-retired Cardiff-based teacher who’s been on a 6-month assignment at a very good girls school in Kingston and we’ve been catching up a bit over that time. His contract finished at Xmas but he has sort of fallen for this part of SW London so he’s continuing to come back to do some tutoring and some rowing. He’s one of my oldest mates – well he would be given that we left Aber Uni 40 years ago – and he’s lived a life as a sports mad, red-blooded bachelor ever since. In fact his life style has hardly changed since I first met him. Continue reading

Friends and their kids

Yesterday we had our old friends J and G over and their lovely kids E and J. It was a super day, just great to catch up and J is as madly generous as ever. I can’t believe it’s 18 months since we last saw G. But almost the nicest thing was the realisation that all of our oldest friends’ children have turned out to be really decent people in their own right; well-adjusted, good company, fun, engaging and the sort of people you’d like to be friends with too. Just like our own kids. And in almost all cases there’s more than 40 years age difference between them and us old buggers. Delightfully they even forgive my occasional slips into industrial language without resorting to it themselves. Great kids; I love ’em.

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It’s eclectic!

At the risk of being accused of watching too much daytime TV, another thought occurred to me watching Frasier this morning. Have you nerticed how televsion sets and props are often an important character element in great sitcoms? Well I have.

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If you’ve ever known me, now’s the time to call….

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I wrote about catching up with my old mate S the other day. Well I don’t know if there’s something in the water or LinkedIn’s suddenly started working properly or people have heard about my medical stuff but I’ve had a wave of contacts from some really old friends/colleagues recently from the days when Cellnet had a logo that looked like the one above. I mean friends from way back when, rather than they’re wrinkly and aged (a property I’ve got the patent on).

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Grand day out

Cricket@TwickenhamS

Well our very good friend S is over from the States on business and spending a few hours with us in between his breathless gambols around the commercial centres of W Europe. I’ve written about S several times; we met when I joined the Post Office’s Telecommunications section after leaving university, back in the Middle Ages. He was a smart lad and I was a dopey herbert if truth be told. An unlikely pairing, we became firm friends and remained so even after he and wife M and the boys emigrated to America quite a few years ago now. I’m fairly sure he didn’t leave to escape me if that’s what you’re thinking. He’s still involved in high level telecomms stuff  and these trips are a welcome way for us to keep in touch even though he’s always on a manic schedule and of course we do miss seeing M and the lads (nay men).

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Is that Jeremy Clarkson looking over his shoulder?

Well David Beckham’s gone and announced his retirement now but surely the biggest news item in this week was the publication of yet another of my postings in the fabulous high50 site. Alright David might have stolen the front page headlines but it was big news in this household I can tell you and I’m sure old Clarkson must be quaking in his Sunday Times boots at such an amusing new columnist. Long-standing readers may remember this posting about one of my early public appearance successes heading up the marketing function at mobile network Cellnet. I still blush today at the memory but you’re welcome to enjoy my indignity:

http://www.high50.com/blog50/my-stamford-bridge-humiliation

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