Happy Birthday Paul

Steve thought that his wife's swimming cozzie was rather too tight and revealing, but he decided to wear it anyway.

Today is my brother-in-law Paul’s birthday. This is the card that I got him. I chose it because it had me crying with laughter in WHSmith this lunchtime. Crying like a mad thing.

Steve (the man in the photograph) looks like some strange superhero accident: a cross between Superman and Wonder Woman. And, oddly, Matt Damon.

I just thought I’d share that with you.

Pure DAB brilliant!

Pink Pure One DAB radio

Sitting at my desk at work I asked Jane, on MSN Messenger a simple question:

Gareth J M Saunders says:
Choose: pink or black?

Jane Saunders says:
Pink.

And so pink it was. Of course, Jane had no idea what she was choosing in pink. But it most certainly is pink. If I couldn’t get my pink jumper then I’ll just have to make do with a pink DAB radio.

I’ve been wanting a DAB radio for ages. Digital Audio Broadcasting is clearly the way forward: it has a better, clearer and cleaner sound than good old fashioned FM Stereo, and it offers oodles more channels, serving up unforgiving quantities of pure, unadulterated ROCK music!

My brother Eddie and I used to play a game when we both had Telewest cable TV. We’d tune into Planet Rock radio and see just how long it was until they played yet another Pink Floyd track. It was never too long. Not that we were complaining.

I’m listening to Planet Rock as I write this, as it happens. We’re currently listening to Neil Young with “Southern Man”. The antithesis of Lynyrd Skynyd’s classic track “Sweet Home Alabama”.

STOP PRESS: The presenter has just said that he’s about to play “Sheep” by Pink Floyd!!

Having been investigating a number of DAB radios, I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to get a Pure DAB radio. That is a DAB radio made by the company Pure. They consitently scored well in the What Hi-Fi? magazine polls.

The only problem is that Pure DAB radios are quite expensive. The Evoke range are priced between around £89 and £199. I definitely wanted one that could run on batteries as well as from the mains. I wanted something that had the option of a stereo output, even if it had only one speaker, and it also had to still be able to receive FM too. If for no other reason than Jane could use it with her iTrip, if iWorld ever get around to sending her the correct one for her birthday (we ordered black, they sent white).

And then I saw the Pure One. Available in white, black or pink. And then I read the reviews. And then I wanted one. And then I discovered that Argos in St Andrews sold them. And then I asked Jane a simple question: “Choose: pink or black?”

And Jane chose pink.

Viva Chris Moyles!

Chris Moyles singing on X-Factor

Now, I usually don’t watch TV programmes such as X-Factor as I have a preference for REAL METAL™ rather than manufactured pop. But I made an exception this past week while The Saviour of BBC Radio 1 Chris Moyles was performing. And he was brilliant: entertaining, musical and very, very funny.

So, why on earth did the British public vote him off?! I was gutted.

Incidentally, our aerial died again just before the results were announced. Having reported the dodgy aerial on 11 May the TV aerial specialists still haven’t been in touch to arrange a date to fix it. We watched the results on the portable telly in our bedroom, the one with the set-top aerial blutaked to the ceiling.

Next door…

View out the back window, towards our cottage's roof. A Lenin bust and London bus in foreground.

I think I must have said a couple of times in this blog that our current abode is but a stone’s-throw from our holiday cottage Kadesh. Well, here’s the proof that it is in fact right next door.

The photograph above was taken this evening, as I hung out of the back window that overlooks the garden at Kadesh. The red, tiled roof that you see on the right of the photograph is the roof of our wee cottage next door.

I did take better photographs than this one, but they didn’t show the bust of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov or a model of a vintage London bus, which I felt added an important socio-historic perspective and sense of scale, in every meaning of the word.

Technically it’s not ‘proof’ is it. It’s still just me telling you that it’s our house.

Jane standing in the garden waving.

Okay, how about this one? It’s of Jane standing in the garden waving to me. Surely that is conclusive proof that she owns that property. You get 10 points if you can find our cat “Spot” in the picture. Jane actually popped next door (before ER started; it’s the last one in the series, seemingly) to find Spot’s brother Smudge, who has taken to spending his days under the house or in the garden next door. He clearly knows that we intend to move back in there after the summer.

In case you were wondering:

  1. I bought the bust of Lenin in a tourist shop just off Red Square in Moscow on a school trip in 1988.
  2. I’m writing this post in Opera 8 for a change.
  3. Spot followed Jane into the garden; I think he was also concerned about his brother’s whereabouts.
  4. I have two small models of London buses. I can’t remember who gave me them, or why. I did consider starting a collection of red London buses but I reckoned how would I know when my collection was complete? So I decided that “two” was a complete collection of red London buses: one old one, and one new one.

Which reminds me of this joke:

An Engineer and Mathematician were both given the task of herding 100 Sheep with the least amount of fence possible.

So the Engineer wrapped the fencing tight around the sheep saying “This Constant Radius Circle is the smallest perimeter for a given area and therefore is the best solution”.

The Mathematition made a much smaller circle (about a yard in diameter), stepped inside and explained “I define myself to be on the outside.”

It’s just a shame that the photograph of Jane herding the two cats out of the garden gate didn’t come out better, otherwise this post would likely have been less random and been titled “Pied Piper of Cellardyke”. You’ll just have to take my word that it was very amusing. And that it really is our garden next door.

Neo-nazi pasta?!

One of the presents that Jane received for her birthday, a week past Thursday, was a fresh pasta maker and accompanying pasta drying rack. Well, as a surprise this morning, while she was still asleep, I assembled the pasta rack …

Pasta rack

… only to discover that it appears to be some kind of neo-nazi pasta drying rack: three concentric swastikas. Actually, that’s unfair as the swastika was originally a peaceful and holy symbol.

The swastika (from Sanskrit स्वस्तिक svastika) is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles in either left-facing (卍) or right-facing (卐) direction. The swastika is a holy symbol in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. In the West, it is most widely known and used as a symbol of Nazism. It is traditionally oriented so that a main line is horizontal, though it is occasionally rotated at forty-five degrees. The Hindu version is often decorated with a dot in each quadrant.
(Source: Wikipedia article about the Swastika)

So, just clarify, in case you were in any doubt whatsoever: Jane is not a nazi*, she just enjoys making fresh pasta. I’m glad we cleared that one up.

(* I’m glad she’s not because, amongst the myriad of other reasons that I should probably also list here, my paternal grandfather was Jewish!)