Thursday, 30 November 2006

It appears that B & Q have dropped a bit of a clanger with their choice of Christmas jingles in one of their shops.

Instead of festive tracks piped into the shop via their in store sound system, customers heard an "X" rated song from the wonderful (yet very naughty) cartoon series South Park contained on a Christmas CD.

Predictably Mr & Mrs Havenolife were outraged and have complained bitterly at the offence caused, prompting an apology from the management.

So much for Christmas being a time for forgiving then...

111- a Fine Innings

Britain's oldest person, born in 1895 has died this week, aged 111.

Just imagine what she has personally lived through in all that time? Incredible.

My Head Hurts

A recent survey has revealed that over 200,000 British workers are hung over on any given day and that 1 in 5 18-25 year olds (19%) go into work hungover at least once a month.

It's going to be a very merry Christmas for some then...

It's All a Game, Innit?

A most interesting little snippet came my way yesterday, and that was that the game of "foosball" was invented in mid-16th-century Germany, predating football by nearly 200 years.

Perhaps that explains why the Germans can play the sport...








...and England can't.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

On the Sick?

A chap claiming more than £30,000 in incapacity benefit and disability living allowance over a two year period has been caught out on film after a lengthy undercover investigation, which showed him limbering up for a martial arts class that he was about to take.

The man holds a 7th dan in Karate (one of the highest belts on offer) and a 6th dan in Jujitsu and he is regularly consulted by the film industry and the police force for his specialist advice.

Having pleaded guilty to the charges he could now face up to six month in gaol.




Yeah, but who's going to tell him?

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Then I'll begin...

"Sit up straight"- how often have you heard this? Whether at home, at school or even in your office.

Well, as ever it seems that we have been misinformed all along and based on MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) research, we should be slouching and slumping as sitting up straight puts unnecessary strain on the spine which could result in chronic back pain due to slipped discs or trapped nerves.

So whilst we're at it, carry on doing that as well- you won't go blind...

Monday, 27 November 2006

The Cost of a Pint

The price of a pint of Stella Artois (loosely described as a "premium" lager by some) has gone down to a mere 11p/100ml* at Morrisons as the cut throat Christmas deals start to kick in weeks earlier than in previous years.

A spokesman for the brewers Scottish & Newcastle UK (which makes Foster’s, Kronenbourg and John Smith’s) said “We continue to despair.”


So would I pal, brewing that shite- I wouldn't wash my feet in the stuff. :-D






*We're not impressed anyway- we were paying 36p/500ml in Slovakia and this was in a pub.

Sorry, Can't Resist!

Yes, I know I'm becoming a GATSO bore, but I can't help myself...

Our man Plod decided he was feeling peckish and fancied a take away meal. On his way to the Chinese restaurant to satisfy his hunger pangs, he was flashed by a Safety Scamera whilst driving his Plod Mobile at 48 mph in a 40 mph limit zone.

Instead of copping (sic) three points and a fine, he was let off by Magistrates because he said he was responding to a serious RTA (road traffic accident). When he heard other units had already responded to the alert though, he decided to abort his journey and went to the takeaway instead.

However, the court heard he had not been called to respond to the crash, did not have sirens or blue lights on and was not taking the quickest route to the scene.

How does that work then? Surely not one law for them and one law for us?


And on the subject of Dibble, Scameras and the like, a joke that made me laugh:

Apple Computer Inc's new product:

It's a beautifully designed blackbox recorder that automatically emails the police when you break the speed limit giving details of where and when, how fast etc.

It's called the apple iplod.

:-D

Billy No Mates

It transpires that Britons have an average of 54 friends recent research reveals, up 64% on 2003 figures.

I didn't realise I was so popular...

Taxi Please- I am Unarmed, Honest.

Britain’s most difficult jobs are supposedly driving a black cab through London, working on a trawler in the North Sea and felling trees in the Great Yorkshire Forest.

These jobs were ranked by risk of death or injury, working hours, skill levels and both mental and physical stress.

Sorry, do I see driving a London black cab at number one? Risk of death, skill levels and mental and physical stress being greater than trawling in the North Sea or chopping down trees?

No wonder they can con tourists out of large fares if they can convince the researchers of this…

I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here

Er, no you're not and please stay.

Triskadecaphobia

Is the fear of the number 13 (one of the few "easy" answers I learnt from playing Trivial Pursuits many a year ago).

And it now transpires that Friday 13th is not the unluckiest day after all.

A study of some million claims by the AA has found out that more people are likely to have an accident on Monday 27th than any other date.


Damn, there goes my banker question and a "cheese". :(

Bye, Bye.... Eh?

A very tenuous title to introduce the topic of the Government and its support to finance a move away from "A" levels to an "international diploma" which could be the death knoll for the traditional "gold standard" advanced level examinations.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma will require pupils to study six subjects, which have to include maths, science and a language. In addition pupils have to complete a 4,000-word essay, study the theory of knowledge and complete voluntary or community projects.

Personally I think the IB sounds a much better, rounded type of qualification in comparison to the "A"s. Especially as it is becoming increasingly more difficult to recognise our top students as they all appear to get first class grades.

However, it will still be a sad day if the "A" levels do eventually bite the dust.

A Rinki-Dink-Pink

The latest weapon for Lancashire Dibble to help reduce the rise of street gangs and crime is to install pink floodlights near known trouble spots.

Plod believes the pink lighting will create a "calming influence" and as it supposedly accentuates skin blemishes such as zits*, our Fuzzy Friends hope it will deter mobs of teenage gangs from roaming the areas.

You can just imagine it:

"'Ere, you gahn dahn the yoof centre for a bit of 'anging out wiv the lads an' then maybes off to the offie for a bit of shop lifting and granny bashing, innit?"

"Nah, mate- got a spot on me chin so I'm staying in"


Sheesh...



* Lucky these magic pink lights can illuminate hidden features behind hoods too, eh?

To My TWO Sisters-in-Law

Happy Birthday to Sharon today and Sam tomorrow. How's that for a coincidence?

Have a grand old time of it ladies, and enjoy your day.

True Dove

Monday, 27th November sees our top pals Steve & Ira celebrate their wedding anniversary. My calculations make it 12 (but it could be 13?) years but whatever the number, it's a fine achievment in this day and age when all around seem to be going their separate ways.

Many congrats people- we'll be raising a glass or two to you but it won't be Vodka, that I do promise you.

Have a great day and we wish you many, many happy times ahead of you.
















Even if we did miss out on the Rochford Beer Festival for your wedding day...gits...

Saturday, 25 November 2006


As it says on the tin, this is exactly where we live- ~10 seconds from the Marina and it really is a good as it looks on the picture. I could rattle on but once again, the experts do it far better so over to them:
Izola is old fishing town with the rich history. With the pleasant position and the marine is also important nautical centre. The first step toward the tourism started in 1820 when the thermal water was discovered. The town is important by a fishing industry. The first fishing industry factory at the Adriatic coast was built near Izola. Interesting: Latin name for island is *izola* and Izola use to be an island which was connected to the mainland with a stony bridge. The town was encompassed with the wall which was at the beginning of the 19th century pulled down and the material was used to cover sea between the island and mainland. Izola use to be known as a town of the rebels. It has also declared Independence in 1253 and became a town with the proper laws and authority for a short period. In the 13th and 14th century there were also a "town wars" with the Piran and Koper.
We've been to Koper already and it too is lovely and plan to see Piran soon. However, Izola is BRILLIANT!

This Made Me Chuckle

Two Indian Heroin addicts get mixed up and inject themselves with curry powders by mistake.

They both get taken to hospital where one ended up with a dodgy tikka and the other's in a korma.

*guffaw*

Test Match Series: Australia v England

Once again we're off to a flying start:

23rd November 2006 at Brisbane, Day 3 of 5

Australia won the toss and decided to bat:

Australia 1st Innings
602 for 9 (155.0 overs)

Australia 2nd Innings
181 for 1 (40.0 overs) and still to carry on batting

England 1st Innings
157 all out (61.1 overs)


What I can't quite figure out is why Australia didn't enforce the follow on? Not that it will make any difference- England are going to get blown out of this Test, no matter what. :(

Quick of Mind, Healthy of Body

The latest study in "stuff"* has revealed that people with slower reflexes and er....hum, erm...bad memories are likely to die of a heart attack.

Fine by me if I'm over 100 at the time.

People who have slower reaction times and bad memories are more likely to die from a heart attack, an extensive study indicates.

*"Stuff" = more useless studies at concluding the bleedin' obvious

Mobile Phone Facts

On the subject of mobiles (see below) some oddities:

· The first mobile phone cost £2,000 and was the size of a briefcase

· The comedian Ernie Wise made the first call on January 1, 1985

· The first text message was sent in 1993

· 140 million texts were sent on July 1, 2006, when England was knocked out of the World Cup

· 1,700 mobile phones are thrown away every hour

· A phone is stolen in Britain every 12 seconds

· 90 million unused phones are lurking in drawers and cupboards — together they would weigh 11,250 tonnes

· The first mobile battery lasted only 20 minutes before it conked out

All facts from pillfed from The Times- ta.

It's Good to McTalk

A mobile phone went missing in 2004 when the Scottish Parliament moved from its temporary headquarters in Edinburgh and relocated to its new home in Holyrood (you'd think at a cost of £431 million they'd get the spelling correct though).

Trouble is, no one bothered to report the loss and it was only until the service provider alerted Parliament officials to the rapidly mounting bill that it was noticed as gone.

Total cost of the bill (not even including VAT)?

£46,200 !

Friday, 24 November 2006

About Time!

Lewis Hamilton, 21, is expected to get his first drive with McLaren Mercedes at the start of the next Grand Prix season in Melbourne.

Nothing remarkable in that you my think but the fact that he is black is; he is the first F1 driver.

Good.

Rumours that the 2008 season is to have a woman driver have proven to be optimistic though.



The rear view mirror is still too small to apply make up properly and the cock pits are simply to tight to fit a hand bag in...

Thursday, 23 November 2006

A Game of Two Halves?

A dispute between two neighbours over a game of football in their communal gardens ended up at the High Court, leaving the taxpayer to foot (sic) a £50 000 bill.

Mr X was taken to court after he was spotted kicking a ball around with his 5 year old son in their residents-only garden in London by his neighbour Miss Y, who claimed that he was breaching local bye-laws*.

In a private prosecution, Miss Y lost her claim as the magistrate ruled that the father and his son were not technically "teams" and therefore had done nothing wrong. Miss Y was not satisfied and appealed against the ruling by going to the High Court where she successfully challenged the initial ruling. However, the Lord Justice said that Mr X's acquittal would stand, as a retrial would not be in the public interest.

As Miss Y had technically won her case by proving the pair were playing football, she was not ordered to pay any costs, leaving the bill with the taxpayer. Speaking after the case, Miss Y said she was 'horrified' at the outcome and defended her actions by stating that " this is an ornamental garden and not a recreation ground and football ruins the grass." She added that "The Court had got the decision right, but still found against me. This has set a dangerous precedent- he court services are a travesty."

A legal source said Miss Y while "well-meaning", was "somewhat vexatious and someone who has multiple legal proceedings going on against numerous people in the area".

The best bit about this ridiculous story (aside from wishing Miss Y would have had to pay her own costs) is that since the case, the bye-laws have been changed to allow ball games between parents and children in the garden.

Sweet!

*The prosecution had been brought under the 1863 Town Gardens Protection Act, and was based on the fact that football was banned in the bye-laws governing activities in the Arundel and Elgin ornamental gardens.

Sad Time For Pie Eaters

A pie eating contest in Wigan, where competitors had to eat as many meat and potato pies in three minutes has finally bowed to pressure from the "healthy eating/good diet brigade" and changed the rules to ensure they are doing their bit to combat obesity.

Now it is a competition to see who can eat a single pie in the quickest time and also, for the first time, vegetarian pies will be allowed.

Can't see what the fuss is as surely everyone knows that a well balanced diet is a pie in each hand...

And Still on the Chrimble Theme

A teacher dropped a rather big bombshell to her 9-10 year old class when she told them Father Christmas did not exist.

The school in question has now had to change its curriculum to ensure this will not happen again, but for the kids in question that is one ruined Christmas with some pupils leaving the lesson in tears.

The teacher was explaining how Christmas is celebrated across the world and talking about the Muslim festival of Eid when she made her rather unfortunate statement.

The school policy now, when questioned, will be to admit that "I'm not sure. Go home and ask your parents."

Er, not much of a teacher if you don't even know if Santa exists or not then.

And what happens if questioned on the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Rabbit?

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

The "C" Word Rears Its Head

The average mother supposedly spends thirteen whole days preparing for Christmas, and yet the average Christmas meal rarely lasts little more than two hours.

Here's a tip- get a pizza in and open another bottle...

Slowing Down Time

Contrary to popular belief and scientific evidence, it is possible to slow down time- up to four times at least.

Don't believe me? Try doing some exercise for fifteen minutes and tell me honestly if it doesn't feel like an hour.

Unisex Toilets

Quite common place outside of the UK but it seems to be rather unpopular in England. Why?

All the disabled toilets are unisex, so why aren't there male and female facilities for disabled folk?

Rather odd, don't you think?

John Prescott...

John Prescott still costs the taxpayer almost £2 million a year and despite being stripped of departmental responsibilities, his office has 18 staff and its own headquarters in Whitehall.

No comment from me, just felt you'd like to know where some of our money ends up...

Sticky Fingers

Once again the weary motorist is being targeted for another pilot scheme.

Dibble (from ten different forces) will be requesting your fingerprints, to be taken at the roadside and then checked against a national database under "Project Lantern".

The Police Minister, said that the scheme would be "voluntary, and data would not be retained."
Sure, sure. So declining the kind offer will naturally not make you a marked person for the future and of course everyone believes him about not retaining records because ministers never lie, right?

However, should the scheme prove successful, it will be made law...

I Do. No, I Don't Anymore

A new divorce law is being introduced today that will avoid blame and acrimonious allegations if married partners decide to call it a day.

The “collaborative law”, is intended to do away with the old chestnut "irreconcilable differences" and will aim to preserve dignity in divorce on both sides if people have simply grown apart but wish to part amicably.

Nice one- not only will it speed things up but it should also reduce costs, so the only losers will be the solicitors. Now that does make a change.

Speed Scameras- Sorry; SAFETY Cameras

A recent study has found that women view speed cameras very differently from men. The fairer sex are much more likely to comply with them, twice as likely to want more cameras in their area and more willing to believe that they save lives.

Thus proving once again that there really is a huge gulf between the sexes...

Olympic Games 2012

It seems that the "final" bill to host the games in London will now exceed £7 billion.

The original budget estimate was no where near enough and has had to be increased by another 40%.

Why is it that the people who are responsible for calculating these costs are always so far out? I mean 40% is a long way off the mark, isn't it?

They are paid to be expert in these matters and yet it would seem they'd be better off just sticking a pin into a list of figures.

Perhaps this is how weather forecasters begin their careers?

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Water on the Rocks?

Plans are afoot to for water companies to impose meters onto millions of customers and the customer is to pay for them- and this should come into effect next year.

OK, we know we have to save water (pretty much anything has to be used conservatively nowadays) and personally I think a water meter is a good idea too. We had one installed a few years ago and our water bills halved; at least.

However, why should the end user have to pay? We haven’t changed the deal. That should be down to the water supplier.

But what really itches my chin, is that there is no refund on your bill when the water companies do not supply the water you want. They quite happily collect the dosh through the good times and yet when they impose hose pipe bans, they don’t give you a rebate!

And to make matters worse they are guilty of the biggest wastes of water through leaking or poorly maintained pipe works. Why don’t they get regulated on this and be held to account?

As Safe as a Safe

Another wonderful thing about living here is how trustworthy everyone is.

We rarely lock the front door- perhaps at night.

This is sooo good. :-)

Monday, 20 November 2006

Happy Birthday Webby

Another year under the belt tomorrow and still going strong. The body of a well used boxer and yet the mind of a sniggering school boy- outstanding.

Congrats, and we'll be lifting a glass to you on your day.

Nice to See You, to See You Nice

An NHS trust is offering nurses free cappuccinos and chocolate chip biscuits to encourage them to smile at patients. A London hospital introduced the reward scheme after surveys raised concerns that nurses were not being nice enough to the sick.

Matrons give out special "thank-you" cards to nurses who are seen smiling at patients or relatives, chatting with patients, having a positive attitude or doing something to make someone’s day better.

The cards are then entered in a draw and nurses whose cards are picked out are entitled to free coffee and biscuits at the hospital cafe.


Well, call me old fashioned, but perhaps if nurses were paid properly in the first place they may actually be happy about coming to work and this would reflect in their approach to the work.

The M25

The cost of widening the M25 will be an estimated extra £3.4 billion and the government is to pay a consortium of road builders more than £5 billion to widen the M25, even though the work will cost only £1.6 billion. The Highways Agency has said that about 63 miles of the 118-mile road will be expanded from six to eight lanes at a cost of £79m a mile.

The scheme will become Britain’s biggest-ever private finance initiative (PFI*), a system under which private firms fund and build infrastructure projects such as roads and hospitals then “rent or lease” them back to the government.

The widening of the M25 could, however, be the most controversial PFI, especially when the price is compared with the £29m a mile it costs to build a brand new motorway.

Under the scheme the M25 will have at least eight lanes for all its length except in the western sections around Heathrow where it already has up to 12 lanes. The 200,000 vehicles a day flowing through the busiest sections will rise to an estimated 250,000 once work is completed in 2016.

So, how does it feel to the rest of the country to pay for improving the M25 which it may rarely, if ever, use?




*PFI schemes were introduced by the last Conservative government to shift the risk of cost overruns and delays on to private companies and to enable big infrastructure investments without government borrowing. In reality, however, private companies only proved willing to take on such risks if offered the chance of huge profits at the taxpayers’ expense.

Such schemes have been widely criticised as poor value because contractors can generate huge profits by charging the government interest payments and capital repayments, all at the taxpayers’ expense.

Internet Reviews

Up and down sides to the internet.

With it so readily available to so many of us, it is no wonder that lots of people now choose to research things on line. Whether it's checking for flights, somewhere to stay, where to dine- the list of DIY information gathering continues to grow.

There is however a flip side to this ease of information finding. How accurate is it and can you trust it?

A recent investigation by The Sunday Times has discovered that hotels and restaurants are drumming up business by posting glowing reviews of themselves. It noted that:

Proprietors describing hotels as “outstanding”, “excellent” and “charming” without declaring their interest in the business.

Marketing executives to top British hotels recommending perks be offered to customers in return for a promise of a good review.

Hotel star ratings on well-known websites that could be easily “ramped” with just a few e-mails from bogus customers.

Among the customer reviews was an outstanding endorsement for a hotel in Scotland which failed to make clear that it had been written by its proprietor. It gushed: “My parents stayed many years ago and said what a lovely spot this place has. They were so right! . . . Well done to the staff, who really were charming.”

Mr "X" said: “Maybe I shouldn’t have done it . . . I don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

Another undeclared proprietor, posted a message on a different website raving about his “stunning new pub restaurant” in West Yorkshire.

He later said: “It wasn’t my intention to mislead anyone . . . I think it was a bit of a misinterpretation.”

Many websites appear to do little to vet the reviews written by customers and prove easy to manipulate with e-mails. One London hotel was slammed by a customer who complained about its noisy rooms and “miserable” beds.

It took just four glowing e-mails to lift its ranking from a poor 1.2 out of 5 to 4.2, elevating it to among the capital’s top establishments.


Now as you might be aware, we are in the road quite a bit and we (well, wifey, as it goes) do most of our research via the net, quite probably from some of these sites, and we have certainly wondered as to how a certain review was achieved when we've arrived and physically seen the place.

Still, with the good always comes the bad...and that is half the fun.

The Next Census- Due 2011

It would seem that the next census for the UK is to be a little more intrusive than previous years with an attempt to discover just how much people earn. This was previously dropped from the 2001 questionnaire.

People will be asked to provide details of their income, with the last range of salaries being those earning £37,000 or more. They will also be required to tick boxes to explain its sources.

Another new question will ask people about their proficiency in English, Welsh, British Sign Language and other languages.

For the first time the census will also ask whether respondents are English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, Irish or another nationality, and the date of their entry into Britain.

This is due to undergo a trail run next year in selected areas and 20 000 homes will be targetted to determine the response.



Hhhhhmmmm- I know what my response will be...

An Article By Richard Littlejohn

Some people love him, others hate him- whatever your feelings for this journalist/TV presenter, this really made me chuckle. Reproduced in its entirety:

Possibly the most bizarre television show I ever presented (actually, there's no "possibly" about it) featured a troupe of stripping dwarfs who modelled themselves on the Full Monty. They were called the Half Monty.

Now, in what the Observer calls a "boundary-breaking" documentary, a team of disabled men are to get their kit off for the cameras. They call themselves The Crippendales.

The programme is being promoted with the tagline "They might not have legs, but do they have the balls".

I know pretty much anything goes on TV these days, but if I'd gone to Greg Dyke a few years ago, when I was working at LWT, with an idea for a show starring stark naked, differently-abled men in wheelchairs, he wouldn't only have shown me the door, he'd probably have called the police.

The Crippendales is supposed to be a serious film which challenges preconceptions about the sexuality of disabled people. Of course it is.

When we put the Half Monty on camera a few years ago, Dawn Airey - then running Channel Five - wondered whether this was an enlightened piece of equal opportunities programming or were we just having a laugh?

We were having a laugh.

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Dibble Too Efficient?

A POLICE force has been accused of ordering officers to stop logging intelligence about drug dealers because they had already met their annual target for arrests.

Two divisions within North Wales Police were “instructed” not to enter the information on the force computer as further arrests would lead to a higher target the next year, according to the report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The force is led by Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom, who has been criticised in the past for a relatively liberal attitude to drug policy and his crusade against speeding motorists.


The report, which was generally favourable to the force, also said: “The force continues to feature in national media stories that do not always add to its reputation, and chief officers need to be vigilant to avoid becoming the story.”

A spokesman for North Wales Police said the information in the report was based on individual officers’ perceptions, and not official policy.

Article lifted from The Times a while ago but made me wonder not just about the alleged fixing of figures, but more so how Plod seems to feel that a speeding motorist is more of a criminal than a drug supplier?

But it's the last line that cracks me up. "Individual officer's perceptions". So, discretion in other words?

And there was me thinking the law is the law...

Beer, Beer, Wonderful Beer

Landlords have been requested by Reading University not to sell cut-price drinks to its undergraduates in an effort to curb their drunken behaviour.

Some bar staff have been accused of serving drinks to students who are “obviously drunk” and the university called on landlords to exercise a degree of responsibility.

Aside from the futility of this exercise, the most obvious point of this is that what the landlords are doing is in fact illegal. It is against the law to serve liquor to anyone appearing to be under the influence of alcohol and the licencee runs the risk of having his boozer shut down if found guilty.


Still, when was the last time you heard anyone saying "I'm sorry pal, I simply cannot take another £2.50 off you for yet another pint of ale, you've clearly had far too much already"...

Songs

Although a fan of music for primarily the music and not the lyrics, I do feel that lyrics enhance the pleasure of a song. No question.

So, do non-English speaking people get the same enjoyment as people who can "parlais Anglais" when listening to English/American music?


Makes me wonder.

Thankfully

I have now finished reading "Dark Vengence" and I still cannot understand how this was allowed into print.

Maybe this was aimed at the mentally challenged to allow themselves to feel good about reading something without pictures?

Still, don't take my word for it- if anyone wants it, I can send it over; although is it worth the price of a stamp? I suppose that it could double the value of the book.

Nah, I'll keep it in case we run out of bog roll...

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Jobsworth

A driver who stopped on a yellow line when his wife was dying from a heart attack was issued with a parking ticket, despite the intervention of a passer-by and a note in the car window saying that the driver and his wife were in an ambulance.

OK, we all know some people "try it on" but come on.

At least the council responsible said they have now cancelled the ticket, but rumour has the warden is now applying to the Leigh on Sea Post Office where he is to be fast tracked to the counter dealing directly with the public with his "ideal" customer relations technique.

The only obstacle to his successful application is the fact that he can prove he has legally wed parents...

Qatar Airways

Must be about time we give Qatar Airways another mention.

Quite probably the best airline we haven't flown with (yet) and by far the most generous for their sponsorship of the Qatar Airways Ladies Berlin Tennis Open earlier this year, where we lucky enough to attend- and get into the VIP lounge.

Need to fly somewhere? Try Qatar Airways- they are really, really good and you know you want to.

More info here: http://www.qatarairways.com/




PS: Any freebie flights going to India in 2008? Ta.

Braun- An Apology!

Previously I was cursing the electric toothbrush as the re-chargeable battery was knacked. Again.

Wouldn't hold a charge, was charging intermittently and all round sluggish performance. All round I was not a happy bunny as a replacement currently sits in the "out of bounds of our meagre budget" price and yet I doubt we could ever revert to "normal" toothbrushes.

Weeeelllll, last night I wandered into the bathroom and again I noticed the little blue charging light was out. I went to switch on the bathroom light (situated outside of the bathroom as a safety feature) and as soon as I flicked the switch, the blue light on the toothbrush handle started winking.

Then the penny dropped.

The socket is only powered if the light switch is on (another safety precaution?) and so the brush (and having discharged it fully for its biannual battery conditioning as per OEM's instructions) was only getting charged for a few minutes a day when we had the light on in the bathroom.

Toothbrush is now relocated next to the laptop, merrily blinking away and soon to be fully recharged. Blinking thing...

The Euro Has Landed

1st janaury 2007, Slovenia loses its Tolar in favour of the Euro.

So if anyone has spare Slovenian currency they want me to dispose of for them, please send it over ASAP- it's only 6 0dd weeks to the new year.

And just exactly where has this year gone to?

Izola Town

A view of the town. How neat is this?
Today, in the middle of November.

The square on the harbour- to the right of the tree is the entrance to the street we live on.





The street we live on.


Friday, 17 November 2006

Electric Toothbrushes

Rather good bits of kit and a particular necessity for me as I brush too vigorously and our splendid dentist almost insisted I switch from a manual to a electric one or else wear my gums out.

Been using one for years now and swear by them- and at them.

Once again another Braun has gone down on us and it's time to buy another. That'll be our fifth, at least, despite following their instructions to maximise use of the rechargeable battery, ie discharge fully every six months before re-charging.

Rechargeable batteries only have a finite life and their memories lessen as time goes on so eventually it just will not recharge any further rendering the dynamic dental descaler redundant. And they ain't cheap, usually around £60 - £100!

But what is really frustrating is that they cannot replace the battery as it is a sealed unit due to the fact it is used in the bathroom (usually) around water. That being the case, why is it one can a battery operated item for a tenner and you can replace the batteries in those readily enough.

A money making scam? I shouldn't wonder.

Dark Justice

Currently trying to read the above book by Jack Higgins (he of "The Eagle has Landed" fame) which I picked up somewhere, left behind by a fellow traveller*.

Books are scarce and I'd not read one of his before; "The Eagle..." was an OKish film so I figured why not?

Blood hell- what a load of arse drop. Utter, utter garbage- like painting by numbers with Stevie Wonder. It has every imaginable cliche, quote and aside going (far, far worse than of my hog swill on here) and yet The Financial Times describes it as "In a class of his own".

Hhhmm, they should either leave the book review for someone with an IQ larger than their wallet size or they are being incredibly clever, for Mr Higgins is in a class of his own- thankfully.

My worst experience on tour so far was that snot called "Superman Returns". This is nearly as dire but I've not finished yet as I'm trying to make it last by watching the weeds grow in the local compost heap in between chapters.

The weeds are winning by a country mile at the moment.

karTER komment? Utter KRAP and no wonder it was left behind...


*Sadistic bastard!

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Bigger Cars, Bigger Fees?

A trial to be run in London (Richmond) will see resident’s parking permits “banded” with gas guzzlers and high carbon dioxide emission vehicles to be charged more than the greener equivalents. Apparently electric cars could even be free of charge, whilst second or more cars could be whacked with even higher costs.

The reason given of course, is the popular green band wagon/save the planet bollocks but opponents have already called this yet another stealth tax, aimed at raising more cash of for the council coffers.

A spokesman for the council admitted the scheme will raise one million pounds but denied that money-raising was the intention.

So that’s all right then, if you say so, pal…

IZOLA!

The town we’re staying in has its own television channel- and it’s brilliant.

24 hours a day, it shows nothing but a view of the promenade/harbour from a fixed camera point (CCTV) and nothing else. People coming and going, cars passing, street lamps going on and off- real riveting stuff, but completely fascinating.

But the best thing about it is, is that one can see the entrance to the street where “home” is- so once again “ktelontour” make it onto TV.

Missed Opportunity?

Can’t believe this hasn’t kicked off in England yet- a tourist tax!

In most of the countries we have stayed in, you are required to give up your passport at your place of accommodation (so they have an accurate record of your personal details) and then you are registered to pay a tourist tax at just over one Euro per day, per person.

That certainly adds up and I’m really surprised that the UK hasn’t cottoned onto this.

Still, give it time…

Monday, 13 November 2006

Latest Route and Whereabouts


A bit of a small map, but it gives you an idea of where we are. Next year we head southwards into Croatia and down to Greece by the end of 2007.
Or something like that...

Sunday, 12 November 2006

More Photies For November

Utter guff of course, but might be interesting for some:

www.flickr.com/photos/ktelontour

Our New Home

We have just found the ideal place which is going to be our new home over the forthcoming winter months. It's a wonderful basement type apartment with separate bedroom and then a large kitchen/diner/sitting room with the bathroom just off the main room.

We have all the necessary requirements- internet access (to be installed next week), cable TV offering Slovenian, Italian, English, French & German channels, a washing machine (a new one being delivered next week and a God send as there are {like Poland} no public laundrettes here) and finally a new double bed. Mega cool!

The lovely couple were expecting us to move in at the beginning of December, hence they are not quite ready, but due to the change of our plans in Hungary, we will move tomorrow and work around the outstanding bits until everything is sorted.

But the best bit about the place? Not just the price which is just within our budget, but the location. Maybe a 20 second walk to the harbour, right in the centre of the Old Town.

So, once again we may be off air for a while but the wait will be worth it- for us...

How's Your Luck

Southend United, having beaten Manchester United in the last round of the "Carling Cup" now face my team Tottenham in the quarter finals.

Which way do my loyalties lie? Who cares, either way I win- as did Bielefeld today again to keep them fifth in the Bundesliga, one point behind Bayern Munich.

Maybe Southend will meet Bielefeld in Europe next year! :-D

Saturday, 11 November 2006

One Hundred and Eeeeeeeeiiiiggggggggghhhhhhhhttttttttttyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

GRAND.

Is what it costs to bring up a child nowadays.

And people still tell us we'll regret not having kids?

Hotel Rooms

Why do double bedrooms have a lock on the bathroom door?

First Impressions

WOW! What a lovely little town.

It nestles beside the sea and the mountains and is very pretty indeed. All the people are very friendly and speak excellent English (which is their third language; Italian first as Trieste is only 20 km away) so that means that my fluent Slovenian will not be called into play just yet.

We are currently trying to arrange long term accommodation which includes internet connection and this is proving to be difficult. We do have a very good offer which we are due to view today and it turns out the lady we are meeting has already seen us wandering about the town. Small world or what?

So, hopefully we will be settled soon and we can get back to being full time tourists ASAP.

Ciao...

Friday, 10 November 2006

Izola, Slovenia

Landed safe and sound in Izola and now off to explore. Be back soon folks.

Happy First Birthday to Max

It's our nephew's first birthday today and just a quick post to remind him to get the beers in.

Way to go Max!

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Budapest in Pictures











And Then it Snowed in Bratislava


Pictures of Bratislava







To This in Budapest, Hungary




From This in Bratislava, Slovakia




Truffles

Tried some for the first time today.

What's all the fuss about? Fancy mushrooms if you ask em...

Still, if there are eejits around who want to pay fortunes for them, who am I to stand in their way?

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Leaving Slovakia

We were very sad to leave this wonderful country but we needed to be in Budapest and the weather was turning to winter so off we set.

As you will read in the "News Flash" we got pulled by the Fuzz (how painful does that sound?) and naturally we were completely innocent. The red light we were supposed to have driven through was not on the filter we took, but for the main traffic however in such circumstances you just smile, agree and pay the wedge.

It had to be bogus because we saw a Dutch car pulled by the same guys further up the road and we were not even offered a receipt for the "fine". Nor was the fine correct- it stated 2000 SKK but we only had 500 and so he insisted we pay another 50 E on top.

2000 SKK is ~ £36, we ended up paying £45; go figure...

Anyway we landed in Budapest and then had problem number two. The guest house was dire- cold, small and dirty (think "Rising Damp") and we'd booked for two weeks? Sod that. We made the most of it and spent the rest of the evening looking around Budapest and had a meal.

Problem number three- the prices were much more expensive (at least compared to what we had been accustomed to over the last few months) and so we decided that as we'd already been to Hungary before and nice though Budapest is, we'd just call it quits and head to Slovenia early.

We did suffer another night at the "accommodation" just to have one final and thorough look around Buda (and Pest, which I preferred; Buda is on the hills and is the old town, whilst Pest is by the Danube and is the newer, modern part) and having driven for most of yesterday we arrived in Slovenia.

We're currently spoiling ourselves in Celje which is gorgeous and plan to carry on driving to Izola tomorrow where we will spend the winter for the next three or four months.

Happiness equilibrium has now been restored as we have access to the outside world again and so all is well in K'Tel World.

**News Flash** **News Flash** **News Flash**

In a sting operation covering five countries, Slovakian Fuzz confirmed that they had brought to justice the notorious couple, karTER & El Tel (aka as "k'telontour" to fellow gang members) for driving a dirty car across Europe at speeds "not in keeping with the World's green policy"

The triumphant cops, brothers by birth, punched the air in delight following several months of close cooperation by Interplod, Interflora & Intercontinental to apprehend the young and good looking couple as they drove across Europe in hope of having "fun and a good time".

Ivor Gunn, the senior officer explained how they had lain in wait at a roundabout to stop the fleeing couple and then had pounced as they drove through a red light "that wasn't actually there at all". He was unable to continue the interview due to fits of laughter, so his partner and still brother, had to continue.

Ivan "Bigger" Gunn was quoted as saying that on stopping the car he had shown them the fine for jumping a red light from his official little black book of fines was 50 Euro. He too then could not continue the interview for laughing but was heard to say something about it being his shopping list...

Both karTER and El Tel declined to comment although wifey was heard muttering about "Kung Fuing their asses" if she ever saw them again.


And now back to the weather...

The BIG 4-0 For Tree

It's not very gentlemanly to mention a burd's age but I've never pretended to be anything other, and so it's a very happy birthday to an old pal and top chick, Tree.

Hippy Boffday- to absent friends and have a great party. We can't be there, but we'll deffo be thinking of you.

Love and hugs.

PS: Tried to email you but it seems your addy is on the fritz- can you confirm details sometime?

Chelsea? See You Again in 16 Years...

As our top chum Dovey mentioned in his comment earlier, it's taken 16 years for Spurs to "do" Chelsea and as we arrived in Budapest we found a bar that was showing the game live...

3 hours earlier...

One day my timing will improve as I eternally promise wifey.

Still, until then let's enjoy the victory- it's been a long time in coming.

And whatever next? Southend to beat Man U at Roots Hall? I should co-co...

Budapest, Hungary

It took a while, but we're back on line and we've just had few days in Budapest.

The city is pretty canny (been before and it's just as we remembered) but due to pretty shite accommodation and grim weather, we decided to cut short our stay and push on into Slovenia; where we are now.

Been driving for what seems like days but is only a few hours but we're both pretty knacked, so it's an early night and we'll update you on what's been going down over the last few days.

It's not all fun and games being a full time tourist you know...

Sunday, 5 November 2006

Peers Out of the Window

And the snow has disappeared.

*woohoo*

Looks like the drive through to Hungary will not be quite so fraught after all.

Now to deal with a bigger problem though- getting wifey out of bed...

Slovakian Toilet Paper


For ladies only...?

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Zlatý Bažant

Great name, quality beer, top head ache.

We´re off to catch the bus back to Nitra from Bratislava shortly and then tomorrow it´s our turn to battle through the snow as we drive down to Budapest.

Wishing you all a good weekend and see you all soon from the next leg of our journey in Hungary.

Friday, 3 November 2006

Post Offices- Another Tale of Woe

In Slovakia one needs a type of tax sticker to use the "motorways" here.

Itś nothing too expensive as you can buy them for a week, month or year, with the weekly one kicking in at less than three quid. You can buy them in most big petrol stations and at the borders and of course at the Post Office.

Already you know where this is heading, don´t you?

We had to queue at four different counters before we managed to purchase said sticker. Four!


I could have sworn they were telephoning the Leigh on Sea branch pissing themselves laughing..."Eeese OK, comrade Cliiiint , we giff karTER the runaround for you..."

Bratislava on Ice

We got to Bratislava yesterday and found the apartment very easily. The building looked a tad ominous- grey, uniform, dull and typically ˝Eastern Bloc˝. However, on reaching the flat itself...WOW!

Huge rooms, bathroom with deep bath and shower, separate toilet fully fitted kitchen, and the sitting room had a widescreen TV, DVD player and a wide screen laptop! (The laptop is still a mystery to us as the keys are all transposed and we can´t find certain functions, but we muddle through). And it hasn´t got a mouse- just a slide pad thing, which is soooooo frustrating... Anyway, we have complete luxury although we wouldn´t be using it much as we had the city to explore.

That was only a 15 minute walk away and how impressive a place is that? Again, weŕe going to roll out the tired cliche of "itś the best we´ve seen" and again, it would be true. The town centre itself is fully paved for pedestrians only and all the shops are integrated into the original architecture, making look like a place lost in time. We´ve taken a few photos, so when we get back to our laptop weĺl be able to upload and you can see for yourselves.

Today we have all day to explore the sights and mke the most of our stay and looking out of the window, itś been snowing. Our first experience of the white stuff and naturally, being a big kid I can´t wait to get out in it.

No, where the bloody hell is the "´" key??

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Critics

Why do we have them?

Surely taste is subjective and therefore down to the individual to decide what they do and don't like? One man's meat is another man's poison? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Etcetera.

More so, how does one qualify to become a critic? What gives them the right to be critical of anyone else's work and perhaps even destroy something that has been created? Let's face it, critics can't do it themselves, because if they could they'd earning a living doing just that.

I have nothing against someone being an artiste and being a critic; just not a talentless person masquerading as someone whose opinion is worth something.

Parasites.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Slovakian Taxis

We've actually taken a taxi the last few times that we've been into the town.

We usually walk in as it's not far, perhaps a half hour stomp; but later at night when you just can't be arsed to walk anymore, a taxi makes perfect sense.

What's amusing though (aside from the prices at a £1.60 for the trip) is that we have had the same driver the last three times and on each occasion he looks at us as if we're totally new to him (how many English couples are currently in Nitra?) and everytime he has to really think to recall the Penzione we are staying at.

No joke, we've had three completely different routes to the same place and yet they all come to the same price.

Makes me feel better about my memory...

U Wot?

It seems that Scottish examination board (SQA) are happy to accept "txt" (text) speak in their English Literature exams.

So, doubly funny- the Scots doing Eng Lit and then not even having to spell correctly.

*sigh*

Classified Information

I read recently that "personal data" held by a number of high profile banks had been carelessly dumped onto the pavement which had caused a bit of a stink. Quite right too- with the risk of identity theft rising it is something we all need to be mindful of.

This news got me off thinking though.

With security as lax as this (and let's face it, this is not the first time we've heard of something similar, whether it's banks, the MoD, the civil service, the government itself; the list is endless) how on earth can the Government hope to convince us that if their favoured scheme of ID cards is to take off, they can guarantee our details will be kept confidential?

Not a chance...

Global Warming

Scientists the world over are proclaiming that we only have "n" years to save the planet because we are destroying the Earth with our toxic waste and poisonous emissions. They have been studying trends, formulating high powered theories, calculating projections and forecasting long term weather trends- all which point undeniably to the "fact" that the world as we know it has not long to survive.

I'm sorry?

They are predicting weather patterns for 10-20 years hence?



They can't even get the forecasts right for next week...

Yet Another new Month

November arrives and with it a new month and more adventures to look forward to.

As mentioned previously, we're off to Bratislava tomorrow for a few days and then we drive onto Budapest in Hungary for a few weeks/month.

Unfortunately whilst on the road our access to the internet is restricted as could be our options for connection when we get to our next "home". It seems that whilst we always do end up with access eventually, it is not without initial trouble despite best assurances to the contrary.

Fingers crossed we'll be back before you know it.