Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Kindness of Strangers


What a Delightful Story

Roger Moore, the gentleman he was.  Taken from TInd:

"As a seven-year-old in about 1983, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports, I was with my grandad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper. I told my granddad I'd just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph. My grandad had no idea who James Bond or Roger Moore were, so we walked over and he popped me in front of Roger Moore, with the words "my grandson says you're famous. Can you sign this?"

As charming as you'd expect, Roger asks my name and duly signs the back of my plane ticket, a fulsome note full of best wishes. I'm ecstatic, but as we head back to our seats, I glance down at the signature. It's hard to decipher it but it definitely doesn't say 'James Bond'. My grandad looks at it, half figures out it says 'Roger Moore' - I have absolutely no idea who that is, and my hearts sinks. I tell my grandad he's signed it wrong, that he's put someone else's name - so my grandad heads back to Roger Moore, holding the ticket which he's only just signed.
I remember staying by our seats and my grandad saying "he says you've signed the wrong name. He says your name is James Bond." Roger Moore's face crinkled up with realisation and he beckoned me over. When I was by his knee, he leant over, looked from side to side, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said to me, "I have to sign my name as 'Roger Moore' because otherwise...Blofeld might find out I was here." He asked me not to tell anyone that I'd just seen James Bond, and he thanked me for keeping his secret. I went back to our seats, my nerves absolutely jangling with delight. My grandad asked me if he'd signed 'James Bond.' No, I said. I'd got it wrong. I was working with James Bond now.
Many, many years later, I was working as a scriptwriter on a recording that involved UNICEF, and Roger Moore was doing a piece to camera as an ambassador. He was completely lovely and while the cameramen were setting up, I told him in passing the story of when I met him in Nice Airport. He was happy to hear it, and he had a chuckle and said "Well, I don't remember but I'm glad you got to meet James Bond." So that was lovely.
And then he did something so brilliant. After the filming, he walked past me in the corridor, heading out to his car - but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, "Of course I remember our meeting in Nice. But I didn't say anything in there, because those cameramen - any one of them could be working for Blofeld."
I was as delighted at 30 as I had been at 7. What a man. What a tremendous man."

What a Race

The French MotoGP from Le Mans.  You couldn't ask for a more closely contested race and while I can't go into details in case you want to see it (and you should), you can't take your eyes off the action.

Best battle of the year, so far.

Well Said

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.
Robert Wilenskyspeech at a 1996 conference

News Thump

Post image for Katie Hopkins threat level raised from ‘public irritant’ to ‘toxic shit fountain’
The threat level posed by Katie Hopkins to the collective consciousness of the human race has been raised to its highest level.
The decision was made after Hopkins posted a tweet calling for a ‘final solution’ in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, prompting authorities to question what kind of a person would use such a terrible event to promote their own self-aggrandising hate-filled worldview and to draw attention to themselves just for the sake of it.
Simon Williams, head of the UK’s Threat Level Assessment Centre told reporters, “Many of you will remember that when Katie Hopkins was a contestant on The Apprentice back in 2006 she posed a relatively low threat to our society, as she would just throw a few insults about and be a generally nasty cow, but as time has passed the threat level she poses to our society and our collective intelligence has steadily increased.
“A significant red flag was when she joined Twitter, thereby giving her a public platform for her own unique brand of tasteless bile-spewing twattery. Since then she has gone from bad to worse, as if she is solely driven by attention, whether good or bad.”
He concluded, “It is now clear that she poses a critical threat to the intelligence, reputation, societal values and general good taste of Great Britain and everyone should be vigilant and respond appropriately to any further bigoted outbursts by reporting her to the police”.
Katie Hopkins has yet to publicly respond to the decision, but it is anticipated that the soulless bint will probably welcome the extra attention.


Most American car horns honk in the key of F.


We have had a small car mechanic's garage around the corner from us that closed a few months back and the lot has been left vacant.  A few days ago we saw some people measuring up and the next thing we see is that they will be putting up a new 7-11.

Short of a new bar, I couldn't think of anything better as it will be open 24 hours around the clock (Tesco Lotus closes from 00:00 to 06:00) and it is directly on the way home from the pub.  We can also pay off any bills there and they also stock items no one else keeps.

Fine idea and we fully approve.

Duff Motor

The fan drying off my first batch of jerky has stalled a couple of times, which I suspect is down to a poor USB extension cable, but having had a fiddle all now seems well.  It has been drying over night and with luck another day should finish it off.

It looks right but I suspect the vinegar will have been too much so it's going to be a bit of trial and error before i can bask in the glory of home made jerky. Patience is a virtue they say, to which I reply that I have never been virtuous.

Viz Bits

Proof of Residency

Having already whinged about the cost of the thing before, I will have one final pop.

Not only did it cost us £50 (each!) but the driving centre keeps it with your licence application.  We can't even re-use it.  And there's more to come.

As you may recall I was dismayed at the way the Embassy simply used our handwritten form and simply stamped it.  At the very least they should have typed it out or had the form on-line for us to type.  Well, the driving centre couldn't make out my handwriting (fair critique, it has to be said) and my application got held up while wifey had to re-write my address for them as they couldn't read it clearly.

It's funny now, but fifty quid for that?  Do fuck off.

The Advantages

Not only can you now legally drive/ride in the Kingdom of Thailand, your licence will also act as legal identity if you get stopped by Plod (by law you must carry your passport with you at all times) and you will also get the Thai rate for entering museums and shows, which can be a substantial saving.

You can also use it for domestic travel which avoid needing to take your passport.

Best of all if you were to get nicked for a driving offence you will still be able to take to the road as you have a second licence.

Cost of all of this was THB 2 300 for the Proof of Residency at the UK Embassy, THB 100 for the med cert, THB 105 for the bike licence and THB 205 for the car licence (last two are vague guesses as we paid the agency THB 2 500/person for taking car of things for us).  Both licences are valid for two years and on renewing next time you get a five year deal.

Nearly There

A new item before they let you loose with your licence is that you will have to watch a road safety video, which is about an hour long.

Yes, it is boring and much of what they suggest leaves you scratching your head as it is not how I would do things (we were taught to drive in the UK where standards are very demanding).  But stick with it, enjoy the brilliant sub titles (it's naturally in Thai) and once you have seen the back of that, a chap comes into the room with all your final paperwork.

Take it over to the other side of the building for your final document check and pose for your photo.  Quite wonderfully they will ask you to look at your picture for approval and if you don't like it, they will re-do.

Thereafter they will print your licences (two in our case) and you're free to leave.

Peripheral Perception Test

Put your nose to the cut out in the jig and your eyes will be aligned with a series of lights on either side, which will illuminate randomly in either red, green or yellow hues. Just call out the colour you see without moving your head or eyes (the lady sits opposite you to check for movement and will knack you if you do) and as soon as you reel off a few correct answers, you're done.

Except wifey who struggled and we couldn't work out why, until later, when she realised she had on her best glasses.  These have quite thick arms which were directly in her eye line and were blocking her sight.  She managed it fine in the end but bear this in mind when/if you wear glasses, take them off or wear thin frames.

Reflex Test

Put your foot on the accelerator pedal and watch for the red light to turn green.  As soon as it does, it will set off a vertical line of green LEDs and you have yo jump on the brake pedal before it reaches the top- or 75% of the way, it wasn't too clearly explained.

Either way, it's piece of piss and you'll suss it very easily.

Depth Perception

All the following test should be done twice, we only had to do them once, for some reason.

This exercise is an odd one as when you watch the video it is front facing yet when you do it for real it is side on (and much more "difficult").

You get a control box that moves a wooden dowel up and down and when you align it with a second, fixed dowel, you raise your hand.

That's it.

Into the Centre

Crossing the Sukhumvit road we were a very close distance from the driving centre (if you know the area, it's directly next to the Levi factory) and we walked there in around five minutes.

From the blazing heat we entered the air conditioned building and handed our paperwork to a chap who was making a mint operating the photocopier.  All relevant passport pages were then copied (including you TM Departure Card), along with our newly acquired medical certificate and proof of residency (this is because car and bike licences are not combined on one ID Card and are treated separately), plus your driving licence.  Every copied page then has to be signed by you.

Once you have done this, pick up an application form and after filling in your details, take it, along with your copied pile of paperwork to the window 35 (I think).

They will then process your application while you sit watching a video of the practical test you will shortly be going through.

First Things First

We used an agency recommended by Tommy and met the lady at the Bang Chak BTS station, so close we could have walked there.  She took us a short distance to a small doctor's surgery and we had our "medical".

This involved us standing in front of a nurse who filled in a form, took THB 100 in payment and then sent us on our way.  We were not checked, prodded or poked in anyway which was fine by us as we had cleared one hurdle- we were 100% fit, mentally and physically.

Cloak and Dagger

We can now reveal why we had to obtain proof of residency- both wifey and I applied for, and were successful, in getting our Thai driving licences.  Note the plural as we have one for driving a car and one for riding a bike.

Sit back and let us tell you how it was...

C & H

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Top Gun 2

Just why?

The original was perhaps a camp classic waaay back in 1986 and now we will have to put up with a wizened Cruise reprising his role some thirty years on.

Couple that with the Baywatch re-make (seriously, in the 21st century?) and Mama Mia 2 and no wonder Hollywood is in the shit.


The Big Bang was quieter than a Motorhead concert.

News Thump

Post image for John Terry retires from football to focus on adultery and racism
John Terry is tonight celebrating his retirement from football in order to focus on his true passions of adultery and racism.
“John has had a wonderful footballing career,” said the player’s agent, Simon Williams.
“He’s been part of a Chelsea side that has won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup, as well as European trophies.
“As for individual honours, he’s also won Chelsea Player of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year, UEFA Club Defender of the Year and was even named as a member of the 2006 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team.
“But now it’s time for him to hang up his boots and focus on what he does best: adultery and racism.
“They say that in retirement every man needs a hobby, and John’s lucky that he’s got two: shagging other women and abusing people of different races.
“He feels he simply hasn’t given either discipline the attention needed lately, so he’s going to get cracking right away with a night out in Dagenham, where both can be explored freely.
“The Dog and Snatch should take care of the adultery and there’s an Asian chap who runs the corner shop opposite, so John can get stuck into shouting at him after a couple of Smirnoff Ices.”
Local Dagenham woman Shirley Lavern said, “I’d be delighted to help John get back into the swing of adultery.
“I can even organise a guard of honour for when I pull him off after 26 minutes.”

Back to the Old

Can't be doing with the new look Skype "specially for Windows 10".  I have no idea how to access the home screen, miss my connection indicator (green cloud in the system tray) and so have found a version of the old school style.

It's working perfectly well and instantly showed we had no connection to the internet this morning.  A router reboot was required and all seems well again, including that reassuring green glow indicating things are as they should be.

Roger Moore

Passed away at a ripe old age of 89.  Quite possibly the best role of his life.  He may have been a spoof Bond but he was a class Saint and he will be missed.

So What Now?

The reason for proof of where we live?  You'll hopefully find out tomorrow.  ­čśÉ

Viz Bits

camper tent van shoes

A Marginal Peace Offering

At least the exchange rate wasn't taking the piss- the Embassy clearly stated the exchange rate would be THB 46 to the £- we are currently around THB 44.

Big whoop.

Excuse Me?

Our Proof of Residency form?  It was the scribbled bit of paper we had filled in with a big red stamp and an illegible signature.  They hadn't even bothered to type it up (hence my suggestion to put the form on-line to be able to type it) and had the cheek to charge us £50, per form.

We got stuffed a hundred quid for a ten second job.  How can that be justified?

The Foreign Office, cashing in on British citizens while abroad.

On British Soil

We headed off to the British Embassy yesterday morning for our 10:00 meeting having signed in and gone through security at the menacing looking gates.  We arrived in good time but had a half hour wait as only half the counters were being used and we had at least four people in front of us to be seen.

Once we got called up we had to supply all the paperwork needed; ID (passport) and proof of address (utility bill) and then we had to complete a couple of forms.

I have no idea why these are not available on-line- it would have saved time and my handwriting is fully shot to shit after years of ignoring pen and pencil, instead deferring to a keyboard.

My form looked like ninja ant had vomited all over the paper and the lady requested I do it again.  Not because of my poor penmanship, rather that the address had to bang on as it was laid out in our bank statement address.

After the re-run we were asked to pay (credit card) and then wait up to half an hour for our Proof of Residency, which arrived in good time.

All in all we were there about an hour with the only downside being the BBC news covering the Manchester bombing.  Utterly appalling and sickening.

New Toy

Francois has finally moved in with this Thai girlfriend, Khun On, and in the process has had to shed some of his stuff.  This means he has kindly donated his home made jerky drier for me to start making my own.

The box is quite simple yet ingeniously put together, comprising of a large storage box with lid, a fan attached to the side via a cut out hole and then sealant spread around the joint to make it air tight, a vent hole cut into the lid (with a small sieve popped in to keep any insects out) a light bulb, again attached via a cut out hole and finally a load of wire (coated coated hangers, I believe) which are laid along the top for the beef strips to hang from.

I had no idea how complex the process was in preparing the meat but having washed it in apple cider vinegar (to kill off bacteria) and then left the beef to marinate over night in my secret mix (ie left overs from F's original dry rub) I have just finished putting the strips in to dry.

The fan is on, I've left the bulb off for the moment as the room is quite warm already and I will leave it to do its thing at least until tomorrow to see what gives.

I am already drooling but suspect the first few goes will be disastrous and it will be several attempts before I get anything near to the quality and finish F used to achieve.

Can't, but will have to, wait.

C & H

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Well Said

Education... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
G M TrevelyanEnglish Social History (1942)
British historian (1876 - 1962)

Viz Bits

Shearer is Right

I am getting to like Shearer more and more on MotD and completely agree when he questioned the integrity of the planned Terry substitution on 26 minutes- to coincide with is shirt number.  He said:

"It was done with good intentions but I don't think anything should be done that could undermine the integrity of the game."

Then Sunderland boss David Moyes, now resigned,  said his side agreed to put the ball out to allow the substitution.

It's not just the integrity of the match that I question but also the effect it has on the bets laid on the game.  It has cost the bookmakers thousands of pounds with one punter sticking £100 at odds of 100 - 1.

It's a stretch, but isn't this a form of match fixing where the intent is to win money and not influence the result?  Either way, I didn't like it, particularly as I think Terry is a racist tosser and well over rated as a player.


Image result for Nicky Hayden

I'd heard that Nicky Hayden had recently been involved in a bike accident (pedal bike, not motorbike and a car) but gave it little thought as I figured he'd have a few bruises and be back racing in the WSBK soon enough.  He just raced in Italy just a couple of weeks ago.

This morning I read he's died from multiple traumatic injuries.  Dead, just like that.  I am truly shocked.

Admittedly not my favourite racer, he was still a top class rider and to lose your life outside the racing circuits makes it all seem that much sadder.

He was the last American to win the MotoGP title, when he did Rossi on the final day way back in 2006.  He stopped The Doctor from making it six wins in a row, which made him quite unpopular with some Valentino fans.  I quite liked that, I have to admit.

Tributes at the BBC

Match Report

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick, Hull City fans implored Marco Silva to stay on as their manager and the fluency of Tottenham Hotspur’s play offered tantalising hints of what might have been.
With Kane securing the Golden Boot by taking his Premier League goal tally to 29 this season and Dele Alli shining brightly in the hazy East Yorkshire sunshine, already relegated Hull were thoroughly outclassed by visitors who, until fairly recently, had entertained hopes of securing the title here.
It was not to be and they, eventually, had to settle for second place but next season Mauricio Pochettino’s side will surely be parking their tanks on Chelsea’s lawn.
On this evidence the real mystery is how on earth Spurs are currently bereft of silverware. “We’ve finished the way we want to finish – fantastically,” Pochettino said. “I’m very happy for Harry, it’s an amazing achievement and we’ve shown we’ve learnt from last season.
“We’ve improved, mentally we’re tougher. Our level is now higher and it’s a good platform. Now we must move on, try to improve the squad and challenge to win trophies next season.”
This time last year his team surrendered 5-1 to already relegated Newcastle United at St James’ Park, where the action was played out against a repetitive soundtrack of “Rafa Ben├ştez, we want you to stay”.
Twelve months on and 100 miles to the south, there was a distinct sense of deja vu in the humid air. “Marco Silva, we want you to stay,” chorused the KCom Stadium as the Portuguese coach who had so nearly rescued Hull from relegation paced his technical area.
As the scoreline rather cruelly emphasises, that was where the similarities ended. Unlike Ben├ştez, Silva seems unlikely to listen to those pleas, with the much admired young manager courted by many clubs including Watford and, possibly, Southampton. He is widely expected to announce his departure by Wednesday.
“It’s not the moment to talk now,” he said, before hinting that his heart and head are sending him conflicting messages. “Of course, I feel the supporters’ love,” he said. “It was an amazing moment for me but I need to analyse what’s best for me and the club. I have to analyse not only with my heart. I need to think. I have to decide what’s best. Now is not the moment to talk.”
He was a little less reticent about the performance. “I’m disappointed,” Silva said. “We didn’t play well. The only positive thing was our supporters, they deserved something really different. I feel they’re deserving something more. They’ve been amazing for the last few months. It was a difficult moment for me.”
Anxious to confirm his status as the top tier’s leading scorer for a second successive season, Kane swiftly scored his 27th goal of the campaign. When Eric Dier seized possession and Christian Eriksen’s pass confounded the new-look home back five, Kane found himself in space on the edge and drove a low, left-foot shot beyond David Marshall.
Goal No28 was not far behind. This time, Kane tapped in from close rangeafter connecting with Kieran Trippier’s volleyed cross at the conclusion of a move instigated by Dier’s high-calibre diagonally chipped pass.
With half-time approaching Kane turned creator, playing in Son Heung-min whose cut-back found Dele Alli. All that remained was for Alli to take a steadying touch before directing a shot past Marshallwho might have been beginning to regret Silva’s decision to offer him a rare start.
Recognising that his players could not cope with the sharpness, rapidity and sheer imagination of Ali’s movement, Hull’s manager had some thinking to do at the interval. His team re-emerged in a reconfigured, back four, guise with Kamil Grosicki having replaced Curtis Davies. It prompted a slight improvement, manifested by the conjuring of a handful of half chances.
They even scored a goal when Oumar Niasse’s shot was blocked and Sam Clucas’s deflected left-foot shot beat Hugo Lloris but any Humberside joy was quickly cancelled out when Victor Wanyama responded by heading home Eriksen’s free-kick. It was the Dane’s 14th assist of a stellar season.
Alli then cued Kane up for a treble, completed courtesy of another left-foot shot which squirmed under Marshall. “It will be a challenge for Harry to try to score 30 goals next season,” said Pochettino, who watched approvingly.
Ben Davies extended his own left boot by lashing the afternoon’s most eye-catching goal past Hull’s goalkeeper from just outside the area. “We want seven,” demanded the visiting fans and Toby Alderweireld duly obliged, turning in Trippier’s cross. “Are you watching, Arsenal,” roared those approving Spurs supporters as Silva headed straight down the tunnel.

2 Up, 3 Down

Staying with football, how close was our run in at Bielefeld?  A massive 6 - 0 win in the penultimate match and then a dodgy 1 - 1 on the last day saw Arminia avoid relegation by one spot/point.  Too fucking close and they had better improve before I go to see them in Germany in October.

Sat18/03/172.BArminia Bielefeld2 - 0KaiserslauternView eventsMore info
Sat01/04/172.BW├╝rzburger Kickers1 - 1Arminia BielefeldView eventsMore info
Tue04/04/172.BArminia Bielefeld2 - 1Fortuna D├╝sseldorfView eventsMore info
Fri07/04/172.BSandhausen1 - 3Arminia BielefeldView eventsMore info
Tue18/04/172.BArminia Bielefeld2 - 3StuttgartView eventsMore info
Sat22/04/172.BHeidenheim2 - 2Arminia BielefeldView eventsMore info
Sat29/04/172.BArminia Bielefeld1 - 1Greuther F├╝rthView eventsMore info
Sun07/05/172.BBochum1 - 1Arminia BielefeldView eventsMore info
Sun14/05/172.BArminia Bielefeld6 - 0Eintracht Brau…View eventsMore info
Sun21/05/172.BDynamo Dresden1 - 1Arminia BielefeldView eventsMore info


# TeamMPWDLFADPLast 5 matchesH2H
2Previous rank: 334191055132+1967DWWWD
3Previous rank: 23419965036+1466WLWWW
6Previous rank: 10341210124339+446WWLLD
7Previous rank: 834129133935+445WDWWW
8Previous rank: 634129133340-745LDLDW
10Previous rank: 11341012124136+542DWLLW
11Previous rank: 13341012123739-242WWDLL
12Previous rank: 734126164652-642LLWLD
13Previous rank: 12341011132933-441WLLWW
14Previous rank: 1534109153752-1539LWLWD
15Previous rank: 1734813135054-437DWDDD
16Previous rank: 1434106183747-1036LLWLL
17Previous rank: 1634713143241-934LLDLD