Archive for January, 2011
January 25, 2011
There are quite a few things about society nowadays that really piss me off.
One of them is the drivers who constantly change lanes without warning on roundabouts, filter lanes and three lane roads, like motorways, without indicating their intentions. Another one is the drivers who overtake at speed on narrow roads, even on the cross-hatching marks. Worse still are the ones who undertake on the left; don’t they realise that they are in the other drivers “blind spot” and could cause an accident if the first driver pulls over to the left suddenly?
The one thing that really gets my goat are the people on commercial websites who don’t answer your emails when you make enquiries or ask for help on their products.
Several times just lately I have clicked on the “Contact Us” tab and filled in the form to ask for further information about something on their site that I may be interested in buying. It’s very rare that I get an answer. When they don’t reply I think “Sod it, I wont visit their site again” because it seems that they can’t be that eager to sell me anything. Some sites don’t even have a way of contacting them, no email address, no location address or phone number!
This is in complete contrast to all the junk mail I get from people wanting to sell me things I don’t want or need!
I’m off to the pub. . .
January 17, 2011
Filed Under (Cookery) by Keith on 17-01-2011
The Din-din club, of which I am a member, is an exclusive club started in 1990 by a local chef for his close friends, eight of us in all.
The idea was for one member to create a special dinner at his home for the other seven. Notice I said “his” friends, because women were barred on the grounds that they could cook better than men (Oh yeah? I would contest that!) That meant no wives, girlfriends or whatever. The female of the species had to go out or make themselves scarce on those nights and were forbidden to help their partners in any way to prepare a culinary delight for the din-din friends.
As I said there were eight of us originally and the din-din nights took place once a month, with everybody taking their turn in being the host at their home, and trying to outdo the previous efforts by the others.
The evening would then degenerate in a beer drinking session after the meal, as you do, and we played cards and told dirty jokes etc until the wee small hours when we would watch the sun come up and then stagger homeward.
Sadly, like all good things it’s coming to an end. Over the years we have lost five members; the chef who is now manages a posh restaurant somewhere in Canada. Two have gone to the big cafe in the sky and one is in prison and another died only last month just before it was his turn to cook the meal. Some people will do anything to get out of an obligation!
This week, as you have probably guessed from the pictures, it was my turn so I thought I would give the other two a taste of France. When I mentioned it a few days ago there were cries of “I’m not eating snails or frogs legs!” so I reassured them it would be ‘proper food’.
As you can see from my tastefully laid out table above that there are only three of us left, so I thought I would just do a simple quick meal so that we could get on with the serious drinking part of the evening asap.
First, a Salade Niçoise, without the anchovies (nasty things). I prefer tuna from the tin, fresh tuna is a bit too expensive. There are hundreds of different recipes for this type of salad depending on what part of France you are in. I always make it the way I was shown in the Dordorgne.
Prepare a bed of lettuce on a large platter and in the middle you put a mixture of finely chopped onion, celery, cucumber and red peppers. On top of that you put the tuna and cover it with walnuts and lay black olives in a circle around it.
Slice up some hard boiled eggs and tomatoes and lay them around the edge of the platter, alternating with spring onions. Drizzle a little french dressing over the lot and place a sprig of basil in the middle. Cover with cling film and leave it to marinate for a few hours.
The smaller bowl is just the stuff left over from the main salad, but I don’t put any dressing on that just in case one of my finicky friends doesn’t like sloppy salad!
The main part of the meal is a ‘Galette Bretonnes au Sarrasin’ (Google it), which is in fact a savoury pancake cooked on a large griddle. The pancake is made with buckwheat flour and usually filled with egg, which is cooked on the galette, and chopped ham, topped with cheese of your choice. The ones I made tonight were filled with fried bacon, fried tomatoes and fried onions with a chunk of gammon, all topped off with a fried egg. A touch of a tradional ‘Brit’ breakfast in a French pancake. Yummy!
I forgot to take a picture of the galettes, and they were all eaten before I remembered. So I had to dig around in the archives to find when I last made a similar one for myself. It’s not in the recipe book, it’s my favourite version that I make at least once a week for breakfast. Delicious when accompanied with a load of fresh watercress.
January 15, 2011
Filed Under (Depressing) by Keith on 15-01-2011
I was going to write an article about the apathy of the British people today, but on reflection I just couldn’t be bothered.
J’allais écrire un article sur l’apathie du peuple britannique aujourd’hui, mais à la réflexion je ne pouvais pas être dérangé.
January 14, 2011
Recently I went for a drive down memory lane. Well, more like “memory slums” to where we lived during the latter part of the war. This is where my mother, father and I were moved to in 1944 because our own home had been damaged by bombs and was considered unsafe.
The house was in worse state than the bomb-damaged one we had left. There were six terraced houses with and entry separating them. Every two houses had a small yard with one outside toilet which we had to share. The houses had gas lighting, there was no electricity, and the water supply was one cold water tap in the kitchen. The bathroom was a tin bath in front of the living room fire, filled with hot water from the copper in the outhouse. Believe it or not, but these houses are still occupied in 2011! I should imagine that they have been modernised and now have an inside toilet and bathroom, but externally they don’t look much different.
Now that you get the picture I will tell you of my near-death experience while living in this dirty, dank unheated house. I was 7 years old, but I still remember the following incident in great detail to this very day.
Practically every night we suffered air raids with the constant noise of shell fire, bombs bursting nearby and bits of red-hot shrapnel flying about. One night when it was relatively quiet we had one German plane over-fly our street at low altitude. My dad said not to worry; he was probably taking photos of the damage to brag about in the officer’s mess back in Germany.
Shortly after this as I was preparing to go to bed I had the urge to go for a number two (to be polite), so I lit the candle to go to the outside toilet and groped my way across the yard and into the lavatory. As I sat there waiting for my bowels to empty I kicked something metallic on the floor. I lowered the candle and saw that it was something that looked like a fan blade. I just thought it was something dad or the neighbours had left there and paid it no more attention.
At last I managed to do my business, but instead of the usual plop-plop into the water the sound was more like splat-splat. I sat there for a while and glancing up I started to count the stars in the sky. Hang on! I was indoors and I could see the stars? I then realised that some of the slates and wood work had gone, and there was a bloody great hole in the roof. Looking down at the floor again I could see bits of wood and broken slates.
I jumped off the toilet and in the dim light of the candle I could see the bottom bit (the dangerous bit!) of a butterfly bomb covered in poo stuck in the bowl! Panic! They had told us about anti-personnel bombs at school and shown us pictures of various types so I knew that I wouldn’t have very long to live if I stayed in the lavatory. Pulling up my trousers as I ran back to the house, I burst into the kitchen and shouted
“But there is! I just poo’ed on it!”
“I won’t tell you again, GET TO BED! One of these days you will get yourself into trouble telling whoppers like that”. SMACK! “Ouch, that hurt!” I replied, “But it’s true, go and look!”. So he did.
That’s when the ‘shit hit the fan’ (pun intended). He came back into the house and said to mum, “Quick! Get out and go to the air-raid shelter NOW, and shout loudly to everybody that there’s and unexploded bomb at number 37 and I’ll go the other way and do the same until I get to the phone box”.
He phoned to police who in turn called out the army bomb disposal team. When they came they had to un-jam a live poo-covered bomb and carry it to the local recreation ground when they exploded it with an extra charge.
We learned afterwards that it was a dud. It was full of sand! My dear old dad said that they, the Germans, used to drop dummies along with the live ones in order to cause panic and confusion. I mean, explosives are expensive, and Adolf couldn’t afford a lot because he was losing the war at that point. He certainly caused panic in our street that night with 1 kilo of german sand!
The army officer told me afterwards that it was impossible to tell the dummies from the real ones, and the only way was to hit them hard with a spade. If it didn’t go off, it was a dummy, but if it did. . .well, you would need to buy a new spade at the very least! Being a little lad I believed what he said!
January 10, 2011
First let us establish what a ‘hustings’ is. A husting (called a ‘stump’ in the United States) refers to a physical platform from which the candidates present their views to the public before a parliamentary or other election.
Nowadays a husting, although not recognised in law, is the democratic right of all the legal candidates to face the public to explain the policies and intentions of their respective parties.
The BNP, as much as any other political party in the UK, has the right to make its voice heard, to be given a fair hearing, and to present its views to the people on an equal footing with any other party. That is democracy.
It does not matter if people agree or disagree with those views, democracy is not about a government or legal apparatus deciding which views are allowed to be heard, it is about the people being allowed to make up their own minds.
I am not condoning all what the BNP stand for, but as Voltaire said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. I disapprove of other political parties as well, but what happened to the BNP candidate yesterday shows that this country is on the downward slippery slope to a dictatorship.
Once the state begins to subvert the democratic process by barring views that do not fit in with their agenda, it ceases to be a democracy, it becomes an authoritarian democracy, a state where the people are free to decide from among only those opinions which the state apparatus considers acceptable. Today is a sad day for Britain, this is not the state or political system that our forefathers fought for and died for, this is everything that they fought against, this is totalitarianism in all but name.
Make no mistake about it, the moment that the state begins to use such apparatus to interfere with the electoral process then it ceases to be a democracy. Whether you love or loathe the BNP, state attempts to disbar them from the democratic process represent a direct attack on the freedoms of every person in this country, and the death knell for democracy in Britain.
Watch the following video to the end before the state have it removed, and think that this incident has now sent a precedence, and in the future the big parties will be turning their attention to all the other small parties who are a thorn in their side and ousting them from the hustings.
We, the British people, have had our democratic system, which was once the envy of the world, subverted and betrayed. It is no more, the BNP are but the first victims of this new political totalitarianism, our country is being led down a dangerous road that ends in a nightmare for all of us.
January 04, 2011
So anyway I thought I would put my pennyworth in for a nomination. I know I stand about as much chance as pushing shit uphill with a rubber fork, but what the hell!
I think the Bloggie page itself is worth an award just for the sheer over-the-top graphics; all totally unnecessary of course. It’s just the designers way of showing off how good they are at drawing things. Click the picture and go take a look-see. Oh, and while you’re there bung in a nomination for my page somewhere. In the ‘Best British Blog’ if you can find it.
Oh dear, I think I just blew it in the last paragraph. . .
January 02, 2011
Filed Under (Medical) by Keith on 02-01-2011
This appeared in our local newspaper this week, 30 December 2010.
Sorry, Hinckley Times, but you are wrong. Well at least as far as our local doctors practice is concerned.
A lady friend of mine went along to the surgery last Friday and asked the receptionist if she could have the necessary anti-flu jab because she is 72, has a heart problem and lives alone. She was told in no uncertain terms that because she had missed the mass vaccinations of the local “oldies” last October they had used up all their allocation of vaccine. She was also told there had been notices in the waiting room prior to the event asking people who were vulnerable to put their name on the list.
Now Maud, (that’s not her real name), rarely visits the doctors because she claims that the ones she sees have a bad attitude towards the elderly, and to her in particular! She is also short sighted and claims that she never saw the notices, and no-one ever told her about the flu vaccinations.
The receptionist told her that they were trying to get extra doses but couldn’t say when, or if at all, they would be become available. She then put Mauds name onto what looked like a very long waiting list.
The point of this post is that the same thing happened to Maud this time last year, but the reason then that she missed the jab-days was because she was on a holiday cruise around the Med (sorry, I can’t spell ‘Mediterranean’). Her name was put on a list and she never heard any more about until last April when she phoned the surgery to enquire whether they had received extra supplies. She was told that no more vaccine was available, so she didn’t get her Swine Flu jab last year, and I’m willing to bet she will get the same answer this year.
I think it was about last May when I read on the news on t’Internet that over 100,000 doses of the anti-flu vaccine had been destroyed because they were not wanted. Now, who is kidding who? Those doses must have cost quite a lot, and they are paid for by the taxpayer via the ‘Ministry of Certain Things’, and then destroyed because they said that they would not be viable for the following year! Haven’t they got deep-freeze facilities?
The directors of the pharmaceutical companies that made them must be laughing all the way to the bank!