Archive for January, 2010


Sunday, January 31st, 2010

M’lovely Purple Fred – whom I love very much – has insisted I tell you the following…

PF has two cats, and fine handsome specimens of the species they are too. The boy cat – Furry Fred – perhaps doesn’t have as many IQ points as the average moggy, but he’s a fine strong handsome chap, and Furry Freda is pretty and regal. In spite of them both having had the appropriate operation, F.Fred often seems to forget this fact and makes inappropriate approaches to F.Freda…which not surprisingly, she takes objection to.

So yesterday afternoon, I decided it was time F.Fred had his education improved: I sat him down and had a good old man-to-man with him. “Now listen,” I told him, “this leaping out on her when she’s not expecting it isn’t the way forward. You need to be gentle, show her that you’ve got a lovable side. Show an interest in the things that interest her: smarten yourself up a bit, show her that you’ve gone to some trouble for her”.

So far so good…and I’ll admit I may have gone slightly over the top as I warmed to my theme.
“Buy her some flowers…maybe take her to the theatre, or the opera. Find out what she likes to do, and offer to do it with her”.

At this point PF…who’d been listening with interest…couldn’t stand any more. “Paul…he’s a CAT!”

So if you see a black cat in a bow tie, and a pretty tortie in an evening dress, queueing for tickets to “Cats”, say hello…it’ll be the two furry Freds.


Thursday, January 28th, 2010

It’s been a busy couple of days…

Since I last blogged, I’ve visited the Midlands, where I visited our chums Jenny and Chris and their cats – including the fine and gentlemanly Harry; we had a carvery meal out and came joint first in a pub quiz. All of which DIDN’T leave me time to fix Jenny’s blogging problems, so the Sybil Baggins blog is still off air (thanks to those of you who enquired…Jenny’s fine, it’s just the technology that’s giving issues).

Jenny’s promised to email me a blog entry soon so I can post it on her blog for her. There may even be Egypt pictures.

I’ve also had the legs on my new dinner suit shortened, and mastered the art of hand-tying a bow tie. On which subject – my mentions of dinner suit buying inspired a few comments! Lord Hutton asked:
“A DJ? What’s wrong with a charity shop?”
Charity shops are fine for buying pre-loved items and supporting charities, but for a posh evening out a dinner suit fits much better.
Marie asked:
“Will you be modeling it at conference”
Oh yes!
And the excellent Sally-J remarked…
“Just remember, if all else fails you can get the clip on variety… PF need never know! ;)
Oh yes she would!


Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Well, I did it chums…I let m’darling Purple Fred (whom I love very much) take me to Marks ‘n Sparks and talk me through buying a dinner suit!

I even went through the “parading outside the changing rooms for the amusement of the assembled wives and girlfriends” routine, although on this occasion it worked in my favour. “This jacket or that one?”, PF asked the lady who was waiting for a man trying on trousers. “That one,” she said, indicating the one I liked all along!

I’m now checking posh clothes web sites and practising in front of a mirror…this tying a bow tie business isn’t as simple as you might think.


Monday, January 25th, 2010

Flippin ‘eck chums…have you seen the draw for the next round of the FA Cup? Southampton v Portsmouth at the Gasworks Ground.

It reminds me a bit of my favourite football joke of the seventies…“Last Saturday, fighting on the terraces was interrupted for ninety minutes when twenty-two men invaded the pitch and played football”.

I hope I’m wrong…but just in case, I shan’t be planning to be anywhere in the town centre that day.

Family Matters

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

In a week already brimming with excitement, yesterday was exciting too!

M’lovely Purple Fred – whom I love very much – and I went to Teddington studios to see a recording of hit BBC comedy My Family. Only four of the cast were actually there – the actor who plays Kenzo has to work restricted hours because of his youngness, so all the scenes with him in had been pre-recorded. But we still got Ben and Susan, Mike and Roger, and we had an entertaining time. And I have to say we were better looked after than audiences at the Radio Theatre get, although the Radio Theatre has much more comfortable seats :-)

The only less-than-brilliant bit of the experience was eating in the pub next to the studios – if you’re planning on eating there any time in the next month I’d recommend ordering now. Even then, once the food came it was pretty good, and the pub don’t seem to mind their car park being clogged by TV audiences.

I think that’s something we might do again.

Too Much Excitement

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

I titled yesterday’s entry “Exciting” – and then didn’t really tell you anything that explained why I was excited. Sorry about that. And sorry Lois, but if I told you, I’d have to chew my own leg off – which on the face of it is a fine way to lose weight, but then consuming that much prime beefcake would mean I’d immediately put it back on again – so I won’t, if it’s all right with you.

What I can tell you is that it’s so exciting that I had trouble getting to sleep last night. Every time I was about to drop off, I was yanked back to consciousness by, among other things, the prospect of buying a dinner suit (the one in the picture is rented). I was looking forward to my hour’s kip on the train.

So it was a bit of a shame that as I arrived at the station – with 15 minutes in hand – the platform staff were shouting “Anyone for London Waterloo, get on this one” – “this one” being the 6:15 CrossCountry service to Manchester Piccadilly. Apparently our train had been cancelled because of emergency engineering works, so we all had to pile on this one and change at Basingstoke. So no kip – and no seat for part of the trip :-(

Has anyone tried those Red Bull shots? I was struck firstly by how much the container looks like the doctor’s sample pots – and then by the similar appearance of the contents. It didn’t taste too bad, though.


Monday, January 18th, 2010

I can’t think why I didn’t show you this picture before.


Pretty darned dapper chap, aren’t I? It was taken when PF and I went for a murder mystery weekend back in November, which you’ll remember I told you about at the time.

The reason I mention it now is that last week, we met again some of the people we met then, and had got on with quite well. And it looks like we’ll be seeing more of them in the future…which is even more exciting than it might first appear!

Ice and Fire

Friday, January 15th, 2010

I had another dodgy journey to work the other day.

It had been snowing afresh, so the walk to the station was slippery, and when I got there the 6:15 was waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Apparently it was waiting for its guard, who came in on the 6:30, which was my train to London.

We took off and sped through the falling snow – I can’t tell you much more than that because I was asleep. I woke up to find the train stopped and the guard speaking on the PA.

“We’re sorry about the delay to this service: The line is blocked by a train on fire at West Byfleet and nothing’s moving. I’ll let you know when I know any more.”

We were stuck there for about forty five minutes before first, we saw a train heading south – so we knew the line was at least partly clear – and then we shuddered forward. We stopped after a mile or so, and this time were told “Sorry about the ongoing delay, which is caused by adverse weather conditions”. Eh? What happened to the fire? When we went through West Byfleet the service/wreck recovery train was there, so something had been going on, but nothing as exciting as a pile of smoking ashes or anything.

We made it to Waterloo only an hour and a half late, but the funniest was yet to come. M’chum Dave decided to leave work early, as he’d been warned that the snow was knee deep around his home town and getting deeper. He arrived at Waterloo to find the consequences of the morning’s issues were still rife. Or as he described it in his text…

“Every platform has a train ready to leave. None of them has a crew. The crews are all on trains waiting to get into Waterloo…but they can’t get in because the platforms are full…”

A phrase concerning parties in breweries springs to mind…


Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I’ve had a sore throat most of this week – which while being annoying, has given me the chance to try the new “Strepsils Cool” throat sweet.

They certainly clear a sore throat: they also unblock your nose, and have the added benefit that if you breathe on the road after sucking one, you de-ice five yards of tarmac – which if the current weather continues could become a useful social skill.

They also come in a sturdy waterproof plastic tube, which I can envisage being pressed into service for geocaching purposes…

Hedging your Bets

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I spotted this in London t’other day…


Apart from it being a shame to hide perfectly good scaffolding, I’d say they’re on to a pretty safe thing there: There must have been something that happened in 1966 that doesn’t happen this year, so they can just say that was what they were referring to…

Or have I missed the point?


Monday, January 11th, 2010

I’m not sure how long this chap had been waiting on Parkway station when I saw him last week…but he was gone this morning.


I wish I’d had the camera handy when PF and I were crossing the New Forest on Saturday…we saw some real quality snowmen there, including at one point a family of four, complete with traditional carrot noses. Oh, and we found a geocache in the snow as well

Christmas Presence

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

No, that isn’t a mis-spelling – it’s meant to be a pun.

Not a very good one, as today’s offering is indeed about Chrimbo pressies. Now I know Christmas isn’t (mainly) about pressies, or grub, or booze…I’m a Christian, of course I know that…but it has to be said I did especially well for pressies this year. Among the highlights were…

From M’lovely Purple Fred (whom I love very much), A murder mystery dinner party kit – all you need to put on your own murder mystery dinner party, apart from food, a venue, and six friends! Luckily we can resource those added items between us, so an evening of fun in the near future seems assured!

(PF and I nearly bought each other the same DVD – luckily the Michael McIntyre one was out of stock where I shopped, so we’ve got a Michael and a Rhod Gilbert between us, instead of two Michaels!).

From My Luvvly Mum, a totally lush dressing gown – it’s so thick and velevety and lush I feel like Noel Coward in the original Italian Job. Or in anything else he was in, really.

From the fabby Rockin’ Rob and his lovely Sally-J, a pillow with a built-in speaker. Designed so you can listen to music late at night without stressing your partner, I’ve combined it with an old cordless headphone set (to avoid trailing cables) for in-bed TV viewing without keeping awake the person whose bed is on t’other side of the wall!

…and loads of other stuff, like a good range of books and a book token, a head massager for those stressful times, more chocolate and alcohol than is really good for me, and a quantity of dosh that has already translated into a new walking pole (to replace the one I lost in the Lake District) and a new flight case for my gadgets :-) .

Oh, and PF booked our holiday today. Looks good…shame it’s six months away really!

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

One of the headlines in someone else’s Daily Wail this morning referred to “Love Rat Tiger Woods” – which reminded me of something I meant to blog about before.

What’s the big deal with Tiger Woods? OK, he has – to put it mildly – put himself about a bit. But while that’s sad news for his family – and I don’t underestimate how sad – I don’t see why the press are so facinated. He’s not an MP or a church leader – where some sort of moral rectitude might be reasonably expected – he’s just a bloke who’s very very good at his job. If he was a really good accountant, or lorry driver, or TV repairman, no-one would care what he’s been up to, but because his job is something that people like to watch, his private life – and his family’s woes – become public property.

I feel sorry for the family, but their woes are increased, not decreased, by the publicity. Leave them alone to sort it out. And fill the papers with real news.


Monday, January 4th, 2010

According to several news sources, Dubai has opened the world’s tallest building. The Evening Standard had a picture of the view from the top, but the online edition doesn’t – however, there’s a rather stunning video of the opening fireworks on the BBC News Website.

Leaving aside the whole thing about building such a pointlessly grandiose phallic symbol in the middle of a recession that’s nearly driven Dubai bust, it reminded me a bit of a nightmare I get from time to time: I’m on the top floor of a massively high hotel, the lifts don’t work and the only way down is an exposed set of dodgy stairs, with glass walls and views to ground level in all directions. And I hate heights (that’s not in the dream, it’s real!).

And the view from the top looked just like that. Why on earth would anyone want to stay up there?

Happy New Year

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

I’ve been away…I spent new year at the ancestral home of the Purple Fred family, drinking fine sherry and eating fine food of all kinds. We saw an excellent pantomime – the first panto I’ve ever seen with a laser show – and of course found some good quality caches. And today we’ve been hanging curtains and clearing drains, back at the home of the Purple Fred.

I’ll try to be better at regular blogging in 2010…happy New Year!