Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

Search this blog

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stop the poisonous Brown haters

The problem is not Gordon Brown but the evil, selfish enemies within his own cabinet who constantly conspire and plot to undermine him.

David Milliband and co, despicable millipedes who slime around the press. They have lost sight of the fact that their party is at risk because they can't wait to oust the PM to further their own pathetic ambitions.

Apparently, the papers tell us today, no sooner had Mr Brown and his magnificent wife Sarah wowed the Labour Conference and the electorate, then his enemies were back in the bars whispering and spreading rumours. Rumours that she was about to be sacked prompted the vile Ruth Kelly, a self-righteous religious extremist and bigot of the worst kind, to promptly resign, selfishly ignoring the message that might send about her views on Mr Brown. Nice one Ruth; very Christian of you to do that purely to save face.

Milliband, always lurking in the background like some creepy horror film character - Renfield, perhaps from Frankinstein - completely blew his chance to convince anyone that he is a suitable candidate for PM with his pathetic speech.

The snivelling creep is forever telling us that he "isn't about to do a Heseltine," and no he won't because he doesn't have the guts. Instead he goes as far as he can to diminish the PM and to position himself. Let's hope we all see through it, even if the government's Brown haters don't.

My message to that lot: pull yourselves together and get a grip. Accept Brown's leadership and work for the good of the country. These are difficult times, not times for novices, and if you don't stop the in-fighting and bitching, the will party implode. None of you is half the man that Brown is: dignified, scholarly, moral and kind.

Here Come the Girls: Strictly Come Dancing preview

Saturday is the big one - the arrival of the women! From what I've seen on Claudia's Take Two show, they look a strong line-up dance-wise. The only one who looks like a potential Kate Garraway is Gillian Taylforth, who, in the group dance and in rehearsals this week, looks like she's being dragged around by the gallant Anton du Beke. Why does Anton always get the no-hopers? I don't think there's a lot of fairness to the way they "give out" the celebrities. To my mind, the newcomers should have had the no hopers.

Back to the girls. The top three look likely to be Rachel Stevens, Lisa Snowdon and Heather Small. I'm not sure about Christine Bleakley. I think she could be pretty average. I don't think she'll do well with the public because of the ("alleged") business of her stealing Adrian Chiles away from his wife.

Jodie Kidd is just too tall and looked awkward in the group dance, although Zoe Ball is tall and she turned out very well. Cherie Lunghi has had dance training but she's in her late 50s, maybe early 60s, so I think she'll make a good run based on her talent but she's not so likely to win the public vote. A bit similar to Jane Seymour in the US version, Dancing with the Stars.

Jessie Wallace looks as if she'll be fairly competent. She strikes me as another Letitia Dean: has potential but little confidence. She could do well with the fickle old public.

I noticed that Vincent was quoted saying that Rachel Stevens, his partner, was not quite as good as he had expected but "she hasn't had any dance training". I note they always try to get that in. Well, Rachel may not have had formal training but she did spend a lot of her time in S Club Seven dancing and probably worked with top choreographers and trainers, so let's not pretend she's a novice, eh, Vince?

Who are you tipping for the first exit, and to win?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Strictly Come Dancing preview; thanks Southern Electric; the mystery of Rebel's Diner

Yippee Strictly Come Dancing is back tonight and the next few weeks leading up to Christmas are suddenly not quite so dark, oppressive and loaded with the spectre of Christmas.

The first show is a bit of a surprise because we haven't had Claudia's preview show to look at "the form" (although the form on the left is not bad, eh girls?). It's the men tonight, which is less interesting to me than the women next week, but, hey, who cares? It's back!

Everyone I meet keeps saying they can't understand why John Sergeant is doing it, so I'm hoping he's going to prove very nimble and at least go a couple of rounds. I would love to see Gary Rhodes fall flat on his face, particularly after he disappeared from training for two weeks but thought it was ok because "he knows how to dance".

I think the swimmer Mark Foster, pictured, will be very good - and nice to see an older man flying the stud muffin flag!

Thanks Southern Electric

Dear Southern Electric,
It was very nice of you to send us two energy saving light bulbs, and so thoughtfully in two different wattages. You also sent us a leaflet about how we could save money if we switched to you. But I'm just a little confused. You sent the package to "The Occupier" at our address, and I thought we knew each other better than that. You and I have been corresponding and exchanging large sums of money for over 10 years. So next time you write, how about you send it to me by name, and instead of the leaflet, maybe a card saying "a little thank you for all the cash?"

The Mystery of Rebel's Diner
I always know I'm nearly home when I leave the M25 at junction 26 and see the Rebel's Diner snack van in the layby with several articulated lorries jostling for space. It's as vital a part of my journey as the Dentressangle, Wilkinson and Bailey's Equine Horse Feeds lorries. But the diner has been conspicuous by its absence for several weeks. At first I thought they were taking a well earned holiday, but now it's mid September and still no snack van. Rebel Rebel wherefore art thou?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why can't kids be competitive?

I heard in the news today that newspapers can no longer give the results of football matches played by children under the age of eight year old because it apparently makes them competitive.


This is the sort of thing that makes me splutter and come over all disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

And the edict has not come from some looney council but from the Football Association.
As a result of the crackdown, stunned managers of under-seven and under-eight teams in the Hunts Mini-Soccer League in Cambridgeshire have been banned from giving scores to the press. The league website lists the weekend scores for teams at older age groups, but simply states 'played' for the younger ages.

We really are going too far with all this nonsense about children competing against each other. My heart swelled with pride yesterday when I saw that the humble UK came second in the medals table at the Paralympics. Second, ahead of the US and Russia. Amazing. But with ridiculous mandates like the FA's, we might as well not bother. Do they have some sort of deathwish as far as footballing success goes? Are they committed to us never being in the World Cup again? Would seem like it, if they don't want youngsters to learn about the thrill and challenges of competing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Back from my sojourn

The less than fragrant caravan

I've been spending a few days in Torbay with my mother, Giz.

The promised heatwave only partially materialised: Sunday was beautifully hot, a perfect day, and I regret not having a dip in the sea even though I carried my "bathing togs" around all day.

We stayed in a caravan at Beverley Park to reprise a holiday there over 30 years ago. The wagon was new this season (allegedly) but although it delivered on space (three bedrooms and two bathrooms) it was a little smelly, particularly the smaller bathroom. Yeurghhhh!

Why I wanted to stay in a caravan has baffled everyone, but I like the capsule nature of the caravan, this mini house, and I'm always staying in hotels. But next time, to be sure, it will be a hotel.

In its favour the caravan park was very peaceful: you would have thought it empty if the car parks hadn't been full. And the shower was impressively powerful.

Three main higlights of the trip. On Friday night we saw Jane McDonald. The Princess Theatre was full and I was probably the youngest there, to give you an idea of demographics. We enjoyed the show: she had a seven piece band, three backing singers and a magnificent voice, better than I remembered. But we did get a bit weary of the relentless plugging of her new album and being urged by Lady Jane to stand for her encore. I don't mind giving a standing ovation if it's of my own volition, but I resent being told to do it. So I stayed seated.

The next highlight was Sunday lunch at the Corbyn Head Hotel in Torquay. This is like stepping back into yesteryear. Three course lunch: dining room filled to capacity with smart old ladies, and smiling staff who seemed to be happy in their work. All that was needed was a dessert trolley and maybe a malodorous cheese board to complete the journey to the 70s.

Final highlight was the Sunday weather and a perfect stroll around the prom at Goodrington with the steam train chugging by and a large clotted cream cornet.

After all the gastronomic delights, suffice to say I am "now back on Nutracheck"although the website appears to be down and I am anxious lest they have done a Lehman on us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Get ready for the heatwave!

The Indian summer will hit us on Saturday, folks, so get the picnic hampers ready for one last outing!

I've been confident the weather will turn good for the last few months, ever since I booked a caravan holiday in Torquay for me and my mum back in March.

Spookily we're going to Beverley Park, where we last stayed in 1975 and my dad had his swimming trunks stolen from the washing line.

It's a sobering thought to think of 30+ years elapsing. It goes by so quickly.

As a child I used to faithfully document every minute of our holidays: what we ate and when, what we did and which shows we saw.

Here'a are some extracts from the book I put together on Bournemouth, which was our 1974 holiday and the first time we'd ever stayed in a hotel as a family.

Some highlights:
- The intrepid party set off at 8.45. The journey (from Plymouth) took six and three quarter hours and included pushing the car which broke down.
- Once in Bournemouth, the party couldn't find the hotel and there was half an hour of arguing.
- the carpet in my bedroom, shared with my brother, was pink and mauve and the wallpaper green. There were pink candlewick bedspreads and the beds were "a bit hard."
Sunday: went on yellow open top bus around Bournemouth, Went on the beach but it rained. Went to see the Three Musketeers at the Gaumont.
Monday: went shopping. Dad went to watch the cricket. Mum took us to Tuckton pleasure gardens. Had a shandy and crisps outside a pub. In the evening went to the Mike Yarwood show.

He did impressions of Harold Wilson, Twiggy (he held up a microphone), Steptoe & Son, Brian Clough, Max Bygraves and Ken Dodd.
Tuesday: went to Poole and Compton Acres. On the way back the bus broke down outside Marks & Spencer so we went in and Mum liked a trouser suit but couldn't buy it because her cheque book was at the hotel. So we went back to get it, and she bought me a denim skirt and blue jumper too.
Wednesday: went to Corfe Castle and the model village. Then went to see the tanks at Bovington. Didn't like that very much. In the evening we saw "Move over Mrs Markham" at the Pier Theatre. It was rubbish.
Thursday: listened to the band at Pine Walk in the park. Had lunch in BHS. I went to the shell house on my own and came back and suffered the Lifeguards again.

Friday: went to the beach. I was the only one in the sea. Had hot dogs for lunch. Went to the Lulu show (sadly without David Bowie, although here they are pictured in 1974).

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Death knell for another pier

Just weeks after the historic pier at Weston-super-Mare was destroyed by fire, we lose another one, Fleetwood Pier in Lancashire.
I am a great admirer of the historic pleasure piers. It's very sad how some of them have been allowed to fall into disrepair and virtually left to rot, while others have been turned into nothing more than an amusement arcade.
I was lucky enough to be one of the last visitors to have a walk down Brighton's west pier a few years ago. It was closed except to organised groups, and in a poor state of repair. This was Britain's only grade 1 listed pier. Sadly it was destroyed by fire amid rumours and claims of rivalry and competitiveness with Brighton's other pier, the lairy and commercialised pier formerly known as the Palace Pier, and now known as "Brighton Pier".
Why oh why can't lottery funding be extended to preserve any of the few remaining piers which need to be restored and reinstated?
The reason they are so important is linked to our fairly recent history when thousands of day trippers would swarm down the piers on their rare days off from work (the original bank holidays), and when the wealthy would parade up and down in their finery.
Along with the marvellous art deco pools, these are a hark back to a different time and equally important as some of the stately homes and other listed buildings.
To read about the old west pier in Brighton check out this site
If you want to learn more about the historic piers join the National Piers Society.
Blog Design Created by pipdig