Wednesday, 30 January 2013

January 30th.

40 years ago today was the first performance of a band with a new name and the band all wearing full face make up. Fans had come to see Wicked Lester perform with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.......
The rest is KISStory!!

80 years ago today the very first radio episode of "The Lone Ranger" was broadcast on WXYZ radio in Detroit. The series, created by George Trendle and Fran Striker, was later made in to a TV show.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


It doesn’t take long to realize that Madeira is a fantastically beautiful island resort, blessed with sub tropical weather and serious natural beauty. Everywhere you look and take the full 360 degrees I guarantee you will be awestruck. Words like awesome. amazing and beautiful tend to be a little over used, especially on holiday, but Madeira proves that there are still places that you can use those words legitimately. It is truly awesome and magnificently photogenic, whatever you might want from it. Mountains, ocean, history, tourism, fishing, agriculture, colour, cruise destination and many etcs.

Ok so the island is incredibly hilly, no problem at all but remember you have been told! Do not come back and complain about it. It’s a volcanic rock in the middle of the ocean, it is thereby hilly. Before you say, Oh nobody would complain about that, check out any hotel review on Trip Advisor, almost all start with statements like ; Was at the top of a hill, Coach could not get right to the door, We are in our 60’s the place was not for us because we couldn’t get about.

Yes the average age of the tourists is over 50 and over 60 when there is a cruise ship in, therefore the overall behavior of the holidaymakers is a little different to a lot of other holiday destinations with far fewer kids and overall a better atmosphere.

€​ 2.15 for a 15 minute long, white knuckle ride, better than any ride at Blackpool or Alton Towers and plenty of different ones to choose from. Pay just slightly more and it can last up to 45 minutes. Tremendous value, unheard of anywhere else in the world. Take a local bus! Choose the longest, oldest looking bus with the youngest looking inexperienced looking driver!!

Have you ever been to a holiday destination where the MacDonalds doesn’t open until 10 am?

Remember before you are reminded, constantly, that a) football is incredibly important on this tiny island with 2 major teams in the Portugese League coming from Madeira and b) Cristiano Ronaldo was born on the island!

Most tourist attractions are so well worthwhile that this next bit doesn’t matter….. To almost all Portugese marketing and tourist brochures and tour guides, Madeira is home to the highest of this, the top of this, the biggest of that. No more I must say than other places but if these facts and figures are important to you and Wikipedia is not readily available knock the figure down four or five places for realism!

Funchal’s airport runway has been extended by 1000 metres but is still incredibly short. Cliffs, wind and ocean make the approach and landing one of the most difficult in Europe. That is purely for your information and may even encourage you to check out the window seat. Or it may not!

There is what seems a highly unlikely union between Madeira and Venezuela. After all they don't even speak the same language. There is also a connection with Christopher Columbus, apart from the life size replica of Santa Maria that goes dolphin watching as a 'tour boat'. The two facts however are linked. Columbus's first wife was Portugese and one of his exploratory Trans Atlantic trips was sponsored by the Portugese government and started from Madeira. This was his one and only trip that made landfall on the mainland of South America in what is now Venezuela and as such he became one of the first Europeans in South America. (Incidentally it was also the first non island landfall of his whole exploratory career!!)

The island has a whale museum, because whaling was very big business when it was allowed to be.

Visit the peasants/farmers market in Funchal to be absolutely amazed at the local produce. Fish, meat, fruit and vegetables that I know you won’t have seen the like of. Be curious at lunch time and come out well, if a little strangely fed!

Camara de Lobos is the most beautiful place you will ever get to see!! Winston Churchill was inspired by its beauty and displayed that inspiration in his paintings. There is a restaurant that is called Churchill’s Place but I suspect that the thing that makes this town so popular may not even be its beauty or its inspiring landscapes. This town is the historic and traditional birthplace of Poncha, the local ‘fire water’ made with local rum and honey. There are 7 places in the town centre that claim to sell the ‘real’ original. Hey try them all or at least a different way of preparing it in each one!!

Click anywhere here for a bonus album "The Critters of Madeira ~ Tongue in Cheek"

This is good!! (Thank you Hostelbookers)


Friday, 25 January 2013

A Poem for Burns Night.

To a Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!
I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!
I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell -
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lend yourself to others but give yourself to yourself.

Sunday, 6 January 2013


Ok so two programmes returned this week with the same word in the title. The word is 'ICE' and I have to say both are definite favourites of mine.
First is 'Dancing on Ice' which of all the celebrity/voting genre is really entertaining and challenging. The UK's ultimate reality TV show.
My only times on ice - at an ice rink - have ended up miserably and painfully! I have a great deal of admiration and respect for anybody who either through sport, competition or entertainment swap their shoes for skates. That includes my son who two winters on the run when he was just 18, performed, in character and on skates in "Mickey's Winter Wonderland" - but I digress. We are talking here egotistical alleged celebrities famous (ish) in their own right for all sorts of different things, acting, singing, boxing, gymnastics and many more, oh and then there's Pamela Anderson. However some of them have never been on the ice before and the majority can't/have never danced and non of them have ever danced on ice!! So with professional help and Torvill and Dean they are taught the basics of ice dance and week by week they overcome their fears and perform in front of millions on television and are judged by a panel of professional judges and the viewing public and I have to say the standard is so very high and the results spectacular.
So according to Christopher Dean, all Canadians can skate.... although most people don't even know that Pamela Anderson is in fact Canadian, right down to being born on Canada Day!!
Oh one other thing about programme one... Keith Chegwin is my twin he was born on the exact same day as me and geographically very very close but tonight it was said that he was 54, so if he can be 54 on national TV then I'm only 55 next week too!!
Incidentally these two were in the skate off week one and Pamela Anderson is no longer in it!!

The other program - this time spelt the American way - is Ice Road Truckers on its brand new series. This time actually back on ice in both Alaska and Manitoba. I'm not even ever sure why I like it. These guys and girls ride bigger egos than their trucks and than their celebrity counterparts in the other show but it is captivating in so many ways. Extreme in every way, aided by some terrific filming and computer generated accidents and things that could go wrong. I think the drivers on the Canadian roads have got it so tough but that promises to be a fantastic series.

I may of course return to these two programmes at some point in the future.

Friday, 4 January 2013

The law of the garbage truck.

One day, I hopped into a taxi and took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly, a black car, jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed the brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!
The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.
My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. I mean, was really friendly.
So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"
This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck'
He explained, "Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. NEVER take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on with the routine life." Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home or on the streets.
The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...... 'Love the people who treat you right.. Pray for the ones who don't.'

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Eating in the UK in the 50's


* Pasta had not been invented.
* Curry was an unknown entity.
* Olive oil was kept in the medicine cabinet
* Spices came from the Middle East where we believed that they were used for embalming
* Herbs were used to make rather dodgy medicine.
* A takeaway was a mathematical problem.
* A pizza was something to do with a leaning tower.
* Bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas time.
* The only vegetables known to us were spuds, peas, carrots and cabbage, anything else was regarded as being a bit suspicious.
* All crisps were plain; the only choice we had was whether to put the salt on or not.
* Condiments consisted of salt, pepper, vinegar and brown sauce if we were lucky.
* Soft drinks were called pop.
* Coke was something that we mixed with coal to make it last longer.
* A Chinese chippy was a foreign carpenter.
* Rice was a milk pudding, and never, ever part of our dinner.
* A Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining.
* A microwave was something out of a science fiction movie.
* Brown bread was something only poor people ate.
* Oil was for lubricating your bike not for cooking, fat was for cooking. read and jam was a treat.
* Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves, not bags.
* The tea cosy was the forerunner of all the energy saving devices that we hear so much about today.
* Tea had only one colour, black. Green tea was not British.
* Coffee was only drunk when we had no tea….. and then it was Camp, and came in a bottle.
* Cubed sugar was regarded as posh.
* Figs and dates appeared every Christmas, but no one ever ate them.
* Coconuts only appeared when the fair came to town.
* Salad cream was a dressing for salads, mayonnaise did not exist *Hors d'oeuvre was a spelling mistake.
* Soup was a main meal.
* The menu consisted of what we were given, and was set in stone.
* Only Heinz made beans, there were no others.
* Leftovers went in the dog, never in the bin.
* Special food for dogs and cats was unheard of.
* Sauce was either brown or red.
* Fish was only eaten on Fridays.
* Fish and chips was always wrapped in old newspapers, and definitely tasted better that way.
* Frozen food was called ice cream.
* Nothing ever went off in the fridge because we never had one.
* Ice cream only came in one flavour, vanilla.
* None of us had ever heard of yoghurt.
* Jelly and blancmange was strictly party food.
* Healthy food had to have the ability to stick to your ribs.
* Indian restaurants were only found in India .
* Cheese only came in a hard lump.
* A bun was a small cake that your Mum made in the oven.
* Eating out was called a picnic.
* Cooking outside was called camping.
* Eggs only came fried or boiled.
* Hot cross buns were only eaten at Easter time.
* Pancakes were only eaten on Shrove Tuesday – and on that day it was compulsory.
* Cornflakes had just arrived from America but it was obvious that they would never catch on.
* We bought milk and cream at the same time in the same bottle.
* Sugar enjoyed a good press in those days, and was regarded as being white gold.
* Prunes were purely medicinal.
* Surprisingly muesli was readily available in those days, it was called cattle feed.
* Turkeys were definitely seasonal.
* Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.
* We didn't eat Croissants in those days because we couldn't pronounce them, we couldn't spell them and we didn't know what they were.
* Garlic was used to ward off vampires, but never used to flavour bread.
* Water came out of the tap, if someone had suggested bottling it
and charging treble for it they would have become a laughing stock.
* Food hygiene was only about washing your hands before meals.
* Campylobacter, Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria, and Botulism were
all called "food poisoning."
However, the one thing that we never ever had on our table in the
fifties …. ELBOWS!!!