Saturday 30 May 2009

Lucifer Sam....

Earlier in the the year we had a problem with cats using the garden as a toilet , so decided to try the "Silent Roar" Lion Poo solution (see here) One cat in particular was a total git , any way I have some film of said offender now avoiding our garden in this bit of video accompanied by Pink Floyd's "Lucifer Sam" which you can get here.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Jan's Jansz

Just wandering past Oddbin's today and ran into my good friend Jan, just as I was about to purchase a couple of bottle's of the appropriately named Jansz for a party!! Co-incidence or what!!

Jan's on the right in the left hand photo and the gorgeous wine is described thus on the Oddbin's site:

"The bouquet shows lifted aromas of honeysuckle and citrus fruits from the Tasmanian Chardonnay, with nougat and roasted nuts derived from the lees ageing, while the Pinot Noir contributes delicate strawberry. The palate is well balanced with delicate fruit flavours, creaminess and fresh acid, leading to a dry, light finish." ... much like the lady herself.....

Last Record Shop Standing?

I'm currently half way through reading the excellent "Last Shop Standing" by Graham Jones (web site here)which for some reason isnt on Amazon , so hopefully you can get it from Ebay , though you can definitely get it from Folk Devils in Whitby, because that's where I bought it.

I mention this , because of a worrying development in Currys on the high street. The Hi-Fi section is shrinking alarmingly and I can see a day when you they wont be selling CD players , only iPod docks. I dont have and will never have, an iPod. Maybe the independent record shops should start stocking low end CD systems or pair up with audio shops.

Luckily Comet still stock a reasonable range but they're out ouf town.

This is on the day I purchased my most expensive ever CD (from Amazon he said shame facedly) , the very rare John Kongos , 18 track Repetoire version!!!

Wednesday 27 May 2009

No One Loves You When You're Down ... Especially A Mackem

Well Newcastle's season finished with a whimper , hardly able to muster a shot on target against an Aston Villa side who've lost their way since Christmas , but still managed to qualify for Europe. Newcastle suitably shot themselves in the foot via a horrendous deflection off the apparently aptly named Damien Duff.

We watched the match is Tynemouth and most fans were totally resigned to the capitulation they saw in front of them.

A couple of weeks ago a Newcastle fan said that he was annoyed that Preston had pipped Cardiff to the final play off place as he had been looking forward to an away match down there !! Be careful what you wish for now he has Cardiff and Swansea to look forward to.

As we went for the train we saw this Tyneside In Bloom display which sort of sums up Newcastle's season!!

Monday 25 May 2009

The Railway Hotel In Haydon Bridge ...

After a day at Vindolanda , we settled on the Rat at Anick for a post culture pubg , however due to one thing and another we ended up deciding of the the General Havelock at Haydon Bridge. Haydon Bridge has recently become the beneficiary (or otherwise) of an A69 by pass, so we drove in from the north and parked in picnic area by the River Tyne.

On approching the Havelock we found it had been booked for a private party , it seems we're destinhed never to darken it's door , last weeks visit curtailed by torrential rain. Requiring sustenance and beer we turned to the Railway Hotel more info can be found on their website here.

The lady outside was extremely welcoming , and though they basically served excellent pub food, she also said that she could put together a pulse stew concoction for a vegan member of our party , who was already set on chips and beans. The service , food and beer selection was five star along with excellent music ranging from Little Feat to 50's rock and roll. This palce is well worth stopping by if you come withing 20 miles of Haydon Bridge!!!

Left is the poem celebrating their breakfast!!

Sunday 17 May 2009

The New Star Trek Movie and Respect For Referees

The two have nothing to do with each other , but after Phil Dowd's brilliant Homer impersonation for Bimingham against Preston, the Norwegian FIFA stooge in the Chelsea vs Barcelona decider , Howard Webb's ridiculous decision to disallow a perfectly good goal for Newcastle against Fulham , how the hell can you have any respect for the sort of people who get things so wrong and are allowed to get away with it?? Are they planning to become MPs??

This video is fairly appropriate:

From the album Cammel Laird Social Club

Webb's screw up could send Newcastle down , though spare a thought for West Brom fans who've lived with that feeling for most of their time in the Premiership , documented brilliantly in Adrian Chiles' excellent book "We Don't Know What We're Doing"!! Incidentally there's a couple of pubs in Darlington , one's The Albion , next one is The Hope. Humm , it wasnt to be"!!

Anyway this Star Trek review may calm you down:

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Saturday 16 May 2009

Odd Items In Pubs (Robin Hood's Bay Again)

Many years ago the late and brilliant Douglas Adams and John Lloyd co authored a book called "The Deeper Meaning Of Liff:A Dictionary of Things There Aren't Any Words for Yet-But There Ought to Be" , an updating of their earlier "The Meaning Of Liff" , which takes place names and assigns them to items that there aren't any words for.

While have tea in the rather Excellent Dolphin in Robin Hood's Bay , I saw the item below on the wall opposite me. I completely forgot to ask the landlord what it was , but it is definitely an appliance that would have a place in the afformentioned volumes!!

Friday 15 May 2009

On The Way To The Longest Day

Sat on the train between Newcastle and Darlington this morning, thinking it's a bit dark , considering we're getting towards summer. After several sunny days , it looks like rain is here for the weekend , still saves having to water the garden.

We must have passed the Spring Equinox this year , and now looking forward to a summer of music festivals , though the awful Evolution Festival in Newcastle doesnt count as it's just about controling the crowd while extracting the maximum amount of cash from them , a bit like Glastonbury has become , just corporate extortion to watch the media's flavour of the moment!!

Then again you could always buy a Dukla Prague Away Kit!!!

Thursday 14 May 2009

A Little More "La Rosa"

A few people have asked where "La Rosa" is. It's on the north side of the river in Whitby on the cliff top , in the same block as the Royal Hotel (where apparently the condition of tenure is that you have taken a Shearing's Bus Tour!) . Anyway If you look from the south side of Whitby , La Rosa is the Yellow Building in the block:

And here's the front with the Lewis Carrol plaque, from here you can see the whalebone arch and look across the river to the ruins of the Abbey. Tres Gothic!!

And another of the sea view suites!!

Wednesday 13 May 2009

And A Day In Whitby..

Most of Saturday was spent in Whitby. After the shock on the non roads of Robin Hood's Bay , Whitby was fine. Parked on the West Cliff car park and walked down to the town centre past the carved Whale and the Whalebone Arch.

Whitby is built on slopes towards the, what I assume is, the river Esk , so requires a lot of step negotiation and reasonable fitness , but is well worth it , with it's Gothic ruined abbey , Dracula associations , and Jet (jewellery) and other esoteric shops.

Like Robin Hood's Bay , Whitby is a marvel of ingenuity in the way the houses, shops and pubs are shoe horned together.

Breakfast was at the White Horse and Griffin , lunch at The Magpie Cafe , both absolute five star for food and service.

We visited a few pubs, one of which "The Jolly Sailor" has one of the dodgiest signs I've seen. It's here:

Then there's lots of Chocolate shops such as Justins where the staff were extrememly relaxed despite some customers getting extremely irateover the fact they were having to wait for service. How can you be in a rush when buying chocolate on a Saturday from a shop in Whitby?

We finished with a visit to La Rosa , a superb and fun Victorian Hotel where we'll be going at the end of June. All the rooms are themed and uncluttered by such modernities as televisions and telephones, with features such as wooden baths, black bedding in the "Stoker" suite and steers skulls decorating the bedhead in the Saloon suite!.

Monday 11 May 2009

A Few Days In Robin Hood's Bay

Just back from a a short break in Robin Hood's Bay. This place is a triumph of inventiveness, and not a place to drive for the faint hearted. There's virtually nowhere to park , nowhere to turn round , some of the "streets" can be spanned with the outstretched arms.

I made the mistake of driving down to drop off our case and ended up with option of driving into the North Sea or manoeuvering the car on the slipway to get back to somewhere safe.

Our cottage was excellent and like almost all buildings in this village is over three storeys reached by a ladder like stairways. This is not a place for anyone who needs a walking aid or wheelchair, that's not plotically incorrect it's just the nature of the village.

Well worth a visit , but park your car on the Bank Top Car Park and walk the rest of the way. You'll be glad you you did given the potential for gridlock in the village itself.

Amazingly there's a plethora of shops , including Muir Head stores which do cash back. There's three excellent pubs , The Bay , The Dolphin and The Laurels , the best food being at the Dolphin , and the atmosphere in The Laurels and the best views in The Bay . Also theres an excellent fish and chip shop of a street near the slipway which is worth visiting.

The cottage we stayed in is Beare Cottage , details of which are here.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

This Panic Nation

Now its Swine 'flu' , and the government are going to issue leaflets about how to deal with this pandemic that's going to kill us all. Remember Bird 'flu' ? Didn't think so.

Google Streetview , well that's a burglars and paedophile's gold mine according to your Daily Mail and Talk Radio pundits.

Then there's the credit crunch and the collapse of the economy. Where's the money gone?? Well as it was credit it probably wasnt there in the first place, but most people are in a similar position to what they were in pre credit crunch.

If it's not disease or Google it's terrorists like Al Qaeda , and next week it'll be something else.

Society is a fragile thing built on trust . Usually those who abuse that trust are caught and punished in an appropriate manner.

It's all there to frighten us so the government can pass god knows what laws in "our best interest". The NHS , Police and Army do a good job of looking after us , it's what they're paid for , and despite the odd screw up it generally works.

The government seem to want us to live in a society where we're frightened of our own neighbour like great tracts of the USA. Canada and Switzerland and many other contries have a higher per capita gun ownership than the USA , but they dont hove the same carnage because people trust each other. This Michael Moore cartoon from "Bowling For Columbine" puts it in a nutshell: