Sunday, January 28, 2007

Two little birdies sitting in a tree

I'd been saving a little anecdote from a local news programme that I thought would amuse people at the Mongfest, but I completely forgot about it then, so you lucky people can have it now. The feature was about a primary school where they'd set up a bird feeding station outside the classroom window so the children could learn about our wild birds (it must have been a slow news day) and after the teacher had explained all about it some of the children were asked what birds they'd seen. You'll need to imagine their broad Black Country accents:

Child 1: "Oi sor a blackbird in a tree"
Child 2: "Oi sor a blackbird"
Child 3: "Woodpeckers av got very long noses"
Child 4: "Oi sor a black one"
Child 5: "Oi sor a penguin"

Well, we did have a cold snap recently ...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hail! Hail! we're full of cheer

The annual MongMeet was a jolly affair, with some good friends there and some good friends missing. 28 people turned up, with at least another 20 absent for various reasons. As always I came away thinking how lucky we were to come across an internet gang made up of not entirely insane maniacs plotting havoc and destruction on an unsuspecting world, but instead some pleasant fruitcakes, only slightly touched in the upper storey at times (including the one with the imaginary wife). And as usual I keep remembering things I'd forgotten to do; talk to Henry about his paintings, not only the brilliant evocative Drowned Man but also his fascinating landscape with the inverted colours which I thought had a touch of genius about it; give Hutters the magazines we'd saved for him (no, not that sort of magazine!), and general catching up with everyone. However bodily discomfort distracted me a lot of the time and I wasn't on top form, which was a shame, and I apologise for my dullness. But Kouros had forgotten about The Game.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Things that the everyday folks leave behind

Returning with the dogs after their gambol across the paddyfields I did my Good Deed for the Community and stopped to remove a carrier bag that some thoughtless cretin had chucked out of his car as he drove down our road. It really annoys me when people chuck rubbish out as they drive along; surely it's not too much trouble to put it into a rubbish bin when you get home, is it? Anyway, the wind was tossing this bag around, causing it to spill its contents creating further mess, so I got the dogs to wait while I tidied up. There was a paper wrapper and half a portion of chips, a drinks can and some packaging. Perhaps the packaging was the reason why the person hadn't wanted to take their rubbish home; an 'Ej*culating B*tt Plug' might not have been on the approved shopping list. I bet the Wombles never had this trouble.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hit the road, Jack

Sunday suppers have always been special in our house; the time when I'll throw caution to the wind and do a proper roast and a proper pudding. Usually I do the classic roast chicken, or beef (ideally rib), or lamb (from local farmer) or pork (ditto). Today, whilst rummaging in the depths of the freezer, I came across a pheasant which I'd forgotten we had. "Best eat it" I thought. Organic. Free range. What could be better? So I bunged it in the chicken brick (not necessarily from that site - I've had mine for about 30 years) which is the only way to cook birds, did some roast potatoes in the fat from the Christmas goose and various veg and gravy, and it was just gorgeous. When I've had pheasant before it's been too gamy and a bit dry for my taste. This was milder-flavoured and moist all through. Absolutely delicious.

And not a single piece of lead shot on which to break your teeth, because this bird was killed by a Volkswagen. Yes, tonight we feasted on roadkill.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Listen to the band

Neogear are quite possibly one of the best upcoming bands of their genre. Jamie Cullum went to their most recent gig and really liked what he heard.

*Normal non-trendy bloggage will shortly be resumed*

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'll sit right down and write myself a letter

It was very strange. There I was, getting to grips with the company invoices, sorting out when they needed paying and by what method. I had this week's BACS transfers managed and was writing cheques for others. And I realised I was watching my hand write the cheques in a handwriting I didn't recognise. It was a bit scary really.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Let's go fly a kite

It's been a tad on the blowy side today. Our fence seems to have survived so we don't have sheep among the dogs or dogs among the traffic. The greenhouse is also intact - hurrah! Today was also the day for the dustmen and recyclers to do their rounds, so last night everyone had dutifully put out their binsacks and boxes of bottles and newspapers. The wind had a lovely time, bowling the binsacks down the street like tumbleweeds and filling the air with sheets of newspaper, like flocks of enormous birds. The dogs thought this was terribly exciting and spent a lot of their on-lead time leaping into the air to catch these strange things whilst I tried to avoid the falling branches and rooftiles which threatened to decapitate me. In fact at one point one of them leapt so enthusiastically that if they'd been on extending leads I might well have ended up flying a dog-shaped kite.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Don't put your daughter on the stage

For the past several years Ned’s brother and his family have visited us from Sussex each December and we’ve all gone to the panto in either Coventry or Birmingham together. It was best when the children came too, because there’s not much that’s more fun than embarrassing one’s offspring, but eventually they refused to accompany us so it became an adults-only group. Some of the productions have been fantastic (oh yes they were!) and extremely high quality. Brian Conley is always professional, Julian Clary is very funny, and Joe Pasquale, fresh out of the jungle when we saw him, was an excellent Jack.

This season, to make a change, we went down to Sussex to go with them and their pals to the performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at their local theatre. We knew not to expect such a polished performance as at the Birmingham Hippodrome, for example, but it was an entertaining evening out. A brief review: Mark Curry was very good; I thought the Dame was good but Ned’s not convinced; ‘Jill’ looked as though she didn’t want to be there (nor have to wear flat shoes to stop her being taller than 'Jack'); and Sonia? The 'star'? She seemed to have based her character on Jimmy Krankie but with extra smirk, and played Jack teetering on high heels. I think one ofthe tests of the calibre of an actor in live theatre is how they handle the inevitable fluffs. Saying "It's your line now, isn't it?" to your fellow cast-member just doesn't do it. Sonia couldn't act her way out of a paper bag.