Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Somebody sent me this -Wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry

The following questions were  set in last year's GED examination 
These  are genuine answers (from 16 year olds)............and  they WILL breed.

Q.  Name the four seasons
A.  Salt, pepper, mustard and  vinegar

Q.  Explain one of the processes by which water can be  made safe to drink
A.  Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it  removes large  pollutants like grit, sand, dead  sheep and canoeists 

Q.  How is dew formed
A.  The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them  perspire

Q.  What causes the tides in the  oceans
A.  The tides are a fight between the earth and the moon.  All water tends to flow towards the moon, because  there is no water on the moon, and nature abhors a  vacuum. I forget where the sun joins the  fight

Q.  What guarantees may a mortgage company insist  on
A.  If you are buying a house they will insist that you  are well endowed

Q.  In a democratic society, how important are  elections
A.  Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets  an election

Q.  What are steroids 
A.  Things for keeping carpets still on the  stairs              (Shoot  yourself now , there is little  hope)

Q..  What happens to your body as you  age
A.  When you get old, so do your bowels and you get  intercontinental

Q.  What happens to a boy when he reaches  puberty
A.  He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to  his  adultery               (So  true)

Q.  Name a major disease associated with  cigarettes
A.  Premature death

Q.  What is artificial insemination
A.  When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the  cow 

Q.  How can you delay milk turning  sour
A.  Keep it in the  cow                                               (Simple,  but brilliant)

Q.  How are the main 20 parts of the body categorised  (e.g. The abdomen)
A.  The body is consisted into 3 parts - the brainium, the  borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains  the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs and  the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels: A, E,  I,O,U..                (wtf!)                                                  

Q.  What is the fibula?
A.  A small lie

Q.  What does 'varicose' mean?
A.  Nearby

Q.  What is the most common form of birth control 
A.  Most people prevent contraception by wearing a  condominium            (That  would work)

Q.  Give the meaning of the term 'Caesarean  section'
A.  The caesarean section is a district in  Rome

Q.  What is a seizure?
A.  A Roman  Emperor.                              (Julius  Seizure, I came, I saw, I had a  fit)

Q.  What is a terminal illness 
A.  When you are sick at the  airport.                  (Irrefutable)

Q.  Give an example of a fungus. What is a characteristic  feature?
A.  Mushrooms. They always grow in damp places and they  look like umbrellas

Q.  Use the word 'judicious' in a sentence to show you  understand its meaning
A.  Hands that judicious can be soft as your  face.                      (OMG)

Q.  What does the word 'benign'  mean?
A.  Benign is what you will be after you be  eight   (brilliant) 

Q.  What is a turbine?
A.  Something an Arab or Shreik wears on his  head

The only comment I shall make is that, If this is a true reflection of answers given by 16 year old's then god help us.  Can I also suggest that all parents of daughters print this off, without the answers and have all prospective boyfriends complete, it may determine the quality and level of intelligence gifted to any future grandchildren! Just a thought.

On the other hand I did think some of the answers merited a possible gold star award, choose your own

and thanks to to the man who I very rarely phone, PK, simply because within minutes of getting on the phone to him I am normally having an Asthma attack as he launches into another rant about the world and laughter is the worst enemy of asthma, there is no justice in this world and that's probably why I am a grumpy bugger....................

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Man who Cycled The Americas - Keep Your Heart Big

Mark Beaumont is, like me, Scottish, there the similarity ends. He is an accomplished 28 year old adventurer and story teller, having cycled from John o’ Groats to Lands End in the UK aged just 15. Since then he set a world record for CYCLING around the world in 2008 and then two years later, in 2010, he cycled the length of the Americas, but to make it a more interesting journey he also climbed the two highest peaks on that continent, McKinley in North America (Alaska) and Aconcagua in Argentina, don’t you just hate over accomplishers? Especially when, as well as cycling these distances, he is also filming it on TV quality HD cameras, blogging, twittering and commentating, he then writes a book as well, over achievers, the world would be a less interesting place without them...

So, this book, The Man Who Cycled the Americas, what’s on the label is what you get inside. But, if you are not used to reading these type of books but more used to reading an adventure novel or crime thriller or love story, please do not be put off by the fact that this is a first-hand narrative recount of a truly massive journey.

Beaumont really does have the easiest writing delivery style and he has produced a book that is easy reading, that at times sways from the dramatic and scary to the funny and the worrying. Not funny for him, but I did laugh at the thought of this wiry Scot trembling at his fear of meeting spiders, but when he describes what has been described to him, what can happen when and if he comes across the ‘Banana Spider’ it is quite funny and then he compounds his fears by checking it out on Wikipedia, Numpty, you feel for him. Or the time he gets worried at a cash machine when some guys are behind him and he rushes off clutching his money, only to realise he has left his card in the machine, bless. His poor command of Spanish also makes for a laugh as he tells a chap he is sharing a tent with as they are acclimatising for the climb up Aconcagua, that he is ‘feeling horny’, when he did in fact mean ‘feeling hot’!

He describes the acclimatisation for the climb up McKinley in detail with prose describing the beautiful scenery and snowy landscapes that makes you want to visit the area and then the harrowing scene of a tumbling climber dying in front of his party.

The climb up Aconcagua felt like he wasn’t going to make it and you can literally feel his gasps of pain and yourself willing him on to the summit with his fellow climbers, will he make it ....... and remember he still has to get back down and cycle another couple of thousand miles down to the very tip of the Americas before he finishes his journey!

The variety and mix of people met on the journey are presented as a full cornucopia from the ludicrously outrageous to the mildly insane in both North and South America, and which included a couple running a rundown road side store in North America who he thought were going to kill each other while he was there and his conversation with an uncommunicative armadillo, and the kindly old Argentinean who told him to “Keep his heart big” ,and the whole book just makes marvellous reading.

If you have never read this type of book before, please do not be put off, it really is a good read and it is a book you don’t need to rush through, but as I say he does have a really easy style and this makes it difficult to put down, but if you do, it is so easy to come back to it time and time again.

Well worth a 5 out of 5 stars

you can find more on Mark at:markbeaumontonline

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Don't blame me if you're not laughing, it's the way you're reading them


Two priests are off to the showers late one night.

They undress and step into the showers before they realize there is no soap.

Father John says he has soap in his room and goes to get it, not bothering to dress.

He grabs two bars of soap, one in each hand, and heads back to the showers.

He is halfway down the hall when he sees three nuns heading his way.

Having no place to hide, he stands against the wall in the dim light and freezes like he's a statue.

The nuns stop and comment on how life-like he looks.

The first nun suddenly reaches out and pulls on his manhood.

Startled, he drops a bar of soap

"Oh look," says the first nun, "it's a soap dispenser".

To test her theory the second nun also pulls on his manhood.... sure enough he drops the second bar of soap.

Now the third nun decides to have a go. She pulls once, then twice and three times but nothing happens.

So she gives several more tugs, then yells,

"Holy Mary, Mother of God - Hand Lotion, too!"


A beautiful woman was walking down the street when she was approached by a man.

The man said, "You are perfection, I must have you right now! I'll drop £500 on the ground at your feet and in the time it takes for you to pick it up I can have had my way with you roughly from behind!"

The woman thought it over and told the man to wait a minute. She called her friend on her mobile phone and told her about the man's proposition.

Her girlfriend said, "He's an idiot, take it cos when he drops the £500 on the ground I'm sure you can pick it
up and run before he even gets his pants down. "Call me back and tell me what happened." The friend says.

An hour and a half later the lady had still not called back so her friend called her, "Well? What happened?" the friend asked.

The lady said, "The fu***r had it in 50p's"


 A train hits a bus load of nuns and they all perish. They're all at the Pearly Gates...

St Peter asks the first nun, "Sister Karen have you ever had any contact with a penis?"

The nun giggles and replies, "Well, once I touched the head of one with the tip of my finger."

St Peter says OK, dip the tip of your finger in the holy water and pass through the gate.

St Peter asks the next nun the same question. "Sister Elizabeth have you ever had any contact with a penis?"

The nun is a little reluctant but replies "Well I once fondled and stroked one..."

St Peter says, "OK dip your hand in the holy water and pass through the gate..."

All of a sudden there is a lot of commotion as one nun pushes her way to the front of the line. When she reaches the front St Peter says "Sister, what seems to be the rush?"

The nun replies "If I'm going to have to gargle that holy water, I want to go before Sister Mary sticks her ass in it!"

A crusty old Sergeant Major found himself at a gala event hosted by a local liberal arts college. There was no shortage of extremely young, idealistic ladies in attendance, one of whom approached the Sergeant Major for conversation.

"Excuse me, Sergeant Major, but you seem to be a very serious man. Is something bothering you?"

"Negative, ma'am. Just serious by nature."

"The young lady looked at his awards and decorations and said, "It looks like you have seen a lot of action."

"Yes, ma'am, a lot of action."

The young lady, tiring of trying to start up a conversation, said, "You know, you should lighten up a little. Relax and enjoy yourself."

The Sergeant Major just stared at her in his serious manner.

Finally the young lady said, "You know, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but when is the last time you had sex?"

"1955, ma'am."

"Well, there you are. You really need to chill out and quit taking everything so seriously!  I mean, no sex since 1955!  She took his hand and led him to a private room where she proceeded to "relax" him several times.

Afterwards, panting for breath, she leaned against his bare chest and said, "Wow, you sure didn't forget much since 1955!"

The Sergeant Major, glancing at his watch, said in his matter-of-fact voice, "I hope not, it's only 2130 now."


The Englishman's wife steps up to the tee and as she bends over to place her ball a gust of wind blows her skirt up and reveals her lack of underwear.

"Good God! Why aren't you wearing any knickers?" her husband demanded.
"Well, you don't give me enough housekeeping money to afford to buy any." The Englishman mmediately reaches into his pocket and says, "For the sake of decency here's 50 pounds, go and buy yourself some underwear."

Next the Irishman's wife bends over to set her ball on the tee. Her skirt blows up to show that she is wearing no undies.
"Bejesus woman. You've no knickers-why not?"
She replies, "I can't afford any on the money you give me."
He reaches into his pocket and says, "For the sake of decency here's 20 pounds, go and buy yourself some underwear!"

Lastly, the Scotsman's wife bends over. The wind also takes her skirt over her head to reveal that she too is naked under it.
"Hoot, lassie! Why d'ye have no knickers?"
She too explains, "You dinnae gi me enough hoosekeeping money ya wee tight thistle spitting scots git you, to be able to afford any."
The Scot reaches into his pocket and says, "For the sake of decency here's a comb. Tidy yourself up a bit!"

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sex in a Brothel - Scottish Style

A Scotsman goes into a brothel in Amsterdam one night and finds himself a nice-looking prostitute.

He asks her, 'How much dae ye charrrge forrrr an hourrr?'
'£100,' she replies.
So he asks, 'Okay, dae yee dae it Scottish style?'
She says 'No!'
He then says to her, 'I'll gie you £200 to dae it Scottish style - please?'

She again says, 'No', not even knowing what 'Scottish style' was!
So he then offers her £300. Again she declines his offer.
So, finally he says, 'I'll gie ye £500 to gaun Scottish style WI me!'

Finally she agrees, thinking, 'Well, I've been in the game for over 10 years Now. I've been there and done that, had every kind of request from weirdos from every corner of the world. How bad could Scottish style be?'
So she goes ahead and has sex with him, doing it in every kind of way and in every possible position. Finally, after several intense hours they finish.
Exhausted, the hooker turns to him and says, 'That was really fantastic. I've never enjoyed it so much. But I was expecting something perverted and Disgusting. Where does the 'Scottish style' come in?'

The Scotsman replies,              
'I'll pay ye next week...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Leak and Potato Soup

This is one of my favourites and like most soups it is simple and easy to make!

What you will need:

4 decent size Leaks
1 small Red Onion (optional)
2 cloves Garlic (optional)
4 or five large potatoes
50 - 75 grams butter
Tablespoon (or two) of extra virgin olive oil


60 - 90 fluid ozs water  (3 to 4 1/2 pints)
A Large pan

 Peel and slice the red onion and the garlic cloves
 Peel, and cut the potatoes into decent size chunks, wash and rinse off excess starch

Slice the leaks lengthways and then slice across,
 wash, clean and drain.

Place the butter in the pan on a low temperature, I cook on gas on the hob so this is fairly easy to control , and melt down the butter.  I like to add a table spoon or two of extra virgin olive oil at this stage too.

Place the red onion and garlic in the pan and sweat down for about 3 to 4 minutes, while you are doing this Leaks out of the water and should be draining.

Add the leaks to the onion and garlic stir well trying to coat all of the leaks with the melted butter and olive oil, make sure you get all the leaks off the side of the pan (they will just burn and dry out there on their own).  Once you have got the leaks coated in melted butter, on a really low heat, place the lid on the pan and allow the leaks to soften.

This, depending on the type of pan you are using,

and the convection into the pan can take  about 10 minutes, but do keep an eye on it if this is your first time.  Don't want them to dry out and shrivel up.  Your leaks should look like this.

A word about herbs and stock here.  I used to make my own stocks and when I have them I

always use fresh herbs, BUT, I have found the wonder of Knorr Stockpots, they are great, well at least I like them and they make a useful and hand addition to the store cupboard for emergencies!

So, once the leaks, onion and garlic have sweated down I add one herb infusion pot and for 60 - 90 fluid ozs water  (3 to 4 1/2 pints) two vegetable stock pots. Melt these down into the leaks and then add the water to the pan.

Once the water has been added, you can now add your potatoes.  I don't turn the heat up at this

stage, leave it where it is, place the lid on the pan and allow to gently simmer to cook the potatoes through.  I should have mentioned that you need a good firm potato but here and you need to be careful that you don't over cook as you want some decent sized bits in there when you serve it up.

This usually takes about twenty to thirty minutes and you are ready to go. (Just test the potatoes with a skewer)

If you like a smooth soup you can scoop out a bunch of leaks and potatoes and then use a kitchen blender in the pot to blend the remaining soup down, you can also add a touch of cream at that stage if you wish, adding the removed leaks and potato back into the mixture, once nice and smooth.  You should note though that if you do add cream to the pot you need to use the whole pot fairly quickly (not that it lasts long even if I am making it just for the two of us) but without the cream it will last a few days longer.  I usually put some in a Tupperware dish and take it to work for lunch over the course of a couple of days.

We like to serve it up immediately with a sprinkle of parsley and hot bread with melted butter or again drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on it straight out of the oven. (well, butter or oil goes on the bread after it comes out of the oven, naturally!)

Total Prep time:

Peeling, chopping and washing  15 mins

Sweating down in the pan: about 10 - 15 Mins

Cooking time: 20 - 30  mins



Sunday, 13 November 2011

Roast Lamb with a little kick

I have to say that I am not the greatest fan of lamb but I do cook it regularly as Ishbel and the kids and grand kids love it, so this is just one recipe for you to try, simple and easy.

This is only for Ishbel and myself today (Sunday 12th November)  so it's a half leg of lamb.

Things you will need:
half leg of fresh lamb

Half a leg of lamb or bigger if there are more of you, just the cooking time that you need to increase,
Couple of cloves of garlic could go up to 4 for a bigger leg
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive oil

Assorted herbs  (if available) I went to the shops this morning and forgot to get fresh coriander and thyme which is what I would usually use but dried herbs are fine and if you have some mixed herbs a teaspoon of them will do

and for the little kick

* Coriander seeds about half to one full teaspoon (half a teaspoon for a half a leg) and a dash of pepper

Crush down the coriander seeds with mortar and pestle leave a little bit grainy
Add the garlic cloves and a pinch of salt and mix into the coriander seeds while dribbling in olive oil
Crushed coriander seed, garlic Extra Virgin oil,
and herbs

Add in fresh or dry herbs and give a good mix.

While I have been doing that the leg of lamb has been resting in the kitchen, out of the fridge.

Take the concoction and rub all over the joint, really working it in.  Cover with foil and allow to marinade for a couple of hours.
Herb and Garlic Marinade 
If you have bought your lamb fresh from the butcher ask him how long and for what temperature you should cook it but I would normally do it in my fan oven for about 55 mins per kilo at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). As with all roasts if you check about 45 mins in with a skewer to see how the juices are; red, pink, clear, this gives you an idea on the cooking time and of course some of you may like it pink some may like it

well done like Ishbel the philistine!

Today, this one is just under a Kilo so, 50 - 55 minutes this should be ample time to prepare and cook your potatoes and veg.
Cooked Leg 

Once you have cooked it for the time you want take out and rest for 10 to 15 minutes this does work and makes for easier carving.

For the gravy: Pour a large glass of red wine into the pan and place on the hob . Bring to the boil burning off the alcohol and deglaze the pan,

reduce the heat as soon as it starts to bubble.  Best way to tell this, is once the wine starts to heat, have a sniff you will smell the alcohol and it will also be slightly vinegary to the scent, once this has gone , probably just after being brought to the boil you will have lost the nose wrinkling smell of the wine, you can add a good lamb stock to give  a great tasting gravy.

* If you don't want the kick use everything above except the crushed coriander seeds, still just as good!

On the plate with mash, Roast Parsnips and baby
roast swede
On-line conversion Chart  for oven temperatures

Total Prep time:

Marinade 15 mins

Veg Prep including peeling spuds: 15 Mins

Cooking time (for this size joint) 55 mins

Gravy deglaze and prep (while joint resting) 10 - 12 mins

Friday, 11 November 2011

The 0.99pence /0.99cent Kindle Book

I started on twitter about 3 years ago and didn't do too much with it until this year when I started to really find and engage with people on it.  Unlike huge celebrities and some others, I do not (and this is not a blog looking for followers) have a vast following on twitter, but what I do have is around 130 odd followers with a fair number of those people with whom I interact with.

Another quirk in my followers, that's not to say that they are quirky, well some are and you know who you are, is that the vast majority of them are authors and another quirky fact is that 99% of those are Indie authors.

Now, if you do not know what an Indie author is, it is someone who for whatever reason, sometimes by choice, sometimes not, who self publishes their own works, taking on the role of writer, agent, publicist, marketing guru and accountant, and while in many cases, holding down a paid day job or are home makers.

I recently noticed a thread on twitter between a couple of authors with one commenting that,    "$.99 for an ebook increasingly a signal to readers that a book from a writer new to them is dreck. They move on."

Now, I am assuming that most people reading this will know the basics of Twitter and you will know that sometimes you are a bit (if I could meet the person that coined this phrase I'd smack them in the teeth) of a peeping Tom, listening in on a conversation between others, but that is the nature of the medium.  So, anyway, essentially what was going on here was that one author chappie was saying to the other that the $.99 book on E readers was doing him and others like him a disservice as people like me would see a book retailing so cheaply, think it was pretty rubbish and not entertain the thought of reading it!

Well, if you have read my previous blogs, you will know I am not scared to jump in where I am not wanted...so I entered the conversation with the comment that if that was in fact the case I would not have read either of their books and I would not be interacting with them, giving them a piece of my mind, but this got me to thinking about this some more and here it is!

Since I got my Kindle of my wife for Christmas 2010 I have downloaded 42 books that averages out at 4.2 books per month and I have also still bought about 6 books in written form so that takes my monthly average to 4.8 books per month.  Now I do have to confess that while I have a voracious appetite for reading and I can be reading 2 or three books simultaneously there are periods where I will go weeks without picking up Kindle or book, so of the 48 books I have so far purchased this year I have still to read 7 of them but I think that's still pretty good going.

Now here is a snapshot of the books I have bought via my Kindle at a reduced price:

"Cambridge Blue" by Alison Bruce cost £1.00                 "Open Season" by CJ Box cost £1.00


"The Bitch Proof Suit" by De Ann Black          "In Her Name: Empire" by Michael R Hicks cost Free
 cost  £0.86

The AI War by Stephen Ames Berry cost £2.14

Now, these are only a few of the 'cheap' books that I have purchased, and prior to buying them I had never heard of any of the authors, not one.  I now proudly own all 7 of Michael R Hicks published offerings and keep giving him a hard time on Twitter to write more.  CJ Box, the same, never heard of the guy but now own 8 of his novels.  De Ann Black, romantic comedy, loved it and bought her next book "The Strife of Reilly".  Allison Bruce, never heard of her, wonderful crime drama set In Cambridge England, scoping out more of her books. Stephen Ames Berry, never heard of him and full on SyFy not usually my cup of tea but a great entertaining read. Samples of other books downloaded and entered on my Amazon wish list to come back to later.

So my point is, that if I hadn't bought these 'cheap' books I would never have gone on to read even more of the wonderful books that the author has published.  And before you think that all I do is purchase the cheaper end of the market, that is also not the case.  Julian Stockwin, Harry Sidebottom, Conn Iggulden, Lee Child, Alexander McCall-Smith and of course CJ Box, Mark Beaumont, all fit into this category, all non Indie Authors, whose books are rarely discounted, have all been bought through Kindle or on hardback in the last year, so there is no discrimination there.

The wonderful thing about the Kindle is that it also allows us, the reader, to download a sample of authors book with a few chapters in it, read it, see if we like it and then purchase or discard it.  That's how I found most of my Indie Authors.  But the bottom line is, if I liked it, I bought it, I didn't worry too much about the price.

I suppose the bottom line and the difference between my Indie Authors and my Established Authors is: The established ones have the publishing houses behind them and normally have a following that is willing to pay the price, and sometimes, since discovering Indie Authors I do find myself muttering about the cost of the Established Authors when I am reading a book with a flowing and compelling storyline every bit as good as 'Publishing House' authors.

So, while I can understand the frustration that Indie Authors must have at the pricing disparity, and I have no answer for it here, I have to say that you are not doing your readers a disservice by producing the truly wonderful books that you do.  I am sorry that you are not receiving the accolades or reaping the financial gains of others, but I for one am delighted with all my purchases of my £0.99 pence books which have lead to many enjoyable reading hours with the addedd benefit of making many wonderful Twitter friends in those authors I am reading, and even some I haven't quite got round to yet. Mr Halstead.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The AI War - Stephen Ames Berry

"Space, the Final Frontier" Well not if you are a Science Fiction Writer, apparently.  Space seems to have no end to the amount of stories that can be set up there and, in many time lines, or, as in the words of Buzz Lightyear, "To Infinity and Beyond".

Science Fiction in book form has not been something that has really interested me since I read the E.E. Doc Smith 'Lensman' Books way back in the early 70's and even then those books had been around for about 40 years prior to that.  All that changed a couple of months ago when I picked up, on Kindle, the In Her Name series of books by Michael R Hicks.  Even my wife has picked up a science fiction novel (!) recently by some chirpy chappie called Jason Halsted, and by all accounts, has thoroughly enjoyed it Ramblings of an Old Bird!

I then picked up The AI War by Stephen Ames Berry 

To summarise,  the battle cruiser Implacable is in Orbit over Terra when the Commodore is attacked in his quarters while sleeping.  As he begins to question the intruder two shots ring out and he, the intruder falls dead.

The shooter turns out to be a Special Ops Intelligence Colonel, who, it turns out later on,  is also something much more dangerous.  He goes on to inform the Commodore that as the assassination attempt has failed Fleet Ops will be issuing orders for his arrest on treason and that the orders are being issued by AI Lifeforms that have infiltrated fleet.

The Commodore and his battle fleet were due too leave on a mission that Fleet Ops wants scrapped but Special Ops Intelligence wants to succeed and so the Colonel convinces him to leave for the mission immediately...

Thus begins the last AI war in the quadrant and this universe, as the Commodore and his crew find that they are placed on a 'destroy on site list', and they become the only ones to know that the vanquished AI's of centuries past who they have chased into an alternate universe have been rebuilding and re-arming while looking for a way to establish a 'worm hole' back to their mortal enemy to take their final revenge!

The book got a bit techy in places but if you are a fan of science fiction movies, nothing in the book was outside the realms of, or as unbelievable, as what happens on a cinema or TV screen.  Over all it was a fast paced thriller as the the Commodore and his crew are chased across the galaxy by both 'friend and foe' trying not to kill their friends but desperately trying to find a way to save the galaxy from the invasion that is coming.

Lots of intrigue with plenty of twists and turns.  It slowed down in places and some of the parts seemed to end abruptly as it jumped to another scene, but from a slow start, bearing in mind I am 'new' to the genre, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have downloaded a sample of his next book to look at, since completing the AI War.

I give it a 4 out of 5 rating for keeping my interest piqued

Good reading

Warrior of Rome 4 - The Caspian Gates - Final Review

This was my original review of this novel written at the beginning of October Warrior of Rome 4 The Caspian Gates.

It wasn't a thrilling review, but then I found the book not particularly thrilling up to the point I had read at that time, finding it very disappointing in comparison to the previous three novels in this series.

I think I stated that on finding the first three books I picked them up and started reading them and could hardly put them down.  They were fast paced, full of information and the authors undoubted knowledge of his subject and penchant for using both Greek and Latin terminology was not off putting in the slightest, the books still moved on at a cracking pace and kept me, as the reader, fully involved with the story lines, wanting to turn pages and continue reading, until there was no more to read.

The ability of an author to be able to do that, is, I suspect, going to be a measure of his or hers mass appeal.  They write it and we are unable, once we start reading it, unwilling to stop. And we get distracted from everything else that is going on in our lives as we start to live vicariously through the pages of the book we are reading (!) but not in this instance.

On No 4 then I still have to say that it was not up to, well I guess, 'my standards of expectation' from this author.  What I wrote in the previous review still stands.  When I find a really interesting book that captures my imagination like the first three in the series of Warrior of Rome, as I have said, it doesn't take long to read, but this one took me over a month, not a good sign.

I don't know if Dr Sidebottom was or is getting bored with his subject in novel form but it seemed to me that he strayed into the realms of classical lecturer, and on this showing that should be avoided. Maybe it is to be expected though as we get to the end of the book and he goes in to all of the historical books drawn on and then we get to the 'Thanks' to all those who assisted in some way and it is littered with all of the College people who contributed in some way or other and it is in this I suspect where it all fell apart.  I am sure that they are all people of admirable intellect in academia, but in proofing a novel, probably not so clever!

I also thought he might be trying to have a bit of a laugh at the readers expense with the character of  the Eunuch 'Mastabates', yes you did read that correctly.  While the name has obvious and funny connotations, the whole thing seemed like a distraction and while we did  move on to a small battle it was really nothing to write home about.

Ballista continues in his exile and is moving on to his next far flung outpost at the end of the book and so this means that there is probably going to be another outing for him and his 'familia', whether it will be an other outing for me remains to be seen!

Finally, if the author or any other author or publisher of E Books is reading this can I make a suggestion?

If you need to include a glossary, and historical novels do tend to need them from time to time, can I ask that this be placed at the beginning of the book, in ebook format at least.  If you are reading an ebook across, in my case, a Kindle device and a smart phone, if the glossary is at the rear you lose the ability to sync the devices to the furthest page read, as it will always, after opening the glossary for the first time, default to that section of the book, AND THIS IS QUITE ANNOYING. 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Great Sock Debate

Bear with me on this one I do get to the socks, eventually:

As a husband of over 35 years I have become aware of things that I do naturally that I know really irritates the hell out of my wife, Ishbel.  Some of these natural occurrences and albeit irritations to her are, I believe, completely unreasonable!

Example 1:  Farting (American = Gas)

Now we men know that this is something that is a completely natural occurrence in all species with a stomach who eat and digest food EXCEPT for the female human species!

It is described thus, in Wikipedia;

Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply (in American English) gas. The gases are expelled from the rectum in a process colloquially referred to as "passing gas", "breaking wind" or "farting". Flatus is brought to the rectum by the same peristaltic process which causes feces to descend from the large intestine. The noises commonly associated with flatulence are caused by the vibration of the anal sphincter, and occasionally by the closed buttocks.

So, dependant on the food stuff shovelled into the face and down the throat, it is natural and sometimes it just, as it were, bursts forth uncontrollably and loudly.  We have no control over it! It just happens and if it happens when out with the other half in a crowded space we men just ignore it but women have to make a song and dance about it, why?  So what, if it was a bit smelly, who cares? Well women do of course and as we know, they are not guilty of this, really they don't.  I mean I have been married for over 35 years and never once in all that time have I been out, sitting watching the telly or have been lying in bed, have I ever heard or smelled a fart from Ishbel!

Oh, and not lets, forget my alter ego Mr Fat with the big gut, so there is plenty of room in there for gasses to be building up and there is only one escape valve, so what's the deal there with the unreasonable attitude, sheesh, we never win do we?

Example 2.  Bogeys (American = Boogers)

Another unreasonable irritation that wives have with us husbands is of course the. 'great bogey pick'.  Come on what's wrong with this, there is something up there it irritates the hell out of us and it has to be got rid of and what is the easiest way to do that, right, pick it out, isn't it.  This airy fairy practice of carrying a handkerchief about in your pocket and then applying this to your nose before blowing your brains out as you try and dislodge the offending bogey and then stuffing this wet soggy hanky back into your pocket. come on, pick and flick, it's much easier, isn't it?

And anyway if you click on the link above you will findf another interesting fact that I was unaware of as well, and one that I can honestly say I have never tried, but who knows, once the thought is there, sometimes you just can't get rid of it,  no, no, that one is not for me but here it is just in case you were interested and wanted to give it a try for yourself:
Friedrich Bischinger, a lung specialist at Privatklinik Hochrum in Innsbruck, says that nose-picking and eating the result is beneficial for the immune system.

Oh, and over the years another discovery I made is that when you pick a particularly gooey one and roll it around between thumb and finger it tends to clean all the dirt from the finger tips, so there is another beneficial reason, right!

And why is, that my girls, who are now all grown up and both of whom were great 'pickers' in their day, as taught by dad, get the serious hump when grand dad attempts to teach their kids to do what comes naturally to them, I don't understand!

Now to the Socks!

Over the last couple of days I have gone into my sock drawer, I usually do this at night to get my socks and shorts out for the morning as I am usually up and gone, long before Ishbel opens her very tired eyes and it really irritates her if her slumber is disturbed unnaturally by the screeching of a tallboy drawer or any other unnatural sound, before she is ready to rise for the day, another one of those things you learn afters so many years of wonderful marriage.....

So, I was surprised to find that when I went into the drawer to get my socks for the morning that every pair I had taken out had holes in them at the heel.  Now, I change my socks every day, and I know when there are holes in them, cos I throw them out and they don't even see the wash basket, so I know when they went into the wash basket THEY DID NOT HAVE HOLES IN THEM.. and anyway what other wife out there would find holey socks in the wash basket, put them in the wash, dry them, fold them and put them back in the drawer, not many I would hazard, even if you thought they were your smelly old hubbies favourites, no they would be thrown straight in the bin, wouldn't they?

But I am glad in a way that Ishbel did not do that because if she had you wouldn't have got to read my thoughts on this subject and that would have been a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions now wouldn't it?  So, I had taken these socks out over the last couple of days and rather than throw them in the bin, I thought I must ask Ishbel what the hell I did to deserve this attack on my poor defenceless socks, so I just dumped them on top of the dresser, and there they remained until this morning, Sunday, and this is how the conversation went.

Me, " By the way, what have you been doing to my socks, they all have holes in them?"

Ishbel, "Nothing, they were like that when I got them!"

Me, "No they weren't they were fine, I know they were holeless"

Ishbel, " Well it must have been the washer or the drier, but mine were fine when they went in and came out"

Me, "So, it was a selective attack by the washer or the drier, ON ME and MY SOCKS, then?"

Ishbel, "Don't be an arse (now when she says that she has a way about it with that 'Dystonia Voice' that doesn't make it sound as bad as I know she means, strange!) and anyway sometimes when I put your socks in only one comes out"!

Now I have noticed this over the years, that sometimes I only find one sock from a pair but for whatever reason I have failed to raise it as an issue, but now that SHE had raised it well, it was an opening...

Me, "What, you're telling me that for thirty odd years, that the various washers and driers that we have owned have somehow taken against me, ME PERSONALLY, not you, not Marie, not Brian, not Jennifer BUT ME, what did I ever do to them?"

Ishbel, "You're being an arse again"

Me, "But this is serious, you're telling me that you put all of the dirty clothing in the washer and the drier and it they wash and dry and present back to you all of the clothes that you put in, cleaned and dried and in as good a state of repair as they went in and in pairs, EXCEPT FOR MINE, what's going on?"

By this time  we are in the car as I drive her to work in Lakeside and I am not letting go...

Me, "So, this thing with my socks.....

Ishbel, Oh, give it a rest, it was the sock fairy that put holes in your socks and makes them disappear..."

Me, with a look of dawning understanding beginning to take shape on my pudgy Mr Fat face, "Oh, I see, what, the same fairies that used to get the kids into trouble when thy were kids.  The biscuit fairy that stole the last chocolate digestive biscuit!  The missing this or that fairy that spirited away an item that I was looking for and I knew exactly where I had put it but it wasn't there any longer fairy!  The I didn't put those holes in the front of my new house slippers that you bought me yesterday that have holes in them today fairy! The Broken crockery fairy........"

Ishbel, "Pick me up at five and don't be late now bugger of and enjoy winding yourself up for the rest of the day..." As she jumps out of the car before it has almost not stopped .....

Now what have I done to get that look, I only asked!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Mr Fat - November Update (be careful I have started swearing)

Well its almost a month since the last update and 20 days sine the Doctors visit, although I have been to hospital for a hearing test. I mention the outcome of that little outing in Illness Makes you Worry but, Sometimes Laughter Really is the Best Medicin.

So what's been going on with Mr Fat?  Well as I said in the last couple of posts although I started this journey of losing weight a couple of years ago now, I was never in much of a hurry to lose the weight, getting fitter was the first main aim. But, I did begin to get a little bit down with the hiatus I had reached and where I was not losing any more weight. Indeed I seemed to be putting a little bit back on.  But, I am over that now and back to my old self with the realisation that it really doesn't matter about these little hiccups.

Ishbel and I don't do a lot of TV these days, preferring to read and listen to the radio but, about an hour ago I grabbed the remote and turned it from the radio to the telly for a quick scan through.  I think it was channel 4 and a programme was just starting, no idea what it was called and to be honest I have no interest in looking it up for you , but we watched 5 minutes of it and switched back to the radio as it was really beginning to get on my TIT.

Some guy who apparently was a one time Fatty now goes around the country to help other Fat people find their inner skinny self and puts them on the road to salvation.  She was 30 something 5 foot nothing and weighed 16 stone.  He too, was 30 something and weighs 27 stone.  Oh, as a side bar it also told us that his father had died in the last year and the direct cause of his death was, go on guess, you know what the answer is, yes you do! Oh, all right then I'll tell you, he was FAT apparently.  Obesely Fat, and this was the main cause of his death.

So, this guy turns up at their house, just before noon,  as he needs to spend a day living like they do, which also means eating what they eat! Now, as they are both unemployed, I wonder why, they do not get up until around noon and so our lunchtime is their breakfast time.  Guess what's for breakfast, no, OK, Ill tell you:  One packet of bacon, One tin of tomatoes, a couple of fried eggs and half a loaf of bread. Washed down with pints of fizzy pop! Oh, did I mention that was one packet of bacon, one tin of tomatoes and a couple of eggs and half a loaf of bread and butter EACH, sorry I should have made that clear from the beginning.

And as the guy is stuffing his face he is telling MR Skinny that he does not want to end up the same way as his father,  well knock me down with a stuffed bacon fucking baguette, what was wrong with that picture.  Well everything was wrong with it. It was absolutely fucking disgusting as the camera followed every mouthful being scooped up and stuffed into the size 27 stone face as he splatters us all with food and tells us he doesn't want to end up like his fucking father.


Now, if you have been following my blogs you will be hard pressed to find more than  one swear word in any of them,  In fact I think there is only one other Fuck in all of the 70 odd blogs that I have written and here I am overdosing on Fucks. (One of my nieces is to blame she told me that one of my rants was missing something, I asked, "What was that", and she replied, "A good Fuck Unky Tom, you really need to learn to let go!") Don't get me wrong I swear like a trooper in everyday life in my working environment, except when in meetings with people I don't know or in the company of the fairer sex.  And, I have absolutely no problem in reading material with a good old Fuck in it either.  It's just that I normally find that I can write these things without the usual barrage of expletives although my favourite blogger is female and her most used saying is 'Mother Fucker', you really should check her out she is always depressed but so, so funny and can be found at The Bloggess.

Anyway, back to the rant, at the point of Mr 27 stone stuffing his face and telling us about his father I had had enough and went back to the radio and my book, but here I am as I could not concentrate on reading with that Fat Fucker still on my mind.

I've been there, well not quite as fat as him, but I was getting there and you only need read my previous Mr Fat Blogs to see the detrimental effect my weight was having on my life and with 5 very young grand children I knew that I was not going to be around for much of their lives let alone Ishbel's, if I kept on doing what I was doing, which was sitting on my arse and eating.  And anyway Ishbel has made my life hell for 35 plus years so I want to hang around for a long while yet, to see if I can even the score (xxx).

So, where is the Mr Fat you have come to know and love from my previous blogs, well October was as we know not the greatest month but we are still getting there.  I did for the first time set myself a small mini target but I have to report, failed by 3 lbs.  I wanted to get down to 19 stone, but have only managed to get down to 19 st 3 lbs but that's fine by me.  Remember I haven't gone on a diet throughout all of this.  I have cut out all of the snacking and eat more fruit and vegetables, but I still eat a proper full dinner and nibble on a bit of chocolate and occasionally get a bottle of coke, but my drink of preference these days is corporation lemonade (tap water).  So, I didn't get to 19 stone but one thing is guaranteed I will be well under 19 stone before Christmas.  The trick is really to get of your bum, switch the telly off and do what I do, WALK.

I have a cold today, no idea why, as I never usually have colds, but have a right old stinker today and I am beginning to look like Rudolph with my nose so bright, so felt pretty lousy all day but I still managed to put in 116 minutes in active walking as well as the odd trot from my desk to various parts around the building.  So even when you are not feeling up to it, still do it, it makes the difference, Although by the end of my 75 minute walk this evening my back was sore, my nose was running and I felt like shit, but I bet I burnt a few calories off, which is what it is all about.