Though imports of Beaujolais Nouveau
by Japan declined this year for the first
time in more than a decade but there are
still plenty of people who are still bent
upon making its arrival a major event.

A hot springs resort in Hakone just outside of
Tokyo is one of them, pouring a dozen bottles
of the ruby drink into one of its pools each
day to create an open-air “wine spa.”

“We installed the wine spa last year, and conducted
the Beaujolais Nouveau celebration. It was a
great success,” said Seiji Sanada,
an official at

“The aroma of Beaujolais is very pleasing,
very nice. From the open-air spa, you can see
the mountains, leaves turning color and
hear the sound of a nearby ravine.
It’s very pleasant,” he said.

It is said that people in the bath enjoy being
ready when the wine is poured in so they
can catch some of it in their hands
and have a drink as they soak.

Sanada claims that a Beaujolais bath
gives you smooth skin and
helps to relieve stress.


"Yes I'm in a sauna
and yes I'm hot!"



I decided to give the cats Mira and Fatty aka
Millie their bi-annual bath today as both were
suitably shabby after months of rolling about
in the garden and being licked by
Archie The Wolfhound (he gives
a daily wash to Fatty).

As most cats they are not fond of water so as
soon as it was over they gave me dirty
looks and buggered off.

"Get away from me you mad woman!"

Fatty had the right idea though: she decided to
climb up onto a chair in the conservatory and
dry herself off on my sunbathing towel.

It's like "Well...you make me wet, I'm going to
make your towel wet. And put some hairs
in it that will not come off ever,
not even in the wash."



One shouldn't admit to but...oh well, here goes:
I'm absolutely hooked on watching

The Girls Next Door.

I didn't go out of my way to catch it but
every time I've been flicking through the
cable channels it seems to be on.

I guess I like it because it's so totally over-the-top
unrealistic yet these girls really live like that.
My favourite is Bridget (0n the right),
she's just really sweet.


Now there is a...ready for this?

YouKnut website!

There is no getting away from this
little German superstar...but I don't
mind! He is soooooooo cute!



Butterfly farm in St. Martin
by Sousan Carey.


British physicist Stephen Hawking
has completed a zero-gravity flight
in a specially modified plane.

To me the best part of this story is the utter
joy on his face! Imagine what it must be like
to be tied to a wheelchair and not be able to
move a muscle and then...floating!

BBC has the full story.



The weather for the next 5 days
looks absolutely appalling! :-)


It's 40 years since the cashpoint
machine was introduced in Britain.

Comedy actor Reg Varney, (above) star of TV
On The Buses, became the first person
in the country to use a hole-in-the-wall machine
on June 27, 1967, in Enfield, North London.
He withdrew £10 in ten £1 notes.

There are now around 60,000 cashpoint
machines in the UK and 30 million people
rely on them to get to their cash.

The total of all withdrawals from machines
reached £172 billion in 2005 – an
average £5,455 per second.

A total of 260 million freshly printed fivers
worth £1.3 billion is currently languishing in
the vaults of the Bank of England because the
UK’s big banks only want to put £10 and £20
notes into their machines.

Cash machine network operator LINK says
there are two main types of cashpointers –
feasters and nibblers.

Feasters withdraw £100 or more each week
while nibblers prefer to withdraw £20 to £30
two or three times a week. Men are twice
as likely to be feasters as women.

One in eight men admit to using a cash machine
but being too drunk to remember it,
but only 4% of women make
the same admission.


Somehow I can't see this catching on
as the latest thing for commuters!

Designer Eelko Moorer has created bat-style
boots to allow travellers to hang upside down by
latching on to hand strap rails
inside Tube trains.

Mr Moorer, from east London, got
his girlfriend Alice Wolff to
try the boots out.

"We had a somewhat mixed reaction from other
travellers," he said. "Some people were surprised,
others liked it and others were appalled."

The 32-year-old came up with the design
while pondering how to liven up
"boring and similar journeys".

He said: "I like the idea of doing something
that gives a person a sense of relief
and can cheer up lives."

The shoes are currently on display in
Milan at the
Great Brits exhibition,
organised by the British Council
and the Design Museum.


Or unpatterned fingerprints.

I was reading a very interesting article in the
National Geographic and discovered an
fascinating fact: the ridges in your
fingerprints serve quite an important
role in creating traction.

Cheryl Maynard, the lady in the article, has
to for instance lick her fingers to be able
to turn the pages of a glossy magazine.

Without the figerprints there is no "purchase" -
her hands slide right off the sides when
she tries to carry a cardboard box.

I always thought, like most people probably do,
that fingerprints serve no purpose as such
in everyday life, they are just handy
for identification.

Learn something
new every day!


74,802 CUPS OF TEA

74,802 cups of tea are spread out across
London's Trafalgar Square - the amount
the average Brit drinks in a lifetime.

This is just one of the numbers releaved
in a Channel 4 documentary
The Human Footprint
which airs tomorrow.

Others items we go through are 1,201 chickens, 10,354
bars of chocolate, 5,272 apples, 10,351 pints of beer, 1,694
bottles of wine, 10,866 carrots, 16,000 pints of milk,
4,283 loaves of bread, 2,327 potatoes and 845 tins
of beans all within the 2 billion 475 million,
5,076 seconds that each of us will,
on average, spend on earth.



The garden has come alive
with colour almost overnight.



View of junction of M25 and M11 by
aerial photographer Jason Hawkes.

LIVE TO 100?

And he did.

Alec Holden, from Epsom in Surrey, who
bet £100 a decade ago that he would live
to be 100 is celebrating his birthday with
a cheque for £25,000. He is picking up his
winnings from bookmaker William Hill
which gave him odds of 250/1 that
he would reach his century.

The retired engineer, born on 24 April 1907,
joked he had been "very careful" about
what he had been doing recently.

He placed the bet on 10 December 1997, when
he was aged 90, with the thought that he "would
live forever".
Mr Holden, who has two sons
aged 70 and 60, puts his longevity down to
porridge for breakfast and "remembering
to keep breathing".

He said it was also important not to
worry about anything, do as little work
as possible, and go on lots of holidays.

Bookmakers William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams
said: "When we started taking these bets, 100 years
old seemed to be an almost mythical landmark
and we were prepared to offer massive odds.

But these age wagers are starting to cost us
a fortune and from now on we are
going to push out the age to 110."

However, he added: "I am sure that Alec
will get more pleasure from our letter
than he will from the Queen's."




He's a veteran of long-distance sailing voyages
in all kinds of weather. She's never
sailed outside the Hudson River.

But together, 55-year-old Reid Stowe and
his 23-year-old girlfriend, Soanya Ahmad,
embarked on a voyage that they intend to
take them three times around the globe and
last 1,000 days and nights - nonstop,
with no port calls for supplies
or a walk on solid ground.

They set sail Saturday afternoon aboard
his 70-foot, two-masted schooner, named
the Schooner Anne, from a Hudson River
marina in
North Hoboken.

If they succeed, they say their time away from
land will surpass the 657 days spent at sea by
Australian Jon Sanders, who circumnavigated
the globe three times from 1986 to 1988.

Provisions were packed into every nook and cranny
of the schooner's hull and the
rest of their food
will be caught fresh from the sea - automatically.
Two contraptions at the stern will troll for fish,
and when one is caught the line is rigged to
alert them by tapping a piece of wood.

Rainwater will be collected in tarps stretched over
the deck, and a desalinator will turn sea water
into drinking water.
Crammed in alongside the
food was a ton of coal and 100 boxes of firewood
for the antique French iron stove that keep
them warm, plus diesel oil for a motor.

Solar panels will generate enough electricity
for the satellite communication and navigation
system and for lights. Along with sending
and receiving e-mail via satellite, they
expect to post photographs, videos
and blogs on their Web site.

Along with a well-stocked medical kit,
they both learned how to clean and
stitch cuts and to set broken bones.

The voyage is formally called
"1000 Days at Sea: The Mars Ocean Odyssey."
Stowe, who has been a professional sailor
and adventurer since he was a teenager,
compares this journey to an expedition to
Mars, which would involve about
the same time in isolation.

You can read Reid and
Soanya's blog


OMG! Thirteen-year-old Morgan Pozgar,
of Claysburg, Pensylvania, was crowned
LG National Texting champion
on Saturday after she typed
from "Mary Poppins" in 15 seconds.

"I'm going to go shopping and buy lots
of clothes," the teen said after
winning her $25,000 prize.

Morgan defeated nearly 200 other competitors
at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan to
become East Coast champion and then
beat West Coast champion Eli Tirosh,
21, of Los Angeles.

She estimated that she sends more than
8,000 text messages a month
to her friends and family.


Jon Williamson sensed that just about
everybody out there had a pet peeve.
Now he's got some statistical
data to prove it.

People talking too loudly in public, yakking
away on cell phones or speaking in theaters
duringthe movie are among the leading
complaints his company's Web site,


Then there are people who don't listen when
you do talk (a favorite pet peeve of women)
or dogs that won't stop talking (in their
case it's called barking).

"We've had over 100,000 from people all
over the world," since MyPetPeeves began
tracking them couple years ago, he said.

Since he's been tracking pet peeves,
Williamson has found that as the
culture evolves so do people's gripes.

When MyPetPeeves came into existence,
for example, telemarketers were a major
headache. Since the creation of the National
Do Not Call Registry (The US version of

Telephone Preference Service,) they appear
to have become less of an annoyance.

And while people consistently get ticked off
at talking in movie theaters, they seem to
accept that ticket prices will rise over time.

"People are willing to pay as long as no
one talks during the movie or kicks
their chair," Williamson said.


Pic from yesterday.


I've been hoovering and cleaning most of the
morning and the cats usually scarper as
they are not fans of the "sucking monster".

Mira goes and sleeps upstairs, she has a
few favourite spots (my bed, the wardrobe,
my computer chair etc) she
likes to kip in/on.

But today I couldn't find her anywhere...
until I went outside to
the conservatory.

She was crashed out in one of potting trays!
The filtiest, most uncomfortable place in the
whole house...and there she was!

Cat logic!