31.5.08

THE VEG ARE GO

KB planted her tomatoes and spring onions
last night (bottom pic) and when
Mr S returned from his travels he
brought back some runner beans
which I planted last night (top pic)


The veg are go!


30.5.08

AMAZING

It's it amazing and indeed marvelous
that there are still
people on this planet
totally untouched by the modern world?

They've no idea about the TV, the internet,
CD players, designer clothes
or The Olympics!


Members of one of Brazil's uncontacted
indigenous tribes have been photographed
in a protected area of the
Amazon jungle near Peru.


Brazil National Indian Foundation
(Funai) officials said the aircraft passed
over the site a number of times, and
photographed "strong and healthy"
warriors, women and children, six
huts and a large planted area.

The first flight had an obvious impact on
the tribe. By the time the plane returned,
most of the women and children had
fled and those who remained had
painted their bodies.

The men, painted red, brandished weapons
and fired off somea rrows at the aircraft.
The person in black may
be a woman (above).

The government said the images would
prove those who doubted the tribe's
existence wrong. The tribe, which has
not yet been identified, is one of four
different isolated group
in the region.

Funai says it does not make contact with
the tribes and prevents invasions of their
land, to ensure their total autonomy.

More than half the world's 100 uncontacted
tribes live in Brazil or Peru and
campaigners say many face threats
to their land from illegal logging.


TYPE

Interesting article about
typewriters on the BBC site.

Having started my journalistic career
in the late 80's with an old rusty
typewriter I can relate!


They're clunky, dirty and can't access
the internet, yet every year thousands of
people buy typewriters when they
could probably afford a
computer. Why?


When asked how he writes, Frederick
Forsyth has a simple answer.
"With a typewriter."


He had a steel-cased portable he used
as a foreign correspondent in the 1960s.
"It had a crease across the lid which
was done by a bullet in Biafra.
It just kept tapping away."

"It didn't need power, it didn't need batteries,
it didn't need recharging. One ribbon
went back and forward and back until
it was a rag, almost, and out
came the dispatches."


And after 50 years and a dozen novels
including The Day of the Jackal, "why
change now?", he asks.

"I have never had an accident where
I have pressed a button and accidentally
sent seven chapters into cyberspace,
never to be seen again. And have you ever
tried to hack into my typewriter?
It is very secure."

The Japanese multinational Brother
sold 12,000 electronic typewriters
last year in the UK, which is its
biggest market in Europe.


Brother UK sales director Phil Jones says
customers are generally older people,
although his company also sells a
number to students. He says typewriters
remain a cheap way to develop keyboard
skills. The most basic model
costs around £80.


"Typewriters are much more
straightforward to use than computers
as they only have one function
- typing," says Mr Jones.


If there really is a move back to
typewriters, it probably won't come
in time to save what is
left of the market.


Brother UK's Mr Jones admits he is
"surprised" that people are still buying
typewriters, and "amazed" his company
sells a handful for more than £500, which
would buy a laptop. Typewriter sales are
falling 10% a year at the company, which
is better known for its printers,
faxes and sewing equipment.


Perhaps more surprisingly, demand
in developing countries is also falling
sharply. Godrej Industries, an engineering
and consumer products conglomerate,
owns the last manual typewriter
factory in India.

Senior general manager Sorab Barekh says
two-thirds are exported, with various
typefaces, to Africa and
South East Asia.

They tend to be used by remote government
outposts which have a poor electricity
supply. Sales are falling so fast that more
than half a century of production might
cease within three years, he says.


But for a long time yet, anyone who wants
a typewriter will be able to pick one up
at a car boot sale for roughly the
price of a replacement ribbon.


So while the pen may be mightier
than the sword, the typewriter
was once mightier than both.


EX BLING

You don't want it.
He can't have it back.

That is the motto a new website that
allows ex-girlfriends and wives to sell
on unwanted gifts from former lovers.

exboyfriendjewelry.com allows women
to trade rings, bracelets, necklaces,
earrings and watches. It's a bit
like ebay for the brokenhearted.


Among gifts featuring on the site is a diamond
ring priced at the equivalent of £1,250.

The seller writes: "I was married for
three years, when he decided that he
didn't want to be married any more.
So he moved out and I moved on.
I am now about to marry an amazing
man and we are hoping that this will
help pay for an amazing honeymoon!"


There is also a section on the website
entitled "Gifts That Should Have
Been Jewellery", where disappointed
recipients can trade unwanted presents
such as skimpy underwear
and vacuum cleaners.

One seller writes: "He thought he was
buying me something I wanted - I wanted
Honesty and Faithfulness - I got these
chests (above) instead. He's gone
and I want the furniture gone."

The website's founder is Megahn Perry,
30, a Los Angeles-based actress and
writer who was inspired by talking to
her mother-in-law about
her former husband.

She says: "Just because you don't want it,
doesn't mean somebody else isn't dying for it.
Everyone's a winner! Maybe you love him,
maybe you never want to speak to him
again, but either way, you're ready to
move on and make a little
rent money in the process."


BILBO
BOUNCES BACK


It's looks like everyone's favourite
hairy lifeguard Bilbo is
allowed back to work
after all!

A week ago he's future was uncertain
as council officials decided he wasn't
a good anough lifeguard and also
used the "no dogs on the beach"
rule to give him the boot.


News that the celebrity 14-stone (88 kg)
dog was no longer allowed to carry out
his job sparked petitions and campaigns
all over the country to see
him return to work.


Steve Jamieson, Bilbo's owner, said: "At the
moment they're still in discussions but they've
said it looks likely that he will be allowed back.
I'm delighted because there were so many
people who were really upset. Bilbo's
popularity is absolutely huge."

A petition started by his daughter,
Kate, received 720 signatures in just
two days, and a Facebook group named
'Keep Bilbo on the beach' now
has almost 2,000 members.


A spokesperson for the RNLI said: "We are
entering into discussions with Penwith District
Council to see if we can work towards a
long-term solution."

Jim McKenna, chief executive of
Penwith District Council, said:
"We had a very constructive meeting
and we hope to issue a joint
press release next week."



LAST ORDERS

One of the rules the newly appointed mayor
Boris Johnson has come up with is

no alcohol allowed on the
any of the public transport.

In principle it's a good idea but
of course totally unenforceable.


It's not going to stop people getting on transport
when they're already pissed and say I wanted to
have a drink on the tube... all I would do if buy
some orange juice, pour half of it away
and chuck some vodka in there.
Or coke/brandy, tonic/gin. Sorted.

Unless they start smelling every vessel
capable of holding liquid at the gates...

And just to point out I have never drunk and
do not drink on the undergorund or any form
of public transport for that matter,
that was an example.

Oh, actually, that's a lie: I do have
a glass of wine with meals
when flying!


A group of people have decided to have "a good old
knees up" to celebrate the ban by launching a

web site to tell people to come to the "The Final
Circle Line Party" tomorrow at 9 pm,
Liverpool
Street Station, Circle Line Clockwise
Platform, rear of the train.


One of the organisers, James Darling, 20, a
web developer from Snaresbrook, east
London, said: "I think it's going to
be very interesting. I am not quite
sure they can do anything about it.

I think I am probably breaking
the law but I am not quite sure how."

UPDATE: Lats night's party turned
into chaos rather predictably.

Six London Underground stations were
closed as trouble flared when thousands
of people marked the banning of alcohol
on London transport with a party.

Four tube drivers, three other staff
members, and two police officers were
assaulted, and there were 17 arrests.

Several trains were damaged and
withdrawn from service, which led
to suspended services.

"We have seen numerous examples this
evening of the negative impact of alcohol
and antisocial behaviour. It is dangerous
for those individuals and others",
Superintendent Ellie Bird said.


STRAWBERRY
HEAVEN


I have a new love in my life.

He's dark, smooth and beautiful on
the inside. He's name's
Wedel
and he's from...Poland!


I am of course talking about the gorgeous
chocolate the Wedel family
have been making since 1851.

The only one I've managed to find so far
(in Asda and in our local newsagents) is
the strawberry one (above) but looking
at the wesbite there are vanilla, lemon,
orange, rasberry and cherry ones as well.

Oh my days! I'll have to book a flight over
there with an empty suitcase I think!
Or I could visit few of the many Polish
supermarkets popping up all
over London I suppose.


SUPERSIZERS

A series on BBC2 called
The Supersizers Go...is turning
out to be quite interesting.


Writer and restaurant critic Giles Coren,
who has a love of good food, and writer
and comedian
Sue Perkins, who is a lover
of cabbage and carrots, are about to
supersize their way through the cuisine of
six different eras in Britain's history -
Wartime (below), Restoration (above),
Victorian, Seventies, Elizabethan
and Regency.


Resplendent in period costume, Sue and Giles
bring history alive with wit, humour and the
occasional burp. Each week, a renowned
chef is on hand to feed them the culinary
treats of the age - such as sheep's head,
coxcombs and eel – all washed down
with copious amounts of beer,
wine and hippocras.


This week the pair were dressing up as 17th
century Restoration types and sampling some
of the grossest, most stomach-curdling
food you can think of.

For a week they drank ale for breakfast,
wine for lunch and dinner and ate every
kind of animal imaginable. Vegetables
were not in fashion back then so it was
meat meat meat all the way.

And the amount of food people used to get
through! If you were wealthy it was the thing to
do: every type animal living on your estate
was hunted and eaten to show
how well off you were.


Experts are on hand to explain the social
behaviour and rituals of people from the
six eras, and Giles and Sue undergo medical
testing after each diet to determine the
impact of the cuisine and lifestyle
on their health.

My favourite comment this week was by Sue:
"Basically I've been off my face (on the ale)
from nine o'clock this morning..."


FINGER

You know when you hurt your finger
and but a plaster on it and it gets in the
way all the time and you realise you do
actually use that particular
finger for everything?

Well, discovered something
strange this week.

Couple of nights ago I managed to
cut off the tip of my left index finger
whilst chopping some onions. I put a
huge plaster on it and endured the
throbbing for the rest of the night.

Yesterday I started typing...and it
wasn't in the way! Turns out
I don't actually use my
left index for typing at all.

How very very peculiar!


SUNSET OF
THE WEEK


29.5.08

MOUSE PILLOW

SAND

If your car is covered with a layer of
sand or dirt today, it may have come
all the way from the
Sahara desert.


The UK does not normally receive
airstreams coming from Africa - usually
they travel in from the Atlantic -
but winds today are blowing
in from the desert region.


"As wind blows across the Sahara it carries
off particles of sand - tonnes of it
every day," said Sky News weather
presenter
Francis Wilson.


"The warm airstream carries the sand
thousands of miles, and dust has
already fallen over Spain and France."

"There could well be some Saharan dust
mixed up in the rain that is going to fall
in England and Wales.It's a pretty rare
event - the dust reaches us
only once or twice a year."


The Saharan dust itself is not responsible
for the thunderstorms forecast for
Britain today, but the hot air from Africa
will provoke torrential downpours.



SMILE!

A bumblebee has been caught
'smiling' on camera in a once
in a lifetime shot.


The image was captured by Chris Cox at
his home in
Holywell Bay, Cornwall.

"I was testing my camera and thought I'd
take some shots," he said.
"It wasn't until a
few days later I looked over the images
and couldn't believe my eyes. The bee
looked as if it was posing for the camera."

PS: I'd like to think this is a real shot
and hasn't been Phtoshopped...


MATCHSTICK
MUGGLE


An Iowa man has built an unbelievably
detailed scale model of
Harry Potter's
Hogwarts school - out of
602,000 matchsticks.


Pat Acton, 55, of Gladbrook, took more
than two years to complete the 602,000
matchstick model which features
all the turrets, walkways and towers
seen in the films.
"I love the books
and consider myself a Harry
Potter fan," he said.


Pat has spent more than 30 years
creating amazing sculptures from
wooden sticks. He started because he
wanted to take up woodworking
but couldn't afford the tools.


After finding a box of wooden kitchen
matches at his local store he began to
experiment and soon knocked up a
church using 500 matchsticks.

So far he's used 2,827,000 sticks to build
models including United States Capitol
(478,000 matchsticks) (above) and The
General (train) (78,000 matchsticks)


He is now working on a stunning scale
model of the Minas Tirith fortified city
(below) as seen in the Lord of
the Rings film trilogy.


Pat, who works as a careers advisor at a
local community college, said: "The Minas
Tirith model will contain hundreds of
city buildings. It will also be topped
with the Tree of Gondor and the
White Tower of Etchelion."


"The dimensions will be roughly
10 feet (3 m) long and about nine
feet (2.7 m) wide. The great tower
is seven feet (2.1 m) tall."


27.5.08

SPACE BEER

A Japanese brewery says it's planning
the first "space beer," using offspring
of barley once stored at the
International Space Station.


Researchers said the project was part
of efforts to prepare for a future in
which humans spend extended periods
of time in space - and might like
a cold beer after a space walk.


Sapporo Holdings brewery said it would
make beer using the third generation
of barley grains that were on the
International Space Station
for 5 months in 2006.


"We want to finish the beer by November.
It will be the first space beer," Sapporo
executive Junichi Ichikawa said.

The company will have enough space
grain to produce about 100 bottles of
beer but has no immediate plan to
make it a commercial venture,
Sapporo officials said.

So far scientists have not detected
any differences between
Earth-grown and space barley.


The barley was the latest
space experiment with food:


South Korea's first astronaut, Yi So-Yeon,
brought
kimchi into space last month,
while Japan has previously
sent noodles into orbit.


THE BRIDGET
EFFECT


Chardonnay, once Britain’s most popular wine,
has seen sales plummet in the last year
because of the
Bridget Jones effect,
ccording to wine expert
Oz Clarke (below).


Figures from retail analysts TNS found
that 7.5 million fewer shoppers took home
a bottle of the white wine than
in the 12 months before.


Mr Clarke is pointing the finger directly at
the fictional Bridget Jones, whose struggles
with men, cigarettes and the bathroom scales
were documented in diaries written by
the author Helen Fielding.


In the books, adapted for screen with Renee
Zellweger as the star, publishing assistant
Bridget takes solace in vast quantity
of Chardonnay.

Mr Clarke blamed Bridget’s woes for dragging
sales of her favourite wine down.
“Chardonnay
has made some of the world’s greatest wines,
everyone appreciated it - until Bridget
Jones,” he said.


“She goes out on the pull, fails, goes back to her
miserable bedsit, sits down, pours herself
an enormous glass of Chardonnay, sits there
with mascara running down her cheeks
saying, 'Dear diary, I’ve failed again,
I’ve poured an enormous glass of
Chardonnay and I’m going
to put my head in the oven.’
Great marketing aid.”


NICE COLOURS
OF THE DAY


STATION MASTER
TAMA


A Japanese train company, which is
loosing money, has found the purr-fect
pet mascot to draw crowds and bring
back business - tabby
Tama.


All the 9-year-old female cat does is
sit by the entrance of Kishi Station in
western Japan, wearing a black uniform
cap and posing for photos for the tourists
who are now flocking in droves
from across the nation.


Tama has been doing such a good
job of raising revenue for the troubled
Kishikawa train line that she was recently
promoted to "super-station-master."


"She never complains, even though
passengers touch her all over the place.
She is an amazing cat. She has patience
and charisma," Wakayama Electric
Railway Co. spokeswoman
Yoshiko Yamaki said. "She is the
perfect station master."

Appointing a cat to turn around fortunes
makes cultural sense in Japan, where
cats are considered good luck and
are believed to bring in business.


People are snatching up novelty goods -
postcards, erasers, notebooks and pins -
decorated with Tama's photos.

There's even a special 1,365 yen (£6.5)
book of photos of Tama called,
"Diary of Tama, the Station Master."


BUT...

I don't like carrots...

SHAKE IT

Kevin Whittaker, 31, and Cory Jens, 30,
(below) from San Francisco deserved a
hand after their record-setting attempt,
but they probably didn't want to shake it.

The pair sought to set a new world record
yesterday by shaking hands with each
other for 9 1/2 hours, apparently
beating the previous record set
by two Germans by a half-hour.

The Guinness Book of World Records
must confirm the feat, but they
feel pretty confident.


"I looked up what some of the weakest records
were," Whittaker said. "I'm not going to break
the 100-meter dash record, but I thought I
could break this record."


The rules from Guinness appear easy enough:
handshakers are not required to look each
other in the eye or exchange pleasantries;
they simply must grip palms and
continuously move their
hands up and down.

The historic day began at 2:07 p.m.
outside the
Ferry Building, where the
duo endured the discomfort of such issues
as sweaty palms, arm cramps and,
of course, bathroom breaks.

By nightfall, the they decided to continue
their quest for greatness at a hotel bar
with warmth, comfortable seats
and alcoholic beverages.


The effort culminated at 11:38 p.m. with a
bottle of bubbly - and some much needed
space.
"It's not that fun, believe me,"
Whittaker said. "I'm a little tired.
My shoulder is tired. In fact,
it's extremely painful."


ROLLIN' ROLLIN'
ROLLIN'


It's that "mad dogs and Englishmen"
time of the year again...after being
cooped up for the winter it's time to
roll down a hill.
After a cheese.


A view from the top of Cooper's Hill (above)
in Gloucestershire, where the famous
200 meter Cheese-Rolling takes place,
is steep to stay the least.

This picture above is taken from the start point
of the race. The incline is 1 in 1 in places.

The event attracs competitors and spectators
from across the world. A film crew arrived from
Brazil while contestants heralded from far
away as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.


This years winners include Christopher Anderson
(below) (The 1st Race), from Brockworth,


and Flo Early (below) (the Ladies
Race) from Sheepscombe.

Christopher was stretchered off after
hurting
his back as he finished
head over heels.


He returned to the event after receiving
a check-up by paramedics, watching in
heavy rain and strong winds from the
sidelines for the fifth and last race.

Altogether only 19 people were injured
because the wet weather had softened
the ground, reducing the risk of serious
damage. More than 30 volunteers from
St John Ambulance service were
kept busy mainly by cuts and bruises.

And what do the mad men and women
plummeting down the hill get for their
trouble? Well, a cheese of course!

The Present Master of Ceremonies
is Rob Seex (above)– dairy farmer of
Upton-St-Leonards and the cheeses
have been hand-made since 1988 by
Mrs. Diana Smart of Churcham (below),
using milk from her herd of Brown Swiss,
Holstein and Gloucester cows.


26.5.08

LATE MAY
ART 2008


Please click on the images
to view larger versions.