Thursday, November 22, 2007

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Aaron, the winner of our first blog competition.

The actual shop called 'Fools' is a charity second hand sales store. Not quite sure about the name... Aaron's answer was much better.

A prize will make its way to your door.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Come friendly bombs..."

On our recent drive through England and Wales we decided to stop in at Iverheath to visit Bill. Bill has been a dear friend of Shelley’s Grandmother for more than 50 years. More amazing than that though is the fact that they have never met, and have only corresponded by mail and phone all these years.

Bill is 80-something, but is still very sharp. And like a lot of old men, he likes to give good-natured stick to young males (like myself – I am considered a young buck). Over the course of the evening he commented that we should, “lock Julian up in the stocks” (I don’t know why), and admonished Jo not to get the tea, as “Julian can get it – he’s not doing anything”. That was all fine of course; I like a good inter-generational beating ever now and again.

After a few episodes of banter (I didn't exactly banter back) the conversation settled on where we were headed the next day. We were on route west to past Slough tomorrow. “You know there’s a poem by Betjeman about Slough”, said Bill. “Do you know it Julian?’

And here it was – my opportunity to shine. Not just in front of Bill, but in front of Shelley’s parents too. A triple wammy; Bang! Bang! Bang!

These moments come so rarely, so I had to compose myself.

‘Oh,’ I said, ‘ you mean “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, it isn’t fit for humans now”?’

The look from Bill could only be described as disconcerted. I, on the other-hand, was wearing an expression much like that of a schoolgirl who has just been complimented on her dress (‘Oh, this old thing?’).

I basked in the glory for the rest of the visit, but as with all great deceptions, it had to end when we got back in the car. And Shelley had to end it; she told her parents where I learnt it. For those of you who haven’t watched The Office, you can copy and paste the address below (I don't know how to hyperlink).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kids, don't try this at home

Shelley was marking one of her class exams last night when she noticed a little error. I asked her if she had read the paper beforehand. "Well not properly. I just can't believe not one kid in that class put their hand up to ask me about it".

Well I wouldn't either. I'd just be sitting there thinking, "Ooooh my goodness, I did not know that about apple juice and cider."

Explain why the apples are chopped and crushed. Indeed.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wall of promises

So this is a wall of promises we found in Newport, Wales. I’m not sure what the significance of the fish might be, but some of the promises are worth zooming in on.

Some are noble.

Some are impossible.

Some are baffling.

And some exhibit what could be called a God complex.

I don’t know. It just didn’t help that such lofty sentiments were cast alongside scenes like this.

They can’t control the tides I suppose...or perhaps one of them can?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Australia Wedding

As many of you know, Julian and I flitted back to the land of Oz in August for my Sister Abbie's wedding. After a grueling 2 nights with no sleep, we were happy to be greeted by our much loved family for a truly jam-packed 10 days, involving hens nights, dress trials, cup-cake making, and general wedding preperations. (Okay, so Julian wasn't involved in all of those things).

We made four different types of wedding cup-cakes, white chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel and fruitcake, and boy were they delicious.

The wedding day was as good as it could have been, with the torrential rain and cyclonic winds politely pausing for all the important moments. It was such a great opportunity to enjoy great company and great food at the same time as celebrating a new addition to the family.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nice Jugs!

For those of you who don’t know, we recently spent about a week touring around England and Wales with Peter and Jo (Shelley’s Mum and Dad). We rented a car, and drove in a vague direction towards Wales (past Slough and Swindon for Office devotees), stopping whenever we saw something nice. Fortunately this place is packed enough with interesting things to make that approach viable.

This is a B&B we stayed at in an anonymous little town in Wales (or at least a view of the town itself). I think the town was called Llwwddfyrddin; it has a nice river running near it with jumping salmon in the right season. That’s not important though. What is important is that the lady who runs the B&B has really nice jugs (see below).

She spent about a decade collecting them all, but then apparently had nowhere to store them, so hung them all on the rafters. At least that’s all I can make of it. People, this is what can happen when you get jug greedy. Be careful, it starts with, “Oooh, that’s a nice jug, I’ll have that”. Then it’s another, and another, until all you can think of is jugs. It’s sad to say, but we missed the opportunity to say the obvious line (a week passed before I realised). If there was one place in the world where you could, with a clear conscience, say to a lady, ‘Nice jugs!’ then this was it. And we missed it. I almost want to run back there and pop my head in – ‘And one more thing – you have nice jugs!’ It’s probably for the best.

We had an exceptionally nice meal in a pub down the road from the B&B. The hostess there was really friendly and chatted with us for a while, about travel, Australia, and how humans have a recessive gene that makes us want to fly like butterflies. According to Deepak Chopra (slightly radical author) the same gene that makes butterflies emerge from their cocoons and fly away is also present in humans. Now Dan knows why he tried to parachute off the garage roof with only a large plastic bag when he was five. Now if only we could pinpoint the gene that prompted Aaron and me to let him.