Archive | December, 2013

Thanks’ Mine’s a Glass of Merlot Please!

28 Dec

And so with various Bypass personnel still making their way back through the floods and power cuts in North Wales we go over to Debs Redd who hasn’t been out and about much….

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Whilst Gill and chums were living it up in Wales, I stayed in the badlands of North West Bedfordshire. Flat, low-lying, a major river running through it, prone to flooding…. you get the picture.  Luckily, nobody was inconvenienced in the village because the fields by the river have stayed exactly that and haven’t been built on by developers who don’t understand that the term “flood plain” implies an area that is liable to flood.

Christmas day was spent in much the same way as most people these days of all political leanings– shall I tick them off?

ü  People complaining that the spirit of Christmas is lost and is too commercialised whilst having stockpiled food, drink, presents and decorations since September and annexing the religious-themed Christmas cards to a dark corner of the sitting room in case they embarrass anyone.

ü  Complaining that people used to make their own entertainment and now sit around watching television (how else are you supposed to watch it?) whilst sitting around watching television.

ü  Asking if you can help with anything, being told no thank you I’ve got everything covered, and then being accused of not helping.

Lunch was spent in a local pub that has recently changed hands, and there was much grumbling that coffee and mince pies were no longer included in the price and that the new owners were cheapskates. Back home, into the jeans and sensible shoes whilst we desperately try to cram in as much walking as we can before it gets dark so that can have room for another gargantuan meal. The box of Christmas crackers was enormous, yet once again we somehow managed not to notice it so didn’t get the chance to pull them at tea time.   Unlike Gill, I didn’t see Doctor Who as Coronation Street took precedence (no sniggering at the back – John Betjeman was a fan, and if it was good enough for him it’s good enough for you lot).  The blood and guts of Call the Midwife didn’t put anyone off their food, and Mrs Brown’s Boys is basically a variation of the family entertainment we watched back in the seventies, but with added “fecks”.   We love watching a man wearing a frock!

Incidentally, this also seems to be the way most people of all religious leanings spend Christmas.  An article in one of the broadsheets at the weekend stated that precisely because Christmas has become secularised, non-Christians have felt able to embrace the trappings as they have nothing to do with religion.  Everyone’s included.  Isn’t that nice?

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Thunderbirds! (A Royal Bank of Scotland Company)

27 Dec

International Rescue, can you hear us, SOS, can you hear us International Rescue?????

FAB, have your credit card ready!

FAB, have your credit card ready!

Thank you for calling International Rescue (A Royal Bank of Scotland Company) , your call is important to us! You will now hear a choice of options to help us address your needs and provide the correct service. Calls may be recorded to help us improve customer service! Then again they might not!

1) For ocean going vessels that are slowly sinking please press 1

2) If you ship is sinking quite quickly please press 1 quite a few times.

3) If your are stranded on a desert island (lucky you! its better than being on a sinking ship) please remove your phone battery and dunk it in the sea. This will extend its life!

4) To be rescued by that little digger “Mole” thing that comes out of Thunderbird 2 please press 3.

5) If you are stuck in space with limited air supplies left you are talking bollocks and Thunderbird 5 was only on telly. And how come no one ever picked it up on radar or saw Thunderbird 3 taking off?

6) If you are being menaced by our arch enemy “The Hood” as played by him that was also Ghandi well that’s you fucked as he’s a tough one and you’re not covered by your policy for deranged criminal masterminds!

Oh, did we not mention that? Sorry International Rescue since being bought by RBS only turn up if you taken out out ridiculously expensive cover with us with plenty of little clauses. We are quite good at household insurance and we hope this expansion into global emergencies manages to redeem our fairly crap public images.

To spend ages waiting for one of our low paid call center staff to answer your call please wait. If you hear a long interminable continuous beepy tone………………please try later!

Free Drink Anybody?

25 Dec

Yes! With a big ho ho ho and  a raised glass we have all relocated to a small village near Llangollen for a few days to Gill’s cousin’s pub that she bought from the Lees Brewery last year! How’s that!!!! You get fed up with the village pub changing hands every 12 months or so so they go and buy it from the brewery and start turning the ship around!

Anyway we all piled in on the 23rd, several cars worth of people, luggage and Wiz although we forgot what car she was in, it was just like that that Wham song “Last Christmas”without the snow. Or a cable car!Anyway we are now loafing about in a pub that’s closed for Xmas day with a cellar full of booze, our very own personal lock in! yay! Didn’t understand Dr Who, nothing new as it mostly goes over my head these days, Downton Abbey is currently on. Total rubbish apart from Joanne Frogget, I got the latest Viz annual and I just love “The Drunken Bakers”

It’s quite cold outside, the planet Jupiter is very clear near Gemini (the twins) (( to your left of Orion)) you can’t miss it. Unless it’s cloudy where you are. Or in the Southern Hemisphere. Or you might not be reading this soon after posting in which case Jupiters wandered off somewhere in the solar system. Like me! I’m going to take Wiz off over the road near the sheep field so she can do “diddles”. Have a good time and Ian, I tried ringing you last week but you weren’t in so I’ll try later on this week, Vicky..same! Helen..lets hope the test come’s back negative.

Lets find a picture to go with this…no I’ll do it tomorrow. Bye bye!

A Classmas Carol!

20 Dec
Cat Playing the Piano!

Cat Playing the Piano!

 

Cameron and Duncan-Smith
Avarice and greed
You took advantage of the poor
Just ignored the needy
You specialize in causing pain
Spreading fear and doubt
And if they could not pay the tax
You simply threw them out

 
Mr Osborne Mr Hague
Your hearts are painted black
We should have known your evil deeds
Would put us all in shackles
Captive, Bound We’re double-ironed
Exhausted by the weight

Clegg and friends
First class liars all the time
Our future is a horror story
Written by your crimes
This weight is getting heavier
By what you say and do
So, have your fun
But when we come
A nightmare waits for you!

(adapted slightly and quite had fisted if i say so myself  from Marley and Marley, The Muppets Chistmas Carol by Paul Williams who also played Virgil in Battle for the Planet of the Apes!)

Hardened Anarchists…on the Street!

18 Dec

Sometimes when we are round at Debs place I end up absorbing events on Coronation Street almost by osmosis. We place aside our deep discussions about how a future anarchist society would function and I cause Debs great annoyance by asking inane questions like “who’s she ?” “where’s Eddie Yeats ?” “will Ken get off like Kevin?” and how come there’s only three or four people in there that I know, one of whom is Lister from Red Dwarf and why has no one noticed a load of “simples” Meerkats scuttling up and down outside the Rovers before the adverts. Leaving Coronation Street is a very bad move even if they do it in an on screen box rather than through an off screen court case. The guy that played Curly Watts..sorry…the guy that pretended to be someone called Curly Watts left way back in 2003 after a mediocre but quite well paid job pretending to be gormless. Since then apart from two cameo’s as Curly in DVD spin offs he hasn’t worked on telly as far as I can see. He’s therefore very eager to return and has been dropping hints that he’s ready and waiting for the call to arms but as of last March ITV have been dropping hints that he’s history and since Last of The Summer Wine, a televisual retirement home for all manner of actors (Cato and Hilda Ogden) was put out of its misery it seems Curly’s intention of once more walking down the street  will have to wait till Nelson Mandela pops into the Rovers Return!

New Kats on the block! No..I can't figure it out either.

New Kats on the block! No..I can’t figure it out either.

The same happened to some nasally voiced character called Ashley who perished along with a few others when a train landed on him. He’s not worked much since and he was quite upset at the time. Probably still is! Walking to Granada studio’s with people gawping at you one minute then next, something that must feel like oblivion, what the majority of us tolerate as real life!

Joanne Froggatt and Sarah Lancashire have both bucked the trend, the latter despite being dizzy Raquel for too long has always popped up on the box as recently as last night in Last Tango in Halifax and I’m looking forward to the “butter” scene. Ms Froggatt briefly played single mum Zoe Tattersall years back, was written out probably against her wishes but in time to have currency in various hard dramas like Jimmy McGovern’s “The Street” set in Manchester which I thought something of a confusing gamble although Corrie and The Street were like chalk and cheese. In this alternate Manchester street Joanne helps her sister to “ex” her ex as he’s an abusive violent drunk. After a grim few but increasingly violent episodes it was very nice to see him being whacked to death with a shovel.  Joanne’s  now in Downton Abbey! Zzzz! Sarah Lancashire turned up in the 2010 rehash of Upstairs Downstairs, more servants and masters rubbish which bombed!

Hayley’s leaving next. Carried off by the big C followed by a humanist funeral so no puppy eyes from Hayley (Julie Hesmondalgh) asking to come back. As the only transgender character in a UK soap I always felt that the storyline was lacking something particularly having a female actor playing the part and even a transphobia theme years back could have reflected reality a bit better but hey Julie’s been very active supporting numerous trans charities. She’s tasted the freedom of live stage work at the Royal Exchange, wants more and I hope she does well ! There are though two people who I would love to see “ex’d” with a shovel not neccesarily by Joanne Froggatt  but if she’s available…And they aren’t in Coronation Street.

I swear blind that when I study our TV when its turned off I can see the images of Ant and Dec permanently burnt into the screen like the way certain parts of computer programs were indelibly etched into PC monitors before a Mr Ronald Screensaver from Burnley patented his invention and named it …the “ Ronald”.

The Continuing Adventures of Debs!

17 Dec

…In which Debs “I’ve Got a Cold but the story comes first” Redd visits Bedford’s Christmas Fair. Or should it be “fayre?”

The 21st Bedford Christmas Fair took place on 13th–15th December, and I staggered down there on the Sunday, pockets full of kitchen roll, to report on proceedings as certain other Bedford Bypass members were giving it a miss.

Bedford's Christmas Market. Although to be honest it could be anywhere!

Bedford’s Christmas Market. Although to be honest it could be anywhere!

This is the first year that the event has not been advertised as the Bedford Victorian Fair, the Victorian element having dwindled year on year but gamely hanging on.  When I first started going, all the stall holders were dressed in period clothing and certainly looked impressive.  Obviously, this was the clothing of the well-to-do or the artisan – Bedford being a sedate market town back then, with a distinct lack of cotton mill, docks and ragged children.  The stalls sold high quality food and craft items, and there were street entertainers and fairground attractions.  The high points (for children or adults with children which rules us lot out) were the helter skelter, swing boats, carousel and the steam engine to power it. A recreation as we envisage the past!

Now people complain that it looks little different from the weekly markets.  What happened?  There was a piece in the local paper on the Sunday stating that the high cost of taking part was putting people off.  This isn’t the whole story – if that was true, there would be fewer stalls in total, if anything there are more. My take on it is that the Victorian costumes are expensive to hire, and that the high quality goods might be good to look at but people weren’t buying in the quantities needed to make the stalls pay.  Yet even though it was drizzling and my appearance was enough to send anyone scuttling, the place was packed and everyone looked happy, with plenty of money being handed over.  The Midland Road section had certainly lost the Victorian element, but the people queuing for their Mexican takeaway weren’t complaining.  The Harpur Road section was more like the Victorian Fair of old, with among other attractions the sheepskin accessories stall, cheese stall, book tent and craft stalls with their gew gaws and knick knacks – Christmas presents for someone who wants something a bit “different”. 

(Intermission: Time for a cuppa! Debs, what’s a “gew gaw? It’s a decorative ornament!

Oh, thanks, I am enlightened! That’s OK, are you going to put this at the end. No I think I’ll leave it here!…….where were we?…)

The Victorian sweet stall with its screw top jars has given way to an ordinary pick and mix, but we are a pick and mix society.  The stall holder selling “ye olde hot dogs “was having a stab at irony, and the many people enjoying his product were aware of it.  In a building on Harpur Street there was also a tea room and indoor market with more of the same, and I stopped by one stall to admire something.  The two stall holders ignored me while they fiddled with their mobiles.  I felt tears of pride prick the back of my eyeballs – crap British service was alive and well!

The swing boats have gone, but the helter skelter, carousel and steam engine are there and street entertainers appear at set times (there is a widely circulated programme). Although people regret the dilution of the Victorian element, numbers are what matter these days – as long it’s hugely popular with the locals, visitors and traders no one has a problem.  Apparently, there is a waiting list of stall holders who want a piece of the action.  Also, the event was criticised for its commercial element right from the start – Mr S and I still laugh about the time when in midst of its Dickensian glory days we spotted a stall holder, frock coat and top hat trying to sell conservatories.

Bringing the lords word…to ambulances!

13 Dec

Living life in the fast lane we very often find ourselves staying in hotels, nothing too posh, quite often a Premier Inn or somewhere overlooking the sea. We stayed at a very basic place in Birmingham recently and the TV remote didn’t have batteries leading me to wonder if you had to ask at reception to stop people pinching them.

I’ve very often wondered who The Gideons are. There’s usually a bible tucked away in a draw, bit of bedtime reading maybe, all placed by some crowd called The Gideons. Are they invited in? do they book in under pseudonyms and then deposit their books without the hotel being aware? do they shimmy up the drainpipe like him that delivered Milk Tray? More to the point does anyone actually read them?

Just what you need after 3 hours stuck on the M25

Just what you need after 3 hours stuck on the M25

Not only do the Gideons leave bibles in hotel bedrooms they have now come to the aid of Bedfordshire’s ambulances according to the press release and all ambulance crews will now have access to bibles, presumably they can lend them to anyone that’s received a kickin in Bedford as they wait at A&E. Again I’m filled with wonder, did the ambulance crews ask for them? did they threaten industrial action “BIBLES NOW RAH RAH RAH”? Could they choose other books like James Herbert or Terry Pratchett?, are the bibles in the actual ambulance? do they take turns to drive while the other reads it? do they read it out loud? couldn’t they get a box set of CDs with all the stories on? it’s bloomin difficult reading when you are travelling fast trying to get someone’s who’s gone blue to casualty and what about the night shift, I don’t know about you but I struggle to drive if my co passengers have a light on. Mind you I struggle with spoken word CDs as I can’t concentrate on what’s being said.

I’ve got a huge stack of Beano’s from the late 90s and early 000s. £5.00 for the lot, I paid, about 200 of them  and I might just start leaving one in each place we stay to see what the effects are. At least you have a choice between Moses et al and the fun loving characters from Beano town!

Parking rules and Police Vans!

12 Dec

You might remember that piece from a few weeks back “The Twat in the Hat” when I saw a particular dishevelled and frankly odd looking traffic warden booking a lorry delivering to the Magistrates Court and getting excited in the process. I suggested that this stupidity maybe required a word from the Mayor and do you know what! I think he’s listened to me! I feel certain of this because as the picture shows, that white van is parked in exactly the same spot. A traffic warden has walked by and despite the chance he has exercised plain common sense and not got his little book and camera out! Hurrah!

Best ignore this one, its a police van!

Best ignore this one, its a police van!

Now the van in question is actually a Bedfordshire Police vehicle but it wasn’t delivering evil doers to the court he was dropping off a package which I believe counts as “unloading” which is forbidden at that location. I’m confident that this is evidence that the wardens are no longer targeting delivery vehicles that don’t have any choice in parking where they do and this is in no way evidence of a tacit decision to turn a blind surveillance eye to vehicles with Bedfordshire Police emblazoned on the side. If it were it would show a high degree of double standards wouldn’t it and that’s not on! No! It most certainly isn’t!

Can You Imagine…

11 Dec

Can you imagine what would have happened if David Cameron had done this at Thatcher’s funeral?

One to show the kids!

And this is me on the beach!

Political Hat Trick!

10 Dec

What do our Bedford based politicians have in common? Answer, they never miss a photo opportunity, any chance to slither into the background of whatever issue the local papers are covering!

What are we opposing this week Dave?

What are we opposing this week Dave?

Take the recent attention on closures at Bedford Hospital with a totally farcical situation in which only the most seriously injured children would be seen, the rest would have to be shipped over to Milton Keynes. Cue the politicians with Mayor Dave and sidekick Charles (Muttley) Royden taking the lead and becoming the saviours of the day! So the Libe Dems are against the closures and cutbacks!

And then to ad to the melee comes Bedford MP Richard Fuller (Conservative). He’s got a petition going to add to the one that the Lib Dems inevitably get going! So the Conservatives are against the closures and cut backs!

Look concerned, can you email me a copy?

Look concerned, can you email me a copy?

Finally we have ex MP Patrick Hall ( he’s after his job back) with all the charisma of an out of date loaf Patrick and those Labour Cllrs that actually like him have done their usual stunt and gone for the crowd photograph with Patrick standing at the back and in the middle which qualifies for our PatWatch feature. Oh and Patrick has an online petition. So Labour are against closures and cut backs!

Sign the petition, get on the Labour / Lib Dem / Conservative database, get bombarded with more “vote for me” stuff, come and help us win, give us your money…just don’t expect them to do anything about the hospital!

Incidentally as far as I’m aware the local Lib Dems haven’t unveiled their candidate for the 2015 general election. They always come a very poor third so the chance to wear the orange rosette is usually given to someone who wants to build their portfolio before they go for a better chance. But as soon as they are announced and start shoving their faces into our letter boxes we will let you know!

And its 2015 before the next elections! Bloody Hell!

And its 2015 before the next elections! Bloody Hell!