31 December 2008

A good news story for New Year's Eve

Last weekend the Telegraph reported good news for one of the country's rarest mammals. The pine marten had almost been wiped out save for a few scattered populations in Scotland.

A new report, however, reveals that the pine marten is starting to regain a foothold in parts of England and Wales.Conservation groups have reported sightings in 25 "hot spots" around the Lake District, Yorkshire, Snowdonia and even as far south as Staffordshire.Experts using DNA testing have also found evidence of pine martens in the Cwm Rheidol valley, near Aberystwyth, Wales, for the first time in 50 years.

"It now looks like there is evidence of pine martens in England and Wales for the first time since they are thought to have died out (in 1994)," said zoologist Professor David MacDonald, "There are still question marks over how viable those populations are, but it is a positive result in those areas that contrasts quite starkly with how pine martens are seen in the north of Scotland.They are relatively widespread there, but are not universally welcomed as the game keeping fraternity regard them as pests that prey upon pheasants and capercaillie."

Pine martens were once common across much of the UK, living in predominantly wooded areas and sections of moorland where they preyed upon small rodents, birds, insects and eggs. They were heavily hunted and poisoned by landowners who feared they were damaging game bird populations.In 1988 they were given full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but continued to decline and by 1994 had disappeared from England and Wales.They are now thought to be the UK's second rarest carnivore after the Scottish wildcat.

Recent research has also revealed that the creatures are widespread across much of Northern Ireland. The UK as a whole is thought to be home to more than 3,600 pine martens.It is not known whether the pine martens in England and Wales came across the border from Scotland, or were isolated populations which have managed to survive unnoticed until now.

The Forestry Commission is also attempting to capture pictures of the shy mammals on film by baiting camera traps with jam and peanut butter, a favourite treat for pine martens, which have a sweet tooth particularly over the winter months when they normally eat berries.

Brian Walker, wildlife officer at the Forestry Commission, added: "We have had some very reliable sightings by national park rangers. There is a lot to suggest they are living on the Yorkshire Moors now. Of course, the real clincher will be to get some DNA or a good photograph as we can't ask for money to conserve a species until we can prove it is really living here."

Northumberland Wildlife Trust will next year also begin a new pine marten monitoring scheme to provide estimates of the pine marten populations living in the area.Steve Lowe, conservation manager at Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: "Northumberland Wildlife Trust receives regular reports of pine marten sightings across the county. Located just south of the pine marten's traditional stronghold in Scotland, Northumberland is of particular interest to researchers."

There are relatively few good news stories to go round but it's glad to end the year on one.

Arise Sir Terry!

While a knighthood for cyclist Chris Hoy who won his second, third and fourth Olympic gold medals at Beijing was perhaps on the cards, it was a pleasant surprise to see Terry Pratchett get a knighthood in the New Year honours list. Terry's work will never be considered as a literary "great" but his discworld novels are thoroughly entertaining and are loved by millions worldwide. Personally, anyone who can create such wonderful characters as Lord Vetinari, Sam Vimes Mustrum Ridcully, Gytha Ogg, Gaspode and Foul Ole Ron, deserves an honour!

I hope he will be able to continue writing, despite suffering from early onset Alzheimer's

30 December 2008

WW - Favourites II

Oscar Wilde's grave, Pere Lachaise Paris

Detail from teh grave of persian writer Sadegh Hedayat, Pere Lachaise, Paris


Crab spider on Teasel

British Museum

The not-wife and Robyn

This week's entry for the Tuesday and Wednesday editions of Wordless Wednesday

Departed 2008 – Part 4

December saw the passing of too many beloved personalities:

5 December: Romanian jazz singer Anca Parghel, aged 51

8 December, Oliver Postgate Oliver Postgate, aged 83. Postgate was responsible for many of the programmes that delighted children, including Ivor the Engine, the Clangers and of course Bagpuss

11 December: Bettie Page aged 85. Need I say more?

25 December: Eartha Kitt, aged 81

But perhaps the saddest loss of the year is Kathy Staff (nee Minnie Higginbottom) aged 80. For 36 years Kathy played the role of sex kitten Nora Batty in the long running comedy Last of the Summer Wine . Nora Batty? Phwooar! I don't care what others think, I am proud to call myself a Batty Boy!

29 December 2008

Departed in 2008 – Part 3

12 July: Olive Riley aged 108. Author of The Life of Riley, Olive was believed to be the oldest blogger in the world. Will I still be here spouting drivel in 2071?

20 July: Human detritus Dinko Šakić aged 86. A war criminal, Šakić was a commander of Jasenovac concentration camp where tens of thousands of Serbs, Roma, Jews and others were murdered by the Croatian fascist puppets. Šakić escaped to Argentina but happily he was extradited and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 1999. The piece of vermin died in prison. Rot in hell scum.

While on the subject of scum I also hope the priest Vjekoslav Lasić who eulogised him saying "the court that indicted Dinko Šakić indicted Croatia and Croatians", and "every Croat should be proud of Šakić's name" has a miserable and painful life.

14 August: Lita Roza aged 82. In 1953 with a version of “How much is that doggie in the window?” Lita became the first British woman to top the UK singles charts.

17 August: Maudie Hopkins aged 93. Maudie was the last publicly known widow of a American Civil War veteran. In 1934 at the age of 19 she married 86 year old William Cantrell. This she did to escape a life of poverty in Arkansas. Cantrell died within three years. There may be two other surviving widows but if they exist they do not wish to be identified.

16 September John Fancy aged 85. Mr Fancy was taken prisoner in France in 1940 but resolved to change this state, making a total of 16 escape attempts. His tunnelling efforts earned him the nickname “The Mole”. He finally returned to the UK in April 1945.

29 October: William Wharton aged 82. Wharton was the author of Birdy, one of my favourite novels

17 November: George Stephen Morrison aged 89. George Morrison outlived his famous son Jim by 37 years.

Departed in 2008 – Part 2

25 April: Jazzman, calligrapher and cartoonist Humphrey Lyttelton aged 86. Like many others it was his role as host of the radio show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue that I knew and loved best. After all it was the show that brought us Mornington Crescent...

The Exodus

28 April: Yossi Harel who commanded the main clandestine operations bringing immigrants to Palestine after WWII. The most famous of these was Exodus 1947 (One of the many stains on British history). Perhaps his greatest achievement was the success of Knesset Yisrael which, despite problems, brought 4,000 refugees from Yugoslavia in 1946.

11 May: John Rutsey original drummer for Rush (Yes I like Rush and I am not ashamed to say so!)

23 May: Photographer Cornell Capa . Aged 80 Cornell was the younger brother of Robert.

28 May: Artist Beryl Cook There’s something delightful about her work. I think Victoria Wood was spot on when she described it as “Rubens with jokes”

2 June: Bo Diddley aged 79. A genius

29 June Don S. Davis Aged 65. A character actor and artist, it was as General Hammond in Stargate SG-1 that I knew him best (Yes I am a Sci-Fi fan as well as a Rush fan.. sad, eh?)

28 December 2008

Departed in 2008 – Part 1

10 January: Mikhail Petrovich Minin aged 85. Minin was the first Soviet soldier to enter the Reichstag building on 30 April 1945 and the first soldier to mount a flag on the building. According to his Times obituary he had to wait five decades for recognition. He was awarded an official honour by Boris Yeltsin on the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The iconic photograph of Georgian soldier Militon Kantariya fixing a pole with the soviet flag on the Reichstag was staged on on May 2.

Also on 10 January, Maila Nurmi aged 85. Nurmi was better known as horror film host Vampira but perhaps her most unforgettable appearance was in Ed Wood’s seminal Plan 9 From Outer Space

17 January: Bobby Fischer, Chess champion, aged 64. Fischer was proof that chess can seriously damage one’s mind. Remember kids if someone offers you a rook and a couple of paws just say “NO!”

6 February: Tony Rolt, aged 89. A racing driver, Rolt was the last surviving participant in the first world championship Formula 1 grand prix at Silverstone in 1950. Rolt won the Le Mans 24 hours race in 1953.

8 February: Merril Sandoval, Navajo code talker, aged 82. Corporal Sandoval saw active service at Iwo Jima and Saipan.

4 March: Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, aged 69. I played D&D exactly once and never again.. If I want some fantasy role-playing I can think of more adult pursuits but I digress....

30 March: photojournalist and Killing Fields survivor Dith Pran, aged 65. Dith Pran’s story was the subject of Sydney Schangeberg’s “The Death and Life of Dith Pran” and of course the award winning film the Killing Fields.


  • You are born on Christmas Day

  • Your mother is called Virgen Maria
  • Your father is a carpenter

then it’s unlikely that you’ll be called Kylie or Scott. A photo of the baby Jesus here

Churches benefit from economic downturn

Even though unemployment is rising and banks and businesses are failing, the recession is not bad for everyone. I am not referring to shops called £land, pound stretcher and so on but the churches of this nation.

Are people returning to their lost faiths? Are there more bums on pews on a chilly Sunday morning? Not quite....According to the Guardian the collapse in global commodities prices, particularly metals, has seen a fall in the number of thefts from church roofs.

Ecclesiastical Insurance, which covers 95% of the country's Anglican churches, has noted a substantial fall in claims over the year. "It seems to be slowing down, admittedly from a very high level," said Chris Pitt, a spokesman for the insurer. "We still expected 2008 will be the worst year in history for metal theft from churches, but hopefully if prices stay low it could start to drop further."

The theft of metal, most notably copper and aluminium, became endemic as global prices soared during 2006 and 2007 due to record demand from construction and manufacturing industries, particularly in China. And it was not just churches affected: a two-tonne piece in bronze by Henry Moore is believed to have been melted down.

The downturn has also been noted by the British Transport Police (BTP), which considers metal theft its most pressing problem after terrorism... "Crime levels almost directly match commodities prices," said Paul Crowther, a BTP assistant chief constable.

22 December 2008

Evil water

The New Scientist has a short item about “Dead” or “Evil” water affecting swimmers.

Ships sailing over a layer of warm that sits on top of saltier, or colder, layers are slowed by waves formed at the boundary of the layers which form a gulf beneath the ship slowing them by anything up to 80%.

Fluid dynamicist Leo Maas at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and colleagues found that the same conditions also affect swimmers "We've been considering the possibility that the drownings of strong swimmers in fair-weather conditions might be the result of dead water, but until now, we weren't really sure if this phenomenon could strike something as small as a single human," says Maas. "Now it seems that it can."

I suppose if a ship can be slowed by the phenomenon then why not people? What is sure, the article is the perfect lead in to what must be the creepiest public information film ever made –a film made perfect by a Donald Pleasance voice over

Headbanging is dangerous - official!

Warning can cause brain damage... Woohoo!

According to the Guardian Australian scientists have advised that headbanging potentially lead to brain damage but that wearing a neck during the activity can reduce the risk.

"We identified a definite risk of mild traumatic brain injury from headbanging." Dr Andrew McIntosh, of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), told the Australian newspaper. "We would suggest a proper public health warning, as for smoking." The results of his research were published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.

Researchers at UNSW's school of risk and safety sciences found that risk of neck and head injury was directly related to song tempo. The average heavy metal song, with a tempo of 146 bpm, is likely to cause mild injury if the head's range of motion is greater than 75 degrees. Songs like Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart – at 180 bpm – are among the most dangerous, leading to anything from mild headaches to mosh-induced strokes.

McIntosh and co-author Declan Patton advised that "Adult-oriented rock" is much more safe, as it involves a slower rate of head-bopping. The study's authors also observed the headbanging of cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead. Listening to the Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated, Beavis kept his "angular head velocity" within safe limits, they wrote. Butthead did not. "It is well understood, however, that cartoon characters are able to tolerate greater than normal impacts without injury," the study drily noted.

Injury can also be avoided by the use of a neck brace. Or, McIntosh advised, "learn to ballroom dance. That's the takeaway message".

I Headbanged to Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Girlschool AC/DC et al in my youth and I ain’t not never had no brane problems. For me and more many others the idea of switching to AOR wonders like Kansas and err stuff like that would be like a living death!

An important announcement from KCNA

Pyongyang, December 19 (KCNA) -- A British preparatory committee for commemorating the Day of the Sun and February 16 in 2009 was inaugurated in London on Dec. 11.

Harpal Brar, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), [and not the Communist Party of Britain M-L (Splitters!) or the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain M-L 9 or is that the Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain M-L (either way an obvious shower of revisionist bastards!)] was elected chairman of the preparatory committee.

The preparatory committee decided to organize colourful political and cultural events in London and local cities of the country on the occasions of the said significant holidays next year.

I am pleased that Harpal Brar, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), [and not the Communist Party of Britain M-L (Splitters!) or the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain M-L ... or is that the Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain M-L (either way an obvious shower of revisionist bastards!)] is taking charge of these important celebrations. I am sure that the preparations are in good hands. I am sure that Harpal Brar, chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), [and not the Communist Party of Britain M-L (Splitters!) or the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain M-L .... or is that the Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain M-L (either way an obvious shower of revisionist bastards!)] will rally both members to make sure that these celebrations are even better than the annual Muir of Ord pheasant sexing ceilidh.

Please visit The Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) ‘s, [and not the Communist Party of Britain M-L (Splitters!) or the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain M-L .... or is that the Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain M-L (either way an obvious shower of revisionist bastards!)] events page to keep track of preparations. As you can see things are hotting up already.

I can’t wait but I just can’t understand why Dermot Hudson (bless his revolutionary red cotton socks) is not at the helm

21 December 2008

From Suffolk to the Louvre


Last week’s Mail carried a wonderful story about a self-taught Suffolk artist Heath Rosselli and a striking and beautiful nude portrait of a friend. The painting is to displayed at the Louvre as part of an exhibition to 'the changing face of breast cancer'. The painting will line up beside Rembrandt's famous painting Bathsheba At Her Bath. The portrait is of Evelyn Satterlee who posed for after a mastectomy.

Simply titled Evelyn, the portrait was simply a way of showing that life goes on. 'The whole point of doing it in the first place was to remove the stigma attached to mastectomies and the idea that people think it is grotesquely disfiguring,' Said Miss Rosselli. 'I wanted my portrait to show it is not an ugly thing.... The aim of the painting was to show that Evelyn remains a beautiful and whole woman, enjoying a full life, a happy marriage, and good health.'

When the portrait was unveiled in 1997, Mrs Satterlee said: 'I consider my missing breast as just a blemish - in the same way I think my thighs are too big and I have more wrinkles than I used to. Posing was a way of me saying that I am done with cancer now and that part of my life is now in the past.'

Miss Rosselli of Worlington in Suffolk, had taken up painting to support herself and her two children after her marriage fell apart.


Heath Rosselli’s work is stunning and succeeds absolutely in portraying Evelyn Satterlee as a beautiful woman in her prime. Mrs Saterlee now teaches English in South Korea... Life goes on...

Majel Barrett RIP

Majel Barrett Roddenberry died from leukaemia on 18 December. She was 76.

Majel Barrett was a part of Star Trek right from the very beginning: As Majel Hudec, she was cast in the role of Number One for the pilot episode “The Cage”. Unfortunately, the pilot was a failure – TV executives were not just ready for was a female in such a lofty role even if the programme was set in a more egalitarian future. When Star Trek was eventually made was recast as Nurse Christine Chapel.

From the start, she also supplied the voice of the Enterprise's computer (and Voyager and DS9) in all the television series and in six of the 10 Star Trek movies. But perhaps her finest Star Trek role was as Lwaxana Troi, the feisty mother of Deanna Troi in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

Picard and Troi

She and Roddenberry married in Japan in 1969 and she stuck by him during the difficult years when it seemed that his creation was then doomed to fail. The television series started to go out in September 1966 and ran for three seasons before being cancelled because of low ratings. It was not until the early 70s that Star Trek gained its popularity. After Roddenberry’s death in 1991 Majel discovered an unused script he had drafted in the 1970s and launched herself on a new career as an executive producer of two series, Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict.

Before she died she had completed voice over work for the new Star Trek film due out next year.

19 December 2008

Photo Hunt - Wide

The theme for this week's Photo Hunt is wide. I've put this photo up before (not in PH though) but it is the shot that fits the bill best without resorting to a stretch... I'll leave the stretch to Mimi's mouth instead

Mimi gets cheese

Mimi about to sink her teeth into a nice lump of cheese. If I'm lucky she will miss my fingers

18 December 2008

Mary Seacole to be honoured at long last

The BBC reports that eight artists - Maurice Blik, Georgia Boyd Russell, Martin Jennings, Susan Stockwell, Bill Woodrow, Kenness George Kelly, Joy Gregory and Etienne Milner - are to submit plans for a memorial statue to nurse and Crimean War heroine Mary Seacole.

A selection panel, chaired by Baroness Amos, will make the final choice in the Spring. The statue will sit in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital, in London.
Earlier this week it was announced that the only known painting of Ms Seacole had been bought by the The National Portrait Gallery for £130,000.

Jamaican-born Ms Seacole was painted by London artist Albert Challen.. It was discovered in July 2003 after being bought at a boot sale in Burford, north Oxfordshire but has been on loan to the gallery since 2004.

Billy Bragg sings the praises of the A13

In addition to his musical endeavours William Bragg found time to win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915

17 December 2008

Ice volcanoes on Titan

The Cassini space probe seems to have found evidence of ice volcanoes on Saturn’s moon Titan – according to the BBC.

Two regions on Titan have been observed to undergo clear changes in brightness. This activity, and radar images hinting at flow-like structures, suggest the presence of volcanoes. Rather than erupting molten rock, Titan's "cryovolcanoes" are thought to ooze a slurry made of water ice, ammonia and methane.

"Cryovolcanism is a process that many people have modelled in theory and shown to be viable in the outer Solar System on an object of Titan's size," said Bob Nelson from the US space agency Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Cassini's radar - an instrument that can pierce Titan’s the thick atmosphere to map the surface, at low resolution - sees lobe-like features at the two locations. Their thickness, about 200m, is consistent with a cyrovolcanic flow interpretation. "These flows would come out as a thick slurry," said Dr Rosaly Lopes, a Cassini radar team investigation scientist. "They can be thick because cryomagma would be viscous, similar to lava flows on Earth."

Not all scientists are convinced by the latest assessment, however. Jeffrey Moore, a Nasa planetary geologist independent of the Cassini mission, told the meeting: "The flow-like features we see on the surface may just be icy debris that has been lubricated by methane rain and transported down-slope into sinuous piles like mudflows."

Ice volcanoes or mudflows caused by methane rain, Titan sounds like a fascinating place. I wonder if I will live to see a manned mission to the moon... Possibly not

Give your man the great smell of meat

According to today’s Guardian Burger King has gone out of its way to help those who do not know what to get their loved ones for Christmas: It has diversified into perfumes.. well one scent anyway

The vendor of fast food that is marginally less like swill than a certain company identified by its golden arches is offering, for a limited time only, the chance to smell like a burger.

The scent for men called Flame is described as "the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat". As if that is not enough this scent costs just $3.99 (£2.65).... It can be purchased online from firemeetsdesire.com.

According to the website "Flame by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you. Behold ... now you can set the mood for whatever you're in the mood for."

Well there you have it.. what man could resist such a gift.. We all dream of having whoppers (fnur, fnur) perhaps this is the next best thing... Having said that I am relieved to say that the not-wife would rather stick red hot pins into her most intimate parts than purchase this product

15 December 2008

World's First Universal Herbal-based Antidote Discovered... If only!

A doctor in Sarawak has discovered what he claims to be the world's first universal antidote, which can cure a person of any side effects due to the presence of chemically-made or natural poison in the human body.

Dr Patau Rubis has claimed that the herbal antidote, derived from various leaves from the jungle can cure anyone who have been attacked or bitten by poisonous snakes, insects, bees or wasps or those who accidentally drink chemically-made poisons such as paraquat.

The 62-year Dr Patau is documenting Bidayuh traditional healing practices for medicinal purposes, said it was high time to protect the ingredients of many traditional healing practices in Sarawak to preserve them for the younger generation to do the research and market them commercially. "One cup of this herbal antidote has relieved four people from snake bites, wasp and caterpillar urine," he said, adding that his daughter, who was bitten by unknown "agent" on her left arm that caused itchiness on her skin, was cured with only one application of the herb on the bite mark.

Refusing to divulge the details of the ingredients for fear that outsiders will try to patent it, he said he had written to the Sarawak Health Department to conduct research on the herb and proposed that the Bau Hospital be the research centre. "I would like to try to help more people, while trying to find ways to protect the intellectual property for all who have and will contribute to a proper development of this herb into a patent label which can be marketed to benefit more people."

Hmm if he is telling a fraction of the truth then Big pharma will be all over him looking to get the secret. Sadly this sounds rather too good to be true. I would love to believe him, it would be nice to think that he has stumbled on a universal poison antidote.

The strangest bite?

According to NewsDaily a peculiar armour-clad amphibian prowled warm lakes 210 million years ago, catching fish and other tasty snacks. Nothing particularly interesting you may say, but it had the oddest bite in the history of life on Earth.

Gerrothorax pulcherrimus lived alongside the early dinosaurs. It opened its mouth not by dropping its lower jaw but by lifting back the top of its head in a way that looked a lot like lifting the lid of a toilet seat.

"It's weird. It's the ugliest animal in the world," said Farish Jenkins of Harvard University "You almost can't imagine holding your jaws still and lifting your head back to take a bite. There are some vertebrates that will lift their heads slightly or the upper jaws when they bite. Some salamanders do it slightly. Some fish do it slightly. But no animal is known to have done it this extensively," Jenkins added.

Scientists think Gerrothorax lurked at the bottom of a lake, then with a sudden movement of the skull created a mouth gape that entrapped any fish unfortunate enough to swim by. It measured about 3 feet (1 meter) long and was stoutly protected by bony body armor reminiscent of chain mail. It had a very flat body and very flat head, short, stubby limbs and well-developed gills. Its jaws were lined with sharp teeth. And the roof of its mouth was studded with large fangs to keep any slippery fish from escaping its chomp.

Gerrothorax is one of a group of odd amphibians called plagiosaurs with no modern descendants that vanished along with numerous other species 200 million years ago in a mass extinction at the end of the Triassic Period. Its fossils were found in the Fleming Fjord Formation of east Greenland

Thanks to the Fortean Times and its Breaking News service for this story

14 December 2008

Art and Stuff - Suzy Ripley

Suzy is a dear friend - she was the first person I befriended via the internet almost eight years ago back when our sole internet access was via an NTL tv set-top box. It is a friendship that was not dimmed by her actually meeting me in the flesh!

Venus on Vacation

Suzy was a muralist, undertaking a large number of community projects, including Venus on Vacation for the Methodist Housing Association on Birkenhead. It is still there in all its glory over a decade later, long after most community art projects would have been graffitied back to the Stone Age! Sadly her gallery, Spice in Birkenhead, did not last so long.

Shankly, Paisley and Fagin

Her most lucrative contract though was to create a series of murals for Liverpool FC back in 1992 but my favourite work was a portrait she did for me of the not-wife. It is based on Waterhouse's Ophelia and has pride of place in our living room (Did I get some brownie points off the not-wife for that prezzie!).

The not-wife

After a break of a few years Suzy is back working. Her most recent work is a set of Christmas murals for a library in Bebbington.

Suzy has now created a website to showcase her work. If you are looking to commission work, be it a portrait or reasonably priced but very distinctive cushion covers and wall hangings I would strongly recommend you contact her. Suzy also provides reasonably priced IT advice. If you are in the Liverpool area I would once again highly recommend her services.
Cherie has dared us to do another meme. Who am I to say no!

1. What is your favourite Christmas carol/song? While Shepherds washed their flocks and We Three Kings...both were easy to add silly words to!

2. White lights or multicoloured? One set of red and one set of white

3. Do you have a cut tree, live tree or an artificial tree? A Nordman Fir. Next year it will be back to an artificial one

4. Eggnog, mulled cider, or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate: the not-wife has a best of CD... "Emma, Emmaline, gonna make you the biggest star this world has ever seen..."

5. Do you decorate your house with lights? No way I’ getting up a ladder for anyone

6. Do you write a Christmas letter? Hmm “Another year of sod all to say” A pithy message in the card does me just fine!

7. Do you like receiving Christmas letters/photos? Yes since my friends have more interesting live than I do!

8. What is your favourite Christmas story/movie? Bad Santa – a true role model!

9. Have you ever made a gingerbread house? Hell no, I have enough trouble avoiding the maintenance work on a bricks and mortar one, let alone a gingerbread one

10. Poinsettias or holly? Both... Poinsettias from the shop, Holly from the garden and Mistletoe from the not-wife’s dad’s garden

11. Do you display a nativity scene? Nope, I’m an agnostic while the not-wife is a hardline atheist.

12. Do you bake Christmas cookies? Shop bought do just fine

13. Ham or turkey? Nut roast

14. In what languages can you wish someone a Merry Christmas (without cheating)?
English, French, Gaelic, Dutch, Russian and now Farsi

15. Do you know all the words to Jingle Bells? Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg. err that’s it

16. Do you put presents under the tree? Not with Mimi and her little accidents

17. How do you eat a candy cane? With the mouth I suppose.
18. What is your biggest holidays pet peeve?
Stop the bloody Cavalry by Jona bloody Lewie

19. What is your favourite Christmas tradition? Eating a large tube of Smarties on Xmas morning

20. What was the best present you ever got for Christmas? Ooh now that’s a tough one

13 December 2008

Photo Hunt - Favourite

The theme for this week's Photo Hunt is favourite. Here are some of my favourite photos from the early part of the year.

Geranium versicolor

Mimi looking.... errr

The River Rom

Detail from the Battle of Britain memorial, London

Cephalaria bud

Black Poplar at the Chase, Dagenham

WWII Barges on the Thames at Rainham