Friday, February 29, 2008


Oops....can I say that?


Clearly, something needs to be done to liven things up and get us all re-involved in the blog. Herr Blogmeister's sterling efforts notwithstanding, here's my contribution:

A young couple on holiday were sitting at a table overlooking the picturesque bay. As a waiter approached, the young man said to his companion, "Darling, would you like beer....or champagne?"

"Oh!" She said, "Champagne....................champagne makes me think of desert islands basking in endless golden sunshine; of pristine beaches stretching as far as the eye can see; of the whisper of waves as they caress the virgin white sand at the shore line; of the cotton like tufts which adorn the peaks of the waves; of the chattering of the palm fronds as the light breeze gently ruffles them; of the melancholy mewing of the occasional seagull; of the blond, bronzed youth, running towards me naked, running, running, running. He reaches me, we embrace, kiss, make love on the sand .............................and besides, beer makes me fart.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Your call sir!

As I waited for my plane to take me on holiday, I surveyed my fellow travellers in the departure lounge. The vast majority were staring sightlessly at their mobile phones as though willing them to spring into life. None of the phones were in use, but the look of concentration on the faces suggested that they were about to become party to a decision to nuke North Korea. I’d concluded years ago that the mobile had become the new adult comforter, the equivalent of a child’s dummy. It seemed to be a way of convincing the world at large that you really did have friends, although of course we now have Facebook too. Nearby a woman’s thumb broke into life as she began to flood the ether with some truncated version of the Queens English, and I wondered what would happen to The King James’ Bible and Shakespeare’s first folio when our generation finally gave up the fight. As we were called forward, I noted the sheer anguish on many faces as they were instructed to shut their mobiles down.

Safely strapped into my seat I mused that it was now over half a lifetime ago that we were promised that new technology would revolutionise the way we communicate. Instead it seems the ether now groans under the weight of mind boggling shoals of porn (estimated to be some 98.4% of all internet traffic) the rest being made up of inconsequential chatter of a hitherto undreamt of banality, delivered in some new alien language. As we too headed for the ether, I reconciled myself to the fact that perhaps it was me that had simply become a techno –Luddite.

Hours later, we huddled around the baggage conveyor and I watched the looks of sheer relief as people were reunited with their phones. Again no-one was actually speaking into them but the looks of joy were palpable.

Later that evening, Mr. D and I were sat down to dinner when the table next to us was taken by a young couple I recognised from the plane. She was dressed in a ravishing red frock that was clearly brand new and had been purchased to celebrate her first holiday away with a boyfriend. Even my jaded eye was able to see that she had put a lot of effort into her appearance and as she sat down her d├ęcolletage briefly stirred long forgotten impulses. She looked absolutely stunning. My attention briefly turned to the boyfriend. He produced a mobile and laid it neatly alongside his assorted cutlery. Seconds later, he began a complex series of twists that reminded me of a Rubik cube and began to stare into the device.

Minutes later, a man entered the restaurant carrying a large bundle of red roses. If I’d owned a mobile I would have known what the date was, but as he worked his way through the diners the Euro finally dropped and I put my hand into my pocket. Mrs D. indicated that she didn’t want a rose, but I was too wily a fox to fall for that one. At the next table, the young man was now busy break-dancing with his thumb. His beautiful companion, now looking a trifle crestfallen, caught me examining her, so I sought to exculpate myself with a conspiratorial wink. The brief smile I got in return was enough to put me into cardiac arrest. I toyed with the idea of getting hold of the boyfriend and shaking him, but instead headed for the gents. On route, I slipped the rose man five euros and when I got back to the table, the young lady looked up from examining her rose and smiled shyly, then followed it with a wink. Mrs D. who is no slouch when it comes to keeping an eye on me also smiled. As it’s now very rare that I get two women to smile at me in one day I decided that perhaps mobile phones had a function in life after all.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Come on you Spurs

As a lifelong Spurs fan I just had to share my joy after the fantastic Carling Cup Final at Wembly today.


Look what I found

Bit tatty as been in box in attic for years! This was just before I moved to PRS in Oct 64 - Part One was Untamed Four , Rockin' Berries then Bill Haley and his Comets. Part 2 was Bobby Patrick Big Six Nashville Teens then Manfred Mann. It was Tom McGuiness I really fancied in the Manfreds - and of course he went onto McGuiness Flint later

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Birthday!!!

Old age is all reet as long as thou looks at it from a Yorkshire perspective. It’s simple: The owlder tha’ get’s the more tha’ gets for thi brass. And that can’t be bad kin it?
Be of good fettle and I hope thou keeps as fit as a lop for many more years to come Blogmaster.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sort of Thursday Quiz.

One of the holiest shrines in the Islamic world. Where is it? Where does it rank behind Mecca? And finally what 60’s song does one of the photos bring to mind? Three correct answers will win a signed photo of Dmitri. Last photo courtesy of Mrs. D.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Barney Rubble!!!

Here you are Pete. Autographs for a small fee next time we meet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Calling the Colonies

Since Ievetually mastered this new communication station,which was with great guidance from our ex 'Ampshire Gal -Babs.I see she is absent recently.I trust all is well down under.
I need support Babs for the solitary Southern end of the old country.Seems everyone finished up posted to the "Northern Markets" or went abroad.Any Southerners out there?
All points North of the Thames are considered Northern.
The bait is fresh today!!Down here today we are just going out to pick te early cotton crop !! Hang on big mistake -I think the cotton is actually - Frost -sorry
Alex GB

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Did this happen to you Babs?

Here's the pic I promised Babs. The annual monsoon, when it rained it absolutely poured and the whole of the MQ area was flooded. The monsoon drains were a total waste of time.
I took this photo from our kitchen steps and if I recall, this was one of the better days. It often got higher and you could hear the water lapping under the floorboards.
Perhaps this is the answer to to Ulls flood problem, build the houses on stilts!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Remember this Babs?
Following on from a post a while back about our mutual link to Brunei, this is a Google earth view of the the camp with the MQ to the side. I'm surprised to see that they're still there, although there have been quite a few additions. The area to the North and East was all jungle and I remember the kids next door having rock fights with the local apes!

The demon drink

Somewhat under the affluence of incohol, a fellow made his way towards the pub and, after trying to push the door open on its hinged side, found the handle and stumbled into the public bar. He bellied up to the counter and steadied himself, plunged a hand into his trouser pocket and withdrew a fistful of change which he laid on the bar.

“Lan’lord” He slurred, “I’d like a pin’ o’ bitter, pleashe”.

The landlord looked him over and then respectfully replied.

“I think maybe not tonight, Sir” He said, “Why don’t you trot off home and come back tomorrow?”

The drunk scooped up his change, managed to return most of it to his pocket, turned on his heels and staggered out of the door. About six yards down the street was the door to the saloon bar. He pushed it open and lurched across the room. Once again, his hand withdrew change from his pocket.

“Lan’lord” He slurred again, “I’d like a pin’ o’ bitter, pleashe”.

Patiently but forcefully, the landlord said, “Sir, I’ve asked you once and I’m going to ask you again. Please go home and sleep it off. I’ll be pleased to serve you tomorrow, when you’ve sobered up a bit.”

The change was again scooped up and pocketed. Once outside, the drunk spied the door to the lounge bar a few yards further down the street. Unsteadily, he made for it, opened the door and almost fell across the bar. His money was again returned to the counter. With a deep breath, he said, “Lan’lord, I’d like a……………………………d’you own every bloody pub in this town?

PRS or Eton

I said to this guy forget the problem of Grammar schools.Why did you let
PRS close,alas he said I had not even got to Eton then.Did PRS beat us in the cross country back then?
So there we have it our next leader did not know us.Also he did not know we all had to run in the
B - - - -Y Cross Country
Alex GB

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Peace, silence and solitude

Where is everyone? I've scanned the news - no volcanic eruptions, tsunami or weapons of mass destruction. Is there a black-out?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Damned wind

So there we were, She Who Must be Obeyed and I, wondering how best to exercise our sedentary selves yesterday. "We could ride the bikes, swim or walk" Announced Jen. "Well, we walked yesterday" Says I. "I don't feel like swimming" "Neither do I, and that leaves the bikes".

I head to the shed, assemble the bike rack on the back of the car and load our beach cruisers with comfy springy seats onto it. We head for Virginia Beach boardwalk. At 40th Street, we park. I can't get the door open. There's a 50 mph wind blasting across the car and acting in opposition to my muscles. Jen, on the other hand, has no problem opening fact, it is wrenched from her hand and flung open as if by some invisible doorman. Out she springs (well....not so much 'springs', you understand, as 'eases') only to be grabbed by the wind and slammed without ceremony against the opened door. "Damn!" Says she....and then rather unnecessarily, "It's windy out here!" I, meanwhile, am still trying to open my door.

Mere moments later, the wind abates and I make good my escape. I trot around to the back of the car and start unloading the bikes. "D'you think we should?" Asks Management. "Well," Says I, "What d'you feel?" "Well, we could go back to the park and cycle in the trees - there'd be more protection from the wind.......but then, sod it, we're here!" "That's the spirit!" I say and we mount our bikes and head valiantly to the boardwalk.

The wind is offshore so, our progress is at our normal rather serene pace only for as long as we are protected by large buildings. Between the buildings, the full forces of nature are unleashed and a blast of monumental proportion, carrying with it rubbish, sand, small children - many still hanging to their parents' now empty gloves - careens across our path. Jen, who has been making her way jauntily along quite vertically, is suddenly denied forward motion and becomes horizontal while being pelted by all things wind-borne. "Damn!" She says again. Happily, only her pride is damaged. We remount and continue, now adjusting our angle of lean to compensate for the degree of protection we have from the wind.

Eventually, we arrive at 1st. Street - the beginning of the boardwalk. Here, we have no wind protection and exposed body parts are being eroded by a continuous and rather painful blast of sand. No matter how fine the view, there is a limit to the pain one will willingly endure to enjoy it. For Jen and I, this was about enough time for her to utter the third "Damn!" of the day. We turned the bikes around and were attempting a wind assisted remount when a blue, metal sign was suddenly ripped from its post and scythed through the air. It missed Management's ear by about an inch! "Damn!" She said.

It is our custom when so exercising to duck into 'Catch 31' for some refreshment. On this occasion the wind had changed direction slightly and our return was accomplished at marginally less than the speed of sound. Neither of us noticed Catch 31 as we passed it, our feet a twirling blur. Thankfully, our brakes and the incline towards 40th Street were sufficient to arrest our progress before we were swept into the Atlantic. We secured the bikes back on the bike rack and climbed into the car. "Damn!" Said Jen.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The continuing cell-phone saga.

Ye Gods and little fishes! I hate cell-phones. Or, more to the point, I hate T-Mobile customer 'service'. I have a 'Dash' smartphone - internet/email/yahoo and all that crap. Hot on the heels of my battery incident last week, it lost its screen graphics rendering it useless. Under warranty, I received a replacement. I could not synchronise the new telephone with my computer (essential to get email forwarded and so on). I called T-Mobile. After the obligatory recorded menus, I reached a warm body - who asked for my telephone number, name, other security information and then wanted to know what the problem was. He then said he was not able to deal with Dash phones. He put me through to someone trained to 'service' Dash customers - to whom I had to repeat all the bloody information only to find that this person had the I.Q. of a lentil! I doubt she'd be able to find her posterior with a bloody map! We are cut off - now, I could say, "mercifully" here but I had to repeat the process. This time, I START by saying I have a Dash. MAKES NO DIFFERENCE! I have to repeat the information again........twice! Once again, I get a 'service' assistant whose nether regions and elbows were interchangeable - and again, I am cut off. My third attempt (probably because I was a mite tetchy by this time) was successful and the problem was then resolved. All together it took about an hour and a half.

Later I noticed that after an initial rush, my Dash had received no new email items. This time I knew what the problem was. I had forgotten to tick the box marked 'remember my password' when configuring the Dash to sweep for emails. However, I couldn't access the software to fix it. With growing trepidation, I called customer 'service' again. Now, I've lived in this country for over 20 years. I SPEAK THE LANGUAGE - passably - in several regional dialects.......EVEN EBONICS WHEN HARD PRESSED! However, I could not persuade ANY 'service provider' during the ensuing two and a half hours to do what I needed rather than to embark upon a course of action of their own choosing and which I KNEW would be fruitless! In a state of controlled dudgeon, I eventually got through to a 'superior' who had, apparently, learned to listen as well as to spout dogma learned by rote at customer 'service' school. This person responded to my entreaty, talked me through the process and within a couple of minutes had the little challenge fixed.

A total of four very frustrating hours for two items which were eventually so easily and quickly resolved.

Whatever happened to the Penny Post?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Subterranean Homesick Blues part II

Dmitri’s homesick Odyssey rolls on…..

Taking the road out of Skipton the road turns sharp to the right and begins to climb as you enter my village. On the immediate right is the Alms House and the Rectory. We’ll stop here and have a look.

The Alms House is almost Elizabethan and still provides flats for the elderly. A balcony runs around the internal courtyard and always seems a good venue for Shakespeare productions. The plump and contented Rectory with its walled garden and croquet lawn stands foursquare facing the Pennines and we share our Rector with Lothersdale, the wonderful hidden village that Michael Parkinson once called quintessential England.

Mine is a sleepy village where time stands still and it only seems like yesterday the last corncrake disappeared from George’s field.

It was once a village of only a couple of hundred souls with a post office, three shops, a garage, a farm selling eggs and un pasteurised milk, a butcher’s open twice a week, a working man’s club and of course a pub, the Swan. We won’t tarry at the Swan as we’ll never get out again. Smack in the middle of the village is the carpet mill which has now been converted into flats for yuppies who work in Leeds.

Our only claim to notoriety was twenty or so years ago when the News of the World exposed a wife –swapping coven in the village. As you might have guessed, they were all Oftcumdens. Real Yorkshiremen, while never averse to a slice of somebody else’s wife, would never put his own up for rent (well not unless the price was right).

The road continues to climb steeply up onto the Pennines and Elslack Moor. There is no signpost. From time to time people stop in the village and ask where the road goes. The answer is always the same, despite the traffic, ‘the road goes nowhere’. When I was young and foolhardy I headed up over the hill and was surprised not to find the end of the world, but weird places with names like Nelson and Colne. Here on a Saturday night were found the most beautiful, fun-loving and vivacious women in the world. For years my motorbike climbed the hill on a Saturday night and the result was always the same I came home drunk and in love with another crazy Lancashire bobbin doffer.

However back to the village. Most of the houses line The Beck which tumbles and gurgles through the village before plunging into the Aire. Here the boys catch sticklebacks, learn to tickle trout and when they are older sit on the banks and explore girls.

At the back of the Beck is Vicar’s row, a legacy of the time when the church was wealthy and held sway over the lives of sinners… be continued.

For those who were puzzled where the photographs for part I were taken the answer is they were all taken around Ingleton and the large waterfall is of course Thornton Force! All photos pre-digital.