Archive for the ‘General’ Category

This will cheer you up ⸮

November 13, 2015 Leave a comment
Categories: General

Sign of a Good Night

November 12, 2015 6 comments

After crawling out of bed this morning, prising the eyes open with matchsticks and putting all of the empties into a bucket ready for the rubbish, it occurred to me what a good night we just had with our new french neighbours.

They speak only French and about 20 words of Spanish. We speak German, English and a poor level of Spanish.

The evening began with very low level conversation due to the language barrier.

The evening ended with great conversation, nostalgic music of ELO, Supertramp, Dr. Hook (my favourite) etc.

And do you know why the communication improved so much during the evening?

Well, it is in the waste bucket this morning.

An empty bottle of Champagne, three empty bottles of red, and a drained bottle of Scotch, not to mention a half empty bottle of Kentucky Bourbon :-)

Please don’t be offended if I don’t reply to any comments for a while.

FOE, where have you hidden the paracetamol?

Categories: General


November 10, 2015 19 comments

Recently nearly half of my recommended news articles on Facebook have concerned the Kardashians. Burma has its first election in decades and a new government is likely — ignored. But they have an article about a Kardashian wearing knickers! So many things are happening and I have to see an article link about a Kardashian’s dress or current gender preference of the day.

Oh well, did I tell you that I will go to Denmark and Sweden this winter?

Categories: General


November 7, 2015 4 comments

Following complaints made to the IRB about the All Blacks being allowed to motivate themselves by performing the ‘Haka’ before their games, other nations were asked to suggest pre-match rituals of their own.
The IRB Committee has now agreed to the following pre-match displays:

Read more…

Categories: General

For our Nordic friend

November 5, 2015 13 comments

Hi Janus, what are your thoughts on this? Is there any substance to it, or is simply lies and calumny?

I loved this particular passage:

“The difference is, few actually actively seek to move to Scandinavia, for obvious reasons: the weather is appalling, the taxes are the highest in the world, the cost of living is similarly ridiculous, the languages are impenetrable, the food is (still) awful for the most part and, increasingly, these countries are making it very clear they would prefer foreigners to stay away.”

I think he is wrong in one aspect.

“No, it’s a nonsense and, in fact, they have dropped from the top spot in recent surveys, mostly because they are not as rich as they once were. The sad take-away from that is, money does, in fact, make you happy.”

Well partly wrong. It is my experience that good weather does much more to make you happy than money does. Granted, you need enough to cover the basics, but the law of diminishing returns applies very quickly to the wealth/happiness relationship. Of course one can have too much sunshine as well, but I do believe that most people could identify a climate that is ideal for them and having found it, they are much more likely to be happy then any amount of ‘surplus’ wealth can provide.

I would be interested to hear the opinions of others. No, seriously, I would. :)

Categories: General

It Does My Head In

November 4, 2015 15 comments

Good morning all.

As a relative newcomer, and someone of incredibly poor memory, it does my head in when we each make comments trying to remember who is living where. It is especially difficult for the newbies like me.

I hope this suggestion is received in the spirit that it is intended but could we all leave a comment about our whereabouts?

For privacy reasons you make want to give just the country, for others less concerned with such privacy a biography of up to 10000 words would be fine. :-)

For me it would help tremendously to know who I am conversing with and where. I could then refer back to this blog when my memory fails me….where was I? Oh yes:

I live in Catalonia about an hours drive south of Barcelona.

I have been born in Nuneaton which is quite an admission in itself. The place has become an absolute dump: Correction, it always was a dump. If I count Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, children and grandchildren, it comes to well over a  hundred of us. At the age of 38 I moved to Berlin where I lived from 1994 to 1999. Then on to Munich until 2002.

Due to a career move I then came back with Mrs Gaz to the West Country, where we lived for ten years in a little village very close to the river Severn. It was a lovely time and certainly not a boar.

Then, in 2011 on to France, Toulouse for three years.

Last year in October we moved down to Catalonia where we intend to stay until the ashes are spread.

Where are you?

Categories: General


November 3, 2015 24 comments

I crossed the Pacific yet again. It was a last-minute purchase, Shanghai-Seoul-San Francisco on Asiana Airlines. It isn’t the worst airline I suppose. The last days in China left me deflated and exhausted – with a slight chuckle at an especially brutal attack by the gods of irony.

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Categories: General

Woody Fetish

November 1, 2015 30 comments

Having just come inside and battened down the hatches ready for tomorrow’s storm and heavy rain (nothing desperate I must add, just the usual monthly thunderstorms) I thought it perhaps remotely interesting to tell you about my wood passion.

Even though we live in a warm country and heating costs are quite minimal, we still prefer to sit in front of the woordburner during the winter months. There is something very special and cosy about real fire, rather than the dry but warm hum of the central heating system.

Obtaining wood here is not so easy, so I collect and cut my own.

Quite a long drive from home, in the foothills of the Pyrenees near the village of Oliana, (for those google maps freaks) is a large reservoir. The reservoir is remote, surrounded by forests and changes level regularly as the dam gates are opened and closed. Consequently, in the direction of the flowing current when the gates are opened, a large amout of flotsam gathers on the shore in a particular spot. Each year the new wood is deposited along about a kilometer stretch and dries in the sun. It is presented for collection by anyone who is crazy enough to go for it. I have only once seen  another person gathering it.


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Categories: General

The Endurance Test!

October 28, 2015 18 comments

Thought you all might be amused at my thank you letter to my friends in the UK

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Categories: General

Blinking lights

October 20, 2015 10 comments

OK, I admit occasionally to watching Sky News (motto: Feeding pap to the masses), but this morning there was an item on their ‘vox pop’ slot by a chap advocating the removal of traffic lights in order to improve road safety, the premise being that drivers, however normally aggressive, don’t want to bend their car or themselves and therefore are more careful.

This radical proposal was immediately poo-pooed by the chunky Irishman and his hench-ladies, but hang on, let’s think about it.  Are you, however arrogant and self-possessed, gong to roar through a crossroads despite the fact that a fourteen-wheel forty tonner might be about to T-bone you?  No, you’re not.  You are going to slow right down and look first before proceeding in an orderly manner.  Job jobbed, says I.

Now let’s take this a stage further.  Idiots demand the right to drive, ‘normally’ for them, whatever the weather conditions.  They drive at the legal limit (or above) in snow, ice, fog, heavy rain or whatever.  “Where were the gritters”, they wail after a multiple pile-up leaves them and others on stretchers or worse, as if it were always somebody else’s fault for their failed attempt at a Darwin Award.

And something else.  I have driven on some very hairy mountain roads around the world and here in Portugal – narrow road, deep ravine below and no Armco or barriers of any kind, but there in nothing better to concentrate the mind and slow down than seeing an upturned, rusty wreck at the bottom of said ravine with only a forlorn little shrine to mark the occupant(s) demise.  Even the dirt track up to The Cave has eighty metre drops on the interesting side and will kill you if you get careless or cocky.

So, when I assume power, traffic lights will be removed, gritters will be left in the depots  and their crews employed removing barriers on mountain roads.  I’m not kidding!


Categories: General

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