King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Wednesday, January 30

On one line movies

This is nice and simple. Take a 'classic' film, and turn it into one line. Let me give you some examples.
  • Titanic: It sinks.
  • Dirty Dancing: They dance, dirtily.
  • The Shining: He goes a bit "needing a check up from the neck up"
  • Poltergeist: Things move around a lot.
  • E.T. He goes home.
  • The Shawshank Redemption: He escapes.
  • The Great Escape: They all nearly escape.
  • Fight Club: I'm saying nothing.
  • Back to the Future: He goes to the past to get back to the future.
  • Jaws: The big fish gets it.
Your turn...

Monday, January 21

On cocaine filled cyclists.

I have to have a rant. As a hardened cycling fan (and past participant) I know how drug addled the sport of cycling can be. In 1967, one of the most prominent and promising cyclists (who'd worn yellow in the tour only 5 years earlier), Tommy Simpson died on Mont Ventoux, after taking a positively obscene amount of painkillers. He was so passionate about his sport, he took so many pills that he had a heart attack. It was about then that people started to note how much of a problem drugs (be it illegal or otherwise) could be.
My personal first witnessing of drugs was the great cyclist Pedro Delgado, who went on to win the 1988 Tour. He was proved to be taking a drug that was (amongst other things) found to hide steroids. It was outlawed after the fact. Horse, bolted, all that.
The whole thing at the moment is Lance Armstrong, in my eyes possibly the greatest cyclist the world has ever seen before or since, and his admission to taking illegal substances. Don't get me wrong, my admiration for cyclists goes a lot higher to Greg Lemond. He was shot in the back by his own brother, and 18 months later won the Tour with 9 seconds in hand. He went on to win it, 3 times. In 2001 LeMond gave a less than preferential interview on how the US press were victimizing Armstrong and his less than clear cycling pedigree.
Let's zoom forward 5 years from Greg's last win. Lance won his first stage on the tour, following a *really* bad day where Fabio Casartelli had a crash on a descent 3 days earlier. He made a big play of how he won it for Fabio, not himself or his team.

Lance won "Le Tour" 7 times.  He's yet to outline what the illegal substances were, how they were taken, why they beat the drug vetting procedure, how they beat the drug vetting procedure, why he did it and when he did it. But, what with that, and the other team mates (See: jealous other cyclists who'd do anything to make themselves better than him, aka competition) testifying against him in a judicial case run by Australian's favourite marsupials, better known as the world's press. He was examined and checked 11 times (note to self: if 2 is double, and 3 is treble, what is 11?) and proved to be clean by the press (not the World's Cycling Federation). He finally said "Do you know what? F**k it. Let them say I did it. Maybe they'll then leave me alone." And did they? No, the snowball was now rolling, and gathering speed. He is currently at the face of a large tear-infested, I-feel-sorry-for-my-son avalanche that is completely unproven. Don't get me wrong. If tomorrow he explains how he beat the half a dozen or so independent drug testing facilities who didn't know his sample from Adam (or any other cyclist), the strict control on each and every day he was in yellow, and not once did someone forget to replace the sample with another sample with his hormone levels based upon his exertion on that day and how the temperature/humidity/inclines would have affected his testosterone level. And this from a man who technically could only produce only half the level of testosterone. If he had appeared in court, one appearance would have been enough, but by law you can't be judged twice. The press says otherwise. Now tell me he's guilty.
And more importantly, tell me how.

Tuesday, January 15

On amalgords

I know texting's annoying when it's shortened. You know, the sort of "Hw R U?" diatribe that makes us ashamed to speak one of the most complex languages in the world (and I say that not in a complimentary way). But in recent years, we've invented something faaaaaaar worse. Amalgamating two fairly harmless words in such a way to make even the most hardened Californian surfer dude wince isn't a good thing. Let me show you what I mean.
  • Car-cation or stay-cation. Both words for types of holidays. One using how you get there, the other using where you go.
  • Glamping. Glamorous camping. Rly???
  • Pissarhea - The moment after too much drink where you have to take a leak every 5 minutes.
  • Shurious - When you have to ask if someone's sure and serious. I know. Shoot me now.
  • Amalgameaning - Making a new word from two other words. Not that we know what that is, right?
  • Chillax - Yes. Blood pressure, anyone?
Now, don't get me wrong. I have and do have some of my own mixtures.
  • Kinell - best from a distance, as in "Far kinell..."
  • Phonesex - The less said about this, the better.
  • Fugly - What I see in the mirror every morning. Don't plaumase (check with TDT for spelling or real worldly-ness) me.
So, what about some new ones?
  • Toriberal - See the current UK government.
  • Polirish - Someone from Shannon.
  • Fordvo - What Volvo became when Ford took them over.
  • Assject - What else, but half project, half assignment.

Thursday, January 10

On walking the bad line.

So, early yesterday morning, I trod (as you do) on the pooch's hair brush. It hurt, but not so much as to make me cry out. I actually heard myself say "coulda been worse. Coulda been a lego block." So, what about if you have a scale of 1 to 10 for severity of things to step on. Maybe you could elaborate on the list below...
  1. A plug. Not the sort you stop water with in the bath, but the one that makes your TV work. That goddamn earth pin hurts!
  2. Lego. Those little blocks of plastic with 90 degree corners can dig so deep they go to the core. And Lego Technics, don't get me started on Lego Technics!
  3. Glass shards. You know when you break a glass in the kitchen. No matter how scrupulous you are with dustpan and brush, hoover and wet cloth, you still find the glass with your bare foot, and no matter how good your eyesight is, you cannot find the offending article for an hour afterwards.
  4. Gripperrod. The stuff used to hold down carpets. The house in Wales had this on each and every step, and meant you strayed off the centre of each stair at your peril.
  5. Hot sand. There you are, on the beach in some heaven sent paradise found, and you want a paddle in the sea. Just make sure you have your flip flips (thongs, for Aussies) handy.
  6. A drawing pin. The favourite of Tom and Jerry cartoons isn't as highly ranked as you'd think. If you've ever been unfortunate to implant that stray tack after removing the Christmas decorations, you'll know what I mean.
  7. Nettles. They're related to mint, did you know that? All I know is they sting like hell and the white lumps caused by the rash get bigger if you scratch them.
  8. The dog's hairbrush. It was almost therapeutic, the way the metal teeth moved to one side and massaged the sole of your foot.
  9. A bank or credit card. I did this last year, and the pain of hearing the card snap in your post wake up, need-to-pee stagger to the loo in the morning, your heart just sinks.
  10. Poo. Be it cat, dog, human or monkey, you know that if you are either barefoot, socked or shoed, that smell that will be hitting your nostrils 10 seconds later will be more offensive than Jim Davidson's latest black joke and will have you yacking like Sid James with whooping cough.

Tuesday, January 8

On Gottles of Geer

Ventriloquism became a bit of a lost art. As chilren we were regularly entertained with the Muppets, and loosely entertained with Nookie the bear or Orville. But by the mid 80s it would appear to be incredibly unpopular, Keith Harris was about the only one still televised and by the 90s the act involving a hand stuck up a bottom was long gone (except in some seedier clubs in Soho). So, a couple of decades later, and one person returned from the Dummy wilderness and was received with open arms. If you ever get the chance to watch Jeff Dunham, do. His most famous incarnation is Achmed, the dead terrorist. He takes everything that is so wrong about fundamentalism and makes it not only funny, but highlights just how stupid their arguments are. In his words "I didn't get 72 virgins, I got one 72 year old virgin." His catch phrase of "Silence! I kill you" is widely available across t'internet and back on the days of buying your ringtones, his sound bite must have been as popular as Crazy Frog.
TDT's favourite is a new creation called Sweet Daddy D. He's supposed to be Jeff's new manager, and is a very 70s Huggy Bear style pimp. The highlight he does again parodies the bad attitude black guy, with the kissing of the teeth, something not only very funny, but technically difficult to mimic with a dummy.
He has other characters, including AJ (Achmed Junior, Achmed's gay and also unsuccessful son) and Peanut, a strange looking "failed muppet" with a disrespectful attitude not that dissimilar to a teenager. But by far and away the best one is Walter. Walter, as far as I can tell, was modelled on my father. He's a grumpy old man who is self obsessed with his own dislikes, and tries to force his beliefs on everybody else. He sits there with a down in the mouth facial expression and arms permanently crossed to show his disdain, bitching and moaning about everything.
Walter on youtube.
Now the thing about this is Jeff Dunham is a brilliant act. But, technically, he's not as good as Roger De Courcey or Keith Harris. You can clearly hear the "Gottle of Geer" type expressions with the speaking, and his throat and mouth both move. But, to be honest, the material more than makes up for it. If you get the chance to watch his stage acts, I'd highly recommend them. Some of his quotes are priceless, and for some reason because it's a dummy making the statements, he gets away with things no other person on earth could get away with without the politically correct police knocking at his doors. What next though for him? Half of me dreads to think what other characters he can come up with, the other half wrings my hands together in eager anticipation.

Monday, January 7

On pampered pets

I'm sure you all remember Shallot, the gayest of cats. Well Shallot is still with us, ageing gracefully, and still the queen of the house. But TDT wanted more cuddles, and has always wanted a playful pooch. So, it was last July found us heading an hour north to meet and greet with a new puppy. We met a couple, the first born, a little lard-arse who was fast asleep, and the runt, who was unsteady and tiny. After weighing up the pros and cons of each, we plumped for the plump one. He did nothing but sleep whilst we were with him, so when it came to names one of the bigger choices was "Chilli" because he might have been chilled all the time. I was tempted with "Syndrome" (and just hope he doesn't jump up on anyone) or "Minton" (who would have to be good all the time), but we were discussing musicians and suddenly it hit us. He's Brown. You can't call a dog "James" but "Jackson" definitely had a ring to it. So, if he was chilled out on the day we collect him, he'd be Chilli, otherwise Jackson. The journey home named him Jackson.
Jackson is the apple of my eye. He follows me everywhere, and sleeps at my feet. He also has taken a leaf out of a few thousand prisoners of war, and repeatedly makes escape attempts. These can be simple affairs, like dashing for the front door every single time it's opened, or complex plans involving half chewing tethers in the back garden and then yanking them to make them snap and disappearing for the bones of 3 hours. The funny thing is, each time he successfully escapes, he mills around outside for a second as if to say "ok, now what?"
One thing is bothering us. He's 8 months old, and still growing. He's a Shih tzu, and so should be a small bouncy pooch, but already he's a lot bigger then other dogs of the same breed, and from what we can tell of his feet, he hasn't finished growing yet. His hair is also a problem. I know the hair is to keep him warm, but as his hair grows, he turns into Rastadog, with huge mop not that different from the dog in the Jamie and the Magic Torch. This means he a) is very heavy when he jumps on you to tell you to wake up but also b) he adds to the weight just by growing his hair. If he doesn't calm down with the growth spurts soon, we'll be needing a winch to lift him.
His biggest problem is chewing things. He chews everything he can lay his paws on, and is particularly bad when we go out leaving him on guard. We return to find he's chewed glasses, cables, small cats, settees and the next door neighbour's favourite kitchen appliance. It's like he doesn't want us to go out. The alternative is to take him with us. He gets all excited about the prospect of a trip to anywhere, but then gets in the car and whines because he doesn't like the movement. He is good at getting in and out of the car however, and simply goes to sleep for journeys anywhere.
The best thing is the fact Shallot tolerates him. Only yesterday saw them both lying in front of the fire, in exactly the same positions, doing the pet equivalent of spooning (a foot apart). Shallot has a look of "Oh Gawd, not you again. Pester me to much, and you shall meet my claws of doom," and knows that he will get bored quickly and move on. Either that, or he'll keel over and conk out.

Chilli dog? Pffft.

Thursday, January 3

On expensive hotels

No, we haven't won the Euromillions. And no, we haven't been staying in expensive hotels. But, we have been watching a new fly on the wall documentary about Claridges (or as TDT called it, "The Claridge"). One single episode had us hooked, when we were informed about it's penthouse suite, with £6995 nightly (!) price tag. An unknown pop star (we're guessing Madonna) was due to stay in the suite for a month (with a bill of over £200k), but required a jacuzzi. So, they refitted the entire bathroom with a new jacuzzi, but also finished it off with granite and marble surrounds. One regular visitor has her pampered pooch with her on trips to London, and stays in the hotel. In fact, she stays so often, said mollycoddled mutt even has it's own bowls and towel (obviously a fan of Ford Prefect). The best thing about the whole programme however was one of the butlers. A delightfully softly spoken gentleman from Limerick, who's buttled for 34 years. When asked if he was jealous, he just said he enjoyed seeing how they lived, and not wanting it himself. He was humbling and a joy to behold. Something the residents weren't.

Wednesday, January 2

On Round Robins

The Merkins (and I presume Canadians) have a tradition of 'Round Robins' every Christmas. They are letters enclosed with Christmas cards, that summarize the last year in the sender's life. They normally contain complete drivel about the son who's started his own legal practice or the daughter's mysterious lump that smells of tuna. Well I happen to have laid my hands on a real round robin, and it had me and TDT in stitches, so I have to share it with you. It is real, but the names have been changed to protect the guilty. (Our comments are the ones in italics.)
Our bittersweet year is ending. In February we lost a good friend to Lou Gehrig's Disease (Google it. We did). His optimism and good humour was an inspiration to us. He carried his infirmity with grace and dignity. Another friend has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and may not live to see summer (I know, depressing, isn't it?). She too has been has been an inspiration to us for her acceptance and as she put it "I've had a good ride." (oooookay... too much information there.)
Some of our grandchildren are now young adults. Alice is a freshman at (insert obscure university here) studying nursing and dance (well that should brighten up the wards). A third generation of nurses in the family (but dancing ones are a first). Sharon, 16, will be headed to (insert major American city here) in 2014 to study theater. The youngest, Mary, is three and a delight. She now calls us on the phone to chat - a one way conversation. (shouldn't you let her talk then?)
Gary and I had two nice trips. Jamaica (no, she went of her own accord. B'dum-tish) in March and a river cruise through southern France in May. Marvellous. (For you maybe, but we're not bitter.) Maybe one of these days we will get back to Ireland. (Then again, maybe you won't)
Two years ago our 18 year old cat dies. We swore we would not get another one but guess what? (go on, surprise me...) Tigger is now part of our family. It's good to be a cat owner again (for who? You or the cat?)
Sandy (the Storm) (I didn't think you meant Olivia Newton John's character in Grease) was devastating to so many people. Winds were 80 miles an hour here plus we had high tides and a full moon. Houses were swept into the ocean most of which were summer cottages but folks in NJ and NY lost everything. (Isn't this a bundle of laughs?) The generosity of the Americans never fails to amaze me. I went to a tea (a tea? As in one leaf?) yesterday afternoon - yes, a real tea with china cups and saucers etc (why Mr. Ambassador, you spoil us) and we bought items for the people in NY and NJ. A friend of ours is going down with a truck Tuesday to deliver goods to a distribution center. People are either homeless or living with friends or family. A huge concert was was held in NYC to raise money. (Ah yes, but it was no Live Aid...)
Our President was re-elected. (oh gawd, time for politics.) With all his faults on leadership he is still the best person for the job. With so much going on in the world and right here at home we should not change captains. (it worked for the Germans.)
Sandy Hook School has us mesmerised. (You know how to cheer us up, don't you?) Everyone has been affected by it. 6 and 7 year olds had their lives violently taken away. It makes no sense and we grieve with the families of this senseless killing. (Just hand me that sharp knife will you)
Enjoy the holiday season (yeah, you really made me all warm and fuzzy inside). May peace and contentment be yours in the New Year.

Tuesday, January 1

Alive and well, and living in 2011...

So, the big man from England/Wales/Ireland (*delete as applicable) is back. A year of clearing mental and writer's block has meant that now I am positively brimming with tales of 2012. The visit to the US for Thanksgiving, the addition of a new family member, the woe of the Irish economy and how it's affected me and TDT. I'm sure most of you facebook readers who are unfortunate to have me as a friend know most of this and a lot of you won't, so in the words of Randy Quaid in Independence Day, "I'm baaaaack!"

Tuesday, December 13

On Masterchef, the drinking game...

You know the sort of thing. A list of rules that when someone says or does something, you have to take a drink. And so, presenting, Masterchef, the drinking game.

  • When someone mentions an extraordinary journey.
  • When a chef says they want this more than anything else, in the world, evah.
  • When the presenters look at each other in horror.
  • Gregg Wallace tastes something, and says "aww mate...."
  • They mention either not enough or too much seasoning. Just say salt and pepper!
  • Someone cuts their finger, and can be seen nearly fainting before trying to carry on.
  • The judges mention the number of levels the dish meets.
  • Gregg Wallace mentions how "food doesn't get tougher than this..."
  • "The chicken is nice and moist."
  • Monica Galetti's eyes bulge.
  • One of the judges exclaims an oxymoron. Something like "it shouldn't work, but it does."
  • Jus, purée, Scallops or Asparagus feature
  • "the fish is perfectly cooked."
  • A chef is "gutted."
Please to add your own.

Thursday, December 8

On drinking in Ireland

The Irish are well known for their propensity to drink. But, with a good year and a half's living in the land of Guinness and Baileys (sometimes in the same glass), I feel I can express the truth about drinking here.
  1. There are two measures of drinking here. There are those who don't drink (slightly strange and maybe religious) and those that do (common)
  2. Those that don't drink cast doubt on how much of an alcoholic you are. Those that do drink make you think you don't drink enough.
  3. A quick pint is impossible. By the same reckoning that you can't pop to the pub for a quick one at lunchtime. This leads to the inevitable 'all-dayer' which only the most seasoned drinker can survive unscathed, and a boss who's pissed off with the fact you skived from work for the afternoon.
  4. You can't have a few drinks then go home. If you enter a pub at 9, you must leave as the bar staff either leave and lock up, or they fall asleep waiting for you to leave. Lock ins are obligatory.
  5. Pubs have windows. These windows are either frosted glass (meaning you can't be spotted from the street by the boss - see 3.), or have small displays of breweriana containing Wade Irish Cream barrels and old tins of long passed Powers whisky bottles (also meaning you can't be spotted by the boss - see 3.) Pubs do not concur with the image portrayed in every other country in the world. They do not have trendy young things riverdancing in the corner, or theme nights based around the 'homeland'. They are not called something involving a region, town or other locality, but normally after the owner (past or present), and normally just the surname. Paddy's or Murphy's can be counted as fake.  In fact, if it interferes with the drinking, chances are it's not going to be included.
  6. Ireland was one of the first countries to have a smoking ban in it's pubs. This means that the old beer garden now has a new lease of life. Some pubs have taken advantage of this new found outdoor freedom, and have taken to small summer rituals like barbecues. Not that any local would be seen eating, because as we all know "eating is cheating." All night long, even in the dead of winter with snow and permafrost, more than half the pub can be found having a party outside. If you're too cold to go out for a ciggy, just get another drink down you, then go out. And most spectacularly, even in a lock in, where you are a guest of the pub proprietor, are people found to be popping out the back for a smoke, before returning to their illegal tipple at the bar.
  7. As Tony Hawks mentions in his excellent book with an outlook on Irish life, every pub has a resident drunk. This (normally male) drinker can be found, struggling to prop themselves up at the end of the bar, with a long dead pint and an unerring ability to know a little about everything. In the event of you bumping into the resident drunk outside of the pub (and not just in the smoker's shed), he will not recognise you, acknowledge you or even know where he is. All he will do is agree with you if you say you'll see him in the pub later.
  8. The following day will see you with an unrecognised hangover. You will feel furry. You might have a slight headache. The night before will be hazy. You check your phone for messages sent, and come across the message sent to the person you really shouldn't have texted. Be it ex-lover, boss or mortal enemy (or, if you're really unlucky, all 3 are the same person...), you recoil in horror as you realise that fail safe of "don't let me text anyone after 11" has been not only breached, but your friends might as well have taken down your notice of intent via dictation, and sent it themselves. And how do your friends and fellow drinkers solve this? With the suggestion of the 'cure' which is not so much of a hair of the dog, but most of the pelt, skin and even some vital organs.
See you down the pub then, and no, not for a quick one.

Friday, October 28

On Halloween, and Scary Websites.

Ok, you'll be glad to know I'm not going to make you jump this year. Instead, a company has a more refreshing way of making you scared. Imagine, if you will, a scrawny hacker accessing your facebook page. He looks through your wall, has a browse of your photos, checks out your friend list, and even looks up how to get to your home. He then takes a drive to see you, and you'll notice how he has your picture taped to his dashboard. This is really disturbing, and makes you almost shudder. Luckily, it's not true, but just a really well programmed facebook application. It just shows you just how much information you allow to be accessed when you open that program in your facebook account. It's been out a week, and apparently has already had 2 million hits. It's making many news websites, being dubbed the new "Blair Witch Project." But, like BWP, it's not that scary. It's what you don't see that makes you scared. Meanwhile, go and have a look yourself. And sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, October 12

One wedding and a funeral

And so, TDT and I headed off to the land of sun, sea and Sangria for Barbara and Eddie’s eagerly awaited wedding. Barbara is one of TDT’s best friends, and so we had to show ourselves, and it was also a perfect opportunity for a holiday to the small town of Nerja in Spain. We’d had loads of warning, and had booked months in advance to a small apartment on the outskirts of town. The day after TDT’s birthday we headed out courtesy of an exceptionally early flight with Ryanair (“would you like a seatbelt? That’ll be €5 please”). The only cloud over the whole thing was poor Eddie’s mother had been poorly, and might not make it to the wedding.
The night before the big day saw us all meeting in the evening for drinkies and a sing song. The bar closed at midnight, so the drinkies were supplied by two of the wedding party’s guests with access to the poolside from their ground floor rooms. As we sat there, listening to one delightful song after another, and quietly chatting away, apparently the flood of calls to reception from the resident ‘saga louts’ was in danger of overwhelming the night watchman. We eventually left just before 3am, under protest.
Monday morning saw us arrive at the chosen venue for the wedding, a large hotel on the seafront. The women all had summer dresses on, whilst us poor men had been suited and booted, and were sweltering away at the bar. Much San Miguel was required. The condemned man was flitting around, looking surprisingly composed for a man about to take one the largest steps in his life. Sadly his mother had passed away only a few days before, and the rush of a funeral and burial had meant that he was presumably running on ‘autopilot.’ Everybody was fussing around him and the bride was in her room, consoling her bridesmaids who were all crying. Barbara, being the sensible serene one, was just getting on with the day. Her sisters, meanwhile, were making the Mediterranean saltier.
Just before 3, we got the call to a small covered altar on the edge of the beach, where Eddie was standing, now looking decidedly nervous. About 100 guests, from as far afield as Alaska and County Kerry were sat in three groups, the bride’s friends, the groom’s friends, and family in the middle. Suddenly, a gasp was heard over the sound of the waves and hot wind, as a beautiful Barbara appeared on her father’s arm, walking down from her room. All the women started blubbering, like women do, and Kleenex could be seen dabbing many eyes behind Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses. Barbara’s cousins Brian and Ailish would sing a sedate song as she walked down to face Eddie in the sea breeze. The priest was a strange druidian-looking gentleman, with a very well educated (see: posh) English accent. Eddie’s mother’s seat was taken by his aunt instead, and his father was as shell shocked at such an emotional event. The priest had a candle lit for her, but the sea breeze was determined to blow it out. The ceremony was unrushed and unflustered. The priest described how traditionally the Spanish couple would leave the altar, go to their room, disrobe, and Eddie would perform his “marital duty” whilst the entire congregation would file past, and if they approved they would leave a gift of money. They had declined this tradition though, and preferred the more traditional Irish celebration of much alcohol.

Whilst they went off to the hills to have some photos taken, the rest of the party were treated to free bar involving more San Miguel, Bucks fizz, red or white wine and canapés. The first canapé was a rather tasty spinach quiche. The second was an even tastier mozzarella croquette thingy. The third was met with horror as small pastry cases filled with blue cheese were handed out. People could be seen discretely spitting them back out, or swallowing the small taste of feet before trying to subdue it with more alcohol. I’m sure more than one person was sickinnahedge. The poor waiter could be seen walking around with two or three trays of the nasty things. I personally like blue cheese, but after the fourth one my cheeks were itching so badly inside my mouth I had to stop eating them. The newly married couple returned for more photos, taken with close family, distant family, friends, distant friends, family and friends, distant family and distant friends, barmen, waiters, photographers, a small Spaniard who’d been hanging around all day, and finally everyone. Then we adjourned to dinner. The menu was a delightful mix of both meat and veg. The veg was for the starter, the meat was the main course, done on a large open pit barbecue. Everyone was catered for with the buffet starter format, and the large platters of chicken, steak, gammon, tuna and trout (I believe) were more than welcome to accompany it all. Basically, I ate too much. The couple of the moment were called to the front to cut the five tier cake, with a large sword. More surprisingly, they are allowed to take this sword home. I’m presuming it’ll get a pride of place on view at home.
The speeches were an emotional affair. Obviously with the loss only days before, Eddie was unable to say much. His brother had to pause, gulping back the emotion of what everyone else was feeling. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as people raised glasses to Eddie’s Mum, and then to the new couple. Barbara went up and gave a highly composed speech (quite how, I’ll never know), and then we were all asked to step outside for a nice surprise. As we disgorged ourselves onto the now cooler sand, a large group of white helium balloons appeared, and we were all given one to hold. Once everyone had one, Eddie’s father was given a purple one to commemorate his mother, and let it go first, then seconds later we all let ours go to show our thoughts were with her. We all watched in amazement as the 100 or so balloons headed skyward in more or less the same pattern they were released. It must have taken over 15 minutes for them to disappear from view, and it was a fitting memorial to such an occasion.
Returning to our tables a Northern DJ came on ready to party. He had the unusual act of also singing, and soon the dancefloor was full with women dancing around handbags. Suddenly one of Eddie’s brothers was called to the front of the floor, with a surprise for the newlyweds. He’d been practicing playing the guitar and was going to play for them. He did however need accompaniment, and asked Barbara to join him. She was given a Ukelele, and the DJ started to play “Duelling Banjos” from the film deliverance. Obviously, they were both miming, but both enjoyed themselves as they submerged themselves into the role at hand. Even Barbara’s Mum was heard saying “I didn’t know Barbara could play a guitar!”
After what seemed like half an hour, but was in reality about 4 hours, we moved from the now cool beachside bar into the hotel’s air-conditioned function room, for more dancing and drinking. Most people were now getting merrily sozzled, and within three hours the bar had run out of vodka and whisky, and was on the verge of running out of beer. They closed the bar at 3, and the lights went on. The problem with this is that the Irish don’t like to take this as a hint maybe it’s time to go home, and again the singing started. A few of the less hardy (myself included) were dozing, but even Barbara’s father joined in with his now married daughter sat on his knee. Eventually the bar manager, almost at the point of tears, begged us to leave. So we all went outside to the front door, and took in the nice cool air and atmosphere whilst we waited for a taxi home.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the tales of the week, but needless to say more alcohol was consumed. In fact, by the time TDT and I returned home, we were both in danger of needing new livers.
Maybe next time it’ll be a venue for our wedding…

Friday, September 30

Es storios de Nerja (may or not be be Spanish...)

Ok, so TDT and I have come to the land of Tapas, Flamenco, Dodgy English crooks and San Miguel (Oh, San Miguel, why do you make me drink you so...). After 3 hours sleep on Tuesday night, we left at the crack of dawn to head to the Costa Del Sol. We arrived at our apartment just after 2, and luckily Mr. Key Holder (no relation to Noddy) was still in the office, so we checked in. We had a quick shower, changed and went for a bite to eat, before ending up at a poolside bar run by the delightful Linda from Wolverhampton.
Ok, so by 6 we were getting 'there'. Where 'there' is, however, shouldn't involve 'happy hour' with BOGOF offers of alcohol in another bar called the Cave not 20 paces away. The arrival of 'there' was just before 9, and everything else is very hazy.
Then yesterday we decided to walk (yes, walk!) into town in the morning, have a spot of lunch and maybe a browse of the shops, before getting a taxi home. Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men, because we knew about the Spanish siesta time, but forgot. We found ourselves in the middle of the not unsubstantial town looking for a taxi. The map said there was a rank there, but there wasn't. Tumbleweed was bouncing down the sun-baked street and we were almost panicking about getting home. TDT admitted later she was close to tears, as the sun just got hotter, and hotter, and hotter. The air felt like being blasted with hot sand, and even breathing was becoming difficult. Then, our saviour! A nice taxi driver, with an airconditioned people carrier with blacked out windows appeared. We returned to the bar, but this time were prepared for the alcohol, so drank more slowly whilst sitting by the pool and catching rays.
Guess what we're going to do today? Yup, that's it. Sit by the pool, and catch some rays. I could get used to this.