Thursday, 26 August 2010

Is That Rain I See?

It was a typical English summer’s day yesterday, i.e. wet and cold! Today is no different, and it has been much the same story ever since mid-July. It seems that nowadays we no longer get hot and sunny weather in July and August, instead we have to deal with floods and downpours. The best weather, such as it is, appears to be more likely to appear in April or September than in the summer months!

Anyway, as the day was a wash-out, and since we hadn’t been to the movies for a couple of months, Dori and I made the decision to head on over to the multiplex and catch a film in the afternoon. Now, as we are both big kids at heart we were quite keen on seeing Toy Story 3, but it is still the school holidays over here, and we thought that it might be a little packed out in there. So, instead, we plumped for “Salt”, starring Angelina Joile and Liev Schreiber.

If you don’t already know, Jolie plays a CIA agent and the film follows a “Bourne Identity” type line, with her character on the run and the audience left to work out if she’s actually a good guy or bad guy. It won’t be winning too many Oscars come next February, but it was certainly an entertaining and diverting way to while away a couple of hours on a wet Wednesday afternoon :-)

In other news, I forgot to mention that I became a great-uncle a couple of weeks back. I mean, I already was by virtue of marriage, but this new arrival was to my brother’s eldest son. They are calling their little bundle of joy Macy, or possibly Macey – the lines of communication have been a little fuzzy! Baby and mother (and even father!) are said to be doing well. I can’t quite believe though that my brother is a grandfather – it only seems like 5 minutes ago we were both in school! Time, as they say, does indeed fly.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Walking In A Summer Wonderland ?!

They say that Christmas comes earlier every year, and that is certainly the case this year. Dori and I went into town on Monday to get a few essentials, as well as a new shower head as the old one has been falling apart on a disconcertingly regular basis lately. In fact, thinking about it, our plumbing system as a whole has been a menace ever since we first moved in to the Yellow House. During the 6 years we have been renting here we have had a new cistern, repairs to the bath as it was leaking through the ceiling downstairs, a brand new shower, a new washing machine, several replacement parts for the immersion heater and a few dripping taps. Dealing with the landlord/property agents has been a nightmare at times, and so nowadays, as long as it is not going to cost us too much, we tend to do any running repairs ourselves and save ourselves the hassle!

Anyway, as I was saying, we were in town doing our little bit of shopping. We had finished up and were on our way back to the car park when I happened to glance at the window display of a shop to my left. And what did I see? A Christmas tree, faux presents, a Santa and Rudolph blow-up thingy (!) and some random Christmas crackers. I must admit that for a second there I did a mental flip, thinking “what month is this?”. But, yes, on checking with myself I found that we are still indeed in AUGUST!!! Yes, August! I fully expect the shops to be crammed full of Christmas decorations and the like by October time - a mere two months or so before the festive season, but August!? Seriously? The kids here haven’t even gone back to school from their summer break yet! Grrr.

Of course, it is not just Christmas that comes around early. There are Easter eggs in the shops before New Year’s Day, summer clothes are on the racks whilst the snow is still on the ground and Valentines cards have to battle it out with the Christmas cards for shelf space. I guess that looking ahead is no bad thing, but surely it is better to first enjoy and relish the season that you are actually in. I don’t want to be thinking of buying Christmas gifts in summer (though it has felt more like winter here lately, but that’s another story!), just as I don’t want to be buying in BBQ supplies in January!

Friday, 13 August 2010

A Fresh New Season

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I hope that your day goes well :-) I wouldn’t be quite so spooked by the date if I didn’t also (yet again) have 666 followers on my Twitter account (@BritBoy)!! I will be avoiding walking under any ladders, spilling salt or going anywhere near any mirrors for the rest of the day. Not that I’m at all superstitious you understand!

Anyway, that is not what this post is meant to be about. Tomorrow, when Friday the 13th will be safely behind us all, will see the start of the new English Premier League season. Another 9-month campaign will begin again to see which super-rich, but heavily indebted, club can secure the Premiership title. I would like to say that the field is wide open, but if the eventual champions aren’t either Manchester United or Chelsea then it would be a major surprise. In fact, those two teams plus Arsenal are the only ones to have won the Premiership since 1995, and they all occupied the top three positions in last season’s competition. Despite a miserable showing by the English players at this summer’s World Cup, every team will be hoping that this is “their year”. The start of a new season brings fresh hope to every fan, player and manager alike and optimism is rife. For some that optimism will be fulfilled, whilst for the majority it will be a season of struggle and ups and downs.

Away from the Premier League, the rest of the professional teams kicked off their seasons last weekend. Swindon Town, fresh from reaching the play-off final at Wembley last season, have started this campaign rather badly. They have so far played two matches, and lost them both, going out of one of the cup competitions in the process. Of course, last season started with a 5-0 drubbing on the opening day, so it is worth remembering that you can’t predict the outcome in May based on a few games in August! It is, however, a disconcerting start and some of that optimism that I was just talking about has already dissipated!

But the life of a football fan (and a Swindon Town fan in particular!) is often harrowing and filled with disappointment, but it is those very same hard times that make the good times, when they do eventually come round, all the better and more satisfying. If you are a Chelsea or Man Utd supporter, then second place at the end of this season will be a disappointment, and first place is just “job done”. But as a Town fan, another season like last year, with the excitement of the play-off matches and a day out at Wembley Stadium, would be a very exhilarating experience. I guess it just comes down to your perspective :-)

Anyway, as the season gets into full swing this weekend, I wish every football supporter a great 9 months ahead – unless your team is playing against Swindon, or you happen to be an Oxford United fan!! Let the games begin!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Random Monday #2 - Yes, already!

So, one week on and here is Random Monday #2. “Not very random” I hear you cry – but the whole point of randomness is that you don’t know when the next one will occur. Who knows, Random Monday #3 may well appear next Monday ...or not. :-)

Thank you for your answers to last week’s question, which ranged from the very mundane (mine included) to the truly extraordinary. Hopefully this week’s question will also provide a wide-ranging variety of answers. So, without further ado, this week’s Random Monday question is:

What was the last concert that you attended?

Now, Dori and I are avid concert-goers, but we have had a bit of a drought lately because of a number of factors. In order to go to a decent concert over here we usually have to travel into London, and often stay overnight as the trains don’t run quite late enough for us to get back. So, concert-going is not a cheap occupation, especially considering the already astronomical prices for the tickets themselves. Added to that, there haven’t been too many of our favourite acts touring lately. We missed out on seeing Alicia Keys at The O2 in the spring, and have been searching the listings ever since but nothing has really caught our eye.

The last concert that we should have gone to was, of course, Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour, also at The O2 in London. We were too excited for words at the prospect, and then completely shattered when the awful events of June last year unfolded. For a while, we didn’t feel like we wanted to go to see anyone in concert at all. Having seen the subsequent film of the same name, we know that the concert would have been out of this world, and simply extraordinary. What a loss.

So, I still haven’t answered the question. I have had to rack my brains, because we saw two or three concerts very close together last spring and I’m not entirely sure which one was actually the last. But I believe the answer is that the last concert we went to was the magnificent, incomparable and truly legendary Tina Turner. Once again this was at the O2 (can you spot a pattern here?) and she was simply amazing. Ms Turner is no longer a spring chicken, but boy did she have energy to spare that night! And she knows how to put on a show too, with great choreography, costume changes and visual effects. We had a fantastic night, sung along to almost every song, and were able to cross another off of our Legends We Must See list!! Truly wonderful.

The O2 in Greenwich, London

It is only now that it has sunk in how long ago that was. We really do need to get out and see somebody else is concert very soon. There is nothing like the Live Music experience. I will have to get back to searching the listings again – there must be somebody out there who’s worth paying the price for!!

As always with Random Monday, I would be fascinated to hear your answers too. Leave me a comment and tell me who was your last concert experience! Have a good week everyone!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Random Monday #1

OK, so this is the first of what may be an occasional series of posts called Random Monday. It is occasional because it couldn’t really be random otherwise, could it?! :-) But the randomness doesn’t stop there. Oh no. The random in the title refers to a random question that will be plucked from the ether and which I will then answer for myself. If you would like to give your own answers then please do so in the Comments. Oh, by the way, I’m doing it on a Monday because “random” and “Monday” share 5 of their 6 letters! Sorry, just a random thought :-)

So, anyway, the first Random Monday question is:

Where were you this time last week?

I like this question, not because of the answer, which I suspect we will all find out in a minute is very unspectacular, but because it is one of those questions that actually makes you think. Anything to get the grey matter bubbling!

So, my answer to this question is....right here on this same chair in our little yellow house in Wiltshire, and writing another blog post in fact! I would have loved to have said I was trekking up Kilimanjaro or something, but I guess honesty is the best policy with these questions. I did warn that my answer would be something less than stellar! If you have a more interesting answer, or even if you don’t, I would be intrigued to know what it is.

Look out for the next Random Monday, which will be appearing. .. umm... randomly sometime in the future!!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin