Tuesday, 30 December 2008

And finally....

I can't post a great long list of my greatest books, films etc of the year [and who really cares anyway, except to see if they agree or not] as I am culturally illiterate, too fidgety and somewhat shallow. To prove the last point here's some pictures I took of the Gig Of The Year. I really concentrated on getting them sharp. And they brighten up these dark days, that's my theory.
Enjoy if you're so minded and I'll see you on the other side.

Happy 2009 to all 15 of you!

...oh and especially for fourstar....

Friday, 26 December 2008

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas Holidays 1956 - by B.O.A.C - (part 4)

(sotto voce) 'Miss Woo, please go up to the cockpit and extract Miss Galore from the Captain, or vice versa. We have drifted well off course and as we have no navigator on board we will need to plot our course by looking out for familiar landmarks. Follow that whale!'

*broadcasts over intercom*
"Hello again Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope you are enjoying the flight. You may notice icebergs out of the window; this is perfectly normal at this time of the year in the mid-Atlantic. The Captain assures me that there is nothing to worry about and that he is making the rules.

I am delighted to tell you that Dinner will be served shortly. It is of course from the B.O.A.C Christmas Menu. Please make your final selections and inform the Cabin crew of your wishes."

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

If you enjoy your travel experience and break in Grand Bahamas, please make a note that next year the blogger's Christmas holiday will be to BEIRUT, Jewel of the Near East. We plan to stay at the St George. See you in the bar.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for travelling with us on Office Pest Holidays by B.O.A.C.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas Holidays 1956 - by B.O.A.C - (part 3)

All on board so here we go. Next stop Nassau, Bahamas!

Who are we travelling with today?


Pilot - Captain B.P. Perry. He doesn't normally make the rules but he will on this occasion.
Co-Pilot - Second Captain O. Pest. He's just along for the ride.
Radio Operator - Mr. M. Rudd. He can make sense of any radio chatter.
Flight Engineer - Mr. O. Docherty. This plane is festooned with gear, however he can handle it.
Head of Cabin Crew - Miss U. Woo. The best trolley dolly ever to twiddle a swizzle stick at 30,000 ft.
Cabin Stewardess - Miss P. Galore - in charge of those passengers requiring special attention.
Chief Steward - Mr. J. Bond - a late replacement for the usual Steward. Comes highly recommended.

Consulting my passenger list we find that alongside Mr. R. Burton, Mr. O. Welles, Mr. D. Niven and Miss E. Taylor, noted passengers include:

Mr. F. Centres - Top publishing executive, he can make and break careers like that.
Mr. Planet Mondo - Former Beat musician, famous for his axe.
Mr. R. Herrin - Famous philosopher.
Mr D. Hepworth - Noted commentator and publisher.
Rev. A. Collings - Spiritual Leader, Broadcaster and Life-style Guru.
Mr. L.F. Barfe - Showbusiness writer and author.
Mr. A. Goldfinger - Industrialist.
Mr. O. Job - Security consultant.
Mr. I. Fleming - Foreign Correspondent and author.

If I have missed anyone requiring individual attention, please let the cabin crew know.

Drinks and light snacks will be served as soon as we reach cruising altitude. Cigarettes and cigars may be taken in the smoking section, however Gentlemen are asked to refrain from smoking pipes.

Dinner will be served over the mid-Atlantic.

Please settle back and enjoy our B.O.A.C First Class Clipper service to Nassau, Grand Bahamas.

(Mr. Centres, I will ask the Second Class Steward to bring you a Castella up from Second Class.
"Prescott!, [he's on an exchange from our sister company Cunard], bring Mr Centres his Castella. Good. Now give it to him. Gently, Prescott, gently. Excellent. Now, Back! Back, Prescott."

"Please shut the curtain, Miss Woo".

Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas Holidays 1956 - by B.O.A.C - (part 2)

Nearly ready for boarding now. Just to get you in the mood, here's a selection of the characters booked on our trip.

Who's playing you?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas Holidays 1956 - by B.O.A.C - (part 1)

For those bloggers joining the B.O.A.C holiday to the Bahamas this Christmas, please remember we will be boarding exclusively from the First Class Terminal Lounge.
The Captain asks that before you embark, you familiarise yourselves with the expected standards of behaviour whilst on board by attending Mr David Niven's short talk in the Virginia (Smoking) Lounge. In particular, Gentlemen are reminded that the effects of alchohol are exaggerated whilst flying at normal cruising altitude. Ladies travelling are asked to observe the commonly held norms of decency as regards their attire.

For those passengers who may not have travelled by air before, an information film will now be shown in the Capital & Provincial News Theatres Ltd Cinema, our new facility which opened this year.

Further announcments about our journey will be made regularly. Please listen for information broadcast by the Tannoy system or make enquiries of your Lounge Steward. (Please remember that tipping of the Lounge Stewards should be kept to a reasonable level).

Passengers are asked to confirm travel by registering their interest on the form below. There is a special offer on Cocktails in the Turtle Walk Lounge of the Jack Tar Grand Bahama Club for those passengers registering promptly.

(Turtle courtesy of http://www.arkivatropika.com/cgi-bin/tags.cgi?tags=%22Caribbean%22)

Sunday, 7 December 2008

"What's wrong with you?....

....why don't you want anything for Christmas?"

Oh dear. It's that time again. I've avoided answering the question for a month or more now but today was crunch time. It went something like this -

Mrs OP - "People want to know what you want for Christmas. You can't leave it until the last minute."
Me - "I can't think of anything I want. I never can."
Mrs OP "Well do you want some money then to buy something yourself?"
Me "Not really, it's a bit desperate to give money and anyway there's nothing I want to buy. They could give the money to charity or just keep it, I really don't mind.
Mrs OP "Well there must be something you want..."
"Must there", I say, rising to the challenge, "well, I don't think there is".
"What about an iPod, you haven't got one of those"
"No I haven't, because I don't want one. Nor have I got any kind of games console, DS, Wii, PSP, Gamestation or any of the rest of it, because I don't want them."
"Well, what about vouchers?"
"Same as cash - and you'll end up spending them anyway because I won't go to the shops all year."

The game is warming up now.

"What about tickets for a show, or play...ah! - what about Al Murray, he's on tour - you like him."
"Yes I like him on the telly, but I don't want to go and see him."
"Just not that interested in all the aggro of going, sitting there and coming back. That's why I like him on the telly".
"DVDs? CDs?"
"None I want thanks. Still got DVDs in their cellophane from 3 or 4 or 5 years ago. Never watched them. And books I've never read. It's a waste to get me things for the sake of buying them."
"We could book somewhere and go away for the weekend, or go out for a nice meal. Maybe go to London to the Mandarin Kitchen." (is that place still open by the way? Near Queensway tube station).
"Is that a present for me or for you?"
"Hmm, fair point. Well what about clothes, or shoes or..."
"Ties, hankerchiefs and socks", I suggest, "No ta, don't really need any at the moment".
"A new watch?"
"Got plenty of watches, thanks".
"Well, you'll have to think of something."
"Right", I say, "I'll try*. I've been looking around while buying things for other people but I just can't see anything I want for myself"
"You're being miserable"
"No, I'm not. In fact, I'm quite content because there is nothing I want, nowhere I want to go, nothing I want to see. Why is that wrong?"
"It isn't normal."

A truce is declared, whilst regrouping takes place.

The thing is, I don't want any more 'stuff' cluttering up my tiny world. Materially, I grew up with little and the instinct to ask for things, and acquire more and more was usually thwarted, so it never really took hold. I never really noticed at the time, but I'm sure that's how it's come out in me as an adult. I don't mind this, by the way.
As a reaction, I suppose, to my rather chaotic childhood all I ever really wanted was security, stability and to be left alone in peace when I wanted to be. By and large I have managed to achieve a measure of that, so far as anyone is able to in real life. I like that, and I think my family appreciate it as well.
However I will freely admit to having often confused the need for security with accumulating 'stuff', but lately I have become tired of these extraneous material goods hanging around me and have started to dispose of them**.

I am, as they say these days, on a journey. I don't want any more gear underfoot, tripping me up. I have no burning ambition to go anywhere or see anything in particular either.
Is that normal or abnormal - or is it just the time of the year? What's wrong with me?

*any ideas gratefully received

**what about a couple of trestle tables, for car boot sales? Now there's a thought.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Technical Help Please

I'd appreciate some technical help. I want to download some DV tapes to my computer and do some simple edits etc., before burning to a DVD. Any ideas about how to do this and the best software to use, good tips etc., gratefully received. Thanks.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Phew! That Was a Close One!


Last weekend, before today's predicted blizzard turned rainy for many of us, my father and I were talking about the old chestnut of how useless this country is at dealing with a bit of snow. Not only that, but the blaring out on all news media, led by Police advice, that no one should go anywhere and do anything if there is a risk, let alone a fall, of snow.

The now endemic risk aversion stance now informs so much of what we are supposed to do and moreover be cabable of doing, that it seems to have eaten away at people's confidence as adults in their ability to cope with fairly unusual, but nonetheless normal events, like snow.

My father proposed that 'what this country needed to be able to deal with' (yes, here we go), was a really bad winter like 1947 or 1963. " '47 was longer, but '63 was colder" he said. 'Regular snow and freezing temperatures continuously in both of them for three months. Snow above the hedgerows'. As he's lived through both of these famous winters I'll take his word for it. But as for proposing that this kind of weather should be visited on modern day 2009 GB Ltd as a kind of long, sharp shock I think we all know what the outcome would be, don't we.

Shortly after the transport system collapses (midway through the second day), all remaining economic output ceases (toward the end of the week), and the electric, water and gas go off for good (early the second week), there the British would be, cold, hungry and bankrupt - alone at home, advised to 'sit tight'.

As the picture says - End

No need for fancy viruses or meteorites to wreak mass havoc. Snow has the power.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Put The Needle On The Record

I do like 'pages from Ceefax', which is sometimes shown late at night as a filler when the BBC regional programmes finish at slightly different times.
All that tragic world news set to lush sweeping strings and a jolly brass section. Terrific.