Thursday, August 30, 2007

....but we can't miss out our loyal gentlemen readers!

Beauty hints for the ladies....

The sounds of the great outdoors

Listen to, and learn about creepy crawlies at "Songs of Insects"

Irritating video

Look, I'm sorry OK? But I predict you'll be sitting next to someone on the Meto with it installed as a ringtone sometime soon!

Image resizing

OK, you're probably not interested, but I was SO impressed with this when I saw it that I had to put a link to it somewhere so I could watch it again.....and it might as well be here as anywhere!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All the worlds a (Northern) stage.........

Northern Stage presents

Our Friends In The North by Peter Flannery
Directed by Erica Whyman
Designed by Soutra Gilmour

Northern Stage presents the first ever revival of Peter Flannery’s Our Friends in the North, the play that inspired the hit television series. A magnificent chronicle of the 1960s and 70s in the North East of England, London and what was to become Zimbabwe, Our Friends in the North charts a devastating defeat of left wing aspirations. As the thirst for power fights it out with idealism, corruption takes root and a trail of victims is left in its wake.
Spanning two decades, the play sees this changing world through the hopes and temptations of Tosker, Mary, Geordie and Nicky, four young people from Newcastle whose lives take very different paths. Starring 14 performers playing 43 characters across 17 years, Our Friends in the North is a spectacular epic. It is also hugely pertinent this year as another era of left-wing power sets out to earn our trust.
The revival celebrates the play’s 25th anniversary and is the first ever production since it was originally produced by the RSC in 1982.
Sat 29 September - Sat 20 October at 7pm (except Sun) Sat 13 & Sat 20 October at 1.30pm
Northern Stage, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RH Telephone +44(0)191 230 5151 Email

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A face from the past

Some of you might remember Lyz Oates....though she's Lizzie Lines these days. I was clearing out one of my seldom-used email accounts this morning and found a months-old email from her (nestling amongst the spam) with a link to her blog....everybody's at it these days! She and her partner Russell are building their own house in Diss, if you fancy reading something more substantial than the fare dished up here go to Vastu or Bust and read of their exploits and the progress of their eco-house. Above, Lizzie in her foundations!

Fashions 2000

Must have blinked and missed this lot!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Feline funny

I can relate to that! The artist just missed out one thing.....the human trampoline area. Imagine, if you will, a constantly shifting chalk outline on that bed (you know....the sort you see in TV crime scenes), locate the dead centre of the digestive tract of that chalky representaion (as in the PRECISE point that results in an involuntary OOOOF and jack-knifeing of the upper and lower body when impacted upon) and, lo and behold, that's where any cat worth it's salt will choose to tread/jump onto/bounce on it's inevitable progress to any other area mapped.

Oh, and something else worth remembering before you visit the local cat rescue shelter.....cats prefer to sleep 'nose to tail'.....that's YOUR nose, THEIR tail!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hot off the scientific press

Word from the scientists is that redheads may become extinct as early as 2060!
The current National Geographic magazine reports that less than two per cent of the world’s population has natural red hair, created by a mutation in northern Europe thousands of years ago.
Global intermingling, which broadens the availability of possible partners, has reduced the chances of redheads meeting and producing little redheads of their own.
If the gingers really want to save themselves they should move to Scotland. An estimated 40 per cent of Scots carry the red gene and 13 per cent actually have red hair.

Via Neatorama

The joys of parenthood.....

Two videos......

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thespian Thrills....

The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

Sept 18th to 22nd Sepember, Peoples Theatre

"It’s 1974 and there are strange goings-on in a quiet, tree-lined street in Camden, London. An old homeless lady has parked up in her dilapidated camper van and is living in happy self-sufficiency. When the council instruct her to move on, a nearby resident invites her to roll the van into his garden. Little does he realise that she will stay there for the next fifteen years. Bizarre but true, this comedy-drama is based on the diary of Alan Bennett and his relationship with his very own bag-lady Miss Mary Shepherd, a well-educated, piano-playing ex-nun and would-be politician. In typical Bennett style this unlikely duo are both hilarious and moving as Mary takes up a unique place in the beleaguered writer's life for well over a decade."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So you thought American kids TV was bad....

....but things could be a whole lot worse! So you just take heed Sarah and Hails, Richard and Janet....and any of you younger folks that have a hankering for procreation for that matter....just ask yourselves, is it really worth it?
This is "Kure Kure Takora", loosely translated as "Gimme Gimme Octopus", who....
"can turn into anything from a dopey iguana to a vacuum cleaner to a guitar. His best-friend is the weak-willed squash Chonbo. While friends he has no problems leaving him for dead if he has to make a fast getaway. Like everyone else in the world, Kure Kure is in love with the fickle pink walrus Monro. His greatest fear is being doused with vinegar and being served as Sudako (pickled octopus)."
......and all of a sudden, the Teletubbies makes perfect sense!
Kure Kure Takora has it's very own Wikipedia entry. Read know you want to.
So ladies and gentlemen, take your seats and we'll dim the house lights........roll that camera Mr Projector man, it looks like it's going to be a long cold winter.......

via Neatorama

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Trouble with Women

Pretty pictures

Duck and Cover

On the same theme as the last post....I remembered I'd downloaded the above LP from the 365 Days Project a while ago, you might be interested in listening (if nothing else the 2nd track gives you a good idea of what the americans were eating in the 60's, and gives you a useful shopping list for 'food for 4 for 2 weeks!)

And then there's this.....Duck and Cover from YouTube

Wonder how many people built these in the States?

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gift wrapping with textiles

Click on the image for a readable version

Contact juggling...., I'd never heard of it either!

Another book

Being on holiday this week I've OD'd on radio as usual. On Monday there was a 'piece' on the Cooperative Correspondence Club on Woman's Hour
From the WH website.....
"The writing club that spanned 55 years.
In 1935 a young mother living in Ireland wrote to Nursery World magazine begging for advice on what to do with her free time. She said she was lonely and isolated and needed an occupation that cost nothing. In return, she received dozens of letters from woman all over the United Kingdom who were in similar situations. Together they decided to start a private magazine called the Cooperative Correspondence Club where they could write under pseudynoms about their daily lives. Little did they know they would be writing to each other for more than fifty years.
Now a book has been written about the CCC charting its history from 1935 to its closure in 1990. Jennifer Chevalier has been speaking to its author and to two of the surviving members of the CCC."
“Can Any Mother Help Me?: Fifty Years of Friendship through a Secret Magazine” by Jenna Bailey Published by Faber and Faber ISBN: 0-571-23313-9

Listen to the segment below. You may need to click on the 'Play' button twice, I always have to!


I get a weekly email newsletter called "World wide words" that's always an entertaining read (it's all about the origins of the words we use in everyday speach, it arrives on a Saturday morning just in time for that first cup of coffee....if you like the sound of it you can register for it here) Anyway, in this weeks issue there was a bit about Pitmatic (see below) and a plug for a book published by Northumbria Uni....thought some of you might be interested....

A vernacular used by miners in the north-east of England.

Its name is hardly known even in the area in which it was once best known, though it has received attention from dialectologists and was featured in Melvyn Bragg's The Routes of English BBC Radio 4 series back in 2000. It has been in the news recently as a result of the publication of a book on it by Bill Griffiths.

It was the language of colliers and pitmen, miners in the coal seams of Durham and Northumberland, once the capital of coal (not for nothing was the saying "carrying coals to Newcastle" coined to refer to a useless undertaking). It has gradually died out as the deep pits of the area have progressively closed. Pitmatic is full of mining terms: "at bank", on the surface; "cavil", to choose your underground coal hewing station by lot; "hoggers", footless socks that made it easy to clean coal from between the toes, later a type of flannel drawers; "cracket", a stool on which a pitman sat while hewing coal; "kenner", the end of the shift; and "arse-flap", a loop attached to the winding rope in a shaft on which a man sat while carrying out repairs. Many of the terms can be traced back to Scots, Old Norse and Low German.

Trying to classify it isn't so easy. It isn't a dialect, because it is mainly vocabulary, lacking grammatical features that separate it from other types of speech (the main dialect of the area is the one commonly called Geordie). It isn't just a workplace jargon, though that's where it comes from, because some of the terms have escaped into the wider community, such as "greaser", a device to lubricate the wheels of the coal tubs, which led to the expression "gan canny ower (go carefully over) the greaser", meaning "mind how you go"; It can't be called an argot, which is a semi-secret vocabulary with criminal associations, or a patois, which is a low-status dialect, which Pitmatic certainly wasn't. Call it a vernacular.

The term is first recorded in print, in a slightly different form, in an article in The Newcastle Weekly Chronicle back in 1873:

A great many of the lads, especially from the Durham district, had evidently never been in Newcastle previously, and the air of wonder with which they gazed at the crowds, at the buildings, and especially at the fine folks who occupied the windows, was very amusing. If the quality criticized and quizzed them, the lads returned the compliment, and it was entertaining enough to catch snatches of criticism on the manners and customs of the upper ten thousand of Newcastle, reduced to the purest "pitmatical", shouted across the streets, as the men and lads belonging to collieries swept by where I stood in the crowd...

That fuller form, "Pitmatical", soon abbreviated, gives the clue to its origin. It's a compound of "pit" and "mathematical", which may have been intended to stress the skill, precision and craft of the colliers' work."

[Pitmatic: The Talk of the North East Coalfield, is published by Northumbria University Press, £9.99. ISBN 1-904794-25-4. The book goes well beyond vocabulary to include many examples of songs and stories written in Pitmatic by colliers about pit life and shows how the speech fitted into the wider language-world of the region.]

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Nigerian pick of the crop for the day

Very Urgent Attention,Please permit me to introduce my humble self to you, my name is Mr. StevenJames, I am the Manager of International Relation with Citizens Bank of NigeriaLimited, I 'm 38yrs old, and I got your email address from a friend of mine,and my confidence reposed on you. I hope you read this message carefully andreply me immediately. Although we have not met before, but I suggest that thistransaction will bring us together.My dear, we had a customer, a foreigner but base here in Nigeria, his Name wasMr. Hamilton Creek. He is from Atlanta Georgia United State of America, butbased here with his wife and his two children, Mr. Hamilton has being bankingwith us for the past 4yrs and some time in August 2002, Mr. Hamilton was on hisway to his house, and unfortunately ran into a Trailer load of Groundnut Oil,and died immediately, Their car got burnt, no single soul was saved, Mr.Hamilton Creek and His entire family was confirmed dead.My Board of Directors and the Management of Citizens Bank has mandated andinstructed me to look for Mr. Hamilton Creek?s relation(s) and his Next of Kinto come and claim his fund, Since August 2003 Till date, I have been lookingfor his relation's or his next of Kin to come and claim his fund which heDeposited with our bank, I have contacted his Embassy and after 3days, hisAmbassador told me that Mr. Hamilton Creek has no relation and no next of Kin,their Ambassador told me that he used his first son as His next of kin, but itis quite unfortunate that Mr. Hamilton Creek Died with all his family members.The reason why I contacted you is thus, Mr. Hamilton is dead, and his only sonwho supposed to inherit his properties and money also died With him. As at thismoment, nobody or person[s] is coming to claim this Money from our bank. TheBoard of Directors and management of our bank told me that if nobody or person[s] apply for the claim of Mr. Hamilton Fund, the bank will return the entireFund into our Federal reserve. In the Light of the above, I want you to standas the next of kin to Late Mr. Hamilton Creek, it might interest you to knowthat he had a Domiciliary Bank Account with our Bankand he has a total sum of US$9.2M Nine Million Two Hundred Dollars, this is theexact amount which he had in his domiciliary account before the ugly incidentoccurred, and this money is still in his account as unclaimed money.This transaction is very easy and simple, and it is 100% risk free, I'm theManager for International Relations with Citizens Bank of Nigeria Limited, andthe Management and Board of Directors of the Bank are waiting for me to provideto them the Relation or next of Kin to late Mr. Hamilton Creek, of which I toldthem that I am still searching the next of kin to the deceased. Finally, if youare interested with this transaction, I will front you to the bank as the onlynext of kin to late Mr. Hamilton Creek, and I will let the bank know that youare the only right person to inherit Late Mr. Hamilton Funds and properties. Ifyou are interested, just email me or call me on my direct and private line#:+234-80-53636226. and late Mr. Hamilton?s Funds will be credited into youraccount and all his Properties will be released to you either through CourierServices or the Bank will Cargo all his properties to you in any were you wantit.So reply me immediately and feel free to ask any question with regards to thistransaction. You will take 50% of the US$9.2M. Which is? US$4.600, 000.00 FourMillion Six Hundred Thousand Dollars, while the Balance of the same amount willbe mine.Your swift response will be highly appreciated.Thanks and have a nice day.Friendly RegardsMr. Steven James

So Mr Steven James wants questions? me with suggestions!

It's Heritage Recipe time!

Ma, Anne and I took a sentimental journey to Carlisle on Friday....while we were there Ma was persuaded to buy a recipe book called "Victory Cookbook" by Marguerite Patten (entertaining reading, done in the style of a scrapbook....recommend you check it out next time you're round at her place, especially if you're planning on rustling up a quick "Woolton Pie" for Sunday lunch!)

Anyway, on the way back on the train we got to reminiscing about "memorable family meals"(er....the way you do!) and the unanimous top of the list was "Tyne Brand Irish Stew Curry". We put our minds to it and came up with a possible/probable recipe. THE RACE IS ON TO VERIFY OUR COLLECTIVE MEMORY!!


2 tins TYNE BRAND Irish Stew (surprisingly still available at all the best corner shops!)*
1 diced cooking apple
1 teaspoon (generic!) Coop curry powder
a handful of sultanas
maybe 2T dessicated coconut
2 oxo cubes and enough water to make it 'not sloppy'
salt and pepper

Throw everything in a pan and simmer till the apple is tender but not mush. Serve with boiled rice (and for the true retro taste/texture experience this should be 'pudding' rice boiled to within an inch of it's life!)

*Current ingredients : Tyne Irish Stew (400g) Ingredient declaration Vegetables (40%) (Potato, Carrot, Onion, Peas), Water, Mutton (17%), Modified Maize Starch, Wheat Flour, Salt, Tomato Puree, Lamb Stock Concentrate (contains Flavouring), Flavouring, Black Pepper.

I did a bit of background research (the internet is all-powerful!) and here's a bit of history...

Above is a picture of the Tyne Brand factory a while back....not sure what has happened to it since, it's probably 'exclusive, river-view' flats that none of us can afford now! The company has had numerous owners over the years, here's a paragraph or so from the Westlers website (current company)

"The Tyne brand is a well-established brand, and it started its heritage over 100 years ago in Tyneside at North Shields. The Tyne Brand Company started off with a range of canned fish products. Tyne Brand herrings were famous and were sold all over the world. Then during World War I and World War II the company expanded its range of products to include canned meats.
A number of different companies have owned the Tyne Brand over recent years, including Yeoman, Spillers and Masterfoods, and who can forget the strapline 'No lumps of fat or gristle guaranteed!'
In 2003 Westlers bought the brand from Masterfoods. They relaunched it with a range of canned meat products that built upon the tradition of the brand while updating its image to reflect the demands of consumers. Since taking over the Tyne Brand Westlers has continued to develop the products and stimulate the market with new and exiting products in the range always with Westlers key to success - Quality and Convenience in mind."

Hey, don't forget folks.....that's no lumps of fat or gristle guaranteed!!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Still on the subject of food...

....there's this new website that's worth checking out called "I'm Cooked" Their unique selling point is that all the recipes are in video format mostly recorded by ordinary folks who just love cooking. Embedding video in the blog doesn't seem to be working at the moment but you can check out the recipe for Chilli jam here) You don't need to register to view the videos, only if you want to upload videos of your own or have the recipe emailed to you (just in case you feel inspired John!)


Haven't tried this yet (I was just inspired to look for a recipe when I found the wonderful cover above of the dinner fighting back!) But if nothing else the dipping sauce sounds worth a shot (though I might be inclined to leave out the mayo and add some chilli flakes)


Dipping sauce

2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup mayonnaise


Vegetable oil (for frying)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup buttermilk

15 ounces cleaned calamari, tentacles left whole, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings

For dipping sauce: Combine all ingredients except mayonnaise in processor. Blend well. Transfer to bowl. Stir in mayonnaise. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Whisk before serving.)

For calamari: Pour oil to depth of 3 inches in heavy large pot. Heat to 350°F. Whisk next 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Pour buttermilk into another large bowl. Add calamari to buttermilk. Working in batches, remove calamari; dredge in flour mixture. Fry until just crisp, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve warm with sauce.

A right royal fart.....

....and it looks like Harry caught the worst of the blast!

Dutch housewives show us how to have fun!!

A video from the 60's

Mornington Crescent for the digital age

I know there's some fans of 'Im sorry I haven't a clue' out there so here's the shape of the future, an online version of Mornington Crescent that actually has rules! Based at Wikipedia
To start a game of Wikington Crescent, first click on the Random article link. From the article given, you then click on one of the article links to the next article. The object of the game is to reach the article on Mornington Crescent tube station, whilst clicking on as few articles as possible. The fewer the links used, the better the game. An example is that the article for Matterhorn can lead you to Mornington Crescent tube station within four links.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

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