Tag Archives: England

Back in the swing of it

Sorry for my absence since the summer recess; with praise for our website reaching an all time high it was time to change and I’ve been diverted to write the copy and given strict instructions to ensure it’s serious in tone and rich in content.  I can’t help thinking they tasked the wrong person but I will let the nice people who pay a visit to our website decide.  We’ll let you know when the new design goes live on our Facebook page.

Proper jobs

Where to start?  What better than a bit of wishful thinking.  The entrepreneurial people of Dubai are always on the lookout for money making ideas elsewhere and giving them a go here.  Witness the 101 deal gobblers that batter your inbox each and every day.  I’ve long been pushing for a proper Cornish pasty shop to open in Dubai, they are on every street corner in England and doing a roaring trade – not surprising given they are bloody delicious!  For anyone who thinks I’m talking absolute nonsense, this summer I discovered Winchester, a very upmarket British city with a lovely cathedral and very posh public school (why are schools with hugely expensive fees that only .005% of the population can afford called public?).  I had just come out of the new Boots £1 shop (seriously everything was on offer) and look what I spied.  Being  a very fair person and given it was my first day back in Blighty I bagged one from each shop and was soon lovin’ it in a way that McDonald’s can only dream of.

Winchester pasty shops

Classic books for free (all above-board!)

While in Britain, I  decided to download a very British book; the fact that I could download Tess of the D’Urbervilles onto my Kindle without parting with money was an added incentive (Amazon has lots of classics for free download).  I immediately settled into a deep depression as Tess’s tale of woe went from getting out of the wrong side of bed to needing to hide under the covers.  I mentioned this to my wife and she reassured me that Tess is one of Thomas Hardy’s happier books.  Reinvigorated I pressed on to the end and  you can imagine my surprise when poor Tess was led to the gallows and hung for murder!  Meanwhile Tess’s lover went off into the sunset with her younger sister.  Sorry for giving the plot away.

App of the week

A great thing I managed to sort while I was in England was acquiring a lot of iPad apps which I can drip feed to you over the coming weeks and months.  First up I really, really like Evernote; it’s a freebie and incredibly useful.  In essence you can create notes and update and sync them at anytime on a variety of devices.  I’ve got Evernote on my PC, BlackBerry and iPad and it even does something clever in Outlook but I’m not sure what.

Apple shaken to the core

While on the subject of Apple, I read the very sad news about Steve Jobs which was then followed by the shock of Apple falling short of market analysts’ expectations as a consequence of which there was a 5% decline in their share price.  It’s very worrying for the world economy when a stellar company like Apple starts to suffer.  Having seen the headlines I dug a bit deeper to better understand what the crisis was all about; had they broken even or god forbid made a loss I wondered?  Imagine my surprise when I read that Apple made a staggering $6.25 billion profit in the last quarter.  I know a lot of companies that are struggling to make ends meet at the moment who would be declaring a holiday on the back of a $1 profit from all of their hard work.

I can imagine Steve looking down and being quite proud of his efforts.  So much so he might even have had a wry smile at the new Apple logo which was designed by the child of the student who created the Nike swoosh.  Or what about the clever people who have created Macaquariums, brilliant!

Steve Jobs inside apple bite


Joke of the week

As BlackBerry encountered network problems and Apple discovered a few glitches in their new operating system the internet was awash with Blackberry and Apple crumble jokes, tee hee.

Gaddafi bites the dust

With news breaking of Gaddafi’s timely death (spare me the pics please) I’ve got my fingers crossed that the good people of Libya have planned for the peace.  So many times in history the war has been won by the good guys but what followed was even worse.

The return of the tomatoes

For those of you who followed the tale of the tomato last year which culminated in a bumper crop I’ve planted this year’s seeds and am looking forward to bringing you updates on a regular basis.  In the meantime my water melon is going great guns. I can never get over the fact that you can take seeds from a melon you’re eating and plant them in a bit of dirt, add some water and fertiliser from recycled food scraps off you go.  Thank you to Dr Julian Nichols (aka the sandman) for pointing me in the right direction.  If I’ve inspired you, have a look at Dubai Veg Growers for more info.

Top 5 things I did during the summer

  • Climbing Widgery Cross on Dartmoor and flying my new kite (bought for my daughters)
  • Visiting Sharpham Vineyard on the River Dart in Devon, good wine, great cheese
  • Riding on the dodgems at a vintage fairground near Lifton in Devon
  • Supporting the SOS Kitaid golf event with some rugby buddies from my Bath days
  • Mackerel fishing off Exmouth

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Filed under Observations

Should Hayward be made to watch England?

Now I know how Tony Hayward feels.  I walked into the golf club on Saturday (after a reasonably good round) only to be the recipient of a broadside from a Scotsman, Brian Edwards.  He opened with ‘your blog isn’t funny, I got halfway through and gave up’.  With the Scots in buoyant mood after Friday’s footie debacle I really wasn’t expecting to have to deal with the one grumpy Scot (maybe he was upset by England beating Australia at rugby).  I love the World Cup as it costs the Scots a fortune in replica shirts; let’s hope we squeeze through on Wednesday and get the Germans.  I would love to see Mr Brian proudly wearing a German shirt.

Anyway just to keep the Scots happy and to continue with my policy of appeasing my American friends, below is the first funny of the day.

Cover of the New York Post

Closely followed by great observational humour courtesy of Alan Main (a Scot):

The England World Cup squad visited an Orphanage in South Africa today.

“It’s so great to put a smile upon the face of those who have no hope, and no prospects for the future”….said Thambo Mzuli, aged 6

If I was Tiny Hayward, and thank goodness I’m not, I too would be thinking I deserve a day off after stone walling the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the House of Representatives.  However here is where we deviate, whereas I would think hair shirt and a bit of purgatory, Mr Hayward had other ideas.  My trip to SA to watch England play would have extracted a lot of goodwill and sympathy from everyone.  Bottom of my list would have been to take my 40 foot yacht into the unpolluted waters off England for a pleasant sail around the Isle of Wight.  Who the whatever advises these guys?

BP CEO Tony Hayward criticised for yacht trip

With the Americans pressing for unlimited damages from BP ($20bn and climbing) it would be the perfect time to address the crime committed against the good people of India by a US company (sorry for the sombre note Brian but we need to keep this one in the public eye).

Bhopal 1984: 3,878 dead, Union Carbide (US company) paid in 1999 (i.e. 15 years later) the statutory max of $350m plus interest = $470m.

Moving swiftly back to funnies, third funny of the day is this Lego inspired replay of the England US game – brilliant.

And for my fourth – a naked bike ride around London to highlight how vulnerable you are when competing with cars on busy roads.  I wonder if it would be worth repeating the exercise in Dubai?

Cyclists strip off in central London for World Naked Bike Ride

My price watch this week is the highly recommended X-mini speaker (it’s brilliant) – Dubai silly prices strike again.

x mini speaker

Amazon £13.60, Sharaf DG AED 129

My music recommendation of the week is the brilliant new single by Sparklehorse with Julian Casablancas (of Strokes fame) on lead vocals.  Sparklehorse was the brain child of Mark Linkous who sadly took his own life in March of this year.

Also very sadly Andy Ripley died last week after a long battle against prostate cancer, he was a truly special character and rugby player, he managed to shine when England were absolutely rubbish.

Andy Ripley – a superstar who lit up our lives

Top 5 songs by Scots

  • Heaven; David Byrne Talking Heads
  • Road to nowhere; David Byrne, Talking Heads
  • Psycho killer; David Byrne, Talking Heads
  • Take me to the river; David Byrne, Talking Heads
  • This must be the place; David Byrne, Talking Heads

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Filed under Observations