Griffin Bashing and #BBCQT

I did something that I rarely do and watched an episode of Question Time last night. It seemed a “must see” piece of television as earlier in the evening the BBC faced a brunt of protests outside Television Centre with the arrival of Nick Griffin of the British National Party to the studios.

There were about 1,000 people outside the TV centre protesting against the idea that the BBC would give a voice to Nick Griffin on a political platform.

I only took in bits and pieces in last nights programme as I found myself on Twitter watching the cascading flow of tweets on twitterfall whilst people around the country tuned in to watch old goblin face.

The BNP had come under criticism the previous day for using images of Spitfire air craft and Winston Churchill at their party conferences.

The first question posed to the panel, which included Labour MP and justice secretary Jack Straw, Conservative MP Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne and Curator of the British Museum Bonnie Greer, was whether it was fair the BNP had “hijacked” Winston Churchill’s image for use in their campaigns.

Jack Straw was first respond. He said that the BNP had no right to use Churchill’s image. He said the BNP has no moral compass and says that WWI and WWII was only won with the help of many black and Asian people. He also said a race-based party has no standing in the UK.

Nick Griffin’s response to defend his party’s use of Churchill’s image was that the party chose Churchill as an image because no other party would, due to some of his political philosophies. IE: that he thought there was a real threat of over-migration and that he was worried about the impact of fundamental Islam. Griffin went on to say “I’m not a Nazi and I never have been.”

Erm…really? Then what’s this?

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He also ended with a personal attack on JS saying “My father was in the RAF in the second World War whilst Mr. Straw’s father was in prison for refusing to fight Adolf Hitler.”

What relevance this had on proceedings was hard to decipher. When host Daivd Dimbleby asked why he made this statement he said “Jack Straw was attacking me and I have been being continually attack for the last week.”

Oh, grow up man! And as for Jack Straw attacking you personally, he did nothing of the sort! I dare ask who was the braver in that time, Griffin’s father for being in the RAF (he didn’t say what role he had – my uncle was in the RAAF, but he was a chef!), or Straw’s for being a conscientious objector?

Still on the issue, Bonnie Greer pointed out that Churchill’s own mother was American and her family had possible Mohican Indian descendants, therefore questioning the BNP’s choice for Churchill’s image being that of a “British white role model” that the BNP was looking for.

Chris Huhne chimed into the discussion with his personal views on what he thought the BNP as a party, represented. He said the BNP is “scape-goating” politics. Peddling hatred and fear. Churchill would be rolling in his grave (at having his image being used by the BNP, or being associated with them). He was never a fascist.

Huhne also quoted Nick Griffin as once saying he thought “Yes, Adolf went a bit too far.” He then asked Griffin what part of “too far” did he think Hitler had gone? Slaughtering millions of Jews? Invading Poland and France? Bombing innocent people in Britain?

Griffin amongst his replies says “I brought the BNP out of being a racist party.”

WHAT THE F**K??

David Dimbleby quotes him as saying (not ver batim) “Let’s start out (the BNP) as being moderate to win votes/support. Then we’ll reveal our true agenda.” When asked about this and his involvement with David Duke he said “David Duke was the head of a non-violent arm of the KKK”. This statement had people in the audience and the other panel members in groans of disbelief.

Nick Griffin would shy away from responses to most quotes read to him of things he’d said. Jack Straw confronted him on this. He said (not ver batim) “When we give a quote of something you said you make a defence of saying ‘Oh, I never said that. That’s not quite right.’ But you are there on YouTube, in videos, actually saying these things. Time and again he (refering to Griffin, addressing the audience) wants to wriggle out of it…This guy is the Dr. Strangelove of British politics!”

A question came from an audience member asking why he believes the holocaust was a myth, Griffin said, “I cannot explain why I used to say those things, I can’t tell you (groans and shouts from the audience) any more than I can tell you why I’ve changed my mind, I can’t tell you the extent that I’ve changed my mind because the European law prevents me.”

This was dismissed as bunkum. He was asked to explain why he’d changed his mind about his denial of the holocaust and he gave some lame excuse about hearing radio intercepts of German recordings or something. Jack Straw said “Why would you need that? Were the images from Auschwitz not enough for you”?

Sayeeda Warsi revealed to the audience that he’d shared a platform with Islamic extremist Abu Hamsa after some time of discussing his views on Islam and what he thought of aspects of the Muslim faith. He said he didn’t agree with much of it. It’s treatment of women, etc.

Bonnie Greer said that Griffin starts his history at around 1700 to bypass Roman rule because it doesn’t fit in with the BNP’s “white agenda”. In Roman times there was an influx of many ethnicities, not just Romans.

Baroness Warsi says we need a cap on immigration. She also said she thought that why many people vote or support the BNP is not because they are racist but it is because they are concerned about immigration.

Jack Straw counters this by saying a party like the BNP has been in the British political system on and off since the 1930’s. That the BNP’s recent success in the European elections was NOT due to people with racist leanings voting for them, but it was purely votes gained from protests over the MP’s expenses saga.

On immigration Griffin said successive British governments were committing calculated genocide on the “indigenous white population” of Britain.

WWWHHHHHAAAAAAATT??

Bonnie Greer quoted Griffin saying the BNP are for the “indigenous Ice Age”. She replied, “But there are no people from ‘the indigenous Ice Age’ in the UK.” The UK was populated around 17,000 years ago from people from the south. They certainly didn’t come from the north. How could they get here? “We all know now that we (the population of the world) are all descended from Africa. You should know this Nick, you have a 2:2 in history. The only people who were here on this continent (Europe) 17,000 years ago, and I use the term ‘people’ lightly, were Neanderthals”. Then, speaking to Griffin personally, “You can come to the British Museum and check. We’ve got a lot of information on it. I wish you’d come.”

Then a man from the audience was offered to ask a question to the panel, he said “Yes, I have a question for Dick, er, sorry I mean Nick Griffin”.

That made all us twitterers have a little giggle. Pretending he was making a mistake with his name. It was childish, but funny.

I’m not sure if the programme itself really got anywhere. It did seem to descend into an hour of Griffin-bashing, but perhaps it was worth it just for that. It was certainly entertaining watching twitterfall for the hour the programme was on.

I’ll leve it to the man himself to finish…

The Weymouth Way.

Hmm. What an interesting (if only) adventure that was!

The night before, we were doing some last minute packing, etc, when I could feel my left heel starting to play up really badly. It’s been like it for weeks. The ball of my left heel gets PAINFULLY sore, like I’ve got an Achilles tendon or gout or something. After a while I can hardly walk and look like a hobbling old invalid. Obviously, the longer I’m on my feet, the worse it gets. It can even be painful when I’m sitting if I have no way of keeping my leg elevated or manoeuvrable. I think it was brought on by compensating so much for my right leg when my knee was at it’s most painful.

Anyway, I could feel the pain coming on and went to bed with a dull thud in my left heel. Unsurprisingly I woke early next morning to put my foot on the floor and feel instant pain. “Oh fabulous! Thanks! We’re off to Weymouth today!” I was thinking.

We were up before the crack of dawn at 5am. We were like zombies. We had barely four hours sleep. Well I did anyway. Em might have got an extra hour. We had a cup of tea, got changed, fed the fish, made sure Chris’ food was plentiful and her water clean, then we called a cab.

I was really nervous and apprehensive, partly because I was worried things (the coach, the tube, the train to Weymouth) wouldn’t match, but mostly because my foot was already aching. We were on the coach and leaving Luton airport at 7am. It all looked smooth on the motorway (small mercies) and we ended up at Victoria station in plenty of time. Luckily, as Victoria was HEAVING with rush-hour commuters. We had to wait for the 3rd train to come by before we could even board! We had to change lines to get to Waterloo at Westminster, which was a *little* quieter, thankfully.

We were at Waterloo by 9.10am and the train to Weymouth was leaving at 10.05, so we refueled. We had a strawberry yoghurt each, and Em had an apple (she was extra peckish) and I had a lovely M&S vanilla and maple syrup smoothie.

We were on the train by 9.53 waiting to go!

It was a surprisingly pleasant journey down. The train was really lovely. Comfy, roomy seats, nice staff, a good, clean toilet. A nice quiet carriage, apart from a bloke directly behind us wheeling and dealing on TWO mobile phones. All you could hear when he called someone was him saying “can you hear, can you hear me?” and then him hang up and try his OTHER mobile! God knows what network he was on. A crap one by all accounts! He finally left the train at Bournemouth. Peace, at last!

We arrived in Weymouth at 1pm and the sun was shining. We headed straight for beach front. It was nice. Not as shingled as Brighton, but not entirely sandy like I thought it would be. There was quite a number of people around on the beach for a Thursday and for October 1st. It was a bit mild, around 20 degrees. There were even a few men with their shirts off (all over 50, so there wasn’t really anything worth gawking at!)!

We slowly (we had to, my foot was stuffed by now) made our way to the Premier Inn we were staying at. Em kept thinking we had to be on the road and kept worrying we’d overshoot or go too far, despite my reassurances. And despite me forgetting to take a map to show the way from the station to the motel, we found it easy enough. It was amazingly close to the beach front. No sea views, which I wasn’t expecting anyway, but the beach was only a few minutes walk away. Luckily for me, as I wouldn’t have got to enjoy any of the beach front at all otherwise.

We settled into our room, had a cup of tea and then went to the restaurant next door to eat. It’s a pub food chain called Brewer’s Fayre. We used to go there a lot when we had a car. Our nearest one is not really accessible via public transport, so we haven’t been to one in years.

We filled up our bellies and went back to the room. I was knackered by now. I was tired, bloated from eating, and my foot was at its worst. I stayed in the motel while Em went back off to the town centre for a gander, take some shots and find a few provisions for later.

Having been so knackered sleep eluded me until late in the evening, around midnight. I read from about 10.30pm onwards in the hope it would help me drift off. I didn’t fully wake the next morning until around 9.45am. Once I’d gone to sleep, I’d slept like a log.

With my foot the way it was, I had no plans to do anything that day other than eat! We eventually moved our butts out about midday. Well, I moved mine. Em had already been off and into the town centre again in the mean time. We spent an hour or so on the beach (well, more accurately, on a bench BY the beach), then we went to the Brewer’s Fayre again. Last time Em had a cheese and onion pasty with mash and baked beans, and I had gammon, eggs, chips and peas. This time, Em was going to have the only meal she normally has when we go to Brewer’s Fayre (they’re not normally fab with the vegie meals Em likes, they’ve had the odd thing she likes – like the cheese and onion pasty for example), fish and chips, and I had the most GORGEOUS liver and onions, with bacon, mash and peas, in a giant square Yorkshire pudding! And afters, Em had an caramel apple crumble cake with ice cream, and I had a banoffee waffle with pouring cream. Divine! We were so stuffed (again), we spent the afternoon (and the rest of day, admittedly) in the motel room.

Em was starting to feel the effects of a head cold. I was hoping we could go to the Sea Life centre next door as a last day treat, but of course Miss Tight-wad almost went into cardiac arrest when she heard adult tickets were £17 each. A Sea Life visit was looking VERY unlikely. I felt rested, but my foot was not any better. Miss Cardiac-Arrest had a horrible nights sleep trying to breathe with her head cold.

Last day we had to be out of the motel by midday. We were out by 10.30am and my foot was feeling better initially. We walked along the beach front into the town centre. Looked through some of the shops, realised we had HOURS to kill before our 5pm train, so decided to see a film. The weather wasn’t conducive to being on the beach. It had gotten chilly in 48 hours, and was now 15 degrees and blowing a gale! It was also overcast and drizzling with rain on and off.

We had a fish and chip lunch, then went and saw Creation, the film about Darwin completing The Origin of Species. It was a good film. The plot wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It was quite sad, but wonderfully done. There was a kleenex moment for both of us. Nice bit of irony when we paid for the tickets, little vouchers offering 2 for 1 tickets to Sea Life with a cinema ticket! Oh how I laughed – not!

After we came out of the cinema, there was STILL time to kill, so we wandered a bit. Sat in the local library before it shut, then went to the station just after 4pm. The train was already on the platform, so by 4.25 we were already seated, waiting to get back to Waterloo. Not as nice a journey home. The carriage was quite full, and there were a few Saturday night revellers getting on and off, and the toilet was small and there was urine on the floor – always nice!

We got to Waterloo at 7.50pm and the fun hadn’t quite finished yet. Of course we had to get back Victoria. We were going to go back the way we came, which meant a trip on the Jubilee line to Westminster, and then from there on the District and Circle line to Victoria. Only problem was, the Jubilee line was closed!!! Flipping hell! So we had to change our route. We had to go on the Bakerloo line to Embankment (which is MILES further underground than Jubilee – it’s like a mile just to get to the Bakerloo platforms FFS!) and then from there on the District and Circle back to Victoria!

I was about ready to collapse when we got to Victoria. We had some food there, then got on the coach back to Luton. From there, a quick cab ride back home. We were back at home around 10.45pm and as we were scrabbling for the keys I was saying to Em “I can hear something that sounds scarily like one of our fire alarms.” Lo and behold when we opened the front door, the wailing became louder. Sure enough, it was one of ours! Fig! It took Em a minute or so to turn the damn thing off. Chris was nowhere to be seen. God knows how long the flipping thing had been activated. Hopefully not 15 minutes after we left.

We eventually found Chris cowered under the sofa. Poor sweetheart, she was as jumpy as anything for the next few hours, poor baby girl 😦

A fitting crescendo. Still, it was time away. I was hoping to see a few different birds down there, but all I saw were gulls. Gulls, gulls and even more flippin’ gulls!

Pictures will be put online soon.

Hogwatch Update.

Just had to add this pic. The other night there were two hogs in the box at feeding time. But now, tonight, there are THREEEEEEE!!!

Yes, three little hogs in the box – all vying for dog food!

WARNING: The following image may cause aCUTE sensory overload (boom boom)! LOL

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Did Derren Brown Control The Nation?

He certainly didn’t control me last night!

Last night was the second of a series of programmes Derren Brown is doing titled “The Events”. Last week on the Wednesday night (9th September), he had a little ten minute programme on claiming he could and WILL predict the lottery numbers as they went out live. I didn’t watch the show, but many people did and were discussing it on Clive Bull’s show on radio LBC. He had the country talking of nothing else for the following 48 hours. He had predicted all six numbers! Everyone was talking about how he did it. There were so many theories being thrown about.

Last Friday, he told us in a programme sub-titled “How To Win The Lottery”. To keep it short it was to do with some thing called the “Crowd Influence” or something to that effect – can’t remember it verbatim. It was to do with a collective of people having better odds at predicting things and influencing results, than individuals or a small number of people (say, less than 10). He got together 24 people. They looked at all the lottery draws for the previous 12 months, then did some “automatic writing” technique to come up with sets of numbers that subconsciously they would think would be drawn next. Then used averages to come up with the final six numbers. Anyway, to cut it short again – after three attempts (September 9th being the third), they predicted all six numbers.

But right at the end of the programme he went on to say (at the beginning he outlined three plausible ways to win – randomness and luck IE: his numbers just happen to come up, the technique with the 24 people – whatever he called it again, or, cheating!) that he did NOT cheat. Then proceeded to say stuff like…for instance I would have to know someone working at Camelot (the lottery organisers), which I do not, and I’d have to get that person from Camelot to sneak in weighted balls into the draw machines, which I did not (blah de blah)…and so on until you found yourself thinking in a reverse psychology way, “is he admitting to cheating?”.

So this week it was going to be him having us quite literally GLUED to our chairs! There was about 45 minutes of waffle, with him doing all his usual little mentalist things. Just before he was about to “glue” us all to our chairs, they went for an ad break, but just before that, a subliminal image flashed on the screen.

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After they came back from the break, and just before he finished explaining what was going to happen and play the film that would have us “all glued to our chairs”, the image flashed up again. When the show was over, I rewound and grabbed a shot of the image.

The first time I saw it, I got a little disturbed, I must admit. It was a split second, but I could see it was someone sitting on a chair. It looked more like a sort of fractal crash test dummy image when I saw it for that split second. It’s even MORE disturbing now I can clearly see what it is! It played on my mind all through the break, but my mind got used to it and less and less disturbed by it. Then when it flashed again, I was ready for it.

By the time the film played, I had a little heightened sense of fear, but I was sort of assuring myself that I would NOT get stuck. As the film played, I found the music sort of soothing and wasn’t disturbed by the image at all. After the minute was up, I jumped out of the lounge saying “I’m not stuck. I’m SSSOOO not stuck!!” I was thinking “take that Derren Brown! Your mentalism didn’t work on ME. I’m no pushover!!” Then I was feeling slightly left out a few minutes later when loads of people were stuck to their chairs. Damn!

I was SO pleased with myself for not being open and susceptible to this kind of stuff. I’ve always wondered whether I could be hypnotised. Now I’m even more curious after that. But I have no plans of going to a hypnotist to find out!!

Crime Against (Supposed) Crime.

Please explain to me WHY so many people seem to be so anti-BBC?

Is it because people believe it to be a monster? Do people deem it too big for its boots? Do people believe there’s a lack of quality programming? Is it the whole Ross/Brand “Sachsgate” scandal? Are BBC bosses and controllers overpaid? Are BBC entertainers overpaid?

The debate arose again last night as I was listening to radio station LBC and Clive Bull. He started to talk about the TV licence. More to the point, trying to see if he was able to talk to one of the reported 200,000+ people that evade paying their TV licence. This figure has increased in the last financial year and he wanted to eke out whether it was purely financial reasons as to why people were no longer willing to pay their TV licence or whether something more underlying was accounting for TV licence dodging.

Clive wanted to know whether there was anyone out there happy to pay their TV licence. If it had not been so late at night and I was not so shy to make the call, I would have called in to say “me”! I WANT to pay my TV licence, because I can see what I’m getting for my money.

One man called in to say that he didn’t pay his TV licence as he no longer watched any live TV. He used his television to watch DVD’s via his DVD player. So cautious was he to evade getting grievance from the TV licensing body, that he severed his coaxial cable from the aerial on his roof. Clive pointed out that this move would be unlikely to be enough as the man’s TV would still have a tuner within it and therefore the ability to receive live television. That what the man would need to have is a computer monitor with no TV tuner within the screen.

So the man says “Right. This is where I am confused. So even though I don’t actually watch live television, because I have a TV with a tuner, I can still be deemed to be breaking the law?” Yes, says Clive. “Oh”, says the man “but that’s unfair and unclear”. In my mind I was thinking “Well, to avoid confusion or potential prosecution, I suggest you buy an LCD monitor with no tuner”, which Clive sort of went on to say himself. The man finished his conversation with Clive by saying “I’m quite anti-BBC really, but I do like their news web site. So if I’m on there and I see a link that says “watch now”, I’m breaking the law if I watch the clip?” Yes, says Clive.

The fact that the man begrudgingly confessed to using some BBC content wasn’t enough for him to think “Well, you know, maybe I should pay my TV licence?” Melon!

Do these people not think of the content that is provided to them for what amounts to 38p a day? That’s the price of a Kit-Kat! So, for the price of a Kit-Kat a day, you get advertisement free TV across eight BBC TV channels, a multitude of radio stations, including the BBC World Service. You have access to the wonderful BBC iPlayer (a chance to catch missed programmes via an online service that allows you to watch and download TV programmes and listen to radio shows for one week after original broadcast). You have online content via bbc.co.uk, including a news web site that is second to none. You also get a wealth of stunning programmes from documentaries, to drama. A lot of my favourite programmes are produced by the BBC including Doctor Who and Torchwood.

How on earth can you argue with getting that amount of content for 38p a day?!

There are so many who argue why they should pay a TV licence when they are on something like Sky. Get some perspective! Sky charges MORE for its basic service at £16.50 a month (and who, quite frankly gets Sky for its basic package? No one!), which is NOT advertisement free for that cost of subscription either, than the TV licence does. And with Sky’s basic package you are getting LESS content. Why anyone would pay to have Sky is beyond me!

Please! For those people who are hell bent on BBC bashing, please stop and think about what we have here in this country. A multimedia service that is revered around the world for providing quality and excellence and costs us all (well, those who pay it) a Kit-Kat a day.

Clive asked last night “So if people aren’t paying their TV licence, what are the consequences? I can see the consequences of people not paying car insurance, premiums go up. Does this mean TV licence dodgers will make the TV licence go up? What *ARE* the consequences?”

Well, surely the consequences would be programming and services will suffer. That perhaps something like Doctor Who would not have been put back on the screen, and certainly not with the love and financial backing it has received to make it more popular than ever.

The BBC news site would just be like some other ramshackle news site where you have to tread through mud to see content that is most relevant to you.

Things like the BBC Action Line would get cut. It’s there for people who may need to seek guidance or advice from seeing story lines in dramas or topics in documentaries that affect people greatly. Discussions on rape or medical conditions, cancer, mental health issues, etc, the BBC Action Line is a point of call for people to turn to if they want to discuss with someone how a certain subject in programming has affected them.

Funding for things like that would just cease to be.

I just urge people to please think about what they get for their 38p a day before they slag it (the BBC and TV licensing) off.

It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot Mum. Heatwave Alert!

The UK is on Level 2 heatwave alert. I kid you not! This is really real!
Here is the guidelines for the alert levels from the Department of Health.

Heatwave Plan for England http://d.scribd.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=16953929&access_key=key-1rzunppkhw94pbd69s8x&page=1&version=1&viewMode=

I was listening to the radio last night. A talkback programme with a guy Em likes to listen to called Clive Bull on the London station LBC. A lady called in talking about the heatwave warning levels. Clive wasn’t sure what the levels represented, so the lady was setting him straight…

She said “Well, level 2 is two consecutive days of temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius and level 3 is death…”. At this point Clive, somewhat shocked interrupted and said, “Level 3 is DEATH?!”

I’m not sure where this lady got her facts from, but level 3 is NOT death! lol She went on to elaborate that she meant “potential of death” – still incorrect. Clive’s reaction to the lady’s interpretation of the meaning of level 3 DID make me giggle though!

It *IS* making me laugh that there is a contingency plan in place for the weather to get hotter than any Brit is used to. Coming from a country where the average summertime temperature is rarely BELOW 30 degrees Celsius, makes the Brit contingency plan seem somewhat alarmist.

LEVEL 3 = DEATH!!!!!!

Be warned people!
LOL

The Television FREKKIN’ Baftas!!

On Monday (I think it was Monday anyway, or over the weekend) I entered a competition on the Radio Times web site. It was for tickets to this weekends television Baftas. I had second thoughts entering the competition as it did state if you won tickets the dress code is black tie. I was thinking “how the hell am *I* going to dress for that?”. Then thought “what the hay!” and entered the comp. anyway. I just assumed I’d never have a hope in hell of winning them.

I had to go to the Bafta site to help me answer the question you had to enter the comp. Then I saw that tickets were available to the general public, but they were £50 each!! That helped me decide to enter too 🙂

Anyway, I’d just got out of the shower this morning. Had just finished drying myself off actually when my mobile phone rang. Em brought it upstairs to me and I answered. “Hello. Is that Larelle Read I’m speaking to?” Yes I say to the voice at the other end of the line. “Hi, this is (missed his name) _____ from Radio Times. You entered a competition online to win tickets to the television Baftas?” Yes, I say. “Well, I’m pleased to announce that you’ve won the competition.”

My flabber had never been so gasted! Couldn’t believe it! I enter ALL their comps online and the least I was interested in winning was this one, truth be told. But hey, it’s like being able to go to the Emmys or the Logie awards. I mean ZOMFG!!

The guy reiterated the event was black tie. I declared I didn’t own a dress and he said jacket suit was fine. As long as dress was smart, it would be fine.

Later in the day a lady from Bafta called and confirmed an address to send the tickets to me and also said about the black tie dress code. I checked with her and she said as long as we were smartly dressed – no jeans, trainers, etc, it would be fine.

I must admit, I have had to buy myself a pair of tailored trousers – I’ve got suitable tops and a jacket. Em has NOTHING! But I was actually able to order her a suit with a mail order catalogue I use for £20! Trousers and jacket. Both for £20! They should arrive tomorrow. We’ll just have to get suitable footwear from town on Saturday. We’ve got to spend a little money to look the part, but it’s a once in a lifetime thing for us, so it’ll be worth it.

I’ll let you know who we see, what happens and whatnot on Monday. OMG! Squee! The TV Baftas! F*ck me sideways!!!

And you just never know “Who” might be there – nudge nudge, wink wink!!!!!!!!!

Recipes From Scratch.

I saw a story on the BBC that showed from research carried out by the UKTV Food channel that Briton’s can make 10 meals “from scratch” – IE: without the use of a recipe or cookbook.

Number one on the list was spaghetti bolognese. PER-LEASE! If you buy the sauce ready made, as I’m sure most people do these days, the recipe has three ingredients – sauce, pasta and mince. Ooh, hard!

Second on the list was a traditional roast dinner. Erm, again. What recipe *IS* there for that? Get a big slab of meat, or a chicken, whack it in the oven. Roast some potatoes, boil some vegies.

Third on the list was pot noodle. Forth was beans on toast.
LOL – NO! I’m kidding! But it might as well have been.

Some of them do get a little complex down the end of the list. Some people claim to be able to do a cottage pie from scratch with no recipe. That’s fairly bold.

At the end of the list was curry. I can’t help but think for some people who said “Yeah, I can make a curry from scratch.” that their list of ingredients would read:

1. One jar of korma sauce.
2. 500gm of chicken fillets.
3. 75gm of uncooked rice.
4. 15ml of olive oil.

Method:
Cook rice to instructions on packet.
Place oil in frying pan, heat. Add chicken, cook to brown, approx 8 minutes. Add korma sauce. Serve with cooked rice.

If they actually can make the sauces from scratch with no recipe to reference, they are better than I could ever be! I suppose if you’re Asian you might be able to do it, as it would be second nature to know what the sauces are made with and they’d be making them regularly.

Another was stir-fry. Well blow me down with a feather! That’s hard. Fry some meat, and a variety of chopped vegetables to your liking, then add some soya sauce, a bit of honey…viola!

Still, if people ARE cooking at home, and regularly enough not to need recipe guides, it can only be good.

Click here to read the story from the BBC.

Baby Blackbird Drama

I was just settling down to watch the Doctor Who – Planet of the Dead repeat (just to give it one last try to see if I didn’t change my mind about it) when a REAL drama unfolded.

Earlier in the day I’d spotted our resident male and female blackbirds (who I refer to as Mr & Mrs B). They were behaving quite erratic and seemed to be getting very flustered over the presence of a magpie. They both kept flying onto the fence on the other side of our strip of lawn, and going from there to the roof of the house opposite, to the fence again, and back and forth from the tree.

As I started to watch Planet of the Dead, Chrissy kept looking at the shrub outside. Then, suddenly Em spotted what must have been the cause of Mr & Mrs B’s earlier frenetic behaviour. There was a blackbird chick in the shrub outside our front room window! Chris was obviously in raptures. And I became enthralled too – and frantic – no 3rd chance for Planet of the Dead I’m afraid. Please be mindful there is sound on the video and it does contain some strong language (sorry).

http://www.facebook.com/v/104088099744

Here’s poor little bub looking defenceless in the shrub. Mr & Mrs B were fab though. They kept coming back to check on it and feed it. When they could find it! Mr B sort of knew where it was and came over to the shrub and fed it. A little while later Mrs B came over and did the same thing, then bub got the courage to try and fly back over to the other side of the garden.

What I think had happened earlier in the afternoon was that bub got lost in the shrubbery on the other side of the garden, by the fence. And I think Mr & Mrs B lost it for a while. It certainly explained their behaviour to me once I’d seen the baby.

So, now here is bub as he gets the courage to try to get over to the other side of the garden.

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We were watching with hearts in mouths. As you will see below, the poor bub JUST makes it over, flutters a bit on the fence, then takes shelter in the conifer tree. We kept watch. Mum and dad were still looking out for him. Mrs B even managed to feed bub while it was in the conifer.

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Eventually bub moves on, as you will see below.

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It’s on the compost bin now. Mum comes along with the BIGGEST worm to give to him, but can’t land near him. She keeps the worm for him! Bless!!

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From there he ended up in the hebe bush above, and stayed about 15-20 mintues. Then, finally, finally, after a bit of coaxing from mum and dad, he took a plunge for the oak tree. He made it!! Mum and dad kept on flying back and forth from the large conifer trees in the gardens beyond (where we think the nest might be). They were trying to entice him to fly with them over to the conifers. After a few minutes of wing flexing and branch hopping, he took one final leap. From what I could see he had just about enough energy to make it to the first branch of the conifers. There are three large ones in a row. I think he got to the first one, but I think the nest is in the third one, so he had a little bit of branch hopping to go to actually make it home.

Mum and dad were taking really good care of him the whole time though. I didn’t intervene as much as I wanted to. When I watch Springwatch, they say time and again, if you see a baby bird in peril, try not to intervene as you can make a bad situation worse. All I could do was keep watch and make sure he didn’t end up on the ground and look out for cats. The magpie was hanging around a bit, but mum and dad kept him away, and I don’t think he was even aware of the chick anyway.

I just hope the little thing made it and is okay. I haven’t seem Mr & Mrs B much today. They’ve only visited the garden once since I’ve been up. Mrs for a drink and a bite to eat, and Mr for his obligatory bath.

PS: In the time it’s taken me to upload the videos, I have seen a baby blackbird flapping around the conifers beyond where the nest is. I can’t be certain it’s THE baby, but I hope it is. At least I know it lives to fight another day 🙂

Odd Juxtaposing Day.

I feel very drained today. We ventured out yesterday. Got this free bus travel around the region and have hardly used it so far. We just went to Stevenage again. There’s a pet store there that I wanted to go to. It’s quite large and they have lots of small animals for sale. Bunnies, guinea pigs, chinchilla’s, gerbils, as well as degu’s. One of the gerbils looked just like our little Banjie, and he came up to the glass to say hello to me! Too cute. And me and Em were both going gaga over all the lovely CAVEY’S!

Anyway, we didn’t go there for the fluffy creatures, we went there to try and get some replacement equipment for the fish tank. There’s a split in the under-gravel filter and we need to get a new one. Of course they didn’t have one! But we were able to get a replacement glass scraper/cleaner and we bought two tubs of this stuff they are selling, which is kind of like a chewy version of Bonito tuna flakes/Kitty Kaviar. I was really hoping Chris would like it, ‘cos she goes MENTAL over the Kitty Kaviar, but she’s not keen. The texture is too heavy and chewy. It’s not light, dry and flaky like the Kitty Kaviar. She kept investigating it, went to eat it a couple of times, but then stopped. I just don’t think she likes the texture. BUM!

Anyway, while in Stevenage, we checked out Aldi and we got a little tray of mini Ritter Sport’s chocolates. Em got all dark chocs and marzipan, and I got all milk chocs with different centres.

And the local Tesco has an in-store Krispy Kreme counter, so I got my big Easter treat of a dozen original glazed doughnuts!!! YUM!

We went back to Hitchin for a while. We got some flower and vegetable seeds from the 9TP (where everything is 90p – hence the name. Cute pun!) shop. 15 packs of seeds for 90p! Then we got a couple of fruit tree/shrub/plants from another discount store. We got one blackberry and one blackcurrant for £2 each.

Anyway, on to today. As a result of yesterday’s adventures, I feel TRULY knackered. My legs started to hurt before we got home. By the time we were home, they’d died. My feet were aching like mad, and at that point, once I’ve rested, for next 36 hours, I find it incredibly uncomfortable to put any weight on my legs. They just ached and throbbed in bed all last night.

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. I didn’t want to put weight on my legs and feet. I stayed in bed until 11.30am, then I knew I had to get up. Luckily I did, as my “friends” had just arrived and left a spot on my underwear – GODDAMNIT!! Just to add insult to injury, they arrive!

So, it’s a lovely sunny day, Em’s just gone off to some allotment society thing at another allotment nearby to join and get some supplies. And two weird juxtaposing events are happening in England today. The Grand National and Jade’s funeral. At least it’s a lovely sunny day for both.

Today is a weird day…