Sunday, 30 September 2012

Dublin, Home Of Guinness

A little film off the back of an open-top bus touring around Dublin, in 2011.
Mr B was working there, (at the theatre, not at Guinness'), and, as mentioned by the tour guide, also actually visited the Jameson's Distillery, which made me very happy (!), as he brought home whiskey, whiskey marmalade and a really beautiful glass bauble for the Christmas tree. It didn't get used last year as we weren't at home, so it'll come up all fresh and new in a couple of months or so. 
I can see why they didn't use their home base for the video, (tho' I really don't understand the reasoning behind where they did use?), as it quite gives me the creeps! It conjures up the evil Gotham City of the Batman films, except this place is for real. I think it could make a really brilliant film setting for James Bond, or such-like, don't you?
Z xx

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Arthur's Day

Somewhere we have film that Mr B shot of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. 
When I find it I will add it to this post!
Z xx

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Feast For The Eyes (& the tum!)

My most favourite breakfast meal ever! With a wonderful mix of seeds/nuts/dried fruit. Yum!

The milk is served in the cutest Friesen cow-patterned ceramic milk bottles.
And check, (no pun intended!), those teeny-tiny Bon Maman preserve jars. I asked them if they can keep some empties for me; perfect for all those bead-y bits and pieces, in what will eventually be a crafting space for me.

I have to admit smoked haddock is my favourite-est breakfast fish. No egg, just a bit of bread and butter, perfect. But when I'm feeling brave a kipper is pretty yummy too...just don't like all those thin little bones.

I missed breakfast this morning,(boo), 'cos I just went back to sleep after Mr B went to work. Yesterday I went down on my own, (brave!) and had boiled eggs and soldiers as my cooked meal. They were cooked just right - solid white with a runny yolk.
Saturday I was really wicked and had the fresh waffle, (huge!), with bacon and maple syrup. It was amazing and I will definitely order that again before the week is out. I could eat it every morning but that would be just baaaaad!

Mr B plumped for scrambled egg and smoked salmon both meals he had. The second time they missed off the salmon and they brought out what seemed to be a whole salmon, (well, a slight exaggeration there, but a huge piece by anyones standards); there was 2 very well fed cats that morning!!

The food at Manchester Mal has been fantastic but, if you need to be somewhere on time, get to the dining room really early. Service can be very slow, but I think this is only when it is super busy and because everything is cooked to order, which really does make a difference to the food you are eating and one I am quite happy to put up with.

We have had an evening meal too; a special deal that you print off from the Internet. Two courses for 2 people with a bottle of wine for £29.00. If you live near a Mal, I'd definitely recommend it.
Will post photos at a later date.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Very Happy Tabby

A super-chilled-out cat!
We think she rather likes staying at the Mal, Manchester.
We do!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Friday Night Was "Go To Manchester Night"

What would James Bond have done if he had left his roll-along behind the Iron Curtain? He would probably just pull up outside the hotel, take his tuxedo out of the boot and get the Aston Martin valet-parked, whilst making a wry, witty comment like "Excuse my friend, he's just dead", as a would-be assailant sits slumped in the passenger seat.
But what if he were taking the Trans Siberian Express? I think if Bond did have a suitcase, it would be not much bigger than one of those 'Secret Sam' spy briefcases that I saw advertised on TV as a boy...enough room for a periscope and a martini glass, but not a weeks worth of clothes. I'm pretty sure that I tucked my 'Skyflight' 2-wheeled roll along holdall just behind the door of our storage container in readiness for the up and coming trip.
That was all those weeks ago whilst Moneypenny, (Mrs B), and I were clearing the flat so that Q could come and install all those gadgets - cooker, radiators, shower.
As the evening weather has gone a bit 'From Russia With Love', Moneypenny said she only had little cocktail dresses and kitten heels with daggers concealed in the toes, left in the flat and may well have to retrieve a trench coat or such-like from storage. That didn't happen, so I've ended up using my 'Vegas' case which would've been perfect if this was 'Diamonds Are Forever', but it is a bit big for this trip.
My Bond girl and I have just spent the evening in our 'boutique' hotel listening to Radio 2s 'Friday Night Is Music Night' on the BBC iPlayer
Worth following the link for the picture of Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode alone!
I was a fan of John Barry's music long before I bought 'Funky Moped' or 'Kung Fu Fighting'.
Did Bond ever have a roll along? Of course he did...a golf bag in 'Goldfinger'.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Should've Worn The Pith Helmet

When Howard Carter was asked if he could see anything, when he peered into Tutankhamen's tomb for the first time he replied "Yes. Wonderful things!"

The wonderful thing I was trying to excavate from the back of our storage container on Saturday, were the Tea for Two, cane table and chair set. Mrs B was sitting on the step-stool in the little bit of shade opposite. It did feel like The Valley of the Kings as I brought boxes marked 'Fragile - Sideboard' and a standard lamp out into brilliant sunshine. Having cleared the path which led to the artifact I was after I called out to Mrs B "Do you want any of these coats?" I gently removed a vacuum bag of bedclothes revealing my prize. Then, suddenly, like that giant stone ball in 'Temple of Doom' two bumper (ironically named) banana boxes shifted from behind me, hitting me on the head and pinning me forward over the table...curse of the Pharaohs!

Mrs B rushed in assuming the role of Lara Croft, to rescue me. I was recounting this to my commuter friend, Rob, this morning. He's a Graphic Artist for a gaming company. I told him that when I once worked at 5th Avenue Nightclub, in Southsea, there was a lad on the bar staff who loved playing the Indiana Jones 'reels game' fruit machine because a voice from the film would say "I told you not to touch that, Indy."

As we talked, another film image came to mind from Laurel & Hardy. Ollie is sitting in a fireplace where the chimney has just collapsed. He sits there, looking into camera, braced as the inevitable last 2 bricks fall down, on his head.

I get to work and say to my boss, (having had the Monday off), "Did it knock some sense into me? I don't think's like Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em." "Is Michelle Dotrice at home?" said my boss.
Cut to the image of Oliver Hardy as the last brick bounces off his head.
"I see wonderful things"

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Refurbishment Rock

Three weeks ago our flat was becalmed, like a ship at sea with no wind in her sails.

The 'safe' cupboard with TV on top was butted up to Mrs B's Laura Ashley chair and corralled in the middle of the room. The Tesco catalogue bed frame was upended with the mattress leaning against the plasterboard wall. Having no dust sheets, I had covered the TV and chair with flat pack cardboard, wrapping it with white paper and brown tape, kindly left by the removal men. So, here we were, sitting on the floor waiting for our electrical team to arrive with what looked like an art installation in the middle of the room.

Over-tired from late night and early morning preparation, I jokingly said to Mrs B "It's a bit like living in a squat", (not that either of us have any experience of that). However, in my teens I did go to a party in an old terraced house that was due for demolition. The 2 up, 2 downs of Froddington Road were all going to be knocked down and through the grapevine the word of a party had spread. I remember standing in the entrance hall, listening to 'The Prisoner' by The Clash while a tall, red-haired 5th former from school did the "I look to my left...I look to my right" hand gestures to the song.

That was 34 years ago (!). More recently, I was working on an outdoor festival in Granada. We were working through the night to allow the Lighting Department to focus the rig, (illuminating swathes of bats as they flew among the trees).

Down the hill from our hotel, stood the Washington Irving, an abandoned hotel, named after the author of 'Tales of the Alhambra' and 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'. The hotel, which previously had as guests The Royal Ballet with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, had since fallen into a state of neglect, with tarpaulin covering its' roof. Throughout this refurbishment programme, to keep spirits up, I have put our flat on a par with the 'pipe dream' of restoring the Washington Irving.

During a break, waiting to change scenes, Pete had set up his speakers in the physio room off the side of the stage and Paul borrowed the kettle from Wardrobe, proceeding to make tea. This was about 3 o'clock in the morning. Pete was playing tunes he had downloaded from Spotify and was asking everyone what their first gig was, that they went to. For me, it was Queen in Hyde Park; "Welcome to our little picnic by the Serpentine" said Freddie Mercury. Steve was The Jam, Johnny was Metallica and Diana was quite coy about Dire Straits! During all this late night jollity one of the tracks on Pete's play list was 'Anarchy in the UK'. On hearing this, our Spanish interpreter wandered in and told us that her dad had been in Public Image Limited the band that John Lydon formed after the Sex Pistols. We had met the gentleman earlier, when he had called in to see his daughter and catch up with some fellow Brits. He had been talking to Steve about football, when he shook my hand and Steve said "This is Luna's dad". As he knew all the local crew I presumed he was the Sound Engineer as I had not seen him backstage, but it transpired that he runs a concert space in the Fortress Building in the Alhambra Palace. I had seen the concert hall when I had been exploring the previous day, the same day as I saw the Washington Irving. "The acoustics must be good" I said. He told me he thought so, but a famous Conductor had been there and said the opposite.

It was only hearing John Lydon's voice at 3 in the morning that Luna told us that her dad was the drummer on 'Metal Box', a highly regarded record that was also very collectible as it originally came in a PiL film spool can, like a cinema projectionist would have. On a previous night, whilst tying purple cushions onto silver deckchairs, Luna had told me about her studies of Primitivism in Art. On this night, she told me that she only found out her dad had been with PiL, because playing one of their records in her bedroom her dad had casually remarked "Oh, Public Image, I used to play with them." Yet more Rock & Roll pedigree unfolded, as she went on to say that he had also been in the 101ers, which was Joe Strummer's band before The Clash. I asked where her mum and dad had met. They were both living at the 101 squat, which was the house number from which the band took their name.

As to equating the renovation of our flat with the restoration of the Washington Irving, our new electric oven, gas hob and cooker hood are in, so if this were an hotel I think we could now start taking bookings for Christmas Lunch!

picture from

Primitivism in Art? I wonder what Luna would've thought of our television wrapped up in the middle of the room. Back at Froddington Road...I would like to dedicate this song to Mrs B's last post. Come on everybody, do the hand gestures...I look to my left...I look to my right, I don't want to be the prisoner.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

My Knight In Shining Armour In His Dashing White Police Car!

I know! If you could be sure of being rescued by Tom, you'd get yourself into all sorts of scrapes, wouldn't you?????

I' d enrolled in a learn2b course that my Support Worker had helped me find. Four weeks of 'Scrap Booking' held just round the corner, literally, from home. It was the last night of the 4 week course and I turned up about 10 minutes before it was due to start at 6. The place was locked and absolutely no one around. I sat in the sun, not too worried, thinking they'll all turn up soon.

About 5 past 6 I walked back round to the front of the building and to my horror the car park gates had been padlocked!

Phoned 999, worried that my mobile charge would run out, as it just kept ringing thru'. You see, I thought that by ringing the police they would have a key holders number. Fat bloomin' chance!

So, after a while, PC Tom arrived. After lots of trying to find someone with a key, he jumped up and scaled the wall past this evil gate and jumped down into the car park. None of the contact numbers on the posters on the building went thru' to anyone just an answerphone. Tried tracing the owners of the vans left there, (it is a Resource Centre for disabled people and they have specially adapted transport kept there), no joy.

Wrong side of the gate!!

So, the next course of action was to locate some bolt cutters. That took a while and when they finally arrived, about 40 minutes later, they barely made a dent in the metal!

I'm NOT A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

By this time Mr B had arrived home from work and I'd become the centre of attraction for a group of 'yoofs' that Tom knew in his role as a PC. 'Nuff said! Thankfully, 'Gadget' the PC who brought the cutters knew the people in the area and managed to locate an A-frame ladder, as they tried to convince me I could get over the wall into the garden full of nettles next door.

Tom had already brought round the wooden bench that I'd been enjoying the sun on earlier and very tentatively I clambered up as tho' mounting a horse(!), swung my legs, that were now feeling very jelly-like, over the side and stepped onto the ladder and safety. Many thanks to the chap at 117, the ladder man from across the road and PC 'Gadget'.

I even got a lift home in Toms' police that upped my 'street cred'!
Z xx

PS The course had been cancelled because the staff at the Centre were being quite unhelpful and eventually said that there was no-one who could lock up at 8 when we finished. To think that the learn2b courses are held for people with 'problems' for want of a better term, and my 'problem' is panic/anxiety attacks is just too bizarre!