Sunday, 25 September 2011


In 1961 Cliff Richard was already a household name...

 ...not in our house he wasn’t!

My mum had many fine qualities and attributes – a nurturing spirit, someone who I could always turn to and one of the few individuals I could rely on for loyalty and understanding.

The one thing she didn’t have was a sense of humour at times!  

She couldn’t understand puerile pranks in particular; like the time I arrived home one Christmas Eve afternoon and shoved the biggest courgette imaginable through our letter box and shouted:

Mum, mum, run for your life – the Martians are coming!”

She turned round to my father and merely said “What’s he going on about, Jim?”

Not even a smile... 

Admittedly alcohol was involved in thinking up the practical joke in the first place. Why did I bother? The cost of a phallic proportioned courgette at that time of year was half a week’s wages, anyway.

But it was my mum’s dead-pan puzzled look on these occasions that was often the bigger laugh; she could be funny without realising it. That may seem insensitive towards her, it’s not meant to be. The truth is she wanted to join in – but she sometimes didn’t know how, especially if the joke was too silly for her to be bothered... I can't really blame her.

God give her Paradise...

Do book early for Christmas...

The Artillery Arms
102 Bunhill Row
Tel: 020 7253 4683
Fax: 020 7553 9019

Friday, 16 September 2011


Out in the Yorkshire dales; Wensleydale as it so happens...
I can count on the fingers of one hand and have three digits left over the number of occasions I’ve been tempted to ride a horse. Just not cut out for it in all honesty after I fell off on the second outing in Epping Forest. I’m more Thelma Ritter than Tex Ritter to tell the truth and gave it up as a bad job. I only agreed to do it to impress my then girlfriend anyway...


That was a long time ago.

I wish I had read the book included here. Basically bombproofing teaches riders how to stop horses bucking, baulking, bolting or wheeling around when sudden noises or sights frighten them – white plastic bags, flapping tarpaulin sheeting – that kind of thing. Essentially bombproofing means that you subject your horse slowly to different items and sounds that a horse may/may not ever come in contact with on their own as part of a conditioning routine so that they learn not to react negatively on future ocassions and get distressed. This is the advantage to be gained by bombproofing; you are in a better position to control the horse when it encounters a balloon popping or other sudden noise if it has been bombproof conditioned beforehand.


Black Sheep Brewery Bar and Bistro
North Yorkshire HG4 4EN
Tel: 01765 680 101

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Is it my imagination, or does Christmas come earlier each year? Whilst I appreciate that the season’s change is upon us, there is still one week of summer to go and the cricket season has yet to reach its climax. Did Goose Fair pass me by? Hallowe’en been and gone?

The Artillery Arms - see Blog #1
The reason I mention this is that it is far too early to see advertisements asking to book your reservation(s) in this place or that for the festive season. It seems that not only do we have to post early for Christmas but we have to order our lunch prematurely as well...
Be honest, can you think of what you want to be eating in three and a half months time? Christmas parties and functions fill my heart with a sense of dread.

I know a lot of people look forward to that time of year; I’m not one of them.

Instead of Ho, Ho, Ho – why not No, No, No – keep Christmas in December, please!

The Southbank Bar
1 Bridgford House
Bridgford Rd,
West Bridgford
Tel: +44 (0) 115 945 5541


If ever there was a reason to move back to Nottingham to live and work – this place could be it! For a good many years the Trent Navigation Inn was either run down and scarcely trading or more often than not closed and abandoned. What a transformation earlier this year! The City Ground and Trent Bridge are just over the river... avenues of pleasure for every season.

The photograph shown here from the pub is of Phil and Jill – an eccentric but much respected couple who are well-known with the Nottingham real ale cognescenti. Not for them a pint of lager-top and a WKD!

I’ve probably known this couple  from when I first started drinking in the city... it seems like that anyway.

Trent Navigation Inn
17 Meadow Lane,
Tel: 0115 986 2320

Monday, 12 September 2011



Strictly Come Dancing 2011 (SCD) – what’s all that about?

Presumably the inclusion of Russell Grant in the current series has been made for comedic effect; the same can possibly be said for Audley Harrison and the truly dreadful Edwina Currie.

Robbie Savage? – looks like Tarzan, talks like Jane! Needs a haircut, that lad.

Annunziata (Nancy) Dell’Olio? She can trot on my fox any tick of the clock! Mamma mia! I wouldn't mind showing her my gancho I can tell you!
Saturday night’s just got better!

Nancy describes herself as Italy's second most famous woman after Sophia Loren (really?) and is either in her late forties, early fifties or 37 - she can't make up her mind on that one!

The art of terpsichore... Remember Ginger Rogers could do everything that Fred Astaire could do – but backwards and in high-heels. Think on!

Footnote - The Organ Grinder (sounds painful doesn't it?) is Blue Monkey Brewery’s first public house, offering 8 real ales, a genuine fire, a great selection of international beers and quality wines. Now pedantry isn’t my suit – but a chimpanzee (as in their company logo, name and pump clips) is an ape not a monkey, surely? The Organ Grinder has been praised by no less. Blue Monkey's flagship public house was nominated as one of Britains top 100 pubs - barely six weeks after opening… Impressive stuff!

The Organ Grinder
Canning Circus,
21 Alfreton Road,
Canning Circus

Saturday, 10 September 2011


The iconic red Routemaster ‘bus is set to return to London’s streets next year. The front-engined ‘buses had rear open-platforms that you could hop on and off when stationery at traffic lights or in a traffic jam. Many the times I’ve ended up in a crumpled heap after misjudging the platform step following an afternoon in a watering hole somewhere in the Moorgate, Bishopsgate or Aldgate area of the City. Such fun! Nothing dignified, of course. The open platform, exposed to the elements, allowed boarding and alighting away from stops; the presence of a conductor usually meant minimal boarding time.

The ‘bus service numbers come back to me now – #8 (Bank to Old Ford), #41 (Tottenham Hale - West Green - Wood Green Turnpike Lane - Crouch End – Archway – this was the ‘bus home) and the #214 – (Highgate - Parliament Hill - Camden Town - St. Pancras - King's Cross - Islington – Moorgate).

The ‘bus was phased out eventually in 2005, much to the disappointment of many Londoners.
The new Routemasters have kept faith in the rear open-platform concept. Can’t wait to give them a go! I think they're painted red to specifically hide the blood from boarding accidents. Well they can have my claret for what its worth!

Hamilton Hall
Unit 32, The Concourse
Liverpool Street Station
Tel: 020 7247 3579

Friday, 9 September 2011


Una birra nel pomeriggio... It is very common for people with Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD) to show repetitive behaviours and mannerisms such as humming the same tune, or repeating the same phrases or words. People often develop repetitive routines and rituals, and it is common for clinicians and carers to report behaviours such as pacing, wandering, and hoarding. Hmmm – tick all three of those boxes, I’m afraid...

That’s a shame because all day Friday and on the way back to the UK today, I’ve been humming that sodding Juve - Storia di un Grande Amore song all the time! Whilst pacing and wandering about!

See if you do the same:- - Inno Juventus Ufficiale Juve Storia di un grande amore


Baratti e Milano
Locale storico d’Italia
piazza Castello 27 - 10123,
Tel: +39 011 440 7138


When I heard the news I could have choked on my panini! You’ll be telling me next Russell Grant is going to appear on Strictly Come Dancing!

When chief executive of Notts County FC (founded 1862 – the world’s oldest football league club) Jim Rodwell, contacted Juventus FC with a speculative invite to visit Nottingham for a match to celebrate next year's 150th anniversary of The Magpies (I Chiacchieroni), the response was more than he could have hoped for. Juventus' young president, Andrea Agnelli, immediately called Ray Trew, County’s owner, to suggest that they might become the first visitors to the new Juventus stadium. The name of the new Juventus stadium? – Nuovo Stadio Juventus... Brilliant! Inspired! It must have taken endless sleepless nights to come up with that one! Fantastico!   

Of course they could have opted for Barça, Manchester Utd or any other of the major European big hitters - but instead a great Italian institution summoned the club standing 12th in the third tier of English football to join Thursday's opening ceremony and, if there has been a more noble gesture in the history of football, then I don’t know what that is...

It was Notts County, in 1903, who answered the call of a Juventus member, an Englishman named John Savage, to send a set of the club's now famous black and white striped shirts to replace the faded pink and black numbers worn by the players of the Italian club since their founding by a group of students six years earlier - an idea on a park bench, apparently. The new kit was well received, considered to be daring and bold and Juventus went on to win their first Scudetto in 1905.

La storia è qui... Una lunga storia insieme...

41,000 souls – with a handful from the East Midlands gathered together for a brilliantly staged and emotional gala/inaugural ceremony that featured a brass band, speeches (a moving speech from il Presidente Andrea Agnelli – the fourth member of the Agnelli family to run the football club after his father, his uncle and his grandfather - ( more fireworks than you’ll see on any November 5th, a diva on stilts, memories of Omar Sivori and John Charles in film clips on giant screens, the mass singing of Juve, Storia Di Un Grande Amore (twice), huge replicas of the club's trophies, Agnelli cutting a ribbon with golden scissors handed to him by Cristina Chiabotto (wouldn’t say no to a bacon sandwich from her any morning – former Miss Italy 2004!), dancers dressed as zebras – Notts may be The Magpies, but Juve are I Zebre – and finally a quietly solemn parade of 39 white-clad children representing those who lost their lives at Heysel.

And, eventually, a forgettable game of football which ended 1-1. - Juventus Stadium, Lo spettacolo della cerimonia di inaugurazione - The opening cermony show - Juventus Stadium, le parole di Agnelli durante l'inaugurazione - Del Piero e Boniperti protagonisti allo Juventus Stadium -Two stars at Juventus Stadium - Juventus Stadium. La notte delle Stelle - The night of the Stars - Juventus v Notts County, gli highlights - Juventus v Notts County, the highlights

Un’arma in più per nuove emozioni...

Benvenuto a casa! Welcome home...

Caffè Al Bicerin dal 1763
piazza della Consolata 5
10122 TORINO – Italia
Tel +39 011 4369325

Thursday, 8 September 2011


One Night in Turin... Italia ’90 – the 14th FIFA World Cup™.

Strewth seems like only a little over 20 years ago now.... Gazza’s tears, Pavarotti and penalty kicks being sent into the night sky over Turin.

Flying into Aeroporto Internazionale di Caselle Torino has required additional caution since the 1990 tournament as the ball sent into orbit by Chris Waddle that sealed England’s fate that night, continues to circle the skies over Turin and is deemed to be a hazard to aircraft. A bit harsh that!

Interesting fact - Selfridges the department store - not only sells refrigerators but other white goods as well - particularly dishwashers.

Birrificio Torino Srl,
Via Parma 30
TURIN, Italy 10152
Tel: 0039 (112) 876562


Flying has never been a difficulty or issue for me – crashing however is altogether a less appealing prospect! When booking a flight I prefer to get a seat at the back – after all, when was the last time a ‘plane backed into a mountain?

Forensic dentistry – what is all that about?

Forensic dentistry or forensic odontology to give it its more scientific name is the proper handling, examination and evaluation of dental evidence, which will be then presented in the interest of justice. The evidence that may be derived from teeth, is the age (in children) and identification of the person to whom the teeth belong. This is done using dental records including radiographs, ante-mortem (prior to death) and post-mortem photographs and DNA.

We have all probably heard stories where human remains are identified solely by dental records. Fair enough! But I am constantly amazed to hear of air crash victims so badly affected/injured that they have to be identified by their dental records. What I can't understand is this - if they don't know who you are because the only evidence available is your teeth, how do they know who your dentist is? Or am I missing something?

Interesting fact - aerodontia is the branch of dentistry dealing with problems caused by flying.

The Windmill
CM24 1QN
Tel: 01279 682210

Saturday, 3 September 2011


Interesting fact - seemingly Levi-Strauss®
lost millions when he marketed a line of blue jeans for horses...

What can beat free beer tomorrow? Free beer today, of course!

For reasons I still don’t understand The Swatter’s Carr* opened its doors to punters today three days ahead of scheduled unvieling on 6th September (Tuesday). They weren’t accepting cash however – and instead you got a voucher which entitled you to 6 free drinks maximum... 

Now that’s a result!

Free drinks! The politician that makes that an Act of Parliament will get my vote – and no mistake!

*named after the nearby cricket ground – also known as Linthorpe East Cricket Ground – which was sold for development in 1874.

The Swatters Carr        
228 Linthorpe Road
Tees Valley