Saturday, December 30, 2006
We took the mini-Ws to a free art workshop at the National Gallery in London. The artist presiding took the kids to see a picture by Leonardo and then treated them to some his own work. We learned that his abstract creations represented a parallel universe called Updown, where there was no gravity. In this world, no one could sit on the ground, unless they were a saint of the calibre of Saint Weed - the star of one of the pictures.
Lots of rather blank looks among the assembled six-year-olds. And quite a few among the grown-ups too.
Old-time comic Charlie Drake (who was so small he needed specially adapted shorts while serving in the RAF) died in the same nursing home in South-West London that played host to the late Alan 'Fluff' Freeman. This home is exclusively earmarked for former stars of stage and screen and you do have to wonder what life must be like there. A kind of geriatric Stella Street, I suppose. Sources tell me that there used to be rival camps of luvvies: those who had been on the TV had nothing to do with ageing variety and music hall performers. The good news is that the number of residents is kept fairly constant. Norman Wisdom is due to move in soon, I believe.
Saddam's application was unfortunately turned down. Although the former Iraqi dictator had provided a great deal of entertainment over the years for viewers of 24-hour rolling news, the criteria for admission are very specific.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I think the programme could work the same way in reverse. They could send me undercover to pose as a millionaire at a place like the Savoy. In order to be credible, I'd need to be holding some serious folding. It would be a useful insight into social relationships and the state of the British class system.
A heart-warming story this yuletide. Gawd bless 'er. Wonder what Smiths will make of it all?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I hate to be blunt, Hoffy, but quizzes always seem hard when you can't think of the answers.
Just like in Bullseye, you need to take your time. Just like in Catchphrase, you need to say what you see.
As Loyd Grossman would say, "Who lives in a quiz like this?"
The clues are there. When I ask, for instance, who was managing Huddersfield in 1957, it's safe to assume that it was someone quite significant in the footballing world.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
I completely understand her anger. If someone wants to renew their dental policy, they should be able to do it at three in the morning if they want. Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned customer service?
In front of me at the checkout was a man with four tins of tuna, three tins of sardines and two tins of pilchards. Nothing else.
He asked to pay for the sardines and pilchards separately from the tuna. After he'd made his initial payment, he realised that he didn't actually have enough cash for all the tuna tins. One had to be left behind.
My view was that he probably had enough for his breakfast anyway and the extra tuna was unlikely to be missed.
The guy then starts trying to peel the stamp he's been given, but is struggling with that too and can't seem to make it work. The member of staff informs him that he needs to lick it and then stick it on the envelope.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Fishy business: Polonium 210 found at Gunners' home ground
I haven't quite got to the bottom of the Russian spy business yet. But I think we're at the stage where dodgy sushi can be categorically ruled out as the cause of death. News that Arsenal's Emirates stadium suffered a minor nuking adds another bizarre dimension to the case. Come to think of it, Polonium 210 sounds like it could be a football team. Recently defeated in the Russian Federation Cup by Dynamo Chernobyl, who were ahead over two legs. Or all had two heads. One or the other.
Altogether now: "Oh no he isn't!"
I'm afraid to say that, yes, he probably is.
Watch this space for news on Britt Ekland's role as a Fairy Godmother in Swindon. And I wish I were joking.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
An example from Nina Downing this morning:
We find those qualities repulsive in humans, yet strangely appealing in cats.
Turns out she was actually talking about one of the gifts that the Wise Men brought to baby Jesus.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I can't reveal all the details, as it might lead to N***l's cover being blown and his having to enter a mystery shopper protection scheme. Let's just say that a fiver is slipped his way at a secret location and he's sent off to a particular stand to buy a 'Cottage' pie and a soft drink. I guess he's allowed to keep the change, which is probably about 10p at inflated Premiership prices.
The game itself was a corker. I was honorary Fulham for the evening and they certainly laid on some decent entertainment, including an excellent goal from Radzinski. Arsenal - despite a lot of star talent - failed to make much of an impression. Only van Persie's converted free kick gave a hint of their true potential. And there was a feeling of desperation, to be honest, as goalkeeper Jens Lehmann rushed into the Fulham penalty area in the 90th minute. This was not, after all, an FA Cup Final. But Arsenal clearly felt the stakes were high.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Generously, the composer allows us to download four tracks for free at http://www.jmrproductions.com/princess_diana/# , but they're not for those of a nervous or sentimental disposition. Be prepared. Your memories of the Queen of Hearts are set to become all too vivid once again.
Ms Javitch is also keen on more personal tributes, as this youtube video demonstrates: http://www.jmrproductions.com/files/metrosexual.htm As Sheena Easton herself might remark, Karen is clearly a one man woman...ooh, ooh, ooh...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Today they excelled themselves with the story of the former KGB agent who's been poisoned in a sushi restaurant. The front page read: "From Russia with Lunch".
Anyway, I arrive quite early in the morning and take a cab from the station. When I reach my destination, the driver has no change for a tenner, which is a pretty strange state of affairs given that most journeys are probably between a fiver and a tenner around those parts. I'm wondering what the hell we're going to do when he suggests I simply call his company later in the day for the return leg and pay up then. Or, if I'm coming back to the railway station, I could maybe pop into their on-site office and cough up.
I was gobsmacked. It was like the taxi driver equivalent of an honesty box.
And, yes, I did go back to the office at the end of the day and pay its rather bemused occupant.
Texting thumb damaged by nuts. E2eg n lol.
Aliche informs me that she can't text properly because she's damaged her hands peeling chestnuts. I've heard some sorry excuses in my time, but this one seems to require complete suspension of disbelief. I will encourage her to post a comment explaining in more detail. Is she telling the truth? You decide. b4n.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
On Friday - before setting off for Tom and Katie's wedding in Bracciano - a team from Washed and Ready to Eat went to meet some typical readers at a bar in London’s ubercool Farringdon district. News of our attendance must have spread quickly, as there was a good crowd there, although most kept a respectful distance. Full report follows. Any relation to actual conversations is purely coincidental.
Meet Helena, Gee, Bethany and Caz. Fun-loving career girls, with demanding jobs and deadlines to meet, they like nothing better than getting together at the end of the working week for an informal drink and a goss. With a £14 bottle of house white to keep them company, the conversation soon turns to future plans, sleb news, guy trouble and – inevitably – their number one blog of the moment.
Come on girls. Tell us about your fave reading material.
There’s nothing like a good Maeve Binchy when I’m chilling on the beach.
I stock up on celeb mags and can often spend the whole weekend in bed reading them. It’s like so cool to know what Christina Aguilera is doing.
But what about your online reading? Any wicked websites you can recommend?
Isn’t it just sad guys that look at the web all day?
Yeah, I mean, I might visit lastminute.com for a pampering session, but most of the time I’m too busy to go surfing.
What’s a website?
Let's try this another way. If we said the words “Washed and Ready to Eat” to you, would they ring any bells?
Ah, now I see where all this is leading.
Alright, yes. I admit it. I have looked at it once or twice. But only because everybody else was talking about it.
No one likes to be the odd one out.
It’s written by that guy.
It’s very weird. Every time I read it, I get contractions.
No posing please ladies. When the flash goes, Helena (left) and la Caz will race each other to the wine glass.
Remember the Alaimo: Gee doesn't let sinister pipework get in the way of a good night out.
Vivid colours across the water. Ham - near Richmond-upon-Thames. Click to enlarge.
Messing about on the river: The Thames at Teddington Lock, November 2006. Click to enlarge.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
That last bit was a joke, btw.
Old-fashioned US TV programmes are full of kids calling their parents "sir" and "ma'am". On Little House on the Prairie, Laura and Mary would call their dad "Pa", but if he got cross, they'd have to speak to him more formally. Seems kind of appropriate.
Let me just check whether the mini-Ws have done their chores today. There's firewood needs a choppin' and water a fetchin' from the well.
I don't know quite where to begin with this one. It's too late at night.
I then looked at the sign a little more carefully.
It read "Fresh from the kettle!"
I decided I'd stick with my egg mayonnaise baguette.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
How do you do!
I am writing to you with a hope in my heart to find in you my love that I have been looking for!
I have just parted my ex-boyfriend because I realized that we were a nice couple but nothing more.
He was not my true love so I decided to keep on looking!
So, maybe I will take a chance on you? What do you think? Maybe we should be together?
If you are interested find me here and we could start our virtual relations!
Waiting for your answer:)
I can't remember what I paid for it. £4 or £5, perhaps, at 1997 prices. I reckon it could easily go on ebay for £6.50 today.
What's Michael Aspel's number?
Monday, November 13, 2006
SOS is fronted by a hyperactive Scotsman called Gary Gizmo, who teleports himself to the homes of children who are desperate for an invention that will solve a particular problem. One kid, for instance, wants a contraption for capturing spiders, while another is looking for something to help him clean up his bedroom. Gary pitches a tent in the back garden and sends the children back into the house for advice from a boffin. The crackpot scientists in question are always hidden in a wardrobe. And while they may dress differently from Gary and speak in exotic accents, they always seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to show's eccentric host.
Crash Test Danny is a dummy who works at a top-secret research establishment. He acts as a fall guy for a bloke in a white coat who's simply known as The Professor. There's nothing the Prof likes more than strapping Danny to a spinning wheel with a bottle of ketchup to explain the principles of centrifugal force.
Generally speaking, Discovery Kids gets 8/10 for the balance between education and entertainment. I haven't yet had the heart to explain to the mini-Ws that croc hunter Steve Irwin is now swimming with the angels. There's a time and a place for everything.
I hate stuff about electricity and magnets and suchlike. I mean, how the *&%! should I know how they work? Can't they ask the teacher? To me, it's magic when a light goes on. The changing of a bulb stretches me to the limits of my scientific knowledge.
The eldest mini-W (nearly seven) has made a couple of quite interesting observations recently though.
The first suggestion really shook me up.
I was showing her treble clefs and musical notation, explaining about how they were read by people playing instruments. (Although the minis have done French and ballet, we haven't yet stretched to the pianoforte.) Anyway, she looked at me as if I were daft and suggested that it would be easier if the letters of the notes were marked on the piano. You could then record a musical score in alphabetical form, rather than have to learn all these strange hieroglyphics.
Thank God for Mrs W. She pointed out that the musical notes also denote rhythm. I was grateful, because I was struggling for a period of maybe five or ten seconds to counter what seemed like an eminently sensible idea from someone who was six and three quarters.
The second recent incident was connected to dog faeces.
I'm always warning the kids not to plough into it on the way down the street. Mini-W 1 (her of musical notation fame) asked why people let their pooches crap all over the street. (Well, she didn't actually use language like that, because I bring her up nice and proper, but that was the essence of the question.) I explained that it was difficult to catch people in flagrante decrappo because there's hardly going to be a policeman or council official around when a local chihuahua or dachshund is caught short. She then suggested that there should be cameras - like speed cameras - that are trained on the pavements specifically to spot these foul canine deeds. Mrs W promptly dubbed the device a 'pooper snooper', which annoyed me because I'm the copywriter.
Mini-W 1 will soon be joining the Blair government as an adviser on community surveillance.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
They've really lost the plot though with the blurb on the coffee cups. I sometimes wonder whether people are having a laugh with old Phil and deliberately writing stuff so that they can be featured on Washed and Ready to Eat.
Coffee and a croissant please
We get this request a lot, what with us selling coffees and croissants and all that. Our staff are trained to go over to where we keep them and pick them up and give them to the person that said the request out of his mouth. I said 'his' there. This doesn't mean that we don't serve women. Oh no. We serve them alright. Big time. Well not big time. Just all normal. But friendly. Always with the friendly.
Someone needs to tell Puccino's that there's clever. And then there's clever-clever.
As a customer, my reaction is as follows.
Just serve me. Serve me big time. Tell me why your regular cappuccino is actually worth £1.95.
But friendly. Always with the friendly already, capisce?
Now, where's my copy of the Daily Mail?
Forget the blue umbrellas. This evening, the giveway with London's quality regional title was a Chicken Tonight stir-fry sauce for two. Sticky soy, balsamic vinegar and peppers. Just add chicken.
Fantastic flavour combinations...quality ingredients...one pan, 10 minutes and it's all yours, tonight!
Let me explain.
Every so often, unscrupulous spammers spoof my email address and send out messages in my name. Unsurprisingly, most get rejected by filters and bounced back to yours truly as system admin notices. Norton dumps most of these replies in a folder, but it's still a pain in the proverbial.
Anyway, today I received a message telling me that a lady called Sandra at Area 51 is on maternity leave. Her colleague, Dave, can help me right away and she's kindly left me his email address. It's such a shame that I have no use whatsoever for oscillators and capacitors. Even from a federally recognised Section 8a franchised distributor.
You do have to admire the alien theme of the website though.
Sandra's back at work sometime in December.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Exactly how technical can a blow dry get?
If you know, please leave a comment. And tell me if you have any holidays planned.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Do I look like some kind of complete saddo day trader?
Don't answer that question.
The point of this blog is that I've actually received a couple of mildly interesting pieces of spam from exotic foreign sources recently.
The first came from a bubbly lady called Nataly, who sends me "kisses from Russia". She's quite direct is our Nat, as you can see from the message below:
I have some questions for you if you want to get to know me closer:
1/ Are you interested in serious relations with Russian woman?
2/ Are you planning to visit Russia?
3/ Would you like to correspond or to talk by phone?
4/ Why are you interested in Russian lady?
5/ Have you ever been to Russia?
6/ What is important for you in relations and am I right for you?
Allow me to respond in order. That would be 1/ No; 2/ No; 3/ No; 4/ I'm not; 5/ Yes, although it was pretty grim; 6/ Staying on the right side of Mrs W and, er, No again, I'm afraid.
Tonight, some German spam arrived with the subject header "Lorenzo sagt, Du hast die Bilder von Deiner verflossenen ins Internet". Naturally I was intrigued and I called Mrs W over, as she lived in Germany for a year and speaks das lingo. Basically, the top and bottom of it is that they want me to post pictures of my ex girlfriends on the web at a site called "Deine ExFreundin". This all sounds a little dodgy to me. And because I'm a respectable type, I'd have to spend an awful long tracking them all down and getting their agreement.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
She's pointed out to the eagle-eyed officials that she has to go into said bus lane in order to turn left off a main road. And I guess this is something she'll continue to do until some teleportation device is invented or the local authority installs a crane.
We await the Council's response with interest and I'll keep WARTE readers posted.
Incidentally, there's a lovely piece of Big Brother-ese in the letter. "The alleged contravention was noted by camera operator CCTV-AA2 who was observing real time pictures..." It just makes you feel so much safer to know that AA2 is on the case.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
His site is called www.hofflimits.com and I get the impression that the content is going to be rather more elevated than the stuff you're used to seeing on Washed and Ready. So far, he's tackled climate change, the BBC's policy towards the Taliban and the vexed issue of Madonna and that kid from Malawi.
If I were to sum up the difference between hoff limits and my own site, it would come to down to emphasis. While the Hoffmeister might perhaps provide commentary on, say, the government's treatment of controversial cleric Abu Hamza, I'd let you know that the Fonz was playing Captain Hook in the forthcoming Wimbledon panto season.
Both approaches have their place. Blogworld is big enough for the both of us.
When the noise levels in the West End boozer got in the way of our conversation, one of our number actually insisted that the barman turn the music down. The song playing at the time was "American Pie" by Don McLean.
Although I was just as grateful as my friends for a reduction in decibel levels, it struck me as a little worrying that we were unable to cope with an early 70s pop song about Buddy Holly.
Phil Woodford is 38.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
On arrival, I gave my name as "Woodford" to a charming gentleman with a clipboard.
"Would you be the gorgeous Phil Woodford?" he enquired.
I replied in the affirmative.
"I love you," he said. "In fact, I love you so much that I'm going to give you one of these."
I steadied myself, not knowing quite what to expect, but was reassured when he produced a wristband that identified me as a genuine ticket-holder.
It would be churlish to say that this was one of the funnier moments of the evening. Rory Bremner is a clever man and obviously an incredibly talented impersonator. If I'm honest, however, the best bits were actually all the ad-libs and asides, rather than the pre-prepared monologues and video sketches. There's quite a lot of faffing around in these recording sessions and there's plenty of opportunity for a bit of banter with the audience when the comedian s***ws up and another take is needed. We all have to laugh again at the same gags, but somehow we don't mind.
It's the scripted satirical material that I find just a bit heavy-duty. When Bremner's attacking the government for its record on climate change, for instance, he actually shows charts and graphs of carbon dioxide emissions. It's all just a little too earnest and po-faced for my liking, although the liberal/lefty audience were clearly lapping it all up. I fear that Bremner has transformed himself into a kind of Ben Elton figure, who only really connects with people who already agree with him.
Another thing that was very noticeable was the reliance on old favourites for impersonation. We were treated to John Major, Bruce Forsythe, Billy Connolly, Chris Tarrant, Michael Howard, Jeremy Paxman etc. He does them brilliantly, but we've heard them all before.
Of course, Bremner does a very good David Cameron too. But he looks too old for the part!
There's a danger that he might become like Mike Yarwood, who always had his stock Ted Heath and Harold Wilson up his sleeve, but seemed to struggle when they faded from view and Mrs Thatcher came to power.
On the plus side, there was a very good warm-up act. And I think we were in the studio where they shoot Trisha. There was a tray that held a number of pieces of equipment including her earpiece.
Friday, October 27, 2006
My idea for a twist: Bobby Davro impersonates the Fonz as part of the act.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
On the side of the packet, readers are treated to the following seasonal blurb:
The gap-toothed pumpkins glow a ghoulish orange and the bonfire crackles with mischief when our marketing supremo, Andrew Ovens, holds his annual Halloween party. The centrepiece of Andrew’s Witches’ Oven (so-named by a waggish friend) is a cauldron of Pumpkin & Haricot Bean soup.
No eye of newt or toe of frog in this bubbling orange broth (so Andrew assures us), just masses of glorious smoky flavour. The trouble starts when party-goers gather round the cauldron to predict foul deeds in the coming weeks. Nothing fires the imagination on a damp and spooky autumn night as readily as a pot of Andrew’s soup.
From what Aliche says, New Covent Garden would be well advised to spend as much time on the soup as they do on their copy. She wasn't that impressed. Aliche's in my good books right now, because she thinks I look 25 in the photo from the Isle of Man (see blogs passim). She and I both know that I'm really well into my...er...my...early thirties.
I am now eating humble yoghurt.
Yeo Valley really is an idyllic part of Somerset. Presumably near the famous Yeo mountains. I stand corrected and embarrassed.
I'm now off to investigate Chad Valley - the place where Woolworths make all their toys.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Shrinks have dubbed the condition "Paris Syndrome".
Things got so bad for one bloke that he thought he was Louis XIV. Which begs the question: could the real Louis XIV actually have been a Japanese tourist who somehow just found himself in the right palace at the right time?
Unfortunately I'm not enough of a classical scholar to translate my own blog postings for the would-be Centurions of Helsinki. I reckon Washed and Ready to Eat would be something like Lavare et apto pappo, but if you happen to know better, please feel free to post a comment. Who knows? I might turn it into a Woodford motto.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Those of us with a taste for country music already know the Kinkster. Not only is he an authentic son of the Lonestar State, but he's also a talented musician and published author.
He's been in trouble recently for some rather dubious comments he's supposed to have made during the campaign and I certainly wouldn't seek to defend his political views, which seem to be all over the shop. Nevertheless, you can't help having a sneaking admiration for a Jewish cowboy whose discography includes songs such as They ain't makin' Jews like Jesus any more, Asshole from El Paso and Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns into bed.
Get Kinky online by clicking here to see one of his latest commercials.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I paid my first ever visit to the Isle of Man this week and spoke at a meeting in the Hilton Hotel and Casino on the branding and promotion of the island, sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Despite the fact that I'm a Londoner born and bred, everyone was very welcoming and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Douglas. A couple of snaps from my Canon A95 are shown below.
On the way back to the airport, I met a lovely lady taxi driver who seemed to have done all kinds of things in her time - including running a bookshop in Switzerland. She liked the glaciers and the mountains, but just knew that she had to return eventually to her Manx roots.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
As you've asked for a direct response, missy c, here are my thoughts: Xanax seems overpriced at $2.00 a miligram, when I get 100mg of Viagra at the same cost.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Bad subbing, on the other hand, can be an absolute disaster.
I was persuaded in the late 90s to write a couple of articles for a short-lived and ill-fated newspaper called Planet on Sunday. You won't remember it because it was short-lived and ill-fated. It had a kind of alternative, eco-warrior theme and the first couple of editions led with messages that Princess Diana had supposedly sent from beyond the grave.
Anyway, I wrote a feature in which I interviewed a number of politicians, including a Member of the European Parliament called Caroline Lucas. By the time the article had been subbed and appeared in the press, she was called Mr Mucus. As you can imagine, it wasn't one for the journalistic portfolio.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
At first glance, this law firm in the North East of England appears to have chosen an unusual niche. Its ad in The Sunderland Echo proclaims expertise in Legionnaires Disease. Research by Washed and Ready to Eat suggests, however, that the market for their specialism is actually growing. According to this medical report, cases of the deadly bug have substantially increased in the latter part of 2006.
So far, their mum has been told where it was hidden (necessitating a change in location), the fact that it begins with the letter 'p' and that it comes in a bottle.
I'm thinking of getting some paraffin or peanut oil and wrapping it up as a joke.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I saw Ronnie Corbett's autobiog on the shelves today, which is called - rather predictably, I felt - And it's goodnight from him. Gary Barlow's book, which he was promoting on the Jonathan Ross show the other night, is entitled My Take, which I thought was perhaps a tad cleverer.
One of my all-time favourites is Murray Walker's Unless I'm very much mistaken.
We won't get on to Jodie Marsh's Keep it Real, which - according to the Amazon blurb - takes us "from her unhappy school days and her teenaged nose job to her current success..."
These succulent, traditional British bangers have certainly been soaked in alliteration by copywriting connoisseurs.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Another local retailer - I'll keep this one anonymous, as I don't want to victimise the poor souls that are working there - has signs up at the tills warning the checkout people not to steal. I had to do a double take, as I'd originally assumed the messages were directed at the customers. But no. They're warning the employees that the tills are monitored remotely. When I see stuff like this, it makes me really glad I'm self-employed. (I'm the best boss I've ever had. Firm, but fair.)
One final thing - and I know I've blogged about this before - is the extraordinary radio station that's piped to convenience stores around the country. I was in there today and a commercial was telling me that I was probably dehydrated and needed to buy a drink. Not a particular brand of drink. Just a drink. Any drink.
Bizarrely, the station is also used to relay messages to the shopkeepers. The other week, they were saying that if there was any problem with the reception of the radio station, there was some technical team that could be called out. But if the radio were down, the people running the shop would never hear the message, would they?
It's all too much for me. I'm like so outta here.
Off for some retail therapy.
Or just some therapy.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Read a full report: http://www.wbir.com/news/national/story.aspx?storyid=38273
Sunday, October 01, 2006
"Colin farms cattle and sheep in Gloucestershire. The cattle are Hereford cross and finished on home-grown forage, clover and meadow grass. Colin works hard to ensure his cattle and sheep meet the high welfare standards that Tesco require."
While the cows are finished on clover, I have a feeling the copy must be finished late at night over a stiff drink.
Friday, September 29, 2006
As well as having a number of tough and dangerous jobs - working in the North-Eastern shipyards, repairing bomb-damaged properties during the war and so on - Syd also found a fair bit of unusual employment. Stage wrestling, for instance, in the days when it was done for real. A spell playing for Charlton Athletic on a weekly wage of £3. (Not sure how Darren Bent would respond to that kind of contract.) But the highlight is surely his time treading the boards with "Gaston and Andree".
Andree was a young lady who apparently posed naked in a cabinet at the start of a theatre show. She was then thrown about the stage by Syd, who was a little stronger than your average fella. So strong, in fact, that he'd broken the British weightlifting record in 1933, with an overhead lift of 300lb.
I only met Syd once, when he was already well into his nineties. He had a mini-gym and weights in his bungalow in Sunderland and worked out every day. He'd recently taken up painting and was pursuing courses in computer studies and English.
And according to Mrs W, he was lively right until the end. A couple of weeks before he passed away, he asked to be taken for a walk on the seafront. His eyesight was still good enough to comment on the fine features of young lady passing down the promenade.
A lesson to all of us who feel over the hill in our late thirties.
If there are any bread manufacturers reading, my kids would also like:
- Malted bread without the malt
- Bread with added oatflakes, except with the added oatflakes taken away
- Brown bread without the brown colouring
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I explained to his mother that I wasn't aware of any paternity issues connected with the child.
She replied that she couldn't recall any connection either. The kid was blonde, so the chances seemed fairly remote.
Come to think of it though, my youngest daughter's blonde as well.
The insect passed my old man and he swatted at it. He didn't actually hit it, but it still seemed to come to some kind of halt.
The youngster was elated. "You've done it," he said. "Murder one."
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Crazy boffins are set to recreate the Big Bang in a particle accelerator called The Large Hadron Collider, which is situated in Switzerland. Protons will be smashed into one another at something approaching warp speed and some people think we may get a glimpse into other dimensions.
I should cocoa.
Apparently, the probability of destroying the planet through the creation of a mini black hole is 10 to the minus 40. The good news is that we'd presumably know nothing about it. One nanosecond, we'd be posting a blog. The next, we'd be zapped to oblivion by some nutter outside Geneva. You'd think there might be some kind of discussion at the UN about all this. But the Swiss do tend to go their own sweet way (see blogs passim).
Please treat this facility with respect or it will be withdrawn.
If you're struggling to think of anything to say, a few sample comments are posted below, which you're welcome to cut and paste.
"Phil, thank you for the blogs (the others are minging). Thanks for all the joy they're bringing. Who could live with out them? I ask in all honesty..."
"I never knew there was so much in it."
"Washed and ready to eat is an intellectual tour de force from one of the UK's most respected bloggers." Superblog Weekly
"This bloke should be put away before his ravings get any more extreme."
That last one was a trick to see if you were still reading. It's just the kind of thing that I would moderate out.
Comments may be recorded for training purposes. Posts can go down as well as up.
Anyway, I went to answer a call of nature and found uniformed men welcoming me into the luxury washrooms. As I completed my ablutions, one of them actually dispensed the soap for me onto my hands.
Now that's what I call service. I gave him 40p.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I'll pop into Gap next week and pick up a couple of t-shirts.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
"The mushrooms in this sauce grow wild in forests. I chose them for their robustness and earthy flavours - they work perfectly with the tomatoes."
Friday, September 15, 2006
Poles apart: HSBC targets ex-pat customers with a striking message. I'll have to check out their Wejdz site and see what it's all about.
A vet's practice near to me is involved in this, so I'm going to sneak a peek through the window and see if there are any German Shepherds being taught how to floss.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
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Looking forward to your early favourable reply.
No MOQ restriction, eh? Aren't I the lucky one? But sorry. I always source my chip beads and seed beads elsewhere.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Sitting pretty: Kew Gardens is an urban sanctuary for lovers of wildlife.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The bit that makes me laugh is when the PCSOs approach a group of ASBOs, who are loitering on a street corner somewhere. Plod says - more in sorrow than anger - "Come on now. Other people live around here..."
What exactly do you think the reaction of the hoodies would be to this particular approach?
Would it be:
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry, officer. How inconsiderate of me. I'll move on now."
A momentary look of incomprehension followed by the flash of a blade.
Answers on a postcard.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The lady who placed the ad has strangely written it in the third person and ranges across different tenses. But we can't all be perfect. Or should that be pluperfect?
"They had passed each other in the shop...the young woman works Saturdays every fortnight...the young man is tall with a light brown complexion..."
The second ad is very different, but equally arresting. It's entitled "Rent a gent", but it's in the business services section, rather than personal services. The copy reads: "Bored, retired quantity Surveyor offering a range of practical help and services. Including building maintenance, pension advice, help with letters, power of attorney and more." Jack-of-all-trades Mike leaves his mobile number. So if ever I'm about to write a letter signing over power of attorney to a builder without a pension, I'll know who to call.
Anyway, for her birthday in 1996, I bought her a pre-packed skeleton made of card that you could assemble into a model. She never got round to it and it's been in the cupboard ever since. I am going to package it up for her birthday again this year and have another go.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Last officially checked when I was four years old. A comforting find for any visitor to the Cotswolds. Click on the picture to enlarge the image.
I can't help thinking that we share some kind of risk-taking gene.
He wrestled with reptiles.
I bought a different flavour of Actimel for the kids today in the supermarket, knowing full well that it was going to cause ructions.
My mate Ropey says that stingrays can grow to be 13ft long. Now, I know it's easy to be wise after the event, but my suggestion is you just don't mess with a fish the size of a car.
Incidentally, did you see the footage of the antipodean adventurer dangling his baby in front of of a croc? It made Michael Jackson look normal. And that's saying something.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Anyway, the bill and the subsequent medications probably came to about £100. We thought we'd claim it back on our travel insurance on return.
You wouldn't believe the guff they expect you to send. Nightmare form to fill in. Loads of original documents, showing our shoe sizes etc. I felt compelled to send these special delivery, in case they got lost, which cost about £4. The excess is £50, I think, so we've already written off more than half the cost. Mrs W and I spent a couple of hours getting everything together.
All in all, you have to ask whether it's worth it. But we're not prepared to shrug our shoulders and say forget it. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, August 28, 2006
We learn, for instance, about the extensive "peregrinations" of Charles-Emile Tissot - a reference, I believe, to his frequent trips to the Americas and Russia.
The author is excited, on examining an old register, to discover that Tissot produced hydraulic watch hammers between 1860 and 1875.
There's a picture of Marie Tissot celebrating 50 years of activity in the company back in 1966. She is cutting a three-tiered cake with Mr Weibel and Mr Schatz.
Without question, it's touching and enthralling in equal measure. But I'm sure there's more to come.
Watch this space.
So to speak.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
I've just returned from a week in the Swiss resort of Saas-Fee. As you can see from the photos, I am very much at home in this spectacular region near the Italian border and think I may possibly have been some kind of Alpine goatherd in a previous life.
Throughout my short trip, I kept a watchful eye on the comings and goings of the hardy mountain folk who inhabit the local area. I broke bread with them, learned about their ecologically-friendly, subsistence lifestyle and tried not to spend too much on their overpriced coffee and cakes.
Below, you'll find evidence of the Saaser lifestyle as it is lived today. Hardly anything has changed, I suspect, since people first settled in the area thousands of years ago. Or certainly not since the 1980s.
Anyone who knows me will testify to my love of nature. There's nothing I like better than wading knee deep through cowpat to chew the cud with some bovine pals. On this particular occasion, it was a little bit wet, so I couldn't stop for long. We discussed the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on Switzerland, bearing in mind the country's non-EU status. I also asked about BSE, which seemed to ring a bell with some of the more active animals.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Example 1: A cork screw
Example 2: A pack with paperwork that allows you to sign over power of attorney to someone.
Example 3: A cowboy six-shooter gun of the kind that I would have had when I was a boy.
Scenario: You persuade someone to sign over power of attorney to you and celebrate by firing your gun in the air as you swig a bottle of vino.
More news from the Post Office soon here at Washed and Ready to Eat.
I bought the brownie and it sat in my office for about 10 days before I got around to sending it, along with some other bits and pieces. She's just texted to tell me it was nine days past its sell-by date.
Well, it's the thought that counts, isn't it?
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Anyway, I recently bought Mrs W a watch for her anniversary, which is made by the Swatch-owned Swiss company, Tissot. In the beautiful packaging (see above), there's a book that charts the history of the Tissot brand from ye olde days - or should that be yodeley days? - through to the 21st century.
It's a lovely idea. We learn, for instance, that Elvis Presley and Nelson Mandela had Tissot watches. The only problem is that the narrative and translation in the 270-page volume make no sense whatsoever. Here's a typical section: "At that moment, I am saved by my sense of tact from criticising the photograph. The black pavilion with its lugubrious drapery is certainly in doubtful taste!"
More snippets to follow.
Monday, July 31, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
"When you haven't been out for four or five days," he yelled, "you just want to talk to people!"
I smiled, kept my head down, and headed for Lexington Street.
At the junction, he went in another direction, but not without this parting shot:
"I'll be alright. I have to be. My grandfather put spark plugs into Spitfires!"
Saturday, July 22, 2006
"And in conclusion, ladies and gentlemen..." I lead a workshop at the recent Association of Graduate Recruiters conference in Wales. Sponsored by advertising agency ThirtyThree, the seminar discussed whether it's possible to judge advertising creativity objectively.
Can you really taste the difference? David, it's over to you...
u is gonna b blasted innit. move out da way coz da idf is comin to sort hezbo grillas lol.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
As someone who writes direct mail from time to time, I'm used to all the techniques that people use to get you to open the envelope. This official-looking letter from Capital One goes perhaps one stage too far, however, in advising me that I shouldn't mutilate the contents. I know that people can sometimes get a little annoyed at the volume of mail they receive and might - in a fit of frustration - get involved in bending, folding or tearing. But the idea that anyone would mutilate an offer for Capital One Platinum MasterCard® is just too awful to contemplate. Particularly with 0% interest on balance transfers until 1st November 2007.