not waving but drowning …

At work we finally submitted our final offer on the bid I’ve been working on for over a year … and promptly retired to bed for the rest of the day to nurse the start of a cold which is undoubtedly due to a combination of exhaustion, lack of healthy food and very late nights/mornings. Miraculously, my cold disappeared when I tuned into the preliminaries of Miss World 2004, hosted in Sanya, China this year. You’ve got a week to cast your votes … but my money (or rather my lascivious tongue *lol*) is on Miss Namibia – an effortless union of beauty and brains! BTW, where is Namibia ?!

bye bye cy …

I was tad sad to hear the passing of Cy Coleman, the prolific composer of musicals with over 400 songs to his name, including The Best is yet to Come and Firefly … and when Radio 4 played many of his hits on Sunday, they also threw in a Carpenters cover, a WWII song called For all we know – dunno why really, since Cy wasn’t directly responsible for this … Anyway, I’m pretty lousy at goodbyes, but this seemed an appropriate song to bid farewell to one of Broadway’s greatests.

brum brum …


Our annual pilgrimage to Birmingham this time of year for J’s gala dinner at Slimming World and to celebrate J2’s forthcoming birthday at Cadbury World saw us living it up in our own suite (equipped with jacuzzi!) at the Burlington Hotel on New Street. This cosy little 4-star luxury in the middle of a shopping oasis that includes the new Bull Ring complex is an absolute must for the ardent shopper and close enough to drop off shopping bags, and return for more retail therapy. And where better to get treatment than at the new Selfridges … it is simply an assault on sight, smell & taste – open plan themed bars litter the ground floor with a tantalising smorgasbord of indian, oriental, new york deli and of course there is the ubiquitous Veuve Cliquot champagne bar offering osyters with a glass of bubbly. Forget the continent – Christmas shopping can be just as good here, among the friendly Brummies!

who’s in control …

Ken Bigley is dead – murdered on the same day that the interim Iraqi PM said that there had been some movement in his plight. Funny, he must have source his intelligence from the same cowboys who were sure that there were WMD in Iraq. But maybe it was all choreographed, right down to the ‘escape’ and timing of the announcement – and that means organisation, which means funding, and in this part of the world, that means oil. So should we really be looking to point the finger at an oil-rich state that is funding terrorism in this region to ensure continued supplies of its own oil, or should we continue the hunt for a bunch of fanatics whose religious zeal has overcome their ability to exercise better judgement, and who have not woken up to the fact that they are mere puppets in this game of high stakes, being manipulated by said state for political and ultimately economical gain.

i just don’t get it …

It’s official – there are no WMD in Iraq. So concludes the Iraq Survey Group. And then it was open season … John Kerry, Robin Cook, Greg Dyke, human rights lawyers, pacifists, protagonists, terrorists, bigots – all waded in … in fact, just about anyone and everyone who had lost or could potentially gain something (and it is usually something personal) from this report – a report incidentally which somehow has come to be regarded as gospel proof that the war in Iraq was unjustified. In a pathetic attempt to appease those who are proponents of the invasion, the report tries to demonstrate impartiality by stating that Saddam did indeed have intent to restart the WMD programme – and this apparently was enough to prompt the Bush administration to come up with a wonderful concept, which the Pentagon’s Advisory panel is calling pre-emptive doctrine – almost casually throwing it in as a possible stance to adopt if ever there came a need to ‘deal’ with the emerging problem of Iran and North Korea. I just don’t get it – I mean I don’t get why, in this post-Cold War era, that we as a race have failed to learn anything from another doctrine – the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction that in a conflict, the use of nuclear weapons results in destruction of both the attacker and defender. Then again, I don’t get many things … like I don’t get how it is possible that I can share the same genetic makeup with the c**ts who think it is OK to lob off a fellow human’s head in the name of religion. Let me just say this – we have been looking for irrefutable evidence of God/Allah/Almighty for centuries, and have so far turned up zip – does that mean he doesn’t exist? If people believe he exists, then it follows that we don’t need the proof, since we’ve failed to find the evidence. And if he doesn’t exist, then what the hell are we fighting about anyhow? Answers on a post card please …

too much religion …

Someone once quipped ‘Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use’. As the terror in Iraq continues tonight with the murder of 34 children at the water treatment plant in Baghdad, it is fast becoming a cliché to expect people in the free world always to unite on a common resolve of never giving in to terrorism – no matter the cost. I read the full text of Tony Blair’s speech yesterday. It wasn’t his proposed 10 point plan that warmed me to his party, nor his comical dismissal of the Lib Dems, nor his reminder that we as a nation have undoubtedly enjoyed material changes under the Labour government. No, it was his candour and his insightful summation that the world faces a new, deeply rooted phenomenon – global terrorism, executed based on the perversion of the peaceful and honourable faith of Islam.

Yet last night, in the salubrious surroundings of a dining hall in Holborn, our very own Archbishop of Canterbury addressed a congregation of Alpha graduates, and praised them for taking risks, in the way they have re-branded and marketed Christianity to bring lost or confused souls back to God. I don’t pretend to fully understand the Alpha programme, but I am certain of this: all too often we blame religion (the lack or abundance of it) for the attrocities committed by those who have long swapped faith for guns, idealism for explosives, and forgotten when and why they had done so. And now, instead of WMD, we appear to be peddling WMC – weapons of mass communication. We need a logo/marketing plan like we need a bullet in the head!

Religion should always be personal, and never thrusted on anyone.

on yer bike …

200 calories! That’s all I’ve burned, according to the computer thinghy when we went cycling on Sustrans Cycle Route 4 this morning – bet it didnt include the last 1/2 mile of bike pushing (maybe that’s why they are called push bikes!) all the way home after the air mysteriously escaped from the rear tyre. Ummmmm, somebody’s trying to tell me something. And then our Sky+ system decided to keel over and die … again. The usual hard disk problem, requiring a revival with a low-level format. Maybe I should get the new 80+hour Sky+ 160Gb when it comes out in October ;o) J got me watching a bid on eBay for a Luella Bartley handbag – a scarlet red Giselle, but we didn’t win it. If anyone knows another source for a black one, preferably at 1/2 price, drop me a line!

not so jolly …

On Tuesday, I turned 38. J stuck 3 little candles on my cake … if only! And then I discovered blogging. Quite serendiptous really. Browsing the news that morning, I wanted to find out more about the f***ers who were holding 2 Americans and a Brit hostage – some losers called the Tawhid and Jihad group. Anyway, that somehow took me to vixgirl’s site (respect!), so I decided to start my own blog …It seems appropriate that my inaugural blog should be about our home.

The pub next door, the Jolly Miller, is being changed back to a house, but what infuriated me was the article in the local rag about how people were so sorry to see it go. Someone even suggested keeping the sign up or putting up some sort of commemorative plaque. This is what I wrote to the editor …

Anyone lamenting the passing of the Jolly Miller pub cannot have suffered the years of pointless heart thumping Drum&Bass riffs every week-end, the swelling squeals of under aged drunks, the open and offensive transactions of drugs by the kerbside, the customary screeching of tyres as boy racers pull away at closing time, the permanent carpet of broken glass on the pavement in the mornings, the shameless use of our front garden as a privy, and general damage to adjoining property. As a neighbour, we have endured all the above and experienced the ultimate – a death threat when we asked for a car blocking our driveway to be moved! £50,000 worth of refurbishment in 1997 by the Wadworth group could not save this den of inequity from the inevitable – and the reason is simple: you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. A commemorative plaque? Absolutely! R.I.P.

So there … nothing more to be said.