Friday, 29 December 2006

Coco Rio

Every year my family mets up for a Pre-Xmas meal. It's getting to be a challenge to come up with something different, this year my brother suggested Coco Rio - and different it certainly is, for all the right reasons.

It's an Afro-Latino restaurant - no, I had no idea what that meant either! Suffice to say it was the nicest meal out I've had for a long long time. I stuck to the traditiona turkey - after all it was a Xmas get together - but this was no simple roast bird with stuffing. I'm not even going to try and recreate the succulent taste of the perfectly blended herbs spices and unexpected vegetables in words, I wouldn't be able to do it justice. What I would say is come and try it for yourself. Being Xmas the meals were pre-booked from a less extensive than usual menu and between the 8 of us we sampled everything available that evening with not one complaint (excludng my Dad but then he complains for a hobby, no-one takes him seriously)

It's one of those places that feels just right as soon as you walk in, the ambience, lighting and smells from the kitchen make you feel at home straight away. I would guess there was 60-70 people in the place, large enough to feel busy, small enough to feel cosy. A live guitarist was creating just the right atmosphere at just the right volume whilst we were eating. As soon as the last plate was cleared away the volume and tempo increased enabling diners (or at east those still feeling able) to dance the rest of the night away. Suddenly the gutarist was accompanied by a female vocalist, and no too much alcohol wasn't playing tricks on us, it really was the lady who only minutes before was attending the tables.

I understand this place has only been open a few months. Not just for the reasons already mentioned but also for some of the most attentive - but importantly, un-fussy - waitresess around it deserves to do well. It's only drawback is it's a bit hidden away, but as they say word of mouth is the best form of advertising, I'm sure people will soon be hearing plenty more about it.

Oh and I forgot to say, we were very pleasantly surprised when the bill came. They certainly don't rip you off on drinks prices, unlike certain other establishments I could mention.

Check it out at

Thursday, 28 December 2006

It's that time of year .........

............ when life seems different.

It's hard to explain.

It's not a holiday, we've just had our 2 days off, but there's another one due any day now.
It feels like a weekend but it's actually mid-week (I think !)
I don't have to remember to wish everyone a Merry Xmas but now strangers are wishing me a Happy New Year.
I'm back at work, just for a couple of days, and then I'm off again. And I come in an hour later and finish an hour earlier than normal. It's like the body is in attendance but the mind is elsewhere.
TV schedules are still all over the place, full of "specials" and the news at strange times.
Buses and trains operate to different timetables - or do they? Nobody ever seems sure, until they miss one.
Meal-times go out of the window, instead we pig out on chocolates/mince pies/turkey leftovers/dates/nuts/sherry and all those other festive bits and pieces that never get finished off over Christmas.
Decorations are still up but there's definitely a feeling over "that's over".
LPS (that's Lounge Positioning System) is required to navigate a normally tidy living room without treading/injuring yourself on assorted toys.

These few days starting with the day after Boxing Day and ending on January 2nd needs a name. Somebody referred to it as "Twixtmas" the other day. It feels like living in limbo to me so maybe something along those lines would be appropriate. Maybe the next time the debate over extra Public Holidays comes up we could make Christmas through to New Year a compulsory week off work for everyone (emergency services, corner shop keepers and publicans excepted). With that long at home we would all return to work raring to go.!

ROLL ON JANUARY - and a Happy New Year to all.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow ,Let It Snow ............

It's that time of year when I awake each morning with excited anticipation. No, not because Christmas is just around the corner, but in the hope of waking to discover the effects of an overnight snowfall.

Unfortunately, here in Southampton my wish is rarely granted. When snow approaches from the South we are protected by the Isle of Wight, in the East and to the North the South Downs prevent the worst of the weather getting through. And when blizzards come racing up from the West country fire breathing dragons that live in the New Forest turn the snow to rain before it reaches us. Occasionally though a few snow clouds manage to sneak through undetected. My first winter was 1962/63, apparently so cold for so long that my mother was worried that I might not survive it. (44 years later nothings changed there, she still worries about me every day). Too young to remember that one, I do have fond childhood memories of regular snowball fights on the way to school and coming home to build snowmen that seemed to last weeks. In the early eighties I remember trudging Roald Amundsen-like 5 miles to work after discovering my Mark III Cortina completely buried one morning. On another occasion (very carefully) driving back from a Frankie Goes To Hollywood concert at Wembley on an M3 so deserted that at times there was not even tyre tracks marking the white pristine surface let alone another vehicle in sight. But in recent years there has been next to nothing, my daughters aged 11 and 14 have never seen what I would call "real" snow at home.

There's something about a fall of snow that brings out the child in me (not that that needs much encouragement at any time). At the first sight of a snowflake I rush outside seeing how long they last before melting on my arm, casting a judgemental eye at the clouds above and praying that the snow will keep falling for at least a fortnight. Everything just looks so different in the snow, clean, tidy and just asking to be played in. It's probably the rarity that makes it so special. There is something not only exciting but romantic about a snowfall. Only last weekend I found myself proposing to Mrs W* as we stood in a blizzard produced by an artificial snow machine (God knows what I might have asked her had the snow been real !)

And today has been the coldest day for ages, rarely getting more than a degree or so above freezing. The gritting lorries have been out. So I'm off to bed now with an air of excited anticipation. And just for once I'll be jumping out of bed as soon as the alarm rings, pulling back the curtains in the forlorn hope that this will be the day the snow returns. I know deep down I'm going to be let down, but if and when it does snow, look out for a young 44 year old making snow-angels on the green (or white) in front of his house before leaving for work.

*Proposing to Mrs W has caused a dilemma. Although not yet married she has always been referred to as Mrs W in the "virtual world". I'll have to come up with a new name - Mrs Mrs W? Mrs W mark II ? The Real Mrs W? At least I've got a while to come up with something new.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

And About F@*#ing Time!!!!

"Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain. So conform to it or don't come here" Tony Blair 8th December 2006.
For possibly the first time since the smarmy faced git came to power he has made a public statement that I 100% agree with.

Firstly I do not consider myself a racist. Simply proud of my own country.I have no problem with anyone from anywhere in the world coming to live here, on two caveats. One, the country has sufficient resources to support them. The second is that if they come to live in this country they must live by the ways of this country. I have no objections to mosques and other places of worship being built, religion is a personal choice and there is no reason to restrict what an individual does in private. But there is no way our country and it's people should have to adapt our customs and daily lives to accomodate "outsiders".

Whenever an immigrant comes here they do so through choice. A few ,out of necessity have to leave their own country, but there are still 191 other countries that they could go to. They don't have to come here. Presumably they do come here because they want to, because they know that on the whole this is a good place to live. So why, untill know, has this inept government seemed hell-bent on changing things to ways that they consider will suit the newcomers. They presumably like it the way it is or they wouldn't come, if they don't then there's plenty of other places they can go to. Surely even this incompetent regime can recognise two simple facts of life, - one,you can't please all of the people all of the time so do't even try, - and two, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Let the people that want to come here come, but insist on them fitting in with our ways. If they want to lie their lives the way they did in their own country then a word of advice - stay there. Can you imagine Saudi Arabia's response to the British ex-pat community insisting on a pub on every street corner because it's what they're used to at home?

At the moment I am sure that this new rhetoric coming from Messrs Blair, Reid and Straw is just that - nothing but hot air and lip service . They have finally awoken to the realisation that a majority of their voters think enough is enough. If they don't do something, or at least sound like they are doing something, then the BNP and others on the far right will be taking a lot of their votes come the next election. One thing that they have got right is that the British are a tolerant people, we tend to take most things in our stride. But tolerance only stretches so far, and when the British tolerance finally snaps it snaps in a big way. Words are fine but let's see some action and see it now. Stop changing our school assemblies and lessons to suit a minority, tell my local council to stop printing it's literature in a dozen or so different languages, bring back golliwogs, stop events such as the Asian Games taking place, do allow people to fly the countries flag without having to go through acres of red tape, don't ban workplace decorations and stop hiding Christmas behind names like Winterval - I could go on and on. Great Britain has that first word in it's name for a reason, let's make sure we keep it that way.

Now if only Mr Blair's speech had referred to England instead of Britain he might even have swayed my vote - but that's another issue altogether.

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Christmas Number One

Every year the great music debate is what will be the number one record at Christmas. Well this year there has to be only one contender.

You've no doubt seen the advert - and wondered to yourself "Why does he have to shout?". Well now Barry Scott and his Cillit Bang advert has had a dance style remix. And it's heading for the charts.

For anyone not yet heard it or seen the video click here for full details. It can be claimed as another success for Southampton's blossoming music scene. JAKAZiD, the person responsible is currently studying at Southampton Solent University (I'll conveniently ignore the fact that he's originally from Portsmouth).

I urge you, please go out and buy it, if for no other reason than to keep anyone from X-Factor off the top spot. But please don't blame me if you can't get it out of your head.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

I Have A New Hero

Or rather a new heroine.

First came Joseph Pugol. This French Fartiste became an overnight sensation in 1890's Paris after demonstrating his new stage act, which involved his unique ability to produce a variety of sounds from his rear end.

Closer to the present day came comic book hero Johnny FartPants. Star of Viz magazine and the front of many a t-shirt, Johnny's problem manifested itself in an ever increasing variety of ways with each new episode. So popular was this character that his name has found it's way into English folklore, an appellation given to any poor soul unable, or unwilling, to control the effects of excessively gaseous stomach contents

And so to my new heroine. Yesterday a flight from Washington to Dallas was brought down by a farting woman. Yes, forget air-rage, terrorist threats or even UFOs with death rays, this woman managed to ground a flight by simply letting rip. The flight had to be diverted to Nashville after passengers reported the sulphuric smell of burning matches to the crew. All passengers were taken of the plane and sniffer dogs were used to locate the source . It turned out that our unnamed heroine was so embarrassed by her "problem" in the confined space of an aircraft cabin that she had been lighting matches to try and burn off the smell.

You have to feel for the poor woman, accidentally letting an SBD escape in a crowded lift (that's el-e-va-tor for our American readers) simply pales into insignificance in comparison.
After being questioned by the FBI the woman, suffering from an "unspecified medical condition" was thankfully released without charge. Or maybe they took the easy option, realising that no prison cell could contain someone with such invincible power.

Reporting of the story varied, the BBC going with the rather staid but factual "Flatulence leads US jet to divert" whilst Metro lead with the far more interesting "Flight grounded by farting woman" . I would imagine as I write, Hollywood moguls are already planning an adaptation of this story for next years summer superhero blockbuster.

So next time Mrs W complains about me blowing the duvet off the bed I shall remind her that there are far worse consequences to, what is after all, a perfectly natural, and necessary, bodily function.

And a very tenuous link to this story gives me an excuse to post a picture of the gorgeous Jenny McCarthy . I just love her outlook on relationships, namely, and I quote, "My philosophy on dating is just to fart right away" . How many big mistakes - not to mention insufferable pain - could be avoided and and how much wasted time could be saved, if we all got to know each other so well so quickly ? After all there's nothing like getting it all out in the open is there.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Oops she did it again !

So poor old Britney has "suffered" the idignity of the paparazzi catching her "going commando" on a night out yet again.

How many stars have these "unfortunate" incidents happened to now. ? I use the inverted commas as I find it hard to believe they are not deliberate. It seems that time and time again an actress or singer in need of a bit of publicity gets caught accidentally suffering a nip-slip, a wardrobe failure, or the new piece de resistance the gash flash . Nothing is guaranteed to get people talking over their cornflakes more than this. And what cheaper - and I use the word in both contexts - type of publicity could they get? There is no way that such "superstars", with their lives run for them with advisers would a) dress in such a way, b) go to places known to be haunted by paparazzi and c) act in a manner that such an "accident" could happen without a great deal of forward planning.

I'm not going to post the latest pictures here. Suffice it to say that anyone who still hasn't seen them should have no trouble finding them. The latest Britney pics are so detailed that it wouldn't surprise me to hear that her make up artist (certainly her hairdresser wasn't required) quickly touched up certain areas just before the photographer snapped away. The photos are so well lit and so detailed you can clearly see every intimate detail. The scar from her c-section which she obtained giving birth can be seen in sufficient clarity to be used in a obstetrics teaching lecture. In my opinion there is no question they had to have been deliberately posed, or taken by a 2ft photographer with some of the best camera equipment known to dwarfdom.

Now whilst I am a great admirer of the female body I do prefer to leave something to the imagination. And I thank the Lord that this practice is restricted, so far, to our female so called celebrities. The day I open a newspaper over breakfast to see Robbie Williams getting into a taxi with his cock hanging out is the day I stop buying papers.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

I've started.

Xmas shopping that is.

What is it with these organised people that have all their Xmas shopping done and dusted by bonfire night. Where's the fun in that? Part of the traditional fun of Xmas involves that last minute panic buying presents - the aimless 2 or 3 visits to town totally lacking in inspiration and returning empty handed, only to find on that third - and last possible - visit that everything you pick up suddenly seems to fit the bill present wise.

I hate the over-commercialisation of Xmas, to me it comes too early. It should not be mentioned anywhere until December, not for any religious reasons, just that it simply drags on too long. I usually refuse to even think about my shopping this early. But today I broke my own rule ! It's cold wet and windy outside so I was sat, bored, at the computer. One thing led to another. A quick look at someone's list, a few quick visits to 4 major online sites to compare prices and a couple of clicks later the item is on it's way. First present bought and still November.!

No crowds, no hassle, no parking fees, must have taken all of 5 minutes - I think I'll try to get most of it done this way.

But I'll have to leave a few items for "proper shopping" . After all we have to maintain the true spirit of Chritmas don't we ?

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

We're Getting A Cat

Mrs W wants a kitten.
All the little Wurzels want a kitten.
I don't want a kitten.

I mean, cats are a pointless waste of space. They don't do anything, just sit around licking themselves and staring at you like you're a piece of sh*t. You can't train them, or more to the point I reckon you can but they're just too stubborn and lazy to learn. And the kitten will get all the attention, there'll be none left for me.

Like I said, I don't want one.

So in true tradition of the modern man being master of his own home ................... I've given up arguing and we're getting a kitten.

A black one.

Called Salem.

Named after the cat in Sabrina the Teenage witch (had it been Sabrina or her Aunts coming to live with us instead I'd have no complaints.)

So they've gone out and bought all the stuff. Salem has a cat carry cage thing. And a plastic tray for him to use when nature calls ( at least he better use it if he knows what's good for him). He's got a rather comfortable looking quilted basket to sleep in. There's a strange looking post with rope wrapped round it and a ball dangling from the top, apparently it's for Salem to scratch - why he can't scratch the tree/fence/next doors dog I've no idea. And a double bowl, I guess one part for drinks and one part for food. And even a weird scoopy holey thing on a handle - either it's for cleaning up if he doesn't use the aforementioned tray or Salem will be joining the local lacrosse team, I'm not sure. In the cupboard I've spotted toy mice, bags of cat litter, and tins of cat food .

But we don't have a cat.

You see it's got to be a kitten. It's got to be completely black. It's got to be approximately 5 weeks old. It's got to be a boy. It's got to be reasonably close to home ("Dad where's Eastbourne?/Braintree?/Carlisle?"). And, the only input I've had so far, it's got to be cheap, or preferably free to a good home.

So every day Li'l Wurzel is searching the internet whilst Mrs W pores over the Free-Ads and the Echo classifieds. I know it's only a matter of time before they find one and my home life will never be the same again.

And no doubt, being a big softy at heart, I'll love it just as much as they do.

Edit: 24th November
We've got one. 8 weeks old, born on a farm in the New Forest, just back from collecting him............................................. and yes I admit it, he's cute. Two hours "home" he's wrecked a plant and wandering round like he owns the place. Is this the shape of things to come ?

Monday, 20 November 2006

Chocolate Heaven

For ages the kids - & Mrs Wurzel - have been asking to go to Cadbury World. Finally this weekend I succumbed, telling them they would have to be up and ready to leave by 8am on a Sunday morning . To my surprise, no complaints and everyone was ready on time !

Despite the 140 mile drive we were there in no time - and I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting little more than a factory visit but this place is much more than that. A great mix of education and entertainment and enough free give away chocolate to leave you feeling quite sick. We were told to allow 3 hours for the tour and it took us all of that and a bit more, never once getting bored.

Cadbury's are obviously deservedly proud of their products and some off the statistics reeled out as to how many bars are manufactured every day etc are truly mind boggling.

All in all this a great day out for any age - and if you love chocolate then that's a bonus. The Wurzel recommendation is don't try and eat it all at once, save some for the journey home.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Children In Need

Once again the annual event BBC''s Children In Need comes round. For me it's part of my autumn ritual, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Children in Need. An excuse, as if I need one, to plonk myself down onto the settee for 7 hours of continuous viewing. And, as if to justify it, it's all for a good cause.

Every year (if I can) I watch it, and every year it's the same. A mixture of decent acts promoting themselves under the disguise of helping a charity, and other performers prepared to make fools of themselves to entertain the public - the Newsreaders efforts are always enjoyable especially bearing in mind their performances in relation to their normal "day-job".

I always watch in the hope that some massively entertaining cock-up will happen, yet year on year it seems to get even more professionally produced. In the earleir years it was the amateurishness of the show that gave it's appeal (no pun intended). There's always the thought that being 7 hours of live tv something earth shattering will happen, it never does. Except once, when apparently late on in the programme many years ago Joanna Lumley performed a live sponsored strip - and I missed it.!

And as always it was all held together by the master himself, Sir Terry Wogan. Along with Eurovision, this will simply be no longer worth watching if the master of the self-effacing ad-lib ever decides to call it a day. In years gone by he made a great team with Gabby Roslin, this year I would say he managed to survive it despite the hindrance of Natasha and Fern - if these are BBC's "anchor" females for the future God help us.

As usual I managed to fall asleep before the end but having fast forwarded through the last 2 hours on video I know that the total had exceeded £18m by the end of the programme, a new "on the night" record. And quite rightly it all to goes to UK charities. I am sure that some of this appeals funds used to go abroad, I could be wrong ( I noticed that Terry quickly corrected himself at one stage from "children all around the world" to "of the UK") but in my opinion charity should begin at home. The efforts of the fundraisers and the willingness of the general public to donate year after year never ceases to amaze me.

Three thoughts from last night.
1) What on earth was Fern wearing in the first half ?
2) When they do the regional round-up why does my region - BBC South - always look like a school production in comparison with otherr regions?
3) Could it be the "random" prizewinner of the drawing up of a family tree coming from Norfolk was a fix. Surely that area of the country comes up with the easiest family trees ever. As the song goes,
"Your father is your brother,
your sister is your mother ......"

Friday, 17 November 2006

Welcome to my Blog

Every Blog needs a first post so this is it - Hello & Welcome.

Why have I decided to do a Blog? I could use the excuse that every other overgrown child uses - "because all my friends have got one" - but it's not that. Some have one, many haven't . To be honest, I don't know why. I guess there is an appeal that it somehow makes you part of that huge world wide web, that someone somewhere might just find something you have to say interesting. Some say that they are purely for attention seekers, but that's not true, if they were why would the vast majority of Bloggers use pseudonyms? Maybe that degree of anonymity let's you get away with saying things you might not be prepared to say "yourself". All I know is I've looked at several, some by people I know, others by total strangers, and thought it's time to give it a go.

What's it going to be about? I've started it with no direction in mind, no intended content, I'll simply stick things on here as and when I feel like it and see what happens and where it goes. A bit like real life I suppose.

So once again, Welcome, I hope you'll return for another visit. Don't ask me when there'll be something else posted as I have no idea - maybe I should start a sweepstake as to how long I take.