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.