Monday, January 29, 2007

A Bee CD on E-bay

A famous insectologist went into a record shop and called over the assistant

"Yes, sir? How can I help?"

"I am a famous insectologist and I am studying wasp sounds - I believe there is a record of wasp sounds and I would like to buy it - but first I would like to hear it!"

"That's no problem, sir. I will put the record on this turntable and if you go into that booth and put on the headphones inside you can listen to it."

The assistant put the record on the turntable and the famous insectologist went over to the booth. A few minutes later he was back at the counter.

"Young man, that is not the sound of wasps!!"

The assistant looked at the turntable.

"Oh, sorry sir. I will have to turn the record over - that was the B-side!"

The bee side!!!


It wasn't A B C D which I put on was just A C D... my C D in fact.


And this is a status report:

Titanic Bid War Rages on E-bay!!

Well, I say Titanic Bid War, it's more like non-existant bid war...

Hundreds of Anonymous Bidders!!

Well, I say hundreds... it's more like one actually.

(The smart money is on Anji.)

But there is still time for bidding to take off... so, come on!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Double Birthday!

Let's begin with Omi. Omi is my T-Maria's gran. She is 80 today and later on we will be celebrating lavishly!

It's weird to think that when my mother was sheltering under the stairs in Liverpool in the 1940s during the air-raids by the Luftwaffe, Omi was living in fear of the allied bombers in Munich.

What a peculiar world it is.

Happy Birthday Omi!

And the other birthday would have been my dad who would have been a year away from getting his telegram from the Queen.

This photo is from just about the time when Omi was being born. Actually he doesn't look old enough there to be anyone's dad!

Oh well,

Happy Birthday dad!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I have bought loads of things on ebay and I have never yet had a problem.

But - up to now I have never tried to sell anything on ebay... until tonight!

I thought, "why not?" So just to see how it works... with no expectations of selling anything at all... ahem ... I put a copy of my CD in for sale... here

Now I can sit back and watch the bids fly in!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stealing my Ideas Before I Thought of Them...

I am reading Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island just now and lo and behold what do I find but exactly what I was writing about in A Rose by any other Name !! I would sue the bugger except for the awkward fact that he wrote his thing before I wrote mine ... !

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Own Apollo 13

If you could get a prize for picking the wrong numbers for the lottery then I could have made a career of it.

Of all the nights I have to pick over the last weeks and next months to book a flight to London, I had to choose the one on which the hurricane, known as Kyrill here in deepest Bavaria, came to town.

We were booked on an EasyJet flight to Stansted, due to leave at 21.45, which was about the time when the storm was predicted to reach its peak... but the news from the airport was positive; only a few flights had been cancelled and most were leaving on time.

However, getting to the bleedin' airport was proving to be a problem! A recorded announcement on the local train advised passengers for the airport to change at a particular station, so we dutifully all got off the train which then whisked away into the darkness. Right after that the displays on the platform announced that all further trains had now been cancelled! The stations here operate on a very automatic basis so there was no-one about to get information from or scream at... so now what?

A mad dash for taxis of course! In the end we managed to share one with two Hungarians who were flying back to Budapest.

Got to the airport, checked in, passed through passport control and the steely, slit-eyed gaze of the border police and assembled at gate C5. Boarding was scheduled for 21.15. At 21.14 and a half an announcement was made:
"This is an announcement for EasyJet passengers to London. Your flight has been cancelled so what the hell are you all doing waiting around here, suckers?" (Or words to that effect)

So we trudged off back through passport control, again subjected to the steely, slit-eyed gaze of the border police, got our luggage back and went off to stand in an enormously long queue in front of the EasyJet counter to find out what to do next.

It transpired - after an hour of mind-crushingly boring waiting - that all the flights for today, Friday, and tomorrow were full but we could go on stand-by and maybe get lucky(!!).

The alternative was to rebook the flights completely at some other time (free of extra charge). As we were only going for a long weekend anyway it seemed a better alternative than spending even more time at Munich bloody Airport with the slender hope of a flight.

So, let's get home... ah, the local trains aren't running! But there is the Lufthansa bus to Munich centre which has suddenly become twice as expensive as usual. Ok, on we get... the driver couldn't leave straight away because a truck had got itself wedged in front of us.. ho hum... lots of shouting and engine-revving, gears clashing... then off we go... by now I was SO looking forward to a beer but I still had to undergo the last indignity of the night when I tripped down the stairs of the bus after we had arrived in the centre, stumbled, bounced and fell out onto the hard wet pavement... yoo hoo.

So we had set off for our aim, had some mishaps on the way, turned round and despite a few more mishaps got back home safely... now, was it just a coincidence that Apollo 13 was on TV last night?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

Fortunately Jimmy has discovered another way of growing!

15...15!! On the one hand it is really hard to believe that Jimmy is 15 already, on the other hand when you think he is already taller than me...

It's also amazing that he has turned out to be such a good lad having been subjected to his two older sisters for so long!!

I remember being really impressed with turning 15. Somehow it seemed much older than 14. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that at that age my dad - with scant respect for the fact that it was totally illegal - taught me to drive... and let me drive on a few occasions from our house to the beach.

Anyway, exactly 15 years ago there we were in the same room - on the same bed for all I know - where my oldest, Nicky, had been born 9 years earlier.

The birth went well - I didn't feel any pain at all - and within 3 hours we were all home again proudly showing off our son to his fascinated sisters and the visitors who popped in.

The great thing about Jimmy is that when he gets interested in a subject he really goes for it. He started in a football team when he was 6 and soon became the key player. I think for 3 years he was the only player who scored. Then he took up guitar and bass; and with a combination of natural talent and hard work ended up in the school Big Band at the age of 13!

Now he's in a couple of theatre groups... so I guess it won't be long till Hollywood calls.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Jimmy Lad!

Friday, January 12, 2007


Boy, could they cut hair in those days!

Actually, this would have been a haircut done by my dad on a Sunday afternoon after the pub!

What I remember most about this is my mum complaining that she didn't get her money's worth because I have the same expression in each picture!

She was wrong though... there is a whole life of emotion and experience in those three pictures... why didn't Hollywood sign me up?
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First Teenager on Mars

I have just found a bunch of old photos on a shelf hidden behind some files!

This is quite a nonchalant me in 1971, having just arrived on Mars, leaning on my trusty astro-space-car.

(Well, it takes my mind off last night's football!)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well, Perhaps not SLAUGHTER Them...

...what was all that sentimental drivel in my last post? Spattering rain, squelching mud... romantic twaddle... total codswallop, rubbish...

Huh? The football...? The score..?? Did we win..???

Well, it's relative isn't it?

Win or lose, lose or win, lose or win, win or lose, bottle glass, glass, bottle, yin and yang, Laurel and Hardy, Morecombe and Wise...


Saturday, January 06, 2007

FA Cup 3rd Round

Nothing conjures up for me an English January than the expression "FA Cup 3rd Round". Straight away I can picture grey, rain-spattered, muddy, cabbage patch pitches in ramshackle stadiums where non-league teams are taking on the top professionals and hoping somehow to upset the odds.

Of course I mean watching - not playing!

I did enough of playing on grey, rain-spattered, etc. Saturdays afternoons at school - rugby in our case not footie - getting soaked to the skin and streaked and smothered with good old north Liverpool mud.

Anyhow, we take on Arsenal this afternoon ... and we are going to slaughter them!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Anyway, Happy 2007!

We went round the corner here in deepest Bavaria to celebrate New Year and set off our fireworks. There is a square nearby where everyone gathers and by 00.05 it was wreathed in smoke like a battlefield.
One thing I noticed was that although there were a good hundred people there, everyone stayed in the hermetic little cliques they had come in.

There were no exchanged "Happy New Years!" and clinked glasses between strangers. As we walked though the square I was trying to catch someone, anyone's eye to exchange greetings but all gazes were stolidly averted - maybe it was me they were avoiding! But no - it was quiet, subdued...
Only three young girls raised their glasses to us and wished us a slightly slurred Happy New Year! To which I replied, "thank goodness for that, at last, Happy New Year!"

The other night my youngest son suggested we watch Contact together. Contact is the Jodie Foster film rather loosely based (if I'm honest, far too loosely based) on the book by Carl Sagan which was inspired by his dealings with SETI - the Search for ExtraTerrestial Intelligence - which uses radio telescopes to search the skies for radio signals which could provide proof of intelligent civilisations somewhere out there in the universe.

After we had watched it, I was wondering what the effects would actually be if they were to find some indisputable proof of an intelligent alien civilisation trying to contact us; would it cause the panic the UFO-logists contend is the supposed reason why governments are covering up "evidence" of crashed UFOs and little green men (and presumably little green women?)?

I don't see why we would all panic if we discovered that tens or hundreds of light-years away there was another civilisation pouring out radio waves just as we are. It might cause the major religions to pause and think for a while - which could be a good and very necessary thing. It might even bring us all closer together and make us aware of this insane and very dangerous religious squabbling which is gong on at the moment.

In fact, it might be just what we need...

So, altogether, if anyone out there is listening: