For Queen, Country & McVitie’s

imagesAshamed I am to admit that I let the side down today; “Enter ye not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak!”   

My start to the day early on a Saturday morning is a drive to buy the The Telegraph from my local newsagent, as breakfast never starts without its crisp pages laid before my place at the table. This morning as I picked up the paper I realised I had left my wallet at home – fortunately there was a £2 coin in my truck, which covered the price of the broadsheet exactly. Unfortunately just inside the door of the shop was a display that caught my eye; “Special Offer: Four packs of McVitie’s Fig Rolls with 30% extra fruit.”IMG_0494 

Now I’m renowned for my iron discipline and strong character, I know I react well to any type of incident – hasty rash decisions are simply not part of my being. ‘But for Gawds sake take pity on me this day, for there in front of me were four packs of McVitie’s Fig Rolls with 30% extra fruit, priced at £2-!’

I dithered, dawdled, and fumbled – in short I went to pieces; “The body was strong: yet the mind wandered into temptation, influenced by my taste buds, and the desire to hold one of those little baked – ‘crumbly on the outside’ – ‘exotically soft in the middle’ – beauties.” Damn those genius package designers – damn them to hell – and a hex on the newsagent for her enticement, charms, and seductive display. Slinking away from the shop with my immoral purchase I felt excited and yet also ashamed.

Reading ‘The Telegraph’ on an iPad whilst eating a full English breakfast is a degrading exercise, and not something I would recommend! I had let Queen and Country down, as well as my three canines and myself. Had I owned a revolver I would have taken it into the library for a damn good clean… But! Here I am at 02:20hrs with a cuppa-char, two fig rolls, three snoring canines, and life couldn’t be better. ;-)      Yours Aye.

Degradation – Dehumanisation – Survival.

One thing I have learned through life’s bumpy ride is to accept and analyse what nature throws down, and then work around it. We are an adaptable species regardless of our background and upbringing – arguably some would find it more difficult to survive than others – but inevitably the struggle would happen as degradation leads to dehumanisation, which is all part of our built-in self survival process that activates when we are thrown into a hostile or alien environment. Service personnel are among the most adaptable at such, which even includes the Air Force!  Buck Pennington would have bitten on that, as he often did in his unique humorous way ;-) $_12

‘Dear readers; please allow a moment of narcissism as I blow my own brass bugle.’ As an experienced survival instructor I am able to adapt pretty quickly to any environment – my skills were tested this morning when I visited ‘Ye Olde Tea Shoppe’ that sadly is no more…

In its place there now resides a new ‘Carlos Fandango type – Coffee House’ that offers Palm Civet pooped “Luwak beans” as an eye-catching marketing ploy. Just one lip smacking blend from a mind-boggling list starting with “Affogato” through to “Galao” on to “Kopi Tubruk” finishing with “Yuanyang.” The list was an eclectic mix of nonsensical sounding coffee’s gathered from every corner of the world. For customers of an ‘irregular’ disposition they even serve “Kaffee Fertig” a strong coffee with Swiss prune schnapps. Dear old Aunt Maude would have an attack of the vapours at the very thought!  Tea-Varities-e1360246360928

‘Enya’ the hot little barista bid me welcome in her foreign tongue (hot – because the heating was on full blast, and welcoming – because the place was empty!)  Enya continued – spouting forth the ‘Coffea’ plant potions on offer… I politely stopped her oral assault and requested; “A pot of Yorkshire tea please” that obviously fell on well-trained selective hearing. She artfully changed vocal gear mid-sentence and spouted further nonsense relating to fiendishly sounding tea based poultices. From “Balin Gongfu” through to “Pu-erh” finishing with “Tulsi?” and many, many, devilish variants in-between…

T bag 1Pausing to to ventilate her lungs between oxygen and carbon dioxide – I quickly seized the moment and pointed my finger at her: Do you sell Yorkshire tea? Obviously my ploy caught her totally unawares, as she hesitated: “Erm… no!” I reached into my inner jacket pocket and retrieved my self folding Samsonite coin holder that holds a small airtight bag containing 6 Yorkshire Gold tea bags. “Well I’d like a teapot of boiling water, and please drop two of these little beauties into the pot first.” Her training kicked in as fast as the oxygen being drawn into her lungs: “I’ll have to charge you full price for a pot of house tea.” ~ “That’s fine, at least I know what I’m drinking, and it is my preferred blend.italian-almond-tart-4 

The ‘Coffee House’ will not survive long around such an old established market town, as Yorkshire folk do not take kindly to change – I was the one and only customer present in the time it took to browse my morning paper. Unbeknownst at the time, the original ‘Tea Shoppe’ had co-located within the old bakers shop just along the high street, which I discovered when I toddled off to buy two fresh loaves. Obviously I had to sit and quaff another cuppa-char, as I had to wash the freshly baked almond tart down with something. The place was packed to the gunwales with old and bold loyal ‘regulars’ (without a drop of ‘Kaffee Fertig’ in sight)…      Yours Aye. 

To Tip – Or Not To Tip? ‘Tis The Question!

To ‘tip’ or not to ‘tip?’ That is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler to suffer piss poor waiter service: 
Or to take complete advantage of the poor sod serving you…

With profuse apologies to the William Shakespeare preservation society (of which, I make amends beneath the featured clip below!) If you do decide to ignore the following; ‘NOT SAFE FOR WORK: WARNING’ because of the occasional F Bomb, then I can only presume you’re not at work, or even better, you work in a totally non PC environment. In which case you’re an extremely fortunate barsteward! HIP ~ HIP ~ HOORAY…

On a serious note:  Having travelled around the US I have often wondered if ‘waiters’ would forsooth be better off on a living wage, rather than rely upon tips for a living. It does appear to work well over here in the UK, as well as around Europe.    Yours Aye.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

“To Be Or Not To Be”: Soliloquy by Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1: William Shakespeare 1603

Dear Leader is not a pheasant plucker

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year address in PyongyangKim Jong-Un’s brows have halved in length and look further apart in what appears to be a severe case of over-plucking which was spotted as he gave his televised speech in Pyongyang. It is not clear whether Kim plans to make the rest of the country copy his fashion faux-pas, as he did earlier this year when he ordered all men to have their hair cut in his signature shaved back-and-sides style. Has someone hacked ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-Un’s eyebrows?B2-sKAsCQAAsVXP.jpg-large

If I may throw in my ten penneth worth on the trouble afflicting ‘Dear Leaders’ shrinking supercilia, which is a simple enough observation. ‘Festive season gluttony has forced his bowling ball head to jump from a twelve pounder to a sixteen pounder over a two-week period.’ In short, his head has simply outgrown his features! He may not be a ‘pheasant plucker’ but we all fall ‘fowl’ to piling on a few pounds over Christmas and New Year… I’ll drink to that.      Yours Aye.

“I am not the pheasant plucker,
I’m the pheasant plucker’s mate.
I am only plucking pheasants
Because the pheasant plucker’s late.”    Not to be repeated drunk in front of children…

Something smells very fishy….

Take that, Mr Salmond: English lay claim to Scottish smoked salmon… Because of the curing process invented in London. For the patriotic ‘Jockanese’ Scots, home-produced smoked salmon is as cherished a part of the national heritage as the ‘Loch Ness Monster’, tartan kilts and the poetry of Robbie Burns. d2011But now, in an astonishing cross-border power grab, politicians in Westminster are seeking to claim the delicacy for England. Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss has said she believes   Britain’s Oldest Salmon Curers should have the same legal safeguards as other famous food products such as Melton Mowbray pork pies and Cornish clotted cream. Politicians in Westminster are seeking to claim Scottish smoked salmon because of the curing process invented in the East End of Londonbrave4 

Having eaten smoked salmon from H. Foreman & Son I can confirm that they are quite delicious. Methinks we best prepare defensive positions on and around Hadrian’s wall, as I fear the first attacking wave of woad covered  ‘sweaty socks’  ‘Jocks’ will be along very soon…   Yours Aye  ‘Och Aye’

Puddles sings ‘O Holy Night’

MarmitePuddles the clown turns in a soul-stirring performance of the Christmas classic ‘Oh Holy Night’ showing once again why he’s called “The sad clown with the golden voice” Even if you’re not religious, you may well hit ‘play’ a second time…

Puddles music is a Marmite thing, ‘you either love it or hate it!’  Either way it’s an acquired taste that tends to polarise opinions. Yours Aye.

We are what we Eat

Obesity IS a disability! So rules the highest European Union court of Justice, after 5′ 6″ tall – 25st (350 pounds) Danish child-minder Karsten Kartoft was ‘sacked for being too fat to perform his job properly.’24241BC800000578-0-image-a-14_1418901818525Hard-pressed businesses face costly bills after European judges controversially ruled that obesity can be classed as a disability. Companies will be forced to make concessions for overweight staff that could include extra-large office furniture, medical advice or exercise facilities. Firms could also face expensive compensation claims for discrimination if they sack someone for being overweight.  The child-minder took action against his employer after he was sacked for not being able to tie up the shoelaces of the children he cared for!2423534200000578-2878792-The_European_Court_of_Justice_in_Luxembourg_ruled_that_if_obesit-a-12_1418901666369

“Mr Kaltoft, who has a body mass index of 54 – almost twice the official obesity level – said he did not believe he was disabled.” 

The bloated European circus of nonsense & ridiculousness Court of Justice in Luxembourg

It is my own humble opinion that gross obesity is a self-inflicted ‘disability!’ The decision passed down from the buffoons within the European circus of human ridiculousness is totally and utterly absurd – it also insults those with genuine disabilities. The sooner the human rights circus collapses its big tent and heads into liquidation – the better for all of us on this side of the pond. If you are unable to tie your own shoelaces – then have a quick look at the nearest wall, because the writing in plain view states you are not destined to shuffle around this planet for much longer. We are what we eat, the choice is plain and yet so simple!     Yours Aye.

The tale of ‘un œuf pourri.’

The tale of ‘un œuf pourri.’ This morning a kindly soul went out of their way to drop off one dozen free-range eggs onto my doorstep. When I say ‘drop off’ I obviously meant ‘placed the eggs’ within a cardboard egg container onto my doorstep, as I was away walking the canine’s at the time and found them on my return. A simple gesture of gratitude for a small favour I carried out a few days ago, an act I greatly appreciated as it meant scrambled eggs with toast for breakfast would soon follow.Free_Range_Chickens Throughout my adult years I have only ever fallen ‘foul’ of  opening one rotten sulphurous egg (for those among you who have endured the same you will agree, it is ‘un œuf pourri’ too many.) As a young lad under instruction from my Gran I would often dunk eggs in a bowl to test their freshness, which is how I discovered todays rotten little blighter. One out of the dozen bobbed and floated atop the surface, while the remainder slowly sunk like ‘sun-dodgers’ of the silent service – to settle gently on their side. morning_picdump_230_640_20  When ever I drop left over food into the small kitchen waste bin, Nipper religiously follows like a shadow – this time as I dropped the egg into the bin Nipper was nowhere to be seen. A wise choice as it turned out as I was about to suffer through my negligence…dog_nose1-296x300 A human has about 5 million scent glands, compared to a dog, who has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million. TRUE!

The egg cracked open in the bin – just as 5 million of my scent glands detonated and almost forced my gag reflex to its maximum purge (several times!) But I managed to hold on to my early morning ‘pre-amble’ cuppa-char and fig roll – by maintaining a stiff upper lip and arching one eye brow, whilst thinking of Queen and Country – all under the watchful eye of Great Aunt Gertrude’s sepia coloured photograph! Having promptly ditched the bin outside I returned to scratch scrambled eggs from the morning menu, settling instead for fruit and toast for breakfast (sat in a wafting haze of Cotton Fresh Febreeze air freshner.) Three snouts combining 900 million scent glands soon joined me, as the divine smell of fresh toasted bread hit the air…      Yours Aye.

Potatoes – Irish Apples…

23575A1A00000578-2875014-image-m-19_1418672726175Are POTATOES the ultimate diet food? How a chemical compound found in a spud is shown to prevent weight gain. 

Potatoes have long been considered something of an anti-diet food, but new research has found that they may in fact prevent weight gain. According to a new paper published by researchers at McGill University, high potato consumption in mice was shown to decrease body weight gain. The team believes that the findings are due to potatoes’ high concentration of polyphenols – a disease-fighting chemical component found in fruits and vegetables. Potatoes are the ultimate diet food House Brick Just knock me down with a feather… Having just eaten a baked jacket potato the size of an old London house brick (appropriately – with a huge dollop of ‘cottage’ cheese atop it) I can honestly say I’m stuffed. But I can go to bed knowing I’ll wake up lighter and fitter in the morning. Thank you McGill University…      Yours Aye.

Xmas pudding & Chinese wedding cake

1A3924A800000578-0-image-m-30_1418046687449Does fruit cake last forever? Scientists say the combination of alcohol and dried fruit means most puddings last much longer than the ‘use by date.’ 

It’s the time of year to eat fruit cakes and Christmas puddings in abundance. Now, experts have said the Christmas treats can be eaten long past their use-by-date. The U.S. Department for Agriculture advises fruit cakes can last up to three months in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer. But food safety experts believe they could last even longer…e18d32ab-1636-4b43-904b-6dc0a58571a8

We may need to agree to disagree on this one. I can vouch for the fact that Christmas pudding never lasts past Christmas day in my humble abode. Very much like ‘Chinese wedding cake’ after boxing day dinner, it only lasts for as long as it takes to devour it with a racing spoon!     Yours Aye

‘Chinese wedding cake': Naval slang for rice pudding and sultanas. 

One of our Reindeer is missing!

reindeer_3106815fReindeer goes on the menu as Christmas carpaccio: Smoked reindeer is on Lidl’s ‘deluxe’ festive food range. Reindeer carpaccio is to feature among the luxury delicacies being offered by budget supermarket Lidl this Christmas. 

Packs of the thinly sliced raw meat will feature in the ‘Deluxe’ range that the thriving German chain hopes will draw in shoppers who would normally go to the other major retailers. Although the meat is mainly considered a Scandinavian delicacy, Lidl has had some success selling reindeer steaks in Britain, and believes consumers are now ready to eat the meat in its raw form. Reindeer goes on the menu as Christmas carpaccio


It is my own humble opinion that reindeer meat is far tastier than venison. Each year through a 3 month winter deployment to Norway – reindeer steak as well as reindeer stew were always a welcome addition to the evening meal menu.  Though it may be a wise move to hide the packaging if you’re thinking of indulging this year, and not tell the children that they may well be eating one of Santa’s sled team… Yours Aye.

North Pole Roll Call;

“Dasher” – “Here Santa.”
“Dancer” – “Here Santa.”
“Prancer” – “Here Santa”
“Vixen” – “Here Santa.”
“Comet” – “Here Santa.”
“Cupid” – “Here Santa.”
“Donner” – “Here Santa.”
“Blitzen” – “Blitzen!” – “Blitzen!!” – “Has anyone seen Blitzen?” ;-)

Speaking of ‘breaded lamb loin chops’

18810Speaking of ‘breaded lamb loin chops.’ (Or did I just imagine it?) 

I found an old recipe earlier, and created a meal fit for some one of my ilk… Though I did re-jig the recipe ever so slightly to fit my own taste buds. None the less, I will lay claim to a culinary victory that ‘Meat without Meat’ could never achieve! 

2 eggs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Soy sauce
2 large lamb loin chops
4 oz dried breadcrumbs
Small tip of the spoon garlic paste
Small amount of fresh-cut Rosemary
Light sprinkle of salt and cracked pepper

1. Using a mixing bowl, give the eggs a damn good thrashing – then introduce the Soy and Worcestershire sauce into the mix, and thrash further. Add the garlic paste, Rosemary, and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper – and thrash until well and truly blended.
2. Marinade the lamb in the bowl, and place in the fridge for 90 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5
4. Remove the lamb from the fridge marinade, and lightly cover each lamb chop in breadcrumbs. Then arrange them on a lightly greased baking tray or dish.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, then turn the chops over, and bake for a further 20 minutes. The little blighters should now be ready, and the delicate smell will turn you to drink – so have a half decent bottle of red handy!

I enjoyed the breaded loin chops alongside a mix of vegetables and new potatoes – accompanied by a large glass (I haven’t got any small glasses) of California’s ‘Gallo Family Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon. I may have forgotten to cork the bottle, as it appears to have since evaporated!    Yours Aye  We must be in a heavy swell as we are rolling a bit…

Vegan ‘meat free meat’ oxymoron

A tofu turkey and six meat-less sausages please! America to welcome the world’s first VEGAN ‘butcher’ shop…  It may sound like an oxymoron (which it indeed does!) But Minnesota is soon to be the location of the world’s first vegan butcher shop.238F863C00000578-0-image-4_1417126531658

Siblings Aubry & Kale Walch, based in Minneapolis, already run the herbivorous butcher a successful farm-stand business crafting artisan meat ‘imitation’ products, but after exceeding their $50,000 goal on Kickstarter, they’re ready to open their first shop. 

Launching in April, the shop will sell their signature line of wheat gluten and tofu-based ‘meats’, which include Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Smoky House Ribs, Pulled Pork and Maple-Glazed Bacon.  America welcomes worlds first VEGAN butcher’s shop 238F866C00000578-0-image-5_1417126542381“STOP! – STOP! – STOP!” Stop this madness NOW! Have you ever in your life heard of such nonsense before? A traditional Yorkshire butcher surrounded by real meat!Butcher_9 A butcher is a person who may slaughter animals, dress their flesh, sell their meat or do any combination of these three tasks. Butchery is an ancient trade, whose duties date back to the domestication of livestock – butchers formed guilds in England as far back as 1272. The standard meaning of “butcher,” is “one whose trade is slaughtering animals and dealing in their meat.”  Can you imagine the term “As fit as a butcher’s dog” being used and abused to the saying of “As fit as a vegans dog?” Exactly; nor can I…    Yours Aye.fitter than a butchers dog Both fitter than a butcher’s dog & it’s not through the nonsense of tofu & meat free meat!

I think (biscuit) therefore I am!

02ADE36C00000514-2839710-image-2_1416337858740Eating biscuits and cakes could damage your memory – regardless of your age?

Healthy people who ate the most products containing trans fats – found in some processed foods – had worse scores in a word memory test, say University of California, San Diego researchers.thinking1

“Cogito, ergo sum.”

<—— “Buccellatum comedam buccellam panis, et ego iustus!”

I was going to type a humorous dit; but sadly it’s slipped my mind? Time for a pot of tea and a couple of McVitie’s digestive biscuits I think…      

Yours Aye.

And pigs might fly-PETA!

1414953964675_wps_25_CONTAINS_NUDITY_128539_NeDozens of PETA supporters strip off for central London protest against meat-eating on World Vegan Day.  Around 100 PETA supporters laid in Trafalgar square, covered in fake blood, in order to draw a comparison between the bodies of animals and those of humans. The animal rights organisation hope the stunt will encourage more to stop eating meat and use animal products. ‘Animals feel pain, fear, love and joy, just as humans do, yet billions of them are killed every year for products that are poisoning the environment and contributing to the UK’s obesity epidemic’, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. ‘PETA is challenging people to think about the massive toll that the meat industry takes on animals, the Earth and human health – and to go vegan.’ PETA-supporters-strip! 1414952322007_Image_galleryImage_epa04472138_PETA_supporteFlying PigIt’s enough to put a man off his morning bacon sandwich – NOT! 

I personally know three vegan’s, and to be honest each time I bump into them I always think “There’s more meat on a jockey’s whip after the Grand National!” The vegan’s above must live close by to a Guinness brewery – or they are in the wrong protest (save the whale from the Japanese fishing fleet is on the next street along – doh!)

Each to their own…  I was thinking of going vegetarian…  And pigs might fly! Does that mean the price of bacon is going up?   Yours Aye.

Have you eaten yet?

It is the most expensive – and many would argue delicious – part of a sushi menu. But one man’s love of sashimi nearly killed him after it led to his body becoming riddled with tapeworm parasites. The Chinese man had gone to his doctor complaining of stomach ache and itchy skin. To his horror, scans revealed his entire body had been infected with tapeworm parasites after eating too much sashimi – raw slices of fish.1411571939703_wps_6_A_Chinese_man_who_went_toSushi lover’s entire body left riddled with tapeworm-parasites 

And that dear friends, is why this Ex Bootneck never ever eats ‘raw fish!’    Yours Aye.