Fifty Shades of Battleship Grey

Why the Fifty Shades Of Grey book is better than the film: Novels evoke emotions in women more so than movies – and it’s all down to evolution.1412270415715_wps_2_This_file_combo_made_of_bYou can’t escape Fifty Shades of Grey at the moment as its promotional machine has been gearing up for the film’s release this weekend. But despite the book’s huge global success, critics have called the film adaptation boring, drawn-out and a turn-off.800px-Uss_iowa_bb-61_prI received a call earlier this afternoon from a good friend who is an ex-Jenny WREN (who has an almighty fiery temper when angered – a true Redhead as it happens!) 

Me; “War office – do you ‘wanna’ fight?” ~ “No, I have two tickets for 50 Shades of Grey, are you free to watch it this evening?” ~ “Sorry, not this evening as I’m washing my hair and trimming my moustache” ~ “What about tomorrow?” ~ “Sorry, I’m trimming my toenails and then each of the dogs” ~ “You don’t want to watch it do you?” ~ “No – not really…!” The call ended courteously without ‘Jenny’ firing off a broadside; no doubt I will incur her wrath some other time. Now if she had tickets for a digitalised showing on the big screen for ‘Zulu’‘In Which We Serve’‘The Cruel Sea’ or, ‘Cockleshell Heroes‘ – I’d have cancelled my imaginary domestic chores & accompanied her ‘tout de suite!’   Yours Aye.some red head card

Not quite insomnia…

Sir Winston Churchill“You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner, and no half-way measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. Thats what I always do. You get two days in one.” Sir Winston Churchill. 

Many years back I enjoyed the comfort of a two-man cabin on my own, which was great as I also enjoyed my own company. Until one mid-morning when I was joined by a fellow Marine (who turned out to be a bloody good bloke as it happened.) His first words of introduction were “I have a sleeping condition known as nocturnal lagophthalmos” ~ “Oh” Says I…  He continued; “Well it’s not a problem for me, though it may be a problem for you because I sleep with my eyes open – sometimes fully open, other times just half-open.” I had to say some thing in reply to his introductory comment but words failed me, so I sympathetically mumbled “Not a problem for me mate.” 

It actually was a problem, as there was more to follow… “I also suffer from sleep apnoea, which means I stop breathing too – but don’t worry because my subconscious kicks in after 30 seconds or so, then I suck air back in.” ~ “You are joking mate?” Says I… Unfortunately he was quite serious. That first night was quite bizarre, as I laid awake listening out for the phenomenon to happen. True to his word I heard him stop breathing several times, each time I counted him out until he gulped air and his respiration organ pumped again. From that day forth he was named ‘Iron Lung!’ 

As my bunk was closest to the window I had to walk by his bunk if nature called in the silent hours, which was quite alarming as he often laid asleep on his back just staring up into space. I once stopped and cautiously stared down at him – as he blinked and said “aw-right mate, I’m wide awake, I can’t sleep.” Which caused me to leap backwards “FOR FUDGE SAKE MAN, IT’S LIKE SHARING A CABIN WITH THE LIVING DEAD!” Fortunately I was promoted a month later, which meant a move across into the WO & SNCO’s Mess that was singular and palatial in comparison. Iron Lung enjoyed his own company in the two-man cabin up until the day he left the Corps six months later, he being deemed too unsuitable for ‘A N. Other’ Marine to join him. His leaving presents from the blokes were the usual mixture of RM Cdo Plaque, mounted Cdo Dagger, etc, as well as an unusual handmade box with an engraved brass plate atop it “In Case Of Emergency”

Contained within the box was a small hammer and three small wooden stake’s, which was more a gift for his fiancée (soon to be wife.)           Yours Aye.

Music video by ‘Faithless’ performing Insomnia. (c) 1996 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (UK) Limited

The True Meaning Of Life…

220px-Sanzio_01_Plato_AristotleWe each have our own understanding over the meaning of life – a tapestry formed through a variety of multicoloured philosophical, spiritual, scientific, and theological woven threads. It has been suggested that the majority of us never seek to understand the same, nor do we question its existence, as we are happy to roll through each day oblivious to the theories behind it. 

Plato and Aristotle in ‘The School of Athens’ fresco, by Raphael. Plato is pointing heavenwards to the sky, and Aristotle is gesturing to the world.

As an 11-year-old – I was left feeling a little perplexed having read ‘A Digest of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.’ More so when I questioned the religious education Master part way through his bible punching lesson, which resulted in being cuffed good-n-proper around the ear – that led on to being  dragged to the front of the class where I was caned hard on each hand, to be then thrown out of the lesson. (As was the Roman Catholic way of teaching back then) Which has nothing to do with the meaning of life, though the painful act taught me a valuable lesson. But I digress…

This morning bright and early, I was taking breakfast in the lee of a large thickened holly bush (with two contented canines, each tucking into a cooked beef sausage treat) when I suddenly realised through my pause for thought that I fully understood the meaning of life relevant to my own humble existence. There is a theory that we only come to understand the true meaning of life on our death-bed when we exhale our last breath. Balderdash and poppycock – that theory had now blown across a wind-swept Yorkshire Moorland.            Raphael_School_of_Athens Plato, Aristotle, and their chums (above) bumping their gums whilst bickering, and blathering amongst each other in The School Of Athens over the Meaning of Life. They could have reached a verdict much sooner had they sat in the lee of a holly bush on a wind-swept Yorkshire hillside! Canines being optional. Yours Aye. Click pic to enlarge.

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.

Ladies & Gentlemen-Bottom’s Up!

Trendy new cocktail bar opens in a public toiletsand it’s called ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ With property prices in central London rising one entrepreneur has converted a former public toilet into a fashionable new bar. By Sam Matthew for MAILONLINE24074B6E00000578-2872763-image-a-52_1418492277568

Will Borrell has opened the aptly named ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ after an 18 month battle with residents over the abandoned underground restrooms. The businessman, who owns a Polish vodka company, has even named a cocktail ‘Nimby’ (Not In My Back Yard) after the local residents who tried to block the bar in Kentish Town, north-west London.

Mr Borrell has secured a 15 year lease for the former public toilets and has restored the building, which features a pre World War Two marble floor and traditional beams. The toilets and a wall of urinals have also been restored and a kitchen added. ‘We are signing up to a council scheme that means our toilets will be open to the public,’ said Mr Borrell.

“My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure (and it always will) to welcome you all to this grand lavatorial opening. Pray stand, or remain seated, dependent upon your requirement, and raise your glass and join me in a toast” – “May your public convenience always be flush with success!” – “Bottom’s Up!”     Yours Aye.

Just couldn’t resist it… ;-)

What a load of baubles!

Forget about the Christmas tree! BEARD baubles are the new must-have hipster accessory this Decemberand they’re already selling out! A London advertising agency invented beard baubles as a decoration for their company Christmas card. The facial accessories are now a global hit, with customers in the US and Australia. All proceeds from the baubles go to Beardseason, an initiative to raise awareness for the fight against Melanoma.DECK YOUR BEARDS WITH LOTS OF BAUBLESChristmas-tree-BEARD-baubles-new-hipster-accessory-for-December-selling-out.images

‘Oh my giddy Aunt!’ On a serious note; a big thumbs up for a charitable cause, as all of the proceeds from the facial accessories go to the charity ‘Beardseason.’   Yours Aye.

‘Sheeple’ on Black Friday

sheeple2Apparently, today over here in the UK is (was) Black Friday? It has been reported that this is the second year that such an event has appeared on the calendar, where upon the easily led ‘sheeple’ queue in an orderly fashion for several hours in the bitter cold waiting for stores and shops to open – to bag a bargain. ‘Sheeple’ en-route to ASDA  (Walmart) —->  

Upon opening time the ‘sheeple turn into bare knuckle fighters, and power their way into the store entrance, leaving Marquess of Queensberry rules outside. Jungle rules ensue, and the melee of ‘sheeple’ use everything in their skirmish- including the kitchen sink and boxed TV sets as weapons on each other in order to grab a bargain!3116667016Now here comes the educational part for my fellow Briton’s ignorant of the facts In 2013 Asda (part of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) announced its “Walmart’s Black Friday by ASDA” campaign promoting the Black Friday concept in the UK. A number of other online and in store companies followed suit, and now certain chain stores celebrate the American tradition, although others appear skeptical, with one trade publication labelling it ‘simply an Americanism, which doesn’t translate very well!’ The easily led brainless ‘sheeple’ fall for it hook line and sinker; a gimmick on items that have previously been cheaper earlier in the year – that can also be purchased online and delivered for free to their own field home before Christmas?  An errant ‘sheeple’ cornered by ‘sheeple’ dogs earlier today!black_friday_take-downIt has to be said; there appears to be a certain type of person with a branded mentality that fits within the ‘sheeple’ range. The same type sits glued to their television screens, and are easily swayed by slick advertising, especially those who favour the lime green fields stores of ASDA. 1564dca116d0d21722814b5693dc14bbefd4db3e946e456ef17d46ec0d943638

Fortunately the great majority of the general public ignore such promotions, and act more dignified when shopping prior to Christmas. Though I did have to stand in a queue of three people at my local farm shop today, where I purchased half a pound of pork & apple sausage, two-pound of bacon, and a lamb chop…     ‘Yours Aye’ 

Always look on the bright side of life

Why thousands Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life: Monty Python tune is new favourite song to be played at funerals.1416540447061_Image_galleryImage_Paul_Hennessy00012_jpgBritain’s baby boomers are choosing to face the final curtain with a laugh with Monty Python’s irreverent hit Always Look on the Bright Side of Life topping the charts as the most popular funeral song. The tongue-in-cheek ‘ditty’ poking fun at death has replaced Frank Sinatra’s My Way as the most popular song played at funerals – the first time the song has been toppled from the number one spot since 2002.  The song, written by Eric Idle, was taken from the controversial 1979 film The Life of Brian

‘Always look on the bright side of life.’
Always look on the light side of life.
If life seems jolly rotten,
There’s something you’ve forgotten,
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you’re feeling in the dumps,
Don’t be silly chumps.
Just purse your lips and whistle. That’s the thing.
Always look on the bright side of life.
Always look on the right side of life,
For life is quite absurd
And death’s the final word.
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin.
Give the audience a grin.
Enjoy it. It’s your last chance, anyhow.
Always look on the bright side of death,
Just before you draw your terminal breath.
Life’s a piece of shit,
When you look at it.
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke. It’s true.
You’ll see it’s all a show.
Keep ‘em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
Always look on the bright side of life.

There are far worse things happen at sea…      Yours Aye.

For the want of a time machine…


I require assistance in getting a message to Jacob Von Hogflume! My intention is to seek a ride back in time to around 1980 (pre Falklands War & a pre Digital life style) where my sole intention would be to sign up once again. I promise to make all of the mistakes of my past (well almost all – barring three) where I will gladly accept every scar, broken bones, torn ligaments, and near misses (several I am aware of) with the greatest of pleasure…time-travel-tardisObviously I will be taking a large collection of historical winning LOTTO numbers back with me just to ease the pain somewhat, though I will be supporting quite a few good causes with the winnings. If you don’t hear from me for a while, then you will know that ‘Jacob’ has been in touch.      Yours Aye.          (The canine’s will be coming along too!)

Juggling several balls & a piano

JugglerThe past few days have been quite hectic to say the least, due in part to helping friends close by, unexpected visitors from afar, and a few long-planned commitments thrown in.images

I’m pretty adept at juggling several balls in the air, but now and again someone tosses in a baby elephant, and a grand piano into the set, which almost catches me out as it means taking my eye off the lead ball to reconfigure every thing. I suppose it’s all about timing and balance, combined with a sense of humour and the flexibility of a rubber duck!  ‘Quack bloody Quack’ – you can’t crack me I’m a rubber duck!)

The good news is – I have finished my juggling routine for this summer, and the balls are back in their cardboard box. Though I have no idea where the baby elephant or the grand piano went. Not my problem anymore; until next year perhaps…      Yours Aye.

Keep Calm & Roll With It

Roll with the times: U.S. company takes the cardboard strengthening roll OUT of toilet paper for first time in a century in move to cut down on waste. 1409126948532_wps_1_Tubeless_toilet_roll_ScotIt has been almost 125 years since a cardboard tube was first inserted into a roll of toilet paper. But now engineers at an American company have decided to remove it and replace the tube with – nothing, in an attempt to cut down on waste. Kimberly-Clark Corp. says the simple step could eliminate a large chunk of 17 billion cardboard tubes thrown away each year – enough to fill the Empire State Building twice.

U.S. company takes the cardboard strengthening roll OUT of toilet paper roll…images I made my first pair of binoculars from two cardboard rolls as a 4-year-old. The end is nigh.               Yours Ayeroll with it

‘You gotta roll with it, you gotta take your time’ You Tube…  ;-)

Priceless Joe Biden strikes again

Gaffe-tastic Joe Biden thinks ‘Africa’ is a country, not a continent!article-2717393-2049362100000578-732_634x426 Gaffe #4,281: US Vice President Joe Biden told the US-Africa Business Forum on Tuesday that the ‘Nation’ of Africa should be among the world’s great economic powers… Vice President Joe Biden wants everyone to know that he has high hopes for the ‘Nation’ of Africa. Biden isn’t just a walking gaffe machine – he’s a walking gaffe top-ten list. So when he goofed at Tuesday’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum, and there was no F-bomb involved, it didn’t make headlines.   < < < ‘plink’ > > > The sound of a pin dropping…article-2717393-204A120D00000578-152_634x380 Not impressed: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sits with (from right to left) Djbouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and other African leaders during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington images

But gaffe he did, in front of 50 world leaders and their entourages at the event held on the sidelines of President Barack Obama’s U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit. “If Africa’s governance and institutions can put its people in a position commensurate with their possibilities, the sky is the limit,” the V.P said Tuesday. “I mean, it is limitless.”​ “There’s no reason the Nation of Africa cannot and should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations in the near term, in the decades ahead. There is simply no reason. Joe Biden thinks ‘Africa’ is a country, not a continent!

For any 5-year-olds reading this; Africa is a ‘Continent’ made up of 54 separate ‘Countries’ that includes island ‘Nations’ off its coastlines. Keep them coming Joe…      Yours Aye.

Head down, chest out, and charge…

DSC_0017This mornings early hedgerow walk with Nipper resulted in numerous lumps and bumps around his eyes, snout, muzzle, and chest, that have since stopped irritating thanks to a solution of ‘Anthisan’ wash and cream. The lumpy rash being the grand result of stinging nettles brought about from his constant rabbit hole foraging.

He is totally fearless when it comes to the chase, each of which results in failure, as it’s the chase that matters, not the capture. Although he returns upon command I fear he will attempt a crack at the rabbits that use their escape route through the wild rose patch, the thorns of which are true wait-a-while’s. (You will ‘wait a while’ until someone cuts you free!)wait awhile thorns

Drastic times call for drastic measures… Personally I would never dress my Staffie’s up for show though each have their own black harness that obviously is a practical piece of kit for the great outdoors. Last summer in broad daylight I saw a ‘French Poodle’ being walked through a park in York. Unbelievably the owner and the dog were wearing matching coloured outfits, the dog was dressed in a purple tutu, while the owner wore a purple T-shirt, and matching skinny jeans. It being a French Poodle the sight didn’t take me by surprise, some things are meant to be?  ;-)  Boxer model shown belowDoggles-Dog-Goggles-1I have since spent over an hour trawling the w.w.w. perusing various items that may well save Nipper from himself. My solution to Nipper’s harrying tactics may prove comical, but it could prove practical in the long run. It is with a heavy heart that I place the order…. Yours Aye.

Royal Air Force humanity and splendour

Images which lay bare the humanity and splendour of the Royal Air Force. Members of the public can for the first time vote for their favourite image representing Britain’s Royal Air Force. Air force chiefs are inviting people to decide which picture from the RAF Photographic Competition captures the essence of the service.1407173286172_wps_25_Undated_MoD_handout_photo‘Warming Up for D-Day': The photograph was taken as this newly painted BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) Spitfire was returning from its maiden flight in D-Day colours.1407173573515_wps_33_Undated_MoD_handout_photo 

Each year stunning photographs of servicemen and women are published following the annual competition, which is judged by leading figures in the photographic industry. But this year, in a first for the Armed Forces, the public can have their say by voting in an online poll.

Judges have selected a shortlist of nine images from among the various categories of the competition, which admits entries from military and civilian photographers working in public relations for the RAF.  ‘A breath of fresh air’1407173518629_wps_32_Undated_MoD_handout_photo‘Shark Attack': An RAF Typhoon appears like a shark… Images which lay bare the humanity and splendour of the RAF: Public to decide which best captures the essence of the service                Voting is online at

Call me old-fashioned if you will; but, if I want a delicate tune knocked out I’ll call upon a Real Military Band, which follows that if I require ‘fast jet-close air support’ from a service that offers the same I would wish to see a Typhoon over my shoulder. Due to impending Government cut backs I will settle for a Spitfire. Sod the humanity and splendour, I’ll go for killing capability, and proven historic ability each and every time…      Yours Aye.     

N.B. RAF brylcreem boys are a sweet-scented delicate lot, so as not to hurt their feelings I have deliberately played down the tempo of this post, and not referred to them by their known military nickname ;-)

Flush with success!

Ex Bootneck’s back! Apologies for the lack of new material over the past five days, which has been down to a blockage. Not a mental blockage, but one relating to a partial collapse in the main Edwardian-era sewer pit that collects the ‘essence’ from my property.

Allow me to enlighten you. After returning from a very early morning walk to beat the heat, it soon became apparent that the heads, sinks and bathroom in my humble abode were malfunctioning. ‘Not a problem’ thought I. ‘Out with the old bamboo clearing rods, followed by a good long shower, and a hearty Sunday breakfast.’ After 2 hours of ‘rodding’ and cursing, my planned chill out Sunday turned into a mid-summer nightmare… I was facing the blockage from HELL!

To find the brick sewer tank required clearing a dense 6ft high – 20ft x 16ft rectangle patch of wild rose. To get to the concrete lintel covers beneath the patch required digging out 2ft of earth that was thick with roots; followed by a 2ft deep x 40ft extended trench dig that covered the pot drainpipes leading towards my humble abode, where upon I found yet another feed drain that took its source from the main drain alongside the garage. Without going into the gory details, I have spent the last five days toiling in the heat of 84’F, wearing thick industrial waders, stood waist deep in a sewer pit originally built by Irish navvies, one of whom left his name scrawled in concrete for posterity. If you are looking in ‘Niall – 1911′ then you are indeed a lucky man to have lived so long!

Nature in the form of wild rose ‘bush-roots’ defeated the navvies amazing engineering feat, by slowly forcing and lifting several concrete lintels each weighing 168 lbs to gain entry into the moist tank; prising a single brick into the tank blocking an exit hole for good measure. For the past few years the liquid essence has belonged to the rose-bush, which has used its nourishing source to grow and flourish like no other plant around. At least I was blessed with the scent of wild roses, as I shovelled and cut out the root system from within the depths of the cake and liquid hell. Where are the bloody Royal Engineers or SeaBee’s when you need them… ;-)

Upon completion this lunchtime, I have now re-named the property’s drainage system on the house plans as follows; (Drain 1) ‘Tony Blair Drain.’ (Drain 2) ‘Gordon Brown Drain,’ (Edwardian sewer pit) ‘Socialist Labour Party.’ (Hand made, hand laid, sewer pipes feeding the system) ‘European Union,’ which I feel is justly deserved because of what runs through it!

As a young Marine without a care in the world; I was ‘always in the s**t, it was only the depth that varied!’      Yours Aye.