Only in Ireland…

article-3166552-2AA8099900000578-230_636x447Barry Henderson was handed the letter by wife Roisin (inset right, together) after the local postman in the village of Buncrana, Donegal, thought the description, albeit limited, matched her husband. The letter sent to Barry was addressed: ‘Your man Henderson that boy with the glasses who is doing the PHD up there at Queen’s in Belfast’.

Only in Ireland…! I went through training with an Irish lad from Belfast, who received his first letter from home that finished with; “If you don’t receive this letter because I’ve gotten the wrong address, could you write and let me know, as your sister and brother wants to write too?”  Yours_Aye.

“How to Swear Like a Brit.”

IMG_0396-copyAbsolutely safe For Work!: The British, as we all know, are adorable. They have those cute double-decker buses. They have like a thousand accents, all of them either charming or silly. And they have some of the quaintest swear words we’ve ever heard.

To hardened American ears, something like “bloody hell!” doesn’t really raise any eyebrows. But it should, as it is the most filthy outrageous language! Let’s learn how to use it properly, as well as learning the history of some common British swear words – in “How to Swear Like a Brit.”       Yours Aye.

Sporting Gentlemen taking the ‘pith’

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“Oh I say – just look up there – good lord, what is it?” 

“A chap just back from dear old Blighty told me it’s an Amazon Drone – apparently if you shoot it down you win the prize beneath it!”

“Good grief – really?  What absolutely spiffing fun!”

“Well you spotted it first old bean – so you’re entitled to the first shot.”

“That’s awfully decent of you old chap – awfully decent indeed.”

It’s the best I could do, whilst hanging around for a FaceTime conference with someone in Hong Kong; at 0-crack-sparrow-fart in the morning…       Yours Aye.

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.’
[whistling]
Always look on the light side of life.
[whistling]
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.
And…
Always look on the bright side of life.
[whistling]
Always look on the right side of life,
[whistling]
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.
So,…
Always look on the bright side of death,
[whistling]
Just before you draw your terminal breath.
[whistling]
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.
And…
Always look on the bright side of life.
[whistling]

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