Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mamma Mia - a Haiku

Streep cheeps, Brosnan croaks
Moussaka meets classic pop
Toes tap, feel good fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Crystal Skull - a Haiku

Mr Stuffy over at Blog from the Barn has written a number of Haiku Movie Reviews. He has challenged me to do the same. Last week my sister and I went to to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Here is my review:

The Crystal Skull - a Haiku
Bad guys chase good guys
Alien MacGuffin skull
Enjoyable tosh

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kylie Minogue - In Red Latex Dress (new version)

It so happens that I am due to see Kylie at the O2 arena twice in the next couple of weeks. The second is a surprise Mary arranged for me (such a thoughtful spouse) and the first is a team outing from work for getting the "Gung Ho Team of the Year" award. They were trying for Wimbledon but that was over budget. Give my knowledge of tennis can be written on the back of postage stamp I reckon I got the long straw :-)

This reminded me that many years ago I had an excellent lodger called Neil and he was enamoured of young Kylie. Shortly after he left South Wimbledon, en route to Canada via Romford, I sat myself down to watch TOTP one Thursday evening. Who should be the guest presenter but young Kylie wearing a skin tight (is there any other sort?) red latex dress.

Quick as a flash I popped a blank VHS tape into the machine and hit the emergency record button. After the show I put the tape into a Jiffy bag and posted it off to Neil never to be seen again.

That was back in 1995. With these imminent concerts in mind I thought, what the heck let's see what YouTube has to offer. Blow me down if some thoughtful soul hasn't taken a recording of that ancient show and spliced together all the Kylie bits:

Since we are on YouTube here another Kylie clip that the boys might like:

The back story on: Kylie Minogue for Agent Provocateur

Monday, July 21, 2008

London to Paris - Training 04

It is all getting a bite serious this training lark:

Thursday, July 17, 2008: Went over to Raynes Park and picked up my new bike from Bright Cycles. I decided to go for the same as Mary, a Specialized Roubaix Comp. Spent two hours there first trying out the frame size up to make sure I was happy with the 54 cm frame.

Then it was a case of fitting all the bits and bobs - pedals, lights, lock, cyclo-computer, new helmet, gloves, shoes and socks. All the add-ins added another 30 percent on top of the cost of the bike. But hey it is my new "company vehicle" under the "Cycle to Work Scheme" so the company pays (out of pre-tax profit, we reclaim the VAT and it is a tax-free benefit).

Friday, July 18, 2008: Cycled to work and then home via Hammersmith and Barnes(!) in a figure of eight circumnavigating the London Wetland Centre. An hour and a half fast pace ride.

Saturday, July 19, 2008: Cycled to Richmond Park. As soon as we were off public highways and into the park we swapped Mary's pedals for clip-ins so she could get used to them with less danger of being run over by a truck. A circuit of the park and home. An hour and a half hilly ride.

Sunday, July 20, 2008: Cycled to Farnham for lunch with my parents. We took a more direct route than last time - 40 miles - but it still took us a lot longer than we had hoped. Those hills are the problem. Mary had the clip-ins and had three topples over. The bruises are starting to emerge nicely. A *mumble* hour long ride.

Monday, July 21, 2008: An hour down the gym with Mary's personal trainer to get a set of exercises to improve my core stability. I fear the six-pack is some way off :-(

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Primitivo from Colavecchia

We are greatly indebted to our friends and neighbours Chris and John for all their help in getting to know the area in a way we cannot, not living there full time (yet). They have helped us sign up with the local council to pay our garbage tax for refuse collection and provided much useful local knowledge.

neighbours Chris and John
Chris and John

Key amongst this vital info is the existence of the Colavecchia cantina (just past Putignano and follow signs for Gioia del Colle). They make typical local wines and keep their overheads low by not bothering with bottling the stuff. Take along your own demi-john or 10 litre container(s) and get it filled direct from the tank!

tasting the prinitivo wine
Tasting direct from the "petrol pump"

Not only is it very quaffable wine - well made, gobs of fruit and a belter of a wine at 14 % - it cost a staggering EUR 1.10 a litre!! That is GBP 0.65 (USD 0.33) per bottle. So we bought 5 litres and bottled it ourselves when we got back to Trullo Azzurro.

buying the prinitivo wine in 10 litre containers

Sunday, July 13, 2008

London to Paris - Training 03

So we have been "off air" for two weeks in Puglia. Does that mean the training has let up? Exsqueeze me!

We have a couple of cheap and cheerful bikes in Italy bought from Conforama at Fasano - the superstore formerly known as Emmezeta. Top of their range which equates approximately to the bottom of any one else's, but they do the job.

We had packed our cycling shorts, we bought ourselves a couple of cycling helmets from the local bike shop and did a number of short runs to the local towns of Locorotondo and Cisternino.

Mark and Mary stand by their bikes in Puglia
Mark and Mary stand by their bikes in Puglia

Then the training plan suggested a 2 hour run on the flat. Looking around the Murgia hills of Puglia "flat" didn't really look like an option.

So we removed the quick release front wheels, stuffed the bikes into the back of the Fiat Punto and drove down to the coast. We parked up and did a two hour round trip from Savelletri to Monopli and back followed by a seafood pasta lunch at Rosa's with half a litre of white wine, a siesta and a sunbathe.

Somehow training in England won't be quite the same.