Thursday, September 30, 2010

Old York Road Street Party 2010

In all our years in Wandsworth we have never made it to the Old York Road street party as we have always been on holiday. Finally this year!
Saturday 24-Sep-10 12:30-19:00.

Old York Road, Wandsworth - Street Party 2010 Stage
Old York Road Street Party 2010 Stage

They closed off the road so we had traffic-free access to the event. We strolled up and down and chatted to a number of the stall holders including:Old York Road, Wandsworth - Street Party 2010 Crowd
Old York Road Street Party 2010 Crowd

Have enjoyed the sample of Sambrook's ale we went into the Alma and bought a couple of pints and a snack from Doukan. Then our friend Ian arrived and we had to have a couple more pints!

Old York Road, Wandsworth - Street Party 2010 Stilt-walker
Old York Road Street Party 2010 Stilt-walker

The Roadrunner Blues Band belted out several excellent sets. All in all an entertaining afternoon.

12.30 Roadrunner Blues Band
1.00 Official opening
1.15 Gilbert Giggles
2.15 Moroccan Music
2.45 Carnival dancer in extravagant costume
3.15 Fashion Show
3.45 Roadrunner Blues Band
3.30 National Opera Studio
4.00 Brazilian Dancers
4.30 THE RAFFLE !!!
5.30 Waiters’ Race
6.30 Roadrunner Blues Band

Monday, September 27, 2010

2gro scam - fake virus phone call

I got a scam call from 2gro at the weekend but fortunately - despite this blog's name - I was not taken in by a cold call purporting to be from a IT help desk offering to fix a virus infection and improve the performance of my PC. The guy was very evasive about what software was doing the reporting or how anonymous fault reporting would give him my phone number. Then he wanted me to grant him remote access to my machine to diagnose and fix the supposed problem. No way! I only do that to trusted people where I have initiated the call, end of conversation, goodbye scammer, *click*.

It is extraordinary the lengths scammers will go to create the illusion of credibility:
But it is all fake - smoke and mirrors. Nothing older than July 2010 even though the caller claimed they had been in business ten years. Both the office addresses are, in fact, of registration companies offering quick and cheap company formation services not real offices at all. No means of contact other than a phone number which takes you to the same call centre with the same flim-flam.

Stu Forrest's experience was exactly the same as mine:
"Received a brilliant Scam call yesterday"
"From an IT Company ( suggesting that my computer had been sending warning and error messages to them, that I should go to a PC Share website, download a viewer so that they could go into my PC and show me the warning messages and make my PC run better. Read more..."

The Telegraph article explains more how these scams work
"Virus phone scam being run from call centres in India"
Britons targeted by cold callers pretending to be from Microsoft phoning to fix a fake computer problem. Beware cold callers – especially those claiming your computer has a virus. Read more..."

This has been a public service announcement :-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend in Scotland - September 2010

Mary's uncle, Ronald, has a week's timeshare in Kendal which he trades for holidays in other timeshares. This time it was Dunkeld about 60 miles north of Edinburgh.

We flew into Edinburgh, picked up the hire car and immediately drove to North Queensferry over the Forth Road Bridge in time for last orders at the excellent The Wee Restaurant.

North Queensferry quay
North Queensferry quay

The next morning it was the full Scottish breakfast complete with black pudding and haggis. Then there was just time for a short stroll round the town to admire that marvel of engineering and Scottish icon - the Forth Rail Bridge.

Forth Rail Bridge
Forth Rail Bridge

A short drive took us to Perth where we rendezvoused with Ronald and Avril for lunch and thence to Dunkeld and the timeshare which is in the delightful grounds of the Hilton Dunkeld House hotel. En route we stopped for a quick retail therapy at the Dewer's World of Whiskey at Aberfeldy.

River Tay path
River Tay path

Sunday morning we went for a walk along the River Tay to look at Dunkeld Cathedral and the town.

River Tay sign
River Tay sign

I guess if someone threw stones at me I'd be upset too!

Dunkeld Cathedral - nave
Dunkeld Cathedral - nave

Dunkeld Cathedral - door
Dunkeld Cathedral - door

The weather was definately what the Scots call Dreich.

The Cross, Dunkeld
The Cross, Dunkeld

Lunch in town with R & A then back home - having seen a different part of Scotland and ticked off a Scottish Icon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Puglia August 2010

A week in Puglia is just not long enough. We flew out late on a Thursday and overlapped with our guests by one night. We kept as quiet as we could but they heard us and popped round to say hello. We chatted for a quite some time and drank a bottle of wine - each. The next morning I was not so sure that had been a good idea :-(

Puglia August 2010 - Ironwork and Chillies
Ironwork and Chillies

We found the curious piece of ironwork in the niche in the courtyard - we think it might have been unearthed by Michele when he rotivated the garden. Then the guests had temporarily added the chillies for a splash of colour.

Friday was pretty hectic as it was changeover day - one set of guests depart, cleaners in, two tanker loads of water, next set of guests arrive.

Puglia August 2010 - Fixing the external lights
Fixing the external lights

We used the occasion to get the electrician round to replace all the external lights. The original electrician had skimped on the quality of the first set of lights. The Allen screws had rusted solid so we couldn't change the light bulbs. So we ended up paying to have them all drilled out and replaced by decent quality fittings. I will be testing the screws every visit to prevent a recurrence.

Puglia August 2010 - Harvesting our figs
Harvesting our figs

The figs were fully ripe and we had more than we could possibly use. Mary made a couple of jars of fig jam and gave a basketful to our neighbours.

We did get in a reasonable amount of relaxing and sunbathing sometimes in the courtyard and sometimes down at the beach. Every trip we try and get down to our favourite beach-side restaurant, or "shack" as Mary describes it - La Rotonda da Rosa - for a sea food lunch and siesta on the sand.

Puglia August 2010 - Lunch at the beach
Lunch at the beach

It wasn't all relaxation, there was some maintenance work to be done: a section of the irrigation system pipework to replace and a cupboard to paint. Then it was off to Bar Fod in Cisternino where they have free Sunday lunch-time opera during August. We met up with Chris and John early enough to get a ring side seat and settled in for Pimms and culture.

Puglia August 2010 - Sunday opera with Chris and John
Sunday opera with Chris and John

The artistes did about 90 minutes of assorted arias - the mezzo-soprano certainly had a big pair of lungs! That was followed by a long leisurely lunch at Osteria Sant'Anna with their superb anti-pasti. Mary kindly drove us home for a snooze and some relaxing followed by a quiet evening of pasta and red wine.

Puglia August 2010 - Opera singers at Bar Fod, Cisternino
Opera singers at Bar Fod, Cisternino

Our last day was spent on the beach and we were planning a simple supper at home when we got a call from Carol and Mino. They have a small apartment down on the coast at San Vito dei Normanni and wondered if we were free for supper. A professional chef asks you round for dinner - Yes, we certainly were free :-)

Puglia August 2010 - Supper at Mino and Carol's in San Vito
Supper at Mino and Carol's in San Vito

A wonderful week of pasta and red wine but the bathroom scales say it is time for diet and detox.

Full set of photos on Flickr

Trullo Azzurro logoTrullo Azzurro: beautifully restored trullo in delightful, secluded valley near Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy. Available to rent on a per week basis, sleeps 4-6. For more information visit

Sunday, September 05, 2010

4th annual "Help us drink our excess wine cellar" and BBQ

I can do no better than quote Mary's facebook status: 12 hours, 34 people, 41 bottles of wine. Think the BBQ went well!

As in previous years we co-opted (for a price) the nephew Tom to be burger flipper which left us free to mingle and chat to our guests.

bbq 2010 Jane H, Laura, Tom
Jane H, Laura, Tom

Caitlin was not sure about the paparazzi.

bbq 2010 Alan, Caitlin, Sue, Bill, John
Alan, Caitlin, Sue, Bill, John

Some of the ususal suspects.

bbq 2010 Bill, John, Kate, Andrea L, Ros
Bill, John, Kate, Andrea L, Ros

The ice cream that I spend several evenings making went down well especially the brown bread and the Brandy Alexander.

Then is was all Sunday to clear up - we gave the dishwasher a good hammering - and start packing for Italy on Tuesday...

A slightly fuller set of photos on Flickr

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Mental Jukebox

A quick review of past tweets reveals how often my mental jukebox is triggered by mental association with sights I see:

Lovely sunny day and in my head ♫ Happy and I'm smiling, walk a mile to drink your water. #fb

#cycle past hoarding "Happiness" - mental jukebox ♫ Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess. Arrgh! #fb

#cycle past Swift Couriers van - mental jukebox ♫ Shadow cloak swift as a swallow, Pantaloon down in the hollow #fb

#cycle past Medina Dairies truck - mental jukebox ♫ Funky Cold Medina #fb

#cycle home passed by a Ford Mustang and in my head ♫ It's all put together with alligator leather - marc bolan #fb

In the breakfast room we have a drawer with trays one of which contains can openers, bottle openers and various type of cork extraction devices. The next contains all manner of stoppers, vacuvin wine savers and corks.

drawer with openers and closures
Drawer with openers and closures

And every time I open it these words rattle through my head:

Who has touched and who has dabbled here in the city of shows
Openings, closings, bad repartee, everybody knows.

Lou Reed - New York Telephone Conversation