Saturday, 30 April 2011

Wedding Pictures

I see that some official pictures have been released from the wedding.  The reporter on BBC helpfully described the pictures for us as we viewed them.

On one of them telling us - 'the Windsors are on the left and the Middletons are on the right'.

Thanks for clearing that up Nicholas, for a moment there I had thought that Carole Middleton was Queen of England!

Friday, 29 April 2011


I see William went for a bit of a walkabout in the Mall the night before the wedding. I think he just went out to ask people to keep the noise down because the Queen was trying to watch Emmerdale , but it was a nice touch. And goodness knows I am no fan of Camilla’s but even she popped out for five minutes for a chat. It was quite instructive that Charles was nowhere to be seen. It never occurred to him to do such a thing, but then he didn’t do it the night before he got married (the first time) either. Some things never change.

And talking of Walkabouts, the Queen went for an impromptu walkabout when a footman caught her thumb in the door as he slammed it shut just after arriving back at Buckingham Palace!

Celebrity Royal Review

Royal special as the only celebrities in town this week are William and Catherine:
  • Camilla had her hair dyed and trimmed on Wednesday;
  • on Thursday Camilla let the seams out of the dress she wore when she married Charles (she has put on a couple of pounds), she thought she might wear it with a yellow scarf she borrowed off Princess Anne to give it new life and no one would notice;
  • Camilla looked out an old donkey jacket to put over her shoulders as it looked like it might be a bit cold on the balcony in the afternoon;
  • the Queen suddenly realised in a panic that the windows at Buckingham Palace hadn't been done in ages and the window cleaner wasn't due until next Wednesday;
  • Charles and Kate's sister Pippa argued over who should do the catering, Pippa won and now there will be ice creams and bacon sandwiches on the night;
  • the Queen wondered if Sainsbury's was doing a '3 for 2' on pineapple chunks so she could make the fruit salad go further;
  • there was no truth to the rumour that the 'Boogaloo Disco' had been booked for the evening;
  • William and Catherine said they wanted the 'evening do' to have a nightclub atmosphere, which means Harry will be in the gutter outside Clarence House at 5 am on Saturday morning;
  • Harry was told he had to wear a uniform to the wedding, but he couldn't come as a German storm trooper;
  • the Queen was furious because she forgot to Sky Plus Cash in the Attic;
  • Charles got a smack off Camilla every time he said 'eeeh I remember when I came here to get married';
  •  the Queen loaned Catherine a tiara, but said she wanted it straight back after the reception 'cause she needed it for a do on Saturday night (see earlier blog for advice on wearing a tiara);
  • the Queen asked Cameron if he knew what won the 12:30 at Kempton;
  • Beatrice and Eugene were told they could come, but they couldn't wear stupid hats;
  • The Countess of Wessex was allowed to come, but only if she promised not to talk to any Arab sheiks;
  • Fergie was allowed to come, but only if she stood at the back - she said if there wasn't any money in it she wouldn't bother, but thanks anyway;
  • Philip was allowed to come, but only if he didn't speak to anyone;
  • Andrew was allowed to come but only if he kept off the drink and away from the Maid of Honour;
  • Edward was allowed to come but only if he agreed not to be boring;
  • Anne was allowed to come - but only if she didn't wear that dress that looked like an air hostess uniform that she wore on Easter Sunday;
  • Sir Elton wasn't sure if he would be able to go as he couldn't get a babysitter;
  • Tara got a new hat and a new nose;

And although no one was saying it - we were all thinking it - last time there was a wedding as big as this - it was Diana …

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wedding Bits ...

A number of protests had been planned for the day of the wedding, one particular group decided to cancel their protest after some robust heckling from two dozen little old ladies, as they feared for their safety.

David Cameron revealed that he has given the couple a book of pictures of Anglesey.  I have nothing against Anglesey, but David, don’t you think they have had enough excitement for one day!

Blair and Brown weren't invited to the wedding because they don't have garters.  Tony Blair said it wasn't an issue and Gordon Brown said 'what wedding'?  
And I see the Syrian ambassador has been taken off the invite list - that means there is a spare place.  Well I have the day off tomorrow and I'm not doing much …

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wedding Watch

As royal wedding excitement approaches fever pitch, London is swapped with media from all over the world. This morning we were treated to pictures and an interview with the first 'royal fan' to be spotted camped outside Westminster Abbey in preparation for the big day.

The 'royal fan' or 'filthy old tramp' as he is normally known has been there since Monday as he was determined to get a good seat.

Don't know how to break it to you matey - but on Friday thousands will arrive from nowhere and trample all over you, and you will be lucky to see anything!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Apparently 60 known trouble makers have been banned from London on the day of the royal wedding.

There is no truth in the rumour that Sarah Ferguson is one of them!

Monday, 25 April 2011

The Boulevard

Had a bit of a night out on Sunday - what with it being the holidays. It was an early start (7 o’clock) so it was a bit of a shock to the system. Your blogger normally only goes out much later - when it is darker. But on this occasion my good friends had invited me out to join them at The Boulevard. So with a show to see an early start it was.

First up - the Laughing Donkey. Thought it would be quiet, but as it was Easter Sunday it was quite full and a cabaret (of sorts) was in full progress.

The star turn was Greta La More - which was a bit of a surprise as she must be over 120 - she was 90 in 1977 when I saw her for the first time, so god knows how old she is now.

I wasn’t too sure it was her at first as I haven‘t seen her for many years, but I recognised the act so I knew it was her.

The bar staff were all in holiday mood, wearing beach wear behind the bar. I’m not being funny, but if you are going to wear skimpy tops, you really should get a spray tan first. But it was a hot sunny evening so they just about got away with it.

But no time to linger, this was my first time at Newcastle’s newest venue and didn‘t want to miss any of it. Plus it was £4 in and I‘m not made of money.

How to describe the Boulevard … think Burlesque meets … I’m not sure really. But if you have ever been to Funny Girls in Blackpool, think along those lines and you won’t be far wrong. Especially as it stars the lovely Betty Legs Diamond (two Royal variety Performances). Still high kicking as she settles into her 60s. Actually I’m not sure how old she is, but it has to be said she puts on a good, professional show.

Won’t spoil it by telling you the act, but think show tunes and boy dancers and you get the picture, (and I think there was even a real girl in there somewhere). A good time was had by all - especially my friends who can put away a few drinks it has to be said.

The result being, your blogger has had a quiet ‘at home day’ today and I am not receiving callers for the rest of the day. 

And I've been singing this song all day!

Bette Davis Eyes

Bit of a repost - no reason other than  its a holiday and its my blog and I can do what I like. :-)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Celebrity Review

What you might have missed in celebrity world this week:
  • Rav (Crime watch) got quite cross with Chantelle at a picnic in the park - apparently he just found out she wasn’t famous for anything. Were you in the vicinity when this happened? Did you see any thing you think cold help us establish what happened? …then ring this number;
  • Kate (Moss not Middleton) isn’t going to Lily’s wedding - if you don’t already have your invitation to this one - you are not going;
  • Nigella wore rather a lot to have a swim in the sea;
  • the vile Osbourne said she was too obsessed with herself to notice she owed $1.7 million in tax - Osbourne 'self-obsessed'? Surely not;
  • Shane joined Geordie Joe without a contract with Simon;
  • Kate (Middleton not Moss) got a new coat with arms in it;
  • Russell was Arthur in America - but America said he wasn't very funny;
  • Russell talked to Piers with a new hairdo (shorter and dyed) (Russell had the new hairdo not Piers);
  • Pete said he was happy now he didn't have a girlfriend and Katie said she was happy now that she had a boyfriend; Alex was nowhere to be seen;
  • Dannii wore a blue dress;
  • Stuart Baggs was on the beach without a shirt on - please put the shirt back on Baggsie;
  • Flavia isn’t with Matt anymore - Flavia is with Jimi (Mistry not Tarbuck) - but Flavia is still dancing with Vincent;
  • the King of Cambodia isn’t going to the royal wedding - I didn’t know Cambodia had a king?;
  • Una and Rochelle looked glamorous on a night out - who are Una and Rochelle? Come on keep up!;
  • Nicole wore a short top;
  • Fergie wore a very short dress and some shoes (its ok it was Black Eye Beans Fergie not the ratbag one);
  • Adrian’s days at GM Daybreak TV could be numbered;


    As royal wedding hysteria mounts there was a bit of an item on the news.  Apparently the wedding is generating much needed income for the British economy. 

    This analysis was supported by an interview with a breathless young lady on the streets of London.  'Oh yes it is so exciting and I have bought things for all my friends' she confirmed.  'I have bought some thimbles and pencils' she enthused.

    Well that should put a big dent in the deficit!


    With a day off I have a great opportunity to watch the lovely GM Daybreak TV. It was packed full of useful information I didn’t know.

    First up was a foreign ‘property expert’ (it is the property that is foreign not the expert) she was so excited about knowing lots of things about property abroad she just couldn’t wait to tell us all about it. Apparently some people in the UK own property abroad and lots of those people own property in Spain. Fascinating - who would have thought it?

    Next we had a property expert based in this country (I was beginning to sense a theme) and he told us a quick and easy way to have more space without moving house is to take some of the furniture out of your rooms. Brilliant!

    Moving on to an interiors expert (who looked about 12) and he shared a top tip with us - “if you have an old book case, why not paint it with some matt white paint”. (Because it will look cheap and nasty is why not!)

    I feel so more informed after watching this programme!

    Good Friday

    Well here we are at another Good Friday.

    I like to keep well away from religion in this blog (there is no easier way to upset people) and since I have no affiliation in any direction there would be little point, but I have to comment on something I witnessed on GM Daybreak TV this morning.

    You may or may not be familiar with Good Friday, but it is the commemoration of the torture and execution of Jesus. So I was a little surprised to see some bimbo on GM Daybreak TV introduce her show with a beaming smile and saying ‘Happy Good Friday’! Do any of these people know what they are saying?

    Thursday, 21 April 2011


    The Queen and Prince Philip met with Kate's parents for lunch this week to discuss the wedding. The Queen said she was happy to help out a bit with the cost and said she would pay for the cars and the cake.

    Also as a surprise she said she was going to pay for a two week package holiday for the couple in Jordan. She said she had offered to put them up for a fortnight in Balmoral but William had said he didn't fancy it. The Queen was a bit put out as she said if they had gone for it, it would have saved her getting someone in to water her plants!


    Bit of a shock at my hotel this week - they seem to have changed the supplier of their muesli. I thought it looked a bit different - but in a good way so at first I was quite excited.
    But then disaster - I found it contained dry banana bits. Now I have nothing against bananas, in many ways they are a pleasant foodstuff (please note I am not getting into the argument of calling a banana a fruit) but I really don't like dried banana.

    On my quest for the perfect muesli I have eliminated all that contain dried banana. I must admit that there are one or two varieties I do like that contain banana, but in these instances I have to remove all the banana.

    I did think of asking the lady if she would take the banana out for me but resisted, I thought this might have made me look a bit fussy.

    So your blogger braved the banana bits - but what to do next week if they haven't gone back to their old supplier!


    Bit of a rumpus in the press this week about iPhones and how they can keep track and record everywhere you go. The report goes on to say that the information will be copied to your computer whenever the two are sycnchronised, meaning a partner (or anyone else for that matter) will be able to see everywhere you have been.

    The report is not quite accurate - as far as I can tell, the iPhone cannot record\disclose information on where you have been if you don't take the phone with you!

    Queen's Birthday

    It is the Queen's birthday today, happy 85th pet.

    Apparently there is to be a 21 gun salute in her honour later today. There is no truth in the rumour that Charles has planned it as a surprise - to go off behind her when she is coming back from the bar with a tray of drinks.


    Someone has just said I’m not effervescent. Flaming cheek!

    What does effervescent mean …?

    Wednesday, 20 April 2011

    Eggs and Flags

    GM Daybreak TV had a ground breaking item on this morning about Easter eggs. Apparently after lots of research they have discovered that Easter eggs come in big boxes and the eggs only have a little bit of chocolate to them. Their investigations continued and they discovered that if you bought a bar of chocolate instead of an egg, you would get a lot more chocolate for your money. Thanks for that.

    And while on the subject of GM Daybreak TV I noticed they were commenting on how lovely Regent Street looked - decorated as it is by lots of Union Jacks!

    Despite apparent evidence to the contrary, there are no Union Jacks in Regent Street - there are however lots of Union Flags.

    Tuesday, 19 April 2011

    Dear David - Poundshops

    I thought I might share with you a recent item from my postbag (note 'postbag' not mailbag - that being an Americanism).

    My reader asks:

    In these times of widespread financial hardship, is it now ok to shop in Poundland and other such shops?

    An interesting question for your blogger and a bit of a challenge as I have never been in a Poundland shop.  All things considered, if a shop sells what you want for £1 then I see no reason why you shouldn't go in and buy it. But you might want to follow my top tips for shopping in Pound stores:

    • There are various types of Pound shops 'Poundstretcher' etc and there is a 'pecking order' with I think Poundland at the top, so if you wish to go to these shops - make sure you shop at Poundland;
    • If you feel a little nervous about going in these shops, try altering your look before you leave the house, maybe wear a large hat and glasses, wear a moustache (this one for gentlemen only - ladies if you try this one you may attract attention rather than deflect it). Don't wear a balaclava or you may be mistaken for a robber - unless your balaclava has pixies on it and then you should be fine;
    • Once in the store, stand in the middle of the sales floor and wait for an assistant to take your order. These stores are not generally hot on customer service so sales staff might be unwilling to give you a personal service, but if you stand in the middle of the floor looking imperious for long enough, they will give in and ask what they can get you;
    • When being served, ask the price of everything. The answer will always be '£1'. You then say 'oohh that's a bargain I will have two'. Then ask the price of the next thing you like the look of. And repeat your answer. This will annoy the sales assistant but will add to the overall enjoyment of your shopping experience;
    • Go at lunchtime - the store will be busy and no one will notice you;
    • Go first thing in the morning when it is empty - there will be no one there to see you in the shop;
    • Ask to have your purchases delivered to your home - they do not do home deliveries, but it is fun to ask.

    Sunday, 17 April 2011


    Prince Charles has come in for a bit of criticism from the palace as he holidays in Scotland with Camilla - just days before the royal wedding. They are staying at Birkhall, which I think their nan left him when she died.

    I’m not sure what all the fuss is about - was he supposed to be sorting the cars or something?

    Anyway I can’t see any harm in Charles spending the last few days before his son’s wedding with Camilla - after all that is what he did in the last days before he married Diana!

    Saturday, 16 April 2011

    Royal Wedding

    As we get ever closer, TV commentators are getting so excited - if some of them don't calm down, they will burst.  Saw one this morning on 24 News, some editor of Now magazine, she breathlessly described the wedding next week as the 'wedding of the century'.

    I don't think so pet; the century is only eleven years old, there are unborn generations that might lay claim to that title. So have a lie down in a darkened room and get a grip!


    Popped into Sainsbury’s this morning and thought I might get an Easter treat. Had a bit of a look at the cakes and things and spotted an Easter chocolate log. This is outrageous. When did we start having chocolate logs for Easter; they are for Christmas, everyone knows that!

    Friday, 15 April 2011

    Celebrity Week

    A look at this week's celebrities:
    • Katie realised she couldn't run the London marathon because she had hurt her knee;
    • Katie hurt her knee just before last year's marathon and couldn't run it then either. I think Katie shouldn't scrub her front doorstep in the weeks leading up to the London marathon in future;
    • Wayne's lady friend (not Colleen) has been spending some time with a world famous leading actor who can't be named (allegedly bets are being taken on it being Jude Law or Hugh Grant);
    • James Alexandrou (ex-EastEnders) has been in a field;
    • Cheryl quit UK X Factor to make her fame and fortune in the US, Nicole wasn't bothered;
    • Jedward made £2.85 million last year and each bought a £250,000 car;
    • Jedward took their first driving lesson this week and their driving instructor wishes they hadn't;
    • Geordie Joe didn’t get his contract renewed;
    • Catherine went to Wales because she was depressed - not sure that will help;
    • Holly Willoghbooby had a baby;
    • Brian McFadden is slowly getting over his split from his Australian wife with a night out with Callum Best, a swimsuit model and a former Miss World - I think they went to the National Gallery;
    • Sam and Chloe are an item - even though it is only five minutes since Sam and Brianne were an item;
    • Bucks Fizz were on stage again dancing that dance 30 years after they first did it - it wasn‘t quite the same somehow;

    Royal Wedding

    As indifference to the royal wedding mounts, I see they have announced timings for the various events of the day.  William arrives at the abbey at 10:15 and things go on right through lunch time and into the afternoon.  I suppose this means they will take Bargain Hunt off on Friday!

    Thursday, 14 April 2011


    Bit of excitement in the Leeds office with the installation of an extractor fan. This might not seem an unusual event, but it counts as excitement in the Leeds office.

    The fan is the size of a toaster but makes the noise equivalent of a jumbo jet. It also appears to be on an internal wall so I think the 'extracted fumes' are going into the room next door!

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011

    Double-breasted Jackets

    There is a dreadful rumour going around that the double-breasted jacket is making a come back. This awful garment has traditionally been the preserve of over weight drunken politicians, caught on camera falling out of night clubs in the early hours with some floozy after late night sittings in Parliament (the MP having a late night sitting in Parliament not the floozy). But the news is - the double-breasted jacked is coming back.

    Well not in this house it isn't.
    If you feel inclined to try this fashion faux-pas then follow these tips to make the best of it:
    • David Beckham will be able to carry off this look, you can be assured that when he wears it, the jacket will be slim fitting and accentuate his body shape, be aware that the jacket you will find in your local high street store is unlikely to be fitted and contain at least three metres of material making you look twice your actual size;
    • Prince Charles has favoured this look for, well always (I am sure I have seen him in a photograph as a three year old child wearing a double-breasted jacket), so he has been able to prefect a way of carrying it off. If you look closely his double-breasted jackets are all made of a very thin material (he doesn't have to stand outside of Lewis's in the wind and rain waiting for a bus) so he is able to avoid the 'excess material' problem; (also I suspect all his suits once belonged to Edward VIII). Charles has also perfected the double-breasted jacket with one hand in the pocket as you walk look - this is very advanced couture so please don't try this at home;
    • The jacket must remained fastened (all buttons - the 'sometimes, always, never' rule does not apply to double-breasted jackets) at all times (well apart from when you are taking it off), this includes when you sit down;
    • Don't sit down when wearing a double-breasted jacket; (if you wonder why you shouldn't - sit down and have a look at yourself in a full length mirror)
    Have fun with your new look - but be aware if you get it wrong you will look like Al Capone!

    Tuesday, 12 April 2011


    I am sometimes asked for advice on matters of fashion and as regular readers know, I am more than happy to give advice and guidance on such matters.

    A recent request has made me slightly lost for words, but I will always try to help where I can. What can have caused such a dilemma? Well my view was sought on the subject of men’s plunging necklines. Whatever next!

    You may or may not be familiar with this recent phenomenon, it is a look that has been popularised by reality singing contest participants, the likes of JLS, One Direction, Danyl Johnson and many more have done much to promote this look.

    There has been a lot of controversy in the fashion press and much talk about how the look should be abandoned, however it has to be said that most of the noise has come from women not men! Why this should be I have no idea, plunging necklines have been de rigueur for women for … well for always. So perhaps what is sauce or the gander is sauce for the goose!

    So you should understand that this look could subject you to an amount of critical comment, even abuse, (catcalls of “look at you with your plunging neckline” and possibly worse) may come your way. But having decided you can cope with such negative comments then here are my top tips to help you carry off this adventurous look:
    • Having decided you are going to bare some flesh make sure your skin is in tip top condition, use a good skin exfoliator to tone and give your skin a healthy glow;
    • If you are blessed (or cursed, depending on your preference) with chest hair, make a critical assessment - if you have grey hair, you are probably too old for this look, consider an alternative approach, if you are excessively hairy (think grizzly adams), then a plunging neckline is not for you;
    • As with bare ankles, no one wants to see your pasty skin, so use a good self tan to give yourself that ‘just back from holiday look’;
    • If you have a spot on your neck, shoulders or chest, seek medical advice immediately;
    • Your garment should be tight across your shoulders and chest - for daytime wear the lower part of the garment should be loose, for evening wear consider a tighter all over fit;
    • Think carefully before mixing this look with bare ankles - you could look rather louche.
    Embrace the look and enjoy!

    Monday, 11 April 2011


    If you are tired of your trainers, canvas shoes etc looking flat or creased when you wear them, try this simple fashion tip.

    Buy your 'soft top' shoes a size too small. This will make you arch your toes and create a bridge in your foot. This will stretch the top of your shoes and give an 'even rounded' appearance for the casual observer.

    Warning - only follow this tip if you are absolutely mad or from Essex.

    Saturday, 9 April 2011

    Friday, 8 April 2011

    Celebrity Week

    What you might have missed in the land of celebrity this week:

    • Sam and David had a mini break in Malaga as it was Sam's 40th birthday - David wore a boring navy blue top and boring navy blue trousers. Sam wore a couple of dresses but looked very pale. Sam should have had an all over spray tan before she wore the dresses that made her look very pale;
    • Peter pushed his daughter in her pram in the park, a blond young female dared to walk past as Peter was pushing his daughter in her pram in the park, this was sufficient provocation for the Daily Mail to re-hash all the old Peter stories;
    • Peter wore a thick ribbed grey jumper which made his arms look long and skinny. Peter has long and skinny arms;
    • Katie cut short her stay in Argentina due to work commitments, missing out on a chance to meet Leanrdro's parents - apparently she needed to write three auto biographies by the weekend;
    • Pete and Elen split up - after denying they were together they are now denying they have split up (it’s a funny world - celebrity world!);
    • Craig went for a run without his shirt on;
    • Mark was in Miami looking at ladies on the beach, he didn't have a shirt on either;
    • Frankie wore some gladiator shorts (technically speaking gladiators didn’t wear shorts);
    • Nicole isn’t holding her breath any longer - she is confirmed the new face of X Factor US - lets be honest she was so much better than Cheryl when she did ours;
    • There were rumours that Dan was only going out with Kerry to further his ’career’ - your kidding right (oh and you read I there first);
    • Heffner newly married at 84, was unworried about his 24 year old bride only being interested in his money; (there were unofficial rumours that his new bride was seen buying a bag of balloons and a box of pins);
    • Hannah is with child - only a year after leaving Ricky;
    • Russell wasn’t very funny in the US, but then he isn’t very funny over here either:

    Trannie Day

    I see it was trannie day at Aintree today
    or national 'I don't own a full length mirror day' as it is sometimes known!

    Thursday, 7 April 2011

    Grand National

    Bit of excitement in the office with the chance to buy a ticket in the sweep for the Grand National.

    This was my chance to spend £1 to win nothing - how could I resist!

    But there was a bit of controversy when I asked my colleague which horse he had. He said the name (something unpronounceable) and continued by saying 'it was an Irish horse'.

    Now regular readers will know I am not one to pick people up on minor infractions of language or meaning - but I had to point out that the horse was not Irish. Horses do not have nationalities - they are horses. His particular horse may have been born and raised and lives in Ireland - that however does not make it an Irish horse. It is a horse.

    The horse does not have an Irish accent, it does not follow the Irish cricket team (if there is such a thing) nor does it celebrate St Patrick's Day. It is a horse.

    Right Said Fred

    I see Right Said Fred were on GM Daybreak TV this morning.  They were publicising their tour (I didn't know they had enough tunes for a tour). As well as singing a bit of a one of them (actually quite a lot of it), they told us that at the concert they were going to invite audience participation.

    I think the audience participation bit is explained by the lack of tunes to sing, but anyway the participation is that you can ask Right Said Fred any question you want.

    What an opportunity!  To ask a question you have wanted to know the answer to for 20 years!

    What would I ask ….

    … err no, sorry can't think of anything.

    Wednesday, 6 April 2011

    Breakfast at The Mint

    .. and so to breakfast.

    Breakfast is served from 06:30 which is great as some hotels only start serving at 07:00 or if you are at The Metropole, they start thinking about serving breakfast at some point after 07:00.

    I was met by a charming young lady, although she was quite determined that I would sit in a seat of her choosing and not mine. They follow the same process as The Queens - where they escort you to your allocated table leaving one table space from your nearest neighbour. (I do however have an arrangement at The Queens whereby if they don't bother me while I go to my preferred table (around the corner away from the riff raff (sorry 'other hotel guests' as they prefer to be called)), I won't bother them by asking for things like tea or toast).

    Anyway I digress, I was marched to my allotted table - it was a coincidence but it is the one I would probably have selected anyway - in the corner next to the full size window over looking the canal.

    As I only have cereal\museli in the morning I didn’t require the cooked breakfast, but she did send over a waiter anyway. It is waiter service for cooked breakfasts at The Mint.

    The buffet selection looked quite acceptable, although as I say I only had the museli. There was however one major issue ...

    I don't use white sugar, so for my museli I use brown sugar. I could however only see one sugar shaker and it contained white sugar. This is not unusual. Most hotels only provide white sugar at the cereal bar. I have therefore become used to opening those little sachets of brown sugar to get my required allocation of sugar. (Please see the end of this post for a useful digest on brown sugar availability in Leeds hotels). I returned to my table and sought out the sugar bowl, only to discover the issue - the brown sugar was in lumps. Not having a rolling pin to hand I had to resort to white sugar!

    Brown Sugar in Leeds Hotels

    The Metropole - white and brown sugar lumps mixed together in a bowl on your table
    The Radisson - individually wrapped pyramid shaped sachets containing free flowing fine granule brown sugar of generous proportions 

    The Queens - brown sugar container (uncovered) as part of a 'cake stand' of other accessories (hazelnuts etc) plus dedicated teaspoon
    The Park Plaza - no idea, the experience of my visit to that bug hutch has been wiped from my memory
    The Mint - white and brown sugar lumps mixed together in a bowl on your table

    The Mint Hotel

    Regular readers will know I spend an amount of my working week in hotels.  My hotel of choice in Leeds is The Queens, on occasion it is not available.  Although a disappointment when this happens, it does give me the opportunity to try other hotels in the location.

    This week I had the chance to try The Mint.

    The Mint is the newly re-branded City Inn.  I recall seeing it being built a couple of years ago when I first started working in Leeds, so I was quite looking forward to trying it for the first time. 

    The hotel is situated near the station (as its publicity states) but what it doesn't tell you it can be a little difficult to find, being located in the newly refurbished Granary quarter, behind the Hilton, over a little bridge next to a canal.  Still once you know where it is, it is easy to find. Not sure how you would get on if you were driving as I couldn't see any car parking facilities - still not my problem.

    Approaching the hotel is quite pleasant, although I spotted a bit of an issue as you approach the main entrance.  In front of the entrance and blocking your way is a clipped tree in a tin bucket. There are many more of these items surrounding the hotel as arboreal decoration - but this particular item is strategically placed to divert you to a side entrance.

    I am unaccustomed to using side entrance, after all if there is a main door, why not use it?  Still undaunted, and the lack of any choice - I used the side entrance. 

    Inside was rather vast and open with reception at the far end and the concierge at right angles.  There was no sign to tell you the desk was the concierge, the casual visitor might think it was a second reception. The decor is bland and I think intended to be 'contemporary'.  This means it is white and cheap to redo when it becomes tatty.

    Once inside I realised why they had blocked off the main door - opening it would create a huge through draught, so I suspect the main entrance will be closed permanently.  This is called a design fault.

    Check-in was the usual affair - although 'Shandy' (according to her name badge) who checked me in kept saying everything was not a problem, my not wanting a newspaper - was not a problem, my not needing a wake up call - was not a problem. It was reassuring that my not wanting things would n ot cause problems!

    To the lifts - oh dear - the buttons only had 'up' arrows, or 'down' arrows.  (see previous blog on standards for lift buttons). Not very reassuring but I managed to find my way to the seventh floor.  My room was situated conveniently next to the lift.  Why do they always do that? Every time I go to a hotel for the first time - my room is always next to the lifts!

    My room continued the 'contemporary' look - it was white, bereft of any decoration and rather sterile.  Not really my thing, the furnishings were functional and cheap to replace after a year or two.

    Although it must be said that the bed was very comfortable and has a selection of huge pillows - most acceptable. 

    Being on the seventh floor I had a charming view of platform 11 in Leeds station.

    I won't go into the in-room entertainment - suffice to say there is a combined TV and PC in the room, with remote control, keyboard mouse and a list of instructions as long as your arm. I am sure it is all very nice and if I could have been bothered I would have given it a go - but I limited myslef to Emmerdale and the nine o'clock news. (I know it is the ten o'clock news but after all the moving around of the news over the last few years, I refuse to be messed about any longer, so 'the nine o'clock news it shall remain - no matter what time they put it on!)

    The hotel promised free wi-fi in every room. There is not wi-fi in every room.  There is wi-fi in some parts of every room and for a few seconds at a time.  Writing this review is an experience in connection\disconnection!

    Tomorrow brings breakfast ...

    Monday, 4 April 2011

    Questions and Answers

    Have just read an email from a colleague stating that at the moment he has 'more questions than answers'. This set me thinking - are there more questions than answers? Are they not in equal numbers? So for example if there were 147 questions in the whole universe are there not 147 answers. This means that all the questions have answers and would be quite convenient. This has to be the case, otherwise it gets very complicated and a bit unruly.

    Suppose there were more answers than questions. That would mean there were answers lying around without a question attached. This would be quite untidy and lead to a situation where you might come across an answer, for example 'there are three', but with no question attached to it and you wouldn't know what there were three of!

    On the other hand if there are more questions than answers it would mean people were going around asking questions that could not be answered, that would be annoying, and a bit pointless.

    But then again, there might be more questions than answers as some answers might apply to more than one question. For example Who played the female lead in the Sound of Music? And who starred alongside Mary Tyler Moore in a film set in 1920s New York? The answer to both of these questions is the same (now don't get me wrong, I am not blaming Miss Julie Andrews for there being more questions in the universe than answers, this is just an example) so maybe there are more questions than answers. This would make my colleague's quandary even more difficult with him having fewer answers to start with!

    Wise Words

    Never tell a scullery maid she makes nice sandwiches, it will turn her head.

    Sunday, 3 April 2011


    I occasionally stray into the world of fashion for women, consider these six easy steps for immaculate grooming:
    •  For the essence of the Left Bank – head-to-toe black;
    • There is a shade of red lipstick for every woman;
    • A glorious sun hat offers class – and prevents unsightly squinting;
    • You can never go wrong with a little black dress;
    • In spring, celebrate with a floral sun dress;
    • Even a paper cup becomes elegant when clutched by an opera glove

    Friday, 1 April 2011

    Celebrity Round up

    This week's happenings in the world of Celebrity
    • Jason got some new hair; and someone won Strictly on Ice;
    • Someone who used to be on Strictly on Ice is now in coronation Street, but he looks nothing like he did when he was on Strictly on Ice;
    • Peter met a lady on holiday - but he already has a lady, so he shouldn’t have met a lady on holiday;
    • Rod says he isn’t going to have anymore children, considering he already has eight it is about time;
    • William had his stag night - don’t know where but it wasn’t at the Laughing Donkey;
    • Andrew got a medal off the Queen;
    • There were rumours about the state of Tom and Katie's marriage - more or less confirmed when they said they were the happiest they have ever been;
    • Peter went on a roller coaster with his children - you would have thought he would have had enough of that when he was married to the Price person;
    • Charlotte put a dress over her bikini at a poolside in Beverly Hills; Charlotte said she was very happy with her new man (after leaving the fabulous Gavin) she said "He’s very intelligent and he’s an amazing musician. That’s where most of the bond lies" - nothing like being full of yourself!;
    • Johnny Vegas got married in Spain - not Vegas;
    • Courtney and Josh were on holiday together in the Caribbean - David wasn't on holiday in the Caribbean;
    • Ed got caught up in all the romance and excitement of the Royal Wedding and said he might as well marry Justine - if only to shut her up;
    • Brain split up with his Australian wife - oh god does that mean he is coming back here?;
    • Katie wore some curlers on arrival at an airport in the UK and covered her head in a blanket on arrival in the US - can we swap those approaches around?
    • Susan Boyle’s hair was a mess in a strong wind, your kidding right?;
    • Mark Hamill was looking a bit rough;
    • Harry jumped in the water in the Arctic;
    • Robbie’s wife wants to go on Desperate Housewives;

    Couch Potato

    I was set an interesting question by one of my readers the other day - What is the origin to the phrase ‘couch potato’. Took a little digging (see what I did there?), but I unearthed this explanation (I’m on fire tonight!)

    Very few phrases have a birthday so precise, as couch potato. It was created on 15 July 1976 when it was uttered by Tom Iacino of Pasadena, California, during a telephone conversation.

    He was a member of a Southern California group humorously opposing the fads of exercise and healthy diet in favour of vegetating before the TV and eating junk food. As their lives cantered on television - the boob - (as it was known in the US, meaning something else over here of course) they called themselves boob tubers. Mr Iacino apparently took the next step and substituted potato as a synonym for tuber. Thinking of where that potato sits to watch the tube, he came up with couch potato.

    Or so the story goes. In any case, when the new phrase reached the ears of Robert Armstrong, another member of the boob tubers, he drew a cartoon of a potato on a couch, formed a club called the Couch Potatoes, registered the trademark and began merchandising Couch Potato paraphernalia, from T shirts to dolls. He published a newsletter called The Tuber's Voice: The Couch Potato Newsletter and a book, Dr. Spudd's Etiquette for the Couch Potato.