Thursday, 30 June 2011

Homes Under the Hammer

As I am sure you know, daytime television consists of programmes about buying houses or buying antiques (when I say 'antiques' I mean 'tat' see previous blog on this subject).

This is because, apparently, the world would end if they showed a wildlife documentary or a history programme during the day.

So being prepared for such programmes I discovered 'Homes Under the Hammer''.

The concept of this programme is - two lovely presenters who enjoy presenting very much find three people who have just bought houses that are falling down at auction.  (The houses don't fall down at the auction they are already falling down when they go to auction - but you know what I mean).

The people who buy the houses that are falling down spend thousands of pounds painting them cream and laying beige carpets.

When they have finished, the lovely presenters ask local experts to value the houses now that they have been painted cream and have beige carpets.

The local experts say they are worth £50 more than the owners have paid to buy the houses and to 'do them up'.

The buyers then say "oh no", they reckon the house "is worth at least £30,000 more" than the local experts say they are worth.

Then the programme ends. And then they do it all again the next day with three more houses.

What a marvellous programme!

Books

You might know I buy lots of books.  More books each month than I can read so I usually have a bit of a backlog to get through.  Which is fine.

Started a new one which I have had for a while - a 'thriller', which is code for same old formula as all the other ones, but still I read them.

We are so far into the book when it is 'revealed' that the plot is a secret mission to find Bin Laden... Oh dear. 

I think I can save our hero a bit of time, I know exactly where he was and what is going to happen to him.

I really will have to start reading these books as soon as I get them!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Wedding

Apparently Prince Albert of Monaco's fiancee has been stopped at the airport with a one way ticket to South Africa, only days before her wedding to the Prince.

Not sure it is true, but considering the family, it might not be such a bad idea.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Dear David - Herbs

Dear David

It is impossible at the moment to buy a tub of Lurpak without the attachment of a solid plug with herb seeds in it.

I don't want to waste this opportunity to grow something but I am not comfortable with having small containers full of earth and seedlings on my windowsill.

Is it acceptable to ditch the offending item on the shelf and just take the Lurpak or should I attempt to cultivate said herbs?

I now have 6 of the blighters and am starting to panic.

David Responds

Although Lurpak is on my list of approved products, I don’t use it myself so I hadn‘t therefore hadn’t seen this particular promotion. This has given me something to investigate and to think about.

But to your question - you should not leave the herb seeds in the store, they come with your packet of Lurpak and should remain with it.

There could be an embarrassing scene at the till should an eagle eyed checkout person spot your ‘missing’ seed packet and bring the whole store to a standstill by shouting for Irene and telling all that your seed packet is missing and can she have a replacement pack please.

So in general terms I think the opportunity to grow herbs from the promotional seeds is quite acceptable and should be embraced, but I can see your dilemma as a windowsill covered in spilled soil could be quite distressing.

To keep soil and seedlings confined to your widow sill consider constructing a ‘retaining wall’ in front of your window. I suggest using your kitchen window for this purpose as it will add to the overall kitchen decoration and give it a ‘country living’ feel. It would be quite wrong to grow your herb seeds on your living room window sill, or heaven forbid a bedroom window sill.

Your retaining wall should be constructed with bricks and mortar to ensure a total seal. A dry stone wall would be nicer, but the small gaps in construction could allow small amounts of earth to escape.

You seem to have accumulated quite a few individual packs of seeds so you may have more than enough for your personal use. If this is so, then consider giving your surplus to the poor and homeless. Perhaps there is a shelter or soup kitchen in your area that will be more than happy to take your excess crop?

For more information on how to grow your herbs

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Dear David - Trousers

Dear David.

I am going on a trip to Barcelona and want to ask some advice?

1 - Is the bum bag still a thing of high fashion as well as a mighty handy accompaniment?

2 - Do they still make Farrah trousers with a "Pork Pie" pocket?

David Responds

You don’t give your age, but as your questions states ‘still a thing of high fashion’ I suspect you are over 40.

For those unfamiliar with the ‘bum bag’ it is a small, hopefully leather but often plastic bag attached to a belt and worn around the waist. The bag is used to carry small personal belongings such as a camera, phone, cigarettes etc. and was quite popular in the 1980s.

But to your question - firstly the ‘bum bag’ (as it is so delicately called) has never been an item of high fashion.

The point of fashion is to make you look and feel good, it is difficult to see how tying a plastic bag around your waist will make you look or feel good.

The waist is a sensitive subject for a lot of people and wrapping something around your body which draws attention to this area is not a good idea. Even the trimmest of waists will not benefit from this bulky addition.

In simple terms the ‘bum bag’ will spoil the flow of your clothes and harm the aesthetics of your overall look.

Also where you are planning to wear this item gives me great concern. Barcelona is one of the great fashion capitals of Europe, if you persist in this notion then you must make sure it looks like a Versace catwalk original.

If you use your existing bag (I am making the assumption you have an old favourite you keep in the cupboard and drag out whenever you go on holiday) you should understand what the casual observer will think you are probably a train spotter, and in Barcelona, you might be refused entry to some of the smarter restaurants and bars. Also if you wander past any military bases, you might be arrested as a potential foreign spy.

There is also the practical aspect - you might as well hang a sign round your neck with an arrow pointing to your valuables for any would be pick-pocket in the area.

My best advice is to bin this monstrosity and cultivate a different plan to carry your valuables.

For your second question, I am not entirely sure I know what a ‘pork pie’ pocket is. Do you mean a convenient pocket in your trousers that can carry a pork pie? Or is it a pocket in your trousers that is shape of a pork pie?

Either way I don’t like the sound of it. The potential heat in Barcelona would make carrying and eating a pork pie a rather risky activity. And why would you want a pocket the shape of a pork pie?

You must abandon this notion at once.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Celebrity Review

A look at this week’s celebrities:
  • Joe Hart gave Wayne Rooney a piggy back into the sea;
  • Joe Hart is stronger than he looks;
  • Kerry had a nice night out with some friends, but ended the night sitting on a porter’s trolley with her head in a bag - is it New Year’s Eve already?;
  • Kerry got dropped by her agent … again;
  • Cheryl isn’t going to have dinner with William and Catherine in America, Chef Ramsey is going instead!;
  • Kerry said she hadn’t been dumped by her agent, merely that she left as her career wasn’t going in the direction she wanted and that her integrity had been compromised - there are two things in that statement I didn’t know Kerry had;
  • Kirk and Lauren (towie) had matching nose jobs (sometimes you just have to wonder about people);
  • Colleen and Wayne got back from holiday;
  • Elisabeth decided she wanted to get married;
  • George decided he didn’t want to get married;
  • George is single again - form an orderly queue;
  • Michelle and Max got engaged;
  • Michelle doesn’t have to kiss Graham anymore;
  • Kimberley went for a run without any make-up on - will these celebrities stop at nothing to get their photos in the papers?;
  • Loose Women is set to be axed - please let it be true;
  • George (Michael not Clooney) and Elton are speaking again;
  • Back from their holidays, Wayne and Colleen are now standing in a muddy field, (no I have no idea why either).

Buying Shoes

An occasional series about the olden days.

In the olden days when you bought a pair of shoes the lady or gentleman serving you would get your potential new shoes and sit opposite you and help you put them on.  They would also tie your laces (if they had laces) and offer to get different size shoes if required.  They would also measure your feet to make sure you got the right size fit.

Now, when you buy shoes, you are largely left to your own devices.  If you ask for the other shoe, to make a pair with the one you have selected from the shelf, they look at you as if you are mad.  I once had to explain to an assistant what  a 'shoe horn' was,  (how he thought I was going to put shoes on without one I have no idea).

If you do actually manage to get two shoes to try on and in your correct size, the assistant just leaves you to it and expects you to put your own shoes on.  You then get to walk up and down a bit and make your own way to the till carrying your shoes yourself! 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Tesco

In the olden days, when you wanted to buy food, you went to the shops, bought what you wanted and took it home.

With the advent of the internet, supermarkets decided this was too difficult and took too much time so they introduced online delivery services, where you order what you want online and the supermarkets deliver it to your door.

Now After years of building up its delivery service for online customers, Tesco have launched a new service.

For this new service, you order what you want online and then you go and pick it up at the store and take it home.

Isn't that what we used to do in the olden days!

Novak Djokovic

Is tennis player Novak Djokovic half Scottish?

Dawn French

Why is Dawn French being photographed going into court with the alleged 19 year old hacker?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Dear David - Seeds

Dear David

I am going to a social occasion soon where we will be served food.  I am worried in case we are given food with pips or seeds in them as I don't know how to deal with them. Please help.

David Responds

You don't say whether your occasion is a formal meal or a buffet, but in either event a good host will ensure your food is safe and convenient to eat.

For example in an informal buffet situation where you may wish to mingle as you eat, your host will ensure your food is served in bite size pieces to make this tricky social skill effortless.

For foods with seeds or pips in them, the good host will ensure they can be eaten quite safely with the seeds intact by serving items such as strawberries.  The good host is unlikely to serve cherries, although delicious and one of my favourites, they are much too difficult at a social affair.

Should the unimaginable happen, then be brave and consume the seeds with dignity - unless of course you are served avocados!

Grapes

After you have had seedless grapes, you never go back to the ones with seeds in them. I wonder why they keep making them?

Monday, 20 June 2011

GM Daybreak TV

Bit of an item on GM Daybreak TV this morning about a new promotion drive to get more foreign visitors to London.  They want to get an extra four million visitors a year over the next four years.

We had an expert on the programme to tell us all about it. She was very excited.

Adrian went straight for the difficult questions and asked 'why should people visit London?'.

This seemed to catch our expert by surprise.  I don't think she was expecting such a difficult question.

She panicked and said the first thing she could think of  ' well, there is the London Eye' she said, and after a bit more thought she said 'oh and the buildings'.

So that is it? The big push to get visitors to London - a Ferris wheel and some buildings.

Oooh, when can I get there!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Dear David - Olympics

Dear David

I have been trying to work out how tickets for next year’s Olympic games are allocated, but I can’t understand it. Can you help?

David Responds

I too have been trying to work out how tickets are allocated and indeed how you actually get to buy a ticket for an event you want to see. I must admit I have struggled a bit with this one, but I have written to Albert Einstein to ask him if he can explain it. He says he needs to think about it a bit and will get back to me when he comes up with an answer.

In the meantime my advice to you is buy a Radio Times when the Olympics starts and watch it on TV!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Whitehaven Festival

You might have missed it but the Whitehaven Festival is being held this weekend. 

Saw a bit on the local news, they have all sorts of things to do, ships in the sea, some people on the beach looking at the ships in the sea, and about four people waiting for a set from Madness.  The publicity says Madness are headlining - but it doesn't mention anyone else so not sure they are 'headlinging' for.

Anyway it all looks very nice, so if you want to spend a day in the cold and rain and pay £39.50 to get in, then head off to Whitehaven ... wherever it is.

New Blog - Dear David

I have just launched an new additional blog dedicated to answering your questions and giving help and advice wherever it is needed.

I am happy to help on any subject, whether it is about the latest fashion trends, how to handle a tricky social engagement or even a point of etiquette.

Let me answer your questions about science, the arts, politics and I will even look to resolve your problems in the world of sport.

Whatever your problem - I am here to help.

To send me your question, just post a comment to any blog entry and your query is half way answered!

To find the answer to your questions go to davidw-deardavid.blogspot.com  Dear David

Friday, 17 June 2011

Celebrity Review

A look at what our celebrities have been up to this week:

  • Catherine re-cycled an old blue coat - I saw the coat and the recycling was the best place for it;
  • Christine and Frank got engaged - hope it is a short engagement, don't think I can bear a year of wedding talk;
  • Amanda wore a green dress;
  • Peter and Abbey were still on holiday; Peter has been on holiday for nearly a fortnight and he is whiter now than he was when he started;
  • Katie had more time on her hands after holding auditions for her new reality 'find a model' show when no one turned up; Paula showed us she has skinny legs;
  • Lady Gaga is doing the rounds … again - News Flash Lady Gaga is so over. If you want evidence, just look at her outfits, there is nothing more to take off and no one is that bothered anyway;
  • Nicole wore the same (well nearly the same) outfit Cheryl wore when she was temporarily a US X Factor judge;
  • the Queen watched some horses, but after losing the Derby she couldn't really be bothered;
  • Camilla was at Ascot and she wore the same outfit she wore to the wedding in April - she was a bit worried because she thought the dry cleaners might not be able to get the tuna and mayonnaise stain out, but they did quite a good job and she says she might use them again;
  • Catherine didn't go to Ascot as she says she isn't that fussed about horses.

Father's Day

Just seen an ad on TV for a Frankie Laine CD. They are offering 20 of the Best of Frankie for only £9.99. It goes on to state it is the perfect gift for Father's Day.

Are you quite sure about that?  Apart from the fact you would have to be 108 to remember Frankie Laine in the hit parade, anyone that wants his tunes must have them all by now.

I can't help think some poor father is in for a disappointment on Sunday!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Railways

I have just seen a notice in the train station warning people that trespassing on the railway is an offence.

It goes on to warn trespassers that they could be electrocuted and fined £1,000.

That seems a bit harsh!

Dear David - Rain

Dear David
It rained heavily last night and I got very wet. I have always wondered if there is any value in running to get out of the rain - does it keep you drier?

David Responds

This is a good question as it is the subject of endless debate. There is a mathematical equation to consider and helps provide the answer. It goes something like this - for each second you are in the rain x number of raindrops will hit me. These are calculated by considering the speed of the falling rain (but see my earlier blog on the invention of the laws of gravity) density of raindrops and prevailing wind speed.

This then needs to be considered in two ways
Walking pace - which increases the length of time in the rain; and
Running pace - which decreases the length of time in the rain but increases the density of rain that hits you.

There have been many experiments in this area and the general agreement is that it is better to walk in the rain as overall you will be hit by less rain.
This is the scientific answer but is counter-intuitive.

Regular readers of my blog will know I believe there is more to life than science so follow my top tips for getting about in the rain:
  • You need to consider how you are perceived by the casual observer. Walking in the rain could make you look quite mad so consider developing a 'slight jogging in the rain' approach. This will give you the benefit of reduced rain coverage and seeming as though you are sane;
  • If you insist on sticking to scientific principles and walk in the rain, then don’t sing as you walk. This is likely to get you sectioned;
  • Don't automatically reach for your umbrella. Consider your destination. If you are going home then getting a little wet will cause no lasting damage, so maybe just leave your umbrella where it is. If you are on your way to work or an engagement then using your umbrella might be a good idea to save you spending the rest of the day sporting a rather 'bedraggle' look;
  • Umbrellas are one of the major cons of the 20th century. They provide minimal protection and the benefits are far out-weighed by the stress caused in the anticipation of sudden wind gusts blowing your umbrella inside out. In addition to the inconvenience of dealing with the wet umbrella when you reach your destination;
  • Don't use an umbrella while riding a bicycle;
  • Be aware that if you do use an umbrella, you will attract waifs and strays without umbrellas wishing to share yours as you walk;
  • Do not share your umbrella, the person you share with will invariably be taller than you, requiring you hold the umbrella beyond your head, this means you get wet and they stay dry. At your destination they will quickly disappear leaving you to deal with the wet umbrella. Tell them that if they are so keen on umbrellas to go and buy one. This will make you unpopular, but said person will never ask to share your umbrella again!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Dear David - Informal Invitation

Dear David

I have been invited to a social occasion, but my invitation says the event is ‘informal’ and goes on to say ‘bring your own booze’. I don’t understand what this means. I am very worried. Please help

David Responds

You are quite right to be worried, but the key is to understand the meaning behind the words on your invitation.

‘Informal’ means that little if any thought has been given to the event, location, start\end times, mode of dress etc, and this suggests to me that your host is probably quite young and yet to appreciate the full horror that can be inflicted on an unwary invitee by a ‘spontaneous’ or ‘informal’ gathering.

Furthermore in this particular instance the instruction ‘bring your own booze (David writes, ‘booze’ is alcohol) suggests that the event is being held in someone’s home.

To handle this situation, if you decide to accept the invitation, take my top tips to get the most out of in informal evening:

be quite clear on what you will and what you won’t do:
  • state that you are quite prepared to remove your shoes when you arrive at your destination, but you won’t sit on the floor;
  • Say you won’t wear a paper hat, comedy wig, clown glasses, false moustache, or any such paraphernalia that might be found in your hosts ’party dressing-up box’
  • Say you will wear a sheet as a toga if necessary ‘to enter into the spirit of the occasion’ if it is a fancy dress theme (but see my blog on ‘Fancy Dress Parties), but be quite clear you will only do so if the sheet has been freshly laundered, is pure white and made from the finest Egyptian cotton. Also make it clear you will only do so if it is a fine summer evening and you have had a recent spray tan (or equivalent);
  • Make it clear you don’t ‘pop’ ‘party poppers’ unless it is New Year’s Eve or the Queen’s Official Birthday and then you only ‘pop’ one;
  • State your time of arrival and departure and stick to them, this allows your host to cater for you properly.
As your invitation states ‘to bring your own booze', then you must understand that this means most people will turn up with two cans of Carling waiting for some unwary soul to front up with a litre bottle of Smirnoff. As long as you understand this, and you choose to be so extravagant then this is fine, but don’t let the bottle out of your sight for a second.

Also as your event is informal - the alcohol will inevitably run dry, make it clear you wont spend half the evening traipsing round the town looking for an open off-license.  If the alcohol disappears, this is your cue to leave.

Whatever you do - enjoy your evening!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Queen's workload.

The Queen says she is fed up with the amount of 'Queening' she has had to do recently - what with two State visits, a wedding to organise, as well as Trouping the Colour where she had to sit in a chair in the back yard for two hours, she now she has to do Ascot and it looks like it is going to chuck it down all week. She says being a Queen isn't all it is cracked up to be.

Now on top of everything else she is going to have Philip under her feet all day.

Charles says that if she is pushed he wouldn't mind having a go for a bit.  He says what with the kids settled down (well Harry is still a bit of a worry) he has a bit of time on his hands and Camilla says she will walk the dogs if he gets a bit busy. 

The Queen thought about if for a bit but said 'No you're alright pet, I'll just manage as best I can!'

Dear David - White Trousers

Dear David

I have just come back from holiday and notice our European cousins of all ages are wearing white trousers and even white belts. Is this acceptable?

David Responds

This is quite a complex question. The general advice would be - if you feel confident to wear a particular item, then go for it. This is easier said than done of course. In many scenarios, people don’t have the confidence to wear, taking your example, white trousers, so they should resist the temptation.

But if you think this look is for you, then follow my top tips for successful white trousers wearing:

  • Make sure you get this season’s latest style, nothing looks worse that a pair of 10 year old pants that you wear for a few months each year and are determined to wear to get your money’s worth out of them;
  • Only wear them in the summer months and never after Labour Day, (first Monday in September or August bank holiday for my British readers);
  • If you are near or over 50, (David Writes - you don’t say your age) then think very carefully about this look - it can make you look like Roger Moore … (an old Roger Moore) or a camp old man, missing only a ’manbag’;
  • If you are over 50 but very rich, then when wearing your white trousers you need to be accompanied at all times by a ’dolly bird’. You will have retained this ’dolly bird’ as your ’private nurse’ to help you as you walk back and forwards to your yacht;
  • If you are under 50 and wear white trousers - people will think you are German;
  • If you are under 50 and wear white trousers that are fashionable - people will think you are French;
  • If you are under 50 and tanned and wear white trousers that are fashionable and look fantastic - people will think you are Italian;
  • If you are under 50 and not tanned and wear white trousers - people will think you are Scottish;
  • If you are under 50 and wear white trousers with a nylon football shirt - people will think you are British;
  • If you are gay then you can wear them to the beach, but only if you are fit and tanned. The trousers should be of a ‘jeans like’ material or linen and rolled up at the ankle, with nice (what we used to call) deck shoes. The trousers should be accompanied by a label shirt (un buttoned). For added cool, it is permissible to leave the top button of your trousers undone (suitably attired underneath of course). You can however only wear this look if there is a wind blowing from the direction of travel (your shirt should billow behind you as you walk). If the wind is coming from behind, then think about walking to the beach in the opposite direction, or change your outfit. Do not wear this look to the hotel pool, it is over-dressed for the pool and the casual observer will think you are off somewhere else;
  • If you wear white trousers for the beach then you can wear a similar look in the evening - but they must be a different pair of trousers (you cant wear the same clothes to the beach as you wear on a night out);
  • Do not wear a white belt with white trousers;
  • Do not wear a white belt with any trousers;
  • The white trousers to the beach look is about the only time I would suggest it is ok to wear trousers without a belt; but make sure they fit properly and are not hanging off you.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Philip

I see Philip is 90 today - not my favourite royal (although not sure I have a favourite royal).

If he thought he was going to take it easy and spend more time round the house, the Queen had other ideas. She has made him head of the Royal Navy. Well done pet - that should keep him from under your feet!

Celebrity Review

It has been a quiet week in Celebrity land - they are all off on their holidays, here is some of what you might have missed:
  • Wayne has more hair on his head this week than he had last week;
  • the world ended last Tuesday when Posh Beckham couldn’t get a lettuce leaf with her trout;
  • Tara went for a walk with her new nose;
  • Fergie (duchess of, not black eyed beans) was on TV again telling us all how hard she has had life;
  • Ryan's wife is sticking by her multimillionaire husband even though new stories are circulating;
  • Wayne has been showing off his new, more glamorous look after spending £30,000 moving some hair around his head;
  • Wayne is off on holidays but thinks he will stick to the shallow end of the swimming pool just to be safe;
  • Wayne phoned the hotel just before they left for their holidays to make sure their room had a hairdryer;
  • After not doing the US X Factor Cheryl was going to do the US X Factor after all, and when she wasn't - has Cheryl now peaked and will be a candidate for Strictly No Dancing in September?;
  • Frank and Christine are on holiday in Vegas;
  • Katie bought a new pink range rover for £100,000;
  • Chantelle is going out with Alex - just weeks after she was left devestated and couldn't go on after Rav chucked her;
  • Chantelle thought she might get a bit of publicity after finding another celebrity boyfriend;
  • Geordie Joe started back at the beginning again on Popstar to Operastar;
  • Midge looked like Rab C Nesbitt on Popstar to Operastar;
  • Midge decided he didn't like Popstar to Operastar so he left.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Dear David - Tents

Dear David

I am going camping for a weekend soon but I have never been in a tent before. I am very worried, please help.

David Responds

I fully understand your concern, this is a most dangerous activity, my most urgent advice is - don't go.

This of course is easier said than done, as presumably you have discussed this with your friends and they are expecting you to go. Getting out of this situation could be quite tricky and much depends on how you have dealt with this situation up to now. If you have been enthusiastic and welcoming to the idea then getting out of it should be fairly straight forward. Try one of my top tips for getting out of a social engagement:
  • The night before your planned departure, arrange a 'rescue call' from a third party when one of your 'camping friends' (in this context this means people that you are planning to share a tent with) is in the vicinity. The rescue call will allow you to be quite dramatic and say things like 'oh no, when did this happen' and 'yes of course I will come at once'. This will allow you to 'regretfully' explain to your friend that you are urgently needed by a much valued family member so your trip is off. But don't over do the dramatics or your friend will become suspicious. If this approach is not possible, then;
  • when your friends arrive to pick you up on the morning of departure try fainting. Try and faint next to your dining table and grasp your table cloth by a corner as you fall to the ground. This will add to the overall dramatic effect as your plates, cups etc crash to the floor. (On this occasion it is acceptable to use crockery instead of china for breakfast in case of damages). Take a little time to come round and try shaking a little bit as you slowly get to your feet. Allow your friends to help you to a nearby chair. If you can be a little tearful, this might also help. Tell your friends that you have no idea what happened and that you are worried about being in the middle of nowhere if it happens again. Say you think you would feel better if you gave your planned trip a miss. Again don't over do the dramatics or you may worry your friends or worse they might insist on calling medical assistance.
But be aware you can only pull this trick once in your lifetime (with the same group of friends) as they will not believe a second fainting fit as you're just about to set off for an Iron Maiden concert.

The difficulty arises if you have been evasive about going on the trip or have intimated you don't want to go. The above tips will not work and just make your friends dig in and make you go. In this scenario you will just have to accept the inevitable and go. But follow my top tips for surviving a weekend in a tent:
  • Your friends will be equipped with a hotchpotch of camping gear accumulated over the years. You have two choices:
  • go on a mad spending spree at your local 'Tents-R-Us' and buy one of everything on the market. Buy the top of the range for everything. This will annoy your friends and make them a bit envious of all your latest gear. Also for you it should make the trip at least a bit more comfortable and with fleecy lined slippers etc you should at least be warm. (Tents are always cold - take no notice of anyone that says anything different). Your alternative choice:
  • is to take no camping equipment at all. Instead take your hair dryer, straightners, iron, electric kettle etc. this will make your friends feel guilty when you try to plug them in and use them. They will wonder at your naivety and realise that really you are out of your depth and they shouldn't have invited you\made you come. They will try to compensate by making you cups of tea all weekend and giving you the best spot in the tent.
If you have to go then try and find out what the full weekend will entail in as much detail as possible. This will allow you to develop individual coping strategise, and please do write again if a particular event in your weekend looks particularly daunting.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Elements

Bit of excitement on the element front. Apparently they have found two new elements (they don't have names yet, suggestions on a post card) and they are both quite heavy ones.

I don't know why they keep looking for these new heavy elements. I can see why you would look for ones like gold and silver, as you can do things with those and they can be quite valuable. But these new ones only lasted a few seconds which doesn't seem much use to me.
They would be no use to make cuff links out of as they would disappear before you left the house leaving your shirt cuffs adrift.

As they are the heaviest elements, I suppose you could use them as paper weights or maybe door stops, but again as they only last a few seconds your papers would soon be blowing in the wind and your kitchen door would be banging shut!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dear David - Tie

Dear David

I have a social engagement coming up where I will meet the Queen. I was thinking of wearing my orange tie. Is this a good idea?

David Responds

No.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Anti-matter

I see those scientist chaps at CERN in Switzerland have been discovering anti-matter. 

For a long time no one knew anti-matter existed, this is because it is quite small and hard to see. But apparently they found some anti-matter and were able to keep it in a flask for 16 minutes. It doesn't say what they did with it while they had it for the 16 minutes or where it went after they had finished with it.

Nor does it say how much anti-matter they found, but apparently if you mixed one kilo of anti-matter with one kilo of real matter it would produce a very big explosion. 

I hope they have put the anti-matter somewhere safe.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Dear David - Summer Fashion

Dear David

I know you know a little bit about fashion so I wondered what is the newest trend for men was this summer?

David Responds

Ah yes, the eternal question - what should I wear?

You don't say whether you are gay or straight, but if you are gay the hottest fashion for this summer is the cut off trouser. I don't mean cut off at the ankle (see my many previous posts on that disastrous subject). No, for this summer the cut-off is just below the knee. Also the cut-off should be fairly tight and hug that part of your leg just below the knee (I am sure that part of the body has a name, but this is a fashion blog not Grey’s Anatomy).

If you feel your not quite up to this adventurous look, the Chino is making it big back this year, but with a twist of the turned up cuff. (don’t get your old 80s chinos out the cupboard and think you can get away with it - it will not do). For a bang on look - get them in khaki.

For affordable fashion -
get your ideas from here - then go someplace else to buy them.

If you are straight and you think the cut off at the knee look is some sort of hideous joke, then just wait until next summer and you will be wearing them!


Oh and I shall skip over that bit about me knowing 'a little bit about fashion'

Popstar to Operastar

Hot on the heels of Britain's Got Talent we have Popstar to Operastar. Not sure I have the energy so soon but gave it a bit of a go - I quite like some of the tunes.

But I must have missed something - there were four people singing and we get to spend some money voting for them and later tonight two of them come back and sing again. But that is 50% of the show all over again?

Then one of them leaves after a sing-off - at this rate it will be all over in a fortnight!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Celebrity Review

A busy week in the land of celebrity:
  • David and Samantha are on holiday in Ibiza;
  • David wore exactly the same boring blue polo shirt and blue trousers he wore last time he went on holiday;
  • David’s blue polo shirt has been through the wash a few times;
  • Cheryl went from X Factor to No Factor;
  • X Factor judges were revealed, including Tulisa who no one has heard of - ok clever, name me one N-Dubz tune;
  • Dannii and Kris are fine - said their statement - that is always a bad sign when you have to tell everyone you have no problems;
  • Simon made a woman on BGT cry after telling her the song she sang was rubbish - it was rubbish but he should have just said it was very nice. Sorry pet, life is full of disappointments - just ask Cheryl Cole;
  • Andy has had one accident after another lately so he doesn’t know if he can be bothered to do Wimbledon;
  • We are all hoping Andy doesn’t do Wimbledon so we can sit on Henman Hill again;
  • Nancy said she was nearly 50 - I thought she was 50 years ago;
  • David joined EastEnders;
  • Katie and Leandro are still going out even thought he doesn't speak any English and she doesn't speak any English;
  • Leandro doesn't know how lucky he is that he doesn't speak English;
  • Simon's eye was looking a bit funny;
  • Ashley is wearing his wedding ring again - well it did cost £200,000 and he has hardly had any wear out of it;
  • Kelly couldn't understand the accents in Birmingham - there's a lot of it about this week;
  • Matt was still wearing that hat on a night out - give it up Matt, its rotten.

Dear David - Gear boxes

Dear David

The gear box on my motorcycle has broken. What should I do?

David Responds

Get a new gear box!

Diamond Jubilee

I see plans for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee (next year) have been announced. I shall be considering them in more detail later when I have a minute but one event leaps to my attention.

A river pageant attended by the Queen, with a flotilla of 1,000 boats, sailing down the Thames from Putney to Tower Bridge.  This will be accompanied by the ringing of church bells, fireworks and music, with the Queen, seated in a Thames barge kitted out to resemble an 18th century royal galley. 

This has got disaster written all over it!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Dear David - Royal Garden Party

Dear David

My wife has been invited to a Royal Garden Party and I have to go with her - I have no idea what to do or wear - please help.

David Responds

This is a total minefield. First a little background.

Invitations to Royal Garden Parties are sent out by the Lord Chamberlain on behalf of The Queen, all the arrangements are planned by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. Approximately 8,000 guests attend each Royal Garden Party, and they are held between 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by other members of the Royal family, circulate among the guests.

Gentlemen wear morning dress, lounge suits or uniform; ladies wear afternoon dress (usually with hats). National dress can also be worn.

Tea and other refreshments are served from a 400+ foot long buffet. Some 400 waiting staff are involved in the serving.
At about 6pm, The Queen and other members of the Royal family leave the garden, when the National Anthem is played to mark the end of the Royal Garden Party.

This is what you can expect on the day. Check your invitation to see the expected mode of dress (e.g. lounge suits) and if you are not familiar with the term then a search of the internet will give you more detailed advice. One word of warning, don't try to 'liven up' your outfit with some 'Scooby Doo' socks or other such fripperies

With what to wear easily sorted there are other more difficult aspects to navigate. Follow my top tips for a stress free royal garden party:

  • Your wife\partner will be in a state of panic from the moment the invitation arrives, don't under-estimate the capacity to which your life can be turned into a living hell by this simple invitation. You will be required to comment on at least ten outfits and give a view as to their appropriateness for the occasion, be aware the many traps:
    • Accept from the start that this occasion is going to cost you money, a full new outfit (plus accessories) will be required by your wife, whereas you might be expected to get away with putting your best suit through the cleaners;
    • When outfits are being tried on, have each of these responses at the front of your mind:
      • 'No, that dress doesn't make you look fat';
      • 'Yes, you do suit that colour';
      • 'I think it is as nice as the first dress you tried on four hours ago';
      • 'Yes, those shoes do look nice with that dress';
      • 'Yes, I do think you can carry off a hat with feathers in it';
      • 'No, that hat doesn't look like the one Eugenie wore to the wedding';
      • Don't fall into the trap of comparing outfits. There is no happy outcome to this scenario. If you say outfit one is nicer than outfit two but your wife's preferred out fit is number two then you lose. If you say outfit one is your favourite - you will be accused of saying anything just to shut her up (which of course will be true) but again, you lose;
      • Don't be fooled into thinking your opinion is being sought - it is not. Your role is to confirm your wife's decision on her chosen outfit.
    But make sure you select the correct answer to the question asked otherwise you will be accused of not paying attention.
    • You won't be allowed to take any pictures at the event, instead you will be scammed of your hard earned by the official photographer. Don't hope to get away without buying any photographs;
    • Refreshments will be served, but you will be lucky to get a cucumber sandwich and a slice of cake, so make sure you have a substantial lunch before you go;
    • Lunch will cost you a fortune because 'if you think I'm going into McDonalds dressed like this you can think again' might be one response you can expect if you try to save a bit of money on lunch - make sure you have a big breakfast on the day!;
    • It will rain - if you are planning to wear a lounge suit, I suggest keeping away from light colours - these will show each raindrop, and your wife will not have an umbrella in her handbag, the handbag will be too small to hold an umbrella;
    • If you eat cucumber sandwiches - ensure you do not eat European cucumbers; (don't ask the Queen where she got her cucumbers, ask an attendant instead);
    • Don't drink any alcohol, the ramifications of becoming too familiar with Her Majesty are too awful to contemplate;
    • Identify an escape route as soon as you arrive at the palace garden - if you know someone else going to your garden party, you can be sure you will bump into them, be alert at all times or you will be stuck with them all day;
    • William and Catherine will not be at the garden party - don't expect to see them
    • The Duchess of Cornwall will be at the garden party - avoid her if you can!