LOOK YOU ~ a rolling scrapbook of life, the universe and nearly everything...
ARCHIVE 2014 - APRIL

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POSTCARDS FROM
MY SQUARE MILE
click... Smile
Updated: 11/08/2013

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for a taste of life on the wild side of my square mile, click...

400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 08/06/2013



                                                                                        Design: Yosida

 
                                                                 ♫♫♫ TO SELF                            
It seems that the artist Leonardo da Vinci kept a notebook, Notes to Self, a list of “things to do today”: buy paper; charcoal; chalk ... describe tongue of woodpecker and jaw of crocodile...
     These are my Notes to Self, a daily record of the things that make me smile and which brighten up my day no end, whether read in a newspaper, seen on TV, heard on the radio, told in the pub, spotted in the supermarket, a good joke, a great story, a funny cartoon, a film clip, an eye-catching picture, a memorable song, something startling that nevertheless generates a spontaneous smile, curiosities spotted along my walks through the Towy Valley...
     This is a snapshot of life beyond the blue horizon...

    
                                                                               ...and everyday a doolally smile of the day
PS: The shortest distance between two people is a smile ...
                                                                             
Contact Me
 

Wednesday, April 30th

Older but wiser

IT started first thing this morning, as soon as I turned the wireless on: Alex Lester was doing his “What today has taught me” spot. Or more correctly, listeners tell Alex “what yesterday taught me”.

For example...

Steve in Bromley: “I learnt that while shopping with the wife she has now become wise to my saying the first dress she tries on looks great on her. She thinks that I just want to get it over and done with ASAP and then get to the golf course. As if.”

Taff, Agent of Chaos: “Yesterday taught me that complimenting someone about their moustache can now be seen as a workplace harassment. There’s no pleasing some women ... I thank you.”


Yes of course, some use the spot as a joke forum ― and why not?

Headline of the day (spotted in the Western Mail):

                 MP raises concern over “willy-nilly” Viagra hand-outs

A TORY MP has accused the NHS in Wales of squandering public money by allowing GPs to prescribe Viagra “willy-nilly” to male diabetics.

But the Welsh Government has hit back in similar vein, accusing David Davies of telling a “cock and bull story”...

Dylan Thomas must be turning in his grave. At 78 rpm.

Talking of Dylan Thomas and Willy Nilly, “the postman who knows everyone’s news” ― I did wonder how to fit in Gossamer Beynon, the village beauty, but lost my way ― tonight I happened to catch on television Dylan Thomas: A Poet in New York, a drama charting the poet’s final days in New York.

However, it all started like this:

“The following programme contains strong language”

Oh dear, six of the most dispiriting words in the English language. You just know that what follows ― the language, the sex, the violence ― will distract.

I personally have no problems with “strong language” ― as mentioned before, along my stroll through time many hugely enjoyable hours have been spent in the Asterisk Bar down at The Crazy Horse (later The Crazy Horsepower).

However, I learnt early on that the best company ― certainly the most entertaining ― were spent with those who never appear to swear.

Just imagine hearing those dreaded six words every time you sit down to watch Casablanca, The Italian Job, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Under Milk Wood...

Yes, spot the ambush.

Now we have always been led to believe that Dylan Thomas, away from his writing, was a pretty horrible character ― not the sort you would want within a million miles of your fondly imagined South Sea Island paradise ― but I was taken aback at how obnoxious he really was (according to writer Andrew Davies, anyway).

Indeed, did Einstein miss a trick, that actually E (as in entertainment) = ****me2? There does appear to be some unwritten law that states that to be a great writer you must, by definition, be a repugnant member of the human race.

Thomas came across as utterly charmless. Even the sex in the film lacked any sort of charm or fascination. There again, perhaps that’s me getting older, my libido having gone AWOL.

If the way sex is today portrayed on screen is anything to go by, it should come as no surprise that men and women are finding it increasingly impossible to be dazzled, charmed, amused and seduced by the opposite sex.

No wonder the whole world is turning gay.

“Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad” goes one of the great truths. (Well, can you think of a world leader that you wouldn’t describe as doolally?)

However, it does seem that Mother Nature has found a painless way to eradicate humanity, what is without doubt her single biggest cock-up: “Whom Mother Nature wishes to eliminate she first makes gay.” 
 

Tuesday, April 29th

 

I, ay, aye, ay, I (eye like you very much)!

WELL, yesterday’s faces in places, where there weren’t really supposed to be any faces, worked rather spectacularly, I thought.

It is remarkable though how easy it is for the eye to fool the brain. At least in that split-second or so when we first look at something. Or indeed the longer we stare ― and see something that isn’t really there.

Incidentally, when your eye first fell on the intro-picture pyramid at the top, did you read “NOT ALLOW THE EYE TO FOOL THE MIND”? I certainly did.

That “DO” is very cleverly disguised.

Anyway, coming up a couple of pictures spotted online and which effortlessly drew me in.

First up...

The eye of the storm


 

Yes of course, it’s water disappearing down the plug hole in a sink. Amazing. It really does look like an eye at that first glance.

And then there’s this magical photograph...

Always the right time for a cwtch


 

So what? It’s a fellow giving his girl a cwtch, a hug...

But of course it isn’t. It’s a girl giving her fella a cwtch.

That really is quite wonderful. I have no idea whether it’s a fortuitous illusion ― or something carefully constructed and executed. Whatever, it works for me on both levels.

Sadly, I have no idea whose images they are ― but they are exceedingly entertaining. Thank you, whoever you are.
 


Monday, April 28th

Look the whole world in the face
 

YESTERDAY I featured images from Jody Smith’s book of ‘Faces in Places’, a collection of pictures from around the world of randomly occurring or accidental human-like faces.

I first spotted the feature back at the beginning of the month, and since then I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled.

The very first face-in-a-place that grabbed my attention was the one I’ve used at the top ― the handgrip of a carrier bag sitting on the kitchen floor waiting to be unloaded.

Okay, there’s no nose ― but smiley faces never include a nose (see yesterday’s intro-pic).

However, the most remarkable face I have so far observed was out there along my morning walk through God’s own local Garden of Eden depot.

Right now, the horse chestnut trees are in the very first stages of preparing to burst into glorious flower ― see the image in the picture gallery, alongside, from last year, of the tree that looks like an outline of Wales.

But before the horse chestnut starts to flower, large and sticky buds appear, out of which sprout the leaves and then the flowers.

I spotted quite a few ‘faces’ ― but how about this as a starter for ten...?

 


The instant I saw the above bud, I was reminded of the famous painting The Scream  by Edvard Munch (1863-1944).

“The only rule,” according to Jody Smith and his faces, “is that it has to be a randomly occurring or accidental face.”

Well, apart from cropping the image, I haven’t doctored the picture in any way, shape or form.

Brilliant or what?
                                                                                          
 Home


Sunday, April 27th

Never ignore a face

THE other day, just before my computer decided to play hard to get ― or should that be
‘decided to play hard-drive and loose’? ― I’d planned to share with you a feature spotted in Mail Online, one that had certainly generated a smile at the time.

Now it’s never too late to share an amusing moment ― so here it is...

Faces that launched a thousand smiles


 

You lookin' at me?

Jody Smith, 36, of London, has compiled a collection of images from around the world into ‘Faces in Places’ after starting a blog charting his own observations.

More that 6,000 people have posted images to his website, and the book is in aid of the Hope For Children  charity.

Jody added: “The only rule is that it has to be a randomly occurring or accidental face.”

So positively no Photoshopping allowed, thank goodness.

I must keep my eyes peeled.

Finally, a different kind of smile, compliments of a letter in The Times:

“Am I barking?”

Sir, The postman has just called with a parcel. He passed the parrot in his aviary which said “hello” to him in a man’s voice. The postman looked at my dog and said “hello dog”, presumably thinking that it was the dog who had spoken to him.
     I didn’t say anything and wondered if he thought about it later on.
CAROLINE SLOWIK, Chirbury, Montgomery


Hm, I found myself wondering what the postman himself thought when he read the above ― or even better, someone said to him: “Hey, I’ve just read about you in The Times...”

Spell-cheque corner: ‘Chirbury’, as in the village where Caroline Slowik the letter writer lives, came up as ‘Chi bury’ ― no idea, but Ivor the Search Engine  came up with ‘tai chi in Bury’
! ― however, my computer’s second suggestion for ‘Chirbury’ was ‘Choirboy’.

Say nothing is best.
                                                                                              
 Home


Saturday, April 26th

Who left the barn door open?

YESTERDAY I mentioned those historic old cottages littering the Welsh countryside, exceedingly characterful properties that were eventually bought ― mostly by incomers ― and renovated to a high standard, and now worth a tidy sum of money.

I also mentioned barn conversions on farms. With farming practices having changed so dramatically over recent years, and specialist new farm buildings now essential, more and more old buildings are being converted into modern homes.

There’s a company in Llandeilo, Davies Richards Design, which specialises in such conversions. It’s a practice of chartered building, architectural and surveying consultants.

Whatever your needs ― from conception to coming of age ― Davies Richards Design  will take care of it. And it certainly looks to be a thriving business.

Anyway, they have an office on the main drag through town ― No. 42 ― and the window display features examples of their work.

I am aware of one picture in said window, and the first time I saw it ― well, it generated a rather giggly, child-like thought.

Well blow me, not long back I was walking along the pavement and noticed a couple studying the window display.

You know how it is: within seconds of seeing someone for the first time, you intuitively decide whether they look the sort you could share a joke with, no matter how silly that joke. This couple looked just perfect.

So I gently and politely interrupt and point out the image, featured below ― this is a picture of the photograph in the window, the strapline included in the original, obviously...

 


So I direct their gaze to this rather eye-catching and exceedingly smart barn conversion. “Whatever you do,” I whispered, pointing to the above, “don’t say anything critical otherwise the barn will burst into tears.”

Rather unsurprisingly, they look at me as if someone had left the asylum door open and I had bolted. “It’s a really sensitive barn with surprisingly low self-esteem ― and it can’t handle negative comments...”

There was a second or so utter silence ― excepting the traffic whizzing past ― and then they burst out laughing.

Hopefully they’ve since been dining out on the story.
 


Friday, April 25th

A Cornish fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat


FOLLOWING the news that the Cornish are to be recognised as a national minority group, and will for the first time receive the same rights and protections as other minorities in the UK ― the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish ― funny cartoonist MATT  of The Daily Telegraph  came up with that glorious cartoon up there.

Fudge! What a wonderful name for a currency. MATT  clearly beat Scotland and Alex Salmond to it.

But it set me thinking: If we here in Wales gained independence, what would we call our currency?

Well, as a nation we tend to be careful with our money. I don’t think we are mean, the Cardi  excepted of course (the people of Cardiganshire, up there on the west coast, are supposedly XL-tight with their cash), but rather the Welsh don’t like taking unnecessary risks.

I remember the time when the countryside was littered with dilapidated cottages. Nobody wanted them.

Then the English started arriving ― The Incomers ― buying them up dirt cheap, spending a lot of money on them ― and then selling them on for a fortune.

By the time we Welsh had realised what a profitable wheeze it all was, the English had bought up pretty much the whole caboodle.

And that’s when we started burning cottages ― but that’s another story entirely.

Actually, you can still spot the odd crumbling cottage which has never been sold ― here’s one I just happened to catch on camera when they were laying the giant gas pipeline past Llandampness, just a few years back...

 

Just a few years back? Seven years ago, I suddenly discover. Unbelievable. Truly incredible that seven years have passed since I took the above picture. Be that as it may, isn’t that cottage wonderful, with all those trees growing out of it?

Thats how it should always remain.

The folk who own it ― back then anyway ― live just to the left of the cottage, as we look at it. Presumably they didn’t want anyone living there. After all, you could have perfect neighbours. But there again, they could be a delivery straight from Hell.

Talk to farmers who have sold on barn conversions and the like, and who still live in the farmhouse ― it can be an enormous gamble.

I guess I too would prefer privacy to cash.

Anyway, back with all those cottages the incomers bought. You see, we Welsh were just too careful with our cash. We didn’t want to risk it on questionable and risky ventures.

Right, so we’ve established a Welsh character trait. So what about a word for the currency?

Well, cwtch is a marvellous Welsh word. But just like craic  in Irish, there’s no direct English translation, so the nearest is a hug ― but a hug with something Xtra.

The Urban Dictionary, which tends to be free and easy with its entertaining explanations, does pretty well:

cwtch: Welsh word for an affectionate hug. There’s no literal English translation, but its nearest equivalent is “safe place”. It’s snuggling and cuddling and loving and protecting and safeguarding and claiming ― all rolled into one.

There is an element of intimacy, earnestness and ownership in this Welsh word (recently adopted into the concise Oxford English Dictionary) that the closest English equivalents ― “cuddle”, “snuggle” and “hug” ― lack.

A cwtch creates a private safe place in a room. Or in the hearts of two people. Cwtching is strong affection made manifest and can apply to lovers, or a parent and child.

It is also possible to give a respected associate a non-romantic cwtch. In that scenario, a cwtch would be a heartfelt hug.

Examples of the word in use:

     “Give me a cwtch.”

     “Put your jacket in the cwtch.”

     Elizabeth Taylor is famously recorded as saying about Richard Burton: “I just want to go and cwtch him.”

So what a perfect name for a Welsh currency, a “safe place”, and something embraced with much affection: cwtch.

Brilliant, even if I say so myself.

Incidentally, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s a natural extension to the word cwtch. Add the letter “o” and it becomes cwtcho, literally what a hen does on the farmyard when she is ready to entertain the cock.

Yes, cwtcho is squatting on the floor, a signal that the hen is ready to mate.

When we were a crowd of young bucks about town and one of the lads was clearly having success in chatting up one of the girls, we would say amongst ourselves “Mae’n cwtcho!”. Meaning, her body language was shouting “Well hello there handsome ― and what’s a bad boy like you doing in a nice place like this?”.

High-fives all round. Well, half-hearted high-fives. I mean, while our pal would go home with his prospectus looking up, the rest of would likely be going home with our tails between our legs.

 

Thursday, April 24th

Dead End Lane

HERE’S an entertaining thread of letters spotted in The Times  about that final journey we undertake.

Funeral quickstep

Sir, While driving across the Pennines in the outside lane of the M62 I was passed by a hearse in the middle lane.
     Was this a case of undertaking?
PAMELA KNIGHT, Leeds

Dead men’s chests

Sir, When we lived in Zambia in the 1970s my wife often went to the local auction, since it was the only source of household items.
     She became intrigued by another customer who bought all the tea chests regardless of their content. Later we discovered that he was the undertaker and he used the plywood to make coffins.
     His hearse was a familiar sight ― his wife used it to go shopping.
JOHN ADDERLEY, Bramhall, Cheshire

A quick one?

Sir, While driving at a nifty speed on the autostrada outside Florence I was overtaken by a fully laden hearse racing like a bat out of hell.
PROFESSOR DOMINIC REGAN, Bath

 


 

Sir, Many years ago I took a taxi from Glasgow airport to Gourock which was overtaken at great speed by a hearse. Recollecting a line from an old Paul Newman film, I said “Only two kinds they say, the quick and the dead”. Sadly, I had the wrong audience.
MICHAEL WILLIAMSON, Cerne Abbas, Dorset

Sir, A friend had just the opposite experience to that of Professor Regan who was passed by a racing hearse. My friend bought a very smart Daimler in immaculate condition but could not understand why it would go no faster than 50mph.
     Eventually he discovered that his model had been specially low-geared by the makers to suit an undertaker’s requirements.
DAVID HORCHOVER, Pinner, Middx

Sustainable coffins

Sir, On a business visit to Nigeria in the 1970s I stayed in the company’s guest house. It overlooked a cemetery, and I watched a funeral taking place in the middle distance.
     The coffin was positioned over a prepared grave, which was covered by palm fronds, and at the appropriate point in the ceremony the hinged bottom of the coffin was made to spring open, allowing the shrouded body to drop through the palm fronds (which quickly resumed their shape), and the coffin was taken away for re-use.
     I thought this a splendid example of recycling.
KEITH GRAHAM, Little Dunmow, Essex

In the can

Sir, Apropos sustainable coffins, in the war when wood was scarce a Dundee undertaker acquired some corned beef crates. Planed and varnished, the wood was very suitable for coffins.
     On one occasion, in front of a large crowd of mourners, the sun caught the casket, and picked out the words “Fray Bentos, Corned Beef” for all to see.
STEWART MCLEISH, Dundee

So how else to finish but with this splendid epitaph:
 


B. Liar, eventually caught and bowled God ............ 50
(or was it Richard Dawkins who was actually bowling?)
 


Wednesday, April 23rd

 

Fellow feeling

I WAS telling my good pal Chief Wise Owl, he of Crazy Horsepower Saloon fame, about a kindly message which landed in my Inbox when I recently went AWOL with computer problems: it was a brief line from a mutual smiler who hoped I hadn’t suddenly found myself one degree under, and that I’d soon be back smiling.

Of course the irony was that I knew nothing about the sociable wishes until the computer was up and running again. (Do I detect a serious flaw in the modern way of communication?)

Whatever, Chief Wise Owl informed me that he had spotted just the contribution to suit the moment, a letter in The Times, a missive from last Thursday, the 17th...

Anxious royalist

Sir, Wednesday’s paper did not have a photograph of the Duchess of Cambridge. I do hope she is all right.
GERALD VINESTOCK, Lancaster


How exceedingly amusing, Gerald Vinestock. Straight off the Vine? Rather than direct from Stock?

Talking of the Crazy Horsepower Saloon, one of the star turns is Young Shagwell, who ― well, how shall I put this? ― has a way with the girls. And he gets away with quite a few, I can tell you.

Now Young Shagwell owes his nickname to Siadwel (pronounced Shad-well), a truly funny Welsh character created by John Sparkes, 60, a Welsh comedian born in Swansea.

John Sparkes is more commonly known on Welsh television as Barry Welsh, and as featured in the award-winning series Barry Welsh is Coming (1997-2003).

Sparkes also starred in the sketch show Naked Video (1986-1991), where he played Siadwel, the geeky bedsit poet who wore an anorak and glasses. Siadwel had this oddball yet charming manner of delivery.

The character also appeared when Sparkes was part of the BBC Radio 4 comedy programme Bodgers, Banks & Sparkes.

Anyway, Siadwel has made a welcome return and has just finished a short run on Radio Wales. Very funny it all was too. And proof, if proof were ever needed, that you don’t have to use obscenity or bad language to make someone laugh out loud...

                            

Allow me to share just a taste of the wireless series with you. Siadwel has of course turned being a loser into an art form. Here, he is looking back at his youth, in particular his time in school. I quote:

It wasn’t a posh school with a difficult entrance exam or anything. No, no, the only entrance exam at our school was, if you can open the door, you’re in. Although I did fail that at my first attempt.

They were very strong on discipline though. Everybody was caned. Even the teachers. But one boy, because of a tragic spelling mistake, was canned ― and when we opened him six months later he was still fresh.

School taught us that spelling is important. I wrote a poem about it:

          What is the difference between an abattoir and an abbatour?
          With one of them, everyone comes out singing their favourite song---
          And with the other one, they don’t.

The school also taught us about sharks. Sharks are quite nice. Obviously not the Great White, perhaps ― but
the Great Wholemeal is very good for you, a healthy shark.

Then there was Gwilym, the alcoholic sheep who lived in the field next door to the school. They’d ask Gwilym where he wanted to go and he always said “Baa!”. That’s why he was an alcoholic...

My most vivid childhood memory was going into school one day and seeing written on the wall “Siadwel never was”. I couldn’t believe it. I mean, wasn’t I? Because I thought I was. Perhaps I was wrong and I wasn’t.

The next day was the school photograph ― not the buildings, just the staff and the pupils. So I thought, the photograph will definitely show that I was.

So we all got together for the photograph and we had to stand still while the camera moved round ― and somebody said, if you stand on the end and then run round the other end you could be in the photograph twice. So I did that.

But I started at the wrong end. So I wasn’t in the photograph at all. Not only did I not prove that I existed ― but I did it twice. I didn’t understand it.

But that’s okay. I just added it to the list of things I don’t understand. For instance, why do plumbers not sell plums?

Now c’mon. Funny or what? As Roy Noble tends to say: “If you didn’t laugh at that ― then I’d see about it.”

Oh dear, the image of teachers being caned ― not to mention Siadwel standing at the wrong end of the photograph ― is so memorable.

Whenever I look at one of those old school photographs again, I will picture Siadwel in the back running clockwise, while the camera pans anticlockwise...

Oh, another Times  letter, compliments of Chief Wise Owl:

Hair of the God

Sir, If Rossano Ferretti doesn’t laugh his head off while cutting the hair of someone who is willing to pay £5,000 (“How hair became a status symbol”, Apr 17), it must happen on his way to the bank.
FRASER WHITE, Bunbury, Cheshire


Finally:

The last word (ho, ho, ho!)

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” Lord Byron (1788-1824)

Spell-cheque corner: Apropos ‘Gwilym’, the alcoholic sheep ... along my walk through time I’ve known a few fellows called Gwilym (pronounced Gwee-limb, a traditional Welsh name), but I’m not sure they’d be happy to hear that the computer suggests that ‘Gwilym’ should read ‘Gaily’.

I’m convinced there’s a Siadwel routine in there somewhere.
 


Tuesday, April 22nd

 The Rufous Hummingbird wishes you a Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth-Day to you...

I SWITCH on the computer ― and I’m greeted by the above Google Doodle, in animated form.

Earth Day 2014: Google celebrates Earth Day with doodles of Rufous hummingbird, veiled chameleon, moon jellyfish, dung beetle (wonderful), puffer fish and macaques.

Incidentally, the Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) is small, about three inches in length (8cm), with a long, straight and very slender bill. These birds are known for their incredible flight skills. Some are known to fly 2,000 miles during their migratory transits...

What a handsome little thing.

Anyway, Earth Day ... an appreciation of Mother Nature’s World About Us.

I would never presume to call my part of the world God’s Own Country. There are, after all, as many God’s Own Countries as there are, well, countries.

However, I do feel privileged to have been born in one of God’s Little Corner Gardens. And just as importantly, at the right time in the right place, so to speak.

Today, the early-morning was overcast, still and slightly misty with a hint of light rain in the air.

Along my daily Towy Valley walk I pass through nine separate parcels of land ― all worked and stocked by different farmers. I encounter sheep (and at this time of year, a harvest of happy, hopping little lambs), cattle (of all shapes and sizes) ― and a few horses.

Sadly no goats or llamas, which I’m sure would add hugely to the passing parade along my walk through time and place.

At this time of year I regularly divert through the extensive bluebell woods hereabouts. They are now just about coming into their own. Absolutely glorious.

At my favourite bluebell spot, Solitaire made her appearance on the 20th of March. Her brothers, sisters, cousins (and the rest of the family) gradually appeared over the following 10 days or so.

But it has taken until today, the 22nd of April, for the bluebell wood to present itself in all its refinery and glory.

With the weather this morning so still, dull and misty ― and the air somewhat heavy ― the scent wafting all over the shop was truly heavenly.

So what else can my personal contribution to Earth Day be than a picture taken in my special place in ‘my’ special bluebell wood...

The trail through the woods


Can there be a more glorious way to celebrate Earth Day?

Trail blazers

That track up there is where the deer, the badgers, the foxes, the wildlife of the woods, the occasional stray sheep, travel.

It is their very own M1. People do not pass this way. Except the occasional lucky sod like me who gets to stand and stare and wonder at the joy of that aforementioned passing parade.

So what else can I now do but provide a link to Rudyard Kipling’s exquisite short poem ‘The Way Through The Woods’, first published in 1892.

But here’s the thing: coming up is a virtual video of Kipling himself reading his poem ― it’s quite mesmerising to watch. And the crackling on the recording adds to its charm.

But the poem itself ― the reading is just over a minute long ― is magical, especially with the irresistible rhythm of lines like this:

          You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
          And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
          Steadily cantering through
          The misty solitudes,
          As though they perfectly knew
          The old lost road through the woods...

Captivating.

Incidentally, following the reading, be sure to click on ‘About’ to read how the poem came to be written. It is as bewitching as the poem itself.

Oh yes, just in case His Honour Judge Patrick of Wood Green Crown Court, London N22, is visiting (see April 18): Enjoy!
                          
The Way Through The Woods – written and read by Rudyard Kipling

 

Easter Monday, 2014

 

Believe nothing you hear, only half what you see

THE above signpost, as spotted today somewhere online, quite naturally caught my eye. However, while the post and surround is real, you can be sure that the actual sign is a Photoshop special.

I mean, the sign itself is much too pristine to be real. Very smiley, though.

And it seemed a perfect intro to the following letter, as enjoyed in yesterday’s Telegraph:

Serious scholarship

SIR – Researchers at Oxford University have discovered that wine tastes different depending on the conditions in which it is drunk ― the atmosphere, mood and the company you are in.
     Wow ― next they’ll discover that you get wet if you go out when it’s raining.
Tore Fauske, Woodmancote, Gloucestershire


Yep, crazy world, crazy people. And you do wonder if all these researchers and scientists are taking the piss.

Well blow me ... this, in today’s Mail Online:

You’ve only got 12 MINUTES to impress on a first date! Body odour and bad breath
most off-putting during initial encounter, while a smile and eye contact work wonders

Looking to impress on a first date? The countdown is on and you’ve only got 12 minutes, a new study reveals.

New research shows it takes just a few minutes for us to decide whether we are keen on someone new.

Singletons will be immediately judged on their smile (64 per cent), whether they make eye contact (58 per cent) and their tone of voice (25 per cent)...

Here are the banker Dos and Don’ts on a first date:

Date Dos

     1 .  Smile (64 per cent)
     2.  Make eye contact (58 per cent)
     3.  Have fresh smelling breath (45 per cent)
     4.  Have a good tone of voice (25 per cent)
     5.  Wear smart clothes (23 per cent)

Date Don’ts

     1.  Body odour (59 per cent)
     2.  Bad breath (53 per cent)
     3.  Swearing (38 per cent)
     4.  Scruffy clothes (36 per cent)
     5.  Not smiling (33 per cent)


The first thing that struck me was this: if you need to be told the above dos and don’ts, then finding an agreeable date is the least of your problems.

Incidentally, I maintain that it takes just 12 seconds (rather than 12 minutes) to decide whether your first date is a dolphin or a shark, a pussycat or a polecat, etc, etc.

But here’s the best bit of all: Mail Online  used the following photo and caption to illustrate the piece. See if you can spot the ambush:


You’re being judged! Singletons will be immediately judged on their
smile, whether they make eye contact, and their tone of voice

while swearing, bad breath and body odour are big turn-offs

Well?

Here’s a revised Banker Top 6 of Date Don’ts:

     1.  Wedding ring (99 per cent)
     2.  Body odour (59 per cent)
     3.  Bad breath (53 per cent)
     4.  Swearing (38 per cent)
     5.  Scruffy clothes (36 per cent)
     6.  Not smiling (33 per cent)

Hello
and goodbye...
 


Easter Sunday, 2014

"My Easter eggs? My babies!"

A token of friendship

THERE’S been a rather wonderful Easter egg picture doing the online rounds today ― but before that gets re-hatched here on Look You, I thought I’d dig out one of my own (above).

I enjoy teasing the little birds by placing variations on the theme of chocolate eggs in my hand ... as above: a blue tit comes to investigate ― and as you can see, it is somewhat baffled.

It gives a whole new meaning to the birds seeing me as their Candy Man. Mind you, they always get their proper rations after I’ve captured a few pics.

Incidentally, I am always taken aback at how light these little birds are. It is quite extraordinary how they survive through a harsh winter, especially so when they have no Friendly Neighbourhood Candy Man to help.

Anyway, here’s the Easter chick that caught my eye...

Meet the top half of a pantomime Easter egg


Cedric the duckling poses for a photograph at the
Axe Valley Animal Park in Axminster, Devon

Little Cedric, bless, had been stuck inside his egg without enough strength to get out, so owner Andrew Collier pulled the shell apart to reveal the fluffy Easter Mandarin baby.

A tale delivered with a smile and a wink, methinks ― but smiley beyond, which after all is the whole point of the game.
 


Saturday, April 19th

Best ride in town: Goes like a camel
 

Doris has her day

THIS wonderfully entertaining ‘one hump or two’ silly tale has been all over the shop over the last couple of days ― the following spotted in the Telegraph  (reference note: a camel with two humps is called a Bactrian; a one-humper is an Arabian camel, also called a dromedary):
 

Mystery of pregnant camel with no mate

Doris, a camel from North Yorkshire, gave birth despite no contact with a male for over a year
 


Doris the camel (right) with her as yet unnamed calf and farm worker
Bob Shaw at Mainsgill Farm in Richmond, North Yorkshire
 

Two humps and a bump

The owners of a farm and tea shop were puzzled to find one of their two camels was giving birth on Thursday ― as both camels are female.

Andrew and Maria Henshaw had no idea that Doris the camel, which lives with its half-sister Delilah, was pregnant until it began to calve.

Mr Henshaw, a farmer, who runs the Mainsgill Farm Shop near Richmond, North Yorkshire, suspects that Doris, who has not been near a male camel from more than a year, was impregnated before she was brought from Cornwall to North Yorkshire...

And that’s where the story starts to fall apart as a “Hold the front page” splash.

The gestation period for a camel is 13-14 months ― or around 410 days. So having had no contact with Brian Bactrian, that randy two-humped Casanovian camel, for one whole year ― well, that is a bit of a let down.

Anyway, back with the story:

Mr Henshaw had been lambing when a farm hand ran over to tell him that one of the camels was giving birth. “By the time we got there the feet and head were out and so we gave it a tug and out it came,” Mr Henshaw said.

“This was totally out of the blue,” continued Mr Henshaw. “When the calf was first born he sounded like a dinosaur with the noise he was making, like something off Jurassic Park. Now a few hours later, he looks like a giraffe with his long neck, or the Loch Ness monster because of his two floppy humps.”

The family will keep the male baby camel and are running a competition to name the new arrival. Mr Henshaw, a father of three, said the family bought Doris and Delilah to replace their previous camel which died last year, as it had been so popular with visitors.

Hm, for Immaculate Conception, read Messy Misconception.

Mind you, Doris and Delilah? Given that here we have a tale of two girls living together and having a baby, the miracle demands a modern twist, surely?

They should now be renamed Clare and Alice (as in Clare Balding and Alice Arnold, Britain’s most famous lesbian celebrity couple).

There were some marvellous online responses, especially so based on the presumption that there hadn’t been a Brian Bactrian involved.

Query: Yorkshire ... the county where men are men, and camels are terrified.

The Phoenix: An immaculate misconception? And I expect that Yorkshire Constabulary are working in conjunction with the CSA (Camel Support Agency) scouring the local sex offenders register, with a view of tracing the culprit via DNA evidence, and to apportion the requisite payment demands?

Mick Vine: The Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus because she had an immaculate contraption. An exam howler from the archives.

Land Phil: Calf and keeper have suspiciously similar grey hair.
[Very observant, Land Phil
!]

Sussex Chris: The boy-camel is born! Hallelujah! [The Life of Brian Bactrian Jr?]

Kicks: I think the mystery is, what the hell is a camel doing in North Yorkshire?

That set me thinking: will the wise men arrive at the stable with their gifts for the camel riding Quad Bikes?

Finally, I enjoyed this Tale From Behind The Sand Dunes,  compliments of
Hordes of Screaming Argies:

A newly commissioned young French Foreign Legion officer gets his first posting to a remote outpost in the depths of the Sahara. After a few months his thoughts turn to certain matters of the driven kind, ho-hum.

Somewhat bashfully he asks his grizzled, veteran sergeant major: “Erm, Mon Sergeant, what is it that the men do if they have erm ... needs?”

“Ah! I understand Mon Capitan, they simply use the camel!” Horrified, the officer thinks, yuk, that is quite disgusting, and disappears back to his quarters with his tail firmly between his legs.

Many months later and the urges are becoming overpowering, and again, he asks the sergeant, who replies: “It is OK Mon Capitan, we all understand, your secret will be safe with me.” And he points to where the camel is tethered.

In the dark of night the officer finds the camel, which has lovely long eyelashes ... and carries out his sordid tryst...

Next morning he sees the sergeant and says: “Ah, thank you Sergeant, mon ami, the camel was most obliging!

The Sergeant responds, somewhat surprised: “But Mon Capitan, why so soon? It normally takes the camel a couple of days to get to the town and back.”
 


Friday, April 18th

I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury

THIS curious letter in The Daily Telegraph  caught my eye:

Order with your order

SIR – Among many other signs of reaching middle age is increasing irritation in restaurants at being ordered
to “Enjoy
!”. Is there an appropriate response?
His Honour Judge Patrick
Wood Green Crown Court, London N22

What a curiously doolally letter, I remember thinking. And from a High Court Judge, no less. Goodness, if he doesn’t know how to respond to the order, what chance the rest of us?

Some of the rather obvious responses suggested by readers included: “What?”; “Really?” “I’ll try.”; “No problem.”.

My immediate reaction was that “Enjoy!” is rather obvious shorthand for “Enjoy your meal”, which strikes me as a fairly civilised thing to say. And as such does not really demand a response, except perhaps a gentle nod and a kindly smile.

Whatever, I enjoyed these letters:

To enjoy, or not to enjoy

SIR – I consider “Enjoy” to be the English equivalent of “Bon appétit”, which I have always found charming, though it doesn’t translate well. The only response I can offer is a polite “Thank you.”
David Barnett, Thetford, Norfolk
 

My thoughts precisely, David Barnett.

SIR – A late friend of mine was known to respond to instructions by waiters to “Enjoy” by saying wearily: “Enjoy is a transitive verb and requires an object.” That was usually the end of the matter.
Charles O’Connor, London SW7
 

I must say, that made me smile: “Enjoy is a transitive verb and requires an object.” Mind you, I haven’t a clue what it means ― but it sounds wonderful.

However, these two letters made me cringe:

SIR – Being ordered to “enjoy” reminds me of the time in a California store in 1983 when I overheard a customer being told by a sales lady to “have a nice day”. His reply was: “No thank you, I have made other arrangements.”
Valerie Harbidge, Cowling, North Yorkshire

SIR – Two grizzled New York comedy writers I worked with in Hollywood, on being exhorted to “Have a nice day” by a head waiter, snapped back in unison: “Don’t tell us what to do
!
Lord Grade of Yarmouth, London SW1

Horrible, horrible, horrible. Imagine saying something that nasty to someone who is only trying to be polite. Proof indeed that those involved in the business of comedy are rarely amusing in real life.

Be that as it may, the question still leaves me confused. I did draft the following response to the Telegraph, but never submitted because it is too long as a letter.

A question of age

SIR – Now that His Honour Judge Patrick has been advised appropriate responses to “Enjoy!” ― how strange though that the wisest of the wise should seek such an answer ― I was intrigued that he claimed to have reached middle age (“Among many other signs of reaching middle age...”) but gave no indication as to his actual age, particularly relevant as we all have different ideas as to what constitutes “middle age”.

Would the Good Judge be talking chronologically (where young takes us up to age 25; middle age is 26 > 55; elderly is 56 > 80; and old is 81+)?

Or archeologically (how old does he look, indeed is time leaving its mark)?

There again perhaps he was talking psychologically (was he born young, middle age or elderly i.e. old head on young shoulders, young at heart, etc, etc)?

Or indeed organically (if he didn’t know what age he is, how old would he himself think he is)?

That last one is an interesting test for all of us. And no cheating, mind. For example:

Does it take longer to recover the morning after the night before? Are your exclamations of relief becoming increasingly louder as you plonk yourself down in a chair? What’s the general state of your health? And when you spot an individual who lights the sexual blue touch paper are you applying increased quality control i.e. your libido is on the wane?

Perhaps His Honour, who Ivor the Search Engine  believes to be 54 (just reaching middle age?!), could sum up his personal standing and allow us to retire to the jury room.

Yours etc...

Mind you, I guess this online response to the judge’s original request probably summed up many a Telegraph  reader’s thoughts:

Stoobs: “Thank you” would be the received wisdom, you supercilious twit.

 

Thursday, April 17th

“Crook & Blight offer a wide selection of
properties to buy or rent, as well as
independent financial advice”

Name that firm

THE above gloriously memorable trading name (estate agents in Newport, South Wales) reminds me that I have a few more of those eye-catching business names as spotted by folks on their travels.

Here’s another batch mentioned in the letters page of The Sunday Telegraph, along with some spotted online.

Margaret Pegler: I once spotted a cesspit-emptying lorry in Farnham called Suck-Cess.

One onliner also noticed on another cesspit-emptying truck this strapline: “The motion is carried”

Nigel Mitchell: I recall a builder’s van in the York area displaying the name William Bonney. I am unsure if the tradesman knew that this was an alias of Billy the Kid, the notorious cowboy.

We’re back with the Cowboys and Indians again (remember this?: Patel and Co., painters and decorators ― You’ve tried the cowboys, now try the Indians). Incidentally, wasn’t Billy the Kid an alias of William Bonney?

Before I come to the next, I’m reminded of a perfectly relevant tale of the nun, just stepping out of the bath ― and there’s a knock on the door. “Who’s there?”

“The blind man.”

“Oh, that’s alright then ― come in.”

“Nice tits, madam ― now where do you want this blind?”

William Eckhardt: In the Thirties, when window blinds were the fashion, I often saw a van with the slogan “A blind man drives this van”. I was puzzled for years.

Best puns in Britain?

Ray C Noble: Leicestershire probably has the best punning business names of any county: The Codfather, a fish and chip shop; Plankety Plank, carpenters; The Tree Amigos, tree surgeons; and Mr Bit, window cleaners.
     Rutland has Wok This Way, a Chinese Takeaway; and Dentith & Dentith, a dental practice.


As it happens, a dental surgery in Leeds, West Yorkshire, has had a pearly-white flash of inspiration and combined two of those grinding chores we just can’t put off any longer by offering a hairdressing service to cap off your routine molar check-up.


“Short-back-and-sides and a filling”

Meadows Dental Practice, pictured above, is the first in the country to offer the two-in-one service, which is already proving popular with busy clients after taking on a dentist who is also a trained barber (yes, but does he sing as well?).

Actually ― surprise, surprise ― it was a newspaper’s April Fool’s Day joke. But here’s a funny thing. Just last week I caught a slice of the great old Western classic, My Darling Clementine, set in Tombstone ― and what features in the film is a ‘Barber Shop & Dentist’ called the ‘Bon Ton Tonsorial Parlor’.

Not so odd when you consider that one of the central characters of Tombstone and its famous shootout at the O. K. Corral was Doc Holliday, gunslinger, gambler and occasional dentist (graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1872).  

Anyway, near the start of the film, Wyatt Earp and amigos walk into the dentist cum barber shop following a long, hard, dusty and troublesome cattle drive ― and obviously wafting a trail of BO.

     Barber: Good evening, gentlemen. Welcome to the Bon Ton Tonsorial Parlor.

     Wyatt: Barbershop?

     Barber: Well, if you want to call it that. What can I do for you?

     Wyatt: Shave.

     Barber: Haircut?

     Wyatt: Shave.

     Barber: “We give baths, too.”

     Wyatt: “Shave.”

A rather amusing little sequence.

Whatever, head ‘em up, move ‘em on... Mention of The Codfather, above, now prepare to be codsmacked.

There’s The Codmother  in Plymouth, and The Cod Almighty  in Bristol; A Salt ‘n’ Battered  in Sheffield; A Fish Called Rhondda  in the Welsh Valleys (Ton Pentre); and Goodbuy Mr Chips  in Repton, Derbyshire.

I also learn there’s a fish and chip shop in Bradford called Fanny Haddocks; and in Otley, West Yorkshire, there’s one called the Chip in Dales.

Oh and a mobile fish and chip shop in Evesham called The StarChip Enterprise.

Brilliant. As it happens, a brand new name for a chip shop dedicated to bikers was also suggested online:
    
Motor Pike and Side Carp

That is  rather good. But enough fish and chips already.

Apropos The Tree Amigos, there’s also a firm of tree surgeons in Taunton called Special Branch.

The bottom line

I’m unsure how the following got in here ― perhaps it has something to do with all those letters apropos coloured toilet paper I shared with you a while back (so to speak):

Anyway, when aircraft were first flirting with breaking the sound barrier ― Chuck Yeager first broke the magical barrier back in 1947 in a rocket-powered Bell XS-1 ― the airplane manufacturers were experiencing problematic and serious handicaps because the wings were threatening to shear off at the fuselage.

On hearing this, the American airbase janitor proposed putting a row of perforations along those edges, just like toilet paper ― as the bloody stuff never tears along that.
 


Wednesday, April 16th

Rescue recovery position

AS MENTIONED in yesterday’s ‘Missing in action’ update, I confirmed that I hadn’t been run over by a Routemaster bus. Or laid low by a bug.

What’s more I haven’t been on holiday. Neither did I have my collar felt by an unfriendly neighbourhood PC, nor indeed spent a few days lying low at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

However, mention of being laid low by a bug and having my collar felt by a PC ― while I’m pleased to report that I’m still fighting fit (just about), my computer hasn’t been.

Actually, the computer itself was fine ― but a week or so back I suddenly couldn’t upload my web site update into the ether (or wherever all this stuff goes after leaving home).

Now I deal with a friendly, family-owned computer business in nearby Ammanford ― wonderfully agreeable and helpful to do business with ― so they needed the computer brought into their workshop for investigation.

Because I buy all my computer related stuff with them my problem went to the back of the front cue (their A-list customers ― rather than those who buy their stuff online or elsewhere but bring things in when they have a problem ― which strikes me as a totally fair way of doing business).

They asked how urgent the repair was ― well, I no longer need it for business reasons (even though I’ve only been working limited hours for many a year now, I have finally put my feet up), so I was reluctant to whisper “urgent” when clearly it wasn’t.

Also, given that the computer is now about 18 months old they suggested a spring clean, a complete health check ― a PC MOT, if you like ― which sounded eminently sensible. I christened it the 100,000 click service. In truth a million click service would probably be more apt ― but for now a 100,000 click service sounded about right.

So come last Friday the glitch had been sorted, compliments of a new bit of software.

When I collected the computer, Andrew, my friendly clickety-click man, showed me how to operate the new system ... we then uploaded the smile of the day from Thursday the 3rd, the one that had remained grounded ― and it worked a treat.

Back home on the Saturday I decided to upload my smile for Friday the 4th ― the one about modern first names, which I had already written up before taking the computer in for investigation ― but surprise, surprise ... do you think I could get it to work?

So on Monday me and Andrew again went through the routine over the phone ― and yes, I was doing something wrong. Problem solved.

But just to add insult to injury, by Tuesday evening the new Microsoft Office programme Andrew had also installed for me ... failed to open.

By this morning though, the problem had mysteriously cleared, all on its ownsome; everything was okay and the whole shooting match was up and running again. Fingers crossed.

The name game

Back at the beginning of the month I smiled at unforgettable and punny business names ― and I featured a local young computer whizz-kid whose business is called EASY PC ― which is rather clever and memorable.

Unforgivably, I forgot all about the computer people I do business with ― I was actually dealing with Andrew a good few years before EASY PC got going, and with human nature being what it is, we tend to stick with what we know and trust.

Anyway, here is Andrew’s business...

 

Which again is rather clever and memorable.

The next stop...

Talking about memorable names, tonight on telly I happened to catch a re-run of Michael Portillo’s excellent Great British Railway Journeys. This time, Michael was down in the West Country, travelling from Taunton to Minehead.

Along the way he stopped off at a place called Watch It. At least that’s what it sounded like ― he mentioned it a few times ― so I reversed Ivor the Search Engine  out of the shed.

Actually, it’s Watchet, in Somerset, population 3,785: “a bustling harbour town, with a new marina and a station for the West Somerset Railway.”

So how about that for an unforgettable place name? Watchet, pronounced Watch It.

 

Saturday April 5th to Tuesday April 15th

Missing in action, presumed...

...DEAD? Grounded? Gallivanting? Helping the police with their enquiries? Served with an Online ASBO? Other?

Other it is. Just a boring old computer-ish problem, and way beyond my basic understanding and control, I’m afraid.

Hopefully the whole kit and caboodle will have been remounted and back running in the Online National by tomorrow.

Being that I’m a rank outsider, just back me each way, folks.

Thought for the day:

To paraphrase the great Tommy Cooper (1921-1984): “I’m on a whisky diet. I’ve lost eleven days already.”
 


Friday, April 4th

A funny thing happened on the way to the registrar

LAURIE TAYLOR, on his BBC Radio 4 programme Thinking Allowed,  had been discussing names.

For example, an Eleanor is a hundred times more likely to go to Oxford than a Shannon; and a Peter is fifty times more likely to go to Cambridge than a Reece. Yes, all about names and social mobility.

Laurie went on to point out that, if you are unhappy with the name your parents gave you, it is remarkably easy to change it by deed poll. But he did emphasise that changing Tarquin to William would not necessarily get you into Oxford.

In passing, he’d mentioned that Shane was a modern, made-up name, somehow equivalent to Jade or Wayne ― but many listeners reproached him and pointed out that Shane has a long and impressive Irish family tree, indeed a Noble Irish name, so not a moniker to be ashamed of.

Laurie then shared with us this missive from a listener:

“However, not everybody who has an Irish name is delighted with it. ‘Laurie: My parents decided to call me Paddy before I was born. Christened Patricia but always addressed as Paddy, I’ve experienced 54 years of having to explain that I am not Irish, not male and not a dog. I couldn’t change it without upsetting my parents and to this day my name makes me want to weep. Kind regards, Paddy Barker.’.”

I’m unsure why Paddy dislikes her name so. I mean, it really is memorable ― which is the whole purpose of a name. (Remember this? “The name’s Stone. Blarney Stone.”)

Here in Wales, and as has been mentioned in many a Look You dispatch, we specialise in brilliant nicknames.

Perhaps my favourite is Dai Aphanous ― a name I’ve regaled you with on many a smile of the day occasion. One of life’s great characters is Dai Aphanous ― and yes, we can see precisely what he’s thinking at 40 paces.
 


Thursday, April 3rd

Keeping it up longer

FOLLOWING last evening’s live television debate between UKIP’s Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg, Deputy PM and leader of the Liberal Democrats, about Britain’s future in Europe, this piece from last weekend’s ATTICUS column in The Sunday Times  seemed to fit the bill:

Good day to you

As Euro elections near, you’ll be wondering how to keep your doorstep free of unwanted Liberal Democrats.

Here’s a tip from former party leader Charles Kennedy, who reveals he was lost for words while canvassing when told: “Sorry, dear, I’m blow-drying the cat.” (Thank you, Mrs Slocombe, we’ll put you down as a don’t know.”)

He got off lightly. When LBC radio’s Iain Dale was a Tory candidate, an old lady ushered him through the door with the words: “You’ll find the Durex on the sideboard.” Dale is gay. On the other hand, the seat was marginal...

Luckily, she only wanted him to change her clock’s battery. She had meant to say “Duracell”.

It’s not just a condom, it’s a Duracell. Keeps on jumping for ever.

Sticking with MPs, but on a slightly different tack: “I bought a dog from the local blacksmith,” reports the Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris. “As soon as I got him home, he made a bolt for the door.”

Tweetie Pie Corner

     “An odious little toad with a vast closet of skeletons.” Premiership footballer Joey Barton, 31, on Gary Lineker, 53, (Match of the Day presenter and someone who sells spuds in fancy dress ― the spuds, that is).

Gary Lineker has never stepped on my  toes, but whenever I catch sight of him I am overwhelmed with a need to give him a good slap. Strange how these things work.

However, credit where credit’s due, I really liked how he hit back at Barton’s put-down, and a remark that Lineker described as “scurrilous nonsense”: “I had a good look in my closet and only found a few packet of crisps.”

Very good.

Right, let’s catch up with a few more letters from The Times:

No escape

Sir, Going up to my office in the lift this morning I was surprised when the emergency phone rang. On answering it I was greeted with a familiar voice inquiring whether I had been mis-sold PPI and wanted to make a claim. Is there no sanctuary from these people?
HENRY UMNEY, London SW15

Now that is funny ― but my guess is that the person at reception and/or on the switchboard, would have seen Henry enter the office ― perhaps even exchanged a few pleasantries ― then received the sales call and put it through to the lift for a bit of a laugh (presuming of course that Henry is an easy-going, amusing sort of fellow, which I am sure he is).

Anyway, there was a response:

Pane relief

Sir, Reading Henry Umney’s letter reminded me of the time a colleague received a phone call from a double-glazing salesman. “We do have rather a lot of windows,” she said.
     “I’m sure that we can arrange a good deal for you,” he replied, “and where do you work?”
     “Lincoln Cathedral,” she replied.
KATE WILSON, Lincoln


Wonderful. Finally, I thought this a perfect missive to underline today
s smile of the day:

Up from Londoners

Sir, Altrincham? Glamorous? (“30 Most Glamorous Places to Live”). All the best people left years ago, including me. LOL, as they say (probably in Altrincham).
JANET BYRNE, Newcastle upon Tyne

LOL indeed, Janet Byrne.

I’ve always taken it as read that the best and most glamorous place to live is inside my head. There’s never any fuss or bother in there. And it’s always a smile a minute. Sometimes two.
 


Wednesday, April 2nd

Your friendly neighbourhood one-stop shop
(Sign Language spotted in Hong Kong by Barbara Davies)

Rude health

A COUPLE of days back I shared with you some wonderfully entertaining and punny business names. Here is the latest instalment.

Mind you, before I start, I am rather taken with the above ‘Coffin shop’ with the motorbikes parked inside. Did they belong to Fook Hing’s more recent customers?

Whatever:

Back with the business of puns

Brian Christley: On punning business names, what about the Liverpudlian white-goods retailer, Sellfridges?

Sandy Pratt: There is a cement-delivery company in Hastings called “William the Concreter”.

Oh and how about this comment, spotted online: A rather better one was the chiropodist calling himself “William the Corn-Curer”. (Ivor the Search Engine couldn’t find William the Footish, so I guess that’s just a rather clever joke.)

However, here are some other online suggestions, which do indeed check out:

A ready-mixed concrete firm in London called Jim’ll Mix It. (I suppose the now unintended infamy adds to its memorableness; mixing with the wrong sort, that kind of thing.)

On a slightly different tack, there’s a sign in a hospital car park which warned: “Thieves operate in this hospital” (That is possibly a joke, too.)

Anyway, back with other business names, which also check out...

     Supplier of batteries, tyres and exhausts, in Blyth, Northumberland: Tyred & Exhausted.

     Carpet shop, also in Blyth: Walter Wall

     [There’s obviously something special in the waters up there in Blyth: Hail to thee Blyth Spirit!]

     Window cleaning business in Uckfield: Seymour Clearly.

     Cleaning company in Keighley, West Yorkshire: Spruce Springclean.

     Florist in St Helens: Back To The Fuchsia.

     Painter and decorator in Bridgend, South Wales: Vincent van Gloss.

     Castle Douglas firm specialising in portable loos: WC in Fields.

     And a Mr Daly of Cork, Ireland, who owns a bakery shop: Our Daly Bread.

Actually, I have my own contribution, which will hopefully add to the joy of the passing parade.

There’s a young man here in Llandeilo who sorts out the town’s computer problems, both private and business ― and his little van bears this memorable trade moniker...


 

Mind you, perhaps he should add the strapline ♫♫♫: Now I go cleanin’ Windows to earn an honest bob”, ho, ho, ho! Mind you, it is a very old song, so fair play.

Whatever, the double cream that makes EASY PC particularly punny is that the van is regularly parked outside his home ― which is next door to the police station.

As for all the other punny business names in my collection ― well, to be continued...

 

 


 

Never mind 10-a-day ― start with one square meal


“Egg-stra! Egg-stra! Read all about it!

A Freedom Food Farm has become the first in the world to rear chickens that can lay square eggs. While the shape makes it convenient for eating, it also means making egg sarnies has become even simpler.

We speak to Joe Higgins, a farmer who works with the chickens ... chickens lay eggs by expelling the eggs from their uterus through an opening known as a vent: “The one big drawback,” explains farmer Higgins, “is the dreadful noise as the vents now close with a bang.”

Yes, okay, I made up that farmer Higgins quote. Well, just think about it.

Whatever, both the Daily Express  and ITV’s  Daybreak apparently featured this April Fool’s Day story.

Incidentally, if hens expel their eggs through a vent, should not the arrival of each and every egg be called an advent i.e. the arrival of something important or awaited.

I commend the motion to the House.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

I particularly enjoyed the sillyness of the above April Fool joke, if only because it took me back to last week and another curious tale involving eggs ― this from the Daily Mail...

The fox that thinks it’s a mother hen:  Cunning creature
caught napping on eggs while chickens pecked around garden


Mummy Laid An Egg! (Red Fox Picture Books) [Paperback]
(yes, I really did spot the above Red Fox Picture Books ad online)

Discovered by schoolchildren in Portsmouth, Hampshire, the fox looked somewhat startled to have been found nesting on some freshly laid eggs. The fox had managed to sneak into the hut in the environmental area at the Flying Bull Primary School.

The intruder was only discovered at lunchtime by a group of pupils ― known as 'egg monitors' ― when they went to collect eggs and feed the chickens. The excited children ran back inside and told Jane France, office manager, what they had seen ― and she grabbed her camera.

Mrs France, 57, said: “The chickens were quite happily scratching around in the garden ― oblivious to the fox in their coop.” Staff later moved the creature on and all the eggs were still intact.

“I don’t suppose I’ll ever take another photo like that! The children who saw the fox were amazed that they had got so close to a wild animal. I went into the coop and there in the corner was this beautiful fox sitting very still and quite unperturbed.

“What struck me was that he was a beautiful example ― we have previously had foxes running through our grounds and they are generally thin and in very poor condition.”

Do you swear to tell the truth...

What a strange story. I mean, foxes will take eggs anyway, if only to squirrel them away for a later treat. Also, that it stayed there even after the children had seen it and obviously disturbed it, was most peculiar. Makes you think that perhaps it was a pet fox, being that it was so friendly.

And how odd that the chickens scratching around in the garden never became alarmed ― they are finely tuned to the presence of predators in their vicinity.

As usual there were some interesting and wonderfully cynical online comments, many thinking it was some kind of joke ― it featured about a week ago, well before April Fool’s Day. Incidentally, there were also pictures of the children and the lady who took the photograph.

One comment suggested that it was as perfect an example of quality taxidermy as you could ever wish to see ... looking at it again, you can indeed see where that observation is coming from.

Others said the eyes were all wrong. Mind you, that could be the camera flash.

Just Google ‘image of fox eyes’, someone else suggested ... well, have a go. If nothing else you will see an astonishing gallery of fox pictures ― and look out for those eyes...

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                                                                   Previously on Look You...
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Jan             Smile of the day 2013: Dec
                                                                  
Smile of the day 2014: Feb            
Smile of the day 2013: Nov
                                                                   Smile of the day 2014: Mar            Smile of the day 2013: Oct
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Sep
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Aug
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Jul
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Jun
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: May
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Apr
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Mar
                                                                                                                                      
Smile of the day 2013: Feb

                                                                                                                                       Smile of the day 2013: Jan
                                                                                                                                       Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)

Previous 2012 smiles: Smile of the day 2012 (Jan-Mar) .. Smile of the day 2012 (Apr-Jun) .. Smile of the day 2012c (Jul-Sep) .. Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)
Previous 2011 smiles:  Smile of the Day 2011 (Jan-Jun) .. Smile of the Day 2011 (Jul-Sep) .. Smile of the day 2011 (Oct-Dec)
                   Home

 Previously: Smile of the Day 2010
Home   2010 (Jan to Jun)   2009   2008   March to May '07   June to Aug '07   Sep to Dec '07


Reception

You are here, way out west,
at Llandeilo

aka Llandampness
aka Dodgy City

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Previously on LOOK YOU......


Smile of the day 2014: Mar
Smile of the day 2014: Feb
Smile of the day 2014: Jan
Smile of the day 2013: Dec
Smile of the day 2013: Nov
Smile of the day 2013: Oct
Smile of the day 2013: Sep
Smile of the day 2013: Aug
Smile of the day 2013: Jul
Smile of the day 2013: Jun
Smile of the day 2013: May

Smile of the day 2013: Apr
Smile of the day 2013: Mar
Smile of the day 2013: Feb

Smile of the day 2013: Jan
Smile of the day 2012d (Oct-Dec)
Smile of the day 2012c (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the day 2012 (Apr-Jun)
Smile of the day 2012 (Jan-Mar)

Smile of the day 2011 (Oct-Dec)
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jul-Sep)
Smile of the Day 2011 (Jan-Jun)

Smile of the Day 2010
2010 (Jan to Jun)
2009

2008
Sep to Dec '07

June to Aug '07
March to May '07

As it was in the beginning:
ST DAVID'S DAY, 2007

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Postcards from my Square Mile @
smile
Updated: 11/08/2013

Here's lookin' at you @
400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 08/06/2013


What A Gas @
400 Smiles A Day
Updated: 17/05/2009

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