Friday, May 25, 2007

The Streets of London and Lord of the Rings stage show

It has become a tradition that upon attaining the ripe old age of 18 that Dad takes the newly minted adult to London for a BIG WEEKEND away!
So last weekend it was Jonny`s turn - we took in all the usual sights but in addition saw the Lord of the Rings stage musical at the Drury Lane theatre - being the most expensive musical ever we had high hopes and indeed the stage design and props were magnificent but sometimes the dialogue acting and music were frankly boring. The standout moments were amazing tho - the opening with all the hobbits wandering around the stalls catching fireflies (we were in the middle of the second row!) and the invasion of the auditorium by a band of marauding orcs in the intermission were unforgettable - Lothlorien and Galadriel and the Ents were fabulously realised and there were standout performances from Merry and Pippin who were brilliant. So despite the curate`s egg - it was still well worth seeing and I would recommend it even if you`ve seen the films to death. It is 3 hours long though!

Which one is Jonny the 18 year old?

Jonny and I went to London to celebrate his coming of age - we kept on bumping into lookalikes all over the place!
See if you can tell the difference?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mega monsters are even more mega

For those of you eagerly awaiting the triops update we have the latest..... they are even bigger, well, admittedly one has a much smaller tail, one of the others got a bit peckish one evening, you know how it is-9 o`clock and you need a little something..... However, they are all still shedding their skin every 2 days and are now about 3 cm long. James is very pleased with his first pet and especially likes them when they swim on their backs, so the second photo shows off all their little legs.
Meanwhile, the rain is gently trickling down the window pane, the central heating is on and I might light the fire. We are losing our suntans and are back to wearing woolly jumpers. Joy!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Processing negative events - the bike crash!

2 hours into our big ride across the Lake District, just as we were anticipating the joys of ascending Kirkstone Pass - a kairos event ocurred.
This is greek for "a great big crash" - I would like to say we were tearing up Ullswater like a couple of hooligans kneedown round the bends singing "Bat out of hell" but unfortunately we were doing a sedate 35 mph in touristy traffic when going over a hump in the road with a left to right bend on a wet road proved too much for my suspension. The rear tyre, which decided to act like Torvill and Dean, skated alongside me putting me side on to the road - the bike then highsided and threw me onto the tarmac.
Somewhat painfully I staggered to the side of the road and did a bodycheck - memory present, limbs x 4 and all moving then uoaarrghh very sore elbow!
Phone calls sorted out bike recovery and people recovery and we headed on to visit Dominic and Ellie in their new house (See the pic of us all) where we celebrated life and fine gardens with champagne and ibuprofen cocktails. By now unable to move my left arm I protested "its only a bruise" and one handed narrowly beat mein host at Table Tennis - hohoho - a sweet moment as ..................
when I returned to work on tuesday with a nonfunctioning limb, x-rays confirmed a fractured elbow (head of radius)!! The films were taken in Guisborough at 9-30 am and reviewed by the radiologist 10 miles away in Middlesbrough at 9-35 am digitally on the computer. This was demonstrated to me at subsequent review by the Consultant at East Cleveland Hospital on thursday where on his desktop computer he enlarged the digital images of my bones to show me the fracture line stopping short of the articular surface (very good news). X-ray films don`t exist anymore! When I was a new Consultant if I wanted to enlarge the image, I had to lean close to the film, now a stroke of the mouse zooms in on the digital image with fabulous clarity!!
So I had x-rays done at 15 mins notice, 5 mins walk from my office, with a Consultant review 2 days later - this was not special treatment as the local service is an on demand one and I witnessed fellow crippled patients lurching into the local A and E in East Cleveland Hospital and getting immediate access to a Consultant review if needed (mind you only available on thursdays).
Who says the NHS is in a state? I was proud to be part of this "free at the point of need" health care system!! Long may it continue
Since then strapped into a velcro strait jacket I have been taxied about the place and this may continue for a couple of weeks as I`ve been told not to drive.
And the bike? - it is probably written off! Well if it was a horse I would shoot it!!!! My friend Rollo who was with me feels that it has been a sign to get a modern bike that can go round corners, my brother believes it is a sign to get four wheels and a Caterham sports car, at work they think I need stabilisers - others think it was spiritual attack after preaching twice!

The British pint has been saved

The EU has done an about turn and allowed Britain to keep all Imperial measures for eternity (before we had to lose them by 2009).
The Crown on the Pint of beer is retained and after buying your vegetables in pounds and ounces and your carpets in yards feet and inches, you can walk a couple of miles to the pub and drink a couple of pints for evermore!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Concert season is upon us - from pomp to ballads

I have followed Magnum for 29 years ever since I bought their 1978 debut album Kingdom of Madness. I first saw them live at Reading Festival in 1980 along with Slade and Whitesnake (and Budgie and Marillion etc!). I have since then, seen them at the now defunct Mayfair in Newcastle and also the City Hall in the mid 80`s.
So how delighted am I, that they are reformed and back firing on all cylinders with a rifftastic bombastic new album called "Princess Alice and the broken arrow". It has to be the most pretentious title this year and it comes with an album cover by Rodney Matthews! The answer is "very delighted" as I have in my possession tickets for the new tour this month.

AND could it get any better - well it can! Dugald and I have managed to get tickets to see Rush in October on their tour for their new CD "Snakes and Arrows!
And finally we have tickets to see Iain Archer (ex of Snow Patrol) supported by Jacob Golden in the bandroom at Farndale in North Yorkshire. I`m going to see Jacob Golden who I think sounds better than Damien Rice and Jeff Buckley combined, with a bit of Nick Drake in there as well - listen to Out Come the Wolves and just shiver with schizoid fear - go to his website and his MySpace site to listen and be transported to sad sensitive balladeer heaven where weeping CAN go on for a season!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

mega monsters

What do you think of these amazing creatures? In our house we are divided; some people are afraid they are going to jump out and attack us, others prefer to see them as fantastic performers who can do flick flacks in the water while eating!!James has grown them from tiny eggs smaller than a pin head into these 2 cm long beauties. Called triops they are really little dinosaurs dating back to prehistoric times. We look forward to the fight to the death, which is inevitable according to the instructions. As yet they have no names but we are open to suggestions. I do have to confess this our 3 rd attempt at growing triops the first time i killed them by using the wrong water. Second time they just didnt hatch. To be recommended for those of you who aren`t great fans of pets, they are not smelly, dont wee/poo all over the place and don`t eat too much.