Sunday, January 22, 2012


If you didn't get through the sketch here is a transcript.

“What’s the point of going abroad if you’re just another tourist carted around in buses surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Coventry in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their Sunday Mirrors, complaining about the tea — “Oh they don’t make it properly here, do they, not like at home” — and stopping at Majorcan bodegas selling fish and chips and Watney’s Red Barrel and calamares and two-veg and sitting in their cotton frocks squirting Timothy White’s suncream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh ‘cos they “overdid it on the first day.” And being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellvueses and Continentals with their modern international luxury roomettes and draught Red Barrel and swimming pools full of fat German businessmen pretending they’re acrobats forming pyramids and frightening the children and barging into queues and if you’re not at your table spot on seven you miss the bowl of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, the first item on the menu of International Cuisine, and every Thursday night the hotel has a bloody cabaret in the bar, featuring a tiny emaciated dago with nine-inch hips and some bloated fat tart with her hair brylcreemed down and a big arse presenting “Flamenco for Foreigners.” And adenoidal typists from Birmingham with flabby white legs and diarrhea trying to pick up hairy bandy-legged wop waiters called Manuel and once a week there’s an excursion to the local Roman remains to buy cherryade and melted ice cream and bleeding Watney’s Red Barrel and one evening you visit the so called typical restaurant with local color and atmosphere and you sit next to a party from Rhyl who keep singing “Torremolinos, torremolinos” and complaining about the food — “It’s so greasy isn’t it?” — and you get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic camera and Dr. Scholl sandals and last Tuesday’s Daily Express and he drones on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up over the Cuba Libres. And sending tinted postcards, of places they don’t realize they haven’t even visited, to: “All at number 22, weather wonderful, our room is marked with an ‘X’. Food very greasy but we’ve found a charming little local place hidden away in the back streets where they serve Watney’s Red Barrel and cheese and onion crisps and the accordionist plays ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner’.” And spending four days on the tarmac at Luton airport on a five-day package tour with nothing to eat but dried BEA-type sandwiches and you can’t even get a drink of Watney’s Red Barrel because you’re still in England and the bloody bar closes every time you’re thirsty and there’s nowhere to sleep and the kids are crying and vomiting and breaking the plastic ash-trays and they keep telling you it’ll only be another hour although your plane is still in Iceland and has to take some Swedes to Yugoslavia before it can load you up at 3 a.m. in the bloody morning and you sit on the tarmac till six because of “unforeseen difficulties”, i.e. the permanent strike of Air Traffic Control in Paris — and nobody can go to the lavatory until you take off at 8, and when you get to Malaga airport everybody’s swallowing “enterovioform” and queuing for the toilets and queuing for the armed customs officers, and queuing for the bloody bus that isn’t there to take you to the hotel that hasn’t yet been finished. And when you finally get to the half-built Algerian ruin called the Hotel del Sol by paying half your holiday money to a licensed bandit in a taxi you find there’s no water in the pool, there’s no water in the taps, there’s no water in the bog and there’s only a bleeding lizard in the bidet. And half the rooms are double booked and you can’t sleep anyway because of the permanent twenty-four-hour drilling of the foundations of the hotel next door — and you’re plagued by appalling apprentice chemists from Ealing pretending to be hippies, and middle-class stockbrokers’ wives busily buying identical holiday villas in suburban development plots just like Esher, in case the Labour government gets in again, and fat American matrons with sloppy-buttocks and Hawaiian-patterned ski pants looking for any mulatto male who can keep it up long enough when they finally let it all flop out. And the Spanish Tourist Board promises you that the raging cholera epidemic is merely a case of mild Spanish tummy, like the previous outbreak of Spanish tummy in 1660 which killed half London and decimated Europe — and meanwhile the bloody Guardia are busy arresting sixteen-year-olds for kissing in the streets and shooting anyone under nineteen who doesn’t like Franco. And then on the last day in the airport lounge everyone’s comparing sunburns, drinking Nasty Spumante, buying cartons of duty free “cigarillos” and using up their last pesetas on horrid dolls in Spanish National costume and awful straw donkeys and bullfight posters with your name on “Ordoney, El Cordobes and Brian Pules of Norwich” and 3-D pictures of the Pope and Kennedy and Franco, and everybody’s talking about coming again next year and you swear you never will although there you are tumbling bleary-eyed out of a tourist-tight antique Iberian airplane…”

So, the point is? The Japanese, on 7th December 1941 attacked the American base at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii early on a Sunday morning knowing that most of the base would be either at Church or in bed or suffering from a bit of bevvy the previous night.

On Friday night, as I was sipping a long-looked-forward-to glass of Chardonnay, I was thinking that all around New Zealand, if not the Christian world (at the appropriate GMT time) anyone who drinks alcohol would be enjoying after-work drinks and probably continuing on to more during the evening. There is a very high liklihood that there are more pissed people on a Friday night than any other day of the week.
If I was a planner for Muslim terrorism I'd take a leaf out of Tojo's book and attack the Westerners on a Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Check this report from The Daily Mirror:

-       German soldiers too fat to fight the Taliban."
-       A report by Germany's Parliament found forces in Afghanistan got through more than 1.7 million pints of beer and 92,000 bottles of wine last year. They are already on track to top those figures this year, with 901,000 pints of beer and 56,000 bottles of wine being shipped in the first six months. US forces are not allowed to drink, while British soldiers are allowed only small quantities while off-duty.  Earlier this year, another report found that 40 per cent Germany's 3,600 soldiers in Afghanistan were overweight.
-       This has prompted Reinhold Robbe, Parliamentary Commissioner for the armed forces, to observe: "Plainly put, the soldiers are too fat, exercise too little and take little care of their diet."  There was also a stinging assessment given by the head of Germany's crack commando squad, the KSK. In a frank outburst, General Hans-Christoph Ammon, whose soldiers are fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban, said the scheme to train Afghan police – for which Germany is responsible – had been "a miserable failure".
-       He said the German Government had put just 12 million towards training the Afghan Army and police. "At that rate, it would take 82 years to have a properly trained police force," he told Deutsche Press Agency.
So there!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Tonight we had dinner with our holiday neighbours Murray and Christine. They have a holiday house near us in McLeod Bay. As Lynn and I are working in Auckland each week our house, whilst not intended to be so, is by default our holiday house where we try and spend each weekend.
Now you would think that early January would mean that dinner would be a BBQ , eating on the deck after a swim in the water across the road but not this Summer. It has rained all day with strong cold winds. This is the same weather (but colder) that we have experienced through Christmas and New Year.
Dinner then is an in-doors, sit-down affair at the dining table and will be oven baked fare - venison, roast beetroot, Dauhinoise potatoes etc. followed by a fruit and custard tart. So. What to drink with this. Fortunately Murray, last weekend, gave us two bottles to 'stand' ready for the Saturady night dinner. He is one of the lucky few who each year manage to get their hands on Stonyridge Larose. It was Murray who provided the 2009 and 2008 vintages we drank ast year see: A Special Treat

2007 and 2009 Larose rady for imbibing
This year we had the 2007 and the 2009 vintages to compare. The 2009 was not much changed from what it was like last year. Big, bold, tannic with dense and still subdued fruit. This is a keeper and will take a while to hit its straps. The 2007 was more approachable and elegant. It too has dense fruit but some lighter edges and a bit of greenness. It will also keep for a while but perhaps not as long as the 2009. We were a bit geekish and got our guests to fill out tasting sheets (Lynn's idea - honest) which was a good exercise in evaluating the wines properly. This was done before dinner and before the Pool challenge so sensory evaluation was possible and fairly accurate. During and after dinner though we consumed a bottle of 1998 Penfolds Bin 389, a bottle of Moet and a bottle of Johanneshof Gewurtztraminer. Oh, did I mention the Seresin Chardonnay? Well, we only consumed half a bottle of that before the red wine tasting.
The Pool challenge was a draw this year - 1 game each - the wine kind of overpowered the stamina and ability to play.
It is a slow morning here, but, as it is still overcast with a bit of rain, a good morning to watCh television. I just saw "How to look at a landscape" - a brilliant essay on New Zealand painting.
I couldn't find an image of Robin White's stunning 'New Garden' but here is a classic Colin McCahon one.