Friday, September 26, 2008

Women Dice with death

I didn't mean to blog twice in a day but have any of you seen this? How stupid are these two women?

Oh I'm off for the next few days. Don't think I'll have wifi but you never know.

Lost in Austen

And so ITV's twist on Pride & Prejudice is over.

Great TV it certainly wasn't, I don't think people will be sitting down to watch repeats or buy the DVD, but it was light, frothy and had the odd amusing line in it.

When I last commented on this I said I expected Elizabeth Bennet to turn up 3 months pregnant and on drugs. Well she did turn up and she wasn't.

My problem with it was that it was all so unrealistic. Ok having a 21st century woman turn up in an 18th century novel is unrealistic but that doesn't mean you can't write it with a degree of realism.

At the start of part 4. Darcy couldn't love a woman who came to his bed not "whole", Bingley was off the rails totally and Jane is married to Mr Collins. Oh and Elizabeth was nowhere.

So how do you unravel that? They find Elizabeth (and this is probably the best bit) working as a nanny. It was amusing to see Darcy's face when confronted with 21st century Hammersmith (and it was a stark reminder to us to see that Hammersmith was a village in the early 18th century) and I liked Amanda's line "I'm borrowing a mobile phone from Elizabeth Bennet".

As Collins is incapable of consumating his marriage Lady Catherine will arrange for a divorce if Amanda Price will remove herself from polite society. Jane weeps that she is now is even worse straits but Bingley appears virtually immediately to propose and says they'll go to America. Elizabeth decides she prefers the 21st century and goes back and Amanda and Darcy stick tongues down each others throat (is that removing yourself from polite society?).

It was ok, and that's the best I can say about it. Let me add I am not a Janeite but I have enjoyed the adaptations and of the books I think Pride & Prejudice is excellent but for me there is a reason for that and that's because Elizabeth Bennet is such a good character take her out and what have you got? And you know what I didn't really like the substitute. In the book (and in the adaptation) you care about what happens and in this you don't.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hope for the Small Tortoiseshell?

When I was a lad the butterfly I remember most is the Small Tortoiseshell. I'm sure there were lots of whites etc but the Small Tortoiseshell was the one I remember flitting about the garden and sitting on the marigolds and dahlias.

Over the years its numbers have declined significant and so when I see one (like the one snapped in the link above on Sunday) it is a pleasurable experience.

The charity Butterfly Conservation was worried that Small Tortoiseshells were a dying breed after many fell victim to a parasitic fly. However 100's have been seen on the east coast during August and September, it is thought better weather helped them cross the channel and now these butterflies are moving inland.

We now have to hope that this influx has a positive impact on numbers next spring.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lunch is off

There was a story on the BBC this morning that nearly 3,000 restaurants and cafes in France have closed this year as the credit crunch begins to bite. Or is it?

Once upon a time you had to book to get a table at a restaurnant for lunch but apparently now instead of going out for lunch our French cousins are more likely to eat a sandwich at there desks.

French restrauteur Bernard Picolet disagrees that the credit crunch is the cause.

People will tell you that it's because of the economic crisis or it's because of the smoking ban [which came into effect in cafés and restaurants in February] or because there are no Americans around. Yes, of course, it is partly the fault of those things but it is also something much worse than that and, I fear, it's not going to get better. The French, these days, are no longer eating like the French. They are eating like the English.

Younger French people today don't understand or care about food. They are happy to gobble a sandwich or chips, rather than go to a restaurant. They will spend a lot of money going to a nightclub but not to eat a good meal. They have the most sophisticated kinds of mobile telephone but they have no idea what a courgette is. They know all about the internet but they don't know where to start to eat a fish

French bloggers apparently blame restauranteurs for exploiting the move to the Euro to increase prices by considerably more than inflation.

Danièle Deleval is vice-president of the restaurateurs' trade body, L'Union des métiers et des industries de l'hôtellerie blames the government for failing to delvier on its promise to persuade the EU to reduce the amount of VAT payable on French restaurant meals from 19.6% to 5.5%. President Sarkozy has revived the idea but this is being blocked by Brussels.

Apparently people who still go to restaurants are being more circumspect in what they order. Some are finding themselves harassed by angry waiters or restaurateurs. At the Aux Lyonnais restaurant in Paris, owned by the celebrity chef Alain Ducasse, diners who decline to order an aperitif are told that their meals "will take a long time to prepare".

At the Quincy restaurant two couples were recently shown the door after they declined to order a starter. When they protested, the owner said: "How do you expect me to survive?"

With an attitude like that he won't ! Pete

Monsieur Picolet thinks darker forces are at work.
It starts in the home .... French people are going American, eating snacks in front of the TV. How can you expect them to appreciate a good meal?

Which reminds me we've just booked our Christmas lunch. I seldom get a lunch break these days.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Green Polar Bear

You may find this video of Green Polar Bears at Higashiyama Zoo in Japan interesting. The Bears turned green after swimming in a pond with an overgrowth of algae

Monday, September 22, 2008

What a spot!

Ivan O'Kelly recently joined anglers looking catch albacore tuna aboard the 12.5 metre MV Atlantic Explorer in the hope of catching a glimpse of fin whales.

Mr O'Kelly did see a whale and took some snaps and sent them to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). He was a bit surprised to find he had actually seen only the second validated account of a Blue Whale off of the coast of Ireland.

According to Mr O'Kelly

It was certainly one-and-a-half times the size of our boat,

It had a speckled back, and was very fast moving, fast swimming and very muscular.

I never realised how impressive these creatures are. It was mind-blowing. It really was a very unique experience.

Padraig Whooley, IWDG sightings co-ordinator, said

This sighting will have not just Irish or EU significance - it is of global importance

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Out and About

As it was another glorious day Dad and I went out today, as we often do we ended up at Clare Country Park. Why? The ride is pleasant and we like the place. You've seen it many times before but hey have some photos :D

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Sunny Day in Norfolk

What a lovely day! The sun shone all day, why couldn't it have been like that all summer?

Anyway Dave and I went to Norfolk, we arrived at Titchwell and headed to the sea.

We were chuffed to see a juvenile Red Necked Phalarope.

And there were loads of waders about including Ruff.

We also saw Golden Plover, Dunlin and quite a few Little Stint. Off the coast there were a few Arctic Skua, Gannet, a fly few through Red Breasted Merganser, a few Sarnie Terns and a Red Throated Diver.

Lookind across to Thornham.

We stopped for a Bacon Roll for breakfast and then went to Old Hunstanton.

Meadow Pipit

There were loads of Waders, Knot, Sanderling, Bar Tailed Godwit.



Bar-Tailed Godwit

We were chuffed to find some wheatear and this Whinchat

We then went to the Jolly Sailors at Brancaster Staithe for lunch. We saw four Buzzards high over head but this little beauty was the real star!

A Hummingbird Hawk Moth.

This chap was obliging.

We headed back to Titchwell. At one point 4 buzzards were high overhead and one was "odd".

The left hand bird is a Curlew Sandpiper


Spotted Redshank.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Black Fox

This video of a Black Fox may interest some of you.

In the UK Black Foxes are incredibly rare but they are much commoner in North America.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

and a surprise for you

I had a meeting in London today, the meeting was by London Bridge railway station which just happens to be 5 minutes walk from Southwark Cathedral. So good little blogger that I am I packed the camera and after the meeting finished spent my lunch hour taking photos for you.

Southwark Cathedral was originally a priory and at the time of the dissultion of the monastries it became a parish church. The nave and tower was rebuilt by the Victorians after the original collapsed. The eastern end is restored medieval. In 1905 it was elevated to a Cathedral. Given it was originally a priory and was conceived as a "great" church it is considered to be one of 26 vintage English Cathedrals, a parish church cathedral like the ones at Chelmsford and Derby are not considered Vintage Cathedrals as the were never conceived as "great" churches.

The situation is awful and get a decent external shot is hard (my excuse and I'm sticking to it).

Local cat.

I wandered the 5 minutes up the road to take some views from the Thames.

You can see St Paul's across the river.

A red bus and you can see the Gherkin (the glass building behind the bus in the back).

You can see HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge and to the left at the back the Tower of London.

And then went back to work (my first lunch break of the week!!).

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