Thursday, 30 June 2011

As Some Of My Friends Know I Collect Stamps,

but the one below is well out of my league! it is 2d blue but from Mauritius, it has just made the record of being the most valuable ever sold in the UK, going for just over£1 million, the stamp was one of the highlights of the Chartwell collection formed by businessman and philanthropist Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps, expected to fetch more than £20million in nine sales over 18 months, He had originally bought the stamp in 1972 for £29,000, five days later he was offered £39,000 for it but turned the money down, good move!
back to my collection, this is the nearest I have got to it, which I paid £4.90 for, I some how do not think it will make a million!
but I was happy to bid on this rarity, not actually a stamp you can use to post letters but one that was bought as a charity stamp to donate money to a cause, in this case the 1897 Prince of Wales's Hospital Fund, what makes this a little more interesting is that it has been over stamped 1904, a snip at £6.60, the stamp is also unusual in the fact that it is the only British stamp to bear a Royal signature, (Albert Edward),
a few more labels this time from a printer produced as samples to show his companies skill as printers to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, £3.40 for all four stamps,
speaking of printers samples this is one form Harrison & Sons, the company origins can be traced back to Richard Harrison who, in 1557, was recorded as a freeman of "the mystery and art of printing", the company was founded by James Harrison in London in 1750 and, until 1997, traded under the name of Harrison, the company has produced stamps for over 100 countries, including all British postage stamps from 1934 until the 1980's, in 1997, the De La Rue (DLR) group purchased Harrison’s and, almost overnight, centuries of tradition were washed away as the company changed its name to De La Rue Security Print, but this sample I paid rather a lot for, but it is the only example of this type in blue that I had seen, so I bidded £8.00 and won!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

After Our Last Few Evenings Out,

we decided on a quiet day today,
even though it was Diana's birthday she decided that we should have a night in, but during the day Jay and Precil called by for a cuppa and a chat, later Mark called in, also Steve from the UK called on the phone to wish Diana a happy birthday,
after our evening meal, a crab salad, it was down to the serious stuff, Monopoly, taking advantage of collecting two sets of streets early in the game I won, which was a bit unfair on Diana as it was her birthday after all, but the good news is that we will be out tomorrow for a nice meal at the restaurant of her choice,
during the day and evening we watched Pan's Labyrinth, this is what I wrote the first time we watched it, 'I bought it on Blu-Ray a long time ago, just never got around to watching it, I guessed it was a kids sort of thing, boy was I wrong! OK it had mythical creatures with two or three fairies helping the young heroine along, but gory, cruel and torture thrown into the mix, it takes place during the Spanish uprising at the end of the Second World war, at an outpost, it is held by troops fighting the insurgents, it is enough to say that Mercy's face had fled, a well crafted and memorable movie, an adults fairy tale, also if you are tempted to buy it (and I am glad I did), it is in Spanish but with English subtitles,' it has lost none of it's impact the second time around,
an Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles was next , a vampire named Lestat takes a liking to Louis who has just lost his wife and child and offers him the chance to become a creature of the night: a vampire, who then joins the vampire underworld,
then we just had to watch a few more of MI5, we watched three of them, Episode #3.10, after the police raid a house and find evidence that terrorists may be planning an attack in London with Sarin gas, two of the team are captured, one will not make it back alive, Episode #4.1, as the team buries their dead colleague, a bomb goes off in a nearby market, the group, Shining Dawn, demands the release of their leader Michael Monroe or they will detonate another bomb in 10 hours, the race is on to find it, lastly Episode #4.2, With Zafar Younis being held by the terrorists, Adam Carter had to act quickly to free him but he may have over-stepped when he tries to extract information from one of them, shades of Accidental Death Of An Anarchist which I watched at Wyndham's Theatre, many years ago performed by the Belt and Braces Theatre Company, who then went on to make a television program of the production, then for us it was off to bed.

Knowing My Fear Of Heights,

a friend of mine sent me a few pictures of work at high places,
I do not know who took them or where they originally came from,
but where is Health and Safety when you need them?
it gives me the shivers just looking at them.

‘They May Be Free Of Calories But Not Of Consequences.’

a great quote, but who was talking about what?
many times whilst chatting with friends I have mentioned how so called low calorie drinks, especially those containing the sweetener aspartame, can actually make you fatter, well for some who thought I was joking here are the results of an over 9 year study,

Professor Hazuda tracked the health and habits of 474 adults for an average of nine and a half years, She then compared the growth in waistline of those who consumed diet drinks with the others, including some who only buy regular fizzy drinks, overall, those who favoured diet drinks saw their waists expand 70 per cent faster, those who downed two or more diet fizzy drinks a day saw their waistbands expand at five times the rate of those who never touched the stuff a diabetes conference heard,

a second study, involving some of the same researchers and carried out on mice, linked sweetener aspartame with the sort of damage in the pancreas that can occur early in diabetes, Professor Hazuda said that her study was the fourth large-scale piece of research to link diet drinks with ill health, in conclusion with pot bellies being blamed for ills from heart disease to diabetes and cancer, the researchers said: ‘These results suggest that amidst the national drive to reduce chronic consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, policies that would promote the consumption of diet soft drinks may have unintended deleterious side-effects,’ trouble is they taste so nice!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

We Arrived Back From Nick And Maureen's,

to get ourselves ready for today's celebration, it was Maureen's birthday yesterday and Diana's tomorrow, so a small double celebration today, Slim Jim came along as well so there were just the 5 of us,
so in the afternoon off we went, this is the first time I have seen one of these in the back of a baht bus, a television screen with advertisements for real estate,
we were over taken by one of the many mobile animal sellers,
surprisingly few cars and coaches on the road from Pattaya,
even the Pattaya Floating Market did not appear to be busy,
past the Ambassador Hotel,
we finally arrived at Prechai seafood restaurant,
as you walk through the restaurant there are pools with some of the food on offer in them, like these small crabs,
next door their bigger cousins,
prawns a plenty,
I had to take a picture of Diana's favorite, lobster,
some small snails, rather like winkles we eat in the UK,
large mussels, these are about 9 inches long,
we then continued the walk through the surprising empty restaurant,
I was hoping to snap a few nice pictures of the sunset, but there was nothing but low cloud,
normally there would be lots of rocks at low water, but the restaurant has brought in sand to make a beach,
first course, some steamed shrimps,
and mussels, we also had some morning glory, a type of vegetable and seafood fried rice,
followed by some tom yam goong, a spicy seafood soup,
under the soup tray is a small lighted candle to keep the soup hot,
next course some crab claws but with the shell removed, I think we all liked the crab, especially as we did not have the fiddly work of removing the shell,
Slim Jim brought along wine and champagne,
it looked increasingly like it would rain, so we moved into the covered area and was welcomed by the local cat,
next course baby clams in a sauce that tasted like aniseed, rock lobsters in garlic with another helping of morning glory, I should say we also had some prawn doughnuts, but they were so delicious we ate them before I could pick up the camera!
to round the meal off some grilled fish,
the Tiger beer lady called by as we were having a few after meal drinks,
and helped with serving the drinks,
by now it was late in the evening,
but the wine kept flowing! the restaurant was so quiet, this Monday even when we left it was less than half full,
on my way to the bathroom I spotted these,
a parrot,
two rabbits,
and a pair of flamingos,
then back in the baht bus, just as a guide the meal came to just on 500 baht a head, Slim Jim brought the wine but the beers were supplied by the restaurant,
then present time!
Diana could not wait till tomorrow!
a beautiful necklace and earring set from Nick and Maureen,
and a watch from Slim Jim,
tomorrow when it is Diana's offical birthday I will treat her to a meal of her choice, plus this coming Christmas a bumper visit to the local gold shop! then a few more drinks and we were all off to bed.