Saturday, 29 February 2020

I Walked With Diana,

to the bus stop,

 as she left for work in the afternoon, I continued a wet and windy walk into town,

 first stop, Boots the chemist for my bi-monthly prescription, 

 next past the florist who had a nice display,

of seasonal plants and bulbs for sale, next stop Lidl and then Sainsburys for our weekly shop, back home I had a lazy afternoon, after my evening meal Steve called round for a coffee and a chat, after he left I watched one from Poirot which conveniently ended just before 01.00 AM as Diana telephoned to say she was on the bus and nearing the bus stop in Beckenham, so into town to meet her, then home, feet up for a coffee and we were of to bed.

On The 29th. Of February,

it is not only a leap year,

but it is St. Oswald's Day, for those of the Christian faith. The day is named for the archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. Sainted for "the zeal with which he had assisted Dunstan and Odo in revolutionising the Anglo-Saxon church", his memorial is celebrated on February 29 during leap years and on February 28 during common years, as February 29th only comes around once every four years, so it's a pretty special day for some people. Those would be the people who were born on February 29th, and only have a real birthday date four times by the time they get their driver's license. But there are traditions celebrated the world over for this rare date. The most common is that February 29 is the one day that women can propose marriage to men,

Where did the tradition begin? Supposedly Ireland in the 5th century. Saint Brigid of Kildare, arguing that women were languishing away waiting for their shy beaux to pluck up the nerve to pop the question, asked Saint Patrick to give a day they might do the deed themselves. A little haggling was involved, with Saint Patrick first suggesting every seven years, but eventually the Leap Year was settled on. According to folklore, Saint Brigid then immediately proposed marriage to the Irish saint,

as the Irish nun would have been around nine or ten years old when St. Patrick died in 461 A.D, this story is a little dubious, it is a outdated concept, but there are specific traditions centered around the idea, including fines levied against men who turned down such a proposal in various European countries, you can read about those traditions, at Buzzfeed, plus what they eat in Taiwan, what they drink in London, and what they publish in France on February 29.

When I read This Article.

I was reminded of a film that we both enjoyed,

The Legend of 1900, shortly after the Second World War, Max, a transplanted American, visits an English pawn shop to sell his trumpet, the shopkeeper recognises the tune Max plays as one on a wax master of an unreleased recording, discovered and restored from shards found in a piano salvaged from a cruise ship turned hospital ship, now slated for demolition, then hears the story of a piano player that has never left the ship in his life, 

as an aside, a real life and famous jazz player appears in the film, none other than Jelly Roll Morten, the man with the diamond smile, if you click on to the link you can read more about him, back to the article the reason it reminded me of the film was that it is about a boy with numbers as his name, apparently in Mexico many parents give their children unique, extravagant names, but even by these standards, the name Zero Zero Three stood out like a sore thumb, making its bearer an overnight internet celebrity, it all started when Casera Pizza, a well-known pizzeria based in Merida, the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan State, announced a contest for weird names, with the winner eligible to benefit from of its enticing promotions. People named Vercingetoriz, Nivea, or Bahtzibadi all made the final list, but none could hope to win against a young man named “Cero Cero Tres”, Spanish for ‘Zero Zero Three”, He won the coveted prize – two large pepperoni pizzas for just 49 pesos – and became an instant online sensation.

photograph Casera Pizza/Facebook, actually his full name is Cero Cero Tres Miller Santos ChablĂ©, but he only learned that when he was 15-year-old, growing up in the United States, Zero Zero Three never knew his real name, because his parents and all his friends called him “Bambino”, but after returning to Mexico, his family decided that it was time for him to know his legal name and handed him his birth certificate. That’s when he asked his parents what the “Zero Zero Three” stood for, and they answered “that is your name”. Obviously, his reply was “WHAT?”, Miller calmed down a bit when he learned that things could have been worse. His parents originally registered him as 003, as in the actual number, but their request was denied because figures weren’t acceptable as names, so they switched to letters. He does admit that he faced some bullying because of his name at school, but claims that he still wouldn’t change it for the world, “I did feel that I was being bullied by my name, but over time I really learned that it is part of my identity, it has given me so many anecdotes and such good friends, that I am not ashamed to say that this is my name,” the Mexican youth said, I am trying to think of other instances of numbers being used as names,

 and I immediately thought of one in The Grand Budapest Hotel which recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, who appeared in it, a great film which I will watch again.

What Does Car Maker Volkswagen,

make that outsells all of its cars?

the answer might surprise you, it is the uber popular and reportedly delicious VW sausage! VW has been producing sausages at its car plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, for nearly 50 years, the traditional wurst is such an important part of the company culture and history that it even has its own car part code, 199 398 500 A, sausage production at VW began in 1973, and was originally supplied exclusively to company cafeterias, to feed its staff. Over time, however, Volkswagen started selling its sausages at stadiums and in German stores, and people loved them. It’s said that because the wurst was originally created for company staff, it is of the very best quality, and it has actually won several awards at national food fairs and exhibitions over the years, 

photograph Ralf Roletschek – Fahrradtechnik auf, even though 40% of the roughly 6.7 million Volkswagen currywurst sausages produced by the car maker’s food department are consumed by its employees, the demand outside the VW is enormous, the majority of sausages are sold via a large network of supermarkets and enjoyed in households in 11 different countries, “It’s really just a sausage, but it is popular throughout all classes of society. Everyone loves it, even high-level managers who would otherwise eat some truffle dish,” Schulz proudly told Ozy Magazine

the recipe of VW sausages is a closely guarded secret, but according to some sources, one of the reasons for its success is the high meat and low fat content, beef was cut out from the recipe during the 1990s BSE crisis, but the pork used is only 20% fat, compared to the 35% or more in most other sausages. The meat is mixed with salt, pepper, curry and ginger, and packaged stuffed into 13cm or 25cm membranes, the 30-strong staff working in VW’s food department reportedly produce between 18,000 and 20,000 sausages every day, interestingly, Volkswagen also produces its own spiced ketchup, but it’s not quite as popular as its sausages, with only around 600,000 bottles being sold every year, and the sad news? unfortunately people living in America cannot savor the delights of VW sausages, as importing them is illegal, all the more for us then!

Friday, 28 February 2020

I Am Only Making One Post Today,

because yesterday I decided to transfer all of the photographs, 

and lots of other bits and pieces on the laptop to the computer upstairs, also I put lots of unwanted photographs/files in the recycle bin, but when I came to empty it, the bin had a hissy fit, I spent all of this morning watching the above, everytime I tried to do something else on the laptop, it stopped deleting files, as you can see 79% deleted and still 50 minutes and 2,621 files to go! note to self, empty recycle bin more often!

 eventually the bin emptied itself, so here goes with a short post, snow! yes it was snowing!

 Diana was so happy to see the snow, but alas it melted as soon as it landed, Diana left for work and I was still busy with transferring photographs to a couple of portable hard drives and deleting files to the recycle bin, which I did not empty, until this morning,

 a bit of good news in the post, our photograph from Lands End arrived, there is a chap there that that for a fee takes your photograph and then sends it to you, what a lovely Valentine's day that was,

 I also wanted to put some piano blues and boogie tracks in the laptop and make a playlist, when Diana is working some nights I sit myself at the table reading and listening to music, also of course I listen to music every morning as I am writing the blog, and as it happens at this very moment I am listening to Walking Blues by Raymond Barrow, in the late afternoon I downloaded these two double,

and treble CDs, to the laptop, not to everyone's taste,

but these two, the first by Pete Johnson - Death Ray Boogie, 

and the Wilkins Street Stomp by Speckled Red, will give you a idea of the style, I should say that the CDs that I listen to have had the tracks clean up, with all of the big clicks and surplus noise removed, as I mentioned not to everyone's taste but I enjoy them, I watched two from Poirot after my evening meal,

then just before 11.00 in the evening Diana called, so off to the bus stop and home, feet up for a coffee, a chat and one from New Tricks, and with that we were off to bed.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

It Was Diana's Day Off,

so out we went,

 there were two places that we were going to, 

 so to Beckenham Junction for the London Bridge train, 

 the day started out bright,

 but as we neared London,

 it really started to cloud over,

 just as  was about to take a photograph of Tower Bridge, along came a train,

 nearly there,

 here we are in the newly completed shopping concourse,

 it looks so nice, and as it happens there was a Nespresso shop there, one thing we wanted but had not ordered yet, was a calcium cleaning kit for our machine, so we bought 2 as we were here, as an aside before anyone comments on our choice of machine and George Clooney advertising the coffee for it,

Nespresso inclusion on Dispatches on Channel 4
On Monday 2nd March 2020, the UK documentary series, Dispatches, is airing a programme focused on child labour. Nespresso and George Clooney will be featured or referred to in this programme. Dispatches has informed Nespresso and George Clooney that they have reports and footage of children working on a small number of Rainforest Alliance certified farms in Guatemala.
Dispatches has not provided the information we require to identify the incriminated farms and to confirm whether they supply Nespresso. However, we have launched our own comprehensive immediate investigation on the ground, which includes taking decisive action.
This is an issue that Nespresso takes very seriously. We have a zero tolerance to child labour and, where there are claims that our high standards are not met, we act immediately.
To read our full response to the investigation by Channel 4, and the actions we are taking to protect against the causes of child labour. 

To read our full response to the investigation by Channel 4, and the actions we are taking to protect against the causes of child labour. 

what an appalling situation, full marks to Nespresso, trying to get to the bottom of this disturbing report, but it has to be said, what a complete lot of bubbling fools the Dispatches team must be, making accusations like this and not giving Nespresso all, or indeed any of the facts they have already uncovered, it is almost as if Dispatches does not want the company to find the truth, hopefully George and Nespressos are in not involved, if they are I am sure they put an end to this practice, and if they are not, hopefully a huge lawsuit against Dispatches will follow, for the full statement, have a look here, it is in fact an interesting read as Nestle pays premiums for coffee grown as part of the AAA Program, farmers in this region receive around $11 per bag of green coffee, additionally, they receive $7 per bag as an additional premium for their coffee as it is Rainforest Alliance certified,

 back to our trip, 

 work still continuing on the building next door to the Shard,

 which towers above the landscape,

 a short walk later and here we are, at Borough Market, Diana with the Nespresso bag and our cleaning kits, 

 just inside the entrance to the market there was a display of local people on boards,

 now time to look at the stalls,

 as we entered mainly ones selling cheese, fudge, 

 and bread,

 I would still eat bacon!

 hot mushrooms for sale,

 and a huge collection,

 of fresh ones,

 and so many varieties to choose from,

 this chap caught my attention, a huge monkfish, (Lophius piscatorius),

 placed beside a mouth watering display of lobsters and smoked fish,

 the normal fast food section had gone, 

 and a new seating section installed,

 the fast food section had been moved to a new area,

 and here they were,

 salted beef, one of my favorites here,

 many of the stalls new,

 we went back to our old favorites, passing some of the cured meat shops,

 Diana's favorite, seafood paella, 

 this my choice for breakfast,

 a pot of whelks,

 Diana had bought her breakfast,

yes the seafood paella,

 and this was the start of mine, we moved to an area to eat, where we would, like many others, not be in the way,

 when I noticed this stall,

 selling wild hog and venison,

 so venison stew it was then, 

 it also came with a slice of freshly baked bread, 


 meal over, we went in hope to buy some more chestnuts,

 but alas there are only available around Christmas,

 I could not help noticing the large variety of oranges for sale,

 there it was, 

 the agony of choice, white or rose,

 lots of other tipples on offer,

 decision made, rose and nice it was too, 


 we continued our walk around,

 so many foods to tempt us,

 and we did weaken,

 3 large trays of strawberries for £5.00,

 so much fresh produce is here,

 strawberries were also being sold in these cute wooden boxes, but looking at the price, I think you are paying more for the box than the strawberries!

 all of the displays looking so nice,

 we found ourselves back in the cheese section,

 and what a selection,

 and take note, 

 do not touch the saucissons!

 the truffles still comaning high prices, at £175.00 per 100 grams,

 we nearly bought a few of these,

 but the freezer is still too full from our last shop at Costco, 

 back out of the market, 

 and to the front of the taxi rank, 

 for the next part of our visit to London,

 rather than take two tubes,

 we decided to spoil ourselves,  

and even took a selfie, 

 across the bridge,

 and past St.Pauls,

 we soon found ourselves in Chinatown,

 a few days ago Diana had telephoned Mamasons, and ordered some Filipino pastry dishes, so here we are to pick them up, next stop Victoria station,

 after arriving in Beckenham I popped over to Marks and Spencers for some cream and meringue and joined Diana who was waiting for me in O'Neil's for a quick couple, well all of that walking is very dehydrating!

we passed Foxgrove Lodge, 

 and noticed these miniature daffodils in the front garden,  

 it was soon time for our evening meal, my before meal sherry, followed by a red wine,

 for this evening, gammon ham, eggs and chips, 


 for dessert some of the huge strawberries we had bought today at the market, 

 and they were tasty as well,

someone had to finish the cream, it just happen it as me! we watched a couple of Doctor Blake Mysteries,

 late in the evening it was time for Riddick to finish our evening, I am only making this one post today as it seems to have taken so long, and with that we were off to bed.