Nigella Lawson vs. real women

Nigella Lawson vs. real women

See how many of them you think are true……

1. Nigella’s Way
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice-cream drips.
The Real Woman’s Way
Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Goodness sake. You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway.

2. Nigella’s Way
To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
The Real Woman’s Way
Buy Smash and keep it in the cupboard for up to a year.

3. Nigella’s Way
When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking tin, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won’t be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
The Real Woman’s Way
Tesco sell cakes. They even do decorated versions.

4. Nigella’s Way
If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it’s still cooking, drop in a potato slice.
The Real Woman’s Way
If you over salt a dish while you are cooking, that’s tough!  Please recite with me the Real Woman’s motto: ‘I made it and you will eat it and I don’t care how bad it tastes.’

5. Nigella’s Way
Wrap celery in aluminium foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks
The Real Woman’s Way
It could keep forever. Who eats it?

6. Nigella’s Way
Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
The Real Woman’s Way
Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and drop it in 8 ounces of vodka: Drink the vodka. You might still have the headache, but you won’t care

7. Nigella’s Way
If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
The Real Woman’s Way
Why do I have a man?

8. Nigella’s Way
Freeze leftover wine into ice cubes for future use in casseroles
The Real Woman’s Way
Left over wine???? Helllloooo

Well, most of them sound spot on to me.   ‘Specially the last one!

The Office Party

From the Here is the City website, a note from ‘The Management’ re the possibility of a Christmas party:

‘As you are already aware, due to the fact that investors are upset with us over the firm’s stock price (and the government is pretty miffed as it had to bail us out), earlier this year we decided to cancel our annual staff Christmas bash.

Many of you have, however, expressed anger at this decision, especially as some of our rivals have covertly arranged parties out of the public eye. And this year has been a difficult one to say the least – cheap food in the canteen is no more, cabs home are a thing of the past, and that lovely luxury toilet paper we have used for years has been replaced by something more akin to sandpaper. Not to mention that the chats we all used to enjoy around the water coolers are no more – as there are no longer any water coolers. And the tea and biccies in the meeting rooms have also been canned, along with the fruit trolley. The bar outside the canteen has also been mothballed.

We do appreciate that a year-end up, and an opportunity to make inappropriate comments to females colleagues, is the only fun many of our male staff are likely get this Christmas. And, as many of you have correctly pointed out, being totally tanked up and violently sick at the bank’s expense has become something of a tradition, and freezing your socks off late at night, whilst being ignored by countless black cabs as you attempt to get a ride home, is good for morale. Furthermore, isn’t it only appropriate to raise our glasses in honour of the thousands of our colleagues who never came back to their desks this year, after having received a telephone call from an anonymous staffer in HR asking them to go up to one of the executive meeting rooms for a brief chat ?

With all this in mind, we have had a rethink. A quick calculation has revealed that, for the cost of rather less than 50 risk management staff, we can push the boat out again this year, after all. So, go find your dancing shoes, we’re gonna drink and party like there’ll be no 2009!’


Happy Birthday Britney

Who would have thought she’d be back from the brink after last years head shaving and going a bit mad nonsense?   It certainly wasn’t pretty to witness…and although I did not see her X factor performance or Simon Cowell meeting her and subsequently suggesting she was in awe of him (Simon, you need to spend a little time out of your own ego) I did like the lyrics to her last hit, Piece of Me.   Someone has a sense of humour:

I’m Miss American Dream since I was 17
Don’t matter if I step on the scene
Or sneak away to the Philippines
They’re still gonna put pictures of my derriere in the magazine
You want a piece of me?
You want a piece of me…

I’m Miss bad media karma
Another day another drama
Guess I can’t see the harm
In working and being a mama
And with a kid on my arm
I’m still an exceptional earner
And you want a piece of me

So happy birthday Miss Spears.   And welcome back.

Another pheasant valley funday

Ahem, with apologies to the Monkees, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’, for the title of this post – sorry, just could not resist.

Courtesy of Mr FM, who regular readers may know is currently enjoying a somewhat weapons centric holiday in  the USA, I was able to take his peg on a driven day this Saturday.

The day started well, if cold, with a little fog and quite still and after our very hasty lunch break the wind piped up and the sky became a little less threatening, although we were to be denied sunshine.

The birds were scarce and stayed low, with the best drive at the end with the beaters coming through a thick woodland delivering a dozen or more to our guns.

Overall tally was a little over 30 – some landed the wrong side of a canal and it was too late too dark and frankly too hard to get them.

But we did have a good day.   The countryside was spectacular and we covered a variety of different terrain and the state of the Land Rover proof that we’d been through proper mud.   My tally was 4 I think, 3 pheasant and one partridge and I brought 2 brace home for the freezer.

Nephews and nieces were invited to assist as I breasted the birds, with all but one and my two gore hungry kids running screaming from the garage as they saw the knife, to the relative safety of murdering monsters on their Nintendo DS’.   As our US cousins would say; Go figure?

Deeper and deeper in debt

Boris Johnson in the Torygraph today rails against our dear leader, long since named ‘Tax and Waste Brown’ by otber bloggers, after the pre Budget announcements aimed to rescue our economy at a stroke.

What muppets.   As good old Boris says, you got us into this mess Gordy, with your NuLab policies.   And like a  broke and desperate gambler who has already lost the family siliver you are now putting the house on the next spin of the roulette wheel.    Our national debt will  increase to over 8% by 2010 – levels not seen since Harold Wilson.   It is madness.

I’ve been whingeing on about the level of government spend for as long as I’ve been blogging, but there is a statistic at the bottom of Boris’ article that really brought it home to me….read on:
We now know that to fund this fiscal stimulus, taxes are going up on incomes over £40,000; we know there are going to be huge increases in national insurance that will hit employees, employers and the self-employed. How on earth is that supposed to boost job creation?

Might it not have been better, if you were going to splurge £20 billion in tax cuts, to spend it on cutting National Insurance and helping business to keep people in work?

There is nothing wrong in principle with a fiscal stimulus. What makes the remedy so desperate is that Gordon Brown managed to squander such eye-watering sums when times were good.

It now emerges that of all the jobs created since 1997, two thirds have been in the public sector. No wonder the country is broke. The more Gordon Brown swanks and preens and claims he is the man to fix things, the more he recalls the firefighters in that American movie called Backdraft, who tried to claim credit for heroically (and abortively) attending an inferno that they had ignited.

So much for fiscal prudence.   Spin, spin and yet more spin.    And all those civil servants on sweet final salary pensions.   They’d better hope there is some money left.

Crisis? What do to about the crisis?

So, Gordon is lauded as the saviour of our economy, his fortune in the popularity polls has staged a dramatic comeback and he must be feeling a little smug that the Conservatives lost their deposit in Glenrothes.   Not that the latter was really ever in doubt and, I suspect, he is more pleased that the SNP rennaisance seems to have temporarily stalled.

But the big issue amidst all this economic drama has to be the big picture of what to do.   There is no panacea, quick win or low hanging fruit – they are as ephemeral as their titles suggest.   In todays immediate must have world the risk is that as a consequence of our impatience for action, we do the wrong thing.

This crash gives us – in fact requires us – to make some deeper long term decisions about our economy and its’ place in the world.

The truth is that in pure terms of productivity we are quite insignificant.   We have built success on the back of global financial markets which until recently performed well.   Despite all the criticism of the fat cat bankers, remember that without the global liquidity they provided it would have been well night impossible to get a loan for car, never mind a house.   The catastrophic failures in Banks are a direct consequnce of a combination of a collapse in asset values more fundamentally driven be a collapse in confidence.

The restructuring in Britain needs to take into account our new position in the world.   US domination is not finished, but it will have to learn to get on better with India and China.   We need to look to new partners and settle down to a decade – I mean it – of real financial prudence, rather than the wholly dishonest version Gordy was selling us over the last decade.

There is much talk in the press of what the government needs to do to ‘kick start’ the economy.   Again we are lead to expect a easy and immediate remedy which is unrealistic.   There are a range of things we need to do:

We need to lower business taxes.   In the short term this will be hard to do, but it will make us more attractive for investors and this, coupled with the dramatic fall in the value of Sterling, will make us a great place to do business.   We should also resist any temptation to tax the very rich any more.  They are immensely mobile and will simply go elsewhere when we need their acumen and capital the most.

We need to reduce public spending.   Again hard because it will have an effect on the economy, but the reason we must not continue to spend is because we will have to borrow and that, with a weakening currency will be catastrophic.

We need to reduce the cost and bureacracy of government.   Far too much money is wasted here.   We all know it and government growth spawns legislation.   This goverments record of new laws is outrageous and more people than ever seem to be growing tired of the control freak approach.

We need to improve and increase education.   That does not mean spending lots more money, but it does mean keeping children at school for longer.   They may not like it, but we have to reduce the amount of feral and useless young in this country.

We need to encourage individual accountablity and responsibility and reverse the entitlement culture.   Social handouts must be on an as needed basis, not an as of right basis.   The culture of ‘entitlement’ has to be changed: it’s cancerous and any and all handouts must be given in exchange for some contribution to society.   This is the most dramatic shift in our endemic parasitic dependent culture.   If folks have to ‘work’ for their Giro, they might decide to work in a real job and contribute.

We need to be patient and positive.   On the plus side, companies who have taken big write downs and cut costs dramatically over the last few months will be better poised to be competitive and return to profitability more quickly.   They are more likely to start hiring and growing as they have been forced in the downturn to become more efficient and to get rid of some economic baggage that held them back.

We need a more common sense approach to justice that is more equitable.   No more hoody hugging and no more Asbo’s awards.   Proper consequences for crime.   Could we force the young unemployed into the Forces?   Maybe – we’d need to fund it and I don’t expect the Army relishes the challenge of cleaning up so of today’s yoof; but then again maybe not….

So, that’s my tuppence worth.   I could be wrong, I could be right.   But we need to take positive action and somehow convince the public to be patient.   It will require a great and popular leader to implement.

If only we had one.

A Squirrel’s Tale

Some of you may have seen this before


The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies, out in the cold.

THE END …but read on…


The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving.

The BBC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper; with cuts to a video of the squirrel in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food.

The British press inform people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so, while others have plenty. The Labour Party, Greenpeace, Animal Rights and The Grasshopper Council of GB demonstrate in front of the squirrel’s house.

Ken Livingstone rants in an interview with Trevor McDonald that the squirrel got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the squirrel to make him pay his “fair share” and increases the charge for squirrels to enter inner London .

In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The squirrel’s taxes are reassessed.

He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders for the work he was doing on his home and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work.

The grasshopper is provided with a council house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile. The squirrel’s food is seized and re distributed to the more needy members of society, in this case the grasshopper.

Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home.

The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to Britain as they had to share their country of origin with mice. On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of Britain ‘s apparent love of dogs.

The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempted bombing but were immediately released because the police fed them pilchards instead of salmon whilst in custody.

Initial moves to then return them to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice. The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from people’s credit cards.

A Panorama special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel’s food, though spring is still months away, while the council house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn’t bothered to maintain the house.

He is shown to be taking drugs. Inadequate government funding is blamed for the grasshopper’s drug ‘illness’.

The cats seek recompense in the British courts for their treatment since arrival in UK .

The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks.

He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him. Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery.

A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost £10,000,000 and state the obvious, is set up.

Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers and legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased.

The asylum-seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching Britain ‘s multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats.

The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose. The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison.

They call for the resignation of a minister.

The cats are paid a million pounds each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in the United Kingdom .

The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.


Fleet Management

The time has come to effect a little fleet management I fear.   The current car count stands at 7 and whilst all work, only 6 are road registered and legal.   The seventh sinner is a interesting beast; a 1991 Range Rover, ex Police vehicle.   Purchased from the previous owner of our house its intended use was to tow the flail mower and generally be a workhorse around the place.   In reality I use the Discovery and have had little need of it.

We’ve run the car a few times and while the steering is rather woolly and the brakes quite desperate, after I put a freshly charged battery in on Monday she started first turn of the key.   What a wonderful sound that 3.9 litre Rover V8 makes.  Big Mike and I gave her a quick clean up and at least I was impressed.

So, what to do?   Mike suggested contacting a club interested in ex Police vehicles which is a sound plan and as you can see from the pic below the car still sports some of the bespoke cop kit – and there’s even more in the boot.

Not sure if I’ll have any takers… if not I’ll just have to restore her myself.   I can just see myself tootling round the lanes in a police liveried Rangie…or perhaps I can park opposite our drive and use the car as a warning to that damn motorcylist who seems to enjoy hurtling down our lane at an unfeasible and unsafe speed.   We’ll see.