Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys have prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mount Everest in 2012.  This blog got about 8,300 views in 2012.   If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Merry Christmas one and all

Naughty SantaIT’S CHRISTMAAAAASSSSS!!!

As we prepare to sit down to our festive meal, I’d like to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year – let’s hope it’s not an unlucky number for all of us and Santa left you  something nice in your stocking!!!

Eat, drink and be merry – but everything in moderation of course!

Read the rest of this entry

The answer is blowing in the wind!

sprout2So the annual sprout-eating ritual approaches.   Every Christmas, this one vegetable divides opinion – some of us love them, some of us hate them, but eating them can have some, er, embarrassing consequences…

Sprouts, along with onions, beans and dairy products, are hard to digest in the stomach and small intestine because our bodies can’t produce the enzymes needed to break down some of the chemical components they contain.

However, the presence of flatulence seems to be the least of our worries!

Last Christmas, a man from Ayrshire was hospitalised after eating too many Brussels sprouts!  The reason?  Well this controversial vegetable contains Vitamin K, a chemical the body uses to promote blood clotting and while it does this, it also counteracts anticoagulants (used in blood-thinning medication).

sproutsThis poor man was prescribed  anticoagulants after suffering heart failure in 2011, and his dose was monitored  weekly to prevent blood clotting.  However, when his blood started to clot  close to Christmas last year and he was admitted to Hospital, the doctors could not  understand why his medication was not keeping his blood thin until he told them  he’d been eating lots of sprouts!

So there’s your excuse … if you don’t want to eat sprouts with your festive turkey, instead of saying you don’t like them, just tell your host that they’re bad for your health!!!

Phew!!!

mayan calendar cartoon

Has anyone elses’ world ended yet?  Mayan hasn’t!   BOOM!!!!!

Not Santa’s Grotto … but the Pope’s Grotto!

Popes GrottoThere used to be a pub in Twickenham called the Pope’s Grotto.  About 100 yards from where I lived, it played a huge part in my life since the age of 17 until I moved to Glasgow in 1996.  I met my ex-husband there (probably best to skip over that!) and it is somewhere I will always find someone I know, even to this day!

In recent years it has been transformed from a friendly local pub to a modern hotel, now called the Alexander Pope, with a reputation for good food and a family friendly atmosphere.  It just isn’t the same but this picture, taken c.1981, is just how I remember it!  One main memory that stands out for me is that it was THE place to be during the power cuts in the 1970’s.  Instead of sitting at home in the dark, people flocked to the pub in their droves where candles provided the lighting and there was a “blitz type” spirit and atmosphere that seemed somehow magical.   I also remember it was a meeting place for many on Christmas lunchtime – the chance to catch up with friends before heading home for the obligatory turkey dinner!

Happy memories indeed.  I hardly recognise the place these days but one of my customer’s has asked me to write a piece on their blog about a job they’ve just done there which made me very nostalgic for those simpler, happier times!

Not Santa’s Grotto … but the Pope’s Grotto!.

Don’t drink and drive

With just 7 sleeps to go before Santa makes his annual visit, it is probably a good time to give him a gentle reminder to take milk instead of sherry at all the millions of homes he’s getting ready to visit.  It wouldn’t do to be caught drunk in charge of a sleigh now would it?!?

christmas collage

PS.  If you ate Rudolph’s carrot instead of all those mince pies you’d shift some of that weight off your belly too!!!

Jesus v Santa

Santa and JesusAs if to prove that the commercialisation of Christmas has definitely moved a step too far, a recent survey has found that many people struggle with the storyline of the birth of baby Jesus.  Over 2,000 children and parents were polled on behalf of the Bible Society about their nativity play knowledge, and the results  showed some major holes in the story.   Here are just some of the hilarious results:

  • A majority of Britons appear to be unaware that Jesus was born out-of-wedlock
  • Only 26% knew that Mary and Joseph were betrothed
  • 2% thought Mary and Joseph were ‘on their first date’ when they found out she was pregnant
  • A further 37 people thought Santa Claus was the first person to visit baby Jesus
  • A majority believed he was sleeping in a Moses basket, not a manger

We hear a lot about “the war on Christmas”, but the true seasonal struggle is the war within Christmas, a single holiday shared by two deeply antagonistic religions.

bithday wish 1Religion 1 is the religion of Jesus Christ, the figure whose birth the holiday commemorates. This religion emphasises universal grace and forgiveness.

Religion 2 is the religion of Santa Claus, the holiday’s most visible representative. Santa upholds a much sterner creed: “You better watch out / You better not cry / Better not pout / I’m telling you why / Santa Claus is coming to town / He’s making a list / And checking it twice / Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice …”

So even though Christmas began as a celebration dedicated to Jesus, this holiday has become increasingly commercial, most people being more interested in gifts and parties than the religious side of this holiday. Although they are tied to the same day, December 25th, Santa Claus and Jesus’ birth don’t have much in common, because each one promotes other values.

santa elves reindeerIt’s funny how many people teach their kids all about Jesus and God (something that can’t be proven), while there are others that wait to introduce ideas of faith and religion to their kids when they’re old enough to decide for themselves (very enlightened!) .   And then there are those who have had no problem telling their kids about a fat guy sliding down the chimney with a sack full of gifts and eating the cookies and milk, his elves, flying reindeer, and somehow doing this at midnight in every home all around the world (WTF?).

It truly is a time of year when there is something for everyone it seems!  So, whatever you believe, a very Merry Christmas to one and all!!!

I’m in a silly mood today

So here is my favourite joke of all time …

Fish joke

Mine’s a large one!

My favourite news story of the day …

drunk elephantTwo elephants have been saved from the deadly Siberian cold by drinking vodka, Russian officials are reported as saying.   Apparently the animals (which belonged to a Polish circus that had been touring the region) had to be taken out into the bitter cold after the wooden trailer they were travelling in caught fire in the Novosibirsk region.  The elephants, aged 45 and 48, suffered frostbite to the tips of their ears amid temperatures of minus 40C, but they were warmed up by two cases of vodka mixed with warm water.   The animals continued their recovery in a heated garage of a local college where they were brought by a truck under police escort.

Like with humans, alcohol can make animals feel warmer but it actually lowers their core body temperature, scientists say.   But Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper quoted Novosibirsk zoo director Rostislav Shilo as saying that the elephants were not harmed or intoxicated by the vodka, and that without it they would have died of hypothermia or pneumonia.

So you’ll have to excuse me while I nip across to Tesco to buy myself a bottle of Smirnoff to ward off the freezing temperatures here in Glasgow, though I’ll be taking mine with tonic instead of water – purely medicinal of course!!!

vodka

A little known fact

minerA second tranche of figures has just been released from the 2011 census and all the important details have been teased out and widely published.  But what about the more obscure facts?

Well the main one that leapt out for me was the fact that more people in London’s Kensington and Chelsea describe themselves as working in mining and quarrying than in Gateshead, although the figures – 207 and 151 individuals respectively – are not exactly large.

The decline of the coal industry in England and Wales has been well documented and about 2,000 people now work in coal mines, according to the National Union of Mineworkers, compared with more than a million at the industry’s height in the early 1900s.   The mining and quarrying industry as a whole employs 46,478, according to the 2011 Census, High Streetdown 12,913 on 2001.

These people may of course work in management or for large international mining conglomerates such as Rio Tinto, which has its headquarters in London – unless some of the Kent miners have won the lottery and moved to the Big Smoke or there’s something going on underneath the High Street that no-one has told us about!

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