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Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Nights

This is the second of a series of songs that celebrate summer.

OK - so this is from one of the greatest musicals (which, if you get to see on the stage, you should go and see it).
In Grease, there are a number of songs from which to choose, but this reminds me of sing-a-longs where the boys and girls square up.

Great fun, great song.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I love the summer.  Like most people, I enjoy the blue skies, and long sunny days.

I also love the different music that reminds me of summers past.  So, I will start a short series of posts, with this absolute classic from the diva of Jazz; Ella Fitzgerald.

This was recorded in Berlin in 1968

Pure class.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

McLaren Performance Keeps My Bet On Track

Another update on my flutter on the Grand Prix season.

As I've written previously, I've placed two bets.

The first was for the Constructors Championship.  That one just had to go to McLaren.  The 'fun' about betting before the first race is - you never really know.  However, I've been a McLaren fan for years, and I couldn't bet against them.

The second was specifically for Jenson Button to win 5 or more Grand Prix during the season.  With a 19 race calendar ahead of us, I hope this is a fairly safe bet.  The reigning World Champion is in a Very Fast Car....

So, what's the current state of play.  After a stunning performance last weekend, in Montreal, Jenson Button lies second in the Championship, having won 2 races, with 106 points. McLaren are in the lead in the constructors championship, with 215 points.

If you could cross your fingers with me, hopefully, they will both pay off!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I bought some of these at the weekend, and it reminded me of a blog I posted back in March.

I thought I'd post it again!

This week, as well as the Marmite XO, I also purchased a box of Jelly Bellys'.  It's only a small box, of 10 flavours:
  • Blueberry
  • Buttered Popcorn
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut
  • Liquorice
  • Tangerine
  • Green Apple
  • Juicy Pear
  • Watermelon
  • Very Cherry

These are just sumptious sweets; and the flavours are so real.

I thought I'd look at their website, and find out some more about "The Original Gourmet Jelly Bean".

First introduced in 1976, they were the first jelly beans to be sold in single flavours, and to come with a menu that showed how, by combining different flavours you could create even more of your own.

There are currently 50 Official flavours of Jelly Belly.  New flavours (known as "Rookies") are introduced each year, and subject to their popularity, enter the 50 official line up or are dropped to make way for yet more new flavours.

The beginnings are traced back to a German family who emigrated to America in 1867.  Two years later, they bought an ice cream and candy store in Illionois.  The plied their trade from a horse drawn wagon.

The jelly bean itself was born in Los Angeles, back in 1976, when an local sweet shop owner called on "the best confectioners in California" to perfect a recipe.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The Jelly Belly Candy Co was introduced in the late 1990's to reflect the brand for which it had become famous.

I won't continue with more, but suffice it to say, it's a lovely story, and today, Jelly Belly is the world's Number One gourmet jelly bean.  The bean of choice for all those with the most discerning taste.

(Reproduced without permission from The official Jelly Belly UK website - sure they don't mind)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fast Food and Rolf Harris. What's the Connection?

When I saw the McDonalds advert, to be broadcast during the World Cup, it reminded me of a song I heard when I was a child.
I racked my brains (yep, that was the noise you heard!) and finally dragged this out of my memory.

It's something similar to Rolf Harris' "The Court of King Caractacus"

Here's the advert first.....

Now, here's Rolf (with Basil Brush) with his song....

Am I right, or is it pure coincidence?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Football Fever

Every four years, the world is gripped in one of the biggest sporting events the world has seen.

I'm not talking about the Olympics (although they are pretty big!) but the FIFA World Cup Championship.

I would show a logo, but they are so protective of their intellectual property, I might get sued.
On the other hand, this is just a simple blog, with no financial gain - so here it is.....

From today until 11th July, 32 teams from around the world will play their socks off, as they aim for the pinnacle of soccer success and take home the Jules Rimet trophy.

England, as the only home nation to participate, is in Group C; along with Algeria, Slovenia and tomorrow night, their campaign starts against the USA.

I'm not a huge football fan, but I do enjoy the big occasions.  I have also drawn England in the sweep-stake at work!!

So, everyone.  Cross your fingers that the team do their best; that they behave themselves and put some balls in the back of their opponents net.

Could football come home?  Personally, I'm not convinced, but I hope so....

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The Cub section of the Scout movement was started in 1916, 9 years after the beginning of the Scouts.

Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the movement asked Rudyard Kipling if he could use the history and universe of "The Jungle Book" as a motivational frame in Cub scouting.

From this, the names of the Cub leaders were selected.

As, in some countries, the Cubs are referred to as Wolf Cubs, the leader of the pack is known as Akela.  In the story, Akela is chief of the wolves, and presides over council meetings.  It was at one, such meeting, that Mowgli was adopted by the pack.

Other common names in use include Baloo, Shere Khan, Kaa and Bagheera.  There is also Hathi (the Elephant, but who wants to be named after an elephant?)

When it came to my investiture, I had the choice of King Louis (the orang-utan, who 'wants to be like you'), or Bagheera, the black panther.

Since King Louis doesn't exist in the original book, I decided on Bagheera as my Cub name.

Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant.  But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.
Rudyard Kipling

For some fun, and to make you smile, here's Baloo, with some essential survival tips (and Bagheera makes an appearance too) ....

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Center Parcs

We recently enjoyed a week at Center Parcs, in Sherwood Forest.

It's a holiday that we've taken almost every year, for the last 8 years.  Each time we arrive, it's like coming home.      The staff are friendly, the accommodation is clean and comfortable, and, most importantly, the environment is safe for children.

Once the car has been unpacked, you park it in the car park, and there it stays until home time.  That means, there is little traffic on the roads (the only vehicles are the Parc vans) and the speed is kept to a minimum, so it's perfectly safe.

There is so much to do, there isn't a minute when you feel bored.  The children love taking part in the many activities that can be pre-booked.  Indeed, most of them are so popular, it's vital they are pre-booked to ensure you can participate.  This year they did Aerial Adventure, paint-balling, falconry, canoeing not to mention cycling and swimming.

If you fancy spoiling yourself, there are also many treatments available in the Aqua Sana - where you can be pampered and massaged to pure relaxation.

We were lucky with the weather this year.  It drizzled for one day, otherwise, the sun shone and we spent much of the time outdoors.  Swimming was always planned for each afternoon, from which we would go for a meal at one of the countless restaurants on-site.  Alternatively, there's a takeaway too, which also delivers (for a fee).

In fact, the phrase 'for a fee' is common at Center Parcs.  Whilst the initial cost includes the use of the Subtropical Swimming Paradise (with it's water chutes, rapids, wave machine etc) everything else costs extra.  It can add up to a small fortune, if you're not careful - but that shouldn't put you off.

When we go, we pack the car with as much of the food we'll need whilst there; including barbecue, so the visit to the Parc Market was mainly for milk and newspapers (and the occasional ice-cream!!)

It's difficult, in a short article, to get across the many benefits of Center Parcs, but it really is a change from the norm, and it's good to relax in familiar surroundings.

I'm working on a short video of our stay.  When it's complete, I'll let you know.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Cub Camp 2010

It's over for another year.
The Manchester 401st Cubs descended on Ashworth Valley Scout Camp for the annual camp.

After a full day of pitching tents, and preparation, 30 boys, between the ages of 8 and 10, all arrived, expectantly, on Friday afternoon, to take part in activities and have fun.

The tent allocation went fairly smoothly, without too many complaints; although it's impossible to please everyone.
A quick tour of the site followed, pointing out the toilets and shower block, the ranch house and a well-made 'play area'.

A tradition at camp is that the dress code on Friday night is white shirt and bow-tie, with shorts. Very fetching, I'm sure you'll agree!!

To finish the day, all the boys went on a midnight hike. OK, so it finished at midnight, but at least they were tired and ready to sleep.

We woke on Saturday to very inclement weather, and whilst the mornings programme went on unimpeded, the afternoon hike was cancelled, and we had a games and sing-song in the Ranch House.

Sunday arrived, and so did the sun.  Thankfully the whole day was spent outdoors, with a number of different activities for the boys to take part - building catapults, a 'blind' trail, building mini-rafts, and camouflage.  We also had a mini fire-lighting session, where they created small (and I mean small) fires, on which they toasted bread and cooked marshmallows!

Finally, on Sunday, we had the traditional campfire, around which we sang songs and myself, along with 2 others, were formally invested as Assistant Cub Scout Leaders.

Overall, it was a very successful weekend; which I think the Cubs thoroughly enjoyed.  It was hard work, to keep them entertained, marshalled and in the right place, at the right time, but it was worth it. 

I'm already looking forward to next year.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my Cub Name is Bagheera.

I'll explain why, in another post.


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