Summer in the city ..so sex, coffee and rock ‘n roll are on hold

The UK has its fair share of coffee shops , some more esoteric than others and on day when there is drizzle, a chill wind and an outside temperature barely in double figures (and that can be a day in May) the city dweller is drawn to these places like moths around a lamp.

But come the summer we are transformed into ‘al fresco’ eaters and drinkers.

There are some unwritten rules of how to behave when the sun comes out in the uk:

1. Have a barbecue, even if you are vegetarian or just don’t like them…not having a barbecue is frowned on.

2. Complain that it’s too hot

3. Have all food and drink outside . Even if a. The establishment or licensing laws don’t allow it, b. Even if there is no space, c. even if inside is cooler and comfortable with available tables and chairs

It only takes a walk slightly off the main streets of the west end to see the smallest London courtyards can be transformed into something of almost meditterean charm.

For the city centre pubs its a case of just let the drinkers spill onto pavements but with barely a table or chair to accomdate them at some.

Some local bylaws have strict ‘where you can stand laws’ and you will see a white line chalked on the ground. The white line cannot be crossed as if so some major heinous crime would obviously be committed and a huge electronic force field woukd annihilate the offender. Ok I made up that last bit on the force field but the rest is true. You can even see it in this picture.

And finally, even a troupe of Morris Man may turn up..baffling the tourists and ignored by locals.

However our summers are sometimes short and always unpredictable. This is who we are and what we do in summer and I wouldn’t really want to change it.😎

Homeward bound

I am a frequent traveller in Germany and customer of Deutsche Bahn (DB). Lucky me! DB have been having a bit of a wobbly week on the rails meaning I have been changing trains in places I never normally venture. Now this is a sweeping generalisation but it occurred to me that many German train stations are almost identical to each other. Until you see the name, even as a frequent traveller you have no clue where you are if you didn’t look up from your book and spot any familiar city landmarks on approach.

There are of course notable exceptions – Berlin’s hauptbahnhof is a multi floored monument of intersecting railways. You will see swarms of people changing levels and actually resembling more of a giant department store with different travel opportunities on each floor ..you know when you have arrived in Berlin!

So is any country any different? Italy’s Florence station has a subdued underground garage feel about it really doing the ‘under promise, over deliver act’ for when you venture out into the sunshine and the city. Milano central has a cathedral like majesty to it, that is well, it’s very Milan.

Still in Italy, Venice station has the Grand canal on the station forecourt..not a taxi rank to be seen but plenty of gondolas.

In the UK with its history of competing railway companies there is many a monument ..the gothic London St Pancras,

London’s Paddington has Paddington bear sitting on a bench, London Kings Cross has Harry Potter Platform 9 and 3/4.

Even provincial Huddersfield has a station described by poet John Betjeman as a stately home with trains running through it.

But it’s not all British smugness here…Paul Simon wrote the song …(I wish I was) Homeward Bound in Widnes railway station. If you ever get a chance to go there, you will find out why!

Dentist or Torturer

..how do they make the red and blue lines ?

As a child I always considered my dentist as more torturer than healthcare professional. My childhood memories of going to the dentist were not good. The dentist was shall we say fairly old school and the experience was such that one just tried to block it out of the mind between one bi-annual check and the next. A combination of a childhood sweet tooth, non fluoridation of local water supply and in truthfulness not the same focus on daily dental hygiene that I have as an adult led me to have many fillings as a child. Dentistry then was really just all about ‘drill it and fill it’ and come back in 6 months for some more. No pre inspection enquiries about general health , no post treatment recommendations.

I can still hear that drill now from when I sat in the waiting room as my sister had pulled rank and gone first😰

Such changed days.. my dental surgery is fresh, white, bright and clean. The tv displays videos focussed on care of teeth and teeth whitening. The sound proofing means you never hear a drill unless you are the recipient.

But as a patient it’s now very much like being in the ‘Who wants to be a Dental Millionanaire chair’ . They always start with an easy question. How often do you clean your teeth? Answering ‘2 or 3 times daily’ seems to illicit a favourable response . But then the questions go up in levels. Are you brushing using a soft or hard brush? Are your using inter dental brushes?, Are you flossing? Are you using mouth wash ? Is the mouthwash alcohol free?

With every dental visit the bar is set higher. I am due to go soon and fully expect the next question to be ‘have you employed a hygienist to regularly visit you at home and check the cleanliness of your teeth’

Bring back the torturer…

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With apologies to Kacey Musgraves

It was pointed out to me today that my blog has the same title as an album track of Kacey Musgraves.

Ooops, if anyone has come to this blog in search of info on the Multi Grammy Award winning , top billing country artist Kacey Musgraves…then you are in the wrong place.

But I expect you have worked that out already.

Thanks for dropping by anyway, say hello to Kacey for me.

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Ok Google, leave me alone!

Sometimes Google you are annoying. I frequently use a walking route where it seems there is a house offering guitar lessons. Google always wants to know how was my lesson or at least what did I think of Fred Bloggs guitar school. Actually it’s not actually called Fred Bloggs but understandably I dont want to promote a stranger who maybe is Eric Clapton or maybe just Eric axe murderer and con artist luring in passers by.

And it could be worse…I could be passing dwellings where other lessons are offered. I think the ‘double-entendre’ of ‘French Lessons available ‘ here as seen on cards by flat doors in Soho in the swinging 60′ s is obvious enough that it requires no further explanation! Try explaining that question from Google to your loved ones.

I get this too for every place of transport …’how was Manchester Piccadilly station?’ Fine thanks..it was full of people and trains.

Before you all say..but just turn off location settings or whatever..doing this and actually I may lose features genuinely useful to me. So come on Google let me live in a world of guidance but not constant questioning. And before you ask …yes I did visit my living room this morning. It was fine, and no I don’t want to write a review’

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Race for Life

It’s Race for Life day today in my local park.Today will see 500 or more Woman and girls walk or run for this nationwide Cancer research fundraiser.For those reading this outside the UK, these events happen on various dates across the UK and are very inclusive. You will find runners of every ability and none. Actually it really doesn’t matter…it’s about being there and supporting the charity, and sadly for many marking their commitment for those that have been lost to cancer.We live in such divided times in the UK at the moment. We have embittered remainers and leavers, those fiercely pro-government and anti-government, and most sadly ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.Today at least for these people, that is forgotten .We need more of these days.Enjoying these posts? Please like, subscribe if you want to get notifications of new posts and share on your social media platforms using the buttons.

Unexpected item in the seating area ..why wear Fluffy slippers on the Jubilee Line?

Hot on the heels of wearing your hair in rollers when out in town, is wearing your fluffy slippers on public transport.The Liverpudlian trend of being happy in a hairnet and managing to look cool and trendy back in 2015 soon spread. No longer did people assume that these millenials were escapees from a salon hostage situation but that these were people on the leading edge of fashion.Things have moved on and it seems it is now acceptable to wear your fluffiest slippers wherever your mood draws you. Travelling on the Jubilee line in London recently, I was dutifully following protocol and not engaging with or making eye contact with other humans and so staring at my feet. It was a bit of a surprise to see their neighbours attire!This is not just trendy London. This week I found myself in Germany in a large town not normally associated with extreme fashion…and I see the same again.So we live in a growing culture of just wear what you want..no bad thing at all in a world where the pressure to conform has at some times been a very damaging one.Enjoying these posts? Please like, subscribe if you want to get notifications of new posts and share on your social media platforms using the buttons.

Phew it’s hot

Today France recorded its highest ever temperature of 45.8c That’s 114F to you folks in North America and indeed any British people still in denial about metrification. By any measure that is pretty hot and obviously a concern for those for reasons of health who are impacted by this. In the more northern parts of Europe we haven’t reached the 40’s, but the 30’s are now commonplace and on a daily basis we are hearing cries of…it’s too hot, it’s too humid, we need aircon, etc.You have probably noticed these protests are coming from exactly same people who one month ago were bemoaning our month of May being one of the wettest ever, and the winter before last being one of the coldest etc. This begs the question what is the optimum temperature, humidity, wind speed etc. that will generate shreeks of this weather is just perfect?…. not sure if that day will ever happen.Enjoying these posts? Please like, subscribe if you want to get notifications of new posts and share on your social media platforms using the buttons.

Not every caterpillar becomes a butterfly

I really struggled to book at the hotel I normally use near my employers HQ. They found me a room eventually but explained they were very full as they had a caterpillar conference on.I was somewhat excited by the prospect of my somewhat different fellow guests.Will there actually be caterpillars there? Presumably safely contained in jars to avoid them munching through the hotels plant displays in reception? I also had visions of bearded botantists with magnifying glasses examing their fellow scientists rarer specimens. The scene was truly set.Anyway I arrived to indeed find the place full .But full of salespeople from the cut and thrust world of diggers and bulldozers!In fact, the very things that are one of the threats to the caterpillars world.

Are cufflinks an essential part of your life?

If you are a city slicker working for a merchant bank in the City it’s sure to be a ‘yes’ that your crisp white T M Lewin shirts needs these. Why, to replace the buttons that aren’t there on your cuffs. I think jts called style! Unless I am mistaken however, for the rest of us the need for cufflinks is another ‘trip hazard’ in the wirld of male dressing (but not female dressing, as far as I am aware…however as always I am open to being corrected on this last point)

So for the majority of the population its a problem , not a style statement. Most men have probably at some point in their life bought or been given a shirt that need these..often a smarter and higher quality shirt that might only get an occasional airing (and ironing!) and therein lies the problem. Often these shirt owners and the said garments are making a rare trip to a wedding, funeral , conference, job interview or whatever kind of event that is a distance away from home.

So picture the scene , bag being upacked, smart shirt making its debut, (or revival tour) and then sinking realisation. The b$$$$y thing needs cufflinks. And home is probably where the required pair of cuff links might be, often sitting in a sock drawer waiting patiently for an opportunity to shine on such an occasion.

Its not that men don’t like them or have them. Many a brother/son/grandsons birthday gift selection has been such an item – that glimmer of opportunity for a desperate present seeking mother/sister/grandmother seeing domino shaped cufflinks that little Johnny will just love. The fact that little Johnny last played dominoes in 1983 aged 7, has no bearing. In fact a dominoes pizza shaped cuff link may be far more relevant..but probably not readily available at most jewellers.

The issue is that many of us wear them so rarely, the cuff links are often forgotten. And this is where it sorts out the improvisers (I’m sure I can make some if I can just find two paper clips), the brave (I am sure nobody will notice my flapping cuffs) and the fearless (I’ll just ask all the other guests – somebody is bound to have brought a spare pair!) There is no real moral to this story other than always keep a pair in your bag, if you don’t need them somebody else probably will. At last a chance for those “never worn” cuff links made from your recent kidney stones , to have a chance to shine.

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