Sunday, May 20, 2007

East Enders defies the laws of nature

Following the accident in which the car goes into the water with the two kids, despite the fact that a window is wide open, the water magically does not fill the car but leaves a breathing space in which they can lament their fate.

It takes their rescuer several diving attempts before he realises one of the windows is open.

As far as I know I am the only person who has noticed.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Cameron gets down to the ‘nitty gritty’

It stuck out like a sore thumb. Interviewed by the BBC's Today presenter John Humphrys [16 February] on his policies to bring about a renewal of British family life David Cameron employed the term “nitty gritty” that got Labour home office minister John Denham into hot water for using in May 2002.

It will be interesting to see whether the BBC receives complaints about his use of the term, employed by him to mean ‘the heart of the matter’ and whether he used it in full knowledge of the controversy it caused to challenge politically correct censorship. It is possible that he has already been reported to the police for using the term.

Speaking to the Police Federation Denham had been told by some of those attending that its use was banned by the Metropolitan Police and that officers would be disciplined for using the term. Denham told delegates: ‘It does show there are phrases in our language that we are not aware of’.”

It caused quite a stir and highlighted the dispute over politically correct language.

There was some debate about the origin and use of the term. Its detractors argued that its use could have originated from the slave trade where ‘nitty gritty’ could have described what was left in the holds of slave ships after victims were removed.

Lexicographers, however, have stated that its first appearance was as late as 1956 and that no written record of its use is found before then.

Nitty gritty” is one of many terms whose use is described as offensive by race campaigners Ligali. Their list of offensive terms in their media guidelines includes: people of colour, coloured, black, black on black, third world, and urban. It calls disrespectful: Afro-Caribbean, urban music, yardies. It also now finds the term ‘white’ offensive.

It provides examples of how to avoid using the term ‘black’: I only date brothas, sistas. Language’ found unobjectionable by the group includes: bounty, coconut, sell-out and PMS [pale,male and stale] popularised by former CRE chair Trevor Phillips.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ross fish steaks in butter sauce

It's easy to lose weight. All you have to do is consume less calories than you use up each day. One of the ways of doing this is to use convenience foods. Ross fish steaks would seem to fill the bill.Each one is worth just 126 calories. True if you are anything like me you will need two of them.

They come in what is described as a butter sauce and it's actually quite tasty. It certainly provides everything that is needed to go with a few boiled potatoes and some green beans.

For what it is worth my own suggestion for an accompaniment is a portion of mushrooms fried in groundnut oil. This probably doubles the calorific value but it will still come in at about 500 calories.

What about the fish? Well, it is only 49% of the whole deal but without the sauce it would be pretty boring. The fish fillet is not even given a name. It is a white fish and is undistinguished but what do you expect?

Still I'm going to ask Ross what it is. they have nothing to be ashamed about.

It all goes quite well with a glass or so of Muscadet that always comes in at less than £3 not on special offer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Andrex talk frankly to men about a personal problem

Thanks to Kimberly-Clark there is now no need for men who have been run over to worry about the state of their underpants. The makers of Andrex have thought of everything and have launched a campaign to advise men of the solution showing a full page shot of a man's pants clad bottom with an appalled dragon looking at the question "Could you be cleaner? Their solution:Use Andrex "moistened after regular toilet paper to leave you cleaner and fresher than ever"
Walls brilliant bacon

Within a couple of months of me complaining about the horrible white stuff in cheap bacon Walls come up with the goods.In a beautiful full page ad in the Telegraph magazine they promote their brand with theslogan "less white stuff".

Isn't the power of blogging amazing/

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Film masterpiece emerges after 27 years

Langrishe go down was shown on BBC 2 television on 16 August late night with virtually no publicity. Newspaper television reviews did not draw attention to it. I watched it accidentally having awoken with the television on a few minutes after it had begun. I was mesmerised by every part of the production.
I have never seen a sexual relationship captured so well in a film with the fascinating combination of strength, vulnerability and eroticism portrayed by Judy Dench.The cinematography was haunting and the dialogue witty and moving. Only afterwards did I realise the involvement of Harold Pinter.
It is truly amazing that this television film was shown just once in 1978 and not repeated until 2005.
Minette Marrin has a great website

One of my favourite columnists is Minette Marrin who writes for the Sunday Times. I have only just discovered her website in which I can read all that she has written for newspapers since 1991.

Such websites could well provide an alternative portal into the history of what concerns intelligent and perceptive people over the period in which they write.

She's jolly brave, however, to leave in everything she has written. I just rereasd her piece on Labour's election victory in 1997 that, as a Conservative supporter, gave her a considerable amount of pleasure. I don't know whether she ever recanted that pleasure.

Her archive index is very easy to use. I look forward to dipping into it to revisit articles that I enjoyed and to find ones that I missed.

You can find her on

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Cooking a Morrison's chicken

I wonder who is responsible for the cooking instructions to be found at the back of the food labels attached to plastic film covered chickens. At Morrison's the first thing is a careful choice of colour of the typeface. What about grey? That should do the trick. Now fill up the space available by repeating information like the Morrison logo and a reminder that it is a GRADE A FRESH GARLIC BASTED CHICKEN which we of course already knew because that is what it said on the outside of the packet. Next make the typeface as small as possible. Perfect. Given the distortion caused by any attempt to read this through the plastic film, customers without 20/20 vision can be given the maximum aggravation.
Now there's one in the eye for the Disability Commission. There should be a law against it! Come to think of it there already is.
Technical note: 55 minutes a kilo at 190 centigrade + 25 minutes should do the trick.
But please take expert advice and legal advice before attempting to cook a chicken.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Frying cheap bacon

I don't know why they do it but supermarkets insist on watering down their economy bacon. There is so much water that they all seem to recommend grilling the stuff.

I like my bacon fried because I like the fat. But when you 'fry' it it is more like stewing it. What is the answer? Just put a little oil in the non stick pan and fry until the water is extruded from the bacon. There is quite a lot. Pour the mixture of water and fat away [and the horrid white gunge that comes with it] and start again with a little oil.

Now the bacon is more or less the real thing and it cooks the way it ought to before the food scientists got to it.
Pommes de terre sautées à la Lyonnaise [not quite]

Tamasin Day-Lewis explains how to do the real thing in the Sunday Telegraph but my version seemed to work quite well.

Take enough potatoes, peel them, boil them until they are cooked but don't fall apart when you cut them up into as near as you can make cubes.

Fry them in fat until they are golden brown turning them carefully. You can use bacon fat, goose fat , dripping or butter. I did two portions using bacon fat in the first and olive oil in the second.

At the same time slice an onion very thinly and fry separately. This is where a sharp knife is absolutely vital. When the onion is cooked finish off in the pan with the potatoes.

Salt and pepper to taste.

You should use heavy bottomed frying pans but if you don't have them don't worry.
Côtes du Rhône now relegated to also rans

£2.77 at ASDA*. How the mighty have the fallen. And it doesn’t taste bad. It has been boosted up to 13%. It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault and other grape varieties.

On the shelves medium price Australian wines seem to have collared the market. Certainly that was what I was buying. I only went for the Côtes du Rhône because it was cheap.

*ASDA is a British supermarket chain.