A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Is this candid camera???
I went at Asda this evening to get some rabbit food as I have decided to re-invent the salad diet...
Two massive bowlfuls of salad a day with chicken, smoked salmon, roast beef, etc...

As I was walking out, I noticed this little girl... And, no! I wasn't admiring her bum! I think she couldn't have been more than 12 years old.

I just couldn't help noticing the message!


That's bloody Moi...!

I looked around to see if any of my friends were hiding and killing themselves with laughter!
No one...

Being someone who never EVER misses a single opportunity for a joke, I grabbed my mobile phone and snapped the funny message!

Now, tell me! Doesn't this tell you that God works in mysterious ways?
Wild thing!

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Suits you, Sir...

Last night I went to the town's Businessman of the Year Award ceremony.

Posh do! Suit and tie, which I really hate!

But it was nice to be invited and sit with some pleasant, successful people. A guy recycles golf balls! They are fished out of the bottom of lakes and ponds all over the world. He cleans and polishes them, then resell them at a cutdown price. What a great idea!

The food was ok and the wine flowed all night. Magicians went round the tables performing amazing card tricks...

The awards were handed out Oscar-style. Music, videos, photos, etc...

Then this guy, introduced as "A retired bank manager from York" began his piece with a joke about his travels, then went on to tell another joke, then another one... This carried on for about an hour!
It was only near the end that I realised that he was a stand-up comic!!
I honestly was waiting for him to start talking about business and financial things...

The evening was only spoilt when a stray nail caught my suit jacket and tore it beyond repair!

I've never liked suits anyway!

Monday, May 22, 2006

I don't mind Mondays...

Today, as it was raining cats and dogs, I went to the Metrocentre for a dry spot and some retail therapy.
I bought a few clothes, Corinne Bailey Ray's CD, which Dons recommended and a game of Scrabble. Somebody has challenged me and I can't wait to dish out a thrashing!
My Greek will help a little and a few Algerian words will creep in as if by magic! Allowed if they are in the dictionary!

I had a Chicken Caesar's salad at Nando's (South African chain popping up everywhere you look!) to celebrate Lettuce's birthday...

A couple of espressos and then I went to see The Da Vinci Code. It was panned by the critics. Some of the acting was wooden but I didn't think it was that bad. The book was very badly written, though!

All in all a very interesting day to recover from a very busy and wet weekend!

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

International gathering...

Last night after work, I went to see my French friend, Didier at the restaurant where he works. We had a couple of glasses of red, chatted about life and my Edinburgh weekend...
He has been collecting Daily Mail flight tokens. So we are planning to go to his native Carcassonne in June for a few days.
"Ma mère nous fera un bon cassoulet!" He promised...

After the wine had run dry, we decided to go to another restaurant for a top-up. It is managed by Nuno, a gentle Portuguese guy from Estremoz (Alentejo). As soon as we went in, Nuno filled two glasses with red wine and carried on doing his till. The last customers had long gone. His heavily pregnant wife made us feel her tummy to the sounds of Paulo Conte, Gypsy Kings and Santana...
Her mother and stepfather work in the same restaurant and were very pleased to share memories and photos of their last Portuguese holiday. We nibbled a packet of salted broadbeans and waffled on... Nostalgia, Sodade... Cesaria Evoria and Amalia Rodrigues... Sardines, Vinho Verde...

All in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese...

What a classy evening!

I wonder what languages I'll be speaking next Friday night...

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Friday, May 19, 2006


Two Inuits (Eskimos, for those who aren't politically correct!) sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft.

Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that:

"You can't have your kayak and heat it too. "


The Great Blog Story goes on...


I finished my chapter yesterday and Vit has published it in the
Great Blogstory...

Don't expect any bloody Shakespeare... it's more like Dan Brown on a bad day...

After all I am not a native English speaker and living in Geordieland doesn't give one the chance to speak it propa, ye kna man!


Thursday, May 18, 2006


How does one keep the romance going?

Romance is not a roaring fire

Roaring fires do not last for ever

Romance is a smouldering fire

A warm, comfortable feeling

A little touch, a smile, a kiss

A caress, a familiar look, laughter

Now and then a little poke (sorry)

To stir it and re-ignite the flame

An olive branch, a lump of coal

Romance is a smouldering fire

Turn your back for too long

And it goes out for ever...

Your Seduction Style:

The Natural

You don't really try to seduce people... it just seems to happen.

Fun loving and free spirited, you bring out the inner child in people.

You are spontaneous, sincere, and unpretentious - a hard combo to find!

People drop their guard around you, and find themselves falling fast.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Sunny Edinburgh...

The weather was beautiful till Sunday afternoon. Once again the rosé flowed on terraces, rooftop restaurants, waterside, etc...
Had a brief motorcycle tour of the city... Mad!

Edinburgh had an bovine invasion. One hundred cows decorated in a million colours and themes for charity. They will remain scattered around the city for the next twelve weeks as part of Edinburgh Cow Parade...

Just a few a few days ago DCver mentioned the Cow Parade in Lisbon... What a coincidence!

View from Oloroso Restaurant and Cocktail bar in Castle Street. You couldn't get a more panoramic view of the Castle... And a cow dressed as a cockerel...

Same view minus ladies who lunch...

A cow at night!

The Royal Mile. (High Street)

More colourful cows...

Saturday night, wobbling along Princes Street after a very long session, I kept stopping total strangers and asking them:
"Are you from Newcastle?"
If they said no, I'd say: "Boring!" or "Bugger off, man!" Why Newcastle? I don't even live there!

...Until this guy called me by my name!
"I did your stepson's wedding photos last Summer!"
Flipping coincidence or what?
The whole of Edinburgh and I find someone who's gonna go back home and give me a bad name!

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Golf stories...

Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language. Is this a true fact??

On a golf tour in Ireland, Tiger Woods drives his Volvo into a petrol station in a remote part of the Irish countryside.
The attendant at the pump greets him in a typical Irish manner completely unaware of who the golfing pro is.

"Top of the mornin' to yer, sir" says the attendant. Tiger nods a quick "Hello" and bends forward to pick up the nozzle.

As he does so, two golf tees fall out of his shirt pocket onto the ground.

"What are dey den?" asks the attendant.

"They're called tees" replies Tiger.

"Well, what on dis good earth are dey for?" inquires the Irishman.

"They're for resting my balls on when I'm driving", says Tiger.

"Jaysus", says the Irishman, "Dem boys at Volvo tink of everyting!"

Have yourselves a great weekend! I'm off to Edinburgh!


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fruity diet...

Apples and pears!

Yep! I went to Aldi and stocked on the above fruit! I have a beautiful bootful!
Every time I feel hungry I have an apple or a pear. If I feel really hungry, then I have a pair of each!

The only thing wrong with this diet is that it affects the memory! Wendz, nowt to do with age, woman, I'm telling you!

This morning I went to the gym without a clean shirt...
No, it's not that serious really, you!

Tuesday WAS serious! I went commando till 2pm!
Ahhhh, the breeze...

So, I am going to cut down on apples and pears... I might try Prickly pears or maybe not....


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wet weekend...

It has been a very wet weekend!
My football team was relegated on Saturday.
No, I didn't cry and it didn't rain!
It was a Rosé weekend!

My friend, the French chef invited me on Sunday. I took a bottle of chilled Rosé round.
He said that I shouldn't have bothered and showed me the latest wine consignement he'd received from France! A bloody cellarful!
While watching Schumacker win the Grand Pricks played some old French 45s on his newly acquired turntable, we made a dent in his wine stock!
Camembert, Chorizo, tomatoes, basil, baguettes...

Monday, we celebrated someone's birthday at a gastro pub with yet more Rosé (Pinot Grigio Rosé!) and lots of bubbly!

I love Rosé because it conjures up sunny days with friends in Carcassonne or Barcelona.

This morning I went to the gym and this is the view from my machine! I took it on my mobile phone.

Another sunny day in paradise! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Today, I'm feeling Olympic (Part 3)

You may have gathered from my latest posts that it has been an emotional rollercoaster of a week. Personal reasons which, for the present moment will remain tucked away deep in the blog safe.

So far my life has been like a safe, middle-of-the-road black and white series of movies, some with a happy ending and others with a cliffhanger finish...
One episode followed the other in much the same way as the old Carry On series, with ineluctable monotony, year on year. Some years the movie made the Oscars and others it went straight to video.


I have now decided to go full blownTechnicolour, scrap the script and just improvise until an interesting thread develops...
...maybe on the lines of The Sound of Music, my favourite feel-good film...

Friday, May 05, 2006

In hot water...

This morning at the gym, I spent over half an hour in the Jacuzzi with our retired milkman's wife, a regular lady customer and a female nurse.
While our bodies were gently being massaged with warm jets of water and bubbles we waffled on about Egyptian holidays, divorce, the health service, restaurants and food...

"And how do you make your toffee baskets, then?" enquired the nurse...

"We used to go out at 7pm and be home by 9pm!" said the milkman's wife, "We both had to be up at 3am!"

"You know what, I went to see about my hip, and the earliest I can get in is 2007! What a disgrace!" said the other lady.

I nodded and agreed on cue. I could've stayed there all morning. Then I remembered that I had to show my face at work...

"Sorry, ladies as much as I'd love to linger and put the world to right, some of us have to work for a living!"

In the showers this giant said: "I was at your tapas bar last week. You said hello. I think you don't recognise me because I'm naked!"

What an amazing start to my day!

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:"
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don't worry!"
Courtesy of Bob Marley

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Faraway lands on my mind.....

Celebrating 21 years with a quiz and a great song!

My (Fried) Brain's Pattern...

Your mind is a firestorm - full of intensity and drama... (Just about to blow up...)

Your thoughts may seem scattered to you most of the time... (Scatterbrain, more like!)
But they often seem strong and passionate to those around you. (Theatre!)

You are a natural influencer. (Bulls....r!)

The thoughts you share are very powerful and persuading. (Look into my eyes, look into my eyes...)

Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
I said now Georgia, Georgia
A song of you
Comes as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
I said Georgia, Georgia
No peace I find
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
Now ya know it's Georgia, Georgia
No peace, no peace I find
Just an old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

May the Fourth be with you...

Twenty one years today!
Not my age, silly! You know I'm 53 years old in body, 25 in my head and 16 in my heart!
Twenty one years in business!
Time flies when you're having fennel! And it flies too fast if you don't watch out!
An era!
Could it have been an Error...
What if I had stuck to my Naval Architecture?

What I have done has been a series of enterprises borne out of natural progression rather than as a result of erratic or drastic decisions.
Long ago I understood that location is one the most important factors for a restaurant's success. You may cook the best dish in the world but you are out in the sticks then you will no doubt face an uphill struggle.
By identifying the best new locations as trends moved and changed I have been able to always be one step ahead of the rest. And ended up with three successful restaurants...

Yet, twenty one years on, I feel like Sisyphus... Done things like he pushed the stone only because that was the only way.

I may be feeling melancholic at the realisation that if I was to put my whole life in a sieve and give it a good shake there won't be anything worthwhile left at the bottom.

Today, while I should be wearing my laurels, I am not feeling Olympic at all!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I am feeling Olympic! Part 2

This morning I went to the gym for the first time since hurting my shoulder playing squash!
They do an amazing breakfast: Bacon, egg, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread... but that's not why I went!

Lately, my trapped nerve has really been getting me down even though our Viking physio guy and I are seeing a considerable amount of progress!

I have been vegetating in front of the computer monitor, 10% work and 90% blogging, drawing, writing, waffling... I love the 90% bit!
Bulges began appearing in places where I thought I had beaten the flab!
And I started worrying!
Fifty three and on a downward spiral to join the fat nation's fascination and infatuation with food!
Actually I eat healthy! But I also drink healthy! Bloody healthy amounts!
But the lack of regular movement began to play havoc with my jeans!
They've bloody shrunk! Honestly!

So this morning, I got to the gym at 7.30! The receptionist nearly had a heart attack when she saw because every time I'd met her over the last few months I promised that I would start the following Monday!

It was so nice to be recognised! Even my old membership card was pleasantly identified by the scanner!
A couple more old regulars suffered strokes when they saw me step into the unrecognisable changing room! The buggers have shuffled all the furniture round, taken the carpet out, etc...

My usual locker was empty and waiting. My usual slick routine was a bit rusty and trying to fathom out the padlock secret code slowed me down even more.
I headed for the gym. Familiar faces greeted me like the returning prodigal son. "Yeah, man I'm back to kick some ass!"
I headed for my Air machine stepper! God I love that apparatus! Right in front of BBC 1 and the glistening marina!

I did 12 minutes at a fair pace! My nerve began twinging!
I then did another 15 minutes here and then, familiarising the various machines with my extra pounds just in case they collapsed under the stress and finally headed for the pool.

More familiar faces bobbing up and down in the water. I did 5 minutes of back stroke in the Jacuzzi before shedding a couple of pounds of sweat in the steam room .
A few lengths of the pool woke the nerve up.
So I gave up and hit the showers!
What a fantastic feeling!
The sun is shining! I have a spring in my step! I ate an apple for breakfast!
I am feeling truly Olympic!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wrong profession...

After 21 bloody years in catering, I do this stupid quiz and it tells me that I'm in the wrong flaming profession!

No wonder I spend my days doodling, doing mosaics at the first opportunity, telling crap jokes to customers, etc... instead of running restaurants!

Well, I should consider myself lucky! I could've been a bank clerk or a secretary!

Your Career Type: Artistic

You are expressive, original, and independent.
Your talents lie in your artistic abilities: creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art.

You would make an excellent:

Actor - Art Teacher - Book Editor
Clothes Designer - Comedian - Composer
Dancer - DJ - Graphic Designer
Illustrator - Musician - Sculptor

How about Bloody Cook, eh?

The worst career options for your are conventional careers, like bank teller or secretary.

Click to check out my latest doodle?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Lazy Sundays...

Evie played reporters as we walked around the Marina before lunch.
She later showed me how to use Powerpoint.

Evie spying on Casa and snapping man in black (Chauffeur) in the process...

Alex was desperate for something to eat but would not have his photo taken sat at an empty table!

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