Saturday, 31 December 2011

The calendar and the whiskey diet

Hola and Happy New Year, folks! We thought we would be kind and treat you to one last Gem for 2011. Of course, by the time we post this, it will be 2012 for a fair part of the world, so...

Over a drink earlier today, Julie was telling me about an article she had read somewhere about the island of Samoa, and the fact that they are changing their status regarding their position to the international dateline.
Mind you, what with Julie's epic facility for recalling details and her masterly grasp of Geography, it actually came out more like "I read this article about something, somewhere, it was some island somewhere, I think it was..." Fortunately, Julie realised she was heading towards a rambling Moment and stopped to tack stock of what she was trying to say.
Apparently, the island of Samoa lost December 30th this year to the mists of time. Like I said, it was all to do with their position relative to the International Dateline. You can read more about it HERE.
What Julie told me triggered a vague memory of some thing that I, myself, had read on a very similar theme.

That must have been a hell of a party for an entire country to be so smashed out of their heads to have lost the best part of a fortnight....
Of course, the reality is very different. Basically, Britain was quite some way behind the times, when it came to reckoning time - especially on an annual scale. While much of Europe had switched to the new-fangled Gregorian Calendar, stubborn ol' Britain continued to use the Julian calendar. Of course, since the Julian calendar was based on the solar year, as opposed to the astronomical year, the days were tagged as being somewhat shorter than they actually were. All this meant that, by the time Britain finally gave in and adopted the Gregorian calendar, we were out by ten whole days.
Of course, there was the predictable set of complaints about people who were concerned that their businesses may suffer due to the change, which is fair enough, one supposes. But then too, there were also plenty of others who literally believed they were going to lose ten whole days of their allotted lifespan. I dread to think what it would have been like if that parochial and reactionary rag, The Daily Mail, had been around then...

Friday, 30 December 2011

Down at Le Café Crazy

It was some years ago that I first came across the concept of a cream tea. In my teens, I would be on family trips and see them on menus, but choose not to have them. As it happened, nobody else had them either, so any curiosity I may have had at the time remained unassuaged.
Some years later, I had dropped ignominiously out of college and everything was, for quite some time operating on a shoestring. Eventually though, things got better and I could then afford to go places. One of the first things I did do was take a trip to a large family event that was taking place quite some distance away. Since the invite was for guest 'plus one' and my sister was taking her current beau - one of my friends - I asked if it was OK to bring along another friend as my '+1'. This friend was the fourth and final member of our little coterie and would have been the only uninvited member. This was OK'd (even though it led to long-running speculation upon my sexual preferences), so we all booked rooms in the same B&B near the party.
The four of us arrived a day early for the party, so we decided to venture out into town (Southend), just to get our bearings. After a while, we decided to take a breather and stopped at a cafe. My friend looked at the menu and opted for the cream tea. I was curious by now about what a cream tea entailed, but I had never ordered one, just in case it meant a cup of tea with cream instead of milk. As it turned out, a cream tea is a pot of tea, one or two scones, some jam and a portion of cream (clotted cream for preference).

NB - many cafes mistakenly include butter with the cream tea. Wrong - this is why you should use clotted cream, because it is effectively replacing the butter. Cut open the scone, spread some cream and then spoon some jam on top. Oh yes - and the scones should be freshly baked to, so they crumble slightly when you bite into them.
Anyway... where was I? Oh yes.
Fast forward to the present. I have since met, fallen in love with, and married Julie.
This weekend just gone, the two of us were out and about and popped by a cafe called Neates Cakery. As you can guess, they have a certain specialisation. And believe me, they do very well in that area - here's the menu:

And here's their basic(!) selection of cakes - usually also available as cupcakes.

Pity the website isn't complete - they're on Facebook though.
Lovely cakes, eh?
In the end, though, I went for a tuna/cheese melt panini, and Julie opted for the cream tea. Well, there was a little moment of hesitation before the final decision was made.

If it wasn't bad enough, I've actually lost count of the amount of times, Julie has had, or at the very least shared, a cream tea. Oh, deary me.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

BONUS - Not always related

I've posted before some articles about people from service and retail industries and how the people they deal with aren't always the sharpest knife in the drawer. Today, after a long period away from the site, I went back to find out they now have a new companion site - Not Always Related. Naturally, my interest was piqued, after all, isn't this essentially what we do here on Julie's Gems? So I toddled over there so see what it was like - and I wasn't disappointed. Yep, it's chock-full of familial slips and misunderstandings.
Since I'm a generous sort, I thought I'd give you a few tasters before you went over for the main course, as it were.

Hopefully, you like these. Now, why not sidle over to the main site and see some more?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Not too sure what it is about mothers at the moment. So far, one friend has supplied me with a couple of Gems from her mum - and assures me there'll be plenty where they came from. Now, Sharron has come to the fore and come up with something from her own mother. I have to admit, though, it's more of a'Fail' than a Gem.
Apparently, the family were sat around, watching Agatha Christie's Poirot on TV. You know - that famous detective from Belgium. The one best played by David Suchet.

Some way into the programme, Sharron's mother evidently has a flash of insight.

Well, yes. Yes, i... Actually, no. No, it's not. It's not 'just like' a whodunnit, it IS a bloody whodunnit.
Fortunately, what with everyone else giving her carefully blank looks (laced with a modicum of humour), Sharron's mother quickly realised what she had just said and led the laughter. Which, I am told, lasted a fair few minutes.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

All for none and none.. for... wait, what?

With thanks to a friend on Facebook for bringing this one up. This is right up Julie's street. It makes sense. You know it makes sense, but ... should it?

You got that?

Monday, 26 December 2011

One of these things is/isn't/is like the other (huh?)

We went out for a little stroll along the seafront today. As I'm still a bit iffy on my feet, what with the slipped disc and all, we had just stopped for a little rest on a bench - on the seafront. It being the seafront, there were plenty of seagulls around, including the shrill squeals of hungry young gulls. It was enough to make you want to buy a shotgun, I tell you.
The gulls weren't the only ones though. Because I live in a town, there were of course the omnipresent pigeons, those horrible little feathered plague pits.
No sooner had we sat down than one particularly ugly pigeon fluttered down and began to strut back and forth in front of us - on the off-chance we had something it could eat. Push off, Percy. Not happening.
And then I noticed one of its legs looked particularly deformed. Yes, dear.
Now, the thing was, I hadn't actually taken my notepad with me. As we were leaving, I told Julie, "Now, don't say anything funny, please."
And then she comes up with the comment above. For a moment, I let it slide. Then I started rummaging in my pockets desperately. No way was I risking the chance of forgetting this. In the end, I found a shop receipt and scribbled it onto the back of that. That'll teach me.

Actually, this Gem reminds me of one of my all-time favourite jokes - well, it's not so much a joke as an exercise in dada-ist absurdism

I say, I say, I say - what's the difference between a duck?
One of its legs is both the same.

See? silly, isn't it?
Anyhow, I shall now leave you with further avian absurdism; the hit single, 'Mouldy Old Dough' by Lieutenant Pigeon. At that point in time and for quite some time after, this had the honour of having the oldest person in the charts - have a look at the other pianist...

Well. it was either this or - no, sod it. You know what, I'm going to post this one too. Have a listen to a little-known Genesis single (well, e.p., really); Pigeons.


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas to all our readers

So here it iis, Merry Christmas! Everybody's having fun.
Loook to the future now, it's only just begu-u-un!

No kidding. Thanks, Slade, for pointing out the bloomin' obvious.
A few days ago, I/we/whatever had the idea of making a Julie's Gems alternative to The Queen's Speech. For those unaware of this particular festive tradition, this involves a pre-recorded message to the multifarious subjects  of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. This message is broadcast on BBC1, just after lunchtime on Christmas Day. This is truly one of the most inspired pieces of TV scheduling ever, because after a massive meal and (usually) copious amounts of alcohol, even the most hard bitten cynic is likely to feel rather more amenable to Royal condescension. If nothing else, by that point, they can't physically move anyway and the remote has been accidentally thrown away with all the wrapping paper from the presents (along with - oh, how DID they slip in there? - those horrible socks from Auntie Violet).

Our short clip differs quite widely from the original in one or two ways. Well, most of them, if you want to be picky. However, what we DO hope is that it is eminently watchable and fairly charming. We also hope it's not too condescending.

(you'll need to turn the volume up a bit, I'm afraid.)
Julie's Gems; A Festive Message from Spike Matthews on Vimeo.

There. I hope that wasn't too painful.
Have a great time, folks and hopefully, we'll keep on seeing you popping by to stand in awe of our language skills.
Incidentally, if you would like to see more of these clips featuring Julie and/or myself, please let us know. Also, if there's anything in particular you would like us to cover (or, more likely, vaguely touch upon), then why not let us know - either in the comments or via our email address -
Don't forget, you can also use this email address to submit any Gem-like situations you have found or been involved in yourselves. We will credit you, unless you'd really rather we didn't.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Of notebooks and hairy brains...

Sometimes, keeping up with Julie requires a very flexible brain and a supreme memory. Failing that, you could do what I do and carry a pen and a notepad around at all times - just in case, you know.
The thing is, it's not an ideal solution. For one thing, you'd be stuffed if you were outside in the rain. Windy weather is almost as bad, trying to keep things from flying away. Then too, you have the situation where you don't have anything to lean on and you're trying to rapidly jot down a long, rambling and above all convoluted Gem into a tiny notebook. Not only will you have trouble following what had been said, but you're almost certainly going to run into difficulties just reading your own scrawl...

Julie has her own objections to this arrangement. I completely sympathise with her too; I mean, it's got to be supremely off-putting when the least little thing you say may cause your nearest and dearest to stop suddenly and scribble every word down. Especially when we're about to play a game, too. Julie will settle down with a large glass of wine to hand. Me, I'll probably have a cuppa, but more importantly, out comes the notebook.
Naturally, Julie has plans to do away with the evidence - but in her own inimitable style...

It's probably also disheartening to discover that even your objections to an activity simply provokes that activity into... well, activity.
Heh. Gemming must be catching.


Well, the next time you'll be reading a Gem will be Boxing Day. So, from both Julie and myself, to those who celebrate the day - Happy Christmas!

nb - On the off-chance you're around here on December 25th, we're hoping to have a little video put together for you. An alternative to the Queen's Speech, if you will.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Monday, 19 December 2011

Shaft - can you dig it? Well, yes, actually.

Iiiiiiit's Trivial Pursuit time again, folks! And this time, it's t'pits.

Poor old Moses - he'd turn in his coal bed.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Video via TARDIS

I've often mentioned -sometimes here's, usually just as the Gems happen - that what we really could do with is an mp3 dictaphone. Switch it on, make sure it's in 'ear'shot of Julie and wait for the long, rambling Gems to come in. Something else we have both talked of, and appears to be a popular idea, would be to get a camcorder with which to record actual sessions of me and Julie talking about various subjects. This, however, is how Julie put the situation...

This one nearly slipped past me undetected, I have to admit. Everything was fine right up until the last word, which lulled me into a false sense of security. Mr Tennant, you caught it too, I see. Another fine paraprosdokian in action there... (Don't know what that is? Click the tag below to see more of the same, including one with a definition.)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Julie has an identity crisis. A sexual one.

Once upon a time, there was a married couple. They were fairly happy with each other and their lot in life, although things could obviously be better. Everyone and every relationship always finds themselves wishing for more. More fun, more health, more money - you get the idea. As it happens, this couple were fond of having a laugh at their own expense and delighted in humorous banter. This friendly chit-chat turned out to be quite popular among their friends and family, and this of course only added fuel to the fire. In their desire to entertain, the couple found themselves becoming so used to the idea of creating this banter, that it became so second nature to them that they barely realised they were doing it. Fairly soon, it took a special comment or theme for the couple to realise that they had once again slipped into this particular behaviour.

One day, they were swapping jokes and tales that they heard picked up from varying places and, as such things are wont to develop, they found they were trying to outdo each other in increasingly sillier and/or tasteless jokes. After one such tale (involving a woman who was fair of hair), there came this exchange between the couple.

Naturally, this was slightly worrying to the husband. After all, you would expect him to have noticed some clue or other as to his wife's anatomy during the years of their marriage. In the end, he put it down to the fact that a Gem had manifested. Such things, as everyone well knows, have a life of their own and bend idle chatter to their own ends.
And so life continued, suitably baffled and somewhat entertained.

The end.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Shorn of hair and short of sense.

We have something of a bonanza for you today; three Gems for the price of one. Not bad since they're free in the first place, eh?

I like to have my hair short. I just can't be bothered with all that high-maintenance that so many people seem to feel is necessary. One of the great things about really short hair is that washing it suddenly becomes a case of finding an available wash basin, getting a little bit of soap and away you go. That's nothing though. The best thing is that you can buy a set of clippers and do the whole cutting thing yourself. You save yourself so much money and hassle that way. Well, since I don't have it quite as short as suede, I'm not totally keen on clipping it myself, so Julie very kindly does this bit for me. I sit down, and away she goes.

Last Saturday, we were in town and I was looking at hair dyes. Julie asked if I wanted to 'go' red. I replied that I would, but they didn't have anything vivid enough for me. What I really want, I continued, is to colour it green. Julie's reply to this cannot be reproduced here on grounds of common decency, but be assured it wasn't a positive response.

Matt nil, Julie one.
On Sunday, we finally got around to cutting my hair. I know it had been a while, but I don't think it had really been  long enough for Julie to fall out of practise. She seemed to be a little rougher than usual.

Matt nil, Julie two. I'm not doing too well here, am I?
Like I said, Julie seemed to be struggling with my hair this time. There were plenty of tuts and sighs and stopping to clean hair out of the clippers. And then she complained,

Matt v Julie: Match cancelled due to extreme bafflement.
Apparently, Julie was passing comment on the length of my hair and how it was making the cutting process more difficult. You know, now I know that, I look back at the comment, and I still haven't got a bloody clue why she said that.

Friday, 9 December 2011

An 'owler of a mistake

One day, we were out for a walk, enjoying the hustle and bustle, the jostling and incivility of the town centre. Thus it was we decided to break away from the well-trodden path and wander along some quieter roads. As it happened, this took us through a rather nice residential area; the kind of urban place where the houses usually have two driveways, at least one of which with a large wrought iron gate preventing access to unwanted visitors, such as canvassing politicians. This is not to say we couldn't appreciate the detail of the architecture and the gardens. The places weren't that large, admittedly, but to someone living in a mid-terrace house, they were verging on the palatial.
As we were passing one house, Julie caught sight of a stylised garden ornament, one with vaguely bird-like features.

Imagine something like this, but with a little less shape
The colour's right though.

The ruddy colouring on the bird's breast gave away the type of bird the ornament's designer had in mind.
Well, in his or her mind, anyway. Not in Julie's.

Better scratch ornithologist off the list of possible careers for Julie...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Guest starring Deric Longden

Who he? I hear you cry.
Well, he's an author and former local radio personality. To find out more about him, here's his website. He is Julie's favourite author, responsible for such telling titles as Diana's Story and Lost For Words. The first is about the illness and eventual loss of his wife, while the second is about the loss of his mother. I know, I know. You're looking at that and thinking that they don't sound a laugh-a-minute. Well, no. The laughs come at a rate of about two to three per minute. Part of it is due to his mother's dementia (it's either laugh or cry, and Deric chose to laugh), and part of it is due to his wife having a certain gallows humour about her.
However, the largest part of the humour comes from Deric himself. His writing is very warm and whimsical, helped in no uncertain terms by the odd situations in which he finds himself. For example, in The Cat Who Came in From the Cold, Deric and his second wife, Aileen, adopt a small white kitten. Except, one day, they can't find it. In the end, they realise that Aileen, who is virtually blind, hadn't seen the kitten jump into the fridge before she put the milk back and closed the door. The kitten is rescued and warmed up with the help of  a pair of Deric's thermal longjohns. All this to explain why they named the kitten Thermal (in a sideways nod to cartoon cat Garfield's nemesis).

If you are now wondering about the actual writing style, here's a little snippet from today's website forum noticeboard.

Now, do you see why Julie admires him so much?

Monday, 5 December 2011

New to IKEA: vari-dimensional table-tops

Picture the scene; we are in a cafe, enjoying a brief respite from the trudging around town. As you can guess, weariness is a given. Hence, since Julie isn't really concentrating, she puts her elbow down on what she thinks is the edge of the table, only to find that she's off by a good couple of inches.
DOWN goes the elbow and OUT comes this comment...

Time for the Default Husband Comment.
"Yes, dear!" (roll eyes, shrug shoulders and try not to laugh too much)

Friday, 2 December 2011

The council for the defence advises you to avoid confusion

On Wednesday, we were talking about a situation that arose when we were looking into things to ease my sciatica; specifically, something that my boss had recommended. Julie was looking at the list of other ailments this gadget purported to ease and stumbled - heavily - over the word 'Spondylolisthesis'. As I admitted in the post, it was a very understandable response, something I repeated yesterday. Unfortunately, Julie then had to begin the following little conversation.

Oh, dear, love - you were doing so well, too...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Bill and Ben and the back pain list

Like I said a short while ago, I'm suffering from sciatica at the moment. It's eased off a lot now, after nearly a month off work, so I'm now back in the land of the gainfully employed. It's a bit of a struggle, I have to admit; after all, I still have the condition, to a lesser degree, and I also have to get my legs back into the idea of being up and about for an eight-hour day in a warehouse. Ah well. In a sense, though, I'm lucky because a couple of folks there have also suffered from the same or similar problems. In fact, the boss has pointed me in the direction of something that could help my back. It's called Back Magic (I see what you did there) and my boss says it's brilliant for his back pain and lingering sciatica.*
I mentioned this product to Julie one evening last week and while I was sprawled, semi-prone, in an armchair with cushions piled below me, she decided to have a look into this helpful whatnot.

Once I had finished laughing (sorry, love!), I reached for the pad and asked her to spell out the word she had stumbled on.
My word.
Apologies to Julie. After I wrote down the offending word - 'Spondylolisthesis' - I took a careful, slow run at it myself, breaking it down into syllables on the way. Even then, it was a bit of a git to utter aloud. So - fair enough, love - not your fault.

*It's unbelievable, the amount of times I have told people that my own version of sciatica begins in the hip and heads down the leg, rather than beginning in the lower back. Seriously, I keep telling the same people over and over, but they just don't seem to bloody listen. I'm thinking of bringing my doctor into work and getting him to do a presentation on sciatica...

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bonus Tuesday: EQ Comics has some damn odd people.

It's time for another webcomic. This time, we're featuring Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life. Snappy title, huh? Yesterday, I was musing on the possibility of adopting The Goons as the official JG band. Following on from that, I'm now wondering if we shouldn't have Edmund Finney... as the official webcomic. Populated by punning, logic-mangling oddities, the titular character wanders around his world trying to make sense of everything and everyone he sees - and sometimes becoming caught up in their lives too. The example below looks to be the beginning of a new story arc, so why not read it and then click on the link above and follow the strip every Tuesday and Friday?

If you have trouble reading the comic, just go straight to the site and you will see it in full size. Oh, and there's also usually a little bonus gag/comment revealed when you hold the cursor over the comic.
Tata for now!

Monday, 28 November 2011

"I'm driving backwards for Christmas...

...across the Irish Sea..."
OK so I'm misquoting the Goons song, but it just seemed appropriate.
In any case, we have a guest star today, although I think we can in fact call this particular contributor a repeat offender. Please give a big hand to J's mother (Not Julie's mum, but that of a friend whose name also begins with 'J'), who is now making her third appearance on Julie's Gems. In fact, in honour of this little feat, I have now retro-actively tagged her previous posts with 'Oh mother'; obviously, I will also be labelling any further appearances in the same way.

Any way. Today's Gem may not seem that odd at first glance...

However, it only makes sense if you intend to drive everywhere in reverse gear. Including across the Irish Sea, naturally.
To finish off today's post, I thought I would treat you to a video clip for The Goons' hit single, "I'm walking backwards for Christmas". A song, incidentally, which was played at our wedding and went down a treat, with almost everybody singing along.

Heh - is it me, or should we adopt The Goons as our official band? It'd be entirely appropriate. Well, either them or the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday Bonus: Filmy logic

Every now and then, I like to have a trawl through the website Not Always Right, all in the hope of bringing you news that there are plenty more people out there that seem to apply Julie's seemingly personal brand of logic to everything. To be honest, it usually doesn't take to long to find something or someone, I should say whose grasp of logic is rather tenuous.

To be honest though, when I read this one, I was immediately put in mind of the following meme:

Friday, 25 November 2011

A vacation to Venus, perhaps?

I don't think there is a person that hasn't done it, to one degree or another. I mean, even those who seem to have everything they want must yearn for something. Of course, for the rich, such yearnings are usually easily satisfied (unless it's the desire for another country to control, perhaps...), but for the less affluent, it's a little more difficult.
Hence the powerful machine that is gambling. Some people bet on sporting events and some may even do well from it (although I have a colleague who is something of a Jonah to anything he puts money on. Seriously - everyone else makes  a note of what he's wasti... er placing his bet on, just so they know which horse, driver to avoid). Others will try things like casinos (why the hell do people waste their money on roulette and slot machines?) or, scaling things down somewhat, bingo halls.
Of course, there is always the easiest, most freely-available option - the lottery. In Britain, we are lucky(??) enough to have a few choices of lottery. We have the national lottery , now renamed Lotto, the Euromillions lottery and a few smaller scale ones that are basically individual causes vying for our money. Tonight is going to be a good night for some lucky bas- people in the UK as there are apparently going to be a guaranteed 18 new millionaires as a result of the Euro lottery draw. And yes, I have a ticket. Well, a man can dream, can't he?
Talking of dreams, what should we do if we won the jackpot, Julie?

"Somewhere else?" Richard Branson hasn't actually managed to get any holiday trips to outer space yet, love...

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Julie's been at the Cinzano again, folks.
The problem - sometimes - with drinking alcohol is that you need to consider the snacks you choose to chow down on while you are having a tipple. The thing is, you need to consider the snacks almost as carefully as you choose the wine you decide to take with a meal. For example, while dry, salty snacks such as crisps or nuts are perfect for a beer, they won't go quite so well with,say, a few shots of vodka.
I can't quite remember what Julie was munching on while she sipped at her Cinzano, but it obviously didn't leave a good taste in her mouth...

Now that you have allowed a stunned silence, I am willing to bet that the thought going through your head is, "how does she know?" And now, like me, you're desperately trying to get that idea out of your head.
WTF indeed....

Monday, 21 November 2011

Guest starring the hairy cueball...

A friend and her mother... actually, no, let's start this one again.
You may recall a recent post where a friend and her mother were at a country fair, and the mother came out with a Gem of such magnitude that her own daughter dropped back and tried to pretend she was with someone else. Can't remember it? Tell you what, have a look here and refresh your memories.
Good stuff, yes?
Any way, back to the present moment; as it happens, they were watching the TV, when someone familiar to the mother popped up on-screen.

Not the best description in the world, but if you know who she was talking about, then it makes a little more sense. Say 'hello' to Jamie from the TV show Mythbusters.

See what I mean? Jamie - under the ever-present beret* - is bald as a coot, but doesn't he have a most impressive set of facial hair? So, yes, my friend's mum was actually correct, despite the Gem-standard oxymoron. Jamie is 'the bald bloke with the hair' (yes, I know facial hair is technically 'bristles', but it's still hair).

*I did try to find a picture of Jamie without his beret, but it just wasn't happening.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Saturday signage: Ice-cream brain freeze

Every now and then, you come across a sign that tries very hard to impart enough information to be sure of absolute clarity. Usually, this coincides with a severe case of Too Much Information (although thankfully free of biological details). Result, everyone is happy until they start looking at the fine print. Here's a perfect example - fine right up until the last two lines...

So, 1 scoop = 2 scoops? What the hell do you do for an encore? Divide by zero?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Mount Improbable, meet Mount Incoherent

Happy Friday folks. I don't know if you have much planned this weekend, but I'm hoping we can fit another game of Trivial Pursuit in. Or maybe a few chats about literature. Why literature? Well, I'm trying to get some short, snazzy quotes from Julie so I can get some bookmarks made up. Not many, just a few. You know, to give away to a few lucky folks, perhaps..

Anyway, back to the Gem and, indeed, back to Trivial Pursuit.

In case you didn't know what Julie did or didn't know, it's that she had a possible answer on the tip of her tongue. Unfortunately, the correct answer must have been hiding on another part of her tongue...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Fireworks, bagpipes or the Nyan Kitty?

Last weekend was Remembrance Sunday, which meant celebrations of various sorts around the town and country. When it got dark, the fireworks began. As it happened, we were out for a stroll when one lot started up, very close to our house. There were the usual noises, plenty of whooshes, crackles and bangs; lots of pretty lights up in the sky. Then, too, there were the screamers. You know, the rockets that don't go 'whooosh!' when the shoot up into the sky, but instead... well, scream. Or, as Julie put it...

How... graphic. Cheers, love!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Slow, slow, wotnot slow

I have been signed off from work for a few weeks with a nasty case of sciatica. It's not manifested in my back, but my right buttock (where it's really a pain in the arse) and all the way down the leg and into my foot, where it has curiously deadened and yet also painfully affected my big toe. Sitting down is obviously a problem - I have to lean at an angle and even then it's far too painful to maintain for too long. Additionally, I can't walk far without a stick and even then not that much further. And even then, I'm not going to be breaking any records for speed.
It's ironic, really, because until recently, Julie wasn't able to either walk far or fast. Following an operation of her own, that changed and she now enjoys going for walks - with or without me.

Obviously, the roles are now somewhat reversed, and Julie has to wait for me while I catch up. Quite often, I do what Julie used to; when the other person starts to make a bit of a distance ahead, the slower one will say, "See you later, then?" to which the faster person will pause or drop back and offer an apology.
This is Julie we're talking about though. Do you really think you're going to get a straight apology or comment? Of course not...

Now, I don't know if you got that, but what she meant was that she wasn't going as slow as she used to, nor as fast as she thought she was, but slower than.... er... I'm not helping, am I?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday Bonus -You dirty bum!

Just a quickie for you today, courtesy of Julie's habit of ... adapting song lyrics. Apologies to Boney M for this one...

And in case yer wondering what the real deal should sound like, here's a clip of Boney M performing their single, 'Brown Girl in the Ring'.

Wow - love those outfits. What were they like in the 1970s, eh? And that bloke? what was he on? Oh, and all credit to Julie, the original lyrics were pretty dodgy any way; After the first verse ends, you then hear
"Show me a motion, tra-la-la la-la"
What the hell?? No wonder Julie went for a scatological touch with her version! 
By the way, the gent with the camp collar (Bobby Farrell) didn't do any singing; not on any of the songs, ever. Any time you heard a man singing on any of Boney M's songs, that was the producer and creator of the group, Frank Farian. Have a look at the group's litigious history on Wikipedia.

Monday, 14 November 2011

This conversation is a real no-know.

Every now and then, Julie will ask me a question about something, or else the conversation will have just... happened, as they sometimes do. Unfortunately, these conversations also have a habit of getting away from themselves. Either we'll stray far beyond the original topic, or I'll forget myself and go into what Julie calls my 'Teaching Mode'. I'll try and explain things in too much detail and in an almost condescending manner, and Julie ends up either bored, lost in details or utterly confused by the terminology (sorry, love! I know I do it!).
When we're playing Trivial Pursuit, there's an obvious danger of this arising, and so it was to prove the other day. I have no idea what the question was or what we were talking about - for some reason, Julie's answer crowded out all that boring detail...

See what I mean? By the time I had managed to work my way through that sentence, everything that had gone before was not even a distant memory. What gets me is that it is all perfectly correct as far as grammar and internal logic goes; it's just that you lose track of where you are in the sentence each time you try and analyse it...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Bonus Saturday: I don't understand...

Cheers to Maddy who found this and thought of us. It strikes me that this is Julie's position; she knows what she's trying to say, she tries ever so hard to explain what she means, but... we just don't get it, do we?

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Fail of Bible proportions

Yes, I did type that correctly.

You may have noticed that I try to choose an appropriate header image for each Gem. For example, Wednesday's post ruefully acknowledged that I, myself, screwed up. Every now and then, there's a new type of situation, which means I need to find the appropriate image (the 'mad cows' post was one such example).
Even rarer is the occasion where our contributor manages to hit more than one Gem category in one go. Normally, the Gem itself causes such confusion that I very rarely manage to jot it down before the details are gone. This time though, I got everything.
I think I chose the correct header.

There's so much wrong there, it's hard to know where to begin...
Have a great weekend folks!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Spike has a temporal memory lapse

We were discussing books the other day. I had an ulterior motive as I was hoping to garner a few literary Gems to use on bookmarks I want to make. as it turned out, I managed to jot down a few Gems, but pretty much the only book-related Gem came courtesy of yours truly and doesn't work as a stand alone gag.
Yes, that's right, I Gem'd myself. In a public place, too.

You see, we were in a cafe and I had asked Julie about books she had read when she was younger. Once we had got the inevitable Janet & John (or equivalent - I was a Rainbow Reader) out of the way, Julie began to talk about Enid Blyton. As it happens, Julie isn't much of a book person, and those that she does read are either chick-lit, celebrity biographies or spiritualism (Ghost Hunters, Colin Fry and all that.. stuff). Me, I'll read most things, but chick-lit and spiritualism don't interest me at all and I really have to be in the mood to read a biography. However, our childhood reading matter is a different thing entirely. As it turns out, we were both massive fans of Blyton's Famous Five series. Apparently, Julie used to buy them in bulk, keep them under her bed and plough through them in one extended bout of frenzied reading. Julie then mention Blyton's other celebrated book series, The Secret Seven and it struck another chord in me. Or, as I put it...

...but I don't any more... eh? What? Doh!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Julie is on a variable frequency.

Considering the output, it's not really all that surprising that we discuss Julie's near miraculous ability to baffle, delight and entertain. Unfortunately, there are a few snags to a free-flowing conversation on such a topic. One of the major stumbling points is that Julie simply can't remember half of the stuff she's come out with. Mostly, it's only the truly epic Gems that have lodged in her memory (such as The Doughnut, shitty tea, perverted prawns and the Octodog - and my personal favourite, Stop Making Sense).
The other main problem with holding a discussion with Julie is that whatever causes her to Gem at all will actually happen even when we're talking about the Gems in the first place. I know - it all sounds a bit Inception, doesn't it? How can we find the root of Julie's Gems? We have to go deeper...

Deeper into the past and into Julie's mind, as it happens. We were talking about Julie's Gems some time ago, and I raised a point that Julie herself had made on several occasions previously...

I'm sorry? Since when were 'frequently' and 'often' not synonymous?
I was reminded of this particular Gem the other day when I came across a T-shirt for sale at Zazzle.

Now... Do I dare buy it for Julie? Or am I too much of a coward...?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bonus fail - MC Escher gives instructions

Well, it's either graphic artist MC Escher or Julie. I found this picture over on My Confined Space, which is well worth a look-see. To the sign - you want to be able to leave the building in a safe manner if there's a fire, don't you? In that case, clear instructions for keeping the staircases clear are essential, aren't they? Just a pity this isn't going to help matters...

Really? Do you really, really think so? Because I don't.

Friday, 4 November 2011

In remembrance of memory.

As you all know (and those who deny it are either lying or have forgotten they have done so), it's all too easy to put something down and then, seconds later, completely forget where it was you left it. In extreme cases, you may even forget what it was that you put down - or even that you put something down at all. You wind up stood there like a prize pillock, with a vague feeling there's something you should be remembering. I don't know about you, but when that happens to me, people ask all those really useful questions like, "where did you leave it last?" and, "well, if you can't remember it, it can't have been all that important can it?"
Yeah. Thanks for your help, now go away.

Of course, remembering where you left some things should be easier. A mobile phone (cell phone to non-Brits) left on charge is pretty much a no-brainer. All you have to do then is remember to pick it up before you leave the house. Mind you, some people seem to have trouble remembering if they should be remembering something or not. Confused? So was I...

In all fairness to Julie, I have to own up to having a brain like a sieve when it comes to remembering to do some things. The current one, something that has really, REALLY annoyed Julie, is my forgetting to switch the washing machine on before I leave the house. It's all loaded up and ready to go. All I have to do is remember to press a certain button before I go to work, and not when I'm at work... Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry!!