Monday, 30 May 2011

On the Costa Delirium

We've had a lot of warm, dry weather lately, which is nice for those pesky tourists (the perils of living in a seaside town), but not hugely beneficial for my garden. Occasionally, though, we like to go out and enjoy ourselves about the town - just like those pesky tourists.
On the day in question, we decided to stop at a cafe and have a drink. Unfortunately, it was pretty much packed inside and those few tables that remained all seemed to have screaming toddlers or hyperactive youngsters next to them, so we decided to sit at one of the tables outside. Luckily, it was one of the warm days, so the only trouble we had to keep an eye out for was an aggressive smoker or two.

And then Julie came out with the following remark on the weather.

I suppose it's some consolation that she didn't come up with 'Costa Del Boy' (from UK sitcom Only Fools And Horses) instead of a reference to a drinks label and a ham-fisted attempt at 'Costa Rica'...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Something fishy about these beliefs.

If Julie has a fault, it lies in not letting go of an idea once it has taken root, even when evidence to the contrary is provided. In a less-intelligent person (and Julie is intelligent and quick-witted), this would mean being unable to count up to ten - or perhaps being able to count up to thirteen. And a propensity for playing the banjo.

The main problem is Julie gets lost with details of new stuff, and I'm not that good at explaining things. You may have noticed this.
For example, take this occasion. We were in a cafe and talking about food in general. Like any couple, there are things that one likes that the other one dislikes. I like Marmite; Julie doesn't. Julie loves ketchup; I can't stand it.

The big one is seafood. In the main, I absolutely love it, and if I haven't tasted it, then I'll at least give it a try. Julie, on the other hand, is very much a white fish person and only likes prawns if they come with lettuce and 1000 island dressing.
Unfortunately, things that live in the sea suffer from Julie's tendency to stick with certain notions. In this case, it's that everything in the sea is a fish.

Cue lengthy, involved diatribe on what a fish is - and isn't. All followed up with this.

Well, 'fair enough', I laughed - and then launched back into my attempts at education. When we got to crustaceans - specifically crabs - Julie began talking animatedly about how she couldn't stand them. When I asked her what crabs were, she replied that they were 'sea creatures'.
I pointed out that she had just contradicted her earlier comment about everything in the sea being 'fish', and she then uttered the following Gem:

I gave up at that point.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

What's that about pride and falls again?

There's a telephone box (booth) next to a bowling green near where me and Julie live. On a glorious day, out for a gentle stroll, we happened to pass it. Or nearly. On this occasion, Julie stopped and glared at it for some reason. Then we had this exchange - Julie leading off with her forthright declaration.

(NB - the "><" indicates where I suddenly realised we were in danger of becoming stuck in a loop and stopped what I was saying.)

Obviously, what I had meant to say was that, in all the time since I had moved down here, there had always been one phone box.
Yeah, I know. Too little, too late.

By the way, Julie challenged me; "I bet you won't put that one on the website, will you?" However, I am nothing if not fair and even-handed. If I didn't post it, I would be all shades of hypocrite, and I refuse to be that.

Monday, 23 May 2011


One of the more frequent questions I'm asked - sometimes by Julie herself - is just how does she come up with the stuff she does? I always pile in right away with a defence; she's not stupid, not by a long chalk. Nor is she, to use the parlance of the day, 'special' (ie, 'special needs). The only deficit I can honestly lay at my wife's feet is a certain lack of horizons and a parochial approach to expanding them.

No, if anything, Julie's Gems spring from the same dotty source as the original absent-minded professor; the type of person who can calculate pi to thirty-eight places in their head without blinking.* Ask them to perform a task outside of their expertise, though and they have a tendency to go to pieces.

Oh, and one more thing. Never, EVER ask such a person about the source of their particular genius. Otherwise, you may wind up facing a comment like this one...

*By the way, Julie's own expertise is as a first-class administrator with a fine line in withering put-downs...
Coming up Wednesday; a Gem from a most unexpected source...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Bonus Saturday: No cakes for you.

Happy Saturday, folks (with apologies to those who work weekends).

This was going to be a Facebook-only post, but there were a couple of things recommending it for general release - not the least of which is the fact I find it funny as hell. The other is that most people will need a little preparation before they read it.

Step one; watch this video clip of a song recorded in 1950 by Eileen Barton.

Got that? Cool.
Step 2; Read the following Gem from Julie - bearing in mind this came out of the blue, for no reason at all, as we were walking along the seafront.

Step 3; Think WTF??

That's all folks - see you on Monday for the next round of Gems. Oh, and next week features a Gem from a very special guest.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Moaning and groaning?

It's Trivial Pursuit time again folks. This time, Julie tries answering the question by smothering me with a flood of answers, each more otherworldly than the last...

I was attempting to say 'No' after Julie's suggestion of 'Aeroplane', but she had the bit between her teeth and wasn't going to stop.
In order, my replies were;

That's it for this week... well, actually, no. The bonus Gem I had planned for Facebook today will be making a proper appearance here tomorrow instead. See you then!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Oh Lord - please don't let me be misunderstood.

Every now and then, Julie feels a need to explain or justify her Gems and the reason for their creation. This is all well and good, but it more often than not results in her digging herself into a deeper hole than she's already in.

Well, yes. Just so.
Facepalm, anyone?

That's all for today - apart from the now-customary bonus on the FB fan page.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Why, oh why were these people allowed out of the country?

Today, we have something of a bonus, courtesy of Julie. This time her only involvement was to forward an email on to me. It's one of those lists of people and quotes that always seem to do the rounds. This lot are pure class though and are worthy of appearing on Not Always Right.

From Thomas Cook Holidays - listing some of the guest's complaints during the season. (NB the word 'alleged could be used here. They could be pure fiction, but I have no way of knowing. They're still entertaining though)

1. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local
store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger

2.  "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I
often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time - this should be

3. "On my holiday to Goa in India I was disgusted to find that almost
every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food at all."

4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had
to bring our swimming costumes and towels."

5. A tourist at a top African game lodge overlooking a water hole, who
spotted a visibly aroused elephant, complained that the sight of this
rampant beast ruined his honeymoon by making him feel "inadequate".

6. A woman threatened to call police after claiming that she'd been
locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the "do not
disturb" sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the

7. "The beach was too sandy."

8. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your
brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white."

9. A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick
and strong. He was inadvertently slurping the gravy at the time.

10. "Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was
ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women."

11. "We bought 'Ray-Ban' sunglasses for five Euros (£3.50) from a
street trader, only to find out they were fake."

12. "No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled."

13. "There was no egg slicer in the apartment..."

14. "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi
drivers as they were all Spanish..."

15. "The roads were uneven.."

16. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only
took the Americans three hours to get home."

17. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends'
three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller."

18. "The brochure stated:  'No hairdressers at the accommodation'.
We're trainee hairdressers - will we be OK staying here?"

19.  "There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks
Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners."

20. "We had to queue outside with no air conditioning."

21. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or
unruly guests before we travel."

22. "I was bitten by a mosquito - no-one said they could bite."

23. "My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a
double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I
find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us
in the room that we booked."

You know what? Never mind why they were let out of the country - I just hope they weren't allowed back in and were sterilised to remove them from the gene pool.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Talking of time spent talking...

I'm going to have to apologise here, I think.

Actually, I think I'm going to have to ask you to take a few stiff drinks (or whatever loosens up those mental muscles for you) before you read today's Gem.
On the other hand, there may be many people who, upon reading this will take it in and wonder just what makes it so special.

And right there is the reason for my apology. I have read it countless times and each time, my brain threatens to turn to cream cheese and dribble out of my ears. The problem is that there is nothing actually wrong with the sentence in any respect. It is grammatically accurate (a first for Julie), it makes good use of various clauses and is, all in all, a perfectly complete sentence.

And yet...
Gah. Just read it, OK? See if you can work out what it is that makes it difficult to follow.

Help please? I have a headache as it is, and this is not helping one bit. And if I have just condemned your own brains to lactic liquefaction, then I really am truly sorry.

(ps - bonus Gem over on the FB fan page as per usual)

Friday, 13 May 2011

Confusion isn't necessarily a one-person game.

Rounding off the week we have a couple of guest appearances. One by Britney Spears over on the Facebook fan page and one by myself right here. Yes, I know I'm often quoted here but I'm usually the witness, rather than an active participant in the proceedings.

This time is different. Julie has some assistance. Once again, a game of Trivial Pursuit provides the setting.

Just in case you were wondering, I was the one asking the original question, while Julie was answering. And questioning. I'm not helping here, am I..?

That's it for this week, have a great weekend and see you on the other side of it.
p.s. - don't forget to drop by the Facebook fan page to see some fan-only bonus material (courtesy of Catherine. Thanks for the link!).

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A wandering accent or a wandering country?

Yes, it's another geographically themed Gem.

To be honest, I could probably fill reams with all such Gems; Julie's grasp of Geography, distance and spatial awareness is comparable to (ex-US president) Bill Clinton's sense of fidelity and sexual restraint. Even basic knowledge, such as the names an locations of the continents are sometimes a mystery.

It's certainly a mystery to me. My wife is actually really rather intelligent and has a job with a certain amount of responsibility which requires deep and flexible thought. We'll have lengthy discussions, not all of which devolve into mud-slinging about our admittedly disparate musical tastes.
And then she'll go and spoil it all by coming out with something like this:

Now, normally, I will counter this with a pithy quip. This time, the best is could manage was a blank stare and, "......... no." To her credit, though, Julie did realise what she'd said and laughed about it.

Once again, I'm not going to give the answer, let's see which of you out there can resist the urge to Google and tell me in the comments below what the country really is.
Also, another Facebook fans-only bonus feature available. Come on in - the water's nice and warm.

Monday, 9 May 2011

If you don't know it, blag it. With STYLE.

Not going to say much here, as it's a zinger of epic proportions.
Playing Trivial Pursuit is all well and good, but you're always -at some point or other - going to be asked a question to which you have absolutely no idea about what the answer could be.

What do you do?
You fake it, that's what you do. And you fake it so that you go down in a blaze of glory...

I just LOVE that woman.
Oh, by the way; I'm not going to give you the answer to this. If you think you know it, leave a comment below.
Incidentally, there will be a couple of bonuses for Facebook fans over HERE. The first one comes today.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Strummers, not scrubbers.

I may have mentioned this before, but when we're sat at a table, playing a board game, we like to have a bit of music in the background. With our tastes, though, there has to be a couple of ground rules. The main ones are that Julie will not be allowed to play any TV show related stuff (Glee and X Factor mainly) and I, being a music fan with massively broad taste, will not play anything too esoteric or heavy.

Fortunately, the acoustic guitar wizards known as Rodrigo Y Gabriella pass muster (just; by reason of not having any singing, Julie can just about put up with their string twiddling).
On this occasion, we were playing Scrabble; I was concentrating on my turn when I suddenly realised I was nodding my head rather energetically to a particular track ('Vikingman' from their eponymous album, since you ask). From that, we had this exchange:

I'm fairly well-known for my ability with a snappy comeback. On this occasion, Julie completely fused my synapses and it was down to automatic reflex to close my mouth and stop my brains dribbling from my ears.

Oh, and since you WERE interested enough to ask what the track was, here they are performing it at Glastonbury.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Scrabbling for meaning.

I'll be honest here. When we play Scrabble, we don't play strictly according to the rules. We have a couple of books with all the words that are allowed in the game listed in them. That's fine, but we don't just use them to make sure someone has played a kosher word.

We actively browse the books to see if what we have is possibly in there. In my father's case, the answer is usually 'no', but then again, this is a man who regularly forgets just where in the alphabet a particular letter may appear. Regardless of the family member though, if something we're convinced/hoping is in the book turns out to only exist in our heads, then we will toss the book disdainfully onto the table and utter the mantra, "Huh - stupid book."

Me and Julie have even gone so far as to extend this activity (when it's just the two of us) enough that the other can pick up a puzzle book and have a go at a sudoku or two while we're waiting. All this while listening to a CD.

Sometimes, however, inspiration strikes and we just slap down the tiles, which isn't always a good idea, because The Book is the final arbiter...

I didn't even dare to ask what she was looking for. It was starting to get a little too metaphysical for my taste.

Monday, 2 May 2011

What? At least it was on the right island!

The title to this one is pretty much a quote from Julie, although it's not strictly speaking accurate. Usually, the first thing she'll come up with when she sees my look of incredulity at her comment will be, "at least it was in the right country... it was, wasn't it?" And then she'll work upwards in size until she finally finds a landmass large enough to be general enough to be right.

Unfortunately, this only works for situations where we're actually discussing places. If, for example, Julie asserts that Mumbai is in South America, then she'll justify it by saying it was on the right planet. When we shift to accents though, it all goes for a tumble.

Brits will already get this, but others may need a little explanation. The comment, 'way-ay, man' is an exaggerated version of a standard Georgie phrase. Geordies live in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (generally known just as 'Newcastle'). There's a little bit of distance between them, along with one or two different accents...

For a full size version go to 

And if that doesn't help, here's a clip of people talking Welsh, and a clip of a mouse animated to a soundtrack of a Geordie talking.
Overall, the effect is like someone referring to the Texan accent in a 'Noo Yoik' style...