Thursday, 24 June 2010

England Football Team .v. Nightflight

Well that's a bit unfortunate.

In a major upset, England's abysmally under performing football team have somehow managed not to get eliminated from the next stage of the FIFA World Cup. 

Their failure to get beaten by Slovenia yesterday has put them into the knock-out stages of the tournament where their next game will be against Germany at three o'clock on Sunday afternoon.

This is a cruel bit of scheduling, as it means that the game will take place at the same time as my band will be on stage, playing at the Langley Village Fete...

 "Nightflight" make a desperate attempt to cheer up disappointed football fans...

Monday, 21 June 2010

...while the sun shines

We had our hay baled yesterday evening.

The weather has been very cooperative this year, so we haven't had the usual stress of the grass being mowed then watching it laying in the field as a succession of rain storms sweep in and soak it.
Glumly fretting as the sodden crop fails to dry sufficently for it to be baled seems to have become an almost inevitable part of our summer.

This year we've been luckier. The grass was cut in the middle of last week and although we had a bit of a shower on Friday, the sun and a fresh breeze had dried it enough for it to be ready to bale today.

I quite enjoy haymaking.

The weather is generally pretty balmy and because you know you're taking part in a successful harvest, it's a genuinely "feel good" event.
We don't have an enormous amount to gather in, so even though manhandling the bales involves much more physical effort than I'm normally used to these days, it never takes so long that the novelty wears off.

... and as I usually get to drive the Land Rover with the trailer, I cunningly avoid most of the heavy lifting.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

"'Ello, I wish to register a complaint..."

It's funny the things that you take for granted.

There was a time when it was pretty hard work to get satisfaction from a retailer if the goods that you had bought were faulty.
If you took something back to a shop, you could generally expect scepticism and even outright hostility from the shop assistant for daring to return an item that had been unfit for purpose.
Getting your money back was often next to impossible even if you had a receipt, the original packaging and the bag that the assistant had put he wretched thing in when you bought it.

The phrase "The customer is always right", was a hollow sham.

I have a feeling that it was this environment and the recognition of the helplessness of shoppers that made Monty Python's "Dead Parrot Sketch" such a perfect creation.
In those dark days before The Trades Descriptions Act, anyone who had ever bought something that was a dud could sympathise with Mr Praline (John Cleese) as he struggled to get satisfaction from the pet-shop owner (Michael Palin).

Thankfully things are much more sensible these days, so the trip to Tesco's to return a pack of five pairs of underpants, was completely stress-free.
The amount that the first pair had shrunk when they went through the wash was obvious when compared with an unworn pair, so the lady at the Customer Service desk didn't hesitate to offer a refund and an apology for the inconvenience

The only difficulty I had during the encounter, was resisting the almost overwhelming temptation to put on a hilariously amusing, high-pitched voice as I explained the problem.

Oh... all right then.... here's that sketch again.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Heroes with an ASBO... and a BAFTA too

Last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see that "Misfits", which I quietly raved about a few months back, had not only managed to get a BAFTA nomination but actually won the award for the Best TV Drama Series.

Considering that they were up against such quality, BBC productions as "Spooks", "Being Human" and "The Street", this is not a trivial achievement.

When the series was originally broadcast, it didn't seem to get a lot of attention. I don't know whether this was due to the misconception that, in the wake of "Smallville" and "Heroes", it was just another super-hero series, or simply that it was shown on "E4" and so a little less obvious in the TV schedules. Whatever the reason was for this apparent lack of interest, I started to feel as if I was the only person who was following the exploits of the delinquent characters as they tried to come to terms with the powers that had been inflicted on them.

None of the characters were immediately likeable and some were so abrasive, objectionable or just plain creepy, that it was quite uncomfortable to watch. These were the sort of young people who, if they got onto your bus, you'd want to move to a seat as far from them as possible.

The super-powers that the characters were lumbered with by the deliberately cliche "Strange Electrical Storm" were nothing we hadn't seen before, and yet the way that the bewildered recipients of these unwelcome talents came to terms with them was entirely fresh. Another master stroke was not revealing the nature of some of the abilities, until well into the series.

After each episode I found myself thinking, "Blimey! That was good... they can't possibly keep this up."
But they did keep it up. Right to the very end of the final episode.

...and now I've discovered that there's second series coming in November.


Friday, 4 June 2010

...we certainly were

 I've just noticed the strap line on the poster for "2012"

Yes, we were warned...

...but I still wasted over two hours watching it.