Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Celebrate St. George's Day

Today, 23rd April, is St. George's Day. He is the English Patron Saint.

"Cry God for Harry, England and St George!" - William Shakespeare

Saint George (c. 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was actually a Greek who became an officer in the Roman army. His father was the Greek Gerondios from Cappadocia Asia Minor and his mother was from the city Lydda. Lydda was a Greek city in Palestine from the times of the conquest of Alexander the Great (333 BC). Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian. He is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography, Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic (Western and Eastern Rites), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints. So says Wikipedia.

"There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England." - Sir Winston Churchill

Monday, 8 April 2013

Saturday Kitchen - Pancetta-wrapped salmon

A pretty simple dish that's perfect for week nights and is actually very tasty.


1) 200g small new potatoes , sliced
2) 3 sprigs tarragon , leaves chopped
3) zest 1 lemon
4) knob of butter
5) 2 x 170g skinless salmon fillets
6) 4 slices pancetta or prosciutto


Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Boil the potatoes for 5 mins. Drain and tip into a bowl - they will be slightly underdone. Toss with the tarragon, lemon zest, butter and seasoning to taste. Pile in the centre of a foil-lined baking tray.

Season salmon with black pepper and wrap the pancetta or prosciutto around the fillets. Place on top of the potatoes and roast for 15-20 mins, or until the fish flakes easily and the pancetta or prosciutto is golden. Serve with steamed green beans.

Make it different Dill or basil both work well with salmon and pancetta, instead of tarragon.

See here for details.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Fact Friday -

1) 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321.

2) The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from and old English law which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

3) Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

4) Marilyn Monroe had six toes on one foot.

5) Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

6) Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left handed people do.

7) The sentence “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the alphabet.

8) A rhinoceros horn is made of compacted hair.

9) It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

10) On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament Building is an American flag.

11) All of the clocks in the movie Pulp Fiction are stuck on 4:20.

12) Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ room during a dance.

13) The youngest pope was 11 years old.

14) The world’s youngest parents were 8 and 9 and lived in China in 1910.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Worth reading - ‘The UK Tax System Explained In Beer’ by David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D

A brilliant way of explaining our tax system. It is accurate and enrages socialists like Gordon Brown -

Suppose that once a week, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten
comes to £100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something
like this: -

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay £1.
The sixth would pay £3.
The seventh would pay £7.
The eighth would pay £12.
The ninth would pay £18.
And the tenth man (the richest) would pay £59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every week and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement until, one day, the owner caused them a little problem. “Since
you are all such good customers”, he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost
of your weekly beer by £20. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the
first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free but what
about the other six men? The paying customers? How could they divide the
£20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? They realized that
£20 divided by six is £3.33 but if they subtracted that from everybody’s
share then not only would the first four men still be drinking for free
but the fifth and sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fairer to reduce each man’s
bill by a higher percentage. They decided to follow the principle of the
tax system they had been using and he proceeded to work out the amounts he
suggested that each should now pay.

And so, the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (a 100%
The sixth man now paid £2 instead of £3 (a 33% saving).
The seventh man now paid £5 instead of £7 (a 28% saving).
The eighth man now paid £9 instead of £12 (a 25% saving).
The ninth man now paid £14 instead of £18 (a 22% saving).
And the tenth man now paid £49 instead of £59 (a 16% saving).

Each of the last six was better off than before with the first four
continuing to drink for free.

But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings. “I only
got £1 out of the £20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the
tenth man, “but he got £10″

“Yes, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved £1 too. It’s
unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me”

“That’s true” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get £10 back when I
only got £2? The wealthy get all the breaks”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get
anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor”. The nine men
surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next week the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat
down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the
bill, they discovered something important –they didn’t have enough money
between all of them to pay for even half of the bill.

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our
tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will
naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much,
attack them for being wealthy and they just might not show up anymore. In
fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat

From David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. - Professor of Economics

Thursday Drinks Cabinet - Pineau des Charentes

Pineau des Charentes, (Pineau Charentais, or simply Pineau) is a regional French aperitif from 1589, made in the d├ępartements of Charente, Charente-Maritime and, to a much lesser extent, Dordogne in western France. While popular within the region of production, it is less well-known in other regions of France and somewhat uncommon abroad. It is a fortified wine (mistelle or vin de liqueur), made from a blend of lightly fermented grape must and Cognac eau-de-vie.

It is mainly used as an aperitif and is also amazing with foie gras . It is lovely stuff and connects to a region of France I know well.

It also has the advantage of not being too pricey, most Pineau des Charentes Plessis 75cl is around £10.

Try it this summer.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Wednesdays Joke of the Week - 40 - 50 - I said to this train driver ''I want to go to Paris". He said ''Eurostar?'' I said, ''I've been on telly but I'm no Dean Martin''.

40. I said to this train driver ''I want to go to Paris". He said ''Eurostar?'' I said, ''I've been on telly but I'm no Dean Martin''.

41. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly. But when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it.

42. I've got a friend who's fallen in love with two school bags, he's bisatchel.

43. You see my next-door neighbour worships exhaust pipes, he's a catholic converter.

44. A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: ''I'm looking for the man who shot my paw.''

45. I tried water polo but my horse drowned.

46. I'll tell you what I love doing more than anything: trying to pack myself in a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself.

47. So I met this gangster who pulls up the back of people's pants, it was Wedgie Kray.

48. Went to the corner shop - bought 4 corners.

49. A seal walks into a club...

50. I went to the Doctors the other day, and he said, 'Go to Bournemouth, it's great for flu'. So I went - and I got it.

More jokes here.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Tech Tuesday - BT Sport - the birth of a new media giant?

Towards the end of this Summer BT Sport are aiming to launch two new channels. This has been a massive undertaking. Many have entered the sports media world since the birth of Sky Sports and all have died.

Think of Ondigital Sport, Setanta Sport, ESPN, ITV Sport etc etc. indeed even the BBC has lost nearly all, it's sports rights.

BT are opening a huge new sports media complex on the Olympic site, allocated billions on sports rights and committed to the project for a decade saying it will sit alongside their broadband and tv offerings.

So far they have nabbed some premiership games, the rugby Aviva premiership, WTA, bought out ESPN etc and shown they mean business.

They have also hired some quite big "talent" like Clare Balding and Lawrence Dallaglio. Getting all the tech in place too has been tricky and they have signed some pretty big deals with production companies to make sure all the sport is covered.

The channels will definitely be available on Sky and Bt Vision, alongside you view and also hopefully Virgin media.

Lets see how it pans out but it's a big step in the media tech world. Can they compete with Sky? They have the funds from their other businesses to do so and that's a good start.

Monday, 1 April 2013

PM - A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow--
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. See here for more details.