Tuesday, 28 March 2006

"Goldfish Bowl" - Stereophonics, 1997

Last week, John and I stayed in a lovely country hotel near Yarm, in the Middlesbrough area. I ran two days of training courses for a company based there, and "Judges Hotel" was where they put me up Wednesday and Thursday nights...and being a newlywed, it wasn't hard to talk John into coming along with me! (We paid his expenses, of course.)

Here's the hotel...

Among the usual in-room amenities was one a bit more unusual -- a goldfish in a bowl on the desk. We were very amused to find the following message by the bowl...

And we were happy to oblige...

It was true that "Janet" enjoyed being talked to...and, like me, she also enjoyed her dinner!

(Click on any of the images for a full-sized version.)


Monday, 27 March 2006

"24 Hours From Tulsa" - Gene Pitney, 1963

OK, OK...I'm about to hit you with a bad pun. It came because of John's suggestions for the title of this blog item. So I'll blame him for this one.

I'm going to write about what represents "24 Hours For Tesco".

What do I mean? Well, lots of Britain's Tesco supermarkets call themselves 24-hour stores. But being a 24-hour store doesn't necessarily mean the same thing here as it would in the US.

For example, here's the sign currently posted at the entrance of the largest Tesco to me in the northern part of Oxfordshire. Now I realize that they have altered their hours slightly because of the "refit" they are undergoing, but I still had to chuckle at the opening and closing times. Click on the image for a larger version...



Sunday, 26 March 2006

"Fare Thee Well" - Kate Rusby, 2005

What's fair is fair, isn't it? Or perhaps I should say -- what's fair is fare????

Back on the 11th, I wrote in "The Cheese On Toast Experience" about how the Jamie Oliver Sainsbury's ad on TV here in Britain featured veggie quesadillas but didn't call them by name.

Well, to be fair to Jamie, he does know what quesadillas are. Take a look at this recipe page from his own website. However, note that he also refers to them as "Mexican-style stuffed pancakes"!

By the way, how did I find this recipe of Jamie's online? Because somebody drifted into Lord Celery after doing a Google search for "jamie oliver quesadillas"...and my blog entry was the #15 result for their search!


Thursday, 16 March 2006

"Long Train Runnin'" - Doobie Brothers, 1973

I don't know how John managed to stay sane, commuting for so many years on Thameslink in and out of London!

I'm teaching in London this week. On Wednesday, I had two interesting experiences on the commuter train...one on the way into London in the morning, and the other at West Hampstead station on the way back out of London that evening.

Wednesday morning, there were delays on Thameslink. By the time the delayed 0654 train pulled into Borehamwood Station around 10 minutes after 7, it was almost full. At the Mill Hill Broadway stop, which came next, even more commuters tried to crowd onto the already-full train. The train driver kept announcing, "Stand clear of the closing doors." but to no avail. Finally, clearly exasperated, he announced, "It's not rocket science, people...stand clear of the closing doors!" I couldn't help but chuckle, and other riders obviously had the same reaction that I did.

That evening, as a north-bound Thameslink train pulled into West Hampstead station, those of us waiting on the platform could see that a fistfight was already going on in the last car of the train. I quickly moved up to the next car. As we pulled out of the station, the fight has spilled out onto the platform.

Ahhh...the joys of city commuting!


Saturday, 11 March 2006

"The Cheese On Toast Experience" - The Last Drop, 2002

After a hectic week of training in London, I'm finally managing to post an item here! And it's thanks to John for finding this one.

John and I love well-prepared Tex-Mex food. Obviously, it's in short supply in the UK. So John has learned to make it himself. He makes fabulous quesadillas...especially chicken quesadillas!

I think everybody reading Lord Celery should know who Jamie Oliver is, right? For quite some time, Oliver has been in ad campaigns for the UK supermarket chain Sainbury's. They are trying to convince the British public to try new foods...to not get caught up in eating only old favorite (favourite) dishes.

A new TV ad appeared a few weeks ago. Oliver suggests a good way to get your children to eat more vegetables is to get a tortilla, put chopped vegetables and grated cheese on it, put another tortilla on top, and then fry it quickly on both sides until the cheese melts. Voila! It's a vegetable quesadilla! But Oliver never uses that word. In fact, he doesn't call his concoction anything at all.

Last night, John found a link on the Sainsbury's website to the TV ad. And then he burst into laughter. Why? Because of the name they have given to Oliver's cheese & veggies & tortilla dish.

S0 what is Oliver's creation called? "Mexican Cheese On Toast"!

As they would say here, "Good Lord!"


Thursday, 2 March 2006

"Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" - Beatles, 1967

"It was 20 years ago today..."

I had to check my Palm for something this afternoon and saw the note on today's page. It reads, simply: "Moved to NYC, 1986."

Good Lord - it was 20 years ago today that I arrived in Manhattan to start my new life there and my new job at Goldman Sachs. It was a difficult decision to leave Houston and move so far away from my family and friends. I really didn't know anybody in NYC apart from a few of my new Goldman colleagues. But I desperately wanted to live in "The City". I had dreamed of that for a long time. And I had my chance in '86, with the job offer from Goldman.

So on the 1st of March 1986, all of my worldly possessions - including my baby grand piano, my first major purchase when I left home and got my first adult job - went into a moving van in Houston and headed up to New York City. On the 2nd of March, I followed on a Continental Airlines flight, loaded down with luggage. Sadly, I had left my beloved little year-old Westie, Mac, in Houston with my parents. There was no way I could manage having him with me until I was able to move into my own apartment. But once I had, about a week later, my folks put Mac into a pet carrier and shipped him to me on his own, via a Delta Airlines small-package system called Delta Dash. (I wonder if that division of Delta still exists?) Delta Dash had come highly recommended to me by breeders who sometimes had to ship dogs without any accompanying humans, and they were indeed a terrific service. I'll never forget how much I cried when I saw Mac's bright little face through the pet carrier's wire door, when they brought him out to me at LaGuardia Airport! I was no longer up in New York City all alone.

Anyway, was that really 20 years ago? Incredible. I was only a kid then, really, and had no idea how brave I'd been.

Maybe, years later, it set the stage for my move to England. That has taken a certain amount of courage, too.