As the forecasters predict a wet and windy New Year’s Eve with gales and rain, Tony Blair has escaped to Miami with his family as a guest of Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Apparently Mr Blair has been seen carrying a guitar into Robin’s home and it’s rumoured he’s looking forward to having a jam session with Robin and his brother Barry. Maybe Mr Blair should have become a pop star rather than Prime Minister! Happy New Year Everybody!
I was sorry to hear of the sad demise of the Little Chef chain of American style diners. Little Chef has provided a welcome break on long journeys to many families over the last 40 years. I spent many happy times there as a child. The all day breakfasts, especially the maple syrup pancakes were delicious. Little Chef has been a British institution for so many years, a welcoming sight by the roadside. They will be sorely missed.
Well done to XFactor winner Leona Lewis on having the No. 1 Christmas single with "A Moment Like This". I love that song and play it all the time. Leona has a wonderful voice and real star quality. Let’s hope that this time next year she will still be having as much success and won’t have faded into the background like former XFactor winner Steve Brookstein. That would be a real shame with all Leona’s talent.
Probably the most heartwarming story of this Christmas season is that of the Colombian born woman known only as Alba, who finally went home after spending a month in hospital, after becoming the first woman to have a double hand transplant. Alba who lost her own hands in a laboratory explosion in the seventies described her new hands as being, “beautiful”. The pioneering operation was carried out in Spain, giving Alba the best Christmas present she could ever have, the chance to regain her independence and lead a normal life again. We wish her well.
The funniest story of the season is probably that of the German man who planned to visit his girlfriend in Sydney, Australia but actually arrived in Sidney, Montana, USA and all because of spelling Sydney with an “I” instead of a “Y”, when he did his internet flight booking. This poor man’s geography is obviously as good as mine! Apparently he realised he was in the wrong destination after flying over the snow-capped mountains of Montana! Fortunately he finally managed to reach his Australian destination some five days later than planned after relatives clubbed together to buy him another air ticket!
The saddest story of the season is that of the oil rig workers who were all killed in a tragic helicopter crash in the Irish sea off the Lancashire coast, as they flew home to spend the latter part of the holiday season with their loved ones. Some of these poor men still had unwrapped Christmas presents waiting under the tree at their homes. This was a terrible tragedy. Christmas should be a time of rejoicing and happiness not sadness. Our hearts go out to the families of these men at this very sad time
Hope you all had a good Christmas holiday season. As for me I took a break from blogging and spent some quality time with my family, namely my Mum and my brother. It was good. Santa was good to me and brought me a new camera to replace my old one which stopped working on holiday. I had fun trying out my new toy. You can see some of the results above. Now I'm back blogging with a vengeance!
I was pleased to hear that the fog has finally lifted, allowing thousands of stranded Heathrow passengers to fly home for Christmas with their loved ones. Christmas has become so commercialised nowadays, I think it's important we spare a thought for those less fortunate than ourselves in the world, those suffering from poverty and starvation. We also need to remember our troops, serving abroad who are away from their families at Christmas. The Queen has sent them a special Christmas message, praising their courage. Let's hope and pray for their safe return to their families and most importantly, let's pray for peace in the world in 2007. Merry Christmas Everybody!
Congratulations to XFactor 2007 winner Leona Lewis! I've been voting for Leona throughout the contest. I always thought she had the XFactor. I'll be one of the first in the queue on Wednesday to buy her new single. It' already a hot favourite to become the Christmas No. 1 hit!
An official enquiry into Princess Diana’s death has concluded that her death was the result of a tragic accident, putting an end to conspiracy theories. Perhaps now Diana can finally be allowed to rest in peace. Many of us will never be able to accept that she is gone, Diana was such a beautiful and vibrant woman and so full of life. People will still continue to speculate as to what actually happened. Diana may have died in a tragic car crash but her memory will live on forever in our hearts. She was truly an icon and we will never forget her. But we also have to remember her sons William and Harry, two young men who are trying to live their lives in the public spotlight. It must be very difficult and upsetting for them with all the conspiracy theories flying around as to how their mother died, bringing all the memories flooding back of that tragic night. Now that the inquest is concluded, maybe they too can now be left to get on with their lives.
Photo:- Courtesy of Associated Press Photographs and Yahoo
First the good news, after losing nearly a million customers due to rising energy prices, British Gas has promised to cut prices of gas and electricity bills in the Spring. The bad news is that over a thousand British Gas employees are to lose their jobs, due to company restructuring.
Six people were injured and hundreds left homeless last week when a 140mph tornado swept through a suburb of London, leaving devastation in its wake. In just 10 seconds, the tornado, tore the roofs off houses, blew cars over and sent trees flying through the air. A local shopkeeper described the scene as like something "out of the Wizard of Oz," with the tornado just "sucking things up."
A two and a half year jail sentence handed down this week to a young thug who murdered a hard working dad is a disgrace. What sort of message does this send out to other would-be offenders? It's no wonder that the public has lost confidence in the British Justice system and the power of the police to protect us. Government ministers including Tony Blair claim to be on the side of the victims of crime against criminals. Judging by this case the system is falling down badly.
As a mobile phone user, I was interested to read the results of a Danish mobile phone study conducted over 20 years. The study found no evidence of either long-term or short-term mobile phone use increasing your risk of cancer. Scientists found no link between mobile phone use and the development of brain tumours or leukaemia. Mobiles are currently used by 40 million people in the U.K. With the massive increase in mobile phone use amongst children, this is good news for everyone.
Audrey Hepburn was in the news this week as the little black Givenchy dress she wore in "Breakfast at Tiffanys" went under the hammer for £467,000 at Christies. The dress was snapped up by an annonymous telephone bidder. Audrey Hepburn won an Oscar for her role as Holly Golightly in the 60's movie. The dress was described by a film specialist as "one of the most famous black dresses in the world - an iconic piece of cinematic history."
I smiled to myself as I read about the villagers who were planning to hold a free Xmas party for all the residents. They had to get permission from their local council to hold the party and were told that they would have to carry out a detailed risk assessment of the food and entertainment first before permission could be given! Apparently the main area of importance was the mince pies with council bosses ordering that a poster must be put up saying they contained nuts and were made from suet pastry! The heat of the hot chocolate and the quantity of cocoa it contains must also be checked! Is this bureaucracy gone mad? It is Christmas and this is a village party. Or have council workers nothing better to do? If I was one of the villagers I would be tempted to call off the party and put up a poster saying party cancelled, blame the council!
Meanwhile the cash-strapped NHS is offering free dancing lessons to obese people in a pilot scheme running in some areas of the country. Apparently the NHS is paying for the lessons and ministers say it's a good investment as it will save the NHS money in the long run by encouraging obese people to get fit. It seems like the government has gone mad. With the current state of the NHS, surely the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has sparked furious criticism in the U.S. after reportedly commenting in a Portugese interview that she believes the British are “much more intelligent and civilised” than their American counterparts. Gwyneth is married to British rocker Chris Martin and lives in London, counting Madonna as one of her neighbours. Radio and tv chat shows discussing her comments were inundated with calls. One caller commented that Gwyneth “sounds like she thinks she's better than us. She should stay across the Atlantic. We don't need her." The actress apparently also criticised American mealtime conversation and way of life, saying that she loved the English lifestyle which wasn’t as capitalistic as the U.S. and that in England people talk about interesting things at dinner not about work and money. Gwyneth has done a swift turnaround on her opinion of the British. It was only quite recently that she was criticising British men and the British weather. Apparently Gwyneth is deeply upset, saying that her remarks were taken out of context and she is a New York girl and “proud to be American."
Meanwhile actress Renee Zellweger has revealed that she’s wild about English breakfasts and loves nothing better than a greasy fry up!
Well done to Matt Willis on being crowned I'm a Celebrity King of the Jungle. After eating a kangaroo's bum (ughh!) amongst other bushtucker "treats" as part of a final challenge, the former Busted star more than deserved the title. Congratulations to him!
Health Minister Patricia Hewitt announced the date of Britain’s long awaited smoke ban in public places, describing it as a “triumph for public health”. The ban which affects all public places including pubs, restaurants, clubs and offices will come into effect on 1st July next year. Ms Hewitt believes the ban will save thousands of people’s lives, by encouraging them to give up the evil weed and protect the health of thousands of others from passive smoking. Scientific evidence shows that a range of serious medical conditions and deaths are caused by inhaling second hand smoke. These include lung cancer and heart disease.
Tony Blair has unveiled plans to change the face of education in our schools by 2008. Under new plans, children will be taught skills more relevant to their everyday lives, skills that will help them find work and raise a family. English classes will include lessons in how to write a job application letter and create a good C.V. Maths will include lessons on tax and saving and schoolkids will also be taught how to cook basic healthy meals for themselves as part of the new national curriculum. It's high time that the face of education changed to take account of changing times. So many things taught in schools nowadays are just not relevant to life in the outside world. With many illiterate and innumerate youngsters still leaving school, this has to be good news for everybody.
The Loch Ness Monster better known as Nessie has been voted the top Scot, beating Robert Burns and Sean Connery, who took second and third places in a recent survey which took place across the U.K. by Crabbies Green Ginger Wine.
I was interested to read that specially trained bees are now being used to sniff out drugs and terrorist bombs. They are contained within a shoebox sized boxed device and taught to respond to certain smells. Apparently when they detect certain smells they stick out their “tongues” and this is registered on a computer. Experts say it takes only a matter of minutes to train the bees, who are rewarded for their efforts with sugar water. Clever stuff!
It seems that Jack Sparrow’s popularity knows no bounds in the U.K. The latest Pirates movie is Disney’s fastest selling dvd in Britain, with over 1.5 million copies being sold in the last week alone. Disney are now producing a further 1 million copies of the dvd specifically for the UK market to keep up with demand. Shiver me timbers!
Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair unveiled his official Christmas card this week, his last before he leaves office next year. The card shows Tony and wife Cherie standing on the staircase inside No. 10 with pictures of previous Prime Ministers hanging on the wall in the background. Quite appropriate really as Tony’s photo will be up there with them this time next year. It seems that Mr Blair is still as unpopular as ever. During auditions for a West End play, only two possible Tony’s and four wanabee Cheries turned up, hoping to play the PM and his wife!
How many times have you heard the expression, “Sit up straight, don’t slouch!” However scientists have now discovered that it is bad for your back to sit up straight for long hours at a time. Apparently the healthiest position for office workers to sit at their desks is leaning back at a 135 degree angle. Good news for slouchers everywhere!