Sunday, November 30, 2008


Most Beatles fans remember their famous song about Eleanor Rigby, the famous lady who picked up the rice in a church where a wedding had been! However the question as to whether or not Eleanor Rigby was a real character has intrigued Beatles fans for many years. The song was always thought to be based on a fictional character especially after one of the fab four Paul McCartney told fans they would never find a trace of Eleanor as she was entirely fictitious, even though a gravestone bearing her name was discovered in a churchyard in the 1980’s. But it seems that Eleanor Rigby did actually exist in the flesh and Paul McCartney knew more about her than he was letting on! After being asked for a donation from The Sunbeam Trust, a charity which uses music to help children with special needs, Paul sent them a document.

The document was none other than a Liverpool City Hospital salary register, featuring the signature of one E Rigby. Eleanor Rigby worked there as a scullery maid and had to sign for her monthly wage. She earned £14 per annum. How times change! That wouldn’t get you very far today the way the cost of living has risen nowadays. The document dated back to 1911 and is one of the biggest clues to date of the true identity of the Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby, a poor soul who dies lonely and alone with nobody to mourn her according to the song. It was auctioned for charity this week and sold for £115,000. Wow! All the money raised from the sale will go towards helping children with special needs. The Beatles are as popular today as they have always been. The fab four’s album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was recently voted the nation’s favourite no. 1 album in the BBC’s Radio 2 Music Club Top 100 Album chart.

To hear more about Eleanor Rigby, click on the player shown below:-


As the credit crunch continues to bite, Lord Sebastian Coe has calmed Olympic money fears and reassured the Olympic Committee that London will still be going ahead with plans to host the Olympic Games in 2012, despite the current economic climate. London is currently facing a major challenge to stay within its £9.3billion budget, mainly because of problems in raising the anticipated level of private financing to cover the cost of the £40million media centre and £1billion Olympic village.

After the lavish spectacular of the Beijing Olympic Games, Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge stressed the importance of holding down the cost and size of future games to ensure that they remained affordable in these current tough economic times. Lord Coe once an Olympic athlete himself, stated that the economic climate in Britain now was very different to the time when London first bid for the chance to host the games but nevertheless the city was determined to honour its commitments. Oh well they could always host an “It’s a Knockout” style games and save even more money. Maybe Stuart Hall will come out of retirement to host them. Just a suggestion! Ha ha!

Friday, November 28, 2008


It's rumoured that Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue will be hosting next year's Brit Awards ceremony in February. However she won't be alone and will be sharing presenting duties with Gavin and Stacey stars Matthew Home and James Corden. Apparently Kylie has been in lengthy talks with the organisers of the ceremony, who are said to be planning “the best show ever”. It will certainly be very different to this year's show hosted by the Osbournes, when viewers jammed the Offcom switchboard complaining about the bad language used during the show. Last minute details of next year’s Brits are still being finalised but according to a show insider, organisers believe getting Kylie to host is “the icing on cake”. Kylie is herself a Brit award winner, having won several awards in the past.

The British public took Kylie into their hearts after she starred in the Australian soap, “Neighbours” in the mid 1980’s. She then went on to launch a successful singing career, selling millions of albums and producing many hit songs along the way. She was awarded an OBE by Prince Charles earlier this year for her services to the music industry. Kyle was also an inspiration to millions of women after fighting her way back to health from breast cancer. The singer has always acknowledged Britain as her “adopted homeland”.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


As the credit crunch continues to bite, It seems that more British workers than ever before are now cycling to work both to save money on petrol and public transport. According to the results of a recent survey by Sainsburys Home Insurance, up to eight per cent of workers and fifteen per cent of men are now cycling to their jobs on a daily basis resulting in big savings on transport costs. On average the survey found that using pedal power as opposed to cars or public transport, results in average savings of £33.70 a week or a whopping £11 million a year! Even more reason to cycle to work! There are also the health benefits as well.

Regular aerobic exercise such as cycling can help to reduce the risk of various life threatening conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes. Cycling is one of the best forms of aerobic exercise available, giving the body a vigorous and energetic workout. It is the third most popular sport in the U.K. and one of the easiest to fit into your daily routine. Cycling helps to reduce obesity, burning away body fat and keeping the body toned and healthy. It is also one of the few forms of exercise that actually helps to reduce cellulite. Good news for women everywhere! Cycling home is a good stress reliever too, just the thing to help you wind down after a stressful day at work. Any form of exercise is also good for releasing lots of the body’s “feel good” hormones, helping to banish any symptoms of S.A.D. or the Winter blues. So what are you waiting for! Get on your bike!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Well it’s that time of year again! You know Christmas is just around the corner when the suite adverts start appearing on tv. It seems everybody wants a new settee in time for Christmas to impress the outlaws and other relatives! And if that wasn’t enough, next year’s calendars have been in the shops since September! It seems they have proved very popular with shoppers too! According to the results of a recent Woolworths survey, David Beckham is definitely the hottest date in Britain with his new calendar shooting straight to the top of the celebrity calendar charts and David is laughing all the way to the bank! Other popular celebrity calendars in the top 10 include Kylie Minogue, Cliff Richard, Dr Who star David Tennant and popular girl band Girls Aloud.


Under new guidelines recently set out, Welsh council workers have been warned not to call Scots people British in case it causes offence. Apparently it is no longer politically correct to describe yourself as being British as it could cause offence to people from Scotland, Wales and Ireland and ethnic minorities. Sounds like Gordon Brown definitely needs to seriously re-think his thoughts and comments on Britishness then lest he should cause offence! Please accept my apologies if I’ve ever described myself as British on this blog. No offence intended! Honestly! I always try to fly the flag for common sense on this blog. I think some people more than others need a large dose of it!


Are you an accomplished sheep shearer or talented ballerina? Then Britain wants you! Under a new Australian style immigration points system, the two career options appear on a list of occupations where there is a skills shortage. The new system is described as the biggest shakeup of the immigration system for a generation. Other occupations where there is a skills shortage include chefs and pipe welders! It’s quite funny that Britain now has a shortage of accomplished sheep shearers, a popular occupation in some parts of Australia. In years gone by, many Britons with this skill would take the opportunity to emigrate to Oz to take full advantage of their skills over there but now it’s the other way round! There is a catch however. Pipe welders will need to have at least three years experience, sheep shearers will need to hold the British Wool Marketing Board Bronze Medal and chefs will need to be able to earn at least £8 per hour after board and lodging deductions. The new rules also demand that employers must prove that they can’t find a suitable employee to fill a vacancy locally before offering the job to an overseas applicant.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Princes William and Harry described their father Prince Charles as an “inspiration” to them and many others as he celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday, whilst the Queen praised his work with the Prince’s Trust saying his “vision and conviction” had transformed “countless lives”. The Prince spent his birthday meeting schoolchildren at a special classical music concert held in his honour at The Royal Opera House. The children joined Camilla in singing a special rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the Prince, whilst a 41 gun military salute was fired in Hyde Park to mark the occasion. The concert was one of many special events held to celebrate Prince Charles’ milestone birthday. A special comedy gala night was also held in the Prince’s honour on Wednesday night, whilst the Queen hosted a special dinner at Buckingham Palace on Thursday night and Camilla is planning to host an informal party on Saturday evening with Rod Stewart providing the entertainment.

An official portrait showing Prince Charles wearing the ceremonial uniform of the Welsh Guards was released to mark his milestone birthday. It’s hard to believe that Prince Charles is now 60. Charles Philip Arthur George was born at Buckingham Palace on 14th November 1948. He was just 3 years old when his mother became Queen. Time flies by so fast and still Prince Charles is no nearer to becoming King. The Queen at 82, is one of the oldest reigning monarchs in the nation’s history. Sh is still in good health, one of the hardest working members of the Royal family and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the results of a recent YouGov poll, the majority of Britons don’t think Prince Charles is too old to become King and believe he rather than Prince William should succeed the Queen as Monarch. Despite the fact that Prince Charles is one of the most experienced and well trained heirs to the throne we have ever had, until recently many members of the public were still reluctant to accept him as King, preferring William to take the throne in his place. Many remained unforgiving over Charles’ marriage breakup and were reluctant to accept Camilla as a possible future Queen, preferring the late Princess Diana. However it seems that many people have now warmed to Camilla since her marriage to Prince Charles. They also admire Prince Charles for his charity work and his views on climate change.

Photo:- Courtesy of Yahoo News

Monday, November 10, 2008


The Queen led the nation in two minute's silence laying the first wreath at the Centotaph memorial in Whitehall yesterday on Remembrance Sunday, as the Royal family, politicians and war veterans gathered for the Remembrance day service in honour of British serviceman killed in battle. This year’s service was particularly poignant as it marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War 1. Crowds lined the streets to watch the annual Remembrance Day parade, as similar ceremonies took place all over England to honour those who have given their lives for their country.

My grandmother on my mum's side was the eldest of eleven children and I grew up hearing how some of her brothers and cousins fought in the World Wars. I always support the British Legion's Poppy Appeal and wear my poppy with pride at this time of year. I think everyone should.

Photo:- Courtesy of Yahoo News

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Actor Daniel Craig was shaken but not stirred after meeting Princes William and Harry at the premiere of his latest Bond film Quantum of Solace. The movie’s glittering premiere was held at The Odeon in London’s Leicester Square, where outside crowds of eager fans lined the streets in the freezing cold, hoping to get a glimpse of some of their favourite stars. Daniel Craig duly obliged by signing autographs and waving to the crowd. The sound of old and new Bond theme music could be heard playing through giant speakers, setting the scene for the premiere of the 22nd Bond movie. Daniel arrived dressed to kill with his arm in a sling, the result of an injury during filming final scenes of the movie. The actor, who arrived with his partner Satsuki Michell, was asked who his favourite Bond girl was and replied, “I can’t say. The one on my arm of course.” Craig also stated the importance of the Bond premiere being held in London, as it’s “Bond” and as “British as you can get”. Meanwhile another star of the film, the Aston Martin car took pride of place in the centre of Leicester Square Park. Other stars joining Daniel Craig on the red carpet at Quantum’s explosive premiere, included Bond girls Gemma Arterton and Olga Kuryl who wowed fans with their daring choice of outfits.

Quantum of Solace is very different to the other Bond films and the first Bond sequel of its kind, continuing on from where the last movie Casino Royale ended. The mood of the film is much darker than usual, with Bond seeking revenge for his love Vesper, whilst trying to stop a mad environmentalist from taking over a country’s water supply. Veteran actress Judi Dench who also attended the premiere complete with glittery 007 tattoo on her back, reprises her role as the formidable “M”. The new Bond film has received a severe mauling from the critics, many of whom have criticised the thin plot line and compared the new film to the Bourne movies. I certainly don’t think it’s as good as Casino Royale, even if Princes William and Harry have given Quantum of Solace the royal seal of approval. On the other hand it’s still worth going to see the movie just to get another glimpse of hunky Daniel Craig starring in the role he has made his own!

To view the film’s trailer, click on the player shown below:-

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



Tomorrow night we celebrate Bonfire Night, one of my favourite times of the year. I love watching firework displays. I also love Parkin and Treacle Toffee, which are traditionally eaten at this time of year. Parkin and Treacle Toffee are as much a part of Bonfire Night as Guy Fawkes himself.

Here's a recipe for Parkin, the traditional cake eaten at this time of year. The recipe comes courtesy of the BBC Food website.

350g/12oz medium oatmeal
175g/6oz self-raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
175g/6oz soft brown sugar
175g/6oz butter
250g/9fl oz golden syrup
50g/2oz black treacle
2 free-range eggs
110ml/4oz milk

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a small, deep baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the oatmeal, flour and ginger in a large mixing bowl.
2. Melt the sugar, butter, syrup and treacle in a bowl in the microwave or in a saucepan over a low heat. Pour the melted ingredients into the flour with the eggs and milk and stir well.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray.
4. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown, but still soft and sticky on top. Reduce the oven to 130C/250F/Gas 1 and bake for a further 30 minutes until firm to the touch.
5. Allow to cool, before tightly wrapping in cling film. Store for at least three to five days to mature.

The origins of Bonfire or Guy Fawkes Night (as it's also known) go back to 1605 when a man called Guy Fawkes plotted with a band of others to blow up the Houses of Parliament, in the "Gunpowder Plot". They were angry at the persecution of Catholics by the King and planned to kill him in the explosion. The group were captured in the cellar of parliament, and executed before they had chance to go ahead with their plan. All over Britain on 5th November, we celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes by having bonfire and fireworks displays and burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Groups of children can be seen with "guys" made out of old clothes asking for a "penny for the guy", a few days before Bonfire Night. Happy Bonfire Night everyone!


I’ve always loved tomatoes and was quite excited to hear that British scientists have created a genetically modified purple tomato that will help in the fight against cancer. Good news for all of us! The purple super tomato contains anthocyanins, antioxidants found in blueberries and blackcurrants that give them their distinctive purple colour. The unusual looking fruit, which was created by genetically combining a normal tomato with genes from a snap dragon flower, has been shown to extend the lives of cancer prone mice. In addition researchers have discovered that the anthocyanins contained in the tomatoes are thought to protect against heart disease and degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Scientists stated that the purple tomatoes could be on sale within the next 3 years. However the bad news is that it’s unlikely they will be sold in England due to strict European regulations governing genetically modified foods. Instead the purple tomatoes are likely to make their debut in India, China and the U.S. which are all counties with more relaxed regulations. Things are changing so fast, let’s hope the regulations will have relaxed a bit more by then to allow foods like this with health giving properties to be sold in Britain as well as other countries of the world. The new tomatoes will certainly brighten up a salad with their distinctive purple colour and help us all to live longer too! Can't wait to try them!