Tuesday 19 August 2008

Golden Brits at the Olympics

I cannot believe how well we have done at this year's Olympic games in Beijing, China.

We've achieved the best medal tally for over 100 years which is certainly something to shout about! We're currently in 3rd place on the medals tables, second only to China and the USA.

UUPDATE at 15:14 (GMT): Christine Ohuruogu has just won another gold for the women's 400m. Stunning run, and she came from nowhere...

Go Britain !!!

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Cats and dogs

I've always wondered why there are so many dogs and so few cats in this city.

Perhaps it's because cats aren't that good at guarding people's property in the way that dogs are supposed to. Mind you, having said that - the amount of barking you hear all day long along with the car alarms reminds me very much of 'Peter and the Wolf' syndrome. You hear so much of it that your mind becomes numb to it all that when you do hear someone's alarm going off, or a dog barking, then you just think it's usual.

Anyway, on to the far more interesting story of cats. Or cat to be precise. Since I have a lot of free time and essentially spend a lot of it looking out of the windows, I've struck up a long distance relationship with a cat. Well, it's about 30 ft to be more precise. As you can see from the photo, there is a black cat that sits watching by the drain on the corner of our street, Luis Lamas. He's obviously waiting for a rat or similar creature to pop its head out so he can have some dinner. I love that cat! Hours of painstaking work. He doesn't move.

And on to the subject of dog walkers. This has always irked me since I fail to understand why the dogs need to be walked in the first place. You buy the dog and you walk the dog. You don't fob it off on to someone else to do. That's called responsibility and it's something inherent with the whole idea of having a dog.

Enough of my social rant. I normally get to hear about the exploits of a local dog walker, who seems to think that taking dogs for a walk (and extracting money from the owners for doing so) doesn't actually involve walking the dogs. What a novel concept! This lazy bleeder arrives at the corner of the street we live on, and then proceeds to tie up all his dogs to the lamp posts. Last time I heard all the dogs barking, I took a picture of them all.

He then sods off down the road for about 15 mins and leaves the dogs barking their tits off. Not only that but with dogs being dogs, one of them started humping one of the others. So not only are the owners being short-changed, one of them is going to be the proud owner of a set of puppies, whether they like it or not. Shameful behaviour.

I've a good mind to follow this clown one day, and after he has dropped the dog at the owner's house and left, I'll knock on the door and show them the pictures of their dog being 'walked'. I don't think I'll need to tell them in Spanish for them to get the whole picture!

Saturday 9 August 2008

Indian curry King and Queen of Montevideo!

Hello all.

Last night we took part in the curry contest organised by the Montevideo Players society in Acevedo Diaz. Quite a few people turned up, around 30 at my estimate and the competition was fierce - the same as some of the curries!

Entry #1 was some kind of sweet concoction, with pineapple. Rather poor in my opinion.

Entry #2 took my breath away, as it was chilli-ed up with some real bite. Interesting as it contained apple, and even more interesting - bananas. This was the entry from John, the Scot we've met recently.

Entry #3 was typical of a 1980's interpretation of an Indian curry, complete with the requisite sultanas. Quite pleasant, although it reminded me of the Vesta curries my Dad used to have ;-)

Entry #4 was pretty good. Not much to describe, but medium hot.

Entry #5 was our concoction. I'd prepared the onion, garlic and freshly grated ginger. Ale seasoned the chicken with some rogan josh mix and garam masala, then some fresh cream. It all came together well, although we had to reduce it somewhat. In other words, I spent 20 mins continually stirring it until it had thickened to the required consistency.

After much deliberation and the comment by the judges that this year's contest was one of the closest, first prize went to:

John and Ale !!! Yippeeee !!!!

We won a meal for two at a restaurant in Carrasco.

Pictured above right is Ale receiving the mortar and pestle cup, from Jack - the president of the Montevideo Players society. It shall be engraved in due course, although we'll have to think up a name as per previous winners (Nehru/Gandhi etc.)

Monday 4 August 2008

No sirens but fun all the same

Posted this just so everyone reading the blog can have a laugh at my expense!

The picture taken by my Dad shows the old Bedford CA ambulance we used to have. In the picture, you can see my sister Claire, my brother Mark, me - and in the background, my Mum in the ambulance itself. The dog laying down on the grass is our Pyrenean mountain dog called Belle. Anyone my age will easily remember the legendary children's TV programme "Belle and Sebastian" on BBC2. Hence the dog's name.

My Dad purchased the ambulance from a garage in Clapham (or Clarm if you're posh) and set about converting it by putting in beds etc. One of our major adventures was touring Europe in the early 70's and getting as far as Denmark! How wild and crazy is that? Some of my earliest memories include:

  • Sleeping overnight in Antwerp and watching car transporters
  • Eating chips with mayonnaise somewhere in Holland
  • Meeting up with a friend of Mum's called Elke, in Munster - Germany
  • Eating rhubarb with a liberal coating of sucrose somewhere after I complained about the taste, and my Mum duly tipping the sugar bowl all over my red stringy dessert
  • Teefing some sugar beet from a local farmer's field ;-)
  • And the best - visiting the original Legoland in Billund, Denmark - complete with a trip up in an aeroplane. Very exciting for a young Johnnyboy I can assure you!

We were the local celebrities when we turned up to school in that Bedford. I feel a wave of nostalgic British pride as I look back at that photo to see the Union flag above the windscreen. Ingenious idea by my Dad to replace the previous AMBULANCE lettering!

The picture doesn't show that the Bedford was actually painted two-tone purple and white, very 70's I feel. I loved that vehicle.