Sunday, 24 April 2011

'They call me mellow yellow...'

I’ve hopped off my blog today and have taken myself to Italy. Not literally, although I’d love to hang out with Valerie from Living Out of a Box properly. She has kindly (and bravely) invited me to do a guest post at her beautiful blog today. Since she is a connoisseur of wine, it was a done deal as far as I was concerned.
Please click on the link below, meet the talented and gorgeous Valerie, enjoy her fabulous blog, and of course read my latest post...’They call me mellow yellow...’
Hopefully, it'll bring a cheerful smile to your face, which is more than it did for Hubby.

I'll only be posting one short post this week here, as I really need to concentrate on editing my book. Hubby said he'll try and do his post too but the garden needs doing - ha! I'll change the funnies page for you to giggle at and will be back later in the week. I shall be announcing the lucky winners of the 'Ten Years Younger' draw on the big day - the 29th. Make sure you've entered.

Happy Easter Everyone...oh blast, Hubby hasn’t bought me any eggs.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

'Walking back to happiness...'

     The trip to Berlin last week went well. The biggest problem I had after Hubby couldn’t choose what to wear was preventing him from buying a new German car when we visited the large showroom there (every day).
     He insisted we walked to the big Mercedes showroom which was some way from the hotel so we could take in the sights as we walked. He also decided to take control of the map so I didn’t have to keep putting on my glasses to look at it and then take them off again every five minutes. Hubby managed to get us lost and a couple of miles off the correct route so the trip to the showroom was actually six miles (I know because I wore my pedometer!)
     Having done a lengthy detour to get to the showroom I took command of the map for the return journey as both of us were getting sore feet and Hubby still maintained we would see more by walking rather than catch a ride in a taxi.
     We marched down all the main streets and I pointed out all the major sites and peered continuously at the map working out the shortest return route. Hubby trundled along beside me, miles away dreaming about driving down an autobahn at speed in a fast Merc.
‘Turn here,’ I commanded and we entered a street blocked by some tape.
‘Oh, it says route blocked. No Entry,’ I told him reading the sign.
‘No, it can’t be. What’s the alternative route?’
     I checked the map. It would mean walking at least a mile back up the road we had come down and then going out of our way another mile to get back on the road which lay more or less ahead of us.
‘I’m not going that far. My feet hurt.’
‘We could get a taxi,’ I offered.
Hubby looked around. There was no traffic.
‘No taxis here. I suggest we ignore the sign,’ he said and ducked under the tape.
‘The Germans are quite strict,’ I pleaded. ‘They don’t cross the road if the little man on the crossing is on red. They have strict rules about things and obey them,’ I continued.
‘Well I’m not a German and I shall just pretend I didn’t understand the notice,’ said Hubby and marched on.  
Further on there was another larger notice and some wooden barriers.
‘I think we might have to turn around,’ I announced. ‘This looks blocked off for some reason.’
‘I’m not going back now,’ said Hubby climbing over the barrier. ‘Flipping roadworks,’ he complained.   
     We continued along the quiet street. I walked and stared at the map simultaneously trying to work out an alternative route. When I looked up I noticed Hubby had become distracted by a large glass fronted building where a meeting was taking place. There were lots of tables on view around which sat important looking people and Hubby, ever the businessman, pressed his nose up to see what was going on.
‘What are you doing? Come away you don’t want to distract people having a meeting.’
‘Do you know,’ he said. ‘I think that might be Bill Gates?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I replied looking at the map to get my bearings again. ‘Why would he be in Berlin?’
‘No, it is him. And I think I know that chap there too.’
     I sighed. He must have had too many beers. I turned to check the name of the street ahead and at that precise moment about thirty armed policemen appeared from out of the back of a parked van and politely but firmly asked us to move on.
‘Vot are you doink here?’ they said (in German of course).
‘Sorry, we’re just trying to get back to the hotel. My husband thought he saw someone he recognised,’ I joked. ‘Bill Gates,’ I laughed nervously.
‘Yes, vell, he Is here mit der Israeli Prime Minister, Herr Netanyahu. You,’ said one policeman pointing his finger at us. ‘You cannot come dis vay,  so, please, avay you go. Komm.’ And we were escorted back through the cordon we had penetrated and past the bright green tanks which were parked on the main road and which we somehow had managed not to notice.
     We had to retrace our footsteps and go around the road to get back to the hotel but half an hour later as we sat on a bench to rest our feet  we watched the cavalcade of delegates storm down the main road in black Mercedes cars sporting blue flashing lights and accompanied by motor cycles, sirens and what appeared to be the entire German police force.
‘See I told you it was Bill Gates,’ said Hubby as he rubbed his feet. ‘I wonder if we could find a taxi now.’

For all of you kind enough to leave Hubby a comment he has finally responded with an epic letter. Make sure you have a glass of wine ready or a cup of coffee before you read it on his page.

Friday, 15 April 2011

'Red, red wine. Goes to my head...'

     After the episode with the out of date bean sprouts (see Hubby’s Hotties) I decided I ought to have a clear out of the kitchen cupboards. Heaven knows what’s lurking in the back of those. I tackled my task with gusto and my spectacles so I could see the dates on the tins and packets.
      Removing all the jars of jam that Hubby had purchased in case the world ever runs out of jam I discovered a bottle of red wine hiding in the back of one of the cupboards. It was one of which had been given to Hubby for his fortieth (cough, cough – a very long time ago).  It would obviously seem sensible to dispose of the said red wine as it had probably gone off by now.
     Out of the two of us I am more the wine connoisseur. I say that glibly because I actually know very little about wine but I seem to enjoy and appreciate a good red wine more than poor old Hubby who can’t drink the stuff as it gives him a headache. He usually sticks to the tried and tested Pinot Grigio or a nice little Petit Chablis.
     I love red wine. I can sit for ages savouring the flavours of red fruits or oaky notes. (See I sound like I know what I’m on about don’t I?) I became interested in it when we lived in France and I started my own cellar. I chose a few very nice wines to lay down and read up about them. I had a thermometer to keep them at the ambient temperatures and of course a proper wine rack where I would turn my bottles regularly. Hubby didn’t share my enthusiasm and when we came back to the UK rather than let the bottles travel in the back of the hire van on a freezing cold, snow covered February day and go off I quaffed them all.
     My discovery of this particular bottle of red wine was a bit of a coup because I’d just finished my last bottle of Chianti and Hubby won’t let me share his nice bottles of white which he makes last. I sought him out and found him in front of the computer growling about some fund he had bought into that was floundering. All our shares seem to flounder and lose money.
‘Uhm, there’s a bottle of red wine in the cupboard. It’s technically yours but as you don’t like red wine can I have it tonight to go with the pasta?’
‘Erg, grump, hurrumph!’ came the reply which I took to mean ‘Yes, have it with my pleasure. I hope you enjoy it.’
     I cleaned it off and put it on the kitchen top for later and finished throwing away out of date tins before Hubby worked out how much stuff was actually well past its sell-by date. He emerged later grumpily and stomped into the kitchen where he stood and stared at the bottle.’
‘Where did that come from?’
‘It’s yours. It was a birthday present from your friends for your fortieth birthday.’
He looked horrified.
‘Gosh, that long ago. It’s a 1983. Shouldn’t this have been drunk years ago. Crumbs, I hope it’s alright. It’ll be like vinegar by now. Oh well, you could always put it in your cooking if it isn’t right. What a shame.’
I opened it to let it breathe. The cork came out with a pleasant ‘plop’ sound.
‘No, I think it’ll be okay,’ I announced savouring the rich aroma that emerged from the bottle.
Hubby looked at the label
‘Chateau Margaux 1983’. Isn’t that supposed to be a good vineyard?’
‘Yes, Chateau Margaux is one of the well known Chateaux in Bordeaux.’
Hubby, however, lost interest in the wine and went off outside to check the air pressure in the car tyres.
Later that evening I poured a large glass of the wine and settled down with it. It was lovely and fruity.
‘You should try some of this. It’s very nice. Not at all heavy or oaky.’
He reluctantly let me pour him a small glass.
‘Mmm, quite nice for a red wine. You should check up on the internet about it. Maybe we could get another bottle. It’s quite nice.’
I glugged another glass and then another. It really was rather smooth and beautifully fruity. Soon I felt pleasantly relaxed. Even Hubby had a glow to his face after his thimbleful.
The following morning I discovered I had no hangover. What a great wine. Pity we hadn’t got a couple of bottles of it. I logged on and ‘googled’ it.
The winemaker notes said
"The 1983 Margaux is a breathtaking wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes achieved perfect maturity in 1983, and the result is an astonishingly rich, concentrated, atypically powerful and tannic Margaux. The color is dark ruby, the aromas exude ripe cassis fruit, violets, and vanillin oakiness, and the flavors are extremely deep and long on the palate with a clean, incredibly long finish... Anticipated maturity: 2000-2030."
96/100 pts. (Robert Parker)

Read more:
Aghast I read all the reviews. Apparently it is ‘the Bordeaux of the vintage’. I sat mouth open and checked out the price. It retails for approximately £521.65p ($649.99).
I think maybe we should have kept this bottle as an investment. It would certainly have been a better bet than some of Hubby’s funds. Now how to tell him?

I've kept the bottle as a souvenir. Maybe I could fill it up with Chianti and resell it.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

‘Come on over to my place, hey you we’re having a party!’

     Hello and welcome! Don’t look so surprised. Yes, it’s me, 'Facing 50 with humour. I’ve bought this pad next door and I’m having a house warming. Hope you like the place.
     Come and have a quick tour of the old, well, new place then. Grab a glass first; orange juice on the right, champagne on the left – Oh bother my mother seems to have chugged then champagne again. Don’t worry I’ll get Son to open another magnum.
‘Come on Son hurry up, the guests are arriving!’
     First I’d like to introduce you to Hubby. Well, most of you know him anyway but he absolutely insisted he had some input on this new venture and you’ll be able to see some of handiwork. He has his own little corner 'Hubby's Hotties'. Just click on the tab above. Humour him please. Read it and leave him a comment or he’ll sulk all night. It took him ages to write this first piece but at least it kept him out of my way.
     Over here under the title ‘Funnies’ there’ll be weekly cartoons and snippets to make you chuckle. This week my mother has sent photographs of her funny birthday cards which made her guffaw with laughter and cough so much I thought she wouldn't see another birthday. There’s a section 'About Me' as if you don’t know enough already. And on this main page you’ll find short posts rather than the lengthy missives that I place on my other blog to keep you stay cheerful on a regular basis. I’ll still be posting twice a week on ‘Facing 50 with humour’ but due to popular demand I’ve been asked to post some titbits to keep you chuckling and youthful in between my regular posts.
     And here hiding in the corner is the guest of honour – Katherine without whom none of this would have been possible. Whilst I was swanning about Berlin trying to prevent Hubby from buying every nice German car he saw, she was here project managing, chained to her desk organising the builders and decorators to have it all up and running in time for my return.
     So, raise your glasses and three cheers for Katherine. ’Hip, hip horray!’Now please do go over and tell her what a great job she has done here because she’d really appreciate it and being as lovely as she is she’ll give you all advice and help with your blog design, headers, buttons etc. Just click on her highlighted name.
     Thank you dear friends for coming here today.  I hope you’ll sign the ‘funny bone follower’ register before you go and leave a comment for me to enjoy later. I’m looking forward to seeing you here regularly.
     As a taster of what will be here you’ll find a couple of items here intended to amuse and rejuvenate you. After all laughter is the best medicine that I know of.