Monday, 30 January 2012

Some pictures really do tell a story - Cancun

This is a blog from the archive - August 2010 - that I have decided to republish. Why? I hear you ask. Because I'm unable to write anything meaningful lately. My mind has gone blank. And I love these pictures.


Photos courtesy of the Cancun Underwater Museum in Mexico.

The project began in November 2009 with the placement of 100 statues in shallow waters of the CancĂșn National Marine Park and will eventually 'house' 400 works by artist Jason DeCaires Taylor.

As creator of the world’s first underwater sculpture park, Jason DeCaires Taylor has gained international accolades for his work. His sculptures highlight ecological processes and delve with the intricate relationship between modern art and the environment. By using sculptures to create artificial reefs, the artist underlines our need to understand and protect the natural world.

It is a wonderful idea, but being the sceptic that I am I must question the obvious. What about the Health & Safety aspect for the visitors?  The gulf of Mexico is home to all kinds of sharks, including the great white! Can the museum guarantee the safety of it's customers? 
Maybe 'duty of care' is not so important in Mexico, the land where men women & children consume sulphuric acid and caustic soda flavoured mince (known locally as chilli con carne) and don't bat an eye lid. The following picture illustrates my concerns;
Call me a spoil-sport, but I wont be taking my diving suit to Cancun. Tequila, cerveza and late nights are not conducive with scuba diving. Health & Safety for me (at least safety).

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Are men happier than women?

I received an e-mail earlier and thought I'd share it with you. Well, at least with you men folk out there - women may not agree.

Why men are happier.

 1-Your last name stays put.

2-You can never be pregnant.

3-You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

4-You can wear NO shirt to a water park.

5-Car mechanics tell you the truth.

6-The world is your urinal.

7-You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

8-Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.

9-People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.

10-Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

11-A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

12-You can open all your own  jars.

13-You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes..

14-The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades.

15-You only have to shave your face and neck.

16-You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.


Saturday, 21 January 2012

An appeal

Many people read my blog regularly (according to stats) and I would love to hear from them. Those who peruse my pages but don't leave comments or follow me.

I would love to know what part of the world they live in; what they like/dislike about my blog and if they too have a blog I could check out.

I feel as if I am connected  to all those who happen upon  my words regularly. A kind of  bond - for we must have a lot in common.

Please let me know; you can leave an anonymous comment, if you prefer.

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to share my thoughts, opinions and observations.

Love to you all

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Update from Paradise - part 12

A quick update from sunny Madeira. The weather is divine as usual and around 22 degrees centigrade. Not bad for winter!

Still living the bachelor life - for the time being anyway - and getting home between 4 and 6 am, getting up around 1 pm. Luckily my work allows for such a routine. But I do work four nights a week between 9 and 12, so don't think I'm a lazy slob, OK?

I recently made a guest appearance with the CoolFeel Band at The Rocks Club - great night. Here are some pics

I don't usually look at the guitar when I play !
See? I told you.
and the rest of the boys
I am presently building a garden wall. There is no cement mixer and I have to do it all by hand. No Ready Mix either - I'm mixing cement sand and gravel, just like a proper builder! Sometimes I surprise myself and this is one of those times. The wall is looking very good.

Kiara on the left helping out - That's me in the corner...      

...that's me in the spotlight, losing my religion... energy I mean.
 The only problem so far is that every single muscle in my body aches and I'm surprised I have so many muscles. I had no idea I was so well built! I don't know if I can take another couple of days of this - truly back-breaking work. And I'm not exactly used to hard manual labour. Or any kind of labour.

I'm told it will do me good - by the person who's getting her wall built, of course. I doubt her sincerity.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

To you, brother

It's coming up to two years since you left. I can't recall ever missing anyone as much as I miss you.

I think of you every single day. Everyday I see something that reminds me of you, or I hear a song you liked and the pain erupts in my chest with the same intensity as it did when I first received the dreadful news you had died.

Life will never be the same without you

No, the pain is not lessening Paulo,and it's nearly two years. What do the experts know? The same experts who say the mourning period lasts 2 years.

But please don't worry about my pain, Paulo - it's not your fault. You would never do anything to hurt me, I know that. You never did.

All I have left of you as a source of comfort are memories, photos and  the occasional precious dream. In my dreams you are very much alive. And I wake up startled, and for a brief moment I wonder if you still are. Then the dreadful truth dawns on me when I pick up my phone to call you.

As you know Mum has gone also. Unexpected, like in your case.  We were unprepared. Not to say that being prepared would have lessened the anguish.

I wrote this poem for you Paulo, as you know, last year. I posted it then, but feel the need to do so again. Please forgive the repetition. I know you will forgive me - you always did.

The space you filled among us, remains empty
The air you breathed is laid to waste
The joy you gave us, no longer flows
The laughter you brought has fallen silent
The love you spread now fills a void in our hearts
The grave you  fill now has your selfless attention
And the spring blossom awaits your precious gift
For the flowers will reflect your essence
With their resplendent colour and fragrant scent
And we will admire the flowers like we admired you.
And in our minds and those of our children
Your eternal flame will glow bright and warm
To light up the hours of darkness
And bring comfort to our winters of discontent

See you in my dreams, Paulo.

I love and miss you.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Impatient patient

I am constantly reminded of how impatient I am. So much so I'm now beggining to believe it.

Impatient when kept waiting - definitely. I'm of the opinion that at a restaurant, no one should wait for the waiter more than 5 minutes. If not to take the order at least for an acknowledgement.

I complain regularly.  I complain in supermarkets, bars, restaurants, government agencies, clothes shops, even in medical facilities. 

Madeira may well be Paradise on Earth but the flip side is it offers hellish customer service, far too often.

Madeirans in general don't seem to possess the queuing gene. It's always a mad scramble at the bus stop - a stampede for the bus that makes me stand there waving my fists threateningly at anyone who dares push in front of me. And the old people are the worse! Why?  Pensioners don't work so why on earth are they in a hurry? I can only assume they're cramming in as much as possible before the grim reaper visits.

When I complain at slow service I usually get a a startled look as if I'm being asked  where's the fire. 

Recently in a pub I no longer frequent, I was waiting at the bar, 10 Euro note in hand  and noticed the  barman serving a customer who was standing behind me! I asked what the hell was going on and the startled barman asked me "why didn't you say you wanted to be served?" I said WTF do you think I'm doing here waving a note? Admiring your customer service skills?

The local Pingo Doce supermarket offers a self-service home-cooking style menu where you chose your food and drink and then pay at the check-out, prior to taking your table.  I got to the check-out and no one was there. I waited 30 seconds (see, I am  patient) and eventually got the attention of a shelf-stacker nearby and asked him to get the manager or whoever should be at their post to attend to me. Another minute went by before a red-faced spotty teenager appeared, looked at me and said "Chill out, I have other things to do as well you know, not just manning the till!" Chill? The fucking cheek! The only thing chilling was my food.

Remedial steps are being taken on the island to improve custiomer service. Ticket dispensing machines are now commonplace in most establishments and customers are guided by large tv screens into some sort of order. Even the bakery has a ticket system. And even  when there are no other customers in the shop no one gets served without a numbered ticket.

Never mind numbered ticket machines - If I had my way I would  replace most shop attendants here with dispensing machines, programmed to be fair and to not answer back at complainants.

Needless to say, service at our medical facilities are not much better. Why is it when I arrive at the doctor's  5 minutes late I'm put at the end of the queue, but when I get there early I have to wait at least an hour? It's the same with  the dentist.

Does that make me an impatient patient?


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Images to put a smile on your face

As I can't think of anything to write about - can't get motivated - I have decided to share a few funny pics with you.

And they call this a fast-food restaurant!?

'cos I is a technocat

"freakin' knackered I am"

eeewww- enough to put me off eggs for life

Not amused -everybody knows us cats don't do veg! 

I rang the number and asked  "How much do you wanna  bet you can't?"

"Please don't shoot!

I will resume normal posting when my mood changes.


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Another sect to dissect

2012 will be an interesting year and if I had the time or inclination I would spend it smirking at all the apocalyptical loonies I meet and are preparing for Armageddon - based on some coke-headed Mayan's  prediction - but I have neither the time, inclination nor even the slightest interest. Well, that's not entirely true. I admit to having some interest otherwise I would not be commenting.

I was watching a TV documentary about the Ramtha Sect in the States and how their self-proclaimed messiah Ms J Z Knight (multi-millionairess - botox-inflated ego and lips) is gathering followers at an alarming rate. The sect is now present in France and is hell-bent on spreading, like a plague of ignorance, throughout the world.

Ms Knight's advert poster - yeah, right!

The real Ms Knight - what a difference! Deception on display

I am amazed at how gullible the followers are - how infantile and helpless they seem. Low intelligence and a dangerous lack of common sense are the conditions responsible, I know, but still.

Adults and children - yes, even children - are being brainwashed by the predatorial Ms Knight into parting with huge amounts of money in exchange for spiritual guidance on how to survive the imminent Armageddon. These 'lambs-to-slaughter' followers are led to believe they are the chosen few who will re-populate the Earth after  Judgement Day. And I bet some of you thought only the Jehova's Witnesses had such elitist beliefs.

As the followers get more and more detached from reality and their hard-earned cash, Ms Knight gets richer and richer. Sounds familiar?

You would have thought these people would be capable of reading about similar sects in the past and take heed. Read about the terrible consequences that befell followers of other sects, but hey, I'm expecting too much from those with so little.

Jonestown mass suicide

The Waco tragedy

Maybe they can't read. Maybe they're too stupid and deserve to be ripped off. Maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe I'm not.

Unlike these poor souls, I remember reading about Waco and Jim Jones in Guyana, along with other countless sects that have brought misery and death to many a follower.

'Messiah' Jim Jones managed to instruct 914 men women and children, back in 1978, to commit suicide.

At Waco  back in 1993 'Messiah' David  Koresh instigated the destruction of 74 followers.

We all know there will be other sects in the future, other 'messiahs' ready to influence the weak-minded sections of society into parting with their cash and sometimes their lives. Sadly, some of the victims will be children, who'se greatest tragedy is having parents too weak and stupid to have had children.

Ignorance and blind faith fueling exploitation - same old story.

Moving on, I did promise humour in my posts, so here it is.

General Custer, making his last stand at the Battle Of Longhorn. He is the sole survivor, surrounded by thousands of Indians when the Fairy Godmother appears.

'Make a wish General'

'Get me out of here now'

'No can do General - anything but that. And whatever you wish for each Indian will get twice as much. Take it or leave it'

'OK, give me a glass eye'


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Roll on 2012 - I'm ready for you!

2012 is here and I for one am glad to see the back of 2011 - probably the worse year ever for me. You may find that hard to believe by reading my jovial posts, but believe me, it was tough. SHITE to be precise.

But that's all in the past.

My new years resolutions are to inject a lot of  humour into my posts and to be more resolute!?

Here's me, on top of the world.   Well, on top of the
Calheta Mountains, to be precise. Notice the weather?
Not bad for December, eh?

Met this sweet  little mountain dweller - friendly or what?

Last night I went to The Savoy Gardens Hotel to see my friends Mark and Sen play their gig and I spilt my almost empty glass of beer on a velvet topped table. I called the waiter over to clean it and apologised profusely. The waiter decided I should be given a full glass of beer, free of charge, for the inconvenience. How nice!

Mark and Sen's music was top class of course and Mark must have been in a funny mood for he kept telling jokes between songs. Happier than poor Sen, who's going through a hard time at the moment - details will follow.


Two gold-fish in a tank, one says to the other - Can you drive this thing?


Police have foiled a terrorist plot in the local supermarket! They found a bomb hidden among cans of Heinz Alphabet pasta. A spokesman said "Had the device exploded it could have spelt disaster.


Anyway, back to serious matters. Sen was crying in his beer all night because he and his tennis player girlfriend have split up. He is very upset and, without admitting it, is trying to get back with her. He has contacted her several times and says that now the ball is in her court.

I thought it wise to give him some advice and told him under no circumstances should anyone ever have a relationship with a tennis player - to them love means nothing!


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Update from Paradise - part 11

Christmas day was celebrated with the family as usual. A traditional feast of fine food and wine that lasted all afternoon and by 11 pm I was at The Warm Up Cafe - packed to the rafters with the usual crowd.

nephew, me, cousin, niece, dad, brother, sister-in-law, auntie
in the garden at Monte

tucking in to turkey and beef, yum
I was kind of surprised to see The Warm Up Cafe packed on Christmas night. I guess all those musicians, like myself, wanted to burn off excess calories with a jam session. 6 am exit.

The few days between Christmas and New Year were spent eating, drinking, playing music and going to bed a bit earlier than normal, for reasons I will disclose further down the page.

Farewell 2011 !

The old year went out with a bang - both pyrotechnical and booze-induced.

The Funchal New Year's Fireworks Display, (second largest in the world), mesmerised all who saw it - even those like me who have seen it countless times. Never fails to impress.

Twelve minutes it took to turn night into day and to blow 1 million euros of taxpayers money in the process. No one gave a hoot at hootenanny about the present economic climate. Well worth it, was the general consensus.

Austerity? What for? If the Mayans are right we may as well spend every last penny while we can!

The picture below could never hope to portray the event in all it's glory, but gives an idea. A camera that captures 360 degrees of night sky needs to be invented first.

Maybe it has already. Please let me know.

just a tiny sample of a huge spectacle 

My 14 year old son Mattie arrived from London on the 26th December (hence my earlier to bed than usual nights) and stayed with me for 9 days. It was  wonderful having him here but terribly sad to see him leave today :(  See you soon sunshine, can't wait to see you again x

My beautiful boy with my beautiful cousin Lisandra on
New Year's Eve at Vila Da Rocha