Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Daesh, Worst ever Restaurant Review, Christmas around the World, Ryanair.

From now on I will refer to the so-called Islamic state as Daesh. It is an acronym of their name in arabic and they hate it as it sounds like a similar word that means 'one who sows discord'. They cut off the tongue of anyone heard using it. They are a vile bunch of scumbag terrorists with nothing good going for them, sowing hatred and terror wherever they go. They are hoping to drive a wedge between the free West and the Muslims who live there. This will further their growth by driving many more disillusioned Muslims to join them. We must not let it happen. Islam is a peaceful religion and we must not confuse these bastards with anything to do with it. Their Islamist extremism is unrecognisable to true Muslims and just as horrific and unacceptable to them as everyone else. I look forward to seeing the press reporting and showing Imams across the free world condemning these barbarians alongside leaders of the other main religions.

Well done to the people of Portsmouth!

This is the worst restaurant review I have ever placed on TripAdvisor:

We went to Vue to see Spectre, the new Bond film which we thoroughly enjoyed. As we had gone straight from work we hadn't had time to eat beforehand so decided to go to Frankie and Benny's on our way out as we were hungry.

I laughed nearly all the way through the latest Bond film

My friends each ordered a burger (one black and blue, one bacon and cheese) and I decided to play it safe and ordered some house baked rosemary bread and a house side salad.
The burgers were both extremely underwhelming. My friends described them as 'boiled meat' rather than grilled. They barely ate half and left most of the accompanying chips which were nasty.

My rosemary bread tasted of anything but rosemary or bread. 'Cake' would be a better description. The densely packed bread was sweet and covered in salt. The dipping oil and vinegar was so sweet and sickly that I initially thought I had eaten some candyfloss.

The salad was worse. Collins English Dictionary define salad as "a dish of raw vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes, etc, served as a separate course with cold meat, eggs, etc, or as part of a main course". The Frankie and Benny's house side salad consists of lettuce. And lettuce. Oh and of course it is covered in a sickly sweet white sauce of some type. Just tasted very sweet and very lettucy. I had expected some tomatoes, some cucumber perhaps and maybe even one or two other salad ingredients. But no. Just lettuce. £3.75 for some lettuce.

I left my food virtually uneaten.

Waiter asked in the usual mechanical style if all was OK. We said no and he just nodded and walked away.


Next time I will go hungry just the same but save the money.


Around Christmas and the New Year is pretty much the best time to switch off from the daily routine because most other people do the same at the same time which means email traffic and those urgent business requests die down to a trickle. One of the ways we take advantage of our extra time is to light a real log fire which always becomes the centre of attention and is very welcome when it’s cold outside! I am then reminded the following morning why they are less popular these days as I clean up the residual mess that seems to spread across the whole room. I use old newspaper to clean the glass door of the fire which is far more effective that the expensive cleaning products on sale. And of course, I can’t stop myself from reading them – it helps break up the monotony of the chore! A couple of articles caught my eye: 

The first is a summary in the Financial Times from 2010 on how Christmas is celebrated in different cities around the world. 

In Madrid presents are traditionally exchanged on Three Kings day on January 6th – Los Reyes Magos – not on Christmas Day. The New Year is celebrated by eating a grape with each chime of the clock at midnight. 

In Moscow, the favourite drink is Sovetskoye champagne which is cheap, sweet and nostalgic (as the name implies). After a few glasses they say it tastes okay. Timings are a bit complicated because December 25th is January 7th in the Julian calendar but the Bolsheviks cancelled Christmas so everything tends to get celebrated on News Eve. A key element in the celebrations is watching ‘The Irony of Fate’, a 1975 film shown on TV every year about heavy drinking and soviet architecture. Lovely. And then two weeks of holiday celebrations ensue. 

In Lima, the big night is Nochebuena or Christmas Eve. Food is a key element and includes panetones, huahuas – baby Jesus shaped breads and biscuits, turkey with pisco (white brandy) soaked in red Peruvian chilli and stuffed with apple! It is often served with mashed sweet potato and Arabic-style rice cooked in Coca-Cola. 

In Sydney, sun worshippers arrive in t-shirts and flip flops at Shark Beach or neighbouring Nielsen Park to spend Christmas day with their ice boxes on the beach watching the boats and the world go past. On Boxing Day, the following day, some go indoors to watch the cricket while others will still be on the beach. 

In Harare, there is a mad rush from the city to the countryside where people take buses and all sorts of food to join their rural families. It is utter chaos, with packed transport attempting to get people and their gifts (which may include a live chicken) to their destinations for Christmas. The three quarters of the population living in extreme poverty will have a meal of chicken and cooked corn meal if they are lucky. The less unfortunate might be able to slaughter a goat. After the meal the men will go out and drink beer whilst the women remain at home. Middle class families will celebrate in a similar way to their English counterparts with a big roast dinner in spite of the heat and South Africa wines. Those without gas will have barbecues (braai) with streak and boerewors around the pool with beer. 

In Miami, the Hispanic majority will eat lechón (pork) rather than turkey, with white rice, black beans and yucca. If you walk around Little Havana (Calle Ocho) on Christmas Eve, you will smell garlic and cigars and you will most likely see people dancing, drinking Cuba Libre amidst Christmas trees and palm trees with Cuban decorations and flags. 

In Islamabad, expats and wealthy locals put in orders for turkeys, mince pies and cranberry sauce months in advance. You are unlikely to see many decorations in the streets, but you may find Christmas trees in the houses of the elite. In a Muslim country, Christmas is more related to consumerism than religion. For some it is glance back to the past of the Raj whilst others celebrate the public holiday that falls on Christmas day, the birthday of Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. 

In Tokyo, where the Japanese always enjoy a good celebration, Christmas is not a religious event but Christmas Eve is widely celebrated with romance, chicken and sponge cake. The favoured chicken is perhaps surprisingly, Kentucky Fried Chicken. In addition to the pre-orders, you will see people queuing outside KFC. The popularity is linked to a highly successfully KFC ad campaign in 1974 ‘Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii’ which means Kentucky For Christmas. The other big thing is the sponge cake with whipped cream and decorated with strawberries, which most Japanese will insist on having whether from a local supermarket or a top patisserie. 

The second item that caught my eye before burning it (the newspaper that is, not my eye) was an article in the Evening Standard from March 2013. It commented on the experience of the editor of Condé Nast Traveller magazine who had decided to fly with her family with Ryanair to Brindisi in Italy. I have no idea why. This lady is the editor of a very up-market travel magazine and must regularly be treated to lavish holidays and entertainment in palaces around the world. She is the aunt of top model Cara Delevigne, and the group she works for publishes Vogue, Tatler and other high-class magazines. Maybe she wanted to experience how the other half travels? ‘Crikey Stansted is a long way’ was how it began but of course matters got far far worse. She described the queue that she waited in for 45-minutes as ‘a giant tentacled centipede with a million mutated legs’ and then went on to explain how her husband ended up with bleeding hands in his efforts to get the baggage tags printed by the self service machines. Despite paying £2,000 for their tickets, they admitted defeat, hailed a taxi and went home! Great story!

"Hope for best, plan for the worst" Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881

No comments:

Post a Comment