“The Special One”

 

Hey and hi. Here I go again with my limited knowledge of ‘the beautiful game’. So as you may or may not know, Jose Mourinho is about to be named manager for Manchester United. There have been a few glitches though. Yikes. I hate glitches. You see, apparently,  image rights negotiations are delaying Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester United Manager. As it has emerged that Chelsea still own his name as a trademark and could demand a six-figure sum from United before any deal is concluded. But really, this issue will not scupper his appointment at Old Trafford. Thank goodness. Mourinho is expected to be named as Louis Van Gaal’s replacement after the Dutchman was sacked on Monday DESPITE winning the FA Cup. Football is crazy. I don’t even watch it and I know very little about it. But you wouldn’t know it. Hah.

Oh, I nearly forgot why I even started this blog post. Ok, let’s do this. They call Jose Mourinho ‘The Special One.’ Yes. Why? Please give me a break. Is he really that special? While I was not looking-has he found a cure for breast cancer, the Zika virus and Lyme disease? Am guessing, no. What has he done that is so spectacularly wonderful? Please enlighten me. Please and thanks.

Well, believe it or not, Mourinho gave himself that name/moniker. Yes, yes he did. I could have told you he was arrogant (and I have done so in previous posts). When Mourinho moved to Chelsea in June 2004, he held a press conference upon joining the club and said, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m the special one.” Can you believe he said that? So, the media has dubbed him “The Special One.” I would like to give Mourinho the benefit of the doubt here-I mean, his first language is Portuguese and English is not his native tongue. But sorry, most Portuguese speak English perfectly well. I don’t think there were translation issues here. The guy is just arrogant. Yes, yes he is. But anyway, Good luck to him. I may not like the guy but I don’t have any ill will towards him. So yeah, that is why he is called ‘The Special One.’ And knowledge, is power, people.

Cheers

 

 

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University Fees (UK)

Female graduates

Salutations. University Fees. Uggh. The end. But seriously, everyone bemoans University Fees-both here and in the US. Tuition is WAY too high. In fact, I had a cousin who recently graduated from Princeton University. And while Princeton is a great school, its tuition fees are eye-wateringly diabolically high. In fact, if my cousin were to rob a bank, lets say that I would not be that surprised. For real.

Here in the UK, University Fees have had an interesting history. Tuition fees in the UK were INTRODUCED across the entire UK in 1998 under the Labour government as a means of funding tuition to undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities. Yes. Please read that again. Later on, tuition fee caps rose with the Higher Education Act 2004-under the Act, Universities in England could begin to charge variable fees of up to £3000 a year for students enrolling on courses as from the academic year of 2006-7. Wow. Then when University fees rose to 5K people began to loose their minds. I found it amazing. I thought those people should have been grateful to only pay 5K. But then again, if one was never expected to pay tuition then had to commence paying tuition, then I can see why they got mad. I get it. I don’t understand it, but I get it.

Current situation

Universities in England will now be able to increase tuition fees above £9000 from Autumn 2017. Yes, ‘Autumn’-they don’t say ‘Fall’ here. Anyway, it is believed that the increased tuition will ensure high-quality teaching. Further, the plans aim to encourage more competition and better consumer value for students. The government will announce in 2016-2017 which Universities are allowed to increase their fees. Sorana Vieru, vice president of the National Union of Students, said students would be “outraged” at the prospect of tuition fees being increased. Well I suppose so. Better not apply to ANY American Universities then. Don’t even think about Princeton.

That being said, maintenance grants/loans are available for students. Of course, you have to repay your student loans. Duh. One last thing, if there are any American college bound students looking to study abroad for F-R-E-E well then, Germany is your best bet. Look into it, I would if I were you. That is all.

Cheers.

 

 

 

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Devizes

Greetings. When you visit London Town (and I hope you do) why not stop and visit Devizes? Oh, you are not familiar with it? Allow me to wax lyrical about this beautiful place located in Wiltshire. Devizes is a market town and civil parish in the heart of Wiltshire, England. Pictured below is Wiltshire- a county in South West England.

Devizes serves as a centre for banks, solicitors and shops and also has an open market place where a market is held once a week. In addition, it has nearly 500 listed buildings (a listed building, in the UK, is one that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest), some notable churches, a Town Hall and a green at the heart of town. Its development grown around the 11th century Norman castle.

Brief History

Devizes Castle was built by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury in 1080, but the town is not mentioned in the Domesday Book (a manuscript record of the ‘Great Survey’ of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror) as the castle was on the boundaries of the manors of Rowde, Bishops Cannings and Potterne became known as the castrum ad divisas (the castle at the boundaries), hence the name Devizes. Further, on John Speed’s map of Wilshire (1611) the town’s name is recorded as The Devyses.  The first castle on the site was of the motte and bailey (fortification of wood or stone) form and was probably made of wood and earth but was sadly burnt down in 1113. A new castle was subsequently built in stone by Roger Salisbury, Osmund’s successor. Devizes received its first charter in 1141 permitting regular markets. The castle changed hands several times during the civil war between Blois and Matilda in the 12th century. In addition, the castle held important prisoners, including Robert Curthouse, eldest son of William the Conqueror in 1106. Robert was kept in Devizes for 20 years, before being moved to Cardiff Castle.

The town has had churches since the 11th century and has 4 Church of England parish churches.  The oldest is dedicated to St John the Baptist and was founded in 1130.

From the 16th century, Devizes became known for its textiles-initially white woollen broadcloth but later the manufacture of serge (a type of twill fabric), druggert (coarse woollen fabric), felt and cassimere /Zephyr cloth. In the early 18th century, Devizes held the LARGEST corn market in the West Country of England (and also traded hops, cattle, horses and of course various types of cloth). Further, before the Corn Exchange was built in 1857 the trade in wheat and barley was conducted in the open, with sacks piled around the market cross.

In closing, Devizes is a lovely place with lovely people. You should visit. I would if I were you. Here are a few pictures of this magical place. And pictures do not lie.

 View of Caen Hill locks, Rowde, Devizes, Wilthsire

 Back in the day

  Long ago

Wadworth Ale is quite strong, but you should try it…

Cheers

The rag and bone man (scrap metal dealer)

The butcher the baker and the rag and bone man who rings his bell and shouts ‘any old iron?’. I know you were waiting for the candlestick maker, but this is 2016 not 1816. The supermarket experience in the UK is made up of going to the butcher, the baker and others. Yes, we do have supermarkets but we don’t do Costco or Sam’s club.

Going to the butcher for the first time was a bit intimidating. There was meat everywhere perfectly tied with string. A fly buzzed hazily and the butcher behind the counter was burly and butch with thick sausage-like fingers. He wore a kind gap toothed smile and wiped blood on his apron. Get. Me. Out. seemed to resonate through my body as my vegetarian status was quietly contemplated. I must admit, I felt a bit lost. How could I order what I wanted when I didn’t even know the proper names of sections of the cow (or other animals)? Further, nothing looked familiar and of course nothing was cooked. ‘Hello Madam’ chirped the butcher, as he grinned broadly at me. ‘What are you after today?’ I thought sheepishly to myself-I am after the EXIT sign-can you please direct me in that direction? Am pretty sure he could smell my fear-I was in a butcher’s shop after all. He spoke to me politely. I told him what I was after and how many people were in my household. He proudly showed me his best cuts of meat and even told me how to cook them! It wasn’t so bad, my intermediary-err…my butcher educated me, helped me and wrapped my meat up nicely for me.

Next stop, the bakery…this was more my territory. The baker was a middle aged woman with bright shining eyes and ruddy cheeks. It did not escape me that she was generous around the middle. I liked her immediately and knew I could trust her. With my life, if needed.  We spoke politely about the weather as I ordered a 4 Marlborough buns, 3 Eccles cake, 2 Egg custard tarts and 1 Mince pie. I left happy and was pretty sure I would be visiting the dentist in the next week or so.

‘Any old iron?’ the old Gypsy with pockmarked skin called out as he drove his white van up and down the neighbourhood. What? He wants scrap metal? I just give it to him and then our transaction is complete? Yes. Weird but ok, I am cool with that. I recently heard a story that a couple had been cleaning out their kitchen, so they put their washing machine and tumble dryer in the front garden-a sort of temporary resting place. In the UK you will find the washing machine and tumble dryer in the kitchen. Weird. Don’t even get me started.  Anyway, the couple later returned to their garden to retrieve their white goods, but quickly realised that both items were gone. They had not heard the cry of ‘any old iron?’ as their washing machine and tumble dryer were subsequently scooped up by the scrap metal man.

The butcher, the baker, the rag and bone man and me. Welcome to England, mate.

An American in London

One of my fav’s…enjoy!

Life in London

Salutations. Am guessing you know by now that I am an American in London. Yup. I mean: Indeed. So get this,  I only have to open my mouth and British people pretty much know that I am an American. Sometimes they are intrigued. Most times they are not, they are probably late or lost or both. Just.Like. Me. But if I don’t manage to speak, they will still know I am American from the small American flag which is on my rucksack/backpack. So yeah, they know. As far as my accent goes, some say I sound American while some say I have a sort of British-American accent. What? I mean: Pardon?

So yeah, I represent. But there are times when I feel distinctly British. I could almost pass. Almost. I feel British when:

  • I complain about queueing/standing in a long line. Oh man, how the Brits hate this. However, queueing is…

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Happy Monday/Firebreather/Be Kind

Hello and hi. Oh my days…how is it Monday? Asking for a friend. Personally, I am somewhere still in last Wednesday. Yup. I do thank you for not judging me. Cheers for that.

Anyway, check out this song by Macklemore. It is quite simply the BEST. Ok, it is not for everyone-but do give it a listen (if you are so inclined). Oh and if you have little ones-maybe play this when they are asleep or outside or doing homework. Because the language/lyrics are pretty…erm…intense. And this is a ‘family friendly’ blog.  Most of the time. I do try. I can only try. I think you get the point.

Anyway, here is the song for your auditory pleasure. I do hope you like it as much as I do. And if not-we still cool. Yup. Oh and before I forget…be KIND. We need more kindness in the world. Yes. Yes, we do. Ok, enough talk. Now for: Firebreather.

Cheers/Thanks

 

Rosh Hashanah 101 et al (UK)

Hello and hi. Shanah Tovah. That is all. Oh, you don’t know the meaning? Allow me. You are welcome, mate. So…

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. (Evening of Wed Sept 20-Evening of Fri Sept 22). Yes. Yes, it is. My sources tell me that the biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah. I mean, there is a lot I could say here. But check it, I am not Jewish. But I do know plenty of Jewish people. Oh and grew up with Jewish people and I went to school with Jewish people. I think you get the point I am trying to make here. But…I am not Jewish. But I know a thing or 5. Ha. That being said, the Hebrew greeting on Rosh Hashanah is Shanah Tovah (Hebrew: שנה טובה‎‎)  this roughly translates from Hebrew as “[have] a good year.” Yup. Truth. Many times, Shanha Tovah Umetukah (Hebrew: שנה טובה ומתוקה‎‎), is used-this translates into: “A Good and Sweet Year.”

Image result for image for Shana Tova

                                                              Image: Israeli Missions Around the World

I could say a lot more. Trust me-I totally could. But, this is not a University/College seminar. This is only a blog post. Yes. Yes, it is. If you want to know more about this holiday (and I am guessing you do…I mean..duh) kindly educate yourself. Or you could check out what I wrote about Jews in London here and here

And that is all she wrote. Although some say that ‘she’ is the cat’s mother. I am not. I am ‘Just a girl in the world’. Cue Gwen Stefani. That is all.

Shanah Tovah to my friends both here and afar (and to those friends, I have not met as yet…we are going to get along just fine…trust me.)

Laters/Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

Bremont and British Watchmaking

A fav post of mine ( have a few fav’s actually).Brexit posts coming soon. Defo. Promise. Be patient. Patience is good. Yup.

Cheers

Life in London

Bremont watches

Hello and hi. A man with one watch knows what time it is, a man with two watches is never quite sure. Well now, I don’t know about the accuracy of the above statement. I personally need more than 1 watch in my life.  But let me tell you something, if I had 2 Bremont watches, I would be the happiest person in.the.world.  Do you know much about British watchmaking? Do you know about Bremont? Well now, today you are going to learn. And of course, and as always, you are welcome.

There is no shortage of luxury watches here in London Town. Brands such as Patek Phillipe and Rolex practically fall from the sky here. Ok, perhaps not. But I think you get the point I am trying to make it. But when it comes to British-made timepieces or  watches, they are a bit harder to find. Sigh.

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What Rita said…

Hello and hi. Guess what our Rita Ora said? Erm…a lot. That girl has got PLENTY of opinions. But apart from that she is a sassy, quirky, bodaciously, bewildering London girl. I simply heart this girl. Yes. Yes, I do. Check out her song/ video. Ahem…you can thank me later. But now…the video. Hope you like it as much as I do. No? Yikes. No worries, mate.

Cheers

 

Monday Jam/ Jason Mraz/The Remedy

Hello and hi. Happy Monday. My Monday Jam. Hope you like it as much as me. Or else…we simply can’t be friends. Truth.

Jason Mraz is an American singer songwriter. He hails from San Diego. I used to live in San Diego- for a ‘New York minute.’ Yup. I sure did.

Love his dulcet tones. As well as his searingly, painstakingly, honest, clear voice. Yup. Anyway…enough chat…here ya go. Have a listen. Please and thanks.

Cheers

McDonald’s in the UK II

Hello and hi. Please know that I rarely eat at Mc Donald’s. But…their French fries are kinda good. Ohh and on a hot summer day, a vanilla milkshake is EVERYTHING. Oh..be careful now, with the apple pies…if you put the entire thing in your mouth…you will burn your mouth. Allegedly. Omg. Oh heck…Is.This.Thing.On?

So, I like the fries at McDonald’s (and a few other things on their menu). I do thank you for not judging me-I mean, I am only human. That being said, as a vegetarian…my options are kind of limited at McDonald’s. But, I digress. So, this happened…

It was recently reported here in the UK that McDonald’s is about to commence door-to-door deliveries. O my days. What on earth? When I heard that, my mouth fell open like a cod fish. I was pretty shocked. I mean, what the what? No. Just, no. This is a terrible idea.

Image result for image of a cod fish

                                                                                                                      Image: Global Food Book

The McDelivery service was rolled out here in the UK, a few months back in 22 restaurants in London and 10 in Leeds as well as Nottingham. Wow. I mean…yikes. I actually have no words right now. Eat an apple, people. Just do it. Please and thanks.

Apparently, in order to access the McDelivery service, you will have to be living within 1.5miles of the selected branches-who are in partnership with UberEATS (Uber’s food delivery arm). *Why is Uber everywhere? I feel uncomfortable about this. I feel itchy…and not in a good way* All (standard) menu items will be available from 7am-2am, with a delivery charge of £2.50.

Apparently, McDelivery is alive and well in America with more than 1K locations. Ahem…this is the first I am hearing about this…and I keep up. I guess, this one must of slipped through my net.

Image result for image of a cod fish in a net

So, there you have it. You can now get McDonald’s fries, milkshakes and a lot more, via UberEATS. I mean…if you are into that sort of thing/food/fayre.

Last thing, if you are still deeply interested about the history of  McDonald’s in the UK-check out what I wrote, a while back here

Enjoy!

Cheers

 

Came Here for Love/Ella Eyre/Current Jam

Hello and hi. My current jam. Hope you like it as much as I do. No? No worries. Not a problem.  Not EVEN an issue. We still cool. Check out this song by English singer, songwriter Ella Eyre-love her soul-filled, exuberantly, optimistic message, here. I guess you can tell I am a fan. Our Ella was born in 1 April 1994. More on Ella later. But now…here is her new song/video. Enjoy!

Cheers