“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.

“The Special One”

Hello and hi….

Life in London

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…

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The wacky and wonderful William Hanson

Hello & hi…#RecentlyUpdated…

Thanks for the read. Yay…

Life in London

Image result for image  pictures of william hansonImage: The Daily Mail

Hello and hi. I have previously written about William Hanson, the UK’s leading etiquette guru-master-johnny come lately. In fact, he even got wind of my post, read it and actually wrote to me. Oh man, I was back-peddling big time, as I was less than nice about his so-called qualifications. But he was gracious and kind in equal measure. Respect. Cheers, mate.

That being said, our William has recently been in the news with some comments about why Prince George is always in shorts. Hmm. Why is the earth round? Because it is. Facepalm. I can’t EVEN, with that chap. No. No, I can’t. First, some background.

William Hanson (brief bio)

Hanson is an etiquette consultant, social commentator and broadcaster from Bristol. Not London or Buckingham Palace…but rather, Bristol. Bristol is nice, don’t get me wrong…but it is not exactly the etiquette capital of the UK…

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The Shard

Hello & hi….

Life in London

Hello and Hi. At 1, 016 feet and with 95 floors-The Shard is the tallest building in London Town-the tallest in the EU-the 4th tallest in Europe. I think you get the point…it is pretty tall. Yes. Yes it is. A fairly new addition to the London skyline and is meant to resemble a shard of glass, hence the name. It majestically looms over the city and glints in the noonday sun. When the sun is shining that is.

The construction of The Shard commenced in 2009 and was completed in 2012 and is currently the 87th tallest building in the world. The glass-like pyramid tower, has 72 inhabitable floors along with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor. It was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced Southwark Towers, a 24 storey office block built on the site in 1975. The Shard was…

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Who is St. Cuthbert?

Hello/hi…recently updated… #Yup #Enjoy

Life in London

Who is St. Cuthbert? St. Cuthbert (c. 634 – 20 March 687) was a saint of the early Northumbrian church in the Celtic tradition.  He was a monk, bishop and hermit. But not in that order. Or maybe.  After his death (and this is when he got mega famous) he became one of the MOST notable medieval saints of Northern England as he is regarded as the patron saint of Northern England. His feast day is 20 March. Cuthbert grew up near Melrose Abbey (which twins with Melrose Place). It is located in Lindisfame, present day Scotland. Cuthbert decided to become a monk after seeing a vision on the night in 651 that St. Aidan, the founder of Lindisfarne, died. I have visions ALL the time but it doesn’t want make me want to go and join a monastery. But that’s just me.

As St. Cuthbert was a pious man, there was…

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Who is the The Dowager Marchioness of Reading?

Recently updated…enjoy!
S.-

Life in London

Hello and hi…allow me to rephrase that…: ‘Who *was* The Dowager Marchioness of Reading?’ as she recently died on 19 April 2015 at the age of 96 years old.

Allow me to ‘school’ you.  The Dowager Marchioness of Reading was a society beauty of the 1930’s and 1940’s here in England.  She was independent and lovely in equal measure.  In fact, she was one of the first British women to get a pilot’s license and she even competed on the pre-war stock car racing circuit and a became a rally driver in the 1950’s. Yes. Girl. Go.

In later life, our girl, was an animal rights campaigner and became an outspoken English nationalist. In fact, her views so extreme, she once remarked that she was ‘diametrically opposed to most sane people.’  In a later interview she said, “I love England so much and I just feel that the so-called hooligans…

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BREXIT (and the German economy)

Morning…happy Monday.

#old post #updated #OneOfMyFavs #Enjoy

Life in London

Image result for image of brexit meme and angela merkel

Hello and hi. Yup, yet another Brexit post by me. Woot woot. If you think that Brexit is not an important issue then…sorry (not sorry) we can’t be friends. True, it may not be your cup of tea. Also, you may think that since you don’t live in the UK or Europe that it has no impact on you whatsoever. Please tell me you don’t think that, because it is simply not true. Excuse me as I step down from Brexit soapbox long enough to write a post..so anyway, here is what you need to know about Brexit and the German economy. Ok, let’s do this…

In speaking to HuffPost UK, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (let’s call them DIHK for obvious reasons, including brevity) gave a rather stern caution, that even IF the UK strikes a moderately free trade deal with the EU, the impact of…

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NEXIT, FREXIT, CZEXIT et al.

Happy Sunday…an old post….recently updated. Enjoy. S.-

Life in London

Hello and hi. I recently heard that some people, while familiar with the term ‘BREXIT’ had no idea what the EU even *was* . OMG. What the what? Whaaatt? Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? Please tell me what I heard was a joke.  I would even take it as an April Fools’ Day joke…never mind that we are heading into July. Come. On. Well, please just read my blog and educate yourself. For real. The EU is…(please go to the interweb and find out).

Anyhoo…

The sting of BREXIT has had some rather serious ramifications. Deadly serious. Of course it has…how could it not? So, with the decision to leave the EU (the European Union) other member States now want to do the same. Yup. …As for Scotland…good grief. I will get to you Scotland in a different post, but today is all about BREXIT, FREXIT, NEXIT…

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The European Migrant Crisis

An old post. Recently updated. Thanks/Cheers for the read. S-

Life in London

Greetings. So the European migrant crisis is raging on. Yesterday, a boat in the Mediterranean capsized. I will NOT include an image of the capsized boat, with its frightened people, clinging to it (because it is a pretty horrible image)-I think we can all picture a boat capsizing.

Instead, above- is an image of the Naval Ensign of Italy. Thankfully, 562 people were rescued, although 5, sadly drowned. A massive THANK YOU to the Italian Navy who helped rescue the 562 people. Cheers/Thanks.

The trawler overturned as a result of people on board, rushing to one side after spotting a rescue ship. How awful. This meant that people clung desperately to the deck or dropped into the sea. *heavy, audible sigh* My heart breaks into a thousand little pieces when I read things like that- or see it on the BBC.

In an attempt to provide assistance-Italy’s Bettica patrol boat threw…

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Music in the UK

Oh heyy…have a read…and a listen. Thanks/Cheers!

Life in London

For such a small island, the UK’s music and musicality is pretty diverse.  And I am not just talking bagpipes.  Sorry Scotland.  Here in the UK, we manufacture boy bands by the minute. Of course the ultimate boy band, I have pictured above.  The Beatles.  Boy bands here in the UK include: Take That, Blue, Westlife, Boyzone, The Wanted…I think you get the picture (that’s not a boy band)  We also have Wham!, The Spice Girls, Coldplay and the list goes on.  Its funny, every British artist hopes to make it in the US, they want nothing more than to be crossover artists.  Compared to the artists in the US who JUST want to make it.
Lately, the trend has looked to sourcing UK talent from the X factor. I am not sure if this is a good idea.  But it seems to work for TV purposes.  My favourite artists at the moment are…

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BEWARE: Lynx on the loose

Life in London

Hello and hi. Pictured above is a lynx. Am guessing you already know, that a lynx is any of the FOUR species within the Lynx genus of medium-sized wild cats, which includes the bobcat.

Also, the name ‘lynx’ originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word λύγξ, derived from the Indo-European root leuk (light, brightness) in reference to the luminescense of its reflective eyes. So yeah, a lynx is a big wild cat. In addition, the lynx is a solitary cat (aren’t they all?) but sometimes they will travel and hunt together. I mean…we all do it. Right? Right. I am usually am. Mostly. Ha.

So recently, a lynx escaped from a zoo here in England. It caused plenty of fear and upset. In fact, small children (whom I refer to as: littles) were being kept indoors. Yup. All doors and windows were firmly shut. And chairs were wedged underneath doors. Not a…

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