Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall…in tweed

Hello and hi. This week we learned that our William and Harry will be commissioning a memorial statute to their late Mum, Princess Diana. It will be erected outside of Kensington Palace and the new statute will mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. Well done William and Harry for keeping your Mum’s memory alive. Not that there is a chance that we would ever forget her-but well done you, chaps for remembering her and making sure we remember her too.  I suppose while all this was going on, their stepmother, Camilla, was keeping a pretty low profile. She of course, knew Princess Diana well. Man, those two had an interesting relationship to say the least. But that is all water under the bridge now.

Image result for image of diana and camilla                                                                                                             Image: The Daily Mail

 

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So fast forward to today and Camilla got her man in the finish, went and married him. The British public have warmed up to Camilla (including me) and we are now largely resigned to the fact that while she is no Diana (nor will she ever be)-she and Prince Charles seem happy together and apparently, William and Harry get on quite well with her. Which is good for everybody (including me).

So anyway, Camilla was out and about in the city of Bath, today. Slowclap.  And of course, she wore her favourite tweed coat. I love tweed. Yes, yes, I do. I’ve got some tweed blazers that are pretty dope (read: fashionable). And guess who loves tweed too? Camilla, that’s who. You see, me and Camilla are not so different. Actually we are-but we both like tweed and that is where our similarities end.

So, our Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, 69, paid a visit to St. John’s almshouses on Tuesday. The Duchess is a royal patron of the charity and will open its new residence. She also spent time chatting to the staff and residents during her visit. On her visit, our Camilla wore her favourite tweed coat dress (worn over a ruffled silk shirt and suede boots). It is interesting (or not) to note that Camilla has worn this outfit loads of times before on a number of occasions, including the races at Sandown and Cheltenham. So, she wears her clothes more than once? Welcome to the real world, Camilla.  Yeah girl, we all do it as well.

Camilla, 69, cut a glamorous figure in one of her favourite tweed coat dresses worn over a ruffled silk shirt and suede boots as she visited St. John's Hospital's almshouses on Tuesday                                                                                                                                 Image: The Daily Mail

In addition to dropping in on the almshouses, Camilla will open the newly refurbished Rosenberg House in Chapel Row. In addition, she will meet local organisations supported by St Johns as well as community groups who use the facilities. Later, she will attend a reception for residents and supporters. Wow. Being a Royal must terribly exhausting. I could never do it-imagine, having to be all nicey-nicey all the time. Rarely, do you see Royals in bad moods or being snarky or sarcastic. I mean, a world without snark and sarcasm is no kind of world to live in. Indeed it is not.

Anyway, here are some pics of Camilla being royal-like, while in her fab tweed coat.

The Duchess chats to CEO Sue Porto, second left, and residents of the charity's almshouses on what turned out to be a cold and wet morning in Bath

Busy day: As well as dropping in on the almshouses, Camilla will officially open the newly refurbished Rosenberg House in Chapel Row on Tuesday

Chief Executive of St Johns Foundation, Sue Porto, speaking ahead of Camilla’s visit, said: ‘The refurbishment of Rosenberg House reaffirms our charitable commitment to helping people to enjoy an excellent quality of life by supporting them to live as independently as possible.” The Grade II listed building (first built in 1974) is made up of 15 apartments and is hoem to 17 of St John’s 100 almshouse residents.

That is all.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit Bill Debate in Parliament (happy happy joy joy)

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Hello and hi. I was not going to blog today, as I blogged plenty yesterday. I sure did. But today, I could not NOT blog. For you see, today is a special day in the UK  (oh and tomorrow, too). It sure is. So, this is what is going down.

MP’s (Member of Parliament) today are to commence two days of debate over the government’s parliamentary bill to get the formal process of Brexit under way. Happy happy joy joy.  Said in another way: British lawmakers will debate the Parliamentary bill that will give the Prime Minister the ‘go ahead’ to withdraw from the EU. MP’s will be given until midnight to discuss the legislation which would allow our Prime Minister, Theresa May, to invoke Article 50 of the EU Treaty-and thus start the 2 year negotiations that will be necessary, in order to leave the EU.

Further, the UK was forced to bring the legislation to Parliament after The Supreme Court ruled that the government could not trigger Article 50 without permission from lawmakers. MP’s will vote on the EU (Notification on withdrawal) Bill on Wednesday.

Opposition leader (Labour) Jeremy Corbyn has ordered his MP’s NOT  to delay the process by voting against the government on Article 50 (22 MP’s are expected to defy him) and support a “wrecking amendment.” Yes, we too here in the UK have MP’s who defy their leaders. Shout out (woot woot!) to Sally Yates for ‘defying’ Donald Trump. I see you Donald and your craziness and the rest of the world sees it too. But, I digress.

In closing, MP’s will discuss the European Union Bill today up to midnight and tomorrow, Wednesday 1 February a vote will take place on this very important issue. MP’s want to get the bill passed in time to trigger Brexit by 31 March. Like I said, happy happy joy joy!

 

 

Cheers

 

State Visit 101

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Image result for image of the queen at state banquet                                                                                                                       Image: The Daily Mail

Hello and hi. Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK is heavily trending in the news. Of course it is. The state visit to the UK later this year, has sparked anger and outrage here in the UK and across the world. Essentially, Trump’s ban on entry for nationals of 7 Muslim-majority countries has got people seeing red. As a result, a petition has been signed by over a million people who are calling for the state visit to be cancelled. Of course, you know of all of this-or we simply can’t be friends. Sorry (not sorry). But what exactly is a state visit? Luckily, I am here to help you. You are welcome. Ok, let’s do this.

State Visit: General Overview

A state visit is a formal visit by a head of state to a foreign country. Specifically, it is an invitation of that country’s head of state (with the latter acting as the official host) so, here in the UK, the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II and not the Prime Minister. In brief, the Queen has invited the ‘President’ for some tea, a nice chat and some rather fancy food at Buckingham Palace. Hope The Donald can read or speak French, as the menu will be in French. Yup.

Essentially, state visits are pretty grand affairs and the aim of them is to strengthen relationships between countries. This is the crux of state visits. Further, in the UK, heads of state of foreign countries are invited to visit the Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Normally, the Queen will usually receive one or two heads of state a year. Since becoming monarch in 1752 (I kid…she became monarch in 1952) the Queen has hosted 109 state visits.

State Visit itinerary

A state visit will last a couple of days. It commences as the Queen and members of the Royal Family greet their invited guests/visitors with a ceremonial welcome-normally on Horse Guards Parade. The guest/visitor/foreign head of state will usually stay at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or occasionally at Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (but I think that this is pretty rare).

The guest/visitor is invited to inspect a Guard of Honour before travelling back to the palace in a carriage procession, escorted by mounted soldiers from the Household Cavalry. I have actually seen this a few times-it is a pretty grand thing to see. Yes. Yes, it is. Anyway, the ‘welcome campaign’ is then accompanied by gun salutes fired from Green Park and the Tower of London. Normally in the evening-on the day of the arrival-the visitors are hosted at a sate banquet held in the Buckingham Palace ballroom. This is a very big deal.

During the banquet, the Queen will make a speech a propose a toast to the visiting head of state-and they in return, will toast the Queen. Donald of course, will be toasting with ginger ale as he (nor any of his children) drink alcohol. Yes, he is stone cold sober making all those crazy decisions along with issuing these nonsensical executive orders. But, I digress…Anyway, the costs of the state visit including accommodation, transport and food is covered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

So, that it in a nutshell. A state visit is just a big welcome party. If you want to more (and I am guessing you do) I previously blogged about state visits/banquets, in precise and poignant detail here. Happy reading.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

Trump State Visit to the UK: UPDATE

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Hello and hi. It is official. Kim Jong-un is no longer the craziest leader of modern times. That coveted spot has now been taken by our ‘President’ Donald Trump. Trump’s travel ban and crackdown on US immigration only confirmed what we already knew-that Trump is crazier than a box of frogs. Yup.

Here is an update:

  • A petition to stop Trump’s state visit has gathered more than 900K signatures since Saturday. (Only 10K signatures are needed for Parliament to consider debating a petition).
  • The visit was announced during the PM’s trip to the US-although no date has been set (but it is expected to take place later this year).
  • Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on the row.
  • A Downing Street source told the BBC: “America is a hugely important ally”
  • Shadow Attorney-General Shami Chakrabati said that the government’s position “sound like appeasement.” Boom.

The Petition

The petition was started by solicitor, Graham Guest of Leeds. He started the online petition for one reason and one reason only, he simply did not want the Queen to shake Donald Trump’s hand. In only a few hours, the petition had gained over 300K signatures.  Guest simply did not want the Queen to meet with Trump and have Trump embarrass the 90 year old monarch-given his track record of “misogyny and vulgarity.”

The petition initially had just 40 signatures in its first eight weeks and has quickly risen to over 300K on Sunday. It came as a big surprise to Guest, as he explained that the petition originally had nothing to do with Trump’s immigration policy. You see, Guest, was only trying to protect the Queen. Bless.

Guest admitted that Trump’s announcement on Friday, regarding strict travel restrictions on people from 7 majority-Muslim countries “changes things slightly” and added that “Its added a new dimension to things and until the ban is lifted I don’t think he should come to the country at all in any capacity.” Yes. Indeed. I do believe that Guest now has a spokesperson or communications director. Such a beautifully crafted statement does not often come out of Leeds. (Ouch Leeds: you want some ice for that burn?) But Guest insists that his primary concern is still the “poor old Queen.”

Guest also added, “I mean, if he’s photographed stood next to the Queen it makes him look like a statesman, which of course he’s not.” Guest concluded by saying that there was not a specific thing that Trump had done that spurred hi to start the petition, it was just the President’s general demeanour.

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In closing, once a petition gets over 10K signatures-the Government is required to provide and official response. Petitions that reach over 100K signatures must be considered for a debate in Parliament. At present, there are approximately 900K signatures. That is all.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s state visit to the UK…

Hello and hi. It was recently announced that President Trump was invited by the Queen for a State visit. He of course, graciously accepted. Trump touts himself as an anglophile-is he really an anglophile? I think he is perhaps Pro Scottish (as his Mum was Scottish*) but he is totally anti SNP (Scottish National Party). Anyway, if you don’t already know, an anglophile is someone who is fond of or greatly admires Great Britain.

A proposed state visit to the UK by President Trump may or may not happen-now that he has issued an executive order, clamping down on immigration to the US. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said it would be “totally wrong” for the visit to go ahead later this year, as reported by the BBC. In addition, a petition to stop the state visit has now reached over 300K signatures-which means that it will be considered for debate in Parliament. Yup. However, Downing Street (where our PM lives) was asked for a response regarding the calls to cancel – and a spokesman said: “We extended the invite and it was accepted.”

In addition, Corbyn added (on ITV’s Peston on Sunday) “I think we should make it very clear that we are extremely upset about it, and I think it would be totally wrong for him to be coming here while that situation is going on. ” Indeed. I am not a massive fan of Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, but I do agree with him on this.  Corbyn went on to say, “I think he has to be challenged on this. I am not happy with him coming here until that ban is lifted, quite honestly. ”

 

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Jeremy Corbyn

 

 

In addition, The Lib Dems chimed in as well. Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron commented, “Any visit by President Trump to Britain should be on hold until his disgraceful ban comes to an end.” Yes, totally agree with you on that, Tim. Farron ended by saying:  “…otherwise Theresa May would be placing the Queen in an impossible position of welcoming a man who is banning British citizens purely on grounds of their faith.”

 

 

In addition to Corbyn and Farron, Alex Salmond-SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson indicated that the state visit would be “a very bad idea” followed by “you shouldn’t be rushing into a headlong relationship with the President of the United States.” Yikes…slight dig at our PM, Theresa May. Like she even cares what Alex Salmond thinks-I know for a fact, she does not.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan also agreed that the visit should not happen while the executive order was in place. He added, “I am quite clear, this ban is cruel, this ban is shameful, while this ban in is place we should not be rolling out the red carpet for President Trump.”

 

So there were of course, loads of other politicians who were not in favour of Trump’s state visit to the UK…too many to list here. Whether he comes or not, time will tell-am not sure if this issue will even be debated in Parliament-but it could happen. Anyway, I will leave you with this…Sarah Wollaston, Conservative MP for Totnes tweeted earlier that the US President should NOT be invited to address the Houses of Parliament, saying that Westminster Hall “should be reserved for leaders who have made an outstanding positive difference in the world.” Good point, Sarah.

The  state visit to the UK was announced during our PM’s trip to the US recently. No date has been set (but it will most likely be in the summer…if it happens. IF). That is all .

Cheers

 

*As mentioned, Trump’s Ma was originally from Scotland. Mary Anne MacLeod was from the Hebridean Island of Lewis-which is off the west coat of Scotland.  She emigrated to America and met and married Frederick Trump (who was of German origin). Hmm…I do believe my President is a massive hypocrite. But of course, I already knew that.

 

 

 

Meet Ed Sheeran

 

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Hello and hi. Do you know who Ed Sheeran is? No? Luckily, I am here to help. You are welcome, mate.  Edward Christopher Sheeran was born 17 February 1991. Baby! He is an English singer, songwriter and occasional rapper and actor. Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk. Sheeran attended the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guilford, Surrey-as an undergraduate from the age of 18, in 2009. In 2011, Sheeran independently released the extended play, ‘No. 5 Collaborations Project’-which caught the attention of both Elton John and Jaime Fox. Wow. Later, after signing with Asylum Records, his debut album was ‘+’ (read as ‘plus’) and was released on 9 September. Fast forward to today and Sheeran has been certified seven-times platinum in the UK. Respect. The above album, contained the single ‘The A Team” which earned him the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. In 2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act.

Sheeran is popular back home in the US as well-and made a guest appearance on Taylor’ Swift’s 4th studio album, ‘Red.’ In addition, ‘The A Team’ was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards-where he performed the song with Elton John. Wow. Amazing and unbelievable in equal measure. In 2013, Sheeran spent much of 2013 opening for Swift’s The Red Tour in North America dates. Apparently the pair are quite good friends-which is good-I mean, Taylor needs to be friends with herself first, instead of dating every man that crosses her path. Harsh? Maybe. But I only wrote what you were probably thinking. Yup.

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In 2013, Sheeran performed 3 sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden as a headline act. Fantastic for him-don’t you think? I certainly do. Sheeran’s second studio album: ‘x’ (read as ‘multiply) was released on 23 June 2014. It peaked at number 1 in the UK and the US. In 2015, x won the Brit Award for Album of the Year-and he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year. His single from ‘x’ Thinking Out Loud earned our Ed 2 Grammy Awards at the 2016 ceremony (Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance). Further, as part of his world tour, Sheeran played 3 sold out concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium in July 2015-his biggest solo shows to date.

Fast forward to today, Sheeran’s third album ‘divide’…but it is depicted as the symbol not the word will be released in March 2017. The first two singles from the album ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Castle on the Hill’ which are pretty fantastic (in my opinion) and were released in January 2017.

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So, that is who Ed Sheeran is. He is probably one of the most successful musicians of  contemporary British pop culture. And plus, he just seems like a nice guy, a regular person,  which of course, is an added bonus. I mean, no one has time for artists who behave badly, throw temper tantrums and need exactly 37 white roses in their dressing room, bottles of Mountain Dew (slightly chilled), along with shag carpet installed the same colour of the sky on summer day in NY. Yes, Mariah Carey, I have heard the rumours. Behave yourself, girl. Anyway, Ed Sheeran is pretty fab and clearly a gifted singer, songwriter and he is only getting warmed up. Respect.

Below is a song from his new album (to be released in March). The song is called: ‘Shape of You.’ There is no video yet, but for now, here is the official  lyric video. Hope you like it.

 

Cheers

p.s. You can find ‘Castle on the Hill’- Sheeran’s other new song and video here

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday!

Hello and hi. Congratulations! You made it to Friday…and me, as well. Massive relief! So, to celebrate, have a listen of this rather sweet song which is sad, lovely, bittersweet and totally fantastic. Yes. Yes, it is. Hope you like it as much as I do. And now… here is Ed Sheeran’s, ‘Castle on the Hill’. Let me know if you see any elements of YOU in this song and if this song resonates with you (as it did with me). Enjoy!

Cheers

 

BREXIT Bill Published (now what?)

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Hello and hi. Yes, another Brexit post. You, are of course…welcome! Ok, let’s do this. Let’s get down with it. Let’s get jiggy with it. Let’s hop on the left foot and do the right thing. I think you get the point.  So, this happened….

The Brexit bill has been published. Slowclap. My goodness, it is awfully short. I mean, I have written longer ‘thank you’ letters. Truth. The legislation actually paves the way for the government to start the Brexit process. This simply means that the bill allows the government to trigger Article 50 (the formal process for leaving the EU) and has been subsequently published, after the UK Supreme Court ruled that Parliament must have a say, before Brexit proceedings proceed. Confused? Same here. But, I think you get the idea.

The EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 will give our PM the power to take Britain out of the EU. You listening, Scotland? Yes, Nicola Sturgeon, I am speaking to you. Yup. Anyway, the bill contains just 2 clauses. Gasp. The first says:

“The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.” And the second clause states, “this section has effect despite any provision made by or under the European Communities Act 1972 or any other enactment.” Real simple. Yes. Yes, it is.

David Davis, Brexit minister added/warned that the “point of no return” for Brexit had already been passed. Erm..ok. We get it, David. We do understand-just like we understand that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ which is no different from saying: a bar of soap is a bar of soap.’ It is what it is. Davis also added, “This does not change the fact that the UK will be leaving the European Union.”

 

 

The timetable has yet to be set for the debates and votes (although I could be wrong…sometimes I am) in the House of Commons and House of Lords-but Downing Street indicated that the debates and votes could happen as early as next week.

MP’s and peers are currently preparing to table loads of amendments to the government’s Brexit bill-in an attempt to water down the bill. Yikes. They are saying that the Labour Party might introduce 4 amendments, intended to help Britain avoid becoming a “bargain basement tax haven.” Hmm…doubt that that is ever going to happen. This is not the Caymen Islands. Indeed it is not.

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In addition, the Labour party will also demand the Commons is granted a “meaningful” vote on the outcome of any deal with the EU. Yes of course that will happen. Labour needs to calm down, dear. For real.

In addition, The Scottish National Party (SNP) on Tuesday vowed to table 50 amendments to the bill. Lordy. Its demands include forcing the government to seek the consent of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over triggering Article 50. Am pretty sure First Minster of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is behind this. Great. Good. But come on Nicola, please honey child, you are making this Brexit process more painful that it needs to be. Please know that I would speak to Nicola with a bit more respect, in person (but the sentiment would be the same).

On Wednesday, our PM, Theresa May announced the government would also set its Brexit plans in a White Paper (a government policy document, which sets out proposals for future acts of Parliament). No date has been set for its publication. Let us hope that White Paper is longer than the Brexit Bill. Yup.

Cheers