Wednesday, July 31, 2013


We have a few Iris's growing around the property; we didn't put them in and maybe they're wild for all I know.  I suspect they are as they don't flower every year and also when they do the flowers only last a few days.  This popped open the other day and as I don't see it's cheerful blooms very often I thought I better take a photo of it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


We're off on our travels again.  And this is our chosen overnight accommodation.  I don't know what it is about camping, but it's something I've always enjoyed.  I remember my grandfather used to put one up in his back garden for me when I was a child.  It was a blanket laid over a couple of sticks and some string to tie it down.  He would often crawl inside with me and usually fell asleep.  An old man's trait!  We leave on the 11th, and these tents pack down very small to fit on the Harleys.  The boys would like to come, but there's no room in the saddlebags!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Video/Audio - Accident Report

My friend Denise in Florida sent me this one.  It's impossible not to laugh along with this fellow as his commentary is so infectious.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday's Column - Del Mar

Del Mar Shopping Plaza
This week is in the middle of the racing season for the delightful racecourse at Del Mar.  But the column is not about the races, more it's about the town itself.  It's a great place to visit down by the ocean not too far from San Diego.  You can read the entire column here

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Right Track - Snowden

This recent problem for the administration about the secrets leaker, Snowden, has caused a difficult situation for the country's diplomats.  Taken on its own trying to force Russia and China to play by the rules is not an easy problem to solve.  And let's face it, we aren't likely to go to war over the incident of this man hiding in either of those countries.  But I believe we are in this situation entirely due to our bad handling of international affairs for the last five years.  Running around apologising for America's past sins was never a good idea, and although it might have had a certain cathartic effect on the deliverer, it certainly hasn't helped his image over the long haul.  If proof of that was needed just look at the recent speech in Berlin where the size of the audience was minuscule compared to the one delivered at the start of his first term.  I believe the number of Tea Party protesters in Washington was many times higher that same weekend.  I believe this is what you get with a policy of "leading from behind."  As Rodney Dangerfield famously said: "I can't get no respect!"  Is it any wonder?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tirade - Paula Dean

I'm not a big fan of Paula Dean, the celebratory cook on TV.  I find her just a little too folksy.  I've used a couple of her recipes and she certainly does know how to cook.  Recently she's been accused at times of using the "n" word and also tolerating some unpleasantness in her workplace, which I've not quite figured out.  The result of this has been a rather shaky apology on the air and the Food Network canceling her contract.  I frankly don't get it.  She is in her late sixties, was born and raised in the deep south, in a totally different time, when there were not a group of people constantly on the look out to be offended.  As I said, I have always found her "country" ways a little tiring, but is her supposed slip sufficient to ruin her entire career.  As was once said by someone also persecuted: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!  That was back in the days when stoning was the punishment for sins.  Have we changed much?  Come on People!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Music Track - Buffet

I was in a watering hole the other evening and this came over the speakers.  I was amazed at the number of people who were mouthing the words.  I remember  Bing Crosby saying once that his secret was that every man thought that they sounded like him when singing in the shower.  I also think that the secret to this song is that absolutely everybody can sing along with it.  The words are there for you below the video!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Bends, but not the one I'm talking about!
I've been driving now for close to sixty years. And I can truthfully say that there isn't a road or a part of one that worries me.  That includes a lot of foreign ones.  I always worry a little when I go back to England that I'll adapt OK to driving on the "wrong" side, but so far so good.  However there is one small piece of a local road that has always bothered me.  It's Highway 18 from Lucerne Valley up to Big Bear.  Locals will recognise the bit I'm talking about as it's the second right-hand hairpin after you reach the first set of twisties.  It's a hard right hand and many trucks have gouged grooves into it; also you can't see what's coming the other way.  In other words all the things motorcyclists hate.  We're not as good with sharp right handers as left - U-turns are nearly always made leftwards.  No sight of approaching traffic, very steep and a bad surface all contribute to making this a bad section, and it's only about 100 feet in length.  However recently instead of trying to get through it as quickly as possible, I changed down to first gear - there are five on Harleys.  Hey Presto, it became manageable.  I've been up it a few times since and now always make a point of dropping down to first.  And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lighthouse Keeper

When I first left home and went "on the road," I lived for about three months in a boarding house.  Rooms were used by three of four men, depending on the size of the room.  It was quite normal back in those dark post WWII days of the late fifties and early sixties.  One of my roomies was a lighthouse keeper.  He worked for Trinity House which is the organisation that controls all the lighthouses around England's coast.  He would have three-month assignments, and during that time he would often not speak to anyone. He was an interesting fellow and told me a lot about his chosen profession, and its isolation.  The thing I most remember about him was that as soon as he woke up, he would scrabble about for his pack of cigarettes, pull one out and light it.  Then he would throw one over together with the matches for me to do the same.  His brand was Capstan Full Strength.  It was a staggeringly strong brand and it took all my control not to cough my lungs up.  I was also glad that this first smoke was taken lying down in bed, as it made me incredibly dizzy!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Return from the Trip

Having returned from the trip, I'm glad to say it went well and safely - apart from the Grizzly bear confrontation, but more of that later.  During my absense two columns have appeared in the Sun.  This is the first, a trip to Primm's Buffalo Bill's -
Also the second colunmn on the Casa 425 in Claremont was printed.  You might like to check out this delightful place
Eventually I'll report on this amazing trip that we took, but for now I'm glad to be back and sleeping betweeen sheets!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


For the first time in three years, I'm closing the blog temporarily.  Yes, it's vacation time, and even though I have managed to keep the flow going when away before, this time it's a little different.
Michael and I are off on one of our motorcycling trips.  Quite a long one this time!
We are going up to the Glacier National Park in Montana and intend dipping into Canada.  We will spend a couple of days in Yellowstone Park where we both have wanted to go for some time.  We have camp sites booked all the way up, but not back as we're a little unsure how our timing will go.  We will return via Reno and thence the 395 back to Big Bear.  The blog will start up as soon as I get back, but for now it's temporarily...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tirade - Warnings

Once again we have a heat wave in California.  If it was January it might be a little more newsworthy but no, it's July.  I happens nearly every year.  Along with the discomfort we now have to tolerate the hourly warnings by the local new stations who seem to delight in the repetition of the same nonsense year after year.  Look if you rely totally on the local news teams for information then you no doubt have your head full of images of crying mothers and fathers after the recent (daily) drive by and also of little pets stuck up in trees, or some fool leading a squadron of police on the daily car chase.  In that case here is the info - drink plenty of water and wear loose clothing.  Oh and don't turn on the A/C when you need it as it drains the grid.  Got it?  Come on People!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Music Track - Angel Flight

We don't play a lot of country on the music track, but this one works.  Thanks to Kevin deep down in the Marina for this.  He informs me that..."the pictures of the decoy missiles graphically show the 'angel' image that gives the flight its name."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Driving Test

After driving in California for the last 31 years, in order to renew my license, next week I have to take a written test.  Now if you add my record of another 27 years before I arrived here, you might think that this is going to be an easy pass.  Well, have a look at this site  It is a series of practise tests to get you into the mood.  As you will see there are some nasty ones here and not a lot to do with actually driving.  My records here do not indicate a bad driving record at all and no moving violations in the 31 years here.  So perhaps this is designed just to piss me off.  And cost the taxpayer's money!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Far be it for me to criticise the managers of America's pastime, but sometimes I do wonder if I would make a better manager than the current one of  the L.A.'s Dodgers.  Who are not doing too well up to now this season.  Take the case of one player, Puig.  He originated from Cuba and is pretty young.  I saw him play in a few of the late games of the pre-season.  He looked amazing to me and I fully expected him to be included in the line-up come opening day.  But it was not to happen.  He was sent down to the minors "to mature!"  Well, he has finally been brought up and played in over a dozen games.  He scored a home run in his first, another in the second, and in his third appearance he won the game in the bottom of the eighth with a grand slam.  Maturity indeed.  We don't need another genius intellect, just someone who can hit, and you don't have to be mature to do that!  As it shows.  Oh, by the way they have already signed him for $42 million.  For that I'd have him play all the time.  Wouldn't you?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Video - How to get to Mars

This is six and a half minutes of technological marvels.  A video of how the Mars Rover was sent to the planet. I'm grateful to my friend Geoffrey for sending it to me.   I recently visited JPL where these rovers are built and controlled.  It was a humbling experience seeing the work of these incredibly dedicated and clever people.