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Archive for May, 2009

On Thursday it was my birthday.  26 is how old I am.  I am very happy about this.  It was also the first year that I can remember where I didn’t take the day off and I wasn’t sure how I’d take it.  However, I had a grand old day, due mainly to our trip to The Little Chef in Popham; the one Heston Blumenthal took over in that TV series (which I didn’t actually watch).

Little Duck Fat ChefIt was brilliant!  The car parking spaces had little chefs on them (left. This may not be a new thing; it’s been a while since I visited an actual Little Chef, but it made me do a little jig none-the-less), and the ceiling inside was painted like the sky with seagulls!  Brilliant.  The food was nice too.  I had braised Ox cheeks (is that bum or face?) and a glass of Shiraz Viognier (you can only imagine how excited I was to learn that they were licensed!) and although the wine was a bit old-tasting, I wasn’t about to complain, despite encouragement from my wine industry colleagues.  It was definitely a good value, fun meal.  I don’t think anything cost more that £10 and everyone seemed pretty happy with their fodder – the Olympic breakfast didn’t get the best reviews, but at little over £6 (or thereabouts), how good is a motorway fry-up going to be?

The staff were very nice, the toilets were interesting – different soundtracks in each cubicle and food facts on the walls – plus they give you free jelly beans at the end (and they gave my boss a free copy of OK’s Peter and Jordan issue).  I was satisfied.  My only silly little criticism is that you can’t move the stools towards the table because they are attached to the floors – something that might nark shorter people in particular, but I was pleased to see that they offered thick-cut chips and fries as separate options – good work, they are totally different dishes!

If you go expecting a cut-price Fat Duck experience, you’ll obviously be disappointed, but compared to any other rLong live Hestonoadside dining experience I have had in England, it comes out tops (not as good as the Road Kill cafe in NZ though, where we ate Possum burgers), but high five Heston (this Spanish girl obviously agreed – right).

PS.  I also just want to thank the lovely taxi driver who directed me on to the North Circular today.  He wound down his window to check I was OK when he saw me studying an out-of-date AA road map at a red light in Royal Oak earlier on this afternoon and let me follow him until I was almost there; a true tale of innercity compassion.  Must get a Tom Tom (or a new map).

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We’re all going to die

Or so the government would like us to think, if the swine flu leaflets are to be believed. I have been looking forward to getting my advice slip in the post, purely out of sick fascination.  Foolishly, I expected them to be down-playing the virus, surely that would have been wise; England is a nation of natural hypochondriacs, after all.  So imagine my surprise when this landed on my doorstep:

Swine Flu for you...and you and ba ba ba

Seriously?!?  The cover alone makes even me panic.  Infected spittle flies everywhere while this virile, healthy-looking man dies in front of our very eyes!  Hell, if he’s at risk, I’d better take me some drugs!  What do I need to know? Tell me, oh government officials!

Firstly they say that no one will have immunity to it and that everyone is at risk.  OK, what else?  Everyday items like TV remotes are probably infected.  But it’s alright, they have been planning for a flu epidemic for a number of years (bastards) and apparently some drugs can reduce your illness by – wait for it – one whole day.  Whoop de doo.

I could rant for a while about this, but I will leave you with this final piece of advice: don’t forget to get a network of ‘Flu Friends’; handy paranoid acquaintances, who will help form a deathly Neighbourhood Watch group to buy you supplies so you don’t have to leave the house and infect others – because don’t forget that even face masks don’t protect people from becoming infected.

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