Labor Day

A red banner outside the Mac Cafe, MoscowIt’s Labor Day in the US of A today. Dated safely away from May 1st, the traditional Labour Day in the rest of the world, surely to avoid any accidental ideas of communist influences.

Given the general apparent communist paranoia in the US, you’d think it would more fitting for the US to celebrate Commerce Day, Imperialism Day or Freedom Monday (Freedom, My Arse). In the end, you wouldn’t notice a difference. Some will organize firework displays, many will have a barbecue or a picnic, and most of those who actually have the day off work end up drinking too much.

All in praise of the workers’ unions, hurrah!

Golden Mango Mystery

DSC_1005There’s no Golden Mango Season. Not this year, not where we live. In previous years, and for a few weeks only, the streets of London’s suburbia are lined with piles of boxes of the most delicious Golden Mango from countries like India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

I asked one of our local Afghani shopkeepers where the mangos were this year. He wasn’t sure but thought he heard rumours about bacteria or fungal infections preventing import into the European Union.

Even Google knows little, but I found this intersting commentary by Tahmima Anam in the New York Times, which sheds light on a number of things in relation to Golden Mangos, and their shortage. Apparently, the Golden Mangoes are rotting on the trucks and in the fields away after having been found sprayed with formalin, a strong solution of formaldehyde. According Wikipedia, the Bangladesh government issued a formalin control law in 2014.

Not sure how this applies to the mangoes of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but at least it explains the absence of Golden Mango from our streets to some extend. Maybe the Pakistani and Afghani are too busy fighting over beliefs or running for their lives.

Turns out that shipments of Indian mangoes (and other produce) are banned from import into Europe after fruit fly infection has been discovered.

Boris’ Waterworks

DSC_0075Boris and his friends are snapping up an opportunity to purchase three second-hand water canons from the German police, beating their chest and priding themselves of £2.3 million saved in comparison to the purchase of new equipment. (

According to the BBC, a Home Office spokesman said: “We are keen to ensure that the police have the tools and powers they need to maintain order on our streets.”

This is exactly the problem, can’t they see? Why not, for a change, work on the reasons which make people protest, on the causes of unrest? Fighting back never works, oppression always backfires.

I do not endorse any form of violence, least of all violence by the state. I somehow hope this backfires, though. At least it shows what government thinks of the people it governs: riff-raff, needs to be disciplined, beaten down, locked away.


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We Fish You a Very Merry Christmas

menuHappy Christmas and happy holidays to everyone!

Curious readers may click here for a PDF version of our 2013 Christmas Menu. We find it funny that Nigel recommends a fish and seafood Christmas in this past Sunday’s Observer, but I assure you that our decision was taken much earlier.

You find recipes for most parts of this meal on our new food site ( The scallops, the mackerel tarte, the parfaits.

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Conspiracy Theory

Docklands March 2010 103I am not normally a great friend or spinner of conspiracy theories. However, the fact that right now and out of the blue so-called intelligence emerges, informing of immediate and severe terrorist threads, based on intelligence gathered from intercepted communications, I find that highly suspicious.

Right now, the US and most other countries need to justify their insane Big Brother attitude, and we are going to loose out big time, no matter how it ends. We of course means us, people who believe in the freedom of speech and that an mass-gathering of data and blanket observation without well-defined and published rules of who against whom, when and how and all that… You and me, Ed Snowden, and quite a few but not enough others.

Assume nothing happens in the Yemen or somewhere else in the middle-east, Africa or elsewhere, one of these days. I guess they’ll say that they have successfully warned and defused the threat. I suppose a whole month or so without any anti-US thread or protest is unlikely in the extreme, so they’ll use that to argue that they need to intensify their spying. Whichever way, they will use it to demonstrate that more surveillance is needed and Ed Snowden needs punishing.

Who would have thought we’d find ourselves so quickly in a steadily widening totalitarian regime? I never did, but I fear that we might.


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Great Expectations

DSC_0274Yoel replied and explained that there was “an unprecedented level of correspondence […] [expressing] concerns over this particular location.” He goes on explaining that we “face a serious issue with street drinking and the inevitable anti social behaviour that it causes in and around the [..] area …”

What’s the f* point, I wonder?

If nobody expects persons treated at the drug and alcohol rehabilitation site to be ex-drug users or ex-alcoholics, what’s the point?

I am also forever curious about the great expectations some people apparently have, and would have loved to find out if a group of former alcohol and drug abusers can live up to these. Are those people expected to roll around in the street, stark-naked? Shout obscenities? Lure the local primary school children into a life of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll?

I think I might have wanted to join in, at least in the rolling-around naked whilst shouting obscenities part.

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No No No

DSC_0105No solicitation, some people write onto their letter boxes or front doors, No junk mail some others. You can even buy these as stickers or in engraved brass, and, quite possible, you can even buy these from a travelling door-to-door salesman.

It seems that I need to make my own sign though. It would go something like this:

No solicitation, none whatsoever.

This includes, but is not limited to, the sale or recommendation of goods (such as UPVC windows), services (such as tree pruning or gutter cleaning), or spiritual concepts (such as Christianity).

Followers of St Florian, in the very spirit of St Florian’s principle, are also kindly requested to go elsewhere.

Anita Kapoor, elected councillor for the Conservative Party (Elthorne Ward) now prides herself of having successfully campaigned against plans to convert a derelict local building into a local centre for rehabilitation of former drug users. In reality Anita will have jumped onto the bandwagon brought into motion by others, but I guess that’s what politicians do.  I told you about this campaign earlier.

I can only hope that the local junkies discover this excellent site really soon. The Studios, as the run-down small office block is known, has amble parking space, good mobile phone reception, a forecourt with space to mingle, meet and trade at all times of the day. The site is generally unoccupied outside main working hours, rarely checked out by the police, and offers a few dark corners for more private meetings.


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Life On Earth

DSCF0182Life on Earth is pure heaven, it has emerged. Following a prolonged multinational game of Mine is Bigger Than Yours around the Korean peninsular, human and most vertebrate life on earth were wiped out earlier this week. Mankind’s presently exists in heaven and hell, according to each individual’s believe system and guilt complex, and in accordance with individual’s experiences and expectations.

It’s all the same, a spokesman for The Pearly Gates told us. What did you expect, wings, sit-on clouds and harps?

Representatives of Amazon Cloud Services were unavailable for a comment.

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Scientific Discoveries

DSC_0572Scientific results published in the Lancet medical journey suggest that after receiving extensive training in government-sanctioned violence and murder, and after being deployed to do so, after getting accustomed to problem-solving with violence and after getting used to an exceptionally high emotional threshold for shock and horror, retired armed forces are more likely than the rest of the population to commit violent offences.

You don’t say.

I’d think it naive to expect any different, and almost have sympathy with those committing violent offences as a result of alcoholism. At least they might be trying to forget.

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The Thunder of Joy

DSCF0223The pontiff, the media across the board keeps telling us, the pontiff, they write, the pontiff shocked the world.

Have you been shocked by the papal resignation?

I have not. Surprised, yes. Astonished, yes. Thinking to myself this is the smartest thing the man’s done, yes. For this, and for this only, I respect him.

I am shocked how much of the media, through poor choice of a single word, or through a deliberate sick choice of a single word, creates the illusion that mankind is in despair. According to them, we are now a desperate, leaderless, horror-struck flock of lamb. For all I know, an old man who chooses to speak in Latin, who sees no issues blessing weapons but has nothing but an apology to offer for child abuse, who struggles to respect women, gay people, those who believe in something else, someone else, or nothing at all, who disagrees with contraception, prays for the poor while sitting on vast wealth, well, such a person does well to withdraw into private prayer, hidden from the eyes of the public.

Let him pray in private for the good old days of the dark ages to come back. Meanwhile us people of the 21st century can only hope for a modern, young, forward looking, tolerant pope. A black gay Buddhist red-haired single mother of mixed Muslim-Jewish descent might fit the bill.

I’m pretty sure that the stoke of lighting which hit St. Peter’s cathedral on the day of the announcement of the resignation was a thunder of joy by the Big Cheese himself. Or, more likely, it was just a lighting strike hitting the tallest building in the area.


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Petition Day

DSC_1454Ding-dong, the door bell goes, so I go and answer. Whether I’d sign her petition, the lady wonders. It’s against an application for change of use of the Studio office block nearby, which is to be converted into an alcohol and drugs centre – her words, not mine! No, she sais, she doesn’t know what that means either, but she thinks it could describe a place for rehabilitation and treatment, and fears that even ex-offenders might frequent it. Again, her words, not mine.

You hypocritical little weasel, I think to myself, and explain that I shall not sign her petition. Converting a run-down office block with dubious tenants into a place of rehabilitation and treatment is a fine thing, I explain, and petitioning against something while not even knowing what it means is hugely disagreeable. I suspect, I continue telling her, that in reality she is protesting against anything which might happen because it might happen on her doorstep.

I deny politely and close the door, and wish I hadn’t been quite so polite. What a hypocritical weasel, really! I can’t comprehend what kind of society people want, if it doesn’t include rehabilitation and treatment for those in need of such things. I find this mindset objectionable and highly antisocial.

Shame, shame, and shame again on all those not on my doorstep people.

I almost wish she comes again.


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Domestic News

DSC_0855 - CopySad news today.

Pollux, the curly salt-and-pepper Guinea pig, died during the night. Even though the wound to his ear was healing (seemingly) nicely, and in spite of antibiotics, I assume a lingering infection caused his death.

Oh, that’s just too bad.

(Apart from that, yes, we are still well but a little too busy right now for regular blog updates. Give me another few days…)